Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Of Cabbages and...Cakes

I'm no food blogger, but I do love to blog about food. I'm also a pretty amateur cook and baker. Every once in awhile I can say I "nailed it."

Recently I had some success with parmesan rosemary crackers. No photos because they were eaten fast.

I tried a Victoria sponge (again) and could not get the cake quite light and fluffy enough. But I did experiment with my first fondant covered cake, and honestly, it's so cute. It was pretty tasty, too. The homemade buttercream was a hit.

A few days later I decided to do vegetable prep. I roasted squashes and whipped up a crustless quiche and then stared at a bright purple cabbage and decided "coleslaw."

But not mayonaissey coleslaw. I can't stand the stuff.

So this coleslaw has four ingredients: cabbage, of course. Then apple cider vinegar, sugar, and TAJIN!

It is a tangy, tingly taste sensation! I'm thrilled and so were the family diners.

The cooking and baking adventures continue.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Happy 20th Anniversary to the love of my life! 

This photo is from when we were 16 years old. Usually we celebrate by going somewhere fun for dinner. We've had memorable anniversary meals. Some of our favorites were at Tamari, Bridges and Bourbon, and even in Vancouver!

But this year's meal was unforgettable. Our boys cooked us a special dinner. It started with made from scratch non-alcoholic cocktails, included a homemade sauce for our pasta, a unique cabbage salad, and custom dessert parfaits. After dinner we enjoyed a hilarious improv and stand up comedy show.

It was the perfect way to celebrate our family.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Is there a tooth fairy for dogs?

Three tiny puppy teeth. 

Our puppy lost four teeth in four days. 
Is there a tooth fairy for dogs? 
What would the tooth fairy bring? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bird Nests

Two days ago a bird egg fell out of the sky. No joke! We were playing in the backyard and a bird egg fell on to the grass. It cracked open, of course, and I had to clean up a small, doomed bird embryo.

I'm an avid amateur birder, but I don't know a lot about eggs or nests.

On a walk in my neighborhood I spotted this bird's nest with one bright blue egg. I'm fairly certain it's a robin's egg. But robins usually lay three or four eggs. Having just this one left makes me think something went wrong.

I'm an amateur birder and I'm constantly learning new things about birds, and about birders. People have very strong opinions about birds. Some people hate house sparrows because they are not native. Other people hate hawks who eat smaller birds.

I try not to hate any kind of bird, and I don't mind if a hawk eats another bird. Or a squirrel. But I also probably shouldn't mind if a great horned owl grabbed a red-tailed for dinner.

I have learned a lot about how some birds treat other birds pretty "bad." For instance, cow birds lay their eggs in other birds' nests and expect those birds to raise their young. Of course some birds eat other birds' eggs. It's just how things are in nature, I think.

I was excited earlier this year when I thought I saw chickadees making a nest in one of the bird houses I hung in the backyard.

Then a few weeks later, I saw my first house wren flying in and out of what I thought was the chickadees' bird house. I guess I was mistaken, I thought. Maybe the chickadees were not building a nest in there.

I belong to several birding groups on Facebook. On Sunday, I read a post from a woman who was very upset that house wrens again showed up and took over chickadees' nests. The wrens even destroyed the eggs of the chickadees!

I was surprised (again) and realized this same thing probably happened in my backyard without me knowing. I don't know a lot about bird nesting practices. I can't really get a good look into the bird houses. I won't ever know for sure. But it seems pretty likely.

Yet another example of birds treating each other badly.

This woman wants to discourage house wrens from nesting in her yard anymore. She even goes around dumping house wren nests from other boxes that she wants chickadees to use! I've never considered sticking my hands in the complex interactions of nature like that. I'm not sure what I think about it.

I feed birds, I watch birds. I love learning about their complex behaviors. I offer some nest boxes, but I don't go around destroying nests of some birds. That seems so...controlling, even for me!

- Update on bird nests:
 I  saw a blue jay working on a nest, adding some plastic debris. Unfortunately while the jay worked, it dislodged the nest from the tree! I watched it fall to the brush in our backyard. The next day, I lifted it up with a stick and put it in the crook of a tree. I don't know if the jay will reclaim it or not. But I'll watch.

I saw a robin fly into a dense coniferous bush in our front yard. I had to drag a heavy patio chair over to the bush to get a photo down into the nest. It's very dark in the nest, but I don't see any eggs just yet. I didn't look too close. I didn't want to disturb the birds if I could help it.

Can you see the secret nest in the branches?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Five Amazing Things

Having trouble feeling good lately? I know I am.

I've been deleting fun things off my calendar for weeks now.
I've been missing friends and family.
I've been worried about friends and family.
I've been angry at other people. A LOT.

A very wise woman (and excellent author)  named Melissa Stewart I know shared this practice on Twitter. She got it from Jess Keating, another wise woman and excellent author who I don't know.

It's called One Amazing Thing.

She draws a little picture of one amazing thing every day to remind herself it's not all terrible.

I modified her idea and created five squares so that each person in my family could draw something. Genius!

Guess what? No one wanted to do it but me.

That made me want to draw this in all the squares:

But that's not my style. Instead I decided it was something amazing. I could now use all five squares for my own amazing things!

For the first square, I drew the night we played a fun game over video chat with my parents.

For the second square, I drew our new pup Beckham.

For the third, I drew the sun. Sunny days have made a big difference here.

For the fourth I drew an oriole bird! The first one I ever saw visited our feeders on Mother's Day. It was incredible.

That fifth square is empty for now, waiting for the next amazing thing to come my way. I'm not worried that it hasn't hit me yet. I'm grateful I have a chance to fill in another amazing square.

What would you put in your One Amazing Thing square?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Caring for Others

When my kids were young, I learned very quickly that a schedule helped them handle snow days and other no school days.

Nothing too strict, but a little structure to the day seemed to help.

I never realized getting a puppy would help us add structure to our day, but it has. He has a little routine. There are responsibilities, like taking him out, brushing him, feeding him.

It's helped everyone get schoolwork done in the morning during his crate time. It helps get kids dressed and outside for a midday walk.

Things haven't been normal or regular around here, but the schedule has helped add some structure to our days. And as always - caring for someone other than ourselves has been helpful. This is a good reminder to make sure we're helping our neighbors and friends, too.

Thanks, puppy.