Friday, August 29, 2008

The Man Behind the Curtain

I think it is time that I fess up to how things really work around here at Salmon and Milk. You see, I may be the Great and Powerful Oz, but John is the Man Behind the Curtain. You may know that John started this blog awhile back for our family and then encouraged me to "write a few posts". Lo and behold, I have taken over and made it my own. The problem is I often have a lot of pots on stove, some days literally a lot of pots on the stove. I am often writing while doing other very important things (i.e. ignoring Hollis, eating, watching tv, playing facebook games - I have a full and varied life). This may lead to some interesting and (hopefully) funny content, but it is not so good for the grammar and spelling portion of our show. And while I have tried to be more conscientious, many times there are errors I miss. I think because in my mind I know what it should say so I just read it that way no matter what is actually written. Sadly, I think this is an inherited trait as my Mother tends to do the same thing. So if you are here one day reading a post and can't quite figure out what it is I am trying to say, check back later because chances are the Man Behind the Curtain has logged in and fixed it. You can thank him later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Last trip of the Summer

We have been home from the Beach now for over a week, so I thought it was about time I coughed up some pictures. We had a great time relaxing with GPop, Roo, Katie B, Rae and Jeff. And while you are never "on vacation" when you have a child, it is always nice when other adults are around to help out. Here are some highlights:
Building sandcastles

Sleeping with the (star)fishes.

Playing in the fountains.

The beach by flashlight.

Joe Cool relaxes at the beach

Ta Da!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Second Day of School

What? Everybody posts about the first day of school. With the cute clothes and new bags. It's been done to death. I wanted to wait until the second day of school so you could see a picture of my child with a huge Snoopy band-aid on his forehead. He fell on a wooden peg on Monday night and gashed his head. In a moment of selflessness though, he did ask if I was alright since I was covered in blood from carrying him to the bathroom. Nothing says back to school like a head wound. I am going to start labeling all the posts in which Hollis is hurt, you know, for easy medical reference.
So, today was the second day of school. The first day of car line (for the uninitiated, that is where you pull up and a stranger removes your child from the car. In some places it is also called carjacking or kidnapping) for both drop off and pick up. So far, there have been no tears. And Hollis has done pretty well too. After two days, this is what I know about Preschool:

-If you ask him how school was he will say, "Good" and if you ask him what he did he will say, "I not know". I am sure this is God prepping me for a surly teenager.
-Out of 11 other kids, he can only remember the names of two. One of whom brought cupcakes for snack today.
-Hollis and I have the same number and this means we go together.
-The best part about Preschool is the big trucks. The teachers were smart enough to be sure there was one for each boy. Coming in a close second to the trucks are the blocks and dinosaurs, and occasionally the kitchen.
-When you go outside to play, you play on the green playground, not the blue one.
-Hollis has a new song..."The Big Fat Gorilla" sung to the tune of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". He will sing it for you in his deepest gorilla voice.
-Miss Nancy has a pointer. The conversation went like this:
Him: Miss Nancy has a pointer!
Me: Yeah, what does it do?
Him: It points (said in his best "Mom is a complete idiot" voice. Again with the teen training).

So, school is good, everybody is happy and I am enjoying me newly found free time. Ooh, 9 hours a's almost a part-time job. I did take first day pictures just like every other mother in America...of course, not every other kid in America is a cute as mine.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mix it up Monday: Birthday Party Edition

So Saturday was the big third birthday fire truck Extravaganza(you have to say that with flair, and a slight Spanish accent). Most of Hollis's best friends were there. After a menacing start, hey, it's not a party until somebody(or two) falls down and has a run in with the cops; everyone had a great time. There were slides, swings, things to climb on, walls to jump off so that your parents can have a heart attack. We wrestled all the children together for a few games(Stop, Drop and Roll and Water Relay) and a craft (fire trucks made from graham crackers). Then the cupcakes. The ones I bought the new mixer for. The cupcakes were easy and I decided three dozen would be a good amount, really two dozen would have been enough. Then I started on the frosting...the dreaded frosting. The plan had been to make red (ha, ha, ha), yellow and orange and then pipe the three colors together onto the cupcakes to look like flames. Turns out, my imagination is much greater than my actual skill. I ended up with a pinkish red and a little yellow. And no flames. And red food coloring all over my hands, face, clothes, counter top and refrigerator. You get the picture. I bought the Wilton gel that is supposed to make vibrant colors. I bought Christmas Red. You are only supposed to use the tip of a toothpick to add color. I used the whole 2 oz container. Plus some red liquid food coloring. Then John helpfully reminded me that Hollis is a boy. So I mixed the red(ish) with the yellow to try for orange, frosted the cupcakes and sprinkled some red sugar on top, stuck them in the fridge and called it a day, or night as it were. They actually turned out really well, and pretty red, even though three year olds are not terribly discriminating when it comes to cupcakes. Hopefully, I still have some friends left since in addition to graham cracker and frosting fire trucks, candy bracelet prizes and cupcakes, I hired an ice cream truck! I know, I am the best Mom ever. Hollis insisted on opening presents right then and he went home with a nice selection of trucks, books, balls and everything else a boy could want. Even though Hurricane Fay threatened to both drench and blow us away, I think everyone had a great time. I know I did.

Life Changing Revelation

1 3 year old boy + 1 Mommy who leaves the bag at home /1 hour of church = 1 Big Mess + Borrowed Shorts.

What, you were you hoping to hear about the birthday party?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the Occasion of your Third Birthday

Dear Hollis,
Today is your birthday. Actually, by this time three years ago you had already been born and were waiting for me in the recovery room. From what I understand you were none too happy about this situation. We spent the next five days(!) recovering and getting ready to face the world. It was a sad, sad day when we did leave the hospital since none of the nurses were coming home with us. It was rough going for a little while, but through many tears(yours and mine)we eventually figured it out. In the past three years you have gone from a little 8lb 8oz squirmy bundle to a 40(ish)lb jumpy ball of energy. You have an active imagination and are constantly making up stories and scenarios for your cars, trucks and animals. Often one truck will actually perform the duties of several trucks throughout the day. You love to sing and make up your own songs about the things you are playing with. Your vocabulary is immense and you can easily make your wants known. You also make up words to suit your needs. Currently, you are in "Why" stage and frankly, I have run out of answers. You would happily spend all your time outside sitting in the grass with your trucks, picking up sticks and other treasures or playing one of your favorite sports. Too bad the mosquitoes swarm in our backyard. You have had a busy summer; a trip to New York and one to Destin, swimming and playdates with our friends, your first official babysitter, finishing 2 1/2 years of Gymboree classes and growing and learning through it all. Three will be a big year for you. It started off with a bang today. The first thing you asked before you even got out of bed was, "Where is my cake?" There was no cake for breakfast, but we did have a doughnut, maybe a new birthday tradition. You opened presents from Mommy and Daddy; two of your favorite Real Wheels videos, unbelievably one of them you had not seen, a flashlight and firetruck silverware. Tigger called this morning to wish you a Happy Birthday. At first you weren't sure about it, but then you tried really hard to tell him all about your birthday so far. It's tough to get a word in on Tigger. We invited our friends to join us at the playground and then followed up with lunch at the "space shuttle McDonald's" per your request. The most exciting thing all day may have been Daddy joining us for lunch. Every time we go someplace, whether to the grocery store, library or playground, you always have two questions, "Will our friends be there" and "Is Daddy coming?" Today you got both. Anyone who said "Happy Birthday" to you today was given their own "Happy Birthday" in return and you sang Happy Birthday to yourself several times. This year you are starting preschool (Monday actually) and singing in the choir at church. In the fall you will take swimming lessons and have more fun playgroups. You are growing up everyday, we can see your little brain processing all of your experiences. Although there are times when I am tempted to stuff you in a box and ship you to Siberia, you are still the greatest joy of my life. Happy Birthday Monkey!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So many things...

There are so many things to tell you about...beach trip, birthdays, preschool, general three year oldness...but right now I am up to my eyeballs in firefighter birthday, so soon. You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief however, that I did get a new mixer. Cupcakes coming up!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back from the Beach

What a relaxing trip we had. So relaxing in fact that I left my mixer there. Whoops. It is hard to bake with no mixer. It is also a little troubling since I have the Three Year Old Firefighter Birthday Blowout this weekend for which we will need cupcakes. I guess I will be buying a new one this week, maybe a better one. Maybe this one. Don't talk to about stand mixers, I would love one but sadly, there is not one extra inch of cabinet or counter space in my kitchen. Needless to say, there is no baking today. Instead here is a food meme from Mandee at I Think You Should

A. List of 100 items
B. Bold items you’ve eaten
C. Cross out items you’d never consider eating

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich (sort of, I don't like jelly)
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (in cornbread)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

How about you?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mix-it up Monday: VACATION EDITION

Well, lovely readers, I am currently in Destin, FL. I didn't have time to bake anything this weekend what with all the packing, laundry, buying of beach paraphernalia. If I had had time, this is what I would have made. I don't fancy myself a big pumpkin eater, but I have made this bread on several occasions and it alway turns out nice and moist. I make it with walnuts and leave out the cloves and raisins because, yuck, I don't like them. And of course using 1/2 whole wheat flour and adding a little flax seed won't hurt. If you don't like that, take a look at this. Good, huh?
Stay tuned for beach stories, like retrieving an alligator from a toilet. Now your curious aren't you? Fun times.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Height of Preschool Fashion

We have started the fall shopping, since NOTHING, he has from last year fits. Okay, maybe a shirt or two, but no pants, not even the ones I bought in March. Grrr, stupid growing. Hollis seems to be in an unusual place clothing-wise. In many brands he is able to wear clothes from both the baby boys section as well as the big boys section. The styles of clothing also runs the gament from smocked jon-jons to superman tshirts. And everything in between. I try to mainly dress Hollis in the in between. I don't really think is knows who most of the "older" characters are, although he has been known to walking around the house shouting SUPERMAN. He hasn't requested anything specific other than "army pants" (and an army shirt, but I drew the line there). So he got his pants, which is terribly excited about. We are starting to load up on his other staples, khaki pants and tshirts and I am trying to keep dressing him like a little boy instead of a surly preteen.

Old School Firefighter

From the "BIG Library" in Marietta

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fear and Mothering

Some of you may know that I don't particularly care for frogs. It's a long story that involves me blaming my mother for my psychosis. I will tell you though that when I say "don't particularly care for frogs", what I mean is "if I saw one in a dark alley (or on a sunny sidewalk for that matter) I would run screaming the other way." I have found this fear to be neither irrational nor debilitating...until Tuesday. Hollis and I headed out with our playgroup friends to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. First stop, The Children's Garden, home to a large frog pond. Upon approach, I informed Hollis in no uncertain terms that if he got too close and fell into the pond he was on his own. Fortunately, he has the attention span of, well, a three year old boy, so we were quickly on the move. Disaster averted. After spending the rest of the morning laying in the sand and jumping in the fountain, we ate lunch and ventured over to the main part of the garden. It is lovely and serene and on an August afternoon, about 48 bajillion degrees. We eventually ended up in the greenhouse (not any cooler, by the way) and their rain forest exhibit. As we meandered through the tropical plants I happened to notice a small sign stuck in the ground, "Warning: Frog Habitat". If there were any other words of warning posted, they were drowned out by the voice in my head shouting "Forget the kid, save yourself." However, I am a loving mother so I did not leave him to fend for himself among the frogs. I decided we would move quickly through the area and out the door while I looked straight ahead so as not to make contact with their beady little eyes. As we rounded the corner, right there in the middle of the walkway, 5 (or more, who knows) huge, ugly...Birds. Freaked me right the hell out. Now I am not really "afraid" of birds, but I prefer that they not get to close to me. So I grabbed Hollis by the arm and hightailed it out of there before we had anymore run-ins with nature. We finished up our visit, outside, and headed home with a quick stop off at the gift shop. I let Hollis have his choice of small $1 animals. This is what he choose:
His name is Hoppy and I am sure he is plotting someway to get me in my sleep.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Mix it Up Monday (plus)

Woo, today has been quite the day. I actually did my baking yesterday and intended to post this afternoon, but things went slightly awry. First, the story. Today was going to be a pretty easy day, nothing special planned, a quick trip to the library and then run some errands before we leave for vacation this weekend. We went to the library, got some new videos and books, checked out and were headed out the door when...Hollis decided to pull the fire alarm. I thought I had gotten to him fast enough to keep him from pulling it all the way, but no luck. The alarm rang and the lights flashed for a good five minutes as librarians scrambled. I made Hollis stay and apologize and (fortunately) the fire trucks did not show up. I am sure if they had, Hollis would want to pull the alarm every time we are there. I apologized profusely, made a vain attempt at humor and left. I may have to find a new library. Then, errands were run, lunch was eaten, videos were watched and naps were taken. This is what I found when I went to get Hollis from his nap.How he found room to nap in there, I will never know.
Anyway, at least we had dessert to finish the day off. I made Tiramisu Brownie Squares from a Pampered Chef cookbook. John and I went to dinner with some friends on Saturday night (Hollis had his first bonafide babysitter, another story for another time) and John agreed to forgo his favorite Tiramisu so that I could have the chocolate peanut butter ice cream thing. So, these were for him. I have to admit that I did not have high hopes for this recipe. I find Pampered Chef recipes annoying because they are so busy promoting their products, it's hard to follow the actual baking directions. "Oh, ground cinnamon can be substituted for the Pampered Chef Korintje Cinnamon! Thank God you told me, I would have ditched the whole recipe otherwise"(eyeroll). However, it turned out yummy and everyone had two pieces after dinner. It is basically a brownie, topped with a whip cream, coffee and Oreo mixture then chilled. I followed the recipe as written except I grated half a semi sweet baking sweet baking square on top since I didn't have any chocolate chips and I used plain old cinnamon (naturally). Here's the recipe, with all the annoying things taken out. It's easy easy and will only heat up your kitchen long enough to bake the brownie mix.

Tiramisu Brownie Squares
1 package (19-21 oz) brownie mix (plus ingredients for cake like brownies)
1 c milk
1/4 c instant coffee granules
1 container (12oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
2 packages (3.4oz each) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
20 creme filled chocolate sandwich cookies coarsely chopped
1/4 c semi sweet chocolate morsels, grated
1/4 t cinnamon

-Preheat oven to 350. Spray pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for cake like brownies.
-Cool completely after baking.
-In a large bowl, combine milk and instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved. Add half the whipped topping and the pudding mix, whisk until smooth. Fold cookies into pudding mixture. Spread over the top of cooled brownies.
-Pipe diagonal rows, 1/4 inch apart, over the entire surface of the filling (don't stress about this, mine was super ugly. That is why you only have a picture of one piece). Grate chocolate morsels over whipped topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
-Chill at least 30 minutes.