Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recap of the last couple of weeks

We have been so busy the last couple of weeks that I have hardly had enough time to keep up with the basic housework, much less blog. Things are heating up here in Arizona, with temperatures around 100 degrees every day (give or take), but it really does not fell that bad at all unless it's high noon. This is our fourth summer here, and we are all getting used to the warm weather.

Of course, having a pool helps. The kids enjoy going swimming pretty much every day. My goal is to teach Isaac how to swim this summer.

Two weeks ago, we went up to Red Rock State Park for some cooler weather and change in scenery. We barbecued hot dogs and then went playing in the creek and hiking along it for a couple of hours. The kids caught a HUGE crawdad, which they put back in the water where they found it after showing it off to me.

BTW, I am not a big fan of hot dogs as a regular fare (unlike the men in this family), but I do really like the all-beef hot dogs at Trader Joe's for an occasional treat. No nitrites or any other additives. Just beef, water, and natural seasonings. They also sell some pretty good whole-grain hot dog buns. I love Trader Joe's.

I took the next pictures for all my pet-loving readers. Believe it or not, we made homemade dog cookies for Bella. Our guess is that they were really good because she devoured them, while she does not usually care for dog treats. Will I start cooking all her meals now - hm, let me think about that.... NO WAY!!

Last Thursday, the weather was unusually cool and the sky overcast, so we made an impromptu field trip out of it and went peach picking. Since the peaches are grown organically, we were allowed to eat as many as we liked while in the orchard. Other than the peaches I used to eat as a child in Hungary, these are absolutely the BEST. If you live in the area, it's really worth the drive.

What a surprise, Miriam is in the middle of taking her shoes off.

Not sure why they decided to pose sitting on the ground amid a whole bunch of rotten peaches. But I guess when you're not the one doing the laundry, small details like that don't matter.

I have been enjoying various new kitchen experiments. Recently, I started churning our own butter. We get raw, organic cow's milk from a dairy in the area.

Here is the butter after it has been rinsed, salted, and packed. I would like to find some real butter molds. Notice the nice yellow color of the butter - it's delicious!!

Since we bought the grain mill, I have been making mostly all our own bread products. Here, I was making whole grain bread from four different grains, with sprouted wheat kernels. Probably my favorite bread recipe so far.

And some sourdough baguettes. But then I killed the sourdough starter, so this is a work in progress.

Miriam loves hanging out in the kitchen with me while I work.

The next day, Friday, was even cooler and nicer, so we went on a ranger-led hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park. In one word, it was awesome.

We have really been enjoying hiking as a family. Other than the ones mentioned above, in the last two weeks we also went on a long and pretty rough (at least with five little kids) hike at Squaw Peak, and on a ranger-led night hike with black lights looking for scorpions (which glow neon green under black light).

Saturday was the day of the protest rally. No, I still do not have any of the camera footage, in spite of the fact that there were four or five cameras recording. Well, I do have one clip of us going through the checkpoint when we first drove up, but there is no point in posting it here because we were just waved through. I personally only took pictures before the rally, when we were meeting at the cemetery.

Here is my husband's Dad with his wife and the kids.

Here he is with Isaac on his motorcycle. He gave all three boys rides on it.

Here are some of the signs that we were holding up by the side of the street right before the checkpoint.

The rally was pretty uneventful, other than an altercation when we first arrived. While we had been told ahead of time over the phone that we were allowed to stand by the side of the road and protest, as well as walk around the area, they would not let us do so when we got there. Border patrol obviously knew we were coming (they must really like my blog, I guess) because they were recording us with various camcorders. In fact, they even had one mounted on a tripod right at the stop sign, something they never usually have. Sure would be nice if they gave back our two camcorders that they are still holding hostage. They have probably sold them to a pawn shop by now to help their budget shortfalls.

Highway patrol was also on scene, which is not normally the case. We were eventually allowed to stand just off the shoulder right in front of the checkpoint. We only had a small group, maybe 8 vehicles or so; a total of about 20 or 25 people. The kids and I stayed in the car which was parked on the frontage road about 10 feet away during most of it. I think a lot of people who are supportive of us ended up not coming because they are afraid of these checkpoints, and after what happened to my husband, I can't really blame them. Plus, we were meeting at 8 am in a place 90 minutes drive from Phoenix. Even so, the reaction from motorists who drove by was largely very positive.

Monday evening I took the kids to Papago Park for a hike. Since my husband was out of town on business that night, I opted for a wheelchair accessible trail that I could maneuver with the stroller in case Miriam got too tired to walk. Her legs, by this point, were pretty sore from all the hiking we had been doing.

We stopped at a ramada along the "trail" to enjoy a picnic dinner we brought along.

On Thursday, the kids and I went to the Phoenix Museum of History. It was here that I noticed the screen on my digital camera had a crack, and was no longer working. Since the camera does not have an old-fashioned window for seeing what's in the picture, I have no way of knowing what I am snapping a photo of until I get to look at them on the computer. This is really too bad, because other than that, the camera still works great.

We thought this was pretty hilarious. Too bad they did away with the ordinance.

I finally also managed to take the two February birthday kids in for their portraits. It's only like three months late...

As far as school work goes, we are pretty much done for the school year, but I like to keep the boys working over the summer just a little to keep them busy during naptime. They also have a tendency to get really wired and wild if they don't sit down and work quietly at all, so I have found that keeping school going year-round is less stressful than to take a long summer break. They are boys, and since we don't stick them in front of a TV to keep them sedated, penmanship practice will have to do the trick.

This is one long post. Hope you enjoyed hearing about our recent adventures.


  1. Wow! This blog was packed full of stuff! I kept scrolling down to comment and kept reading. :D That's great. Your kids are all cute. I have 3 boys and 2 girls. I love how you were making your own butter. Awesome! I just got back from Mexico and had to go through the border patrol area. I'm trying to find the part in your blog of why those guys did what they did to your husband. I must be missing it. I know what they did was wrong but I'm trying ot find the story about where you are talking about what happened and what rights he was trying to use. You guys have held up strong. That is amazing. Especially for your little ones watching it all. :)

  2. REgarding your camcorders - have you filed a police report? Do you have the serial numbers? Maybe you can turn those over to the pawn shops in the area to keep a watch for. lol


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