Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blackberries, Blackberries and more Blackberries!

So, I have to say, yes I am jealous of Oregon's coast, but truthfully I am really jealous of their wait I mean weeds. Yes, that is right, in Oregon blackberry bushes are considered a nuisance or rather a weed. They actually spray to kill them...ugh..I hate you a little Oregon! To make up for this, I decided that we absolutely needed to take advantage of the blackberry bushes just a block away from Aubrey & Stephen's. I am not sure how many times exactly we went blackberry picking in the week or so we were there but I would think at least 5 :) I made all sorts of blackberry recipes, some good, some could have definately used improvement, but I loved it all. I even made Blackberry Jam...yum!

Here are some pics of the berry picking fun:

West Coast Journey: Part II - Butterflies and Horses

One of the days there we decided to go to the Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo.  Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures at the rodeo that night, but I assure you, fun was had by all of us.  It was a bit late though for Michaela and Danielle and they actually wanted to go home just before it was done.  Two hours later in time than Minnesota and a late start time equals VERY tired kids :)  Oh well!

The fair was earlier in the day and we got to walk around and see all the animals and one of Malcolm and my favorites was the butterfly garden.  It was the first butterfly exhibit that I had went to that actually had you feed the butterflies and had q-tips available for you to place the butterflies on your skin.  It was super-cool!

I get a kick out of the pics of Michaela and Danielle because they TOTALLY show they're personalities.  Notice the ones of Michaela where she has the look of complete concentration, then the brave face when she is trying to smile, but not quite sure that she likes the butterfly on her.  Then you take Danielle whose every emotion shows on her face.  I get such a kick out of my girls, what a hoot!


We also got to take all the girls on pony rides compliments of Grandma.  Thank you Grandma, the girls loved it!!


Fair Pics:


West Coast Jouney: Part 1 - Ocean Fun

So, to tell you I am a little daunted today. Malcolm and the girls have went back to the grandparents this weekend and before Malcolm left he told me he would love it if I got a blog done of our trip out west. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, well, I would love to have you look at all the pictures in our trip folder...whew!!! Malcolm did almost all of the editing and I get to come up with which pictures, you or I (later) will like to see. Its a tough problem, because for me each picture shows a hint of personality in each of the people in it and I want to see all of them. Then there is the perfectionist in me who sees flawed pictures in all of them and I don't really want to post any of them.

So what's a girl supposed to do? Well, I am going to take it bit by bit and try to post a few different sections of our trip to give you a recap of our trip. If you don't hear from me in awhile after a post. Send me a comment and tell me to get my butt in gear and write some more! Here goes nothing! One of my favorite parts of the trip was the beach outing. It was so fun being on the beach, flying kites, running through the waves and I even got to go for a mile or so run barefoot in the was so cool!



Zach-Man!- I get such a kick out of the way he crawls...I know a lot of kids crawl this way, but Michaela and Danielle never did, so it is extra fun for me!


Kite-Flying Fun!

A fun day was had by all, I believe, but I especially had fun and sincerely wish we had the ocean near us. We tried flying a kite since we got home and because of the bluffs/valley the wind was so inconsistent even though it was strong that we couldn't keep it flying. Unlike the ocean, where I think we could have ran for miles and miles and it would have stayed up! Loved it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Fun: Outdoor Projects

Between camping, biking, kayaking, the state parks, both extended families we found time to complete outdoor and indoor projects at home. 

With help from my mom at Easter, Christine added flower gardens to the south side of the house and around the propane tank.  The existing flower bed on the north side of the house received extra plants as well.  It has been a learning experience with our own flowers. I just recently pulled weeds that turned out to be FLOWERS. During the summer heatwave the best looking plant was velvet leaf WEED!  Luckily an informed uncle identified the plant and we pulled it.  Michaela modeled its heights below before it quickly wilted.

After a couple months of flower beds, we edged them bricks found at a garage sale and ones left behind by the previous owners.


We finished the edges off with needed bricks from Menards, and happily only had to redo one edge. Michaela and Danielle are frequent visitors to Menards and prefer the outdoor garden area.

We added pavers to the east side of the garage to provide a somewhat level area to park the pop-up trailer and laid matching pavers as a small patio. The small patio replaced hard dirt that sparsely grew any grass. The other pavers replaced grass that had died when we parked the pop-up in the same location last year. Sod from the local farm has filled in the edges around the pop-up trailer parking spot nicely after a month of watering.

With a bit of sweat a few new tools we finished these projects. A new butterfly flower garden around the electric boxes remains for this fall on the to-do list.

Summer Fun: Indoor Projects

We've been busy camping, biking, kayaking, visiting state parks, spending time with both extended families, and completing outdoor projects this summer....but have also spent time relaxing indoors. 

Christine's been ambitious, painting the entire inside of the house.  This summer she mudded and painted the garage drywall and came up with the $1 canvas idea below.  Her creativity is totally awesome!

Christine helped the girls with craft projects and schooling, where I feel more comfortable with step-by-step instructions.  Below are Origami projects from a couple of days as well as the puzzles the graced the folding table this summer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Whitewater State Park Educational Programs

Whitewater State Park also has an amazing program this year and is offering classes everyday the whole summer on educational topics and we have went to quite a few of them this summer already.  Everyone of us (even the girls) have had a blast at all of them...well I didn't particularly enjoy one of them (only one guess as to which one!) but otherwise it has been an awesome program for us and we totally appreciate having such and active and public friendly state park only 20 minutes away.

So far we have went to the bird banding clinic last year, I think we did a blog of that if you care to see pictures and then this year we also went to an owl program.  This was done at 8pm so it was a late night and unfortunately we didn't take any pictures as it was at night.  I later regreted that we did not take the camera as it was one of the most beautiful nights I have ever seen.  The low-lying river valley was thick with fog and lightning bugs as we walked and called to the owls. It was such a memorable experience for me.

A couple weeks ago we went camping and got to attend two programs, one on rocks where the girls got to paint and bring home their very own pet rocks.  The other one was on water monsters and the girls got to take nets and try to catch things in the swimming area.  We caught a lot of things, including a gigantic crawdad that all the kids in the program enjoyed looking at.

Just this last week we also got to go to a program on snakes and it was very informative, I even caught Michaela repeating back some of the things that she heard during the program.  Though they did happen to say that particular snakes are partial to a couple of the areas in the park that we frequent and I was less than happy to hear about it....ignorance is bliss, people!  At the end of the program both girls got to hold a fox snake around their necks and the girls did awesome!  They were totally brave and I thought I should also be commended on being a foot away from the snake and taking pictures of the girls...ugh! :)