Thursday, January 28, 2010

THS trumpeter plays with Dave Matthews Band

Two Tigard High School jazz musicians were chosen to play at Grammy's week in Los Angeles. One of them, Noah Hocker, has been picked to play live, on stage during the Grammy Awards show with the Dave Matthews Band!

So if you're near a TV at 8 p.m. Sunday night, tune in to CBS and watch for Noah!


Meet Baltic

This dog, dubbed Baltic, was found floating alone on ice in the Baltic Sea. Click HERE to read about his amazing rescue!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Muffin Wednesday: Esther's Favorite Blueberry

Esther's Favorite Blueberry was the muffin of choice for this week's Muffin Wednesday.
They went together simply and quickly and got good reviews from today's tasting panel, which included my coworkers and a former student.

Preheat to 400 degrees
12-cup muffin tin, greased or paper lined

1/4 c softened butter or margarine

3/4 c sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 c pastry flour (I just used all-purpose)

1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
1/2 c milk
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries (I had frozen)

1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg; mix well.

2. In second bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk; stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filing to top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until browned.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Girls' Weekend, Jan. 2010

I spent the MLK weekend at the beach with my best gal pals. Of course, no girls' weekend is complete without a cheese buffet: And some lounging/chatting/reading: And a trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory: Cheese samples! Which ice cream to buy??? Those who stayed Sunday night also experienced the big wind storm. The house, which is on stilts on the Oceanside hillside, shook and rattled with each gust. We were watching on the front porch as Pa's boat lifted off the ground and moved toward the house. Luckily, rock edging around the garden stopped it from going farther. The trailered boat used to be in line with the other, but the wind turned it quite a bit: As always, it was a wonderful weekend with good times and good friends. Can't wait for the next one :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cookie Day: Peanut Butter Choco Chip

Andy the wonder co-worker wanted to spend more time with his favorite Credit Recovery class to hone his NovaNET skills. He also wanted me to bake him cookies! Sounds like a fine swap to me :)

So Adriana, Diana, Angie and I made Peanut Butter Cookies. We doubled the recipe and added chocolate chips. They were a big hit!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Muffin Wednesday: Esther's Special Banana

This week's new recipe was Esther's Special Banana Muffins. Andy gave me a thumbs up and said it was the best one yet. (It was also the simplest, so that's good!)
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c softened margarine (I only had butter)
2 c flour
2 t baking soda
3-4 medium bananas, mashed

Preheat to 425

Large muffin tin, paper lined

1. Cream sugar and eggs. Add margarine; blend well. Add flour and baking soda; mix until a loose dough forms.

2. Add bananas; stir just until moist. Spoon into prepared tin, filling to the top.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. After 15 minutes, turn pan.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Famous Brad

If you don't know, Brad was in a climbing accident Father's Day weekend 2006. He and two friends were just below the Mount Hood summit when one slipped. The force popped the anchor, and the rope team fell about 500 feet. There were varying degrees of injury, from slashed faces to broken necks and crushed ankles. Everyone survived, but each climber (and family) lives with daily reminders of the accident.
Anyway... we checked "the book" at Powell's and found it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cookie Day: Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Co-worker Andy was kind enough to cover my second-period class today so I could work on a special project... baking with my CE2 peeps! That's one of the things I've missed most about my new job assignment this year - working with the students in the kitchen, learning about their lives, teaching them new skills, forming relationships and having fun!

Joan and Viri helped me make Oatmeal Caramel Bars, a fairly simple (and SUPER YUMMY) recipe I made once before.
The finished product:
And the other students and staff loved eating the fruits of our labor. Overheard: "These are BOMB!"


Thursday, January 14, 2010


The THS Jazz Ensemble played live Wednesday on KOIN-TV's "Keep it Local" show. Check it out:


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Though I'm far from perfect, I strive daily to live as an ambassador for Christ, showing love and compassion for all his children.

Pat Robertson has appointed himself as a spokesperson for Christians (and God), and through his television show, books and other outlets, he often spreads hateful, hurtful and untrue messages about God. Many times we hear from Robertson after natural disasters such as yesterday's earthquake in Haiti, in which he blames the people for bringing God's punishment on themselves. (Click HERE to to hear Robertson's comments. Click HERE to read Robertson's backpedaling PR spin.)

I want to say publicly that Robertson does not speak for me or my family or the other people in my life who are also followers of Christ. I am truly embarrassed that he is the example on which so many base their opinion of Christians.

If you're looking for a way to help the people of Haiti, consider donating to Medical Teams International, a Portland-based humanitarian organization that is sending supplies, teams of doctors and money to the devastated country. MTI's mission statement:
To demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.


Muffin Wednesday: Apricot Oatmeal

Mom-in-law Donna gave me this cool book for Christmas. It seemed like a challenge to me, so I decided to (hopefully) make muffins every Wednesday. Last week I tried "Traditional Cranberry Muffins" and liked them a lot.

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg
1 c milk
1/3 c melted butter or margarine
1 c fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and drained (I chopped these)
1/2 c chopped nuts

Preheat to 375

12-cup muffin tin, greased

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. In second bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moist and blended. Fold in cranberries and nuts.

3. Spoon batter into prepared tin, dividing evenly. Bake 20-25 minutes.

This week, I tried the Apricot Oatmeal Muffin recipe.
They went together easily and looked and smelled scrumptious. I thought they tasted good, but not amazing. The texture was dense, not fluffy. If I make this again, I'll chopped the apricots finer.

3/4 c boiling water

1 c quick-cook oats

1/2 c chopped dried apricots
1/2 c butter or margarine
1 egg
1 c milk
2 1/2 c flour

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Preheat to 400

Muffin tin, greased or paper lined

1. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over oats, apricots and margarine. Stir until margarine melts. Set aside to cool. Add egg and milk.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add oat mixture, stirring just until blended and moistened. Do not overmix.

3. Spoon batter into prepared tin, filling cups to the top. Bake for about 20 minutes.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Odds and ends

Here are a couple photos aunt Cynthia snapped at the McKee Christmas celebration Dec. 20 at my parents' house.
Last year, the McKee dinner was during the big snowstorm. On our way, we passed Jacob and Lindsey walking to the store to stave off cabin fever. We invited them to join for free food and "entertainment." The honorary McKees joined us again this year.
We managed to get a sibling picture while sis-in-law Jill was in town from NYC:

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'll Give You Peace

The choir sang one of my favorite songs yesterday as part of our month-long study into peace. Wanting to share, I went looking on YouTube and found a pretty good version.

Here are the lyrics to the Sandi Patty song:

Sometimes when you're in the valleys
All of your burdens you carry alone

Oh, but I know, I know when you need Me

Call I'll be there

Longing to prove how much I care

Peace, I'll give you peace

When the wind blows on

Peace, whenever you call Me

I'll give you peace

When the wind blows on

Heartaches, whenever your heart aches
I want to be there

To help see you through

When you're weary

You know you can find all the strength that you need

Find your rest and your hope in Me

No matter how long the night may last,

I'll keep you safe 'til the storm is past

Oh, I'll give you

Peace, sweet peace

When the wind blows on

Peace, whenever you call Me

I'll give you peace

When the wind blows on

I'll give you peace when the wind starts blowing

Peace, I'll give you peace

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Brad!

Brad is celebrating his 34th birthday today with ribs and stacks of guide books to plan for summer climbs. Happy birthday! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunriver River Loop, 12/30/09

A ton of snow fell Tuesday at Sunriver, and by Wednesday we were ready to strap on the XC skis again. Look at the difference in one day:
We decided to stay close and explore the River Loop at the resort, which basically circles the airport. We went counterclockwise, starting at the lodge and heading west before hanging a right at the tarmac. We skied around the end of the runway, along River Road and past the stables. Then the trail leaves the roadside and follows the Deschutes River, which is beautiful in the snow!
Interpretive signs dot the trail, giving facts about the area, wildfire and landscape. It was fun to learn while we skied :)

At the far south end of the trail, we skied past some massive houses that each had an airplane hangar on the back side. We had a good time imagining what it would be like to live there. (Michael - you need one!!) Soon, we were back to the golf course, which had plowed trails. But skiers before us had already laid tracks across the fairway, so we followed those back to the lodge. (Click HERE to see the trail map)

It was an easy, flat trail with great views. If it was clear, I think we could have seen mountains to the west, which would have been extra awesome. Brad thought the trail was a bit boring, but I enjoyed being able to glide without slogging up big hills for once. And it was plenty long to get a nice cardio workout.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

First hike!

Jacob and Lindsey joined us today at Tryon Creek State Park in Lake Oswego for our first hike of 2010. We spent about 1.25 hours exploring trails at the south end of the park and discussing our climbing plans for the coming season. We have some big plans, so it's time to kick it into gear and start training! It felt so great to get out! :)

Sunriver snow walks

Tuesday was our chill day at Sunriver, hanging out by the tree and watching some cable TV.
Around lunch time, we decided to make the 1.5-mile walk to the village to view the food selections. The trail, which was covered in a bit of snow, is conveniently right behind Rio de Sol:
It started snowing on our walk back and was coming down hard by the time we returned. Brad played with his GPS most of the way back.
Snowflakes kept falling and piling up throughout the day. So in the evening, we decided to go walking again - this time to Fort Rock Park. It was really dark when I snapped this flash photo:
Apparently it was really bright!
We were ready for the flash in this one:

Friday, January 1, 2010

As requested...

The technicolor bruise from Monday's XC skiing adventure. If you look closely, you can see all the colors of the rainbow :)

Swede Loop, 12/28/09

One of our last adventures of 2009 was a holiday trip to my aunts' new Sunriver house. Monday, we strapped on our XC skis and headed into the Swampy Lakes Nordic Area just east of Mount Bachelor.
We'd never been there, so we randomly chose the 7-mile Swede Loop, which makes a stop halfway at the Swede Shelter.

There were several inches of fresh powder on the trail... the really dry, fluffy stuff that we don't get on Hood. The trail was beat up, but the light snow was like a dream... no chunks! There were fairly good XC tracks along the way. The snowshoers seemed to follow etiquette by staying off the ski tracks, and the area is closed to dogs, so there weren't dog print holes everywhere. Plus, some trails are designated for snowshoers and others for skiers to further help the situation.

We took the trail counterclockwise as suggested by the trailhead literature. It proved to be a good move! The view was just trees for almost the entire route. But about 3.5 miles in, we came to the shelter at a lookout and a beautiful view of Broken Top.
Brad playing with his new(ish) GPS:
After a short break, we were on our way to complete the loop. Right after leaving the shelter, the narrow trail sharply gains elevation. We passed several groups that struggled in that section. Fortunately, our backcountry XC skies are more suited for that kind of trail, and we were able to make it up the hill. We were happy that we hadn't tried the clockwise route, since skiing down that stretch would have been difficult.

Brad really loved the trail and enjoyed the challenging uphill section. I wasn't as thrilled and felt like it was more of a slog than a fun gliding ski trip. It also didn't help that I bit it hard and smacked my knee caps. You should see the awesome technicolor bruise! But I did, as always, enjoy getting out in the snow for a good workout.

The nordic area is large with many trails and other shelters to visit. We will be back for more exploration!