Friday, December 20, 2013

Holidaze: Our Un-Holiday, Holiday Cookies

A few weeks ago, we went to an awesome chalk mural gathering at Art Yards down by Yards Park. As part of the event, nearby Buzz Bakery set up a cookie decorating station. And we had a blast smearing brightly-colored frosting and sugar on a variety of holiday sugar cookies. We made a whole bunch and really, really wanted to bring some to our teachers. But we don't celebrate Christmas at school and we also have lots of friends who celebrate holidays other than Christmas, so mom promised that we could make a new batch that would be just as tasty, just as brightly colored and holiday neutral.

Once mom was involved, you knew chocolate was going to be as well. Mom found a yummy chocolate cookie shape recipe and we cooked them up on a Sunday afternoon. We had a playdate planned with a friend on Monday and we were excited to decorate those sweet little chocolate woodland animals. Mom made a Target run while we were at school to get the colored sugar and spent a boat load of money on miscellaneous things, but when she got home, she realized she forgot the very thing she went for in the first place. She was in no mood for a second Target run that day, so she turned to the place that offers a solution for everything -- Pinterest -- and found a promising recipe for sparkly colored sugar (it doesn't turn out quite as glittery as Pinterest promises, but whatever does).

We had a blast getting sugared up on our playdate and made enough neon-colored un-holiday, holiday cookies to share with friends and family. I think we've started a new family tradition.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miscellaneous Madness: A Day in the Life (December 2013)

Mom totally forgot about this month's 12 in 12 and hadn't charged up the real camera, so we're back with iPhone pics for December. Our month has already been jampacked with holidayness and we've been swinging back and forth between anticipatory good behavior and almost constant picking at each other. It's driving everyone a bit mad. Cam's got her morning shoe tantrum in check -- by wearing one pair and bringing at least one (and sometimes two) options in her back pack to school, which she changes throughout the day. Her footwear antics are outdone only by her constant overall outfit changes throughout the day, including at least two costume changes and a few pajama ones as well. She continues to be chatty, including with her toys and food.

Kane loves school and he's been working hard at letters and numbers and tolerates working on both as long as he gets ample time listening to the big chapter books he favors (we are LONG overdue on our book reviews). Knights are still in top circulation, but he's been spending a lot of time reading science books and conducting experiments lately. And he's added architecture to his ever-growing list of interests. He also loves everything about the holidays -- especially getting to see so much of our family. And we are both are on a BIG daddy kick, which has been hard for everyone since he's been traveling a lot.

In any event, that's what we've been up to. We thought an update beyond the 12 in 12 pictures was in order, seeing as mom is still otherwise occupied. We sure she'll get it all together sometime. Until then, check out what we did on December 12 and then hop on over to No Monsters in My Bed and Where the Watermelons Grow to see what's been keeping our friends busy this month.

7.45 am -- Cam is going on minute 36 at the breakfast table and is talking to her strawberries, which she named "He-man and She-ra." She still spends most of her meal time chit chatting instead of eating and then inevitably asks for a snack about 18 minutes after a meal is done. Mom was trying to bribe her with chocolate cheerios -- she was not swayed.

8.30 am - on the way to school. Mom told us it was cold outside and to make sure and wear a hat. That's what Cam picked.

11.00 am -- it's the start of spring race training season, which means that mom has to add on a run to one of her trainer sessions. She's generally exhausted at the end of those, and already hates the treadmill, so she tries to get the run over as fast as she can. Today was so-so.

12.10 am -- Whole Foods run. Mom wants homemade pasta, but stays strong. The lovely sushi peeps make her some custom rice-free handrolls. It does the trick.

1.00 pm -- mom swings by the toy store to pick up stocking stuffers. she was psyched to find a sticker book that offered career options for women besides princesses, but that still includes that as one of them.

2.30 pm -- it's a cold day, but we needed a little outdoor time after school. the zoo is always good for that and we stop on the way home for a little run through the farm and then some indoor amazonia. Cam particularly loved seeing the salamander -- she has a little stuffed one that was mom's growing up and she sleeps with it every night.

5.45 pm -- mom makes one of our favorite dinners -- citrus chicken -- and she keeps the green stuff off ours, which is always a dealbreaker.

6.50 pm -- Kane calls mom in to show her something he drew for her on the shower door. who knew he could draw hearts? mom's melts.

7.00 pm -- Cam has discovered that her bathtub is actually a whirlpool and it's a full on spa in there every night.

8.15 pm -- Kane dug out this gem someone gave mom when she was pregnant with Kane and insists mom reads it for book time. a cryptic and all-too-long discussion about the meaning of "parody," "balance of powers," and the difference between a "declaration of war" and a "congressional authorization for the use of force" ensues.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grub It Up: Real Snow Maple Snow Cones

I wish we could say that we've been off solving some big world problem, but we've really just been letting our busy lives get the best of us. So we were all (mom perhaps slightly less so than the two of us) really excited to get the last two days off of school to hang out in our jams and piddle about the house -- playing, crafting, and eating. This afternoon snack was supposed to be maple snow taffy, but it just didn't turn out like that. It likely had something to do with our lack of a candy thermometer and our general "wing it" attitude towards most things. But it was so delish -- it tasted just like caramel -- we didn't complain.

Real Snow Maple Snow Cones
(slightly adapted from maple snow taffy)

- small bowl full of fresh snow
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup salted butter

- In a medium-sized pot, over medium heat, heat the syrup and butter together. Time it for about 5 minutes after it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes -- test it on a bit of snow, you don't want it to melt the snow instantly.
- Pour the mixture by the spoonful over a bowl full of clean snow, mix gently.
- Eat.

(note the carefully applied purple eyeshadow on Cam -- mom let her wear her new "makeup" since we were going to be inside all day for a snow day. Cam takes the raccoon application approach.)