Sunday, June 14, 2009

Family Art Time

Mo Willems talked about it on NPR. Amanda Soule wrote about it in The Creative Family and her blog. I firmly believe children need to be actively creative.

Now, there is a groundbreaking statement, right? Who knew!

But before you scream something about poo and Sherlock Holmes at me, let’s really think about it: it seems like the last thing our society wants to risk is a child with time on his or her hands. Sure, you don’t want your kids utterly bored all day and night. Activities are great! We have our out of the house routines every weekday. In a couple of years, once we have fully emerged from the ‘baby jail’ stage, where we must return to home base frequently to recharge, and when every human in the house understands and willingly uses toilets, we’ll do much more than we do now, I am sure.

But we’ll also take time to just ‘be’. Everyone needs time to simply create-- in many different ways--together. It grounds us. It bonds us. We encourage each other, and help one other.

I can’t say we’re able to sync up to do Family Art Time even weekly during the school year. Generally it’s a good after breakfast on the weekend activity, but life moves fast and sometimes it simply doesn’t happen. However, now we’re into summer vacation, and, when we’re home, I’m going to try to make it a morning ritual at least a few times a week.

This morning was our second ‘go’ of it for the summer (2 out of 3 days is not bad!). Even Cole got to take part, and it can be hairy at times when he decides to ‘embellish’ Bunny’s masterpiece, but he’ll learn to keep his scribbles to himself.

It’s not about the end product, but letting one’s mind ‘air out’ a bit, I think. You can’t color outside the lines if you never take out the crayons.

I doubt I'll do any baking on Father's Day

Since I'll be in an unfamiliar, and probably not so well equipped kitchen -- oh, and on vacation, I don't think baking is in the cards. But, this is cute! Cupcake buns, brownie burgers, cookie 'fries'. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Grade Graduate

Last Day of First Grade, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Free at last, free at last! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Invention’s Mother Came to Visit

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I carpooled to work, as we both had a long commute from Santa Cruz to offices in Sunnyvale and Palo Alto.  The last mile or so was down Mission Street in Santa Cruz, where there are many great places to eat, but Vasili’s Greek Restaurant was my favorite.  I love their moussaka.

Paul would drive in the morning, and I drove the ‘way home’ leg of the commute.  About once every other week, the gravitational pull of moussaka would become too strong, and our car would be unable to escape their parking lot.  Hey, ‘the baby’ needed moussaka.

Since then, I have learned to make a pretty good moussaka, since Vasili’s is no longer close enough to capture my vehicle in its tractor beam.  I use beef, as I dislike lamb, but otherwise, it’s a pretty faithful recreation of what amazing results can occur when you mix meat with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Those Greeks, I tell you!  They’re geniuses.

Yesterday I had no idea what to make for dinner.  Everything I came up with, I was lacking some key ingredient.  Then the word moussaka started to rattle around in my brain…. moussaaaaka…  mooooussaaaaakaaaaa….

Did I have the makings for a ricotta bechamel?  Nope.  I did have cauliflower.  Cauliflower, you say?  She’s lost it, you say?  Not at all!  At least not because of the cauliflower.

We here Chez Nous don’t eat potatoes.  But many a dinner guest has been surprised to discover their whipped potatoes were actually—egads!—cauliflower.  Or, as they’re also called, fauxtatoes.

I made fauxtatoes my standard way, but added an egg, then topped the meat mixture of moussaka with the cauliflower and baked at 350 for 45 mins.

AWESOME.  I call it Shepherd’s Moussaka, and as far as I know, I invented this yesterday because necessity came a knocking.  Now, for all I know, this is the state dish of South Dakota or something, but I am not worrying about it.  I mean, who in South Dakota even has a computer to read this blog (shut up Mandy)?  (Hee hee.)

Shepherd’s Moussaka

2 T unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1.5 lbs ground beef
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
8 oz tomato sauce
salt/pepper to taste
head of cauliflower
1 oz cream cheese
1 T unsalted butter
1 egg

1.  Heat oven to 350.  2.  In pan over med-hi heat, melt 2 T butter and saute onion for a couple of minutes until translucent.  Add beef, and cook until browned.  Drain off excess grease. 3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt/pepper, and tomato sauce, bring to a bubble, then cook on low until most of the moisture has evaporated.  4. Remove from heat and put mixture in 8x8” square pan.  5.  While the meat is browning, make fauxtato topping:  steam cauliflower until fork tender (about 12 mins), drain any excess water, add cream cheese and butter, plus a little salt and pepper to taste, then mash or puree it as smooth as you like it (unlike potatoes, you can do this in a food processor if you like—I prefer an immersion blender for this).  6.  In a small bowl, lightly scramble the egg, then add roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the cauliflower mixture to the egg to ‘temper’ it, then add all that back into the larger bowl/pot with the rest of the cauliflower.  7. Spread cauliflower on top of meat mixture and bake in oven for about 45 minutes, or until browned on top and bubbly around edges.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

No more lunch packin’… for a while!

Monday I packed the last lunch of the school year! While I am very happy to be able to put the time and effort into ensuring Bunny has a healthy, delicious meal away from home, it’ll be nice to slack off for a while. I’ll be packing a snack for her to eat on the beach daily when Little Guards is back on our schedule beginning in late July, but for now, I’m happy to feel done. So little with parenting ever seems done! :)

Here’s a look back. I am extremely pleased with the Laptop Lunchbox, and highly recommend it.


The lunchbox is stowed away for summer vacation. Amazing to already have first grade all but past tense.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Hello, Corn Cupcakes!

"Corn" Cupcakes, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

My friend Laura gave me the book, "Hello, Cupcake" last week. It was a delightful surprise, as I'd eyed this book hard a few times, but always decided it was too silly to buy. Well, clearly I am meant to have it, as it came to me. :) There are so many amazing ideas, but this one was just aching to be made for our BBQ here yesterday.

One thing, should you decide to make these -- these take a LOT of jelly beans. More than you think, and then more than that. I think there was a pound just on the 9 I did, and I thought I'd have enough to decorate twice that many.

Oh, and I got kind of tired of chewing when eating one. There must be a good 30 jelly beans on it! (And no, I did not count, that's my sister's bag. I bet she's counting them now, hahaha!)

Friday, June 05, 2009

T’was Time

Cole is nearly perfect in every way, of course.

But, his hair was in his eyes. When playing, he’d do that ‘thing’ you see older boys who’re growing out their hair doing – tilting back his head to see past the fringe of bangs in his eyes. When swimming, they’d really, well, bother ME. I always felt that could not be how he’d like them, wet and across his eyes. I probably swept his hair to the side 20 times a day to try and help him out.

However, he sure did look cute, and babyish.

See, this is my last baby. While I like the thought of eventually sleeping from when I CHOOSE to go to sleep until when I CHOOSE to wake, of regular grooming, of wearing clothes because I like the way they look instead of how easy they are to change multiple times a day because there is always someone smearing their hands, face, or worse on me, I also try very hard to remember this time is fleeting. I’m really not in much of a hurry for this guy to be a full-on kid. Sadly for him, he’ll be the baby to me, forever. It’s not only me – his big sister doesn’t want him to grow up, either.

But the hair. *sigh*

Cole tolerated the ‘nice lady’ misting his hair and combing it, even the snarl that always develops in his car seat (why I bother ever combing before we leave the house is beyond me). But when he heard the first ‘snip!’ noise from the scissors…

The building fear and uncertainty is visible in his eyes.

You just knew that was coming, right? That odd shape under his drape on the left of the photo is my hand, stroking his arm, where is stayed for about 5 minutes until he felt more secure that ‘the nice lady’ was not trying to cut him.

Cole’s a beloved little guy, showered with love, and generally very secure that Mama would not send him to certain death, so he calmed fairly quickly to a level of quiet concern. Also, Dora the Explorer was playing on a TV 3 feet away. These people know what they’re doing. :)

The stray clump of hair above his brow drove me crazy, but I know better than to mess with a baby who’s ‘keeping it together’ by touching his face. Better to have that on his head, than push him over the edge, I figure.

Cole was scared of the noise the trimmers made as she tried to clean up around his ears. We could tell he was about to ‘blow’ again, so ‘the nice lady’ put away the clippers and finished up with scissors.

What a handsome little guy.

When his Daddy saw it, his first words, after, “Why didn’t you tell me you were taking him to do that?” were, “He doesn’t look like a baby anymore.”

I know. *sob*
The only constant in life is change. And it happens ‘speedy quick’ with kids this age.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I forgot to show off this beauty!

Mother's Day 2009, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Bunny's school has a kiln. So a few times a year the classes make wonderful, multi-day project pieces. This year her class made this for Mother's Day. I LOVE IT. It's brightening a little bit of wall by the door out to the pool. I thought the lilies and what I *think* are lily pads went well. :)

Don't tell, but I heard a rumor we may get one final piece coming home to give as a Father's Day present...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Nap spot?

Nap spot?, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Carter fell asleep having 'quiet time' watching Max & Ruby yesterday, and appeared to wake while I was making dinner. He demanded I help him find his lost 'thing', and, upon my asking what his 'thing' looked like, he said, "I don't knoooowwwww," and whined his way down the hall. About 30 minutes later I found him here. I think he was dreaming. :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Count Chocola as a Boy

Chocolate Vampire, originally uploaded by Kristianna.


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