Summer Pesto

Basil is my favorite summer time herb.

I love to put it in my tomato salads, my scrambled eggs, my sandwiches.

And when it is finally growing lush and tall I harvest it to make pesto.

Pesto is so simple, versatile and just simply divine. I carried a jar of pesto home from Italy years ago and rationed it to make it last as long as possible. But really, it wasn't any better then the simple sauce I make myself from my own homegrown Oregon basil.

I simply take off all the leaves from the stems and wash them in cold water.
Then I spin them dry in the salad spinner.

Pesto is made from just a few simple ingredients.
Garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil. The price of pine nuts this season is simply outrageous so I am using walnuts instead. No one will notice the difference.

A food processor is necessary for making this sauce. I pack as many leaves into a two cup measure as I can and put those into the food processor.

Then I add a heaping 1/3 cup nuts, a heaping 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and several cloves of garlic.

Pulse this until all is finely chopped.
Add salt and pepper to taste...

...and then while the food processor is running, drizzle in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Finished! That easy.

The two cups of fresh basil made one eight ounce jar of pesto sauce.

I also freeze pesto in ziplock bags, flattening the bag so that when I want to use a bit I can easily break a piece off. The pesto can also be frozen in ice cube trays that have been sprayed with a little oil.

Now, what to do with the pesto?

Immediately spread onto a toasted (or not) slice of baguette and eat!

Or better yet...

Make it a little caprese sandwich by adding a slice of fresh mozzarella and tomato. Yum!

Pesto can also be used to make a quick, easy and delicious (a winning trio when preparing a meal) pasta. Simply toss a glob of pesto in freshly cooked pasta (fettuccine is great but any shape will do), sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and serve!

We like to spread a layer of pesto on our dough when making homemade pizza. Pesto can also be mixed into butter (1:1) for a spread to use in sandwiches or on garlic bread.

Does anyone else have any other delicious uses for pesto?

August Kid's Activty Day

What a fun activity day we had with the kids. We got a fantastic private tour of Whole Foods Market and enjoyed sampling some of their delicious food.
Learning about the colors of the rainbow with colors of food.

Time to eat!

Channeling her inner hippie.

Kerri dressed herself.

I think she would have fit right in at Woodstock in the 60's.

Life with Kerri is hip.

Hotel Wedding

The boys went with me last week to pick up a couple of wedding cake plates at the Columbia Gorge Hotel.

The hotel sits on a cliff over the Columbia River and they wanted to see the 208 foot waterfall.

I participated in a bridal show at the hotel early last spring. This summer I have done a number of weddings there, including two last weekend.

Delivering cakes to the weddings held at this grand old hotel has helped me to improve my skills and raised the bar on my execution. I have learned a lot this summer.

One of last weekend's weddings was filmed for the television show Say Yes to the Dress. I don't watch that program but I will if I hear that they show the cake cutting for this wedding!

That's my cake in the back corner. Next to it is a baker assembling the Chinook helicopter groom's cake that I declined to make. That baker did an impressive job.

I'll stick to making cakes that are simple and elegant and leave the sugar sculptures to more talented people than me.

Fun with friends.

They were learning how to prep sticks to build a camp fire. Kerri keeps asking when are we going to go camping. Her Dad likes the idea, but Mom - not so much.

Life with Kerri is more fun with friends.

Tanner starts Kindergarten. Tomorrow.

Where did the time go? I feel like I just had him. I remember the pregnancy, the delivery, the nursing,his endless bouts with Thrush, his milk allergies, the sleepless nights, the first baths, the his first bite of rice cereal and the expression that went along with it. I remember my favorite clothes he wore at each stage, his favorite toys, his first steps, his huge smiles, his favorite foods, his gigantic chubby cheeks. I remember all of it. Maybe because he was my first, it's still there so vividly. And now he's going to school

I worry that I didn't teach him enough. Not academics, but the important stuff. Values, right from wrong, compassion. Did I teach him the real truths of the gospel, so that when he's told something false, he'll be able to tell? Did I teach him enough scripture stories so that when he's faced with a trial or moral dilemma, he'll know what to do? Will he come to me and ask? Will he believe whatever he hears at school? Will he make friends with kind kids? Will he realize that the things on the outside really don't matter, and it's the inside that counts? Will he be a leader or a follower? When a kid is being picked on, will he defend the child or stand by and watch? I feel like there's so much more to teach him, but tomorrow is it. Tomorrow is when he goes into the world. I'm sure I sound dramatic, but it's really the way I feel. He didn't really go to preschool. He went a day or two here and there, but he didn't like it and I didn't encourage it. I didn't discourage it, but I didn't care if he stayed home with me. I wanted him to. I feel like they're gone at school for so long, I wanted every last minute I could have with him. I just can't believe that he'll be away from me almost 20 hours a week. Doesn't that seem like a lot? I feel so blessed that I've gotten to be home with him for these last 5 years.

He's excited to go. He wants to. I think Heavenly Father has been watching out for him. Preparing him. I'm so grateful that he's been bored these last few weeks. It's made him so excited to go to school. He has a wonderful teacher, named Mrs. Orduno. I student taught at the school he's going to, so that's where I met her at. She's a member of the LDS church, but in a different ward than we're in. She is Hawaiian and has all those amazing qualities you imagine when you picture a Hawaiian teacher. Full of love. Happy. She has long black wavy hair with a flower in it...always. He also has one of his best little friends in his class, Carmen. They are so cute together. Always smiling and laughing.

I think it will be good for Kate and I. I had hoped by now (6 months since having Elle) that she would be more secure with her role in our family. But she's not. She gets really insecure and at times I feel like she is this cup with a hole in it that constantly needs to be filled. She would love it if I held her and cuddled her all day long. I wish I could, but, Elle wishes the same thing. Kate goes from loving me and wanting me to do everything with her and mimicking every move I make, to being mad at me and wanting Shad. She's told me before that she screams because when she talks nice I don't hear her. She's not being manipulative. She's right. She naturally has a really soft and sweet voice. I probably don't hear it. So if I don't she screams what she wants and I get upset. It's a bad cycle we've gotten into. I think having Tanner gone a couple of hours a day, and having Elle nap during part of that time, will help our relationship. Tanner gets a lot of attention and Elle does. Kate is in the middle. I can't wait to be able to give her one-on-one attention daily without distractions from my other two.

Tonight we wrote his name on his backpack, got his school supplies together and packed a snack for him to take. We laid out his clothes, socks and shoes. I made sure we had the right ingredients to make his favorite breakfast in the morning. Tomorrow is it. My baby goes to school.

Peruvian Celebration

My son Kris is back in Peru for a short time. He was sent by the NGO that he worked for last year to attend the dedication of the housing project and to give a dedication speech in Spanish.The event was attended by the vice president of Peru, the president of the state of Arequipa, the mayor of the city, the Swiss consulate and the Peruvian media. You can see some of his photos of the event and the housing project on Kris' blog Ten Million Pixels.

Bringing in good energy.

Today was the Grand Opening of Kerri's new Kung Fu school.

The Lion Dancers were there to bring in the good energy, to the beat of a large Chinese drum.

Kerri watched it all from her favorite seat.

And when the confetti guns went off, Kerri got a handful to bring home - because she wants to decorate her room with it.

For the school's group picture, Kerri sat beside her favorite Lion.

And one hand was on the Lion, and the other on the confetti she had in her lap.

And several pictures were taken, because Kerri did a lot of this.

And Kerri is now officially a Kung Fu student. The man in black is her Sifu and Master.
Kerri has her first class on Tuesday!
Life with Kerri brings good energy to our home and lives.

Relaxing is so boring!

That is a direct quote from my daughter.  Apparently our vacation was a bit too low-key for her taste. We arrived at the cabin on Friday night (the 20th) and when we woke up Saturday morning, she asked, "How many days do we have to STAY here?" On the second day, she advised us that relaxing is just downright boring.  I told her what my mother used to tell me: only the boring get bored.  Also, my sisters and I, in our youth, quickly learned never to use the B word within earshot of the woman who gave birth to us.  All you had to do was form the thought in your mind and you'd have a bottle of 409 and a mop in your hand before you could fully articulate your state of utter ennui. I have not said the B word aloud in some 35 years. The woman is six states away from me now but I would not put it past her to overnight some Windex up here if she thought I might be bored.

We did try our best to entertain the kid while on vacation.  I bought her some watercolor paints and a pad of paper.  She spent one afternoon churning out rainbows at an alarming rate.  I bought a deck of Crazy 8's cards.  We played, she cheated. We took her out for ice cream twice (and this was no small feat, as the nearest ice cream joint was a good 30 minutes away from the lake). We made a fire and had s'mores (she doesn't like to eat the fully-assembled s'more, though - she insists on consuming the raw ingredients separately).  Sunday was hot, so we swam in the lake.  On Wednesday, we went hiking at a nearby state park.  We even took a detour to a look-out tower, an excursion that involved a hundred million steps, give or take.

The TV in the cabin only gets two channels, and both are PBS. So, we watched some educational programming and children's shows.  I am not sure why there aren't more channels - something to do with the remoteness of the lake, I suppose.  I can't exactly ask my friend, "Hey, thanks for letting us use your beautiful cabin for free and all, but can you possibly hook us up with Nickelodeon next time?" P and I read a lot.  I plowed through about 250 pages of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius." He read nerdy books.  The dogs laid around like carcasses.  For the most part, we just spent lots of quality family time.  A likes to play a game she calls "tackle hug."  She starts out from across the room and winds up her arms.  Then she flies at her target (and for a petite little croissant, let me just say that she runs FAST) and delivers the hug.  When she tackle hugs me, I get an elbow to the boob ten times out of ten. One day at the cabin, she yelled "tackle hug!" and flew at P.  Annnnnnd plowed full-force into his groin with her knee. He gasped.  I think I literally saw the stars he was seeing at that moment.  The kid had no idea why her dad was doubled over - a tackle hug should really be a joyous moment, you know.  All I can say is that I'm glad I don't need his nads for anything, since we can't reproduce anyway.

So, that's our vacation in a nutshell. The four-hour drive was the only real challenge (particularly when someone asks "are we there yet?" and we are still on our own street).  The trip was very enjoyable, despite the wee one's boredom.  Next year I'm hoping one of my sisters can come so that A has cousins with whom to play and to cheat at Crazy 8's.

My Day

5:00 a.m. Why am I not asleep?

Today's Schedule:

7am: Get the boys out the door with clean clothes on. They are flying with their uncle to an airshow for the day.

8am: Deliver apple turnovers to orchard fruit stand.

8:30: Run to town because I screwed up and don't have the right cake board for a wedding today. Hopefully the bakery will have what I need!!

9am: Begin working on two wedding cakes. Keep them both straight. Don't mix them up. Two brides named Jennifer. Both cakes are vanilla. One has strawberry cream filling, the other strawberry rhubarb filling.

4pm: First wedding cake delivery in Washington. Mr. Dirtywrench on assignment.

5pm: Second wedding cake delivery. (Don't forget the bride's expensive cake topper!) This wedding is at the premier hotel of the city and I just found out that the bride got her dress and was on the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress. The film crew will be there getting film footage of her wedding for the show.

No pressure!!

No. None at all.

6 pm: Attend the funeral gathering of our lovely friend and neighbor who passed away the other night.

Then I'm going to need a drink.

(I just woke up from a dream that I was in a play on stage and I had never been to a rehearsal and did not know any of the lines in the script. The other actors were speaking to me and I just nodded my head because I didn't know any lines! Looking for the stage director....feed me some lines please! Oh- and the play was set in Victorian times and my hair was clipped up exactly like it is when I am icing cake. Dream interpretation anyone?)

Circle time.

Every week, I receive flyers from stores in our area with their weekly specials. And I sit and go through the grocery flyers, circling with a marker the items on sale that I want to buy. Kerri has watched me do this, and now sits with me and goes through the department store flyers, crayon in hand, and circles the items she is interested in.

So today we received the Sears wish book, a huge catalog of practically every item the department store sells. And I set it aside. And within minutes - crayon at the ready - Kerri was "oohing and aahing" at every page. She circled hundreds of items, talking to herself the entire time. Kerri would exclaim how she just "had to have" one item, only to turn the page and start all over again. My words cannot truly describe her joy, her longing for the things she circled. Everything from toys, a bean bag chair, perfume, jewelry - every page delighted her. This she definitely did not learn from me!

And then she got to the end of the catalog, hours later. And decided she really, really wanted the very expensive and not so practical toy at the end of the catalog. She pleaded, negotiated, and even tried to "make a deal" because she "just had to have" this item. So I told her she could choose between the toy or a birthday party (where she would get more toys as gifts). Because I am a mean Mom. And she chose the toy. I told her to sleep on it, think it over, and we would discuss it again over the weekend. And that catalog is going to disappear tonight.

Life with Kerri draws circles around my heart.

The P Word

This post may or may not fall under the category of child abuse, since I am about to recount a story about my daughter that is giggly-cute now but will be embarrassing to her in the future, if she happens to recall it and/or read about it here.  However, since I do make some vague attempt not to divulge my child's name or specifically where we reside, let's just say it's not child abuse.

As you know, our wee clan has been on vacation for the past six days.  We stayed in a beautiful cabin (owned by a friend of mine) on a scenic lake situated in a national forest.  The cabin does not have a bathtub, just a shower stall.  The door is constructed of that textured glass (or whatever it's made of) where you can't see through it as clearly as you can through a window, but you can determine the gender, race, and general proportions of anyone who may be taking a shower in said stall (if they left the bathroom door open, that is). On Wednesday night, the three of us enjoyed a fire in the firepit (out in the yard) and made s'mores.  The kid announced that she was bored, so I told her I'd help her take a shower and then set her up with a DVD.  I escorted her to the shower, turned on and tested the water, drizzled some shampoo in her hair, and then went into the other room to close the windows.  We were expecting a cold snap that night.  As I set about getting the popcorn and DVD ready for my little taskmaster, I heard her singing the Sesame Street theme song.  Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away . . .

I smiled.  So sweet! So innocent!  Then I heard something a little different - she was talking to herself and I thought I caught the word "penis."  No, that can't be right.  I listened more closely.  Maybe she was saying "peanut."  We'd set out some peanuts for the squirrels and chipmunks earlier that day, but the blue jays kept snagging all of them. I stood outside the bathroom door and heard this:

"No, that's not a penis.  Are penises that big? I'm a girl - I don't have a penis."  I poked my head around the corner and silently watched her through the glass shower door.  She had rolled her Sleeping Beauty washcloth (so sweet! so innocent!) into a cylindrical shape and stuck it between her legs while singing some made-up ditty about penises. She swayed and watched as her newly acquired appendage flopped to and fro. Oh my.

She spotted me and stopped singing.  I opened the shower door.  "Hey, were you singing about penises?"  I smiled as I said it.

"No, I . . . "  I could tell she was trying to make up a fib.

"It's okay if you want to sing about penises," I said.  (Is it?  Hell if I know!  This one isn't in any parenting book I've seen.)  I gave her a hug to reassure her.

I combed her wet hair and then handed her some popcorn and left her to watch "Beauty and the Beast" for the millionth time.  I then poked my head outside the cabin, where P was still stoking the fire in the pit.  "Hey, your kid is singing about wieners in here," I said. He pretended not to hear.

Vine Covered

This is my little pottery studio. The photo was taken back in 2007 when I had my first open studio event.
The studio had just gotten a new paint job. That little leafless shrub between the window and door was a young trumpet vine. It was supposed to have bright yellow blooms and I thought it would look charming if I painted the door the same yellow to match what I envisioned as a beautiful flowering vine that would cling to the walls of the studio and add quaint character to my building.

A couple years later the sun had destroyed the paint on the studio and it needed to be repainted. This time I toned down the John Deere Green and matched the color to the more sagey green of our house. The yellow door became plum red. Changing the yellow didn't matter since my trumpet vine had refused to ever bloom and I no longer clung to the idealistic picture of my vine covered studio with yellow blooms matching my yellow door.
I kept wrestling with the vine, trying to train it to grow against the siding of the building by tying and tacking it but it wanted to grow out, wild and untamed and not the least bit picturesque or charming. I had to continually hack at it with blades to control it and I thought that was probably why it never bloomed, I was cutting back the blooming branches.

It seems like that vine has been on my studio for many years but according to the dates on my photos it is probably only four or five years old. But in one season of my resignation and neglect, the vine has covered my studio.
And I've learned a few things. (I like when that happens.) This trumpet vine is simply not satisfied with three quarters of a day of sun. It wants a constant, full day of sun. The studio is facing east and by late afternoon the vine is in the shadow of the building so it has always been reaching-- reaching for the sun. Reaching over the roof top and reaching out wild and untamed. Since I have been in my kitchen baking and not in my studio potting this year, the vine has grown unpruned and unfettered and unhindered.

And lo.... bloomed.

The vines that reach out of the shadow into the all-day sun have flowers on the end.

But if I'm ever going to be able to get into the studio again to make pottery, I'll have to hack my way in with pruning shears.


Kerri is now friends with her ex boyfriend, who is still trying to invite himself into our home to play the Wii. I think she has dealt with the "breakup" pretty well, but she is still holding on to the hope that he will change his mind. Or that he will not recognize her when she grows up, so she can woo him all over again. She still smiles and runs to the door every time he rings the doorbell - which is pretty much every day, several times a day.

School starts in two weeks, and Kerri will be really busy. I think I am going to need a portable planner to keep track of all her appointments!

Last night we gave the kids flashlights and they ran around playing tag in the dark while us Moms chatted on my doorstep. It is amazing what you learn when you just listen, and let someone else talk. I hope Kerri learns to do that someday! Right now she is the bossy kid, the one that tells all the other kids what to do. And they let her, which is what amazes me most.

We also were mosquito targets, and therefore are scratching red bumps everywhere we were bit. I had an aunt that would cut a lemon or garlic and put it on a mosquito bite to make the itching stop. I think I will try that later today. My Mom used to cover me in pink Calamine lotion. The itching would stop, but then the lotion would harden and I would look like I had the chicken pox. I think I will try the garlic - maybe it will keep the blood suckers away as well as the ex-boyfriend. One can dream, no?

Tomorrow Nana is coming over after work and Daddy and I are going on a date. Except that Kerri is worried that Nana will not cook and she will go hungry. So we told Kerri we would stay for dinner and leave snacks for them afterwards. Our date is quickly turning into just a coffee break. Kerri told me we should go somewhere romantic. I don't even know where she heard that word or even if she knows what it means. Sometimes I have to remind myself she is still only 5 years old. And as for Daddy and myself, we are not sure what to do on our date. We are really out of practice!

Life with Kerri is more than I ever hoped it would be.

Homeschool Prep

I'm a homeschooler. I've been a homeschooler for over twenty years. Consequently, I'm not quite as gung-ho as I used to be but have become much more laid back about it all. Making school plans and ordering books is just part of the routine in August at the same time that we are snapping beans, making pickles, picking tomatoes and this year...making wedding cakes. I'm in no hurry to begin classes when there is still so much end of summer farm work to do.

We don't start school until after Labor Day. I don't care how the government school system runs its schedule. Some people follow that calender. I do not. We start the day after Labor Day and take a Christmas Break (not winter break) and an Easter Break (not spring break). We end school by Memorial Day whether we are done or not. Well, okay, usually we're done. Our school year works out to the required 180 days because we don't have teacher workshop days and no days off for bad weather.

This year we have a third grader, a fourth grader and a senior in high school. The two boys will share many classes together and only have their grades distinguished in Language, Writing, and Math.

It's taken me twenty years but I have finally figured out that history textbooks are mostly useless in elementary grades. They can be mind-crushingly boring. They tend to touch on topics and events only superficially. I also have found it difficult to find a curriculum that doesn't teach from the biased viewpoint of the publisher.

So last year I tried something different for history. We spent the year studying the explorers by simply reading books about them.

We read about the many European expeditions across the unknown seas in search of a passage to Asia. We learned of the difficulties of finding a route past the pesky chunk of land the explorers kept bumping into which we now know is the continent of South America. We read about the treacherous attempts to round the Horn of Africa and the tip of South America through cold stormy seas. The boys were disturbed to learn how many men lost their lives in sinking ships or in encounters with native peoples and in altercations with their own crews. We read a novel about a boy who joined the crew of such an expedition. The story was set on the ships of the great explorer Magellan and reading it gave us a unique description of the life of a young sailor during those perilous times of discovery.

Now that we have read about how America came to be discovered by the Europeans, this year we are going to read books about the colonization of the New World. Rather then using the dry boring history text that I plowed through with my other children when they were in elementary grades, we are going to simply read stories about colonial times, watch some movies and use an interesting reference book about the daily life of colonial peoples that may lead us to some hands-on projects.

Alyssa is a senior this year and her classes are a bit more challenging. Homeschoolers frequently are questioned about how we teach our high-schoolers. My answer is that we use many resources. We are blessed here with the availability of group homeschool classes for high school in our area. Alyssa has taken Biology and Chemistry in just such group classes, doing lab work with her homeschooled friends and meeting for class once a week as well as for testing. This year she will be taking Physics with the same group. Another group class this year will be English Poetry. I know she is excited about that one! I am anyway because I remember enjoying the study of poetry in high school and I think she will discover some delights. Last year Alyssa took a Geometry course online and it was an excellent class. This year she will be taking Algebra II from the same online teacher. The online school we use for math is Scholars Online Academy. Alyssa will also be taking a writing course, either online or with the local group in town. We are still working on plans for a history course and one option is a group class in town. Her classes with me at home will only be Vocabulary and Bible this year. Alyssa is also part of the cast of the local public high school's production of Les Miserables. This musical will be a good chance for her to apply what she has learned in her voice lessons this year.

As you can see, our preparation does not include shopping for school clothes. Sometimes school clothes around here include slippers and a robe and we're all set there.

It's official.

Today Kerri met Master Ly, founder of the Traditional Shao-Lin Kung Fu school we had been looking into. He has a warm smile and kind eyes, and a peaceful and graceful demeanor. They shared a few words in Chinese, and Master Ly accepted Kerri into his school. Kerri also got to observe an adult class taking place and decided she wants to be just a teensy bit better than Mulan.

This Sunday the school is opening it's second location, and there will be a Grand Opening party with dragon dancers! Master Ly really wants to see Kerri at the party, he thought she would enjoy it. I think he is right. So I will be taking my camera along. The new location is where Kerri will be attending, since it is closer to our home. And she will be going three days a week to start.

Her first class is the following Tuesday after the grand opening, where she will be given her new and first official uniform. I think I am more excited than Kerri is!

So between school, Kung Fu and Girl Guides, I am going to have a very busy girl. I can't wait!

Life with Kerri is about new beginnings.

The Wedding Cake Soundtrack

On any given Saturday in summer, if you came to my kitchen and found me icing stacks of cake you would hear my mood music playing. The wedding cake soundtrack keeps me in mind of the celebration of the day- the anticipation, the preparations by armies of people like me behind the scenes, and the joyous love of the people that will be eating my confection at the end of it all.

I used to listen to the CD that was the playlist for my daughter's wedding reception. I listened to that over and over and over while making cakes in my early days.

But now I have Pandora! This wonderful internet radio station customizes my soundtrack for the days I am preparing wedding cake.

So while I am running the mixer to make another batch of light cream icing, or twirling the cake on the decorating wheel, or arranging flowers and butterflies in just the right places on the reception masterpiece, (ahem), I am being inspired and motivated by love songs sung by Harry Connick, Michael Buble, Mel Torme, the ever-entertaining Dean Martin, Norah Jones and the inimitable voice of Nat King Cole.

Doesn't listening to that make you want to get dressed up, make a toast to the bride and groom with a glass of champagne and eat wedding cake?

Or at least watch "Father of the Bride?"

Girl Guide.

In the U.S., they are known as "Girl Scouts", but here in Canada the organization is called "Girl Guides". And today I submitted Kerri's application to join as a "Spark" member.

So I see a lot of cookie selling in our near future.

And hopefully for Kerri, this will be a chance to make new friends and learn new skills. It should be fun! Except for the camping, I think I will ask Nana to step in for me when the time comes.

Life with Kerri is a "Spark" of joy.

Something old, something new.

After Kerri was bullied throughout her Senior Kindergarten school year, we made the decision to enroll her in a Martial Art in order for her to learn self defense. However, we were not sure which one to enroll her in. There was Karate, which we pondered for awhile - her godsister Erin has been taking Karate for some time now. And then there was Taekwondo, which I have some knowledge of, and neighborhood ex-boyfriend was going to enroll in. So many choices.

And then I spoke to Tia, who is a student of Tai Chi, and she asked why was I not considering Kung Fu - which is from China, after all. And it has been around for thousands of years. Tia even found a really good school close by, and shared the website with me. And the more I looked and read, the more intrigued I was. Tia recommended I call the Master and speak with him personally, and take it from there. And I am glad I did.

So it looks like Kerri will become a student of Shaolin Kung Fu, also known as the southern Chinese "tiger style". The school has a very long history. In addition to learning a martial art, Kerri will also be learning more about her Chinese history and culture, and Buddhism. The school celebrates Chinese holidays, and they make trips to China every few years for their students. I really like the school's philosophy of training not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. If you are interested, you can learn more about it here.

Kerri is excited to meet her new Sifu and Master. And so are we.

Life with Kerri is an opportunity to learn the ancient Chinese ways, and apply them to our modern lifestyle.

I Am The Vine

This cake was for a wedding whose theme was
"I am the Vine, ye are the branches."

bestfriends...and bitter enemies

Why is it one or the other? They either get along so well, playing until the light goes off at night, or provoking one another. Tanner likes making Kate scream. And Kate loves provoking Tanner right back. Drives. Me. Nuts.

Tanner's latest obsession is with being bored. "This is the most boringest day in my whole life." I can't even count how many times he's said this to me. "I am sooo bored. I can't believe what a boring day we're having. I can't do my chores, I'm too bored." Yeah. I really love that last line. Yesterday he said he was so bored and the reason he was bored was because he was starving and I needed to make him German pancakes. Unbelievable. We've been so worried about him going to kindergarten (next week by the did the last 5 years go by so quickly?), but I think he's excited now, because he's so "bored". The funny thing is, I remember saying this to my Mom all the time when I was little. She say, "Well, if you're really bored, then clean the house." I hated it when she said that. I tried that on Tanner the other day, and he didn't appreciate it either. By the way, as I typed that last sentence, Tanner came up beside me and said, "this is sooo boring".

Kate and Tanner got new chores about 3 weeks ago. Kate's chores are:
  1. letting us brush her teeth every night
  2. getting dressed (and keeping her clothes on...she has a real problem with this)
Tanner's chores are:
  1. emptying the dishwasher daily
  2. +putting his dirty clothes in the hamper
They get $2 a week if they've done their chores everyday.

Well, there's more to write, but Tanner is begging for a "project". And I'm still in my pajamas. And I should do the dishes while Elle is still napping.

Have a happy Friday.