Thursday, June 30, 2011

He's a seal

This morning, I was feeling goofy and balanced one of Conor's Cheerios on my nose. Then, he let me balance one on his nose. Next, we'll try a red rubber ball so he can secure a future in the circus!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June Daring Kitchen Challenge

This month's Daring Kitchen baking challenge was making baklava. No problem! Then I read further.... baklava with homemade phyllo dough. Wha? It never occurred to me that someone could (or would) actually make phyllo dough. To me, it was something that has always been in the frozen foods section at the local grocery store ... yes, even back in Ancient Greek times, it was still in the frozen foods section!!

I had a few issues with this challenge. The first was my own fault: the recipe recommended doubling the ingredients. No problem! I doubled the dries. However, I forgot to double the wets. Whoops. Scrapped that wad of dough and started over ... doubling ALL of the ingredients. MUCH better! The second issue came from me placing the baking dish on the stack of phyllo sheets I painstakingly rolled out so I could cut them to to fit. Big mistake. The weight of the pan made all of the sheets stick together. Whoops! At that point, I pulled out the handy-dandy pasta machine and rolled out the dough (AGAIN) using less elbow grease. Perfect! The only recipe-based issue I had was that it called for too much honey syrup... too wet. Even with all of the issues, it still tasted REALLY good!

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

A whale of a tale

Yesterday, I gave Conor a book to look at while we waited for Eric to get Annika from her classroom. The book contained cartoon-ish drawings of ocean dwellers - jellyfish, starfish, shark, fish, octopus, etc. I pointed to the picture of the whale and said "whale." Much to my surprise, Conor repeated what I said! It is amazing how quickly kids his age develop their vocabularies!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls' Day at U. Vill.

On Saturday, Annika and I explored the U. District farmers market in hopes of finding pie cherries. The vendor we originally wanted to buy them from was sold out, but (fear not!) took a reservation for us to get some the following weekend. WHEW!

After the farmers market, Annika and I popped down to U. Village to get some storage stuff. Instead of getting in and out, Annika and I took a little time to explore U. Village and to spend some uninterrupted Mom-N-Me time together. It was a beautiful day and Annika loved all of the water features throughout the mall. To top off our day, we even got some frozen yogurt!

Exploring the water features

Pretty girl!

Mmmm! Vanilla frozen yogurt with fresh blueberries

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The cutest ant ever

For the most part, ants creep me out. I hate how they crawl all over each other when they're in their ant hills. Simply put, ants are yucky in my opinion. I know they have an important role to play in nature's big scheme of things, but that doesn't lessen the fact that they creep me out.

That said, my loathing of ants lessened yesterday when I saw the world's cutest ant... and her little friends. Annika's class is studying bugs right now and so each of the kids made an ant hat. The hats were complete with ant stamps and pipe cleaner antanae.

Unlike her task-focused antbretheren, Annika doesn't go directly anywhere. She meanders most of the time. Such is the case when it is time to leave school each day. We don't go from point A (the outside gate of her class' play area) to point B (the car). Instead, we go from point A to point Q, take a left at point G, hop in a circle near point U, pick up leaves at point L, return to point A, and then eventually make our way to point B. Every aspect of the general area needs to be explored, commented on, and collected.

Annika's Ant Hat

Collecting Leaves

Collecting More Leaves

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dressing Up

We have a family friend who is the queen of garage/yard/estate sales. I am quite convinced she sees these sales as a competitive sport. She can find a bargain like no other person on Earth! A few months back, I asked her to keep her eyes open for costume jewelry for Annika to use for dress up. We hit a goldmine by asking her to do this. Annika is now teaming with wonderfully gawdy pieces of bling to play with. Conor, not to be left out, also thinks some of the items are too wonderful to pass up.

You can't really see them, but her earrings are these plastic, fuzzy green things ... they remind me of the top of a sea anemone.

Annika loves her loot!

Conor, those necklaces really make your jammies pop!

Conor decided the bracelet was just too much with the necklaces - don't want to over-accessorize you know!

Annika being Princess Jasmine

Conor playing dress up outside the box!

Everything is a hat for Conor

Thank you, Mary Ann!! The treasures you found are a hit!

Add Image

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Winkle Twinkle

This makes me happy. That's all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Annika's 1st Diorama

This weekend, we got innundated with boxes containing items for redecorating Conor's room. While prepping the boxes for the recycle bin, I got the idea that Annika and I should use one to make a diorama. We (I) decided a simple scene was the way to go; because Annika had never made one before, she didn't know to go complex. Annika headed up the glue department. I cut out most of the items; she did tackle one of the rows of grass. Annika also decided where everything should go.

Not too shabby, if you ask me!!

Phase 1

Phase 2


Our kids are nuts about books. At times, it feels like our house is teaming with kids' books. I dare not get rid of any of them, though, because the kids actually interact with most of them on a fairly regular basis. We read to the kids every night before bed on the weekdays and throughout the day and before bed on the weekends. "Book" was one of Conor's favorite words. Annika knows that she gets three books before bed, but frequently tries to bargain for an extra one for good measure.

On Saturday, the kids and I hunkered down in front of our book basket in our front room and read books for I don't even know how long. A few months ago, we received a hand-me-down collection of mini books that our kids adore. Here are a few pics of our jammie-clad kids enjoying the joy that is reading.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One happy girl

Eric took Annika out to ice cream today. This is just about her ideal thing ... time with her daddy and enjoying chocolate ice cream.

Monday, June 13, 2011


To say our children love tomatoes is an understatement. Our kids LOOOOOOOOVE tomatoes - especially the little grape tomatoes. (They obviously inherited this trait from me, not Eric. That man loves lots of things, but tomatoes aren't one of 'em.)

Recently, Conor started saying a word we didn't initially recognize: "may-oh". At first, I thought he was asking for milk. I'd hear him say "may-oh" and offer him milk. He'd shake his head with verve (occasionally knocking himself over) and saying, "NO!"

Then, I started to realize he pointed at red things when he said "may-oh" and I realized he was saying "tomato." Ah-ha!! If eating tomatoes was an Olympic sport, this little guy would be a gold medal champion!! (Assuming his sister wasn't competing in the same Olympics... otherwise, they'd have to duke it out for gold and silver.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Annika's latest cuteness

This morning, Annika woke up and wandered into our bedroom. Fortunately, our alarm clock had gone off just a minute before, so at least we were already awake. As Annika snuggled with us, Eric asked her what she dreamed about. She said that she dreamed about the ocean and that Eric was "scooper driving" (scuba diving) to catch an octopus.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Recently, Annika has enjoyed pretending that she's fishing. Lots of household items have become her fishing poles: chop sticks, salad spoons, my eye liner, etc. Eric, being the clever guy that he is, decided to take Annika's play one step further. He cut out construction paper fish and then put paper clips where their mouths would be. He then created a pole and line and "hook" using a chop stick, yarn, and refrigerator magnet. The goal was to use the magnet to catch the fish while Annika is in her laundry basket boat. See??? I told you that he's a clever guy!!! The game was a hit!

(Keep an eye out for Conor's cameo in the video!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I've coined a new word: Doppelhanger. It is when two people arrive at the same event wearing the same outfit.

Cousin Fun

On Saturday, I packed up our kids and headed across 520 to spend the afternoon with my brother's family ... minus my brother, who was in Vegas partying down at his friend's bachelor party weekend.

Staci (my sister-in-law) and I decided a little "cousin camp" was in order for the day. I brought our blow-up pool and some bubble wands - both were a hit, as was the wind-up fish that our nephew Ian had in a bowl of water. Ian and Annika had a great time in the wading pool (once we poured in enough warm water so they didn't feel like they were freezing to death), climbing on the Big Toy, and running around on the lawn. In fact, the kids played themselves to the point of exhaustion!

Growing children = last-minute shopping outing for sandals en route to cousin camp
(PS: Our kids LOVE the driving carts!)

Conor watching Ian and his wind-up fish

Conor getting in on the action

Annika wasn't going to be left out!

Kat and Auntie (aka me)

Ian and Annika in the pool (yes, the wind-up fish is still involved!)

Conor after crying himself to sleep on our way home

Friday, June 3, 2011


Last weekend, the kids and I got creative. Well, they got creative. I just facilitated. We went to the local hardware store and picked up some terra cotta planters. Annika picked out some purple plants for the new planters.

When we got home, I pulled out the craft kit, put newspaper all over our laundry room floor (mind you, that didn't stop painted footprints from winding up on the floor, but it did help a bit), and let the kids go to town painting their planters. After they were done, I took the planters outside and sprayed them with clear coat, so the paint could withstand our famous Seattle rain.

The next day, Annika and I donned our garden gloves and planted the pretty purple plants (like the alliteration??) that Annika picked out. Our deck looks much prettier now!

Thanks, Sara, for the great craft idea!!

Annika's planter

Conor's planter

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One of the best days EVER

11 years ago from yesterday (June 1, 2000), I started a new job. Little did I know that I would also start my life. That's the day I met my amazingly wonderful husband. (OK, he wasn't my husband yet ... but I snared him soon enough!)

What amazes me year after year is how well get get along and how well we fit. We share a sense of humor that makes most people shake their heads and walk away mystified. When he brings logic, I bring emotion. When I bring chaos, he brings calm. We just work well. We are forever finishing each other's sentences and know what the other is about to say. Our partnership is right ... simply put. Eric is the peanut butter to my jelly - the yin to my yang - the Gilbert to my Sullivan.

Little did I know those many years ago that when I walked through the doors at my new job, I would not only start on a lifelong career path, but I would also meet the man of the dreams. My future husband. The father of my future children. The man I would rely on, I would support, and I would grow old with. The man whose love keeps me grounded and gives my heart wings all at the same time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Annika's owie ear

Two nights ago, Annika woke up with an owie ear. Not just some owie ear that we told her to shake it off and go back to sleep, but a really, really, really owie ear. We tried Tylenol. We tried decongestant. We tried warm compresses. We tried pleading with her ear to feel better and let all of us sleep. No such luck. I finally got her to fall into a fitful sleep somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30 AM. It kills me to hear my babies cry because they don't feel well (compared to when they're just being drama queens or throwing a fit about not getting their way ... who? our kids? NEVER!) Let me just say, though, that 1.5 hours of sleep simply isn't enough.

I took Annika to the doctor, who diagnosed her with a "raging ear infection." She gave us a 'script for antibiotics and sent us on our merry way.

Apparently, my incredibly sleep-deprived brain (who also didn't go to pharmacology school and doesn't know all of the drug facts down to the Nth degree) mistakenly told the doctor (Note: Not our regular pediatrician) that Annika could take amoxicillan when she, in fact, can't because of her augmentin allergy. I should have said that she can take Azithromycin. Apparently, the doctor gave the pharmacist an earful when she called asking if it is OK to switch the type of antibiotic to one that won't make Annika puke her guts out. The doctor said, "Her mother specifically said that amoxicillan was fine." Well PAR-DON ME for getting my antibiotics screwed up and not knowing that augmentin and amoxicillan are basically the same drug. I have a degree in ENGLISH not CHEMISTRY ... and did I mention the sleep deprivation???

But I digress...

We FORTUNATELY, got the right meds (aka Azithromycin) and Annika slept through the night last night... a much needed occurance by all of us! She is still a bit out of sorts, but we expect that to improve as the antibiotics have a chance to really kick into gear.

PS: I have created a note in my iPhone that reminds me of what medications Annika can not take ... best to have that handy in case the question ever comes up again. :)

Our sweet girl enjoying a snack this weekend, aka before the ear infection took over...