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Friday, July 30, 2010

Mommy Notes

If your kid left half an apple behind and then won't eat it because it has started to turn brown , try thin slicing it, covering it with cinnamon and/or honey, and microwaving it for 30 seconds. Even if she still won't eat it, I promise, you will.

Found out Raffi is an Armenian name today. That was something that puzzled me since I was a kid. Most of his songs are over 30 years old and still are entertaining to young children.

Up! is my current favorite movie. It keeps Coryn entertained and isn't mind bogglingly inane or annoying.

I remembered today that the process that turns apples brown is called oxidation, the same process that turns iron rusty. High school science win, I guess.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rhymes without reason

There have been times when finger rhymes have salvaged just enough of my sanity to keep me hanging on until reinforcements arrive. I owe a lot to the flight attendant who taught me “Around and Round the Garden” en route from Vancouver to Tokyo. Coryn didn’t sleep the entire flight except for two catnaps that cats would’ve turned up their noses at. This rhyme kept her sitting still for a baby eternity:

Round and round the garden like a teddy bear
(draw a circle on her palm with your finger)
One step, two step
(walk your fingers up her arm)
Tickle under there!
(tickle her gently under her arm).

She still sometimes asks for this rhyme and tries to do it on me.

As she grew older she began to like more interactive rhymes and would sometimes choose doing the “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” dance or Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth” song over a bed time story. When potty training confined the two of us to the bathroom for achingly long periods of time I checked out a finger rhyme book from the library and after looking through it a few times, she picked out two favorites which she would ask for over and over again, enthusiastically mimicking the motions and sometimes repeating the rhymes.

These are Grandma’s spectacles
(fingers around the eyes like glasses)
This is Grandma’s hat
(Hands cupped on top of head)
This is how she folds her hands and lays them in her lap.
(self-explanatory)

And

Clap your hands, clap your hands, clap them just like me!
Touch your knees, touch your knees, touch them just like me!
Tap your shoulders, tap your shoulders, tap them just like me!
Shake your head, shake your head, shake them just like me!
Clap your hands, clap your hands now let them idle be.
(End by folding your hands dramatically in your lap)

The second is a great way to get your wiggles out; the first tends to calm her down a little bit.

Pleased with her verve for what is essentially poetry (albeit in its simplest form) I wrote her an original piece:

There once was a frog, ribbit, ribbit
(Hop)
Who was scared of a dog, arf, arf
(put your hands up like a begging dog)
He lived in a lake, splash, splash
(hit an imaginary puddle in front of you)
But the dog made him quake, shiver, shiver.
(Hold your arms crossed over your chest like you are cold).

Coryn loved making the animal sounds, but the other time tested rhymes always won out over my composition. Today, however, I heard her singing my frog song from across the room. I felt as proud as a published author. Coryn knows my song by heart, and that’s awesome!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Easy Dinner Night

Tonight we were supposed to go out to dinner with another couple from Matt's work, but Matt came home about 3pm and told me that was off . . . and he was hungry. So I had to force thaw some chicken in hot water. Night's like this, though, make me really appreciate recipes like this one: simple, quick, and filling. I got this off the back of a can of diced tomatoes:

6oz dried bow tie pasta
12oz skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1tbs olive oil
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
1 can (14.5) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (or regular diced tomatoes and you season them yourself to your tastes)
1 can (15oz) sweet peas, drained
1/4 cup whipping cream

1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain
2. Meanwhile, cook chicken in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, 2 to 3 minutes or until no longer pink
3. Stir in tomato sauce, un-drained tomatoes, and peas. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Slowly stir in cream. Serve over hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

I always have to add more spices,usually garlic salt, black pepper, and Italian seasonings, also good are crushed red peppers if you like some heat in your sauces. This makes enough food to be a one dish dinner, or you can serve it with salad if you are needing another vegetable serving for the day.

I wish all my friends would start blogs and share their favorite recipes! Sometimes it feels like I have the same six or seven meals over and over again here, and I'm dying for something new to try my hand at. I honestly love cooking, but there is only so far googling "chicken recipes" will get you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Clouds

This evening on my walk
I saw a giant cloud
Thoughtlessly, ruthlessly, hungrily devour a smaller cloud
Oh the humanity!
Someone, somewhere, call a summit.
We must deal with this issue,
This pressing issue.
This tragedy of cannibalism among clouds.
But then, fat and heavy, the giant cloud
Burst apart at the seams,
Scattering into many, many smaller clouds.
Justice has been achieved.

Art from the Heart


Sometimes Coryn absolutely perplexes me, not so much because she is ill-behaved or unpredictable, that I expected when I became a mom. Not because she can be messy. Not because she thinks it is funny to try and scratch my eyes out when she is pretending to be a kitten, but because she can be such an orderly little OCD thing. Tonight at the end of her bath she stacked all her toys in a pile along the edge of the tub. It seriously looked as if an adult had done it. She did not get that from me. My idea of orderly is sweeping everything neatly under a large rug.

Tonight Coryn and I focused on an art project and ate chips and homemade ceviche salsa. I make this salsa at least a couple times a month for both Coryn and myself, though Matt has never been a huge fan of it. I love the recipe because it uses up extra cilantro. Every time a recipe calls for Cilantro, I buy a bundle of it and use maybe three or four sprigs, so unless I can find multiple recipes the leaves start to turn black and gooey in my produce crisper. They really need to sell that stuff in smaller quantities. Any way, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic salt are three ingredients you must have to make the salsa. The other items can be replaced or completely ignored with still decent results.

The other ingredients (and their possible replacements) are:
Ideally green onions (but any type of onion finely diced will do)
Fresh squeezed lime juice (lemon works just as well, and to heck with fresh squeezed if need be)
Crab meat (or precooked shrimp, or artificial crab meat, or if you feel like going vegetarian, leave it out entirely).

Basically you just dice up tomatoes and your choice of onion, rip and/or chop up some cilantro, add enough of the juice so that the other ingredients are covered, throw in a generous portion of the meat, and sprinkle it all with garlic salt. It’s better if it sits at least over night before you eat it. Coryn loves anything you can dip chips into and since this is mostly veggies I feel less guilty than I do with onion dip or something of that nature.

I’ve decided to start sampling more Japanese candy. It is one of the things I am going to miss about this place. That and how wonderful their stickers are. Japanese sticker companies make really cool stickers. Their candies are weird, but they feel exotic, and since I can’t read Japanese, it’s always an adventure when I try out a new flavor.

The art project I mentioned earlier involved the aforementioned stickers, these zoo animal themed. Coryn stuck them onto paper and then scribbled around them with markers, colored pencils, and one green crayon (the lone survivor of the pack she got for Christmas and promptly devoured). She even drew a heart with my hand guiding hers. It was the most heartwarming heart ever drawn. She beamed when it was done.

“Mommy, heart,” she said. Such a sweetie.