Monday, April 28, 2008

Success with naps!

Noah has switched from two naps to one, and naptimes are SO. MUCH. EASIER. He gets a bit grouchy late in the morning, but not intolerably so, and by the time I put him down after lunch, he is tired enough that he falls asleep straight away. No more spending half an hour or forty-five minutes trying to get him to sleep! Bedtimes have been easier too. He's started doing this thing where he grabs a handful of his shirt and tucks it right up underneath his chin. He seems to find it soothing for some reason. I've never seen another child do that. Anyway, it seems to help him go to sleep.

I made the mistake of trying to put Noah in the nursery at church a couple of times (new church, by the way!!! Yes, I finally switched), with the idea that I could then focus on teaching Elijah to sit through church. Well that was a bad idea, as Noah has now developed separation anxiety and cries the minute I set foot in the nursery. And he cries any time that I walk away and he can't see me. Well, not at home so much, but when we are elsewhere. When we're away from home, he just clings so tightly to me...which is really kind of cute, he's such a sweet little cuddlebug. :) So anyway, I guess I will have to teach Elijah to sit in church while at the same time holding Noah on my lap. This will be challenging. I am afraid that I won't get as much out of the sermons now, which is a shame because I have been enjoying them.

Oh, and Noah is now officially walking. He walks 90% of the time and crawls the other 10%--I can call that walking, right?

I have pictures to post but I'm sleepy. Maybe another time.

New Favorite Recipe

I have a new favorite recipe...Honey Baked Lentils. Here goes:

1 cup lentils (I use brown because red turn to mush)
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients. Bake in covered dish at 350 till tender (recipe says an hour and a half, but mine only took an hour--I might use more water next time).

Serve with either white or brown rice. YUMMY.

Update Feb 2013:
Optional variations:
Sometimes I add sliced carrots.
Sometimes I add chicken (I just lay it on top of the lentils before I put it into the oven).
Sometimes I cook it in the crockpot, on low for 6-7 hours.
Sometimes I cook lentils, chicken, carrots, and rice all together in the crockpot for a one-dish meal.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two pictures

I took two pictures today for the sole purpose of posting them here. :) First, here is the beautiful magnolia tree that I drive by every time I'm out and about. Springtime in Bloomington starts with the magnolias and the daffodils--but the redbuds and tulips are not far behind.

Mom tells me that in Texas, most of the magnolias are cone-shaped like a pine tree. That's not the case here at all.

And the second picture--this is a brand new neighborhood about 1/2 a mile from me. I think it's pretty. :) When we're out, Elijah will suggest, "Let's go look at the colorful houses." Each house on the street is a different color--one of my favorites is the one that is teal with chocolate trim (Mercy, I bet you would love it). They are all beautiful Craftsman-style homes with big front porches and gorgeous wood trim inside (I haven't been in, but I've seen pictures). And they all have cute little matching garages out back along the alley. :) Around the corner from this street, and part of the same development, is a row of traditional brick shopfronts--can't wait to see what stores will go in there.

But what itty-bitty yards!
You can click on both pics for ginormous close-ups. If you click on the magnolia picture, note the cute little seat that someone built around its trunk.

Friday, April 4, 2008

At long last...the story of my bathroom sink

I'm getting ready to make chicken pot pie. Chicken pot pie tends to take me a while--seems like there are a lot of steps to the recipe. So I thought I would tell the story of my bathroom sink while I'm in between steps. For instance, I just emptied leftovers out of the big pot I want to use, and set it to soak for a minute. While it soaks, here I am. :)

When we bought this house (townhouse I should say), it had been a rental for a few years and felt a little dingy and run-down. There were a few little things around the house that had obviously been done by a do-it-yourself-er. Like the living room trim. Apparently someone attempted to "upgrade" to nicer trim, except that the stuff they put down as baseboards was actually door casing. And they apparently didn't own a miter saw, as all the ends were just blunt-cut and stuck together with gobs of silicone caulk. Yes, it was ugly. :) But hey, we got a really good deal on the place, and I knew I could fix all the little "issues."

The "guest bathroom" (half bath on the main level) was done in similar fashion. Someone had attempted to touch-up the paint, and as you may know, there is no such thing as a successful touch-up paint job. The color never matches right, and it always ends up looking, well, patched. Also, the wall-hung bathroom sink was sagging away from the wall a little bit. Someone had attempted to hide the gap between the sink and the wall with--you guessed it--gobs of silicone caulk. Yes, it was ugly. :)

[Scrubbed the pot and a few other dishes, put Noah back to sleep, realized chicken was still frozen & set it to defrost under running water] Well I started by cutting away all the caulk with a utility knife. Then I got out my largest wrench to undo the drainpipe under the sink. Well my largest wrench wasn't big enough, and the neighbors didn't have anything big enough either. A couple of weeks later--oh wait, I should explain. I didn't have a car at the time, so I was relying on borrowed transportation, and errands of any sort were hard to do. We do have a hardware store within walking distance, but it closes at 5:00 and I work till 4:45--not enough time to bundle up the boys, load them into the stroller & mei tai, and make it there before closing.

Anyway, a couple of weeks later, I finally made it to the hardware store and bought another wrench. Got home and what do you know, the new wrench wasn't big enough either. A couple of weeks later (as you can see, this story spans a long period of time), finally made it back to the hardware store and got a proper wrench. Took apart the drainpipe, disconnected water supply lines, got the sink off the wall.

Wall-hung sinks hang from a metal bracket that is screwed into the wall studs. Well this bracket was screwed in with just two screws, which was clearly not sufficient--it had holes for five screws. No wonder the sink was sagging. Oh, and the bracket also was not level. Well I didn't have any screws that would work, so of course this meant I needed to make another trip to the hardware store.

[Checked the chicken, disciplined my son] Well a couple of weeks later I finally made it back to the hardware store and got screws to match. I decided to rehang the bracket about two inches higher than it had been previously, because I thought a slightly higher sink might be nice. So I marked and drilled the holes and screwed in the bracket (which sounds simple, but in reality I ran into several more obstacles, for instance not knowing how to get the screws in, until I finally found a ratcheting socket wrench in the basement).

[Checked chicken again, set it to boil with herbs, showed Elijah that two pretzels plus three pretzels equals five pretzels] Well before I could actually rehang the sink, I needed to patch some damage to the drywall behind it. But I went ahead and set the sink on the bracket just so that I could admire how straight and level it would be. And when I did, lo and behold, the water supply lines and the drain pipe would no longer connect, because I had raised the sink two inches. Why, oh why, did I not think of such an obvious consequence? *sigh*

But I was not to be deterred. I re-drilled and re-hung the bracket at its original height. I patched and sanded the drywall behind the sink, primed and painted the trim, repainted the entire bathroom in a light neutral shade, and replaced an old towel rack with a more practically located towel ring. And I hung the sink again...but....

[Made a mad dash to the kitchen because the chicken was boiling over. Then leaped over several obstacles and halfway up the stairs to turn off the smoke alarm which of course went off. Then explained to Elijah the difference between steam and smoke] The water supply lines and drain pipe (I hope I'm using the proper terms for things here) still do not connect properly. This is because the sink, while at its original height, is now more level than it used to be. So while I can screw the connectors together, I get a little leaking when I actually run water. I think this is something that I can fix with some tugging and a little teflon tape, but given my history with this particular sink, I would not be surprised if more obstacles lie in store. :D

Well, that only took me an hour and a half! I thought it would be much longer! I'm not sure how many of you will find this interesting at all (perhaps Jeshurun will, though I'm sure he could have done the entire project in one afternoon), but now you know the story of my very challenging little project. And I must clarify, that I have enjoyed this project very much, in spite of all the roadblocks!

I would like to edit this post to death, but I know that would take ages, and I don't have ages, so it's going up as is.

A few very belated pictures

Here are a couple more pictures from Texas. The first is just of Noah being his cute self. The story behind the second one...Mom ordered a dump truck load of sand/topsoil to fill in a soggy place in the back yard. Then a bunch of helpful young folks came over to help haul the dirt from the driveway (where it was delivered) to the back yard. This meant a lot of trips back and forth with the wheelbarrow. Caleb (doesn't he look spiffy for someone who is hauling dirt?) decided to put Elijah in the wheelbarrow too. Elijah was nervous at first (as in this picture) but soon warmed up to the idea.