Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oregon, Part 2

The hotel beds were actually cozy.  I was ready for some good sleep, but then...
I wish those three beautiful hours of deep sleep were accurate, but that's when the phone dropped off the bed as I hoisted 21-month-old into it.  Oh well.  At least the other three kids miraculously slept like little logs.

Waking up, I could feel the business of the day in the world of intercession.  There was the women's conference Jeremy was playing at.  I had friends speaking and interceding at another conference south of us.  And then there was the earthquake in Chile.  And all the tsunami advisories.  Seeing next to nothing come of the tsunami warnings was beyond encouraging.

We dressed, we brushed, we meandered downstairs to the kitchen. It was the moment 6-year-old had been waiting for: waffles.  Waffles and bagels.  Yes, it was a refined flour frenzy that only comes but once in a blue moon.

I didn't get to take any footage of the women's conference.  Photography was strictly prohibited, but it was a wonderful gathering.  The speaker was engaging and inspirational. Jeremy and Martin (the amazing cellist), aka the acoustic dynamic duo, decided on a new mission in life: to lead worship at women's conferences.  In Hawaii.  Those ladies spoiled us up one way and down another.  Jer and Martin would walk into the green room with euphoric, stunned expressions, double-fisted with coffees and smoothies.  They muttered, "They just gave them to us as we walked off stage."  Incredible.

At lunch, the kids opened boxes given to them that held the funnest surprises.
Us grown-ups were quite delighted, as well.
It was all prepared by them; not store-bought.  What a personal touch.  We felt so loved.

While we waited for Jeremy to wrap up, the kids watched a movie with Mr. Owl...
And I studied a timeline drawn up during the Civil War.

My sweet, considerate 8-year-old decided on her own to write a thank you letter.  I love her.

Sadly, we didn't have time to sight-see... or so we thought.  There was little visibility on the way up to Oregon.  The drive back home was breathtaking.
We saw gorgeous rivers, valleys, mountains, and then the sight that stole our hearts forever.
Mt. Shasta
Jer has decided to build a cabin where we took that picture.  I have decided we will have cows and we will have a ranch and my husband will become a cowboy and he will yodel the cows and I to sleep every night.  We took about 35 photos of that mountain, but I promise to only post one more capture of it.

There.  Now, we are home.  I think I've caught the bug that's been floating around our family.  My amazing babes surprised me with breakfast in bed.
The trip was beautiful, filled with amazing people, and was short and sweet.  It's a gorgeous day, and after I make the kids smoothies, I hope my body will allow me to spend a little time in the garden.  Happy Sunday, friends.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Oregon, Part 1

We found out a sad thing today.  Whatever that waterfall was that Jeremy took pictures of is not Klamath Falls.  Apparently, there is no Klamath Falls.  I am so confused.  But we're only 45 minutes from Crater Lake, so we're really hoping to get the chance to see that tomorrow.

The drive was... interesting.
Very appropriately, it rained, then snowed, then rained the entire drive.
Oh, and the winds?  Crazy winds.  It was intense.

I don't think it helped that I was snapping pictures.  Hey, here comes some snow!  Look, kids!  Snow!

Oh.  It keeps coming.  And we don't have chains...
And then... then... 4-year-old uttered the words you never want to hear when a rest stop - or anything - is nowhere in site, "Mommy, I drank too much water and now I have to go potty real bad.  The pee pee is hurting me."  Well then...

Would you have done anything different?  Then I looked behind me and discovered what happens when you give a 21-month-old a granola bar with chocolate drizzles.
Word to the wise, don't let chocolate set on faces unless you want to scrub a screaming toddler for three and a half minutes.  But we made it.  And we are staying in the coolest Best Western ever.  Where else do they look like log cabins and are decorated with full-sized stuffed animals.  No, not teddy bears.  Real ones.
 My kids were thrilled to see the TV in our room.  We watched in awe a pug who surfs, snowboards, and skateboards.  We miss so much not owning a TV.  Wow, and they make TVs so thin and long these days...
Jer's leading at a women's conference; that's why we get to be here.  These ladies are amazing.  Absolutely welcoming, gracious, and full of anticipation of what God wants to do this weekend.  The kids and I went wild over the treats in the green room.  How wondrous!  Jeremy cooly informed me these sorts of things are very normal.  Food waiting for me on a pretty table is not normal in my world.  It's magical.

And yes, you do see a large, stuffed owl in the background.  He was the highlight of 4-year-old's day.  I think he was monitoring how many goodies I shoveled in my mouth.  Okay, Mr. Owl, I'll stop now.  Stop staring at me, please.
And now, the kids are actually sleeping, and I am finishing my fourth warm cookie, complements of Best Western.  I was only going to have two, but the oatmeal raisin I picked up was stuck to another, and I already touched it, so...

Travel is fun.  Not having to clean up after making food is mind-blowing, but I do miss preparing and serving it.  Oregon has a very different feel than California.  It seems... calm, slow (in a good way), and content, uncaring of what the outside world might think of it.  But I'm realizing how much of a homebody I really am.  It's only been 10 hours since we left, but I miss it.  I miss writing Katie's Quick Home-keeping Hints. Maybe I'll whip one out while the kids zone out in wonder to cartoons in the hotel room tomorrow morning.  Thinking about writing about home is making me happy.  I miss my hens.  I miss my bed.   I even miss that big, dumpy Black Jack and I want to squeeze him and feel him purr right now.   There's no place like home, there's no place like home...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Road Trip!

An interesting fascination has swept our church, and that is... the sleep cycle.  I wasn't going to participate because I was too different to go with the flow.  Apparently, I am not.  It turns out to be quite interesting, after all.  

4-year-old had a rough night last night, and when she decided to crawl in bed with me, so did I.  Actually, I was glad to snuggle with her through the night and monitor her breathing.  She is such a little lover.  Normally, I can only take so much suction cup cuddling at night when I'm trying to sleep, but I drank it up this time.  My kids' recent simultaneous springtime growth spurts just shouted, "Your kids are growing up faster than you realize!" in my face.  So I'll take the cuddles while their little selves are still tiny and willing, even if I have to give up some sleep.  And I did.  I gave up... lots of sleep.

I felt like I was dreaming through most of today.

Our two youngest and I went to 4-year-old's 10:45 doctor's appointment this morning.  They are so adorable.
It turns out her bronchitis came back and she's back on meds.  But... the doctor gave her the go-ahead for our little weekend adventure, so we are Oregon-bound!  Yee haw!  I've never been to Oregon.  We are all pretty excited to go together.  So I'll be takin' this blawg on the road for the first time, tracking our goings on, the sites, the foods (of course), and sleep cycles.  It is going to be riveting, I tell you.

I sleep now.  I can literally feel how purple the bags under my eyes are.  Until tomorrow, then.  See ya in Oh-ree-gone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Road Trip?

First of all, I'm currently working through a bit of post-traumatic stress.  Yesterday morning (it still haunts me), while we were rushing out the front door, our huge, puffy, panther-of-a-cat-with-the-disposition-of-a-golden-retriever bumbled out in front of me, drunk from all the sun he just soaked up.  (Buy the way, we just found out he is a "he" last night.  He adopted us a few months ago and my kids called him Black Jack from the beginning.  None of us ever bothered to check if he was a Jack or a Jacquelyn.  I don't think we wanted to know.  He just seemed like a "he."  Besides, he's just so huge and... puffy; it'd be awkward.  But finally, Jeremy put our inquisitive minds to rest last night and we discovered that he is a snipped tom who felt quite violated by the gender-identifying procedure.)  Anyway, back to the front porch...  I didn't see him over the 21-month-old I was holding and I stepped on his stupid little paw.  He let out the most horrific scream, I almost blacked out.  It's playing back in my head so clearly just from writing about it.  And that's enough of that.  The dumpy fat cat is just fine, in case you were concerned.  I, however, am still recovering.  Thanks for asking.

And now, we interrupt your normally scheduled program of Katie's Quick Home-Keeping Hints and feline horrors to bring to you a special report: Katie, along with her four children and husband might be leaving the house.  Overnight.  She is definitely more shocked than you are.  Her husband was offered a last-minute event in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  They have a ninja black belt house-sitter on standby to guard the homestead.  If all goes as planned, she and her four kids will accompany Mr. Riddle on this excursion.  Katie can no longer write in the third person, so we're turning the mic over to her.  Katie?

Sorry.  That was... disconcerting.  Have mercy.  The trauma is still great from the dumb cat's blunder.  So why aren't we definitely going?  My sweetest little 4-year-old started coughing nonstop today, and she might have a low-grade fever.  She just recovered from early pneumonia a month ago, and this just isn't right.  A friend suggested it might be a reaction to all the pollen from the early-blooming fruit and nut trees, but I don't like that.  Spring is too beautiful to cause sickness; it looks and feels like life, not illness.
It is probable, though.  Allergies do run in the family.  Regardless, I'm taking her little self to the doctor's ASAP tomorrow and contending for speedy healing.

The kids are so excited about the prospect of going on a trip with daddy again.  We've done it before, but that... that's a whole other post that will surely end up being written one of these days.  The kids, resilient as they are, have recovered from that trip.  I, however, might have become agoraphobic because of what transpired.  

In all honestly, though, it could be fun.  Ever since Jeremy came home from Klamath Falls a few years back with these pictures...

Klamath Falls, itself!

Um, well, this one's just for Mama Rissa.

... I've been longing to visit.  Heck, I've already gotten a good school lesson into the kids just from the idea of going.  We learned a little about Klamath Falls and planned a meager itinerary that got us all adrenalized.

So, if you're one of my few Oregonian readers and you happen to be in the area, we'd love to say hello!  Also, from a local perspective, we'd be forever grateful for a few insider must-see, must-eat, must-shop pointers. 

I really hope my 4-year-old recovers.  I hope we go to Oh-ree-gone with Jeremy.  I hope the trip cures me of agoraphobia.  We'll know by tomorrow.  I'll either have a happy, healthy 4-year-old report while we stuff our suit cases or a I-don't-have-to-leave-home-afterall-because-my-daughter-needs-recovery-time report.   Until tomorrow then...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Together Outdoors Tuesday ~ Take It Outside

After being indoors during the long, cold winter weather (and this homebody is not complaining), it's hard for me to mentally transition into the idea of being outside.  That sounds kind of strange coming from an avid lover of the outdoors.  I am a walking contradiction.  

I've been thinking about all the things we do inside that can easily be brought outside.  There are a lot.  It's raining again (yee haw!), but we spent a little bit of time on the dry, covered porch with our electronics.  I mean, if we're going to be sitting around with cordless devices, we might as well be getting some fresh air while we do it, right?

Why is it important to be outside, even when it's cloudy?  Well, our bodies thrive more when they're given fresh air.  In the winter when houses are almost always closed up, the air in them get pretty high levels of toxic fumes from cleaners and radon build-up from the cement that slab houses rest on top of.  Here's an article if you want to read more info.

So I'm challenging myself.  Join in on the fun if you like.  I'm going to see how often we can be outside (weather permitting) while we go about our daily lives.  So far, we're doing schoolwork, blogging, and DS-ing outside...  Baby steps.  This will be so much easier when it's sunny.  And now...  we are cold and taking this party back inside.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nutrition Monday ~ Yo Quiero Quick Spelt Tortillas

Tortillas were required.  We had none.  Nor did I have the time to wait for a yeast dough to rise, and loading four kids up to "run out" and grab a bag of them were out of the question.  It was 5:00 and I needed them for dinner that night.  Solution: a new recipe to make up.  Hallelu.  Making up recipes is so exhilarating, I tell you.  My kids got in on the fun, too. They said we were a tortilla factory now.  I said child labor laws prohibit us from becoming a factory.  Detecting a spontaneous, drawn-out, history/social studies lesson, they pretended to know what I was talking about.
From start to finish, this took us 35 minutes (with an 18 minute leave-alone, clean-up-the-kitchen-while-you-wait time).  It would've taken me at least that long to lug the kids to and from the nearest store so we could purchase a store-bought package, which aren't nearly as nutritious.  This recipe yields 2 dozen little taco-sized tortillas, and would make a dozen burrito-sized ones.

"Mommy, can I have just tortillas for dinner?"
"Can I have just tortillas for breakfast?"
"Can they be for snack tomorrow?"
"Are we ever going to eat them?"
"Not if I eat them all first."
"Daddy!  Mommy's being selfish!  Hurry!"

You will need:
To buy in bulk.  (Just kidding.)

3 1/2 Cups whole grain flour, such as spelt
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil (expeller-pressed doesn't taste like coconut)
1 cup hot water
Mix all ingredients together.  Use the dough hook if you have a Kitchen Aid.
Kneed (with the dough hook if you have it) for 3 minutes.
Cover for 15 minutes.
Then form into little dough balls (12 for bigguns or 24 for taco-sized) and cover to keep them from drying out.
Roll them out, one at a time.  Um, no.  We're not perfectionists.
Slap the uncooked tortilla onto a hot griddle.  Cast iron is preferred.  Flip once little bubbles appear.
Cover the finished tortillas with a towel while they wait for their little friends to join them in tortilla maturation.

There you have it, folks.  We made quesorritos with ours.  Queso what-oes?  My mama's ingenious recipe.  It's a mix between quesadillas and burritos.  She is one smart woman, I tell you.

And if you want to go hog wild, use homemade refried beans, cheese, creme fraiche, and salsa.  But that would just be overboard, right?  I mean, who would ever go that far, seriously?

This is a contributing post to Tuesday Night Supper Club & Vegetarian Foodie Friday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is This Thing On?

It has been four days since I last blogged.  I don't know if it was even noticeable, but it left a massive void in my life.  Okay, not really.  But I think I did go through a little bit of writer's withdrawal.  Thank Facebook and Twitter for a little, yet oh-so-unsatisfying fix.  I think I have been monologging in my head with no outlet too often to admit.  So why has there been a brief silence brooding over Riddlelove?  My laptop is almost dead.  A moment of silence please.  The keyboard doesn't work, and neither does the battery.  This leaves me dependent upon stealing my husbands' macbook away when he's home and scribbling out a quick blog post while he doesn't need it.  It's a sad state of being, I tell you.  I haven't had access to a working computer for almost five days.  I might not have been blogging, but I did manage to take 147 pictures, make sourdough bread out of 275-year old starter,
whip up a raw coconut cream pie with brownie crust recipe,
take cheese-making pictures and finally add them to the Farmer's Cheese post,
and make a quick and easy whole grain tortilla recipe with the girls.
Um, writing this just made me realize that I pretty much spent the last four days in the kitchen.  I might need therapy.  Either way, all of what transpired during my time of blogging silence will eventually manifest into several posts.  So I guess I was blogging in my heart.  I really might need therapy...

I promise I got out of the kitchen, though.  I'll prove it.  6-year-old's artwork was selected to be a part of a museum display that children all over the county entered, entitled, "Northern Californian Landscape."  We visited his display.  6-year-old's response?  "Oh, that's mine?  I think I remember paining that now."
Then we went to the park,
saw a cool "c" cloud,
Then we hurried back home so I could start a pot of chicken stock.
And bake 3 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but no one needs to know about that.
My kitchen missed me.  It told me so.  Help me.

It's Sunday night and my husband is leading worship in an hour.  Bye bye, kitchen.  Bye bye, Jeremy's macbook.  I must prove that I do, indeed, leave the home and that I am not agoraphobic.  Breathe in.  Breathe out...


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