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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!

We started our New Year's Eve celebration off at the top of the world - or as close as we could get staying near home. We went sledding near the top of Mt. Spokane and had a great time. It was very, very cold, but there was enough sunshine to keep everyone's spirits up and smiles wide.
This was an enormous hill with a healthy drop at the top to get our speed up and a long run at the bottom to keep the thrill going! The entire run was 200+ yards long. Yes, our crazy dog, Stubby, chased every sled down the hill at breakneck speed and happily romped up the hill with the kids. The fun really started once the kids realized Stubby would chase an empty sled down the hill.
This is the fabulous view afforded us from near the peak of Mt. Spokane. This is looking southwest at about 3:30 p.m.
The temperatures dropped to 2-degrees F by dinner time. We stayed home, near the fireplace with a big simmering pot of chili, some cornbread and sparkling apple cider to ring in 2011. Watch out Jan. 1, 2011 - we're headed to a New Year's Day auction at State Line.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fiascos and other fun

Tatum attempted to make her first fancy cake in a fluted pan. This is a vintage Bundt® pressed aluminum pan that we picked up at a yardsale for 50¢ last summer. She's been itching to use it and with Nana coming to visit, she decided to try. Next time she will remember to treat the pan with some sort of spray or oil. The top half of the cake is stuck in the pan.
Keeli decided to take advantage of Nana's visit by getting a pink and purple toenail painting session. One toe is pink, the next is purple, the next is pink ... You get the idea. Nana has 5 more glorious days of this treatment.
This is Rick having the most fun he's had in weeks. It may be 7:44 a.m. on Sunday, but he isn't gearing up for fantasty football. He's headed across the skybridge to the airport and ultimately Los Cabos. Wait for me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scouting for food

The Weblos went out today collecting non-perishable food donations for the Boy Scouts annual food drive. Our donations benefit 2nd Harvest Food Bank. To celebrate their success, the boys all went roller skating this afternoon.

Please consider donating to your local food bank. There are so many underprivileged children who depend on food banks. Many of these are chidlren who get most of their daily nutrition from free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs at their schools which are not available during the upcoming holiday school breaks - when so many of us enjoy hearty, wonderful meals with our families. 'Tis the season!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Baby steps

Freedom! I've gotten released to return to work and start taking baby steps on the broken leg/ankle. I'm not really walking, just hobbling along putting about 25% of my weight on the right foot, but it beats sitting in that recliner all day.

This is the most recent xray. As you can see (becaues I can't) everything is healing well, maybe even a bit ahead of schedule. I am now using crutches and taking little walks about the house and even went out to enjoy the sunshine on the deck this afternoon.

I go back to the doctor in four weeks to check my healing progress and schedule surgery to remove that really long screw that is holding the tibia and fibula together. Won't be able to walk with that in there!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun

We had a houseful of company for the weekend, so everything seemed rushed, but we tried to pack all the holiday fun in we could.

Rikard has been dreaming, planning and designing his costume for months. Here he is in all his zombie mummy glory! It was impossible to get him to hold still so every photo has a different part of him in focus. UGH! Boys!
 The girls were a bit easier. Keeli wanted to be a stick of pink cotton candy. She looks really good in person when her tulle is fluffed and pulled away from her body. Tatum is the Queen of Hearts, complete with pre-teen cranky attitude.
 Saturday evening we took Papa Charlie and Uncle Joe to a local Halloween festival, complete with haunted house and games. Tatum spent most of her tickets at this crazy bowling game. Apparently this game had the best candy prizes.
 At the end of the evening the kids talked Papa Charlie into the cake walk. There were three cakes left and when the first number was drawn it was the person next to Rikard. The second number drawn was someone else. Rick and I were excited that we didn't have to take a cake home. Then, Papa Charlie hit his lucky streak and won a candy corn cake!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celebration cake

 This weekend we celebrated my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. My dad, Jim, is wearing the red shirt, and my mom, Joyce, is wearing the floral shirt. Here they are with my mother's siblings. To the left is Nancy (mom's older sister) and Ron, married 53 years. Immediately to the right of my parents are John (mom's brother) and Marcia, married 43 years. Farthest to the right is Jim and Paulette (the baby of the family), married 27 years.
 My brother and sister-in-law did most of the preparation for the party, cooking, cleaning, organizing and inviting. They did a great job and everyone had a great time and more than enough to eat. We had a house full for the evening and enjoyed seeing cousins who traveled from far and wide for the celebration.

I decided to make a cake to take along. I found this recipe in a cookbook that was compiled as a fundraiser for my former workplace, Big Bend Community College. It is called Painted Peach Cake. It is simple and very tasty. My neice said it tasted like Christmas.

Blend together one white or yellow cake mix, 5 eggs and 6 oz. cream cheese. This will be much thicker than a normal cake batter, like a pound cake. Grease and flour a bundt pan well. Spread 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Place 1 cup sliced and well drained peaches on top of batter, making sure none are touching the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cinnamon (red hot) candies. Top with remaining batter.
 Top with remaining batter and bake at 350-degrees F for 35-45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before inverting and removing.
This is a wonderfully moist and very tasty cake, a great change from your ordinary bundt cake.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apple Pie

Our wonderful children suprised us recently with their first ever team-effort apple pie. It definitely had the appearance of being constructed by enthusiastic youngesters in the kitchen. 
After dinner, it was served up with big scoops of vanilla ice cream. It was *delicious.* When we cut it open we found a treasure trove of stories to share for years and years and years. The top crust was nearly 3/4" thick where the larger stars were located, and while golden brown on top it was barely cooked in the middle. Most of the apple slices still had their peel in tact. They forgot to add sugar.

Despite all these crazy things, it was a wonderful dessert shared with our children.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Apples & Eggs

 My family loves - L-O-V-E-S - apples. Red apples. Yellow apples. Sweet, juicy apples. Green apples. Apples that make you pucker.
 After washing and slicing, they are put into the dehydrator. Some are left au-naturel, some are sprinkled with cinnamon for a little added anti-oxident and a flavor explosion.
 After a couple of hours, the house is filled with the sweet, warm smell of baked apples and we have handfulls of sweet apple treats.
 And, Suprise! Green eggs and ham for dinner. The lone surviving spring chick started laying last week and we are getting these fabulous-green shelled eggs. The hen is an Aracauna, the breed is also known as the "Easter Egg Chicken" because of the soft, pastel colored egg shells. Our other chicks are about 8 weeks old and should start laying between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Monday, September 27, 2010


This was me as Tatum and Rikard watched me being carted away in an ambulance last Saturday. It really is a silly thing, while walking across the park I slipped and broke my ankle. I didn't trip on a stick, didn't fall into a hole, didn't bumble over a curb. I just fell straight down, feet forward onto my behind.

Technically it is a spiral fracture of the right fibula. During surgery, they repaired the break with a plate and seven screws. There is also an "anchor" screw which holds the fibula and tibia together during the healing process. I am off my feet for at least two weeks, probably more.

During this down time, Rick has gotten me pretty well set up. I'm habitating the recliner in the dining room. He's brought me a stitching project, my laptop, my thesis notes and a television. At least I can keep my mind occupied.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Another Beastie

Look who moved into the flower beds!
The kids have named him Fred the Frog. He serenades us from his home among the newly planted hydrangea when the evening air begins to cool.
His nearest neighbor was Tim and Spider, who built a very complex web near the patio door. Tim apparently didn't like it here very much, he "moved out" while we were away from home Sunday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bobble heads

Ever notice you can buy sports equipment for adults in all sorts of sizes, but manufacturers expect children to all be roughly the same size? It isn't a one-size fits all world and Keeli - AKA the bobble headed t-ball player - is a perfect example.
The season opened Tuesday and Keeli had a great time and - hopefully - is grasping some of the game's concepts. That giant helmet and the way it shifts forward, backward and side-to-side on her head with every move she makes is very distracting for a 5-year-old.
Ready position - enough said - no comment. I can't stop laughing when I see this going on!Her friend Mia did her best to tag Keeli out as she approached first, but the first rule of t-ball is all runners are safe and all runners get to score! Yeah for everyone!!! Keeli celebrates each and every advancement as if she were scoring the winning run. So, maybe she doesn't have all the concepts down quite yet. She has time to learn.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Last Bus Ride of 2009-10

We closed the books on another school year Friday.

When the bus returns next fall Tatum will be headed to 6th grade, Rikard will be in 4th grade and Keeli will join them on her way to Kindergarten.

Both Tatum and Rikard returned home with "acceptable" report cards. I'm not sure I like the standards based grading system that is now in effect. They are both passing all their subject areas, although Rikard got a low mark in neatness and the component of music that has to do with carrying a tune. The system we have doesn't allow for any comments from the teachers regarding the level they receive (0-4 scale with 4 being the highest). And, most of their marks were 3s, which means they meet the grade level expectations. The biggest problem I have is that the system is very nebulous to the parents, we don't see the rubric or system their grades are based on and some of us - mainly me - do care.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Preschool Graduate

There was a short ceremony at the preschool to honor the graduates. Teacher Lori read the list of all the items the children listed as their favorites or the tasks they did the best throughout the year. Keeli listed coloring in the lines, eating lunch, singing, counting and writing her name.

The students led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and sang Puff the Magic Dragon.
The school collected the kids' work throughout the year and photographed several activities. A scrapbook was compiled and on display for the preschoolers to share with their families and friends before the ceremony.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Keeli has flourished beyond expectations at preschool this year. She is often described as caring, helpful, considerate and bright by her teachers. She has worked very hard in the classroom and always creates more and more "homework" for herself outside the classroom.

This is a current sample of her handwriting. When the year started her K was a stick with two arms and her es were upside down, almost like 6s. It is still difficult to discern her l from her i, but she's getting there!

She counts to 20, recites her ABCs, and sings many lovely verses of The Wheels on the Bus and One, Two, Buckle My Shoe.

She has a graduation ceremony Wednesday evening. Stay tuned for photos.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Scout Camporee 2010

Despite the chilly wind and pouring rain, we had a great day at the BSA Centennial Camporee. The local event was held at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. It is a huge camping event, drawing Scouts and their families from all over the Inland Northwest.Outside, the rain was pouring and a cold wind was blowing. Thankfully the indoor activities were plentiful. Rikard sat through a discussion of American Flag etiquette and learned to properly and respectfully fold the flag. I am constantly amazed at the level of respect and compassion the older Scouts have for the younger Scouts in teaching and guiding them through large events like these or small weekly den meetings. It is a such a dramatic contrast to what we see in some of our everday contacts with other children.

Another room was filled with old-fashioned (non-electronic) games, including several versions of ring toss and bean bag games, maze putter golf and a magic show. Rikard also enjoyed the law enforcement displays (especially the K-9 officer), building a model rocket, watching model sail boats and airplanes, and a little hands-on whittling. There were over 150 activities to take part in, there was no way we could squeeze them all into one day.

There were several great interactive displays on fish and wildlife, habitat preservation, forestry, fossils and hiking. Here Rikard is using the microscope to view the surface of a dragon fly's eyes.

The family's favorite activity of all was building a mini cooking unit from the base of two aluminum pop cans.
Rick and Rikard worked well together to construct the little stove unit. Once completed it is filled with a clear fuel, like denatured alcohol , set inside a clean tuna can and lit. It burns quite nicely.
Tatum also completed one. We will take them camping next weekend and test them out!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

Sunday morning I got my wish, a scenic drive up Mt. Spokane to see the sights and take a few photos. There wasn't much of note, but the view from (nearly) the top was fantastic.

Upon our return home, we dug right into our weekend project. There were two stumps from former ornamental Japenese Lace Leaf Maple trees. This weekend we removed one of the stumps and replaced it with a new tree.

Moving the decorative rock is just tedious, made worse by screams from Keeli of "don't hurt the roly-poly" and waiting while she relocates the little bugs. Stubby was really into the digging part, she just wasn't very focused on helping.
When it was time to place the tree in the hole, we realized after dropping it in the hole was far too deep for our little tree.
After we got it out of the hole, Rick left me holding it perched on the edge while he filled the bottom of the hole back in.
The little tree looks right at home. You can see the potten hydrangea under the basement windows. Those will be planted in the coming week to replace some small shrubs that didn't survive the winter well.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New Bloomies

Tatum tagged along to Bloomsday with us this year. We arrived a bit early to the staging area and she was enthralled by all the craziness. The costumes, the beach balls, the team shirts, the posing for photos, the throwing of clothes into the trees... This gentlemen showed up in his themed costume and was posing for photos with everyone who would have him. Tatum tugged on his elbow to ask and without warning he scooped her up, threw her into the air and caught her. Her day was off to a great start!

You may notice our team has changed somewhat from last year. Kelly and Tabitha bailed on us. Because we didn't have the stroller, we started in the lilac staging area. Upon reviewing last year's photos, we may need to purchase a new sweatshirt for Joyce or talk to her about her strange superstition of wearing the same one for athletic competitions.

We were trapped in a sea of people. Thousands crowded ahead of us (above) and thousands poured in behind us (below). There was a solid moving river of people as far as we could see in both directions.

That didn't change for miles.

In fact we struggled against the crowd most of the morning. It was difficult to keep our pace up, when throngs of people in front of us were just plodding along, taking their time. This is the sea of people stretching ahead of us along mile 2 on Government Way, near the cemetery and memorial gardens.

Tatum saw Doomsday Hill from the bridge and thought she could easily conquer it. Oh, the ambition of an 11 year old! But there she was, running up the hill. Again, we wove in and out of the crowd, working to move forward and keep our pace relatively decent. We found breathing room at mile 5, near the top of Doomsday Hill.

As we rounded the corner from the courthouse and Tatum saw the finish line she proclaimed that she wasn't going to let her Nana finish before her and she started running. Nana was up to the challenge and took off after her. They finished together.

363 days until Bloomsday 2011.

How Rude!

Sometimes actions of convenience aren't well considered before they are completed. This is the finisher in a race-themed scultpure dedicated to Bloomsday, the city and all the event's participants. Notice how the garbage cans for the beer garden area are secured to it with a chain?I think it is a bit unsulting to the artist and all that the sculpture represents to treat it in this manner.

The scultpure was created by David Govedare. He is a talented artist and has many publicly displayed pieces that wonderful interpretations and representations of the Pacific Northwest natural and modern history.This is named The Joy of Running Together and is part of the City of Spokane's Sculpture Walk. It was installed and dedicated in 1984/85. Each year race organizers cover the metal runners with run t-shirts from past years. Runners completing each successive race recieve their finisher shirts very near this sculpture.

Today is the 34th running of Bloomsday. Joyce, Tatum and myself will be walking the 12K course this morning. Outside we have beautiful blue skies and lots of sunshine.