Sunday, November 29, 2015

Now all I need is homemade chocolate

This is exactly how I feel every time I make something that I would normally buy.  

After the marshmallows worked out so well, I tried my hand at graham crackers so M could have real s'mores at his American picnic.  They were so quick and came out just like I hoped they would.  I used a gf recipe I found online and subbed ground sunflower seeds for the almond meal and a gf mix I had for all the flours.  

Instead of cutting out and moving each cracker, I just rolled them out right in the cookie sheet and then scored them with the back of a butter knife and poked fork holes.

For the second batch, I left a bit of dough around all 4 edges so the crackers themselves didn't brown on the edge, but these were fine, too. They didn't burn, just a little toastier along the edge on some crackers.

We made oven s'mores to test them out.  L gives them one thumb up.  His other thumb was busy.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Twelve Pounds 'til Christmas

There are only 12 more school days until Christmas break!  

To get everyone into the holiday spirit (and into their holiday pants, most likely) we have a Twelve Days of Christmas countdown at work.  Everyone signs up to bring treats to share in the teachers' room.  I have to admit, sometimes you really need a piece of fudge to get you through those last few days.  

Now that I am a marshmallow expert, I knew just what to bring.

This morning I made 4 batches of marshmallows: chocolate swirl, vanilla, cinnamon, and strawberry jam swirl (do not recommend.  Too slimy).

This time was even easier than last time.
I dusted with cornstarch instead of powdered sugar (which was definitely dustier) but the marshmallows are much fluffier.

I also flipped the entire slab over after a few hours to allow the bottom to set before I cut them, which made the whole process much easier.

Maybe next time I'll do salted caramel!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thankful for marshmallows and everything else.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is the gateway to Christmas, at our house. We have celebrated various ways over the years: with family, with friends, with and without the turkey, even with other staff families at school (we don't always get Thanksgiving day off.)  It's always special, just not in the traditional sense.

But we always put up the tree on Thanksgving day.  It gives me the big dose of nostalgic holiday cheer that I don't get from spending the day in the kitchen with a big pot cranberries bubbling on the stove.

As it happened, I got to spend it in the kitchen, anyway!  But it wasn't cranberries in the pot.  M's class is having an American-themed picnic at school next week, and he needed additive-free marshmallows for s'mores.  

My sister made homemade marshmallows several years ago, and I've wanted to try it ever since.  (There are no additive-free marshmallows in Thailand, so s'mores have always been a vacation treat.  We did bring a back back from our last vacation, though.  It lasted 6 months!)  I guess it took the prospect of one of the boys missing out on the fun with his friends to finally motivate me.

I prepped myself for a sticky disaster, but it was much easier than I thought!  I used a sugar/gelatin recipe, and it was so easy I ended up making a second batch (mint flavored!) as soon as the first batch was cooling!

For the first minute of mixing, I had serious doubts.  Who are we kidding, right.  This is just a bowl of sweet, boiling horsehooves.

After 4 minutes, I had a glimmer of hope.

By 10 minutes, it actually looked like marshmallow!  

After I had both batches setting, we headed to Ikea for our tree.  We spent the afternoon holidaying and decorating and working on the marshmallows, and didn't get the finishing touches on the tree until way after bedtime!

I'll post pictures of the tree soon, but first: behold the marshmallows!

What better way to ring in the holiday season than a big, fluffy, homemade marshmallow in a delicious cup of hot cocoa!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Corndog reminder

L has been asking recently if we could make corndogs at home.

I love a greasy, delicious carnival corndog as much as anyone- and the GF freezer ones we got in Alaska weren't bad, either.  They aren't for sale around here though, and I'm not about to learn how to deep-fry, so we made corndog muffins and everyone was satisfied.

It's just two chunks of hotdog with a scoop of cornbread batter over it.  This isn't a recipe.

This is a reminder to myself, in the future, when I'm feeling guilty that my kids can't eat junk food like everyone else: Don't be so hard on yourself.  You try.

Gross post, do not look

A few weeks or so ago, M got some bumps on the back of his leg and itched them into an infected mess.

Here is a disgusting picture.

I thought, let's just clean it and then leave it alone and see if they get better on their own.

About 2 days later, it was pretty obvious that that wasn't going to work.

So I pulled out our miracle grease aka Aunt C's balm of gilead.

After the first night:

The third night:

And the fifth night:

I stopped taking pictures after that since it was obviously better, but when I thought of it again last week or so I took one last one. 

This was twice daily application, once after his morning shower and again before bed. Sometimes one extra mid-day if I thought about it. This stuff is a miracle cure.

L's nose is currently equally disgusting, which made me put it to work again this morning.  I will spare you this pictures.  Cross your fingers!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Beach surprise

Whim was supposed to be away at a concert for the long weekend in Pattaya, but he surprised us by coming home on Friday night and bringing us along for the rest of the trip on Saturday morning.

As much as I love planning, I'm becoming quite a fan of these last-minute trips.

The studio where he practiced had a beautiful lawn (aka "the grassy field" ) where the boys were happy to play all morning and we hit the beach Saturday afternoon.

We're already on the way home and will be back to reality within the hour.  Not that I will mind, to be honest. Day 4 of M's reaction has me ready for the comfort of home (and those fabulous, close-able bedroom doors.)

Not well and good

On Wednesday night we had a cake to celebrate Whim's birthday.

Thursday, M woke up with a swollen eye, but I didn't put two and two together.  When he asked for another piece after school, I let him have one, and his whole face puffed up.

Three days later, it still hasn't gone down completely.  I used an allergy-friendly cake mix from a brand we've used before (Well & Good) but we hadn't used that particular mix before.  On the other hand, I wasn't 100% sure about the butter we used.  I feel like once I had trouble with butter once, several years ago.

Not to be silly, but I hope it's back to normal for his school pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

M's insect day

I love costumes.  Weird, because I don't generally like activities and I don't like social interactions, but man I really love to put together costumes.

I think it's because you can make them exactly how you want them (in isolation) and you have time to get them just right before you have to show them to anyone.  It's sort of like a puzzle to figure out.  What would make a good compound eye?  Could I use this for wings?  Like a real-life logic problem.

Plus, wherever you end up wearing it, you have something to say when the inevitable small talk rolls around.  

M couldn't be more different.  Sure, he's a book-worm, but what he really loves is telling people about what he's reading.  Anyone who will listen.  And considering that monologues are his favorite form of communication, speeches are kind of his jam.

This morning he gave an outstanding presentation about his chosen insect: the Sacred Scarab.  I got to pop in to watch while my own class was in a special and boy was I proud of him.  He was absolutely in his element (all eyes on me, sweet!) and managed to work in both Egyptian mythology and outer space into his 2-minute insect speech, along with a few jokes and a dash of dung.  

And as a personal milestone: for the first time ever, I sent him to a special celebration at school without a substitute snack, or an alternate plan, or an email to the teacher, or any micromanagement at all.  He ate what he could and didn't eat what he couldn't, and it was great.  

Actually, for once I think he considered himself lucky to have a built-in reason to pass on the deep-fried grubs and crickets...  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thank you pinteresting moms

No, you can't have the cereal with the minions on the box... but I'll think of something.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What a character

L was recognized at school on Friday for his good character.  Every month, each teacher chooses a child to honor who exemplifies the character trait of the month. 

This month the focus was Respect, and I was so proud to see his name and picture there among the chosen students.

What a way to be welcomed back after 2 weeks away!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Negative post

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little worn down, but still in full make-it-up-to-my-kids mode, leftover from the night before.

We continued the Halloween fun with pumpkin muffins and pumpkin icing for breakfast, and decorated them with chocolate chip jack-o-lantern faces.

But by around mid-morning, supermom had hung up her cape and crawled back into bed.   I tried not to move my enormous head and my fever started to climb.  When it hit 103, I faced the facts.  I had caught their Influenza A and was down for the count. What's worse, Whim was gone all day.

I admit we watched a lot of movies, and the boys made their own dinner.  First thing this morning, I went to the doctor for a swab, just to confirm what I already knew, so I could let my work know and settle in for a week in bed.


I cannot figure out why my two children who are confirmed to be infected with Influenza A look like this...

while I just have a "regular flu" and feel like my oversized head is going to fall off if I try to sit up.

Thankfully, the boys aren't suffering. Honestly, though, I wouldn't mind the slightest bit of a fever that would leave them feeling snuggly and sleepy so we could all have a nap together.