Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Official

First Bombpop of the summer:

I remember grabbing a dollar from the kitchen drawer and racing out to the ice cream truck for these.

And I also ate them when I was a little kid.

OKAY Jeez I'll back off, Jane. I'm not trying to take your bombpop. I was just taking a picture!

Watch out for her. She is serious about her ice cream. Just OH: "HANG ON WREN! I can't talk when I'm licking!"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Party Trick

So a few weekends ago, Jessie and I threw a shower for a very lovely friend, who claims that judging by the pokes and prods, she will soon be giving birth to a unicorn. The unicorn will be her second baby, and so we did a surprise shower and everything went down great. We yelled surprise, she was surprised, there was beer for some, mimosas for others, and juice boxes for the rest.

The point of all this is that Jessie I and made some decorations and they were adorable and if you are planning a party, you should make them too.

Sorry about the dark picture, but I had to include it- please notice Jane, sneaking in the corner to climb the table and get her finger in a cupcake.

And here she is post-cupcake-refusal. Chase reports that other guests were slightly confused to see him taking this picture, rather than, you know, comforting his screaming child.

The idea from the decorations came from the crafty and stylish Noelle, who made these pom poms for her daughter's first birthday. And SHE got the idea from, who else, Martha Stewart, who has the tutorial up on her site.

They can either look like dahlias, if you make the edges pointy, or like fluffy poufs, if you round them off. They couldn't be simpler to put together- the most complicated part was finding the floral wire, and Jessie's rose growing ancestry came to our rescue there.

Our be-showered friend took home her favorites, to decorate the nursery, and I took as many as fit in the back of the Jetta. They are hanging in the girl's room and Jane calls them her "noflakes." I can't help myself- I will be so sad when she starts saying her 's.'

I still have two extras, pink and white, sitting on the piano in the living room if anyone wants to claim them. They are getting a bit bedraggled, but I bet they'd fluff up again if you hung them up. So. If you're throwing a party, you should make some pom poms! The end.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bagel Attempt

One of the foods I've been consistently able to eat and enjoy this pregnancy is bagels, and no one in this house ever eats alone, with Jane in the vicinity to say "MAMAcanIhaveaBITE?"

So we have been racking up quite the bagel grocery bill. I have long resisted Chase's desire for homemade tortillas, even though we eat a lot of those too, because tortillas are ridiculously cheap to buy. But bagels, now that we no longer live near a Trader Joes (sob) are not. And there's a pretty simple recipe in my beloved Artisan Bread book, so I decided to give them a try.

Here's my capricious kitchen helper. About 3 seconds after this picture, she ate a fistful of salt from the salt cellar, and tried to wash it down with raw bagel dough. Then she went to her room for a little enforced rest time. This is the difficult time for kitchen helpers, in between being content to pour beans back and forth in tupperware containers on the floor, and being able to break eggs and stir on their own, like someone's big sister gets to do. It's a complicated balance, to keep her feeling involved and helpful, without letting her do injury to herself or ruin whatever we're making. Not starting a project 30 minutes before naptime would probably also be a good idea...

The dough was really easy to work with, since it was just pulled from the batch of plain boule dough I already had chilling in the fridge. And only a minimal amount of it got stuck in my jewelry, which I NEVER remember to take off until halfway through any bread making endeavor.

And here's the part that had intimidated me in the past and kept me from trying homemade bagels. I wasn't too sure how the boiling pot part would work, but it was actually very simple and fast. Then it was back onto the floured peel, and into the over on the hot stone for another 20 minutes. The girls requested an extra step, so we sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar first.

I only made a small batch for this first attempt, but it was such a fast hassle free project that I will definitely be making these again and freezing as many as will fit in the freezer.

So far none have made it into the freezer. None have actually made it into the pantry either. We are trying to save some until Chase gets home, but I doubt we'll have any left for breakfast tomorrow. Maybe I should make some cookies, just so the bagels stand a chance...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day Tripping

For the first weekend in forever, this last Saturday we had absolutely nothing scheduled. I had wiggled out of various end-of-the-school-year party type things, because that's just the kind of uninvolved jerk I am. And obviously we have lots of laundry to do, and a very dirty house, and a serious raccoon-on-the-patio problem that we will have to address soon, if Ramona ever wants to eat a full meal of dog food again. But we were so happy to have nothing definitely scheduled that we decided to get out of town, before we remembered a very important birthday party or something.

We grabbed swimsuits and towels and headed for Pedernales Falls, about 45 minutes from Austin. We've camped here before and really loved it. There are nice shady campsites, with a little trail down to the river. Next time we may try the more primitive sites, because this weekend the park was absolutely packed, which isn't a huge deal on the river, but might be annoying if you were actually camping.

Ramona is a huge fan of the river, but not a huge fan of being put on a leash about 3 feet away from the river. This is the other bummer of going on a busy weekend. She did get to run around whenever things calmed down. Actually, she ran around enough that she had her little old lady limp when we got home. Isn't she lovely and distinguished in her old age? With her little white muzzle? Usually a good night of sleep with fix her limp, and it has this time as well.

The water was just cold enough to be really nice when the sun was shining, and a little bit too cold when the wind was blowing. From my spot on the blanket, with a book, I could attest that the water was the perfect temperature.

Chase couldn't find his suit and was rocking the jorts, so I don't think he found the water quite as enjoyable, while he was fishing out various floating-away sand toys. Eventually I had to find out for myself. It was pretty great.

Pretty much the only thing that could make it better was a cherry limeade, and we stopped for one on the way home. I'm glad we did, because while walking around barefoot in beach clothes in a Sonic parking lot (CLASS) I realized I'd left my flip flops sitting on the ground, next to where we parked our car. That fuzzy-headed pregnancy thing is not a myth. I literally stepped out of my shoes, into the car. WTF.

So we turned around and went back to get them. Both tired girls fell asleep on the way home, and overall I'd say it was a pretty great day, even if we didn't do any laundry.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Big Bend- Window Trail

What we learned on our (supposed to be 3 mile, really secretly 6 mile) hike:

Always start a hike by following people who know what they're doing. For instance, notice the socks. I myself was not wearing socks and came to deeply regret this.

Watch out for bears. Also be aware that while your husband's boy scout hat is fun and ironic in Austin, it will cause varying levels of confusion and possibly anger when worn in a National park on spring break.

Don't drink the water. Even if you didn't happen to bring quite enough. Congratulate the littlest hikers on taking tiny sips and managing to make their meager stores last. Feel like an awesome parent.

Don't slip in the water.

Enjoy the shade, when you have it. And finally, although there are no pictures of this part, finish the whole thing with lots of ice cream back at the ranger station, and an eventual soak in the hot springs by the Rio Grande.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Wren's best friend from school is not going to kindergarten with Wren next year, and this is causing some sadness in both our houses. Her birthday was a few weeks ago, and Wren and I came up with the idea of making her a pen pal kit for the summer.

Wren wrote her a letter to get started, and I sewed this little wrap, based on the SouleMama Gratitude Wrap. We put in some fun stationary, addressed to Wren, some stickers, some fancy new pens, and a book of stamps, and I really hope this helps the girls keep in touch this summer. They are both learning to write (slowly and carefully) and so this should certainly be fun. I'm also hoping Wren can go to a dance class with her friend this summer. She is such a loyal kid, and although she's really looking forward to kindergarten, she's also just not sure about all these huge changes looming on the horizon for her. She seems so placid and easygoing that it can take a special effort to really gauge how she's doing day to day. I need to do better at remembering.

And this is an in-progress knit, that I've since finished, for one of those looming changes. Jane is less ambivalent about change, and has actually cut one of the baby knits to pieces. This diaper cover survived though- I found the pattern on Ravelry and it was simple and fast and I'll be making more for sure. I've hidden it on a high shelf though, so I'm not going to risk getting it down to photograph. My poor Janey. If anyone has the strength of personality to handle being a middle child it's certainly Jane.

And lastly I have this little baby kimono, made for a very wonderful, very pregnant friend. I wish I'd put something in there for scale, this thing is tiny. There's another one, with cherries on it, that came out looking like it was a very weird color in the pictures. This is the Habitual kimono and it was super fun and easy to make. I had already cut the pieces for the Heather Ross kimono, and then I lost that book and all the pattern pieces two nights before the shower, so that sucked. Amy at Habitual saved my life and sent me her pattern and it came together just in time. Thank you!

My sister in law Sarah gave me a huge bag of perfectly assorted, washed ironed and meticulously cut fabric squares that has since been sitting on my sewing table waiting for me to do something with. And there's the stack of antique inherited quilt tops, each partially pieced, waiting to be finished. And of course my white work quilt, languishing in the closet waiting for me to find my thimble.

So I'm thinking, aside from various baby projects, and moving of course, this might be the summer of quilting...

Who's in?

No really. Come on guys! It'll be fun!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring trip to Beaumont

Blackberries on the fence.

Jane, making herself sick. Nonetheless, she still managed to put away quite a bit at that evening's fish fry.

The girls checking out my old treehouse. My dad built this for me and my sister, and he and Shawn recently remodeled it (and painted it pink!) for my girls. Two hurricanes in two summers had not been kind to the treehouse, but it's all fixed up- new roof, new screens, new flower stencil over the door. The girls loved it.

And Ramona was definitely a fan of the sandbox. Jane had to kick her out when she wanted to play.

Even for a fast weekend trip, it was really lovely. I can't believe I left my jar of mayhaw on the kitchen table- I will be reclaiming that for sure. And it was wonderful to see my mom and grandmother and sister, even if Anne spent most of the time under her bronco, trying to figure out how to make it not strand her somewhere between here and Colorado. Everyone please hope and pray that she gets a job in Austin this week, so we won't have to put her truck to the cross country test!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

blankets for the girls

I haven't really been that busy crafting. I just keep forgetting to blog, so it looks like I am super productive when I cram a bunch of projects into one post.

This is the duvet cover for Jane, in the early stages. In the last post there was a picture of Wren's requested rainbow cover, and I finally finished them both. We got the bunk beds back in March, and it's really great that both girls finally have twin size blankets for their beds. Not that they EVER sleep with their blankets. It could be snowing in their room and they'd both have kicked off their covers. But at least I finished them, however slapdash and wonky they may be.

Someday I'd really like to sand and paint the bunk beds. I guess we'll be taking them apart this summer, when we move, so that might be a good time to tackle it. I am thinking a really bright red would be nice...

And they still have their baby quilts across the foot of their beds. I should probably pack those up somewhere, so they don't get destroyed by the usual style of tent building that goes on here. I can't really do it though. I just can't believe my baby Wren is in her last week of school and next year is Kindergarten. Seriously.

Sentimentality does not keep me from being psyched about her awesome bowling fieldtrip on Friday though. I hope Dart Bowl is ready for the pre-K invasion. I've already given Wren some change for the cigarette machine.