Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I had a talk with the camera and it agreed to work awhile longer since we just blew $600 on the truck.
Here's a picture with G and our fresh jam. It's still cooling on the counter as I type this. I'm so proud of my labels too.
Of course, this wasn't a simple jam making project--it's me after all. Yesterday I took G up to our berry picking spot. Berries are 99cents a pound, all you can eat free, and no row bosses telling what to pick and how much. Perfect. He loved it last year and gorged himself on berries. This year, we picked about 1/2#, he refused to let a berry pass his lips and took off for the highway when he decided the adventure was over. So I bought a flat of fresh picked (they have teens working there who pick so you can just buy a pre-picked flat) raspberries. It was only $20 so a good deal still. And we headed home.
I discovered that no place in town sells Pomona's pectin, my preferred brand, and only had one box. So I could only do about 1/2 flat.
I got all my stuff ready and canned up pretty red raspberry jam.
Then C comes home and notes that it look funny. In going back over the recipe, I realized I tripled the recipe, but only double the fruit juice and didn't increase the pectin at all. Ooops. So I re-made the jam this morning. And I still need to drive up to Tigard to buy more pectin before the other 1/2 rots. That is if I can convince G to leave the house. He's not fond of that lately.
But I have jam for my dad and brother (and us!) that is sweetened only with fruit juice and stevia. And it tastes great. Guess I'll need to make crackers or bread soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

From this:
To this:

To this:


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just the 3 of us

The digital camera is on its last legs. I need to shop for a new one, so until then, no pictures. Sorry.
Sunday, M left with my parents for 2 weeks of fun and adventure. G was initially quite excited about the idea when it was introduced. Upon seeing the reality of M getting into Gramma and Papa's cool van with all the supplies necessary for an 8 hour drive (EnjoyLife cookies, chocolate bars, books, and a personal DVD player), it seemed rather unfair. So he screamed for awhile. Today, 3 days later, he's still having a hard time adjusting. We rented Cars, we've eaten lots of rice and canned peaches, and pretty much taken it easy. Today we went to McMinnville to enjoy their funky and friendly downtown. I bought yarn for a couple of projects (I will finish them, I will finish them, I will finish them), we stopped for lunch at Harvest Fresh and we stopped and played at Hopscotch toystore. I even found a toy for my niece that I think she will love. It is a lacing toy that has a wooden "needle" attached to yarn that gets threaded through lots of holes in a (3-D) beehive. She's at the age where she will sit forever and stick something small into a hole, especially keys. But we're having a hard time find key toys for toddlers. Anyone know of anything?
The weather here absolutely cannot make up its mind. We had lots of sun and warm weather for awhile, then it got cold again. As in, polar fleece jacket in the afternoons. Now it is sunny and warm again. It might decide to stay this time since summer officially starts tomorrow. Yay Solstice! Maybe G and I will find a Solstice celebration tomorrow or Friday and go to that. We'll see.
Time to wake sleeping munchkin!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Couple of pictures as promised. First, here is the finished product of M's efforts in the glass blowing shop. Didn't he pick great colors? This will look so awesome hanging up in his room.

Here is where we have been living the last few days. Its been pretty warm out and our a/c doesn't work. So I bought a pool at Target, C found this great table at Costco and we set up the tent today--mostly because the neighbors set theirs up so we had to, y'know? In the back right side you can see the beginnings of our garden. We lost a melon or two, but everything else is limping along okay I think.

M is taking a class called Math-a-Mania taught by an architectural artist named Alice Cotton. This term the class has studied bridges. So, for the end of the year fun, we all got to go on a bridge tour in Portland. The woman who guided us on our tour has studied these bridges for years and was a wealth of information. In the picture above, she had groups of people stand in a circle and touch toe to toe and hold onto each other's shoulders. This made a triangle. She then demonstrated tension by having everyone lean back and slip their hands down to the elbow and then the wrists of the person next to them. The circle held! Then they reversed and leaned in until they were touching heads in the center of the circle. Very cool!
Then we headed off to the ODOT office in Portland where we got to sit in command central and see some of the 150 cameras in use to monitor traffic in PDX. Their job is to keep all 1 million cars on the move. If they see an issue they can have a truck sent out relatively quickly to provide free gas, battery charge, flat tire service, or help the stalled vehicle out of the flow of traffic. We also had a crash course in bridges. We learned that Portland has all 6 kinds of bridges right in town. No wonder they call it Bridgetown!
Then it was on to the Morrison bridge. Those under 9 climbed the stairs to the control tower and met with the bridge operator. They learned about the history of the bridge, what all goes on in the tower and some of the history of the tower itself. Then we learned about bridge rising procedure. Finally, we got to see the bridge raise and lower with a bird's eye view. It was so amazing!
Adults and kids 9 and up got to go down to the pit to see the inner workings of the bridge. The gears, motors etc. C got to go down and reported that the biggest gear is 36' across and the counterweight is 900 US Tons!
It was a fun tour and then we just hung out and enjoyed the waterfront for a hour. I love homeschooling!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Glass Blowing

On our recent trip to the coast, we were looking for a place to buy some groceries and happened upon a glass blowing studio. C and I agreed that it would be most productive if I shopped by myself and he took the boys over to watch the glass blowers and work. But this is no ordinary glass studio. This is Lincoln City Glass Center. Here you can blow you own glass with the help of the glass blowers on staff. Luckily, M, being 8 is just old enough. So we came back the next day when C, M and Grandma R all took a turn blowing glass. C and M made beautiful floats and Grandma R made a ball.

Rolling the molten glass into a round shape

Rolling the molten ball in colored glass chips. M chose yellow and orange.

Reheating the ball to melt all those color chips in. Definitely a hot job!

M used big tweezers to swirl the colors into the glass so the finished object would have that swirled glass look.
Finished picture coming soon!