Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sweet Saturday Mornings

Siennalee is at her easel, thinking the deep thoughts of artists.  "Daddy!  I need you to come hold this flower."

Daddy is on the couch, contentedly watching football. "Why?"

"Because I want to draw a picture of you." 

It's said so sweetly, both parents let out an "awww," and Jason is off the couch in a blink while I grab my camera.  It has, after all, been a while since I've blogged.  And I do so love to capture these sweet moments.

(Photographer's note: Please enjoy the typical-Saturday-ness props in the background.  They are there purely for this Saturday Morning Photo Shoot.  Why yes, yes I am crossing my fingers behind my back...)

Daddy's always a good subject.  Aside from his Boy Hair and beard.

The artist and her creation.

"I don't really know how to do BOY hair," the artist confessed.

The artist posing with her subject.

Then the subject and artist then had to trade places.  (I love the look on her face.)

Not sure if the original subject's creation was what the original artist envisioned, but the photographer sure enjoyed it all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

CSA, I think I love you.

Yesterday Siennalee and I picked up our very first box of produce from our very first CSA subscription.

But let me back up a moment.

CSA, for those who don't yet know, stands for Community Supported Agriculture and basically it's when a local farm offers "subscriptions" to its produce.  For a set period of time, once a week you receive a box of whatever produce they happen to be harvesting that week.  This is a great way to support your local farmers and a fabulous way to get fresh, local, and often-times organic produce to your family.  And hey, if I can avoid a trip to the grocery store - I'm pretty jazzed.

I became very interested in CSAs after reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball (I highly recommend it) and since we are currently living in our little townhouse in Klamath Falls - and without my glorious raised garden bed back in Albany - a CSA seemed like just the thing for us.  I researched the area and after having a very disappointing experience with one local grower, I discovered Staunton Family Farm

Staunton Family Farm is just outside Tulelake, CA, which is about 30 minutes from Klamath Falls.  They have quite a few pick-up places in K Falls and once you designate your chosen pick-up spot, you visit each Thursday to get your little box of veggie-heaven.  We have been traveling quite a bit this summer, so signing on for all the cycles didn't make much sense, but I was able to get us signed up for the latter two cycles (8 weeks) of late summer/early fall.

This was my very first experience with a CSA (aside from my rather disappointing phone conversation with the other grower which really shouldn't even count) and I must say it was a pleasure!  Siennalee and I located our designated pick-up spot, a local church, followed the Staunton Family Farm signs into the church basement and there were greeted by three very friendly young ladies.  Behind them was a horseshoe configuration of three long tables all laden with produce.

As it was my first time picking up a CSA box, one of the gals showed me that one side of the horseshoe was for the half-boxes (which we had requested) and the other side for whole boxes.  She walked along with me and pointed out each different vegetable (all ready for you in bunches or baggies) and even gave me tips on how to prepare them - like fava beans.  She also suggested simple recipes for the odd items such as beets and pointed out the bin where you "donate" whatever veggie you're not interested in and then the other subscribers are able to take extra from the bin if they like.  I added my spinach and took an extra bag of salad greens from the bin.  :)

Siennalee was quite pleased to be able to pick out a small bouquet of Zinnias and shyly said thank you to the friendly trio.  What a lovely experience!  But even better was when we got home.

Behold.  The CSA box.

I just get giddy every time I see this.

Siennalee picked out the bouquet with the most red flowers.  Of course.  She also gave one to the little neighbor girl.  Not a red one though.  ;)

These carrots are so sweet!  They were perfect in the big salad I made as soon as I got the box home.

Lovely beets!

I wasn't sure about taking the beets until the gal walking with me told me how to blanch and peel them, then saute them up a bit with some EVOO and a sweet Walla-Walla onion, then add balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.  Well, I have to say I haven't been feeling so hot lately, so a lot of my favorite foods have been ignored - but in my normal state I absolutely LOVE goat cheese, sweet Walla-Walla's, and balsamic vinegar (all together or by themselves - no matter), and since I anticipate at some point having my normal state of taste returned to me, I took the beets on in good faith.

A zucchini by any other name... is pretty much the same.  :)

This lil guy's name I completely spaced, but it's a type of zucchini and it's grown a lot in France.  I took him because I thought he was cute.

Staunton Family Farm includes a newsletter each week with a brief note to members, a list of the current offerings, and recipes.  The girls were quick to tell me that this was a fun newsletter and not typical.  I wondered at this a bit until I got it home and saw the extra humor peppered through it.


Very cute.

This week's offerings were: lettuce salad greens, spinach, beets, carrots, green onions, zucchini, varied squashes, snap peas, snow peas, a sampling of cherry tomatoes, wax and string beans, baby potatoes, basil, and parsley.  Perfect.

Today I pulled up my big girl boots and ventured into the kitchen (a place that has not been my favorite haunt lately) to make some late-summer vegetable soup with a good portion of the vegetable selection from the box.  

One of my favorite recipes - and freezes beautifully too for those winter days when you miss the flavor of late summer.

Sorry Jason, there may not be enough left for dinner.

I'm already looking forward to next Thursday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

8 Years and Going Strong

It's been 8 years now from this amazing life moment.

I've gone from looking like this:

to this:

And yet somehow, life and love have only just gotten better.

From our first date,

to our first child,

and all the wondrously precious moments in between,

it's been an awesome, inspiring, heart-stopping, breath-taking, beautiful and heartbreaking, miraculous, surprising, enchanting and enthralling, lovely, lovely journey.

And I'm so glad you asked me along.

I love you Jason.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh I Love Him

There you are standing strong,
I'm a leaf holding on
You believe like a child,
In this fire runnin' wild
Oh I love how you see
Right to the heart of me

You're a waterfall, washing over me
I'm a thirsty man let me drink you in
Well I am on my way,
You're a mountain top
When I reach for you, your love lifts me up
All that I want is to be
Where you are

I'm the frozen ground, you're the warm sunlight
Shining down on me, baby just in time
Well I have never been in a love like this
Oh, you move my soul every time we kiss
And I love how you heal;
I can't believe how alive I feel

                                                   Where You Are, Rascal Flatts

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Peek into My July

Whew.  That was a rather long dry spell from me in the bloggery, wasn't it?  I've been traveling a bit and have also been quite busy with several kinds of creative projects - some I can share about, some I must wait to share - but in an attempt to break the dry spell of posts here, I'm going to combine a "whatchya doooin'" post with a "here's one of my creative projects that have kept me busy and therefore not blogging."  
Sooo, without any further ado: 

This past weekend had Jason traveling up to Washington for his Navy Reserve Drill Weekend.  My mom was sweet enough to keep Siennalee at her house so everybody could have a special weekend away.  It was one long drive from Klamath Falls, Oregon up to DuPont, Washington - with a brief stop in Albany to toss the kid and her stuff from the car and then drive away in a cloud of screeching, burned-out tires.  

One of the benefits of Jason's continued service in the US Navy Reserve is that he often travels and occasionally I travel with him.  One of my very favorite Navy Reserve travel destinations is Washington, because when I get to go with him, I get to see Anna and Efiz.

Anna and Efiz live just outside Seattle and have been my friends for a very long time - well, Anna came first and then she brought Efiz in later.  :)  Anna and I have been friends since we were barely 4 years old.  We were besties all through our school years and even now, despite the fact that we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, the closeness is still right there.

I cajoled Anna into picking me up at the hotel Jason and I were staying at and then taking me home with her so I could then plant on her couch for the entire day Saturday.  I even maneuvered Jason and me in for dinner.  I'm clever that way.

I was especially looking forward to this trip because it meant I was going to get to meet someone very special for the very first time: Anna and Efiz's son Benjamin.  I'd "met" him when he was a bump in Anna's belly, but that's nowhere near as personal as getting to see his little personality bloom and hear his giggles.  And I got to do all that on Saturday.  Oh and hey, look at that - I'd brought my camera along and snuck in some kiddo and family shots. 

(Enter the creative portion of our blog post.)

Anna and Benjamin admiring the wind chimes.

I super heart this face.  Seriously, cute doesn't get much cuter than Benjamin.

Oh wait!  It's a tie!  The cuteness!  The cuteness is overpowering!

I just love candid moments of a happy family.

And just look at Benjamin's face here.  Adorable little flirt!

This one is probably my favorite: there's nothing like seeing pure joy on the face of your bosom friend.  And I love how Efiz is looking at her.  The perfect snapshot of a sweet little family.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Grill Master

When Jason and I got married, Jason - being older (for those of you who might not know, we were not the teen bride and groom) - came with a certain number of very desirable household goods which I termed "bachelor accessories."  Kind of like Bachelor Naval Officer Ken.  So not only did I get a great deal on a guy, but I got a fabulous leather couch and overstuffed chair, coffee table and end table, armoire, and basically an entire household.  Some stuff had to go, like his apple patterned Corelle dishes, but most everything else was exactly what I might've have chosen myself, so it stayed.  But there was one - one very special item that Jason came with that I would grow to love almost as much as him.  

The Weber Grill.

I had been made aware of the Weber Grill on countless occasions as Jason related his latest grilling feats to me in a boyish exuberance.  Never having been around a propane grill, I was at first quite afraid of it.  I mean, the thing can go POOF.  FLAMES.  HEAT.  POOF!  Slowly I grew to be comfortable around The Grill until several years later, I myself was out grilling even when Jason wouldn't be home for dinner.  

So, fast forward several more years and we now find The Grill to be getting along in years.  It's time for a new one.  When we moved our household down to Klamath Falls, we left The Grill for my mom - it still works beautifully, but the paint is starting to peel and, well, we're outgrowing it.  

Our time without The Grill has been kinda sad.  There's nothing like grilling, you know.  Food and fire were made to go together.  So we waited and waited, and then we felt the time was right.

The time for A New Grill was upon us.

Of course, we went with Weber.  It would have felt traitorous to stray. 

Jason undertook the overwhelming job of actually putting the thing together.  

Little known fact: The Grill box can actually be *more* fun than The Grill itself.  
(Especially when you're 4 and 3/4 years old.)

Our new beauty.

Our first meal on the grill was a thing of beauty.  Kabobs.  I think kabobs are quite possibly the world's most perfect meal.
I rejoiced at watching Jason back at The Grill.  He really is amazing.

To reiterate: kabobs, perfection, amazing Grill Master of a husband.

Poetry on a bamboo skewer.  Go ahead.  Shed a tear.  I might join you.

We are so happy to have The (New) Grill back in our household.  Somehow, the world is right again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Just Moms" Reading at Frogs & Pollywogs

My very first book reading!  What joy!  I am so blessed and honored to be counted among such lovely ladies and fabulous authors.

The reading was hosted by Frogs & Pollywogs in Albany, Oregon.  Frogs and Pollywogs is a wondrous little specialty toy store that delights both parents and kiddos alike.

I promise you - you will love wandering down the aisles of this sweet store!

Our reading was in "The Lily Pad" which is a loft area upstairs stocked generously with the specialty toys found for sale downstairs, but opened and waiting for kiddos to come play!

And play they did.  
Several of us brought our kidlets with and I imagine they had as good a time as we did!

Two of Jen Rouse's girls, Beth & Lucy
My Sweetheart and one of Cassie's girls, Desiree

One of Melanie's sons perusing the books and Lucy and Siennalee working at the work bench.

Dorcas Smucker kicked things off by reading a her chapter "Wealth Isn't in the Crayons" and then I was next with a summary of mine: "Choose to Be."

 Rebekah was next with hers: "Superhero Jesus" and Jen finished up with a tidbit of her story "Precious in God's Sight" and then a summary of a couple of her favorite chapters.

It was priceless to dialog with these ladies, to hear their takes on their favorite chapters, and to hear - once again - how very important we (and all) mommies are to each other.

We even had groupies there.  :)  Carlie Davis and Cassie Wicks drove up from Junction City just for our reading.  I was quite giddy to have friends there from my home church Christ's Center.  Kristin and Hannah, friends from my Covallis MOPS group (who also hail from Jen and Rebekah's church Grace City - Hannah is the pastor's wife), came as well.
Kristin's the head groupie.  
Word is she even got a "Just Moms" tattoo.  (But you didn't read that on MY blog...)

Top to bottom, clockwise: Carlie, Cassie, Hannah, and Kristin
Our youngest fan - Evie, Jen's youngest

And here are the two ladies who made it all happen: Melanie Springer Mock and Rebekah Schneiter:

And the local writers who attended the reading:

Left to right: Jen Rouse, Melanie Springer Mock, Dorcas Smucker, Rebekah Schneiter, and Jessica Kantola

And just to prove Just Moms isn't just for moms:

My wonderful (and hot) husband Jason also attended the reading.  He drove us up to Albany from Klamath Falls, listened to all of us ladies read and chatter, entertained and wrangled kidlets at large, and then drove us home again.  You're my hero, Love.

What a great day.  Fabulous job, everyone!  Thank you for all being part of such a rich memory.