Archive for December, 2007


Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I better post this before the new year begins…



And Happy New Year!


Muir Woods National Monument

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Looking at the girl’s tag log books of national parks and monuments they have visited, I realized they have never been to Muir Woods National Monument. With it being so close to our house, we had to rectify the situation.

While Mike’s parents and sister were visiting we took one day to visit Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods offers a nice location for seeing an old growth stand of coast redwood trees. The paved path, which wanders along a river, kept us sheltered and gave us great views of these large trees.




Spectacular Northern California

Monday, December 31st, 2007

In northern California we had forests and the beautiful coastline…both within a short distance of each other. In one day in Marin county, we visited the Redwood trees at Muir Woods, the rocky coastline north of San Francisco, the ocean and Stinson Beach.


While I prefer mountains and trees, the girls (Jennifer, for example) enjoy the beach more.


Time to Bake

Monday, December 31st, 2007

The holidays always inspire me to bake cookies. I always find the time to make several of our family favorites including Neopolitan cookies and Snowman cookies. One day Jackie has a friend come over and we made and decorated butter cookies. Here are some of their creations:


We were still in the process of cookie making when Elizabeth arrived so she, Jackie, Jenny and I made the snowman cookies.


My 40 World Tag Book

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

There have been requests/begging/pleading to see my tag book. You know who you are. 🙂

This is a tag book I started as a make-n-take at a scrapbook retreat in San Jose. It ended as a review of the year I turned 40. Enjoy!



The Visitor

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

This weekend we have a special visitor for the weekend – Cinnamon, Jennifer’s classroom bunny. Cinnamon has found a home in Jennifer’s room. She has a cage and also a gated area for a little more roaming room.


Jennifer’s care and love of the bunny is sooooo cute. Yesterday I said, “She’s so fun to pet.” Jennifer sighed and said, “Mom, there’s more fun to taking care of a bunny then that. There’s feeding it and picking up its poop.” I wonder how many days this excitement would last with a permanent bunny???


Hiking with Giant Sequoias

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

With some days off school in the fall, we took the opportunity to visit friends in Hanford and take the girls to Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon National Park. The main features of the trip were seeing the Giant Sequoias and hiking.

One the first day in Sequoia NP we climbed to the took of Moro Rock (a steep 1/4 mile staircase climbs over 300′ (91.4 meters) to the summit of this granite dome), hiked to the General Sherman Tree (274.9′ (83.8 meters) tall, and 102.6′ (31.3 meters) in circumference at its base), hiked on the Congress Trail (a 2-mile paved trail through the heart of the sequoia forest, and hiked the Big Trees trail (a 1.2-mile loop around Round Meadow.)

On the second day we visited King’s Canyon NP. We hiked the Grant Grove trail to see the General Sherman tree. For a longer hike, we hiked along the ridge in the Grant Grove area.
We ran into a problem with food as it was fall and most places to acquire food where closed. Our lunch on the first day consisted of food we had acquired in Hanford from our friends.


Kid’s Test Kitchen

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

In the last year, I have cooked more and more than ever. I’ve learned lots of new cooking techniques and cooked lots of new meals. Most of this has been due to the PBS show, America’s Test Kitchen. I have borrowed all the videos from the library and tried probably hundreds (not kidding) of new recipes from their videos and books. What I love about ATK is that they will try the same recipe hundreds of time with different ingredients and cooking techniques to get the best. Mike calls it “Cooking for Engineers.”
Mike loves all the new foods. He complains that he doesn’t enjoy going out to eat anymore because my cooking is better. Who wants overcooked pasta or dry chicken from a restaurant???

The girls are a little more dubious at times. They have some new favorites but often they have to pick around the onions, garlic and veggies. After watching many episodes themselves (they can quote the banter of the chefs and editor) and tasting many ATK dishes, they decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches the ATK way. In typical ATK style, they tried to make grilled cheese in several ways including using various combinations of cheeses. The even learned some things themselves such as not needing to butter the inside of the bread. It was fun to have them experiment (fail and succeed) and learn in the process.


Mike's Birthday

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Mike’s birthday celebration included opening presents and going out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. Since Mike is so hard to shop for his presents mostly consisted of clothes and chocolate.

I also made him a little book highlighting the events that took place during the last year when he was 40.



Home Improvement

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

One day Mike said to me, “There’s a lot of projects I could work on but I’m going to do one of the one you want done.” And that was the start to the master bathroom home improvement project.

For years, I had noticed the wallpaper curling on the edges in the bathroom. We also had a broken floor tile. For me all I wanted was the wallpaper removed and the walls painted. Mike thought this would be too “plain” so he added the wainscoting to the project list.

We started out by taking down the wallpaper. The girls helped with the first layer of wallpaper removal. I wet the walls and took off the second layer of wallpaper.

Mike did the remainder of the work including painting, changing several of the fixtures, adding wainscoting, caulking and fixing the broken tile. It was an on and off project that took a few months. Luckily, the bathroom was usable during the entire project. Getting a photograph of the final room is tricky but this photograph gives you an idea of the new color scheme and design.