Day trip: Whidbey Island, Wa.

Baseball is officially over… Saturday ended with a rainy double header. And Sunday started with a sunny all be it chilly (I’m still wearing wool socks and it’s June… JUNE!) ferry ride across the Possession Sound to Whidbey Island.

20160612_103324This ride across the water is only about 15 minutes and we were the last car on… impeccable timing. I wish there was a hidden camera for when the teller said lane 5. Yeaaaaa we’re gonna just gonna go head and get on the boat… and skip lane 5. This was after she acted as if we were idiots for not following up with the kids ages when she asked if we had passengers ridding with us. it was an odd exchange…

Anyway… I had looked up some things to do over on the island  here

Oh and I’m glad I did! We went to the Meerkerk Garden and it was super cool. Not to mention there was itty bitty baby birds of some sort waddling across the road. Baby birds!!!! SO CUTE!!!

This place was so cool trees and plants and flowers from all over the world. With a view of the water. It had multiple very easy walking trails weaving through gardens of lush rain forests, ponds, and giant leafed plants.

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 Seriously who would look at the entrance and be like “nah I’ll pass” it just beckons you to come on in and take a stroll.

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20160612_112955 20160612_115508Boys… these leaves were big enough to be umbrellas !

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20160612_115313We practically had the place to our selves, we only saw a handful of other people. One one was kind enough to  take a family photo for us…

but it didn’t turn out so good so moving on…

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and the view…

20160612_113845 Absolutely beautiful and well worth the stop.

Then we headed through the island and made our next stop at Penn Cove Park. Just a random right turn the dad took landed us on this beautiful beach littered with drift wood. I’m a huge fan of drift wood, it’s beautifully worn by the sea, what’s not to love? I wanted to take in all home… but that would have been crazy…right? I’m still debating my decision.

The perfect place to find the most perfect wand…

20160612_125700    Finish it up with some local fish and chips and you have yourself a perfect Sunday.

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Wrapp’n up the school year

We are in our final week of school here at the Clarke casa…* sigh of relief*

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Last year’s school end brought a big move, big changes, lots of emotions for the Monk who was leaving her friends. Lots of anticipation and anxiety for the dad and I who where following our instincts and moving forward. Concern for our kiddos we were about to up root again, excitement for what lay ahead. Stress planing and carrying out the move. That feeling of sheer terror agreeing to a house sight unseen. I think my twitched for 2 weeks straight.

But this year we are wrapping up the school year with ease. Everyone is in a good place. And I get all my monkey’s home with me for a little while.

Just writing that made me laugh… or more accurately… scoff.

 These 4 mini humans make me absolutely nutty, especially when we’ve been hanging out for 24 hours a day. day after day, after mother loving day all summer long.

But in the beginning it’s nice so we’ll just focus on that for now.

*SO I’ve been working on this short post for the better part of an hour and keep getting side tracked… and that is why I took that 2 year hiatus… good golly… FUC-US! (yes that’s spelled incorrectly on purpose)

So yes where was I school is almost out for the bigs… the wee bear graduated pre-K last week. which was bitter sweet for the mom. We’ve had “mom Wednesday’s since she started. The one day a week we shared  just the two of us while the big 3 where in class. Usually we didn’t do anything special, but some times we had brunch or lunch. It became special because it was our time. Something that I knew after seeing 3 other’s off to kindergarten in a flurry was going to be gone in a blink of an eye. And now that our last “mom Wednesday” has passed that time is gone in a blink.

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The day all four of our kids would be in school all day together seemed soooo far away. I can’t even tell you how many times the dad and I would talk about how great that day would be. And as excited and happy as I am truly… it means another chapter we are closing and another about to begin . Change and growth both so bitter sweet…

Day Trip Mt. Rainier National Park

Can I just start by saying how fortunate I feel that the words “day trip” can proceed Mt. Rainier! This blows my mind!!!

(short aside to anyone reading this debating any possible life changing decisions… GO FOR IT!)

That said…

Sunday funday, get me outta the house day.

These extra hours of sunlight are like Mother Nature  handing me an invitation to come over for a picnic. And where better to have a Sunday picnic then the majestic brae of Mt. Rainier? It really is as pretty as the pictures. Only 2 hours through some beautiful scenery

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and you’ll find yourself  meandering  through the Grove of the Patriarchs.

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I have a strong affection for giant trees, I’m sure I’ve said that before… probably when I was writing from the Redwoods.The history these giants have astounds me, to think of all they have been privy too… WOW! I can only compare the feeling to standing before the ocean being reminded I am but a grain of sand among the universe. Insignificant, beautiful, and part of something grand.

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The kids were on the look out for water moving slow enough to dip their toes and once they got the green light shirts and shoes were off and they were immersed in the grandeur of the park.

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The dad and I were taken by the park’s right from the start.  Maybe it was because it was our honey moon… but I associate National parks with Love. Love and a desire to make a great future. Must be a subliminal emotion…hmmm… I like that.

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So skipping stones and taking in some vit D. Discussing how amazing it would be to hike the Wonderland trail with the kids someday maybe 10 years down the road. That should give the dad and I enough time to prepare for the 92 miles hike around the hill. * or give the kids time to gain the strength to drag us behind them! *

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It is a beautiful park… busy as a mo foe at the summit and visitor’s centers, but there are many… many…many sights to see. Maybe just forego the t-shirt and patch if you go in the summer months.

Almost summer

I woke up thinking… wow I need to catch up!

We are wrapping up out last few weeks of school at Case de Clarke, and things are pretty busy. It feels as though May and June, June especially are filled to the brim. It’s good though. This busy hectic pace we are running at is really making me look forward to summer.

Like really, really, looking forward to summer.

Honestly speaking I have not looked forward to summer in a long time. As a dessert dweller the summer was unbearably HOT and cut into my outside time. One could say I was a grouchy summer person. SoCal was a very nice place to spend the summer, except it meant sharing the beach with a mother ton of folks from everywhere but California. and living in a very small space with a very small yard with a not so small family.

But this summer…..! This summer the kiddos are older which brings loads of new opportunity and less restrictions. I’m stoked! seriously stoked! The sun shines here late into the night allowing for days to go on and on until we all basically drop. We have visitors coming, birthdays, camping  trips, a reading challenge, Molly Moo’s ice cream came to town. Oh my goodness and did I mention the dad has great summer hours! My head is spinning with excitement.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed sun kissed, dirty, and laughing. Almost time to  kick back and enjoy;  life,  good company,  and new adventures.

Raise that coffee glass high… Cheers to slow moving days ahead!

Paw Size Chocolate Chip Cookies

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If you are anything like me and you click to get a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe you just what the recipe not the story…So I’ll get right to it

ENJOY-

Ingredients:

2 1/4 c. AP flour

2 tsp. cornstarch (really! I didn’t think so either…do it trust me)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (this amount is really up to you… eye ball it)

3/4 c. softened unsalted butter

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

4 tsp. or there about of molasses

1 c. sugar

1 egg room temp.

1 tsp. vanilla extract ( I love when it says “high quality” because really the person looking up killer cookie recipes isn’t the type to have the crap vanilla on hand…c’mon)

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (or more)

Directions:

place a fine sifter over a big old mixing bowl and pour the first 4 ingredients in.  The sifter will help mix everything up and keep it light a fluffy (just like me after a dozen cookies) Set the bowl aside. In your kitchen aid mixing bowl dump your sugars & molasses, mix on low. Once combined add the butter. Keep the mixer a going. In a separate small bowl add your egg and vanilla whisk together. Add that to the mixer with the sugars and butter. Then start spooning in your dry ingredients until combined. Roll the chocolate chips in the bowl that held the dry ingredients so they can get a bit of flour on them before dumping them in the mixing bowl.

Scoop out 1/2 c.( WHAT?!!! seriously do it you’re upping your cookie game here folks… it’s a treat not a tease) of dough on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 3 cookies fit on a sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 17 minutes. Give them a few minutes to cool on the sheet then move them over to a cooling rack.

Eat up!!!

river and the cookie

If you know me even just as an acquaintance you probably  know that I LOVE Chocolate chip cookies… and if you didn’t now you do, so feel free to send me some when ever you whip up a batch (Wink* Wink*) But seriously I would eat cookies over any other dessert, except for maybe my sister creme brulee, because that SH*T is otta this world.

So what I typically do is find a recipe then change it based on a few basic principles

#1 always use more chocolate chips

#2 vanilla is meant to be poured based on smell never measured

#3 be ready to substitute because with out fail I will not have at least one of the ingredients on hand

This last one is almost funny… almost. Because I like to think I bake fairly often, often enough to have the right stuff in stock.  But… rarely is that the case. and it’s not like I’m “sharing” the kitchen and don’t know when I run out or need to get more sugar. That would be awesome though, to someday open the fridge or pantry and be surprised.

Someday….

So these don’t take very long and they are killer delicious! The girls couldn’t finish there’s apparently they were “too big”  ha meanest mom ever makes cookies too big to eat!

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The only thing better would have been a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top… Yum!

be brave

My mind is all over the place today, I’ve started about a dozen intros but lost my train of thought… Sounds about right

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I appreciate having others to bounce off of. I am so fortunate to have supportive folks in my life. Not only supportive but honest. I like honestly. I like when I’m at the park and I ask a stranger how they are and they say what they are actually thinking… ” I’m feeling really tired, we have a new baby and I don’t feel like I’m giving my other kids enough attention.” I think it’s safe to say most parent’s have felt that way, even parent’s with one kids can say they don’t feel like they are always giving the kid enough. When strangers are honest to each other  I feel we are human. That for that moment as long as it may last (that 30 minutes you share at the park together) you’re free to connect on a human level, no expectations, no judgment. It reminds me of when I was a kid and you saw another kid and you were friends. As we grow up finding and maintaining friends doesn’t seem as easy. At least It didn’t for me from about 15 to 20 something. But then I let my guard down I guess with old friends and new people I’ve met along the way and theses people are my favorite people in the world. The kind you can call up with nothing or everything and either is okay.

I’m sure I was going somewhere with that but I feel like it was more of a ramble then a point.

I guess what I’m trying to say is it has served me well to start up that conversation, to be honest, to be human. And don’t get me wrong there have been many many folks out there that I didn’t connect with or wished that I would just stop talking to them. And that’s cool too ( I say with a half smile) But making a connection even if for a short time is enough.

Day Trip Camano State Park, Wa.

The park situation up here is nothing short of spectacular.

We have found that on our way to one park we end up driving by at least 2 or 3 others that look amazing and full of adventure. Sunday was mom’d day so the choice and by choice I mean how far we drove to get to where I wanted to go was mine. The dad and I have a knack for wanting to go at least 2 hours from home in any given direction, the opportunity to take a new road to get there is well… the cherry.

It’s an easy formula to find a great place to spend the day up here. Pick a direction, pick a distance, and there or rather HERE, you will find a state park. True story no exaggeration.

Camano State park is on the southern tip of Camano Island, which is not a true island, but close. Just North Of Whidby Island.

20160508_123345That right there is Whidby…Not so much sun but beautiful views, I should have taken a picture the other direction so you could see the dense forest…oh wait I think I did… well nope but I did get one outside the visitor center.

20160508_114012Cute kiddo..

Oh side note but totally cool all the same, the visitor center is packed with taxidermy (am I saying that right?) birds, a bear cub the size of the Fred and the skeleton or skellikin, as the bear would tell you, of a sea lion hanging from the ceiling. If you go stop in and check it out it was cool. Apparently a local taxidermist famous for his birds left a warehouse full of the his hard work to the park to take and display for the public.

A short hike from the woods to the shore, over the drift wood barrier and on to the pizza doe size stones we found a wealth of sea life. The girls and the dad found sea anemones

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the boys… are natural clammers! They made a small tide pool and watched for squirts, after about 45 minutes they had a pile of at least a dozen. Unfortunately the signs said clamming season was over… but now we know where to go.

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Boo found a crab too! But he’s more of a snail fellow… then a huge crab guy.

His bro brought it over for him

20160508_123048So serious isn’t he?

it’s not everyday you’re asked to pick up a dead crab.  As you can probably guess we were all Jones’n for some sea food to cap our day. but like the dad pointed out we had three kids barefoot an one with out bottoms ( note the skirt just laying a top the water above…) So there was that.

Just  minor heart break as we passed sea food shack, after cafe, after small town eatery… that’s alright though I got a mom’s day photo with my favorite people and a new memory to add to the bank…Perfection!

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