Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Kitchen

Our kitchen in Idaho is the nicest kitchen I've ever had. It's been great having ample storage and plenty of work surfaces!

But it's not very photogenic.  Oh well! Come on in and pull up a chair. I'll probably fix you something fresh, summery and vegetarian.

I don't know if you remember our dining area in our last house, but it was seriously tiny! The table was pushed up against the wall and we were crowded. Here there is plenty of room for all of us and we could easily add another leaf.

My Grandma's Desert Rose dishes haven't been unpacked for over three years--probably four! These built-in displays are nice, but I would prefer a free-standing hutch. There are three of these sections on the wall behind the table.

The kitchen is U-shaped with another wall for the sink, oven and dishwasher. It was custom-built by our landlord and his father-in-law who originally lived in the house.

Another built-in display area near the dining table.

Before we rented this house, I was so excited about all the counter space! I love it! Even when things aren't neat and tidy, there's still room to get a meal ready.

I was also looking forward to having a dishwasher. Sadly, it leaves my dishes pretty awful looking. Not so much food stuck on, but residue. We cleaned the machine so many times, used several different kinds of soap, tried baking soda and and other ideas... Back to hand washing for me.

Beside the sink is the oven, then beside the oven is the back door and this little entry area. It would be a great mudroom, but if you can tell in the photo of the sink above, there's a mudroom out back. It's kind of a weird wrap-around enclosed walkway with lots of storage... So, this is my sewing corner!

My vintage heirloom sewing machine is in need of a tune-up.

Beside the sewing table is a laundry room/bathroom. Not sure if you'll ever see it here on the blog; it's functional and clean but just not that pretty. All homes have places like that, right?

Now we're heading back into the kitchen from the sewing corner. Oh look, there's the fridge!

At the back of the U is the stovetop. It's gas! Yay!

As a little perspective, that black thing sticking up beyond the counter is Gary's chair. That helps you understand the kitchen and living room layout.

And from the chair in the living room looking into the kitchen.

That completes the tour of our Idaho rental kitchen. Thanks for the visit!

Friday, August 28, 2015

School Days

I'm an educator. An elementary school teacher. I have a Master's Degree in Education and seven years of experience in the classroom. I love learning and helping others learn.

As a mom, I became committed to homeschooling. There were several reasons to support our choice then, and great things can be said about homeschooling families. In fact, I am still homeschooling our middle son, but this year our oldest is going to school!

Gary pastors a church here in Northern Idaho that has a school. There is one teacher/principal and 10 students. With a new baby on the way and a church school available, we decided that our very social first born should enroll.

Jonathan is a social boy, always talking to people, always thinking of new games and directing others to play by his rules. (His brothers call this "bossy".) At the same time, Jonathan loves structure. I knew he would like recess and being around other kids, but I didn't know how he'd react to sitting in a desk and working all day!

Well, we're at the end of the first week of school and Jonathan "loves it more than anything!" He said he loves school more than going to the lake. He has a friend who is also talkative and Jonathan complains that I pick him up too early (on time) and he doesn't have time to talk to his friend after school! Jonathan loves recess, as expected, but also likes using the computer and says he's the fastest runner in the whole school!

And the rest of us at home? We like the structure that school puts on our day. The younger boys like playing without their bossy big brother, yet they're excited to go pick him up in the afternoon too.

I know it's only been a week and nothing is hard yet. But it's a huge relief to know Jonathan likes school and is motivated to be there.

How is school going for your kids?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

6 Vegetarian Recipes We Love

Whenever I come across recipes that the whole family likes, I try to keep track of them. I recently started a new Pinterest board called Repeat Recipes so I can remember which ones we liked! I thought I'd share a few of our newest favorites here too.

Are you on the spiralizer bandwagon? I just got a small one and it's ok. I should have saved up and gotten something bigger, but oh well!

I loved this Sweet & Sour Cucumber Salad by Peas & Crayons. Very fresh and light.

Again with the spiralizer, I love zucchini noodles with pesto! I saute the noodles because I prefer the flavor, and usually I skip roasting the tomatoes and just make a bruschetta-like topping with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and balsamic vinegar. Yum! Credit for the photo and recipe idea go to A House in the Hills.

I adore curry. I cook curry frequently. But this Pioneer Woman recipe for Chickpea Curry is seriously my favorite curry ever. My kids loved it and leftovers (I made a double batch) were even better. Super easy and really good!

Don't you just adore summer produce? We moved this summer and weren't able to put in a garden, but church members have given us lots of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. This Eggplant Caprese Salad from BHG is a great way to get a light meal and use up some of that produce!

Here's my other go-to recipe when we have lots of fresh produce! Ratatouille! I'll make a big batch of this to put with pasta as a potluck dish. It's fresh, healthy and inexpensive.

No one can fool me into thinking spaghetti squash=pasta. But it's a healthier alternative for when you're watching your carbs, and this Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein is a great meal.

There you go, six vegetarian summer dishes that are heavy on the veggies! Except the curry. That's just heavy on the deliciousness and you need to try it ASAP! Just eat a big cucumber salad for lunch and you'll be fine. What are some of your favorite meals lately?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bonner Lake

When I was a little girl my family moved a lot. New places meant new weather to experience, and it seemed as though we were always hearing about how "unusual" the weather was in our new location. The heat in Central California, the snow that stayed on the ground for weeks in Maryland, the late fall snow storm in Kansas. All were so "unusual".

Well, since moving to northern Idaho this summer we have had that term used quite frequently! It's unusually hot for this time of year. We're unusually dry. This heat isn't typical. It's not usually like this.


Our favorite escape on an unusually hot afternoon is the lake. Our favorite is Bonner Lake, just twelve miles from our house. It's quiet, small, warm and we are sometimes the only ones there, even in the summer!

Bonner Lake is quite small. We've rowed across it in less than an hour in a big raft with one paddle while fishing and taking in the scenery.

There is a boat dock for public use and several private docks around the lake. We're pretty sure an osprey has a nest in a tree on the far side of the lake.

We've loaded the boys up with floaties, rafts, goggles and snorkels and we can spend several hours out there with no one getting bored or too cold.

My favorite place to be is in the raft, either with Gary and the kids exploring the middle of the lake or soaking up the sun near the boat dock while the boys play and Gary fishes.

Gary likes to paddle his kayak out to the far end of the lake where the water is deeper and fish.

It's not a bad way to escape the unusual heat! We're grateful for beautiful, quiet, free places to be in nature while we swim, relax, fish and play.

 Have a great day!


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