A Trip to the Zoo to Meet the Lion Cubs

Recently, the mamas went on an adventure to the Washington Park Zoo with toddlers in tow. We thought ahead and packed stroller, Ergo, and lunches.  It was the first really beautiful day of Spring and (unfortunately) the first day of Washington schools’ Spring Break… The zoo was busy, but we had a great time anyway!

2014-04-07 11.03.39Ready to see the animals!

2014-04-07 11.21.05This polar bear kept swimming up to the glass, doing a flip and swimming away. The kids just loved it!

2014-04-07 11.45.33The entire lion pride was out, enjoying the sun.  Two of the cubs were wrestling while their sibling worked on breakfast.  Daddy lion was less than impressed with their antics, especially when they tried to include him in their wrestling.

2014-04-07 11.49.56We saw a lot of sunbathing.  The cheetahs were napping in the grass.

2014-04-07 11.59.19The hippos were sunbathing on the rocks.

Packing our lunch was definitely the way to go. When the kids started to melt, we just stopped at an open bench and fed them lunch. You could hear the entire tone of the Zoo change as noon approached.  There was a steady din of crying children and irritated parents that got louder as time went on. So, parents of toddlers (or any age children), pack food!  When you start hearing the irritation of empty bellies happening around you, EAT.  It made our trip much more pleasant.

As an aside, we were lucky enough to get a Zoo membership through Sam’s work.  But, as with the OMSI membership, they pay for themselves very quickly. We’ve gone four times now and all we’ve paid for is parking. Our particular memberships also allow guests in (quantity depends on membership), so they make it easier to go with visiting friends and family.  If you can afford a membership to a local museum/zoo/etc. that you really enjoy, do it!

Operation: Summer Fun

We spent the last three days helping assemble a play structure at our neighbors’ home. We had lots of “help” from the toddlers and all the parents participated.  Since we live right next to each other, this will be used a lot by both families. Chloe enjoyed spending three full days outside with lots of people throwing her frisbee and ball.


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The boys are thrilled and started climbing it before we could put the last screw in! It was totally worth the effort and (minor) injuries.  We have a couple accessories on order to add to it, but it is 99% complete. (I just realized that Sam isn’t in any of the pictures.  He was at work during a good portion of the building and spent the rest of the time helping manage overly “helpful” toddlers.)

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Spring, you’re such a tease!  You show us beautiful, sunny days so we start putting long-sleeved shirts into boxes and digging out flip flops.  Then, the sun stops. The rain shows up and douses us with enough to flood the streets and make everything decidedly soggy.  You drown the new plants that went out during those sunny days and crush all hope that summer will ever come.

I’m so over your craziness, Spring.

Despite the lack of sunshine, I’m still craving salads.  That bag of spinach in my fridge calls out to me, begging to be wrapped in a fruity vinaigrette and maybe sprinkled with a bit of cheese or some toasted nuts.  But I never have salad dressing in the fridge.  On the rare occasion that I buy salad dressing, it is always over priced and never used before it goes bad.  And it never tastes quite the way I want it to.

But then, I made this and everything changed.

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I sort of inhaled the first salad with this dressing without thinking to take a picture until it was too late.  Rex was begging to eat it by the spoonful.

A vinaigrette that’s not over done. It’s light and mild and sweet.  It is the promise of summer in a jar.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Adapted from Keeper of the Home’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, thawed for 30-45 seconds in the microwave
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)

Directions

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.  Store in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 1 pint (2 cups).

FO: Tama for Rex

I’m pleased to share Rex’s new sweater!

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Pattern is Tama by Kelly Brooker.  I was gifted this lovely pattern and the one for Beyond Puerperium** by my lovely (blogless) friend Jen for my birthday.

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This little sweater was a treat to knit.  I worked it up in (new to me) Berroco Vintage Chunky, color #61191.  It took less than 3 skeins, despite the yardage requirements indicated on the pattern.  I have quite a bit leftover from the last skein, enough to make a hat for sure.  I made a slight modification by adding in the missing buttonholes.  The original has one functional buttonhole and the other two buttons are sewn through both layers.  Knowing my boy does not like things tight over his had, I decided to add in the other two buttonholes.  You can read all of my notes and modifications on the Ravelry project detail page.

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Buttons are from Babyville Boutique (#35056) and were also purchased at Twisted when I bought the yarn.  (I had a plan and stuck with it!)  I used this youtube video on sewing buttons onto handknits to attach my buttons. I found it very thorough and easy to follow.  I used small, clear-ish backing buttons out of my stash.

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I tried the sweater on Rex as it progressed (Picture me, chasing a 21 month old around the house in a one-sleeved sweater, still attached to a ball of yarn…), so it fits like a dream!  I’m hoping he’ll get some good wear out of this before spring is over.  And yes, I’m already plotting my next Tama.  I wish it was available for my size!

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*She also designed the pattern for the Puerperium Cardigan that I knit Rex when he was first born.

**If you love both sweaters, you can get them in an e-book for a great price!

Actual Yarn Content

Remember when this blog had yarn and knitting and crochet?  Don’t despair!  Those days are returning, complete with crappy cellphone pictures!

I had a blocking fit the other day and blocked four items that have been waiting patiently for months.  The color in the picture is way off, as is the focus, thanks to the horrific lighting in the craft/guest room.   Once they’re dry and the sky stops trying to drown us, I’ll get some proper pictures.  (Let’s be honest here; You may be waiting a while…)

2014-03-04 15.11.00Left to right: Over theWillamette Shawl, Hintz of Lace Cowl, Wendy Knits Summer Mystery Shawl 2012, Twist Hat

Also off the needles is a Tama for Rex. I’m pretty pleased with this one.  It knit up in 3 days and just needs buttons (which I’ve already purchased).  Once it’s dry, I’ll add the buttons and then try to get in-focus pictures of a busy toddler wearing it.

2014-03-06 20.28.22Size 2 years, knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky.

I have plans for another one of these, but in the short sleeve version and a more spring weather friendly yarn. I can easily see this pattern being my new go-to baby sweater pattern.  I veered away from the instructions a few times on this sweater, but I’ll go into those details when I do an FO post.  In the meantime, you can see all my notes on Ravelry.

There’s also a Super Secret Big Project that’s blocking/drying right now, but I can’t show you that until after it goes to its recipient. I know, I know… The suspense is going to kill you.  Go have a cookie, you’ll be alright.

Lent for Beth

I was turned on to the blog Five Kids is a Lot of Kids a while back by my friend/neighbor Jen.  Beth is funny, honest, a little church-y (but we love her anyway), and gorgeous.  Her words are almost as beautiful as her smile and her blog is a joy to read.  So when she posted her Lent Challenge and Day 1 pictures*, I was shamed inspired into action.  I looked at the floor under her desk, glad that she’s just as human as I am, and then I looked at my dining room table.

2014-03-05 14.53.47Sigh.

It’s not that bad.  A basket of clean (folded!) laundry, two bags of stuff from Target, yet to be unpacked, the tray from Rex’s high chair, two yarn bags, etc.  The area to the left (that’s a coffee table under there, I promise!) has also been a irksome eyesore.  So I took her challenge.  I found a movie on Netflix that I’ve seen a gazillion times, I made myself a cup of coffee, checked to make sure the boy was still sleeping, and set to work.  And I didn’t stop at fifteen minutes.  I waded through the clutter until Rex woke up.  I finished while he was having his snack, and bythe time Jen and Conner arrived to play, I was done!

2014-03-05 16.38.53A clean and empty table, ready for dinner. Yay!  

The coffee table on the left, while it may still look piled up, is actually much better.  The nearest box is clothes to be taken with me on a visit to my sister’s.  The box next to it is a box of boxes.  The last box is toys to be sorted/donated, topped with a bag of cloth diapers to be listed on Craigslist.

It even stayed this way for a whole 10 minutes before toddlers destroyed it.  Oh well… What’s a Mama to do?

Play in the rain and stomp puddles on the deck, that’s what!

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I may have also done some clutter control in the kitchen, but didn’t get any pictures.  When the bug bites and the time is there, apparently I become a tornado of tidiness.

Or something like that…

*I don’t actually celebrate Lent, but I do like the cleaning inspiration.  Quite a few blogs have cleaning challenges going on during March.  Off the top of my head are OrgJunkie’s challenge from last year and Money Saving Mom’s 4 Week Challenge.

Amazing and Hilarious

I can finally cross something off my imaginary bucket list!  I HAVE MET THE YARN HARLOT!  Sure, just a brief book signing encounter where I paid beer tribute and grinned like a fool.  But, still!  She spoke at the Powell’s at Cedar Hill Crossing, the first stop on her latest tour.  After years of trying to make it to one of her book signings, I finally live in the right place at the right time.

2014-03-04 19.05.292nd row, baby!

Thanks to the combined powers of my awesome friend/neighbor, Jen, and the fabulous husband, I was able to go ALL BY MYSELF!  I left in enough time to be there early (gasp!) and even managed a great seat.  On top of that, I made a new knit buddy (Hi, Emma!) and saw some great knits.  Stephanie was utterly hilarious and I laughed until my sides hurt.  I love her brutal honesty that turns reality into hilarity.  She may very well be my favorite author.

2014-03-04 20.23.01Inspecting the beer tribute.

When the time came, I passed along a bottle chosen by Sam for its similarity to beers she drinks and shatter-resistant bottle.  (He asked if she was demanding beer tributes now.  She said no, but she should.)

2014-03-04 20.23.08This ridiculously happy grin was permanently affixed to my face for the entire evening.

I now have a beautiful signed copy of The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes and I can’t wait to dive into it.  Powell’s sold out of the book while she was there and we filled the place with knitters in every aisle. I’m so, so pleased about finally meeting her and I really appreciate that she takes the time to sign and say something nice to each and every one of us.  Some people are just amazing and she’s one of them.