24 November 2007


Needing to work off our turkey dinner and celebrate Abby O's birthday we went to Kopachuch State Park on Friday morning. The air was crisp, the paths covered in leaves and the views were bright and blue. A great place to go exploring.

Abbie & Miles, Mom & Theo

Theo, Mom, Miles, Abbie and Dad looking at the Olympic Mountains

Having out-of-town visitors always pushes us to do new things. We had never been out to Kopachuck, but I want to go back already. After a leftovers lunch, we went downtown Tacoma to the Glass Museum. Theo wore his red service dog cape and was great with all the people around. The best part was watching a team of glassmakers attempting the largest blown glass Christmas ornament. There were about 12 people in the hotshop along with a teacher to explain what they were doing. They made a pink ball that was 32 inches in diameter - the largest one ever made. The next day another team was going to try to beat their record. All creations are being donated to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma.

Thanks for a great weekend Mom and Dad (and Theo).


Over the past few years I have developed a love of cooking. A combination of fresh vegetables from the farmers markets, Stephanie's talent, and Sunday night dinners have inspired me to become a better cook. Plus, I find it relaxing. Now, I really only cook two nights a week, but I spend time reading magazines and looking for new recipes to try. So, after hosting many friends for dinner over the past two years I was not hesitant to host my first Thanksgiving dinner. I had the most fun collecting recipes for the menu.

Afternoon Snacks
Apple Brie and Pecan Quesadillas
Oven-Roasted Canned Tomatoes on Toasted Baguettes

Spinach salad with blue cheese, cranberries and pecans
Squash pull-apart rolls
Mashed sweet potatoes and goat cheese
Herb and Sausage stuffing
Orange-Sage Roasted Turkey and orange sauce

Apple-Cranberry Walnut Crisp
Vanilla Ice Cream

My parents joined us from Minnesota to see the new house and spend the weekend with us. Another Minnesotan friend, Alison, joined us for dinner. We also had Theo, my mom's new puppy. He is a service dog - in training. And we had Miles, Steph and Reid's dog.
Our small house was full.

I was thankful Mom was here to help with everything. We cooked Wednesday afternoon and most of Thursday. Everything tasted delicious. Hosting our first Thanksgiving was a success.

Theo and Miles wanted some turkey too.

Now that the occasion is over, my thoughts:

1. Cooking a turkey was fun and actually not too difficult.

2. There is really too much food on the menu to enjoy it all.

3. Thank goodness for leftovers.

4. It's too much for one person to do (or a novice and her mom). I think our Sunday night dinner crew has it best. The host is in charge of the main meal and guests bring the rest. Next time I am inviting more guests!

5. I respect all those who host Thanksgiving so much more now that I have done it myself. So, thank you mom and dad, aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends who have hosted my Thanksgiving dinners of the past 25 years.

I am thankful for new experiences, family, beautiful fall weather, friends, good food and puppies.

08 November 2007


Fall was full. It often felt overwhelming between making our new house a home and working with new students. Many days we were both tired and crabby which may be why I haven't added a post in awhile. But now that I sit down to share stories from the past few months I am reminded that life is not too hard. Work is part of life. Owning a home is good. We have great friends.
Steph and I in the forest

Earlier this fall we escaped Tacoma for a rainy weekend with some of our favorite friends. We spent the weekend at Lake Quinault Lodge in the Olympic National Forest. The Lodge curves with the lake, poised at the top of a hill to maximize the views.

You can see the smoke rising from the lodge's fireplace. We spent most of the rainy weekend inside, next to the fireplace, with all the other guests. We ventured outside for a few hours each day, only to return to the warm fire. Sunday morning I urged the group to go for a hike in the pouring rain. It was one of those epic adventures where we hiked a lot longer than we planned, we got a bit lost, we were soaking wet and dreaming of the fire at the lodge. But it is my favorite memory from the weekend. I am lucky my friends like to adventure.

Cyrus and I after the long, rainy hike. Happy to be out of the rain.