Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One Berry, Two Berry...

...Pick me a blueberry.

Say it with me, now:

Mountains and fountains
Rain down on me
Buried in berries
What a jam jamboree!

I'm in the mood to read Jamberry by Bruce Degen!

It's raining berries around here.
Blackberries at home.
Blueberries at the U-pick farm.
Raspberries at the farm stand.


I know I've shared my favorite blackberry recipe,
Blackberry Gingerbread, with you already,
so I'll share my favorite Berry Cobbler recipe today.

Berry Cobbler

Berry Cobbler

4 cups raspberries or blackberries (or both!)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix berries and lemon juice.
Mix sugar and cornstarch.
Gently stir berry and sugar mixtures together.
Spread in 2 qt baking dish.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
Stir in milk, butter, and egg.
Spread batter evenly over berries, sealing edge.
Sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

(I often add a few extra berries and double the topping recipe. Yum!!)

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Relatives Came!

The Relatives Came

One of my favorite picture books!

Then it was into the house and so much laughing
and shining faces and hugging in the doorways.
You'd have to go through at least four different hugs
to get from the kitchen to the front room. Those relatives!

And finally after a big supper two or three times around
until we all got a turn at the table, there was quiet talk
and we were in twos and threes through the house.

We have several of Patricia Polacco's books. I love them!

We had bag races, watermelon-seed-spitting contests,
and rides on Grampa's draft horse, too.
Until Grampa waved a yardstick in the air.

All of us kids dropped what we were doing and ran to the milk shed.

We knew it was time to get measured. We did this every year.

I liked looking at the marks of my gramma and her sisters
and brothers on the same doorway.

Some shorter than mine.
Hard to imagine that once they were little just like me.


More acurately, we came (or went)... to see our relatives!

My Dad's family (he has 3 sisters and 3 brothers) have been getting together every summer for years and years. My aunt and uncle have hosted this event almost every year at their home on the Willamette River. No 'rides on Grampa's draft horse' but there is always a rousing game of volleyball going on as well as endless fun down at the river. A cousin (or two) always brings some interesting gadget or toy for the kids. This year it was a water rocket.... a big hit.

We now number in the 70s with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins. (My grandmother passed away 2 1/2 years ago. Until then, she always gave a message to the family at our Sunday morning family church service during family reunion. Grandpa passed away over 15 years ago. We miss them!!) I am always amazed at the comraderie and friendship we treasure. Seriously, I have the most awesome family!!


Water Fun

Water Rocket

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Educational Goals

A friend of mine (who happens to be an amazing teacher) and I were discussing education the other day. She was lamenting educational goals that strive to churn out children who are good at taking 'fill in the bubble' tests when her goal is to teach children how to be human beings. I couldn't fall asleep that night, thinking of what would be on my educational goal list. The next morning I started writing.

Educational Goals for My Children, or

How to Be a Human Being,
Capable of Living a Rich Life:

Trust God.

Be curious. About everything.

Read. Read. Read.

Help the underdog.

Entertain thoughts.

Set goals.

Observe nature.

Have compassion.

Discuss ideas.

Do hard things.


Build. Paint. Plant. Draw. Sing. Bake. Play an instrument.

Care for your body.

Follow through.

Appreciate beauty.

Ask questions.

Take responsibility.

Eat good food.

Play hard.

Plant a garden.

Try new things.

Share with others.

Manage your personal finances. Well.

Solve problems.

Plan for the future.

Keep house. Well.

Prepare for emergencies.

Nurture relationships.


Give of yourself.

Value truth.

Keep your word.

Smell the flowers.

Pick up after yourself.

Use time wisely.

Encourage others.

Laugh. A lot.

Brave storms.

Cultivate a spirit of gratitude.

Find passion for life.

What would you add?


I'm finding daily inspiration for life and education at

Homeschool. Style. Bytes.

Check it out!


One more for you:

Illinois Loop has a WEALTH of information, articles, and links regarding education.
Fascinating stuff, I tell ya!
I particularly found their gender bias page to be enlightening.
This site is essential reading if you have a child of school age
(whether public, private, or home schooled),
or are generally interested in the state of education in our nation.

Beach Boys

Beach Boys

Hard to believe it is week #29 at i heart faces!
I'm still coming off the high of winning 4th place
(out of 586) with my entry last week!!

We're on the beach this week (well, the theme is, anyway).
For some reason, I don't often get close-ups when we visit.
I'm thinking it might be that the boys are in constant motion.
This is one of the most realistic beach shots I have.
Three boys in three different directions.

I'm guessing other participants will have some
terrific shots to share. Head on over!

Friday, July 24, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Day 6

Pack up. Again.
Drive north to Larrabee State Park in Bellingham.
Visit the beach while waiting for our campsite to free up.
Head to our new friends' home for the afternoon and evening.
Realize our trailer battery died.
Search around for some flashlights
so we can find our beds.

Day 7

Decide to stay at Larrabee for an extra night (instead of heading south to Seattle) so we can spend the whole afternoon on the beach.

Day 8

Drag our weary bodies home.
Glad we decided against sight-seeing in Seattle for the day
as we watch the rain pour down.
Lots of reading aloud to make the drive more enjoyable.

Driving Rain

Mom and Dad and Ilex and Drake drive over
to help us quickly unload the trailer.
How nice is that?!
Just glad to be home and in our own beds.

Time of Wonder

Read Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey with the boys.
(Thanks for the recommendation, Colleen. We love it.)
Marvel and wonder at the similarities between
the children's vacation on the islands and our own island vacation...
even starting and ending with the rain.

Place our beach treasures on the 'nature table'
in the boys' bedroom.

And remember.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

San Juan Island

Day 5

Now THAT is more like it. Seriously.
Blue skies. Sunshine. White, fluffy clouds. I'll take it.

Eat more Fruit Loops.
Pack up camp. Get a ticket for the ferry.
Back to town to grab a bite to eat at the market.
Visit yesterday's picnic table.
Back to board the ferry.

That's More Like It

Enjoy the view from the ferry.
Luke discovers puzzles on the tables inside.
Luckily we can still see the view from the window...
Arrive at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.

Ferry to San Juan Island

Have a bite to eat at an outdoor cafe overlooking the harbor.
Visit laundromat #2 (drat that pesky rain yesterday!).
Browse a few shops.

Lunch @ Friday Harbor

Visit the beautiful lavender farm (and visiting sculpture).
Browse the gatehouse gift shop.
Taste-test the lavender vanilla ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness. Heavenly.

Lavender Farm


Off to admire the sculptures at the outdoor sculpture park.
Suddenly very hot. How did that happen?!

Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park (2)

Back to the ferry dock to wait in line.
Browse a few more shops while the boys stay in the truck and read.
Ahhhhh. Solitude.

Ferry ride #3. The natives get restless.

Back to Deception Pass.
Bask in the sunset.
Late dinner and crash into bed.

Sunset Again

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lopez Island

Day 4

Up bright and early. Well, early anyway. Note the gray world and drizzling rain.
Pack the truck with camping gear. Gulp. Leave the trailer behind at Deception Pass. Sigh.
Switch bike rack to truck. Get in line for the ferry ride to Lopez Island.

Cool, Wet, and Gray

The ferry ride entertains children and parents alike in spite of the weather.
First time on a big boat for the boys.

Ferry to Lopez

Hammin' it Up

A deer on the side of the road greets us as we get off the ferry.
Snag one of the last camping spots on the island (at Spencer's Spit) and breathe a sigh of relief.
Set up tent in the rain. Drive off to explore the island.
Buy lunch at the market, eat at a picnic table outside during a break in the weather,
and browse the local historical museum.

Camping on Lopez

Head back to camp.
Ride bikes down to Spencer's Spit and play on beach. Gather rocks and shells.
Make our way back to our tent to turn in early.
Eat Fruit Loops while watching a movie on Russ's laptop until the battery runs dead...

A Day at Deception Pass

Day 3

Russ takes Levi and Luke for a bike ride around the park while Leif and I sleep in...

Deception Pass

State Park

Bike riding and reading around camp (perfect area with trees and small hills for bike obstacle course and Leif really enjoyed his new-found skill!!):

Reading and Biking

Back to the beach with the whole family. Building a shelter and gathering rocks...

Stones and Shelter
Packing in 90 degree heat and arriving in 50 degree wet weather means running out of jeans and sweatshirts very early in the week. Time for the laundromat (and quite a novelty for the boys). Have some pizza while we're in town...

Hanging Out at Anacortes

Might as well turn in early since it is raining, and we have an early start tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mount St. Helens to Deception Pass

Am I only on day 2 of our vacation? Good grief.

We spent our first night at the state park near Mount St. Helens. It would have been even more inviting had there not been a militia of monster mosquitoes! I think I lost a pint of blood, and we headed into the trailer early.

The next morning dawned cool and misty. The boys rode their bikes around our camp site (Leif figured out how to ride his little bike with training wheels... I'm so glad Russ brought it along!!). Levi spent some time reading in the great outdoors.

Book Worm in the Woods

We headed up the road. Beautiful day for viewing Mount St. Helens, no?

The Mountain View

Mountain View (2)

Spent some time exploring the Forestry Center...

Forestry Center

Walked up to the look-out....

Forestry Center Look-Out

Lovely view of the clouds...

Mountain View (5)

Mountain View (3)

Mountain View (4)

We then packed up camp and headed north. The drive was dull and gray. The boys read and read and read. We finally made it to Anacortes!

The Drive

Anacortes Ferry

We parked the trailer at Deception Pass State Park and watched the sunset from the beach. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Even if it was cloudy and cool.

Sunset @ Deception Pass

Silhouette @ Deception Pass

Silhouette @ Deception Pass (2)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love at the Laundromat

ETA: I won 4th place out of 586 entries. Wahooooooooo!!

Love at the Laundromat

We're lovin' feet instead of faces this week at i heart faces.
Head on over to check out the other fancy feet entries!

Friday, July 17, 2009

And We're Off...


Very surprisingly, we did make it out of the house sometime in the a.m. hours of the 5th. (Maybe because I didn't go to bed until sometime in the a.m. hours of the 5th.) Off on an adventure, on road trip #3 with the boys, towing our camp trailer, headed north. A bit cooler than the scorching 4th and the clouds in the sky were gorgeous.

The scenery heading up to Portland was a familiar landscape. Russ commuted (ugh!) to Portland for over six years and still has personal consulting clients up that way. He regularly took the boys with him (well, not Leif...), and they are pros at riding in the car.

Mt Hood

We stopped for our first night at Seaquest State Park and took in the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center across the road. Levi read Will it Blow?: Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens, so he was prepared. We watched the movie and explored the exhibits. Our favorite was the large model of the mountain, with stairs down to an underground portion showing the interior of the volcano. Above, we could see the topography of the volcano and the land surrounding it.

Mount St. Helens Visitors Center

It was getting later. And cloudier. We decided to take it easy the first evening and postponed the drive closer to the mountain to the next day. We gazed at the scenery from the visitor center vistas. Humor me and tell me that you can see the mountain in the pictures. Please. It's there, it really is.

Viewing Mount St. Helens

Ah, that is a little better...

Mount St. Helens