Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Sarah!!

Today is the first 29th birthday of my beloved stepdaughter Sarah. She is pictured here with her Dad sometime during her first week of life in San Jose, California.

Sarah moved with her family to Visalia just about the same time we did and for a while was even in the same daycare as my children Kate and Daniel.

Sometime in 7th or 8th grade, Sarah met my daughter Kate and they became fast friends. From then on, Sarah became a fixture in my house and Kate spent equal time with her at her Dad's and her Mom's homes.

Fast forward a few years and I started dating her Dad. She not only tolerated the situation, she helped create it!!

At right, my girls in High School.

Sarah works in Berkeley at a garment manufacturer who has employed her since her senior year at Cal. She is a wonderful young woman and as I like to remind her, "I loved you before I had to." I have many happy memories of the girls hanging out and giggling their heads off. I can make it happen at any time by putting on a movie like "Hot Shots." Sweet memories.

So, to the 2nd daughter I wanted, but didn't get to give birth to, you didn't grow under my heart but in it. I love you.


More Pizza

Friday night was pizza night #2 and I used Beth's dough recipe, a cold-rise dough that is made with ice water and chilled flour.

I've done a bit of cool-rise bread, but not with like this! The mixed dough was left in the 'fridge for 6 hours and removed about an hour before baking time. The dough was wonderfully complex and we liked this better than the last batch.

Toppings this time were some leftover ham I dug from the depths of the freezer, olive oil with a half dozen cloves of minced garlic simmered in it, mozzarella, homemade Parmesan cheese (we call it Sonomesan since true parmesan can only be made in Parma, Italy), cremini mushrooms, fresh sage and oregano and thinly sliced leeks and garlic stuffed olives. Wonderful!!

Saturday, my friend Kathy came over from Woodland and we visited the grand opening of Quilted Vine and did a little shopping. That afternoon, we sewed a bit and had hubby cook dinner for us. A little wine, a little music DVD on TV (Moody Blues and Sheryl Crow) and then we all toddled off to bed. A great evening with two of my favorite people.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Year in Bread--finally started!

I finally got started with my Year in Bread first entry, Susan of Farmgirl Fare's pizza dough. I chose it first because I was doing it at the last minute and Kevin's dough took more time.

As I mentioned before, we don't care for the traditional topping of tomato sauce, so I opted for a thin coating of Picholine olive oil from B.R. Cohn Winery. The oil is so wonderful and the olives are grown right on the winery site. I shredded a couple of ounces of local mozzarella and just a bit of Tillamook cheddar that I had on hand and a tiny bit of hubby's homemade Gouda. Next on was some sliced cremini mushrooms, fresh sage and oregano from the garden, some sliced garlic stuffed olives.

Once baked, we topped each slice with some wonderful hydroponic tomatoes from the Farmers Market and some fresh basil. A tease of the summer to come.

The dough was thin and crispy, but I was a bit disappointed. Further reading revealed that my attempt to make it healthy by adding whole wheat flour backfired on me. The pros tell me that it just ain't the same. Next time, I'll stick to regular King Arthur all purpose organic flour.

Onward in the search for the perfect pie.....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day....I Mean Birthday!

Today is my beloved daughter's (first) 29th birthday. You can see more about this from last year's post. It is also Earth Day, so try to live green a little bit.

She is pictured here, at about one week of age with me and my Mom. I was 25, Mom was 58. Kate weighed about 6 lbs., down from 6 lbs, 4 oz.--an amazing three pounds less than her son Alex weighed at one week!!!

All I can add this year is thanks so much for the wonderful gift of Alex, a most welcome addition to the clan and look out--the big 3-0 is breathing down your neck!! (How could I possibly be old enough to have a child this old?

To the right is me in 1976 with the quilt I designed and made for my nephew Paul's birth. I called it "The Ecology Quilt". I hand appliqu├ęd the blocks and hand quilted them in a quilt-as-you -go method. It is very 1970's in a Mountain Artisans or Great Noank Quilt Factory kind of way. Maybe because these were the popular contemporary quilt books of the day, ya think?

To help celebrate Earth Day every day, consider doing some of the following things:

  • Make or buy some reuseable grocery shopping bags. Check out this incredibly cool idea!
  • Re-use your plastic produce bags or buy some cotton ones like these. Use zip locs to store at home and wash and re-use them.
  • Compost! You'd be amazed at the wonderful stuff that can come from your yard and kitchen waste. We get about 3 huge loads of wonderful compost every year from stuff that we'd normally just put in the green waste can.
  • Religiously recycle or separate your trash if your community offers separate cans for recycle and regular garbage.
  • Plan your trips to make maximum use of the times you must take the car.
  • Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescents--the bulbs are a bit more expensive, but they last longer and save electricity.
It really isn't hard to organize your shopping bags. I have an African style market basket that we use for the Farmers Market. I keep it in the pantry with a fabric tote bag that contains all of my washed and recycled plastic bags and a large zip-loc with folded fabric grocery bags that I purchased at my grocery store last Earth Day week. Every Saturday is Market Day. First the Farmers Market which is open every Saturday all year. In Sonoma County, California, we are blessed in that some kind of fresh produce is always available, enabling us to eat mostly local food year round. After Farmers Market, we hit the grocery store and all the bags are right where I need them. When I get home, I organize the produce (much of which I don't even bag at the FM anymore), put away groceries and put the bags away all in the same place and ready for the next week. Easy!

I saw something on PBS this morning about considering the carbon footprint of your food and who really thinks about that? I never really did. People buy imported bottled water from Italy when an excellent local brand is readily available. We buy imported pasta, though lately I've been making my own with the Kitchen-Aid attachment. With that new insight, I'm going shopping next week with my eyes open just a bit wider.

Here's why:

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Cates Brothers

I am actually sewing today! A secret project, to be unveiled shortly, but in the meantime I offer a picture of my grandsons Benjamin and Alexander Cates. They are posing on a lovely afghan knitted by my sister, their great-Auntie Nella.

Also, below is a picture of the long awaited Robot quilt in situ. The boys' room is full of space ships and the like and Kate and I have stockpiled more of the robot fabrics for a quilt for Alex when he's big enough.

Benjamin is trying to climb on the changing table set up for Alex, an item that has been sitting in his room for a year with absolutely no attention paid to it until the baby was on it. Figures, doesn't it?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

Well Toto, I had a wonderful time with my little boys and my darling daughter, but it was time to get in the balloon and go back with the Wizard to Santa Rosa.

Baby Alex is the sweetest thing and spent most of his first week in someone's arms, either Mom's or Nana's or his other grandmother on her visits or his great-grandma. Is there anything better than the smell of a baby's head? MMMMMMM

Big bro Benj and I had a marvelous time together, even though the weather didn't permit us to spend much time outside, he helped me unload the dishwasher and do what seemed like 500 loads of laundry. I'd forgotten how much wash young children generate! Benj's verbal skills grow daily and we were surprised to see how much they had advanced during the week and a half since our previous visit.

Last night, just before he went to bed, Benj called me and told me that he loved me. He may never know the half of it--how I feel about him.

Thanks for the memories little guys.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Very Large Easter Egg

Alexander is here!

He arrived at 12:01 pm today, Monday, April 9, 2007. He weighed 9 lbs. 7 oz., and measured 20.5 inches.

His very happy mother was in labor for only 12 hours or so and popped him out with 4 pushes.

The family is excited and pleased at our newest member and we look forward to getting to know him in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

How lucky can you be?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Our Easter Egg is About to Pop

This from our visit to Mr. B and his family a week and a half ago. Kate went to her regular visits on March 30th and April 6th and both times was told "That's a BIG boy you've got in there!" (Big bro weighed 8 lbs. 7 oz.)

The good news is that as of Friday, she was 2 cm dilated!! Last time, it took her 2 1/2 days from the start of contractions to get to that point, so we are happy, happy, happy. This morning she is a bit crampy and losing her mucus plug.

Nana is getting her chores and wash done and preparing to hit the road at a moment's notice and jumping every time the phone rings!!

Stay tuned and Happy Easter!!