Saturday, October 18, 2014


My dad arrived yesterday for our annual pumpkin patch trip and this morning the kids chose to head over to Wooden Shoe again. As usual, everyone had a great time. Corn maze, hay bales to jump and climb, slides, paintball guns, Mt. Angel sausages, water pumps with rubber ducks, wheat to grind, scavenger hunts, and more. Here's a little glimpse of our time there.

The forecast was a high of 72, but it started drizzling as soon as we arrived. We decided to take a family picture right away in case we got drenched, but the rain let up a few minutes later and it was 72 by the time we left. It's better to err on the side of caution with important things like family pictures, though ... even if one of our family members, who will remain nameless, has a hard time taking pictures seriously.

Naomi always loves this rope and netting spider web.

Teebs had fun on the animal/tire swings.

Tim and I snapped a selfie while the kids played.

At one point my dad noticed that the cows on the cow train all had names on them and that one was made for Tim.

Then we saw one for me. Ha!

We eventually made it out to the corn maze, but this year the big boys took off on their own and we met them back at the main area later on. The three adults and two youngest Ws tackled the maze together. Naomi and Papa were the navigators for much of the time.

We heard Silas and Devon at one point and I zoomed in through the stalks to prove that we saw them.

Devon loves grinding the wheat and spends a huge chunk of time doing it each year.

Silas hung out at the bean bag toss for quite a while.

My dad is working on a blog post with his own pictures right now, so I'll come back and link it up when he's done.

Friday, October 17, 2014


A few weeks ago we all walked down to a free museum down the road that we'd recently discovered, meandered over to the plaza for a picnic lunch, then strolled over to the library for a bit before walking home. It was a mellow, fun morning as a family.

There was, however, one rough patch. It involved tears. Lots of tears. And some displeasure toward the authority figures in one person's life. Check it out for yourself.

That's Teebs bemoaning the fact that we refused to allow him to keep the cigarette butt he found on the ground in the middle of the plaza. Prior to this incident he'd never heard the word "cigarette" or seen one, which made the hysterical sobbing he initially burst into pretty amusing. Of course, he denied the fact that he'd been crying at all .. but whatever.  Silly boy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MENU: 10/16/14 - 10/22/14

I had a major recipe flop last week. My goal was something like shortcake - lemon-thyme biscuits topped with heated, crushed raspberries (like a sauce). The biscuits weren't that great, plus I forgot to sweeten the raspberries and they were bitter. Bummer. In other news, I tried two new recipes that turned out well.

* whole wheat apple pancakes - Tiffany linked this old recipe in a recent post and we had a little applesauce to use up, so I spontaneously busted out a double batch for breakfast yesterday.

* beef stew - This was the first stew I'd ever made and it turned out great!

ADVANCED COOKING (These aren't always planned, so they'll often be things I did the previous week.)
* I processed and froze 10 lb. of kale last Friday.

* doughnuts at church
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings x5
* leftovers
* tacos - seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, and some other toppings served in a tortilla, bowl, as a salad over a pile of greens, or with mound of rice
lentils & rice
* pizza (Dad's treat)
* sesame honey chicken (crockpot)/rice/frozen green beans
* Lebanese red lentil soup/toast
* egg & potato scramble (we ended up having leftovers twice last week, once because I was processing kale, so this got bumped)

* produce, including some lemon garlic cukes
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department that get popped in my Lodge Dutch oven)
* banana spice cookies (part for us, part for a ladies' cookie potluck I'm hosting)

(This post contains affiliate links.)


I'm thankful that my dad will be here tomorrow.

What's something that you're thankful for?

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The little Ws learn to blow their nose correctly by their first birthday. They learn to play Uno around 2 1/2. They learn to ride a bike without training wheels when they're five.

What do all of those milestones have in common? They're all part of Tim's parenting domain.

I've never taught a child to blow their nose, but I'm super thankful Tim does it early in the game. Life is much easier when you can blow once instead of wiping twenty times.

I've never taught a kid to play Uno, but I enjoy playing with my kids once Tim's shown them the ropes and love hearing them call "Uno!" in toddler voices.

I've never worked with a kid whose training wheels have just come off, but I love seeing the excitement on the kids' faces when they master that skill and having us all reap the benefits of a kid who has more freedom in travelling options.

Sidenote for those who think the ages our kids have done things are pathetically late or amazingly early: I realize that some of you have kids who started on Striders and were riding regular bikes by three and that some of you have second graders who can't blow their noses, and that's totally fine. The ages that kids do these things are irrelevant. My point was simply that there's a pattern in our family and that Tim is the one who helps the little Ws reach these milestones.

Tim has been playing Uno with Teebs for a while now and Teebs loves it, so tonight he asked Tim to play with him. This is what's happening in our living room right now and is what prompted this post.

Fun times!!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Our homeschooling group went to Bauman's, a popular pumpkin patch about five minutes away, yesterday morning. We've lived in town for three years and in the metro area that people drive from to visit for nine years, but have never been there because the little Ws always opt for other farms that we enjoy when we go with my dad each year. We hadn't planned on going, which would have been fine, but someone offered to pay our way. We accepted their offer, marked the calendar, and have been looking forward to it ever since.

We almost didn't make it anyway, thanks to someone misplacing my keys, which made for a very tense and teary fifteen minutes or so. I even called someone to come by and pick up the confirmation papers that the group needed, but the keys were found as my friend was pulling out of our driveway. Whew!

Needless to say, I was a bit frazzled as I collected money at the start (I hate being late or rushed and am always early), but another friend jumped in with an extra pair of hands to help and we were all soon on our way. The kids and I ended up having a great time!

I asked our tour leader if I was allowed to go down the slide with Teebs and she said it was fine. It wasn't until I reached the top of the big staircase that I saw a sign saying you can't double up. I opted to go with what she told me instead of what the sign said, assuming she was bending the rules because he's little, and headed down with him.

Silas came up with a system to get kids rotating through a particular toy on the playground in a quick and fair way.

Devon had fun hiding in, pushing, rolling in, and climbing the various toys and structures in the playground.

Naomi took a break from hanging with the group and asked me to teeter totter with her.

We struck a pose together at the end of our tour, proof that we'd been there and come home with goodies.

I'm thankful for the generosity that allowed us to attend, the fun we had (and doughnuts we ate, of course), and the neat group of families we've had the privilege of getting to know over the last couple of years in the group.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MENU: 10/9/14 - 10/15/14

Here's one new recipe for you.

* chickpea chili - I have a ton of dried garbanzos, some of which I'd cooked a while back and popped in the freezer. I made this chili with one bag last week. It's not particularly amazing, but it's not bad either. I think we'll probably use it as a base, then add some extra seasonings to it the next time around.

And here's what's on tap, plus a little of what's finished.

ADVANCED COOKING (All stuff I did last week.)
* taco meat - I made up taco meat for the whole month and popped bags of it into the freezer.
* bell peppers - Devon chopped up several bell peppers and froze them.

* doughnuts at church
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings/fruit & spinach smoothies x5
* pumpkin pancakes (pumpkin from the freezer)

* leftovers
* tacos - seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, and some other toppings served in a tortilla, bowl, as a salad over a pile of greens, or with mound of rice
* creamy zuke soup (from the freezer)/cornbread (from the freezer)
* lentils & rice/roasted broccoli
* egg & potato scramble (Tim will make it because his version is always way better than mine)
* new recipe/rice
* pesto chicken pizza with homemade pesto (here's how to make it, but I have a simple version of just basil from our yard and some oil already in the freezer) and crust

* produce, including some lemon garlic cukes
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department that get popped in my Lodge Dutch oven)
* coconut scones

(This post contains affiliate links.)