Saturday, August 29, 2009

The BBQ Battle

This past Thursday, the Carolines Coffee Crew participated in a BBQ battle or "fight," as Jack dubbed it. The kiddos were excited all day and kept talking about "that fight that Dad is going to win!" The event was a fundraiser for a local non-profit and we had been invited to participate. We went into the event looking to have fun and did we ever!
The Competitors:
The Chef and his Mini-Me...

The Stud and his HOT Babes

The Cheering Squad /Babysitting Crew

The Idea Man and the Princess
As you can see, this was a definitely a family affair. We grilled tri-tip and served it over soda-jerk beans (the inspiration of Mr. Will Fike). People loved the beans AND the tri-tip, because, honestly, who makes the best tri-tip in the whole world?? As Trace said later, we cheated and manipulated our way to the top. Cheating because the rules said we were supposed to be serving only meat, but we had beans as well. The manipulation part came in the form of the hot babes: Trace and Andrew were in charge of the meat and Holly and I served it up with a smile. (They even made me wear red lipstick-this being all part of Trace's plan.) We were certainly the friendliest booth out there. (Maybe the gin and tonics helped?)
This may come as no surprise to those of you reading this, but we did win. To quote Jack, "We won! That means everybody else lost!" (and no, this wasn't spoken with empathy but with perfect glee.)
We even got medals enscribed with 2009 BBQ Champions!
Oh, yes and did I forget to mention that there was a live band? Because this was surely one of Caroline's favorite parts. I never knew she could tap-dance but apparently she can. Hopefully you enjoy this little video:
All in all it was a very successful and fun event.
Post Script:
Many thanks to Mike and Ellen who made pom-poms (including a purple one for Caroline), cheered us on, and volunteered to entertain the kids. They went to the park, danced, and by the end of the night both kids were wound up by all the excitement and super sleepy.
-Created by Becky Miller, my first blog post.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

Caroline was awfully quiet a few minutes ago while I was working on the schedule at the kitchen counter, so I turned around to check on her. There she was, sound asleep in our big leather chair, all curled up cute as could be with her bunny.
In other news, not much has been going on around here lately. Both kids have been sick, and we've rearranged all the dressers so that Andrew's went to Will, and Will's went to Jack and Caroline. We've recuperated from the busy-ness of fair week, and Will has gone back to school. Further updates as events warrant.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day At The Fair In Photos

Blackberry Jam!

Well we did it: we made jam. We ate a lot of the first batch we picked, so we stopped by Sunsmile Farms on Friday and did their u-pick thornless blackberries. The kids were able to pick more that way! Then we mixed in our wild blackberries (which still taste sweeter, if thornier), and away we went. I've never canned before, except helping and observing my mom and Ginya when I was little, so this was new to me. The making of the jam itself was simple: we let the berries macerate with sugar and fresh lemon juice for a couple of hours, and then boiled it over low heat until it gelled (which took at least four times longer than the eighteen minutes the recipe said, and maybe even longer--I wasn't watching the clock exactly). The canning part came next, and that was a mystery to me, so I was going slowly and reading the directions very carefully.
We had a bit of leftover jam on vanilla ice cream last night, and it was delicious, and then this morning we opened our first jar and had it on bread for a quick breakfast before heading out to the Nevada County Fair. Yum! It was nice and thick and perfectly gelled, so I think it worked. The kids and I had lots of fun, and it was a great way to slow down our busy fair week.
This first picture is of the berries sitting in the sugar and lemon juice. Don't you just want to eat them now? The next picture is of the finished product, cooling on the counter. Then we finish with a picture of a sleepy looking Jack slowly munching on his bread with jam.I thought I got a better picture of him, but this is all I could find when I uploaded the photos this evening, so sleepy picture it is. This was definitely a cooking experiment worth repeating!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Archery and Blackberry Picking

Today we went out to the chapel at the fairgrounds and cleaned (or mostly Trace did--he's one hard worker!), and prior to that we made bows and arrows, and picked blackberries with Becky and Tracie.
I think I just listed all of that in reverse order. Let's try again: so the kids and I got up this morning, had leftover homemade pizza for breakfast, and then checked in with Aunt Becky, who was going to meet Mike, our friend, and deliveryman extraordinaire, after his archery tournament. I tried to explain to Jackson and Caroline what archery was, only to end up on YouTube, looking up videos of longbows so that Jack would understand.
In the meantime Trace got home from working his coffees, and he and I made bows and arrows for both kids. They loved them, although it was more complicated to their minds than I would have expected. Then the kids and I went to meet Becky and Tracie and pick blackberries, the wild kind, while Trace headed out to the fairgrounds to clean up before the fair starts on Wednesday (which is like running a third store for us, and always a little crazy, but also lots of fun, both for the kids and for Trace and I. There are lots of animals, which is the best part for the kids, and all the other county exhibits, especially the photography, the art, and the quilts, are my favorites. We're looking forward to it. At least I am, but maybe not Trace, who opens the coffee shop at 6 every morning and closes the fair at 11 or midnight every night for five days). It's a busy week. We're also finishing Jackson's swim lessons this week, so that should be another dimension of the busy-ness.
Back to today, here are three photos of our morning archery:

Caroline and Jackson. Trace demonstrating. Jackson trying to figure out how to do it himself.

Jack berry-picking. It was serious work. Jack and Tracie taking a break in the shade.
Caroline and Becky checking out a tree that was just Caroline's size. Caroline is giving her "camera smile," which she saves for those who say: "smile!"Caroline with all the berries that Becky and Tracie picked. Caroline's bucket, on the other hand, reminded me of the book "Blueberries for Sal," where the bucket is perpetually empty since the little girl keeps eating them. Hers is the empty easter basket in the background, while the other two bowls (both overflowing) are Becky's and Tracie's. Becky is going to make jam with her berries, so Jack is convinced that we should do the same thing, although we don't have nearly as many berries, since so many got eaten! I'm considering jam tomorrow, and I have a simple recipe (not even any pectin: I mean really simple), but we also have work, swim lessons, and Monday Night Dinner going on tomorrow, so we'll see if it actually happens or if we just eat all our berries. Either way, I know it will be delicious. Don't you just love summer food?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Water Video

I took this video a few weeks ago, but I never got around to posting it. I just re-watched it and laughed aloud, so I thought I'd share. I was inside washing dishes when all this began, so here's the story as I got it from Trace, who was outside. Jack went to get something out of his kiddie pool (which is currently full of water and dirt, just the way they like it), and fell in. Trace said he could keep playing, since he was already wet. Apparently Trace encouraged Caroline to go in. They were having a lot of fun, fully clothed, in their pool. The evening ended with a bath, of course, and two happy kiddos. Enjoy!

I also took a few pictures of the two of them playing. The last picture is of Jack before he came in for his bath. I'm not sure exactly how his face got so dirty, but I think he looked like a raccoon, albeit a tired one!

Saturday Doings

A picnic on the front lawn for lunch today, just to get out of the house on a perfect day and use up all the leftovers filling up the fridge. I love cool summer days.
Cowboy Jack tried on Will's new hat. Too cute. After this we had a dump run, and then came home and made homemade pizza. That was about the end of the day. Lots of relaxing fun was had by all.