Friday, June 29, 2012

Sometimes I Pretend....

...that I don't know these crazy people.

Then I remember that I'm just as crazy and wouldn't have them any other way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Maybe I'm a Genius After All

We got a lot of 10 or so potato heads plus pieces on Ebay a while ago for a super reasonable price. We love Ebay...we got Tessa a used Tag Reader there too, and the huge used Thomas the Train collection that almost killed me.

But I was trying to figure out containment. You know, so nobody else gets killed by small toys, and also because we have 9 kids under the age of 7 at our house every Monday night for small group. No, seriously.

What could be more perfect than the baby pool. Voila!! I prefer to call it the potato pool. Where all your potato dreams come true.

New York Narrative 4: Up On the Roof

One fun new feature on this trip to NYC was Jessie's rooftop terrace. It only opened last year so we haven't been able to experience it before.

It's so nice cause she's right in the middle of everything so the views are fantastic. There are also tables and benches and pots of herbs that the building residents are allowed to pick from.

It was a little bit of paradise in the concrete jungle and we enjoyed it every day. We even had a couple of our meals up there. Here are some of the views from above.

That's 34th street, where you may see a big parade on Thanksgiving Day.

Tessa met some of the older girls who live in the building and made quick friends. They played hide and seek while we grownups enjoyed some cocktails. I couldn't help thinking...what would it be like to be a KID in Manhattan? And here I thought WE were 'city folk'. Ha!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

New York Narrative 3: Chinatown Chow

First a little info from the helpful folks at Wikipedia....

Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is served in some restaurants, wherein fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for customers to choose their orders while seated at their tables.
Cuisine Traditional dim sum includes various types of steamed buns such as cha siu baau, dumplings and rice noodle rolls (cheong fun), which contain a range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, prawns and vegetarian options. Many dim sum restaurants also offer plates of steamed green vegetables, roasted meats, congee porridge and other soups. Dessert dim sum is also available and many places offer the customary egg tart.

Dim sum can be cooked by steaming and frying, among other methods. The serving sizes are usually small and normally served as three or four pieces in one dish. It is customary to order family style, sharing dishes among all members of the dining party. Because of the small portions, people can try a wide variety of food.

We enjoy getting Dim Sum with Jessie almost every time we've ever gone to NYC. Scratch that...every time. It's a must.

We even took 16 month old Tessa to Dim Sum in NYC for her first (and my first) Peking Duck.

Since Mom had never had Dim Sum but love Chinese food, I knew it was a good stop during our trip. So Saturday morning we met Jessie's boyfriend Mike in Chinatown.

Mike and Mom are allergic to nuts and Mike had a handy card with stating his allergy in many languages. What a handy and simple idea! Our waiter was kind of a character and suggest they just get tattoos on their arm with a picture of a nut with a red line drawn through it. That's not a bad idea either.

Dim sum is basically a variety of steamed dumplings and such and you order small plates being passed around on carts until you are full.

Tessa is already a fan of pork buns (aka, cha siu baau if you want to sound super cultural) because we buy them frozen at the Asian grocery. It's one of her favorite breakfasts. So she was right in her element at this restaurant. Four pork buns and a couple of egg rolls later she was full.

While in Chinatown we had to seize the opportunity to have Bubble Tea. I got introduced to the stuff when we lived in San Jose because it's available everywhere. In Indiana, not so much.

It's basically like a sugary drink or smoothie but with big fat gooey black tapiocas to sweeten it. You suck them through fat straws and chewy them up like sweet sweet eyeballs.

Sounds weird, tastes so good.

Tessa got strawberry and liked it, while I enjoyed my honeydew one. I'm trying to look excited in this pic but I think it has more of a serial killer vibe.

It's the look of a desperate Midwesterner who got slimy hot shrimp dumplings and gooey tapioca balls in the same day....and couldn't be happier.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


---When I comb Charley's wet hair just the right way he looks like Dave Coulier.

--- Big stalks of garlic fresh from the ground make excellent play rifles if you are 3 years old.

---When you give the 3 year old the camera, you can almost always be guaranteed one really unflattering pictures. Boob, meet garlic.

---The garlic crop is almost ready to harvest!

New York Narrative 2: Tea at the Plaza

When we were planning our weekend in NYC with Jess, the goal was always to do things that would be fun for us but mostly for Tessa. This was her first trip traveling alone with me as a big girl after all. No stroller required. Heck she even rolled her own suitcase.

So months ago Jess suggested having high tea that Plaza hotel and we definitely agreed that that should be our utmost goal for the weekend.

We got all gussied up and happened to wear black and white on accident. Seriously, this wasn't planned at all. But didn't we LOOK coordinated? Then we headed to the plaza hotel, a beautiful icon right across from Central Park, where celebs have tead (tead? not a word apparently) for years, including Eloise herself.

Beautiful and very fancy, just what Tessa had dreamed about. Fancy fancy fancy.

I had bought Tessa some bright pink lipstick for dance recital and she insisted we bring it along, along with her sparkly nail polish and hair bows. The fancy gold purse was a hand me down from Jess, and the fancy sandals a gift from me for being such a good traveler.

Tessa guzzled peppermint tea with LOTS of sugar and milk. Actually I think you could call it sweet milk with a splash of peppermint accent.

Our treats came on big towers like this one. Some savory stuff on the bottom like cucumber sandwiches, little tiny quiches, cute little ordervs with caviar and pickly egg salad. The Eloise tea for kids even included pink jello  (which our waitress graciously offered Tessa an extra of given her jello enthusiasm).

The tops of the towers were all delicious stuff like this...
Even though it was 3:30pm, this was enough food to pretty much serve as our dinner (filled in by some late night snacks at Jessie's apartment).

I've also come to the conclusion that food served on a tower is always more delicious. And causes less need for plate crowding. We should buy some tea towers for home.

Under the plaza there are all  kinds of shops and pictures of famous people and a little store dedicated to Eloise. Tessa had gotten the Eloise book and movie as a gift from Jess on her birthday, so she was pretty enthusiastic about it.

I didn't realize until I recently read the books that Eloise is actually kind of a brat. Like Dennis the Menace but with loads more money. Oh well, she's cute and she lived there and Tessa claimed this doll as her main souvenir from the trip.

Of all the stuff we did this was probably the most fun.I  highly recommend tea at the Plaza to anyone visiting NYC with little girls. A magic world of fanciness that we don't typically see around Indiana.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dance Portraits 2012

I was just sitting here sorting through my 750 pictures from NYC (okay that may be an exaggeration but only slight) and realized that I had posted these portraits on FB but never here on the blog.

Remember when I said that I would not allow FB and mobile uploads affect the quality of my 6 year old blog? Shame on me!

Anyway, look at these dancing beauties....

I think we're gonna need a bigger frame.

Junior School Lunch Continued....

I'm not discriminating against kids with nut allergies (heck my own Mom is the biggest 'nut case' I know), but let me just say it's nice that in the preschool's summer program, Tessa's class no longer has a nut allergies. Because I can pack PB&J again!

Tessa is notorious for not eating her lunch at preschool because she's socializing or distracted, so trying to make really GOOD lunches that she will eat without PB&J (and also without need for heating or utensils) was becoming pretty hard.

This is a typical lunch for SWAP (summer with a purpose) that the kids are attending two mornings a week this summer. Extra juice or water, Pirate 'boobies' as Charley calls it, blueberries, PB&J and a frozen Simply regular Go-gurt minus HFC's and food dyes. And did you know if you keep them in the freezer they are still cold by lunch time or can be eaten as a popsicle?

So far they are loving SWAP. The theme this year is people and places so each week they've been learning about a new country or area. Hence the reason that they can both now do the hula and macarena.

Recently I went to the container store with Erin and we geeked out over containers until they literally kicked us out. I can't afford all of the things I wanted there but I did pick up these for school lunches. Washable, reusable baggies to use instead of ziplocs. And they are cute too!

Sprinkler Season