Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sunny Lemon Tinas

Although this post is ultimately about a new dessert favorite at the OP, it could have just as easily been about the end of our summer of hippy-hair love in the form of new haircuts:

– We is rockin' our new look everyone!

Alternatively it could have also been about the haircuts and what my boys get up to when I ask them to "smile for the camera", although I think we've covered this one before

– 'Dis IS my really big smile!
– Mine too!

Cute pics (and odd pics) aside, this post really is about a dessert. 

Of course, it's not just any dessert and it's certainly not every day (or any day?) that I've taken the time to come up with a custom order to suit an occasion. In this case however, a special dessert was warranted* and I wasn't able to find a recipe for "Sunny Lemon Tinas" anywhere.

I had a pretty good idea what a Sunny Lemon Tina would look like, but couldn't find a recipe that fit the bill so I cobbled a few things together, made a few changes here and there and voilà! 

In my opinion the cookie part of the recipe by itself is really very good, but in the opinion of my boys it's the sunny lemon part that makes this dessert worthwhile: 

– These some serious cookies everyone.

– Om, nom, nom. I maybe say more later but is too busy enjoying new dessert
right now to make official statement. I trust my "om, nom, nom" will suffice for now.

- L.

*The "No singing!" ban has been lifted of late and has been replaced with things like "More singing!" and even specific requests for songs. "Frère Jacques" is currently at the top of the charts at the OP – and whether it's en Français or in English, it's a bonafide hit.

And yes, of course there's some new OP video to back it up. It's not like I made up the phrase "Sunny Lemon Tinas" after all. Non-French speaking children everywhere have been extolling the virtues of those "sunny lemon tinas" ever since "Frère Jacques" first appeared on the scene.

• • • • • • •

PS. This post wouldn't be right without a recipe (especially after all the hype!) so here it is. As always, click to embiggen (and/or right click and open image in new window to print).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Poop Joke

The past week has been fairly lousy with rain*. Yesterday was sunny however, and we spent the greater part of it outside either at the park or out for a walk or in the backyard. I was determined to enjoy as much of it with my boys as possible, which included a great deal of running at one point as it turned out.

After some back and forth relays in the backyard with the new bubble mower, I decided to take a breather. This was met with some resistance on the part of Nate and Seth to which I (unfortunately) replied, "I'm sorry guys, but Mommy's pooped. I need to sit down for a bit".

Cue a confused glance between my boys followed by "Mommy pooped!" which I took to mean "Mommy is pooped" in toddler speak since we aren't always down with proper tenses. Cue also Gamma Rita in a fit of laughter. Lastly, cue me with a question mark over my head.

When Gamma Rita was able to stop laughing long enough to get the words out she clued me in and said, "They think you've pooped yourself and that's why you need to sit down".

And it turned out, that's exactly what my boys did think.


So henceforth and forevermore any and all "surprises" are now known as treats, and being in a state of fatigue will simply be referred to as "Mommy is tired now". 


- L.

*I wrote this post a week ago and then didn't end up posting it (or anything else) because chasing after my boys lately has left me especially pooped tired at night. The weather has cleared up considerably since then.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Day At The Park: Two Ways

My boys agree on most things when it comes to play at home, but the park is a whole different ballgame (which is why it's impossible to take them to the park when flying solo). 

I took my point-and-shoot camera along on a recent trip with Gamma Rita and the only two pictures I managed to get of the boys together were pre-park over an incredibly nutritious lunch:

– Turns out we is still lovin' it, everyone!

And pretty much right before we left where they were miraculously smitten with the same aspect of the park at the same time. Lovely shot of the back of their heads, but you get the idea.

Welcome to a typical day at the park OP style! 

• • • • • • •

This is how the "Nate Way" typically unfolds – and by the way, this is not the same slide featured in the previous picture. This is the "Really Big Slide!" (just so you know): 

– "Really Big Slide" is what I imagine Heaven look like everyone!

I need to caveat this post right now by saying that although I spent an equal share of time with both of my boys at the park there are far less photos of Nate mainly due to the fact that we spent 90% of our time together in the exact same location.

And there's only so many photos you can take of a boy doing exactly this: 

– I could do 'dis all day. And usually I does!

Over and over and over again. What can I say? Nate really likes that slide!

Despite the park resembling an uninhabited wasteland* in all my photos for some reason, things were fairly hopping (busy park on a busy weekend) – and even though both of my boys are quite good at waiting their turn, I won't insult you by pretending they necessarily enjoy it. 

– I is waiting turn which I doesn't really mind that much, but I throws in 'dis
tragic look for effect anyway in case it endear someone to let me through
to front of line.

The other 5% of the time with Nate was spent dashing around trying out anything that could be climbed on: 

– Please note everything around me in focus. Is just me that is blur
for some reason.

Or anything worth riding: 

– Big or small, I rides them all!

And even though the general consensus has been that swings are stinkeroo since Seth lost interest (and anything your brother doesn't want to do is typically not worth doing of course), Gamma Rita managed to coax Nate back onto a swing:

After which it was game-on!** 

– OK. I admits it. Swing is fun.

• • • • • • •

The second half of our day at the park was spent doing things the "Seth Way" and it's probably best if I just let Seth narrate this: 

– Oh hi everyone. Is me, Seth. We is at park today and Nate doing it all wrong
so I shows you how it done right instead. There is a lot to see and do here and
I see and do all kinds of stuff, but everyone know first priority at park is to
impress the cuties. Right now I is gathering ingredients to make one of my
signature dishes. Everyone know the cuties dig a guy who know own way
around a kitchen.

– I has a few recipes I likes to make at park. Macaroni and cheese, grilled
cheese sandwiches and caesar salad are my go-to favorites. Today
we is making macaroni and cheese.

– I start by combining ingredients in handy bowl-type thing hidden under
play equipment. Is especially handy because 'dis secret recipe!

– So secret in fact that it important to take look around from time to time
to make sure no one peeking...

– ... before I add super-secret final touch. Turns out, rocks and twigs are what really
make 'dis recipe.

– And BAM! Is all done.

– I take moment to bask in own success but is fleeting. It take more than a
winning recipe and good looks to impress the cuties after all.

Mommy note: it doesn't take more than that smile and those baby blues to impress me. I could get lost in those eyes (and sometimes do). And yes, they really are that blue.

– Good thing I also has skills at vehicle maintenance. Oh sure, it obvious that
missing wheel is real problem, but taking time to look under hood anyway
make it seem like you really know what you is doing.

– Next I head over to "Really Big Slide" to see what all the fuss about.
I start to climb up to slide 'dis way but discover pretty quick there
no cuties over here so I cuts it short.

– I end up finding more cutie-friendly way to top of slide but when I arrive
it turn out I only find Nate and some big kids and exactly zero cuties.
"Really Big Slide" turn out to be stinkeroo!

– Thank goodness regular slide has plenty of cuties and even though you
not see any evidence of that here, me and my bucket was big hit!

You probably wondering about my bucket right now and why it such big hit
so I give you hint.

– Is not big hit because I using it to make more recipes.

– And it not big hit because I pose here and there to casually show off
a little leg (although 'dis big crowd pleaser also).

– Is big hit because it turn out caring about environment also popular
with the cuties!****

– To be perfectly honest though, I do 'dis part even if no cuties is looking.
Is just fun!

- L. 

*I have no idea how I managed to take pictures of my boys at an extremely popular park on a weekend afternoon and make it look like we were the sole inhabitants. It wasn't especially deliberate, but really... wow!

**I had Seth in hand when I took the swing pics of Nate. It was pretty close to leaving time and I had approximately 500 pics of Seth and a half dozen of Nate. Also, enjoying a swing is a rare beast ever since Seth declared swings stinkeroo*** and Nate took his word for it.

***In all fairness, Seth unexpectedly got sick on a swing last summer and hasn't been on one since.

****Actually, it's not. The part about the recipes/kitchen play, car maintenance and the "regular" slide all being popular with the cuties is quite true, but Seth is definitely on his own with park maintenance. Hunting for "little treasures" is an intrinsic part of going to the park with him however, and the highlight is definitely the trip to the respective bins where we sort things into "garbage" and "recycling".

• • • • • • • 

PS. In case you thought this was fresh material and wondered why the weather was so nice and everyone was looking so spry, these pics are actually from a couple or more weeks ago when the weather was still good and we were between summer colds.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Potty Learning Chronicles: Part Five Hundred

We're 99% there when it comes to daytime peeing on the potty and no one is happier about it than my boys. It wasn't always that way, but they've really embraced it in the past couple of weeks. And by embraced it, I mean it's had a trickle-down effect (bad pun fully intended) into our pretend play as well.  

I'm going to let Seth take it from here.

– Oh hi everyone. Is me, Seth. I find 'dis nice empty container and it put me
in a mind to fill it with something. If only I could think of what...
Oh, wait – I think of something.

– Here it is.

– Is a bit awkward at first, but once you get hang of it, is surprisingly comfortable.
I even multi-task by making letters on refrigerator.

– And when I is "all done!", I proudly show off efforts.

– Is a lellow one, everyone!

- L.

PS. Seth really loves this game and initiates it any time the yogurt containers are out for play. He also always tosses a yellow letter in there after he's done and says "is a lellow one!".

PPS. Both of my boys say "lellow" instead of "yellow". I have no idea why* since they are perfectly capable of enunciating "you, "yet" and "yak" – not to mention a hundred other words that begin with "Y".

*I said I had no idea why, but it's quite possible (and highly probable) that this is part of their collective drive-Mommy-around-the-bend strategy of late. Unfortunately for my boys, this particular affectation has no effect on me other than finding myself casually saying things like, "Give the lellow schoolbus back to your brother right now!" or "Why yes – that IS a lellow dandelion!" (except for the fear that I will actually start saying "lellow" for real because at this point it already comes fairly naturally).

And unfortunately for me, they most definitely have more tricks up their sleeves than simple "lellow ones". If only it were that easy!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We've all been battling a summer cold for the past several weeks – some of us more than others (and at this point it's mostly me), but we've at least managed to get outside every day to enjoy the sunny summer weather even if we didn't venture further than our own backyard. Being cooped up with a couple of very energetic toddlers – especially ones who are on the mend – is nothing to be trifled with. Outdoor time is pretty much mandatory regardless of your own state of health.

Except that today it rained.

I checked the weather forecast and it looks like we're in for a few days of it. Again, active toddlers on the mend and such and 3 days indoors is just not an option. Fortunately we have rain gear (courtesy of both Grandma Leslie and Gamma Rita the Easter Bunny) and despite the grey and wet skies, the temperature outside is perfectly warm.

Also, I'm not so sick that I would pass up the opportunity to parade my boys about in their rain get-ups for a quick walk around the block. Short of being unconscious, who could pass up a chance to show these two cuties off?

– Oh hi everyone. 'Dis just us, being cute.
– As usual. 

My boys have also gotten better about standing still and within reasonable proximity of each other for the sake of a photo for at least 30 seconds if I ask very nicely, which I did.

And then I asked them to smile. This part was met with mixed results, neither of which resulted in anything approximating an actual smile (although it's nice to see Nate is consistent at least!). 

– How you like my smile everyone? Mommy say I keep it consistent at least.
– Mine clearly better if points is awarded for originality though. 

Gamma Rita on the other hand asked them if they could say "Cheese!" – and while we didn't have 100% participation right off the bat, we were getting there at least. 

– Say cheese? Now we talkin'!
– Cheese is one of our favorite words EVER.

Ah, much better!

– Why we standing here again, Seth?
– I has absolutely no idea, Nate.

Note to self: there's a very good reason saying "Cheese!" became so popular when it comes to picture-taking.

It works. Use it. 

- L.

Cupcakes Revisited

You might recall that we served up some delicious cupcakes for dessert to commemorate my (already very sweet) boys big two-and-a-half year milestone/half-birthday. Those cupcakes truly were yummy (as evidenced here and most especially here) but at $3.25 a pop they weren't exactly budget-friendly.

It wasn't too long after the fact though that Gamma Rita discovered a half package of cake mix in my cupboard and decided we needed (NEEDED!) to make a more budget-friendly version of our own. We went with chocolate on chocolate, and added a mini-oreo cookie for effect.

Which begs the obvious question of course – how DID they stack up compared to store-bought? 

To which I say, the results speak for themselves. 

– You catch me at awkward time everyone...

– ... but I has to admit, these is superior cupcakes.

– I also big fan despite lack of mess on face. Unlike Seth, I make sure frosting
(mostly) end up in mouth. New cupcakes was big hit.
In fact, we is still talking 'bout them. A lot.

- L.

PS. Gamma Rita is a fountain of knowledge on yummy frosting techniques as it turns out. These were made using a packet of Dream Whip (follow package directions) and a square of semi-sweet Baker's chocolate (melt, cool and add to mixture). Makes more than enough to frost a dozen cupcakes. Refrigerate and serve for an especially nice treat on a hot summer day.

PPS. Seth's pics are more or less what I envisioned for their first birthday cake experience and we didn't fare much better the second time around. It's been a long time coming to get to this point in time so you'll have to forgive me if I especially enjoy posting pics of all those messy faces. On the other hand it's about time, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere!

This was the summer my boys not only developed a fine appreciation for the bubbles blown by others but finally took the leap and decided to try blowing a few of their own. I eventually went and got the camera after it looked like things were about to get serious.

There was much interest in the bubble blowing endeavor after all: 

And by all appearances it looked like we were well on our way to some serious bubble blowing: 

Except... I should probably take this time to mention that there are two schools of thought on bubble blowing for the first time. One comes with instruction and a willing student and the other is more of the old-school DIY variety. 

The end results of both look a little something like this:

– YAY! Bubbles!

– I also has bubbles, but they is on nose for some reason.

Nate could not be swayed on his DIY approach at the time and consequently ended up with a lot of bubbles on his nose that day, but has since gone on to also become a fine blower of bubbles in our backyard (while still occasionally employing the "bubbles on the nose" approach).

PS. This post pre-dates the one with the bubble mower, but just barely. It is the reason we decided to get the bubble mower though. Bubbles of any kind and shouts of "I steal them!" while racing around to catch them have been a big part of our summertime fun at the OP.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Utensils Are So Overrated!

I last wrote about my boys and the proper use of forks and spoons at mealtime here. Despite a few bumpy patches along the way, we've settled in nicely to using both forks and spoons for at least the last month and are even reasonably civilized with them for the most part.

At least until this morning over breakfast when Seth discovered a new ready-made "utensil" readily at his disposal. Toes apparently make a great serving device for blueberries! 

Kind of like a fork, but with an extra "tine" so to speak: 

After the fact I realized that I didn't get any shots of the blueberries on the toes before they were consumed, so I'll leave you with this: 

– Toes is the way to goes, everyone!

Personally, I think the blueberry slobber speaks for itself.

- L.

PS. Remember when blueberries were possibly the most reviled food of all time? The OP would like to take a moment to formally retract our position on blueberries. Apparently they are awesome now!