Thursday, December 31, 2009

Round Two

Round two of the pink eye/ear infection has begun. Thankfully, Micah was able to wait for the doctor's office appointment today rather than spending five hours in the ER as we did with Johanna. But he was pretty miserable. He didn't really mention anything until about 9 p.m. and by that time he was in some serious pain. I dosed him up on children's Tylenol, but it was still about 1:30 a.m. before he could relax enough to sleep. I confess that about midnight, I decided to cheat and give him some of Johanna's amoxacillin. He obviously has the same thing and I figured the sooner he started antibiotics the better. I don't know if it was that or the magic of sleeping on the couch by the gently lit Christmas tree, but he finally nodded off.

I, however, stayed awake wondering who would be the next to fall. Is it my imagination or do my eyes look a little red to you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Forgive my uncreative post today. You know that melatonin or melamine or dopamine or whatever it is in turkey that makes you sleepy? Well, it has taken over my brain so I can only form sentence fragments.

Parents arrived Tuesday. Before snow started. Thankful.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve service, Johanna home with fever. Opened two presents apiece.

Today, turkey stuffed, stockings opened, breakfast eaten, Johanna still sick, more presents opened. Dinner. Yum.

I'll post some pictures when I have them downloaded. For now, I'll just say how thankful I am for family and food and material comfort and laughter and fancy dresses and new electric griddles. God is good.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Success

Occasionally, we do have cookie success around here. Last week, Johanna, Sam and I mixed up a cute little box mix of gingerbread bears.

The kit made ten bears exactly: 5 for Johanna and 5 for Sam to cut out.

Which one should I eat first?

Ta-da! We all shared the decorating privileges and came up with ten beautiful bears.

They say that success breeds succes, so next up, cookies from scratch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookie Wrecks

Some of you will have heard of the blog - and now book - called "Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong." Well, this is about my recent cookie wrecks. Unfortunately they are not disastrous enough to make a book from (although with self-publishing, you never know!) but they have been bad enough.

It started, of course, with my brownies a few weeks back (read about it here) which ended up in the delicious but completely unpresentable Brownie Jumble.

Last week it continued with plain, straight-forward, "never-fail" chocolate chip cookies. That "never-fail" must be an ironic title, because I found a way. I doubled the recipe, but managed to more than double the butter content, so the first two dozen came out of the oven flattened into solid sheets of cookie. The kids rather liked the idea of eating these (who hasn't dreamed of edible bed sheets?), but I was less enthusiastic about taking them to share at the church Christmas caroling. I improvised by pouring the remaining batter into a 9x13 pan and calling them chocolate chip bars. I suppose this wasn't completely a failure, but it certainly was an unexpected twist on the original.

Then, just last night, I pulled out my recipe for Nut Goodie Bars. This recipe was given to me by my friend Cheris, aka "The Dessert Lady," in Dayton, OH, and has become a Christmas tradition for us. It's more like candy than mere "bars"; it's so rich I have to cut tiny squares and just one is enough. For a few minutes. Well, at least until you finish that glass of milk and clear the palate. The recipe starts with melting chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter together, then pouring half of that mixture into the bottom of a large pan. The remainder has to sit around and wait to go on top of the middle layer. So, long story short (-ish), I left the chocolate/butterscotch/peanut butter mixture on the stove to stay liquidy. I put it on the lowest heat possible but still, it baked solid before I could get the middle layer poured and set. *sigh*

So, now I have a large pan of Nut Goodie Bars in my freezer with no top layer! It's enough to disturb sleep. Well, not my sleep. I'm not like that. I can sleep with *gasp* dirty dishes in my sink. Do my dirty dishes bother you? Well, if they do, you are welcome to come and wash those dishes for me any ol' time it gets to be too much for you. I'll leave the light on.

I think this series of cookie wrecks means I should just go and buy out Trader Joe's peppermint Jo-Jos and call it good. They never fail. Never disappoint. Never turn into bar cookies. I'll put them on my special Christmas serving plate and no one will know the difference. Right?

Monday, December 14, 2009


One of the things I loved, adored actually, about WordPress is that it has a cool chart which shows how many people have visited my blog on any given day. This chart is a wonderful comfort when I start to wonder if anyone is actually reading my blog or if I'm just babbling into cyber-space.

Blogger doesn't have any such chart and that's a bummer because now the burden falls on all of you to reassure me that I have a few readers. I'm not looking for fame and fortune here (although if it found me, I'd be okay with that...especially the fortune part) but I do like to know that someone is reading and enjoying what they're reading.

I am one of those people wearing the sandwich board which reads, "Will work for affirmations of approval." Maybe it's a middle child thing, maybe it's my sensitive, artistic nature (i.e. I can't read a map or do mental math beyond single digits). It's really superdy-duper easy to leave a comment on Blogger, so please, leave me a comment, even if it's just, "I read your blog and I approve this message," or "Kilroy was here and enjoyed your post." Pretty please with a cherry on top?

And now there are these three little buttons at the bottom of each post - easier than the Staples' Easy button! You just pick one and I know you've read! See, I'm all about being easy. I mean my blog is easy, not me. You know what I mean.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Photo shoot

Thursday evening, I hit a new parenting low. I bribed the kids to dress up and take pictures by offering extra time on video games. It's like I offered to remove a chunk of their brain cells just so I could show off to the world how adorable my kids are. And I'm shameless about it.

I would like to say that I will never do it again. But I can't make promises like that when the scheme worked so well! I told William and Micah about the idea and before I knew it, William was directing traffic, Sam was dressed, Micah was buttoning up his dress shirt, and Johanna was pulling on tights. I have rarely seen them obey with such alacrity nor help each other with so little fighting. This would be discouraging if I allowed myself to dwell on it. But I'm taking Scarlet's stance on this: I'll think about it tomorrow.

You can see that we came up with some successful shots and some not so successful. Just because I make it look easy, do not underestimate the difficulty of getting four kids to look in the same direction at the same time and to have smiles that are a comfortable compromise between goofy and downright creepy!

Occasionally, we deteriorated into giggles, but that's okay.
Giggles are cute. Tear-stained, blotchy crying faces are not cute.

We have many shots like this one where three of four kids is looking pretty good and the fourth is grimacing or making car noises or something.

Finally, though, Sam decided that enough was enough.
Sometimes it is best to let the three-year-old make that sort of decision. I'm okay with that. The trick is to make him think that Mommy made the decision and it just happened to coincide with his own desires. I'm okay with that kind of deception, too.
But please don't think less of me for it. I did it for the grandparents and great-grandparents out there who need, want, nay deserve, photos of the cutest children in the world. I did it...for love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh, Tannenbaum!

The kids had a great time decorating the tree. I handed out ornaments and they took turns hanging them on the tree. White lights cover a multitude of "sins."

This is "Christmas Corner."

And video?

Another one?

I'm experiencing some frustration on WordPress so I thought I would try Blogger. Here goes.

Okay, there's a photo. That's a good start.