Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for a healthy, happy family!

Only one picture this year.  Miss Holly made an appetizer of an herbed cheese ball:IMG_2067It was delicious.  The adults gobbled it up.  (The kids only ate the crackers!)

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12 years ago…

hp photosmart 720 Rob and I left our hotel room in China and went downstairs to a conference room off the lobby.  We waited our turn to be handed a baby.  When we returned to our hotel room, we were a family.  What an amazing day!

hp photosmart 720hp photosmart 720 Happy Gotcha Day beautiful Linlee Kate!  We love you!

 

Wow!

We were at Snoqualmie Falls just a day or two before this picture was taken.  My snapshot didn’t look nearly as dramatic as this one:23244144_10155200953521476_5486100203230013264_nGorgeous!  (Surely there has to be some color enhancement going on there.)  This was mine:birthdaygetaway08Meh.

Happy birthday to me!

I’ve not had an easy time embracing this particular number, but my sweet Rob made my birthday special by whisking me away for a little mountain retreat.  We started the evening at The Melting Pot for a fantastic fondue dinner and then headed to the Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls (AKA The Great Northern from Twin Peaks).birthdaygetaway02birthdaygetaway03birthdaygetaway04The above picture was the entryway inside our hotel room.  I had expected to open the door and see the bed, but nope.  Fancy!birthdaygetaway01Our bed faced a real, wood-burning fire place which we lit immediately and, through no fault of our own, set off the smoke detector!  Awkward.birthdaygetaway06birthdaygetaway07Fancy coffee and breakfast the next morning.FullSizeRender-4birthdaygetaway08A walk to see the falls.birthdatgetawat09Okay, so we’re not good at taking selfies.  FullSizeRender-7FullSizeRender-4I brought home this sweet snow globe from the gift shop (which was already decked out for Christmas).  It was the perfect getaway to celebrate my new decade.  Thank you, Prince Rob!birthdaypic2017

Happy Halloween 2017!

Halloween2017_01We have an angel (her wings are hidden in the back) and a penguin.Halloween2017_06And a monkey!Halloween2017_05I think the only surprising thing here is that it took him so long to get his own costume.Halloween2017_02Halloween2017_04Halloween2017_07I’m dressed as a candy passer-outer.Halloween2017_08Then we added a little peacock to the group.Halloween2017_09And off they went for the first dry Halloween in seven years!

And on Sunday, a “good-bye October” bon fire…Oct-campfire

Pumpkin Carving 2017

p-carving01Let the carving begin!  (Although, first let me say that I asked my beloved husband to bring out the Halloween bin which contained all of our pumpkin carving tools.  We’ve got pumpkin saws, pokers and edgers galore.  Rob brought out the bin and then went into the kitchen and gathered some of my kitchen knives and began stabbing away at his pumpkin.  I have no words.)p-carving02p-carving03p-carving04David S. Pumpkins; any questions???

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Monster Mash Meatloaves and Broccoli Swamp Fritters

monstermeatloaves13So I joined a kids cooking club, Raddish Kids, in another attempt to expand the girls’ self-limited diets.  Not sure what I was thinking; this has never gone well in the past.  In fact, I told a friend that when it comes to feeding my kids, I’m like that dumb little ant who thinks he can move a rubber tree plant; high hopes and all that.  I mentioned on Facebook the other day that neither of my children have even tasted a taco before and some people were aghast.  Yup.  Anyhow…  Raddish Kids will send us a box with 3 recipes each month, all very kid friendly and easy to read.  The box includes a kitchen tool, culinary skill, topics for fun dinner conversations, as well as other good info.  The premise is that kids are more likely to try/eat the foods which they have been involved in making.  Tonight I had the whole family join me in the kitchen for our first attempt at cooking dinner together.monstermealoaves01Holly and I worked on the meatloaf.  She was clearly nervous to stick her hands in there and get messy!monstermeatloaves02She could not quit laughing at how gross it felt.monstermeatloves03monstermeatloaves07Making the mini loaves.monstermeatloaves08monstermeatloaves09monstermeatloaves10Linlee and Rob worked on the swamp fritters.monstermeatloaves11Linlee was also a bit dubious about getting her hands messy, but she was a good sport.monstermeatloaves12monstermeatloaves14The mini meatloaves are topped with mashed sweet potatoes and the fritters are mixed with flour, parmesan, garlic and egg; both were really good.  The girls looked a little nervous to try out their work!monstermeatloaves18

And so what happened next?  Here is a picture of their plates after dinner:monstermeatloaves17Uh huh.  Gotta love my kids.  Holly’s plate is on the right.  You can see she ate a few bites of the meatloaf.  She did not like the broccoli or the sweet potatoes.  Linlee said she liked the olive eyes.  Ha!  After I put the camera away and started cleaning the kitchen, Rob actually got Linlee to eat a few bites of the meatloaf as well.  Linlee also did not like the sweet potatoes or the fritters (although she will happily eat raw broccoli).  The girls did a great job helping to prepare the meal, so that was fun.  Perhaps they will learn some solid cooking skills with these boxes even if they won’t eat the food.

Ya win some, ya lose some.

newboxspring01Oh, this picture cracks me up.  You can see Linlee’s true feelings about the new box spring which I put underneath her mattress.  Her bed did not need a box spring when we first got it.  She was just about four-years old and small for her age, so a low bed was perfect:

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But now she is approaching 13 and I felt the bed could use a bump in height; a little more age appropriate.  Linlee is not happy.  She does not like the change.  She does not like any change.  She wants me to get rid of the new box spring so that her bed can be low again.  Hmm.  I think I will give her time to adjust.newboxspring02Can’t believe I managed to get a smile out of her!

And then Penny, AKA Naughtiest Dog Alive…  Holly and I made cookies on Saturday.  That evening while out to dinner, Penny got the Tupperware container off of the kitchen counter, opened it (!) and ate every single cookie.  Sob!  Today I accidentally left my coffee mug on top of the piano.  Clearly Penny spotted my error:IMG_1953This is where I found the heavy mug when I came home.  So, so naughty.

Pumpkin Patch 2017

It’s that time of year again…pp2017_15We enjoyed another wonderful, Octobery trip to the pumpkin patch.pp2017_05pp2017_06pp2017_04pp2017_10pp2017_07pp2017_09pp2017_08pp2017_01The infamous zip line.pp2017_02pp2017_16Lunch included hot dogs, fresh corn on the cob and a bag of warm, pumpkin doughnuts!pp2017_11pp2017_24pp2017_17Wagon ride down to the pumpkins.pp2017_18pp2017_19Good haul!pp2017_23Holly adores getting her face painted.  (Linlee does not.)pp2017_22(The girls are coated in corn and hay dust in this picture.)

pp2017_13Above, Linlee this year, below, Linlee last year.pp201606And let’s not forget Linlee’s first trip:

ppatch11pp2017_25Above, Holly this year, below, Holly last year.pp201605And wee Holly…

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Rainbow Cake

Miss Holly brought home another cookbook called Cake My Day (all cake recipes!).  I told her she could earn her way to making one of the cakes.  Perhaps I’ll talk about what she is working on in another post, but I will say that she earned her reward and today we made a rainbow cake.rainbowcake01rainbowcake02Making the marshmallows clouds (which were supposed to be white, but Holly chose fruity flavored marshmallows which are the colored ones!).rainbowcake03And now it kind of looks like a car!  Ha ha.rainbowcake04It was a fun project; one I’d never have attempted without Holly pressuring me into it.  I did learn something new from the directions too.  If you cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan (and spray it with Pam) there will be no worries about the cake sticking to the bottom of the pan.  It worked like a charm.  How can I be middle aged and not have known this?!!