Tuesday, March 30

First step

Holly took her first step last night.

She and Alex were just frisking around the living room, playing with toys. Holly's been standing by herself for a while now, but hasn't had the nerve to take any steps unaided.

Then last night she stood up and took one little step to my knee. And she was so proud of herself.

Here she is, flirting with her Daddy. She was laying on his chest, and it was so sweet, but she heard my camera turn on, turned and gave me her best grin. I couldn't resist.

Thursday, March 25

Spring is ...

Spring is a flowering crabapple tree.

Crabapple blossoms

Crabapple blossoms closeup

I want a couple of these trees.

Also, spring is getting to play on the porch in short sleeves.

Jack, Tyler, and Alex, with legos

Spring is letting the chicks loose and see what Holly does.

Holly likes small chickens

Playing with my peeps

Look over there!

Everybody look over there!

Saturday, March 20

Vanilla ice cream

I went to the store yesterday. It was so lovely and warm outside that I walked over and looked at the ice cream. The half-gallons are less than half gallons now, and so much dang money! Like five bucks! I can get a quart of half and half for two bucks. I mean, seriously.

So I scored some half and half and spent yesterday and today making ice. I have a bread bag, and I make ice cubes in two ice trays. When the bread bag is full, I have enough ice for my little ice cream machine. My ice cream book says to just get a few cardboard milk cartons, fill them with water, freeze them, then bust them up with a hammer to get enough ice for your ice cream maker. Either way, ice is the biggest hassle when it comes to homemade ice cream, and I don't feel like paying for ice I can freeze myself.

Anyway, here's my recipe:

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 3/4ths cups half and half (about 2/3rds of a quart)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream

I never use whipping cream because it makes it too heavy, in my opinion. But I was daring this time. I mixed milk and plain yogurt. It made lovely, full-bodied ice cream. Next time I'll use a little more yogurt and try to get that wonderful tang.

Also, about raw eggs. Most people flip about about raw eggs in ice cream. "What about salmonella?" they squawk.

According to Alton Brown of Good Eats, salmonella bacteria affects about 1 in 20,000 eggs, infecting it from the inside (the chicken gets infected and passes it on to her egg). However, the salmonella doesn't develop unless you leave the eggs sitting at room temperature for a few days. So raw eggs are perfectly fine to eat, as long as they're fresh and have been kept cold.

Now on to the fun stuff.

Dump the ice cream mixture into your canister.

Stick in your dasher and hold it up for the picture.

Slap on the lid and set it carefully into the bucket.

Have your helper help you fill up the bucket with ice, dumping in a nice layer of rock salt after each layer of ice. I bought regular salt by mistake, but it works if used in large quantities. I used slightly more than a cup.

Look at all that salty ice.

My machine's directions say to let it run for 30 minutes, adding ice and salt as necessary. I add ice and salt about every 10 minutes.

After 30 minutes, I unplug it and open up the canister for a look. See what I find:

Beautiful, delicious vanilla ice cream.

Perfect for a little late-afternoon, pre-dinner snack.

I don't know why I don't weigh 300 pounds.

Friday, March 19


Yesterday I looked at the clock and it was 2 PM. Darn the time change! I had nothing figured out for dinner.

So I went, "I want shish-ka-bobs!"

I had a can of pineapple, some onions, bell peppers, and chicken. I got out my favorite recipe for fajita sauce, which goes like this:

2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 dash red pepper flakes

I marinated my ka-bobs for a few hours, then baked them for 45 minutes at 350.

On white rice!

They were yummy. I should have made about twice as many, I discovered after they were gone.

I shall end this post with the news that Holly does not like crawling on grass. She hovers instead.

Sunday, March 14

Wild apartment living

One of my neighbors came over this afternoon with some oddball news.

They're trapping the cats in our apartment complex for the management. (I'm glad I don't have a cat!) But it does cut down on the catfights on the roof at 3 AM, as well as the copious amounts of cat pee sprayed on the front doors.

Anyway, last night they trapped a kit fox.

I know we have kit foxes in the area, but we live five minutes from the mall, for crying out loud. We're in an apartment complex! I suppose it could be living in those vacant, overgrown lots across the street.

Anyway, they called the SPCA, which said to just let it go, since kit foxes are endangered. It probably has cubs somewhere.

That's not my photo up there. If they catch it again, she said she'd let me know so I could take a picture of it. :-)

Friday, March 12

Alex's birthday

We went over to my Mom's on Alex's birthday, where he hung out with his cousins who are his same age.

I made a quick cake mix and took it over there, and assembled the cake rather hastily. It wasn't as flashy as last year's cake, that's for sure.

Alex's 3rd birthday cake

But Alex was pleased. I showed it to him, and he said, "Airplanes flying in the sky!" So he got the gist. He kept asking me to lift him up so he could look at it, too.

Then we lit the candles ...

Blowing out candles 1

Started singing Happy Birthday, which he thought was awesome ...

Blowing out candles 2

Held him up to blow out the candles ...

Blowing out candles 3

...which he accomplished with three very accurate puffs.

Thanks to my Mom for snapping the pictures! I managed to forget my camera that morning, so thank goodness she's got hers on hand.

I think Alex had a good birthday. The next morning, he asked me hopefully, "Birthday?" and I told him, "No, all done 'til next year."

Tuesday, March 9

A dose of sunshine

It cooled off here the past few days, as some more storms came in and dumped more snow on the mountains. Darn it. I'm ready for spring.

Therefore ... SUNBURST!


Or ... sun ... flower ... burst?

Anyway, an over-exposed sunflower that nonetheless looked kind of cool.

Also Holly frolicking her Daddy.

Holly pwns Daddy

There's your sunshine for the day.

Saturday, March 6

Child training

Some flowers growing volunteer in one of my mom's wildflower beds. I forget what they're called, but they're sure fun-looking.

A while ago, Mom told me about this TV show where they take people from the jungle somewhere and have them live with upscale rich folks in the US, then get the jungle peoples' reactions.

Well, one of the families they featured had a bunch of kids, and the jungle peoples' reaction was about how the mother did all the work while the kids just goofed off. They said something to the effect of, "The children are not trained to work. We train our children to work from the time that they are babies."

I figure that's a good idea. I've been teaching Alex to put away the silverware every morning when I clean out the dishwasher. Tonight I had him stir the enchilada sauce for me while I made the enchilada filling. I didn't make him stand there for the full 20 minutes or so that the sauce requires, but he did stand there about ten minutes or so, and stirred it very carefully. He did splatter it on the stove a bit, but that's to be expected from a little guy who's almost 3.

So that's been my kid-related project lately. I figure he has so much energy, why not harness it?

Friday, March 5

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was baking a loaf of bread for the weekend, and Alex asked, "Make cookies?"

So I went, "Why not?" and on thinking about it, decided, "This would be fun to put on my blog!"

So here goes. This is the chocolate chip cookie recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook, but it's identical to the Toll House Cookie one, too. I've made it so many thousands of times that I know it by heart.

Here we go!


White sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, all ready to be creamed together.


Mexican vanilla. It looks like some sort of medication, doesn't it? Actually, it's a bunch of vanilla for, like, 3 bucks. It has a slightly different aroma than regular vanilla, like they make it with tequila or something. There's no worms in it.

As far as I know.


Butter and margarine, waiting to be melted. I know I should soften them on the counter rather than nuking them, but I don't have the time. I nuke cream cheese, too. Don't tell anyone I said that.


Nuked fats!


The recipe technically calls for one egg, but all I had were banty eggs, so I used two.

Bosch, do your magic!


You don't have to do chocolate chip cookies in a heavy duty mixer like this. I'm just lazy, and my arm gets tired from using a hand mixer. Yes I'm a lazy wimp and I like my cool power tools.

Anyway, once it's all creamed together ...


As Alex says, "Flowers!"

And baking soda and salt. Of course. The recipe actually calls for 2 1/4th cups flour, I just didn't take a picture of the last 1/4th. It's boring.


Annnnnd the chocolate chips. I've discovered that when a recipe calls for 2 cups, you can get by with just 1. You don't notice a difference at all.

And know what? Dark chocolate chips make THE most fabulous chocolate chip cookies on EARTH.

Let your mixer chew this all up together.


Take time to smell the roses.


Very cute roses.


Then drop the cookies into vaguely spherical shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet.


And bake for 12 minutes.


And a dramatic lighting shot to show texture!


That's the natural light in my kitchen. When we get a house, it'll have to have these magical things in the kitchen called windows.

Anyway, now the cookies can be gobbled up by all and sundry!

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

3/4ths cup granulated sugar
3/4ths cup brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4ths cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 or 2 cups chocolate chips
Nuts, if desired

Cream together sugars, butter and vanilla. Beat in egg. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into sugar mixture a little at a time. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.

Wednesday, March 3

A day at Grandma's

First: Holly likes pictures of herself.

Is that me?

In other news, we went to Grandma's today.

It was a gorgeous day.

A Clear day

All the fruit trees are blooming. I believe this is one of the apricots.

Apricot blossoms

Look at that! I'm getting better at the whole depth of field photo thing!

Anyway, I got lots of neat pictures. I'll share them over the next few days.


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