Thursday, August 20, 2009


Josh and Zeke enjoying watermelon at the church's 4th of July picnic.
Robby and Josh taking turns holding Anna.

The boys (minus Micah) at the sign to a hiking trail we found near the park in Eureka.

Phew! We have been very busy lately canning all of the goodies that are coming our way. I am enjoying it very much. It is so rewarding to see that we are not wasting the bounty of food that the Lord has provided. Last week, Jeremy and I were working on harvesting all of the blackberries on the church property. It is disheartening to see all of the bushes around the community where the berries have gone to waste. Over by the river access across the street, there were just thousands of berries (literally) that were not picked, and are now dried and shriveled. We hope to get out there sooner next year to pick lots more. We got quite a few from the bushes on the church's property, but they were pretty overgrown. So as we picked, we also cut way back. So we hope to have more next year. Also, a man from the church has been bringing us lots of things. He brought a bunch of tomatoes (4 boxes) that we turned into seasoned spaghetti sauce, and also yummy salsa! We got those canned up last week. Then this week, he brought over a bunch of peaches. We all enjoyed eating lots of fresh peaches. Yesterday, I even turned some of them into peach butter! And I experimented with only using half of the sugar and half apple juice. Yum! Jeremy and I think that living in Alaska has taught us to appreciate "living off the land." If there is food growing, we should do something with it, so it doesn't go to waste!

Annalee is getting so big! Everyday it seems she is trying new foods. Yesterday, she tried pieces of Jeremy's chocolate chip muffin. She made quite a mess of it, too. It was so cute - she looked like she had a goatee - a chocolate one. But Jeremy fed her peach yogurt after the muffin, and she didn't have as much chocolate on her face afterwards. So I missed the great photo op. We are still making her homemade baby cereal. I had to make more the other day. This time, we just made it with brown rice flour and a little white bean flour. And as often as they can, Zeke and Micah stand right beside Jeremy while he feeds her to glean any little bites that their daddy might afford them. It is really funny to watch them!

The heat has seemed a little easier to bear ever since we have returned from up north. I'm not sure why that is. The boys do very little playing outside - at least during the hot part of the day. But if I don't cook, the house stays fairly manageable. We were doing our canning outside on the portable grill that Jeremy bought for camping. It worked pretty well so that we didn't have to heat up the house. It was supposedly 114 on Monday - or at least that's what the forecast said. I have no idea how hot it really got. But today and tomorrow are supposed to be 107, before it starts to cool down to the mid 90's on Saturday. That will be nice.

We are having company again starting next week. My parents are coming down to visit us a week from Saturday. And the kids are all excited! They will be here for Silas' birthday, which will be fun for him. Sometime after they leave, I think our friends from Yale are coming down to visit again. It is always fun to have them. I think they are on their way to Disneyland, and we are just the stopping off point! ;-)
Anyways, our summer has gone well - except that the boys haven't gotten as much school done this summer as I wanted them to. Right now, we are gearing up and trying to get ready for fall. We will probably start again once all of our company leaves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Cranberries to Blackberries

There are several blackberry bushes on the property at the church. We have been enjoying their fruit for several weeks. It has been so much fun to just go out the front door and pick some fresh fruit to go in our yogurt! But yesterday morning, we went out and picked a big plastic container full of them. We had all of the boys out there helping, too. When I say helping, I mean watching. Well, Rob and Josh helped, the rest watched. And Jeremy was out there with the snippers, snipping back the bushes with no berries. But we thought back to last fall when we were in Alaska picking cranberries. So we went from picking cranberries to picking blackberries. There are lots of blackberries across the street by the river access, too. Last month, the access was closed as it was being used as a helibase for the forest fires. Now it's open, and there were lots of berries there last time we saw. So we're hoping to go this week, and that they're not all picked over. I hope to be able to make jam with them. Does anyone know any good blackberry jam recipes without sugar?


Ezekiel and Anna - the boys all love their sister!
Our roosters!

I think I forgot last time to tell you about our new roosters! After Jeremy was finished building the chicken coop, the boys had fun climbing up in it before we put the chickens in. And they looked so cute with their feet dangling out of the bottom of the coop, too.
Shortly after my last entry, our family took off north for a vacation. We went to Cannon Beach to meet up with Jeremy's family that was there for the week. We camped in Seaside, just north of Cannon Beach, and really enjoyed our time camping! Jeremy's parents helped out so we could go to the sessions if we wanted to - but it was more for the boys to be able to go to the children's sessions and play in the game room. We enjoyed the time on the beach. We got to see our new niece, and we even got to see Jeremy's sister before we took off. We drove through The Dalles, OR, stopping to see our friends there. We even got to see my friend's husband, who has been deployed since last Thanksgiving. He was home for two weeks. It was great to be able to catch up with both of them. From there, we went to Baker City, OR. We got to visit with my two brothers and their families. My parents also came down to visit with us there. My nephew, who has been deployed to Afghanistan for the last year, was there, also. From there, we went home, but not before stopping by quickly to see two other sets of friends on our way home. We had such a good time of visiting. And the camping was really relaxing for us, too. We discovered while we were out just how badly sugar affects our kids. We have been virtually without sugar for a while - we still have some on occasion, but not nearly as much as we did. While we were out on vacation, one night my brother gave Silas a cookie shortly before bed. It was after most of the week with sugar in various places. Anyways, not 10 minutes after having the cookie, he complained of a headache - with crying and fussing. So he went right to bed. He was better by the next morning, but was difficult for him. The next day, as we were driving through Portland, visiting some friends, we took our kids to Costco for dinner. I bought my kids hot dogs, which came with pop, and frozen yogurt. In the middle of the night, we woke up to Silas throwing up. Too much sugar for him. So after our nice trip, we are glad to be home with our healthier diet. For those of you that we got to visit with while we were gone, we really enjoyed our time with you! I got some pictures, and will try to post them later.