Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

A few thoughts on food October 29, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:53 pm

It is so nice that M basically eats adult food. Today we both had hummus with pita, cheese, honeycrisp apple and carrot with hijiki salad for lunch. (She also had milk and about a hundred grape halves; I had sliced tomato with my hummus and ate it as a sandwich in the pita. But basically, the same food). Last night she ate pan fried vegetable wontons. I have read Hungry Monkey, I know this might not last, but for now it sure is nice not to make double meals.

Is there a rule somewhere that I have to eat the ice cream leftover from C’s birthday party while G is out of town? Oh, and the two leftover cupcakes too? I am pretty sure there is a rule, but I can’t find the citation anywhere. Best to eat it just in case.

It might have been overkill to make homemade bread, warm cabbage salad, and poached eggs for dinner tonight for just the girls and I (did I mention G was out of town for the week?) I mean, the bread is just standard five minutes a day bread from dough in the fridge, and poached eggs aren’t too tricky, but when I was chasing M away from the stove while trying to toast and lightly caramelize the sunflower seeds for the salad I did think, maybe this is too much. It was tasty salad though.

I am not too consistent about making my own bread, but for several months have been very good about making our own yogurt. So tired of trashing all those little containers (M eats yogurt every day and I eat it most days). I did find a yogurt maker that comes with glass jars instead of plastic (Euro Cuisine) and use our local milk delivery milk and Trader Joe’s non fat plain greek yogurt as my starter. Saving money, saving packaging, no additives or weird sweeteners…feeling fairly smug yogurt wise.

C’s school is having Halloween parties galore tomorrow, and treats were requested. Now, I am usually the parent who rails against all these freaking treats at school…but was feeling guilty that I can’t volunteer at the party (right during M’s nap…and did I mention that G is out of town?) and saw these bloodshot doughnut hole eyeballs in my Family Fun magazine. [I know…getting that magazine makes me sound incredibly lame. I had actually been getting Wondertime but Family Fun picked up the subscriptions when they went belly up. And in fact we have done several crafts out of Family Fun. So I guess I am just that lame.] Dip doughnut hole in melted white chocolate chips, put on chocolate chip for pupil, add red squiggle for bloodshot-ness. So of course I email the teacher and volunteer to bring a snack, not just a snack but these eyeballs, and not just make the eyeballs, but make them with C.

Will I never learn?

I am going to blame substandard doughnut holes (found at the third store we tried today and we could only choose between glazed and powdered. Which would you think better to coat in white chocolate?) Also, I had some issues with melting the chocolate. I overcame them by adding….some of a Crisco stick. The instructions wanted you to stick the holes on a fork, but our holes kept breaking in two right away. Sigh. Thus our Halloween scariness for today was mostly my language. Also, you were supposed to clip the points off of the pupil chocolate chips, and I set C to work on that while I was doing something with M. Came back downstairs, and all the ends are off, but the chips seemed damp. Turns out SHE BIT ALL THE ENDS OFF of something that was going to all the students in her class. At least I found out before putting them on all the holes right? Anyway, it took me until 10 pm to finish them, and they are quite lumpy looking:







(Pictured: magazine shot of perfectly round, smooth eyeballs. My lumpy eyeballs. Glass of wine for comfort.)

So tomorrow I drop her off with doughnut holes covered in white chocolate mixed with shortening and coated in red dye. I think I have lost all credibility in the “let’s cut down on treats at school” department.

At least I didn’t promise to make the spinach dip based graveyard pictured at the top of the magazine, right?

Fingers crossed that C’s costume works out ok tomorrow. She is Beaker from the Muppets, and I think none of the kids will know who that is, since as far as I know Muppet repeats from the late 70s aren’t on Noggin.


Pumpkin carving October 27, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 12:45 am

For the past three years we have attended a pumpkin carving party at a friend’s house. C has gotten increasingly interested in what the pumpkins will look like. This year she had several sketches done before hand, and we also had perused an article in Family Fun magazine (which took over my much missed Wondertime magazine subscription). Here we have…

G’s pumpkin, more like a gourd assemblage. The acorn eyes have since gone missing; rogue squirrel suspected.








C’s pumpkin. G helped with the eyes and nose, but the mouth she carved herself (with those little pumpkin saws. Man do those make it easier) and the design plan was all hers.








My pumpkin(s). Idea blatantly taken from above referenced magazine and G did the fins on the bigger fish. But it is my blog so I am taking credit.





The pumpkins have been busily rotting on the front steps ever since (thanks Seattle rain!) although a liberal application of slug bait has helped them last a bit longer than last year’s did.  

M wasn’t much interested in pumpkin carving, but she did show up for the pictures at the end—complete with necklace and carrying around an easter basket and plastic eggs. 








In other news, I managed to pry open M’s mouth today and discovered that in addition to the one molar which had already come in at her 18 month checkup just 2.5 weeks ago, not one, not two, but ALL THREE other molars have broken through. This might explain the terrible sleeping nights we I have been barely surviving the last week or so. (PLEASE, let this explain them!)


6 October 25, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:30 pm

Been a flurry of activity here, with grandparents in town and C’s birthday. For some reason, I have not been taking very many photos lately—no photos of my parents’ visit here, almost none of G’s parents’ visit, and only a few from C’s birthday. But hopefully the memories will live on anyway.

C was quite excited about her coming birthday, and we all stoked it by saying things like “this is the last Monday you will be 5". The night before her birthday, C said that she was imagining being 6 and it felt really good. She especially noted that although she still can’t reach all the way around G, her hands were closer. She apparently told her teacher that when she woke up the morning of her birthday, “all” her teeth were loose. Hmmm.

I baked the requested ice cream cone cupcakes for her school celebration and Grandpa and I headed to school at 1:45 to participate in the festivities. The whole class went around in a circle and all said something that they like about C—hard-worker, does good artwork, and “plays with me” were the top answers. I admit, I teared up. There was some singing and game playing and finally cupcake eating.








Not a super flattering shot, but you can see the cupcake. (And her interesting headband choice…for what also was picture day. Sigh.)

Once C got home from school, present opening commenced. The day before she had already received her gift from Grandma and Grandpa—one of Grandpa’s old Standard Gage Lionel electric trains and a huge new set of track. Our dining room is now dominated by an electric train. Her actual birthday she opened gifts from us, M, and relatives. Legos, books, clothes, a yoga mat, Ken, and our coup, a NIP Pigs In Space playset off of eBay.






Again, crappy shot and you can barely see Dr. Strangepork. Having now opened the set, we are pretty impressed with the quality of “old” toys (vintage 1980 maybe?) and especially happy that it doesn’t make noise or use any batteries! Then it was off to Brix (C’s favorite restaurant…yes, a local wine bar) for Mac n Cheese and vanilla ice cream with a candle.

Friday C was forced to live as one of us mere mortals, while G and I madly rearranged the house after the departure of the grandparents and pending the arrival of six little girls to celebrate on Saturday. C had picked a Muppet theme, and as you may know if you have been at any party stores lately, the Muppets are not currently very popular. G and I put our little crafty heads together and came up with a make your own puppet craft and three games: pin the Swinetrek on earth (space poster from Michael’s + printed Swinetreks courtesy of le internet), fish throwing game (four bowls from the kitchen, four sewn together fish shaped beanbags, and a printout of the muppet fish throwing character), and muppet bingo (with seven cards made by G with resized pictures—each card randomized to avoid simultaneous winners). C had picked cupcakes for the treat (this time purchased from local Sweet Cakes) which we accessorized with skewers with Muppet pictures (again, thank you interwebs). Finally, some Miss Piggy sticker sets in the goodie bags. Phew. I am sure all the kids who had no idea who the muppets were enjoyed themselves.






C declined to wear her Beaker costume, but hopefully it will make it to Halloween and we can get some good shots then.

Although she got quite hyper at her party (actually laying on the floor and shaking her legs in the air at one point) C had settled down enough today to help clean up the house. She spent the rest of the time divided between playing with legos, playing with the Pigs in Space playset, and playing Barbies. A good day.

At 6, C is just about 43 inches tall and, um, to be honest I can’t remember she weighs. Just enough for a booster seat. But, I can say for sure that she is quite skinny, making clothes buying a challenge. She loves books, arts n crafts, her sister, playdates, dressing up, vanilla ice cream, the Berenstain Bears, cheese, french toast, and the color turquoise. She is quite the sensitive soul, today bursting into tears during a reading of Duck at the Door (a basically not at all sad book). Cognizant of her own fears, she has decided to put off watching Disney’s Sleeping Beauty until she turns 7. Her biggest unfulfilled birthday wish was for a pogo stick (no one could find one appropriate to her age and weight). After learning about the environment and recycling in school she continually begs for things out of the trash saying she is going to “reduce that into a craft”. Her teacher sings her praises as a student. She has calluses on her hands from swinging on the monkey bars and next week starts a higher level swimming class at the Y. We are thrilled beyond belief that this kid has been in our lives for six whole years and can’t wait to see what this year, and all the years afterwards, bring. And not just because G and I like playing with legos, electric trains, and pigs in space playsets.   


Fall October 15, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:54 pm

We head over to the pumpkin patch at South 47 Farm every year to pick out pumpkins for carving and squash for eating. Someone this year threw quite a fit and refused to walk next to the wheelbarrow. I alternated between letting her ride in the wheelbarrow (please, don’t judge—I already suffered the disapproval of the family that felt the need to tell me that wheelbarrows are not very stable) and carrying her under one arm while wheeling the wheelbarrow. Fun times.









While my back was turned those two managed to load about 40 mini squash in the cart. Of course, M’s favorite game is “move a group of stuff from one place to another” so I shouldn’t have been surprised. C has grand plans for all the jack o’ lanterns “we” will carve.  

Fall in Seattle always means “grab the sunshine while you can”. So on a recent weekend afternoon we headed to a big playground for some fun.









That’s us, we even have fun in the restrooms. M went down the slide over and over again, even though it was a fast one—several times she flew off the end (I mean, not far…)

I am working on a skirt for C’s birthday (must finish before guests come to stay in the craft room…since M is in the guest room until she stops waking up so much at night and we can put the girls in a room together…) and keep worrying that I am adding too much color and “stuff” to it. Then I look at outfits that C picks out for herself…I am thinking maybe “too much” isn’t in her vocabulary.


1.5 October 12, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 1:45 pm

M turned 18 months old last Thursday and although we recognized it here (ice cream and a shared piece of cake from the grocery store) and took some photos, life got a bit in the way of blogging it. I am here to remedy that oversight posthaste.

She had her 18th month checkup that day, and weighed in around 21 lbs. 9 oz. (I think….it might be 21.9 lbs, cannot quite tell from the checkup sheet) and a bit over 32”. Putting her again at the lower end of the weight range (25%) and higher end of the height (75%) with a sizeable noggin to match (75%). She was very very good for the dr., sitting quietly for ear checks, stethoscope and the like. The dr. said she is in the “top 1%” of co-operators for this age. Hmmm. She has never had to give her a bath (right Grampy??). Healthy as ever, despite the slight cold she has been battling for over a week now. Oh, and molar number 2 is making its entrance. Who needs a full night sleep right?

The checkup sheet noted “might begin to walk up stairs” as an 18 month activity. This one has been going up and down stairs…and slides, kitchen chairs, rocking chairs, really whatever seems close and climbable.








She continues to plow through food, with yogurt, oatmeal, grapes, corn on the cob, and whatever everyone else is eating being particular favorites. Has shown a particular interest in dipping lately—wants to dip her own pita in the hummus (and then licks it off and wants to dip again…fair warning for any visitors to our house). Also likes to pick her own chip and dip it in salsa. Continues to ask for hot food, look at you solemnly, and ask “ha?” [meaning hot] Has also figured out how to sign for “more” and uses it to great effect. Is also a bit lazy about chewing, and will squish all the soft part out of a grape half and then spit out the skin. Usually she saves up a few grapes’ worth in her mouth before spitting. She has gotten a bit better about spitting into a bowl instead of into my hand (or worse, onto my arm) so that is a step forward, right?

If she falls down, slips, or gets the slightest bump, demands kisses. I mean, the slightest bump. On the other hand, if you get a bump, she runs over and tries to kiss your arm (regardless of what was bumped).

Dances—a broad head nod, flappy hands, and some fast stomping. I need to get this on video. Also, I have to get video of her riding on her rocking snail and/or horse. On the horse she prefers to have me sing a horse riding song to accompany her.

Vocabulary has been expanding lately. “Nada” seems to mean “another” (usually refers to grapes, milk, or lately Kleenex). Says “mom” quite clearly now, while patting me. Has a word for C, says “hi” and “bye”, “kitty”, “dog”, “ball” and makes an animal noise (sounds like clearing the throat, a kind of “krch”). Can show you her mouth, nose, eyes, hair, foot, hand, and belly button. Still a bit hazy on chin, cheek, ear, and a few others. Her receptive language is very good, although she obviously selectively ignores statements that we will be home soon for a snack, that it isn’t naptime so she shouldn’t fall asleep in the car because it will ruin her nap, and to please not put food on my arm.

Loves to play with C’s dolls and often carries three or more around. Helps around the house (hands me things out of the dishwasher to put away, carries clean bibs down the stairs, gets her own shoes as soon as I say “It is time to go pick up C!”). Enjoys a good swing, “riding” on the little tricycle (no pedaling yet), and reading books. Really a lovely little girl (although frankly I could do without the nightly teeth brushing battle).







Of course, M’s half birthday also means that C’s actual birthday is drawing quite near…just 10 days away now! She is hoping for a pogo stick and a Ken doll if anyone wonders.