Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MOVING! ( wordpress)

Hello all! I'm moving my blog from Blogger to Wordpress in the hopes that I can have more fine tuned control over the features of my blog. Come check me out at:

See you there!
(there's even a new entry to great you!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake

Ok, so I confess that I LOVE to read food blogs. I have several that I read on a regular basis, one of which is Joy the Baker, Today, I noticed that she had posted about her favorite quick breads, something which I really enjoy baking because you don't have all the waiting around for yeasts to do their thing like regular bread making requires. I'm not the world's most patient person, and I also have a husband who bounces, thus making somewhat temperamental "rising" recipes difficult in this house.

I've been feeling under the weather recently, and can't really taste anything due to a blocked nose, so I wanted to bake something that really had some uumph behind it. Enter the Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake. Ahhh lemon, how I love thee. We seriously love lemon around here, and this cake lived up to the yumminess expectations.

Simple ingredients, (There's a sinful amount of butter in this cake. Deal.):

Combined (I love my stand mixer. If you bake, you must buy one. It's better than a TV in your kitchen.):

To make lemony heaven. Oh yum.

If you're not vegan, make this now. I promise you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Woodland Park Zoo to Close Night Exhibit

So I found out today that Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is closing the Night Exhibit, which showcases nocturnal animals in a very dark setting so that they are active for visitors to see. I have been to many zoos and have never seen an exhibit quite like this one. It is always the highlight of any trip I take to the zoo and one I have always found intensely interesting. And soon it will be gone.

According to their website, the WPZ needs to, "reduce annual expenses between $800,000 and $1 million", and the Night Exhibit, "is an older building with very high operating costs and its energy use is one of the highest in the zoo", therefore making it the one to go. Now, I understand the economy is hard, and cut have to be made somewhere, I just wish it wasn't my FAVORITE exhibit that was cut.

Here is the letter I wrote to the zoo:

Dear Woodland Park Zoo, I have visited the zoo many times, and think it is a very important part of Seattle. When I first visited the zoo, it was with a group of preschoolers, and I have since visited with other classes I have taught, as well as independently and with friends. It is a place I always take friends and family who visit the Seattle area. The exhibit I am always the most excited to visit and share with others is the Night Exhibit. It showcases animals we would otherwise almost never interact with. The students are fascinated with the scurrying armadillo, the spookily hanging bats and the cute, large eyed bush baby. I understand that these are hard economic times, and some cuts need to be made, it just seems a shame that such a popular and unique exhibit would be the one to make the cut. Do you have a final date for closure set? I would like to visit the zoo before the exhibit closes. I will miss the exhibit, and feel the zoo experience will be "missing something" after it's gone. Sincerely, Amy A

If you live in the Seattle area, and are upset about the closure of the Night Exhibit, I encourage you to email or call the zoo and let your opinion be heard. I don't know if it will do any good, as it sounds like the decision has already been made, but at least they will know that people were not happy about it.

Press release:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So one of my favorite Christmas presents this year was Amazon's Kindle, given to me by my wonderful husband. Now, I've wanted an e-reader for some time, but was hesitant for the following reasons:

1. I love BOOKS, real, live books, that have PAGES made of PAPER. So much so that I own
many, many, many of them.

I was concerned that the Kindle wouldn't feel the same as a
regular book.

2. I like to read in bed, and I wasn't exactly sure how cuddly the Kindle would be.

3. They're expensive.

4. I like to share books with my friends. Easier to do with a real book than an e-reader (although the Nook has this functionality now).

Hmm...could this be the same with a Kindle?

I didn't want to invest in a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader until the benefits, as I saw them, outweighed my concerns. Here are some of the benefits I came up with:

1. It's cool. Sorry, but it's true.

2. When I travel, I am often guilty of bringing 4, 5, 6 or more books with me. Often times, at least one is hardback. The Kindle would lighten this load considerably.

3. It would lay flat so I could read while doing other things, mainly knitting, (yes, I do knit and read).
4. Less environmental impact, after a period of time.

5. Some books, such as bestsellers and new hardback books are significantly cheaper at 9.99 per book. Some are even free:

Ok, so Tom knew that I had been going back and fourth on the reader and did a little research of is own to see which of the e-reader options seemed to be the best option. He decided on the Kindle, which is what I got for Christmas. Whee! Since we exchanged presents before we flew back to the east coast for actual Christmas with my family, I was able to use the Kindle while traveling, (which was in the list of benefits, remember?), and I must say I was not disappointed, though I did forget the little bit of time when the flight attendant says something to the effect of "turn off your portable electronic devices". DOH! The Kindle is electronic, therefore you can't use it during take off and landing, which is slightly annoying.

So, Amy, what's it like? Well, it does many things well, like have an awesome display that doesn't hurt your eyes, it organizes your material alphabetically, and it has a little toggle "mouse", (as opposed to the Nook's touch screen), which I find very handy and intuitive. It's easy to order books, and to read PDFs. Note taking isn't super easy, neither is bookmarking, but the search and definition features are well developed and easy to use. Bottom line, I LOVE MY KINDLE!!! (and yes, I do read it in bed, just not in the tub....)

Ok, now this is probably the most technological thing I will ever blog about; I'll leave the rest up to my hubby. And just so we don't start taking things too seriously, here's a picture Shaylee's favorite Christmas present!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Snowshoeing With the Inlaws :)

I have many things I should be blogging about, Christmas, waxing poetic about the end of the decade, etc, but instead I'm going to blog about the fun snowshoeing trip we just went on with Tom's parents! (Much easier, and I already have the photos processed. Judge away.)

Tom was determined to get his folks down to Mt. Rainier National Park as part of their visit this Christmas, so even though the weather report was marginal at best, we loaded up the Suby with all of our winter gear, and headed south. We arrived at Paradise, strapped on our snowshoes and headed toward the mountain. Rainier was mostly visible, which we would take as a win.

We snowshoed for about an hour, took some photos, got scared by the NASTY looking gray/black clouds moving in and retreated back to the parking lot.

It was fun to get out and get some exercise, since I feel like all we've done since my winter break began was eat, drink, sit around and watch football, and eat again. Now, this is not a bad way to spend one's vacation, but it's not fabulous for the waistline. So exercise is good. Exercise with a view of Mt. Rainier and some wonderful family is even better. Paradise comes through again!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Knitted Cable Baby Hat

To continue in the vein of knitted baby products, I just finished the 10 cable hat from Hey Julie for family friends who just gave birth to their first baby boy! The cable pattern is easy to follow, and the hat is only 36 rows, so it's also super fast. It's a great pattern for stash busting, and I will be making several to have on hand for all the babies that are being born in our circle of friends this year. SUPER CUTE! Let me know what you think!

Be Very Very Quiet...We're Hunting Christmas Trees!

So about two weeks ago, we headed out to the mountains with Brendan, Ellie and Sierra to continue our tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree. The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest runs a program every year that allows people to purchase a permit from the ranger station, and go out onto National Forest land and cut down your tree, which can be up to 12 feet tall. Last year, Tom and I went alone, and it took FOREVER to find our tree. This year, there was much more snow, it was MUCH colder, but we found our tree faster, so it was a win.

Now, Tom gets more into this than I do, but it was still fun wandering around in the forest. Tom was all decked out in his "Alphin Logging" hat, his Demming Log Show suspenders and his Carhart pants, just to prove he was manly enough for this activity :) After about an hour of looking, Brendan had found his tree and cut it down, and we had located ours. Tom dug out some snow around the tree and went to work with the tiny saw that Brendan had brought. After the requisite "timber", (about 20 minutes later), we dragged our tree down and put it on the car. Now, a tree in the forest looks much smaller when it is compared to other trees in the forest. When we brought the tree home, we found it barely fits in our living room, being every inch of 12 feet tall. It's wonderful!

All photos by Brendan Fields :