Making Muffins (and a prelude)

Today when I came out to grab Elisha for his turn after putting the girls to nap, this is what I saw:

jam1.jpg jam2.jpgjam3.jpgThere’s even jam up his nose in that last picture! (I think cameras are a good to for delaying reflexive anger.)

So I cleaned him up and worked in the kitchen for a while during nap. Never did find the lid to that jar though. Makes me glad I don’t live in a region where that could be hugely unsanitary.

Natasha was the first to wake up, so we had a great mother-daughter time making “Hide and Seek Muffins” from this book. Natasha loves it– it’s designed for preschoolers (with picture directions) with food that’s not “traditional” preschool fare.

(If anybody’s interested, it would make a great Christmas present… and it looks like there’s a sequel too.)

The book is designed to make the adult the child’s helper, instead of the other way around.

pouring.jpg Natasha got to stir the dry ingredients, measure and pour the milk.

She broke all the eggs:

egg1.jpg egg2.jpg egg3.jpg

and stirred the batter (I helped by holding the bowl still and showing her how to hunt for the flour “hiding” by the bowl’s walls), and then she filled the muffin papers– all by herself.


Part way through the filling the other kids woke up, so everyone enjoyed the fruits of Natasha’s labor.


We had muffins with our dinner.

They’re called hide and seek muffins because of the last step. Melody was awake by then, so I was guiding two kids instead of taking pictures.

They rolled the raspberries they picked yesterday in sugar, then poked them into the middle of each muffin.

The berries hid when the muffins cooked, and were found again when eaten.

Fun idea, good muffins, and the interaction was priceless!

The New Car (Jay takes the keyboard)

Because of the problem of proper disposal, along with the special tools and necessary expertise required, we strongly recomend that you have your oil changed by an authorized VOLKSWAGEN dealer or a qualified workshop.

Wow. Bolded and italicized. This must be *really* important.

Never mind that the nearest VW dealer is in Anchorage (i.e., more than 300 miles away).

So, yup, Jay got the exact car he was wishing for– down to the color. He’ll be stepping in in a moment to give all the specs (he’s been reading the manual all evening) and here’s a pix he just took:


Cute little car. We bought it from a couple with two little kids who said they were running out of room and needed a bigger car.

The wife seemed positively embarrassed when she heard we were buying it with three kids in our family.

What I know:

  • It’s cute.
  • It will fit the whole family if we need it to.
  • Manual transmission
  • CD/tape players
  • Heated seats
  • Fabulous gas mileage due to diesel engine.

Jay will now take over and give as much as you’ll ever need to know.

If you haven’t guessed from the picture it is a blue 2002 Volkswagen Golf GLS with the TDI (turbo diesel) engine. It is basically exactly what I’ve been looking for to replace the Ford Escort. I was looking to get one a few years newer, but then I went flying in the Cessna 172, and I decided that I needed to conserve money so I can get my pilots license. The main reason for this car is the “fabulous” gas mileage (as Amy put it): mid 40’s in town and low 50’s on the highway. Experiencing it was a blast too, we picked the car up (in Anchorage) with ~180 miles on the tank and drove to Fairbanks, and I still have more then a quarter tank left (over 500 miles total). 🙂 🙂 The other reason is that the Golf is a very upscale economy car: heated seats, auto up/down windows, speed adjusted volume, etc. One of the nice things with the diesel engine is that with the lots of torque you don’t have to down shift very often, which makes cruise control just about as simple as in an automatic. It is definitely a different experience to pass without the engine howling and screaming at high rpm’s.

Despite the dire warning I think that I will be changing the oil myself. 🙂

Only the child of a storyteller…

Natasha’s first homonyms:

Roc and rock.

Second homonyms:

Knight and night.

Both sets are presented in the order we encountered them in the stories.   Phonetic and observation (of spelling differences) lessons smoothly inserted themselves.  This kid is sharp.

ETA: I have since learned that these are not true homonyms– rather, they are homophones, sounding alike while looking different.

Pre-School begins

Couldn’t wait to share these. This many pix is an experiment.

Let me know if these are too much (Teena) and clutter up your modem– I’ll still do pix if you want, but maybe not so many in one post?

I didn’t think to get out the camera until the second activity, but you can see what we’ve got started.


This is Natasha’s sweetly pleased with herself look. (I think she got it from my “I’m pleased but don’t know what to say” look)

I set the kids’ table inside the baby-pen to keep all the pre-school stuff from the baby (they started with playing with beans), and the mess contained (they have to clean up each project before getting a new one).

chair-climbing.jpgElisha was *really* not this pleased to be locked out.

Though he did show a remarkable (and basically new) interest in sitting still and listening to stories. We got all the way through Going on a Bear Hunt for the first time. It was like he recognized his regular source of entertainment (Melody) was unavailible, and “Well, I guess this is entertainment too.” The cutest part was when he would repeat “Uh-oh!” at that part of the story.

So this is good for Elisha too. I’m a little nervous that it might create a (new) “mom entertains me” mentality, but we’ll wait and see.

They played with dried beans first– scooping, spooning and pouring with different-sized containers and spoons– then got the lovely practice of detail-work getting all the loose beans re-collected. Natasha practiced with her little broom.

After that I brought out the big beads that have been out-of-reach for a while and suggested they match beads by color.


Then we did playdough with some letter-cutters I got from Dad’s school’s stuff-dump last night. One advantage of this over magnetic letters is that you don’t run out of the letters you need– you can just make more 🙂 .


This was also the first word the girls got the sound-it-out figured out on. The blending of sounds has been a concept just beyond them every time we tried before. They both “got it” at the same time, which was sweet, since Melody’s feeling (being) increasingly left behind in some things.

And then here they all are in rubber boots outside– probably no one is in boots that actually fit, but the novelty-factor beat out any discomfort. (Natasha requested they be brought out of the garage to wear in the wet grass.)



So there you go. First day. Not even done yet.

Not sure how far or long this will go– but (especially!) getting a specific space figured out has made it more likely to carry on.

Home Again…

Was gone much of the last week for our last (immediate) family wedding.

Random “over-heards” from the weekend.

A tee-shirt on the groom:

No, I don’t have a girlfriend.
But a know a girl who would be pretty upset if she heard me say that.

After the wedding:

60-something uncle: So, [Groom] what are you planning on doing tonight?
Unbelieving stare from groom.
40-something uncle: Has it really been that long since you were married?

And then there was the one on the drive home where my oldest asked,

Are we going to Fairbanks and real-Alaska, now?

And here we are, at almost 1400 miles of driving, five in a Subaru Legacy, in less than a month.

Family 8/07

Do we look a little dazed to you? (In case you didn’t know: these pictures are “clickable.” Click to see the picture full-size.)

Now, Lord willing, my goal is to really set up house and find a balance now that sickness, dog (yes, dog 🙁 ) and crazy-fast weekends across the state are over for the present.

Elisha’s First Fishing Trip

On Friday Morning Mom and Dad picked up the kids and me in the truck and we all drove to the lake for a day of fishing.

Elisha was itty-bitty the last time we went, so it was the first boat trip he didn’t sleep through.

gettin in jacket

He got to wear his infant life jacket, play with worms, and find his sea legs.

E & Worm

Things got a little more complicated when he got tired. We both had to take off our life-jackets in order for him to nurse. He streched out that moment as long as he could.


“Oh Grandma, you’re not going to make a kid this cute get back in that nasty jacket, are you?”


W/ Papa

But he recovered, and spent some time figuring out what Papa was doing.


Everyone was tired and snuggly by the trip home.

I didn’t realize till I went back through the pictures: I got none of Natasha.

But this shouldn’t be my last picture post, so I’ll make up for it somewhere.