Category Archives: Critiques & Reviews

Seattle Sounders FC

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The second main event of our trip to Washington: attending a Seattle Sounders game. Good times. I promise you, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never been interested in soccer before in your life, you’d want to attend one of these.

Before game time, we ate at Ivar’s on the Seattle waterfront along with Colin’s parents.

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Seagulls will eat a french fry right out of your fingers. Nature at it’s finest. We used to eat here before Mariner’s games at SAFECO Field so it’s only logical to make this a regular part of our Sounders experience, as well.

That and the gathering at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square. It’s here that the Sounders’ own marching band riles up the crowd before entering Qwest Field. (Trivia nugget: Drew Carey, one of the owners, agreed to buy into the team only if they had a marching band!)

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There’s noting like taking part in establishing tradition. Who would have thought “geeking out” with the band before the game could be so much fun?

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It was here at the game that we were able to meet up with up with Marc and Deanna. Colin and Marc go way back. Back to the days of roommates and staying up too late playing “Super Mario Kart.”

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These are funny friends.

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Sounders vs. Barcelona— the current European Champions. The best team in the world. The Sounders are nothing to sneeze at but they’re a young team in a young league. No one really thought they’d win this “friendly” game. But it was fun to see them play, all the same.

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Lionel Messi, Argentine soccer player extraordinaire and arguably best in the world, showed off his sweet soccer moves to Colin’s great pleasure. I’m sure half the people there attended the game just to see him play. He did not disappoint.

Final score: 4-0 Barcelona. Alas, no love for the Sounders. Still, a great evening.

Thanks, Tami and Joe, for watching los niños so we could go!

Book List

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After the previous post about the reading couch, I had some requests to list what books we read. Strangely, we both stuck to “Young Adult Literature.” It wasn’t really planned, it just so happened that those were the types of books Colin grabbed off our nightstand in a haste to get out the door; plus they were the only ones that seemed interesting enough to choose out of the RMH library.

Here are the titles and a short review (mine only), complete with “star” rating:

Jeannie’s Reads

  • The Giver— Enjoyed very much. Made me thankful that we have variety in this world and trials and our agency to make choices. (4 stars)
  • Artemis Fowl (Book 1)— Was a pretty entertaining read. Not the best fantasy book ever. But after our trip to Ireland, I’m a sucker for anything remotely Celtic. (3 stars)
  • Anne of Green Gables— Absolutely loved this book! Can’t believe I didn’t read it before! Made me want to move to Prince Edward Island it sounded so beautiful. (5 stars)
  • The Hiding Place— Incredible story. Everyone should read it. The true meaning of charity and Christlike love. (5 stars)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird— A classic. Such a good story! Love the writing style. (5 stars)
  • Tuck Everlasting— A sweet story that I thought ended too quickly. (4 stars)

Colin’s Reads

YA Literature is safe. And it’s usually pretty good. I enjoy reading it knowing that I won’t stumble onto some raunchy sex scene or run across fowl language. It’s generally uplifting, too; which makes it more appealing since why would I want to spend my escape time taking in ideas/scenarios/lifestyles that are going to drag me down? It’s why I flat out stopped reading Ken Follet’s, “Pillars of the Earth,” though many recommended it to me.

But I do love more than just those that have won the Newbery Medal. For a more detailed look at my preferences, you can check me out on Goodreads.

What books have you read lately that you’d recommend?

Dream Dinners

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On most days, I really love to cook. There’s great satisfaction in planning and preparing a tasty meal that your family enjoys. Usually, I plan out the week’s meals on Monday morning and then shop for the ingredients that day. Our little menu stays posted to the bulletin board so that we don’t have to make decisions about what to eat on any given night. Works pretty well, for the most part. But then I still have to prepare the dish that evening, even if I already know what we’re going to eat.

Some days even that seems overwhelming.

Some days, I just want to essentially eat a frozen dinner– just pop it out of the freezer, heat, and eat. Done. By the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do is chop ingredients up using a lot of different tools that I’m just going to wash by hand (don’t own a dishwasher).

But I don’t want to sell my family out to additives and preservatives because I’m lazy. So, Stouffers doesn’t cut it for me, plus I imagine that would get rather pricey after awhile.

Enter “Dream Dinners,” a food preparation chain that I’ve been eyeing for some time now. They have a whole month’s worth of dinner options ready for you to prepare there at their facilities. You just toss the pre-cut ingredients in Ziploc baggies, slap a recipe label on, and freeze until you need them. Brilliant.

But I didn’t take advantage of this idea until now. Sure, we have a full kitchen here at the RMH, but do I really want to spend the 1-hour-plus it takes to prepare a meal after I’ve spent the whole day at the hospital? Clearly not. So, my sweat, practical, cost-analyzing husband suggested that I give it a try while we’re here. He didn’t have to ask me twice!

The verdict: it’s a winner. The meals were delicious, easy to cook, and provided ample leftovers for lunch the next day. It took me 1.5 hours to prepare 11 dinners (72 servings) and I didn’t clean up a lick in the process. Yes, it’s a tad pricey when you factor out time being a cost consideration. But for us in our current situation, it was a lifesaver.

[Editor’s note: That is not me demonstrating my “Dream Dinner” experience in the picture above. I kiped that photo off Google Images since I didn’t have the foresight to bring along my camera!]

Pioneer Chicken

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This was a somewhat historic day. We lunched at “Pioneer Chicken,” an establishment I thought went the way of all cholesterol-raising greasy spoons. But lo! There it was on Sunset Boulevard, in all it’s tacky 1970’s decor and glory.

Pioneer Chicken was a mecca for me and Julianna, my best friend growing up– for all intents and purposes, my sister. As little girls, we begged our moms to let us ride our bikes down to the corner of Saticoy and Louise to pool our quarters together for some french fries (probably where my obsession started!) and chicken strips. We marvel now that our moms let us go at all knowing now the fretting that motherhood brings!

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I don’t make it a point to frequent “B” grade restaurants, but this was an exception. I’ll never forget the devastation we felt the day that they closed our neighborhood franchise down. It was even worse when they eventually demolished it and turned the space into a parking lot. When I spotted this one just down the street from Maddie’s hospital I couldn’t believe it could be true! I called Julianna right away.

It was exactly as we remembered it: same twisty brown chairs, same pictures on the menu with the dude in the wagon, same BBQ sauce… We might as well have entered a time warp!

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We passed the joy of the fatteningly delightful breaded chicken and crispy golden fries on to our children. The legacy lives on… except we’d never let our kids ride their bikes here in this neighborhood!

Groundhog Day

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Call me crazy but this is my favorite movie. Really. Colin and I watch it every year on February 2nd. We actually quote many of the lines pretty much as often as we can.

Some people don’t appreciate the humor of the repetition in this simple but profound flick. I ask you to reconsider. If you were stuck in the same day over and over again, what would you do with your time?

Thank goodness eternity will not be as mundane.

Happy Groundhog’s Day! Did he see his shadow?

I Heart Gotham City

Well, the city behind the Hollywood version, that is. Colin and I finally got to see “Dark Knight” this week. Three months later, yes, but at least we still caught it in the theater! Thanks Mom and Dad for making it possible!

As our Windy City friends know, all of the outdoor city scenes were filmed in Chicago. The grand vistas of Gotham’s downtown: Chicago’s amazing architecture. The multi-leveled streets and tunnels: S. Columbus and W. Wacker Drives. Batman speeding through a glass-walled shopping area on his motorcycle: the underground walkway system that’s part of Metra’s Randolph Street station. Some of the final scenes take place pretty close to the movie theater where we would have seen this if we still lived there.

We enjoyed the movie for the story, of course. But the real thrill came from seeing parts of a city where we spent three wonderful years of our life. A city that we absolutely love. A city we still think of as home.

I’m so glad we finally got to see this amazing movie. But it’s made me miss Chicago and our friends there a little bit more.