Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Adventures of Maddie - Little Miss Watermelon Edition

Friday we went to lunch at Grammy's. I was babysitting Daniel and it was actually his request, we had gone 2 weeks before, and he liked getting spoiled. We took Subway sandwiches with us, and Grammy had some cookies and some watermelon. Maddie sat up on her Bumbo chair on the table while we were eating, and I let her suck the juice out of watermelon pieces. She was surprised by it at first because it was cold, but after a moment of indecision, she went to town sucking it for all it was worth. She ended up with a face full of watermelon juice, and was very cute.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Adventures of Maddie - Play Date Edition

I looked it up online, and apparently it can be "Play date," "Play Date, " or even "Playdate," and at least one article has it "PlayDate." So, there.

Title aside, Maddie had her first play date on July 17th. We went to meet Katie and her daughter Audrey (10 months) at Heritage Park in Cerritos. They have redone the island and it's absolutely beautiful. It is Revolutionary War era "Boston Town" and you can actually follow Paul Revere's ride through the island. Every building is full of slides and stairs, and there are tunnels to crawl through. The grass and pond are much nicer than they were when I was growing up! We sat on a really steep hill right next to the pond (my thighs were feeling it later), and had a picnic. Then we got to cruise around the island and check everything out.

Maddie and Audrey found each other very interesting. Audrey liked reaching out and touching Maddie, and Mads was quite jealous that Audrey can army crawl. Audrey was a preemie and is very petite, so next to her Maddie looked huge! You wouldn't have thought they were more than 7 months apart in age except that Audrey can army crawl and babbles more. I have one healthy looking baby!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tea and Sympathy . . . and Star Wars

Tonight Rebecca and Katie are spending the night. Tomorrow is Katie's last Sunday at church before she moves to Colorado, so today we had them over to watch the Star Wars trilogy, non-special, non-Greedo shooting first nonsense, edition. The came over at noon, and we went to to Fresh and Easy to get stuff to make pizzas. We had one for lunch and one for dinner. We then made scone! I am so excited. I used the recipe from the "Afternoon Tea" book I bought myself for my birthday. They were so little, and cute, and tasty! I had no hope of finding clotted cream anywhere on short notice, and Fresh and Easy was out of Creme Fresh (what? It is there every time I go shopping!) so I got some heavy whipping cream and whipped it up with a bit of sugar, yummy! The recipe calls for "good quality strawberry jam" for a topping, and what is better quality than my own, made yesterday, yummy in the tummy strawberry jam? Nothing, I say!

Mom got me a clear teapot and blooming teas from tea posy, so we picked one (Butterfly) and to watch it bloom and steep. This picture of the tea is after we've let it steep for a long time after our first cups. So our "flower" is a little sideways. The tea was fabulous, the scones were awesome, so fun! In fact, the scones were so good, that Katie asked if we could make more, so we headed off to the store at 10 p.m. to get more flour and cream, and we had second helpings.

I love tea.

I love scones.

I love my jam.

Strawberry Jam

Friday night I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. making and canning my first batch of strawberry jam. Why, you ask, was I pulling cans out a boiling water bath at 2:30 in the morning? Well, I had finally received my canning equipment after getting the wrong set from the canning company, and Thursday night at Bellflower's Street Fest I had bought strawberries from the "farmer's market" booths. While we were at the Street Fest I forgot to take any pictures of Maddie, or anything else for that matter, so "The Adventures of Maddie - Bellflower Street Fest Edition" will have to wait until next Thursday!

I had taken a look at the strawberries Friday morning and they were looking a bit sketchy, so I knew I had to make the jam that day or lose the $15 I spent on the fruit. Maddie didn't go to bed until 11:30, so I didn't get started on the jamming and canning until midnight. I was really disappointed with the quality of the strawberries, I had bought nine little green baskets, and I only managed to get about 6 cups of good strawberries, resulting in 4 cups of mashed berries. My directions were very specific about using over-ripe fruit, basically canning will not improve the quality, more likely it will decrease the quality. So, I ended up throwing away a lot more berries than I was happy with.

Bad berries aside, the actual jam making and canning seems pretty straight forward and easy once you get the hang of it. I managed to get a lovely thick jam, with lots of chunky pieces, it's almost all chunky pieces actually and SO tasty. I used Pomona Universal Pectin, which lets you use less sugar, and I only used 1 cup of sugar to my four cup of berries, giving my jam a nice sweet/tart taste.

I then got to ladle my hot jam into hot jars (straight from the heated dry cycle in the dishwasher) through a special canning funnel, and then screw on the lids and bands (straight from being sterilized in hot water, my canning kit has a cool little dealy-joby thing with a magnet on the end to get them out of the water), all of this was very . . . hot. Then, I got to stick them in boiling water, that was 1 -2 inches over their top for 5 minutes or so, and then pull the out with a jar grabber do-hicky. I did drop one jar on the kitchen floor, and oh my goodness, it did not break! Wow! So I just grabbed it back up with the grabber (duh) and put it with the others. 12 hours later I got to push down on the lids to make sure they were sealed, and they all were! Yay for me and for my fabulous jam. Jam, jam, a-jamma!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Adventures of Maddie - Independence Day Edition

We celebrated Maddie's first Independence Day at the Beal's house. Steve made amazing ribs with bourbon maple bq sauce (so yummy), and we go to eat and hang out. After that we went to the drive in and saw Hancock. I gave it a 7 out of 10, Ed was a bit more harsh with a 5 out of 10 rating. The second feature was Don't Mess With the Zohan, and it was so bad we decided to just go home. We saw a few fireworks from our vantage point at the drive in, and a between films a few people toward the front of the theater set some off. Next 4th of July we will actually go to a show of some kind, or set off our own. A notice was sent out at our apartments saying we couldn't set any off, and that was disappointing.

The best part of the day though, was watching the six one hour episodes about the Revolution on the History channel.

Mommy Rocks!

Well, I have completed my first week using The Firm dvds. It is much like the exercise class I used to take, I guess our instructor stole most of her moves from these dvds :) They are NOT easy, but I feel really great after I have completed my work out for the day (usually at about 1 am as I have to wait for Maddie to be officially down for the night or I can't get all the way through the dvd, so my usual start time is somewhere around 11:45 pm).

Anywho, 5 work outs down, rest day tomorrow and then I am on to my second week!

And I have officially lost 11 pounds at Weight Watchers. Just 18 more pounds and the baby weight is gone - then I can start on the fertility drug weight. Yay!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Adventures of Maddie - Mommy's Birthday Edition

For my birthday on Friday, Ed and Maddie took me to dinner at Ariel's Grotto at California Adventure. It is character dining with all of the Disney Princesses. Maddie loved it and so did I . I had yummy onion soup, a huge shrimp cobb salad and apple crisp desert. Tasty!