Friday, September 25, 2009

Birthday Crown

Oh charming Jane...

Really of course I do find her completely charming. But I'm not unaware that my aesthetics have been worn down slowly over the past four years of sensory dampening parenting like a rock in the ocean. I'm grateful. That diaper I changed this morning would have felled a lesser (more sensitive) woman.

I understand that some might find that drool slicked cheek, tongue hanging out and neck fold full of chocolate cake somewhat off putting. But not me. It's sort of like being on a plane with a crying baby. Before you have kids you think "Oh NO! THIS IS TERRIBLE STUCK ON THIS PLANE WITH A CRYING BABY GAAAAHHH HOW WILL I CONCENTRATE ON MY AWESOME LEISURE READING?!?"

After you have kids, a baby crying on a plane is like lovely music, a soft schadenfreude whisper in your ear, saying "It's not your problem....someone else's baby...those poor bastards..." or something like that. Maybe that's not universal.

Anyway, the birthday crown. I made it in time, and gave it to Janey on her birthday, among other still unphotographed things. She was not impressed then, but it's slowly grown on her, and now it's an important part of any dress up outfit. So I'm pretty happy about that. It's made from a stack of felt scraps and some buttons, and based very loosely on several more complicated crown tutorials floating around out there. It came together in about 15 minutes, and then I had to cut the elastic and add another inch and a half because I had drastically underestimated the size of Jane's head. You'd think that's a mistake a mother would just make the once...

Anyway, Hurray for birthday crowns! You should make one.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

goat cheese

So I was all excited to tell everyone about our goat cheese making, but actually it turned out to be pretty boring and definitely not cost effective.

At least not cost effective until I get a goat. And actually I need two, because they are social creatures, and you don't want your goat to get lonely and hostile.

Moving on, we got our milk at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market from Swede Farm. We had heard a lot of great things about them before, and the guy was super nice and helpful, and gave us some tips. He invited us down to Waller for a farm tour which I think would be extremely fun but I would probably come home with a goat. Or two. So not this weekend.

Chase was in charge of the actual cheesemaking, and I think he did a great job. He used a bunch of different directions, but relied mostly on Dave's advice, and this video. The whole thing took less than an hour, and there was cheese at the end! Hurray cheese!

We got a whole lot of whey from the cheesemaking, and didn't want to throw it out, so I used it to make this bread which turned out really good- like super tasty communion bread. Mmm....

Anyway, we could buy a similar amount of goat cheese (on sale) for the same amount we spent on the milk, so we probably won't do this a lot, but it was fun to try it out. And we've been eating the cheese on pizzas and pastas and even a salad or two. It's pretty great.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

brilliant husband

So back in July, I was swept up in homesteading fervor, and bought (and scrounged) a bunch of jars for canning various things. We found a big pot, a rack, and all the other canning implements, and since then I've sort of vaguely been looking for a pair of grabbers, or tongs, to pick up hot jars from the pot. The grabbers are the only missing ingredient. But you know how these things happen. Once my initial Little House on the Prairie fest wore off, and once fewer bloggers were showing lovely photos of perfectly lit stacks of preserves on their counters...

Well I sort of lost interest. Or not interest, but at least incentive, I guess. Anyway, the jars have been slowly disappearing, roped into filling other household needs. I did "can" a bunch of pesto and tomato sauce, but I don't think it's really canning if you just freeze it, is it? It's more like "tupperwaring"? Chase uses the tiny jars to take his homemade yogurt to work (HIPPIE) and I've used some jars to hold nutmeg and yeast, and even a present we dropped off when it was raining.

But most recently, and brilliantly, Chase did this:

That's a cinnamon and sugar shaker! Do you know how long I've wanted one of those? Probably about 15 years. Seriously. And every time I make anything with cinnamon and sugar (which is a lot) like the monkey bread I made last weekend with Wren, I think about how much I want one, and then (apparently) I complain about it a lot, and vocally wish I had one, and so on.

He got up from breakfast and got out a jar and poked a bunch of holes in it. Hurrah! Problem Solved. Now I want one for powdered sugar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

pictures from our week

The girls on the way out the door for the first day of school

I love serious Wren- so ready to help Jane figure everything out. She wants to hold the door for her, and make sure she remembers her lunch bag. Meanwhile Jane probably just ran head first into the door and then stopped to eat a penny she found on the sidewalk. I am so lucky to have these two.

Janey found Wren's abandoned pumpkin hat and adopted it. At least this proves that it's not my craftsmanship she hates, just the things I've made specifically for her. As long as I make things for someone else, she's game. Or maybe that just refers to gourd themed crafts?

And here's our industrious labor day. Making pesto and delicious roasted tomato sauce from Catherine Newman's incredible recipe. I thoroughly identify with her tetanus phobia, and will not try actually canning tomato sauce any time soon.

This is from a few minutes of crafting time, eeked out from our increasingly scheduled days. I am trying (I swear, hon! I'm trying!) to stick to our cash budget. Which is difficult, but oh so necessary. Since for me the debit card apparently equals pretend money and Chase and I have tragically not an ounce of accounting skill in either of our bodies. We have just enough responsibility to play-act at being grown ups most of the time. Oil changes, separating the whites, picking up our dogs excessive dumps with little biodegradable plastic bags, bought specifically for this purpose, and keeping up with immunization records (ha. they should make them bigger. and neon.) Anyway, our fiscal responsibility efforts are earnest but probably laughable to people in... hm... let's say, more established lifestyles.

Anyway, all of that to say, I made these little cloth bags to keep track of our cash. One is for food (the one with the embroidery that looks like the scrawls of an evil child. I decided not the embroider the others). One is for fun, one is for clothes, and one is for crafts. So far I've just made two. Because I need to buy more zippers. Which would require money from the craft budget, which... oh damn. Maybe next month.

Friday, September 4, 2009

gorgeous wonderful thunderstorm

Our windows are open and the lights are off. The girls scream and jump and giggle at every thunder clap. Chase is making me a gin and tonic. Life is wonderful for everyone except Ramona, who is glued in slavering panic to my leg, and the poor overgrown pepper plant, that just lost its harvest in the dirt. I heart end of summer thunderstorms.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

beginning of the semester update

Things are off to a fun (if crazy) start, as the girls start school and I start my internship this week. We had a packed and wonderful weekend, and I feel like we will all hit next weekend pretty wiped out, but so far we are doing alright.

We are taking some last big bites out of summer, while we still have the chance. I'm hoping we'll all be able to pack up and head out to go camping sometime soon, preferably somewhere with lots of nice cool water to swim in, and lots of friends to keep us company. And smores, of course.

So, onto the update- I am so far loving my "job". I doubt there's a nicer group of people I could be working with. The community as a whole is so kind and welcoming (and it can't hurt that they're not paying me anything). I'm learning a lot, and enjoying some of the wacky perspective unique to seminary librarians. In spite of the fact that Wren's favorite person in the world now teaches her dance class, we are suspending attendance temporarily, until we figure out if Wren's going to be a weepy mess after school this year, like she was last year. So many hours in a big group of people can be pretty wearing on my little introvert. Jane, of course, is loving school like a lion loves tearing apart a gazelle. The only problem we've heard so far from her teachers is that they can't keep her shoes on.

Duct tape, maybe?

Anyway, that's what we're up to.