Archive for the ‘Family life’ category

Doll does Discovery Museum

August 29th, 2009

101°F in Palo Alto. Hot enough to fry an egg. Too hot to bake. Perfect for making pretend pizza for Doll (and Mommy), rolling out sculpting clay, and splashing in water at the air-conditioned San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum

I limited Carter to bringing just one toy friend into the museum, and today Doll made the cut. (Pink Bear and Holly Bear kept each other company in the car.)

A note about Doll: I have to give a shout out to Dolls Like Me, a source for “multicultural toys.” In other words, a place where I could buy my son a boy doll with brown skin. They now have a doll of a more famous biracial boy: President Barack Obama.

wondering about cupcakes

August 27th, 2009

Does my child watch too much TV? Do I not watch enough?

Carter and I split the last piece of coffee cake this morning. Of course, Carter wanted the piece with more sprinkles. (When Jeff found out all the coffee cake was gone, he declared he’s going to start “taxing” baked goods, setting aside 1/3 of anything we bake, since he keeps deciding too late to have another piece.)

I asked Carter what we should make next. More coffee cake, or maybe muffins? His immediate, emphatic, and specific answer: “Ming-Ming cupcakes.” ???  He then proceeds to tell me that we need to buy yellow food coloring and chewy candies, like the ones at Finley’s birthday party, to make Ming-Ming’s hat.

First, I had to ask: Who? Apparently, I’m not up to speed on the Wonder Pets. Next, I sorted out that he had seen someone on TV make these cupcakes. Jeff confirmed that he and Carter had watched an interstitial about making  Ming-Ming cupcakes and told Carter that making them looked like a BIG project.

“Make” here means “decorate,” not “bake,” as the cupcakes are made from a box, and the frosting comes from a can! Cited prep time is 80 (!) minutes, with the caveat: “This recipe is best suited for parents to make on their own or with minimal help from kids.” The recipe flat out warns: “Ming-Ming cupcakes are a ‘serious’ treat, only to be made and enjoyed by ‘serious’ cupcake fans. Just warning you.” 

Seriously, Nick Jr., thank you for inspiring my kid to bake something new. But next time, could you feature something designed for kids to make? Just an idea, considering your audience.

Results to come.

Get your slurp-ade here

July 12th, 2009

Carter went to see “Up!” with Jeff while I was at Day 1 of the Stanford Proefessional Publishing Course. Carter apparently chose lemonade before realizing a blueberry Slurpee was an option. So Jeff assured Carter that he could have a Slurpee next time, and they both informed me of this plan. (Keep in mind that when Jeff promises Carter something. No matter how trivial it might seem, It is Very Serious—never to be taken lightly, altered, or forgotten. So it’s best that I, too, know)

Slurp-ade, that’s what Carter termed the concoction we could make at home, during an extended bedtime Mommy-check. In fact, he decided, the slushy base could alternatively be cherry, raspberry, strawberry, or grapefruit. He picked a specific flavor Surpade he would make for every neighbor he knows by name (quite an honor). All would have a shot of lemonade on top. “And best of all, guess what, Mommy?”

“Sprinkles on top.” Who could ask for anything more?

Degrees of pie

June 30th, 2009

Jeff took us on another run for Marie Callendar pies on the way home: Kaluha cream cheese for Mommy and French apple for Daddy. Jeff reports the apple is “very sweet.” (Read too sweet. Please don’t choose again.) Carter loves to go in and pick out the pies, but he has yet to eat them.

Update: The next day, Jeff asked Elyse how much pie she would like.

“A medium slice,” she said
“How many degrees?” Jeff asked.

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard a pie slice measured in degrees. Is it just me?


May 27th, 2009

Jeff is still mourning the demolition of the “old” Old Pro, a sports bar that was about a two-minute drive from our house on the corner of El Camino and Page Mill. For years, he spent many an hour there: drinking beer, reading the paper, and, too often, watching Cleveland teams lose games.

There’s a “new” Old Pro  in downtown Palo Alto, but it’s not the same. It’s too nice: just off University Avenue (i.e., a hip location) plus it’s spacious with no shortage of big flat-screen TVs. The odd thing is, unlike most sports bars: old or new, the Old Pro has good food.

We don’t go to the new one very often, but tonight Jeff and Carter took me there to celebrate my “winning the prize” as Carter says. (I won a full-tuition scholarship to the Stanford Professional Publishing Course—a big deal.) Carter led the “cheers” as he clanked his glass of lemonade with my pint of Guinness and Jeff’s tall Sam Adams.

Cheers! Mommy won the prize!

Jeff constantly teases me about ordering “just a salad,” but the “Sichuan Pepper Crusted ‘FedEx Fresh’ Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna Salad” was amazing: a healthy portion of sliced, seared, rare tuna atop local, organic greens tossed with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, and just the right amount of Asian dressing. It’s easy to make a bad salad. This one was good.

Guinness, a great meal, and my boys. A perfect celebration.

Over the bridge

May 23rd, 2009

I finally, for the first time, ate breakfast at the Dublin Country Waffles with the boys.

My husband and his former roommate, Danilo, have been going to breakfast with each other most Saturdays since Jeff moved back to the Bay Area in 1990.

When I became Jeff’s Palo Alto roommate and Danilo moved up to San Ramon, they started alternating locations. One week, Danilo would drive just shy of an hour each way so they could eat at their old stomping grounds, El Paso in Mountain View. The next, Jeff would be the one to cross bridges in quest of breakfast. All so they can sit, eat, read the papers, and generally not say much.

Carter has been many times (and I think Danilo misses him when he’s not there), but this was my first sojourn to the Waffle House. While I didn’t have a waffle, I can recommend the omelets. The waitresses sprinkle in a lot of “Honeys and “Dears,” and your coffee cup is always full. Dumbarton or San Mateo bridge? Carter makes the call, and I’m there.

Carter: Breakfast is all about salty meat: serve bacon, sausage, or better both, and I’m there.

Opening credits

May 21st, 2009

Editor’s note (July 23, 2009): A few months back, I got inspired to start a blog when I realized that nearly all of my Facebook posts were about me and my 4-year-old son, Carter, baking. My best friend, Dawn, encouraged me to start to writing immediately, so the blog wouldn’t feel “empty” when I officially launched it.

To make this dream a reality, many thanks to Dawn and Adam at Rare Brick for the design; to my niece Elyse for getting the right shot; and Lynn, who gave me my first Internet job, for the idea to include

“Carter’s take” (look for the cupcakes).

I’m deeply grateful to my mom for giving all six of her children the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen starting at a very young age, and of course to Carter for our special time in the kitchen together.

The hardest part of writing is starting, so you just have to start somewhere. Here goes:

May 21

I know Alton Brown is not a fan of mono-tasking kitchen gadgets, but a cherry pitter just makes life so much easier when you have a four-year-old who loves cherries.