Monday, May 26, 2008

The Shryock's visit: Family meals, Farmers Market & Flowers

The Shryocks came to visit for a few days. We had a great time and got lucky with sunshine all weekend. On Saturday we went to Cafe Flora for brunch, to the arboretum to see the blooming azaleas and rhododendrons, and to the 35th st Bistro for dinner with Kate and Jacob. On Sunday we went to Cirquedusoleil at Marymoor Park in Redmond.

One of the main reasons I plant flowers is so I can cut them and bring them inside. I love seeing them in a vase when I come home. Here is my first cut flowers of the season. They looked great on our dinner table for our home-made dinner on Friday night with the Shryocks. Kenneth and Frances made the all-American dinner of roasted chicken, buttermilk mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Family Meals
Family meals are a great time to catch up with everyone and take time to enjoy delicious food. As a future dietitian I recommend that parents make it a priority to sit down and eat with their kids! Kids don't need special meals and parents should not be short order cooks.
Reasons why eating together is important:

1. Kids are more likely to pick up good eating habits by watching parents good habits (more fruits and vegetables)
2. One study showed that teen girls that eat with their families have significantly higher daily intakes as adults of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Boys that eat with family more during adolescence predicted higher intakes of calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber as adults.
3. Improved school performance.
4. Better family communication.
5. Kids are more likely to be adventurous eaters.

I try to go to a farmers market every week. Last week I went to West Seattle and on Saturday we went to the University District Farmers Market. It is the only place to get good eggs, meat and cheese and to meet the farmers that grow our food. There is something very disturbing to me about buying these products from an average grocery store. There is no way to know anything about what it took to get that skinless, boneless chicken breast into that Styrofoam container in the case at Albertsons....we do know that the process probably was not good and won't be good for the person that eats it. Anyway, back to the market...We got there at 9 am when they opened to make sure we could get cheese and eggs. It was already packed with people.

I bought eggs from Rickman Gulch Farm. The farmer told me that his hens eat whatever nature has to offer that day in addition to kelp, flax seeds and grain that he grows on his land (that is sustainable!). They have a website:

Pies by Jenny: She makes her pies from ingredients that she finds at the market. I wanted one of these strawberry rhubarb pies!

Ben buying some cauliflower and leeks

I love this sign right outside of the market. Its true that by buying from local farmers we can prevent the loss of farmland to development.

We saw the Corteo version of Cirquedusoleil, it was amazing. I have been known to fall asleep during long performances, but this held my attention the entire time. Here is what the Seattle Times had to say, about it


Cirque du Soleil started out in 1984 as a ragtag Quebec street circus. It's now a far-flung, heavily capitalized cirque empire — still quartered in Canada, but with 15 resident and touring companies in play around the U.S., Asia, Europe and beyond.

In past visits to this area, the company has wowed fans with its gilded and acrobatic whimsy. And now Cirque du Soleil returns to pitch its Grand Chapiteau (big-top tent) at sylvan Marymoor Park, where (following its run in Portland), the troupe will stage the first Seattle-area stand of "Corteo." The carnivallike show was devised in 2005.

Though most Cirque du Soleil spectacles feature acrobats, dancers and clowns cavorting in colorful makeup to a world-beat musical score, "Corteo" is something of a departure, noted Alison Crawford, the production's senior artistic director.

"What's quite different about this is that it's much more theatrical than some of our work," Crawford explained by phone from Montreal. Corteo is the Italian word for cortege, and the show "is the story of a man, a clown, who imagines his funeral, and there is some dialogue in French and English. But it's not a sad story at all. It's a celebration of a life."

Unlike in such previous Cirque du Soleil attractions as "Dralion" (performed in Renton, in 2002) and "Varekai" (presented at Marymoor two years ago), the actors wear "no masks or heavy makeup," said Crawford, whose job is to ensure the ongoing quality of the production.

"And when the artists speak each other's names, those are their real names. We're also using two-sided seating with a proscenium arch, dividing the stage, and big curtains. The show has the feeling of history, of old-time circuses. Some of the costumes are actually painted to look older."

Essential to all Cirque du Soleil efforts, however, are the top-notch skill acts — and "Corteo" is no exception. Crawford promises some unusual ones.

"We've got four beautiful women aerialists working on huge chandeliers, the kind you'd see in a château in France," she said. "And we have a number using two ginormous beds with trampolines under them. It reminds people of jumping up and down on the bed as a child."

The best Cirque du Soleil shows can indeed induce childlike wonder in adults. And there are more being cooked up, including a production that will be installed at a theater in Macau, and a new Las Vegas one featuring illusionist Criss Angel.

This photo was taken from

more about the Shryock's visit tomorrow......

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