25 March 2012

Sunday morning at Discovery Park

The sun was out today and we took full advantage by meeting up with some of our parent group friends and their little ones and going on an urban hike in Discovery Park.  Gorgeous blue sky.  A little breezy, but not too cold for once.  Our hike took a meandering route, but we ended up on the bluff, as planned. 

The outing involved Danish pastries, some good conversation, lots of baby snacks, several tumbles when little legs got going too fast, lots of dogs, a few tasty rocks, naps (for the kids), and vitamin D for everyone.  Fun.

22 March 2012

A bit like a room of one's own

Something about this time of year makes me want to dig out and organize.  This is lucky timing.  I've recently also realized that with things as they are, key tasks and worthwhile activities are languishing.  Important things.  Things like writing cards, blogging, following through on volunteer commitments, keeping in touch.  Oh, and then all the things I need to do like financial planning, record keeping, and meal planning. My productivity in the "not Wyatt" category of life has been fairly low as of late. 

So.  This week I made time to rework the small space I've carved out of the living room that serves as command central for me.   Not an ideal location, but good enough for now.

It may not look like much, but the fact that you can see a bit of the surface of the desk is a good sign, trust me.  The space is mostly functional, but to really work for me, it also needs a few pretty things. Thus, the orchid, calendar, and Waterman clock.

I've also included a small stash of Wyatt-oriented items since he always wants something from my desk (preferably a pen or my laptop), and never likes to be too far away.  I've parked a basket of favorite books and notebooks within reach.  And added a bit of storage by way of a simple set of stacked drawers on casters. 

Getting my self reorganized is, I hope, the first step in actually getting back on top of some of my most important projects (i.e. financial stuff and remodeling).  Besides that, it now gives me a pleasant space (and no excuses) for jotting notes and emails to friends and actually getting packages addressed and put in the mail.  It may not be a room of my own, but I'll take it.

Do tell.  How do you stay organized and productive at home?  

19 March 2012

A quick trip to see Sadie

Last week, Wyatt and I hopped on a plane to the bay area to spend time in a more reliably sunny place and enjoy time with cousin Sadie and her parents, Jill and Mark.  Suffice it to say that we took the rain with us and it poured much of the time we were there.

That didn't stop us from having fun times, in general, and visiting the Academy of Sciences, in particular.  Wyatt got his exercise chasing the cat, Shiva.

Rain and all it was a nice change of pace for us, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time and many good conversations with Jill.  Oh, and thanks so much for introducing us to "baby monkey" -- I still have that nutty song running though my head!

Biding time in the fun house mirror waiting for our plane to leave at Sea-Tac Airport (it was delayed six hours!).
on the plane at last with my happy traveler (thank goodness)
Wy, Sadie, and T-Rex at the Academy of Sciences
Sadie's self portrait of her and Wy hanging in the backseat
Wy and Shiva

Almost spring

Last night we had thunder and snowy hail.  Seriously.  Today there's blue sky and sunshine. Every day it seems we're having weird weather of some sort.  We've definitely had cooler-than-normal temps the last few months.  It makes me super ready for the spring and some reliably spring-like weather.  Of course, spring lasts until July 4 in Seattle, but hey, at least it doesn't require the knee-length down coat I've become accustomed to wearing.

Despite the gray skies, on weekends we've managed to do some urban hikes with Wyatt and to walk around Green Lake a few times.  I'm seeing signs of warmer days to come -- at least I hope that's what it is.  Either that or the poor shoots and buds are going to be frozen to death.

Today is the spring equinox, and it's also my 18th wedding anniversary.  As I recall, on the weekend we were married it snowed the day afterward -- proof this isn't such an odd weather year after all, I suppose.  Tomorrow's the first day of spring. This can only be a good thing.  Grow, garden, grow!

01 March 2012

Cowboy Cookies

Tonight called for cowboy cookies.  Maybe it was because I felt like today I did my share of herding -- a little boy, bath toys, building blocks, grandpa and his recycling, all the papers on my desk . . .  

I had forgotten the beauty of the cowboy cookie.  They are substantial cookies.  And they have that salty-crunchy-sweet exterior that you taste right before you sink into the chewy and, when warm from the oven, gooey interior.   We enjoyed them right out of the oven, tonight.  And Wyatt had no problem with them (unlike a few other "new" foods we've tried on him recently such as broccoli).  He eagerly chomped bites of cookie, chasing them with gulps of milk from his "big boy" cup.  Milk and cookies before bed.  Not bad.

My dear friend Di shared this basic recipe with me more than 20 years ago.  I've made a few tweaks, but for the most part, these are her cookies.

Cowboy Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (don't leave this out)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 + 2/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
6-8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces or chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  In a standing electric mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugars and beat with the paddle until well combined and smooth.  Add eggs to the sugar-butter mixture, one at a time, mixing until well incorporated.  Add vanilla and then beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (a minute or two).  Add dry ingredients in a couple batches and mix until combined, but don't over mix. Add oats, apricots, coconut and mix in.  Then add chocolate chips and nuts.  Mix again.

I like to make the cookies good sized, which means nine cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 12-13 minutes on a rack in the middle of the oven.