Thursday, May 31, 2007

California Dreamin'

Most of the DH's family lives in California and I'd never met many of them. Only his sister Shannon, her husband, and their parents were in Seattle for our wedding, so that's all the clan I had met. Since it was about time I was introduced to them, we decided to head down for the McDonald event of the year -- the DH's nephew Kelly's wedding to Amanda.

The DH's parents live in Jackson, CA, so we went to see them first. We had a great time seeing the beauty of northern California and visiting with the DH's parents, having great food, and going deep within the bowels of the earth. I can highly recommend the tour of "Black Chasm" just outside Jackson in Volcano, CA. It's a deep vertical cave with some amazing rock formations inside. We also ate at a great restaurant in Amador, CA. If you're ever that way, you've just got to stop by Tommy's. The food was great and the staff was super nice.

On Saturday, we headed to North Fork, CA where the DH's brother Mike lives. The wedding was at his house, so we went and met all kinds of DH family. It was great to meet them and the wedding was wonderful. The setting was something you couldn't have planned better if you build the house just for that. We also enjoyed seeing the amazing views, including part of Yosemite Park in the distance. The wedding was beautiful and then we went to the North Fork town hall for the reception. They did a great job with the food and decorations and we had a good time socializing with everyone there.

On Sunday, we went to church with the DH's sister Shirla and then stopped back by Mike's house. It was great to see Kelly and Amanda and get a chance to chat with them a little more on Sunday when they weren't quite so busy.
We finished off the trip by stopping in Sacramento and walking through Old Town. The DH lived in Sacramento at one time and was happy to show it off to me. We didn't see The Governator, but we did enjoy the few minutes in the city before heading back to the airport and home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Peninsula Trip

This weekend, Patrick and I had a lot of things going on Saturday. It was SO busy, but we didn’t have any plans for the rest of the weekend. Before going to bed on Saturday night, we decided we’d take a drive and see what we could see. You can see what we saw on Flickr if you'd like.
We went to early sacrament meeting on Sunday morning and then left the house and headed west. We drove up to Edmonds (about 10 miles north of here) and hopped on the ferry to Kingston. We then drove over the Hood Canal bridge and through Port Gamble and over to Sequim and Port Angeles. It was raining when we left Seattle and kept up until we got to Sequim (that’s pronounced “skwim” if you’re interested).
In Port Angeles, we booked a hotel room and then headed for the end of the U.S. We drove out highway 101 and then turned up 112 heading through Joyce to Neah Bay. The drive was spectacular and we especially enjoyed the group of bald eagles at Neah Bay. They were right there between the highway and the water, just about 20 feet. Some were flying around and others were perched by the water. Neah Bay is in the Makaw Indian reservation. It’s fairly depressed, but still in a lovely setting.

After driving through town, we turned off the main road to a gravel road and drove out toward Cape Flattery. The road got us within half a mile of the northwest most point in the lower 48. We loved the hike and chatted with some delightful people along the way. We saw the lighthouse out at Katoosh Island and then hiked back to the car.

The drive back to Port Angeles included a really nice sunset and some pretty funny sightings. We especially enjoyed the street sign for Bythe Way and Whata Way, the marker for Itsa Creek, and of course McDonald Creek.

On Monday morning, we had a nice breakfast at Café Garden, reputedly the best restaurant in Port Angeles, and were on our way back home, sort of. We went back toward Joyce to Angel Crest Gardens to get a hanging basket. We saw them on Sunday and just had to go back. There was a huge variety of wonderful plantings. We found one we both really liked and then headed back in the direction of home.
We took a slight detour to a Lavender farm where the DH bought some smelly soap. I like lavender, but it was all a bit strong for me. Patrick enjoys the smelly stuff much more than I do. After the detour, we drove to Kingston and took our ferry ride back to our side of the water and got home shortly after 5:00. The day in Seattle was beautiful, so we grilled up some steaks on the BBQ (courtesy of the Duke – thanks again!) and called it a day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Weekend Trip to Cape Flattery

The DH and I spent Sunday and Monday exploring more of the peninsula. We basically just headed West until there wasn't anywhere to go unless we wanted to swim. And I'm not quite ready for the open water swim yet.

We took lots of photos, but my favorited are probably of the hike to Cape Flattery. The cape is the norhtwestmost point in the 48 contiguous united states. It was pretty cool to hike in and to know we were out that far.

You can see most of our Cape Flattery pictures on Flickr. More pics of this weekend and our previous trip to come. Stay tuned...

Finished Project

I've finished one of my projects that I've had on the back burner for a while. A friend had a baby, so I wanted to have a receiving blanket as a gift. I have about four sewn and ready for the crocheted edge, so I took one on the California trip two weeks ago. I got most of the way done on that trip and finished it up last Thursday. I was just in time for our visit to see the new baby Rose on Saturday.

After looking through my stash, I found another finished one that looked more feminine, so I didn't give this one away - yet.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I'm really not very political, but today is Memorial Day, so I want to give a shout out to all those great men and women who are in the military and also add my prayers to the many thousands of others for the families of those who have lost loved ones due to the conflicts that they are fighting in. I'm so grateful for the dedication of the folks in the military. Even though I'm not as supportive of some of the decisions that put them in harms way, I pray for them every day and hope they can all come home safe to their families.

I'm grateful for my most favorite vet -- the DH!

Monday, May 21, 2007

What Kind of Shoes Are You?

Many of you already know of my shoe love. I think I could buy new shoes every week and never tire of it. Since I can't afford that kind of shoe habit, I just took the test to tide me over. Check it out.

You are Slinky Heels!

You're an uptown, well put together woman
But you're not too uptight to enjoy a hot club
You're always the best dressed chick in the room
And you'll only settle for the best in men

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So Long, Farewell, Aufwiedersehen, Goodnight

Last night, we all got to say goodbye to one of the old standby shows, the Gilmore Girls. I have mixed feelings about the series ending. I'll miss the great characters I grew to love, but I won't miss the train wreck that was the seventh season. The sixth season was almost as bad, too. I hung in there anyway, being so loyal like I am. Fortunately, the season finale did not disappoint. We got to see Rori, Lorelei, and Luke just like we like them. They all came through in the end.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Seven Random Things

Lizzy at My Ice Cream Diary tagged me for the seven random things meme. Here goes...

1. I like to sing along with the radio or CDs and I never know the words. Sometimes I make stuff up. Sometimes I pretend I know them. Sometimes I just scat.
2. There was a time when I drank upwards of 72 oz. of Diet Coke a day. When I taught school, I would get a big gulp on my way into work at Circle K and then drink even more throughout the day. Then I went cold turkey for a while. Then I took it up again and gave it up again several more times. When I started working at Microsoft and got married, I started drinking Diet Dr. Pepper. Now I drink both DC and DDP. I still drink too much, but nowhere near the amounts I was drinking when I taught school.
3. I love driving with standard transmission and am still sad that I drive an automatic. It had to be done though after moving to Seattle. The stop and go traffic is just too much for a standard transmission.
4. I lost one of my front teeth when I was only two. I got hit with a swing and it had to be pulled because it was all broken up. As a result, I had terrible buck teath. I've very grateful for orthodonture.
5. I always have my toenails painted. Right now, I even have pretty flowers painted on my big toes.
6. My all-time favorite song is Passionate Kisses sung by Mary Chapin-Carpenter.
7. I have more pairs of shoes than I can count. So many that they are overflowing from my closet, yet I still want more. I could buy a pair a week and never tire of buying shoes. Of course, I’ve been buying flip-flops to curb my appetite at the smallest possible expense.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Love Miracle Whip

I made cake yesterday because it was my turn to bring cake for the birthday at work. I only had two eggs and the most basic of ingredients, but I did have a jar of Miracle Whip. That's why I ended up making Miracle Whip cake. The recipe is a family recipe from my Mom's family. I have no idea how far back it goes, but those ladies in Malad, ID sure knew how to make a tasty cake. It was a hit at work. I made two rounds and put cream cheese frosting in between the layers and chocolate ganache frosting on top. YUM! It was also super easy and a great cake to make from scratch. Here's the recipe for all of you dieing to make Miracle Whip cake. And trust me, it tastes a lot better than it sounds.

1 cup sugar
1 cup Miracle Whip
¼ cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine sugar, Miracle Whip, cocoa, and salt. Add 1 cup hot water. Add flour, soda, and vanilla, and blend lightly. Bake 35 minutes at 350°.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter or margarine
⅓ cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. It will be quite runny. Refrigerate until cool and of a thicker, spreading consistency. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir. If it gets too stiff, heat it briefly to make it spreadable.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Neck of the Woods - Part Two

Here's the rest of the pictures of my neck of the woods. You can see the DH watering a pot with flowers in it.

The lilacs are SO beautiful right now. I brought a big bunch in the house and the living room smells yummy now.

I love our little deck with adarondack chairs. It's lovely for relaxing.
Then there's my least favorite part of the backyard -- the apartment building looking down on us.
Out front, you can see our street looking South...

and looking North...

and way up there on the right is the firehouse. We love having a firehouse on our block. The nephews have a field trip every time they're here!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Would You Join My Virtual Book Club?

I'm thinking about starting a virtual book club on my blog. I'd take suggestions for reading material and then have a discussion about a month after selecting a book. If I were to do this, would you join me? I mean, I can read on my own, but the discussion with myself seems a little silly. It's only fun if my virtual friends and lurkers join in. Whadaya say? Wanna join a book club? (Mom -- this includes you too!)

Monday, May 07, 2007

My Neck of the Woods

I just love my neck of the woods. It's really beautiful in Seattle. I have friends who have been posting about their neighborhoods and I decided to venture farther than my street for part one of my neighborhood post.

Here are a few pics from a recent trip downtown. By the way, I just have to state for the record that I hate it in Grey's Anatomy when they show the Pike Street Market sign out the window of the hospital. That's just silliness.

And that's the end of your Market tour!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Shout Out to Gage Ray!

Everyone give a shout out for my baby brother that graduated yesterday with his MBA. He's so awesome! He's well on his way to becoming a CPA and he's doing great work with the education he has. What a great guy! And he's my brother. And he has a super cute family to boot, so they get to all be pictured here with him.