Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, 8:47 pm

Kurt refuses to go to bed until 9.  An yet, does it really count if you just fall asleep on the couch instead?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This mom's favorite three-way (food swap, that is)

Dinner tonight: Celia's minestrone soup.  Buttery breadsticks not pictured.

Life with 2.75 small children is hard.  No doubt about it.  Wonderful, glorious, rewarding, love-filled and yes, hard.  So today I share with you one of my sanity saving secrets.  (See how I alliterated there?)  Once a week, I cook a giant quantity of food, split it three ways, and share with my friends Celia and Jill.  On a different day of the week, each of them does the same.  It's almost too crazy to work, but it does.  Last year I swapped with just one friend.  I think two is my limit, but who knows?  All I can say is that two nights off of cooking a week basically keeps me from losing my mind.  What's left of it, anyway.

For the curious, here's some of what we've made and shared this year:

Chicken curry
Taco lentil soup
Pollo verde con papas
Zucchini cheese pie
Mac and cheese
Tater tot casserole
Sesame chicken
Orange tofu
Pepperoni rolls
Tamale pie

And I am sure there's more, but no one took a nap today, so bedtime is nigh. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Good Books That We Don't Own

Isabel "reading" with Elmo, post-bath
There are so many good kids' books out there.  There are probably almost as many terrible ones, but I'll let you find those on your own.  Or Elijah can help you find them because so many of them manage to make them into our library bag.  An easy reader based on Scooby-Doo movie?  Someone save me.

But back to the good stuff.  Ideally, we go to the library once a week, although Elijah's school schedule has definitely made this slightly more challenging.  We do own far too many books, which is why I have been trying to avoid buying more.  Instead, I've been replenishing our stash library-style.  The only bad part is that sometimes I forget which good books we've read after I return them.  Elijah has his own GoodReads page, which helps, but I thought I'd start recording some of the books for posterity here as well.  And I am sure Jenn will appreciate this post.  You're welcome, Jenn!

1. McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss - Continuing our trend of seeking out lesser-known Seuss, we came upon this book.   It's pretty long, which I appreciate more than Daddy, and the pictures of the various fish (the two-headed eel in particular) are very funny to Elijah.  A related warning - if you pick up a copy of Seuss's Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, beware of the ending.  Not what you might expect/hope for in a children's book 

2. I'm a Frog! by Mo Willems - For Elijah's second birthday, we had a Piggie and Elephant themed party, and bought him a complete set of the books.  Since then, a few more have been added, and we haven't kept up with his collection, so we got this new one from the library.  Isabel's preschool class has bit of an obsession with P & E, and this one is a particular favorite.

3. How Many Mice? by Michael Garland - I love math.  I haven't talked about that nearly enough on this blog.  It's true, though, and I have already begun plotting ways to get my children on board the math-loving train.  This books is perfect for that goal of mine, subtly introducing addition and subtraction with integers in the context of ten little mice and their search for food.  If you really want to math it up, read this book and use paper manipulatives to figure out the answers to the questions.

4. The Big Book of Slumber by Giovanna Zoboli - A perfect going-to-bed book, this gem has gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhymes.  It also includes lots and lots of animals, if you, like me have a child who is into that sort of thing (Isabel, I'm talking about you, ahem).  It is translated from Italian, and the translator certainly deserves some of the credit for its sweetness.

5. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos - This cumulative story is written in Elijah's favorite language - Spanglish.  Pronunciations and translations are provided, but I suspect that this is a book that would be enjoyed most by those who, like me, fancy themselves a bit bilingual.  Kit, I am talking to you.

So, there's a peek into what's in the book basket this week.  Maybe I'll make this a regular feature.  Now, back to reading my own book until I can't stay awake any more.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jumping with Joy

First off, sorry for the low quality of today's pictures.  The lighting was terrible, and I am sure there is a way to compensate for that, but we have new camera that I have no clue how to use.  Perhaps this Lenten blogging resolution will prompt me to learn to take better pictures.  Or I'll just keep making you, dear readers, suffer for my ineptitude.  Probably the latter.

Anyway, the past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, mainly because nothing in the past 72 hours has gone according to plan.  Hideously loud fire alarm while at a restaurant with hungry children?  Check.  Baby shower nearly snowed out?  Check.  Poop and more poop, here there and everywhere?  Check.  (I'll spare you a more detailed explanation of that last one.  I did, however, have a lovely visit this past weekend from two of my favorite ladies, so that basically made up for all else that failed.

My point is, I had a lovely morning planned for Elijah and myself while Isabel was at school today...and then her school was cancelled.  We soldiered on with our planned trip to Joyful Jumps, with one unexpected Isabel in tow, and it actually worked out great because we were able to stay later than we would have otherwise.  The place was a little pricey, but really perfect for a cold and icy day, and Grandma Marty's Valentine's Day cash for the kids made it all possible. 

Tomorrow, supposedly Elijah has school and Isabel does not.  But I'm not banking on it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

{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, February 19, 2015

10 Things To Know About Me

My About Page could really use some updating.  And let's not even talk about my blog header.  I hardly recognize those tiny children.  But, for today, I will settle for sharing a few choice facts about yours truly.

1.  I really dislike bananas.  Elijah and I were reading D.W.'s Guide to Preschool, and apparently D.W.'s mom says that everyone can have one food they won't eat.  I choose bananas.  Ketchup is a close second, although I don't actually think it is food, so maybe I can have two things.  Do you have a least favorite food?

2.  If I had been a boy, my parents would have named me Daniel.  The same is true of my sister.

3. When I was a freshman in high school, I got frostbite from running barefoot in the snow on New Year's Eve.  This is still perhaps the dumbest thing that I have done, but at 31 years old, I think that's not too bad.

4.  I have an excellent visual memory.  I still remember exact details from books I read as a child, like when Ramona eats one bite of every apple in the house, and Beezus is angry but also secretly jealous, because everyone knows the first bite of the apple is the best.  On the other hand, my auditory memory is fairly terrible, so if I forget your name, I'm sorry.  It is your fault for not wearing a name tag.

5.  I did not lose my first grandparent until I was 23 years old.  I have a trove of memories of all of my grandparents, and I recognize what a precious gift that is.

6.  I hate grammatical errors.  I am sure that, because I am saying this, there will be at least one in this post.  It annoys me every time I see the sign on Isabel's  car seat that says, "Use headrest when car seat is forward facing, or when child's head reaches this line or weighes 22 pounds." If your child's head weighs 22 pounds, I sincerely doubt they need a convertible infant car seat.  You feel me?

7.  I may love grammar, but I am a terrible speller.  I like patterns, and if Words Their Way had been around when I was in school, I might be better.  Sometime during my adult life, someone pointed out that "definitely" is an adverb, and I haven't misspelled it since.  I still have to stop and think every time I write the word "tomorrow".

8.  I have 10 cousins, and none of us are the same age.

9. I am terrified of downhill skiing, and Kurt is not happy about this.  I love cross-country skiing, though, and it is basically the only reason I wish I lived in a snowier place.

10.  I am going to try to post on this blog every day during Lent.  My friend Kit is to blame for this overly ambitious goal.  I imagine I'll run out of post ideas fairly soon, so this may not be the last list of semi-interesting facts that I share in the coming weeks.  So watch out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Longest weekend ever

Parent-teacher conferences, President's Day and a bit of snow meant that Elijah had a five-day-weekend this past Friday-Tuesday.  Five days.  I should have taken the kids to Florida.  On Monday, we literally did five projects.  If not for Netflix, it would have been ten.  Kurt lovingly took the kids to Port Discovery for most of the day on Saturday, and yesterday the kids sledded on baking pan with their bestest buds, Nora, Bee, and Harriet.  This morning when I dropped Elijah off at school, the teachers looked quite well-rested.  The parents, not so much.  Today was a half-day, and there's no school again on Monday.  Anyone have five more projects we can do?

Saturday, Port Discovery lego land

Saturday, Port Discovery "bouncy sting" (Isabel)

Monday, robot hat

Monday, rolling jail for people and animals

Tuesday, pre-breakfast shovelfest

Saturday, February 14, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 41)
Hosted at ThisAin'

Yes, yes, it is Saturday.  But Elijah had no school yesterday and I was tired and, and, and, well, today is the day after Friday, so that's not so bad.  As for last week, it was barf city around here, so getting out of bed was hard enough, and sitting in front of the computer was nigh on impossible.  So.  Here I am.  

For book club this month we are reading An Unnecessary Woman, which is unlike most of what I have read before.  If I had to make a comparison, it would say it reminds me of the writing of Isabel Allende.  That is quite a feat, since she writes about her own life and this book is written by a man.  An Unnecessary Woman is the ficitonal autobiography of an elderly woman who has lived in Beirut her whole life.  It is not a page-turner, but that's okay because it is just so beautiful.  I do need to keep turning pages, though, if I hope to pass the book on to a fellow book club member with enough time for her to read it.

On the television front, Kurt and I are making our way through Sherlock and loving it.  At an hour and a half per episode, it is the perfect length for a weekend night.  Long enough to feel like a treat, but short enough to get us to bed at a reasonable hour.  Because, as we know, "sleeping in because it is the weekend" is a phrase unknown to children, or at least my children

In other personal literary news, I abandoned The Paying Guests halfway through with no plan to return.  This is a rare occurrence.  Usually I decide within the first few chapters if a book is worth my time, and once decided, I stick through to the end.  Not so this time around.  I don't generally like historical fiction to begin with, and at some point I realized that the book just wasn't getting any better.  I think I stuck with it so long because The Washington Post recommended it so highly.  Fools.

Today is Valentine's Day, and Kurt is expressing his love for me by whisking the children away to Baltimore for the day.  He knows the way to my heart.  I cleaned the house in his absence.  I know the way to his.  Soon we will all reunite for a family dinner.  Until then, I shall continue to enjoy the peace and quiet.

  “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
—Marianne Moore 

"...followed by boisterous hugs from small children."
Lisa Runge 

For Christmas I got Kurt a spice subscription from Raw Spice Bar.  Tomorrow night, he and I are going out for dinner, so I think tonight it is time to try out the new spices using one of the enclosed recipes.  I'm thinking Punjabi Chicken Tikka Masala.

This has been very random.  I would apologize, but I'm just so darn proud of myself for posting something on this here blog that I won't.  Happy Weekend! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The mosquito (or something) that thwarted the quick takes

I had a good run.  What, was it two weeks in a row?  And then...

Elijah came home on Thursday with some innocent looking bug bites on his face.  By the time he woke up, his left eye was swollen shut.  Not only was I unsure of the exact cause, I also knew I couldn't send him to school looking so terrible.  So home he stayed.  And we had a lovely, unproductive day at home.  A freezing trip to the park, 52 readings of a terrible Scooby Doo book, and many snacks later, I fell into bed at an early hour.  I will try to do better this week.  Until then, here's a few pics to hold you over.