Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Project Joy:Week 4 & 5~the plain & the pretty

 Our after the 4th part of July was part quiet (as in schedule, not decibels), part planned eventful.  There is always a letdown time for me after a holiday, any holiday; a little bit relief for the slower pace and alot need to plan a something to look forward to.  So we invited my sister and brother in law over for an impromptu swim and BBQ.
 When my (pregnant) sister said she was bringing S'mores Cake, I had to have the recipe and reinvent it allergy friendly for the boys and my other sister.  I may have eaten as much of the toppings as I  generously sprinkled.
 I've included the recipe at the end of my blog but in the meantime here is the Enjoy Life brand of cookies we've been using for gluten-free allergy friendly S'mores this summer.
 Lacking a park for week 4 and having some extra time on our hands while waiting to meet Mark's visiting dad at the downtown Spokane McDonald's, we took the boys across the street and under 1-90 to Lewis & Clark High School.
 In the back off the school property, while we were looking up at Daddy's old classroom window, we found an undiscovered treasure-the school garden and landscaping area.  In this picture boys are posing at the top of the waterfall.  There are so many sculptures and amazing architectural details to explore.
 LC just celebrated it's 100th anniversary, boasting alumni such as Craig T. Nelson, Jerry Jantz (my dad) and his assorted siblings and alumni teacher Mr. Eastman (my guy).
 Our favorite field trip of the week was 7 Eleven on 7/11.  Finding this free event online, we jumped on the opportunity to take the boys for their first Slurpees.
 Was it worth the drive?
 And yes=).
There is a first time for everything...
 We wash our vehicles so infrequently that washing the junk van and Mark's car was truly an event and the perfect finish for a hot summer evening.
 For Father's Day we gave my dad, the boy's Opa, a Spokane Indian's baseball game, to claim in the summer. I only wish I'd taken a picture of the awesome gift card I made with vintage ephemera!
 "Take me out to the ball game"...
Mid-July was the time and Avista Stadium next to the Fairgrounds was the place.
"...Buy me some..." Peanuts and CrackerJacks are out of the question for my allergy family so thank goodness for the advent of other snacks, including frozen sugar water, I mean lemonade.
Also, I think my boys ate all of Aunt Angela's kettle corn.
 "So it's root, root, root for the home team and if we don't win it's a shame...."
We lost. In overtime.  It was a long game and we did not last the whole time, but we loved it, and I'm pretty sure Mr. Moneyball Haden downloaded all of the stats into his brain during the game.
"At the old, ball, game!"...Quintessential summer sounds; cracking bats, smells; freshly cut grass, sights; setting sun casting shadows on the field and lights flickering on.  The boys of summer indeed.
Most of the summer I have spent walking in to my office/craft room to deposit another load of something that goes there or to get supplies to take out and do a project elsewhere.  I finally realized only recently that I couldn't organize it (and by it I mean storage space) until I finished the furniture pieces I was to bring in.  More on that in a blog later.  In the meantime I managed a small project~taking a frame I already had and framing a fun art piece I tore out of an Uppercase magazine.  I felt creative and it was easy peasy lemon squeezy.
There have been weeks that I could not even conceive of cooking, the heat does a real number on me.  So one of the great meals that came out of my summer induced laziness was sliders for the boys.  I found a load of Ener-g brand gluten free dinner rolls on clearance earlier in the summer and realized they were the perfect fit for the Jenny-O turkey breakfast circle sausages I make all the time.  And voila!
Mark's mom Pat was visiting from southern Cali for a week in mid-July and we took her to one of our favorite parks in Spokane on the South Hill, Manito Park.  When Mark and I moved here after we were married he didn't know how to pronounce it.  He said Maa-nee-toe.  I, who grew up around here, said it's Man-i-toe.  Either way, it is truly a jewel in the crown of the city of Spokane.  The Japanese Garden is pretty amazing.  Sculptures, waterfall, huge goldfish pond, and meandering paths never cease to relax me,  even while chasing three boys and reminding them it's supposed to be a meditating garden, not a speed course.
Manito is huge, vast and encompasses many areas.  So you don't say, I'll meet you at Manito.  You say, I'll meet you in the Duncan Gardens...
Or the Rose Garden...or the Perennial Garden...or the Lilac Garden...
or the Greenhouse (which has a plant sale every year)...
or at the Park Bench (outdoor restaurant), or the classic, the duck pond.  We used to be able to feed the ducks and geese but there is now a no-feed rule, which we abide by, but no one else around us did...really fun to try to explain that one to the boys.  Anyway, we also re-discovered a path up the rock hill from the parking for the duck pond.  When you get to the top you can see this...
Well, actually more than this (which is Mark, Finn and Mark's mom walking to the car), including two play sets and a large open meadow and picnic area.  We'll be back this fall.

So, somewhere between the quiet and the planned, in between the plain and the beautiful those two middle of July weeks, I discovered balance on the teeter totter that is my life, and I found time.
May you find a place of joy and piece and maybe even peace of time this week.
~Hollie Joy

Monday, August 13, 2012

Project Summer Joy:Freedom & Week 3

 To recap my project for the summer (because I must, must have a to-do list) was to do a new Recipe, visit a Park or have a Field Trip and do a House Project each week.  Let's just get right to the food.
Week 3 encompassed a visit from my husband's dad, the boy's Boppa, and the 4th of July.  My mom hosted beautifully for the fourth and this was her inspired dessert; layered shortcake with pie filling, cupcake, strawberries and whip cream.
 I baked my second pie of the summer, blueberry.  So, so, so good.  I'm still saving a piece in the fridge for the right day.  The flags were from Pottery Barn last year on deep clearance off season.  Those are some of my favorite words: deep clearance off season.  And Pottery Barn.  I even managed a star for the flag with my vintage cookie cutter and fragile gluten-free pie dough.
 Our new family tradition when we get home on the fourth, roasting marshmallows and smores in our backyard when we get home.  This year Spokane weather completely to the day followed what we always say: summer weather doesn't begin until the fourth of July.
 My mom had the vets in our extended family gather to be recognized.  Thank you to all veterans.
(l to r) George Eastman, Dwayne Jantz, Shirley & John Goldberger; Vern Holter & Mike Gill.
 Sweet land of liberty.
And yes, I was taking pictures during the prayer.
 I always, always have letdown aka depression after holidays, no matter how big or small, so to make the week after more fun Mark and I decided to have a surprise park picnic.  We went to Linwood Park right on Country Homes Blvd in Spokane, down from Five Mile. 
 We had the park all to ourselves to make some memories.
Some weeks recipes just happen naturally, this was one of them.  I made banana soynutbutter shakes for snack.  You can see the verdict.
 Yea! Our new garden addition.  We had purchased the first section last summer on clearance (there it is again!) at Home Depot for it's size and ease, so bought another section this year (at full price).
 Finn is planting some organic corn, and Haden and Liam each planted crops they liked, Haden tomato plants and Liam cucumber.  One thing I have loved this year is having time and energy to plant my garden at the seasonally correct times, and we have a bountiful garden this to harvest.
I took some time to play with my camera too. I love my pink upgraded camera and the last of the pink peonies in our flower garden.  Now I am hoping my pink laptop will cooperate since Mark helped uninstall and install the right things and I can get back to the things I love online.  However, the computer enforced break has been remarkably good for my soul.  I have found much joy in reading library books, taking walks, swimming with the boys and remembering what summer can be.
May you find your summer joy this week~Hollie jOy