Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bye Dinosaur Mommy

Yesterday I was yelling at my kids for some reason. I think Sophie was poking poor sick Franny in the face and I was getting tired of telling her to stop and I lost my patience. I got up to leave the room and Franny said, "Bye Dinosaur Mommy."

I thought that was hilarious!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's like licking a nine-volt battery, but in a good way.

We partied in St. Louis last weekend with the Pace's and I've been so excited to report back on it to all of you. The highlight of the weekend had to be little Abbey Pace dropping the f-bomb every time she wanted a fork. Too funny! We had a jam-packed weekend filled with a trip to the zoo, the science center, Whole Foods Market, a few intense games of Sequence, Ashley's famous rolls, calzones, and poveriches, and late nights and afternoon naps.

The girls had a blast at the Science Center. This was our first time. They especially loved the bridge that connects the buildings over the freeway. I especially liked this picture of them watching the cars pass below:

Sunday night we played Sequence and Ashley and I basically annihilated Justin and Bobby. It was kind of sad to watch.

Right after this cute picture was taken we heard the sad news about President Hinckley's passing. What a legacy he leaves! I will miss him very much and feel very blessed and fortunate to have had him as our beloved prophet. I am happy that he is with his wife, though. He was so sweet about her. I remember right after she passed away, he gave a talk and talked about how when he met her he knew she was the "girl of his dreams." Then he said something like she was still the girl of his dreams all these years later. It was so sweet.

We also hit the zoo while we were there and that was fabulous, because the animals were actually moving around instead of just laying around in the blazing heat like usual when we're there in the summer. I wasn't sure what to expect in that cold weather. (But not too cold- thanks for the Christmas hats, Grandma!) Franny slept through half the visit due to only six hours of sleep the night before. It was crazy. But Sophie LOVED the whole visit- especially the hippos, the tiger, and the sea lions. My favorite was definitely the tiger. What makes a tiger so darn freaking sexy? It must be that seductive walk of theirs. It's like, "chicka bow chicka bow bow."

Some more fun pictures from our trip:

Notice the lions between our heads.

Sophie is a gorilla-lover, just like her Mom.

We were thrilled to see an okapi there. We have a Schleich okapi and we think they are so cool. They are the closest living relative to the giraffe and they were only discovered in 1901!

After we took care of some business we had down there, and made a trip to the mall (H&M has the bombest clothes for little kids), we got in the car and headed home.

I snapped these two shots when I saw how cute Franny looked sleeping in this position. I thought I might as well snap one of Sophie even though it was so dark I couldn't see what she looked like. Here's what I got. What a poser. She's our little party animal. I used to love road trips as a kid. Julia and I used to have the best times in the back of the car and my parents played great music. We only ever went to Utah so it was always just about 12 hours. And I could read my books in the car! Laying down! In the backseat! I can make myself sick writing a greeting card in a moving vehicle, let alone trying to read a book!

Explanation of my post's title: We went to Whole Foods and I was asking for some cheese recommendations from one of their employees. He was telling me about these English cheddars and used this simile to describe it. It struck me as funny.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I talked with a good friend last night who is a speech pathologist in Southern California. (Thank you Lindsey!) She's very good and had lots of good ideas and suggestions for me. One of them was to start talking about object function at home with Franny. For example, "Here's a crayon. What do we do with this? ... We color with it!" I'm also hoping that soon Franny will start to learn the give and take of conversation, instead of merely repeating what she hears.

So this morning while we were getting out the Play-doh I said, "Here's some blue play-doh. What do we do with this?"

Her answer?


Okay, Homer. :)

What's cookin' good lookin'?

We had two G.A.I.'s this week (Girls Afternoon In). Franny's little friend LOVES to cook and so we invited her over to make pancakes. I think they look so cute using the handmixer! I think it's so cute that Kenya wants to be a chef when she grows up. She was so interested in everything we were doing. She wanted to know all about the beaten egg whites and what we needed them for. After we were done cooking, we were playing dress-up in the playroom and she asked me, "What kind of things do you like to cook?" It was so cute. I want to have her over again!

Notice Miss Franny has that hazy look in her eyes that I've mentioned before. It comes and goes. As I was loading these pictures I thought I'd try to find those sharp beautiful eyes I love so much. This 6 AM photo shoot cracked me up so I thought I'd share.

Aw, there you are Franny!

Here's the recipe for GFCF Banana
Pancakes that we made:

1 1/2 cups rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/4 cup water
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs honey
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 (large) overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 egg whites

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in water, oil, honey, egg yolks, and bananas

Beat egg whites in another bowl, until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter and bake pancakes in a hot, oiled griddle or frying pan. Cook on both sides until golden.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Identity Crisis

Yesterday Franny came up and asked me, "What's your name?"

She's never asked me this before. She doesn't ask questions a whole lot, so I was excited and hurried and said, "Katherine."

She looked at me, a little puzzled, and asked again, "What's your name?"


Then Franny said, "Mommy." I thought it was so funny. It was like I could just hear what she was thinking. No. Mommy. Mommy is your name.

I stand corrected.

Friday, January 18, 2008

maybe not authentic Italian, but still fabulous

This is another one of my mother's recipes and I am so glad she found it. I don't know where she found it, so I can't give anyone proper credit. As far as casseroles go, this is a winner. It freezes beautifully. There aren't many dishes out there that freeze as beautifully as this one right here. She would make this a lot for us when we came to visit because she could make it before we got there, keep it in the freezer, and then she could hang out with us instead of having to spend all her time in the kitchen making dinner.

I'd honestly rather have this than homemade lasagna. It's crazy, I know, but it's true. I think it's the cheese layers. They are so delicious!

I am so bad at photography. Does it make you laugh? It makes me laugh. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I like to play around in photoshop. If this just looks like a mess of a food on a plate, that's because it is. I was half-way through devouring this before I thought to take a picture. I had to put the pan back in the fridge so I would only have one giant serving and not two giant servings. I LOVE this stuff.

Italian Dinner
(I leave the mushrooms out and use only 1/4 - 1/3 of an onion so my husband will still love me.)

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 32-oz jar spaghetti sauce
3 (6 oz) cans sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
12 oz medium egg noodles, cooked
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 pt sour cream
1 c Parmesan
1 16 oz pkg shredded mozzarella

In a very large skillet, brown beef, onion, bell pepper, clery, and garlic and drain well (season the meat at this point with salt and pepper). Add spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, and seasonings. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes. Beat cream cheese until creamy and add sour cream and cheese. Butter 11 x 14 inch or 2 smaller baking dish(es). (I use one 8x12 and one 8x8.) Layer half the noodles, half the beef mixture and half the cheeses. Repeat the layers. Bake covered at 325 for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. (I like to reserve some of the Parmesan and sprinkle it on top. Also, I like to bake it a little longer than the recipe suggests do give the cheese a chance to brown just a little.)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bobby's birthday menu

After I made the Tzatziki this week, I couldn't stop thinking about gyros, so I asked Bobby how he felt about a Greek birthday dinner. He was all for it! I had a VERY small leg of lamb in the freezer, and a Barefoot Contessa recipe I've been wanting to try out. I was a little nervous about a yogurt marinade. I'd never done a marinade like that before. It was AMAZING. So succulent and tender and flavorful! Oh my goodness. I wished it was a bigger roast! There was just enough for us to each have a gyro.

2 lbs. plain yogurt (regular or low-fat)
1/2 cup good olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh whole rosemary leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 5 lb. butterflied leg of lamb

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large, nonreactive bowl. Add the lamb, making sure it is covered with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.

Bring the lamb to room temperature. Scrape the marinade off the lamb, wipe the meat with paper towels, and season it generously with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes at 450 and then bring the temperature down to 400 and roast until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove the lamb to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Then slice and serve.

And the ice cream... Mmmm- that was good. I've been holding onto that recipe for a long time and it did not disappoint.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c milk
2 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in pan over low heat (or use a double-boiler.) Gradually whisk in the milk and heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt and whisk to blend.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1-3 hours, depending on your refrigerator.
4. Transfer the mixture to ice cream maker and freeze.
5. Just before transferring cream mixture to ice cream maker, remove 1 cup cream mixture and blend with 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter until smooth. Add blended mixture to the rest of the cream mixture and add to machine.

Pretty crudite platter, right? I think Ina would be proud.


2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbs water or liquid from the chickpease
8 dashes Tabasco sauce

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste for seasoning and serve chilled or at room temperature.


4 c plain yogurt, whole milk or low-fat
2 hothouse cucumbers, unpeeled and seeded
2 T + 1 tsp kosher salt
1 c sour cream
2 T champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T good olive oil
1 T minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 T fresh dill

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 2 Tbs salt; place it in a nother sieve and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucmber can drain. Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumbers as you can add the cucumbers to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1 tsp salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend.

(Tastes great as a sauce for gyros or as a dip for pita bread.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Will somebody please remove these cutleries from my knees?

Bobby's birthday was on Sunday and we had a quiet celebration at home, just the four of us.

This is probably something I shouldn't admit, but I spend a lot of time each day just waiting for Bobby to get home. I admit that part of it is that I would like some help with the kids so I can get stuff done, but most of it is that life is just a lot more fun when Bobby's around. I love his sense of humor. He can get me laughing harder than anyone, and he does it on a regular basis. I am so grateful for the wonderful father he is to our girls. He is just as committed as I am to helping Franny recover from autism and it feels so good to have that support. When I realized that he was willing to base his decision on where we should go for rotations on what was best for Franny, and not what was best for him, I couldn't believe it. And what do you know, looks like staying right here in the place where we live is turning out to be just the right thing for us! Life's funny that way, isn't it?

It's time to reveal our secret shame. It was wrong of me to keep it from you all this time, so I'm coming clean. We are Schleich addicts. We have a huge collection of Schleich animal figurines. Here's a picture I took. I wasn't able to fit all of them in the picture, which by the way, doesn't at all do them justice. Out of all the presents Bobby got for Christmas, he was most excited about his new Schleich animals I ordered him from the internet. I just love that about him. So that's what he got for his birthday, too! Two whales, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a giant octopus, a dalmation, a musk ox (one of the few animals native to Greenland), and the two-humped camel. The T-rex is incredible. We were so impressed with how real it looks! I told Bobby that I wished they had a King Kong. They have dragons and fairies and stuff. They even have a whole line of Smurfs. He said maybe I should write the company. I think maybe I will.

We also sat in front of the computer and let the Flight of the Conchords entertain us. I feel silly posting these videos, because I think by now everyone's heard of them- but on the off chance you live in a cave and only emerge periodically to check out my blog, then allow me the pleasure of introducing you to the musical stylings of Brit and Jermaine. Love you, Bobby. Here's to many more birthdays and many more Schleich animals.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Library books

I went to our local library for the first time since last summer today. (Library fines.) I'm so excited about my finds.

She's got me wanting to try my hand at sourdough bread.

He's got me wanting to try making homemade spinach and beet pasta. (It's so pretty. But I need a pasta maker.)

And "feast"your eyes on this!

Peanut Butter and Snickers Fudge Sauce for Ice Cream

I think the title says it all. Don't you?

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 jar smooth peanut butter (approx 1/3 cup)
3 Tbs dark brown sugar
1 king-size Snickers bar (approx. 3 oz.) broken into pieces
1 Tbs dark corn syrup

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently. When everything has melted, raise to a simmer, stirring and scraping the pan for about 3 minutes.

Also picked this up on CD. Will I like it as much as Kite Runner?

Saturday, January 12, 2008


When we go back to California, I always try to make a trip into Huntington Beach to see old friends and visit the place where I grew up. I'm embarrassed to say that although we visited my second home in high school, the King residence, and spent an hour or so with two very good friends, Lori and Liz, the only pictures I took were of my favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, George's. They have insanely good Mexican food. My family loved that place! Here's a picture of their super nachos, which by the way left a huge void in my life when our family moved away from Huntington Beach. (By the way, the McDonald's sign behind it is the McDonald's of my childhood. I hate McDonald's food, but I really love this particular location because it's the one my Mom took us to. It always really bothered me that McDonald's never had root beer.)

What's that, you ask? Were they as good as I remember? I ate the entire plate. Then I proceeded to eat one shredded beef taco. Noone can make a shredded beef taco like George. It was fabulous. Apparently I thought we were having an speed-eating contest or I was afraid Sophie was going to try and steal my food, because I finished mine in record time. I was kind of bored so I started snapping pictures of my family enjoying one of my favorite HB spots. That was kind of fun for me.

Since I stupid didn't take any pictures with Lori and Liz, here's one that was taken TWO years ago at the Kings. It was fun to see Lori and Haws' new apartment and meet Liz's husband Derek.

I got together with Lori, Kelly, and Lindsey in September when I was visiting and I never posted the pictures, even though I had Lori take a picture of this kid for me. I told her I wanted it for my blog and then I never posted it. I love how these girls take time away from their busy schedules and families to spend time with me when I'm in town. They're all such cool girls and VERY good friends. Thanks in large part to all of these girls, Sara, Laura, Mary, and Sara T., my high school years were so much fun!
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