Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Marathon

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  We spent the weekend in Madison, WI, where Handsome Hero ran his first marathon.  I was in awe of him, reaping the rewards of his hard training.

We stayed in a hotel in an efficiency apartment.  My friends, if you have kids, this is the way to go.  You have a bedroom you can close off and you don't have to turn off the lights when the kids go to bed.

That being said, it was not a vacation with a lot of sleep. 

The two little kiddos were very happy to talk late into the night each night, and then wake up very early. 

This made for some ultra-crabs at times,  and the kiddos were kind of crabby, too.  Still, we had fun. 

If you have never been to a marathon, it's a sight to behold.  Since I don't plan on ever running one, I'll give you the perspective of a loving spectator.

People are everywhere!  It's very festive, and everyone is in a good mood.  Everyone, that is, but my kiddos.  Did I mention the lack of sleep?

We parked ourselves near the finish line so we could watch Daddy come.  And then we waited.  And waited.  Because, you see, we had no idea how long it would take him to be done.  Have you ever stood with your stroller not moving for half an hour?  How about in the rain?  How about in the rain with no umbrella or jackets?  How about with snacks that got soaked and are inedible?  Yep, this is where I wanted to be -

And it was just a few hundred feet away!  But I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing Handsome Hero cross that line.  And suddenly I was crying, so proud of all he had done.  His work ethic is stellar and his determination makes me shake my head in wonder.  Seriously, I'm shaking it right now. 

So at this point, Jack is in my arms, crying his eyes out, and Ella is in the stroller, crying her cyes out, both miserable and cold.  I am trying to hold my camera at the ready but protected from both the weather and the Jackster.  A group of college girls ask if they can help me and we plan a strategy.  Two of them are bounty hunters spotters with a description of Handsome Hero.  Another is my baton partner.  At the critical moment, the spotters see him coming, and the other one grabs the baton Jack so that I can film the event.

But it wasn't Handsome Hero.  Just another guy wearing the same shirt.  Oops {picture me toeing the ground rather sheepishly}.

We called it a not so very dry run.

Then we saw him, and in slow motion, went through it again.  This time we got it right and this is what we saw {he's the one in the yellow shirt}:

His official time was 3:30:13.  He had been aiming for 3:30:00.  He said it was close enough. 

I agreed. 

I have always been proud of Handsome Hero.  He is brilliant, he is steady, he is strong and capable.  He is a wonderful provider with a selfless servant heart.  But watching him cross that line gave me a whole new level of pride.  

Congratulations on your accomplishment, my Handsome Hero!

Friday, May 27, 2011

My big boy

Jack just started using a spoon. He was never interested until this week. He's been using a fork for awhile now, which I think is much trickier, but never cared to try the spoon. Here is how Jack explains the experience for himself.

Yo, yo, wassup?  I'm talkin' to you, my homie!  Check out my moves!

You put the blue spoon in,

 You take the blue spoon out!

You put the blue spoon in,

Then you stir it all about!

You open up your mouth

as wide as you can do!

  That's what it's all about!  YEAH!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Banana ice cream recipe

When I first heard of this recipe, I thought it was crazy.  One ingredient ice cream?  Seriously?  Seriously.  And it's wonderful.  All you need are frozen overripe bananas and a food processor.

When we recently had a couple of very warm days, our bananas went south faster than we could eat them.  So we froze them for either smoothies, banana bread, or banana ice cream.  Ella helped me mark the freezer bag.  Those are shapes, in case you're wondering.

Break your bananas into pieces,

And drop them into the processor.  My food processor was a wedding gift and is really nice and heavy.  I'm not sure how well this recipe will work in a lesser quality or lighter weight machine.  It's worth a shot.  If it doesn't work, you can make banana bread.  Just thinking positive.

Do a few pulses first, and then let 'er go.  This takes awhile, up to ten minutes or so {which is why I'm not sure how well this will work with a lesser quality machine}.  This is the first stage - little banana peas.

This is the second phase - creamy in parts, whole banana pieces in parts.  You'll need to scrape down occasionally.  Hello, Ella!

This is the third phase - almost totally creamy, but with some lumps. Disclaimer: No little girls were harmed in the making of this product.

When it's smooth with a soft-serve consistency, dig in.  I recently hosted a craft night at my house and made banana ice cream with topping choices of toasted graham cracker, dark chocolate shavings, and blueberries.  It was a hit!

Enjoy!  It's best when served immediately. 

p.s.  Learn from my mistakes.  I have made this with bananas that weren't totally frozen, and it came out like baby food.  Also, make what you think you'll eat.  Leftovers, while okay, are not as good as "fresh."

Yum!  The perfect end to a cookout!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Picnic on the lawn

We had a really nice day on Tuesday, and got out to enjoy it as much as possible.  We still needed jackets, but it was a beautiful day.

We spread a blanket on the lawn and enjoyed our sippie cups and snack picnic.

Ella played with the soccer ball.

And Jack and I stayed on the blanket.  He doesn't like the feeling of grass yet.

What a beautiful day!  This is the day that the Lord has made! 

 Let us Rejoice and Be Glad in it!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Straight pin tutorial

Sometimes I can get a little carried away in my "I could make that" world.  This tutorial is a case in point {pun intended}.  If you have a sewing machine, and even if you don't, chances are you have straight pins.  They are tools, like a needle and thread. 

But why not make them pretty?  I saw these personalized straight pins and thought it would be a great naptime project.  Things like this appeal to me.  I think they would make a great gift for someone who enjoys sewing, and they're easy to make.  You can match your straight pins to your sewing area decor!  Isn't that exciting?  ...what?  You don't think it's thrilling to match your straight pins to a room?  Oh.  Well,'s how you do it.  Just in case you change your mind.

You'll need:
GOOP or E-6000 glue
Extra long straight pins
Beads {glass or ceramic}
Glass seed beads, in case your bead hole are a little too large.


I found these beads at Hancocks and loved that they were all a little different.

I couldn't get a good picture of the glue on the pin, but imagine with me.  Thread on the seed bead, if needed, and then put a little glue on the pin where your decorative bead will be.  Slip on your bead and set it aside to dry.  You could stick the pins into something like a pin cushion or styrofoam, but you need to keep the beads pushed against the head of the pin until the glue cures. 

I dropped mine in a crevice in my sewing table and let gravity work for me.

This is what I ended up with.

Aren't they pretty?  Now, don't you think you should have pretty straight pins, too?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Sweet Potato Recipe IN THE WORLD

Even if you don't like sweet potatoes, you will probably like this recipe.  It. is. to. die. for.  My family loves them {even Handsome Hero, who normally doesn't like sweet potatoes}, and they have become a staple company dish.  The recipe comes from the cooking magazine Cook's Illustrated.

My favorite part of this dish is that it brings out the best flavor from the sweet potatoes while being the healthiest way to eat them that I've ever seen. 

There is a con, however, to this recipe.  It takes up your oven space for over an hour.  I usually use this recipe if we are grilling out or doing a skillet dinner that is complementary.

Sweet potatoes
Olive Oil
Cooking spray

Peel your sweet potatoes.  You want to choose potatoes that are relatively the same size.  These two sweet potatoes will make enough for our family of four {the kids eat as big a portion as we do of these puppies potatoes}.

Cut the potatoes into medallions between 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  If you go with thicker medallions, you might need to add to the cooking time.

Put the medallions into a bowl and put enough oil to coat {a couple of teaspoons should do it}.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with a cooking spray.  Don't skip this step or you won't be able to turn the potatoes.  Spread potatoes on the pan.

Cover the pan with foil and stick it into a cold oven on the middle rack.  Don't look at how dirty my oven is.  It's all in your mind.

Turn the oven to 425.  Cook them covered for 30 minutes.  Then take the foil off and return them to the oven.

Cook another 15-20 minutes until the bottoms are browned.  Flip them over with a thin spatula.  Put them back in the oven.

Cook for another 15 minutes or so until the other side is browned.

These have no sugar, but they are wonderfully sweet.  When she was visiting, my mom cooked them to a darker color than I ever had {I thought they were burnt} and they were great.  The taste reminded us of campfire marshmallows - the ones that catch fire and you quickly blow out and then gobble up.

They're perfect wherever a potato side dish is appropriate.  My mom has made this same recipe using good ole' russets and says it works very well, so if you're a diehard sweet potato hater {like my dad} then you can alter the recipe. 

Silly haters.  Don't know what they're missing. 

I love you, Dad.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Because I said so

Okay, I am not a huge fan of "Because I said so" as an answer, but sometimes, it just fits.

Mama, why can't I wear my swimsuit over my clothes to go to the store?

Because I said so.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Psalm 23

My parents have a recording of me reciting Psalm 23.  I'm around Ella's age, and when I get toward the end, instead of "in the presence of my enemies" I say, "in the presidents of my enemies."

Apparently, this misunderstanding of Psalm 23 is genetic.

We were sitting at lunch, and this is the conversation that followed.

Ella:  I don't like the name 'Sake'.
Me:  Who is named Sake?
Ella:  You know, in Psalm 23.  'He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name, Sake.'

It never once occurred to me to explain that part of the passage.  It never once occurred to me that it was confusing.  It never once occurred to me to really think through that verse myself. 

It has now occurred to me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Playtime in the tent

This is my baby and me.  And this is how we play.
Jack plays in his tent. 
I take his picture while he's playing in the tent.
 He thinks it's funny to look at me through the mesh.
 So he does.
 Then he comes in really close to me.
  And hands me toys.
 And pretends not to want them back.
 Then he looks at me through the mesh.
 And goes off to find something new.
And that, my friends, is how we play. 
Then End