Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You da Best!

I once heard a mom say that she would tell her children something like, "You're my favorite 5-year-old in the whole wide world!"

It seemed such a sweet thing to say. Now I find myself saying things like, "You're my favorite Mozelle Marie in the whole wide world!"

This morning as I took Louella out of her high chair, I told her, "I love you. You're the best!" She said, "No, Daddy da best!"

Wow. I can hardly wait to tell him, to make his day :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's in a Name? Fun Recipes

Breakfast or brunch at our house is often decadent. I promise we're not really cannibals though.

Dutch Baby comes from my husband's family traditions, and breakfast pudding comes from mine.

Dutch Baby is pretty simple.

Preheat oven to 425. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a cast-iron skillet.
Beat 8 eggs in a blender. Add 1 c flour, a dash of salt, and 1 c milk.
Pour all into the melted butter and bake for 20 minutes.

Breakfast pudding can be made while the Baby bakes.

Heat 6 c milk over medium heat in a nice big pasta pot with a dash of salt.
Add 1 c hot cereal (dry) of your choice ( I like malt-o-meal, cream of wheat).
Add 2/3 c sugar or a bunch of honey or whatever sweetener you like. A great holiday alternative is hot cocoa mix!
Blend up 5 eggs in blender or with a whisk.
When the cereal mixture is warm but not boiling, pour about 1/4 c into the beaten eggs and continue to beat them up. Then pour them into the pot and stir constantly 'til you get a beautiful pudding.
Turn off heat. Add vanilla.
If you like, add cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins . . .
Some pour cold milk over the top, or put a dab of butter on each serving.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday, Bloody Monday

So I'm taking this Love & Logic Parenting class, and trying to become a better mom.

My 6-y-o darling Mozelle gave me lots of practice today. The kids had a school holiday, and so I got to cook a whole lot more than usual. While I was in the kitchen cooking some vegetables, Mozy got out of control, so I took her to her bedroom for a little time out. She kept coming out of her room, and I kept trying to reassure her that she could come out after cooling down and getting back to her sweet self.

She even had lots of choices, like whether the light was on, and whether the door was open or closed. I kept taking her back up those stairs and depositing her in her room. She threw a fan and a bookcase, but I kept my cool. Her 15-y-o brother Bob cheered her up while I was sitting in her room with her, just trying to keep her from banging her head on the wall.

So 2-y-o darling Louella suddenly appeared in the room, with one red hand. I asked her what made her hand red, and what she had been playing with. She was very quiet, and very determined not to let me touch her hand. We went downstairs and found the culprit. My cutting board cupboard door was open, and the stupidest invention known to man was lying on the floor: a tiny plastic cutting board with a two-edged blade attached. There's a cover for the cutting blade, but it only covers one edge. Eventually Louella let me put bandaids on her finger, but that was all she let anyone do. Her favorite activity, washing hands, was absolutely off limits.

I asked Bob to throw away that stupid thing that I never should have kept in the easily-accessed cutting board cupboard. He removed the blade first. I asked him later to be sure and throw it away. He was bummed, but he did wrap it up and throw it away.

Noelle (big sis, age 8.5) got nauseated at the sight of Louella's blood, so I brewed some peppermint tea at her request.

Now I'd been a terrible no good very bad mom, and let the girls all have chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for breakfast, so I was determined to make them some good hot lunch. I got some added incentive when Bob came into the kitchen complaining of dizziness, and with a gauze-and-duct-tape-bandaged thumb. Seems he'd been trying to reshape an old blade from his Swiss Army knife . . . and who does he ask to help him stop the bleeding, but poor lil' queasy Noelle! Bob was having visual difficulties, probably due to his recent migraine.

So I cooked our family favorites, Dutch Baby and Breakfast Pudding (a double batch). Everyone got a piece of Dutch Baby, a bowl of the pudding, and even a glass of orange punch if they wanted it. I refereed the squabbles over the last piece of Dutch Baby, and made sure people did their own dishes, and finally ate some food myself. Man, it was good to sit down and eat!

Then the girls and I went for a walk, but not until after Mozelle had scraped her arm open on a neighbor's climbing tree. Louella and Mozelle and I had a glorious walk in the windy sun, and we ended up at the park. We had it all to ourselves. I lay my old bones down on the park bench and watched the girls dare gravity to slow them down. Mozelle helped Louella climb up the twisty slide, and even taught her to swing from the bar above the highest slide before pushing her down it. They were a delight to listen to and to watch, except when they scared me to death (Mozelle once pushed Louella while she was still swinging on that bar above the highest slide).

Another walk and a nursing and a nap later, I was cooking again. We get groceries tomorrow, so today is creative cooking 101. I made a casserole which included lasagna noodles, some ground beef and sausage, and a whole lot of other stuff you'd never guess, even if you ate it yourself. It seemed good enough while I was assembling the mess, alongside another pan of vegetarian lasagna for my 17-y-o Jack. But when I took it out of the oven, all I could think was, "What have I done?"

Well, all I could do was to have a sense of humor, especially while being repeatedly interrogated by my brood. What IS this? You LIED! Why are these noodles PINK?

We ate, we laughed, we ate some more. Bob dubbed it "Heart in a Blender". (You've heard that song, right? "Wanna put my tender heart in a blender/Watch it spin round to a beautiful oblivion . . . ") Everybody ate it, even though Bob made several gross remarks . . . at one point, Noelle put her fork down and excused herself for a while.

When she asked for a cookie, I asked her to finish her lasagna, and she did.

With an introduction like that, I'm sure you're dying for the recipe.

1 box lasagna noodles
1 acorn squash cooked with garlic and onion
1/4 c leftover spaghetti sauce
about a pound of mixed ground beef and sausage
2 or 3 T sour cream
3 cans tomato soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
lots of cooked barley, millet, and wheat
less than 1/2 of a fresh cooked beet

Cook noodles . . . lay some in each of 2 pans (smaller one for the vegetarian).
Mix in blender the tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, acorn squash, and beet.
In one pan, top the noodles with meats. In the other, add 3-grain mixture.
Now pour blood-red sauce over both.
Add more noodles.
In vegetarian dish, add sour cream. In meaty dish, spread cream of chicken soup (undiluted).
Add grains to both pans.
Add more noodles.
I forget how long this went on . . . but I would strongly advise you to mix the grains up into the cream of chicken soup if you do get crazy daring some time . . .
the top layer of the vegetarian dish is blood-red-saucy grains, but the top layer of the meaty dish is cream of chicken soup.
Pretty good and hearty fare, especially when you're out of mozarella and eggs and ricotta!

I cooked both of them at 350 for half an hour, which is just enough time to get your skirt caught in the wheel of a tricycle while teaching a 2-y-o to ride, after rescuing a 6-year-old from suicide triking in the street.

Our family home evening started off with my bragging to my dh Sonny at the dinner table about all the great things I had seen and heard the kids do to help each other all day. Then we played games, everything from computer games to chess to a tickle fight on Mom and Dad's bed. We were having lots of fun, but I got my head crawled on, so I got off the bed just in time to avoid an injury that Noelle unfortunately got instead--Mozy's foot met with Nolle's nose, and you guessed it--we had a full-blown nosebleed!

So at least half of us bled today--Louella, Mozelle, Noelle and Bob. Seems it's dangerous to let the kids have a day off from school . . .

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Are You my Mother?

I have a special daughter named Mozelle who wraps strangers around her pinky for amusement. She's six and a half years old. Mozy really loves people, and I do mean really LOVES them. She's not afraid to touch them, talk to them, ask them to take her home . . .

Sometimes she even puts her hands on the chest of any adult human female on the elevator and asks, "Are you my mom?"

Last December, I had her in the opthamalogist's office. There were elderly people everywhere. She put her hand on this man's neck and started interrogating.

Where do you live? Can I go to your house? Why do you have glasses? Is that your mom? Did she bring you here? Can I go to your house?

I'm simultaneously trying to fill out new-patient forms and read microscopic data from insurance cards, monitor Mozelle's antics, and keep my toddler happy and still.

Periodically I say things like, "Honey, please don't bend the blinds", and "Please don't turn off the lights", and "It's not polite to touch strangers without their permission".

She asked the man if it was OK for her to touch him. He said "No" and she let go. That didn't discourage her, though. She went and found someone else to hug and hold on to.

We found out that day that Mozelle's vision was 20/80. She got glasses to help correct her farsightedness, astigmatism, and outward-drifting left eye.

Not long ago, we found ourselves at Gram's house, where Mozy gave an impromptu chest massage to my surprised mom.

Mozelle: Why do you have big nipples?
Gram: So I could feed your mommy.
Mozelle: You nursed her because you're her mom!
Gram: That's right.
Mozelle: And her nursed you?
Gram: No, Grannie Rozella nursed me.

Between me, my older daughter Noelle and my mom and Mozelle, we had a thorough review of the breastfeeding legacy. Angela decided that Grannie Rozella, in effect, had nursed all of my daughters . . .

Not long after all this, I was lamenting the fact that I just seem so uneducated when it comes to weaning my nurslings. I finally said, "I guess I'm just not a weaner." Gram said, "No, you're not!" She must have been thinking, "You're a BOOB!"