Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - Our Honeymoon

My friends Erin and Krista gave me this great idea to have a Friday Flashback. So every now and then when I feel in the mood I will have a flashback. If this is just plain boring to you then skip the post; personally, I love reading about other peoples adventures.

We were married on a rainy day in January, many years ago. (14, to be exact.) I remember having so much fun at our wedding, but looking so forward to having some time with just my love in a very beautiful place. When we became engaged 8 months earlier, my mom was the one who convinced us to save up for a big trip and I am so glad she did. Our destination was Kauai, the 'Garden Isle'.

Here we are leaving the church; My Sweetie is ready to leave while I was voicing my concerns about the luggage, I think.



We took the limo to The Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco. We were the only crazy newlyweds to get married on Super Bowl weekend so they gave us this huge suite that was twice as big as our first apartment.


The next morning we got on a plane for Hawaii. We stayed in a condo right on the beach at Wailua Bay. We spent the whole week going on drives, sitting on the beach, eating great food and seeing some incredible sights. Here are some highlights:

One day we rented a canoe and went up the Wailua River, and then hiked a mile or so in using a not-so-easy-to-read map, and found this:


The name of this 100 foot waterfall is Secret Falls and you can only view it by canoeing up river and then hiking in. The water was actually pretty cold so only my Sweetie went swimming in the falls; I was content to wade up to my ankles.

Another day we visited the Kilohana Plantation and went to a lovely restaurant there called Gaylords. We also took a carriage ride there and the driver stopped and let us pick bananas on the way.



We did do a helicopter ride around the island; they did not fly through the Waimea Canyon like I thought they would but it was our first time in a helicopter and it was a lot of fun. We did see where they were filming Jurassic Park: The Lost World.



Here is the Waimea Canyon from one of the many lookout points; it truly is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
We called every day we were there to go out on a Zodiak boat up to the Na Pali coast to see the migrating whales, but the waves were too high each time for them to go out. We had a great, relaxing time that week and are so glad we went there for our honeymoon.

After a week in paradise we headed back to California and the other extreme, a cabin in the snow. We had friends who have a cabin off of Highway 4 near Bear Valley so we spent a few days up there.

One day we went tubing.....





.....another day we went snowmobiling.


It was a little bit of a shock going from Hawaii to the snow so we did spend a lot of time in front of the wood burning stove at the cabin.

(These photos were the cream of the crop...at the time I had a regular camera with film so I think we only took about 40 pictures....if I would have had digital it would have been in the hundreds!)

I would love to see photos and/or hear about your honeymoon adventures sometime!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Favorite Things - In My House

Inspired by a couple of my blog friends, Dawn and Stef, I have put together this post on the favorite things I have around my house. I really tried to make this an accurate portrayal of my little home, but I must admit I did a quick pick up in the living room before. And I made Nutsy move her truck off the stairs so I wouldn't trip. And I made sure my bed was cleaned off.

So here goes......

Probably my favorite room in the house, my kitchen. I love cooking, cleaning up after dinner, sweeping the floors...pretty much anything that happens in this room I love, except when something glass hits that tile on the floor.


This is our school room, which is in the same room as the kitchen. I love my bookshelves which go all along one wall almost to the ceiling. There are large windows all along the other wall so it is nice and light in these two rooms. I also love it that I can get up and make myself a cup of tea during school. Speaking of books.....


I love books. Sometimes I think I have an obsession for them. I have non-fiction, encyclopedias and reference books in the school room....this is the historical fiction section...



Another bookcase of fiction in the living room.... (and yes, I see that The Odyssey is on this shelf. They are not perfectly cataloged...) :-)



A couple of bookcases are in our room that hold adult fiction and theology....



There are 3 bookcases in Mr. Lego's room. In our house, if you are the only one that lives in a room, then you are by default going to share that space with lots of books. On these I store more adult fiction and all my textbooks and reference books we are not using in the current school year. This bookcase above is of children's fiction. I counted 14 bookcases spread throughout our house.



I love my bed! It has a Stearns and Foster mattress on it. I do love going on vacations and visiting people, but that first night back in my own bed is lovely.



In the same area, my favorite thing in the bathroom is my trusty Sonicare toothbrush. I really love the way it makes my teeth feel. But don't ask me about flossing. That is one of my weaknesses in oral care.



I love seeing the kids toy car parking lots. My kids love Matchbox cars and can spend the whole afternoon playing 'city' with them. These were on the floor of Mr. Lego's room.




Our living room/dining room is where we spend a lot of time and I love this room combination. We live in a small house; 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath and 1450 square feet. But most of the time I love living in a smaller house.(Except when I am trying to find space for another bookcase!) Clean up is usually quick and you would be surprised at how many we can squeeze in for entertaining.


One of my favorite things to have sprinkled throughout our home is candles. They are so warm and comforting in the Fall and Winter, and look very pretty in the warmer months.



Most of the toys are in the kids rooms upstairs, but we do keep the gigantic dollhouse behind one of the sofas for the girls to play with. When Bookworm saw that I was snapping pictures around the house, she made sure to set up the dollhouse.


See? There are usually toys on the floor. Just so long as we clean it up at night before bed, I am OK with it.



When I am feeling a little stressed, or need something to fill my time for a few minutes, I play the piano. I love playing hymns, praise songs, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Scott Joplin...



If you go up the stairs you will see our Memory Wall. Every year that we have been married, we have had our family photos done. I love slowly walking up the stairs and remembering how God has faithfully sustained our family.



One thing I love to have is a schedule. I post the kids chore schedule in the kitchen and every few months mix up their responsibilities so they don't get bored. I have a house cleaning schedule for myself and a school schedule posted in the school room.



I love the view from my kitchen window. We have beautiful roses outside, I can watch the children when they are playing on the lawn and see the flowers on our deck.

I hope to continue doing more 'Favorite Things' posts in the future when I feel inspired...favorite foods... favorite things in my backyard... favorite places to go.....

~Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I still need to get outside and do some garden work before Spring disappears.
What I'm reading:
I am reading Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick to the kids for school and I am really, really trying to enjoy The Iliad.....
What I'm listening to:
The children's voices upstairs, the dryer spinning and our parakeet chirping.
What we're learning:
We started a new Total Language Plus book today; The Whipping Boy. In history we are learning about Asoka in India, the Spetuagint and the Qin Dynasty.
What I'm watching:
The kids doing their afternoon chores.
What's cooking:
I'm making yummy Tostadas with Jalapeno-Lime Sauce this week.
What I'm buying:
We went to some garage sales this weekend....I found an animal carrying cage (for our rabbits) for $1.
What I'm thankful for:
That I can be in the place I love best most every day, my home.
What I'm creating:
We bought a half gallon of heavy cream at Costco last week so I need to use it up. What better way to do that then to make homemade ice cream! I plan on doing that later tonight.
What I'm praying:
That I would be more hungry for God's Word and that it would continue to shape my life.
What I'm planning:
Lessons for the hymn we are studying in co-op; O God, Our Help in Ages Past. I am having a fun time seeing how through Bible history, God has been His peoples' constant help.
What I'm looking forward to: Co-op this week and getting together with a sweet friend and her children this weekend that I only get to see once a year.
A picture to share:


~This was our big news this past weekend; Nutsy is now riding a two wheeler! I put some other Street Play photos on my other blog....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Miso Soup

If you eat Japanese food, you eat Miso. It is one of the main food staples from Japan, sitting right next to the medium grain rice. Miso is pretty good for you too; it is a great source of protein and fiber. We call it 'liquid protein' in our house and when my kids are sick they get a bowl of diluted Miso with rice. There are some other really good health benefits that you can see here.

To make Miso you need the paste, which you can find in an Asian store. A lot of supermarkets will sell the instant kind which in my opinion is unpalatable. Here is what it looks like:


This gooey brown stuff you dissolve in a pot of water. The directions are usually in Japanese so you will need to add a bit, taste, then add more water or paste as needed. The flavor is slightly salty and mild, a little butter flavor comes to mind too; it tastes like......Miso.

For a medium pot half full of water I put in two scoops of this size:


I know what you are all thinking....that looks like..... Just don't let your kids see this part. :-)

Next is the Hon Dashi, which is fish broth powder. This is what makes your homemade Miso taste like the Japanese restaurant Miso. You don't need this stuff to have a good bowl of Miso; in fact for years I made my Miso without it. The Hon Dashi does have MSG in it so it is your call. In the pot above I put about a teaspoon of it in.

After tasting to make sure that it is not too strong or weak you add the Wakame. Wakame is dried seaweed. If this is just too weird for you, it can be skipped, but it really adds to the soup. Again, the Wakame is super healthy for you. When I was pregnant my mother in law made me bowls and bowls of Wakame salad....This is a package of Wakame:


I add about one handful like this to the pot. But if I have asked Bookworm to make Miso for dinner she has been known to put in 3 or 4 handfuls. My kids even love eating the Wakame dry.


Finally I cut up half a block of tofu and put it into the soup. This is a lot of tofu but my kids like their Miso heavy on the Wakame and tofu. You can put in a smaller amount if you want.

Then give it a stir and that's it!


We put a sprinkling of green onions on when we dish it into the bowls. And the kids always add a scoopful of rice to their bowls too. I love making this as an easy lunch once a week or so and this goes with pretty much any Asian meal you might make.

The Wakame and Hon Dashi I have seen at the supermarkets but I have to buy the Miso paste at an Asian store. My package of Wakame doesn't say 'Wakame', but if you ask at the Asian store they will take you right to it. I do hope you try this yummy and healthy Japanese soup.

Miso Soup

Ingredients:

Water
2 spoonfuls of Miso paste
1 teaspoon Hon Dashi
1/4 cup Wakame Seaweed
1/4 to 1/2 block tofu, diced
sliced green onions

Recipe:
Fill pot with desired amount of water. Spoon Miso paste into water, stirring until dissolved. ( I use a whisk) Add Hon Dashi; taste. When water is steaming, add Wakame and tofu. Serve in bowls garnished with 1 teaspoon of sliced green onions.


Easy Japanese Curry

Curry is truly a dish that crosses international lines and simply means 'spicy dish'. It is the combination of turmeric, coriander, cumin and pepper that give it a distinct taste and is popular in Indian and Asian cuisines. I have made different currys from scratch before and they all have unique flavors, but this one I am going to share with you is my husbands favorite and a very easy one. Some might say cheating because you use a box of seasonings, but I have tried to copy it and have failed enough times to just rip open the package when we feel like curry.

This is the package, which you can find pretty much anywhere in the Asian section at the store.

It comes in mild, medium and hot; we usually get mild or medium. There are instructions on the box and depending on the brand you get, are entertaining to read because of the botched English translation. I have tweeked the recipe to my liking and do my own thing.

I make beef curry but chicken or pork would work just as well. First you take 1-2 lbs of boneless meat that has been cubed 1". Saute in a little oil in a large pot.


When the meat is no longer pink on the outside I add enough water to cover the meat. When the mixture comes to a boil, I turn it down and cover, to simmer an hour or two to get more tender. If you were doing chicken you would omit this step and proceed below to where the vegetables get added. You do need to check the water level every now and then to make sure it doesn't burn.
When you feel that the meat is tender enough you prepare the vegetables. For this meal I chopped half an onion, 3 stalks of celery, 4 carrots and 5 small potatoes. Any combination of vegetables works fine.


Add to the meat mixture and add just enough water to cover the vegetables. (If you add too much water the curry might be too thin.)


Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Just when they get soft enough to easily fork, you add the curry. It is a hard block of condensed curry seasonings; you just take a sharp knife and shave off the curry into the pot.


You don't want the pieces to large...running into a piece of strong curry when eating is not fun. Once it is all shaved in you mix gently, being careful not to mash any of the vegetables. At this point of you feel that your curry is too thick you can add a little water until it gets to the right consistency.


This is now ready to eat, or it can now sit on the back burner on very low heat while you prepare the Miso. There are a couple condiments that we eat with Japanese Curry....pickled red ginger and Tonkatsu sauce.


These really add to the flavor of the dish but are not totally necessary. You can find both these items at an Asian food store. This dish could be prepared vegetarian; just start by adding the veggies and then covering with water to cook.

Here is our dinner:

Now there is an ingredient in the Japanese Curry and also in the Miso that some people might have a problem with. MSG. I have done a little reading on it and am OK with our family eating it periodically. We do have Miso once or twice a week, but as you will see in that recipe, the amount of MSG in the soup is minimal. My mother in law probably takes in more MSG then our whole family put together and she is, like most Japanese, very healthy. With most food issues, I feel that having an overall healthy diet is the key, and not focusing on single ingredients used minimally.

Next recipe I will post very soon....Miso!

Japanese Curry

Ingredients:

1 Curry Mix
oil
1-2 lbs beef, chicken or pork, cubed.
1/2 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
5 small potatoes (about 2 c.) chopped

Directions:

Saute meat in oil until brown. Cover with water and simmer until tender. (If using chicken omit this step.) Add prepared vegetables and cover with water. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Add shaved curry seasoning, fold in well. Serve with rice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Musings

The computer saga continues....we got a virus last Wednesday so I have been without a computer since then until today. I really am not ignoring all my blog friends!

What I'm thinking:
That I am getting hungry and the leftover fried won tons, Zaru Soba and cabbage salad we made yesterday will taste good for lunch.
What I'm reading:
I picked up two different versions of the Iliad at the library last week; one is in poetry form and one is in text form. Anyone else who has read it have an opinion of either or can recommend a good translation?
What I'm listening to:
The kids have Owl City going on Lala right now....
What we're learning:
Alexander the Great and Archimedes in history, Shorter Catechism #16 and our last week of Total Language Plus' Caddie Woodlawn.
What I'm watching:
I am enjoying the blue sky outside. We are getting rain tomorrow for a couple days.
What's cooking:
I am making Japanese Curry, rice and Miso for dinner. It is so easy and so yummy!
What I'm buying:
I bought an earth box from a friend of mine last week so I am planning to buy 4 melon plants (watermelon & cantaloupe) to put in it.
What I'm thankful for:
That this week the kids finally made a little money from the rabbits by selling rabbit fertilizer to some neighbors.
What I'm creating:
Reviews for The Old Schoolhouse. I had one ready when our hard drive crashed 2 weeks ago, re-wrote the same review and almost finished another one right when the virus attacked the computer last week, so that is what I am planning to do this afternoon....
What I'm praying:
For consistency in my parenting.
What I'm planning:
We are having a 4-H meeting on record books tomorrow. Since we have never done one before this is all new, but such a great way to see what the kids have done this whole year.
What I'm looking forward to:
We have a break from co-op this week so a couple friends and I are taking all our kids to a nature park that day.
A picture to share:


Nutsy at the beach in 2007.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am so glad my computer is back up and running, after being without it for a whole week. I am also trying to rack my brain and remember all my bookmarks. I had recipes, blogs, worksheets and articles that were listed on my Favorites and they are all lost. :-(
What I'm reading: The kids and I are finishing up Victory on the Walls this week, a story about Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
What I'm listening to:
Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig & Dean.
What we're learning:
Malachi, Plato and Aristotle in history, The children began memorizing Psalm 1 for co-op and Fish is the title of the new chapter they started today in science.
What I'm watching:
We finished Bleak House!! I loved it and can't wait to read the book.
What's cooking: I have BBQ pork sandwiches on the menu....I love crock pot meals.
What I'm buying:
Later this afternoon I need to head to Kinko's to make some copies and my big monthly shopping happens later this week.
What I'm thankful for:
A wonderful weekend we had....Mr. Lego did well at the 4-H Sectionals Saturday morning, my sister and her family spent the night on Saturday and then church was such a blessing yesterday. We had our Supper for Six also and had a lovely afternoon/evening with appetizers, wine and fellowship.
What I'm creating: The kids have asked me to replace some of their bean bags so I am knitting a couple new ones.
What I'm praying:
That the hearts of my children would continually be drawn to Christ.
What I'm planning:
I need to do some lesson planning for the hymn I am teaching in co-op; O God Our Help In Ages Past.
What I'm looking forward to:
4-H is tomorrow evening with a kids carnival, we have co-op on Wednesday and then we hope to get together with a friend and her little ones for lunch on Friday.
A picture to share:

~April 2005. My babies have grown so much!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am feeling unmotivated this morning. Maybe it is all the drama with the rabbits....one of our does actually had a litter Saturday night sometime, but we had already taken the nesting box out (because she was 5 days past when she was due!) and she didn't protect them so they all died. :-(
What I'm reading:
I finished Passionate Housewives last week. I am taking a break from my reading list and started reading The Making of A Chef by Michael Ruhlman. I love cooking adventures.....
What I'm listening to:
Someone sliding down the stairs, Nutsy's little voice and someone else making toast in the kitchen.
What we're learning:
Nehemiah, Pericles and the Peloponneseian War in history, and we are wrapping up the last unit in Total Language Plus' Caddie Woodlawn. Nutsy finished her little preschool books already so I am trying to think of activities she can do for school.
What I'm watching:
The rain puddles dry in the street. I saw the weather and we are supposed to get sunny days this whole week. I am definitely ready for summer.
What's cooking:
Bacon, Ranch and Chicken Pasta is on the menu for later this week and I think I might make homemade Bruschetta to go with it.
What I'm buying:
Not much....I ran out of cheddar cheese so I have to run out for ONE thing later today.
What I'm thankful for:
Grace that God freely gives to me even though I don't deserve any.
What I'm creating:
I am editing pictures I took last week at my friends horse ranch for her pony business. I'm about halfway done.....
What I'm praying:
That my spirit would be content in all things.
What I'm planning:
An appetizer night this Sunday at my house. At our church we have this thing called Supper For Six. We are randomly paired with two other couples and over the course of 3 months, all get together at each others home. This will be our first dinner for this round.
What I'm looking forward to:
We get back into co-op this week and then Mr. Lego has his presentation at Sectionals for 4-H this Saturday.
A picture to share:


Friday, April 2, 2010

Summer Garden 2010

This last weekend we had beautiful, spring weather so we decided it was a good time to start the garden. Last year we had built 2 3x4 raised beds and so the start up was minimal this time. (Yay!!!) I also had a big variety last year and some of the plants did not harvest very much, so this year we decided to focus on a few vegetables and plant more of them. First I threw some of the rabbit droppings on the boxes, then worked it in. That's the great thing about rabbit poop, it can be put straight into the dirt. Then I made my string lines again as we do square foot gardening.

Then I laid out where the veggies should go, this time making sure to put the tall plants in the back. :-)

We did 9 tomato plants this year. 6 of them were hybrid, but I chose 3 heirlooms to do; a Pearson, Prudens Purple and Mortgage Lifter. Mortgage Lifter is so named because the man who developed it eventually sold his whole farm for a load of cash. :-) We also planted 2 Japanese cucumbers, basil, lavender, parsley and rosemary. I had bought 3 cucumber plants but when we got home I realized that one of the cucumbers was actually a yellow crookneck squash so he went in too. I just couldn't abandon him! Here is the herb garden:

I also have a little section off to the side that is my medicinal garden; I have a Comfrey plant and garlic there too. I used to have an Aloe Vera but it died during the winter, so I want to replace that. You can also see in this picture the box my Sweetie built to put the rabbit droppings in; the kids are actually hoping to sell some of it to our neighbors.

I let each of the kids chose a flower to plant and they chose some pretties. Here is Bookworm with hers:
And Dasher...wearing her holey-knees jeans, appropriate for planting in:

And Nutsy who wore her flower dress for the occasion:

Mr. Lego opted to get a jalapeno and a lemon-thyme plant to put in pots on the deck. He planted his so fast that I didn't get a photo of him.

So I am eagerly anticipating some garden fresh tomatoes this summer! How about you, do you have a garden?