Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Fondue

Helen loves heading to the grocery store with Ed, and almost always she squeezes a treat out of him. Her latest adventure yielded a bunch of strawberries and some dark chocolate to melt all over them. It was a huge hit. It reminded us of a dinner party we once had with friends Helen V. and Alexander. Helen V. loved that fondue pot as much as my Helen. We need to remember to call her next time we break it out!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tree Decorating

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I pulled the Christmas tree out of the basement, unwrapped the plastic that had warded off dust over the past year, and the kids set about decorating.

We have a lot of ornaments, and Connor and Helen were not about to be satisfied with hanging a number smaller than every single one of them.

Connor requested that we get a star to put atop the tree, so I showed him the Joe Namath ornament that has taken that place annually since my mom gifted the ornament to Ed several years ago. He was not impressed. However, he seems to have forgotten how displeased he was because he has neither requested I get one again, nor has he taken matters into his own hands and made one.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


On Thanksgiving morning, we started the day with beignet making - with mix brought straight back from Cafe du Monde. I'm thinking it might be the start of a new tradition. Now...will I remember this next year?

Helen and Connor proved to be able assistants - first rolling and then cutting the dough.

Connor was the more proficient of the two...

but what Helen lacked in skill, she made up for with diligence and style!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Noodles and Company Winter Mac and Cheese Dishes Get Thumbs Up

Most Fridays, Helen and I spend most of the day together. Typically, I ditch her during naptime and go volunteer at Connor's school. But other than that, we're a pair.

Sometimes, we take the opportunity to have a lunch date at some nearby restaurant (once we even went to Connor's school!).

Last Friday, we had the opportunity to taste-test the Noodles and Company "grown-up" mac-and-cheese. Two of the three (Chili Mac and Bacon Mac and Cheeseburger) have meat, so we brought some meat-eating friends along to let us know what they thought. I stuck with the Truffle Mac with Baby Portabella.

I give it the thumbs up.

Helen wasn't going anywhere near that fancy mac and cheese, but she chowed the regular macaroni with fervor! An easy two thumbs up from her.

The chili mac was rated uber-high - enough that my friend took home the leftovers and seemed excited about having them.

Noodles and Company gets food to the table fast (thank you!) and the simplicity of the menu means several choices for not-so-adventurous kids. But...they also add enough spice to the basic dishes that moms don't have to feel like they have to eat kids' food. Bonus!


Thank you, Noodles and Company, for the lunch. We all had fun and enjoyed the meal. As disclosed in the post, our food last Friday was free. Opinions are my own (and Helen's and my meat-eating friend).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Helen at School

Oh I have neglected thee. Between attending a British Pantomime, getting together with friends, holiday singing parties, the Botanical Gardens and more, I haven't found the time to post. So...I'll post a note about Helen's school. To say she is having a fantastic time this year would be an understatement. She adores both her teachers and loves playing with the other children in the class. She prefers to hang with the boys, but does play with the girls a bit.

Last week, on our way to school, Helen announced that [NEW KID] was going to be her best friend until [J - Old Best Friend who is out of town for the next 3 months] returned. I almost felt like I should warn the little dude. But apparently NEW KID also likes Helen, as his mom emailed tonight seeing if Helen was available for a playdate.

Helen's teacher often sends me snippets about her week. This one was among the funniest.

Discussion today at the snack table-
Helen: I used to live in Missouri
[Friend] says sympathetically: Oh, did you throw up?
Helen: No [Friend], I did not throw up!

Yesterday at the park:
Helen carrying a stick and something that fell from a tree: Ms. A, look I found a brachiosaurus. It doesn't have a nest, so I have to carry around its egg too.
Me: Helen, you could find a nest for it if you want.
Helen: But I didn't see ANY!
Me: Well, you could make him one.
Helen runs over and pushes a few pieces of mulch to one side and runs back
Helen: Ms A LOOK, I found a nest!

Helen was playing mom today in the classroom for a little while. Her daughters were supposed to be sleeping while Santa is coming (which happens to be [Friend2]), and Helen was laying on a playstand pretending to sleep. [Friend2] shows up and is upset that they are not asleep and says "Why are you not asleep? Hoho is here and your eyes should be closed. Hoho is mad at you now" Helen quickly wakes up from her bed and screams "Close your eyes RIGHT NOW! You should be asleep!", then quickly lays back down for Santa (or Hoho).

Her hands were filled to the max with worms today. She could not have fit one more in there. Though I love worms and what they do for our earth, that many crawling around in her hand looked like it belonged in some horror film. It was pretty funny.

I also loved her St Nicholas note to me this week. She was so sweet and proud. She told me it was written down so that I could remember what she got forever.
--For the record, Helen received some paper, some chocolates, and two containers of play-doh.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I remember when Connor was younger and he named objects. His old standby was "Connor". We had Connor-fish, Connor-baby, and a bajillion other things named Connor. The only thing I can recall getting a name other than Connor is the stuffed pug that Grandma Lynn gave Connor for Christmas when he was 2, and Ed jumped in with a name before Connor could bestow a name on the animal.

When I arrived home this afternoon, Connor was at the neighbor's house playing and Helen and her babysitter were in the backyard. I asked Helen what was going on and she informed me that they were looking for "tweeter". Luckily, they had already found "ravioli". Tweeter looks like a rock to most people, but is actually a bunny. Ravioli is a brick red rock that is also a bunny - possibly Tweeter's mom, but maybe just a sibling.

Confused? So was Ed.

Maya the dog and Sylvia the blue baby (which Helen lifted from my parent's home) are sleeping with Helen tonight. Dorothy - one of the Bitty Babies that Grandma Lynn gave Helen for her 4th birthday, is downstairs this evening with her unnamed brother.

Is this a girl-boy thing, or is it random? Strangely (at least to me), Connor seems much less self-centered than Helen.


Connor Finds Religion...Again

When Connor was 3, he announced he'd like to go to church. The next year, he received a bible at the County Fair - and actually refused to go to another fair unless I promised he'd get another bible.

On Friday morning, Connor requested I read Noah and the Ark to him, which is a book he and his last babysitter picked up in the "free books" section of the public library. This book goes on endlessly, and is not shortened at all for children. The first time Ed read the book to Connor, Connor looked at Ed as if he were telling a ridiculous story. Now? He was so annoyed at me that I was making pancakes for him rather than reading that he defiantly sat down on his little blue couch and started plugging through the book, only occasionally asking me what a word was. At about page four, he hailed Helen over and said to her "Helen, you need to pay attention. I'm reading a story from the REAL BIBLE! It's important." And that afternoon, he brought home the following homework paper. I am thankful for...and he had to fill in the blank. The word he filled in? "God"

Is someone trying to send his mama a message?