Monday, January 26, 2015

A Few Happy Things

 ::Brought home for me on Friday for no particular reason, along with cookies for me to enjoy with my coffee on Saturday morning.
 ::When I saw a dress with embroidered unicorns at the thrift store, I knew it was meant for Lily.  Can we all agree that all things are improved with a unicorn?
::We dried some grapefruits in the oven the other day.  170 degrees for many hours dried them out pretty thoroughly!
::I have learned to stop gasping when these two are rough housing and just accept the fact that this is proper behavior for fathers and their sons.
::A few weeks ago, I suggested to my dad, who loves classical music, that it might be fun to go to a concert with Zosia, who also loves classical music.  He sent an invitation in the mail, picked her up promptly at 2:00 on Sunday, of course in a full suit, and took her to half of a concert, followed by gelato.  Zosia loved it, apparently in this order: 1. Gelato 2. Time with Dziadzius 3. The concert.  

Happy Monday!  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Apple Pie for Breakfast and other things

Lily has taken her New Year's goal of doing more cooking very seriously, and often approaches me as dinner is being prepared to see how she can help.  And the truth is, at five years age, there is quite a lot she can do!  Yesterday she made the guacamole for our quesadillas, put cheese and meat on our tortillas while they were one the griddle, put salsa in a bowl, and set the table.  Zosia, not wanting to be left out, made some brownies (Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie mix is the best!), which meant that all I had to do was supervise, flip quesadillas, and enjoy the meal.  See, this parenting thing gets easier as you go!

Earlier this week, after the littlest three were in bed, Lily asked if she could do a cooking project with me, so we embarked upon making an apple pie.  It wasn't ready for the girls to have that evening, but the next morning was an unexpected snow day, and so all of the kids had a slice of pie with a piece of cheese in bed in the morning.  Apple pie might actually be primarily a breakfast food, not a dessert, to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee, if you ask me.

Hugo, Zosia, and Lily have transitioned to sharing a room in the past couple of months, and I think everyone is really happy with the arrangement.  It's the tiniest room in the house (so tiny I can't seem to get a picture of their bunks and Hugo's little bed in the corner of the room), but no one seems to mind, and we often find that all seven members of our family will gather in that teeny tiny room.  There's something so cozy about being in close quarters like that.

Just about all of the Christmas decorations are packed away, and we have started thinking about Valentine's day, which I have come to appreciate as a pleasant holiday to fill the span between Christmas and Easter.  The days are getting slightly longer, which is always a welcome change, and means that every now and then I might even be able to take a few pictures of dinner before it gets too dark.

And these twins.  Oh my goodness!  I don't think I've ever been particularly enchanted by the just barely one year old (When a certain first born of mine was that age I might have been feeling a tad overwhelmed, truth be told!), but Clara and Dorothy are making this age pretty magical.  They play hide and seek together.  They adore books, and bring us one after another after another and want to look through again and again.  They are mischievous and sweet and have decided that they truly do love tandem nursing, and insist upon doing so regularly throughout the day, which is sort of hilarious given the fact that they are these big babies, but I'm willing to roll with it.  And of course one of the best things of all is watching our older three play with and engage with the babies with increasing empathy and delight.  Twins are the best, you guys.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Easiest Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

We just finished up an especially nice week with my sister and niece, complete with plenty of time to play, eat together, and even go out and do some fun things out and about.  Grace is six months older than the twins, and as you can see, the three of them are peas in a pod!  And even though you might assume that since we have plenty of babies in our own house, an extra baby is nothing special, I think it is safe to say that we are all obsessed with little Grace, in no small part because she is the cutest little ham bone that you ever did see.

One afternoon the three older kids went over to my parents' house and went sledding with Irene, Grace, and my dad, and they came home a couple of hours later with the tastiest peanut butter cookies.  When I found out they were gluten free and the easiest recipe I have ever heard of, I knew I had to make them myself, and did so the very next day.  So here you go, enjoy!

Easiest Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix together in bowl, spoon onto greased baking sheet, and flatten slightly with fork.  Bake at 350 for 12 mintues.

See?  Can you even believe it?  I was incredibly skeptical that it would work, but it did, and the result is a very sweet and peanut buttery confection that has a great texture.  I would say that a single cookie with a big cup of milk makes just about the perfect dessert.

Oh, and on Friday Irene and I met my dad up at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for their exhibit entitled "Meet Mary," which features some breathtaking depictions of Mary in Baroque and Renaissance artwork.  Hugo and I loved the depictions of Mary tickling Jesus, and I thought that the painting of Mary protecting the faithful under her cloak was beautiful (although note, you are not supposed to take pictures, something I learned just as we were leaving!).  Do you see that picture of Mary looking at Jesus napping?  She's taking a break from her sewing and knitting.  Can any of you mothers relate?  I'm sure there are several naked cherubs in your nursery, too, right?  

The museum is really beautiful, too, and we let the little guys walk around in their big marble foyer before we left, which they seemed to think was the whole point of the trip, obviously  It was really incredible, I hope to go a couple more times before it leaves in April, you should check it out.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snow Week!

Oh my goodness, it is cold outside.  Cold like it was last winter, in that your-nose-turns-bright-red-and-any-exposed-skin-gets-numb-sort-of-way.  But you know what?  A blanket of snow makes everything more bearable.  We went ahead and made yesterday a real snow day, complete with mandatory snow frolicking in the morning, a snack of popcorn and bacon, followed by the first sledding adventure of the year (no photos because I was carrying a baby on my front and my back!  Whew, it's been a while since I've done that, and I do believe these babies have grown in the last few months.  At least they kept me warm), followed by a hot bath in the afternoon and then a crazy primal instinct to make soup from the bones of a rotisserie chicken and everything in my refrigerator (which turned out pretty good!).  I think I fell asleep while Ben was tucking the girls in bed, I was that tired.  It was a good day.

I have found myself embarking upon winter activities like switching out bedding, stockpiling blankets, and finding creative solutions for where to dry our snowy, salty, muddy boots (on the dresser in the living room is the current solution, as anything close to the floor results in babies eating the shoes.  Yuck!).  To tell you the truth, I still feel like I am making up for all of the housekeeping I didn't do through the holidays, and it can feel like a lot.  I think I'm most of the way there, how about you?

I'm saving my best secret for last, though.  We quite unfortunately passed along our stomach bug to my sister and her sweet little baby Grace.  They were miserable, poor things.  Not a fun end to a vacation, and I think the only merciful thing about a stomach bug is that it passes through quickly.  Yuck.  But (and here's the good part), they had to postpone their return trip for another week!  Eee!  Picture me and Irene jumping on a bed, just like these four little monkeys the other day.  I just cannot express how wonderful it is to have these guys around.  They are the best.  Clearly, Hugo and the twins think so too.  The. Best.