"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wyoming Wildflowers

I took my nine year old up to Bible camp yesterday.  He's very excited.  It's the first year he is old enough to stay the entire week.  He's gone to science camp up there before but that is just over one night.  So getting to stay the whole week is a real treat.  Along with the preaching services, they have tons of great activities, including horseback riding, rappelling down a huge rock cliff, and a zip line.  He was nervous but excited.  

 I never can resist taking my camera along when I drive up to that camp.  The scenery is amazing and this week the wildflowers were everywhere.  I don't know the names of all of these, but I still love taking pictures of all of them.

This was the plant I was really hoping to find.  It's called elephant's head (for obvious reasons).  I didn't find any.  I grabbed this photo from online.  

 Even though I didn't find the one I was looking for, there were plenty of other beautiful flowers of all colors, shapes and sizes.

 The area the camp is located in is gorgeous.  Some day I'd love to live up there - somewhere very remote where we would be snowed in all winter ;)

Speaking of being snowed in, I found this book at the library - Snowed In by Barbara M. Lucas - and it has become my new favorite. :)

 I don't know what these are, but they're very interesting, tall plants.  I wonder if they will bloom, or if that white at the top is the extent of their showiness.  I might have to look closer at these when I go back to pick up our son on Saturday.

I love this exposed tree root. :)

 I think my favorite flower though is the columbine.  The white flowers in the photo here are columbines.  They grow in clumps and seem to like low areas - like they've been washed down the hill or something.

See the millions of flowers?

The photo before this was a close-up of this same area.  There are so many flowers in this area that you wouldn't be able to walk without stepping on one.  The whole forest is like that right now.  So pretty.

Here's a closer view of a clump of columbine flowers.  I'm going to plant some of these seeds around here (though I know they will probably just turn into a deer and moose buffet.)

And here's a close-up of the individual flower.

 This is blue lupine, which also grows in a clump or bush.  These are very pretty too.  I might plant some of these seeds while I'm at it.

Anyway, as you can tell, I had a nice, slow, peaceful drive home from the camp.  I was looking so forward to the nine year old getting a chance to go to camp that I wasn't anticipating the slightly sad feeling I had after dropping him off.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Well last night all I could think about was how helpful he really is around here.  I get easily annoyed with him because he's loud and all boy, but in reality, he's a pretty great kid.  I'm not sad today.  I'm excited for him to be having a fun week at camp :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Picnic Food and a Bike Basket

 We've been eating a ton of strawberries.  They're a favorite around here and we've been able to get some really good ones lately.  The one year old is particularly fond of them.  He brought me one this morning with the leaves still attached and told me to "open it." :)

We had a church picnic this afternoon.  This was a pasta salad I made for our allergic-to-everything one year old.  It consists of rice noodles, peas and carrots, egg-free mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and dill.

I also made a tomato cucumber salad that was a hit with everyone. It's another thing our allergic-to-everything son could have.  I just chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, added a little red onion and parsley, then tossed it with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  It looked so good that it was practically gone by the time we went though the line.  Thankfully I had grabbed a big serving of it ahead of time for our little one.  

 I also made an attempt at cheesecake brownies, which I really feel like were a flop.  They were too soft, so it was difficult to peel the papers off and have the cupcake hold it's consistency, and all the chocolate chips that had been mixed into the cream cheese mixture just ended up sinking to the bottom and sticking to the paper.  I also didn't think the cake part was all that flavorful.  I'll have to try a different recipe if I ever do these again.  I like the concept, but wasn't thrilled with the results.  I still took them to the picnic though since I had made four dozen of them and there's no way I wanted that many sitting around here :)

When I ordered my bike, I forgot to order a basket for the front.  I'm still going to do that, but in the mean time I needed some way to pack stuff around.  I run to the post office and to stores and want to not have to wear a backpack or carry a bag.  I checked one of the local stores (they specialize in bike stuff) and yikes!  I don't want to spend my life savings on a basket. Ha.  So I came up with a simple solution.

I attached a $3 crate I had sitting around the house to the platform piece on the back of the bike.  Originally I planned to put a baby seat there, but the platform makes it so that won't fit, and I don't want to remove it because it's part of what makes the style of the cruiser.  I looked at saddle-bag type baskets but they have the same problem.  Because of that platform piece, they won't fit.  I do still intend to get a basket for the front of the bike, but for now (and maybe for good) I like the basket on the back ... even if it looks a little odd.

 I attached it with zip ties.  It works okay, but I need quite a few more of them for this to be more stable.  That or I just need to tighten the ones that are on it.  It is fairly stable.  I went to the dollar store and had a full load coming home, including several bottles of gatorade, and it held everything fine.  But it does wobble a bit.  I also saw online that I can get a net type of bungee cord for fairly cheap, and I definitely plan to do that.  Then I won't have to worry about mail blowing out or losing anything when it's windy.

This evening we went to the park with our boys.  The nine year old and I rode our bikes, and the four year old rode his tricycle.  The one year old and Dad walked.

When we got to the park, our four year old just rode around and around the park on his trike.  See the bird in the picture?  We could hear him saying, "Birdie! Wanna ride with me?" and then patting the yellow "trunk" of his bike ;)

We took a few snacks along, including a bag of chocolate covered raisins.  Aren't these just the biggest chocolate covered raisins you've ever seen?

I took my book along but never had time to open it.  I wanted to finish this one by tonight, but it didn't happen.  Trekkerman by Ric Samulski is our library's daytime book club pick for the month (to be discussed next week).  Samulski lives here and used to own the newspaper I first worked for when I moved here back in the mid 90's, though he didn't own it when I worked there.  It's about hiking some of the world's greatest trails, and it's very interesting and humorous - even though I'm not at all into backpacking.  I wasn't too excited about this being the pick since I absolutely hated Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which our club read in February.  But this one is way better than hers.

 The one year old took his cow to the park.  He's all about cows these days and usually has a little cow with him or nearby.

Wild man on a motorcycle...

And another wild man on a dinosaur.

 We live so close to the park that the nine year old ran back to the house for his football and we all played catch.  It was a lot of fun.  Even the one year old got in on the action.

Anyway, we had a pretty fun day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ahoy Mateys!

 Why is it that the kids have the most fun when they pile every toy in the yard in one huge messy pile? The OCD part of me about has a fit every time this happens.  In my head the yard is arranged neatly with play stations, giving the kids options, so they can spread out and play nicely.  So this about kills me.  But, I have to admit that they were having a great time.

Creative too.  The nine year old turned this into a pirate ship.  I wouldn't have known that except that he made a flag ;)

Don't you just love the style here?  The almost-two-year-old insisted on wearing his cowboy boots with his overall shorts.  His shirt had a cow on it and at one point he was packing a little plastic cow in the front pocket.  This is my little rancher ;)

My sweet husband and nine year old put my bike together yesterday.  Don't you love it?  I do.  We rode to the library after all my daycare kids had left.  My husband got the honor of pulling the two youngest in the bike trailer and it about killed him lol ... especially after we added all the books to the trailer :D  It was a little stormy last night too so we decided to ride home and get a vehicle before going to dinner at the Mexican restaurant.  Good thing we did too, because we were stuffed by the time we left.  It was a nice evening. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Well, I'm still at it with the rhubarb. This was the last of the rhubarb I had from my mother-in-law.  I'm still waiting for mine to get big enough to pick.

 I thought I'd try a variation of pineapple upside-down cake, using rhubarb in place of the pineapple.  So I melted a stick of butter, added some brown sugar, and chopped up the rest of the rhubarb.  I didn't measure anything, but I would guess I used somewhere around a cup of brown sugar and maybe 4-6 cups of rhubarb.  I pressed it into the bottom of a 9x13.  Then I cheated and mixed together a boxed yellow cake mix and poured that on top.  I shouldn't have used the boxed mix.  It really wasn't that great, and it was the cake part that I didn't care for.  Just not a lot of flavor.

 Anyway I baked it as instructed on the box, and flipped it as soon as it came out of the oven.  It would have been good if I had made cake from scratch.

I served it hot with ice cream, which greatly improved the end result. :D

We've had terrible wind lately.  I mean crazy terrible wind.  It ripped down our garage cover that we put up over the bikes and strollers.  It was one of those structures made of metal poles and a tarp roof.  Thankfully it didn't damage it.  We just have to start over from scratch putting it up again, which I haven't had time to do yet.  We lost several limbs from our trees too, but thankfully nothing too large.  Just a mess to clean up.

 My flowers look like they've been through a tornado.  It dried them all out and some are knocked over.  This red one did okay though.  I have no idea what it is because it was there already, but it's really pretty.

 It has tulip/bell shaped flowers on it. Very bright red, and it seems to be pretty hardy.

Self-Contained Unit
Yesterday was "Take-Your-Nine-Year-Old-to-Work" Day ... at least it was for my husband and son :)  What a fun time they had!  My husband had to drive his hydrovac truck to Rock Springs to get new tires put on it, and got permission to take our son along for the ride.  He was thrilled.  He really had a great time. :)

Last night the UPS truck brought me the new bike I ordered for myself.  My four year old wanted to open it right away, but I thought it would be better to keep it sealed until I have time to put it together.  He kept saying "Open that little Mommy bike!"  He thought it was all put together inside the box ;)