Friday, September 19, 2008

Chickens

Okay, Lisa had asked me to post some pics of our chickens and our eggs. So here they are. The girls are routinely fighting over who gets to look in what nests and who gets to carry in the eggs. Sage won this round.
Today Sage asked me to make her an egg with "runny yolks" and toast. She never eats the yolks. But today she did.

video


I Want Some More Magic Potion

Holy Crap I seem to have created some kind of miracle here tonight. Ron is at work so I am home alone with the kids. Somehow I have managed to get all three asleep by 7:05. Better yet, I got the girls to sleep together in the same bed. I am in shock. This is a first. I can't believe I managed that. Add to that the house is actually pretty clean as are the kids. I read to them for about 40 minutes to boot! I also made a coconut curry fish thing that was really good. The kids actually ate. I have to say I am pretty impressed with myself right now. I figured that I better write this all down so tomorrow when the magic potion wears off I can remember this moment of shining glory.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pumpkins

We grew 4 small pumpkins this year. This morning I quartered and cleaned one. I drizzled it with olive oil and salt and pepper. I roasted it for 30 minutes at 400. Then sprinkled brown sugar on it and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. It is really pretty good. I was thinking about making a pie with some too. But that is going to require some time. Until then does anyone have any other ideas for pumpkin?

Life in the Desert

It has already been an eventful day today. The kids got up at their usual early hour of 6 am. Sad now that I think sleeping in is 7 am. Since the weather is best here in the morning we went out as soon as we were out of bed. It was really nice because this time Ron was with us. Usually it is just me and the kids waiting outside for Ron to come home from work, or he is working outside. This morning was really nice because we had no plans or things to do so we were just sitting outside enjoying the morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the tarantulas were out. Yes, that's right. We had a large tarantula on our driveway this morning. These don't freak me out as much as the snakes do, not even close so I was able to get up close to get a good picture.



Isn't he cute? And the fun didn't stop there. Lefty was also enjoying the morning. He was hanging out with us just off the driveway where we were all sitting.

Nope the excitement didn't end there. Sage caught her first lizard. He was a tiny one again and both the girls amazed me by holding it. Not me.

video

Ron commented that tomorrow we are likely to see a javalina, bobcat or god forbid a rattlesnake. Maybe I won't leave the house anymore...

Oh ya, and how could I forget the huge scorpion that Ron killed in the kitchen last night. I should have taken a picture of that too.

Crisis Averted

Well, I nearly had to move out of the house this morning with nothing but the clothes on my back and possibly even leaving everyone behind. It went something like this. The previously discussed captured snake spent the night in a plastic jar, in the garage, on the saw table immediately beside the door to the house. I saw it there when I went out to check the chickens this morning. The lid, without holes was firmly attached, I checked, from a distance. A couple hours later we had been coming and going and the door that leads to the house was kept open. As I went inside for the last time I noticed that the jar was empty. Assuming that he let it go I called out to Ron, "did you get a picture of the snake?" He answered "no, not yet."

Me: "What do you mean not yet?"


Ron: "Well, I will as soon as I am done here!" Him irritated with me thinking that I was asking him to do it now.


Me: "Well, WHERE IS IT?" The shear panic is rising in my chest. I am looking at the empty container with the lid slightly ajar, the open garage door and remembering how difficult it had been to catch it in the first place.


Ron: "What do you mean 'where is it?'" Now he is running toward me as I stand there in horror.


Both of us turn to Sage and shout "what did you do with the snake?" Poor kid had no idea what we were talking about. "Nothing" she replies in complete innocence.


Me: "Oh CRAP, oh crap, oh crap!"

I had to censor what I really wanted to say since the girls were right there. I quickly brought the kids with me in the house and closed the door hoping and praying that it wasn't already in the house. I assumed that Ron was staying in the garage to try to find it. Turned out I was wrong to make such a stupid assumption. I quickly got ready for my appointment thinking of the gravity of the situation. What if it is in the house? It was small, about 10 inches and the diameter of about a pencil. It could go anywhere and not be seen for a long, long time and during this time it would be GROWING. What happens if it is in the house and it comes out when Ron isn't home. What do I do then? Could I barricade myself in a room until Ron came home by stuffing towels under the door? Probably not, it was small so it could squeeze in if it was going to try and get me. There was only one real option: I was going to have to move out until Ron could find the thing. I tip toe back towards the garage, visually scouring the floor as I went, to tell Ron of my plan to move out in the case that he hasn't found it yet. Again to my astonishment I carefully open the door and see Ron continuing about his business of doing whatever he was doing when I asked him where the snake was. Me: "Did you find it already?" Ron: "I'm not looking for it. There is no way I will find it now." That's it then, I will have to move out! As I am about to tell him about his new job as a single parent I look down and right there in the middle of the garage, there it is. It's just laying there. Now I am probably screeching, "it's right there, it's right there!" I am already running back inside the house now to get away from it. Ron is shouting at me to get the camera and I am shouting back "JUST GET THE SNAKE!!!" He did and I did. Here is the picture of the evil little thing. It is kind of blurry because my hands were shaking so much and because it was trying to escape. Anyway, crisis averted.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lizard Rodeo

Some days I would be happy to leave the desert and not return. Today is one of those days. Ron took Sage out this morning and I was home with Rori and Justus. I was in the kitchen when something caught my eye. A lizard. There was a freakin lizard in my kitchen! Eeewww. And Ron wasn't here to rescue me. Just like he wasn't here to rescue me both times with the blasted ants. I grabbed the girls "bug catcher" nets and started the rodeo. To my amazement I caught it without too much effort. It was tiny, just a baby. I was still freaking out though. Then the little guy JUMPED out of the net and ran under the stove. Rori and I were both screeching. Rori kept saying "me scared, me scared." Me too. I called Sage and told her I had a job for her when she came home. She happily accepted the challenge. When they got home the little guy was still under the stove so we had to just wait him out. Of course he decided to come out when it was only me in the kitchen again. I managed to catch him again and RUN outside with him in the net. Here is a picture of the tiny little guy.

As I sit here and write this Sage is outside busy trying to catch crickets to feed to the sand snake that Ron just caught outside. I am so unjustifiably terrified of all snakes I can't bring myself to go to even look at it. If they decide to keep it, OUTSIDE, I will try to get my courage up to go take a pic of it to post. I am going to have nightmares. I want to move home.....

Devilled Eggs

Seriously, this doesn't get old. I find myself going outside to the chicken coop to check for eggs several times a day. The weather is getting nicer here so the kids and I are out there frequently giving them treats and checking to see if they left any for us. It is totally cool. Even so I can't bring myself to touch them, especially their feet. They really give me the willies. Ron gets the willies from the eggs themselves. He is a little weirded out when it comes to eating the eggs. He says he is more comfortable with the eggs from the store and that maybe he just doesn't like to know where his food comes from - animal food that is. I said that if we were real farmers he would end up being a vegan. Anyway, today I wanted to use up some of our eggs. I should say that I am not an egg lover, as in to eat an egg all by itself, but I do a lot of baking that requires eggs. I am going to have to try to change that. We have 12 chickens (6 different breeds) and they lay every 24 - 36 hours. We have so many because we have never done this before and we never thought for a minute that all 12 would survive. But they did so when all of them are laying likely by the end of the month we will have more than we know what to do with. Back to the cooking. I made devilled eggs. One kind of egg I do like. I didn't know that really fresh eggs are impossible to peel. Therefore I didn't bother with a picture. They weren't that pretty. But they sure were good. I didn't measure as usual so I'll just post what I put in there.

6 eggs, hard boiled, cut in half yolks removed
mayo
Dijon mustard
lemon juice
fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

The lemon juice really added a little zip. Very good. Now if anyone is actually reading this and has some other good uses for eggs please let me know.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tomato Soup with Basil, Spinach, Beans and Rice


Gee, I am on a roll today (but no longer in a good mood - Rori just drew all over our leather couch with a pen and I can't get it off even with the "lipstick and ink remover"). I made a tasty and healthy lunch. Again, if I could just get the kids to eat it I would be ecstatic. I used to love tomato soup, Campbells. But Campbells doesn't make a single soup that is gluten free. So I have been making my own which it better tasting and better for us and has no non food ingredients. Today I did my usual creamy tomato basil and brown rice but decided to amp it up a little. I added the beans to create a complete protein with the brown rice. I also added some rough chopped fresh spinach. I am determined to use up this huge bag of spinach without wasting any of it. Additionally the iron in the spinach and the pumpkin seeds will be better absorbed due to the acid in the tomatoes. Hey, gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian!
Tomato Soup with Basil, Spinach, Beans and Rice
2 T olive oil
1 onion diced
3 large cloves garlic minced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
2 cups soup stock
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 t dried basil, fresh would have been better
1 T honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 large handful coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 cup cooked brown rice
pumpkin seeds to garnish
Heat oil in large pot. Saute onion and garlic with salt until soft. Add tomatoes, stock, beans, basil, honey and pepper. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. With an immersion blender blend until smooth. Add spinach and simmer for another couple of minutes. Add rice and stir until heated through. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds as a garnish. YUM!

I Did It Again

On Saturday night I made Masaman Chicken Curry with brown basmati rice. It is a Thai curry made with coconut milk, potatoes, and onions. It has a red or yellow color and is a bit spicy. As the curry was cooking I did the same thing with the spinach. I packed my food processor full of fresh spinach and pureed it. I added it to the curry. It turned it green and made it look like I made green Thai curry which is a spicier curry. Once again you could not taste the spinach. I think I am definitely on to something here!

Crepes!

I woke up this morning feeling great and happy to have the life I have. I chatted with my sister online for a bit and then went outside with the kids to check on the chickens. 3 eggs this morning. This just doesn't get old. It is so exciting to see these eggs just materialize. It is really cool. The weather was beautiful, finally it is cooling off here. So the girls played outside and I nursed Justus while we waited for Ron to get home. After being outside for about an hour we came inside for breakfast. I figured I would make an attempt at crepes. Crepes are something that I love and have been missing since being GF. But this morning I decided to wing it and give it a try. Unbelievable they turned out perfectly and I had no recipe that I was working with. Here is what I did.

Crepes

3 small eggs (yes the ones we got this morning)

1/2 cup sweet rice flour - give or take

plain hemp milk

pinch of salt

splash of vanilla

I mixed it all up playing with the flour and hemp milk to get the right runny consistency. I melted some margarine in a large non stick pan with rounded edges. I poured in about 1/3 of the batter and swirled the pan to get a thin layer. I let it brown slightly and flipped it. For the filling I defrosted some mixed berries and added some sugar. A couple spoonfuls of that, fold the crepe over and sprinkle with powdered sugar. This was really really good and still gluten and dairy free! I honestly can't believe it. What a great start to an already great day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sneaking in the Vegetables


As I have said before, my family seems to have a veggie phobia. Even Ron, if given a chance, could go days and days without a veggie passing his lips. Today I had decided to make baked beans. We really like these. I make them from dried beans and do it in the crock pot all day. They are really, really good and they don't have any non food ingredients i.e. preservatives etc. Typically we like them with, what else, wieners (yes, I get the hypocrisy of that). This is my point, not a healthy meal. Yes, there is onion in there but that is it for any veggies with this meal. Beans are great for you but there should really be another vegetable included in dinner. But I know my family. If I were to make a salad as a side, so we could get in our leafy greens, it would go largely untouched. My solution? Put the salad in the beans. Gross hey? It wasn't. I pulled out my food processor and packed it full of fresh spinach and pureed it so it was smooth. I put it in the crock pot at the beginning of the day. Ya sure, spinach is much better for you if you eat it raw. I probably cooked out a lot of the nutrition in it but not all I am sure. So how was it? Really good. You couldn't tell by looking at it and you couldn't taste it. I let Ron eat a whole bowl before I told him. If I had told him first there would have been some problem with it that he would have attributed to the spinach. When I did tell him he did admit that he couldn't taste it. I would post my recipe but I don't follow one. And honestly this wasn't my best batch. I got a little heavy handed with the apple cider vinegar. It had nothing to do with the spinach. Anyway, I am really pleased that I was able to sneak that in there without being able to taste it. I am going to try doing this with other dishes now (sorry honey, it's cause I love you!). I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

My mom always made her spaghetti sauce from scratch. I didn't know any other way until high school when I was over at a friends place for lunch and she made spaghetti and used the stuff from a can or jar. To say that I was unimpressed was an understatement. So I too have always made it from scratch. Mine isn't anything like my moms at all though. My moms is great but since my family seems to be veggie phobic I use spaghetti sauce to load them up on veggies. I hide them in there. I have served this to guests many times and nearly always I am asked for the recipe. I do put ground beef in here but I should try it without.

10 Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion
7-8 garlic cloves
1 ribs celery
2 carrot
1 green pepper
1 small zucchini
1 bunch fresh spinach
8 oz fresh button mushrooms
1 small eggplant
1 small yellow/summer squash
2 small cans tomato paste
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
28 oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 T oregano dried
1 T basil dried

In a large pot brown ground beef. Once browned put beef in food processor and pulse. This just give the ground beef an equally fine texture. Then return beef to pot. Add onions and garlic to food processor and pulse until you get a uniform fine texture but not so much that it has turned into a puree. Add to beef. Repeat with celery, carrot, green pepper, zucchini, spinach and summer squash. Do each vegetable separately in the food processor or you end up with a puree. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened. Add tomatoes. Dice eggpland and quarter mushrooms and add to sauce. Simmer for an hour or so. Adjust seasonings to taste. This makes a lot so I freeze meal sized portions. When I am stuck for something to make on short notice this is perfect.

Vegetarianism Too??

Yesterday I finally read about the number one cause of green house gasses. I had heard about this before and didn't want to believe it or even really think about it. Now it is really bugging me. I love beef. Really, I love all meat. I was raised on meat and potatoes. While I really like lentils and beans, a meal without meat leaves me feeling unsatisfied. I can easily scarf down a pound of beef steak, mmmm prime rib! I hate the idea that I am knowingly contributing to global warming. Yes, we are already doing a lot to reduce our carbon footprint, probably a lot more than most. We use those cfl's instead of regular light bulbs, and try to use as little electricity as possibly by turning off any unused lights, TV's appliances and fans, we keep our house warmer in the summer than some of our friends can tolerate, I make all my own cleaning supplies, I will be starting to line dry our clothes as soon as Ron can rig up a line for me, we raise our own chickens for eggs, we cloth diaper, breastfeed, avoid the impulse to buy buy buy, avoid plastic anything when possible, avoid buying bottled water, we have only one car and it is a Prius, we white trash up our house by blocking out the summer sun by covering the windows, we let it mellow if it's yellow, we buy and sell used clothing, we buy used and sell nearly everything we can, we are currently trying to downsize our "stuff", we have a garden, we compost, we stopped competing with the Jones's long ago and we rarely eat out. I should feel no guilt about eating meat but I do. So much to Ron's dismay he is going to start seeing more meatless meals. Besides the whole greenhouse gasses thing it will be better for us too. Maybe we can even shed a few pounds, lower our cholesterol and our risk for heart disease and cancer. So that said, does anyone have any great meatless recipes they would like to share??

9 Grain Breakfast Cereal

Never in my life have I had or cooked so many hot breakfasts. In years gone by I was quite happy with toast or cereal. Actually, I craved toast. I could eat bread with every meal and in excess. Now that I make my own gluten free bread - which is really, really good if I do say so myself, I don't eat bread to excess. I really do think that those things that you absolutely love and can't imagine life without and crave with every fiber of your being are those things that probably aren't any good for you. So now that we are gluten and dairy free, breakfasts are almost always hot. Our most frequent breakfast is our homemade hot cereal. Because gluten free grains are ridiculously expensive (and I have to say that that really really picks my ass!!) we buy in large quantity bulk. From those whole grains we make breakfast cereal, aka porridge, and all the flours I use for baking. One of my favorite web sites has detailed information on the nutritional profile of all sorts of grains and beans and it is also where we bought a bunch of our storage stuff from. All these grains together pack so much more nutrition than most other breakfasts possibly could. Best yet, we all love it. Yes even the kids.

1 cup multi grain wild rice blend (a mix we purchased that has wild, red, brown, black etc etc)
1 cup millet
1 cup buckwheat
1 cup quinoa
1 cup dried corn
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup Teff
1/2 cup amaranth seeds

We grind the first 5 ingredients until we get a course texture. The last 3 go in whole. Yes, you should grind at least some of the flax seeds in order to break them open to get all the nutrition out of them but leaving them whole gives some extra crunch. Mix it all up and store in the fridge. To cook: bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 t salt. Add 1 cup cereal and reduce the temp to med low. Simmer while stirring frequently for about 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

This is really high in fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins. And with some brown sugar, agave nectar or fruit it is really satisfying. As a kid I always had porridge with milk. With this we eat it plain with sugar but my mom and dad liked it with milk. Hmmm I wonder how it would be with coconut milk??? I will have to try that.

I will try to get around to posting my bread recipe too. I made it yesterday but with this cereal blend ground into flour and subbed that into the recipe. It was really good.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cloth Diapers

I started cloth diapering Justus when he was 3 weeks old, I think. I went in clueless. I was just feeling so guilty about the whole waste thing. So I did some reading about it. Turns out there are a lot of reasons to use cloth diapers. Just for the record, I am not trying to convince anyone to do it. I think that everyone needs to come to this conclusion on their own. Although, what a better world this would be if everyone did it. Turns out cloth diapering is pretty addictive. They are so darn cute and there are thousands and thousands to choose from. I like to buy from WAHM's (work at home moms), then I can actually feel good about buying diapers. There is no more guilt. I just wish I would have started this when I had baby #1, then diapers for #2 and #3 would be free. Even though I just started, I can already see how this is much, much cheaper over the long run. And it is cheaper in ways I didn't even anticipate. I can't tell you how many times one of the kids pooped and it shot all the way up their back to their shoulders. It really sucked when this happened in public and I was left trying to get the clothing off without covering their hair in poo. Assuming I was at home I would take the outfit off and usually start the whole scrubbing and soaking process. Sometimes I would look at the piece of clothing and think, "well I didn't really like this anyway," or "this is almost too small" and then just chuck it. More than once I just cut it off. This is what I love most about cloth diapers. Ya I love them for selfish reasons. Ever since getting the bugs worked out of the whole cloth diapering learning curve, I haven't had a single blow out. While we were on vacation I used disposables. I came home with several articles of ruined clothing and a new appreciation for my beloved cloth diapers. As for the care of cloth diapers... Really no big deal. I put them in the washer before bed every couple days and then put them in the drier in the morning. The days of rinsing large squares of fabric in the toilet, safety pins and plastic pants are long gone. It's better for baby, better for mom, better for the wallet and better for everyone else. I would encourage all new moms to do a little research and keep an open mind. It really is not anymore difficult or anymore work than disposables.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Shrimp Tacos

Sometimes I surprise myself. A lot of my cooking is a result of me seeing a recipe and then making so many changes it becomes indistinguishable from the original. Today I was looking at what was in the fridge and trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner. I decided on shrimp tacos which is something I order in restaurants all the time but I have never thought about making them at home. For any family and friends in Canada I can probably assume you have never heard of shrimp or fish tacos. If so, then you might have the same gut reaction that I did when I first saw it on a menu down here, yuck! Actually, it took me years to even try one. These are so popular down here you can get them at fast food joints. I love shrimp tacos. Better yet, they are usually gluten and dairy free. I couldn't find a recipe that sounded like what I had in mind so this entire dinner was truly winging it. Tonight I made refried pinto beans without the refry which is done from dried beans and cooked in the crock pot then mashed before serving. Refried beans has been another acquired taste since living in the southwest. Again, it is something that I used to hate but now, if they are done right, I really like them. Also, as a side, I made a mexican rice. I browned brown basmati rice in a bit of olive oil on the stove top until it was all nutty smelling and then cooked it in my favorite kitchen appliance, my rice cooker, with onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. But for the star of the show...

Shrimp Tacos

Corn tortillas (4 inch ones)

raw shrimp (3-4 large shrimp per taco)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 finely minced garlic clove
1 t lemon juice
2 T finely minced parsley or cilantro
1 t honey
salt and pepper to taste

diced tomato
chopped cilantro
avocado sliced
cabbage finely shredded

In a saute pan heat oil on med high. Add shrimp and salt and pepper. Cook only for a couple minutes until they are pink and slightly curled. The best way to ruin shrimp in my opinion is to over season them and over cook them until they are little pieces of rubber.

For the sauce just combine mayo, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro honey and salt and pepper and let sit in the fridge for an hour or more.

Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30-45 sec in a damp paper towel so they are soft and pliable.

Assembly. Tortilla, sauce, cabbage, shrimp, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and rice. This is soooo good. I now need not go to a restaurant to enjoy these.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cute Kid Quotes

We were on our trip back to Alberta and we were driving through some random town and out of the blue Sage says "Is this where dead people live?"

On our way home from our trip we were driving through southern Utah where it was raining. It was a desert landscape and there were lots of desert sage that were very aromatic. Sage says "What's that stink?" Ron responds, "it's the Sage." Sage says "no it isn't. I scrubbed my armpits in the bath at the hotel last night."

One night when Ron was leaving to go to work Sage calls out to him as he is walking out the door, "Bye Daddy! Don't be scared of the ugly people!!"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Success Again!

Two weeks ago today Ron had his gallbladder removed. The following day at 10 pm we decided to make a trip back to Alberta. I think if we had spent more time planning or contemplating it we would have come to our senses and laughed at the mere idea of taking 3 kids (ages 4,2 and 3 months), in a Prius, for 3 days of driving, to go to a family wedding. Oh and don't forget we have to remain gluten free and Ron was only 2 days post op. Sounds insane doesn't it? It does to me. But we did it anyway and we are so glad we did. It was great. Well, not the 6 days total of hour after hour after hour after hour... in the car. That kinda really sucked. It wasn't the kids but just the shear amount of time in the car. We did 10 hours the first day, 14 hours the next day and 9 hours the last day. UGH! Eating gluten free and dairy free is not easy while travelling. We packed a cooler and a big box of snacks and ate out at restaurants only three times. This was the part that made me the most nervous. Both Ron and Sage have the same reaction to gluten, gut aches and horrible mood disturbances. If either of them were to get contaminated it would be a MISERABLE trip and someone would be coming home in a body bag. The mood stuff lasts longer than the gut stuff so if we got glutened at the beginning it would ruin the whole trip.
Here is a pic of the girls sleeping together for the very first time. It was our first night in the hotel.
It was a very short trip, only 6 days in Alberta. But it was a very busy 6 days. Ron's nephew Steven was getting married on Saturday the 23rd so much of the reason that we felt we needed to try to do this was because the majority of Ron's large family would be in one place at one time. None of either of our families, excluding my mom, had met Justus and many had not met Rori. My dad was sweet enough to make the 10 hour drive from Salmon Arm, BC to spend a measly 4 hours with us while we were getting ready for the wedding.



The wedding was great. We didn't tell anyone we were coming except for the groom. It was fun to see so many surprised faces. It was also wonderful to see our kids with their family. The girls ran around non stop with all their cousins' kids and Justus was happy to be passed around for hours. I initially didn't want to stay for the dinner, not only because we had RSVP'd "no" and I didn't want Steven to stress about another whole family being added at the last minute but also because of the gluten thing. Amazingly, though, it turned out really well. Aside from the rolls (I can't tell you how much I wanted a dozen of those, being that Canadian bread is about a 1000 times better than the crap we get here), pasta salad and dessert everything was gluten free. Me being the paranoid one had to ask the caterer about everything but they didn't seem to mind.

The following day we got to spend more time with Ron's family. Again, I was just so happy seeing the kids having so much fun with family. On Monday I got to see my mom and sister and her family. Last summer Sage and Taylor took 4 and a half of the 5 weeks we were there to decide that they liked each other. This time they made that decision in about 5 seconds. The weather was great. I was in heaven sitting outside on Dani's deck watching the kids play on the grass.

Here is a pic of my sister and I. It isn't terribly flattering of either of us but I love it anyway.

Dani made an incredible dinner, all gluten and dairy free. We had a standing rib roast (oh that amazing Alberta beef) that we rolled in fresh, chopped rosemary from her garden and coarse salt and pepper and she cooked that on the BBQ rotisserie, corn on the cob, baby carrots again from her garden, and baby dilled potatoes that Wes pulled from the garden right before she cooked them. It was so incredibly good. Oh, I should add that my mom, as usual, made an amazing dinner for us the night we arrived. We had salmon that her husband had caught last summer, swiss chard and baby carrots from her garden. Veggies right out of the garden are sooooo good. Even Rori who has boycotted vegetables all together was eating the swiss chard. I was stunned.

Justus is calling me right now so I will finish this later.

To Be Continued...