Monday, February 28, 2011

Fashion Show

What beautiful weather we have had!
I have mentioned probably a dozen times about how thankful I am that we have a fellow adopting family that gives AA hand me down clothes from their daughter. We receive slacks, shorts, tops, shoes, pajama, all sorts of wonderful clothes, all one or two sizes larger than what AA currently wears. Since I do not need to take AA shopping very much, I do occasionally look at dresses and took a peak at a recent trip to Target.
Oh my..... I had to have a few new ones for this spring and summer. She has outgrown all the 2T's so had fun buying the dresses (bought 4T's so they are a little large) and then having the "fashion" show for her Daddy.

AA selected this dress:
I had to have this one - more pink! (yes, we have cut off the tags....)

Can you tell AA has had enough of the photo session?

Proof of the warm weather - Daddy had a few minutes to relax in the sun!

We are loving the warm weather! The last two weeks in February have been DIVINE!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Market Shopping

We went to one of our favorite "newly" discovered markets again; hadn't been there since before Christmas. The craftsmen were not there, only the farmers. We will need to look on the website to see when the full market is back this spring (just looked - Grand opening day is March 5th).
We enjoy buying the fresh local produce but hesitated just long enough to see the fresh water grown lettuce sell out.
Walking to the market from the parking lot:
We were a little cool in the shade so shared a hot tea:

Selecting some vegetables while Daddy sneaked around with the camera:

After leaving the market, we thought we would stop at a river park, but it was way too crowded, everyone else having the same idea to get out in the wonderful sunshine. While driving, we were stopped by a draw bridge:

Patiently waiting:
We went to Stockton Park instead which does not have much for kids, only one swing set. So we strolled and ran to get in some outdoor sunshine:

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Self-Portraits in Stockton Park

We were out and about having fun on a beautiful "winter" day and stopped at a park (we have stopped here before, in Old Ortega, named Stockton) to stretch little ones legs (and mine). I had read on a few blog posts lately about taking self-portraits so asked hubby to stop for a minute and take a picture of all three of us. Too funny... these were the best ones we got (better of us than AA! but we have TONS of pictures of her!), you don't need to see the ones that showed off our chin and neck rolls or up our noses! We had fun!

Friday, February 25, 2011

St Johns River Rapid Rise Yeast

I enjoy telling stories on myself. I'm especially fond of the ones that openly reveal just how little I know, such as the time years ago I went to town to buy pickle seeds. Seriously, you can't make these things up but if I can't laugh at myself I'd be miserable worrying about others having that laugh without me :)

I was reading an article on artisan bread the other day and it got me to thinking about "starter" dough. I hadn't used a starter dough nor did I have any. In fact, I wasn't quite certain how exactly to make it. My bread making formula had been pretty simple; flour, water, salt and store bought yeast. Let it sit and bubble. Sit and bubble some more. And some more. Then make a couple of quick folds, drop it in the pre-heated dutch oven and wait for that beautiful smell to fill the house. I love the smell of bread baking. I think I love it more than the near ever present smell of Nag Champa. That should date me.

Anyway, back to the bread. So I'm reading this article on making your own starter dough and they mention that it's very simple. 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water. Mix. Pour in a glass jar with a wide mouth. Place in a fairly warm corner somewhere and wait for the magic bubbling to begin. Pour out half each day and replace with a new 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water mix. The magic could take a couple of days or better than an week. The yeast would be the same as the yeast the pioneers used. Natural and organic yeast floating in the air. Like in your kitchen and mine. It seems Grandma and all those before her didn't always have a Publix or Winn Dixie just down the road selling nifty little packets of yeast. My brain engaged. So that's why you never see San Francisco Sour Dough Yeast packets for sale. Darn, we could move there and I could be getting the stuff free. As far as I know there isn't anyone bottling and selling San Francisco Rapid Rise Yeast Air.

I was hooked. I've started my own starter. I can hardly wait to bake my first loaf with it. San Francisco may need to start worrying. I'm already thinking we may need to start developing a marketing plan. What unique flavor will my St Johns River Rapid Rise Yeast bring to the palette of bread connoisseurs around the world? This could be big. On second thought. I really hope it doesn't contain a subtle hint of mullet.

Maybe I should plan on the first tasting being a somewhat private experience.
I'll let you know...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunday - Relaxing with Cousin

Cousin CR was here for last weekend visit; AA would not leave her alone! CR took AA out for a walk to the end of the dock and they both came back talking about catching "One Fish, Two Fish". Then proceeded to read the Dr. Seuss book. So much fun! We got to relax, as AA had to be with cousin all the time (poor Carolyn!).

We posted a while ago about our kitchen mini renovation; didn't mention that we had to replace TONS of concrete due to severe cracking. All was made right and fresh concrete now in place.

The two cousins chatting in the winter sunshine:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Daily Dose of AA - Mirror - Black and White

I sat AA up on the bathroom counter facing the mirror while I made her hair into pigtails; thought of my daily dose of AA, which sometimes I do not get due to my work hours. I "yelled" to sweet dear Hubby to get the camera; so these were taken by him.
Hope you have much joy in your lives as we have! Isn't parenthood the happiest purpose we have in life? See more Black and White Wednesday photos at A Long Road to China.
The many faces of AA:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We love lobster anytime, especially in Maine! We ate lobster rolls which are so easy to enjoy. We did have whole fresh lobster once; it is messy to eat but oh so yummy! Lots of melted butter and plenty of paper towels; almost like eating southern BBQ - very messy!

Just waiting to dig in!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daddy and his Littlest Girl

I took a few pictures of Daddy with his little daughter. The first two photos are different poses, look very similar. I had to ask AA to put her arm down and then the magic was broken. You know the feeling and mood.... it changes, AA focuses back on reality and that she is having her picture taken. I should just keep my mouth shut!

We have had warm winter weather for over a week, now, just waiting for the next arctic blast to move into our area! Enjoy your winter!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Would Settle For That

Often times when puttering about in the kitchen I will think back to my mother and grandmother's cooking. It brings both a smile and a touch of sadness. While I have a vivid recollection of Grandma Murphy's giant yeast rolls and my mother's blackberry cobbler what I don't have is a recollection of my ever cooking with them, watching and learning how they did what they did so well. Flavors and tastes I selfishly enjoyed and more selfishly took for granted are forever lost. I do not have any of their recipes. No scribbling of notes that called for a dash of this and a pinch of that. No turned downed pages of a cookbook that signified a keeper recipe. Lost are the recipes carried only in their hearts and hands.
How did Grandma make her chicken and dumplings? Her morning biscuits with sorghum molasses? How did mom prepare her fried chicken and gravy? And how did she ever make green vegetables appealing to an 8 year old that only wanted mashed potatoes and corn on the cob?

All of which got me to thinking. It's not enough to simply share recipes, particularly family recipes. What I need to do is set aside time to "cook" with my kids. Each one. Beginning by asking what recipe(s) of mine they would like to make (hopefully they have at least one :) and then standing side by side to prepare and enjoy our culinary labors. And in turn, they can share and teach me. We'll share our scribbled notes and dogeared pages from favorite recipe books. We'll write down recipes we make but have stored only in our hearts and hands. And I'm sure we'll share a dark beer or a full bodied red while we're at it :)

Thank you Grandma Murphy. Thank you Mom. How I wish I could stand in your kitchens and watch and learn. Sit at your tables just one more time. And while I'm wishing, how I wish I could cook half as well as either of you. Just half.
I would settle for that...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chinese New Year - Maine February 5th

I am behind with my posting of our fun times in Maine. We attended the Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, February 5th. It was a cold, but sunny day and a bit crowded for us. The gymnasium was used for the crafts and vendors but no place to sit down or place all the coats and winter clothes one must wear. In the general space near the entrance were lots of picnic style tables that were crowded with people jockeying for space to sit along with the two food vendors. The auditorium had the children performances, all done very well, and packed full of proud parents.
This event was much better than ours in Florida in one way, Chinese families organizing with adoption families. Our celebration in Florida is for FCC members and guests. It is missing the local Chinese community and thus the "real" Chinese culture. We really enjoyed seeing and hearing Chinese spoken freely at the Maine event.
Before leaving the house - this is the largest and thus last dress we purchased while in China that AA will be wearing. We did buy one in Chinatown in Boston last October for the Florida event.

Enjoying watching the Chinese performers and Chinese children in the Auditorium with Nana:

Friend Deb G. on stage with Claire:
Many crafts: face painting, your name in Chinese symbols/calligraphy, rabbit crafts, etc.
My sister Melissa with Amy Dudar (and Vivian with head turned, another one who is shy about pictures like AA!):

Kaiden practicing the Chinese yo-yo (I need to find the correct name for this toy):
Family: Brother-In-Law George, my niece Jamie with her daughter (my grand-niece) Kimberlee:
The "kids": Andrew, Kaiden, Brandon, Britney, AA:

Chinese family writing calligraphy names:
Sister Melissa ("Aunti-M") with AA and Kimberlee:
All the crafts!
Happy New Year!