Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dressing for Dinner

This was the look Munch chose when we got invited to a friend's house for dinner. She brought Ariel along and decided they had to match. She also packed a bag with crayons, books, and little ponies. Once there, she was determined to accessorize/terrorize their poor cat by attempting to "do its hair" with little fruit barrettes. I'm sure Kitty was relieved when dinner was served-
Here Kitty, kitty...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who Will Help Me Eat This Bread?

It's Little Red Hen week in my kindergarten, which means we're making bread- lots of it. Every day, I take a small group and we mix up a batch of Irish Soda bread. It's an easy recipe- doesn't require too many ingredients, isn't off-putting to picky eaters (some soda bread recipes call for raisins and caraway seeds), and the measurements for the various ingredients are simple to divide between several kids. I forget how much I like this recipe (it's so good toasted and slathered with jam) until I start baking a loaf every night for a week. Munch is curious about the dough I keep carting home, so we may be making some this weekend for her to taste!

Irish Soda Bread
4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the buttermilk and stir until thoroughly incorporated (no dry crumbles remain) and dough begins to form a ball. Turn dough into a greased pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ina's Carrot Cake

I adore carrot cake. So does my mom. For years though, we were the only ones who did- that, and pumpkin pie. The rest of my family? They want CHOCOLATE, so that's usually what I made for holidays and birthdays. I got tastes of carrot cake here and there- a teacher at school makes a great one and would bring it for staff parties. Occasionally, a Costco carrot cake might be served at a party- it's surprisingly good, with a delicious apricot mousse sandwiched between its layers. But I never really bothered with making one myself- I hadn't found a really good recipe that was worth dragging out the Cuisinart to shred all those carrots and one cake really is much too much for just one person.
I'm not sure how carrot cake came up- Munch has certainly been on a carrot kick, but I may have just been thinking out loud again as I perused recipes. She got really excited though at the mention of carrot cake. Turns out her daycare lady likes it, too and has made one for the kids (most likely, carrot muffins). So, with the prospect of two carrot cake lovers in the house and specific individuals we could share slices with, I decided to hunt a recipe down. I didn't have to look far to find Ina Garten's recipe for carrot cake with chunks of pineapple (yum!). All her recipes are incredibly delicious and pretty simple, so I figured it was worth a try!
Getting the ingredients together-

This recipe make a humongous cake! I think I'll halve the recipe next time. Also, the frosting was REALLY soft- I don't think I'll let the butter and cream cheese sit out to soften as long AND I'll plan for some time to chill the cake to firm it all up- it slid a lot when I frosted the layers and cut the first pieces.

My happy taste tester! The cake was DELICIOUS!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Family Fun

We spent a really fun day in Sacramento's Land Park. I was wholly unprepared for what a nice, family-oriented place this would be. The park has several attractions- the Sacramento Zoo, a 9-hole golf course, large fields for soccer, volleyball, picnics, and parties, a small amusement park for younger kids, and Fairy Tale Town. We saw pony rides as we turned in, and I have a feeling if we explored further, we'd find even more to do. We started off at Fairy Tale Town-

It was a really cute park, with different play areas based on various fairy tales and nursery rhymes-
Kind Arthur's Castle

then Munch got the chance to do a little watering in Mr. MacGregor's Garden

Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter Rabbit were safely in their hutches

Up Jack and Jill's hill we climbed where Munch could pump some water from the well

My favorite was walking the crooked mile-

Next we headed out to the fields for a nice picnic lunch-

Followed by a couple of hours at the zoo-

After a nice treat, it was time to head home-

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lettuce Be Glad!

As I've mentioned many times before, Munch is a great eater. Her Grandma just commented this past Mother's Day on how Munch happily crunches down her fruits and especially the veggies. But the one item I have not been able to convince her of is lettuce. She'll give it a try (that's our house rule) when it appears, then says, "No more salad, thank you". And she is adamant that it does NOT belong on her cheeseburger (ketchup only, please). I think it's a textural thing- they way the lettuce slides, the flatness of it- it made for a difficult chew. So, I crossed my fingers when I served the Munchkin a heap of taco salad last night. She'd already seen AudioDad and I enjoy bowlfuls of it a couple of weeks ago- after her mandatory "salad" bite, she polished off the beef and bean taco filling with a few chips and lots of black olives. We assured her the best way to enjoy her salad was to mix it up with the filling and crumbled chips- to our surprise (and great pleasure), she announced, "Mmmm it's good!" and finished every bite- lettuce and all. Even more of a surprise? The "crunchies" that she swooned over (and stole out of the salad bowl) were not the crumbled chips (as we'd assumed)- they were the matchstick carrots! Gotta love that little bunny in the making!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Check out this random assortment of Munch's current treasures. She has definitely begun a collecting stage. Now that I realize it's not just a bunch of junk to her, I find it really endearing to see the way she marvels at the beauty of a parking lot rock or admires some grocery store trinket. Among her treasures in the picture above are: a cow eraser, a grow capsule, plastic keys, a few pieces of jewelry, a police officer trading card, a painted rock, a dice, a Christmas ornament, and a plastic bride. Thank goodness for a cute little backpack to keep it all in!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Best Part of Mother's Day... being Munch's mom! It still surprises me how much in love I am with my sweet, sweet girl!

I spent most of my weekend sleeping away my head-congested fog. Munch's new bed was quite cozy and I zonked out there while we were playing in her room. Sweet girl left me to sleep and went out with AudioDad to run errands. We had my parents, sister, and Munch's cousin over for Mother's Day lunch, which was quite tasty- chinese chicken salad, fruit salad, and a mushroom asparagus quiche. The kids loved picking out yummy chocolates from See's while they gave Grandma their gifts and cards- both discovered the awesome scotchmallow, which AudioDad gave me a box of for Mother's Day, along with a new meyer lemon tree.

Afterwards, the kids headed out for bike rides and bug hunting in the yard-

Monday, May 11, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

I love a good biscuit. Tall, golden, crusty, and warm. AudioDad loves them too and can usually polish off a whole batch. He's got some competition now that Munch has discovered them. Her favorite part is that I let her put the jelly on all by herself.

Buttermilk biscuits
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2/3 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead several times. Pat the dough out until it's about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into rounds using a floured cutter. Place biscuits, with the edges touching, on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

I've Been Tagged! Now, You're It!

One of the best things about blogging is that I've "met" some terrific people in the blogosphere. They are, as Sasha-one of my favorite bloggers at Barely Keeping It All Together- calls them, "Friends in my Head". So I was especially touched to get these nice awards (see the sidebar) from Tami and Deb. Thank you both, for the cute (and, oooh sparkly!) awards, for visiting, and for commenting! Check out their blogs at:
Tami- Diary of a Mad Woman
Deb- Life With Birk

Here are the award rules:
List 7 things that make you Awe-Summm and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers you love.
Make sure to tag the recipients and let them know they have won!
Also link back to the Queen that tagged you.

I've been so focused on my upcoming summer vacation with Munch. Most of my time has been spent researching fun and educational things to do with her. Here are seven Awe-summm bloggers I've recently discovered who are getting me inspired and excited:

Chrissie at Flipflops and Applesauce
Patricia at good + happy day
Mary Ellen and Sarah at Mom's Marbles
The PreSchool Mama
Cindy at Skip to My Lou
Amy at Let's Explore
Megan at Plum pudding

So, Seven Things About Me-
1. Seemingly never-ending baking sessions don't intimidate me.
2. Neither does a roomful of kids.
3. I can come up with a game to entertain the kids pretty easily.
4. I can also quickly tie it to something educational.
5. I'm a pretty easy-going person, except when I'm not :)
6. I have a LOT of patience.
7. I adore being Munch's mommy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper

No, I'm not talking about a special little happy's Munch doing her chores- we seem to have found a pretty good routine. I cook, Munch clears the dishes, wipes down the table with baby wipes, and sweeps crumbs with her little dustpan and sweeper, and AudioDad does the dishes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rock Star

This pic is pre-haircut, but I never got around to sharing it with you. Munch's tastes in music run fairly current because of what I've got on the radio and also pretty eclectic due to what her daddy plays for her. I usually try to censor what she hears in the car if I hear inappropriate language coming up in a song, but commutes are such nice space-out times that I often get lazy and just leave the cycling news/traffic/weather station on. So I was baffled when she started asking for the "Rock Star" song. I had no idea what it was until P!nk's "So What" came on and she started singing along. Na na na na na na na Na na na na na na...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Bed

We finally got our act together and purchased the twin-size bed that was supposed to be Munch's birthday present back in January. Munch and I headed to Target and picked up some "beautiful, beautiful" Princess sheets. Here she is waking up for the last time in her toddler bed-

Once I got the sheets on it, she couldn't even wait for me to put the shams on. Munch climbed in right away-

and with all the pillows on it, it's a perfect spot for all of us to share a good book!