Visiting Roslyn, Washington


Roslyn Candy Company. We struck gold.
I guarantee that if you live in the Seattle area, and you’ve waited 9 or so soggy, foggy and sometimes dreary, depressing months to get to summer… you aren’t leaving the state. Once summer arrives, a herd of wild animals couldn’t drag me out of state. It’s the most awesome season to stay local.
Our summer (and if I were honest, our fall too) is pretty amazing. I love our hot summer days at the pool or at the lake, warm evenings and for Pete’s sake, the end to relentless frizzy hair! Even if it’s only until mid-September, it’s worth waiting for.  Summer is the time of year when my appreciation for staying home with our gaggle of kids is at an all-time high.

Before I go on though, I have to clear the air -
I don’t think I’m alone in saying this, but in our house the technology tornado is just completely out of control. I-pad, I-pod, X-box, DS…I swear if one more product finds its way into my house that starts with a letter, followed by a hyphen, I am gonna wind up on the news - and not in a good way. I shock myself at how resistant I'm becoming to technology, and summer just brings me to full tilt. I wait ALL year for summer! We are NOT playing video games! (that’s for the other 9 months kids)
So there's how the day went. We were off to meet friends at the zoo, in a car devoid of television (because I'm too cheap for that kind of car), confiscated DS’s (because I'm sick and tired of breaking up fights) and me at the wheel, hell bent on having a good time. In the sun. At the zoo. Woohoo!
Closed. The zoo was closed. Because it was Tuesday.  Friend and I look at each other. (ex*ple*tive)
Me:  (blink, blink) ...let’s just drive.
Friend: (shoulder shrug) It’s a good day for an adventure
Me: (shoulder shrug, palms up) Since we’re so close, let’s just head east over the pass
Friend: Let’s go!
We kind of laughed, ignoring the annoying groans from the backseat and got out the map. Map? Yes, the big old, take up the whole car from passenger window to drivers right shoulder, map. Ha! (eye roll from the backseat...whisper, whisper...'hey, what is that thing?' )  I rest my case.
Me: read the cities!
Friend: Snoqualmie, North Bend, Easton, Hyak, Snoqualmie Pass, Roslyn, CleElum…
Me: Roslyn! It’s awesome there…don’t you remember “Northern Exposure”
Friend: We’re old.
Me: Yep. And this will be awesome.
And it was. Because we're old school. 
I almost died when I saw this enormous selection at Roslyn Candy Company. Thanks, I'll take one of each.
Sugar. High.
Despite their best efforts to scoff at our adventure, our kids had a blast! Extracting them at 7 pm was touch and go. I'm not gonna lie, there were tears. All of us had a great day and a great adventure.
Roslyn reminds me a little bit of a sleepy old ghost town. It isn’t a ghost town but rather an old coal mining town which is just as cool. The buildings are old, the history is remarkable and fun to read and overall, the town has done an amazing job of keeping a cohesive look that I haven't seen duplicated. The people are incredibly friendly, the antique stores offer truly unique treasures and the coffee and candy on our trip couldn’t be beat. It was worth the trip and absolutely worth sharing.

Thanks Roslyn for the great summer memories!

Halloween Sweets Table (re-post)


I was surprised at how many hits we had to this Halloween dessert table, so I thought I'd re-post it - rather than reinvent the wheel so to speak. It was really fun and our kids completely freaked when they saw it, which made it all the more worthwhile! Here goes...

Are you having a Halloween party? Are you short on ideas and not sure where to begin?

Let me help you with your dessert table. If you want to recreate the display above, I’ve broken it down into bite-size steps.
Your grocery list for this menu:

Apples, peanut butter, mini marshmallows, cake mix (don’t forget eggs and oil), frosting, writing gel or edible pen, candy melts & lollipop sticks (you may need to go to the craft store for these), chocolate pudding, oreos, tombstone shaped cookies, pretzel rods & sprinkles.

Making these desserts is fun and tasty!

I would set aside 2 – 3 hours realistically to make the food because you will have to bake for the cake pops and heat the candy melts. Once you do this it will go pretty quickly. You can find a great tutorial for cake pops and cake balls at Bakerella. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can find an eyeball specific tutorial here.

The “witches wands” will be fast because once you have heated the candy melts for the cake pops, you just dip the pretzel rods, place them on wax paper and sprinkle. Be sure to wait until they dry before trying to move them.

The “goblin kisses” are simply sliced apples (buy the presliced to avoid brown apples) with peanut butter spread to make the mini marshmallows stick. “Chocolate graveyards” are even easier - chocolate pudding topped with crushed Oreos and a cookie tombstone. Use the same gel pen as you did for the “ghost pops”.

I hope this easy menu helps save you time and energy so you can enjoy your Halloween!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Coma


Just push the 12 pound weight gain out of your mind, and put yourself into a chocolate chip cookie coma. I did.

I have to give credit where it is due...I stumbled on this amazing recipe from "Savory Sweet Life" blog. Since then, I've officially been told by my family to STOP making them and I'm getting threatening late night texts from friends that I sent home with Ziploc's of these addictive cookies. I also noticed last night a new suspicious stain on my white couch right about where my hubby sits every night. Caught!

Ok, ok, on to it. Here's the original recipe article:

I couldn't help myself and amended my recipe just slightly by adding 1 1/2 cups of rice crispies (and by sheer laziness did not weigh my flour because that would have required me to go buy a scale - not happenin'). I have a friend who amended hers by adding almond slivers and just a touch of almond extract - those were also delicious.

If you want to print this recipe go ahead and click on the link below! Enjoy and thank you Savory Sweet Life!

"a camping date!" said the middle child


She's only 6. She's in the middle. And sometimes being in the middle is tough.

When she heard that big brother was getting to go on yet another sleepover, the tears of injustice began to well up. I can't believe that in the midst of a wild 7 month old on my hip waving around a rattle like a pair of nunchucks, my observation skills were plugged in enough to catch this would-be crisis and go in for the save. I heard myself saying on instinct and pure survival mode:

"I have a really special night planned just for you and me tonight!"

...the river of emotion that was about to spill over just seconds ago seemed to slow, and she turned looking up at me with her innocent, greenish-blue eyes and she whispered excitedly...

"Yes! how'd you know?!"
(OMG. I looked like that owl in the tree.)
"Yessss!" (sounds more like yethhhhhhh with her lisp that seems to be th-ticking around th-till)

From that second, I knew, that the next 8 hours that she was at school were crucial. They had better produce something good, something that resembled camping, and something that would make her feel special.
*side note* We have never gone camping, so I don't know where this is coming from but I figured it would work to my advantage.

Here's my word association related to camping:
fire | smores | blankets | games | wildlife | hot chocolate | snuggles
And so that's what I went on.
The process was bound to be painful with a wanna-be crawler in the house who has an ear piercing alarm screech when I am anywhere past 48" from his body. Plus, the added task of concocting this 'camping date' with only the things I already had in the house. I applied my word association here like a champ. Apparently we are always camping, I just didn't know it.

(world market, my go to store for old school games with great packaging)
Camping date success, complete with happy camper, who had the whole house & both parents all to herself!  
It turned out to be a fun night for everyone. It's always hard for us to find the time for one-on-one with each child, but when we get the chance I'm surprised at how much I miss it and I wonder why we don't do it more often (insert irrational guilt here). I love these moments.
Feel free to download and print the camping owl art for yourself!  All you need is Acrobat reader and a printer. Enjoy!
by mlekoshi