Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Missions Accomplished

So here we are... in semi-sunny SoCal (aka THE OC). The weather yesterday was perfect for soaking up the sun with M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E. It was coolish in the moring but bright in the day, so jeans and a t-shirt were perfect. Light sweater in the evening...

But enough about the weather. I've compiled a little list of things we've accomplished - mostly at Disneyland yesterday, but also of our escapaeds since we arrived (some pictures to follow).
  • Three-dollar-and-twenty-five-cent cupcakes from Sprinkles, of Beverly Hills Fame (though we went to the Newport locale). Delish, but I still think the original Peanut Butter Chocolate variety at 25 Main in St. George is better.
  • Running shorts from Lucy.
  • Swimming, swimming, hot tubbing & swimming.
  • Putting greens, playground time & walks around the Marriott property.
  • Made it to Magic Kingdom:
  • It's a Small World - twice!?!?! By far Mr. Holden's favorite ride. He was dancing and pointing...and we rode during 'parade time,' so for our second round we had an entire boat to ourselves.
  • 30 minute-wait for Peter Pan (I think the Dole Pineapple Freeze line was the only thing that took longer)...Fast Passes for Indiana Jones, in case you were wondering.
  • My nephew Max gets chosen for Jedi training and 'freestyles' against Lord Vader. The force is strong in this young Padawan.
  • Photo-ops with Aladdin & the Genie.
  • Charmed the parade crowd with Jedi mind tricks (or just being his delightful self).
  • Churros...
  • Lunch at the Blue Bayou (that restaurant you see at the beginning of Pirates). Holden and I had the couscous and lots of white bread!
  • Star Tours, Space & Big Thunder Mountains, a run in with a Yetti at the Matterhorn, a turn through Alice's Wonderland and a wild ride with Mr. Toad (Holden did the steering on that one).

12 hours later we had checked off our Disney to-do lists and then some. Little Bits had been such a trooper. We changed his pants, put on pajamas and he was asleep in the minivan before we hit the 5.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Don't be such a BOOB

Overheard at the Le Leche League play date as we were making our exit:

Mom 1: ....I know, I really wish doctors were more informed.

Mom 2: Yes! Formula should come with the same warning labels as cigarettes!

So I've been pretty open about my love-hate relationship with breastfeeding (not so great at it, pumped exclusively for a year when Holden completely refused to latch), but this seemed a little extreme.

Um yeah, we just kept walking.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making "Easy" Key Lime Pie (sort of)

So last week, I clicked on Make and Takes for the latest and greatest in home making; and discover a guest blogger's recipe for Key Lime pie.

It looked amazing.

And touted 'almost too easy to make.'

I had a few limes that were on the wane, and the recipe didn't actually call for 'key lime juice' which I remember seeing in Key West, Fl but not at Smith's Marketplace recently... so I am stoked.

I have ALL the ingredients it seems. Your basics - eggs. sugar, butter.. they're staples around here. I even have a couple of cans of organic sweetened condensed milk. This is going to be BRILLIANT!

What I don't have on hand, is graham crackers. Yeah, remember how I tried to rid our house of heavily processed foods? While a few exceptions were made, the graham crackers did not make the cut. They were voted off the island... with the marshmallows. Though the chocolate stayed (I may be eccentric, but I'm not crazy!)

So of course, I start thinking (which is always a scary thing), wondering where Graham crackers came from... and how you make them, and could I make them, and.... and before you know it, I've found a recipe for Made from scratch graham I can make EASY key lime pie. (Hmm, there's some irony in there... or just a cruel joke.)

As is the case with most of my culinary projects (see shapeless tortillas, salt lick angel food cake, etc), some of them worked and some of them didn't.

The recipe says 25 minutes, but I opted out of the second round of 'refrigerator chilling' so some of them got a little toasty.

But Holden liked them.

Danny liked them much better than the Lavender-Mint Shortbread (I know, odd right?). We've been noshing on them since they cooled from coming out of the oven so there's really not enough to make a pie crust.

The Key Lime will just have to wait, but I have to admit this was a pretty good trade off.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They're Heeeerreee!

I ran a 5k this weekend, (heavy sigh: in shoes). It was ok, but not my favorite.

Today my Five Fingers Came.

Holden models them....Danny asked me how long I thought we had until Holden's feet are bigger than mine. He guessed a few years; I've got my money on next month.

Let my "Barefoot" journey continue.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thank you Barefoot Ted -OR- I've Got Mail!

For the past couple of weeks, I've been asking 'What BROWN can do for me...' Every time the UPS truck drives by I get a little tinge of excitement inside wondering if any of those delightful parcels in his truck are for yours truly.

Last week he brought this:

Yes, that says:
Michael Pollan makes me have seriously mixed emotions about 'organic'...but,

I was still super thrilled because I can use it to make teriyaki sauce from scratch all thick and commercialized-HFCS-like for Danny...I can also use it to make my own ironing starch.*

So you can obviously see that packages get me giddy like Christmas morning.

Here's something else that made me happy. On Wednesday, Holden's new SOFT STAR SHOES were delivered. He's getting close to growing out of his 24-month old "Robeez" (so sad, since he's just 15 months!) order we did!!!

And I think the photos speak for themselves:

If my child were an ABBA song, he'd be the Dancin' King.

My Vibrams came too, but I am exchanging them for a different pair. More on that later.

*Side note to the Corn Starch story. The other day I made teryaki for Danny and made it extra thick and gooey (gag), but he liked it. That same day, I had a rare moment of 'niceness' and decided to iron some of his work shirts (so I made laundry starch.) At dinner I told him, "Isn't it weird the same thing I used to make this teriyaki is what I used to iron your shirts?" His response: "I wish my shirts tasted this good."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pie or Garden Adventures Continue!

Remember yesterday when I told you about our secret garden, and how we discovered RHUBARB?!?! (If you don't remember, or didn't see it, you can just click on that link.) But here's a picture to remind you:

Anyway, we decided to put that hardy plant to good (and delicious) use, so we picked it and brought some of it inside.

Some of it was almost as big as Holden.

I got it all 'prepped' with plenty of help from Holden (some of that help being him in the form of naptime while I worked on making the dough for the crust), added apples, spices and loads of butter and sugar!!!

We let it spend some time in the oven: juices bubbling, aroma wafting
and ended up with my FIRST RHUBARB-APPLE PIE!!!
I have a confession... it was delicious. I invited my in-laws over and my sister and her family to share in the goodness, because if not, I probably would've finished the whole thing off... seriously. Pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

PS. Thanks to Q's mom for teaching me to make pie.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mi jardin -OR- For Elwood & Libbie

Do you ever have the feeling like most of your life is a little chaotic and out of control? Or that no matter how many times you dust the electronics, make the bed, or wash your unmentionables, it will all start over again? I mean, I am the first to admit that my house is never thoroughly dusted, and given the choice between folding laundry or baking, I'll take the latter... but have you ever cleaned out a closet, or organized a drawer (or for the corporate types 'cleaned out your inbox?') and suddenly you feel like even though everything else may be (or seem like) a disaster, this one area of organization brings you peace?

That's how I feel about this:

View One

View Two

Years ago, this little spaced flourished as a rose and vegetable garden. My grandparents spent countless hours sowing and nurturing. It was quite a sight to behold. But time takes it toll, and after my grandpa passed away, there was just too much work for my Grandma...

By the time we bought the property (after my Grandma had passed), the white picket fence that used to line the garden had lost a side to a wind storm; and grass and weeds were so overgrown, it was hard to separate where the lawn ended and the 'garden' begun.

So we got some help and filled this:

With this (can you see the pile in the behind Danny?):

Our "helpers" discovered this.. yep, that's rhubarb, hidden in our secret garden!

We brought in this (the soil that is, the kid was already here.)

Danny built me these...

Holden "helps" out and discovers the magical powers of a hose...

And this video is more for our records than for entertainment purposes...

Stay tuned for more adventures from our secret garden....
I think Michael Pollan (and hopefully my grandparents)
would be proud.

This post written in loving memory of Grandpa & Grandma Lambert ("Elwood & Libbie")

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Because I've Been Saving It for This Very Day

My friend Melissa posted a link to this awesome post (I believe it's her sister's?) a while back. And I wanted to make sure I held onto it for Mother's Day. So it's been sitting, with fingers crossed waiting for it's turn.

What I love about this, is that it's not something made up by Hallmark, or a fwd in an email with dancing kitties, and sappy music and a tag at the end that says "send this to your 5 best girlfriends and let them know you care on Mother's Day."

No, it's just written by someone real, and she had the frame of mind to think about it... and she wrote it, not knowing that people that didn't know her would read it and be touched and want to share it with the rest of the world.

On a similar note, I will never watch The Incredibles the same way again.

Click here for the brilliance, and then send it to 5 of your best girlfriends (just kidding)..

Happy Mother's Day All.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day "Compliments"

This Mother's day, try to refrain from the following:

"You are such a patient Mom; especially considering how hard your kids are..."

"I think it's great you just focus on your kids and don't care about what your house looks like."

"Well I think you look great! Sometimes the baby weight just doesn't come off."

Care to add any to the list?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo

While I continue my boycott of Arizona over their new racist immigration law (call it what you want, but I prefer to call a spade a spade), my plans to host family for a Cinco de Mayo dinner went on with out interruption. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the folks in Mesa.

Grandpa T.O.M (The Old Man), my Dad with our party
sign made by Tatum that reads "Cinco de Mayo."

Anyway, I have mentioned before that my father's biological mother is from Central Mexico; and while I have never met the woman, or ever called or thought of her as 'grandma'... her contribution to my genetics makes me Hispanic, or Mexican to be even more specific. My Old Man was adopted as a baby, but we didn't know about his genetic "race" until about 10 years ago... private detective, etc.

And while it has taken about the same amount of time to kick off this new tradition, I am happy to report that the 1st Annual SUITE (and Extensions) Cinco de Mayo party was a blast.

Some of the highlights:

Max, Danny, Mama Suite & Grandpa TOM

First, Max shows up with an AWESOME Mexi-Stash (fortunately for everyone, laser hair removal took care of mine years ago.) But Holden needed to showcase his heritage, so we gave him a little somethin'-somethin...
I should mention that I tried to draw it on with an eyeliner brush,
but I gave him (what can only be described as) "Hitler-Stash"
and felt so creepy. It wasn't on purpose,
I'm just not good with make-up...
but apparently my husband is,
because he gave Holden a gem of a look!

Dinner was delightful...

The "Kids" Table

Cassandra even wore her party dress....

The cousins entertained us with a puppet show (Holden didn't quite get that he was supposed to be on the opposite side of the stage.)

And then came the pinata:

Holden gives it a go:

And then his cousins let the thing have it. You can definitely hear me cracking up in the background. I couldn't believe how much pent up angst my 7-yo niece had!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

(Recession) Day Spa Cookies

So the past week I've been indulging in spa treatments...Jealous?

  • exfoliating salt and sugar scrubs
  • luxurious body butters
  • relaxing to the heavenly scent of lavender
  • invigorating the body with fresh mint wraps
Sounds pretty swanky, doesn't it? And expensive, but it's actually just some ingredients for cookies I've been making recently... not so much camping out at the local Med spa.

Danny said I took all the things I like about a lotion and made them into a cookie. It's kind of true. I found a recipe online for Lavender-Mint Shortbread, tweaked the recipe a little bit and whipped up a couple of batches this week.

They've come with mixed reviews.

While Danny can do without them, Holden and I love them.

In fact, here's a few shots of Little Bits helping me...

...more like 'helping himself to the dough.'

A gal at a recent GNO sewing club said "They taste like you made sugar cookies and had essential oil on your hands." (I didn't take it as a compliment.)

My cousin-in-law made a remark about not really needing to eat more than one. (I think it's because they're plenty sweet, but the mint and lavender provide a one-two-punch that catch your taste-buds off guard.)

My sister, who hardly ever indulges in treats (and has the figure to show for it), ate seven of them in one sitting... her kids love them too.

So I don't get offended by the mixed reviews. In fact, I feel fancy just saying 'lavender mint shortbread.'

I think they're decadent. And not because they're hard to make, but just because using ingredients like lavender and fresh mint from our 'garden' (ok, the mint's actually over-grown into our lawn)...well, it makes me feel a little bit posh with the kitchen aid.

So I've included the recipe here.

If you need some mint, stop by my house... it's plentiful. And I've most likely got some lavender on hand you can use as well.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

15-months and growing

Oh Little Bits,

Happy Birthday today! What a busy, inquisitive, delightful, funny and joyful little toddler you have become!

So it's been a few months since I've recapped your 'progress' (though I know there have been plenty of posts about what we've been 'up to.') I've worked in a few pictures though out the post... not really having anything to do with the content, just a few of my favorites.

Soooo, you seem to be right on track developmentally -- you've gone from walking to walking fast, you think you can 'do stairs' by yourself, but I still prefer you to crawl up and down them because you're not quite brilliant at bending your knees all the time. (I remember when you learned you could walk backwards instead of falling when you'd get off balance.)

You love pretending to talk on the phone, pointing any remote at electronic devices (mostly the television).

You love crawling into laundry baskets, under tables and hiding in closets.

You like opening--though mostly closing--doors, cupboards, cabinets, etc. I find it adorable when you "knock" to get in to places.

You had your first haircut.

Your Favorite Foods are avocados/guacamole, wheat waffles and clementines/oranges and you prefer purple grapes to any dessert.

Your palate has expanded immensely:

I made you wheat and rye crackers with garlic red pepper dip. You tore up turkey meatloaf with whipped garlic potatoes. You've recently grown fond of asparagus and developed a liking for grilled mushrooms (mmmm, garlic butter makes everything better.) In fact, you eat a lot of garlic. Grandma Stevie has said on more than one occasion that you smell "like Burts Bees and garlic."

You're always surprising us with new words: "Amen," "cat," "Ought-oh" and "thank you" favorite was when you said this to a bus boy in Maui over breakfast as he was wiping off our table. "Right on! Little Guy," he reposnded back.

You also do a sing-song 'thank you' often at night or for naps when I give you a sippy cup of water and you're snuggling into sleep time.

You don't really 'sign,' though you're an excellent communicator. You'll throw both hands up in the air to signal you're finished. This most often happens when you're done eating; but has also happened on road trips, long airplane rides, etc.

We've been trying to work on manners... so along with your delightful 'thank yous,' you just signed your first 'please' on April 15th. Although it's a two handed action for you (though I think technically the ASL sign is one hand in a circular motion around the upper chest?)... When I say "Say please" you take both hands across your chest in an outward motion. It's awesome!!!

When you 'give loves' you lean into the person (or animal). You do this a lot with random little girls your age/size. Sometimes they don't know how to react. A little girl at the airport in Phoenix (boycott Arizona) on the way home from Maui kept trying to kiss you on the mouth. You seemed to enjoy it.

You love Discovery Gateway (the Children's Museum). Here you are waiting for it to open!!!

Sometimes we say "Holden, eat your toes!" And then you do. (You are such a flexible little yogi; and your Down Dog is coming along splendidly. Sometimes you just do it in bed when you should be settling down.)

Speaking of sleep: sometimes you sleep through the night. Sometimes you walk into our room and want to crawl into the family bed, and sometimes you prefer we lay down in your bed (one more reason I'm grateful we never really integrated a crib for you.)

You're great with strangers.... not really afraid of anyone, though you do like to take a moment or few to take people in and get familiar with new faces.

You love being outside, and get quite frustrated and upset if you catch someone walking out the door or leaving with out you (it's not about me leaving you alone... no, you just want to be outside!)

Your favorite bathroom reading material includes your Counting Book (sometimes you point out the pages like you're counting), the Baby Einstein Library, "Sheep Out to Eat" form the Library and Kate Spade's "Style" and "Manners" books (naturally.) Really, you're doing great with the potty kid. I can't believe how well you've caught on. (More on this another day.)

You have mastered a sippy, are getting better each day with a fork, and enjoy drinking from a cup without a lid (though it gets messy if there's more than a sip or two of liquid in the cup!)

I like how you can 'help' me with chores and baking, and when you hand me the diapers from the washer to put in the dryer... how you try to sweep and love the vacuum. Making cookies/baking is so much better now that you can (almost) pour ingredients (and sometimes they even make it in the bowl!)

But sometimes you just want to be held. And I love your cuddles and when you squeeze me.

February 2009
I can't believe you were once this size. It makes me happy and devastated, all in the same breath. You are growing up so fast. (Totally cliche, totally true.)