Monday, February 28, 2011

A Lot of Eggs, All of them Good

I'm lucky enough to still be in touch with some girlfriends from high school/middle school (I KNOW!!) and we've been making a point of meeting up once a month for the last little bit.  We had a fabulous jambalaya spread at K's swanky downtown apartment, we had a caroling party at Aunt LoLo's, we had a Chinese feast at Aunt LoLo's...and it was my turn to host, so we had an afternoon tea party.  So, so fun.  Especially for certain little girls in our families.  (And an ecstatic little boy.)

The spread: carrot cake, scones, rooibos chai, hot cocoa, cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, fresh bread with nutella, curd, and peppermint meringues.

Unfortunately, we were too busy dealing with the kids' enthusiasm to take any pictures.  BUT, I took pictures before hand!  (Of what I made, at least.)

(You know what else I did before hand?  I took a gamble that the baby would let me sleep that night, and spent an hour and a half cleaning the house.  I started at one end --our bedroom-- folding laundry, and finished up on the other -- the kitchen-- sweeping.  The baby did NOT let me sleep that night, but by golly I had a clean house!)

There, isn't that pretty?  Grapefruit-meyer lemon curd, and peppermint meringues.

lemon-grapefruit curd and peppermint meringues

The curd used 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks...that's a lot of eggs!  I saved the 4 egg whites to make a double batch of meringues, and Ernie decided they should be pink.  Win-win situation, yes?  The kids adored these cookies- I think Mimi had six, and then snagged a few more after the party while I was cleaning up.  They tasted like concentrated candy canes, so I'd use way less mint extract next time but that's just personal preference.  I cooked them in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours, and then left them in the (turned off) oven for another few hours and pulled them out just before the party.  They got nice and crispy, with no browning, on my silicone baking mats.

peppermint meringues

Another thing that happened on Saturday?  This book came.  It's awesome.

Vintage Notions

It's called "Vintage Notions" and is a compilation of excerpts from newsletters printed by Mary Pickens, founder of a women's college for domestic sciences.  She's like a mix of Martha Stewart and Gordon Hinckley!  Seriously, she's talented in everything, and has such a sunny outlook on life.  I love this book, and I love that Su, at Vively Online, hosted a giveaway and sent it to me :)  Thanks, Su!!

(The page you're looking at there has a "magic pattern" for an apron- instructions on how to take a yard of fabric and turn it into a pull over apron.  And, of course, it's an amazing vintage style because the pattern was written in the 1920's.  Very awesome.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Keeping Warm

Every February that I can remember, living at my parents' current house, we had a late snow that took *everyone* by surprise, but wasn't a big deal...except at my house.  Our street was seemingly always just above the snow line, and was just windy and steep enough that when everyone else was driving to school and to work, we were sliding backwards down the hill praying that we wouldn't end up in the ravine.  (Shortly after they moved in, one neighbor's wife very  nearly DID end up in the ravine.)  It doesn't help that there's a gate at the top of the street, so if no one remembered to lock it open the night before you'd have to stop and wait for it to swing open...and by that time, you'd slid all the way back down!

Anyway, February is almost over, and we've got our snow.  And the snow has basically come and gone (and left some very cold temps behind) EXCEPT in our neighborhood.  We still have about 6 inches, our front steps are covered in at least half an inch of ice, and this afternoon I found out how to get Ernie interested in going outside.

spraying the snow pink

Do you see what they're doing?  Two spray bottles, five drops of "neon pink" food dye each, a couple cups of water...they had a blast.  I envisioned them making pictures....maybe faces...but I forgot that I handed this project to Ernie.  She informed me, after coming inside, that she needed to go back out tomorrow to "finish" coloring the snow pink.  She won't rest until it's ALL COLORED IN.  

spraying the snow pink

You like their outfits?  I won the "sock" battle, they're both wearing socks.  I told Ernie to put some pants on, and I can see (in the first picture) that she complied by putting on madras shorts.  They coordinate with her short little skirt.  *sigh*

While the girls seem totally oblivious to the need to stay warm, I've been warming my belly with some Korean cooking this week.

ddok boki

Doesn't that just look HOT??  The recipe is here, it's called "dok boki."  The rice cakes/rice sticks were found at a local asian market, a Chinese brand.  These are AMAZING.  Think super chewy mochi, you boil the rock hard rice sticks until they're all bendy, then cut and pan fry in lots of oil.  I don't keep Korean chili paste around, so I used equal parts Sriracha and soy sauce, with a bit of sugar and some seasoned rice vinegar for my sauce, then sprinkled on lots of sesame seeds.  I used more sugar than the recipe called for, and still these are SPICY.  Oh my.  So, so, so good.  And, since no one else in my family likes spicy in the least little bit, all for me!  I've thoroughly enjoyed my lunches this week :)

ddok boki

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Weeks




Can't believe it's only been two weeks!  (Alright, two weeks and a few days....but still!)  Honestly, the days kind of bleed into each other, and I realized today I don't actually know how much sleep I'm getting.  The math is beyond me.  If I go to bed at 10:00...and he eats 1:30-2:00 or 2:30, and then around 4:00-5:00, and my husband's alarm goes off around 5:30, and the kids start moving around at 6:30, and....yeah, I've completely lost track.  Just keep me away from the cookies, because I'm craving them something fierce!  I keep reminding myself that there's a weigh-in every Monday morning...about half the weight is gone, and I'm banking on another few weeks of 2 pounds off every week, followed by 1 pound weeks, until I get back into exercising.  So really.  Keep me away from the cookies.  We have lots of walks and park dates ahead of us, not to mention outings to the beach, and I want to be fit enough to chase after the kids!

(He spent most of Monday and Tuesday sleeping....and Wednesday was an all day pork-out fest.  Seriously, his only nap was 11:30-3:30, and other than that he basically ate every hour starting at 4 am and cat napped for a few minutes in between, and didn't go to sleep till 9 pm.  Yikes.  Hello growth spurt, here we come!)

Totally unrelated, but the poor kid still doesn't have a nickname.  His name just fits him so well!  Well, I think so at least.  Which is remarkable, considering the only google hits for his name is a council of engineers somewhere in Africa, and a World of Warcraft character that you must defeat if you want his cache of 'trinkets.'  Heh.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Color Her World

While the baby slept this afternoon, the girls and I got busy.  Not terribly busy, you know, but just something nit picky to soothe a ramped up kindergarten girl.

I have colorful walls.  Colorful walls involve lots and LOTS of paint chips.
sorting color cards

After sorting all the chips into colors, and then organizing by color number and letter (no, I'm not OCD, why do you ask??) we chose our favorite from each color and cut them into strips.  I lopped off the tagged side of each color strip, and she used double-sided tape to put the labels on the backs of the cards, for future reference.

(Family??  I swear I did not pick out this outfit for Ernie.  Yes, I know I dressed almost entirely monochrome in 3rd grade.  She's getting a head start.  Hey, it all matches, right?  She's all set for St. Patrick's Day...)

sorting color cards

(Meanwhile, outside it was doing this.... that's snow.)
sorting color cards

Mimi was busy doing this....that's her belly button.  I have a picture somewhere of Ernie doing the same thing. Apparently they're confused, but at least they understand that Mommy Milk is for babies!
Nursing her doll

After Ernie got all her cards done, I had her sort them back into colors, and she laid them out by gradient (i.e. lightest orange to darkest orange.)  We talked about the colors of the rainbow and looked at some photos online, and she sorted her color graded stacks into rainbow order, and we talked a bit about color mixing.  She thought it was pretty nifty that the color between two primary colors was a mix of those two...if she can only remember Mr.  Roy G. Biv, she'll never forget what two colors make orange again!  Unfortunately, she can barely wrap her lips around the word "Roy" so this might be a challenge for her...!  I found some great color wheel charts the other night, but I can't actually remember who linked to them right now...drat.

Anyway, we're starting on a "color" exploration right now, since there are so many fun rainbow projects to do around St. Patrick's Day!

(Inspiration came from a photo on this post, at Itty Bitty Love.  Ernie graded the four colors on each card so quickly, I'm going to go back and chop up a few more cards from each color family to see if she can grade horizontally across the cards, if I limit her to one row.  I also need to trim the edges, because it's highly likely she put them together like a puzzle, with curved corner on top and bottom!  I also need to find some red paint chips, because we only had two pale pink palette chips.  Are you surprised that we had every other color of the rainbow?  And we seriously considered putting them on our walls?  I told you: Crayola Explosion.  That's what my house is!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gumdrop Cookie Flowers

Before my mother-in-law left town, she talked me out of my intended Valentine's project with Ernie- have you seen the hershey kisses-on-a-stick "chocolate rose buds"?? They're darling, and I used to make them for my friends when I was in high school, but they're just a tad advanced for a kindergartner!

These flowers, though, are not. Nana left a stash of supplies on my kitchen counter. A stick, two gum drop, and a chocolate cookie and you're good to go. Ernie whipped out a bouquet of these Sunday afternoon to hand out to family members that evening. Funny thing, she handed out flowers to my little sister's friends too, with the intention of making more the next day to hand out to the family members HERE in this house. Alas, she never made the extra two flowers, and so only she and Mimi got Valentines Flowers that evening, and Daddy and I got a promise that she'd make us some later :) Serves us right, though! My sister and I had a little Valentine party for the kids Monday morning, and I pulled out all the Valentine candy I'd squirreled away, so the kids could decorate their sugar cookies...which means I had nothing to hand out on Monday evening, which means an earnest-faced Ernie wanted to know "Why didn't you and Daddy give me a Valentine?" My party excuse sounded lame even to me, so this will just have to go down as the year I gave everyone a baby instead of Valentine's Day cards. I should have grabbed some leftover candy and put it in an envelope with a note, but if wishes were fishes, we'd all be pescatarians! (No, I'm not sure what that means either, but I say it to Ernie a LOT :)

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Baby Wrap

Wow, thanks for all the well-wishes, guys! We've made it to week two, with a lot of help from family. My sanity is slightly shredded at this point, and I look like Jessica Rabbit (although with huge hips) but all in all we're doing well!

I'd forgotten how comfortable my baby wrap is! Our little man took a spin around the house in a "sling hold" the other night, and actually fell asleep while I was playing piano. Granted, he's *almost* too big for this particular wrap method, but it will do until he can hold his head up for a different wrap. (It's the basic wrap, with the front crossed piece that's closest to the body folded in half like a hot dog bun.)

I posted my tutorial a few years ago, but it's still one of my most linked-to posts. SO EASY. If you make one, I'd recommend using 5 1/2- 6 yards of material. When I made mine with 5 yards, I forgot about the post-baby poochiness, and a little extra fabric would be nice.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Let Me Introduce You To...




He's so calm, I can hardly call him "Bam Bam" any more!  We'll go with Baby Boy for now.  I can't believe he let his Nana and I strip him down to his skivvies right after a nap and stick him in a basket for a photo shoot...and he was hungry, too!  Definitely a calm baby.

Our little man arrived quickly and quietly over the weekend- a quick, natural labor for our nearly ten-pound boy.  Umm....that was a surprise.  A BIG surprise!  How many kids arrive and go straight to size one diapers?

We're home now, Nana is here for the week, and we're all counting our blessings!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Aunt LoLo and I have been scheming to have a pint-sized New Year's party to ring in the year of the rabbit with the kids- the party day finally arrived!  We celebrated a day early, and had so much fun.  Uncle LoLo's parents are in town, and Ma Ma (accent on the second syllable, and make it slightly higher than the first) helped us celebrate in style!

Aunt LoLo was doing some serious hot gluing when we arrived, to make cherry blossom branches.

making CNY decorations

We helped the kids make their OWN cherry blossom branches too!

making CNY pictures

We had our very own Lucky Dragon come to visit- Ernie wanted to know if he was a "parade?"  Umm...sure.  I guess.

Ma Ma fed him choi (spinach, today.)  You feed the dragons lettuce leaves, and they sometimes spit it back out with a lai si (lucky money red envelope)!
feeding choi to the lucky dragon

He gave everyone kisses.  Even me.  Pucker up!

lucky dragon giving me a kiss!

Ma Ma made yummy noodles for lunch, and we shared a platter of lucky treats: candied lotus seed, winter melon, and lotus rounds; dumpling shaped cookies filled with peanut paste; rice cake dipped in egg and pan fried; and "lai si" candy that came in red wrappers.  OH, and all the kids got their own lucky money "lai si," but only they could "ching ching" by shaking their clasped fists at Ma Ma and saying "gung hay faht choi!"  Mimi is such a parrot right now, she got it right away...which is why Ma Ma always calls Mimi "gwai" and "good girl."  We've gotten a kick out of seeing how many cantonese words Ma Ma has gotten Mimi to say this past week!

Thank you so much for celebrating Chinese New Years with us, Aunt LoLo!  Gung hay faht choi!