Monday, August 27, 2012

Joel and Jess's Epic Bike Ride

Joel and I decided to go on a bike ride Saturday afternoon to burn off some energy and get out in the sunshine. We left the house at about 4:00pm and headed to the Burke Gillman Trail. We decided to head west on the trail toward Seattle. We stopped for a water break at our usual turn-around spot, the Matthews Beach Park.

Ready to get started on our bike ride!

After sitting in the sunshine and enjoying ourselves, we decided to go a bit farther down the trail and see if we could ride all the way to Husky Stadium and the U-Village. I want to remind readers, that we live in Kenmore, so riding to Husky Stadium would mean a 13 mile bike ride one way. But we were game and eager to give it try. We got back on the Burke-Gillman Trail and continued toward our new goal. It didn't seem to take us very long at all to reach the stadium. We were so thrilled with ourselves that we decided to go just a bit farther.
It wasn't long before we found ourselves at the entrance to Gasworks Park! What! We had biked ourselves into the heart of Seattle! We figured at this point we should just keep going. Neither one of us had been to the Ballard Locks, so we decided now was just as good a time to visit this local favorite than any. So we kept riding. Yes. You are reading this correctly, we rode our bikes all the way from Kenmore to the Ballard Locks. We had a great time. We didn't spend too much time at the Ballard Locks, but we did get to watch a couple different boats go through the entire process of crossing the locks.

By this point we were starving, so we decided to get some food to give us the energy to bike all the way home. I guess in all our fun we forgot that we would have to bike all the way back home. We decided to just stop at the first place along the travel that caught our interest and we ended up here. The food was pretty good and the milkshake tasted so great! We figured we deserved a treat for riding our bikes so far, so why not!

After getting a bike to eat and talking ourselves out of finding a bus ride home, we painfully got back on our bikes and started on our journey home. I say painfully because four hours of riding on a bike seat starts to get a bit uncomfortable! We were only five minutes down the road when I started shivering from the cold. Dusk was setting in and I had not dressed to ride my bike at night. So we stopped at a Fred Meyer to buy a couple long sleeved shirts. Feeling much warmer, we got back on the trial for the long ride home. We made a quick stop at Gasworks Park to see the city at night before deciding we needed to get home before it got too dark.

Nine hours after we started our journey, and an hour of riding in pitch darkness, we finally arrived home. I have never been so thankful for lights on my bike until riding for an hour in the darkness of the Burke-Gillman Trail at night. I can't believe how many people were out riding on the trail at night in the dark without any lights. They would just all of a sudden appear and twice I thought I was going to crash with someone! I have never been so thankful to be home. I was so tired and it felt like my legs were still peddling, even though I knew I was laying on our front steps.

So tired, so thankful to be home!
I think we will make this ride again, although when we do, we will leave much earlier in the day! I am pretty proud of myself though, because I never got very sore. I thought for sure after such an extensive bike ride, without doing anything of the kind before, I would be sore. Must be a sign that all the effort I am putting in at the gym is working!
The stats from our bike ride. Joel tracks his rides using Endomondo - it is pretty cool!

Pizza Night at the Arnetts

My sister Jackie and her husband, Chris, like to invite us over for "Make Your Own Pizza Night" at their house every once in a while. These nights are so fun and when we get the call to come on over, we don't hesitate!

Jackie makes fresh pizza dough from scratch in her bread maker and rolls out individual sized pizzas for everyone. Then, each person gets to pick which sauce and toppings they want on their pizza. Jackie never cuts any covers and offers a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies and other yummy toppings. Once you have finished creating your masterpiece, the pizzas bake in the oven for 16 minutes. The pizzas come out with a perfectly crispy thin crust every time and I have yet to be disappointed.

Fresh pizza dough waiting for toppings!
All kinds of fresh toppings to pick from.
Joel was very serious about putting his toppings on his pizza while Jackie rolled out the next pizza.
Jackie's pizza is ready to eat!
Julie is loving her personal pizza pie.
I decided on BBQ sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken, mushrooms, black olives, and tomatoes. So yummy!
Joel was loving his pizza so much, he wouldn't stop eating so I could take a picture!
Even Jack got a special treat - carrot tops fresh from the garden! He was one happy bunny!
Make Your Own Pizza Night at the Arnett House is always fun and we look forward to each invite! And I promise not to be so excited about my own pizza to forget to take a picture of Chris and his pizza. Somehow I got a picture of everyone but Chris! I'm sorry Chris!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breakfast Crescent Ring

I decided to make Joel something yummy for breakfast on Saturday, so I decided to try out a new recipe I found on Pinterest. I started with this recipe for a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Ring posted on The Kitchen Life of Navy Wife. I decided to make a few changes to use items already in our fridge and to try out a new vegetarian sausage.

The Odell's Breakfast Crescent Ring (Everything you love about breakfast, in one bite!)

1 can crescent rolls
5 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
6 Morning Star Sausage patties
1 package simply potatoes shredded potatoes
1 package country gravy

Heat the oven to 375* degrees. Scramble eggs on the stove top. Start to cook the hash browns and the sausage patties according to package directions. Layout the crescents on a parchment lined pizza pan in a star formation (the longer sides of each crescent on the inside with the pointed ends pointing out).

Layer the ingredients in any order you prefer. I started with the cooked hash browns on the bottom, then a bit of cheese, then the sausage patties, then a bit more cheese, then the eggs, and then the rest of the cheese.

Fold the pointed tips of each crescent over the filling and join in the center of the ring. Press all the points in the center down to seal them together.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. While the ring is baking prepare the country gravy according to package directions. Slice in between each crescent to make eight individual pieces. Top each slice with a spoonful of the country gravy.

Here is how to lay out the crescent triangles. It was a bit tricky to figure this step out.

I have layered my potatoes, cheese, and sausage. Up next is egg and more cheese.

Now I am wrapping up the ring, making sure to cover most of the inside ingredients.

All wrapped and ready to bake!

It came out of the oven smelling so, so good! I couldn't wait to dig in!
Joel loved this new breakfast and spent of his meal thinking of new combinations he could create. A Mexican themed roll, a Mediterranean style roll, and the list went on and on... This would be great for large group breakfasts like Christmas or after a Bellingham Crew ReUnion Night. This is recipe we will be keeping around!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Abby Garden Tea Room

My mom, sisters and I have started a new tradition with my Grandma when she comes to visit us each summer. We love to visit The Abbey Garden Tea Room in Fairhaven for tea. Established in 1998, Abbey's is a wonderful place to go for tea, tea sandwiches, and delicious desserts. They have expanded their location to include painting your own pottery. There are all kinds of item to pick from, including dishes, picture frames, garden statues, figurines and piggy banks. Once you have finished painting your master piece they will fire and glaze the pottery for you. I have always wanted to meet a friend there to drink tea while we chat and paint some piece of pottery.

Me, Aunt Karen, Grandma, Julie, Mom and Jackie - Ready to enjoy some tea together!
You have several choices for tea including High tea, Afternoon tea, Abbey tea, Gentleman's tea, Savory tea, Cream tea, or Lil' tea. Of course you can always create your own combination of goodies by selecting them from the menu, but we always order the High tea. High tea lets you select your own pot of tea, raspberry or lemon sorbet, three tea sandwiches, sausage roll, quiche or pasty, a plate of fresh fruit and your pick of dessert. I decided to order a green citrus tea, lemon sorbet, a smoked salmon sandwich, an egg salad sandwich and a chicken curry sandwich, the pasty, and the lemon tart for dessert.

Everyone is served their choice of tea in their own little tea pot. I loved the cup and platters.
My sisters and I traded until we all had the perfect cup and saucer.
I love lemon sorbet, and Abbey's has wonderful lemon sorbet!
My three tea sandwiches - I think the smoked salmon was my favorite, but they were all so good.
I decided on the Cheese and Onion Pasty which has cheddar cheese, goat cheese, potatoes,
 turnips, and onions in a flaky pastry. It was very, very good!
The fruit plate was so cute and tasted so good!
I love, love, love lemon tart! I could help but say "mmmmmhhhhh"
while I ate this one! Everyone wanted a bite!
It is so much fun to sit around the table, drink tea out of beautiful china cups, and catch up with the wonderful women I am blessed to have in my family. My Grandma is such a wonderful, fun, and interesting woman who always has something clever to say. We spent most of afternoon questioning things around us that we think we know about, but then realise we really don't. For example, my Grandma asked us why it was called Mt. Baker and what was the significance of a Fleur-de-lis. I had no idea. "Well, don't you have one of those smart phones, look it up!" she would say!

Grandma, Julie, Jackie, Mom and Aunt Karen ready for tea!
Me, Grandma, Julie, Jackie and Mom - pinkies up ladies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mariners Game

Joel and I were lucky enough to win tickets to the Mariners game on August 21st from my office raffle. Each season my company will raffle off extra tickets to the company seats and this week, I was the lucky winner of two tickets. The company seats are AMAZING; thirteen rows up from the guest dugout on the third base line. These seats make you feel like you are in the middle of the game!

Just last Saturday, Joel and I were at the Sounders game against the Vancouver White Caps, and you wouldn't believe who threw the first pitch in the Mariners game: Fredy Montero! Fredy is a forward for the Sounders and it was fun to see him again.
Fredy Montero shows his support of Felix with his yellow shirt after he threw the first pitch.
Because this was the first game for Felix Hernandez to pitch after his Perfect Game, fans were given yellow KING Felix t-shirts and signs as we entered the stadium. I was so excited - I love free stuff! The crowd was a sea of yellow in a nearly sold-out stadium! It was a lot of fun to be there for this game. 
I'm very excited about my yellow t-shirt and King Felix sign!
And the Mariners take the field!
I love when the sweepers do a dance! I cheer so loud for them!
Joel and I in our King Felix t-shirts.
Joel liked to wave both the signs when the game got exciting.
The Mariners won 5 to 1 against the Cleveland Indians. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Mariners scored four of their five runs and I am sure we spent the whole inning on our feet, cheering until our throats were sore. I love watching the Mariners play and it is great to see the fans out in full support of our team. I can't wait to see them play again soon!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grandma & Grandpa's Visit

My Grandpa and Grandma have come to visit nearly every summer I can remember. They live just outside of Washington DC and would come to stay with us during the summer vacation from school all throughout my childhood. My sisters and I always looked forward to these visits because it meant day trips, overnight visits to their hotel, and stories told to us by Grandpa.

Julie with Kitty Boy, Grandpa, Jackie, Grandma,
 Jaisha, Me and Taffy Dog
When we were much younger, they would stay at a hotel in Bellingham, about 30 minutes south of my hometown of Lynden, and take turns bringing two of us girls back to their hotel each night for a sleep over. Jaisha and I always went together and Jackie and Julie always paired up. We would pack up our little over night bags and watch the clock until it was finally time to leave for the hotel. Once we arrived, we would claim our side of the bed, put on our pj's and beg Grandma and Grandpa to play a round or two of 7-Up with us. My family has always been card players, and 7-Up was a game we always played with Grandma and Grandpa. In the mornings we would be treated to breakfast at Denny's and then it was time for swimming in the pool. This was our favorite part. We could spend hours diving under the surface, jumping into Grandpa arms or playing make-believe mermaid games. Grandma would sit in the shade, read a book, and never failed to watch when we were about to make the perfect jump into the pool. After a bit we would dry off and head home to spend the day with the rest of family, where the other two girls were eagerly awaiting their hotel sleepover.  

Mom, Grandma, Dad, Julie, Jaisha, Jackie,
Me and Grandpa on a day trip to Victoria, BC

This year, Grandpa and Grandma got to meet Kaleb, their first great-grandchild. Kaleb is now 18 months old and so fun! He loves to get his hands dirty, explore the yard, and play with you. He loved Grandma's cane and would walk around with it tapping the end on the floor, like it was his. Grandma and Grandpa went with Kaleb and Jaisha to see the Bellingham Railway Museum where Kaleb was fascinated by all the model trains.

Jackie, Me and Julie having fun in the pool back in the day.
Joel and I headed up to Lynden over the weekend of their visit to spend some time together and see them before they headed back home. The Birch Bay crabbing season recently opened, so on Sunday the boys (Dad, Chris, and Joel) woke up early to take the boat out and check the pots. It was the first time Joel had been crabbing with my dad (a shock to me! How could we have been together this long and Joel has not been crabbing?!). They were successful and brought back plenty of crab for dinner! The girls (Jackie, Julie, Mom, Grandma and Me) went into Fairhaven to the Abby Garden Tea Room, where we were joined by my Aunt Karen for afternoon tea. We started this tradition several years ago with my grandma and she always asks to go again when they visit.

Grandma, Me, Joel, and Grandpa
I am so lucky to have been able to spend so much time with my grandparents considering they live on the other side of the country. Growing up, my mom's parents lived just down the road, and would visit frequently. But when my dad's parents would visit, we knew it was a special time!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Backyard Visitor - Peacock Babies!

I came home from work and was relaxing on the couch when Julie said, "There are peacock babies in the back yard!" I thought she was nuts, but I looked out the window anyway, and sure enough, there were two peacock babies in my back yard. I am guessing they are actually closer to being "teenage" peacocks, but I decided I wanted to call them babies.

Correction: These are actually full grown Quail. After several people pointed out my mistake, I googled the two birds and yes, I was clearly mistaken. Baby peacocks look nothing like full grown Quail. Oh well. I stand corrected. Still very cool, though!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Company Event: Sounders Game

This summer, my company decided to treat all employees to an afternoon at a Sounders game. I was involved in the preperation and planning for the event, so I was excited for the actual day to come and to see all our hard work pay off.

The day started with a hosted tailgate in a private loft space prior to the game. We had lots of great food and beverages for guests to enjoy before we headed to our seats for the game. Unfortunailty our group was so large we had to split up, but everyone still had a great time. We cheered and booed, and watched the excitement from great seats. The weather was warm but not too hot, perfect for an afternoon at the game. To our great enjoyemnt the Sonders won, 2 to 1 against the Vancouver White Caps.
Joel and I in our Sounders gear.
Me, Sarah, and Audrey
Final Score - Sounders Win!

It was a lot of fun to see co-workers outside the office and spend some time getting to know them. Joel particularly enjoyed the nachos and winning the game. Joel and I had been to one Sounders game before and we found ourselves sitting the South Stands where all the die-hard fans sit. Although your food and non-alcholic beverages are included in your ticket price (which was cool), we did have to jump around and yell out cheers the entire game. It was a great work out and since I had no idea what we were supposed to shout, I just created my own cheers.

I would highly recomend attneding a Sounders game. The excitment in the air is contagious and the action is non-stop. Go Sounders!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Boka Resturant & Bar : Resturant Review

At my office, our department celebrates birthdays by going out to eat breakfast together. It is an excuse to get out of the office together and catch up with one another. Breakfast seems to be the only time that we can get nine different schedules to match up, which is perfect for me because breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out.

For the month of August, we were celebrating two birthdays (my own, and another administrative assistant's) and we decided to visit Boka Restaurant and Bar on First Avenue between Marion and Spring Streets. I was the first arrive that morning and was quickly seated with coffee. I enjoyed people watching out the large windows until the rest of the team arrived.

It was hard to pick one thing from their breakfast menu, but I finally settled on the Morning BELT, which is scrambled egg, lettuce, and tomato on a Columbia City potato roll with a choice of meat. I decided to be a bit more healthy this morning, and ordered the BELT with scrambled egg whites and the vegetarian sausage. I have not one regret about my order; it was delicious!

the Morning BELT - so tasty!
Because we were celebrating two birthdays, we picked two desert items to share among the table. After much consideration, I decided to order the Nectarine Sorbe Bombe. Once again, it was amazing. The Nectarine Sorbe Bombe is a nectarine sorbet and yogurt mousse with a black currant-mint sauce and a bruleed nectarine. The flavors were explosive in my mouth and I savored every bite. It was good thing I ordered a healthier version of my BELT because everyone was so full from their breakfast that I ate the whole dessert by myself. It was my birthday and I was going to indulge!

the Nectarine Sorbe Bombe - Amazing!
I was disappointment by the amount of time we had to wait for our food to arrive though. We had called ahead for reservations, notifying the restaurant staff we had to back to our office by 9:00am for meetings. The service was so slow, that a few people had to leave before the check arrived. The waitress stated the delay was due to the large size of our group. But isn't that why you make reservations and notify the staff ahead of time of your needs, so they can be adequately prepared for your arrival? Boka might not be the best place for a large group, but I would return with a smaller group. It is hard to find good breakfast restaurants in the downtown Seattle area, so I will keep Boka on my list of places to return to.

Do you have a recommendation for breakfast in the City?