Friday, August 29, 2008

Certain Death for a Fruit Fly

If you're like me fruit flies weigh in on the not-so-great-part of summer. Enter the Fruit Fly Trap. My brother-in-law has perfected what I believe to be the most effective fruit fly elimination tool and I had to share it with you.

  • Start with any smallish glass container
  • Fill with about 1" of apple cider vinegar
  • Tightly seal with plastic wrap
  • Poke 1-3 smallish holes in the top (I use a ball point pen)
  • Set in high traffic area (near sink, potted plant, fruit bowl, etc.)

What happens is the little buggers are attracted to the scent, enter the hole, find their way down to the liquid and drown. It's beautiful. We recently returned home from our week in Phoenix only to find the fruit fly population overwhelming our small kitchen. I set out 2 traps and by this evening there were easily 50 of them sent to their vinegary grave.

*here are some other ideas....

A Week of 1st's

We just got back from Phoenix, and I can tell you we are beat! We just packed in the activities, and the week was not without it's surprises. The biggest of all is that E's swimming! We took this video of her first ventures across the pool, you can hear our amazement!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Arizona 2008

We try and make a trip down to see D's grandparents at least once a year, this time it worked out for the end of their hot hot August. 110 nearly everyday. Needless to say we were in their pool a lot. We also squeezed in an overnight trip to Camp Verde for a desert train ride, and a visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, where we were amazed to see trainers swimming with tigers, had close encounters with giant snakes, and fed a giraffe! We were also lucky enough to talk D's uncle into saddling up Sacaton so E could take her first horse ridding lesson. The heat brought us indoors to air-conditioned movie theaters, the mall and In-N-Out Burger several times. It was a relaxing trip where all the worries of home-life just melted away as we were doted on, the way grandparents do. It was a fantastic end to our summer. Thanks so much Benny and Hilda can't wait to see you guys at Christmas!

(On the Train w/Great Grandma)

(signed artwork)

(prickly pear)

(face time)

(black and white)

(no thanks)


(In-N-Out "Booger")

(Irrigation Run w/Buster)


(Backseat Cousin Conference)

(Our Little Cowgirl)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back Again!

We love it when our dear friends Ben & Oliver come and visit! It's as if no time has passed between us! We laugh, eat, play, and so enjoy being with one another. E and Oliver often take a little time to warm up to each other, but they quickly find their own playful rhythm and are inseparable! This time we got to celebrate their two birthday's as they're only 20 days apart, and our good friends from Port Townsend (The Olson's) came over for the party! It's always disapointing when they have to make the long flight back to Wisconsin, but we know we'll see them in person soon enough, if not via iChat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deception Pass 2008

Two moms, three kids (2 3-year-olds and a 10-month-old), one night in the woods at Deception Pass State Park. I'm gonna just toot our own horn here and say; Not many moms would be up for this task. We had fun, and it was relaxed. Although the weather was easily 20 degrees cooler up north on the water, and it even sprinkled around dinner time, the kids played in the dirt with sticks, we went on a few beach excursions, ate many snacks happily by our fire (camping gives one permission to bring and eat as many wonderful snacks as you wish i.e. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup S'mores), and all the kids slept in 'til 8 the next morning!

(tree fishin')



(Asher in their 'under the table fort')

(doesn't get much dirtier)

(group shot on the cliff)

(Eileen and kidos)

(Baby Mini)


(campfires...look @ those bruises on my daughter's shins! Can you tell she learned how to ride a bike this summer?)

I will say now though, our trip was slightly soured the next morning when we found Rose, a small 4-year old girl on the beach without a caring adult. This sweet little one was wandering in a thread barren sun dress, without shoes or undergarments and filthy dreaded hair.
Upon our baffled discovery we invited her to play with our children while we started asking her questions;
"Honey, where are your parents?" Rose nonchalantly informed us they were camping in the park and were at the site, a site that was easily a mile from the shore. (sigh)
"Do they know where you are (imagining our terror in even momentarily loosing sight of our children in this strange place)?"

Another couple on the beach informed us that they had already once returned her to her site and were greeted with a very distant, unenthusiastic and removed "You should tell us where you're going..."

What to do? Do we call CPS, 9-1-1? Clearly her parents don't care that she's traipsing along the most dangerous waterway in Washington State, with it's crazy currents and steep drop-off's. She informed us that she lives in hotels in Portland, and would be turning 5 in late September. Our hearts were aching. What is the social responsibility? Parental responsibility? If we took her back to her site, she would inevitably find her way back down at the waterway not to mention the very distinct possibility that tempers could flare and things could get ugly. Calling the police or CPS seemed so drastic, but was this a drastic situation? (sigh) We opted for calling the Ranger Station. The Park's Chief Ranger met us on the beach where we filled him in on as much as we knew in hopes that he would take the appropriate steps. We went back to our site unsettled, and sick to our stomachs. We packed our things and slowly made our way home feeling like we really had done what we could, but not feeling like it would really help in the end. Eileen e-mailed the kind ranger to follow up, and found that indeed CPS had been contacted and that he was thankful we had found Rose and cared enough to step in.
"Thank you so much for caring about Rose, and keeping her safe. She was a sweet girl.

I met with her parents, who had actually gone to our camphosts a short while earlier to get a search started. I had a long chat with them, and did not get the impression that their parenting skills were appropriate. They were packing up to leave when I brought Rose to them, having been told by the hosts that we had Rose and would be bringing her to them.

I got their identification, and then called our regional Child Services unit in Everett. They agreed with my assessment that this was not a good situation. They are having the Portland Child Services unit follow up with the family when they get home from vacation, to have an in-home assessment and visitation.

I hope the follow-up is effective.

Thanks again for your concern and care for Rose. You may have prevented a severe tragedy here, and together we may have prevented a future tragedy of neglect."
Dear Little Rose,
We pray for your safety. We hope you find rest and comfort in the fact that two strangers in this very confusing world do care. Keep your confidence, keep your smile. We think of you often, and will continue to do what we can to ensure your right to a life with some sense of security.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

10 in 10 on 10 - August

...all of today's photo's were lost in a iphoto "unexpected quit." will give another go next month...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Flickr 888

Join In!

For those that find our 10x10's too, well, too much I believe most all of us could manage this: one photo tomorrow. That's it. Just a little slice of your life. Moo is "going to create unique Flickr 888 Postcard Packs that will be available early this fall." Can you imagine what thousands of submissions will look like all patch worked together? Cool.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Driver's Beware!

I'm now on the road sporting my new bike! Well, new to me. D found the old steel-framed, step-through beaut for me on Craig's List, and I love it! My first spin proved to be a bit wobbly as I can't remember the last time I donned one of those contraptions of gears and chains, but it's true; you never forget how. And thankfully, because am in desperate need of free exercise.

I first learned how to ride a tiny blue Schwinn, then graduated to a larger metallic red one (the very one my dad cleaned up and has waiting in his garage for just the right Christmas or birthday present in a few years for E), and now keeping with my brand loyalty this old chocolaty girl! I'll have to outfit her with a rear and front baskets, a new seat probably, perhaps a bell, and eventually switch out the hub, but for now it feels great gliding down the street with the fam all in a row.

* We took our first family bike ride around Green Lake and had a blast!

But I Like My Coffee the Way It Is...

All you Stovetop Bialetti coffee drinkers, listen up!

Coffee and cholesterol

Does your daily morning jolt boost the risk of heart disease?

By Merritt McKinney
Special to

For the millions of people who depend on coffee to jumpstart their day, cholesterol is probably the last thing on their mind as they wait for the morning jolt of caffeine to kick in. In the past few years, though, more and more evidence hints that coffee can increase cholesterol levels.

Experts say that the majority of coffee-drinking Americans do not need to worry about the impact of a cup of joe on cholesterol levels. That's because most Americans drink filtered coffee, which is believed to have much less of an effect on cholesterol than unfiltered coffee. Filters seem to remove most of the cholesterol-boosting substances found in coffee.

But a cholesterol check may be in order for people who use a French press or percolator to make their coffee or who prefer espresso or other varieties of unfiltered coffee, according to Dr. Michael J. Klag, the vice dean for clinical investigation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

In 2001, Klag and his colleagues reviewed more than a dozen studies that looked at the relationship between coffee consumption and cholesterol levels. They found that drinking an average of six cups of coffee a day was associated with increased total cholesterol and LDL, the harmful type of cholesterol. Nearly all of the rise in cholesterol was linked to unfiltered coffee.

The coffee culprit
Although caffeine is often cast as a villain, the stimulant is not to blame for unfiltered coffee's effect on cholesterol levels. According to Klag, the increase in cholesterol is believed to be caused by oils called terpenes that are found in coffee, but are mostly removed by filters.

"Persons who drink unfiltered coffee should get their cholesterol checked to make sure it is not elevated," says Klag.

The Johns Hopkins researcher notes that in a 1994 study he and his colleagues found an association between coffee consumption and an increased risk of heart disease. But most of the increased risk was linked to coffee drinking before 1975. It was during the mid-1970s, Klag points out, that drip coffee makers became widely used in the United States, making filtered coffee the norm.

Although Klag advises his patients who drink unfiltered coffee to switch to filtered brew, he says that not everyone needs to be overly concerned about the effect of unfiltered coffee on cholesterol. He notes that cholesterol levels are a "combination of how you live, what you eat and what genes you inherit." A healthy person with low cholesterol probably does not need to worry too much about the effect of coffee on cholesterol levels, he says.

A Dutch researcher who has also documented the cholesterol-boosting effect of unfiltered coffee agrees that the risks need to be seen in perspective.

"Unfiltered coffee has much less effect on your heart disease risk than smoking, high blood pressure or being overweight," says Dr. Martijn B. Katan, a professor at the Wageningen Center for Food Sciences and Wageningen University. "But if you want to optimize your cholesterol levels, you should avoid large daily amounts of unfiltered coffee."

Unfiltered coffee seems to boost cholesterol the most, although a handful of recent studies hint that filtered coffee may have an effect on cholesterol, too. In one study, researchers in Sweden found that people who normally drank filtered coffee experienced a small drop in cholesterol levels when they stopped drinking coffee for a few weeks. The results were "surprising," according to Dr. Elisabeth Strandhagen, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital(CK) in Goteborg, who led the study.

"We have done some tests on coffee filters, but we cannot explain why the filtered coffee had this effect on serum cholesterol," she says.

Despite the findings, filtered coffee seems to have a much smaller effect on cholesterol than unfiltered coffee. Strandhagen encourages people with high cholesterol or who are at high risk of heart disease to choose filtered coffee. They should also avoid coffee filters that have "aroma holes," which are very common in Sweden, she says.

Pieces of the puzzle
But filtered vs. unfiltered may not be the most important question to ask about coffee and cholesterol, according to a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

"People try to pin a culprit" when it comes to coffee and cholesterol, "but people do not live in an isolated world," says Dr. Gail C. Frank, a professor of nutrition in the department of family and consumer sciences at California State University Long Beach. According to Frank, there are "several pieces to the coffee story," including not only whether people drink filtered or unfiltered coffee, but how much they drink and what they are doing besides drinking coffee‹such as smoking.

While unfiltered coffee may contain substances that raise cholesterol levels, many popular coffee drinks sold at coffee houses seem more like desserts than beverages to Frank. The "bolts" of cream and sugary calories raise questions of their own about coffee's effect on cholesterol, she says.

When making decisions about coffee, Frank encourages people not to look for a yes or no answer. It's not a simple question of "do drink coffee" or "don't drink coffee," she says.

Instead, Frank encourages people to "filter through" their own lives and their own cardiovascular risk factors to make a decision about how much and what type of coffee to drink.

Merritt McKinney is a health writer based in Houston.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

*personal side note: We got my dad a stovetop coffeemaker for Christmas and 6 months later his cholesterol did got up...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wee Go Bottles

While we're not expecting a baby in our house, I have a fair amount of friends and family members with either new babies or one on the way. I can't believe how much baby items have changed in just the 4 short years it's been since E came along. This is one of the cooler items I stumbled on this evening and thought I put it up.

Pretty cool; sleeves for glass bottles.

Come on in, the water's........not fine.

Not how you'd want to start your day:

Shark found in Australian pool

SYDNEY (AFP) — A shark was found in a swimming pool at one of Sydney's most popular beaches Friday, apparently swept into the baths by a freak wave.

The one-metre (3.3 foot) shark turned up in a rock pool situated next to the open ocean at Cronulla beach.

Cronulla Surf Lifesaving Club spokeswoman Robyn Cole said fisheries officers netted the shark and released it back into the sea unharmed shortly after members of the public reported its presence in the pool Friday morning.

"It was quite calm, just swimming happily up and down at one end of the pool," she told AFP.

"It's funny, though, because we have swimmers who come here at 6am every morning to do laps. It's still dark then and they mustn't have even noticed it was there."

Cole said the shark must have been swept into the pool overnight by a large wave.

"It's the first time we've had a shark in the pool," she said. "We've had seals sunbaking there before, and get dolphin at the beach all the time, but I've never heard of a shark getting caught in a pool before."