Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brought to You by the Letter D

Daffodils! Donuts!  We went on another adventure this past rainy Sunday. Molly is getting used to the idea.  When she got into the car after church, she asked, "Where are we going on our 'venture?"
My little yellow flower in the daffodil field.

So off we went to pick daffodils!  This is a great little Vancouver spot that was written up in The Columbian (our local paper) last year.  Each dozen you pick costs only 50 cents.  My favorite flower is the daffodil (Wait...I am lying, I love lilacs maybe they tie for my favorite flower).  It's so fun to fill the house with their happy sunny faces in the spring.  Molly and I cut 48 daffodils and had to stop because our hands were too cold- it was pouring rain.  I am thinking about going to get more this next week.  It is so nice to have fresh flowers in the house!  If you go, bring a plastic bag and a pair of scissors for easy cutting and carrying.

Doooonnnuuttttssss (ala Homer Simpson)
Next, we accessed our app Portland Essentials and off we went in search of donuts.  The Helen Barnhard Bakery has been around since 1924.  Helen started the bakery in her kitchen.  The little bakery was super sweet (har har) and by the time we got there, our donuts were even half off!  And delicious!  Another D!

I wanted a cinnamon roll, but they were all sold out.  So darn (D!), we will have to go back.  Oh dear (D!).  Someone stop me.

Thanks to Evelyn and Another Yarn for all the great ideas for new things to do in Portland! (See comments last post.) My list is growing!

Grateful List:
1. I am thankful for all the people out there who can help everyone effected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It is times like this I want to be a doctor or a nurse.  Or a nuclear physisist.  You know, one of those.  So I could help.

2. I am grateful for Jen.  She told me I can do it (no TV for Lent) and I am.  And it is not that bad, but every once in a while, I have to take a deep breath and step away from the remote.

3. Inspiration. I wish I could do this in 40 days.  Even though I can't on that level, I can go slower, and make it happen!  It might take me a bit longer.  I am okay with that.

4. Spring! The croci (I looked it up) are beautiful and purple, and the daffodils, well, I already covered that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adventures in Portland

I recently got a new phone.  I have needed one for awhile, but being me, I had just gotten used to the old one.  It was two years old, maybe older?  I just found a calendar option on it the other day.  Oh well.  Marshall ordered a refurbished iPhone for me.  I have been having a lot of fun finding new applications for it.  Some I have found for Molly, and some for me.  In the next few months I'll blog about the ones Molly is using.

Screenshot taken from the iTunes Store

I found one for the whole family the other day called "Portland Essentials".  It has a lot of fun little categories like "Hidden Gems" and "Child Friendly".  We are having great fun planning our trips around Portland based on it.  Sunday we went on our first adventure!

Screenshot taken from the iTunes Store
We were going to go to Voodoo Donuts, but the line was crazy.  So we decided to go to Mother's Bistro and Bar.  Yum!  It was around noon when we arrived, and we had a 45 minute wait (ha ha, so much for not waiting).  The staff were wonderful and so sweet to the children, and we had a lovely little table in the back.  I really enjoyed looking around at the decor, lots of fun chandeliers and mirrors.  The food was good, I had the crab cakes sandwich, Molly had the cheeseburger and fries, and Marshall had the biscuits and gravy.  We all liked our meals.  They are well known for their macaroni and cheese, next time I will order that.  Then we walked over to the Portland Saturday Market.  

After we walked through the market, we walked along the park and played in the grass.  A lovely girl named Karen gave Molly the ball she is playing with below.  Isn't that sweet?  She said she bought it that day to give away to a little one.

Molly and her new ball.  Part of Portland Saturday Market is in the background.
We are looking forward to our next adventure in Portland.  We are thinking trying again for Voodoo Donuts, a bicycle ride along the river or maybe a tram ride!

Do you live in Portland?  Ever been to Portland?  What is your favorite place to go/thing to do?  We would love to hear your ideas!

Today I am Grateful For:
1.  Semi-healthy children right now.  Yay!
2.  Molly and Jack entertaining each other today for about 15 minutes.  It was so fun to watch.  Quietly.  While I got something done. :)
3.  The purple crocus poking up their pretty heads in our flower beds outside.  Yay spring!
4.  Kona solids.  I picked up a bunch today on sale for a secret project.
5. My husband for holding Jack on his lap at night so I can sew/clean/sort/whatever.  (He doesn't like to sleep without one of us holding him.  Molly went through a similar phase.)

So, on one last note...I am thinking about giving up television/movies for Lent.  Am I crazy?  Or crazy smart?  Or will I go crazy?  I don't watch television during the day, it is usually at night after the kids go to bed that we watch something.  I am not sure of this yet.  I thought at first it was a good idea, now I am thinking otherwise.  Which probably means I should do it.  Gah.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cranberry Picking on My Parent's Farm

Yeah, so blogging.  It seems to be taking a back seat to life right now, but here is a little fall catch-up from me...I promise I will get back in the swing of things soon!

The cranberry bog on my parent's farm in Oregon.
This past Thanksgiving, I was able to pick cranberries with my Mom in my parent's cranberry bog.  Normally, we just call this the pasture.  But I will be all fancy and call it a cranberry bog, because that is what part of it is now!

When we were kids, we always strung popcorn and cranberries together to decorate the Christmas tree.  In early January, we would take the stale strings down and place them outside in the trees for the birds to eat. forward 20 or so years, and my Dad was walking around in the pasture one fall (I think it was 2008) and noticed that there were red berries underfoot.  He looked closer, and discovered our cranberry bog!  The birds had eaten the Christmas tree decorations, and when they "went to the birdy bathroom" as they were flying, enough of them went in the same area.  This area is right near our pond, and quite swampy. The seeds from the cranberries took root, and et voila!  Cranberry bog!

Here are some hiding.  I am going to get you!
Did you know most of the world's cranberries are grown and harvested in the United States and Canada?  And they like the coastal areas, so Oregon and Washington both have lots of cranberry farms.  This is a great little video on how a wet harvest looks.  

So one of my crazy fantasies one day is to work on a cranberry farm at harvest time.  I have always wanted to do this!  I really like cranberries, especially in my Mom's cranberry orange bread.  They are such a versatile little fruit.  You can eat them, sauce them, bake them, even decorate with them!
Here is my Mom (well, her hand anyway) picking cranberries.
She wears disposable gloves so her hands don't get wet.  But they do get cold!

We picked for about 30-40 minutes and got quite a few.  It was cold and wet so we went inside to see how many we had.

Oooh magical cranberries!  Aren't my Mom's hands pretty?  I have always thought so.
Here are the cranberries floating in a plastic tub.
When you want to separate the cranberries from all the little leaves and things that stick to them, you float them in a pan or bowl.  Just like the real cranberry farmers do it, just on a much smaller scale!
See underneath?  That is all the stuff I don't want in my cranberry orange bread!

And when you are all done?  Lucious yummy cranberries to eat!  Or mix into your favorite bread recipe!

Here is my mom's yummy cranberry orange bread recipe.

Margaret's Cranberry Orange Bread
Makes: 1 loaf (large) 
Bake at: 325 degrees F

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted margerine or butter
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup magical cranberries chopped up!
1/2 cup nuts- your choice- optional

Mix dry ingredients together very well in a large mixing bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.  Mix them both together until just moistened.  Add your cranberries and nuts and stir gently.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for 60-70 minutes at 325 degrees F.  Store 24 hours after baking but before cutting.  (It is a little more firm this way).  Makes 1 loaf (large!) of cranberry orange bread.  Be sure to watch them closely if using smaller loaf pans or muffin tins and cut your baking time down.

I would have shown you finished loaves, but Molly and I made them and I doubled the butter by accident.  Oops!  They weren't very pretty, but they still tasted great :).

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