Sunday, June 29, 2008

Madrona Marsh, a true oasis

even though our camp fire group is taking a break for most of the summer, i couldnt help scheduling a nature walk through madrona marsh, a locally saved wetlands reserve. i have walked through it a few times, but taking a guided tour really makes a big difference. its like going to a museum and wandering around on your own versus having someone tell you cool facts about each painting as you go, there is just no comparison.

we headed out with our guide and learned about different kinds of wetlands, native plants, animals that live here and how this particular wetlands changes with the seasons.




this little frog was sitting in the drinking fountain. i have posted before that growing up, frogs and toads were my most favorite critters and i knew when to find them (during our rainiest season)... i havent seen a frog in the wild where i live in decades. even at my parents house, there are no more frogs. it seems a symbolic creature to me, something lost that my own kids are not going to experience the way i did, something that i never knew as a child would someday be gone.

this area is full of jumping frogs, they hop like popcorn from the grass, a real joy to witness

madrona marsh has a dry, grassy outer circle with a lush wet center full of swampy frog and fish filled ponds and large trees. this area was almost developed into an apartment complex, stores and apartments surround it on all sides. why is it so hard to get people on board to save places like this?


bones are always fascinating

raccoon tracks

i am happy to say, this place is a success story, it was saved. i watched my kids and their friends pick flowers, catch frogs, hunt for bones and track wild animals right in the middle of a bustling crowded city. i cant wait for the day they can walk down the street to a wetlands preserve full of fish, birds and wildlife, just down the street and close to home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



every summer i juggle working and being with the kids, even more so than during the school year. when we were planning a big move to colorado, i was looking forward to being able to stay home or at least taking summers off with the kids. that move didnt happen, so here we are again, another summer of fun but lots of work coming in too. elizabeth is in preschool, which runs year round. they do a daily swim and she is signed up for swim lessons, she never complains about going since there is so much going on.

 i have emily in day camp every other week, she will be with my mom the weeks in between. that is the plan and then whenever i can get a day off, i will just keep emily and get liz out of school early. something new this year is the network of moms (families) who are calling eachother to make last minute playdates. i am late to the "playdate" scene because i am honestly just too lazy and busy to make the calls and then watch the clock for drop off and pick up times, it makes me feel like i am at work for some reason. i have to admit though that yesterday a last minute playdate for emily saved the day, she was whining about this and that and a bike ride over to a friends house was just what was needed to improve her mood (and we both got some excercise). 

so, just like my camp fire group improves with time, so is my parenting... i am less worried and more open to new ideas. more willing to drop everything and just go with the flow, change the plans, be less rigid. of course i thought i was just this amazing organized person, when in reality i was (is) just a control freak who makes a plan and will go down in flames to get it completed. (oh the drama!)
heres to hoping this summer = relaxation, down time, naps, laziness, breezy beaches, long slow bike rides, wet bathing suits, weeds gone amok and lots of nothing getting done.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008




sunflower and corn

this corner of the garden is as wacky as it gets. i seeded carrots that never came up (until now) and leeks (one tiny leek is growing now) and california poppies (which came up late too) and several rows of beans (there are clumps of two or three bean plants that i thought were pole beans but are acting like bush beans). after all that, i have spaghetti squash coming from miles away, up and over the artichoke and fennel to this very tip of the garden. (i mentioned before several squash are going through the tomatoes here too). this is a mixed salad corner if ever there was one.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

june gloom?

i thought it was cool to lose the june gloom, but after weather like this (over 100 degrees) and us without air conditioning... only a small bedroom unit... i think june gloom would be a relief! the pool is working out nicely though.



i think this weekend has been a better "fathers day weekend" than the official fathers day. much calmer with less drama and letdowns. the pool is a welcome addition, what took us so long to get one?


we finally got one

stay tuned for more of this, it will be 100 degrees today! happy weekend, whew!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

new bikes and a book i cant stop thinking about

emily mastered her old bike and earned herself a new one, lizzie graduated up to a bike since her tricycle has seen better days and our whole family is riding round and round the neighborhood together, finally!

i have been completely absorbed with "animal vegetable miracle" just soaking it up, every word. i have the audio book and i am reading in tandem, it just hits home for me right now, the most perfect read. i have our family garden plot rolling along and with these oil prices it makes sense that driving food from coast to coast (or country to country) is a waste of fuel... that buying organic and local makes sense. i get it! every chapter brings another twist, some things i already knew about (being vegetarian, i had issues with factory farming) and some things i can't believe i had never given thought to. simple concepts about how americans eat, shop and grow food. i wish everyone would read this book because it's interesting and "normal" not too complicated to grasp.i am so sick of how everything in this country is tied to the government and some kind of racket or scandal, so SICK of it! i just want to know that the right thing is being done, that people aren't ripping us all off, that we can eat food without getting sick, that animals aren't suffering and small family farms aren't being pushed out so large corporations can take over the world. are we just all sitting around like ignorant idiots? ok, i am going off a bit... back to the book...i love camille's (the authors teenage daughter) cameos and her recipes, i have made the disappearing squash and orzo recipe which tasted great. looking forward to trying out some more recipes and learning how to can tomatoes, we picked our first ripe tomato yesterday and it was awesome! cant wait for enough to make some salsa, buckets and buckets.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

garage sales: the next generation

i am over the top overwhelmed with my own garage clutter, so when emily came running home requesting her piggy bank for a new dollhouse she saw at a neighbors garage sale my first thought was "oh no! where to keep it!" but she was so excited and willing to spend her own money, how could i resist?


it is actually a stable and the price was great, 10 bucks!

off to work, i accidentally scheduled work on fathers day weekend, sorry chris!!! he is gonna have a real authentic fathers day with four kids all to himself for two days. gotta find a way to make it up to him for sure!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

last day of school

our ritual of going out to breakfast together on the last day of school, making some family traditions (check out those pins on their matching jackets, thanks stef at blue yonder!)IMG_7218


the garden is overflowing, i have made many mistakes and am learning a lot. for one, the squash is bursting out and over everything. plant placement is key and i know exactly how to plant the summer stuff next year.


i think i like the artichokes better this way, didnt have much luck cooking them this year


my favorite neighbor's plot, her garden brings tears to my eyes... i love it so much

her sunflowers tower overhead, she has beans strapped in between. there are hidden flowers at every turn and a gazebo draped in honeysuckle, ahhh... inspiration for next year!

here is some squash busting through a tomato

these round carrots werent coming up so i reseaded with beets... now i have beets and carrots mixed

finally, here are the pumpkins coming up, i wonder if they will make it to halloween? like i said, i am learning a lot. happy last day of school! we are off to ride bikes until the sun sets and forces us inside.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

summer weather

seems every weekend has at least one scheduled birthday party. i remember the excitement of the first birthday party emily was invited too, i still really like going to them, the kids enjoy themselves and i dont have to set up and clean up (i think i have mentioned that more than a few times already) i spent the morning at day camp training (camp shiwaka is coming round again!) while the girls enjoyed this hot weather.
monday is our first official "awards night" and our last camp fire meeting of the year... i wanted the awards to look painterly, so i just jumped in with some watercolors. with a little more embellishments, i think they will work. emily was inspired to paint (she has been asking to paint ever since we watched this movie, a very interesting movie which i highly recommend, i found myself stewing about it for days and days) so she did some painting too.
i have been hard at work trying to get our backyard cleaned up, i dont think some of the plants have been attended to since before liz was born, seriously! what a mammoth job it has been. we priced out some patio furniture and found the set we liked cost about 6,000 dollars! yikes! i had no clue that quality patio furniture cost so much, i think we will stick with what we have and make some cushions for it. maybe i can find something used or thrown out? hoping for a huge table that we ALL can actually sit at together (our dining room table seats only four). stay tuned for more backyard adventures!

Monday, June 2, 2008

holy macaroons!

finally got around to making some "cookies" from this book, i have a couple more to try from this book. i think raw desserts are going to be my new favorite thing, savory raw dishes have been hit or miss, mostly miss.


here is emily's garden pick of the day:

we started some alfalfa sprouts and made the squash dish (minus the sausage, probably the best part but... thats how it goes!) from here... lots of healthy stuff checked off the to do list today.

spinning wheels

i dont know about anyone else, but i am not liking all the upgrades on typepad. took me forever to get down how to do stuff (STILL cant figure out how to make a new banner!!!!) and now i make lots of mistakes before i get a post up and running. ok, here goes:


this is emilys old bike, the one that had training wheels. last year she started riding without them and had a major collision with a tree (she even remembers exactly which tree in the park "hit" her) so it has been a battle to get her to try again. luckily our neighbor tackled riding last week and begged emily to ride with her. she had no problem at all now, the bike is teeny so she can put her feet down easily. we have been riding for hours and hours every day now for a week and all the exercise has made improvements in all our lives. better sleep for one, hooray!

liz follows at break neck speed on her hand me down tricyle (missing handgrips and a pedal) i took over on one of the step boys cruiser bikes, but i would really love something with a funky basket up front (NEVER thought i would say a thing like that!) at least i wont be putting a dog in it, just snacks and maybe a book?