Sunday, June 29, 2008

We be jammin'

Today Athena and I made 106 cups of strawberry freezer jam. It was a very perfect way to spend a day when the temperature outside was 106! We each have a freezer full of assorted sizes of jam. Big ones for the family. Smaller ones for camping or gift giving.

Just in case you were make 106 cups of jam you need:

  • 28 lbs. of strawberries
  • 30 lbs of sugar
  • 16 cups of corn syrup
  • 4 cups of lemon juice
  • 16 pkgs. of MCP Fruit Pectin
  • 106 assorted containers
  • 2 Grande Lattes from Starbucks
  • 1 swimming pool & 1 sprinkler for the kids
  • and about 12 hours!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The girls and I made our 5th annual pea picking trek to Hale's Farm in Helix.
Five years ago my friend JoAnna invited us to pick peas.
It sounded like great fun.
The peas were delicious.
Pick one, eat five, pick one, eat five.
I ate peas! A lot of peas.
In peas - out peas.
I learned.
This year we got to dip buckets into the trucks after we got tired of picking them by hand. The peas had already been picked and shelled. I thought that this was the best idea ever. My eyes were bigger than my bucket I guess. I took home two 5 gallon buckets filled with peas. Last night I was at my utility sink until 1 am cleaning peas. Today I was giving peas away. I decided that maybe I should stick to picking peas, it would save me a lot of work in the long run. This winter when I am able to pull fresh-frozen peas out of my freezer for my homemade chicken noodle soup, I'm sure I will be happy that I have a lot of peas. I have eaten my share of fresh peas for the season, and my freezer holds about 20 quart bags of frozen peas.
Tomorrow I move onto strawberries with Athena!

My Artist

Taryn has had quite a wealth of attention on her art this spring. She won a contest through the Yellowhawk Health Clinic at the tribe. Her art was about making good choices and not using drugs and alcohol.

Her next winning entry was her bookmark for the Pendleton Public Library. Her bookmark will be one of 7 that will be available for anyone to pick up when they check out books this year.
Her 'largest' win was her Right to Life entry at our church. Her picture won her age category and was selected to be made into a billboard. She has wanted to win this contest for three years. She has known many of the past winners, and this year it is her name on the billboard. We hope she will always be able to stand up for her faith and for what she believes, even if it isn't widely accepted by her peers or society.

Camping in Prineville

Our first camping trip of the summer was to Prineville, Oregon. We were able to camp for 5 days and nights with Ken & Dea Gray, who came down from Scappoose. We were camping in our wonderful pop-up tent trailer, they were in their wonderful 5th-wheel. I felt like we were Motel 6 next to a 5 star luxury hotel. Being able to share their amenities (microwave oven) was a huge perk.

They brought their grandson, Jake, with them. The girls & Jake had a wonderful time riding bikes, playing UNO, snacking, having sleep-overs, movie theater outside, and more!!!

My mom joined us for two nights in the camper. We didn't go camping much when I was growing up...but I think she enjoys being able to show-up, camp-out and go home. It isn't too much work for her...and I don't think I snore too we haven't scared her off yet.

The purpose of the trip was to have fun, of course, but the destination was chosen because Prineville was hosting a Junior Rodeo that weekend. Brian & Danne's girls were in the rodeo, along with LOTS of my friends' kids from home and college.
It was so much fun seeing kids of my friends who I haven't seen in many years. I know that my girls look a lot like me, but it was fun picking out kids that I have never met, because they look just like their mom or dad.
My kids hadn't met many of these people before, but it didn't slow them down at all. They make friends easily and had a great time digging in dirt, drinking slushies and playing tag.

During the trip we:
  • ate
  • hiked
  • rode bikes
  • geocached
  • played cards
  • met new friends
  • visited with old friends
  • ate BBQ in a huge storm
  • took the sisters to Sisters
  • made lots of fun memories!

We may make this an annual trip!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Grocery Game

Many thanks to Athena for finding this wonderful web site. I have only been 'playing' The Grocery Game for two weeks now and it is so FUN. I know I risk sounding like a big DORK...but try it and you'll like it. I am going to add a tally on the side of my blog so I can keep up with how much money I am saving our family. Then when I go on a shoe shopping spree I can do it with less guilt. I'll take any angle I can if it means guilt-free shoe shopping.

The basic concept is...subscribe to this service...clip coupons from the Sunday newspaper...then follow the list. This service researches trends on In Store Sales and coupons and then combines the two to offer you the best savings.

A small downside to the 'game' is that it takes preparation. You can not simply go shopping on a whim. It also requires that you have space so you can stock up on items when they are on sale. I figured that the summer was the best time for me to start.

Week one my grocery cart was filled to the top with 14 boxes of cereal and lots of other random items. My total bill was $291.60...until the coupons started being subtracted. I wrote a check in the amount of $153.34... a savings of $138.26 or 47 %.

Week two I had a larger variety of items in my cart, and less groceries overall. I didn't 'need' many items from the blue list. (Blue=Best Buys) I did come home with a few Green items. (Green=Free Items) My total bill was $127.42 My check total was $77.87. A savings of $49.49 or 39%.

If you are interested just ask Athena or I about it, as we are both 'excited' about our new game. you think we need to get out of little 'ole Pendleton more often if this is our excitement? Maybe with all the money we save we will be able to afford a luxurious vacation.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Relay for Life

In honor of our friend Walt Johnson, the Sokoloski family hit the track on a beautiful summer's evening to do our part to Fight for a Cure! We were not alone in our support of Walt on the Buckaroo Track.

Team Sokoloski

Walt Johnson Cuts:

Reagan's little legs got tired.

Mine did too:

(How come he looks like he is in pain?)

Another smiling supporter:

Taryn can keep up with Marc's pace backwards!

Walt's lit Luminary:

Let's all remember PREVENTION:

Gal's that includes monthly self exams and annual pap smears! Boys - don't be lame...cough it up! It only takes a moment.


I expect you on that track next year in your purple SURVIVOR shirt.
Maybe you can kick Marc's pace into high gear.
Aside from being a proud member of TEAM JOHNSON, I was walking in support of all the wonderful FIGHTERS & SURVIVORS at Washington Elementary. You ladies are tough! You inspire me with your amazing strength and determination to never give up the fight!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mrs. Sokoloski Portraits

Mrs. Sokoloski as seen by her third grade students.
Can you say:
  • scary
  • who needs braces, get a nose job?
  • nice wrinkles
A penny thought: I know I look scary in many of these pictures. This was my favorite art project all year. Can you tell which students liked me...and which didn't? I can. I can see each little critter in my head by looking at how they SAW me this year. I do believe I probably looked this scary at times. I definitely had my share of 'days' this year. BUT I MADE IT...AND...I STILL LOVE TEACHING.