Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vashon Dunes

Every year we gather on Vashon Island to celebrate a family reunion with Erik's extended family. His great-aunt (she's 97!) still lives in the farmhouse where she was born, and she graciously allows 20+ adults, an ever-growing number of kids (this year there were 11 with more on the way) and a handful of dogs to invade her usually quiet home. We eat, take naps, play on the beach, eat, pick blackberries, fish for flounder and dogfish, eat, read the latest novels, go for walks, eat, I think I gained 6 pounds and took 500 pictures while we were there this year, so it has been quite a chore trying to work off that weight AND get those photos all organized, but I thought I'd start with these. (The exercise can wait, right?)

When Erik was a kid, one of his favorite things to do at Vashon was go with his cousins down the beach to the sand dunes. They would spend HOURS running up and down the sandy hill. Now the cousins are passing along the dunes tradition to the next generation.

I had to back up quite a way to show just how high up they were. It's no little hill...

What do you do on a huge hill made of sand?

Jump down, of course!

Here's Erik in action:

His cousin...

And then this young punk showed us how to REALLY do it.

Yep, he definitely took it up a notch. Let's see that mid-air shot again...


Saturday, August 22, 2009

From Colorado to Vashon

We drove from Colorado to Washington caravan-style with Erik's parents. On our three day journey, we tried to cover 400-500 miles each day and camped at night in their RV. At one rest stop, we looked out into an open area and saw a bunch of little prairie dogs sticking their heads up out of the ground.

Claire and I crept forward s-l-o-w-l-y to get a better shot...

...but we didn't really need to worry because they were obviously used to people with cameras. This guy practically posed for me. "Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
Right after I took that picture, another prairie dog started coming right toward us, and almost touched our toes! I was too freaked out about a wild animal coming so close to our flip-flopped feet to snap a photo.

Our second day of driving was Gramma's birthday, so Claire decorated a cake for her that night. Remember the extra batter from the dump truck cake that went into the regular loaf pan? We found a great use for it!
It's a little hard to see in the picture, but she wrote "Gramma" in black frosting and then used the star tips to decorate all around the top and sides in yellow and blue.

We stayed in Baker City, OR on the 2nd night, so we decided to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center the next morning. We both felt that we had gained a pretty good knowledge of life on the trail from the computer game (smile), but thought we owed it to ourselves to at least check it out.

These were models of the covered wagons. I was surprised at how small they were. No "Little House on the Prairie"-sized wagons here.

This was the view from outside the museum. Inside, there was an observation window that showed the same view, but with a map next to it showing the location of the actual Oregon Trail.

Thought this moss on the rocks looked kind of cool.

Inside were displays of "lifelike" people and animals with pre-recorded voices playing as you walked by. Claire liked this one of the shepherd.

She also liked the buffalo.

Erik liked the buffalo too -- in the computer game. While everyone else was wasting their time trying to shoot rabbits, he could shoot one buffalo and be set for food for a LONG time. Yes, I think we learned all we needed to learn from that game...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vashon Sunset

Not much time tonight to work through the 500+ pictures that I took while we were on Vashon Island. However, I thought I'd post one of my favorites. This is the view from the front porch of the house.

Ahhhh...Puget Sound at sunset. Doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Birthday Bash at the "Waage Woods"

As mentioned in an earlier post, my nephew just turned one and his party was held at Erik's parents' new house, located on a beautiful 5-acre plot that has been appropriately named "Waage Woods."

This party had it all - horseback rides (thanks to the neighbors across the street), playground equipment, ATVs, and tons of yummy food.

Here's the birthday boy - love the hat (and it would become the "official" horse riding attire).

Claire taking her turn. She's a natural.

I'm thinkin' we're going to start seeing "pony" on her Christmas list.

Papa with one grandson...

...and the other. I love this picture.


Birthday boy on his new bike. Think he's having fun?

So here's some more experimenting with PS actions. The first is the original (straight out of camera). That's my nephew's boot, by the way.

The rest are as follows:
1. Boost
2. Heartland
3. Boost/Sepia
4. Vintage

I'm so often behind the camera, that I rarely get a picture of me with my girl. I thought this one was pretty cute. Love that girl.

Aaaand...I'm done with Colorado pictures. Now, on to the rest of our trip (after I take a little nap).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American Idol...Prince Phillip!

So I have to take a brief hiatus from my roadtrip blogging to share something I found in Claire's room last night. While she's with Grandma and Papa, I'm using this opportunity to deep clean and organize her room (and probably toss some stuff, but shhhhhhhh...don't say anything and maybe she won't notice...)

Anyway, I was picking up some of her Barbie dolls, and when I picked up Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty's beau), he looked like this.

Yep, he's rockin' out these days, boots and all, on an American Idol electric guitar.

"I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream..." I just love that song, but I'm not quite sure I'll like it as well accompanied by electric guitar. I fear it will lose some of that Disney magic.

Shhhhhhhh...don't tell ol' Walt and maybe HE won't notice.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dump Truck Cake

My SUPER-cute nephew just had his first birthday, and they had his party while we were there in Colorado! Erik's sister asked if I could do a cake, which I gladly agreed to.

The theme was centered around this cute dump truck that was a baby shower gift and became a focal piece for pictures during his first year. Click here to see a fun picture.

I baked a chocolate cake (always best for those oh-so-messy-face photos) in two mini loaf pans. The extra batter went into a regular loaf pan - couldn't stand to waste perfectly good cake batter! I carved the shape I wanted, stacked it on top of 1/2 of the other small cake, and then cut graham crackers to form the sides. As you can see, one of the graham crackers broke in two mid-cut, but a little buttercream worked wonders to glue everything together!
That picture makes it look kind of like it's sitting on a reflective surface, but it's actually two little cakes stacked on top of each other.

Here are the leftover scraps. Don't remember if they got eaten or not...

On to the icing. I panicked when I realized that I hadn't bought Oreo cookies to use for the wheels (and in typical Camille-fashion, I was putting this cake together at stores open) but I improvised by cutting out circles from the cake scraps.

Like this.

I added the blue frosting on top...

...and black frosting on the bottom. TA DA!

For the large cake, I asked them to order a plain frosted one from Costco and I just piped on the truck design.

That little truck didn't stand a chance.

He needed a little coaching, since he hadn't ever tasted black frosting before (or any frosting, for that matter).

But it didn't take long for him to figure it out!

The happy family.

Wanna try some?

A much-enjoyed cake equals...

...a happy birthday boy!