Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Walk: Cooper Mountain Nature Park

For our Wednesday Walk this week, we went out to Cooper Mountain Nature Park. We have only been there one other time, but it is a great place! There are around 3 1/2 miles of nice trails to hike around through grassy meadows and wooded areas.
And it was great today because the whole family got to go! We finally have James back after a month and half spent with grandparents, and Matt didn't have to work till this evening. So it was a fun family outing!

Wildflowers were abundant along the trails and Hannah and I enjoyed taking pictures of all the different kinds. I am hoping later this week to spend some time looking through our new Audubon book we picked up at a garage sale and identifying some of what we saw.
We didn't see any wildlife except for the couple garter snakes that James saw and a few birds, but we did see lots and lots of signs of animals. Coyote and skunk or raccoon (we weren't quite sure which) poop was all over the trails. Hannah thought that was so fascinating.

And of course we enjoyed the views looking out over the Tualatin Valley. It is so gorgeous up there! And we had a perfect, sunny day!

Ellie enjoyed riding in her pack most of the time, but did get down a few times to run on the trail with her brother and sister. I am so glad all the kids have so much fun together and enjoy getting out in nature.

After our hike, we had a picnic lunch and the kids played around on the playground for a little bit, soaking up some more wonderful sunshine.
It was a great day! We will definitely need to try to get back there more often.

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth!"
Psalm 66:1

Monday, July 25, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

I have seen this on several of the blogs that I read and thought I would jump in with it as well. It seems like a nice way to share some details from your day to day life. Here is the link to get started if you'd like to try it too:

For Today

Outside my window: Blue sky and clouds. Green beans climbing up the trellis in the garden. A lovely summer day.
I am thinking: About what I need to get done after I finish here before the girls wake up from naps.
I am thankful: That my hubby works so hard to provide for us so I am able to stay home with the kids. What a blessing!
In the kitchen: We are going to have upside down pizza for dinner tonight!
I am wearing: Jeans with raspberry stains and dirt from our berry picking trip this morning, and a maroon t-shirt.
I am creating: Vanilla-Raspberry Panna Cotta from the Family Fun magazine. Hopefully I can find a willing helper or two. :)
I am going: Nowhere else today. We went berry picking this morning with a friend and made a quick trip to the store.
I am wondering: What will make good snacks to have on hand for James after football practices...the season starts tonight!
I am reading: novels by Julie Klassen. They are sort of Jane Austen style books based in the Regency period in England with a Christian perspective. I have read two of the four so far. Hoping to pick up another one at the library soon.
I am hoping: That I can get up at 6 again tomorrow morning. I have gotten so much done today and most importantly had time to spend doing my devotions in quiet this morning.
I am looking forward to: Watching another episode of Larkrise to Candleford tonight and working on some knitting. I only have season two from the library until Friday so I need to finish watching the episodes this week! Love that show!
I am hearing: The washing machine and the hammering of the new neighbors fixing up their house.
Around the house: Most everything is picked up and it is so quiet when the girls are napping. I enjoy the quiet, but sometimes I can't wait for them to wake up from nap so I can hear them laugh and play together.
I am pondering: What I can do from home to bring in a little money to put towards our list of projects we want to do on our house.
One of my favorite things: Getting out and having fun with the kids, whether picking berries, going to the library, or whatever. We always have a great time!
A few plans for the rest of the week: Hopefully get together with some friends, a trip to the library, lots of time outside in the yard, and maybe a concert on Friday with the hubby.
Here is a picture for thought I am sharing:
The girls enjoying summer! This is from a couple weeks ago, but I had to share! :)

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Remodeling: Kitchen Storage

(Before...a lone little cupboard that couldn't hold much.)

This past weekend we caught the "bug" again, and decided to tear into the kitchen to add some shelves to maximize our storage space. I have some big 3 gallon ice cream buckets that I use for storing sugar and other dry goods, but didn't really have a place to keep them other than the garage. And since our garage isn't insulated the temperatures can be quite drastic in there.
Well, I read a blog where the gal was talking about food storage and how even if you have a small house there are still plenty of places you can find to store bulk under the bed, in a closet, etc. But we really didn't have any extra places like that. Still, I kept looking through our house and re-looking at everything and got to brainstorming. Then one day it hit me! The corner of our kitchen to the right of the sink is kind of odd because of how the wall for the laundry closet sticks out, and there was just a small cupboard that I hardly used on that wall.

(Cupboard off the wall!)

I whipped out the tape measure and discovered that the wall sticks out just enough that we could put a wide enough shelf to hold my buckets! I was so excited about my revelation, but was hesitant to tell my hubby about it. I figured he'd probably think I was completely crazy to rip out a cupboard and such. He did give me a funny look but then said if that's really what I wanted and I thought it could work, then we would do it. I love him!

(My little helper...sanding supports for the new shelves.)

(Wall painted, shelves stained...waiting for everything to dry.)

So, this weekend we jumped right in and ripped that useless cupboard down and got to work. However, as most projects go in this house, it took longer than we planned, and there were a few kinks. Such as the wall being neither flat nor square, and finding hardly any studs in the wall to anchor the shelves to.But we managed to get it done by Sunday night and I am loving it!
It is great to have a place to keep my buckets, and right in the kitchen at that! We have definitely been making use of every space in our small house.

(The finished project! Just need to fill the rest of my buckets and get them up on the shelves!)

Now I am just pondering where to store my big 5 gallon buckets............... ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beach Getaway

This past Thursday Hubby had the WHOLE day off of work which is rare, so we decided to take a little day trip out to the coast. We went to a beach a few miles north of Seaside where you can drive onto the beach. We had a little fire, played in the sand, flew our kite and just enjoyed relaxing and being together. We finished the day off with some clam chowder at Mo's in Cannon Beach. It was an absolutely wonderful day!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Frugal Friday: Cloth Napkins

I've been meaning to do this for a long time, but sometimes the days just go by too fast and there are so many other things going on. I finally did it though. One night I finally pulled out my sewing machine and whipped up some cloth napkins. (Which was good because I've been avoiding buying napkins ever since we ran out the last time, and we've just been going without or using paper towels.)
I had read in a magazine how you could use old button down cotton shirts for making napkins. A very frugal thing to do. I didn't happen to have any old, worn out shirts laying around though, so I got a few at our local Goodwill Outlet where they sell clothes by the pound. A couple of shirts was probably less than $2.

I cut them up into 8-inch squares. I got quite a lot of napkins this way, but they are also a little bit on the small side. I will definitely be making some bigger ones with the two shirts I have left. At least 10-inches but 12-inches would be better.

Now, you could sew a nice little hem and make them look nicer and most likely last longer, but I wanted a more rustic look and was sort of in a hurry, so I just sewed a 1/4-inch border around each square to keep them from unraveling. And they have a cute little fringe around the edge after a few washings.

I didn't really keep track of the time when I was making these, but I know it didn't take too terribly long. I managed to do it in the time after I put the girls to bed and before my bedtime, so I would guess a couple hours and I think it made around 16 napkins.
As for washing them, it's not really any extra work. I just throw them in when I wash the towels, which happens a couple times a week. And if they don't get too messy we save them for the next meal.

A couple hours and a couple dollars and we now have napkins for a long time. I am starting to look at what other items we can switch to cloth. I would like to stop buying paper towels, but I'm not sure if that will happen...hubby has a slight addiction to using them. ;)