Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy HaRRoween!!!

I've never seen so many Trick or Treater's! They came in a giant swarm consuming all the candy in their path! Max kept having to call for more candy. One feels compelled to continue putting more and more candy out for them. (Tip: Don't give away your six-year-old's candy from his previous Halloween Party while he is trick or treating! He wont be happy about it. Just ask Em.) In her weak defense they are cute little buggers and you can't help but want to give them candy when they say in very well practiced English "Trick or Treat. Tank you very much."

October 2008 (Click picture to enlarge for better detail)
When we lived in RI we were homesick for the coolest Halloween neighborhood, Belvedere St, in SF. They had every house totally decked out with awesome decorations. It was like a festival. October 2004
Now I'm homesick for RI and the perfect trick or treating neighborhood where our friends the Reddings live. They throw the best Halloween/Soup party this side, (or that side) of some body of water...!October 2007
Well, when we move to Carlsbad by the Sea, I guess we'll miss the million Japanese trick or treater hoards in Misawa!

The night began with a fun soup party of our own with some friends who will remain nameless. Then joined the throngs of kids around the neighborhood. Upon our return we partook of the most delicious homemade doughnuts!  (An Alton Brown recipe) Double Yum!! Then a bunch of other friends came over and partied further into the night. It was Great!

I hope you have as much fun on your Halloween as we just did, since its just beginning for those of you in the States!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rokkasho Salmon Festival

So, under pressure from Acte Gratuit I put together a little video together to explain the Salmon festival. There was just too much to explain where words could not do justice. But a few explanations are in order:

  • The town is called Rokkasho and was about 45 minutes away if you don't get lost.
  • The men running away with their fish before I even got my feet wet were rushing to the salmon race, where the first 5 caught salmon race down a race track and the winner gets to get another fish.
  • I'm the one in the black shirt spinning around not catching a fish
  • They are slippery and fast.
  • No one bothered to tell me you need gloves to actually hold on to them.
  • Thanks for the "encouragement" Em, but it wasn't helpful!
  • I didn't try to throw the fish at the little girl!
video
On Monday we had some of my collegues/friends from work come over to partake of the catch. We ran into them at the festival and they didn't do the actual catching part so we wanted them to come over. Plus, it was too much fish for us two to eat. It was very very good. It wasn't smelly during the filleting (go to Salmonuniversity.com for help on filleting!) I did a fine job filleting and readying the fish for grilling. It tastes twice as good as store bought Salmon. It was tricky to cook since the color is different on these fresh from the ocean salmon.
We loved it and I'm ready for round two at the Shimoda Salmon Festival in November!
I even made some sashimi that was horrible (nor that good) from the eggs!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cheerios

I just thought these were adorable!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tooth Fairy!!

My son finally lost his first tooth!!!!* For those of you wondering who the previously named scab picker is, it is Em. Why do I mention it at the risk of defaming my wonderful beautiful spouse? Because it is relevant, she has been waiting for six years to be able to pull out Max's tooth. No not the pediatric dentist but the business arts major lady. She likes to pick anything that is a blemish, be it a zit, ingrown hair, scab, mole (that hurts, repeatedly), wart, ingrown toe nail (she still hasn't forgiven me for letting the Podiatrist fix it for me instead of letting her yank on it), etc. So the chance to pluck out a little tooth was too much for her. As soon as she found out it was loose, poor Max was subject to much poking and prodding by mother. I finally had compassion on both of them and brought home some topical anesthetic for Max and a extraction forceps for Em. A quick twist and a yank and it popped out with no problem, thus fulfilling a lifelong fantasy for Em and great excitement for Max. It didn't even hurt him!

Hint/tip for you parents of tooth shedding children, if you decide to tell your kid about the tooth fairy make sure you don't forget to do your part! I forgot the first night. Oops. luckily I had told him "she" might not come the first night. He was very excited the next next morning to find the 500 Yen!

*Normal exfoliation time is 5-7 years old.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Unnamed Ramen House

We went to an wicked good place to eat for lunch last week. I finished work early and we went with the two younger kids. The name was only in Kanji so we don't know what it was called, but at least it had an English menu. It was filled with customers both American and Japanese, so it must be good right? Right! It was very very good.

It had a traditional sit on the ground eating area and a bar area to eat at. the kitchen was open and part of the room. They had fast and kind service too.The ramen noodles were awesome and plentiful... and the gyoza, Japanese dumplings, were divine (these were for you Brandon). Gabe dove right in and even punk Sam loved the noodles. (It again took 10 minutes of persuading to get him into the restaurant with promises of not having to eat anything and that we could go to the Bx for pizza after.) It is now my favorite Japanese Restaurant! (Max's is still 100 Yen Sushi, which he asks for all the time.)
I like this comparison of these two kiddos.
*excerpt from their menu! =)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bruisers

A few of my siblings mentioned, in the comments of previous posts, a picture of me looking as Gabe does. I think this is it...! 
 Do you see any resemblance? 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gum Ball Torture

I had to make a run to the store the other day and Max was going to go with me. He quickly grabbed two quarters from his money jar to buy a gum ball. (We always deny him things by saying "Do you have your money with you?") We got there and of course he doesn't want to get the small ones that are a quarter, he want the 50 cent ones that are huge and can't even fit in my mouth. So we walked around the store with him gnawing on it and getting greener and greener. I tried to ignore him and couldn't bare to look at him. I was praying I wouldn't run into any patients. "Hey look there's Dr. Warner and his son is eating a giant gumball! Can I have one mommy?" We only, amazingly, saw one person we knew and they weren't a patient. So it was OK, but boy was he a sticky green mess.

So here is what he looked like upon arrival at home.-One of my favorite trauma stories from residency was having to go into the ER at 2am to fix a broken tooth. How did the kid break it? His friend hit him in the tooth with a giant gumball or jawbreaker!

-BTW that citrus chicken Em made there in the back ground was delicious!!!! My wife Rocks!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boy #3

Gabe got his first big scrape(s) the other day. It was pretty sad. I heard him crying outside and went out to see what was wrong. Sam assured me that he (Sam) was not at fault. (yeah right) We brought him in and cleaned him up and he was fine in no time. The wounds though continued to get redder and redder and swollen. So now he looks like this (minus the few scabs that may or may not have been pulled off by one he previously trusted.) (The circled part is just from his messy eating habits)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oriase Gorge Take 2

Monday, I had the day off for Columbus Day for the first time in who knows how many years. In RI we didn't get it off but we got Victory Over Japan Day off. Go Figure. I think it is the only state that is still celebrating that. I personally had never heard of it.

ANYWAY.

It was perfect weather and we made another attempt at the Oriase Gorge. Sam tried to pull the "I want to go home" bit again, but we nipped it in the bud. It was gorgeous and the leaves were JUST beginning to turn colors. This time we went further up the Gorge and saw lots of beautiful waterfalls and picturesque scenery. At the top of the Gorge is Lake Towada, where we had a picnic with the boys.

Here are my latest pics:






Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bammers

As we were baking the perfect vanilla bean crème brûlée, Em asked Sam, "Why are you so happy today?" Sam replied, "'Cause nobody's bothering me." His dad then asked, "Who bothers you?" He then points at Max then his dad and then his mom and upstairs at his sleeping brother!(Oct 2008)
WHAT A PUNK!

He has bee exceptionally difficult this last week, screaming and crying at every little thing, even giving Em the worst bite mark I've ever seen! Then yesterday, he was back to the old smiley Sammers we all know and adore.
(May 2007)

I hope it lasts! I guess we need to just stop bothering him! =)

I was going to provide you with a little clip of his most recent tantrum where Em gets the gnarly bruise, but as I went to edit it is was much too sad to see him so upset. =(

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carrot Cake from ATK*

This post is dedicated to Sara. Who is Sara, the four of you may ask. She was one of my best friends in High School. We have recently come back into contact with each other this past year along with Jenni, another of my best high school friends. So Sara here is the requested recipe, complements of my wonderful wife who willingly sacrificed time from her blog to type this up.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting*

If you like nuts in your cake, stir 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans or walnuts into the batter along with the carrots. Raisins are also a good addition; 1 cup can be added along with the carrots. If you add both nuts and raisins, the cake will need an additional 10 to 12 minutes in the oven. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is recommended by the “Test Kitchen”.

Carrot Cake

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots (6 to 7 medium), peeled
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups safflower, canola, or vegetable oil. (This seemed like a lot of oil. Substitute part of the oil with applesauce if you'd like. Janeen, pretend that we did.)
Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

  • For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the parchment.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • In a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups); add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. Wipe out the food processor and fit with the metal blade. Process both sugars with the eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool the cake to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
  • For the frosting: When the cake is cool, process the cream cheese, putter, sour cream and vanilla in a clean food processor until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down the workbowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.
  • Run a pairing knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment, and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface of the cake. Cut into squares and serve.
*ATK-America's Test Kitchen. I've never cooked a bad recipe from them!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fun Birthday days!

First off, a thank you all who have wished me a Happy Birthday, especially the many on my wall on Facebook!

Emily did many a nice thing for my birthday, the least of which wasn't putting up with me saying "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!" after each birthday demand. It all began with having the day off from work. Em let me sleep in a little. Then came the Eggs Benedict (Eggs-B: My 2nd favorite breakfast closely behind Eggs-a-la-Goldenrod, which subsequently became the dinner request). Then Boy #1 was sent off to school and the rest went on a trip to Oriase Gorge. This was an approximately 70 km drive through beautiful rice field country, which is turning a beautiful golden color. My main desire was to finally let my camera get out in the open. The only problem, other then taking the wrong fork in the road at one point, was getting to the wooded Gorge and Sam getting sacred of bears and wanting to go home. We found a good place to park 50 yards from a beautiful waterfall. We, mostly Em, distracted Sam from the fear of bears and the subsequent fear of snakes and the subsubsequent fears of his parents falling in the river/stream (Em did fall in with one leg later on=)). "Daddy! Down't Dat's Dane-gerr-ous!"It was a very pretty, yet short walk. I got to do some fun photography and see a little of the beautiful area we call home(ish).

Em continued to put up with some more birthday demands, I went and bought myself a Spiderman football at the BX (base exchange...store) to play catch with Max (Gabe has claimed complete ownership of the ball now), and had my favorite dinner. 31 is great!

But no!!!! My Birthday wasn't over yet!
We went out to eat with our friends the next night. Then on Saturday I went on a fun ride with my new friend Merrill and our collective 6 kids, yes all 6
! (See picture for how such a thing is possible) Then watching the BYU Utah St football game.

Sunday was the final day my Birthday was honored, strike that, considered as Em made dinner and my favorite America's Test Kitchen Carrot Cake!

Bonsai: A How To Short Course

Why Short? Because I'm Tired!!

I had my second Bonsai class the other day. I already alluded to my new forest, but I want to briefly illuminate on the things I've done so far in the class.

I repotted one of my Bonsai. These pictures take you through the steps.

1-remove from pot
2-remove the dirt (Old dirt is "No Thank you")
3-trim off the roots
4-put large soil on bottom (Thin layer, about 10%)
5-place medium size in a hill (Thick layer, about 75%)
6-arrange tree and fasten it to the bottom with a copper wire
7-poke to get the pieces to settle
8-fill with small soil (For aesthetics, about 15%)
9-water (often)(the soil begins to look dry again when it needs watering)*
Our Sensei refers to this process as open heart surgery. You have to work quick while the roots are exposed.
The next one show how I've begun shaping my juniper tree. It already has some copper wire on the main trunk, but I wanted to shape it further so I've redirected the top and then the side branches. He explained you want to try to get a triangular shape with the branches.(The smallest branch wasn't visible from the front before, now it will grow up with the guidance of the wire.)

I really enjoyed trying to visualize this living thing and apply my own artistic vision.

*The smaller the pot the more skill it takes to keep alive, but the cooler it looks. A small pot makes the tree look larger in scale.