Friday, September 27, 2013

Daring Bakers August Challenge

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was tres leche cake. YUMMMY!! I am a sucker for tres leches cake....unfortunately, I didn't follow the directions and the one I made for this challenge was dryer than a bone. When our friend Dulce showed me how to make tres leche cake a year or two ago, she did it differently than the recipe we were given for the challenge suggested. I thought I'd combine the best of both worlds by following the recipe (sort of) and Dulce's instructions (sort of). Bad combo. Did I mention how DRY this cake was?

Dryness aside, I think this cake has real potential and am going to try it again.

On an up note, I used some of the ingredients... real Mexican ingredients, that Dulce sent up from Mexico for me. BONUS!!!

 Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Edward State Park Visit

Last weekend was one full weekend, but so much fun! On Saturday, we had a play date at St. Edward State Park with our friends the Minnichs and the Hoglunds.

When we arrived at the park, Conor immediately noticed the men who were setting up a cricket game on the lawn by the parking area. He was intrigued by their VERY bright yellow uniforms and that they had a ball. I tried to explain what cricket is, but considering I have a very limited knowledge of the sport, I wasn't a very good resource. I think we'll have to do a little research on the Internet ....

The park is amazingly fantastic; someone really thought about keeping kids occupied and moving when they designed the play area. The structures have turrets and look like an old fort or castle, and the play area is entirely surrounded by lawns and trees. There are also lots of paths/trails in the park, but we just stuck to the play area, which is huge and fenced in with a nice wooden fence that keeps kids from wandering too far. There is a low climbing wall, tire swings, regular swings, a digger toy, a sand area, slides galore, and more!

The kids had a blast!! It was fun to have the ability to let them run around, knowing they wouldn't get very far. It was a bit nerve wracking to not have them in my sights 100% of the time, but I made sure they always knew where I was. Plus, I knew Elaine and Rachel were two more sets of eyes keeping an eye on the kids. We definitely had each others backs.

After playing ourselves silly, we called in the troops (aka the dads) and trekked to Elliott Bay Brewing Co. on Lake City Way for a mighty tasty lunch. With the number of little kids that we had, naturally, there were more bathroom visits than anyone imagined. Such is life and par for the course with six kids who are six and younger! :)

Would definitely vote for returning to St. Edward Park for another play excursion!!

Conor really liked these colorful blocks ... they made great sounds as they clanked together

More colors

Liam swinging away

Grace enjoying the red swing

Annika mastering the monkey bars

Run, Conor, run!

I think they reached the max. occupancy limit on this tire swing

Ethan and Annika taking the tire swing out for a spin... literally

Ethan was the last remaining tire swing hold out... he eventually was splayed
out in the wood chips because of being overly dizzy... poor kiddo!!

High flying and adored


Nathan was too small to play, but sure enjoyed watching all of the kids run around

Conor keeping closer to the ground than his big sister tends to

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

While Daddy's Away...

On Sunday, Eric went to the Seahawks game with his friend, Matthew. Oh my, but what a game! Soon after kickoff, a massive thunder/lightning storm came through and created quite the stir at them game. Gone are the days of the Kingdome... the massive concrete stadium that protected everyone from the elements. The game on Sunday wound up having an hour weather delay due to lightning strikes in the area. And I mean, there were countless flashes of lightning that night. At one point, it looked like we had a strobe light outside of our kitchen window! (Conor wasn't overly impressed with the storm, but he survived with some extra snuggles with yours truly.) In addition to the Seahawks kicking the 49's tails, the Seahawks fans set a world record for loudest stadium fans... or something along those lines. (So glad I sent Eric with ear plugs!!)

While Eric was off being loud and risking electrocution, the kids and I stayed home and hunkered down while riding out the storm. We made homemade pizzas (you're welcome, Annika) and even had popcorn for dessert (you're welcome, Conor). Apparently, I was rather outwardly concerned about Eric turning into a soaking wet football fan (he only brought a light rain jacket for protection from the weather) because Annika took it upon herself to get a towel from the linen closet for Eric so he could dry off when he got home. (Isn't she the sweetest???)

Amazingly, when Eric got home, he was perfectly dry... talk about miracles!

While the popcorn was popping, Conor decided to show me his superhero dance. Enjoy!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Late Summer Carkeek Excursion

Today was cool, slightly breezy, overcast, and threatening thunderstorms.... in other words, the perfect day for a trip to the beach in Western Washington!

Annika was invited to a play date at her friend Joe's house, so while she was out and about, Conor and I decided to head to Carkeek Park for some beach time. Conor is a kindred spirit when it comes to playing at the beach. Annika would much rather play at the playground at Carkeek than spend her time digging in the sand. So, with this being a Conor and Mama outing, I knew there wouldn't be any reason leave the beautiful beach anytime soon.

We had a marvelous time. Conor explored the beach and let his imagination soar. Fairly soon after our arrival, he decided that each and every rock on the beach needed to be thrown into the Puget Sound. He flung them, lofted them, scattered them, and shoveled them into the water. Soon after his beach redecorating task was complete, he decided that one of the driftwood logs was his pirate ship and he was the captain of a crew of Neverland pirates on the Never Sea (thank you, Jake and the Neverland Pirates). His play was incredibly detailed and mighty impressive. Before we headed back home, we dug holes and made a few sand castles for good measure.

All in all, it was a perfect day with a very sweet, imaginative boy!

Boys at the beach run...

See what I found? 

Flying rocks

Dig, dig, dig


When at the beach, a boy must always bury his feet...

and whack at a log with a stick...

and go on expeditions...

and fight off enemy pirate ships...

and discover hidden treasures...

and shun shoes...

and trek here and there

and walk the deck of his mighty ship...

and plunge into the Never Sea to swim with the Tick Tock Crocodile

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our big kindergartener

It's official.... Annika is growing up too fast!

Oh, wait. That isn't what I meant to type... let's try again:

It's official.... Annika is growing up too fast!
It's official. Annika is now a kindergartener!

On Monday, she donned her CKS uniform, posed for a multitude of photos (did you really expect anything to the contrary?), and continued down the path of education as she started kindergarten.

Everyone in the entire school was instructed to gather in the school's pavilion and wait (by grade) with their bags and bags of school supplies for the teachers to lead the students (and their trailing parents) to their  classrooms. Naturally, the scene was deafeningly loud and brimming with chaos with kids running around a exploding with excitement. The parents who knew each other greeted one another warmly ... for others, many introductions were made. It was great to see old friends and start new friendships... for children and adults alike.

After a few more photos and inaudible instructions from the principal, everyone headed inside to inspect the newly renovated school and explore their respective classrooms. The halls still smell of new paint and scream out with cleanliness... I'm sure this won't last for long once the many little hands have a chance to touch the walls, door knobs, and water fountains!

We got Annika settled at her table and after a few moments, there was an eerie quiet that fell over the rooms. The kids all started in on the coloring projects that awaited them at their tables of four, and the parents just stood taking it all in.

After 10-15 minutes, Mrs. Galvan, the kindergarten teacher, gave a few last bits of information and sent the parents on their merry way. Shockingly, I left dry-eyed. Not a tear was shed ... I came close after returning home and seeing a picture of Annika when she was much younger, but the moment passed with me remaining tear-free.

Eric picked up Annika at noon (the first day was a half day) and as soon as she was through the front door, I asked Annika how her first day was. She proclaimed, "IT WAS AWESOME!! BEST DAY EVER!!" Hey, you really can't ask for more than that!

First day!

Sporting her cute little uniform

Annika and her buddy Easton

Annika and her bestie Allison

Coloring at her table
(Like the bow? I wore it when I was in high school!)

Annika and her table mates