Friday, August 28, 2009

What Did I Do This Week?

As you may or may not know, Brent once again abandoned me this week because work wanted him to go to Connecticut to look at a boat.

So....what did I do this week while Brent was in Connecticut? Did I waste my time and do nothing? Did I have a party?

Oh no I did not.

I worked on a bulletin board at church...
It's for the Enrichment Meeting coming in September. The title is "Finding Happiness Eternally." And the theme is Family Home Evening. (Catchy title, huh?) Once I got the right supplies, the bulletin board turned out good. Now I'm just hoping the Enrichment Meeting is ok.

I also burned my finger...

on the stupid oven while I was getting ready to...

Bottle what ended up being 17 jars of pears!

Beautiful, ain't it? Brent's mom reminded me that the next step is now to see if they taste good. Oh yeah! That would be nice, wouldn't it?

I took about 10 trips to, sorry to say, Wal-mart, to get supplies for the canning. (Sorry Mom, Fred Meyer didn't have what I needed.)

Now, there are 50 lbs of peaches in my basement that need to be made into something. And, some blackberries in the fridge as well.

I also got to hang out with Court and the kids. (Thanks for the help with the pears)

I got a ride to pick up the fruit with Laura and the kids. (Thanks for the ride)

And I have eaten out WAY more that usual because I just don't want to cook for one. And I don't really want to go to the store either.

So, no, I have not wasted my time alone. But I am so looking forward to him getting home tomorrow. It gets a little quiet around here. Not that he's much of a talker, but ... he's still nice to have around.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chugga Chugga...Woo Woo!

On Friday night, Ryan and Marcela asked if we wanted to go with them to take a ride on a train. Since it's right up the road from us, we gladly accepted. (Even though Ryan had to practically drag Brent out of the house. Brent was being a tortuga for once.)

There's a park by our house where you can take a free train ride on miniature trains. It runs twice a month all summer. And it's actually quite fun.
We're all ready to're not allowed to take pictures on the train, so you'll just have to imagine what it looks like. Picture tall trees and green.

After we got off, Brent struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers there and he invited us all "behind the scenes".

I think Reyes' face is just hilarious in this one. She just looks scared. It was making a lot of steam, so I guess I understand.
There was this 10 year old boy back there who just took a liking to Reyes. He got her to sit on this little train that you move with the crank. At first it looked like she could do it, then we realized she was just going downhill, so it was just an illusion.
Our "guide" says it takes about an hour for these steam engines to warm up. There was someone getting theirs going so Brent started asking what all the levers and switches did. The owner of the train was more than happy to tell him.

I can hear the conversation now:

Brent: "You know what would be a cool hobby?"
Ashley: "No, what?"
Brent: "Building miniature trains!"

Great. I love being married to an engineer!

Like he needs another hobby. This is one of his hobbies:
It is a Piper Cub Airplane. It's suppose to look like this,
only smaller.

Brent began building this airplane when he was in college. Yeah, like he had time. We have moved it three times now. And it still looks like a fossil.

Here is another one of his hobbies:
Notice how they are all in a box and on a shelf. Yeah, I did too.
I'm just teasing you Brent after all...
Me: "Hi, my name is Ashley."
Everyone Else: "Hi Ashley."
Me: "And I'm a plant-a-holic. It's been 1 week since I bought my last plant."
So, if you're ever in our neck of the woods on the 2nd or 4th Saturday in the summer, give us a call. We'll ride the train with you. And Brent would even tell you how it works for free!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Alas, my much anticipated blueberry syrup did not turn out. The good news is that the blueberry jam that I didn't even know I was making did turn out. (I meant to do that - NOT!)Yeah me! Maybe next time.

The question is, do I give out the recipe so you all can make blueberry syrup and it really turns out as blueberry syrup, or do I keep it to myself until I do get it right. Hmmm...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blueberry Fields

Let me take you down cuz I'm going to...blueberry fields.
Ok, those aren't exactly the words, but that is what we did the other night for Family Night, with Brad, Court and the kids.
In Tacoma, there is this blueberry park where you can go and pick blueberries for free. I guess it used to be a blueberry farm that went out of business so the community got together and kept the bushes going.
Aaron wanted to get in on the action too. Unfortunately, he didn't exactly understand that you were suppose to pick the ripe ones.
This is what I look like from a 10 year old's height. I think she'll be taller than me by the time she's 12, but oh well.
Chloe and I picked blueberries together. We did a good job. She would scrunch down and get the ones under the bush and I would get the ones...well...not on top of the bush, but at least in the middle!

Such a good boy...92% of the time he doesn't complain about having his picture taken.

We kept thinking that we had found the middle of the blueberry patch, but then we'd find more, and more and more.

Don't you just love how his feet are turned all weird. I think he was trying to pose for the camera.
Sarah brought a friend...she's such a tween!

We ended up with about 5 lbs of blueberries. Those are small little berries, so that's a lot of fruit. It was a fun night, but it sure made you appreciate just going to Costco and getting a bunch of blueberries.

I made blueberry syrup today. What I learned from that experience is that it takes A LOT of blueberries to make syrup. And, it takes a lot of time. Hopefully it's good though. If so, I'll share the recipe.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Camp is...

Hello! I am now back among the living after a fun week of camping at Nisqually (isn't that a great Northwest word? Bet you don't know how to say it!). It's taken me a few days to start feeling more like myself ... I'm not good when I don't get my required 8 hours of sleep ... but I am feeling a bit more chipper this morning, so I thought I'd tell you what I think Girl's Camp is.

Camp is...
Dirt, dirt and more dirt. Dirt under your fingernails. Dirt between your toes. Dirt in your nose. I never realized what a girlie girl I am, but the first thing I thought about when I got home was that I needed a pedicure!

Silly, funny, camp songs. I have a couple of favorites. My very favorite is the moose one. "There was a great big moose (echo), he liked to drink a lot of juice (echo)." It's fun to sing and easy to learn. My second favorite, but for a completely different reason, is one that starts out, "Grow bananas, grow grow bananas. Peel bananas, peel peel bananas. Go bananas, go go bananas." When they 'go bananas', they run all around the stage. This song progresses to, "Grow the mullet, grow grow the mullet. Comb the mullet, comb comb the mullet. Rock the mullet, rock rock the mullet." Hee hee. It still hits my silly sense of humor.

Learning how to kill plastic deer with a bow and arrow. I did not attempt this. If they had had hay bales, I would have been all over it, but they just looked too much like actual animals for my tender heart.
Finding a comfortable place to sit. It's amazing how tired of sitting on hard things you get by the end of the week.
Finding anywhere to sit other than the ground.
Science experiments. A couple of the girls from our ward were in charge of Family Home Evening on Monday night. They taught about testimonies. Part of their lesson was playing with corn starch and water. This was very interesting to some of the girls.

Sleepless nights. I am not a night person. Once the sun goes down, so do I. (This is kind of yucky in the winter around here when the sun goes down at 3 pm.) It was hard for me to stay up late every night. I've decided that I can never be a YCL leader because they never go to sleep. Man, I wouldn't even be recognizable after staying up all night. Can you say...grumpy?

Spa days. What, you're saying? I thought you were at camp. Well, since I had sacrificed so much to be at camp (at least that's what they said), the Stake leaders treated us Ward leaders to a spa afternoon. They rubbed our hands and scrubbed our feet. It was glorious. I felt badly for them though. As soon as I put my feet in the water, it went brown. Yummy.

Cheering your victories.

And your defeats. This is another one of the leaders from our ward and sweet little K**** who is also from our ward. There was this game call Hatchi. It was kind of like the game show on "I survived a Japanese game show." Well, this game was called "Rock, Paper, Scissors." If you won at rock, paper, scissors, you got to put a plate of whip cream in the loser's face. K**** loved this game. Poor Sis B! It was hilarious for the rest of us. Sis B is so excited to be a part of a story that will be told for YEARS to come.

Early mornings. Not only did we have to stay up late, we had to get up early too. Have you ever tried to get a bunch of teenagers out of bed at 7:30 am when they've stayed up way later than they normally do. It's not a fun thing.

Devotionals. This is one of my favorite part about camp. Every morning we had a devotional introducing the theme for that day. (The theme of the whole camp was President Hinckley's "Be's".) I got to do the devotional on Friday for the whole camp. (That's only about 80 girls, so it wasn't too bad.) The theme of that day was Be Humble. I was having a hard time getting my thoughts together for this devotional. It wasn't until I got to camp and had a chance to sit alone in the forest, that it came together. After the devotional, one of the girls came up to me and said that she loved my talk, it was exactly what she needed. That made the whole thing worth it for me. Even if she was the only one I touched, that's plenty for me.

Hard. It's hard to leave your nice comfortable bed for a week. It's hard for me to leave my husband for a week. It's hard to eat food that, while it's really good, just isn't your own. It's hard to deal with the eye rolls and grumbles from some of the girls.

Totally worth it. I would go again in a heart beat. Even with the dirt and the sleeping on the ground. It's worth it to see testimonies grow. It's worth it to see friendships strengthen. It's worth it to sit around the campfire and just laugh together. I don't know if Brent would agree, but ...

I do have to admit, though, I had a hard time this year at the beginning of the week. We were camping in levels instead of wards this year, so I had to get to know a bunch of new girls. And ask them to do stuff. I got a lot of looks that said, "Who are you to tell me what to do?" On top of it all, I was tired, which never makes my mood great. But then Wednesday came and we had skit night, which was quite funny, and then we roasted marshmallows around the fire, which was yummy, and we just got a chance to sit. That changed my whole attitude. I knew I was there for a reason and I knew I could handle any teenage angst that came my way.

So, if you ever have chance to go to camp, I have a couple of suggestions.

Bring a cot. It's amazing how much better you feel when you can sit on your bed and tie your shoes. Always sitting on the floor kind of sucks.

Bring a lot of socks. They will get dirty, very dirty. And you just feel better when you have somewhat clean socks on.

Bring bug repellent. I have about 100 mosquito bites. I was even using the bug repellent, but apparently these mosquitoes are the new kind that like the repellent.

Bring a good attitude. You're going to need it. Sometimes all a grumpy teenager needs is a smile from you and it will break their mood.

Go. It's worth it. It may be sort of yucky at the time, but it's worth it.

So, there you have it. My week at camp. Hope you enjoyed it. I'm enjoying being back in the land of the living.