Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer School...

Our gym class season is coming to a close and because of our serious lack of funds we have decided not to continue into next fall.  I haven't yet broken the news to Scarlett but I am hoping that her tiny two year old world will not be completely rocked.  I have loved having something fun for Scarlett and I to do together during the week but I also realize that she is already 2 1/2 and getting closer and closer to becoming an independent "go to school a couple days a week" toddler.  The terrifying thought of leaving Scarlett in a group of toddlers without my supervision, scares me to death.  Not just the idea of leaving Scarlett for four hours with a complete stranger,  but the idea of  the trouble Scarlett could get into within those four hours of school time guidelines and another adult telling her what to do.  I like to think that Chris and I have done a pretty good job teaching Scarlett the difference between right and wrong, but,  she is still only 2 1/2 years old.  She is in the midst of some serious willful power struggle days, she is strong and opinionated and still learning how to react when she is told the ungodly word ,"no".   The thought of one teacher, balancing numerous children with equal power struggle resistance is terrifying. 

I can't help but ask myself, "how will Scarlett react to every new scenario that is introduced without me there standing over her guiding her way"?  The reality is...she will probably do better in the classroom than she would at home.  It is a sad truth that EVERY time we pick Scarlett up from a babysitter, their response is always, "she ate so well, laughed all day, fell right to sleep, and pooped rainbows".    I am beginning to understand that her resistance to authority is mainly founded in a resistance to parental authority, all other adults get a free pass from her dramatic breakdowns, her refusal to eat, and her incessant need to be cuddled before bedtime

So, this summer Chris and I have decided to test the above "free pass" theory.  A friend introduced me to a young woman named Lily, and Lily introduced me her 9 week summer school.  I am completely apprehensive of dropping Scarlett off at a strange place for four straight hours and expecting her to be totally on board.  I am preparing myself for the stories of refusal to share, refusal to eat, and refusal to learn.  But I am also excited for this chance to introduce Scarlett to new friends and start slow on the "go to school by yourself" train.  And let's be honest, this is a huge comfort for me, this summer I am slowly introducing myself to the idea that Scarlett won't be my baby girl forever, that she is and will continue to be an independent force of nature.  She will make her own decisions and learn the consequences through trial and error.  She will listen to other adults and respect what they have to say. She will learn independently from our home.  And the more she grows the more I grow.  This is the beauty of raising children.  As much as we are teaching and shaping them they are in turn teaching and shaping us, one day at a time,one step at a time. 

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Movie Monday...

Scarlett LOVES talking to her cousins.  I think it is because they spend the entire time laughing at each other over absolutely nothing.   Perfection.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Los Padres California Style


The evening begin with a perfect harmony of spring sunshine, salty ocean air and delicious handmade California rolls.  Chris and I (emphasis on Chris) were in charge of the cocktail and were requested to provide something without the use of citrus.  Unfortunately we are not creative cocktail makers and even more unfortunately (being pregnant) I am not a candidate for cocktail tasting.  So after numerous trips to the liquor store and additions of gin, whiskey, grapefruit bitters, tonic, lavender soda and ginger mixer to our non existent bar we finally came up with a winner.  Cucumber mint gin and tonic with a splash of grapefruit bitters and a spoonful of creme de violette for color.  I snuck in one tiny taste and instantly wished I could have more.  It was cool, light and refreshing.  Perfect drink to begin our ocean view California themed dinner.

Cucumber mint gin and tonic
What you need:
Fresh Mint
Grapefruit bitters (optional)
Tonic water
Creme de Violette (optional)

What to do:
Muddle sliced cucumber, fresh mint and a tiny bit of sugar in a cocktail shaker.  Add gin, a splash of grapefruit bitters, ice and mix.  Pour gin mixture into glass and top with tonic water.  If using creme de violette just add a splash to the drink and it should drop to the bottom of the glass leaving a layer of purple at the bottom of your drink.

Our host's took us on a tour through their experiences of California, using the various landscapes to influence their course choices.  A unique approach to California cuisine, offering story as the setting.  

PhotobucketFirst course - 
Open faced buffalo burger:
Ground buffalo meat (seasoned), served atop butter leaf lettuce and dijon mustard spread, topped with delicious pickled onion and aged cheddar cheese.

PhotobucketThis dish called to memory the experience of a lazy drive on an open highway, the surrounding hills grazed by wild cattle. Windows down and music drowned out by the wind in your ears.  

Second course -
Tomatillo gazpacho with pickled cactus and sour cream

Yum, winter in the desert.  The chill of the gazpacho with the heat of the pickled cactus was perfectly balanced to invoke the hot and cold variance found in the desert seasons.  

PhotobucketThird Course -
Strawberry poppy seed salad

This course set our escape to a brilliant field of colorful California poppies.  The sweet strawberry flavor mixed with tangy vinegar and crunchy poppy seed sent the diners to a warm day in May, poppies as far as the eye can see and a basket of fresh picked strawberries ready to be devoured. 

Fourth Course -
Trout ceviche with peppers, jalepeno, cilantro and avacado.  Served with a homemade corn chip.

Fresh mountain air surrounded the table as we took our first bite into this spicy, tangy, creamy ceviche.  The hosts explained the inspiration from camping trips of their past, where days were spent lazily hoping to catch a trout to cook over the camp fire.


Fifth Course - 
Mole served with rice, sour cream and roasted quail 

What is California without a trip across the border?  The rich chocolate undertones of the mole mellowed the mixture of nut and the kick of spice.  


Sixth Course -
Tri-tip served atop a thick corn cake.  Accompanied by tomatillo salsa and homemade guacamole.

Forth of July BBQ at its peak.  California Summers, kids running through the sprinklers, late warm nights eating dinner on the patio. 

The perfect way to remind us all of how blessed and happy we are to reside in California.  Thank you Wards for the beautiful tribute to our home state.

The hosts also served a palette cleanser of orange blossom infused vodka, and a dessert of rich creamy chocolate ice cream enjoyed on the "pier" (end of the dock).  Both of which I failed to document.  But both were thoroughly enjoyed by all (with the exception of me and the vodka).

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now open...

Scarlett's hair salon. Buzz cuts only. 


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Movie Monday...

Scarlett's loose interpretation of my first trimester.

I was getting ready in the bathroom the other day and Scarlett popped in with this beauty. Scarred for life. 

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who needs a maid...

When you have children who think cleaning is fun.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bye bye pacifier...


Chris and I finally got tired of battling the pacifier fight every morning and anytime Scarlett found one laying around the house and sneakily stuck it into her mouth for instant unnecessary comfort. We knew the time would come when we have to pull that plug out for good.  So two weeks ago we decided to go cold turkey.  We talked to Scarlett, telling her that we were going to get all of her pacifiers together and save them so that we can give them to the baby.  We told her that she is a big girl and convinced her that snuggling a stuffed animal and picking a special blanket was more comforting than sucking a plastic pacifier and twirling her hair to fall asleep.
Scarlett was a champ the first night, but the nap time battle the following day was a bit of torture.  I finally gave in and rocked her to sleep.  Now, any one that knows Scarlett, knows that she adapts REALLY well.  Sleeping in her own room at a month old, no problem, no more bottle before bed, easy peasy, big girl bed, done and done, food at the table only (with the exception of some snacks), check.  But anyone that knows Scarlett, also knows that she forms habits within 24 hours and can keep her parents in the palm of her hand.  So guess what I have done almost EVERY nap time since.  Rock to sleep.  I fight the "rock to sleep" urge for an hour every day, listening to her play in her room, shaking her morocca's, singing silly songs, having a tea party with her stuffed animals, until finally, longing for a nap myself, I open the door, cuddle my little baby girl and she is asleep within 30 seconds.  Literally 30 SECONDS!  So every day I hope and pray that she will find a way to fall asleep on her own (sans paci) and every day I give in to the maternal instinct to hold my offspring in my arms and listen to her slowly drift off to the land of dreams and imagination.
So to sum up, pacifier gone in one day and mommy is a total sap for 30 seconds of quality cuddle time for the rest of her life.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie Monday...

I love these girls and I look forward to many more sunny play dates in the future.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Frozen Lemonade...

My mom has a lemonade recipe that she ripped out of a magazine years ago and by my request has passed on to me and it is my FAVORITE lemonade ever.

We had some fresh picked lemons that needed to be used and so half went to a dutch baby breakfast and the other half became fresh squeezed lemonade.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

What you need:
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
7 cups water

How to make:
Cut the ends off of two lemons and cut each lemon into quarters.  In a food processor blend lemons (with peel), sugar and 2 cups of water until all chunks are gone.  Strain in a fine mesh strainer and add the juice of one more lemon.  You can freeze this concentrate for future use or combine it with 5 more cups of water and serve over ice.  So yummy!!!

701e736e, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

After a couple of days of being the only one actually home and drinking the lemonade I realized that I was never going to finish it all and decided to make a little "almost summertime" treat.  Frozen lemonade. 

Pour your lemonade (see recipe above) into a large metal cookie sheet (with sides).  Put in freezer for 1-1 1/2 hours.  With a fork scrape the lemonade into tiny flakes.  Continue this scraping process every hour or 2 until the liquid has fully frozen and the entire tray is filled with a light flaky frozen lemonade.  Spoon some into a bowl and enjoy! 

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Movie Monday...

I finally have the strength to 1) get out of the house and 2) take a video of Scarlett out of the house.

So here we go...Scarlett in her only child, building and talking to herself, glory. 

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Wedding fever...

My sister in law is getting married in two short weeks to a man that compliments her perfectly and fit in the family from the moment he stepped into the front door.  Scarlett has called him Uncle Matt since she could talk and most of the time she is more excited to see him than any other family member.  So when Gretchen and Matt asked if we would let Scarlett be the flower girl in their wedding I was nothing but excited to tell Scarlett that she would be walking down the aisle towards her two loves, Uncle Matt and Daddy (he is also in the wedding).  Last night we found her dress, let her try it on, and did a practice run with her cousin (the ring bearer) and then I DIED...

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

They even insisted on holding hands.  Now all Scarlett can talk about is her pretty swishy dress and "going to the island".  Her two year old mind translated "walking down the aisle" to "walking to the island".  So we are just going with it. 

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Epic potty training fail...

Chris and I set aside three full days last weekend for potty training.  We were down to our last few diapers, Scarlett has been really interested in the toilet, and was really excited to wear big girl panties or run around the house for three full days in her birthday suit.  We took a special trip to the craft store to pick up time consuming art projects and special treats for little girls who could pee or poop in the potty.  We were ready.  Scarlett was prepped, we told her the plan and jumped in.

I started jamming juice down her throat while we played games, blew bubbles, played catch, read books, sang, danced and then it happened.  She peed on the rug in the living room.  Okay, no problem.  Just tell Scarlett that she can't do that, next time to tell mom and dad and go on the potty.  Resume play time.  Couple hours later, pee on the patio.  Okay, no problem, wash it down.  Put on a diaper and tell her it is time for naps.  Take off diaper, resume play time.  Now here comes the mom and dad screw up...we decided to take her over to a friends to play.  Before leaving the house I told her firmly that she had to try and use the potty.  Queue total toddler breakdown.  She refused to sit on the potty.  We had been dealing with this all day.  She refused to sit on the potty and every time the potty was mentioned she FREAKED out.  What the heck.  For weeks she had been showing signs of interest.  I thought this was going to be a piece of cake.  Turns out Scarlett is a "this has to be my idea" toddler.

At our friends house, after showing signs of needing to use the bathroom and basically refusing to even enter the bathroom, Scarlett had a total meltdown.  Diaper on and proceed to home and bed time. Our fault for leaving the house.  Potty training needs to be done in one place. We will try again, but at this point I don't think she is quite as excited about tossing out the diapers as we are.  I will wait for the signs from her that she is actually ready and excited.  Here we go.

P.S. On Monday night Scarlett and I were sitting in the living room watching a movie and Scarlett proceeded to take off her diaper and pee on the floor.  What...I guess that was her way of saying "thanks for trying mom...but I will let you know when I am ready".

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