an afternoon with the boys

On Monday we hit the road for a quick geocaching adventure since the kids had the day off of school.  Geocaching is such a fun way to spend some time with tweens and teens. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s like a treasure hunt. You are given coordinates and you look for little containers that contain a log that you sign to show you’ve found it. It’s a bit like a secret society. Once you know about it, you find out that geocaches are everywhere!

We actually only had an hour until I had to go pick up the Girl from her weekend away, but no matter, we just hopped in the car and fired up the Geocaching app. It was a beautiful fall day that was overcast and just a little cool. I love the fall color we get here, even if it doesn’t compete with the East coast.

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We had one of our most successful ventures, racking up five geocaches in under an hour. Sometimes you have to do fun things like climb trees and hills and bus stops.

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All in all, a great afternoon spent with my boys. Our last geocache landed us right across the street from where we were picking up the Girl. After gathering her up, we made a quick stop for frozen yogurt on the way home. Sweet!

 

easy sunday

I been thinking a lot about time. And weekends. And using the both of them well. I think we nailed it today. I woke up today thinking that it would be fun to go out to breakfast (something we do very rarely). But while I sipped my morning coffee and scrolled through my blog feed, I happened upon this recipe for and Apple Pancake. I’ve always wanted to make a Dutch Baby, but keep forgetting. Thinking that this seemed basically like the same thing, and the fact that I had all the ingredients, it seemed the perfect Sunday morning breakfast. Maybe even better than going out.

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It came out delicious, but not as fluffy as I was expecting. No matter, it was basically like having apple pie for breakfast! Now that we were off to a good start, I started thinking about what other fun things we could do. We decided on a short hike and lunch out. We all through on some shorts, grabbed the dog, and headed out. The only thing we were missing was the Girl, who is gone doing other fun things this weekend.

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I live in Southern California, and in case you haven’t heard, we are in the middle of a huge drought. Never was that more evident that out in the hills. Dry though it is, there was still a lot of beauty there. We even spied the reservoir, which was the only water to be seen.

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Now I feel perfectly entitled to spend the rest of the afternoon knitting, quilting, embroidering, and drinking tea.

Hope your Sunday was fun and restful.

november

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Here it is a week into November and I still haven’t processed that it’s fall. That’s probably in part due to the fact that it is 85 degrees outside. The biggest clue I have to the fact that we are headed straight for Christmas is that it actually cools down at night. Which is such a relief.

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I am trying to get ahead of the holidays this year and start doing things that will help me to enjoy them, instead of feeling stressed. Two things that worked out well for me last year is to complete the family calendar, that I make for my dad and siblings, before Thanksgiving. I pulled this off last year and what a difference it made! Also, to take our Christmas card picture early in November and get those cards ordered! I actually love sitting down with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie in December to address them. It’s just getting them printed that stresses me out.

So, November to do list:

1. Complete Dad’s Calendar

2. Take Christmas card picture and order cards

Other than that I want to make sure that I get in exercise, crafting, baking and spending time with friends and family. Because, really that’s what it’s all about.

{adorable embroidery pattern by the talented Minki Kim}

 

yarn along

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I may be the last person in the country to jump on the Outlander bandwagon. I was cautioned that it starts out a bit slow, but that it was worth it. I completely agree, and I think I’m hooked. I’m about halfway and it is due back to the library soon, so I think I’m going to log some serious tea-drinking and book-reading time this week.

That is, when I’m not knitting this prayer shawl. I recently joined the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church, as it seemed right up my alley. However, I didn’t really know where to start. I hadn’t actually ever knit a shawl. It turns out that people actually knit small blankets, but oh well. This is going to be a shawl. Of course, I googled it and found this website with a simple pattern. I may try something a bit more ambitious next time, but this is nice, mindless knitting–suitable for TV watching. I love the color and hope that it brings someone comfort in there time of need someday.

Linking up with Ginny.

happy fall

It’s fall and I’ve been having a hard time embracing the change in season since we have been in the middle of a heat wave for weeks. I always forget that here in southern California fall means hot, dry wind. But I’m doing my best to hunker down and find the joy that fall has to offer.

Inspired by my crafty friend, I have been playing around with crazy quilting a mug rug. It’s a lot of fun and the perfect project to pick up and put down throughout the day, whenever I have a few minutes.

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I’ve also been doing some hand quilting on this small quilt that has been languishing for a couple years now. I am hoping to turn this into a wall hanging for the master bedroom. I want to hang it over the bed, since I am afraid that anything I hang there might come down in an earthquake. But a nice, soft quilt? That would be okay.

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And I unearthed the knitting needles and started on a Prayer Shawl that will be donated to my church. I love the color so much and I hope that it will bring some peace and comfort to someone in their time of need.

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I adore fall colors and have been enjoying them everywhere. We may not get the gorgeous fall foliage they do in New England, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the beautiful colors of fall.

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This is also the time of year for us to get out into the yard and start the post-summer clean-up. Hubby and I spent an unprecedented child-free day doing just that. It’s amazing what a little TLC in the yard can do.

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But don’t worry, it wasn’t all work and no play. We treated ourselves to lunch in a charming nearby town. It was fun to reconnect and remember who we were before we had children.


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I hope you are embracing fall (or spring) wherever you are!

i wish i was at the sisters outdoor quilt show

In honor of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, which was this weekend, I’m rerunning my post form 3 years ago, when I was lucky enough to go. I’m hoping that I can catch it next year, on our way to the lake.  I scheduled an entire family vacation around getting to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, OR.  It made sense, every other year we go up to this beautiful lake house in Washington to spend a week with my brother’s family.  My dad comes too, which is key, since he is the one that drives the boat for all the tubing fun.  It occurred to me that we were going to drive through Oregon in July, so why not make sure we do it the weekend of the quilt show.  It worked out rather well, too.  We drove up to Bend, OR in one very, very, long day. The plan was for me to spend the next day at the quilt show and the rest of the family would entertain themselves in Bend.  Sisters is 22 miles from Bend and over breakfast we were trying to figure out if the family should drop me off or if I should take the car.  I didn’t really want them to have to spend an hour roundtrip twice that day in the car taking me to Sisters, but I also didn’t want to leave them without a car for their own adventures.  Then, I had an idea.  A wonderful, evil, awful idea (not really).  We were eating the free breakfast at the hotel.  There was an older couple eating there too.  I thought ‘I bet she’s a quilter and I could hitch a ride to the show with them, if only they knew I needed a one’.  So I said (a little loudly), “I wish there was a bus I could take into Sisters, so that you wouldn’t have to drive me”.  Bingo.  Through the corner of my eye I saw them exchange looks and say, “Are you going to the quilt show?  We could take you.” They turned out to be very nice, as quilters generally are, and on the ride there suggested that my family would probably enjoy checking out Lava Lands that day.  One phone call later and off to Lava Lands they went.  I am fairly certain that they enjoyed Lava Lands more than they would have enjoyed the quilt show.  I think they would have enjoyed the quilt show, for about 30 minutes, which they actually got when they drove all over town looking for me when they came to pick me up. The show was spectacular.  Sisters is a charming town of about 2000 people.  They hang the quilts all over town on the outside (and inside) of most buildings.  There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of quilts.  I found out that they start hanging them at 6 am the morning of the show.  It takes hundreds of volunteers to do it, and a little amazing that they pull it off.  The first thing that struck me as we drove into town is that the quilts are beautifully color-coordinated to the buildings.  They also hang them by theme: a tractor quilt hung at the hardware store, an Indian-style quilt hung outside a southwestern-style art gallery, baby quilts outside a children’s clothing store. The next thing that I noticed was that while the were all beautiful, many were just normal quilts that you might see at your guild’s show-n-tell.  That, apparently is the point of the show, it is a non-juried show where anyone can submit a quilt to be hung.  I liked that because I could picture myself making many of these quilts, where at the Long Beach Show, I felt that most of those quilts are unobtainable for me. I enjoyed the art quilts, which were very inspiring.  I think I’d like to try my hand at an art quilt someday. They had a block challenge, where everyone was given the same fabrics and each person came up with their own block.  It was interesting to see the range of ideas and abilities. Over time, I realized that I was really drawn to the improvisational quilts.  There was on building that had about six of this type of quilt done by the same maker hung all in a row.  Stunning.  Just wonky improvisational blocks exploring different color palettes. Another highlight was going to the Stitchin’ Post, where the Gees Bend quilters were signing autographs on fabric and their new DVD.  They had been there the previous week doing workshops.  That would have been very cool- maybe next time. Some of the Gees Bend quilts were hanging outside the store,  it was fun to see them close-up. A conversation with a quilter who took the workshop revealed something that I had never quite  put my finger on about those quilts.  Scale.  Their scale is huge compared to most quilts and that is a big part of what gives it that Gees Bend look. I walked out of the Stitchin’ Post a hour later in a cold sweat and light-headed clutching a bag of Valorie Wells new Wrenly fabric.  Crazy.  That’s what that shop was.  It was beautiful though, and I would love to go back sometime when there are not 200 people in it. After lunch, during which I had a lovely conversation with a quilter from Eugene, I realized that I was reaching overload capacity.  I sort of wandered around, trying to take in the last bits, stopped by the $1 wine tasting table, and then felt certain that I had made a wise decision to leave the show a little earlier than I had originally planned for the next adventure of the day: white water rafting on the Deschutes River.

this week in my kitchen

Not too many pictures this week, but here is what I was able to capture.

Pulled Pork in the crockpot, which was nice because I was able to keep the oven off and the house cool. I’m not a big crockpot fan, but this one was a winner. The recipe was from 100 Days of Real Food and was quite good.IMG_2570 IMG_2569Before Boy #2 went of to camp, we made his favorite dinner of BLTs.IMG_2599And while the boys were away, the Girl got a few days of her favorite dinners, which I mostly forgot to photograph, but the first night was a simple pasta with red sauce. salad, and garlic bread. That was probably my my favorite dinner at her age too. She is so my child.IMG_2656 IMG_2658I am absolutely enjoying summer fruits right now, especially cherries. It makes me sad that they are so expensive, so I never really get my fill before they’re gone. And we are all still enjoying the homemade strawberry jam on toast almost every morning. IMG_2666I never took a picture of it, but in place of my morning latte, the last few mornings I’ve been enjoying a London Fog. Here is how you make it:

  • Brew up a half a cup of Earl Grey Tea
  • Warm up a cup of milk with a splash of vanilla and a little honey
  • Froth it up with a milk frother (optional)
  • Pour it into the tea
  • Enjoy!

Linking up with Heather over at Beauty that Moves.