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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Anniversary & Getting Ready for Christmas

ACK!

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The wedding reception table


I completely forgot to post our Anniversary blog! EEK! Meh - Looks like no one has noticed, so none of you will mind it going up a few days late. December 19th, Mike and I celebrated our first year of marriage... it is also just shy of marking just shy of 7 years together. I know, it's crazy but true.



Our first year of marriage was, by no means, easy. It was fraught with difficulty, stress, more stress... and some stress. But we made it through it, stronger and closer. I won't go into details... since it's all on the site for your reading pleasure... or at least most of it is. (hint, hint)


Best friends do too dance!
Rob & Mari dancing
The boys
The guys (Rob G, Justin V, Mike)
In the coming year we have yet more to help each other through. And, while I cannot say I look forward to all of it, I will say that I look forward to the growth that it provides us as a couple and as individuals. We'll be moving in April, living alone (hopefully) for the first time in longer than I can count. He still doesn't have a permanent job, but I will say that things are looking up on the employment front. We hope to continue our adventures with some of our very closest friends, and hopefully tackle some gorgeous hikes this summer. Through all of it, I look forward to keeping you all in the loop. Coming up next week there will be a year in review post... or perhaps I should call it a coming in 2011. I don't know. We'll figure it out.


The girls
The girls (Katie V, Me, Jen G)



Regardless, we're all here for one another.




Christmas is just three short days away. Wait... is that right? Three? EEEP! Our stockings are hanging, the tree is up and decorated. I've baked more Christmas treats than I can count... or eat, the cards are sent and most of my shopping is done. So I guess I've got that going for me.

Much love and happy holidays from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snippets from Halloween, Thanksgiving and a hello from Noki

Well, I've finally gotten around to uploading some of the shots I took between Halloween and Thanksgiving. I'm not done polishing them all up just yet, but here is a peek at a few of the ones that I have spit-shined.

The roomies did a fabulous job decorating for Halloween:


Halloween 2010


Here's the bruddah-in-law all fancied up for the party: 



Dan - Halloween


The party was tons o' fun. There was a murder mystery, fun drinks and fun people... so all in all a good time was had. 

For Thanksgiving, there was a little bit of a bake-off held. Mike and Dan each vs Dad in a battle of French Bread and Egg Twist bread. I contributed two pies as well, while Joe contributed two of his own to the mix. 


Thanksgiving Bake-off

Holiday cooking is shifting up into high gear at my place this week/weekend. There is hot buttered rum, Butter Toffee, Merry Minty Meringues and much else to be made in the coming days. Gifts to give at work this week and general insanity to be had. I'm hoping to update everyone on the chaos by the end of the weekend. 

Happy Playing folks!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome, Christmas

It's time I said it:

I'm a Gleek. There. I said it.

Being a fan of Glee seems to be somewhat controversial lately. I'm not really sure why, unless it's simply all of the haters in the world and those who've never been a part of a choir or vocal ensemble. I have the happy fortune to have been in both. A full concert choir, a vocal jazz ensemble, a church choir... I've been around the proverbial choral block. I loved every minute of it. And while none of the groups I was lucky enough to sing with were reviled like the kids on Glee, we were always unique. Unique in that the groups always had a certain sense of family closeness and togetherness that not a lot of other groups have. I attribute it to the fact that without some seriously close partnership your songs would sound like crap. One person isn't in sync and you can certainly tell. Choral groups played a massive role in shaping who I am today. Glee had their Christmas special this last Tuesday and I got to spend a happy hour remembering all of the Holiday concerts I've been in. Also? I totally found my Christmas spirit. It is no longer missing. One of my favorite pieces of the evening was the final song they treated us to. Welcome, Christmas. You'll remember it from every rendition of  "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" that is out there. The harmonies, the spirit behind the song brought tears to my eyes. For those of you who didn't catch the episode, or don't even watch Glee, feast your ears on the lovely choral piece below.




They also did "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" from the classic Rudolph movie. Which I'm also going to treat you to below. Just a couple of blasts from childhood Christmas specials!





I'll leave you with that folks. Merry Christmas and Happy Weekend!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Tradition

Christmastime is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. The twinkling lights, beautiful paper, and giving gifts. It's the season for snow, hot apple cider, and crackling fires. I adore the functions and the hustle and bustle of the season.

This Christmas, as mentioned in a previous post, I'm having a tough time really getting into the mood of the season. Or rather, my mood for the season. To help me rediscover my misplaced holiday cheer, however, my wonderful and loving husband is doing everything he can to keep some of our little traditions alive.

Tree:

My tree is a nearly sacred thing for me during the holidays. With the twinkling lights and precious little memories hanging on it... the darned thing just screams of love and joy. Normally, we don't get the tree up until a couple weeks before Christmas.. We like our real trees. This year, however, we'll be getting the beast (we have very tall ceilings) a little early... next weekend early! Stay tuned for some photos of this years beauty.

Even if it is the one thing we can manage this year... it will go a long way towards making it feel like my favorite time of year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Dang, it's COLD!

November Freeze 2010
11/23/10 - Baby it's cold outside in Seattle



November 2010
11/24/10 - Still freezing my butt off....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Spirit

Favor2


I know its a little early for this post. Thanksgiving hasn't even arrived yet... but I'm going with the feeling anyhow. 

I'm having a heck of a time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I feel like I'm just going through the motions of winding up for the season. I feel badly for it too. The Christmas season is my favorite. I start thinking about it the moment we clear the hurdle of Halloween and, if I didn't have a penchant for live trees, I try to start decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I love finding the perfect gift for someone and hope that it is unexpected and lovely for them to receive it. Best of all, Mike and I will be celebrating our 1st year of marriage just before Christmas this year. 

I'd  originally had visions of a lovely day spent Christmas shopping and baking together before ending it with a celebratory meal at one of our favorite restaurants, but with Mike out of work we won't be able to do that. Realizing that our budget constraints have reached their ugly little fingers into my favorite time of the year was a blow. A crushing one at that. 

And to be honest? It's kinda put a hitch in my giddy-up. I'm sure we'll manage for the anniversary, we're still sending cards out ... I'm ordering them tomorrow, in fact. We'll still have evenings in front of the fire with a Christmas movie on... it just doesn't seem to have the same sparkle for me that it normally does. 

Hopefully the snow will cheer me up this year (I've got my fingers crossed for the anniversary since it didn't snow on the wedding)... Snow always brightens my day. We may even have some this weekend. 


Happy mid-week to you all. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

waxing poetic... or not

I had an entire post ready to wax poetic about Cook's Illustrated magazine this morning. Specifically their "best of" edition which Mike's mom gave to us.

I had to toss it.

It's not that we're not still really enjoying the recipes we have discovered in there. . . Simply that I cannot wax poetic for 200+ words about an edition that I "haven't found a bad recipe in" when we found one.

The herb crusted pork loin turned out to be a salt brick and completely inedible for us. I will write about that lovely experience when I'm done training next week. Until then my description will have to do justice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Still catching up

We're still catching up around here at becoming Jones. Just when I thought I was going to have a bit more time to update y'all around here... things get crazy again. It is really the way of life.

Mike had his test on Saturday, along with 1999 other people in line for one of 20 positions in this apprenticeship.  We both knew that this meant essentially re-learning algebra for the test and he tackled it with some serious tenacity. So, Saturday, he got up early to ensure that his brain was fully functioning before showing up at this test.
He arrived to discover that Kane Hall at UW is HUGE. As is typical of him, he found some other guys hanging around to take the test and struck up a conversation.

That is how he discovered that two thousand people are testing through for 20 positions. OUCH. And, while he feels good about the work he did on the test, he doesn't think he'll get the position. Logic would dictate that people already in the union and with previous experience in the field will likely be hired first. But the game isn't up yet... in a few weeks we'll discover if he tested high enough to move on to the next hiring stage If he does he'll have a physical test to take.


Our Halloween was relatively uneventful. The roomies had a party on Saturday night. We handed out candy last night... until I got fed up with the 16 year olds coming around with no costumes. Once I got fed up we turned the lights off and decided to keep our candy.

How was your weekend?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting back into the swing of it

I distanced myself quite a bit from all of the social media outlets: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, ... pretty much everything... after my dear friend suffered the loss of her little angel. I felt like I needed to refocus, regroup and just generally get my bearings. It was hard. Really hard. I had a really tough time coping with it for a while and then I discovered something.   I am that person. The lady that shows up with a veritable truckload of food for two people.

It helped to be able to help them. I'm at their disposal whenever they need me.

But, while dealing with tragedy, the world spins on. It's pretty much the way of things. And with the world spinning on... I have some general updates to bring everyone up to date!

Family Shout-Outs
We've had two birthdays this month - both were celebrated this past weekend. Both are such fabulous people that, really, they deserve shout outs of their own. I'm combining them because I neglected to post them on their respective birthdays.


Mother of the bride

Mom: My mom's birthday fell in the middle of last week. My mom is my hero. It's pretty much all I can say... and yet it doesn't even begin to do her justice. The woman has a strength and resilience that I can only hope to attain a shadow of in my lifetime... and yet she is possessed of  limitless warmth, compassion, wit... I could go on, but I'll stop here. I guess, to sum up, she is one of the most fabulous people I know. She taught me so much about baking, one of my favorite hobbies, and I really think that everyone should meet her. Happy Birthday (belated on the blog, not in person) Mom! I love you!



Mom and Dad
Dad: Hubs' Dad's birthday is four days after my mom's. It makes for an interesting week in Mid-October. He is a fabulously funny and caring guy. He has done nothing but make me feel like a part of the family since I met him... during an admittedly trying time in his life. He never fails to make me laugh, regardless of the mood I'm in. Happy Birthday! We love you too!








News
In other news... Hubs finally got an interview! HOORAY! Interestingly enough the company he interviewed with conducted the interview over the phone. Regardless of how he interviewed... it is done! He made it through round 2ish of the hiring process! This week he is brushing up on some math he hasn't had cause to use since high school, so that he can take a competency test on the 29th. Everyone? Keep your fingers crossed! I've got absolute faith that he'll be fine, but every little thing helps, doesn't it?

That's all I've got for today - I should be more regular around here again.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!




Monday, October 11, 2010

Still just a kid at heart

It should come as no surprise to those of you who know him well, that hubs is really just a big kid at heart. I, very occasionally, have to remind him to pick up his socks, or that the house is not a playground - and that rough-housing with the dogs is really best done outside. As you can imagine things like this, while endearing at times, can also be very frustrating. (I was not impressed the day I came home and he had to explain why one of our wedding champagne flutes had bitten the dust) At other times, however, he gets excited over the simplest of things that just hit at my heart... and truthfully makes him completely adorable.

Over the weekend Beauty and the Beast came in the mail. I hadn't told him that it was coming.. I mean seriously why should he care about a Disney animated movie? He hemmed and hawed about getting the mail Saturday night, complaining about the rain (I admit it was a little on the side of torrential downpour), but eventually he went and got it anyway. When he dropped my main unceremoniously on my lap, he asked what the package was. I shrugged and told him it was a movie and saw to the rest of the mail.

Hubs: What movie didja get?
Me: It's whatever the feature of the month is..
Hubs: Hannah Montana?
Me: Don't be snide...
Hubs: Open it!
Me: I'm getting to it..
Hubs: Open it now!
Me: Alright, Alright... I think it's a vault movie  (He perked up at this one)
Hubs: OOOOOh... which one?!?!
Me: Umm... (as I'm opening the movie) I think it's Beauty and the Beast. (I couldn't remember... it seems like they have you make a decision on your movie a month before it even ships... so I always seem to be a month off. As a result? I couldn't remember if we were getting that movie next month or if it was here now.)
Hubs: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST? I LOVE THAT MOVIE

I hope the caps gets across his excitement at the prospect of this movie being in the container... I pulled the movie out and held it up to show him that it was, indeed, Beauty and the Beast. He grabbed the darned thing, snapped a picture and sent it to his parents squeeeing the whole time over the newest addition to our movie collection. We were watching it an hour later.

It is his favorite Disney Movie.

God I love him, he cracks me up.

Rough weekend...

It was a rough weekend around Jonesville.

We attended baby Ewan's funeral on Saturday which, while a really beautiful service, was very hard on both of us. We both adore Kirsten and James and hope that we can lend them some strength as they travel this very difficult road. To read more about this family you can check here. If you would like to help them in some small way, you can visit the in memoriam page. It made it hard to focus the rest of the weekend and Hubs and I have felt out of sorts since then. The only reason we can come up with is that it was a very, VERY emotional day and we're still recovering.

Up this week? A couple of birthdays that will get their own family shout outs and a big meal train. A group of us at work are pulling together a meal for Kirsten and James on Friday, then I'm pulling another one together for her on Saturday. All in all between the birthdays, the meals, work, and life in general I think I'm going to need a vacation day or two just to sleep.

See you around the blogosphere this week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: An angel gains his wings....

Sunset in March at the Canal
Heaven gained some angels this week - One hit very close to my heart
See more at www.team-ewan.com

See more WW HERE 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Helping to shoulder the load...

It has always been my opinion that your closest friends and family are in your life to help you and share with you. In times of joy they reap in the rewards of good fortune with you. In times of sorrow they help you shoulder the load. I'm writing this post roughly 12 hours after getting a phone call that a friend hopes to never receive from another.

Hey lady..


Hey..


How are you?


We're saying goodbye tonight


....


A fairly simple exchange in and of itself, but one that is immediately altering to the dynamic of a friendship.  My first thought after I got off the phone was I will help you bear this, we will help you and yours bear this.

I have no words for the place my head and heart is in this morning. I simply know that I will help bear the burden along with many, many others. In silence, with our words, and with our actions... so many have already come together in love for this family. Little Ewan touched more lives in his two weeks on this earth than many will ever do in the decades given them. I know that I was deeply touched by his battle with CHD, his strength, and his parents' faith and understanding.

They humble me and honor me by allowing me to help bear this load.

www.team-ewan.com 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Still feels like summer

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It still feels like summer here in Washington - View from Pike Place Market

View more WW here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayers for baby Ewan

I've never been one for overt displays of religion, it really just isn't who I am. But last night, my good friend Kirsten over at www.team-ewan.com was in some serious need of prayer. She and her little, budding family still are.

Baby ewan went in for his first cath-lab last night, so that the cardiac team at Seattle Children's Hospital could map out a plan of care for this little guy. He went from there directly to emergency open heart surgery.
Suffice to say I've been up most of the night myself, praying that this beautiful, precious little baby would make it through the night. This morning, I got up after a few hours of fitful sleep to find out that Ewan did indeed pull through.... but he is far from out of the woods yet.

You don't have to be an overly religious person to help out here. You don't even need to "pray" by definition. But, if nothing else, keep this little guy and his family in your hearts. Send positive thoughts out into the universe. Perhaps stop by team-ewan.com and leave a word or two of encouragement.. you can even pass them through me.

Until then, I wait with bated breath for the next update.. and perhaps a small miracle.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Ending

Kites In the air
Kites at the beach


Lunch with a view
Dreaming of summer


Monday, September 20, 2010

Baby Ewan is here!!!


Baby Ewan joined us a couple of weeks early on Saturday morning... my good friend Kirsten over at www.team-ewan.com and her husband are overjoyed to have their little fighting angel with them at last.

Ewan has been transferred to Children's Hospital already and is undergoing tests to determine when his surgeries etc will be taking place. If you haven't visited team-ewan.com yet, drop by to learn about his story. Suffice to say we are all praying for him. 

Happy Monday, folks! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Winter is coming

I'm just going to come right out and say it...


I'm a nerd. 

I'm not an over the top, in your face sort of nerd. But I am very definitely a nerd. I'd rather be reading than nearly anything else. (I can devour 300+ pages in a few short hours) One of my favorite things is adaptations. I just cannot help but be fascinated when things go from print to screen.. and what happens in that transition. (One notable exception to this rule would have to be the travesty that was Eragon.. if you're one of the few that loved that movie, you clearly did not read the books at all)

One of my favorite series of all time are by George RR Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire. Happily enough, two years ago an announcement was made to the effect that HBO had picked up the rights to the fabulous series. I haven't talked about it much at all here, preferring to lurk over at WIC's blog, but the show was eventually picked up and will be coming to a TV near you in 2011. Principal photography is underway and, prior to True Blood's season finale on Sunday, HBO released a little featurette with behind the scenes footage. I'm excited. Heck, I'm over the moon! Take a peek:



For more information on this sure to be fabulous show, you can visit www.winter-is-coming.net , or HBO's site. I hope you'll be just as excited as I am!

Happy Birthday Seeeester!

I've been looking for a picture to do this with for the last few weeks... and I've finally found it! I may be four days late on the actual post (rest assured that I wished her a happy birthday on her special day)

Seeester's birthday was this past Saturday. For those of you keeping track... yes that is 09/11. Since that fateful day, I really think that her special day gets frequently lost in a day of remembrance... so I wanted to call it out here!

I know her weekend was fantastic and we will be continuing celebrations up at the farm this weekend. For now, check her out below.. being the goofball that I've always known and loved her to be!


067
Check one off the bucket list! Seester and Pops ride a camel.

Wordless Wednesday: Finding order in chaos...

Under Deception Pass
Under Deception Pass Bridge - Summer 2010


Find other Wordless Wednesday entries HERE!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Round Two

This weekend started out normally enough. . . Mike was going to finish up helping Alfie sod her lawn, I was headed to a baby shower for Kirsten over at Team Ewan, I fully intended to get some posts up around here along with some new pictures.

Then Mike's body decided to hit us up for round two of kidney stones for this year and everything else pretty much went out the window. Back to he hospital full of  IVs etc. Back to a pain filled world for the man. BLEH. He was told he had three in all the last time he was in back at the beginning of August, but that two of them were still in the kidneys and may never move. Guess one decided it was time to rock and roll.

As a result? I don't really have much to post about right now. We're making an appointment with the specialist today.. just keep your fingers crossed that he doesn't have to have any procedure to have this one removed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Changing Seasons

Fall is nearly here, just a few short weeks away. With fall... or really just before it "officially" begins, all of the really fall-like things start cropping up in life.

  • All the kiddos are going back to school
  • Pumpkin Spice lattes are back... and this year they brought an absolutely FABULOUS Toffee mocha with them!
  • Leaves start changing color
  • "Oscar Season" officially begins
And finally... FOOTBALL is back! I know my television will be largely monopolized with one game or another for the next few months. This year, in conjunction with back to school and football, Kenny Chesney released a new song called "The Boys of Fall". I loved the song the first time I heard it... the video though? The video is absolutely wonderful!



I'm sure that we'll hear it once or twice this season, but I really think that everyone should see the video itself.

Because I've already given you one video to watch, I figure I'll give you a twofer this Friday! It certainly isn't football related, but anyone who's read or watched Anne of Green Gables will recognize what the folks in the video are doing.



Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

absence

I know I've been slacking on posts around here... and I'm sure that you're all wondering what on earth is going on with us lately. I'll be catching everyone up soon... but for now I'm tired and at work.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Can I go back to bed?

Toby in the morning

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking 3-oh straight in the eyes

Me and Joey

The big day is tomorrow. 30. I've never thought much about age... with the exception of your typical "milestone" birthdays. With thirty upon me tomorrow, I've taken some time for reflection on my life so far... and how some things really do come full circle.

August 20th is the day my parents brought me into this world. The attending doctor that day would go on to deliver all three of my sisters as well. At the time my parents were still considered newlyweds (6 months still leaves you in that category in my opinion), living in Kirkland. That house, it turns out, was in the same neighborhood that my current boss grew up in.. probably just around the corner from his family's house.



children who lunchI may not have had the perfect childhood, but I certainly didn't have a bad one by any one's measure. I've always had the luxury of a large family and, while we aren't the closest family out there, we've always supported one another. Christmases and summer gatherings were large and raucous affairs when the "California kids" came up, yet we all managed to return to closeness after a few wary hours of looking at one another to determine how everyone had changed... but our parents, I think, Tried very hard to get us together at least once a year.
Soon, there were a total of 13 cousins. I'll let you, dear readers, make your determination of what type of mob we were.. you're probably right too. Largely we were led by our grandfather. We were just that family.

Cousins


Cousins
 Eventually, as happens in life, we all started to grow into the people that we would become. No matter how closely related people are, they are still their own people. We've all grown up now... Most of the children pictured above have children of their own now, so our horde is still growing.
ChristmastimeI cannot say that I've done anything groundbreaking with my life so far. But I've not intentionally hurt anyone, I have a steady job with a great company that I've been with since just after high school. I have many of the same friends that I had in high school, as well as some fantastic "new" ones. So, while I may not have my doctorate, I'm happy with my life, my family, and my friends. I won't be around much this weekend as I'll be busy welcoming my 30s with open arms and celebrating with my wonderful friends and family. One of my bosses just dropped off my first birthday card advising me to do whatever makes me happiest.



I intend to. Thirty is going to be great... I'll see you all on the other side of it!


Baby me


summer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Back in Time

children who lunch
circa 1983ish... maybe

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A girly weekend

This last weekend I jetted off with a couple of my favorite people (and a couple that I don't know that well) to the beach for a girls weekend. One of the gal's family has a house out there and we try to take advantage of that annually. It was lady G's birthday this weekend AND it was supposed to be HOT in the Seattle area (usually it's about 10 degrees cooler at the shores)... so it really just shaped up to the perfect time to take the trip.

I learned a couple of things this weekend:

  1. I'm running out of friends who don't have children.. or have a child on the way
  2. You learn a TON more than you bargained for when you're the only one there who doesn't
  3. Ocean Shores absolutely shattered their heat record while we were there... by something like 11 degrees.
  4. An entire town can run out of ice.
  5. Filching ice from the Shiloh is a hell of a lot easier than anyone ever anticipated...
Friday night we all hit a little dive bar in town for some fun and karaoke. It was a good time, if a bit short due to lady M and I arriving quite late into town.

Saturday:
We were busy little bees on Saturday... after dragging our butts out of bed. We had breakfast at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino and then hit up the casino for some morning luck. Let's be honest here... our aim was drinking money that wouldn't impact any one's budget for that night.

From there we decided to hit the beach (it wasn't scorching hot yet). While I had not forgotten that you are allowed to drive onto this particular beach, the ramifications of that allowance had not hit me. I've hit the beach on a hot day in Cali and Jersey.. even Oregon.. I know what to expect: A ton of people. For some reason it didn't occur to me that a ton of people at a beach where you can drive out onto it and park roughly translates to chillin in a parking lot that happens to have waves.

Ocean Shores


But you deal with what you've got... right? Also? The fact that everyone was parked on the beach lent itself to some free entertainment!

Oops...
This is what happens when you leave your car parked below the tide line... then leave it.


By the time we were done at the beach for the day, we were hot... and hungry. You can see the picture from where we had lunch that afternoon in the previous post. It was beautiful. Hot.. but beautiful. Afterwards we went back to the house to have a drink or two before we started thinking about dinner... or what trouble we might want to cause that evening. You might note from the things I learned that there was some filching of ice due to the entire city of Ocean Shores being out. By entire, I mean that even the McDonald's ran out.

We had a great time this weekend, but were all happy to head home on Sunday morning. Happy summer folks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to reality

It's back to reality this week. I'll flesh out a full recap of the fabulous girls weekend later today or tomorrow... but I just thought I'd drop in and say hi in the mean time. Mr Anoki was pleased as peaches to see me when we rolled in yesterday morning. However, I can say I was hoping for less heat when I got back... I did not get it.

With record breaking temps knocking around the PNW summer is letting us know that it is certainly not gone yet. I love the excuse to break out the flip-flops, shorts and some snappy tanks... but I will also say that I would love for it to be just a smidgen cooler. Cool enough for me to sleep at night would be a start. It is coming, we'll be cooler tomorrow. Which means I'll feel more like turning on the computer. Until then I'll leave you with this a shot that I took from a little deli where we had lunch on Saturday.

Lunch with a view
View from the Shrimpboat Deli - the only true on the beach eatery in Ocean Shores

Friday, August 13, 2010

Away she goes

Pet Me?

I'm off to the beach for a girls weekend in a few hours. It will likely result in too much alcohol consumed and likely a roaring good time. In the mean time we'll all be leaving the boys (Husbands, Sons and dogs) home to beat the heat on their own ... it's supposed to get pretty warm here this weekend by Seattle standards. Pictures will, of course, be forth coming.

What are all of you up to this weekend?

Meringues - A little tasty treat from heaven

Anyone who knows me really well knows that my go to cookie of the past few years is the meringue. They're highly versatile and you can do just about anything with them both flavor-wise and decoratively. At Christmastime I pipe them out with little red or green stripes then dip them in minty chocolaty goodness. In the summer I sprinkle them with some of Jell-o's more creative flavors (margarita etc) to create light little summer treats. But, beyond anything else, I love that they're so diet friendly. There aren't a ton of calories, there's no fat, and they're gluten/soy/dairy free.

Yesterday we had a baby shower for one of the gals at work. She's one of my favorite people (a link to her little baby Ewan's blog is on the right) and happens to be gluten intolerant. So, I decided to whip up some meringue cookies to add to the festivities... but do them in the style of baby. I attempted these adorable "rubber duckies" courtesy of celiacfamily.com, however they came out looking less like ducks and more like... well... I'm not sure I want to mention what they looked like.

Regardless, I went back to the drawing board and decided that I wanted to make rattles. A very babyesque design choice. When you see the pictures you're going to think lollipop... and I would have to agree... but they're still stinkin cute! Below you'll find the recipe for the meringues themselves and a picture of the finished product.

Meringue Lollies



Meringue Cookies:
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2/3 cup of sugar (I prefer to use baking sugar as it is extremely fine and dissolves faster)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
  • Using either a double boiler or a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water (water level NOT touching the bowl, just below) beat the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and half of the sugar together using a whisk..
  • Continue mixing/beating until sugar is completely dissolved and the eggs are beginning to look frothy. (The mixture should be slightly warm to the touch)
  • Remove from heat and, using an electric mixer, continue beating the mixture until soft peaks form.
  • Add the remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure it dissolves before the next addition. (I always need to scrape the sides of my bowl after each addition... y'know so the sugar actually winds up in the cookies?)
  • Continue beating until thick and glossy.
  • Pipe, spoon... aw heck do whatever you want to get them cookies to the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Put into your warm oven for a total of two hours. If you're using two sheets, be sure to rotate them 2x during the baking process.
  • Store your little treats in an air tight container - otherwise they may become gooey... and not in a good way.
For the cookies posted above: I piped them onto the cookie sheet then gently added cookie sticks to them. Because we used different colors throughout, I simply grabbed some paint (cleaned/new) brushes that I use for food coloring and painted a small amount directly onto the cookies. For an even cooler look, use a star tip on your piping bag and paint a couple of lines of food coloring up the inside before you fill it with the meringue.

Your climate/oven etc will affect how your cookies bake. If they are still a bit soft at the end of baking time, I will sometimes simply turn the oven off and leave them overnight.

Also? I have never attempted this recipe in a convection oven.. so I have no words of advice there.

What do you think of them?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Deception Pass - Looking ahead
Looking ahead, looking up


Monday, August 9, 2010

Mia with... MIA!

Mia and Mari in Leavenworth

Mia was in town this past weekend. It had been just shy of three years since the last time I saw her. Being one of my favorite people, I was super excited. (Heck... I moved with her to New Jersey...I really hope I like her)  To celebrate her first visit to the Seattle area since she left 10 years ago we decided to hit up some of the places she missed last time she was here.

Thursday morning dawned beautifully and Hubs and I were really looking forward to cracking out the last couple of things we needed to get accomplished before Mia's arrival that night. Unfortunately, we started the day in the ER. . . discovering that the poor guy is a kidney stone production factory. Suffice to say, he was in pain. He's still working on passing... or not passing a rather large one, so you'll understand when I say he was a trooper this weekend. He hung in there for most of our escapades all weekend. And let me tell you... when we get together, we can sometimes be a handful.

At any rate, it was a jet setting weekend!

Friday morning we all got up early and headed up to Deception Pass. It's really quite beautiful up there, however Washington decided to roll out the fog and mist for the day.

Deception Pass


When we'd finally given up on seeing the bridge from the beach below, of course the fog started to lift and we were treated to a truly haunting sight! We moved up to the top of the bridge to walk across and enjoy the vistas. While we were there, we also discovered that you can walk under the bridge!

Under Deception Pass


We lunched at the La Conner Brewing Company with some fabulous pizza and amazing smoked cheddar dip. After which we finally decided to head home. For Dinner we hit the crab pot (one of the few things Mia requested was excellent crab... this place has it!)and finally called it a day.

Leavenworth


Saturday was dinner at Jak's with a mutual friend of Mia's and mine along with some much needed lazing about. Yesterday, we headed off to Leavenworth to show her our cute little Bavarian village. We had lunch at a small place right in the middle of town, where the staff looked like viable candidates for the cast of Waiting 3. We're all back now, Mia has jetted back off to California... we will miss her terribly, but hope she comes back to visit soon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anticipation

Mia is coming up for a much needed visit... she arrives tomorrow and I can hardly wait. For those of you who don't know, Mia and I met while we were both working in an Accounts Payable department some... oh. I'm actually no longer sure how long ago it was. I think we're closing in on 10 years though. YIKES!

At any rate, I like to think we were kindred spirits. Regardless of what we were, we became friends. While she was in Seattle we had a blast. She moved to OK in 2001 just after 9/11, and we spent the eeriest couple of days driving there with zero air traffic. Unlike most cases where one friend moves to another part of the country and you lose touch, we managed to stay in contact and stay close. So, when she was getting ready to jet off to the east coast, she asked if I'd like to join her.

We lived out there for a while - I've lost track of the exact timing and really, it doesn't matter how long I was out there with her. What matters is that we managed that as well. I've since, obviously, made my way back to Seattle and Mia has settled in the great state of California with her absolutely wonderful husband. This is the first time she's been back to Seattle in a while... actually I think it may be the first since she's left. I'll be out and about with her while she's here... but look for an update about the trouble we caused while she was here!


California 2007 054

Watch out Seattle... we're coming for you!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Catching up

I have some catching up to do. I apologize dear readers (what there are of you) for not getting some up sooner. But, better late than never... right? Here are some shots from our trip to Wisconsin, as well as the Father's Day trip to the zoo with my very own pops and sisters!

The capitol building in Madison, WI... obviously at night
Madison was an absolutely beautiful city. I fell in love with it for so many reasons that I cannot begin to list all of them. Yes, it is a college town, but it has such rich history and really neat people. I snapped this shot between down pours while Hubs, coz, and I were bar hopping. Hello? College town, did you expect us not to?

The great Thunder River
The Thunder River was a treat on our final day in the great north. I learned two things about it: 1? It does not thunder. 2? I was reminded of how much a river bottom impacts the color of the river itself. This one is clay and mud. The river? It's that brownish yellow color that is somewhat off-putting in water.

It's a Scamp... it's where we stayed at the cabin. Yes, it is as small as it looks.
The Jones' were very, very kind to us while in the great north. There were far more people than beds or square footage in the little cabin we visited, so Uncle Bob brought his trailer up for us. I was not anticipating its size, however it was very nice not to have to sleep on a floor or in a tent in the land of ticks.

Le Tiger at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Beautiful boy that one!


My sister and dad on a camel.. I know, it's fairly obvious. One thing off their bucket list!
Little known fact: Point Defiance Zoo offers rides on camels. My crazy sister and father took them up on the offer. Baby sister and I? We took the opportunity to capture the moment on film in between fits of laughter. The camel doesn't look impressed with the walk like an Egyptian move that dad has put on.

Adorable little arctic fox. He's between coats right now, so please excuse the mad scientist look.
Now that we're all caught up, we can continue with our regularly scheduled program. We have a wedding this weekend, you can bet there will be pictures from that. Mia is in town next weekend (watch out Seattle, we're taking seafair by storm this year!) then my big 3-0 is the weekend following that. I will not fall behind again! I hope.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My first foray into the gluten free world...

I'm one of those people who absolutely hates it when a friend or coworker's dietary restrictions are overlooked at an event. Friends who are lactose or gluten intolerant are frequently left to provide their own food, as though the food the can eat is somehow less tasty.

I began thinking about this as a girlfriend of mine is undergoing testing for a number of conditions that may be related to a brush with anaphylaxis shock last week. Her reaction to the news that she was being tested for celiac disease was immediate and virulent. It brought to harsh light the realities of how people can feel about something like this condition (for a better look at what celiac is exactly visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness).  Another girlfriend of mine, also a coworker, is having a baby and thus, logically, a shower is in the works for her. This is an emotionally trying time for her (prayers for her little, growing family are certainly needed. Visit Team-Ewan.com to show your support for this beautiful family) and one of my concerns is always that her gluten intolerance is overlooked at functions that we as a department or team have. As such, I'm making forays into the gluten free world.. so that if/when a shower is planned for her I can ensure that she has goodies which she can also consume.

My first foray, such as it was, involved Betty Crocker's new gluten free cake mix. I figured that they're normal mixes were decent so it might be a good place to start. I will interject here with the fact that, while a baker, I know absolutely nothing about baking gluten free. After doing some quick research I established that, with Hubs not working at this time, going completely from scratch would not be cost effective.  So off we went to the store to see what our local grocer carried.... answer? Everything but the chocolate mix I wanted to try. My goal here is cupcakes. They're cute, easily decorate-able for a baby shower... and easy to transport. I flubbed the instructions on the back of the box a bit, I will admit.... it specifically called for gluten free vanilla. I used what I had on hand...but I'll fix that in the non trial run (if I establish that mine is actually gluten containing) My goal here? To see if I and others in the house liked these cupcakes. As a gluten consuming household I figured if we liked them... they'd probably be a good way to go! I'll say they weren't as sweet as I think of cake being... but it wasn't in an off-putting way. We're hoping to try the chocolate to determine if that one will be sweeter. Maybe I'll do a marble of both... who knows!

If I don't like the results of the next two tests I already have a back up in mind... we'll test that one this weekend. What? You want to know what that back up is? Oh all right here it is: Wheatless in Seattle! Every single thing at this wonderful establishment is gluten and wheat free. One other thing? They provide some of their tasties to places like Romio's. If it's the same cheese cake that I fell in love with years ago... then we're already BFFs!

Well friends, I'll leave you with this for now... I apologize for getting a little long winded... hopefully future posts on this particular subject (if there are any) will not be quite so long.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Looking out on Puget Sound from the Seattle Aquarium - Taken with my Camera Phone


This past weekend hubs and I desperately needed out of the house, which is no easy feat when you're facing down the next month of bills with half of your income lost due to unemployment. Or rather it was no easy feat... until we remembered that we had free passes to the Seattle Aquarium! We quickly realized that, with the free passes and an already full tank of gas, we really wouldn't be spending more than the cost of parking!

So, off we went.

There are some places that automatically turn people into kids again. The aquarium... any aquarium... is one of them. Something about being someplace you can see and touch creatures you would normally never even really see does that to people. OH! And don't forget those folks who make their living diving in those tanks, much to the delight of the general public.

The Aquarium in Seattle has been recently remodeled and I must say, they have done a fabulous job. Gone are most of the standard square viewing windows in the wall to show you a tank. Gone are the poorly lit signs, telling you what fish you were looking at, that you can barely read in an aquarium setting. These have been replaced with tanks mimicking actual waves hitting tidal pools, caves to walk into, uniquely shaped tanks that you can actually walk all the way around. The signs have been replaced with monitors mostly.

We had a blast while we were there. We spent time watching the sea otters play and the puffins dive. We watched divers in two of the three big tanks. And when we were done? We wandered the waterfront area enjoying the colorful people that any touristy area attracts. One of the new waterfront features is a cruise ship dock, which was particularly busy this day loading people onto the Norwegian Pearl (part of Norwegian Cruise Line). We'll be getting out a lot in the coming weeks as August is typically one of our busiest times of the year... so more pictures will be forthcoming!

What did you do this weekend my dears?

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I don't have a whole lot to contribute today, so I thought I'd share a picture from last summer. Pictures from our current summer are still in the works. One of these days I'll actually get them uploaded!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer...

Summer has finally settled in around the pacific northwest. . . she took her sweet time about getting here, but get here she did! I know it's been a while since I've posted, dear friends and family, but I'll see if I can catch you up in relatively short order.

I warn you that this may be a long post... I just checked and realized that it's been since we purchased the bike that I've put anything up.. a lot has happened since then. Apparently I really need to get back on the blogging horse!

We have jetted off to Wisconsin and made it back with all of our luggage, selves and sanity intact! One of us has had a birthday (it's the big 30 for both of us this year), a dear friend has brought a beautiful baby girl into the world, several others are set to bring their own new additions into the world this year, a job has been lost (to add to the still growing numbers of unemployed in this country), and finally we're gearing up for the rest of the summer with friends and family galore.  Pull up a seat and we'll talk about it all after the break!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Wrap Up on a Friday

Well gang, it's been a bit since we last got together for our wrap up and I apologize for that. Since we're here though, we may as well wake up over a cup of coffee and some wrap up!

 
We purchased a bike last weekend for me. My old one was a hand-me-down and much heavier a frame than I liked. After many hours of searching, we finally landed in The Sports Authority at which time we discovered a sale... and I do love me some sale! Suddenly, there it was. We initially bypassed the bike that would be mine, due to it looking so dang small. But, after checking out a number of other bikes we discovered that it was pretty much perfect!

The newly acquired bike (read: instrument of torturous fun) has been used a couple of times now. I have the following thoughts on it.

  • I never knew my backside could hurt this badly. Not in the I've worked those muscles sort of way... more in the sitting on the small hard seat sort of way.
  • Things are NOT just like riding a bicycle..you can forget certain things. i.e. the front brakes idiom... or how to change gears/what said gears are.
  • Going down big hills is not as fun at almost 30 as it was at 12.
  • Mike and I are going to have so much fun with the bikes it's kind of ridiculous. Summer, here we come!
Regardless of the fact that I am woefully out of shape, or that my knee truly hates this bicycle I have purchased. . . I'm having tons of fun. I love it. We're hitting the slough trail this weekend for something a little less hill-intensive and a fairly long ride. Ibuprofen and an ice pack will be awaiting the knee at the other side.

In other news, I've joined up with many other women at work in a "Biggest Loser" competition. Certainly there will be a prize for losing the most at the end of the competition... but it's more about supporting each other, while working in an office environment.

See you next time gang!