"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homemade Yogurt

Thanks Erika!

When I first read my friend's post about making yogurt, something I've never done before, I decided I should try it. When I mentioned it to my mom - who is my guru when it comes to all things homemade, from lip balm to lotion to roasted coffee beans - she said "Oh I make my own yogurt every week!" Was everyone making yogurt but me?

I took the kids to the store on Monday to buy a candy thermometer, and we made our first-ever batch of yogurt that same afternoon. The recipe calls for an entire gallon of milk, but the girl who posted it recommended starting off with a quart until you get the feel for it.

I'm not one to start off small though. Why tiptoe when you can fling yourself headfirst? If I'm going to try something, I'm going to try it. My husband will attest to this fact, as will the closet filled with tubs of lip balm and baby hair clip supplies. But I digress.

We used this recipe, and it is GOOD!!! We've been eating it every day since. The only thing I will change the next time around - and there most decidedly WILL be a next time - is to leave it in its hot bath for a bit longer to produce a firmer texture. We left it vanilla flavored this time, but I'm hoping there are some fresh berries in our produce baskets this weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Science Center, Camping, & CT Scans

This past week was perhaps one of the busiest weeks we've had all summer. We were on the go daily, to and from everything from dentist and doctor's appointments, to field trips and mini-vacations. On Wednesday, we met up with our old homeschool group at the Arizona Science Center. It was the first time we've been there since Tegan was an infant, and the first time we've ever seen the planetarium (where the girl happily grabbed a nap). We were there for over 4 hours, and I'm pretty sure the kids would have liked to stay for 4 more.

Mike took the day off on Friday and we headed north for a couple of days of camping at White Horse lake. As per our usually preferred method, we took the scenic route. It was beautiful!

The campground itself was one of the nicest we've ever been to. It was in a gorgeous wooded area that reminded me a lot of New Hampshire. Our site was big and clean, and the bathrooms were surprisingly non-smelly for vault toilets! The first night was a little rough - Tegan burnt her hand on a lantern, and it took more than an hour to nurse her into feeling well enough to get some sleep. By day two she was feeling much better and not slowed at all by her bandage.

We enjoyed hanging around the site...

We visited the lake...

We hiked...

We went geocaching...

It was a good trip, a quick trip. It was nice to come home on Sunday to sleep in our own beds... not nice to get that blast of Phoenix heat when we stepped out of the car. You can see the whole album of camping pictures here.

And finally, I had a full CT scan of my kidney - and related parts - on Tuesday. Is it a sign that I've had too many of these things that I suddenly find the field of radiology very, very interesting? Anyway, I see my doctor again on Friday, and will find out what's next. Thank you to those of you who've followed my saga, asked me for updates, and sent your good wishes. I appreciate it more than you know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2nd Annual Learn Nothing Day!

This Friday, July 24th, is the second annual Learn Nothing Day. Last year our efforts to learn nothing were thwarted by an interesting movie and a need to look up New Zealand on the globe. This year I was planning on locking myself and the kids in an empty white room with no windows... but alas, we have a camping trip planned in a part of Arizona we've never visited. There's a lake, and hiking, and off-roading trails, and geocaching. I'm afraid there may be some learning once again. There's always next year!

Read more about Learn Nothing Day here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Puzzles, habits & coloring inside the lines

Everett - age 5 at the time of this writing - LOVES puzzles. He's really good at them too, and will patiently work through all his 100 piece puzzles for hours at a time. Yesterday he'd finished doing all the puzzles he had in the house, and asked me if there was a site to do puzzles online. I found this:


It is great!! You pick your picture, the number of pieces you want (from 20 to 250), even the shape of the pieces. No dropping pieces on the floor, and no toddler running off with them :-) Everett played there all afternoon.

Paxton found him in his tent:

And they worked on puzzles together:

I've realized lately, with all Everett's puzzle-playing, that I have my own personal puzzle demons. I always, always have to put the edge pieces together first. I don't think I even like putting the edge pieces together first, but I do it because I feel like that's the way it should be done, and I have a hard time, mentally, doing it any other way. Somewhere along the way someone taught me that that's how you do puzzles, and I never questioned it. I don't remember a specific incident of being told to do it that way, but I DO very clearly remember the teacher who always admonished us to outline our pictures before we colored them, which would make it easier to stay within the lines. "You can't put the cows in the pasture before you put up the fence!"

I don't think it's necessary to outline your pictures first. I don't think it's necessary to stay inside the lines!!! In fact, there's a whole lot of joy in life just outside those lines.

When Everett does puzzles, he doesn't do the edges first. He doesn't group colors together, or sort anything out before he starts. Yesterday he sat on my lap while he worked on a puzzle of an underwater scene, and I watched as he happily put together part of a fish, then some corral, then some water, then back to the fish. Sometimes he does them himself, and sometimes he wants me to do them with him. He's helping me enjoy puzzles through his eyes, and he's breaking me out of my long-held habits. I love helping him, and I love that we do them Everett-style, and don't do the edges first.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Everett's feminine side...

These pictures speak fairly well for themselves. Everett found some dresses handed down to Tegan when we were going through the closet in their room. He asked if he could try them on, and I said sure.

The Great American Pasttime

Last Sunday brought us to a Diamondbacks game. It was the third game that Mike and I had gone to (the second for the kids) and it was the third time we watched them lose. Just like the first two times, winning would have been nice, but it put no damper on our spirits. The sound of the bat cracking against the ball, the crowd cheering, the food, the smells... it was a good day. Besides, I like rooting for the underdog.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Kate McRae

I don't know Kate McRae, but she has occupied much of my thoughts and prayers the past several days. She is a beautiful five year old friend of a friend here in Phoenix, who is currently battling a brain tumor. Please, take a minute to say a prayer for Kate and her family, and for all the kids and parents who are facing such difficult paths. And hug your children extra tight.

A Video Message from Kate's Parents

Follow her Updates

Splish Splash

Yesterday we took the kids up to enjoy a splash park with their cousins. I know I posted wet pictures of Tegan just a few posts ago, but well... there's not much else to do outside in the 105 degree heat :)


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