Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lemon Curd

(this is a follow-up on the conversation Jen, Rachel and I had a few weeks back)

For those of you, not unlike myself that can't really have the ooey gooey goodness of Nutella just sitting around in your cupboard. Because well, we both know it doesn't just sit there, it's out on the counter with a huge spoon dipping in and out all afternoon long. We justify it with; "It's going on an apple, that's healthy, right?" That stuff is good for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a few "healthy" snacks in-between.

There is hope. The other delectable, spoon-licking treat from across the pond, LEMON CURD. Ok, I know what you're thinking, "Anything with 'curd' in its name is not jumping into my shopping cart." Take courage, it's amazing. And, AND 1/2 the fat of Nutella, and you actually need less because this stuff is sooo flavorful! You'll want to eat it all day long, I promise. It's not unlike eating a lemon bar (a really good one, like Jen makes) when smothered on toast. Oh my word, oh my word, oh my WORD (sung in an operatic voice).

*Thanks Anna


We awoke to drizzle this morning. After 2+ weeks of gorgeous weather and the threat of the weatherman's forecast of clouds and rain, it happened. Lately we've taken advantage of the sunny days and the fact that Mabel is easily lulled off to sleep in the BABYBJÖRN while I walk next to E on her bike.

Of course there was no short of activity under our roof with a 12-week-old and a doting 3-year-old on this wet morning. We sang songs, read books, changed diapers, fed bottles and while the little one dozed, E and I pulled out the board games. Connect-4 (I was relieved) was her first choice. She has a wide selection to choose from, and it's the one I favor as you actually have to use skill and strategy, instead of the 'luck-of-the-draw' ones like Candy Land, Hungry Hungry Hippo's, or Hi-Ho Cherry-O.

I've been working hard on using the short nap times to re-connect with E instead of hurrying to empty the dishwasher, or fold laundry. When caring for a 3-month-old there's so much to juggle, and all too often E just feels under foot. We must have gotten 4 or 5 rounds in before we heard the shaky yelps from the back room, but it was just what we needed to get back to the basics.

*Play online here

Monday, February 25, 2008

Magic in the Middle

Jen made these a few weeks ago, and I was delighted to find that I had all the ingredients on hand to make up a batch today! Although there is a certian contentment that comes along with pulling piping hot cookies from the oven, today's little morsels of heaven also brought a sense of urgency: Get as many plates together and give them away ASAP, these are dangerous!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus more for dipping)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together granulated and brown sugars, butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine. Stir in dry ingredients, blending well. Set dough aside.

2. Stir together remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. With floured hands, roll mixture into 26(1-inch) balls.

3 Break off about 1 tablespoon cookie dough, make an indentation in center with thumb, and press 1 peanut butter ball into indentation. Wrap dough up and over filling, pressing to seal; roll cookie to smooth it out. Repeat for each cookie.

4. Dip top of each cookie in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Use greased bottom of drinking glass to flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Bake cookies at 375 for 7-9 minutes or until set. Let cool on wire rack.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunshine; All Sorts

After an early & busy morning, it felt good to get outside and lay in the grass.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama and the Arts

I lifted this from here,

"Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes brings our attention to the policy statements that (some of) the political candidates submitted to the Arts Action Fund. I'm sure no one will be surprised that more responses were received from the Democratic campaigns (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson) than from their Republican counterparts (just Brownback and Huckabee).
As Green points out, only the Obama campaign submission is thorough and explains in detail what he has done and will do for the arts and art education. Obama is the only one who outlines his detailed platform for the arts, which cover the following major points:
Reinvest in Arts Education
  • Expand Public/Private Partnerships Between Schools and Arts Organizations
  • Create an Artist Corps
  • Publicly Champion the Importance of Arts Education

Support Increased Funding for the NEA
Promote Cultural Diplomacy
Attract Foreign Talent
Provide Health Care to Artists
Ensure Tax Fairness for Artists

While I'm not so easily convinced by campaign promises from any candidate, I do find it significant that his campaign is able to make a very good case based on past action, and a clear understanding of the issues regarding art education. The fact that the other candidates speak in platitudes (and in Clinton's case, even wanders into irrelevant and off topic issues) suggests to me that Obama is the only one who is serious about developing meaningful policy.

Finally, if you're a political junkie like me, you'll want to check out this important and insightful video by Lawrence Lessig about why he's supporting Obama, or you can read the transcript here."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eqlipse

We wandered outside a few times during dinner to check on the progress of tonight's lunar eqlipse

*Unfortunately this shot leaves a lot to be desired, but you can see Jupiter just above the moon...


I took advantage of the sunny weather this morning and brought both girls out to the swing set for some fresh air. Mabel fell asleep all bundled up in the first 5 minutes, while E practiced pumping.

Looking forward to finding more activities both kiddo's can enjoy at the same time!

Electric Grill

We received one of these for our wedding. The combination of Tania's recent post (using those wedding presents of old) and remembering how much Jen loved hers, challenged me to find ours that was somewhere in my parent's basement and put it to use! Now that an entire batch of pancakes will easily feed the 3 of us, I was looking for a speedier way to get from the kitchen to the table and eat with the rest of the brood.

Here's the recipe I use weekly (from the cookbook) my variation in purple.

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. flax seed meal)
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 c. buttermilk

  1. Melt butter, set aside to cool
  2. Sift all dry ingredients in large bowl
  3. Add egg to cooled melted butter
  4. Add egg/butter to buttermilk, whisk
  5. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk gently, a few lumps should remain - don't over overmix
  6. Make pancakes!
  7. Freeze leftover cooked pancakes to toast up later

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Date

D's sister and brother-in-law kindly agreed to watch E while we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island for a very quiet and delicious dinner at Four Swallows. It was so nice to connect again after his latest tour in Europe. We dined on lobster bisque, exotic cheeses coupled with sweet pears and tender slices of baguette, and then an arugula salad with blood oranges. D then opted for the rack of lamb, while I played it safe with the beef tenderloin. Later, the dessert was right up our alley; chocolate in many forms - truly heavenly. Our hostess was pleased to tell us that the wine we selected for our meal was an excellent choice as the restaurant was the proud owner of the very last case and a half of this brand in the entire world, and it was delicious!

After our meal we meandered in the hushed streets of the small city, reminisced on the 13 years we've been together, spoke often, of course of our dear daughter and our plans for the future. It was a perfect evening. As D was still a bit jet-lagged he rested on the return boat home while I relaxed with my feet up, thinking on how lucky we were.

(check out the building that almost has L-O-V-E written vertically with illuminated windows)

Happy Valentine's Day

Feel the Love?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Settling In

So today marks the 5th morning of my new job. Mabel. She's my 10-week-old niece and she spends 5 hours with E and me Monday's, Tuesday's and Wednesday's. How lucky am I? D's sister dropped everything to come and help me when E first joined our family, and I'm so elated to now be a part of the new first steps for their family.

I was worried that the lack of my undivided attention would be difficult for E, and at first it was. She purposefully 'pottied' on her bedroom floor last week out of defiance much to my dismay (the kid's been out of diapers for a year). But this week brought with it an ease and balance to our homelife that has been sweet and just plain wonderful. There is, I think a sort of mental acrobatics that parents do anyhow; multi-tasking. But with 2 children to constantly account for it was tricky in a whole new way, once I mastered that, things have gone surprisingly smooth (granted I'm operating off of a full nights sleep). I love holding her, the complete dependence she has on us, and that sweet perfume a newborn brings. Her personality is so easy compared to E's constant cries at this age. She yelps when she's hungry, or needing a change of scenery or diaper. We are in constant discussion of her sounds, debating which one of her gurgles is cuter.

E is truly a help. I knew she'd love parts of having her cousin here, but didn't expect her eager anticipation each morning before Mabel arrives. E scurries around finding things to show the baby. She lays under the baby gym with her reading stories, and patting her belly. Just yesterday she decided (totally on her own volition) that Mabel might be whimpering because she missed her mom and dad, she brought over their wedding picture for her cousin to glance at. We're well on our way to raising the empathetic daughter we had hoped for.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

10 in 10 on 10 - February

*lots of feet in this one, for some reason

11 o'clock hour

12 o'clock hour

1 o'clock hour

2 o'clock hour

3 o'clock hour

4 o'clock hour

5 o'clock hour

6 o'clock hour

7 o'clock hour

8 o'clock hour

Saturday, February 9, 2008

If you're Interested

I finally finished and put up a few post's I'd started back in December. So if you're interested the 'December Section' of this blog is a little bulkier now...

You'd think I'dve wanted to spread the cheer of my favorite time of year, but rarely had time to sit at the computer.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh, the lure of the M&M!

E's been a wiggle worm at the table. We got rid of any type of booster seat; she's a big girl and can reach the table for meals. But lately I've been tempted to buy 10 feet of rope and tie that girl to her chair! She's up, down, on her knees, half-way on, backwards, behind, slumped, balancing, rocking, bouncing, fiddling, anything but facing forward! IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!

Today we tried a little experiment. She started dinner out with 5 M&M's in a glass dish right above her plate (so she could keep an eye on them) for dessert. Any messing about and I took 1 M&M out of the bowl and set it in front of me. She would immediately re-situate herself and continued on with her meal. Oops, slid off her chair, another M&M for me. Drat, legs off to the side, one more for Mom. And so it went. I did give one back because she went a whole 5 minutes without budging. All in all she got 3 M&M's and we were both delighted after our meal.

Have to get rid of that Halloween candy somehow!

Zebra Fight!

We went to the zoo this afternoon, and got a front row seat to this zebra fight!

*Sorry these shot's aren't the embodiment of excitement, but they're the only ones I got without a flurry of stripes and tails!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mother Hen

What type of Mother Hen Are You?
by Educational Resource

I don't know if I entirely agree with this, I even went back and switched a couple answers and it still came out 'Artistic.'

Comment Moderation

FYI - I'm trying a new format for posting your comments. Been getting a lot of SPAM lately that I just don't want to have posted, so I have to OK each comment first. Be patient, it takes me a few hours to get your comments up, don't panic!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Princess Already?

Alright, I'll admit it; I'm not a fan of little girls pretending to be princesses, only agreeing to wear pink & purple, PJ's with Disney characters, and talking about fairies & unicorns. It's just not my speed. I avoided dressing E in pink at first, until I was so tired of passers' by referring to my infant as 'him' and 'he.' It's, I feel a similar aversion that the mom's of boys feel when they start making shooting sounds cocking their fingers in weapon shapes. Although I realize that what my daughter would be imitating is almost the exact opposite of a little Rambo, it's silly I know. Furthermore, I admit there are loopholes in my stronghold. Ballet, for instance. I jumped at the chance to see my little girl follow in my footsteps; starting dance at 3. Although, I would argue that my intentions were to instill discipline, giving her opportunity to explore one of the various facets of dance and movement that she adores. On top of all that, I know that pretend with imagination is crucial to development and the last thing I want to do is stifle her but I'm really struggling with this princess stuff, I can't shake it.

She was recently invited to a party where all the children dressed up as fairies, they all wrote a story about their adventures, played fairy games, painted their faces and made their own fairy wands. I cringed a little, not wanting my well-balanced little dinosaur lover to turn prissy. To be fair she had a blast, was by far the most eager to participate in the story time, but has since asked repeatedly to sleep with her wand. My friends warned me that these days were approaching, clearly I'm not ready to play along:

(this evening, 2 days after the party)
E - "Mom I want to tap you on the nose and turn you into something!"
me - "Alright. (leaning over)"
she gently taps me on the nose once and I start standing up
E - "No, I need to tap you twice!"
me - "Oh, ok" (I bend again)
E - "What did you turn into?"
me - "Um, a seahorse" (and I start to bob up and down holding my breath)
E - "Ok, I'm going to turn myself into a princess" (there's that word!)
me - "I'm not going to call you that" (what is wrong with me?)
E - "Ok, then I'll be a fairy who helps rainbows."

Serves me right.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cupcakes Round 2

E and I have been baking a lot lately. The shorter daylight hours combined with the weather leaves little else in the afternoons between naptime and dinner. Today I was decided everything was to be done from scratch. We approved a recipe from the cookbook (people if you don't already have this on your shelf, stop what you are doing right now and go purchase it. It will change your kitchen life) then we set to work. They turned out great (like all their recipe's do) and the frosting is like nothing I've ever made (7-minute Frosting). I was thinking of Tania as I spread a thick layer over the tiny cakes, it reminded me of cross between *marshmallow fluff and meringue.

*It should be explained here that marshmallow fluff is not used on the West Coast like it apparently is on the East. When my dear friend Tania moved out here she brought along with her the most ginormous tub of the stuff. Not really knowing what else (besides fudge) one would use it for my inquisitions were answered upon watching her make lunch one day for her children: fluff=jam. Peanut Butter & Fluff is as common as PB&J much to my surprise. I've never tried the combination, but her children naturally finished every bite.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


E and I have movie night every now and again. She takes an early bath after dinner, climbs into her fuzzy-footsie jammy's, we make popcorn, and cuddle under a blanket to watch the show. We grabbed Charlotte's Web from the library and she really liked it. I, of course was comparing it to the animated version I grew up with the entire time, but made peace with it's computer animated sister early on. It's still a bit of a stretch to ask E to remain engaged for something longer than 40 minutes or so, but she continues her interest in her own way; dancing to the music, and of course asking lots of questions.

Well, right near the end as Wilbur is distressingly calling after Charlotte's children to stay and not "take to the wind," a spider literally dropped from the celling in our living room and onto my arm! I was so in the moment with the movie and all I just looked at it. As I quickly came to my senses, I swatted it and it curled up and fell onto the couch next to me, dead.

So strange.

I was so conflicted right then and there. Here I was mourning the loss of EB White's tremendous arachnid, and at the same time triumphant in killing this invader in my home.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

To Neti or Not?

I got D a neti pot for Christmas. My sister and sister-in-law swear by them, and have in turn indoctrinated their spouses. Nothing about draining salt water with a little teapot into my nasal cavity is enticing, but D wanted one and so Santa delivered. I'm sure these things have been used in some cultures for hundreds of years, but to hop on the trailing bandwagon Western culture seems to embody in regards to alternative medicine felt a little, well, cliché. I mean these things are everywhere now, I recently saw a hanging poster in the window of a Walgreens seeming to shout out to the passing cars "Yes, we have what you're looking for! We have a whole shelf of nasal pots!" I felt like I was buying a Chia Pet, back in the 80's.

Well, last week I could feel a cold coming on: scratchy throat that quickly turned soar, aches, had the runny/sneezey nose, felt as if my ears were packed with cotton etc. I really held it a bay with Emergen-C (cranberry), and kept up my new exercise regimen, but I could feel the stuffy nose settling in next. To me, a stuffy nose is the worse symptom of a cold. I am a nose breather while sleeping, I find it absolutely baffling that people can sleep with their mouth open.

Enter the neti pot.

So I thought I'd give it a whirl, since all the big bad men in my family (now including my dad, who'da thought) use these things. I schooled myself on what ratio of water/sea salt to use, and just went for it. It's a little weird feeling your face fill with warm water. But at the end of the cycle, I could breathe, breathe deeply.

So cheers (everyone clinking their neti pots together)!
Here's to breathing through your nose!