Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Twilight" passes into daylight

I read an acquaintance's blog about a year ago in which she read the book "Twilight" in nearly a single setting, sitting up overnight to finish it because it was so compelling. I finally picked up the book a little before Christmas time, now that it's playing in movie theatres, because I had no intention of seeing the mediocre movie when I've heard wonderful things about the book.

In my career-oriented/family driven life, I had assumed that, unlike the woman writing previously, I would not get sucked in to the novel quite as deep and would be able to resist the urge to stay up reading it long after I needed to. After all, I have enough days when I drag myself to work feeling like a zombie, barely able to think because of poor sleep due to small children, much less a book. Why would I ever stay up for a book, mind you, when I had precious sleep to get?

Yeah, right.

Let's just say that I finished the book at 7:15 am this morning, when my kids were getting up for the day. I napped first thing while they watched "Tinkerbell", with the littlest one alternately jumping on me and laying on me. I didn't care, I really didn't wake up until the closing credits.

The book was that good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

There is something about this photo that I find so poignant.

This afternoon I left for a little walking errand, otherwise known as "Mommy needs outside air/non-kid time." Marissa was napping, Wayne was napping, and Lindsey was curled up on the couch with Dax, looking everything like she was going to be falling asleep in the next few minutes.

Instead, some time after I left, she got up and sat around doing nothing, waiting for me to return. I was gone an hour and a half. As visitors to our home know, our place is next to lots of great shopping, so my trip to the post office detoured to a Talbot's and a Caribou Coffee.

By the time I returned she was quite sad and yet at the same time very tired, clearly needing the sleep that she didn't get. She didn't go wake Wayne and she didn't play by herself, which she usually does every afternoon while Marissa's sleeping, as she tends to need some alone time.

I returned to find her sitting on the radiator which was on, by the way, and was emanating a comfortable warmth, not too hot.

And this was her appearance when I came through the door.

I immediately gave her hugs and kisses and we got started with a game of Sorry. Soon after Wayne awoke and the three of us played. Which, by the way, Lindsey won.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Coffee Cake Ending

It is 5 o'clock on Christmas Day, and the coffee cake has been diminished to a sliver of its former self.

So despite its appearance, it was deemed delicious by all.

Especially the 5-year-old.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow Galore

It's been snowing about every other day for a couple of weeks now. We've got a really nice deep mantle of snow over our entire yard, perfect for snow angels and sledding, not quite right for snowmen yet.

Yesterday morning the two girls and I were leaving for the day and taking in the additional layer of snow (3 inches) that had fallen over night. Marissa comes up to the snow which now is higher than her waist. She pats the top of it affectionately and says, "It's full!"

Wish that were so, honey, but I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing more of the white stuff over the next 3 months.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It...maybe not

Someone forwarded me this video at work today. It's very appropriately timed with the weather we've been having of late.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Coffee Cake: The Results

Here's the start...cake all ready to go in the oven.

Now it's out and cooling...Okay, we flipped it, now waiting a bit before we start working on it. (You can tell that we're waiting by the annoyed look on Lindsey's face. Waiting is not her strong suit.)

Drum roll please....

Cursed!! Foiled again!

Ugly Cake

In my adulthood I have attempted to carry forward one particular tradition of my mom's from my childhood: coffee cake on Christmas morning.

My mom would spend weeekends and days before Christmas cooking and baking and freezing the outcome, so that come Christmas she could have a relatively stress-free Christmas. The Christmas Eve lasagna was pre-made and frozen, then taken out the morning of Christmas Eve to defrost. It was put in the oven when we left for Christmas Eve service, and when we returned the house would smell of basil and garlic and it could come out with the edges a little crusty and the sauce bubbling up.

And the coffee cake was also pre-made, frozen, and then Christmas Eve was also defrosted. On Christmas morning it was put in the oven (set on "warm") and warmed through, to be enjoyed with a coffee and a gift.

Her coffee cake was made in a bundt pan, with the walnut/brown sugar "topping" actually becoming a filling through the center of the cake. She would make several of them, then wrap some of them up in tinfoil with ribbons and give to friends as gifts before Christmas. They were pretty to behold and even more delicious to taste.

And then there's my attempt.

For many years, I successfully made said coffee cake, with the recipe given to me by my mother. My sister-in-law Laurie can attest to the successful outcome of those baking attempts, with the cake coming out beautiful and tasty at the same time.

But for the last few years I have been plagued with bundt-pan-itis: the cake sticks in the pan to the point that only half of it comes out and the other half stays in the pan. When the other half finally lets loose, it breaks apart and crumbles into a pile of pieces of deliciousness.

Yummy? Yes. Pretty? No.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to dust off the bundt pan from my pathetic attempt last year and try to make just a regular yellow cake in it (the box of cake mix says you can). Perhaps if I were successful in this, I would attempt the coffee cake in a bundt pan. If not, it will be relegated to a 9x12 boring pan.

So during Marissa's nap time one weekend afternoon, Lindsey and I attempted to make just a plain old yellow cake in the bundt pan. We watched it through the oven window as it rose and began smelling yummy. It was done all the way through and the edges were pulling away from the sides: perfect.

I took it out, let it cool for 10mins, then turned it upside down. This is the point at which my mom says her bundt cakes just "fall" out of the pan onto the cooling rack.

No falling going on here. Nothing. No movement whatsoever.

I begin to bang a knife on the bottom of the pan, diminutive dents added to the dents from my previous attempts at a bundt cake.

Twenty minutes later, I finally succeeding in freeing the cake from its pan. Half, that is. The other half still stuck in the pan.

Lindsey immediately named the cake "ugly cake." Because it's ugly all right, crumbles and bits all over, but it tastes delicious.

Despite this attempt, I am today going to attempt once more to make coffee cake in the bundt pan. At least this year I'll have a few days before Christmas to re-do my efforts if need be.

Check back later for an update on how this turns out!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bacon Lovers: Listen Up

Stealing this link from a friend's blog, because I couldn't describe this "treat" appropriately over lunch hour today and needed to share some visuals.

I looooove bacon, but I don't think I could eat this creation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Power Outage

We had a little excitement at our house Sunday morning when our power went out at 5:23 am. I know that was the exact time because 1) our alarm clock runs on a battery and was unaffected and 2) every other device in our home made some strange beeping noise when it lost power, resulting in the 3-year-old waking up and needing to be in our bed.

We've had power outages before, usually for no more than an hour. So I was surprised when 7:00 am rolled around and we still didn't have power. No ticking radiators with hot water coming up the pipes to heat our rooms. No Christmas lights or lights of any sort. And most tragic of all, NO cartoons for the kiddies!

So Wayne got some wood from the woodpile and started up a nice cozy fire in the fireplace. The girls amused themselves with playing on the rug with the train set and train house (more on that later), while we amused ourselves by watching them and reading the paper alternately. Surprisingly, the girls actually played NICELY together and didn't fight, which made for even more pleasantness.

But alas, come 9:30 am when the power was still off, my body began to crave my morning caffeine fix. So I bundled up and walked three blocks to the Caribou Coffee at 44th and France, which, miraculously, DID have power. As a matter of fact, the block next to ours had power, but we still didn't. I got a holiday mint mocha for me and a latte for Wayne and traipsed back to the house to find the same cozy scene: much playing and newspaper reading going on as we clustered in the one room in the house that was over 64 degrees.

The power finally came on at 10:00 with a "whoosh" of all the things that were anxiously awaiting power before running: the radio began playing Christmas music, the radiators began ticking, the tree was suddenly alight. And soon we were back to our normal weekend activities: playing on the computer, watching TV, and being otherwise occupied. And it happened just in time too, as by afternoon the temperature started to dip and was -8 by the time I went to bed that night.

But it was a nice little respite from technology.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Fun

It seems that we went from fall to winter in a single week -- 0 degrees outside this morning, and snow almost every day this past week.

What's a family to do but hunker down for some fun?

So on Sunday, when we started getting the snow, Lindsey and I began making sugar cookies during Marissa's nap, and when Marissa got up she got a chance to help us. The cookie dough was from scratch, but I have to say I cheated and bought the can of frosting. Sprinkles, however, were the full responsibility of the girls, and our kitchen floor had a certain "crunch" to it after the fun.

Then...outside for some fun sledding on the best hill around, the little tiny one that slopes from our lot into the sidewalk. Marissa proved that it was safe enough to sled down without a sled.

We've sledded on that "hill" nearly every night this week. It's so darn convenient, when you get cold you just go in the house, no long 1 1/2 block walk from the park to our house. And...if you want to go out again, then just do so! In the meantime, the fire will be keeping the fireplace warm and the hot chocolate will be ready on the stove. Pretty cool.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Tree Decorating

Terror of the Trees

When it comes to the Christmas holidays, I've always been torn between the good and bad of artificial vs real trees. When we were first married we got an artificial tree on the cheap after our first Christmas, and used it for the first 7 years of marriage. It was always beautiful, every year, never crooked, and was used over and over again.

However, since moving into our 1928 home six years ago which has little to no storage space, we got rid of our artificial tree because we had no place to store it.

So for the last six years we've been getting real Christmas trees. After all, I LOVE the smell of real trees in the home. Aaahhh! Nothing makes a house smell more Christmas-y than that wonderful fragrance when you first open the door. On the other hand, it's not very environmentally responsible to chop down a tree just to display it for a few short weeks, only to put it on the curb to be thrown out. And I feel bad for these trees that grow for many years, just for those few short weeks of our enjoyment.

But I feel particular sad for any tree that enters our home.

Because after all, our tree goes near our fireplace, where it gets to watch bits and pieces of its former fellows get fed into a hole in the wall where fire crackles and burns. When we first brought it in we cut off a few bottom boughs, which were also fed into the fire, adding some more crackling and popping effects.

The other day, when no one was standing near it, I think I saw the tree trembling.

Poor thing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fidiots are not Fawesome

After a chat my sister and I had only day, she called me back to tell me she made up a new word.

That word is "fawesome."

This is the even shortened shortened version of saying "f-ing awesome." You know, when you don't want to swear with little ones around, you can just say "fawesome" and the other person will know exactly what you mean.

I had a good chuckle and kept on my way.

Two days later a horrible driver cut me off in traffic. She had to cross two lanes of traffic to do it, after having just merged on the highway. She was doing 35, I was doing 55, and I had to take the shoulder to not ram up her ass. Had I rear-ended her vehicle, I, of course, would have been in the wrong as it's nearly impossible to prove that someone who rear-ended someone else was not an inattentive driver.

The first word that came to my mind?


I think we're on to something here. What if every time you wanted to swear you just appended an "f" to the beginning of the following word? How much easier, more convenient and less vulgar would that be?! I like it -- maybe one day we'll see them in the Merriam Webster dictionary.

Fawesome and fidiot, and their host of counterparts.

Credit would have to go to Kristi.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Girl Parts and Boy Parts

Yesterday Lindsey brought home a flyer from the Mpls School District saying that at some point their class would have a specialist come in to talk about privacy and about good and bad touching. They said that they would be using specific anatomical terms to describe body parts and that if we had any questions, that we should contact the school. Keep in mind that the most anatomical words we've used in our house are "girl parts," "boy parts" and "butt."

This flyer came home apparently on the SAME day said specialist was at the school -- nice advanced warning.

So tonight I'm asking Lindsey about what she learned and she told me that "penis" is the word for your girl parts but she couldn't remember what the word for "butt" was.

I said, "No sweetie, penis is a boy part. Girls don't have penises."

She looked at me blankly and asked, "Then what do girls have?"

I ventured, "Well, did they use the word vagina?"

She shriveled her nose. "No. I don't like that word. Mommy, I want to call my girl parts 'horsie.'"

Sold! "Horsie" it is.

Don't touch my horsie. Neighhh.