Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our favorite salad

So, we've been eating this salad for a while and I feel it's my duty to share it with you:

Candied Walnuts (get the ones from Trader's Joes)
French vinagrette (I like Brianne's - it has the artichoke on it)

Ummm.. cut up the pear, mix together, dump some dressing on, sit on your brother, enjoy.

Also, since we're talking about food, I should let you know that I may never buy pre-made tomato sauce again. This really was basic and awesome. And if you ever need someone to make 100 meatballs, I've got a name for you.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snow Days

We've had a lovely holiday - got more than we deserved from Santa and didn't have to leave the house yesterday. It snowed a little for us just before Christmas, making everything white and Bing-like (and then it rained all day on Christmas Day giving me false hope that January won't be miserably cold, it will be mild and rainy).

Anyway, I was off all last week, so I dragged Suzy over to school on the sled to pick Harry up at the end of the day. She thought it was the best thing ever.

Now, the flaw in this plan, which I failed to realize before embarking upon it, was that I would have to pull BOTH of them home. Up little hills. Across fields. And my elbow may have detached. And my should may have separated. But they are awfully sweet, aren't they?

PS - we're making fresh pasta, meatballs and sauce today for 40 people. For the record, this was not my idea.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I don't know what happened. I wrote a nice note on 12/9, and here we are on 12/23. It only seems fair to tell you about the delicious fresh pasta we've been making, and the nice house guests who have helped make (and eat!) all the creamed butter and sugar that's in the freezer. I mean cookies.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I thought it was a good idea to make caramel. (Ha. I just typed 'eat caramel' instead of make caramel. Subtle foreshadowing.) These cookies look so delicious. Honestly, how hard could it be?

I did my homework. The key is not to overcook it. Like this.

Ah. Much better.

But, oh, the humanity! Use the proper tools, girl! (Truly, I *should* be embarrassed to confess that I moved the metal bowl out of the way to grab this sweet pink one.)

Now it is time to be eternally thankful that your husband is upstairs reading a story to your son. And that your sister-in-law has called and is listening to the steady stream of profanity coming out of your mouth and asking 'is that going to be on the blog?' But it works out, because she puts your brother, the PhD materials engineer on to help you figure out how to remove sugar, corn syrup and plastic from your ceramic top stove without asking your husband for paint thinner.

But not to worry, it's all chemically incompatible with the ceramic on the stove. I was able to break the physical joints with ice, and since the ceramic isn't cracked, no chemical joints formed. (Look at all that materials knowledge. I even know what a polymer is.) The ice helped the burns on my fingers, too. But then the sweet, helpful brother, sensing the crisis is averted and his dear sister will remain married says, 'dry ice would work really well. You don't have any of that, do you?'

And I'm all out of heavy cream, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

All soft

I love it when they wake up and their cheeks are still flushed from sleep and eyes are all soft around they edges. They even smell sweeter then. So, it is my fault if I cave once in a while and buy a horrible bag of the junk food overlords chocolate frosted donuts? Is the price too much to pay for this:

And, yes, people, I realize how ridiculously large and green that cup looks in this picture. Let's just say that my already weak photography skills are significantly handicapped before 7 am.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but 2009 hasn't been the best year. There's the financial ridiculousness that has plagued every one of us in it's own way, surviving the first year with a baby, and my mom's cancer, to name a few. But, in true form, there's also been 2 great birthday parties, a first day of kindergarten, a 10th anniversary and a pumpkin bourbon birthday cheesecake.

And we had a lovely day today at Gerise's - three kinds of stuffing, 2 pumpkin pies and crepes, made by our junior french chef. It just occurred to me that we didn't take any pictures, but Harry at 6 buns and Suzy ate everything she could get her hands on. I know you're surprised.

Anyway, at this point, we all look a little bit like this:

And we're thankful for things that, while sometimes a little out of focus, are as fun as this:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Harry + Claire

He's finally found someone as tall and as bossy as him. And she's perfectly lovely. And I love her mother.

Last weekend while Pete was at his Packer game/slumber party Lora and I met at Apple Holler for some breakfast and fun. It was a little bit chilly, but a good time was had by all. And I'm fairly certain that Suzy ate her weight in ham and apple cider donuts.


Is delicious? Unless you're some sort of crazy European who doesn't like rootbeer - not that I'm naming names or presenting a cultural bias, because you know, I love sausage and marzipan. I even like schnitzel and stollen and spatzel. (Apparently all I like are German foods that start with S and anything almond flavored.)

Anyway... We went to the Holiday Folk Fair over the weekend, which was lovely. The kids had a good time shopping and eating and watching ethnic dancing - Suzy learned some good spinning techniques, but just one time around, please, else one land's on one's hinder. She gobbled down some sauerkraut and a dumpling with gravy and then was very happy to move over to Ireland for a delicious blueberry scone. Harry, on the other hand, inhaled a taco and 3 cookies.

Suzy has shifted over to walking full stop. She's a little wobbly, which makes me think of calling her 'wobblesaurus rex', but no girl needs that sort of moniker to stick around until her feet are the size of mine. Also, with her squeaky shoes, undeserved (by her parents) level of cute, general happy disposition and outgoing brother, taking her places tends to be a bit like what we imagine traveling with a celebrity would be.

Happily, we only eat popcorn at home - you know, I'm not sure the public is ready for this (much as Jeffery Steingarten mentioned 'America being ready for rare pork' last night on The Next Iron Chef of which I watched EVERY episode. But I digress.

I know. But I'm not sorry at all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A predisposition

As most of you know, if there is a reason in life to throw up, I throw up. Morning sickness, motion sickness, drug side affect, stress - you name it, I can puke. On my first day of first grade, I threw up all over Mrs Phillips during story time. Of course, the great irony of my life is that I married a sailor, but having done his own share of feeding the fish, he's very sympathetic.

Harry, on the other hand has only thrown up a few times in his sweet little life. Although, I'm sorry to report that the most recent time was not 20 minutes ago all over the lunch table in the school cafeteria. He's snuggled on the couch with some Sprite and a little bit of a fever. Poor little guy!

'And Mom', he said on the way home 'I got some throw up on Ori.'


Thursday, November 5, 2009

His new slide

Harry has a funny way with language. Case in point, the South Milwaukee Public Library is his 'local library' and the Milwaukee Public Library Central Location is 'not my local library'. Any other library is 'someone else's local library'. This is sweet, but it also concerns me re: how much time he spends with his friends at PBS Kids when there are slides to go down. Speaking of slides (did you see how I did that?), he has long called the slides across the street from the house (at what is now his school) his slides, while the playground in the park are 'the kids' slides'.

Earlier this year the school district and the PTO got it together and replaced some of the aging equipment across the street. We've been enjoying the ride down. Well, some of us have.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Last week was my last mandatory unpaid week this year a.k.a MULA. While I'll be glad to have my 8% back, I'll be a little sorry to not have the extra month off next year. It was a good week, all in all. On Monday, I picked up Mom from the hospital after she had her port installed and then we headed over to Mayfair for some lunch and a walk through Crate and Barrel. I did some painting on Tuesday and Wednesday (think pink -- no, pinker) in Suzy's room and our room. And then there was too much laundry and cleaning and errands the rest of the week.

Last night, Pete and I went and saw 'Bright Star' at the Oriental, providng once again that he probably loves me more than I deserve. I'm fairly certain that at a certain age my children will love me for the Halloween costumes as much as I deserve.

At least they have each other. (And why is there always brightly colored plastic crap on the floor in every picture I take?)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


It's a week away, but this was a bigger secret than I could keep. Harry has dubbed it the fat chicken. I'll get one of her and the Ninja Turtle next weekend. But really, now that you've seen it, could you have possibly lived another week without it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Uncle Dan

The other day, while walking home from school, Harry declared that his Uncle Dan was smart because he was a scientist. Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I asked if I was smart. Harry agreed. I asked why. He said: Because Uncle Dan told you his scientist stuff.

Who would blame me if there was coal in that kid's stocking this year?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A new friend

On Saturday, I went to the Badger football game with Lora. Despite the awful performance on the field, Lora and I had a lovely time (except the part where the heat in her car runs constantly, again, let's all be thankful for deodorant and cooler temperatures).

Pete, the best husband around, was supportive of this activity. In fact, so supportive that he not only stayed home with our kids, but also watched Lora's sweet daughter Claire for the day. Claire is just a few months younger than Harry, but equally as bossy. It was a match made in heaven. Or Rosenberry, 6th floor Chadbourne, circa 1992.

I think they might be married. At least Lora says they are. But you can't always believe someone who buys meatball cars and drives a bright blue PT Cruiser while waiting for delivery.

Caption contest

Because, really, what am I supposed to say about this?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheyenne and Alex (the girl)

Our dear sweet boy still likes me to walk him to school every morning so he has 'someone to hug' right after the bell rings. He also will still hold my hand on the way there and is thrilled to see us when we pick him up. He also reported earlier in the year that he and Cheyenne would always play 'Ben 10' at recess. And then a few weeks later he reported that Cheyenne only wanted to play with Neil. Sigh.

I have been dutifully attending PTO meetings and chatting with the other parents on the playground. I hadn't realized the dangers of this until Monday morning. Cheyenne's mother came over to chat.

Cheyenne's Mom: So, Cheyenne told me something interesting on Friday.
Cindy: Oh?
CM: Yes, she said, 'Harry kissed me'. I'm not worried, or making a big deal or anything, I just wanted to let you know.
Cindy: Interesting. I'll talk to him.

Bell rings. Kiss and hug boy good bye. Walk home. Call Pete. Relate story. Pete's response: 'Did that hussy ask to be kissed?'

Later that evening.

Cindy: Harry, did you kiss Cheyenne?
Harry, smiling: Yes, and Alex the girl. And Mrs. Osell didn't see me.
Cindy: Did they ask you to kiss them?
Harry: No, I just did it.

Short age appropriate discussion about only kissing girls when they ask you. And that the teacher will find out and there will be all sorts of trouble.

Honestly. I am so. not. prepared.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This is why we live here

Since it's about to get cold and then get worse and I'm about to start whining about same (along with the itchy skin, which is already here), I thought I'd better post about yesterday, which was the perfect fall day. Warm sun, clear sky, crisp breeze and so on.

After church, the 4 of us and friends Amy and Birger headed over to the Elegant Farmer in East Troy. We enjoyed hot ham sandwiches and apple pie. Yes, that apple pie. And it was so good. Although, some of us preferred to be a bit of a grouch and only eat cookies and chocolate milk.

Someone else ate everything. And used her sweet red coat as a dust mop for all the hay and dirt all over the floor. It's ok, if she has to eat a bushel of dirt, she'd better get started now.

On our way out, Harry and Suzy stopped for a wooden pony ride and a look at the pumpkins.

On the way home, we stopped at Weston's Orchard for apples to make pies of our own (Birger made his already, my apples sit sadly on the counter waiting for a better life). Just as we were leaving for a walk through the Orchard, Ken came by with some Blenheim Orange apples. It was ridiculously crunchy and apple tasting. If you're still eating grocery store apples, STOP NOW!

Photo credits to Amy Horst

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Birthday cake possibilities

So far, these are the top contenders.

1. Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake
It has graham crust, which is always preferred, since the freak of nature I call a husband doesn't like pie crust. And then there is the beloved pumpkin.

2. Tiramisu cake
The coffee is right in the cake. With booze. Need I say more?

3. Crepes Suzette
I know it's not a cake, but that girl owns him. He hasn't got a chance.

4. Mississippi Mud Cake
It has coffee AND booze.

This might seem like a lot of trouble, but really, have you seen him? With the blue eyes bluer than the water with the sun sparkling on it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Simultaneously in love and ever-so-slightly alarmed

You have those moments with your spouse, too, right? Like when you realize that right now, instead of watching Monday night football, he's watching 'Craft in America' which happens to be about people who make pottery. Or last week, when he watched a program about Beowulf* instead of Spike TV.

I mean I love, love, love that he's watching this. But then I think -- 'you're watching program about pottery?'

It's his birthday on Friday. And I'm not going to forget this year. And I have to find another cake to make. I've got a few possibilities in mind, but my week is quickly dissolving what with reading meetings at school and other such nonsense.

*yes, yes, I know Beowulf is all about stabbing things.

Ok, I was just about to push publish post when the love of my life wandered over here and read this post and uttered, 'dammit! I forgot about Monday Night Football!'. Sigh.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A little pink pincushion in underpants

Do you remember that Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin declared the doctor thought he was 'a little pink pincushion in underpants?' I'm sorry to say that's what our girl was today. 4 shots, with 2 more to come in another month. Necessary evil? But, really, why would you do that to someone who looks like this:

All she wants in the world is a tractor ride. And some shoes. And a piece of cake. And that ice cream you're eating. Oh, and a bite of that cheeseburger would be nice, too.

Anyway, our vital statistics today:

Weight: 19 lbs 9 oz, 25 percentile
Length (Height?): 30", 80 percentile

Tall and skinny? I can hope...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A magic carpet ride

I know, it's a little out of focus, but my life has been a little like that lately. A few nights ago, Harry asked Pete for a horsey ride. Suzy saw what was going on and I could just see her little brain grinding away, trying to figure out how to get in on the action.

My mom is doing well - recovering from surgery nicely. I've been very thankful for the ability to work at her house over this past week, to keep her company. We've gone for lunch a couple times and today I took her to the yarn store. The steady stream of visitors and cards have been wonderful - she said the other day, while bringing it the mail, that it was 'like Christmas' with all the cards that are coming. I've had a lot of people ask what they can do - please, send a card - she loves them. Let me know offline if you need her address.

Meanwhile, besides being a little out of focus, I'm doing ok. And I've got to go, or I'm going to be late for my massage!

The window display

Or deee-splay, if you're Harry.

We've managed to assemble our entire collection of the Lego City line and they are currently on display at our local public library. They will be up for the entire month of October, and Harry's class has a walking field trip there later in the month.

He's very excited, and neither Pete nor I are at all grumpy about the fact that we were up until midnight the night before we set this lousy display up building the Coast Guard stuff.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A place to sit

The other morning, I was at the sink cleaning up and I heard some rustling behind me.

I'm not sure how she heaved her skinny little self up there, but she was awfully cute. Meanwhile, our girl has decided that walking is much more fun than crawling (although crawling is still faster) and cups are much more fun than bottles. It's been a productive month!

Her birthday

We had a lovely birthday brunch last Sunday. Lots of good food and 2 cakes! Suzy pounded her fists on the table until the cake was shoveled in, but did you expect anything else from her?

Meanwhile, my mom is doing well. She came home yesterday and will meet with an oncologist in the next week or so to determine a plan of care, which will no doubt include chemotherapy. I know life isn't fair, but it seems to me that if you do chemo once, you shouldn't have to do it again.