Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday Walk: International Rose Test Garden

This week for our Wednesday Walk we went and checked out the International Rose Test Garden. And we actually did our walk on Tuesday this week as there was a program at the library today that we wanted to see. (It was a lot of fun too! Mr. Shoehorn...he tap danced and played the saxophone and a myriad of other instruments!)

It was a rainy, wet day, but at least it wasn't chilly. If we waited for a nice sunny day to go do anything I think we might be waiting a very long time! Ha! It seems as if summer is never going to show up.

Anyway, we had a very nice time walking around and looking at all of the beautiful roses. And it smelled heavenly out there! Wish we could have bottled up that smell of roses and fresh rain. The roses looked really pretty with all the water drops on them. It was definitely gorgeous even in the rain.
Hannah was so excited to see all of the different colored roses and made note of which ones were the same color as the ones in our backyard. She is in love with the one yellow rose bush in our backyard so was especially thrilled to see yellow roses all over the rose garden. She was also hoping to see black or brown roses as we had seen black and brown irises when we went to an iris garden at the beginning of the month. She thought that maybe if irises can be those colors then maybe roses can too. On the ride home she said, "Well, I guess they don't have black or brown roses. I didn't see any there." :)

The funniest thing was how we got bombarded by groups of Asian tourists who wanted to have their picture taken with Hannah and Ellie. I guess they thought they were pretty cute. One guy even told me, "They look like angels!". The girls weren't sure what to think of all the hubbub. :)

We had a great time and finished the day off with some cocoa at our favorite coffee shop. We are hoping for a nice day to go back in the sunshine as there is supposedly a really neat playground over by there. Maybe next year.... ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Frugal Friday: Cardboard Boxes!

Cardboard boxes. For packing. For storing. For shipping. And so much more! We've been having lots of fun with cardboard boxes lately. Reusing and repurposing.

One great way to reuse cardboard boxes is to help keep your things organized. In my tupperware drawer I have a box that I use to keep all of my lids together so they are not scattered in a big mess in the bottom of the drawer. Nothing fancy, but it works!
We have a subsription to a nature magazine for the girls, but we were having a problem with magazines ending up all over the house. So when daddy got some new boots for work, we used part of the box and made a tray to keep the magazines in that slides right under the couch when we aren't reading them.
We also have a box in the kitchen that we use for recycling our paper.

And best of all...cardboard boxes are wonderful for creative play! Last week Hannah and I made a doll house out of a couple of cardboard boxes we had gotten at a shopping trip to Costco. We found the idea for it in the Family Fun magazine. The girls have a dollhouse now for their little dolls and it didn't cost a thing!

And a few months ago when we got Ellie a new carseat, we used the box to make a fun play house for the girls. We finally just had to recycle it because they had used it so much it was falling apart.

So, you see, cardboard boxes can have so many wonderful and fun uses. From keeping you organized to providing hours of entertainment. And all for free!

What can you do with cardboard boxes??

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today Hannah and I got to have some fun time together. We went strawberry picking! I missed out on picking strawberries last year because we waited till too late in the season. So I was determined not to miss out this year. But this year since we have had such cool, damp weather the strawberries have been slow ripening, and most of the farms weren't open yet! We did find one though (obviously! ha!) and had a great time. The weather was perfect and it was just wonderful to spend a few hours, just the two of us.

We enjoyed snacking on strawberries all afternoon and had some fresh strawberries on ice cream after dinner. I also whipped up a batch of some strawberry freezer jam. And we are just freezing a bunch to have on hand for making smoothies and other yummy treats.

We are planning on going picking again in a couple of weeks so we can make some more jam and stock up the freezer. It was so much fun and we LOVE strawberries! Looking forward to picking other berries too as summer progresses!

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food."
Genesis 1:29

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Walk: Rood Bridge Park

Today the girls and I went over to one of our favorite local parks for our Wednesday walk. It was a cloudy, cool day, but at least it wasn't raining! We brought our cameras and magnifying glasses and had lots of fun exploring the trails and seeing what life we could find around the ponds and little stream.
We saw lots of wildflowers and so many types of grasses. Every time we turned a corner there was something new to see. Hannah was so excited to take pictures of everything.
Around the big pond we saw a blue heron and some mallard ducks swimming around the many, many lily pads. You almost couldn't see the water because there were so many lily pads. And some of them even had beautiful white blossoms on them. We just couldn't get close enough to get a good picture.
After walking the trails for a bit the girls took a break and ran around the big, grassy hill and explored the little stream at the bottom. Hannah even tried rolling down the hill, but decided running downhill was much easier and faster.
Moving on to check out the smaller pond, we saw some pretty pond plants and were on the lookout for frogs. We did see one sitting on a rock but he hopped away before we could get a good look. I also spotted some tadpoles farther out in the water, but Hannah couldn't see them because of the reflections on the water.
We finished up our trip with a stop at the playground for some swinging time and a few runs down the slides. But then it was time to head home for some lunch since our tummies were rumbling.
On the way back to the car we walked through the rhododendron garden at the park and watched a few bees busy at work collecting nectar. Ellie loves to watch bees and always says "hello" to them when she sees them.
Another great day outdoors with my girls! Next week we are hoping to go check out somewhere we haven't been yet. But we'll have to wait and see how our week goes. Maybe we'll just go back and look for more frogs. :)
"How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24

Friday, June 3, 2011

Frugal Friday: Yogurt!

The almond milk

This past weekend my hubby (and son) went on his annual "man-cation" to the desert of Eastern Oregon with a bunch of his buddies. They take their guns, tents and some food and live in the desert for a few days, doing, well, lets just leave it at "manly things". :)
Last year the girls and I were sick the whole time so all of my plans for a fun "girls" weekend didn't happen. Instead we watched a bazillion princess movies and PBS Kids and laid on the couch.
Not this year! Hooray! We were all feeling fine and we had a wonderful weekend. One of my best friends came and spent the weekend with us. (Her other half was with mine in the desert). We cooked lots of yummy food that the guys don't like, went to the farmer's market, stayed up late talking, AND we made yogurt! Homemade, yummy, organic yogurt. In the CROCKPOT!

The whole milk

I had been wanting to try making yogurt for some time but was kind of scared to try because some of the recipes I had found seemed rather intimidating. But then I came across this recipe on making it with a crockpot. How cool is that? I was super excited to try it out, and my friend was willing to do it with me.

We got our milk ready and our yogurt starter. I just used the last of the yogurt that I had in the fridge for my starter. Just plain, cultured yogurt. And I used whole milk. My friend used almond milk since she can't have dairy. And she used soy yogurt as the starter. (We had read that some people have done it with non-dairy milks so thought we would give it a try).

Tucked in for the night :)

After warming and cooling the milk for 5 1/2 hours, it was time to tuck it in for the night. It was so exciting to wake up in the morning and unwrap everything to see if we had yogurt. And we did! For hardly any effort, we had two quarts of yogurt! (1/2 gallon of milk makes 2 quarts of yogurt) Unfortunately, the non-dairy did not turn out, but aren't giving up yet. We're going to try using just plain almond milk since what she had was vanilla and maybe try a goat's milk yogurt for the starter as goat's milk doesn't seem to bother my friend.

2 quarts of organic yogurt...I just reused an old yogurt container and some other storage containers to store it in the fridge.

All in all our first time making yogurt was a success. We had lots of fun and learned a new skill. And I think the best part is that my girls love it! We just poured a little maple syrup on top and stirred it in. A perfect and healthy snack!

What makes this frugal, you ask??? Our homemade organic yogurt cost $2.99 for 2 quarts. I don't know what your organic yogurt costs in the store by you, but to me that is a HUGE savings on organic yogurt. I can't even get 1 quart for that price.

I'd love to hear about it if you try making yogurt in your crockpot or if you make yogurt another way!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Little Ballerina

In May Hannah completed another little dance class through the Hillsboro Parks and Rec. It is a fun 4 week class that meets twice a week and teaches basic dance skills. Hannah really enjoys it each time, and she always learns so much. And she loves her teacher too. :)

She loves to dance and I am very thankful they have classes like this that are affordable and fun. Then maybe later on when she gets older and she is still into dancing we can sign her up with an actual dance studio. But right now this is perfect.


Hannah and her teacher, Miss Melissa