Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer has come

It may be May, but it's 90 degrees at seven am, the mosquitoes are swarming and Elijah has already been to the pool twice.  It's (un)official: summer in DC is upon us.  Fortunately, Elijah has already embraced another important summer ritual: the naked toddler Popsicle.  Fire up the hose, ladies and gents, because summer. is. here.


...all done!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Little Bit of Nature

It is about 110 degrees in our office, where I am sitting and writing this post, so please excuse the brevity of this post, but I think I am actually melting.  Kurt and I took a mini-staycation on Friday thanks to my in-laws (not that they minded getting some Elijah time).  We spent the morning hiking in Great Falls National Park, then headed to our favorite sushi buffet and rounded things out with a double feature, The Hunger Games and The Avengers.  In case you were wondering, The Hunger Games was way better.  All in all, a great day. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And the winner was...

...not me.

A few weeks ago, I entered a guest post contest over at Dinner: A Love Story.  Sadly, I did not win.  I did, however, get a sweet shout-out/quotation when the winner was announced, and my post was included in a little digital cookbook.  So, I still feel like a winner.  Yep.  And, oh yeah, the can read it below.

Toddlers, Falafel, and the Art of Deconstruction

I don't do much fine dining these days (read: ever), but from what I have gathered watching Top Chef, deconstruction is a big thing right now.  Why eat a Caesar salad when you can have lettuce wrapped around Dippin' Dots made of Caesar dressing topped with freeze-dried anchovies?  (Oh, I know, because Caesar salad tastes good, and freeze dried anchovies are for cats.)

Anyway, I may not charge $30 a plate for my home cooking, but I do know something about deconstruction.  After all, I am the proud parent of a toddler.  My dear son enjoyed baby food for about a month before deciding that he was over the business of being spoon-fed.  So, the task fell to me to turn every meal into finger food, from soup to fried rice.  I would isolate the components, make sure they were teeny-tiny enough not to be choked on but big enough to be pincer-grasped, and try my hardest to pretend that I was not making a separate meal for my tiny tyrant.

Last night, falafel was on the menu.  My little man is now big enough to wield a fork with skill, and has the molars to eat normal-sized pieces of food, but he never quite developed a feel for soft (mushy) foods.  When I serve him things in patty form, like black bean burgers and, ahem, falafel, I know I am setting myself up for lots of food-based artwork and very little eating.  So, let the deconstruction begin.  So far, my son has proved to be a man of diverse tastes, so I wanted to preserve the flavor of falafel while changing the texture.  The end-product, which you can see above, is a chickpea and cucumber salad with lemon-tahini dressing.  Like a good children's book, it ended up having both adult and toddler appeal  Hmm.  Maybe next time I'll just make that.

Chickpea and Cucumber Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Monday, May 28, 2012

Today, Let's Pray for Peace

Let's pray for our fallen, their families and their loved ones.  The fact that there are 96 pages of photos speaks for itself. 

Then, there are those who survived, but will never be the same.

And let's also remember the civilians, whose lives are unimaginable to those of us who live in safety and security.

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.


So, please, today, let us pray for peace.

Friday, May 25, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Too much art?

Sooo...last week the twins had the day off and in addition to some crazy water play, we did a little painting.  I had gotten some super-cheap white tiles at a great place called Community Forklift.  We were there in search of wire for our tomato cages (more on that later), but I couldn't resist the tiles, which were only 25 cents each. 

Because the tiles were relatively small, I thought it might be fun to paint with Q-tips instead of brushes.  And, I miss teaching, so I took this opportunity to do a little art education. I was inspired by the fact that thing that Q-tips are great for is making dots.  A lesson in pointillism practically wrote itself.

I talked to the girls about pointillism, and we looked at some examples online.  Then, they set to work.  At first, things went great.  They were doing their own things, but incorporating some pointillism as well.

Look at that pointillism!
If only this were the "after" picture instead of the "during".  Because, here's the thing.  Brittany's finished product did not look like that.  It looked like a brown smeary mess.  I remember hearing once that the mark of a good artist is knowing when a work is finished.  Well, it seems we are not there yet.  So this is my dilemma: do I let the kids keep on going, even though their work seems finished (to me) and I know that final end result is going to be, um, well, kind of icky?  Or do I just let them keep going until they say they are done?

 I could have limited their paint colors, or let them wipe off their tiles and start again...hmm, just writing this down is helping.  

Well, summer is coming with lots more art opportunities on the horizon.  Thoughts?
Of course, Elijah got in on the art-making, too.  Notice his excellent use of pointillism-on his face.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Garden Tour

After only a month, our arugula already looks like this!  Good thing we love the stuff.

One of my very favorite things about our house right now is our garden.  It is small, with two separate 2 ft. x 9 ft. beds.  Small though it is, it is jam-packed with all kinds of goodies.  This is our second year with the garden, and we learned a few lessons from our first go-around.  Here are some pictures of what it looks like so far.  I look forward to sharing more pictures in the coming months.

In addition to the arugula, we are growing several other kinds of lettuce this year.  Isn't that red Lolla Rosa pretty?
We are loving the greens this year.  Here are mustard greens and dandelion greens.  Also, at the very end, you can see a few cucumber plants peeking out.
Kurt, handy man that he is, built us these extra tall tomato cages.  This year, we are only growing cherry tomatoes, as they were much more successful than the big ones last year. In the background, you can also see our cucumber "ladder".
Surprise!  We also have a bunch of "volunteer" tomato plants that have come up from the tomatoes that fell off the vine last year.  If you live in the neighborhood and are in need of some seedlings, please stop by.
So, that's the garden as of May 19, 2012.  Look for updates as the summer rolls on. Happy gardening!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crossover post

So, normally I link to my Endless Simmer posts so that you all, dear readers, have an idea of somethings that I like to do that aren't utterly mommy-related, like cooking, eating, and writing about cooking and eating.  Today, though, over at ES, I write about that subject that is, of course, nearest and dearest to my heart: Elijah.  If you know Elijah personally, you know that he is all about the food, so it was only a matter of time before the two blogs really intersected.

Another interesting thing about this post is that it took a really long time to write.  As in, I started it last November.  Every time I logged into ES, there I would see it, sitting in unfinished draft form.  I can't say why I finished it at last, except that perhaps I knew that if I waited much longer, I would have to change the title to 10 foods only a middle-schooler could love.

Anyway, after much ado, but without any further, here it is.

Monday, May 21, 2012

This Weekend By the Numbers

Average Elijah wake-up time: 5:15 am (Yeesh)

Tomato cages built (Kurt): 5 (pictures to follow)
Homegrown arugula eaten: Lots!

Movies viewed: 1 (The Hurt Locker)
Episodes of Friday Night Lights viewed: 2...and counting (Yes, we are officially hooked.)

Modes of transport sat in (Elijah): 3 (car, bus, helicopter) (Don't worry, the helicopter didn't go anywhere.)

Days until the Granparents arrive: 4 (Hooray!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Go Fly a Kite

 Why no pictures of the kite, you may ask?  Well, it was too far away to get a good shot.  It took about half an hour to reel the thing back in.  Thanks to Mamo for picking a good one.  And thanks to my boys for a great Mother's Day memory.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Splish splash

Monday, May 14

10:30 am  No school today.  Brittany, Brianaa and Mommy Kim are over.  Brittany has finished painting.  I send her to the kitchen to wash her hands.

10:45 am  I realize I have not seen Brittany in awhile.  I investigate, and find her elbow deep in a sink full of water.  And bubbles.  An empty dispenser of hand soap rests nearby.

10:47 am Having gotten over my initial shock, followed by relief that the sink did not actually overflow, I resist the urge to flip out.  She is five years old after all.  And the sink full of bubbles looks pretty fun.  I realize that the water is actually made up of half a sink of scummy dishwater.  I pull the plug and we start again, sans floating onion pieces.

10:52 am Elijah scoots in to investigate and realizes that this looks like Fun (with a capital F).  I find him a chair to stand on  and he joins his beloved Bit-ney! at the sink.

11:22 am They are still happily splashing away.  The floor is wet, Elijah's shirt is soaked, but, man, are they having a good time.

11:45 am I pull the plug again, for good this time, so we can get ready for lunch.  I remind myself to remember this moment the next time Elijah unravels my knitting in order to reclaim his drumsticks. 

Amen?  Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I ordered Chinese food, and all I got was this lame cookie

There are a lot of big problems in the world.  It can be exhausting to contemplate them all.  So, sometimes, instead of doing that, I like to go on a little rant about the much, much smaller things that get under my skin.  Like fortune cookies.  Hop on over to Endless Simmer to see why these cardboard-esque confections are a current object of my disdain.

So, what's burning your bacon today?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some thoughts on Mother's Day

Cliché alert:  Mother's Day took on a whole new meaning when I became a mom.

Here's why.  Motherhood is hard.  It's by turns boring, frustrating, exhausting and just plain difficult.  But it is also the greatest thing ever.  Not exaggerating.  And, sometimes, I need a day to just remember that.  A day to spend a few minutes watching Elijah sleep and listening to this song:

Happy Mother's Day, everyone (especially you, Mamo).

Friday, May 11, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


For the next few days, we will be graced with the presence of Eleanor and parents, which means Elijah is getting booted to the computer room, which means my blogging will be on hold for a few days.  It's totally worth it, though.  I mean, look at that smile!  It will be fun to see if Elijah remembers her, and vice versa.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures.  See you Friday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Family Recipe

When I cook, it's fast and furious, with little regard shown for such kitchen conventions as measuring and following a recipe.  For this reason, I've never quite taken to baking.  However, I am rather experienced when it comes to making something from nothing, or, if not nothing, then whatever happens to be lying around.  One staple of this cooking philosophy, inherited from my mother, is the famous Cream of Vegetable Soup.  It has many iterations, the most orange of which is certainly the carrot variety, seen above.  To view the "recipe" post-it, undoubtedly still lurking in my mom's file box, and to read about my modified version, hop on over to Endless Simmer before soup season is over for good (or at least a few months).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Snuggle Buddy

We have a new friend around our house.  His name is Sam, but to Elijah, he is better known as Baby Beem! (exclamation mark included).   I am babysitting Sam a few days a week, but I am pretty sure that Elijah thinks that Sam's presence is purely for his (Elijah's) enjoyment.  Sometimes I have to pick up Sam just to protect him from the torrential downpour of Elijah's love.  Elijah is a great snuggler, and he figures that his Baby Beem(!) likes snuggles as much as Mommy does.  As you can see from Sam's face in the pictures above, that is not always the case.

I just hope that Elijah feels the same way when he has more than a part-time baby on whom to lavish his affections...

Friday, May 4, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some kids hate it when their food touches...

...and others can go right from cookies to seaweed without stopping to swallow.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, he is pointing at an eh-cocky, I mean helicopter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When life hands you a toddler...

...make some iced tea.

Remember when you could drink a whole cup of tea while it was still hot?  I don't.  The weather is changing, though, and that room temperature tea is only a few ice cubes away from a refreshing beverage.  Now, if I could just drink my iced tea before all the ice cubes melt...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mo mo ice!

In his never-ending quest to spare his parents the expense of fancy, flashy baby gadgets, Elijah has found himself a new favorite toy - ice.  He likes to spoon it, dump it, fork it, remark on it's coldness (Woo-hoo-hoo!) and of course, eat it.  Fortunately, our lovely freezer dispenses crushed ice, a feature I never fully appreciated until now.  Like magic (at least to Elijah), an endless supply of bite-sized ice pieces comes roaring out of the freezer whenever his heart desires.  Which is often.

There are a few downsides, of course.  He has lately had some of the wettest diapers on record, but then again, I guess that means he's staying well-hydrated.  Also, despite my vigilant supervision, a few puddles have escaped my notice until I stepped in them with my nice, dry socks.  Still, it gives him great joy, and makes him a much more agreeable dish-washing companion.  Also, it provides an excellent diversions at restaurants.   I do wish he wouldn't mix the ice with his Cheerios, though.  That's just gross. 

*Also, did you notice how I didn't reference Vanilla Ice in the title of this post?  It was hard, but I resisted.  You're welcome.