Monday, August 25, 2008

A wonderful husband and a great daddy

Stephen surprised Pear and I with treats today when he came home for lunch. He brought me a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers, and for Pear, the most scrumptious looking chocolate covered donut with sprinkles! What a wonderful husband I am blessed with and what a wonderful daddy Pear has. We love him so much! Pear loves to make daddy proud. She recently has really enjoyed putting on pretty dresses and then she wants to go "show daddy." When she gets her hair fixed, she wants to be adored by her daddy. She walks over to him and points to her hair. Stephen tells her what pretty hair she has and how beautiful she looks. Of course, Pear learned all of this from mommy, as I do the same thing and Stephen never seems to run out of admiring words.

Thank you God for blessing this family with such a wonderful husband and daddy!


My parents decided to can tuna this year. They have canned tuna in the past, however, never to this measure. My mom called and asked if I would like to can some as well and if so, how much. Originally, I thought I wanted 10 lbs. Stephen convinced me to only do 5 lbs. My parents on the other hand canned 80+ lbs of tuna! It is delicious tuna. Better than anything you can buy in a can at the market but 80 lbs of it may be a bit much! Now, I have to state for the record that my mom didn't want any more than 20 lbs. My dad, on the other hand, with a much larger appetite, ordered the tuna and assumed 80 lbs would be just right.

My parents drove out to Westport, WA and picked up the tuna right off the boat Saturday morning. They witnessed the local wild seal that came to the dock for the scraps after they cleaned and filleted the tuna. They then packed up 3 large coolers with tuna on ice and began canning their large quantities of tuna. I joined them Sunday afternoon to do my meager 5 lbs which filled 12 half/pint jars. My dad did most of the work by cutting all of the tuna for me, I simply had to season and stuff the tuna in the jar. We then lowered the jars in the pressure cooker, set the timer for 90 minutes, took the jars out and heard the pop of the seals! What a great sound.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tara's visit home...

Tara flew in early Friday morning, 1:15 am to be exact! My mom, Piper, Aspen and I went to pick her up. She was supposed to fly in at 11:30 pm, Thursday night, but somehow, her flight was delayed and we didn't get her in our car until 1:15 am Friday.

We started our visit with her by taking a drive to Ocean Shores Friday morning. As you can see from the picture below, we had a couple too many bums for the car. The excursion seats eight but with all of us in there, there were ten. I was granted the front seat all to myself since I am pregnant.
It was supposed to be a gorgeous day at the beach, well, that's what the weather forecast said. We got out there and it was 20 degrees cooler than it was in town, windy and covered with sea fog. It was extremely cold. None of the kids wanted to get out of the car and it didn't help a bit that we dressed for a sunny, 80 degree day! We ended up getting out of the car for a picture to remember the funny event. We found a huge tree that drifted ashore which was very neat and seemed to make a great prop for a photo.

Saturday we had a barbecue at my parents' with a bunch of friends. We had quite a full house as many of them also have young children. It was a very warm day, nearly 90 degrees and thankfully my parents' have air conditioning. We had planned on playing badminton, croquet, volleyball and other great games but it was simply too hot. It seemed most of us stayed inside the air conditioned house. The children had fun outside though.

Sunday, we had a barbecue with family. Which was also very much fun. Great food, great fellowship! Tara had planned on having a slumber party with our siblings that evening and she and Aspen invited Pear to join the fun. Of course, I didn't want Pear to miss out on the fun so we stayed for the slumber party. Pear, Libbi and Taffi fell asleep around 10:30 on the living room floor watching Aristocats. I had no idea how she would do sleeping on the floor next to her best friends. She was of course the last one to fall asleep and the first one to wake up the following morning but she did very well.

I just want to state for the record that Tara is a wonderful sister. She is a joy to be around, and I am so thankful to have her as a sister. I only wish that she lived closer so that I could enjoy her smile, laughter, intelligent conversation, fun in the kitchen, and simply her entire demeanor, more often. Maybe some day. She is currently employed at the Pentagon, Washington DC as a political appointee. Her term will be over in January when President Bush's term is also over. Maybe, she'll move this way at that time!?

Here is a picture of Tara and myself last fall at the White House when we went to visit her.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apples, apples, apples.

We are blessed with 4 varieties of apple trees at our wonderful home and one of them is perfectly ripe right now. It is a tart apple, much like a granny smith, (it may even be a granny smith.) Of course, I am always looking for new ways to entertain Pear that involve her working and burning energy, so I took her down to the tree and we set out to pick apples.

I thought that I would lift her up, she would pick an apple, put it in the bag, etc. She had another idea. There are hundreds of apples on the ground that have fallen, and Pear decided that it was her duty to pick all of them up. I decided that she was right. So, I picked a bag full from the tree and she spent an hour or so picking up the apples off the ground. Our routine went like this:
Me: "Pick up the apples and put them in the bag."
Pear: "Kay. Kay. Kay" She would go pick up one, two or three at a time repeating, "apps, apps, apps." When she saw a big one she would say with amusement, "big un." She would then stumble, drop at least one, possibly all that she had in her hands and try again. Once she reached the bag, she would say with excitement, "pick more apps?" And we would repeat our routine. She managed to fill an entire brown grocery bag with apples though, which I dumped in our compost bin and gave her a new bag to pick more! We have went down there every day this week and she has been delighted every time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

The chocolate chip cookie has long been a staple in my family's household. My mom baked homemade chocolate chip cookies several times throughout the week for as long I can remember, and I must say, she bakes a darn good cookie. For me to even think that there might be a better chocolate chip cookie out there is far fetch, but, I put my mind to the quest and have been on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

To me, the chocolate chip cookie is the ideal treat. If I were limited to one dessert, I do think it would choose the chocolate chip cookie. Perhaps it is because it is a very comforting treat as I grew up eating them so many times with my family. Tara, Chase and I would eat these and laugh at the table until we got in trouble because Chase laughed so hard that he spewed his milk all over the table or for laughing too loud or being too roudy. I actually rarely got in trouble for this as I have the ability to laugh silently much to my siblings jealousy as they cannot. Or they may simply be my ideal treat because they truly are one of the best sweet flavor combinations out there. Whatever the reason, I love them!

I have experimented with several recipes and think I've narrowed it down to two. Cook's Illustrated's Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and New York Times' Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Jacques Torres. I have made slight adjustements to both recipes to make it my ideal cookie however, both recipes are quite good when executed just how the recipe explains. I may eventually decide on one of these as the best cookie, but for now I am still in debate. The Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie is very good, has a chewier and slightly less cooked taste. It is perhaps a less traditional chocolate chip cookie. However, The Chocolate Chip Cookie from The New York Times is delicious! Nice crunch on the exterior and chewy in the center with the perfect combination of salt to excentuate the great chocolate and cookie flavors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our pretty little Pear

Pear is so sweet and rarely do I snap the shot at the right time to show just how sweet she is. These pictures don't quite do her justice, but they come close.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Summer Fair

We all have fond memories of a summer fair, right? The fun food, the rides, the animals, the sunshine; it's all so much fun to a kid. "A summer fair. A fair is fun. In summertime we go to one. Around, around, around we go. The ground is very far below!" A quote from a much read, much loved book in our house: Summer by Alice Low.

Well, we got to go the Grays Harbor County Fair yesterday evening with my family. Pear absolutely loved it! I don't know how Stephen and I ended up with an animal lover but it certainly appears as though we did. Pear got to pet a cow, say hello to a zebra, see dozens of bunnies, go face-to-face with a pig and she even got to try cotton-candy! Pear wanted nothing to do with the cotton candy, at first, but then, after seeing all of her aunts and uncles enjoying the weird looking pink stuff, she decided to taste. To my satisfaction, she didn't like it much and only ate a bite or two, but at least she tried it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Visiting the Point Defiance Zoo

I love going to the zoo and the only thing that makes it better is having a child to share the excitement and fun with. Stephen and I decided to take Pear on Saturday for the first time. We had a great time. As usual, many of the animals were being a little lazy but we had a lot of fun. Pear really enjoyed the aquariums. This picture was taken right before Pear leaped into Stephens arms, trembling, and most assuredly wet herself. This Walrus was at least 20 times her size and he literally rubbed up against the glass precisely where her little face was. She didn't want to have anything more to do with the walrus or watching any other large fish for that matter.