Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Audio Books For Kids

Audible Kids is offering free children's audiobook downloads. Click on the link and scroll down and click on "Free Downloads for Children's Literacy" in the lower left-hand corner of the website. There are 9 books available including Rapunzel and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as well as some titles for older kids. You do need to create a free account in order to download the free audio books, but you are not asked for your credit card number or mailing address. My kids love to listen to audio books during rest time or play. Also great to put on the iPod and take on a road trip. I burned about four different CDs in about a half hour (it took me awhile to realize that you have to download an Audible program that works with iTunes, once I did that it was a breeze). We got Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Rapunzel, The Gift of the Magi, and The Emperor's New Clothes.
Let me know if you downloaded any!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Last Ones

Mindy with a really cute hat on the beach.

Eating lunch in Astoria at the Cannery Cafe


Four Coo-Coo's in a row


Walking down the beach


Outside the Cafe in Astoria, overlooking the Columbia River.

Monday, September 22, 2008

J & E Vaca-tion at the O-cean

This weekend we dropped the kiddies off with willing Grandparents and headed out for three relaxing days to Cannon Beach with our good friends Ian and Mindy.


This is how Ian looked the whole time because he kept filming us with his new video gadget thing (what are those things called anyways?)


The last day we drove home through Astoria (since I'd never been). This is near where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific. Several tankers and a cruise ship were making their way on the river today.


Ian slept the whole way home.


Jon scratched this on a huge wall amidst other "natural graffiti". I thought it was so sweet until he continued to scratch out this:


"KISS Rocks"

Ian and Mindy at Haystack Rock


Being silly on the beach


My feet, my book (courtesy of my mom), and my coffee. I was happy, indeed.
Other highlights from the weekend included: Watching "Once" (all but the last 20 minutes when the DVD player broke), renting "3:10 to Yuma" until we figured out the DVD player really was broken), beating Ian at Hearts, drinking really great wine (courtesy of Jerry), having Jon ring the bell at the Cannon Beach Conference Center and us all running down the street like we were pulling off a tremendous and original prank, eating loads of candy, sleeping all we wanted, not having to wipe anyone's booty except our own, walking on the Oregon beach and not freezing, going on a beach weekend and not having to put on a bathing suit (yeah, all you girls know what I'm talking about), and eating fresh seafood (hey, I can appreciate it when it's fried).
We just had a wonderful wonderful time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Belly!

video
Brynne is trying to say new words every day. At the beginning of this video she is yelling "Cheese!" Among her other words are: Me too!, Baba (cup), Bepo (Auntie April), Nigh-night, Eat!, Wii (oh yeah), Do-do (Joe-Joe), and Mo! (more). Jon does this little chant with her and they slap their bellies. It's a good thing we are as silly as our kids or else I think we would all go crazy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Windfall of Fruit...continued


In between Impala and carjack now lays half of the fruit. Bartlett and D'anjou pears, Golden Delicious and Macintosh apples, and plums (i don't know the variety; the kind they make prunes out of). Hopefully it will keep there until we get back from our trip this weekend. I forgot to include what Ava said regarding all the fruit in the back of the van: "But Momma, all that fruit won't fit in our fruit bowl." :)


The finished chutney, cooling and preserving in the jars. I guess I'll make more once I restock my supplies (I ran out of sugar, raisins, and vinegar after the second batch)
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When Life Gives You Pears, Plums, and Apples...


The back of my van yesterday.
All organic, all from Louise and her neighbors.
Oh, yes...

I made some chutney this morning. This didn't even make a dent in the plethora of fruit we have. I am going to share the wealth with some fruit lovin' friends.


An Indian "relish" made with any kind of fruit. I made this one with plums.

My hubby's cousin Richard's recipe for super yummy chutney:
1/2 t cayenne
2 t salt
1 3/4 C red wine vinegar
6 mashed cloves garlic
2 1/3 C sugar
1 T garam masala
1/2 C golden raisins
2 1" pieces grated ginger
6 C chopped fruit
Cook at least one hour until thickened. Seal in clean jars.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's For Dinner Tonight


Well, this is dessert...Dutch Butter Cake (yes, I broke down and put nuts in it!) Melody gave me this recipe (her hubby's Dutch, too). This cake is great because it's not super sweet. It only has 5 ingredients in it and is an easy alternative to making "Ban Ket". It gives you that yummy almond-y taste without all the work.
Dutch Butter Cake:
2 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
1 egg
2 t almond extract
4 C flour
sliced almonds
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 T water)
Combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract. Fold in the flour. Press into 2 round greased cake pans. Sprinkle with almonds and press them in. Brush lightly with egg wash.
Bake at 350 for approximately 35 mintues.


Homemade chili made from the rest of the prime rib my mum-in-law made last weekend...yum!
I rough chopped the prime rib in the food processor, then caramelized onions and garlic, added the meat and some chili beans, black beans, beef broth, and some spices. This was even "Ava-approved" because it wasn't spicy.
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The Busch's

Read about how Hurricane Ike impacted my sis here. PTL they are all safe and now have electricity after almost a full 4 days without!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Take a Hike Ike!

This is from Mel (elisabeth's dad) with a few tid-bits added here and there:

Jamie's (my sister) power went out early so we started texting. (It's great to have more options than voice.) They had little idea of Ike direction so I decided to stay up as long as possible and monitor radar and Nat Weather Svc and keep them posted via texting. I finally went to bed about 2AM Pacific. At that time they were on the west edge of hurricane force winds and I figured it would not get any worse for them. At 5:30 AM she text'd me that it was mostly over. They are OK. The kids came through it ok though they woke up some.

They sustained a little damage to fence and landscape. There doesn't appear to be much house damage. All windows held. There are still bands of danger out there so they remain hunkered down, though it is quiet at the moment. We just communicated and she said it sounded like being close to a freight train much of the night. Very loud. She could see flashes of lightning but the wind howl was so loud they never heard the thunder. Their power remains out. If it doesn't come back on they have a friend who will share a generator. She sounded tired. They don't expect power until Monday. Jayden says the toilet still works!!! (He called it toilet electricity still works. LOL).

RE: Tom and Mercy (my uncle and aunt) and Brian and Jen (cousin and wife): I talked to Mercy last night after Jamie's power went out and they were waiting, jamie being 50+ miles farther south and west got hit first. When I got Jamie's text at 6AM Pacific the eye had just gone over Kingwood. NWS said winds around the eye were 100 mph at that time. So I suspect they got hit pretty good, though they live in a somewhat sheltered area with lots of big trees around for miles. I have not been able to reach either Mercy or Brian by phone and no response by text. I left messages. Jamie is going to try to contact them and let me know. (Jamie just called and said she was able to contact Mercy, who said she and Tom , and Brian and Jen were ok too.) According to Radar wind could diminish for them any time. Brian and Jen boarded up so that prob helped. Tom didn't but taped windows. They lost a few big trees in Mercy's neighborhood one landing on a car. That is all I know at the moment. Apparently their windows held.

My (Dad's) Cousins Dave and Sandy are prob ok as they were about the same distance from the eye as Jamie. Cousins Matt and Cheryl may have been closer to the eye. Communication will be difficult for a while as I don't have cell numbers for either of them.
Thanks for praying with us. I really appreciate it. This could have gone much worse if Ike had gone 20 miles farther west.

Jamie called 5PM an gave an update. She said when they were talking about being without power little Gracie (age 3) flexed her biceps in a body builder pose and exclaimed, "NO POWER?!" (That tyke has personality!)

Jamie confirmed Tom and Mercy, and Brian and Jen are all OK. They are perhaps 50 miles north, and they eye of Ike went right over them, but have been able to communicate once.

A store close to them reopened a few hours ago and they went to try to replenish milk. No milk there but she got to see some devastation. The store was also without power and throwing away all their perishables. She was amazed how many great old trees were down. A friend a few miles away never lost power so he is loaning them a generator as of a few hours ago. They have the refrig plugged in and are charging cell phones. Oh, and the DVD player for the kids :-). She said pray that the power will be back on by Monday because the friend has to take it back to work then.

Adam's parents did OK too. They live about 5 miles from them, farther away from Ike's path. They are without water but have power.

Yesterday Jamie was cooking something in the crockpot when the power went out. So she stuck it in the freezer section of the refrig. It was still cold today, so she cooked it on the stove and are sharing it with neighbors.

Thank you all for praying!! The Lord certainly protected our family and what is the loss of a few fence posts and trees and shingles compared to human life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We Do NOT Like Ike

So, in case you haven't heard (which I hadn't as of this time yesterday), Hurricane Ike is headed toward the greater Houston area. That just happens to be where my sister Jamie and her family made their big move to last summer. They live directly west of Houston, and so far it looks like the majority of damage will be to the east. However, they just lost power (she texted me) and we are asking you to stop and pray right now for their family and my other extended relatives who live there also. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Building Building Building


Jonah asked me last year if he could get out Daddy's hammer and build something. I said "No way!"
Well, since then I have been reading a bit more about being a little boy (something I have no experience with!) and discovered lo, and behold, that little boys should be given opportunities to build and create and this is NORMAL. :)

Jonah asked again yesterday if he could build something, and with Ava they decided they wanted to build a ladder for their "bush-fort". The designed it and made mistakes and lasted about 30 minutes before they were done for the day. They got one rung done, though!
I think both Michael Pearl and their Grandpas will be proud.
And no one smashed their thumbs, either.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Ava with her teacher.

Jonah with his teacher.
Hey, wait, they have the same teacher! :)
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First Day of School 2008


Ava's first day of Kindergarten!


Jonah's first day of Second Grade!
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Monday, September 08, 2008

The Pressure's On!

It's 9:58pm.
I walk past Jonah's door and hear him humming.
"Jonah, you need to go to sleep..."
"I'm trying to, but I'm just too excited for school."
Wow. Someone better tell that boy it's JUST homeschool. No reason to be excited! (insert sarcasm here)

Last Day of Summer



School starts tomorrow...
Mario Kart Wii tonight.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Oh, the Joy of Reading New Books!

Our homeschool curriculum came in the mail today.
That means like 40+ new books to explore and Jonah delved right in (I think it would be cruel to make him wait until we "officially" start school next week, don't you?). And I am excited to get everything organized and in it's proper spot (I know, type A).
So we're all happy today and it's quiet for now.
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