Friday, January 27, 2012


7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

1. I discovered FlyLady a couple of years ago, and while I haven’t really adopted her day to day cleaning plans, her methods have definitely influenced the way I clean my house. So as I looked around at the various disaster areas in our house recently, I decided I would just do one room at a time - spending a week in each - until things are cleaned up and organized. So this week I’ve been in the master bedroom (which just happens to coincide with where FlyLady is, too). It’s not perfect, but the piles of clothes are off the floor, along with the random bins of baby stuff I’d been meaning to go through. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do the girls’ room next, or the laundry room. Yikes!


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2. Jacinta has been very interested in books lately, but she doesn’t really want to read them, just point out things of interest to ask what they are. Which is really cute, but also mildly aggravating. The problem? She will follow me around the house with a book and doesn’t seem to understand “Please wait,” or “I’m getting something hot out of the oven,” or “I’m up to my elbows in raw chicken right now.” So that leads to some frustrated squawks on her part when Mom fails to immediately identify the object in question. Oh, my ears.

3. Veronica’s version of this is, of course, the ubiquitous litany of why. She asks why about EVERYTHING. And she also will follow me around the house to peg me with questions. Does anyone else find it hard to cook or clean and also answer small child questions at the same time? Because my brain just can’t seem to handle it. I want her to feel like she can ask me questions, but…phew! Sometimes I need a break.

***After I posted this, I remembered this article by Rachel Balducci earlier in the week on Faith and Family. In it she shares her favorite parent answers to why questions, including “Because I said so.” My own personal favorite, which fits a lot of the why-is-it-like-that type questions Veronica is constantly asking: “God made it that way.”


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4. Following in her sisters’ footsteps, Ariadne has almost grown out of the 0-3 month clothes now. She’s nearly 8 weeks, and getting chunkier and cuter by the minute. And smiling a lot. I love baby smiles. If only I could capture one on camera…


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5. Even though it’s still a little chilly, Paul has been wanting to do some gardening with the girls. So he got a little seed starter tray and they picked out some flowers. And tomatoes. And green beans. They planted them in the tray and also in some pots we had lying around, and they are now basking in the sun in the dog room. Or would be, if it wasn’t overcast today. He is hoping that having them indoors will give them a chance even though technically it’s still winter. We’ll see!

6. Ariadne has been a lot more congested than either of the other two girls. I find myself needing to suction her nose to get the big boogers out. Jacinta came in the bedroom while I was doing this the other day, and of course Ariadne was not a happy camper. She was doing her angry cry, and Jacinta got so freaked out that she’s afraid of the suction bulb now. I offered to let her hold it to try and put her fears to rest, but she looked at me like I was waving a chainsaw at her. Then she turned and ran.

7. The girls had a play date with their cousins last week, where this gem of a conversation took place.

4 y/o Nephew: Who is the oldest one in the house?

Me: I think it is probably your mom.

Nephew: How old is she?

Me: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask her.

Nephew: I think she is in her sixties.

Gotta love kids!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mini Mince(meat) Pies

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Ever since returning from the semester of college that I spent in Oxford, England, I’ve missed mincemeat pies. Yes, I’ve missed them for nine years. Up until now, I’ve just accepted that. But no more! I felt it was time to test my cooking skills and make my own.

After perusing the interwebs for recipes, I cobbled together a list of things I wanted in the mincemeat. Meat was not one of those things. Though it seems that traditionally they did contain meat – hence the name, mincemeat – the ones that I tried way back in my Oxford days did not. At least, not as far as I know.

Once I assembled my ingredients, I played with the quantities until I came up with this combination. (DISCLAIMER: I in no way claim that this recipe is “authentic” or anything. It was pieced together from the internet, which we all know is extremely accurate and never lies.)

  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 4 apples, peeled and diced very small
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 scant cup of dried figs, chopped*
  • 1 cup green holiday cherries, chopped*
  • 3/4 cup candied citrus peel (recipe here)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

(*Next time I think I would leave out the cherries, they weren’t needed. Maybe the figs, too. I only included them because I couldn’t find currants. We’ll see.)

I put everything in a pot and simmered on the stove until the apple softened and the house smelled wonderful.


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Then I made up a batch of Pam’s Pie Crust and cut it into little shapes with a cookie cutter. I pressed a small circle of dough into a mini muffin pan, making it fit by removing a small wedge from the circle first. I filled each little pie, then put the tops on and baked at 410 degrees F according to these directions. I had a little leftover dough so I made a couple in a regular muffin tin, too.

Yum! They were very tasty. The pie crust recipe made enough for one full mini muffin tin (24 pies) and a few extra in the regular muffin tin. But I had a lot of leftover filling, so I put it in the freezer to use another time. Which is good, because I’ll definitely want to make them again soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Randomness

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Missed last week, but jumping back in today (if a bit on the later side).


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1. This is what happens when you use candy canes as Christmas tree ornaments.

2. Yes, our tree is still up, why do you ask?


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3. We tried cornstarch finger paint yesterday. The girls had a lot of fun with it. Here is the recipe we used (though I did cut it in half). It was a little too goopy to keep the pictures hanging around (they never really dried), although I think if I could convince them to spread it out more it would work better. Veronica’s first page was pretty sparse and actually dried to nice, bright colors.

4. The past couple of days I wrote journal entries at 280daily. I wish I could remember where I came across the link, it may have been on Facebook. Anyway, you sum up your day in 280 characters or less. I thought it would be a fun way to document what we do with the girls, and the entries can be saved as a PDF or made into a book so it could be a keepsake someday. Here’s hoping I keep it up!


Grablins? Gooloom? Slag the Terrible?

5. If you have twelve minutes to kill, check out this short Hobbit cartoon, circa 1966. Definitely not true to the story, but kind of fun nonetheless. You can find the history of the cartoon here. H/T CSTM.

6. Sleep deprivation.


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7. I made these last week. Do you know what they are? Post coming soon! Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Magic Hair

Oct 31 2011 951

Tangled has been a favorite movie in our house lately. Hence the following conversation.

Veronica: What color is my hair?

Me: It’s blonde.

Veronica: Yes, that’s why it’s magic.

Well, it may not be magic, but it sure does get tangled!