Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And so it goes for La Maison Ginger, 2008

For the past few years I have made, well... decorated a gingerbread house with Bunny. While it's not some masterpiece worthy of a magazine cover, we have a reasonable amount of fun, and this year Carter even helped. That added to the stress for me, refereeing the kids and keeping over exuberant 3 year olds from pressing hard enough to push the house over. However, it was one of those things that I am glad I did, and we will do every year... mini fights and tantrums notwithstanding. :)

Then, a couple of weeks later, more or less around New Year's, I let 'em have at it.

I let then have spoons and tear the house apart. Bunny declared 'gingerbread icky', but is always a fan of pure sugar.

Her friend from down the block, and Carter both agreed that the gum drops are terrible, but that just meant one thing to Bunny: more for her!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To the farm.

Today we went as a 5-some to Rancho San Antonio Park. There are lots of great trails, but we went to Deer Hollow Farm, which was preserved by the city of Mountain View as a cultural exhibit so that all the citified folk around here can see what a farm looks like.

It's a half mile or so walk from the entrance to the farm. Cole was very fussy the second half, so we stopped at the first available, not right on the trail bench to let him have a snack.

Bunny snapped this photo of Carter under a tree right by us. He was having a three year old moment, and wanted to be left alone to stew over... something or another. Three year-olds are complex creatures.

This was something weird to find in a barn: a nearly whole horse skeleton arranged to stand in a stall with a festive Santa hat. Um, okayyy.

Moving on, we went to the sheep pen. Much cuter than skeletons!

See? Fuzzy, not bony.

There was a rabbit house, but the rabbits were facing their food, and furry rabbit backs are simply not very photogenic. Next!

I like chickens. So do the kids. Cole seemed mystified by them.

This hog was huge. I mean really, really big. And she appeared to be expecting a bunch of little piglets this spring. Carter was disgusted and fascinated by her at the same time. I think he found a kindred spirit in the dirtiness. :)

Don't ask me what my weird three year-old is doing here. Being three, I suppose.

After we wandered around the little farm area, Bunny and I had fun snapping a lot of photos. She still needs to learn, more than anything, to STOP MOVING when taking a picture. Many of hers were blurred. But some were nice!

I took these:

And Bunny took these!

I like that last one a lot.
I'm trying to decide how I feel about a family outing to the aquarium today. I've been fighting some bug for a few days, and feel kind of run down, but I am sure we'd have a good time... think think think.

Friday, December 26, 2008

So many sweets...

Every Christmas Eve we make cut out cookies here. We're not big cookie eaters, but Santa must have his snack, and it is fun for the kids.

This year I wanted to try the 'painted' cookies Pioneer Woman showed on her site a while back. It's a craft and cooking at the same time. :)

This was the first year Carter was old enough to really take part. To keep things a little less chaotic, I gave 'em both a sheet of cookies to work with.

Carter chose this blue-green color and made an entire sheet of monochrome cookies. He was VERY thorough and painted the HECK out of them.


Bunny went a little more crazy with actually painting the cookies. While it took maybe 5 minutes for Carter to paint a sheet, it took a good 20 minutes for Bunny to do the same number of cookies.

After she finished painting them, she would add sprinkles to embellish and enhance. She's very artistic, and this was a perfect way to spend time on a hard to get through day.

Carter also enjoyed using sprinkles. On his second sheet of cookies, he absolutely COVERED his already very well painted cookies with green sprinkles. You'd have never known he painted them in the first place, haha! They did have a neat crunch. ;)

Here, you can see Bunny seems concerned with the amount of sprinkles her brother is using. Mostly because she wanted to use green, too.

I hope Santa appreciated the works of art with which he was presented as he stopped briefly by our home!

200 Decibles

I would estimate that as the noise level in Bunny's room right about now. The girl herd of her, Frieda, Natalie, and Hailie is in there playing Barbies, hopefully not jumping on the bed (Frieda already broke her arm once this year at another home jumping on a bed), sometimes having really, really stupid arguments, and generally doing what kids on break are supposed to do.

The funny part to me is that they keep asking for food, and I am feeling lazy, so I keep breaking american cheese singles into quarters then making 'sammiches' with Ritz crackers. Tres bien! They can't seem to get enough.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Got my 2 front teeth, so I'd like...

I am finally done with my Christmas preparations... well almost. Tomorrow I'm schlepping to Trader Joe's to get a few odds and ends, and we will make cut out decorated cookies. Otherwise, I truly am as done as I will be.

Paul? He's taking out Bunny to the mall tomorrow. I told him I really don't want anyTHING as much as I want him to take a day, suck it up, and come to the aquarium with us all. He said he would do that, and go to Lush. He's been so busy for the past few months that we've really only had a couple of trips to the park for family time, and it's hard when you never do anything with a person to connect. Hard for adults, but doubly so for kids. Paul's not the best with loud places, lines, and um... doing things. He likes nature, hiking, places large and open. Which I can respect. But sometimes you need to see your children excited about something new, and let yourself get caught up in their moment and not worry about what you like to do.

So, Dear Santa, what I want for Christmas is for our family to enjoy an outing that is not to a park or beach or mountain. Fingers crossed. If this goes well, maybe I can even convince him to come to the Discovery Museum sometime. One can dream. I think he'd enjoy it, given the afforementioned 'taking a step back and not worrying about getting anything in particular accomplished'.

Monday, December 22, 2008


2008-12-21 022, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Bunny took this photo of Cole and me snoozing on the sofa. I cropped and changed the coloring, but I still have to say it's a pretty good photo by a child.

Cole is growing so quickly... almost a whole year old.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

No more school, no more books.

Christmas card photo outtake. Carter is not cooperating.

I remember when I was I kid, I loved saying, "See you next year!" at
the end of the day before Christmas break. Even though it was only 2
weeks away, it sounded so far off!

Well, we're in break mode here now! Though Bunny woke only 15 minutes later than normal... which is fine, since Cole wakes by 5 anyway.

I am thinking of making it a craftsy break here, since the weather looks like it will keep up inside a lot.
This looks like a really great book, and for a few months I have been thinking about picking it up.

The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections (Paperback)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playing Hooky Today. ;)

Not really -- I just didn't post what I wrote here. I posted it on the blog my sister and I share instead.

Wanna see how I made some folded paper ornaments?

Monday, December 15, 2008


Painting Water Tower, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

I've been scanning a few photos Paul's dad brought over to share. They're a lot of fun, many of when Russell was young, or before he was born.

Here is one from The Depression. Paul's grandpa was the youngest child in his family, and at age 16 his father told him he could not afford to feed him and he would have to go. Back then 16 was not as young as it is now, in a sense -- Grandpa H was a high school graduate, and his older siblings had families with young children and could not as easily be put out off the farm.

Paul's grandpa did pretty well all in all. He realized he could always get work doing 'the things no one else likes to do' -- the dangerous or dirty jobs. So he found work traveling around and painting water towers. He also was a wicked left-handed pitcher, and in those days there were semi professional baseball games where people played as mercenaries -- no team affiliation, but would make a cool $200 on a Sunday afternoon. That was a LOT of money then, especially then.

Anyway, that's a hard scrabble existence. We lack perspective in so many ways, when we think about it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Work In Progress

2008-12-12 009, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Well, the baby is a work in progress,as are all children, but my meaning is that I'm like the tortoise with regard to holiday decorating. It takes me days, and I'm alright with that. Bunny would love it all done immediately, but I seem to be only able to get a small portion completed at a time. Otherwise I become g-r-u-m-p-y, which is not how I want to do the holidays.

It's been a bit of a mental adjustment for me to accept this is how I am. When I was a child, there would be a day every year in early December when suddenly we'd come home from school to a house that was decorated to the hilt. My mom always did holidays rather well, centerpieces that I wish I could find these days (the accordian paper cauldron for Halloween was a particular favorite of mine). Really, no detail was left undone it seemed, and the house was magical. My father would call her the Christmas Fairy.

Me? Not so much. :) I have the mantle decorated (except the gingerbread house, which Bun and I will make this weekend [probably]), but the dining room table is covered with all the stuff that was on the table, which I will put away today, maybe tomorrow, but surely this weekend. We bought the tree Wednesday afternoon, and then Thursday put the lights on it as well as our 'new' 2008 ornaments. Yesterday I had thought we'd complete decorating the tree, but everyone was cranky, so we put it off until this morning.

I'm slow. But it does all get done. More or less. Hey, at least I get up every single day with the kids. And I do mean every day--I've slept in 2-3 times in 2008, and 'in' means until maybe 7. That, to me means more than some huge effort a few single days a year. We'll see what the kids think about it looking back someday, but ya does yer best and that's the best yous can do. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pretty. :)

¸.•´¸.•*¨`*. ¸.•*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨`*•
(¸¸.♥¸!¸.•*¨`*•.•´*.¸.•´* .•´*¸¸.•*¨`♥

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some days you wonder why you got out of bed.

Well, the morning was alright up to a point, but going with the boys to the park was kind of a disaster for the first half hour. I was going to walk with Sonja on trails by a lake before playing at the 'airplane playground', but Christi wanted to be at a sunnier park, so we agreed on one near my house. It was COLD (for here) this morning and I was alright with not getting s sniffly Cole out in that before it warmed up a bit.

But then I finished the hat I quick-like decided to crochet him and thought a walk could be in my future if I just loaded the boys into the stroller ASAP. So I did, and the walk was really pleasant. I arrived at the park, warm from my walk, and Sonja was there with Eric in the sand area. I plopped Cole in the sand and sat down next to him on the edge. Sonja and I were chatting and Cole was crawling around, then suddenly Sonja called out, "Oh, Cole! Don't put that in your mouth!" I saw him taking out something he had indeed put in his mouth, with a sour/confused look on his face. I went over and, yep!, cat poop. YAY! I grabbed wet wipes, and cleaned his face and hands--and for once he did not object at all, actually sticking out his tongue to help me clean that undoubtedly awful taste. Then I got out the Purell and hit both our hands. Then we went to the restroom and I washed our hands again with soap and water, and I also tried to clean his mouth a little more, but really whattaya gonna do?

Walking out, I had Cole on my hip, and didn't see the rock on the sidewalk. So, I tripped over it and fell. As I'm falling, I'm just hoping I can wrench my body around so I take the brunt of it and Cole is not hurt or dropped. I did manage that, but hurt both my knees, the knuckes of my left hand and the knuckles/palm/wrist of my right hand. Cole, I think, was so dazed by the odd turn events had taken since he found a dubious treasure in the sand that he really didn't even seem to notice we were suddenly sitting on the ground.

I got us back to the sand area and again sat down with Cole. Sonja had an unopened bottle of water and I took her up on the offer to let Cole sip some to maybe get any nasty taste out of his mouth. Well, since new bottles are thinner to consume less plastic, they're easy to squeeze and spill. So as I was letting Cole sip, he grabbed it and squeezed! Like lava, the water bubbled out of the top and all over Cole's legs. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Anyway, the trip to the park was much better after that, thank goodness, and any injuries I took to my knees seem to be only scrape/bruises and I may have a bruise on the palm. Not so bad considering--and I was happy, since I had to walk 1.5 miles home!

Now I simply have to keep from obsessing about toxoplasmosis. :-/ It's some scary stuff, but also not really likely at ALL (I read only 2% of infected cats shed oocytes in their feces, any infected cat only does it for some short time once in their lives after being infected, it takes a few days for the oocytes to become pathogenic after actually being 'shed' by the host... yada yada). Just something to add to a mom's list of things to be convinced her child has, because there is no worry like the worry a mom can produce.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday Menu (Dec 8)

Okay, wrote my menu and am back from the stores. Nothing new this week, just some standbys. I have extra stuff to do to get Christmas decorations up and presents acquired/sent out, and don't feel like being creative in the kitchen (though I may just be doing some baking to send out, hee hee).

Monday: Pork Loin cutlets, acorn squash, spinach fritters
Tuesday: Sausages & Peppers w simple tomato sauce
Wednesday: Taco Salad
Thursday: Beef Stew
Friday: Chicken Parmesan
Saturday: Undone Cabbage Roll Skillet
Sunday: out or C.O.R.N.

Friday, December 05, 2008

What a doll.

When I was little, I liked paper dolls. Not especially earth shattering, I know. But it's one of those simple, "lost" toys (or is it a craft?) that a person thinks back upon nostalgically.

Anyway, I recently found out that someone scanned and put up decades of Betsy McCall dolls. They're adorable, and I may just have to print up some or somehow integrate them into Bunny's birthday party as a favor.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Conversations with Bunny

Today we braved the hell that is Costco, and I discovered it's not as crowded at about 3 as it is at 10 when I usually go. The end.

Ha ha, just kidding. That would be a rocking post, though, right?

Bunny LOVES the books at Costco, and they're really pretty great, so I generally let her choose one. Yesterday she chose one about *shock!* animals. The book is super cool, with clear lift-up overlay pages that show the insides of, say, a spider. Bunny loves that stuff.

While driving home I had to remind her many, MANY times I can not look at the book with her while driving a car, and she excitedly turned pages. "Oooh, I can see where a cheetah's heart is!"

Then a moment later:

Why are boy things so much more interesting than girl things?

After a moment asking her to clarify the very vague use of 'thing' in her question, it was clear that, as I suspected, she was asking why it is that boys are supposed to like mechanical and scientific topics and girls are supposed to want to sit and pretend to be princesses or mothers. I didn't get into the whole gender blah blah blah, but did say that if she likes something, then that's more than reason enough to pursue it and anyone who says different (especially girl-peers) is dead wrong and to be politely ignored.

Then I informed her that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up.

B: I do??
Me: Yes! What do you want to be?
B: An Egyptologist!
Me: Well, that is a scientist! It's a lot more than learning history to be in that field.
B: Oh, wow!

Then lots of silence as she took it in.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Giving Thanks

Finally uploading photos from last week... here's our spread before the wolves descended upon it and tore it up. We had a lovely, if nonconformist meal of ham, fauxtatoes, brussells sprouts au gratin (not so great--we still dislike those sprouts and I agreed to stop making them every few years), green bean casserole--with from scratch mushroom sauce!--fresh baked bread, and pumpkin pie with ice cream. The kids had sparkling Martinelli's cider (yum) and we adults had some wine.

After stuffing ourselves we went on a long walk around the neighborhood in the dusk and it was a good way to end the day, which was nice and quiet at home. We are thankful Grandpa Russell was able to come have dinner with us, but wish there was not so much distance between us and the rest of our families.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers, November 2008: Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting

This month we're back into CandyLand with Shuna Fish Lyndon's recipe,
which may be found at
The "Hosts" for the month are Dolores ( with co-hosts Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food (, with Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( to assist us in alternative baking matters.

This was my first time making caramel from scratch! I knew of it, that heat, sugar and water in the right amounts for the correct time would result in caramel... but Bunny was very skeptical. Here it doesn't look like much.

But, just one or two minutes more, and it was almost too dark! I had hoped my intrepid photographer would get the 'volcanic' moment when I added a cup of water to the caramel to 'stop' it from cooking. But the spattering scared her off and this was as good as we got.

Then Bunny got her turn stirring and stirring. She's excellent at stirring. :)

She does become bored of it quickly, though. Notice the pained expression! Ha!

So she got to sift the flour and baking powder together as we prepared to make the cake. I like this photo, how it looks all 'active', but I also wish I'd cleaned the lens. ;)

The batter was very fluffy -- deceptively so. The cake itself was dense and moist, though if I'd had to guess I'd have said it'd be like a foam cake by the batter.

All done, ready to be eaten at the Pie Party the night before Thanksgiving. Only I would bring cake to a pie party. Oh well, I never did do much the 'normal way' now did I?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let there be pie (party)

And it was good.
The Wilsons were sorely missed as "Pie Party" was their 'deal' every year, which we really loved -- almost none of the stress of Thanksgiving, and the kids get to run amok after dark and hopped up on sugar. So, I was super happy Christi took on the mantle of hosting the party. I was too happy sampling 4 small slices of pie to take more than this photo. :)

Little Commuter

Yesterday I took the boys to the Children's Discovery Museum via Light Rail. It was a lot easier than I had feared it would be! Parking at the station I chose was free, so I suppose technically it was a wash costwise, since any money saved on parking probably went to the gas to get to the station. However, it was nice that the train station is by the door to the museum--closer than the parking lot!--and Carter loved the train rides.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meanwhile, on the sidelines, Mama and Carter crunched through the leaves.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Monday, 11-24

This week is going to be a busy one in the kitchen... do you have your plan?
For over 200 ideas, click the image at the top o' the post. :)

Sunday: Sausages & Lentils
Monday: Chicken Parmesan, salad, acorn squash
Tuesday: Greek Burgers, creamed spinach
Wednesday: CORN (clean out refrig nite) and going to PIE PARTY @ friends house
Thursday: Ham, fauxtatoes, green bean casserole, brussells sprouts gratin, homemade bread, pumpkin pie
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: split pea soup

Yeah, no turkey. We don't like it. So there. ;) I love stuffing, but no one else in my family will touch it, and it's not exactly a health food, so I am skipping it. So, someone have a second helping of some yummy stuffing for me, okay? ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Like Riding a Bicycle

My poor sweet child has all the grace of her mother. Meaning, none. But she's slowly becoming more confident on her bike.

She can't 'start' yet, needing help to get moving, but once moving she's generally pretty good.

She used to fall more than not when stopping, but a seat adjustment and some practice has paid off. Soon enough, with more practice, she'll be off all on her own. Despite running into some improbable things at the park (the basketball poll--TWICE IN ONE DAY!!, a garbage barrel), she is sticking with it, and showing what she lacks sometimes in innate coordination, she can make up for with persistence.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fuzz Buster

How I know when it's time to wax my lip: my sweet 6 year old asks me if I am growing a moustache. Thanks twerp! ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Just showed this video to Bunny and Carter, as they were playing on the sofa, sitting somewhat upside down, saying, you guessed it, "Dancing on the ceiling!" over and over.

Bunny mainly commented that the clothes were terrible.

Garlic Lentils

I feel these would not lend themselves to photographing, but trust me, they're good. And healthy.

Garlic Lentils
serves 4
1/2 lb dried lentils
1 small onion, halved and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped/minced/pressed
salt & pepper
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  1. In a medium saucepan, add the lentils and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the onion and bay leaf, , bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 mins. Discard bay leaf.
  2. Meanwhile, in shallow bowl, combine olive oil and chopped garlic; let stand for 15 mins.
  3. Toss the hot lentils with the garlic oil and parsley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So funny

Snoop Dogg Gives Martha Stewart An Educizzle

This was hilarious. I might just watch Fine Living network's rebroadcast tonight for more giggles. (FLN shows the prior day's show each evening couple of times).

I think jail helped Martha hold her own (ish) in this clash of worlds.

FYI, speaking of FLN, there is a show that Martha's daughter and friend have, called Whatever Martha!, that is really pretty funny to watch in a pinch. Apparently it was Martha's idea, as she was up late one night watching Mystery Science Theater, that show where they watch a crappy movie and talk over it, mocking it. They really do skewer her old segments.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Monday, Nov 17

Sunday: out
Monday: sausages & lentils
Teusday: Greek Wedding Soup
Wednesday: Salmon
Thursday: Mandarin Glazed Chicken
Friday: Taco Salad
Saturday: CORN (clean out refrig nite)


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