Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A whacking.


Nugget:  Where's the ball?
M:  It's by the fence.  Daddy whacked it really far this time.
N:  What's a whacking?

N:  Look at that truck!  It has fancy wheels.
M:  Do you like fancy wheels?
N:  I surely do.

N:  Miss S?
Miss S:  Yes?
N:  Um, this last day I drank a lot a lot of water so I was hydrated.

One frustrating/fun thing the Nugget does now is ask for definitions of words he already knows, so he can be an expert.  For example, he will ask, "What's a car?" and won't accept - "That's a car."  He wants to hear all about it.  A Nugget-approved answer will sound something like this, "A car is a vehicle that carries people.  It has 4 wheels, seats, a steering wheel, a speedometer, head lights, and windshield wipers."  That's all well and good, and he's sucking up information like a sponge.  But just try not running out of breath/patience/sanity when his 3rd question in 5 minutes is, "What is wait?" or my favorite so far, "What is blue?"

Monday, June 20, 2011

We're on the list

I totally forgot to post that we are officially licensed foster parents, as of last week.  Everyone tells me it won't be very long before our first call; while we are physically prepared, I'm not holding my breath.

Our license is for 1 child, ages 0-12 months, and we are considered a pre-adoptive home, which means we won't get called for children they absolutely know just need a safe spot to stay but will be returning home.  What that doesn't mean is that the child will become adoptable - no one can predict that as it's in the hands of the birthfamily and the judge.

If/when we do get our first placement, I'm not really sure how it will affect this blog.  I'm sure postings will drop off sharply as I adjust to live with 2 kidlets, but also I am not allowed to post/share any pictures of foster children, nor comment much on how the case might be progressing.  I believe I am allowed to blog about how the child is doing in our home.

Wanna-be Aussie


Things I never thought I'd say for 300, Alex.
"Please use your hand to pet the dog, not the cup holder."  I will clarify that the Nugget had detached the cup holder from his car seat and was using it to pet/brush the dog; he wasn't stroking the cup holder.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to make the cup holders easily detachable clearly didn't have children.

Tonight I made BLTAs (the a is for avocado) on wheat toast.  Thought I had an easy dinner in the bag and was mentally commending myself for a job well done.  Then TWICE I wrapped freshly rinsed iceberg in a dishtowel to dry, and TWICE I washed my hands, grabbed for the towel without thinking and splattered lettuce all over the floor.

As all parents know, children who are playing happily and independently will suddenly and urgently need you the second you get on the phone.  Grammy claims the four of us even did that to her as teenagers.  (God bless her, I don't know how she restrained herself from clobbering my whiny teenage self with the phone.)  Today, the Nugget came over seconds after I answered a call and started nagging begging me to read him How are you Peeling?  I said I would be happy to read it to him after I was done with the phone, and while he was waiting, he could choose to play quietly or he could read the book to Sheep (a lovey conveniently sitting on a couch).  He shook his head sadly and said, "Sheep hates that book."

Thanks to Wombat Walkabout and Marsupial Sue, the Nugget has a strong affinity for pouched furry friends.  Maybe that's why he keeps rearranging his seasonal window gems from USA to AUS?

Pictured:  The Nugget pets a puppy at EcoFest.  With his hand, not with a cup holder.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waiting for August


(I cannot resist the urge lay a big smooch on the Nugget's soft cheek.)
N: (swatting me away...already at not-even-4!)  No, Mama!  You have to ask first!
Me:  I'm sorry.  May I give you a kiss, please?
N:  No, not right now.  Maybe later.  Maybe in August.

We are sitting outside at a restaurant, watching cars go by on a busy street.
N:  "Whoa, they're going to the library in a hurry!"

Our new game in the tub is carwash.  The Nugget puts on his swim goggles, and he happily watches the water and suds drip down his "windshield", as I sing Car Wash very poorly.  Why haven't I thought of this before?

Speaking of singing, I was pushing the Nugget on the swing at the park, and he just started ruefully singing Rolling in the Deep.

The Nugget sometimes likes to play "Daddy".  He will get out his 2 dolls and push them in the stroller, or take them grocery shopping.  One dolly babbles when you turn it on, and he comforts her, "It's ok.  I know, I know."  Today, he swaddled her, then announced, "Ok, bye.  I'm going fishing now."

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Very Hungry Hubby

Hubby is an avid runner, and we are so proud of him for completing his first marathon this month.  He runs  almost every morning and has a speedy metabolism, so he eats like a ravenous teenager/bear preparing for hibernation.  In the evenings, he likes to partake in what we call "2nd dinner".  I told him recently that he reminded me of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

At 8:30, he ate chips with hummus.   But he was still hungry.

At 9:00, he ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  But he was still hungry.

At 9:30, he ate a bowl of cereal.  But he was still hungry.

At 10:00, he ate 2 muffins.  

When I showed him this post, he said, "When you say it like that, it sounds like a lot."  I am happy to report that he hasn't started building a cocoon...that I know of.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

U-Pick, We Pick

 The Nugget's favorite part is the ride to the patch.

 Harvesting is a workout!
 My precious!
Sampling the goods

There's something just extra-satisfying about selecting your own produce straight from the fields, and if you haven't tried it, I can't even describe how much fresher the fruit tastes than it does from the store.  And at $1.50/pound, you just can't beat the price.  We love driving out to the local farms and trying our hand at harvesting.  The Nugget is obsessed with farms and farm equipment (if you want to hear him talk for 5 minutes straight, ask him about the John Deere cotton picker), so he is less interested in the picking and more interested in which tractor we get to ride next.

Of course, the main problem is that your "little" peck basket doesn't look so big out in the vast fields of berries, and you know these are the cheapest, tastiest berries you're going to see all year, so you are tempted to fill 2 pecks.  Upon arriving home, the berries suddenly feel overwhelming on your tiny kitchen counters, and the time is ticking away for you to process/devour them before they start to rot.

So far, we've delivered berries to neighbors and friends, froze enough to fill a gallon bag, made strawberry syrup for today's pancakes, enjoyed strawberry shortcake, and I have a recipe for strawberry muffins on deck.



Friday, June 10, 2011

Overheard


"Oof!  Scout, you are getting big and heavy!  You are growing!" (Man, I hope not.  That would be all kinds of creepy.)

"I'm thankful that Daddy got a haircut."

"Don't worry, Llama, I got ya."

"I believe this is a wheat seed."

At the zoo with his friends, the Nugget exclaimed, "I need a beer."  (Ironically, we only get a single 6-pack every month or so.)

While backing out of the driveway, we spotted the mailman delivering mail 3 houses down.  He was walking on the sidewalk, and the Nugget warned me,
"Mommy, don't squish the mailman with the car."

At the barbershop, watching Daddy get a haircut, the Nugget exclaimed, "The barber is cutting the hair! But not the face!"



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Purple Party Part 1

Working on our joint party for Cabbage and Nugget.  Decided on shades of purple as a theme - feminine enough for Cabbage and hopefully will coordinate with her birthday outfit(s), and it's the Nugget's fave, so it's all good!

Found another great invite on Shutterfly...actually, it's a baby announcement that I revamped for my purposes.  Don't be afraid to raid "inappropriate" card categories.  You can easily edit the pictures and text to make them what you need.

I have been enjoying all the creativity on the Hip Hip Hooray blog, and was inspired by these numbers.  I decided to use a technique I learned in grade school to make the numbers fluffier.  It was easy, and I managed to finish both numbers in the time it took Hubby to watch 2 episodes of LOST (although I'll admit repetitive tasks are my forte, so it might take you longer).  I hope to get a good photo op of the children holding up their numbers so I can tuck a wallet size print into each thank you note.  You could easily do an initial the same way.  Depending on where/how we want to display them, I might add a loop of ribbon with a dab of hot glue.

Cut a cardboard number (this is an old Vera Bradley box - use what you have) and snip squares of tissue
I used about 4 full-sized sheets of tissue per number (the 4 took more)

Add glue to cardboard form

Form pouf around a pencil eraser

Attach.  

Done!

Crockpot Pot Roast

On hot days, I like to make meals in the Crockpot.  Here's an easy pot roast recipe.

Pot Roast - adapted from Allrecipes
Beef round roast
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped (I omitted them today, because I'm making Cheesy Potatoes)
1 onion, chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c red wine
1/2 c water

Saute onions with olive oil or butter.  Deglaze with wine.  Place roast in crockpot, cover with other ingredients.  Cook on low 5-8 hours.

Ideas for pot roast leftovers:
Shredded beef tacos or nachos
Over hash browns with poached eggs and shredded cheese
Hot grilled sandwich with provolone and sauerkraut

Monday, June 6, 2011

Natural Bug Repellent Reviews - Group 1

It's going to be a buggy summer.  I'm testing a few different brands of bug repellent for you!  As always, there are volunteer reviews to help fellow parents, nothing was paid, and I haven't received free samples from companies.  The official recommendation is to apply bug repellant, then sunscreen on top.

If we were going into the deep woods or a malaria zone, I would not hesitate to use a DEET-based repellent.  The natural guys just don't repel like DEET does.  But since bites here are usually a nuisance rather than life-threatening, I avoid using it as our everyday repellent, mostly because I dislike aerosol sprays around children - I feel very nervous about the Nugget inhaling pesticide.  You are also not supposed to apply DEET to babies under 6 months, but you can protect your baby with most natural versions.  So here's our first review of "natural" bug repellants.

Burt's Bees - We've used this oil based repellent for years.  People compliment me on my "perfume" when I wear it; it has a very strong, pleasant lemongrass scent.  It has a squirt top (not aerosol) that you pump into your hands, then apply.  I dislike that it is an oil formula, I just don't like the feel of oil on my skin and I have to keep it in a plastic baggie so it doesn't leak in my bag...but the pro side is that it slides on the Nugget very quickly, no need to rub it in.  One $8 container has lasted 4+ years for our family of 3, making it a wise investment.  I get far fewer bites when using BB than unprotected, but probably at least 1 per outing in a mosquito zone.

Tropical Traditions - My friend A thoughtfully gave me a bottle to try.  This brand is a moisturizing lotion, which is nicer in my bag and feels good on my skin.  It's easier to put on the Nugget's face without worrying that it will drip into his eyes.  The scent is much milder, and more of a citronella scent.  It's not quite as effective as Burt's Bees.

Group 2 will include California Baby and Badger Anti-bug Balm.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicago Children's Museum

 creating his own fountain
 our little contractor
 pumping gas
 washing the windshield
a duck friend on the pier

We had the great fortune to be able to visit Grammy and Grandpa in Chicago today.  Grandpa was attending a conference in town.  It was a no-brainer to make a daytrip to get a little grandparent time and another fun city experience.

I'd never been to Navy Pier before, so I was picturing a hotdog stand and a ferris wheel.  It was so much more!  Lots of rides, shopping, boat excursions, restaurants, and gorgeous turquoise water.  The Nugget chose a hot dog, but we enjoyed really tasty, fresh Mexican food at Chango Loco.

The Chicago Children's Museum was wonderful, and today was a Target Free Sunday, so the Nugget's admission was free.  We probably only saw 1/4 of the museum, so we look forward to our next trip.  Tempted to get a membership...

Nugget quote of the day:  "Grammy, look at the most ginormous bird I ever saw!"  It was a seagull.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Little Squirt

Paint water pictures on the house.
Bring a friend to your art gallery.
 Polish your sweet ride.
Spray your chalk until it's soaking wet, draw, and squirt it away.

One of the myriad things I loved about the Nugget's preschool was the weekly email home lesson plan.  It was entirely optional, but full of enticing, time-killing, brain-feeding, imagination-sparking activities you could do at home with your child.  Most were free or involved very little expense.  We weren't able to complete many of them during the school year, but I tucked away a lot of fun ideas for the summer.

One of them involved purchasing a cheap spray bottle and finding different ways to use it.  I needed one to water our carrot seedlings in the garden anyway, so I found a fuschia one that I knew the Nugget would love.  Above are just a few activities the Nugget enjoys with the squirt bottle.  He also likes to spray my hair and play hairstylist with a comb, pretend scissors, and hair clips, fill it with drinking water and taste it, wet the sand in his sand table, bring it into the bathtub and give his octopus "eye drops", fill the sink in his playhouse, practice squirting letters onto the fence, and spray it in his wading pool and watch the water ripple.

Marguerita Pasta Salad

So many conflicting spellings for Marguerita (Margarita, Margherita), I'm not sure if I chose correctly.  Sometimes we moms pack elaborate lunches for the kids and make do with a yogurt or a granola bar for ourselves.  It's always a fun surprise when one of us brings a mama-friendly salad or dip to share, and this was my contribution to our playdate today, inspired by the pizza and by the great deal I found on fresh mozzarella!

Marguerita Pasta Salad - by me!
1 box whole wheat rotini
2 balls fresh mozzarella, diced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
3 stems fresh basil chiffonade
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Cook rotini and rinse under cold water.  Add the veggies and toss well.  Add about 1-2 tbsp vinegar to your taste and enough olive oil to lightly dress the salad.  Season with fresh ground salt and pepper, and make sure there's some at the table too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake



Everyone has their favorite version of strawberry shortcake.  I have had it with Angel Food cake, on sliced pound cake, on scones, on those funny yellow round sponge cakes.  But Grammy usually made it with drop biscuits, and I think they are the perfect partner for sweet strawberries and cream.



Grammy's Strawberry Shortcake - adapted from Bisquick

1.5 c Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 c milk
butter
sliced strawberries
whipped cream

Mix Bisquick and milk.  Butter your hands and make 4 drop biscuits.  Bake at 450 for 7-9 minutes.  Top with sliced strawberries (lightly sugared if they're not in season) and whipped cream.  Ours is typically out of a can.