Thursday, November 30, 2006

Arctic Blast

Yesterday, it was 80 degrees. Today, it snowed. The channel 5 team of meteorologists said we were having an "Arctic Blast." And, indeed we did. Kev came home early from work to avoid the effect of the arctic blast on the highway, so we decided to put up the Christmas tree. But first, we bundled up the Peanut and took her outside to see her first snow. I don't think she quite understood what we were so excited about. But someday, she'll see. I'm hoping there will be real snow in New York next month so we can take her sledding and build a snow man. Anyway, it was a fun day and Daphne liked the Christmas tree putting up process. By the way, in the outside picture, you can see Javier mowing someone's lawn. In the snow.

Today is the last day of November and I didn't make a pie. Dangit. So I decided to count my Thanksgiving pumpkin bread pudding with butterscotch anglaise sauce as the November pie-of-the-month. Two people sent me pie recipes, and I fully intend to make them both.

I can't believe tomorrow is December.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Nothing shoots the wheels off a baby's nap like jackhammers and giant drills 40 yards from her crib. Damn McMansions.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Penguin Renewal!

Just in time to put me in the holiday spirit, I was notified today that Kev renewed my adoption of Tula the Penguin. Some of you may remember that my cool brother-in-law, Pat, gave me this penguin for Christmas last year. Here she is, sitting on her two eggs. When they hatch, I will receive more photos from the great Dr. Mike Bingham, protector of penguins.

I highly recommend giving someone you like a penguin for Christmas. You get a certificate and everything. And you get to name your penguin. And you can even go visit if you have several thousand spare dollars.

Special hello to Blair, who was just asking about Tula, and to Mary in Indiana...thanks for reading my blog!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Learning to Crawl

The Peanut can get on her hands and knees, but hasn't figured out how to make forward progress. So she usually gives up and takes a thumb break, or just rolls to whatever toy she needs to eat next.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hostess with the Mostest

How many different ways can you combine Hostess snack cakes (TM) with pudding and tubs of cool whip? Well, if you aren't sure, and you are salivating at the very thought, you can find out by going to and browsing through their recipes. You will find things like Ding Dong Mousse, Ho-Ho Pudding, and Twinkie-misu! Who knew there were so many things you could make filled with delightful preservatives and delicious trans-fats. It is a good thing I didn't have access to these recipes in the 1970's, or I'd have been a 200 pound fourth-grader. Oh, how I loved Hostess snack cakes! I even had special ways of eating each snack cake. With Ding Dongs, I would eat the chocolate coating around the side first, then the top, then the bottom. Then I'd eat the cake part, getting as close to the cream filling as possible before finishing it off. With Hoho's, I'd eat the coating off the ends first, then the rest of the coating, and when I got down to the cake part, I'd unroll the thing and eat the cream first, then the cake. I never cared for Twinkies. For a couple of years, there was the added bonus of Hostess baseball cards on the bottom of the box. I collected them, and played with them a lot, arranging them into teams and stuff. Bake McBride had such a heroic afro! The poor Peanut will probably never get to experience the joy of eating Hostess snack cakes, in this health-consious world we now live in. She'll never get the chance to sit two feet from the TV on a Saturday morning, staring at the greatness of Fat Albert, bowl of Fruity Pebbles on her knee. She'll not get to shout, "Leggo my Eggo!" Kinda sad. Maybe someday, though, I'll let her make me some Ding Dong Mousse for Mother's Day, and I'll let her have a taste. And while we're at it, I'll put in my Fat Albert DVD. Hey hey hey!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Death by Pumpkin

I just got back from pumpkin class. It was fun. Here is what we made: pumpkin pecan pie with bourbon sauce, pumpkin bread pudding with butterscotch sauce, pumpkin seed brittle, pumpkin cheesecake, and white chocolate pumpkin souffle. Whew. At the end we tasted it all and now I am all sick and loopy on sugar. But man, oh, man, was it good. The bread pudding was best, and I tihnk I am going to make it for Thanksgiving. Our teacher was really nice...a grad of the CIA which is in Hyde Park where Kev's family lives. The class was nice and small, only 7 people total. One lady was a real know-it-all, and kept bossing us around and giving us food chemistry fun facts. Another girl kept licking her fingers which was grossing me and my mom out. Everyone else was nice. I would like to take another class. Maybe a curry class. She is doing a whole class on macaroni and cheese soon, but Kev hates macaroni and cheese. Crazy.

Kev and Daphne aren't here, which is very weird. I have the whole house to myself. If I wasn't so wound up on pumpkin desserts, I would take a nap.

Anyway, I encourage you all to make stuff with pumpkin. It is tasty, and full of Vitamin A!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Land of Gar

Blogging from Garland today, so was able to put some recent pictures on the Peanut Gallery if anyone is interested (link at right). Tomorrow is the pumpkin cooking class. Should be fun. I had to go to my office for a while this morning. It was really weird to be there. Nothing has changed. The smokey lady was outside smoking, and Sanjay from the office next door was sitting in his cube on the phone. Like a trip back in time. It freaked me out a little bit. Then I went to Old Navy for a minute. They don't really have any "mom" clothes there. So I went to the bookstore and paid way too much for mediocre coffee and looked around. That was fun and made up for Old Navy. I feel tired today. I think I might be getting sick. Blah.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More on Bingo

So, to be fair to Kev, I have to tell you that I change the words to songs too, by sticking the baby's name in there. Pop Goes the Peanut, You are my Peanut, The Itsy Bitsy Peanut, etc. So I am to blame if she tells poor Miss Winklebottom, "Uh, you're's supposed to be there was a PEANUT had a THUMB."

I feel much better now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I wonder how much we can tell about the Peanut's future personality based on her behavior at 5 1/2 months. She seems to be a very determined baby, who is easily frustrated and easily stressed-out. She also seems to be very curious and fascinated with anything new, whether it is exciting and colorful like the fishtank at Central Market, or a tupperware lid she's never seen before. She loves music, and especially likes string instruments (the melodica and accordian and kazoo make her cry). She also loves looking at herself in the mirror. If she is really mad, she says "ging" or "ning" and she has developed a very fake whiney cry for when she just wants attention. I guess a lot of this is pretty typical for babies. But it will be interesting to watch her develop from a baby into a kid. I worry about kindergarten. You see, her dad is teaching her all the wrong words to children's songs. For example, after the itsy bitsy spider goes up the water spout, Kev's version has water coming down to wipe the spider out. And he has the poor monkey chasing the weasel around the mulberry bush, which is from a different song. If Daphne is anything like her dad, which I think she will be, we are really in trouble when she gets in school. I can just see it now. The children are gathered at circle time and something like this happens:

Teacher: OK, boys and girls, today we are going to learn a new song about a dog named Bingo.
Daphne (thinking): BORING...I've known this song since I was like 4 months old.
T (singing): There was a farmer, had a dog and...
D (hand shoots up into the air): Uh, Miss Winklebottom?
T: (sighs, she's been through this before) Yes, Daphne?
D: That's not right.
T: What's not right?
D: The words. You're singing the wrong words. It goes, "There was a DOG who had a BONE and Bingo was his name-o."
T: No, sweetie. There was a FARMER had a DOG.
D: I am sure you're wrong. Why don't you look it up?
T: Well, let's sing it my way, just for today.
D: OK, but it's not right.
And because Daphne is so convincingly sure of herself, poor Miss Winklebottom will be home later that night scouring the internet for the lyrics to Bingo, gin and tonic by her side. I have a feeling Kev and I will be getting a few calls from teachers in the future.
But for now, I am just going to enjoy my funny little baby while I can. Yesterday it made me cry to think how soon she's not going to be a baby anymore. In the meantime, I think I'll work on teaching Kev the right words to children's song. There was a dog who had a bone! Where did he learn that?

Martha Ain't so Bad

Last Saturday, I went with my mom to meet Martha Stewart at her book-signing at Sur la Table. I figured they'd parade us through there like a herd of cattle and I'd be able to blog a blog about how mean and rude she was, but I was wrong. They gave us free coffee and cookies, and Martha Stewart was very friendly and took time to speak to people. I asked her how I could get her pillowcase dress pattern from like five years ago, and she told me to email her and they'd get it for me. I did, and it's on its way in the mail as we speak. A lot of people hate Martha Stewart, but I don't. She is nice and has good recipes and craft ideas. If anything, she is just so rich that she is out of touch with reality and thinks things like keeping your own chickens and ironing your sheets and blue jeans and having a pantry the size of my house are essential for a happy home. But, at least she's not all overly perky and annoying like Rachel Ray, or a self-righteous name dropper butt kisser "look-at-me-I'm-so-generous-and-concerned" phony like Oprah. I guess that was a little harsh. Sorry, Ope. You were pretty good in that Color Purple, I guess.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Coolest Kid on the Block

Here is Daphne Claire in a T-Shirt I made with my new screen-printing skills from Make. If you don't know, that's the great Elvis Costello on there. I bet she is the only baby in town with an Elvis Costello shirt. Screen printing is fun, and actually requires no skills or talent whatsoever, just some patience and a tolerance for the smell of ModPodge. Rock on, little Peanut.

Pumpkin Hats for All

Good Boy Albert

The Daddy Train

Blackberry Cobbler

Pie-of-the-Month: October

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Flame On

I know I was all mad a few weeks ago about the Over-Christmasing in the retail world, but now, I admit, I am sort of getting into the holiday spirit. I took the Peanut to Target the other day and wheeled her around the Christmas tree area and she loved it. Christmas is going to be so much more fun now that we have Daphne. My next project is making her a stocking, if I can find the time and a good idea for one. I still draw the line at giant inflatable yard-art though. It just ain't gonna happen.

I was thinking this morning about my friend Cris' ornament making party. Back when we were all poor and living in apartments without any kids, Cris used to have this party every year where we'd all go over and make ornaments to decorate her tree because she couldn't afford to buy any "real" ones. She'd pull out a big box with a bunch of paper and glitter and scissors and glue and stuff, and we'd go to town. It was so much fun. As the years went on, the tree had accumulated plenty of ornaments, and sadly the party got to be more about eating and drinking than about making stuff. At the last party, our friend Marco caught on fire. He was wearing a loose-fitting shirt, and he backed into the buffet table where there were some tea-light candles, and the next thing you know, there were flames coming from behind him, and someone was yelling "Stop, Drop, and Roll!" It was all very surreal. Marco was OK, but his shirt didn't make it. As far as I know, there weren't any more ornament making parties after that. Kind of a sad end to a fun thing. Oh well.

It's entirely possible that I have already blogged the Marco catching on fire story. If so, sorry about that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pie Feedback

I am enjoying all of your suggestions about pie! Please keep 'em coming.

Whitney: Funny, I was just telling Kev that peanut butter seemed like a Novembery kind of pie. I don't have a recipe though.
GG: I would love a raspberry cream pie, but you're right, it's out of season. That would be a good July pie. The only reason I made blackberry cobbler in October is that I was desperate to get my pie done in time, and because I happened to have two cans of blackberries that I never used last year when I had a hankerin' for fruit pie.
Darlene: I would LOVE the recipe for the chocolate pie if you have time.
Marty: I like sweet potatoes, but have never had them as pie. Is it a dessert pie, or more of a side dish? Unfortunately, Kev doesn't like sweet potatoes.
Kim: OK, what the heck is woodpecker pie? I googled it, but found nothing.
Julie: Pecan is one of my possibilities for Nov or Dec...but I would probably make chocolate chip pecan pie.

By the way, my mom and I are taking a cooking class at Sur la Table in a couple weeks called "Beyond Pumpkin Pie" where we will learn other pumpkiny desserts that aren't pumpkin pie. It should be fun.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Let's Talk about Pie

So, I made my October pie, but now it's November and time to move on. I have been trying to decide what kind of pie to make this month, but so far haven't made up my mind. Kev suggested lemon meringue, which sounds great, but as I told him, that is more of an April pie. I don't really like pumpkin pie, so that's out. And I am saving apple pie for January, because by then I should have a new apple coring/peeling/slicing device, which will make making apple pie a peice of cake! I am leaning toward some sort of chocolate mousse pie, but will be happy to receive suggestions if any of you have an idea for a good Novembery pie. Cobblers and tarts count!

Technical Difficulties Over for Now...Sorta

So, for the past week, I have had no computer. Ours is broken. Well, now it's sorta fixed. We have access to the internet, but no virus protection or pop-up blockers, so we have to be careful. I am typing this blog in something called "word-pad" because we don't even have Microsoft Word at the moment. It's pretty bare bones. The prime suspect for our recent computer crashes is the USB port, so we aren't using it at the moment. That means no mouse, no printer (our printer is also broken anyway!), and no hooking up the camera to load in the recent photos. So, alas, I can't show you my October Pie-of-the-Month, or me in my pumpkin hat, or other recent pictures. We may end up having to haul off and buy a new computer, which would suck because that would be the third one in less than five years. But, what can you do? I discovered last week when I was living like the cave people that I cannot live without my computer. I need it. There are projects to do and things to search for and blogs to read and blogs to blog.

The Peanut is napping, so I am going to try to catch up on a weeks worth of un-blogged blogs. First, an update on my fall/winter goals: I finally went to Make and took a class. I learned to do screen printing, which is a very cheap, fun, and useful thing to know. Whenever we can load photos, I will show you something I made. I think I am going back to take another class soon. I had so much fun. I managed to get a pie made on Halloween, just in the nick of time for October. I just made a quick and easy blackberry cobbler, which tasted pretty OK once it was warmed up in the microwave and covered with vanilla ice cream. If I have time after this, I will blog a pie blog. What else? Um, the bird feeders were filled by Kev on Saturday, but they are already empty again, so I will have to go fill them up sometime this afternoon or tomorrow. I believe my birdseed supplies are perilously low, so that means a trip to the hated Wal-Mart, because Target does not carry the safflower seed I need to keep the grackles away. And I have been taking lots of walks with Daphne. She loves being outside. We took her to the lake yesterday for a little picnic and she had a big time. I can't remember my other goals at the moment, so I'll have to check, but overall I think I am making decent progress.

Yesterday was the Peanut's five month birthday, so we gave her some birthday squash to celebrate. It was her first real food besides cereal, and she loved it. I think she is going to be a good eater. She is getting to be really fun. She loves eating time and bath time and she loves watching her daddy play the guitar. She is great at rolling and getting better at sitting and is trying to figure out crawling, but usually ends up going backwards with her current method. She also laughs out loud a lot more, and is making lots of fun new baby sounds. She is also still very high maintenance though, and needs a lot of attention. We are constantly trying to find new ways to entertain her. Her favorite thing these days is being pulled around the house in the laundry hamper like a train. Kev even has a train whistle, and he goes from room to room with her making stops to pick up various toys along the way. I will put pictures on when I can. It's pretty funny.

Well, I have more to blog, but it will have to wait until later. It's nice to be back on the air. I have missed reading all of your blogs.