PLUM PICKING

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We came home from Texas and our plum trees were loaded. This is not an every year occurrence. I have no idea what the perfect weather scenario is that makes for a great stone fruit season, but it seems every few years we get a really good crop. Last year was so-so. Now we have four varieties and they are all so sweet and juicy. Nature’s candy.

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South Padre Island, Texas

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We spent several weeks in Texas this July, most of it at my parent’s beach house on South Padre Island. We passed most of the days playing at the beach, fishing, eating homemade ice cream, and counting heads in the pool and the ocean. We had the best time! The days were long, but, sadly, the weeks flew by. We were all very long-faced when we got on the plane to come home. I wish I had time to write more, but I struggle with completing  these long posts. I’m just so thankful I was able to spend time with my siblings and their incredible families. My parents put so much work into helping us all make lasting memories and I know we all came away with an even deeper love for one another. Can’t wait for the next time we get together!

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RASPBERRY PICKING

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The raspberries this year are amazing. With our first batch of strawberries, we always make strawberry shortcake. With our first batch of raspberries, we make raspberry dark chocolate muffins. I asked the kids to run down and pick some berries so I could make the muffins. About fifteen minutes later I noticed only Evan was gone. I walked down to the patch and saw him with his little blankie and bedhead doing his best to pick the berries for the breakfast. He loves his muffins!

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All that hard work was worth it!

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We’ve had an amazing harvest of berries this year and keep telling our friends to come pick. Luckily we’ve had a few take us up on this offer. I hate to see the berries go to waste!

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Nina’s dance recital went well! She and Micah’s ballet piece was so sweet.

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NINA BALLERINA

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Ballet wraps for the summer this week, but not before pictures, rehearsal, and recital. I had to do two things I’m really bad at yesterday…put on stage make-up and make a photo worthy ballet bun. We did okay and I wrangled her into posing for a few unprofessional photos for mom before she headed to the dance studio for the real thing.

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FATHER’S DAY 2014

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Father’s Day. Holidays that fall on Sunday are usually pretty simple for us. We attend church and then celebrate with a meal together. The kids presented their gifts and cards to Zig and I tried to make him the healthiest “Zig meal” I could think of. We had Spice-rubbed Copper River Salmon, a Mediterranean quinoa salad, this amazingly simple but delicious carrot salad (took me 30+minutes to grate the tiny carrots with my mandoline but so worth it), roasted asparagus with a drizzle of lemon, homemade strawberry ice cream and a strawberry rhubarb crisp…the fifth one I’ve made in the past few weeks! Why can’t I find a bathing suit I like? Hmmmm….

Our friends, Renatha and Mike, and their kids brought even more deliciousness. Roasted Cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes. Yum! We probably had 20 servings of vegetables before we were done and Zig and Mike went back for seconds and maybe even thirds. A successful Father’s Day indeed.

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I tried to get a quick picture of these guys as we were rushing to church. Kona really, really wanted to be part of this family picture! He is Zig’s fifth child. Look at all that love and adoration in Kona’s eyes!

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Move over Evan, he loves me more!

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Ah, yes, my rightful place front and center.

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Salade de carottes râpées

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I added shaved zucchini to this salad as well as the usual cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and peppers (Zig is not a huge olive fan so even though it was hard for me, I left them out this one time). Who says marriage doesn’t require sacrifice?!

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My little sous chef hacking away at the strawberries.

DSC_4024  I wish it weren’t so easy to make homemade ice cream. That’s all I’m saying.

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We were going to all cram together but in the end the adults opted for eating in peace in the the dining room. But here are the kids who made fatherhood a reality for Zig (we claim four of them at least). Happy Father’s Day, Zig! We love you!

WILDERNESS AWARENESS

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Last weekend we went to the Wilderness Awareness End of Year Celebration/Graduation. The evening started with a couple hundred of us gathering in a circle to sing, connect and share a message of thanksgiving before we enjoyed an incredible potluck and an evening of entertainment and acknowledgement of students and leaders and all the adventures and good times they shared throughout the year.

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Foxes take the stage.
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Fire Challenge participants stepping forward.

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There’s Rollin! I hardly saw him all night. He was busy running around with his little pack of buddies.

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Some of Nina’s friends from the year.

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Kate and Nina with the beloved Annika.

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Kate and Nina giving Annika gifts they made. Nina drew foxes and framed them and we gave them glass blown mushrooms for their gardens.

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At the end of the evening there was a ceremony at the water’s edge. Some of us watched from the bridge above. Nina had some serious static happening!

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Lots of drumming and this time the kids joined in.

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Sela and Brynn, the older sisters, came along to show support and see what Wilderness School was all about.

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There is an incredible feeling of love and joy  and unity within this group. This is the full-time staff. Along with them,  there are many apprentices or “anakes”  and they were all outstanding. It takes so many people putting their hearts into their work to make these programs a success and we are so grateful for those who have shared their time, talents, knowledge and love of the outdoors with our children this year.