Saturday, July 16, 2016

Summer Camping: Crater Lake

We have a few camping trips planned this summer and the first was to Crater Lake. It's the deepest lake in the US, it's right here in Oregon, and yet we'd never been there. We didn't camp in Crater Lake National Park, but just outside of it. It had a creek and canoes available to use, which was my favorite part. It was a high desert environment and smelled like sweet pine. It was nice, aside from the mosquitoes. We had fun doing scavenger hunts on the nature walk around the campground, looking for ants, birds, and tiny fish.
Crater Lake itself was awe inspiring but not great for the kids. It was a volcano that erupted 7700 years ago and has since filled with water. You can drive and walk around the rim of the crater, with a cliff dropping off to the lake below. It turns out taking a three year old there who doesn't want to hold hands and instead wants to run to the edge is really stressful. If only he could have read the giant DANGER signs posted. Despite that it was our best camping trip so far.
We had a lot of fun earning different buttons for doing jobs/tasks, such as washing dishes, signing songs, setting up camp, etc. There were even buttons for camp cocktails and making a fancy dinner. I earned both of those. The templates for the buttons came from the book Camp Sunset: A Modern Campers Guide to the Great Outdoors. The recipe section looks amazing and I am looking forward to cooking from it once Dean is finished with his elimination diet. There's a recipe for campfire baked cinnamon rolls!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beauty Everywhere

What a week! The Tooth Fairy paid her first visit to our house, a birthday was celebrated, we hung wallpaper and the garden grew and grew.

I am so happy with the wallpaper! I love it! Neither of us had hung wallpaper before and I couldn't find a friend who had. With the help of a few how-to videos we got it up just fine, although now I understand why everyone pays to have someone else do it. As we were finishing it up Vincent vowed to never hang wallpaper again. Fortunately that was the only wall I wanted to paper, so it works out. I've saved the rest of the paper and might hang a bit more by myself someday though. I really like how it distinguishes the dining area from the rest of the room overall. I love looking at it up close and I love it from afar.

A friend texted me on Saturday (while we were wallpapering) about a good deal on berries and did I want to get in on it? My yes resulted in 25 lbs of partially frozen boysenberries and a flat of silvan berries (both varieties of blackberry) being delivered at 10 pm that night. I let the boysenberries thaw overnight and spent the next day making pints and pints of jam, two types of liqueur (one with berries soaking in vodka, the other with the berries soaking in red wine),  a crisp, and 6 bags of frozen berries pre-measured for future crisps. Gianna asked me today if there are any berries I don't like and I can't think of one, but I'm pretty sure that blackberries are my favorite.

Monday, June 20, 2016


IT IS BERRY SEASON IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST! (And I'm pretty excited about it)

We had a busy last few days with berry picking, dessert and jam making, and celebrating what a great dad my husband is. Marionberry crisp/cobbler/pie is one of my all time favorites, especially when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; a pure summer delight, and now the kids agree with me.

On Saturday my husband built a 45' long retaining wall in our backyard during intermittent rain storms (he is the most determined person I've ever met) so we wanted to give him extra appreciation on Sunday's Father's Day. Our tradition has been to run out for donuts while he sleeps in, so he wakes up to a donut tower. Right now we are still working to figure out what Dean's food issues are so we aren't able to run out and pick up donuts this year. Luckily I found a surprisingly good recipe that fit our needs and made everyone happy (I omitted the chia seeds). A sunny lunch out with the spiciest jalapeƱo burger I've ever had led to more backyard work and a trial run with his new Father's Day insulated growler. Also, keeping glasses in the freezer for beer is the best idea. I don't know why we didn't start doing that years ago! My relationship with my dad was difficult and I love that my husband has given me a reason to celebrate on Father's Day. I am so glad my kids have an awesome dad.

Last week was no school and both kids at home, this week has one at camp 9-5 and the other at preschool 9-1 all week. I have a list of things I hope to accomplish this week; gardening, sorting, knitting, enjoying the quiet... This morning after dropping them off I headed back out to the berry farm and picked 10 more pounds of marionberries. It's amazing how quickly I can pick when it's just me listening to an audiobook, not taking kids on multiple trips to the bathroom and chasing them down when they've wandered too many rows away! I may have to return to the farm for another solo picking trip before this week has ended.