Sunday, February 28, 2010

Volume VI, issue ii February 2010

What d'Evegnee Girls are Made of :
The Spice

We've been warned about the sugar. We love the sugar! I can totally handle the sugar.

But how about the much-less-mentioned stuff hidden in there between the sweet stuff and the "everything nice?"

For us, the spice is not a mild mixture of parsley and sage (or rosemary and thyme, Mr Garfunkel!) It is more like a lip-numbing, burning blend of cayenne and cumin and ginger.

Our "little" Marie is a Viking in diapers. She thunders around the house in her Nordic-like fur-trimmed Robeez and we stand back and fear and tremble. If I stuff her, sausage-like, into her 12-18 month attire, it stretches across her bulbous belly, looking like it will tear apart as she bellows with Hulk-ish rage (minues the whole turning green thing).

As I was doing damage control (aka cleaning) yesterday, Marie enthusiastically emptied the contents of a bag of tortilla chips on the floor. Before I could rush over to my trusty broom, I could hear her shuffly, low-to-the-ground run and spied the dismount of her stunt just as she slid baseball style into the chips on her stomach. She then hoisted herself up and did a rather charming cha-cha through the chips, beaming as she savored each crunch.

I've heard of playing with your food. . . but dancing with it?

After I had swept up the dancefloor and finished the dishes, I let Marie play with the water in the sink as I wiped down the counters, and she contentedly dumped water from one cup into another for a few minutes. When I looked back at her, she had her head under the steam of water, gurgling merrily before she stood up and shuddered as it streamed down her face.

On Eve's birthday, I got a call from her teacher. Nervous that the cake pops I had sent for her birthday treat had contained a hidden surprise, my heart did a little flip as I answered the phone. If Marie is a Viking, Eve is a proper French Princess. She exhibits a tad of royal entitlement, but she also possesses enough savoir faire to have bourgeois manners to match. Naturally I was surprised when her teacher told me about Eve's "meltdown" at school.

During "Carpet Time" Eve wasn't participating in the sound-blending game as much as her teacher thought was appropriate, so she sent her out in the hall to practice her sounds with the teacher's aide. At first Eve refused, but then reluctantly complied. Later, her teacher decided to have a tete-a-tete about her less-than-agreeable behavior and Eve was royally unhappy about being singled out.

Her teacher said to her, "Eve, what's the problem?"

Eve glared back at her and growled, "You're the problem!"

Luckily her teacher said she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing, but I was stunned at Eve's bravado. Her teacher is a patient, angelic soul who was able to work out the kinks in Eve's attitude, but I've chosen denial (for now) about the light this little vignette sheds on what our now six-year-old will be like in a few years.

We Got Game

Our basketball bildungsroman came full circle yesterday when we played our original nemesis for the finale of the 5th grade 2010 season. They had mercilessly wiped the court with our city-league jerseys in the first game, but our team had grown since then. . . at least we thought they had.

Our (I said our. I AM part of the team. I'm the one that paid the fee, okay?) over-confident opponents strutted onto the court, saying things like, "We're going to SMOKE you!"

Ever heard of a little ditty called, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," fellas?

I once again found myself shrieking much louder and much more often than I ever do, with my heart pounding as if I were watching my son play for the State Finals.

We were up by at least four for most of the game, but found ourselves behind by one with only minutes left. There was a crucial jump-ball which should have been ours, but which the refs gave to the other team. Eric excitedly approached the refs, waving his arms and only slightly raising his voice (wink, wink). I had been so proud of him for maintaining his "Idaho Eric" facade for the whole season. But in that moment "New York Eric" was choosing to make his presence known. I could see the gleam in his eyes.

Taking an extremely, passive-aggressive wifey approach, I cheerfully yelled out, "Calm down, coach!"

He heard me and he did calm down. At least until an elderly spectator told him to, "Just sit down!"

New York Eric spun around and said to the man, "They made the wrong call! Calm down, old man!"

To his credit, that's all Eric dished out, but then he came and knelt by me and whispered, "I was fine until Old Man Winter had to butt in."

Luckily for the refs, our team, and Old Man Winter, our team was able to clinch the victory in the last two minutes. In the victory huddle, Eric's players told him that the other team was undefeated. . .


I'm such a gracious winner! (But at least I'm a winner, baby!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I have never been a girl who is easily tickled pink. When I was younger, I never wore pink and I didn't especially like lace or pearls. Even in my betrothed state, I wandered anxiously from bridal shop to bridal shop looking for something lace-free, only to have matronly women in layers of pastel eye shadows cluck at me, "Oh my! Of course you want lace, dear!" Finally, I helped a more open-minded seamstress design a plain, forward-thinking, empire waisted beauty for my wedding that complemented the plain gold band on my finger and my sleek up-do.

This Valentine's Day Season (yes. . . I said season), though, I have been craving the sickly sweet hues of pastel pink in every variety from blush to rose to salmon without a second thought. Eve and I have been both assembling and creating love-themed ensembles that have been shamelessly covered in hearts, rick-rack, and raging sentimentality for weeks. The above photo literally doesn't even give a glimpse at the half of our festive fun--she's looked like a living, breathing, smiling, adorably cute greeting card every day for weeks. I even got in on the nauseatingly sugar-coated pastel action today and wore a pink sweater to church today like a proper, normal girl. Hey. I do have a feminine side.

Poor Eve was suffering in Church today. By the end of Sacrament Meeting, she made a pained face at Eric and sighed. He asked her what was wrong and she said, "I'm bored."

Eric told her that the speakers were doing their best to share their feelings about Jesus and that she should try and listen to them. Then he leaned in close and whispered to her, "Besides, when we get home I have a special Valentine's Day present for you!"

Eve remained unfazed.

She just looked at her doting Dad and said, "Still bored."

Stalk Photo

Since last night, I have found roses in unlikely places. There was one taped to my bathroom mirror. And one perched precariously on a door. Another was found lying across my pillow. Tonight, I found a whole vase full. But I jumped at the sight of them because they were accompanied by a creepy-looking blade and if I didn't know any better I'd think that I was being stalked.

He was so sweet to notice that I needed a new kitchen knife. But did he have to recreate a scene from some horror movie to give the gift?

One of the blessings of having a husband with a dark sense of humor is hearing the stories that follow his errands of love. When he approached the cashier with his stash of soft petals in one hand and his heavy knife in the other, he wanted to gnash his teeth and growl at her madly while frothing just slightly at the mouth, "Ya think she'll like it?"

His and Hers

Eric bought me a Snuggie for Christmas as a joke, but it has kept me toasty on many a frigid, Rexburg night. As of today, Eric and I are a matched set.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Lib World

Lately after we deposit the "littles" (aka Peter and Marie) in bed, Eric and I have been doing Mad Libs from a book with the older kids. It feels like we've been tranported back to some kinder, gentler era when kids could be entertained by the wacky hi-jinx of the parts of speech. The kids cackle and grab their sides and beg us to do just one more each night. Today we created our own special d'Evegnee Valentine's Day Special Mad Lib :

It is Valentine’s Day and all of the d’Evegnees are super­ ­ adjective The thing they love about Valentine’s Day is giving each other plural noun and plural noun They give each other gifts and say , “ I verb you!”

Mom always looks deep into Dad’s ­­­ noun and says, “I will always remember the day we were first ­ adjective .” It is so romantic! Holden says when he gets married, his Valentine will have long, dark plural noun ­ and will love­­­ noun . Ethan, however, prefers girls who ­ verb and hopes for a girl who looks like­ noun . Caleb’s ideal Valentine will be a talented noun who enjoys­ verb . When Eve gets older, she would love to find a guy who appreciates her ­ noun and will take her to the noun . Peter really wants to marry someone who knows how to­ verb and has ­ plural noun that look like­ noun . Marie’s future sweetheart will have a ­ noun of­ noun and will have a gift for ing verb .

For now, though, we are so ­ adjective to have so many sweethearts in our family, and love how we can verb together on this special day. We wish you all a ­ adjective Valentine’s Day, full noun of and noun !

Here's how it turned out:

It is Valentine’s Day and all of the d’Evegnees are super­ nauseous. The thing they love about Valentine’s Day is giving each other cupids and kelp. They give each other gifts and say , “ I screech you!”

Mom always looks deep into Dad’s teeth and says, “I will always remember the day we were first constipated.” It is so romantic! Holden says when he gets married, his Valentine will have long, dark large intestines and will love socks. Ethan, however, prefers girls who walk and hopes for a girl who looks like­ hair . Caleb’s ideal Valentine will be a talented port-a-potty who enjoys agitating. When Eve gets older, she would love to find a guy who appreciates her helicopter and will take her to the basketball . Peter really wants to marry someone who knows how to do hair and has ­ nose hairs that look like­ anvils . Marie’s future sweetheart will have a ­ toe of­ duck and will have a gift for spanking .

For now, though, we are so ­ jolly to have so many sweethearts in our family, and love how we can skip together on this special day. We wish you all a ­smelly Valentine’s Day, full TV of and rainbows !

Valentine's Day Recipes

Thai Lettuce Wraps

5-6 chicken breasts
Soy and ginger marinade (recipe follows)
Iceburg lettuce, cored and cut into quarters
Cucumbers, peeled and sliced into quarters
Carrots, shredded
Water chestnuts, cut into chunks
Peanut sauce (recipe follows)
Ken's Steakhouse Lite Soy and Ginger dressing

Tenderize chicken breasts by poking with a fork on each side (this is especially satisfying if you're irked by something). Marinate chicken for 6-8 hours:

Soy and Ginger Marinade:
2 t ginger
3 T minced onion
2 T minced garlic
5 T lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup Italian dressing

Grill chicken for 8-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Let sit for ten minutes before cutting into chunks.

Peanut Sauce:
3 T peanut butter (can use all natural, sugar free)
1/4 cup warm water
3T soy sauce
1/2 t cayenne
1 T brown sugar (optional)

Heat in microwave for one minute and stir. If it seems too runny, it will thicken up, so wait a minute or two before adding more water. You can also add 2 T rice wine vinegar and 4 T coconut milk, but this is the basic recipe I usually use. I add more or less peanut butter and water depending on how thick I want it.

Cut chicken into chunks and put chicken and veggies on a platter. To assemble wraps, put chicken, veggies, peanut sauce, and dressing onto a lettuce "cup." Fold lettuce cup in half and devour! We also serve with some version of Asian rice to help the kids fill up faster.

Cookie Dough

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cubes butter, softened
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pkg chocolate chips (we like semi sweet)

Cream butter and sugars and then add vanilla and eggs. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix in chocolate chips.

Press 1/4 cup dough into ramekins or muffin tins (we like to make them in muffin tins if we're taking them to someone). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Let cookie cups cool. Top with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and whipped cream and try not to go into sugar shock!

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