Monday, December 29, 2008

My day started mildly enough. What's a flat tire before sunrise, when you've already planned out the childcare and thought ahead to taking the car in for servicing? Two more new tires have now brought me up to four new tires in a year. The bright side to this whole thing being that I shouldn't have to worry about getting a tire shredded on the drive up to Washington.

The kids were wonderful today. I love them more every day. I love cooking for them, I've gotten used to having a blond head sandwiched between my elbow and the counter, silently pointing out snacks that she wants.

I just don't quite have the fine print worked out. Money and housework and the joys and stress are all wrapped up in a wonderful knot right between my shoulderblades right now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All about socks

The Yarn Harlot (see sidebar for her site) has waxed poetic about socks on many occassions. This is one of my favorites. It inspires me that she can be so open with her myriad projects, and looking at her pictures reminds me of my own work area. And the secondary work area. And the spot by my bed, under my bed, the box under the dresser, and the box in the closet. Oh yes, and the rubbermaid bins full of more stuff. I've even used a stacking crate system to make my own stash shop in the family room- imagine a yarn store's cubbies, only in a corner under a window where I can see what I'm doing and stack the skeins right out in the open where I can walk by and admire them.

My addi turbo needles arrived from england this week. Yay. "yay" is actually way too tame a word. I want to roll around in my bed cradling them to me, but I'll settle for just tucking them into my purse and carrying them around everywhere until the blue socks are done. The blue socks are a commission, and are also the first pair I'm able to do entirely on one needle in the round. I wish it were easier to find a 12" circular needle, that I would have obtained this item years ago. I've crocheted socks. I've knitted them on a straight standard needle, double-points, and two circulars. Now I'm doing it on one needle, and so far it has been everything I dreamed it would be. Wonderful.

Also hot on my mind is the pancake bread recipe. I did this ages ago, with homemade bisquick mix, and it worked out nicely enough that it occured to me this would be a great way to get a bread-like substitute that's wheat-free and tastes good, plus being simple to make, cook, and freeze. Make your favorite pancake or biscuit mix, a trifle more thick than you would if making traditional pancakes. Drop by small spoonfuls onto a hot greased griddle. Treat like a pancake as far as cooking. Then top with whatever. Cheese, lunchmeat, pb&j. Syrup and butter. I know it's not really a new concept. It's new to me though.

Must go. Duty calls. So does my bed. It's nearly 8, it's not bedtime yet but I'll willing to treat it as though it were, and I'm very Very tired. Long day chasing the little ones.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas was great; exhaustion afterwards is less so. One tired tot and one less tired infant, and three adults taking it in turns to manage all of the household and childcare duties. We've struck a happy balance over here. Right now despite a too-early start, things are easing into a quiet morning. Everyone gets to do things they want to do. Nobody is feeling overwhelmed (except the 3 year old who learns that life is Not Fair) and said 3 year old is now exploring the freedom to nap. Put another way, she's been told that she needs to get some rest today. Not optional. She Will Sleep. Last night she went to bed overtired and exhausted, and got only enough rest to allow her body to jumpstart AWAKE at the unholy hour of 4-ish. Starting approximately at sunrise she began the screaming tantrums. The new restraining technique is working like a charm. My only regret is that I didn't get it right the first time. She's now experimenting with self-injury during tantrums- I don't think it's intentional, but it's a reaction to the overstimming. She sports a small bloody scratch on one cheek. On the other hand, that's not so bad when compared to the length and severity of the fit.

One of the rewards I let myself have to compensate for these tantrums is an extra cuddle with Robbie. I find that I need something comforting to ease the release of my own tension afterwards. Is there a sweeter way than a whif of fuzzy-baby-head? Than a smile given so completely and freely? I haven't found many so far. A hot cup of chai and some computer time and a cuddle with my infant son... heaven. Glancing in on the tired tot, exhausted and sleeping in her blanket nest... equally priceless. This too shall pass. It always does. And the other side will go on, similar to today but unique in it's own challenges.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Starting a new chapter of creative cooking. New ingrediants, new to me at least, and Alton Brown's advice becomes more appropriate than ever. Know your ingrediants. Know your food. If you know a food, you know what to do with it and can be creative with how it works and plays with other foods. Tonight's dinner is not completely wheat-free, but the main dish is so if you want you can be safe.

On the side: Potstickers. Ling-Ling is our preferred brand. It comes with nifty little sauce packets in a great big bag. Brown in 2Tbsp oil for a few minutes, then add about 3/4 cup water and cover. Simmer for a minimum 8 minutes. Uncover, and continue simmering until the water is evaporated and the potstickers brown up. Sprinkle with one of the packets of sauce and let stand until you're ready to serve.

On the main side: In a standard saucepan combine some frozen broccoli (and carrots, if you like) and some chopped, cooked meat. I had a cup and a half of roast pork. Add a couple cups of water and bring to a boil. Add half a package of thin rice noodles. Remove from heat, cover, and stand until the noodles cook, about 8 minutes. Drain the excess water. In a large pan (I used my dutch oven) heat 2 Tbsp oil and another packet of potsticker sauce. Add the drained noodle mixture and stirfry a few minutes until it's all mixed and happy.

Cost of meal:

leftover pork, about 1/4 of a $5 roast. Approximately $1.25.
Broccoli. 1/2 of a 16oz bag. $0.75
Thin rice noodles. 1/2 package, $2.49 a package. $1.25.
Potstickers. 1/3 a big bag, bag was $7.99. $2.66

Total dish cost $5.91
4 servings for $1.47 each.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm dreaming a wonderful dream and I never want to wake up from it. We decided to try eliminating wheat from Tiff's diet on Sunday, when she was getting over being so sick, and she had sat herself down to polish off an entire can of apple wagon wheels. That was extraordinary. Getting her to eat enough has been tricky ever since she started table foods. It's been... challenging.

Since then she's eaten about three times as much on a daily basis. Essentially, she's suddenly eating normal amounts of food for a child her age without coaxing. She latched onto rice cakes, and wagon wheels, and has been willing to try a greater range of table foods without throwing a fit. That's just the change in her eating.

The change is in the rest of her. I am seeing the fog lift. I'm watching my little girl wake up. I'm talking to her and she is acknowledging hearing my voice, she turns to me and speaks in a soft clear voice, she's watching my face light up when I can recognize her words and she responds eagerly to that... I'm afraid to believe this is happening. Is it the wake up we've been waiting for? Is it possible that it's finally here?

We tried this sort of diet before, once, and nothing. Maybe she wasn't ready? Maybe it wasn't the time? I don't care. I'm seeing some sort of hope and I'm afraid to believe as much as I'm afraid not to believe.

I don't want to wake up from this dream.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's certainly been an interesting week. We've all been sick- have I mentioned that here yet? I don't remember, offhand, and I'm too lazy to check. Right now I'm finishing up four loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes- the remnants of a busy and happy Sunday afternoon.

I've been working on my socks lately, finishing a pair in lavender, blue, and white that will go live on Etsy tomorrow when I take some pictures of them. The next pair is already on the needles. I'm experimenting with a rolled stockinette cuff. Brownie points for those of you who know what that is without looking it up :)

Bought some new sock needles last night with the ad money. I'm trying to save up for a special birthday present for the Boy, but I couldn't resist the needles. They looked so nice, and they were reasonably priced, and one of the better brands. I've never worked with them, but I hear that they glide through fiber like a hot knife through warm cheese.

mmm. Cheese. Got to go, feeling hungry again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I just signed up with acobay today, and for a new site I have to say I like what I saw. It was nicely planned out- the colors are a good fit for what they're presenting, I could surf it without getting a headache (we've all still got the flu, and my eyes hurt), and I especially liked being able to sign up without jumping through a zillion hoops.

What Acobay does, is provide a neat little twist to social networking. Instead of matching you up with people based on interests, it matches you by what stuff you have. If you've got anything, from cars to books to gear, you add it to your "stuff" and you can read what others have to say about that same thing. You can randomly look at the stuff of others and read their comments. I could see this being useful for product reviews- do you trust everything that amazon lists on an item before buying an item? Maybe. Maybe not. Same answer applies to this site, but the people reviewing something may be better trusted than something that comes through the amazon marketing chain. No, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I've just been a bit too active reading their websites and have a healthy skepticism.

I added a review of a book I just finished reading. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

what I'm learning as a parent

#1. That all of my bestest female friends have 2 kids and a generous spirit of the "I told you so but I'm too nice to remind you that I've told you so"

#2. That all small kids bring home a bad case of the stomach flu to share with their younger siblings in a spirit of true generousity. The closer this is to a major holiday the better. Bonus points for infecting their mothers in the first round of vomiting, causing her to be knocking back shots of dayquil and praying that the adult diapers she had in the back of the linen closet will prove adequate to contain whatever spews from her while cleaning the children.

#3. When the inevitable messes occur at both ends, be grateful that the children are still in diapers that contain all messes or at the least give you less laundry to do.

and last but not least....

#4. The inner grace to avoid cursing out their husbands who are blessed with cast iron stomachs, who come home from TAD orders after a week away and dance right through the plague infecting your household without seeming to notice anything greater than the "weren't you supposed to pick up more (insert item here) today? And what are you making for dinner?"

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I've spent the past few days knitting a pair of cotton socks for a friend. Last year I made her a pair of wool socks, which met with two unfortunate accidents. I hate wool- it never does what I want it to do. One of the pair felted while being gently handwashed, the other sock stretched. How is it possible for two identical socks (made from the same skein, no less, to suffer like that? I've never had that problem with cotton. Cotton is gentle and does what I want it to do, and can be machine washed and dried without effort. No coddling, very dependable. I love fibers that I can depend upon.

The Boy is away this week. Doing navy stuff. On a ship. He'll be back next week, soon enough, but Tiffany is really missing him. She was clingy to me yesterday and today, and spent a lot of time with me in eyesight. Woe to us if I left her presence for more than ten minutes! She'd come looking for me. While I'm glad that she cares, it's a bit disconcerting to have her suddenly acting so normally with a mommy-attachment while at the same time seeming to ignore me completely.

On the other hand, this behavior is perfectly normal for a cat. And she has so many other cat-like tendancies.