Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Canning and Baby Alligators

Let the canning begin. I hope to have a garden one day where I can can things that I have grown myself. For now I will stick to the farmer's market and the orchards for that.

A few years ago a couple good friends from Houston and I tried out canning peaches for the first time. I think I only made like 12 jars which were eaten fast. This year I wanted to try it again. I did a few things different than before and it went much smoother. My friend and I only did 14 jars to start as a trial run but plan to can 100 lbs next week. Cross your fingers they all seal and everything goes as smooth as this small batch. The peaches are so so good and came right from the Okanogan where apparently they are peach and cherry experts. 
 Here are the jars ready for the seals and then the water bath. 
 The finished peaches right out of the bath. I look forward to making some peach pie, some blueberry peach cobbler, and just eating them out of the jar.
 Next I wanted to try something new. Can you guess what I wanted to try? Pickles anyone? Philip hates pickles so much and has always referred to them as baby alligators. I guess they do kind of look like baby alligators. 

Even though he doesn't like them I wanted to make them anyways. More for me I guess. I have memories from my childhood of people giving us canned pickles and absolutely loving them. There is no comparison to store bought pickles even though I like those too. 

This time I was on my own. I went to the farmer's market with my kids and purchases all the supplies I needed. The dill weed sat in a vase overnight which gave the house a dilly aroma when we woke up. I cut up the cucumbers and had Summer help me put in the spices. It took me about three hours including clean up. 
 In the water bath. 
Finished and ready to sit for 3-4 weeks. I guess I have to be patient. Well, I must like pickles a lot because it made 21 pint jars. It was fun and now I know that I can do canning projects. It really isn't that hard. Now a pressure cooker is a different story. I would need a tutorial on that kind of canning.  Anyone want to teach me? What do you can in a pressure cooker anyways?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Long Road Trip

Well we are trying to get use to the late let out of school. We finally started summer vacation on June 29th. It seems so weird to have Summer in school for so long, however, the weather here was not summer weather in June anyways. 

After Summer enjoyed a week of horse riding camp we were ready to hit the road for our super duper long road trip. This time Phil took two weeks off so we had more time to squeeze in more places.

To start of the road trip we had to drive of course. It is a 16 hour drive to Provo, Ut which was our first destination. Add a couple hours when you drive with kids and it makes for a long road trip.

We left our 74 degree weather and as soon as we got out of the car in Oregon we felt quite a bit different. It was so much hotter and dry like being baked in an oven. I think I've been away from the Houston heat too long because I've become wimpy. 
 Anyhow, along the way we stopped at a rest stop in Idaho. Summer picked up a tumble weed and was so amazed by it. She brought it to me to show me what she found. Growing up in windy Idaho I have seen plenty of these things and have even hit a few with my car. The kids liked them but I insisted the souvenirs had to stay at the rest stop. 
 We enjoyed visiting Philip's aunt and uncle in Provo. It is always nice to see family that we don't often visit. We also went to BYU campus and looked around the bookstore. I reminisced my days of being a student there. It was fun being back. 
 Next we went to my grandma and grandpa's cabin a bit east of Heber. Philip has never been and I hadn't been in years. It was so so nice to see my family. I miss them all so much and it feels so good to see them again. I have so many memories of going to the cabin during the summer. Often times on or near my birthday. 
 As soon as we arrived Brayden found some mud. Philip decided to strip him down and let him get muddy. This is one boy who LOVES mud and dirt!

 This is down by the river that we always use to explore and play in when I was a kid. Summer loved it. 
 Summer and Brayden were pretty content with the cabin life. So much to explore outside, and occasional animals to see. 
 Summer especially loved the outhouse. I don't know why she chose to use it. It still scares me. Fortunately the cabin has normal flushing toilet and has had for a long time now. They still keep the outhouse though I guess for and extra bathroom. You won't catch me in there. Now that I think of it I am probably scared because of a story my grandpa use to tell us about an Indian that fell down and had to stay there for many many moons. Haha. As a kid I guess I really thought I would fall down. 
 I am so glad we were able to visit and show our kids the fun adventures outdoors. I love my grandparents so much and feel so fortunate for the visit we had with them. 
 Next we headed to Salt Lake City. We went to temple square for a while. I bought some really yummy Lion House rolls and honey butter. 

Summer thought it was cool to see the Salt Lake Temple. The grounds are always so pretty and full of flowers. We were able to go on a few tours we didn't realize they had. It was enjoyable. 
 Standing next to the Joseph Smith statue. 
 Of course we ended our trip in my home town of Rigby, ID. It was fun! We have not been in the summer time for four years, so we were able to do fun things. We went to the lake which was fun. Here is Brayden playing in the dirt again. He even loves to eat it. See.
 Yum Yum. 
 Summer wanted to be buried. So here she is deep in the sand. 
 Just playing.

 My nieces and nephews have always liked Phil because he usually joins them for fun. This time they pulled him on a blanket through the yard. They are all growing up now. It is weird to see them as teenagers. My oldest niece even has a baby now. So crazy! What is even more crazy is that my sister is a grandma. 
 Philip had never been to Yellowston National Park. I insisted that we finally make the 1 hour trip and go. The first stop was Mesa Falls. Here is my mom and Summer in front of the lower falls. 
 Us of course. 
The really big and pretty one is shown in a collage picture a bit below. It really is spectacular to see all of the pretty things that are in nature. 
 All Phil wanted to see was at least one buffalo or a moose. Well if you look really hard you can see what looks like a giant rock. It is actually a buffalo. 
See up a little closer you can see. 
After the day was over we were headed out of the park and saw it right up on the road. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough to take a picture of it right by the car but you can see how close it is. 
Yellowstone was really amazing. It is just so interesting. It was stinky like rotten eggs, but beautiful and mind boggling.  
 Philip is always teasing Summer about raccoons. Really he just likes to scare her and make her think one is going to come in the house. When we saw this stuffed one with sunglasses on in a gift shop we had to let her meet the little creature. She obviously didn't think that was a fantastic idea. 
 Perfect raccoon face. I should have bought the hat for her as a secret present from her dad and put it under her pillow. 
 Cowboy Brayden. 
 My nephew wearing a pair of boots that have survived so many kids at my moms house. They are a favorite among all the kids. In fact I know at least one of my older nieces would probably still wear them if the fit her. 

We were so busy the whole time that we really didn't get to visit any friends. Too bad because it would have been nice. Next time. 

Sadly we had to head home. That was another adventure. Brayden has an ear piercing scream that is going to make me go deaf soon. He usually does it in his high chair when he wants more food or is done eating. It is so loud and obnoxious. I don't know how to get him to stop. Anyhow, he decided that the car seat was another appropriate place to shriek. Lets just say he is not a good little car rider. 

We saw this car burning up and said a prayer that the people were out an OK. Then, thought how lucky we were that it was not our car. So scary. 
 Finally our adventure home hit it s climax when just outside seattle Brayden had a blowout all over his car seat. Fortunately I was in the back seat and saw it otherwise I am sure he would have been creating an art project on the window. We had to have an emergency pull over at some park and ride of the freeway. Philip had to strip him down, then held him poopy and naked up in the air for all the cars coming off of the freeway to see. I cleaned him while Phil held him. And of course we saw many spectators laughing at us in their cars as they drove past. It was awful. I will spare you the picture I took to show his wife someday. 

It really was so nice to have a longer vacation and to see so many people we have not seen in a long time. The car ride was long, but definitely memorable. We look forward to our next adventure.