Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Delta

We drive down Interstate 5 all the time. My husband way more than I.
And when you look over across the wide expanse all you see is fields and farmhouses.
And that was all I thought was over there until last weekend.

I knew there was a Delta; I had seen it on the maps and knew that people would go there occasionally, but I never really knew what was there.

Until our friends invited us to the Delta. Very sweet friends, who had very gracious and sweet relatives who didn't mind us visiting.

This is the Delta:


An incredible maze of waterways that lead from the bay to Sacramento, with Mt. Diablo in the background.

And this is what we did on the Delta.

First up...wake boarding on the boom.

Bookworm did great.



Mr. Lego fell a couple times but did really well.



And my Sweetie loved it...


...as did yours truly.



After that it was time for some tubing.

First up was Mr. Lego and our friend, H.



Next up was my Sweetie and A.




After hanging on for a few smooth turns, our host/boat pilot turned it up a notch and this was the result.


I had my fun in the sun with H, and we hung on until I thought my arms were going to get pulled out of my sockets.



Bookworm had a go; they did get tumbled but not on this turn below:



Through all of this the jet ski was making passes and jumping on the wake...



This next photo was before Mr. K took Bookworm and Dasher on a ride....


....and this is after.

I think it is safe to say it will be a couple of years before Dasher tries the jet ski again.

When we weren't on the boat we were in the water.



Playing in the waves from the jet ski....



 ....and doing flips into the water.


What an adventure! It was a great end to our summer and such a treat for our family. Thank you to the K family and to N & P for having us!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am writing this a little late....I had an early dentist appointment for Dasher. (What was I thinking scheduling an appointment at 7:30 in the morning?!?) She did really well and we are home now.

What I'm reading: I don't have any books in mind to read this week.....I will probably preview our history lesson for next week though.

What I'm listening to: Car sounds outside....chattering voices upstairs....pages being turned by someone reading on the sofa.

What we're learning: Learning always happens....we saw some great wildlife on the Delta and the older kids have been reading about hurricanes lately.

What I'm watching: Over the weekend my Sweetie and I watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart. We love the Walter Huston dance....

What's cooking: On the menu this week is Chicken Fried Rice, Lettuce Wraps and Chicken Pad Thai. I guess I was craving Asian food when I made my menu up.

What I'm buying: Mr. Lego read a book this last week that had the recipe for Russian Tea in it. Which reminded me that my mom would make batches of it when I was young and have it in the pantry to make on cold days. It isn't cold right now, but the flavors sound so good to me, so later today we are going to go out and get the ingredients to make it.

What I'm thankful for: That Christ died for the wretched, sinful and undeserving. In the sermon yesterday, we were reminded that Jesus came from a line of sinful people and in His mercy, elected a chosen people for Himself.

What I'm creating: Later today I plan to edit the photos I took this last weekend while we were on the Delta....I got some good ones of some crazy tubing.

What I'm praying: For those around me that are struggling. Some with health issues, others with financial difficulties and others that are just struggling with life in general. Even though I know that God is working through our trials for His glory and our sanctification, they are still trials.

What I'm planning: I'm making sure we have everything in order for school to start up next week. I need to make some flashcards, have our history worksheets all printed out and download handwriting exercises for Nutsy.

What we did this last weekend: We were on the Delta with friends. I had never been there before and we had a great time tubing, wake boarding, swimming and going for boat rides. Sunday we heard a sermon on Matthew 1 and then headed home for yummy grilled chicken, homemade Caesar salad and corn from the valley.

What I'm looking forward to: We are planning to be in the pool this week a couple times, then the girls might be going to a tea party later this week. And we are all looking forward to our church's annual Labor Day party on Monday.

A picture to share:


My Sweetie with our friend, A. Yes, it was a wild ride.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fun & Games

 We haven't started school yet. One of the many blessings of homeschooling is choosing your school start date, and since I like doing more of a year round school and we were working up until the second week of July, we aren't starting until after Labor Day.

Which gives me time to prepare all our school stuff. Which is what I have been doing.

I have gone over science lessons, I've come up with literature thought questions, made copies, bought pencils and crayons, and I think I'm ready.

During this month I have also had some deep cleaning house things on my mind. Some were on an actual list (like deep cleaning the master closet and kitchen), and others entered my mind when I opened a closet door and the huge pile on the floor was so big I could barely close the door.

This was the case with our living room closet.The closet itself is pretty organized, but I have a basket in there where I place the lost game pieces and cards I find behind the sofa and under the table. Well the basket had turned into 2 large Wal Mart bags full of dice, Go Fish cards, Candy Land men and oh-so-much-more.



 What a mess.

So a couple weeks ago the kids and I devoted the morning to going through the bags and organizing them.

We started by putting things in piles.



Who knew we had so many lonely dice?

We play lots of games so I try to go through the basket every couple months.....




.....I think it had been a long time since I had done this.




The kids had fun putting them in piles, and when things were winding down after a couple hours, they had fun with the games that they forgot we owned.




Which brings me to the point.

Games are fun.

We try, at least one or two nights a week to play some games with the kids. And now that they are older, the games can get really fun.

Here are some of our favorites:


The kids love Kerplunk - a fun marble falling game.

Of course there is Monopoly....as you can tell from the amount of fake money you saw in the above photos we have 2 sets.

Sorry has a special place in my heart.....I remember playing it as a child with my grandma.

Blokus is another fun one and Clue is an all time favorite. (I love it that even Nutsy can play, although she just asks if you have Mrs Peacock in the Hall with the knife over and over....)


And Aggravation is another one from my childhood that the kids are hooked on right now.






Card games are fun too....the boxes don't last long in our house so I just store them in a bin with bands around each set.

Dutch Blitz is my all time favorite.

Uno and Hit the Deck are easy ones that Nutsy could play when she was 4.

And my Sweetie and I love to play Skip-Bo and Phase 10 after the kids go to bed.



And if you know me, you know I could never have a post about games and not mention Speed Scrabble. If you have enough tiles you can have 15 people playing this one together, and even little ones can play, as long as they can spell simple words or have a partner.


Games are a fun way to get to know your kids better.

Games teach you how to handle competition, how to be fair, and that hard rule that if there is a winner, there is always a loser too.

When the kids go to bed, games are a fun option for you and your spouse, instead of turning on the TV.

And games with family friends make such fun fellowship evenings.



What are your favorite games?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I really love summer. I love the heat too. So with temperatures in the mid to high 90's this week, I think I am living in the right place.

What I'm reading: I am planning to read from A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge this week. I really should have to time.....

What I'm listening to: Lately I have been listening to Fernando Ortega's How Deep the Father's Love For Us. "....Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer; but this I know with all my heart, His woulds have paid my ransom...."

What we're learning: T-minus 14 days until school starts. I have the bulk of our curriculum and materials and this week I want to sit down and refine the schedule and continue to work on the science class I am teaching in co-op.

What I'm watching: Over the weekend my Sweetie and I watched the 2004 version of The Alamo. It is a pretty historically accurate portrayal of this event...someday we will watch it as a family.

What's cooking: On the menu this week is a Japanese dish called Donburi or Oyakidon. It is a yummy dish with chicken, onions and eggs over rice. I will also make miso to go with it.

What I'm buying: This week it is just the normal weekly grocery shopping. I love it that there is a farm right in my little town that has an honor system vegetable stand. I am going there weekly too, for my tomatoes, corn and peaches.

What I'm thankful for: My homeschooling friends. They encourage me, lend me books, trade supplies with me and keep me going.

What I'm creating: Muffins. I have decided that it would make our mornings easier if sometimes we have muffins I can pull out of the freezer to eat with breakfast. So I am going to enlist the help of the kids and experiment with different muffin recipes and freezing them. Any suggestions?

What I'm praying: I am praying for those around me. A friend is having her baby any day now...another friend lost her mom last week, and others are having hard times financially.

What I'm planning: The kitchen never got deep cleaned last week so that is on my list of things to do this week.

What we did this last weekend: We had a lovely day on Saturday with the family.....after a nice breakfast we went on a three mile bike ride, then home and into the pool to play. That evening we played cards with the kids....it is fun having them be old enough to play fun games with. Sunday we went to church and then went to our church's last summer picnic.

What I'm looking forward to: A semi quiet week....Bookworm has her last sewing class tomorrow and we are going to go to the Delta with friends later in the week.

A picture to share:

(4 pictures today....I didn't want to leave anyone out.)






~The results of face painting at the church picnic yesterday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Camp Donuts

Camping is fun.
Eating is fun.
Why not combine them?

I tend to pick pretty easy and quick type meals on our camping trips....who wants to come home from the lake and spend an hour preparing food that has a 90% chance of having dirt and ash in it?

Anyway, this is an idea given to me by my chocoholic friend, Lisa. Who has been camping many times. Before we started camping a couple years ago, I had asked her for some fun and easy recipes and this was one of them. But like all recipes, the cook can change and tweak it to their liking, as you will see is what happens to this little morsel.

First you begin with those nasty, refrigerated biscuits. (Hey, if a little dirt doesn't hurt, than neither does a little partially hydrogenated oil.)


A hint: I keep these sealed in a ziploc bag in the camp cooler. That way when the ice starts melting, it doesn't soak through the cardboard container and get the dough all yucky.

You separate each biscuit into 4 parts. Each quarter gets rolled into a ball.


(You can see the remnants from a late night card game in the photo above too.)

Meanwhile, My Sweetie is warming about an inch of oil in a cast iron skillet on our camp stove. (The camp stove is my husband's domain; anything that sounds like it is a jet engine trying to take off while I am cooking on it, scares the heck out of me.)

When the oil is hot, the balls of dough go into the pan.




Meanwhile, I put powdered sugar and some cinnamon in a ziploc bag.




During the first batch, we usually have to take one out to make sure it is done.....and once they are all brown, they are put on the rack to cool.



Now the first time I made this I was impatient and only waited about 30 seconds before I put them into the sugar; they still had too much oil on them and got all sticky and then the sugar didn't stick.....so I have found the best thing to do is to wait about 5 minutes.

This is hard to do, with about 25 campers breathing down your neck, asking if they are ready yet.

In they go.....




Shake the bag around and....




....there they are!



Then you do it all over again.

Yum!


Now, this was when things started changing.

My friend S. V., who really likes to cook, came over and spotted a few Hershey Kisses on the table from the night before. Her brain was pretty awake that morning and she got the great idea to flatten each ball of dough out, place a kiss in the middle, then wrap the dough around.

These did not take nearly as long to fry, and after dumping into the sugar bag, were delicious.


This was a super sweet treat. And we all needed the extra sugar and calories, right? Of course we do....we're camping!


Camp Donuts

Ingredients:

1 roll of refrigerator biscuits
1/2 vegetable oil (enough to keep the level in the pan at about and inch)
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T cinnamon (optional)
32 Hershey Kisses (optional)

Directions:

Divide each biscuit into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Or flatten each piece into a pancake and wrap a Hershey Kiss around it, being sure to completely seal the dough. When oil is hot, add a few dough balls to the oil. Turning a few times, cook until golden brown. Drain on a rack for 5 minutes; meanwhile combine powdered sugar and if desired, cinnamon in a ziploc bag. After donuts have cooled, place a few in the bag and shake until coated.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Church Camping Trip 2011

2 weeks ago today we were camping with our church. 2 weeks ago, dirt was everywhere and the bathrooms were a 7 minute walk away. It is so funny to me how clean and organized I am most of the time, and how that all flies out the window when we are camping. But I guess when all the people around you have dirty faces, you don't notice it as much.

This year we went to the same place that we did last year.
Something else we did a little differently was to share our kitchen space with two other families.

We are not big time campers....see our cute little kitchen set up below?




Well my two friends had the Julia Child-Kitchens of camping that they graciously shared with us.



And let me tell you, when you wash 26 dishes and clean up from each meal all working together, it goes pretty fast. (Yes, our three families have 20 children between us.)

The lake was a 6 minute drive down the hill from our groups site, and since no one wanted to walk all the way back up, we carpooled.



The lake was as rocky as ever....




....but the water was the perfect temperature.




The older kids had this super fun raft to play on too, which, one afternoon the mom's commandeered and then ended up way down near the boat docks.




Remember this from last year?
Of course we all went back again.



And yes, I did jump again...this time I stood on the ledge for about 20 seconds and then took the plunge.


You can barely see me in my blue suit.

I jumped once.
Mr. Lego jumped 18 times. (Yes, he counted)
My Sweetie was so brave and jumped three times, and Bookworm jumped numerous times from the cement ledge.


We ate great food.

Our annual Camp Taco Night...



And these little babies....I am planning to share more about them in a later post.



Of course there was the evening fire...



This is what I brought to contribute and let me tell you, it transformed our S'mores into gooey wonderfulness.





We played games until way past bedtime....

Speed Scrabble is the best.



And Cocktails was a big hit too.



Every morning we would gather for singing and a devotional; our pastor went through Philippians 2 during our study time which was super encouraging and convicting.



We had great fellowship and wonderful conversations....



...and of course our talent show on the last night.

The kids did some funny skits, the men all serenaded us with camp memories and of course, the Chubby Bunnies competition.

Mr. Lego and My Sweetie both stuffed their faces with marshmallows.... they did great, but neither of them won.


By the end of the trip the ice had melted, we were all filthy, and we were ready to be sleeping in our nice beds at home again.


We had a great time and can't wait until next year!