Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Haircut

On Saturday, May 24, 2008, we decided to take Little Sprout in for his first haircut. OK, I cannot tell a was really his second haircut. Big Daddy and I were such lame parents that we failed to bring the camera for his first official haircut. But the first one happened pretty much 30 days ago, so we figure that 30 years from now when we look back on the photos, we won't remember such piddling details.

Little Sprout was such a good boy! He smiled and laughed when it was time to get in the chair. The stylist popped in a Thomas the Tank Engine video and he pretty much zoned out for the rest of the haircut -- even through two sets of clippers. This is his "Hypnotic TV" stare.

As you can see, he didn't scream or fuss or fidget at all. Such a good boy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Funny Face

Little Sprout has this funny face he makes anytime you ask. So naturally Big Daddy asks him to do it a lot, because he thinks it looks so funny. What he does is tense up every muscle in his upper body and face, resulting in a half horror-fright, half thrill-ride-shock face that's completely hilarious.

I've tried to get a good snapshot of it, but photos just don't do the live experience justice. That said, these two shots are the closest I've come to capturing "funny face" on film. Every time he makes this face, it cracks me up.

These photos were taken on May 18, 2008.

The Seventh Tooth

Can it really be possible that I've not blogged about Little Sprout's teething progress since the end of January? (That was when his second tooth poked through the gumline.) I know that our dog Julie became gravely ill around that time, so perhaps Big Daddy and I were too consumed with canine care to let the blogging world in on the latest breaking toothy news.

Today, however, I am excited to announce that after months of inactivity and a little over a week of clingy, cranky, toddler tantrums, the greatly anticipated seventh tooth is visible! My fear of having the world's only inhabitant with a sum total of six teeth in his head is finally assuaged.

Quite frankly, I had given up on ever seeing tooth number seven. So big thanks go out to A's Mom for spotting the bashfull little bugger over the Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

[Nap] Time Flies When You . . .

. . . start a freelance editing/writing gig working from home. The past week at Silly Hat Central has gone by in a great whoosh. The only reason I'm able to tell you about it now is that Little Sprout is enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

I tiptoed upstairs with the camera to give you a peek at his sweet, sleeping face.

When he's awake, Little Sprout has been hurling his stuffed toys out of his crib. So we make a game out of tossing them back in. Here is a quick snapshot of his reaction when I attempted to jam his cuddly, brown bear's face (shown above) between the bars.

Can you hear the crickets?

Okay, so there may be a glimmer of amusement in his eyes, but he was definitely not laughing. Either Little Sprout has a dry wit or my attempt at humor b-o-m-b-e-d. It was a classic "don't quit your day job" moment.

On a completely different subject, can you see the scratch marks on the top of his crib railing? Those are teeth marks! I've never actually seen him gnawing on the rail, but the evidence is there.

Here is his "I just woke up and I'm not amused" face. He's a bit cranky. (Note the toy dangling precariously from the crib bars.)

Well, that's all for now. So much to do before new freelance assignments drop into my inbox.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More Sneaky Success!

In addition to celebrating Mother's Day, we're also pretty happy about our sneaky meal successes at Silly Hat Central.

This time Little Sprout's change of appetite is not linked to a growth spurt, so the next most probable cause is that he actually likes the taste of the following sneaky foods.

Here is the list so far:

1. Chocolate Banana Breakfast Ice Cream -- made with avocado, banana, plain yogurt and a mere 1/2 teaspoon of cocoa powder to camophlage a slight greenish tinge in color. It's extra creamy!

2. Masterful Mac-n-Cheese -- Classic, homemade mac-n-cheese with cauliflower/white bean puree and two eggs for added protein. Adding a crunchy topping adds to the sneaky appeal of this dish.

3. Chicken Tenders -- made with veggie puree in the egg wash and whole wheat flour in the crispy coating. Mmmm, tasty!

This past week I added ½ cup of broccolli puree into my homemade spaghetti sauce and the men of the house didn't even notice.

And for Manwich night tonight I added ½ cup each of broccolli and cauliflower purees to the tangy, red Manwich sauce and nobody was the wiser. A side benefit was that the veggie purees thickened the sauce nicely.

Honestly, it's almost too easy to be a sneaky chef in this house.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Roasting Pineapple

Have you ever roasted a pineapple?

I needed to make a "welcome to the neighborhood" pie for new neighbors. The new family suggested pineapple pie. So after a bit of research, I decided to make a roasted pineapple tart. Here is a photo of the finished tart. Please pardon the poor image quality. I was having trouble with my flash.

As banal as this sounds, eating roasted pineapple is stunningly delicious. Roasting fresh pineapple results in succulent fruit that is less sweet than canned pineapple, but with more concentrated flavor and a heady, luscious aroma.

And it is surprisingly easy. First, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Mix a sugar syrup of 1 2/3 cup sugar and ½ cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from 2 vanilla beans. If you don't have vanilla beans you can substitute an equivalent amount of vanilla extract.

Boil your sugar syrup until it is an amber color, swirling the pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup water (syrup will bubble, see photo below), then ¼ cup dark rum. Stir over very low heat for 2-3 minutes. Let syrup cool for 15 minutes.

Cut the skin off the pineapple. Place it in a roasting vessel.

I used a 9x9 square glass baking dish. Pour your syrup over the fruit and turn pineapple to coat.

Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until tender. Baste often with sauce. Normally I hate basting (I don't even baste my Thanksgiving turkey.) and I basted this every fifteen minutes.

The fruity scent fills your kitchen and your senses with aromas that are so good they border on debauchery, so you'll be lingering around your oven anyway. Basting won't be a hardship.

Slice your roasted pineapple crosswise as thickly or as thinly as you desire. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself standing over your kitchen counter devouring the pieces of supple pineapple flesh and shivering with delight.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

[image reprinted with kind permission from Dana Morita at Scrappity Scraps]

What are you doing for National Scrapbooking Day? If you're not already scrapping, here are the Top 10 Things to Do.

It was this time last year that I first dipped my toe in the digital scrapping pool, testing the creative waters. Before I knew it I had cannon-balled into the deep end.

I've always been a hybrid scrapper because hybrid layouts afford me the best of both worlds. I can achieve the texture and dimension I love without excessive bulk. And I can journal to my hearts contents and tuck the journaling blocks behind photos or into pull-out pockets or sleeves. Maybe someday I'll explore more hybrid projects, but right now I'm tickled pink with things just as they are.

It is ironic that, instead of scrapping, I'll be spending the day at one of my favorite Spring festivals: Maryland Sheep and Wool. I've been attending this festival for years, so I couldn't throw over a "girl's day" outting to the fairgrounds with friends who are as addicted to fiber as I am.

With a little luck National Scrapbooking Day next year won't fall precisely on MD Sheep and Wool weekend. But even if it does, I'll still manage to get some scrapping in somehow.