Thursday, February 25, 2010

On a brighter note...

Man, sorry for the Debbie Downer post! I was feeling a bit too sorry for myself, in the throes of *feeling* this illness. A few ibuprofen has really knocked a lot of the worst off. Phew!

I am still achy, to be sure, but I don't cringe when I see Cole move toward me. He's sooooo snuggly, and his exuberance when throttling at me makes me feel like I'm in the sights of a Sherman Tank. He does not hold back.

It's amazing what medicine and a shower can do for a woman. I have eaten some of my very, very, mostest favoritest broccoli soup, and also made a batch of Spicy Sausage and Vegetable Soup, from the March issue of Cooking Light. I tasted it, and it's a good one, by the way: I'd link to it, but oddly, it's not included with the recipes on their site. Weird! (In the comments, they state that some recipes are specific to the printed magazine and won't be online. Boo!)

Tomorrow, since it's been a whole 4 days back to school after a week off, is an 'in-service' (aka teacher workday) at Bun's school. I have fingers and toes crossed to sleep in at least until 7:00. WhooHOOO, I know; I know how to live on the wild side!


Did I unwisely tempt the fates by saying we're on the mend here? S'pose so... yesterday Bun returned home from school with a fever, pink cheeks, and nausea that progressed to vomiting. She even went to bed and stayed there for a few hours--unprecedented!

By about 6 pm yesterday I was achy. Today I join her in the sick ward. The silver lining is that it has to improve from here... or tomorrow at the latest.

My husband has his unbirthday this weekend, and I really want to be able to do it right for him. Or even if not 'right'... do it at all, know what I mean?

Sorry this blog has become a whinefest lately!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Semiannual Haircut

Semiannual Haircut, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Only about twice a year am I able to convince Carter to sit for a haircut. Until his hair bothers him be getting in his eyes when wet he will put off and put off. I offer to have 'the nice lady' trim his hair when we take in his brother and sister to the kiddie salon, but he 'only likes the lollypops'. Oh, middle kids.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The week off that... wasn't.

What's in there?, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Continuing saga of the sick here. Boo.

Cole now has laryngitis. It's cute and pathetic at the same time, as he can only squeak. This morning he trapped himself in his and Carter's room--he can't operate doorknobs--and it took me a couple of minutes to recognize his tiny little, "Help!" A mouse would have been louder.

I really hope this is over soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cookin’ the Book: Pioneer Woman’s Red Velvet Cake

While chocolate-chocolate-chocolate often receives very well-deserved top billing as a go-to Valentine’s Day treat, I’d argue that red velvet cake should fight for that spot.  Well, if fighting was a) in the spirit of a day about love and b) cake could or would even want to fight.  I think cake is generally a lover, not a fighter.   Maybe that’s the problem!  Cake needs to learn to stand up for itself!  C’mon cake, you’re worth it!
Why yes, I have been cooped up for 6 days straight with 3 kids, none of whom were simultaneously sick, so as to stretch out the fun for as long as possible!  Why do you ask?
Anyway, back to the cake, man.  I’ve been working my way through Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks, one recipe at a time, in my own chosen order, and long ago earmarked red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day.  I love-love-love chocolate, truly, I do.  But I get my cake and I get to eat it, as every year, 3 days before Valentine’s Day I have a chocolate birthday cake.  Everyone’s a winner!
I decided to make cupcakes, following the recipe exactly, but reducing the bake time a little for the ‘baby’ cakes, and used only a little frosting on some of them, piping little hearts and Xs.  I didn’t have a whole bottle of red food color--a BOTTLE, not a vial in those 4 packs… think the size of a bottle of vanilla extract, that is what it calls for—so I used what I had, a little more than 1/4 ounce.  As a result, I suppose I made pink velvet cake.  :)
The cake itself was very tender and light.  Paired with cream cheese frosting, it’s delightful.  Thumbs up!
IMG_5594 IMG_5589 IMG_5591

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


IMG_5496, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

This week is such a WASTE! It's so pretty out. So, so, sooooo pretty. Yet we've been cooped up. On the plus side, I have more than caught up on my laundry, including the extra items poor Carter threw up on. I will probably steam clean the carpet in the front area this afternoon to take advantage of open windows. I feel the bug... of spring cleaning.

However, I wanna be outside. Hiking with the kids now that they all can hang for a mile or two--Cole is pretty good at keeping up, and sometimes he's too fast, too eager.

Fevers have more or less subsided, though they come back in the evenings, a little less every evening. Carter had enough energy to play on the floor for a short while yesterday. Cole is coughing, but a day or two ahead of his big brother, as he fell ill a day or two before. Bunny? FINE. BORED. She was up with a fever Thursday night, so we all know from whence this little buggaboo came, not that it matters. I'm grateful my friend Gretchen, who has children that roughly match up to my eldest 2 in age *and* gender, is picking Bunny up to take her to the park to play in a while. It's been hard on her.

In the meantime, a photo of my kiddos on Saturday, right before the plague hit our household. I felt really sick on and off last night and have been taking elderberry extract to try to escape a few walking zombie days, as we all know lying around for 2-3 days is so not going to happen!

This is a new playground in our neighborhood, and while small, it has some cool things in it. Always good to have some variety!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When It’s Not Your Sick Day

This week is a school holiday week. Normally we’d be planning a few fun excursions. Yesterday would have been perfect for the beach, or a hike, as it was in the 60s (sorry to those of you suffering snow after snow after snow!).

However, we didn’t leave the house yesterday. Carter and Cole both are sick, and Carter is so ill that all he did all day yesterday was lie on the sofa and watch Nick Jr. and PBS kids through bleary eyes. Last night he added some upchucking to the mix. At least I have a project today—cleaning up that mess. Hey, I didn’t say it was a fun project!

Fortunately Bunny is fairly healthy. She has a cough, but nothing to slow down She of Limitless Energy. Unfortunately for her, we went exactly nowhere yesterday and today looks to be about as action-packed. I’m already planning to escape to the grocery store this evening alllll by myself after Paul is home this evening.

With many of her neighborhood friends on trips this week, it’s been hard on my social butterfly to stay at home. So, we pulled out some needles and thread and set out to keep those instruments of the devil busy.


I remember learning to embroider when I was in the second grade. My Brownie troop made bookmarks for our moms for Mother’s Day. They had strawberries on them, and it was so hard learning the 3 or 4 crewel stitches. I am sure the finished product was very, very flawed, but I was so proud of my work. Many a snowed-in or sick day were spent cross stitching or embroidering as I grew up, and even a few in college. To me, it is soothing. I like to keep my hands busy, and look forward to the time when I can have yarns an threads out and not have a small child climb in my lap—because if I am sitting, I am generally holding someone. I love holding them, and know, in the course of a lifetime, this time is fleeting, so I always do hold them.

For Bunny, learning new things can be a little trickier. She’s not at all patient with herself, and becomes frustrated. The fine motor skills of needle and thread are particularly challenging, so she must set aside this work often. I’ll keep encouraging her to come back to it, not because I care if she ever becomes a proficient sewer, but because learning to slow down, pay attention, backtrack if necessary, and plan subsequent moves is an important life skill.


And besides, it would be fun to have someone to sit and sew and talk with! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Buddies, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

Four is a special age. So are two, eight, and sixty-seven... but four is soooo on the cusp between toddler/preschool/"LITTLE" boy and something else.

Soon he'll try to stifle tears. Soon it may not be second nature to hold hands with a buddy when going downhill, a little ahead of the group, forging a path--but together.

But for now... here he is. Holding nothing back, and unafraid to hold on.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Caught in the Act

My birthday cake cracks me up every year, and yesterday was no exception.  The cake itself was yummy chocolate with chocolate, just like I like it.  Paul and Bunny went out and chose those candles that spell out “Happy Birthday,” but apparently there was a problem in the candle factory that day: one “Y” was replaced with an extra “P.”

So close, yet…

After I blew out my candles, the kids and I snuck icing while Paul snapped a few photos and grabbed forks and plates.  Carter, my fellow family chocoholic could not resist.  He was caught in the act—on film.  This is my favorite photo from last night.


It was a fun “BirthdaP” dinner, and true to our streak of jacked up cakes for Mama.  :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For my treasures.


Last week my sweet 4 year-old painted and decorated this heart shaped box for me.

You can put all your treasures in it!

Of course, it can’t begin to contain my true treasures.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Car Music

With music like this, who needs radio?

Cole is such a cutie... but that intense stare is... well, let's hope he saves that for the 5th or 6th date later in life. :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cookin’ the Book: Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna & Olive Cheese Bread

Oh, how I love lasagna!  I’ve officially tried every recipe that could be considered low carb in The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and have been eying the ‘good’ stuff with apprehension.  Finally I realized I could spread the joy and beg my neighbors to help a sister out by eating yummy food.  My neighbors, so far, seem up to the challenge.  We have a meal, then any leftovers are shuttled off post haste.
So…. LASAGNA!  Yeah, baby!  While I was at it, I figured, “Why not try this Olive Cheese Bread, too?”  And I did.  So there.  ;)
Both came together easily, and I found the length of my pan allowed for an noodle-free end, which helped my husband feel a little better about the splurge—and the slice of olive bread he gobbled down.
Simple and straightforward, this lasagna recipe probably would make anyone happy, as long as they’re down with the idea of cottage cheese in it.  The one other time I ever made lasagna in my adult life, there was a bechamel layer on top, and I do think I preferred that to the parmesan on top of PW’s version.  However, this is the fun of trying recipes as written – it helps me break out of the ‘what I already know I like’ mold.
For me, the olive cheese bread was the clear ‘wow, what a great food’ award winner of the night.  I halved the recipe, and then cut the bread slices in halves, and it was still perhaps a little too rich.  Not bad – RICH.  I’m going to have to make this again, for sure… for a crowd.
Both these recipes are available on the Pioneer Woman website HERE and HERE.  Give ‘em a try!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

When You’re Two…

…you might need to feel the taste of self reliance now and then.  You’re sure you can do a lot.  You want to do more.

Walking down a dark hallway is too scary.  You need to hold someone’s hand for that.

Running free in a parking lot is scary—for Mama.  She won’t let you do that, protest as you might.  You need to hold her hand to do that or she might just pick you up and carry you, humiliating and upsetting as that is.

You’re not so great at choosing your battles.  They’re all worth fighting to the death—or until Mama picks you up and carries you somewhere (see: parking lots).

Mama’s not so bad at choosing battles sometimes.

So, you get to dress yourself—sometimes.

Who’s to say you can’t wear a size 8 hand me down Spongebob pajama top your neighbor gave you with a cardigan and sweatpants?  Not Mama… at least not today!  Victory!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Collecting Winter

Collecting Winter, originally uploaded by Kristianna.

We've started a new family tradition of 'collecting' seasons in our home. Essentially, this means we notice more... appreciate more... look up, look down, look all around as we bustle through our days.

Fall was an easy season. Everywhere we looked, and everyday we went out, there was a new treasure to add: a leaf, a seed pod, some bark. There was so much, it seemed, that it was hard to contain the kids' enthusiasm, lest they drag all the great outdoors inside.

Winter is trickier. We have a winter--really, we do! And it is winter that brings life itself to our area--water. It is gray. It rains. It rains a lot if we're lucky. The hills transform from their usual Tuscan hills gold to "Irish Spring" green as annual grasses pop up. Wildflowers will follow by end of February, and meadows will pop and crackle with color.

A 'good' February--from a water table point of view--means 20+ days of rain out of 28. We moms become a bit nutty from it... from all the being inside.

How do you collect rainy days?

Carter knew. He's a literal thinker, but not without his creative bursts. Frogs and ducks love rain, or so he reasoned, as they're water creatures. His beloved stuffed duck and frog slingshots were just the thing to decorate the mantle until we come up with something else. Kids always know. Sometimes we moms are smart enough to listen, too.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Taking Care of Un-Business

There are those who religiously have manicures and pedicures... who never go too long before a hair trim... who, um... bathe daily, even after children. I'm not sure where they are, or who they are, but there must be these types!

Then there's me. I never seem to be able to put many chits on the 'me' column in this life with Littles. My husband adores our children, but he is just not an eager hand pitching in--at least in volunteering to pitch in. For some reason (he would call this reason ADHD; I call it Y Chromosomitis) if I say, "I need a shower," he seems to truly believe I am taking a poll and asking if he also needs one--WHICH HE THEN TAKES while I am left feeling funky in more than one way. It's not just him; I become pooky about always having to ask, ask, ask, so I instead choose to forgo a lot, then reward everyone with a sulky, crappy 'tude. (I don't even enjoy being near me then!) It's a stupid passive-aggro thing, or something, I am sure.

ANYway, a couple of weeks ago my daughter and I went out for 'girl time' and she suggested we get our nails done. It was a good call, and we enjoyed our time side by side in the massage chairs being pampered a little.

The one downside to having such nicely groomed footies in the winter is they barely see the light of day or night! So, last week when the sun finally peeked out for more than 5 minutes, I blinked hard a few times and decided these tootsies needed to get some fresh air.

My heels sank in the lawn. It was utterly impractical. Then again, exactly what about a pedicure is practical?


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