Saturday, April 30, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Forever Easter

I hadn't really gotten inspired to do a special themed MTM for Muffin Tin Monday this week, and didn't really have time this weekend since I was volunteering at a garage sale for one of my moms clubs during lunch time both days, and wouldn't have time to get anything made before leaving. But I spent two days watching my nieces again this week, but since Unka Rop was able to pick Tually up from preschool the second day (well, both days, really,) I made a communal MTM instead of packing bento lunches for in the car.

Forever Easter (At Least Until I Run Out of Fancy Cupcake Liners!)
Strawberries, Butter Fingers, Carrot flowers, PBJ;
Grapes, Goldfish, Cheddar butterflies, PBJ
I had brought my veggie cutting pen tool, Easter liners and picks from home, and then used my sister's scuzzy 8-cup muffin pan and her mini butterfly cutter for the cheese. I used the yellow liners with a white bunny and the white liners with a yellow chickie on them from Target (since I had the most of them!) and then a matching Chickie pick, and an egg and bunny pick from my new Wilton stash (again, since I had the most of them. Well. I had more of the bunnies that matched the liners. but they're totally cuter, so I saved them.)
I love this new V-shaped blade I got from Daiso for cutting grooves down the sides of a carrot to make the coins look like flowers. Z usually eats a whole carrot when I do them like this, and Tually really likes them too.
For Tually I made a half-sandwich with butter, then cut it into thirds lengthwise, then those into half, to make skinny little fingers. They were a big hit. 
For Z and Pilu, I went with a whole PBJ and cut it into sixths as well. I think I ended up eating the whole thing.
I tucked all the cheese scraps under the butterflies, and after letting Pilu grab all a few butterflies, I dug under and tossed her the scraps as well. She's not good with the sharing when it comes to cheese!
I happened to choose 3 picks from my disposable Easter pick stash, which worked out perfectly, as each kid picked a different one, so everyone was happy! I know, right? A Kodak moment! Tually chose the Chick, and Z is really into bunnies right now, so that worked out. She probably would have been happy with the chick too, if Tually had chosen the bunny. As long as I called it a duckie. I gave Pilu the egg pick, and she was pleased as punch. She isn't often given potential weapons.

Tually had eaten a little on the ride home, since they normally pack a snack each way in case she hadn't eaten enough breakfast or hadn't eaten snack at school (which is usually, apparently.) So I was pleased at how much she actually ate.
I think Tually tried to eat everything with the pick. The goldfish weren't a big success, so she used her fingers for those. Everything else was skewered, though.
They ate all the grapes, and I had to get seconds. They ate most of the cheese, and some of the butter sandwich. None of the PBJ. Over half of the goldfish and most of the strawberries and carrots. Z chose a little of each, and ate practically nothing. Except grapes. There was a little scuffle before I finally convinced both older girls that there were, in fact, plenty of extra grapes so knock it off already! [Insert Grapes of Wrath joke here.]
Zoe showing me how she feels about sharing "her" beautiful lunch.
Oh yes. And for those of you who noticed the orange band-aid on Z's face, it's covering a bruise she got because she didn't listen one too many times tried to jump over the arms of the couch and the chair next to it and tripped and faceplanted onto the chair's other arm. Roughly 10 seconds after she was done crying, she was back at it again, despite me reminding her that the "no jumping on the couch" rule is for her safety for this very reason. She's not one for respecting the rules that interfere with her fun.

Check out the other cool Muffin Tin Meals this week!
Muffin Tin Monday at 

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Day at the Park - A Photo Documentary by Little Z

Today the sun peeked out for a bit, so I suggested a walk to the park near our house. Well, I walked. She rode her push-trike. I packed a bag of Pirate Booty, her water bottle, my book, a towel (in case the slide was wet,) her purse with various treasures inside (a mini stuffed bunny, some pebbles, and apparently a magnetic letter 6,) and a diaper and wipes (because you always think you'll be fine without them and then need them the most!) We didn't end up needing the towel.

The clouds kept blocking the sun, so we'd go from pleasantly warm to kind of chilly, then back again. So I wore my sweater and jacket and gloves, and she kept having me take hers on and off.

The Playground

Close-up of her purse and my jeans
Close-up of her purse and skirt
She fished this number 6 magnet out of her purse and wanted to take a picture of it.

Close-up of Tiny White Bunny and one of my rubber mom club bracelets

 Journey to the Center of the Pirate's Booty
"Open it, Mommy!"
Almost there....
Dandylion Fields

 Mommy Reading
I really like this one, since my mannish jaw and forehead aren't in it, and I like how my fingers are touching my hair. I do that a lot. I play with locks of hair. And I'm reading.
Plus it shows my sister that I'm using the gloves she gave me for Christmas!
It captures the essence of me. Twiddling hair, always too-cold, reading!
{Plus I apparently sucked in my belly at just the right moment. The extra 10 McPounds I've gained since Thanksgiving weren't looking their finest this day.}
Mommy's book

I will link this post up with little love's Little Clicks this Friday... if I remember! o.O

In case you're curious, I was reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire series. Book 1, A Game of Thrones is currently a series on HBO. Very good so far, although a little too much gratuitous gore and sexin's for my tastes. It's hard scheduling a time to watch it when the Princess is asleep. And I get tired of sugar-coating everything she happens to see. (Her kiddie show is on a portable DVD player in front of her mini couch.)
And just so you don't think I'm a fair-weather fan, now that it's all "famous" and "mainstream," I read all 4 books ages ago. But he left them unresolved, and has taken a six year break from the series. His 5th (of hopefully 7) book is due out later this year, supposedly. About stinkin' time!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Hop Little Bunny, Hop Hop Hop!

On Tuesday I had a medical thing, so Nana came over to watch Little Z. I threw together a quickie Easter-y themed "beautiful lunch" for her to snack on while we were gone. Which is good, since I didn't get around to making her an awesome Easter one on Sunday, as I had planned. So at least I'm not going two weeks with no MTMs!
At preschool there's a song about sleeping bunnies (here's a version on YouTube, but we only do the first bit about the bunnies and repeat it a few times.) It's one of her favorites. And if I start singing the "Hop little bunnies, hop hop hop!" bit when I want her to get a move-on, she usually cooperates.
Hop Little Bunny, Hop Hop Hop!
Cheese nibblets, Carrots, Ranch, Apple butterflies;
Tuna pickle sandwiches, candy powder, Annie's Graham and Chocolate Bunnies
This year there were so many cute Easter cupcake liners, and an actual excuse imperative reason to buy them, so I'm afraid I have quite an assortment. I have 5 Easter-themed ones (plus 2 mini ones, and some with matching picks) and a butterfly/Spring one. (Plus 4 more, some with picks, and another mini-cupcake liner I found the next day *cough*)
Found at (from left to right, top to bottom): Target, Party City, Target
Party City, Target, don't remember. Party City maybe?
I got out one of each of my liners and let Z put them in the muffin tin. She enjoyed helping, and then ran to clear off a space on her "little table" out in the living room. (I got end tables at Ikea for $12 each, compared to their kids tables at $25! And right now the same table is on sale for only $6! Awesome! I bought 2, and they roam through the house. They're nice and lightweight, and the perfect size to stand at and play or color. Or cook. I often drag one into the kitchen when I need more surface area, of if she'll be helping, or if the Kids Cooking Class ends up being at my house. The only downside is that her little chairs are too tall for her legs to fit under the table.)

 I found all the newer ones (not pictured) together on a display at Safeway. Super cute! Check them out! Hop N Tweet party packFuzzy Bunny Combo pack (also available without picks,) Sweet Spring bunny and mini birdie baking cups (sold separately,) and the Sweet Spring Combo pack (pictured in Amazon link as well.) Plus while searching for links to these, I found the Spring Flowers ones, which they didn't have on the display. I think I didn't buy the Fuzzy Bunny set, and maybe not the Sweet Spring combo pack, but not sure about that last one... and I don't remember where I put them. Shh. Don't tell my husband! He already thinks I have too much of this stuff scattered around the house!

Food Prep:
  • I cut up a stick of string cheese into nibblets, since that's her favorite right now. She hardly touches any other kind of cheese anymore.
  • I used a new tool I got at Daiso to make the carrot flowers. It's a small V-shaped blade that I scrape down the side of the carrot as many times as desired to cut gouges out to make the cross-sections look like petals. MUCH easier than using the veggie cutter on every carrot coin, and also great for carrots that don't have a large enough circumference to use the veggie cutters. The Ranch is in a mini silicone cup from World Market ($3/12, if I recall correctly.)
  • I used my mini butterfly cutter on some apple cross-sections, and chopped up some of the scraps into "fries." I accidentally used orange-carrot juice instead of apple juice, since I forgot I had another kind of juice in the fridge and just grabbed the first jug I saw and started pouring. Oops. Tasted fine though.
  • I made tuna fish and pickle bunny-head sandwiches with one of my sandwich punches, and used a bow-shaped cutter in the handle of the punch to make pickle bows. She loves pickles, and I think she likes the tuna fish sandwiches because she gets pickles with them. The tuna has been popular enough that now we're buying cans at Costco in bulk, rather than one or two at a time. I hate anything involving tuna other than me eating it on crackers (spread by someone else,) and luckily she hasn't figured out that I am physically capable of mixing it together for her. So far I'm getting away with "Oh no! There's no more tuna! You'll have to wait for Daddy!" Luckily (for her) there was a teeeeeeeeeny tiny bit left that my husband had mixed up previously. So little, however, that I wouldn't have bothered putting it back into the fridge. But whatever. Just enough for two tiny bunny sandwiches. She chose mini sweet pickles to go with. Blech.
  • I got a pack of 6 plastic carrot containers filled with candy powder from the Dollar Tree store. I bought them to dump out and re-use as sprinkle or salt containers for lunches, but figured she could have one as a special treat. She ended up clogging the powder together with her spittle too much, so when Nana started trying to break it up with a straw, Z took it back and used the straw as a dipper and to suck powder through. Now she gives me no peace. "Can I have another powder carrot Mommy? Please? I ate a bite of my lunch/used the potty/slept all night in my big girl bed. Please?"
  • Using up my assorted packets of Annie's Bunnies. Her favorites are the Chocolate Chip bunnies and Cheddar Bunnies, so I'm trying to get her to finish up the Graham and Chocolate cookie bunnies first.
I didn't get to stick around too long, but I told her that she'd have to wait for Nana to decide when she'd eaten enough lunch to get the "carrot powder." I think she ended up eating most or all of the carrot flowers, a little of the sandwiches, but all the pickles out of them. Maybe some apples. The tin got knocked onto the floor soon after we got back, so we just threw the leftovers out. (And by "we" I mean "Nana." I sat on the couch like a pretty, pretty Princess) Carpets + kitties + moist-ish food = blech.

Check out the other fun Muffin Tin Meals this week!
Muffin Tin Monday at

Infertility MythBusting: The Second One's Easier

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, RESOLVE is hosting a Bust An Infertility Myth challenge.
My "favorite" myths are "It'll happen if it was meant to be." "You can always adopt." "Just relax [or give up] and it'll happen!" and "Have lots of sex!"

Just a brief word of advice to anyone who finds these words slipping out of their mouths. "Just relax/give up" and "Have more sex" basically mean: "It's YOUR FAULT that you aren't getting pregnant."

"It'll happen if it was meant to" means: "You aren't worthy."

And please. Even adopting an older child with severe health conditions is no easy task, much less a healthy baby. Adoption costs far more than IVF treatments usually (and without the option to finance, like IVF has,) and can crumble to dust at the whim of the one of the birth parents, a social worker, the host country, or any one of a number of other factors.
photo credit 
But now that I have a child [through a lot of hard work, emotional wreckage, money, and the miracles of science,] the ones that galls me the most are "At least you have ONE." and "Well now that you've had one, it'll be easy!"

Oh really. So if you have a child, you don't deserve to want another? No one tells the mother who pops out kids like a PEZ dispenser that she's being too greedy and should have been happy at one. [Although they might question her sanity, and be grateful that they aren't the one in charge of a brood of kids!] No one even tells the parents of one child who mention that they're trying for another that they should be happy with just one. Unless they mention that they struggle with infertility. Suddenly that gives everyone else the right to judge their worthiness, apparently.

As for being easy? Really? Most cases of infertility stem from a physiological cause, in either parent. How can a woman's having hosted a child improve the man's motility or morphology? Giving birth does not cause one's polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis to go away. And it's not like egg quality improves with age.

At best, having had a child increases the odds that the same infertility treatment will work again...
...after the months of hoping and trying and having your soul crushed time after time, until you finally save enough money and decide to go {back} to the infertility clinic. And you don't have to waste time on all the things that didn't work the first time.

Having a child does makes the heartbreak a little easier to take, though. It's hard to wallow in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself when you have a pint-sized tornado jumping on kissing your face and asking for Cheerios.
I love this one so much. Why wouldn't I want another? Why shouldn't I want another?

My advice? Say "I'm so sorry. I'll pray for you/think of you/wish good thoughts your way."
And then Shut. Up.

For a deeper view into the emotional and inner-turmoil side of this "myth," please read The Great Big If's entry. It's almost exactly what I would have written, but more insightful than I could have been, and far more soul-baring than I'd ever dare.

For more information on infertility or National Infertility Awareness Week, click the links.

And be sure to read the other Busted Myths.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tried-It-Tuesday - Meh.

This week I haven't done much, other than blob around taking up space. And doing the bare minimum to make sure my child is amused and taken care of. Spongebob has been a good friend this week. (Even though I'd prefer Kai-Lan or Dora or Elmo or something.)

Well... I guess that's not entirely true. One day after one of my doctor's appointments, we tooled around Ikea to have lunch and then played with their toys on their furniture (since she's too young for the drop-off play area, and the little touch-screen thing in the food court only holds her attention for about 5 minutes.) Golly. We were there for hours.

And on Friday, we went to a new little preschool/daycare place that lets you do drop-ins, and met up with a mommy group and had fun. I even stepped out (to the front lobby) to make let her eat lunch with the other kids and mommies at the end. She wasn't a fan, but didn't totally freak out either. My favorite part was when she started tracing her fingers and then turned them into birds. All her own idea!

"Look Mama! It's a birdie!"

Did you try anything new this week? A recipe? A new restaurant? Craft? Project? Link up or leave a comment!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mommy, My Ear is Bored

After a fun Monday afternoon-through Tuesday afternoon visit at my sister's house (sans sister,) I opted for a naptime departure, rather than the get-off-the-ferry-in-time-to-get-husband-from-work departure time. And while packing and driving towards the ferry, I stupidly wondered to myself what we'd do to amuse ourselves for a few hours while waiting for Daddy to get off work. Fool!

Earlier in the day, as we were getting ready to go outside for lunch, Z had said to me that her ear was bored. Huh? She was poking around in there, so I thought maybe she had got something stuck. I took a look, but just saw some extra wax. She said that her ear didn't hurt or itch or feel full, so I moved on. Again outside, she told me that her ear was still bored. I made jokes about reading her ear some stories, to entertain it. I wasn't sure what she thought "bored" meant. She certainly uses "boring" properly. When we were doing letter flashcards one time, I'd ask her to identify the letter, the sound it makes, and words starting with the sounds. At "V," she said "V. Vuh. Very, very boring." Ah. I see she inherited my someone's smartass gene.
But again, it didn't hurt or itch or anything.
Fast forward to the drive home. Picture this: Naptime. Sunny day making the car hot. Exhausting day with cousins.
"Waaaaah! I want to go hooooome!" "Yes. We're headed home (after we wait for your dad to finish work and go to dinner at the Melting Pot.) Why don't you play with your Gitchigumi? (And go to sleep.)" "Waaaah! My ear is still bored! Waaaaaah! My eeeeeeeear!"
At this point I decide that a trip to an urgent care clinic would not be out of line. She has never had an ear infection before, but she has also never complained about any issue with her ear. And since this had been a complaint all day, maybe it was time to investigate further, even though she still claimed that it didn't hurt (or itch, or feel like something was pushing in, or something trying to push out.) She did say that it felt "like pulling," whatever that meant. A quick(ish) call to my husband to have him look up urgent care clinics near his office (or at least near his end of the ferry terminal) for when we get across. Apparently Seattle has about 50 thousand hospital ERs, but, like, zero urgent care clinics. At this point, the sobbing and crying has gone on for at least a thousand years 10 minutes, so I pull off the highway that takes us to the ferry and park at the McDonald's nearby (I happen to know where it is. What? Me? Too much Micky Ds? Nah.) I whip out my iPhone and pray that the map feature will actually work this time, instead of crashing the whole phone and making me reboot it. And then my apps won't work for days, and often my ability to call out is sporadic, and often requires another reboot. Yay. I discovered this fun "feature" while trying to go to a friend's house to drop something off, since I was already halfway there after gym class, and she lives almost 30 minutes away from my house. But no. I had to drive all the way home first, then look up the directions on my computer and write them down. On actual paper. With a pen. Please. I'm a mommy of a young child. Like I have any pens that aren't a) missing or b) dried out [or c) in the cat's litter box.]
"Mommeeeeeeee! Why are we at MickDahnuhs? I want to go hooooooome!" "I'm looking to find a doctor near us who can look at your ear." "Okay Mommy." Wait, what? She must really be sick if she's agreeing to see a doctor. Normally any mention of the words "doctor," "dentist," or "glasses" (I took her to my eye exam recently) has her immediately saying "I don't want to go to the dock-kter." As it turns out, while there might not be an urgent care in the city of Seattle, there is in fact one within a mile of the Poulsbo McDonald's! Closer to 10 blocks away, as the crow flies. ThankyoubabyJesus. While my glacially slow phone woke up all the little cavepeople microchips to search the interwebs for directions, I decided to get myself a large Sweet Tea via the drive-through. I mean, I was already there, right?
Oh. My. Gawd. The line took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. There were only 3 cars ahead of me, and sometime between ordering and receiving my drink, I sat there zoning out, waiting to drive forward and/or get search results on my phone, I absentmindedly reached for my drink, since I like to take sips whenever my hand isn't urgently required for turning a wheel, or toggling a turn signal or windshield wiper, or shifting or whatever. My drink wasn't there. I hadn't even gotten it yet! Yarrggh! Meanwhile, I'd had the joy of enduring another thousand years five minutes of waily-wailing. I don't even want my stinking drink anymore! Get me outta here! But I was trapped in a one-lane drive-thru (blocked off on the other side.) So I get my drink and have my directions. We are good to go.
We find the urgent care fairly easily, and she even cooperates (while bawling) in getting out of the car. We stagger inside (well, I stagger. She clings and cries.) I toss insurance cards and driver's licenses at them and start filling out forms. They amazingly get us into a room before I notice the other two pages can even finish the forms. Sorry other-people-who-were-here-first. Screaming child apparently trumps non-screaming-everyone-elses. At this point, either Z is tired of crying, doesn't like people looking at her so is trying to minimize the attention by quieting down, or understands that Mommy Is Taking Care of the Problem, and is down to hiccoughing gasps. She isn't a fan of the nurse taking her pulse or temperature, but bravely soldiers on and cooperates through the quiet tears.
By the time the doctor arrives, the after-crying-gasps have stopped. The doctor was really good with Z. She didn't grab or touch without explanations and warnings first, and talked about all the equipment before using it. She demonstrated the light that would look into the ears and showed ow it shone red through her finger, then offered to let Z put her finger on it and see the light shine through her finger too. Many doctors would have pushed at this point, trying too hard to engage her by making her try the fun thing they were offering, which makes Z shut down and fuss, but this doctor was patient and quiet.
After listening to Z's tummy, chest, sides and back with the stethescope, the doctor looked in the problem ear. All she could see was wax. So she got a plastic stick-thingy and gently scraped/picked the wax out, and wiped it on a gauze that she had Z hold. Z was entranced. Then the doctor was able to see. Sure 'nuff. Ear infection. Z got to keep the extra gauzes, and was delighted to use them as blankets and scarves for her little bunny toy, until she discovered that she could easily pull the threads apart. Whee!
I'm guessing that the wax had been pushed in and/or melted enough to touch the infection and had started becoming unbearable, which is why she had suddenly gone from okay to wretched. Especially since when the doctor cleared the wax out, Z immediately cheered up and started smiling and playing again.

Next step - Pharmacy! There was a Rite-Aid a few lights down the highway heading toward the ferry, and since we use a Rite-Aid at home, I opted to go there, since she (and her insurance) would be on file already. Plus it was on the way! Go in, collect all the Gitchigumis along the way (stupid summer toy aisle) and drop off prescriptions at the pharmacy. Then beg, cajole and bribe to get Gitchigumis out of child's hand to go to the Dollar Tree right next to the pharmacy! Score! $1 for a treat is much cheaper than pretty much anything at Rite Aid (that isn't candy.) After gathering an army of stuffed bunnies, she finally settled on... a bath poof. Yup. A bath poof with a stick. For scrubbing your back. Or to be a tree for the bunnies. Depending on your perspective. She also asked for a scrubber with a bear head and legs, so I got it too. I'd been promising her a bath poof, so let her choose the bear poof as her treat too. She even chose them over the candy necklace kit (which I bought anyway, to use as a treat later.)
She slorped down her medicine dose once we got it back to the car ("Mommy, what's a 'dose?'") I also got pain relief ear drops, which I didn't end up using, since she hadn't been fussing or complaining since we left the doctor's. I did give her a dose of children's ibuprofen, which the doctor had recommended for the pain and swelling/inflammation.
Then - off to the ferry. Which we just missed. So instead of arriving just as hubby got off work, we arrived just as we were supposed to be at The Melting Pot for our dinner reservation. (I asked Z if she wanted to go to the "dipping cheese" restaurant, or if she wanted to go home instead, and she wanted to do the restaurant. I wasn't going to make her go if she was feeling too cruddy.) Luckily, the restaurant let us move our reservation an hour later, so we were still able to go.

And to think I'd been worried about how we'd kill time before picking up Daddy. Oh, the irony!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Garden Bugs

Since my sister would be out of town M/T/W, and Unka Rop had somewhere he needed to be on Tuesday, I went to my sister's to babysit on Monday, to be there for Tuesday morning. On our drive up, I had to pee decided to stop at a Target along the way. We found some cool Dollar Spot toys to share with the cousins, and a Play-Doh Ice Cream set on sale for only $7! (I think the burger one was only $7 too, and there were some Moon Sand [I thought for sure she'd want this one too] and Moon Dough [she picked this one to go with the ice cream set instead] foodie sets at around $7 (half-off!!) as well.) She LOVES making food shapes using molds. And the Ice Cream set has 3 "stations" so they were each able to crank a handle or push a jobber at the same time. There are only 2 cones, and 2 "glasses" but luckily they didn't ALL need a cone.
So Monday was spent squabbling happily cranking out "ice cream" and "sprinkles" and molding little cakes and such. I had also received my Scholastic order at preschool Monday morning, so had the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom I had purchased for Pilu and Tually, since they loved the video of it I had shown them on a previous visit (see it on YouTube here.) Zoe loves the song, and sings it while jumping around on the neighbor's trampoline. Whenever she watches the video, she practices it and tries to learn more of the lines. I used the threat of withholding their special surprise bedtime story to ensure good behavior.
For dinner, Unka Rop made noodles (plain, with butter and parmesan "sprinkles") and boiled some long green beans and broccoli (also plain.) Yup. For me too. *sigh* Just like if my sister had been home... :P But this time there was enough ice cream for me to have a cone for dessert as well! Scoooore!
Tuesday morning I slept in got up early to check on the girls upstairs, since Rop had had to leave before the rooster woke up. All was well, so I took a shower downstairs in the icebox guest bathroom (Little Z knows to come looking for me there first if she wakes up and I'm not there, instead of climbing up the stairs to be met with a closed door, and risk falling.)
When everyone was finally awake (Z and Pilu around 8:30, Tually closer to 9:30 - I opted to let her sleep rather than wake everyone up and drag them out to drop Tually off at preschool, then be stuck with a bunch of crankpots all day,) they breakfasted (Captain Crunch with Crunchberries and Lucky Charms. Yes. Mixed together.) Then Play-Doh ice cream again.
Just as I was thinking about starting lunch (they'd eaten breakfast late, so I wasn't in a hurry,) I hear something at the front door... Is it the dog scratching the door...? Sounds like someone's using a key... Is my sister home early...? Must be Rop! It was Rop. Waaaaaaay earlier than expected. So instead of making an awesome lunch with the 6 different Easter muffin liners and 3 different picks I'd brought (along with all my sandwich shapers and set of super-mini cutters,) I decided to take the girls outside to play while he cut up apples and cheese and put together a little picnic lunch for them.

While sorting out their boots and coats and such, they rooted through my bags and found were totally pleased to get the treats we'd found at Target's Dollar Spot for them. Z somehow came up with the name Gitchigumi (Gitchee-goomee) for those nasty little almost-sticky rubbery balls things with a bajillion tendrils, like a Koosh ball. Sometimes with a light-up ball inside. She loves them. They are hair and dirt magnets, but I finally got her to stop crying and bothering me to clean one off any time it gets a hair or speck of dirt on it. I mean, c'mon. We have cats. There will be hair!

Pilu's favorite color right now is purple, and her favorite bug is a bumblebee (pronounced "applebee.") So Z chose a purple Gitchigumi and a Bumblebee hat for her. Tually's favorite color is red, but she likes red, orange and yellow. Her favorite bug is a ladybug. Z chose a pink Gitchigumi (they didn't have red) and a ladybug hat. Z keeps changing her mind on colors, it was pink for a while, then a brief stint with purple, and lately green and blue. She chose a blue Gitchigumi for herself, and didn't like the butterfly/flower hat they had with the other ones, so opted for no hat.
I was waiting patiently to cadge leftovers, when Unka Rop came out later with a toasted cheese sandwich and home-made french fries for me! More than made up for my toddler dinner the night before! :) But then a swarm of locusts the kids came and ate around half of my fries, and a little towheaded girl ran off with half of my sandwich. Apparently her Mommy never taught her good manners! Even worse, instead of just taking a few bites and then being done with it and giving it back, she ate every stinking molecule that wasn't technically the crust. I have never seen a crust picked this clean before. Ever.

After they ate all my fries their lunches, we trooped into the back yard and they "helped" Unka Rop plant some berry bush canes (a half currant/half gooseberry hybrid and a currant one.) They were very instrumental in attempting to leap under the shovel that could have chopped a toe off while he was digging the holes, digging up the surrounding plants to get more dirt to cover the roots, throwing dirt at nearby plants instead of the new ones, and then watering the ground anywhere that wasn't actually over the roots of the new plants. Oh yes, and squabbling over who got to use the watering can, even though Unka Rop had it all planned out with a larger watering can full of water to refill their little can for each kid to have a turn.
Oh yes. And they "saved" many worms from certain death by handling them and squishing them and then burying them in the dirt.
"Look Yoyo! A worm!" [She calls me Yoyo.]
A job well done.

Tried-It-Tuesday - Blowing Raspberries

**Oops. Wrote this all up and then was going to post it from my sister's house on Monday night. D'oh!**

This week I got to finally start my new medications (after about a month of delays due to minor unforeseen circumstances.)
I went to my sister's house and spent the night and watched her kids, all with her out of town, for the first time.  Unka Rop was still there, but it's just not the same. He cleans and acts all awkward and does stuff to make my life easier, whereas she mostly hides out in her room studying while I continue to yell at amuse the kids after she gets home from her internship each day. Not that I mind. As long as I get fed, it's all good. I get tired of leftover butter sandwiches pretty quickly.
We visited an almost-100-year-old building this weekend for a party to celebrate my husband's Great-Aunt's *cough*etieth birthday, and went up a hand-operated elevator for the first time. Apparently the building has the most still-working hand-operated elevators anywhere in the US. And it was my first time in a posh elevator that had someone there to run it for you, even though he had to do a little more than just press the button for your floor and collect a tip. There were levers and such. And he had to manually open and close the doors.
And we planted some raspberry bushes (or starts or canes, or whatever they're called) that my sister yanked out of her garden for me.
Watering one of the raspberry plants... from the top.

What did you do this week? Link up or leave a comment about anything new you did, tried, ate, cooked, etc!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - I Love You, Orange Bunny

During a routine trip to the Dollar Tree store, Little Z happened upon some cheap, nasty-looking little stuffed bunnies. She wanted an orange one. It was $1. And we were headed to my dentist appointment right after, so I used it as a bargaining chip towards good behavior. [It worked. She sat there (mostly) quietly while I consulted with the oral surgeon and got my X-Rays. I wouldn't have taken her for a cleaning/check-up, since I can't talk to her or hold her, but this was a consult about a shadow on my previous X-Ray, and would be shorter. Plus I couldn't find a sitter.]
She calls this rabbit Orange Bunny. For a while there, I thought I'd have to go back and buy extras as back-ups, since we couldn't leave the house or go to bed without Orange Bunny. We've misplaced Orange Bunny, and she asks about her occasionally, but doesn't demand a search party anymore. But most of her drawings are either of a bunch of girls, or Orange Bunny.
The lines sticking up out of the top of the larger figure are the bunny ears. I think the lines sticking out the sides are arms and whiskers. 
The one on the egg-shaped Magna-Doodle didn't have room for ears, but she assures me that it's Orange Bunny.

Our library system has a great search function online, and they let you place holds on books and will send them to your local branch to pick up. So I searched for "orange bunny" in kids books. After sifting through a variety of books on raising rabbits and such, I stumbled upon I Love You, Bunny Rabbit.
I Love You, Bunny Rabbit
The bunny is a yellowish orange, just like her Orange Bunny. Hooray! It's about a scruffy, stained, well-loved toy that needs to be replaced. I think the author kind of missed her mark a little, and made a bunch of it too subtle or way over their heads for kids, but Z loved the story and asked for it again and again. Basically, after trying to wash it, when the mom takes Micah to go buy a new bunny, he keeps hinting that he gets dirty all the time too. It would have been nice to see that explored more; the whole concept of "Well, I get messy, but you don't replace me." In the end the mom realized how much he loved his bunny and took him out for a milkshake instead. But the reason why she stopped pressing for him to replace Bunny Rabbit wasn't explained, or even mentioned. As I mom, I totally got it. But it was too subtle for kids. "Okay choose a new bunny" "I love you Bunny Rabbit." "Would you like to go get a milkshake?" Whaaaaaa? Even just a "But Micah's mom saw how much he loved Bunny Rabbit and blah blah blah." would have made the story make sense, for anyone not intuitive about that kind of thing. Nice pictures, fun comparisons "Oh, don't worry Bunny Rabbit. I've taken baths lots of times." And a cute premise. I give it a 6 out of 10. Maybe a 7, since she liked it so much. But I called it the Orange Bunny story, which may have biased her towards it a little.

And since I'm slowly going through the colors with my Muffin Tin Meals, and we're due for orange (plus with Easter coming up,) I thought it would be fun to do an Orange Bunny MTM.
Orange Bunny
Carrots, Ranch, cupcake, orange bunny,
PBHoney bunnies, yogurt, bunny crackers
I chose carrots because, well, duh. Bunnies love 'em, and they're orange! I used a leaf pick in the top of a carrot stick, and a silicone bunny head cup for the Ranch (Yeah. It's yellow. We can't have everything.) I opted not to color the Ranch, because... Well. Ick.
Annie's Cheddar Bunnies were also an obvious choice, and I happened to have some handy from a snack-pack assortment from Costco.

PB Honey Bunnies: Used my sandwich stampers again. I used mini confetti sprinkles for the eyes, and food writers for the hair bow and ears. I'm telling myself that peanut butter is kind of orange-ish. I was also going to use pumpkin butter, but Little Z insisted on honey.

Orange Yogurt Bunny: I had planned on using some unsweetened orange Kool-Aid mixed into Greek honey yogurt, but there was almost no yogurt left, and there was a patch of mold inside. So I threw it out and thawed a Go-Gurt (I keep them frozen so they last longer and they help keep the food cool in the lunch bag while they thaw.) I chose a pink strawberry-flavored one, squirted it into an orange silicone cup and mixed in some orange food coloring. I used a bunny shape outline to keep the non-pareils sprinkle mix in a bunny shape and mini confetti sprinkles for the eyes and nose.

Orange Orange Bunny: I used a mini orange, peeled and halved. Then I took two segments from the unused half and used half-toothpicks to hold them in place. I used food writers for the face.

Orange Bunny Cupcake: My husband made butterscotch cupcakes for his cooking blog Saturday night, so I had him make some mini ones to use in this lunch for Sunday. I had planned on using candy corn for the ears, but couldn't find where I'd put the bag, so I chopped up a jelly orange slice candy. I used icing tubes (left over from Halloween and Christmas projects) for the face.

 While I was preparing her "nunch," she was scootching her little chair around the kitchen and gazing longingly at the cupcakes. She said she wanted to put one in her lunch. My husband had some on the counter, and some in a Tupperware container. All the mini ones were in the container. So I showed her the "Z-sized ones" and told her that we'd put it in her beautiful lunch last, but that she could put it in the lunch. She then sat at the table looking longingly at the cupcake box, then cradling it in her arms.
I heard some rustling plastic, and I couldn't figure out what she could be doing, so I asked her what she was up to.
"I'm trying to sneak into the computer room with the treats."
Turns out she took the cupcake box and a baggie of candy (from one of those by-the-pound candy stores) that happened to be on the table. I finished making the face on the orange, or whatever I'd been working on at the time, and met my husband in the hallway and we went to check out what she was doing in the computer room with the door closed. Well. She'd gotten the Tupperware open and was working on forking the frosting off her third cupcake.
After we finished laughing, she was admonished and the cupcakes were yanked away.
She didn't eat much lunch.
She ate some bunny crackers, a bite of yogurt, and a carrot stick. Later, she ate a sandwich and some more crackers, carrot and some orange.

I will be linking this to Muffin Tin Mom's Muffin Tin Monday and JDaniel4's Mom's Friday Read. Explore. Learn!

Shibley SmilesMuffin Tin Monday at

Update 1/20/12 - This meal won Bento of the Week on Bento Blog Network! Check out the competition! Fierce!
Bento of the Week Winner