Saturday, October 30, 2010


Life has gotten busy here, and I haven't posted in a week. My mom is visiting, which has been much fun for the kids, and (I think) a little exhausting for her. But I have a backlog of pictures that I've been meaning to share, so here goes. Last week we went on a field trip to the fish hatchery with Porter's class, had some gorgeous weather and played at the beach, then took the boat out and saw a large group of humpback whales all feeding together. The picture does it no justice (of course), but we were able to get very close.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


When Porter was three years old and started preschool, I noticed on the first day that some of his classmates could write their own names. Porter wasn't anywhere close to being able to do that, and I figured we had better work on it. And I tried. We practiced writing the letters, but honestly, he didn't care. He was bored. He wanted to be Superman and ride his bike. So after awhile I just gave up and kind of forgot about it. And then a couple of weeks ago, he brought a piece of paper to me, out of the blue, with his name written on it. He was so proud! He'd done it without any help, I suppose because it finally seemed interesting. And now he does it all the time. And then he figured out how to spell Legos (only so he could google it and play games on the computer without waiting for me to help him). And suddenly I feel like he's on the verge of reading, but certainly not due to much help from me.

We have workbooks, and he'll do them for awhile. But it feels like whenever I push (come on, what's the opposite of empty???), he just pulls back. I'm sure it's different with every kid, but if I set out to deliberately teach Porter something, it doesn't seem to work. But if I just ignore him and do our usual stuff, he comes into it on his own. Which is exactly what his preschool teachers have been telling me every time I do the paranoid first child worried mom thing.

It also makes me wonder about school, at least at a young age. I mean, at the higher levels, kids probably aren't going to pick up Revolutionary War history or Algebra on their own. But in the young grade school years? They're likely going to learn as much just doing interesting things and asking questions as sitting in a classroom. I saw a friend today who has two boys older than Porter, and with her oldest, he knew so much from preschool that Kindergarten was just a total repeat and he was bored. That's a lot of hours every day to just be bored. Sigh. I know I'm going to send Porter to school next year, because I think I might go insane if I didn't. But I really hope it can be a positive experience. And that once again, I'm completely over thinking it.

I'm Cooking: Last night I made this Tomato Basil Crab Bisque again. So good on a rainy fall day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

Bryce and Porter took a bit of a father and son trip over the weekend to visit some old haunts and old friends.

They had a good time, and I realized that it was the longest I had ever been away from Porter since he was 6 months old. It's probably good for him to do his own thing on occasion! It was quiet here in the house with just me and Molly. I found it relaxing, and we both slept a lot. She, however, was not such a big fan of the girl's weekend. She had never been without Porter before, and I think it made her uneasy. She kept asking for him, and developed a new and totally insane fear of the bathtub drain.

The boys got home late last night, and when Molly and Porter got up this morning, there were big hugs and smiles all around. It was so sweet. And it lasted all of two minutes. And then they fought and screamed at each other all morning. Such is the life of siblings I suppose.

Also. I am now 14 weeks pregnant. It has always been unclear to me exactly when the second trimester starts, but 14 weeks is most definitely there. I am making progress! And not feeling so totally horrible all the time is nice too. I've actually been baking a bit in the past few days.

I think I've blogged about these overnight cinnamon rolls before. But yum. The kids and I ate 2/3 of a seriously huge batch of them this morning for breakfast.

Then the other night we had some friends over for dinner. We had crab cakes and this wonderful risotto that my friend Julie made with some seriously good cheese. And I baked up some savory cheese muffins. You should really make these. They go with everything. And they are crazy good.

Savory Cheese Muffins
adapted from a Cook's Country recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese*
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, and pepper together in a large bowl. Mix in cheese and chives, breaking up any clumps, until cheese is coated with flour. Whisk milk, butter, egg and sour cream together in another bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined (batter will be very thick). Divide batter among greased muffin cups. Sprinkle Parmesan over batter in each cup.

Bake at 350 until light golden brown, and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove muffins. Serve warm. Makes 12 big muffins.

*You can also substitute a cup of crumbled blue cheese. I've never done it, but it sounds like they would be really good with steak.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chocolate Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. The kids didn't really appreciate that I wanted them to be extra good, but they tried. Well, maybe Porter tried. Maybe. In any case, it seemed that I wanted a big piece of chocolate cake more than well behaved children, and decided to try a recipe I've been meaning to try forever. It's a local recipe, originally from a restaurant here (the Fiddlehead) that doesn't even exist anymore. But it seems to pop up all over town at potlucks. The North Douglas Chocolate Cake.

And oh my God, it was so worth it. Nothing fancy, just a chocolate layer cake. But it turned out so moist and perfect that even Bryce was impressed. And he's not really a dessert person. I think it's going to be my birthday cake recipe from now on, and I highly recommend you try it. It's not hard at all. I made it just as directed except that I needed a little more milk in the icing to make it spreadable. That could just have been me though.

Another beautiful thing also made its way into my birthday celebration.

I have a thing for this cookware. It is so lovely. But again, that might also just be me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


For more (and much better) pictures of our camping adventure last weekend, check out my friend Jennifer's blog. Good stuff.

My kids are the most awesome dancers ever. Of course. I mean, aren't they all? Molly prefers Madonna while Porter is more in tune with reggae or the Beach Boys. And they like to perform. But the very second I get out the video camera (even if I try to be sly), they completely refuse to be cute and either stare blankly at the wall or try desperately to get behind the camera to see what I am filming. It drives me nuts! All I want is some cuteness to remember this age by!

My phone auto-corrects spelling when I'm typing emails, and the other day while I tried to type 'mail' it auto-corrected to 'email.' That struck me as kind of funny and sad.

Three people that I don't know very well have commented on my pregnancy in the past couple of days. I think that means that I've "popped." Or that they are really forward.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A 15 Inch Rock

This weekend we summoned up some energy and took off for a rustic forest service cabin with six adults and six kids. The cabin sat right on a gorgeous lake, with a deck looking out over the water and the mountains. There was fishing and hiking and bonfires and hot chocolate and a (very) late night canoe ride. Although everyone was exhausted by the end, we had a great time out in the woods. Even though I hardly took any pictures, I promise it was beautiful.

We did, however, have to hike 3.5 miles each way with all our stuff to get there. This was made more difficult by the three young ones that couldn't walk the whole way and the other kids that were just a little slow. I'm pretty sure that was by far the farthest that Porter has ever gone, and he wasn't altogether happy about it. At one point he looked at me and said "Mama, I'm as tired as a 15 inch rock." And I think I got it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


On Saturday I was having a bad day. Bryce being busy all weekend gave me no break from the kids, and we were all grumpy. I decided to go to the grocery store at 9:30pm, which is something I never do. It was late. But there was just no way I wanted to take Molly, and we were out of milk, and at least Bryce was home with the kids at that point (even if they were sleeping). So there I was, and I decided to linger a bit, given that I finally had some alone time. I was perusing the ethnic food aisle, and look what caught my eye!

If you remember, last St. Patrick's Day, I was lamenting the total absence of all things Irish in the Far North. And now my local grocery store has MY TEA, the stuff I have to buy down south and bring back in huge boxes. That my mom has to send me on my birthday. This may not seem like a big deal, but it completely made my day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Embracing the Fail

I have to say, it's getting a little old complaining about Molly. She's just doing her thing, even if it drives me nuts. I love her to pieces. These early weeks of pregnancy have been hard and tiring, and most days I feel like I'll never be able to handle a third child, because I'm doing so poorly with just two right now. It's been a bit disheartening, and it's probably rubbing off on her and making everything worse.

Last Thursday, Bryce stopped by home to pick something up mid-morning. He so rarely does this that I never expect to see him here during the day. It was around 11am, and I was just getting out of the shower. The breakfast dishes were still on the table, toys were everywhere, Porter was still in PJs watching TV, and Molly had taken a poopy diaper off while I was in the shower. She'd tried to clean up the mess herself, and you can imagine. Super yuck. Everywhere. So he came home to that, and I was upstairs, sort of oblivious, like "what?" He left pretty quickly. And I thought, of course. Sigh. Super mom.

But you know what else? I'm really thankful that these are my stories to tell. I'm glad that I get to stay in PJs with my kids until embarrassingly late hours and do a bad job cleaning up the house. They throw tantrums in stores and whine and throw up on me (that one happened last night, oh the joy). But I'm still glad. And excited for what's to come.

I'm Cooking: I made my friend Jennifer's tomato soup the other night, and it was delicious. And super easy. The cheese really makes it.

Tomato Cheddar Cheese Soup

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, carrots and celery. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the veggies are softened.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour until absorbed. Stir in the veggies and broth, and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil.

Puree the soup with a handheld immersion blender, or do it in batches in a regular blender. Stir in cheese and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.