Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Morning Baking

Making Goldfish Crackers

Bowl of Goldfish

Made these adorable goldfish crackers from Smitten Kitchen this morning. They were easy and fun, as well as delicious. The only change I made to the recipe was white whole wheat flour instead of regular whole wheat. Mine do seem a bit puffier than the crackers in the SK photos. I'm wondering if this is due to our high altitude. Yeast breads rise crazy fast here and bake fast too. But I don't think there was anything in the crackers to make them rise. Hmmm...a little culinary mystery. At any rate, they were a hit with everyone. Next time I definitely need to make a double batch!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Niamh's Imagination

Niamh Coatless in the Snow

Yesterday Niamh was playing by the bookshelf with heart shaped crayons and a Hello Kitty face made of Perler Beads, and narrating a story between the two, when Rowan said "Mama, I sure like Neevie's imagination."

Niamh is a storyteller. Besides telling stories with her toys (or non-toys, as the case may be), she is also the one who will pick up a book and tell a story as she flips through the pages. Sometimes related to the actual story, sometimes not. I especially love it when she narrates her life in real time. Like the other morning when I asked her to go upstairs to get dressed. She cheerfully replied "Okay, Mama!" while walking up the stairs. And then in a slightly quieter voice "She said as she dashed away."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Through The Back Gate

Through the Door-honey

Trucks in the Snow

Niamh Down the Hill

Sledding + Flare

Rowan wanted to drive his truck on the path behind the house, which led to the idea of trying our sled on the small slope between the path and the field. We bought this sled years ago in Switzerland and had sadly never used it until now. Turns out it is great fun! One of the many things we meant to get to during our time in Morges, but never did. Kicking ourselves now, as I knew we would, for not using our time there more wisely.

If you are wondering where was on Muriel this particular morning--she was inside with Daddy. When she sees Ro and Niamh excitedly getting ready to go outside on snowy days she thinks she wants to go too, but has always had enough of it after about ten minutes. Oh, yeah. That's why we never did much with the snow when we lived in Switzerland.

Staples RJ Ranch

Staples RJ Ranch

Came across this really cool old ranch building near the bike path. If there hadn't been a stream separating me from it, I would have been tempted to do some trespassing for more photographs.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Snow On the Lawn Chairs

Shoveling Snow

Hit By Snow
stay out of the way when daddy is shoveling the sidewalks

Muriel Laughing Snow
don't worry, she thought it was funny

Blowing Snow

Niamh + Yellow Truck


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wintery Math

fence + snow haze




(square) snow ice cream
snow ice cream!

It snowed Thursday night and almost all day on Friday, giving us the opportunity to make snow ice cream. There are a gazillion recipes out there on the internet, and they are all basically the same. I used two different methods, one with cream (minus the vanilla pudding mix) and one with chilled sweetened condensed milk. I thought the ice cream with the condensed milk would be better, but neither the kids or I could taste a difference. Maybe a side by side test is in order for the next time it snows. One thing I found helpful, which neither website mentions, is to make sure the individual bowls for the ice cream have been chilled for a bit in the freezer before serving. This ice cream melts fast and the chilled bowls help slow it down a bit.

One of my clearest memories of the Thanksgivings spent at my Great-Grandmother's house in Eastern Washington as a child is making snow ice cream with my sisters and cousins. It was fun to do again!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Muriel + Owl Hat

Muriel + Owl Hat

Just got this hat in the mail yesterday, made by the very talented Kat, found here. If she hadn't closed her Etsy shop because her third baby is due in a few weeks I'm pretty sure I'd be ordering at least ten more of The Cutest Hat Ever.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hammond's Candy Factory & Dinosaur Ridge

Hammond's Candy Factory

On Saturday we spent the day in Denver at the Hammond's Candy Factory, and then at Dinosaur Ridge. Both were kind of a bust. We didn't see much candy making at Hammond's because apparently on a Saturday in the middle of winter they don't have a lot of workers. The tour guide told us we should come back either on a weekday or in the summer.

And Dinosaur Ridge?

Dinosaur Ridge

Well, the dino footprints were all covered in snow. But we were the only people at the visitor's center, and the guide that was manning it was really nice and interactive with the kids. At any rate, it was nice to get out of the house for a bit.

Below are a few pics I took at Hammond's.

three kids in hats

red and white candy canes

Cocoa Stirrers

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finishing Her Lunch at Snack Time is Tough

Muriel + Sandwich

Muriel + Sandwich III

Murile + Sandwich II

These are the looks Muriel gives me when she doesn't eat her entire meal at lunch and I make her finish it in the afternoon before she can have the super gross special snack Rowan somehow talked me into buying at the supermarket.

On a different note, in these pictures Muriel is sporting her very favorite "moon" shirt. When she started asking for her moon shirt every day a month or so ago, I told her over and over that she didn't have a moon shirt. It took me quite a while to figure out what she was talking about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hold Hands Firmly, Hearts Gently.

One thing I love about being back in the states is all the holiday candy. On the other hand, I do miss a lot of the holiday treats we had in Switzerland. Such a dilemma!

Friday, February 4, 2011

iPhoneography at FuoriBorgo

The lovely Francesca over at one of my favorite blogs, FuoriBorgo, asked me to do a guest post for her on iPhoneography way back in December. Being the terrible procrastinator that I am, I've finally gotten it done for her, nearly two months later. Thanks for being so patient, Francesca!!

Plastic Bins Make a Great Bed
Niamh during quiet time a few weeks ago. Comfy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's Hard To Take Pictures of Toothless Dinosaurs

Dino Claws!

Here He Comes!

Ro's Gap Toothed Smile

But I did eventually manage to get that toothless smile on camera. The tooth fairy is becoming very familiar with our house!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


For Christmas Rowan received a volcano kit from Grammie Krista and Papa Gary. We just got around to making it last weekend, and it was of course a huge hit!

Painting the Volcano

Painting the Volcano II

January 20111

Volcano Eruption V

It was not quite the fiery explosion I was expecting from the picture on the front of the box.


In Rowan's mind however, it is perfect. Especially nice is that with just baking soda and vinegar for the lava, he can make his volcano erupt over and over again. Thanks so much, Grammie and Papa!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green Beans and Lettuce

January 2011

Muriel Serious

I'm pretty sure she's the sweetest two year old around--chapped lips, chapped cheeks, crusty nose, attitude, and all. Her language has really taken off the past couple months. I hear a lot of "What that for, Mama?" and "Why, Mama?" I really need to try and get her little voice recorded. Sometimes I wonder if she's really related to Rowan and Niamh. On Saturday the only thing she ate for dinner was green beans and pile after pile of plain shredded lettuce. Yum.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chocolate Pie For All

Chocolate Pie

Happy National Pie Day! Okay, I'm not really that on top of things. Nor do I really care that much that it's National Pie Day, as much as I love pie. But I happened to see it mentioned on Facebook as I was preparing to write this post, and thought it was a mildy interesting coincidence.

Anyway, In summer of 2001 Pat and I discovered one of our favorite desserts in the May/June issue of Cook's Illustrated. Their chocolate cream pie became something we made for many, many special and not-so-special occasions. After Niamh was old enough to care if she was eating the same dessert as us or not we stopped making it very often because of the eggs. But then (!!!!) a week or so ago I saw a vanilla pudding post on Smitten Kitchen which led me over to her chocolate pudding and chocolate pudding pie recipes. Both eggless! I don't know why it never occurred to me that puddings can be made without eggs.

I made the pudding straight away, but waited until Pat returned from his latest business trip before making the pie. I ended up using the crust recipe from CI (slightly adapted), and the pudding from SK. The pie turned out really great, but Pat and I both agreed that it didn't seem quite as chocolate-y as the CI custard/pudding recipe. I think next time I'll add the chocolate according the the CI recipe.

All in all, thumbs up. It was the perfect addition to movie night on Friday. And we're thrilled to be able to make our favorite (one of, that is) dessert again!

Movie Night Pile Up
clearly, not everyone was riveted by Astro Boy

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Instagram Experimentation

little tiger

I've been playing around this past week with a new photo app called Instagram. I love the filters, but I'm not sure about many other aspects of it. It does not save photos at full resolution, which is a huge downside since I like to print out iPhone photos. The photos do look great on the screen though, so I'll print one or two out just to see how less than full resolution photos look. It's supposed to be a great way to share pictures easily and interact with other photographers by posting your photo simultaneously to many different places besides Instagram. It was fine for Flickr. But when the thumbnail posted to your Facebook wall is clicked on you are rerouted to an Instagram site, instead of the photograph simply being enlarged. And between Flickr, Facebook, and this blog do I really need another place to keep up with?

In looking at other people's photos I notice that there are indeed a bizarre number of cat shots. Also quite a few photos that I'm skeptical were taken with an iPhone. Such as fairly close and detailed moon shots, as well as pictures with a lot of bokeh. Of course there's no iPhone-only rule, but in a photo app like that one kind of expects to be looking only at iPhone photography.

In spite of all that I'm going to give it another couple of weeks. I'm @emilyfrances for anyone who wants to experiment with me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eagles In Socks

Three Eagles in Socks BW

The kids went outside to play this morning and when I looked out the kitchen window a bit later I noticed that nobody had their shoes on anymore. Yes, it is mid-January. Yes, there is still some snow on the ground (can you see it by the fence?). No, it was not above fifty degrees. My first instinct was to open the door and order them to get their shoes on immediately. But they they were running back and forth so joyously I instead opened the door to take a picture. When they saw me they said "Look Mama, we're eagles!"

A little bit later they tried to convince me that it was perfect weather for getting in their swimsuits and running through the sprinkler. "We want to be fresh and cool!" "It would be like a bath outside!" There were some very sad faces when they realized no amount of reasoning was going to convince me say yes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mean Old Bear

Summer Sunrise in Colorado
summer sunrise in Colorado

Rowan (screaming at me):

"You are mean, mean, MEAN, like a mean old bear!"

Hmmm...maybe old photos from the summer where everything looks peaceful with help give me some zen today. I hope the worst thing he ever calls me is a mean old bear. No? Well, as long as I'm looking at summer sunrises, I might as well indulge other wishful thoughts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Neevie-roo's Turn

Sweet Neevie-roo

Niamh, a few months back, said a few things which I wrote down in order to not forget:

"I wish the moon would fly down to us in the car so I could hold him."

And when I asked her to please stop growing:

"If I stay four years old I will never get to have a birthday and everyone else will die and then there will be nobody to cook me dinner."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dinner Questions

Rowan, last night at dinner:

"Do they speak English in Hawaii?"

I had barely finished answering this question, when it was followed by:
"How does the Easter Bunny move...or walk?"

Then, a little later (after worrying a bit, for the one thousandth time, if the Easter Bunny comes to the United States):
"Do bats hibernate or do they come out every night?"

"Where is heaven?"
When I said that nobody knows he said
"Maybe the computer can tell us where heaven is."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Even Suburbia Is Pretty When It Snows

Berry & Popcorn Garland

The kids and I made this garland for the birds and squirrels mid-December, and I was totally disgusted to come back from our trip to see that not one berry or kernel of popcorn had been touched. Anyway, it snowed quite a bit yesterday which was fun for the children, but has me worried about driving the next couple of days.

Rowan in the Snow

Niamh in the Snow