Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our weekend

We had some special visitors come spend this past weekend with us, Bryce's old Bishop, Brother and Sister Johnston. We had a really nice time, they were wonderful company.

We were driving down to show them the Mayo clinic and noticed a sign at the fair grounds that said Cattle show. Being flexible in our schedule, we decided to pull in and check it out. It was really neat! There were all different ages of kids showing their livestock, and these cows were impressive! I never knew a cow could have fat legs, but these did! I also never knew that a cow's hide could look so glossy and sleek when brushed.

We were sitting at the top of some bleachers and Bryce got a big surprise when he suddenly realized that a cow was licking his back pocket! One of the largest cows I've ever seen was sitting right behind us, tied to the back of the bleachers! The girls loved petting that large sleek black cow.

Getting Artsy

We pulled out the old side walk chalk the other day. I'm afraid I got a bit carried away and used up most of the sidewalk with my doodles. Poor Claire. :) She didn't complain though, so we had fun. You can tell her bangs are getting in her face a lot, notice the chalk all over her face from her hands pushing them out of her eyes.

I've been tagged!!

Okay, my friend Amber tagged me and I thought this was a really fun idea. I am supposed to take 10 pictures immediately after being tagged and post them. These are random pictures, but it gives you a good idea of what is going on right now. I am now tagging Shelise and Johanna.

This is a picture of our beautiful new house, complete with recycling bin and scraggly trees. :) We planted the two trees in the front of our yard last fall. One made it, but the other is struggling. What do you think? Will the one on the left survive or should we plant a new one?

This is Bryce's pride and joy, his garage! He built the workbench and the shelves along the wall. It really turned out nice. Crazy how much junk we have, isn't it? The sad thing is, I've already been through it twice trying to weed down our belongings and couldn't bear to part with anymore of it. I think I've got a bit of the pack-rat in me.

This is a picture of the tree in our backyard that I spend a good part of my day running circles around. Swiper loves to grab the girls stuffed animals and run out of the sliding door down to this tree. Naturally, I follow him out in hot pursuit and then together we do laps around and around this tree. My strategy is to keep him running long enough to tire him out, it's the only way I can catch him!

My growing garden. I've got corn growing in the big square bed and tomatoes and bean plants and cucumbers growing in the background. They are all rather small right now, but it's exciting!

This is our upstairs hallway right now. The girls just got through building a "train." The train is composed of books that are laid out in a long line down our hallway and then the girls place all of their stuffed animals and baby dolls on the books. I actually started cleaning this up and had already put up the books by the time I realized it would be a cute picture. As is, you can still see the animals that used to be riding on the train.

I got this crazy idea last week to make matching dresses for the girls. I'm almost 3/4 done with Claire's dress. I've just been putting off doing the zipper, those things really intimidate me! I'm thinking in about two more weeks I'll be able to post pictures of them wearing their matching dresses! Oh, and I've also decided that sewing clothes is definitely a hobby and something to do because you enjoy it (rather than to save money). Did I mention this is the first and last time I'm doing this? :)

This is a picture of another project I've got going, my scrapbook! I have over 600 pictures from our 4 years in Oregon that I'm now trying to scrapbook. I've got all of the pictures stuck on the right pages, now I'm just trying to label them all. This Oregon scrapbook is 110 pages. I'm suffering a bit of burn out, it's taking me forever to finish it!

This is sweet Claire in her little kitchen. She is huge into organizing things right now. :) Just a chip off of the old blocks, she's got a healthy dose of compulsive cleaning and neatness from both of us! You can see in the picture that she has neatly stacked all of the plates, food, and hung the little teacups up throughout her kitchen.

Cady and me. We posed for an impromptu picture just for this. In retrospect, this would've been a good day for me to do makeup and hair. :) Cady's still wearing her tootsie roll pop on the sides of her mouth (yes, my kids love me and are bribed well to do so!).

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Problem with Wheat Bread

Hi guys, thought I'd give you an update on my bread making. :) The problem with baking my own bread 4 loaves at a time is...my girls don't want to eat it!!! Picky picky, I think they have a problem with the way my last batch didn't rise at all. Too bad we have to eat it all before I make more. See, that's how we made it through dental school---frugalness! The good news is that we're working on our last loaf of bread now, so hopefully tomorrow I can attempt at try number two. Wish me luck with the yeast!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Okay, I know it's not my birthday yet, but I already got my present and it is so exciting that I want to share it with you! I got a.....drumroll please.....Bosch!! My parents gave us a wheat grinder for Christmas, we bought 900 pounds of wheat for food storage, and this was the only thing holding me back from home made bread! All I have to say is, Boschs are amazing! I tried to make bread the next day (notice the word tried) and even though I didn't quite do it correctly, the Bosch made it so easy to do and I didn't mind it not turning out. (I didn't put enough yeast or flour in it). The Bosch came with a recipe book for all kinds of breads. Once I get Rhonda's whole wheat bread recipe down, I think I'm next going to try to conquer pita pockets. I'm going to try to make all of our bread from now on. Goodness knows, I've got enough wheat to do it for at least 2 years! I'm really excited about this, here's hoping my next batch of bread turns out better! This is the best birthday present ever. :D

The Leavitt's visit!!

Okay, so I actually typed everything up and was posting pictures from this trip last week, but my computer froze up and everything was lost. I got frustrated and left the computer alone for the last 4 days. Sorry this has been so delayed, but here it is!

We have been positively spoiled. Bryce's parents came up to visit us the other week. Rhonda and Ronnow arrived Thursday afternoon and Ronnow stayed until Sunday and Rhonda stayed until the following Thursday. We had so much fun!! Unlike most of our trips, we didn't go around everywhere and sight see the whole time. :) Perhaps because we already saw most of the touristy things Rochester has to offer during their trip here this past fall.

At any rate, we spent a lot of time at home just relaxing and playing with the girls. Ronnow helped Bryce complete his garage, update our kitchen light fixtures, and build a shelf to mount our microwave over the stove top. I'm loving all of the upgrades in my kitchen!! We also bought a grill that weekend, and Ronnow cooked the best steaks ever! It was so fun to see the girls with their grandparents, they read lots of books together, roared at each other (mainly Cady and Grandpa, and went on walks and played on the swings.

While Rhonda was here we went to our favorite story time and then saw the Byron zoo. We also went to visit my friend's parents who are Amish. My friend left the Amish community 4 years ago, and she has been so patient answering all of my annoying questions about the Amish. I've learned a lot of interesting things. For example, would you believe that she's never even heard of Amish friendship bread?? And they hand wash all of their clothing and hang it out to dry on the line outside, even in the negative weather during the winter! Interesting things. At any rate, her mom makes hand sewn quilts so Rhonda got to visit with her and ask her quilting questions (she's very big into quilting). I loved getting to go inside the house and see what a real Amish family lives like. It was not as different as I had expected it to be. The only difference was there was no overhead lighting, the toilets consisted of a hole in a plywood bench and the waste gets pumped out twice a year into a big truck (it was just like a permanent portapotty), and the furniture was made of wood. The people were very friendly and they practically had their own built in petting zoo with all of the animals they were raising (pigs, goats, sheep, cows, horses). We had a great time.

The end of the trip came far too soon, I was sorry to see them go. There is just nothing better than having family around. We've been trying to sell them on Rochester so they'll move out here, but Ronnow said we'd have a better chance of doing that if we moved back to Oregon. Definitely a possibility. :)

I'm sorry that I don't have very many pictures. I carried my camera around everywhere with me that week, I just kept forgetting to get it out and take the pictures! Here are the few that I have from that wonderful week:

It was definitely nice and cozy in the backseat. Rhonda was a great sport about it though. :)

Claire was so excited the night before her grandparents came that she made up her bed all pretty to show them. She actually fell asleep on top of her covers because she didn't want to mess up her bed.