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My Little Corner Posts

Chirstmas Adventures II – Triple Chocolate Mint Cookies

In honor of the Christmas season, I decided to try a new twist a gold standard cookie recipe in this house. The Williams Sonoma Essentials Of Baking has a great recipe for triple chocolate chip cookies which involve white, dark and milk chocolate chips. Well, while shopping the other day, I noticed MINT chips on the shelf! I love all things mint, and thought they would be a great addition to the cookie recipe. They smelled great in the oven, and were super yummy. I think they have slightly more oil than the standard chips, and therefore made the cookies thin out more on the pan, but they were still a WONDERFUL addition. The cookies turned out pretty well. As in they didn’t last 48 hours. YUM!!

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Paradise

Two weekends ago, Tom and I were going stir crazy with all the gray weather and lack of exercise that this time of year tends to bring. Bolstered by an optimistic weather report for the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park, we make the 2ish hour trek south for some snowshoeing.

When we arrived, it was unfortunately VERY cloudy, as in no visibility, as in, what mountain? ::sigh:: So instead of heading up onto the glacier for the beautiful blue skies we anticipated, we did the Nisqualie Vista Loop trail, which is about two miles and is marked with nice, easy to follow poles.
It was nice to get out and get moving, but unfortunately the waterproofing on my shell has worn off, and by the end of the two miles, I was soaked clear to the skin. Did I mention that we were hiking in a cloud? So we went back to the lodge to thaw out and have some lunch.

After lunch, it was still depressingly cloudy, so we decided to do another short trail about two miles down the road, just to get some more exercise before we headed home. This was the Narada Falls trail that actually goes all the way to Paradise, which we want to hike in full sometime. That day though, we only hiked for another couple of miles, took some pictures and headed back after we saw the “waterfall”. Then we noticed something quite peculiar in the sky. There was BLUE! In the sky! In the direction of Rainier!!

We hopped back into the car and hurried back up to Paradise. We rounded the bend, and BAM there was Rainier in all her glory. It quite literally took my breath away. I will never cease to be amazed by the gradure and beauty of the mountain. There are simply just not enough superlitives. We’re so blessed to live so close to such wonder. Paradise indeed. We will be back!


More photos at http://ap.brendanfields.com/viewer.aspx?site=12

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Christmas Adventures Vol. 1 – Chistmas Ships!


This is the first installment of our Christmas adventures thus far. Tonight, Tom and I went and had dinner with a coworker of mine and then we all walked down to the water to see the Christmas Ships! This apparently is a Seattle tradition that has been going on for decades, where the Argosy ships (dinner boat ferries mostly), get all decked out in their holiday best and sail to different waterfront parks around the area. Other boats are welcome to follow them around as long as they’re all lit up too. A choir usually sings carols which are broadcast over loudspeakers from the boat to the crowds gathered on shore. At our stop, we were treated to beautiful songs sung by the Seattle Boys Choir. We had never seen the infamous Christmas Ships before, and it was quite a treat! We’ll definitely be making this part of our holiday traditions in the future!

You can find out when the Christmas Ships will be in a park near you at their website: http://www.argosycruises.com/themecruises/xmasSchedule.cfm

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Apple Butter….erm Sauce

So, continuing our attempt to learn more about food, and to try cooking and preserving local food through the winter, Tom and I attempted to make apple butter. We had all these grand designs of canning cute little 1/2 pint jars of apple butter that we would design precious labels for that we would give away for Christmas presents. Our friends and family would love them and think we were so amazing for coming up with such a unique gift idea.


Yea. That didn’t happen. It turns out that apple butter is an enormous pain to make. It takes forever, it makes a HUGE mess, because the longer it boils, the more viscous it becomes, so when the boiling bubbles burst, it sends apple goo approximately the temperature of fresh lava flying across the kitchen. In the end, we decided to just freeze what we had made, which was somewhere between apple sauce and apple butter and not give this one away. It still tastes delicious, so if you’re interested in yummy apple…um…product, let us know!

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Baby Girl!


So two weeks ago, our good friends Brendan and Ellie welcomed their new baby girl into the world. It was wonderful to be able to share that experience with them. Sheryl, Tom and I were anxiously waiting in the hospital waiting room, literally dancing with anticipation , (ok Tom didn’t dance). We also brought Indian food for Brendan, and later Ellie, as they hadn’t had much to eat since Ellie went into labor. Finally, we got the call that the baby had arrived, “it” was a girl, and we’d be able to cuddle her shortly.

After we were allowed in, the new baby (as she didn’t have a name yet), needed to be checked out to count fingers and toes, and get a bath for the first time! Brendan did the honors.


The paparazzi was definitely out in force, especially after Sheryl’s husband showed up with yet another camera. At least she will be a well documented baby! Thank you, Brendan and Ellie for sharing the birth of your beautiful daughter with us! We can’t wait to take her hiking 🙂

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Car Fail

So…I had a bit of car fail the other day getting off the exit ramp. I braked and the car didn’t stop, gotta love hydroplaning. Luckily everyone is generally OK, though my back has seen better days. I went to the Drs today, but he said that the muscles were just strained, so some muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory meds coupled with hot tubbing and chill out time should serve me well. So expect to see some posts in the future about our car shopping experiences!
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Flower Baby Hat

So I knitted this one up quickly for my French teacher, who gave birth to a beautiful baby girl about three months ago. It’s bad luck in France to give a shower before the baby is born, so those of us who took her French class last year go together a few days ago to have a “mini shower” for her. I decided to knit this hat.

The pattern is from Knitted Baby Hats which I have loved in the past, (remember the pumpkins?), but this had left a little something to be desired. I think the final result is cute, but some of the different parts are a bit cumbersome to work with. For example, the pattern calls for you to make all the petals separately, then attach them separately. This was complicated, and made for LOTS of ends to weave in at the end, (my least favorite part of knitting). The next time, I would still knit each petal separately, but I would put them on double pointed needles and knit a round or two to join the piece, THEN attach and tack down the petals. Another possibility is to knit the petal circle directly onto the main portion of the hat before it’s closed off, this making the transition seamless. As of now, I can still see some pink peaking through between the petals and the stem, which bothers me.

While the hat is cute, and Tom insists that only I will ever see the imperfections, I still don’t like having an imperfect product (perfectionist, I know). Oh well, I think she’ll still love it! What do you think?
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Grad School

So on my vacation last week, I started working on my applications for Grad School. I’m applying for a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and getting my Professional Certificate. I’m excited to be headed back to the classroom, and am looking forward to learning how to be a better teacher. I’m NOT looking forward to the time commitment (I know, grow up), or the time it will take away from my time with Tom. He’s thinking about taking a mountaineering class though, and I’m sure we’ll just figure out new ways to make time for each other. We both agree, however, that this is the best time for me to pursue my Masters, as we’re thinking about kids in the next few years, and pregnancy+infants+grad school sounds like a quick trip to crazy town. I’m a little nervous, but still ready to take this next step to help further my career.

I’m applying to both Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University. The deadlines are both November 20th, but I only have a few more things to take care of, so the goal is to get them both submitted by the end of the week. Wish me luck!!
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San Juan Island

A few weeks ago, (as in before it started raining), we headed up the San Juan Island with some good friends of ours for the weekend. E is super pregnant at this point, so we weren’t exactly doing insane hikes, but we had a beautiful campground and checked out some of the interesting historical sites up there.
San Juan Island has two National Historic Sites, American Camp and English Camp (http://www.nps.gov/sajh/index.htm). They were both established in 1859 as a result of the death of a pig. Because of confusion over the wording of the Treaty of Oregon, there was some dispute as to whether the Americans or the British were the rightful owners of the San Juan Island. As such, there were both American farmers and British members of the Hudson’s Bay Company living and working on the island. The problems came about when an American farmer shot and killed a HBC pig. The British threatened to have him arrested and have all the American farmers evicted from the island as trespassers. The Americans sought and gained the protection of American armed forces, which prompted the British to send their own military force to the island. Both sides ended up establishing camps on the island, though no battles were ever fought, and both garrisons left the island some 20 years later.

On our trip up to the island, we visited both the American camp and the English camp. The Americans were situated on high grassy hills overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca to the south of the island, and the British were in a well protected “harbor” tucked into the north of the island. It definitely seemed like the British had the better end of the deal, but both sites were beautiful to visit on a late summer weekend.

American Camp

English Camp

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