Happy Friday, Y’all! This is a great Family Friday because Mommy has the day off today!

She asked for the day off months ago when we had plans to go camping this weekend. However, most of the people who were going to go camping with us had other things come up, so we ended up cancelling our camping plans.

Just as well because we have a good deal of work to do this weekend. Just like last weekend.

It was great last week. The girls stayed over at Deedee and Papa’s house on Thursday night so Ryan and Kathleen could have a date. Then when Ryan went up to pick them up on Friday he got the chance to do some man work for a change. He turned this…

Into this…

It was also the weekend of Kids Camp at the Swiss park.

So we went and met Mommy there after supper. Our kids are too young for Kids Camp yet, but Kathleen has been going there for 22 years with only one miss, and old habits die hard. (We missed last year because we were at the beach, watching Evie meet the ocean for the first time).

But the girls like playing on the old school play ground (all metal and wood, because Swiss people don’t replace anything until it has fallen apart three times).

It’s a great place to get them all… “tired” out!

They also like seeing the decorations for the play that the kids do on Sunday,

and Evie is fascinated by the Schwingen Pit.

“Daddy! Come wrestle with me!”

Kathleen comes from a long line of Fondue serving ladies.

Get it? A long line? Cause there’s a long line of ladies in the picture?

We have begun harvesting beets this week. They have not been doing so well, but we got enough for one good meal of butter beets and carrots.

It is one of Ryan’s favorite summer dishes. Super easy, you just cut up some fresh raw beets and carrots, and either steam them and then fry it in butter, or just fry it in butter without steaming until it is tender and delicious.

The weather has been fairly hot and dry, which is perfect for homemade popsicles and playing in the pool.

We have transitioned from “time outs” to planking for Evie as a disciplinary measure, since she listens better while planking than while sitting. The better she listens, the faster she gets to recover. This will probably not work for Ellie, however. She thinks planking is a great game, and she is actually really good at it (comes of being shorter and more compact than her sister).

Look at that form!

We have been having a great time outside, but sometimes it’s too hot to play out there for little girls born and bred in the Pacific Northwest. Then legos inside is a great option.

Then on to the main event for the week. Daddy and the girls went up to Deedee and Papa’s house to strip their bean plants of the last of the beans (Deedee already canned all she wants for this year). Ellie loves working in the garden and is actually pretty good at picking, for not being two years old.

Evie does not like working in the garden, but she thought the Velcro effect of the leaves was fun.

We picked a lot of beans.

A LOT!

And Mommy bought another 25 Lbs from the Greek produce store near her work.

Fortunately she got off work a little bit early on Wednesday so she had about 10 Lbs of it snipped by the time the rest of the family got home, and was able to get started canning while Daddy and Evie snipped more beans.

Evie does not like being made to work, as we have said, but she agreed that if she lives in this house and eats food with everyone else, it is only fair that she do her share of the beans.

And boy is she proud of herself when she finishes her pan of beans!

And that’s what we are still up to today, canning beans. Kathleen had one batch going before the girls got up, then Ellie helped wash more beans…

Ellie always wants to help.

While Evie and Daddy made muffins for breakfast.

Looks like we will have 31 quarts when they are all canned.

That’s all for this week, folks. Have a great weekend, and pray for us.

God Bless!

Happy Family Friday, Y’all!

Nothing like a quiet Saturday morning at home for some Family Breakfast time.

Lots of jelly making going on last week. We picked a gallon or so of raspberries at Dude’s house on Sunday.

Ellie is really good at picking raspberries. She even puts some of them in the bucket!

Evie and Ellie love hanging out with Dude and Susie.

Then we went to Deedee and Papa’s house, where we picked more berries

And ate some delicious berry pie.

Of course then we had to turn the berries into something, jelly, or jam, or pie filling or something. You would think you could just freeze them and put them in the freezer until you needed them, but that is actually more work than canning them. They have to be carefully laid out in pans and then frozen (which means clearing out a space in the freezer, the real bottleneck of the process) and frozen, then have the frost knocked off before they are bagged. Otherwise they freezer burn.

Fortunately, the squeezo is so easy to use that a couple of two little girls can reduce a gallon of raspberries to juice in about ten minutes. Raspberry lemonade concentrate anyone?

Daddy found two ripe blackberries on one of his ruckmarches….

So it begins!

They will be coming in hard in a couple weeks.

Our garden is coming along somewhat fitfully these days. It is an unusually cold and wet July around here. One of our San Marzano tomatoes has blossom rot, but the other one is doing nicely.

The rest of the tomatoes are only blossoming so far.

Something has been eating our pepper plants alive, something we haven’t been able to find yet, but we suspect it is aphids. Fortunately, some ladybugs have moved in and have set up housekeeping on the beans…

And on the chamomile.

We will see if they are able to get the aphids in check once they all hatch.

Then comes the weekend and packing for our camping trip!

Think two pounds of butter will be enough for three days, two nights?

Especially when we are bringing all kinds of other food? You bet! Butter makes Mommy’s world go round!

Meanwhile, Daddy does not understand Evie and Ellie’s fascination with Mommy’s fancy shoes.

So there we were, Friday afternoon after Mommy got home from work, we all piled into the old rattlebang and drove out to Scenic Beach State Park. We arrived a little after 7:00 PM, well past the girls’ supper time (actually past their bedtime too) so they we were super rambunctious and over-excited.

While Daddy set up the tent with the girls’ help, Mommy got the Dutch oven going and heated up some of her home-made coconut shrimp. Ronny and Amanda and RJ joined us while we were getting this set up, and we had a lovely meal together.

Of course it was a late night, almost 10:30 when we went to bed, and the girls were super tired. Ellie was almost beside herself. She did not want to lay down anywhere out of arms reach of Mommy and Daddy.

But sleep conquers even the tiredest of babies eventually, and all the kids passed out before midnight.

Which was perfect, since they all woke up again at 5:30 on Saturday morning. Yay! Camping!

Mommy got the breakfast started in style with a raspberry cream cheese breakfast bake.

Evie tided herself over by licking the remaining filling out of the empty bowl.

The cast iron certainly got a workout over the weekend.

Saturday after breakfast we hiked along the trail down to the beach. Turns out Ellie is a great hiker. She handled half a mile hike along a very rough trail full of roots and rocks,

not to mention running around on the rocky beach and climbing up the barnacle encrusted logs.

Yes, the beaches in Washington are rocky. Yes the water is cold and dirty. Still a great time for a family with young kids. Daddy even made a sling and threw some zingers 100+ meters out into the Hood Canal.

As might be expected, the small people were all over-tired cranky butts by lunchtime, so we put them down for a nap. They were out in about half a decade of the Rosary or less. While they were sleeping Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came with Edmund and Annarose, so after naps all the kids went down to the playground to shake their sillies out, and wiggle their waggles away. Except RJ, who was still resisting a rest and consequently could not be happy.

But he rocks a great chin beard, just like his dad.

Cousins!

Uncle Adam brought his backpack weighted with 60+ Lbs of peat gravel to carry around for exercise, since he hadn’t gotten a run in that morning. Not content with that, we decided to up the ante with a little Dad-ruck action.

Saturday was an even later night. The kids had all gotten enough of a nap (even RJ) that excitement was stronger than sleepiness, so we were up past 11. Oh well.

Ryan was up at 5:30 tending the fire all by himself until first Ronny and then Ellie joined him.

She rocks a great bedhead.

Eventually, everyone meandered out for breakfast and packing up the campsite, before heading in to Gig Harbor for 11:00 Mass.

Good weekend. Ryan and Ronny cracked this open Friday night, and with Adam’s help managed to finish it before bed on Saturday.

Consequently we didn’t touch any of the beer we had brought but this was so smooth and fiery that no one missed it.

Now here we are, on the home again, doing our regular home thing. Ryan is job searching, so far unsuccessfully. Everyone keeps saying, “We’d love to hire you for this job… after you have a couple years of experience doing the job.” No, experience in the military as a medic doesn’t seem to carry any weight on a resume. Oh well, we’ll keep searching and praying.

We had a minor setback in the garden, with the unusually blustery summer weather. It blew the lid on the planter box shut and shattered one of the windows.

We will probably end up replacing it with plexi glass, lighter, cheaper and more durable.

But mostly it’s just the usual work, school and family stuff, aka:

Reading books,

Drinking bubble tea

Daddy got the matcha milk tea expecting the girls to leave it alone. Evie wasn’t impressed by it, but Ellie refused to let go of it.

And growing up way too fast (and also reading more books).

And that’s all for this week, folks. God Bless, have a great weekend, and God Bless.

Hello all!

Daddy came home on Sunday! He and his buddies started driving as soon as they were done with work on Saturday and drove through until midnight with only one major mishap involving a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and a (probably) shady tire dealership. We crushed some miles and got in a little after midnight so Daddy was able to be home when Mommy woke up on Sunday morning. And then a little later when the little girls woke up. Ellie was holding up her hands and saying “Hug! Hug!” about every five minutes for the first two or three hours. So it was good to be home.

After Mass and lunch we drove up to Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne’s house for burgers and dogs.

Aunty Kathleen figured out that all you need to do to be the center of attention for a bunch of Kraeger kids is to hold the food. All except Evie. She is strange and gets so excited she forgets to eat.

Ellie loves her Grandma Ann dresses, because they have pockets. Real pockets. Useful pockets for putting useful things in, like grapes and rocks and pinecones.

Tri-tip with bacon/veggie stirfry. Daddy is still in Team cooking mode, as you can see by the prominent lack of carbs.

Wednesday we made bread. Ellie helped.

We also made the dough for the doughnuts Mommy was planning on making for the Fourth, so that it could sit in the refrigerator and chill. Ellie is going to be a great cook someday, or baker, or both. She pays attention and has patience, and she loves dumping things and mixing things.

Evie is more of a “free spirit!”

We got a shredder from amazon, and Daddy shredded about a bushel and a half of newspaper shreddings. Evie and Ellie helped Daddy put it in the composter, which, we are happy to say is doing really well.

We have a few thousand worms, it looks like, with a beautiful bottom layer of well broken-down compost. It should be perfect to muck the garden with by the time winter comes.

Not much else to report until Thursday, which was the Fourth of July, obviously.

Naturally, we took the opportunity of a free day off in the middle of the week for everything it was worth. The girls drove, just to change things up a bit, and Daddy and Mommy rode in luxury in the back seat.

We went to a local orchard and purchased three flats of currants. Why three flats? Because Ryan has a poor eye for how far a given volume of fruit will go when transformed into jelly, and Kathleen has a taste for biting off more than she can chew.

Ellie helping herself to a container of currants. Sorry, Kiddo, those are already picked and cleaned. You get the ones in clusters and pick them yourself.

That was a lot of picking and cleaning, but then it was time to set up the SQUEEZO!

Everyone loves the squeezo. It’s been a hit since it was first introduced in the early 20th century. A four-year-old can mill eight pounds of currants in 10 minutes,

And maintain her attention almost the whole way through with only one short break.

It’s pure magic. Then of, course, comes the real art of mixing the sugar and pectin in the right quantities and boiling at the right temperature for the right length of time.

Careful! Hot Stuff!
And some boiling jelly.

Evie can’t help with that part yet, so she contented herself with cleaning up every last trace of spilled juice.

I have to say, I think it is one of the prettiest looking jellies Kathleen has turned out so far.

We spread the seeds and mash along the back fence behind the tiger lillies, the fence line that the neighbor’s weeds keep creeping under. Maybe in a few years the next owners of this house will have a private hedge/weed barrier of currant bushes.

More likely our friendly neighborhood possum family will have a delicious free snack.

After nap snack break.

Then it was time for Daddy to get some coals going and set a dutch oven of oil on to heat,

Waiting for the pot to boil.

while Mommy shaped the dough into nuts.

Doughsnuts!

Note to selves, it takes about an hour and a half for that DO to get up to 250+ degrees with 20 coals under it. This might be because down in the firepit it doesn’t get great air flow. If we do this for a party or something we’ll have to take that into account.

Of course the heat doesn’t have to be very precise, so we would probably just hang it over an open fire. But then again there might be issues with flair ups whenever the oil dripped or splashed. Coals are a good option, they just require a little extra lead time.

Today, Mommy had to go back to work so it was just Daddy and the girls. We ended up going up to Deedee and Papa’s house. Ellie helped pick strawberries.

Chipmunk Cheeks!

And Daddy split some more of Papa’s firewood and the girls had their first lesson in stacking wood.

And that’s all for this week, folks. Have a great rest of your weekend. Keep us in your prayers! God Bless!

It’s good to Family. It is also good to Friday.

Sometimes I look at the blog roll-up, and wonder what happened to my blogging. There is no variety in our blog titles. They all have the same name!

I used to be writing something thoughtful, topical, and (I hoped, at least) thought provoking, every day or so. I talked about topics, philosophy, martial arts, etc. Now all I talk about is Family Friday, and that only once a week if I’m lucky.

(Could be worse).

But the truth is, it’s good. It’s important, far more important than anything I used to write about.

There is a wonderful interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, Archbishop of Bologna, head of the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family under Saint John Paul, in which he relates a letter he received from Sister Lucia, the Fatima visionary. In it she says:
the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issuehowever, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”

And that is really the point of Family Friday. It is not just to keep Grandma Ann apprised of the West Coast shenanigans (although that is an important part of it).

Family Friday is first and foremost a fundamentally faith-filled phenomenon.

😀 (I don’t care for alliterated “f”s, but I couldn’t resist.

It is a witness. We try to be honest about the rough parts: deployments, work, tiredness…

We spare you most of the details of Evie’s stubbornness and Ellie’s ventures into two-year-old-ness.

She can be stubborn, and she doesn’t pay attention. Ellie also can be stubborn, but she always pays attention.

This is the neat table…

But we hope that by writing Family Friday as close to every Friday as we can, we can witness that in spite of everything, (and even in some ways because of everything) Family is possible and worthwhile.

“You know you love it!”

It is worth all of the loss of independence, time, energy and young-ness that we have given up, and all that we continue to give up. But it’s a mistake to think that we spend much time “giving things up.” There is sacrifice, but it’s hard even to call it sacrifice, because it’s just so much fun!

They keep us busy, and everything has meaning and value, because of them. People who live for themselves, and are self-determined don’t know what they are missing. You don’t live until you live for someone else.

I would never even try to make a pie like this for myself.

You have the chance to hit virtually every corporal and spiritual work of mercy multiple times, every single day.

Feed the hungry, anybody?

and then when you get up early to make a breakfast of delicious breakfast biscuits, you can enjoy hearing them complain that they don’t like biscuits, “because I don’t like the ham.”

More of Kathleen’s amazing barbecue sauce, now with a pint and a half of hot and spicy BBQ sauce (Ryan is the only one who eats spicy).

We have been busy with the usual busyness this week. Ryan has been working at his Family Medicine Preceptorship. He usually runs late and gets home tired, but it’s a great learning experience.

Kathleen is rocking the commute and running the vascular lab at her job in Olympia. Except that the power steering went out on the truck during her commute, but was fine the next morning when Ryan drove it. So now we are driving it around waiting for it to break again, so that’s fun.


We like to live on the edge. Which is why we let four-year-olds paint…

And 18-months-old bake.

Ellie also helped Daddy try his hand at great-grandpa Ted’s world famous pumpernickel recipe. She watched it bake and made sure it got hot correctly.

And we have become host to a pair of brush-tailed rats that have begun stealing our bird seed.

Sometime next month if Ryan has time he will commence a proper feud. If not he may just shoot them and eat them. Squirrel is pretty tasty, and by then they should have some good eating on them.

That’s all for this week, folks. Pray for families. If you don’t have anything urgent going on right now, consider becoming families. It’s a trip! And it makes God smile.

And now for some well-earned slumber. Good night, and God Bless!

Hurray!!! It’s Friday Again!

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Ellie wants to write a letter to Daddy!

You know what that means? One week closer to Daddy coming home!

All right, let’s see, what have we been up to this week? Mommy and the girls went to visit Aunt Dude and Aunt Susie. Daddy called them while they were there.

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Ellie is telling Big Sister that Daddy is on the phone, but Evie is glued to the TV.

They played outside and helped Dude and Susie in the garden.

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Ellie is such a climber!

Then Mommy and Evie and Ellie went to visit our friend Kim. She was one of Daddy’s classmates in PA school, but now she is graduated and working as a PA. Next month she is going to start a fellowship in pediatric critical care (YAY! Go Kim!). She keeps her pet miniature donkey at a farm near Enumclaw, so she invited the girls to come and meet Neville the Donkey.

Miss Kim showed Evie how to curry comb Neville’s coat.

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Just like this, Evie. You have to be gentle.

Neville is a gentle soul, and he does not mind having his hair brushed (unlike some other people we could mention).

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Evie is a very good Neville-brusher.

She decided she needs a farm now.

Little does she know, Daddy grew up on a farm. Daddy is a farmer from way back! However, she has brushed more donkeys than Daddy has, so there is that.

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Ellie also enjoyed her time on the farm, but she was a little disappointed that Mommy wouldn’t let her eat the pretty flower.

Then on Monday while Evie was at school learning things, Mommy and Evie made mincemeat for some mincemeat pies when Daddy gets home. Evie likes helping Mommy in the kitchen.

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She is very good at mixing.

The mincemeat came out looking and smelling delicious.

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Yummy!

And now it is all put away until Daddy gets home. (He can’t wait!)

Meanwhile, Evie was working very hard at school. She is learning her letters very well. She recognizes quite a few of them, and when letters come in the mail she can tell which ones are for Mommy and which ones are for Evie. Evie Practicing FHowever, she was a bit confused when she saw Daddy writing a letter over the phone, and she thought it was for her, but it was actually for Ellie. “But that’s my letter E” she said!

We are sorry child. Your first letter is just one of the many, many things you will have to share with your baby sister for the rest of your lives.

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This is Evie practicing her counting.

She is fascinated by the fact that you can take one piece of paper and fold it three times to make eight rectangles. Which it is pretty mind-blowing if you think about it.

Evie really likes when Daddy calls with the skype video call because it has little emojis that Daddy can select, and they flash on the screen on her end. Her favorite one is the heart. She calls it, “The loving.”

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“Daddy, can you turn on the loving?” “Absolutely!”

Daddy is always willing to turn on the loving (especially for Mommy).

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Ellie is so proud of herself! She has a hairbrush and a toothbrush, and teeth to brush, and she can brush them just like Big Sister!

Meanwhile, Daddy is more or less getting by. We had a pretty wild night last Friday evening. These two young soldiers built a cat trap with a cardboard box, a sandbag, a stick and a string.

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Any moment now!

And we sat outside for about two hours waiting for a cat to take the bait (strictly catch and release). But it was too cold even for the cats, so no luck.

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Ellie says, “Daddy should come home. It’s warmer and more fun.”

And we have more delicious food.

And that’s all for this week, Folks. Have a good weekend, and remember to pray for us. God Bless!

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All she needs now is a patient with an ear to look into.

 

It is fall time in Washington. The weather is turning colder, but it hasn’t yet turned to drizzle.

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It is great snuggle weather

Actually, it has been remarkably fine. Fine enough that Evie was able to meet this fine fellow.

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He was just stopping by to say hello!

Meanwhile, only about an hour apart, but on the other side of the world, Daddy found his brother.

Preying Mantis
Daddy was on his way to church. Maybe this guy was too! Why else would he be…     praying?

Evie and Ellie have been enjoying lots of time at DeeDee and Papa’s house.

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Git around!

They wanted to start learning how to drive the quads. Evie insists she already knows how to do it. Ellie is content to ride.

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“This is fun! Faster Deedee!”

She knows all about her sister’s driving.

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“I’m driving!” “She’s driving?”

Ellie is harder to keep up with now for Mommy, since she finally decided to start walking this week. She has been standing for months, and she could walk with her push-elephant before Daddy even left, but the last few weeks she has been really hesitant to step out unassisted. We were wondering if she was planning on waiting for Daddy to get home. Then, all of a sudden, she walked!

 

And now she is walking all the time.

I love her happy little toddle!

She is so pleased with herself too!

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“What? What do you mean I can’t crawl up here? I just did!”

Mommy, meanwhile, happened upon an estate sale and made some important discoveries. One was a picnic table…

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Minus a bench, but is was less than $10. Daddy can build a new bench when he gets home.

And a pressure canner!

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Her new pride and joy.

Yay! Now she can can meat and pork and chicken and mincemeat and other kinds of meat!

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Crash course on pressure canning with Deedee.

And that’s all for this week folks. Have a great weekend. Keep us in your prayers.

God Bless!

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Happy Friday Everybody!

It has been a normal, busy, otherwise uneventful week. Mommy was very fortunate to get to stay home because she didn’t have to work Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (she swapped shifts with someone at work). But unfortunately, that means she has to work Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights. There is always something.

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Mommy cleaned out the whole vegetable garden!

Evie and Ellie are growing and learning things. Evie is learning to trace letters. She tells Mommy what she wants to say and Mommy writes it out, and then Evie traces it.

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Here she is tracing “I Love Daddy” s

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This is her picture of a blue eyed rabbit.

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This is her new crown.

We love this little girl so much, even when she is being a butt. (Yes, even our adorable Evie can be a butt sometimes).

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She is actually listening to instructions for a change in this picture.

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It’s just like a Daddy picnic, except no Daddy 😦

Daddy was busy ruckmarching. He Rucked 9 miles in just over 1:40:00 for an 11:17 average pace with a 50 Lb ruck.

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I can still move out when I have to.

Not quite what he used to do in the Q course, but that was eight years and 15 Lbs ago.

 

And as for Ellie…. she is getting another tooth! A top one this time. Soon she will be able to bite food and then it is on! The wonderful world of bacon will open up to her.

Family Friday 176 (2)
She does like her mornings with mommy when Big Sissie is at school.

Mommy made and canned more barbecue sauce this week. That’s the problem with making a delicious barbecue sauce, is that everyone keeps eating it, and then you have to keep making more.

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It’s okay, Mommy, Ellie will help.

She definitely has a stubborn streak, though. Just like her sister.

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I do it myself!

But really, they get along wonderfully, they are happy and growing and slowly learning to love. That is the really important thing.

That’s all for this week! Keep us in your prayers. Have a great weekend! God Bless.

 

This Family Friday starts with a walk in the park.

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See Daddy? I can climb like big Sis!

Evie, not to be outdone…

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Daddy! I can climb up here!

It was Ellie’s first time going down a slide all by herself.

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She remains unimpressed with the down part, but she loves to try to climb back up.

Meanwhile Mommy and Grandma were going saling at a yard sale, and marketing farmers at a farmer’s market. But when they were finished they joined Daddy and the girls at the park and we started picking blackberries into one of the new antique bowls Mommy bought.

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Reach, Daddy, Reach!

It is blackberry season in Western Washington and they are growing literally everywhere, in parks, on the sides of roads, along hiking trails, everywhere.

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Berries galore.

Then we turned most of them into jelly, some of them into a pie, and the rest of them into bruiseberry oatmeal bars.

(What is a bruiseberry oatmeal bar, you ask? Simple!!! You make an oatmeal bar with both blackberries and blueberries. Because then its a…

black-and-blue-berry bar!

🙂

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Straining the seeds out to make jelly.

Evie got an alarm clock.

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As advertised, she was quite alarmed when it went off at the end of her nap. 

Evie was hired to perform QC on our blackberry jelly as Mommy made it.

She even tried her hand at making her own jelly upstairs.

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It turned out delicious!

But then we suffered… AN INJURY!

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Behold. An X-ray.

Poor Grandma was walking down the stairs and she slipped and fell and broke her toe. It was just as Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne were on their way to drop Edmund off. Grandma was going to watch the kids, while the younger adults went to a welcome home party for a friend who just got back from deployment. However, no one except Grandma thought it was a good idea for her to be chasing after two toddlers and a 9-month-old with a broken toe. So Ryan stayed home with the kids, Kathleen took Grandma to the hospital, and Uncle Adam and Auntie Maryanne went to the party.

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Ellie wants to be in the box with the big cousins!

But we all had a lot of fun, and it looks like Grandma is going to be just fine.

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Enjoying some bruiseberry oatmeal bars.

On Sunday we went to the Annual 4US fundraiser at Auntie Celyn’s family’s house. As always the food was amazing and the hospitality was top notch. It was great to see so many old friends.

 

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Then we did some regular week stuff. Daddy was on leave so he had plenty of time to do things with the girls. Like:

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Teach Evie important life skills, AKA, how to wrap an ankle with an ACE wrap.

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Daddy got a sticker for being good.

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Taking Ellie to the park.

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Blueberry picking at Dude’s house

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Ellie hunted blueberries on the ground, but since the ground ones were all rotten, we gave her an apple.

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Taking a break to feed the Ellie and rest the foot.

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Dude gave us a new laundry basket.

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Having fun with lunch.

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Swimming in the pool.

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That is a ton of blueberries that have to be picked through by hand.

Then on Thursday we drove up to Fort Flagler to see the old historic site.

 

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Evie: “Daddy, please let me out of here!”

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Did you get your tickets… to the GUN SHOW?!

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Evie got to see some mule deer pretty close. They were very used to being gawked at by small humans.

 

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That look! 😮

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Daddy and Ellie setting up the picnic. 

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Evie is too busy for picnics. Also too busy to untuck her dress in back.

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“This stuff is amazing!”

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“I’ll just help myself to this big stack of it. Do you mind?”

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Nothing like a wee drop of something after dinner. 

On the way home we stopped at Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne’s to chat and pick some of their amazing blackberries.

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They have such a nice, secluded little area. It’s great for just relaxing and chilling.

Needless to say, when we got home, the berry situation was a little overwhelming. Rather than make dinner we ordered Papa John’s and got right to work. We made two pies, froze another pie’s worth of blackberries, and Mommy canned four pints of blueberry pie filling that night before bed.

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Mommy up early to make blueberry jelly.

It has been a week of canning, in odd spare hours between work and adventuring. Here are some of the good things that resulted.

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Blueberry jelly, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jelly, and BBQ sauce.

Daddy has to go on a trip soon, so mostly we have just been enjoying time as a family as much as possible.

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Ellie is learning how to help Evie win at Memory.

Ryan and Kathleen went out last night to the graduation party for his PA class. We even decided to get all dressed up for it.

Ryan and Kathleen, all dressed up MEDEX grad party
Ain’t she cute?! Ryan, on the other hand, has a terrible photo smile.

Unfortunately, thanks to getting activated by the National Guard, and then injured, he was not able to graduate with them, but he’ll be back starting next year.

Daddy jokingly told Ellie when she was born that she had to say “Daddy” and learn to walk before he got deployed. He thought he was getting deployed in June, when she was only 6 months old, so he was just joking. But with the deployment postponed and now coming up fast, she is working hard to do as he asked. Her first word was Daddy, and now she is doing this:

And just barely nine months old!

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Sitting in the big girl booster chair and eating pizza with Mommy.

We shall see.

That’s all for this week, folks. God Bless! Have a great weekend.

 

 

Welcome to Family Friday! Mommy has been super busy last week making jam. She and Deedee went out to you-pick strawberries on Friday and picked a flat of strawberries. 10 hours later, this was the result!

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Strawberry jam and strawberry-peach freezer jam.

And this:

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Strawberry-lemonade concentrate.

She was a busy woman, but the end result is delicious!

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Daddy can vouch for that.

On Saturday we had a get-together with Adam and Maryanne, and Ben and Christine. We went to Point Defiance park where Ryan, Adam and Ben did a short (but sweet) ruckmarch.

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They set out with “You’re the Best Around!” blasting on Ben’s Speakers. Because nothing pumps you up like the 1980’s. 

It was a pretty low-key ruck, except for the middle part, when we had to climb from the beach to the top of the plateau, and the last part, when we ran from the top of the plateau back down to the picnic area.

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Finish line! 

The women and children were waiting for us with great expectation.

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Actually, they were just hanging out, talking.

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Snuggling babies.

Then it was time for food, planned, prepared and served by the men. Surprisingly, it mostly consisted of 5 1/2 Lbs of Beef skewers, a pound of hot dogs, and two pounds of bratwurst. But we also had some corn on the cob and asparagus on the grill, plus a salad, so it was totally healthy.

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Good times with good people.

In the afternoon, we went up to Deedee and Papa’s house to visit with them and wish Papa a Happy Father’s Day.

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Evie celebrated by making Papa drag her around in the wagon.

We ended up at the garden. Deedee and Papa are set to have a berry-bonanza again this year. The strawberries are on like gangbusters, the blueberries are loaded with little hard green berries, and even the raspberries are starting to turn pink.

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It’s snack time!

Ellie enjoyed the garden’s bounty as well.

 

Mostly we just spent the day lying around in the shade.

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Evie wanted a flower in her hair. 

Happy Father’s Day, Papa!!!

We had a wonderful Father’s Day ourselves on Sunday.

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It was perfectly mahvelous, dahling!

 

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Evie makes Daddy’s card look a bit creepy.

We took advantage of The Ram’s Father’s Day deal to go out for lunch. Ellie thought we ordered all that food for her.

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Why thank you, Mommy. I’ll just pull that a little closer.

 

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What? What do you mean it’s not for me? 😦

Mommy went on a bread making spree.

 

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Two loaves of whole wheat, one loaf of cinnamon bread, one pan of cinnamon rolls.

It has been super hot here, for Washington. That is, the temperature has been in the 90’s. That is not super hot for anyone who has ever lived in the deep south, or the Midwest, or the Southwest. But in Washington it is hot.

 

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Daddy likes to hang out on the nice, cool tile floor. 

And that’s about it.

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Monkey see, monkey do.

 

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Building “sandcastles.”

 

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This is where they keep the food!

 

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Evie says, “Just give peas a chance.”

Have a good weekend! We will see you next week.

God Bless.