Friday, July 30, 2010

Great Big Sea

Being a member of the Oregon Zoo has its benefits. One of the better ones is getting free tickets to any Wednesday night Zoo Tunes concerts. We took advantage of this deal this week. The kids and I packed a picnic dinner and took the train to the zoo. Josh met us there after work. It was a glorious day! We sat in the sun and watched a great concert.

The band was called Great Big Sea and they are from Newfoundland, Canada. They kind of remind me of an Irish-y version of The Decemberists. Their songs tell stories and have more depth and meaning. Mostly about getting drunk, dying, and fishing, but that is besides the point, there is a story there! This band was wonderful at getting the audience involved and at one point had a "test" to see if the audience was good enough singers. They played and had us sing along to: Bohemian Rhapsody, I'm Too Sexy, Thriller, and Don't Stop Believing. They ribbed the audience about doing so well at Hockey during the Olympics, and were otherwise funny and entertaining. I will post some links to their songs at You Tube that we liked.

The real story though about that night was the journey home. Like I said, the kids and I took the train. There is a park and ride about 1 mile from our house and it is super easy to hop on a train. Not to mention, my kids love riding it! So, after the concert is over (Josh had already gone home on his scooter) the kids and I packed up and headed out to the station.

This particular station is underground and you have to take an elevator down that goes almost 400 feet! We got there and the sign said a train was coming in 5 mins. Whew, I thought, Great timing.Well, 10 minutes passed and I check the sign again. This time the next train coming was about 15 minutes away. At first I thought I had just mis-read the previous sign. Then a couple minutes later, a Tri-Met employee showed up saying that the train was delayed and that there were buses at the top waiting to take us all West-Bound.

Back to the elevator. On to a crowded bus. We make one stop, which happened to be another park and ride, just not mine. But lots of people got off and I was able to talk to the bus driver to make sure that he was going to my park and ride too.

That is when I found out that this bus driver was unfamiliar with Beaverton. He normally drives a route in Portland. Another gentleman offered to guide him around to all the train station stops and so we drove on.

By this time, Levi had fallen asleep in the middle of the bus. Claire, however, was a ball of energy. We make it to another station and more people get off. We are down to about 20 people on the bus now.

The next stop that we pull into, we can see the west bound train just leaving the station. Some people get off, but otherwise we hurry to make it to the next station before the train. Wouldn't you know, we made it. Everybody rushes off but me. I have one kid sleeping, one running up and down the isle, and our huge stroller. The bus driver is honking his horn like crazy alerting the train driver to wait for us. He (or she) did not.

I ask the driver if he can take me to my stop and again, he says that he doesn't know the area or how to get there. I am desperate. I do not want to wait out at some random train stop with two kids in total darkness at 10 o'clock at night. So, naturally, I told him I knew where we were and that I could direct him. A little white lie. I had no clue where we were. Okay, he says, Let's go.

By that time, one other person who missed the train got back on the bus. She had just moved here days earlier and had no idea where we were either.

So we pull out of the station and I took a wild guess as to where to go, and miraculously I was right. A couple minutes later we were on the main road through Beaverton and I directed the driver how to get to my stop.

It was kind of cool having a chauffeured bus; although we did not get home till 10:45!

Great Big Sea: The Night Patty Murphy Died

Great Big Sea: Old Polina

Great Big Sea: Mary Mac

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Before & After

Well, my mom is back from China, so I will have to start updating this blog a bit more regularly. It is not like nothing has been happening around the Knight household. Quite the contrary. We have been uber-busy: packing, moving, traveling, working, unpacking, remodeling, adjusting, and driving each other crazy.

But things are slowly starting to settle and we have gotten ourselves into a mini-routine. I am liking this one rather nicely and I hope that it works well once school starts in September. Basically we do our grocery shopping on Monday, Tuesday is laundry, Wednesday is cleaning day, Thursday is "Adventure Day" and Friday I am hoping will become a baking day.

Claire is in charge of Adventure Day this week and she saw a picture from a walking guide book of Portland. She chose that picture which is a bike ride a bit north of us in Vancouver, WA.

I thought I would finally get some house pictures out there, since we finally have all the boxes done. Not totally done, mind you, just moved to the garage for me to deal with at another time.

So here are the before and after pictures of a few rooms. Enjoy!






Sunday, July 25, 2010

Super Salad

Seems like lately, every time I log into Facebook, I am reading about another Alaska friend getting their salmon on. Reaching their limit, cleaning and canning salmon, filling up their freezers, and of course, having a blast camping in the process. Secretly, I am jealous. There is nothing better than fresh Alaska salmon. And yes, it is possible to purchase it here in the Pacific Northwest, IF you want to pay $25 per pound. Yikes! There is an entire industry dedicated to flying fresh salmon straight from the fishing lines/nets to your local Seattle grocery store.

It is usually so overpriced, we usually end up buying the frozen fillets (thank you Trader Joe's). As a good former-Alaskan, I refuse to buy farm-raised salmon. NEVER.

Anyway, I made this salad for dinner the other night and it was seriously to die for. I thought I would post it for the Alaskans who are rich in abundance of fresh/frozen/canned salmon.

FARMER'S SALAD with grilled salmon (from Cuisine at home)

for the salad:
1 T canola oil
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t Dijon mustard
pinch of salt
2 cups mixed salad greens
1/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup canned chickpeas
3 T crumbled goat cheese

for the shallots & salmon:
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T chili powder
1 t black pepper
1 cup peanut oil
4 salmon fillets
2 T canola oil
salt & pepper

Whisk together 1 T canola oil, lemon juice, Dijon, and salt.

Toss greens, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and chickpeas in a large bowl; set aside.

Soak shallots in buttermilk for 30 minutes. Combine flour, chili powder, and black pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Drain shallots and add to flour mixture in bag. Seal bag; shake to coat shallots.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Heat peanut oil in a pot to 360 degrees; shake shallots to remove excess flour and fry them in batches (to avoid overcrowding) in oil until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer shallots to a paper-towel lined plate.

Brush fillets with 2 T canola oil and season with salt and pepper; grill, covered, until cooked through and fillets release easily from the grate, about 4 minutes per side for medium doneness.

Toss salad with vinaigrette and divide between 2 plates. Top salad with a salmon fillet and fried shallots. Garnish both salads with goad cheese.

Yum. This salad was amazing. Josh, who eats salad because he knows they are good for him, loved it. I, of course, made a much bigger salad and made some other changes:

1. made a balsamic vinaigrette
2. added more veggies (yellow pepper, purple cabbage, etc)
3. did not use peanut oil to fry shallots, just whatever I had on hand
4. used feta cheese with herbs instead of goat cheese

I really wish I had taken a picture of the salad; it was so pretty with the colorful veggie salad topped with a beautiful salmon fillet, which was topped with fried shallots. I am sure that I will make it again, as my whole family ate it. (Levi & Claire think all salads are Cesar salads, so their dressing is always Cesar!) I will take photos then! Meanwhile, try it! Let me know how your family liked this incredible salad!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I have not eaten in three days.

On Saturday night I was hit by a nasty intestinal thing. I was diagnosed with this problem about six years ago, and have managed to avoid any serious outbreaks since then. Luckily, this disease is easily managed by diet and exercise. Basically the diet consists of: lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, water, and fiber and not a lot of red meat and processed foods. Sounds like how we all should be eating right?

Well, after the diagnoses, Josh and I did a fairly good job of eating the right foods and being healthy. Then we had kids. And they grew up. Although our diet has slowly morphed away from this ideal way of eating, I would still not classify ourselves as 'bad' eaters. We still rarely drink soda, we have red-meat maybe once a week, and candy and potato chips are basically non-existent in our house.

And, I would not even classify Levi and Claire as picky eaters. Trust me, I have seen picky eaters! Levi loves all fruits and Clarie's favorite veggies are edamame, green beans, and broccoli. But I have noticed, as they have gotten older, I have gotten lazier. And I have gotten lazier in the processed food department. I blame Costco really. Going down the frozen isles is fun: chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and pot stickers. They are all so tasty; and so easy!

But after not eating for three days and remembering how painful this condition is, Josh and I are both willing to jump back on the healthy living diet train. I planned out our weekly menu on Sunday night and I am hoping to get into a routine of doing all the weekly grocery shopping on Monday. I will make some sort of fish dish once a week and the same for a red-meat dish.

I am really going to try to avoid purchasing too much processed food. I mean, I cannot go completely cold turkey, and I deserve at least a bit of a break right?

In other news, I am in the process of dealing with our former landlord over our security deposit. Seems he "forgot" that I gave him a certain amount when we signed our lease and that amount conveniently works in his favor to the tune of $100. I have since pointed out to him the correct amount, including the checks and amounts, which all support my claim that he owes me $100, and he is not returning my calls or texts.

This is on top of the fact that he returned my security deposit over a week late. Washington State law gives a landlord 14 days to return the security deposit less any repairs. He got me my check nine days late, and it was short.

I really hate to take the guy to small claims court, although I will if he continues to ignore me and not return my money. The only good thing would be that we would have to go to Spokane again, and we would get to see our old neighbors! (and our neighbor is in law school and would make an excellent witness!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Bladders at 37,000 Feet

I think I am feeling better emotionally enough to re-tell our flying adventures from yesterday. Every time I told the story yesterday (to Josh & my sister) I kept tearing up and feeling horrible.
So here I go. This is what happened to me and my kids while I flew home with them from spending a few days in Rhode Island for a family reunion (that blog will come later!)

Since our flight left at 7 am out of Boston, we decided to get a hotel room close to the Logan Airport instead of driving up super early from Providence. The night before we cleaned out the rental car, packed up all our bags, took baths/showers, and laid out our clothes for the plane the next day.

The alarm clock went off at 4:45 am and I was up and ready to go. The kids actually did good too, considering they were so excited about the hotel room that they did not go to sleep till after 10 pm.

We loaded up the car and headed off to the airport. I will say, this particular car rental agency was great. I returned the car to the parking garage, left the keys in the trunk, and texted the company with the location of the car. It was nice, since I could park right next to my terminal. We got checked in, no security problems, and bought a small breakfast next to our gate. Our first flight was from Boston to Chicago and that went perfectly.

We landed in Chicago with not too much time to do much else but wait by our gate and start boarding out next plane to Portland. After a bit of delay, we were finally on board and ready to leave.

Now, if you know my particular kids, you know that Levi has the world's smallest bladder. He also seems to lack the ability to hold his urine for longer than five minutes. And juice makes these problems 10x worse. I made the extreme mistake of getting my kids an Odwalla juice in Chicago.

So here we are, taxiing off the run-way, when Levi says he has to go to the bathroom. Well, I tell him he has to wait. We talk about the seat-belt sign and how it is not safe to use the bathroom while we are climbing our way up in the air. So he is fine with that. We wait a bit longer, get to a pretty steady and what seems like to be a decent enough altitude for the pilot to turn off the seat-belt sign. We wait, and wait. The sign is still on, and Levi is starting to get antsy. I finally just get up and let him go. We are about 5 rows from the back of the plane were the restrooms are. Unfortunately, the world's most unfriendly and unsympathetic fight attendant is there also.

She sees up heading to the bathroom and says "you cannot be out of our seats right now!" I respond "he needs to go to the bathroom." She rolls her eyes, waves her hand in dismissal and goes around the corner.

Levi starts freaking out. He really has to pee, but he says, over and over "I don't wanna die, mama!"

I push him toward the bathroom and reassure him it will be okay. Meanwhile, Nasty Attendant gets over the intercom and makes an announcement about staying in your seats and not using the restroom yet. We make it back fine, and of course, about one minute after we sit down, the seat belt light goes off, and people are free to move about the cabin.

Beverage service started about 20 minutes after that and, since we are close to the back of the plane, we have a while to wait. The beverage cart was about three rows away from us when we hit some turbulence. It was actually really bad. The attendants tried to continue, but the captain came over the intercom and instructed them to sit as well. Seat belt sign gets turned on again. We had been sitting through some pretty rough weather when Levi announced that he had to pee. Again.

This time I knew that we could not go, so I told him to hold it. He did, for about 15 minutes, then it got really bad. By this time, the turbulence had died down quite a bit, enough to where I was no longer scared. But the light was still one, and I knew that Nasty Attendant was back there. So, I did what any mother would do, I rang the call button.

Immediately, Nasty Attendant gets over the intercom and states "we are not supposed to get out of our seats, if this is an emergency, please ring your call button again." Well, I did. Here she comes, flustered and obviously annoyed. I told her that my son needed to pee and she about hit the roof. I responded to her rant by saying that my son is about to pee is pants, to which she responded: "I would rather him pee his pants than hit his head in the bathroom!" Then she left.

This was too much for Levi. He started bawling. "I don't wanna pee my pants! I can't do it! I can't hold it! I don't wanna pee my pants!" He was loud. Very loud.

So here we are, Levi laying in my lap, bawling, hurting because he has to pee, and both of us unbuckled. He kept yelling about how he can't hold it, but doesn't want to pee his pants. Finally, after about 5 minutes of this, a lady in front of me tells me she has a bottle if I want it. YES! So Levi can now add peeing in a bottle in a crowded airplane at 37,000 feet to is list of accomplishments.

He instantly calmed down. I, however, did not. I started crying. Just sad tears really, nothing too bad.

And, wouldn't you know, about 5 minutes later the flight attendants were able to resume beverage service; although the seat belt sign was still on.

During this whole time, Claire was asleep in the aisle seat. Her feet were hanging out a bit and then Nasty Attendant goes by and knocked them. This instantly woke Claire up and, not knowing where she was or what was going on, she started freaking out and she peed her pants.

So here comes pee-soaked Claire to sit on my lap so that I can attempt to calm her down. Now, she did not pee a lot, enough to get wet, but not enough to feel much relief. Now it is Claire's turn to sit on my lab, crying about how she needs to go pee and me telling her to just pee her pants. Lovely.

This is when I lost it. The full on bawling came on and my tears did not stop running. Claire cried on my lap for almost 10 minutes before another flight attendant came and asked me if we needed anything. Remember, the seat-belt sign is still on at this point! Anyway, she asked me if we needed water or anything, and I looked at her and said (looking, I am sure, pretty horrible) "she just needs to go to the bathroom!!"

Wouldn't you know it, she let us go. No annoying looks, no violent threats, just compassion. We quickly went and made it back to our seats without incident. Finally, a few minutes later, the seat belt sign went off and all was well.

Well, not ALL was well. I just sat there and cried. The front of my shirt was wet from my tears and my eyes were puffy and red. I just wanted to be home.

Eventually Nasty Attendant did come and apologize to me.

I still have a hard time believing that she told my kids to pee their pants. She would not be the one to sit for four hours in pee clothes, chaffing and rubbing and stinking her body. Who in their right mind WANTS to pee their pants? I am just glad to be done with that woman and that long day.