Monday, February 28, 2011

The Big Four-Oh

Yes, I spent my fortieth birthday playing with Legos.  (Excuse me--LEGO bricks.)  Second childhood?

I've been getting used to "going to be forty" for a while.  Now that part's past and I am forty.  Funny how that happens.  I don't feel forty.  (Apparently I don't look forty, either.  People are often surprised to learn how old I am.  Or maybe it's just that my kids are so young.)

Doug and the kids were all recovering from colds, so I went to church by myself. (I think a lot of other people were sick too--we only had one child in nursery.  It was a very low-key kind of day.)   Then home for birthday lunch and LEGO!

First, the pictures with the adorable children!

The card Kate made for me.

The present!  LEGO Medieval Market Village--1601 little plastic pieces of fun.  I've been drooling over this set for a while.  Half-timbered houses!  How cool is that?

Kate couldn't wait to help unload the box.  "I think there's more in here!"  (She's wearing a watch that Becki Foutz brought back from Hawaii for her.)


This is what 1601 pieces of LEGO looks like. Lots of bags.

Mother-daughter LEGO time. What a nice way to spend a birthday!

Kate helps put together the tree.

(The tree is kind of annoying--it doesn't stay together very well.)

It's not a simple set to put together!  Its was especially tricky trying to assemble everything while Kate was playing with the pieces.  I would spend long minutes looking for one specific part, only to discover that Kate had attached it to something random in a humorous manner.  This happened several times.

We still haven't quite finished.  I'll post more pictures when it's done!

It was a lovely day, with many calls from my family and aggressively off-key renditions of "Happy Birthday" (except for Barb and Kyle, who for some reason prefer to sing in the key of "on.")  Doug cooked for us (twice) even though he wasn't feeling entirely well.  I had plans to put some candles in a Honeycrisp apple, in lieu of a cake, but we got busy and ate the apple without the candles.  It was quite tasty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Operation Tamale: the first attempt

I don't think I've ever mentioned here that Doug served a mission in Texas (San Antonio, English speaking). His first encounter with tamales was not with frozen, store-bought tamales, or even restaurant tamales, but fresh, handmade tamales in a family's home.  It must have been a memorable experience.

We had some neighbors from Mexico, here in our apartment complex, and the mom said that she would invite us over when she made tamales so we could learn how it was done.  Unfortunately, the day that she sent the kids over to tell us it was tamale day just happened to be the day that we were going to the fair.  And then they moved.  Alas.  So we did not get to learn tamale making from Mrs. Medina.

This Monday, while Kate was off enjoying the Presidents' day holiday at her friend Maddy's house, we made our first attempt at our own chicken tamales.  Doug had previously purchased the corn husks and masa, and looked up recipes online.  (We didn't follow just one recipe, so I don't have a specific one to link to.)

Initial assembly.  Rolling them up in the corn husks is a lot like using a bamboo mat to roll sushi.  Practically the same.  My sushi-rolling experience definitely came in handy.

All wrapped up and ready to steam.  They weren't holding together very well, so we tied little strips of corn husk around them.   I think they look kind of cute that way, like little corn husk dolls.

And after steaming! They were a bit crumbly put tasted pretty good. Not bad at all for the first try.  If anyone out there would like to share their tamale-making expertise, we'd appreciate any tips!

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Month of Swag Bucks

In one month of doing Swag Bucks I've been able to get $35 in Amazon gift cards and $5 in PayPal cash. (At this point I'm thinking--more LEGO!)

The other day Kate asked me something (can't remember now what it was) and when I told her I didn't know, she said, "You should look it up! Maybe you can earn Swag Bucks!"

(Here's my referral link in case anybody's interested. If you sign up under me I'll get points for your searches!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mini We

Our family in LEGO minifigs!  Aren't they cute?  I think I got Doug down pretty well, aside from the hairline of course.  And I wasn't able to get the girl's and boy's hair in the same color.  The fun thing is that Kate really does have a pink shirt with white sleeves like that.

Kate gets a kick out of the LEGO family.  It's so funny to listen to her playing with them.  ("Oh no, Andy's been captured!  You have to help him!")

Minifig Kate has her own pet dragon!  Kate thinks this is awesome.

I got some of the parts directly from LEGO and found some on BrickLink. BrickLink is a very cool site. A little hard to figure out at first, but very, very cool. (While I'm at it, I'll put in a plug for Bricklyn Bridge. Great service!)


(As opposed to ante-pasta.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

100 Butterflies

It's the one hundredth day of school! I know when I was in school we never even knew when the hundredth day was, but this seems to be a fairly common thing now.  There's even a song about it on Starfall.

Kate's teacher gave each of the students a big sheet of paper to put one hundred things on.  Grandma Mary sent Kate some cute butterfly stickers for Valentine's Day, so we decided to do one hundred butterflies.

Kate put the stickers together and then made these cute little fingerprint butterflies with my stamping ink.

Here's the final result! Stickers, drawings, stamps, fingerprints (the large fingerprints are mine), and lots and lots of punchies. The funny-looking one at the bottom is a Shark Butterfly.

We also sent along one hundred raisins for the "100 day trail mix."  (Actually the paper that Kate brought home said "trial mix," but I'm assuming that was a typo.)

What an exciting week it's been at school!  And it's only Tuesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Making Valentines

Being a parent with a child in school is a new experience. There are all these things that I never had to think about before. It didn't dawn on me until the afternoon of the 13th that Kate would need some valentines for her class.I asked her if she would like to make some and she thought that was a great idea.

My budding crafter. It was so fun to see her really getting into it. She said, "I'm going to do it my own way!" and she did. She made valentines for all the kids in her class, her teacher, her reading group teacher, and the librarian (they have library on Monday), and one for her friend Trinity who's in a different class.

They had a big party in their classroom. Kate came home all excited and bearing treats.

Taking inventory of the Valentine party haul. (Candy! Exciting!)

Doug brought me some daffodils. Awww.

Happy Valentine's day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daddy's Cake

Kate wanted to put the candles on Doug's cake. When Doug asked, "How many should we put on?" she said, "Six, because how old you are is too much."

Happy birthday Doug!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Article... Adjective...Noun!

Playing Very Silly Sentenceswith Kate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's up at NDISB

I just got a question on Formspring about what's happening at Natural Designs in Scrapbooking.  (Formspring is kind of cool but for two-way communication it leaves something to be desired, I think!)

We had a crash last week.  Fortunately Theresa had the important stuff backed up, but we did have to re-upload our zip files and images.  I was a bit slow with that and just got it done today, and the products haven't been turned back on yet.  I'm still there!  Just not accessible at the moment.  They'll probably be back up tomorrow.

Thanks for asking!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dryer Casualty

This is a page from The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith. (If you haven't read it you should really check it out. It's hilarious.)

This is (or was) Kate's plastic slinky that she got from the dentist.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Dozing with Daddy

Both of our kids have been extended nursers and co-sleepers, which means they end up nursing a lot at night.  It's a convenient arrangement in that nobody has to "get up" with the baby, but it does tend to drag on a bit.  Doug's been doing a really good job lately getting Andy to sleep at nap time and bedtime.  I'd say we've got him almost weaned. We just have to get over that last little hurdle.

Andy sleeping on Dad in the computer chair.  I was amused by the way he had his fingers laced together. 

Monday, February 07, 2011

Leggo my LEGO

I have developed a desire for Legos.

I'm still not sure where this came from or when it happened (perhaps from playing with the Duplo blocks in the nursery at church), but I found myself  haunting, browsing the Pick-a-Brick store, and calling Doug to come look at this.  But it didn't seem like a good idea to bring something like that into a house with a busy two-year old who still sometimes put things in his mouth.  (Andy's been chewing on stuff a lot lately...maybe he's cutting molars). 

We got Andy some Duplo blocks for Christmas.  Both kids have been enjoying playing with them. But I still wanted some regular Legos. 

Now, I'm not really supposed to say Legos, since LEGO is a brand name and doesn't have a plural form. Apparently I should be saying "LEGO bricks" or something along those lines. And LEGO should always be written in all caps.

So anyway, I wanted some regular LEGO bricks.   And the more I thought about it, the more I really didn't want to wait.  Finally I just said, "Let's get some and just keep them away from Andy."

So we did. In a frenzy of shameless consumerism, we picked up the cute little Knight and Castle building set (I fell in love with the door and the windows--Kate likes the dragon, of course) and then the very next day we went up to the LEGO store at the Bellevue Square Mall (which was cool but crazy crowded) and filled up a large cup with random pieces at the Pick-a-Brick wall.

A couple of weeks later we also got the large pink brick box, which is full of girly cuteness. (And a pony!)

LEGO sure has changed since I was growing up. Or perhaps not changed, as such, but definitely expanded. I'm quite sure they didn't have pink bricks when I was a kid.

Kate and I have been having fun with them. (And Dad too!) She calls them "the tiny Legos" (Errr...tiny LEGO bricks. Yeah.) and when she wants to play with them we keep them on the kitchen table, and make sure to clean them up as soon as we're done. So far this seems to be working pretty well.

Minifig Sally (that's short for "mini figure," in case you're not up on your LEGO-lingo) driving her pink jeep. Kate turned it into a dragon with the addition of horns and a tail. And I think those little round pieces on the front are meant to be eyes and nostrils.

Kate came up with this bird all by herself.

I was thinking that the extra room in those bins they give you was probably a psychological ploy to entice you to buy more bricks to fill up the space, but it has occurred to me that they're also useful for storing your finished creations. Kate does seem to enjoy the building aspect but so far she's been much more interested in playing with the things that she's put together. We've come up with some funny little creatures. The one on the left has been dubbed "Eye Stalks."

Andy occasionally expresses his displeasure at not being allowed to play with the Legos, but he's having a good time with the Duplo blocks. He likes to make tall towers.

When he's older we can all play with the Legos together!

Sunday, February 06, 2011


I know a lot of kids go through a phase where it seems like everything that comes out of their mouths starts with "Why?"  Kate never really did this, but she has been asking some tough questions lately:

Where do boogers come from?
How is water made?
Can you sneeze while you're asleep?

I know sneezing while driving is always tricky, but I don't think I've ever had any trouble with sleep-sneezing, so I'm guessing the answer to that last question is no.  

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hoppy New Year!

Get it? It's the year of the rabbit. (Hee hee)

Doug, Andy, and I went down to O Bok Jip and I got some dduk guk for lunch, so I could be a year older. (You can see my previous post about dduk guk here.)

It was pretty tasty. (The way I make it is a bit different, but also tasty!)

I brought along two packages of kim, and Andy gobbled them both up. Yum!

Our neighbor Hyun Ju gave us a hanbok that used to belong to her daughter Sky (하누리). After Kate got home from school I asked her if she'd like to put it on and take some pictures.

공주 케이트.

It was so funny watching Kate suddenly doing the princess thing. She's always been more into the dragons and dinosaurs. I think this may be the first time she's actually played dress-up in a dress. She was just having a ball. (After taking pictures we played Kingdom, and I was the dragon.)

Here's what the hat looks like in the back. (The hat was just a little too big and kept sliding down to her eyes.)

Kate's idea of posing. Cheese!

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