I’m not even going to attempt to catch up…

i’m using one of those “ergonomic” keyboards where they’re split in in two so that you don’t get carpal tunnel. I hate them.

We are in philadelphia right now and before i say anything else, I would like to applaud philadelphia for making me appreciate the emerald jewel that is seattle. Philadelphia is one dirty little hairy armpit of a city. dirty, nasty, gross. we were walking through chinatown from our bus this afternoon and the smells were so bad I was actually doing that sound that you make just before you throw up. you know, that funny-stomach-lurching gagging sound.  I know there are some neat things about this city, like…the history. We walked down to do the ultimate taste-test of cheesesteaks at Pats and Geno’s and the funny thing was how you never see all the garbage on all the travel shows. Seriously, i’ll post a picture when i get back so you all can see how dirty it was–not in the restaurant, just everywhere around it.

Anyway, traveling is way way way different with a baby. we are definitely having fun, but the challenging part is the little persnickety stinker we brought with us. We’ve had to re-prioritize some things to see and spend extra time in parks trying to catch pigeons, but on the whole–it’s been awesome. Violet is one city-savvy little bebe.

Our current hosts have two cute cats who love Violet. It is a very mutual love though and Violet is loving the new friends.

By the way, I thought tiny expensive grocery stores were just a European thing. Not so. I still have yet to find a decent grocery store to buy food. We found a “huge” one tonight for some fresh nectarines and it was the size of the produce department at haggen. sad.

Trust me, there are other stories…most i can only tell you in person because…well, you’ll find out.

Standard

in DC

Hey, quick post here.
we’re in DC for day 3. It’s raining right now and we’ve taken refuge at the house of our couchsurfing hosts to drop off a bag and get dry and oriented. I don’t have a way to post pictures right now, but I have some great ones; including one of me eating a half-smoke at ben’s chili bowl–only one of the most iconic places to eat here in DC. Violet is a tough old bird and is taking everything in stride although she hates her stroller and hates museum tours even more. fun!
We’re heading out to the national mall in a couple of minutes to go see the air and space museum and some others.
We spent the last two nights at a bed and breakfast up around Dupont circle and now we’re at a couchsurfer’s place on capital hill somewhere. Everyone is super nice here and people actually make eye contact as they pass each other on the street, which is almost completely unheard of in Seattle.
one last thing: our hosts have 4 dogs. that’s right. 4 big dogs. they are all very interested in Violet and follow us around like a gaggle of little girls.
FYI, i’m not going to spell check or proof read 🙂

Standard

Aaaand we’re off!

Here is a picture of me just now. I am carrying everything we will be taking with us on this 17 day adventure. That’s right, you should be amazed.

DSC02077

I learned my lesson the hard way when I went on a mission trip to Asia a few years ago and thought that it would be a good idea to just pack everything inside a duffel bag that was big enough for me to fit into. Literally. I have a picture somewhere with just my face peeking out of the zipper hole. By the time I finished filling it and my friends finished taking advantage of my ignorant generosity, my bag tipped the scales at over 70 pounds. Guess who had to carry it all through the airport? And by “carry” I mean physically support completely.

Anyway, we leave tomorrow morning at 6am, so who knows what kind of quantity and quality this blog will be seeing for the next few weeks. I do promise tons of amazing pictures when I get back…because, AJ and Violet will be in them, and they’re amazing.

Au revoir!

Standard

of summer and blackberry pie

Today we went blackberry picking. Violet stuffed her little round face till she had the blackberry runs so bad she pooped in the tub tonight…of course, sometimes she does that anyways.  As we were walking back from the park and I was carrying a bowl of blackberries I remembered one summer when I was 14.

After much begging, I had agreed to bake a blackberry pie for the neighborhood boys, which were comprised mainly of my brothers and their friends. They spent the better part of an afternoon picking berries and generally getting  covered in scratches before they had finally picked enough berries for me to make a pie big enough for all of them. It would soon all be worth it though and they congratulated each other while relaxing in the front yard while I carried out my half of the bargain. I had promised them a syrupy, hot, berry pie complete with a golden, flaky crust and wonderful bits of berry oozing out the sides.

That is not what I delivered.

Alas, I grabbed the baking soda instead of the cornstarch. (they were in the same type of container. Instead of turning to blackberry syrup, it immediately became a foul-smelling gruel with a grayish cast.

The End.

that’s right, thats really the end. They were very very very mad at me for quite a long time. Partly also because they had completely picked all the blackberries on the block for the pie, so even if I had wanted to i couldn’t have made it right.

Standard

A Story in Pictures: The Life of a Pie

DSC01976

This is Violet eating some chocolate-peanut butter pie filling. Here is the illustrious recipe for Creme de la Cream Pie.

First: make a crust.

It’s real simple but you need to  obey the rules. (cold butter, don’t touch with hands, don’t add too much water.)

  1. 1 1/4 cups flour.
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/3 cup butter (not not not margarine or anything that doesn’t say “butter” on the label)
  4. 4-5 tablespoons cold water.
  5. sugar

Mix flour and salt, cut in butter with two butter knives till the butter pieces are no larger than the size of your pinky nail. sprinkle water over the top and mix gently to form a ball. roll out on countertop using sugar to keep from sticking. roll the crust thin enough to fill the entire pie pan. bake at 350 for 10ish minutes or until lightly browned.

Next, The Pie

  1. 3/4 cups sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk
  5. 1 cup whipping cream
  6. 3 egg yolks
  7. 1 tablespoon butter
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  10. 2-4 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.
  11. 3/4 cup coconut lightly toasted
  12. 2 bananas
  13. 1 cup whipped whipping cream. (not coolwhip)

CUSTARD: Mix  dry ingredients in saucepan.  add milk and cream and stir till smooth. cook and stir constantly over medium heat till thick and bubbly. Add a small amount to the three beaten egg yolks and mix together. Pour egg mix to saucepan and stir quickly to mix the eggs in before they cook.  cook for 1-2 more minutes. remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.

ASSEMBLATIONISH: Immediately pour half the custard into another bowl. Pour half cup of toasted coconut into bowl, and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips into the saucepan with remaining custard. stir chocolate mix till melted. add peanut butter to taste. stir coconut mix till combined. Using an electric mixer, split the whipped cream and whip it into each pie filling until creamy and smooth and creamy.

STACKING: When pie crust is completely cool, pour the coconut cream onto the bottom and spread. cut up the bananas and place over the top of the coconut cream mix until you are satisfied with banana to creamy ratio. Next, dump the chocolate peanut butter cream on top of the bananas, and spread.

chill and garnish with coconut and banana slices. BAM!

 

DSC01990

DSC02002

DSC02013

DSC02016

Standard

Shoe Envy

Violet loves shoes. I’ve raised my little girl right. The other day we were at target, and she was trying to put pairs of shoes over her other shoes. AJ made a comment about her being obsessed with shoes and I said, “Hey, at least it’s not purses.” She also likes to wear shoes in the house all day, and would never think of leaving the house without a pair on.

Today she had a friend visit. Little Isla sat down and made the mistake of exposing her cute shoes. Violet promptly snatched the closest one off her foot and ran away.

(this evening we discovered that Violet can now identify all her facial parts. here I thought she was ignoring me..)

Standard