Saturday, June 26, 2010

When it's Hot...

and it usually is in Houston, its' good to find fun and inexpensive things to do indoors with the kiddos. Last week I took Minnie to see her first stage play for only 8 bucks a ticket at the most adorable tiny little volunteer run community theatre around. It's called the Fort Bend Theatre and you'll find it in Stafford. We saw The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It was perfect for a three year old...but I think that kids up to 12 would like it. Actually my 19 year old sister and I loved it too. The performers were mostly children from age 5-15 and then a few adults. They were so adorable! The theatre is old and tiny, which added so much to the charm. And with only eight rows, there's definitely not a bad seat in the house. After the show ended the actors all just stayed on the stage, so we could walk up to them and chat. Here's the website if you're interested! We loved it!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Auntie Christie and Uncle Derek

are two of the very berry best aunties and uncles out there.
At the Kite Festival

We are going to miss you guys so badly!

After Minnie's dance recital where no one cheered louder than Aunt Christie.

Without you Minnie wouldn't have a talking belly button or be so proficient at using the thumbs up sign. She would have no idea that crying made her 'owies' hurt more. You guys made my kids feel so loved and special every time you were around.
We can't wait to visit you in PA!!!
We love you guys!

P.S. I don't like to boast, but the other best aunties and uncles in the world are also in our family. My kids are exceptionally lucky.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pot de Creme au Chocolat

I am so happy to have finally found this recipe!
It brings back the fondest, most lovely memories of my study abroad in Paris when I was in college. Very often after dinner my host mother would serve me and my roommate these amazing little glass pots of velvety, soft, chocolate cream for dessert. She just bought them at the grocery store--yes even French 'junk food' is remarkably better than anything we've got. And I've been craving them ever since I got home...nine years ago! They are the most wonderful little puddings ever--although pudding is far too plebian a word to describe what a pot de creme is. By the way, thank you Mrs. Lisa Piorczynski for teaching me that word on that very study abroad. I can still remember almost the exact conversation--weird I know. So many beloved memories!!!
So this dessert really isn't too hard to make, but it did take me two times to really get it just right. Everyone loves it. Sammy likes his with whipped cream.

He's saying "MMMmm" here.

A good thing about this dessert is that it's already portioned out nicely--though that hasn't stopped me from eating, let's just say--more than one 'pot' in one sitting.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate finely chopped (don't use chocolate chips--they leave a weird texture floating on the top of the creme)
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream to garnish if you want it--I usually don't, but the missionaries did.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Butter six 3/4 cup ramekins or eight 1/2 cup ones. Line a shallow baking pan (I use a large cake pan) with a small kitchen towel.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, milk, and chocolate and heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate melts and the liquid is warm. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until blended. Slowly pour in the hot chocolate mixture while whisking constantly until blended and the sugar dissolves. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1 pt. measuring pitcher. Skim off any bubbles from the surface (I never do that part). Divide the custard evenly among the prepared ramekins or pots. Place the molds in the towel-lined pan and pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the molds. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. (That's called a bain marie.)
Bake the custards until they are set but still jiggle slightly when the ramekins are shaken, 40-45 minutes. Carefully transfer the baking pan to a wire rack, let the custards cool slightly, and then lift the ramekins out of the water bath. Cover and refrigerate the custards until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Serve the custards topped with whipped cream, if desired.
Bon appetit mes amis
PS If anyone knows how to get an accented e into a blog post, please let me know.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sleepy Head

Sammy calls Goldfish "Hishshshies," and he knows that I always have them in my bag. At home if he wants a snack I'll often see him digging through my diaper bag looking for them. And when we're out on an errand and he gets peckish he says, "Hishshsh,', mo,'" and reaches out with his soft pudgy little hand. Oh, I just love everything he does!
Couldn't you just eat him up!!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Little Minnie Makes Everything Better

I am so proud of my Minnie.
She is loving and nurturing to all around her. Yesterday was a prime example of her nature in action. We went to the baptism of a little girl named Fazia, who Minnie had never met before. Minnie really loves baptisms, even though she can't sit through the whole program. The sweet little girl was really scared to go all the way under the water. The earnest missionary tried so many times and so many ways to gently immerse her in the water, but after trying for nearly an hour, they ended up throwing the towel in. They'll try again after she's practiced more in a swimming pool. But Minnie almost stole the show with her sweet, encouraging voice. She was right up front kneeling on the floor in front of the font saying,
"You can do it Fazia. I know you can. You can do it. Don't be scared."
It was beyond adorable.

Minnie with her beautiful cousins Ginger and Erin at the zoo.

I am so proud of my little Minnie. What a great example she is to me of unconditional and universal love. I hope that I can always remember the soft, loving sound of her little girl voice, or at least always hear it somewhere in her voice as she grows up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beep Beep

My little Sammy boy really really REALLY loves cars--or 'eee-ee' as he calls them.
That's Sammy Speak for "beep beep."
He thinks and talks about them all day long.
It can be tough to pry his little cars from his fingers.
The other night when I was putting him down for bed,
he was driving his car back and forth across the pages as we read his favorite book.
And his first uttered phrase (that I caught on to at least) was inspired by one of his favorite movies, and of course, a car. Minnie and Sammy really love The Iron Giant. There's a part where the giant throws a car over a forest.
Sammy loves this part, and here's how he retells it:
Sammy's own words:"Bobot, eee-eee, WHOAH!"
Translated by Mom: "Robot, beep beep, Whoah!"
And further translated, "That robot threw the car into the sky! It was amazing!"
He'll bring it up sometimes randomly, like at the dinner table. It is so fun to see his personality, tastes, and enthusiasm developing! And I just find it thrilling to see him start to understand how language works, and to hear him making his own phrases. So fun!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Curly Head

Here's my beautiful Sammy on a hot, humid, sweaty, chalky, sandy, summer afternoon.

Most people hate the humidity in Houston, but I LOVE it! It feels nourishing and comforting to me. But the thing that I love the most about it right now is, what it does to Sammy's hair.

Isn't it just adorable!!