Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Video my Life

Today I followed Bonnie Rose around with the video camera and tried to capture her doing all sorts of adorable things.

Here's a video of Rosie playing the drums for the baby goats, Daisy and Danny. I'm trying to teach her not to push the goats, but she thinks she IS a goat so she likes to push them off whatever they are standing on. It's a goat thing.
I thought this was cute so I'm putting it up here. You don't have to watch it if you're not interested. It's Bella nursing her babies. I just love the little sounds Daisy makes when she's nursing.

After lunch we had dance time.  This was the first time Rosie has danced with one of her bears. This bear was given to her on her first birthday by the waiter at The Teddy Bear Cafe in TaiKang Lu, Shanghai China.  

You can hear Rosie say "more" when the song ends and then "dance" to her bear. 

Here's another one of Rosie dancing with her bear.  (Sorry for the mess behind her... it's laundry and cleaning day.)
Here's a couple pictures of our day for those of you who just want a quick glance or can't get the videos to work.

Bella teaches her babies and mine how to climb on a log...
 And Rosie makes her teddy bear tap dance.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Life's a Zoo


 Today we went to the zoo.  We've been wanting to visit the Nashville zoo for sometime. Bonnie Rose loves animals so much, and we want her to be exposed to them as much as she can as she grows up.

Rosie was so fascinated with most of the animals and studied them very intently. She tried very hard to say all of their names.

 She thought the Flamingos were fun because they were pink and drank water upside down. She stood a long time watching them.
In the petting zoo her favorites were the goats of course but she also liked this Sicilian Donkey a lot too. They also had 8 week old Camels that she really enjoyed looking at.

She was almost overwhelmed in the gift shop with all the fun things to play with. She loved hugging and giving kisses to the stuffed animals.  But of all the things in the gift shop she liked the table full of pretty polished rocks. Rosie loves rocks. She spent a good long time picking out her favorite ones.

The Meerkats made her laugh and laugh the way they wrestled and ran around.
But her very favorite  animals were the Gibbons. At first she wasn't quite sure what to make of their loud singing, but she was definitely intrigued.


Here you can see her clapping for them when they stopped singing and then asking for "more."

Every time we walked near the Gibbon habbitat she asked to go watch them again. They not only sang all day long but they would swing from tree to tree.

 Right before we left we found the "jungle gym" play area of the zoo. It was the nicest play ground I've ever seen. We will being coming back to play here for sure, and to see the Gibbons of course.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Up a Tree

I like Trees. I like the way they dance in the wind. I like the way they smell. I like the way they change with the seasons. I like the different shades of green they come in.   When I was a child one of my favorite poems was about trees. It said "Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."

Trees are important and formidable figures in literature and pop culture.  Tolkien had the Ents in Lord of the Rings, that fought to free the people of Middle Earth. In the movie the Wizard of Oz the apple trees threw apples at Dorthy and her friends. In C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian the trees come to life and destroyed a whole army of men. There are a number of stories in which trees fight back.

We have some very beautiful trees in this area, but a few months ago we had a bad wind storm that knocked a bunch of them down and broke some branches. You can see some of the damage HERE.

William had a lot of work to do after that storm, and a lot of trees to clean up. You may remember this picture from my mom's blog when he was trying to cut a half fallen tree down and decided it would be a good idea to tie a rope around his waist and try to climb it.
Luckily I did intervened before he managed to get up in the tree. I have no idea what he was thinking.

A few weeks ago another branch of a tree half broke and was dangling over the wooden fence.  So while everyone was in the house William decided to try to take care of it by himself.  Keep in mind that when the branch first broke I specifically told William not to climb that tree to try and cut the branch down.

That's a pretty good rule of thumb actually: Do not climb trees to cut them down.

So today around 4pm, I was in the house and heard what I thought were goats bellowing very loudly. We have some pretty load and talkative goats so for a while I just figured that's what I was hearing. Until it seamed that one of the bellows sounded like my name.  I decided to investigate just to make sure that every thing was ok. Sometimes one of the goats gets their head stuck in something and need help.

So out I went and saw all the goats standing in a huddle looking very scared, and then I heard why. A very loud shout of help.  I ran towards where I saw the goats looking and where the sound was coming from and sure enough there he was.
William was hanging from a tree.

I ran and got my mom and a ladder before I had fully assessed how he was.  Since he was at the bottom of the hill our house sits on I didn't see clearly how he was but I knew we needed to get him down. Of course I expected the worse. From the top of the hill it looked like his leg was stuck and may be broken.

It took both me and my mom wedging the latter up against the tree and holding it stable enough for William to put his weight on so he could lift himself up and unwedge his leg from inside the forked tree.  Luckily the leg was not broken. Just very very stuck. 

I'm very very very thankful that he's ok. He's very bruised and scratched up, but we have him heavily medicated, well fed, and resting with his leg up.

So for future reference. Do Not Climb Trees in Order to Cut Them Down.

Or if you're William. Do Not Climb Trees.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bed time routine

Every one has different ways of getting ready for bed. Especially with kids it's important to have a bed time routine.  Some people have nightly bath time and read books. Those are good things. Calming things.
In our family...We have nightly round around the house time.
And Baby Girl isn't satisfied to do it by her self. She wants as many people and she can round up to run with her... and always wants poor Andy, our dog, to chase her.

I love how she pats her little butt to get him to come. Silly little baby.
Here's a video of the full circle she runs. Baby Girl loves to watch this video. She always waves at herself as she comes around the corner and laughs and laughs.

I don't know what we would have done in Shanghai in our teeny tiny apartment and our energetic little girl. She wouldn't have had any space to run around.  I'm so thankful for the space we have here and for my parents being so willing to have us with them.

I love our night time with our Baby Girl. She's so funny and entertaining.
Maybe we should look into that nightly bath some time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day

 Yesterday was Father's day and we had a wonderful day of celebrating William and how thankful we are for him. 

This was William's first father's day that he got to spend with his Baby Girl. Last year he was in China and I was in the US. So I wanted to make sure this year was extra special.

On Monday I made William oatmeal raisin cookies, one of his favorites. He got to eat them all week long and then on Sunday I made him Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies, another favorite.
Rosie examines Daddy's Boo-boo

Actually I got the date of Father's Day wrong this year. I thought it was the second week of June, like mother's day, but it's the third week. After sending both our dad's cards by express mail because I thought they would be late, I learned that I had another week to plan. That turned out great actually because I had more time to get a few more things for William, and to plan our church outfits. 


 Baby Girl got her Daddy a new iPod shuffle. It's so teeny tiny! It's perfect for wearing around outside while he's working and won't get in his way because it's so small.

I got William a new tie. Partly because it was a nice looking tie and partly because I thought it was funny to get him something so cliche.
Boys love new toys. Even small ones.

We are so proud of William and are so thankful to for how much he loves us. He really is an amazing father.
 William request hamburgers for dinner so I made big thick garlic burgers with colby-jack cheese. I was quite pleased with how they turned out and I think William was too.
 After dinner we played in the liquor cabinet to see what we could make from what we had.  William made dirty martinis and something with Chocolate milk, Kahlua and Bailey's Irish Cream.  After we got him good and drunk we sent him to play video games.
  
Shaken, not stirred.
Thank you William for being such a loving Daddy to our little Angel and for never being too cool or serious to be silly with us.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Drive In

 Last night we went to the movies. We saw Green Lantern on opening night. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie on opening night, but the best part about it wasn't that we were getting to see a nerdy movie the night it opened. The best part about it was that it was at a drive in movie theater.

For six dollars per adult (kids under 12 are free) you can sit in your car with your own snacks and you can watch not one but two movies! How crazy is that?!

When we first got there I was a little surprised that it wasn't more crowded, it was Friday night after all and opening night of a big movie. But  I was also very happy it wasn't too crowded.  I realized right away that I am a Drive in Noob.  We showed up in our car with a small cooler of snacks and that was it. Every one else had comfortable lawn chairs and pillows and their dogs, and sat comfortably and ready to enjoy the perfect summer evening.

I thought the movie was good. Sure it followed the predictable comic book formula, but hey, it was a comic book movie so what do you expect. I thought the Green Lantern character was cute and loveable and slightly sarcastic... in a funny way. There was the nerdy side kick (every one needs a nerdy side kick, that's why I have William) and the cute girl that sees the hero for who he is before he does (every one needs a cute girl to support them, that's why William has me).  Sure it was predictable but it was fun and cute and the characters for likeable and funny.  We all liked the movie very much.

Baby Girl got to climb around the car during the movie when she wasn't watching it intently or trying to smash her face against mine, she always does that after kissy scenes.  She also thought it was great fun to hang out the open window to watch the movie. She looked like a puppy dog.

We didn't stay for the second movie. I would have liked to but it was a romantic comedy and it's not one of Baby Girl's favorite genres. She pretty much just goes for Sci-fi or movies with animals in them and it was a small space for her to be confined in for another movie. So we decided to go home and watch some Doctor Who.
Except, the car wouldn't start.

We had the car on, but not running, so we could have the radio on. That's how you hear the movie. And as a result the battery died. Luckily the guy at the concession stand had a portable car starter and helped us get the car started. He says he does it all the time.

How do people go to drive in movies and not have their cars die? And how to people sitting outside their cars hear the movie? Any advice from Drive-in-theater veterans would be great.

Our drive home was beautiful.  The moon was a perfect sci-fi moon, big and bright and yellow and partly shrouded by wispy crowds.  All in all it was a great night and I very much look forward to doing it again.  Especially now that I know that the concession stand has a portable battery starter.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fish Fry

Last weekend we went to our very first Fish Fry. Fish Fries are a very special local past time here. Politicians must host them if they want to get elected, Churches host them to draw people in. To me a fish fry is the mark of Summer around here.

A fish fry is just what is sounds like. A bunch of people getting together and eating fried fish. In these parts that means Catfish.

I think I could eat fried catfish every day. It's amazing. I'm so glad we live in the South. I can't believe I've gone all my life without fried catfish.

This particular fish fry was hosted my Aunt Mae's church and was a pot luck. Every one brought their specialties. There were hush puppies and french fries and 3 tables of desserts and of course Coleslaw. Or as people around here call it "Slaw."

 Coleslaw is historically a dutch dish called "koolsalade", which means cabbage salad. It's main ingredient is shredded cabbage and often has shredded carrots in it too.

 I thought there were only two kinds of "slaw," vinegar slaw and mayonnaise slaw. But last weekend I learned I was very wrong.  There was vinegar slaw, and slaw it milk sauce, and slaw with grapes in it, and slaw with green peppers. I have seen so many different kinds of "slaw" in my life!
We sampled most of them and William came home with many ideas to try.

Bonnie Rose enjoyed the fish fry very much. She loves hush puppies and Aunt Mae made sure there were special Gluten Free hush puppies and fish batter just for us! She's so good to us and we all over ate.
Another special treat was Uncle Joe's presents there.  At first Bonnie Rose played a little shy with him. But he managed to make her laugh and win her over, as he always does.   I'm so happy she has some one as kind and fun and musical as Joe to grow up with.

After eating way too much and visiting and Joe taking Rosie in the bouncy house and playing endless rounds of hide and seek with her, we all rolled our selves home and sat lazily in front of the TV and watched Doctor Who.  We didn't even have any room for ice cream. 

I can tell we are going to have a very wonderful, if not fattening, summer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Morning Surprise!

 SURPRISE! Two new baby goats!

While we knew that our goat, Bella, was pregnant we thought she was due on July 15th.  So it was a bit of a surprise when this morning she popped out these two little beauties.
 We had a boy and a girl. 
Our boy is Denny...
 and our girl is Dottie. (I think... we may change that)
 They are much smaller than our last batch. Denny is 7 pounds and Dottie is just 4 pounds. So small!
 Bonnie Rose is very in love with them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Day at the Faire

 Every year in May (weekends only) there is a Renaissance Faire just outside of Nashville. We celebrated Mother's Day there this year and then a couple weeks later we visited again.

On our second trip to the Faire we saw different things than on our first, and it wasn't quite so crowded.  One of my favorite shows was the live chess game.

It was fun to see the "pieces" sword fight for their squares and it was fun to see the French beat... with some modification to the standard rules.


Since this Faire is not quite so big as the Southern California one it is much more kid friendly, and we got a private audience with Queen Elizabeth I. It was my first time meeting her and I was very excited.


The Nashville Faire's main claim to fame is that it is the only Renaissance Faire in the US to be held on the grounds of an actual Castle!

The Castle was built by a Mr. Dan Freeman and is actually his personal home!

Every year he sponsors the Ren Faire and he allows tours of part of his castle home and grounds.



It was actually more of just letting us wonder around than a tour. Which was so nice, so fun, and so relaxing. Also, the inside had air conditioning. Thank you Mr. Freeman!









In the Great Room of his Castle there was this 800 year old Sword on display. It was excavated from Jerusalem and is from one of the Crusades.  Mr. Freeman is one of four owners this sword has had, the first being the Knight who lost it on his Crusade.
 Also in The Great Room is this authentic replica chandelier that lowers so each candle can be lit and then raises again to light the room. I didn't ask if the wax drips or not.
 This is an actual Irish Elk head and antlers. The Irish Elk was the largest deer that ever lived and has been extinct for 7,700 years.
 Each arch in the castle is hand made and authentic to the time period.

 After we wandered around the castle and grounds we made our way back to the Festival grounds.  We were given a much welcomed break from the heat with a 15 minute rain shower that gave us a second wind to stay till closing.  

Bonnie Rose was such a good sport and loved seeing all the people dressed up. Even though she was so tired and so hot she was always in a good mood and had a smile for everyone.






There are so many fun things to do at the Fair that I think I could go every weekend for the whole month and still not see all the shows or eat all the treats or play all the games.








 It was Pirate Weekend at the Faire so William is dressed up like a Pirate and here with Captain Red Beard.











During of one of Baby Girl's hottest moments when she didn't want to be held or be in her stroller any more and wasn't in the mood to hold hands, she discovered that I had a rope tired around my waist and thought that was great fun.
She was not only content to stay near Mama holding on the rope but she thought it was the greatest fun to run and pull me around where ever she went.
We were a happy little Ren Fair Family. Next time I'll have Baby Girl dressed up in her little costume I'm putting together for her.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paulina's Famous Stuffed Peppers : A Food Post

Since William works all day outside and my mom works all day on her computer it's only fair that I cook dinner for every one.  I'm really enjoying having an American sized kitchen with counter space and an oven and a stove with more than two burners. Even though I enjoy baking more, I'm enjoying planning and figuring out new dinners to make.

Me, Paulina and Lukas, Classmates in Shanghai
In the Summer heat I like to make food that isn't hot and doesn't take much cooking. So this summer I've been making Paulina's Famous Stuffed Chili Peppers.
Paulina was a dear friend of mine in Shanghai. We took Chinese together and she was such a great cook. She would bring sandwiches to class and our classmates would buy them from her. I think of her and how much she taught me every time I make this meal.

First I start with these ingredients:
Anaheim Chili Peppers (2 or 3 per person)
Lime Juice (or real limes)
Tuna (one can per person)
Boiled Eggs (one per person)
Red or Yellow Onion
Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper
I  like to put a green apple in it, but I didn't have one today.

You'll also need a pair of tongs or long wooden chopsticks.

First I chop the Onion and put lime juice on it... to taste. I usually put enough on the just barely cover the onion.

I let the Lime and Onion sit while I do the Chili Peppers. The lime will soak into the onion and make it taste amazing.

Then I cook the Chili Peppers on an open flame to blacken the skin
Paulina used to use her fingers to turn them over, but that was too much for me. In China I used a pair of wooden chopsticks so if they got burned it didn't matter. In the States I use metal tongs.

Get the skin nice and back... all over
Once they are completely back take them off the fire and put them in a container with a lid. I use a Glad Wear box.
Put the lid on right away. I cover the peppers and leave them in there while I cook the rest. The key is to leave them covered in the container to let the sweat so the skin gets nice a loose.
After I cook up all my peppers I set the covered container aside and mix up my tuna salad. That gives them extra time to sweat.
I do everything "to taste".  So just kind of "eyeball" how much of everything you think you like. We don't like a lot of Mayonnaise so I don't use more than a spoonful or two. 
  Put whatever else you think will be good in tuna salad. I usually dig around in the pantry to see what I can find. I like to put apples in it when I have them and Paulina says she likes to chop up almonds.  

After the Tuna salad is mixed it's time to peal peppers. I do this at the sink so I can have a small stream of cool water to rinse my fingers off since the skins tend to stick to them.

Just take one pepper at a time and pinch the skin lightly between your fingers and it comes right off.
I hold the pepper with one hand and pinch the skin off with the other (but I had to take the picture with one hand.)
You can rinse the peppers after all the skin is off to get it clean of all the black specks. Cool water will cool off the pepper right away if it's too hot to handle. Warm water will keep the pepper slightly warm.
I use just cool water.
Once all the peppers are pealed slice them open on one side. Sometimes a pepper with tear while it's cooking or being pealed. That's ok, just use the tear to start the slice.
I also pinch the seed cluster out at the top of the pepper.
Then with a spoon scoop the tuna salad into the pepper. I usually pile it high to make sure everyone gets enough to eat.
And it's ready to eat!
These Chili Peppers are not spicy, though sometimes one will be. 
That or I accidentally bought a jalapeno last time. 

We usually serve it with my mom's Homemade Ginger Ale and either chips and salsa or Carrot Soup.

This is the perfect Summer dinner and one of our favorites. Even Baby Girl likes it. I enjoy making so much that chances are if you come to visit us this summer I'll probably make it for you.