Sunday, June 28, 2009

Recipe Fail, Part II: glass is not a secret ingredient

So, as I mentioned earlier, I made Jay's mom's famous Pineapple Upside-Down cake for his Jay's Birthday this week. The very first instruction states:
"In large square corningware pan, melt 8 Tbls butter (1 stick)"

Simple enough, right? After that you are to:
"Stir in: 2 c brown sugar
Continue to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves"

Ah, oh, ok. So if this is over low heat, I can just put this right on the stove, right? Okay, okay... so I don't own any shmancy Corningware. Big deal. Pyrex is where it's at, fo sho.

So I put my glass pyrex pan on the stove with the stick of butter on low. Meanwhile I start measuring out the dry ingredients. I turn around, finished, and the butter is only about 1/3 melted.

I'm on a schedule here people! The Frog plays contentedly by himself for only so long! How 'bout I turn it up a little? Yeah, a 4 oughtta do it...

Now I measure the wet ingredients. I turn around to check on the butter and

(anyone else watch the old Batman?
The tights one?)

My beautiful pyrex dish literally exploded all over the kitchen!! Big shards, little shards, tiny microscopic shards you cannot see but can only feel digging into your feet when you walk. Not only that, but these were greasy shards. *shudder*

Did I mention, they got all over the kitchen?

Needless to say, I decided to play it safe for round two and melt and mix in a pan. It's true that some of the buttery, sugary goodness was probably marooned in the pan after transfer, but we all know now that

Glass Pyrex pan + stove = disaster

My First Pie!

I've never made an entire pie,
crust and all,
from scratch,
until now.

Doesn't it look scrumptious?!

It was fun to do, though remind me next time to buy a cherry-pitter. Pitting all those with a chopstick was not exactly my new favorite hobby, and my dyed fingernail-beds feel the same way.

Dirt from mouth to toe and falling asleep by himself!

Since the weather has finally become nice (it's been raining sooo much here lately!) the Frog and I have been spending a lot more time outside... which means he's been spending a lot more time in the dirt.

I was weeding the other day and constantly looking up to make sure he didn't eat any more rocks (a favorite of his) and one time he seemed very busy with the neighbors ivy, creeping through our fence. Though his back was turned, I wasn't worried about rocks, since there are none over there. Nonetheless, I didn't know if this particular ivy has any poisonous properties when ingested, so I thought it a good idea to be sure he wasn't eating any of that either. I called to him a few times to see if there was anything in his mouth but he didn't turn around. Finally, after approaching him, he turns around and gives me a great big grin (not shown) with dirt all around his mouth.

If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought he had gotten into a pan of brownies...

A few days later, I thought he might have some fun finger-"painting" with water on some colored construction paper outside. He seemed to be more interested in sucking on the sponge of water, dragging it around with him through the muck while he crawled exploring, sucking on it again, etc. I just couldn't resist snapping a shot of his cute little feeties before we went inside to wash them off. The tops of his feet are always dirty, too, from dragging while he crawls. It's very cute.

So he's no Van Gogh. On the bright side, hopefully that means he'll keep both his ears. :)

Other news:
We've started letting the Frog cry himself to sleep. Well, really, I've tried many times before now but my heart couldn't take the crying. (Even 10 minutes feels like hours!) But Jay convinced me to try it and he did it with the Frog on Thursday for bedtime and then again Friday morning while I was at ballet, and it seemed to work. (Warning: long boring details. Probably only interesting for other parents of little kids) The first night he cried 30 minutes before Jay went in to comfort him. As soon as Jay picked the Frog up, he settled down and almost immediately fell asleep in his arms. The next morning for his nap, he cried 20 minutes and slept an hour!! That is a loooong time for our little one to sleep. I'm just grateful to get him to go 40 minutes! Friday afternoon, I thought I should continue doing it, while the Frog was getting used to it, and I stood outside his room, watching him through a little crack for 30 minutes. For some reason, I decided the crying isn't as bad as long as I can see that he's ok. Now, when we put him in his crib, he doesn't stand up clinging to the side, like he used to, and he stays lying down, cries for about 3 minutes, and he's out. YAY!!! Sadly, he still wakes up several times at night, but I'm hoping this will be baby-steps to teach him to fall back asleep on his own. Sleep-filled nights are finally on the horizon- for all of us!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy 4*3*2*1th Birthday, Jay!

This is a few days late, but it was Jay's birthday this week and I think it's worth mentioning that this will be the last year he gets to be a factorial.

I spent almost the whole day in the kitchen, making special birthday meals (except lunch was at 5 Guys) and Jay's favorite cake- his mom's pineapple upside-down cake. His mom so graciously emailed me the recipe and Jay said it turned out as good as hers (first thing of hers I've gotten that response to :D). Yay!

Is it just me, or does that bear sippy-cup look a bit nervous about all the fire... Perhaps he's a relative of Smokey?

Here is a little snap-shot of our yummy Rigatoni with Fontina cheese. Seriously folks, this recipe is soooooo good. I'm pretty sure my mom got it from some magazine, but it is such a winner that I think I will post it for those of you who are interested. The only tricky ingredient is the Fontina cheese. Not all grocery stores will carry it. Usually Costco has it, but they didn't this time, for some reason. I had to go to Sunflower market, but I hear Harmon's has a pretty good selection of specialty cheeses, and if you live in Salt Lake, there is a Mediterranean market on about 39th and State that has Fontina for a really great price (so my mom tells me). This recipe calls for only a pound of pasta, but we ate all ours and still have quite a bit of sauce (yessssss) so perhaps you could stretch it further with more pasta. I think next time I will try it with milk instead of cream and see how it turns out.

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fontina Sauce

1 lb Italian sausage
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use more)
1 28 oz can Italian crushed tomatoes
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 T dried basil
1 C heavy cream
½ lb Fontina cheese, grated
¼ C grated Romano cheese
2 T chopped fresh basil leaves
1 lb Rigatoni, cooked "al dente" drained
Fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (2 or 3 oz package)

In a heavy skillet, saute the sausage in olive oil until no longer pink, crumbling as it cooks. Add garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and basil. Cover, cook for 10 minutes. Add heavy cream and grated Fontina cheese. Stir on low until cheese is melted. Place cooked pasta on serving platter. Top with sauce, grated Romano cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh basil.
Serves 8


This video is a couple of weeks old now, and it's especially funny for me to watch because he looks so uncoordinated compared to how he pushes (soo fast!) around his scooter now. He's much better at steering now too and actually uses it to help him get to a certain toy, for example. Nevertheless, this is still really cute and will give all you who aren't lucky enough to witness in person, a little taste of The Frog's mad skills.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Frog's First Haircut!

Well, I finally did it. I got rid of the mullet.

Notice how long his hair is in the back...

He was a real trooper. (And thank goodness for my mom with all her funny sound effects to keep The Frog occupied.)

Look at all the trimmings!

The finished product!

Don't worry, I left his cute alfalfa sprout on top!

Now when do I get MY haircut?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Would You Like A Tweet?

Well, it's official. I've finally joined twitter.

(As if I don't have enough information about myself online as it is...)

Can't promise I'll update often, but follow me if you're on so I can follow you :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Frog's 8th Month

Wow, I can hardly believe what the Frog has accomplished in the last month! Even the last week! It is so fascinating and amazing to see how much they progress so quickly! I've decided that he has officially said his first word and am very proud to say it is me :) He said mama awhile ago, but it wasn't clear to me whether or not he knew that it was a person. Now he says it when he comes to me and I've even noticed him look at me when Jay says "mama" or "mommy". I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

(take that dada ;D)

So now he's allowed to work on daddy. (Jay always joked that The Frog's first word would be "father")

Before I begin with all the photos, I just want to have a little disclaimer about all my posts today and all the pictures- they are not necessarily in chronological order.

The Frog is now a pro sippy-cup user. Look at that amazing form! Not pictured is his ability to also use a straw. (Which turns out to be easier, since no cup tipping is necessary)

The Frog is getting to be a very stable stander. My favorite is when he spreads his legs out really far like this.

Lately, I've been finding him under the kitchen table a lot, walking along the chairs. (and often finding a snack that I missed during my frequent sweeps)

I don't know what it is about Provo, but it seems like there are as many dollar stores here as there are Dunkin' Donuts in Providence, or Starbuck's in Seattle. One day, I just decided to go check one out and ended up leaving with a set of 5 whiffle balls for The Frog (they're perfect because he can stick his little fingers in the holes) and a new swimsuit.

Isn't it cute? Little did I know, we would be inheriting this much superior version from his East Coast Cousin.

Now all he needs is a surf board. And an ocean...

Now that the weather is beautiful, I've been trying to go walking every week-day and often by the end of my walk, I find The Frog in this very position. I've even tried making him lie back in a more comfortable position, but he always ends up back like this. Very strange.

I discovered a little park really close to our house and so I thought I would let The Frog try out their baby swings. Honestly, he seemed more interested in watching the other kids play, although he seemed to like it more when Jay holds The Frog in his lap.

The Frog's best friend came over today to play. It's so fun to watch them interact. Yes it's mostly just grabbing of body parts and climbing over one another, but it's still really fun. I'm excited for The Frog to have a sibling who is always around for him to play with.

This isn't anything particularly special, I just thought it was a very typical shot of a typical moment in his life. He is just so curious, always exploring... even if it is just a bunch of packages of baby wipes.

Garden Stuffs

It's been so fun to work in the yard, without having a gigantic belly. Also, we have officially been living here for a year now, so I've now seen all four seasons of all our plants. I'm hoping to get a plan written down and calendared so that nothing goes un-pruned that needs it. Unfortunately, a lot of things were neglected this Spring, with the crazy weather we had.

We have a peony plant that was being attacked by another and several of the blossoms had broken stems by the time my mom and I rescued it. I decided to try to save them by bringing them inside. I don't know what it is, but I just LOVE having fresh flowers around- especially these! For some reason, they make me want to plan another wedding. :) Wouldn't this make a great center-piece?

I also finally got our garden planted- very late. I wish I had been more on the ball and started some of the cooler weather veggies, but I did manage to get corn, 3 kinds of pumpkin, butternut squash, basil, parsley, chard, beets, carrots, and interestingly enough, I've had some volunteer tomatoes pop up like crazy from last years harvest. I'm going to try to nurse them and see if they'll fruit before the frost this fall. We'll see...

The Frog has been very patient with me, just exploring the yard and tasting all the rocks while I get my work done.

I wish I looked that cute in hats :)

Lemon Fresh!

I was at JoAnn's the other day, looking for some fabric to make nursing shields (or in the words of Jay, "boob hiders") for friends/family (I've already made 4 and have one more in the works) when I came upon some fabric I just couldn't pass up! Luckily, I remembered that I had been wanting to make a liner for the bucket I put The Frog's used cloth diapers in, and this seemed just perfect! (Not to mention, very appropriate. Think lemon fresh!)

The Frog seems to like it too :) (Okay okay, he just likes buckets. Really, anything he can knock over. Or bang on... A girl can pretend though.)

For something with such a stinky job, isn't it cute?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Grandma Nedra's Famous Rolls

I don't care who you think you are, my grandma's rolls are better than yours (and your grandma's too). :p


I finally learned how to make them and I put Jay in charge of photographing all the steps so I could be sure to refer back to them later. Little did I know, I would get documentation of the entire kitchen happenings. :) Here is the abridged version:

This is why they are so good-

And the other most important ingredient-


Other than that, I don't think there is anything particularly sneaky about them. I still haven't written up the recipe in any official way, but I plan to, complete with instructive pictures and all. Here's a sneak peak:

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product that night (probably because I was too scared I wouldn't get any if I didn't grab them immediately...) but I'm proud to say I was able to recreate them at home soon thereafter:

Don't be surprised if you hear back from me trying to "whole-wheat-ify them"

The Dunstable Way

A big reason for the blogging hiatus was me preparing for, going on, and recovering from a trip back East to visit Jay's family and for him to officially "walk" at Brown's graduation. That's right, I'm officially married to a Doctor (but not the kind that helps people), and we finally have the piece of paper to prove it. Here's a little summary of the goings on out there.

The McCarthy's have all the cool stuff- slide, swings, telescope...

good climbing trees...

I love this shot because it kinda looks like The Frog is waving (though in reality, he doesn't quite have this down yet. Come to think of it, he doesn't really do much, on command- he is very much his own person.)

The Frog was quite enamored with Mickey. He hasn't really had close contact with any dogs, and I have a feeling we will be met with much begging for one, once The Frog can talk.

The Frog got his first taste of pizza ever, which of course had to be from Jay's favorite place- Espresso's Pizza in Nashua, NH. Hopefully we didn't ruin The Frog's ability to choke down all other kinds now ;)

Jay and I took our official first date without The Frog while we were there. He stayed home to play with Nanny while we went mini-golfing. I don't think he really missed us, but we sure missed him!

No trip to the McCarthy's can be complete without a tour of Kennedy's extensive dress-ups :)

What the, JUNE already?!

Prepare yourself for a bit of update-overload. I will try to separate posts by relevancy, food, The Frog, our recent trip, etc. Due to the enormity of occurrences and plethora of pictures, I will mostly caption the shots. This first little ditty will be fairly self-explanatory. I title it:

The Frog meets Laundry Hamper.

"Wait a second, is this cashmere?!"

"Oh no! It was a trap to lure me into this monkey catcher!"

"I'll never join you! Never!!"

"Oh, this must be where I came in..."

"Is it just me, or is this handle insanely interesting?"

"I wonder if anyone saw that. How embarrassing..."

"Wanna see this awesome new hideout I just found?"