Saturday, November 24, 2007

Indian Gorging, Sleiman-style

After barely surviving a dry, hot summer, the pilgrims found themselves near the end of their proverbial ropes. Then, to make matters worse, around the third Thursday in November, Indians came and showed the pilgrims how to make enough food to stuff their faces... which, believe me, hurts a little more than a too-hot summer.

Lynné outdid herself once again, cooking the turkey to perfection.

For those who aren't sure, perfection is when the turkey is soft everywhere. As L and I discussed matters, the distinction between white and dark meat is more than just how much moisture the meat keeps.

Of course, juicy meat isn't all that special. (haha, just kidding - yes it is.) More than that, however, is the awesome cookly power of matching the proper herbs and spices to the meat. Watch Lynné's genius...
She prepared the turkey in a honey mustard glaze complimented with a rosemary herb mixture. Most doctorate theses aren't that eloquent.

Here comes the near-fatal hubris of Youssef... his eyes being bigger than his stomach.
What you see here is a turkey drumstick. If you've been to Scarborough Faire and paid $5 for a drumstick, it's okay if you don't recognize this. Lynné found a mutant turkey with thighs sculpted by hours on a commercial exercise machine.

This looked at first like no big deal. Just a drumstick, right?

The strategy thus far was to get as much down as possible.

In a way, if you think about the first feast of Thanksgiving, the entire strategy to overwhelm your enemy with food strikes a chord with Sun Tzu.

Each bite tasted so good...

It made me hungrier with each taste, but at the same time filled me more with it. It may be a flawed strategy, but the plan was to taste and eat as much of the turkey that came across my eyes. However, things got to the point where a new strategy needed to be adopted...
Thus, the sprint crunches. Oh yeah, for about ten to twenty minutes, I sat beside the table and began to do crunches and sit-ups and twist-ups and a (pathetic) pair of push-ups.

It worked, oddly enough. I wasn't as full as I was ten to twenty minutes ago - but whether that was due to my impromptu exercise routine or my brief pause in turkey consumption, we'll never really know.
But, if anything could be attacked with more gusto than I did the turkey this second time, I don't want to hear about it. Forks and knives only get one so far. Then, to properly handle the turkey, you've got to reach in with your fingers.
I love that moment. It reminds me of Star Wars, when Luke is wearing the blind helmet and facing off against the "remote" with a lightsaber... and of the throaty voice of Alec Guinness saying, "Reach out with your feelings."
My hands will smell herbally until the Tuckers get home (next week, right?)

What may be missed in this picture is that there was other food at the dinner table than turkey. There's gravy on some mashed potatoes, I believe. I didn't look that closely.
It was more of a cursory serving. Lynné, as she ate, asked me if I was interested in the other food - stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. "What other food?"

And yes, this Indian gorging ended at some point.
In fact, the remains of the poor fowl weighed about 15 pounds lighter when they were thrown out. Even to the end, I was picking off and eating small chunks - juicy and delectable.

We cleaned the table in a short moment and, just as I was lumbering over to the big sofa to rest, Lynné broached a subject I was completely unprepared for...
"Want some pumpkin pie?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lily's surprise cookies

We now are witnessing the burdgeoning new talent in the world of cooking cookies!

Look at the array that LilyAnne Miranda uses to develop her cuisine.
There's a folksy appearance, but don't let that fool you into thinking her cookies are anything but the most highly sophisticated formula.
Notice the experiment in highly unstable sprinkles, spices, and vanilla extract.

What we see here is the beginnings of a great cook.
Not only is there some question of the legality of mixing so many ingredients, but chemically, what laws of nature has she broken, and can she pay the fine?
How much ground cloves can you put into cookies?
Do sprinkles fit inside cookies?
Here's the actual list of ingredients: Oatmeal, raisins, M&Ms (peanut and regular), cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, whole wheat, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, and butter... and salt.

How many ingredients can fit into cookies and still taste good?

Lynné reports that Lily did precise measurements of each ingredient, but hid those measurements from adult eyes with carefully choreographed shaking motions, and waiting until her back was turned...

At the end of the baking process, one which included a few questions of morality (can cookies taste morally good?) and philosophy (what is a good cookie?).
Of course, being a good scientist (what are cooks anyway if not scientists in the kitchen), she won't ever test her product on herself. No... that's when the human subject steps on the scene.

Enter the daddy.
Observe how little interest in the cookies he seems to have at first.
There are a few misguided attempts at discussing with telemarketers and so on, all while the cookie experiment progresses. However,... after the first tasting....
... his first taste ends in something close to a confused hang-up on the phone. Rather than conclude the conversation, he muffles a "Bye" and hangs up.

After the third taste flight of the cookies (intended pun), his posture has bent in half. Whether this was due to fatigue from the day, the staggering work of signing his pay check, or from the sheer weight of glucose and fructose (from the raisins) rushing to his head, Lily's studies were inconclusive. Yet a measurable effect was occurring... with each cookie, the daddy's ability to stand was inhibited.


At this point, in the experiment, the subject could no longer be controlled. Demands of "Bring me more!" and "Next cookie, please" increased in both frequency and volume. Obliging, the aproned scientist saw to her moral, philosophical, and artistic duty.

After another few minutes of ferrying cookies to the subject's mouth, the scientist realized that a limit must soon be reached. With no more cookie inventory, how could she publish her findings? How could she test future subjects with only a handful of cookies.

So, her work on the daddy had come to an end. Yet, after a bit of curiosity,

LilyAnne Miranda succumbed to her own creation's alluring scent. A cook's work seems never done, and doubly so for the experimental cook. Tomorrow's spices will be next year's recipes. Reviews would need to be written, and so would a recipe (still hidden from adults in cryptic crayon scrawlings would do).

With all these responsibilities starting to pile up, what better way for LilyAnne to relax than having one of her own cookies?

Note, though, how she's not standing either.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Growing up...

Lily's hair is long enough to french braid! I did one braid too, but two french braids work better because her hair is still shorter on the top. She is getting to be such a big girl. She'll be two years old in just under two months, she's weened now, and is talking so much more too! Today in church she was "reading" her books to herself. She has this really cute book called "Piggies" by Audrey Wood and each page is a picture of a little kids hands with a pig for each finger (doing something funny or silly usually.) Well, when she got to the page that reads "sometimes they're hot little piggies" she'd waveher hand and say "hooot" in a whisper. Then when it came to the one that said "and sometimes they're cold little piggies" she'd make a fist and shiver while saying "coood." It was so cute! Youssef got a little bothered when she'd get too excited and make more noise (though happy sounds) in church. Over all though she did really well sitting still and being quiet and so forth. She's becoming more of a Daddy's girl. It's so cute how she runs to the window and says "Dadadada" when he's home (or when she thinks he's home.) She sometimes will point at the window in the day and say "Dada?" and it's so hard to tell her "No, Daddy won't be here till after dark." She keeps hoping though. ;) When he comes home they run around together and she gets to climb all over him. She has always liked to play with my hair and now she does that to Youssef too (pets the back of his head when he holds her.) She's getting to that age now where she's not a clingy either and even though she keeps an eye on where I'm going (of course because I'm always with her) she doesn't mind when I leave her with Youssef now. They are buddies. ;) It's really cute how she welcomes people into our house too. She hands them toy after toy right at first (most people don't really know what to do with that, but you must admit that it's pretty sweet if you look at it from her toddler point of view how she's sharing with them and so forth.) She can be a little nervous around other little kids till she gets to know them, but I think that's because she's been knocked over accidentally or other kids will hit her or take toys away or something and she's just not sure what to do, but of course she has friends that she can learn how to deal with things like that from. When she was weened I was a little sad not because I wanted to keep nursing her but just because she's growing up so fast. It's also really good though because we are all slowly getting ready for the new baby. I'm getting more and more excited about having another girl! I'm starting to want to do some more sewing and knitting and things and picturing matching outfits and so forth (I like the matching kind that are different colors but the same style the best. ;) She deffinately won't need any more blankets than we already have (though it's always nice to have some specifically for the new baby) and Lily had just barely enough clothes for herself so I might need a few more baby clothes (but again, it's nice to have a few things that are special for the new baby.) We'll see if Lily is toilet trained by the time the new baby comes. So far she's sat on the toilet a couple times (just for fun apparently), but most of the time when I ask her "Do you want to go potty in the toilet?" She quickly says, "No" and shakes her head. Even if I tell her that if she goes in the toilet she can have some chocolate, "No." (I know... I probably shouldn't bribe her, but I thought it migh be a good insentive because she loves chocolate so much.) It didn't work to give her chocolate just for sitting on the toilet because she'd just sit there and eat till the candy was all gone if she could... just to eat the chocolate. *shrug* She'll be ready when she's ready though, and so far we are all adjusting to the new baby coming faster than I'd even planned. Right now Lily's room is just a little room right off of ours, but I think when Renna is 9 months or so we'll move into the back room and have them share the rooms in the front of the house so that it can be more of a play/tv room and the living room could be more for adults! (Imagine that?) I think it would work well because then they wouldn't be too far away from eye site but the mess would stay more in the other room. I don't think Lily would like that right now and would always be coming to our room more because she'd be lonely, but soon she'll never be alone again. ;) She loves to look through the scrap books and point at pictures of her friends and then point and pat my tummy (I told her that there was a little girl in mommy's tummy and soon she'd have a friend with her all the time and now she loves to pat my tummy and "talk" to Renna.) It will be even more fun when she can feel Renna moving. Youssef and I of course can feel her, but Lily doesn't have the patience or understanding to hold still to feel her kick, but soon it will be too obvious for her to miss. I carry my babies really far out from my body so it's really easy to feel them. Several times she'll stretch out or move just right so that she's even closer to the surface and I'd ask Youssef if he wanted to feel Renna and he'd be surprised at how obvious she was. Y. "Wow, there's a baby right there" L. "Yeah, now push her back. It feels wierd when she's sticking out of my side like that."

I just realized how long I've been rambeling.... I should probably go. Lily is still asleep, but Youssef should be home soon (he sells his plaszma on Sundays and Thursdays... I wish he didn't have to, but maybe if some more of my pictures sell he won't have to anymore!) :)

Her hair was wet when I did this so it looks even thinner than it is, but I was amazed that it was even long enough to do this!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The big sister!

I look gigantic in these pictures, but Lily was so cute I have to post it. I was explaining to her that the little baby in Mommy's tummy was a girl (and pointing to her little friends to tell her who were girls and who were boys) and that the little girl baby's name is Renna. She got so excited that she wouldn't let me walk away or put my shirt down for about 15 minutes while she babbled to my tummy and pointed and patted me and said "baby"! It was so cute! Now when I ask in the night if she wants to say night-night to Renna she comes right over and pulls my shirt up to pat my tummy! I think she's excited to have a little sister. ;)


The layout that didn't win.... (if you voted for me and are curious, number 3 in the top right corner was the winner.. the "summer" one with the neat flower shaped pictures.)

This is the poem (up close) that I wrote for the page so that you can read it. :)

They did tell me that a bunch of people asked how I did the lace design around the pictures and one lady even came in and drew on her own paper the shape of the pictures and background and where everything was so that she could copy it (she bought all the same paper to do that too!)

I think perhaps my style is sort of different and either you really like it's unique qualities or don't think it looks trendy enough. ;)

"Candy Please!" (aka- Trick or Treating)

We went trick or treating in Northtown Mall with the Tuckers (and a bunch of other people that we lost in the crowd) ;)

I dressed like a kitty...
Lily had candy for dinner...

Youssef was Spider-man of course...

Rebekah was a Princess and Noelle was a butterfly.

Lily was trying on her costume after I made it...

The ruby slippers that she wears everywhere with everything... (trivia fact- in the book the slipper were silver not ruby!)

Dorthy comes to life!

Lily had fun playing with my costume too!

the end...

Please VOTE!

So! We had an ultrusound last Wednesday and we are pretty sure that we are having a GIRL! These are the scrapbook pages that I did of the ultrasound pictures (the pictures weren't very good because she was moving all over the place!)
Her name is Renna (short "e" sound and "a" sounds like the "u" in umbrella), but we aren't quite sure about the middle name yet. Renna means "Song" and we want a middle name that goes with that. Just for fun we thought we'd post all the middle name choices and their meanings and see what all of you think. (Youssef has sort of decided, but I haven't yet.) Most are a little unusual (why do the weird names have the prettiest meanings?) and if you like the sound of one but the meaning of another, please let us know. ;)
Callista (kah-LISS-ta) - "beautiful"
Calliope (kah-LYE-oh-pee) - "lyrical voice"
Fiona (fee-OH-nah) - "pretty"
Grace - "favor" or "blessing"
Lael (LAY-el) - "of God"
Lyritte (leer-RIT) - "with musical grace," "lyrical charm," or "poetical"
Yovela (yo-VAY-luh) - "Joyful heart"
Zarifa (zah-REE-fah) "moves with grace"
As you can tell we went through all of our baby name book. Oh... and don't worry about spellings because Youssef is going to change the spelling anyway.
And make sure before you choose that you put it with her first name Renna and last Sleiman with the meaning of her first, which is "song"... as in Renna Yovela would mean "song of a joyful heart"... some of the names are a little weird, but I was looking more for the meanings. Youssef has his favorite, but I'm not sure it's my favorite... but I won't tell you which he likes (and it's not the one that I just used. ;) There are a few names in their that I don't like that Youssef does and some that I like, but he doesn't... we already got rid of the ones that neither of us were sure about.
So, yes... please vote!!!