Dream Trip

We just got back from celebrating our anniversary … in Hawaii!  We’ve been talking about doing this for two decades.  It was a blast.

We went to the island of Kauai.


It was absolutely gorgeous.

We saw some amazing sights, including this old church:


With beautiful stained glass.


And, given that it was Kauai, we saw chickens.


Lots and LOTS of chickens.


So much fun.  So relaxing.  So many pictures!  There will be more…

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Party at the nursery

We took the troops – plus an extra – to McAuliffe’s Nursery in Snohomish for their annual Customer Appreciation Day.


Much fun was had at the pumpkin decorating table.


The Moose: “What are you doing, and how can I copy it?”


Rosebud: “I have the most delightful idea!”


There’s no such thing as too many eyes.


A personal point of pride – my most advanced student was hired to play for the whole event!



Natter and Rosebud decided that they Must Have grape vines, which they purchased with their own earnings.  After a hay ride, we all went home happy.

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Crying over split eggs

THIS is why I should never, ever, ever surf the web while today’s freshly washed-and-gathered eggs are drying on the counter, while the Toddler is Awake.


Never, ever, ever.


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I have this awesome neighbor that likes to bring my kids fun stuff.  She fulfills the role of “crazy aunt-type person” in their lives.

We don’t celebrate Halloween.  However, our children enjoy dressing up any time, and will do so with very little provocation.

Here they are, in their most recent iterations:

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Handsome dudes, no?

I believe the dentist got quite the kick out of it when Natter showed up for his cleaning, decked out to the nines…


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Rose Garden

Mr. Caffeinated and I took the opportunity to have a romantic – read: child-free – walk through the Rose Garden in Grandview last time we were there.


It used to be on the other side of town, but was moved to be nearer one of the main entrances.


It’s right along the biking trail, which means more people can stop in and enjoy.


It was a lovely moment of beauty in the midst of a hectic season.

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My wierd chickens

They have nesting boxes.  Really, they do.

Why on earth they find it necessary to squeeze into this gap – which is only about 3 inches wide – and lay there is beyond me.


Strange birds.

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Chocolate chip cookies in the name of science

I was forced – forced, I tell you – to bake chocolate chip cookies.  They were calling out to me from the ether, or my subconscious, or the Internet, which is more likely.

I felt compelled to first try out a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe that’s been hanging out on the front of my fridge.  (That’s where the idea must have come from.  Of course.)

cookies GF DF

These were pretty good.  The recipe is from Danielle Walker’s “Against All Grain” – you can find the post about it here.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are indistinguishable from the original, white-flour-and-butter recipe, but they’re certainly quite edible.

I also got to try out a new toy.

cookies toy

We picked this up at Restaurant Depot a few weeks back.  It is The Bomb when it comes to scooping cookie dough.  I’ve been making cookies without it for more than 20 years, and I do not want to go back to my pre-scoop dark ages ever again.

I decided I needed a side by side comparison of the GF/DF recipe with the original, for taste comparison.  Then I decided I ought to mess with my original recipe.  Which, I know, invalidates the whole scientific purpose of a comparison study of new-versus-original, but it was after 10 PM at that point, and hey, it’s just cookies, right?

My original comes from the 1963 Betty Crocker “Cooky Book“.  My mom had this book in her recipe cabinet when I was growing up.  She wouldn’t let me kidnap it when I moved out, either.  When Betty Crocker decided to re-release it, (something about used versions making beoucoup bucks on eBay), I snatched up a copy so fast that the ink hadn’t dried yet, metaphorically speaking in an Amazon preorder kind of way.

The original recipe calls for half shortening, half butter.  I hate shortening, so I’ve been using all butter for years now.  This results in a flat, but incredibly tasty cookie.

The thought crossed my mind as I looked at the recipe… what about half lard?  Since I, you know.  Have lard.  In the freezer.  I’ve taught two hog farmers how to render lard, did you know?  True story.  Anyway.  Off to the freezer to find the lard.  And make cookies.


They are pretty good.  I’ll probably stick with all-butter, since the lard definitely has its own flavor and rather overpowers the butter.  Not in a bad way… just different.  They’re quite tasty.

I figure these are probably the cookie to offend all parties though:  they have gluten, dairy, eggs, and LARD.  I expect the lightening to strike any minu




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