Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday Morning

Matt made Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day yesterday morning. I just had to share.

Growing Up Fast

Something about her pigtails, jeans, and hoody just makes Avonlea look like such a little girl--and not a baby anymore.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back Blog: Avonlea's First Birthday Album

Well, it took me forever to get the photos together to post Avonlea's birthday party back in January. She turned 1 on December 31, but we had a little family party (to fit in our little apartment) on January 1, since everyone would have the day off.

Unfortunately, our camera was acting up, so I couldn't take any of my own photos. Most of these are from an iPhone, so a little grainy, but I didn't want to miss out on sharing her special day.

The birthday girl with Auntie Mari, Auntie Heather, and Eric

Owl cupcakes

Lil Wesley

Nonna Rice

Cupcake time! (Her first sugar treat ever)

"Pretty good, dad."


"Dear chocolate, where have you been all my life?"

Avo in her new hoody from Heather and Eric

Poppa Rice and Grandpa Roddy
Avonlea's vintage table and chairs from Nana and Grandpa Roddy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

First Boo Boo, First Pigtails

My poor baby... Avonlea fell off of a kiddy chair onto a linoleum floor on Friday afternoon. On her face.

It being so late on a Friday, we headed to the ER to have her checked out instead of my doctor's office down in Green Lake, nose bleeding and snot from her ongoing cold flowing. My mom came with for moral support.

The ER doc told us that if it was broken, then there was nothing they could do. Since she didn't have any concussion symptoms or fall from high up, there was no need for a CT scan. We were sent home.

After the initial impact, she hasn't cried. At the ER she was charming the nurses and dancing around happily. The ensuing shiner has been a sorry sight, but she has seemed fine, and now on the mend.

In happier news, Avonlea's hair is finally long enough for pigtails! That certainly makes her overall appearance less tragic. Lovin' these pics of her in action over the weekend. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baking Up a Storm

Matt's been baking loaf after loaf of gorgeous artisan bread from the cookbook I gave him for Valentine's Day: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

He's made the classic Boule (above), Ciabatta, Baguette, Batard, and below you can see the Couronne and Olive Bread. He's also made some with fresh herbs in the dough. Yum.

It's such an easy technique. Mix up a big batch (just flour, water, yeast and salt) and let it sit for two hours. No kneading. After the two hours you can put it in your fridge and just cut off a grapefruit-sized hunk of dough whenever you want to bake some. Shape your dough, preheat your oven, cut the top, and put it in. I highly recommend the book, although I am starting to worry that I'll soon be made of flour. I'd like to try experimenting with other glutenous grains like spelt.

Last night, Matt made pizza from our dough! One had caramelized onions and menchego cheese, the other had tomato, oregano and mozzeralla.

The crust was unbelievable and the rest of the ingredients made it delicious too. $4 raw pizza dough from Trader Joe's no longer necessary, thank you very much.

Later today, I'm so excited to take this little bundle of bread love over to a friend who deserves a big thank you for hosting a certain birthday party.

I'm SO glad I have a husband who loves to cook.

New Pants for Avo

It took me just a few hours to make these simple, reversible pants for Avonlea. I used the Quick Change Trousers pattern from Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner.

Here's one side:

And here's the other:

I love the how the back yoke allows for another pattern on the bum and lots of color. I can't wait to try them on Avonlea when she wakes up from her nap!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I am from... (My Seattle)

"Give to me miles of tall evergreens,
the smell of the ocean and cool mountain breeze,
would you please?
I just want to live there, love there, and die there.
-The Lonely Forest

I seldom post anything directly from my writing life on this family and home-centered blog, but my friend Alisha encouraged me to share this little exercise I churned out at our Monday night writing group last week. In a 25 minute session, the prompt was to write about the place I come from without writing about my personal history. I chose to write about the Pacific Northwest, Seattle.

It's unedited, mostly in the form it came out on my laptop on Monday night. Thought you might enjoy. Also, all photos from this post are by Matt!

I am from…

a place where carabiners were once social currency and state-of-the-art outdoor gear is a fashion statement (why yes, that is Gort-tex, thank you very much). Between REI's flagship, Nintendo, Starbucks, and, oh yes that little company called Microsoft, I come from a place where the best ideas of the nineties were born.

I come from a place where, despite the masculine cultural aesthetic, the land is something else. Verdant, green, wet with deep lakes and rainforests. Stunning with Alpine vistas, white-peaked volcanoes, and twin spines running North and South down the coast --the Olympics and Cascades.

I come from a place where people recycle. Where we spend more of our paychecks on socially conscious purchases and organic groceries than most of the rest of America. I come from a place where people bike to work, subscribe to CSAs, and are prone to be vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.

I come from a place where we've perfected the experience of drinking a bean into an entire culture of houses and flavors and music and art-form. I come from a place where it is not only blasphemous to drink coffee from somewhere inept, like Dunkin Donuts or MacDonalds, but, worse, where it is heresy to drink it from a multi-national conglomerate, nevermind its CEO lives in Madison Park.

I come from a fjord country, where mountainous islands shoot, green-backed like turtles, from deep, glacier-carved inlets and lakes. I live in a place where there is no greater beauty than in the brilliant springtime sunsets, set against their mountain and evergreen backdrops, water glowing like sapphires beneath.

I come from a place where pink blossoms explode from branches as early as late February, and we might not have seen a snowflake all winter. Despite this, we have a rainy season we all must bear--6 months or more of oppressive grey cloud-cover and the ever-constant threat of rain. Never a hurricane, a blizzard, or a thunderstorm, our weather majors in subtleties.

I come from a place where first nation tribes have named our rivers and our cities. Salmon and orca that once sustained them still run in our waters, and cedars that made their totem poles and homes still fill our forests, or make paper for the rest of the country. Asian immigrants from the Pacific Rim are more common than illegal aliens from Mexico and if you meet a black person, they are more likely to have come from Ethiopia in the last ten years than from the descendants of American slaves. Diversity here is more about diversity of lifestyles than skin color. Gay bars, drag queens and the infamous naked cyclists are common sitings.

I come from a place where elementary children are trained in earthquake drills. If they are lucky, field trips entail catching and eating sea cucumbers on a marine science boat in the Puget Sound or reading The Lorax and dissecting owl pellets on the Olympic Penninsula or snowshoeing on Hurricane Ridge. Children pick blackberries from brambles on the side of the road, growing like weeds (both the kids and the brambles). If you don't grow up skiing or playing soccer, you're in the minority.

I come from a place where standards of conduct are reduced to being cool. Don't worry about dressing up for the theater. Whoever heard of not wearing white after Labor Day or not wearing Birkenstocks with socks? No matter holding a door out for the elderly or passing on the right. Whatever you do, just don't make a fuss.

I am from a place that is small enough to be easily overlooked, but vibrant enough to hold its own.

I am from Seattle, the Pacific Northwest.