26 July 2011

Poda Yug/Yoda Pug

208/365 - My sweet Yoda pug.
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Can I get some free stuff now?

Hey PetSmart! Think I could get a little something something from for this little shout out? I'm in the market for both cat and dog products. Hint hint.

207/365 - Leia playing with her new frisbee. Best $1 I've spent this week, a total impulse buy.  She loves chasing the frisbee.  Then running with it, and the kids love chasing her for it.
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25 July 2011

Our favorite beach

Sunday we did go to the coast for the day to enjoy the surf and sun and have a picnic lunch.  We went to our favorite beach, Arcadia Beach, which is just a few miles south of Cannon Beach on Highway 101.

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It was still a bit foggy when we first got there...
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But it didn't take long to start burning off.
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Leia enjoyed herself, but I can't wait until she has all her leash manners. The whole jumping on me and yanking herself in every direction got old quite fast. 
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I love Adam's sense of humor, even when he is driving me batty with his sarcastic and smart-alec remarks to me.
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Lunch time!
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View from the parking lot at the top of the trail down to the beach, looking south.
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Since Yoda is such a momma's boy and doesn't wander far from me and I can call him back when he tries to go say hi to people, he gets to be lucky enough to be off leash.  He loves when the kids run ahead of me and he will run to them until he touches one of them or circles in front of them and then run back to me.  One downside to him being friendly was some guy was trying to coax him into following him home. Not joking around either, he was seriously walking away from me calling Yoda. 
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206/365 - Jumping over the waves.  When did my baby boy grow up?!
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Seagull floating on the waves.
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My baby doll, who is also growing up way too fast...
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Adam running with Leia - he was having a bit of a time keeping her from jumping on him.
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Floppy puppy happy to be on the beach.
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23 July 2011

Yada yada yada

204/365 - Yoda pug is not impressed by the camera. Or maybe he wasn't impressed with me trying to get him to look at the camera for the picture...
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205/365 - Carus and I went and got pedicures today, and I got pretty flowers on my toes too like Carus gets every time.
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Adam, Carus, and I also went and got haircuts this afternoon, but don't have pics of those.

Then we went to the store to get a few items for a picnic lunch tomorrow at the beach tomorrow. Yup! We're going to the beach tomorrow, during our little bitty heat wave (90s in town, 70s at the beach). I love the beach, I really wish we would go more often than we do.

What are you doing this weekend?

21 July 2011

It rained and rained and rained and rained and...

200/365 - Death to the stuffed animal.  It was a dog toy so she isn't in trouble.  I just thought it was funny how she had tossed all the stuffing all over the place. Robert didn't though, he got rid of the toy after the second clean up of stuffing. 
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201/365 - I made and canned spaghetti sauce. This is batch 1 of 2. I have to do it in batches because of the size of my stock pot. I got 20 quart jars of sauce plus a little bit more which we had for dinner (chicken Parmesan). For future reference, I need to save this kind of job/project for a weekend. It takes about an hour to make each batch and jar it up and then about another hour to hour and a half to process in the pressure canner, and I could only do up to 7 jars at a time so that took three batches. I was up until 12:30 and got up at 7 the next day. It was a little exhausting...

Tomato sauce, crushed, and paste.
Diced celery, carrots, onion, and garlic
Not pictured - the herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, marjoram) and sprinkle of sugar.201_365 07-19-11

202/365 - Leia meeting the neighbor dogs. Since they are walking buddies we thought it would be a good idea to get them introduced already and make sure they get along. They played so well together and wore Leia out very good.
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203/365 - Adam and Carus returned today from Gramma and Grampa's house. Their camping trip got rained out. They went out Monday, set up camp and it started to rain and rain and rain and...well you get it. They got soaked, everything got soaked, even the tent filled with water in the night. Their clothes, sleeping bags, etc all were wet and they didn't sleep to well. Tuesday morning they packed up and headed home. They still stayed with the grands for the week, and did some fun things with them, just had a nice dry house to go back to at the end of the day. They even still got to go fishing, which is something Adam was the most excited about. He had a few nibbles, but didn't catch any fish and is excited to go try again. Carus brought home a crawdad in a plastic bag and then asked if she could keep it.
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PS. Ignore the messy kitchen and the fact that my camera decided to focus on it instead of the kids.

17 July 2011

Kids gone camping with the grands, should I be (more) worried?

Or maybe PAR-TAY at my house!

Yup, the kids have gone camping with the grandparents for the week, and yes I'm worried, but I'm also excited for them.  I trust the grands, I just don't trust nature or something. They are going to be 3 hours away from me, with intermittent cell signal (if at all), near a river (and we've had record rainfalls and snowfalls this year, which means fast moving water), with wild animals. I get to be a little nervous.

It's all good though. I'm sure they'll have lots of fun. Just hope it is all fun.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Some time in the past month I did something to my back on the right side. At first I thought I slept wrong, but it didn't go away or get better, and then I thought I pulled a muscle, but it didn't go away or get better. With Robert's encouragement I made an appointment to see his chiropracter, which I did last Monday.  He thought I displaced a rib (never heard of that one??) but during the consultation he felt I had symptoms of a cracked vertebra at my T12 or L1 level or in the rib and I had to get an x-ray before he could go further (to prevent worse injury).

The x-ray came back clean (no fractures - WOO) and the doc I saw to get those done gave me a couple prescriptions for the pain (it's mostly discomfort, but it does get painful if I'm doing a lot and it's always hard to breathe deep).

You know you have the good pain meds when the warning on the side is upgraded from the "may cause drowsiness" to "will cause sedation".

I go back to the chiropracter this week and hopefully he'll be able to fix me up quickly.

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365 catch-up!  I would like to get to the point where I am posting my 365 the same day and not have to do a bunch of these catch-ups, but eh, whatcha gonna do...

195/365 - Adam.  He will be 13 soon, just a little more than a month. And then he will start 7th grade... Crazy...
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196/365 - Leia puppy!  She is getting big. We took her to the vet this week for some shots and the doc says that her age does match - looks like she might be a big dog.
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197/365 - Pretty daisy.
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198/365 - We went to the gun show and they had a couple tanks and military vehicles on display. This one was for sale and I sorta wish I could have bought it.
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199/365 - Robert and his Leia baby.  He was playing with her and she was getting tired.
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16 July 2011

How to make Raspberry Jam

So I lied, sorta. I said I might post the recipe the next day, but I haven't gotten around to it.  Puppy takes up a lot of energy.

Anyways, here it is now. I wanted to put this here so I remember for the next time I make jam, and also for anyone else looking for a recipe. When looking myself I found many different ways of doing it, but they all seemed for experienced jam makers and that I am not.

I used:
16 cups berries
1 cup apple juice (or water)
Splash lemon juice
6 tbsps pectin (2 boxes)
1 cup sugar

And got:
12 half pint jars of jam, as well as some for the refrigerator. If I had better filled the jars (or should I say, had my helper, Robert, better filled the jars) I might have just had 12 half pint jars full.

Making jam
Sterilize the jars, and keep them warm. You don't want to try to put hot jam in a cold jar. I also put the rings in the dishwasher to sterilize them. I know they don't really touch the food being canned, but I can be a little bit of a germaphobe. I'm okay with that.

Making jam
Smoosh the berries, apple juice or water, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add pectin and sugar. Bring to a boil again, lower to a simmer, and keep stirring, you don't want it to stick and burn.

Also put on a small pot of water to boil (not pictured cause I'm a dork). When it reaches a boil, turn it off and put in the lids to the jars. You want to soften the seals on the lids and also sterilize them.

Making jam
This is the pectin I used because I wanted to have more control over the amount of sugar I used, and I like that it wasn't in a box so I wouldn't be stuck if I didn't get enough boxes. 3 tablespoons from this jar equals 1 box and this jar holds about 22 tbsps (if I remember correctly).

To check to see if it is jam, take a cold spoon and dip in the jam and then let cool down and then see if it sticks to the spoon. This is also a good way to see if you need more sugar because you can do a taste test - be careful you let it cool enough. (Also not pictured cause I'm still a dork.) To keep the spoon cold you can keep it in a cup of cold water between testings.

Making jam
When it has jammed enough, skim the foam off the top. I'm not sure all of the reasons behind skimming the foam but I think one of the reasons is so it looks pretty in the jars. It might also have to do with it filling jars properly but I dunno. I just know it needs to be done.

Making jam
Fill your (hot from the dishwasher) jars with your jam up to 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch from the top.  Funnels help a lot, as does a helper that isn't overzealous with the ladle.  Robert accidentally splashed me with hot jam while filling one of the jars and HOLY MOLY did it hurt! 

Wipe the rims clean with a clean, damp rag, place a lid on the jar and then tighten down the ring.

Making jam
Turn jars up-side-down for 5 minutes then flip back over right side up. I did this on a couple kitchen towels to cushion them a bit. They will seal as they cool and you will hear it pop. Refrigerate any that do not seal (after they have cooled).  To make sure they have sealed, feel the top of the lid.  When first putting the lid on you can feel the little bubble and move it.  After it has cooled, the bubble is sucked down.  If it doesn't seal the bubble will still be there.

You can see some of my jars aren't as full as others - it's a learning process for sure!  I definitely like this flip-over canning method for jam and not having to process the jars in a water bath or pressure canner. It makes it rather easy.

The jam turned out a little tart and could probably had another 1/2 cup to maybe a full cup sugar, but I didn't want to add a lot.  Tart raspberry jam isn't bad, and now I know for the next time.

12 July 2011

I'm in a Jam. Heh heh, get it Jam

192/365 - Carus helping me in my first attempt at making jam. Spoiler alert - it was a success! Recipe to come later (probably/maybe tomorrow).
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193/365 - Yoda pug. He's starting to get used to the puppy. It helps that she is learning that chasing the pug (or the kitties) is not an acceptable game. She does interrupts his naps though (now say in an old man voice: Damn kids!).
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194/365 - I got a freakin' picture of the freakin' moon!! I TOOK THAT! Woo! Lookie, you can see the craters and everything!
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Sorry, I'm excited. It is my first moon shot and all. Thanks again for the tripod Robert!

09 July 2011

Lavender and raspberries

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191/365 - Carus and G walking through the lavender rows.

A friend, J, bought a Groupon for five bunches of lavender for the price of one and invited me to come with her to get the lavender.  We went to Mountainside Lavender.

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Carus and I joined her and her two girls and cut a whole bunch of lavender. By the end of it my hands smelled really lovely.

Then, J was sweet enough to share a couple of the bunches with me. Carus and I are going to make a few lavender wands tomorrow and then I'm going to dry the rest.

Lavender farm

I might make some lavender cookies, or maybe try my hand at making soap. It's been on my someday to try list for ages. Or I could just make some satchets for dresser drawers.

This is the same friend (slash neighbor - have I mentioned how awesome my neighbors are? Yes. Oh, well that's cause they are!) that gave me peach lavender jelly, which I really liked soooo when peaches become ripe I will be making (well attempting anyways) some of that.

Lavender farm

Anyhoo, back to the lavender farm. There were several different varieties (species?) of lavender and we mixed and matched our bunches so I have some of each. I'm not sure which is my favorite!

This is one farm of several in the area and this particular one (not sure about the other ones) has a great view of Mount Hood. Today was gorgeous and warm, but not extremely hot.

Lavender farm

After we got our lavender we headed down the road a bit to J's favorite U-pick berry farm and we got some raspberries, and ate a bunch too.
Carus was a great picker, and if I wasn't getting too hot (it wasn't roasting, but with the sun beating down on you for a few hours, you start to feel it) I could've picked more. Of course, that would have meant more berries for me to put up.

Lavender farm

I made a chocolate cake, per unanimous request from the masses, and mixed some raspberries right into the cake batter. What I licked from the beater was yummy, very chocolate-y and raspberry-y and I can't wait to try some cake.

I will frost it tomorrow, with bonus raspberries between the layers and on top.

Lavender farm

All that lavender in the basket is what we took home. Sorry that my mouth is open, I was talking to Carus when she snapped this photo.  I had her take another with my mouth shut, but I'm not in focus in that open mouth it is... :)

The lavender sat in the car during berry picking, which made my car smelled great!

Lavender farm
Wasn't the greatest help to my allergies, but the smell is good. 

Anyhoo round two - the rest of the raspberries will go into my first attempt at making jam.  Not just first attempt at raspberry jam, but first attempt at any jam.

In theory I know what I'm doing. . .

Oh and speaking of jam, at the lavender farm, since it happened to be a weekend of lavender farm tours of the area (we only went to the one farm) there were artisans and crafters out selling their goods - most of which had to do with lavender or gardening - but (the point) they had BBQ sauce, jams and jellies, and syrup, all with lavender in it.  Carus and I tested the jelly and it was pretty good.  She tested the BBQ sauce and said it was good too.

I didn't buy any (this time, maybe next) and I'm not ready to attempt to make either on my own (yet).  But still, interesting.

Well, I thought so anyways....


Look at those red, red berries.  They are as good as they look too!

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