Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Oktoberfest 2009

We hosted our annual Oktoberfest (unofficially, I think this is our 18th or 19th year)

Seattle had a rare sunny October day, so we were able to host the party in our backyard.

Main features were - of course - brats, sauerkrauts, curry ketchup, sweet mustard & spaetzel.

Thanks to everyone who brought more awesome stuff!
- Gracie/Carl for the red cabbage salad
- Don McQuinn for homemade bread
- Desiree for the German cake
- Todd for the Bavarian hat & cowbell

Oh, and lots of lots of beer - ein prosit!

Puyallup Fair 2009

Baby Crumpets & her buds Lily (and Braden) had fun at the Puyallup Fair - a big regional state fair just south of Seattle that takes place every year in September.

What could go wrong with cotton candy, turkey leg, caramel apples & balloon unicorn?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yellowstone - Animals

Yellowstone National Park is so big I'm breaking up the posts in parts - this one features the animals.

Bison was everything.

Within minutes of our arrival, in the middle of setting up our tent, a family of bisons calmly walked by yards away (3rd photo) (momma bison, dad, 2 kids + 1 teenager). Setting the tone for the rest of the trip when we'd see bison pretty much all day, everyday. From a lone bison at the side of the road to herds of hundreds in the beautiful Hayden Valley (first photo)

We were lucky to see 3 bears. At least one was a black bear. All 3 were far away so while we could see them clearly through the binoculars we couldn't see clearly enough to figure out the type.

Other sightings included plenty of elk, pronghorn sheep, bald eagles and a giant river otter (Adrian is now scared to go into a river)

We searched in vein to spot wolves & moose.

Coolest thing we saw were herds of bison crossing a river (4th photo)

Yellowstone - Geothermal features

Yellowstone National Park is so big I'm breaking down the post into parts - this is about the geothermal features.

Yellowstone sits on top of a Caldera - which is a fancy word for ''big ass volcano that can blow at any time''

This underground volcano mixes with water and fissures in the ground to create all kinds of fun stuff.

The most famous are the ''geyers'', but there are thousands of them, more than just Old Faithful. As you drive/walk around the park the geyers are all over the place.

My favorite were the ''mud pots'' and ''hot springs''. Often deep holes with brilliant aquamarine or turqouis colors caused by bacteria interacting with minerals, these hot springs are just beautiful.

One of our favorite place was ''Minerva's Steps'' (2nd photo down) as minerals washing down the mountains created a beautiful cascading effect.

Another favorite was ''Roaring Mountain'' as heat escaping from air vents inside a mountain caused the entire area to ''roar''.

We went swimming in Madison River and it was warm to the touch due to the volcanic activities.

Pony Day

Princess Mia enjoys her day with the ponies

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A tea party for princess

Baby Crumpet & her BFF Lily enjoy a nice tea time with Fone Bone.

Tea Party - Book Club

Our book club celebrated our latest read with a garden tea party.

Everyone came with their ''Sunday racing'' best. The wonderful dresses & costumes were matched by the great menu - homemade tea sandwiches, scones + clotted cream, tea & Harrod's marmalades/lemon curds.

The book was Michael Ondaatje's family memoir RUNNING IN THE FAMILY.

The book chronicles Ondaatje's Dutch heritage during Ceylon's early 1900s. The book is full of humor and vivid images - highly recommended.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


When our beloved Truffles went to kitty heaven, we decided to get a new cat. Specifically a young male (so he'd both get along with Rosemary + get used to Mia)

After stopping by several animal rescue places without success, we finally went to the place with Don McQuinn's granddaughter works & she hooked us up with a funnest cat I've met - a white cat with black spots that we immediately named Chowder.

Chowder & Mia became best mates instantly. They play together all day. Chowder sleeps with Mia & Mia enjoys grabbing Chowder under the arm pits & carry him around the house (whether Chowder actually enjoys it is highly unlikely).

Mia has also successfully (no, really) trained Chowder to be on a leash. We tied the leash to the extension cords so he has a wide range. In fact as I'm typing this Chowder is off in the backyard chasing bugs while tied to the cords.

Rosemary was initially, er, very cool - ok - hostile to Chowder. But after a few weeks she has definitely grown to at least accept Chowder, and we've even occasionally seen the two playing together. I guess giving hold Rosey a young male to play with was the right thing to do.

We love Chowder & welcome him to our family.

The Butter Lion

Following a recipe from grandma, Baby Crumpet makes a Lion from Butter.

While the kids hunted easter eggs, the grown-ups ate.
The menu:
- Grilled leg of lamb (with sage & rosemary)
- Tuscan white bean soup with kale
- Mashed Desiree potatoes
- Red lettuce salad with chesnut & shallots-viniagrette
- Sauteed Jerusalem artichokes, leeks & asparagus

Grown-ups at the party: Gracie, Carl, Braden, Tiffany, Jim, Jenni, Angie, Kim, Blane
- Adrian made cherry & guinness breads
- Butter Lion

Easter Egg Hunt 2009

Baby Crumpet hosted our first ever Easter Egg Hunt

Sharing the fun were her friends Kai, Nathan, Madeline, Dante, Issac & Lily.

Not sure what was more fun - coloring the eggs or finding them!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dog Show

Baby Crumpet took us to the annual Seattle Dog Show with Don McQuinn.

Always one of our favorite events, the real dog show is every bit as fun & goofy as the movie Best in Show - down to the frantic back area where trainers groom their pets & the nervous looking handlers.

Visits with Dante, Carl & Gracie

Upper photo - Baby Crumpet visiting her friend & neighbor Dante with some appropriate silliness during breakfast.

Bottom photo - Baby Crumpet entertains guests Carl & Gracie as they come over for dinner

New bike!

Baby Crumpet very excited to check out her new ''hello kitty'' bike that we picked up for $5 at a Church sale.

The Big Easy 2009

Baby Crumpet took us with Gracie, Kate, John, Kerry & Sean to New Orleans for St. Patrick's Day.

Photo album here on Facebook.

We did it all! Audobon Zoo. Crawfish at French Market Cafe. Oysters at Acme. Beignets at Cafe du Monde. Pimm's Cup at Napoleon House. Muffalettas at Central Grocery. Dinner at Jacque-mos. Po'boys at Johnnys. St Patricks Day Parade. Charles Street Car. Pies at Camelias' Grill.

I know I left a lot out - but pretty sure we had 13 meals in 2 1/2 days. The group is already planning our next visit.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mardi Gras 2009

Mardi Gras 2009 was a resounding success.

Thanks to Ewan, Leya & Leo for the pear tart.

Gracie for the bread pudding & bourbon whipped cream and beads

Don & Carol McQuinn for the homemade pralines

Braden & Lily for the French wine

We made:
- Gumbo with chicken & bacon
- Jambalaya with andouille & smoked ham
- Crab & shrimp bisque
- Roasted garlic dip

Aaron Neville, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone & Armand were among the soundtracks

Gracie & I proudly wore out Tabasco shirts

Next - a trip to New Orleans on the 11th!

New videos from birthday party 3.0 & Mardi Gras

(Mia, Lily & Leo at the Mardi Gras party)

(Video 1 from Mia's 3 years old birthday party with Lily, Nathan, Leo, Kai & Dante)

(Video 2 from the birthday bash)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Crumpet 3.0

Mia's 3 years old birthday party!

We made Asian food since Lunar New Year was 2 days later.
Yakisoba with prawns
Singaporean curry with chicken
Ma Po Tofu with pork
Thai jasmine rice

Gracie & Adrian made cupcakes

I had special Jones Soda made up with a photo of Mia & Adrian on the bottle at My Jones Soda.

Thanks to everyone for coming!
Ewan, Leya, Leo, Jenn, Lily, Gracie, John, Cathy, Maya, Jenni, Jim, Nathan, Kim, Dante, Angie & Kai.

Somehow we survied the party without any major mishap, although we did lose Leo inside the fireplace for awhile (not like there was a fire or anything)

Mia had a FANTASTIC time.

Info dump - 2009 so far

The photo here was actually taken late last year & it came from a sleep test. Basically, they stick little nodes all over your body, stick tubes up your nose, then measure things like toe movements & heart rate while you sleep. The conclusion was I have very severe sleep apnea (I knew that already, but wanted a medical solution) so I now sleep with one of those sleep machines where tubes force air into my pipes. Quite fun really. I call it my darth vader mask.

First week of January went to Tokyo for a week. Hijinks ensue. Highlight was visiting Kiddy World in Harajuku - it's this 5 stories + basement behemonth retail store full of Hello Kitty stuff. Shopped like mad for Mia.

Quick trip down to San Diego & LA. Had dinner with cousins Lisa & Jeremy at El Bizcocho. Superb 7-course tasting menu paired with wine; but the highlight was definitely the dessert - an ice cream made from scratch at tableside! In a big silver bowl the waiter mixed guava juices, malibu rum, grand marnier & liquid nitrogen, mix & serve with freeze dried marshmellow. Wow.

Quick trip down to Portland, OR. Lots of great meals & good friends. Cocktail party at Brett Warnock who made margaritas with jalapeno peppers; dinners at La Calaca Comelona with Martens, Thea & Christine; pastrami at Kenny & Zukes; karaoke at The Ambassador with Jeremy; organic wild boar ribs at BBQ joint owned by Koreans with Rich. Only letdown was the Potato Champ was closed so I didn't get my poutine fix.

Attended NY Comic Con. 4 days of craziness ensue as I spend time with 77,000 of my close friends dressed as Chewbacca. Had an aswesome time. Evening highlights included bulgogi & norebang in K-town with Juyoun, Kurt & Tania; dinner at Sorella with Bernadette, Gretchen & their crazy clients; NY Noodle Town with Katherine & Nathan. Again, only snag was could not get to Joe's Shanghai (actually tried but line was too long)