Friday, August 31, 2007

Sweet and Pungent

Pungent, there's a fabulous word. Pungent as in Sweet and Pungent Walnuts, from A Single Pebble. That is one of my favorites, along with the Mock Eel. Yes, my friends, we went today, taking along the girls. It wasn't exactly a roaring success, but it didn't suck, either. Sophia didn't eat anything at all and Fiona only ate tea, rice, and pork...but! she tried everything! This is huge! So when we went by Starbucks (I know, I know, evil coffee empire) because my sister Alex so kindly informed me that they have the Pumpkin Spice Latte again (there is no Starbucks anywhere near where I live, so this is a special treat...otherwise I would find myself frittering away our disposable income, I'm sure), I bought them each a slice of pumpkin bread. Hey, it probably has pumpkin in it, right? What's better for you than pumpkin? Hell if I know.

Fiona's teacher and the other kindergarten teacher came for a home visit, and Fiona immediately showed them in and, without pause, took them to her room, and showed them her dragon books, her dinosaur bone puzzles, her calico critter house, and Sweety and Pippi. Everyone loves those parakeets. She didn't seem too interested in learning more about class or the school or anything else. Her teacher asked her a question as Fiona was rummaging in her jewelry box, and Fiona said, completely in her own world, "Look at this beautiful ring I found!". She took quite readily to her teachers and even gave her teacher a hug. At this point, there are only 12 kids in her class. Only 4 of them are boys.

Sophia started Kindermusic today, and we went as a family. The teacher was especially pleased to see Fiona as Fiona has been going since before she started walking and Fiona really likes this teacher. Sophia stayed glued to Doug unless she was dancing and twirling and running around. She seemed to enjoy the class. One of these Kindermusic songs is a little too catchy and it has been in my head for about 4 years. Fiona heard it again today and she remarked to me, as if she were slightly perplexed, that she couldn't seem to get it out of her head. I told her it was, unfortunately, normal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Dining & Wine
Edible Films With Superpowers
Published: August 29, 2007

Scientists in a handful of labs around the country are coating foods with an invisible film to protect them from mold and pathogens and increase their shelf life.

Potions Master

So now that Fiona sleeps in her own bed, she doesn't really have someone to snuggle into if she has a nightmare. Well, she will still wake us (Doug) up, and we (he) will tuck her back into bed. One night, she had this nightmare where all these people were walking their dogs. She and I were walking, too, but without a dog (probably because we don't have one). We looked down and saw a dog leg. I said, "Oh, I didn't know bats ate dogs!". Everyone was very scared and ran away with their dogs.

I think I've got that right. Every time I think I understand, I don't and she shrieks at me in exasperation. Mommy is really. slow.

So, I think it was after that dream that Doug ran downstairs and got his bottled Gulf of Mexico. See, he had this sexy little bottle full of ocean water that he saved from a special trip; this is before we had met. So this is bottled Gulf o' Mexico aged over a decade. If you are like me, and certain that strange flesh-eating bacteria are probably thriving in the bottle by this time, let me assure you that all is well. He brings it to her and tells her it is a special potion that will keep away bats. It is clear that it isn't a potion you drink, you just have it. It worked. She carried it with her everywhere. We took it to Maine. She poured it out into the Atlantic Ocean and took a little Atlantic with her home.

Now the Atlantic has been colored red and glitter added (actually, I am not entirely sure it's still the ocean water). She decided on the way home that she wants to make potions and sell them in her potion shop. She is trying to figure out a way to do this without ocean water. She wants to make potions to keep away all types of scary creatures.

Our Trip to Maine

First of all, I am happy to say I found the veggie chips that I loved (look at the comments section, actually) so much in the box lunch you get at Gesine's. I found it at the Hanover co-op, but you can, of course, get them online. They aren't oily, they are very crispy, and they are very flavorful. I wonder if they dehydrate them a bit first, then fry them? I don't know how they do it.

Last week, we drove to Portland, Maine to stay for a couple of nights. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express which was okay, but a bit overpriced. It was one of the cheapest chain hotels I could find in that area, though. Perhaps it is so high because it is a popular time of year to go to Maine. I can't say I recommend it. The bed is comfy and the people are very nice and helpful, but the pool! The pool was really dirty. We didn't let the girls go in and they had been looking forward to some swimming time. We did the pool right before leaving, so it wasn't really something we could ask them to fix. Maybe I would have if Sophia hadn't had an accident right in the middle of the comfy bed (which I told them about and Doug left a note on the spot saying "here").

We didn't really spend our time in Portland except to eat at some chain restaurants like On The Border (which I found satisfying...especially the margarita) and Uno (which we've never been in before, just like On The Border, and it was okay...Doug's turn for a margarita, which was very good, but was also $8.99!). We were staying across from a mall, of all things, and we wandered in there and I found the only bra from Victoria's Secret that fits me, from the Intimissimi line from Italy. I had thought they only had it at big, major stores, and only a few in the US. I guess Maine is one of them? Who knew? Vermont is definitely not one of those stores. I can actually get a fun little bra in size ONE. I tried a two, and I can see now I am definitely a ONE. But it fits. Plus they were on sale, so I had to buy two. Everything else in that store can reduce me to tears of frustration.

The next day we had planned to go to a blueberry festival/fair in Union. After seeing that it was at least another hour north, as was the botanical garden and train museum, we decided to go south along the coast and go beach hopping and tide pool exploring.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
We went to York Beach and Fort Foster. It was a fabulous choice. (Can you tell we put off researching this trip until the last minute?) We didn't even make it to York's Wild Kingdom Zoo, but maybe next time. Next time, I want to stay in that area instead of Portland. Portland is fine, but York was more of the sort of thing we were interested in for this trip.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
We also found the Kittery outlet stores, purely by chance, which we would have totally ignored except Doug declared he saw a Hanna Andersson outlet. I just love Hanna Andersson, so I turned the car around (a bit to Doug's chagrin) and we braved the crowds. I wanted to find Fiona a coat, but they didn't have anything like that. I did end up getting each girl a new dress and leggings. I'm glad we actually had a chance to try things on instead of going by measurements and ordering online, because I saw they are in the next size up already. They are both between sizes right now (Fiona is 110/120 and Sophia 90/100). We escaped as soon as that was done.

On the way back, we had to stop at Len Libby candies, both for the homemade candies and the chocolate moose (there are also chocolate bear cubs).

I recommend the blueberry malt balls (I have a thing for malt balls). We haven't tried everything yet. Trying to pace ourselves. Oh, both the maple caramel corn and the blueberry caramel corn are divine. There are lots of samples to help you choose.

We returned to the Children's Museum of Portland, which is a really awesome place for the kids. They had a great time, although Sophia mostly wanted to press the buttons for the video of sea creatures.

It's good to be back home, but I can't wait to go back. One of these times, I'm getting a damn lobster roll.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

That's a Great Toy!...For Me to Poop On.

Yesterday we went to the Champlain Valley Fair, which is always fun. Apparently a good day to go is Monday, early. It was very easy to get a front row seat for the Pig Racing. They loved this. The person calling out the names of the pigs and the winner picks a child, one out of each of four sections, to be the section's "cheerleader". If their pig wins, they get a prize, which, as far as I could see, was a pig on a key chain. This is the first time Fiona has either caught on to this or been interested and she wanted to be picked. She did get picked, but her pig didn't win. Being the total saps that we are, when it was announced you could buy a pig on a key chain for $2, we said okay.

Well. It's not just any pig on a key chain. It's a pooping pig on a key chain. And it's eyes pop out when you squeeze it. This is better than the egg coming out of the rubber chicken. At least we knew what we were getting with the chicken.

And get this. The poop? Is sticky. It's just all sorts of classy. It is the hot toy of the moment around here.

So, moving right along (ahem), we had a great time at the fair. Maple Creemies (yes, it's spelled that way) and mini doughnuts and fresh lemonade to be had.

Sophia's favorite, pony riding, also done. She didn't scream and cry this year when it was time to stop.

Sophia didn't get a pig and was distraught over this, so we decided to stop by this awesome toy store, Jamie Two-Coats' in Shelburne. We ended up getting Sophia this:

for her room, which is now underway. We're just waiting for the bed to get here...dum de dum de dum...
Both girls are crazy about this thing. I have a sheet clipped to it with big wooden clips

and it seems to be a place for Fiona's favorite books (about dragons and princesses), Dandra's lair, and also a place for unicorn play. In Sophia's room. I'm glad Sophia loves playing with Fiona!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Adventures

There it is. Or was. The tooth that is now a $5 garnet dragon gem.

There's our wounded Sophia. She looks a lot better actually. The swelling is all gone.

We went to the Shelburne Museum today and it was a sparkling day. We had a great time. But then we tried to do too much, I suppose, and went to the Flying Pig Bookstore, which looked awesome, but as Fiona had a major tantrum, we left immediately. We tried for a quick trip to Cheese Trader and Wine Sellers, but like many places in Vermont, they are closed on Sundays. It was not meant to be. She slept the whole way home, which is very unusual. On the way to Shelburne Museum, we ate lunch at Chef Leu's House, which is a Chinese restaurant nearby we have never tried before. It always looked rather empty. I have no idea why. The eggplant in garlic sauce special was excellent. We also had pork and green beans and chicken and broccoli. Both were great. Sophia ate rice and broccoli and Fiona had rice with pork and green beans. Everyone had tea. They both did very well there. I'm sure we'll go again. Next time I will order more adventurous dishes and/or more specials. I feel like I can even try the seafood here.

They both had a great time finding dragons in the restaurant. Fiona declared that the gold dragon (which was a miniature boat) at the front desk was an Asian Lung dragon.

Parenting Rule #756: Always Have Wet Wipes in the Car.

Thanks to EllenAim for inspiring me to put my Simpsonized picture here (I just realized we are wearing the same outfit, how embarrassing!) and also thank you for the:

If only I were worthy! I agree with your award most wholeheartedly. Your blog is extremely entertaining. I also agree that Triana is most deserving.

It has been a rough few days. I shlepped the kids and a picnic lunch to an unknown playground at a school and we weren't there 15 minutes when, worried I left the car lights on, I dashed off to check the car, leaving my friend Jen in charge with the kids. Sophia noticed after a few moments and dashed after me, tripping and sliding on her face and shoulder across the asphalt (not the grass or the playground mulch, the asphalt. Of course). She had a very big upper lip, a very scraped and bloody nose, scraped shoulder, hand, and cheek. She was a total mess. I felt horrible. I had no wipes or tissues (I had just used them up, okay?). I borrowed some. She didn't even want to stop for a popsicle or ice cream. We went straight home and I found a lone popsicle in the freezer. I gave her Tylenol (she said her lip hurt). She looks much better now and is totally herself. I am still recovering.

For some reason, our source for big organic blueberries is not doing so well this year, so I buy what I can at the farmer's market and hope that next week she can bring me a case of them. I did get some blackberries, too, which aren't as nice as the ones I got in Utah, but Sophia adores them and will eat them rapidly and with great concentration. It is also cold. I am not sure it's even in the 70s anymore. Time to buy all that lovely snow gear, I fear.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The End of the Summer

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So we finally find out that Fiona is in the morning Kindergarten class--not the afternoon one like I thought. Her class starts at 7:45. AM. It will be pitch black at 7:45 AM for a few months, you know. I feel trepidation about this. Fiona just said to me, "I know when to get up when I look at the window and the sun is up". Oh yes, that sounds quite natural. We are actually early risers here, but in the winter, it is just really dark here. I mean, I know it's not Alaska or the Netherlands or what have you, but it's dark in the winter. Well, I'm sure she'll get used to it...although I haven't really in the years we've been here.

Her teacher also patiently explained to me that, morning or afternoon, Fiona would be in some sort of "literary circle" and her reading encouraged (what my main concern was, as they did ask my preference for which class we wanted--afternoon--and they said they planned to have a reading circle in the afternoon, so that would work out can see why I had concerns, but I guess since that conversation was in May, it was too far in the past to actually have any more relevance? I know, I know, things change, and I really have no idea what happens at the school during the summer. Or what happens at the school at all behind the scenes. Yet?)

So that all starts September 5th. We're squeezing in all the playdates we can, going to the circus this afternoon (feeling a little nervous about pulling that one off, I can tell you), going somewhere for a couple of days in the two weeks Doug is taking off after this week, going to the fair, and possibly going apple picking, but that may happen after school starts. I believe the swimming pools close this week. In fact, I think our town's pool And we haven't been there all summer (we've been to other swimming pools and the river, but not that one!). The one time we tried to go, it thundered as soon as we got out of the car. That happened last year, too. Fiona has told me she wants to go to the beach (the lake) to use her inflatable boat and oars and vest before summer is over.

Things feel a bit frantic over here. At least we made it to the farmer's market to get the best, biggest blueberries I've ever seen anywhere! They are even "organic".

The above picture was taken by Sobo at River Run, a great place where we used to eat with our friends Annie, Eric, and Andrea before kids and while Annie, Andrea and I were at NECI. They used to just have breakfast and lunch, but now it's all three meals and I enjoyed my catfish and hushpuppy dinner with some local beer. The breakfasts were always just awesome. I'm so glad they have dinner now, too (not to mention a larger seating area!). It is also very child friendly (thank goodness as Sophia and Julia both had A Moment). They still only accept cash, but there is an ATM there near the bathroom. It wasn't working when we went.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to Dodge a Question

Fiona came up to me again (I swear I just sat down) and asked me if I remember that time we went to Sears at the mall and then saw Santa Claus and she asked him for a unicorn?

I said, yes, I remember that.

She said that was fun. I agreed.

Then she said, "This year I have some questions for him, though. I want to ask him if he really flies with the reindeer. What do you think, Mom? Do you think that's true? Do you think reindeers really fly?"

I said, "Well, what do you think?"

She said, "I don't really know. I'll ask him."

I said it's a very good question.

The Amuse Bouche of the Morning

So I'm sitting here suffering through cramps and drinking tea thinking it will do something and Fiona and Sophia come over and announce they want breakfast (who do they think I am?). I mention I (finally!) got some Seven in the Morning cereal (Kashi seven whole grain nugget cereal now...or something like that) and we have blueberries; would they like that? Fiona says yes and then says: "But first can I have...what is that word?...oh yes, can I have a kiss for an appetizer?"