AnneTennies's blog

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Fish Bento

Fish Bento

Chloe’s 4K class has allergies, so the class has to be peanut-free. I can’t stand peanut butter, but she loves PB&J (and it’s really easy, quick, and fine w/o refrigeration) However, since that’s not an option, I’ve had to get a little more creative. I’ve been trying to make her lunches exciting (partly to make her smile when she sees them, partly to make her want to eat everything, and partly because it’s fun)

I made this lunch for her the day after she won a goldfish at the Dairy Days carnival. We bought a companion fish for Adrian, so I thought I should commemorate the two new members of the household. It’s a good thing I did it then, because her fish was gone by her next school day!

The fish are jelly sandwiches, with raisins for the eyes (glued on with frosting, since that’s what I had). The water is green grapes, with blueberries for air bubbles. Then blanched broccoli for the seaweed and flower-shaped turkey and cheese to finish it off. Her favorite part was the turkey flowers, although she told me that kind of broccoli was her new favorite vegetable!

Adrian's Rocking Chair Birthday Cake!

Rockin' Birthday Cake

I made a rocking chair cake for Adrian’s first birthday. I have a whole series of pictures up on Facebook, but if you’re not on there, you can see it here.

It was a fun experiment, and I got to try some new techniques. I will definitely consider doing more sculpting with rice crispy treats, but not for anything structural again. I’m happy with how the bear turned out, though.

Viewmaster Photos from Christmas Card

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

This year’s card features a photo of Chloe and Adrian surrounded by viewmaster reels. On the back, you’ll find two special reels — one about Adrian’s first week and another about the kids’ first year together. In case you’d like to see the pictures a little larger (or right-side-up!), we’ve provided them here, for your viewing convenience.

Click here to go the photo album

Long overdue site updates

I just added a bunch of cakes to my portfolio, so it’s a little more up-to-date. Also, i noticed that our site got comment-spammed, and just deleted a few thousand junk comments.

I’ve had a lot of interest in the cloth diaper pages recently, so I’ll make a point to update that in the near future. I’ve learned a few things since I started that part of the site!

Manners and Ducks

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Chloe picks up new words and concepts. During her bedtime bath (in between dancing in the bubbles and patting her tummy) she held out a rubber ducky to me and pronounced “Duck!” with an exaggerated “k” sound at the end. Many of her words stop at the first syllable (butterfly is but, ball is bah, etc), but I suppose duck isn’t that far off from “book” which is another favorite word. Anyway, that made me smile.

I’ve been trying to remember to sign “please” and “thank you” to her as appropriate, and she’s starting to get it. This morning I suggested that if she said please, a neighbor boy might give her back her cup, and she immediately rubbed her chest and said “pease”... then when he didn’t respond, she walked closer and repeated it a couple times. Later on, I was changing her diaper and trying to get her to straighten her legs, and I said please (with the sign) straighten your legs, and she did it! (she also repeated “pease” with the sign, which may have just distracted her from her feet, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt) I love these communication breakthroughs.

Pickle Relish & tingling hands

I just made a batch of pickle relish to use up some of our cucumbers. My friend Heather shared her recipe, and hopefully my shortcuts won’t hurt the final product. First the recipe, then my modifications:

12 lg cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed and diced
12 onions (2” diameter), diced
3/4 c salt
2 lg celery stalks, diced
6 lg sweet peppers, diced
1 qt white vinegar
4 c sugar
2 Tbsp mustard seed

Mix the cukes, onions and salt and let sit for 10-12 hours. Drain until dry. Cook the vinegar, sugar and mustard seed in large pan over low heat until thick. Add the veggies, and cook over low heat until thick and the cukes turn golden. Ladle into hot canning jars and process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 6 pts.

First of all, whenever I see a recipe like this, it bugs me a little. How big is a large cucumber? I wish they had a secondary measurement like weight or volume. Anyway, I started with the largest cukes I had, and by the time I got to a dozen, they were getting smaller, so I tossed in an extra. I used Torpedo onions from our CSA, which are oblong. I don’t remember whether I used 5 or 6, but they seem to have stronger flavor than the white or yellow onions I would otherwise choose. The celery and peppers were also from the CSA. I think I used 8 stalks of celery, and it still probably wasn’t as much as “2 large stalks”. I thought the peppers were all sweet peppers (I used 6 — not all large) but my fingers are still burning a couple hours after cutting them up, so now I think some of them might be a little higher on the Scoville scale than I bargained for. Then there’s the preparation. Dicing all those veggies sounded like it was going to take a while. With a toddler underfoot (and limited naptimes) I didn’t want to take all that time, so I used my trusty food processor. I shredded the cucumbers and chopped everything else. So it’s not quite as pretty as Heather’s was, but she made that batch before she had kids. :) And after all, it’s going on a hot dog… how precise does it need to be?

The other change was that I didn’t feel like dealing with canning at 11:30pm. So I used 6 half-pint freezer jars, and filled a couple other containers with the rest. Hopefully it’ll freeze well. I’m thinking about using some ice-cube trays to freeze some of it, too, but that will depend on how much time I have tomorrow. Now I’m anxious to get some hot dogs to try it out!

Sweet Summer Days

It was just brought to my attention that summer is almost over. The pool is having the “doggy dip” this weekend — you can bring dogs to the pool to swim on the last day of the season, and the money raised goes toward the dog park (I think). Now, I don’t have a dog, and haven’t been to the pool since Chloe’s swimming lessons ended in early July… but I kept thinking we could always go later in the summer. So, umm… tomorrow?

I certainly haven’t done as much outside as I hoped. During the winter I kept saying that when the weather got nice we’d resume our evening walks. We’ve only grilled out a few times. The lawn gets longer than usual in between mowings, just because we don’t get out and notice that it needs it. However, I have been able to enjoy the weather at least a bit, mostly due to Chloe’s social life. Between park dates on Wednesdays and outside playgroups on Thursdays, I’ve been forcing myself (aka scheduling myself) to spend a few hours outside just playing in the park and talking with the neighborhood moms. This morning we were out three and a half hours, and it was great. The dishwasher didn’t get emptied or filled, laundry didn’t get done, and I didn’t think about supper until 4, but it was worth it. School starts next week, and these lazy summer days are tapering off. I’m grateful to be able to enjoy them. And it makes me wonder how much else I’d get done simply by putting things on the calendar.

Creative Overload

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been in a very creative mood. Sewing, scrapbooking, baking… you name it, I’ve come up with all sorts of projects I want to do. That’s before you consider video project ideas, too.
For the sewing part, I keep buying fabric (at good prices, of course) for all sorts of projects. Yesterday I bought a handful of zippers and various pink and purple buttons. Presumably I’ll combine them with some of the remnants I’ve picked out that would be perfect for making something for Chloe. Granted, I’ve only made her a couple things thus far, but they’ve turned out well. It’s not as overwhelming to think about making something in her size than in an adult size. Then there’s the quilting part of me. I’m doing a nine-patch exchange through the quilt shop, in addition to the block-of-the-month club I’ve been in for the past few years. This afternoon, I was looking through my stash and thinking of all the neat projects I could do with the goodies I already own, and I had to keep reminding myself that I don’t have unlimited time to focus on that sort of thing.
Then there’s scrapbooking. I’ve never really done any scrapbooking, so I don’t have oodles and oodles of gear. Last week I really started putting pictures in Chloe’s baby book, though, and it was really satisfying. So then I started thinking about my Spain pictures, and I’d really like to get them in a useful format. Right now it takes quite a while to look through all the pictures, and unless you’re me, you don’t know what’s going on, anyway (except for the obvious ones like “Anne and friends in front of the Eiffel Tower”. You could probably figure that out without prompting. Then I found a little album from the year I went to Spanish Camp… I couldn’t remember who most of the people were… should I just throw out the pictures, or maybe find a few and make a page or two. It feels weird to consider throwing them out, but does it make any sense to keep more than a token few to represent the experience?
Okay… Chloe woke up from her nap and is now very sad… time to cuddle.

6 months old

Anyone can use one spoon...

Chloe turned 6 months old last Sunday, and we started offering her solids. In this case “solid” means a very liquid-y rice cereal puree, but it’s still something she’s eating out of a spoon. She ends up wearing more than she eats, I think, but she’s getting some, and it’s at least giving her a taste for something other than milk. We’re going to try applesauce today. Mmmm…

It’s been a fun 6 months, all in all… her personality is blossoming, although she’s getting less tolerant of other people holding her, particularly in the evenings. She still loves to dance, and she laughs when she sees headbanging. Which of course makes Joe do it more! Supposedly this is a good time to introduce baby sign. However, I started teaching her ‘diaper’ around 2 months, and she’s been using it for a couple months already. I’m working on ‘hungry’ and ‘more’ right now, but she hasn’t started using either one yet. We’ll get there. Her favorite “word” right now sounds kinda like “hot! hot! hot!” Very breathy. Very cute.

She’s sitting up really well, and trying to crawl. She’s not really getting anywhere yet, but she’s starting to get her knees underneath her. She just hasn’t realized that it’s easier to move if your legs aren’t up in the air. She’s a great sleeper, but she’s not a big fan of going to bed. It probably doesn’t help that I hate to hear her cry. I’m more likely to just go back upstairs and snuggle her until she falls asleep again. I’m working on it. But I talked with a friend who had a little boy the same week Chloe was born, and she’s still getting up with him several times a night. So I’m counting my blessings.

She’s pretty much my constant companion, and I try to remember to talk to her about whatever we’re doing. It’s hard to do, and sometimes I realize I haven’t said anything for a long time. I think it’ll be easier when she starts talking. But I’m trying very hard not to rush it — she’s perfect just the way she is, and she’s growing faster than I’m ready for. I’m just trying to enjoy her just the way she is. Which is easy to do!

It's Christmastime already?

Christmas Tree 2008

This year has gone REALLY fast! I must’ve been distracted by something (or someone) but it seems like Christmas is sneaking up faster than usual. It’s a lot trickier to make gifts than it used to be, now that I have fewer, smaller windows of time to focus on a project. Fortunately, most people seem to have their priorities right, and assure me that spending my time nurturing Chloe is more important.

It’s really nice to have a pretty Christmas tree again. Two years ago, we just set up the little artificial one — and by little I mean an 18” pre-decorated tree. Last year, we had a smallish one out on the front porch, and it broke two Christmas tree stands, and tipped over a couple times after it was decorated… not much fun, and we broke a few ornaments. We also tried the solar LED lights on it, and it turns out our front porch isn’t an optimal place for solar panels in winter. Those lights work much better woven through the pergola over the deck. Very pretty, too. But this year, we have a lovely (managably-sized) white pine. (You may recall that the first year in our house, we got a tree taller than the ceiling, and it prompted us to remove said ceiling and we embarked on a LONG renovation process.) Anyway, this year the needles are soft, so we didn’t use a lot of the heavier ornaments, but it turned out lovely regardless. The only problem is that the tinsel leaps onto my clothing whenever I get near it. Grr… static.

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