Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back to School

Today, my neighbor came by to drop off her fish. It is a Beta named Blue, and it is staying with us for a week while they are out of town. So far, it seems to like it here. Anyway, during the fish drop-off, my neighbor happened to mention that Target has its school-supplies seasonal section up and ready for action. And as you may know, I cannot resist the Target school supplies seasonal section. So, I loaded up the Peanut, and off we went. (I needed a few groceries anyway).

Overall, the section was disappointing. I managed to escape with nothing but a box of crayons and a glue stick for Daphne. There were some nice recycled notepads that I considered, but really, how many notepads does one person need? I have plenty. So, Kev will be pleased that this particular trip to Target, groceries and all, only set us back $35.

Two things worth mentioning. One: Why on earth is a 24 count box of regular Caryola crayons $0.25, while a 24 count box of washable Crayola crayons is $2.49? Is the magical washable formula really that valuable? (Must be, because I bought 'em. Daphne cannot be trusted with the permanent stuff). But seriously, that is what? A 1000% mark-up or something. Crazy.

Two: As we were moseying past the wall of backpacks, Daphne exclaimed, "Mommy! I want to see that iCarly backpack!" WHAT???!!! How in the world does she know what iCarly is? I am with her pretty much 24 hours a day, and we have never ever ever watched iCarly. And surely Kev isn't watching it with her while I'm cleaning on Saturday mornings. I was a little scared. So, just to check, I pointed at the Jonas Brothers backpack and asked Daphne if she knew who it was. "No." Then I pointed at the Hannah Montana backpack and asked the same question. "No." Phew. "Good," I said. "Why don't you want me to know who those people are, Mommy?" she asked. At that point, I decided to distract her with the colorful display of pencil bags. The kind with pretty flowers and birds and peace signs, and no over-marketed teenager show personalities.

Ugh. I guess someday she will inevitably start liking some of the lame stuff that the rest of the kids today like. Oh well. I just hope that she will always, at least secretly, still like the Kinks and Hank Williams Sr. too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is Not a Baked Potato

It is actually delicious sausage-stuffed eggplant. Recipe here. Eggplants are in season, so I got a couple nice ones at the farmers market on Saturday. These turned out really good, and are a great way to use leftover spaghetti sauce.

This is the lavender sachet pillow I made out of Daphne's embroidery. It is very poorly constructed, but it is sort of cute and it smells good.
Today is "Blast Off," Daphne's little space class. It's in the smelly building at 10:00. I am bringing my knitting supplies and perhaps a nose plug.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome to the Machine

This weekend, I got out my sewing machine. Aaaaaaah. It's been a long time. I made Daphne's embroidery into a lavendar sachet and started on the cloth napkins I've been making all the noise about. Pillowcase dresses are next, and perhaps beach hats for me and the Peanut. Found a cute pattern on the Craftzine blog today.

My eggplants are calling...

Here is a Good Recipe

I wanted to make a red pepper bisque like I recently had at Tuscarora Mill , so I got some red peppers at the farmers market on Saturday and used this recipe. First of all, roasting peppers on the stove is fun! Also, the soup was pretty good and even Daphne liked it.
I think it could have been thicker, and it didn't really need the shrimp. But I will definitely make this again. And I don't even like red peppers. I combined some goat cheese and cream in the food processor to make a "goat cheese mousse" to put in the soup. I think that was my favorite part. Thank you, goats.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Want to Ride my Bicycle, I Want to Ride my Bike...

This is a picture of my bike. I love my bike. Yesterday, Kevin got home from work early. I needed a few things from the store for dinner, so I rode my bike to Safeway while he stayed home with the Peanut. It was fun. The only bad thing that happened was dropping a baguette out of my shopping bag in the driveway. Fortuantely, it landed upright, leaning against the car, so I just had to cut off both ends. It was still good in the middle where it didn't touch anything.

Two of my friends from home are planning to do a big 7-day bike ride across Iowa next summer. It is called RAGBRAI. Last night I got kind of excited about it and thought about maybe seeing if I could join them. Then, about 5 minutes into my research, I came across an article called "Iowa is not necessarily flat." Strike one. And it takes place during the hottest part of summer, for some crazy reason. Hmmm. Yeah, I don't think this is the adventure for me. Plus, I don't think mine is the kind of bike that is designed for long distance riding on not-necessarily-flat terrain in the heat of summer. The serious cyclists would probably frown upon my kick-stand, pedal brake, and swoopy handle bars, and be annoyed by my happy little bell that chimes "DING-DONG," sounding much more like "Avon calling!" than "Passing on your left." I wouldn't want to embarrass my friends. I will have to see if there is some sort of "bike across Rhode Island" event in April or September or something. I have never been to Rhode Island. I wonder if it's flat.

Anyway, I would like to spend more time riding my bike. I have become sort of obsessed with this website. They have awesome bike accessories, including the pannier in my previous post and helmets that look like regular hats and are actually cool. Why didn't I think of that?! What a great idea. All the good ones are taken. And most of the bad ones, too. Have you heard about Squeez-Bacon? Good grief.

Update: Rhode Island is described as "rough and hilly." Back to square one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Little Show and Tell

Daphne finally painted a picture of me (above), so now we have the whole family in water color. I will have to scan it in to get the color right, and then have put it on a coffee cup or something. I love it.

Below is the frame that Daphne got to make at her Under the Sea class. I will admit I was jealous that I didn't get to make one too. Perhaps a trip to Michaels is in order.

Here is some stuff from the garden that I made into a face:

We didn't plant anything I like to eat, so I had to find something to do with it. We have more cukes and tomatoes than Kev and Daphne can possibly ever eat, so I am going to have to do some research into making DIY cucumber facial masks or something.
Someday, I would like to put this pannier on my bike:

And ride it around town while wearing this dress:

Today we went to the library. I am beginning to think that Daphne is incapable of walking anywhere like a normal person. She either has to hop, run ahead, or poke along behind picking up rocks or leaves or whatever looks interesting. It was not a relaxing trip to the library. The library is no place for hopping, and the librarians probably raised an eyebrow or two. But we managed to get some books to get us through the rest of the week, including a book about pugs for Quincy.
Every day after naptime, Daphne sings a song. It lasts until dinner time. I'm not kidding. She will make up the words and sing the same song for a couple hours straight. Jeff can tell you. The other day, she sang a song about balancing that rivaled in duration any Grateful Dead jam you could imagine. Right now she is singing, "Mom, you really need to play with me, yeah yeah, you should play with me, because it's fun and you should really do it..." and on and on and on. So, I am going to go play with Daphne now. Yeah yeah. Because it's fun. It really is.
Update: I just told Daphne I was done on the computer and she started a new verse to her song: "Hip hip hooray! Mom's gonna play! Yeah yeah yeah, with Quincy and me..." She's still singing. I better go.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Continued Goings-On

Daphne recently asked me to teach her to knit. Can you imagine how happy this made me? Unfortunately, I don't think I have the patience, and I don't think she has the coordination. Yet. But, the time will come. In the meantime, I decided to start simple and let her play around with some yarn and an embroidery needle. She LOVED it. I will probably turn the finished first project into a little pillow or something. I'll post a picture when I do.

The Under the Sea class wrapped up on Friday with a little fishing outside:

It was a cute class, and my only complaint is the smell of the building. Daphne got to make some really cute crafts, including, on the last day, a picture frame covered in grout and adorned with seashells and glass "jewels" and so forth. It will be perfect for a picture from our trip to the beach later this summer.

Over the weekend, we went with Jeff on a little mini-vacation to the mountains. We stayed at Brookside Cabins:

Went for a ride on Skyline Drive:

And visited Luray Caverns:

It was a nice little change of scenery, and Daphne especially had a great time. And I discovered that you only have to travel about an hour or so south of Leesburg to be in The South, where people sound like the people from home and there are grits and biscuits and gravy a'plenty. Yes.
Jeff heads back to Texas tomorrow, and things here will quiet down for a bit. Daphne has another class next week, but it's only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I am still knitting along. The weather is still not unbearable, but the gnats and mosquitos stop us from spending as much time outside as we'd like. This week's Tally Ho kid movie is the Muppet Movie, so we'll be seeing that for sure. And the Loudoun County Fair is coming soon. Summer is continuing to fly by, and soon it will be fall. I can't wait. Bring on the pumpkin patches and apple pies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So, What's Been Going On Around Here...

Well, I am knitting again and that is a good thing. My friend Emily brought me this cool pouch when she came to visit, and I decided to use it this week to carry a small knitting project to do while Daphne is at "school." By school, I mean a little one week class called Under the Sea. For 45 minutes each day this week, I get to sit by myself while Daphne paints pictures of fish and glues feathers on paper duckies and so forth. If the facility didn't smell quite so much like a nursing home, I would really be enjoying myself. Daphne doesn't care about the smell. She is having a great time, and hopefully this is helping prepare her for preschool, which is just around the corner. I am knitting a scarf. For me. I like it so far.

Meanwhile, Jeff is visiting from Texas. He brought Daphne's birthday gift:
He got her an athletic bag with a helmet and bat (pictured) as well as a glove and some wiffle balls to practice with. She got very excited, and it was hard to get her to stop wearing the helmet when it was time to go to dinner. Jeff is sort of using our house as a home base while he travels around the area. At the moment, I think he is in Gettysburg. He's coming back here tomorrow. I cannot even imagine being so footloose and fancy free. But I know that time will come again for me, and when it does I will miss these days of having my constant sidekick. She is a lot of work, but she sure is cute.
This is the time of year for roadside stands:

and fresh blueberries to use in cakes:

And I learned to make my mom's spaghetti:

What a treat. Just like home.
Daphne is supposed to be napping, but I don't think it's gonna happen today. I hear an awful lot of noise up there. I am off to try to settle her down so I can take a quick nap myself. Going to school just wears me out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Give Bees a Chance

So, while my friend Emily was visiting last week, she told me about the theory that eating local honey (a little each day) helps allergies. Makes sense to me! So, while Daphne and I were out and about this morning, I picked up some honey made by monks in Berryville, VA, not far from here, so I can start experimenting. (Too bad allergy season is pretty much over...I guess I will build up my tolerance for next year!). Daphne picked cinnamon, but they also had plain, lemon, almond, and I think maybe raspberry. I just tried a little bit, and this stuff is DEEEElicious. If Daphne wasn't napping, and if I wasn't presently being advised to stay indoors due to a local manhunt, I would probably go down to Safeway immediately to buy some buttermilk and make hot fresh buscuits to spread it on.

PS. Teeheehee...Clever post title, huh? All I am saying...

Around Town

Today, it was nice and cool out, so Daphne and I took a little walk around town. We went to this place (above). No, we did not require the services of a cobbler. We went there because inside the old Shoes Repairing building is actually (cue the fanfare) a brand new coffee shop. Woo hoo! So exciting. We split a muffin and played checkers. This was just what the town needed. It's so cute inside. There is a shoe chandelier on the ceiling, games and magazines for the customers, as well as a stack of crosswords and sudokus-of-the-day and a can of pencils. I think it's going to be my new hang-out when Daphne starts preschool. know what they need to do? Serve various kinds of cobblers! It seems like the right thing to do. I think I'll suggest it.

In other exciting news, we saw this sign. THE FAIR IS COMING! I know it won't be anything like the Great State Fair of Texas, or probably even as good as the Dutchess County Fair (no 4h milkshakes) or the Harvest Homecoming (no Redman's Club Chicken and Dumplings), but it is a fair, and I guess from now on, it is OUR fair. So, I can't wait. Really, about all it will take to make me happy is a Fun Slide. And who knows, maybe it will have it's own special little hidden treasure thing that's just as good as the shakes and the dumplings.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I Think It's Time for Me... knit something. make some kind of souffle. show Daphne the joy of Shrinky Dinks. start thinking about Christmas. put up some pictures in our house. fix the mandolin string. bake a pie. finish the Thank-You notes. take a nap. stop blogging and do one of the above.

Tally Ho!

So, today is Thursday, and our Thursday adventure is a walk with some neighbors to the Tally Ho to see Hotel for Dogs. I wish they would leave some lights on in the theater so I could read or knit, because I am pretty sure this is going to be a terrible movie for adults. But, it should be fun for the kids, and there will be popcorn, so it's all good. I think they're having the Muppet Movie in a couple weeks, and I'm really looking forward to that. Hooray for the Tally Ho for having these kid summer movies. It's a good cheap way to spend a morning.

On a completely different note: I am sure that all of you readers of this blog (and by all, I pretty much mean my mom and occasionally Kevin) have been on the edges of your proverbial seats wondering whatever happened in the hydrangea drying experiment. Well, here's your answer:

They are still pretty, but they shrivelled up to next to nothing. The ones on the internet were a lot bigger, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. Yesterday, I went out and cut another one from a different plant. These flowers are much larger to begin with, so we'll see what happens when they dry:

We had dinner on the porch last night on the new furniture. It was delightful. Until the Yard Guard wore off and the mosquitos found us. It's so nice in the mornings and evenings here, even when it's really hot during the day. If I could just find the magical mosquito solution, summer would no longer be on my list of Things I am Against.
Ok, time to pack Daphne's backpack for the movies. Would it be rude movie behavior to pack my Itty Bitty Book Light?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


So, this is what was in those boxes. For my birthday, which isn't actually until August, Kev decided to help me make the porch a happy place. He finished the assembly this morning. Tonight, we'll be having dinner outside. Slowly but surely, the house is becoming a home. Thanks, Kev.

On a sorta related note, we are taunted each evening on this very porch by the ice cream truck. It never ever comes down our street or the cul de sac during the day, playing it's happy little song and spreading joy to the children (and some grown-ups) of the neighborhood. But every night at about 9:30, when Kevin and I are sitting on the porch after we put Daphne to bed, it drives by, lights and music off, probably on its way home from a day of spreading joy to OTHER people's neighborhoods. "No ice cream for YOU," it seems to say. We have considered setting up a road block. I need to figure out who I can call to remedy this terribly cruel situation.

Oh well, I may not be able to have a chocolate banana bomb pop on the porch, but at least I'll be lounging ice-cream-less in style.

Number Seven

The next Thing That Makes Me Happy is this painting of a sunflower from Daphne. She gave it to me and told me, "It's just for you, Mommy. You don't have to share it with anybody." It makes me happy every time I see it. I should probably stick copies all around the house. Especially by the dishwasher.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Quick Hits

So, Kev's Father's Day gift from me was this cookbook. It has some really good recipes in it - at least they LOOK good. It reminds us of our favorite restaurant in Dallas, Cafe Madrid. Oh, how I miss Cafe Madrid. Anyway, yesterday, we decided to have tapas day and try out a few recipes from the book. We made spare ribs with paprika sauce, garlic mushrooms, and zucchini fritters with pine nut dip. It was all good, but we both liked the pine nut dip best. It was delicious. There it is, below, with the fried zucs. Don't know why Blogger rotated the photo the wrong way like that.
It was fun cooking together. Previous attempts at this have often caused family tension. Having a bigger kitchen definitely helps. Anyway, I am looking forward to the next tapas day. Maybe next weekend!
From the garden, some cucumbers and hydrangeas:

And, today, these boxes arrived:

Inside is an early birthday present from Kevin. When we get it all assembled, I will show you what it is. I am so excited. I wish we'd had this last week!
If anyone wants the pine nut dip recipe, comment or email me and I'll give it to you. It's GOOD.


I never thought I'd say this, but I'm almost glad it's Monday.There has been so much activity lately, that I am ready for a normal weekday with no big (or even small) adventures (except a long overdue trip to Trader Joe's, which we took earlier this morning). The weekend was good. Friday night was First Friday in town, so we walked down to see what we could see. There were a couple of bands playing, and one place was giving away free popcorn. Above, you can see Daphne desperately scanning the bottom of the bag for the last molecule. I didn't have any. Kevin said it was bad...bland. No salt or butter. Apparently, that didn't bother the Peanut.
Saturday morning was the big parade, so Daphne put on her fancy parade dress from Aunt Kathy and took a seat on the sidewalk to enjoy the festivities with her friends. There was a camel, a couple of llamas, some dogs, some sheep, a guy in a pizza suit, another guy dressed like a prune, and various marching bands and pageant winners and other parade staples.

During the parade, we found out from our neighbors that you can't really see the town's fireworks from the cul de sac, so I was very disappointed. I love fireworks and haven't seen them in many years. But it didn't seem worth it to drag the Peanut to the rec center way past her bedtime and sit in a crowded field with mosquitos. So, we stayed home. When the show started, we could hear them outside which made it worse that we couldn't see them. Finally, I put Daphne to bed. Then just for kicks, I went into the front yard and down to the sidewalk. Guess what. Fireworks. So I ran back up and got Daphne and brought her down just in time to see the last three or four. As she was squealing "This is SO awesome," it ended. Just like that. Oh well. At least we know for next year.

Yesterday, we tried to take it easy. We took Daphne up to the attic to sing on "Daddy's mike-a-phone." She sang the ABCs, the Daddy song, and I've Been Working on the Railroad. She was pretty excited to hear the playback.

When she took her nap, Kev and I cooked ourselves some tapas together and didn't get into one single argument. More on that later.
I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th. I am going to rest up now. Tomorrow, we are going to the National Zoo with our neighbors. Another adventure. I guess that's what summer is all about.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Every Day is Like, Um, Saturday

On Monday, my friend Emily and her kids, Violet and Fletcher arrived from Texas for a visit. They left this morning to go home. In between, there was almost non-stop activity, and it seemed almost like I was the one on vacation. Here are the highlights: Fireworks Pizza, Fractured Prune Donut Shop, Symington Water Park, shrimp and grits dinner with a visit from Emily's college roommate, a trip on the Metro to DC to ride the carousel and visit the American History Museum and the Museum of Natural History, dinner at Tuskies with Emily (thanks to Kev for watching the kids), Rocknocers at the mall with a ride on the carousel and the train, gas station Thai food on the porch with Emily's brother and his girlfriend followed by Nell's oreo ice cream cake and fireworks in the yard, and breakfast at Puccios.

It was exhausting but SO much fun. The kids were all great, Daphne had a blast playing with her friends, and I had a good visit with one of my very favorite people from home.

There are tons of pictures on flickr of our adventures if you are interested.

Every day this week has felt like Saturday, but tomorrow actually IS, and that means the 4th of July. We are gearing up for the town's big parade, which we are fortunate enough to be along the route of, so I am getting donuts and we're having a couple of neighbors over to watch it from our porch. We will probably grill out. Then we'll be up late for fireworks. Sunday is going to be a day of rest.