Friday, August 29, 2008

Climb High

Savannah has discovered she can climb "into" more than "up" our camellia in our front yard. Now, she is in constant search of a "climbing tree." That's my girl!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This one's for you!

Some of you (those with their sound turned up) may have noticed I finally added music to my blog. You had to know that if I could work the theme song to Indiana Jones into my testimony, then I can work it into my blog! I can't help it. This song gives me the energy and desire to climb Manchu Pitchu amung other things.

My dream blog would allow me to pick a song for each individual post to aid in hitting my punch line. But until that day comes we'll just stick with the selections I have below and you can click on the music your in the mood to listed to.

But, if you scroll all the way down this page and look at the music I have added you'll see one song that's just for Dawn..."Come Back to Texas." I love this song! The truth in it cracks me up every time. I had to put it on my blog for Dawn to hear it. Due to her geographical location, I'm sure it's not played on the radio ;) (besides the fact it's like 3 years old now!).

"...besides the Mexican food [stinks] north of here anyway"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Our Favorite Pair of Jeans

Finding good friends is like finding a good pair of jeans. And if you are female or have ever been shopping with a woman in search of the perfect pair of jeans, you know what I'm talking about. You are willing to pay any price for them and then they are treasured forever. They may wear thin and holes may develop but it all adds character that makes you love them even more. Finding a good pair is a rare thing.

Even though they have moved away, the Flannery's are one of our favorite "pair of jeans" and we loved getting to visit them last weekend.

Look out Ashli, your arranged marriage is not set in stone!

Savannah is mapping out where we are and how to get home. She has a map obsession.

Savannah's first drink out of a can. She also asked for "Cheetos salad" for lunch Monday! What did the men feed the children while we were out Saturday?

Me on the rope swing. Yes, I screamed a little but it was beautiful and relaxing once Mark learned to swing me without spinning me and sending me slamming into the tree!

I am ready to hang one out at the farm. Over the lake perhaps?

I have more pics and will probably post a slide show later this week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, Monday, August 25th, 2008

Outside My Window...the sun is setting behind a canopy of trees as a long day finally winds down.

I Am Thinking...that I love Cari's descriptive blog when she does the "Simple Woman's Daybook" and I am anxious to give it a try.

I Am Thankful For...the opportunity to stay at home with Savannah and just play. Our laid back lifestyle allows me to wrap myself up in discovering her growing personality.

From The Kitchen...nothing. The kitchen is closed, dishes are clean, no projects are lingering, no dough is rising. This is a rare moment in the Peteet Household. Perhaps I should go take a picture ;)

I Am Wearing...a couple of layered tank tops, army green shorts, and as always, barefoot.

I Am Creating...a large work project. Ideas continuously swim around in my head, leach out of my fingers to my keyboard and deposit themselves on my hard drive as if they have a life of their own.

I Am the couch soon to watch our much anticipated weekly show, No Reservations on the Travel Channel. The house will be quiet, the child asleep, and I will curl up with my handsome husband as we travel abroad without leaving our couch or getting a babysitter.

I Am Reading...Calm My Anxious Heart. Actually I just finished it for our Bible study. Much wisdom was gained and now I have the CHOICE of whether I want to apply it or not. Did you like that word choice Sharlene? Oh, and there's the word again!

I Am Hoping...that I get everything done on my "to do" list this week.

I Am Hearing...Mark and Savannah's bath time ritual which signals my break time, A.K.A. prime time blogging. By the way, the song Savannah sings to accompany this ritual goes like this, "My tooty, my booty, my tooty, my booty, " and you can imagine what she is shaking during this show.

Around The House...things are clean, tidy, and put away. Laundry is complete. Savannah is now out of the tub and standing beside me as words free flow from her mouth, I'm not sure she even knows she is speaking.

One Of My Favorite my tranquil daily 6am run (no Sundays). Alone time, need I say more? I'd get up at 5 for if I had to.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...It's really a slow week as we are dragged out of summer kicking and screaming. We'll hang onto the slow pace for a few more days. We are looking forward to Bible study tomorrow and the holiday weekend. In between those we have "to do" lists for various organizations that start back up next week.

The picture I am at the top of this post. This is one of the truest pictures of Savannah's love I have seen. She loves so strong it can almost strangle you, and I mean that in a good way.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Before this blog can go any further, I must give credit were credit is due.

I am announcing that the credit for "worm fiddlin'" mentioned in a previous post should solely be given to Lee Flannery. If not for him, we would have never experienced the joy of fiddlin' for worms. It is my duty to apologize and give him full recognition (seriously, I almost lost my place to stay this past weekend over it ;).

Lee, it's all you. Happy now?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

For the museum junkie!!!!

Art, local history, exotic artifacts, sculptures, and so much more are headed your way for free!September 26th is free museum day across America! If I thought Savannah had the endurance, we would head to Dallas and hit them all. Check out the link below to find which ones are free near you.

Peeps, there is even one for you. The History of Flight museum is on the list.

P.S. If you have a link for museum-aholics, please post it for me ;) Thanks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crawling Through Slow Food

I must begin this post by saying, I am an advocate of slow food (a movement started in Italy to combat the growing culture of fast food and to prevent the art of real food preparation from disappearing). Because of my geographical location, I am not a member of a local chapter of the slow food movement. There is no chapter out here. We are hardly on the cutting edge of the culinary world in this small town. Which is ironic because the cutting edge idea is to return to the old methods of 100 years ago or more. One would think by being in the country we would have direct access to the old methods of cooking but sadly, we have access to fried chicken fast food chains. But still, I strongly support slow food when ever I can by our family's lifestyle. My favorite dish is an acorn squash cassoulet that takes more than half a day to make and I don't mind waiting for the complex flavors that this time yields. Neither does my little three year old chef. You have never seen a child more anxious to eat acorn squash than after a day's build up of anticipation as the house is filled with a mouth watering smell the entire afternoon. Slow food, it's worth it.

With all that out on the table, I can now discuss my latest culinary endeavor. It was an event I had been anticipating and preparing for for a long time. Specialty recipe books had been bought, read, scrutinized, and studied. Special equipment had been purchased well in advance. This was no spur-of-the-moment event. I had been waiting for this. I had WANTED to do this. Someone should have been there to remind me of this during my olympic cooking event.

The procedure started simply enough. The recipe called for 4 eggs and a few cups of flour. Really, two ingredients. It doesn't get much simpler than that. This is misleading I assure you. As I mixed the dough together I noticed there was little resemblance to the picture in the book. And I thought to myself that this is probably not a good sign. What is it I am trying to make you ask? Pasta.

I needed the dough for what seemed like an eternity and then let it rest. With a hobby of perfecting artisinal breads, I am no dough-needing newbie. But pasta dough is a completely different ball game than bread dough and it's beginning to look like I am out of my league.

Once my dough "rested" I began to roll a section of it with the stress, contemplation and thoughtful purpose of Leonardo De Vinci. Eager to achieve an amazing hand crafted product I continued to roll, and roll, and roll until it was finally thin enough to see through. As I read the next step, the pressure of stretching the already see-through dough through the pasta machine, set in. How am I not going to break this thin dough? I have been working on this forever and now I have to run it through this machine several times without screwing it up before I can cut in into tagliatelle! Why am I doing this? How much better can fresh pasta be? Maybe the Italians drink wine while making pasta and that's why they think this is fun. For the first time ever in my adventurous cooking history...I was in over my head. But wait, it gets better. Savannah appeared (I have no idea where she had been, it's all a blur) and wanted to help. Let me restate this, my 3 year old wanted to help me put my paper thin, time consumed, pasta dough into the machine.

My first reaction to Savannah's question was to yell across the house, "Mark, Savannah wants to help you do whatever it is you are doing." But at this point I felt my deed was doomed anyway so I not so delicately handed my hard work over to her. Soon, to my surprise, we had a rhythm. She turned the handle on the pasta press machine (while smiling widely and giggling) and I feed the dough in over and over again making it more and more fragile. It still resembled the picture in the book like a Cat in the Hat resembles War and Peace but who cares! Savannah was in heaven with the idea of making her favorite meal. Pasta! It's amazing how much fun you have once the pressure of perfection is taken away and failure is imminent. One would think it would be the other way around but when you have no pressure to succeed you can just enjoy!

The pasta was quickly finished and I began on the sauce with prosciutto. Yet another labor but this time, of love (our whole family has an unusual obsession with prosciutto). And by the end of the day tagliatelle al prosciutto was displayed on the table as if it were the Arc de Triomphe although deep inside I felt a little defeated by my initial reaction to pasta making. I had whole-heartily expected to love this art as I loved all slow food. Yogurt making, cultivating my own unrivaled rich broth, watching my dinner mature before my eyes in the garden, raising our own organic meat, and cooking food that has never seen a box or packaging have all been wonderful, flavorful, and rewarding experiences. But now it all comes down to this bite of homemade pasta. The one craft I did not immediately fall head over hills for. Would the texture and flavor be worth the stress and time?

The answer? Oh yes dear reader. Oh yes.

Next up??? Handmade pumpkin raviolis!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My favorite new...

website is

This invaluable website discusses appropriate luggage, traveling with children. and how to pack without wrinkles (rolling your clothes is out, now you can "bundle"). Spend a little time on this site and you'll be ready to lightly pack up the kids and backpack across Europe!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Rundown

Today's morning outing brought us to the Thomas house for a play date. Kate and Savannah played together contently and needed no intervention so Teresa and I were free for endless conversation. A rare treat in the preschool world. However, I must admit while Teresa can be captivating with her conversation, my mind wandered as I looked around her kitchen. It was beautiful. The house was just built a year ago but it looked like they moved in yesterday. Pristine appliances, gorgeous crown molding, and lovely decor left me questioning my own kitchen but not for the previously listed reasons. It was the counter tops.

I just stared at them confused but embarrassed to ask. On the island sat a two tiered pie holder with beautiful unique plates in them. But...that was the only thing on the island. Around the rest of the counter tops there was a decorative canister set (one I've seen on design shows before, oh, she is good). Again, that was it. Is this a model home? Where is all the must-have, can't-live-without-it kitchen paraphernalia that plagues my counters?

My next step was to come home and stare at my own counter tops and here is the rundown. To begin I have a stainless steel peculator for our daily coffee. That's a must have (maybe they are not coffee drinkers?). Next door to the peculator lives the blender and we use that almost daily for morning smoothies and other cooking ventures (not everyone blends, I understand). Turning the corner on the counter we come to the toaster (a beautiful stainless steel retro looking one. Do they not toast?). Somehow I find almost a daily use for it as well due to so many recipes that call for toasted nuts or seeds.

Moving to the other side of the sink I have a large copper colander that I use to store onions and sweet potatoes and to the right a smaller version of the same colander contains garlic and a variety of peppers from the garden (where do they keep theirs hidden?). Next in line but a couple of feet away lies the dreaded but necessary "kitchen waste headed for the compost container." That whole section ends with a corner where I prop us recipe books and recipes that have been pulled to use for the week.

Did I mention on the micorwave we have a huge cool rustic bowl (from Wisteria of course) that holds all of our fruit? You have to have a huge fruit bowl!

Already, this is not looking good. I have lots of stuff out and I am wondering, "Do I need it?" and, "Does Teresa have the same crap just cleverly hidden?"

I'll contemplate that in a minute, first we must finish my counter review. By the stove I have a beautiful pitcher with wooden spoons and other things I like to grab in an instant when I am in the trenches of cooking. And one must have a knife set out. Let's face it. I am home all day. That means all three meals are eaten and prepared at home. By me. I am not exaggerating when I say I go to my knife block no less than 10 times a day, usually much much more than that. A women needs easy access to good knives.

And last we have my favorite possession that turns me into a culinary goddess with the simple motion of plugging it in. My panini press. I have no idea how I ever lived without it. All of my life I have hated (again this is no exaggeration because I NEVER exaggerate) sandwiches. Do you know how hard it is to go through life and hate sandwiches? You have no idea. So, the panini opened up a world I never imagined. This amazing shiny machine took the sandwich to a place I never dreamed it could go. A speedy breakfast, amazingly unique lunch, and gourmet dinner can all be prepared with this showstopper.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that there is usually a couple of bowls of things fermenting or rising that have to sit somewhere (bread, rolls, pizza dough, hamburger buns, yogurt, and probably a few you just don't want to know about!) Let's not even begin to discuss what my floors look like with all that flour!

So I ask you, what can be taken away? And where are all of Teresa's gadgets, tools, and appliances? How can I make my worn out, abused kitchen look as modelesque as hers? Is modlesque even a word? The world may never know...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

All Good Things Must End

I could probably spend another month blogging about our trip to Colorado but then my readers might start dropping like flies! I'll share these last few tid bits and then move on. I promise ;)

When we hit Ridgway, I had the rare opportunity of a bird's eye view of my youthful years. I watched Savannah make the homemade heath bar ice cream of my childhood with the same people I did. My grandparents. On the same porch. Same dreamy Colorado afternoon.

And yet another generation of a stringy blond haired little girl licking ice cream off the paddle.

And trips to the hot spring to feed the fish. Same pond. Same joy.

Aside from my memory lane, there were sweet moments for everyone else too.

And we can't forget Ella's enchanted birthday party at Granny Smiles and Papa Mel's.

Endless belly jiggling laughs...

And generations...

And then there there was the much anticipated yearly trip to play in the spray fountain in downtown Aspen, white water rafting without the kiddos (next year we are headed down the 6 foot waterfall!), and then kicking back in the cool evening air and taking in the serene scenery.

When we all know it's coming to a close the inevitable conversation arises..."So, where are we going next?????"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My kind of girl

This is all me. The stringy blond hair, the dirt and mud, the earthworm, and a Colorado summer afternoon. Sometimes looking at Savannah is like a mirror into my own childhood.

Mark and Savannah fiddling for more worms (pic below). If you don't know what fiddling for worms is, you should ask. Boy are you missing out!

Few things make me more proud than to see my daughter turn into a girl who loves dirt, worms, and bugs then turns around and asks for high heels and to help cook dinner. Now that's southern!

The park in Ridgway Colorado

Savannah and her Daddy...sometimes you just need a little of Daddy's help.

Savannah conquering the world one bar at a time.

Hollywood Ella and her Daddy.

Wait a second. Who let the Daddys loose to play?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Still in Aspen...

Mark and I decided we needed a date in the midst of this family vacation. So we arose a 6 am one morning to hike Smuggler by ourselves. For me, the perfect date.

The morning air was refreshingly brisk as we climbed the steep switch backs. Our uninterrupted conversation was as priceless as the silent moments while we watched the sun slowly brighten Aspen mountain and then move across the valley. In the picture below you can see the sun is still hours from reaching us.

The tranquility of watching God awaken his creation inch by inch cannot be understated. But as I looked back at the mountain we were on, I saw the maze of trees beside me creating the forest.
And in this beautiful moment I suddenly laughed.

From my view (picture above) I told Mark, "This is beautiful but do you know what I see when I look out there? Planet Endor from The Empire Strikes Back! I am expecting Luke Skywalker to fly through on one of those thingies with storm troopers tailing behind him any minute! Did you see that? I think I saw an Ewok over there!"

Leave it to me to ruin the moment! Come on, you know you see it too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Picnic at the Grottos

Aspen trip continued...

After our ice cave quest we laid a lovely blanket out by the grottos. Upon the blanket we spread a magnificent feast fit for a king where we lounged enjoying the peaceful beauty of the waterfall and reflected upon life's greater issues. Yeah right!

We did lunch by the grottos and a blanket did make an appearance. But after sandwiches, grapes, and organic oreos, we hit the river with all the passion and squeals two preschoolers could have for water, rocks, and dirt. Let's just say that after this escapade, there were a few in our group who had to ride home fairly naked! Truly indicative of a good time!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Ice Caves

Continuing the Aspen trip...

This is our crew: newly graduated and soon to be college student, Aunt La la
Aunt Sissy, 2 year old Ella, and 7 month old Burton
Daddy Mark, Mama Christina, and 3 year old Savannah
And lastly, we brought along the ever-traveling Grandma

So here we are hiking to the Ice Caves, a repeated request of Savannah's after last year's adventure. She had been waiting a year to get back on this trail and explore the cave once more. Something she did as a two year old without batting an eye. And yet, 100 yards into the hike it began. "I'm tired," "I'm sweaty," "I can't walk anymore," "Can you carry me?" Ug.

This is a kiddo who has been hiking since she was in the Bjourn at 3 months old! That's the thing with the preschoolers, you never know what you are going to get from day to day. Being true to my own childhood roots I replied, "You'll be fine, keep walking." They aren't the kind, inspirational words of a tender hearted mother. But, you know what? She made it to the top!

Once we reached the top down into the caves we went.

Check out the snow behind us. Ahhh, if I could just roll in it right now...

This is both entrance and exit to the cave. Grandma stayed at the top with Burton while we ventured below. As she waited for us to reappear fellow hikers passed her by. She giggled to herself as a Mom, Dad, and 8 or 10 year old boy commented on the ice caves. The son was begging to climb down in them but the parents assured him that he was not old enough. When he mentioned he heard lots of voices coming from the cave, the mother replied that there were only adults down there. And there we were with a 2 and 3 year old!

I feel sorry for the boy. That place was a dream come true for a kid that age!

Cool kids...

Snack time on the trail...

Burton is such a trooper. He never cares where we take him.

Our handsome Daddy...

My family...

In the end I triumphed and Savannah enjoyed herself while participating. And she had no qualms about walk the rest of the trip!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Invaluable Road Trip Tips

Always provide entertainment for the children.

Having a multitude of stickers on hand in critical. But realize ahead of time that throughout the entire trip you will have at least one stuck to the seat of your pants.

Always have your picture made after getting up at 2:45 am. Cheese!

Make sure the driver and navigator keep their eyes on the road at all times.

Nap time for everyone is equally important to ensure all excoursionist survive the expedition.

Teenagers too.

Oops, this next one is posted twice. Perhaps it is from my subconscious to desperately emphasize the importance of stickers.

If your noticing there are a lot of folks in this vehicle, you are right. The more the better. There is nothing wrong with a 16 hour road trip with 3 kids, age 3 and long as you bring one sweet, blue-eyed, easy, baby boy. We love our Burton.

The next piece of advice is very important for well. When driving over winding mountain passes and a child begins to yell Mama in a whiny tone, puke is eminent. Find the nearest pull out, or else...

you will be cleaning out your vehicle on the side of a mountain and riding the rest of the way with the windows rolled down. Why is puke always funny after riding 14 hours in the car with a bunch of kids? We could hardly clean for laughing so hard! Ok, maybe Aunt Lala didn't laugh so hard while cleaning it up in the back seat. But man is she a trooper! Not many teenagers can live up to her standard.
This is Ella all cleaned up again.

More advice...never let down your guard and think "what else can happen?" Oh, and never let a poopy diaper sit because you don't plan to stop for another 40 minutes. Explosions equivalent to Old Faithful can occur. And just like Old Faithful, they are scheduled to happen again.

But the most important rule is to stop and absorb your surroundings. Be sure to take plenty of pictures of the view, not in spite of the children, but for the good of the children.

Stay tuned to read the rest of our Aspen Adventure. But there is a warning. Joining this family for a road trip is not for the faint of heart. Seatbelts and crash helments are required,