Friday, July 30, 2010

I Am One of Those Odd Balls

 

I’ve been pushing dirt, rocks, and tree roots around all week, whipping my back yard into shape.   It is a lot of work, but I’m one of those odd folks that loves every minute of it.  I love having my hands in the earth, and growing about anything.   These are a few pretty blooms from around our place.

 

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I love my little man and little lady.  I moved them from the front porch to the back yard, where I can enjoy them more.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

From the List of Things I Like About Western Washington.

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It’s Farmer’s Market Season!

We get the chance to go to a whole-lot-a-them.  There’s a different one for every day of the week, and then some!

Today we went to the Redmond Saturday Market.

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I picked up a 1/2 flat of fresh, organic strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, some Alpaca yarn, and a couple business cards for later, since I didn’t bring enough cash with me.  My daughter picked up her requisite small bag of hazelnuts (she gets one at every farmer’s market we go to).  Today’s flavor was orange honey.  Yum!  (I’m so glad she shares)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Olympic Sculpture Park (Seattle Arts Museum)

 

A fabulous place for a walk, even for a group of teenagers :)

 

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“Seattle Cloud Cover” -Teresita Fern├índez

(laminated glass bridge)

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“Eagle” -Alexander Calder (painted steel)

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“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” -Claes Oldenburg

(stainless steel and fiberglass)

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“Father and Son” -Louise Bourgeois

(stainless steel, aluminum, water)

This was one of my favorites.    There is a bell that chimes every hour (might be 1/2 hour, I can’t remember) which changes the sculpture from “father” to “son” and back.

 

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“Eye Benches” -Louise Bourgeois

(black zimbabwe granite)

These were fun and functional sculptures all around the same area.  I believe there were 3 different sets, if I recall.

 

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“Schubert Sonata” -Mark di Suvero  (steel)

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“Love & Loss” -Roy McMakin (mixed media) 

I think  it’s funny how my group of kids separated  themselves into boys & girls un-consciously.   That won’t last much longer, I’m sure.

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A view of the sound, and a starfish that came in with the tide.

 

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“Stinger”  and “Wandering Rocks” -Tony Smith

(steel, painted black)

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“split” -Roxy Paine  (polished stainless steel)

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“Wake” -Richard Serra  (weatherproof steel)

 

These are only some of the exhibits that are part of the sculpture park.  I highly recommend taking a walk through this area.  You can’t beat a free outdoor art exhibit!  And if you get some extra time, take a tour!  The tour guides did a great job with my group of kids, and really got them thinking about how they interpreted each piece, and how it made them feel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Project: New Window Treatments

 

I love the natural light that comes through my over-sized windows.  I wanted to do something different in my Bonus room, which doubles as my craft room.  I wanted color, but I also wanted options.  This is what I ended up with, and I think they are pretty cool:

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My Mom was excited to sew something, so I asked her if she wanted to work on these for me.   I explained what I wanted to do, and she executed it perfectly.  The cream panels are completely removable from the top burnt orange panels.  They attach to each other with velcro fasteners at just the right intervals to retain the same flow and movement you’d get from a continuous panel.  I can remove the long cream, and have just a valance look, remove just the center sections, or tie them back any number of ways.  I love how many options I have!  BIG thanks, Mom for your work on these!

The second room on the agenda was my dining room:

Instead of blocking any of the view out the window, I extended the valance and draperies a good amount from the sides of the window.

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I can’t believe how warm this room feels now. 

After I was finished and I was taking in the look of the room, I realized these resemble my Grandparent’s curtains that were in their home for probably 30 years. 

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I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but it explains my attraction to them, I guess.  I have nothing but fond memories of my Grandparent’s home.  (That’s me with my parents when I’m about 2)

Next up: Figuring out what I want to do in my great room.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Family Cook Book

I’ve been putting together a personal cook book for my family,  full of our favorite healthy recipes.  Here are a couple of them.

Serves 6

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Cashew Chicken and Broccoli Salad:

3      tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1½   tabelspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1½   tablespoon mirin

1½   teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1½   teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil

¼ + 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1¼   pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut        into 1-inch pieces

4½   cups coarsley chopped fresh broccoli

1½   red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

¾     cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ + 1/8 cup shredded carrot

3      scallions, finely chopped (green onions)

¼ + 1/8 cup coarsley chopped unsalted cashews

Whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper together in a small bowl to make the dressing; Set asside.Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high.  Add the chicken and cook, turning to brown all sides.Combine the broccoli, bell pepper, cilantro, carrot and scallions (green onions) in a large bowll.  Add the dressing and toss well.Add the chicken to the broccoli and toss lightly.  Divide the salad into 6 servings, and sprinkle with the cashews to serve.

1 ½ cups salad with 1 tablespoon cashews:  209 cal, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 51mg chol, 208 mg sodium, 11g carb, 4g fiber, 23g protein, 65 mg calc

 

Asparagus Egg-Drop Soup:

1 ¼ pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into ¾ inch pieces

6     cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

¼ + 1/8 cup cold water

4 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

3     large eggs, lightly beaten

3     teaspoons reduces-sodium soy sauce

¾    teaspoon rice-wine OR white-wine vinegar

       white pepper to taste

Cook the asparagus in boiling water, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse, and set aside.Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.  Whisk into the broth and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.Reduce the heat to barely a simmer.  Slowly drizzle the eggs into the soup while stirring quickly in a circular motion.  Do not change directions or it will lessing the presentation of your soup.   Cook about 1 minute.  Gently stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.  Serve the soup over the asparagus in soup bowls.  (adjusted to make 6- 1 ¼ cup servings)

1 ¼ cup soup: 87 cal, 3g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 106 mg chol, 758 mg sod, 8g carb, 1g fiber, 7g protein, 21mg calc.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Think Washington State needs a Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwich!!

That was my cousin’s Facebook status update this morning.    It made me laugh, because if you’ve seen the commercials, it’s so true right now!  Give us some sun, already!  Please?  It’s summer, remember? 

I do have these lovelies in my front yard to look at and chase the clouds away a bit.  I can’t get over how beautiful they are this year, and SO BIG!  They’re about the same height as my (almost) 8 year old.

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In spite of the very little sun we’ve gotten, my tomatoes are doing better this year than ever – so far.  I have yet to get any actual fruit, but the size of them is good, and I have blossoms, so I’m hopeful!  This has been my biggest plight since moving to the pacific northwest.  Gardening conditions are so different here.  We also back a greenbelt with 140 ft Dug Firs backing our property, so I get very little sun to work with, even when the sun does actually come out.  If only the HOA would let me plant my vegetable garden out front…  Oh well, I do the best I can with what I have, and so far the best luck is with big pots that I can move around.

 

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They may not look like much to you, but trust me, this is an accomplishment for me!  I’m excited to have my first tomato sandwich of the summer.

Today I finished up my bookmarks for a bookmark swap hosted by my friend Missy at Little Messy Missy.  I don’t want to spoil her excitement when she opens the package, so no full pictures for a couple of days, but you can find a teaser sneak-peek over on my craft blog, which has been way too neglected lately.

-b