My First Typhoon Gave Me The Seattle Freeze And Didn’t Even Show Up.

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Last year, after we first arrived in the PNW, we thought we knew how to prepare for storms.

You know, make sure the dog is inside, close the windows, get the shoes and jackets out of the yard, make sure the car windows are shut all the way. The basics, but mostly for outside the house.

However, a year of losing power to the house, along with losing power to our well, changed how we viewed the inside of our home.

Like, the IKEA tea candles we’ve been using for the past 20 years to get by when it’s dark?

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Yeah. Those can’t illuminate through the black of night out here.

They also don’t last very long, so we upgraded to plumbers candles.

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These babies will last for hours and hours, and fit very nicely in mason jars.

Water? Yeah, since the well is electrically pumped, that means if the power goes out the water goes out. That impacts making coffee, doing laundry, doing dishes…and flushing toilets. So gallons and gallons of water are now stored in our garage. The recommended “72 hours of emergency water” is covered, probably threefold at this point.

Fortunately, our stove is propane so we can still cook, which is helpful.

But with 5 kids and no Wii or computers for days at a time, you need to be prepared for boredom…no, you need to be prepared for boredom. Because once that sets in, everyone is miserable.

So I filled a red chest I found at a garage sale with board games, cards, drawing supplies, toy dinosaurs, and whatever else I’ve found here and there. The nice thing about the chest is that it isn’t the kids’ normal toys: these only come out during Shabbat or power outages, so they aren’t overused and the kids still want to play with them.

Plus, since it gets so dark out here there is also flashlight hide and go seek, which is always a winner.

ANYWAY, we have been totally prepared for this #Stormpocalypse typhoon that was supposed to start hitting us last night. We cleaned the house so we wouldn’t trip over anything in the dark, we got our flashlights out, I put a flashlight in my bathrobe pocket just to be super ready. I made sure my phone and laptop were totally charged, and we ground all our coffee beans so we wouldn’t have to find the one cafe on the island that actually had a generator running, we made a grocery run the night before…and we were ready!!

AND THEN IT NEVER CAME.

Dude, that is the Seattle Freeze if I ever saw it. I waited all night with baited breath waiting for the first jet stream of winds to come tearing down into my forest, throwing branches onto our roof, scaring the daylights out of the cat…

And it just never happened!! We had a rainy night, but that was about it. Even now, the windstorm is supposed to be upon us like white on rice…and it’s just kinda breezy and overcast.

What the heck.

And the #Stormpocalypse that was supposed to land on us this weekend? The “storm that you tell your grandkids about”?

“Saturday will start calm with increasing rain and wind for the afternoon but especially for the evening. Right now computer models are coming more into agreement that this storm, although weakening, will take the path of a “classic” western Washington wind storm.”news link

NO #STORMPOCALYPSE??

Not even A LITTLE?!!

No plumbers candles?? No power outages?? No fetching water out of the garage to make pour-over coffees?? No getting board games out of the red chest, because the kids are happily plugging away at their work on the computers??

Well. I guess we’ll survive.

 

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Happy Little Tie Dye Mistakes

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“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Bob Ross

Sometimes when you tie dye, it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like. This is pretty much a given, if you only try this like, ever 10 years or something. You might forget the right bunching patterns, or you might not use enough dye (note: use WAY MORE DYE than you think is necessary). And then you’re left with a tie dye shirt that’s mostly white, and too ugly to get away with.

Do not despair, fellow crafter. This is not the end of your crafting career! You can easily redeem your slightly imperfect product!

So, we were trying a new technique with the dye by just squirting it onto the shirts without bunching them up. I don’t know if this’ll work…but we’ll find out!

Some of them turned out really well, but I wasn’t entirely happy with. Those ones were too washed out and not crisp enough.

Fortunately, I have some craft paint on hand (this in particular)…and I can just touch them up myself.

 

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So, we started by the usual soaking and binding…but this time instead of bunching up the whole shirt, we just drew on the wet shirt with a pencil, and made little bunches around the line.

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Then we poured the dye onto the shirt in the sink…for anyone concerned, the sink didn’t dye at all, so it was a pretty safe situation.

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The pumpkin there is after the touch up paint. It was too blurry with just the dye, and the fabric paint helped significantly. But then I thought, hey, how about a motivational word?? So that was fun 🙂

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You can write little words on the shoulder, or turn a failed dye job into a super-artsy flower.

Yay, art!

These are my favorites, and honestly I think they turned out really well!

 

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You Would Like To Have A Tie Dye Party, Wouldn’t You?

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“Tie-dyeing was especially popular with American youth who opposed theVietnamWar (1954–75), a controversial war in which the United States aided South Vietnam in its fight against atakeoverby Communist North Vietnam. During the late 1960s American young people rebelled against the conservative rules of dress and appearance that had influenced their parents’ generation, and many began to appreciate a movement that valued arts and crafts, simplicity, and traditional ways of making things. Tie-dye was a natural outgrowth of these values, combining personal creativity and bright designs to create low-cost clothing.” (link)

The history of dying fabric goes way, way back.

But the history of tie dye is still pretty recent.

And since I was raised in the 70s, by a couple of hippies…you can bet that my home had lots of hand-made potholders, homemade dresses and tie dye t-shirts

Sometimes, we take our childhood for granted.

We certainly don’t appreciate the freedom of climbing trees in our youth as much as we do when we are adults.

We also didn’t appreciate health insurance for broken bones as much, either.

When I was growing up, we were always outside. Granted, I lived on concrete in the middle of LosAngeles, but we were still outside! Chasing bugs, digging up my neighbors tulip bulbs (Sorry Vivian), swimming…and tie dye parties.

I honestly thought everyone had tie dye parties when they were growing up. They were just a part of life.

For me.

I am finding a lot of my friends have never had a tie dye party.

In their LIFE.

I don’t even know what to say. Other than the fact that I am now having tie dye parties… mostly with their kids. My friends won’t wear tie dye shirts.

I will though.

 

1. DIY Tie Dye Party

https://www.ilovetocreate.com/How-To-Throw-A-Funtastic-Tie-Dye-Party

You don’t need a lot for a tie dye party, but the things you do need are pretty crucial. The soda pre-wash is crucial for getting the colors nice and vibrant. Latex gloves are BEYOND CRUCIAL unless you want tie dye’d hands for the next few weeks.

2. Easy, All Materials Included, Fabulous Cored Tie Dye Kit

http://www.walmart.com

I’ve used this kit before, and it is really fantastic. One box includes everything you need, except the shirts, and the colors turn out really bright! We used 2 boxes, and made about 9 shirts out of what we had. And this includes two of the kids squirting each other with the dye, because: siblings.  #BathNight

3. Some Great Visual Examples Of How To Make Patterns

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2015/06/tie-dye-folding-techniques-16-vibrant-tie-dye-patterns-tiedyeyoursummer.html

I really need to see how something is done before I understand how it works. Call me “visual” call me “right-brained.” Call me incredibly resourceful, because I know where all the visual demonstrations are, at this point.

4. 100 Creative Tie Dye Patterns

http://www.favecrafts.com/Tie-Dye/Tie-Dye-Techniques-and-Patterns#Tee%20Shirt%20Tie%20Dye%20Patterns

Not everyone wants a gigantic swirly on their chest. Some people would like a heart, or a star! There are some neat patterns in here that will break the norm of tie dye habits.

5. All Natural, Vegetable Dyes

http://playfullearning.net/2013/06/all-natural-tie-dye-diy/

All righty, my fellow hippie friends. Not interested in paying The Man for pre-made, commercialized dyes filled with chemicals and alien technology? Try vegetable dyes…use the purple from boiled beets, or vibrant yellows from organic cayenne! Trust me, this will be a gentle experience for your sweet, hippie soul.

6. For The Seasoned Hippy: Watercolor Tie Dye Techniques, No Rubber Bands Required

http://tiedyeyoursummer.com/tech-watercolor.html

Okay, Bonus Round: Try using a brush with the dyes, instead of rubber bands.  I KNOW, RIGHT??!!

How To Survive National Noodle Day. With Celiac.

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It snuck up on me, as most gluten tends to do, and I just realized that it was National Noodle Day.

Don’t believe me…?

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BOOM.

National Noodle Day. (link)

Unfortunately, I can’t find a darn thing to support this momentous day. There isn’t, like, a proclamation by FDR saying how important noodles are to the American public, or the Queen of England insisting we respect the noodle for a very British reason, thus creating National Noodle Day.

National Noodle Day is plain, and bland and uninteresting on its own…

if only it was a little saucier…

#noodlepuns

The problem I have with this food day is my body’s insistence on having Celiac.

To which I say, “Bollocks!”

But, what’re ya gonna do.

Find edible gluten free noodles, that’s what you’re gonna do.

Making A Really Good Gluten Free Pasta Salad That You Would Feed To People Whom You Love…

…Is A Challenge.

Celiac is a challenge, in itself.

It typically takes a person about 5-10 years of debilitating symptoms, and countless sleepless nights being convinced you are dying from cancer of everything before they find out they have Celiac.

And once you eliminate a wide range of glutens from your diet, you feel so much better. No more breathless dinners, no more vigorous pains in your guts, no more fuzzy thinking…and no more sleepless nights worrying about cancer.

The only thing you have to worry about now is navigating through the dubious minefield of gluten free products.

For those of us who have been around the gluten free revolution for a while, we remember when gluten free breads tasted like soviet Russia energy bread: dense enough to withstand the harshest Russian winter, and tasteless as watered down cardboard. Bonus: with sunflower seeds (??)

Fortunately, we have come a long way since then.

We finally have noodles that will hold their shape even 1 hour after cooking them!

Heck, some of the noodles are even still edible the next day!! (not many. don’t experiment.)

So, what better way to celebrate the gluten free journey than by joining in on this momentous National Noodle Day!

 

 

Gluten Free Garden Pasta Salad

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What’chu Need, Baby You Know I Got It:

  • 1 box of Gluten Free Barilla brand rotelle pasta

(not getting paid for this, I just prefer Barilla gf pasta)

  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package of apple sausage, sliced
  • handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, dried basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

 

Here’s What You Do:

 

1) Boil Your Gluten Free Noodles!

Keep an eye on them for 8-9 minutes. These noodles can be tricky.  Don’t under-cook, but for heavens sake…don’t over-cook! They should be rather easy to cut with the edge of a spoon.

 

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I like rotele noodles because they’re fun, they have better surface area for the oil/vinegar,

and they’re easier to fork than penne. 

 

2)  While The Noodles Are Boiling, Cut Your Veg And Let Them Marinate For A Few Minutes:

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  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

First take your red onions and put them in the bowl with the parsley and grape tomatoes. Add a pinch of kosher salt and a fat grind of pepper, and then a few dashes of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Let these puppies marinate while you’re prepping the rest of the veg.

Slice the celery and bell pepper and set aside.

 

4) Now Slice Your Chicken Apple Sausage And Cook In A Pan For 5 Minutes:

 

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I usually find Applegate Chicken Apple sausage because it is kosher…my preference.

5) Combine Them All!

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Stir the bell pepper and celery into the marinated tomatoes and red onion.

Then lightly stir the noodles into the bowl with a large spoon, but be careful not to break the noodles. Add more olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a few pinches of kosher salt, ground pepper and a few dashes of basil.

Finally, spoon in the cooled sausage.

I also added some sliced parmesan on top for some added zest.

 

Enjoy Your Noodle Day!!

Finding Joy.

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This little girl is terrified of dogs.

She is so scared of dogs, she couldn’t even be in the same room with them.

I have comforted this little girl when she was standing on the couch screaming, because our older cocker spaniel walked through the room. She had never been bitten by a dog, and she had never seen someone be attacked by a dog. There was something very deep down in her soul that simply told her that dogs were a malevolent force in the world. She believed very sincerely that she was scared of dogs, and that was that.

Until she met Charlotte.

Charlotte is a funny story…I had just dropped some people off at a Bay Area airport at a blistering 6am, and beat the traffic home (which is weird to say, if you are from the Bay Area). So there I was, at an underripe 7am, sitting in my front room drinking coffee with Ben.

When suddenly…

a knock at the door. On a Tuesday. At 7am. Who on earth could this be??

It was a neighbor we had seen around, but never spoken to. In his arms he clumsily held a very young 8 week old puppy. He was very polite, but rather shy about asking the awkward question: “This puppy has been sitting on my lawn for the past 4 hours. Is it yours?”

Since we were the only ones in the neighborhood with a brood of children, it would be the logical assumption that it was our lost puppy. That would be my first guess, as well; but, alas, it was not our puppy. I had already promised Ben we would get no more pets, especially dogs (remember this for later).

I looked at the uncomfortable cradle this mad was holding the puppy, and realized that he was not familiar with puppies. The head was draped over his forearm in a crooked slant, and the legs were askew in his embrace. It looked lost and afraid, and being carried far, far away from his home.

I replied, “No, that isn’t our puppy.” Simple enough, “However, we do have a dog already so we have dog food on hand. I can take him for you, and we will find the owner.”

Our kind hearted neighbor gratefully handed the little bundle over to me, and we smiled and parted ways.

I turned around to see Ben standing behind me, half drunk coffee in hand, and asked:

YOU TOOK A PUPPY…?????”  

“It was the right thing to do, and you know it.” I replied, confidently. And marched right into the kitchen to refill my empty mug, since it was going to be a long day ahead of me, after this decision.

I will say that I am usually quite confident about the decisions I make in life, which I have always admired about myself.

Sometimes, for instance, I am sincerely confident that I made the right choice in a matter. I have thought the instance through, and I believe that, easy or hard, the decision I have made was the right one to make, for all involved.

And other times I am absolutely certain I just waded into a fast running current with no life vest and no back-up plan.

I won’t admit to which of these confident positions I stood with this matter, but that is really beside the point for this story anyway.

tl;dr – we found a perfect home for Charlotte 4 months later, and I am glad for the time we had with her.

The point of this story is not my lightly impulsive decision making skills when it comes to accepting lost baby animals into my home.

The point of this story is the look of joy on my daughter’s face when she held Charlotte.

There wasn’t an inkling of fear as she held that puppy. She refused to let her go, and doted on her day in and day out. She made sure the puppy had food and water, and brought her blankets for her nap. This was a breakthrough among breakthroughs…and I guess she just needed to find the right dog to break the ice.

Well, it’s been a good 2 years since we last saw Charlotte, but I have never forgotten the look of joy.

So, after lots of mildly obsessive research on dogs, I found the dog that would be perfect for us.

Meet St. Sebastian 🙂

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No one believes me, but Pomeranians are not yappy dogs…they are actually Icelandic herding dogs!

Despite its present diminutive size, the Pomeranian originally was used as a sheep-herding dog and was much larger than it is today, weighing up to 30 pounds.

Poms are also one of the best family dogs with intelligent, happy temperaments. They are easily trainable, and fantastic companions overall.

Poms are excellent watch dogs and home protectors. They are especially good with children and the elderly.

The purpose of Sebastian is to be able to tag along with us wherever we go…to the park, to the store, inside, outside, for walks for hikes and in the car. We don’t have to section off the entire trunk for this dog, he can fit easily into our cat carrier and sit with the kids in the back. He doesn’t eat much, he needs daily exercise but way less than a bigger dog. He is happy all the time…and we love him.

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
Mark Twain

We are having fun playing with him…

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And I found that look of joy for my children.

It is what every parent wants, more than all the gold in the world.