October 29, 2004

Parent Teacher Conferences Recap

We had The Boy's parent teacher conference yesterday and all went well. They had nice things to say about him and how creative he is. We got to see his artwork and they said he's a bit ahead of his age in their opinion. I guess he takes after me there. He's also a bit sensitive and prone to bottling up hurts, but we already knew those things and the teachers just pointed them out to encourage him to come talk to them when he's feeling upset.

It's always nice to hear good things about your child from someone else and know it isn't just biased Mom and Dad who think he's pretty special and super.

A Birth Story

I'm always a sucker for reading about other people's labor and delivery, especially at the moment. While I have no desire for a home birth, I find Carrie's story beautiful and amazing. Her son has been having some jaundice problems since though, so I know she's been extra busy and worried all at once and could certainly use good thoughts.

Food, Glorious Food

You might just be nine months pregnant when nothing sounds good for lunch, so you eat grapes, yogurt, sour cream & onion chips and jello. Hmmm. There is a reason we almost never have those last two in the house, and it isn't just to deprive the children.

And in other food notes, this week's Carnival of the Recipes is up.

And finally, pregnant women like tasty food -- except when nothing sounds good -- and they also like food that doesn't take too long to prepare. This is a favorite around my house, although neither kid likes cooked red pepper much. The Girl will eat raw red pepper all day long though, so I feed her as I'm cutting it up. The recipe as written calls for you to cook up the chicken as part of the meal, but it also works very well and is even faster with shredded leftover chicken (or turkey after Thanksgiving). I think this recipe is a modified version of something found in the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cookbook.

Thai Chicken
serves 4

2 chicken breasts
3 green onions
1 medium red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cut chicken into thin strips. Heat oil in wok and stir-fry until cooked. Set aside in a bowl.

Thinly slice green onions; cut red bell pepper into 2-inch-long matchstick-thin strips.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, soy sauce, chopped cilantro, the next 5 ingredients, and ⅓ cup water.

In a wok, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Add green onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden. Stir in soy sauce mixture and chicken and cook, stirring to coat the chicken well. Serve over Asian rice.

Maybe This Baby Will Come Soon

I got the bizarre and uncharacteristic desire to vacuum today.

October 28, 2004

Haven't Done This In A While

It's Thursday and time for The Thursday Three.

1) Name your THREE favorite candies you hope for when you go trick-or-treating.

Dots, Sour Worms and Gummy Bears

2) Name your THREE favorite things at state/county fairs (food or exhibits or rides or animals or animal food rides or whatever).

frozen bananas, lemonade, and onion rings

As this is my blog and so I can do four things, I'll also add that I love the section where they have all the free pencils, ballons and other things. I love collecting all that junk.

3) Which THREE songs you would download for a cell phone?

If I had a cell phone, I might download music for it, though I kind of hate the personalized music one hears blaring from every phone in town, but who knows when I'll ever make that technological leap anyway or how I'll feel about it by then. Perhaps I would get The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" or better yet Homer Simpson saying, "D'oh!" But I'd probably just want an old fashioned telephone ring.

Parent Teacher Conferences

The Boy has been in school since late August and his school starts parent teacher conferences next week. Because of our unique circumstances though, we're having our conference this afternoon. I don't expect to hear that my kid is a bully or anything. I expect to hear that he cries a bit much at unexpected changes -- like when he was allowed to keep playing instead of making bread one time, but I figure that's something that he'll grow out of eventually. He's only four.

Still, I'm nervous about going to talk to his teachers, although interested too. What will I hear about him? What's he like when he's not with us? Other than Bible classes on Sunday and Wednesday, he's done very little that didn't involve his parents before this. I still miss him some mornings when he's at school and I wish I could be the fly on the wall to watch him.

The Boy seems far too little to be in any kind of school and having parent teacher conferences and yet he seems so big too. These kids grow up way too fast.

If Anyone is Wondering

Things are all the same with me as they were three weeks ago. As I mentioned back then, I always seem to dilate to 3 centimeters and then go into a holding pattern indefinitely. The end is in sight though, for which I am glad. I'm pretty exhausted and swollen these days.

October 26, 2004


Terry thinks the end of this pregnancy might have driven me just a wee bit insane. I submit that I must have already been insane, since this is my third child and I have no idea how to deal with a newborn and The Girl.

October 25, 2004

A Joke -- Two Year Old Style

I got out of the shower this morning and instead of grabbing my usual lilac towel, I got a dark purple one -- because the lilac ones were in the washing machine. My daughter looked up and said, "Where pink towel, Mommy?" I told her it was dirty so I was using a purple towel. She got an evil grin on her face and said, "Mommy have poo-poo towel! Mommy have poo-poo, pee-pee towel." And then she burst into gales of laughter. Potty humor starts early.

Theology -- Four Year Old Style

It sometimes amazes me what comes out of my four year old's mouth -- and not because he's usually saying stuff I don't want to hear -- usually I just marvel at how interesting he is and all the thoughts that the little chipmunks inside his head are processing.

Obviously he thinks about religion and God more than I realized. Here are some observations and questions from the past week or so.

On God:
The Boy: Do you think God has a wife?
Me: We never hear about one in the Bible, so probably not.
The Boy: But he made a wife for Adam so he wouldn't be lonely, so He probably has one Himself.

On the End of the World:
The Boy: When will the world cease to exist?
Justin: We don't know.
The Boy: Well, why will it?
Justin: God has a plan to create a new perfect world without the flaws in the this one.
The Boy: I like this world.
Justin: God is going to make a new, clean world some day.
The Boy: Will our house get destroyed? I think it is clean enough.

On Polytheism:
If God is everywhere, that's almost like having many gods. That's probably why the Greeks thought there were a lot of gods.

October 22, 2004

While I'm at it

I should mention that I added a bunch of blogs to my blogroll. There are probably some I should have added, but didn't. Anyway, you might see someone over there you haven't visited before and I think they are all worth checking out.

Cheap Labor

We have two dusters -- one made when wool and one in some synthetic rainbow colored fuzzy stuff. When I dust (ha!) I use flannel dust clothes, but my kids love the dusters. They are currently fighting over the use of the rainbow one, so I've been setting the kitchen timer and making them trade dusters every 3 minutes. It may not get the house all that clean, but if they want to play dusting who am I to tell them no?

Return of the Prodigal

My old high school buddy, Ellen, points out an interesting story about the return of the contents of a briefcase of Bono's that was stolen in 1981. You never know what interesting stuff could be lying around the attic -- not if you're a packrat anyway.

One of the Weirdest Searches Ever

I get some strange search engine hits now and then, not to mention some fairly common place ones and some that don't even bear thinking about. I'm awfully surprised that yard signs (especially Kerry ones) rank so high on my hit list and who knew that so many people were out there looking for applesauce recipes, but the person searching Yahoo for does britney spears wear diapers -- well that was weirder than almost anything I've seen.

I think the real answer is -- who knows? and who cares? and I sure don't, nor do I have any interest in finding out.

Brand New Baby Blogs

You know how some people will call talk shows and say, "Long time listener, first time caller?" These particular blogs have been started by people who could easily describe themselves as "long time commenter, first time blogger." Both of them have spent way too much time reading Possumblog, but don't seem any crazier than the rest of us. Go welcome Skinny Dan and Tex to the blogosphere.

Another Carnival of the Recipes

The tenth Carnival of the Recipes is up at Inside Allan's Mind.

More Ways to Use Pumpkin

The week before last I had a recipe for pumpkin pancakes and if you make those, you have enough pumpkin left in the can that you need to do something else. This muffin recipe, which I believe came from Southern Living originally, but has been through a few alterations by me, uses up the rest of the can quite nicely.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
makes 24

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Granny Smith apple,
peeled and finely chopped

3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 6 ingredients (flour through sugar) in a large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture.

Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs, and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple, spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.

For the topping, combine sugar, pumpkin pie spice, oatmeal and butter; crumble over muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

October 20, 2004

It's All Over As Far As I'm Concerned

I voted today, so I guess my part is done.

The Lover, Again

I mentioned before that my son is quite the lover. He has his preschool girlfriend and on days when she's sick, he's not quite as happy and on many days when she's there he delights in giving her big hello and goodbye hugs -- and who knows how many hugs during the day.

Recently, one of his favorite songs has become Red River Valley and he's taken the time to learn most of the words. He'll go around humming or singing it throughout the day.

Yesterday he told me the reason he liked the song so much was, "Because it is a love song and it makes me think of Preschool Girlfriend (not her real name)." In fact, he's started composing his own love songs inspired by her.

I wonder when he'll figure out yet that Red River Valley is a sad love song, and not one that might exactly be inspirational for young lovers. And I must note that this sweet young thing better not go breaking my son's heart too cruelly when the day comes that she finds someone new.

October 19, 2004

Motherly, But Still a Tomboy

What with the new haircut and all, The Girl suddenly seems a lot older. She's in the midst of being two without a doubt and she decided not to take a nap at all yesterday, but new things are always happening.

Although she seems to like dolls, we sometimes feared for The Girl developing much of a motherly nature as she tossed her "babies" across the room or used them as a cushion to sit on. She still does that sort of thing, but the other day I caught her cuddling one of her dolls, patting it on the back and saying, "That's okay, baby. Don't cry." Which is not to say she's not still her brother's biggest tormenter when he's sad or in trouble, but it was a sweet moment and a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, I don't exactly want her to be all dolls all the time or too prissy. Our collection of books for very little children is helping that regard, because most of them, acquired for her big brother are all about trucks. She came over this morning, thrust one at me and demanded to see the loader and the bulldozer.

I think she's pretty well-rounded for a toddler.

October 18, 2004


It looks like beer. It tastes yucky like beer. But last time I checked, the actual alcohol content in non-alcoholic beer was negligible. Anyway, I bought some O'Douls today to use in beef stew since Cook's Illustrated said it worked well and my friends have often recommended beer as a stew base. If I'd thought anyone would think I was buying beer, I would have been more than a little embarassed -- not only because I don't drink and belong to a teetotalling church, but because I'm about as pregnant as pregnant can be and carting around a two year old besides.

I unloaded all my groceries and last but not least the near beer. Everything rings up and when they get to the final item, they scan it and stare at me expectantly. "Can I see your I.D. please?" I don't look that young and it is non-alcoholic beer, so I was a bit surprised, but I complied. The woman checking my I.D. had never heard of non-alcoholic beer and didn't seem to quite believe me when I told her that's what it was. Why would the computer ask for I.D. otherwise? She also told me that since the computer insists on a birthday for all alcoholic (or apparently alcoholic looking) beverages, they now card everyone -- even if they are 80.

The wonders of the computer age never cease.

Rising Property Values Or Not

It is a good thing my husband and I haven't been counting on the rising property values around us as a nest egg. When I went out this morning for groceries, I noticed that the slummy, long-empty house across the street was having stuff done to it. Now I've been aware for a long time that the slum lord was trying to off-load the property and rumor has it that he was offered $125,000 and turned it down, much to all the neighbors sorrow. No word had gone around that the property had been sold, but today the fence was gone, a backhoe and a dump truck were in the back yard and the back yard was now filled with gravel from one end to another.

Yep, the house sold -- and for a hefty sum according to the county maps. Unfortunately it sold to the church behind it, whose building has been "under construction" with nothing being done to it for a year now. My husband called and they have plans to add on to the exisiting house and turn the backyard into a parking lot. How lovely. No doubt they will take care of this place as well as the other two houses they own in the neighborhood -- which is to say, not well.

And this all comes from the aforementioned slum lord, who at a recent zoning hearing complained that a developer who wanted to convert a drug house into a light commercial office space and renovate it was "ruining the residential character of the neighborhood."

Hmph. When I'm emperor, people will only get to freely exercise their property rights when it doesn't impinge upon mine and I won't have to look across the street at a parking lot.

All Sorts of Excitement

My, was this weekend thrilling! I made the kids felt crowns, finished my craft projects for the Waldorf school, got the Girl's hair cut, helped shred last year's papers (which always leaves me feeling like Lionel Hutz) and file all the papers we've been stuffing in our "to be filed" basket for a year. We also watched Ella Enchanted, which was fun even if it was kind of stupid. I packed bags for the kids should we have to make a run to the hospital, but haven't gotten around to packing much of my own. Of course, if you were expecting any sort of thrilling baby developments you are at the wrong place, although all the women at church think the baby looks lower.

And now since I'm still blogging in my pjs, I suppose I had better get cleaned up, make a grocery list and proceed with exciting decisions like bananas or apples or both?

October 15, 2004

Still Around. Still Pregnant.

I've been enjoying a nice visit with my dad, who has his fall break the past few days, and haven't really had much to say anyway. I'll be back.

October 13, 2004

Tummy Ball

I'm wearing jeans with the huge belly panel today. Thanks to the miracles of modern engineering, I actually have other jeans that stretch enough that they can zip up and have no panel at all. They are in the wash though, so I have to wear the ones that I have left over from previous pregnancies. I guess I avoid the belly panel jeans, when possible, because when my daughter saw me putting them on today she pointed and said, "What's that?" I told her it was my tummy and she laughed and said, "Mommy tummy ball." Throughout the day she has periodically come up, pulled up my shirt and giggled and patted my "tummy ball." I already knew pregnancy and parenting weren't really for the vain or faint of heart, but this feels like a new low.

October 12, 2004


I had my first internal check, and I'm about 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced -- for those of you who know what that means. My body is making progress towards having this baby, but naturally, this progress means nothing. Nada. Zilch. I don't think I've ever gone past 3 without going into labor, but I've walked around at that dilation with the other two for weeks. Still, I think I had better draw up a list of people to call after the baby arrives and pack a hospital bag -- just in case.

Update: If anyone wishes to be notified by telephone of the baby's arrival and get the exciting experience of speaking with me or perhaps the Curmudgeonly husband, you are welcome to send me an e-mail with your phone number in it. I'm not calling internationally though.

October 11, 2004

Baby Names

I hate naming babies. This is because I feel compelled to find The Perfect Name that meets a long list of criteria, and since both The Boy and The Girl happen to be holders of The Perfect Name, the third child is in trouble. Not to mention that since I really have no idea whether this is a boy or a girl, I need to figure out The Perfect Name for each sex. No small task.

I don't require myself to go into the hospital with a name completely chosen and settled on. The Boy got a first name within a few hours after birth, although we kicked around a couple of options for a few days. He got his middle name as we were in the process of checking out of the hospital, so we had to call the harassing "name lady" and give her the name over the phone.

We did a little better with The Girl. I had pretty much settled on a first name for her when she was born, but it still took us another day to agree to the middle name that I had thought I liked best all along.

With this baby, we have what one might call "an extended short list." Probably half the names on it are things one or both of us really like, but that we almost certainly could not bring ourselves to actually saddle a child with.

So what do we -- mostly I -- require from a baby name for our child? It can't be too popular. If is in the top 100 baby names from the Social Security Administration, the name is immediately removed from contention (for a first name slot). It has to be a real name with a real spelling -- unusual is dandy, made up is not. It has to sound good with Adams -- a subjective criterion, I admit, but some names do sound better than others. The name must go well with our other children's names -- theirs are both rather British, so something too Italian, French or any other ethnic sounding name wouldn't sound right. The initials, if at all possible, need to not look too stupid or make too odd an acronym. With an "A" last name, almost every initial combination will sound like it belongs to some authority or association or administration, so this one is almost impossible -- but names forming the initials DOA or BRA would be instantly rejected. And finally, as I mentioned, although we don't mind giving the kids names that are hard to spell or hard to pronounce even (I've survived Jordana just fine) it should be something that will grow with them and that will never be a huge embarrassment to them (although I will grant you that at one point or another any kid is probably going to find any name embarrassing, and I was miserable as a small child because there were never any shoe laces, stickers, license plates or other kitsch with Jordana out there).

Should be simple, huh? I just hope this baby gets named before we leave the hospital.


I hate the debates. I try to watch them, but I just can't. My attempt on Friday night went as follows.

The President walked in and I thought, "He looks pretty peppy and up-beat."

John Kerry walked in and I thought, "He's smiling. Make him stop! Make him stop! The Dems thought Zell Miller was going to scare the children, but they let John Kerry smile? Please make it stop."

The hippy looking woman asked John Kerry if he was wishy-washy, and he started talking. I thought, "Oh no! He's talking and smiling. Make him stop! I can't take any more."

So I turned off the TV and read some live-blogging instead. I may have to put even stricter restrictions on my TV-viewing, and I already almost never turn the thing on, if Kerry wins. I find him very hard to watch.

October 08, 2004

Oddly, It Isn't What I'd Choose To Drink

I like the description, even if I'd take almost any cup of tea or foamy girlie coffee drink over a plain java.

You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe.
You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe!

What Kind of Coffee are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

From Melissa.

Friday Recipe Exchange

The Carnival of the Recipes is over at Fresh as a Daisy this week, by the way. Lots of yummy looking stuff.

Pumpkin Pancakes

In October, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns are all around. Pumpkin pies are lovely and yummy, but there are plenty of other ways to eat a bit of pumpkin. These pumpkin pancakes make a lovely autumn breakfast dish. I don't recall where I found this recipe originally, nor if I have modified it over the years.

Pumpkin Pancakes
makes 20

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1¾ cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter,
plus 1 tablespoon for frying
½ cup canned pumpkin

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl using a whisk to stir.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pumpkin to the other wet ingredients and stir together. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

Heat the remaining butter on a griddle over medium-high heat. Then pour about a ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. When they bubble on top, flip and cook until brown on other side.

October 07, 2004

What a Hassle!

We had some chimney sweeps in cleaning and inspecting the chimney. The news on which isn't all that great, but it is over 80 years old and originally designed for coal, so I guess we're lucky it works at all. That isn't the real point though, if that matters.

While the workmen were here, my darling little daughter decided to latch on to the word hassle and say it over and over and over again -- quite loudly. Her father and I probably say, "What a hassle!" rather frequently, being the types who hate being bothered -- or at least complain about it amongst ourselves before doing whatever is necessary. And so she hears all about these hassles. While I think The Girl generally speaks pretty clearly for her age, that h-sound is still not very distinct and so you would swear she's yelling a word that shouldn't be crossing such sweet little lips. It was especially nice when she started telling me that everyone in the family was a hassle. "Daddy 'assle. Brudder 'assle. Dog 'assle."

I wonder what the chimney sweeps thought we'd been saying in front of her.

Pregnant Woman Tries to Put Gas In Her Car...

...lots of stupidity ensues.

I really hate putting gas in the car. Whether I hate it because when the kids are little babies they scream their heads off while the car is stopped, or if it has to do with memories of gasing up at -40, or if there is another reason all together, I'm not sure. But I do tend to put off the evil day and ignore the values my parents tried to instill of always having at least a half a tank of gas in the car. Not that I usually try to wean it, mind you, but I often don't break down and go to the gas station until the gauge is at a quarter tank or so. When the empty light came on last night, I knew I'd been ignoring the gas just a bit too long and something would have to be done.

This morning, the Girl and I pulled into the gas station, I got out my wallet, popped the gas tank opener thingie and walked around to the pump. Only to stare dumbly at my van for few seconds before realizing that unlike every other automobile I've ever owned, this one has the tank on the other side. I jumped back into the van, swung around the pumps and pulled up on the correct side.

I got out, got ready to feed the car and realized that I'd parked so far back from the pump that the hose wouldn't reach. I had to get back in the car, restart it (because of course the car was on a slight incline and I couldn't just roll it forward), drive forward 4 feet and finally fill it up. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I also parked so close to the pump that, with my extended ninth month of pregnancy girth, getting in and out was a challenge.

While I admit to having enough pregnancy brain at this point that my license should probably be revoked, at least I know all the people stopped at the extremely busy intersection had something to laugh about. I'm doing my part to make America laugh.

October 06, 2004

Political Signs

Ever since I blogged about putting a Bush/Cheney sign in my yard and how weird that felt, I've been getting more search engine hits for political yard signs than just about anything else. I've been getting an equal number of people searching for Kerry signs as Bush ones, and so I suspect I get a lot of disappointed people coming over here. I was surprised today to find out that Curmudgeonry is the number one search on MSN for "I want a Kerry sign in my yard". This blog and I sure wouldn't be much help there.

In other news, I finally broke down and got a "W the President" sticker for my van. I was going to get one for my husband's car, but The Boy insisted that his dad really needed the "Don't Be a Girlie-Man. Vote Republican." sticker. I doubt that will make it onto the car, but it is amusing and more amusing that my four year old loved it so.

Or perhaps the later isn't so surprising. His current favorite joke is to say, "Mom you are a M-A-N, and Dad you are a L-A-D-Y." This sends him into peals of laughter, as long as you don't suggest that he is a "G-I-R-L." Anything that keeps him interested in spelling, huh?

October 05, 2004

I Know You Will All Be As Shocked As I Was

You Should Vote For Bush
George Bush
(You May Want to Hide This From Your Left-y Blogger Friends)

Which presidential candidate should you vote for?

Good Thing I Went to Bed Early

The Girl decided, for reasons unknown, to start wailing at 4 a.m. I found her curled up on the rug in her room bawling, with her big brother sound asleep, oblivous to the racket, in the next bed over. One major flaw with toddler beds is that they are really not made for parents to cuddle up with their kids in -- especially not mothers with bellies as wide as the mattress. I brought the girl back to my room, where she proceeded to wiggle, chat and complain until around 5 when I decided to take her out to the kitchen, so that Justin could sleep a bit. She wanted food right away, so maybe this was all caused by hunger. Then I curled up on the loveseat and she came over with a book and "read" herself back to sleep. She only slept long enough for me to doze off, but I guess that was better than nothing.

Inspite of being exhausted, I feel less cranky right now than yesterday. However, I suspect that it wouldn't take too much to turn me into a weepy bowl of jello, so I hope for a calm and quiet day today.

October 04, 2004

Miss Crankypants Is Back

A headache, not going to bed early last night (although Calendar Girls was worth watching), whiny children (one of whom cried that Daddy took all the leftovers for lunch), not being able to get teak oil at Home Depot, a long line at Lowes, a letter I thought I needed weighed at the post office that only really needed one stamp, grocery shopping, and more whining all before lunch, really brought Miss Crankypants back.

I have a month left to go, but I'm really tired of being pregnant. God definitely designed women to become more tired of pregnancy than they are afraid of dealing with a newborn. Even though I know that having a newborn, a two year old and a four year old is going to be taxing in the extreme -- the older two do a fine job of driving me crazy without adding a crying baby into the mix, I still want to be done. I want my fingers and ankles not to be swollen. I want my back to stop aching. I want to stop feeling like the bones of my pelvis are ripping themselves in two. I'm exhausted.

It's nine o'clock -- hours before I usually fall asleep, but as Miss Crankypants I'm declaring an early night and I hope to find that in the morning the world will seem a little happier and brighter -- even if I still will be tired, swollen, pregnant and surrounded by whining children.

I Played a Republican on TV

Terry linked to a picture of Michael J. Fox and John Kerry, which reminds me of something I heard on NPR this morning. I'm quoting from memory, but Morning Edition's quick blurb about the town hall meeting included something along these lines, "Fox, who played a young Reagan Republican in the 1980s, now has Parkinson's Disease and supports stem cell research."

Family Ties was a fun show to watch, but I don't recall ever thinking that just because Alex P. Keaton was a Republican that Michael J. Fox was -- any more than I thought he really travelled back in time when the flux capacitor in his car hit 1.21 gigawatts. Apparently playing a Republican gives him credentials though, from which he has "grown" now that he's older, wiser and sick. I wish Fox the best of luck in his fight against Parkinson's, although I don't support his support of stem cell research, but I think NPR could have written their blurb better.

Meal Planning

It is Monday morning and I need to work on a task I hate more than grocery shopping with two children, one of whom is really a grouchy monkey in disguise. I need to go through my cookbooks and figure out what we are going to eat this week, figure out what we have and what we need and write a grocery list. I sometimes try to involve Justin in this task, but generally speaking it is my baby. With a real baby coming soon this is especially true, because I'm mostly looking for recipes that can be made with less than 15 minutes on my feet and that I feel like eating -- and I don't feel like eating anything these days -- except when I feel like eating everything (but nothing we happen to have in the house, of course).

I love trying new recipes, but right now is not the time to play the gourmand. I also feel compelled to make as many things as possible that will have freezable leftovers for later when no one wants to cook. I have plenty of good fast recipes, but all the old stand-bys are old, tired and or at least I'm tired of them.

There are plenty of places out there where you can buy cookbooks and meal planning services that will give you your grocery lists and all your recipes in a package so you don't have to plan. The problem is I've never found one that offered an entire week's worth of things I actually want to eat. So back to planning.

Will we do penne and pesto again for the umpteenth week in a row? Are quesadillas ever off the menu? Who knows what exciting adventures await? I suppose some day I might be organized enough to create a cycle of meals that I actually like and their corresponding grocery lists, but until then anything goes.

October 01, 2004

Planning Next Year's Garden

The kids and I went out and watered the garden, which although still necessary seems so futile at this point, when everything looks terrible and the dog has done in half the things I've planted.

If I want things to go better next year I'm going to have to do more research and planning. I think this site will be useful -- or at least it looks like it will be on first glance.

We're Not the Only Ones

I saw another car with a W '04 sticker on it at The Boy's school today. This was an amazing discovery -- especially since the car belongs to one of the leaders of the parent organization. I haven't ever talked the guy, but I feel like I have a compatriot.


There isn't a recipe from me in there, but the seventh Carnival of the Recipes is up at Food Basics. Remember if you want to enter, send a link to a recipe on your blog or a recipe if you don't have a blog of your own to recipe.carnival(at)gmail.com.

And now for this week's recipe from yours truly. This one came from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It is a nice one to get kids involved in making. My two year old can't help much, in fact we made it while she was napping, but my four year old loves reading the recipe to keep us on track, juicing the oranges and lemon, dumping everything together, and helping to peel the apples. He's fairly risk averse and was good at following my directions with a peeler, so no skin went missing in the process. With other children -- probably like The Girl, I wouldn't let them near a peeler at age four unless I wanted a little blood and tears added into the food.

A friend of mine, who is more into health food than I am, didn't think she's like to make an applesauce with sugar. I will say that this is a dessert-y applesauce that goes well with vanilla ice cream, but I suspect that if you left out the lemon juice you probably wouldn't need as much or any sugar. That's for someone else to try though. I like all the sugar I can get.


Zest and juice of two oranges
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 lbs Granny Smith Apples (6-8)
3 lbs sweet red apples, such as McIntosh
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the citrus zests and juice in a large bowl. Peel, core and slice the apples and stir them into the juice mixture. Pour fruit into a large baking dish that can be covered while baking. Add remaining ingredients, cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until apples are soft. Whisk apples to an apple sauce consistency. Serve warm or at room temperature.