Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stories and Happy Thanksgiving!!

(scary faces before Friday night's Wizard of Oz performance)

It's Thanksgiving! Quite possibly my favorite holiday. Because I love food.

Oh how I love food!

Nona and Grandpa Howard rolled into town last night (my mother-in-law and her husband) and we spent all afternoon and last night making pies, raspberry pretzel jello (laugh if you must but it's a Thanksgiving staple in my family), cranberry sauce, and other preparations. I got up early to make the rolls and thought of a few recent stories about the kiddos I'd like to post. After all, it's Thanksgiving and I'm enormously grateful for them.

Franny has recently become a huge fan of Scooby Doo. The other day we were in the car and she said, "Mom, are centaurs real?" I said, "No honey, they are just pretend." Franny: "But no! They're real! Velma said they are real." I could not believe my ears. Velma has more credibility than me? Preposterous! I said, "Well, who are you going to believe, me or Velma." Franny didn't answer that question. Probably a wise move. This morning, though, she started in on the same line of questioning. Finally I just told her that Velma is a fictional character herself (not in those words- it was more like, "well Velma's not real!") So Franny said, "I think maybe she's real AND pretend." Hmmm....

I've been inadvertently teaching Sophie how to say bad words. Not like bad words, but things that are inappropriate for a 3 year old to say. Like, "piece of crap" and "son of a b" - (I actually only use the initial b, not the actual word). She loves to make us laugh and she is a master at identifying adult phrases and repeating them for comedic effect. I was driving the car and talking to Ashley one day and in response to something she said, I exclaimed, "What the crap?!" Apparently I had forgotten where I was and who I was with. Sophie said, "What the crap?!" I laughed and said, "Oh honey, you can't say that. Mommy shouldn't say that either, but you definitely can't say that." She starts crying while I'm still talking to Ashley and when I ask her what is the matter she wails, "But Mom! I want to say 'what the crap!'"

My mom used to warn me all the time when Franny was around two that this would happen. I don't know why I didn't believe her. I always thought it was funny that when a kid is acting up, Grandpa Howard will say, "Oh, she's just being a wiener." I adopted that epithet for my kids when they were being naughty, and can occasionally be heard saying, "Oh Franny, stop being a wiener." Well, one day we were at the park and one of Franny's friends was having a hard time and I heard Franny say, "Oh, she's just being a wiener." It sounded so funny!!

Yesterday I was driving Sophie to preschool and this was our conversation:
Sophie: "Mom, do you like the Humpty Dumpty song?"
Me: "Yes I do! Do you?"
Sophie: "No."

She's also been telling me that she doesn't want a baby sister. Yikes. She seemed all for it in the beginning. Apparently I was mistaken in thinking that once a kid passed the age of three, it wouldn't be a problem for him/her to welcome a younger sibling to the group. Maybe it depends on the kid?

(taken last year at Thanksgiving)

We have a word in our family for passing gas. My mom HATED the word "fart." It was not allowed in our house. Now I hate it to and the word we use is "boof." Sophie thinks it's really funny to say, "boof in your pants!" and spank us all on the rear. Last night Louise (Nona) and Grandpa Howard took us out to eat and Louise was commenting on what nice manners the girls had as they shared a big glass of fruit punch. Here's how their little conversation went:

Sophie: "Daddy can we share?"
Franny: "Here you go Sophie!"
Sophie: "Thank you!"
Franny: "You're welcome."
Sophie finishes drinking some of the fruit punch and hands it back to Franny. Louise comments on their nice manners. Franny says: "Thank you Sophie."
Sophie: "You're welcome." And just as I'm smiling to myself with pride at the well-behaved children I'm raising, Sophie follows up with a loud and boisterous, "BOOF IN YOUR PANTS!"

I guess I should be glad she didn't spank Grandpa Howard on the rear!

Have a great Thanksgiving and eat lots of delicious food!! I'm trying out some new recipes. I never got around to posting them beforehand but I'll get them posted so maybe they will benefit someone next year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Franny is a little munchkin in our high school's production of Wizard of Oz. I'll post a video soon so you can see how much she lights up when she's on stage. It's so fun for me to watch. Tonight is the second performance night and our first time getting to see the real deal instead of dress rehearsals. I'm so nervous!! I'm not nervous for Franny. I'm nervous I won't be able to get my family out of the house in time to get in line for a good seat. I'm nervous that I won't capture every moment of her on stage. I'm nervous some lady with a fat head is going to sit in front of me. Wish me luck and more on this later.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday Dinner - Salmon with Dill Cream Sauce

We had this for dinner tonight. Noone really appreciated this but me. It always makes me laugh when I'm the only one ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the food I make and everyone else's reaction is lackluster. I tried to explain that what made the dish was the creamy dill sauce, especially when it soaks into the rice, but they wouldn't listen.

My mom served asparagus a lot when I was a kid. I didn't like it then. I thought it sounded more like the name of a Sesame Street character than a vegetable. I also thought it's name made the vegetable sound rather unappealing. But I've changed my tune since then. I've blogged about this meal before, but this is a "do-over" because I made some changes to the dill cream sauce that I'm rather pleased with. And I'll never stop campaigning for more rice pudding-lovers. There just isn't enough of us out there.

Salmon. The way my Aunt Becky taught me. I am forever in her debt. This time I used the panini grill, per my Dad's suggestion, which I really liked, but Bobby prefers the broiler method, so the seasoning on the salmon gets kind of blackened.

Dill Cream Sauce

1 large garlic clove, smashed with 1 tsp kosher salt to make a paste
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbs chopped fresh dill, divided
1 cup creme fraiche (I didn't have enough time to make my own creme fraiche yesterday, but I wanted the tangy flavor, so I just mixed 2/3 cup whipping cream and 1/3 cup sour cream vigorously with a whisk- I'm sure the creme fraiche would have been better, but I was still very happy.
salt and pepper

(The original recipe called for 1 tsp Dijon style mustard. I left it out because I was afraid I wouldn't like it as much with as I did without.)

Serve salmon over white rice with dill cream sauce drizzled over the top.


Oh, and I almost forgot the asparagus! This is so easy and so good! I tossed the asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and then I sprinkled it with fresh parmesan. I roasted it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

And then, of course, the rice pudding. I got Sophie to eat one bite, but the rest will be for me. (Franny and Bobby aren't fans of the stuff. They are crazy!)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Burritos and Doughnuts

Steak Burritos

These really hit the spot. We had them once for dinner last week and we've had them twice this week. The obsession started after a visit to Chipotle in Kansas City during a fun weekend with the girls. I love meals where each person can build their burrito exactly as they like it. Here's a list of what we like to put in ours:

Marinated and Grilled Steak, cut into bite-sized pieces (recipe below)
Black beans (a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, heated on the stovetop with a little bit of water)
My homemade canned salsa (yet to be blogged, hopefully forthcoming)
Sour cream (left at room temp for about an hour before serving, and thoroughly mixed until it's pourable)
Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)
Red peppers and onions sauteed in olive oil (fajita style)

Steak Marinade

Olive oil
Lime juice
Salt and Pepper
(I also used a Southwestern Steak Seasoning.)

Cilantro Lime Rice (supposed to be a copycat recipe from Chipotle)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter
2 tsp. fresh cilantro
2/3 cup white basmati rice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Lime

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

I know better than to make my own doughnuts, I really do. I just couldn't help myself on this particular day. It was almost like kismet. I had to take a last minute trip to Quincy, IL for some supplies for a church activity coming up and noticed a doughnut shop advertising apple cider doughnuts. I had never heard of such a thing and was intrigued. Then I came home and checked my favorite food blog, smitten kitchen, and she had just fried up the very same doughnuts just days before! It was meant to be. It's not like I really had a choice. I'll just link to her recipe since I didn't change a thing, although I kind of wished I had fried them in shortening instead of oil like she recommends. I didn't read that part until after I made them. Tasty! I liked them better dipped in cinnamon sugar than coated in the glaze. And not only did the whole family love them, but they were fun to make, too!

In case you hadn't heard...


Monday, November 2, 2009

My mo mo mo mace

Guess who started preschool today? In fact she's there right now. She has been so excited. She has the same preschool teacher that Franny had, so she knows her well and likes her very much. I'm sure she's having a great time with centers and circle time, and whatever else they have planned for today.

I took her to lunch at McDonald's. One of my favorite things to do with Sophie is take her out to lunch. She is the cutest lunch date I've ever had. Today when I was finished eating my 89 cent cheeseburger (it's a pregnancy craving I occasionally get- I think it's the pickles), she said, "Good job, Mom." One time when we were eating lunch at Bellacino's, she started singing "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. Something she must have heard from our neighbor friend Lydia because I'm not a fan. It sounded like this, "Ma ma ma ma ma ma, ma mo mo mo mace." So funny. She smiles at me a lot, asks me lots of questions, and tries to act like a big girl. I'd go out to lunch with her every day if we could afford it. I'm so into Mexican food right now.

I feel like a moron for not taking her picture with Miss Dempsay, but I'm sure I'll get my chance. She was a champ. Not at all afraid when it was time for me to leave. I'm excited for her. She really seems to relish any activity that is hers alone and not Franny's. Like her Friday morning dance class. When her dance class comes up, she often says, "Is it for me?" and I say "yes" and she says, "not for Franny?" It's pretty cute.

As for me, I think I'll go curl up somewhere with Sophie's five pound bag of Halloween candy and read my book. She doesn't need all that candy anyways. Come on, you know you do it, too.
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