Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Broken Records

We blew by the old heat record of 100 degrees, set in 1941 and 1994. It is currently 102.

Ugh. Even with my little AC unit it's 85 in the house. I can't imagine what it would be otherwise.

Anyone want to FedEx overnight a few air conditioners? We could probably make a killing on them.

It's Hot

It's official...we're miserably hot. Today is forcast to break Seattle's all time high, and records go back to 1891. Yesterdays low was the highest one on record as well, so even our (usually) blessed cool evenings are gone.

I did buy a room air conditioner, but it can only do so much in our fairly large downstairs. We're surviving, but geeze, this sucks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Jelly

So today's adventures in canning included making three batches of jelly - blueberry conserves, cherry marmalade and blackberry. There is nothing like standing over a huge pot of 225 degree jelly for 3 hours on a day that was close to 100 degrees on its own. Did I mention the baby that wanted to be held continuously as I did all this? And the fact that I managed to lock myself, and Kendra, on the back deck and had to be rescued by the neighbor?

It was a crazy evening.

(I did end up with 20 jars of incredibly yummy jelly, though!)

First Steps!

Kendra took her first unprompted, unassisted steps this morning! She's taken one or two steps here or there between us, but this was the first time she did it without any encouragement from us. She had worked her way down the wall, and when she got to Dan she let go and took two, maybe three, steps to him.

Of course, she seems completely oblivious to what she's done, but how exciting!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

I am currently sitting on a stool in my kitchen watching a small gauge creep miniscully upwards. The gauge is on our new pressure canner, which contains 10 pints of Washington's finest Bing cherries (currently on sale for $0.77 a pound!!)

I grew up on a farm, with a huge garden, and summertime canning was a part of life. I didn't appreciate all the love and hard work my parents put into each one of those jars. I didn't understand how wonderful and special it was to eat produce, picked at the perfect time and preserved with all it's summertime flavor, in the blah months of winter. Now, however, I'm beginning to get it. See dad, it only took 30 odd years for me to come full circle.

With my new found appreciation for all the sweat of my childhood, we bought a pressure canner this weekend (FYI - a pressure cooker is not the same thing), the necessary accouterments, and a home preserving cookbook. Sunday we cleaned and pitted 8 pounds of cherries. Those were turned into 7 jars of jam that didn't set correctly and have now been dubbed ice cream topping, and 3 pints of whole cherries. Dan stopped at the store tonight and bought another case of cherries. I cleaned and pitted about half of them to come up with 10 pints of cherries, and the mash to make another attempt at jam. (My first batch does taste awesome - it just didn't set right.)

I also threw some cherries in a crock and covered them with vodka to make cherry infused vodka. It should be ready by Thanksgiving, if all goes well. And of course, the cherries will make an awesome flambe dessert for after the turkey.

Just for kicks, we also are trying to make homemade brandy. Once again, lots of cherries and lots of sugar tossed in a crock. It should ferment and come Thanksgiving, we'll pour off a beautiful cherry brandy. If it goes badly, we'll end up with a crock full of rotten cherries. Either way, it's fun to try!

In the midst of all this, we also bought a wine making kit. I had bought a case of plums that we just couldn't eat fast enough, so of course the logical thing to do is make wine :) The Pinkard Bathtub Winery is currently fermenting 2 gallons of plum "must." (Don't worry, it's in a bucket, but the bucket is in the bathtub downstairs - cool and dark - it's perfect!) We rack it for the first time on Saturday, and if cherries are still on sale we'll buy another case or two to turn into wine. We only have one fermenting barrel, although the future wine generally only spends a week or so there. It is then racked (siphoned with the solid parts removed) into a carboy, where it will ferment for anywhere from 3 months to 3 years, depending on the fruit used and type of wine desired.

More on our canning adventures to come. For now, my cherries need to be rescued. 8 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes has been achieved!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I remember the not-to-distant days when silence in the house meant a contentedly sleeping baby.

Now it's a signal to check and see what kind of mischief she's into. On today's "to-do list" is apparently re-arranging mama's sock drawer. (Yes, she opened the drawer by herself the little sneak!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

12 Month Check-Up/Day at the Beach

Last Wednesday Kendra had her 12 month well-baby check-up. Can you believe it's been a year already?

She weighed in at 18 lbs, 1oz. She's still tiny - that puts her in the 5th percentile. She has grown quite a bit, though; 4 1/2 inches in the past 3 months. She is now a whopping 28 3/4 inches tall, which puts her in the 50th percentile. Her head is still big; 75th percentile. :)

She had another round of inoculations, which did not make for a happy baby. The sugar binky helped (dipping the binky in sugar and popping it in her mouth just as she got stuck.)

The doc says she's just about caught up with a normal one year old. All in all, she's fabulous!

Saturday we spent the day at a beautiful park near here with some friends. We grilled and hung out, then got some great pics before heading home for the day. I think we all slept well after a day of sun, surf, wind and food.

Click here for the pictures of our day at Carkeek Park.

And lest you were concerned, for the first time I did not make the Harry Potter opening day. However, we have tickets (and a babysitter!!) for tomorrow night :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Ballgame

Thursday night we took Kendra to her first Mariners game. She had a great time waving at people, shaking peanuts to make noise, and trying to grab whatever was in sight.

The Mariners beat the first place Texas Rangers 3-1. It was a boring game with the Rangers winning 1-0 until the 8th inning. A well timed home run brought the Mariners 3 runs, and won the game. It was pretty funny to watch Kendra's face as the crowds went absolutely wild. Confusion, concern and elation at being able to screech along with 40,000 other people.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy July 4th

Ok, so I'm a little late in posting, but I do have a one year old to keep up with :)

Anyway, we had a wonderful 4th, and I hope you did as well! We spent the day at the beach (a major perk of living on the coast). We hooked up the baby trailer to our bikes (actually Dan's bike) and headed for a 5 mile ride to Seward Park. There is a beach just over a mile from us, but that was too easy.

Once there we set up our sun tent, got out the beach toys and relaxed. Kendra enjoyed eating the sand and splashing in the water. She even paddled around a bit, with me holding her of course. Dan and I had a turkey sandwich, while Kendra enjoyed pasta covered in grass with a bit of sand and dirt for texture. We all shared a cherry sno-cone for dessert.

We made it home by 6, rinsed all the sand off and ate some dinner. Kendra was asleep by the time the fireworks started, and surprisingly, stayed asleep through them. We didn't go anywhere to watch them, but the folks across the interstate put on quite a show.

It was a great way to spend the day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

World's Youngest Computer Disrepair Technician

Introducing your next computer disrepair technician...

You see, Daddy, I think this wire needs to plug into this plug over there...(More)

She's got it all figured out, and she's eager to help you remove your sensitive electronics, too!

Also, here are my favorites from Kendra's first birthday season...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Outdoor Living Room

A few weeks back, Dan humored me and we bought a gazebo off of Craigslist. We've got it set up in our driveway, since we don't have a usable yard at the moment, and I love it!! (If you've never seen our house, our driveway is long. Even with the landscaping bricks and gazebo, there is plenty of room for my car.)

We have 4 chairs, 2 tables and a lounge chair in it. (Two chairs, a table and the lounger were included by the lady who sold the gazebo.) I've taken my laptop outside and lounged in the chair while working. In fact, this post is being typed outside, lounging in the chair. :) Since we've put it up, we've spent nearly every evening out here.

Yesterday I inflated Kendra's baby pool (as brightly seen here) and Kai had her splashing in it for a while. Kendra was more interested in playing in the dirt around the pool. Wet baby + dirt = huge mess. But she had fun. We'll try the pool idea again this weekend. It's supposed to be very warm here.