Thursday, June 25, 2009

notes on a 15 hour day

- My children have once again locked themselves into the self-latching bathroom towel cabinet. How wrong is it to leave them there while I read about Michael Jackson for a few minutes?

- Okay, ten minutes. But they like it. I promise.

- How many times have I stacked the blocks painstakingly back in the box today? 3? 5? Really any number over one and a half is two much. I like Tetris as much as the next person (who is not my husband) but I have my limits. Someday I will replace the perfectly sized square box with a big bin, to just dump them all in.

- I made "huevos rancheros" for dinner tonight. The quotation marks there indicate half-assedness. Chase got eggs, the girls got buttered tortillas with rice and beans, and I get a vodka tonic and some popcorn after bedtime, God willing.

- I have a stomach virus (thank you children), which means I have even less initiative than usual to plan things and get out of the house. Also, it is fucking hot outside, for real. Today I filled spray bottles with paint, hung a roll of butcher paper on the bike hutch outside, and let the girls go nuts. It is an insane mess out there, very red rummish- as they seem to have concentrated mostly on the red paint.

- I have been working on a belated Father's Day present for Chase, embroidery based on one of Wren's awesome drawings. Tonight, in my 5 precious minutes of craft time, I managed to sew it upside down on a piece of fabric way too small for its intended purpose. Time to walk away and stare at the laundry, I think.

- Sublist: Things I have said to Jane in the 5 minutes before she joined Wren in the cabinet:
- Get off the table Jane!
- DON'T draw on ANYTHING but paper!
- Close the refrigerator!
- Turn off the water! How did you get in the sink?!

- Bedtime thank goodness. I am going to bargain it down to two books tonight, I swear. And Wren is just really out of luck if (when) she hops out of bed with any of the following complaints:
- "I need another story"
- "Will you scratch my back?"
- "Can I sleep in your bed?"
- "What is breakfast tomorrow going to be? Chocolate chip pant-cakes?"
- "Jane is making me stay awake"
- "My pillow smells like pee!"
- "I'm hungry, can I have a brownie?"
That last one is a red herring. She knows she won't get a brownie. What she actually wants is a plain tortilla, to shred into tiny roach-attracting crumbs under her bed. As to the pee smell, I feel for you kid, but it's late. Turn your damn pillow over and try not to pee in the bed again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Smitten Kitchen peanut butter cookies

Everyone in our family loves peanut butter. Three members of my family could (and would if I encouraged them) eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day. We stock up in bulk peanut butter EVERY time we go to the store. So I've been looking for a good peanut butter cookie recipe for years. I've found recipes that are too dry, too crumbly, too fudgey, or too lacking in peanut butter flavor. A glass of milk should be a pleasant accompaniment to a peanut butter cookie- not a basic necessity for swallowing. And although I make an exception for some very special cookies, I usually like to use around a half cup of butter, and not much more- and it's hard to find pb cookie recipes that aren't mostly butter or lard.

I am always trying to make cookies healthier (ridiculous I know, but I have to try) and the kids are always catching on to the slow migration from "oatmeal raisin cookie" to "cookie-shaped-granola-item." So I am hoping that any recipe with peanut butter as a major ingredient will continue to be delicious, no matter how much whole wheat flour or bran it coexists with in the final product. Chocolate chips have been known to perform similar magic in muffins, although I think they reached the limits of their power last winter, with a particularly dense apple/walnut/bran muffin. The girls did not even bother to pick the pick the chips out before deeming them uneatable. (digression over).

All of that is to say- I finally found a winner!

I was browsing through the Smitten Kitchen cookie archives, when I saw that incredible picture and started trying to figure out if we had enough peanut butter in the house to attempt it. We did. They were awesome. I saved half the dough for a party later this week, but the half I made will probably not last the rest of the evening. Wish you were here (not really).

Friday, June 12, 2009

I officially joined the Rush family

well, sort of. After being a surrogate daughter for all of high school (Mrs. Rush sent me one of her couch cushions when I was homesick in college), my friend Kelly asked me to be Godmother to baby Rush Thomas. I am so happy and honored, and even being an Anabaptist, there are few services in the BCP I like more than baptism.

It was also a really great opportunity to spend time with Kelly and her family, which is always fun. We played Kubb (count on the Rushes to bring the Scandinavian...)

We watched Rush get sealed in the holy spirit and marked as Christ's own forever.

We ate snow cones.

And we hung out with some of my favorite people- old friends and brand new ones.

birthday party and swimming

We went to our friend Meredith's birthday party last week and we all had a really great time.

The girls got itchy from mosquito bites, and from rolling down the hill a thousand times in their swimsuits, but I don't think it bothered them that much.

Wren had a few wardrobe issues that I can't resist documenting. I have a feeling that four is probably the cut off for sharing this kind of thing on a blog. My poor daughter. She's just lucky I don't have access to the poster printer at her dad's office.

And Jane had the usual falling down issues. Thanks to the intervention of those two lovely ladies on either side of her, she only faceplanted from the bench TWO times, not three.

This awesome face is the result of being denied a second cupcake, not from falling down. Generally she recovers pretty well from bruises, but don't mess with her food source.

And here we are wading in the Barton Springs dog pool. It was slowly getting dark, Wren was doing a crazy dance further out in the cold pool, and Jane was pouring water back and forth in her little bowls. It was a really nice evening, even though we left before the girls were quite ready to call it a night. We drove around with the windows down until they fell asleep in the car, and then carried their heavy, hot, mosquito-bitten little bodies to bed. It felt like the real beginning of summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

tepee present

Still catching up here, with something I meant to post several weeks ago. Wren's friend Cash turned three a few weeks ago, and I am kind of clueless about birthday presents for little boys. I really love it when the girls can be involved in the process of making the gifts they give to their friends, and I know tons of little presents we could make that are guaranteed to make a three year old girl loose her shit- tutus, wands, cupcake bags, I could go on.

I went into parenthood with some loose idea that I would not be perpetuating gender stereotypes in my own children, which in retrospect is a pretty laughable goal. I will say that I did alright with Wren, until one fateful day when she was two and a half and wearing a pair of pull up diapers. These were Huggies, I think, and they had the Disney princesses on them. These were not pullups I had bought, since I never buy name brand diapers, and I had been actually trying to buy a mix of "boy" and "girl" diapers, after determining there was no actual design difference. My mom must have stocked up when she was visiting, but really, there's no blame. It was inevitable, and of course once she saw the princesses, she's never looked back.

Anyway, that's a long ramble to say that, once I've exhausted my tiny store of boy present ideas (superhero cape... um.... yeah that's it) I am totally stumped. So I was happy to see this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew a little while ago.

The materials were all relatively easy to find- first the bamboo poles, then the painters drop cloth, and the metal rings. We could only find three metal rings, but that turned out to be fine. We used rubber bands to tie the poles together, and had our helpers get inside to make sure we had the right size.

First we cut the canvas,following the original instructions, before we measured it over the top of the poles. I really wish we hadn't done that, as I ended up having to sew on a new section to make it the right size. But eventually we got the right fit, and I sewed a section closed over the door, instead of using ties like the instructions indicate. Basically, we started making the damn thing about 30 minutes before we were supposed to go to the party, so we simplified wherever we could.

The girls tested it out, before we rolled the whole thing up and tied a bow on it. If I had a yard, I would be very tempted to make another one of these to keep, but the girls already have a "kitty cat tent." It's pink, with flowers and a kitty on it. So yeah, it looks like gender typing is here to stay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kitchen Counters

So I kind of fell behind there... I think I'll spread the updates over a couple of posts, and first we'll talk about my new kitchen counter, which I am going to tear myself away from wiping lovingly to write this post.

Okay many of you met my old kitchen counter, but just to refresh you -

Ah, there it is. As lovely in pixels as in my memory.

That little step up just translated to a big place for homeless junk to gather, and the wood paneling was really the focal point for me of the whole dining area.

There was nothing wrong with the sink except ugliness, and we weren't initially planning on replacing it, but I found a free cast iron sink on Craigslist (while I was trolling for my next murder victims) and couldn't pass it up.

Tim found the wood flooring at the ReStore, and sanded it and stained it and did the whole thing while I was out of town. Hurray for Tim, and hurray for Dee for waiting to go into labor until the polyurethane was on. I totally owe you guys a casserole.

The patching and the painting and the counters for the other half of the kitchen are on hold, but we're in no hurry. It's weird how the absence of 4 inches of counter height makes both rooms feel bigger, I didn't expect that. I also didn't expect that the blue cabinet paint I picked out long ago would combine with the dark stain (darked now than in those pictures) to create a very nautical feel for our kitchen. We need some rope art, maybe some shells...? an anchor? For now I'm just gazing happily at the counter, and hoping Jane doesn't figure out how to swivel that faucet around and flood the dining room...