Sunday, March 27, 2011

I've been working on the railroad...

The Doodle got this little wooden train set from my Dad quite some time back. He's been getting more and more into it, and for Christmas he got some more track and two more train cars. Lately, something about this has really started clicking for him, because he will completely immerse himself in playing with the trains. Anyone who has spent time with a two year old will understand my amazement that he will spend over an hour playing quietly with anything.

He has built little tunnels out of his books for the trains to go through. He has a few matchbox cars, which he will put on the train tracks. "Oh, no! A car on the tracks! Stop the train!!" (Acting out the final scene from this fun little book):

It is so fun to see his imagination taking off!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Yesterday the Doodle comes into the house with his hand in a fist. Says "Dad, look at this fly!" Opens his hand. Bee flies out. Nice.

Climbing the "snake" at the ladder park:

Here's the Doodle climbing one of the ladders:

With little sister right behind him!

She was scampering up the whole thing by herself. Daddy was hanging on to her in case she fell, but she did all the climbing by herself.

Sweet Frances was smitten with this little bear this afternoon. It was Craig's when he was a baby. It is darling and squeaks when you squeeze it.

Great things about spring:

-Daylight Savings Time! We can actually do things outdoors after dinner. Like go for walks.
-Strawberry shortcake. Strawberries generally.
-Sandals. Shorts. Skirts.
-Daffodils. Next year we will have some at this house. I love them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pictures Old and New

My good friend Mendy's parents have a farm, and a month or so back they invited Craig and the kids out for the day. Mendy sent me pictures ages ago, and I'm just now getting them up.

Franny loves animals of all kinds, and she was thrilled about hanging out with the goats.

The Doodlebug, riding bareback.

We recently "discovered" a park near our house that is just at the right level for the kids. Not too boring, not too scary, not too close to a road...

We're calling it "the Ladder Park."

Who needs baby swings? Look at this big girl:

I really am a smart person, most of the time.

Slightly funny story that has nothing to do with our kids, but does contain instructions on making chicken broth:

We use tons of chicken broth to cook with. Canned chicken broth isn't terribly expensive, but it does add up, and we decided if we made our own it would be cheaper and much better. It's super easy to do, although (as you will see), not foolproof! (You really have to be a fool to screw it up, but here I am.)

For weeks, we've been saving all our chicken bones in a container in the freezer, waiting until we had collected enough to try this out. Making the broth, like I said, is very easy. You throw all the bones in a big pot, cover with plenty of water, and start heating it up. When it gets hot, throw in half an onion, a carrot, and a stick of celery. Bring it to an almost-simmer, and then turn it down as far as it will go, cover, and let it stand. Overnight, or up to 24 hours. You don't even want to simmer it or it will get cloudy. It's just steeping.

So I do that. I've got my bones and vegetables in the pot, non-simmering. By the next morning, it smells amazing. The greatest, most beautiful chicken broth ever. I am as proud as I can be. This is so easy, I'm so awesome, etc., etc. All I have to do is strain it. Then I am going to boil it down so that it is concentrated, and I can freeze it in ice cubes. Then whenever we need broth, we just have to take out a cube, add a cup of hot water, and voila! Homemade chicken broth to add to whatever.

I grab a colander, take my steaming, delicious-smelling pan over to the sink, not really thinking, and dump the contents into the colander over the sink without a pan underneath to catch the broth. Half of my beautiful homemade broth was washing down the sink before I realized what I was doing! Are you kidding me? What was I thinking?! Agh! I stopped immediately, but there was my broth, swirling down the drain. I was bummed out the rest of the day, every time I thought about it.

(I did manage to end up with a little bit of broth. I strained it into a pan, boiled it down, and froze it like I said. It only made six sad little ice cubes. Still, that's 6 cans of chicken broth ($7) that we got for about ten cents, even with me screwing up. We will definitely do this again!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The kids stayed with Nana and Papa for a few days while Craig and I spent a few days of much-needed downtime together. (Thank you, Nana and Papa!)

This morning the Doodlebug got to try fishing again. Here he is with Uncle Chad.

They actually caught one! Atticus, Uncle Chad, and cousin Neeley:

Atticus: We caught a fish! A BIIIGGG fish. (Typical fisherman...)
Me: Really? What did it do? (Expecting a story about flopping around.)
Atticus: It TALKED to me!!

Apparently the fish was making all kinds of crazy noises and he thought it was talking to him. He thought it was great.

Franny-girl playing in the garden with her cousin. This girl is wearing me out with the climbing. I was sitting in the living room earlier while the kids were playing in the kitchen. Atticus comes in and reports "Franny is going to fall." He was right. She was precariously balanced trying to climb onto a desk from a chair about a foot away. Is this just a second-child thing? We cannot keep her feet on the ground.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Just a few pictures of our weekend fun:

Here is the Doodle flying a kite. He's concentrating so hard!

Doing kite tricks. The "tricks" mostly involved him spinning in circles while holding the string.

He doesn't quite get the whole shading-your-eyes thing. I was doing it and he was imitating me, but as you can see, he actually has his hand over his eyes.

Sweet Frances hanging out on the swings. She enjoyed watching the kite but was mostly interested in playing and petting dogs at the park.