Friday, December 17, 2010

Jumping Bean: From Baby to Kid

It is becoming more and more obvious that I no longer have a baby, and while I'm still not ready for a new one, I'm really sad about how grown up he is getting. My son is a little over 19 months old. Officially a toddler, but I still say "my baby" when I'm talking about him to people who don't know him because that's how I think of him. But he just isn't anymore. Not really.

He is babbling now. He says "star" and "chair" and "bye" occasionally, but mostly he prefers to jabber. He has his own little language though. "Sha sha sha?" means"Please tell me the word for that object." "Shee Shee!" means "Hey I have a thing! Look but don't touch!" He responds to Alpha Pig with "Meah" when Alpha Pig asks where the various letters are. And he seems to understand pretty much everything we say.

He's trying to jump, it's really fun to watch him experiment with it. He's very thoughtful and serious about it. He actually got off the ground today, but couldn't stick the landing. He hit directly on his butt and found it hilarious but didn't make any more attempts. This spawned something though because later, while we were outside, he kept intentionally backing off the patio causing a soft one inch fall backwards on the grass and dissolving into giggles.

Then after playing outside, he ran into the kitchen and pulled open the silverware drawer. Before I could get to him he had pulled out a spoon and closed said drawer so I just watched as he then walked over to the low counter with all his snacks on it and pulled down a yogurt container. He tried to poke the spoon through the yogurt lid a few times, and when this failed he rather grudgingly walked over to me holding up the yogurt and spoon. He really wanted to do it himself and I'm amazed that he almost could.

Sigh. I want him to have a healthy since of independence, I just thought it would take longer to develop.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Flowers Part 1

This was all I got done yesterday, but I'm still happy with it. Today I got nothing done, not even running, again. I think life is going to be too chaotic until after the holidays to regularly run which is very disheartening because I've already lost a lot of the progress I had made from having so many visitors and going away for Thanksgiving. I'm totally doing a 10k in April so I need to get back to business after the New Year but for now it looks like I'm just going to have to take things in stride.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Acrylics on Canvas: Beginnings

I'm making some paintings for my mother, father, and mother-in-law. They are just little stocking stuffers but they seem to like homemade gifts and I like doing it. Making a gift is one of the few times I get to indulge in a hobby and not feel a tinge of selfishness or guilt over the time wasting.

So far I've got all the blocks of color down where I want them to be. Tomorrow (hopefully) I'll hit them with the lights and darks and shape up any other problems that present themselves. After that, only a billion more things to do before Christmas. Woo! Holiday chaos!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First Night Night without Nursing

I put my son to bed tonight without nursing him. I expected it to be a tantrumy heartbreaking fight, but actually he hardly seemed to notice. It took a few more song verses and rocking than normal but not a lot and he went down about three hours ago and hasn't been heard from since.

I thought I'd be sad tonight. I was dreading it all day. We decided to go for it because I agreed with my husband that we would phase out night time nursing by Christmas and I want it to be routine for him before we travel so it pretty much had to start this weekend. I literally was battling off nausea during bath time I was just so anxious. But afterwards, it felt like any other night. Just one more step in my baby not being a baby anymore. I can't believe how fast it's all slipping away.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Magic Cake

I can't remember if I've talked about this cake from Ina Garten before it's friggin' amazing y'all. I've made three really different and really great tasting cakes using this same recipe as a jumping off point. Though, I admit I've never actually made the recipe as it was originally written because something about poundcake in the shape of a loaf seems unnatural to me.

The first time I tried it I made a lemon cake in two 9-inch round pans (which changed the cook time to around 30 minutes, start checking at 20), and frosted it with this cream cheese icing. (I had to double it.)

It was for my husband's birthday and it was really big hit. It is really, really lemony the batter is going to taste a touch to tart but it sorts itself out in the baking especially after you pour the syrup over it. It just says relaxing afternoon tea to me. It's a happy cake.

Next, for my birthday I used the same recipe and 9-inch rounds but I substituted oranges for lemons and used this chocolate sour cream frosting from the Smitten Kitchen. I was a little concerned the sour cream would add too much twang so I substituted one stick of melted unsalted butter for a half cup of the sour cream. The recipe makes plenty to frost the entire cake. I even had a little left over, and I am a thorough froster.

The result was wonderful. The flavor of the cake itself was very smooth and subtle and the frosting tasted like dark chocolate, flavorful but not too sweet or too rich. You will have to keep it refrigerated though, due to the two cups of sour cream in it.

Lastly, for Thanksgiving with the in-laws I made this orange poundcake in a bundt pan which put the cook time at around 45-50 minutes, more true to the original recipe and did the glaze in the original recipe which I left out of the other two, substituting lemons for oranges. In this one I did add a bit more zest and juice than the recipe calls for at every opportunity because I wanted a brighter flavor.

I got it. It was sweet and the orange flavor really stood out without being overpowering, plus the glaze is really simple but easy to do and looks impressive. In all cases I took the commenters suggestions and poked the cooled cakes several times with a toothpick to allow the syrup to soak in more easily.

If you're looking for a holiday dessert option, and don't mind taking a little time, any of these would be great choices.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I have a new blog!

I'm not abandoning this one, but I'm looking to get back to the more cooking/kid stuff here for a while, but in my quest to avoid doing anything I ought to be doing like house cleaning, I've decided to set up a new blog for displaying the sketches I do while working my way through 642 Things to Draw, and for displaying any other projects I might work on.

It's funny, one of the main reasons I stopped taking art classes was I hated critique. I didn't mind getting input from others but I hated having to talk about what I had done. I just didn't ever feel like saying anything. But so far it's been easy to talk about random stuff. I guess maybe it's because a blog is exactly ideal for going on and on about yourself even, and maybe especially, when said stuff is completely inconsequential.

Anyway, come on over and see me at Self-Indulgent Exhibitionism!

Bob the Hoarder

So I really like to watch the shows on TLC and A&E about hoarding. I'm not precisely sure what draws me to these shows, especially because I can totally see what people are complaining about when they talk about the negative aspects of exploiting these people's serious mental illness for television purposes. I rationalize it to myself that they are getting help it's raising awareness and so it's not that exploitative but at the same time I'm sure there are times as in all reality tv that things get manipulated in the name of entertainment, but I can't look away.

I'm pretty sure one of my grandmothers was a hoarder. She had newspapers stacked shoulder high in her house, and had scores of glass of coke bottles everywhere. I'm very aware how much this disease can affect someone's life and how even physically dangerous a disease it can be to have. With that in mind, hearing a popular children's television character say over and over again, "Hardly anything's ever really garbage." while dreaming up sometimes completely improbably and complicated uses for the smallest of things is super creepy to me.

I'm all for the reduce, reuse, recycle aspect of the show but I don't know, constantly throwing in that one line almost every show just doesn't sit well with me.