Goodbye Dear Friend

Let’s see if I can type this without crying.

.
.
.
.

We had to put down our sweet, beloved, furry baby on Monday.  He would have been 15 in April, and we were so blessed to have been his for 14 of those years. He outlasted everyones expectations, and we are so thankful he did!

As 2 (very) young newly married kids, we went to ‘just look’ at the pound, and came home with a 50 pound ball of fur. We had to sneak him into our apartment! We were moving out in 2 days, but the pound said that they just couldn’t hold him for us. He helped us learn more about ourselves, and life in general. He was waiting by the door as we brought our first baby home. He was waiting by the door as we brought our second baby home.   As the boys have grown up he’s been a constant playmate.

But in the past year he’s slowed down. He was happier inside, than out, but he would lay outside and watch them play. He still lit up when he saw his red leash in one of their hands. He wagged his tail in delight when we walked in the door after school, or running errands.

Until recently. He was tired. He was confused. He seemed sad. We knew his time was near, but we put it off. We prayed God would let us have one more Christmas, and praise Him, he did! It was right after the New Year we started to notice the biggest changes. After 4 bad days we decided we couldn’t keep him here for our good. We needed to make that tough decision for his best interest. So we did. The boys had the day off of school. We brushed him one last time. The boys asked to feed him one last time. We went for one last walk around the block. It was painfully obvious that it was difficult for him. We went to the park one last time, running around and just laughing. We didn’t even care about the 5* weather. It was sunny and clear. It was a beautiful day. He found a chicken bone by the trash and was so happy. We went for one last drive. It wasn’t long enough.  We went to the vet, one last time. I sat in the waiting room with Tiny. Fred wanted to spend every precious second with Java, so he went back with Jason.  Java was held until he took his one last breath.

It was a silent drive home.  The tears waited until we were home. He was not by the door waiting for us.  It was devastating.  After letting the tears flow we looked though hundreds of photos. Pictures we’ve long forgotten. It was the best way to spend the afternoon. Remembering Java’s better days.  Seeing his young face helped us realize how bad he had gotten.  I sit here and think, now I have one more reason to look forward to heaven one day. But while The Good Lord wants me here, I know Java couldn’t be in better hands, and he’ll be waiting by the front door when I get there.

spring09-6

Spring 2009

Pinterest Review- Chocolate& Peanut Butter

Ok, I have no pin for this one, because there are a meeeellion pins for chocolate + peanut butter on Pinterest.

Seriously. One million.  Search it for yourself if you don’t believe me…. go. I’ll wait.

See. I told you. There are PB chocolate balls, bars, cupcakes, cookies, spreads, parfaits.  All sorts of crazy things.  The only thing… most of them aren’t all that unique.  I’ve made some of those things before.

So why am I reviewing something everyone has tried before? Short answer… Because I want to. Long drawn out answer…. I’m glad you asked!

I do not buy any peanut butter that comes in a jar with a Disney character, or misspelled word, that I really don’t know what it means. I don’t buy peanut butter in a jar that could last for years in my pantry.  I don’t buy peanut butter in a jar.

I grind my own peanut butter at our local store, back in the bulk area. Fred Meyer and Winco both offer this service. If your store has a bulk section, see if they have this option to make your own.  There is one ingredient. You know exactly what that ingredient is. There are no preservatives. The most refreshing part, if you don’t use it in a timely manner, it will go bad!  Some people might see that as a negative, but seriously, please do not eat ANYTHING that doesn’t go bad. It’s  not good for you!

Some people will say that the texture of fresh ground peanut butter is awful, and a long time ago, I would have agreed with you. Jason has always loved it, so I weaned myself off the jarred junk by purchasing the more natural version that you had to stir before using.  I hated stirring it up, and it always made a mess.  I bought the no stir option, but it added an extra ingredient that I didn’t want.  Plus, it is pricey!!  I decided to just go over to the grinder, and make my own for SOOO much less.  My boys love it, Jason loves it, and now, I love it.  Jarred peanut butter tastes gross  to me now. It’s so sweet with all the sugar they add to it! Blugh!  I have not bought jarred peanut butter in years.

Okay. I’ll put my soapbox away.

With the knowledge that I buy grind your own peanut better, I’ll let you in on the negative. There is just one. It is very difficult to bake with.  Baked goods just do not come out the same.  BUT!!!  It makes the best peanut better cups! The Best.

Reese's

These are mindblowingly delicious! And painfully easy to make. Which makes me wonder why I don’t make them more often? Oh yes, because they are dangerous to my hips.

Reese's (4)
First you have to get your double broiler going.  Or if you do not have a double broiler, like yours truly, just set this up. Just make sure you use a heat resistant glass bowl. You’re probably smart enough to know that without me telling you though.

Reese's (10)
Throw your chocolate chips in once the water is boiling. I used a little more than a handful because I wasn’t making a lot. Just eyeball how much you think you’ll need. The good thing is that it’s extremely easy to melt more chocolate if you didn’t do enough the first time.

Reese's (13)

Pretty, melting chocolate. Make sure you stir it the whole time. This is not the time to go vacuum your living room.

Reese's (21)

Now that the chocolate is melted comes the fun. If you used chocolate chips, you have some time to work with it. It takes a bit for it to set back up. But be warned it’s messy. Just think, you get to lick your fingers when you’re done. The easiest way to work with the peanut butter is to refrigerate it first. Once it’s hardened, it the peanut butter balls roll through the chocolate pretty easily.

Reese's (2)

Reese's (14)I also spooned some chocolate onto the peanut butter that I had put into cupcake wrappers. I made a chocolate ball for all four of us, but only had enough chocolate for three. I didn’t want to melt more chocolate for one peanut butter cup.

Reese's (22)

Then you stick it in the fridge for a while. Or the freezer if you’re as impatient as me. You can tell that it’s ready when it’s not shiny anymore. It’s a matte texture. That’s when you know it’s set. Even if there is just a tiny spot that is shiny, you need to wait a little longer.

Reese's

Ready.

Reese's (15)

Heavenly!!!

Reese's (6)
Gone.  The boys love these.  And I do not feel one ounce of regret letting them eat them. They are a very yummy, fun sometimes treat.

Better Late Than Never

I was looking back through some of my older posts, and realized that I never posted a post of Fred’s birthday! But perhaps that’s because we were busy with the end of school, and soccer. We asked him if he was ok having his get-together later in the summer, and luckily he was.  He, and a friend went to Tucano’s.  Jason’s mom takes us, and his brother there for their birthdays, so we just added one more. It was very nice to take his friend somewhere he had never been and to not have to worry about having a party here.  Fred doesn’t really like traditional birthday parties. He doesn’t like to be the center of attention in that way. After lunch we came back home and he and his friend played Pokemon and Playstation. Every birthday should be so pleasant!!

(Crummy cellphone picture)

I had him fill out his favorite things. This is straight from a 12 year old boy: (Everything in parenthesis is my comments) 

Favorite Things

Color: Red

Food: Waffles  (He likes waffles so much he encouraged me to spend my Christmas money on a waffle maker)

Music: I like a lot of music like clasic rock (Seriously! He’s all over the place with what he likes. It would be a full post right there, but I think it has a lot to do with him listening to all the music I like, and  Jason’s when he’s in control of the radio.)

Clothes: Track shorts and track shirt and a wind breaker  (Clothes are pretty cheap when that’s the preferred!)

Animal: Dog

TV Show: Wheel of Fortune (How old is he again?)

Movie: X-men

Subject in School: PE  (His school doesn’t even have PE… they have Creative Movement.)

Sport: Soccer  (duh)

Vehicle: Mustang

Gadget: Pocket knife  (Nana and Poppa got it for him for his birthday. We have to tell him he can’t take it out in public!)

Holiday: Christmas

Smell: Dirt  (Really? Gross.)

Drink: Jarrito

Candy: Atomic fire balls and lemon heads  (That’s my boy!!!)

That boy has a really silly personality! I love him to death!

And since we celebrated Jason’s birthday at the same time, the only picture he wanted to help him remember the day was a photo of his dessert.  He turned 40 this year, and was a but bummed for a few days. I wanted to do something big, and fun for him, but he really wasn’t feeling it, so I think maybe next year. It’ll give him time to get over his 40’s blues! Ha!

Strawberry Cheesecake is without a doubt his favorite dessert. I always make it from scratch, and the strawberry topping was fresh and homemade too.  It was heavenly!

Vacation (Part 2)

We did pull ourselves away from the beach long enough to do a few other things.  Of course we went to the Newport Aquarium. We went to the Seattle Aquarium a few years ago, and we loved it.  While the Newport Aquarium is awesome, and we do encourage you to go, if you have plans of being in Newport, but we were a little disappointed, as we were told, and had read that the Newport Aquarium was much better, and bigger than Seattle.  It is a good aquarium, and because of the tunnels, it is amazing, but it was not better than Seattle. It was maybe equal.  Seattle’s outside portion was more visitor friendly, but Newport’s inside area was really geared towards kids, so either way, we had fun!

 

We made good friends with a walrus. We named him Wall E. Russ.  Yes, we are a creative bunch…. 😉

 

A second plan that was foiled was our trip to the Sea Lion Caves. We drove all the way down there, just to be told the elevator was broken, and that we couldn’t go down. We asked to use the stairs and they told us nope. The cave was closed, but that we should feel free to check out the gift shop.  We said nope, and drove all the way back to Newport, without seeing the sea lions. Sad times.  We did a lot of walking around town, we watched the fisherman bringing in their catch, and cleaning and cutting it. We ate. A lot. I dislike seafood, my trip to iconic “Mo’s”, I tried their burger and it was delicious. We tried the clam chowder, and we thought other smaller local places had better chowder.

 

This was the first time I was able to see the sun set all the way over the water.  And we only got to see it once the whole time we were there. All the other evenings it was too cloudy.  We watched it from our car because it was so cold, but it was amazingly beautiful!

 

Awe, the drive home. It was bittersweet. We were ready to go home, but we had had so much fun. We drove through the enter of Oregon, through Sister’s. Those mountains were mind blowing! They’re HUGE!  That no smoking sign cracked me up! I love it!  Also, beware, the drive between Bend and Burns is miserable. MISERABLE!!  It has to have a huge suicide rate. I was about to lose it, it is so boring. Blah.

 

Ahhhh, what a wonderful sight! We were so happy to be home, and to go pick Java up from the vet, where he was boarded.  On the drive home we were already planning our next vacation!

Yellowstone or Grand Canyon?

 

 

 

 

Our 2012 Vacation (Part 1)

* I have started this post twice now. The first time it was right after we got home. I had it nearly finished, and the whole page crashed. I was so irritated, I shut my computer down, and walked away.  I was pretty angry. I think I had loaded way to many photos. We do not go on vacation very often, so I think I just got a little excited. I spent awhile creating a bunch of collages, to help the process run a little smoother, and plus so many people have been sharing their vacation pictures, so it’s probably best that I scale it down a touch. The second time was last evening. It wasn’t that big of a deal this time, as I had only uploaded the pictures, and hadn’t put to much time into the actual text portion of it yet.  Nonetheless, it’s aggravating, and makes me want to punch my computer. After some searching I found WordPress’ old post editer, and I’m very hopeful this one will make it to being published. *

We started planning our  Oregon Coast vacation this year during spring break. We decided that if we really wanted to go, and not just talk about it, we needed to start planning and saving early. It’s not like it was almost 14 years ago, pre-kids, when we talked about it in bed one night, and got up and left the next morning! BUT, our trip was definitely worth the wait, and the going without to make it happen.
We got up, and left before the sun came up and headed towards Portland. We knew we didn’t want to make the entire trip to the coast in one day, so we planned to stop the night in Portland. We also started our trip with a very flexible mindset to our plans. This is a good thing because our plans got changed with our very first activity!  We wanted to take the boys to Multnomah Falls. It is AMAZING!  But as we drove down the narrow road it was immediately obvious that we would not be able to stop. There was NO parking anywhere. We were able to get a photo of one of the smaller falls, but not Multnomah. I was pretty disappointed, but there was a LONG line of cars behind us, and coming the other direction. Even it we would have parked, about 1/2 a mile away, our jackets were packed in the big suitcase on the bottom of our stack in the trunk. It was pretty chilly.   Soooo, no picture of  Multnomah Falls, but the boys were able to see it out the window.

(You can click on all of the pictures to make them larger, so you can see them better)

Driving:

Water Falls:

We came in at Lincoln City, and we had to stop. This was the first place I had ever seen the ocean. It is a special place for me, and now having it be the first place my boys saw and played in the ocean, just makes it even more precious to me! The weather was pretty good for the hour or two we spent playing and exploring the beach.

We stopped in Depot Bay on the way to Newport, to go to a book store that we went to during our honeymoon, but it was closed. We were able to recreate a photo that we took way back when we were younger, but this time Fred took the picture, not our camera on a rock with the timer set! And we weren’t wearing coats this time. 🙂


We stayed 3 days in Newport, and our hotel was right on Agate Beach. We were wondering where we were going to get directions to go see the dock that came in from Japan. After we put all our bags in our room, we headed down to the beach, and the Japanese dock was right there! We walked down to it everyday. It had a steady stream of people visiting it all day. It was cool the entire time we were there, 61 degrees, but the wind blew the whole time. We decided, who cares? We were on a beach vacation, so we acted like it. We dug wholes, made sand sculptures, and played in the water. We got lots of  stares, and quite a few people stopped, and watched us, or asking us what we were doing.  So, evidently it’s extremely rare for people to play on the beach  in Newport???

**End of Part 1…. to many pictures!  And I thought I cut out so many!

What to do When a New Baby Comes; A Tutorial

And of course I am talking about the kind of baby someone else has. Because I don’t really want anymore of the other kind!  My Brother and Sis-in-Law had a little baby boy on Thursday night, and it was a killer waiting the few hours to go home to see them!

Step one: Throw a bunch of stuff in a laundry basket, and call it packing.


Step two: Make a bunch of meals for the mamma to throw in her freezer, pick up the boys an hour early, so they still get credit for being in school, but you can still fool yourself into the idea that you’re getting a head-start.  Also you need to not take any pictures of this step.

Thumbnail for version as of 23:32, 9 March 2007

Step three: Drive 2 long and miserable hours while your kids play their DS’s (aka: the greatest invention in the world) Find out later that the 11 y/o kept his earbuds in pretending to listen to things, so I wouldn’t bother him. Nice.

Step three point five: Stop halfway for some nourishment. Tea and a fiber bar. Heck yeah. Continue driving at a safe speed, one that makes you think you’re a rebel for speeding, but also one that draws no negative attention your way. It also helps to have the radio on for the full 2 hours.  Up until a few years ago there were miles that there was no coverage. I am very thankful for our technology!

Step three point seventy five: Get ridiculously excited when you finally reach your exit, because you know there are only 30 more miles to go!

Step four: Wait with big sister for Momma, Dad, and Baby to get to Nana & Papa’s house. Little sister doesn’t seem to realize the severity of what is to come……

Step five: HOLD THAT BABY!!!  Even if Baby appears to have better things to do than hang out with Auntie.

Step six: Take eleventy thousand photos of the Wee One.

Step seven: Hang out with your own kids for a while, preferably at the Perrine Bridge on a beautiful 55* winter day.

Step eight:Take eleventy thousand more photos of the baby for the birth announcement.

Step nine: Miss your hubby whom you left at home with the dog, and rush home to him, thankful that you get to sleep all through the night because someone else just had a baby, and not you!