Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More visitors!

J.'s parents came to visit on September 16th and I have been going non-stop ever since!  We had a great time showing them around our new home state.  They'd never been to the Pacific Northwest so we tried to give them a little taste of all the different areas around us.

They got in around dinner on Thursday night.  J. made bacon wrapped scallops and asparagus and then we played Scattergories.  It is such a fun game!  I'm glad we had a few games around the house, because we ended up having game night every night!

Friday, J. only had one event so his parents and I drove up to base and met him afterwards.  We got a tour of the squadron and his new jet, the Growler.  We've lived here since the end of May and I hadn't been to the base yet ... whoops!

J. and his parents in front of the Growler

Me and J.

After we saw the Growler, we headed to Deception Pass State Park.  We walked across the bridge and walked under the bridge to see the view.  

The coastline from the bridge ...

Deception Pass

Underneath the bridge

J., his parents and the bridge

We left Deception Pass and headed to Sharpe Park in Anacortes.  We hiked out to Sares Head and had an amazing view.  We got very lucky with the weather that afternoon ... it wasn't great but it was clear enough that the view was still good.  

The sign for Sharpe Park ... I love the dragonfly on the side! 

Looking towards the San Juan Islands ...

The sun setting ... it was beautiful! 

From there, we headed to Capsante Point in Anacortes, which overlooks the marina and downtown.  I'd never been there before ... it's not quite the same as Sares Head, but it was a great view nonetheless.  

J. and his dad, looking towards the San Juan Islands

The marina and downtown Anacortes

The Shell Oil Refinery ... while I am in no way advocating for refineries, it looks kind of cool at night when it's all lit up.

Once we were done admiring the landscape, we headed to downtown Anacortes and had dinner at Village Pizza.  I must say, I was not really in the pizza mood, but I ended up being so glad we went to Village Pizza.  The pizza was fantastic, happy hour was still going on so our drinks were cheaper, and the inside was decorated in old Anacortes pictures.  It was a great little dinner spot.  

After Village Pizza, we headed home and had a good round of Scrabble :)  

Saturday, we headed back up to Anacortes and took the ferry to Orcas Island.  We had gotten Groupons for whale watching earlier in the summer and it was finally our weekend!  The weather was looking a little rough on our ferry ride over to Orcas ... as in, we could barely see the water on either side of the boat because it was so foggy.  But, the weather cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful day.  There are three different pods of whales that live in the waters off the San Juan Islands.  Researchers have been studying them for over 20 years and they've named most of them.  Apparently, we were out on a great day, because we saw whales from all 3 pods ... J, K, and L.  We also saw the oldest whales in the group ... two from the J pod.  A female named Granny who is 99 years old and her son, Ruffles, who is in his 60's.  

In Orcas Village before whale watching

J. and the whale fins

Our boat!

Whales!  I think these first couple whales are from the K or L pod.  
These two are a mom and her baby.

A pectoral slap and a fin starting to rise out of the water right behind the first whale ...

Fins and a sailboat!

J. and I (and his dad)

I think this is Ruffles

Tail slapping

More tail slapping

All in all, it was a really cool day ... I was so surprised by the amount of whales that we saw and also how close they came to our boat.  I was also very happy that the weather cleared up for us!  

Sunday, we slept in and then headed to downtown Seattle to do some sight-seeing.  We started in historic Pioneer Square were we saw Smith Tower, which was one of the tallest buildings in the world when it was built in the early 1900's.

Stopped for some clam chowder at Ivar's Acres of Clams on the waterfront.  

J. and our gigantic bowl of clam chowder.

Ivar's Fish Bar!

And then we headed over to Pike Place Market ...

And the first Starbucks ... 

And then I headed off to Portland to meet up with some family friends and J. and his parents went back to our house and watched football all night.  We had such a great time with his parents and are so glad they traveled so far to see us!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What we're eating this week ...

It's been awhile since we've had a full week of meals at home ... it took me awhile to come up with a menu for a full week and make my shopping list.  But, I desperately needed to go to the grocery store so that was my motivation.  Our kitchen is so bare that we couldn't even have pancakes for breakfast this morning because we are out of milk and eggs.  Whoops.

Sunday ... A couple of J.'s friends came over so I made a big dinner for everyone.  We had Sausage, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells courtesy of the Pioneer Woman, Garlic Cheese Bread courtesy of the Pioneer Woman and a salad.  What would I do without the Pioneer Woman?  I get most of my recipes from her or Tasty Kitchen (which is her creation also).  We've had the Garlic Cheese Bread once before and it is to die for.  I also made this cake for dessert.  No, we don't really need dessert after all that other food but I've been dying to make this cake and this is my only opportunity.  Okay, maybe not my only opportunity, but a good one :)

Monday ... Tomato Orange Soup from the Flying Elephant Delicatessen in Portland.  We stopped here on our food tour (which I will blog about sometime this week, I promise!) and it was amazing.  I don't even like tomato soup and I'm going to make a whole pot of it.  It was THAT good.  I am planning on serving it with some kind of "adult" grilled cheese.  And by "adult" I mean I will be using cheese other than Kraft Singles.  Nothing too fancy.

Tuesday ... The Best Lasagna Ever courtesy of the Pioneer Woman.  We've had this a couple of times and it is really good.  J. is getting ready to go to Key West for the month of October (seriously ... it's for "work") and this was his request.  I'll serve it with a salad and possibly Garlic Cheese Bread if there is any leftover from Sunday.

Wednesday ... Fettucine Chicken Florentine ... a new recipe from the Tasty Kitchen!  It sounds delicious, so I hope it will be as good as it sounds!  We will probably have a salad with this dish as well.

Thursday ... Leftovers.

Friday ... we will be celebrating J.'s birthday (early ... it's in October while he's in Key West).  He wants to go out, but we haven't picked a restaurant yet.

It feels good to be home for a whole week and have a "food plan."  It makes me feel organized and healthy ... even if some of the things we are making are not so healthy.  At least, if I'm making the food I know exactly what's going into it!  Happy Eating!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Premiere Week ...

It seems like ages ago that all my favorite shows had their Season Finales ... but Premiere Week is finally here!  Well ... it's here and over actually!  Except for Desperate Housewives, all my shows have premiered and I've seen them all.  Here's a rundown of what I will be watching this fall:

Desperate Housewives ... this show hasn't premiered yet but I am loving the previews!  The season finale was full of drama (as usual) with the birth of Lynette's new baby, Eddie (the serial killer) turning himself in, Angie blowing up Patrick Logan (the man from her past), a deathbed confession and Mike and Susan moving off the lane.  I can't wait to see what the new season brings!

Gossip Girl ... technically, GG premiered last week but I've still got to write about it!  I think this is one of my favorite shows and one that I am most excited about watching.  The writers and producers have done a great job keeping me captivated by the storyline.  It's going to be an exciting season with the mystery about baby Milo; Chuck returning to New York City with his French girlfriend; Nate's new love interest, Juliet; and Serena and Blair going to Columbia together.  I personally want Blair and Chuck to get back together ... they've been through so much and I just love them.  I don't know how Blair will be able to watch him try to become a better man with a new girl by his side.  I would feel cheated if I was her.  But, I also wouldn't be able to forgive him for all the terrible things he's done in the past.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  The spoilers I read (DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!) say that Chuck's new girl will be around for multiple episodes, but will have a hard time adjusting to life in the city.  That leads me to believe she will be around for a few episodes and then will be out of the picture ... and hopefully Blair will move back into it :)  I just loved their scene in the train station ... so classy.  

Glee ... I am loving the new football coach, the new cast members (Sunshine and Blonde Boy), Quinn's return to the Cheerios, and, of course, Sue Sylvester.  I also loved the "Empire State of Mind" performance and am looking forward to the Britney Spears episode next week!
Running Wilde ... this is a new show with Will Arnett (husband of Amy Poehler and former star of Arrested Development).  I thought he was hilarious in Arrested Development and am excited to see what this show brings.

Criminal Minds ... I LOVE this show.  They play re-runs on one of our channels every night and I try to watch it as much as possible.  There's really never a major story line, just a lot of serial killers and crime solving.  I love it.
Modern Family ... Such a good show and SO funny.  They also won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series ... so you know it has to be good!  I love the cameos on the couch that each cast member makes and the gay couple.  They are hilarious.  Fun fact = Cameron is actually straight in real life, but he does such a great job playing his character.  If I knew that one of the two was straight and had to guess which one, I'd guess Mitchell was straight and Cameron gay.  If you haven't seen this series ... go rent Season 1 and catch-up.  The pilot was done very well and you'll be hooked!
Cougar Town ... is on right after Modern Family and I'm a fan.  I love Courtney Cox Arquette and her quirkiness on the show.

My Generation ... this is a new show on ABC.  I watched the first episode and I liked it, but I am confused.  It's supposedly a documentary about 9 people who graduated from a high school in Austin, Texas in 2000.  They did a documentary on the 9 kids then and now they are following up with them.  However, I can't tell if this is a reality show ... as in, they really did do a documentary on 9 kids in Austin in 2000 and are following up with them, or if that's just the plot line and it's not real at all.  I think I'd like it better if it was real, but I will probably watch the next few episodes anyways, just to see where it's going.
Grey's Anatomy ... I've been a fan since the beginning.  I love Meredith and Derek, Christina's weirdness, Lexi, Bailey and the Chief.  I also love Karev and McSteamy.  And I did love Izzy and George, but they are no more.  I'm interested to see where this season takes us, I haven't really read anything about where the plot is going.
Private Practice ... another show I've been a fan of since the beginning.  It's rare when a spin-off show actually works, but I love Addison (even though she cheated on Derek with his best friend) and I hope that this season brings her happiness!  She deserves it, right??

Whew, that's going to be a lot of TV watching this fall ... will I have time for anything else?  What shows are you watching this fall?  Anything that I missed?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hiking Excelsior Mountain!

Last Tuesday, J. had the day off so we packed up the car and headed up towards Mt. Baker to hike Excelsior Mountain.  I was slightly nervous because I'd been sick the previous week with some kind of sinus/cough/cold thing and my cough hadn't gone away completely.  I also hadn't worked out in a week.  And, J.'s better than me at EVERYTHING and even if I had been 100% healthy I likely would have been slowing him down.

The morning started out very cloudy and gray, but it was supposed to clear up around noon.  We decided to trust the weather guy and headed up towards Bellingham with the dogs.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive to the trailhead and as soon as we turned off the highway in Bellingham the sun came out and the day turned gorgeous.

Starting out...

Hiking past a lake ... there were people camping on the far side of the lake.  It looked like a really cool campsite!

The view from one of the many spots I stopped to rest ...

Another view ...

J. and the dogs crossing a stream ...

Up some stairs ...

Mt. Baker from the backside of the mountain ...

And ... we finally turned the corner and headed up to the very top.

And once we turned up the final path, it was all uphill ... and not a little uphill, but MAJOR uphill.  The last part was very hard.  But I made it and the view from the top was worth it! 

Mt. Baker from the top:

Ads at the top ... enjoying the view:

And then we headed back down ...

Some more stairs ...

Addy and Lucy playing in the stream next to the trail ...

A little waterfall in the stream ...

Lucy ... I was behind her, Ads and J. for the whole hike so she would stop and wait for me every now and then.  As soon as she saw me, she would race off to meet back up with J. and Addy.  She did this every 5-10 minutes, it was adorable.

We finally made it to the end of the hike and headed home.  It was a great hike ... a challenging but doable trail and a gorgeous view coupled with a gorgeous day.  I definitely recommend this hike to anyone in the Seattle area ... as long as you're not sick!

I'm Back!

from Portland ... and I had a GREAT time, I can't wait to start blogging about my trip later today.  And catching up on things we did last week, like hiking Mt. Excelsior and hosting J.'s parents for the weekend :)  We've been busy lately!  But, until I get motivated to start blogging, hop on over and check out Megan's giveaway at In This Wonderful Life.  She's giving away an 8 x 10 "Keep Calm" print.  I love the "Keep Calm and Travel On" print, I might have to purchase it myself if I don't win the giveaway.  It would go PERFECTLY with the postcards I've been collecting to decorate the guest room :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Jeep

We have a Jeep Commander (which I LOVE and J. now HATES).  The check engine light started coming on about a month and a half ago but it always went off really quickly.  Over Labor Day weekend, the light came on and wouldn't go off and the car wouldn't go past 4th gear.  So we took it into Jiffy Lube to have the oil changed and asked them to look at it.  They diagnosed it and J. took it to another place to have it fixed.  All was good for a day.  And then the light came back on.  So J. took it back to the place where he had it "fixed" and they kept it for two days.  And then told J. it would cost $3,000 to fix.  So, we took it to the Jeep dealership.  Where it has now been for 3 days.  They don't know what's wrong with it.  They've talked to the first place that "fixed" it.  They don't agree on what the problem is.  So, the lead technician at the Jeep dealership is calling the engineers at Chrysler tomorrow to talk to them about it ... how ridiculous is that?  I think they should just give us a new car :)  I've never once taken my car in and been told they can't figure it out.

So that's the ridiculousness I've been dealing with this week.  J.'s parents got into town last night and we've got lots of fun things planned for the weekend.  Then I am off to Portland to visit some good family friends on Sunday night :)  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend ... I will see you next week!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love ...

Eat, Pray Love is a memoir about a 32-year old who has "everything" but is still unhappy.  She gets a divorce and spends the next year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia (Bali) where she eats, prays and finally finds love.  Elizabeth Gilbert did a fantastic job with this book and I LOVED it.  I've read it at least twice, maybe more.  Every time I read it, I feel like I learn something.  I even gave it to all my closest girl friends for Christmas one year ... and I don't usually give books as gifts.  (Ironically, I seem to have lost my own copy somewhere along the way).

I wanted to see the movie so badly, but I was also afraid that it might not do the book justice.  But, I am happy to report, I didn't have anything to worry about.  My sister, cousin and I saw it while we were in Houston a few weekends ago and the movie was SO good.  I highly recommend it to everyone (and the book!).  I think I might have even liked the movie more than book ... probably because I LOVE Julia Roberts and let's be honest, Javier Bardem is MUCH cuter than the real Felipe (sorry Felipe).

Julia Roberts

Julia and Richard from Texas

Julia and Javier Bardem (YUM)

Ketut Liyer ... the medicine man that Elizabeth Gilbert befriends in Bali