Friday, August 31, 2012

Mount Scott

This is what they call a mountain in Oklahoma.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Fragments (and a Giveaway)

It's hard to believe it's already the last week of August. Where has the summer gone? I know... summer's not officially over till September 20, and I try not to start thinking fall until then because our summers are just so short anyway. But it is back-to-school time and that makes it seems like summer is over.

The last few weeks have been busy and our calendar is already filling up two months out. One of my blogging friends (Keetha @ The Eclectic Company) regularly posts Friday Fragments. I keep saying I'm going to start doing that, but somehow I don't get even that much done when Friday comes around. So today is my Fragment post to cover the last week or two.

Like I mentioned earlier in the month, this is my busy season as a Sonlight advisor, so my days have been filled with... well, advisin'! Evenings and weekends have been filled with a wide variety of family activities and responsibilities.

One Saturday we attended an outdoor graduation on the lake pictured above. Yes, he was homeschooled. Which is why his graduation could be in August. On the lake. Followed by a yummy cookout and volleyball. Why not?

We met friends at the park for a picnic that Sunday evening. They have a cute toddler who was fascinated by the ducks. The girls enjoyed following him around making sure he didn't get into trouble while the adults visited.

The next week was the Fair. We went on Thursday evening as a family and just walked around looking at exhibits and visiting with friends. Laura had entered some of her photography. We watched a couple of shows-- a comedian and the sheriff's department demonstrating their K-9 dogs. We love watching the dogs work. The girls went back to the Fair the next day with friends and got in on the rodeo. One evening was enough for me.

Last Saturday Laura and I attended the wedding of one her friends. I have a hard time realizing that I have a daughter who is old enough to get married... but this is the first of her friends to take that step, and the bride is younger than Laura! It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony. I loved that the bridemaids' dresses were the exact shade as the sky that day.

Lyle picked me up from the wedding and we headed into town to trade the truck. We were needing something about the same size as the pick-up that would carry more passengers (so we can invite friends to go with us on day trips or road trips) and still tow the trailer. He had picked out a Ford Excursion and done all the negotiating online and over the phone, so all we had to do was sign the papers and swap rigs. That was the easiest car-buying transaction I ever participated in. I think I'll make that a requirement for all future purchases!
It seats 8, which seems huge, but the girls are already making plans for road trips. "How 'bout the Buffalo Round-Up in Montana in October? We could get 4 friends to go with us!" In the meantime, they each get a row of seats to themselves which they think is super cool. As you might have suspected, it is indeed a gas hog, so we won't be driving it much unless we need to tow the travel trailer or shuttle more than 5 passengers. Hopefully we can use it to be a blessing to others.

On Sunday we were invited out for dinner by some new friends at church. We didn't really know them but we had heard about each other, and we welcomed the chance to get acquainted. It is always encouraging to make new friends and feel welcome at a new church.

And now Labor Day weekend is upon us. I'm heading off into the wild blue yonder early Friday morning to meet my mother in Oklahoma City that afternoon. We're going to a family reunion this weekend in the tiny little town she grew up in. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with relatives-- close and distant --and hopefully gathering some research material for my novel. I also hope to do some mini blog posts this weekend like I did the weekend we went to the coast, mostly for the benefit of my family who will be staying home-- but also for friends like Keetha and Denise who like to follow along!

Next week? I plan to start school with Becky. And then the fall activities will start. But I'll save that list for another day.

Whew! Still with me? Good!

I have a give-away to announce! In celebration of back-to-school time, I am giving away a copy of Sonlight Cooks. This is a cookbook I compiled for Sonlight with lots of great family recipes in addition to fun recipes to tie in with history and geography. Just perfect for using along with Sonlight Curriculum, though it can certainly stand alone and be used by anyone whether you are homeschooling or not.

Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win. (U.S. addresses only, please.) I will announce the winner September 5.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mountain Sunset

Yesterday afternoon:
And so... yesterday evening...
 We found a spot along the road with a good view of the western sky...
 The sun was beginning to go down...
 Lyle gets tired of me taking his picture all the time... so let's try a self-portrait of the two of us together...
Um... yeah... let's try that again....
 This time I cut off the top of Lyle's head. Makes him look bald, he said.
 Okay, that's better.
 And Lyle thinks that's enough of that.
I know! Let's take a silhouette shot of our shadows. That's kinda romantic looking, isn't it?

Whoops! We're about the miss the sunset!
I officially declare this the perfect way to unwind after a stressful work week.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Campmeeting

In case you ever wondered when the busy season was for homeschool curriculum companies (such as Sonlight), well, that would be the middle of August. As in, right now. Which is why I'm just now finding time to post about our trip to church camp last weekend.

Early in the year we had made plans to attend the family camp affiliated with the church my brother attends in Nampa. Campmeeting was such a huge part our lives when Lyle and I were growing up, and we want our kids to have similar opportunities for Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.

The campground is in the mountains in southern Idaho, about 6-7 hours from here. There is no north-south Interstate in Idaho. Highway 95 is two-lane most of the way down, but it is a lovely, scenic drive. We left early Thursday morning. The first service wasn't until that evening, so we took our time and just enjoyed the trip.

We arrived mid-afternoon and got the trailer set up. We discovered the "RV Park" part of the campground was a hike of about 1/3 mile to the conference center where the main activities (meals and services) were to take place. The schedule included two meals and two services a day, so we decided we could get by with just making the hike twice a day. Not that we're lazy or anything.
The conference center offered a beautiful setting for fellowship and renewal, with large windows and views of the mountains all around. The decor was distinctively "western" with several heads of various game animals mounted high on the wall-- several elk, a couple of antelope, a caribou, and a moose, among others. It was a little disconcerting to have them staring down at us during the services. But we got used to it. Kinda.

The services were wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed the music ministry of Keith and Sharon Waggoner, and appreciated the excellent teaching on drawing near to God and being "deep people" by Dr. Mike Avery. I had been praying that God would meet with us in the services and renew our hearts and minds. He is so faithful to do that when our hearts are open to Him, isn't He?

Afternoons were meant for family activities. We haven't really connected with many of the families who attend this camp since we live so far away, so that made it a little awkward to get involved in the scheduled activities. It's hard to go up to a group of people who all know each other and asked to be included, ya know? So, we spent a lot of time together, just the four of us. We relaxed on the deck with our electronic gadgets, people-watching, chit-chatting and enjoying the view.

Camp was over Sunday after lunch. We spent the rest of the day traveling home, grateful for the time of spiritual renewal.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trip Tallies

If you can't tell from my series of mobile posts on Saturday and Sunday, Lyle and I had a wonderful time on our little weekend getaway, and we packed a whole lotta sight-seeing into those two days. 

The weather was glorious. When we got up early Saturday morning Lyle told me there was a weather advisory for Tillamook (our destination that day). I immediately thought of a tsunami or something catastrophic like that. "It's a Heat Advisory," he said, "s'posed to get up to the high 80s or low 90s." I thought he was kidding. Seriously? Even if it's unusual to be that warm on the coast why does that warrant a Heat Advisory? 

Sure enough, it was that warm when we got there about 4:00. We were a little concerned because our room didn't seem to have air conditioning. After a half hour or so we stepped outside to head to the beach, and the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees! It was breezy and cool on the beach. I wore my sweater, and Lyle was kinda glad we had bought a hoody at the cheese factory earlier, because he hadn't taken a jacket along.

On Sunday afternoon we stopped for a short hike in Mount Rainier National Park. It was a crystal clear day with a fantastic view of the Mountain. Other times we've been there the Mountain has been clouded in. It was plenty warm, too. There was still a good bit of snow on the ground (yes, in August!) but it was melting fast.

In addition to snapping photos I kept a tally list in a little notebook as we went along. It's important to count random things, you know. I'm not sure why... but it is. I guess. Anyway, it's kinda fun. Here are my weekend tallies:
  • Miles traveled -- 1,012
  • Major mountains visible on our route -- 3 
  • Detours -- 2
  • Tunnels -- 3
  • Scenic overlooks stopped at -- 4
  • Hikes -- 2 
  • Campgrounds driven through -- 7
  • People cavorting in the rivers and streams -- 46 bajillion (suprisingly, the ocean beach wasn't terribly crowded when we were there)
  • Episodes of Car Talk listened to via podcast -- 3
  • Episodes of Unshackled listened to via podcast -- 1
  • Sermons listened to on CD -- 2
  • Vehicles in Army convoy we passed -- 14
  • Deer seen on road -- 3 live, 1 dead
  • Ford trucks with mirrors like Lyle wants -- 5
  • Washcloths crocheted -- 10


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mount Rainier

Short hike in the National Park. Still snow on the ground.

Picnic Lunch

Tillamook cheese, crackers, smoked salmon. Mmmm...

Mount Adams

Another beautiful day for driving.

Oregon Coast

Not much visibility this morning.

Foggy Morning

The harbor view from our motel room. Garabaldi, Oregon.

Pacific Sunset

The end of a perfect day.
(for some reason it wouldn't post last night)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hydrangea Ranch

Seriously?
Wow!

Tillamook Cheese Factory

They have ice cream, too!

Tillamook State Forest

Forest road in Oregon.

Multnomah Falls

What? You were expecting a picture? Well, so was I!
Sadly, the parking lot was full, with cars lined up waiting for someone else to leave. So we went on down the road.
It's all part of the adventure.

Mt. Hood

It's a beautiful day for driving.

Columbia River

...with Mount Hood in the distance (if you squint just right).

Coffee Break

In Ritzville.

A Two-Day Adventure

A few weeks ago I was trying to think of what to get Lyle for his birthday. Anything he really needs or wants (that I could afford) he usually buys for himself. He's been working way too hard lately, so I thought of a weekend getaway instead of a gift. First, I was trying to think of somewhere nearby... I mean, we do live in a resort area, so it wouldn't be hard to find a cozy little bed-and-breakfast or something. But no, he would actually rather drive to relax, than sit around doing nothing. So I started thinking further afield. How far could we go in one day, and then turn around and come home the next day? Well, the coast, of course!

I planned a route in my mind to head down to the Columbia River Gorge, over to Portland, and then visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I picked out a cute little coastal motel for the night, and then decided to let him plan an alternate route home.

Before I made reservations, I thought I better check with him to make sure he would enjoy it. His immediate response: "Sounds good to me!"

Shortly after that he sent me the above map. So that's our itinerary for this weekend. I don't know where we'll be when, but it's sure to be an adventure. I think I've figured out how to blog from my phone, so I'm going to try doing mini-posts along the way.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Camping Adventures

Last weekend we went camping for the second time this summer. We intended to go to Priest Lake. Actually, we did go there, but all the campgrounds were full, so we drove across the state into Montana and ended up at Yaak River again. (Granted, the state is only 90 miles across the panhandle, but it seemed like a long way when we thought were There, and had to go Someplace Else.)

I spent much of the weekend doing this:
With this close at hand:
And actually got up the energy to do this a few times:
 It was a relaxing weekend.

I was buzzing around the campsite Sunday morning taking pictures while Lyle was cooking breakfast. After I snapped a couple pictures of the fire he asked, "Are you gonna blog about the way I cook eggs?"

"Why, I hadn't thought of that! But what a good idea. Sure! Hold out your 'grabbers' so I can get a good shot of them."

He thinks I'm nuts, of course, but my blogging amuses him, so he obliged:
 See? Here's how he cooks breakfast. First, the bacon in the skillet (with the toast in a grill basket on the side), using tongs from his grill utensil set.
 Then, he removes the bacon and drains most of the drippings out of the skillet before he scrambles the eggs, using his "grabbers" to stir with!! (That's what he calls the tongs: grabbers.)
For some reason, that strikes me funny. I don't know why.

Just for the fun of it I kept tallies while we were camping. One of my blogging buddies, Keetha @ The Eclectic Company, did that on her recent vacation, and I thought it was so fun, I decided to start the tradition in our family.

So, the tallies for last weekend include:

  • Campgrounds that we had to pass up because they were full -- 7
  • Deer we saw along the road -- 2 live, 1 dead
  • Snakes the kids saw -- 1 live, 1 dead
  • Snakes I saw -- 0 (Thank goodness!)
  • Squirrels in our campsite -- 2
  • Meals cooked over the fire -- 3
  • Hands of Skip-Bo played -- 2
  • Laps around the loop on my bike -- 6 (but not all at once)
  • Books read -- 3
  • Crochet projects completed -- 1 tote bag, 2 washcloths


Celebrating

Happy Birthday
to my Favorite Man!
I've got a fun expedition for us planned in celebration this weekend. If I can get the Instagram app on my phone to talk nicely with Facebook, I am hoping to post little updates along the way. Wonder if there's a way to make it post directly to my blog? I betcha there is. Maybe I'm smart enough to figure it out.  But then again, maybe not. We'll see.

Speaking of the Man, his injured finger is healing nicely. We're hoping the nail ends up closer to normal length than this eventually. And it may.
But if it doesn't, we are still very grateful that it wasn't worse, and that he didn't lose the whole end of his finger.

Love that man!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Anchovies

Laura has a wacky sense of humor. I can't imagine where she gets it.

One day last week when I was at the print shop she called me from home. "Mom, when you were at the grocery store earlier, did you happen to get... anchovies?"

Say what? I had never bought, or even tasted, anchovies before in my life. I had tasted caviar, once, many years ago. Anchovies, never.

"Um. Yeah. Of course. I make sure we're always stocked up on anchovies," I told her, wondering what she really wanted.

She giggled and said, "I was really wondering about jalepenos. I want to make a dip and it calls for jalepenos. I don't think we have any."

I was planning to stop at the store anyway, so I told her I would add jalepenos to my list. Lyle was with me, so I repeated the conversation to him. "I've always wondered what anchovies taste like. If they aren't too expensive I think I'll get some just for a joke... since she asked for them!"

Turns out they were $1.78 for this little tin, which is not exactly tuna-fish price, but still cheap enough to try something new and get a laugh out of the deal.
I gathered up the rest of my groceries, and as I was checking out the cashier asked what I was planning to make. I tried to explain that my daughter had asked for the anchovies, but I was really getting them for a joke. She looked at me like I was crazy. "Oh, she's going to make something with them?" she kinda mumbled, and then didn't make eye contact with me any more. I'm sure she thought I belonged in the loony bin or something.

I carried the groceries out to the car, and gleefully showed my pretty little box to Lyle. He doesn't care for any kind of fish in any way, shape, or form, so there was no way he planned to try them. He just had one question for me.

"Did you get the jalepenos?"

Um.

I couldn't believe it. I had totally forgotten the jalepenos. And they were on my list.

When I got home and presented Laura with the tin of anchovies, she looked a little startled.

"You do know that was a joke, right?" she asked. I can't figure out why everyone thought I was crazy.

So I told her the story of why I decided to buy them. Once she understood she thought it was pretty funny. And she was curious to taste the anchovies, too.

We pulled the top off the little tin to find them floating grotesquely in olive oil. Can't say they looked all that appetizing. At least it wasn't fish oil.
I drained the oil off, and patted one of the little fillets dry with a paper towel, then popped a small piece in my mouth.

Salt.

That's pretty much all I tasted. Just super salty, and not all that fishy.

I had the rest later on crackers with cream cheese. It wasn't nasty, but it was way too salty to be much of a delicacy.

That may come from buying the cheap brand, though. I don't know.

Have you ever tried anchovies? What is your opinion?