Zachary: 11 months

Zachary is now 11 months old!

Well this has been a month of many many first and new experiences.

Zach had a great first Easter. He enjoyed dancing to worship songs at church and of course his first Egg hunt. He knew how to pick up the eggs and put them down in the basket and did so mostly on his own.

But he enjoyed opening his Easter basket which had shiny plastic eggs with yogurt bites in them even more.

Zachary met his great grandmother the next weekend and went on a short road trip with her, my mom, and myself to my sister-in-law’s baby shower. He did well traveling and spent the weekend with family receiving plenty of attention.

At the baby shower he wanted so badly to play with the presents, gift bags, and discovered he likes balloons.

We got back on Sunday, repacked, then Luke dropped us off at the airport the next morning. Zach went on his first plane ride from Portland to LA. He explored where his mom grew up and downtown LA. He then went on another road trip to San Diego where we met up with Luke.

There we explored old town and the Gaslamp district, the zoo, and toured the USS Midway all before another plane ride home. If this seems like a quick sum-up, it is, more on this adventure and plenty of pictures to come.

Alongside this adventurous month, Zach has been learning new skills.

Zach can stand mostly on his own, but he doesn’t know that yet. He wants at least one, preferable both hands of an adult to guide him when he walks around. He loves to push items around including boxes and chairs and will cruise all over the house.

Zachary has also started pointing using his whole hand loose at the wrist to point while saying “ooh”. Recently, he has been pointing at items such as the quilt in his bedroom, celling fans, lamps and other lights.

If we ask, Zach can give us an item, emphasis on can, he will give us his hands when they need to be washed too. And he is finally saying “mama”. Which of course makes me very happy.

Zachary is testing boundaries and knows the word “no”. He likes to go right back to “no” places like the fireplace or the few exposed cords in the living room. When we guide him to a new location, he will occasionally throw a tantrum, yes I have a mini-toddler already. In turn, Zach will sometimes say “nanana” or “nonono” to food he doesn’t want, or when he doesn’t want to do something. So, we know he knows what we are saying.

We try to go out outside at least a few minutes every sunny day now so Zach can enjoy his swing. Zach went to his first park play date this last week where he mainly enjoyed the swings, but did explore the jungle gym, with a lot of help.

I can’t believe Zachary is almost one!  I only have one monthly update left! Not to worry I am still planning share big changes with Zach. But I am also looking forward to writing about food, festivals, house projects and much more.

As well as there are other things that have been happening alongside Zach’s first year that I am probably due to catch you up on too.

Happy Easter 2017!

Happy Easter everyone!

It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were off on our spring break New York City vacation. For more on our whirlwind three day NYC trip last year, start with the blog post: NYC Day 1 financial district. We didn’t know it then, but that was our last vacation before Baby Greene, and it was a memorable one.

flowers from last weekend’s shower

This Easter weekend has been much slower and easier. We had the BBQ Orgeon Shower last weekend and next weekend will have my brother and sister-in-law at our place to help us with a few projects.

So we have been enjoying the sunshine, and working on house projects. The project line up for this weekend includes cutting down the brittle mossy walnut trees close to the back end of the house. When we moved in half of the branches were down from winter wind storms; we knew it was only a matter of time before the rest of trees came with. Another project is getting shelving painted and installed in the nursery. I am, as you can imagine, anxious to organize the baby room with all of the wonderful items we have received from showers and our registry.

But we are also taking time for fun. Like every year, I made hot crossed buns with cream cheese icing for the holiday weekend breakfasts. For Easter we are doing a simple brunch of hot cross buns and berry salad with bacon and eggs. The original plan was a bacon, spinach, and tomato quiche but the oven element died at the end of my hot crossed bun baking session on Thursday, so we’ll be without an oven for a few days.

We decided also to go on a date on Saturday to check out the black light mini-golf place in town. More on this to come.

We know that we have many years of Easter egg hunts and traditional Easter events with family coming very soon so we are perfectly comfortable keeping this year simple.

How are you spending your holiday weekend?

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Happy Easter 2016!

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Happy Easter everyone!

Today Luke and I will be celebrating in an untraditional way. We are traveling to New York City where we will be spending the next few days for Spring Break. This has been a trip on our bucket list for a while living on the East Coast and it’s taken us almost 4 years to get there. Plenty more on this trip’s details to come.

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So no Easter dinner of us, but I still made hot crossed buns (Luke would be upset if I didn’t). For more on this see: hot cross buns. Since we are eating these on-the-go for our spring break breakfasts I made the buns smaller and did not ice them. Instead I made cream cheese icing spread in a tupperware container to dip or spread on the buns when we eat them.

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Also, this year we did not go to a maple farm for pancake breakfast, but I did make maple cookies from local syrup like last year for our coworkers and my students to enjoy. For more on this see: https://agreenesadventures.org/2015/04/22/maple-cookies-with-cinnamon-vanilla-buttercream/

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This year I decided to not fill the cookies with cinnamon buttercream so I added cinnamon to the cookie dough directly. I also let the dough cool  before baking to help with the sticky texture. It really made it easier.

Hope you all enjoy a beautiful Spring Easter! See you in a week!

 

 

A transition update

Yes I know it has been more than three weeks since I last posted. No I have not abandoned my blog or my audience. Yes I missed you too.

Now that that’s out of the way here’s why I haven’t been writing: I have been very busy.

I know it’s THAT excuse again. But I am being honest. We are in a major transition here and it is a positive one but it requires adjusting priorities and time. This means enjoyable hobbies such as blogging tend to go on a temporary invisible shelf until necessary adjustments have been made.

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So now that adjustments are underway let me take the blog off the shelf and start filling you in on the big stuff:

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1. Teaching: Yes! Starting tomorrow I will finally be back in the classroom geared up with my post it notes, paper clips, whiteboard pens, and binder full of handouts. Yesterday I pulled my teaching messenger bag out of its dark forgotten crumpled corner and filled it with books, binders, folders, and teaching supplies- you have no idea how good that felt.

I will be teaching a college level writing course on Tuesday nights through March and April with a local college. The classes are four hours long (eek! I think I will join most of my students in drinking copious amounts of coffee) once a week. I’m looking forward to be able to teach critical thinking and practical writing skills to students who will use them not only in their course work but also hopefully in their careers.  I’m excited by this new opportunity and challenge but of course nervous as well. But it will feel good to be back in the classroom (even if it is for a once a week night class).

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2. Freelance editing: Another big Yes!! If you didn’t know, for the past several years I have been editing my mother-in-law’s books and materials. Now after a few years of experience under my belt I am  branching out to do freelance editing for other clients.

Now let’s be clear I never anticipated going into business for myself even part-time let alone in editing-but as with most people’s careers things gradually change and editing  has become something I enjoy . . . a lot . . . and no it’s not all about the grammar.

I look forward to helping writers express their thoughts and intentions to their audience and that has more to do with word choice, phrasing, and writing structures then making sure the writing is spelled correctly or in the right verb tense (although I do that too). I started working with my first clients at the end of last month and so far it’s been great to read, interpret, and expound on their thoughts, and ideas in a way that will help them immerse their readers into their story.

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3. Social activities: After the holidays last year we put our couples small group on hold until we could re-evaluate it’s direction and focus. After several months of talk, we decided to join up with a new small group hosted by a couple who had previously attended our group in the fall. We are meeting on Sunday nights right now enjoying coffee, baked goodies, and open discussion on how to get beyond the positives/negatives of the label “Christian”.

Also we have just begun preparing for Easter. At our church that means a large production for the community that will be available to see five time the weekend of Easter! This year  I am excited to get back into music  performance by participating in a  Easter production choir. Luke will also be participating as part of the cast. This means practices every Monday night and as we get closer to Easter some Tuesday and weekend dress rehearsals as well. It’s hard to give up one more night of the week (a night previously reserved for exercise) but it’s temporary and gives us the opportunity to get to know more people in our community and be creative.

So those are the big reasons why I haven’t been writing. Yes you will be hearing more on these topics. Yes I will be getting back to sharing about festivals, celebrations, baking, cooking and all of those other “normal” topics . . . in time.

So how about you? Any major changes headed your way?

Are you in a transition as we move towards spring?

Anything you have had to put on the shelf temporarily?

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

Hot cross buns and Berry salad: A (new) Easter tradition

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Hot cross buns rising on the preheated stove

My family (Halvorsons) never had any “traditional” Easter foods. Sometimes we had homemade brunch after church, other times it was a ham dinner after Easter egg hunts (some salt to balance out the sweets). But being that this is our first married Easter I thought I’d ask Luke if there are any Greene family traditions.

The answer is yes: Hot Cross Buns (yes just like the song-sorry if I got it stuck in your head).

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Baked brown and ready for frosting

Apparently there were a few years Diana (Luke’s mom) was working that she bought the buns from the store. After this Luke took it upon himself to make them! (even though he claims to be a cook; not a baker).

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The hot-cross bun recipe is a family thing for now (sorry).

But a few times for Easter brunches I have made a simple and delicious berry salad I’m willing to share with all of you.  🙂 I thought this would pair well as a light  side for our weekend of homemade Easter carbs. Plus this is an excellent gluten-free and vegan addition to consider if you are bringing something to an Easter brunch or hosting one yourself.

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Here is the easy recipe for my berry salad:

1 16-ounce container strawberries (halved or quartered depending on size)

1 8-ounce container blueberries

1 6-ounce container raspberries

1 8/6 ounce container blackberries

2/3 T powdered sugar

2/3 lemons

1.If you bought frozen fruits then semi-defrost the berries. If you bought fresh put them into the freezer until you are ready to make the salad.  Leaving the berries frozen/semi-defrosted will insure that you don’t end up with a mushy salad.

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2.Grate 2/3 lemons into a small bowl then cut and squeeze about 2/3 Tablespoons of their juice in as well.

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3. Add the 2T of powdered sugar to the lemon juice and zest and mix together (the powdered sugar will absorb and coat the berries easier than regular sugar ). You can also probably use honey but use your discretion for portions diffrences versus powdered sugar.

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Tip: Do not throw away the lemons after this. Instead place the leftover lemon slices rind and all into a water pitcher!

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4. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix gently with a slotted spoon.

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5. Let the mixture sit in the fridge covered for a few hours or for best results for a day before serving so the berries can soaked up the sugar and citrus juice.

Possible variations: You can choose to use orange juice or lemonade in exchange for the lemon/powdered sugar mixture or add fresh mint as a garnish.

Or if you want a fancier grow-up version: Use a citrus liqueur such as Grand Mariner or Lemon-cello.

Do you have any traditional Easter foods?

What is your favorite brunch dish?