Showing posts with label On the Range. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On the Range. Show all posts

Friday, January 03, 2014

{52}: cheer to spare


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
December 24 - 31, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Happy New Year! We had a lovely week. Nate's sister Katie came to visit, and the girls adored her and insisted she share every moment and toy with them. It was the kind of spectacular display of love that makes these girls so endearing, despite the roller coaster emotions and behaviors that are three and five years old.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{51}: making lists, wrapping gifts


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
December 17 - 23, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

My week...

  • Hustling and bustling to get ready for Christmas! We paused to watch The Sound of Music in two parts of the last few mornings. I wonder if that will become a new tradition for us. At one point, Charlie said wistfully, "I wish I was a child of Maria's." Oh well, gee, thanks a lot kiddo. But really, who doesn't wish that?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

{41}: pumpkin alexander


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."


On the Range
October 8 - 14, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Charlieisms
  •  Are you listening to that blah blah music again? (she meant opera music)
  • Me: You can paint for one more minute. Charlie: No! I want to paint for all the minutes.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

{40}: leaf peepers

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
October 1 - 7, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

{39}: behold the lord high executioner

Junior choir practice for "The Mikado." The director is tough as nails and fantastic.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
September 24 - 30, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.
My week...

  • Thanks to junior choir practice, I now sing this song in my head all the livelong day.
  • I accompanied my friend to the mall to provide support while she checked out some watches. It had been so long since I've been in a mall. After that trip, I now crave these welly socks that I spotted in Nordstrom.
  • Our 9th anniversary is tomorrow! I do believe nine years is a pair of welly socks. {hint, hint}


Media

  • Anna Gunn wrote an excellent NY Times op-ed discussing what the "I hate Skyler White" vitriol could mean about our culture (spoiler: it ain't good).
  • I enjoyed this New Yorker article arguing against holding back younger kids. A main point of the article is that research with the younger kids suggests, "in striving to catch up with their peers, they ended up surpassing them."
  • Here's another New Yorker article suggesting Middlemarch is a good story to weave into an episode of Girls. I can't wait to see if she does.
  • Thanks to my friend Emily for sharing this article giving positive ways to encourage your kids to take turns on their own terms. Building patience muscles is hard but important work.
  • I am intrigued by Popular Science's decision to stop website commenting (thanks for sharing, Noe!). I think NPR should consider doing the same.
  • I know I'm late to the party, but I would like to know where they got this dress for Marnie.

Monday, September 23, 2013

{38}: town day


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
September 17 - 23, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


Milestones & Isms

  • Charlie: Mommy, let's play zig zag ohses! (she meant tic tac toe)
  • Charlie (earlier in the week): Can you turn it a little upper? (the music)
  • Vivi: Daddy, are you going to Mulan the grass?

Media


Meals

  • Microwave-baked apples, so good over ice cream or oatmeal
  • Gwumpki (stuffed cabbage rolls)
  • I made chili and then ate the leftovers with noodles when I was in a hurry. It was definitely an eating-over-the-sink mom moment. As I made it, Tina Fey's voice sang in my head, "You take some pasta, roll it in some chili, top it with some cheddar cheese...you got cheesy chili mac!"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{37}: fall is here!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
September 10 - 16, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


Media


Meals



I'm not sure why I never posted this video before (or if I did, I can't find where), but I just rediscovered it on my desktop this morning. It's of Vivi collecting "clumps" of snow. It was hilarious to me because there was more snow on the ground than one could possibly enjoy, yet she was finding special mounds that she insisted on carrying with her. Girl loves her some winter weather.

video

Here's a video of Charlie playing by herself. I love the age when they talk to themselves in teeny munchkin voices.

video

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{36}: standing still

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
September 3 - 9, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

My week...

We spent most of the week trying to keep our heads above water. It was the first time in my memory that we have all been sick with the same bad cold at the same time. Oh, the TP! We also got ready for kindergarten, with both an orientation and a screening for Vivi. She was excited to start school. I'll share more about that tomorrow.

Media

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

{35}: DC

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
August 27 - September 2, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


My week...

  • We made our annual trek to DC to visit our friends David and Caroline and let our kids play together. I used to dream about having two generations of friends in one room, so it's great for me to see it actually play out in real life.

Media

  • Design Mom offered a refreshing and simple mom's take on the Miley incident. But if you want to delve into deeper issues like feminist solidarity and minstrelsy, see this deeper reflection on Jezebel's GroupThink.
  • Historical fiction is quickly becoming my favorite genre. I just finished The Paris Wife and loved it. Before that I loved Sarah's Key. Here's an NPR story that recommends more historical fiction choices for the summer.
  • The Bloggess sums up the quirkiness of bloggers well.
  • Segregation is gone, but that doesn't mean integration has happened. This map is a beautiful way to represent the demographic facts.
  • The Onion's fake explanation is generally better stated than the real one could be, as is the case for this CNN.com discussion about Miley Cyrus and the VMAs
  • I'd like to read this book, even if it means no more shopping at H&M
  • Interesting take on consumerism in children's books. I think shelves and bins are not a bad idea, but I agree with the author that they could have covered the donation and purge of stuff too.

Meals
  • Thanks to Elle, we are pumping ourselves up to make a bunch of these freezable meals. Sweet potato shepherd's pie or lentil curry, anyone?

Monday, August 26, 2013

{34}: latin pickles


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
August 20 - 26, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Media

  • Another reason to love The Oatmeal. As if I needed one.
  • I of course agree with the author of this article about dolls that are too sexy for our little girls. It's tough to choose which doll is most revolting. What ever happened to the rag dolls of my childhood? Why does it seem everyone if becoming brainwashed into buying these horrific examples of sexualization? It's a hard pill to swallow that even if we avoid them as we are earnestly attempting to do, we will still have to deal with others purchasing them. 


Meals


I made these taco pickles this week, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the recipe. After some googling, I landed on this version on the NY Times that included cauliflower and cumin seeds, and I was inspired to alter the recipe a bit to make them crunchier and more complex. What I ended up with is deliciously spicy and saltier than the original (her "salt to taste" direction ended in failure the first time), and it's different enough that I decided to share my creation. I hope you enjoy them!


latin pickles

1 bunch of radishes
1 large carrot
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 fresh jalepenos
handful of cilantro, whole or chopped
2 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. cold water
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted
1 dried pepper (we prefer arbol)
2 cloves garlic (optional)




Thinly slice all the veggies or put them through a mandolin. Depending on how spicy you want your pickles, you can either seed the jalepenos first or cut them into rings with the seeds intact (which is what we do). Toss the cut-up veggies with the salt in a large bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, bring the vinegars to a simmer in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, and stir until it dissolves. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the water. Let it cool on the counter or in the refrigerator. 

Toast the cumin seeds and add them and the dried pepper, and garlic if you are using it, to the bottom of a QT sized mason jar. Top with the veggies and cilantro. If you like the idea of eating the cilantro with your pickles, chop it up; otherwise, you can leave it in whole, which results in less cilantro flavor but a cleaner-looking brine. 

Once the liquid has cooled, pour it over the veggies until it covers them. Store them in the fridge and eat within a few weeks. As the original recipe creator said, they are great on tacos, and they also pair splendidly with tamales, burritos, and other recipes where latin flavors and acid are appreciated.

Monday, July 22, 2013

{29}: pickles and salsa

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
July 16 - 22, 2013

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Milestones

  • Charlieism: She saw Nate's hairy chest and said, "Daddy, you have mustaches all over your body!"


My week...

  • HOT HOT HOT. Ugh. The heat finally let up to reveal the glory of breezy New England summer. Finally.
  • We missed bluegrass night at Wright-Locke's Thursday night family farm event, both because it was so hot and because Nate was stuck at work. But I hope we make it next week for movie night!

Media

  • Oliver Sacks spoke to On Point about getting older. It's a great listen from one of my favorite authors.
  • If you're a fellow word nerd, lists of misused words aren't news to you. But I particularly like the funny way a blogger put together this list. If you like that one, here's another similar list
  • This month's Edible Boston magazine is one of the best I've read so far. Here are links to my favorite articles:
  • Stuff to laugh at:
  • Anyone seen the new Andie McDowell show yet? It's on the Hallmark channel, but it sounds like might not actually be television for idiots this time because it's based on a story by Debbie Macomber, a cool women's fiction writer who cooks and knits. Gimme your review if you caught the first episode.

Meals
  • I can't wait for it to be tomato season! I'm stalking Verrill Farm's website, lying in wait for when their heirloom varieties are in. End of July can't come soon enough. I want to try out local kitchen's spicy salsa this year. Last year we made her basic red salsa, which is delicious.
  • Edible Boston also included a great article about pickling with some recipes. I've made the refrigerator dills already. They are so good and so easy. Next time I'll forgo the Penzey's pickling spice blend for dill, coriander and mustard seeds, since the cloves and allspice seeds tend to overpower the dill. I will also cut the sugar a bit since they aren't being canned. The apple cider vinegar is a bit sweet already, so they really don't need 1/4 cup of additional sugar.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

{28}: grilling

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
July 9 - 15, 2013


My week...
  • We spent a lot of time at the local reservoir trying to cool ourselves in this ridiculous heat. Remind me why I've chosen to live in New England again? Something about it being cooler, or so I thought. At this point it feels like I might as well be back in Georgia where at least they've figured out air conditioning.
  • Vivi's kindergarten paperwork came yesterday, and we were so excited that she got the teacher we liked! We only met them for a few minutes, but Nate and I both had a good feeling about one of the three. I am relieved that what feels like our first hurdle has been passed. Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with all this free time I'm going to have. Decisions!

Media

Meals

Monday, May 20, 2013

{20}: I wish I was in the Caribbean rum punch

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
May 14 - 20, 2013

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

We are at the Belmont Town Day in this picture. As Becky would say, see how Charlie is having fun but Vivi is really selling it? Also, I choose not to correct Charlie when she calls the carousel a "fairies go around." The adorable meter is at an all-time high with her.

My week...

  • I am trying to get ready for my big trip, which involves lots of digging up baby clothing and maternity stuff to give to my preggers cuz. Yay! I am happy to be rid of it, with only minor pangs of baby nostalgia along the way. I keep reminding myself that once her baby is wearing all this loot, my heart will go on...
  • My major dilemma at the moment is what I want to do next year. Do I want to try to get ready for nursing school or get a real-live job? Decision time is nigh, and I haven't a clue which direction I am headed.

Media

  • Vice article in which James Franco reviews the Gatsby film. I plan to go see it as soon as someone offers to watch the kiddos for an evening

Meals
  • Lentil barley soup by Jacques Pepin
  • Do you count cocktails as a meal? I will. I made Caribbean rum punch this evening, and in it I put ice, dark rum, tangerine juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, and grenadine. It is a sugar shock but in a good way.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

on the range {week 18}: updated


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
April 30 - May 6, 2013

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

I can't claim credit for my post title today. My aunt has a framed photo of herself and her sister as little girls, and she wrote a variation of this sentence below it. It always made me chuckle as a kid, even the thousand and fortieth time I read it, so I've been dying to steal it ever since.

Update: So, apparently it's not a good idea to use certain words in your post title, for they attract p*rn sites. Thus, I removed a sentence in my title that said "A coupla [warm baby birds] standing around." Except I didn't way "warm baby birds" but other words that mean the same thing as those words. You got me? Sheesh, the stuff you learn blogging. It could fill a house. Or at the very least a single-wide trailer.


Milestones

  • Vivi came inside after playing to tell me with a serious look on her face..."Mommy, I've realized something. Bubbles are not fantastic, they are terrible and not fun. AND a mess." Then she showed me her hands, which she then proceeded to wash carefully after throwing away the bubble stuff. Is she her father's child or what? Ha! The whole scene makes me giggle every time I think about it again.
  • Charlotte is a common name up here, as is the nickname "Charlie" for boys, so one way I like to distinguish my Charlie is to give her lots of other nicknames. Chuck is my personal favorite (did you ever see that short-lived program, Pushing Daisies?). Lotti is not really that cute in my opinion, but it's fun when you add something to it, like Lotti McSniffles when she's sick. I change it up for added interest, like Chuckles McFussyBritches when she's tantruming. Vivi's been playing around with it too, but the other day she said something like "Charlie McFuckles," totally by accident of course, and I still haven't recovered from all the laughing. 
  • My little brother turns 20 today. If that doesn't make you feel old, I dunno what will. Happy birthday bro!

Media

  • You can't spit without running into a fairy garden these days. They are the terrariums of 2013. But who cares? They are awesome! Whatever gets my kid in the dirt is ok by me. One of my favorite how-tos is this one by Beth of Remarkably Domestic. I think the pipe is too much for me, but I'm all for grouting some rocks onto an old pot I have lying around. Cute, huh?
  • Do you love IKEA as much as me? If so, you will love this Apt Therapy article compiling ideas for hacking their furniture to create cute stuff for your kids. I wish I were that crafty.
  • I'm not sure if this LA Times story would have always made me so steaming mad or if it's partly because I just got done re-reading Lee's novel. I mean, really, the nerve of people! Will we never live down the stories of old people being swindled by snaky men? Let's hope she gets herself an Atticus-worthy attorney.
  • Yet another reason to love Jenny Lawson, cuz she ain't gonna let no door tell her what to do.
  • I am so glad I know better than to "birthday jack" Facebook posts about my kid turning 5. So creepy. If this ever changes, friends, you know what to do. 

Meals
  • Beef vegetable soup
  • I tried a new thing at Trader Joe's, which doesn't happen often. They are called aloo chaat kati, found in the frozen meal section, and they look like Indian hot pockets--except they are way more delicious. Like the samosas at TJ's, it's a vegetarian meal that is greasy enough that it satisfies me the way eating meat does--no easy feat in my mind.
  • In the interest of full meal disclosure, I had not one but two bowls of Trader Joe's mango sorbet last night, with coconut sprinkled on top. So yummy.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

on the range {week 17}: in the dirt

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
April 23 - 29, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

My week...
  • Has been spent with the front door open. As a way of explaining my absence--apart from celebrating the queen's fifth birthday and the visit of a much-missed mother--note exhibit A below:

Media
  • All of my library holds arrived in the same week (does this happen to you?), so I now have in my possession a stack of books that make me out to be more intelligent than deserved. They are:
    • A Victorian rebel: the life of William Morris by...somebody I can't remember
    • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    • Lean In: women, work, and the will to lead (the sound recording) by Sheryl Sandburg
    • The Sound and the Fury & As I lay Dying by William Faulkner
    • Persuasion (annotated version) by Jane Austen (and the annotator, name I can't recall)
  • Mom and I watched a few episodes of "Bored to Death" the past few nights, and I chuckled a lot out loud, which is my only requirement of 30-minute programming. I recommend it if you can find it at your library.
I'm going now to catch up on the blogs, since all I could manage in the past week is Elle's hilarious portrayal of the horseshittery (her word, stolen by yours truly) of fellow parents. Her mordant humor slays me. Also, I wish I could say I've been cooking, but apart from cranking out Dutch babies by the armful, I've been on a heat-and-serve kick. Must be all that spring fever. 

What have y'all been up to while I've been gone? Do tell of your doings, lovelies. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

on the range {week 16}: nothing a little Pooh can't fix

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

On the Range
April 16 - 22, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Vivi: To make us all feel better, we borrowed Winnie the Pooh from the library, which we can count on to cheer us up. This pic is Vivi laughing heartily when Pooh's growling belly makes him dance.

Charlie: Watching her big sis for directions on the next part of their game. She doesn't miss a moment.

Milestones

  • Charlie is finally getting her molars this week, which in my experience has been the most painful of all the teeth to arrive. Poor little dear. There has been lots of cuddling in my house this week and several banana milkshakes consumed by all.
  • Vivi still calls insect repellant "bug scream." I consider it one of the last of her early childhood malapropisms, and I am in no hurry to correct her. It never ceases to make me laugh.

My week
  • I am finally reading The Hunger Games trilogy of books this week, and I can't put them down! No, seriously, someone pry this book from my hands and force me to feed my children. I think I avoided the books for so long because I was somehow convinced they were Twilight-ish in nature. I have no reasoning for this connection other than both series involve teens. But they are so much better than I expected, and I find myself juxtaposed between racing to find out what happens and not wanting it to end.

Moods

  • Sad and relieved. I am sad about the bombing, sad that prejudices about foreigners were just buoyed by one more "told-ya-so," sad that the boy they identified and caught is so young. But I am relieved they brought him in and that they did so alive. These people we've put in charge of our lives, they are amazing. I think we can't tell them this truth enough, so I will likely join the millions of other women who will be making them brownies this week.
  • Humdrum. It is raining and low 40's again today. Egads! I won't bore you with my complaints again.
  • Smug. I knew lots of my words of the day this week. Do you get this email service? I enrolled so I could learn some new words, but an unexpected outcome is that I feel smug at words I already know. I mean, who doesn't know the definition of "decamp"? It seems like a word even Dubya would know, you know?

Media

  • Funny article from Gawker about a Fox & Friends reaction to a law requiring mandatory translation services in Ohio public schools. My favorite commenter, when asked what Gretchen Carlson would be translated to in Spanish, says her Castillian name would be "La Gringa Estupida de Wonderbread con Mayo."
  • My cousin Alice shared two hilarious clips this week. The first is Stephen Colbert's "Oopsie-Daisy Homophobe", which is brilliant. Boy does he ever have his finger on the pulse of political & pop culture humor. The second is a clip of a news team cracking up after interviewing Ryan Lochte. Thanks Alice!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

on the range {week 15}: see tot swim

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
Vivi: This picture is obviously not from this week, but I hadn't gotten pictures off my little camera in a while, and this one is really cute of her while trick-or-treating in our neighborhood dressed as Batgirl.

Charlie: She had her last swim class this morning. I added a video snippet below.

On the Range
April 9 - 15, 2013

Milestones
  • While Vivi is still unable to read, her artistry skills are moving right along. Recently she drew a picture of a paintbrush drawing a picture. I hadn't realized that kind of perspective was possible for a four-year-old to create on her own. That's good, yes?
  • Proving yet again that my life is an Abbot & Costello routine, I explained to Vivi that I was shoveling the fireplace ash into a bucket (specifically, my new old coal bucket from the trade shop) because I will save it to sprinkle in the compost. She replied, "But Mommy, why did you burn cash in the fire? That doesn't seem like a smart idea." And that's the end of our show, folks. Please tip your server on the way out.
  • Here's a video of my little fish, Charlie, on her last day of swim class (in which there were no other children due to it occurring during vacation week). We will miss her adorable, patient instructor. I'm sure there's no way to request a teacher at the Y, they aren't that organized over there, and they do seem to like to spread the wealth of talent; thus, Vivi has a teacher with braces who appears to be in seventh grade:
video


My week...
  • When it comes to home decorating and furniture organization, I am as useless as tits on a boar hog. Luckily my husband is semi-talented in this life skill and did some nice swapping of items in our upstairs rooms and then deposited an old dresser at Goodwill of his own accord. I'm looking forward to my mom's trip in a few weeks so she can add her tasteful touch.
  • Though I sorely lack decorating skills, I am an excellent organizer and purger of junk. One item removed from the house yesterday was a Barbie-sized plastic toilet, and I shit you not (hee) when I tell you it had a tiny handle that could be flushed to reveal a colorful sticker meant to represent the stuff that goes in a toilet, with accompanying sounds of the stuff going in. I consider myself a real peach for allowing said toy to be allowed in the house for a whole year before it got the boot. I mean really, who are these toy producers anyway? Let's leave something up to our children's imagination, shall we? I choose the dolls' bodily functions. I feel certain my children will some day forgive my stinginess. 
Moods
  • Yesterday's bombing of the Boston Marathon is of course on everyone's mind. When I found out it was for sure some homemade bombs and not a gas line explosion, my first thought was "the last time I lived in a major city that was bombed in this way was during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta." Then I thought about how sad it is that I have already lived in two cities that have experienced bombings in only 17 years. Then I thought about how fortunate we are as Americans not to experience bombings daily as they do in some places. So, yes, it's an emotional roller coaster around here.
Media

  • It's difficult to read the gruesome reports coming out about the victims of the bombing. This Globe article describes brothers who each lost a leg. They had been standing next to the family who lost their 8-year-old son. But my favorite article is on the Cognoscenti blog by a MIT professor of international security, and it's called "They Picked the Wrong City."
  • I've been pondering how to give the girls some good backyard play action, and I found this cute idea for an outdoor "mud pie kitchen." It seems simple enough that even I could build it. I wonder if I can get my hands on old crates or other reclaimed wood.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

on the range {week 14}: new shoes!

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

On the Range
April 2 - 8, 2013

Milestones
  • Charlie had one of her first "Charlieisms" recently when we were standing outside Vivi's school. A few of the kids had been playing a game in which they pretended to be afraid of the cracks on the wall and sidewalk. Charlie didn't really understand the game and was understandably shaken, so I explained that sometimes cracks happen, and we don't need to worry about it. About 15 minutes later, Charlie ran up and a friend said "How are you, Charlie?," to which she replied "Sometimes we do crack!" We all had a good belly-laugh over that one. Good thing my friends know me well enough.
  • As I mentioned on Facebook earlier this week, Vivi is still occasionally having Vivisms, like the other day when she pointed at some scratches and said "I have three boobies, Mommy!"
  • Charlie swam without me in the pool this week! Her teacher says she's definitely ready to move up a level, but he's not sure they allow kids as young as her in that class. Go girl!
My week...
  • We are trying some of the ideas in French Kids Eat Everything, and so far it's a great experiment! More soon.
  • I am beginning to plan out our summer, and it's fun to think about all the adventures we'll have. I never realized that summers while staying home with my kids were going to be almost as good as the ones I had as a child. It's been unexpectedly great!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

on the range {week 11}: rye bread and dukkah

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
On The Range
March 11 - 18, 2013

Milestones

  • Vivi asked me a tough question this week, which prompted us to gather a bunch of books from the library. Currently we have a few about nutrition, taste, the brain, and why we make so many funny bodily functions (sneeze, cough, blink, yawn, burp, etc.). It's been fun to see the learning in action.
  • Speaking of learning, she arrived home from school a few days ago to announce that she knew all of the names of the planets, including "Mahs," "Jupitah," and "Satuhn." I laughed and took her to YouTube to commence some un-learning of the names.

My week...

  • It always strikes me as funny that Bostonians are so gung ho about St. Patrick's Day. I guess it's one of the only holidays where people are given free license to get drunk and be obnoxious a-holes, which is a beloved pastime up here. Only kidding!

Moods

  • READY. FOR. SPRING. Ugh.

Media


Meals


rye bread

2 1/2 c. bread flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 c. dark rye flour 
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (110-115 degF)
1 c. whole milk, room temp.
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 c. finely chopped onion (optional)
2 Tbs. whole caraway seeds (sometimes I do half fennel seeds)

Add rye flour, 1/2 c. bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast to a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix together with a whisk. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, add milk, oil, and water and incorporate with flour until the mixture resembles a thick batter. Add onion and caraway seeds, then slowly add remaining bread flour, 1/2 c. at a time, until you can turn out the dough onto a floured surface. 

Knead the dough aggressively for 5-10 minutes until your arms burn, the dough is no longer sticky, and it springs back when poked. Allow the dough ball to rest on the counter while you rinse the large bowl, then oil the bowl and add the dough to it, flipping it to coat it in oil. Cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free location until it has doubled in size, about 2 1/2 hours. My trick for getting bread to rise in the New England winter is to preheat the oven to 180 degF while I'm kneading, then turn it off. By the time I'm finished kneading, the oven is usually down to about 80 degF. I put the bowl in the oven, covered with the tea towel and topped with a digital thermometer, then I keep an eye on the temperature. If it drops, I use a heating pad to bring it back up to 80 degF.

Punch the risen dough down and put it back on your floured work surface. Let it rest while you gather the remaining supplies. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then sprinkle it with fine cornmeal (course-ground cornmeal is too crunchy and will make the bread an odd texture; if this is all you have, skip it completely); alternatively, you can use a pizza peel/baking stone instead of a baking sheet if you have one. Shape the dough into whatever form you desire; you can make small rolls, 2 medium baguette shapes, or 1 large loaf for sandwiches, which is my preferred shape. Cover again with  a tea towel and let rise for 40 minutes to an hour, until the dough has doubled again in size. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and make five slashes with a sharp or serrated knife.



Preheat oven to 425 degF. To make a crunchier crust, you can either spray water into the oven after putting the loaf in and immediately shut the door, or you can heat an iron skillet and pour hot water into it as you put the loaf in. Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn down the oven to 375 degF and cook for another 20-25 minutes until the crust is a golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. If, like me, you don't trust those methods of telling bread-doneness, you can also insert a thermometer in the bottom of the loaf; it should be 190-200 degF. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing, as the bread continues to cook after being taken out of the oven.


dukkah

I came across this spice blend at Trader Joe's and decided I could make my own at home. After consulting a few recipes online, I gave it a whirl. I like that it feels impossible to mess up, and the possible variations are endless. Hazelnuts are the traditional nut used, but I didn't have any so improvised with pine nuts and almonds. Pistachios also seem like a wonderful idea.

1 c. pine nuts (see note above)
1 c. almonds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1 Tbs. coriander seeds
1 Tbs. fennel seeds
1 Tbs. cumin seeds
1-2 tsp. black peppercorns, coarsely crushed (to taste)
1/2-1 tsp. salt (to taste)
up to 1 Tbs. red pepper flakes (optional, if you like it extra spicy)
1 tsp. dried mint (optional)

Toast nuts on a baking sheet in either the oven or toaster oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and smelling good. Be careful not to burn them! Burning can happen quickly, so they should be watched closely. Heat a small skillet over medium heat; toast the seeds for 5-8 minutes until fragrant. Toss with nuts and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground and combined. Do not over-pulse, or you will end up with nut butter.

Monday, March 11, 2013

on the range {week 10}: easy stir-fry

{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

Here are what the girls looked like just a year ago:



Here's them on Saturday after we made a snowman ("with a stick for a mouth and a carrot nose and two eyes made out of clementines"):

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

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