Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smelly Towel - review

"Smelly Towel" sounds like a product that would... well... stink, doesn't it? Actually, it's the opposite. It's meant to make your towels smell fresh and clean. I hadn't noticed that my towels were particularly smelly. I mean I do wash them regularly! But when I was offered a free bottle for review as a member of MamaBzz, my daughter thought we ought to try it. The bottle we received sells for $16.99 and it didn't seem very big to me for that price at first. I opened the bottle to see what it was like. It is a fine powder with a pleasant citrusy scent, and the label said to use one tablespoon for a load of towels instead of detergent. I realized then that the one bottle would go a lot further than I thought! So I tried it in the laundry. One tablespoon full (measured in the cap per the directions) with NO detergent. The towels didn't come out smelling citrusy like the product. Instead they just smelled good and clean! Like they had been dried in the sunshine on a clothesline. I was impressed!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Camping on the St. Joe

Turns out, as I've recently discovered, if you keep a man in town over the weekend, he's gonna go in to work, at least a little while. So if the weather forecast is promising and the man says, "Wanna go camping?" I say, "Let's go!"
This past weekend we stayed at a Forest Service campground along the beautiful St. Joe River. This late in the season, the campgrounds are pretty quiet... perfect for relaxing.
Lyle's definition of relaxing always involves a drive, and he especially loves twisty mountain roads. If I can manage to avoid getting carsick (and I've learned some tricks about that over the years), I enjoy the scenery!
The St. Joe is so clear we could see the rocks on the bottom from even this far above it!
Our sweet Cookie loves to participate in all our adventures.
We think that if the air currents were just right, it's possible that our truck could fly!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Schleich - review

Last year at Christmas-time my parents hit upon the perfect gift for my animal-loving daughter. They carefully selected several animal figurines from their local farm store and wrapped them up individually for her, then put them all in a larger gift box. Becky had so much fun unwrapping and discovering each animal-- which have provided many hours of imaginative play since. My parents were so impressed with the quality of the animals that they bought one for several of the other grandchildren as stocking stuffers. The other grandchildren, who aren't quite as into animals as Becky is, absolutely loved them as well! So "Grammy" got a catalog which each of the grandchildren has pored over and marked with their favorites. Now Grammy has an on-going wishlist for several special occasions to come!

Needless to say, we were very excited to be selected to review the Schleich brand for the TOS Crew. I hadn't told Becky ahead of time that we would be getting a package, but when it came she immediately recognized the brand-name on the packing tape. Mean mom that I am, I drew out the suspense awhile longer, telling her that package was for me, and she couldn't open it! After a few minutes, I cut the tape and drew out the animals one-by-one and gave them to her. I had wondered if we would get any duplicates to what she already had, but we didn't.
We received an okapi (the funny-looking dude in the back with the long ears), a gnu and gnu calf (looks a little like a skinny buffalo), a donkey, an Asian elephant calf, a Swabian-Hall piglet, a Dartmoor pony, and a Przewalski's horse.
Becky was especially thrilled to re-unite the new donkey with it's baby, which she already had in her collection.

Included in the box was a catalog of all the animals available. Becky had an older catalog that I picked up several years ago, but she had literally worn it out from paging it through it so many times-- as in, it was falling apart! She's put in plenty of time with the new catalog already, and can tell you exactly which animals she owns and which ones she would like next.
I didn't take the time to look them all up, but this is a picture of her complete collection, as of now. Of course, her birthday is coming up... so she's hoping to add to it. We'll just have to see!

I have been impressed with how realistic and durable the animals are. Great as toys or collectible figurines, either one. The only thing I don't like is that the scale is not the same for all them. (See how the German Shepherd in the middle of the picture is bigger than the baby elephant?) However, that does not bother my daughter at all.

Schleich animals are available at local retail stores. Around here I've seen them at Target, Fred Meyer, and D and B Farm Supply. Prices range from $2-3 for the smallest animals to $15 or so for the larger ones. I have also seen various sets available as well. There is a store locator on the Schleich website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mr. Moose Goes to Town

We only live about 2 miles from the print shop where Lyle works, so he usually comes home for lunch. Today as we were finishing lunch, his cell phone rang. That's not unusual either, as his co-workers often have questions that need immediate answers. But he wasn't on the phone long this time. He hung up and told us, "Loren says there's a bull moose over by city hall, down the street from the print shop."

We immediately sprang up and tore out to the truck, barefoot girls, dog, and all. Even though it was only 2 miles we were afraid the moose would be long gone by the time we got there.
He wasn't. He was just strolling around the neighborhood... inspecting objects in people's back yards... grazing on whatever looked appealing... wrestling with small trees... and blithely ignoring the paparazzi!
He was happy to find a pear tree just loaded with juicy ripe pears. He helped himself to several within easy reach on his side of the fence...
 
...before wandering off to visit other neighbors in the vicinity. 

We thought it would be fun to just follow him around town the rest of the afternoon, but as we had "promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep..." we reluctantly bid him farewell and went about our business. 

We wonder how long it will be before he finds his way back across the bridge over the river to the forest where he lives? 

We love living in the Northwest!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mother!

Recently I came across this sweet picture of my mother and her older sister celebrating their first and second birthdays respectively. Aunt Donnie's birthday is earlier in September and Mother's is today, so they were just over a year apart in age. Mother says they always celebrated their birthdays together growing up. They went out to lunch to celebrate this year. I wonder if anyone made them tiny cakes?

What's interesting is that 10 years ago, one of my sisters had a baby boy on Mother's birthday. (Happy Birthday, Jamie!) The next year, my other sister had twins on Aunt Donnie's birthday. (A belated Happy Birthday to Aunt Donnie, and Elizabeth and Garrett, too!) September is the most populated month for birthdays in our family.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Golden Days

Late summer in north Idaho can feel like early fall-- and after a cool and damp weekend we enjoyed sunny, warm temps on Monday. That evening my daughter's senior class gathered at the lake for a back-to-school-for-the-last-time cookout.
Homeschooled kids don't see their "classmates" every day at school, so we are planning several social events throughout the year to celebrate this achievement in our lives, and to create special memories of "Senior Year."
As we enjoyed the amazing sunset over the lake, and the fellowship around the campfire, I was reminded again why Laura Ingalls Wilder called these the "Happy Golden Years." The young people are just on the brink of adulthood and are so excited about all the possibilities available to them.
On the flipside it's a bittersweet time for the parents. We've done our job as well as we knew how, and now it's time to begin to let go.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pink

One of my recent projects was crocheting this soft pink throw for my sister-in-law who was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer.
It took me awhile to find just the right yarn. I wanted something soft and lightweight, and I wanted pink, but not "baby" pink. (There are lots of choices for baby pink, but not so many for rose.) This was actually called "salmon" but I think of salmon as more peachy than this. Once I could think past the label, I decided it was just the color I wanted after all.
The pattern was fun to work up, with the pineapple edging. I thought it turned out very lacy and feminine.

I had some yarn left over, so I whipped up a little pair of slippers to match.
I loved being able to stitch and pray at the same time... and if you happen to think of my sister-in-law, please join me in praying for her recovery.

Visit the Trendy Treehouse for more Creative Share Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Books Read in July and August

I failed to get my reading list for July posted earlier... so continuing with the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, here is my reading list for July and August:

63. Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon
64. The Seeker by Ann H. Gabhart
65. Katy's Debate by Kim Vogel Sawyer
66. Premiere by Melody Carlson
67. Amish Proverbs by Suzanne Woods Fisher
68. Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren
69. Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss
70. Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer
71. Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers
72. Foundlings by Matthew Christian Harding
73. After the Flood by Bill Cooper
74. So Over It by Stephanie Morrill
75. Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long
76. For Time and Eternity by Allison Pittman
77. Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Camping Trip

We enjoyed spending the holiday weekend as a family at one of our favorite Forest Service campgrounds "up the river." It was relaxing to get away for a few days and just sit and watch the squirrels and chipmunks who put on quite a show for us! We also had fun hiking, biking, reading, talking, driving the back roads, and playing in the river. Just making memories...

Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Geocaching Adventure

Our family adventure this past weekend was a geocaching day trip to northeastern Washington. We logged two microcaches, two regular caches, and one did-not-find.

The microcaches were pretty much of the cache-and-dash variety along the side of the road. We don't usually bother with those, as our objective in going geocaching is to find fun out-of-the-way places and spend time together as a family, not just log caches for the sake of the numbers. However, we were testing out the geocaching app for Lyle's new phone, and those were good ones to try it on.

Then we headed for one that was supposed to be up on a mountain. The problem was, all the roads leading up the mountain seemed to be closed. We drove all the way around the mountain looking for a way in before we finally had to give up on that one.

Our next destination was a small lake with a cross-country ski trail around it.
The cache was located near the warming cabin about half-way around the lake. The cabin was open to the public and had a wood stove, benches, and a table inside. It was well-stocked with firewood and kindling. There was a picnic table and fire-ring outside, and an out-house nearby. It looked like a great place to spend a snowy winter day if one enjoyed cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing. Kinda makes me want to take it up!
 We saw signs of beaver activity around the lake as we were hunting for the cache.
Our last cache of the day was one Lyle wanted to try, as the description said, "high clearance vehicles only." He can't resist a challenge like that! And I have to say, with a skilled driver, the trip up the hairy road was worth it when we got to the top and had a chance to enjoy the view.
The golden grasses reminded us that summer is almost over and soon we won't have long, warm days to "play" outside.
Maybe we should take up winter sports after all!