Saturday, May 30, 2015

Road trip Day #1

Leaving Susanville, CA. It seems funny, looking back, at how green this seemed at the time. We've been living in the desert too long. :)

Here is just one example of how the lake waters have receded - we passed this lake in Northern California.

The boys entertain themselves as we were stopped at a park to stretch our legs and eat.

And finally, by days end, we were at the Pacific Ocean!  It feels so good to be back on the West Coast, even on a grey evening such as tonight.

Looking forward to another day of travelling tomorrow!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Planes and More Planes

Today we went on a special outing. Our goal was to meet up with Braden for lunch, a rare occurrence, but while on base I decided to do some exploring with Ryder. Our first stop, after a very long walk, was the 'airplane graveyard.' One little toddler was so excited to see and be able to touch all of the planes and even a helicopter.

The only drawback was the sound of screaming jets taking off and circling overhead the entire time. Poor Ryder cried and clung to my leg every time the hum of engines turned into a roar, but towards the end he was getting brave enough to wave at each one, after all, "Maybe it's Daddy!"

Exploring the airplanes was followed by a walk to the park on base - so thankful for the built in canopy as the sun was out in full force - while I fed Lynden. Here there were cars to drive and slides to descend. 

Everything served to give him a hearty appetite (hooray for Mongolian BBQ) and tire him out sufficiently. In fact, we were barely out the gates and on our way home before he was sleeping sweetly.

Just another day in the life...


Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Landscaping

This weekend has been all about getting our yard in order. Since I've been through and deep cleaned the inside of the house, our front yard was the next glaring project. I'm not sure if the grass on our front lawn will ever be green again, but what has grown in the last few weeks was mowed. A couple of trips the the nursery later I had all the mulch I needed and was able to get it down and raked. Now let's see if this blustery weather we've been having blows all of my mulch away....

Everything went surprisingly quickly - aside from the weeding, which I've been working on here and there for the last few weeks. In fact, I was able to get most of it done while the boys napped under Daddy's supervision. So thankful for a helpful partner.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to do any landscaping without reminiscing about all the work I put into our little red house yard. Here are a few reminders...

After - with blueberry bushes!
New boxwoods around the shop.
 Looking forward to a real walk down memory lane when we visit Washington next month. Ooooh, I just can't wait!

Oh, and here's our big boy having some tummy time this morning. Some days I pinch myself because I just can't believe how happy and content he is - a marked contrast from Ryder at this age. But we are thankful and enjoying every moment with these 2 boys that God has entrusted to our care. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Growing My Garden

Yikes! I haven't posted since Monday, and I'm just not sure where all that time went!

I have a few ideas though...

1. A trip to Reno.

Being a big brother has it's perks - while I had to feed the baby at Target, Ryder got to share a frappuccino with Mama. BTW, did you know that Starbucks has a new 'mini' sized cup for their cold drinks? I'm a fan!

2. An outing to the library.

This time, Ryder was enthralled by the wooden puzzles. 

Those eyelashes!

3. Developing the habit of self-entertainment.

This one has been in the works for quite some time. We're still a long way from the goal, but Ryder is getting much better at playing on his own and coming up with creative ways to entertain himself - like this evening when he played 'Stack 'Em Up' while I fed Lynden. 

He managed to pile up 10 wooden blocks on his own. I think someone may have the Apperson engineering genes. :)

On another note, for any of you parents out there, I highly recommend these Uncle Goose wooden blocks. Not only are they MADE IN AMERICA (!!) but they're also beautiful basswood with educational letters, numbers, math symbols, and animals carved into them, and come with a canvas bag for quick and easy clean up. Definitely a toy worth having or giving to a friend. This set of Uncle Goos blocks was baby shower gift and Ryder has already gotten hours worth of enjoyment out of them. This is not a paid advertisement. ;)

3. Yardwork!

A few weeks ago, a sweet friend from church offered me some plants that were overpopulating her flowerbeds. Of course I couldn't turn her down. I know nothing about gardening in Nevada and so finding some plants that are already thriving here in this desert climate is just what I need. I came home with boxes of white and purple irises (my favourite flower), hollyhocks, lilac shoots, and a few more varieties that I can't name. Everything was free! I hurried home to get everything into the ground before a rainstorm hit. So far it seems like the plants are all still thriving. 

Ryder rode his tricycle on the driveway and Lynden dozed while I transplanted. I still have a bit more weeding to do, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow - weather permitting.

4. Enjoying the rain.

We've been praying for rain, and boy has it been coming down! The last few weeks have had more than their share of rain (no complaints from this West Coast native) and we've just been enjoying the sight and sound of falling water. The canals in town are also full and while we're certainly no Venice, it's great to see water flowing and know that the farmers are benefiting from it.

A stormy sky and full canal.
 Happy Friday One & All!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart - Recipe Included...

This weekend I had the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen again!  On Saturday we had dinner with friends and I had to got to bring desert! If you know me very well at all, you will know that I felt like a kid in a candy store.

My first plan was tiramisu. The Pioneer Woman has a pretty straight forward looking recipe for this, but my plans were dashed when I went to Safeway with an ingredient list, and realized that our little town doesn't carry mascarpone cheese - the assistant manager didn't even know what it was. :/

Ryder accompanied me to pick up our Bountiful Basket and swing by Safeway on Friday night. It's incredible how freeing just managing one child is after having two from just a few months. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the Safeway bakery just so happens to give free cookies to children - best marketing move ever!

Then on Friday night, one of those new sponsored advertisements that Facebook has started including on my newsfeed showed a quick video of how to make Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart.


It looked simple enough. Besides heavy whipping cream for the ganache, I had everything on hand already. The only tricky aspect was that it required 9 hours to make - with chilling each different layer.

First I made the chocolate crust. I think if I were to do it again though, I'd change it up and add more crushed nuts for texture. The recipe ends up tasting more like a chocolate pie crust.

This was my first time making caramel from scratch - also known as sugar, water, butter, and cream. Well, first and second. The first time I tried making the caramel, I got nervous and didn't let it simmer long enough. The result was a very creamy looking soup that didn't have any distant caramel flavour. The second time I cranked the heat and just let it work its own magic. Yum - no more store bought caramel sauce for me!

I added the caramel sauce to the cooled crust and let it chill for about 4 hours. By the time I pulled it out to add the ganache, the caramel was nice and hard.

I cheated on the chocolate ganache. The actual recipe called for bittersweet chocolate whipped with warm cream, but I didn't have just plain chocolate. What I did have was my favourite brand of chocolate EVER. Have you heard of Theo? It's based out of Seattle. I should warn you, it's ridiculously good. If you're ever in Seattle, call ahead and schedule a tour of their factory. It's well worth the $7 - and you'll sample all the chocolate a soul could want.

Anyhow, I just ended up using 2 bars of Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate with the cream - so I skipped the coarse salt garnish. It was salty enough. 

Sorry, the lighting here isn't awesome. Nevertheless, it turned out. I'll warn you that it's very rich. I think most of it can be blamed on the extremely dark chocolate I used. A milker substitute would take care of that. But, with a nice steaming cup of black coffee, I'd say it turned out just about perfect.

Oh, and here are the boys all matchy-matchy heading out for our dinner party in their pjs. Those were fun shower gifts!

Here's my latest Baby Lynden picture. He sure does love his sock monkey pjs from Mimi & Pop. What a joy this little guy is. <3

And did anyone else notice that GAP is trying to market culottes?  
Sorry, but some things are better left dead. :P

Friday, May 15, 2015

Boys' Rooms Complete!

Happy Friday!

I'm back! I took a day off yesterday to complete a few orders from my Etsy shop, but got back at it today. It was high time to go through and tidy each boy's room, so those were my projects today. 

First off, Lynden's room. The trouble with Lynden's room is that it used to store all of my sewing/crafting supplies - actually, it still does. I just bought clear plastic totes and organized everything in his closet when he arrived. Unfortunately, I can get lazy sometimes and leave my things out instead of putting them away neatly when I'm finished a project. Plus, with some new fabric gifted recently (thanks Darcey!) I didn't have a spot set aside for it yet and it just found a home on Lynden's change table. 

Enter motivated Mama, and....voila! 
Room once again organized and tidy.

Oh, and let's not forget the 'baby t-isses.'

The same thing went for Ryder's room, except his mess tends to be of his own doing. So we made his bed, picked up clothes, emptied the laundry basket together, and then I decided to repurpose an old crate that was just storing extra diapers, wipes, and bedding, into a little bookshelf. Previous contents were tucked into his closet and we're now in business. 

I have a feeling that his new messes will be books all over the floor. This little guy loves to 'read.'

 Half way through our clean-up, Ryder decided that he wanted the rocking chair in his room. This little guy is already king of distractions when it comes to getting work done. :)

 And that's that!  I'm considering unloading, cleaning and organizing my kitchen pantry next. Anyone else been putting that one off?? :S

Stay tuned...