Monday, August 30, 2010

Celery Salad

I needed a salad for dinner and also needed to use up some celery while it was still fresh and lovely, so I mixed some different recipes from the internet together and came up with this.

Celery Salad

2 cups chopped celery
2 small to medium under ripe pears (bartlett are good), diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix and eat :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Homeschooling and Hair

Michael starts kindergarten this year. Here he is with our beloved teacher, Brigette. This is our twelfth year homeschooling with her and she is one of our favorite people in the universe :)

It took half a dozen shots to get the nice picture above because Michael kept making faces like this -

Here are the three kids who will be home with me this year. Heather is in seventh grade and Naomi is fancy free - the only kid not in school this year.

The public school kids started this week, too. This year, Summer is a senior, Rachel is a sophomore, Gwen is in sixth grade and Kelly is starting public school for the first time in third grade. Woohoo Kelly :)

Did you notice Naomi's shorter hair in the picture above? She started her hair cut a couple of months ago and I finally got around to leveling it off. Can you tell I was a little sad to see her long hair go?


I've noticed I left a little dip in the back, so it will be like most of the haircuts I give the kids - a multi day project that finally meets quality control standards after a few days. A few days of more cutting or a few days of learning to ignore the imperfections. Like my dad always said, "The difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is about a week."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Camping Trip!

For our last hurrah before school started, we went camping. On the way up to the mountains, we past these three dead palm trees tied together with...hundreds of colored wires? Does anyone know what this is? Did someone just want to be REALLY sure they didn't fall down? Is it ART? I pondered those deep questions for a while, but soon forgot about them as...

...we found our campsite. Gwen helped Stan set up one of our three tents.

We were right next to the Santa Ana River, but it wasn't much more than a stream at this point, perfect for a wading spot.

There was also a huge log to climb on.

We found this nifty caterpillar. Isn't it pretty?

Summer took some time to relax and read Wodehouse.

Speaking of Summer, she convinced us to bring up some BeanBoozled jelly beans to camp.

Some of us loved the grossness of them.

Some of us weren't sure.

Some of us WERE sure - that we didn't like them!

Here is Summer, watching to see if Stan got Peach or Barf. Which would you want to eat?

We recovered by roasting stuff - hot dogs, hot sausages, marshmallows, Starbursts...a couple of kids even tried roasting grapes!

Rachel was so upset when she burned her marshmallow, instead of roasting it perfectly, that she flung it to the wind. Too bad the wind was blowing in her direction!

The two teenagers took off for a walk. One of them appreciated it when I said goodbye, one of them did not.

One of the fun things about camping for the under thirteen set is getting dirty, but I think this is taking it to the extreme!

On the way home, dusty and smelling like wood smoke, we stopped at a nifty little museum.

Here is Summer examining a collection of cruets in a rainbow of colors.

Lovely and lovely :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How do you... the new template?

If you want to compare, here is the old one...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gwen is Eleven

Happy Birthday Gwen!!!

Can you believe it - while her birthday chocolate pecan pie was in the oven, and just as I was getting ready to cook mahi mahi for her birthday fish tacos - the electricity went out!?!

So, the boys got to work getting the propane stove going...the electricity came back in time to finish the pie... and we had a happy ending :)

The Week of Girl's Camp

While the three oldest girls were gone, we had some friends come to visit. Parrish and Mindy left their children here while they house hunted. They have really great kids. My four youngest were glad to have friends to play with.

Here is the tower of blocks Kylie and Kelly made and wanted me to take a picture of.

Another day, we took off to the mountains to find some water to splash around in.

It was VERY cold...

...but everyone still got their feet wet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


A monstrous raccoon killed the last two of our original five chickens.

We are all sad.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There's more than baby lizards back there!

A rat has moved into our orange tree.

Stan will put poison out and keep the machete handy.

I guess that is why we have a machete.

I saw all the peels at the bottom of the tree and vaguely wondered how the kids managed to eat oranges out of the peel so cleanly, but I think you have to have a long twitchy snout to eat oranges like that.

See what I mean...a very hungry rat!

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Worst Cookies I've Ever Made

Heather wanted oatmeal cookies to take to camp and I thought I'd try a new recipe. I found one in a cook book I bought at the library book sale, Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything".

I was skeptical when I saw milk in the ingredients because I am not a big fan of cakey cookies, but the title of the cookbook is so confident, I decided to trust him.

Oh well, live and learn.

Even packed with craisins and butterscotch chips, then slightly undercooked, they were dry as bones. Ugh!

So, I baked half the batch and have a blob of cookie dough in the fridge that I am not willing to toss because of the aforementioned craisins and chips, so what is a girl to do? I think I'll try to redeem them with icing and take them to the Ward FHE treat potluck next Monday!

There you go, just another benefit to reading my blog. If you are going to the Ward FHE, you now know to avoid my cookies!

p.s. If you have a recipe you like from Mark's book, please leave it in the comments, so I know what is worth trying next :)


What I didn't tell you about sailing class was that, on the last day, Gwen got hit in the head with a boom! It hurt, but she wasn't really worried until she noticed the blood running down her face. They suggested that she go home, but she was a trooper and asked to stay for the rest of the class.

We have baby lizards in the backyard. I like the blue on their necks :)

Our home teacher gave Michael another computer to disassemble. He is sharing it with his sisters.

Last week, we went back to the park where the girl's took their sailing class to feed the ducks again. Everyone was looking forward to it except Summer and Rachel, but they had fun once I let them use the camera. Here are my favorite photos they took.

Finally, just for fun...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

T-shirt Blankets

Check out my friend Krista's blankets - what a great gift!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sailing Class

Rachel, Heather and Gwen took a sailing class at a local park this past week. Each day when I dropped them off, the younger kids would want to feed the ducks, so on the last day of class, we brought some chicken feed and got there early.

Gwen even had a duck eating out of her hand :)

The students all helped to set up the boats each day.

It was lovely to see all the boats out at once.

On the first four days of class, the sailors went out in pairs, but on the last day they each took their own boat out. Heather and Gwen liked the freedom of sailing by themselves, but Rachel missed having someone to chat with out on the water.

This is how their instructor was able to give them direction while they were sailing - in a kayak.

Since they had eight boats and sixteen students, half the class stayed behind on Friday and learned more while they waited for their turn to sail.

I had fun with the three youngest while I waited for a chance to take pictures of each of my girls in a boat.

Michael found a little freshwater clam that he wanted to keep for a pet (not!).

We saw a cormorant.

We were near a big gaggle of geese. Naomi decided it was prudent to sit up on a nearby picnic table.

Doesn't that look fun?