Monday, April 30, 2012

Musical Monday

For educating young boys in the musical history of their complex culture, no tool is equal to YouTube.  Okay, so it also gives 13-year-olds unnecessary access to information regarding explosives.  But when an interesting song comes to mind that is not found in our library of recordings, we appreciate being able to share it, on demand, with our impressionable youngsters.

And impressionable they are.  The greatest hits will be sung, whistled, played on piano, guitar, and marimba, and requested over and over again when serious work needs to be done on the computer.  Therefore, you need to hear them, too, don't you?  To give you something to hum when you think of us. 

This one was all the rage a few years ago.  Scoot favored it particularly, and will still quote its profound lyrics.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stash to Treasure: Spring Green Hat

Spring is here, and our schedule revolves around baseball.  We've been lucky so far with games set on pleasant days.  But even the sunny days turn cool in the evening, and our main field always seems to be breezy.  So, seeking warmth and hair control without winter wooliness, I crocheted a spring hat.

The green is a yarn I keep around for froggy baby presents; the soft white is left over from a hat I gave last Christmas.  I mostly followed this pattern from Design Adventures.  The pattern yields a child-sized hat, so I used a larger hook and added some increasing rounds.  It was fun to make, giving me something to do (and redo) during a Court of Honor, and something to relax with after Rollo's party.  The hat was ready to go for a Cub Pack hike yesterday.  It kept me cozy, but not hot, and all the other mommies said it was cute.

Incidentally, my smile is sincere because I had just figured out how to use a mirror to take a picture of myself.  Maybe you know the trick already, but I see many shots on the internet that could be titled "Self-portrait with Camera."  Instead of taking a picture of my reflection in the mirror, I faced the mirror, pointed the camera at myself, and looked at the reflection of the view screen to get it right.  So simple!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rollo!

Rollo turned nine on a beautiful Saturday. 
It was sunny, and warm! 
In Western Washington, that is an event in itself.

It was a perfect day for baseball,

and baseball cupcakes for the team.

After we madly cleaned the house and yard,
it was a perfect day for a party.
Robert led his friends in dragon-themed games outside.
They ran too fast to pose for pictures. 
But I'd rather have a dozen boys run outside than fidget inside.

Since it was a dragon party, I had to make this dragon cake.
I think I made a similar dinosaur cake
for the Caterpillar many moons ago.
It was fun, but adding the wings and fire
made this one even better.

I suppose a real dragon would light the candles on his own cake.
Rollo just blew them out.

It was a happy day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Not to Scale

Some of our flowers...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dictionary Moment: Snallygaster

The word "snallygaster" caught my eye as I flipped through the SOED the other day.  It looked like a fun word to say, but the definition really got my attention: "a mythical monster supposedly found in Maryland."

Maryland?  I had to learn more.  Wikipedia reports that the snallygaster was reputed to be a dragon-like blood-sucking monster, terrorizing Catoctin Mountain.

I was born and raised in Maryland, and went camping on Catoctin Mountain.  When we got lost on a hike there, my friends and I focussed our giggling concern on running afoul of security at Camp David.  No one ever warned us about the local dragon.  No, years later and a continent away, I learn about it from a foreign dictionary.  I feel safe, but cheated.  Clearly, I'm going to have to do some more research on the snallygaster.

Do you know your local monster?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Egg Hunt

D2 was very excited about hunting for Easter eggs.  He kept asking us to hide them, reminding us, and even giving us hints about good hiding places.  So when we finally banished the boys upstairs, we snuck out the back door.  They had no idea.  After we returned, they came downstairs and started looking in the usual spots in the living room.  Usually they ask for the rules, to know which rooms to search.  This time D2 just asked if the eggs were "hidden around the house."  Which they were, in a manner of speaking.  Ha!  We surprised them.

Seeking eggs outside was a challenge, but the boys rose to the occasion. 

D2 found this one on the fence, with only a little prompting.

I don't know if the Caterpillar remembers the birds that built a nest in this bush, but it seemed like a good place for an egg.

The Caterpillar walked right over this egg, kicking the leaf off and leaving it in Rollo's sight.

Scoot was feeling rather dramatic.

We used regular food coloring to dye the eggs this year, with some interesting results.  The blue-green was everyone's favorite color.

D2 made a portrait of his favorite one-eyed monster, so the Caterpillar made one with his company's logo.

Everyone agreed that this looks like a dragon egg,

and Rollo drew an Easter dragon to go with it.  I wouldn't want to steal an egg from her, though.  Yikes!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Angelic Eggs

A few years ago, my husband's doctor diagnosed him with Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, or LPR.  It's sort of like heartburn, but the acid goes all the way into his throat, with dire consequences.  The doctor sent him home with a list of foods that could possibly trigger his reflux:  onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, chocolate, curry . . . pretty much everything that makes eating worthwhile.  It was overwhelming, and we had some exceedingly bland dinners for a while. 

By experimenting with recipes, we found that many of these foods are not that dangerous for my husband.  Tomatoes are not a problem.  Onions seem to be all right, in reduced amounts.  Chocolate is a tonic, not a trigger.  Pepper, however, is right out.  And mustard.  I don't care for mustard, myself, but my husband loves it.  And it really makes him feel awful.  With admirable restraint, the poor guy eats his sandwiches with wasabi, instead (which, curiously, the doctor recommends).  But he misses mustard.

Which brings us to Easter.  We enjoy coloring hard-boiled eggs, hunting for them, and eating them, deviled, for our Easter feast.  My husband thought he'd have to give up deviled eggs, depending as they usually do on mustard.  But I knew there must be a better way. 

And there is--with these ingredients:

hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and basil.

Just as you would for deviled eggs, remove the shells, cut the eggs in half, and remove the yolks to a bowl.

Add enough mayo to achieve your preferred level of creaminess.

Then stir in basil, to taste. 
Fresh basil, finely chopped, would be even better, but I never have any around at Easter time.

Scoop the yolk mixture back into the whites.  I garnished these with fresh chives, which are growing in my garden, and seem to be safe for my husband.  Instead, you could add parsley, or more basil.