Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We’re Off!

 

My friend, her baby, Joseph and I are off on a road trip to Oregon!  We will be back late Sunday/early Monday.  I will reward your patience with lots of pictures and stories! (Especially because I am going to start watching a six week old baby on Monday…)

See you then!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The TruGreen Conspiracy

 

 

I think that my neighbor is having an affair.

I also think that my other neighbors are drug dealers….but that is another post. 

Unlike the drug-dealing-neighbor conspiracy, on the affair accusation I have some “proof.”

(Question:  Is it considered an affair if they are just living together/dating and not actually married?  Perhaps I should say that I think that my neighbor has a secret lover?)

Exhibit A: 

 IMG_7959 The TruGreen truck parked in front of the house.

This truck is here probably an average of twice a week.  The TruGreen man is NOT her boyfriend.

Exhibit B:

  IMG_8012 By about 4 pm, the truck is always gone.   The boyfriend is not yet home. 

And yes, that is their garbage in the middle of the road.  They are not what you would call  “classy.”

Exhibit C:

  IMG_8013 Their backyard.

Not the best picture, but I was balanced on a fence post at the time, praying that they would not look outside their window.  I only had the guts to take one shot. 

No TruGreen man worth his growth-enhancing-weed-killing chemicals would let a lawn that he was treating look like this.

You see?!  I don’t think it is just me being bored and inventing things in my head.  The drug dealer thing?  Probably in my head.

If only I had the motivation and courage to bring up TruGreen’s frequent visits. 

If only she were sober long enough to understand what I meant. 

Maybe I could get our lawn treated for free…hmmm….

 

Our yard is looking great.  I hope that Brian doesn’t get suspicious….

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Get it OFF!!

Here is a video of Joseph trying to take off his bib. I try to tell him that it is all about brains, not brawn...
He's a stubborn little fella.

video

Friday, October 24, 2008

F is for Friday, Friends, and Fun

 

I got together with my “Mom Friends” today, and, as always, it was a great visit!  So refreshing to be able to carry on an adult conversation; and with people who don’t care if you only talk about babies!! 

It is getting crazy now that the boys are older, we have to (try to) actually watch them to make sure that they don’t kill themselves, instead of just sitting to visit.IMG_7976

We tried to take some pictures of them together, but man, it was hard!  Especially when one can walk! (Not Joseph, even though he is the oldest…)

We bribed them with puffs, and did our best.  Here is what we came up with (They seem to all be going through a “cheesy” stage.)

IMG_7981   IMG_7982

IMG_7986

IMG_7987  IMG_7990

IMG_7991 IMG_7987

IMG_8003

IMG_8001

And finally, my favorite:

 

IMG_7998

It really captures their personalities.

Here are the moms!

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Flashback:

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IMG_5759

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Look at how chubby they all were!

I am so glad that I found friends here!  It makes Fridays REALLY fly by.  And now it is the weekend!!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday’s Culinary Adventure VI

 

I am posting a little earlier than usual this Thursday, because my bottle of Pomegranate Juice and I are going to a friend’s Wine Tasting Party. (I don’t like wine.  But I do like the free bread, fruit, and cheese that will be served.)  So, yes, I cheated and did the recipe a day early.

Today on Thursday’s Culinary Adventure:

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Hooray!  Haven’t you always wanted to find a harder way to make something that you can buy delicious and cheap, like marshmallows??!!  No?  Oh, well I have, and I hear that they are really good.  So many possibilities for the holidays too…but I digress.

I used the recipe for Vanilla Marshmallows that I found linked from One More Moore’s Blog.  I am not sure who wrote it, but it seemed like a pretty standard one.

You will need

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin,

Karo Syrup (corn syrup)

Vanilla

A candy thermometer (my first time using one!!)

Plenty of Powdered sugar

Regular white sugar

Parchment paper

Non stick spray

Your counter should look something like this:

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Did you spot it?  Something in this picture doesn’t belong. 

That’s right, for some odd, odd reason, I bought 4 envelopes of PECTIN instead of GELATIN.  Why?  Why?  Why?

So, I had to make a quick trip to the store before I could begin.  This is what you should have.IMG_7916

Not pectin.  Sigh.

Spray a 9x13 pan and a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper, and then spray again.  You DO NOT want these suckers to stick.IMG_7913

If you have a stand mixer, get out the mixing bowl and fit your mixer with the whisk attachment.  I highly recommend having a stand mixer for the recipe.  If you DO have a stand mixer, and never use it, I HIGHLY recommend that you give it to me.  I will give you my address. 

If you do not have a stand mixer, get out your little hand held one and an ordinary mixing bowl.

In the bowl, put 3/4 cup water and 1 Tb. vanilla extract.

Sprinkle the gelatin (not pectin) on top and let it sit so that it can “bloom.”  IMG_7918

Apparently “bloom” means to soften when you are talking about gelatin.  I think that, if you are going to call it “blooming,” it should look more like this.IMG_7918

In a saucepan, add 1/2 tsp. salt, 3 cups sugar (ahh!), 1 1/4 cup Corn syrup (yikes!), and 3/4 cup water (okay.)  Stir it on up and then cover it and bring it to a boil WITHOUT stirring. IMG_7917 This is a very important point, apparently, so DO NOT STIR!!

It is hard to tell when it is at a boil with the lid on. IMG_7920 I peeked a lot.

Once it is boilingIMG_7926 , uncover it but still RESIST THE URGE TO STIR!!  Put your candy thermometer on the pan, and cook until it reaches the “soft ball” stage or 234-240 degrees F. 

The “soft ball” stage does not mean that it starts to look like a soft ball, in case you are wondering. (I thought that it did…)

With the mixer on medium speed, carefully, carefully, pour the hot syrup mixture into the bowl of water/vanilla/gelatin.  If you are using a stand mixer, use the splash guard because it may splatter.  If you are using a hand held mixture, just hold your breath and may God help you.  (Okay, it didn’t actually splatter on me at all.)

I actually poured it in, and THEN turned on the mixer, but only because I needed both hands.  You should probably follow the recipe.

When all of the syrup is added, bring the mixer up to full speed!IMG_7927

Mix until thick and firm-ish, about 8-10 minutes.  I set up a book to read since I was doing this the old fashioned way. IMG_7929 Those of you with a stand mixer can go take a hot bath or watch tv.  Ahhhhhh…. see why I want one?

When it is looking thick and gooeyIMG_7940   IMG_7941 , pour into the pans, and let sit at room temperature for 8-10 hours.

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Note:  DO NOT cover the marshmallows with Saran Wrap.  If you do, the Saran Wrap will stick to the top of the marshmallows like cement, and you will have to throw a whole pan full of marshmallows away.  Don’t ask me how I know…

Goodnight.IMG_7945

Good morning!IMG_7949 (What a short night!  Believe me, it felt this short…)

And now I have an audience!IMG_7948

Sift some powdered sugar over top of the rested marshmallow slabs. (I don’t have a sifter so I used this shaker.)IMG_7951

Dump onto a cutting board, peel of paper, and dust the other side as well.IMG_7952

Use a pizza cutter to cut the marshmallows into desired shapes/sizes. IMG_7953 I tried to use a small leaf cookie cutter, but it just looked like a blob.  So, squares it is.IMG_7955

Dip the cut marshmallows in powdered sugar again, you don’t want any un-dipped cut edges!

And there you have it!  As I mentioned before, I had to dump out my large pan of marshmallows, and I still got this many.IMG_7958

The taste testers say:

Brian: IMG_7966

Caitlin: IMG_7970  (believe it or not, this was the LEAST cheesy and horrible picture of me out of the 5 pictures Brian took…)

Joseph:  No! No! No!  This was a test.  You can’t give marshmallows to babies!! They are a choking hazard!!  Sheesh!

Summary:  Yummy yummy yummy to my tummy tummy tummy!  They are delicious!   They taste like, well, marshmallows!  Hooray!  I actually think that they are softer and creamier than the store-bought ones.  Kind of like they are a little melty-er on the inside.  Brian thought that they were a richer than store bought ones too.

Wait until you see me make some holiday mint ones this Christmas!! :)

Grade: A- from me B from Brian

(but he doesn’t really like marshmallows, so I don’t think that you should trust him.)

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(NEXT WEEK THURSDAY’S CULINARY ADVENTURE WILL BE CANCELLED- I WILL BE IN OREGON VISITING FAMILY!  WHOOT!  WHOOT!)

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anyone?

 

Have you ever

driven down the road with your screaming baby in the back seat.

Your phone rings.

You see that it is someone who you would really love to talk to,

but you don’t answer

because that would mean that you would have to

stop

eating

Jelly Bellies?

Anyone?

No?

Good, me neither.

(yes.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walking Away

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To some, this picture may just look like a baby out for a walk (well, technically, its a “push!”) on a warm fall day.

To me, it signifies much more.

For the first time, my baby is able to walk away from me. 

Gone are the days when he would sit like a chubby bump on a log, crying for me, and lifting his arms to be picked up and carried where he wanted to go.

Now, if he sees something that he would like to explore, he can, almost always, make it there on his own.  He doesn’t really need me for that part of his life anymore.  Sigh. 

Before I know it, he will be walking away from me to go to Kindergarten, then walking away to his dorm room, and finally walking away to marry some chick and then forgetting to call me until she (hopefully!) reminds him.  Just like his Daddy did.

But for now, thankfully, he still comes right back to his Mommy! :)

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Creepy.

 

(Colleen- you should probably not read this.)

Do you see the spider in the picture?

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It is crouched down into a ball, but in reality, it is fat, squatty, and about the size of the word “yikes!!” below:

(YIKES!!)

I hate bugs as much as the next person, but spiders, while disgusting, do not bother me nearly as much as vicious wasps, yellow jackets, bees, or a swarm of a hundred hungry ants in my kitchen.

When I saw this fellow in my window a few days ago, I trapped him in a glass and took him outside as he jumped around frantically.  EEW.

(Okay, confession:  I ONLY saved him because Joseph is deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner and I didn’t want to turn it on.  Also, the crunch of bugs when I squish them gives me the willies.)

Anyway, I threw the whole glass WAAAY out into our yard, shuddered, and sterilized my hands and the window.

Life moved on.

Yesterday morning,  I opened my blinds innocently.  And

There. Was. The. Same. Spider!!!!!!!

Let’s break down this little bit of creepiness.  The spider 1) crawled from the yard to my screen door, 2) found a way INSIDE my house, and 3) made his way into the very same window.

Isn’t that just enough to make you want to bleach your entire house??!!

Any bug that is intelligent enough to do that is my new #1 Least Favorite Bug in the Whole World.

Creepy.

I marched over to the hall closet, wheeled out my Vacuum of Doom, and sucked that spider right up!! 

Joseph didn’t even cry.IMG_7877-1

Sorry spider, in this instance, persistence did not pay off.

Now lets all say a quick prayer that the spider won’t somehow make his way out of the vacuum, out of the closet, across my living room, and back up into the window.

I don’t really think that I could take it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Joseph HATES hay

Joseph hates hay ALMOST as much as he hates grass. Note the sneer, whine, and shudder.


video

Boogers, Doughnuts, Pumpkins, and Failed Pictures.

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This weekend, we embarked on the traditional October family outing- the Trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  It was one of my favorite activities growing up (right up there with picking out/chopping down our own Christmas tree), and I have vowed that my child will never have to get his pumpkin from a grocery store!  Unless he asks…

We went to the same patch that we went to last yearIMG_3717 , along with the entire population of Boise.  Okay, it wasn’t THAT crowded, but it was pretty full- and we didn’t go until 5:30 so we thought that we would beat the rush.  Note that last year’s pumpkin that we picked out for Joseph (next to my belly) had a vine attached that looked like a placenta.  Just like unborn baby Joseph.  Gross.

The free hay-ride was first, IMG_7834 and it made me very nauseated.  But, not too nauseated to eat a hot dog afterwards, so don’t you worry.  IMG_7838 Brian decided that he wanted to stay on for the whole ride instead of getting off to pick out pumpkins (??!!), so the hay-ride portion of our visit lasted about half an hour.  IMG_7839 IMG_7847

(Disclaimer:  Please excuse Joseph’s crusty boogers and scab under his nose in EVERY picture.  He has a cold.  I’ll explain the scab later.)IMG_7848

Joseph kept staring at a man standing in front of us, and raising his arm to get the man’s attention.  IMG_7845

A nice lady offered to take some family pictures of us.  Unfortunately, in this one,IMG_7835 I look as though I am extremely anxious, but trying to smile about it, and in this one,IMG_7836 Brian looks…well…you have eyes.  And nary a smile from Joseph.  We tried to take a better one ourselves. IMG_7844

and failed. 

Joseph had his first french fries, and was not that impressed.IMG_7856

But seriously, look at that pumpkin hat.  Couldn’t you just die?

He also hates hay.  I will post a video later.

Finally, we trekked out into the dark pumpkin patch,IMG_7859 and chose the first three non-rotten ones we could find.  One tall, one short and round, and one little.  Guess which pumpkin I am.

Now it was time for the classic Baby-next-to-first-pumpkin-in-cute-outfit picture.  Right?!  Well, apparently, Joseph didn’t get the memo.  Cute outfit, check, pumpkin, check, Joseph cooperating…well…here’s what we got:

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IMG_7862

IMG_7863

An accurate depiction of Joseph this year.

Lastly, we got some AWESOME!! hot doughnuts.  So. So. Good.  I should have gotten more.  Sigh.

Despite the snotty nose, mediocre hot dog, and failed pictures (or maybe because of them?), we all had a great time and made some memories. 

Hot Dog, Sausage Dog, Cheeseburger, Fries, Doughnuts, and pumpkins  = $30

Starting a Family Tradition = Priceless

(Awww….)