Monday, June 30, 2008

Banana Milk

Boo loves banana milk. Blend a frozen banana with 8 oz of milk, a splash of vanilla and a bunch of cinnamon. A great summer treat.

Two straws are better than one.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A new cousin

Boo has a new little cousin that arrived this week. We went to visit Saturday afternoon, and Boo was not as impressed as we thought she would be. She is obsessed with looking at pictures of Tyler (another baby cousin), but apparently babies in real life are not as interesting.

Well, I was interested anyway. She is a sweet little thing, we are glad to have another cousin living nearby.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Meat Heaven

Ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? Rodizios? Tucanos? Forget them. Fogo de Chao is the big daddy of them all. We went last night with some friends, and it was the best evening out I've had since Cafe Fiore five years ago in Lake Tahoe (well okay, J says Eddie Merlot's was pretty darn good too). The restaurant itself is beautiful. We had reservations and were seated right away - right next to the salad bar, which was also beautiful. The salad bar had a great spread of fresh cheeses, bright, marinaded veggies, and salads. I came for the meat, so I kept my salad bar selections to a minimum. There were little balls of fresh mozzerella cheese rolled in a bit of savory - my favorite. And an enormous block of parmesan cheese the size of a five gallon bucket.

The great thing about this place was that you sit down and here comes the real food. At other restaurants I get filled up on bread and fried appetizers way before my meal because I'm so hungry waiting for my food. But at Fogo de Chao, you sit down at your seat, turn over your card to green and you are immediately swarmed by the gaucho chefs with huge skewers of meat.

Ah, me. There's top sirloin, bottom sirloin, parmesean encrusted pork, linguisa, chicken legs, filet mignon, pork ribs, lamb, chicken legs, and my favorites: bacon wrapped filet mignon, bacon wrapped chicken, and garlic sirloin. You can choose your doneness - J had some rare meats that were dripping rare, just how he likes it. I had several helpings of my favorites, and towards the end the gaucho chef with the bacon wrapped filet mignon came by and said to me, "Oh, I know you like the rare, I'll go back to the kitchen and bring you some." What service!

And then there were the sides that were constantly refilled: polenta, fried bananas, garlic mashed potatoes, and these rolls that were more like puffs. I loved them all. I was surprised that I liked the fried bananas. But it turned out that it was refreshing to have a bite or two of the sides in between all the meat.

(See the sides there on the table)

And after all that, we even had dessert. They had creme brulee, and I couldn't resist. And man, was it good! My friend got their famous papaya cream, and it was really good too.

If you live in any of these cities and love good meat, you must give Fogo de Chao a try. Or just come visit me, I'm already ready to go back.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mama Mia!

Boo and I are getting excited for the release of "Mama Mia!" on July 18th. Today Boo was dancing to the Mama Mia trailer, so we looked around the internet for more ABBA. Youtube was there for me. We just listened and danced, as watching the videos was pretty dull. Here's my favorite ABBA, and here is Boo 's favorite. And I like this one too. Has anyone seen "Mama Mia the Musical"?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boo and Four Siblings

Boo had four siblings this weekend. Cannon is her age, and Isabel, Katie and Olivia are five. Here's what happened.

Boo taught Cannon to say 'mine'.

Cannon taught Boo to say 'airplane'.

There was A LOT of girl drama. Fortunately there seemed to be an unspoken rule between the four girls that only one girl could have drama at a time.

Boo became super possessive of certain things. Such as her Fisher Price bear and lion. They rarely left her hands.

Cannon loved to chase Boo around.

My favorite moment was seeing Boo take refuge (from Cannon) in her high chair, clutching her bear and lion in a panic, screaming hysterically "Mine! Mine!" And Cannon, who wanted nothing to do with her bear and lion, grinning up at her because he was getting such a great reaction.

We watched Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella 2, and The Swan Princess. This was quite different from our typical daily fare of The Lion King, but that was vetoed for lack of princesses.

The only time it was completely quiet was when we had macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Homemade Strawberry Jam, Sugar Free

With all of our freshly picked strawberries, Boo and I had to make some jam. I never did find a truly sugar free recipe for sugar jam (without sugar, sugar substitute, or gelatin), but I did find a recipe for raw strawberry jam that turned out pretty well.

Raw Strawberry Jam

Puree or mash ripe strawberries. Add honey to taste. Lasts in the fridge for about a week.

And that's that. It is a little runny, and I've heard you can thicken it up with ground wheat germ, but as yet I have not found any wheat germ to try that out. I found that it tastes much better after 24 hours. I wasn't sure how raw strawberry jam would freeze, so I decided just to freeze my strawberries whole (after they have been hulled) and then thaw a couple of handfuls when I need more jam. And then I also have frozen strawberries for smoothies. To freeze the strawberries, I hulled and washed them, then laid them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about 12 hours. Then I slid them into a Ziploc freezer bag to keep in the freezer. If you freeze them on a cookie sheet first, it keeps them from freezing together in the bag.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Golf anyone?

We are generally a tennis family, but since Grand Slam tournaments are few and far between, lately we have been tuning in to the golf tournaments on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Go visit the Begley's blog to see a great clip from ESPN.

Boo the Model

My friend Pam gave Boo a darling bucket hat and matching poncho and bag in exchange for being a model for her (Pam's) etsy shop. Boo was surprisingly cooperative for pictures. So enjoy these cute pictures of my girl. You can see her modeling pictures in action here and here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Strawberry fields

Boo and I went strawberry picking this morning at Waterman's. I think we have never had so much fun in our lives. It was warm, but not too humid and unbearable. There were very few people out in the fields, so we had plenty of room to look for and pick the best strawberries. Boo was a champ.

She planted herself right down and set to picking.

And appointed herself to quality control.

She transferred my berries to her bucket.

And she even did all the heavy lifting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The rain rain rain came down down down...

We have had a lot of severe weather this week, but Saturday was the worst. It started around 6 am with loud and continuous thunder and pounding rain. That continued for hours...I think until after noon. We had some standing water on the back edge of our property - mostly because our neighbor doesn't mow his lawn so the long grass acted as a dam and kept the water in our yard. Our new trees blew over - they didn't break, but the ground was so saturated and the wind so strong that they just blew over. We managed to tie them back upright and they made it through the rest of the storm. We'll see if they survive. The retention ponds in our neighborhood were significantly higher, but not overflowing. We drove up north in the evening, and a lot of homes surrounding our neighborhood had standing water in their yards.

It wasn't until we turned on the tv to watch the gymnastics competition that we realized how much damage had been done in the area by the storm. The worst of the flooding was to the south of us. A town to the southwest was 90% underwater. Adam lives about 10 minutes south of us and has an interesting account of the flooding there and some great pictures. The interstate was closed just south of us.

I must admit that most of my concern has been about the condition of Waterman's strawberry fields. Boo and I were planning to pick strawberries Saturday morning, but had to postpone til Monday morning. Hopefully they've not all washed away.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Relay For Life

Relay for Life was a lot of fun last weekend. Boo and I started off at 5 pm Friday afternoon. It was probably the warmest and most humid day so far this year. But there was music on the track and fun people to chat with as we walked, so we didn't mind. A few laps into it, Boo decided she would like to walk instead of ride in the stroller, but we didn't get too far before she squatted down on the track to take a break and eat her raisins. I managed to get her off the track into the grass where she found her inner rocker and rocked out to "American Woman". Seriously. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

We headed home around 6:30, and I went back to the track about 10. The luminaria ceremony was already in progress, and I had a great, reflective time walking slowly around the track while the names "In Memory" and "In Honor" were read. I forgot my tripod so my night pictures are a little blurred.
By the time the ceremony was finished, we could see lightening in the distance and the people in charge were getting calls about severe weather headed our way. Most everyone had gone indoors to the gym, but I was lingering on the track with a few friends when the tornado sirens went off. The director of the event freaked out and ordered all of us who were standing around to get into the locker room. It reminded me of that part of the movie "Twister" when Bill Paxton is herding all the teenagers from the drive-in movie into that big warehouse, while the big movie screen is being ripped to shreds in the background from the twister. Except that in our case, there was no twister. Fortunately the sirens didn't stay on too long and I slipped off to home for the night.

[This is the first time youtube has failed clip of that part of "Twister".]

Despite the bad weather Friday night, by the time I got there early Saturday morning, the weather was great. Humid, but not too hot. Again, it was great to walk the track, chatting with great people. Although I heard the event was smaller this year than in previous years, I still had a great time and am already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Of Spring and Sucking

Last Saturday night we decided it was time for Boo to be done with her pacifier. She only had it when she was sleeping, and I think that was a big motivator for her to go to bed...she knew the pacifier was waiting for her. But her pediatricians advice (to get rid of the pacifier at one year) and my concerns about her teeth, sucking patterns, and speech development won the debate of to take it or not to take it. We had a traumatic Saturday and Sunday bedtimes, and Sunday and Monday naptimes. She would sob 'gone, gone' over and over, and then angrily bawl out jibberish followed by 'mama dada'. I'm pretty sure she was cussing us out. But by Monday night there was hardly any protesting, and a completely peaceful naptime this afternoon. We'll see how the next few bedtimes go, but I think we have turned the corner.

Yesterday I decided to tackle spring cleaning. It has gone well so far - I have the bathrooms 2/3 of the way done (who in the heck thought it was a good idea to have three bathrooms??), and that is cleaning that I hate the most. I love cleaning out the closets and cupboards, it is so fun to re-organize everything. I got a great spring cleaning checklist from my friend, and then tweaked it a bit to fit my house. I also spent some time on the internet, and found some great weekly and monthly cleaning checklists, so I think I will have to develop those so I am better at keeping up with the housework.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


The winner of the National Spelling Bee Champion (held last weekend) is from Indiana! Here is an especially entertaining moment from him during the competition.