i like dirt part 1

Family, The Outdoor Woods 2 Comments »

Oh the pain! This is (almost) the last post of the summer 2010. Wait, didn’t summer end 5 days ago? Well yes, but this is a summer-vacation-recap post.  And if, in some small way, these stories prevent snow on Halloween, you’ll know who to thank.

In July we headed to Vernal so we could spend a week camping in Ashley National Forest. Are we there yet?


Yup! Looks like we have arrived! Pine tree aroma, beautiful mountain meadows…


…and plenty of wildlife! Let’s get this party started!


911 what’s your emergency?


Ro-chuck thought that she’d lend a hand in the gathering of firewood. That’s a nice stem of grass she’s got there!


It looks like the stem is what did the trick. Nice blaze!


Drew & Brinley, snug as bugs in rugs. More like snug with bugs…


Welcome to the Uinta Arena Octagon for UFC 2¼! In the polka dot corner is Rowan “Rampage…” ok nevermind. You’re cute Rowan but it’s time to go to sleep. Nigh-Night!


So E, how was your first night in the outdoor woods? Lookin’ bright-eyed, not so sure about bushy-tailed. Quit yer loungin’, we got a big day planned!


Time to get the blood flowing. Nothing warms you up like pumping some plastic buoys, eh Emily?


Looks like the Scoob is on the receiving end of this vigorous workout. Don’t get scared Drew, it’s just a game!


Your aim is all off man! Try opening your eyes!

scoob missile

Drew can do it, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, make him try again! Gooooo Drew!

workin it

He’s still closing his eyes, but looks like he’s got it down now. Is a helmet really required to play this game?

helmet required

Bin-bob wasn’t interested in games, she was too busy exercising the mind.


Just kiddin’. By the afternoon this princess had messed up her hair and gotten all dirty…on purpose!

mountain biker

Naptime wasn’t happenin’ in the hot tent. But there were way too many distractions outside too…


So when Uncle Aric rolled into camp Rowan got to enjoy chillin’ with Daddy while he and Aric had an Ipod battle in the car. Rock on! 

jammin to the oldies

No trick photography here; nature knows teeter-totters.


Nature also knows bruises and broken bones. Hold on tight! That’s a rodeo totter!


Ok Rowan’s not looking let’s jump on the 4-wheelers and hit the trail!


The girls are back and as dirty as they can get. The boys in the middle don’t look so convinced…

tough guys

After a hard day’s fun it’s time to bundle up for the night. Hey Aric this would be a lot easier if you would stop distracting Eleanor! I mean Ryan. Who we talkin’ about?


Let’s see, are we on step 3 or step 5? Men…


So you might assume that Drew wanted a chance to drive a 4-wheeler. You’d be right, but how much training do you think he needed?


This boy is a natural born offroader! He was the princess’ personal chauffeur that same afternoon!


Mallow en fuego! It’s the only way to dine…

en flambe

Look ma no hands! Drew & Brinley rode around the campsite area for over an hour on the biggest power-wheels ever!

big wheels

Hey Drew, I dare you to eat him!


C’mon dude, you can do it. Just hork it down like Roastie eats pretzels.


Get your game face on! You may also want to wear a faceshield, as Ole Cheesemaker is throwin’ it down today!


So remember that part where I said we got really dirty? Yeah…no. It rained once or twice while we were up there. Ok it rained everyday. But on one of our adventures we managed to find a lot of puddles…


And then Kristy, Emily, Aric, and Kelsey went to the spa.


They got the “helmet to toe” treatment…

no fun

Rowan wanted to go for a mud bath too. Eleanor doesn’t look excited about this…

baby ride

Sorry Rowan, no amount of kisses will change her mind…


But those sure look like some happy campers to me! What this really looks like is an Orbit gum commercial…Fabulous!


Hurry quick, Rowan isn’t looking! Let’s go do that again!



Crafts, Everyday, Family 7 Comments »

It’s been a busy and productive summer. In two days we officially welcome autumn. Sad, is an understatement. But we are looking forward to a change of pace; hoping things will slow down a little so we can enjoy being home a little more. The last few weeks have been spent in the kitchen. Painting, cooking, jamming, pureeing, preserving, pickling…sweating. And more…

We’ve been trying to cut down on our electricity bill…84 isn’t even the record. It was 87 in the house one day…that’s enough to make anyone go postal!


On hot days like that we leave the house and do something productive….hoping that somehow the house might be cooler when we return.


We knew our home garden wasn’t big enough to produce enough for our growing family, so we joined a community garden to satisfy our overwhelming desire for fresh food… 


No matter the location Brinley is all smiles while raking in the bounty from a hot summer’s work.


And when the food looks this good, who can resist smiling?


We also hit up farmer’s markets and prowled around for anything that could be mashed or pureed into a masterpiece for Eleanor.


Are carrots and green beans not what makes your heart pound?


Maybe we should get a scantily-clad supermodel to spice things up…still not working for ya?


Ole Moose Tooth found his own unique way to enjoy the fresh corn from the farmer’s market… Darn those missing teeth!


Mmmmm…those green beans are mighty tasty!! If her mouth was open any bigger daddy might fall in!


This whole solid foods thing is pretty sweet eh Ella-toot? That is in no way a reference to the happenings in her digestive tract…


We dropped the bigs off at school one morning and took the littles to the patch for some worry-free picking.


Ro-dog caught on quickly and only picked the juiciest berries.


By the time we hit the raspberry bushes it was an old hat for this little picker.


You can’t. You just can’t walk through the Berry Patch without giving in to the temptation to taste at least one. Or 12. Or…


Nothing beats Berry Patch berries. We made plenty of ice cream, jam, and even enjoyed them in our salad…



Grandma & Grandpa J visited a few weeks ago. We paused our painting projects and enjoyed having them with us for a few days.


I begged my mom to come out and teach me the (lost) art of bottling fresh produce.  Thanks Ellie for sanitizing those jar lids for us! Who needs a dishwasher! Num num!



Welcome to the Canning Show. The younger audience members made sure to fill their popcorn bowls before taking their seats.


The ingredients are coming together now. These pickles are going to be gooooood!…in 6-8 weeks.


I can still smell the fresh dill on my hands. I’m dying to crack open a bottle…


Canning was a bit of a challenge with 7 kids underfoot. And that’s not counting pesky husbands. Hey Rowan you got a little dill stuck in your teeth…uh, hold up!!  Are you really using the cleaning toothbrush?!


Well, I guess we wouldn’t want to discourage her from learning how to brush her own teeth, but her friend Kyrie doesn’t seem too impressed… At least we only use that toothbrush for cleaning grout.


Behold: Yummy! But don’t touch that remote! We haven’t even gotten to the fruit yet!



Ok, short commercial break. This 3 hour period of undisturbed canning has been brought to you by Moen faucets and Great Value ice cream sandwiches…


Seems everybody is working up an appetite. We had to delegate some tasks to other capable members of the cast. Notice also that the crazy blue wall is gone. Now it’s the crazy green wall which is Nuclear Granny Smith in the late afternoon/evening. At any other time of the day it’s a tame-ish creamy apple green.


Remember when you got this excited about applesauce?


Or oatmeal?


Canning 2010 has been a colorful and tasty success! Thanks to Grandma J and Staci for all of your help & support.


Time to get cleaned up and get moving on the next project. Hey Rowan, you still look like a table surfer!


Because of the busy-ness in the kitchen, meal time has gotten a little…uh…interesting. We’ve been picnicking on the floor or in the yard a few times a week. At least the kids think it’s great.


Eleanor and I have been working on this quilt for months. We make a pretty good team. I sew, she makes sure the fabric tastes just right.


Imagine that any hobby you choose to pursue, that your children would pursue it also. Drew’s working on his “quilt sandwich” so he can quilt and bind.



Brinley got tired of taking alien and rocket ship napkins in her school lunch and decided to take matters into her own hands. And if there were to be a dispute over the ownership of these napkins (yeah right!), Binnie made sure that she would win.


Now it’s quiet, the kids are in bed, and I can whip out the sharp tools and get down to business.


The most important project is still in the works. Eleanor is ready to size up to mediums, so that means game on! Developing my own pattern is the mission…



The learning curve is steep here. Way to master the pincer grasp Ella-munch!


Ok, now you’re just showing off. We already know how well you can blow that horn.


Speaking of showing off, Brinley The Scholar’s first homework assignment was creating a scrapbook page that explained all about her. Nice writing Binnie!


What better way to cap off Household Engineering Month than taking a ride in Dinosaur Grandpa & Grandma’s RV? (dinosaur because they found dinosaur tracks, not because they are prehistoric in age) Brinley certainly didn’t think it was very exciting…


Maybe it was the RV that was exciting. Maybe it was that they were taking us out to Chick-Fil-A. Maybe it was being close to family we hadn’t seen in a while. Maybe it was all of the above…


Maybe it was the candy! Well, Eleanor is the only one not smiling! Thanks Dino-Grandpa & Grandma! You guys are tops!


the spy who stamped me

Crafts, Everyday, The Outdoor Woods 1 Comment »

In a world where thousands of letterboxes are hidden, dedicated special agents seek them out in a relentless fury. Some letterboxes are very difficult to find; others are hidden in plain sight. Each box hunt presents a different challenge, but these soldiers are armed to the teeth!

Agent 007 has no issue with creeping through the darkest parts of the jungle in pursuit of this elusive treasure.


Here’s a photo of myself and some of 007’s henchmen. A word of caution: They are mercenaries who will stop at nothing to locate the cache, especially that one with the horns!


This is a top secret photo of 005 reaching for her sidearm, or her armpit…not really sure. But we do know that these are the current marks that these operatives make at each of their hits.


Agent 005 has even been so bold as to sign and date her finds…


Doctoring personnel files is a walk in the park for this spook.


We followed 007 & 005 into perilous terrain but were unable to locate their stronghold.




While 007 & 005 had us lost in the rock swamp this investigator was going rogue. Agent Ro-gue…Ha!


You might expect that with a trail so well worn that these two spies would steer clear. But you’d be wrong, because even spies like the “easy way”.


Just because a letterbox is easy to find doesn’t mean it gets special treatment. Just look at 007 pressing that stamp for more intel! Vee hav vayz ov makeen yu tok!


Now spies are not known for working up a sweat. But maybe a little perspiration is necessary to enjoy all the comforts of a spy lifestyle?


Spy Convention 2010 group photo. Yes, spies have conventions too. Agents 007 and Red Deforestation were still using their cover ID’s to avoid detection by mob queen Hot Mamasita.


It appears that Agent Zero has successfully infiltrated this heinous group as an informant to the Company. Little does Wind In Her Hair know about Zero’s mischievous plans! And 007 and Red Desert are really working those disguises!


Back in the field the master sleuths were hot on the trail. Seriously, it was like 100 that day! This operative stayed cool and collected and continued to feed us with valuable liquid gold intel…


There wasn’t enough room for everyone on the OR-V. Red Moon tried to console 005 as they made their way through the jungle, and it seems that she has put off her plans to defect to the North.  Huh???


Another mission accomplished. I spy muscles….little ones…


Looks like the gang has settled in for a stake-out. I don’t know that the middle of the road is the most inconspicuous spot to do this…


If these spies were concerned about becoming known as local thugs, a road trip was the cure. There will be more about our mountain adventure in the next spew, but suffice it to say there are plenty of letterboxes along I-70 to keep these agents happy.


Once or five times Red Twig had to give a little assistance in the search for the boxes. It seems that Rogue was able to make do…


As a letterbox spy, make sure you always carry your piece. 005 is a crack shot with the AK-H2Omelon.


The location of this letterbox remains a mystery. The agents only said that it has No Name.


How can these agents be so carefree when those battleships have them in their crosshairs? Oh yes I forgot, the watermelon forcefield of course!


As they retreated from their mission in the wilderness, Rogue made sure to show off her new tattoos while getting juiced up for her next assignment.


007 & 005 took to the sea onboard the Flagship Denver and located yet another treasure on the upper deck of the outdoorsman’s schooner…It takes talent to go unnoticed while discovering a letterbox indoors!


The senior agents returned back to port and enjoyed shore leave with Captain Redfuzz.


While processing this find, some toxic waste was located near the letterbox. Fortunately these are our top agents and are well-versed in many words of wisdom…


As if fresh, delicious, organic raspberries and strawberries weren’t enough, there so happens to be reason for a letterbox spy to roam around the patch as well. But now I’ve said too much, and must now endure punishment from Agent Rogue….hiiiiiiiiiiiyah!


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