Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paul Turns 4


I can’t believe my kids are 5, 4, and 2 now.  It doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as 4, 3, and 1.  Paul’s birthday was today.  When he was asked what he wanted for his birthday dinner earlier in the week, he replied, “Sausages.”  Oh, good, I thought.  Easy.  But then I realized he wasn’t done.  “And steak.  And pork.  And burritos.”  Then today he decided he wanted chicken enchiladas.  Unfortunately, he decided that he didn’t actually want the enchiladas when they were served, but I did try to please him.  Around here, we just don’t have five entrees at a single meal.  He’ll have to go to Grandpa Barnes’s house for that one.

For his activity, Paul wanted us to watch a movie together.  I like this age.  Easy to please and cheap.  So we watched an episode of the Iron Man cartoon.  Short and sweet, but very satisfying for a 4-year-old.

Aaron had a great time picking out Paul’s present.  He got him a track (with a loop!) for his matchbox cars.  It was a huge hit.  I don’t have any pictures of it since I was busy taking video, but all three kids got involved.  Averi didn’t quite get that she was supposed to let the car go as it went down, but she’ll learn eventually.

I also went with the car theme and made him a car playmat.  I ordered the pattern off of Etsy and thought, “This is so much nicer and cheaper than buying one from Toys R Us.”  WRONG!!!!!!!  That thing took FOREVER.  Seriously.  I spent at a minimum 15 hours working on it.  At a minimum.  I lost track of how long I worked on it.  There are hundreds of teeny tiny pieces to be cut out, fray-checked, ironed to fusible webbing, then ironed onto something else, which is in turn ironed onto something else.  The materials were not too much cheaper than buying a mat, and if you assumed that I make minimum wage (and I’m worth WAY more than that!), then my time cost me AT LEAST $112.50.  And of course it wasn’t nearly as popular as the car track made in China.  But it’s very cute and I’m proud of it, so I’m showing pictures.

Here are the individual squares:







And here is the completed project:



You can see that it’s quite large, so it should be really fun to play with.  Its made of a heavy cotton duck, so it should hold up well, as long as the fusible webbing stays put.  I’m hoping that this one will be something that grows in popularity the more they play with it.  Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

We had Raspberry-Peach Pie for dessert.  The raspberries were from our bushes (yay for backyard fruit!) and peaches were on sale this week, so I bought a million.  It was delicious!


Isn’t my lattice crust lovely?  I was very proud of myself.  And the crust was perfect and flakey.


Yum yum yum!

Here’s the recipe:

Raspberry-Peach Pie

  • 4 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (9 inch) pie crusts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coarse granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Place peaches and berries in a colander for about 15 minutes to drain any excess fluid , then transfer to a large bowl. Gently toss with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Transfer to a pie crust. Dot with butter, and top with remaining crust. Cut vents in top crust, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until crust is golden brown.


Basic Flakey Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together. Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling and bake.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Renaissance Fair

We went to the Renaissance Fair in Santa Fe last weekend.  I’ve always wanted to go, and so I dragged husband and kids along with me.  And it was everything I hoped it would be.  Except it was much hotter than I imagined.  Each of the kids had something to wear, thanks to our abundance of dress-ups, but Aaron and I, alas, did not.  Oh well.  It was held at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, which was great setting.  There were games fields, a fairy hollow, a food court, and tons of booths filled with the things fantasy geeks dream about.  Fortunately for our bank account, window shopping is not an option when three kids are in tow.




I seriously have the cutest kids.  Everywhere we went people oohed and ahhed.


This particular fair celebrates the Spanish Renaissance, so the kids were able to meet Queen Isabel.



The brave knight slaying the dragon.



This fairy was Katie’s favorite.  Her wings were huge and gorgeous.


A fun boat that the kids could ride in.



Besieging the castle that had been overrun by pirates.


Aforementioned pirates.  After they had a turn in the boat, they got to go around and play the other role behind the castle.



Eating lunch.  The food there smelled so delicious that I really regretted being frugal and taking a packed lunch. 




This couple was my favorite.  They said that they had collected their costumes piece by piece at the different fairs they’ve been to.  I can’t imagine how much money they had invested in their outfits.  Isn’t that such a fun couple thing to do?  I told Averi to go and stand by them so I could take a picture.  Apparently standing didn’t interest her.


There was a guy who made us all willow wands.  It made my day.  And this picture is the only proof I have that I was at the fair.




Paul thought it was so cool that she could dance with a sword balanced on her head.  He later tried some fancy sword work of his own…



Jousting match.


Trying on chain mail.


Averi doing what she does best.  This girl LOVES to color.


Overall it was a fantastic day.  Hot but fantastic.  We’ll definitely be going next year!  Who’s coming with us?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Political Commentary

I generally don’t veer into the serious on my blog (because with kids as cute as mine, it’s hard to discuss more weighty matters), but I cannot be silent about this any longer.  The United States of America was founded on many great principles, and one of the greatest is freedom of religion.  Many of the first settlers in the United States came here as a result of religious persecution.  Here they found a land where they could worship as they chose, and the Constitution was written specifically to protect that freedom.  Our record has not been clean on this issue.  Members of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were mobbed and driven from their homes.  Jewish people experienced great discrimination, particularly in the nineteenth century.  In 1960, Americans were warned not to vote for a “Papist” Catholic.  But despite these blemishes, America has striven to guarantee freedom of religion to all its citizens. 

The issue of the “Ground Zero Mosque” calls that commitment into question.  Politicians, particularly members of the Republican party, and religious leaders have used this issue to inflame and divide.  Rhetoric, inaccuracies, and falsehoods are being flung about.  I have been dismayed and disgusted at the ignorant comments made by leaders of my political party.  Recently, the Republican governor of Tennessee questioned whether Islam could even be considered a religion.  He claimed that since it is more of a cult than a faith, it may not be protected under the Constitution.  Of course, politicians are always making ridiculous statements.  However, instead of denouncing this bigotry, Republican party leaders have embraced and repeated such claims.

I truly feel that citizens need to inform themselves, to learn the truth about the “Ground Zero Mosque,” and to let their leaders know that this type of bigotry will not be tolerated.  This video explains the many inaccuracies that are being presented by politicians and the media.  It is well worth watching.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that “among the inestimable of our blessings, also, is that ...of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will…”   I have great respect for Islam and for the teachings of the Koran.  I certainly denounce extremism and violence, but Islam, when its founding principles are adhered to, is a beautiful and peaceful religion.  Please share your feelings with your friends and political leaders. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some Thoughts

3 adults + 1 sleeping bag + 45 degree nighttime temperatures + 2 air mattresses with holes + 1 uncharged pump without the plug + 1 husband with a very large lung capacity = a typical Jorgensen camping trip

Averi has become the clean-up Nazi lately.  She was nearly hysterical when I didn’t put the Barbie horse in the correct location.

The more time that passes, the more I want a smart phone.  I just don’t want the huge phone bill to go with it.  Solutions, anyone?

I am not yet convinced if fresh Hatch chiles are worth it.  I’ve invested about 10 hours in mine so far this week (between purchasing, driving to 4 stores to get them roasted, and peeling my overcooked chiles), and I still have a gallon and a half to be chopped and frozen.

“Firefly” is the best TV series that no one has ever heard of.

5 pounds of Red Vines from Costco is not the good deal you might think it is. 

I am definitely looking forward to the Renaissance Fair in Santa Fe this weekend.  Do Nerf swords need to be peace-bonded?  And does that sentence make me a total nerd?

Paul was so excited for his first day at preschool last week I thought he was going to pee his pants.  I wish that weren’t such a common occurrence…

Over the last three weeks my standard have slipped considerably.  I walked Katie to the bus stop in my pajamas this morning.

I never realized that going to Disney World is an art.  I have been so inundated with advice that I’m feeling rather overwhelmed.  I thought you just showed up, waited in long lines, and swarmed around characters.  I knew nothing about pin trading, fast passes, parent passes, unofficial guides…  A lot has changed since I last went.

I’d be hard pressed to choose my favorite punctuation.  Parentheses are nice (I’ve always been a fan of the parenthetical statement).  The ellipsis is very good for suggesting a list, implying “and so forth,” trailing off in thought…  Of course, the semicolon is nice; it’s not only useful but unexpected.

I just finished one of my cushions for my wicker chairs.  You would think that I would learn that stripes are not for a novice sewer (sewist?) like myself.

Do script writers have an inside joke inserting the most random and unnecessary swear words in a movie?  It’s getting kind of ridiculous.

The internet is one of the greatest time wasters known to man.