Part of moving to a new area with kids, is visiting all of the local parks.  We were blessed with outstanding weather our first couple of weeks in the Bothell area, so we went exploring.  The North Creek Park is one of the Snohomish County Parks.  We live on the border of Snohomish and King Counties.

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We arrived to a very full parking lot.  We almost didn’t find a spot.

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The playground seemed new and was loved by Nick and Sally.

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The only downside was no shade.  I’ve heard that’s not a problem most of the time.

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We also visited the port-a-john.  They were nicely set up for not having indoor plumbing.

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We noticed a couple of paths at the park too, but the kids were more interested in the playground.  It wasn’t Nick and Sally’s favorite, but I’m sure we’ll be back.

 Posted by at 11:19 PM
 

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over 5 months since I wrote a blog post.  When I started this blog, I wrote every day.  I rarely missed a day.  Last December, I was tired of writing.  I was tired of feeling like I had to write everyday.  So, I took a day off.  It felt good.  I took another day off.  Then, I got extra busy and it was nice having a break.  I really thought I would only take a couple of weeks off, but the holidays were approaching and then my husband accepted a job – in Seattle!

Craziness ensued as we celebrated the holidays, shared our plans with family and friends, negotiated a start date, traveled on a house hunting trip, put our house up for sale, sold our house, bought a house, moved etc.

Now, 5 months later, we are somewhat settled and I have missed blogging.  So, I’m back.  I’m not going to pressure myself to write everyday, but suspect you’ll hear from me a few times a week.  I feel like I have some catching up to do and we are experiencing new fun things everyday.

Join Nick, Sally and I on our adventures in the northwest!  We’ve already scoped out u-pick farms and have joined a CSA.  I’m excited to share with all of you.

 Posted by at 7:34 PM
 

Today, we had our 4th winter pick up of our Fresh Fork Market CSA.

Here’s what we received in our bag this week:

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Here’s what we were expecting this week:

Winter Week 4:

  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 2 lbs. black turtle beans
  • 1 lb. kale
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • Aprrox. 1 lb. onion
  • 1 head broccoli (or 1 bag broccoli shoots…which are just smaller heads)
  • 1 package chorizo or Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch beets with tops
  • 1 bag mixed salad or braising greens
  • 1 stalk Brussels sprouts
  • 1 quarter peck empire apples

I haven’t given much thought to how this week’s items would be used.  I’ll probabaly cut the sausage into pieces and bake it in the oven.  Although, a crock pot batch of Italian sausage with peppers and onions might be a great meal for a busy swim lesson night next week.  I’ll probably make soup with the ham hock.  I don’t feel the need to be extra creative in the kitchen since holiday time.  We haven’t even put our tree up yet.

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Last time we got beans, I cooked them in the crock pot and then froze them in 1-2 cup portions.  That worked quite well and I haven’t had to buy canned black beans in ages.  We were out of apples, so these will go into oatmeal as early as tomorrow.

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The sweet potatoes weren’t in the best shape, I’ll probably just make mashed potatoes with them.  Beets will go into Harvard beets.  It will be a smaller batch, but enough for one or two of us to have them for a side.

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I haven’t stuffed acorn squash yet this winter.  I like to make a stuffing with squash, sausage, cheese and rice.  Yum!  The onions will get used in general cooking.

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I can not get enough of the sprouts this year.  Love them!  This kale is some of the prettiest that I have seen all year.  I will probably make a quiche with it.

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I never know what to do with these mixed greens.  They are bitter and tend to have lots of stems.  The broccoli on the other hand is always fabulous and will probably get cooked tomorrow.

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It was nice to stock up on milk and yogurt at the truck.  Too bad I didn’t think to buy eggs.  There’s always next time!

 

Sally turned three years old today.  It’s hard to believe.  As a family of four, we celebrated with ice cream after dinner.  Nick was super excited about giving Sally her gift.  Sally was excited about special birthday ice cream.

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So, she ordered banana.  She orders banana every time.

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We had just a couple of gifts.  In case you are wondering, when your almost five year old goes shopping with Stephen for a present, a pink guitar that makes noise comes home.  She also received a Richard Scarry book.

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Stephen and I got her a felt mosaic pattern set.  She quickly got to work.  (Only because the guitar didn’t have batteries yet.)

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We ended our trip with a noisy ride home.  Nick wanted Stephen to be a spaceship driver.  He talked about space stations, lights, and space all the way home.  Sally didn’t want to be left out.  Stephen was her horse driver.  It’s hard to parent in two different fantasy worlds at the same time.  But, we survived.

Both kids fell asleep quickly tonight.  I’m glad they had fun.  Stephen and I sure did.

 Posted by at 9:40 PM
 

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.  We have a large family and my grandparents were married Thanksgiving morning, many years ago.  Grandpa really liked the sweet potato dish that I started bringing to dinner a few years back.  I’ll always think of him throughout the year, but especially today, as I make sweet potato casserole.  Today, is our first Thanksgiving since Grandpa passed.  We’re sure going to miss him.  I’m glad to have this photo of my grandparents that I took last year on Thanksgiving at uncle Marty’s house.

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I’m thankful for more than I can possibly mention.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 Posted by at 6:10 AM
 

Today, as part of the Ohio Blogging Association’s All State Blog Swap, I’m going to introduce you to Elizabeth Wantz from the Lake County Visitors Bureau.  Throughout Ohio, bloggers have been teamed up to guest post on different sites.  For a full listing of participants, visit Poise In Parma today.

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In this holiday season, families have multiple chances to visit Santa such as Country Lights at Lake Farmpark featuring thousands of Christmas lights on view by horse-drawn carriage and Holiday Strolls through Downtown Willoughby and Painesville! You can even see the Grinch as Santa in Fairport Harbor (although right now he is still on the naughty list). Perhaps, though, we are not all aware of the more unique Santa events happening in Lake County!

Great Lakes Mall will hold a Caring Santa™ event this holiday season on Sunday, December 2 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Caring Santa is a special event dedicated to families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit The Santa Photo Experience located in the Dillard’s south concourse.

Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with Santa. This environment includes:

• Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Santa set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains during the duration of the event.

• Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called.

• Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.

This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls.

“Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org. “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”

Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Great Lakes Mall by going to www.AbilityPath.org. Attendees should enter the mall through the food court doors the morning of the event.

Another unique opportunity this holiday season is Pet Photo Night with Santa! If you are looking for your pet to visit Santa, Great Lakes Mall will host Pet Photo Night where families and individuals can bring in dogs and cats for photos with Santa on Sunday, December 2 and Sunday, December 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. Dogs, cats and their owners are invited to join Santa in his sleigh at Great Lakes Mall located in the Dillard’s South concourse. Each pet will receive a treat bag, if they’re on the “nice list,” of course.

No matter how you come to visit Santa in Lake County this year, the Lake County Visitors Bureau wishes you a warm holiday greeting and a jolly Christmas season!

-Elizabeth Wantz, Social Media Specialist

Lake County Visitors Bureau

Links:

http://blog.lakevisit.com

www.lakevisit.com

Picture:

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 Posted by at 1:01 PM
 

Today was our second pick up.  Again, we picked up in the dark.  It’s definitely not my favorite time of year once the time changes.    I took a couple of days off of blogging this week and it felt good to have a break.  Life has been crazy busy and I love it like that.

Here’s what we received in our bag this week:

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Here’s what we were expecting this week:

Winter Week 2:

  • 1 bone in pork shoulder roast, approx. 4 lbs.
  • 1 half lb. bag hard neck garlic
  • 1 bunch carrots with tops
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bag broccoli shoots
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 bunch mustard greens

I’m going to bake the sweet potatoes and add them to my stash for Thanksgiving.  We’ll get 4 pounds in our package, but I need more than that for our crowd.  I’m adding cabbage to our stuffing, so some of this red head will be used for that.  I’m probably going to braise the rest.

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This is a ton of garlic.  I still have plenty of garlic frozen.  I’ll need to get more creative and/or remember to use it more often.  The pork roast is a bit on the small side.  I am planning on making pulled pork with it.  I need an easy crock pot meal tomorrow.  My in-laws are coming to visit and we aren’t sure of their arrival time, so I need something that will be ready and waiting.

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I’ve been using the collards in fajitas or taco filling.  It’s a good gluten free item, so I’ll be making that while my brother in law is in town this weekend.  Carrots don’t last long in our house.  The kids will probably eat these at lunch one day this week.

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We’ll cook the broccoli as a side soon as well.  The mustard greens worked well in quiche the last time we received them, so I’ll be doing that with them again.

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This is my first time receiving broccoli shoots.  We don’t get many new items since I’ve been doing CSAs for 4 years.  I’m wondering if they are suppose to have some “mini” broccoli crowns.  They look a lot like collards, but the photos that I’ve been looking at on line leave me thinking these are broccoli greens.  I’ll probably chop them up with the collards since the greens cook down so much.

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I seriously need to spend a few hours in the kitchen tomorrow.  I need room to put the turkey away on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I don’t even know what day I’m picking mine up yet.  I don’t hate green weeks anymore, but they are bulky.

Hmmm…. I’m going to ask the guys at Fresh Fork about the last green. I’m now thinking the broccoli might be the shoots from doing more reading. More to come!

 

 

Stephen had some extra bubble wrap that he was going to get rid of.  It was the kind that has the really big bubbles.  Needless to say, Nick and Sally had a blast.  It took them most of the day, but they ran, stomped, rolled all over it.  By bed time, it was flat.

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There was lots of follow the leader and giggles.

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Every motion led to pops.

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It’s the simple things that the kids love the most.  I may add bubble wrap to our holiday shopping list.

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Some days they are such pals.  I love it!

 Posted by at 10:03 PM
 

A couple of week’s ago, some friends of the family called us and ask if we wanted a set of blocks for Nick and Sally.  We accepted their generous offer.  A couple of days ago, two boxes were delivered to our door step.  The kids had no idea what they were opening.  It was like an early Christmas.

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Of course Nick had to take a break from opening to read the instructions.

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A few minute later, we already had a road with street lights.

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It didn’t take long for cars to appear.

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These are classic blocks that we will have for many, many years to come.

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They are perfect~!  We’ve already got hours of use out of them with many, many more to come.

 Posted by at 6:48 PM