Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Give the Birthday Boy a Hug"

This is what I heard from my now 4 year old all day long. In between wanting to know where his party was, crying, telling everyone he was still 3, and taking a long nap, we did have some fun.

Waiting for Friend Jen to go to Top Pot doughnuts

Still waiting....

Walking through the SAM Sculpture Park with Daddy

Running through the park

Watching for trains

Lunch of hot dogs and mac and cheese

Using our brand new paint supplies - Thank you Friend Jen!

Dinner at Tutta Bella

Our birthday ice cream

The 'infamous' lemon cupcake (we did get carrot cake which he does NOT like)

Opening one present before bed - kites!

And of course, our new big-boy bed!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maybe It's a Sign

Then this article is in the Seattle Times this morning:


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why I need to stop eating at McDonalds (or why Seaside will really suck this year!)

Months ago now, my husband sent me this lovely email titled: 10 Reasons to Stop Eating at McDonalds. I have to admit I did not want to read it, in fact it sat in my in box for a looong time before I finally decided to just read it. It wasn't as bad as I had assumed it would be, but it obviously wasn't good.  The part that bothered me the most was the part about the slaughter houses and how the animals are treated there. I won't go into details but it was upsetting to think about.

On our trip to California we saw a bumper sticker that said: Of course as soon as Brandon got home he went there and read it. Not me, I love steak I have no desire to be a vegetarian. I am going to put my blinders on and continue to buy my meat at the grocery store and eat my hamburgers at McDonalds (not often but it is a nice treat!).

Then the other night my husband is gone again, nothing on TV, I've watched all my taped shows and I have some time to kill. Hmm... what is on On Demand?  I love the HBO documentaries so let's check that out. One is called "Death/Factory Farm". I, wrongly, think that this is about the Holocaust, and as I try to balance my trash TV with some serious learning, I choose to watch this. 

Well, it is not about the Holocaust, it is about animal cruelty on a factory pig farm. I lasted 10 minutes before turning it off. I wasn't even to the part where they show how they slaughter the animals, I just saw the sows being forced to nurse 24/7 with no room to move and the baby pigs crying and I turned it off. I ended up watching "Sex and the City" the movie - much less upsetting, although I did still end up crying!

Unfortunately, the last few days these thoughts have stayed with me. Where does the meat I eat come from, how are the animals treated, and what can I do about it? Seriously, I can not be a vegetarian, I've tried and lasted 2 days before I didn't know what else to eat! 

So, where does that leave me and my boys (I exclude Brandon because he would love to be a vegetarian!). Well, I thought the first thing to do was to stop eating at McDonalds, even if I don't eat the cheeseburger sans onions, the boys love the chicken nuggets and I just can't continue to buy them food that I know has been mistreated. But what do we eat as a special treat or when we are driving? This is the dilemma of fast food. It is so easy, and cheap, and the kids LOVE it. I haven't figured out the answer yet, but I am working on it.  

What does this have to do with Seaside? Well, our options for lunch on the road was already kind of challenging with all the different personalities, throw this in and I don't know what we will do. PB& J, anyone?

Stay tuned for a post on raising chickens in your backyard - my husband is determined that having our own chickens will be a good thing for us to do. Well, at least I will know how my chicken was treated before it ends up on my plate!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alone Time

I was originally going to title this post "Are You in the House Alone?" but realized no one would get it but my older sister. One of my fondest and scariest childhood memories, but not the point of this post.

Tonight I find myself alone at home. Totally and completely alone. My husband has gone to meet friends, my boys are at a sleep over with grandparents.  One of the things I have struggled with the most since having kids is the lack of alone time. I used to get home from work before my husband and enjoy time in the house alone. Saturday morning he would go on a long bike ride, and again I would be home alone. I enjoyed my time by myself; to clean, garden, read, sleep, I just liked being home alone.

Now it is very rare that I am at home with no one else. My husband will offer to watch the boys while I go do something. But all I want is for him to leave with the boys. I'm not a shopper, not very athletic, and siting at coffee shops tends to distract me. I would rather be home alone.  

When we first realized the boys would be gone tonight and Brandon had a meeting, he invited me to come along. He was sure his friends would not mind. Um, that is a very sweet offer but sitting in a bar listening to guys talk about computers would be worse then spending an evening having my entire body waxed. I was looking forward to being in the house by myself. No waiting until bedtime, doing the night time routine before I could sit down, but just cleaning up after dinner and being done.

I have several TV shows taped that my husband would rather not watch, I've been to the library and have a couple of good book options, and I also have work to do. Research reports to read, lesson planning for a class of preschoolers and for a class of adults (I wonder if I could somehow do the same lesson for both classes, would be a lot easier! ) and lots of laundry to fold.  I have been looking forward to this evening all day long.

But on the way to the grandparent's house my oldest boy said, "Mommy, I want to stay with you". He didn't really. Once we got there he could barely standstill for me to kiss him good bye. He was having too much fun. I am happy for him. But I miss both of my boys. I even miss my husband (I know!).  Maybe it is the hormones, but, while I will enjoy my TV and books, I will really be missing my family.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Elusive French Dip Sandwich

Several months ago, I got this craving for a good French Dip sandwich. This happens to be my favorite sandwich, but one I do not get to eat very often. It is rare for a restaurant to have one on the menu that isn't all fancied up.

I've loved French Dip sandwiches since I was a kid. Part of having a roast, meant having this yummy sandwich as left overs. I love the crispy bread, warm roast beef, and salty dipping sauce. When we were first married I would make a roast for my husband and I and then enjoy the leftovers the next night. Unfortunately, my husband gave up red meat years ago and since then, I have very rarely made a French Dip sandwich at home. There are already too many meals I make where each of us is eating a different protein, that I gave up on this one.

It wasn't a big deal until about November when I had a serious craving for this sandwich.  One day, I called my husband at work and asked him to search for restaurants with this sandwich. Hoping to find a yummy sandwich at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. With good news he told me that The Barking Dog had a sandwich. Yum, I love the fries there, and it was a small restaurant so I took the boys out to lunch.

Once we had driven to Ballard, settled into our booth, figured out what they would eat, then turned to order my meal, devastation struck.  They were out of roast beef. I was in shock.  I quickly weighted my options, stay eat something else, or load up both kids drive home and make lunch. So I ordered the fish and chips. It was fine, but not what I wanted.

A few weeks later I was still wanting this sandwich. One day I was grocery shopping by myself, which is always a treat, and I decided to ask the deli if they made a French Dip sandwich. They did! I was so excited. I ordered it, waited forever, and finally was given a lovely box with my sandwich and au jus read to go!  I drove to a park, got out my book, and took my first bite of sandwich. YUCK! It was seriously disgusting. I'm not sure what their au jus was but it wasn't French Dip, it wasn't salty, or even good. I ate the sandwich but was not able to dip it, which is kind of the point.

Fast forward to February. We are in California, visiting family and we watch this show Man Vs. Food. Never had seen it before, but it was quite funny. We watched the Seattle episode, Portland episode, and finally the LA episode. Guess what was featured in LA?  Yep, the place where French Dip sandwiches were created. I watched them make the sandwich, dip it in the juice and I almost died.  My husband looked at going to LA to eat this sandwich but it was an extra 2 hours South. When you are trapped in a car with a 4 year old and a 2 year old, an extra 2 hours is not going to happen.  That was okay but it sparked the craving once again for my sandwich.

Last Thursday it snowed. Totally random, and the only school district that closed was mine, and on my one work day.  The stars were aligned, I called a friend who lived in Ballard, and asked her to meet me at The Barking Dog. I was going to get my sandwich!

I was so excited all the way there, I did not even really care that the boys are not big fans of this restaurant, I was giddy.  My friend also ordered the same sandwich and after the first bite said "Oh, this is really good". Yay! I take my first bite and think "What?? This isn't right!" The bread was soggy, the roast beef had cheddar on it, and the au jus was not salty!  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either.  

Ugh! I think I have given up. The only place I have found this sandwich is Maggie Bluff's.  I like it but we only tend to go there in the summer.  Maybe for my anniversary this year my husband will take us there for dinner.  Either that or it is time to break down and make a roast for myself. Actually, come to think of it, I believe I have a roast frozen in the freezer. French Dip goodness, here I come.