Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Got Got Got Got No Time

Well, you know I've been busy if the first snow of the year came and went without a peep from me. I honestly can't even tell you when it happened, just that it was sometime between the last post and now. Christmas is in full swing around here, and there is just no time to blog. The tree is up, the house is decorated, and as of a few minutes ago, most of the gifts are wrapped. I still have to wrap all of Kev's stuff (Christmas AND birthday!) and a couple of unfinished items. I am pretty sure that I will not be able to do everything I need to do by the time it needs to be done. Christmas cards may go out in January again this year.

But if that's the case, so be it. The world is not going to end.

This is the year I was going to give everyone handmade Christmas gifts. I was going to have everything done by Thanksgiving so I could just enjoy Christmas, all stress-free. Well, I am sad to say that pretty much nobody is getting any handmade anythings this year. And I didn't even start on Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Oh well. My intentions were good. And although the season has hardly been stress-free, I AM enjoying Christmas very much. Daphne is at the perfect age. She helped with the tree and the Christmas cards and a few other things. The town had a parade and a festival, which she loved. I have managed to avoid malls, and so I haven't had to deal much with cranky shoppers and bad traffic. We had some nice snow. There has been eggnog and Elf and hot chocolate and fires in the fireplace and even a few nights out with friends and with Kev.

So, if I don't get to write again until after the holidays, which I probably won't unless it's pure procrastination, I hope you all have a really great Christmas. Try to make yourself stop to enjoy it. It'll be over soon.



Monday, December 07, 2009

The Very Most Important Job of All

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This angel is the tree topper from my childhood. It's the only one I ever remember having. My parents gave it to me when I moved out and started getting my own tree. This is Daphne's first time putting her up on top. Good job, Little Peanut!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Somebody Tooted...

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Boomboowa...

Here is a short video of Daphne's class performance. I should probably take it down after a couple of days since there are other kids in it. But for now, have fun watching the mild chaos...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Little Sacagawea


Today when we picked up Daphne from school, we were treated to a performance by the class. They just finished their unit on Native Americans, so they did a little Indian dance for us. It was so dang cute.

One time, we had a Cinco De Mayo party in the neighborhood, and my neighbor thought sopapillas were called "sacagaweas." We all thought that was pretty funny. But you probably had to be there.


Notice, Daphne chose an orange feather for her hat. She is so cool.


Not a Creature was Stirring...or WAS There?

Normally, I don't mind laundry day. On laundry day, I usually do all the laundry in the morning, then after Daphne goes down for her nap, I take it all into the TV room to fold while I watch old episodes of Project Runway or some sort of cooking show. It's very peaceful and relaxing, and I actually look forward to it.

Last week, laundry day was not what I was hoping for. I read Daphne her naptime story and headed downstairs. When I got to the bottom, I thought I saw something scurry under the TV room couch. I froze. It appeared to be bigger than a Texas waterbug roach, but smaller than a mouse, it was blackish, and if it had a tail, I didn't see it. I had no idea what it was. When I started to move again, I saw it on the opposite side of the couch, and again it ran for cover. Ugh. I emailed Kev, "Something just ran under the couch. It might be a mouse. I am freaking out." Then, I sadly took the laundry into the living room, where I folded it in fear, and without TV. Kev replied to my email, "Um...OK. Never a dull moment." Then he called, and offered as much help as he could from his office, which was not much. There were no more sightings and I forgot all about it.

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I spent naptime in the kitchen making my apple pie and some biscuit dough. By the time I was done and cleaned up the huge mess, Daphne was awake and I was exhausted. I stuck some baked potatoes in the oven and collapsed on the couch. After a while, I got up to check the potatoes. I stuck a fork in them, and they were done. I opened the dishwasher to put in the fork, and there, near the silverware caddy, staring up at me with his beady little eyes, was the cutest, tiniest, most horrifying little gray field mouse you ever saw. Imagine my reaction. There was a scream. There was a slam. There was handflapping and dance of panic. Thank God Kev was home. I spent the better part of the rest of the evening up on a chair while my poor nice brave husband completely disassembled the dishwasher, only to be thwarted by the crafty little critter. We had just about given up hope, and I (still on the chair) was about to start to cry, when Kev saw him run under the fridge. AHA! Cleverly using strips cut from a cardboard box and some packing tape, Kev trapped the little monster under the fridge. I got down from the chair, and we all ate some very well-done baked potatoes for dinner, after which Kev went to the store and bought a trap.

That night, I didn't get much sleep. I woke up at about 3:00 with a really bad case of the heebie-jeebies, imagining all the possible escape routes we might not know were behind the fridge. The next morning, there was nothing in the trap. Doom.

I went to Thanksgiving dinner vowing to forget about the mouse, which I did. Until we were about 15 minutes from getting back home. Then the panic started to return. But, awaiting us was a Thanksgiving Miracle! The mouse was in the trap! Poor disgusting little guy. He must have been really scared. So, our little family of three marched down the street at once, Daphne with the flashlight, Kev with the trap, and me with a giant weight off my mind, and we ceremoniously set him free by the creek. I slept really well that night.

I really hope there aren't more where he came from. I will never ever get that dishwasher scene out of my mind. Never. Ever.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Monday

Aaah. Another Thanksgiving is in the books. And I'd call this one a big success. Great food, family, visitors from Indiana and Texas (man, I loved hearing that accent from home!), and this impromptu pre-feast prayer by the Peanut:

"Dear Zezus, I love you, and fank you for all this lovely Fanksgiving food. AMEN!"

My contributions to dinner this year were this apple pie, these buttermilk cheddar biscuits:

and these sweet potatoes:

For some reason, Blogger has taken it upon itself to rotate my photos incorrectly, so please just tilt your head to the right to view the pictures as they we meant to be seen. The recipe for the biscuits is here. I followed the recipe exactly, except I added some garlic powder, more cheese than it called for, and cut the dough into sixteen triangles instead of eight rectangles. They were good, and were compared to the ones at Red Lobster, so if you like those, this might be the recipe for you. The sweet potato recipe was given to me by a friend from back home, who answered the call when I Facebooked my need for a good recipe that didn't involve marshmallows. I changed her original recipe slightly, so here is what I did:
Peel, chop, and boil six sweet potatoes until fork tender, drain, and mash. Add a stick of butter, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup (I just poured it in...not sure how much I used). Mash this all together, and taste it to see if it needs more salt or syrup or whatever. Then spread it in a baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans, and 1/3 cup softened butter, then spread this on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 15 min. or so, until the topping is all nice and bubbley. I actually ended up melting a little butter and pouring it on top, then turning on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get it to bubble. Yeah, I know, I know. It's a lot of butter. But think of all the Vitamins A, B6, and C you're getting along with all that fat and sugar! These sweet potatoes were a huge hit with everyone, including Kev and my brother, neither of whom really like sweet potatoes. So, thanks, Joelle, for a great recipe! I owe ya!
The apple pie was the same one I made earlier in the fall to test out my pie bird (recipe link here). I stuck to the recipe exactly. I have become a brave enough cook to monkey with some recipes, but I don't mess with baking.
My mom made the rest, and it was all delicious. Too bad it only happens once a year.
On "Black Friday" (do we really have to call it that?), I joined my mom, aunt, great aunt, and brother for a daytrip to Old Town Alexandria. It was nice to have some time to do a little non-Mall shopping without my little sidekick. She stayed home with Kev, and they had a big time and even had a Beach Party:
So, thanks to Kev for giving me the day off, and to Jeff who drove us around and bought us a great lunch at La Tosca.
Saturday, everyone came to our house for breakfast and a stroll around Downtown Leesburg, and Sunday, I took Daphne to spend the day at G'ma, G'pa, and Uncle Jeff's house so Kev could have a day off too.
Between now and Christmas, there are many activities planned and much shopping to do, so I may be an infrequent blogger. But I will do the best I can. I will try to post the story of our unexpected Thanksgiving visitor if I get the time. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and a good long weekend.
Time to sit and read a while...



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Raining, Hats, and Dogs.

It is a dreary, rainy day. The kind that makes you want to curl up and take a nap. Unless you are Daphne, who decided not to take one today. She is now having "resting time" on the couch, but that probably won't help much when she gets whiney and cranky at dinnertime because she's over-tired. We're in for a challenging evening.

You may recognize the girl in the picture above as Althea, from this season of Project Runway. She is wearing a pretty fabulous knitted hat. It has created quite a stir on Ravelry (a website for knitters, in case you don't know). I (and many other people, apparently) am on a quest to find or figure out the pattern so I can make myself a hat just like it, only in a different color. Althea should have probably made it in a different color, too. The grey just isn't working for her. But it's still a cool hat. Bring on Season 7. As soon as possible. I love Project Runway.


The other night, Daphne lined up all her dogs on the couch so she could take their picture. Left to right are Diggo, Roscoe, Mister Rogers, Taffy, Spotty, Mister Scott, Quincy, Grape, and Mel. They are all good dogs. No shedding. No chewing. No accidents on the floor. I like them.


When I picked Daphne up from school today, she gave me this picture. In case you can't tell, it's a picture of me wearing a sunflower shirt. There is an apple and an orange on the left, and a small rock and a giant leaf on the right. And she wrote her name by herself. This is my new most favorite thing, and I will be framing it and hanging it in a very special place. Last night, she drew pictures of me and Kev and included giant nostrils that made us look like we had pig noses. It was cute, but I am glad she left them off this particular picture.
We haven't really been up to much around here. Our weekend was relatively uneventful. We have been watching a lot of Later with Jools Holland. By watching this show, I have discovered two new bands to love: The Pigeon Detectives and Fleet Foxes. These bands are probably not really new at all, but they are new to me because I am so out of touch with the world of music. Or I was, until Ovation TV started showing Jools Holland. Thank you, Ovation TV. I have also discovered some new music on the great KXT by Great Lake Swimmers and the Raconteurs. You can check out all of these bands on Grooveshark. But watch out for Grooveshark, because it's really easy to get sucked in and spend your whole day listening to Haircut 100 and Bananarama and De La Soul and Ratt and other stuff you used to have on cassette tapes but long since forgot about until Grooveshark sent you off on a tangent, just because you can. Beware the groooooove!
Tomorrow, I am making pie and gearing up for the first Thanksgiving at my parents' and Jeff's new house. There is a LOT to be thankful for. I hope you all have great food, lots of fun, and a nice turkey-induced nap.
Coming soon: Christmas panic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Housiversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of moving into our house here in Virginia. In some ways it seems like it happened yesterday, in others it seems like a million years ago. Browsing back through over 50 Flickr pages of photos from the last year, I can't believe all the things we packed in. We've lived here through four seasons (DISTINCT seasons!), three parades, 12 First Fridays, and several various Fests. Daphne has turned three, started school, and learned to ride a scooter and write her own name. She has little friends. I am starting to meet new people. Kev's job is mostly going well. And my parents and brother are settling in, unpacking now just like we were doing last year at this time. It's so hard to know if moving across the country is the right thing when it's all going on, but a year later, I am pretty certain we made the right choice. I hope my mom and dad and Jeff like it here as much as we do.

So, Happy Housiversary Kev and Daphne. It hasn't been the easiest year, but it's been a good one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bikes and Barbecue

After a week of chilly rain, we were treated to the second beautiful Sunday in a row. Sunny and 74. Can't beat that in mid-November. So, once again, we loaded Daphne into the Burley and headed to Paeonian Springs, this time with empty stomachs and high hopes. And we discovered that good barbecue CAN be found in Virginia.

B'z BBQ Co., which is basically a guy and some impressive giant smokers, is located outside the Paeonian Grocery and Gourmet, so we ordered up some pulled pork and an angus dog for the Peanut, and had a delightful fall picnic at the little park by the W&OD trail. The food was great, and probably tasted even better since we ate it outside after a five mile uphill bike ride. And I couldn't think of one single thing I'd have rather been doing.
Now it's another Monday and Trader Joe's is on the agenda today. But first, coffee...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall, Cont'd. and Radio Texas

So, in honor of it still being Fall, our front yard maple tree finally decided to do its thing. The photo, taken on this dark and drizzly morning, doesn't do it justice, but it really is very pretty. Please pay no attention to the mess behind the tree...that is just our peonies. We are waiting for them to die back so we can cut them down. In spite of cool and rainy weather this week, weather.com has promised another beautiful Sunday, so I am hoping to repeat last weekend's bike trip to Paeonian Springs, this time for barbeque.

It's Wednesday, but it's an especially good Wednesday, because today is the day the movers bring furniture to my parents' and Jeff's new house. They are all now official Virginia homeowners, and Daphne and I are going over to help them celebrate with some donuts from Fractured Prune. You can't get much better than that.



In completely unrealted news, I wanted to alert any of you who like really good music to the launch of the great KXT 91.7. For many years, I was a proud member of KERA, the NPR station in North Texas, but when we moved, I cancelled my membership, thinking I'd eventually join WAMU up here. Now it's time to think again. KERA recently purchased the 91.7 frequency to start an all-music format unlike other more typical radio stations out there. It is GREAT, and even if you don't live in North Texas, I recommend streaming it on your friendly neighborhood computer. Buy some headphones and listen at work! This is what you WON"T hear: Boston, Celine Dion, Hootie, Dave Matthews, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Puff Daddy, Garth Brooks, and so forth. If you want to know what you WILL hear, you can check out the playlist page. All it took to make a believer out of me was "Bonny" from Prefab Sprout's "Steve McQueen." I am hooked. So, check it out now and thank me later.

OK, off to join Moving Day.

Monday, November 09, 2009

If You Give a Kid a Microphone

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She will probably make up a song about Santa Claus to sing with it.

Apparently, I am not the only one excited about Christmas around here...

This is for Blaire

Here is the most recent picture of Tula, my adopted penguin. She is protecting her two eggs and waiting for them to hatch. The great Dr. Mike will be sending more photos when the chicks are born.

Penguin adoptions make a great Christmas gift, so if you're interested, check this out.

TGIM


If there is one thing this family knows how to do, it's have a full-throttle weekend. And another one has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I know that most people don't like Monday, but I have come to count on it to slam on the breaks so I can regroup. I won't bore you with every single detail from the weekend, but I can tell you we packed a lot into two and a half days. The weather could not have been better, especially yesterday. So we loaded Daphne into the Burley and took a long bike ride on the trail to the Village of Paeonian Springs, about 5 miles west of Leesburg. The ride wasn't easy, because going west, the trail is ever-so-slightly uphill the entire way. However, there was the promise of ice cream to keep me going, and the ride home was a breeze. So, except for the part where the bug flew up my nose, it was a pretty perfect excursion. That, along with a night out with Kev on Saturday (thanks Mom and Dad), was the highlight of the weekend.
We're expecting another nice day today, so we need to take advantage of it before the cold and the rain arrive tomorrow night. So, I'm going to get off the computer and start the laundry so we can get outside. I hope that wherever you are, it is as beautiful outside as it is here. Such a nice treat before winter sets in.
Not that there's anything wrong with winter. Winter means snow and Christmas and paperwhites and pumpkin bread and hot chocolate and Elf and continued soup and pie-making and too many good things to list...




Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mall Rats

Today, I went to what is possibly the world's snootiest mall: Tyson's Galleria. If you click on that hyper-link there, you will be able to sense the snootiness just from the little slide show that comes up on the home page. But I HAD to go. It has Anthropologie. And I haven't been to an Anthropologie in over a year. So, the big plan was to load up the Peanut and drive down to meet my mom and dad at the Galleria for a little mall time.

If I may quote the great Mo Willems, "arrangements were made." We were to meet G-Ma and G-Pa on the lower level of the mall, just outside of Macy's at 10:00. So, Daphne and I sat on a blue couch on the lower level of the mall just outside Macy's. Several minutes went by. No sign of my parents. I knew they were there, because I had just talked to them from the parking garage. Weird. So, I called my mom.

Me: Where are you?

Mom: Sitting outside Macy's.

Me: No you aren't, because I'm sitting outside Macy's and I don't see you.

Mom: Hang on...(shuffle shuffle shuffle)...

Then I hear her having a conversation with Mall Information Guy, who, after a confusing exchange, finally figures out that my parents are at the WRONG MALL. They were at Tyson's Center Mall or Tyson's Corner Center, or something like that. But not Tyson's Galleria.

Oh boy.

Luckily, these two malls are located basically within inches of each other, so I barely had time to grab a coffee and get back to the blue couch before they arrived.

Now, this mall has nothing kid-friendly at all about it. In spite of this, my parents bravely offered to watch Daphne for me so that I could have 30 minutes to myself in the happiest place on earth: Anthropologie. I swear I could live in that store. It has big comfy looking beds inside. I could just hide somewhere until all the workers leave and then stay there, like that girl in that movie who lived in the Wal-Mart. I could hang out all night, smelling their candles and trying on their clothes and reading their books. I'm telling you, you could not possibly go wrong buying me a gift from that place. I love every single thing in the store.

And they have great sales! Today I got a $118 denim jacket for $29!

So, thanks to Mom and Dad for going on Daphne Duty for me. I had a great 30 minutes.

The only other store we went in was Williams-Sonoma. That was pretty much the only store I felt comfortable going into wearing jeans and cowboy boots. I wish they would move the Anthropologie over to that other Tyson's mall. I looked it up on line. It has a much friendlier line-up of shops.

I am not big on lunch, but when I got home, I remembered I had some left-over Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from last night. So I ate some, and it was AWESOME. I took pictures of it, but honestly, it doesn't look very appetizing, so I'm not going to post any. Just trust me. It is the same one I made last year during the Winter of Soup. I followed the recipe except I added carrots and mushrooms to the broth, and used a larger box of long grain and wild rice because last time I thought it could have used a little more rice. Here is the recipe. I like to put a giant biscuit in the bottom of the bowl, and just pour the soup right on top. (I didn't say it was healthy).

Finally, congratulations to Fooie McGoo and his wife Melissa on the arrival of their newest family member, Sam. If I was anywhere near them, I'd totally make them some soup.

UPDATE: There is another Anthropologie in Reston Town Center! Much closer and a way smaller snootiness factor! Thank you, internet.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Catching My Breath

Aaaaahhh. Isn't that a peaceful looking picture? Don't you totally want to just get in that boat and row into the middle of the pond and sit there for a while?

The past few days have been completely exhausting, but in a very good way. I feel like this is the first time I have stopped moving since early Thursday morning, when Halloween officially started with the preschool parade. Friday was all about cleaning and making pie. Late Friday night, Kev's parents arrived to spend the weekend with us. Saturday we got breakfast from Deli South (great place!), went to the Farmer's Market, and then all spent an awesome sunny and beautiful afternoon having a picnic lunch at Corcoran Vinyards, which is where that picture was taken (more on Flickr). I highly recommend this winery...it wasn't crowded at all when we went, and there were picnic tables and plenty of wide open spaces for three-year-olds who need to run free.

Saturday night, my mom and dad came over and we all enjoyed pizza on the porch while we waited for the Big Halloween Parade to begin. It was so nice to have all of Daphne's grandparents here at the same time. At a little past 6:00, the first fire truck went by. An hour and a half later, it was over, and Daphne's pumpkin bucket was practically over-flowing with candy. My favorite part was the marching bands. If I could do it all over again, I think I'd like to be on a drum line. Those guys really seem to know how to have fun. (Sadly, the camel did NOT make an appearance, but I expect he'll be back in the Christmas parade.) There was no real need to Trick-or-Treat after all that, but we did go to a few neighbor's houses. In all, it was a great night, and the octopus costume was a big hit. I am pretty proud of it, but glad it's time to put it into retirement. I have already found the directions for making next year's costume on the internet and bookmarked the site. Someone in this family is going to be an owl whether they want to or not.

Sunday was rainy, so we spent the morning hanging around the house with Kev's parents and the dogs. After they left, I went to the library while Daphne napped and Kev cooked a chicken. Then I hung out with the Peanut while Kev cleaned up the ginko berries that have fallen so far. Ugh. It's awful. Something has to be done. After the parade, I heard people walking past our house complaining about the horrible smell ("puke-fest" I think was the actual word that was used). So embarrassing. I swear it's not our fault!

After dinner, it took just about everything we had left to make it through that extra hour until Daphne's bedtime (curse you, Daylight Saving's Time), and finally, bed.

This morning we were up early again, and off to a Parent/Teacher conference at the preschool (we got a good report!) , then Kev went to work and Daphne and I took a nice long walk to take advantage of some beautiful weather and to wear someone out for a nice long nap. She is asleep now, and it is very very quiet. I am going to make myself some kind of delicious warm beverage and sit on the porch with a neglected pile of magazines.

But first, a couple of quick notes: Daphne and I have gotten our fifteen minutes of "fame" here and here.

And finally, please check this out: Awesome Video Here -I Promise. Thanks to G.G. for the head's up on this. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

To the porch!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh, I'm an Octopus and I'm OK...

Right after naptime is not the best time for taking photos, but I wanted to get some pictures of the finished Octo-suit before it goes to preschool on Thursday. I am mostly happy with the way this turned out. There are things I would probably do differently if I made another one of these - which, if the good Lord is willing, I never EVER will - but this will be fine. And Daphne is happy with it, so that's really all that matters. I'll try to get pictures of this little octopeanut in action at the school parade and during trick-or-treating. Sadly, though, it is literally supposed to rain on the big town parade. It will be disappointing if we don't get to see what the camel is wearing for this one...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pickin' and Grinnin'

If you live in a place that has apple orchards, you are almost obligated to go apple picking in the fall. So, yesterday we picked up Grandma and Grandpa and headed to Stribling Orchard in Markham, VA. This is a very nice, big orchard, and even though the parking lot was full, it didn't feel crowded. After the picking, we warmed up by a little bonfire, and enjoyed some grilled hot dogs and hamburgers from the snack area. It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. and we were all exhausted afterward, but in a good way.

So, we brought home 14 pounds of apples. I need ideas. There is only so much apple pie one can eat. Last night, I started off Apple Week (or perhaps Month) with this delicious apple chicken curry (recipe here). It was easy and so good, and Daphne liked it a lot so it's going on the Keeper list. I stuck pretty much to the recipe for the sauce, but I cut the chicken into little pieces and cooked them in a frying pan. Then I put them in a baking dish with the sauce and put it all in the oven for about 15 minutes. Next time, I may substitute coconut milk for the regular milk.

I will probably make another apple pie, and maybe some apple butter. Caramel apples too, maybe, but I'd prefer to make things with peeled apples since these ones don't have the greatest looking skins (I fear mold). And, if I get brave, I may try apple dumplings. Please feel free to suggest other ideas if you got 'em.
OK, off to start my Monday. This week is all about Halloween. Then, I really need to start thinking about Christmas. I'd like to avoid Holiday Panic this year...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Add it to the List

I got this book at the library. Oh, I want it, I want it, I want it. It must weigh about 5 pounds, and it has very few photos, but still I want it.

Today, Daphne's class went on a Nature Hike at school. Each kid got a bag to fill with "treasures." Daphne made me wait until we got home so she could unveil her loot to me and Kev. I wish I could go to preschool. They get to have ALL the fun.

Here she is, choosing her favorite treasure. It's orange. And below, a little sneak peek:


Time to knit!



Now We're Getting Somewhere...

The costume is starting to take shape, and if all goes well with the head, by Halloween, my little Peanut should be transformed into the purple octopus of her dreams. (Does this make me an Octomom?) For all the time I've put into this thing, I should get to be Mom of the Year. Daphne could easily still fit into the Dorothy costume from last year (hooray for Target!). Oh well...it's been kind of fun working on it, and the best part is that she really appreciates it. This morning she went in and hugged it and said "It's byew-tiful, Mom!"

What a difference from yesterday, when there were many fits and tears and general bad behaviors. This picture was taken at Hamilton Park, right before a little public display of stinkerness which led to a quick retreat and a loss of the Hannah Montana guitar for at least a day. About every 8-10 days, my sweet little girl is temporarily (thank goodness!) replaced by Veruca Salt. It's no fun for anyone.
Last night, Kev bravely held down the fort and looked after Veruca so I could go to the Bloggers For Good event. It was fun, and I met some really nice people, whose blogs I look forward to reading. When I got home, Kev and the Peanut were watching the Wizard of Oz peacefully on the couch. Aaaah. Good Daphne is back.
OK, I have an octopus head to assemble. Watch out, Project Runway...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Sun Came Out!

The sun finally came out on Monday, so yesterday, I took this picture of my new favorite tree, which is in the parking lot at Daphne's school. It is so orange and beautiful! Here's a close-up:

The trees in our yard aren't really doing much. I expected more from the maples out front, but maybe they are just taking their time. Meanwhile the Ginko next door is dropping its berries. You may remember from last year what THAT means.

Daphne's quest to become a rock star continues. Yesterday while I was "making" dinner (HA! I reheated some leftover fusilli with chicken and vodka sauce...sprinkled on some bread crumbs and parmesan - Voila! Fusilli Surprise!*), Daphne came into the kitchen with her mic and serenaded me for about 20 minutes. It was so funny. She was making up some kind of song about wanting a lullaby for Christmas.
Last Saturday was the one year anniversary of our little family of three's first night together in Virginia. We did nothing to commemorate, as it was a miserable rainy cold day. Plus, we kinda forgot. I think probably what we should actually celebrate is the anniversary of the day we moved OUT of that first apartment in Herndon and moved INTO our house here in Leesburg. In spite of the ginko berries, that was a much happier day.
I can't believe we've been here a year. Wow.
Tonight, I am going to an event/meeting sponsored by a group called Bloggers For Good. Here is their website. I am looking forward to meeting some other bloggers there, and finding out more about the organization. If there is a way for all this blogging to do some good, I'm all for it. I'll let you know how it goes.
OK, breakfast time.
* I told Daphne the pasta was called fusilli. I said, "Isn't that a funny name?" She said, "No mommy, it's a silly name!" That's my corny little Peanut!



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pie Results

This is the pie, right before I ate it. The recipe is here. It was good, especially the crust. I think it would have been better if that apples had cooked longer, but everyone else liked it a lot. Time to start planning Pie II.

Young 97

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Daphne got a Hannah Montana microphone today from G-ma and G-pa. Here is what she did with it (press "play" now please).

Earlier today, Kev and Daphne were making lists of things. On one list, she had him write down her favorite rock bands. This is what she told him to write:

  • Rocknoceros
  • Rock Band (the game)
  • They Might Be Giants
  • The Kinks
  • Old 97s
  • Dan Zanes
  • The Beatles
  • Herbie Hinkle
  • The Morning Benders (which she referred to as "you know that band, mom, that we listened to when we went on that long hike with Uncle Jeff and my dad, and you sat by me in the car and you were eating those chips.")

Daphne is three, and she is already so much cooler than me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Making of Pie

I had a helper.
There were some tense moments.
There was chaos.
There were apples on the floor.
There was licking of little fingers.
There was flour everywhere.
I might have yelled a couple times.
(But I didn't say any swear words).


Then, it was finally time to paint the pie.
All of the chaos and yelling and licking stopped,
and it was just a mom and her kid,
making a pie.

Then, it was clean-up time.
I didn't have a helper for that part.



And now, we have pie.


And tonight, we get to eat it.
Na-nanny boo boo.




Long Term Goals

Right now, if you ask Daphne what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll say, "A mommy who is an artist who paints pictures of space things and plays in a rock band in the house." I'm on board with that.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold

It is cold. And rainy. Just really yucky outside. Here is last night's Split Pea soup with ham and potatoes. Not my best batch ever, but it was pretty OK. Nice and warm anyway. And Daphne ate it without a fuss, so that's always good. The croutons were the best part in my opinion.

Kitchen Tip: Any time you have some bread that is getting stale, make some croutons. It is easy, and so much better than the ones in the store. Just cut your bread into cubes, toss them in a bowl with some olive oil or melted butter and whatever else you want to flavor them with (basil, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, whatever). Then put them on a cookie sheet in the oven (375) until they get nice and crunchy (15 minutes or so...just check on them). Good stuff.

Here is where I spent the last 45 minutes or so. Fire, chai, yarn, and quiet. What could be better on a day like this? Hmmmm...perhaps a pie...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Settling In

Here is the happy sign that greeted us when we arrived home from our trip on Monday evening. Nice, huh? I like the colors. I think maybe Kev is secretly glad he married someone who keeps lots of arts and crafts supplies around. What did he do - besides fashioning banners - while we were gone, you ask? Well, he had a whole list. It included items like:
  • make a list, and
  • check things off the list.

But in spite of that, he actually got quite a bit done while we were gone, and enjoyed having some quiet time. He went to the coffee shop, took walks, went on a bike ride, did some recording, read a book, etc., as well as worked on this stool (below) for Daphne:

And he got a really cool bench for our entry hall, which was a nice surprise for me:

So, I think he made the most of his time.
I am slowly getting settled back in to my At Home Routine. I have unpacked and gotten all the laundry done. I have been to the grocery store. Now, Daphne is taking a nap, and as soon as I finish this blog, I am going to knit for a little while. Soon, though, I have a new project to embark upon:

This gaint pile of purple Garanimals (SO cheap at WalMart) is destined to become Daphne's Halloween costume. She has commissioned me to make her a purple Octopus suit. I am not exactly sure how I'm going to pull it off. Chances are, it will turn out OK, but no matter what I do, I'm sure it will be met, at least at first, with some resistance. You see, Daphne gets these ideas in her head, and if the final result isn't exactly like she has imagined it, she balks. And pouts. And stomps away with her arms folded, saying, "That's not right!" So wish me luck.

Tonight is soup night. This time, split pea with ham and potatoes. It's nice and cold today, so this will be perfect. My peas (above), which are from Huber's, have been soaking since yesterday afternoon, and it's just about time to change the water (for a third time) and get them simmering. I'm afraid I cannot share this recipe. I learned it from Kev, and there are secret ingredients. I'm surprised, actually, that he told them to me.
In a few days, our little family will have been in Virginia for a year. Wow. There have been a lot of ups and downs. It has not by any means been easy. That being said, it gets easier every day, and although I will always feel like a Texan, Virginia is becoming more like "home" and less like a really really long weird vacation. If only I could just import my friends and some decent barbeque. Sigh.
OK, well, time to start the peas and do some knitting while I have the chance. Daphne actually went to sleep on the first try at naptime today, rather than getting up 3 or 4 times to potty or get a drink or blow her nose or have me re-adjust her blankies. I have perhaps discovered the secret to getting her to do whatever I want: threaten to take away the Hannah Montana guitar. Works like a charm...





Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to Reality

This picture was taken exactly a week ago at Daphne's Great Country Farms field trip. It seems like months ago. Immediately after the field trip, my mom, Daphne and I took off on our road trip to Indiana. We arrived in Beckley, West Virginia in time for dinner, stayed in a hotel overnight, and drove the rest of the way the next day. Thus began my quest to check off everything on my Indiana list, which, in spite of two solid days of miserable rain and my mom (and primary babysitter) having a bad cold, I somehow managed to do. I got my fried biscuits with apple butter (below) from Huber's, chicken and dumplings and an apple dumpling from the Harvest Homecoming booths, made multiple trips to the Zesto, got my Pizza King fix, and got a pedicure (thanks Kathy!).
Plus, there were the added bonuses of a night out with my cousin Jeremy and his wife Paula with a stop at this cool brewhouse:

And a Rock Band party with just about the WHOLE extended family, which was big fun:

As you may be able to see from the picture, Daphne was absolutely in awe of Rock Band. She studied my cousins very seriously, tried out the Wii guitar and drums, then went upstairs, found a Hannah Montana guitar and microphone, and proceeded to go into a closet to practice alone until she felt comfortable enough to re-join the game, this time on vocals. My cousin's wife happened to have an extra one of these Hannah Montana guitars still in the box (her daughter got THREE for Christmas), so she generously gave it to Daphne, who has been playing it non-stop and practicing her rock moves. The best part is that she REALLY wants to get Rock Band now and even begged her daddy for it on the phone. Keep it up, little Peanut!

AND I got to go see a movie with the wives. (Whip It is really very good! And it was filmed in Austin which makes it even cooler).

Overall, it was a good trip, but I think we were all ready when it was time to head back home. The drive on I-64 through West Virginia and western Virginia was beautiful, and at times even spectacular. We were in the mountains for about 75-80% of the trip, and the fall foliage was near peak. I recommend travelling this route if you can sometime. (Here is a tip, though: In spite of the extremely promising name, you just want to avoid Biscuit World. Trust me.)
Kevin welcomed us home last night with a big "Welcome Home" banner, a nice home-cooked dinner, and surprises for me and Daphne. I want to take pictures, but my camera's batteries are charging. Stay tuned.
The class field trip, which seems so very very long ago, was really fun. The kids got to take a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to pick their own, they got to feed farm animals, and play on cool things like giant inflatable jumping pillows and tube slides and Tire Mountain. There are pictures of all this on flickr for those who want to see. Virginia is a good place to be in the fall. It is seriously time to plan my first pie.
So, thanks to everyone in Indiana for hosting us and putting up with us. It was great to see ALL of you, and I hope none of you get my mom's cold. (Special shout out to Aunt Mary because she is probably the biggest fan of this blog. See you Thanksgiving!) I will be back in April, so get ready. If Daphne and I are successful at getting our own Rock Band by then, we'll bring instruments and the Beatles one. In the meantime, someone PLEASE teach Jakob another song. If I never hear "Eye of the Tiger" again, it will be too soon.