Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick Or Treat

Our small town here in Southwest Oregon we have learned that trick-or-treating is a bit different than anywhere else that we have lived!  Around 4 o'clock the festivities begin downtown and nearly all of the businesses encourage the children to go door to door in the business district where they lovingly hand out candy right off the sidewalk!  So, we walked one street, two and a half blocks both sides of the road and made a "nice haul" of candies in about a half hour!  The kids had been looking forward to doing this ALL year, as we had gone last year and it was fun.  Of course, last year, we didn't know the town very well so, we walked a LOT further to visit all of the businesses - but that took much closer to an hour and a half or more.  This year, we had more fun to get to, so we needed to hurry along!!

Bud as a Fierce Pirate
Branch as a Rodeo Queen
Blossom as a Cheerleader

So, now the rushing around for costume changing... stay tuned for the next post!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preschool Spookiness

Today, Blossom's preschool celebrated Halloween together by wearing their costumes, listening to seasonal stories, coloring fall pictures for a coloring contest at the local grocery store, eating snacks... and bunches of other fun things that I can't hear more about than, "it was so fun, mama!"  Our little blossom was a "cheerleader" and I fully expected that she would dress in one of the two dress-up costumes that she has for playtime... but NO NO NO!!  She was nearly in tears!  She knew that this summer outfit was SOMEWHERE and she needed to wear real cheer clothes!  So, I scrounged up the pink shirt to wear under the VERY summery shirt!  It turned out cute and no one mistook her costume for "play."  She was a REAL cheerleader!
I was signed up to bring snacks for today... and made a little cake to take for the kids!  Bud and Branch were a little jealous... but I had made a couple of baby bundt cakes to make each of them their own mini pumpkin.  I would load pics of them... but they were half eaten before I took pictures of them!  Hope you have had fun getting ready for your happy halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Come What May

Tuesday nights are one of our at-home date night for Pops and I.  We play a board game every Tuesday night.  I suppose that might sound "nerdy," but I guess I don't care!  We spend all evening Tuesday hanging out after the kids are in bed.  

After our game was over tonight (at 12:12 am) I took a peek at a couple friends' blogs... and got to this one and was curious about the movie that she was watching, since she and her little people will be coming up to visit (and learn to sew) tomorrow.  

Well, here it is, now, 2:13 am and I am still awake and posting this because, "HEY!  This was really great and you can see the FREE screening of this movie online for only one more day!"  So, don't do like me and start this tonight at midnight, 'cause it won't be available to watch free online.  It is about an hour and a half long... There are previews/clips of the movie that play before it starts, but you can skip them by clicking on "Part 1 - Opening Expectations."  let me know what you think of the movie!

Here's a preview - but, do go and watch the whole thing if you have time today!!

By the way... the movie was made by a group of homeschooling folks and one of the main characters, played by Victoria Emmons, is a homeschooler from "around these parts."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carving the Squash

The deed is done.  The faces are created.  Here is a peek into the process...
Draw the face that you would like on your pumpkin.
Have Pops carve out the design and then munchkins pull pieces apart.
De-seed the squash, being extra careful to get all seeds into the bowl, please!
Oh, yea - THAT bowl!  And, just this once, sitting, standing, crawling on and around the table will be forgiven!
Itty Bitty pumpkin is Blossom's.  The bigger one in the back is Branch's.
This is Branch's pumpkin, too.  (Recall our trip to the pumpkin patch where she couldn't choose just one pumpkin??  Well, here she had to make a face for them both!)
This is my squash, carved for me by Pops.  I just picked a face off of a photo that I saw and I was pleased to stay pumpkin slime-free!!
Here is Bud's Vampire Pumpkin - he would like to know that it frightened you!
Pops enjoyed carving a nice big smile on his pumpkin that was huge however had very few seeds for the roasting... My tall and thin was chock full o' seeds!
Here's the whole crew of pumpkins together!
Hope they don't all rot before this weekend!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fire Season

I am so glad that fire season is over in our area!!  'Cause if it weren't... we'd be in a heap of trouble.  This is what is left of the branches of my beloved tree.

Apparent Success

No guarantees on how successful it all was... but it feels good to learn something new and to see it all come together!

Here are the tallies:

  • Candied Apples - 12 half-pints
  • Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce - 2 quarts, 1 pint
  • Sweet Meat - 6 pints, 2 half-pints
  • Apple Butter - 2 pints, 4 half-pints, 9 4-oz. jelly jars

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Skills

So, I got a "new toy" and I am going to teach myself to use it.  I hope that it is not at the expense of someone's life via some bad bad bacteria that inhabits my handicraft.  Botulism.  Pray with me that all goes well and Botulism finds itself a dark deep hole in the ground far away from people to live in.  OK - that being said... I have purchased a pressure canner and up first is canned apple-stuff.  Pops came home with a large box of apples from a colleague and I set forth to create delicious home canned goods.  

I started with Cinnamon Candied Apples.  I started the mess with an apple corer and a bottle of fruit fresh! 
After coring the apples, I sliced my apples and tossed them in a pitcher of water laced with Fruit Fresh... an apples second best friend forever.  I am their 1st BFF!!
I made a syrup with apple juice, sugar, cinnamon red hot candies, cloves, cinnamon sticks and some other stuff that I don't remember and it doesn't add deliciousness to the recipe!  (Just safety, probably...)  Once the syrup was bubbly, I tossed in my apple chunks.  A funny thing happened... all the bubbling stopped!  OK, not so funny, but I think it is sure interesting to watch a boiling pot go from tons of bubbles to nothin' as soon as the cooler stuff is added.  NOt- funny.  I know.  Think creepy like a witch's brew... no, not like that either.  Whatever, moving on.
After a bit of patience, I got this lovely mixture back up to a rolling boil and stood near enough to inhale all the lovely fall fragrance.  mmmmmmmmmmm.  Yea, my house smelled magnificent!
Next, came packing the jars, filling with syrup and then topping with lids and rings.
Then, my pressure canner looked like this!
I set it to do its thing and got to working on this Sweet Meat that I picked up at Mary's Garden the day that we went pumpkin pickin'.  I decided that this year I would roast my own pumpkins to use for pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and pumpkin "stuff" in general.  Mary recommended the Sweet Meat and a Cinderella Pumpkin.  I decided to try the Sweet Meat first for three reasons:  
  1. It is smaller than the Cinderella Pumpkin 
  2. I had easier access to the Sweet Meat than the Cinderella Pumpkin 
  3. I wasn't convinced that this green squash would have an orange pumpkin interior!  
I guess I was expecting it to look honeydew melon-ish!
So, I chopped right in (OK, I'll be honest... I could barely cut this thing.  Pops came and sharpened my knife and stood there praying that I would leave all my fingers intact.  Just so you know, I did keep all my fingers and didn't even make a scratch!)  and found that YES, the inside of a Sweet Meat is a nice squash to up the beta carotene in your life!

I continued to work at the squash for some time trying to get some good sized pieces to put on my baking sheet to roast this interesting veggie.  I gave up on the camera and worried about getting it roasted!  I put in in the oven to roast and sat down to read a new book I picked up at the library.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good Grief, eh?

Miss Branch was invited to a Halloween Costume party.  She wanted to be a rodeo queen/cowgirl this year and lucky for me, we had nearly all parts of her costume lying around the house... except for some SCHNAZZY cowgirl boots that Geemah and PopPop sent a couple weeks ago and a "sash" that I have to make for trick-or-treat night.  

She was so proud of herself all gussied up for the party and wanted pictures taken...  The sun was really bright and there wasn't a nice shady spot outside... so, sorry about the harsh shadows on her face!  And look at those LONG legs!! She must have grown 6 inches in the past month or so!
But, here's the kicker picture... yes, she is a bit dolled up with her beauty make-up... "just like mom" she kept saying as I applied various mixes and potions to her precious baby face...
The woman hosting the party kept telling me how pretty Branch is and that she must be a model... I was just having a hard time seeing her next to her friend who was a full 6 inches shorter.  Now, she had her boots and her hat on... but she looked like a giant at the party!  Hard for mama to see her baby girl growing up!  She had a great fun time and brought home some treats to share with Bud and Blossom.  

Yes, NO MAKE-UP until she is 21 or 31... we haven't decided!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...  Ready or NOT!  Here I come!!  

It was such a beautiful day today, that after we picked up Blossom from the YMCA I decided that it would be fun to hit our local sandwich and ice cream shop!  We ate on a picnic table outside in the warm sunshine and I kept thinking how blessed we are!!  After our meal, the kids gave me the "Thanks mom, you're the best!" speech and said how fun it was for them.  

Then, Bud said, "Is there something fun that you want to do, mom?"  

I replied "Yes, there is, but I'm not sure that you guys would want to do it..."  

They pleaded, "What is it?"  

I told them that I wanted to go for a drive to look at all the pretty fall colors and they said, "OK!  Let's go do that!"  ANYTHING to avoid going home, right?!!

So, off we went east out toward some beautiful curvy and windy roads with lots of trees!  We weren't much more than 5 minutes outside of town when the griping and groaning began.  I should have known!!  It isn't fun to go for a drive with no prize at the end of the drive!  No, friends, no far away family, no surprise of any kind!!  

So, we turned around and headed back to town.  On our way back, I remembered a small out of the way park with very few pieces of play equipment.  So, we stopped to get out and swing!  You would have thought that I earned my hero badge 10 times over today!  After the swings and slide got old  (the equipment was so ancient, I am not sure "old" is the right word!) they decided that all the huge pine trees would make for a great game of hide-n-seek!  They had great fun running and chasing and hiding behind the trees.  

It was one time that it was hard for mom to say, time to go... things to do!  I guess I'll file that place away for another day when the sunshine is warm and the kids are antsy!  

A late October day filled with warm sunshine... Three well-behaved (most of the time), loving kids...  The option to take an afternoon in the middle of the week and go for a fall drive...  So many parks to choose from in our SMALL town that I forgot about one...  Love all around us...

We ARE sooo blessed!


Bud and I went and did a few errands together today after we watched this video. Click on this link and go have a look and listen. I knew that things weren't made like they were a long time ago... but, WOW! Some of this is very interesting. Go check it out! It sure sparked conversation on our trip to town and in the store...

Go watch the video and come back and jump in the leaves around here and tell me what YOU thought!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Well, here is the largest pumpkin that Bud grew out of his pumpkin patch.  It weighed in at 42 pounds for the competition and was awarded the bumpiest pumpkin award!  If you look closely, you can see the wart-like bumps on its base.  

Here is the Giant Pumpkin Award winner!  This bad boy weighed 610 pounds and was quite impressive!  
Pops and the kids enjoyed the festival and it gave me a bit of time at home to get my house cleaned up without turning around and seeing a mess trailing along all the places I had already cleaned up!

Cheer Show!

Well, the girls had a great time for the end of Cheer Clinic!  When we arrived for the performance, there were tattoos, t-shirts, pictures, games to play,

and a little bit more practice, too!
Then it was half time and time to get out there and do your thing, do your thing, do your thing, STOP.  Oh, wait, that was just a game!  Oooops... Here Blossom is doing "Orange, Black" and Woohoooo Spirit!!
Strangely, the girls are standing next to each other, but I can't get ONE picture that shows both their faces together!!  The cheerleaders did not arrange the small fries and therefore, some of the tallest girls are in the front and the shortest in the back.  Oh, well!  This is Branch makin' the "O" in G-O Go {Team} GO!!
The little cheerers did their routine twice - once for each side of the field.  Blossom didn't make it to the second side.  She had a major melt-down and needed O-U-T!!  So, she came out, got re-fueled with snacks and thought it was fine enough to go back in a gain, but the little girls were done and the high schoolers were on to their regular cheering life without their young admirers.  Branch did not finish early... here she is yelling about some tacos or burritos or guacamole.  Yea, strange - but the kids loved it.  You'll have to ask her to show you her about "Hey, Burrito!"
To finish the evening, backs of t-shirts were signed by some of the much admired cheerleaders by the little admirers!

I say... Yoo Hooo!  Yea Rah!!  Cheer Clinic is done - this was too busy of a week!!  :)  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Go Team!

At the cheer clinic Blossom attempts a herkie jump!
Here, Branch does a Star Jump!
Show your spirit, girls!!!


Block #4

This is the 4 Corners Block from A Common Thread in Portland.  I like it "ok," but I don't really like the fabric choice for the center 4 blocks.  Did you notice that the two paisley prints are the SAME just one is red and one is blue??  I think it would have looked so much better if they would have had all 4 fabrics different or 2 red paisley and 2 blue paisley.  I am willing to take this apart... wanna swap fabric squares, Mom?  I would go for all paisley or all small print and you could do the opposite.  Hmmm...  Sounds like a good plan to me!!

Block #5

This is the block from J & J Fabrics from Canyonville.  It is called London Stars and when I first got the kit from them, I wasn't thinking that this was one that I liked.  But, I like it a lot better "in person" than I do in a picture.  It was a fun one to make, though!

Block A

Uh, well, Bud was home with me this evening while the girls went with dad to their cheer clinic and then a volleyball game.  So, he did lots of little boy things like MightyMind and SuperMind,  BrainPOP, Webkinz, legos, drawing and then I thought he was going to go read in his room, when he told me that he wanted to have a quilt block and he wanted to learn how the sewing machine works!!  I later learned from Pops that my sewing machine is basically a power tool!  Well, then... So, we gathered up some scraps and Bud chose what he would like his block to look like.  Did you see that background choice??  Remember how I was telling you that I omitted a background from Block #3 and used some other scraps I had at home?  He found the cast aside fabric square and CHOSE it for his background!!  I almost couldn't believe it.  But in the spirit of encouragement and free choice... I said, great!  Now, what would you like to do with THAT fabric?  So, there ya have it - an "Uncle Sam Hat" with an interesting background!!  Glad he could find it beautiful - but I sure didn't like the look Pops gave me when he thought I pawned off the choice fabric to his son!  Ah, well... I'll keep working and hopefully love some of the other fabric!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!

The girls are all signed up for a cheer clinic and Girl OH Girl are they excited!!  They learned a cheer tonight and played lots of fun games in their pre-k/k group.

Here Blossom is running away from the"goose."  And just who did she goose in the pond of ducks?  But, of course... Branch was a great goose!
It was sort of comical.  Every time Blossom was goosed and had to goose the ducks, let me repeat, EVERY TIME - she goosed Branch!!  Silly girl!  But, in her defense... every time Branch was goosed and she had to pick amongst the ducks, she picked a little girl wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt!!
Getting jiggy with it with the cheerleaders was a hit with the girls, but concerned me.  The mother.  I was concerned.  Yes, deeply concerned.  Blossom was "jiggy with it" at her small age of 3 much better than the over 5 crowd.  hmmm... visions of years to come.
Oh, the determination!!  She was really trying her best at doing her thing!  More cheers tomorrow and Wednesday.  They will perform at half-time of the football game.  An exciting week this week, eh?