Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

I feel like preparing for Halloween is all I have done for over a week.  I spent most of last week accumulating all of the costume pieces.  This weekend I realized I was still missing some key items.  That meant my morning was spent going to six different locations to get all of the finishing touches.  Then I spent the afternoon completing assembly. 

We had our traditional Halloween dinner - Papa Murphey's Jack-o-lantern Pizza.  I bought two simply so I would have something easy to pack in the kids lunchboxes tomorrow. One would have easily fed everyone tonight.

After dinner the mad dash to dress and style everyone began. Rehm's costume took the most prep work and assembly but was definitely the easiest to get dressed and styled. The girls took much more time as they all had to have various hair styles and makeup.  Over all I think they turned out great.

All four kids picked their costumes.  Granted I told Eliza Claire and Ruby that they had to pick something we already had as we had several costumes that still fit them. We spent 30 minutes today trying to find Eliza Claire's dress.  She had misplaced it and we could not find it.  Luckily, Michael saved the day and found it hiding in a seldom used drawer in her room.  I think she had put it there to keep it safe until Halloween and had forgotten where she put it.

Rehm's costume was inspired by one of his nicknames from school.  Apparently some of the kids refer to him as The Laptop because he is basically a walking encyclopedia.  But of course kids these days have no idea what an encyclopedia is so they call him a computer.  In telling us about this nickname, he mentioned that some of the kids even call him Super Computer.  And thus, a costume was born.

His tag line was "I'm faster than a quad-core processor, more powerful than your new laptop, and smarter than the internet.  I'm Super Computer!"  It is hard to tell from the pictures but his screen lights up and even has a power light.  He was insistent that his key board lift up to reveal his candy bag. 

Three houses into trick or treating Rehm ran into two girls he goes to school with.  He decided to go around the block with them.  When we next saw him he was with a different girl from school.  Go figure.

Charlotte had her heart set on being a mom.  I wasn't really sure what we were going to do to make her look like a mom but I think the final costume makes her look like one very hip mom, indeed.  I think the baby being in a Halloween costume it the icing on the cake.  Of course halfway through trick or treating she was done with the stroller and Starbucks cup. Her candy bag was my purse.  She complained at one point about how hard it was to juggle all of her stuff.  We laughed and told her "welcome to parenthood."

Ruby of course could not just be a poodle, since that is what she was last year.  So she decided she was going to be a fairy dog.  I think the final product came out awfully cute.  I'm so sad that this is the last year this costume will fit any of my kids. 

Eliza Claire was going to be a monkey but about a week ago changed her mind and decided to be a princess.  Her costume choice surprised me as she is not usually so girly.  I think she looks beautiful.  She was a bit disappointed that no one really commented on her costume.  Of course, she was the only one that everyone easily and quickly recognized and therefore didn't ask questions about and of course there were a million other princesses trick or treating tonight. 

The candy has all been combined and sorted into the fruity container and the chocolate container - can't have the flavors mixing, yuck!  The costumes have been put away and my bathroom no longer looks like Sally's Beauty Supply exploded there. 

All in all a successful Halloween. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Discussions in the Car

Driving in the car I had a 20 minute 9/11 discussion with the three girls. That discussion was sparked by driving by the building that Joseph Stack flew into that is currently being rebuilt.

Rehm was reading the Blue Bonnet award winning book Out of Her Mind. It must be a really good book because normally he would dominate a 9/11 discussion.

Then this conversation took place.

Eliza Claire: Mom, did you go to college?

Me: Yep.

Eliza Claire: Really? And your still just a plain, old mom?

Me: Yep.

I'm sure I should have taken this opportunity to talk about all the different career choices I could be making. Or discussed the value of an education in and of itself. Or discussed the fact that I have had a career in the past and may have another in the future. Or discussed the fact that there is no such a thing as a "plain, old Mom." Or discussed the fact that I'm not old... You get the idea.

But today, I simply owned my choices and felt no need to justify or defend them. And, you know what? I'm perfectly happy being "a plain, old mom" right now.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guess what's in here

If you guessed Eliza Claire's toenail you would be correct. It fell off this afternoon with no drama. Unfortunately looking at the nail underneath I think it is going to fall off a second time... Oh joy!

Oh, and she thought the nail finally coming off was "Awesome!"  The nail was stuck to her bandage when she removed it today.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eliza Claire and the Toenail

Eliza Claire injured her toe this summer at swim lessons.  She was opening a heavy door and somehow got her toe caught under the door.  This is what it looked like a few days after the injury

The toenail is finally about to come off.  It is hanging by a thread.  For the last two weeks I've had to bandage it every day so that it doesn't get caught on something.

Last night when we were changing the bandage I was showing her how close it was to coming off.  She started crying.  She asked what we would do with the toenail when it came off.  I said we would throw it away because she wouldn't need it any longer.  She got so sad.  She looked up with big crocidile tears and said, "But it has been such a good toenail, I don't want to throw it away."  I told her she could bury it in the yard or save it in a baggie in her room if she loved it that much. 

Oh, and how could I forget?  It is all my fault.  She is still very upset with me and has not forgiven me.  You see, that day she asked me to go with her to the bathroom or water fountain, I don't remember which, at the swim center.  I told her she could do it herself.  You know, like she had been doing all summer long.  Since I didn't go and she got injured by opening the door onto her own foot, I am the bad guy! And maybe I really am...who knows...but she is certain I am responsible for her losing her dear friend, her toenail.

Who knew a child could be so attached to a toenail.  I'm kind of surprised she hasn't named it.  I wonder if I could redeem myself if the toenail elf came when it finally falls off.  Hmm...Now there's an idea!


PS Mom, did her reaction remind you of anyone or anything?

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Afternoon with Sisters

Ruby and Eliza Claire filled two bags with books.  They got comfy on a nice sunny fall afternoon and enjoyed reading together.  How lovely to have a sister the exact same age as you.  They sure are blessed to have each other.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I confess, I've resorted to bribing my children

I try very hard not to bribe my children.  I believe that in most cases there are more effective ways to get them to behave/preform in the desired manner.  Part of me would like to say I'm rewarding them, not bribing them.  Maybe that is true.  At this point, I'm willing to call it bribing and willing to own it.

Charlotte and Rehm enjoy playing sports but they are not motivated to do their best.  They don't love playing sports they just sorta, kinda like it.  Both of them always want to play a sport, I'm not forcing them to play.  But they just don't try very hard.

I really noticed this with Charlotte's hitting this season.  She was not hitting nearly as well as she had in the Spring season.  She would get up to bat and just kind of wave the bat at the ball, but with no real expectation of hitting it nor any real desire to hit it.  It drove me crazy!

She wants a digital camera and is currently saving money to buy one.  I told her that for any fair hit she got in a game I would give her a dollar toward the cost of the camera.  She has gotten at least one hit in every game since then!  Now when she gets up to bat, she actually looks like she cares and tries much harder.  It is working.

Of course Rehm heard about this deal and wanted in on it.  So we are now paying him a dollar per hit toward the 3DS he is saving up for.  He actually has to get on base to get payment.

Since starting this it has cost us $8.  I figure we have about 10 more games in the season so it should cost at most $20 more.  Given the amount of time and energy we are already spending on them playing sports I think it is worth it for now.  I have warned them that over time what they get rewarded for will change.

I wrote the above post prior to last weekend's tournament.  I have now spent more that $8 and have added a new layer to the bribe.  Each child can now earn additional funds(no more than $2 extra) each game, at parent discretion, for such things as sportsmanship, encouraging team mates and hustling. Since instituting this Rehm is definitely moving much faster on and off the field.  The slow paced meander both of my children are prone to drives me absolutely batty. 


PS. all pictures in this post were taken through the fence and from considerable distance so please excuse the quality.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Ruby Funnies

Every Friday at school Ruby and Eliza Claire's class get to play freeze dance as a special Friday treat.

Me: Ruby, did you play freeze dance?

Ruby:  Yes!

Me:  Did you have fun?

Ruby:  Yeah...once I got buzzed!

Oh my goodness!  Upon further questioning I gather that they go around and "buzz" each other to unfreeze each other.  But, I thought to myself, if this is what I'm hearing in kindergarten I can not imagine what high school and college will be like with this child.


Ruby was playing a pretend game with Charlotte the other day.  Their new favorite game is to pretend they are in high school or college and they have boyfriends.  I don't know why this is their current thing but I try very, very hard to ignore it.  Ruby comes downstairs and says, "I'm 18.  I have a boyfriend.  Charlotte and her boyfriend needed alone time (!!!!!) and my boyfriend and I are going to see a rock band.  We like to rock out!"

Again, where do they get this stuff?  I'm assuming the "alone time" is actually a reference to how play dates work at our house.  Everyone likes to have some of their play time alone with their friend as whichever girls are not having a play date always want to play with the person who does have a friend over.  But still!  Not what I wanted to hear.  I chose to ignore the comment instead of getting into the fact that Charlotte and her boyfriend would not be allowed to have alone time in my house!  I decided we could have that conversation several years from now when it is an issue.


Ruby and Charlotte were setting up the Playmobil house to be an apartment building.  In Charlotte's apartment she had a family with a baby.  She told Ruby, "Here is my family.  They have a baby.  I just love babies."  Ruby responded, "I just looovveee Rock Bands!"

I really think I may have a nervous break down before I get this child grown.  But she is the cutest, sweetest, most amazing girl.  I just hope she and I survive her teenage years and that she eventually has a daughter with her zest.

Monday, October 03, 2011

To Die For Blondies

Not the best picture.  After completely cooling the sauce thickens to more of an icing consistency as seen above. 

I have to share this recipe.  It is absolutely amazing.  Everyone at my house absolutely loved it.  I will admit it is a bit of a commotion to make since you have to brown butter and make butterscotch sauce. But it is well worth the time and effort.

This recipe did bring up a question for me.  What is the difference in butterscotch and caramel?  Having made caramel before and tasting this sauce I would call this a caramel sauce not  a butterscotch one.  But I've never made butterscotch.  Does anyone know the technical difference?

The recipes for the blondies and the sauce are adapted from Collecting the Moments
Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Blondies
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoons of salt
1 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

2 1/4 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray foil generously with cooking spray.

In a saucepan, melt all the butter. Over medium heat cook the butter until it is browned but not burned. It will take several minutes.  Be very careful.  Butter goes from not brown, to brown and then on to burned very quickly.  For me, it went from being a little bit foamy to extremely foamy when browned.  It will smell nutty and have a  golden brown color (once the foam goes down) when it is done. Set aside while you gather and measure the rest of the ingredients

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set it aside.

In the mixer bowl, mix the browned butter and sugar together.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.  Add vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the 9x13 pan. Place immediately in the oven.  If you leave this sitting the melted butter will start to rise to the top. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until jiggly in the center when the pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan. 

1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt

In saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, cream, and salt. Stir until blended. Bring the mixture to a slow, easy boil. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Then cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. As it cools, the butterscotch will thicken. Poor the sauce on the blondies while it is still warm.  If it gets too cool it will be too thick to spread on the blondies and it doesn't reheat well.

Remove blondies from pan by lifting out the foil.  Cut and serve with a big cup of your favorite coffee. 

I am seriously thinking about doubling the sauce the next time I make these. I think I may also sprinkle some pecan pieces on some of the blondies before topping them with the sauce next time, as well. White chocolate chips would also be good sprinkled between the layers.