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This blog chronicles the adventures I share with my husband, daughter and son. It is also a place to share what I am learning as a homemaker, gardener, book lover and homeschooling mother. Welcome.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

the rescued one

The Quince will always be known to us 
as the bush we rescued from the chain link fence
and incorrectly identified as a wild rose.
She provides some of our earliest spring blooms
and one of the prettiest in our yard ~
delicate, pink, unassuming.
Thankful for the beauty today
as snow is in the forecast for the next two days!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

7 of 40: mcadoo trail system

I think Ella is the only one looking in the "right" place for this picture!

This weekend found us with a few extra hours, so we drove a good hour east back to Knob Noster State Park. We first hiked at this state park last December. Although overcast it was a warm hike with temperatures in the 50's. The trees are still bare, but the undergrowth of brambles and bushes are beginning to leaf out, so the blanket of green in our line of sight is pretty as we hike. 

This trail is called the McAdoo Trail System because it is designed for horses AND hikers. We did see evidence of horses, but not so much that we had to side step the entire hike. It was a solitary hike as we were the only ones on the trail, that we could see, this day. I like this state park because it is so far from the city, however this trail head is located near a main road, so the beginning and ending of the hike included traffic noise, not a favorite of ours! 

What we did like about this hike was that it was a workout. Steep inclines throughout made our muscles burn, but that is an okay thing for this aging lady! I also know that hikes such as this are healthy for the children and build their confidence and endurance. Online the map is marked at 7 miles, the on site signage says 6.5 miles, and we tracked our hike to be 4.5 miles. 

It's good to be flexible with these trail details because they aren't always what they seem. Another plus to our time in the woods was seeing multiple white-tailed deer. Since the trees are still leafless and the views are sweeping we can see for long distances at this park which lends us to seeing the deer, which is fun for us. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

first blooms

The Magnolia tree - "Saucer" - looks magnificent and since she is showcasing the first blooms of the year she gets many photos taken of her and her own post! Not only is she first to bloom, but she resides just outside the kitchen window so I get to enjoy the beauty all day long and as a bonus, the scent of her blooms is amazing.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

6 of 40: Tcha-To-Ga trail

Hike six of (hopefully) forty this year found the children and I on a weekday afternoon at the Tcha-To-Ga trail that we seem to now frequent. What is significant about this hike is that I took the children on my own without Jesse. In such (to me) remote locations I don't feel the safest on my own. I have led the children on the woodland trails at the Overland Park Arboretum, but since they are attached to the main gardens it doesn't seem remote. I have been thinking about leading the children alone for awhile, and Jesse was always an encouragement feeling that it was a safe location and said to take the dog since they deter both people and animals (which we saw neither of today). 

Our spring-like temperatures and bright sunshine today was too much to resist. Late morning after most of our book work was done I decided that a walk in the woods after lunch was just the ticket. The hike was different without Jesse, which means all the responsibility fell to me and we didn't have our human compass and nature guide with us! Thankfully, I didn't take one wrong turn on the trail, we made good time, hiking the 2.3 miles in just over an hour, and I really enjoyed leading while having Arwen with me. We attempted a selfie with her, but that didn't turn out viewable! This gives me the confidence to do more hikes on my own with the children, but I'm sure it will always be with the dog and at a location that we've frequently hiked with Jesse so that I'm familiar with the layout and can lead with confidence.

I didn't have the ability to take many photos today, but posts with more details of this trail can be found here and here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

carrot soup

Our squash harvest wasn't overly abundant this year, so I've been missing the soup I regularly make in the winter with that vegetable. It came to mind last month that a friend mentioned how much she enjoyed carrot soup, which is similar in texture to squash soup. I looked up a recipe, which I now can't find the link to, but listed below is the basic recipe (it's easy to memorize).
Since we have a large stash of tomatoes and carrots in the freezer, this has been a convenient lunch to prepare for me and the children.

Saute chopped onion in olive oil.
Add 2 C. crushed tomatoes with juice and 1 pound chopped carrots.
Cover with water or chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Simmer until carrots are tender.
Pour mixture into blender and puree.
Add 1/2 C. of sour cream and blend. 
Serve with salt & Parmesan cheese.

(It's common to add garlic and ginger to saute with the onion 
and add herbs to the finished soup, 
but I've been keeping it simple.)