Thursday, July 31, 2008

Big Girl Play

Holly has really started to blossom in her play, particularly independent play. She used to site and do a puzzle alone or play a game or do art. Mainly though, she wants a partner in crime to play with. However, lately I have seen her sneaking off and enjoying more alone time. She is singing contently in her room while she plays with her Little Pet Shop critters - arranging away, making adjustments and then breaking song to have them talk to each other. So darn cute!

I have to admit it is nice to see! She has a ton of time with her friends. We have a wonderful playgroup whom we meet with weekly, friends we see at various activities and make play dates for her to enjoy. Socially, she is great! But, sometime at home it is hard on her. Hard for her to understand she needs to have some alone time for her imagination to grow. So, to see her blossoming lately in alone play makes my heart smile because I know she is maturing some.... which makes me sad all at the same time! LOL! Oh well, off I go to sneak an earful of her sweet song to the Little Pet Shops!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Sweet Shot

So, I took this one a couple of weeks ago but I love it!!! I love how you can just see the happiness in them both - Grandpa Hawk & Holly!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

After our wonderful blueberry picking this past weekend we have been really enjoying some blueberry delights within our menu. Yesterday Holly & I made Blueberry Struesel Muffins together. She adores cooking as do I, so it's a good match for us. While Holly does get in the kitchen with us a few times each week - times like yesterday really drive to me to include her a lot more as I know she really connects with cooking! She likes the measuring and creating and best yet she seems to eat anything she cooks... no matter the ingredients!
Here is the recipe we used! It is very good, however I would probably add a tad more sugar and some cinnamon (about 1/2 teaspoon) to the recipe for added flavor. But, that is just me tweaking things... I can't ever seem to leave a recipe alone after I make it!

Cinnamon Streusel Topping
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

Blueberry Muffins
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or canned (drained) blueberries

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. In medium bowl, mix 1/4 cup flour, the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly.

2. In large bowl, beat milk, oil, vanilla and egg until well blended. Stir in 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder and salt all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each with about 2 teaspoons streusel topping.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm or cool.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blueberry Picking & Garage Sales

What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning! This morning we finished up some household stuff, like bottling beer with Bryan and then hit the road to find some garage sales! Typically by this time each year we are seasoned garage salers - this year we have not ventured to any. So, it was a nice treat to make a mocha and find some fun deals. Along the way we drove past a local blueberry farm, Linbo Blueberries, and could not help but notice the folks out picking. What a great idea for us as Holly loves blueberries!

So, we turned right around and grabbed some buckets. At first I wasn't too sure becuase many of the berries are just not ripe yet. We found a couple here and there, Holly was eating faster than we could pick them. We wondered around a bit and finally hit a good spot that inpsired us to keep going. Our initial goal was enough berries to make some blueberry pancakes for breakfast but after finding the good spot (or two) we picked 4lbs... yes, 4 lbs! We didn't even stop in to see how much per pound they were. Bryan asked me and I said well at the store they are like $4.00 for a pretty small container but sometimes on sale. At that point we stopped picking worried about the price. We brought them into the little shed and they sorted them on their berry sorter (cool machine!) and at that point I asked how much they were per pound. And, guess what -- they are only $1.75 a pound!!! Yeah! I have a strong sense we might try this again next weekend if things are ripe and ready to go! Oh, and the best part is they play classical music in the blueberry fields while you pick! It was so wonderfully fun!

We then resumed garage sales as Holly napped. Today's big find was books, books and more books... all for Holly! Funny thing is she has no idea we even have them as she was napping. What a fun surprise they will be! At one sale I found some excellent condition readers from 1938, 1958 and 1960 -- I love them! They are old school texts with lots of innocent short stories, fables, poetry, folk lore, etc... the illlustrations are simply wonderful! Cannot wait to read them! I then hit a great sale that was closing up. I had chose three books for Holly until the lady said a whole bag for a $1.00! Well, well... that changed things! I loaded that bad boy up - completely! All in all we brought home over 40 books for her!

So, that is how we spent another nice Saturday morning around town! Not bad entertainment for about $8.00!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Long Days of Summer

We are finally in full swing with sunshine, thank goodness! With this sunshine come the long, slow, fun days of summer for us all! The warm evenings seem to creep later and later for us. What once was Holly's bedtime (8pm) has slowly faded to an hour or so later, which is fine *if* she sleeps in, ha! The outdoors beckons us from the house and we answer the call!

It is so easy to fill our every waking moment with some kind of task or another - whether an activity or errand or the house. But, I am trying to make sure I really slow down and take advantage of this weather, for Bryan & I - but mainly for Holly! Spending a leisurely sunny day playing outside, alone or with friends, is what childhood is about. Treasuring the memories of running, giggling, swinging or simming with a popsicle dripping down her chin... I want her to remember that feeling! Stopping to hear the leaves rustle in the light breeze, chase a butterfly around the yard, inspect a bumble bee in the garden or soak up the sun. We just don't get to enjoy those small moments in life enough!

This past Spring I was toying with putting Holly into Dance for the summer and a sport, however I am glad I waited! I am glad she has time everyday to just be. Just be three! Enjoy her yard, her toys, her friends, our small travels and take in the memories! We'll hold off till fall to put something back in our schedules, in the mean time we will doddle the afternoon away outside, in the pool with popsicle juice running down our chins! Life doesn't get much better than that!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

After a long day of play...

Sometimes you just need a nap....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cape Flattery

On Bryan's birthday (yes, he is now 36) we took a hike up to Cape Flattery -- what a wonderful hike out and sooo worth it! I honestly think this was one of the prettiest natural places I have ever seen in our area, simply beautiful! The area is lined in these massive rockeries and caves filled with various sea life, the waves carshing in... breath taking! You just have to see it to appreciate it, promise me if you are ever in that area you'll take the hike out!

Hobuck Beach

Hobuck Beach is a pretty little coved like beach, clean, quiet, calm and enjoyable. We took a morning walk almost every day and plenty more walks along the way. Found some great little tidepools to one side that we explored and flew kites, well at least Holly & Bryan did. My attempt at our stunt kite was not pretty and Bryan couldn't understand why I was struggling... kite flying is not my strong point! Ha!

Our campsite was right near the beach with immediate access yet a wind block with some shrubbery. We had a little brown rabbit visit daily and some roaming dogs... yes, you read correctly - roaming dogs! Two of them were really very sweet ( I think they were still puppies) and visited us often. You could find them regularly sleeping in our site or under out trailer! Personally, I could of snuck them home with me... but, they were true beach bums!

Just arriving, the views from our site.

Bryan & Holly flying her little kite

Some great rocks offering wonderful little tidepools!!! FUN!

A week camping... Marymere Falls

We just returned from a nice long week of camping in Neah Bay at Hobuck Beach. We had a very fun time, enjoyed some local natural sites, had a great time and lot's of fun! Our week was spent enjoying a camp site near Grandma Annette & Grandpa Tex and their summer site. We spent time relaxing, flying kites on the beach, beach combing, tidepooling, hiking, relaxing, taking a boat ride and did I mention relaxing! We have tons of photos so I will break them into section of our trip and post them that way!

The ride out to Neah Bay is a long one but beautiful! We stopped along the way and did a small hike into Maymere Falls near Crescent Lake. Such a beautiful area, prestine and soothing to the soul. We stopped and took in the sites at Cresent Lake first and then hit the trail up to the falls. It was a nice smooth hike that end with a bit of an incline up to the falls. Holly enjoyed much of the natural play spaces along the way. Climbing roots, looking for animals, birds and bugs, walking falled logs, etc. Great day hike!

Bryan, Holly & I near Lake Crescent

Holly & I on a wooden bridge along the trail

Bryan & Holly having a little fun
Bryan, Holly, Annette & I at the top with the falls behind us.

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent

Holly climbing a tree root area.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beluga Whales

It's been busy around here -- Last weekend we had company in town which kept our schedules very full. We took in as much of our seasonal sun as we could enjoying dinners outside, eating out, going for a walk, visiting Anderson Island and the local zoo! Holly and I visit the zoo quiet often, our membership is well loved in this house! Many times we go though we tend to just hit the newer side of th zoo, play and head home. It's rare we see the other half and all it offers. Our guest in town enjoys sealife and especially whales -- so, our whole goal was to see these sorts of animals and the aquarium. It was such a treat!
The walruses were very active and fun, the sea otters were being fed and the puffins were being fed and super playful! It was wonderful! The best part though was the beluga whales!!! There are two of them and they were incredibly playful... incredibly! They were fun to view from above but when we slipped down below to the viewing window they came right over to where we were and began playing with some toys they had - right in front of us! It was amazing to see them so up close and having a good time! Holly was in awe to put it simple. We hung out there for about half an hour to enjoy them, take in their beauty and treasure the moment!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wish I had camera at this moment....

Holly encountered a clown this past weekend, she was incredibly adorable & fun with the kids! In this encounter Holly also *got* her first joke. As the clown told her joke you could see Holly process it a moment and then total enjoyment krept over her face as she understood what the joke was and just started busting up. I so wish I had my camera at that moment to capture her little face as she heard and understood her first joke - with pure delight! Oh well, I am just glad I was there to see it and laugh with her! We couldn't wait to tell Daddy the joke!

And, what was so funny.....

What was Tigger looking in the toilet for?


Just a "For Fun" Shot

Holly & I were sharing some lunch together in a silly manor - she though this was hilarious!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Whew... A Whirl Wind Weekend!

Wow -- we had a GREAT weekend -- 4th of July festivities, picnic at the park and Tall Ships of Tacoma! The 4th of July was spent enjoying some good family time and then heading over to our friends house for dinner and fireworks. Holly really experienced this for the first time this year, she really liked it but the late hours made it hard to keep up. She fizzled out and we headed home for some rest... in which Bryan & I sat out another hour or so and watched them from our little bluff. We had a wonderful night, great company, an excellent dinner and good memories! Here is a photo of Holly & I with her very first sparkler... which I'll be honest, she wasn't too sure of and passed on a second. Oh well, maybe next year!

Saturday we headed out to Titlow Beach & Park for a bit of beach combing and a picnic to visit with friends! One in particular we haven't seen in over a year, which was really nice! The weather really warmed up by that evening and Holly had a ton of fun playing on the big toys. We also packed a container of great park toys and we brought that out later one - nothing like a good game of frisbie or soccer ball around a huge park. We stayed pretty late and had nothing but a good time! Earlier in the day the tide was out pretty low so we hit the beach and searched for some critters. We found sea stars, snails, tons of crabs of all sized and kinds, sea anemones, some kind of eel like fish and more! It was mucky, mushy, muddy & fun! Good thing we brought extra shoes & clothes.

Then on Sunday we headed out to see the Tall Ships in Tacoma for the day. This was very fun! Even though it did become a very large crowd and the lines were long, we kept on and it was worth it. We did the big ticket tour and were able to visit quiet a few ships, especially in the time we had with Holly being on board with us. We boarded ships and were able to check them out up close and hear/learn of the history of some. Some are replicas that were created for movies... like the Bounty which was used in Pirates of the Carribean 2. Holly also was able to check out a couple of kid items and make her own boat and sailing hat, we checked out a great maratime exhibit geared towards kids and some neat small wooden boats (these caught Bryan's eye!). Here are some neat shots to share - if you have never done this... it's wonderful!

Oh, and we got NEW living room furniture!!! Yeah! Awe.... one busy, fun & wonderful weekend!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Earlier this Spring we were on a mission to find tadpoles as I wrote about here: We had no luck!!! Last week our friend Charlotte asked if we had found any? Nope, none. She had a great surprise for Holly -- four tadpoles!!! Holly was so excited to get a tadpole, but four -- WOW!

Our tadpoles are safely tucked into their own little pond like sanctuary, a plastic fish container, complete with some rocks especially chosen for their home, twigs we plucked from the yard and a water plant or two. It's a good life for captivity! Holly has even named them all... Star. All of them are named Star - so, it's not too hard to figure out who we are watching and you can't mess up their names too much, ha! We check them a few times a day to see if any changes are happening. The only change I see is that they are double the size they were just last week - they are eating like crazy and pretty active actually.
We have also been busy learning about tadpoles and frogs, from books and the internet. Yesterday we painted several frogs and cut them out. Looked at the frog life cycle and made it into an art project. As well, we are working on a lap book all about frogs - when we are done I will post some photos of it. Holly has really been enjoying her journey into tadpole land. Me too! Thanks Charlotte!!!
Here are our little Stars of the house:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jumping Jack Trailer

Lot's of people ask us about our camping trailer, the Jumping Jack. It is kind of different, fun and conversative. I like it because it is still kind of traditional camping with a bit more conveniences. We try to describe it to folks as "Well, it is a tent on a trailer - not a pop-up tent and not a traditional tent for the ground, but just a tent on a utility like trailer." <-- That description is somewhat confusing though! We took the Jumping Jack out camping this past weekend and fielded a few campers questions and even gave a brief tour to one family. Not uncommon at all to give tours while camping... after a day or two though I make Bryan let me clean it up some first!
The Jumping Jack is awesome! It has a double bed and a single bed, a tables and storage under the double bed. Loads of windows, very durable, lantern post, a kitchen unit that holds our stove and has a water & sink set up. We have a front little deck area to hold our drawers of supplies and a cooler as well another cooler rack (keeping them off the ground). And, it has a huge full table set up that is perfect for your supplies and cooking!
So, I thought I'd share a bit of what our Jumping Jack looks like ~ Enjoy!
Bryan is cooking at the stove here, hence blocking the kitchen/stove set up.
This is the double bed side.
This is the single bed side. This is the table and some storage caddies hanging. We usually do lot's more storage ideas for longer trips. Stuff fits under the table with lot's of room to spare and under the double bed.
And a side view showing how it is off the ground... keeping your sleeping arrangements a bit warmer and more comfortable.

Camping at Kanaskat Palmer State Park

This past weekend we headed out of town with some family friends and went camping at Kanaskat Palmer State Park. This park is really nice because it is not too far from home, but you still feel like you are out of town! It is a pretty park too. It would even make a fun day time trip for some river play and day walks. The weather was amazing (maybe a bit too hot being in the 90's) and the company was wonderful! I think everyone had a very nice time together!
We spent some time at camp just visiting together and took a few walks to see the Green River - pretty littls spots along the way. This river had some nice little places for the kids to safely explore and play. Much time was spent tossing rocks, skipping rocks (modeled well by Rod), searching for little critters like fish, bugs and crayfish and splashing around. A couple of good water/splash fights were underway and fun was had by all.

Here are some fun photos of the weekend:

Holly & Bryan roasting a marshmallow.

The Green River

Our Camping Cuties!Catching a crayfish... Bryan was a bit scared to pick it up -- it might pinch, ha!

A little rock tossing in the river.