Sunday, June 28, 2009

Camping Highlights

      • CAMPFIRES - Nora was especially wanting us to all tell "spooky stories" around the campfire. I am not sure how spooky they were but it was lots of fun. The girls especially enjoyed Tom's retelling of The Hobbit and I am sure he will be pulling out the book soon for bedtime reading.
      • VOLCANOE VIEWS - We really lucked out in getting a crystal clear day for a perfect view of Mt St Helens. It can't get much better than that.
          HIKING - we went on a great 2.5 mile hike that had lots of volcanic rocks, formations, damage that opened up for lots of volcanoe talk..... along with beautiful wildflowers, beaver dams and much more
          • FAMILY FUN - Camping is always such a special treat and only seems to get better (and easier) as the girls get older. Tom and Madison had frisbee fun hitting a record 10 back and forths with no drops! The campsite we stayed at had some good play areas and small hiking trails to go exploring. Overall it was a fabulous trip and we can't wait to head out on our next camping excursion!!
          • Quote from Madison - "The worst part of camping is going home!"

      Wednesday, June 24, 2009


      My first ever winning on all those give-aways out in blog land. And can you believe it was for the AMAZING Elizabeth Kartchner?? I won the skirt in the photo below! I am sure I won't look half as funky or cute as she would in it, but I will try!

      Monday, June 22, 2009

      Summer Lovin'

      The calendar claims that summer has made it's arrival. Somehow the Pacific Northwest may have not got the memo since we had a glorious few weeks of weather before the solstice and now are back to chilly temps and rain. I am hoping the weather makes a turn for the better in the upcoming days. Along with all of our fun Bucket List plans, I am also hoping for lots of lazy summer days that look like this
      And yummy summer treats like this
      And water fun like this
      We also have some fun camping trips planned,
      including our first attempt at backpacking/hiking into a campsite with the girls. Looking forward to that one!! As convenient as trailer camping can be, we are really hoping to get into some REAL camping in the upcoming years where we are truely in the full outdoors. This will be our test so wish us luck.
      And, of course, we will be doing some ROAD TRIPPIN' to Montana!! The girls are looking forward to their first ever sleepover at the grandparents sans the parents. (and mommy is looking forward to it too, since she has grand scrapbooking plans for those days)

      We hope that all of you have lots of fun adventures planned for the summer. Now we just need the sun to return and we will be set!

      Wednesday, June 17, 2009

      Bucket List Additions

      Farm Addition:
      Heard about this petting farm in Auburn that looks like the perfect spot for my girls

      I am thinking the photo-ops using this barn would be worth the visit on its own!!!!

      Summer Concert Highlight
      Recess Monkey We love, love, love RM and have seen them twice before. They are a Seattle based kids band, made up of 3 elementary school teachers. The kids love the music, but it is a sound that the parents can enjoy and appreciate too. Click on their link to listen to some of their songs. There are many, many local performances they are doing this summer but the two closest to us are:
      Maple Valley Library - June 22, 3:30

      Kent Town Square - July 29 Noon

      Mark your calendars and check them out! I am hoping to pick up a few of their cd's for our summer road trips.

      ****2 more school days until summer vacation officially starts. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!****

      Tuesday, June 16, 2009

      Fourteen Years ago today

      Happy Anniversary to us!!!!!

      please excuse the horrible photo quality, we were married in the stone ages before digital photos and our scanner wasn't too cooperative

      Monday, June 15, 2009

      Summer Bucket List #2

      Kid Programs and Concerts
      We are so fortunate to live an area with so many opportunities for fun kid activities during the summer. I find, the only problem is keeping track of them all and remembering to attend. So here is my bucket list for all the fun programs to go to. And every single one on the list is FREE FREE FREE!!!!
      Anyone who knows me, would know I am a huge advocate for public libraries and we have an AMAZING system here. We have 3 libraries within 10 minutes of our house that we regularly rotate between, along with another 3 within 20 minutes. I always think it is so fun to go to all the different ones to check out their selections, story times and more. I think we are going to extend the range this year to even try more libraries out. The summer reading program begins June 15th and Madison is all ready preparing to get her reading log. This years prize for filling it out is an art set. I haven't seen it but the librarian was at her school the other day and Madison claimed it was very fancy "with oil pastels and all." So that will be a good addition to our summer fun. Along with the reading logs, the libraries put on so many concerts, puppet shows, plays, magic shows and more. Click on the above link to find all the different events taking place this summer. Those alone could fill your calendar!
      Summer Concert Series
      We always enjoy going to all the different outdoor musical concerts and enjoying a picnic lunch or dinner at the local parks while the girls can dance around to the music. I am sure there are so many more, but here is a list of the ones closest to us. But we are always willing to travel, so let me know of other good ones in the area.
      City of Auburn - kids concerts every Wednesday starting July 1 at noon at Les Gove park
      family concerts every Wednesday starting July 8 at 7:00 pm at Les Gove park
      City of Kent - lunchtime concerts at Kent Station on Tuesdays
      kid performances at noon on Wednesday and Thursday (still waiting for location)
      evening concerts at Lake Meridian on Thursday nights
      Maple Valley - concerts at Lake Wilderness, click here for schedule
      KidsDay at Game Farm Park - June 19 11:00-4:00
      I think we will be skipping this one since Madison will still be in school but it is always a fun outing. Inflatables, arts and crafts and lots more. Disclaimer - I don't know if this one is entirely free but there are free things to do there! And for the preschool crowd, it probably won't be as busy as most years since school is still going to be in session (I am thinking there was a mix-up in scheduling due to the snow-days).

      Garden Update

      My friend Katy requested an update and since I so enjoyed her garden blogs last year I wanted to give her my update. (check out her blog, as she is now living in Luxembourg and has some amazing adventures and photos!)

      The experimental gardens seem to be progressing nicely. For some reason, our cucumbers met a sudden death but everything else is thriving and growing. Now the question is, will they start producing fruit?? We are not getting nearly the direct sun that I had hoped for, so I think it is going to be tough for the tomatoes to ripen quickly but we have some green ones making an attempt.
      It is a good spot for broccoli and peas and they both seem to be quite pleased with their home.
      The carrots are shooting up and the celery looks good (Though I have no clue what celery in a garden will eventually look like so I am not sure what I am basing my assessment on besides the fact that they are a lovely shade of green!). The pumpkins and strawberries are flowering. So I have hope. Of course, we will probably miss all the excitement when we leave town for 2 weeks the start of July!
      In our crazy yardwork weekend, Tom also tackled all the weeds in the area and laid down some gravel to make the garden corner more visually appealing which made a big difference too!

      Sunday, June 14, 2009

      Backyard Progress

      To say our yard is a work in progress is a huge understatement. We have done so much in the 3 years that we have been here, but there is so much more to go. The first two years we really focused on the front and side yards but now we have finally moved into the back and made some good progress.

      Here is a before photo of our view from the patio right before the woods were destroyed.
      And here is what it looked like immediately after the destruction this September. It is still hard to look at the difference between those two photos. I will admit that the extra sunlight coming into our yard and house is a big plus but I still miss all those wonderful trees.
      And the AFTER photos:
      It is really hard to see much because there were two large bushes in the beds right by the patio that blocked any type of view. So we pulled those out and transplanted them. That alone, really opened up the view and possibilities. You can also see we added the back fence which blocks out some of the ugliness behind us. We have planted some trees and shrubs along the fenceline to give more privacy in the upcoming years. I then went ahead and made some new flowerbeds by the patio and on the otherside of the trail with all sorts of fun flowers for my woodland themed yard. Things like hostas, jacob's ladder, hardy fuschia and geraniums, hellebore, columbine, heuchera and lots more. What a difference it makes; along with cleaning up the trail, adding mulch and gravel, clearing out more logs, weeds and mess...... The crazy thing is that this is still just one small corner of the yard and there is so much more to tackle. But it does give me hope! It felt so great to spend all weekend working hard in the yard and to see progress being made. Some weekends we will spend hours back there and still not notice much of a change, but not this time. My back will be sore for a few days, but it is well worth it!!

      Wednesday, June 10, 2009

      Summer Bucket List #1

      Welcome to Post #1 in my new summer series The Summer Vacation Bucket List. You know the bucket list, where you are supposed to make a list of all the things you want to do before kicking the bucket?? Well this is going to be our family version of all the things we want to do before summer kicks the bucket for another year:-) The girls are going to help create a large list of things we think we want to do at home and on the go and then we will see how many are checked off at the end of summer.

      Fun Farm Plans
      This week we have gotten two things checked off before the list is even complete. I guess, in reality the list will never be complete because I am sure we will continue to add new ideas as the summer progresses.
      Farmer's Markets

      I would like to attend more farmer's markets this year and do a tour of all the ones in our area. I have to admit that South Puget Sound doesn't always have the most amazing markets to be found in comparison to ones you would find in Seattle, but they seem to be getting better. Last night we went to the Renton Farmers Market, held every Tuesday from 3-7. I love that it is on a weekday and the girls and I can do it without taking up weekend time, since Tom isn't really a big fan of farmer's markets (or anthing that involves many people crowded into a small space trying to walk and browse). Overall, I would rate it a pretty fine market for the area. It is still early in the season for a ton of local produce but there was some and also a good variety of things to nibble on. A nice thing they had was a kid area where they have bubbles and different art activities. You do have to stay to supervise but it is a nice addition for the kids when they get tired of looking at fruits and veggies! There is also a nice fountain area that keeps the kids interested. The girls favorite part was the roasted Corn on the Cob. YUMMY!!!
      Other markets I plan on visiting

      Other Farm Fun Plans

      (click on their logos to link to their websites)

      Remlinger Farm has all ready got crossed off the list, though I am sure the girls wouldn't complain if we fit in a second trip this year! Definitely a must-do for any families in the area with 3-6 year olds! If you haven't gone, put it on your list!

      South 47 Farm has been on my list for a number of years. A bit out of the way but it supposedly has great produce and they have kid classes available ($7 per child) with hay rides and more!

      And then I will use the site at PugetSoundFresh to find other local farms, farmers markets and places to purchase as much local produce as I can. Love the freshness, the girls get a better idea of where there food is coming from, much better for the envirnoment and always a fun outing!!!! I have been debating joining a CSA for a few years now but always hold off. I would love to hear if someone knows of a good one in the area.

      Hope you enjoyed the first installment of our family summer bucket list. It will be nice for me to have the links contained in one spot when I need to refer back to things and I hope that maybe it will give some of the local readers new ideas for things to do with the family this summer. I also hope that people will share more ideas of things that I may not know about to fill our bucket list up! Know of some great farms or farmer's markets we should attend? Please leave a comment for me and I will add it to the list!! AND my first attempt at tagging my posts for future reference. I will work on getting a link on the side-bar that will take you to all the bucket list posts.

      Monday, June 8, 2009

      Fabulous Giveaway!!!

      I wonder how many of these I will need to leave comments for before I actually win something??? If I had my wishes, this would be a good one!!

      Check it out!!!

      Thanks Sara for the link! Sorry to copy your post, but I had to do it to get a chance to win;-)

      Sunday, June 7, 2009

      Birthday Celebrating

      It is hard to believe that Madison will be turning SEVEN tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed by and I just want to scream for it to SLOW DOWN but it seems to only be speeding up as they get older, more independent and wiser.

      We really had an amazing weekend of celebrating without her real birthday even arriving yet! Friday night we celebrated with her grandparents before they flew out early Saturday morning. We enjoyed ice cream sundaes at Dairy Queen where Madison opened her gift from them. A very special jewelry box made by grandpa Ron, with a secret compartment. Inside she found a beautiful birthstone necklace. She was thrilled with both of these very special gifts and you couldn't wipe the smile off her face if you tried!
      Then on Saturday our neighbors knocked on the door and said they had a birthday suprise for Madison outside. She walked out to find 2 horses in our driveway!! No, they weren't for her to keep but what a special treat. They had picked up their horses at the stables and brought them back to the house just for Madison's birthday. She got to ride Rowdy up and down the street and even take control of the reigns for a minute. This horse-crazed girl was in cowgirl heaven!
      And then to top off the weekend celebration she had her "party" on Sunday. For the second year in a row, Madison opted not to have a big party and instead to choose 2 friends to take to Remlinger Farm. We spent 5 hours riding all the rides, feeding the animals, jumping in the hay and, of course, going on the pony rides. It really was a great celebration.

      Now, tomorrow is her real birthday and I am not sure we can top the weekend's events. For the most part it will be a calm celebration with a regular school day and then a family dinner. But the final gift of the evening may just be the cherry on top of the weekend party. But I will save that "suprise" for a later post! Happy Birthday Madison!!!