Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Art

We read on a friend's blog about a fun Thanksgiving book and project. I had to hunt the book down...Barnes and Noble didn't have it! I found Setting the Turkeys Free on Amazon.  I used my Swagbucks to pay for shipping. (I keep forgetting to cash in my know your amazon gift card takes several days to post to your account otherwise I'd have used them to buy the book for free, but I didn't want to wait any longer.)  It arrived last week and Reese was very excited to open the package...I think he was expecting a toy.  He really enjoyed reading it and has asked to read it again as soon as we finish almost every time we've read it. Today we read it and then made the handprint turkey project.  
 I loaded the paint onto his hand, then he pressed it onto a paper plate.

For some reason we own no feathers, so he just decorated with sequins. He was not pleased that his turkey had no neck. I gave him the paint brush to fill in the gap on the paper, but he used it to paint his finger so he could press his hand again.

Then he painted around the edge of the paper plate with purple, red, teal and orange...the same colors we used for the tail feathers. 

He was pretty pleased with his work and excited to go show it off to his Dad.
 Here is the finished masterpiece!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day!

We had our first snowy day on Monday! I got online at about 8am to check for school closures. School was open, but Reese doesn't start until 12:15pm so we headed out at about 10:30 am to play. The boys have their matching eye ball felted wool hats. We bought these from a vendor at the Blackberry Festival. She was also at the Lavender Festival and the NKHS craft fair.This was Gus' first snow ever and the first snow that Reese was really excited about. Gus was displeased with how cold it made it hands, but otherwise seemed to enjoy it unlike his brother at this age. If they weren't complaining that their hands hurt from the cold snow I'm sure they would've played outside much longer. (Ok so if they didn't require parental supervision they probably would've stayed out longer despite their hurting hands.)
Reese really got into throwing snowballs. Unfortunately he couldn't make them himself. He wanted Mommy to keep making more...
...this many more!
Later in the day the snow really picked up. I slid a little on the road getting Reese from school at 3pm (preschool closed 45 minutes early.) I took this photo below of the playground about 5pm.
About 8pm Poppop knocked on the door....he stopped at the gas station down the street on his way home from work and got stuck in the standstill of traffic. He walked up the hill to our house to have some dinner. We threw Star Trek on the BluRay and alternated watching the movie and the standstill traffic out the front window. He finally left about 11pm thinking all the traffic would be gone, but still hit stand still traffic. It turned his 20 minute drive into 2 1/2 hours.
We went to bed thinking there would be a 2 hour delay for work, but woke up to discover work was closed! (That provides 8 hours of pay without taking leave!) Kyle already put in for leave on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday, of course, is a paid holiday. SO...That means 6 days off in a row and it only cost 16 hours of leave time. woo hoo!!! Luckily we didn't lose power. I did quite a bit of shopping in anticipation of the holiday and the potential for the grocery workers' union going on strike right before, so we are set for food. We did wake up to no hot water...actually no water came out of the faucet when the hot side was on. We have a tankless water heater that actually hangs on the exterior of the house. As the sun came out it thawed whatever the problem was and we have hot water now. So we're doing good on our snow days!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Menu

We have officially finalized our menu. Turkey, of course, using the Alton Brown Method. I have followed this plan for at least 3 years now. Prior to that I followed his cooking method but skipped the brine. I was afraid it was too...much. Too much time, too much effort, too much space used, too much to deal with. In reality it is super easy. I have used a cooler, putting the turkey and ingredients inside a trash bag inside the cooler with the ice between the cooler and the bag. I have also used William Sonoma brine bags. These are the way to go. I thaw my previously frozen bird in a disposable aluminum baking tin. Then I just use the same tin to hold the bird inside the brine bag in my fridge. It's easy to maneuver this way without spilling. Once we use up the W&S bags I'll be hunting for a cheaper option, because as with anything W&S you pay for the wonderfulness. But if I don't find anything cheaper I think I will dub these worth the price.
I will be serving a new addition to our menu, another Alton Brown recipe, Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes . Of course, we will also have the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy. I've been using red potatoes. I like to buy the mesh bag of really small golf ball sized reds. You can just boil these whole, saving not only preparation time, but also a cutting board and knife doesn't get dirty. No worries about potatoes turning brown because you cut them too early to save time. I mash mine with unsalted butter and sour cream. We have recently stopped buying low fat sour cream. We made the switch to Tillamook all natural sour cream. It has no extra ingredients, just the Grade A cream, milk and enzymes. Low-fat versions have chemical additives to make up for the lost fat. We don't eat sour cream by the bowl full, so I prefer getting a tablespoon or 2 of the full fat (which let's face it is was less than in our desserts) than gross chemicals. I have not pinpointed exactly what stuffing recipe I'll be using this year. I did buy some pepperidge farm cubes because last year they were sold out early. I have just not gotten on board with making my own from an actual loaf of bread. I guess I need some inspiration to try that.

For the veggies we will have the traditional
green bean casserole. I use frozen or fresh green beans because I just can't do canned veggies...yuck. I am considering making my own cream of mushroom soup. I'm thinking this might give it a more mushroomy flavor and eliminate a lot of sodium...important for all the old folks at our table (wink, wink). A new addition will be my and Kyle's new favorite Brussels Sprouts Gratin. Initially Reese thought it was "mmm, mmmm, deeee-licious." Now he eats it only grudgingly. Gus eats one bite, the subsequent bites are quickly spit out. For grown ups, though, YUM! Another new addition to the Thanksgiving line up is Curried Cauliflower. This is a recipe Kyle's mom makes that we really like. I've never taken a picture of it or posted the recipe before. It's worth jotting down.
Curried Caulifower
1 head of cauliflower
3 TBLS butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 TBLS flour
1 1/2 cups milk1/4 tsp each thyme, basil, curry
1/2 cup grated cheese (I use cheddar)
juice of one lemon, divided
1/4 cup parsley
sprinkle of bread crumbs

Cook cauliflower in salted water until soft. Add juice of half lemon, drain and set aside. In a skillet melt butter, saute onion. Add flour, stir until smooth. Gradually add milk, seasoning, cheese, stirring until melted. Squeeze the other half lemon and stir to combine, add 1/4 cup parsley. Put cauliflower in casserole dish, cover with sauce, sprinkle bread crumbs on top and dot with butter. Bake UNCOVERED at 375 for 30 minutes.

I am quite pleased all my side dished are to be baked uncovered. I can use any dish that's available and no need to worry about clearance in the oven for the lid knobs. All 3 of these will be baked in oven to table casserole dishes, leaving my china serving dishes for the potato dishes and stuffing.

I am debating about the cranberry sauce. Most cranberry sauce lovers are happy to eat it from the can and even look for the familiar can ridged lump of jellied cranberry sauce. I just don't like how it looks on the table. I've been using the recipe on the bag of berries. I was thinking of shaking things up this year. I saw a recipe with little mandarin oranges that seemed kind of good, but I can't recollect where. I may hunt down some recipes because I think the orange might make it taste better to me. Or I might make Pioneer Woman's recipe. At any rate, it's up for grabs still.
We will have the always expected pumpkin pie (I finally found organic puree in a can after lots of searching) and apple pie (made with apple pie filling I canned with my friends using apples from a local tree) as well as hawaiian buns. These are probably chock full of chemical nasties, but I don't care! I love them in all their non-organic glory.

Yummy yummy...I can't wait for the calorie fest!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biker Boys

Reese and Gus are playing with their motorcycle in their matching motorcycle jammies.
Gus wants a turn on Reese's "Captain America" motorcycle. I'm not exactly sure why this motorcycle has become CA's, but for the last few weeks Reese has been riding regularly with his shield.
Gus trying to take Reese down.
They reached a compromise: Gus gets his way and Reese hops on back. If Gus doesn't get his way he points and shrieks like snatched people from the body snatchers when they encounter and unsnatched human. It is not lovely for the ear drums.
I love it when they are both happy with the play situation and get along sweetly.
Gus is making vroom, vroom noises. Do you see the spit bubbles forming?

So excited he got it all to himself.
He's getting more coordinated about breaking his fall.

These sweet boys are playing together much more frequently. Gus does not hesitate in his attack when he's ready to wrestle. They love to play in the tunnel together. I've got to get some photos of that. They also frequently stand on Reese's bed to play with toys on the windowsill. It's so cute side by side.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Last Hurrah?

There is talk about snow. It is chilly some days, but there's still some sun. We were headed out the door the other day to go to the grocery store when we decided to take advantage of the last of the sunny days. I ended up running out of time to get all the errands done, but the boys have a blast.

Gus really didn't get to take advantage of the sandbox this summer because he still puts everything in his mouth. I just can't do eating sand. Gross.
Even still it only took him a moment to figure out it's easier to play with the stuff if you just hop in.
Gus immediately set out to feel as much sand flowing through his fingers as he could. He flung some around for good measure.
Reese has NEVER gotten in the sandbox. He prefers to squat along the sides and play from the outside, frequently brushing the sand off of his hands.

Now Gus is using the same bucket and shovel that Reese was using. I'm not sure if he hasn't quite figured out he can do the same activities with similar toys, that he doesn't need to use the exact same things or is it just that he wants to do and use everything Reese does.
It's pretty constant that Gus wants to do what his brother does, but it's pretty funny how much Reese follows Gus' lead on the more adventurous stuff.
He did manage to coax Reese into the box. No sitting just yet, but he is in.
This is Reese's new favorite pose. Some lovely child from school must have showed it to him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Super Baby

We picked up a Superman costume during the after Halloween sales. Reese has been perfecting his Superman stance. He loves to run around making his cape fly up. He does a funny little Superman dance too.
Reese got a cape for his birthday. It's blue with a lightening bolt on the back. He wasn't really into the cape for a long time. Recently he's been wearing it more. Now that he has a Superman suit with it's own cape Gus has been wearing the birthday cape. It was quite hilarious....he came toddling across the living room to me all excited in his cape. Of course I couldn't get the camera ready in time to catch him on his journey across the room and he wouldn't repeat it.
They are two cute super babies!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We met some friends at JUMP and this time I remembered my camera. The first time we went I was so bummed I forgot my camera, but really it is impossible to get a good photo!
Reese always goes down on his belly so I can never get a shot of his face!

I'm not sure what came over Gus, but he felt the need to wrestle with Atticus. I was surprised he just kept jumping right on him like wrestling is his typical mode of play. Atticus seemed to take it in stride until he'd decided he'd had enough. I think Gus would have just kept on going.

Anya suggested to Reese and Maisey that they run over to the slide, they could go down holding hands. They agreed to give it a try. Here they are going up the ladder part trying to hold hands. It was too cute!

Gus really liked the bouncy house. There is no place to get stuck or lost and I can go in with him.

Finally a clear photo of Reese's face! He's on his way out of the bouncy house here. Everyone had fun and we are excited to go back!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

El Sombrero

It's birthday time again! We did our traditional El Sombrero for Mimi and Uncle Dylan's birthdays on Sunday. YUM!

Mimi, 50something and Dylan, 19
Gus really enjoyed his meal. He started by demanding his share of the tortilla chips and he really went to town with his quesadilla.
Gus, excited about his meal
Reese, of course, ate much less than his piggy brother. He was happy to drink soda and color.
Reese on Daddy's lap
Notice the Spiderman hands shooting webs? Reese is fairly obsessed with Spiderman. I'm pretty sure we are going to get our money's worth out of the Halloween costume. Now we are on a hunt for a Batman costume, but we've waited too long after Halloween and can't find one.
Poppop, Mimi, Gus and Spiderman, oh I mean, Reese
After dinner the boys went home with Mimi and Poppop and Kyle and I hit the movie theater to see Due Date. We thought it was hilarious. Yes some critics say it's basically Planes, Trains and Automobiles and PTA did it better, but we really enjoyed Due Date. We like Robert Downey Jr and Zach G! And the Port Orchard theater has awesome "new" seats. They could've been there for ages by now. But they are new since we saw Terminator Salvation back in May '09. We vote PO for chair comfort, Olympic for popcorn quality (and Kitsap card discount at the box office.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It Finally Arrived!

I found a site from my blog friend, Susana, that turns your blog into a book. It's called Blog2Print. You choose the date range and click upload. It totally sucks all of your blog right into their site. You pick a cover, do some editing if you wish, order, boom it's done. Ours came in the mail on Saturday. I bound July 2007-December 2008 into one huge book. From then on I'd bind one year per book. It is awesome! We love it.

Reese poured over all the photos. About 3/4 of the way through he finally believed it was baby Reese, not Baby Gus. Gus really wanted to look too.
I'm so happy they'll have this to look through when they're bigger. They'll be able to see everything that we've been doing that they will probably not remember.
I am really happy with this service. It was easy to load to the site and once I ordered it came very quickly. I'm excited to order the next year!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Megamind Rocked!

We took Reese to see Megamind on opening night. He was so excited all day. He woke up all bubbly and bouncy that today was the day. He was equally excited that we'd get to eat movie theater popcorn.He sat in his own seat the whole time.
He very excitedly repeated the lines he found particularly funny.
He was most excited that the bad guy became the good guy. We have been talking about that tidbit quite a bit.
The second the credits rolled he was asking for more. We've been teaching Gus to sign "more" so Reese started to again. He was so cute, laughing and signing "more" in the theater. We really want to go again, but we'll have to restrain ourselves and wait for Blu-Ray.
It was a very fun date night for Reese.