Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Beginning of the Strawberry Tradition

After reading my blog post, my dad emailed me this picture:

Utah Valley, 1982. My first time picking strawberries. I'm the little tow-head on the right. Apparently this experience left quite a positive impression on me.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Obvious Choice

So what do you do with twenty pounds of strawberries? Especially when they all have to be put up by the end of the day?

I plan on making at least two batches of jam because I love making jam. It's fun. I also love eating homemade jam. It's tasty. But my little Rabbit wouldn't let me make jam today. She's fussy. So I put most of the berries in the freezer to await the day when my Rabbit's colicky days are behind us and she lets me have my life back. I'm optimistic.

I still had eight or ten cups of berries left, and we were having company for dinner. My mind was dizzy with possibilities. Fresh strawberry pie... Baked strawberry pie, maybe with rhubarb... Strawberry muffins... Homemade strawberry ice cream... But my body was dizzy with exhaustion after all that berry picking. So I took a nap. Then I made the obvious choice:

Strawberry shortcake!

It was pretty popular.

Bean ate three bowls. His cute friend Lisl doesn't like strawberries so she just ate whipped cream and cake.

That just meant there was more for the rest of us!

What would YOU do with twenty pounds of strawberries?

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A Manly Burger

My Badger doesn't do anything by halves. When he makes a hamburger, it's six inches tall. We may call him Badger, but I think he has the jaw of a python:

And it's impossible to eat a Badger Burger without getting ketchup on your face!

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Happiness Is...

Twenty pounds of fresh-picked strawberries.

Not the kind you buy in the store. Those are fake strawberries. They're actually made of balsa wood, with a small amount of sour strawberry flavor added. I'm talking about the kind you pick ripe yourself in a real strawberry field, the kind that turn to mush if you don't eat them, jam them, or freeze them by midnight because the fairy godmother spell of absolutely unreal sweet juicy strawberry flavor is too good to last longer than that.

Look at them! Aren't they beautiful?

Look at them again! On my kitchen counter! They're so beautiful!

Get them wet and they're even more beautiful! Look!

And look at them washed and hulled! Imagine those gorgeous little babies just melting into strawberry sugar in your mouth.

I think I've got to be just about the happiest person in the world right now.

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Our Idea of a Fun Morning

Bean and Fish were routed out of bed at 7:15 this morning by their mother. "Come on, boys, we're going to go pick strawberries!" she said.

"Woo hoo!" they replied.

Strawberry picking is something of a tradition in our family. It's great fun for kids because:

1. The plants aren't poky
2. The berries make the coolest noise when you pull them off the plant: "snick!"
3. The berries are easy to see and easy to pick and they pile up quickly

And best of all,

You can EAT as many as you want while you're picking!

It is my opinion that strawberry fields are some of the pleasantest places on earth.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bean's First Game

Here is a historic picture: Bean's very first time at bat in a baseball game. Since we all know he has a long and glorious career as a ball player in front of him, we will all smile fondly as we see how far he will go from this humble beginning. Bless his little six-year-old heart, he's so scared of that pitching machine that he has totally forgotten anything I've taught him about batting stance. However, scared though he may be, he's out there facing his fears. I don't know about you, but I didn't face my fears today, so I'm impressed.

Playing first base was less scary and more fun. I happened to snap this photo when he was busy chewing on his glove, but he really did get lots of exciting action and he did a very good job.

Roo was so inspired by the sight that she snagged our spare glove and ball and figured out how to play "catch."

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Alert

Wow, the weather sure has been exciting here on the prairie for the last few days! This is the fourth night in a row we've had severe thunderstorm warnings combined with tornado watches. Nothing really nasty has hit the Birrd's nest so far, though last night a super-loud crack of thunder woke me up and got my heart pounding at 2 am. We've set up enough beds in the basement for all of us and the boys are over the moon that I'm sleeping in the same room as them. It's nice to go to sleep not worried about sleeping through the tornado sirens, plus it's cooler in the basement. So everyone's happy. The kids actually think the thunderstorms are great fun. Roo says "boom!" and "rainy!" That pretty much sums up our weather lately.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Here is the dark basement cave where I do my laundry:

This is the first time in my married life I've had a dark basement laundry cave. It's not so bad, really.

I'm just grateful to have a nice extra-large capacity washer and dryer:

Though I do miss this laundry room, two houses ago. It was very bright and cheerful. Also, it was on the 2nd floor, with the bedrooms, where the laundry is. Smart, huh?

My last laundry room was cheerful too. It had to double as a pantry, which tends to make your food taste a little like laundry soap. But it was nice to have a door to the back porch for when we'd come home from the beach all sandy. Those curtains came with the rental, but I kind of liked them. Maybe I should hang some curtains in my laundry cave and pretend there's a window. Or put up posters, or something.

I think laundry rooms are interesting. Where do you do your laundry? Take a picture. I want to see!

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A: The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B: Each player answers the questions about themselves
C: At the end of the post, the player then tags 3 people and post their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Substitute teaching for the high school I'd graduated from the year before and getting ready to go to France with my sister Charlotte. And Jenna and Marilyn threw me an awesome surprise birthday party for my 19th. (Ryan was even there, remember, Marilyn? Who'da thought you'd end up marrying him?)

2. What was on my to-do list for today? Exercise, sweep kitchen floor, vacuum living room rug, send family email newsletter... A short list by my old standards, but I'm pretty pleased that I got it all done. My Little Rabbit does not like me to be productive.

3. What would I do if I suddenly became a billionaire? Buy lots of nice presents for all my friends and family.... Fund alternative fuel research... Try to give as many people a lucky break as I could...

4. 3 Bad habits... Spending too much time on the computer, being lazy, overeating

5. Places I have lived..... Minnesota, Utah, England, Idaho, Oregon, Here.

6. Places I have worked... Sandwich shop, Weather station, University (TA, secretary, custodian), High School (grader, sub), insurance office, health food store, home.

7. 3 Things people don't know about me.... I am ambidextrous, I went to college on a National Merit scholarship, I took ballet lessons for years

I tag Emily, Becca, and Michele

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


We celebrated my birthday early, when Charlotte was here. Glenda joined us for a scrumptious dinner of barbequed chicken and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

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And Cake!

(It is always so fun when Charlotte is around because she takes pictures of everything!)

I baked the cake and frosted it:

Then Glenda decorated it with assistance from Bean:

It turned out absolutely lovely:

We just didn't have any birthday candles (again-- this seems to be a perenial problem at our house) so we had to use a votive candle.

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And Ice Cream!

To go with an utterly divine made-from-scratch chocolate cake I recommend...

It has stripes of white, dark, and milk chocolate and it is just lovely.

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And Presents!

Happy Birthday to me!

The Badger took the boys over to Target and had them pick out kitchen gadgets for me, so I got:

A clever jar opener from Bean and...

a highly useful avocado slicer from Fish.

Then there was the present from my Badger. There were three of them. The first one I opened was the "Settlers of Catan" seafarers expansion pack.

Then I knew what was in the other two!

We've been having fun playing Settlers of Catan. Bean is just crazy about it, which we're glad about because it's totally awesome for his mental development, and it's fun to play games together as a family.

Glenda gave me a beautiful little blue and white china pitcher and Charlotte gave me a bag of dark chocolate Lindor truffles.

What a birthday!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Amazing Discovery

In 1997 I took a trip to Kenya. I wrote up a detailed description of it, scanned a few of my stunning photos with my primitive 20th-century scanner, and put it on a geocities website.

Yesterday I discovered that my old geocities file directory still exists! Holy cow! I haven't even touched it since 2002.

The Kenya trip diary is still intact, along with all these low-resolution scans such as this one of the Serengeti:

I am so excited to see all this again!


There are many differences between little boys and little girls.

It's not just the different clothes they traditionally wear:

It's that when you get out a camera little girls tend to do something like this:

Whereas little boys....

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Fun With Aunt Crocodile

We sure enjoyed my sister visiting us. She claims not to have any maternal instincts, but she's awesome with my kids. She's better than I am at patiently reading stories to them:

She can even pick up sticky, gooey Roo without flinching:

And after a whole weekend with us she still has a smile on her face.

Bean cried when she left. He cried a lot. I didn't blame him a bit.
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