April 2009

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Samantha had her first Cheetos yesterday at Target.  She looks good in orange.

Part 2 of Adam’s series.  (His title that says, “part 1 of 2″ indicates that he has split this particular section about the invention itself into 2 parts, but this post is still #2 in the whole series.)

This week’s Round Up is presented to you by One Reality, one of my favorite blogs.  (I definitely need to update by blogroll.)

Here is part 1 of Adam’s series at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Adam and I are finally getting back in the habit of working on the house.  We did a great job unpacking and making repairs until we went to Florida for Christmas, but then Adam started a new semester, we got sick, and other projects seemed to get in the way.  We did a few things, but our momentum was lost.

A couple of weeks ago, we prioritized the list of home improvements we want to make.  It’s probably a 10 year plan, and it comprises 71 tasks – things that range from repairing two toilets, to finishing unpacking, to remodeling the entire kitchen. 

Having a prioritized list really kick-started our efforts.  Last weekend we hung most of our art.  Adam has always been a stickler for getting this done quickly after a move, so the fact that it took us 5 months shows you how busy we were this winter.  I had forgotten how many nice prints we have, and having them on the walls makes it feel like home. 

I’ve managed to continue cleaning the house.  I don’t mean the daily chores like cleaning toilets and mopping the floors, but things like scrubbing walls and baseboards with a stiff brush.  This house was just filthy and disgusting when we moved in.  I’m still finding long, dark hairs stuck to doors and walls.  Nobody in our family has long, dark hair.  Ewwwww.

I’m just about finished with a project I started in March:  cleaning the tile grout on my kitchen floor.  I use OxiClean and a scrub brush and it’s quite a workout.  I can’t do the whole thing in one go since I have fractured time, so I’ve been doing small sections.  I think I’ve done about 15 sections at 1-2 hours apiece.  But here is the difference it makes:

Elbow Grease

 

I really love owning a home.  I love making it better, bit by bit.  I love my long list of things to do.  Sometimes I get stressed out about all the money it will take to accomplish what we want to do, but then I remember that we don’t have to do all of these things right this instant.  Even if we had all the money we needed, it would still take a few years to get it all done.  And doing these things is fun.  I enjoy it.  Holy cow – I actually enjoy the process!

I’ve come a long way since last year, when I wrote about my time sickness.  Good job, me!

Eat Your Veggies

This song, sung to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin,” got Samantha to eat a big plate of vegetables.  Making up food songs seems to be a great trick for this particular kid.  I wonder if that is universal?

Eat your veggies
Eat your veggies
Finish them all
Finish them all
Chew them and then swallow
Chew them and then swallow
Yum Yum Yum
Yum Yum Yum

My husband, Adam, will be making his blogging debut this week at The Volokh Conspiracy.  He’ll be writing about his sewing machine article, so if you were intrigued by my description of it but didn’t have the fortitude to slug through an academic piece, this may be the way to go.

I can’t believe that I beat him to blogging.  He taught me what a blog was, back in 2002.

My first pet was a cat named Geddy who was a tabby-Siamese mix.  He was orange and white like a tabby, but his short hair, markings and face (and his loud, demanding meow) reflected his Siamese heritage.  He was so sweet that we often called him the “orange creamsicle.”  Don’t you remember those orange popsicles with the cream inside?  We had to put Geddy to sleep almost 3 years ago and I still miss him.  He was an irreplaceable value to me. 

Anyway, I’m a sucker for orange and cream now.  This recipe is just a modification of something I found in Joy of Cooking, but I made it up in honor of my old cat.  I don’t like sweet dishes much, but this one turned out delicious, with just a hint of orange/citrus.  It was cheap and easy and I loved every bite.  This one’s for you, Geddy!

Orange Cream Chicken Drumsticks

  • Enough chicken drumsticks (or other parts you like) to fit in your biggest frying pan (I got 9 drumsticks in mine, probably about 2 pounds?)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or less, to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice (I used a lazy squeeze of one whole orange)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I might have used more)
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salt and pepper

Season your chicken with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until golden and fragrant. (I used the vegetable oil as recommended this time instead of my usual olive oil but I’m sure you can substitute any fat you like.)

Arrange chicken pieces skin side down in a single layer in the pan.  Fry until the chicken is nicely browned on the bottom and detaches itself easily from the pan, about 6 minutes.  Turn and repeat.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook the chicken, turning often, until the dark meat pieces excude clear juices when pricked, about 20 minutes more. (I had to do it more like 40, including some time with the lid on the pan, but I had reduced the heat to medium-low to keep the fat from burning. You must use your judgement, here.)

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil (or put in a low oven) to keep warm.

Leave the fat in the pan, keeping the heat at medium, and add your garlic, honey, and allspice.  Saute for a couple of minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add 1/2 cup chicken stock and the orange juice.  This is where you need to use your judgment about how much liquid to add.  The idea is to scrape the bottom of the pan for all the good brown stuff and boil the liquid for a while (5 minutes or so?) until you have a nice, condensed, fatty, tasty liquid of about 1/2 cup.  I like a concentrated taste and reducing seems to take much longer than recipes call for, so I add less liquid, but the recipe called for a full cup so you might need it.

Then, add 1/4 cup heavy cream.  I didn’t measure, but I think I used about that amount or maybe a bit more.  Again, this is the art part.  Add enough to make it creamy, but not enough to dilute the flavor.  I like cream.

Boil until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes (don’t let it boil too much…keep stirring.)

Add the vinegar and stir.  Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings to taste.  Right now, the sauce should taste STRONG.  Remember, you are not eating it straight.  If it is bland, you need to reduce and add spices.

Once you have a strong, absolutely delicious sauce, turn off the heat, pour it into a cup, and serve it with the chicken.

I’m trying to reduce carbs now, but this is one dish that goes well with mashed potatoes or anything else that you like to sop up sauce with.

Enjoy!

The latest Round Up can be found at Rational Jenn.

Having an appreciative audience for my own crazy performance of David Lee Roth’s Just A Gigolo.

Today is Earth Day, or as I prefer to celebrate, Exploit-the-Earth Day. (See yesterday’s post for more on that subject.)  Last year I promised that I’d post links to some art that I like that contrasts the natural with the man-made.   That was right after I started the blog and didn’t realize that MAKING PROMISES TO MY READERS ABOUT FUTURE POSTS IS A BAD IDEA.

Sorry.

Now I’m finally free of that old promise.  What a relief.

But then there’s still that Selfish Parenting thread I promised…

Besides the fact that environmentalism perverts the very concept of value (by placing some intrinsic value in nature, apart from man), reflects a terrible method of thinking (non-scientific/non-rational), and calls for human sacrifice in a way that is potentially more destructive than any holocaust in history, environmentalism is now indisputably the new religion of our age.  I take as evidence, the fact that it is more scary than hell.

I’m being a bit bombastic here, and I’m not sure the exact results of the survey can be trusted, but we know at least some percentage of kids are really frightened by the potential for environmental disaster. Personally, I’m frightened by this statement from the article:

Interestingly enough, kids vex over the state of the planet, especially when it came to safe and clean air and water, regardless of any pro-environmental measures on the part of their parents. A staggering 95 percent of the children surveyed said their parents pitched in by recycling, using rechargeable batteries, and conserving water and electricity.

It’s amazing to me that whoever wrote this never considered the possibility that “parents pitching in” is exactly what is contributing to the children’s fears.  It’s like saying, “In a surprise finding, Catholic children fear hell more than all other children combined, despite the fact that the religion shows them exactly how to avoid hell.”  It only makes sense if you accept the premises of Catholicism and believe in hell.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Here are a couple of neat dance routines to get you in the mood for the premier of So You Think You Can Dance on May 21. 

If you take your eyes off of this for just a second, any second, you’ll miss something wonderful. I love the interpretation of the music – Coldplay’s Viva la Vida – especially the spins through the break at 1:40 in the video:

This one is just smoooooooth:

Dollar Menu

I’m glad Samantha is growing up before cash totally disappears.  It’s going to be more difficult for future generations to understand money when all transactions are electronic.  As it is, Sam hardly ever sees cash, except at McDonald’s and maybe when the pizza delivery Peopleguy comes to our house.

Samantha’s aunt gave her a lovely silver bank when she was born.  It’s been sitting on her bedroom shelf collecting dust ever since, but Adam and I have been looking forward to the time when she could start using it.  Yesterday, we finally got around to giving her a few pennies to put in the bank.  I sat with her on the floor and gave her a cup with a dozen or so pennies it in, and showed her how to put one in the bank.  She grabbed the cup from me and said, BYE-BYE MOMMY! which is her way of asking to be left alone.  I sat in a chair nearby and watched as she joyously started shoving pennies in the bank, saying to herself:

SAVE MONEY.  GO TO DONALD’S.  BUY FRENCH FRIES.  SAVE MONEY.  GO TO DONALD’S.  BUY FRENCH FRIES.

Blogiversary

Today is my one-year anniversary as a blogger.  In a coincidence that satisfies my craving for round numbers, this is also my 400th post. 

Even though I’ve always loved to write, I was never good at keeping a journal.  Blogging is much more fun.  I love organizing my thoughts into short essays, finding ways to make them fun, and sharing Sam’s development with family and friends. 

Happy Birthday, The Little Things!

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