Monday, August 03, 2015

bluewater days 2015: driving to the ranch

I have a TON load of pictures to share from our last week at the ranch so forgive me for a whole week's worth of photos from our epic adventure. Since we are trying to save our pennies for all of the house projects we have to do, we decided to drive to New Mexico from Seattle. Yep. You read that right. We are a little crazy. Maybe it's because I was prepared for the worst, but it actually ended up not being so bad.
David had the genius idea for us to drive through the night. At first, I was super worried about that plan but it was perfect for traveling with three small kids. Poor David had to drive almost the entire way because as soon as it gets dark on the road, I'm like, "Zzzzz". Anyway, we stopped in Hermiston, Oregon for dinner and let the kids play at a park we found for an hour or so to get them tired out. It was such a cool park! Lots of beautiful, green grass, a huge play structure with different "rooms", and a splash pad that we had all to ourselves. The boys had a great time and then we put on their pajamas and they slept all the way to Provo. Louisa was really good too so it was pretty non-eventful.
We arrived in Provo early Saturday morning and went straight to Christian and Stephanie's house to try to get some sleep. The kids loved the little preview of all the upcoming cousin time and spent the whole day loving playing with their cousins. Meanwhile, I met up with my best friend from college for lunch. It was so great seeing Michelle (she'll always be "Mitch" to me) and I am still dreaming about the watermelon cucumber feta salad I had. Also, let's not talk about how I look like a Martha Stewart look-alike in this picture.
We went to dinner at Sundance that evening with Christian and Stephanie. It was delicious and beautiful and all-around dreamy. Every time we go to Sundance, I'm reminded of how much I love it there. Utah is a pretty beautiful place. It's not as green and lush as Seattle but the mountains are just breathtaking!
Early Sunday morning, we got back in the car and drove the 9 hours to the ranch. When we arrived that afternoon, we were greeted by my parents, a vegetable soup from the garden and the most amazing sky and stunningly green pastures. The ranch has had a ton of rain this year and it showed! Lots of fun followed but I'll blog about that tomorrow...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

greatest of places

We've been at the ranch this week for Bluewater Days! We have been anticipating this week for over a year! We didn't get to go to the ranch last year while my parents were on their mission and we all missed it. When my parents sent out the itinerary for the week's activities (creek hike, star gazing, fireworks show, campfire on the hill, talent show and barn dance + I have my fingers crossed for some epic thunderstorms) I felt giddy. I love spending time with my family at one of our favorite places on earth!
I was prepping the boys for the upcoming good times at the ranch (Fritz especially doesn't have any memories) and we were looking at some videos of the talent show a few years ago. It was cracking me up. Then I was looking at old pictures of years past at the ranch and it made me miss baby Fritz so much! Just look at that chubby mug! Hopefully I'll have lots more great pictures and memories from this year to share with you next week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

park dinner

I'm loving Seattle summer for the long days, the beautiful weather and the endless parks and outdoor activities that we can go to. We recently discovered this really fun "castle park" by our house and our kids love it. For dinner last week, we took a picnic and played at the park in the gorgeous weather. Plus, I didn't have to do dishes so that was fantastic.
Louisa loves the swing. She does this adorable "machine gun" giggle and squeal every time we push her back and forth and she wails and kicks when I try to take her off. Exciting times, being a baby! William adores her so much and I think you can tell from these pictures. It's really sweet.
I love spending time with my family. Life is so precious and is going by so fast. I don't want to waste any time doing anything that doesn't make me happy. My children and David make me so happy. It's such a wonderful thing to love and be loved. I keep thinking about that Nature Boy song that says "The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return." It's true.

Monday, July 27, 2015

watermelon herb sorbet

Ever since last summer, when I was very pregnant with Louisa in the heat of Arizona, I rekindled my love affair with watermelon. I always liked watermelon just fine, but that summer, I couldn't get enough. It was all I wanted, all day, every day. This summer is no exception, except that I don't have the excuse of pregnancy cravings. So, when my friend gave me this recipe for watermelon herb sorbet, I was like, "OK, yes. This just makes sense." It is really smooth and has the most excellent flavor from whatever herb you choose to put in it - I did basil but next time I'm trying mint!
6 cups watermelon, diced
1 large lemon + 2 limes, juiced (8 tablespoons)
6 sprigs fresh, leafy herbs (i.e. basil, mint, oregano, thyme, tarragon, etc.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place watermelon and half of the citrus juice in a blender. Process until smooth and transfer to a bowl.

In a small sauce pan, combine remaining lemon juice, herbs, sugar, water, honey and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Strain sugar-herb mixture into watermelon puree, cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

house tour: basement before

Let's move along on the house tour, down the steps to our basement! While we were house hunting, I really wanted a "walk out" basement. If you're like how I was, and unfamiliar with walk-out basements, that means that it is not under ground but you can walk outside from the lower level. It is partially underground, but not by more than a few feet. That allows us to have a basement that is not dark or dungeon-like, which is nice for not-so-sunny Seattle. It has also been incredibly useful for us this summer because it's a good 10 degrees cooler down there. Anyway, it's in pretty rough shape, but here's the "before" pictures as well as my plan.
I haven't done much in here yet, except for try to keep the kids' toys contained along with my computer desk. It is always a mess and pretty sad, so I decided to hang up some pictures in this random corner by my desk just so I'd have something cheerful to look at temporarily.
The room is quite large. It has the same footprint as our upstairs living room, dining room and most of the kitchen. We aren't going to replace or cover the brick for the fireplace, but I'd like to paint it and do something with the fireplace insert. Then, we'll put up a mantle and mount a TV for movie nights! David has already removed the popcorn ceiling but we will need to prime and paint that. Then, he'll skim coat the walls so they'll be the same nice, smooth texture that we have in the rest of the house. Let me just tell you - that is no easy task and I think he is dreading it a little. It has made such a difference though and I am so grateful that he is willing to do it!
On this wall, we are going to do some built-in shelves. Well, to a certain extent... more like "hacked" built-ins but I need to figure that out as time goes by. The situation down here with all the kids' toys is pretty chaotic and is always a disaster. I will be happy to have some organization and also some drawers to house my fabric, craft supplies and cupboard for my sewing machine. William loves to draw and craft things so I think it will be nice to have a table for the kids downstairs.
The floors are currently this really awful 80's linoleum tile. In the winter, it's very cold and I can't wait to replace it with carpet. It'll make play time so much nicer! For now, I just put down a hodge podge of all the leftover rugs we had to create some places for the kids to play with their toys.
Bonus! We also have a little "Harry Potter" cupboard under the stairs. Right now, it has a concrete floor and a family of spiders living in there, but I can't wait to get my hands on it!