Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not Such a Baby anymore.

While on vacation this weekend, we spent some time at a really nice swimming pool. The weather didn't cooperate, but the pool was beautiful. It has a large pool with a slide for the swimmers and a huge wading pool with a fountain for the littles.

The Boy Scout, D, and Girlfriend swam until they'd had all they could take. Girlfriend conquered the slide, now that she is swimming so well.

Sunshine and The Bambino were super happy in the wading pool. I'll share some great pictures of all the wet Ducklings later.

The Sprout hung out with The Scoutmaster and me. Before long, he was feeling quite confident and comfortable in the new surroundings and he began toddling around exploring. He is at such a fun age right now. He's so much fun to watch. Everything delights him and he loves to entertain us. We've always loved the 15 month stage.

It's all so bittersweet, watching the baby grow up. We love every new, joyful thing he does, but we know it will pass all too quickly.

We are all, here at the House of Coast, hopelessly smitten with this little man.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Summer has swung into high gear here at the House of Coast!

I just downloaded a bunch of great pictures from my camera and got them backed up, but it will take me a few days to get some edited for sharing. Lots of fun stuff!

We were away for the weekend and had a wonderful time relaxing as a family. None of us wanted to come home. But good things awaited here, too.

Today we had swimming and The Boy Scout started Jr. Sailing School out at the lake and we have a little girlie friend over for all day. The energy level is running very high - the kids' not mine! And we are enjoying the sunny, windy coast day.

In Central Oregon over the weekend, my sweet girlies found these wild irises and buttercups way out in the woods and brought me a few as a gift. I hated to throw them out when we left to come home, but knew they wouldn't survive the trip. So I took a picture.

Back soon with more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good Morning!

Just popping in to say that the S OR Coast has not fallen off into the ocean.

We had a fabulous, busy weekend of All Star Baseball games and Father's Day BBQ.

Summer swimming started on Monday and has caused me to have to shift into a different gear in order to get school and chores and cooking and cleaning and playing all to fit together gracefully into each day. I think the investment of extra energy this week is paying off, though. I can feel a nice summer groove starting to form, which was my goal for this week. Hopefully, I can get everyone into a routine that will work for the next eight weeks, at least!

Oh, and we finally got a sunny day yesterday after weeks and weeks and weeks of gloom and rain and cold. Hallelujah!! It was such a treat to be outside and to be WARM. Saturday is the first day of summer. I can finally start to see it from here.

(For those of you with actual summer, our high yesterday was something like 65.)

(Oops, I just checked and the official high for yesterday was 59. It just FELT like 65... Ah, summer on the Oregon Coast.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Food Blog?

It seems like all I blog about is food lately. Hope you don't mind!

Thanks to Tami's inspiration, we combined the fresh, local strawberries with the homemade granola and some vanilla yogurt. It was a breakfast to remember!

The older kids seized the opportunity to work on the baby's sign language skills. I think he's mastered "more, please."

This afternoon, we picked up our first box of produce from The Farm. Everyone was very excited to see what was in it!

Because of the cool, wet Spring, this first box was pretty light. It had two kinds of lettuce, spinach, radishes, bok choy and some organic strawberry preserves.

I wondered how we'd do with the radishes and bok choy.

I need not have worried.

They ate the radishes with joy - even the tops!

And then they discovered the Bok Choi. (Which is apparently some kind of Chinese cabbage.)

I turned my back for a moment and when I looked back, there was this:

Now they're sneaking off with handfuls of lettuce and mouthfuls of spinach when they are supposed to be cleaning up the house.

I guess we won't have too much trouble using up the produce in the boxes this summer! It's all so fresh and tasty. This is truly veggies at their best.

Drop by for a salad, if you're in the neighborhood!

But don't count on getting any bok choi.

It feels like the House of Coast has been invaded by rabbits! Send pork chops, stat!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Taste of Summer

Yesterday, my sweet mother spotted some fresh, local strawberries at the farmers' market downtown. She knows how we treasure them, so she brought us a flat! Whoo-hoo!

The Ducklings have been eating them and I stemmed a bunch and put them in the fridge yesterday. I'm trying to decide whether to make jam. We are almost out of strawberry jam from last year, but these are so yummy, I want to eat them all fresh!

I' m sure I'll end up doing some jam, but this morning, I mashed some and served them over whole wheat pancakes. Since we had some Cool Whip left over from strawberry short cake a few days ago, I even added a dollop to make it extra special.

I think the Ducklings approved. They all wanted their picture taken with their plate of pancakes.

By the way, can you spot the "rookie mistake" in this photo of The Sprout?

Ahhhhh.... Summer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chimichanga Party!

This afternoon, a dream came to fruition. I finally got to use my HUGE new kitchen for a cooking party!

Two dear, beautiful, generous, talented, lovely friends of mine brought their offspring (five boys, one girl, ages 3 to 11) to our home to make a triple batch of chimichangas.

It was great fun!

After the moms got the ingredients prepared, we rallied the 12 children together in the kitchen and began an amazing assembly line that looked something like this:

My sweet friend was right in the middle of it! We moms took on the job of folding all the chimi's as fast as the children would assemble them. Whew!

A good time was had by all...

Some of the children got down right silly.

But the moms remained serious and dignified at all times.

In the end, we had about 140 delicious, tortilla-wrapped packages for the freezer!

Comically, I'd never eaten a chimichanga before today. My two friends, however, love them and I trust completely in their good taste.

After the party was over and the dust had settled, the Ducklings and I baked and ate some chimichagas for dinner. I. am. in. love. with chimichangas! Yum!

Thank you, sweet friends! We need to do this again soon!

Friday, June 6, 2008


I'm scrolling through my blog list and I think,

"Oh, someone else blogged about chores today. I wonder if it was in response to what I wrote today about our chores."

Then I realize that I'm looking at the list of posts for my own blog.



I'm still amazed, a year later, how the addition of a little person to our family and moving to a new house can turn things upside down. It's a good kind of crazy, mostly.

In the past year, one thing that has really slipped through the cracks is housekeeping.

I like that word, it reminds me of those ladies who keep hotel rooms all shiny clean.
In fact, it makes me want to holler for someone from that department.


So, ideally, my crack team of highly skilled Ducklings do a really good job of keeping the house cleaner and tidier than I could possibly do on my own. However, they are NOT spontaneous neat-niks. Which means it falls to me to instruct, remind, cajole, bribe, I mean reward, discipline, schedule, delegate, etc.

I have fallen down on this particular job.

The last two weeks, however, we have made a fresh start. A new chore chart has found its way onto the refrigerator and we are doing a much better job of keeping on top of the mess which is caused by living.

In my "system" the older Ducklings have specific chores to accomplish a couple of times a day. The littles are supposed to assist them, giving the olders an opportunity to learn to delegate and direct. It all works really well, as long as I keep everyone motivated.

The other day I came into the kitchen and saw this:

The Bambino(3) had taken it upon himself to clean the kitchen counter without being asked.

His technique may not have been perfect. And I'm pretty sure the counter was cleaner before he started.

But, these are the rare and precious moments that make all the hard work of training my little people oh-so-worth-it.

Thank you, Lord, for tiny glimmers of hope for the future and incremental progress!

I like to imagine that some day we'll all work together in glorious harmony, with great maturity, both theirs and mine.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Gym (for Tami)

Only because you wanted to know:

I've been visiting here:
for a few weeks now.

As to how I manage to find the time, it really comes down to juggling the need for sleep with the need for exercise.

(Picture me juggling a king sized mattress, a chicken leg, and a barbell.)

I am really only able to exercise first thing in the morning.
I just can't abide the idea of getting ready for the day and then working out and then needing to shower and start all over again.

So, I get up in time to go to the gym and be back before The Scoutmaster has to leave for work.

Ideally, this means leaving the house about 6:30am. Lately, with The Sprout cutting teeth and running a fever, it means leaving the house around 7:30.

The problem with leaving later is that when I get back, everyone is up and ready to rumble. They are starving and busy and need to be directed, supervised, fed, etc. So, sometimes it takes me a while to break away for a shower.

Only (and always) on those days do people randomly knock on my door at 9:30am.

Perhaps, this is a good strategy for getting more folks to drop by for a visit...

I really like a couple of things about this particular "gym."
  • One is that it is open 24/7. I have a pass code that I punch in to the door and I can get in any time.
  • Another is that it is almost always deserted when I go there. I'm not sure how they are staying in business, frankly, but I LOVE it!
  • Also, they have a circuit of resistance machines, which gives a full body workout, with cardio benefits. It only takes a few minutes to do the circuit.
  • They also have an infrared sauna. This is a nice way to sweat while NOT working out. It makes me feel like I worked out when I was too tired to do much. This was especially nice before I discovered:
  • I AM HOOKED on the elliptical machine. About a year ago, I took up running (google: couch potato to 5K running plan.) I really liked it, but after a few weeks my hips started to hurt really badly. So, I had to give it up in order to be able to walk and sleep, which are unavoidably important in my life. The elliptical is like running without impact. I tried one about 15 years ago and hated it. So, I didn't want to try it again. Now, I'm loving it and hopeful that it will help me get my metabolism moving and rebuild some long-lost muscle.

So, there you have it.

Any questions?

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Visit to the Farm

It was a lovely weekend! The weather could have been better on Saturday, but great fun was had by all the Coast Family anyway.

When we lived in the Willamette Valley seven years ago and The Scoutmaster was working at Boy Scout summer camp, I was always on the lookout for fun things to do with my itty-bitty Ducklings. One weekend, I happened upon an announcement in the newspaper. Winter Green Farm was having an open house. So, I loaded up my three little ones - Girlfriend was just a few weeks old - and headed out to visit The Farm.

As it turned out, it was a wonderful afternoon. We went on a hayride tour of the farm and saw cows and chickens and goats and helped make scarecrows. Back then, The Boy Scout(now 11, then 4) and D(now 8, then 1) looked something like this:

Those pictures totally crack me up!

The Farm is a community, cooperative sort of thinggy, technically. Which means, that people can buy a "share" of the crop each year. Ever since that visit, back in 2001, we've wanted to buy a share, but time, money, frequent moves, etc, have always rendered it inconvenient.

This year, we decided to take the plunge! That means, starting June 13, we'll be getting a box of produce from the farm every week through the summer. The box will have an assortment of whatever is ripe that week. The boxes will be delivered to our town so that we can pick them up on Friday afternoons.

As a person who loves the idea of having a farm, or at least a garden, this thrills me! I admit, I am easily thrilled.

Saturday was the annual Spring Potluck at The Farm. So, we loaded up all six of Ducklings and hauled them off to see The Farm.

(I'll have to post some time about the perils of taking this crew to a potluck.)

Again, we took a hayride tour of The Farm and saw where our veggies are growing. We got to run our hands through some lovely compost and visit the new calves. D and the Girls helped paint a mural for The Farm. All in all, it was lovely.



Running around like crazy people:

The hayride:
Nearly two hours later, we left our new very "green" friends (Did I mention it's all organic?) and headed on into the city. To balance all that recycling and the vegan potluck, we had dinner at Chuck E Cheese.

We're nothing if not complex.

Many of the Ducklings fell asleep on the way home. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

(Aunt B: The Sprout is wearing the sweater I made for The Bambino from your famous pattern. I LOVE IT!)