Friday, August 28, 2009

What we've been up to

Enjoying lots of garden treats... Marinated chicken, zucchini, tomato, basil , feta pasta,
I was thinking what to do with all the squash, and wanting the kids to eat some. So we made vegetable tempura. It was tasty but I didn't have any dipping sauce which would have make it a lot tastier,

Kateri has to practice with her tap shoes in the garage for now. Maybe we could get a square of something to put on top of the hard wood when it gets cold out.

Pippin makes up his own ballet pose.

Kateri tries on her new things.

She is super excited to start her pre ballet/tap class on Thursday.

Audrey got new tights and looks like she may need new shoes too. They decided to get dressed up and do a performance for us. It was sweet watching Audrey patiently giving Kateri cues and Kateri following one step behind. It was a very enjoyable show.

Cyril decided he wanted a baby crocodile- after I nixed the tarantula and scorpion or anything else that could hide in my bed and bite me- and started making a "home" for it. I thought it was pretty clever. He did it all himself, including setting the 2x4. I love the fountain, although afterwards he wondered how we could water the garden. And he snuck a bit of my sea salt out too. After some investigating, and a trip to the pet store this morning, he is getting used to the idea of a lizard of some kind, especially one that looks like a crocodile.

Super Man has been super good about using the toilet this week. I was low on diapers and decided we should just bite the bullet. He was a little bummed the first day. Then I got him pull ups, which were not completely a success. Finally I bribed him with a sticker chart. 5 stars and he can have turn playing Halo. I had taken it away a while back for various reasons. He was very motivated and the first day earned a turn. Then he started telling me all about the laser guns and the "ghostes" or something like that and aiming at various inanimate objects in the game then filling htem full of holes . I think he is caught on now and I think in a week or so he'll have it down.

As I was loading the pictures I realized there were some from our Palau trip still on the card. It thought this one was very peaceful and relaxing and a nice way to start the week end.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Xavier Rudd at the Crystal Ballroom

We had a great trip to Portland last week. The weather was very nice, the hotel was great, the food was amazing, and I got to shake hands with Xavier Rudd. We both did. We got to the Ballroom and hour before it was to begin and found a spot right against the rail. The instruments were all draped but it seemed we would have a great view no matter what. However, after Jeremy Fisher and Isaac performed- which we enjoyed-they uncovered them and we found we had an incredible view. Just on the other side of the railing, 8 feet in front of us, were the long polished didgeridoos. We really had the best spot. We were surprised at how few tickets had been bought in advance and for Jeremy and Isaac the room was only 1/2 full. Which was nice and roomy for us. But it did fill up as the evening went on and made for a hot- no air conditioning- and cozy- cramped-night.
I was a little concerned when the audience started jumping in unison for an encore. We were on the third floor of and old building and with every thud the floor shook. I was remembering stories of dance floors caving in at weddings. But the floor held. And the big annoying guy who thought we were supposed to be slam dancing was asked to leave. And the other guy who thought he needed to scream "PORTLAND LOVES YOU" every few minutes eventually got a sore throat. So it all worked out. I liked that he plays bare foot. My mom would approve. I also like that Shane took all the pictures. With the floor and crowd moving I'm sure mine would have turned out blurry. But Shane got some very good ones. I think. We got to shake hands with the other guitarist as well. I think the drummer was too exhausted to move. I can't imagine how it would feel to play aboriginal drum beats for two hours in the heat. I was impressed.

Shane was so inspired by it all, he has decided he wants to get a didgeridoo. Although I'm sure once he gets proficient at playing he'll want another one. And the kids have plans to get drums and guitars "and tambourines'", adds Audrey. And we'll just start up a little family band. It could be fun, even if we don't go platinum.
We had the most amazing salad at Jake's Grill. I've been trying to recreate it but so far its not perfect. It was Hermestin (sp?) watermelon, feta, frisee, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It was so light and juicy and incredible. I think the watermelon really makes a difference. The one I tried to use was not overly flavorful. And the produce man at the third store I tried, informed me that the California sun had fried all the frisee a couple months ago. Which explained why no one had any. I'm adding that to my garden next year for sure. But I can work on the other parts until then. I think they might have doused the watermelon slab and the frisee in some salted water. I"ll try that nest time as well.
We had better luck re-creating the the haystack onions, which came on top of my kobe beef and mashed potatoes. All the recipes I could find were like onion rings. But these were like thin ribbons and almost like a potato chip but not too crispy. So Trudy suggested we just slice them super thin, toss them in a little flour and fry them. It worked and they were delicious. They would be good on burgers or in salads or with mashed potatoes and steak. I used a Walla Walla onion. Which , since I am not a huge onion fan, worked very well.

Friday, August 14, 2009


At least as far as I know.

A few weeks ago Kateri lost her first tooth. She was very brave and asked me to pull it out. I think partly because she is brave, and partly because she knew Cyril had let me pull one of his out and the Tooth Fairy was so impressed she paid him double the usual rate.

Well it came out with a little tug and the Tooth Fairy ponied up the extra money.

She has another one that is getting close but I tried last night and it was not quite ready. Maybe this week-end. I'm a little worried about her speach with two teeth missing. Its a little rough already. She has her hearing appointment next month. So far it has not changed for the worse, which is good. But we'll see how it compares to last year's.

The big kids swim lessons are going well. Last lesson they both seemed to get the arms down. It was neat to see them gliding across the pool. We are signing them up for lessons for the school year. I figured its better than waiting for summer.

We've signed Kateri up for pre-ballet this year. She is super excited. I'm looking forward to seeing her in a leotard and tights. I think she'll pretty much steal the Christmas Recital. so next week we'll have two ballerinas twirling around the house. Should be good times. Although I would not be surprised if she wanted to do jazz in stead. Or she could do tap. Who knows what she'll pick.

Speaking of summer. It has been missing here the past week. At first I was happy for the cool weather. But then it got ridiculous and we've been wearing long pants and shirts and even jackets when we go out. And I was very sad for all my green tomatoes just sitting there. Being green. Cyril suggested a heat lamp but now they are saying the coming week is supposed to get hot again. Shane says its time to go to Leavenworth for bratwurst and beer. Maybe this week end before it gets warm again.

On other progress, I have been taking the Rebif for 6 weeks now and so far so good. No nasty side effects and I only take 1 advil on "shot nights". The nurse was impressed. Although I asked the Dr if I could stay on the mid dose for longer than the 2 weeks suggested. He said sure. So when I do jump to the double dose it might be different. But I am hoping not. And I am also hoping the MRI at the end of the month shows some effectivness. I do like the 3x a week dosage. Its fun to have the weekends off. And ever since I rejected the Rebiject even those shot nights are not bad. The manual injections are pretty much painless. The needles are so thin and sharp I hardly feel them. ( And not because I can't feel) I was worried about going to the bigger dose because it stung so much to inject the drugs and the next dosage will be twice as concentrated. But I'm feeling a little more bullish about it now. But I'm going to try staying at this dose as long as I can, and maybe for me its enough. I hope.

Shane and I are going to see Xavier Rudd next week in Portland. I'm really looking forward to it. And we'll get to spend the night and see some sights. I've never been to Portland before so it will be fun to check out some new places. I'd like to go to Shorey's and look at books. I've been getting the school things ready and would like to fill in a few blank spots on the shelves.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Home Ec.

We had a very productive week-end and we all felt it was a success. So many week-ends, at least over here, we have" gotten through." And when it was over, you weren't really sure what you did. Well, this last week end was better and though some of the goals were last minute, we at least had some and things got done. My first endeavor was trying to replicate Trader Joe's Vegetable Bird Nests. They are so tasty but we were out, and I wanted to see what I could do. It wasn't until after I made them I found the box, read the ingredients, and formulated a better recipe to try next time. These ones were ok, but not as light an airy. I did use potatoes in mine so that made it more like a potato pancake. But the flavor was good and we had left over dipping sauce from the previous night, I'm telling you they are very addictive. Our next few projects were inspired by a dress I bought last week. It needed some "tweaking" so Tiri and I went to the fabric store to get some thread. I only have one bobbin, so every time I did a new project I would have to wind over, or unwind the previous color thread. It sounds stupid, but I couldn't find the right size bobbin and had several "wrong sized" ones floating around. Well, this time I got it right and was so excited I came home and wound several bobbins. Just so they would be ready.

The girls were excited about sewing and I was excited to teach them. As happens often, I found an old sheet and found some new uses for it. Audrey made her first sewing machine project- a pillow. She is very interested in going back to the fabric store and picking out a pattern to make herself some clothes. I will be very careful to teach her the patient, thoughtful method of sewing. Which is not my style. I usually look for the short cut and end up paying for it. Once I pinned the seam from the wrong side and was too lazy to re pin it. And in reaching across to pull the pins out, ended up with half a sewing machine needle sticking out my index finger. I've had zippers in backwards, large quantities of satin eaten by feed dogs, bodice pieces accidentally caught in seams they didn't belong. And that was all the same dress. So I will be diligent in teaching the girls to sew thoughtfully. And hopefully I'll learn some new habits too.

I was very careful about this dress because I really didn't want to ruin it. I found it at Target getting things for Kateri's party. I didn't want to take four kids to the dressing room so I just got the smallest size and planned on returning it if it didn't work out. It was very strangely fit, with small shoulders and arms, but really loose around the rib cage. It had a sewn in band around the waist and I knew if I took it off, that would be the end of it. After two days of basting it various ways I finally settled on adding darts all the way through the waist band. It actually worked. And it fits.

As does Kateri's new skirt. Its amazing how many projects you can get our of one king sized sheet. I really do like sheets. I've made curtains, valances, quilts, dresses, and now pillows and skirts using sheets. But don't tell the Home Owners Association. We've already gotten pinged on not watering our tiny patch of grass in front. They don't need to know our front window coverings are courtesy some old bedding.

Shane's projects were finishing the front gate. No one had complained about the baby gates I had roped together there, but we figured it was time anyway. He also worked on the garage, which means I have lots of kids shoes and clothes to go through. Later.

I really like the gate and the next day had some help from Super Man putting on the stain. So all in all it was a good week-end. The weather has been cloudy and very fallish and just right for indoor projects. It has been a long time, but I think I do feel a rash of sewing projects coming. I still have a lot of windows to cover.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6 Going on 30

KatThat would be Kateri. I can't wait until her age catches up with her abilities. So far she is ok, except for not being able to drive. The other day she asked if she could unlock the car. We were on our way to the store so I gave her the keys and went to grab my purse and shopping list. when I came out she was standing at the bottom of the steps grinning.

"Can you hear that?" she asked.

"Hear what?" Then I paused to listen.

"Kateri, did you start the car?"

She grinned harder and nodded her head.
I don't know why I was surprised. I guess I'd better start hiding the keys.
She loves to play Scrabble. She mostly makes up her own words, complete with original spellings, definitions, and pronunciations.

For her birthday breakfast, she decided she wanted to treat everyone to pancakes and bacon. I made the bacon she made the pancakes using her new butterfly spatula from Grandma Trudy.

Showing off her new things. Kateri used her birthday money from Grandma Mac to buy a flower clock for her room.

More treats from Grandma Mac. The kids are always so excited to get her cards. She was very thoughtful and shared the balloons and gum with the other kids.

Here is the little princess with the model of her future home. Designed and created by Grandma Trudy, who I think will have the title of Royal Chef as soon as construction on the new dwelling is done.