Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vintage Silverware

Eighteen years ago when Bryce and I got married we got a lovely silverware set that we've used consistently for every single meal we've had at home.  Which is pretty awesome.  However, somewhere along the way we've inexplicably lost pieces here and there.  So if we had a larger group over for dinner or we just plowed through silverware in a day, we might not have enough.

I'd had my eye on these vintage silverware sets for awhile and when I found a 20% off coupon and free shipping I decided to go for it.  I got a set of 8 place settings and I love them!  I think that the mix of all different patterns is charming and yet the monogram helps to bring some unity to the whole.  I also love that they came with soup spoons!

I love silver for it's beautiful and special glow and these silver plate utensils are no exception.  Quite simply they are just plain pretty.  They make a simple salad or a bowl of oatmeal just a little bit more special (I know that sounds crazy but they do.).

A few notes:

The care instructions with the utensils recommends not using the dishwasher for them but we totally do and have had no negative consequences.  However, we do use a soap that is gentler on our dishes.

The knives aren't awesome.  They are pretty dull and we had a knife or two that rusted at the joint.  Napa Style did replace them without any problem.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rainier Painting

As I've mentioned before we always try to get a book, an ornament and a piece of art (the art can take many forms!) when we go on a vacation.  My decorating philosophy- that sounds fancier than I mean it too- is to be surrounded by things we love and that have meaning to us.  While we were in Washington State this summer, we knew that we wanted to find a piece of art that represented Bryce's achievement of summitting Mt. Rainier.  However, there was never time to peruse any galleries or stores and so we came home knowing that we would have to look on the internet.

Originally, we thought we wanted a landscape of Rainier with the flower meadow in the foreground and we found some really lovely ones.  However, we kept coming back to the painting of Rainier with a city (village?) in the foreground.  Even though the foreground is clearly not Seattle, we loved that it represented our vacation in that we did make it to the city to explore.

The painting is not signed and we are under no delusions that it's some masterful piece of art but that doesn't matter as long as it speaks to us and we enjoy looking at it everyday!  The frame is a bit much for me, but for now it will have to do as frames are crazy expensive!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mt. Rainier...the Return Trip (part 3!)

Columbia Crest, 14,410 ft!

Okay, last post...I promise! 

That final push up to the rim of crater was grueling and those 20 minutes felt like an hour! Doing all my training for this adventure at sea level did not prepare me well for the thin air at 14,000+ feet and I was seriously sucking wind when we made it to the top of the rim and descended into the crater. Even gasping for air it was a wonderful feeling of success! Jack and I dropped our packs and exchanged some hearty congratulations! However, while making it into the crater is considered a successful summit, we could see across the crater to the true summit, Columbia Crest. 

It was then that Peter gave us the good news and the bad. The long traverse we took earlier in the morning to avoid that newly-opened cravasse put us way behind schedule. However, our little group was still about 30 minutes ahead of the other rope teams. So, he said that if hauled it across the crater and up the other side we would be able to make the true summit! The other guys, unfortunately, would not have that opportunity. Needless to say, we promptly started out for the other side of the crater and, upon making it up to Columbia Crest at 14,410 feet, Jack and I really could celebrate our success! Of course, we only had time for a few pictures and then we had to haul it back down and to the other side.      

Rainier crater as seen from Columbia Crest

Looking down into and around the crater from the summit was pretty interesting. As you can see, there was no snow on this side of the crater rim and, in fact, it was actually steaming! This old volcano is not exactly inactive (the USGS says it is merely at rest between eruptions). Upon making it back the the other rim of the crater, we met up with the rest of our group, roped up, and started the looooong trek down the mountain.

Looking down on Little Tahoma
All I can really say about the trip down is that it was long, really long...and tedious...and so terribly hard on my knees that I think I've selectively forgotten most of the half a day it took to get back to Paradise. I was actually a lot more concerned about falling on the trip down than I ever was on the way up! We did get a few really cool views on the way down, like this one looking at High Camp from just below the Cleaver. The size of those cravasses was absolutely stunning...and also rather shocking to see so near to camp!

High camp at Ingraham Flats...and some monster cravasses!
A great view here as well, looking across the Cowlitz glacier to Camp Muir and Mt. Adams looming in the distance, taken from just below the Cathedral Rocks.

Camp Muir from across the Cowlitz glacier
Aside: this is an image I'm pretty glad I didn't find until after I got back home (looks rather daunting to me). It shows the Disappointment Cleaver route to the summit from Camp Muir from a 2002. The routes are bit different every year but you get the general idea. Our route this year was quite a bit different than this from above the Cleaver but otherwise very similar.

We took a break for a while at Camp Muir; unroped, removed crampons, stowed ice axes and applied more sunscreen. It was very sunny and getting rather warm as we descended down Rainier. Stepping onto the Muir Snowfield in the mid-day sunshine was quite fine, but after about twenty minutes the snow had softened so much that every step became a slide, and after a while we were boot-skiing down the snow! That was a bit rough on the knees as well and we soon began taking advantage of every opportunity to glissade that we could find. Somehow, I didn't end up with a picture of even one of the many chutes that we rode, sometimes for 100+ feet. It was pretty fun, even with the slush that ended up everywhere.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the visitor center at Paradise and our trip was complete! We drove down to IGM HQ in Ashford, returned rental gear, claimed our certificates and, most importantly, signed the Summit Board that we had only gotten to look at last year! It was an amazing trip and an incredible accomplishment (at least for me)! I wonder what mountain Jack and I will set out to climb for our 50th birthdays!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Favorite Things #45

This past summer, when we ate at the top of the Space Needle, I ordered Dry Lavender Soda since it was local to the area and I love lavender.  It was surprisingly good, and I've kept my eye open for it ever since.  Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to find it and shipping costs were too high for me to consider ordering and shipping.  However, since I've been feeding Harris differently, I've also been shopping at new to me places where I made the happy discovery that Dry Soda was recently added to their stock list (it's a health food type store).  Hurrah!  

It's not an everyday type of soda for me (or even once a week), but it is a refreshing drink and would also be fun in cocktails.  It's not very sweet, but I really like the subtle flavor.  I've tried a few of the other flavors but lavender is by far my favorite.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Notes from the Garden

Monday night we had our first frost.  I'd already started the garden clean-up but now everything else will start to come out.

Here are some notes and observations from our first vegetable garden...

Don't plant too many SunGold tomatoes in your tomato enthusiasm.  These little guys were delicious but they literally over ran everything else.  They were prolific to say the least.

Next year, try a trellis for the cucumbers so they don't take up as much room.

Everything needs a little more room than I gave them.  For instance, our pole beans were overtaken by the tomatoes so they didn't produce much.

Only plant what our family likes to eat.  I just put in lots of garlic since it's an almost daily essential in our kitchen.

The carrots and Brandywine tomatoes were our absolute favorite.

Order the Dahlias early so that you get the variety you want early.  The Cafe au Lait is pretty high on my list.

Perhaps I don't need one million zinnias.  Or maybe I do.

The birds and bees that are drawn to the garden make it a happier place to be.

Leave space for asparagus.

I need a bigger garden....


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Halloween Tree and 2013 Ornaments

We've recently put up our beloved Halloween tree!  The tree is really filling up but we get so much joy from studying each ornament and remembering the year that Harris was a frog, Grace was the infamous chicken or when they were both furry, fluffy animals.  The making of the ornaments is truly a labor of love for my Mom and they are priceless to me.

We added last years ornaments that we have just now finished making!  My Mom made the Phillie Phanatic to match the costume she made for Harris last year.  He turned out darling.

I was a bit flummoxed as to how to make Grace's Coke can ornament as she originally used a trash can for her costume.  I decided on using a mini Coke can and added clothespin legs to the bottom and straw to the top.  I think it turned out cute.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Plz Take Pill (or Commence)

Every morning*, Harris has to take a PPI (protein pump inhibitor) pill to help reduce gastric acid that might be contributing to his EE.  He's been incredible about remembering to take the pill as soon as he wakes up.  However, the other morning he forgot, which really isn't the end of the world, and that night while tucking him into bed I found that he had made himself a reminder note and placed in on top of his alarm clock.  For some reason this note delighted me; it completely cracked me up that he included "please" on a note to himself!  (Note to self: work on spelling)

Two nights later, I noticed that the ante had been upped when Grace got into the mix and went all out for his reminder!  Needless to say he loves it!

*He only takes the PPI when a Scope is in the schedule

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