Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Berry Beautiful Day

We spent our first official day of summer picking blueberries at one of our favorite places-The Butler Family Orchard.  Any day of blueberry picking must begin with reading one of our favorite books, Blueberries for Sal.
There is nothing more delicious than picking your own fresh fruit.  When Nash tasted his first blueberry he excitedly exclaimed, "I never knew that blueberries could be so heavenly!"  


When we got home we made blueberry pancakes and blueberry freezer jam together.

4 Cups Whole Blueberries
5 Tablespoons Pectin
2 1/4 Cup Sugar
Sterilize freezer jars by boiling them with their lids for 3 minutes.  Place 4 cups of washed blueberries into the food processor and liquefy.  Combine sugar and pectin and then add liquefied blueberries. Stir with a whisk for 3 minutes. Pour into jars leaving at least 1/2 inch at the top for expansion in the freezer.  Seal jars and let set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before freezing.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Atley's Adventures

Atley reminded me that I haven't blogged JUST about him or his MANY accomplishments lately.  I can assure you, it was on my list Buddy.  He has had a great year filled with many adventures and lots of hard work.  He recently received his Bear Award at Cub Scouts.
He participated in a wildly successful Farmer's Market at school, where he marketed and produced an Orange Cleaner that sold like hot cakes.  I didn't get any pictures because it was mass chaos.  He recited a poem he wrote about sledding at his school's poetry reading and of course had to bring props so that everyone could get the full effect.
He recently had his last orchestra concert of the year. I am so impressed with what his teacher has been able to get out of her fourth graders.  Below is a video of one of his songs. I'm sorry his head is covered by the music stand throughout most of the video but watch what happens at the end.

He is also quite the pianist. He prefers to play by ear, which completely amazes me. We are proud of him and all he has accomplished all while spending lots of time being one of our favorite fish and acting as man of the house while his dad has been away in Panama.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Obligatory Beach Post

I have to post pictures of our first beach trip of the summer, even though summer doesn't officially start on the calendar until tomorrow and my kids are still in school for another week. I love summer. I love how in the summer my kids always smell like chlorine and sunscreen with a whiff of bug spray. I love how the boys' backs turn brown while their bums stay bright white and their hair gets blonder. I love our trips to the beach and swimming in the pool, eating outside, the extra long days, the sounds of the frogs, crickets and cicadas in the evening while we catch lightening bugs. I don't even mind the daily assortment of wet towels and swim suits strewn all over the house or how I am forced to wear the always unflattering Bermuda short to beat the heat. I also love our annual trip to Colorado. (Only 8 more days!) Bring it on Summer! We are ready.

Harley's return from her first attempt to swim to the Bay Bridge.  "I didn't quite make it momma!"  Might I have a future Diana Nyad on my hands?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Easily Distracted-Too Much Information

So, I have been really distracted lately, like completely unable to focus on anything I am doing.  Case in point--this morning when I woke up and went to use the bathroom, I took off my shirt instead of pulling down my pants.  Need I explain why I had to do an extra load of laundry?  What could be wrong? Do you think I need more sleep, maybe a Ritalin prescription or just a giant box of adult diapers?  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Au Naturale Skin Care

I am always on the look out for great beauty products.  You know, make-up that hides my flaws and imperfections, but about 6 months ago when I broke out in a pubescent like acne display all while treating my eye area for crows feet I thought maybe I should try to get my skin healthier instead of just covering it up with a thicker coat of make-up.  I did some research failed and succeeded with some products and then I found a better way in an odd place-the kitchen.  Here is my new skin care regime.

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil is like the Holy Grail of beauty products.  I have oily skin, especially in the summer months. So, using coconut oil actually sounds counter productive but it actually helps balance the oils in your skin. Most cleansers strip the oil from your skin causing it to over react by producing even more than necessary.  Plus coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and it does a terrific job of removing make-up even water proof mascara. Just rub a small palm full of oil all over your face.  Your face can be wet or dry.  Then wash it off with a clean washcloth.  Your face will never be cleaner. If you have had an especially grimy day you can follow up with a toner.  I use Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner but only at night and not every night.
If you have a pimple or the lovely Keratosis Pilaris like I do follow up with a dab of Burt's Bees Acne Spot Treatment just in those troublesome areas.
Finally, follow up with a good eye cream and a moisturizer with retinol. I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream for both my Eye Cream and my nightly moisturizer.

Okay here is where it gets even weirder. In the morning I use Oatmeal to wash my face.
I just take a handful and get it wet with warm water. I apply it to a damp face by scrubbing it on in a circular motion.  It is a little messy but works fantastic. It is all-natural and has some exfoliating properties to remove all that dead skin that builds up at night. Rinse it off with water or a wash rag.  I follow this step with a little more spot treatment with my Burt's Bees and of course more eye cream.  Then I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Day to moisturize.
I am fairly certain that this day cream is nearly identical to the night cream with the exception of SPF in the day time version.
Now you can follow up with your make-up routine. Right now I am using this little gem-Benefit Big Easy! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Adventures of a Fairy Princess

15 Months. That is all I have until my baby girl is in school all day, abandoning me just like her brothers did.  I feel panicked, like we are pressed for time and MUST MAKE MEMORIES NOW! Well, that and learn our ABC's and 123's.  She has been wanting to make a fairy garden for ages and was reminded of this strong desire by her dear little friend "A".  So, we spent the morning gathering moss and rocks and anything we thought suitable for a fairy princess.  She painted Popsicle sticks to make a door and picked out a button perfect for the doorknob. She insisted that the fairies needed a pool so we dug a shallow hole and put a small bowl inside that she quickly equipped with a lily pad. She truly was the engineer and I loved watching her mind, fingers, and imagination at work.

In other Harley news, she is taking swimming lessons. I am sincerely hoping this will instill a healthy fear of water in her but so far she is completely unafraid and wild.  She choked on some water the other day and vomited in the pool clearing it for any other swimmers for quite some time and making her swim teacher rethink her profession of choice. Of course it didn't stop her from jumping in over her head unassisted over and over again.

  Last Friday she woke up insisting that we go to the zoo.  She prefaced the request by saying she only wanted to see cheetahs, pandas, flamingos and seals.  Of course we took her to the zoo because she kind of scares us so we just do what she wants.  She was serious about only seeing those four animals because when we stopped to observe some other exotic and equally amazing animal she was very impatient with us.
Luckily we got a great view of the pandas and even saw the baby up in a tree.