Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

It's been a wild ride, but we're all moved in and enjoying playing house this summer. We love, love, love our new home. My husband built me a deer fence so I can try my hand at gardening -- so far not much is growing, but it's a learning curve, right? Munchkin is spending the summer entertaining the work crews paving the streets. I don't know how the kid does it, but he's so cute that they wave to him half a block away, give him stuff and even let him run the excavator (I'm pretty sure they broke some rules on that one!).
Speaking of Munchkin, I was looking back on my blog which I started when he was only two years old. I have a treasure that he will appreciate when he's older in all the cute stories I've been able to share. He's still doing and saying cute things, naturally, but he's a big 5-year-old beginning kindergarten in the fall.

Our lives have become so busy that it seems the right time to wrap up the blog. I've loved every minute of it, and especially enjoyed my excursions into the world of local eating. Have no fear, I'm still eating local. It's just that it's become the new normal and hasn't inspired posting as it once did. I'm still working on new ways to live a greener lifestyle, though!

So thank you so much to all my faithful readers. You've made writing fun. I'll leave the blog up and maybe some time I'll revive it, but for now, I'll leave you with one more "cute Munchkin story."

We have road construction happening in our neighborhood all summer. It's far enough away that we're not breathing their dust, but close enough that it wakes up 5-year-old ears at 7am every weekday. Early yesterday morning I caught Munchkin playing with his toys on the floor of my husband's home office -- a room Munchkin is not allowed to be in without permission. I asked what he was doing in there and he pointed to the open window as he said, "I'm listening to the 'beep, beep, beep!'"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moving in

Munchkin quote of the day: Dad, Dad, why is there an air compressor in the living room?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yahoo!

We closed on our new house this week! We'll get the keys at the end of next week and start moving in. If I don't post for a while, that's why!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What, no butter and syrup?

This morning as Scott walked out the door, Munchkin said, "Daddy, I hope you have a good day at work," (Awwww...) "and I hope pancakes fall on your head!"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Somebody up there likes him

Munchkin had a very hard day yesterday. Much better today, but we're still holding our breath. So when we got him to clean up his toys this evening, after much stalling, and we sent him into his room to get into his PJ's, I was skeptical when I heard, "Mommy, come look at the ambulance." He had spent all afternoon building fire vehicles out of Legos. Also, our temporary housing is in a small gated community where there is little to no activity. I thought he was stalling again.

No, it turns out there were both a fire engine and an ambulance parked right outside his bedroom window! We made him get into his PJ's before going out to look. No one was there at first, and then out of one house walked Fireman Dave, Munchkin's favorite fireman.

For the first time in weeks, Munchkin went to bed without a fuss and with a big smile on his face. I told him he had just gotten a kiss goodnight from God.

Monday, March 29, 2010

No problem with his vocabulary!

Saturday, we made our annual pilgrimage to the tulip fields. In the early years of our marriage, we used to go to take pictures of the flowers. Nowadays we go to take pictures of the kid in the flowers.

In an attempt to get a cute pose, I asked Munchkin to smell one of the tulips. He bent down, sniffed a bright flower then stood up and declared confidently, "It smells like purple residue."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Overheard from the backseat of the car

We're driving down the road this afternoon and I hear...

Cute little voice in the back seat: Hand sanitizer, please?
Me: Why?
Cute little voice: (imaginary friend) Duck just spit on my hand!

Friday, March 19, 2010

At last!

Hi blogging buddies! I just wanted to report that as of today we have a signed offer on a really great house. It's been an awfully long haul and I'm beat, so more later!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Switchboard, please

Munchkin, very sweetly, on the phone, after he thanked Grandma for a gift she sent, "Please may I be transferred back to Grandpa?"

Friday, March 12, 2010

What a quack up!

Munchkin's imaginary friend "Duck" is endlessly entertaining. He must be independently wealthy the way he buys tools and construction equipment, owns every vehicle known to man (including four space shuttles) and has several houses. Munchkin says that whenever Duck needs money, he just goes to Sherwin Williams and they give him some. Duck is friends with other more famous ducks and in fact, sometimes he has playdates with Aflac Duck.

The other day, Scott mentioned to Munchkin that there is a radio station called KDUK. Munchkin was quick to respond, "That's a problem. Duck will have to send someone over there to tell them to stop using his name!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tooth Fairy deconstructed

It's been a while since I've posted! We're still house-hunting like crazy and who knows what else, but I've got a cute Munchkin story to share...

Munchkin hasn't lost any teeth, yet, but some of his friends have. The other day he was asking questions about it. After I explained how a tooth comes out, he wanted to know what happens next. I said that he would put the tooth under his pillow and then the Tooth Fairy would come and give him money for it. Naturally, Munchkin wanted to know how much?!!! I told him that I didn't know, but when I was little, the Tooth Fairy gave me a quarter.

Munchkin then wanted to know if it was the same Tooth Fairy. He thought about it a while and then said, "California (where he knows I grew up) is really big, and it's really far away, so I don't think the Tooth Fairy could get here in time. I bet it's a different Tooth Fairy."

Good thing, too, because my Tooth Fairy was really incompetent. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh, no!

Fascinated with the olympics, Munchkin has decided he likes ski jumping, snowboard cross, nordic skiing, hockey and short track speed skating. He has no use for my favorite figure skating.

I decided to take him to an ice rink the other day and let him try out skating for the first time. Munchkin had delusions of grandeur which involved he and his buddies short track speed racing, which naturally Munchkin would win. I tried to prepare him for the fact that it takes a little time to learn how to skate fast.

We spent about half our time off the ice just learning how to walk while wearing ice skates. By the end, he could climb stairs without holding my hand. On the ice, he skated 5-year-old style -- holding the wall with one hand and my hand with the other. He started out slow and tentative, but by the second time around the rink he was running. I could barely keep up. He wants to know when we can go back.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do you think they need them?

Munchkin gave his imaginary friends witness protection names. He won't tell me what they are because it's a secret.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who really won this battle?

Lego fireman got confiscated this evening. That's what happens when Munchkin throws a toy across the room instead of doing as he's told. Scott put the fireman on top of the refrigerator and Munchkin ran wailing from the room.

The problem turned out not to be the confiscation, but rather that the fireman would have to stay on top of the refrigerator all alone! He would get scared! He would get lonely! Munchkin was unconsolable until we added two more Legomen to be friends for the original fireman.

Right before bedtime, Munchkin asked me what it was he did to get the fireman taken away.

Friday, February 19, 2010

And the whinner is...

Last Sunday was a really whiny day. I don't know why, it just was. Tired of hearing Munchkin whine, whine, whine from the back seat of the car, Scott mimicked him. Munchkin was not impressed, so Scott tried out different wails and pitches. He knew he finally got it right when Munchkin said, "There you go, Daddy!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It figures

Last weekend, Munchkin got to watch a little of his first winter olympics. Later, I asked him what his favorite event was. Did he like the skiing? The speed skating? No, he liked the "slide." He meant the luge. Great. Oh well, next weekend he's sure to see some of the snowboarding...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Coming soon to a blogosphere near you...

Munchkin, age 5, announced tonight at dinner that he was planning his construction blog for when he gets big. He's going to have pictures of his building projects as they grow. The first picture will be of the excavator, the next of the workmen laying the foundation, etc. I can't remember it all, but he had the steps in approximately the right order. I suggested a web-cam, but he wants to do it with pictures. My best guess is that you should look for his blog sooner rather than later. He's probably launch it now, but he just learned how to write his name and he hasn't learned all the rest of his letters, yet.

Monday, February 1, 2010

And the search goes on...

Yesterday we visited house #... what, 358? I should have started counting from the beginning, but now that I've made up a number I think I'll just keep adding to it. Anyway, the biggest problem wasn't that the house was too small, as I expected. It was small, but it had wonderful gardens and the roof was equipped with solar panels. No, the problem was that there are chemicals leaching into the ground water from an old dry cleaners in the area. They've tested the house and it is not OK. Cross that one off the list.

I didn't think I was so picky, but it's amazing how many weird deal-breaking problems we've encountered. Guess we just keep on looking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It takes how long?

We recently put a bid on a house that is being sold as a short sale. Sadly, we got outbid, but when I was trying to explain to Munchkin how looooong it takes for a "short" sale, he asked, "Does it take the same amount of time to grow a chicken? About the same time as a baby chicken to grow up and then some more?"

I have no idea where he got this since we've never had chickens and don't even know anybody who has chickens, but he was about right!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dark Days Week 10: Easy Chili & Biscuits

As I was cooking dinner this evening, I realized it would make a great candidate for my Dark Days meal this week. I call this “Easy Chili” since I don’t bother with a recipe. For the chili, I sourced only some of the ingredients locally, although it would be easy to find them all with a little planning. The biscuits and spice mix did not include local ingredients, but they were made from scratch, so that should count for something. :)

Normally, I would bake corn bread to accompany the chili, but I was out of corn meal so I made “Easy Biscuits.” My family prefers them to cornbread anyway. “Easy,” to me, means that I can combine all ingredients into a bowl in one step, stir and bake without ever having to get out a mixer or rolling pin. Here’s tonight’s recipes. One of these weeks I’ll remember to take a picture before we eat it all up.

Easy Chili
(serves 3-4)

¼ to 1/3 lb ground beef (fresh from our cow in the freezer)
1 onion, diced (Farmers’ market)
1/3 cup bell pepper, diced (frozen from last summer’s CSA)
1 can diced tomatoes (grocery store for me)
1 cup water, local :)
1 cup red beans, cooked (I have local beans in the pantry, but I forgot to cook them in advance, so these also came from a can)
4 tsp taco seasoning mix (homemade, recipe to follow)

About 45 minutes before dinner, brown ground beef and onions until beef is no longer pink and onions are transparent. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until time to eat. Pour into bowls and top each bowl with:

Dollop of sour cream (local Tillamook)
Small handful grated cheddar (Tillamook)
3-4 black olives, sliced (from far away unless you live in California)

Easy Biscuits
(makes 6-8 large biscuits)

1-¾ cups flour (I use part white, part whole wheat)
2-½ tsp baking powder
1-¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until moistened. Drop by large spoonful on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 450 degrees, 12 minutes.

Taco Seasoning Mix
(I use this for chili, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc.)

2 Tbsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4-½ tsp ground cumin
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp salt
2-½ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit because I don‘t like it so spicy)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To season 1 lb ground meat, cook meat until no longer pink then add 8 tsp seasoning and 2/3 cup water. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Haiti

For anyone out there who is following the news reports coming out of Haiti and wants to help, I'd like to recommend an organization called Partners in Health. They are the group birthed out of the work of Dr. Paul Farmer, the author of Mountains Beyond Mountains. A while back I read the book and was impressed and really amazed at the work Dr. Farmer was doing and the compassion with which he was doing it. I wrote a review here.

Partners in Health has been on the ground in Haiti for 20 years. Their main base is just close enough to the capitol to be able to offer medical care for the wounded, and just far enough away that it was not badly damaged in the quake. If you're looking for an organization to which you can contribute, this is a good one. Check it out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red flag


Munchkin got a new race track. It's hard to race with him, though. Every time a car crashes, it can't be re-set up until you call in the pit crews, the paramedics, the firemen...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dark Days week ???: Farming mom's stew

It's been so long since I've posted my dark days meal that I don't even know what week it is! I guess I'll find out when they do the recap. :) I've had a hard time sourcing local ingredients because as we got ready to move, I used up any stockpile from last summer. There is a small year-round farmers' market here, but but the number of vendors is down and it's also a lot farther away than it used to be because we've moved. (We're still hunting for our new house, found a wonderful one this past week and put a bid on it, but it's a short sale so we have no idea if we'll actually get it.) Anyway, my sister bailed me out by giving us a large box of home canned goodies and some found their way into my recent finally-local meals.

The inspiration from our local meal this week was a post from Farming Mom. I adapted the recipe since I don't have a wood stove and the casserole dish I used ran out of room. After it started boiling over in the oven, I quit adding ingredients. :) Anyway, in our version of the stew I used:

a packet of beef labelled "stew meat" from the cow in our freezer
onion (farmers' market)
garlic (farmers' market)
diced tomatoes (grocery store, since I didn't have any from last summer)
red potatoes cut into chunks (farmers' market)
one quart sister-canned green beans
bay leaves, chives & parsley, dried
salt & pepper

I browned the meat and then added the onion & garlic. Then I put it all into a casserole dish, added the rest of the ingredients, and baked at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. The stew itself tasted delicious, but the meat was really tough. Next time I'll put it into the slow cooker instead of the oven and cook it all day. The green beans were a great addition and I never would have thought to include them except that Farming Mom did.

To accompany the stew, I made "Yucky Bread." Yucky bread was so named when I gave the recipe to a friend who made it for her family. The kids said the bread was yucky, trying to keep everyone else from eating it so they could eat it all themselves, and the name stuck.

I normally use a bread machine recipe called "Cottage Dill Bread," but the book is buried somewhere in storage so I returned to my original Dill Bread recipe from the More-With-Less Cookbook. Local ingredients included Tillamook cottage cheese, Tillamook butter and a fresh duck egg from the market. I would have used local dill if I'd remembered I had some in my freezer, but I forgot. I made the bread dough in my bread machine and then formed it into rolls to bake in the oven. The smell of the baking dill bread is heavenly.