Friday, September 30, 2011

Primal Bruschetta

My family loves bruschetta.  No, really, they love it.  This is the recipe I've used for years.  Unfortunately, putting it over pasta is no longer an option for a grain-free family.  That didn't stop us, however.  Bruschetta is already primal!  As long as you're sourcing good vegetables, you are good to go.

I just used bigger chunks of zucchini and bigger pieces of meat thank I used for my Capellini Pomodoro and our Bruschetta became a meal!  I didn't change my basic recipe...I even had tomatoes and zucchini from our own garden to make it that much better--I don't think you can get any more local than that...SRSLY.

As you can see, it became more of a stew than anything else.  It was amazing.

I even went hog-wild and topped mine with parmesan cheese. 

Erin's Bruschetta
Inspired by the Capellini Pomodoro @ Hotel Figueroa

8 tomatoes - chopped
2 small zucchinin -chopped
1 small onion - diced
2 tsp. ground basil
1 clove of garlic - minced
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
I won't lie to you.  Going primal has taken some adjusting.  Pasta-based meals were a mainstay in our family.  We are constantly redefining meals...tweaking here and there.  Still, the pay-off has been well-worth the hassle.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Remember This? (A summer project!)

Just a few months ago, we were dealing with a flooded basement...9 feet in to be exact.  You can read about it here.

...that brought in mud...

...and ruined carpet.

Now look at it:

Superman was tickled to come home on leave last month and discover that we'd tricked him and the room was done!

Doesn't it look comfortable?   We still can use the treadmill, too.   A far cry from last spring, that's for sure.

The door was the start of it all.  I was just sure that adding a door with a window for some natural light would make this basement room perfect.  I think I was right!  Even better?  With a tile floor, I don't have to worry so much about flooding destroying the room (it is a basement, after all!). 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick Sewing Post

Finally got some new bedding...ours was old and tired.  I really love my new duvet cover and shams, but...

...the fabric was so slick that the pocket closures on the back of the shams weren't staying shut and the pillows kept sliding out.  It doesn't help that Beans is always sitting on them in her "Queen of the World" pose (with her monkey...story for a different post).

So, I uncovered my sewing machine and got to work. Some sew on velcro and ten minutes later, my pillow shams are staying shut and I'm even more thrilled with my new bedding.  Something so simple and easy can make such a difference.  This will work on any pillow with pocket closures.

Just lay out the pillow sham right sides out.  Figure out where the closure should meet if straight (ie., not pulling). Pin one piece of velcro.

Then pin the other on the opposite side of the closure. Double check they line up properly.

Sew each strip on.  Remove your pins and close it up.  That's it.  You're done. 

Now your pillows will stay closed and there is just a little box of stitching to show for it.  A little less frustration in your day...easy peasy.

Woot!  The "queen" seems pleased, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Look out, World!

Look who's got his Learner's Permit!

Right after he passed the test - don't you love those "fake smile" smiles that teenagers do so well?

Behind the wheel!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Got out my sewing machine...

This time of year brings me inside...I turn from the yard and outside activities to the home and inside activities.  It seems like an annual rite that my sewing machine comes out this time of year.  I greet it like an old friend and get to work.

This year, I combined my sewing machine with a painter's tarp from Lowes, some quilting fabric, and the Silhouette machine that Superman surprised me with last Mother's Day and in less than an hour, had a new fall decoration. 

Did you know you can use your Silhouette machine to cut fabric?  Neither did I, but, Boy Howdy!, does it make little sewing projects go just that much faster.  All you do is attach your fabric to Wonder Under, stick it on the cutting mat, put in the pink blade, adjust your settings to slow and thick (I think mine were 3 and 33, respectively), and hit "cut".  The machine does the rest.  I ended up trimming so threads that didn't quite make the cut (get it?  "make the cut"...I crack myself up!), but other than that, the letters were done in about three minutes.  Woot!

After that, I took the fabric triangles I'd cut from my painters tarp, ironed the letters to each triangle, zig zagged them on and they were done.   Then I decided to add a little more flair and sewed a decorative stitch on the border. 

I attached all the triangles to a bias tape and frayed the edges of each one. 

Ta Da!  A little fall sewing in less than an hour!

 Didn't it turn out well?  I really like it.  I think I'm going to make some pillows next.  I have plenty of fabric left and I they'll be just the thing!

 (If you haven't discovered painter's tarps, I urge you to give them a try. They are an inexpensive way to get a casual looking fabric and are really versatile.  I think I paid $5 the tarp I got and have made two buntings out of it and have plenty left to make two pillows.  You just can't beat that.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer Vacation - Part IIIb - Love, Laughter, Tears, and Good-byes

If you've been following along, the last chapter of our summer vacation adventure was as much fun as the first...if you've been following along, you know that when I left you, I was desperate for my own bed after camping and an overnight at our local theme park.
What We Did During Our Summer Vacation - Part IIIb
by The Nagle5

We left the theme park/water park and brought our little trailer back home.  Superman was relieved to be able to wash the trailer after this camping trip (the poor man was appalled that I hadn't washed it down after our first trip).  There was no rest for the weary, though, as I dragged poor Superman with me to our new Crossfit gym so he could get a feel for what we'd all been doing for the previous three months (more on that in another post!).  Finally, it was bedtime...oh, how we love our SleepNumber bed!

(Superman & Me!)

The next day we welcomed Superman's sister, Steel Magnolia, and her friend, Trigger,  to Eastern Washington.  The Steel Magnolia has been through so much in the past few years and has just stayed strong through it all.  We hadn't seen her in six years (although Superman saw her a few years ago on a business trip back to So Cal) and we'd never met Trigger. 

(Magnolia & Trigger)

Their visit was amazing fun.  Magnolia and Superman had a terrific time catching up on old time and Trigger fit right in with the Nagle5 posse.  He even nick-named one of the neighbor kids so effectively that the tag has stuck (poor kid!).

(Superman and Magnolia - explaining to the man on the upper deck
just how it was the Superman had two women he was posing with--
apparently it looked funny to watch him pose with each of us.)

In addition to same Game Night fun, the adults spent an evening on Lake Coeur d'Alene.  Mother Nature joined in on the show and gave our So Cal visitors a beautiful lightning show.  It was so good to see Superman and Magnolia together...laughter and love filled the visit.

(Superman & Magnolia--don't they look cute?)

All too soon, though, their visit was over and they headed back to So Cal.  We hope they'll be frequent visitors, however, there was a lot we didn't have time to do this time around.

Before we knew it, Superman's leave was over and he headed back to work right before Labor Day.  More love, more laughter, more tears, and another good-bye. 

(Sunset on Lake Coeur d'Alene)

Farewell to Summer ...another wonderful summer comes to a close.  What we did during our summer vacation...thanks for reading along as I revisit our summer.

Still, Superman will be home again in 93 days...just in time for Christmas.  And, in the meantime, we're keeping Skype busy.

As always, time sure flies...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer Vacation - Part III - Tears, Hugs, Mud, and Screams

One month after we returned from our Boston trip (definitely a study in extremes as Clark pointed out), we greeted Superman at the airport for the start of his long-awaited leave and our summertime adventures continued...

What We Did During Our Summer Vacation - Part IIIa
by the Nagle5

Superman arrived at our little international airport on August 19...he was greeted by enough tears and hugs that the normally stoic/impersonal security person leaned over and gave me a kleenex.  To say we missed him would be an understatement.   I think we just about melted him with our tears of happiness.  To say he was surprised by Valiant standing next to him at a full 6'2" would also be an understatement.  He stands eye-to-eye with both our sons these days and that is just so strange.

Anyway, Superman carefully timed his leave so that he could, jet lag and all, participate with the Nagle5 in The Dirty Dash the next day.  Bright and early Friday morning, we got into our cars (even Charming headed out of his place to join us) and headed over to the race location.  It was crazy.  Our heat began at 9:00 a.m. and what followed was 6.2 miles of mud, dirt, hay, and water.  We ran through mud pits.  We ran through dirt. 

 (Superman, Valiant and Me,
trying to finish together...
harder than it looks!)

We jumped over hay bales and walls.  We ran through the river and walked across beams.  We even slid down a giant slide. 

(Buttercup and Charming coming off the slide...
the fire hoses the race people aimed at them did wonders!)

Good "clean" fun for the entire family.  We can hardly wait to do it again next year!

PS.  Yes, we ARE insane!
Still, Superman said it helped him beat his jet lag, so he said we need to figure out something exhausting to do for the first day of his next leave.   What? Braving the malls at Christmas isn't exhausting enough?

The next day, we hooked up the trailer and headed to our favorite campground with our friends. 

(In the meantime, our beloved Charming showered a few more times (the mud was everywhere!) and headed off to work for the week...such is the life of a new hire!)

While Charming worked in the salt mines, we played in the water,

(Valiant is giving his dad
 a lift out of the water!)

the "men" played a mean game of Risk,

and we pretty much messed around for four days. 

But we didn't stop there...oh, no.  We all hooked up the trailers once more and headed to Silverwood, the Pacific Northwest's own little theme park.   Disneyland it is not, but it is definitely a fun place to play.  Superman and the kids did roller coasters...don't they look like they're glad they didn't puke on Panic Plunge? 

Me?  I relaxed at Boulder Beach...Superman did a little of that, too. 

(Aren't we cute?  I am still sporting that farmer's
 tan from whale watching in Boston!)

Okay, I did like the log ride and the bumper boats.  Can you tell?  I was drenched!

Finally, it was time to head had been fun, but I was ready to sleep in my own bed.  Besides, we missed Charming!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Vacation - Part II - Whales, the Mayflower, Food Poisoning, and Fireflies

What We Did During Our Summer Vacation - Part II
by the Nagle5

Ten days after we got back from our first camping trip of the season, Valiant, Buttercup and I headed for Boston.  Flying used to be a lot more fun, didn't it?  The TSA and Homeland Security have taken all the fun out of arrivals and departures.  No friendly faces waiting for you as you disembark from the plane at your destination and no happy visiting at the airport before you fly off into the wild blue yonder. 

We arrived in Boston and headed over to my sister's house for dinner.  We were so didn't occur to any of us to take pictures.  Still, when we got back to our hotel, I went into the restroom to wash my face and came out to this.  Yes, flying was exhausting.

The next day we went whale watching to celebrate said sister's birthday.  It was so nice to be at the beach again!  I so miss the beach...I didn't care that it was the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Pacific was so beautiful. 

We lucked out and actually saw a mother/baby duo of humpback whales.  It was so cool.

I don't have the group picture of all of us (my sister has to scan it in for me--hint, hint), but here are the kids.  Aren't they delightfully windswept?

Here is a replica of the Mayflower.  Look how small it is!  Can you imagine how brave the first colonists had to be to set out in that?

Finally, I thought you'd like a view of the quintessential New England coastline.  Look at Cape Cod with the spired buildings.  Isn't it something?

After the whale-watching outing, we had a little birthday celebration for my sister.  She was such a trooper...that sunburn had to have been terribly uncomfortable!

Right after she blew out her candles, Valiant started vomitting and food-poisoning was the phrase for the trip.  By that night, the three of us were taking turn vomitting (etc.) in the hotel bathroom.  It was horrible.  I really can't remember a time when I was sicker, actually.   Not many more pictures after everyone spends three days sick as dogs!  Still, we hadn't come all this way to sit in a hotel room.  We hit the road to see the family we'd come to see.  No, we didn't have personalities, but still, the kids got to meet their East Coast relatives.

We made the trip to the cousin's house and saw the amazing treehouse their dad built in their backyard.   It was amazing.
The next day we headed out to Connecticut to meet my little niece.  Isn't she adorable?    She'll be two next month and is definitely the apple of her daddy's eye (just the way it should be!).

 The kids got to see fireflies while we were there.  (I don't think they really believed fireflies existed, so Buttercup actually shot a movie of them for Superman.)  Thank me now for not posting the video!  There was also a bunny in their backyard.  Buttercup was enchanted!

The next day, we hit the Museum of Science in Boston...the electricity show was so cool!

Saw a toad in the hotel parking lot that night.  And shooed it out of the parking lot and into the bushes before we could head up to our room.

And played in the trunk of our rental car.  It was quite and impressive trunk.  Valiant is 6'2" and Buttercup is 5'3" and they seem to have plenty of room.

Then we flew home...and began anticipating Superman's leave the following month. 

P.S.  Did I mention that none of us gained weight during this trip?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remember those end-of-summer essays...

...the teachers seemed to love to assign the first day back to school? "What I Did During My Summer Vacation" Do you remember how you couldn't think of anything exciting that you'd done? How you'd spent that past three weeks desperately waiting for school to begin so you could wear your new school clothes? Use your new lunch box? See the friends you hadn't seen since school let out in June?

Well, as in days past, I, too, was ready for summer to end. Like the blogger at The Intertidal Years, I always feel like the new school year is the start of The New Year.  Still, reflecting on our Summer Vacation is putting a smile on my face, so I thought I'd write my own "What I Did During My Summer Vacation" essay...after all, I like feeling a smile come to my face as I remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Who doesn't?

What I Did During My Summer Vacation - Part One
by The Nagle5

During our summer vacation, we went camping.  Twice.  Both camping trips were fun, but they were quite different.

During our first trip in June, we went without Superman, which was weird for us all.  Still, we managed to keep it interesting.  Valiant did an amazing job helping me set up our trailer.  We learned new things, too.  For example, did you know that you can use Crazy Glue in lieu of stitches if need be?  Yeah, I didn't either.  However, when you combine a 15-year old boy, a pocket knife, bad habits, and a little time, you have the perfect storm.  Yep, Valiant sliced right up the back of his ankle, narrowly missing the Achilles tendon. 

So, we laid him out on a covered picnic table, held the slice together until the crazy glue good set and reinforced with butterfly bandages. 

Kept it wrapped in an ace bandage for the remainder of the trip and he was good to go, albeit slowly and carefully. 

Did I mention that I took the knives away for the remainder of the trip.  I can only deal with so much, you know?

 The rest of the trip was uneventful.  The weather was beautiful.  Look at the sky as we headed out for this trip.  Wasn't it gorgeous?

We had some stowaways who were full of high spirits.  They were found hiding in the trailer microwave.

Then I saw some of them in the tree.

The group of them tried to steal a bike.

They kept insisting that Buttercup had invited them, be she denied knowing any of them.  I have my doubts, especially as I found her sharing her bed with them! 

Still, their pranks were harmless and they really didn't eat much.  It was all good.

We had some visitors.  This squirrel was sure we were holding out on him.

This butterfly just came by to share her beauty.  We were grateful.

We made the kids do chores, too.  Here are the boys (Valiant and Two-Bit) doing their share of the dishes. 

Oh, and we saw a giraffe. ;)

There you have it..."What I Did During My Summer Vacation - Part I"