Monday, January 17, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus

Today didn't turn out anything like we anticipated. Plan A was for me to go to work with Annika in tow. My mom was going to come up on the train, meet me at work, and take Annika back to our house on the bus. The reverse would happen this afternoon. Annika was VERY excited about riding on the bus. Well, we're all still sicker than dogs (including my mom who called at 5-something this morning to cancel), so I stayed home today. There goes plan A.

Plan B came into effect when Annika woke up cheering that today was a bus day. Crap. Can't disappoint a 3-year-old who is that excited about riding on the bus. So, we decided to ride the bus to the mall and meet Eric for lunch. Plan B went the way of Plan A when our bus didn't show up. Apparently, it is on the holiday schedule, but the metro trip planner website didn't feel the need to let us know that little tidbit. Ack!

Plan C was born. We'd drive to the mall, eat lunch with Eric, and then ride a bus around the perimeter of the mall and drive home. Plan C was the golden plan. It worked perfectly. The bus driver was treated to an Annika and Mommy (who sounds like she has a chorus of frogs in her throat) of "The Wheels on the Bus". He was a very good sport and (I suspect) has kids and possibly grandkids of his own. After our ride around 2 sides of the mall, we hopped off and walked back to our van and drove home.

Now, to see if I can convince Annika to lay down for a nap. Mama is tired, feels like the squirrel that Eric ran over today (let's just say the squirrel lost a game of chicken and leave it at that). Fingers crossed for a little girl who is willing to nap...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Artisan Bread

Lately, I've taken to trying my hand at baking artisan bread. I've had some real luck ... and some real flubs - the worst probably being going to bed and then remembering I had dough that was supposed to get baked that night. OOPS!

I've taken to the Jim Lahey no-knead method and am definitely figuring out how to make it work for us. One aspect of the learning curve was based on the fact we have a gas oven, which has a different temperament than an electric oven. (Hence, the first loaf I made got somewhat charred on the bottom.) I've also decided it works better to do the final rise on a piece of parchment paper that I use to lower the dough into and the baked bread out of the Dutch oven. Jim Lahey's method doesn't call for lining the Dutch oven, which made getting my first loaf out of the pan quite a workout.

It just amazes me that this....

Can become this with such little work!

Did Monet's mom have this kind of mess??

Yesterday, I decided it was a prime opportunity for Conor to express himself artistically. After his creative juices were all used up, it was time for a big ol' bath. I took a tip from Conor's day care teachers and put the paint on his high chair tray and then put paper on top when he was all done. Much easier .... aside from now I need to figure out how to get the paint stains off of the high chair tray (oops).

I just want to know if Monet's mom had to worry about her son having a green tongue, too!

(Fear not, I made sure the paints were non-toxic before we got started) :)