This morning I was awoken by fully dressed girls and a carrot cake ablaze with 41 candles. (luckily, the fire alarm is better in our new house). The girls have discovered the trick to a successful birthday surprise: hold it two days after the birthday.

I had no idea this was going to happen (the smell of baked cake that permeated the air last night and the pile of tin foil wrapped packages on the coffee table were no indication). No idea at all.

Egg Drop Version 1

This is Mk’s Prototype for her egg drop contest on Friday:

If it passes the “proof of concept” stage, she’s going to cover it in cardboard and tissue paper to look like a chicken.

Stage one test was to drop it from the roof.

She didn’t mean to drop it into the gravel window well.

But it survived.

So did I:

For stage two, I threw it as high as I could.

The results were not eggsactly great.

We’ll be back. The next step is to reinforce the sides with cardboard, maybe fill it with straw, and possibly add a parachute. She has also mentioned buying a helicopter and attaching it.

Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

Tonight is new dish Wednesday and since J is off to PTO I decided to find my own ideas. I was originally planning on making Chick Pea Polenta and White Bean Soup but my brain absolutely failed me when I went shopping and I ended up with none of the correct ingredients. So, instead I went with plain fried polenta (just straight out of the tube and into the frying pan) and Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts (side note: I just now learned that Brussels has an ‘S’ at the end). The recipe is good, and I love the attitude:

Heat the oven up to 400 degrees. Tear off any fucked up lookin leaves on the brussels sprouts and chop them into quarters (or halves if they are little). Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast those sons of bitches for 20 minutes, stirring half way, or until the sprouts are golden and kinda burnt in some places. Goddamn delicious. Just trust. Boiling these tiny cabbage-looking motherfuckers is a crime. ROAST OR GTFO.

My dad and I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year, and it was great. Of course, he didn’t follow the recipe and his version was much better. I mostly did and regretted all the vinegar. But it was pretty yummy. Z loved it, and Mk took her usual one bite, but they doused the polenta in ketchup (I know) and managed to get enough food for the night.

I’ll try the real polenta next week, maybe.

Jerusalem Trail

The magic day has finally arrived! That’s right, both girls. Out on a sleepover. And here’s how you know we’re middle aged. Last night we stayed in and watched a few episodes of Dr. Who. And then, this morning, we went down to Bristol and hiked a few miles up to the Long Trail. I’m planning a weekend trip next month and wanted to show Jessica how to get to Glen Ellen Lodge. I’m hoping she and the girls can meet me there for dinner one night and spend the night on the trail with me. The weather was amazing, and the hike was fantastic. I’m trying a new way to share photos. Please let me know if you’re able to see these:

Update: Some browsers can’t see the slide show I’ve embedded (not sure why), so, if you see a big white square, scroll down below it where I’ve linked to the album.

2014 September

…and then comes the sadness

Miss Little Liza Jane, apres la morte

Miss Little Liza Jane, apres la morte

This morning, I opened the coop up for the LadiesĀ to do a bit of foraging before I left for work, and only three came out. I peeked into the roosting box and saw Miss Little Liza Jane crumpled in the corner, cold and stiff.

She had always been smaller than the rest, and rarely moved around or followed the other ladiesĀ on their adventures. We had worried about her wellbeing, but I didn’t see any symptoms that warranted a trip to the vet.

So, in a corner of the yard, next to the compost pile, there is a now a mound of fresh earth and a little wooden cross. Also, Mk was absolutely shattered when I told her this afternoon. She often takes these things pretty badly. Z managed to work up a few tears but it was clearly not weighing heavily on her mind.