Sunday, November 28, 2010

Getting Lost in Seattle Part four: At the beach

When visiting the Seattle area I feel it's important to take a moment to check out a beach or spend a day near the water.  In Larry Gets Lost in Seattle the author mentions Alki Beach which is a great place to visit.  It was the first area that settlers landed in November of 1851.  Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach offers many great views of downtown Seattle and the Olympic Mountains along with a sandy beach, a great waterfront dining.

For Dallas however I opted to take him to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park.  It is located close to the ferry terminal which takes you across to Whidbey Island, another excellent place to visit in the area.  There are many lighthouses to be found in the Puget Sound region and I suggest you seek them out.  If you'd like to tour inside one do check ahead of time as many have limited visiting hours.  Lighthouses of Washington is a great guidebook to all the lighthouses in the area.  If you decide to take the ferry over to Whidbey make sure to check out the Admiralty Head Lighthouse as well!

Grab some fish and chips at the Ivars Fish Bar and have a little picnic on the beach like we did.  (We actually grabbed our fish and chips up from a little place in Everett that I can't recall the name of but Ivars would do the trick.)

Make sure you take the time to stroll along the beach looking for

mussell shells

 or starfish skin (aka sea kelp),

skipping rocks, walking along the driftwood, and hunting out abandoned forts!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

List Twenty One: Thanksgiving Gratitude

Taken at Thanksgiving last year!
A short and not at all a comprohensive list of things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.
  1.  My in-laws for coming out to visit and making Thanksgiving a little more special.
  2. Hearing my mom's giggle on the phone this morning as she called me from the car with my dad and grandma to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.
  3. My dear friend Liz who is such a comfort to talk to on the phone and who is a second sister to me.  I am thankful for our Wednesday afternoon chats!
  4. My husband for all he does for me including brushing my tangling, wet hair after a shower. 
  5. Homemade rolls that my grandma always made and now is my honor to take to our Thanksgiving.  How I hope they taste as good as hers always have.
  6. The expectations of a new addition to our little family... more on that next week.
  7. Warm blankets and big comfy sweaters to keep me warm on this unexpectedly cold Thanksgiving.
  8. Old friends who I'm able to stay close with by way of facebook!
  9. My Seattle family, Derek and Tatiana and Pauline and James, who make the holidays easier to be so far from home.
  10. Sausage from PCC, because it was SOO good in my scrambled eggs this morning and I know it will be delicious in Patrick's stuffing this afternoon.
  11. My friend Susan for making me laugh and bringing such warmth into my heart.
  12. My nephews and niece who fill me with joy and awe.  (Bonus: it's so fun to make little gifts for them at Christmas time.  If only I can finish them all.)
  13. All my family whom I miss so much and can't wait to see at Christmas.
  14. To you lovely readers who continue to bring such thoughtful and kind comments into this space.  It's been so fun writing for you and taking the time to breathe that Simple Breath.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow Day

Enjoying the white little snow flakes especially since it's meant cuddling inside with my husband all day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

List Twenty: Christmas Cookies to make

(Insert photograph of  a beautiful stack of your favorite holiday cookies here!)

With one radio station playing constant Christmas music, an invitation to a Holiday Cookie Swap party, and after reading this post I thought a list of Christmas cookies was just the thing for this week's list. 

Short story first!  For my speech class a few years back I did a group persuasive speech on the BEST holiday cookie.  Each member in the group brought their star cookie in to share with the class and then gave a brief speech on why their cookie was the best.  In my humble opinion my cookie and speech was the best of the group however members of the class felt the Chocolate Pixie wasn't as good as someone's Chocolate Chip (which really wasn't all that great.) Whatever, they obviously wouldn't know a good cookie when they ate one!

1.  Chocolate Pixies

2.  Ginger Cookies

3.  Peanut Butter Cookies

4. Caramels (ok it's not a cookie but you have to make caramels at Christmas time)

5. Fudge (ok not a cookie either but...)

6. No-bake cookies

7.  Christmas Wreaths (made from corn flakes and technically not a cookie either probably... umm.. perhaps I should have named this list Christmas "treats" to make instead!)

8. Gingerbread Men decorated up with red dots, icing, and lots of sprinkles of course!

9.  Any of the special Christmas cookies in this book!

What fun Christmas cookies or "treats" do you plan to make? 

Have a happy weekend!

(And no I haven't forgotten the Getting Lost in Seattle series, it's just that my internet connection is pretty intermittent and hopefully will be fixed soon.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day twelve

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Today I am thankful for a negative dog allergy test.  I did however find out I'm allergic to juniper.  Who knew?

(I know you're probably thinking "What happened to day ten and eleven?"  Well... I am thankful that I came out of the funk I was in on both those days.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

List Nineteen: ten things that make me smile

On a chilly, rainy day.
  1. Piles of blankets lying on the couch waiting to be cuddled under.
  2. Tea pot cozies warming a little pot.
  3. Standing under a hot shower.
  4. Pink fuzzy socks that Santa gave me for Christmas last year.
  5. The floor vents in our car.
  6. Holding a hot beverage.
  7. A handcraft project sitting in my lap.
  8. Turning on every light in the house so its doesn't feel so dark so early.
  9. Laundry warm from the dryer.
  10. Chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day eight and nine

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Day eight: Today I am grateful for indulgences.  Time to cuddle up under a blanket with a bowl of microwave popcorn for dinner and watching some fun dancing! Kyle Massey is one of my favorites. I can't believe those instant dances, WOW!!!  Do you have a favorite on DWTS?

Day nine: Today I am grateful for learning to play Samuel Barber's Canzone (from the second movement of the Concerto for Piano, Op. 38).  The flute's melody is haunting, moving, and breathlessly beautiful.  I LOVE the high pitched running phrase in the middle and how those low C# sound at the beginning and end of the piece.

Getting Lost in Seattle: Part three, Microsoft, Seattle Aquarium and SAM

During the plane ride Dallas had put together a list of all the things he really wanted to see and do while he was in Seattle.  Seeing where Uncle Patrick worked and the Seattle Aquarium were high up on his list.

Dallas had a great time playing on Microsoft Surface at the Microsoft Visitor Center! (Me too actually!)
Many of our friends and family are interested in seeing the Microsoft campus.  Once we had a person from Canada stop us to ask for directions as they were sightseeing.  Microsoft boasts a great visitor's center and company store.  The visitor's center offers a look back at the company's history and features some innovative products that Microsoft is developing.  Just released last Thursday is the Kinect, where you are the controller playing the video games.  Patrick and I got it on Thursday and tried it out, amazing technology and so much fun!  (Ok sorry I'm starting to sound like a Microsoft advertisement! Moving on...)

Dallas LOVES going to the aquarium, any aquarium.  So I knew he would love to see the Seattle Aquarium.  The Seattle Aquarium is located on Pier 59, right on Elliot Bay.  The aquarium showcases many of the sea life found in and around the Puget Sound region along with sea otters, river otters, and sea lions.

Dallas especially loved the Underwater Dome.  He could have sat there staring and photographing all those lovely fish for hours. 

Both of us were a little scared of the touch pools.  But we got brave and were able to touch some pretty neat sea cucumbers, sea stars and other cool things.

He was one of my favorites!  Just chilling out enjoying the Seattle drizzle.

After a visit through the Seattle Aquarium's gift shop we headed up for a quick peek at the Pikes Place Market to see the flying fish and

making sure that coin went in the giant piggy bank!

a visit to Rachel the pig.  The market can be a crazy place to take small kids or (wandering adults for that matter) during peak hours.  To avoid crowds I recommend going to the market first thing in the morning, during the middle of the work week, and/or last thing in the evening if you don't mind not having to much time there.

Apologies for the poor picture quality.
Next we trotted through the rain to see the Hammering Man which stands stoically in front of the Seattle Art Museum.  Dallas and his brothers know all about the Hammering Man from Larry Gets Lost in Seattle.  My sister told me that on Labor Day morning they all ran into her bedroom excitedly announcing that the Hammering Man was not hammering in Seattle today.  Labor Day is the only day of the year that the Hammering Man does not hammer away.

We had originally planned to take the Monorail over to the Space Needle but when we popped out of Pikes Place Market the rain was pretty heavy and the skies were a thick grey.  (Not the best weather for viewing from atop the Space Needle.)  Thankfully Dallas had another suggestion.  We headed into the Seattle Art Museum for a tour of the galleries.  I could tell it wasn't all that interesting to a seven year old but he did like a few of the pieces.  Like this one above titled Some/One by Do-Ho Suh

He's favorite part of the museum had to be the kid's play area that was tucked at the top of this grand staircase.  You actually don't have to pay to get into the museum to access this area!

It was so fun to watch him create this piece.  Dallas marched right up to the easel with three big markers in his two small hands and went to town.  I love that he titled and signed the piece, totally without prompting!  He gave the picture to me and I'd love to figure out a way to have it framed so it could hang somewhere prominently in our home. 

After the some drawing Dallas became a sculptor.  Creating a masterpiece with giant building blocks which he titled Sky City.  There are some interesting things going on within this wood sculpture including lots of balancing acts.  Again it was a joy to watch his mind work and create!

We headed home after another long and wonderful day getting lost in Seattle!

Some other places of interest:

Around the Seattle Aquarium:

Pikes Place Market

Food & Wine

Here's part one and two if you missed them.  Up next... a lighthouse and exploring the beach.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge day six and seven

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Day Six:  Today I am thankful for a quiet day at home with my cutie playing one of our new board games while drinking tea and eating ginger and lemon biscuits.

Day Seven:  Today I am thankful for a unexpected phone call from a dear friend just to chat about all things crafty!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day five

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Today I am thankful for this lovely woman, my grandmama, Margery.  Today is her birthday and it was a joy to call her and sing to her all five verses of the Happy Birthday song listening to her giggling on the other end of the line.  How I wish I could be there to celebrate her day in person.

In case you wanted to know here are my family's five verses to the Happy Birthday song:

1.  Happy Birthday to you,
     happy birthday to you,
     happy birthday dear Grandma
     happy birthday to you!

2.  God bless you today
     God bless you always
     God bless you and keep you
     God bless you always

3.  For she's a jolly good fellow
     for she's a jolly good fellow
     for she's a jolly good fellow
     which nobody can deny!

4.  Three cheers for grandma
      Hip Hip Hooray!
      Hip Hip Hooray!
      Hip Hip Hooray!
      Grandma, Grandma, Grandma ... Yea!

5.  Three cheers for the red, white, and blue,
     grandma to she's the finest of all girls alive.
     She's not handsome it's true but when she looks at you...
     da da da dah da da da dah

The song ends with a Grandma locomotive... (spelling out the person's name faster and faster until all you can do is whistle and cheer!)

G -- R -- A -- N -- D -- M -- A
G - R  - A - N - D - M - A

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Challenge: day four

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Today I am thankful for head hugs.  Patrick and I have this little thing where we are cheek to cheek and squeeze our heads close together.  It always makes me feel so loved.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting Lost in Seattle: Part two Fremont and Ballard

When someone comes to Seattle for the first time I often like to take them on the Alaskan Way Viaduct into downtown Seattle.  In the span of a few miles you can see the harbor and Elliot Bay, the Smith Tower, the backside of the Pike Place Market, both sport stadiums, Starbucks headquarters, and the Space Needle.  It is also just a neat drive to see yourself driving along high above Elliot Bay and the city one second and then driving into a tunnel underneath the city the next.  It just shows how hilly the downtown area is.

If you stay SR 99 you soon pass Lake Union home to many famous houseboats, most notably the Sleepless in Seattle house.  Right after crossing the Aurora bridge take the exit to the neighborhood of Fremont.  There is a troll that lives under the Aurora bridge that you won't want to miss!

He is fun to climb on and stare in wonder at too.  Under his giant claws he holds an actual VW Beetle, using the hub cap for his eye.

A few blocks away is another fun art installation,  Waiting for the Interurban.

These people have been waiting for a bus for over thirty years.  The people of Fremont enjoy dressing them up for different occasions.  When we went the were dressed in bright t-shirts and handing out free soda! 

If your tummy's are beginning to growl Fremont offers tons of great restaurants.  We walked right across the street to Blue Moon Burgers and ate a delicious lunch.  Blue Moon serves local grass fed beef, a big plus in my book.

Make sure to take a stroll along the Lake Washington Ship Canal on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  Fremont also offers a walking tour guide highlighting other interesting sites to see in Fremont.

A short drive from the neighborhood of Fremont and you're in Ballard, another fun artisan neighborhood.  Here you'll find the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.  The locks help keep the fresh water of Lake Union and Lake Washington from mixing too much with the salt water from Puget Sound.  They also allow boats to pass between the water level of the lakes and the Sound.

Make sure to cross the locks following the markers in the sidewalk to the fish ladder.  Here you can view the 18th step in the ladder and watch as the salmon make their trek back from the salt water of the Sound to the fresh rivers of their birth. 

If you didn't catch lunch in Fremont not to worry there are some great restaurants in Ballard too.  People's Pub and Delancey are two of my favorites.  There are some great shops in Ballard as well, Space Oddity Vintage Furniture, Secret Garden Books, and Bop Street Records to name a few.

We were done touring for the day and headed back to my house.  Exploring the backyard, finding some last blackberries of the season, and playing at the nearby playground.  It was a fun first day with my nephew!

Up next:  Microsoft, Seattle Aquarium, and what to do when it rains!

Thanksgiving Challenge: day two and three

The Thanksgiving Challenge: to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for each day until Thanksgiving. Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Day two:  I am thankful for the flexibility in my schedule.  It's nice to be able to be there when someone needs you.

Day three:  I am thankful for old friends.  Wednesdays are starting to have their own special ritual of chatting with my dear friend Liz in the afternoon while her two kids take their nap.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Challange: Day One

The Thanksgiving Challenge:  to write, photograph, or otherwise document one thing that you are grateful for  each day until Thanksgiving.  Feel free to join in by linking your Thanksgiving gratitude in the comments below.

Today I am thankful for the postman for delivering my copy of 3191Q at just the right moment.  I had just completed a little meditation practice, put on a pot of chamomile tea and snuggled down under the blanket to enjoy slowly savoring each beautiful page.  Perfect way to spend all fall afternoon that looked like this!

Getting Lost in Seattle: Part One

Before I share the stories of my nephew, Dallas' visit (hopefully I'm not hyping his visit too much) I wanted to share with you our inspiration for the tour of our little city. 

Back when my sister had visited a couple years back she picked up this book as a souvenir for her little ones back home.  Apparently it has become one of her kids' favorite books to read!  (FYI... Larry also gets lost in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco)

Larry, the dog, gets lost in the big city of Seattle and stumbles upon all sorts of interesting sites on his quest to find his family. 

Dallas had read the story many times and had a few places in mind he definitely wanted to see during his trip here.

My hope is that after sharing this little series on Dallas' visit you will be armed with a personal little travel guide to this beautiful city I'm lucky to now call home!

Stay tuned!!!