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Friday, July 31, 2009

Crepe recipe

I've loved crepes ever since the day TCBY opened in Hays sometime in the'80s and I first sampled the deliciosity of strawberry banana crepes. From there, the love affair continued with Swedish crepes with lingonberries and IHOP's spinach-mushroom crepes with hollandaise sauce. But I've always been afraid to make them in my own kitchen. They seemed too intimidating, too time-consuming, too messy to bother with.

Until today.

The Vegetarian Times has a story this month on crepes, and I decided to try the Parisian-style Sweet Crepes. They were surprisingly easy (as easy as pancakes or waffles), and yummy, too. In fact, the entire family enjoyed them, which is pretty rare in our house of picky eaters.

So here's how you make them.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I didn't bother to beat the egg I used because I'm lazy like that)
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract (as usual, I just poured without measuring)

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in egg; mixture will be shaggy. (Don't you love that description?) Whisk in milk 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk in vanilla. Cover and chill 30 minutes or over night.

2. Whisk 1/4 to 1/2 cup water into batter to thin. Lightly grease 9-inch non-stick skillet with canola oil (I just used regular old vegetable oil.) Heat skillet over medium heat until drops of water sizzle (just like for pancakes).

3. Pour 1/4 cup batter into hot skillet, tilting pan to swirl batter so it coats bottom of pan. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until edges begin to brown and center is dry. Flip; cook 30 seconds to 1 minutes longer.

4. Transfer crepe to plate, and repeat with remaining batter. Serve with butter and jam, Nutella, sugar, fruit, apple butter, or whatever other yumminess you have lying around your kitchen looking for a home. If your crepes get cold before you eat them (ours didn't), reheat them for a minute in a lightly greased pan.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Little Miss Busy

Suddenly Emilia is into everything. She pulls books off the coffee table and bookshelves. She takes magazines out of baskets. She drags measuring cups out of drawers and Rubbermaid containers out of cabinets. She is very busy.

She's also figured out that just because I put her in her crib doesn't mean she has to nap. She's always been such a good little napper. I would just rock her for a few minutes, put her in her crib, let her cry for a few minutes, and she'd go right to sleep. Now, even if she's exhausted, she stands up and holds onto the crib railing, screaming and absolutely refusing to go to sleep. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What principles?

At last week's BlogHer convention in Chicago, one of the topics discussed was whether blogs that review products should include a disclaimer stating that they are paid or receive free products in exchange for positive reviews.

Let me just say that I'm am perfectly willing to give positive reviews to any product in exchange for cash or freebies. I have a loyal readership of approximately 12, so positive reviews on this blog are sure to increase sales exponentially.

Any takers?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adventures in Amarillo

Despite the problems with our hotel, we enjoyed our weekend in Amarillo. It's a little closer than Wichita, and since it's smaller, there's less driving in the city and traffic is non-existent.

Splash Amarillo was a lot of fun. The wave pool was my favorite, but Ella's favorite was the Sidewinder (aka Taco) Slide. It's a taco-shaped slide that you ride in an inner-tube. It sends you down one side on an almost 90-degree drop, then shoots you back up the other side. You can click here and here to see some pictures of the slide.

When we first saw the slide, I didn't think Ella would be tall enough to ride it. Then I found out she is exactly 48 inches tall (the minimum height to ride the slide), but I didn't think she'd want to ride it. I was wrong. Then I thought she'd chicken out when we got to the top. Wrong again. You sit down in your inner-tube at the top of the slide while the lifeguard holds you in place with their feet. Then the lifeguard jumps out of the way and you go shooting down. The whole time we were dropping, Ella was screaming, "Mommy, mommy," and I thought, "I am the worst mother in the world for letting her do this. She's got to be terrified." Then we got off and she said, "That was fun. Let's do that again." So we did. The things we do for our children.

Sunday we went to Wonderland. Ella is such a little dare-devil. She rode every ride she was tall enough to ride, over and over and over. I was still a little motion-sick on Monday. I've decided next time we go to an amusement park, we're bringing a cousin or a friend so someone else can ride some of those rides with her. Mommy's a little too old for that many rides. Luckily Ella's not quite tall enough yet for the really scary rides, but in a few months I'm sure she will be.

I'm not quite sure where this fearlessness comes from. After all, this is the girl who was afraid to go to both Bible School and summer reading this summer. She routinely says, "But Mommy, I'm just not comfortable doing that" or "Mommy, I'm not comfortable without you." But put her in line for a roller coaster, and she has absolutely no fear.

We didn't do everything we had hoped to do. We didn't make it to the zoo or down to Route 66. We didn't go to Palo Duro Canyon. But less is more, especially when you're traveling with children.

Emilia was a little trouper (as was Ryan, who spent most of the time at Splash Amarillo and Wonderland holding her while I took Ella on rides). Emilia's nap schedule was thrown out the window; she just little cat naps here and there. Except for a meltdown at the water park before she fell asleep, she hung in there for everything we did. It was kind of hard at Wonderland because she wanted to get down and crawl around but there really wasn't anywhere safe for her to do that. She did demonstrate problem-solving abilities by pulling the stroller toward herself and knocking over the popcorn bag so she could feed herself popcorn while Ella and I rode the roller coaster. That's the second child for you, huh?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hotel from Hell

We're having fun in Amarillo, and I'll post more about that later (including the insanely scary water slide Ella made me go down...twice!), but for now I have to tell you why you should never never ever stay at the Homewood Suites in Amarillo.

It should have been a sign that I had trouble making the reservation to begin with. When I made our reservation online, it gave me an error message with a phone number to call. So I call the number (Hilton's corporate reservation number), and they inform me that the kind of room we want (a two-room suite with two queen beds) does not exist in Amarillo. Period. Not that they're full, but that there aren't any. So I start looking at other hotels online when I get a confirmation email thanking me for my reservation. So I call to find out if I do have a reservation and for what kind of room. This time they say I do have a reservation for a two-room suite with two queen beds. Fabulous.

So on Friday we get to Amarillo in time for lunch, and then we do a little shopping before we head to the hotel. By the time we get to the hotel, Emilia is asleep in her carseat, so I send Ryan in to check in, thinking he'll be right back out. Twenty minutes later he returns. (Perhaps it should have been a sign that he had to wait for the woman in front of him to finish chewing out Crystl (yes, that's how her name was spelled, and yes, I know I'm using parentheses within parentheses), the girl working at the front desk.)

We park the car and find the room. I'm holding the sleeping baby, and our plan is for me to stay at the hotel with Emilia while Ryan and Ella go to the mall. Great plan...except our door won't open. Ryan goes to the front desk, where Crystl says, "That's strange. Let me reprogram it." He comes back, and it still won't open. He goes back again. Crystl says, "That's strange," and calls maintenance. Maintenance comes and can't get the door open, either. All this time I'm holding 23 1/2 pounds of dead weight, that is, until she wakes up. So much for Emilia's nap. Finally the maintenence guy changes the batteries in the card reader and half an hour later we get in our room.

Fast forward to Saturday. After lunch, Emilia falls asleep in the car, so we decide Ryan will stay at the hotel while the girls rest and I run to the mall. He calls when Emilia wakes up, and I come back to the hotel. In the meantime, he sees housekeeping headed toward the room, so he and the girls go to the lobby to wait while they clean the room. I get there as housekeeeping is finishing up the room next door. I tell them to give us five minutes to change clothes, and we would be out of the room. We get ready and go to the water park. This was at 1:45.

At 6:15, we return to discover our room hadn't been cleaned. Ryan goes down to the front desk, hoppin' mad. The manager tells him he will have someone there in ten minutes. Now we had been planning on getting take-out and eating in the room because the girls were exhausted. But since housekeeping was on the way (or so we thought) we decide to go eat at Johnny Carino's. Then we go to the mall to get Ella some Dippin' Dots for dessert. By the time we get back to the hotel, it is 9:15. Ryan and Ella drop off me and Emilia and go to Walmart to get Ella some soy milk.

Emilia and I walk into the room to see that it still hadn't been cleaned. Now ordinarily, this really wouldn't have been that big of deal. However, Ella had had an accident the night before so we had stripped her bed. Housekeeping had picked up our dirty towels that morning, so we had no towels. And our trash cans were overflowing with stinky diapers.

So, baby on my hip, I head down to the front desk, where the assistant manager tells me there's no one to clean the room, so they had just left us clean towels and emptied the trash. (Not true...they hadn't done either.) I demand to speak to the manager, who finally calls over from the Hilton Garden Inn next door. I chew him out and get a promise that the room will be clean in ten minutes. (Yeah, right.)

Emilia and I head back to the room, where I try to get her to fall asleep, all the while fielding calls from the front desk. Maintenence will be there in ten minutes, twenty minutes, blah, blah, blah. I did eventually get him to comp us for one night of our hotel stay.

Ryan and Ella return, Ella can barely keep her eyes open, and no one has cleaned the room. At 10:15, Ryan goes down to the front desk to get sheets and towels so we can go to bed. Twenty minutes later he returns with towels and sheets that are too small for the bed. He somehow rigs it so Ella can go to 10:45, four and a half hours after we first complained.

And that, my friends, is why you should never never ever stay at the Homewood Suites in Amarillo.

We have one more night here. I'll keep you posted on whether or not our room gets cleaned today.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New pics

Here are new pictures of the girls. Emilia was not happy that afternoon, but Trena still got some good pictures.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Items retrieved from Emilia's mouth

  • One safety pin, closed
  • One Polly Pocket dog bowl
  • One Polly Pocket soap dispenser
  • Assorted Polly Pocket shoes
  • One bead
  • Barbie hair
  • Plastic thingy that holds the tag onto clothing
  • Pineapple outards (as opposed to pineapple innards)
  • Various items of fuzz and fur
  • Needles from an artificial Christmas tree (don't ask)
  • Assorted scraps of paper, including the paper that backed a band-aid and toilet paper (clean)
  • This just in (Emilia's mouth): cat food

Daddy Monster, Baby Monster

I was trying to get some video of Emilia crawling, but Ryan didn't know I had the camera on video mode. Here's the result...listen carefully and you can hear him growling in the background.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Chubby Baby

Check out those rolls! Ryan says she needs a baby bra.

Those girls and their Barbies

I never really liked Barbies, but Ella certainly does. Here are Ella and Emilia playing Barbies together. (Barbies are a lot safer for Emilia than Polly Pockets--I've already dug several Polly shoes out of her mouth.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things I never thought I'd say before I had children....

So far this morning...

Why are you putting bacon on the front porch?

Why are you taking a shower with goggles on top of your head?

In other news, Emilia started crawling yesterday, so we're busy baby proofing. I know, we should have done it earlier, but that's just not how our life goes.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life with Ella

Here are few incidents from this past week that demonstrate what a joy our little Ella can be.

Incident #1: Spanish and spelling

Ella picked up a paper from her Spanish class at Kids' College that said, "Me llamo Ella." She ripped it up, yelling, "It's wrong!" I finally figured out that she thought it was misspelled. We tried to explain that in Spanish, two Ls make a Y sound, but she wasn't having it. "I'm going to tell those Spanish people they don't know how to spell," she said.

Incident #2: A conversation with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Burrows

Grandma: Ella, do you know how old Great Grandpa is?

Ella: He's 97.

Grandma: That's right. If he lives until next January, he'll be 98. Maybe if he lives to be 100, his picture will be on the Today Show.

Grandpa: I hope I don't live to be 100.

Ella: If you don't, we can sing Happy Birthday to you at the cemetery.

Incident #3: Telephone etiquette

As I was putting Emilia down for a nap, the phone kept ringing once or twice, stopping, and then ringing again. It did this three times. I put Emilia in her crib and managed to catch the phone the next time it rang. After I got off the phone, I asked Ella if she had picked up the phone. She said she did once, but she didn't hear anything. I figured it was probably a bad connection with a cell phone and didn't think anything of it.

A few minutes later, I was downstairs in the basement when I heard the phone ring again. I couldn't find the basement handset, so I sprinted up into the kitchen in time to see Ella pick up the kitchen phone, say, "We can't come to the phone right now; please leave a message," and slam the phone down. Luckily, it was just Ryan calling, but I wonder how many other people she's done that to lately.

When Daddy babysits

Long time, no post

We got a new computer! Our old computer is almost as old as Ella, and although we've added memory and updated it several times, it's starting to run out of hard drive space. We kept the old computer in the basement so Ella can play games on it (and so I don't have to move all my pictures off the hard drive) and set up the new computer in the family room. We also got a new router so we finally have Internet access on the laptop again. It took a visit from Pioneer to make it work, but we're loving the new set-up.

Ella went to two weeks of Kids' College. She took classes in drama, art, puppetry, and Spanish. Ella was so mad that we enrolled her in the drama class because she said she was already dramatic and didn't need classes. Of course, drama wound up being her favorite class. On the last day, they performed "Skippy John Jones and Mummy Trouble." She and Ava played the mothers.

Poor Ella's had a rough week with injuries. Her head got shut in the door at Kids' College, our front door got caught in the wind and hit her in the forehead, and her nose made hard contact with Caydon's head while they were playing volleyball, giving her a bloody nose. Good thing she's tough!

Emilia can scoot to something she really wants, but she's still not generally mobile. She can cruise all over the place if she has furniture or a wall to hang onto, and she occasionally stands by herself for a few seconds before she falls. Still no crawling, though. She had her nine-month check-up this week. She weighs 23.04 pounds and is 28 1/2 inches long.

We're going to Amarillo for vacation next weekend. I know an Amarillo vacation doesn't sound too exciting, but traveling with a baby (even a laid-back one like Emilia) is so much work that I don't want to go far. I've never been to Amarillo except to fly out, so it will be new for me. We're excited to stay at the Homewood Suites, go to Wonderland and Splash Amarillo, and go shopping.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

Earlier tonight, Ella asked us, "Which is first, spearmint tree or spandex?"


She repeated.


Finally Ryan figured it out. She was asking which Kids' College class she has first tomorrow--puppetry or Spanish?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on the Swimming Pool

(Or, For the Love of God, People, Watch Your Children)

I took Alex, Ava, Ella, and Emilia to the Satanta Pool yesterday. Here are just a few of my thoughts on the experience. (Prepare yourselves for a rant.)

  • If your child is young enough to swim in the baby pool, you need to be there.
  • Laying out on the other side of the pool with your back to the baby pool does not count. Come on, people, we're talking about water here. Your child could drown while you're working on your tan. You're not that hot--who cares whether or not you get a tan? Besides, you could get skin cancer and your child could drown. Now that would suck.
  • Don't leave your child in the baby pool while you go outside to smoke. I suppose that's better than taking your child with you when you smoke, but how about you just quit smoking?
  • Bringing your own snacks to the pool might be economical, but sending your three year old with an entire bag of BBQ chips seems a little extreme.
  • It's just weird for grown women to go to the swimming pool in matching swimming suits. Did you call each other up first? Have you been planning this for weeks? Come on, you're not nine anymore. Stop planning your matching outfits and watch your children.
I feel better now. Thank you for listening.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So what's been going on with us?

Not a whole lot, which is nice. That's what summer is for, right?

Emilia had her check-up with Dr. Balasz, who said everything looks great with her ears. She had her hearing checked and passed with flying colors.

Ella has been going to Kids' College this week, and Ryan has been helping (a little more than he had planned, but that's how things go.) It's art and drama this week. Next week is Spanish and puppetry.

Ella celebrated Addison's birthday on Wednesday. Stacey took Addison, Melissa, Alex, Ava, Jaxon, and Ella to Garden City. They swam at the big pool, had cake and ice cream and Addison's grandparent's house, and ate and played at McDonald's. We're not sure if Stacey is a saint or insane (or both) but she survived with a smile on her face. Ella had a great time. And Stacey enjoyed a beer upon their return.

Ella is grounded from TV and friends today because she was Little Miss Bad Attitude at dance yesterday, and it's actually been really good. We finished her second American Girl chapter book from the library, and she and Ryan went to check out more. She cleaned her room and went through her clothes. She played some educational computer games. She even took a little nap. And she hasn't complained at all about the TV being off. We'll see how long it lasts.

Hope you're having a relaxing few days, too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

We had a busy Fourth of July. We spent time in Rolla and Satanta with family and friends. I think I also got Ella (finally) convinced that the Fourth of July and Independence Day are the same holiday. Here are some highlights of our weekend:

It was great to spend time with friends, especially the Gardners. We hadn't seen Norah in almost a year. She's gotten so big! Here's Emilia with Chris and Norah.

The water slide the Gardners brought was awesome.

Only Ella would wear goggles to go down an inflatable water slide. That's our girl!

Emilia lightened up--she let lots of people hold her, including Grandma Apple (finally!), Grandpa Larry, Great Grandpa Link, Brent, Leanne, Brandee, Chris, and Stacey.

Emilia is scooting further distances although she hasn't become too mobile. She's getting even better at pulling herself up to furniture and cruising around. She also learned how to get into a seated position on her own.

Church in the Park was great. Ella really enjoyed playing in the Moon Walk after church--even though she insists it shouldn't be called a Moon Walk as it is not on the moon.

Kelvin is such a good sport. Here he is letting the kids climb all over him.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The most famous yoga instructors in the world

This morning at dance class, Mrs. Gallagher suggested that Ella do some stretching at home. That led to Ella and Ava attempting to do a yoga DVD. (They picked one that I now realize I borrowed from Leanne back in about 1947 and have never returned--sorry!)

They soon tired of following instructions and decided to do yoga on their own.

This lead to them becoming yoga instructors, saying things like, "This is one is great for your legs" and "You mommies out there will recognize this move." (I'm not quite sure what that means.)

After that, they changed clothes and moved outside. I asked what they were doing. Here's the conversation.

Ava: "We're the most famous yoga instructors in the world."

Ella: "Yeah, because we have $5."

Ava: "I'll trade you a quarter for that $5 bill."

Ella: "But I don't have a quarter."

Here they are, the most famous yoga instructors in the world, signing autographs for their adoring fans.