Saturday, May 29, 2010

4 Continues Even Today

4 More

4, It's Been 4 Years.

4 Years ago today, Simone Rose Jackson came into the world. Crazy.

Simone is sleeping on her futon next to our bed, exactly where she was born.

Crazy, it's crazy having a kid. But a ton of fun.

A special breakfast - apple puff pancake.

Her birthday was a preschool day too, and they have a special ceremony with a crown, cape (robe?), and wings. Miss Christine told a little story, and then we lit a candle for each year. For each year, May and I shared a memory from that year.

The memory of the first year was of Simone and Mary sitting out on the back patio, basking in the sun. Simone was but a couple days old and slightly jaundiced. You can see those pictures here.
The memory from the second year was Simone taking some of her first steps at Nana and Grandpa's house around Christmas. She was a bit wobbly, but pretty excited to be walking the 4-5 feet between us.

The third year memory was camping at Paradise Campground on the McKenzie River. Simone sat in her camp chair so proudly, and played in the bucket of water for hours. We all took a walk to Belknap Hot Springs, and Simone fell asleep in my arms. I laid down with her on a picnic table we came across to nap with her, but she woke.

I had many memories in the fourth year, but the one that stuck out the most was one time last summer when she and I were downtown, probably at the farmer's market. Simone wanted to run a little bit, so we both ran. She stopped and told me that I wasn't using my arms enough, I had to swing my elbows back and forth (you've got to see her determined run, with her right elbow pumping).

Now on to the fifth year.

A close up of her and the crown.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pecan Mudslide Cookies

For mother's day, Mary hinted she wanted some chocolate for dessert, and who am I to get in between a loving mother and her ... chocolate.

I went through my bookmarks tagged chocolate and found several that sounded good. Mary was leaning toward chocolate chewies (for which we already have a recipe), and I pointed out the Pecan Mudslide Cookies from Chocolate and Zucchini (a blog I read occasionally).

The recipe is simple, requires few ingredients, and pretty quick to whip together. You do have to chill the dough for about 20 minutes before baking - mostly because the dough is like thick, melted chocolate... mmm... Then you bake them up for 15 minutes (don't over do it).

The cookies are rich, chocolaty, super tender (but they don't fall apart!) and one or two is plenty for dessert. Oh, and they're a nice big size.

I took the rest of them to work and gave most of them away - winning big raves.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mark Bittman's Overnight Waffles

If you're thinking of making waffles, this is the recipe you should use. The waffles are flavorful all by themselves (though of course I add maple syrup), and cook up very crispy. Yum!

From Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

  • 1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 8 tablespoon Butter melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract optional
  • Canola Oil for brushing on waffle iron
  • 2 eggs

1. The night before, combine the dry ingredients, stir in the milk,
then stir in butter and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and set
aside overnight at room temperature.

2. In the morning, preheat and oil the waffle iron. Separate the eggs
and stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold
soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. (I don't know that you
need to actually seperate them.)

3. Pour batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done,
usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or
keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.

Leftovers freeze beautifully and toast up almost as good as fresh.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Simone Update

Simone was doing "crazy eyes" the other night while taking a bath. Of course the cutest picture had no crazy eyes... We did have fun taking a bunch of blurry pictures though.

And here she is taking a nap - one of her few. She hasn't taken naps for nearly two years now. I don't know where she gets the energy - Mary and I both like taking naps.

The other updates... Simone is learning how to tell "knock knock..." jokes. Mary says all the kids are now telling them at school. They sit around saying "knock knock, who's there? fork! ha ha ha ha!" - they never get to the punch line. It's hilarious.

We did have a dry spell of no kissing with Simone, and luckily that's over. What seemed to help break the levy were some Richard Scarry books (a childhood favorite of mine) where two pigs were kissing. So we had "piggy kisses" where you touch noses and kiss with your lips. Now we're getting regular kisses, blown kisses, and butterfly kisses. I'm working on fish-lips kisses, so far I can't keep a straight face long enough to get a kiss.

Simone loves to send people cards - we've sent a bunch. Sometimes it's simply a decorated (empty) envelope, sometimes the envelope had a scribbled drawing or a colored picture, and sometimes there's an actual card inside the envelope. And stickers are often involved.

At Little Gym they stamp your hands/feet at the end, which used to be huge for Simone, but she seems to have grown out of it. We went to kid yoga this morning, and Simone didn't want a stamp. Perhaps they'll come back in the future...

"Why?" is starting to make its appearance as a common response, though the most common is still, "What did X say?" where X can be Hazel (the dog), a person, breakfast, the bowl, or the generic "they".

Pink is still huge. She mostly chooses pink clothes, dresses and skirts are big. For a while she didn't like tights, but those are in as well. It's fun to see what patterns she'll put together. I really should get some photos of them.

Mary and Simone went on a bike ride (Mary walked, Simone rode) the other day. It sounds like Simone is getting quite good - she took off down the road (up hill even) building up a head of steam. Mary was walking Hazel and couldn't help as Simone teetered off the edge and crashed. After a couple of minutes she hopped back on the bike and kept on riding. You go girl!

Simone turns four in 25 days, which is pretty amazing. So many changes, I want to get back into recording them on the blog because my memory isn't nearly as good as Simone's, and I want to remember this stuff.

Last Thanksgiving

Wow, I forgot about the Thanksgiving photos....

On that weekend we went for a walk and I spotted this mushroom in a thicket of trees:

Not only was it bright and beautiful. It was HUGE! It was nearly as large as Simone's head.

Here's a family photo for your enjoyment.

April Days

Mary got me a new camera for my birthday (because my old one died at Thanksgiving...).

And, we picked up a swing set from a friend whose kids outgrew it. Yay! While setting it up, Simone said, "Today is a great day!" - She was so excited.

This spring we're putting in raised beds in the back. Due to standard, Oregon, weather, and a plethora of activities (today's was a nap), it's taking longer than we figured. Not only are we adding beds (which are all in place), but also putting in water spigots to each of the beds. Half of the trench is dug, I've got about 25 feet left.

We have planted two of the beds. The one on the right has lots of peas, lettuce, spinach, cabbage and probably some other goodies. The bed to the left of that is full of .... asparagus! 40 plants (hoping they all survive). Most are sprouting little stalks.

And here Simone is being a frisky kitty. You can see the remnants of the dirt/compost pile in the back, which we're using to fill the beds. Once the beds are full and the pipe is laid, we'll put down a bunch (15 yards or so) of wood chips. Many many wheel barrow loads ahead of us.