Saturday, June 27, 2009

JJ sluffs swim class

This was the day JJ got booted from the level III swim class. He snuggled up in a warm towel and we enjoyed watching the action around us. He didn't care at all that he had been demoted. He was just happy to be safe and warm!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Diving Board

Level III is getting interesting. Zeke is thinking,
You want me to do what?

Umm, are you sure I should do that?

Hmmm. I don't think so...

No, I think I'll just wait here...

Aaaaaahhh! Oh no! Oh no!

Is Max gonna jump, too?

Look at him fly!

Holy Cow! I never want to do that again!

Cool! I just did that!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Frozen Yogurt Recipe

I've had several requests for this recipe, it's super easy, and yummy! I use organic yogurt. I've used both plain and vanilla flavored with good results. I think our favorite is a mixture of part plain, part vanilla--heavier on the plain.

I buy a LARGE container of yogurt. It is probably about 5 or 6 cups worth. Line a colander with cheesecloth and dump the yogurt into the colander. Use the ends of the cheesecloth to cover the top of the mound of yogurt. Place the colander in a bowl (you seriously don't want to skip this step--and no, I haven't made that mistake, but it wouldn't have been unfathomable!) I usually try to leave the yogurt overnight and end up straining more than a cup of whey out of it.

Stir 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar into 4 cups of the strained yogurt. We usually use closer to 3/4 cup with the vanilla, but slightly less than 1 cup with the plain. We like it on the tart side. Stir it until smooth and then put it back in the fridge for about an hour.

Put the mixture into your ice cream freezer and start it up! My freezer usually takes about 20 minutes to get the right consistency. I serve it promptly with fresh berries on top--raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, they're all great!

If you have any leftover (we usually don't), you can put it in a covered container in the freezer. I find it is better if you let it warm a little before you serve it from the freezer. The flavor is better when combined with a softer consistency.

I find it hard to believe that just two ingredients can make something so yummy! Feel free to add vanilla or anything else you want... We've decided that we really like it simple. The lack of any extra ingredients enable you to appreciate the full effect of the tart flavor of the yogurt combined with the sweet berries!

If you make this, please send me your feedback and any changes you made! I'd love to try your variations as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Difference of Opinion

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I'm of the opinion that we don't need a boat to be a happy family... The Mister, however, is of the opinion that a boat would truly make us a much happier family... possibly for all eternity...

As I recall, we were very recently trying to get out of the boat-ownership condition. Remember our efforts to sell The Mister's Dream? And we did have success (eventually)... So why would we want to go back now?

Regardless--The Mister talked me into meeting him at the boat shop today. It seems that he's going through severe boat-ownership withdrawals... Never mind that he can go boating with any number of friends... And let's not forget his resourceful decision to rent a boat whenever he felt the need to connect with the lake... Contrary to all our discussions, he wants to buy a boat. Ugh.

I did my part in the boat-shopping experience. I was the voice of reason. The sensible one. I stood by, and shook my head, and refused to be impressed by the well-versed salesman. I feigned boredom (actually, a lot of my look-of-boredom was authentic... shhhh, don't tell).

Regardless of how our discussions proceed, after an hour at the boat shop, I now realize there is a bigger issue at hand. The real question may be much more important than "to buy or not to buy." The dilemma might actually be what boat should we buy?

The Mister has his heart set on something like this:

While still morally (ok, maybe just fiscally) opposed to a new boat,
I have to admit to a certain affection for this:

The Buddies, however, may get everyone on the same page... They found this!

If we get this, The Buddies will be ecstatic,
oh! OH! Can we get the boat with the camper on it? Please Mom!?

I will be un-grumpy about any outrageous outlay of moolah...

And The Mister will once again have reason to be a proud boat-insurance-paying, backward-down-the-ramp-trailering, Ducky-spraying, tower-lowering-to-fit-the-garage, boat owner.

Decision made. Let's buy that boat!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Definitely Not Winter--But What?

HRH is moping around the house, listening to the thunder.

This is soooo not Summer!

The clouds are hanging heavy, but they have yet to drop their watery cargo. The hillside is green and beautiful with new growth... But the mountain tops are white with a fresh dusting.

I have to agree with The Princess... Somehow it just doesn't seem like summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Morning with Grandpa

I got an unexpected phone call this morning. Grandpa had a day off from the glass studio and wanted to take the Little Buddies to the park. The park is a favorite destination for the Buddies. They would choose to go there over just about anywhere else. I love that we live so close to grandma and grandpa. It's so fun for the boys to be able to spend the morning with grandpa.

Upon their return, I was greeted by three grinning faces. (Four if you count grandpa!) They went to Cabela's, the park, and ended their outing by picking fresh peas from grandpa's garden. A successful morning. And I enjoyed the quiet of a morning at home... Thanks, grandpa!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Exercise Hierarchy

I've determined that there exists a Hierarchy of Exercise. I've felt its influence before, on those few (very, very few) times I've actually stepped foot inside a gym... And I recently experienced it yet again.

Olivia and I have been walking. (OK, so we've gone walking once, but we have every intention of continuing.) And while I was trudging up the hill to meet her, I was passed by the devoted walkers and runners and bikers... Of course, by devoted, I really mean fanatical. But you understood that, right? Anyway, as I plodded along, it was oblivious that I was not part of the in crowd. I know, shocking, isn't it?

First, there are the walkers. I am not a walker. I am certainly not a speed walker. I am a plodder, a meanderer, a traipser. Not a walker. I don't wear the right clothes, nor do I wear the right shoes. I'm ok with that, and the walkers seem to acknowledge that without judging me too harshly. They say hello, but they don't slow down to dilly-dally. I wave as they speed-walk past...

Next come the joggers. Or the runners, as I assume they prefer to be called. They seem to travel in pairs, breathing hard, determined to keep talking anyway. They give me the nod. It's the we're so much more dedicated to this than you are nod. I'm ok with that, too. They are kind in a poor thing sort of way. I just keep plodding along...

Disclaimer: Suncrest Dug has never passed me on his bike. This may or may not apply to him. Just thought I'd make that clear...

Lastly, the bikers. They're the interesting group. You have the quirky few, like Chubby Biker, but mostly they are die-hard athletes. They travel in assorted groups. The singles are too preoccupied with the amount of wind resistance they are encountering to be cordial. The groups of two (dare I call them couples?) are usually trying to one-up each other without looking like they are putting any effort into it. And the groups of three or more are the serious competitors. These groups will be clumped together one second, but the next, one will be challenging for the lead. Before you know it, it's an all-out battle for domination. I'd hate to be the poor schlump who was enjoying the scenery when the growing rivalry erupted!

Anyway, I recognize that I'm a plebe in the world of exercise. It's an interesting place to be. And once again, I find myself wishing that I were like Chubby Biker. Who would have thought that Chubby Biker would be such an enviable figure?

And the biker who triumphantly crests the hill ahead of the pack? I guess the only time I'll outrank him in this hierarchy is when he's off the road with a flat tire. I'm ok with that, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I miss June in a small town.

I rolled out of bed this morning to meet a friend for a walk. As I started up the hill to our meeting spot, I heard sounds from down the street. I paused to listen for the source, and identified it as voices coming from the canyon. For some reason, I was disappointed that it was only voices.

I grew up in a small town. I don't mean a smallish suburb of a city, I mean an actual small town. I lived in a rural area--cows in the pasture--a traditionally quaint town. We had no traffic lights, and very few (if any?) 4-way stops. You had your choice of Duane's or Pioneer Market for groceries. The kids all cruised Main on the weekends...

Many small towns have charming or unique traditions. For some it's the dedication of the football fans. Others revel in basketball season. There are even communities committed to preserving the past through reenactments of historical events... I guess it takes all kinds, and that's what makes a small town something special.

Holidays are a unique experience in a small town. For my hometown, The Fourth of July was always an exceptional experience. In fact, people who had long moved on would return for the festivities of the Fourth. The preparations began well in advance of the seventh calendar month. And June marked the beginning of the parade preparations.

Our Fourth of July Parade has always been an impressive spectacle. Anyone who is (or has ever been) a member of a local athletic team, a member of a club, an elected official, a volunteer firefighter, a religious representative, or who has attended the local high school, has a favorable chance of participating in the parade. I remember performing with a marching group at the beginning of the parade, and then changing clothes so I could ride on a float in the later half of the parade. In fact, there were years when I pondered the possibility that everyone would be in the parade, and there would be no one left to watch the parade.

I remember rolling out of bed on chilly, June mornings to meet at the school. The Drill Team was practicing their parade routine. The Cheerleaders were practicing their chants and planning their float. And the Marching Band was practicing their marching and their music. The early hours of those June morning were often filled with strains of music from the offending sources. We used to laugh at the blunders of the tuba players. It wasn't something they could hide--they practiced while marching together all around town! I recall the year that Axel F (from Beverly Hills Cop) was the Sealgae's musical choice. Those poor people who lived along the blocks surrounding the school! I still feel sorry for them.

But those were the sounds I half expected to hear this morning. I even had time to calculate that it was that time of year... I realized that I actually hoped to hear a refrain from the marching band. But then I remembered my location. I'll miss the extravaganza that is the Fourth of July in Fillmore, Utah. I'll miss the dunking tank... The pancake breakfast at the Legion Hall... The dance... The games in the park... The talent show... The patriotic performers... The Navajo tacos... The greased pig race... I'll miss it all. Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll just have to make the drive and enjoy my hometown holiday! But until then, I'll certainly miss the preparations.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where is Chubby Biker?

Upon my return from our European vacation, I was greeted by the mass exodus of children fleeing their schools for the summer. At the same time, I was confronted by the massive amounts of laundry we had accumulated over the two weeks (mine and The Mister's... Grandma did all the kids'--bless her!). Anyway, I've been too distracted by the HE bleach-free Tide, the overdose-risky Snuggle, sorting, folding, putting-away, and the ongoing refereeing and entertaining of the kids to really take notice of the world around me.

Now that I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, it seems that my return from my European vacation was also met with noticeably warmer weather. I see bikers, joggers, walkers, stroller-pushers, and hikers... I've seen Cardiac Man... But I am in a quandary regarding Chubby Biker.

Chubby Biker, most notable for her persistence and reliability... Wind, snow, rain, heat of day--nothing has deterred her. And yet, I no longer see the plump body, wearing the nondescript parka and the baggy black sweat pants, toiling up the hill. I've watched for her. I've wondered if our schedules have failed to coincide... I trust that she's out there. And yet, I have not seen her...

Today was different, I saw her... It took a second look to verify, but I'm sure it was her. She was cresting the hill, a broad smile on her face, the parka and sweats were gone, and she was... not so chubby! I'm not sure that I'm ready to promote her to Hot Bike Chick, but if she keeps it up, she'll get there before the end of summer! Keep it up Chubby Biker--I see a promotion in your very near future!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So, this is summer?

I know I've discussed my seasonal confusion before, but apparently I'm still suffering from it. Is this summer? Or is this spring? Do we decide based upon calendar, temperature, length of daylight? I'm leaning toward it being spring... But I don't base that on anything logical. So, I guess I'm open to suggestions about appropriate terminology.

My kids are equally confused. JJ is still insisting on wearing long sleeves for fear of getting cold (with shorts, of course). I can't convince him that it's unlikely given the 88* forecast. Of course, the snow forecast for the mountains this weekend doesn't really promote confidence in the warming weather, does it?

But Max is a little more confident of sunshine and cloudless days. He started things off with a splash when he fell in the lake yesterday. (Don't worry grandma! The Mister rescued him promptly and was wearing a life vest!). He was dumped out of the tube... He can't wait to have another go at it!

Zeke just asked me (for the umpteenth time) if he has school tomorrow. I responded (for the umpteenth time) that he won't go back to school until after the summer vacation... A vacation that will include swim lessons, tumbling, music lessons, trips to the cabin, picnics, afternoons at the park, and the inevitable trip to the ER for stitches (best case) and/or x-rays and plaster (worst case)... As a side note--remind me why this is called summer vacation... It doesn't sound exactly vacation-y to me...

Anyway! Regardless of whether this is spring or summer, it's starting out well. The weather really is beautiful. The flowers along the roadside are cheerful and friendly. The crickets were chirping up a chorus last night... And, maybe best of all, we picked up the Volvo yesterday, and today I enjoyed cruising with the sunroof open. It is in much improved condition, aside from a misaligned headlamp which still needs readjusting.

We've been giving the grill a workout, and I bought marshmallows yesterday. I can almost taste the S'mores! Spring--Summer--doesn't matter. I'm loving it!

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