Amelia’s 2013/2014 Artwork

It’s always fun to go through Amelia’s art folder at the end of the year. The art teacher is outstanding and, as a result, so are many of the projects the kids create throughout the year. Enjoy!

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-PbpWjvH/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-fBDRwNM/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-8jXSPhQ/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-3pt42cv/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-cXLr5wg/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-WqBdwMg/A

 

http://photos.dspencer.net/Photostream/i-VqKkSmS/A

Amelia’s Dance Recital

This is the third year Amelia has danced with the Brentwood Dance School. It’s a great program, taught by the same woman for 35 years at the elementary schools. The girls dance every Monday evening throughout the school year and the recital on Mother’s Day weekend is the grand finale. Thanks for the great pictures Jessica!

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=3242884276&k=Z4MRj2h&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=3242884249&k=XbP3kfj&lb=1&s=A

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http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=3242884658&k=4NKDfMt&lb=1&s=A

Good friends, Avery, Amelia, and Haven

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=3242884952&k=WxCZ3Ks&lb=1&s=A

Odds and Ends

As usual, the kids have said several things I’ve meant to write down. Here’s what I can recall right now:

 

Amelia had her dance recital this past weekend. I had to get her “suntan tights” to wear with her costumes. She was all dressed and buckled into the car looking at her legs. She said “Mom, these tights look just like my skin without all the scrapes and bug bites.” She was very pleased and somewhat surprised.

 

Here is a conversation I walked in on between Will and Amelia. (Picture Amelia standing on a chair using hand motions while speaking.)

Amelia: “No, one comes out and then the other. They can’t both come out at the exact same time!”

Will: “Yes they can!”

Lindsay: “What are you talking about?” (Knowing very well it was twin child birth by the way Amelia was standing and moving her hands around.)

Amelia: “Who was born first, Luke or Leia.”

 

For Mother’s Day we tackled some yard work. In order to keep Will involved Dave suggested he become a soil conditioner and use the hoe to get the garden ready to plant. (An actual soil conditioner is pulled by a tractor). I walked by and asked how the soil conditioning was going and Will said “I need a tractor with more power.”

 

Maggie’s first sentence was “Watch this dada!”. We were outside on Saturday morning and she was showing him how high she could jump.

Maggie and I have a sweet game. When I say “Margaret” randomly, and in a sweet voice, she will say “I wove you”, and just keep going about her business. Often there isn’t even eye contact. She has no idea how much I love this game.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=3237785988&k=LtbFCq4&lb=1&s=A

 

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies (Smitten Kitchen)

3 cups flour, plus more for counter

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

16 T unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl, and set aside. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl. Mix in vanilla. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies), until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed. Cool on a wire rack.

Really?

Mom: “Will, please put your clothes away.”
Will: “Ugh, can’t you just give me a day off?”
Mom: “Are you kidding me?!!!!”
Will: Currently putting his clothes away.

5 min artisan bread

680 g (3 cups) water
1 tablespoon yeast
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
910 g (6.5 cups) flour

Mix and incubate at room temperature for 2 hours.

[optional] rest in fridge for up to two weeks

Shape into loaves and proof at room temperature for ~90 minutes

Bake at 450F for ~30 minutes or until internal temperature of the loaf is 203F

Amelia playing the violin

Here is Amelia playing the violin!

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/i-8PQQZ2n

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/i-Q8vHmpr

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=3086955982&k=bmtXNng

What will he say next?

I’m not sure if it’s Will or that I would find all 5-year olds funny (it’s likely just Will for me). Here are two things he said today that made me laugh and feel the need to record them.

1. They had a Valentine’s Day party at school today and he came home with a box of Valentines and candy. He wanted to have some candy after lunch and I’ve decided it’s better to just get rid of it as soon as possible, so I said sure. He started with a sucker and moved on to some stale licorice. Next I heard him say, mostly to himself, “I’ll go see if there’s anything else I want to get rid of.” He was gone for a moment and came back with M&Ms. He said “I wonder if these will be circle or heart shaped?”, justifying the need to open them immediately. “Circles, I knew it!” – commence eating M&Ms.

2. Realizing it is February 12th I put some red Valentine-like dishtowels in the kitchen. Will walked in, looked at the one hanging on the stove, and said “Looks like you’re trying to fancy-up this family, huh?” My only reaction was to laugh, pick him up, and say “I love you, and yes, I am trying to fancy-up this family!”

http://photos.dspencer.net/2014/Fall-Winter-2013/36985579_cJk8Z9#!i=3071416415&k=BJ9cSGm&lb=1&s=A

Wednesday February 5, 2014

We woke up to another snow day today. Amelia has only had 3 so far but it seems like it’s been a long, cold, snowy winter none the less. Maggie slept pretty poorly last night, waking up every hour or two. I was taking her temperature this morning, really just double checking the obvious reasons for the long night, when Will came in and said “Oh, is she feeling over the weather?” I love when they have their own colorful sayings. Will also asks me to “un-stain” his clothes while doing laundry and starts every sentence with “Mom, I have something to tell you.” I just laugh in response now, that is instead of weep at hearing this statement for the 413th time in one day.

Maggie is 18+ months old. She often reminds me of an ant picking things up I wouldn’t think she’d even attempt to move, and a monkey climbing up on just about anything. She is going to be a daredevil on the playground when the weather warms up. She is becoming more and more adamant about walking places on her own, saying “walK” with lots of inflection on the “K”, and insists on sitting at the table in a regular chair for all meals. Yes, the messes are impressive. (And Will is concerned about me “un-staining” his clothes!)

Off to check on the sledding across the street. Thank goodness for wonderful neighbors and a great sledding hill!

 

Wednesday January 15, 2013

Today started out as “one of those mornings”. Maggie must be teething or just torturing us. I was actually awake at 5:38 am when she started crying. I’ve been trained. I was able to get her back to sleep by the time Amelia crawled into bed with us. She couldn’t get back to sleep after being rudely woken up by her sister. All of us slept/snuggled until 7, this was the highlight. Naturally we were a little behind schedule, so when the coffee came out weak I nearly threw in the towel. I packed Amelia’s lunch with a leftover Jimmy Johns BLT sandwich, her favorite. What I didn’t realize until we were on the way to school was that  was all I had packed her. I told her and her response was “That’s totally fine mom, I’ve got bacon!”. Oh Amelia, my love, thank you.

 

While Will and Maggie were eating lunch this afternoon, Will was asking Maggie to repeat a bunch of new words. It went something like this:

W: Maggie, say “John”.

M: John (in Maggie speak with the inflection usually in the right place. This goes for almost everything that follows.)

W: Maggie, say “Uncle”.

M: Uncle

W: Maggie, say “Soil Conditioner”

M: Soil Conditioner

W: Maggie, say “Combine”

M: PAPA – and this was clear as day and with a big grin!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Anne Spencer – Family Cookbook)

3 T butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 20-ounce can pineapple slices

Nut halves (optional)

 

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Whipped cream

 

Melt 3 T butter in a 8- or 9-inch square pan. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar. Place pineapple slices in pan, with nut halves, if desired, in middle of slices. Mix flour, remaining brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add egg, 1/4 cup butter, milk, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Pour into pan over pineapple slices. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until the cake top is brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Happy 2014!

Happy new year! Here is a recap of our 2013

In January Maggie reached the 6 month mark. She was still willing to be a prop for Will’s toys at that point.

http://photos.dspencer.net/2013/Maggie-Is-6-Months/27804101_PP7b6P#!i=2344834771&k=LvBtKVR&lb=1&s=A

In February we vacationed in Cozumel. Maggie really enjoyed the local cuisine.

http://photos.dspencer.net/2013/Cozumel-2013/28258973_HFWWth#!i=2390652782&k=JXj3cS2&lb=1&s=A

Things were a little cooler in St. Louis in March… no swim suits required here.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2425868541&k=XgtGzCX&lb=1&s=A

We spent Easter with the Pantazis crew, baby chicks and all!

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2434839903&k=c3pnhms&lb=1&s=A

In April Amelia completed the St. Louis Read, Right, and Run Marathon, her first organized run (1 mile), with a finale that included thousands of students from around St. Louis.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2443324477&k=HDX2TZZ&lb=1&s=A

Amelia turned 7 on May 4th.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2506328254&k=HhVV9QV&lb=1&s=A

Maggie and I celebrated Grandma Kat’s 60th birthday in Washington.

http://photos.dspencer.net/2013/Grandma-Kats-60th-Birthday/29795150_jbXKdv#!i=2520188641&k=GNTDMR8&lb=1&s=A

In June Amelia, Vera, and Will went to Iowa for Gramma Camp, or Grandparent Camp like Will likes to call it. Maggie and I took a short road trip to hang out with Helen and Faye for some hot weather fun.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2574920233&k=j9XsVQ6&lb=1&s=A

We headed to Washington in July, non-stop action and Northwest beauty. Check out these kids!

http://photos.dspencer.net/2013/WA-Summer-Vacation/30907507_VMLpdL#!i=2631560859&k=Lfj4GJ9&lb=1&s=A

Maggie turned 1 on July 23rd.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2656609449&k=Z7JDXQX&lb=1&s=A

Summer wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to Green Lake, WI in August with lots of Spencer extended family.

 

 

In September we were back in the swing of school, soccer, and juggling activities with three kiddos.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2749563190&k=PFsL8dL&lb=1&s=A

(It can be exhausting.)

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2805568438&k=VZBtW7k&lb=1&s=A

October is Will’s favorite month of the year because he can celebrate his birthday, and it’s harvest season. He turned 5 on the 14th and let me just say, October lived up to his expectations yet again!

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2834142226&k=M8wvHth&lb=1&s=A

Plus the Cardinals made it to the World Series!

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2841913666&k=cpX5hcJ&lb=1&s=A

We took advantage of another beautiful St. Louis fall that took us through November. Bikes are really the best way to travel as a gang at this age.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2898959635&k=xQf3KgZ&lb=1&s=A

December was full of holiday adventures, including a trip for Amelia and me to Washington for Papa Mike’s 60th birthday, a post Christmas trip to Iowa City, and New Year’s with the Pantazis crew.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2979106977&k=tMndPg5&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2991596732&k=vCKKm3w&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=3001838269&k=QTGjvRx&lb=1&s=A

Wow! What a year.

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Blossoms (Great-Grandmother Helen’s recipe)

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 T milk

1 tsp vanilla

Hershey kisses

 

Cream together the soften butter and peanut butter. Blend in the remaining ingredients. Roll into balls. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place a Hershey kiss in each. Bake another 1 minute.

We were working on our Christmas picture today. Here are a few that didn’t make the cut:

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954583879&k=3kg642N&lb=1&s=A

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http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954067365&k=CFjt5NB&lb=1&s=A

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http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954056287&k=FgJLqHX&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954052575&k=K9cxqLx&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954046631&k=q9NLCLQ&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2953849384&k=8JptX5S&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2953847923&k=DLsHR8M&lb=1&s=A

Harvesting

Anne took some pictures of Will in the combine over his birthday weekend in mid-October. He is a happy boy working in the fields.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954591391&k=bPkWcFf&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954591254&k=nqR662z&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954591205&k=73dtCjj&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954590180&k=DMmTbdX&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954589850&k=jCkHbkx&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Camera-Awesome-Archive/28589861_SVCBP6#!i=2954588496&k=ZnzkRGp&lb=1&s=A

Cider Pressing for Helen’s Birthday

In late October we went back to Iowa for another weekend of harvesting, to celebrate Helen’s birthday, and to press cider. This is something we all love doing, and it doesn’t hurt that there are homemade donuts! I was looking through the cider pressing photos this morning and noticed Maggie always had one in her hand. (There was a very hungry and determined dog there that did steal a couple from her, but still.) Here are some photos capturing Maggie’s love of gramma’s homemade donuts:

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2868785923&k=j2KzQpw&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2868787375&k=jsJFmTc&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2868789379&k=Qdwrfrq&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2868789823&k=c6dWdJJ&lb=1&s=A

Dal (Moosewood)

1 1/2 cups lentils

4 cups water

2 whole dried chilies

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup chopped onions

1 tsp ginger

1 T lemon juice

1 tsp garam masala

Rinse lentils well. Put in a pot with the water, chilies, turmeric, and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30-60 minutes. *If using split lentils you will need less water and a shorter amount of simmer time to cook.

Heat 2 T of oil and saute the cumin seeds, onions, and ginger and cook until tender.

Remove the chilies from the lentils and stir the onion mixture and remaining ingredients into the lentils.

You can add tomatoes or spinach if desired.

Homemade Pasta

2 cups flour

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

Make a well with the flour and add the eggs and egg yolks. Mix together and then pour onto a well floured surface and knead. You can add a few drops of water if needed. Let the dough rest one hour at room temperature before making into noodles.

Maggie’s Expanding Vocabulary

Maggie is talking more and more. She can say several words and tries to mimic what you say. It’s pretty fun. Here are some of the latest words we can recognize:

Backpack – there are always several near the front door

Mimi – Her name for Amelia

Hat

Shoes

Eyes

Baby

More

Outside

Thank you

Please

No – This one is getting a lot of use these days

Up

People

People!

People!

What an amazing thing they are.

I wonder I wonder

How you make them.

 

This is a poem Amelia wrote at school. Both Dave and I loved it and figured we’d tackle that question a little later down the road.

Happy Halloween. May the force be with you.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2874360673&k=KTHGHf8&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2874360102&k=Vq2PXwd&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2874359791&k=vfPbSHK&lb=1&s=A

Will’s 5th Harvest Birthday

Will’s birthday request has consistently been to pick corn. Thanks to an October birthday, a Pop Pop with a combine and several fields, and now being within driving distance to Iowa City, we have been able to fulfill this request. This year he also asked for a chocolate cake decorated with caramel frosting and candy corn pumpkins and strawberry ice cream. We had pizza on the screened in porch with Gramma Anne, Pop Pop Brian, Larry, and Uncle Dave. Another great celebration on the farm!

1st Birthday

http://photos.dspencer.net/2009/Harvest-Trip-2009/i-cbf3f6J/A

2nd Birthday

http://photos.dspencer.net/2010/Wills-2nd-Birthday-And-More/14302995_g85mDt#!i=1058266033&k=XshHQTZ&lb=1&s=A

3rd Birthday

http://photos.dspencer.net/2011/Harvest2011/19951909_Vs8ntc#!i=1570851258&k=x57k24C&lb=1&s=A

4th Birthday

http://photos.dspencer.net/2012/Fall-Harvest-And-Wills/26104453_PnsKdb#!i=2168895529&k=HLd76Wc&lb=1&s=A

5th Birthday

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2868796151&k=Cg7CfRF&lb=1&s=A

2013 Garden Bounty

This year we decided to compete against the Brentwood wildlife, which includes a plethora of squirrels, rabbits, and birds. Dave took to securing a varmint-proof garden and we choose many different wonderful seed packets to plant with the kids. The dream garden we planted included carrots, eggplant, brussels sprouts, beets, lettuce, arugula, green beans, peppers, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, and more. As the season progressed and the animals got the best of several baby plants, our “bounty” ended up being 200 or more cayenne peppers, a few jalapenos, about 50 cucumbers, enough hops for one batch of beer, and two watermelons. Below is one of the small but tasty watermelons we recently ate. Better luck next year I guess.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2805567922&k=2d48Xfh&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2805568197&k=9GtWkdm&lb=1&s=A

Forest Park Balloon Glow

On Friday night the kids and I took the train and met Dave for our annual Balloon Glow outing. We realized we’ve done this every year since we moved here, so we just have to keep up that tradition. It can be tricky getting there and home because of all the people but I think we have a system that works – Dave drives to Forest Park in the morning, parks, and walks to work. We assume our truck won’t get broken into, the kids and I take the train in, we have dinner, walk to the balloon glow, and then drive home. Success!

Here we are at the Balloon Glow over the years:

2010

http://photos.dspencer.net/2010/09-18-2010/13817127_Sn3gGR#!i=1012273307&k=F3b739D&lb=1&s=A

We arrived too late to document in 2011.

Eryn was visiting and came with us in 2012

http://photos.dspencer.net/2012/September-and-Visitors/i-VKdkp6f/A

2013

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/i-vLQGjmX/A

She’s coming right along –

Maggie is almost 14 months old and she is coming right along. Sometimes I think that she’s more independent that Will and Amelia! Here are some examples:

If she is hungry she will go to the drawer with her plastic cups and get a snack bowl with a lid and bring it to me.

If I take the blender out of the cabinet she immediately goes to the drawer and finds the cup with a lid, and then goes to the cabinet where the straws are stored because she’s certain I’m going to make her a smoothy.

If I ask her if she wants to go get Amelia from school, go the park, go the library, anywhere really, she giggles, claps her hands, and is looking for her shoes.

She also loves clothes and is constantly trying to figure out how to get them on by herself, usually over clothes she is already wearing. (Apparently I used to do this, maybe at 3 or 4, and my mom would find me in my room with several pairs of underwear, pants, and shirts on at a time.)

Maggie is also enjoying the great outdoors whenever she can. If  she hears a door open she is doing what is probably a full on Maggie sprint to get there and outside before it closes. I’ve started being very careful about saying “outside” because that initiates the same giggles and clapping and she cannot be persuaded toward any other activity at that point. I mentioned this to our neighbor and he laughed and said she sounds like the other kids and fits in perfectly in the Spencer family. He’s right.

She is very independent on the playground and can climb up stairs and go down small slides on her own. I just can’t believe how quickly all these things are happening. She is so happy being busy and so fun to watch. Oh how we love our Maggie Jean.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2757051834&k=rxPxFKv&lb=1&s=A

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/28590155_mJB5Qr#!i=2718661957&k=9gSQgHT&lb=1&s=A

 

I just walked into our bathroom and thought, “oh, the places you will find pee…”. It reminded me of Dr. Seuss’s book “Oh the Places You Will Go”. I have thought of several new titles related to parenting in the past few minutes, such as:

“Oh the Snacks You Will Make”

“Oh the Laundry You Will Do”

“Oh the Kisses You Will Give”

“Oh the Bandaids You Will Go Through”

“Oh the Veggies You Will Waste”

“Oh the Speed With Which You Will Run”

“Oh the Joy You Will Have”

As you can see, once you get started it’s hard to stop. Try it!

Guess who said, “How old do I need to be to drive?”

Will and Amelia have great imaginations and sometimes even use them for good, like when they decide to play together nicely. Recently they were going to play their most popular imaginary game, “Brother and Sister”, yes, I know. Amelia said, “My name is Elizabeth and I’m 14.” Then Will said, “My name is John, and…Mom, how old do you need to be to drive?” I told him 16, and he finished his sentence with “My name is John and I’m 16!”.

http://photos.dspencer.net/2010/Springtime-Fun-2010/11838642_ZK4f5p#!i=836948151&k=pGPQcM3&lb=1&s=A

Go Cardinals!

The kids earned free Cardinals tickets through our library’s summer reading program, and we used them Monday night. It was great! The weather cooled off a bit and we were in the shade. Will and Amelia had lots of questions and followed the game. Whenever something good happened for the Cardinals Will would say “Yesss!” with enthusiastic arm movements. Maggie hung in there until the top of the 6th inning when she just couldn’t be entertained by walking around or drinking out of the water fountain any longer. Unfortunately we missed the incredible 7th inning grand slam for a win. Next time we’ll get a babysitter for Maggie and we’ll stay until the end.

http://photos.dspencer.net/Other/Lindsay-photostream/i-3B78mqj/A

Last weekend we went to a picnic at Dr. Ley’s house, one of Dave’s bosses. The kids wanted to know if it was Barry’s house, the boss they know. After explaining that he has more than one boss, Amelia asked “Which boss powers over you more dad?”. I like the way Amelia just says it like it is!

Yesterday Will and I were playing “I Spy”. He said “I spy with my little eye something that starts with the letter B”. I asked questions until he told me it was a helicopter. We talked about how helicopter starts with the letter H and then I asked where exactly he saw this helicopter in our house. He said “I see it in my heart AND in my brain”. Great, new rules for “I Spy” I guess.

Maggie is chatting more and more all the time. She isn’t saying “thank you” quite so much but does love to say “uPPP” whenever she needs to get somewhere. She uses it a lot when I’m making dinner and can’t really hold her much, tugging on my clothes crying, and when she’s hungry. She will stand by her highchair and say it over and over until I put her in her seat and give her a snack. She is a good communicator.

Just Another Wednesday Afternoon

We picked Amelia up from school today and the walk home included Will begging Amelia to hold his hand, he had just woken up from a nap, and negotiations between the two of them on what to have for a snack, as if they were making it themselves. As I was pulling a snack together, Amelia was telling me how she wanted to spend some of her birthday money. (Yes, her birthday was in May and she is still thinking about how to spend her money!) The conversation went a little like this: “Mom, I want to go to the Dollar Store because I want to buy a drum with some of my birthday money. Not the kind of drum that needs a stand but one I can have in my lap that makes a ‘tut-tut-tut’ sound. I’m just really into drums right now.” At about this point Will walked into the living room caring a screwdriver, 2-3″ screws, and the piece of parchment paper he painted at preschool today. Hmmm, it didn’t take long to figure out what he was planning. It took some convincing, but his art is now taped on the bottom of Amelia’s bunk so he can look at it. We decided the screws would just bother Amelia as they went through her mattress. Through most of this Maggie was walking from room to room wearing Will’s safety goggles on her head. She likes to accessorize with the goggles and Amelia’s headbands whenever possible.

Wheat bread

740 g  water (at ~76 degrees)

2 t salt

100 g honey
4 t yeast
2 T oil
1 egg
1 T gluten flour
400  g white flour
800 g whole wheat flour
Add all ingredients, mix slowly until combined. Let rest for 15-30 min
Knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth
Turn out onto floured surface and knead a couple times, adding a but of flour if necessary.
45 min rise, punch down
45 min rise, make into 3 loaves ( use rolling pin to flatten into a rectangle and remove bubbles). Spray top lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap
45 min proof
Bake at 350 for 35 min or until >200 F

Lemon Curd Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pans

1 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups cake flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup plus 1 T sour cream or creme fraiche

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, about 2 T

2 T lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

Lemon curd (see Frozen Lemon Mousse for a lemon curd recipe, you may want to double)

Cream cheese frosting with lemon zest and lemon extract added to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake plans, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter and flour. Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine sour cream with lemon zest and juice.

Beat butter on med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs one at a time and beat for 1 minute after each addition.

With the mixer on lowest speed, add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the sour cream mixture and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden and pull away from the sides of pans, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool completely.

Slice each cake in half horizontally and spread Lemon Curd between the layers, making 3 layers of Lemon Curd. Frost with the lemon cream cheese frosting, decorating with the any extra curd if you’d like.

Frozen Lemon Mousse (James Beard)

8 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

Grated zest of 1 large lemon

Juice of 3 large lemons

1/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

 

Melt the butter in the top part of a double boiler over barely simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the insert). Whisk in the sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat the eggs and yolks together with a whisk in a medium bowl, and add to the ingredients in the double boiler. Cook over the barely simmering water, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth and glossy, and very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. *I have made this several times and it’s taken about 45 minutes to come to the consistency described. Do not let the curd boil, or it will curdle. Strain into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the curd to keep a skin from forming, and let cool in the refrigerator.

When the lemon curd is cold, whip the cream in a chilled bowl with a whisk or electric mixer until it holds soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Pour into a metal serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until firm and set, about 6 hours. Serve from the bowl.

Will is often the last one up in the morning. This morning I had to wake him up for breakfast. He was sprawled out in his bed and I kissed his cheek and said “I will never get tired of seeing your sweet freckled face.” As he was stretching and trying to open his eyes he said, “Keep reminding me that”. That is a moment to remember! (and why I’m writing it down so I do)

Energy Bark (Petit Appetit)

1 cup oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

2 T whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 T butter

2 T honey or agave nectar

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, flour, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thick and bubbly, 30 seconds. Pour the sugar mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine all ingredients. Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool completely on baking sheet. Break into pieces.

Choco-Fruit Flax Biscuits (Petit Appetit)

Makes 36 biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup plus 2 T flax meal

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, at room temp

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 T whole-milk yogurt

1 1/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flax meal, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add applesauce. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Blend in yogurt and beat in remaining flour until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and freeze dough for 10 minutes.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly and bake about 12-14 minutes, until centers are set and biscuits turn pale brown on bottom.

Oatcakes (Petit Appetit)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 T butter, melted

1 T honey

3 T finely chopped dried fruit

2 T unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 cup water

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease.

Put oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the butter and honey. Combine until oats are coated. Mix in fruit and coconut. Heat 1 cup water until very hot but not boiling. Stir in water by tablespoonfuls until mixture becomes sticky dough. (I think I used about 1/2 cup the first time)

Scoop and drop on prepared baking sheet. With wet fingertips, shape dough into 2-inch rounded, flat oatcakes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown and the oatcakes are firm and not sticky. Remove to wire rack and cool.

Sparkling Mint Soda (Petit Appetit)

Mint Syrup

3/4 cup turbinado sugar

2 cups water

2 cups fresh mint, torn into 2-inch pieces

Mint Soda

1 cup sparkling water

3 T Mint syrup

 

Mint Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and mint. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or pitcher and discard mint. Store in an airtight container in the frig for up to 1 month.

Mint Soda: Mix syrup and sparkling water together and serve.

Makes 2 cups syrup and 1 cup soda.

Ginger Soda (Petit Appetit)

Ginger Syrup

1/2 cup light agave nectar

1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 cup water

Ginger Soda

1/2 cup Ginger Syrup

3 cups sparkling water

ice cubes

 

Make the syrup: Place agave nectar, ginger, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until ginger aroma and flavor is strong, about 1 hour. Let cool. Strain and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Make the soda: In a pitcher, combine 1/2 cup syrup with the water. Pour over ice.

Makes 2/3 cup ginger syrup; 3 1/2 cups soda.

Frozen Lemonade (Petit Appetit)

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup water

 

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice from about 4 lemons)

1 cup water

2 cups ice cubes

 

Prepare Simple Syrup: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved adn mixture has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Cool to room temp.

Combine lemon juice, syrup, and water in a blender with ice cubes and blend until slushy.

Makes 3 1/2 cups

Almond Milk (Petit Appetit)

1 cup raw slivered almonds

3 cups warm water

 

Place almonds in a pitcher or large bowl and add water. Allow to soak for at least 4 hours. Transfer water and almonds to a blender and blend on medium until nuts are completely blended, 1-2 minutes. Strain the milk through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh colander 2 times to remove sediment and solids.

Makes 2 cups.

Rice Milk (Petit Appetit)

4 cups warm water

1 cup cooked rice

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on medium until smooth, about 1 minute. Let the milk sit for about 30 minutes. You will see the liquid, or milk, is at the top and the rice solids are on the bottom. Pour the milk steadily into another container (a glass jar works well), leaving most of the sediment in the blender pitcher. Milk can be stored in the frig for up to 5 days.

Makes 4 cups