Friday, July 27, 2012

Field Trip Friday–Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market

I went to bed last night lamenting to Chad that I still didn’t know where we were going to go for Field Trip Friday.  I still have Chuck E Cheese in my back pocket, but I really don’t want to do that unless I am desperate – not only because it is rather unenriching, but because I am ticked off that they no longer have their phenomenal coupons. 

In the middle of the night I woke up with horrible allergies and at some point during the next three and half sleepless hours, I came up with what I thought was a great idea: Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market.  My boys have always liked our irregular trips there, but it didn’t really compare to some past Field Trip Fridays, so to get them involved, I told them they each had up to five dollars to use towards trying something new.  IMGP0832

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When we got there, we walked the whole market once to see what there was.  The boys were immediately wowed by some free samples of artisan bread, and in the end Colin and Oliver decided they each wanted to buy a loaf.   The man selling it was so friendly, encouraging us to come back again and again for more samples, and his bread was INCREDIBLE, so I was happy to support him.  Colin chose a loaf of Gorgonzola bread and Oliver chose Rosemary Sea Salt.  Yes, my almost four year old.  Aren’t we just so hip? 

I got some bok choy, spinach, ginger, bean sprouts, cilantro, bananas, thai basil, scallions, and an avocado, all for 10 bucks!  Sadly, none of the flower places accepted credit card, and I only had enough cash to cover the boys, or I would have treated myself.  As always, the bouquets for gorgeous.

And what did Gabe get?  A whole bunch of delicous kettle corn from a very friendly and generous vendor……

   

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…and three lemons, which he cut open with a butter knife and then squeezed into a cup, daring his brothers to partake of the sourness with him.  Six year olds are awesome like that.

The whole trip was pretty quick, which was good because it was hot hot hot.  By the time we got home, stuffed with kettle corn, Carina was ready for her nap.  I told the boys they could play all the Wii, Xbox and computer their little hearts desired as long as they let me take a nap with her.  And they did.  For 2 hours.  Mom of The Year, folks. 

For dinner tonight we had Chef’s Salad, as I grew up calling it (basically a big salad bar) and the bread.  There was some bread leftover and I keep dipping back into it.  Yum.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spokane Traditions- Strawberry Picking at Knapp’s

 

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Not far out of Spokane is the Green Bluff Growers – “as association of small family farms and fruit stands.”  Three years ago, we drove over to see if we could pick our own strawberries, and we came across Knapp’s Farm.  We were so happy with our experience there that we have gone back every year.  They are easy to find, have plenty of parking, drive you into the field in golf carts (this year a 10 year old drove our’s quite expertly), and only charge $1 a lb.  If you have never had a warm, tender, strawberry straight from the field, you don’t know how delicious strawberries can be.  They are so much more delicious than the ones you get at the grocery store. 

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My mother and father-in-law joined the fun this year.  When we got home, we carried out another tradition we created three years ago: we made four of these delicious Two Tier Strawberry Pies. and delivered them to Chad’s grandmas, his cousin, and his brother’s family.  I think we are bound by his family members keep that tradition well and alive every year we come. 

Here is the recipe, if you want to make it.  We have altered it slightly from the one on Allrecipes.com

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INGREDIENTS:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup heavy cream

1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup grenadine syrup (if you can’t find this, look in the liquor section)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whip cream until peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Spread over bottom of baked pie shell. Chill.

2. In a saucepan, mix together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water until smooth. Add grenadine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until thickened. Allow to cool, then chill.

3.  Just before serving, stir together strawberries and cooled cornstarch mixture until evenly coated. Spread over cream cheese layer.

2010 trip here (Colin is wearing the shirt Gabe wore this year..awwww) and a picture from 2010 and 2009 here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2012 Best Coleman Dessert

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While we were in Spokane, we decided to have a little dessert contest.  All the women in the family (not because we are sexist, but because the men are lazy ;o)  baked what they hoped would be a winning recipe and we all gathered to taste them.  My competition was very stiff – my mother-in-law Judy made layered dessert with brownies, cool whip, and lots of other yummy toppings, Chad’s Grandma Libbie (his dad’s mom) made a delicious flan with ice cream, his Grandma Norma (his mom’s mom) made her famous butterscotch pie, and my sister-in-law made banana cake with cream cheese frosting (which I would kill for right now) and entered some chocolate rice crispy treats in Billy’s name.  We all know that Billy was going for the kiddy vote with that one.  Shameless.

So what did I enter?  I knew that everyone was going to enter something rich, so I wasn’t sure if I should go for something lighter. After browsing pinterest for a couple of hours and getting some advice on facebook, I decided to just go for over-the-top and rich.  So I made this:

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars, from The Sweet Life.  Click on the link to see a much better picture, and to get the recipe. 

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I have to tell you, just seeing all those desserts lined up make me a little giddy and a little sick at the same time.  Each of us a plate with a sample of each, including the very excited kids. 

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After the sampling, we each got a paper for each entrant.  We placed each paper in a bowl corresponding to how we would rank the dessert – first, second, third and so on.  The winner was decided from there. 

And who won, my friends? 

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Oh, yeah.

I even got an award for each of my names – legal and pen ;o) 

Don’t look too closely at the spelling of Jeppson.

Monday, July 9, 2012

My handsome boys

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Sometimes when we are visiting family and the boys are busy busy busy,

I start to miss them a little.  I miss all the mommy-son moments that don’t occur as often as normal.

I love these guys….

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…..even when they pull a gun on their brothers during pictures.

Spokane Traditions–Lake Swimming

A really nice thing about visiting Spokane is the outdoorsy lifestyle that is embraced by the locals .  There are so many fun, family activities to do out in nature.  We have now tried three different lakes to swim in over the years.  On Saturday is was Liberty Lake, and I think this was my favorite.  The kids had a fun time playing in the sand.  The water was cold, but bearable, and actually very refreshing in a way that a pool isn’t.  Plus the scenery was just gorgeous.

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It was a hot hot day for Spokane, and with all the shade, grass, and cold water, we didn’t feel it at all.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourth of July

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We started the day with a short hike through Dishman Hills and a donut run – which is a bit of a tradition for us when when are in Spokane for the 4th.  We were joined by Chad’s brother Mike and his two kids, who are the same ages as Oliver and Carina. 

That evening, combined with Emi’s birthday party, we had a 4th of July barbeque.  My in-law’s backyard is such a great outdoor spot – my kids, especially Colin, love the hours we spend playing badminton out there.  In addition to Mike’s family, we also got to hang out with Chad’s other brother Billy and his family, including the adorable Macy pictured below, and beautiful Hailey, who as the oldest grandkid has a wonderful way of keeping the younger ones involved, entertained, and peaceful.

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In addition to the party and barbeque, Grandma had the kids each paint a birdhouse for her to hang in her backyard. Oliver and Ethan also had a good time flying some dinosaurs around the yard. 

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This family picture was taken towards the end of the evening when I demanded that we all gather together and snap it. 

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Carina has been….how to I say this politely….very attached to me since our trip together to California.  Good thing I love her so much!

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The evening ended with some illegal fireworks shot off my Uncle Mike, watched by some happy boys and a nervous grandma.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Emi

We got to celebrate my niece’s birthday the other day.  She is one year old, and just about the sweetest little toddler you will ever meet.  She waved and smiled at Carina and m ethe first time she met us, and all of my boys were already smitten with her by the time we got here. 

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During  her party, her mom and I were hanging out taking pictures as she walked around in her fluffy pink dress like a little lady, when out of her mouth popped a pebble.   We had to laugh about that. 

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Her parents threw a great party and we all had a great time.  I should mention that the picture below is the only time I ever saw Emi cry – we were trying to get a shot of all the grandkids and she was torn from her mother’s arms.

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Happy Birthday beautiful girl!  We are so happy we got to celebrate with you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Turtles

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I was in the LA area last week to attend my grandmother’s memorial, with my parents, brother Levi, sister Christie, sister Ashley with her daughter Claire, and of course, Carina.

When we visited my grandfather in his apartment at the Masonic Home in Covina, one of the first things that I noticed were all of my grandmother’s turtles.  Those turtles have followed them through the years, and the sight of them was very familiar and comforting.

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Carina and Claire grew restless pretty quickly, and wanted to spend their time out on the patio.  They were not quite sure if the turtle in the garden was real or not. 

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It was just a nice moment, watching those little girls noticing the turtles that I have so many memories of.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America

I have been in seven different states in the last couple of weeks.  I have seen mountain, river, lake, ocean, valley, desert and forest.  I am so thankful for the beauty of this land, and the life I am able to lead in this land.  My rights – my freedom to practice my religion and the way I am regarded as a woman – are such an integral part of my life that I don’t know who I would be in a different country.   I hope I never take that for granted.

 

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Catalina Island

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Los Angeles, California

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Spokane, Washington