Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part




Thirty seconds and a schmear of butter later, this slice was gone.
Herb bread. Kev said this is his favorite loaf so far.
Have you bought the book yet?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dream On

Last night, I had a dream that I was playing with Daphne, and she kept calling me Old Gray Mommy. WHAT!? OLD GRAY MOMMY!? Listen, I've got news for you, Dream Daphne, I am NOT your Old Gray Mommy. I am your Old SILVER Mommy. And please don't forget it.

And really, I may be old, but I'm still sorta cool. I play RockBand! (My new goal is to get 100% on Spoonman on medium drums - I think my highest is 95% so far).

I was telling Kev the other day that I never ever have any good dreams. Like the kind with the ability to fly, or baby ducks, or trips to Maine. I only have stressful dreams. Recently, I dreamed I worked in an office and everyone there was mad at me. Also, I dreamed I got kicked off American Idol somehow, even though I never actually sang anything, and it was really traumatic. I constantly dream I'm being chased but can't run. Kev said maybe I DO have good dreams, but just don't remember those because they aren't as shocking. All I know is, I always wake up sorta stressed out, and the day hasn't even begun.

On a happier note, and I hope this doesn't jinx it, we are going on three days here with no time-outs or arguments or lost privileges. There is the promise of Dairy Queen if we can make it to Saturday. And I think we can. The biggest threat to shooting off the wheels is the possibility of school being closed tomorrow. More snow is coming. Not a lot, but it doesn't seem to take much to shut things down around here. So we'll see. But there may be Dilly Bars in my future. Go Daphne!

OK...off to tackle my naptime activities for today. Tonight, there will be Herbed Bread. Tomorrow, there will be pictures...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Purple Cow(l)

I am making good progress on my latest knitting project. It is going to be a cowl/neckwarmer thing from this pattern. I have never worn such a thing, so we'll see. It's possible it will drive me crazy to have something like this around my neck, but I reckon if it's cold enough, I won't care.
Plans for naptime:
  • Blog
  • Mix up some herbed bread dough
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Answer email
  • Read my new Food Network magazine
  • Knit the purple cowl

I don't know if I'll get it all done, but I'm gonna try.

Last night, we had pancakes for dinner, inspired by this episode of Tyler's Ultimate. I don't like ricotta cheese, so I just used my Kerbey Lane pancake mix, but I tried a new trick: I whipped the egg whites separately to stiff peaks and gently incorporated them into the rest of the batter. This made the pancakes REALLY fluffy. I made the proscuitto just like the recipe, and to the apples, I added some cinnamon and brown sugar. They were good, but next time, I will probably cut them up smaller so they get a little mushier. As I had hoped, this "breakfast for dinner" was well-received by a certain little Peanut, who said, "This is the life of my dreams!" as she ate. Yeah. Any life featuring maple syrup is the life of this kid's dreams.

I woke up in the middle of the night to the delightful smell of a neighborhood skunk who had recently been startled by something. It was HORRIBLE. I can still sort of smell it when I go into the living room. For a while, I was worried it had attached itself to me, but none of the other preschool mommies seemed to try to get away from me today, so I think I'm all clear. I'll never forget the time Albert the dog got skunked and it attached itself to my mom. I arrived at her house, and she greeted me with a distraught "Smell my head!"

OK. Time to get going on the rest of my list. Try the pancake trick, though! You'll have the life of your dreams!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Monday

This loaf of cheddar bread was the best thing about our weekend. It was a rough one. There were many tears and battles and time-outs. Now, I'm just ready to forget about it and move on. But the bread was really good. You MUST get the book and make some! Your family will thank you.



Things are going better today. Daphne got fancy this morning and twirled around the house in anticipation of ballet class.



Here she is, ready to go. She had a great time, and wore herself out, so I am hopeful she will take a nice long nap today.


She has become obsessed with watching cooking shows after her nap while I cook dinner. She likes Giada and Barefoot Contessa. Not my favorites, but that's OK. She really pays attention, especially when they make desserts. She sits and makes yummy noises and rubs her belly and says, "MOM! You HAVE to make this!" The other day, I asked her what was her favorite flavor of something (I can't remember...lollipops, cupcakes, something...Kev, what was it?), and she said "Vanilla extract." She's funny. Anyway, this is so much better than Wonderpets. And maybe soon she'll be ready to take over for me in the kitchen. Or at least be my sous chef.


Tonight, I'm making Kerbey Lane panckes with a roasted apple topping I saw on Tyler Florence. I am hoping this will elicit some real life yummy noises. I'll let you know...


Friday, February 19, 2010

There is Hope!

On the third try, I got my new project going.
I may not get to use it until next year, but that's OK.

Look! A patch of grass in my yard!

We still have all THIS to contend with, but it's no match for the sun.
Go Sun!

My house is clean upstairs.
Most of my house is clean downstairs.
Daphne is sleeping, so now I can watch last night's Project Runway.
If my pan sauce turns out OK tonight, I reckon I might actually be getting my groove back.

I'm MELTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Video from the most recent class performance...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You Can't Go Wrong with Cheese

So, Kev's sister sent me this recipe recently for Beer and Cheese soup. It happens to be a Rachael Ray recipe, and she knows how I feel about Rachael Ray, but sent it anyway. This told me she must have a LOT of confidence in this recipe, so last night, I made it. And it was GOOD. The perfect thing for a cold and windy winter evening. I stuck to the recipe with three exceptions: I used about half an onion instead of leeks, I used some Worcestershire sauce instead of Kryptonite (uh, I mean mustard), and I added some minced garlic with the vegetables, because that's what I do. I used Trader Joe's Vienna Lager for the beer, and I made some croutons to go with it. Very tasty. I think next time, I will probably make some bacon bits to go on top too. Please tilt your head to the right to see the picture as it's meant to be. (I don't know why Blogger sometimes rotates my photos the wrong way. Frustrating.) Anyway, even with the carrots and tons of calcium, there is no way to spin this and try to make it seem at ALL healthy. It's pretty bad for you. But one bowl won't kill you, so give it a try. Like I said, you can't go wrong with cheese. Tonight, we're having a salad.

My mom finished the picnic quilt she was making for me. I love it. All the fabrics are really cute. Now, if only we could actually have a picnic. Snow, snow, go away. In Texas, snow is almost magical every time it happens. It's special because it's rare. Here, it's really only magical the first time. Then, it's just a pain. At least this year it is. Everything is covered in it, and most of it is now a very ugly dirty brownish color. I did see a little patch of grass near Daphne's school this morning. It was brown too, but it was grass. Spring cannot come soon enough for me.

Today, Daphne's class finally had their Valentine party. It was a little disorganized, but fun. The kids performed as usual, which is my favorite thing. Tonight, I'm joining another mom from Daphne's class at a crochet group. She said I could come and knit. I'm looking forward to the night out. Yesterday, I started a new knitting project, but messed it up twice. This wasted a couple hours of my day and put me in a really bad mood, and now I'm debating whether I should start it over a third time. I need to start SOMEthing or I won't have anything to work on at the group. Now, though, I am going to take a brain break and watch last night's American Idol. If they kick off the cool Mexican guy who sang the Paula Abdul song during Hollywood week, I'm gonna be MAD. I heard they might put Howard Stern on there when Simon leaves. If that happens, I'll never watch it again.
OK...To the couch!
PS. Please check out the Artwork of the Week today. My dad painted a picture of our old house. It's awesome.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

Daphne is finally going back to school today. As soon as I drop her off, I am coming back home, turning on some loud adult music and tidying up a little. Then I'm turning OFF the loud adult music and sitting here in my chair in the quiet with some chai, some yarn, a fire and my Valentine flower from Kev until it's time to go back to get her. Serenity now!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Day Is It, Anyway?

These days, I have to stop and think a minute to figure out what day it is. It feels like we are in some sort of weird time warp. Daphne hasn't been in school forever, and Kevin has been working from home. The routine we had going has been completely thrown out of whack, which isn't good for people like me. I need a certain amount of predictibility in order to function properly.

It's snowing again. Actually, it WAS snowing, but I think it's just raining now. I think they already said that school tomorrow is delayed an hour. At least it isn't closed. Yet.

We took advantage of the break from blizzards over the weekend. I took Daphne to spend the night with G-Ma and G-Pa on Saturday, so Kev and I got a nice little chunk of quiet time. We went antique shopping (looking, not buying), played rock band, and went to Valentine's Day brunch at La Lou, which was delicious as usual.

When Daphne came home Sunday afternoon, she brought us this cake (above), which she decorated and was very proud of. Below, she is sporting a Valentine tattoo that she got at our play date last week. She is making Tough Tattoo Face, even though the tattoo is of a cute little purple teddy bear.


Over the weekend, I mixed up more dough and made two loaves of cheddar bread (can you believe I didn't take pictures?!), which was really good, although I think I prefer the plain loaves I made last week. Pumpernickle is coming soon, but it requires special ingredients that I don't have on hand. I also made some chocolate chip cookies and finished my dad's very late birthday scarf:


And now it's Monday. The only reason I know that is because I've been counting the days until the kids go back to school. I guess I may have to keep counting.
Today is also President's Day. I don't usually like to get mixed up in political debates, but at the moment, I am really really mad at President Obama. In case you haven't heard, he is taking steps to cancel NASA's Constellation program, which is the program that would replace the shuttle and take our astronauts to the moon and possibly beyond. I am personally affected by this terrible decision because Kev is working on that program. Specifically, he is designing the autopilot for the abort system, which takes the crew module to safety if there is a catastrophic event on lift-off. But even if Kev wasn't on the program, I'd still be mad. I love the space program. I still get excited watching PBS documentaries about the Apollo missions. Can you imagine the day an American walks on Mars? Well, now you'll HAVE to imagine it, because it will probably never actually happen. Instead, the future seems to hold space joy-rides on commercially made rockets for the super-rich, like Oprah or Trump or "Lance" from N'Sync, while American astronauts have to hitch a ride up to the space station with the Russians. Anyway, I'm writing my congressman, but not getting my hopes up that it will do any good. If you are so inclined, you can write some letters too. Just google Save NASA, and you will find sample letters and more information about the Administration's intentions. And don't worry about us...Kev thinks his job is pretty secure. He'll probably just get moved to some other project, but it won't be nearly as cool. OK. Political Rant complete.
Now, off to calm down and figure out what to make for dinner. Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Meltdown

The sun is out and the snow is melting. I can see the pavement on the street out front. Still, Kev just spent the last two hours shoveling us out of the driveway (again) because we were blocked by drifts and snow from the plow. He didn't look so good when he came in.

Meanwhile, Daphne and I need a break from each other. You would think this kid has no toys. "Mo-oooo-oooo-om, I have nothing to dooooooo." This is what I've heard for the last two days. So, I finally resorted to getting out a bin full of some of her old baby toys. Why didn't I think of this sooner?! She loved it. She wallowed around in this pile for at least an hour.


At lunch today, I used up the last of Batch Number One of my bread dough. I rolled it out, layered on some pasta sauce that I needed to use, some prosciutto, some spinach, and some shredded mozzerella cheese. Then I rolled it up like a log and baked it. Voila! Pizza roll! It's not the prettiest looking bread, but it tasted good.

Now, I can move on to another recipe from the book. I'm leaning toward pumpernickle if I can get to the store in the next couple of days. Shouldn't be a problem the way things are going. We may even be able to go to yoga tomorrow. Hallelujah!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hey Blaire!

I almost forgot to tell you I got this picture of Tula's chicks a couple weeks ago. Looks like they're doing well. I could use a nice coat like theirs right about now!

Aaaaaaaaaah Yes.


Riding the Storm Out

First of all, I can't believe I have resorted to using an REO Speedwagon song to title this post. I'm sorry. These are desperate times, I guess. Second of all, I took a picture of my breakfast this morning. Another sign of Blizzard Fatigue Syndrome. My new favorite breakfast, above, is Stonyfield Organic Fat Free Yogurt ("Chocolate Underground") with Trader Joe's Vanilla Almond Granola and dried cranberries, also from Trader Joe's. I apologize that this is about the most interesting thing I have to report this afternoon. But it tastes really good if you want to try it.

Here is what we woke up to today (press play):

video

The noise is trees hitting my kitchen window.

It is still snowing a little, and the wind is still blowing, but not quite as hard as it was this morning. Cabin Fever has hit. I want to go to the mall. Or the coffee shop. Or ANYwhere. I want to see grass. Or anything that isn't white. Daphne is asleep at the moment, but she is going a little House Crazy too. She wants us to call her Mowgli (from the Jungle Book), and she refuses to play by herself. I have another loaf of bread resting and waiting to be baked, and I have about three inches to go on my dad's scarf. The mailman didn't come today. The plow is coming down the cul de sac but seems to be fighting a losing battle. There is nowhere to put any more snow.

Yesterday was better. Before the storm started, Daphne and I went to a friend's house for brunch and a play-date. It was really nice to get out of the house and visit with a couple other mom's from Daphne's school. Daphne had a great time, and I did as well. The food and company were both good, and I scored a new recipe for possibly the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had. The roads were terrible, though, and now they will be worse. I think it will be a while before things seem normal. I am counting the days until spring.

We're trying to make the best of it, though. It could be SO much worse, so I shouldn't complain. My family is all home and safe, and we haven't had any power outages. We have plenty of food to get us through the next few days, and we have good neighbors who look out for each other at times like this. My favorite part of the blizzard is the quiet. It is usually so noisy on our street, but it has been so peaceful (except for this wind) during the past few days. I think I will make some chai and knit a little and enjoy the silence for a while. I hope you are all safe and warm wherever you are.

Monday, February 08, 2010

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

They called off school for the rest of the week! Official word is, they can't dig out the buses and get them trip-worthy until Sunday.

I'm in for it.

Get ready for more pictures of bread and snow.

"Sledding" on the Cul de Sac

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The Storm

So, this is what it looked like out my back door on Saturday morning. The official Leesburg totals I heard ranged from 32.5"- 34" but there were drifts even higher. Friday morning, Daphne and I took one last walk to get craft supplies and last minute grocery items. When we left Safeway, the snow was just starting to fall, and it didn't stop until about 6:00 Saturday. My parents got about the same amount of snow, but they unfortunately lost power for several hours. Luckily, they got their fireplace going, and power was back on by the time they went to bed.
We were housebound all weekend, but we kept very busy. Kev did a lot of shoveling. I helped a little and it was not fun. The snow was very heavy this time.

Daphne tried to play in the snow, but it was really too deep to be much fun. She enjoyed eating this icicle, though. She's standing on our sidewalk out front in the picture...you can see Kev's awesome shoveling work. Our next door neighbor has a snowblower which pretty much immediately broke, but our little Ben Franklin shovel was up to the job.

While we've been stuck in the house, we've done a lot. Daphne and I made this shirt (using a sponge stamp and fabric paint) for her Valentine's Day party at school, which is supposed to be Thursday IF they don't cancel school (a few more inches of snow are predicted for tomorrow).

I also took advantage of the time by cleaning the house, playing a little Rock Band, and FINALLY baking bread with the method from my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book.
You should have smelled my house on Friday when I had bread baking and a big pot of sauce going on the stove for chicken parmesan. The loaf in the picture is the second one I made...it turned out much better than the first, probably due to the dough being easier to work with after a couple days in the fridge, and the fact that I used an egg wash to make the crust prettier. I HIGHLY recommend this book/method if you like fresh-baked bread but you are baking-impaired, too busy for such things, or just lazy. It's really easy and fast and you get a lot of bang for your buck. I can't wait to make some of the fancier breads in the book. Cheddar bread is probably next, or maybe herb bread or pumpernickle. Yum.
What I did NOT do was knit. But that's on the agenda for today. No ballet today and no school tomorrow, and with more snow coming, who knows when we'll get back to normal. At some point, I'm gonna need more groceries. Maybe I'll venture out tomorrow morning. For now, I'm off to play with Daphne. She is going a little stir crazy. She keeps calling me "Mickey Mouse" and making me talk with a high-pitched cartoon mouse voice. Please oh PLEASE let there be school Thursday.



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Channeling Elaine

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Daphne, digging some Cream and doing her rock and roll moves. I love my funny kid.

The Calm

Yesterday, we had about 5 inches of really great packing snow, so we made this nice snowman. He is pretty much gone now, his arms and nose eaten by the neighborhood critters.

Now, the weather people say more snow is coming tomorrow, and it will likely be at least a foot and probably more. The state - excuse me, Commonwealth - of Virginia has already declared a state of emergeny (or would it be a commonwealth of emergency?) and nothing has even happened yet. Everyone in town, including me, was at Wegman's this morning buying up milk and bread as if it was Y2k all over again. Oh well, better to be prepared than not prepared. I have enough food to get us through to at least Monday, and I have already checked to make sure Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is on PPV so we can have Movie Night. I have bread-baking supplies and lots of yarn. And a very dirty house that needs attention. And, we have Rock Band. I am almost excited at the idea of being house-bound for a few days. Maybe I'll actually get something DONE. Bring it on, Snow Miser. By Sunday night, I'll have a clean house, fresh homemade bread, a new scarf FINISHED for my dad, and improved drummer skills. And I will be ready to get back to normal on Monday. Unfortunately, I think it's supposed to snow again next week.

Wish us luck digging out. And have a good weekend, wherever you are.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ballet: Day 1

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Today was Daphne's first of six ballet classes at the Rec. Center. There is not much cuter than a group of little girls twirling around in leotards and tights and little ballet shoes. Unfortunately, one of the girls (can you guess who?) was twirling around in sock monkey slippers instead, because her mommy waited until the last minute to buy ballet shoes, had to get them on line, and they didn't arrive in time for the class. Oh well. The good news is, Daphne had a blast, and we were both excited that one of her friends from school was also in the class. The moms had to wait outside, but we get to go in during the last class in March. I can't wait for that. In the meantime, Daphne showed me a couple things she learned today, and you can see too if you press play above and below.

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We spent the weekend in NY at Kev's parents' house. We had a good visit, and on Saturday we all took Daphne to see the Princess and the Frog. Great movie, but it has some pretty scary parts, so be prepared if you take little kids to see it. Daphne was great, very brave. I think for her, it's mostly about the popcorn.

It was REALLY cold in NY, and although we returned home yesterday to 4 inches of snow, it was about 20 degrees warmer. More snow is supposedly coming tomorrow night, and then again this weekend. We'll see. If it comes, I hope it's at least packing snow. The powdery stuff isn't much fun to play in. AND I hope they don't have to cancel any school. Oh PLEASE don't let them cancel any school.

OK. Off to take advantage of nap time. Hope you all had a good weekend, and your February is off to a good start. Coming soon: Home-baked bread.