Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Meredith had been BEGGING me for nearly a week to make pretzels. She saw it on one of her sing-along videos. There is a song called I’m a Pretzel where kids are contorting their bodies and then it shows some workers making those mall pretzels. When Meredith saw this, she declared, “We need to make pretzels because they are hearts for Valentine’s Day.” Finally yesterday we did it and she had a good time.
Let me just say that this recipe for Mall Pretzels is amazing! I had never made them before. They were SO good. Way better than mall pretzels. It was a last-minute thing so I didn’t have the coarse salt, which would have been fun. We did half with salt and the other half with cinnamon sugar. They were the perfect blend of chewy/crusty and gooey on the inside. We loved this recipe. Plus, Meredith had a lot of fun making something she saw in her video.
And … tulips.
I have a friend who recently posted about how receiving candy and flowers on Valentine’s isn’t as special because it’s expected. Well, maybe Kevin is lucky that his wife has such a bad memory (I am not kidding about this) because I always forget every year that he gets me flowers on Valentine’s Day until they arrive at the door. Then I’m surprised and delighted.
I really, really enjoyed having these tulips. They were a much-needed reminder that spring is around the corner. They brought freshness and beauty to my house. I don’t know what outrageous price Kevin paid for Valentine’s flowers but, at least this year, they were worth it and very timely.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Today I spent about an hour playing on the library’s children’s computer with Meredith. I was trying to teach her how to use the mouse. She got the clicking part, and that you’re supposed to click on certain icons, but wasn’t very good at coordinating the moving and clicking together. So, basically, I moved her hand and she clicked. There were some really great educational games for toddlers on the kids’ computers. We had fun with it. I’m glad to see that Meredith enjoys the library as much as her mom!
I know one thing, in my thirties I’m not planning to move across the country three times, be intentionally unemployed with no idea what the next job will be, be uncertain about my man, and one thing I know for a fact … Kevin is NOT going back to school!
Speaking of Kevin, he decorated the house with streamers for my birthday after I had gone to bed the night before. Sweet! I woke up to a festive house and a little pile of presents. Then he took me to dinner and shopping. That, plus the fact that I got a free Starbucks coffee card at my MOPS meeting (they give out random prizes at every meeting and last week I got one!), totally made my day!
And, to top it all off, even the moon decided to eclipse, give us all a show, and make my birthday special. Wasn’t that so nice?
Ummm, let’s see … this week I think we’ll have …
1) Our very favorite meat loaf, garlic mashed potatoes, and vegetables.
2) French Dip (this is likely our family’s favorite meal and it’s easy as a blink), green salad, fresh fruit.
3) Baked teriyaki chicken (truly amazing recipe!), steamed rice, broccoli
4) Breakfast for dinner: Granola Pancakes, scrambled eggs with bacon, fruit smoothies
5) Fettuccine Alfredo w/ grilled chicken, steamed carrots and green beans
I think I’ll also make some pumpkin bread (recipe below).
3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground clove
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Overnight, Clara’s personality has changed from docile creature to feisty little girl. I don’t know what happened to my tranquil little baby. It seems that since she's tasted the freedom to move around, she has acquired a spirited streak.
These days she’s a total mama’s girl. This is new for me. Meredith was always a daddy’s girl and very independent. I’m trying to find the balance of enjoying the fact that I’m Clara’s favorite and getting her to appreciate other people more!
Meredith is drawing really awesome stick figures these days! The figures have no body—just a round head, two legs, two arms, a bunch of dots on the face, and crazy hair. But they are SO cute. I love it!
This morning I told Meredith to make up her bed. She said, “I will do it. I promise.” I have no idea where she picked up on the “I promise” line.
Last Sunday when she was loud in church, I took her to the back and asked her if she knew why she was going to get a spanking. She said, “Yes, because I was noisy and disobedient.” Then she quickly held up her index finger and thumb and said, “Can I just get a LITTLE spanking?” It’s so hard to discipline kids when they’re so dang funny.
The other day Meredith found a gaudy ring that someone gave me and I let her play with. She exclaimed, “Oh! I think I can get married with that!”
After I put her hair in piggy tails the other day, she asked me if I wanted piggy tails too. When I said no, she looked horrified and said, “But don’t you want to look like ME?” [What am I supposed to say to that?]
When I was putting away her ABC puzzle (which she had scattered all over the floor and wasn’t even playing with anymore), she rushed over to me and yelled, “No! Don’t take my letters away because then I can’t learn to read!!”
When I was buckling her out of her car seat, she saw my wedding ring and said, “You have a diamond.” A: “Yes, who gave it to me?” M: “Daddy.” A: “When?” M: “Sometime you had a wedding before Clara got in your tummy!”
She’s been enjoying carrying around a new purse that grandpa bought her. At the grocery checkout the other day, she pulled a penny from her purse and held it out to me. She said, “Here is some money to pay that lady.” [Like, hey mom, I’ll take care of the grocery bill this week!]
Meredith asked me recently, “What is the opposite of resting?” I didn’t answer right away because I was trying to decide the best word. Then she piped up, “I know … it’s THINKING!”
The other day she asked, “Can I bring my makeup brush to Meijer?” I asked if she was going to hold onto it and not drop it and lose it (which is what she normally does). She thought for a second and then replied, “You can put it in your purse. How about THAT good idea?”
Ever since she’s said this, Kevin and I are always asking each other, “How about THAT good idea?” I think this will be a family line for a long time …
Monday, February 11, 2008
The first menu is for Valentine’s Day. Something special. It’s unlikely we’ll go out because of the crowds and the realities of having kids. Maybe we'll make up for it next week when it's my b-day!
1) Bleu cheese crusted filet w/ port wine sauce, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans, molten chocolate cakes with sugar-coated raspberries
2) Tomato Gorgonzola Soup w/ corn cakes on the grill (Rachael Ray’s)
3) Chile rellenos pie, Spanish rice, green salad—tho’ I’ll probably heavily modify the chile rellenos recipe because I’m trying to recreate something I had once.
And I’m planning to make and decorate heart-shaped frosted sugar cookies with Meredith. I like to put almond extract in mine.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Then, somewhere between my work deadline and trying for the second time to potty train Meredith, Kevin came down with the flu. Ugh.
Fortunately, Meredith is doing really well with the potty training this time. It happened in like two hours. I’m not kidding. If you remember my last desperate post, you’ll know how relieved I am right now. She’s been dry all day and for the third day in a row. And, the best part is I don’t even have to remind her to go. We’ve run errands with her wearing only underwear (not even pull-ups) and she’s done great! It’s so great to see your child take those first steps toward being a self-governed individual.
UPDATE: The landlord is here. I'm sitting at my computer desk working and all I hear is what sounds like thousands of little pieces of ceiling falling on the stairs and living room floor. I wonder if this is a full-service landlord (i.e., will he vacuum)? I'd better not press my luck!
Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)
Food expenditure for one week $341.98
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Monday, February 04, 2008
Here's a picture of the tortilla soup I'll make. We LOVE this recipe!
Here's my plan:
1) Rotisserie chicken, broccoli w/ cheddar sauce (recipe below), pumpkin dinner rolls
2) Baked potato bar
3) Chili-chicken lettuce wraps (from Everyday Food) w/ vegetables and steamed rice
4) Emeril’s Chicken Tortilla Soup w/ homemade tortilla strips, corn casserole, green salad
5) Croque-madame, roasted asparagus, fruit
The croque-madame is something Kevin had at a restaurant and loved, so I’m going to try to recreate it. I think it’s supposed to have béchamel sauce but this time I’m going for speed and I’ll just use the suggested mayo (this week I’ll gladly take the help)!
This is the first time I'm making the chili-chicken lettuce wraps. Shannon got me a subscription to Everyday Food and I love it so far!
Here’s the cheddar broccoli recipe we like (I thought it was online but I couldn’t find it):
Steamed Broccoli with Cheddar Sauce
1 1/4 pounds broccoli
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Steam broccoli; transfer to a large bowl. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking, until mixture darkens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mustard and milk; simmer, whisking, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until just melted; season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over broccoli; serve.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Afterwards we met daddy at the food court downtown for lunch. Clara is wearing a sweater knit by my friend Heather. Isn’t it beautiful? People who can make stuff like that amaze me! Incidentally, Heather is also the one who told me about the Give Kids a Smile program.