Turkey Lurky Doo

The title is from the Adam Sandler Song “The Turkey Song“.

Turkey on Thanksgiving!

Turkey on Thanksgiving!

The holidays are intense. There are menues to plan, spaces to decorate and gifts to buy. Buying gifts for secret santa, white elephant, giving trees and family members and all the other things tha come with it. This year for Thanksgiving, our AuPair’s first Thanksgiving. Remember, they don’t celebrate it in France. We were having friends over, and I wanted to show G how a traditional Thanksgiving meal is done. I bought the turkey 2 weeks early, all 23 pounds of it, and placed it to defrost (safely) in the refrigerator in the garage. I mean who wants to give their guests food poisening?! I had also purchased another turkey the week of Thanksgiving for a Christmas party we were hosting 2 weeks later.

Come Thanksgiving morning, guess whose turkey had not defrosted by Thanksgiving? Yep, mine. So on Thanksgiving morning, I sent the husband to the QFC down the street for a fresh turkey. The staff was gracious, though probably laughing at me, and found the last fresh turkey in the store. I now had 3, count them all, 3 20+ pound turkeys in my house! Needless to say, G has gotten her fill, as have the rest of us, of turkey.

For leftovers, Ive made pot pie, dumplings, stir fry, tetrazini and eaten sandwhiches with cranberries and cream cheese until we are blue in the face. I think we are all turkey’d out and Ham is on the menu for Christmas! Hope the holidays are treating you all well!

Advertisements

Guilt trip, the next best trip on a holiday weekend

20130708-131827.jpg

I swear I am not as crazy as my mother. This was the mantra that got me through high school. Then I have kids and realize, we are not oceans apart, but puddles, only puddles. Must be the history or shared genetics (whatever), but I usually understand where she is coming from. Which is a MAJOR upgrade from high school.

Fast forward XX (not to be disclosed) years since high school and my kids are spending the summer at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. The boys are in heaven. Dirt to dig, baby goats to hold and bunnies to pet. Not to mention, swimming in the old horse water tanks. Then, I bought tickets to visit and bring my kids home. I planned to spend a whole 10 days of sleeping in bliss, cooking I don’t have to do and playing time with the kiddos (mine, not the baby goats).

That is, until I got a phone call from my dad. He told me to shop my resume around their town to see if I wanted to move there. (I have no idea WHY he ever thought I would want to move to Nebraska because I don’t.) His reasoning, if I moved to their town in Nebraska, they could see the kids every day, and I could have more time with the kids. My response was to tell him that I didn’t need to move 1/2 way across the country to spend time with my children, I could move closer to my job or find another one closer to my current home. Either way, this would work as well.

Then he dropped the bomb… he said my kids need a parent. As if, by working outside the home, I lost the right to call myself a mother to my children. When they are sick, I stay home. When they have a field trip, I schedule a day off. When they have track meets, and school programs, I leave work early to attend. Yet, I am not a parent. I pack their lunches, follow up on homework on the weekend and teach them how to vacuum so their future spouse will LURVE me. Yet, according to my parents, this is not enough. It is not enough to provide food, clothing, shelter and love – but I must also provide shorter working hours and easy access to grandparents.

Nope, I have lived in this state longer than they have lived on that farm. They want access to the kids, come visit – or wait for me to save up /help me to pay for plane tickets for them to visit you. So, I changed my reservations.

Now, instead of spending 10 days having fun in Nebraska with my parents and my kids, I am spending 3. After I called this last week and one of the kids was napping till 7pm and didn’t go to bed till 10pm, I realized I would need that extra week of leave, at home, to de-grandmatize my kids. Otherwise I could never get their schedules re-aligned and their gastro-intestinal habits used to eating vegetables again. And possibly, burn my ears over the inevitable, “that’s not how grandma does it” or “I like grandmas food better”.

Individual Greenhouses for your Garden

***A repost for those of you who are planning a garden***

I love fresh vegetables, and I grew up with a vegetable garden and there is nothing better than a vine ripened tomatoes picked fresh and made into bruschetta or some other yummy food.  Our family started its first vegetable garden to introduce the older kids to healthy eating.  It was great when the realized how food was grown and they actually wanted to try the tomatoes and the zucchini. The chocolate zucchini cake was a hit, the tomatoes were not.   So we keep trying.

Since we live in the Pacific Northwest and our summers are finicky.  I have friends who have migrated from California or Texas and they bemoan the fact we can ski until March and wear hoodies until July. So, it helps to have a green house or a cold frame to give your plants a healthy head start.

I, however, have 3 small boys to raise. Which means they would break any cold-frame, accidentally of course, and I can’t afford a green house. (Their feet never seem to stop growing!).  So, I came up with another, much cheaper idea after visiting Williamsburg with family. According to the period actors, the settlers used glass bells over plants as miniature green houses. I don’t want breakable glass around the kids and the food, so we used Milk  Jugs. Yes, Milk jugs. We go through a gallon of milk a week and have plenty of them around.  Its easy. Cut the bottom of the milk jug off, leave the cap on the top.  The plants get their water from the surrounding ground.  And, the milk jugs let light through while heating the surrounding air, to encourage growth.

As the garden grows, watch for more posts.  The first round of spinach is about ready to be harvested!

Summertime Challenge – Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Well, we made it. We made the Summertime Challenge.  With all the other summer social obligations: weddings, pot lucks, and BBQ’s it was hard to find the time, be we were able to walk about, surrounded by nature at lease once a month, all summer long. Well, we still have September, but considering school starts before that, Im not sure we still count that as summer.  September in the pacific northwest says summer, but the school calendar says “Bah Humbug”!

The last hike was the longest, and most challenging for us.  It was just the 3 boys and mom.  And let me tell ya, the baby is a trooper; I only had to bribe him with the promise of daddy a few times to keep him moving.  He didn’t walk the whole 4 miles, but he did walk a good 2 miles. The rest of the way, my shoulders did the carrying.  The older two boys were great. They didn’t complain, except to say that mommy and baby couldn’t keep up, and carried everybody’s lunches in their backpacks. We didn’t stick to all the groomed trails, and some of the walking was a little jumping over roots, rocks and narrow little goat trails. But it was a blast.

Find the Perfect Hike

We left a little late because I was agonizing over the perfect trail to walk on. Not too long, not too tough, not too steep and with enough interest to keep little kids wondering whats around the next corner, e.g. just right – said baby bear. So, I hit my friendly http://www.WTA.org (Washington Trails Association) website. Their hike finder tool is fantastic. You can filter by location, sights, level of difficulty (kid-friendly).

Pack for the Hike

Then, we had to pack for the hike. Anyone who leaves the house with people smaller and younger than yourself know its a good idea to bring these items along on a trip, to anywhere. Unless its Grandma’s house; she pretty much has everything.

  • Diaper bag – with plenty of wipes
  • Change of clothes/shoes and socks
  • Lunch and healthy snacks (Peanut butter & local honey is a mainstay as well as oranges & apples)
  • Lots of water

I Googled the address and we were off!  The weather was warm. We shared the trail with horses, and other people of all ages out for either a pleasant stroll or a hardcore run through the woods.  Everyone we met was super nice and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Things We Learned:

  1. Pack the night before if you want to leave early
  2. Wear bug repellent, sunscreen and a hat. In my neighborhood, we have plenty of wind to keep the mosquitoes down, not so around these trails. The olders moved fast enough that the mosquitoes wouldn’t stick, but the little guy was in trouble.
  3. Make sure everyone has on long pants (see mosquito note above) and in case of trips, falls and sticker bushes.  We had a little of all 3 on our walk.
  4. Download a map of the hiking area and plan your hike accordingly. King County provided a Map at the trail head (Quite useful, thanks King County!) But, in my naivete, I thought the path was probably another loop, so didn’t bother to look until we found a spot for lunch. We had walked way out of our way from where we wanted to be and added an extra mile to our walk.
  5. Keep the Map! Along the route, during a diaper change no doubt, I dropped the map.  I hope some poor lost soul found it and used it. Thankfully, I was able to ask for directions. Did I mention that everyone we met was nice?
  6. On your hike in this area, either hike to a designated picnic area, or plan to make your impromptu lunch on a fallen log (we did). Just remember to pic up your trash!
  7. Wear comfortable shoes. I don’t own hiking boots, but after this, Im thinking I should invest in a pair. Oye, my aching feet!
  8. When hiking with kids, plan to take breaks. Break for water, rest, and most importantly potty breaks. This is where having boys is quite nice!
  9. Remember, if it takes you 1 hour to walk in, it will take you 2 hours to walk out along the same path.
  10. Have fun. Enjoy the time with the family. Savor the peanut butter!

 

Family Fun Night at Ft. Nisqually

On July 20th, from 6-9pm at Ft. Nisqually by Point Defiance, bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the 19th century games, music and dancing.  If you kiddos are in school, this is a great way to bring history to life and perhaps make a memory that they can use for their “What I did last summer” paper when they return to school in the fall.  (Do they still do that?)

Admission will be charged:

 Adult (18-64)  $7.50  Senior (65+)  $6
 Active Military/Spouse  $6  Student  $6
 Youth (4-17)  $5  Ages 3 and under  Free