Archive Page 2

opps… and some road trippin’ fun!

So I really did mean what I said, but I guess it really doesn’t count if I don’t publish … Really,  I have started so many posts from homemade laundry detergent, sushi, honey candy to stories about our most awesome eurovan and camping in the National Parks this summer.  Really, really interesting stories, but all without endings… I know I have  to take baby steps back to my blog routine, because as I look back,  I like what I have written as a time capsule of what our family has been up to.

So tonight’s the night that I will tell about some highlights of our super duper southwest road trip:

This summer has been incredible, really super incredible. It started out with an amazing 16 day Southwest road trip that was the best one yet.  We really didn’t have a solid plan but just knew our general direction.  We were able to hit Zion, Bryce,North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arches, Mesa Verde National Parks in addition to some other magical places ( Calf Creek Falls in Utah) along the way.  Our national parks are such treasures and I would highly recommend visiting them and experiencing the true splendor that they offer. Every place we went had a different strength that made them each unique.

In Zion,  it was the high walls, the hanging gardens, the wild Virgin River that was at flood stage that made the Narrows impassable.

beauty in Zion

In Bryce, it was the sunrise to sunset trail that took my breath away. The raw beauty of the “hoodoos” honestly made me cry.

hoodoo magic

It was a treat to take the kids to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at Sunset. The colors were unreal, and the magnitude was indescribable.  It was extra special to rub “Brighty’s nose” in the lodge because we were in the middle of reading , Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Margaurite Henry.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon

At Mesa Verde I was humbled by the civilization that had occupied these cliff dwellings  more than 1,000 years ago.

the possibilities...

And at Arches…(well Arches is my favorite,) … So alive with creation,   wind and water,  that is all it is… ( well,  and camping on the blm land on the Colorado River wasn’t too bad either.)

perspective

There were so many other places that we stopped along the way that made impressions on us, but I would have to say it was the National Parks that really came through for our family on this road trip.  I was so inspired I wanted to write a letter to Mr. Obama thanking him and his predecessors for our National Parks.  That is how wonderful!!!!!!

I’m Back… i think

Well, well it has been quite a few months,  five months and a day to be exact.  Where have I been?

I have been busy with life and often thought of writing, but yet couldn’t find the motivation. Why am I writing this blog I so often asked myself?  And honestly I couldn’t figure out what the answer was, and it is still a little blurry for me.  What I do know is that I love learning new things and I love sharing what I learn. Initially I wanted to start this blog as a journal of my healing journey when I got sick last spring with c.diff, but then it turned into a place to share some of my favorite recipes, talk homeschooling, and simply talk life…  and I guess at some point it just morphed into one more thing to do.  I often visited and started entries but never finished them…   I guess I figured is anyone even  bothering to read these, b/c  I was writing for an audience?  Do I keep writing for an audience with links or do I just write for myself?  I guess that is the big question for I would love to make money (!!!!!!) yes, I would, but to what extent do I wanted to be tied to this blog?  Do I want advertisers?  Do I want to write everyday?

Well this is a start that I am going to post… might erase later, but I am still here if anyone is still there, and I am going to write at least two entries a week… starting NOW.

p.s.- I actually have about 10 entries just waiting to be finished…

Homeschooling Reads

These rainy days have kept us cozy, and we have been reading so many good books.  Homeschooling allows us the freedom to read whenever and whatever we want.  We frequent the library a bunch and even have a homeschooling book group that has chosen the best books…  I highly recommend 21 Ballons by William Pene DuBois, and then we just finished Call it Courage by Armstrong Perry.  These were both Newberry winners, but I had never heard of them.  My kids, ages 6 & 7, both thoroughly enjoyed these books’ adventures, the latter being a little scary in places but still a great read.   We also just finished The Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was such a treat.  This year we have focused on mid to late 19th century pioneer history.  We read the whole Little House Series, supplemented with short stories about Western Ho,  wagon rides, homesteading, and Native Americans.  The kids did a play, “Gold Fever,”  based on another great book, By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleichman in their homeschool class.   We also just finished another book that played in to our weekend plans, Patty Reed’s Doll, which was an account of the Donner Party.  The visit to the Donner State Park Museum along with the book provided much discussion and interest.  

I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way…

Top Three Winter Recipes in Our House

"My Mean Lentil Bean"

We all have “go to” recipes…. the ones that we don’t need a cook book for, or the ones that people ask for and we can write it down, or sometimes we can’t because we just “do it.”  For me, the winter months are synonymous for hearty soups and meat and of course the chicken broth makes it…   Here are some of mine for these winter months:

Lentil Bean Soup/Split Pea Soup —- key ingredient here is the “good bacon”

Chicken soup/Tortilla soup

Root Mash

All of these recipes are total hearty kid pleasers,  and it is the homemade chicken broth and garlic what makes them.  In a pinch  I use Imagine Brand Chicken Broth, but mostly I make my homemade broth (Nourishing Traditions Recipe) from my roast chicken carcass or a whole chicken.  I saute onions, carrots and celery and  add water, apple cider vinegar and lemon and boil and then simmer for 12-24 hours.

Super Super Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I absolutely love tortilla soup.  It is what I order most often when we go to a Mexican food restaurant.  Some of them get it right, and others not so much.  I have tried many recipes but get turned off by the preparation work and time.  So I was most excited, when a friend gave me this easy recipe.  I feel like it is cheating a little bit, but it is sooo good that well I really don’t care that I use packaged salsa.  (SHHHHH)  

Prepare your chicken by either boiling or roasting and cut up the chicken pieces. I usually use the whole chicken.  

Super Easy Tortilla Soup

– cut chicken pieces

-corn – either frozen or cut off the cob

– container of  “good” chunky salsa

–  5 cups of  homemade chicken broth

– 1 onion, garlic, cumin and coriander

– cilantro, avocado, jack cheese, and fried tortilla strips (the best part)

DIRECTIONS:
Saute onion and garlic.  Add some cumin and coriander, salt and pepper.   Add chicken broth.  Bring to a slow boil.  Add the corn,  salsa and chicken. 

While the soup simmers, fry the  corn tortilla strips in oil ( I usually use coconut  or olive), cube the cheese and avocado.

SOOOOO easy…. Enjoy the soup with all the garnishes…

“the best babysitter”

 

sooooo much fun!!

This was our first experience with Black Friday.  My husband got up at 6:00 to go and get this wonderfully awesome trampoline, it was a $100.00 less… and so worth it.  We should have gotten it years ago.  The kids and their friends have been on it every day, even in the rain!!  We love it. A family that bounces together stays together.

Part 1 of a very good story…

 

THE BAJA STORY

December 26, 2006, somewhere in the middle of Laguna Salada, Baja Mexico.  We are not “lost” yet. No, our oil pan hasn’t dropped yet, our van hasn’t stopped working just yet. We are still trying to get to our destination, Guadalupe Hot Springs.  Little did we know that we got severely off track and somehow managed to get on the Baja 500 loop.  And the story continues…

Trying hard…

 

it works in big sur

 

I am really trying to love this car… but it is taking a bit more time.  I am still sad for what we let go.  We decided to take it for a mini road trip down to Big Sur- which was fabulous.  We spent the day beach combing, after an exciting river crossing,  at Andrew Molera State Beach.

Local Food Tastes Better

I consider myself lucky having been born and raised in Northern California.  I have traveled extensively and have lived in other states and countries, but I have always managed to come “home” to California.  I really don’t think my parents would have it any other way. And being that I am Californian I have never been of want,  agriculturally speaking.  We grow everything here…practically, and sometimes year round.  But for the first time, which is kind of surprising to me in a good way, is that I am buying what is really in season- LOCAL, and therefore lessening my family’s carbon footprint.  What this means is that I have not eaten tomatoes in a few months, our last batch of apples was just before Christmas, and we are slowly learning to love the root vegetables and citrus.  Oh I must confess that I do still  buy bananas though, because I do have a baby and we love our tropical acai smoothies.  I thought of posting this after my husband came from our local foods marketplace and our box was filled with these lovely tangerines:

yummy

 

I told my kids that this is what “in season” fruit should look like because it has not been transported more than 100 miles.  We also got carrots, potatoes and greens.  To help me out in staying local I try and buy all my produce from our santa cruz local food marketplace.  I also picked up this great local food wheel for the San Francisco Bay Area.  It has really been a fun teaching tool for our whole family.

the food wheel

 

Here’s a super easy recipe with root vegetables:

  • saute one onion and  some garlic
  • add any combination of cut root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, beets, potatoes, carrots, celery root, etc.  and saute for about 10 minutes.  
  • add chicken broth
  • mash or put in blender  and return to pot.  Add dash of apple cider vinegar (b/c I do that with all my soups) and salt and pepper.
  • enjoy

Now, of course the  best way to stay local is to plant your own garden or participate in a community garden, as well as to preserve  your summer bounty… but I am not always so well organized!  I am going to try better this year with a garden.

1.1.2010… and the Front Page

 

out celebrating the blue moon in our local renegade parade

 

Last night we rode in style and made the front page  of our local newspaper.  And as my husband repeated a few times throughout the day, “in color.”  Happy 2010… I am looking forward to the new year and the new decade.   In looking back at the first decade of the 21st century, it makes my head whirl.  We bought a house, had three kids,  had some minor health issues, traveled to eight countries, seven states, had 6 careers between my partner and I,  and made many memories.  I know this decade is going to be defining in ways similar to the first; when it finishes my children will be 17, 16, and 10.  Oh,  the fun we are going to have… it just makes me smile!!