Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Little Fish that Got Away

The other night we went to Munchkin's first-ever school music/drama program. The preschool class were the fish and they looked darling in their little costumes as they "swam" all over the stage and made "fish faces." One little fish swam quite a bit faster than the rest... but he at least stood still when the fish lined up and sang their song.

Then it was time to leave the stage and he decided not to leave with the others but instead come down the front steps to sit with us. We encouraged him to go back up with his classmates, so he climbed back up the steps and stood, by this time all alone on stage, trying to decide whether to stay or to go. Once decided, he announced in a loud and clear voice that he didn't want to do this anymore, and he walked back down the front steps. Scott was taping with our camcorder, but sadly, didn't get the whole thing so America's Funniest will just have to do without.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I try so hard to buy local healthy food...

But then Munchkin gets sick with a nasty little bug and I take him to the doctor. The doc says he'll be just fine if I follow her strict orders to not let him eat anything that's not on her list: bland white bread, rice crispies, white soda crackers, instant mashed potatoes, canned chicken broth, pedialite popsicles and maybe just a little white grape juice since I tell her he won't drink Gatorade. My husband summarized the menu as, "All the stuff you never buy!"

I'm happy to report that Munchkin is better now, and back to eating real food.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Schmoozer

Munchkin has no scruples about using his charm to get what he wants. He's gotten sets of rubber gloves from every medical practitioner he's ever seen, and half of the firemen in our town. He'd have quite the collection by now, but I toss them out after he's shredded them by stretching the gloves over his shoes.

The other night, we went with our realtor to look at a house and the owners had placed a basket full of those little blue footy things for people to wear on their shoes. Munchkin took off his shoes, and then insisted on wearing the footies because he said his socks were dirty. I was just waiting for him to ask to keep a set.

Munchkin waited until we were all the way out of the house and the realtor had locked the door before he said, "They have a lot of footies... I think they have too many footies." Guess who schmoozed his own pair.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

House hunt

We're poking around trying to decide if we want to take advantage of current market conditions and move into something with a little more space. Our house hunt so far has yielded some choice comments from Munchkin. Yesterday he said, "I want a bigger yard... and a bigger house... so I can make a bigger mess!"

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another funny search

Just looked at my recent stats and saw that someone arrived at my blog searching on: "where do you get donna the duck chocolate". Anybody know?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Big dreams

"What I want...
is a whole pallet full of blue tape...
and I'll need a fork-lift to move the pallet."
-- Munchkin

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sourdough bread, Part I

A while back I wrote about taking an artisan bread making class and my desire to bake real sourdough bread. I've been working on it and have found that the road to good bread is paved with stinky starter! I'll backtrack...


For my birthday last month, Scott gave me Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg. I read it from cover to cover, but have yet to try many recipes in it. I've made the boule, which was also my favorite recipe from class. It's very tasty, easy and my family likes it. All good reasons to keep making it, but it's not sourdough. Hertzberg says that if you leave the dough in the fridge for several days, it starts to develop a mock sourdough flavor. My problem, besides the fact that I don't have enough room in my fridge for a huge bowl of dough, is that I don't have the patience to wait that long for my bread! So I've never baked anything even remotely sour by this method. Hertzberg's book is very popular and I also enjoyed it very much. I will go back and try more of his recipes. The only complaint I have is that he is pretty opinionated and it gets old after a while.

So mock sourdough just wasn't making it. Next, I got a cup of real sourdough starter from one of Scott's coworkers. She had purchased the real thing online and had so much she didn't know what to do with it all. It came with four pages of small type instructions on the care and feeding of the starter. I really, really tried to follow the directions. So I bought non-chlorinated water since chlorine purportedly kills wild yeast. I bought it and I set it on the counter, and then I transfered my starter to a larger container and carefully fed it flour and nice warm tap water. Oops.

I didn't know if I'd killed it or what, so I placed the tap water starter on the windowsill and then looked at the jar the original starter had come from. There wasn't much there, but there was some since I hadn't scraped the jar. I fed that, too, with flour and the right water this time and then I set it next to the other. After a couple hours, the non-chlorine starter definitely looked healthier. I decided to use up the chlorine starter in pancakes for dinner. Dinner time came, and I followed the pancake recipe exactly, not remembering until after they were eaten that I meant to use the starter.

The starter also came with a recipe for authentic sourdough bread. The recipe was daunting, taking days to make the loaf. I decided to take a little shortcut... I combined the boule recipe from the cookbook with the recipe from the starter into a concoction I hoped would yield delicious sourdough bread. I made enough to bake three loaves. The first was a shape I'll call "the lump." It ended up about one inch thick -- perfect for ordeurves, and not a hint of sour taste in it. So I refrigerated the rest of the dough for a day or two and then tried again. This time the dough was much firmer and I could make a little taller loaf. I baked two loaves, took them out of the oven too early, and just smiled when everyone commented how "moist" they were. They tasted fine, luckily, just not sour.

My saga continues. Stay tuned for the next episode of "How the Sourdough Turns..."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We're number #171,394!

Well, two or three cool people out there in cyberspace have purchased a copy of my book on Amazon! I don't know who you are, but thank you and I hope you love it!

I noticed the first purchase a day or so ago and was delighted to see that I now had a ranking: 250,ooo and something in books. :) Then when I checked again later (for the exact number, so I could write this post), my ranking had dropped to 500,ooo and something. Whoa! The ranking must have a factor in it for how recent the purchase is. Anyway, with someone's purchase of two more copies, my ranking has broken the 200,ooo mark -- for now. Please humor me while I enjoy all this cool stuff. What can I say -- it's my first book. :)

By the time this posts, I'm sure my ranking will have changed again. If you want to see the listing, the link is here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers' Day

As a Mothers' Day present, Scott offered to fix a couple things around the house that needed fixing. I'm not sure if it was more for me or for Munchkin. As they worked, Scott whispered to me, "The tool box wasn't really necessary." :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"The Purple Elephant" Released!


I'm excited to announce the release of The Purple Elephant!

For those new to my blog, The Purple Elephant is my first book. It's a children's chapter book intended for ages 5-10. The Purple Elephant is a delightful story containing all the old-fashioned ingredients: an adventuresome prince, a reluctant princess, a friendly fire-breathing dragon, a wicked wizard and a generous dose of humor. I hope you will all love it!

For more information, check out: http://www.the-purple-elephant.blogspot.com/.

The Purple Elephant is available at Amazon (free shipping available for orders over $25), or you can order from CreateSpace (at CreateSpace use discount code 87M36Q72 for $2 off per copy now through May 31). Retail price for 78-page book with color illustrations is $15.95.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The hidden cost of preschool (update)

This morning I called the insurance and was told that we have a previously-unknown-to-me clause in Munchkin's policy that says that they waive the deductible if the medical care is due to an accident. Once they were convinced that Munchkin's accident didn't occur at work (dragging a pretend fire hose doesn't count as "work"), they said we're home free! The doc's office probably owes us a refund on the amount we already paid. How often does that happen?!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The hidden cost of preschool

You're probably thinking I'm going to write about the tuition, or the enrollment fee, or the incessant fund raisers (definitely a hidden cost!), but no, I'm talking about the medical bills. No, I'm not even talking about the visits to the doctor for the strange and exotic viruses the preschooler gets from his little friends, although those visits certainly add up. I'm talking about the bills for the stitches. From injuries incurred while running into the preschool's wheelchair ramp. While dragging a pretend fire hose.

After the numbing medicine took effect, Munchkin was a real trooper. He watched in fascination as the doctor sewed him back together and he can't wait to go back and show his stitches to all his friends. And in case you ever need to know, if your child is considerate enough to get his injury during business hours, you can take him to his pediatrician instead of to Urgent Care or Emergency. We've been told it's much cheaper although we haven't received the rest of the bills, yet.

Recovering later that afternoon, Munchkin played "paramedic" and doctored up all his buddies.