Yesterday Papa Murphy had a deal for a free pepperoni or cheese pizza with purchase of a qualifying large or family sized pizza. Basically two larges for $26-ish. Kathleen forwarded me the email containing the deal early in the morning while I was doing Korean class. By afternoon we still had not figured out what we were going to do for supper, but we both decided we were not hungry enough to warrant two large pizzas. So I looked around the refrigerator, and scanned the kitchen and pulled out some ingredients, and my new cast-iron pizza pan I got for Father’s day, but haven’t used yet.

We were going to make “Watcha Got Pizza.”

These days we can’t pull out a pan in the kitchen without Ellie coming running from wherever she is in the house yelling, “Cooking? Cooking? Help! Help!” Perhaps because of that, Evie has started to ask to help to and actually get excited about cooking.

We started with the dough, as always. This time I wanted to try something new, and a little sweeter than a typical pizza dough.

  • 1 1/4 cups white all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 TBS yeast

Evie mixed the molasses in the boiling water until it was all dissolved, and then I added the milk. I added the yeast while Evie stirred it very gently to soften it, and then we set it aside to activate. Ellie dumped the cups of flour into the mixing bowl as I measured them, and then we added the activated yeast and mixed with a spatula until it was read to knead. At this point Evie took over the dough, carefully kneading and folding it, while Ellie greased the pizza pan…

with butter.

And we set the dough aside to rise on the pan, and prepped the toppings.

  • Olive oil
  • One large apple, diced.
  • Two aidel’s sausages, (bacon, mushroom, swiss flavor) diced
  • 1/2 leftover onion, diced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • sliced havarti
  • shredded mozzarella

Evie and Ellie provided quality control on the ingredients as I diced them (Evie convinced her little sister to try a large bite of onion, as a true older sibling should). Then they helped me put the onions in the Oklahoma skillet which I had preheated and oiled with the olive oil.

Evie is so pleased that she can use the little dough roller.

I sautéed the onions for about five minutes, maybe more. I was going for a slightly sweeter pallet so I wanted them well caramelized. I then threw in the brown sugar and apple, and continued to sauté until the apple started to get just a little soft around the edges (don’t want it too soft or it will turn to applesauce when the pizza bakes).

It was at this point that I saw that Ellie had traded her roller for her fists…

But I was busy adding ingredients so I just said, “Gentle touch, Ellie,” and kept sautéing.

A quick turn to brown the sausage and the topping was ready.

And Ellie had torn four large gaps in our dough. Evie was devastated, but we were able to patch it back together tolerably well.

Then we preheated the oven to 425 while waiting for Mommy to get home. We baked the pizza without the cheese for 7:30, and then topped with Havarti…

And filled in the gaps with mozzarella.

And another 7:30 minutes, and we were done.

Buon Appetite!

It’s summer-time, y’all!

Now technically, I get it, it isn’t summertime. YET! Technically! blah, blah, blah. But as my momma always said, “Summer is as summer does.”

Saturday before last was cloudy, chilly, windy, but we went out to the master gardener sale in Puyallup.

So did everyone else, apparently.

Unfortunately, they were fresh out of master gardeners for sale, so we settled for two tomatoes and two gerania (plural of geranium. Because Latin).

We also had to go to Costco to buy some big pots to put our new tomatoes in. The girls helped, of course.

We now have four pots of three different varieties of tomatoes! It is going to be awesome sauce!

Sunday morning was a good morning to look out the window and enjoy our bird-feeder.

Sunday before last was Divine Mercy Sunday. Evie was not feeling well in the morning, but she felt much better after sleeping most of the morning. We celebrated by having Adam and Maryanne and the kids over for a pig-wrapped-pig roast.

That’s right. That’s pork loin wrapped in bacon. Grilled low and slow to (almost) perfection, it was quite delectable.

So much fun, letting the little folks run around outside, even though Mommy had to take Evie to Mass in the evening to make up for her being sick in the morning.

That’s really the whole point of having a back yard, so that the kids can play in it.

Since then the weather has mostly been really nice. It is chilly in the mornings, and our lupins collect dew.

But it gets warm enough by evening for us to hang out in the hammock and read books or play bubbles after supper, until bedtime.

Sometimes we just like to stroll along the edge of the garden and watch it growing. That is how we discovered this sign of hope on the ancient grapevine we transplanted from Deedee and Papa’s house back in February.

See? Life goes on (Oh-bla-dee, Oh-bla-dah). That grapevine is over fifty years old, but it will come back yet, probably next year. Right now it is probably building its roots under the dirt where we can’t see, but it ain’t finished yet.

Life goes on, Blessed Be the Lord!

It has been a busy couple of weeks, and last weekend was the busiest part of it because it was drill weekend. Silly National Guard.

Ryan looks super thrilled about this whole Airborne thing. Diego, on the other hand, is stoked!

Airborne is not really his thing. Heights, you know.

Meanwhile, Mommy kept him abreast of everything going on at home. Such as…

New shoes for the Ellie!

Fashion shows…

New hair styles…

And breakfast drama…

Kathleen took the girls up to visit Deedee and Papa. Deedee had a hip replacement on Monday and they wanted to wish her a happy recovery. She is recovering quite well, actually, and is done with the walker and graduated to a cane.

Papa and Uncle Pat had gotten the play house re-roofed and open for business!

Then Kathleen took the girls to Dude’s house and dropped them off there and then had a wonderful evening going to a baby sale with Amanda. (That’s what those two do for fun, they bargain hunt). Daddy got done with drill early enough to take the girls to the Saturday evening vigil Mass, which was good because he was working all day Sunday.

They love the grotto at Saint Andrew’s.

This is the sort of logistical nightmare we have every drill weekend. But by Sunday afternoon it was over, and Daddy could start growing his beard again and come home to see what his girls had been up to.

Evie built a bridge. She says it is “over troubled waters.”

Evie and Mommy made bread together.

Then we sat on the hammock while Evie fed us soup that she had made herself.

The week chugs on as usual, busy days, and a valiant effort to keep the one or two hours we have in the evening between getting home and going to bed as casual as possible. I think it was Greg Popcak who said that the strongest marriages in his practice spend at least 14 hours together per week. When we’re both working full time, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for extra-curricular activities.

God is good. Most of our stress is self-inflicted. Even half an hour a day to sit and be together is a priceless gift.

Have a great weekend, enjoy Family Friday on a Friday for a change. 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!

Happy Friday, Y’all!

Let me just say, last weekend was delightful. Neither Mommy nor Daddy had to work, and we had nowhere we had to go except shopping (can’t have everything, right?) and the weather was beautiful.

We made latkas out of leftover mashed potatoes and topped them with fried bacon, apple and onion. Yes. It was as delicious as it sounds.

Ellie’s favorite drawer to play in. She likes to sort through it while Mommy and Daddy are cooking.

Then we went out to buy food, and came home for lunch and naps. Well, one nap, at least. Ellie took a nap. Mommy made some lentil soup to can for Lent. Daddy doesn’t believe in naps and Evie is too big for naps, so we went out to color with chalk.

The shadow of the truck suggested an Idea to Daddy…

“Daddy! I’m riding an Elephant!”

We also collaborated on a dragon. Evie drew the fire around the head and the butt…

Apparently this dragon has been hitting the extra spicy salsa.

When Ellie woke up from her nap we had popsicles and bubbles on the deck.

It was Ellie’s first time chasing bubbles, as she was too little last summer. She was entranced by them. It always amazes me how much magic there is in a little water with soap and sugar in it.

Then Daddy and the Girls went for a ruckmarch. Mommy couldn’t go because she was busy tending the pressure canner. We did not want it to blow up in our absence, so we thought it best someone stay behind to regulate its temp and pressure.

Since Evie took the trouble to carry that rock almost the whole ruckmarch, she had more than earned the right to paint it when we got back.

And we closed out the day with a nice, relaxing supper, a bath (which became relaxing when the Washing of the Hair was over), and some books before bed.

Pressure canning soup is a long process, but worth it.

By bed time Kathleen had added an additional three quarts to the stash.

On Sunday we had our old friend and pastor, Fr. Peter over for dinner, along with our friends Ronny and Amanda and their son RJ. Fr. Peter was our former pastor at St. Frances Cabrini, founder of the young adult group where Ryan and Kathleen met, and the priest who officiated our wedding. Ronny was a member of that young adult group. Now Fr. Peter is a pastor up in the great white north, up near Alaska or Marysville or some such benighted wilderness. Ronny is married and has a son.

Time flies, doesn’t it?

Being good hosts and bad bloggers, we have no pictures from the evening except this one of Evie helping to make the pizzas.

And these ones of Kathleen making the mincemeat pie.

Even Ellie is big enough to help make pizzas now.

Let’s see, what else did we do? Ryan is having fun in the ER. Lots of interesting patients, and great stories I can’t tell because of HIPAA. Some happy, some funny, some sad, but that’s the ER.

The beard helps to reassure the patients.

Daddy had the day off on Tuesday due to the way the ER schedule played out, so he and Ellie had a busy day running errands after we dropped Evie off at school. Our travels finally took us to the Camp McChord Commissary and Px where we had lunch. Ellie thoroughly enjoyed the popeye’s gourmet Cajun fries.

Ellie saw the coin-operated merry-go-round and asked very politely if she could “up! up!” So Daddy set her on the merry-go-round horse. He happened to have some quarters so he dropped them in, thinking she would think that was awesome.

Turns out she was not expecting it to move. She didn’t quite fall off, but she lost her grip with one hand and Daddy had to stabilize her, and then she had a patiently puzzled rather than an excitedly joyous face the whole time.

Plus the darn thing didn’t even play any music, which I thought was a bit cheap. $0.50 and you don’t even get a synthesized calliope?

A brand new box of sidewalk chalk arrived on Tuesday, and we couldn’t wait to try out the new colors.

We went out for dinner with Deedee and Papa on the spur of the moment, which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing. A lot of people cannot afford the time or the money to do that, but we can. It is an amazing gift, one that demands to be shared.

One other little adventure, we ordered a box of worms for our compost pile. Evie and Daddy had fun dumping them into the compost before we went to school.

Evie’s comment: “Oh! They’re so cute!”

At this point we are not sure how they are going to do, whether the moisture balance is right, whether we have enough paper and such in there to keep them satisfied. It’s an experiment. One of these days we’ll move far enough out of the city to have a proper composter, i.e. a pen full of pigs or chickens.

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

This Family Friday starts with a walk in the park.

Family Friday 169 (1)
See Daddy? I can climb like big Sis!

Evie, not to be outdone…

Family Friday 169 (2)
Daddy! I can climb up here!

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

Family Friday 169 (3)
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.

Family Friday 169 (35)
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!

🙂

Family Friday 169 (36)
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!

Family Friday 169 (41)
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.

Family Friday 169 (6)
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.

Family Friday 169 (7)
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.

 

Family Friday 169 (43)

 

 

Family Friday 169 (25)
Evie: “Daddy, please let me out of here!”

Family Friday 169 (42)
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.

 

Family Friday 169 (43)

Family Friday 169 (27)
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?”

Family Friday 169 (47)
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.

Family Friday 169 (29)
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.

Family Friday 169 (30)

 

Family Friday 169 (31)
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.

Family Friday 169 (33)
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.

Family Friday 169 (32)
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!

Family Friday 169 (34)
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.

 

 

This has been a fun week at the Kraeger house. Without any major adventures we managed to have a fun, quiet week. Plus Grandma is here to visit, and Grandma’s are the best.

Family Friday 168 (1)
Nothing like a tea party with Grandma.

And Grandma’s are great at games.

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And puzzles!

Kathleen took Grandma and the girls to visit Dude on Friday and pick blueberries.

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Dude’s blueberry bushes are 100 years old, and huge!

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Visiting on the back porch.

And they swung by and visited Deedee as well on their way home.

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Evie and the butler.

Ryan went for a run on Saturday morning and found a big patch of blackberries. He picked a big bowl of them and Kathleen made a blackberry custard and a blackberry/blueberry pie.

Family Friday 168 (17)
It’s as delicious as it looks!

Barbecue at Uncle Adam’s house on Saturday. Unfortunately Mommy couldn’t be there because she was on 24 hour call. Silly work!

Family Friday 168 (3)
Uncle Adam on the Grill!

Ellie was a tired Baby Girl, but Grandma is a great snuggler.

Family Friday 168 (2)
Happy baby girl.

Then Mommy’s pager broke. She’s been using it for ten years, and it finally broke.

Family Friday 168 (18)
Unfortunately, she still had the work cell-phone so she wasn’t done with work.

We had some friends over on Sunday for a pizza party. Our Parish Priest Father Paul and our choir director Christina and her husband Richie and their two kids. We were having a great time, and then the neighbor kids stuck their head in the door and asked if they were invited to the party. Of course they were. And then a pair of Mormon missionaries knocked on the door and of course they were invited too.

Family Friday 168 (5)
Intense board game action happening right here!

We were able to get together for lunch twice this week on base near where Daddy was working. The PX has food trucks outside that make great quality ethnic food. We enjoyed some Turkish Kabobs on Monday and Island barbecue and adobo on Thursday.

Family Friday 168 (6)
“Grandma, I think that’s my kabob, don’t you.”

Family Friday 168 (10)
Not atypically, Ellie is busily gnawing on a BBQ rib, while Evie is completely distracted and too busy to eat. 

Family Friday 168 (11)
“Mommy is busy with big Sis, so I’ll just help myself to some of this…”

Then shopping at the commissary….

Family Friday 168 (7)
“I Know these are for me!”

It is hilarious how different they are.

 

The rest of the week was mostly just playing with Grandma while Mommy and Daddy worked.

Family Friday 168 (13)
Going to the park with Grandma.

But we did get to hang out at the splash park for a little while on Thursday.

Family Friday 168 (12)
Evie hates sunscreen, but Mommy hates sunburn. And Mommy wins.

Our garden is doing well, as small as it is, we still managed to get a meals of butter-fried beats and steamed carrots with garlic butter.

Family Friday 168 (8)
She is so proud when she gets to pull them herself.

That’s all for this week folks! Have a great weekend, and God Bless!Family Friday 168 (9)

 

Summer time is hiking time in the Pacific Northwest! We found a nice little trail hike in Dupont last weekend that took us from the town hall down to the sound.

Family Friday 165 (3)
There was an ouchie on the trail down that resulted in tears from Evie. Mommy still opted not to carry her.

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The trail went under the railroad tracks to the beach.

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Evie was enchanted with the tunnel

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I don’t know how she bends her arm back that far.

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And chased the little crabs.

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Evie is not afraid of the little crabs. Neither is she very interested in them.

Family Friday 165 (30)
She would rather throw rocks.

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We could not put Ellie down because there were too many things for her to put in her mouth.

Family Friday 165 (34)
Even the Puget sound looks good in July Sunshine.

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Hiking is hard work

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Evie, however, had plenty of energy after hiking the 1.5 miles down and 1.5 miles back up.

Family Friday 165 (7)
Picnic time!

Evie is really quite a good hiker. Hopefully she gets lots more practice this summer.

Mommy made some absolutely delicious coconut prawns on Friday. Family Friday 165 (1)They were amazing, as evidenced by the fact that Ryan and Kathleen ate about two pounds of them together. Even Evie ate two of them, and she is very averse to eating new things.

Family Friday 165 (2)
Ellie says, “I notice you’re not offering me any shrimp!”

A friend of ours had a baby baptized on Saturday evening after Mass, so we went to Mass Saturday night.

Family Friday 165 (8)
“Yay Maddie! You got baptized!”

Then Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne came over and we hung out at our house for a while. Ellie was very intrigued by her baby cousin.

Family Friday 165 (10)
Daddy, why doesn’t she crawl? It’s more fun than just lying there!

Family Friday 165 (9)
It’s okay, I help her.

Sunday was the day of the annual Moergli Picnic (The Moergli’s are Deedee’s Mom’s family). We are sort of related to them, twice removed, in Kathleen’s case, three times in Evie and Ellie’s, but that’s close enough for a picnic. Mommy spent the morning concocting deliciousness:

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Whole wheat dough rolled flat with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.

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Rolled into a roll

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Sliced into slices

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Magic!

Family Friday 165 (14)
Mommy’s valentine!

The picnic was almost intolerably hot for everyone except Daddy (he has spent a lot of time in hotter places) but everyone still loved seeing the girls.

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“I call dibs when she wakes up!”

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Aunt Susie beating the heat!

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Even in the pool hats are required when you are as white as Evie and as resistant to sunscreen

Family Friday 165 (38)
Everyone loves an Ellie!

We experimented with camping out in the back yard last weekend, but that didn’t work so well (Evie did very little sleeping. Consequently, so did Daddy). Daddy has been trying to get a hammock up behind the tent, but has been having issues due to not having the right materials.

Family Friday 165 (39)
Evie helps set up one of the anchors. I taught her “ERNEST” (Equal, Redundant, Non-Extending, Solid, Timely, a.k.a. the qualities of a good anchor).

The only points to anchor the hammock are approximately 30 yards apart, consequently if you hang it with any dynamic material (i.e. material that has any stretch to it), you end up lying on the ground as soon as you put weight in it.

Family Friday 165 (36)
The tent works well enough, for what it is.

We did eventually find the right combination of hammock, straps and price from Amazon, and with a few times tightening with a ratchet strap…

Family Friday 165 (19)
Voila! A hammock!

Why does it appear to sag so low in that picture, you ask?

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How else could all the short people get into it?

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Evie: “I’ve always wanted to be on a boat!”

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It is now a wonderful place to read Beatrix Potter.

Daddy and the girls got to go to MC on Monday. Unfortunately, Mommy wasn’t feeling well.

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Nosey nellies.

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Auntie Celyn loves her some Ellie snuggles!

We also celebrated Uncle Adam’s birthday this week. Unfortunately, he has requested us not to post any pictures of him so no one will see how old he is looking now. It’s really quite shocking. What hair is left to him at his advanced age is as white as printer paper and twice as crinkly. Aging. It’s a son-of-a-gun.

Just kidding. He doesn’t look a day over 42.

Adam 32nd Bday (1)
Meat. Lots of Meat.

Adam 32nd Bday (2)
Evie and Edmund were too excited to eat very well. They spent most of their time pushing the table around and complaining about the other pushing the table around.

Adam 32nd Bday (3)
Tunnel of Fudge cake.

Adam 32nd Bday (4)
He needed help to blow out his candles.

Adam 32nd Bday (5)
Evie and Edmund playing with Uncle Adam’s birthday present.

Adam 32nd Bday (6)
This picture was taken right before the chain snapped.

And that’s all for this week.

Family Friday 165 (41)
Evie modeling the Dr. Seuss shorts/overalls combo thingy that Grandma Ann made for her. 

Have a great weekend. We’ll see you all later!

Family Friday 165 (21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since last week, Ellie has gained a great deal of mobility. So we have put her to work, giving her a job that will hone her latent predator skills. We even cave her a cave-baby outfit to wear while she chases her quarry.

Family Friday 163 (1)
Don’t worry, the rat is made of rubber. 

Seriously, though, she is growing by leaps and bounds. Or at least by creeps and grounds.

 

Family Friday 163 (5)
She doesn’t crawl any more than she can help. 

Mostly she bear-crawls, commando crawls, and butt-scoots to anything she can pull herself up into a standing position on.

Family Friday 163 (14)
Git around!

Once there she pulls herself up, and falls, and pulls and falls and pulls and stands and wobbles for a few minutes, until eventually she falls again.

Family Friday 163 (15)
Mission Accomplished! Now, let’s try stepping.

It’s all hard work and requires a lot of eating and sleeping to support.

Family Friday 163 (4)
Frozen raspberries! They are delicions and feel good on the sore gummies.

A lot of food. Healthy food!

Family Friday 163 (16)
Fresh from the garden! Yum!

 

Fortunately these are the things that Ellie is good at.

Family Friday 163 (8)
Champion snuggler!

And she has a big sister who is more than willing to help her.

 

Family Friday 163 (10)
Here you go, Ellie!

She cooks food for her baby sister. Today it was flower soup.

 

Family Friday 163 (13)
Hmmmm… Needs some salt.

Holds her sister.

 

Family Friday 163 (12)
Aunty Mary-Kate made Ellie a beautiful colorful new quilt.

Helps her stay cool in the heat, and celebrate Fourth of July all at the same time.

 

Family Friday 163 (11)
Let’s just say it’s a good thing Ellie doesn’t mind water in her face.

And Evie also gives her great fashion advice.

Family Friday 163 (7)
Try putting one of Mommy’s begonias in your hair. It will be beautiful!

The only thing Evie does not do, is go to sleep.

 

Family Friday 163 (9)
Bedtime is just the worst!

It’s amazing how much these two get up to in any given day. Mommy and Daddy just seem to do the same old same old, most of the time. Although this week we did have some fun family cooking. Family Friday 163 (2)We made pasta carbonara, out of the Vatican Cookbook.

Family Friday 163 (3)
The recipe is so easy and delicious.

If you look closely you can see that our copy of the Vatican Cookbook is signed by the owner of La Vittoria restaurant, which is featured in the book. We got it signed when we were in Rome about 1 1/2 years ago.

Then she found a recipe for honey oat bread on the internet somewhere and made that.

Family Friday 163 (6)
The most beautiful loaf of honey goodness I have ever seen. And the bread’s not too bad looking either 😉

It was delicious. Very hearty and robust, but mildly sweet and nutty. We should share the recipe sometime. Speaking of recipes, Daddy made a new pizza this week that is scrumdiddlyumptious. You guys should come over and try some sometime.

That’s all for this week. God Bless, and have a great weekend. Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Family Friday 161 (15)
Strawberry jam and strawberry-peach freezer jam.

And this:

Family Friday 161 (14)
Strawberry-lemonade concentrate.

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

Family Friday 161 (13)
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.

Family Friday 161 (16)
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.

Family Friday 161 (17)
Finish line! 

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

Family Friday 161 (1)
Actually, they were just hanging out, talking.

Family Friday 161 (2)
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.

Family Friday 161 (4)
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.

Family Friday 161 (5)
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.

Family Friday 161 (18)
It’s snack time!

Ellie enjoyed the garden’s bounty as well.

 

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

Family Friday 161 (21)
Evie wanted a flower in her hair. 

Happy Father’s Day, Papa!!!

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

Family Friday 161 (6)
It was perfectly mahvelous, dahling!

 

Family Friday 161 (24)
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.

Family Friday 161 (7)
Why thank you, Mommy. I’ll just pull that a little closer.

 

Family Friday 161 (8)
What? What do you mean it’s not for me? 😦

Mommy went on a bread making spree.

 

Family Friday 161 (25)
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.

 

Family Friday 161 (26)
Daddy likes to hang out on the nice, cool tile floor. 

And that’s about it.

Family Friday 161 (9)
Monkey see, monkey do.

 

Family Friday 161 (10)
Building “sandcastles.”

 

Family Friday 161 (11)
This is where they keep the food!

 

Family Friday 161 (12)
Evie says, “Just give peas a chance.”

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

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a fairly ordinary week here at the Kraeger house. Just hanging out, working, playing with the girls. You know, that sort of thing. Deedee had a birthday on Sunday, and she turned 60!!!

Deedee 60th B-day (1)
Happy Birthday Deedee!

We went out to lunch at a restaurant called “Shenanigans,” and let me tell you, there were some shenanigans.

Deedee 60th B-day (2)
A rare picture of Evie sitting still and looking at the camera, sort of. And Grandma Betty looking classy.

Evie made herself right at home next to the window and kept calling out all the things she could see on the water. She also made friends with the man in the next seat. By the time we left she had dubbed him “Captain Tim” and also “Uncle Tim.”

Not shy at all, that one.

 

Deedee 60th B-day (3)
Ellie enjoyed herself with much less fanfare. 

 

 

 

Then Evie and Ellie went up to Deedee and Papa’s house for the night, where they ate all the strawberries.

Family Friday 160 (21)
Evie is big enough to help pick, but if I were Papa I would make her do the bending down. She’s a lot closer.

Evie found Mommy’s old hand prints!

 

Family Friday 160 (22)
Still a little smaller than Mommy was.

Daddy continues to excel at physical therapy.

 

 

Family Friday 160 (1)
If you can’t work both arms, work the one arm twice as hard. 

It’s a good technique.

With one arm out of commission, Daddy is trying to make time for reading, and is actually making it through some books, a little bit here, a little bit there.

 

Family Friday 160 (20)
He gets really into it.

 

Ellie is working out too.

Family Friday 160 (4)

The trick she is working on is called, “Pull myself up, any way I can.”

Family Friday 160 (6)
Almost there! If I just… stretch… a little… further!

Which is ambitious, considering she doesn’t crawl yet. Who needs that, right? Skip the horizontal, go straight for the vertical.

Family Friday 160 (5)
Whoa!!

Unfortunately, horizontal has a way of catching up with you.

Family Friday 160 (2)
I’ll just practice crawling right here. Perfect!

Mommy has also been busy, as usual. Last week she made some plum jam and canned it.

Family Friday 160 (3)
It is as yummy as it looks.

She made a small batch because it’s more of an artisanal jam than one that you would put on peanut butter sandwiches or anything like that. It has a sweet, tangy flavor with a gorgeous color.

Family Friday 160 (19)
Four beautiful half pint jars.

The rest of the week has been pretty much normal. Here are some pictures of it:

 

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