Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fun with the Kids

It was a cold, crisp, sunshiny day.  Jill and a friend went hiking in the mountains, a 7.5 mile hike to Lake Serene near Mt Index.  They planned to snowshoe, but the lack of snow turned it into a hike.  

I wasn't there, so I have no photos.  

Instead, I got to play with the kids!
 This morning after I picked them up we went to nearby Tukwila Pond Park, a bit of remaining natural landscape now surrounded by warehouses and in back of a Target store. 

I zoomed in on a few ducks, and found Northern Shovelers,

                        and Hooded Mergansers, 
                                           and Common Mergansers!

 Our "lake" was pretty serene too.
The trail is short here, but we  poked around and found interesting things on this frosty morning.
 The moisture in the gravel paths had formed ice crystals.

The ice threads were very cool.
Ice is meant to be broken, but we also examined the interesting patterns formed in it.
 Will your rock break through or bounce?

We did a little shopping in the nearby Target store, and then went home for some down time (aka screen time, me too).

In the afternoon Tom came with us to Seahurst Park, over on the shore of Puget Sound, again just a few miles from home.  Tom and I walked while the kids had fun just playing.

 Bird planted holly has invaded the native flora, with lovely results. I don't know why this holly lost all its leaves but kept the berries, but it was beautiful.

 Leaf buds are already swelling on the Salmon Berry. 
 Frost on buttercup.

 Did I mention it was cold?

Grandpa always has informational stories to tell. 

Jill joined us for dinner of left over turkey soup and to get warmed up.  It was really cold in the mountains.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Day is Done

Our guests left about 45 minutes ago.  We cleaned up the dishes and I went down the driveway to check the mail.  The sky was going pink in the west as the sun went down at about 4:30.  I caught this glimpse from the front porch. 

Today was colder and mostly clear, a good dry day, but I didn't get out for a walk.  I was busy entertaining.

We had lunch today for some of the people who couldn't come to the dinner party we had to cancel.  They are all well now, and three of the four were free today.

I started the turkey soup yesterday, cooking the Christmas turkey carcass with onion and celery and herbs.  When it cooled I picked the meat off the bones. So today all I had to do was heat up the stock, add the vegetables, rotini pasta and the meat and cook it up.  Along with that we served corn bread hot out of the oven and a salad of greens, avocado, mandarin oranges and dried cranberries.  Dessert was candy cane ice cream and cookies.

But the food was just the vehicle for a fun four hours of visiting, mostly around the dining room table, still decked out in holiday finery.  We have breakfast with these same people every Friday morning, but we never run out of things to talk about.  And these dear friends do so love coming to our house at Christmas time.  It is lovely for me to have such appreciative guests!

I'm not sure what has happened to the days since Christmas. There was picking up and putting away, and house cleaning and grocery shopping.  I have tried to walk 3 miles each day.  There is still too much eating, with left overs and lots of candy in the house. Chocolate and nuts are my downfall.

Saturday I crashed and took a two hour nap, and I never take naps.  That evening we went to see the movie Wild, Cheryl Strayed's memoir of her healing while walking 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.  It was very good, and true to the book.

Yesterday afternoon we watched the Seahawks win their last game of the regular season, which clinched the division title and means they have home field advantage through the playoffs.  There is a good possibility that they will be back in the Super Bowl again this year.  If that happens it will make for an exciting month of January.  January needs all the help it can get around here in the dark of winter. 

Now it's time to settle in for the evening.  Dinner will be easy - more soup!

Friday, December 26, 2014

After Glow

I'm tired today.  I didn't sleep much last night.  Visions of sugar plums, or perhaps just too much sugar! kept me awake Christmas night.

But today, the day after Christmas, is a slow day, after quite the conclusion to our Christmas Movable Feast, and fest. The fog has lifted outside my window, and the fog in my head has cleared a bit too. After lunch Tom and I will look through our stack of gifts and remember a wonderful Christmas day. 

The action began late Christmas Eve, as the Reeders' purple mini-van, loaded with wrapped gifts, met up with the Jill's mini-van, parked in the garage at her house, also loaded with gifts.  The kids were stowed in their rooms, hopefully asleep, when Santa and his elves got busy piling gifts under the tree.  Jill caught these two elves busy at work stuffing stockings. 
Then she settled in and got connected while the old elves headed for home and bed. 
Christmas morning Irene was ready when we arrived, Starbucks in hand.
 But first we had breakfast, including the traditional cardamom bread. 

Is it time yet?  Yep! We took turns opening and watching as others opened.  
 Irene liked her Huskies hat.  Mostly she likes the color purple and the dog.
 Jill liked her Seahawks jersey. A bunch of us got Seahawks hats and/or gloves and socks.  We're set for the playoffs again.
 Tiger cat put up with the commotion.  He's old and doesn't care as long as the people share the couch.
 Jake liked his mountain photo, Mt Adams being one the the peaks he and Jill have climbed together.
 Irene liked her sparkly clothes from Justice.
We buy Jake soccer shirts when we travel.  This one is from Turkey. 
 Isaac now has his own overnight backpack and is set for his 
scouting adventures.
 There was a mountain of stuff to clean up.  Paper was recycled, ribbons and plastic sorted out, boxes stacked to be stored away.  We had a good crew of helpers. 

 And then it was time for playing with new stuff (Isaac and Irene), napping (Jan), visiting friends(Jake), taking a walk (Jill and me) and getting the turkey started (Tom). 

The turkey was stuffed, trussed and buttered, then set over the charcoal and drip pan, apple wood chips added, and the smoking began. 
What may look burnt to you is really just smoke sealed skin with just right, juicy meat inside.
And that's where my photos end.  I was busy in the kitchen working along side Jill.  There were hors d' oeuvres to prepare, then vegetables to prep and roast, yams to fix, potatoes to peal, cook and mash, gravy to make from the turkey pan drippings, and a bunch of other stuff and then there was eating and it was all too busy for taking photos. 

And Tiger was happy to have the couch back.