Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There's a frog in the house --- Can we keep him?

Big N found a friend in his bedroom window this morning. He was tiny, green and fast.

Both kids wanted to keep him, but we talked about how much fun the frog had jumping and how he would not be able to jump inside his glass.

Big N talked to the frog for a while and then we walked him over to the irrigation ditch in front of our house to let him go play with his friends. Both kids waved to him and Big N yelled out, "Good-bye, froggie! We will miss you!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shrieking child

My son can shriek louder than anything or anyone. I am upstairs in my office and my ears are ringing with the high pitch screams coming from my son somewhere downstairs. I can only assume that our wonderful nanny, M, has completely lost her hearing by this point, poor woman. The tone is just lower than that of a dog whistle, high enough to be extremely painful and low enough to hear. I've heard it close up, the entire mountain echoed with a similar version of this shriek when Big N got snow in his shoes. The child has quite a set of lungs.

At least he sounds like he is having a blast and not having his toe nails ripped out. Not to mention, he's not doing it in a restaurant or the library. Since I have no photos of him screaming, nor would you really want to see that, I'll share a cute one of him with his sister.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I had the bright idea that I wanted to make pickles. It had a little to do with the big box of pickling cucumbers at the farmer's market last week next to the jalepeno peppers.

The recipe I decided on uses the following ingredients:

* Fresh cucumbers
* water
* pickling salt
* jalapeno peppers
* grape leaves (fresh)
* whole peppercorns
* whole garlic cloves (peeled)
* fresh dill sprigs
* white vinegar (5% distilled - commonly sold in stores)
* crushed red peppers

The first major issue was finding a canning pot. Buying one new was more of an investment than I wanted to make for a first pass, just in case I wanted nothing to do with this ever again. If I enjoy making pickles, I will find one for next year. Luckily, one of the mom's in the Ellensburg Mom's group had one that she was willing to part with for a weekend. Thanks, Jennifer!

The next blocking issue was finding grape leaves. After reading some sites, grape leaves are not absolutely necessary, but they do make the pickles crisp. Luckily for me, Dad is growing grapes and I asked him if I could have a handful. I'm a fan of crisp pickles, so this was a must try.

Finally, I needed to find some cucumbers. I bought just under 2 dozen from the farmer's market this Saturday. I also found some dill, but no peppers. On Friday, while weeding our garden, we had 8 great looking cucumbers that weren't too big. I decided to pickle those, as well. Pete found some peppers at a fruit stand in Thorp on Saturday since they were out at the market. I don't know what I used, but the owner said they were hot.

The pickling wasn't that hard. You prepare your cucumbers, stuff the sterilized jars and boil your brine. Then add the brine and put the jars into the canning pot. 15 minutes and take them out to cool. I ended up doing 2 batches and only 2 of the jars didn't seal. I also made some pickled dill green beans for Pete. This was a suggestion from Dina over the phone the other night. I am seriously missing the over the fence conversations.

The pickles look good! I'll open a jar in about a week and try some. My guess is the pickles will be hot. My fingers are still stinging from pushing some dill into one of the open jars after I had added the brine. The hot peppers had already made an impression on the cucumbers. I completely forgot to add the peppercorns, but I think they will still be hot.

The jar in the photo uses cucumbers from our garden. It is the prettiest jar in the batch. The pickling cucumbers really shrunk during the processing and seem to float to the top of the jars. The cucumbers from my garden were just mature, without a lot of seeds, but they were significantly larger than the pickling cucumbers.

Since this was an experiment, I made rounds, spears and whole pickles. I pricked the whole cucumbers with a fork to make sure they got some flavor into them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PIzza Night!

The kids each made their own pizza this evening. We made dough earlier and then used a jarred pizza sauce. Both kids wanted peas, corn and apples on their pizzas with cheese. We had no complaints at dinner time, except when we tried to take a bite.

Missing Shoreline

It's been a tough couple weeks. It's not just the kids that miss our old haunts.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Train Ride

The first time big N ever saw the life size Thomas was when he was 2 years old. We drove up to snoqualmie and had not told him who he was going to see. While we were looking for parking he was in the back seat, chatting a mile a minute. We drove by Thomas and suddenly there was complete and utter silence from the back seat. About 30 seconds later, big N whispered, "Turn around! Go back! That was Thomas!"

We took the kids out to Day out with Thomas. This is Big N's third ride on Thomas and the first year he didn't cover his ears due to the train horn. Well, he had them covered the minute we pulled up and wouldn't take them off his ears for a bit. We finally got on the train and the main train blew his horn. Big N looked over and tentatively uncovered his ears. It occurred to him that it wasn't so bad. He relaxed and really enjoyed the ride. He waved at everyone along the road and then chatted with a buddy across the aisle when we came up over snoqualmie falls.

Big N was chatting the entire ride. I have hardly any photos of him not talking.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big N's first fish

Big N reeled this one in all by himself.

We just got back from a family trip to Mt Baker. The weather was gorgeous, the kids had a blast and we did a lot of dog walking. Ok, fine, I'll admit it, my husband did a ton of dog walking.

We rented a cabin about 20 miles below the ski resort near Glacier, Washington. We spent one day up near the top and the kids got to play in snow in their shorts and tennis shoes. Both kids kept asking why we didn't borrow their friend and former neighbor's sled. Not to mention, "where are my snow clothes, mommy?" Big N did get upset when he got snow inside his shoe and he let the entire mountain know what he thought of that.

Picture lake was beautiful. The name was exactly right. There was a small paved path all the way around the lake to keep the rest of the meadow natural. The kids were really good about staying on the path and enjoyed looking at the birds and plants.

The kids both tried fishing with dad, Little N wasn't as successful as Big N. She would get excited when her rod would move and she would shake the fish off the hook. Then she would attempt to reel the fish in. Her dad would work on the knot after each bite. Big N was a little easier on his rod. He reeled in three fish and then told us he was reeling in Nemo and putting him in his backpack. He'll show you Nemo if you ask him, his pretend fish.

Vacation was sweet! We need to to do this type of thing more often.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No one to talk to!

Big N had to go to bed early this evening. He was very upset when I calmly covered him up in his bed and I finally got him to tell me why it was so awful. I was expecting he was upset he was missing his good night show or his book but it wasn't that.

"If I go to bed now, I won't have anyone to talk to." He sobbed the whole sentence out holding the last syllable like an opera singer hitting a whole note as his big, fat tears poured down his cheeks.

I of course felt awful, but I managed to feel better about it when I checked on him 15 minutes later and he was sound asleep.

The kid's are sharing a room right now and I didn't realize how much they enjoyed being together. I thought it was sweet when Big N peaked out to find his sister's favorite blanket on occasion or when she helped him find teddy. It looks like it is more than that.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Those are good polka dots

We took the kids to see a fireworks show this evening. This was the first official fireworks show they have ever been to. On the 4th of July, we were able to see the town show from our back porch. We also had a 365 degree view of all the neighbor's fireworks. We are just outside the city limits, which means that it is legal to set off large fireworks in your front yard. Our not so near neighbors did so and they outlasted the town show.

Both kids loved the fireworks, yelling out the colors in the sky and pointing in the direction of each one since they were all over. They both crashed hard after it was done and slept in this morning.

The kids did so well on the 4th that we decided to surprise them and head over to Pioneer Days in Cle Elum, the next town over for the show on the 5th of July. Big N has never been a fan of loud noises, so we haven't been brave enough to do this in the past. He was so excited after the night before that we thought he might be ready. He did point out that the stars made the sky look beautiful when he looked up prior to the start of the show.

Once the show began, Big N was having a blast. Some of the really loud ones bothered him. Once the big ones only designed to deafen started to go off, Big N pulled my hands over his ears. He burrowed in so far that he fell asleep! Little N sat in front of Daddy and hardly flinched. Some of the brighter ones bothered her eyes, but she ooohhhed and ahhed with the best of them. At the end of the show, she looks over towards us and says, "Those are good polka dots, Daddy."

Happy fourth of July.

Happy Guy Socks

Big N is loving his socks! He's had that grin on his face since he tried both socks on. I'm happy with how they came out, but even happier with how much they are appreciated. I hope he doesn't grow out of them too fast.