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Archive for July, 2008

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Restaurant Week

Have you made reservations yet?  If it’s in the budget, the restaurant week price just can’t be beat.  Considering that it’s not cheap to go out for a couple of plates of microwaved slop at (insert name of big box restaurant here) I think it’s worth it to shell out an extra 20 for a really nice meal. There are a ton of fabulous restaurants participating this year but I had to think practically knowing that we’d be a party of three.  I decided around 3 on Saturday that we should go out to dinner.  We all got shined up for our 6 o’clock reservation at Pisces at the Hyatt in the Inner Harbor.  Early reservations are a good idea if little ones are tagging along, the place wasn’t packed until we were on our way out the door.

I’m more of a neighborhood restaurant type of a gal myself but a hotel restaurant seemed like a good choice in this case.  A hotel restaurant works well for fine dining with a baby because they a) see tourists in all manner of disarray and are used to serving families, if even only on occasion, traveling together; b) you’re less likely to play second fiddle to regulars, in my opinion everyone is more likely to be on equal footing at a hotel restaurant; c) this particular choice was on the top floor of the hotel meaning that we had a view of the whole harbor including boats, helicopters and trucks driving by below.  The trip included not one but two awesome rides in a glass elevator as well as a walk around the inner harbor complete with bridges and waterfalls just to get there.  

All of that and we still weren’t convinced that Chase would sit still through the whole meal.  It wasn’t easy but we managed.  The staff was really accommodating.   When Chase really liked the dried cherries on Ben’s salad, the waiter brought a little dish out just for her.  The food was really good.  I had a delicious cream of crap soup to start and glazed chilean sea bass as my entree.  I like ordering fish when we eat out because it always tastes way better than when I make it at home.  I think Ben shies away from ordering fish out because he thinks it WILL taste like I made it at home and then always realizes he’s made the wrong choice.  All in all it was a lot of fun.  It would be fun to do a date night soon but in the meantime I’ll take my gourmet where I can get it and you should too.  Just don’t forget to call ahead for restaurant week reservations.  I heard people complaining that you had to call ahead to get the restaurant week prices.  Oh, and I caught a look at the regular menu on the way out the door… ouch, good deal is an understatement.  

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

6 Days

That’s all the stands between me and certain failure.  I know, you think I’ll do fine but seriously… I am getting some pitiful scores on my practice questions.  Pitiful is even a bit of an understatement.  I shouldn’t even be posting right now, I should be taking my 40 lashes and getting back to the books because the set I just did was so bad.  BUT I haven’t been around for a few days and I’m starting to feel a little withdrawal. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on here.   The sweetpeas I planted started blooming but now everything outside has been fried crispy by the recent heat wave.  Our best efforts to water and tend the garden didn’t save everything.  

 

We’ve been doing some fun projects inside to keep us cool and busy.  Yesterday we picked up some craft supplies on the cheap at Target and made pipe cleaner bangles.  They also had some of those little Schleich animals on clearance so we got a random assortment of those.  Chase loooves the little animals.  They’ve been keeping her pretty busy and since now we have way too many of them I devised a plan for storing them.  I picked up a cheap zippered pencil case with a clear zippered pocket on the front.  That way we can store the animals in the big pocket with one in the smaller front pocket so everyone can tell what’s inside.  It’s not terribly sophisticated or attractive but I think it might work and it’s cheap, did I mention cheap?

So I took this picture because it pretty much includes everything we’ve done over the last couple of days.  The pipecleaner bangles, a bouquet of grasses that Chase picked, a poor, sad, lone stem of a potted palm that was once glorious that I snipped at the last second and rooted in a cup of water and recently repotted in soil as an experiment, and the butterfly that Chase decorated today.  The butterfly had a head and pipecleaner antennae… had.  

I took Chase to the library there and we decimated their collection of insect books.  We brought home an Eyewitness DVD about butterflies too.  Butterflies and insects in general are big around here lately– each of them in turn referred to as fly.  We found a praying mantis living in our front garden on Monday and today we found a big cricket in the back.  It was so cool but I think it tried to attack me and bite my face, the mantis that is.  I try to keep it together for Chase’s sake and not fly into hysterics at the drop of a bug hat but I’ll smash a bug that attacks my face without hesitation.  I still marvel how everything about the library is free, the librarian’s time and expertise, the books, the videos and right now they have a nice collection of original artwork from children’s literature on display.  Last but not least, Chase says adios singing ‘don’t fence me in.’  It’s not even a gate for her it’s a gate for the dogs but she wasn’t hearing any of that.

 

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Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Slacker

We’ve been back since bedtime Tuesday but I’ve been in a constant rotation of studying and exhaustion. I thought I was getting a cold when I went to bed last night but I woke up feeling fine. Which is good because I’m a week and half off of game day. I still have a lot of stuff to cover but I think I can get it all done next week if I don’t go complete shit-house prematurely. For this weekend… farmer’s market, Artscape and more studying… sigh.

Chase with her great grandma

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Thursday, July 10th, 2008

My Helper

Dinnertime used to be hard.  It was a constant juggling of entertaining Chase, keeping her from destroying something and getting food on the table.  It’s getting better though, at 18 months she’s a pretty good helper and rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty seems to be something she’s into.  These are a few things that she can do in the kitchen to help with dinner:

Dump- things I’ve chopped into a pot.

Season- food with salt and pepper from little bowls.

Add- ingredients like bay leaves from a bag or container, a shake of dried herbs, a scoop of flour or a spoonful of cinnamon.

Stir- we made this brine for a chicken diablo recipe Erin gave us and Chase loooved stirring the big tup of brine. 

Mash- she can get a pretty good smash using a pastry blender instead of a regular potato masher.

Oh, and taste.  She makes a fine taster.

How do you get your little ones involved in the kitchen?  We’ll be MIA for a few days but I’ll catch up with you next week!

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Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Phooey

Tell me everyone else isn’t studying too.  I would really, really like that.

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Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Panzanella

Tomatoes are here!  This is the ultimate summer side dish.  Veg and a little carbs all in one.  I’ve been meaning to make this for a while but I eat so much bread that there’s never enough stale stuff left over for the croutons.  Between the three of us there wasn’t a morsel left.  I patterned what I did pretty loosely on this BF Contessa recipe.  It’s so yummy, filling but not heavy and the bread.. oh, the bread.  I foresee us eating this many many more times this summer.  

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Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Tutu Cute

You knew it was coming right?  It’s good but not great.  It’s more of a tutu apron than a tutu proper.  Here’s how it came about.  I’ve been picking up pieces of tulle from remnant bins for months and finally had enough to put a little something together.  I also splurged and bought a gathering foot.  First of all it’s the best thing ever.  No more fussing with rows of stitching and getting great gathering only to pull to hard and break the thread.  The only thing I can’t do is account for how much length will be left if I gather with x tension and y stitch length.  Does anyone know how to figure it out?   

There are obviously some kinks to work out.  I should probably stop taking pictures of projects before I cut all the thread ends and try to prettify it a little.  I just used a wide ribbon for the band and tied it in the back.  You can get a sense of how it looks in the back from one of those pictures.  The other reason Chase got a tutu today?  Last night I jumped up and tried to squish a bug.  Who knew that would precipitate hours… HOURS of EYE? EYE? That’s fly? in baby speak.  EYE?  all through bathtime… EYE?  all through bedtime, we even read a book about a fly.  First thing this morning… everything was ok.  Ben got up with her and put the tv on and I slept in.  When they came back upstairs his face was drawn and pale and all he could tell me was that he looked away for a second and that when he looked back at the tv there was a chicken, a duck and a frog on the screen and Chase had renewed her efforts at looking for an EYE?  What do I do he asked me.  What to do indeed.  

I let Ben go back to bed and went to work.  EYE?  was nothing a new tutu and a little Dragon Tales couldn’t take care of.   

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Friday, July 4th, 2008

Bottle Rockets

So even though I just got the results of last year’s MRI a couple of weeks ago I’m now awaiting the results of the one I had for this year on Friday.  The whole thing is absurd.  The stack of films that I have to bring with me to every appointment weighs almost more than I do and yet the actual scan doesn’t get any easier.  It’s not the tight space that bothers me, I’m not afraid to be in the tube.  What I can’t stand is not being able to move.  

No matter what I wear, no matter what I do with my hair I spend the whole time supremely uncomfortable.  This time was no exception.  I get comfortable, get an earplug and she slips me into the tube and starts the scans.  As soon as the scans begin the woman starts talking to me through the intercom even though she’s JUST handed me an earplug and the machine makes a terrible noise.  She’s asking me if I’m ok and she continues to ask me for the next 20 minutes or so.  The third or fourth time she asks I say um, I have a cramp in my back because the burning pain is just becoming unbearable and I haven’t even gotten the contrast dye yet.  Her response?  Even though she’s been asking me if I’m ok for half an hour?  Um, she says.  Um!  Um.. what does that mean?  I tell her I need to move my shoulders which makes her huff and puff and carry on before she bustles in to the room.  That’s when she notices that she’s forgotten to wedge my head in place with the little bolsters.  The crazy thing is that once she did that?  The whole process was a lot more comfortable.  Stupid, stupid!  

So I get my films and hustle over the hospital where I find that the appointment before me hasn’t been seen yet and have been waiting for 45 minutes.  It was not looking good.  Luckily it didn’t take that long to get in.  Of course once I was in I was out again in 10 minutes.  Why did I have to go through all of that for the doctor to tell me to call him in a week so he could read me the MRI technician’s report?  I’m happy that the scans show no change so I’m not that angry otherwise I’d be carrying on about how it was a total scam.  Keep your fingers crossed that the report is consistent with the doc’s initial opinion.  I’m not too worried about it though.  

So what else is going on?  How was your fourth?  I’m trying not to freak out.  I love fireworks when I’m watching the display of a professional pyrotechnics technician.  The thought of every Tom, Dick and Harry launching his own show makes me glad it rained today so my house has a chance when the embers of Tom’s bottle rocket land on the roof.  Am I the only person that thinks fireworks at home are stupid and that it’s a really bad idea to sell fireworks at Target?  

We had a pretty good day.  We spent it just hanging around and having a good time.  A few pics from the day.

I stirred some of the cherries we canned into softened vanilla ice cream.  It was so yummy.

Ben calls it: the 1980’s are calling and they want their phone back.  

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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Play

I took Chase to the toy store today.  I love that place.  I love toys but on top of all the cool toys they have all of these tiny little things like stickers and erasers and tiny little plastic animals.  I love those even more. Chase got this new stroller.  She loves it.  See stunt baby’s feet sticking out?  See all the fingerprints on the door?  Sigh.  

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