Monday, May 26, 2014

The end of 5 days of near disaster and Memorial day

It is Memorial day today and on that subject, I have this to say:

Somewhere in Arlington National Cemetery is a stone for a man I never met, but for whom my father is named. His plane went down in the Bermuda triangle and all souls aboard were lost. No trace ever found. My grandfather, his brother, told me from that day on, he knew what he would name his first son and that his father, my great grandfather, until the day he died, never gave up hope that his son would walk through the door some day. In memory of George Allen Terrell, and others who gave their lives in service, we remember this day.

It is also the end of Matt's annual trip to BONESAW (you gotta say it that way), which is a weekend away with his brothers and other like minded men to play board games and eat a lot of meat.  It is also the end of the longest five days of my life.  Well, perhaps not of my life, but home alone with the three monkeys for 5 days was pretty rough.  If something could go wrong, it went wrong.  Here's the crazy list.

  • I got severely sunburned at the pool, in spite of sunscreen.  (not a disaster, but pretty painful) 
  • Kid #2 had a near drowning experience at that same pool.  Thankfully he did not aspirate any water.
  • Kid #2 finally figured he could unlock and open the front door, and Kid #3 (who is an infant) went on a walkabout without me.  Thankfully I caught him halfway down the tall front porch steps and he didn't make it to the street, or crack his head open falling down the steps.
  • AC went out.  On a Friday night, just before a holiday weekend.  Grateful that they came on Saturday to fix it!
  • Kid #3 eschewed sleeping during the day in favor of staying up all day and freaking out and being a grump.  I put the kibosh on that pretty quickly.  Mama ain't got time for all that.
  • AC guy and electrician arrived at just the same moment to fix different things.  It felt pretty chaotic.  Thankful that all the work got done.  (It was in this chaos that the baby escaped.)
  • New tenant moved in to our little cottage and promptly clogged the toilet.  She called me at 7am on Sunday.  I think she saw my kitchen light come on and figured I was awake.  (The one down side of being so close to our rental.  Most everything else is an up side.) Actually I am pretty sure this one was my fault for trying a trick I read about which is to leave a small piece of Magic Eraser in the toilet bowl to dissolve and it will take out stubborn stains.  I guess it didn't dissolve (and was too big of a piece) and someone tried to flush it.  A quick tutorial via youtube and I was off to the hardware store for a toilet auger with my three monkeys.  They stayed buckled in the car right outside the cottage door while I snaked the toilet.  My tenant, a cute, tiny little gal, called me "Quite the woman!!"  I didn't argue.  The weekend was feeling like a Herculean feat at that point.
  • On Friday, I got an email reminder from our children's director that I was scheduled to work in the church nursery and since this was the last Sunday on the schedule, there really wasn't anyone to switch with.  She kindly reminded us of the verse, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing. (Phil 2:14)" and so I emailed back to say me and all the kids would be in my nursery class together.  Sunday night rolled around and we all made it there on time and had a pretty good evening with 6 other 18mo-2 yr olds.  Kid #3 only escaped once and another mom grabbed him up for me and brought him back by the time I realized he was gone.  That kid.  We are gonna need a fence.
We made it.  I'm glad.  I'm tired.  I am thankful.  I am going to bed early.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Breakfast Adventures: Eggs Benedict

I'm not gonna lie to you.  Cooking with kids is a huge pain in the patella.  It would be heaps easier to do this by myself while Matt kept the masses entertained, but that isn't the point, is it?  And plus, when have I EVER done things the easy way?  Never.  So with out further ado...Eggs Benedict.

Helping me is the "Egg Master" who was throwing a major fit this morning.  Ah...Three.  The year from hell.  Why is that?  Hormones?  Growing?  Super verbal but not super capable?  Who knows.  Three kinda sucks from time to time.  I'm trying to pretend it isn't that bad.  Kid #1 barely made it out of Three alive.  Or I did.  One or the other.  I can't remember.  I have PTSD from that time in her life.  But Kid #2, is IN IT.  And I am pretending he is not. 

Eggs Benedict
So...Egg Master he was.  Look how his eyes turn to half moons when he smiles.  I love those half moons.  I could eat him up! (When he is not screaming on the floor.  This too shall pass...this too shall pass)

We poached a CRAP LOAD of eggs, and by CRAP LOAD, I mean 8, which isn't that many considering there are 5 of us and everyone here usually eats 2, except Kid #3, who eats one, and Papa bear sometimes eats 3, which brings us to 9-10 eggs, typically consumed around here, but who has a pan that big, so 8 it was.  They rested in a pie pan of hot (but not cooking hot) water on the back of the stove, while we made the Hollandaise sauce.  I should have taken a picture of that.  Pie pan full of floating poached egg eyes.  Mmmm.  Creepy.

On to the Hollandaise sauce, which was pretty easy and the kids were fascinated by the fact that the egg yolk can come loose from the white.  The tricky part is to remember to let the butter come to room temp, which takes some planning, or at least some kind of forethought, which totally didn't happen, so microwave it was!  

Eggs Benedict
This photo is totally staged because Hollandaise sauce has to be stirred constantly and quickly and while she is awesome, she cannot yet whisk.

Eggs Benedict
This photo is not staged, because Kid #3 likes to be RIGHT UNDER MY FEET, like a puppy, hoping for treats to fall from the stove.  I wish I were kidding.  We call them "floor snacks" because it happens so often and he is SO fast.  Oh, and that is a large wooden bead.  Not food.  Which I promptly removed.  Choking hazard!

Then the kids totally bolted on me and I was left to toast English Muffins all alone and then toast them again with Canadian bacon, which is really just ham and so that is what we used.

Eggs Benedict
The result of all our hard work in the kitchen!

Matt: (Sir Not Appearing in this Film, "Don't photograph me.") "SAAAAAY! I DO like Eggs Benedict." (Green Eggs and Ham reference for those of you who are not currently immersed in the Seuss cannon)"You should make these more." (to which I replied, "A bit too involved for every day.  Maybe Father's Day?")

Eggs Benedict
  Cora took a photo of me at breakfast.  Awesome. 

Me: "Lemony! Buttery! I like this. It would probably be better with an English Muffin, but since I am gluten free and had no GF English muffins, I had mine on the plate, on some Canadian bacon ham, and it was still pretty awesome.
Eggs Benedict
Kid #1: "Mmmmmmm!" (and cleaned her plate, so I know it was the truth)

Eggs Benedict
Kid #2: "Yum!" But only had 2 bites so probably not his favorite.  It could just also be that he is THREE.  Blerg.
Eggs Benedict
Kid #3: Didn't throw it or spit it.  Ate pieces of poached egg and ate some Hollandaise sauce off of my finger, but was not to excited about it.  Blueberries and strawberries for this kid, mostly.

So 3 out of 5 approve! (and the 2 disapproving are too young to REALLY appreciate what they are eating, right?)

Eggs Benedict
A selfie with my best girl/Sous Chef.

Eggs Benedict Eggs Benedict
A mercurial moment with kid #2, who is so very, very THREE, bless his heart. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Written while watching the children play in the backyard

Backyard poem
Dreaming children lie on blankets spread wide
in the sun dappled grass
The almost summer winds push the boughs over head,
an ever-dancing leafy canopy.
Borrowed straw hat, too large for small heads,
lies abandoned in the tall grass.

Small fingers find ants under rocks
and run to tell me of the wonder of it all.
Sticks make rifles for hunting wild monsters who live
in the overgrown hedge.
The hedge that houses fairies and birds and tiny blue eggshells
leftover from those spring babies, long flown.

Swing on your bellies, hands to the sky, a sprinkle of pixie dust dirt on your head
and you dream that you can fly.
Sit in the hollow left from backyard fires.  The one long grown over
with violets and clover.
Damp curls and tousled heads hunt in the garden.  The strawberries still too green
and clear water from the hose make for a glorious feast.

Chubby bare toes push into the earth,
grubby with dirt and adventures.
The cellar door, so good for a slide makes an observation platform
for the curious yet cautious ones.
Who watch the long, slender resident of the rock pile
sunning himself in his yellow striped suit.

The back yard is the

 Backyard poem 
Backyard poem

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Breakfast adventures: Creamy Poached Eggs

Yesterday my kids got into a screaming fight (Awesome for 7am.  Seriously.  Blerg.) about who was going to get to choose what kind of eggs we had for breakfast.  J chose "Cheese Eggs" and C chose "scrambled eggs".  And never the twain shall meet.  

So I said neither could choose and we were choosing an egg recipe that neither of them had ever tried.  Out came my trusty (sorta) Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook that I had picked up somewhere second hand and we tried Poached Eggs.  They were really into it and willing to try a new thing, especially since they helped me make it.  What would have been "yick" was kinda fun and they all kinda liked them.

And so this project was born.  We will be cooking through the Egg section of Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook with some sort of frequency.  As much is allowed by this kid rabble.  This is not my favorite cookbook and often not my first choice in how to cook (American cheese?  Um...Not usually), but fun and a great way to learn.  So here we go.

Today was Creamy Poached Eggs which sound awesome but the cheese mixture was a "tasty" blend of melted American Cheese and Cream Cheese (with chives), a little milk, pepper and chives and there you have it.  

Creamy Poached Eggs post
They shredded the singles (singles?!)

Creamy Poached Eggs post
stirred a bit, cracked some eggs 

Creamy Poached Eggs post
While this kid was plied with bits of food to keep him occupied.

Creamy Poached Eggs post
 and voila... 

Creamy Poached Eggs post
THIS was born.

Creamy Poached Eggs post

The kids all tried it, (Judah called the yolk that leaked out "egg soup" and then "egg juice") and though they both said "Yum" (or in Peter's case, he just didn't spit it out), there was lots of leftover food on the plates. I found it very heavy and to have a bad aftertaste. I blame the cooked American Cheese for that.   Matt groggily ate it and, then we had this conversation:

"Too fancy for my taste."

"Fancy?  It has velveeta in it!"

"Velveeta?  Where did you get this recipe, the 1980's weiner fountain cookbook?"  (By which he meant this hilarious thing from some 1970's weight watchers cards Go ahead.  Go see.  I don't mind.  If you are post partum, pee first.  Just a warning.  You are welcome.)

And I collapsed in a fit of laughter and then we had a discussion about how Velveeta is not the same as American Cheese and how it is not even a cheese and then I said neither is American "Cheese" and since that is a touchy subject around here, I just let it drop and laughed more about the "Weiner Fountain."

Creamy Poached Eggs post
The long suffering Peter had to be let loose during breakfast because he was "over it". But he made up for it in cuteness.

So the Creamy Poached Eggs were not our favorite.

Creamy Poached Eggs post
Even less so because there was this burnt cheese horror to clean up, but it's part of the process right?  More adventures to come.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Easter Photos

It took me awhile to not be annoyed by how these turned out, but having embraced the fact that was no human way possible (at 7am on a Sunday morning in the cold, wet grass) to get all 3 kids in the SAME shot and actually LOOKING at the camera, and/or not crying, I can finally present, with a smile, the Easter Photo Shoot.  It is actually pretty true to life, so it will serve as a great reminder of this year.

Easter Photos 2014
This was probably the best I got.

Easter Photos 2014
Then an airplane went over.

Easter Photos 2014
Then things started to get silly.

Easter Photos 2014
Really silly.

 Easter Photos 2014
Judah only wanted to pose IN the bushes.

 Easter Photos 2014
 Cora only wanted to do these strange poses.

Easter Photos 2014 
Peter was having NONE of this grass touching him and there was a slide, so...

Easter Photos 2014
But I managed to catch a little spark of true self from each kid.

Easter Photos 2014

Easter Photos 2014
  Easter Photos 2014
Easter Photos 2014 
Easter Photos 2014
And a pretty good reflection of the two of these boys as brothers.

Two outta three ain't bad!

  Easter Photos 2014 
So happy Easter!  (Peter didn't like being held on to.  Poor guy.)
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