Tis' the season of the Squash! Not only is it great for decorating the house for Halloween and the Fall, the fabulous squash, in its many forms, makes delicious meals too. It has become one of my favorite vegetables to have as a side dish, or even on its own.
I mentioned here a while ago that I had become the very first Indpendent Consultant in Oregon, representing Jamie Oliver At Home - the first US business of one of our favorite Brits Jamie Oliver!
It's been a fun couple of months. How cool is it to be introducing something completely new in the US! Inviting people to home parties that they've not heard of before on been invited to time and time again. Being with a company at the very start of its journey.
Personally I think Jamie and I are a good match. Both being British is a good start and our double act (him on DVD - me doing my thing) seems to be working a treat at all the parties I'm organizing. I've been a fan for years. My kitchen bookshelf is lined with Jamie's books - I certainly haven't made every recipe, but I can tell you I absolutely love reading them and looking through them. What a great personality he has, and what a great mission to get people back into their kitchens, cooking, sharing and enjoying homemade food with family and friends. Better Food for a Better Life.
And the Jme collection isn't half bad too!! Actually I love them. Before I decided to become a consultant (taking a small step back into the 'paid working' world after being a stay-at-home-mum for the past almost 11 years), I wanted to see the Jme Collection in person, to ensure I loved it and that I'd use it. Well, that was easy! My kitchen is now fully stocked.
So here are a few of my very favorite pieces that I use every day and that are truely great additions to our everyday family meals and entertaining with our friends.
Well, since my last post, Fall has arrived for sure. We've visited a pumpkin patch, new rain boots have been purchased, the garden furniture has been covered up, the grill cleaned and stored in the garage, and thoughts are turning to warm filling meals and cosy evenings home. Goodbye summer - it was outstanding. Welcome Fall and all the warm colors and equally warm dishes that you bring.
I love the colors of Fall (who doesn't?) but I'm not so keen on the rain that comes down in bucket loads here. Walking the dog at 6.30am in the dark, enveloped in a layer of rain resistant clothing, Hunter boots and a scarf is not my idea of fun!
But on the upside, I'm loving the homemade soups and risottos, and red wine and hot chocolates - in no particular order!
Just as we thought the summer was coming to an end - boom - we get a scorcher of a weekend and spent the whole day at the beach on Saturday, kids swimming in the Pacific ocean (which really was the warmest we'd ever found it) and squeezing out the last of the sun lotion too. Playing Petanque and throwing a ball around. Running along the beach with our dog and enjoying the blue sky and warmth of the sun. Amazing and beautiful and we must have said 100 times "Wow, we are so lucky."
Last week with a few days of rainy grey skies I heard a number of Portland people say "How lovely, Fall is here". "Isn't it great to have some rain." Even "Let's hope summer doesn't return.". Yes, Pacific North West people do love their Fall, changing of seasons, leaves the most amazing colors and the damp cool air. But I am loving this elongated summer and I'm hanging onto every last one of those extra sun-filled days.
Today was the day! That first step out into the world of Big School. She was so ready for this next step and all went smoothly and she came home just as happy as she did went she left.
The school bus, eating lunch in the 20 minutes they have, 3 recess breaks (quite the high-light!), music lesson, helping the teacher, writing out the month calender. She did it all.
More than a few tears came to my eyes throughout the day thinking of her in her classroom. Learning how it all works in class, listening, raising her hand, walking in line, waiting her turn, not burst into song every now and then (it can often feel like we live in an opera with this singing girl!).
She did great. And I did great too! Long may it continue!
So my little girl is 'almost six'. Not quite there yet, but good enough! Her birthday falls on the back to school day and with Labor Day weekend just before, its not the best time for a birthday bash. So this past Saturday we celebrated her 'Almost 6 Birthday' with 6 of her girl friends.
Arty Party was the theme. Freestyle canvas painting to start with, then a color-by-numbers canvas painting followed with decorating little note books and bookmarks. Arty activities were interspersed with bashing the life out of a butterfly piñata (those girls are strong!), cake, photos and gift opening! A fun (and not too messy!) time was had by all.
It's still beyond me that she is almost 6 and starting Kindergarten in a week's time!
Our family really loves a road trip. A loaded up car. Bikes on the back. Box on the top. Iphones with great playlists. Movies loaded on iPads to keep kids going (eye spy only lasts a short time these days!). Not forgetting all kinds of snacks, candy and treats to pass those hours.
This year we headed to Northern California, coastal and inland. Then to Southern and Central Oregon. 1800 miles. 4 overnight locations = 4 mini vacations. A great mix of tent camping, a cabin by a lake and a couple of hotels (to ease that aching back from camping and to get a super hot shower and sleep in crispy clean white sheets - bliss!).
So much to see, do, experience and enjoy. There is nothing like a road trip in the US. The ease of driving makes such a difference. Endless roads, many with just us travelling on them. Amazing scenery - trees as far as the eye can see, crystal clear rivers, mountains, lakes and wildlife. We've been swimming in lakes, rivers, the ocean and pools. The kiddos have tried to catch fish, crawfish, toad, chipmunks, gophers and tadpoles - the most successful was the crayfish when they caught enough for lunch on two days!
The kids have enough scrapes, bruises, blisters and tan lines to show they've really lived outdoors these past two weeks. Screens only during travelling time. The rest of their days spent cycling, playing games in grassy campsites with newly made friends until the sun has set, trying to climb rocks or jump off them, making campfires, exploring rivers and lakes, toasting way too many marshmallows. Great memories.
I hope you'll indulge me as I post more than enough photographs ….
First up… A little town named Cottage Grove in Oregon. Most well know for its six 'Covered Bridges'. A perfect stop after 2.5 hours driving. Lunch, a drive around the town finding the 6 covered bridges. And a few rides at the fair ground. There's also lots of murals painted on buildings which made turning every corner a surprise.
And then we moved onto the Redwoods and our first camp site at the coast…
To be continued ...
Hope your summer is going great and is filled with all good things.