Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Garden Explosion!

Like a lot of you I'm sure, we're up to our ears in garden produce!  We've already done a few batches of salsa and spaghetti sauce with our tomatoes and still have so many more coming on. We love it but are sort of running out of things to do with them (as well as space in our cupboards!).  We've also had an abundance of these tiny spicy peppers.  We've thrown them in salsa and used them here and there but we really are not using them up and Doug didn't want to see them wasted.  He decided to dry them and then ground them into powder to use later.  He's so smart.  Here he has all the peppers ready for the dehydrator
and here's the final product.  We're excited to incorporate this into some of our cooking.  It's definitely potent so we'll have to see how it goes.  We were seriously choking on just the tiny amount of powder floating around in the room when he was grinding it!  Want some Liza?
Now onto the tomatoes. My mom reminded me that she likes to dry her tomatoes.  I decided to give that method as well.  You just slice them and place them on the dehydrator sheets.  Once they're dry you stick them in plastic baggies (or jars) and they're ready to use all year.  I'm planning to put them in soups or pasta dishes (kind of like sun dried tomatoes).
I also decided to give this recipe a try (  Here's what mine looked like after sitting in the oven for about 3 1/2 hours.  I did this the other day and then I put them in the food processor to make kind of a sauce.  The best is that the recipe includes sprinkling them with salt, pepper and garlic.  I love that because it's already seasoned so it makes the perfect pasta sauce!  They used Roma tomatoes to get more of a paste but I used regular tomatoes that have more water content so it was a little more saucy but that's ok with me!
I made this recipe again today but decided to put it though my tomato strainer instead of the processor.  The processor made it more chunky (which is fine if you like that) and the strainer made it more smooth and took out all the seeds and junk that you can see on the right.  I think I like the smoother sauce better.  Either way they're both tasty!  I put the sauce in quart freezer bags (I'm sure you could process it in glass jars too) and am excited to use it during the winter!
 Here's a random shot of the girls enjoying lunch today in a little "nest" Lilly built for them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Sophia!

We had a fun time celebrating Sophia's 7th birthday last week.  So hard to believe she's 7!  Apparently she's been good because she got a visit from the birthday fairy who decorated her bed while she was sleeping
 and left a few gifts for her.
She also had a few gifts for her on the table.
I think she liked what she got (she love the Swan Princess movie Tiffany!)
 Her birthday breakfast included S and 7 shaped pancakes.
This was one of the gifts she got.  It's a book from one of the presenters at the BYU symposium I went to in July.  It's called Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld and is a cute story about a cloud.  I had him sign it for her and he said "thanks for spilling the yogurt" inside since he'd used one of her mishaps to tell a story during his presentation.  She totally cracked up at that and couldn't believe he'd written that for her.  Too cute.
We also took a little something to her classmates.
And she came home with this super cute book from her class.  They'd all drawn a picture of a present they would give her.  Most of them chose a pool or a doll/princess but favorite was the kid who would give her $1,000,000.  That sounds like my kind of friend!
Later that night (after a delicious birthday dinner at Carl's Jr - her request) we went to Lilly's first soccer game.  She loved it!  She's excited to be on her best little friend Sydnee's (who thought it would look cool to be taking a drink in this picture) team.
 Ready to play!
 Action shot.
 After the game we finished the birthday celebrations with some ice cream cake.
 She was excited to eat it!
We've finally decided that it's too much work to do a party every year so we've decided to alternate between parties with friends and a family celebration. She was lucky enough to have a few friends over for cake to celebrate with us though.
One last random shot of the cute birthday girl.  We love you Sophia!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Day and Funny Things

Here's Sophia looking so excited on the first day of school.  When I went to take this picture I noticed my camera battery was dead!  Thank goodness for cell phone cameras (except for they make for crappy pictures).
 2nd Grade!
Here she is with her new teacher Mrs. Garner.  She's really excited about this new year and her teacher is awesome.  It's a new school so we're both a little nervous but I think it will be great.  When we went to meet the teacher last night we found out she commutes about 30 minutes to come here.  I praised her for making the drive but she said that it's so worth it because she loves the school so much and wouldn't give it up.  We also took a bag of stuff for the classroom and when I went to take Sophia today her teacher gave me a thank you not thanking us for the supplies  How awesome is that?!  Also last night we saw the principal (who we'd met last week when I registered her and who I think is really impressive) he made Sophia promise to come and find him in the morning so that he could walk her to class.  I thought that was awesome that he offered to do that.  I'm a little excited about this school if you can't tell.  I can't wait to hear how her first day went.
Now for the random funny pictures.  The girls got really excited about making a beautiful floral arrangement on our table with flowers from our front yard.  I think they did a beautiful job.
Here's one of Lilly from last week.  She came up to me and said "Mom. How do you think it would feel to wear a headband with this many bows on it?"  I told her I wasn't sure so she told me she'd try it on and tell me how it felt.  Love her.
We've also started to do plenty of this.  The canning season has arrived.  So far we've done spaghetti sauce, beans, raspberry pie filling, salsa and plum jam.  Thanks to both sets of parents for the fruit too!

End of Summer Trip

A few weeks ago we took on last trip to Southern Utah before school starts.  We headed to Moab and saw some dinosaur tracks along the way.  On the right side of this picture you can see a tiny puddle of water.  This is the tip of the right toe of this 3-toed dino.
Here's Doug and Mabes at the track site.  It was H-O-T!!! We were all dying and we weren't even in the sun very long!
 The girls at the site.
 Sophia in a track
 Lilly in a track.
Here's a size comparison with my foot.  The tip of the dinos middle toe is touchin the top middle of the picture.
 Quick family shot before getting back in the car to cool off!
After driving through Moab we headed up to the La Sals to camp at Medicine Lake.  It was so pretty up there but unfortunately we camped next to a lot of these.  They were a little noisy and a tad stinky.
 We were able to camp in this beautiful grove of trees though and it was gorgeous!
 We went on a nature hike and got to see the talles peak in the La Sals.
The girls also got to make nature bracelets (thank goodness for the Family Fun magazine and that I brought it to read in the car!)
 We also got to do a little fishing.  Sophia was proud to catch this fish but wouldn't go anywhere near it.
 The fish got Doug back a little when he released it.
We had fun camping in our big tent again and have definitely continued to get good use out of it this summer.  We set a goal at the beginning of the year to go camping 3 times.  I think we've gone about 5 so we're good for the year!  Thank goodness for DVD players in tents too!
After a good nights sleep (for some of us) in the tent we did a little more fishing,
found some rocks (surprise, surprise),
shot the BB gun a little
And went on another nature walk. 
When we cleaned up our tent we discovered we were lucky enough to sleep on this.  Yuck!  Good thing we had a tarp down (which we decided to dispose of after making this discover).
 It was so beautiful up there and the aspens were so thick!  It was gorgeous!
It was funny to be up in all these gorgeous aspens and pines (where it was also a little chilly) and head down a few miles to this.  Beautiful red rocks and HEAT! I love Utah.
We had a quick lunch in Utah and then headed to Price where we decided to stay another night.  The girls had fun swimming a little but the pool was also very hot.  It was seriously about as hot as a hot tub and made me really nauseous to swim in.
 This little one loved it though.
She loved to jump in and have her daddy catch her. That was her favorite!
 After swimming and breakfast we went to the Prehistoric Musuem.  It was pretty fun too.
 Here's the girls getting ready to take down this Mammoth (or do a jig with him.  I can't tell).
 In front of the pit house replica.
 This little one wanted her picture taken with everything.  She cracks me up!
 Digging for bones.
Before we left Price we decided to drive up Nine Mile Canyon a little. It was quite the adventure.  We felt like we were on a scavenger hunt trying to find everything up there.  We decided you seriously need a tour guide to show you everything!  We're pretty sure we missed half of the stuff you can see up there.  Oh well.  We did see this cool panel
 and this one too.
Overall we had a great trip and it was nice to get away one last time.  We're sad to see the summer go but excited for a new school year!