Sunday, September 23, 2012

So Long For Now

After two years (and 399 posts!) my blog is going on hiatus. 
The reason is simple.  Naptime = blogging time.  My kids are now 4 and 2 1/2, and they don't like to nap anymore!
I'm staying subscribed to all the blogs in my feed, and hopefully I can steal a minute here or there to comment.
It's been a pleasure, thanks for reading.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sudsy Fun

This afternoon, once it became clear that Jackson and Olivia weren't interested in napping, I quickly turned to my Pinterest boards for inspiration. Result: soap painting!  

I wasn't too sure about using the paint in the tub, until I found out whether it stained. So we headed out on the deck. The kids dug in, squishing the goopy mixture in their hands.

When I informed them that this was a special paint and they could paint themselves, that's when the grins and good times really started. Soon they were covered from head to toe in colorful suds.

After a rinse in the pool, they were squeaky clean. (And the bubbles didn't stain their swimsuits or anything else, so I'm sure it's fine to use in the bathtub.)

We had a light dinner of soup and veggies. I made Nigella Lawson's pea and pesto soup, a longtime favorite.

I fired up my indoor grill pan and charred some summer squash and okra.

I also roasted some little potatoes we got from the CSA. I had no idea they were bright purple on the inside, until I cut into them!

Quite a colorful day, overall.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Today we had lunch at Shandeez. It's located in a nondescript strip mall that I've driven past several times. When I saw a Groupon for the restaurant, I decided we should try it out.
We started with some baba ganoush and pita bread.

Hummus, too.

I had the choose-your-own vegetarian sampler with kashk-o-bademjan (eggplant with yogurt, mint, onion and saffran), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with lemony rice) with yogurt, falafel patties, and tabouli. The tabouli was served in layers -- bulgur on the bottom, followed by tons of parsley, then tomato, then red onion. This presented a problem because it was served in a tiny bowl, making it impossible to combine the ingredients without spilling them all over the place. I thought it was funny. Aside from the odd deconstructed tabouli, everything tasted pretty good. I wouldn't say it's the best Middle Eastern food in town, but it was a fine lunch.

Afterwards we took the kids to the bookstore. The train set in the kids' section has been such a godsend for us this summer. Anytime we needed to get out of the house for an hour, but it was too hot to go to a park, this is where we found ourselves.
The books are fun, too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bird Feathers

Jackson has become a collector of bird feathers. I made him a little bird that he can tape them on. Then he counts the feathers. He is up to twelve now. Poor, featherless birds! We have too many stray cats in our neighborhood.
For dinner last night I made Sweet Potato Falafels. I didn't care for them. They were dense and flavorless. I will stick to regular, chickpea falafels from now on. least I tried something new.

We ate them in pita halves, with various toppings: baba ganoush, red onion, cherry tomatoes, hummus, and thinly sliced summer squash. I've been making a lot of baba ganoush since we joined the CSA. We've gotten eggplant in every box, and Tony doesn't like eggplant in any other form.

Leftovers for lunch: falafels on ciabatta bread with Veganaise, sriracha, and red onion. Not much improvement the second day. Oh well.

By the way, I want to thank my readers for bearing with me during this time of crappy phone camera pics. My camera got broken on our trip to the Children's Museum. We decided that it is time to upgrade to a DSLR, which I'm excited about. But the first one we ordered turned out to be a dud and we had to send it back. So now we are waiting for our refund and then we will shop around some more. In the meantime, my phone is all I have!

Monday, September 10, 2012


It's official, my parents are buying a house about 40 minutes from us, in Georgetown. They will get the keys in a couple weeks. This weekend, Tony and I decided to visit Georgetown and get a feel for the area. Jackson and Olivia napped in the car while we drove around. When they woke up, we stopped by a fun playground.

After the kids worked up an appetite, we ate at the Monument Cafe. The building resembles an old-timey diner, the type we saw everywhere when we lived in New York state.

While we perused the menus, our server brought us each a giant, fluffy biscuit.

I ordered the garden sandwich -- a big slab of cornmeal-crusted fried eggplant, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, swiss cheese, and sprouts, served on hippie wheat bread, with a side of housemade potato chips. Tony hates eggplant, so I could never get away with making a sandwich like this at home. I savored every bite -- it was a great sandwich!

When I saw "key lime pie" on their daily specials board, I knew I had to order a slice. Even though it's my favorite type of pie, key lime pie is another thing that I never make at home. Tony doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so I'd end up having to eat most of it by myself. When it comes to key lime pie, I lack the restraint that such a scenario would call for.

Divine! Jackson and Olivia "helped" me finish it off. I didn't really need help, but we always tell them it's important to share, so I felt I had to set a good example. It was tough!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Children's Museum

Today we rode the commuter rail downtown. That's an adventure all by itself, for Jackson and Olivia. They love riding the train.

Our destination provided even more excitement. This was our first time visiting the Austin Children's Museum!

We walked in to a whirlwind of activity. Dozens of kids buzzed around, running from station to station. We parked Olivia's stroller and got ourselves oriented. The first room we visited was full of golf balls and various ramps to roll them down.

The golf ball room alone was enough to entertain my kids for a good 45 minutes. Then they requested a snack, so we made our way to the designated dining area and they chomped on some granola bars and blueberries.

Then it was back to the action, for several hours. They donned hard hats and safety vests to enter the multi-level "construction site."

Plastic nuts and bolts arrived through an air chute. Olivia had the genius idea of using her hard hat to collect them.

This complicated piece of machinery was used to scoop up rubber balls and deposit them in a pit.

After observing big brother in action, Olivia had it figured out.

Next, we moved on to the hall of mirrors. Multiple Jacksons!

Olivia found some butterfly wings to try on.

Jackson went fishing for magnetic fish. And Olivia fish.

Their favorite station by far was the kitchen. Are these my kids or what?

Olivia making her "quesa-tillas."

Serving it up.

And, this shows how well my kids know me. "Mommy, here is your lunch," Jackson said, proudly serving me a plate of pizza and jalapeno peppers.

Chairs of various sizes help the kids learn about scale.

Olivia thought the tiny chair was hilarious.

They loved making faces in this red bubble thing.

At the chalkboard, Olivia collected all the O's. It's the only letter she knows right now. "O for me!" she exclaims.

I thought the vet's office was a cute touch. Olivia took good care of Mr. Squirrel and gave him his shots.

We had such an awesome time, we bought a membership. And Jackson's looking over my shoulder as I write this post, reminding me that we need to go again soon.

For dinner, I made a quick yet fabulous Chana Masala. Can't recommend this recipe enough! The spice level is mild, so I sliced some banana peppers onto me and Tony's servings.

How was your day?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

China Festival and Curry

Saturday was our "out and about" day this weekend. We had lunch at Curry in Hurry. I've reviewed it before. It's so good. All vegetarian, and they have lots of meal combinations and daily specials, as well as Indian street food appetizers.
We started with one of those appetizers, pani puri. This snack consists of thin, crispy shells filled with chickpeas, onion and cilantro, served with tamarind sauce and mint water. You spoon the tamarind sauce and mint water into the little round shell and pop the whole thing into your mouth. The combination of all those different flavors is awesome. 
I ordered the lunch combination and was told that I could pick two items, along with cumin rice and paratha bread. I chose the okra curry and the split peas in a tomato sauce. Both were so good. I get okra every week in my CSA box, but I can always deal with more okra! Tony had the same combo as me, and also enjoyed it. Jackson and Olivia ate a mild chickpea curry over rice.
After lunch, we headed to the George Washington Carver Museum for their China festival. This was a free event that sounded like it would be interesting for the whole family, and it was. First, we saw a group of tradional Chinese drummers.
Next, we hit the kids' craft area. Jackson and Olivia made some Chinese dragons.
Jackson's finished dragon -- so sparkly!
Olivia didn't want to cut hers out. Hers was very sparkly, too. That's my girl.
After finishing the crafts, we watched a kung fu demonstration.The crowd was too big to get any good pics, though. This was Jackson's favorite part of the festival.
Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!