Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tidy Spidey

I wrote a few days ago about how sad I was to have Gooser starting kindergarten and how the sight of his much-worn Spiderman costume crumpled on the floor caused me to have a breakdown. Well today it made me smile!

Aftre I dropped him at school I went to his room and discovered he had made his bed all by himself!
But what really got me smiling was this contraption he'd set up in the bathroom to hang his Spiderman suit on:
No more crumpled Spideys here!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Indian Cuisine: Restaurant Adventure Saturday

As I've said before, Indian food isn't exactly an adventure for us. Basically, I'm addicted to it! I've even taken an Indian cooking class and I can whip up some of the delicacies myself--include my own spice blends! I can make garam masala! And ghee! But I'm running out of restaurant adventure ideas plus I needed an Indian food fix--so off we went! But first, a couple of interesting tidbits:

**Interesting run-in I 've had with Indian food #1: I ate a huge Indian dinner when I was in labor with Pickle. It was a Sunday and I had been feeling pains all day long but I wasn't sure if it was bad enough to go to the hospital. I had the brilliant idea to go out for Indian food because I had read that the spices could help labor kick in.

Don timed the contractions all through the dinner--they were five minutes apart. By the time we left the restaurant we decided I had better get to the hospital. Right as we got to the car I could feel my body "rejecting" the crazy heavy meal I had just eaten and I literally "lost my lunch." Yeah, I was definitely in labor! Words of wisdom: Don't eat a giant Indian meal when you think you're in labor. It won't end well!

**Interesting Indian food run-in #2: I used to go to a great place in NYC called Nirvana--a tiny restaurant with probably the best Indian food I've ever tasted. It was at the top floor of a building that overlooked Central Park and had breathtaking views.

One night I was eating there with my mom and siter and Sylvester Stallone was sitting at the very next table with two blonde bimbos. I was so excited because I was (and still am) a HUGE Rocky fan. So technically, I've had Indian food with Rocky! Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, I've also been to a movie with Ah-nold Schwarzenegger (and Maria Shriver). Well, I sat behind them at a movie, but still...

Am I ever going to get to the adventure? Finally!

To mix things up a little, we went to an Indian restaurant we'd never been to before--it had received excellent reviews.

It was a tiny hole-in-the-wall-type place and we were the only ones there. The waiter was semi-unpleasant--I don't think he liked the idea of me and my pack of rug rats in there!

Pickle started out in a relivately good mood...
...but she descended into fussiness (much to the waiter's dismay) soon after.

I did everything in my power to keep her happy. She smelled the flowers about a million times.
She kissed her cat.
And I plied her with mango lassis (one of my favorite things--mango and yogurt drinks. I'm addicted).
But nothing worked. She was not a happy camper.

We tried to enjoy the food anyway. Teddy wanted soup--chicken mulligatawny. I didn't try it but he said it was delicious. He also had a spicy masala tea--which I think is basically chai tea.
For an appetizer we had the amazing vegetable samosas. Delicious pastry filled with potatoes, peas and other veggies. This is one of my favorite things and also one of the recipes I can make!
Their chicken tandoori was fantastic!! Some of the best I've ever had. This chicken is marinated in yogurt, coated with spices and cooked in a tandoor. If you've never tried it--please do so soon! It's really delicious!
The tandoori was Pickle's favorite dish!
We had another favorite--a crispy flavorful bread called poppadum. (That's Pickle's "cell phone" next to the bread).
We had a tasty dish called lamb biryani--it has chunks of lamb, rice , spices and vegetables.
And because Pickle loves rice so much--another rice dish with peas:
Here's a tasty yogurt sauce that we put on everything!
All the while I was eating (or attempting to), I was trying to keep Pickle calm. She was on the verge of hysteria the whole meal!

I tried to amuse her with her cat (meow-meow). The cat was in the flowers.
And on the chicken.
But nothing worked--we had to get out of there STAT. I didn't even get pics of some of the food--sorry!

We didn't get to have dessert (unfortunately)--there were some really cool-sounding desserts that I'd love to go back and try--maybe sans Pickle! Instead, we went to a Pinkberry rip-off which we call Fakeberry. Pinkberry is one of my very favorite places (it's Asian-style fro-yo) but, alas, they don't have them in my neck of the woods so we are stuck with Fakeberry.
But it's better than nothing.
Poor Pickle cried the whole way home.

Pickle says:
"Dude, I thought I made it clear in utero: Lay off the vindaloo!"

Friday, August 29, 2008

Little Mother Fx4

I snapped these pics of Pickle yesterday doing her new favorite thing--pushing her "baby" around in a little stroller. Her baby goes everywhere with us now. I am the proud grandmother to a monkey!
Please pop over to Candid Carrie's and see all the fun pics in Friday Foto Fiesta!!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Miss Spiderman!

There have been a lot of beautifully written posts on the Internets recently about parental first day of school angst. I know I can't do justice to this topic as eloquently as many have, but I do want to tell you about the first day craziness over here.

This year has been an especially tough one for me because Andy started high school and Gooser started kindergarten. A double whammy!

I'm doing okay though, considering, and I do still have Pickle here which certainly helps! I was able to get Andy on the bus without crying though, but as I walked home, I had to fight down that lump in my throat and try to not let the thought four more years and he'll be in college. COLLEGE!! enter my mind. I got through it, but I am painfully aware that his time as a kid that goes off to school and is here every evening is dwindling. I know how fast four years can go by--they will rumble by in a series of first days and Halloweens and concerts and graduations and summers. And then they will be gone.

Yesterday we went over to Gooser's classroom to organize his school supplies. We had to label every. single. pencil. and. marker. Thanks Teach! But Gooser was thrilled to be in the classroom and was SO proud of his shiny new folders and, of course, his Spiderman backpack.

Last night he went to bed early. As I was tucking him in he said, giggling "Mommy tomorrow is DAY ONE of kindergarten!" He just couldn't wait!

Then, at about 11 p.m., I heard this hideous barking cough coming from his room that could only mean one thing: The Croup.

Nooooooooooo! Not on the first day of kindergarten!!

Now I am very well-trained in The Croup as every one of my kids has had it multiple times. I know the drill--steam in the shower, go out into cool night air, back to the shower. Discourage crying--that makes it so much worse. Tylenol is a good distraction.

After about two hours he was calm and still coughing, but it wasn't sounding nearly as frightening as it had earlier. So my next dilemma was--do I sent him to school or keep him home?

I HATE it when parents send sick kids to school--I never do it, I swear--but he seemed so much better this morning I decided to let him go. He still had a cough but it didn't sound croupy and he wasn't feverish or lethargic.

The morning was a frenzy of waffles and backpacks and tooth brushing--I didn't have any time to fret about my baby going to kindergarten. When we got to school there were kids and parents everywhere to distract me. When I got back home there was Pickle play time and phone calls and, of course, blogging! I was doing alright! No crying here.

But then I went up to his room and saw his Spiderman costume (the one he wears all day, every day) crumpled on the floor. Then I lost it.

My Spiderman won't be here. And I thought about all the questions he usually asks all day long (he talks a lot!) about Spiderman and Batman, dinosaurs and cavemen, butterflies and bees. All the drawings, the paper airplanes, the hugs...

Ugh. I can't write anymore. Why does it have to be so hard??

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hate Mail To Inanimate Objects

Dear Packing Tape,

I hate you.

Why are you so relentlessly cruel? I'm just trying to tape a box together so I can send out my giveaway prizes. Why must you make it so hard??

You stick so tenaciously to the rest of the roll, gripping on with all your sticky strength as I chip, chip at you with my now cracked fingernails.

Sometimes you tease me and a little part of you breaks free, but only a thin strand comes loose. A thin sticky strand that wraps around my fingers, trapping them. I hear you laughing at me, packing tape! I hate that you find my frustration so amusing.

Your most heinous act is when you separate into one thin strand, and then another, and another, leaving a useless mess of tape fringe that I must tear off and throw into my ever-accumulating wasted tape pile.

Once I thought I called your bluff as I started peeling first from the right and then from the left side of your devil roll. I pulled both sides together thinking I tricked you and that both sides would meet in the middle, but you made sure those sides would never meet and that a thin strip held fast down the center of the roll, rendering either side useless.

Sometimes I start to peel and I see you widening on the way across, but you capriciously veer off again to the side and I am left with yet another tangled tape tendril.

On the rare occasion I have a workable piece of tape, I try to adhere you to the box, holding the cardboard sides down with my left elbow and trying my best to smooth you flat. Then I attempt to tear off one end with your metal teeth and, at the same time, try to ensure that you don't slip through my fingers and clamp down, once again, to your roll--but it never works. You always manage to stealthily avoid my grasp and start your cruel dance all over again.

I know you're in cahoots with those evil twisty ties that hold toys in place when they're still new inside their boxes. They like to torment me on Christmas and birthdays in particular. They know full well the toy only needs two or maybe three twisties to hold it down--but no--they come in armies of twenty or more, twisting this way and that, sometimes getting stuck inside the toy. They like it best when I have to resort to pliers and sometimes screwdrivers to get the toys out. And I have tried to foil their plots and cut them off with scissors even though I know it ultimately won't work and that I have to go back to the twisting and pulling. I have noticed that they are often taped down as an extra measure of frustration--further proving my suspicion that you are a diabolical team.

But you didn't win, packing tape! You may have broken my fingernails, scratched me with your teeth and tramped on my spirit--but my box is taped and in the mail.

Except that I forgot to buy enough boxes so I have to put more together tomorrow. Prepare for battle!

Your worst enemy,


P.S. You owe me a manicure

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bubble Gum Plums and Sunsets

Now that all the excitement of the giveaway has died down I wanted to tell you a little about our weekend getaway. Even though Andy has already started school (high school, ugh!) we decided to sneak away for the weekend. How much homework could he have-he just started!?

We had a great couple of days spending time with the kids--the usual swimming and sunning. Here are some cute pics of Gooser at the pool. The first pic looks hazy because it was SO humid my camera lens would fog up the second I walked outside.
Other than when swimming, he wore his Spiderman costume the WHOLE time. I don't know how he did it what with the insane heat. He even wore the mask during meals! He's a hardcore Spidey fan.
We got little shopping in--I wanted to get the kids outfits for a special photo shoot I was going to attempt. While at the mall, I saw what might well be the ugliest outfit ever assembled! I couldn't resist a pic.
Let's review:
--shiny bright orange shorts--check.
--shiny tight purple shirt--check.
--sweat socks pulled all the way up to knee--check.
--flip-floppy sandal things--check.

Not good, sir!

There was a little fruit stand at the mall that was having an end of the day sale so we wandered over. They had samples out of the fruit (which is always nice) and the peaches were incredible so I bought a lot--I better get cracking on a peach pie or cobbler or something and use them up!

Then I spotted something called "bubble gum plums" and I tasted them. OMG--they tasted like bubble gum! Like a combination of bubble gum and plum--impossible to explain--but if you ever come across them--get some!!!! I bought a bunch and they were eaten in less than a day.
So I had this idea to get the kids down to the beach at sunset and take some portraits. The plan was to have dinner, come home and change, then get down to the beach--we had it all perfectly timed.

But it started pouring rain as we got to the restaurant which threw everything off because we were going to eat outside (that's been happening to me a lot lately!). We had to wait awhile for an indoor table and the dinner was sloooow so by the time we left the restaurant we had exactly ten minutes to sunset.

The kids love running around in a frenzy--so they changed their clothes all crazy-like and ran down down to the beach super fast and I managed to group them together just in time. Here's what I got:


The sunset wasn't the greatest because of the clouds--but I like the way they turned out.

After the photo shoot we let the kids run around in the sand and they had such an amazing time. Don launched a bunch of bottle rockets and fireworks--it was very magical. We had the whole beach to ourselves and it was exciting to be down there with the darkening skies and our own private fireworks show. Great summer memories!!

And Gooser had the quote of the trip with the brilliant "I like to pour water on dead things." That went straight onto my Facebook quotes!


Monday, August 25, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway for the basket of LUSH products!! I really appreciate all the great comments and a special thank you to those that posted about it and added me to your blog rolls! I met some great new blog friends through this giveaway.

I had to choose the winner with the random number generator--there were so many entries and multiple entries for those I bribed asked to advertise for me. I had my kids do the drawing and we made a video. I will post the winners below, but please watch the video--it's hilarious! A lot of people say Andy reminds them of Jim Carrey--I think you'll see why! He's crazy!! He's singing and playing the piano in a Pez costume--enough said!

For your viewing pleasure:

And here are the winners.....

First Place--who gets the whole big beautiful LUSH basket is....

Kori from My Life As A CFers Wife!!!!!!!!!!! Yay for Kori!!! She must be very lucky these days because she also won a little impromptu giveaway I had the other day. Maybe you should play the lottery, Kori, cause you're on a roll! Congratulations!

The two runners-up who receive a LUSH bubble bar and bath bomb are :

Mandie Girl from Mandie's Mumblings


Kendra from Nest Half Empty

If the winners could please email your addresses I'll get your packages right out.

A big CONGRATULATIONS to the winners and a big THANK YOU to everyone that played. It was fun and I'll definitely do it again sometime!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Contests and Sweaters...

I'm away for the weekend--one last summer getaway--so this will be a quickie!

First of all, the giveaway for the LUSH basket ends today! It will officially stop at 5 p.m. Central time. GOOD LUCK to all of those who entered!! I will announce the winners tomorrow morning.

I will leave you with a few pics of a sweater I just finished knitting. I made an identical one for my sister's baby, but this is the Pickle one. It fits her really well except I (very stupidly) made the neck too big. I was looking at the wrong number on the pattern when I cast on the stitches--so this sweater is size two, but with a six neck. Yes, I am an idiot--but it still fits!

Here are some pics of her in the sweater--it was only in the 90s when I made her wear it outside. I'm mean too!

And from the back:

It's pretty, isn't it? This is the most beautiful yarn ever--I'm just going to keep making these sweaters until I'm out of yarn.

Happy Sunday and good luck in the giveaway!!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Spanish Tapas: Restaurant Adventure Saturday!

I'll be honest--Spanish food isn't exactly an adventure for us--we have it from time to time, but we are running out of cool restaurant ideas! I can't do Thai or Indian as an adventure because those cuisines are practically staples around here. Well, maybe we'll do those anyway just for fun and try to experiment with some foods we've never tried? Anyway, on to tapas!!

This meal was sort of a comedy of errors. For one thing, Spiderman joined us which is always exciting!
We decided to sit out on the pretty patio because the weather was so nice. But then the skies started to look menacing...
Then it started raining...
Even though everyone else on the patio started fleeing for the indoors, we perservered. The Macarena started playing which is Spiderman's favorite song--so he got up to dance!
Then the food started arriving. Of course with tapas, you gets lots of little plates of food. Our first one is my favorite--dates wrapped in bacon.
Then came Spanish cheese, quince and almond plate.
Pickle was enjoying everything--especially the bacon!
She brought her monkey along. But she calls it a bug.
More food--goat cheese in tomato sauce.
By now, the rain was coming down pretty hard and we had no choice but to move our show inside. Here is a portrait of my rain-splattered plate. I don't even remember what that food item was--some kind of Spanish-style bruschetta?--but it was good!
Oh, and there was pizza! This one had (more) bacon and caramelized onions.
This one was the absolute best! Squid with lemon.
Here's Gooser Squid-face
And a rare picture of me--again with the squid.
Oh, let's see...there was beef with horseradish...
And empanadas with lamb...
And lots of other things I didn't get a chance to take pics of. There was a LOT of food!! So much for my diet...

The kids started getting punchy...
And Gooser almost choked on some squid, but thankfully he was ok! (Although I screamed and scared the entire restaurant.)
All in all, it was a wacky meal! But fun!

Pickle says:
"This lunch was a freak show!!"