Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two-Year-Old Giant

I'm too big

to sit on a tiny bristle block chair

to sleep on a little bristle block bed

to kiss ducky good-night

I'm too big.

2's do have an idea of how big they are, and it's fun watching them figure it out to be certain.

The bed and the duckies
What am I too big for?

Nothing, I hope. Living as a child-at-heart is so much better than an old fuddy duddy.

What are you too big for?

The chair

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Write Conversation : A List of 35 Blog Images You Can Take Yourself

The Write Conversation : A List of 35 Blog Images You Can Take Yourself: by Edie Melson @EdieMelson I’ve shared several posts about where to find images for your blog. But one thing I haven’t covered is a ...

This is a great list of stock photos you can take yourself. Thanks, Edie!

Friday, January 22, 2016

STRIPES - Hugh's Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 9 - Stripes

Stripes of a vertical kind.
Stripes horizontally composing a building.

Stripes fading away into the distance.
Nearly invisible stripes melting into skies of gray.
Stripes. Or vents, as 2-year-old Donavyn says.
Which, vents, are also stripes of hot or cool, depending on the season.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Never Use Scissors As a Tool

Mabel, expressing her disappointment. "I can't believe you did that, mom."

I'm embarassed to admit that I misused the scissors this morning.

The cat food container was stuck closed. It was very tightly sealed.

The food dishes were empty.

The (in their minds) gaunt kitties were starving.

The husband was already gone, so help was not available except for the above mentioned wasting-away gray girls.

What to do? What to do?

The not-intelligent thinker in my head suggested that I use scissors to pry up the lid.

Not the round-tipped kid scissors. No. Let's try the pointy-tipped very sharp scissors. Yes. Those will help tremendously.

I didn't need to be told twice, but grabbed the pointy-tipped scissors and began trying to pry up an edge on the food container.

Just as I was thinking This is not a good idea. These scissors could slip off of the metal and poke me. the unthinkable (apparently not unthinkable, as I had just thought it) happened. The scissors skidded off of the metal tin and slid right into my face!

Yes. Berating myself, I immediately felt blood running down my cheek.

Yes. I stabbed myself on the face.

As Hermoine Granger said in one of the Harry Potter movies, "What. An. Idiot."

I am forever grateful that God saved me from my poor choice and protected my eyes, nose, and lips. He did not save me from crumbled pride. How humiliating to admit the error of my ways.

I am grateful that the small puncture and slice wound is tiny and the rest of me works quite well.

Warning from one who used scissors improperly: DO NOT use scissors as a tool. They are for cutting. Not prying, digging, scooping, or any other chore. Cutting. Period.

When was my last tetanus shot?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Mr. Rogers Lives Here

Yes. It's true. We are a family of Mr. Rogers' mini-me's.

I just caught myself making the correlation between one of his daily rituals and a habit of ours.

As soon as we enter our home (sooner for my husband), we remove our outside shoes and don slippers. Coats come off and I add a sweater to keep me cozy, as our indoor temperatures never get above 66 in the winter.

This process is reversed as we prepare to leave. Away go the slippers and on go the outside shoes. My sweater is tucked away and a jacket or coat is worn to protect me from the elements.

Do you remember what Mr. Rogers did each time he came inside at the beginning of his show and and reversed at the end of the show?

Mr. Rogers removed his outside shoes and replaced them with indoor shoes. He also took off his outdoor jacket and put on an indoor cardigan, all the while singing about the beauty of the day in the neighborhood. Yes. That song.

Mr. Rogers was so organized. He didn't just toss those shoes and jacket on a couch or floor. He tucked away the shoes and carefully placed the jacket on a sweater in the closet. I may occasionally toss my sweater on the washer, but I also have a designated cupboard right by the door for jackets, and shoe racks for both of us.

You have no idea how many times I compare myself to Mr. Rogers when I change gear as I am going out or coming back inside the house. I think his habits were ingrained in my subconcious as I watched his television show. Maybe that was one of his purposes, to model tidiness, organization, and care for our belongings.

And this is a good thing. We are a shoes-off household. Not only does this habit keep icky germs and gunk on shoe bottoms out of the house, it also provides a cleaner environment for my babies to crawl around on and plenty of (mostly) dirt-free floor space for playtime. Mr. Rogers' transfer of clothes and shoes fits perfectly with our efforts to keep as much of the outdoors, well, outdoors.

That Mr. Rogers was ahead of his time, yet many considered him a fuddy-duddy. I disagree. He was a great role model.

Sitting here in my cardigan sweater and indoor slippers, just humming a certain melody.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, isn't it?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Teriyaki Salmon Salad Recipe

I was in the mood to cook, but not in the mood to shop for groceries. What's that saying? Necessity is the mother of invention? It was necessary that we had dinner, so I had to invent with what was on hand.

We were both very pleasantly surprised.

Teriyaki Salmon Salad

thinly sliced green cabbage
thinly sliced green onions
2 lime wedges

Divide cabbage and green onions between 2 plates. Make a little nest in the center. Squeeze lime juice over each cabbage nest.

about 1 cup of cooked quinoa (I had some frozen in the freezer)
1 cup chicken broth
a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes (I had some dehydrated from summer)
1/2 chopped onion
dash of garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne

Mix all ingredients and warm in saucepan. After the salmon is done, put one scoop of quinoa on each plate beside the cabbage nest.

Green Beans:
frozen full-size green beans (we love the Costco frozen green beans)

Bring pan of water to boil. Add green beans. Cook until done to your liking. Drain. Place a serving on each plate beside the cabbage nest. Originally I was going to chop them into smaller pieces and mix them with the cabbage, but it looked prettier this way.

thawed salmon (we had one piece, so we split it)
thinly sliced onion
teriyaki sauce (we like Yoshida's, though it's a bit salty)
olive oil

Saute salmon in olive oil with onions. Saute until cooked through and crispy on the outside (we like a little crust). Add teriyaki sauce and bring to a bubbling boil. It doesn't take very long at all.

Place 1/2 of the salmon on each plate in the cabbage nest. Spoon onions and teriyaki sauce over salmon, cabbage, and green beans. Serve immediately.

This was so good! I can't wait to make it again.

Friday, January 8, 2016

It's Never TOO Early to Give Books to Kids

It's never too early to start giving books to kids.

Meet Gage. He is 6 months old and he already loves to sink his (2) teeth into a good book.

Read for life!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Gingerbread Fun - December Traditions

Never fear. Nana had the grands over for a wild and seriously crazy evening of decorating gingerbread cookies. That is not an understatement.

For the past few years, I have decorated gingerbread houses with the grands. But this year, with 3 boys and 1 girl, six years old and younger, I thought gingerbread cookies would be much easier. I was right.

But we still made a big mess, gobbled too many decorations, and spread icing far and wide. One nice thing about decorating cookies instead of houses was that we could eat our work instead of letting it sit around and petrify into cement.

I'm not so sure the parents agreed. But like any good grandparents, we played, made memories, fed them too much sugar, and sent them home.

Here are a few photos from our Gingerbread Party. Notice the series when Gage decides he is GOING to have his plate and cookie (Nana had to decorate his, as he can't eat cookies yet). Of course when we are all watching his actions, Donavyn chooses that moment to look at the camera instead of eating the icing and candy off of his gingerbread boy.


1. Make the cookies in advance. Definitely. I used giant cookie cutters and made 1 girl and 3 boy cookies. The extra dough was used for normal cookies.

2. Sort candy into individual bowls. That way, each child gets the same things to put on their cookies. Or, I mean, the same amount of sugar to eat.

3. Give each child a cookie sheet as a workspace. Escaping candies and sticky knives stayed right where they needed to be.

4. Forget the fancy icing. Just buy a tub of white icing. It spreads so nice and easy. The icing in the gingerbread house kits is horrible and making a glaze icing that doesn't spread is frustrating.

5. Enlist someone else to take photos. No way could this Nana help everyone, keep Gage from eating stuff, and take photos. Even with assistance, taking pictures of our completed cookies was the hardest part!

6. Have fun! Eventually we will get back to the houses. But for now, keeping it simple makes more sense. And next year, when we have 5, I think I will have to adopt yet another helper for crowd control.

Happy December traditions!

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Smallest Things DO Count

Does anyone recognize this?

It is absoutely necessary for a stove to work. Don't ask me for a technical name, but this odd looking contraption plugs in somewhere inside the gas stove, and the flints mysteriously spark and make the gas stove click on. That would be the gas stove that cooks our meals. Not the gas insert that heats a home.

Notice the flint is broken.

Which means the stove is broken.

This piece is only about 1/8 of an inch wide and about 2 inches long. Despite that tiny size, if it doesn't work, the stove doesn't work.

Let's say the flint plug (oh, I like that name) is the bridle that controls the Clydesdale stove.

It's time for a new flint plug. Day 3 without and counting.

On the other hand, I have successfully poached my first ever chicken breasts for Thai salad and it was wonderful. Much faster than roasting.

Moving on to more stove top experiments.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year (From the Kitties)

Today, as I began 2016 by working on a deadline, I had plenty of help.

Too much help, in fact.
This one, Mabel, jumped up right after sister, Monet, left.
I sense a new year trend in my office.
What work? You are doing that?

I think I should help you. Yes. Let me scooch right here.

Move? You want me to move?

Fine. I will sit over here. I'll just watch my sister.

Mom, what is in the basket? Can I get in the basket? Let me chew on some things in the basket.

What book? You need this book? I'm sitting on it . . .
And so went the day. There have been times when my mind was so focused, I didn't even see or hear the approaching kitty until she leapt in the middle of work. This was especially troublesome when her paws were wet and a touch muddy.
We have new S.O.P.
(standard operating procedures)
1. Be prepared at any moment to quickly and calmly gather all ready-to-mail papers in a pile and remove them from work counter.
2. Try very hard to hear the tiniest pitter patter of kitty claws on the wood floor. This will give warning of impending assistance on the work desk.
3. Give loves. This allows kitties to purr, shed fur, and roll around on paperwork. This also encourages kitties to vacate the project zone in a timely manner.
Paws up to 2016!
May your year be fulfilling, joyful, and overflowing with peace.
And may your clothes always bear fur from the administrations of 4-legged children. For that means you have provided a home to loving pets.
Happy New Year!