Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kitchen Explosions

I'll admit it- my family pretty much supplies the material for my blog. If I were writing just about me, chances are these entries would be pretty boring. I hope they are at least somewhat amusing to you. I cannot judge my own performance.
Over the years, we've had several "Kitchen Explosions." And when I say "we," I really mean Ryan. One was when he was student teaching and was getting ready for an experiment in an 8th grade science class he was teaching. He wasn't sure of the vinegar to baking soda ratio for volcanoes. We certainly figured out what were NOT the proper ratios along the way. Too little of something, and no real reaction. Too much of whatever-it-was, and it exploded all over the kitchen. My kitchen smelled of vinegar for a week! Ryan says he likes the smell. It reminds him of the vinegar plant leak after a major California earthquake. (My in-laws can provide better details about that.)
Another Kitchen Explosion happened soon after buying our house. We call it the "Enchilada Sauce Massacre." For full details, ask me in person. There's just not room to do it justice here.
Next on the list happened last week. This one I only heard about, but once again involved Ryan. I guess what happened is that Ryan put the non-stick cooking spray (i.e. Pam) away in the cupboard at his parent's house and shut the door. A suspicious spraying sound ensued. It took Ryan a moment to process the cause of the sound, but when he did, he quickly opened the cupboard door. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but somehow or other the bottle tipped, the nozzle got pressed by something else, and Ryan got a face full of non-stick cooking spray when the door was opened. He was positively slick with it. Emma and Ryan's mom got a real good chuckle. Ok, who am I kidding? Emma was about rolling on the floor, and Kim not far behind that.
Which leads us to tonight's episode. We had banana splits for dessert. Ryan was in charge. (And yes, you should feel dread at that statement) There were bananas, ice cream, caramel sauce and hot fudge. He put the hot fudge in the microwave for 45 seconds to liquify a bit, and served up the ice cream. When we were ready for the toppings, without looking where his hand was going, Ryan grabbed the bottle of Smuckers Hot Fudge Sauce. Not a smart move, Ryan. He made a small yelp sound and quickly withdrew his hand. Turns out the bottle had an air bubble (our best guess here) and when the air heated, it pushed the sauce out, up and all over. Serious waste of good hot fudge sauce, you say? Not so. Ryan scooped what he could with a spoon from the bottle, microwave and counter and used it on our banana splits. And what he couldn't scrape, he licked. I'm told it doesn't taste great licked directly off the bottle- a definite papery aftertaste. Very disappointing. The bottle of hot fudge, post-licking... Don't worry, it was washed after this.

PS check out Ryan's comment- it explains everything.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Deception Pass

Here are Grandpa and Emma walking along the beach. It was such a nice day! Considering it is February, I was impressed. We brought hats and gloves, and ended up not needing them. There have been late spring days colder than this day was!
Ahhhh.... Thanks for joining us Dad! (The kids were having an anti-camera moment. We had to hang onto their coats for them to stay still. They would much rather play.)

Ryan on top of the world!

Emma on top of a Really Big Rock. She said Ariel the little mermaid used to come here to sing.

We found a little crab and Ryan picked it up. The crab pinched Ryan. Maybe it was Sabastian (from the "Little Mermaid")?

We threw a lot of rocks into the ocean. The girls had a blast! Elizabeth has an amazing arm, and her aim got remarkably better after an hour of hucking rocks into the Puget Sound. She did hit some poor kid in the back one time, though. I felt really bad about that. Ryan eventually got bored of regular throwing and skipping rocks, and started hitting the rocks with sticks. He shattered many.

The girls really wanted to make a sand castle. Unfortunately Washington isn't known for its soft, sandy beaches. So, we improvised and made a rock tower. It started out as a castle, with rock walls. Sadly, it kept collapsing and it just turned into a pile. So we made it into an even bigger pile, and called it a tower.

Irish Road Bowling

During our President's Day weekend trip, Ryan was introduced to something called Irish Road Bowling. I think he liked it. A lot. Ryan and his dad went Friday, and then on Saturday, they took Ryan's brother Michael. A little history behind Irish Road Bowling: Irish Road Bowling can be traced back to the 1600s. One story is that Dutch soldiers brought it when William of Orange came to Ireland in 1689. Another legend says that Irish patriots robbed English cannonballs and rolled them down a country lane by the light of a full moon.
County Armagh in the north and County Cork in the south became strongholds of this rural sport, each independently developing their own distinctive hurling style. The first noted "score" (match) between Cork and Armagh was the Sept. 1928 meeting on the Knappagh Road, Armagh, between winner Timmy Delaney, Cork and Peter "The Hammerman " Donnelley, Armagh, before 10,000 spectators.
After hundreds of years of localized bowling, Bol Chumann na hEireann (Road bowling of Ireland), today's governing organization, was formed in County Cork in 1954. The first "All Irelands" (national championships) between Armagh in the north and Cork in the south were held in 1963. Over 20,000 spectators filled the 3 mile Moy Road course, Armagh, to see Danny McPartland of Armagh win over Derry Kenny, Cork, on the final shot by just 11 yards. (Courtesy of the West Virginia IRB Association website)

The basic premise of the game is this: A 28 ounce iron and steel cannonball the size of a tennis ball (a "bowl" or "bullet") is hurled down a country lane. The player or team with the fewest shots to the finish line wins.

Ryan is convinced that we need to buy these small cannonballs ourselves so we can play here. And perhaps Ryan will start his own team at the high school. If you care to join, please let him know. :o)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How Dads Miss All The Fun

I know I already posted today. But it was a really long evening and I feel the need to gripe and complain about it. You are not obliged to read my rantings; this is for my personal benefit only.
Tonight is Wednesday night mutual, and Ryan (being part of the bishopric) attends. My children woke up a little extra early this morning and Elizabeth didn't take a nap. There was a LOT of weeping and whining this evening. I felt an early bedtime would be appropriate. Ryan was very sweet, thoughtful, caring (thank you honey!) and got the girls into their pjs before he left. But this is when the interesting part of the evening begins.
We begin by reading New Testiment stories before starting on the "bedtime story." Instead of reading one entry, Emma really got into it tonight and wanted one more, then one more, then one more.... And before we knew it, Elizabeth was limp in my lap. Huh. I asked Emma if her sister's eyes were closed, and she replied in the affirmative. Now is my dilemma. How do I transport the sleeping toddler to her bed? I tell Emma to run down and make sure Elizabeth's bed is ready, and I try to adjust the sleeping child for transport. I scoot my rear end to the edge of the couch and prepare to carefully stand up. That's when Elizabeth starts coughing. And coughing. And I feel her start to heave. Oh no! Don't let her get the couch! Emma comes back saying the bed is ready. And then it happens. I lean forward of the couch and she gets *it* all over me, herself, Emma, the rug and hardwood floor. Emma starts screaming about the contents now on her pjs. Mind you, Ryan has been gone for maybe, 15 minutes? If that. Why does he always manage to dodge this bullet? I really, really, really would have loved to have an extra set of hands. Elizabeth is moaning now, "I frow up" over and over and Emma is peeling off her pjs. So I find the kids new clothing, brush teeth ("Mom, can you read my story now?" "No, mom has a mess to clean up, so how 'bout tomorrow?" "But I want it tonight!" "Sorry, honey."), say prayers and put the munchkins to bed. Now, I ought to be home free at this moment. No husband, so I should have some hot cocoa, read a book, watch a chic flick, something! Unfortunately, I have some laundry, mopping and carpet cleaning to do.
I survey the damage. Emma really does try to help. She put a towel on top of the mess on the floor. So I start cleaning process.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Baking with Elizabeth

My children provide endless sources of amusement, if looked at with the right frame of mind. Especially to other people, after the event. This looks like a happy afternoon cooking at the Kannely's house. That's where you are wrong. This actually is a situation fraught with mess and frustration. You moms know what I mean. You start out trying to whip up a quick recipe to take to a potluck (in this case, book club) and then you hear it: The Chair being pulled across the kitchen floor by a small child. And you cringe. You know it is going to take twice as long to put together and three times as long to clean up. But in the name of spending Quality Time and making Good Memories with your kids, you sigh and try to make room.
Now, I do like my kitchen, especially after we added a dishwasher to the mix. Notwithstanding, it is on the small side, and one well-placed chair can very effectively block half of it. With that one chair, Elizabeth blocked the oven, the cupboard that holds the KitchenAid mixer, the garbage can, and the spice/baking cupboard. I have to drag the chair around, causing squeals to emerge from my toddler. They translate to (roughly) "Hey, you are getting in my way!" Then I stand on the chair behind her to reach into the upper cabinet to get the vanilla and baking soda. More squeals.
The banana bread loaves will be smaller than usual, I'm afraid. Everytime my back is turned, Elizabeth is grabbing a "taste" for her tongue with a finger or two. Our conversations were full of, "So 'Licious," "I be careful" and "I do it myself" on one side. The other, "Please don't put your finger in the batter," "You are going to spill (insert something messy here)..." and "It's Mommy's turn now." Hey, but I haven't lost my cool. Yet.
I finally get the loaf pans in the oven (with the remaining batter) and I turn around to see Elizabeth pulling her pudgy toddler fist from the baking soda box FULL of baking soda. I told her I didn't think she'd like it, but it went into her mouth anyway. (What does Mom know anyway?) But then she pulled a face (Ok, maybe Mom does know a thing or two) and dumped what was left into a dirty cup on the counter.