A brief glimpse into the daily happenings of a 6-year-old, his new baby brother and his family.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's for dinner?

I have actually been doing more cooking than usual, but keep forgetting to share the recipes with you. So, today I'll share two recent dinners with you. Enjoy!

I have a new Food Network obsession--- Guy's Big Bite . The host, Guy Fieri, won last year's "Next Food Network Star" reality show (maybe that's why I like him... he's a chef from a reality show). Anyway, I have tried several of his recipes and all have been great! Last Saturday, we had Bloody Mary Flank Steak and it got rave reviews from Don and Ben. This weekend, I'm going to try Mojito chicken and Sangria Shrimp. Oh, yeah. That's the other reason I like him.. almost all his dishes involve cocktails. And, frankly, sometimes my cooking tastes better with a little booze.

Bloody Mary Flank Steak
1 cup V-8 (go spicy if you like extra heat)
1/2 cup vodka

1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Frank's)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp. crushed garlic
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
4 tbsp. olive oil
1-pound flank steak

Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except the flank steak in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Add the flank steak. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat grill to high or heat a skillet over high heat. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and wipe the excess liquid off with paper towels. Grill or pan sear both sides, then lower heat to medium and cook to medium rare (about 7 minutes per side).

Let the flank steak rest, covered with a clean towel for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut on the bias against the grain and serve.

My local recipe "go to" obsession is the very famous Katie Davis/ Peg Henricks VERY EXCLUSIVE cookbook "Thyme and Time Again". Katie and her mom compiled a huge cookbook of all their favorite recipes and I haven't found a single one I wouldn't make again. Several recipes have become regulars in our weekly rotation. The recipe below is easy and really yummy... I mean, how can you go wrong with sour cream, hamburger, and crescent rolls? Oh, and by the way, if you own the Pampered Chef "Mix and Chop", this is the perfect recipe to use it!

Easy Beefy Crescent Squares
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 ounce jar (1/3 cup) sliced mushrooms, drained (omit if you have a mushroom phobic in your house)
1/2 cup sour cream (I eyeball it and probably use more like 3/4 cup)
2 8 oz. cans of crescent rolls
6 slices American Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large frying pan, born ground beef with onion, salt, and pepper; drain. Stir in mushrooms and sour cream. Separate crescent dough into 4 large rectangles (2 from each can). Place rectangles in an ungreased 13 X 9 baking pan. Press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form a crust. Spoon hot meat mixture onto crust. Top with cheese slices. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown and no longer doughy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baby Cameron

View this montage created at One True Media
They like to keep a close eye on me

Aaron and Kelly's baby girl couldn't wait for her arrival any longer, and despite being a month early she has more hair than her daddy and is doing well. Cameron Arlene Geer was born at 2:48pm on June 24th. She weighed 6 lbs. 10.5 oz and was 17 inches long.

Because her dad is super tech savvy, enjoy her slide show by clicking on the link above (you thought I just posted a really tiny picture, didn't you?). Get ready to say, "AWWWW" about a million times. She has the sweetest face! And, if you're really sappy (like me), be ready to tear up a little (or a lot), too. Then, be sure to watch her other slide show for even more adorable pictures!

We can't wait to meet her!

Monday, June 25, 2007

So Many Ladies...

As I sat down tonight to upload some recent pictures, it occurs to me that my son may be the next American Gigolo. With the exception of one photo where he was dressed like a Ninja Turtle (see photo stream), every picture was of Ben and one of his ladies... either kissing, frolicking half naked, or snuggling in bed. Tomorrow, I will begin looking for a nice monastery to keep him in during his junior high and high school years.

I certainly hope none of these young ladies get together and find out they've all been seduced by the same pick up lines. No doubt he's used, "Hey! I'm an In-ja turtle" and "You want Shrek fruit snacks?" to charm all of them.

First, his youngest lady, Hannah. He enjoys kissing her and rubbing her head...oh, and her cool zebra toy on her carseat. See how he lured her into a sense of security by lying down beside her, all innocent like?

Then, he moved in for the smooch (notice that she doesn't look so sure..).

3 days later, he met "Bolivia" (Olivia) at DeAnna Rose for a morning of farm fun. First, a little "splashy, splashy, flirt, flirt, flirt..."

The next thing we knew, Olivia and Ben were both shirtless!

Finally, on his home turf with Lauren. After sharing some popcorn and chasing each other around the house, I heard giggling coming from Ben's room. I went in to find Lauren and Ben shacked up together and was told, "Turn off the light, Mommy. And close the door." OH, MY!

When I opened the door the second time, this was the scene... notice how Lauren is holding a book and looks so innocent and Ben looks like I completely killed the mood. To defend my kid a bit, Lauren was the one who licked his ear when they were less than a year old!

Now I know how all those rock stars' mothers must feel.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

And, yet again, I am put in my place

Ben has been sick this week and along with fever and decreased appetite, it has caused an increase in the vocalization of his opinions. The official diagnosis was roseola (p.s. DO NOT google image search "roseola on children" in an attempt to see what his spots might look like--- I did a little diagnostic work before going to the doctor and I'm just now getting those images out of my head), although the sassy mouth and "smart" comments don't seem to be a part of the illness..hmmmmm....

A few moments from the last 5 days:

Breakfast: Day 2 of the fever and whining...

H: Do you want a Popsicle?
B: (pathetic, little voice) Yeah, a brown one.
H: Ok! One root beer Popsicle coming up.
When I gave him the brown (not woot beer popsicle)

B: AAAAAAAA! NOOOOOOO! (sobbing and shoving it out of the way) THAT'S WOOT BEER. I NOT EATING THAT!

While I was teaching Kindermusik and Don was home with the boy...
D: I'll watch a show with you. What do you want to watch?
B: I want Ninja Turtles. But you go away. Go away in the bedroom. I only watch with Mommy.

Day 3: Brief spurts of manic (semi-violent) energy...
B: PIE-YA! (ninja noise, but with "pie" instead of "hi") (he whacks Abby with a sword.)
H: Ben! Don't hit Abby with the sword! Maybe you need a time out.
B: Maybe YOU need a time out.
(This one did end in a time out...for Ben...for the sassy comment.)

In the car...
H & B: (singing) Slow down, you're gonna crash..." (a song from Cars)
B: Uh, Mom?
H: Yeah, Buddy?
B: Maybe you could just sing on the inside.

I'm happy to report that this morning, he seems to be in better spirits. The fever is gone, the rash isn't quite so leper-looking, and the words (for the most part) have been kind...but, it's still early.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saddest thing I've heard in a long time

In the middle of the day yesterday, Ben spiked a fever and has been pretty sad and pathetic ever since. He literally didn't move from the couch for 4 hours straight.

When he started crying at 2:30 this morning, I found him kneeling on his sleeping bag. He looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I spilled." I never knew that barf could almost be cute.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Weekend Update

Thursday night, Don left for a weekend "boys' trip" to Las Vegas and he returned Sunday evening. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking, but I don't think anything "happened there" that needed to "stay there." They toured the Hoover Dam in 106 degree heat---and liked it, for goodness sakes.) So, Ben and I had a weekend of mother/son bonding. What does 72 straight hours of single parenthood look like? Here's what I learned:

* Lack of grown up interaction may lead to stupidity. (True, I can sing every word to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song-- old version and new version-- but that's not going to earn a phone call from MENSA.)

* When in doubt, become permissive. (I don't think I'd be dealing with this extreme case of the "gimmies" and "I wannas" if Ben had spent the weekend with any of his grandparents-- and that's saying something. My game plan was to indulge, indulge, indulge. Ice cream at 9:00 pm, "sure honey, you can have that toy." "oh, you don't want to take a bath, ok that's fine." Seriously. I was a Stepford Mommy.)

*Schedule the kid constantly. (On Friday, Ben had 3 play dates with a trip to McDonald's playland in between. Saturday, we got up and went to DeAnna Rose for another play date and had lunch with another friend. Sunday, we went to brunch with Mimi and G-Dad, then to the pool, then to the airport, then to T-Rex restaurant. Whew!)

* Sleep won't happen. (Even with the schedule, Captain No Nap continued his boycott of sleeping. Late to bed-- 9:30 or later-- and up by 8. I think he's using some sort of mind control where I become so tired that he officially grabs that small amount of power I've been clinging to.)

* If I have to answer one more question.... (What you doing, Mama? Is Daddy in BAY-GUS? Hey, Mom. Hey, Mom. Ummmmm..... wellllllllll....where Daddy go? Is he on an airplane? A silver one? Can I have root beer? Where is Baby Hannah? Is she happy? What street we live on? We live on WEEDS? What Mimi doing? HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MIMI. Is it Ben's birthday?..now read this over and over and over for the next 10-15 minutes.)

Moments of crazy aside, I had a rare chance to really spend a large chunk of time with Ben, just the two of us. I can't believe how much he has changed. He is so capable. He really enjoys life and can crack himself (and his mommy) up easily. He rolls with the flow--- more than I'd expect from a 2-year old and even some adults. He's learning all the time--- his memory is almost scary.

He's a pretty cool kid, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sleep Study

The garden (ok, something in the garden.. poison ivy, perhaps) gave me leprosy on my legs, so now I'm on the 'roids to get rid of the bumps and itch (ON MY LEGS, people). I am feeling much better, but in addition to the 'roid rage and my superhuman strength, I also am hungry ALL THE TIME and I can't freaking sleep. So, I take the 'roids in the morning (uppers) and then have to take Benadryl at night (downers) to sleep even a little. Ah, the rock star lifestyle of a suburban mom.

While the rest of the house sleeps, I've been thinking about sleep, looking at my peacefully sleeping child (in person and in pictures). I've also found some amazing products for sale on late night info-mercials.

Since I'm not sleeping, I thought I'd share some photos of the only other living soul who sleeps almost as little as I do...They capture rare moments of quiet stillness. These pictures are much like getting a picture of a hummingbird being still or some really loud thing (a LOUD, LOUD THING) being quiet (it's 1AM.. I can't create sweeping imagery all the time). These pictures also prove that while he definitely doesn't look like his Mommy, he sure does sleep like her...when she sleeps.

June 12, 2005: notice the "flamingo pose" with his legs and the territorial way he spread himself diagonally to take up as much space as possible, and the blanket up around his head. I sleep just like that only I require full blanket coverage from my ears to the tips of my toes. (Side note: Thanks, Wendy for the bizarre blanket covering obsession...see below.)

May 13, 2007: A "big boy bed" sure doesn't stop him from getting a good night's sleep (as long as it's after 11:00pm). Below, in his "Zippy's" (pajamas that are WAY TOO WARM for spring or summer--according to mommy--but do have the necessary zipper from toes to neck--according to Ben). I don't know if he got himself in bed that way by playing until he literally FELL asleep or what. But, when I moved him after taking this picture, he slid right back to where he was before. Oh, and evidently, all the cool kids sleep in sleeping bags next to their bed. Rarely do we actually find him in his bed. Maybe the floor is better for his bad back, who knows?

**Blanket obsession revealed: At some point in my impressionable young life, I got to spend the night at Wendy's house. It was so cool. She was older, wiser, and we got to sleep in her kinda creepy basement (that had a tree house...in the basement playroom...,but that's another story). Anyway, I remember that she, in passing (as we were going to sleep), mentioned that "if you don't cover up completely with a blanket at night that the aliens will probe you." Yep. So here I am 20ish years later, still covering up so the aliens don't probe me in my sleep.

Yeah, you think it's nuts, but the next time you go to bed, you'll be thinking about those aliens... Is it any wonder Ben is going to need lots of therapy someday?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

How does your garden grow?

A few weeks ago, we planted our first garden. We're growing...or trying to grow... tomatoes (big and grape sized), several varieties of peppers, cantaloupe, pumpkins, carrots, snap peas, flowers for cuttings, and herbs. I have no doubt that it will sustain our food needs through the summer and fall. Now if we could only have a cow or two. Then we'd be self-sufficient without those pesky grocery stores or McDonald's.

Ben has been busy helping clear sticks and digging weeds. Like his mom, gardening (along with any other hobby) is all about the wardrobe. He wears Backyardigans garden gloves and his Mickey Mouse Crocs anytime we work in the garden. He also has his own garden tools which we've been encouraging him to use around the border of the garden rather than right on top of the growing plants.

Right now, his favorite part of the garden is the worms. At first, he only wanted to touch them with gloves on but he's become more adventurous and will now pull them out of the ground and talk to them. It usually goes something like this:

BEN: Hi. Hi Worm. I'm Ben. This my mommy, Heather.
WORM: no response (stuck up, snobby worm!)

B: WORM! HI! HI! I'M HOLDIN' YA! HI! WHAT YOU DOING HERE WORM? ('cause worms are hard of hearing and sometimes need to be yelled at... their ears are really small.)
W: frantically trying to wiggle out of his hand... still no response
B: MAMA! That worm likes me. WORM! WHERE YOU ARE GOING?
W: finally makes his escape and burrows into the dirt as fast as it can
B: Awww, man. He's gone. Maybe him misses his family.
I think the only thing missing from our garden now is a BIG garden gnome. As soon as I find the perfect one, I'll post a picture.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Recipe of the Week: Smores

I'm pretty sure you already know how to make smores, but Ben just learned how and he's very impressed. In honor of the beginning of summer, here is a visual guide for making tasty smores.

Ingredients: marshmallows, graham crackers, Hershey's chocolate bar, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, skewers, and fire (or at least hot coals left over from grilling)

Traditional smores ratio: 1 graham cracker broken in half, 1 roasted marshmallow, square of Hershey's chocolate.

Mayfield ratio: 1 graham cracker broken in half, 2 roasted marshmallows, 1package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Step 1: Roast marshmallows to a golden, gooey, almost-ready-to-fall-off-into-the-fire brown. (If you set the marshmallow on fire, sacrifice it to the fire Gods. Don't eat it. That's gross.)

Step 2: Smash hot marshmallow into already prepared graham cracker half covered with chocolate of your choice (PEANUT BUTTER CUP..if you haven't ever done it, you are SO missing out). Use the remaining graham cracker half to remove the marshmallow from the skewer.

Step 3: Throw all decorum out the window and get as messy as possible while enjoying your "sandwich."

Best of all, as soon as you finish eating one, make another one. Although, I must warn you, 2 full smores made with peanut butter cups should only be eaten by the most serious choco-holics.

To see "s'more" pictures from our outdoor cooking adventure, visit the streaming photo gallery on the left column of the blog.