Well, Hello There!

/*98posted by Chelsea

Well, hello there!

I realize its been awhile.  In honor of 5 years of blogging (?!) I decided to have a month of silence.  Ha! I can’t hardly believe it’s been 5 years already.  5 years of our life in good old fashioned internet documentation.

Lets take a quick moment to look back at the beginning of this journey, shall we?  First… look how young the girls were…

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Babies!

And now they not only have a little brother…

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but they make their own scrambled eggs.  I mean, if that’s not grown up, tell me what is?!

I’ve learned a lot in the last 5 years.   But mostly I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  I’ve always thought it was super lame when people said that as they age they realize how much they don’t know.  But oddly enough, I think they actually knew what they were saying and I agree with them.  Let me give you an example… I don’t know how to play board games with my children.  The first time I didn’t manipulate the game so the child I thought “needed to” win didn’t win and I won, I felt so guilty for not letting one of the kids win that I haven’t won a game since.  Being a mom is really complicated like that.

On the less complicated side of things, I recently learned that I actually like cats.  For most of my life, I’ve been a little allergic (both physically as well as mentally) to cats.  It’s an inherited allergy from my dad.  The last time I remember liking cats was when I was a little kid and my mom let me bring a kitty inside (while dad wasn’t home!) and I let it play on my dad’s pillow.  For an allergic-to-cats-asthmatic, a kitty on his pillow was not. helpful. at. all.  Oops!

Anyway! We received 3 semi-grown cats from our friends this fall.  I love them.  They don’t play on anyone’s pillows because they live outside and they’re awesome!  They kill mice and frolic in the yard.  They bask in the sunshine and I appreciate the way they see the world.  (When you live this far away from other people you start appreciating the way animals “see the world”.)

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In other news… we had a really fun day this last Saturday.  Buck was at a Cattlemen’s conference. So, while the weather was gorgeous, the kids and I headed down to check on the brood mares.  Yes! There will be two foals on the ranch this spring.  And next year we’re planning to have three!

Rose (in the background!) is due in April…

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Rose has been a pretty big part of our life, our trusty mare who goes anywhere, does anything, and is otherwise AWESOME. I teared up at the vet clinic last summer when we found out she was “for sure” bred. She’s part of the family.

“Ginger” is a new mare who is also due in April. But she left the vicinity shortly after our arrival and didn’t stick around to have her picture taken.

And we checked on and gave a lot of TLC to “Hobby”…

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who is new around here and will hopefully have a foal next spring.

Then the kids decided since we were checking on things, they ought to check on the pond.  I made some comment about it “not being fun anymore because it is no longer frozen like it was a few weeks ago”…

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but they didn’t even hear me.  They just started having fun.  They threw…

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rocks…

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in…

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They pulled out “fish”…

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(aka weeds)…

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And otherwise enjoyed an afternoon…

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of a serious pond-playing-adventure…

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And while they played, you can see that I enjoyed the photographic opportunity to capture some splashing water, etc.  Guaranteed, I was as delighted to “play” as they were :-)

I even talked them into grouping up for a little ragamuffin sibling shot…

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I love unexpected delightful days.   In fact, I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned in the last 5 years.   Unexpected delights are usually the best ones.


No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

posted by Ann

I have discovered an absolutely easy, works-every-time, amazing, looks-like-it-came-from-a-bakery, artisan bread that I am so smitten with.  You have to plan ahead as the dough is assembled the night before (or at least 12 hours before you plan to bake it) But it literally takes a moment to mix together and you’ll hardly be able to sleep as you anticipate the lovely loaf that awaits you the next day.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

Instructions:

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Our Week

posted by Chelsea

This last week.  Lucy turned EIGHT?!

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The girls…

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performed…

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for the school Christmas program.  We were super impressed with their stellar performance.  Kate was the first one to take the microphone and stood frozen for about 4 seconds before a quiet line was whispered to her by her music teacher, then she courageously rolled right through her skit lines, song, and piano playing.  Lucy has come so far in one year on the piano and is so brave to stand up and not only speak into the microphone, but sing, too!  So proud to be their mama!

Lucy wore her adult sized (?!) “town boots” for the performance. This is what a ranch girls “town boots” look like…

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… no matter how hard we try to keep them clean!!

Our dog, Eve, had nine puppies…

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… but we are down to eight.  It’s probably for the best that one didn’t survive as eight will be plenty for our young mama! We named them after Santa’s reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen. Of course we’ll understand if the person who gets “Prancer” or “Dancer” or “Cupid” wants to change the name of their “vicious” cowdog!

The days are short and we’re looking forward to the end of the month when they start getting longer.  But the canyon is still pretty glorious…

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… so much to be thankful for this holiday season!


Vanilla Pear Coffee Cake w/ Streusel Topping

posted by Ann

This year was an epic year for produce and I was blessed to have access to an amazing bounty of  fresh pears.  I canned I.don’t.know.how.many.quarts and was so happy to find some way to bake with them!  This cake is moist and fragrant, is easily doubled and freezes well. Enjoy!

Cake:

Streusel Topping:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9-inch square or round baking dish.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and combine well.  Alternate adding reserved flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Gently fold in pears.   Pour batter into prepared pan.

To make streusel  topping: mix cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and flour together.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs are formed.  Using your fingers, squeeze together most of the mixture to form large clumps.  Sprinkle topping generously over batter.

Bake about 1 hour or until cake tests done. Allow to cool slightly before consuming……with a sigh and a small smile. :-)

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Cooper at the Coast

posted by Chelsea

On our way to Buck’s Gram’s for Thanksgiving, we made a quick stop at the ocean.  I love the ocean.  I love the ocean so much.  I love the ocean tons and tons.  I love the ocean like a lot.  And I love bringing my family there.  This was Cooper’s first real experience (the last time he was a small baby) and it was so fun to bring him!

Chasing waves was super fun…

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Buck loves chasing waves as much as the kids do…

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And occasionally he had to help speed little-man up…

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And if Buck wasn’t there to help, Lucy was…

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When he wasn’t chasing waves,  he grabbed a piece of seaweed and chased down the seagulls yelling “wope the kickens! wope the kickens!” (“rope the chickens!”)….

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And here, in my favorite shot, he wasn’t chasing anything…

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There you have it! Cooper at the coast!