Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!

We had a great Christmas, and unbelievably, everything got done. With the kids in school up until the 21st, there was not much down time before Christmas, but now we have a week and a half to loaf around and play with our new toys, read our new books and sit around in our new PJs.

On Christmas eve, we went up to Nick's mom's house for dinner. My parents were with us, and they came up, too, and Jeff and Rebecca showed up to exchange gifts. Caroline and Grandma played the piano, and sang Christmas carols:
Miles and I played cribbage. I won the first game, and then got skunked in the second, he had Grandpa coaching him, and we are teaching him all the rhymes and sayings. I said a lot of "15-2, 15-4, and the rest won't score..."
Dinner was delicious ham and white bean soup, salad and bread, with cookies for dessert. I never got pictures of my cookie exchange, so here is a good shot of the bounty.

We got home late-ish, finished up the wrapping and the what-have-you, warned the children not to wake us up until 8, and headed to bed so Santa could come. I heard the kids up opening their stockings at 730ish, and at 8 on the dot, they came to tell us it was time to get up. I got breakfast in the oven, and we opened some gifts, took a break to eat, and then opened some more. We stayed in jammies for most of the day, then Mom and Dad came over for dinner. We played games and ate yummy cheese, then dinner was the traditional cioppino, sourdough and salad.
Dad brought some really special pinots, that we heartily enjoyed. Email me for the cioppino recipe, it is the one my mom has been making for many years, it is fantastic.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

'Tis the Season...

...for holiday music concerts. Here is a sample of Miles' band concert.

Well, hey, not bad for a bunch of ten year olds. Miles plays alto sax, and he takes it pretty seriously. Since you cannot see him in the clip, here is a still photo.

That was last Wednesday. Next, on Friday, we had Caroline's piano recital. She played two pieces, and did a great job. Here is "The Wild Horseman" by Schumann.

Here's Caroline in her still photo, too.

Nicely done, kids.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We got Elf-ed.

Well, Merry Christmas!

Click here.

Monday, December 3, 2007


May I direct your attention to the right side of the page, where I have favorite blogs and websites..... I have added two new blogs that are very good reading. One is my friend Sally, who is the mother of Miles' best friend, Tai. We visited them in Paris, as they are lucky enough to move there for this year. I love to read it for the descriptions of the food they are eating. Oh, and also to hear about their adventures, what a great time they are having.

Another is my friend Eric's blog. We went to San Marin HS together in Novato. We graduated in different years, and I went to his Senior Prom with him. He is a great writer and very funny, it is some good reading.

As always I have the link to my friend Katie's blog as well. She is like a combo of the other two. She moved to Amsterdam a year and a half ago, and started writing this blog to keep track of all the wonderful cheese she was eating. It has turned into more of a diary, and she is also very funny, and it makes for some excellent reading material.

I HIGHLY recommend checking the link to Miles's website. He has made some improvements to the design, finally, and posted his two video games that he spent the better part of a couple of Saturdays making...they are a little challenging, so be patient, and get the hang of them.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

I love Winter

Faithful reader, you may remember this post.

Faithful friend, you may say, What the heck, Elise, you hate being cold! You do not love winter! When the scene out the kitchen door is this:

I do love it. So peaceful and pretty...

Miles' team won their soccer game in it, while I was filming this. Brrrr.

For more meteorological information, check here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

2 Thanksgivings....

For the "official" Thanksgiving, we went up to Nick's mom's house in Mount Vernon. It was an unbelievably clear day, here is a photo of the Cascades out the car window. Seriously, not a cloud...

Nick's brother Jeff and wife Rebecca were there, too.
Miles read a lot, he started a book in the car on the way up, and had already started a new one by the time we left there.
Food was fantastic!
Here I am helping Caroline with the brussel sprouts.

Took a walk after dinner, it was FREEZING cold. Over all, a very fun day....
Thanksgiving Part 2. We go over to my sister's house on Saturday, we always like having a cousin Thanksgiving, too. Here is Stefan in charge of the camera.
Tom carves the turkey, and Dorothy wonders when is her dinner?
Then she wonders WHERE is her dinner?
Kid table: Caroline, Owen, Stefan, Miles and Nora....
After dinner:
Kids play Whonu?
Nick starts messing around with Stefan's laptop that he bought with the money he earned playing fiddle at the Farmer's Market all summer. We set him up with tab effects on Firefox, we love them.Michelle starts the turkey stock.

And Tom does the dishes.....

Another great Thanksgiving, the only problem is now we have no leftovers! We are going to do our own turkey next week sometime, which is a little exciting, because we have not overdosed on it, yet.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scenes of IslandWood

Well, some people called me crazy, but I felt very lucky to be one of the parents chosen to chaperone the 5th grade camping trip. Yes, that would be supervising, along with about 20 other parents and 5 teachers, 120 ten and eleven year old boys and girls from Miles' school. Anyone who actually knows me knows that I LOVE camp, and since it turned out that we were going to The Very Posh camp of IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, I was very lucky indeed. And I brought my big bottle of Ibuprofen. (many people suggested packing a flask of Wild Turkey and a bottle of wine, but we had to schlep our luggage a long way, so I am glad I opted for less weight).

We left on Monday, I actually took the SCHOOL BUS up to the school, since parking up there all day would be ridiculous, and by the time we arrived, I was about ready to lose my coffee and I already had a headache! That bus was really loud, that driver deserves twice whatever he gets in his paycheck for enduring that....We went to class, luckily Miles has the Most Organized teacher ever, so getting everyone ready and out the door to parent's cars and down to the Ferry terminal was no sweat. I was in charge of keeping all the children together in the terminal and getting on the ferry and making sure no one left their luggage behind. We arrived at BI, and got onto school buses, and went to camp!! It was a fantastic fall day, clear skies and gorgeous leaves, wow.

At camp, the focus is on Environmental Ed, and "community stewardship". I loved how they made it clear that everything is connected, and how you behave, and the actions you choose affect the rest of the world, community, family, etc. They did it so nicely and without beating you over the head with it. Here is a cool link to their website about the facility. Check it out, it is really neat, and I could never list it all here.
Here is the Living Machine:
They are able to treat some of the sewage on-site (not all composting toilets), and although the water is not quite drinking water, they maintain this greenhouse, and grow food and herbs they use in the kitchen, and tropical plants.

Here is the tree house
It has a tree growing through it!
Many of the designs were taken from children's ideas....

One thing Miles brought home with him was the attitude toward waste, especially food and kitchen waste. Check out this picture. This is Wade, and at the end of every meal, all the waste that is left on the plates (stuff still in serving dishes goes back to the kitchen) is divided up into compost or not, and weighed, and kept track of on a chalkboard. The first meal we ate there, for 160 people, the waste equaled 4.5 lbs. The goal was to lessen the amount of waste at each meal, and after 4 days, at our last meal, there was 1 3/8 lbs of waste! For 160 people! They really emphasized not putting more food on your plate than you can eat, and I noticed the kids at my table really talking about it towards the end. Like: "Are you going to eat a whole roll, or do you want to share one?" It was really great. And the food was FANTASTIC. Everything organic and local and all the bread products baked there. I was very spoiled.
Outside the dining Hall:

The group of kids I was assigned to during the day were very cute, enthusiastic, smart and funny. We had a great time, and our counselor was Really Great, and could have passed in a Brad Pitt (in his younger years) look alike contest, so lucky me!
Here they are, going into the art room:

We came home on Thursday, we both were very tired, the going to sleep and waking up times took about an hour off Miles' normal sleep time, so he was pretty fried at the end, there. I did not feel tired the whole week, but knew that I could not face cooking dinner, so we went down to NY pizza and after a slice and a beer (well earned, I must say), it hit me. My one TV show I have to watch every week is The Office, and I think I made it through about half, and woke up on the couch during the 11 oclock news. Luckily I did not have to work on Friday, so I got a start on laundry for the weekend!

We were also very lucky it did not rain, I have heard horror stories. We were still in the woods in November, it was damp and cold.
Miles outside of our lodge, Invertebrate Inn:

Inside Invertebrate Inn:
Lots of mushrooms!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


We dressed up as our other selves...

Miles, as the scientist..Caroline, the princess....

Our friend Monse was a monkey...
....and Nick was a fat ballerina. That was the best five dollars he ever spent at Longs.....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pumpkin carving

When it was time to gather pumpkins from the garden, it turned out that we only had one or two worth doing. Then it turned out that they "had slugs" on them, and some people would not touch them. You know, they really are not very expensive....BUT on the Sunday before Halloween, the pickings are slim. So we got huge ones!!!Kristina invited us and Geni over for an afternoon/evening of carving pumpkins and eating Ancho-pumpkin-black bean soup. Yum!! She also made a ginger cheesecake which was really good, too. So we slimed up her kitchen, taking all the guts out.....
Roy helped Asher with his....
When Miles was little, he would not come within about five feet of pumpkin innards....he's so grown up, now....sniff.
Fearless, as always.
The Carnage.
Miles's own design. I almost passed out on Halloween when someone asked if we were Astros fans. He thought that was their logo. It does pretty much look like it, but really, it just came out of his head--we are NO fans of Houston anything!
Caroline's cat on a tree branch.
I made this from a book design the kids picked. We saw the same one down the street!!
Hick never got around to carving his, so I did this with a carving knife about 5 minutes after trick or treaters started coming....
Well, we had to have at least one with a face....