Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Has anyone seen my camera?

I have all this stuff to say, but no camera to take pictures.

The cold front and the pill bugs have done in the north vegetable patch despite my best efforts. The whole thing will need to be revamped.

Big I had a ball at Craig's hockey game. If you've never seen an almost-eight-month old bang on the glass and lick all over it like a suckerfish before his mom knows what's happening, you don't know what you're missing. He liked going out for pizza too.

Where the heck did I put that camera?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bubbly

Sometimes it's just too easy to entertain him.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

A hot cup of...chocolate cake?

Seriously.

Chocolate Cake. In a cup. From the microwave.

From "Yorkie's" friend in Scotland (my comments in italics and Yorkie is someone's online moniker from a message board where I saw this, don't actually know her personally):

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
Most dangerous cake recipe in the world

4 tablespoons SR* flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) - but why would you want to omit?
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using)
and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. (I put my 1100 watt microwave down to 90%)
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT!
(this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous)

This recipe is the most dangerous in the world because it means we're only ever 5 minutes away from chocolate cake.


* Self-Rising flour. Made my own by adding some baking powder and a pinch of salt to the flour. A real mixture from the discussion thread was 1c. AP flour, 1/4 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt. It was also suggested that AP flour alone would be fine but may not rise as much. Mine rose and then fell several times.

Mine turned out slightly dry, so for Craig's I added a tiny bit more milk and reduced the cooking time to 2:45. I also used Andes chips. It's not like it is from the oven, but it is warm and gooey and chocolaty. Great fun for kids to watch rise in the microwave too.

Oo la la. Only missing some ice cream.

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Speaking of good things from a cup, Big I is in love with his new sippy cup. Too bad he hasn't figured out how to tip it up and actually get liquid from it yet.












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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Aww, nuts!

I had this great busy post all composed in my head about our weekend and

how we helped JR and Sarah move a hot tub they got from their neighbor and

we worked in the yard and

the weather was so great and

Big I was so cute in his new-to-him outfit and

wow! fireworks at the stadium last night that we can see from our front window and

cool new lawn equipment and

boy, I had better upload all those pictures.

So I was reviewing them and selected the ones to delete and then...hit the wrong button and deleted all of them EXCEPT the ones I wanted to!

Geez.

Hope your weekend ended more successfully.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Presents for baby, Lenten recipes and Big I's in the Box

I finished a couple of little projects to give to my friends Dorie and James who are expecting next month.

First a Socktopus, which has been road tested by Big I:



Also, a little nursing bracelet for Dorie to use. It helps keep track of which side to start on each time you sit down to feed the little one.





















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I've made a couple of good vegetarian recipes lately, just in time for the second half of Lent.

Check out how pretty the Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup is.

I chopped the spinach into smaller pieces than called for (Craig didn't like long ribbons) and I added a can of vegetable broth as part of the water. Sometimes Real Simple's recipes are too simple and there's not enough flavor, so the broth helps. For those in veggie-adverse households, there's just no way to slide this one in unnoticed.

(And why yes, those are yet more Sweet Potato Biscuits. I like them, okay?!)

Also, I made some excellent Fish Tacos last night. I bought the tomatillo salsa to save on time. I'd like to make the salsa myself next time, though.

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We got two big convertable car seats for Big I the other day. (Thank you Woot!) I think he was more interested in the box.


Wonder where he gets it from? This is me circa March 1981 (just about the same or a bit older than his age now).

Notice the box in the background?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's about time.

Rain here today - yipee! We need it. And I finally get to use my rain gauge I bought a good month or more ago. Kinda chilly too, gonna have to watch those tomatoes I put out last weekend.


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We had solar screens installed on the house Monday.



They look good, though it's really dark in here with the clouds. I know that's the point, but it's hard to get used to.

On the other hand, the baby has slept a little later the past couple of mornings. Can't complain about that.

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This was my new recipe the other day:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It actually turned out a little too sweet. I think it was particularly mild rhubarb. Still pretty good though.

The best rhubarb recipe is the Strawberry Rhubarb pie that Craig makes occasionally from The Best Recipe. Sooooo good. And I can't recommend that cookbook enough.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just like Daddy

"Today I got to help Daddy with his computer."

"I'm not sure if I liked the cables or the box better."

"Today I got to play around with sports equipment with Daddy."

"Maybe I'll be into rock climbing like my Cousin Sarah."

"Today I helped Daddy with the garden."

"Mommy will have to tell you what we did though. I just taste-tested."

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Craig got my trellis netting up today and I got my tomatoes in the beds.


It may be a bit early for the tomatoes, but the forecast is for warm weather for the next week and by then it'll be the frost-free date here. I can always protect them if need be with some straw I snagged this morning. Someone had discarded it in a common area of the neighborhood. It must have been a decoration in the fall; it's my mulch now.


I found an interesting tomato support at the store I'm going to try out this season, the 'Ultomato'. (Yeah, I know. I almost couldn't overlook the name.)


It has 3 long rebar-like supports except it's made of plastic. There are 3 sets of 3 cross bars that are all attached independently wherever they are needed. Hopefully they'll be able to support branches in exactly the right spot.


It was pretty inexpensive, but we'll see if it was money well spent.

As of today, my heritage Black Krim, planted nice and deep:


And my Roma. They're both putting out blossoms already.


But did I add enough compost and manure???

Friday, March 6, 2009

Who needs cute...

...when there's cool?



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The human body is quite amazing

I've been easing back into working out and running finally. I've been so surprised by my level of muscle memory. My plan when I go out for a jog is to have 20 minutes of running until I feel like walking and then walk until I feel like running again. (With some warm-up and cool-down time on either side.)

To my surprise, I've been very comfortable jogging for a good 5 minutes. And then I walk, not because I need to, but because I feel I should so as not to over-do it. Today I even had a good 'lift' at the end. That's where I feel like I could pick up the pace and really keep going for a long time. But instead I stopped.

I'm very pleased and hope to be doing a solid 20 minutes (or more?) by the end of the month.

I've also discovered a benefit to Craig's new DirecTV: it has the FitTV channel...I get Sharon Mann again! I really love my video, but new 20 minute workouts are perfect right now.

And Big I is a good work-out partner, of course.



And water bottle-checker.



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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Trees are really cannibals..."

"...Most people don't know that." -- Kirk W.

Kirk was a contractor with us at work for some time. He's a landscape architect and he and I spent many, many hours in the field working on a new park design. During the construction process, we were concerned with protecting some nice big post oaks. One good way to do that is to give them a nice wide (not too thick) layer of mulch which will protect the roots and eventually break down into some nice nutrients.

While overseeing some mulch and fencing around the said post oaks one day, we both came to the very wise realization that trees are, after all, cannibals.

My live oaks in the front yard have never had the benefit of cannibalism, er, mulch and are much the worse for wear. They certainly don't look like trees should that have been in the ground over four years. One has already been damaged at the base and probably will need to be removed in coming years.


But to help them out as best I can, Big I and I put down some newspaper and mulch to help fend off the bermuda grass. Not only did Big I supervise, he did the most important job of all: holding the blanket down.


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One down. Eventually we'll make real, edged beds to go around them, but for now this will do. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the other one this week.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Busy Big I

Big I is 7 months old today and he's getting to be a big and very busy boy. He did all sorts of stuff this weekend.

On Friday, Craig upgraded to satellite tv. (To get more '"HD gloriousness" or something. Whatever.) Big I helped the installation guy and Daddy get everything put in.


Then he and Daddy spent way too much time getting all the settings and such right.



He loves the Beginner's Bible his Uncle Andy gave him for his baptism. Something about the nice colorful pictures I guess. He sat and let me read to him for quite a while.


Just a funny moment after church this morning. He and Craig worked out their own way to keep warm.


He and Brisco are good buddies too. We're lucky to have such good, kid-friendly dogs. (Actually, it's not luck. I made sure to never give them the choice to be otherwise.) Notice the look of quiet wariness in Brisco's eye, though. He may be tolerant, but he's not stupid. Good dog.


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And on a completely unrelated note: Don't my stuffed peppers look cheerful and yummy? I just had to take a picture. They tasted good too.