Friday, March 30, 2012

Sugar Rush

Here's quite a scary little article about the impact of sugar on American children.  It seems that the older the child the more sugar they consume.  Another interesting fact is that middle-class and wealthy children eat just as much sugar as their poorer peers.  This goes against the conventional wisdom from before this study which focused sugar-lowering efforts on working class populations.  What's the effect of all this sugar on kids?  "Diabesity" of course.  Children who are obese and diabetic (they so often go together) are likely to have much sicker and shorter lives than their peers.  Quite the inspiration to cut out the soda and sugary yogurts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunshine and Laziness

The first day of spring came and went without so much as a single ray of sunshine. However, just a few days later we actually got two and a half days together that were sunny or partly so. It's amazing how good it can make you feel after a whole long winter. On gray days I don't have any trouble with sadness, but oh how wide awake things seem when the sun shines.

In years past I would have taken the first bright day that I had off to clean clean clean the house. I like to hang out all the white bedding and pillows and towels to get rid of any musty smells. No matter how cold it still might be, I throw open the doors and windows to get the fresh breeze going. Depending on how inspired I feel, I've even been known to use lemons and other natural cleaners to scrub the kitchen and bathrooms. At the end of the day there's hardly a cobweb or musty smell to be found. Sounds great doesn't?

Except this year. This year I didn't do any of that. My house is not one bit cleaner that it was on the last day of winter. Why? Because we didn't have time for cleaning when we had to run outside and play! On the first day we played in the backyard for an hour and walked in the park for an hour. On the second day we spent several hours in the backyard, went for a walk, and then Daddy came home early and took the girl to the park. It was just an extravaganza that could not be missed for any mere chores.

I suppose that means if it rains today I'm on the housewifely hook. Oh well. Easter is coming up, so I will have to face it soon. I'm going to have to learn to clean on sunny days too or summer is going to be grubby indeed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nursery University Chaos

Over the weekend M and I watched the documentary Nursery University about the preschool admissions process in NYC. Yikes! You will never think about childcare in the same way again after watching that. It seems that the city has experienced a baby boom, so there is a shortage of high quality preschool. Thus parents go through extreme measures to ensure a spot for their child. Some wait all night in the cold while other spend hours on the phone simply trying to get an application for each school. The movie says that for every preschool spot available there are approximately fifteen applicants. Makes a person almost teary-eyed over the old church basements where we all went to nursery school.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toddler Bakes Carrot Cake

Last week Delphinium (Baby's nickname) and I were feeling cooped up in the house, so we decided to make a cake.  I remember very clearly making cakes with my mom for my dad and brother.  She was the most patient teacher, and they were the best ever tasters, so baking became something I really enjoyed.  I hope my girl will feel the same, so we got out the big bowl and set to work.  While she's not yet able to do everything (breaking eggs is hard!) many things she can accomplish.  She scooped, dumped and mixed like the perfect baker, and I did the fiddly bits like measuring and grating carrots.

It's really something to see a little kid really focus on something.  I don't know if baking will always have this power, or if the novelty is the trick, but she was able stay really interested for the whole batter-making process.  Of course there were several rounds of "leave the batter in the bowl" and "carrot peelings do not go in people's hair" but we got there eventually.  Not eating all the raisins on the spot was also hard, but eventually we had a pan of batter in the oven.  The cake turned out light and flavorful, and it was even better the next day.  Daddy was, of course, the best kind of taste tester.  The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup + two TBS flour
1/2 sugar
3/4 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
1 heaping TSP pie spice (or your favorite mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc)
1/4 TSP salt
Blend dry ingredients then add:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-2 eggs depending on size
3/4 grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (optional but tasty)
1/4 crushed pineapple (adds such flavor)

Pour into a 9X9 or 8X8 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until knife in the middle comes out clean.  After cooling, add cream cheese icing if desired, cut into squares, and enjoy.  Cake is even better the next day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Choo Choo Daddy

Daddy recently went on  yet another business trip, but this time, instead of flying, he took the train.  This was a very exciting idea for Delphinium since she is a huge fan of trains.  Sadly, his departure was so early in the morning that there was no way we could see him off.  The next best thing arrived while we girls were eating breakfast.  The first picture was the outside of the train with windows and little stepstool visible.  The next was the inside of the train with seats and luggage bins.  The final pic was Daddy in his seat!  The baby ate these up, and we had to view the triptych at least a dozen times.  That whole week while he was gone, she told people "Daddy go work choo choo!"  I think it helped her to make the trip something exciting instead of something sad.  Then, when Daddy came home, he had video!

Monday, March 12, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 3

We've now been through 26 houses.  I remember reading somewhere that the average person sees about 40 properties before they find the right one, so I should been feeling hopeful.  At this point I'm just tired.  We've spent every weekend for the last couple of months on this project, and it has yielded not a thing.  I had been doing fairly well with the plodding process until this week.  Nothing new has come on this week in our target area in our price range.  Not one house.  I don't know if this is a blip or if something is really happening in the market.  Our agent says that houses go very quickly when they do come on, so maybe that is translating into a rise in prices as well?  Probably it's too soon to tell.  Fingers crossed that we aren't seeing our chances slip away in front of our noses.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Daddy's Away

For the second time in two weeks, Daddy is on a business trip. One can hardly hold it against him since it's for work, but we can't help feeling a little pressed. There is a reason families traditionally come with two parents, or at least I've certainly gotten used to having that way. I find that I can parent, clean, or cook effectively, but I cannot do two, let alone all three of those things at the same time. Something has to give. That means that I all but ignore my child to get the dinner on the table, and the only time any housework gets done is while she's sleeping. Exercise? Ha! Perhaps I will learn to do a better job on my own (goodness knows lots of people have to do it that way all the time!) or maybe I will always feel like I'm not quite cutting the proverbial mustard.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Mimi No More

It finally happened.  Our baby is growing up so fast, and there are all sorts of big and small signs that she's really a kid rather than an infant.  For one thing, she's a huge chatterbox who now goes around telling us what she thinks, what she wants, and which songs she wants skipped on the radio!  One thing that struck me especially was the way our names have changed.  For more than a year we've been "Mimi and Dada."  Don't ask me why it was Mimi instead of Mommy, but she was quite adament about it.  Now, all of a sudden, we're "Mommy and Daddy" like everyone else.  Schnif!  I'll get used to it!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Thor The Abridged

A little sample of how scrambled my brain is these days.  M said I would enjoy the movie "Thor" which he had seen on a guys' night.  We got it from Netflix on DVD, and turned it on after the baby went to bed.  It seemed like a fun action hero sort of movie in that stupidly entertaining kind of way.  I was a little disappointed that I couldn't ogle the hero since the contrast of all that beard against the completely hairless body was just weird.  Nevertheless, it was reasonably fun.  Since he'd seen it before, M was coming in and out doing chores and checking email.  Then the finale came and went and M said "wait that can't be the end?"  The movie's only been on for an hour!"  It turns out that our dying remote had been skipping whole chunks of the movie AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE.  Perhaps I wasn't quite paying attention the way I thought.