Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Summer 2014 Day 2


Some photos before bedtime:

Me with Ashley, Caitlin, Ethan and SeanMe and Ashley


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“Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” -Dr. Seuss

Following a recent post here, my friend Linda, whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years, invited us to come visit her on Vashon Island. With the temperatures hitting the 90’s here in Seattle it was a great day to get away with the children. My mother-in-law Janet joined us. It was a fun break away.

We enjoyed an early ferry ride and started our visit to the playground at Ober Memorial Park while it was still cool. The girls looked huge on the tire swing. I remember them being so little when they first played on this swing years ago.

Sean enjoyed swinging for a long time in this swing with Grandma pushing him.

Ethan and Sean discover hidden pleasures under the slide.

Any trip to Vashon requires a visit to the Vashon Tea Shop. I love this shop/cafe. I stocked up on various loose leaf teas I like getting here (Assam Breakfast and Yunnan) and indulged in some new teas (Assam Rembeng, Lavendar Earl Grey that my friend Jennifer introduced me to recently, and I thought I’d try a new Irish Breakfast tea).

As we were leaving the tea shop Ashley pointed out this sign in the window. Says it all really!

The Vashon Bookshop next door to the tea shop is another favorite. Ashley was very pleased to find the last book in the Fablehaven series. Caitlin and I also found some books that we could take home and enjoy.

After lunch at Linda’s we explored the property. We picked apples and Linda showed us a tree stump where a local woodpecker likes to peck. (Wish I could remember the type of woodpecker.)

We met the neighbors goats, on of whom took to banging its horns on the shed much to Sean’s fascination. As I held him and began walking away Sean said, “See again”. His words are coming fast and strong since he turned two at the start of August. So of course we went back and watched some more. I’m not sure Sean like waht he saw as much as being absolutely enthralled at this new spectacle.

After the exertion of exploring we spent a leisurely afternoon on Linda’s deck with a beautiful view of the water. I didn’t think to take a photo of it. I just enjoyed it 🙂

Ashley and Grandma read.

The boys played and then napped.

And Linda taught Caitlin how to use a drill to make a craft project from sticks she’d collected on our walk.

Thankfully we remembered to eat the dessert that Linda and her husband Rick prepared before we left for a mid-afternoon ferry home.

Thank you Linda and Rick for a lovely day. And Janet, it was lovely to have you with us to share the day 🙂

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Bistro Pinguino Re-Opens!

Okay, so it may not have been obvious that it was closed, but here is what our menu board has looked like for the past couple of weeks:

By the way, Ashley created the board just before we left. Thanks Ash 🙂

The reason for the Bistro’s closure? Our family took a camping road trip to California. We had originally planned to drive straight to California to visit both the Redwoods National Park and then across the state to Yosemite National Park. However, last minute, James and I decided that we didn’t want to drive straight through Oregon on the less-than-scenic I-5 freeway. So we added a visit to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon too.

Our final destination was the little town of Markleeville just northeast of Yosemite and south of Lake Tahoe, where James particpated in the notoriously gruelling Death Ride, also known as the The Tour of the Californian Alps. That ride took place last Saturday and then we just drove all the way home on Sunday. We drove through the night and arrived at our house in Seattle just as the sun was rising around 4:45am.

We were, and are, thrilled to be home. We enjoyed the National Parks and the stay in Markleeville and we loved coming home. I have to say that re-opening the Bistro was both a pleasure and a relief after food on the road. We re-opened with an Italian feast, made all the easier because of our summer menu plan and having all of the ingredients already bought and stored in either the freezer or pantry. Grandma and Granddad joined us for dinner and shared in our travel stories. We even had a DVD to watch together after dinner. It was a documentary about the Death Ride, so we could all get a sense of the challenging ride James completed.

Here is the Monday dinner we enjoyed our first night home:

Spaghetti Carbonara, Homemade Garlic Bread, Green Beans, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake & Vanilla Ice-cream, Wine, Water & Milk Stout (thanks to Dave for both introducing me to the Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout and for leaving a half dozen bottles in our fridge for when we returned!)

And here is our menu for the rest of this week:

Massaman Curry, Rice, Normandy Veggies (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Yellow & Orange Carrots)

Breaded Fish, Rice, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob

Chicken Garlic Alfredo with Penne Pasta, Tomato and Avocado Salad

Chili Con Carne, Rice, Sauteed Zuccini & Red Peppers

Turkey Meatball Marinara, Artisan Bread (Italian Pugliese Bread), Broccoli

Eggs, Home Fried Potatoes, Fruit and Veggie Summer Smoothie

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My mother-in-law Janet’s cousin and her husband visited us here in Seattle last week. Kaysea and Gordon live in San Francisco but had just finished a cruise to Alaska that started and ended in Seattle.

Unfortunately, we only had one day to enjoy with them and on top of that it was a week day, meaning James was in work and unable to join us 😦

Fortunately, it was our first day with our friend Juliana working as our mother’s helper 🙂 Our day was so much easier and fun-filled having her with us to help particularly with Ethan and Sean.

Kaysea and Gordon are both docents at the SanFrancisco Zoo. They are also long-time supporters of efforts to save the endangered snow leopard. A trip to the Woodland Park Zoo to see the snow leopards was a wonderful choice for all of us for our brief visit together.

We were very lucky to not only see the often reclusive snow leopard but to have him hang around the window and the fence for almost an hour. Caitlin was very pleased with herself when she took this photo of a yawn.

Janet and I had prepared a packed lunch for everyone, so we ate our lunch at the snow leopard enclosure and leisurely enjoyed observation, conversation, watching the informational videos…

…and climbing around the rocks and notices.

One of the highlights was the sound of a huge thud as the snow leopard rammed the glass in an attempt to “prey” on a young girl watching on the other side. Startled gasps and excited chatter as everyone was reminded that this is a wild creature and not just large, adorable cat.

We did spend some time with the penguins, the sloth bears and the elephants (I learned that there are no elephants at the San Francisco Zoo!). Ethan and Sean had so much fun on this trip to the zoo. They were both more aware of the animals (Sean was overjoyed at the elephants) and with Juliana’s help they were able to have a lot more freedom to walk or run around the zoo.

We all had a wonderful visit to kick off our summer.

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This is one of our favorite places to hang out in the Ballard area of Seattle.

Although you wouldn’t think it from the outside, this coffee shop is a real gem.

I love going by myself to be alone and decompress. It’s a great place to think and be quiet, even if there are a lot of other people around.

Last week I went for tea with a friend and brought Ethan and Sean.

Barb and I had a very pleasant chat/business meeting 🙂 (We share our stories as well as problem solve and exchange information on household management and child rearing.)

On the morning we went, I was amused to discover that I knew 10 out of the 12 women sitting at various tables that morning (There was also about half a dozen men; I didn’t know any of them).

Ethan and Sean loved exploring this new-to-them space.

Their steamed milk, coffee, tea, breakfast muffins, sandwiches and Essential Bakery pastries that I have tried are delicious. I have been many times already this year and will continue to visit as often as I can.

Oh, and just to add to the loveliness, they have a punchcard with the image of the not-actually-grumpy owner, Dan. This is my third punch card in three months. The freebie is worth every penny spent at Grumpy D’s to get to it 🙂

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Sorry We’re Closed!

Okay, so I’m not sorry. We had a lot of fun in the snow today. I’ll try to share photos tomorrow. Uploading photos and blogging are a little more challenging with a full house and lots of fun to be had.

Btw, I heard a news reporter ask an interviewee if Seattle was closed today? There was no definite response but it sure seemed like it to us. Cities should have a day or two off more often. School is cancelled again for tomorrow. Roll on the closure of Seattle Part 2!

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“Can miles truly separate us from friends? If we want to be with someone we love, aren’t we already there?”-Richard Bach

I wrote a little while back about how I needed to make time to get away alone; to have a chance to clear my head and think. Well I also need to get away and have fun. That’s what I did this weekend. For the first time in quite a verrrry long time I went away by myself to visit my very dear friend, Pauline.

I have been scrapbooking with friends over the last few years and that is a lot of fun. However, when I go scrapbooking I usually have an agenda: scrapbook family photos. This weekend I went with no agenda other than to have fun being with Pauline.

Pauline lives in Anacortes in northern Washington, close to the Canadian border. Our family has been up several times to visit her. A most memorable trip occurred at Thanksgiving 2010, when the four children and I went up for a couple of days and ended up snowed in at Pauline’s house for nearly a week!

Driving up to Pauline’s house I had a fabulous time alone in the car loudly singing along to some of my favorite Glee songs. I was so into singing one particular song that I missed my exit off I5 and onto Highway 20. I drove all the way up to within a couple of miles of the Canadian border and I didn’t mind a bit. It just meant I needed to turn around and spend another wonderful 30 minutes singing my way to the exit and on to Anacortes.

While we were there Pauline cooked delicious meals for me, made me lots of cups of tea (one of my most favorite past times) and showed me around The Market, her local grocery store. She gave me a little tour around their amazing spice section where a chef prepares blends of herbs and spices and rubs. Pauline and I share a love of food and it was very inspiring to look, smell and imagine our way through shelves of enticing containers. I bought a roast veggie blend that I am excited to try out soon.

On Saturday night, Pauline drove us into La Conner in her sporty little Miata, where we attended a wine tasting and watch a Lighted Boat Parade on the canal. I had a great weekend. The highlight of course being the time alone with my friend Pauline.

Thanks Pauline!

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