Sunday, October 12, 2008

October Gold

It is so pretty out - I have Stella's window open and whenever I walk by her room, I think that there's a red truck parked outside, but it's just the bright sumacs.

Sammy and I have the last Full Moon Canoe this evening. Hopefully the rain will hold off.

Yesterday, we had and early Thanksgiving as L's grandma was in town from Arizona. It was a nice time visiting with the rels - the girls got to play together, so they were happy. I gave Sammy the camera and instructed her to take pictures, so we'll see what she came up with.

Have a nice Sunday!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ooookay...

This may be a little weird to read, as I am using Sammy's MacBook and I am having a heckuva time typing on this. Just an advisory.

September is a difficult month. You transition between Summer and Fall, schedules get crazy, new schools, new things, new responsibilities.

Let's start with Sammy:
Sammy started 7th grade last month. Her grades are very good and she's enjoying school. Her schedule is fairly busy. She's on the swim team (practices M-F after school), has danceline on Saturday, and once a month, she goes to the Humane Society and participates in "Pet Set," which is a introduction to animal care and volunteering.

Swim has been good for Sammy - she's made new friends and is working hard and exercising. She did have a injury about two weeks ago. She was at an away meet and was warming up in the pool before the National Anthem. She tried to get out of the pool, slipped and got her leg caught in the pool gutter. The coaches from both teams, Sam's teammates, and the scoring official had to turn her on her stomach in the water to free her. As she got out of the pool, she got a round of applause, which she found terribly embarrassing. Her knee looked okay for the first hour or so, but then began to swell. I ran out and got her a couple ACE bandages and ice packs and taught her how to wrap her knee. She had such a massive bruise on her knee. It is much, much better now, though.

Health wise, or more accurately, toothwise, Sammy has some big changes coming. She's getting braces (full set) the week after Halloween and needs to get two of her top teeth pulled as well. We have an appointment set up with the oral surgeon tomorrow to go over options. Teeth pulling is not going to be an easy task for Sammy as the Von Willebrand's complicates things and she is at risk of increased bleeding with surgery. (L bled profusely after his wisdom teeth extraction as we didn't know he had this condition...) So, we'll meet with the surgeon, then with the hematologist and go from there.

More things that happened with Sammy: Some idiot kid made a bomb threat last week, so the school was evacuated at 2 pm last Thursday. They made the decision with the police to not let the kids back into school, so they had to walk to the elementary school a 1/2 mile away where the buses picked them up. I do have to give the school's parent warning system props - L and I got emails and voice messages on home, work and cell phones. I was able to leave work and go get Sam, who was a bit weirded out and frightened.

Stella began Bright Start, the pre-K program through the school district. She is having a bit of a rocky time adjusting to this - or maybe it's just me getting the vibe when I pick her up. She's been bringing in her lunch, but she seems to be hoarding her food and eating it on the way home. Applesauce doesn't seem to keep well. She is already starting to read and she likes coloring. Tomorrow is Picture Day and we have a pretty pink shirt for her. Stella has been having trouble with sleeping lately and will show up and climb into bed with me in the middle of the night. I think she would have a much easier time the next day if she had a good night sleep.

Work has been quite stressful this month as well. I've got a big project that I need to work on to ensure we meet compliance levels, in addition to the regular work duties. Also, our company changed its name last year. I was on the transition team to change clinical documents and external things from the old company name to the new name earlier this year. Very picky stuff - there's a 24 page "brand guidelines" that marketing has a fit if we deviate from the acceptable color scheme and font.

Anyhow, since I worked on this, I was designated the "Brand Ambassador" for our site. Our site is in a 6 story building and takes up space on the 1st, 2nd and 5th floor. There's about 350 people. The Brand Anniversary was, of course, in September, and was supposed to be a week long. We had a budget of $350 to get cake for the whole office, which was kind of a PITA coordinating this. I chose Monday to get it over with. Wednesday of that week, I had to deliver the company gift, which was actually very nice - a travel mug. I had a helper for the 1st floor and one of my collegues and I went to the 2nd and 5th floors dropping off mugs and checking off names. It took us 2 and a half hours. And of course with these things, there's initial happiness, then people got ticked off. They sent mugs to peoples homes who were designated as "Work at Home" employees. Some didn't get them and we're all, "Wah, wah: Where's my mug?" Then the stupid requests - "We had a trainer come in and she thinks our mugs are cool! Do you have any extra?" "Is she an employee?" "No..." Well, then... On Friday, "Greta, Suzie got her mug stolen from her desk! Do you have another one?" Now they're asking me for company post-it notes. Lady, I just have mugs. That's IT.

So that's the gist of September. Crazy busy and somewhat insane. Now to post this and give Angelena a shout out. (Check out the old pictures of me and L on Facebook! New printer/scanner from Costco, but that's another post. And my lap is hot from the crazy MacBook.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

ACK!

September has been a crazy month. Once I can get some uninterrupted laptop time, I shall document the trials and tribulations of September 2008 for the Miller family. Highlights include knee trauma, coffee mug distribution on a grand scale and bomb threats. Also cake.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lazy Saturday

Theoretically, it is a Lazy Saturday.

Nothing on the agenda, except Sam's dance class. Laundry and grocery shopping perhaps later.

Time to regroup after a particularly trying week.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I heart cooking

Yesterday, our niece had a birthday party. L took the kids and left me with a quiet house for a couple hours. I lazed around a bit, read on the hammock and then picked up Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook.

The pictures in this book are heavenly - I actually gasped at the Summer Borscht photo with the vibrant fuchsia color. So pretty. I turned the page and found a recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup and got out of the hammock to make this.

I really enjoy cooking. I love the process. I love creating something tasty for my family and friends. Good times.

So over the vacation, I wanted to get some cooking done. For fun, and to also use up some of the CSA bounty and to get some food ready for back to school. It's my nesting instinct kicking up.

Over the vacation, I made a pilgrimage to Penzey's Spices. After reading Jilly's rhapsodizing about the awesomeness of Penzey's and realizing that I live fairly close to a retail store, and, in need of cumin, we took the kids to Penzey's to check it out.

Oh. My. God. I never have experienced anything like this. Unbelievable smells. (In a good way) The staff was super friendly and shopping was a pure pleasure. The prices are very, very reasonable and the quality is superb.

Here's what I got:
Bay Leaves
Parisien Bonnes Herbs
Ground Chipotle Pepper
Italian Sausage Seasoning
Hungarian Sweet Paprika
Vietnamese Cinnamon
Spanish Smoked Paprika
Ground Cumin
Bouquet Garni
Herbes de Provence

(Okay, I got a lot of similar French blends, but I was loading up my basket and I got a little grabby.) When we got in the car, I sat and dug through the bag and just started (nearly) huffing the spices. I opened up the bay leaf packet and was blown away by the aroma.

When I got home, I cleaned out the spice rack. We've been married for 14 years and there are some spices (foengreek, anyone?) that predates our marriage in our spice rack. So I dumped, consolidated and cleaned out the little bottles. I sniffed a few spices as well - I so want to do something with the smoked paprika. Heavenly!

So, what did I make this week?

Potato and Leek Soup
- from the Julia Child MTAOFC - Leeks and garlic from the CSA
Blueberry Zucchini Bread - two regular loaves. I omitted vanilla and cinnamon and added lemon zest and lemon extract, which pairs beautifully with the blueberries. (Zucchini from the CSA and 1.5 pints of fresh blueberries I had to use)
Tomato Jam - recipe from Bittman's Minimalist column in the NYT. I had two pints of cherry tomatoes that needed to go somewhere. I've never made anything like this.
I thought the tomatoes looked pretty in the blue pot

It was like a very sweet, thick ketchup. I took some liberties with the recipe and added Worcestershire sauce and some garlic to this.
Corn Dog Muffins - this sounded intriguing. Perhaps it would be good to pack for the kids' lunches. I halved the recipe, cut the dogs in small bits (with Stella's help) and was able to get 12 muffins out of this recipe. It's okay cold and Sammy gave it a thumbs up for a lunchbox item.
Mexican Chicken Soup - This was the Ina Garten recipe I tried out. I got to use the cumin for the first time and was so giddy at the scent when I opened it up. I had some leftover chicken from a work party that needed to be used, onion, carrots, and garlic from the CSA, a couple jalapenos from my garden, and chicken stock I had frozen from this past spring. Very homemade. This turned out tasty and I liked the idea of cutting soft corn tortillas into strips; it makes a egg noodle effect.

Today, I think we need to make cookies.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vacation week

My vacations are not very relaxing affairs. Typically, they involve shuttling children to appointments, and Getting Things Done. Sleeping in is not done, particularly when you have a 4 year old who wakes at the crack of dawn and insists on everyone else getting up. Sammy is largely immune, having moved downstairs out of Stella's sphere of influence.

Don't get me wrong, though. I dig vacations. Here's the highlights for the week:

Monday:

We needed to register Sammy for the Wayzata Middle School swim team. Sammy enjoys swimming and is quite good at it. She had been taking swim lessons until they told her in 5th grade that she passed all the levels they had and should consider "junior lifeguard, " which Sammy thoughtfully considered as "a possible job option." I was at the Middle School website in the middle of August, where I discovered that the swim team practices started on August 11. I emailed the coach, who said that it wasn't too late to join, but I had to get her registered through the high school athletics office. This involved many forms, plus a Sports Physical. Sammy isn't scheduled for her annual physical until next month, but the clinic said that they can use the same info from last year. So I faxed in the forms for them to complete and didn't get them returned to me until Friday the 22nd. So, Sammy missed the first two weeks of swim practice.

So, Monday, we registered her with no problems at all. Then we went to Ridgedale to return some gifts from her birthday that didn't fit. Why does Abercrombie + Fitch smell so much? Phew! I guess I'm not hip enough to enjoy cologne in such volume that it becomes a solid and inane house music so loud that I go, "WHAT???" to the clerks. Yep, I'm L7, baby. That afternoon, I dropped Sammy off at school for practice. When she walked into the locker room, she got a lot of "Sammy! Hi!"s which was cool.

Little about Swim Team this week (I know I'm not being very chronological, but suck it, it's my blog): She had practice M-W. On Thursday, she had her first meet. And she did pretty darn well for someone who had 2 days of practice after a lull of 1.5 years in regular swimming. I am very proud of her and she did a great job. L was off Thursday and Friday and was able to come with me to the first meet. Sammy's events were 4 person relay and solo backstroke. The first race was odd, because their team was missing the third person on the relay, so they paused a bit and then Sammy jumped in. She did well on the backstroke and kept a pretty good pace with the other girls. Swim goes until the middle of October, which isn't that long. Sammy's already interested in Synchronized Swimming for the winter. I think we'll be a bit more prepared for the registration process.

Tuesday:
Sammy wanted to try out her present - a Land's End body board - it's basically a 4 foot long kickboard. Mom and I took Sammy and Stella to Medicine Lake to try it out. We just chilled and kept an eye on Stella as she went up and down the beach, occasionally she called out for Sammy to pull her on the board. We then went home, Sammy got ready for swim and Mom, Stella and I went grocery shopping to stock up on food things for Back to School.

Wednesday:

Sammy's birthday and another busy day. We awoke to a thunderstorm and in the morning, we sat in the breezeway while it was just pouring. For Sammy's birthday, we decided to go to the MN Landscape Arboretum's Apple House for some local apples. (I just can't see getting Fujis from Chile or South Africa) The Apple House is a rustic shop across from the Arboretum that sells apples from the U of M's orchards. We have a little tradition with this place and Sammy's birthday. The day before I gave birth, Mom and I went to the Apple House and got apples, then drove around in the SW part of Hennepin/Carver county, which made me very uncomfortable, likely inducing labor. Sadly, this week, there were no apples. There was, however, sweet corn - 6 ears for $3.25. I picked em up and steamed them for about 5 minutes. Heavenly.

On our way home, we went to the General Store, for a look around.

We had other business to attend to as well: After dropping off Sammy at practice, we went to the Open House at Bright Start Home Base, Stella's new daycare. When we heard that Sammy's elementary school was expanding it's program to include 4 year olds, we were so excited. Not only is this more economical than her other daycare, but we thought it would be a better fit and a good idea to give her a head start at the school that she'd be attending next year. I was a little apprehensive in taking her out of her old daycare, but going back to Home Base, where quite a few of the teachers remembered Stella from her accompanying us on Sammy's drop offs - well, it felt like a homecoming and I cried several times. Stella was very excited to see her new daycare and has been talking about it ever since Wednesday.

THEN, Sammy and I, later that evening, went to her middle school to pick up her schedule and to meet her teachers. Of course, after we got home, the phone was ringing with "Who did you get?" from her other friends.

Thursday:

Lawrence was off and spent much of the day at the Mazda dealership working on getting his new car. We also had Sammy's Swim Meet to go to. We decided correctly to ask my parents to watch Stella as the bleachers were packed and it got really hot in there.

Friday:
I got baking crazy and made a bunch of stuff - I'll post another entry about the many things I made this week. Stella was helping me a lot, clad in her new frilly apron from The General Store. L got his car - a 2009 Madza 6. We're still trying to figure out the bells and whistles on this - there are many.

Of course, this week we spent each evening watching the DNC and enjoying the show. We got Sammy interested in the speeches; she particularly liked Michelle Obama. In town, we have the RNC, which we'll follow, but not as closely. There is a surreal, otherworldly quality about political conventions.

Well, I'm going to post this - I'll add some links and pictures later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Almost 12

Sammy had her birthday party this weekend - the highlight of which was the mythical Hamburger Cake. A coworker's wife works at the local Target decorating cakes - she's very talented. Sammy saw a picture of a hamburger cake and asked, "Can Barb do that?" Man, Barb can do anything:


The "meat" is rice crispie bars - she also did such a great job airbrushing the cake. Lawrence carried it in, declaring that Sammy has the most awesome cake ever made. It was pretty tasty too!

The party went very well - the girls got along and there was a lot of giggling and laughing. My mom made up gift bags for the girls, eschewing the usual and customary fun size candy bars and instead loaded up the bags with theatre candy boxes, lip glosses, portable hairbrushes, etc. (Yes, I know that all hairbrushes are portable, but these collapse into a mirrored compact.) There was much exclaiming surrounding the gift bag distribution.

Sammy's official birthday is on Wednesday, so we'll do something special for her. She didn't want to go to the State Fair, as there was no Weird Al show this year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy Damn Week

I am off on vacation this week, thank goodness.

Last week was particularly hellish, particularly with work issues. I had a big ol' project that was due on Thursday. I did get it done, for the most part, but it was quite stressful.

Wednesday, August 20 - my beloved (that would be Lawrence) and I celebrated out 14th anniversary. The day started out okay for us both, but turned bad for L around noon, when he broke his tooth. He called a dentist as ours was off that day and he was able to get in that afternoon. They scheduled him for a root canal the next day. (Oh, I forgot: L put a card in my car (in which he used the word "lame" 3 times) and propped it next to a bottle of Ivory soap. I'm looking at this like "What the hell?" Then it dawns on me: we had been discussing what was each year - 1 year is paper, etc. Apparently, 14 is 'Ivory.' Hence the soap.)

So, he's been off and on miserable and puffy-faced for the past few days and the global effects of antibiotics have been taking their toll on him. Couple that with my work-related angst and it was a bleah household. There was a lot of "Sammy, please watch Stella now." and L and I conked out on the bed. Not romantic, but at least we were together.

Saturday, he took me out on a Real Date. We went to Jimmy's Food and Cocktails, which is a very descriptive name for a restaurant. We went at 6 pm, along with most of the senior Gray Panthers. It was nice with just the two of us. Afterward we went to a Mazda dealership, where he showed me his new obsession: the 2009 Mazda 6. It looks smaller than my 6, but supposedly, it's bigger. Then we went grocery shopping for Sammy's party, which will be covered in the next post.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Moth Moon and Busted Water Bottles

Sammy and I completed our 4th Canoe While The Moon is Full program through Hennepin Parks. Yesterday was the "Moth Moon."

Sammy and I are starting to feel like old timers when we're doing this. Sammy sits in the back (stern) and tells me what to do. She steers and I'm the motor. We only ran into someone once or twice (due to no fault of our own). We practiced turning in circles: one paddles forward and the other paddles backward.

It was a beautiful still night and a gorgeous sunset. The moonrise was semi-obscured by a cloud deck, but looked beautiful and ghostly. We saw some cranes flying low over the lake and a large V of Canadian Geese flew directly over us in the twilight.

Afterward, as we were bringing our canoes to the trailer, I lost Sammy for a moment. When I found her, I saw that she had taken it upon herself to volunteer and help with collecting and hanging up the lifevests. She then took the mini-flashlight I had given her and was helping others see. She's always a helper; I'm very proud of my young lady.

Speaking of which, we have the busy end of August goings-on. Wednesday is our Anniversary (14 years) and a week from Wednesday is Sammy's birthday. We're having her party a week from today, so today is a preliminary cleaning day, based upon the theory that next weekend we will have to clean less. (The formula is f(cleaning early)x1/f(next week), I believe. However, one must account for the Stella Effect (SE), which is a well documented undoing of work that has been undone - this can be tempered by the throwing of everything into something with a door on it, and closing the door (DC):

f(CE)x1/f(NW)xSE/DC

Something like that.

Oh, back to the Moth Moon: Sammy will be disappointed if I don't mention this, as this was the high point for her in the evening:

After we finished canoeing, we went to the gas station for a snack. I picked up a bottle of water and was holding it by the cap walking with Sammy. It slipped out of my hand, and crashed on the floor. The cap completely broke off and the bottle rolled under the ice cream freezer, from which Sammy was getting a ChocoTaco. Mortified, I retrieved the bottle and apologized to the cashier and told them I'd pay for it. He shook his head and said, "No. That bottle was defective," which was pretty nice. I asked for paper towels to clean up my mess and they happened to have the floor zamboni out and said, "Nah, that's okay." I sheepishly crept back to the cooler and selected another bottle and cradled it up to the counter verrrry carefully.

So: and hour and half of canoeing with her mom on a gorgeous summer evening and dollars to donuts, it will be remembered as Hey, Mom: Remember The Time You Busted A Water Bottle at Holiday?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hello, Gorgeous...

I went to Cost Plus World Market today with Steph and gasped when I laid eyes upon this:

It was $5.99, but I HAD to have it. We gathered the troops in the break room and sampled the bacon chocolate. Yum! It wasn't sublime, or anything like that. It had a nice smoky saltiness to it and both Steph and I commented on how the bacon bits were sticking to our respective teeth.

From the website:

"I began experimenting with bacon + chocolate at the tender age of 6, while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in Aunt Jemima® syrup, as children often do. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of sizzlin' bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. And then, the magic—just a bite of the bacon was too salty and I yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate and syrup, so I combined the two. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point; for on that plate something magical happened, the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it—chocolate.

From there, it was just a matter of time…and what began as a love of salt and sweet quickly unraveled into an obsession. No sooner could I wait to unveil the royal coupling in solid bar form, a deep milk chocolate with bits and pieces of applewood smoked bacon and just a sprinkling of Alder salt. Really, what doesn't taste better with bacon?"

Breathe…engage your five senses, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Be in the present moment, notice the color of the chocolate, the glossy shine. Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue.

Mo's Bacon Bar: applewood smoked bacon + Alder wood smoked salt + deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao


Consume within 8 weeks


Like I said, it was okay, but we perhaps we didn't fully engage our five sense. It was break off and chew. Not a tiny piece either. We did consume it within 8 weeks. I was able to save 2 squares - for L and Sammy to try.

Monday, August 11, 2008

For Stella



Feist on Sesame Street - I love the penguins.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Okay Weekend I Guess

We had an okay weekend.

Saturday we had a party to go to given by my co-worker for her hub's 40th birthday. She wanted it to be a surprise party, but having about 100 people in the backyard and tons on cars parked outside was a bit of a spoiler. Still, he looked sufficiently pleased. I'm glad as I saw how much work she put into this party - planning it for the past two months. She did an awesome job and it looked like everyone was having a nice time!

Sunday we got our butts moving and started the process of moving Sammy downstairs so she can have her own space. She's been sleeping on a futon downstairs (in our former lounge) for most of the summer. Today we moved most of her clothes down and bought her a hamper.

Last week, I neglected to mention that we went to IKEA for the first time (for both of us). And I bought Sammy a crystal chandelier - the IKEA name for it is "Rimfrost," so take that as you will. Sammy needs a place of her own to escape from Stella (and us I guess) and hang out.

IKEA was interesting. It was just Sam and me and we had no mission in mind, so we just went with the flow. I picked up hanging organizers for the girls, a tiny hippo for Stella, a baggie dispenser, a birch salad bowl, a birch lazy susan, a couple of whisks and a salad spinner. And the aforementioned chandelier. Oh, and chocolate. And impulse buy, but terribly necessary.

This week I have the day off tomorrow as Stella has her eye appt checkup. Sammy is doing the YMCA camp W-F and Monday and Tuesday, she's working with the city's Puppet Wagon and will be making puppets and scenery and will be performing on Tuesday night. I'm sure we'll get some pictures up for that.

Last week Sammy took an introductory Lacrosse class from M-Th and worked her little butt off. My dad took some pictures and and she was all over the place, running and blocking. She's glad that's over and that puppetry will likely be needing less exertion.

Well, this was a rambling post. Happy Sunday. Have a great week!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hell Week

Short post for now. I am so glad it's Friday and I can sleep in tomorrow. This week has been kind of rough - busy at work and on Thursday I was blessed with my Monthly Migraine. Not cool. Tonight I'm going to make chicken gyros and chill and watch the Olympics.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Three Days in Two Harbors

Well, technically, 3 1/2 days.

We had a nice vacation last week. Mom, Sammy, Stella and I headed up to Superior Shores in Two Harbors for some Lake Superior time. We had a nice room on the first floor - a Lodge Suite. It had a kitchen, living room with fold out couch, bedroom with king size bed (for me, Mom and Stella) and a bathroom with a jacuzzi. The room had a walkout to a patio with a grill and it faced the beach. We were a little vexed that you couldn't open it with the keycard from the outside, so when Stella fell and scraped up her arms and legs on the asphalt path, we had to carry her screaming around the hotel and through an (unoccupied) banquet room, so we could get inside. So then we just parked the table in front of the door to prevent Stella from taking off through the door.

Monday Sammy and I were going to conquer the geocache at Silver Bay marina (check out the link to see the gallery - lots of cool pictures from other, braver and with more upper body strength, cachers), which called for climbing up a 20 foot cliff on a rope after hopping on boulders to get to the island, but Sammy's leg was bothering her, so we scrapped that and Stella and I found a relatively easy cache near Cove Point Lodge. We then hit Silver Bay and got some pictures of Rocky Taconite, the Silver Bay weird looking mascot.

Monday night, we headed toward the pier and lighthouse of Two Harbors and I tried and failed to find some caches with everyone. Ended up leading everyone on a wide looping trail through the woods where we got very, very close to deer. I was walking ahead with Stella and saw a doe with two fawns. The fawns scampered away, but the doe turned and looked at me like, "Nu-huh, Lady..." When Sammy and Mom caught up, we saw more deer on the other side of the trail - one was probably about 10 feet from us, calmly eating grass. And yeah, no camera then. Boo. Monday night, the Lake was kind of choppy and we all sat on the beach at the hotel watching the waves roll in.
Very pretty - Stella didn't like the roar of the waves, though.



Tuesday was our Tourist Day. We went to Duluth to take a Harbor Cruise on the Vista King. I remember doing that when I was little - and L and I did a dinner cruise a few years ago. One of the perks is you get to go under the Aerial Bridge - they raise it with the horns and the bells and everything.

Stella did very well on the 1 1/2 hour cruise.



Here's some arty type pics from the boat


I was a smart cookie and pre-registered online, so all we needed to do is pick up our boarding pass and get on. We had beautiful weather. I misjudged Duluth - or global warming has hit the Zenith City - and had the girls wear long pants and bring jackets. We were hot! The cruise was very cool and I got some really nifty pictures from the back of the boat. After the cruise, we hit Park Point, but we were hot and crabby, so that didn't last long. Looking for chow, we decided to go to Sammy's Pizza in Lakeside (down the street from where my Aunt Florence lived) and got a medium pepperoni and a cold 6 pack of coke - we went to a wayside, just past Brighton Beach, and inhaled the pizza. Man, that was good stuff. We went up Scenic 61 and hit the Two Harbors gift shop right by the depot, where Stella bought a little teddy bear from "Tootsie" the elderly shopkeeper. Outside of the Depot Gift Shop - we saw this inspired graffiti, which cracked us up.





Later that evening, Stella and Sammy and I went caching at a site within walking distance from the hotel and we ran into another cacher - a first for us. After dark, Mom got Stella ready for bed and Sammy and I took a blanket and went to the beach as it was so dark and the sky was carpeted with stars. It's amazing to look low in the horizon and see constellations that you never see at home. We saw a couple shooting stars and satellites as well. It was nice just hanging out with Sammy in the solitude.

Wednesday was our head back day - we were out of the hotel by 8:30 - Sammy wrote in the room's guestbook:

and took a couple photo-ops at the Voyageur Motel dude with no paddle

(whose dead eyes and giant height really freaked out Stella) and another at the Giant Rooster. We went to the Rooster Gift Shop

(Weldon's - check this link out for an awesome story), which was Beanie Baby Bonanza. Holy cow, this store was full of Beanie Babies.

We stopped by Mickey D's and got breakfast, which Stella was not interested in, and then headed back home. The portable DVD player was a godsend - it allowed Sammy to have a little peace from the sibling warfare.

And of course, you know what greeted us when we came home....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Welcome Back

So we get home from vacation on Wednesday and we're all hot, sweaty and cranky from the car ride. I get Stella settled down on the couch and I think - it's 1pm, I still have 1/2 a day of vacation left to relax. Cool.

I go to the freezer and get one of Stella's freezie pops (she calls it "popsicle with NO STICK!") and they're kind of squishy. I think that L may have loaded these in earlier today in anticipation of our return, so I find one of the more solid ones and hand it off to Stella.

I go back to the freezer and see that EVERYTHING is covered with a thick layer of frost - like the door may have been open. I call L and he said he was hearing clicks from the fridge all night.

Oh crap.

I immediately get a laundry basket and load it up with the freezer contents - meats first, freezie pops next and everything else I can cram into the chest freezer downstairs. There are casualties. And almost full 5 qt ice cream bucket gets dumped as it is liquid. So sad. And several tupperware containers full of archived soup gets chucked as well.

I get the milk and lunch meat downstairs into the dorm room fridge. We had a lot of produce, which we kept in the fridge until L came home and got ice cubes for the big cooler. (oh, word to the wise: check the drain plug before you dump two huge bags of ice in a cooler.)

I had a digital thermometer in the freezer - 50 degrees. ouch.

We get CenterPoint to come out and fix it, but they can't come out until Thurs AM. They put us down for first thing, however.

It's fixed for now. We're on the service plan in case of future issues. I have a wealth of clean tupperware. And I took advantage of an empty fridge to get it cleaned out.

So, big PITA, but it's fixed now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vacation Hangover

Just got home from a mini-vacation up North. Very tired. Looks like we have some good pictures. Will post soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Were those the Full Size Mentos or the Mini Mentos?

Last year we had a Memorial Day party and tried to amaze the kids with the Mentos fountain. With subpar results.


video

Well, the dog liked it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

For Your Reading Pleasure

I was just looking at L's screensaver, which is all of our family pictures and this one popped up.


This was the magazine selection in my room at the B&B I stayed at on Staten Island for Jen's wedding. This picture always makes me laugh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Art is everywhere

The composition of this picture of Sam and Stella has been nagging me for a couple days now. I flipped the picture (the original one is in the Sculpture Garden post)



And the layout echoes Wyeth's "Christina's World."


Kinda cool, huh?

Fooling the kids into learning once again.

Saturday we were wondering what to do with the fam. Movies were out of the question as marauding hordes would surely be flocking to see Batman.

L though the Geek Factor would shift and create a geek vacuum, or a geekuum if you will, away from the Science Museum of Minnesota, which has a StarWars exhibit for an extra fee. So we loaded up the kidlets and headed out. We really didn't care if we saw the SW exhibit or not, which was fine as when we got there (at 1pm) the next ticketed showing was at 5:45 pm. So no. Also the cost was a little prohibitive.

So, we meandered through the exhibits and there were geeks galore. Apparently the geeks can cram a lot of geekdom into their weekends, which offers opportunities for Batcinema and viewing costumes from a movie made in 1977.

L and Sammy went into an older kids exhibit (ages 8 and up) and made slides of a fruit fly's saliva gland. Of course, Sammy reported this as "Dad ripped a head off a fruit fly." I was on Stella duty and we flitted about from one area to the next. I thought she'd like the dinosaurs, but they were a little too overwhelming in scale and in sharpness of teeth. Go figure, she liked the weather exhibit best of all.

When we were leaving, there was a guy in full stormtrooper gear walking around greeting guests. Stella looked at him, and then excitedly shrieked, "Sammy! It's the guy from your Video Game!" So there's her context.

I had a great idea to walk to this candy shop in downtown St Paul, Candyland, that L and I had gone to when the Sci Museum was at it's old location.

I had L enter in Candy Store on googlemaps, and it was just a pinch away from the museum, which translated to a few big city blocks in real life. I was getting a little worried, but then we caught a whiff of freshly popped popcorn and followed our noses.

Stella especially loved the Snoopy, Lucy and Linus statues out in front. We got 1 1/2 lbs of taffy, cheese corn and a small lollipop. Yum!

We headed home amid ever blackening skies and hit CiCi's pizza buffet, which was "eh" okay. Not great pizza, but okay because it was right there for the kids to eat. The skies were getting blacker and L took a look on his cell phone at the radar. We quickly finished horking down the chow and tried, and failed, to beat the rain. Wow, it just dumped!

Saturday night was low key - Sam L and I played Rock Band (using our 2 person band: "Red for Revenge" - singer and guitar, instead of "Cupcake Misteak" or 3 person band with drums. Red for Revenge allows for us to take breaks now and then.

Sunday we cleaned - woo. And went to Wagner's Drive In for burgers. Pretty tasty. Stella had a hot dog with a poppy seed bun. She did not appreciate poppy seeds.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NaNaNaNaNaNaNa- Bat Moon!

Sammy and I had our latest Canoe When The Moon is Full. It was the Bat Moon. I'm thinking it was a coincidence with the Dark Knight premiere, as we did not get any Joker swag.

Here's the pins that you get when you do the walk/canoe events:



This was Sammy's favorite CWTMIF event. It was very rustic - at the Baker Near Wilderness Settlement. The previous two were at more populated and public facilities (ie no snack bar - or lighted paths/parking lots here).

The last two canoeing events, were a more dusky affair - not exactly that dark. The naturalist/guide stalled waiting for more people to show and we heading out on a relatively long trek through the woods to get to the dock. We encountered hundreds of fireflies on our walk, which was amazing.

Like I said, this was rustic - we had to unlock our canoes and portage them along a path to the dock. Sammy was a champ and was able to hold up her end of the canoe with little difficulty. Our guide put a couple lanterns on the dock as a homing beacon, and Sammy and I were off in the twilight, Sammy sporting a blue glow necklace, which served both fashionable and functional purposes - so others could see us and not smash into us.

This canoe trip we enjoyed as we were off by ourselves. The lake has no public access, so we were the only 8 canoes on it. There was no wind, which makes canoeing easier, but the bugs were pretty rough and the sky was clear, unlike the last time we went - Firefly Moon, rechristened Lightning Bug Moon.

We were rewarded by seeing the huge moon rise over the lake. We also spied Jupiter brightly shining in the East.

As most of the canoes were spread out on the lake, we couldn't hear many other voices - a faint "Marco!" "Polo!" coming from a couple canoes from the distance.

I told Sammy to be quiet for a moment to see if we could hear any animals or bird sounds. Sammy was quiet for all of 15 seconds and then said, "I have to break wind." Then the squeakiest little fart emanated from her. Okay, so much for sounds of the wild.

We ending up being on the water until 10pm and got back to the lodge about 10:30. As there were no lights heading back to the lodge and the parking lot, we got in a little bit of stargazing too. Sooo pretty.

Sam and I are going to finish the canoeing events and are thinking about doing the Full Moon walks or snowshoeing in the winter.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Psych! You're Enjoying Art!


To get out of the house, we took the kids to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and let them run around. Well, it was more like Stella ran around and we all chased her.

In these pictures you can also see my new RED hair color.






Back Home

Well, Sammy's home from her camp - it was at the University of St. Thomas - Science and Technical Camp for girls. She had a good time, but had some homesickness early on. She made some new friends and did a lot of cool things like:
  • Made a crystal radio.
  • Created little discs in a plastics lab.
  • Made and flew a RC airplane.
We went out to the TriValley Fly Field on Wednesday night to watch her fly her plane. She did very well. L took a video of it and I'll link it here.



It lost power halfway through and the plane "caught a thermal" updraft and kept on climbing higher. The RC club guys were impressed with Sammy's flying skilz and called her "Amelia Earhart." Sammy was impressed because she had just done a report on AE a couple months ago.



Sammy and Stella at the Fly Field
Sammy waiting to fly her plane...

Thursday we had a bad storm roll into MSP. It took out the power at work around 12:45 or so. The power wasn't restored until 8:30 that night. As we were released a little early from work, I took advantage of the extra time and rolled into St Paul to pick up Sammy with plenty o' time to spare. I hit Izzy's ice cream and had a cotton candy single scoop with a cream cheese Izzy on top. Oh, for yummy...

Next, as I was dying of a headache, I headed over to Eric and Annie's house and visited there. (Well, I kind of just died on the couch after Annie very very kindly gave me many headache relieving drugs and a coke, which helped tremendously.)

Annie came along to Sammy's graduation, which was a big surprise to Sammy. They had a very cute ceremony (with a lot of "whooo"s and screeches at a pitch that only middle schoolers can achieve.) Sammy was given the "Helping Hands" award as she was always pitching in.

So we got our baby back. She was so tired and overwhelmed from the week. She slept great in her own bed and I think she's getting back to normal. Yes, I think she's sick of us again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A picture or two to tide you over

We just unloaded the camera recently and here's a couple pictures of the kids:


Stella in cloud camo:

Sammy won this stuffed gorilla at Valleyfair during a school trip. It was a ring toss and she got one ring on the post and missed the other two. She started to walk away, but the guy said, "You won!" She was at the park all day - until 4:30 pm. She won this at 9:30 am and had to lug it around the whole day. Fortunately, she was not lacking in Gorilla Babysitters to watch this when she went on rides. This now resides in the girls' room. Stella has made it into a climbing toy/slide/ladder. A monkey for the monkey.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 4th Recap - Sammy's Gone to College

Well, we just had a relatively quiet weekend -

On the fourth - we just stayed close to home - lit off some small fireworks in the driveway.

Saturday, we had a retail day - we went to Ragstock, a used/vintage clothing store chain that I used to LOVE in high school. Sammy's feeling the Ragstock love now. I was a little dismayed to see a sundress I picked up at Penney's a couple of years ago going for $3.00. Oh well. Sammy got a velvet shift dress for $3.oo and a light jacket with guitars on it. I got a Blondie Tote Bag, that is so fricking awesome.


I actually had noticed it a couple months ago, but thought that $15 was too much. When I went back, I saw it was on sale for 50% off! Score! Later we went to Cost Plus World Market, were I got a picnic basket I've been coveting for a while and also got a picnic kit that I thought was a good deal at $14.99, but was also 50% off. Score again!

Sammy Goes to Camp


Today, we got Sammy ready for her camp. She's staying all this week at a local university at a Science and Technology camp for girls. It's free! Everything is included: tuition, materials, room/board/snacks. It's limited to 40 girls a session. All girls have just completed 6th grade. Sammy was on the waiting list, and a girl dropped out so she was moved up.

We dropped her off in her dorm (not air conditioned - ouch) and got her set up. Then we went to the orientation meeting where they talked a little more about the program. They have a theme song they played for us: "Power Tools are a Girl's Best Friend."

Here's a little blurb on the camp:
  • An opportunity for girls to learn more about what engineers do:
    Outstanding instructors with extensive backgrounds in engineering, technology and science, teach the workshops
  • A one-week introduction to the world of technology and engineering.
  • A camping experience at the Campus of the University
  • A hands-on experience with high-tech equipment and processes
It's designed to catch girls at that age to get them interested in Sci/Tech careers. Very chick empowering. They do camp related things, like swimming and karaoke and movie night. They also take Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology. There's a class called "MacGyver," which sounds so much fun! They have animation labs, they create their own websites. And the highlight of the week is airplane building. They create the parts and assemble a RC plane. I saw some pictures and it looks like they're about 3 feet long. Wednesday night we meet them at a fly field and watch them fly their planes. (Jilly, I keep thinking about you with this!)

Sammy's excited. I'm excited that she has this opportunity. I want her to know that she can do anything that she wants to do!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth of July



Please be careful with your fireworks today!

Mommy/Sammy Day

Last week, Sam was feeling a little overwhelmed - she was cooped up with her little sister and was feeling a little down. I suggested we go out for a bike ride - just the two of us. We biked to the east side of the lake and sat down and relaxed. Thinking about my own frazzled work schedule, I said - "How about I take off a day in the middle of the week - we can put Stella in daycare and just have a Mommy/Sammy Day?" Sammy's head whipped around and she grinned.

"What'll we do?" She asked "What do you want to do?" I replied. Sammy wanted to go to the beach of our nearby lake where there are no lifeguards. This way, she can use the little inflatable raft we got last summer, a no-no at guarded beaches. That's it - that's all she would be content with doing.

I had other plans.

We dropped Stella off at daycare at her usual time - then Sammy and I went off for a morning of geocaching. I had researched a loop of about 6 caches within about 3 miles. So, we were off. The first cache was in a nature preserve of a big Minnesota company that generally mills things. I had to dive into a overgrown weedy area in order to find the cache. Sammy didn't come off the trail; she was too concerned about the teeny thumbnail sized toads we saw on the blacktop path. She coaxed them into the grass so bikers or unattentive walkers wouldn't smoosh them. We did another cache that Sammy really enjoyed. Instead of using the GPS unit, it's a Pict-O-Cache - a series of extreme close up pictures of landmarks in this park. You go from place to place and then at the final stop, find the hidden treasure. Terribly fun. The other caches were more traditional - We did one that we had to take our picture by, which I may post here, depending on how many chins I have, a common problem when you take your own picture.

We went to lunch at Panchero's which Sammy though was tasty, hit Target and bought matching skirts ($12.99!) - she's able to fit into the ladyclothes section now - and swim noodles and little mesh things to make them into floaty chairs and then headed home.

On the way home, I asked if she'd like to have her friend B join us. She made the call and B came along to the park. The girls had such a blast being kids at the park - splashing, gawking at fish, etc. I got to chill out and relax on the sand.

So I'm thinking - hey, the Music in Plymouth thing is tonight. It's a big deal with lots of different music and the toppers are the Minnesota Orchestra and fireworks. I call Mom and see if she wants to go. She's in. We invite B along as well.

We go to pick up Stella, who I told there's someone special in the car (she likes Sammy's friends). She guesses - Grandma? no.... PopPop? Nooo... It's a surprise, I tell her. We get to the car, and she sees Sammy in the front seat and with much disdain dismissively exclaims, "No, not Sammy!" But then she sees B and is all smiles.

Later on, we head to the concert, Mom, me B and Sammy (we discussed bringing Stella, but thought it would be a long, loud time, things Stella doesn't do well with) - along with bug spray and camp chairs. It's packed. We can't hear the orchestra very well, which is odd as the previous act (Mick Sterling) was LOUD! Must have been some audio issues. The girls have run off trying to find a friend of theirs. I look at Mom, consider we aren't able to enjoy the music, probably won't see fireworks under the canopy of trees, and ponder the mass exodus that will occur after the fireworks end and say, "Boy, this bites - let's get the hell out of here." Mom agrees and we decide to walk through a path on our way back to the car. I think, hell we can watch the fireworks from the parking lot, jump in the car afterward and burn out before the thronging hordes.

So we begin the walk back through a woodchipped path and get to the Millenium Garden, the girls get all kiddish and run and chase each other. Mom and I plop ourselves down on an uncrowded expanse of land and think. WTF, let's park here for the fireworks. Meanwhile the girls run and play through the twilight.

The fireworks are slated to begin at 10 pm. 10:00 comes and goes. We hear crackling here and there and think "are we missing them?"

At 10:15, a burst of red squiggles explodes. And this went on and on - just a gorgeous display. We were so close the the fireworks, it felt like they were going to touch us. A huge, larger than life display. Mom said that she hadn't every been that close to ground zero, pardon the expression, when seeing fireworks before. We were amazed at the display - we loved the Happy Face one and one that had a heart in the center. Like, I said, it kept going and going - you'd think it was the finale and there'd be a bigger set. So, so cool. I hugged Sammy to me and asked how her Mommy/Sammy day. She said it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

A extra bonus - we got to the car, after a 15 minute walk, and was able to pull out of the parking lot and slide into NO traffic. So cool.

We were so pooped when we got home.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bacon Salt!

We had a fairly low key weekend.

Saturday - saw WALL-E at the 10 am showing. Smart move as there were not that many folks that could get their collective act together to make that early showing. Stella did very well - only squirming toward the end. She had only one potty break. And now she can impressively mimic a computer-generated voice saying. "Wall-e." and "Evvvv-ah"

Sammy had a sleepover Saturday night - we had some Mom/Sammy time and went geocaching. We got stuck in some rain and brush. I still feel like there's bugs on me. We also swung by the Charles Burwell house in Minnetonka, which was doing an open house/ice cream social.



I mildly embarrassed Sammy by chanting, "Ha-ha. You're learning about wheat milling on your summer vacation!" It was a cool tour - I've driven by the house several times and have been wanting to peek in on that. We also saw the Hopkins Woodwinds Concert Band play Stars and Stripes Forever. Sammy says that they sounded better than the Wayzata Middle School band because they had more than a week to practice. She did let out a "woo! Clarinet!" too.

We TiVo'ed SNL last night as they were rebroadcasting the first episode hosted by Carlin. Have to watch that later. Andy Kaufman was on that show as well.

Which brings us to the title of this entry... In the Strib's taste section, they mentioned this little product called "BaconSalt," that gives everything a bacon-y essence. We went to the Lund's on Vicksburg to get some, but they had it in the back - you have to ask for it. I'm grilling some hot dogs right now - which will likely get some BaconSalt treatment.



I will experiment and let you know how it fares. There's also a recipe for Bacon Mayo on their website that I must try.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quick Sammy Story

Last week on my way home from work, I was listening to the radio and they were talking about the Gloucester, Mass teen "pregnancy pact."

Of course, I got upset and sad at this. So I see Sammy when I get in the house and I think, "teaching opportunity..."

I relay the story, to her shock and dismay (Her reaction: "Pardon my language, but - damn!") and told her that the girls were not doing this out of love: [reports were] that one young girl had sex with a homeless man in order to get pregnant. We really didn't discuss any more about that.

So the next day, we were watching TV and some dating commercial comes on. Some guy was going on about how his mom had recommended this site and blah, blah, blah. I'm really not paying attention to what's on. From the couch, Sammy pipes up with: "Well, it's better than Doing It with a hobo."

eHarmony, I think we have a new tagline for you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lightning Bug Moon

Busy summer weekend with the Millers.

Saturday, we went to the way overpriced Hennepin County Fair. Admission $22 for the 3 of us. (Stella was free). Not too much to do there - Stella went on a pony ride ($5) and a mini-train ride ($3). The rabbit agility show was free and the girls did a craft at the 4H tent. We did get a couple freebies at the Ag booth - a meat thermometer and a ruler. Also a stretchy bracelet that says "2006 Oink Booth mnpork.com." Which was pink and make me think of trichinosis. Shouldn't have it been white? Or grayish-brown. Oh, pork, you are so misunderstood. There was also a kids show that featured a lot of pre-recorded songs by "Nick," who was offering them up on CD for a fee. Oh, would the RIAA frown upon old Nick. I'm thinking we should have gone to Tater Daze in Brooklyn Park instead. Stella had a ball; Sammy, being at THATAGE was underwhelmed.

Sammy and I had our monthly canoe by the full moon through the local park. For every month you complete, you get a snazzy pin. May was the Frog Moon. June is the Firefly moon.

We did much better than we did last time, where we were dead last (the guides kept on reassuring us that "It's not a race!" and "[Hey you two lame-os,](I'm paraphrasing) are you having fun?" Us "yeah" Them: "Well, good then." Us: "Stop patronizing us."

So we were paddling through the lake and some SLCs (Scary Looking Clouds) drift in. Sammy and I get slightly freaked as we are in open water, in aluminum canoes with a storm approaching. Our leisurely nature paddling turned into a frantic haulass to the dock. We were doing fine until the storm winds hit. Up until then, there was no wind. When the storm hit, the winds blew us off course and we had to work twice as hard to get to shore. We just made it before the rain hit. It is a freaky feeling being on a lake during a lightning storm. We did get our pin and did not get electrocuted, so it was a win-win.

Sunday.

Heading to drop off some library books and we see smoke in the grass by the side of the road. We pull over and circle back and see that the grass is on fire. I hand a water bottle to L and he gets out and douses the fire. He found a firecracker in the midst of it all. So small excitement on a Sunday.

Stella and I went to the garden shop and got a bunch of 50% off annuals to jazz up the yard. Stella was a good helper and made sure all the plants (and herself) were watered.

So we've got the Sunday night letdown/winddown now. Sammy's going to the Y camp this week. Stella's letter of the week is G. CSA is on Thursday. And I'm so very tired right now.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Top Chef I Ain't

I'm in the midst of making dinner. Went through the fridge to see what I need to use up. Grabbed some baby white turnips and garlic scapes from the CSA. Found some chicken thighs in the freezer. Bacon in the fridge.

So I render up some bacon while the chicken defrost, still not sure what I'm going to do. I decide to flour up the chicken and add a couple glugs of oil to the pan and fry them up. They're looking pretty good.

I take a ladleful of bacon/veggie oil out and throw it in my French oven (fake Le Creuset) - brown the garlic and the turnips. Add in the bacon. I make a soy sauce glaze (with hoisin sauce, soy and rice vinegar) and throw that in. In goes some spinach from the CSA.

I don't know what happened, but it went from yummy sticky to icky pretty fast. I think I let the sauce "caramelize" (ie burn) too much.

Hopefully the chicken will be cooked through...


5 minutes later:

Crap:

It's rather yucky. Too salty. Goopy. Chicken was bloody. Nasty.

My minute rice was okay. And the damn baby turnips were okay as well. And I can pick out some bacon.

Epilogue:

I steamed some shrimp, which was most excellent. I regarded the chicken thighs, popped them in the oven at 350, forgot about them, smelled really good chicken about 30 minutes later and they turned out really nice. Those poor thighs - microwaved, pan fried, braised and then oven fried. Oh, and eaten.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Whassup

What's been going on?

The girls are 11 and 4. Summer is in full swing. Big One has a lot of activities planned. Lil' One is starting preschool soon. Just took Skywarn class. Had a birthday this past weekend. Hub got a hammock for me, but the girls seem to have more fun on it. I feel like I'm kind of getting my bearings after being so damn go-go-go the past few weeks.

It's a beautiful summerish day - think I'll go and read in the hammock. Skeeters be damned.

Time for a Stella Story: I was waking her up the other day. "No, Mommy," she said groggily. "You have to do this." And then she slapped her cheeks a couple times. I told her that we don't do that and that is only in cartoons. She replied, "Oh, okay then."

Sammy is taking a week long Band day camp. She was psyched as one of the sessions was "Jazz Improv." Then after she had it, she was less psyched. She has a concert on Thursday - selections include Ode to Joy, Surfin' USA and Stars and Stripes Forever. She does not like the last one as the clarinet part is "boring," the "brass have all the fun" and "2/2 time is hard to count to." Stella will not be joining us at this concert as the Spring Middle School concert caused her much distress as it was "TOO LOUD!" I missed 7/8 of the concert as Stell and I sat in the adjacent gym and did dot-to-dots.

Stella's daycare is having "Beach Week" Today was Water Day, where I guess they hose down the preschoolers. Barbie towels are involved. The letter of the week is F. Sammy (of course) whipped her head around quickly when I asked Stella if we could think of any "F" words. ("You're going to teach her THAT?") Yes, Sammy, and I will tuck flash cards into the Daycare Bag along with the Snoopy blanket. Hey: flash cards start with F. There was some drama earlier this week as she was quite upset that it wasn't E week anymore as she was not done with Elephants or eggs. So I need to find a fish or a flower or something f-ish for tomorrow's show - n- share. I'm thinking obscene flash cards won't cut the mustard.

Really, now.

This one goes out to Deeje, who was instrumental in getting me blogging again. Hope I can keep it going without going dark for years on end...