Friday, 24 February 2012

Felt food Friday: Donuts!

Mardi gras was on Tuesday and I celebrated by baking donuts, then making a few felted ones. Marmousch always makes donuts for Mardi Gras, Nonna does too, and even though mine won't hold a candle to theirs I still felt it was my duty to introduce Wugs to this tradition. (It was easy! I made, kneaded, and shaped the dough the night before and just baked in the morning after rising.)

Wugs liked them well enough...I mean, every time she caught me shoveling one into my mouth (do any other parents out there run into the kitchen to sneak in 'bad' food? It's not just me, right?) she would insist I share. And I would! But it wasn't something she clearly adored (I'm talking to you, cheesecake).

As for the felted ones pictured at the top, and their awesome tute here on Skip to my Lou. My favorite is the vanilla-frosted one. Aren't those embroidered sprinkles so stinkin' cute? To date Wugs has not yet tasted donuts with icing yet--the only donuts in her universe are plain glazed raised and baked ones. But I'm sure by August we'll have remedied that. p.s. There's my pajama'ed monkey eating a non-felted donut last Tuesday morning.

The Edible Schoolyard

The other day we went to The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. I had learned about it when we last lived in the area, after reading Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. Then the other day at the park I overheard a mother talking to her daughter about chickens.
Chickens? Are there chickens nearby? Yes, at the edible schoolyard, she casually replied. The Edible Schoolyard! It's a self-sustaining teaching garden--with adjacent kitchen--at a middle school in Berkeley, and has served as a model for other like-minded programs around the country. It had fallen off my radar for a couple years there, but my love for community gardens (any loved garden, actually) has never wavered. We visited out of curiosity, we left inspired. I love the idea of children knowing where our food comes from, and taking pride in growing something from their persistent effort. We hope to recreate something in the spirit of The Edible Schoolyard on a smaller scale with our own children. Worm bin, chicken coop, meyer lemon and persimmon trees (and an outdoor pizza oven!) are just a few things I would love to be able to see from my kitchen window.

*Those last two pictures are Mila acting out her response to the question, "How do the chickens eat?" That's her, pecking the ground.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Getting called off

This morning started out pretty spectacularly when at 5:14 Steve got a phone call putting him on call for the day. Translation: mama gets to sleep in. Then the day got even better when he got called off for the day completely. Happiness! After a Papa nap we headed out to one of our favorite places, Tennessee Valley. We were there just a few weeks ago but this time brought bikes. Um, in other words we were able to complete the trail and reach the ocean (for the littlest among us is not yet a hiker but more a walk 2 steps, pause 2 minutes kind of girl. And no, she's not too keen on the ergo these days when she could be exploring on her own 2 feet like a madwoman.). Bikes are where it's at if you have a toddler! Mila loves the fast movement, likes to aaaaaaaahhhhhhh and let her voice waver with all the bumps on the trail, and even putting on the helmet comes with much less drama these days compared to when she first started biking with us. And she didn't make fun of me for walking the uphills. So thanks for that, Wugs. Here is Tennessee Valley in all its sandy and sunny glory:

And thank you, Steve's work, for giving us our Papa one extra day.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Milestones this past week

The big and the small.

First bite of cheesecake: February 14, 2012.
First girl scout cookie: February 13th (we tried the new one, Savannah Smiles...but she'll soon be tasting the peanut butter ones as well ;)
First hug and kiss to a friend: February 14th (how fitting that it was on love day.)
First shadow puppet show (put on by Papa during bathtime): February 15th (oh the amazed look on her face! I wish I could bottle that up and sell it, I'd never have to work another day.)
First ride on the big-kid swings: February 17th (the nonchalance! she hummed the entire time I was pushing her with a proud little smile on her face.)
First time down a slide where Mama wasn't there at the bottom: February 17th.
As you can see it was a momentous day at the park.

p.s. Yesterday we signed Mila up for a 'Lil Kickers' class starting next month...she is in the Bunnies group (groups go, from the youngest: Bunnies, Thumpers, Cottontails, Hoppers, and Jackrabbits. How sweet is that?). Since Mila is fascinated by anything involving a ball we think she will take to this new endeavor quite well. I for one can't wait.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Her Valentine clothes

IN NO WAY am I setting a ridiculous precedent for myself in making everything Mila wears on Valentine's or any other celebration...I think I just got used to staying up crazy hours around Christmas trying to get everything done, and here it is nearly 2 months later and I'm still in the habit of staying up late working on 'stuff.' Oh the allure of having time all to myself when everyone else is sweetly tucked in. 

The heart-doily-painted shirt started out like The Artful Parent's, where I first it. Instead of painting the actual doily, though, I slapped it on the shirt and painted the doily's negative space onto the fabric with a small foam brush. I think the lacy effect came out so pretty and delicate.

I still can't believe I was able to spit out that skirt. It's here at Make It and Love It (via Prudent Baby), such a well-written tutorial; if I can do it anyone can! I grew up with my mom making us a lot of handmade clothes with tons of love, and it makes me so happy that I'm starting to figure out this thing called a sewing machine (still have a long way to go though). p.s. When I first showed Mila the skirt on Monday (I wanted to try it on her to see if any adjustments were needed), she stopped dead in her tracks and opened her mouth so big. That's when my heart burst and I instantly forgot how tired I was from staying up until 1 the night before. I just love how this girl gets excited about things big and little, and everything in between.

And the little stripey legwarmers...remember these? I had made that navy blue-and-white pair at the beginning of my pregnancy and now that Mila finally fits those I thought another pair was in order. You know...for the ballet classes in her future :)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Felt Food Fridays

This is all about holding myself accountable to turn out some felt food in time for Mila's 2nd birthday in a little over six months (noooooo!). We're planning on hunting down a play kitchen as her 'big' gift and, well, what's a play kitchen without food? If  it's anything like a real kitchen without food, then it's pretty bleak (trust me on this one). I know I can buy the felt food (and I'm sure I will be buying a few pieces as it gets closer to August), but a lot of it seems so easy. Why not give it a try?

I thought I'd start easy and healthy. There's a boatload of free felt food tutorials out there but this one is from an etsy pattern I bought on sale around the holidays, from Gulf Coast Cottage. Orange wedges! They're in season, they're a symbol of Florida, and Mila unashamedly slurps the heck out of them come snacktime. I ended up stuffing mine with a little polyfill to give them a juicier look--does that make them look like orange empanadas?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Our Valentine's

Wugs and I awoke to flowers from Papa with sweet little love pictures in the center of each bloom, there were heart waffles for breakfast and Wugs had pink milk, too. The three of us spent the day together, going to music, playing at the park, watching Mila and her sweet friend hug and kiss each other for the first time. Then for dinner I got to cook side by side with my favorite man, just like the old days, while Wugs entertained us (and herself!) with kazoo playing.  And Mila gave me a wonderful present--no, I'm not talking about the early bedtime (even though she did that too)--she nursed to sleep, something she hadn't done in a long time. Lately her nursing has been shorter and not quite so frequent, something I know is normal but still makes me sad to think of this era starting to wind down (but I still think we're a ways off from weaning).  But last night, all nuzzled in my arms and sleeping against my chest, it was just like old times too. I rocked her for several rounds of Edelweiss just because I didn't want that moment to end. Steve and I went on a date in the teepee and watched Parenthood together. I like this thing they call Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I think Valentine's Day should be a reminder to tell the people you love exactly that in your words and actions. I hope they feel that every day, though, and not just today. Valentine's Day, every day! My little family makes my world and I feel very blessed.

Our weekend

We had a Mila and Mama weekend since Steve worked both Saturday and Sunday. And we

...made cinnamon pull-apart bread. Delicious and I think I like it even better than cinnamon rolls. But baking with a toddler requires a whole new skillset than cooking, I've realized. I'm convinced it can be easier but I have to do some things differently next time.
 ...begged Mila to just give me another 30 minutes to sleep. She gave me 15 and then the gig was up.
...explored the Botanical Gardens at Tilden where Mila thoroughly enjoyed herself throwing pebbles and attempting to clean every single plant identification marker with a baby wipe.
...I did it; I sewed my first article of clothing. A skirt for Mila. Holy crap ( it is far from perfect but you have to start somewhere, no?). A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World 492 times. And by read I mean I would turn to a page, eek out a sentence before Wugs would slam it shut, then demand for me to "read" it again. Aaaaaaand again. Carry Me, Babies Everywhere 489 times, same way as above.
...ate dinner by the light of our ice lantern.
...sewed another quick heart garland for M's teepee, stripey.
...painted my toenails red and sparkly. all dressed up for church...
...and since we were 25 minutes late pulling into the parking lot I made the arbitrary decision to play at the park instead. we went on the swings (you push her so high! one mother said to me. Well, she's a daredevil, this Miss Wugs), played in the sand, and watched the tennis players.
...appreciated Marmousch being supportive when I confessed that we had played hooky from church.
...went on a Mila and Mama date to a bagel shop where we sat in their courtyard, ate our bagel sammiches and watched the BART train whiz by. 
...made red playdough together and I tried to get Mila to keep the pink glitter confined to the storage bin she was playing in.
...made cream of mushroom soup since Steve would never, ever eat that. (I take full advantage when he's gone to eat food he hates--like mushrooms or smoked salmon.) Wugs gobbled up that soup. I'm so proud!
...decided to stop cursing the fact that we live in a 2nd floor apartment since Mila's getting really good at going up and down stairs. She probably wouldn't be getting practice like that if our apartment was on the ground floor.