Thursday, February 25, 2010

BUNNIES!!!!!!!

Today is Thursday...which at our house means craft day.  In the recent Disney Family Fun Magazine there was a great craft that my daughter picked out.  Thus begins our journey of making bunnies.

All you need to make bunnies are:
  • A sock for the body
  • glue
  • rubber band
  • googly-eyes
  • white and red felt
  • ribbons
  • puff-ball tails
  • rice/beans/etc for weight
  • stuffing/batting
First step, make Pickle a ham and egg sandwich, and park her in front of Curious George while you collect what you need, cut out 10 felt teeth, 10 noses, and glue the "mouths" together.

Next, grab the three-year old, and let her pour 1/2 cup of barley, beans, rice, or w/e into a sock.  Be sure to hold the sock WAYYYYY open, or have a dust-pan handy.

When you've got your base, stuff the body with some fluffy cotton.  We tore up an old pillow and ripped its guts out.

Then, create a head.  We used ribbons, bows, or hair-ties.  Once you've got the head formed, it's time for a "hairband".  Use a rubber band to tie off the top nice and tight. 

Now, you've got a body, and what will become ears...as soon as you cut them into shape.  Eliza loved choosing long, fat, short, stumpy, baby sized ears.

Now comes the really fun part.  Glue googly-eyes, a mouth and a fluffy puff-ball tail on the body.  It was fun choosing from the big, medium, little, or a combination of them to form different faces.  If you think I did all the work, you're crazy.  There would have been at least one cyclops...but Eliza just wouldn't hear of it.

Then, pile all your buddy-bunnies in a basket and let them dry.  Eliza has already chosen who is the daddy, mommy, baby, grandpa, cousin, etc.  She's going to love playing with these for sure.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tjocolate Babs


Today is unseasonably warm. In other words, it's nearly eighty degrees outside, with a blue sky and soft breeze when it could be frozen and snowing a few miles off. In yet other words, a perfect day to celebrate the beach!

Eliza loves baking with me, and asked very sweetly if we could bake bread. How can a father deny his 3-year old this skill? So, we decided to bake Chocolate Crabs.

First, I made some simple sweet dough from Richard Bertinet's book "Dough". While it was rising, we went to ballet class.

Eliza and I had a great time working as I rolled out 8 large balls, and 16 little squarish cuts for claws. Eliza worked hard on rolling out 16 snakes for the legs.

While she did that, I made the body by encapsulating a small handfull of chocolate chips in the ball.

When all the pieces were done, we laid out two legs in an X and washed them with egg. Then, laid the body on top, and pinched on the claws. When I say "we", I mean, I did this while Eliza painted them with the egg-wash.

When all 8 were ready, they went into the preheated oven at 450, turned straight-way down to 400 for 20 min in shifts. I watched some "Legend of the Seeker" while Eliza played outside with some empty paint tubes; frighteningly, they didn't use to be empty...

When they were done, we enjoyed the fruits of our labors!

Just like the hat says, Life is Good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

An entire pot of memories

Outside, the morning sun is rising into a crisp, sunny February day; perfect for chili with beans. As I stand at the stove, I am overwhelmed by the stories drifting in and out of my head as I get dinner ready.

First, I grabbed a pound of ground beef from the freezer and remember butchering cattle with my in-laws; how Lee and I skinned faster than the other guys. As it browns, I twist the can opener across both ends of the tomato paste, and, like a push-pop, gloop it into the pot, just like Tante Bomen taught me. "It helps the ground beef separate," she'd say.

Kidney and Black beans, strained but not rinsed (learned that somewhere else) go into the magic black dutch oven. I remember when dad, my brother and I found it in an abandoned campfire ring in the Warner Wilderness while deer hunting back in high school, its forgotten contents reduced to ashes. The patina has grown deeper and darker over the years as I've seasoned it just like dad taught me.

Sprinkling the contents of a McCormick Taco Seasoning packet into the mix, I remember all those days coming home from school to a house, empty of people, but full from the smell of mom's crock pot loving away on the counter-top. She always said if it weren't for that little green pot, with the ivy-trimming, we'd have starved long ago. Things like that remind me how hard mom and dad worked to keep us from understanding how difficult times really were, times I only now begin to understand.

Finally, I remember Uncle Dick's Brisket in the liquid smoke. It's been over a decade since we lost him, but the smell on my fingertips remind me of him as I screw the cap back on the bottle.

I slip the magic pot into the oven to rest at 250 for the day, and soft-shoe my way across the room to Paul Simon's African undertones of Graceland to where Eliza is playing, pick her up, and sway around the kitchen. Will her own daughter's laughter remind her one day of the giggling I now relish?