Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Ice Cream for a Snow Day!

The kids just finished licking their bowls to get every last creamy drop of this wonderful snow-confection, and we had to share the recipe and the demo-video!  (I  just had a spoonful, and it was pret-ty tasty!)

The kids foraged for the snow outside (you can guess the kind of severe warning I gave about avoiding the yellow kind!), and then helped measure and mix the other ingredients (since there are only a total of four, it was very easy to manage, even with the bonus of holding Marie the entire time).  We had a ball. . . a SNOW-ball, that is!  (Dork alert!  Dork alert!)

Let me get some of their ratings and reviews, since they're surrounding me as I type this. 
Ethan says, "It's snow-tastic!" 
Holden says, "It's really goooood! So try it!" 
Eve says, "Put some chocolate on it and then mix it!"
 Caleb says, "Two thumbs up!"   
Peter says, "I-Keem. . . chomp!"
Marie says, "Heyaaa!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

                For dinner tonight we re-lived some of our Provo days of yore and re-created one of our favorite salads that was a get-rid-of-that-baby-weight go-to recipe because it was so healthy and flavorful.  Unfortunately, we can't get it through the drive-through anymore (although we rush to El Azteca whenever we're in Happy Valley), so we did our best to imitate it.

Someone forgot to move the grill before the big snow-storm hit (that would be moi), so I had to pull on my boots and climb up and around the grill to do the chicken from above like some sort of Eskimo-she-woman, but it was worth it!

Eve went wild for the jicama, but kept referring to it as "hippopoto-ma," so I think that will be its new name in our house .

El Azteca Grilled Chicken Salad
(This much will make 6-8 salads)

Place 4-5 chicken breasts in a plastic freezer bag and add:
1/4 cup onion (I just used dried minced)
2 t fresh garlic or garlic salt
4  T cilantro (dried or use 1/4 cup fresh)
1/2 packet chili seasoning
2 T cumin
4 T lime juice
1 cup Zesty Italian dressing

Marinate for 6-8 hours (I was rushed this morning [who me? rushed? huh?] and only had them in the marinade for 3 hours and the meat was still full of flavor)
Grill the chicken 8-10 minutes on each side and then let rest for 5-10 minutes before you slice it into luscious chunks of tender-meat-fiesta.

Other ingredients:
1-2 heads of red-leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped (you could use romaine too, or sometimes we use spinach)
1 can corn
1 jicama (pronounced "hiccma." Ask for it in the produce section if you aren't sure where to find it), peeled and diced into cubes
Grated cheese
Mexican rice (6 cups cooked brown or white rice with 1 cup salsa and 1 cup low-fat cheese mixed in when it's still hot)
Black beans (I just rinsed them and cooked them in a saute pan with garlic, minced onions, a little tomato juice, 2 t cumin, and 2 t cilantro for about 5 minutes)

To assemble the salad :
Layer lettuce, corn, jicama, cheese, rice, beans, and salsa.  Top with chunks of chicken.  You can serve it with light or fat free Ranch Dressing or just sprinkle fresh lime juice on the top.  

The kids had some tortilla chips with theirs, but I was the epitome of self-control and resisted the crunch!  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Classic Ethan Revisited

As I was getting the mail on Friday, a parent of one of Ethan's friends in his class (the incomparable Maija-Liisa Nyborg Adams) rolled down her window and asked if we had "coached" Ethan to add the "character" to his presentation.  I told her that Eric and I had been as surprised as anyone and that we hadn't even known that he had carefully planned all of his ad-libs ahead of time.  She smiled and said, "Well, he had me at 'paper-clip!'"

When we asked Ethan what his teacher thought of the way he had spiced up the presentation, he said, "She said it was great!"  He then explained, "I told her I wasn't trying to be a jokester or anything. . . I just wanted to make it more entertaining!"  

When I reported the day's events to Eric, he just laughed and said, "Well. . . that's definitely OUR son!"

For family members who like to be dragged into this sort of thing, Maija-Liisa made what we think is a better recording and  I've posted that one here.  (THANK YOU, M-L!  You are my favorite blog-tographer!!!) He's a little more nervous than he was for the first performance, but you can see him a little more clearly. . . You can tell that the audience doesn't know what to make of him.  Ahhhhh, Ethan!  I'm so glad we "get" him (in all of the senses of the word)!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Classic Ethan

*WARNING* I'm on Mom-pride overload! 

Since he was barely two and could spout out jokes on command ("Where did da COW go on a da-ate? . . . To da MOOOO-vies!" and "What is da Tee-Rexes faborit IIICE Cweam? . . . Wo-cky Wo-ad!" [Read it like a two-year-old and you'll get it!]), we knew Ethan had a gift for comediac timing and delivery. Dinner always involves chewing and laughing (not pretty, but fun!) in part because of Eth-Dog's knack for accents and puns--he can do Italian, French, and Spanish accents with facial expressions like an SNL regular. When I asked him why he had chosen Mexico for his Christmas Around the World Report in December, he just shrugged and said, "I like their burritos!" So we downloaded "Feliz Navidad" and he rocked out in front of his class-mates as only he can with no self-consciousness and a whole lot of style.

This morning he presented his report on krill and I had to share the video--you can probably hear me chuckling in the background. This was just a dress rehearsal, but his teacher had forgotten to get him from the "RAD" class (that is code for what they used to call the "Gifted and Talented" program.  Sounds braggy, I know, but this kid is just so DARN creative and sees the world with his own mystic little Ethan-spin), and so they had to run and find him while we sat there looking at the power-point with his name on it.  He ran in and just started talking, so I missed the first two seconds.  I only wish you could see his face better as he makes all of his little asides, none of which were on the Power Point slides.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

16 Things About Me : subtitled "I Am a Living Oxymoron"

I spent an exhausting amount of time doing this for a facebook tag and now my head feels like it is filled with lime jell-o and I am extremely self-conscious, soothing my psyche and telling it that it's gonna be okay. So, I figured I might as well go all the way and blog it since I'm already nauseated about being this personal on the internet anyway (see subtitle of subsequent post).

16 Things About Me
I have subtitled it "I Am a Living Oxymoron"

1- I am favorite-disabled. Colors, books, food, friends, kids, music. . . it doesn't matter. I'm too squeamish to choose a favorite anything because I always feel bad for all of the colors, books, food, friends, kids, music, etc who might not get chosen.
2- I am an extroverted introvert who teaches for a living, thrives on planing and attending parties, and is so deep-down shy that I still shake before sharing a story in a group of more than 3 or 4 (so doing THIS is killing me. . . softly).
3- I have a multiple personality eating disorder, which I might label haute-white-trash : I savor velvety lobster bisque, lip-numbing 5-star-hot Thai food, peppery Spinach Saag, and any of a thousand stinky French cheeses, but I can gobble down cold mac n' cheese or a sickly-sweet Peanut Buster Parfait like they've been crafted by Bobby Flay.
4- While teaching a French culture class at the MTC, I told the poor, unassuming missionaries that if they didn't respect the French culture, those frenchies might "rip them a new one." I just thought it meant "get super-dooper mad."
5- In high school I devoured novels written by William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and JD Salinger like they were candy; I also genuinely enjoyed and scarfed down candy-like Sweet Valley High (I read at least 20! yikes), and Jack Weyland "novels."
6- I use words like "hegemony" and "didactic" in the same sentence as words like "Elmo" and "feetsies" and "home-girl" and "like, totally!" Basically I am part lit-theory-nerd, part pre-school teacher, part inner-city-wannabe and part Valley Girl.
7- The biggest reason I go to the gym to run at a mind-crackling hour in the morning is so I can snag me a pair of knee-high pointy black boots with a three inch heel and strut down the hall at Church on my way to get the kids from Nursery by next fall.
8- When I belly-laugh I do it silently and sound like a wheezing old man.
9- Sometimes when I cook dinner I pretend that I am on Iron Chef and have to concoct award-winning recipes with only the meager contents of my beleaguered fridge and pantry; I give Alton Brownesque commentary in my head as I speed-chop and run in a twirling frenzy from appliance to appliance.
10- I have placed a self-imposed Cream-of-ANYTHING-ban on our family menus; I will only crack open a round and sludgy one if the Relief Society forces me to at whisk-point for a cream-and-cheese-based event.
11- I have a Moses-like fear of both public speaking and small-talk; the written word is my Aaron.
12- I swoon over perfectly folded corners, alphabetized bookshelves, and toiletries categorized according to function, caressing fabric or pages or labels like they are newborn babies; I can also tolerate a typhoon of self or child-caused chaos without even an eye-twitch.
13- I over-do absolutely everything and it is deliberate as much as it is relished.
14- I keep myself abreast of the latest fashion trends and have a flair for both outfit composition and purchase (I thrill over online-discount coupons!), and yet I have been known to wear out "stretchy pants" by wearing them with hole-infested over-sized, decades-old t-shirts two (sometimes three--aack) days in a row.
15- Predictable, pathos-saturated, poorly voiced Disney Cartoons make me shed genuine, emotion-inspired tears as I laugh my self-pity chuckle and wipe them away while thinking about the hideously vapid and chokingly cheesy life-lesson I just learned and will most likely try and apply.
16- I adore films like "Ma Vie en Rose" and "Away From Her" and well-acted Shakespeare plays, but I can yuk-yuk with the crudest of them at Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley until my sides hurt.

Monday, January 19, 2009

BRRRR-illiant Ideas for SNOW DAY THRILLS and CHILLS!

(This is a shout-out to my  home-girl Ruth who asked for some ideas for bored kids.)

We had Kid-Richment at the Church today (I still need to copyright that title!) and Janeese Summers had the COOLEST idea for our Snow theme (pun totally intented).  She had the kids make Tortilla Snowflakes!  

To make Tortilla Snow-Flakes:

*Use tortillas that are still at room temperature
* Fold tortilla in half and then fold in half again
* Cut out shapes in the same way you would for a snowflake
* Fry tortilla in hot oil in a frying pan for about 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned
* Sprinkle hot tortilla with cinnamon and sugar and enjoy! 

(I also found the same recipe at FamilyFun.com where they brush them with oil or spray with cooking spray and bake them.  Based on the eerie grease-fog still lingering in the gym while the kids and I were doing the clean-up, I'd say we're going to be baking them in the future! However, when I said that it was going to smell like Fongs in there until Sunday, one of the other Moms said, "I hope so!" And it was then that I realized that I might be nibbling on my baked, whole-wheat tortilla snowflake alone.) 

(P.S.  You can also "sprinkle them with edible glitter," the recipe from FamilyFun.com says. . . yup, I agree. That inedible glitter goes down a little rough, but it sure makes the toilet sparkle! Too much? Too much.)

We also did a "Bundle-Up" relay race where we had adult-sized winter wear (hats, coats, scarves, gloves) for each team.  One by one the kids one each team had to put on the clothing, run across the gym, and then run back and remove the clothing.

When we got home, Eric found some of the leftover balloons from Holden's birthday festivities on Saturday and we played Balloon Volleyball (see video--aren't I fancy?).  We just use something to put a line on the carpet (in this case a curtain rod) and divide into two teams and hit the ball back and forth without keeping score.  This way everyone gets to be a big winner instead of a big whiner.  

Another of the kids favorites is an idea from Family Fun Magazine : Cereal Box Hockey.  You cut out "goals" from cereal boxes and tape them to the kitchen table.  Then you tape a coin to the underside of a milk cap and use it as the "puck."  You just use paper cups to hit the "puck" back and forth.  Because our median age is about 3, Eric and I sit at the "heads" of the table and the kids take the sides so that everyone gets to play at once.  

We usually divide up into vowels and consonants so that the teams are even.  Today Eric, Eve, and Ethan's team was called "Winning With E's" and Holden, Caleb, and My team was called "Consonant-stipation."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Life of a d'Evegnee Diva

Even though Marie has helped to somewhat divide the Eve-worship that goes on around here, Eric and I still adore Eve's every action, catching words that fall from her lips like notes from heaven.  When she utters a particularly precious gem, Eric and I give each other painful looks and he usually says, "I can't take any more cuteness!"

During our St George vacation, the older kids were lounging on the massive Hotel bed with us like sprawled-out kid-lumps, and we were lazily watching the wall-sized plasma screen with wonder and awe. Eve had her arms wrapped around the nearest body part of her Dad, which happened to be his feet.  She lovingly cuddled up to his toes and suddenly took a thoughtful whiff, burying her nose between his feet.  She looked up at him and said, "Dad, your feet don't stink.  They smell like love!"

After spending way too much time on the computer, responding to e-mails, reading blogs, and checking out a fabulous sale at crazy8.com (I should really get a comission!), I lamented to Eve as she was looking over my shoulder, "Eve!  I really need to get off the computer!"  She paused and said to me sincerely with the slightly conscending tone of a mini-therapist, "Mom. . . just close your eyes and then I will turn it off for you."  

Even though she's only 4, Eve can play the Wii with not only skill, but style and grace.  As she plays, she burns off all of the cookies and candy and handfuls of cold cereal she sneaks with a continual up and down motion that is one-half kangaroo, one-half ballerina.  Bowling is one of her favorite games, and she spins and twirls and kicks her leg up in the air after each turn--and it is all sub-conscious, much the same way I'm sure any Disney Princess would naturally play a Wii.  After a few turns bowling last week, Eve got the record for the most number of pins knocked down and rubbed her glory in all our faces for hours.  Eric teased her that he was going to knock down more pins than she had, and she snapped back, "Is that any way to talk to a record holder?"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whole Wheat Banana Nut OR Blueberry Pancake Recipe and Liahona Rice Crispy Balls Recipe!

The kids asked me what was for dinner tonight and when I caught a gander of the over-ripe bananas decorating our counter, I said "Banana Nut Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, and Smoothies!" They jumped up and down and asked if they could help. So much better than a squinchy, grouchy, yucky face and leaving me all alone to fend for myself in the kitchen!

I found a recipe online and then tweaked it and here's what we came up with:

Whole Wheat Banana Nut OR Blueberry Pancakes

1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 egg
1 cup soy milk (or regular milk if you're not a granola chick like me. . . heh)
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1/4 c apple sauce
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup frozen blueberries for blueberry pancakes
OR 2 mushed up bananas and 1/4 cup slivered almonds for banana nut pancakes

Stir together dry ingredients and make a well in the middle. Add wet ingredients until incorporated. Then cook 'em like you'd cook any other pancake. (I figured you probably don't need any more instructions. . . If you do --call me! We need to talk!) (OH! Did you seriously notice how healthy these are?) I didn't even use any syrup! (Of course my sweet-teeth-kiddies did. . . what can I do?)

I have to chuckle a bit at the pictures because only the advent of the blog could induce mothers to take pictures of absolutely everything. I never would have staged a photo-shoot in my kitchen without the tantilization of a silly blog post! Really, who takes pictures of their kids eating a lazy-night breakfast-dinner?

 Rice Crispy Liahona Balls

For FHE on Monday, Holden gave us our lesson about the Liahona. I was charge of the treat and decided to make Rice Crispy Liahona Balls. We mixed up the rice crispy recipe and added yellow food coloring to make them golden. Then I sprayed Pam on the kids' hands so they could make their own balls. (Stoopid Mom, I know, but we got a good laugh out of it. Of course I had to help them get their fingers un-gooed.) Then we let the balls cool and dipped them in melted chocolate chips (because obviously they weren't sweet enough already) with skewers. We put them in the freezer to harden the chocolate because they were already foaming at the mouth wanting to dive in. (Peter chose to eat his on the skewer because the chocolate was melting in his chubby fingers)

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