We’re skipping out on trick-or-treating this year, so I’m sharing photos of our pumpkin picking adventures from this past weekend. We went to our usual pumpkin picking place with Dana and Rich. The boys had a lot of fun, and we plan to do it again next year.
Oliver and Patrick have started bringing home Roly Poly bugs. For a while, O was trying to keep them locked in a tin in the play kitchen, but then P let them free and several lost their way (or lives) and haven’t seen seen since.
On one hand, I’m glad the boys are taking an interest in bugs, bugs are cool, but the drama (and search and wailing) that ensues when “baby let dem go!” is a bit much.
We started with a bug-jar, a mason jar with a bit of dirt and yard debris with some screen mesh across the top for ventilation, then I did some reading up on roly poly habitats and decided we could splurge and make a roly poly terrarium.
The other morning, after we ran a bunch of errands, we went to our local pet store and looked at fish – we got distracted. I promised the boys in “a few years” they could “graduate” to having fish. The helpful person behind the counter looked confused, don’t kids usually start with fish? Yes, but right now we have Dwayne, our pet rock, and we’re moving on to a roly poly bug paradise.
Apparently I’m the coolest mom he’s met all week.
After the pet store (we didn’t get any fish, just a medium-sized “kritter keeper” in pink – it was $2 less than the “herp heaven” and the boys didn’t really care about colors), we went to the local nursery and asked an expert (who was very helpful, and slightly horrified at what we were doing because the bugs “are going to eat the plants!”) for some small, low maintenance plants for our enclosure. I’m not totally sure what we ended up with (the boys took the plant tags the moment after we paid for them), but they’re small and fit nicely.
When all this was done we went for a walk around Ives Park and appropriated P’s snack cup as transportation for a few more roly poly bugs.
Assuming they all survived we have somewhere between three and five roly poly bugs in our enclosure. I’ve seen one moving around, but O is convinced he’s seen more, and I’m sure more will be joining the RP Colony soon.
Some Fun & Helpful Resources for the Care & Keeping Roly Poly Bugs
My original plan for Easter was simple: some baskets, some milk chocolate bunnies and an egg hunt in the yard (searching for 10+ year old industrially mass-produced plastic eggs that had been unearthed from Grandma D’s garage). We were going to skip dyeing hard boiled eggs (no one really wants to eat them anyway), and I was going to take the kids to the park instead.
Then the boys came down with nasty snotty noses, O stayed home from preschool, and it rained. So much for the best laid plans. Instead I hollowed out some eggs, made a coffee cake with three, and emptied out another six for the lemon tart I plan to make tomorrow.
The boys and I took turns dyeing eggs, we each got three.
When they finish drying O wants to decorate them further with stickers, and eventually, once the kids go to bed, I’m going to find the Mod Podge and try and make them a bit sturdier. Eventually I’m hoping to find the perfect tree branch to hang them from.
In other Easter-related news, a new bunny has joined our collection. His name is “Twisted” as he’s made from twisted, lightly felted wool. After the Easter festivities are complete, he will be joining Brutus, Sweater and Brown (seen below) in the Bunny Bin. Twisted is currently living in the “Ooster Gass!” that O planted at preschool.
Five years ago I attempted a King Cake. It turned out okay, but over all it was less than brilliant. I don’t remember if I used the recipe I linked to (from King Arthur Flour), but I do remember lots of leftover king cake that no one wanted to eat.
I’ve thought about King Cake several times since then, mostly remembering the failed attempt from February 2008. I asked my mother if she’d ever made one she replied no, but you can mail-order them from a popular New Orleans Bakery.
I didn’t want to order one from a New Orleans Bakery, so I set about finding a better recipe. Thankfully Gavin has a friend in Louisiana and his wife enjoys cooking and baking about as much as I do. I got in touch with her and she sent me her King Cake Recipe!
I had all the ingredients on hand so on Thursday morning after we dropped O off at preschool P and I got to work kneading dough.
I didn’t have the requisite green/purple/gold sugar (and I didn’t want to deal with making it myself with food coloring), so I used rainbow sugar crystals.
The recipe is one I’m going to keep and use again. I’m probably going to halve the frosting and change up the fillings and make it year-round as a special breakfast. It is fantastically airy, moist, and chewy – a vast improvement over my attempt five years ago!
This morning, in a fit of desperation and desire to get out of the house and see other grownups I called one of my mom-friends to see if she wanted to get together and do SOMETHING outside the house. She mentioned she was considering going to the local library because they were having a “decorate gingerbread houses” activity for children 0-5, and it might be fun.
Half an hour later, the boys and I were at the library, plates, milk cartons and plastic knives in hand. We found a table, generously laid out with tubs of frosting, twizzlers, hand candies, fruit loops, candy canes and mini-marshmallows, and set to work on creating sugary masterpieces.
Once I got Oliver started he was quite adept at piling on frosting and decorations.
Our friends joined us, and we had a good deal of fun piling more candy, fruit loops, frosting, and trim on to our little houses. They were topped off with “rainbow snow” (colorful sugar crystals).
When we were finished, we went for a walk to the park, which had many huge puddles for the boys to splash in. Patrick face-planted in the deepest puddle (about 6-8 inches of water at the deepest point), and got thoroughly soaked so we headed home (it was also nearing lunch time).
More photos of today’s adventures and the inevitable consumption/destruction of the gingerbread houses can be found in the December 2012 Picasa album.
Imaginative play runs wild in our house. O has recently decided he is “doggy” and has taken to crawling around the living room going woof, doggy also climbs trees. O has also decided that “Baby Pa-kits” is “Egg.”
Pa-kits is the most energetic egg I’ve ever seen, perhaps we should call him Ludwig. Continue reading
It has been raining the last few days. Instead of arguing with the boys about playing inside, they’ve been bundled in their rain gear and sent out to play. Our yard has become a mud pit and experimental zone.
And liberally sampled by Baby Brother.
And the boys will end up in the bathtub.
Gavin works from home most days so we’ve been working on making our home-office as ergonomically friendly as possible.
Last week Gavin’s new display stand arrived, it enables him to work sitting down or standing up, which is great for his posture and keeping his neck in good shape. It also means that Oliver and Patrick have an awesome box they can use as a tent.
Yesterday afternoon the boys were let loose to run in the yard while I cleaned up the kitchen (an unending task). After a time they wandered out of my immediate line of sight so I ventured out to check on them.
Turns out P had mastered the ladder on the climbing structure and he and O were taking turns climbing up and going down the slide.
This kept the boys happily occupied for nearly forty five minutes, until they were pink from the heat and I insisted they come in and have some water and a light snack before swimming lessons.
This morning we went over to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and had a nice walk among the trees.
We walked about a mile, mostly on the Pioneer Trail which goes “from the park entrance to the Armstrong Tree and Forest Theater, returning via the same route.” The boys walked, climbed and explored among the trees. Continue reading