Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birthday Weekend

My birthday was Saturday. Happy Birthday to Me! It was a really nice weekend to celebrate.

We started the weekend off by going to the Juniper Valley Ranch dining room with Miss D on Friday evening. Really good home cookin'! (And look - Miss D and I are both wearing our turquoise necklaces!)
Saturday morning we took off for the mountains. Uncle Markle met us up there and took me off for my birthday present. I've been asking him for a gun safety lesson, and I got that and more! I am now the proud owner of my own BB gun. Look at what a great shot I am!
Later Cousin Hannah and our friends Kerri, Chris and Noah all joined us for dinner. It was an amazing fondue spread! (Thanks, Kerri!)
Plus I got a chocolate birthday cake complete with pumpkins (a birthday tradition for me!)
I had requested a complaint-free hike from the kids for my birthday present. We headed out this morning. It was a perfect day and a great hike, although there was still a bit of complaining! (The kids always complain at the beginning, but once we get going, they always love hiking!)
A few other photos from our hike...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oktoberfest

Despite not being a beer drinker (blech!), we went to the largest Oktoberfest in the Rocky Mountains over the weekend. My goodness, what a madhouse! Had to explain to the kids what "drunk" is.

Still the kids had a great time with the cultural festivities.
And the food. But I never knew that bounce houses are Bavarian! :)
Since I'm mostly German, Matt thinks I should get a little German outfit like this.
I told him I'd be happy to wear one when he starts wearing a kilt! I'd even settle for lederhosen...

It did get me thinking about Kate and Jack's heritage. I'm about 3/4 German and 1/4 Swedish (rumor has it that there is a little Danish housemaid in me also!). Matt is 1/4 Scottish and 1/4 English from his dad, but he isn't sure about his mom's side (the only reason he knows his dad's heritage is because his dad was with us!). My guess would be some combo of English, Irish, and French. So the kids are almost 1/2 German, 1/8 Swedish, 1/8 Scottish, 1/8 English, and a bit more of something else yet to be determined.

Despite all that German blood, neither Kate nor Jack had any interest in learning the German dances or wearing the clothes!

What are you and your kids?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blackberry Picking

Did I forget to blog about blackberry picking?!?

When we went apple picking a few weeks ago, Miss D was practically beside herself at the sight of the blackberry bushes. They were full of red berries that needed just a few more days. I could tell she really wanted to go blackberry picking, so we made plans.
We waited until the farm had been closed a few days so the berries wouldn't be over picked. I barely stopped the car when I dropped the kids off at school, drove right over to pick up Miss D, rushed out to the farm, and got there just as they were opening.
We picked and picked and had a marvelous time. Miss D made a blackberry pie (remember I said she was quite the pie maker?). I had to freeze mine because of our trip to Santa Fe, but I'm planning on making some blackberry jam in a few weeks!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Apple Pie Filling

Remember when I took my friend Miss D and the kids apple picking almost 3 weeks ago? Other than snack on them, I haven't found the time to do anything with my 50lbs of apples. I had planned to just make applesauce, but when Miss D offered to help me with canning, I decided to try something new and fun (not that applesauce isn't fun...). Miss D is quite the pie maker, so I thought apple pie filling would be perfect.
Today we peeled and sliced 6 quarts of apples while Miss D reminisced about her childhood years and her mother's canning (Miss D grew up the middle child - and only girl - of 7 children on a ranch in Oregon). After those stories, I am thankful that canning is a hobby for me and not a necessity for survival!
After all the peeling and slicing, we mixed up the sauce. Originally we were going to pour the sauce over the apples already in the jars, but that was difficult as the sauce was so thick. It was a sticky mess, but we filled 6 quart jars (with just enough left over to make the kids individual apple crisps for tonight). While the jars were processing, we ate lunch outside (chicken salad, crackers and grapes).
Unfortunately, we had packed the jars a little too full. When they came out of the water bath, the jars were oozing apple pie sauce and, obviously, didn't seal. We opened all the jars, gave them some additional head room, cleaned the edges, put on new tops, and processed them a second time. They almost look too pretty to every open and eat.
Miss D had such a great time helping that I think she is going to help me can my peaches, pears, and applesauce. We might even try a recipe for peach pie filling!
(That's me washing dishes... Miss D wanted to prove to Matt that I work very, very hard during the day and never have any fun!)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Santa Fe

Over the weekend Matt took me to Santa Fe to celebrate our anniversary. My mom came up and stayed with the kids. She just left yesterday, and as I type this, I am realizing that I didn't take any photos of our trip nor our time with my mom. Grrr.

Anyway, Santa Fe. We splurged and stayed at La Posada. Our little casita was just perfect and makes me want to redecorate in a southwestern style. I think my dream home would be Santa Fe Southwest out the front door and Midwestern farm out the back door. With some mountains not too far away. (And while I'm fantasizing, I might as well add a lake to the scene...)

We did a lot of shopping, because that is what Santa Fe is all about. Shopping and eating. I picked up a few locally made ornaments from The Shop Christmas. When my friend Ashlee and I were in Santa Fe a few years ago, we both bought ornaments from Jil Gurule and star tree toppers by Richard Gabriel Jr. (For my Indy friends, he is going to be at the Eiteljorg for a few months as an artist in residence or such. I should get the exact dates soon. AND he teaches a class on making your own tin tree topper. Would love to do that sometime!). I got a few more ornaments from each artist... one for my mom, one to hang in my kitchen year round, and one for our Christmas tree.
Jil Gurule ornaments -
I got the San Pasquel ornament
on the lower right to hang in my kitchen
We stopped at The Rainbow Man on a friend's recommendation. It isn't a store I probably would have ventured into otherwise, but I'm so glad we did! Among all the amazing/unique/random items, I spotted the perfect turquoise necklace for myself. I've been on the look out for awhile. You know it is a must buy when you try something on and can't stop smiling at yourself in the mirror! We also hit Kowboyz to look at boots for Matt. We didn't find any for him, but I found a great vintage, all-ready-worn-in pair for me! Despite not having worn cowgirl boots in well over a decade, I decided I needed a pair in the closet. You know, just in case.

PLUS there was a Labor Day arts and crafts show in the main square. Too many good artists showing their wares. We finally decided on a piece by Diana Stetson. I'm really happy with it. We also purchased a reprint of an image by Willard Clark. I had a difficult time narrowing down my decision to just one and may have to get another on our next trip. We are also still debating a large photography print by Barbara Bowles. Decisions, decisions.

Willard Clark print
that we chose
(restrike by his grandson)
We also ate amazing food. Dinners at Zia Diner and El Meson (Spanish tapas - my favorite!). Lunch at Cowgirl BBQ. And breakfast twice at a little place right between our resort and the main square. The last morning we had their breakfast bowl - freshly shredded potatoes, green chilies, bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa. Yum, yum, yum. I can't wait to recreate it at home!

The only photo of the weekend...
the breakfast bowl!
It was that good.
We wrapped up the trip at Trader Joe's (which we do not have in Colorado - boo). I bought in bulk - mini ravioli, wild rice, fiber bars, honey wheat pretzels, multi grain pilaf, whole wheat cinnamon graham crackers, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, chocolate syrup, muesli, and dark chocolate covered toffee rolled in pistachios (sadly, these are almost gone already!).

It was a great weekend. Wish we could have stayed longer. Wish we could go back soon. Wish I had more photos to show off...

Friday, September 03, 2010

10 Years

Today Matt and I have been married for 10 years. In some ways it still seems like the ceremony was just yesterday, but in other ways, I can hardly remember not being married.

We were married on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. I thought we were clever to hold our wedding on a long, holiday weekend, but it has worked out even better to have anniversaries fall on holiday weekends! So don't expect to see me blogging this weekend - we are going to be busy celebrating...