Friday, August 29, 2008

And he's not even an engineer.

Doug has been having fun playing Fantastic Contraption. It's kind of like Magic Pen, but less frustrating. (Even Kate did a couple of the first levels by herself. Whoa.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rat cake!



Last night we celebrated our friend Scott's 60th birthday (which was actually on Tuesday). He lived in Japan for ten years, so I thought it would be fun to get him a Year of the Rat cake. He was born in the year of the Earth Rat, and after cycling through the rest of the five elements, the Earth Rat year has come around again. It's a big deal.

I got the cake made at Fred Meyer, using their "picture a cake" thing where you take in a photo (or other picture) and they somehow magically apply it to the top of a cake in edible form. I created the design with one of my digi rats, and the kanji for "sixty years" down the side. (As it turns out, that may not have been the most authentic way to phrase it, but I couldn't find an answer in time, so I just went with that.)



Scott with his cake! I asked him what kind of cake he liked and he said carrot, so it was a carrot rat cake.



Lighting the candles. I didn't catch the moment of blowing out.



Kate helps take the candles out afterward.



Lucky has his eye on the cake.



He didn't get any.



Lucky looks festive.



Scott gets a kiss. Happy birthday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

berries, books, and boxes

Kate and I went out picking blackberries again last night. They're getting a bit past their peak, and some of them are pretty mushy and yucky, but we did find a couple of bushes with good berries still on them. Yum.

I finally caught a couple of the kids in the complex and gave them the little books that I made. I delivered the others right after I got them, but there were a couple of kids that I hadn't seen since then. So last night J.C. (boy) and Tram (girl), both about 11-12-ish, were outside kicking a ball around, and I got their books and took them out to them. Right away they starting flipping through them and pointing things out to each other. It turns out that some of the pictures from last fall were actually taken on the first day they met, which I hadn't realized. That was pretty cool. I took Kate back inside, and then when I looked out a few minutes later they were still sitting and looking at their books. I'm glad they enjoyed them so much.

I've been sorting clothes today. After we found out we were having a boy, I called my sister Barb and asked if she'd like a bunch of girl clothes. There was quite a bit, especially the early stuff, that was non-gender-specific, so I pulled those out to use again (lots of green and yellow, and a few blues). I ended up with two big boxes to send. I've heard people talk about feeling sentimental getting rid of baby clothes, but this was the first time I'd done it myself. All those cute clothes that Kate wore when she was so little. *sniff.* And some that were special gifts from people (including a few dresses that Barb made herself, which we'll be sending back).



We were rather surprised by the sheer volume of everything. These little ones go through clothes quickly. I also found a few things that I'd bought ahead for this year and then lost track of. Grrr. Not a lot of things, but it's still aggravating. Kate can probably still wear them for a little while.

A few people have mentioned that we might have another girl later. I suppose that's possible if (A) we can squeeze another one in there before I'm 40 and (B) we're not in a two-bedroom apartment anymore. But you never know. We'll see.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Simon Says

Simon Says is one of Kate's games. (At this point it's all just "Simon Says"--we haven't been doing Simon doesn't say yet.) It can be a challenge to think of things to have her do. (I often find myself resorting to ridiculous things like, "Simon says bark like a chicken!") We also play it with her stuffed animals, which adds an additional level of interest as she has them wag their tails and wiggle their whiskers, and other things that she can't do herself.

Playing Simon Says always makes me think of Mr. Shillito, the P.E. teacher at my elementary school. Mr. Shillito was a Simon Says master of a truly fiendish order. His games were legendary. If Mr. Shillito said "Simon says spin around," and you spun around, and then he said, "Simon says raise your right hand," if you stopped spinning to raise your hand you were out. You had to keep spinning around while doing all the other things, till Simon specifically said to stop spinning. It took a lot of concentration to stay in the game. I recall him once taking on an entire grade (or more?) in a special assembly.

I found an article about Mr. Shillito receiving an award for helping a student lose weight. Good on ya. (Edit: Looking at the dates, it would seem that this is a different Mr. Shillito. Perhaps his son?)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Felt Butterfly



(Me to Doug):

"I'm making a multi-media butterfly."

"Multi-media?"

"Errr... I mean mixed media!"

Inspired a little by this book and a little by Princess Lasertron, made with felt, embroidery floss, beads, Sculpey, and wire. Kate was quite intrigued by the process. I told her she could have it to play with after I finished it and got a picture. She said, "Oh, it's so beautiful!"

We went to The Bead Factory after our Korean lunch on Monday, to get some pink beads (they didn't have what I wanted at Artco). Shortly after we got there, a teenage boy knocked over a tray of beads. While they were picking everything up, one of the employees said, "You can hear all the moms gasp and look around, and say, 'Whew! It wasn't my kid!'" Well, sure enough, not long after that, Kate also knocked over a tray of beads. (It was low down, and a bit longer than the shelf it was on. She put her hand on it and it just tipped right over.) She was traumatized. It was kind of funny--I've been in there several times and never saw anyone knock anything over, and then it happens twice in about fifteen minutes. They said it's quite a common occurrence. They have a little bead-vacuum thing to pick them up with. (Perhaps a re-design of the displays might be in order.) We were properly mortified and got out of there as quickly as possible.

(Butterfly is now part of this set!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lawn Bowling







What will these two come up with next?

Now it's raining and I'm sleepy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

15 년후

Or, "How did my scanner get so dusty?"

August 18th is the day I got home from my mission. I was thinking about this a few weeks ago, and it occurred to me that it was, in fact, fifteen years since I got home. I'm still not sure how fifteen years could possibly have elapsed since then, but after double-checking the math, I had to admit that this was actually the case. It doesn't feel like fifteen years.

We celebrated the occasion by going out to lunch. I also dug out a few pictures that I thought I'd share.

김수경

This is my last companion, Sister Kim Su Kyung, and me (err... I. "This is I." Nominative case. Yep.) at a zone activity. She was a sweetheart. We haven't kept in touch but I think of her every once in a while. My hair was a lot lighter back then! I was also frequently sunburned.

I was serving in Sunchon and GwangYang, way down south, as my last area. I recall it was raining, the morning that I left, which seemed appropriate as I was feeling very emotional and kept randomly bursting into tears. (Maybe not quite bursting, but a lot of welling up.)

김상경 and 이수진 서울 성전앞

There was a group of us going home at the same time, including two other sisters, Lee Su Jin and Kim Sang Kyung. Here we are in front of the Seoul temple. Sister Kim had been my companion for a couple of months, in Taejon. It was nice to get to spend some more time with her before going home. (Yes, I had companions named Kim Sang Kyung and Kim Su Kyung. Two different people.) I didn't ever serve with Lee Su Jin but I met her parents, later, when I was doing my summer internship at a publishing company in Seoul. As soon as I saw her father, I thought, "He looks just like Lee Su Jin!"



And here I am with my family at the airport, after a very long flight. (This was back when Barb was still shorter than me. Ha.) I was only home for nine days and then went out to BYU for the start of fall semester. I had kind of a hard time with the transition, just figuring out where I was and what I was supposed to be doing with myself. I felt like I'd been through such an amazing experience, and changed so much, but it was all inside, and there were things that were important to me that I couldn't explain to anyone else. I was so glad that I got to go back with Doug, later, and share some of that with him. Hopefully some day we'll be able to take Kate (and Baby Boy).



This was lunch today--kimchi jjigae. Our heat wave broke and it was cool and rainy. Just seemed like a jjigae day. (Doug had bulgogi.) Kate was a bit squirmy and kept trying to climb up the back of the seat, but she enjoyed the food and ate a lot.

Yesterday in church we heard from a young man (our stake president's son) who just got back from serving in Korea a few weeks ago (Pusan--though I think they're romanizing it as Busan now, which bugs me). I got to talk to him briefly afterwards. One thing that I really miss is singing hymns in Korean. There are a few hymns that we sing where I have to restrain myself from breaking into Korean on the chorus. It's amazing that I still remember so many of them.

One of these days I'll get around to scrapping my mission pictures. Maybe I'll use one of those photo-scanning services and do it all digitally. A big coffee-table book or something.

wordle

At wordle.net you can create a "word cloud" out of text that you type in, or you can give it the URL to your blog, and it'll pull random words and make a cloud of those. It was kind of fun to play with. Interesting to see which words it picked. (It seemed quite fond of "pretzels"--I think it has to do with word frequency.) It kept giving me the same random words, though, so to get some variation I tried it after a few different posts.



Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's that time of year again

Blackberry season!



It's hot! I've been going through ice cubes like candy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's a...



BOY! Surprise! He was very active during the ultrasound this morning, squirming and rolling all over.

Last night Kate said something again about a sister. I told her, "Tomorrow we get to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl," and she said, "A girl!" So when I got home today I showed her the pictures and told her she was going to have a baby brother. I said, "He's going to be a little baby, and he won't do much at first. He's going to cry a lot, and sleep a lot. And when he gets older, you can play together, and you can show him how to play with your trains and your animals." And Kate said, "Oh! That'll be great!"

This is the first boy on my side of the family. Now we have to come up with a name!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

déjà vu

Well, the big reveal is tomorrow. Assuming baby cooperates. Kate's been talking about having a sister. Though she sometimes refers to her friends as "sisters," too, so I'm not sure if she understands that this is going to be a baby and not somebody she can play with right off.

It's funny how close the timing on this is to my first pregnancy. The due date is only a few days after Kate's birthday. In fact, it just dawned on me last night that Kate's ultrasound was on August 13, too. I remember because it was Doug's half-birthday. (Barb was the one who pointed that out. It's her half-birthday too.) I really didn't plan it that way, that's just when they scheduled me. And other things are similar, too--at church I was recently called as the Relief Society chorister, which is the same thing I was doing when I was pregnant with Kate. Now all I need is a mural to paint a few weeks before giving birth. (Seriously, if you know anybody in the area who wants a mural before December, let me know!)

Here's a belly shot from Sunday (19 weeks).

Monday, August 11, 2008

냉면

A few weeks ago I ran across a mention of naeng myun on a blog, and instantly got a craving. Mmmmm... naeng myun....

Literally "cold noodles," this is a Korean summertime food. It's wonderfully refreshing when you've been out running around in the heat and humidity. Oddly, I never had naeng myun while I was on my mission (even though I was there for two summers--go figure). It wasn't until three years later, when I was there on a summer internship for three months right before Doug and I got married, that I had my first taste. We (the other guy from BYU who was also working there, and I) went with the office girls to Everland amusement park on a day off, and afterwards we went out for naeng myun, and I loved it. Doug and I also ate it more than a few times, when we were squeezing in our last-minute sightseeing in the August heat in the weeks before we came home. (Bad timing--I would not recommend August as a good time for running around Korea. Or doing anything outdoors in Korea. Just say no.)



(That's not the greatest picture--there's a nice one here.)

So I was craving naeng myun but it just didn't seem right to eat it unless it was hot outside. So when we finally had a warm day (last Wednesday), we drove down to Lakewood and got some. That is, I got naeng myun, and Doug got some jap chae and shared his rice with Kate.



너무 너무 맛이있어요!

Served in a big cold metal bowl, naeng myun is buckwheat noodles in a tangy broth, with crushed ice, topped with thinly sliced beef, cucumber, daikon radish (muu), and half a hard boiled egg. (Doug doesn't like hard boiled eggs, so he'd always give me his.) It usually has Asian pear (bae) in it too, but I think mine was just muu. They also give you extra vinegar and mustard (with wasabi) to add if you want.



Kate demonstrates her kim sandwich technique. One piece on the bottom, a little rice on it...



...and another piece on top!



Yum!

I've given Kate lots of kim (laver seaweed) with rice pinched up in it, but she came up with the sandwich thing all by herself.

After lunch we went to Fort Steilacoom Park and played for a while. It would have been better to go to the park and get all hot and tired first, and then go have naeng myun, but we did it backwards.

A few days later, we were talking about this meal and Kate said, "Oh! That house looks like I Love Bento! It's Korean!" We'll have to go back again soon.

Paint Block Freebie



Here's one of the rejects from working on Masks and Mats. It was stamped with acrylic paint on cardboard (you can see some of the corrugation in the texture). It's really not usable as a photo mat, but I thought it was cool anyway so I thought I'd share it here. Click here to download the zip file. ("Save as," and then you'll have to unzip the file before you can use it.)



In Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you can lock the transparency of a layer by clicking on the little checkerboard icon that looks like the Purina logo, up at the top of the layers pallet. (Make sure you have the right layer selected first.) When the transparency is locked then you can just fill the layer with a new color. You should be able to press alt+delete to fill with your foreground color, and control+delete to fill with your background color, but I find this always stops working after I've had the program open for a short time. What I usually do is use the rectangle tool and just draw a big rectangle over the area that I want to fill. It's faster than using the paint bucket.

You can also use a soft round brush to add touches of another color on the locked layer. I used two shades of purple.

Friday, August 08, 2008

8-8-08

I understand there were a lot of weddings planned for today, since it's supposed to be lucky. And the Olympics started today at 8:08. Kind of fun.

I may have spoken too soon on the frozen pea thing. I haven't been able to get Kate to eat them again since then. When she asks for a snack I say, "Would you like some frozen peas?" and she says, "No!"

We have our ultrasound scheduled for next Wednesday. I've just recently been feeling movement. That's always cool.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pretzels

We haven't made pretzels for quite a while. It's a rather time-consuming production. But a couple of weeks ago we went to the mall (looking for maternity clothes--didn't get anything) and split a soft pretzel, and when we got home Doug decided that we needed more pretzels. And of course I decided that we needed pictures.

Here's the recipe:

(oven at 425 F)

Dough:
2 tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2½ cups white flour (+ up to 1 cup more)  (King Arthur Bread flour is really good)
2 Tb vegetable oil
1 Tb sugar

(We almost always double the recipe, and use honey instead of sugar.  Probably less than a tablespoon.)

Baking soda bath:
6 cups water
6 Tb baking soda

Coarse salt for sprinkling

Bake at  425° F for 8-12 minutes

Dissolve yeast in water. Add flour, oil, sugar. Beat well to make a smooth batter. Gradually stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough, only slightly sticky. Turn onto floured surface, knead until no longer sticky, dusting with flour as necessary. Turn dough into greased bowl; cover and let rise for 1 hour. (You can do this part in a bread maker on the dough cycle, too. It takes a bit of attention to get the extra flour added properly and get the texture right before the kneading cycle ends.)

Punch down dough, turn out onto floured surface. Divide into 12 balls (or whatever you want), roll into a long rope, and shape as desired. Thin pretzels will be crispier and thick pretzels will be bready and chewy. Place onto well-greased baking sheet (or wax paper).



The rolling-out part was rather tricky for Kate, but she enjoyed playing with the dough.



My "over-achiever" pretzel.

When the pretzels are all shaped, let them sit to rise a little more. Put 6 cups of water in a (non-aluminum) pan, with 6 Tb of baking soda. Heat until simmering. Turn down to maintain a gentle simmer. Preheat oven to 425° . (Update: Lately I've been turning on the oven and putting the water on to boil before I start shaping the pretzels, since the rolling-out part usually goes fairly quickly and I've discovered I don't like the texture quite as well if I let them rise too long.)



Lower pretzels one at a time into baking soda bath, simmer 10 seconds per side, then remove carefully and drain briefly. You can try using two slotted spoons. (Doug says there ought to be some sort of handy kitchen gadget for this.) Place boiled pretzels back onto well-greased baking sheet (or use greased parchment paper, or non-stick foil with cooking spray--but you need something because they will stick).



Sprinkle pretzels with coarse salt.

You can just bake them without doing the baking soda bath, but you'd be missing out.  I never skip this step.  In addition to a  nice chewy crust., it just gives them a little something extra in the flavor. 

Bake 8-12 minutes, till golden brown.  I often turn them over for the last couple of minutes. 



Kate brushes the finished pretzels with melted butter. This is not part of the recipe, but it sounded like a good idea.




Doug shows off his traditionally-shaped pretzel.



Eat warm. Yummy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

All tied up, lately

It's been unseasonably cool lately (we haven't been complaining--it's been nice after the heat in California), but now we are having a bit of a warm spell. We slept with the fan on last night for the first time in weeks.

I discovered that Kate will eat frozen peas for a snack! Hooray! We've been looking for ways to get more green veggies and fiber in her. (And hey, they're cheaper than frozen peaches.)

I haven't been posting much, since I've been busy working on some more digi stuff. (I do have some pretzel-making pictures to post, but I want to double-check something on the recipe first.) Here's the most recent project:



(Update: Since NDISB has closed, the twine set is now available here, with coordinating freebie.)

I've been working on various bits of twine since last November, and including them in some of our monthly collaborative kits at NDISB, intending that eventually I would release them in an all-twine package. I finally finished up the last bit that was half-done, and got all the other pieces together. I also made this cute layout to show them off:



That's some very time-consuming extraction. I think next I'll do something easier!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Viovio books



These are the books that I made for the kids in our complex (posted about here). I got some in 7x5 and some in 5.25 x 3.5. I was trying to figure out what to do on the cover, since I didn't have anything like a picture of all the kids together, so I had this idea to do stick figures. They turned out pretty cute, I think. (Kate is the second-shortest stick figure.)

Service was pretty quick--I placed the order on a Tuesday and had them the following Monday. It's not exactly photo-quality printing, but about what I was expecting. I planned the pages with the quarter-inch trim and binding room around the edges for the 7x5 size, so on the smaller size a little bit more got trimmed off, proportionately. Something to keep in mind.



The back on the book has the Viovio logo on it. You can get that taken off for an extra charge.