the garden

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Looking at what the garden did this year, all thanks to Mark and Siena, I feel thankful for everything we’ve gotten.  Being able to eat fresh, organic and so good.

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It makes me happy we Mark takes the time to start the garden and garden all summer long.   DSC_0034 copy DSC_0035 copy

I do like gardening, but I do believe I do not have the green thumb he and Siena have.  Maybe it’s their eye for details, patience, caring for the plants, it’s what the plants and the garden needs.

DSC_0038 copy DSC_0001 copyDay after day, bringing in produce, fresh, organic delicious produce.

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How lucky we are.

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And autumn is here and slowly the garden is put to rest.  But not just yet. The days are still warm, even hot at times.  The sun much lower in the horizon, the rays barely making it to the back of the garden, as if it was the last place to be reached by the sun.   But still warming our days, barely, stretching our days and the growing season just a little longer.  Yes, indeed, how lucky I am.

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in the kitchen

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Pesto.  Yes, regular basil pesto.  We love pesto.

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With these beautiful veggies from the garden, it took me to make salsa.

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I got the basic idea for the salsa, from Deb from Smitten Kitchen, but added the veggies we had available and ready to pick from the garden.  This time, I blended it, and I think the kids liked it more this way, since they are not big fans of tomatoes.

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It turned out really good I think.  I wonder how I can make it so I can can it.

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The cooler weather has called me to make some chai.  I’ve been making a concentrate so I can have it in the fridge ready to make, when I don’t have time to prepare it from scratch.  I use for the most part, Heather’s recipe. It is so good.

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I made this sandwich bread from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  It is so good!  Another bread recipe in rotation.  Good!

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I think I’ll be making more loaves.  And I love it that it makes two. It is perfect.  I am so grateful for the amazing folks that share their cooking skills with wonderfully delicious recipes free for all of us to use and cook and share with our families and friends.  It makes me happy.  There are great proper in this world.  Yes indeed.

DSC_0081 copySome friends have two fig trees and I have enjoyed this year for the first time, eating fresh figs.  I had no idea they are so good!  They do turn mooshy quickly, but since they are just few houses down from us, I’ve enjoyed freshly picked figs a couple of times already.  So good!  And as a way to thank them, I made some fig jam with fruits from their trees while they’ve been gone so they can keep enjoying their fruits when they return, in case they are passed their peak. So good!  Thank you dear friends for sharing.

last few weeks…

Haven’t done this in a long while, but wanted to remember these past weeks at least, because it was a fun and full September.  The past few days we’ve been having fun for sure…

… we saw the Super Moon Lunar Eclipse.  I am so glad we had clear skies to witness it.  One of the 6 lunar eclipses on Super Moon since 1900? Thank you Mother Nature for letting us enjoy it.  ‘Til 2033!

… we picked our first pumpkin from the garden.  The rest we’ll do together with our neighbors because we planted a little garden in their backyard after we weeded a whole bunch of blackberries this spring.  And we planted beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and pumpkins.  They’ve said they’ve enjoyed the veggies this summer (the best tasting ones they’ve ever had!) but I think they are more excited to see the pumpkins turning orange.  We’ll do a little picking celebration together with them I think.  There are 9 pumpkins in that plant I think.  It will be fun.

… I enjoyed my day at the fiber festival.  All surrounded by colors and textures I was craving.  I think it marks the cooler, autumn season in me.  I guess what it really says autumn to me, is when we go see the salmon run. We are going in few weeks, after there is more rain for them to start their trip back up.  Can’t wait.

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… went swimming to the lake…. one more time.  Don’t know if it will be the last visit this year, to swim, but we played and swam as if it was.  It certainly feels the sun not as warm, cooler waters, a whole lot more quiet, and we still had a beautiful, fun day.

… watched Boyhood and really enjoyed it.  And from there I went to these two kids singing the main song, I really liked their version.  But also this one.  And this one is too.

… saw Mark grade papers and homework outside, still catching the last days of warmth and sunshine.  It has been a beautiful fall start for sure.

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… made jam, bread, cookies, and few new meals that can be placed in the rotation schedule (that I add when everyone enjoys it.)  Glad for that.

… was gifted a handful of beautiful acorn caps by the youngest one, from a day in the woods without me.  I love acorns, and my kids know it.  They come from trips on their own or with friends these days, with little presents like these.  Thank you.   They are a wonderful gift to bring indoors.

… we watched another movie outside in our backyard with our friends.  We were talking on how fun it’s been this year.  Our first “Walk-In” movie night was back on March 26th, our spring break.  It was cold but nice, and I really wish I’d remember what movies we’ve seen this year.  But the list goes something like this: The Sandlot (twice, once with friends and once with the whole baseball team.) The Sound of Music.  The new Annie.  The Wizard of Oz.  Princess Bride.  Mr. Bean’s Holiday.  And lastly, the new Cinderella.  (I might need to add to the list as I remember.)  For the most part in the summer we watched at least one movie a week with friends and we’ve had all enjoyed these nights so much.  So much fun!  Something we will all remember forever.

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The kids playing before the movie starts, it is as much part of movie night as it is, popcorn, snacks brought by everyone, and the movie itself.

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Catching up a little with our friends.  Always a must.  Though maybe a little too brief.

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… really enjoyed making and watching a slide show of our kids from when they were little.  All of our friends coming to these movies, have sent me photos of them since they were born, and incredibly we are able to see our kids grow up together.  There’s pictures of them  with each other since they were born!  It is such a treat and I feel so lucky and blessed to have them as friends.

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one last swim and jump

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We headed to the lake one more time few weeks ago, when the temperature still said 80’s.  DSC_0035 copy

A beautiful sunny day.  No wet suits needed this time.

DSC_0133 copyA little hike to see the  other side of the lake, and a favorite spot for the kids.

DSC_0132 copyA mushroom sight on the way.

DSC_0036 copy DSC_0037 copy DSC_0038 copy DSC_0039 copyAnd then to the spot.

DSC_0042 copy DSC_0043 copy DSC_0044 copy DSC_0045 copy DSC_0046 copy DSC_0077 copy DSC_0079 copy DSC_0083 copyThey spent hours. 

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Laughs.  Real laughs. The ones you can hear from the other side of the lake.

DSC_0097 copyMemories.  Beautiful memories.

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Stories.  Lots of stories we heard on the ride home.  And the day after.

DSC_0102 copySummer memories.

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Friendships strengthen by these moments spent together. 

DSC_0106 copy DSC_0109 copyOne more time. 

DSC_0110 copyBecause we can. 

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Yes, laughs and smiles and memories.

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‘Til next time.

Playing in the Columbia

DSC_0003 copyThis summer we had a chance to go boating on the river with some friends.

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We met at St. Johns Bridge and got the boat in.

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We don’t go to that side of town very often, but that bridge is so beautiful, I could have spent more time just watching it.

DSC_0015 copyBut I think everyone would agree that in the river was as much fun. We don’t go boating very much (never), so it is always fun to go with friends.

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The Willamette River, a beautiful place.

DSC_0022 copy DSC_0028 copy DSC_0031 copy DSC_0027 copy DSC_0032 copyThen on the Columbia River.  You can see here Sauvie Island, where we often go to swim and pick fruits.

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Beautiful rivers.

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We found a beach (on the Washington side) across from where we usually go swimming (on Sauvie Island, in Oregon).

DSC_0049 copyWater.  Friends. DSC_0045 copyNature.  DSC_0054 copySmiles. Laughs.  DSC_0057 copy DSC_0048 copyTreasures. 

DSC_0059 copyFun.

DSC_0063 copy DSC_0062 copy DSC_0065 copy DSC_0069 copy DSC_0076 copyThumbs up.  Ready to go.

DSC_0080 copy DSC_0092 copySmiles.

DSC_0095 copyLaughs. 

DSC_0097 copy DSC_0101 copy DSC_0110 copySmiles.

DSC_0121 copyLaughs. 

DSC_0129 copy DSC_0075 copyNaps.

DSC_0142 copyDSC_0150 copyFun. 

DSC_0152 copy DSC_0160 copyJumps. 

DSC_0164 copyMemories.

DSC_0167 copyTired smiles. 

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What a day. Fun. Fast. Slow. Crazy. Sunny. Warm. Wet. Sandy. Exciting. Summer.  Spent with wonderful friends, friends they’ve known each other their whole lives.  Thank you!

the last day at the pool

DSC_0116 copyIt seems too long ago that we were swimming at the pool.

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The weather didn’t cooperate some days.  Schools starting earlier than other years didn’t help either.

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But Mark and I did manage to get a snow cone to celebrate the end of pool-swimming.  Phew!

DSC_0121 copyThe kids met at the pool with friends.

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Played ’til dark.

DSC_0135 copy DSC_0137 copySo much fun.  Noticing getting dark earlier, as summer comes to an end.

DSC_0138 copy DSC_0141 copyLots of playing.  Lots! DSC_0142 copyWhen you are at the pool twice a day for 2 hours every time. Every. Single. Day. Yup! Lots of playing.  What a summer it was.

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Beautiful and fun memories.

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‘Til next year then.  It was a fun summer, this one.

making : grape jammin’

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We got a bunch of grapes from a neighbor who had extras.  I’ve realized I love grapes, and try to get them when they look good and are fresh.   So, we jumped to the occasion.

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We got lots!  We ate them, but we still had lots.  So I looked in our trusted Preserving book.  (By the way, our book doesn’t look nearly as nice as this one.)  I’ve never made anything with grapes, we’ve never had this many.

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I found Grape Jelly and Grape Jam.  And we certainly had enough for a couple of batches of both kinds!  It was an afternoon of making.

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Washed. Stemmed.

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Measured. Cooked.

DSC_0121 copyJuices flowing.

DSC_0122 copyStrained.

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Beautiful clear liquid.

DSC_0124 copy DSC_0136 copyAnd just like that, magic happens, and we have these beautiful jars.

DSC_0140 copySummer in a jar.  I love that!

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I think I’m enjoying both equally.

Summer playing

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Basketball.

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Friends.  Snowcones.

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Yes, snow cones and ice creams. All sizes.  All colors. All flavors.

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Movies.

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Baseball.

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More baseball.

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Movies. Yes, lots of movies in our backyard.  Also movies at the pool.

DSC_0006 copyBasketball.  Yes, lots of basketball.

DSC_0011 copy DSC_0002 copyMore movies.

DSC_0007 copyDinner.  Lunches.

DSC_0017 copyLegos.  Movie making. Laughs.

DSC_0021 copy DSC_0067 copySnacks.

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Board games.

DSC_0082 copyPop corn.  Yes, lots of popcorn. (I didn’t measure or count, but because we keep the popcorn in a 1/2 gallon jar, I think we made about 1  1/2 gallon popcorn this summer.

DSC_0088 copyMonkeying around.

DSC_0093 copyFriends.

DSC_0152 copyLaughs.  Jokes, Smiles. Stories.  Oh how I love them all.

DSC_0033 copyPlaying by flashlights.

DSC_0037 copyWater toys. Legos.  Book on CDs.

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Baskets.  Knitting.  Sewing. Reading.

DSC_0040 copyGoggles.  Sunglasses.  Fly goggles? Baseball cup?  Yeah… what a mix.  On the dinner table? Why not! Right? We didn’t eat much inside anyway.  Better leave them all there handy, when one needs them the next time you walk by.

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Yes lots of laughs all through the house all summer long.

Basketball in the pool.  Frisbee at the park.  Ice cream (and yes, lots of fresh fruit too!)  Capture the Flag.  Biking.  Swimming at the pool.  Scooting.  Walking.  Swimming in the river.  Swimming at the lakes.  Lots of swimming.  Playing.  Yes, lots and lots of playing.  All.  Summer.  Long.