Have I mentioned we've been living without a stove for over a month? Yes, well. About that. I guess in the wake of the sewer repairs, Subaru repairs and air conditioning repairs, a broken stovetop is a minor issue.
It died, and as we researched replacements, we discovered that the previous owners did a not-so-fabulous job DIY'ing the granite countertops. The hole they cut for our 1980s stovetop is so wonky that virtually no current brands will fit in its place. And cutting the hole bigger could crack the granite (it's tiled), and we can't swing new counters right now...SO. We searched and finally found a stovetop that fits. It's being installed later this week.
In the meantime, I've grown quite creative in using our oven, outdoor grill and microwave to prepare meals.
The kids' favorite? Spaghetti squash.
I'm not sure they realize it's not actually pasta. You can bake or microwave the squash whole (just poke some holes in it with a fork first so it doesn't explode...we microwave it for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size). Then, slice it open, scoop out the seeds and scrape out the flesh with a fork (the kids love to help "make noodles").
Top it with tomato sauce, Parmesan & olive oil, or whatever you have on hand. We usually toss in a little garlic and fresh tomato, and maybe some sweet Italian sausage or grilled chicken. It tastes remarkably like pasta, but is much healthier (and doesn't leave you in a stupor afterward).
I'm trying to decide what I want to cook first once the new stove is installed....I'm thinking crepes. Or maybe I should find a meal that requires cooking on all 4 burners at once, just for the heck of it. Any suggestions?
On Saturday, we took a trip to the ole "pumpkin patch." I put "pumpkin patch" in quotation marks because here in the desert, it's hard to find an authentic pumpkin patch where pumpkins are growing on vines. Instead, many places truck in pumpkins and toss them in a field. Voila! Pumpkin Patch!
Thankfully, toddlers don't know the difference.
Not to sound too grumpy, but it was also 98 degrees this weekend. I wasn't feeling the autumn spirit. I missed my sweaters and hot apple cider. Kris and I found ourselves sweating and hurrying the kids along....
Quick! Pick out a pumpkin! Okay, now sit on this tractor and smile for a photo! (Notice B's tatts. She found the leftovers from the birthday party, and now she's working on a full sleeve.)
Time to go!
Actually, we did linger a while. They were giving away balloons. There was a bounce house, which the kids adored. Bronwynn picked out some spaghetti squash at the vegetable stand. (Her new favorite vegetable is squash)
They had a great time, and we had a great time watching them have a great time. That's the way parenthood is sometimes.
Also, we learned the hard way last year...best not to carve your pumpkin before Halloween. It will shrivel and rot in the heat. We carved ours a week early last year, and by Halloween night, our jolly jack-o-lantern looked like a 90-year-old man with no lips and no teeth. Scary, indeed.
So when we got home, we let the kids paint their pumpkins instead.
And, we made some glazed pumpkin donuts, which helped us get in the spirit a little more.
Every night before bed, I rock Miles and sing "You Are My Sunshine." He nuzzles into the crook of my neck and his feather soft hair brushes my cheek. I rub his back and steal a whiff of his honey sweet breath. We've been doing this since he was a newborn.
Lately, the past week or so, he's started singing along with me. And when he gets to the word "happy" he bursts out laughing. He giggles, tossing his head back, his little round belly heaving. He can't contain himself. The word "happy" is just. too. funny.
My sweetness is two. He's crafting his own jokes. He does indeed make me very, very happy.
B: "Mommy, can I have a marshmallow? and a graham cracker? and a piece of chocolate?"
Me: "You want to make a s'more?"
B: "No! I just want a marshmallow and a graham cracker and a piece of chocolate, and I want to smoosh them all together like a sandwich."
Me: "That's called a s'more."
B: "NO MOM! You're not listening to me. That's not what I want. Just give me a marshmallow and a graham cracker and some chocolate, please. I want to squish it together and eat it."
Me: "We're all out of marshmallows."
B (sighs): "Fine. I'll just have a rice cake."
Have I mentioned that Miles has been potty training himself? Well, okay....he's just mirroring his sister, which means that several times a day he takes off his pants and diaper and sits on the potty. And sits. And sits. And SITS.
He's been doing this every day for two months and has yet to actually GO in the potty. But we praise him for sitting. Good try Miles! Good sitting!
Two days before school pictures, B tripped and hit her forehead on the bathroom counter, leaving her with a nice goose egg. We iced it immediately and applied some Arnica and told her that she might have a bruise showing in her pictures, but that it would be okay.
We've been talking with her a lot lately about big problems vs. little problems. Spilled milk? Little problem. Broken crayon? Little problem. Ran into street without looking for cars? BIG problem. Miles stole your toy? Feels like a big problem, but really it's a little problem.
So, she was sitting on my lap crying and holding the ice pack on her head ('cause she wanted to do it herself) and she asked, "Mommy is this a big problem?"
I wasn't sure how to respond, so I asked her what she thought. She decided, "it's a medium size problem" because it hurt a lot, but she didn't need to go to the doctor and get stitches.
Thankfully, by school picture time, her bruise was barely noticeable. Not that Kris and I really cared about a blemish on her school photos....in fact, we thought it would only make them more memorable. But B was concerned, and so we were concerned. And so we all gave a collective sigh of relief that she healed so quickly.
Fast forward a week. Miles tips his chair over at dinnertime in one of those slow-motion catastrophes where I'm watching it happen but can't quite leap to his rescue fast enough. He splits his chin open, bites his tongue, and it's a bloody mess. Aware that the kids are looking to me for cues on how to react, I calmly call Kris at work and ask him to rush home so that I can take Miles to urgent care.
Still, B saw the blood, heard Miles crying and yelled "It's a big problem! It's a big problem!" I tried to assure her we can take care of it. "Mommy and Daddy know how to handle all sorts of problems," I told her.
Thankfully, they were able to glue Miles' laceration closed, so it was relatively pain-free. In fact, I'm pretty sure he thought it was a fun outing alone with Mama. And once B saw Miles all cleaned up, smiling, and holding a bouquet of stickers the nurses gave him, she felt much better too.
A few days later, the kids and I were out for a walk and Bronwynn ran her fingers across her forehead and asked, "What happened to my bump?"
"It went away," I said.
"Where did it go? Does somebody else have it now?"
"No, honey. You didn't give it to anyone else. It's just gone. It healed." I replied, and we continued walking silently for a few moments while she pondered the concept of "healed."
"Mommy, I think my bump went up into the sky into the clouds and became rain," she said. "And soon, Miles' cut will go up into the clouds too."
Sounds like a perfect explanation for healing to me.
I'm experimenting with variations of food on a stick. Today: caprese salad. Bronwynn loved it. Miles wasn't so sure (I cut his tomatoes and mozzarella in half to prevent choking....I think that ruined the fun for him.)
Also, I had to take the sticks away immediately so they wouldn't impale themselves.
This past weekend we visited the state fairgrounds. There was a home & garden show going on, which we wanted to check out, but while we were at it, we did a little inspiration scouting for the kids' upcoming birthday party, which will have a county fair theme.
To me, the appeal of a fair is the vibrant colors and festive atmosphere. It's just hard not to be happy at the fair.
But to the kids, the real draw is all the different kinds of fun food you can eat on a stick. And french fries drenched in ketchup.
Miles' cheeks are so very kissable. Kris caught me trying to steal a little smooch.
Kris thinks that no fair is complete without some livestock running around. He's trying to talk me into renting a pig for the party. "You know, grease it up and let the kids try to catch it," he says.