in the kitchen

Lately, this is what we’ve been making in the kitchen.

:: I am glad I’ve been (sort of) keeping up with a weekly menu.

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:: I made a few batches of roasted tomato sauce base, based on this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. DSC_0017 copy

:: Made the apple and pumpkin galette after reading and seeing Amanda’s photos of her individual pies.  We liked it.  I think we’ll have to try them again. DSC_0029 copy DSC_0031 copy

:: I’ve been making bread more often.  it is so nice to have the oven on when the days are cooler, and the soups have started to appear more often on the table. DSC_0204 copy DSC_0206 copy

:: Though not on the food stall in the Farmer’s Market, I had to bring these fall colors to brighten the rooms at home. DSC_0217 copy

:: Thank goodness for menus already planned. Once I have dinner figured out for the week, it makes our days, and week, go so much smoothly.DSC_0215 copy

:: The garden is slowly slowing down.  Mark has been cleaning the plants, and picking the last of our produce.  It was such a rich year.  Thank you gardeners for all your hard work in making it all happenDSC_0011 copy DSC_0001 copy DSC_0014 copy DSC_0218 copy DSC_0008 copy DSC_0220 copy

:: After our trip to Hood River and seeing all there is out there, we brought some home and have been enjoying them for days and days. DSC_0003 copy DSC_0002 copy

Such a variety, it’s fun to try them all.

leaves in October

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How I love autumn.

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Our dogwood, beautiful as always.

DSC_0003 copy DSC_0004 copy DSC_0005 copy The leaves, slowly turning. How lucky I feel to be able to witness this.  Each delicate leaf, day by day, turning from green, to yellow, orange with beautiful reds.

DSC_0006 copy An now, more to bare branches. Slowly the colors are turning more brown.

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Thank you.

last few weeks…

This month has gone by so quickly.  Fall always does.  It is busy, with lots of cleaning outside, the streets, the garden, the yard, and inside too getting ready for the time spent indoors.  And there is all the making happening, getting ready for craft fairs coming up quicker than I am ready for.  And then there’s the beautiful autumn days, that I just want to savor and never forget.  But I can remember that this month…

… we went to see a play at the local children’s theater called The Sun Serpent. It was an original play based on historic facts. I found it interesting, beautiful performed with three actors, sad, historic, and done in a beautiful and creative way.  My kids gave it an OK review because it seemed a little slow at times and a sad story.

… we went on our bikes downtown to the play (above), and it felt good to get there, though further than our normal bike rides, but with a time and responsibility to get us there on time.  On a beautiful just perfect day.

… have enjoyed collecting acorns and acorn caps and seeing them all over the house and in some crafts.

… have enjoyed all the oranges and fall things around the house.  Some from the garden and some from the farm.

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… we rode the new (Orange) train lane that opened a month ago and still hadn’t used it.

… and on the same day, all of this, we rode our bike on the new bridge, the Tilikum Crossing, that we hadn’t crossed either.  I wish I would have had my camera… it was a sunny, perfect temperature, clear, wonderfully fallish day.

… had to bring some fall colors from the last day at the Farmer’s Market.

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… celebrated Lucas’s birthday-month with friends.

… ate outside as many meals as we could.

… have seen the kids play with friends outside even on the day that rained the most since… forever it seems like.  We all seem to be true Oregonians, and not be bothered by the rain, pour coming down on us.  But I’d say the kids more than me.

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And of course a little hot chocolate to with the rain. DSC_0224 copy

… cleaned out the vents but haven’t started our heater yet.  We’ll see if we can make it to November. Just few more days!

… have been enjoying many Lego creations being brought to the table and shown around.

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… have enjoyed making bread and soups.  More on the kitchen happenings coming up.

… watched this video of Valdivia, a beautiful city in Chile.

… and also found this photo that reminds me of the one “chancho” (pig) we had at my house growing up, to do the shining after the wax was put on the wooden floors.  How funny.  I haven’t thought of this “cleaning equipment” in a very long time.  Love it!

el chancho

Hope you have a peaceful end of October.

a is for astronaut

Maybe I should have been an astronaut because of all the beauty you can see from up there.  But not that I could manage or handle being up there, in a closed space.  Oh no… I don’t think I’d do well up there.  But I can’t get enough of all these amazing images shared with us, down here, below.

Please watch this video of the first Italian female astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti.

There is also this video of a tour of the ISS.

And of course, if you want 5 more minutes, here’s the video when Suni Williams (who made the other tour video) leaves the ISS to go back to Earth.  It just seems so unreal, we (humans) can be filming, moving, living up there in space.  It is so foreign to me that always, always amazes me of all the research and happenings in technology.

Or if you have 18 more minutes watch this one of the actual landing.

Amazing.  And more photos taken and shared by Scott Kelly from the International Space Station these past few weeks.

New Zealand by Scott Kelly ISS
New Zealand by Scott Kelly from ISS, 2015.
The Sun by Scott Kelly ISS October 2015
The Sun. Photo taken by Scott Kelly from ISS.

I am waiting his return to Earth next year and hoping for a coffee table book with all of his amazing images.

London + France from ISS Scott Kelly
London and France. Photo taken by Scott Kelly from the ISS, October 2015.

in search of orange

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We took HWY 35 to go around Mt. Hood, on our way to Hood River last weekend.  And because we were looking for autumn, we also wanted to taste it too.  Oh… all the orchards!  I love this drive. A long time ago, when Siena was 2 and 3, we got to live in Mt. Hood during the summer.  We drove this route twice a week, for 8 weeks, two summers in a row.  It was a real treat.  I think it is my favorite drive.  Coming from Mt. Hood, from Cooper Spur, towards Parkdale and Hood River.  Just amazing views of the mountains in Washington.  Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier on a clear day and Mt. Hood behind us.  All the trees, fruits, farms, homes.

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So this time, in search for pumpkins, we went to three different farms.  Because you can never have enough of farms, right? The flowers, the apples, pears, dirt. DSC_0111 copy DSC_0112 copy DSC_0113 copy DSC_0114 copy DSC_0115 copy DSC_0125 copy Our first stop Mt. View Orchards.

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Look at the apples…. but please also do look at the rain!  It felt so good.

DSC_0124 copyDSC_0119 copy DSC_0121 copy DSC_0122 copy And yes! All the apples.  We got to taste them all before buying.

DSC_0126 copy DSC_0133 copy DSC_0132 copy DSC_0129 copy DSC_0131 copySunflowers so big!

DSC_0130 copy DSC_0142 copyWe bought one to plant the seeds at home next year.

DSC_0135 copy DSC_0134 copy DSC_0127 copy DSC_0128 copy DSC_0138 copy DSC_0137 copy DSC_0145 copy The red. So intense and bright in such a cloudy, gray day.

DSC_0146 copy DSC_0147 copy DSC_0141 copy DSC_0140 copy DSC_0149 copy DSC_0151 copy We loaded our car with 7 kinds of apples a few pears.

DSC_0152 copyAnd apple cider, that we couldn’t wait to taste it.

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Then onto our next farm, Rasmussen Farms, in search for orange.  Pumpkins.  But if I would have read their website it says they are retiring from farming, and the farm is listed for sale.  We found that out when we arrived at the farm.  That was the pumpkin patch we went to last year, when we went to Hood River last fall.

So, from our drive to go find the farm, we drove one more time by this gorgeous home!  I remembered it from years ago when we had stopped first, and then again last fall.  And now, a picture was a must.  I love this home.  DSC_0158 copy

Including the dog in the from lawn.  DSC_0161 copy

So, from here we went to Drapers Girls Country Farm. (No pictures taken, nor pumpkins found.)  Then to our last stop.  Packer Orchards and Bakery (Hood River County Fruit Loop #10 if you are looking at that map or following that tour.)

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We founds lots of apples, at 89 cents a pound, but we were filled from our first stop that were lucky to get at 75 cents a pound!

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But look at this spread… spreads! Two tables put together filled with all different kinds of jams and jellies. Oh my!

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Every kind was different.  From peach, apple, strawberries, huckleberries… so many kinds! I think 10 feet of spreads. DSC_0169 copy DSC_0171 copy DSC_0182 copy

And then some other yummy foods.

DSC_0180 copy DSC_0173 copy And check out this Huckleberry Pie Filling… haven’t tried that yet!

DSC_0190 copy But Huckleberry Jalapeño… I think I’ll have to make that next year.  It was so good.

DSC_0191 copy DSC_0192 copy Yes, we spent lots of time in this display.

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And because we wanted to have a better life, we followed their suggestion. DSC_0195 copy Not a cookie, but a pumpkin cinnamon roll.  Wow.. it was good.  But next time I think I’ll take it warm and with a cup of chai.

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I think this is the first time the kids have had a caramel apple. This was the place to do it, for sure!

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And well?  Our search for pumpkins ended here.   They had pumpkins bought from another farm, placed them on the side of their building.  Not a real pumpkin patch as we had hoped.  So we got some other kinds of orange, still beautiful and fun gourds and a car filled with apples.  We found autumn and brought some home with us.

let the swim season begin

DSC_0061 copyCamera, snacks, and swimsuits packed.  The first swim meet of the season.

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Warming up.  Legs, arms, kicks, butterfly, backstroke… everyone at once, all together at their own speed but truing to keep up, to warm up, to be ready for their own.

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I like seeing the excitement, the energy of everyone. The kids the coaches, the parents.

DSC_0320 copy DSC_0344 copy DSC_0356 copy DSC_0360 copy DSC_0364 copy DSC_0366 copy DSC_0369 copy DSC_0370 copy DSC_0376 copy Eight laps.  200 meter IM.

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First individual race. 100 Freestyle. A second place in her heat with 100th of a second difference, and finishing in just over a minute.  Now, a new goal for this girl of ours.  She has it in her mind now, I know she has it in her.

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We watch from the bleachers but get right in her lane when she swims, to cheer her on. We wave and smile from the other end until she’s ready.  We are there for her.

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Smiling as always.  Water is where she feels the best.  “Chlorine is her perfume”, as a t-shirt reads, and we know that’s true.

DSC_0401 copy DSC_0405 copy DSC_0416 copyBack and forth, back and forth.  Eight times again.  She’s so strong.

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This time, her hardest stroke.  200 meters of breaststroke, something she’s never done before.  Not even half of that.  But at the end, she felt so good for being there and now with a new time to beat the next time.

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One more turn, one more reach, one more touch.  And just like that she did that morning what she loves the best.  And we were so lucky to be there with her.

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Simple Machines : Screws

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We are reading and doing the activities from this book that came with the Simple Machines Discovery Kit from our library.  We’ve used another book of the same series before, and we really liked it.

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This one is fun too.  It divides the studies in the simple machines, and we are reading chapter by chapter and doing the projects that look more fun.

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When we got to the chapter in screws I thought I’d skip it, thinking I wasn’t sure I wanted to read 5-6 pages about screws and its history.  But the pages make it look pretty simple and with fun facts so I decided to go ahead and read a little.  And I am so glad we did.

It mentioned this American artist, Andrew Myers who does portraits using screws.

Taken this photo of Andrew Meyers work from this website.
Taken this photo of Andrew Meyers work from this website.

We read also that the largest drill bit (a type of screw) in the world was the one used to make the largest and deepest tunnel in the world that will cross the Swiss Alps.  Look at this Tunnel Boring Machine.  It is three stories long.
From this website.

Then of course we had to read and learn more about the tunnel.  The Gotthard Base Tunnel a train tunnel that will cross the Swiss Alps, to help congestion in the cities, because of its massive traffic issues, mostly due to trucks going through the country, which is in the middle of Europe, needing to go from one side to the next.  The project was passed in votes in Switzerland in 1992 and the construction began in 1996.  That is 20 years ago.

Of course we found a youtube video (there’s videos online for everything , right?  I love that.)  We first watched this one, of the breakthrough of the tunnel with the giant drill bit working.

But then we watched this one was the most entertaining and informative and I think made our travel juices flowing.

We really liked learning more about it and of course, there’s a great field trip idea for next year.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to see that tunnel in person?  Not sure I’d like to ride it though… for someone claustrophobic like me, that’s more like a nightmare, but I’d go see it and be there for the news for the opening day.  Hmmm… now I just need to figure out how to make that field trip work into our budget.  Ha!