Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Handbags & Books

A new handbag and books to read--the ultimate indulgence! Now try to win it (presented by Avon & The Sak) with the "Book in a Bag" promotion (a new book and fiction selection each month).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday - Take Two

This is my second muffin tin meal. This time it was lunch. If you're new to Muffin Tin Monday . . . it's a fun twist on the bento box for kids started by Sycamore Stirrings. You can see the latest muffin tin mamas here.

From Left to Right:

Sugar Snap Peas (they are HUGE!)
"people" pbj's
heart pbj

He only took a small bite of the snap peas and left a few loganberries (a bit sour) but chowed on everything else. I got the snap peas at the Vashon Saturday market and they were crazily huge--these were the smallest I could find out of the bunch. You should have seen the snow peas--bigger than my hand! My mom grew up picking loganberries (and currents, etc.) and these are from a distant relative's place (sold at the farmer's market). We found out she got the bushes she has from my great grandma.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boats, Goats & Potatoes

It's been a lovely week on pastoral Vashon island (except for the sleeping). Monkey has fed the goats in the neighborhood most every day, has taken his first (post-baby days) boat ride and dug up a couple of potatoes. All in all . . . an exciting week!


Last year Monkey wouldn't even get near a life jacket. We tried all sorts of tricks to entice him. We all got our jackets on and were really insanely excited about them. "Wow, this is the best life jacket ever! It's so fun to wear! Look at the bright colors! Mine is purple and green!" (didn't work). In fact, my parents have a whole bunch they've collected at garage sales so one day we made a big pile on the lawn. He just looked at that pile and sidled waaaay around it (giving it a sideways glance the whole time as if it would pounce on him). He wouldn't go near them. He was afraid of the float toys at the wading pools last year too--so I guess it just wasn't his time. This year, however, he's decided he wants a whale.

Happily, we had a breakthrough this week and he took his first ride with Grandpa and Dad on our second day here. I was amazed (didn't even know it was happening until I saw them out on the water!!! hmmph!) But it was probably best I wasn't involved. It was very spur of the moment as he decided he wanted to go check the crab traps with Grandpa--so they had to take advantage of the opportunity. He gets pretty stoic when he's scared or nervous so was pretty serious about the whole thing. He probably wouldn't have gone through with it if I had been there. So far he's been out four times in the small Lund. This is the same little outboard I learned to drive as a kid. I spent many hours doing crazy figure eights in that boat!

Monkey has decided he doesn't want to go in the "boat with two motors" (my dad's fishing boat). I think he's decided it will be too loud (he has a thing about noises lately). I'm not sure if my dad talked about it having two motors or if he just noticed it and came up with that himself. But he mentions it A LOT. Baby steps.

The other day, we took the boat across the bay over to the old Burton store and got popsicles. This was a historic occasion as my dad did the same thing when he was a child, I did it when I was a kid, and now Monkey has his turn. Grandpa, Grammy, Daddy, Monkey & me all piled into the Lund and putted (so painfully slowly) across to Burton. He picked a green popsicle out of the freezer (his third popsicle ever) and got down to business. Another family came by and the two girls got these crazy huge, rainbow-swirl popsicle monstrosities. It turns out it's called an "Itzakadoozie" by Nestle. Monkey was smitten so we promised him he could have one next time. Two days later we were back and he had not forgotten (although he calls it something like a doozie). He "ate all up" until it was "in my belly!"


Almost every day we walk over to a small field and feed two pygmy goats (don't worry, the owners have ok'd it). We bring old bread when we have it and feed them apple leaves, grass and small apples. Monkey giggles each time the goats tickle his fingers with their grabby lips.


Today we stopped by a friend's small farm (or very large garden) and attempted to pick blueberries. We couldn't find too many as the raccoons had been picking the night before. We're hoping for another chance in a few days as many looked soooo close to being perfect. Monkey got to eat a few directly off the bush so he was in heaven. He also got to dig out two potatoes which was very exciting. Who knew you could find potatoes in the ground? OK, well I did but I think he thinks he might find them on the beach too--he's been digging a lot with his new yellow shovel.

I'm Published!

Check out "Staycation's All I Ever Wanted" on Seattle Picks. I'm finally published (the first time since third grade's "The Magic Knitting Needles" for the Young Authors Conference). Unfortunately, I'm not listed anywhere on the site but I assure you I did write it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Owl Sighting

Tonight Grammy, Monkey and I were driving home from my Great Aunt's place (gave Monkey a bath since neither we nor my parents have a tub on the island and it wasn't warm enough for the big plastic storage container on the deck like we did last year). I asked my mom if my dad had seen the owl at all this year. Last year he used to see it on this one stretch of road up on the power lines around dusk. I was lucky enough to see it a few times too. The owl would perch up there and stare intently into the grass, searching for dinner. She said he hadn't seen it yet and was bummed. I was hoping to see it this year to share it with Monkey (although many times I'm excited about something like that and he could care less!)

Not a minute later the owl flew across the road and perched on the wire. If only I'd had my camera! I pulled a uey (or yewy in Aussie English) and stopped in the road so Monkey could see it. He totally lit up when he saw it. I was so happy the owl graced us with it's presence. It made me very glad we are spending time out on the island where Monkey can see deer (even though they're trying to eat my parents' apples & tomatoes), find crabs, search the water for fish, poke at pile worms, stick his finger in squirting clam holes, and throw rocks into the water all day long if he wants to.

Last year I attended a lecture by Richard Louv (author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder") and it really got me thinking about how we really close our kids off from nature so much more than in prior generations. One telling moment during the talk was when he asked how many people had a personal connection to a farm when they were growing up (the audience was skewed a bit older than me) and so many people raised their hands. I raised my hand because my great grandparents and grandparents lived across the street from each other on Vashon and both had farms. Who knew how lucky I was back in the day? Then he asked how many thought their children would have a personal connection to a farm. Not even a quarter of the original hands were raised. I didn't raise my hand as my great grandparents and grandparents have passed on and their land was sold many years ago.

I also remember many hours spent riding my bike with a friend up and down Burke Gilman trail and making "camps" in the hollows on the side of it. We got flashed a few times (too many times!) and I can't imagine letting Monkey off on his own like that now. I will have to work hard to make sure Monkey gets his time to explore in nature in the future (sans intruding adults molding play) and will really have to work on not being afraid!

If you have any thoughts or ideas on this subject--please comment! P.S. the book is interesting but I've had a hard time getting through it so I sadly have not read the whole thing. Other books call to me so it sits on my bedside table scolding me from time to time.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baby Beluga

Today we ventured off island (I'm already talking like my parents who live on Vashon full time) and went to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Monkey was very excited to see the beluga whales. I think we are the only family with a toddler who don't have the "Baby Beluga" book in our home library but we do have a seriously old book about whales (mid-century) which mentions Belugas being the "sirens of the sea". Well, Monkey got it into his head that the belugas were going to sing to him and talked about it nonstop on the ferry ride. He was a little disappointed but still enjoyed watching them swim by (they did a few clicks but no lyrical songs like he was expecting). He was tickled by the huge walruses as well. Each time they'd come at the window they'd wiggle their mustached mouths and he would laugh. Tonight I googled the "Baby Beluga" song (we had heard it a few times at preschool) and I realized he must have gotten the idea of the singing from the song. It's amazing what sticks in their heads! He remembers so many things . . . it reminds us we have to watch our mouths!

Baby Beluga
by Raffi and Debi Pike
Actions: Hands together, make the shape of a small whale jumping over the waves.

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above, and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Baby beluga, baby Beluga, is the water warm?
Is your mama home with you, so happy.

Way down yonder where the dolphins play,
Where they dive and splash all day,

The waves roll in and the waves roll out,
See the water squirting out of your spout.

Baby beluga, baby Beluga, sing your little song,
Sing for all your friends, we like to hear you.

When it's dark, you're home and fed,
Curl up snug in your water bed.
Moon is shining and the stars are out,

Good night, little whale, goodnight.

Baby beluga, baby Beluga, with tomorrow's sun,
Another day's begun, you'll soon be waking.

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

You're just a little white whale on the go.

P.S. I looked for the book at the gift shop--they didn't have it. Hello . . . marketing anyone? Oh well, just have to go to the local bookshop when we get back.

If anybody out there is crafty you MUST get this pattern from PlanetJune on Etsy and make these amazingly cute crocheted whales. I love them! If you make them--please post so we can give you the props you deserve.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday - On Thursday

I have finally made a muffin tin meal for Monkey! It's a fabulous idea I gleaned from Sycamore Stirrings details here. She is encouraging all to take part and share their creations. This week got a bit tricky (should have started earlier!) and a challenge was given to create a RAINBOW themed muffin tin. Well, I didn't have much time (I was madly doing the packing for our beach trip that I SHOULD have done the night before . . . but let's not dwell on my constant procrastination) but I did have lots of different colored berries so I went for it.

Muffin Tin Breakfast from left to right: red raspberries/golden raspberries (they're kind of orange . . . right?), cheese and peanut butter fingers, the next two spots are yellow and green (scrambled eggs with spinach--it's the only green he'll eat that isn't a jelly bean--someone help me!), blueberries and blackberries (for this experiment let's call them purple berries).
For a first attempt it went pretty well except Monkey kept asking for a muffin throughout the meal and well after! I guess I'll have to make some muffins this week. I'm hoping to use this in the future to encourage Mr. Picky to eat some different foods (VEGETABLES). Here's hoping! I'll post my progress (or lack thereof).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Working . . . during nap time . . . what a way to make a living

I got a job! Well, it's a teeny tiny, low (almost no) paying job . . . but I'm excited (and nervous) about the whole thing. Applying for the job was really the impetus to start this blog . . . so now will I have the time or inclination to post? We'll see. Okay, back to the job . . . it all started on a whim. I subscribe to Seattle Picks (email comes out on Fridays with cool Seattle boutiques, bars, restaurants, etc.). I don't remember how I got on it--somebody forwarded it to me. Anyhoo, I was reading it during nap time on July 4th and at the bottom was a small blurb about looking for a new writer and to send in a sample "pick." I thought, "it's the beginning of nap time . . . what the hell." So I sent in a sample and two weeks later they sent me a contract! So now I am a freelance writer for Seattle Picks. I need to come up with two picks a month in the SP style so if you have any great places you'd like to give a little love & exposure - let me know! Meanwhile, sign up for the newsletter at I just turned in my first piece so we'll see if it gets published. Sometimes they've got good contests for gift certificates at cool shops, etc. (which sadly I will no longer be eligible for--I've won in the past!) So even if you don't want to read my silly stuff--check it out!

Monday, July 14, 2008

200 Miles

My amazing husband just rode his bike over 200 miles in the self-styled "STS". You may have heard of the STP (Seattle to Portland) where billions of cyclists ride to Portland (about 200 miles) some doing it in one day and most doing it in two. Well, M is a bit different than most . . . so last year he decided he was tired of the Portland hullabaloo. They have a nice after-ride party, etc. but then you either have to have somebody (me) pick you up and drive back (with all the other billion STP participants) or ride back on the bus. Both options include a looooong drive in cramped conditions after you've been on your bike for two days. So M (who LOVES to solve a problem) decided to create his own ride. He packs all his stuff on his bike, rides to the halfway point with the rest of the plebes, and camps overnight (enjoying the beer garden and watching Le Tour). But in the morning when everybody loads there stuff back on the trucks and takes off South . . . M straps all his stuff back to the bike and rides back home! So this is the second year of the STS and he made it again! Bravo!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Recently, we (and by "we" I mean monkey with me along for the ride) delved into the wet & wild world of (cue dramatic music dum dum dummmmm!) swim lessons. Well, let's just say the first day I got wetter than monkey (and I wasn't in the pool). He got in and promptly clawed his way out of the pool and climbed all over me soaking me in the process. The next day wasn't much better--in fact he wouldn't get in. I finally handed over my stiff as a board child to the instructor for a "swim" (they carry the kids out and back for a quick "swim"). He wouldn't even look at her--I could see him thinking, "If I don't see her then I'm not here and this is not happening!" I felt horrible and considered pulling him out of the class since he didn't seem to be ready but in a few days he got a bit better.

Monkey's really working on his negotiating skills (he's almost three) so we had a long talk one night that if he would simply sit on the steps for the whole lesson and play in the water I wouldn't make him go out for "swims". That seemed to work so the next day (as we discussed the same thing at length that morning at breakfast, in the car, getting changed at the pool . . .) he finally got in and sat on the steps the entire day and by the end was playing games a bit and even splashing (one hand at first and two minutes before it was time to get out he had both going).

The whole set of lessons was every day for nine days. Day seven we finally had a breakthrough. He actually enjoyed going on a "swim" and was loving it. Day eight he asked to go for a swim and even had to wait his turn to go--this was an AMAZING turnaround. Unfortunately, one of the instructors took this as a good sign that he was ready to go underwater . . . needless to say he was not ready and after that he decided he didn't want to go back to the pool - ever. We only had one day left so we had many discussions that night about how he wouldn't have to go underwater again the next day, etc. I promised him I would talk to the swim teachers and blah blah blah. So the next morning he was finally ready to go again . . . and there was a thunderstorm so class was canceled. Now we can't go back until the end of August. Let's hope he'll be over it by then!

After the "bob"

I'm doing it! We'll see how long this lasts . . .

For some reason I've always wanted to blog . . . but I've never had the gumption. I have also read so many good mama blogs that I've been intimidated. I also fear I'm a bit too snarky and not so cool and crafty as many mama bloggers. But what the heck--let's try it. We'll see how long this lasts (and if I have anything to say--and the time & energy to say it!). At least my parents will read it!