Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rock Island Trail

This weekend we took a family walk on the Rock Island Trail. Thanks to my good friend Stacy, who took me on the trial first, it is one of my favorite trails in COS. The trail follows the old Rock Island railroad spur and the concrete surface is great for strollers and biking. Jeff and I enjoyed the beautiful view of Pikes Peak while the tots enjoyed being carried in the hiking backpacks, pointing at wild flowers and horses (with lots of horsey sounds). At the end of the trail we let the kiddos walk and explore the surrounding area. They had a great time!

Caleb & Carissa - 21 months old

Caleb has a unique swagger. All Boy.Carissa - All Girl.Leap Frog anyone?Exploring nature

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Preserving Summer's Bounty

Every August I look forward to freezing bags of golden goodness. Today I processed 25 pounds of Red Jim nectarines and 35 pounds of tree ripened Palisade peaches totalling 29 quart Ziploc bags. The fragrance of the ripe fruit was sweet and fresh, making my mouth water! First I gathered my supplies and made a functional work area on the kitchen counter. Next I blanched small batches of fruit in boiling water for about 1 minute. After letting each batch slightly cool I removed the skins and cut thin slices into a large bowl of water, sugar or honey, and fruit fresh. As the slices sit in the bowl the natural fruit juices increase the sweetness. In order to preserve the purity of the fruit I prefer to keep the sugar to a minimum. I have found though that some sugar preserves the fruit and helps to keep it plump. When the bowl is brimful I scoop enough fruit to fill the Ziploc freezer bags two thirds full and then do it all over again.
When I open up my freezer and see the frozen bags of fruit it makes me happy! We enjoy the peaches mixed in smoothies, fruit salad, slightly thawed in a bowl, or over yogurt or vanilla ice cream. They are also delicious in a pie or crisp or over cereal or oatmeal. The possibilities are endless.
Freezing peaches has been a family tradition for several generations. I fondly remember helping my mom side by side in the kitchen each summer. She would find the sweetest peaches in town, negotiate a fair price, and a few days later, when they were perfectly ripe, we would process and freeze them together. It was a bonding experience that I hope to pass down to my kids and their kids.
I am truly thankful for the Summer's bounty in all its golden goodness.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Friends 'The Peterson's'

This is Brian and Kim Peterson. Known to our little ones as Uncle Brian & Aunt Kim and known to Jeff and I as 'The Peterson's': good friends - like family that we can depend on for anything, good for parenting advice, ongoing encouragement, a tasty margarita, home cooked meals, free babysitting in a pinch, and a dog named Riley to entertain Caleb and Carissa.
We have known 'The Peterson's' for 3.5 years and Kim was instrumental in hiring Jeff as the Associate Pastor of Covenant as she was chair of the APNC (Associate Pastor Nominating Committee). Sadly (hear me crying right now), Kim and Brian are moving. Brian is still around town while they await the sale of their home. Kim left about 2 weeks ago to help take care of her new grand baby Hannah in D.C. We will miss them dearly but know that friends like 'The Peterson's' are not just for a season but for a lifetime. We love you Kim and Brian!

This is the kids playing outside at 'The Peterson's' with Riley. Caleb likes to go after Riley and say 'ummmmm BALL' so he can get the ball and throw it again and again. Technically Riley is Kim and Brian's grand dog. Beth, their oldest child, and my friend, is Riley's mama who is currently living with her husband in Kazakhstan. We miss you Beth!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rain, Trains, Automobiles and...Baseball

We celebrated Jeff's dad's birthday at a Rockies vs Padres baseball game at Coors Field. Jeff and I drove about an hour north of the Springs and took the light rail to downtown Denver. We walked around the 16th street Mall and then met Jack and Lennyce for the baseball game. Unfortunately, 15 minutes into the game we experienced a torrential downpour. Luckily we had umbrella's but after the crowd dispersed we took cover until the storm passed.
A huge tarp was laid down to protect the field from the rain.
An hour later the game resumed. The weather turned beautiful and the Rockies won!
After the game we boarded the crowded light rail. Standing room only and several delays it was a long ride back to our car. We arrived home at 1am completely exhausted.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Splish Splash

On Friday nights during the Summer a nearby Theatre Pavilion hosts free outdoor concerts. We have enjoyed the music and community atmosphere. The fountain is a big hit for youngsters. This past week we put the tots in their swimming suits. As you can see they had a ball!