Summer Favorites

I was thinking this morning about all the things I love about summer and thought I’d share with you. Not that any of these are groundbreaking or anything, but I enjoy them immensely and there are just certain things about summer that you don’t have the rest of the year. 

So, here we go!

Sunshine!

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Duh. Here in the Pacific Northwest, this isn’t always a given even in the summertime, so I’m super thankful when the sun peeks its face out! The weather has been great lately and we’ve been really enjoying it. Which leads me to the second thing…

The BeachOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I mean, who doesn’t love the beach? Since we live on an Island, the beach is well, surrounding us and we can walk down to it from our house. Spending an afternoon with my toes in the sand and listening to the waves softly lap on the shore while gazing across the water to the mountains is pretty close to paradise. 

 

Fresh Fruit 

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I love fruit. I also love that so much of it is locally available around here. Peaches (not super local but from the same state anyway), cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums…and non-local but so good I buy it more than I should- WATERMELON!!! I love watermelon. SO much.

 

Picnics in the Backyard

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It’s just so sweet to sit in the soft grass in the shade and leisurely munch on fruit and veggies and salads and other yummy things while having unforgettable conversations with my kiddos. 

 

Flowers!

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I guess this isn’t exclusively a summer thing, but I love all the flowers that show their colorful faces all throughout the summer. We have zinnias growing outside our back door and they always are so cheery and bright, even on a cloudy day they bring beautiful color to the world.

 

Being Barefoot

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I really hate wearing shoes. And socks too…barefoot is just so much better! Except on cold fall and winter days of course, which is why I’m glad it’s summer. So what if your feet get dirty? They also wash well. 😉

 

I know there are several more things that are good about summer, but those are my top favorites. What are yours? 

Life In Washington

We’ve now been in Washington for not quite a week and it already feels like home.
It might help that it was my home for 18 years, but even the rest of my family is settling right in as if we’ve always been here.
Of course, we still have moments of adjusting- the coolness of the nights chills us all to the bone, even though it only is in the 50’s and we miss our Tennessee friends. (Hi, friends! We love you!!)
We’ve yet to make any new friends, but I know we will at some point.

But overall, life is good.
Tim has been able to work several days with my brother Scott’s boss doing concrete and replacing broken pipes, digging holes, that kind of work. Even though it’s only part time and probably temporary, we’re incredibly thankful.
The kids have been playing outside and roasting hot dogs over a huge fire and digging in the dirt pit and helping Tim split wood to deliver to someone. (Another odd job to earn some money!)
God is taking good care of us. 🙂

(Lest you think everything is perfect, Ethan is currently grounded in his room for repeatedly disobeying and hitting his sister. Life is not all sunshine and giggles.)

Here are a few pictures of our beautiful home, and some fun we’ve had since we’ve been here.

Here I am, taking pictures of clotheslines again..but isn’t this one pretty? My daddy made it.

A water pump in the back yard. It still works.

My mom’s gorgeous hydrangeas

Itailan Prunes- what could be fresher than just picking them off the tree? Organic at it’s finest.

Ethan watching the cows next door.

Ellie going on a walk down the driveway

Blackberries from the bushes right down the driveway. I made blackberry cobbler with them Yum!

My awesome Daddy, workin’ on the bulldozer.

My sweet Mom, picking blackberries with me

My Parent’s house- and now our’s too!

Tim and Ellie splitting wood together

Ellie’s first time playing in the Puget Sound. She loved it!

Playing at Double Bluff- so much fun!

Cookin’ hamburgers with Poppa Don

Cows!!

What our mornings look like around here.

Banana-Zucchini Bread- A healthy version

It’s zucchini season and no doubt if you have zucchini growing in your garden or you’ve visited the farmer’s market or the grocery store lately you’ve seen it everywhere.
I’ve seen it on sale like crazy, and I don’t have any zucchini plants growing in my garden. I did, but they got eaten by snails or slugs or something. 😦

Anyway, I actually found this recipe because I had some bananas that were on the verge of going bad and didn’t really feel like freezing them plus I had some frozen zucchini from early spring; that I needed to get rid of (we’re working on eating through everything in our freezer) so I thought I’d make some banana/zucchini bread to use it up!

I found the original recipe on Allrecipes.com (click here for the link) but as always, I modified it a bit.
So here’s my modified version:

Beat 3 eggs til they are foamy.

Add:

 3/4 cup olive oil,
 1 cup organic sugar,
1 cup grated (and extra juice squeezed out if it’s been frozen) zucchini
3 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla

Mix!
I didn’t actually mash up the bananas first since I was using my stand mixer- it did the job just fine for me.

Next, add your dry ingredients.
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp salt

Mix again, til everything is well combined.

Pour into two greased loaf pans and stick in a 325F oven for 50 min,

 or until a knife comes out clean when you poke it into the middle of the loaf.
I only used 1/2 cup of oil because 3/4 sounded like too much, but then my bread ended up a bit dry. Not horrible, but I should’ve just followed the directions there! Or added another egg or something.
I like how it turned out though, minus the slight dryness.
Hubby says it isn’t dry, but I think it is just a tad.

We’ve already eaten one of the loaves, and the other one will probably be gone by tomorrow afternoon.
So if you have some zucchini sitting around waiting to be used, go ahead and make some zucchini bread! 🙂

An exciting day!

Guess what happened today??

We didn’t win the publisher’s clearing house $5,000 a week for life prize (I know, that’s what you thought it was, right??) . 😉
We aren’t pregnant.
We went running this morning around Patriot Lake at Shelby Farms, and it was great.
We said farewell to some sweet friends who are moving back near where their families are. Best wishes and lots of love to them.

Also….(and this is the exciting part!!)

We got our first chicken egg!!!!!

I seriously almost burst into tears when Ethan brought it to me, his eyes shining with a huge grin on his adorable face.

It was freckled, tiny, and beautiful.

Also it was delicious.

We fried it right up in some butter (because E dropped the egg and cracked the shell) and oh. my. gracious me.

It was DELICIOUS.

Bright orange yolk full of gorgeous nutrients…MM!
If you’ve never had a free-range mostly grass fed chicken egg, you have to try one. Right now.
You’ll never want to buy eggs from the store again!

I’m so excited to see the rest of our chickens start laying, it’s going to be fun!
In the meantime, does anyone have advice about actually getting your hens to lay eggs IN the nesting box?

Ethan found ours in the yard, right by the back fence where the hens like to hang out and take dust baths but I’d really rather them lay eggs in the nesting boxes. So if you know, please tell me!!
I read something about keeping the hens in the coop til mid morning because that’s when they usually lay?? Does that work?
I don’t know.
I suppose only time will tell. 🙂

Also tonight, we pulled up our dead squash plants and found these cute little snakes under the dirt.

We all held then and visited with them for a minute, then we let them go back to their home.

Eliana laughed and said the snake was licking her when she saw it’s little tongue flicking in and out. 🙂

That’s all for tonight.

I’ll be back in a few days with a sewing project: how to renew your cloth shoes (aka knock-off TOMS because I can’t afford to pay that much for shoes) by re-upholstering them. Fun!

Summer Fun

Hi!
I know I haven’t been writing on here as often lately, and it’s because we’ve been having too much fun enjoying the summertime to spend it all on the computer. (Not a bad thing at all, I might add!)

My son, Ethan; turned 5 on Tuesday.
I feel like I’m finally a “real” mom! I don’t know why but in my mind, I’ve crossed over the threshold of “newbie” mom into “seasoned” mom now that I have a “big” 5 year old. 🙂 I guess it’s because we’ve survived the baby and toddler years! Not that the school years are easier, they just are different. More sleep. Hopefully.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of his birthday party:

E and his construction birthday cake
Dinner time!

“A Monster truck!!”
Some best friends: brothers Owen, Ehren and of course, our Eliana

Ethan’s first look at his Buzz Lightyear. (Thanks, Nana!!)
 Owen, Ehren , Ethan and Eden

Feeling blessed. 🙂

And here are a few pictures of other things we’ve been doing this summer:

E got a slip n slide for his birthday too- they play on it almost every morning.
Ellie LOVES it-last year she was terrified of water, so I’m thankful she likes it now. 🙂
Baking Soda +vinegar+food coloring=awesome fizzy fun!

Seriously. The kids will sit for about an hour and dump drops of colored vinegar onto plates of baking soda.
They did it til we ran out of vinegar this morning.
It’s pretty cool!
Great “it’s too hot to be outside” activity.

I love Eliana’s face here. 🙂

Ethan found a little tiny snake outside in the bricks this morning!

Sorry that picture was blurry, my camera was having trouble focusing on the right thing. 🙂

It wasn’t any bigger than a worm, in fact that’s what I thought it was til I saw it’s head with little eyes and it’s cute little tongue. 

We’ve been having a great summer so far.

Around here, school starts on August 6th, so summer is almost over!  I can’t believe it!

Of course, we’re homeschooling Ethan, so we can somewhat set our own schedule.  We’ll be starting school a little bit later, then going later next spring than the city schools do.
I’m excited and kind of scared to start homeschooling him, but I know that my mom did a great job homeschooling us, so as long as I stick with the program, my kids should turn out just fine! 🙂

I hope you all enjoy what is left of your summertime!
See you tomorrow with Food Waste Friday – I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make on that subject.

Root Beer Floats: A Step Down Memory Lane

I remember when I was a kid, sometimes Mom or Dad would go to the store just for a few groceries and then they’d come home with a surprise: MUG root beer and vanilla ice cream!
 We’d fill our cups as full as we could with ice cream, then pour the root beer over it and watch as the beautiful, delicious foam crept up to the edge of the glass (and sometimes over it).
I used to try to get my foam to rise up as high as I could without it spilling over the rim, then slurp it down quickly, before any drops of the delicious dessert would be wasted.
I have such fond memories of it, that whenever I have MUG root beer (which is not often), it makes me want a root beer float. Mom and dad were smart though; there was NO way they were giving us five kids Barq’s root beer, with all that caffeine in it! 😉

Last night I was missing Washington and my family a lot, and hubby and I were planning on getting ice cream of some sort anyway, so I requested root beer floats.
Hubby and Ethan went on a “man date” to the store, and when they got home the fun began. 🙂
They went all out and bought whipped cream and delicious, fresh wonderful Bing cherries from Chelan, Washington too, just for me! My hubby is the best. 🙂

Side note: if you’re ever near Chelan, WA you should go visit, because there are tons of  organic orchards of cherries and peaches and nectarines and apples and apricots and a great waterpark and of course, Lake Chelan, with tons of fun water options there. Definitely worth a trip.

We used Breyers Vanilla ice cream and Virgil’s Root Beer for our floats because they don’t have any high fructose corn syrup in them and use only natural ingredients. They are SO good together. Man. If you’ve never had Virgil’s, you’ve never tasted what root beer is supposed to taste like. Try it sometime. (no, I was not paid to say this.)

MMM, I’m not gonna lie. I had two root beer floats because they were THAT good. 🙂

What is your fondest childhood memory regarding desserts??

Happy 5th of July!

Its Tuesday, which means that people are back to work today, all refreshed (or worn out) from their long weekend celebrating the 4th of July.
Is it just me, or has the "real" holiday become the 3rd of July?
All of the bigger firework shows are on the 3rd, there are parades on the 3rd, bbq's on the 3rd…whatever happened to the 4th??
I find it kind of silly myself.
There's not really a point to that rambling, its just something I observed. 🙂

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Summer "bucket" list

Its officially summer-like here, well really kind of hell-like, since its been near or above 100 degrees for the past week with tons of humidity and no end in sight…why am I still in the south? I don’t know.
Anyway, I am having trouble finding stuff to do with my kiddos since we can’t really play outside and to me, playing outside is what summer is all about! We’ve been spending WAY too much time watching movies (mostly Madagascar, which is Ethan’s current favorite. We’re talking like at least twice a day. Yes. Way Way WAY too much.)
I found this idea that this momma had inspiring, so I think we’re going to try it as well.
 (check out the link-there are templates and everything to download if you want to!) Its a summer “bucket list”- a list of fun things to do throughout the summer. I need most of these things to be free, and we’ll pick one thing a day to do until we get tired of them, or re-start the list if we finish all of the things before summer’s over! (we most likely will, I’m not very good at thinking up ideas.)  I haven’t actually made the list yet, so I’ll make sure to show you what we came up with after we are done. What ideas do you have of fun things to do this summer?