Saturday, June 26, 2010

Boating and Islands and Nothing is Normal

Have I mentioned that Life has slowed down around here?  I think I mis-spoke.  Normal has stopped for the time being, and Life has kind of gone warp speed.

Whoosh!  Sister's back in town.

Whoosh!  Let's go to the Islands for the day whenever we feel like it!

Whoosh!  Let's watch Wonder Daddy work his fanny off trying to get a fledgling business off the ground!

Whoosh!  I'm a week behind in folding laundry!

Whoosh!  Let's get our (lifetime) boater's license!  Hooray!

Whoosh!  I haven't swept in 18 hours, you could serve an army of toddlers from the scraps under my table!


But I miss talking in this space!  I promise I've had good reasons for being so absent, but still.....!

Little Miss E managed to turn five this week.  I KNOW!  I'm pretty sure it was just a little while ago I was bringing her home from the hospital, a little appalled that they would just turn us loose.  With a baby.  I kept checking behind us to make sure someone wasn't chasing after, yelling "Stop!  You're not allowed to leave!"

6.26.05 Princess 2

We celebrated appropriately with her friends, with tutus and flower wands and glittery play dough....I can't wait to see what this year holds for our oldest munchkin.

The girls and I snuck away to my parent's getaway again on Friday- we left right after breakfast, and were there by 10:30 for a gorgeous cloudy morning, and a brilliant sunny afternoon.  We got lucky and Mimi took an actual nap, IN A CRIB, so we managed to survive the afternoon without any major explosions.  (Except...her diaper.  Sakes alive, I gave her watered down Crystal Light in her sippy cup, and little girl drained at least 3 of them.  In the two hour car ride home, she managed to flood her diaper, and consequently her car seat.  Half way through the trip, when I thought she was bored when she kept putting her feet on the seat and trying to stand...she was just trying to escape her own personal pond.  Sakes alive, child!  Of course, she had a totally dry diaper in the morning.  I'm pretty sure she was empty by the time we got home.)

We finished the week with dinner with friends we see far too infrequently- R served two amazing pizzas, one was Thai Peanut, the other was BBQ chicken (I'm going to ferret out the recipes and I'll share- R, I know you told me, but I need to get the details!), and we took all the kids to the park.  I include the two dads in that "kids" segment, because they got to bring their favorite toys (guitars), and spent 2 hours picking and strumming their favorite Dave Matthews songs and crooning along, to the delight of the other folks at the park.  Have I told you guys what an amazing musician my husband is?  He's been so busy being an amazing daddy and an amazing husband and an amazing tax seems to take a back seat sometimes, which is too bad.  The boys were putting their heads together about doing a show later this year, though, so fingers crossed....

**Side note: I was totally humbled tonight.  I thought I was doing better at church, understanding what people were saying....there was a big group of Latino kids there at the park tonight, and I didn't even recognize most of what they were saying.  Sigh.  Was it slang??  More likely is that God's totally carrying me at church, and I didn't realize just how MUCH.  (My family is attending a very small Spanish congregation right now.)**

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meals These Day

...or "How to feed yourself without really trying."  Heh.  Life around here has slowed WAY down.

First, Aunt LoLo moved back.  That whole week was kind of a free-for-all.  And just in case you were curious, trading babysitting for pizzas is a totally valid way to plan meals.  Hey, it worked for us!  And then there was the night we traded babysitting for take-out Chinese...and the day Dad brought a trunkful of hotdogs and fruit just as an excuse to come see all his grandkids.... it's a rough life, I know!!

How about the night we had smoothies for dinner?  (frozen berries, soy milk, and SPINACH.  Totally healthy dinner.)  (OK, this is what I ate for was the kids' dessert, after Wonder Daddy made them a fabulous dinner that I wasn't here to eat.)

Can't forget tortilla chips and bean dip (drain and rinse a can of black beans, and blend with half a jar of salsa.  My kids eat this by the cupful, I've made two batches since last week.)

Then there was the night I let Ernie choose: corn on the cob, bread and butter pickles, and milk.  Umm...WOW.  Wonder Daddy??  THANK YOU for making fried egg sandwiches for you and I that night.  From the bottom of my gut, thank you.

However, last night I redeemed myself: fried eggs, grits with cheese, and a huge skillet of braised collards with onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  (That's Monday.)  As a side note, Ernie surprised us and ate THREE helpings of grits and eggs!  Big shock, another "white" food that she adores...but it's new, and she tried it, and that earns total points in my book.

Tuesday, I have a big tub of pinto beans defrosting (always cook extra beans!!)  I'll mix it with the leftover greens from last night, and add a few cut up sausages*.  With farofa on the top (seasoned, sauteed mandioca flour.  Kind of like bacon flavored bread crumbs, they're Brazilian.)  I made bread yesterday, so the kids can eat that, or the rice that I'll make to serve with the beans.

After tonight?  Here are some ideas kicking around of things to make:

White bean with tuna dip/spread.  Because chips/crackers with dip is just GOOD right now.
Grilled tofu.  I  have a carton of extra-firm clunking around the back of the refrigerator that really needs using up.  Little spicy-little salty-little sweet sounds pretty good, no?
Homemade udon.  OK, no, not really.  I do NOT have the patience to make noodles right now.  But I wouldn't mind if someone else did....

(And yes, a more realistic list of what I'd LIKE right now would be takeout Mussamun curry, fried chicken from the deli at the grocery store by my old house...  Oh, and maybe a banh mi from the asian market in the same neighborhood....Bad Myrnie!  :)  (Sheesh guys- NOT in the same meal.  Eww :)

We have some special foods to plan this week, too.
I'm thinking this cake, with strawberries and whipped cream.  The special girl is rooting for carrot sticks, carrot soup, and cheese pizza for dinner.... I'm getting ready to stage an intervention.  I think.  (If it were her favorite foods, I'd totally go for it, but she's never eaten soup OR pizza willingly, so..???)  Oh, and her love of carrot sticks has reached it's end.  Dinner sounds like a dud.  Wracking my brain for what she really likes....contemplating boiling up 15 pouches of ramen noodles, just to rock her world.  We don't buy them very often, they're a treat....)

This site is inspiring me, though.  What's inspiring you these days?


*"Ballpark" brand.  ahem.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kids Made This: Painted Flowerpot

We needed a birthday present for one of Ernie's preschool friends- she decided that a flowerpot was a GREAT idea!

I cleaned up a nice terra cotta pot I've had hanging around, and she went to town- I wish I got "finished product" pictures, but...clean up time is always a little hectic with two kids and some paint :) In true Ernie style, the pot was completely covered with paint when she was done. (I did convince her not to paint the bottom, which I felt was so small feat.)

Mimi got her own little pallette of tempura paints and a brush, and went to work on an over-sized piece of construction paper.
Unfortunately while my back was turned, she then proceeded to paint her face, belly, shoulder, hair, high chair hinges, and walls.

I love glossy walls that just wipe clean- WHEW!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Belly Band Tutorial

I have this massive, old t-shirt that's been floating around my drawers for years. It was a "door gift" at a work meeting held in the CONVENTION CENTER to announce that yes: Cingular was Purchasing our Company. 

And as your prize, here's a t-shirt smashed into the shape of a 5" football and shrink wrapped.
(We thought it was weird too.)

The t-shirt came in handy when I left work shortly thereafter for (permanent) maternity leave. By virtue of being the largest item of clothing in our house, it became the only thing I could wear to bed.

(In my first pregnancy, I was carrying a swimming pool for Ernie: double amniotic fluid. My legs would keep finger-induced indents for a full five minutes. I went from a curvy 140 pounds to a human-water balloon 210 by the time I waddled into that hospital for the last time. Sufficeth to stay, once I got out of my chair and developed a forward momentum...people generally got out of my way, and NEVER EVER got between me and my next milkshake. ahem.)

ANYWAYS! I was dead tired of looking at this shirt, which has oddly stayed in the bottom of my pajama drawer through two moves now.

Slice off the bottom.

Cut the width down to size (I used my under-bust measurement, divided by two since this is a tube. But I'm sure you could have figured that out. It worked out to 16". Looking back, the t-shirt isn't that stretchy- it's tight on my hips, but hey: it stays put REAL GOOD.

Serge up the open edge.

VOILA! My size XXL t-shirt, parting gift from a wacky corporate "team building"/"we're going to eat your company for breakfast" meeting...can now be worn around my hips, to block unsightly views when I bend/clean/pick up children/live. Crazy good!
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Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Patch a Couch

This is a quick and dirty method to patch up your comfy, well-loved, pieces of furniture.

This couch was in my parent's living room when I was growing up. It's seen active duty for 15 years now, and will hopefully see many more!

However, little tushies had worn completely through the cushion fabric, and if there's a hole you KNOW kids are going to stick their fingers in to see if it's possible to make the hole bigger. (It is.)

First, cut a piece of fabric larger than your hole, and iron in the edges to the wrong side of the fabric. To make the corners lie flat, open them out, then push them in on themselves so the edges cover the corner, and keep ironing. (See picture.) A seam ripper is helpful to hold the corner in place while you iron it down.

Lay your patch right side up and stitch it to the seat cover, trying not to sew it to the cushion itself. You want this to be able to move when the cushion cover shifts around, or it will stress the stitches.

I just did a basic running stitch, you could get fancy and do something else. I'm not fancy.


If you want to get inspired about patching up your beloved furniture, there's a really neat picture of a much-patched arm chair in Amanda Soule's book Handmade Home

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Wooden Play Bowling Set

There's an immutable truth: Grandma has the coolest toys. True fact.

Cousin B pulled this out of the magic toy closet the other night- it was made by Grandma's dad! I think I need to learn wood working.

I snapped these pictures super quick, while also trying to get the girls into their shoes and coats.

There are gutters on either side- you can return the balls (ball bearings) by setting them at the top of the ramp.

Little tiny woden pins, and little insets for them to sit on.
For the younger set, there's this moveable ramp with a groove down the middle- you point it at the pins, and let your ball roll down.

Coolest wooden toy I've EVER seen!
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paper Graduation Mortarboard Hat Tutorial

I made paper mortarboards for Ernie's Joy School class to wear at their graduation ("gradulation" as E says). The instructions I found were great, but I thought some pictures would make them better!

From a large piece of posterboard,laying "landscape" cut:
6 8"x8" squares
6 3"x24" strips (note-if I did this again, I'd cut these strips 4-6 inches thick)

Measure your child's head, and mark off a strip to that length.

Lay each strip down and mark off 1 1/2" long-ways with a straight edge and a ball point pen, pressing hard. (Or, if you having a boning tool, just use that.) Fold on the mark.

Cut one side of the paper like a saw. You don't want space in between the teeth, or this won't bend into a nice circle for you.

Bend into a circle with the "teeth" pointing in- tape together the ends so that the end of one side matchs with the head measurement marking on the other.

Put your hat circle on a piece of newsprint, drizzle with glue, and press well onto a square of paper.

Poke a hole in the middle with a nail, and use a brad to attach a tassel.

You can make your own tassel by wrapping yarn around a 6" piece of cardboard (I used my 4" quilting ruler, it worked fine.) Cut the yarn off the skein with a 9" tail, wrap the tail a few times around the top of the loops and tie to secure. Cut the bottom of the loops to make a nice fluffy tassel.
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