Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
My new favorite cookie recipe is this old family tea cake recipe. It makes the cutest little round cookies that taste a lot like the frosted ones from the grocery store bakery:
2/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Roll into 1 inch balls. Smoosh with a buttered glass dipped in colored sugar or sprinkles.
Bake at 375 for 8 minutes, makes about 3 dozen.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This very simple mac and cheese recipe is my mother-in-law's:
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Well, this weekend is restaurant week. Andy and I have planned not just one, but two date nights as a belated Valentine's Day. Andy notes we don't actually have to tell the truth in the journal, though many parents include some photos to document their adventures. We'll see what we come up with; I hope our furry houseguest doesn't think we are bad hosts.
Monday, February 16, 2009
After a visit to the ocean, mammals, and dinosaurs, we decided to head next door to the recently renovated American History museum for lunch and a quick visit. The last time we went to Natural History, we ate at the newly renovated Atrium Cafe. The food was good, but the prices were exhorbitant. American History's cafe was no different. We had barbecue that rivaled a "real" restaurant, but lunch for three at more than thirty dollars was a bit pricey considering Emily had a side dish and a small milk. Since the museums are free, perhaps admission for three at two museums plus lunch all for thirty dollars isn't so bad. It was well-worth seeing Emily get excited about the exhibits. We only had time for two exhibits at American History -- Invention at Play and the Hall of Transportation. The invention area looked like a great place for elementary school aged children to explore with a lot of hands on exhibits. The Hall of Transportation has been recently renovated into a room that flows from horse-drawn trailors and early trains to motorcycles and minivans. There's even a Chicago El train that visitors can climb aboard. Next time we'll have to start at American History so that we have time to see more before naptime.
Joy of Cooking Meatloaf
24 oz. ground meat (I used half beef, half pork)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup fresh parsely (I use the food processor to mince the onion and parsely)
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp thyme
2/3 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
For Italian style add to the above,
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
combine ingredients, do not overmix
bake mini loaf 45 minutes at 350 degrees
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Faith, hope, and love, the greatest among these is love. Tonight I am reminded of a dear friend Susan's children and their family's work with the March of Dimes on behalf of babies everywhere. Now 6-years old, when Jake and Abby were born 92 days early they had only a 50-50 chance of survival. Jake weighed 1 lb. 15 oz., and Abby weighed 1 lb. 13 oz. That’s about the size of a beanie baby bear…or as one of their doctors put it, a good sized cheeseburger. They experienced a range of difficulties at birth, not the least of which was breathing on their own. Jake had three surgeries before ever leaving the hospital. Both kids had RSV, a life threatening and permanently damaging respiratory virus. Both of them also had severe brain hemorrhaging, causing permanent brain damage.
Abby has substantial hearing loss, and Jake has mild cerebral palsy as a result of the damage. But that certainly doesn’t stop them from doing anything! In fact, to know Jake and Abby, you would have NO IDEA that they were born so early. They are truly miracle babies.
No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to understand the causes of prematurity and birth defects. That's why Jake and Abby's family and friends are participating in the March for Babies as a Family Team. Family Teams are made up of friends and family who want to honor babies – babies born prematurely or with a birth defect, babies who didn’t survive, or healthy, full-term babies. Premature birth touches half a million babies and their families every year. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. Birth defects pose another serious threat – taking the lives of many babies and cause lifelong disabilities for thousands more. So it’s important for us to help the March of Dimes help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This modern twist on the classic, Itsy Bitsy Spider by Keith Chapman, brings together fun illustrations, rhyming, and alliteration into a short book that preschoolers love. The spider, "spinning silver silk webs high up in a barn," bounces from one farm animal to another and finally in the safety of his mom's web. This book is one of Emily's favorites -- I think the combination of animals, sounds, and a fun ending she can anticipate make it especially fun.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Chicago-style pizza (the easy way)
refrigerated pizza crust--I like the fresh kind and would make my own in the bread machine if I could keep yeast "alive"
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, mild
can of crushed tomatoes
oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, garlic powder to taste
10" round cake pan.
Spray cake pan, spread pizza dough across the bottom
lay cheese slices on dough
spread raw (yes, raw) sausage on the cheese, leaving about an inch of crust sticking out sides
cover with plastic wrap along the surface of the sausage and refrigerate
remove pizza from refrigerator to bring closer to room temperature
preheat oven to 425
spread crushed tomatoes, seasoned to taste, across sausage
bake 35-45 minutes until browned and bubbly.
Andy and I (wanna-be-foodies) enjoy eating our way through travels and trying to replicate local specialties when we get home. We rarely succeed completely, which keeps traveling interesting, but our copies are close enough to bring back fond memories of our travels. Tonight, we could smell Lou Malnati's without leaving home.
I've read that taking things away is not effective for toddlers -- the key is earning privileges rather than losing them. So, I'm thinking I've got to start some kind of reward chart. This led me to simplemom.net, which has a pretty cool downloadable chore chart. I'm debating whether to wrap potty training into the chart too or whether that'd just be too much for Emily to understand. Andy and I might start charts for ourselves too with stickers for working out, picking up, and washing dishes. I've been looking for some local art for my walls lately, maybe this is just the ticket!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Day 1, we headed to My Gym for Emily's weekly class. She had a blast sliding into the ball pit and jumping on the trampoline. Andy and I had a date of sorts in the afternoon and enjoyed lunch at Coastal Flats and a meal-prep session at Let's Dish. I feel slightly guilty about paying someone else to do the shopping and cut up the vegetables for me, but having quick, tasty meals on-hand is well-worth it. I like being able to alter the recipes--a little more cheese, a little less onion--unlike grocery-store prepared foods.
Day 2, we hosted a pizza-making playdate (complete with tickle-torture pictured here). The girls couldn't have cared less about eating the pizzas they created, but we had fun. Emily flips into "show-off mode" any time a friend comes by. The nice side effect to this is that she plays with toys she's ignored for months.
Day 3, we headed out for a special breakfast and then back to My Gym for a make-up class. Since we had been there a few days before, the class was the same more-or-less. Emily seemed to LOVE that, presumably because she could predict what was going to happen next. She has gotten really brazen lately, and was even telling the coaches what steps they had missed in the routine when they did things a little differently than the coaches from two days before. Everyone seemed to take it all in stride. That evening, I had a play date of my own and met a friend at the ice rink. It had been four years and a baby since I had been to the rink, eight years since I had skated nearly every day. It felt great to get back on the ice and discover that I could still do a spin or two (barely).
Day 4, just when we thought we had this stay-at-home thing under control, Emily managed to go through the house like a tornado, undoing all the cleaning we had done before the Day 2 playdate. And she talked. Non-stop. All day. She tends to provide color commentary for everything she does and repeats herself constantly: "Me-may changing Bertha, Bertha stinky, Me-may get diaper for Bertha, Me-may making lunch for babies, Me-may make lunch, Me-may changing Bertha . . . " Most of the time it is cute to see what is going through her head. Today it was simply too much. Maybe because we were trying to watch the inauguration coverage, maybe because we were feeling slightly trapped because of said inauguration's road closures, maybe because we were all a bit under the weather. I feel slightly guilty admitting that I'm ready for a quiet day at the office.