Friday, December 30, 2011

Some quiet time

I am not posting as much as I used to. I'm not sure what changed, I definitely have things to say. I am feeling as if I am talking to myself these days. Perhaps it is working by myself that is doing it. I am spending so much time alone that I don't need to write notes to myself, too. I need to find an outlet that involves real people.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Girls like dinosaurs, too!

Princess dinosaur Hat

Auntie Sarah gave Big N a dinosaur hat when he was three. He still loves this hat and it miraculously still fits now that he is almost 8. Little N tries to steal it on occasion, which never ends well for her. However, I can see her point. What is not to love about wearing spikes on your head?

Big N wearing his hat

When I spoke to Little N about making her a dinosaur hat, she was very specific on the color combination. It had to be pink. It had to be purple. It had to be all that and made for a princess. It also could not have purple spikes.

Little N helped me make the pattern. We traced Big N's hat and added a 1/2 inch seam allowance. She then cut out the pattern pieces for me. I opted to sew it when she was in bed to surprise her this morning.

Little N was thrilled! I skipped the velcro chin closure because it covers her ears just fine. I think it looks a little more feminine as it is.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apple Pie Jam

This jam is awesome! I make this from the apples off of our tree in the fall. The jam tastes like an apple pie in a jar. It is delicous on toast, delightful on ice cream and to die for as part of your glaze on an easter ham.

Enjoy the recipe! It is best made with fresh apples from a fruit stand. Stick to the apples that are good for baking. Golden delicious and Brauban apples are wonderful in this jam.

Apple Pie Jam

About 8-10 fresh apples
2 Tablespoons real lemon juice (no bottled juice!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 box pectin
4 Cups white sugar
1 Cup packed brown sugar

Peel, chop and finely dice the apples. There should 4 cups of apples. Pack the diced apples into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add water to the apples to fill space between the apples and fill to the 4 cup line on the measuring cup.

Put the apples, the water, fresh lemon juice into a large pan. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the pectin and stir. Bring the mixture to a full boil. When you can no longer stir down the boiling apple mixture, add the white and brown sugars. Stir continuously and return to a full boil that you can no longer stir down. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel and cover with a lid and ring.

Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Very Persuasive

Little N is in half day kindergarten. I pick her up just before lunch to drive her to day care on the days Pete is unable to. On some special occasions, we have taken her out to lunch. It is fun and I enjoy it because I know we won't have this opportunity next year.

One day when I picked her up, she asked, "Mommy, can we go out to lunch with Daddy?"

I wasn't able to that day and told her no. She asked again, "Please Mommy, can we go out to lunch we Daddy?"

I repeated my earlier answer and told her no. She then got very upset with me. "Mommy! That isn't how it works! You say no, I talk you into it and then you say yes!"

It appears I am a push-over.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Little N starts Kindergarten

Little N is now in Kindergarten. She was very excited to start on her first day. Her big brother walked her to her classroom, even though she already knew how to get there.

She got right down to business when her teacher suggested that she go play, she did just that! She also was very good at picking up her toys (never her favorite task at home).

She was fine when I left, barely looking at me as she said good-bye. Little N was very happy to finally follow her big brother's footsteps to kindergarten.

When I picked her up, she had a great day. Her only complaint was that she had to leave.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Mysore Bird Sanctuary

We visited the bird sanctuary in Mysore. Here you get on a boat and float around the lake looking at the birds. I wasn't surprised when no one had to wear a life vest, but it was pretty obvious why you wouldn't need them when you saw the giant crocodiles.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photos from Mysore

I really have to thank Renee for lending me her camera when I saw something and then letting me have copies of all the photos on her camera. Thanks, Renee!

This was some ladies selling flowers and fruit outside a temple in Mysore. We didn't go into the temple due to the lines of thousands of people. It was super crowded.

The grounds at the summer palace of Tipu Sultan.

Renee, Wes and I at the summer palace

The final resting place of Tipu Sultan and his parents.

A carpool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Work Travel

I recently spent the last two weeks of July in India for work. On this trip we were able to get out to see some of the sites while there. I had some fantastic food, too.

This is our driver, Giri, who spent his Saturday driving us from Bangalore to Mysore. This photo overlooks the city of Mysore.

Giri is quite the tour guide. He will talk endlessly about the different sites and temples. He really enjoys sharing the beauty of his country and I wish I absorbed more of what he said.

There is SO much to see in Mysore. I really think you need a couple days just to take some of it in, but we had one very packed day.

The unfortunate problem I had was my camera battery died on the way to Mysore. Renee was nice enough to let me take photos with her camera when I really wanted a photo of something. She also gave me all of her trip images. I cannot thank her enough.

But, you will have to wait until I can go through the photos to post some of the beautiful pictures she took.

View Larger Map

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The sites in Yellowstone

One of the first places we visited in the park was the mud volcanos on the west side of the park.

Both kids loved hiking through the mud volcano site. Little N listened well and stayed on the path, which made our lives a lot easier. Big N was pretty thrilled using my old digital camera to take his own photos.

Little N was not a fan of the sulfur smell that was prevalent at the geothermic sites in the park.

I harassed one of the other park visitors in order to get a rare photo of the entire family.

Later that day we stumbled across the Lower Falls at Yellowstone. This area appears to be responsible for the name of the park. It was spectacular to see.

Summer Trip to Yellowstone

This summer en route to the family reunion in North Dakota, we drove through Yellowstone National Park. We left on the morning of June 18th and arrived in the park on Father's Day (June 19th).

We camped in Bozeman, Montana the night before and entered at the West entrance on Father's day. The drive into the park was beautiful on its own.

From what I have heard about trips to Yellowstone, Father's day weekend must be an ideal time to arrive. The park was not at all crowded. We've heard stories of long traffic jams throughout the park. Apparently, everyone else was busy honoring their dad on Father's day because we hardly saw any other cars. Sorry, Dad.

However, we did see buffalo almost immediately upon entering the park.

The rivers were really high. This was actually the case for about every river we saw along the drive through Washington, Idaho and into Montana.

There was snow on the ground in the passes, which shouldn't surprise anyone. The passes were over 8600 feet.

When we stayed in the park, we camped at the Fishing Bridge campground. This was a great location requiring hard sided vehicles. We figured out why on our last day in the park when we saw a bear wandering through the campground as we were pulling. It did make me rethink having let the kids play in the snow in the woods near our spot.

The campground is over 7000 feet high, meaning it was very cold at night! We had some very cuddly kids every morning. The kids even played in the snow around the campsite using their sand buckets.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Family Reunion in North Dakota

I owe the blog a number of posts. We've been so busy this summer, I feel like I am just now starting to catch up.

At the end of June we went to my family reunion in Rock Lake, North Dakota.

It was nice to see everyone and to meet my cousin's baby, G. His smile could warm anyone's heart.

The kids got to see cousin A, who is walking up a storm

More photos of baby A at the Family blog

It is always nice to see Grandma. We miss her.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big N at summer string camp

Big N spent a week at the prep strings Summer camp here at CWU. Big N had the option to play the violin or the cello. He selected the Cello. He was been begging to play this since he attended the camp last year. He was disappointed that the early beginners during the school year only allows the kids to play violin, but he is holding out to play the cello next year.

I was very proud of my little man.

Prep stings information for anyone else interested is located here:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pete's Potato Salad

Three weeks ago, I flew off to Bangalore for work. I flew home a week ago and Pete left for Boston the day after I got back. Needless to say, I am looking forward to talking to Pete when it doesn't involve first figuring out what time it is where the other person is.

In honor of Pete coming home, I'm making one of his favorites. It is actually more of a recent favorite I've put together based on tips for some of my friends in my life.

Pete's Potato Salad
2-3 lbs of white and red new potatoes
1 or 2 celery stalk - diced
1 dill pickles (spicy garlic!) - diced
1/4 cup diced onion
1-2 Tablespoons white vinegar
4 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced.
1 or 2 boiled eggs, diced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1-2 Tablespoons Mustard
Mayo (~3/4 cup)

Clean and chop potatoes into large bite-sized pieces. Boil until fork tender. Drain. Add to a large bowl and toss with vinegar, Salt and Pepper. Cover the bowl and chill in your refrigerator for a few hours.

Once potatoes are cooled, add pickles, onion, celery, boiled egg, diced bacon. Hold a little of the bacon off to the side to sprinkle on top. In a separate bowl, mix the mustard, paprika and mayo. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold into the potato mixture. Sprinkle remaining bacon on top.

Serve chilled.