Saturday, December 3, 2016


D has spontaneously started baking on his own initiative.  So far, he has done the bulk of the work on the following projects:  pumpkin muffins, corn muffins and (tonight) snickerdoodles.  His snickerdoodles have whole wheat and are really, really good.

I was finishing decluttering and reorganizing C's room with her today.  So tired!

Friday, December 2, 2016


Here's some of what's happening:

  • We wound up making a day trip to Austin the Saturday after Thanksgiving and getting the baroq-ulele (the lute-shaped ukulele) at Fiddler's Green, the Irish/folk music store.  I had initially planned to get the concert-sized version, but it looked so dinky in the store and sounded so quiet that we went for the baritone, which is much louder.  We also got C a leather strap.  We have never owned a baritone before (and still don't own a tenor), but the nice lady at the store was able to restring it in standard ukulele tuning for C, so C can just use her existing skills.  (The deal is that soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles are typically tuned GCEA while baritone ukuleles are typically tuned DGBE.  Nope, I don't actually know what that means.)   
  • After Fiddler's Green, the girls and I went to the Thinkery and the nearby playground, while my husband and D went to Crux Climbing Center in Austin.    
  • Fun fact--I have only been to Austin three times, and each time was ukulele-centered and in roughly the last year. 
  • C played A LOT on her new baroq-ulele for the rest of the weekend.  
  • She is finding some of the chords a real stretch on the larger instrument.  
  • C says she prefers the tone of her concert-sized Snail ukulele to the new baritone.  I think I do, too (and her private teacher loves the Snail), but the baroq-ulele has amazing visual appeal.  Her class is going to be providing a song for a Shakespeare performance at school, and C is planning to use the baroq-ulele for that.    
  • We had Ukulele Club at school this week.  As planned, the kids and I baked gingerbread cookies for a special holiday season meeting and Baby T got to do a lot.  (Awful fact--the ukulele cutter does not work in the real world--the necks break off.  But the stubbier cookie cutters work fine.  We had a very nice rhinoceros and the kangaroo came out surprisingly well.)  I did a double batch and we kind of fizzled after the first batch of cut-out cookies.  However, I was prepared for that eventuality.  I have a huge Wilton gingerbread man mold, and I just patted down the rest of the dough into the pan.  I baked it 12 minutes (which was probably slightly too long--I was guesstimating) and took it to the club meeting in the pan, hoping it would come out.  After some security failures, we wound up with a very modest box of the small gingerbread cookies, but we also had the monster gingerbread man.  
  •  I had to take Baby Girl to the Ukulele Club meeting.  It was not ideal (there was a lot of squeaking about needing a bandaid and her dropped gingerbread cookie), but it was OK--especially with the cookies.  There were five girls at the meeting including C.  The monster gingerbread man came out of the pan perfectly and he and the cookies were well-received.  The gingerbread man had a nice cake-like texture, not crispy like the small cut-outs from the same dough.  
  • C's godfather is in town!
  • The school year is wrapping up--slightly less than three weeks now.  The big kids are doing very well.
  • Baby T's potty-training is a work in progress.  I'd say she's about 2/3 of the way there.  I'm not panicking (yet) because she's made a lot of progress in the last 3.5 months and she has an older sibling who took several months longer to train.  But she also has a sibling who had been potty trained a couple of months at this point...No panic!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pie clarification

My husband and D made the pecan pie.

Thanksgiving break

It's a bit of a blur, but here's what's been happening:

  • The big kids got a week off of school.
  • My husband took them to see Fantastic Beasts at the downtown theater.
  • Baby T and I sifted her toys in her bedroom, playroom and the living room.  In fact, all of her toys are now gone from the living room...
  • D and I sifted and (lightly) reorganized his bedroom and bathroom. 
  • I made a streamlined (but fairly traditional) Thanksgiving dinner: rotisserie turkey breast, box cornbread stuffing, from scratch cranberry sauce (the recipe on the bag), from scratch sweet potatoes, a store walnut apple pie, and a semi-homemade pecan pie (Pillsbury crust and scavenged pecans).  
  • My husband persuaded Baby T that the train set is not scary.  The lighthouse with foghorn had really spooked her about the whole set.
  • C has been working on her school projects and doing music practice.
  • Her teacher has been encouraging her to work toward performing at the Waxahachie renaissance fair.  Squee!  Her teacher thinks that both the Lute to Uke pieces and the 20 Spanish Baroque Pieces by Gaspar Sanz would work well for Scarborough Renaissance Festival.
  • Coincidentally, I've discovered that there is a lute-shaped ukulele (the 4-course lute or mandora) that is available not very expensively (considering that it's a pretty exotic item).  I've also discovered that Fiddler's Green in Austin has something similar.  This is early days, but it's now on my radar.  This guy is very good.  
  • We've been watching Fellowship of the Ring (with and without Baby T as appropriate).  
  • C and I are at least half-way through working on her room.  I'd really like to knock it out over Thanksgiving break, but it probably is at least two hours work and we only have tomorrow to work.

Monday, November 14, 2016

My Little Pony

A pack of My Little Pony wall decals arrived today for Baby T.  After school, I offered C the opportunity to stick them up.  She accepted gladly, and after some creative disagreements with Baby T (Baby T wanted ALL of them on one wall), the wall decals were stuck up in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  The big surprise was that (along with the more obvious ponies), the package included an exquisite Princess Celestia and Spike the dragon.  C did a great job and it looks AMAZING.


Sunday, November 13, 2016


Here's some of what's happening:

  • We've finally got recognizable fall weather.  We had the air conditioning (slightly) until around Halloween.
  • Baby Girl is really cashing in on potty prizes of late (cheap grocery store kid DVDs have been very motivating), but I'd say she's no more than about 65% potty trained at this point.  I'm afraid the next step is trying cotton underpants again.  *shudder* Ideally, we'll be putting this all behind us by Christmas or New Years.
  • C is at the very end of her From Lute to Uke book--that's the good news.  The bad news is that the songs at the end of the book are really hard, so it's slow going.  Once she finishes that book, we've talked about having her learn the Concerning Hobbits and the LOTR Rohan theme, which are very pretty on ukulele.  (No link for Concerning Hobbits, as I feel like the youtubers are slightly flubbing it.)
  • C is also planning on playing the "Bear Dance" from the From Lute to Uke book for an in-school school "coffee house", which will be very nice. 
  • I'm not sure what book she will work from next, although my vote would be for 20 Spanish Baroque Pieces by Gaspar Sanz Arranged for Uke.  I'm a big fan of the style.  Here's an example.
  • D is prepping for a bouldering competition.
  • Thanksgiving is coming!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

More PDO!

We just got our second day of PDO from the good program.

Because of her birthday being just days past their cut-off, she's one of the oldest kids in the class.  It's also a 3-year-old class, so it's a very chill environment.

But it's what I wanted--a real preschool environment, not some sort of pre-kindergarten cram school, which is what the other PDO was.