No, not in the drunk tank.

We started our celebrating on Solstice Eve, of course, but we observe a variety of traditions. Tonight will be an exchange of ornaments for our tree and packing to leave for Grandma's house tomorrow. Bring on the ritual DOING OF ALL THE LAUNDRY.

I have already had the unenviable experience of folding the microfiber dusting rags with my extremely dry and eczema-covered hands. I'll be in the corner cringing for the rest of the night.

I suspect Aenea has shared her cold with me. I really hope not. I'm going to put fresh sheets on the bed with the hope that this is just a bad attack of the dust mites.

I hope those of you who celebrate this time of year are having a lovely time. Those who don't, carry on as usual.
Right out my ears, I tell you. Fun day at our neighborhood park with the homeschoolers. Sprayground, chitchat, and non-stop running for the kids.

Anyhow, some Ronanisms:

amn't. "I am not cute. I AMN'T!"

ninety-ninety for 99

amblulance = ambulance

plano = piano said quickly

liberry = library
I got an hour in at the garden today. It seems to be the limit of the kids together. I don't know how they can antagonize each other when one of them is a year old and under 15 lbs, but she gives as good as she gets. Ronan, of course, is incapable of removing himself from the situation and prefers to be a martyr.

I managed to locate my shiso (purple perilla) volunteers and cleared space around them.

And I think I have [livejournal.com profile] explodingcat's blessing to go back out to the garden and work some more sans children. RIght now. Rather, as soon as I disconnect from the magical milking machine.
I take the kids out often, but we usually stick to parks. I've been avoiding the bus during flu/rsv/cold season, but today seemed like a nice day and Ronan's had a hankering for gelato for weeks.

It also seemed like a b/w kind of day for the camera.
Gelato time

Aenea was on my back for the first part of our outing. She fell asleep, so I left her back there, though she tipped back right as I was turning at one point and I whacked her head into a doorjamb. Oops. I took her down to make sure she was okay. It wasn't a hard whack (she was in a fleece hat and two layers of hood), but she didn't make a peep and stayed asleep, so I was a bit more worried than I'd usually be. She was fine--not hurt and desperately in need of that nap. I let her nap in arms and put her on my front when we left.

Ronan has developed an affinity for clip-on ties. He wears them with any sort of shirt, but he decided he needed a collared shirt today and willingly donned a polo. It's not his normal style, but is utterly adorable.

We wandered into a couple shops, then headed down to the bus stop to wait for the number 8. Ended up at Shenandoah Joe for my coffee. Ronan had a shy smile standoff with a friend's child--they'll end up making friendly one of these days.
Happy babyRiding the busSilly
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Aenea will sit for a long time now and just play with toys. It boggles the mind. She does baby stuff that Ronan never did. She like crinkly baby toys, she passes balls from hand to hand, she laughs at silly things. He was so stoic (he made up for it later) and she's just incredibly content and happy. When she's done, she starts yanking on the nearest adult's shirt and demands to be picked up. It's sweet.

Ronan is sitting on the floor assembling one of his many Lego gifts. He keeps coming to ask for help, but I was feeding Aenea and had no spare hands. He's more than able to do it himself, but that's okay. I'll help the next time he asks (she's now asleep).

Made a chicken and cauliflower curry this week. We needed to use up some coconut milk. Ended up blending it with a roasted sweet potato and using that as the sauce (the spices had already gone in at various stages in the cooking process). It was *amazing*. The sauce stayed full and creamy--didn't break down at all the way coconut milk alone sometimes does.

Tom's making buckwheat pancakes and beef bacon right now. Yum. After we eat, I think we'll walk to Starbucks (if the one on the Corner is open). It's usually open and I know at least two other stores in the area are open today, but those aren't walkable and it's not sleeting, so hey.

Supper will be a brisket in the pressure cooker with parsnips and onions and maybe some sweet potatoes. And cider. Easy, comforting, and tasty.
When children are very small--babies and toddlers--they often have growth spurts. Some of these are physical. They are fussy and eat non-stop for a day or three (nights, too), then start sleeping a bit more (the younger they are, that is) and they are suddenly not fitting in 3mo clothing or that hat that fit last week is too small.

Sometimes these spurts are developmental. Super fussy (or just awake and hungry) nights and days, then the kid rolls over. Or crawls. Or starts using words. Or starts using sentences. Knows colors. Jumps on one foot.

So, my four year old son had a period last week where he was waking up at night and was just miserable.

Now he's building even more complex train layouts (multiple switches and loops) and really complex buildings out of blocks and cardboard.

We didn't realize these developmental spurts would continue like this. *grins*

Yum.

Jul. 23rd, 2011 09:57 pm
rootofnewt: (cooking)
Pressure cooker top round = success.

Our errands took a long time today and we didn't get home until 7:30. I had a top round--steak or small roast, I can't remember. I seared it in olive oil, removed the meat to a plate, then tossed in a couple onions, stirred 'em a bit, added rosemary and a bottle of GF beer, then added the steaks with salt and garlic, threw in halved redskin potatoes and celery. Closed it all up and cooked it at (gentle rocking) pressure for 15 minutes, then let the pressure reduce naturally. We ate a salad while waiting.

Fork tender and awesome. I mashed some butter into my potatoes. Could've used some beef stock concentrate (the cut is boneless), but I opted to just add some bourbon-smoked salt to my portion.
The amount of carseat misuse I see is really astounding.

For starters, RTFM. Yes, carseats some with manuals! That manual will sell you how to install and use the seat. It will tell you how to find the seat's expiration day/month/year. Yes, seats and their components expire. Crash tests with expired seats are rather frightening to watch. The manual will tell you to never use any aftermarket devices like custom covers, the mighty tite, and other crap. It will tell you to not wash the harness or submerge it in liquid--ever. It will tell you how to properly tighten and adjust the harness, how to position the chest clip (hint, it's *not* a belly clip). Heck, it'll even tell you the minimums and maximums for using a seat in a particular way. Don't buy a used seat if you don't know its history. Don't use a seat which has been in a car crash, unless that seat belongs to one of the two-three brands which follow slightly different criteria.

Now, remember--state laws don't always take the laws of physics into consideration. Keep your little ones rear facing for as long as possible--a minimum of two years, but 3-4 is not unreasonable. Look into cervical spine ossification and internal decapitation if you don't believe me. Those bigger/older kids? Keep the harness snug so that they don't get ejected from their seat in the event of an accident/incident. Keep them harnessed until they can reliably sit totally properly (and that's more than just "hey, look, it buckled!) for all trips, then you move to a booster. And once they pass the five step test, you can consider the seatbelt alone.

This is really fucking simplistic, but I'm sick of seeing kids endangered because their mother or grandfather or aunt or babysitter is too clueless/busy/overcome with brain bats to sit down and read a manual and then use the seat properly every time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sssIsceKd6 (Norwegian video, they don't use the chest clip/precrash positioner over there and the harness is designed a bit differently, but the laws of physics still apply)

http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/forward-facing_seats.html
rootofnewt: (cooking)
Spur of the moment dealio with the kohlrabi from our CSA share.

I had four small kohlrabi with greens, two green and two purple bulbs.

I cut off the greens and chopped them, setting them aside.

Cut the kohlrabi into chunks, tossed with olive oil and garlic. Stared for a bit at those on a half sheet while the oven preheated to 450F and reached for some new red potatoes, which I halved or quartered and tossed with more olive oil and garlic. I'm out of ghee and regular oil, so I used olive.

Those roasted for 20 minutes. Meanwhile I got some other stuff together. Some oil into a frying pan--generous amount. Ghee would work, too.

Heated up the oil, then tossed in about a teaspoon of black mustard seed. When that began to pop, I added about a half tsp of cumin seed, a teaspoon of some really fragrant curry powder, and one chopped up yellow onion. Stirred and tossed, added a bit more oil, a bit more curry powder. When the onions started to turn ever so translucent, I added a bowlful of chopped sweet peppers. I suppose I used 7-ish of the mini peppers, equivalent to one or two of the big long sweet italian peppers or one large bell pepper. After the pepper started to soften, I added the chopped greens, some salt, and a half cup of water. Stared a bit and added some aleppo pepper.

When the oven beeped, I added the potatoes and kohlrabi, stirred well to coat, then put a lid on/vented and cooked for another 5-10 minutes. That's exactly when the brown basmati rice was done. Perfect.

Ate with pappadums. Raita would've been nice, but I'm lazy.

This was beautiful. Sadly, I forgot to turn off the stove and burnt a bit of the leftover curry. It's still edible, but the super bright colors are now dull.

Four years

Apr. 27th, 2011 10:42 am
My son turned four last Thursday. He nursed at some point last week, so I'm totally claiming the fourth ribbon. ;)



At two, he nursed like a newborn more so than he actually did as a newborn. At three he was nursing a couple-few times a day but had pretty much self-nightweaned between 32-34mo (and started STTN, still in our family bed).

At four, he nurses a couple times a month. He randomly informs me that he still nurses, even if he doesn't ask to nurse right then. I can generally count on a nursing session if he's seen me holding someone else's baby for an extended period that day.

Sessions are very short for the most part, though sometimes last a few minutes. He tells me there's still milk and I believe him. He's never been one to draw comparisons between breastmilk and other foods. It just is and it's good.

I don't offer, but I don't refuse, either. I try to appreciate and remember each session. I look at them fondly now, mostly because they happen less frequently and I know that soon he'll just be done and neither one of us will have realized it happened.

He stopped wanting to nurse when injured sometime after he turned three. I recall nursing him after a really nasty wasp encounter last spring, but I'm not sure we've had another injury comfort session since then.

I will still nurse him in public, but he hasn't really asked in months. His session last week was at our community garden plot, but nobody else was around, so that barely counts as NIP. One of our pictures was included in PhD in Parenting's "Covering up is a feminist issue" video. He was three and we were nursing alongside a busy trail in the Smokies.

CLW has definitely been a lovely process for us.
rootofnewt: (cooking)
I looked up at it was twenty past seven. Nobody had thought to fix supper yet.

I pulled the leftover rotisserie chicken out of the fridge and pulled the rest of the meat shreds from the bones. In a saucepan, I tossed in a diced orange sweet pepper, olive oil, then eventually some chopped garlic and some water-soaked dried onion. Then I added some snipped green onion from the garden and a few epazote leaves and the chicken and stirred it til it was all hot.

Some tortillas went into a wet towel and the microwave for a bit of steaming. Some oil into the big stockpot.

I assembled the flautas and fried them 2x2. Served them with shredded lettuce, fermented salted peppers (poblanos and habaneros) and some crema. Oh, and some black beans. Wow.

Kiddo suspects we're trying to poison him, so maybe I'll just spice up the filling with my salted chilies next time.
rootofnewt: (cooking)
About 2lbs skinless chicken thighs, one jar of Dulcet's Tangy & Peppery Moroccan Sauce, half a yellow onion (chopped). Toss it in the crockpot. And a handful of dried apricots (quartered) and 2/3c brown jasmine rice. Stir. After an hour on high, pour in just enough hot water to make it look slightly soupy and push the rice down into the water. Cook on high until bubbles show up at the edges, then reduce to low.

When you get back from puddle stomping, turn off the heat. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, stir in. Let them sit to heat through, then eat.

I put this in the crockpot at 11, turned off the heat at 5:30.
rootofnewt: (cooking)
So I made some chili sauce the other night. It was meant to be a dried chili salsa for enchiladas. I seeded and toasted guajillos and pasillas, soaked them, then blended them with garlic and water and a bit of clove. I put it in a saucepan and simmered it for a bit. Bitter.

The next night, I wanted to make the enchiladas with leftover rotisserie chicken. I attempted to combat the bitterness with baking chocolate, a bit of salt, and cinnamon. No go, but the cheese and chicken worked well with it, so we used it, anyway.

I had a bit leftover. We decided it would be a good chili base.

So I browned the ground beef, added onions, then garlic. I deglazed the pan with lots of aged white vinegar. I don't know how much--more than you'd expect. Oregano came next. Then I added about 4oz (a small jam jar) of the sauce. A bit more vinegar, some water, a can of black beans undrained, a can of black beans drained . . . and then it simmered until the onions were cooked fully, then more salt and a can of corn (drained).

It's actually pretty awesome. I can't do tomatoes and I'm out of sweet peppers, but this worked really well.
We're not having a party, just the four of us and the new TV.

I made wings. Made the usual sauce (well, used Frank's xtra hot instead of the usual) for the manbeast. For myself, I really rocked it. A bottle of a honey mustard hot sauce bought at Big Lots awhile ago .. . mixed with an equal amount of butter (roughly a tablespoon each). Perfect! No tomatoes and tasty!

Our wings are just the super simple variety FiL taught us:
Cover a half sheet with foil, grease it. Toss down wings. Garlic salt. (I use garlic powder, salt, and dried roasted garlic, which I grind into a powder). Cook 20 min at 400F, then turn, season again, cook another 20 minutes. I usually just eat them with chipotle tabasco, but this mustard sauce rocks.

Static

Jan. 27th, 2011 08:04 pm

Static
Originally uploaded by jocelyndale
Silliness.
The manbeast is taking care of supper today. MiL is napping on the couch. The urchin is playing with some magnaforms. FiL is chatting with the manbeast. Whiskey is patiently waiting for food to magically appear.

Mustard-Seed-Crusted Prime Rib Roast with Dijon Créme Fraîche and Roasted Balsamic Onions. I made the dijon créme fraîche, but refuse to let the manbeast delegate the shallot prep to me. WFM only had small shallots, not big ones. Pain in the tush. His dad can help if he likes.

Yams with Crispy Skins and Brown-Butter Vinaigrette. I offered to help remove the skins, but he was already doing it by the time I returned from my coke (soda) run.

Broccoli. Already blanched, it will be warmed with garlicky olive oil later.
Salad. The vinaigrette will feature local wine vinegar (merlot, I think) and not-so-local goat cheese.

I bought some local gouda for snacking. And there's fruitcake thawing, too. Yum!
Ronan is playing space ships. We're on a space ship. Captain Whiskey is in charge of switches, but Ronan is the pilot.

He asked me to check the space rails. I told him there was a space bat. He didn't seem particularly perturbed, so I told him it was going to eat us.

"Oh, no. I have the door locked."

"But, but, but--they eat metal!"

"Yes, but their teeth are too tiny to do any damage. This is a very advanced spaceship."

Well, darn. There went my couch space thriller.
Ronan: Tom, let's go play trains. You and me.
Tom: No, sorry, I need to work now.
Ronan: Well, you could play trains and work at the same time, bring your computer (Tom has a laptop, Ronan knows Tom can move it anywhere).
Tom: Sorry, guy, I can't do both things at the same time. I need to concentrate.
Ronan: Well, you can just work later and play trains now.
Tom: No, I need to work now. Later I need to have dinner, help you with a bath, take shower, and go to bed.
Ronan: You forgot reading books to me!
Tom: Right! And reading books. So I won't have time to work then, I need to do it now.
Ronan: But Tom, you really don't want to work. You don't like working now. So play trains.
Tom: Uh…well, you might be right, but I need to work. If I don't work, I don't get money. I need money to buy food and toys.
Ronan: Well, I have money.
Tom: You do?
Ronan: Sure! It's in my kitty bank. I can buy toys with that money.
Tom: I don't know if that's enough money. I still need to work now.
Ronan: Well, how about I work for you, and you play trains.
Tom: Dude, I think you need to go to school for many years to do my work.
Ronan: But I already know how to do your work.
Tom: I really don't think you do.
Ronan: Sure, I do. I just press buttons.

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