Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good Night Moon

Before I had one, I was never around any.

Children.

I didn't get board books. They were bored books to me.

Not anymore. Now, I see what amazing worlds unfold for my son by simply reading a board book.

And I understand why Good Night Moon is such an enduring classic.


Not only are the words amazing, but there's so much to learn. The rhythm soothes us at the end of a day. The objects are vocabulary basics. (One of Max's first words was "tick tock," and he loved pointing at the clocks on all the pages.) The pictures seem to be the same scene on almost every page, but not always. Even when really young, he thought it was funny to say goodnight to "nobody" and to "air."

But do you know what? The book is not static. In the last two weeks, I've noticed two things I'd never seen before. 1. the mouse moves all over the place. 2. the boy bunny has a copy of the book on his nightstand.

See, amazing worlds unfold for me when I read as well.

Just another example of getting older and realizing how little I know.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lemon Bombs

Paula Deen intended her recipe for lemon blossoms to look like this:

Instead, mine looked like this:
My husband says I should have my own cooking show/reality tv show called Cussing in the Kitchen. Later he decided it should be called Bitchin' in the Kitchen.

Just because it's true doesn't mean he has to say it. Not that I want him to lie.

Recipes. Now, they lie.

What the recipe said was "12 minute prep, 12 minute cook, 1 hour wait."
What the recipe should've said was, "You're not getting out of the kitchen for 3 1/2 hours."

Before I acquiesced to my mother's request to make these lemon blossoms for our writing tea tomorrow because she thought I'd "have fun," I wish I'd known what I was getting into. Admitedly, I knew I wasn't going to have fun, but I didn't know how long this non-fun would last. I could tell her heart was set on them, though--she loves fruity cake desserts--and she gave me all the ingredients so I wouldn't have to brave the grocery store.

After an hour, I realized I'd only cooked 24 mini muffins and the recipe made 54. Note: recipe said to "pour" batter, but cake+pudding doesn't pour well. So, I whipped out some normal sized baking cups, scooped that batter in those big boys and threw out the rest of the thick yellow goo.

The new recipe produced these:


When removing the cakes from the oven, I learned my oven mitt had a huge hole in an important location. I promptly tossed the mitt in the garbage and slathered my finger with aloe vera.

And then I made the icing.

Although I was told all ingredients were in the bag, they were not. The only lemon juice was in the lemon. Even after I enlisted my hubby's help, we weren't able to squeeze 3/4 cup of juice out of that hard, yellow ball. And, yes, I know the trick about putting it in the microwave. It didn't work.

I haven't seen my sugar sifter in two years and two moves 'cross country. The confectioner's sugar was supposed to be sifted. I dealt with it. I threw out the half of the sugar that didn't get wet from lemon juice and mixed it with a fork. I think "lemon zest" is the rind off the lemon. If not, it will give everyone something to chew on.

For part of my culinary adventure, my husband escaped with my son to the grocery store where he bought a chocolate cheesecake. I'll take that for bakery back-up.

I saw a blog today where a woman threw a party using Little Debbie snack cakes stuck on sticks to look fancy. Maybe I should do that next time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Feeling lucky?


I made this bouquet for a friend recently. She loves the gambling. Even though I rarely buy a ticket, we have a running joke among a group of us that whoever wins the lottery has to take the rest of us on a glamorous vacation. Anyway, dear C has been ill and couldn't make her runs to the casino to get her fix. So, I thought I'd take a little of the fun to her.

Close up, I swear it looked more like three flowers. Each petal was a ticket.

It seems like a good idea for St. Patrick's Day next year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Journal: setting

Some people are born story tellers. Many a cave man probably enthralled others with tales of a hunt 'round a crackling campfire in a dark cave, but only a few carefully drew those stories in colorful hieroglyphics.

Earlier this week, a man came into the office and I knew exactly who he was by the way he told a story. The plot wasn't one to inspire a 3-D blockbuster movie or a video game, but his words made me settle into my chair and listen because he made me feel like I was witnessing it happen for the first time.

As I listened I thought about what made him such a good storyteller. Then it clicked.

Sensory details.

This country boy made me feel the sun on his face and the sweat trickling down his back. I smelled the hay in the fields. I heard the clatter then silence after the tractor broke. I saw his new bride's blue eyes snap at him right before she turned around and marched back to the house. I could almost taste the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans as I watched her throw them out the back door when he arrived two hours late for dinner. I felt the hunger in his stomach as the dogs raced toward his dinner and gobbled it.

He told a simple story using his senses. Try it.

Journal: Write about something that's happened to you. Be sure to include taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Journal: setting and mood

Setting and mood have a lot to do with a scene. Consider a birthday party, for example.

Now consider a birthday at a zoo.
And a birthday in a hospital room.

See? Different.

Journal: Write two scenes using the same premise, but experiment with setting and mood. Use my example if you like.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Journal: setting

Think of your favorite stories--books, movies, stage productions, etc. Where do they take place (continent, culture, socioeconomic, rural,etc.)? What time period are they? Is there historical significance? What time of day? If you were designing a set to create a movie, what elements are absolutely necessary?

Journal: Compile a list of your favorite stories and consider the settings. What do they have in common? Try writing a scene with one or more of those common threads.