Thursday, June 28, 2012

Macaron Dreams

A couple of months ago, a friend took me to a locally famous bakery where I was almost speechless at the beauty of the glass columns filled with pastel macarons in the window.  And then, we were crushed by disappointment, because they weren't actually for sale - they were mere decorations and so late in the day, the edible ones were sold out.  I've had a thing for macarons ever since.

We attended a spectacularly catered birthday party for a sweet one year old girl recently, and it turned out that the professional-looking edibles were hand-made by her mom.  Wow!  I was so impressed.  The miniature macarons were particularly interesting, because if she can make beautiful ones at home with a baby underfoot, then I should at least be able to turn out something lopsided and vaguely recognizable, right?

A piece of me is hesitant to try after the red velvet cake episode.  I'm fascinated by red velvet cake.  It's so rich and tasty, and well, red!  I baked one for my birthday a few years ago, and it was really delicious, but somehow the magic isn't there anymore.  I'm not sure if it was realizing that about ten pounds of sugar and cream cheese go into a little cake, or that the red is entirely from food coloring.  I'm afraid that the macarons won't be quite so special once I know how they are assembled.  We shall see.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unlikely Pez Families

OK, I guess I can see Disney licensing out Snow White and the 7 Dwarves for a Pez dispenser set, since Disney pretty much licenses everything.

But Lord of the Rings?  Really?  I guess they are gearing up for the release of The Hobbit this winter.  Perhaps there will be a Pez set for Bilbo and his 13 Dwarves!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crab, Not the Plush Kind

There's a good story behind this.  I just need a couple of free minutes to start writing!

Monday, June 25, 2012


"For your safety, please do not peel the corn."

Is that because . . . it's Attack Corn? Or Zombie Corn?

Not sure what safety issue is at stake.

Updated: On a return visit to the store, there was someone restocking the corn, and I had to ask.  What's up?  Apparently, people got sloppy when husking the corn and didn't get all the husks into the garbage bin.  Corn silk is really slippery and someone fell on the slick floor.  Ok, fine.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sweet Treats

A bowl of berries and a cool pitcher of lemonade.Summertime!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Times Change

I've been meaning to take a photo of this wall hanging at the pediatrician's office for ages now, but it had to be a time when we were in this particular room with a child who wasn't particularly sick. So finally, here it is.

In case you can't see the picture that well, the words selected for the alphabet are distinctly period, which greatly amuses our highly modern pediatrician.

F is for factory.
N is for nun.
Q is for quintuplets.  Perhaps inspired by the Dionne quints?

XYZ on the same panel is also kind of funny.  It's a Zebra on a Yacht, with a mystery package labeled with a question mark - presumably, that's the X variable.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pan Pipes Reconfigured

The boys received these charming musical pipes from the travels of Grandma and Granddad, originating from Peru, I believe. That's Buster's set above, not entirely intact, but you get the idea.

Q-ster played with his enough that the strings started coming loose, so he unraveled it completely and used some athletic tape to make a new instrument that matched the illustrations in his Greek mythology book.  The picture? Pan and the satyrs cavorting with their pipes.

The multi-colored string that originally wove the pipes together has now become the favored device for Cat's Cradle. Waste not, want not!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Eaters and Archers

The little dude has been building himself some pretty impressive weapons out of Legos.  I think he had a little help from SwingDaddy on this bow and arrow set, but he's been mostly making it up as he goes along.

Yay for creativity, even if it would be nice to see a more peace-loving activity.

In other news, Buster, who usually doesn't eat much when we're out, demolished his entire personal pizza.  I probably need to look into the next size of clothes for him.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Buster has seldom shown the interest in costumes that his big brother has, but this week, he has donned the Jedi robe. Jedi on the loose!

They've been re-enacting the Qui-gonn (Buster) and Obi-wan (Q-ster) battle with Darth Maul (imaginary.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vader and Sons

The boys sat happily while SwingDaddy read their Father's Day gift to him: Darth Vader and Son, a tale of 'Ol Darth taking care of four year old Luke.

Earlier that morning, we let SwingDaddy sleep in and I enjoyed a snuggle and the reading of solar system (Buster) and Greek mythology (Q-ster) tales.

Ahhh, these are the days. Hope you all had a splendid Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Think They Built a Tardis

Last weekend, the boys got ambitious with their interlocking foam pads and managed to get them to stand up two levels high.

They're calling it an elevator, but I think they built a TARDIS.

(I don't watch Doctor Who, so I didn't even know what a TARDIS was until the Bloggess wrote about her adventures.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reaping Rewards

SwingDaddy and I had the pleasure of attending a dance concert by two of our former troupes, who performed four of our choreographies during the program.  It was delightful to see the dancers, have a grand reunion at intermission with the community, and get to see our work performed without actually needing to do much, this time around.

Look!  This is us outside the theater before the show - relaxed, not carrying bags of costumes and equipment.  We do miss dancing and our friends though - soon, it will be time to change the direction of our creative machine and plunge back into dance.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Two Wheels for Everyone

We got the little dude a bike for his fifth birthday, and he's ridden a bit off and on, but it was just this weekend, two years later, that he finally seems motivated to nail the skills.   Maybe going to test ride a tandem bike with SwingDaddy is what gave him that extra incentive.

Go Q-ster!  He can balance, ride, and stop reasonably well, but needs a little assistance with starting.  (Better than the reverse, of course.)  It's really fun to see him zipping by.

 His little brother is tackling the glide bike (pedal-less) with aplomb.  The sidewalk buckles where our neighbor's tree roots have spread, and Buster rode back and forth over what is effectively a ramp, reveling in the "jump."

Then he pulled the bike up a big rock - I think he's aiming for an off-road experience already.

Today was the Q-ster's last day of first grade. He dutifully stood for a picture, but didn't want to pose in front of his friends, so we took it just while we were still across the street from the school.  I guess that's a sign of impending growing up.

Buster has been saying with relish, "I don't have school tomorrow - I am going to play ALL DAY LONG."  Like he didn't do that before anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ping Pong Improvisations

The boys were inspired by the Backyardigans episode where the characters stage a Western-style showdown with ping pong paddles.  They built a table with some foam pads, Buster brandished an oversized magnifying glass, and Q-ster retrieved a paddle ball game that had conveniently lost its rubber ball.  The ball was a stuffed apple from an IKEA play food set.  Gotta love that improvisational attitude!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Phones on the Road

I was back in Texas for a few days last week and noticed this adorable red phone in the hotel lobby.  If only there was a reason to get a new landline phone! 

I had to apologize to the desk attendant, because I accidentally called her three times while posing for this picture, since it had an auto-dial.

I found this this clever kiosk at the airport.  For three dollars, you can connect your mobile phone (or presumably, other devices) to this battery charger featuring twelve different connectors and get power for thirty minutes.  Market opportunities at work!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hillary on the Road

Hillary Clinton visited our Scandinavian friends last week for several purposes, one of which was a Global Health Conference.  She's quoted as speaking about the fine local maternal care and policies.  Earlier this month, I read an article about the State of the World's Mothers Report and the USA moved up from 31st to 25th best country on the list.  And the country that rhymes with doorway?  It's #1.

Here she is with their handsome prime minister, and an image of them greeting each other in a more casual setting.  The description was to show that one can be flippant about the menfolk in politics too, since I'm about to get appearance-focused on the lady.

The Huffington Post wrote about the social/fashion side of the trip, and they commented that Clinton had adopted a tidy ponytail.  It seems very practical when one is on the road so much, but takes a little getting used to, seeing the humble pony go to diplomatic events.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Highland Scottische a la Pixar Brave

I'm on a few promotional mailers that seem to have a breathless movie announcement every day, which I usually ignore, but I'm posting this one, because it's cute, it's dance, and I like that Pixar finally has a girl hero.  I'm not sure who the dancing character is, but he looks like fun.

P.S.  Isn't her hair amazing?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I Hear You! Plus Jellyfish

We took the boys to their annual physicals today, and somehow they both ended up wearing red sweatpants with their green fleece jackets.  It was kind of like having a pair of elves.

Both are received a great, healthy report.  Here, Buster shows that he is hearing the tones in the ear test.

The next thing we did after they got their height and weight measurements was to see what new rides they are now tall enough for at Disneyland.  Buster is newly eligible for Star Tours!

And in totally unrelated news, I love how we're starting to see Buster bring home some of the same crafts that Q-ster made in (the same) preschool two years ago.  Jellyfish!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Literary and Literally

 Q-ster brought home this story he'd written in school last week:

Once there was a boy, he went to library.  He took out a book.  As he opened the book a genie popped out.  The boy was so shocked.  The genie gave the boy a bat, a ball, a chess set and a lot of money in a wagon.  Finally the genie disappered (sic) in a flash of pink light.  The End

I love the detail, such as the wagon to carry the money.

In other news, I've read the first Percy Jackson & The Olympians book, to start catching up with Q-ster, who has read all five.  It's the story of a sixth grade boy who discovers that he's the son of Poseidon, Lord of the Sea.

Both SwingDaddy and I are fond of Greek myths, and it's certainly been fun to see the little dude enjoy the gods and heroes stories.  Thus far, Percy Jackson is entertaining and creative, but much more heavy-handed than Harry Potter.  Things are not just obvious in foreshadowing, but sledgehammered in, until pretty late in the book.  Hopefully, that's a sign that the tale will keep improving.

Here's Q-ster and friend, holding the sea god's trident, created out of Legos.  (I didn't get a chance to ask for permission to post the friend's picture, so I'm cropping out the faces.)  Ninjagos and Star Wars have fallen behind the Greeks in popularity this week.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Let Sleeping Friends Lie

In J.R.R. Tolken's fantasy classic, The Hobbit, the dragon Smaug makes a bed of gold.  All the treasure he has gathered over the years is in one great pile, and he rests on it, secure in his domain.

Buster seems to have this same calling, but his treasure is fuzzy blankets and his favorite stuffed animals, what he calls his "sleeping friends," as well as my sealife Squishables. Why he can't make this plush fortress in his own bed, I don't know, but it certainly is a friendly way to wake up - being pummeled with soft friends.

For scale, here's the child.  SwingDaddy is somewhere under that too.  I managed to slip out from the pile to take the picture.