Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lotsa Happenings

The past few days have been so full of happenings in our family that it is hard to know where to begin to write about all that is going on. Each event deserves its own blog entry but for the sake of time and actually getting it done I thought I would tell you the story of our weekend in pictures! We started the weekend of celebrations with Caleb's 16 1/2 birthday. Yes, we celebrate 1/2 birthdays...a little quirky I know....but it is a great excuse for another opportunity for fun, family and food! We started celebrating 1/2 birthdays because Caleb was born 4 days before Christmas so we wanted him to have his own time a little more separated from Christmas. We still celebrate his birthday but he gets the bulk of his gifts on his 1/2 birthday...and of course once we started doing that for him 1/2 birthdays became a tradition for everyone! This year Caleb got backpacking gear, a tripod for his camera and some cash for the new lens he is saving up for. He also got to choose the menu for the day which included Ribs ala Dad, Potato Salad, watermelon, chips & guac. We had beans as well even though that wasn't his choice but how can you have potato salad without beans....they must go together...I am sure there is a rule about that somewhere in someone's book! For dessert we had homemade ice cream and fruit. I like to try new recipes so when the request for ice cream came in I set off on a quest to find the best vanilla ice cream recipe on the net. I came across a recipe on Food Network from Good Eats called Seriously Vanilla Ice Cream. It called for real vanilla beans!! I have never cooked with real vanilla beans before so I had to give it a try. Now, once something is decided and a path has been chosen there is no turning back....not even when the vanilla beans are on sale for a mere $3 and change per bean. The gal who was helping me find them in the store assured me that that was a deal! Hmmmmm...I sucked it up and bought 2 beans....it was for Caleb after all....I was supposed to use 4 but opted on a compromise....2 beans and vanilla extract. I explained to Dave that it was all good because I had saved all kinds of money between the sale and the compromise! The reviews on the ice cream though were very good!
I don't know how often I will splurge on vanilla beans but the ice cream sure was yummy! Hmmmm.....when is the next special occasion...surely someone is having some kind of celebration that warrants $3 vanilla beans soon! Here's to hoping!

Josh, Micah and Nicole decided that they would continue the celebration by braving a cold Colorado night and sleeping under the stars on the tramp.

Here is how they started the night

and here is how they finished

On Sunday we got to celebrate Father's Day with both my Dad and Dave. It was great to have two wonderful Dads in the house for that special day. After a wonderful time at church where the highlight was Sam...one of Caleb's good friends...asking her stepdad to adopt her in front of the whole church. What a special Father's Day for him and a great reminder of our adoption by our Heavenly Father. It was a special moment. We came home to watch some golf on tv...now the only time we ever watch golf is when we are with my parents but I have to say that we all sat around the tv glued to the US Open like we loved it. We followed golf with more food of course...steaks, asparagus, grilled corn, chips and salsa and blackberry cobbler accompanied with gifts for the Dads!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day to my Dad! It was great to be able to spend the day with my Dad on Father's Day. I appreciate so much all he has taught me about integrity, honesty and hard work.Thanks Dad for being a wonderful Father!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summertime and the Living is Easy

My boys are home safe and sound!! Yea! They had an amazing time hiking, fishing, enjoying God's beautiful creation and spending time together. Caleb took some beautiful photos which I will share as soon as I get them onto my computer. From the stories I have been hearing they learned a few things up on the mountain:
1. When partaking in a freeze dried feast...forego the Cajun Chicken
2. Beef Strogonoff makes the best freeze dried meal
3. Brown bears can run really fast....thankfully the brown bear they saw ran really fast away from them and not towards them!
I was very happy when they decided they were ready for a warm soft bed and came home a night early...it was great to see them again and have everyone under one roof! I like it like that!

The day after Dave and Caleb got home my Mom and Dad and my niece Nicole decided that they would bring some of their Nevada heat to Rifle. We are enjoying having them very much. Here are some photos of some of our summertime action.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Backpacking vs. Control Issues

I have known for a while now that I have a few control issues....or maybe more than a few if truth be told. This is especially true with my family! I like to know where everyone is and what they are doing all the time. I even send a cell phone with my kids to the park so I can check in on them at any time. I often wonder how parents did this before there were cell phones. My hats are off to them! This week though my hubby and my Caleb are off backpacking. They are somewhere along Elk Creek up in the mountains! I really have no idea where exactly they are and this bothers me! Nor can I reach them on their cell...there is no service. This bothers me even more! I am sure they are having a blast, catching lots of fish, enjoying great conversation with each other, taking in amazing displays of God's glory in His creation, watching the night sky without any interference from city lights. I truly am so glad they got to go. They have both been so excited and I am excited for them! They have been planning this trip for several weeks....buying all kinds of gear including freeze dried food in a bag...just add hot water to the bag and you have gourmet meals like Beef Stroganoff for 2! They have been pouring over topography maps and Google Earth to map out where they wanted to go. So they know exactly where they are....I hope....but I am here at home and I have no idea where they are....no contact...no control. This part of it, I do not like! It has been a great exercise in faith and trust for me because even though I have no control....I know the One who is in complete control. The One who sees exactly where they are and knows exactly what they are doing all the time! I am learning to take every thought captive and I am having a lot of opportunities to practice what I am learning! When my mind begins to wander to the "what ifs" I have to go to my knees because I know there is nothing I can do....but He can do everything and He holds them in the palm of His hand! Because of that I can rest and be at peace even though I have no control.......but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the Name of Education

I discovered something about myself this week. I find it easy to spend money in the name of education! It is easy for me to admire cute clothes,very cool kitchen stuff, fun furniture and yet walk out of a store with my hands empty and my money in tact....although the very cute ocean tablescape at Pottery Barn did give me pause for a minute.

You see, this week I have been in shopping heaven...and eating heaven as well but that is for another blog. Dave and I spent the week in Denver and for a small town girl who was excited when Wal-Mart finally made it to our town, 3 full days in the big city is nothing short of sweetness! Dave was working during the day so I had long days stretching out before me where I could do whatever I wanted....no one else to consider....no boys ready to be done and move on...no one waiting for me to get back...just lots and lots and lots of stores...each one different from the next! Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrell, Chicos....all in one place! Amazing! I meandered through these store feeling very proud of myself that despite my salivating over so many cute things I did not drop a dime! I am so good! My husband will be so proud!

You do know that pride cometh before the fall...and my fall started at The Bookies! The Bookies is my most favorite store in Denver. It is not in any of the fancy malls, it is not even located in the nicer parts of town. It is found in a little strip mall on Colorado and Mississippi. Its marquee is very humble but when you walk into this store....ahhhhh the joy! Books everywhere, new books, old books, used books....books and books and books and teaching stuff....curriculum.....planners.....math games.....puzzles.....maps. I can get lost in this place for hours. There are new discoveries to be made in every nook and cranny. This is my kind of store and here is where all my best intentions to just browse without spending any money are shot down. After all I NEED this stuff. I am a homeschooling mom and so books and anything educational is very important to our home and our family....thus the floor to ceiling wall to wall built in bookshelf in my basement! Even though I could probably open my own store with what I already own...there is always something in The Bookies that has my name on it although I usually don't know what it is until I see it. After all anything I spend at The Bookies is justified...it is in the name of education after all and there is nothing quite like it in Rifle....or in Grand Junction for that matter so I must take advantage of this amazing opportunity. It would be a crime to walk out empty handed. Surely my husband would not expect so great a sacrifice....no....I am sure he would be even disappointed if I left that store without spending any money! I'm sure of it! And so to keep my hubby from being disappointed I had to finally break down and open up my wallet and let the money flow....and once it starts flowing it often times does not want to quit....at least not when the buying being done is in the name of education. After my meager purchases at The Bookies I found myself at Hobby Lobby. This time though I was with Dave and together we were able to drop quite a few dimes in the name of education....more rockets to launch....a paper airplane launcher....crafts and art supplies to help keep the kids busy on hot afternoons in the summer....all in the name of education. As I was making these purchases and finding it a little easier each time to open my purse and hand out my credit card I began to think about that cute tablescape at Pottery Barn....hmmmmmm....lots of different colors....we could talk about the science of color....oh yes....there were some shells and fishing net on the tablescape as well....that could lend itself to a discussion of oceanography and the fishing industry....maybe I can give in and buy the tablescape.....all in the name of education of course.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rockets & Snakes

Summer in Colorado can sometimes take its own sweet time in getting here but I believe it has officially arrived. Sunshine, blue skies, dandelions, hot weather, water fights, popcicles....all mark the arrival of summer days. This weekend we enjoyed some summertime!

Yesterday, Dave and Joshua launched the rocket they have been working on all spring. They attached an altimeter and an egg. The altimeter recorded a height of 264 feet and at such height the big question was....would the egg survive? The actual launch itself provided a summer thrill for all the spectators watching in awed enthusiasm as the rocket shot into the air...there was a pause of bated breath to see if the parachute would open and then the joy of victory to find the egg intact without even a crack! It was pure success! The only downside was that Caleb missed out because he was in Denver at a basketball camp....but I am sure he will be present for the next great Ziegler launch!

One of the other marks of summer at least in our household is the acquisition of reptiles....namely snakes. I am not a big fan of snakes but being mom to 3 boys has made me be able to at least look upon them without too much trepidation. Thankfully, the snakes around here are primarily of the friendly type if there is such a thing....my boys assure me there is nothing to fear and so I look with pride upon the snakes they bring to show off...I just make sure I am looking from far away!
Here is Micah with hs buddy Chris proudly showing off their latest acquisition. I can thankfully say that Hugo is now safely back in his home under our front porch....at least until the next time....
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