Resolutions revisited

29 12 2008

Part of the problem of having a blog is that you can’t ignore your new year resolutions.  There, they are, on Google’s cache for the rest of time, mocking me.  At the beginning of 2008 I made a list of things I would do this year.  Here’s the post.  I had four things on my list.  Let’s see how I did.

Replace the toilet paper holder?  Success!

That engineering degree is coming in really useful

Finish painting the stairway?  Success!

I used a really long stick to paint this

Do a better job with the dishes? Meh.

If you want them clean, come clean them.

Water the plants? FAIL!

Let's see... that used to be jalepeno plants


and that one used to be an African violet


started out as a tree; now more like a stick

Next year I’ll take better care of the yard.

Merry Christmas from us

24 12 2008

Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is for Daddy to stop taking so many pictures.  

Nate says "Don't drop me!!!!"

the tonsils are still there...

Somebody help... he's choking me...

Homage to Christmas Past

22 12 2008

Crash Bandicoot was Isaac’s first video game addiction.  I can highly recommend it for children.  It’s very silly and the kids love them still.  Yes, I caught Isaac playing Crash Bandicoot Warped on my old PlayStation 1 last month.  And this first exposure to video games came with a lesson in marketing for Mom and Dad.  At the mall arcade Karen and a four-year-old Isaac noticed a plush Sonic Hedgehog as a prize for winning tickets.  Isaac was inspired and asked if he could have a stuffed Crash Bandicoot.  “Maybe Santa will bring one” says Mommy.  Later that evening a very worried Mommy looked on Ebay to see if such a thing existed.  It did, and Santa brought it for Christmas.  

That was four years ago, and Crash has seen better days.  As the boys get older they enjoy torturing plush toys, especially ones that are already starting to rip at the seams (You should what Isaac did to the Spiderman at my sister’s house).  One of Crash’s arms was starting to separate, so he became the latest victim of the fearsome Four Cousins of Destruction

CSI PlayStation

I’ve been given no details of the interrogation (and I have no idea what happened to his eyeball), but this is how Crash was found the day after Thanksgiving.  As “Mean Ole’ Auntie Dawn” was about to earn her title I informed her that Crash was not long for this world anyway.  She relented.  Crash is bound for the refuse, and it does make us a little sad because it reminds us of a different time in our lives.  Jonathan couldn’t talk yet.  MMmmmmmm………………

See? It wasn’t my fault.

14 12 2008

Okay, so maybe it was.  I don’t know, but when I made this recipe from Giada for zeppole (I posted about it here) it was a disaster.  Then I saw her make zeppole on a different episode of Everyday Italian, and this time she used half the water as before.  Hmmm…..  I smell something fishy.  I told Karen that I had to make it.


So first of all, here’s the recipe.  

Now, this time I was so sure it would be perfect that I had the boys to help me.  They’re always good for a blog post.  Jonathan helped me with the batter.

Jonathan made the batter

And Isaac stirred the bittersweet chocolate chips and warm heavy cream together to make the ganache.  

Isaac made the ganache.  Did I do anything?

But then he got a better idea.

This part isn't in the recipe.

Nate watched all this transpire from the safety of his swing.

Just gimme some of that chocolate stuff.  That's all I'm asking.

I followed the recipe to the letter, and here’s how the batter looked just after I added the eggs.

What kind of peaks are these?

A HUGE improvement from last time.  They were not so runny this time.  I was relieved and set to work cooking them.  Except one thing.  Giada used a mini ice cream scooper to dispense the batter into the oil.  We don’t have one.  So mine were still ugly.

They even skipped across the water.

Karen decided she could do a better job, and she did.  It’s apparently all in the wrist.  Or something like that, she could do it and I couldn’t.

Orangey goodness with sugar on top

So they came out well.  Maybe it was the different recipe, maybe it was the fact that I didn’t do much.  It doesn’t matter to me; they were good.  I keep thinking about Top Chef and how nobody can make a decent dessert.  Why doesn’t anyone make these?

Woah! Look at that!

9 12 2008

It’s very interesting to see just what grabs the attention of babies and small children.  And if you can hold the attention of more than one at a time (and if you’ve got the assistance of an older brother to make sure Ben doesn’t roll away), well then you’ve got yourself a photo op.  

yeah, yeah!  Um, where is it again?

And no, I have no idea what they’re looking at, even though I was that close to them.  But Ben rolled away, and then there was one..

no i don't know where ben went

One little baby lying on his tummy, started to cry and I gave him to Mummy! (To the tune of Five Purple Conkers)

put down that camera and pick me up already!

The Cockroach Lives

4 12 2008

Back in ’01 I inherited a six-year-old car with 20,000 miles on it.  It still had the new car smell.  So Karen drove it to work – about a half mile away – for three years.  Then we moved to our current location, where Karen’s job is a bit farther away.  So now we have a thirteen (soon to be fourteen) year old car with not quite 90,000 miles.  Works for me.

Last year it needed over $700 in repairs.  It needed four new tires – oh yeah.  These were apparently the original tires to the car.  “These tires haven’t been manufactured since ’98” they told me.  I also needed to replace the exhaust system.  The muffler had rusted out and was dragging on the ground.  I hated spending all this money on a car that was ready to die anyway.  In frustration I told Karen “When this car fails inspection next year I’m getting rid of it!”  To be honest I was a little excited to replace the old girl.  I started looking at Jettas.

This year came and the car passed inspection.  No repairs needed.  Crestfallen, I collected my perfectly working Grandma car from the mechanic.  We’ll be driving her another year it seems.  I started calling this car “The Cockroach” because it refuses to die.

But then our OTHER car started giving us problems.  Our family car, you know, the minivan?  One headache after the other, and now that we have four little boys it is a very big deal when the van is in the shop.  So now we’re thinking that we might replace it before getting rid of the cockroach.  Then comes Thanksgiving weekend 2008 and she won’t start.

No!!  Take the van instead!!

But no worries, we had it towed to the mechanic and $200 later she’s back on her feet, er, wheels.  He told me “It looked like this car had never had a tune up – ever.”  He’s right.  But now that she’s entering her twilight years I think we’ll put a little more effort into preventative maintenance.