Ice Cream and Icy Air

Ice Cream and Icy Air

Claire loves it when we say ice cream.

She loves eating it even more.

Ice cream is only one of the ways we are staying cooler lately. We are truly savoring our new heat pump/air conditioner right now. Yep, we finally did it after talking about it and planning it for years. It is so nice to finally have it. It took forever to save up for and though writing large checks is something we are incredibly adverse to, I couldn’t write this one any faster.

Ahhh, nice cold air.

I hope you are all staying cool, too.

~Krista

Fruit Picking

Fruit Picking

Yesterday, I took the girls and my niece and went cherry picking. The kids quickly decided that they would rather spend their time finding sticks and leaves off the ground. I spent the time quickly picking 13 pounds of cherries.

They are delicious.

When we did our last big cherry picking a couple of years ago, I spent three evenings slicing the cherries in half and taking out the pits before freezing them. After I was done a friend asked me why I didn’t just use a cherry pitter. I didn’t use one because I didn’t know they existed.

I do now.

We borrowed one and Duncan showed us how to do it . Elizabeth was very serious about it. Oh, my goodness. The time and mess a cherry pitter saves is staggering. Never going back :) .

 

We managed to get over half of our haul pitted and frozen in an hour last night. We spread them on wax paper covered cookie sheets and put them in our big freezer. This morning I bagged them into labeled freezer bags. We have over four quarts so far and nearly that much left to pit and freeze.

Since cherries weren’t the only ripe fruit I wanted to freeze, the girls and I went out again this morning for blueberries. There is an organic u-pick place in town that we tried for the first time. It was wonderful. The ladies were so nice, the blueberries were surrounded by a gorgeous flower garden, and the berries were delicious. They actively encouraged us to try them and told the kids to eat as much as they wanted. We came home with quite a haul. I didn’t see what the farm name was but it was on Atlantic St. for locals.

It totaled over 6 pounds and I already have some washed and on cookie sheets freezing.

Elizabeth has been really into preserving foods. Over both our picking trips she kept talking about our book “Blueberries for Sal” and the Little House on the Prairie books. She really understands harvesting food and saving it for the winter. So cute.

Now I need to find a great raspberry place and I will be over the moon. I thought after I get some raspberries frozen we may go back for more cherries and blueberries after we see how much room we have left in the freezer (we are keeping room for veggies and meat also).

We might need another freezer.

~Krista

This Girl

This Girl

My little Claire is such a full on toddler now.

The light amount of hair makes her still look so babyish, but as it comes in she looks more and more like the little kid she is becoming.

She has so many opinions. She loves outside and her sister. She loves following the cats and reading books. She loves playing trains and play-doh. She loves bubbles and bath time. She loves her mom and dad.

She hates not being able to do something. She really hates the gate to her sister’s room.

She climbs on everything.

She constantly has skinned knees. She never stops when we say the word “no”. She blows raspberries on us. She gives great big hugs. She pulls apart all of the roses she can reach. She loves to high five and clap. She gets on the floor and kicks her feet when she doesn’t get her way. She can say please and thank you when prompted. She loves to be tickled. She just loves.

~Krista

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

Yesterday, Duncan took the day off and we took the kids to Enchanted Forest. It is a little storybook theme park in Oregon. Oddly, I had never gone there before.

It was very cute. It has the storybook section, an old west town, a little English village, and rides. Elizabeth is actually at a great age to start doing things like this. It was nice that she recognized all the nursery rhymes and stories.

Claire was a little young, but she loved watching everything and running around. It was quite a workout for her little legs as almost every path is a ramp and all the ground uneven. It was actually pretty neat to walk around.

Elizabeth went on a bunch of rides. Claire got to slide and go on a little train, but she couldn’t do any other rides. The bumper boats were very popular with Elizabeth and really fun for us to watch.

She has been very timid about rides in the past, but she was amazingly brave for bigger rides here. She even went on the log ride with me. It ended by going down a big waterfall. She says she won’t be going on it again, but she did really well.  She also wanted to go on the mountain roller coaster and she loved it. Next time we will buy ride bracelets and we can go on as many times as she wants.

We picked a weekday before school got out so that it wouldn’t be too crowded and it was almost too un-crowded (if that can be a thing). Sometimes there was only one other person on a ride with her and some rides had no patrons at all.

We really had a wonderful time though and the weather was perfect. We brought a picnic and made a great family day of it. I think we will be making this an annual excursion from now on.

~Krista

These Moments

These Moments

Right now there is a a drawing of our happy yellow house on the chalkboard. Elizabeth made it this morning with a little “help” from Claire. She named our house “The Happy House” a while ago and now that is how I always think of it.

Right now all of the couch cushions are on the floor of the living room along with half a dozen pillows and a mini pop up tent.

Right now the windows are all open and we can hear the chattering of the birds outside and watch them eat from our feeders.

A few minutes ago, two little girls were digging together through the duplo legos while munching goldfish crackers.

Now they are running across the cushions meow-ing at each other. Claire runs and clings to me for a moment when she gets scared during the game and then she is off again. Elizabeth catches Claire, tickles her tummy, and makes her laugh. Claire’s laugh is  the best sound in the world.

Often, Elizabeth tells us that “this is the best day ever!” and I must admit, I think she is right. All of the days seem like the best day ever. It doesn’t matter that I have a couch full of laundry waiting to be put a away, a dishwasher needing to be emptied, or a very long to-do list running through my head. I get to be here in these moments with my girls.  I’m loving these moments.

~Krista

The New (Plastic) Dollhouse

The New (Plastic) Dollhouse

I have given in to the big plastic dollhouse. I really wanted an adorable wooden dollhouse for the girls to cherish, but it seems like if it happens it will be a few years down the line.

My girls have been really rough on the old dollhouse.  It now has missing windows, a broken porch rail, much broken trim outside, and the stairs are broken. I worry that with the stairs gone, the upper floor might break. It is already sagging quite a bit.

So when we found this at a thrift store yesterday for $9, I was easily sold.

Bonus points for being pink! Elizabeth was extremely happy to get a pink one.

I had Elizabeth spend $5 of her money toward it. She has been doing well at learning how to decide what is worth buying and what she can save for. I think it will be money well spent. She spent hours with it yesterday setting up furniture and people in all of the rooms. It has a lot more room than the other dollhouse, so that is really nice.

For now, I am putting the wooden one in the garage. I have a few years to fix it up for Claire. It is on the small size, but I think it could be a really nice little house with some effort and no one playing with it during the restoration process. Claire also seems to be gentler to things than Elizabeth is, so maybe it can survive her.

~Krista

 

 

Spring Zoo Day

Spring Zoo Day

Since Elizabeth finished up preschool for the year in May, we are getting a few weeks of summer vacation before all of the other schools get out.

We took ourselves off to the zoo on Friday with my brother to enjoy a less-crowded day. As I was driving up the radio said it was the perfect Portland day. It really was. Sunny, warm, and a light breeze.

The hippo says “roar”, at least according to Claire.

We got to see the new condor exhibit for the first time. One of them was even flying when we first walked up. What amazing wingspans they have.

I love the new exhibit. It is so open and pretty.

As excited as I was to see the condors, my favorite scene of the day were the baby ducks with their parents. They were so unbelievably cute. We watched them bathing and splashing in the water. There were also some pretty neat flamingos.

We had such a great time I think we need to go again in the next week or two before the schools let out for summer.

~Krista

Sprinklers and Garden Beds

Sprinklers and Garden Beds

Last week we were able to have some sprinkler fun. The weather has been so nice this year. I don’t remember a time it rained this little during spring in Oregon. The girls have been so happy playing outside.

The new plants in the new garden beds are also looking pretty happy. Duncan built the beds for me and I absolutely love them. We used cow fencing on the far bed for the peas and beans to climb. We have another 8 foot panel leftover that we need to find a use for.

Here is what we are growing in them:

  •  Beans
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Marigolds

In other parts of the yard we are also growing:

  •  Potatoes (in grow bags we were given for Christmas from friends)
  • Garlic (in its little store container, but will be planted with the potatoes in the next day or so)
  • Lettuce
  • More onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • More marigolds
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
I am so pleased we have so much growing. We have already been harvesting the lettuce and strawberries (and really need to harvest some basil).
Happy gardening!

~Krista

Five

Five

It is birthday week here. Elizabeth is turning five.

A cardboard box became a pirate ship. There was also a pirate ship pinata that was very popular. Dinosaur candles were on the cupcakes. And then there were presents. New toys! She was drowning in happiness.

We know how to have a good time.

~Krista

We May Have Strawberries

We May Have Strawberries

I feel a little silly having so many strawberries. Maybe even sillier that this is not all the strawberries we have (maybe 20 more plants elsewhere!).

I built this little cinder block pyramid after modeling it out of duplo legos. I transplanted the plants from a raised bed they had completely taken over (all of these plants came from the original six I planted in the bed two years ago).

I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of any of the baby plants so I got out all of my empty pots. Each pot contains two to four plants.

Elizabeth has already eaten the first two red berries. I am hoping we produce enough that some make it into the house (and maybe even into the freezer for the winter). At least it will cut into what I spend on strawberries at the farmers market in the summer.

We do love strawberries around here.

~Krista