Thursday, April 30, 2009

End of April Update

Around the House: It was so nice out last weekend that we took the hammock and big patio umbrella out of the shed. We put Matthew in the swing for a while and let Embry run around the yard with the hose. I love that they love to play outside and I try my best to not let my laziness get in the way of that.

In the Kitchen: Nothing special lately, but I did find a really good recipe for lentil soup. It's by Ina Garten and it makes a ton of soup, so it's perfect for freezing half. I have to thank Ginny for turning me on to lentil soup a long time ago. I probably would have never tried it if it weren't for her and her vegetarian phase. Of course the soup I made this week has a pound of Kielbasa in it, so it is far from vegetarian. But, it was good and even Matthew liked it.

New with Embry: Like a light switch was turned on, Embry has started to read everything within her reach. She reads her books at bedtime, the butter container on the table at dinner, the shampoo bottle in the bath. She has been studying letters and sounds at school for months, but all of the sudden it's like... she just gets it. All day long she is sounding out words and asking me what stuff says. Amazing!

New with Matthew: Matthew is growing like a weed and tearing the place up. His favorite past time now seems to be throwing his toys and making a huge mess out of a clean room in about 30 seconds. Luckily Embry still thinks it's fun to play "clean-up." Also, Matthew has about 6 new teeth. They never seem to bother him much. The only way I can tell when he's teething is that he drools much more than normal.

I'm Thankful For: Kids that like to ride in the car. Poor Matthew was stuck with me in a traffic jam for 30 minutes this week. 30 minutes without moving, but as long as I threw him an animal cracker once in a while there were no complaints.

The Weather Outside: Well in less than 30 days we've had both snow and 90 degree weather. I actually had to turn on the A/C last week. I told myself I wouldn't do it until it got really miserable out. But, last week it was 84 in the house and Embry was begging me to run the marathon with her on the Wii. I just couldn't stand it any more.

I'm Obsessing About: Wow, I can't really think of anything. I guess I have been worried lately about Christmas presents. I bought my first one of the year this week, and I can't believe I've waited so long. Not working for Williams-Sonoma sure has changed my shopping habits. No WS clearance sales, no perusing the mall on my break. I guess I will have to shop like a normal person this year.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Twinkle Toes

When I tell people that Matthew likes to stand and walk on his tiptoes, I'm not sure they understand to what extent. Especially when they come over, and then that is the day he decides not to do it at all. So, here on record, is a minute or so of Matthew watching Wubzy on his toes (mostly).

**Apparently I used to do it when I was little too, although I'm not sure how young I was when I started. I know it continued until I was 9 or 10.**

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mmm... Artichokes

If you like artichokes you have to try this recipe that I made for dinner last night. We don't eat whole fresh artichokes a lot (although I wish we did), but when we do I always make them the same way. Boil them and then serve them plain, with lemon-butter to dip the leaves in, yum! Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw Giada make these on TV and I've been thinking about them ever since. Now that we finally got all of the Easter leftovers out of the fridge, (and I happened to have some Gorgonzola left from the beet salad) I decided to go for it. The recipe is for 4 artichokes but can easily be made for 2, also be sure to adjust the cooking time if you are using medium or small sized artichokes. I believe the recipe is for large ones. Bon appetite!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Sunday

After much anticipation, Easter had arrived. I tried to do as much of the cooking as possible the day before. We colored eggs (brown eggs make the prettiest colors) with Grandma, but of course I forgot to take pictures. We also put together Easter baskets and put candy in about 50 plastic eggs on Saturday night.

So, when Sunday morning came we got to enjoy the egg hunt and our company. Embry and Matthew opened their baskets first thing after waking up. Because they get candy from the egg hunt, I put only non-candy stuff in their baskets. Embry got a butterfly net, some nail polish and lip balm, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and a book. Matthew got some wiffle balls (or "waffle balls", as Embry calls them), a big squeaky frog and 2 board books.

Everyone arrived around noon and we commenced with the egg hunt. I'm pretty sure that all of the eggs were found, with a little help from Moms and Dads. Matthew lost interest after about 5 minutes and just wanted to swing.

After the hunt, we went back inside to finish dinner. I also forgot to take a picture of all the food, but I assure you it was all delicious. Jason and I made grilled leg of lamb, homemade rolls, hot spinach salad with bacon dressing, and smashed minty peas. Our guests brought two other salads, deviled eggs, jello salad, and lots of desserts. I did remember to get a picture of the dessert table.

We had an ambrosia cake (white chiffon cake layered with orange vanilla buttercream frosting, pineapple curd, and orange and pineapple slices), key lime cheesecake, apple cream pie, Kahlua cake, and lots of candy. Yum!

Our livingroom was bursting at the seams, but we somehow managed to fit 10 adults and 3 kids at 2 tables. We all had plenty to eat, and we were entertained afterwards by people embarrasing themselves on the Wii. Good times.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Young Yoga Master

Embry has always had an interest in Yoga, but since we got the Wii Fit Game she has gotten into it a lot more. Mainly we do it together, but occasionally she asks to do it by herself, and she's getting really good.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Games We Play

The first thing that Embry and Matthew want to do when Daddy gets home is play "Vine." He can barely get in the door and put down his stuff when Embry is dragging him into the living room. So what is "vine?"

Embry's second favorite game is "Horton." She has been obsessed with "Horton Hears a Who" ever since Grandma bought her the book last year. Then we gave her the movie for her birthday. (Very cute movie, by the way. The best adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book I've seen.) Now she runs around carrying her "speck" usually pretending to be Vlad or Horton. I always play the part of the Sour Kangaroo (go figure). We take turns chasing each other and threatening to dunk the speck in the Beezlenut Stew. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you must read this book, and then watch the movie.

April Snow

Yes, it is April 6th, less than week until Easter and it is snowing. And not just a little. It is coming down hard in beautiful big flakes. Winter just won't let go without a fight this year. I'm glad we got all of our yard work done yesterday. It is very pretty though.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Update

**Is it April already? Ok, so March was a bad blogging month, but this month I'll be better, I promise.**

Around the House: Spring cleaning! And getting ready to host some family for Easter dinner. More on that to come...

In the Kitchen: Another birthday, another baking adventure. This time it was for J's mom, and we decided to make a caramel cake recipe from my mom's Maya Angelou Cookbook (I don't remember the title.) I have eaten this cake twice before, but I have never made it myself. The recipe is unique, because it starts with making a "dry caramel," which I have never done before. The caramel is for a syrup that is used both in the cake batter itself and as a soaking liquid for the cake layers after they are baked. It's a good thing that I started the night before because it took me two tries to get the caramel right. I baked the cake and made the browned butter frosting (yum!) the next day, and assembled the whole thing right before dinner. I was worried at first about the small amount of frosting, but a little goes a long way. It was delicious.

In other baking news, Embry and I tried out our new doughnut pan last night. We used a mix from King Arthur Flour, so they were super easy. They turned out great and we had to try one out soon after they came out of the oven. That's why there are only 5 in the picture. One with sprinkles for Embry, two with chocolate for J and two plain ones for me.

New with Embry: After a week off last week for spring break, it seems as if Embry's school schedule is already winding down. I think she will miss it over the summer. We have decided that the summer program at her school is too expensive, so we are currently looking for swimming lessons for her elsewhere. She is excited about learning to swim. I hope she keeps up the enthusiasm when the time actually comes and not get too scared.

New with Matthew: Matthew is literally getting too big for his britches. He has moved up to a size 6 diaper. I'm pretty sure that's the largest size that is easily available. He either needs to slow down his growing or hurry up and get potty trained. I was hoping we'd at least be able to wait until he turns two. He is also too big for his changing table. I have to lay him diagonally across it just to get him dressed. And then there's the issue of his crib. You are supposed to switch to a toddler bed when the top of the railing is at chest level. For most kids I'm sure that doesn't occur at 13 months. Although he has never tried to climb out, it would not take much effort if he did. So we will be taking down the crib and trying just the mattress on the floor. We agree that he is still too little for a regular bed. When Embry was only two she slept on the floor for months with no problem. But, if the trend continues of doing everything the opposite of his sister, we may have problems getting him to stay in bed if he's on the floor. I guess we'll just have to try and see.

I am Grateful For: It was really nice having Embry home last week. Because of our daily schedule, her and I rarely get to spend much time together, just the two of us. It was more work and more mess to clean up, but I enjoyed our half an hour or so every day of painting or crafting (some of the things that she only gets to do when Matthew is asleep).

The Weather Outside: We have had some crazy weather lately. It was cold and rainy last Saturday, and by 2 am the rain had turned to snow, about 3 inches. By 4 am the streets we plowed and when we got up at 7 it was already starting to melt. We let Embry go out and play in the snow since it might be her last chance until next winter. By noon it was completely gone, like it had never happened. And this week it is back to chilly mornings and warm afternoons.

I am Obsessed With: Keeping this blog better updated :)