Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We're back in business

Every year after canning season I have this terrible feeling of drudgery towards canning -the overwhelming pressure of keeping up with food before it all goes bad.

Then harvest time happens and I know why I get so into it and hoard SO MUCH food.  There is just something so satisfying about growing your own food, storing it however that particular food needs to be stored, and then later in the year, getting that same feeling of satisfaction as you use the food in a meal for your family!  Right now I am enthusiastic about canning.  After peaches and pears I will be ready for a LONG break!  Anyways, this last week I have been going out to my garden and picking beautiful, red, tasty tomatoes to the tune of a little more than ten pounds per day (just enough to make up a big batch of salsa).  Are you looking for a good recipe?

My mom said that she looked for years for a good salsa recipe, and she finally found this one and it is GOOD.  Just make sure you have a good food processor or this could take a long time - and  I don't think I could handle making it without one; the onions and jalapenos are so strong I'm coughing and crying the way it is!

10 pounds tomatoes
12 chopped jalapenos
10 chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 C. white vinegar
1/2 C. chopped cilantro
1/4 C. salt
1/4 C. sugar (I omit this and it's still great)
2 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp cumin

Grind up the tomatoes, then add all the above ingredients and bring them to a boil.  Then add:

1/2 tsp pepper
6 chopped up onions

Simmer all of the ingredients for ten minutes.  Then add:

3 small cans of tomato paste

Simmer everything for 20 minutes, then put the salsa in your jars and process them in a water bath for 20 minutes.  This makes 12-14 pints of salsa, depending upon how much you and your family "sample" along the way.:) Another note is that if you add the 12 jalapenos, your salsa will be piping hot/spicy.  I always make a few batches that way because Shawn, Kami and Caden really like it that way- yesterday I added 13 to a batch and Shawn said that it was just right because it was "making him sweat around his eyes".  Go figure - that doesn't sound fun to me. I add half the jalapenos called for in the recipe for the rest of us and have my little helpers label the lids with a crayon while they're hot.  So you may want to experiment with the right amount of jalapenos for you. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First day of school

Maddie is headed off to fourth grade this year, and Isabelle is in first!  They both left pretty excited (and a little nervous) for their first day of school.

Kami and Caden left half an hour later for the newly renovated Jr. High.  Caden will be in seventh grade, and Kami in eighth.

I'm usually so sad to see the summer go and to see my kids head back to school, but I must admit that this year I am so excited to be back on a schedule again, and to be able to give more time and attention to my little boys.  So here's to another great school year!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Kami and Caden have been at mom and dad's for the last week picking raspberries.  My parents have five acres (actually more than that right now) planted in raspberries.  Every summer the kids go pick for a week or two and get all the money from the flats that they pick.  During the day they hang out with lots of their cousins, grandparents and uncle Eli, and have a magical time!
Doesn't that look like heaven?  I grew up in the best place!
This year, when picking was finished each morning, dad took them to Elertson's (sp?) meadow for a whole day, they caught 24 crawdads at crawdad pond, went swimming a few times at the gravel pit, spent time at Willow Creek, and built a gypsy wagon and became gypsies.

Shawn and I left on Saturday and went and picked them up and got to experience some of the fun that they had and the peaceful, magic of my parent's place.  I love falling asleep to the sounds of cows lowing all around, and sprinklers pulsing, and watching the kids enjoying all of their relatives, hearing children's excited voices EVERYWHERE, and even with all the noise there is such a calm, peaceful feeling in the air.  I love watching and hearing the cowboys moving their cattle in the valley down below during the day, and being able to hear the train clear up at my parents, as it goes through Haines, down below.

I love it when all of my family, that is around, comes up and we get to enjoy each other's company. (We missed you, Nathan and Leslie, and Aaron and Tia!) This time we were sitting outside under the spread of the big Walnut tree.
Sis-in-law Ori, brother Adam, sister Heidi
brother Matt, sis-in-law Kelley and sister Katie
dad, Kami, mom and bro-in-law Kevin
Ila, the cousin Kami's age, and Eli
brother Danny and his wife Sarah
Anyways, we sat and talked and laughed, and were entertained.  My family used to have a blue grass band and when they all get together they "jam".  They're really good and it's really fun.  This time Danny played us some fun songs that we hadn't heard before: "I'm my own grandpa" was really funny, and also one song that we HAD heard before but wouldn't have recognized.  My grandpa Kerns used to always sing one phrase of a song "Why, oh why, did I ever leave Wyoming?"  Danny found the song, which was also pretty humorous, and sang it for us and the entire tune was different!  My parents said that they weren't surprised.  Dad said that grandpa used to say, "that's the trouble with music.  It just goes up and down, up and down."

Mom on the Uke
Mom and dad started out singing "I've got a never-ending love for you" which is a song that they used to sing together whenever mom got out her ukelele.  It used to embarrass me to death because they'd look deep into each other's eyes all while they sung it, but I must admit that at the same time I loved it.

Then we were almost favored with a real gypsy number that Aunt Ivy helped Kami come up with:
but all of the gypsies that were supposed to dance to it got embarrassed and it all fell apart.:(
Maddie and Gracie
So we headed over to get our fortunes told by this gypsy man:

Cade trying to get all serious.  Personally I like the wig that Kami stuffed in his shirt to make a hairy chest.

fortune-telling in progress

It's a little disconcerting when you go to get your fortune told, and the fortune-teller takes one look at your palm and screams! Caden was a hoot.

A picture of some of the little boys:
And Abram and dad: 
And a cute little Isabelle granny.( There's LOTS of dress-ups at grandmas!)

Before we left, I got starts of my parent's peonies, that were planted in their yard by my grandma Kerns. I'm excited to grow my "heritage peonies"  in my yard!  I also got starts of some of my mom's perennials, and surprised the kids when we drove up to the house with trees that Shawn and I planted while they were gone.

Shawn the man

Saturday Shawn raced in another sprint triathlon.  I love it when he enters a race because he is so good at it and it is very exciting!
Coming in on his bike to transition to the run
This year was also exciting and it was fun to have his parents come and watch, too.

A race to the finish
 Shawn holds the record in this race for his age division, and he was pretty disappointed because his time was four minutes slower than his record time, and he had hoped to really beat it.  He still placed first in his age division, though. I still thought he did great considering that he really only got to train for a couple of weeks!

I think he was caring more about catching his breath right here than getting his picture taken, but he was a good sport about it.:)

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I know that parents say this all the time, but WHERE does the time go?

We just celebrated Caden's twelfth birthday yesterday.
Nolan thought up and designed/decorated a birthday cake for Cade.  He wanted him to have the "best cake ever". So of course, a "monster cake" was in order.

I hope this doesn't give anyone nightmares ;) Nolan insisted that it needed to be "slimy blue".
We had a good day at the lake playing in the sand and swimming:
This is Caden being, as the kids term it, "the naked aborigini"
The "naked albino"

Caden is a great kid, and I don't know what our family would be without him in it.  Some things we love about Caden are:

1.  He is always thinking about everyone else and how they are feeling and wants everyone to be happy.  Just yesterday he and Shawn were going to go to a store and Nolan wanted to tag along.  Shawn asked Caden if that was alright, and it was evident that Caden preferred to have some one-on-one with his dad, since it was his birthday, so Shawn told Nolan he couldn't go that time.  Nolan started to cry, and I could tell that Caden would have caved if I hadn't diverted Nolan.

2. He has a super sense of humor and keeps us all laughing.

3.  He's as sharp as a tack! He gets straight A's and loves to learn.  I have gotten a kick this summer out of what he checks out at the library.  He has brought home books about rocks and minerals, leaf identification, baker's bibles on how to cook pastries and cakes, tree grafting and propagation, bird identification, dog training, how to build an earth oven, how to make a bonzai, and more.

4. He's a good example to us all about living the gospel.  For years he has gotten up early and read his scriptures every day.  This year when we were unpacking boxes, he was excited to find some study manuals that Shawn and I had had in college for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and bible.  Now he uses them in his studying and has a notebook handy to take notes.  It's so heart-warming as parents to see him sitting down with his scriptures and study manuals open all around him taking notes as he goes!  He set a goal several years ago to bear his testimony more often, and every other month or so he gets up and does it in sacrament meeting.

5. He's very dependable and a hard worker.  We can give him a job and know that it will get done, and that it will be done as well as we would have done it ourselves.

6. He's handsome! I've always loved his dark brown eyes-(the only ones in our family.)

7. He's not a show-off and never likes to be the center of attention.

8. He's always looking for ways to serve.  (I'm the beneficiary to his service quite a bit)

9. He has a lot of great talents, including playing the piano, which he is getting pretty good at.  Just in time to play for priesthood meeting!

Today Caden had the Aaronic priesthood conferred on him and was ordained a deacon.  He is pretty excited to be moving on from primary, and Shawn is excited to have someone to go to priesthood meetings with. We are proud of Cade and the good young man that he is.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aunt Ellen

Sunday night my Aunt Ellen (dad's sister) came for a quick visit.  I have always thought that she was such a neat person and have loved to be around her from the time that I was a small girl.  Now I can see why I felt that way from such a young age - She is so good at loving and being interested in everyone, from the smallest child to the oldest adult.  She has such a sweet, positive spirit about her and the kids and Shawn and I were so sad to see her go.

We had a great visit for the very short time that she was here (She left around lunch time on Monday). Aunt Ellen has always been an out-doorsy, adventurous, active type, so she enjoyed canoeing with the kids,
and she even went on a run with Kami, who is trying to get in shape for a season of cross-country.

She also brought two coolers, full of raspberries, from my parents five-acre patch. (Thank you, parents, for picking them for me!)  We enjoyed eating them fresh and we also made some freezer jam that the family will really enjoy this winter.

Thanksgiving comes to mind...

We have a flock of wild turkeys that hang out at our house.

They walk through our yard in the early morning and evening, and then at dusk they roost in our cottonwood trees at the entrance to our driveway.  We don't know where they hang out during the day.

Whenever Isabelle sees them out there, she has to hurry out to try to catch one.

homemade path

We had some left-over stones from our fireplace, so the kids and I made a pathway to our mailbox with them last week.

We decided that if Shawn had any derogatory remarks to make about it when he got home that we would tackle him!  Luckily for him, he thought it was alright ;)

After we got the stones in place, we filled in the cracks with dirt. Hmmm...I guess I had better get an after shot - I'll add one ASAP.   It turned out pretty good.  We've got some big plans that still need to come to pass around this pathway, so stay tuned. (Stay tuned for the next few years because they won't be happening over night!:)