I always thought I would have to worry about Kerri saying she wanted to be more skinny. After all, Victorious and ICarly are skinny. I have been teaching her about being healthy and good nutrition her entire life. I push the fruits and veggies, which she really does not like that much. And insist she exercises. So imagine my surprise when Kerri stuck out her belly, and told me she wanted to be fat.

And even worse, my guilt when she told me the reason she wants to be fat is so she can look like me.

Of course we had a lengthy discussion of how fat is not healthy, and that I am not healthy. And why I am fat, and why losing weight is a life long struggle for me.

But she still wants to be fat.

Part of me thinks it's awesome that my daughter does not have body issues, and that she wants to be just like her Mommy. But an even bigger part of me is screaming out "NO!!!". And I realize how contradictory I have sounded to her. Teaching her to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. And in the meantime all she sees is a Mommy that does not really exercise or get enough sleep. And a Mommy that, (even though I eat the same things she does), is not skinny, or healthy, but the total opposite.

Life with Kerri needs to practice what I preach.

Satellite Image of Snow and Ice in the NW

Interesting perspective on our storm!

Mt. Hood is the white spot in the lower left corner, between the words Portland and Oregon.

hanging lanterns

i fell in love with these lanterns as soon as this book came in the mail last spring (along with anyone else who saw them...aren't they darling?).  i always go back to that same picture for inspiration.  

so i searched and searched to find these lanterns. they aren't the same ones from the book (i am still wondering where in the heck they got those) but i found these and these instead.  then i found some soft lime green velvet ribbon on etsy, and viola. 

i love it.  i swoon every time i walk by her room

i also found this sweet temple print on etsy.  and of course the tiny polaroid is of shad and i.  almost 12 years ago.  

Happy Birthday Kate!!!

So when I was little, I remember wanting a Barbie car.  Or any car for that matter, that was made for a little kid to drive.  I'm sure they weren't made in China back then, as they are today, so they were probably astronomical in price and tack on that there were 6 kids in our family, I never got a car.  But I survived.  

I remember that the spoiled kids got those cars.  

Kate asked for a "gps" for her birthday.  She meant a "jeep" that she rode on at a friends house.  She become obsessed in the weeks before her birthday.  It's all she talked about.  

We don't spend that much on birthdays.  We don't even spend a small fraction of what a Barbie Jeep cost on birthdays.  The biggest birthday present we've bought so far, was Tanner's Harry Potter Lego set (who knew Legos were so pricey?  sheesh).  And that Lego set was all he got from us.

We don't like electronic toys.  The batteries die, the bulb burns out, they get wet.  They break. 

We don't want to encourage sitting on a riding vehicle, while you could be running, jumping, swinging.

That all being said, we went against everything we believe (okay, i'm exaggerating....not everything) and got her the jeep.

And THAT being said, I don't regret it at ALL.  It's only been 2 weeks, and I'm pretty sure it could die today and we would've got our money out of it.  

All three kids play on it, TOGETHER, everyday.  They love it.  Our backyard is big enough, that they can do huge loops and we don't have to take them out front on the street.  

And it is so cute to see Kate get in her jeep, turn on the "radio", back up, switch gears and drive.  With her purse and baby in tow of course.  

I have gotten so much done in the last few weeks, because the three of them have been out cruising.  

I love the jeep.

Moving on....Kate requested the donut store for breakfast, The Yardhouse (of all places....) for dinner and a Rapunzel cake for dessert. 

And I have to say, she's turned a corner since she's turned 5.  She is a dream child now.  She has been so.  so.  so hard for me these last couple of years.  Now she is kind, talks with a sweet soft voice, serves her brother and sister, says please and thank you, and tells me she loves me all the time.

I vaguely remember 5 being a good year for Tanner.  It was sort of a magical age.  

I'm so happy she's five now.  

Love you baby girl.

She still won't pull that *&%$ing tooth

Apparently I have nothing else in my life to occupy my thoughts.

The Real and Sad Aftermath

Ten days ago I blogged about the winter storm we were having. My last post on Thursday the 19th was called "Aftermath" but it was misnamed. The storm wasn't over and there was much more aftermath to come.

The freezing rain continued for another day and two more terrifying nights. I say terrifying because the sounds of trees and limbs falling all around us kept everyone in the valley awake and alert and praying for a warm front to melt the ice and snow. It was emotionally stressful and devastating to think about the destruction the storm was causing.

Our neighbors left their house and their worst fears came true when a limb fell on their home. There were wide spread power outages up and down the Columbia Gorge in both Washington and Oregon. We were spared that inconvenience. Our power did go out about half a dozen times but only for an hour or so. Other people were without power for days as electricians worked around the clock to clear trees and restore power lines.

After another sleepless night of worry we were immensely relieved Saturday morning when the temperature had risen above 40 degrees and things began to thaw. The thumping and rattling sounds on the house were the clumps of snow and ice falling off the trees rather than their branches.

When we finally ventured out, the true aftermath became apparent.  The orchards with their carefully pruned trees were spared any damage but everywhere else, tall trees with straight boughs that had been bent over with the weight of snow and ice snapped off in the middle leaving debris along every road and in every yard.

I wonder what this tree will look like in summer with leaves only on the sides.

A beautiful birch in this yard will never be the same.

We've got lots of clean-up to do. That pile of branches from the Douglas fir was created when the top branches fell and took all the lower branches off on the way down. All the limbs on one side of the tree are gone.

The plum tree continued to go to pieces.

Though we have always been Do-It-Yourselfers for many types of jobs, we'll be hiring an arborist to tackle these dangerous dangling limbs.

On top of all this we still have frozen, crusty snow covering the ground, weighing down my ornamental shrubs and breaking my heart as well as their branches.

Spring will be an interesting time.

Happy birthday Ben!

Today we celebrated Ben's upcoming birthday by taking him to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch, and then surprising him with a cake at home.

I hope his wish comes true!

I think he liked his Spiderman candle holder.

And Kerri dressed him up for the party. Ben is a good sport, thank goodness!

We spent the rest of the evening watching a movie, enjoying dinner and dessert, and hanging out with Nana and her boyfriend Ben. Even Pookie agrees, we can keep long as he makes Nana happy and treats her right.

Life with Kerri is celebrating another special birthday!

If only for a day

Yesterday I made my annual trek out of town for the rescue's board/volunteer meeting. I bid on a two-star room on Priceline and was upgraded to a Hilton. Yay me! I have now decided to forgive Priceline for putting us up at Chez de la Sucks Ass back in July.

I dropped the kid off at a birthday party at noon. The party was held at a local jumpity-jump joint. I think there were over a thousand birthday parties going on simultaneously. Just walking in to deposit my daughter with the correct party group and winding through the crowd to get back out was enough to make my face twitch. I'm so glad she's old enough to be dropped off at these shindigs and that I don't have to hang around. She gets invited to a lot of parties and my mental health is fragile enough already.

I then hit the road, tofurkey sandwich in hand and a new "road tunes" playlist at the ready. Two and a half hours later, I was at my hotel. I checked in and was given a room on the 11th floor. As soon as I walked into my room, I immediately morphed into my mother and thought, "Heat rises. I'm on the 11th floor. I'll never get this room cold enough for me to be able to sleep well." At home, I have the thermostat programmed to drop to 65 overnight. In a big hotel, it's a little harder to control the temperature - I'm convinced the thermostat on the wall is just for show. I turned it down and hoped for the best. Had I actually been my mother and not just a diluted version of her, I would have pried open the wall unit in an attempt to override the whole system. She has also been known to summon hapless hotel maintenance workers, attempt to pry open windows, and engage in other nefarious tactics to bring the temperature down to her comfort level. I've seen her do it, ya'll. I like it a little cooler, but my mama's not happy in a hotel room until she can see her breath.

I hung out for an hour or so and then headed to the meeting. We had our board meeting first. I was re-elected to the treasurer position for the hundredth year in a row . . . it involves a lot of paperwork and bookkeeping, so believe it or not, I don't seem to get any challengers. We then had our general volunteer meeting. It probably doesn't sound like fun, but we eat, drink, play games, and then plow through some boring policy-related stuff. And then have another round of drinks. A few new volunteers came, which was great because we need some new blood. As much as I'm not big on change personally (I've been wearing the same shade of lipstick for at least a dozen years), I know that the organization will not grow and improve without some new folks. So, I was excited to see some new faces and hear some new ideas.

When the meeting was over, I headed back to my hotel room. The thermostat indicated it was 67 degrees in the room, but I knew better, sister.  I spent the rest of the evening flipping through channels and eating candy conversation hearts. You know I love my family, but it was nice to have an evening to myself. I was asleep by 11, though. Party on, Wayne.

Although most hotels these days offer a free continental breakfast, my friends at the Hilton do not. No worries, though, because I brought some fruit and a granola bar from home. I did look at the room service menu just for my own amusement, though. Four-dollar orange juice? Is there gold dust in it or something? I got my act together and went down to the gym for a work-out. I have no witnesses, but I swear to you I did it - 50 minutes on the elliptical while I watched "Sunday Morning." Then I changed into my swimsuit and enjoyed a brief swim. I felt a little guilty to be swimming without my daughter, so I vowed not to mention it when I got home.

Finally, I checked out and headed home, stopping at Trader Joe's along the way. I enjoyed my 26 hours of freedom and am now back home . . . making the kid's lunch for tomorrow, picking up marker lids off the floor . . . you know, the usual level of glamour that defines my life.

One random closing thought: How come, no matter where you go (and no matter how nice a hotel you stay in), most people fail to grasp this basic concept: LET EVERYONE OFF THE ELEVATOR BEFORE YOU GET ON?  I mean, even if your mother didn't specifically give you this bit of advice, doesn't common sense just sort of kick in anyway? I don't get it. I witnessed several episodes of "I must get on the elevator ASAP because if the doors somehow close before I get on, God knows this rig is never coming back and I'll be stranded on the 11th floor for the rest of my natural life."  Some people's children, I tell you.

Hello Kitty!

Kerri attended a friend's birthday costume party at a hotel. She danced the "YMCA" and "Macarena" and partied the afternoon away. And when Daddy brought her home, she was covered in glow-in-the-dark accessories and makeup. Kerri told me she was a "leopard". I think she makes a cute kitty, don't you?

Life with Kerri is purr-fect!

Prepping for parties.

This is another birthday party weekend. Saturday Kerri will be attending a "Lady Gaga Dance Extravaganza" costume party at a hotel for her friend's 7th birthday. And Sunday we will be celebrating Nana's boyfriend's birthday at our favorite sushi restaurant. So I will try to remember to take pictures and post them this weekend.

Life with Kerri is always ready to celebrate.

January Business Meeting

What a fun start to the year we had at our meeting.  Lots of fun stuff coming up over the next few months.  During the kid part of our meeting we made hand and foot print paintings.  The kids had a lot of did the moms! 
Getting things ready!

Butterfly Fun

Tiny Toes

#1 Painting on colors

#2 placing them on the paper

# 3 adding marker to make it a cute butterfly!

So cute and creative!

1 year old hand prints!
Our newest member!

Having fun with Mommy!

Toad-ally cute!

Snack Time

Fun with friends!

Mom and Tot Lunch

We had a fun start to the New Year with lunch at Wendy's. The kids had a great time talking about their vacation fun while eating and then playing afterwards.
The Boys!

Having Fun

Our section! :)

Little Friends

Apples + Ketchup = Happy Girl :)

Lattice Pie Crust How-To

I made a lattice top blueberry pie for National Pie Day. I know that sometimes weaving dough strips into a lattice pie crust seems intimidating so I thought I'd share my easy method.

(Please pardon the focus problems with some of these photos. Between learning how to use the features of my new camera and my deteriorating eyesight my photos are not coming out the way I intend!)

It's a good thing to keep in mind that a lattice top pie, because of its open spaces, is more likely to have the filling bubble or leak out. Apple pie is an excellent filling for lattice top because it tends to be less juicy and runny. Sometimes. Though I knew this perfectly well, I still chose very juicy blueberries for my filling (because my freezer is full of them!)

For a blueberry pie I always squeeze the juice of one lemon over the berries to add some acidity for a bright flavor. Lots of good butter adds richness to the juices.

For the lattice strips I roll the top crust out as I would for a closed crust pie.

I cut the dough into strips. For this pie I varied the width of the strips, inspired by a pie design made by my daughter, Katie. Start the weaving of the lattice by taking two strips from the middle of the dough circle, they will be the longest length. The outer, shorter strips will be used for weaving the outer edges of the pie.

Lay them on the pie, crossing in the middle.

Fold back one side of the strip that is underneath the other. Take another strip of dough and lay that alongside the unfolded strip and perpendicular to the folded strip.

Lay the folded end back down in place. Lay another strip over it, alongside the other two.

Now the method here is to fold back one side of all the strips that are under other strips, lay a strip perpendicular to the folded strip and then lay the folded one back down over the new strip. The pie can be rotated to do each side, working from the center out, folding back "under" strips to lay new strips perpendicular to the folded ones. Does that make sense?

So here are all the "under" strips folded up. I'll lay another strip there, fold the strips back down flat and fold the next set of "under" strips up and repeat.

Please tell me if you feel like your head is about to explode.

When all the strips have been laid and woven the pie should look something like this. If it doesn' what. It's only pie and it will still taste great!

At this point I don't trim any of the ends off, I roll and shape them into a raised edge around the pie and then flute it. All that edging dough is needed to build up a dam that will keep those runny juices in the pie as much as possible. If there is an area that is a little short, pull off a bit of the longer, extra bits and transfer to the short part.

Just like any other pie, I brush the dough with an egg wash (a beaten egg with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with some sugar for a bit of sweet crunch.

My finished pie is a bit over-baked because I took a walk while it was in the oven and failed to return before it was finished. See- these things happen to experienced pie makers too.

Try a lattice top pie sometime. It's easier than it looks!