Archive for March, 2008

Ava fix

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A new friend

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Oatmeal the easy (hard?) way

While I thought the transition from one to two children was relatively easy, it became a logistical nightmare once I threw in a full-time job. It seems that no matter how early we get up, mornings are still rushed and hectic. Breakfast is no exception–Ava wants mac and cheese, Bryan won’t use the milk because it expires in two days, and I usually forget the Kashi bar I set aside because I didn’t have time to sit down.

Tomorrow morning, though, is going to be completely different.

Tonight, I’m making oatmeal in the slow cooker. I’m following a recipe for overnight oatmeal from Eatingwell.com. It makes enough for eight, so I’ve quartered it and implemented a bain marie (water bath) to prevent overcooking.

The trick seems to be steel cut oats, as opposed to rolled oats. I’ve never used them before, but as you can see, they’re pretty coarse. I guess this is what makes such a long cooking period possible.

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I mixed a half cup of the oats with two cups of water. I tossed in diced dried apricots and a handful of raisins, too. Tomorrow, I think we’ll add a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg (hopefully) in lieu of sugar. Here’s a “before” shot–I hope the “after” looks a bit more palatable.

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I’ll let you know!

The evolution of play

In the past few months, Ava’s idea of “play” has really changed.

Instead of just dressing and diapering and undressing and rediapering babies, there’s a purpose behind everything. Now, the babies have to get dressed to go somewhere: the store, the doctor’s office, daycare, the park. Rather than just rearranging the contents of her little kitchen, she makes you chicken noodle soup and pickles and serves it to you for lunch.

Every playscene has a story behind it: “We’re going to the store to buy some milk. I’m taking my phone in case you need to call me while I’m gone.” (Yes, seriously. And, I know.)

There are elaborate situations within each session. For example, we’ll find Ava sitting quietly in the pantry with her babies. When you ask her what’s up, she says that she’s in the waiting room at the pediatrian’s. (If only she were so patient in real life.)

You have to be pretty careful–almost everything she overhears is fodder for play. The other day, she asked me if  I could please pick her babies up from preschool so she could go “watch the game with Dave.” (Ahem.)

It’s an interesting developmenal stage–one that provides a fascinating glimpse into her little (and very busy) mind.

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This is for the birds

Despite the best efforts of a gang of grackles, we’ve had a flurry of backyard bird activity this morning.

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There’s a tufted titmouse, which I don’t think I’ve seen at our feeders before, along with robins, house sparrows, chipping sparrows, a song sparrow, cardinals, finches of both the house and gold varieties, dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees, a blue jay, a Carolina wren, and the mourning doves that never seem to leave.

The woodpeckers are missing, though the squirrels (five of them!) are making short work of the suet anyway.

And, last night, I saw a small hawk flying just above the brush along the ravine.

UPDATE: The red-bellied woodpecker showed up, another titmouse came by, and I can add a red-winged blackbird to the list! What a day.

Photo courtesy of Bebelebe.

Hey there

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Ouch!

Ava wanted to take Elmo to preschool earlier this week. When we finally located him, he was covered in–what else–Elmo Band-Aids. Ava spends most of her time pretending to be a doctor. When you visit her clinic conveniently located on the stairs, she says, “Thank you for waiting.” Then, she immediately gives you a shot and a Band-Aid. Or four or five. Or in the case of poor Elmo here, 17.                                                                                                                           elmo.jpg