Thursday, March 20, 2008

Soccer and quilts

Today Charlotte played in her first soccer game of the season. But even more importantly, it was the first organized sporting event she's ever played in. It was great to see her running up and down the field and having a great time.

When she was 9 months old but had the gross motor capability of an 8-week-old, and then when she was 2 and a half and incapable of walking, we didn't even want to think about what she'd be doing at 6. Now, years of therapy and effort later, we've come farther than we'd ever dared to hope. It's really miraculous, and we are incredibly, unbelievably thankful that she's doing so well.

There are a couple more pictures here.

In other, less cataclysmic, news, I went to a quilt show on Sunday. It was held at Bulloch Hall in Roswell, which was a beautiful place to have it. I'd been meaning to visit Bulloch Hall for a while now, mostly because of its historical significance as the childhood home of Teddy Roosevelt's mother. Sunday was the last day of the show, and since no one else wanted to go, I went by myself. I'm not a quilter, but I do love quilts. Especially ones that look like they could have been made in past centuries. So I went and took several photos of the ones I liked. This one was particularly striking:

but there were lots of quilts that were beautifully done and which also appealed to me with their vintage-y aesthetic.

Very inspirational. Even though my personal quilting experience has been limited to making quillows for my kids, maybe it's enough to make me take another look at the beautiful quilt tops my great aunts made in Illinois during the Depression. It would be great to have them finished. And the embroidered ones look fun.

That's what I need -- to add a couple of quilts to my ridiculously long project list. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right, Charlotte?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What's for dinner?

Way back at the beginning of the school year, when I was feeling all dutiful and volunteer-y, I signed up to be "Playdough Mom" for Hattie's class for the month of March. Sure, I thought. How hard can it be?

Well now it's 5 p.m. on the Sunday before I have to send in 5 batches of homemade green playdough, and I'm feeling significantly less volunteer-y than I did all those months ago.

Nevertheless, since my alternative was to get busy with eleventy-billion loads of wash that need doing (seriously folks, we're all scrounging for clean underwear) (well, except for me since I recently bought myself a WHOLE BUNCH of underwear in case of just such an emergency), I applied myself to the playdough task.

I was about halfway through when it occurred to me to document it, so that's where we'll start. To give you a little background, first you throw everything into a large pot, then you turn on the heat and stir. For all you're worth. And stir. And stir. And stir some more. My honest thought when I was doing this was, this is worse than risotto!

Anyhoo, eventually you end up with this:

a bilious green wad. Doesn't it look great? Especially since I did it during the time when I would normally be making dinner. So we may have to make alternate dinner plans. More on that later.

Then you're supposed to turn it out and knead until smooth. It made such a huge wad that I included the bananas here for scale.

So you knead and knead. Which actually wasn't all that bad. I expected it to be like yeast dough and stick all over everywhere. However some chemist must have done their homework when writing this recipe, because it didn't stick anywhere, just like playdough! Whaddayaknow? This is also the stage where you pick out all the white lumps of flour that didn't get incorporated, just so you know.

Then shape into a frog-shaped wad. No wait, that's just me. You're glad I told you it was a frog, aren't you? I know, it's a stretch. I obviously never progressed beyond the kindergarten level in sculpting.

Then insert finished playdough into school-approved container for transportation to preschool. What this picture doesn't convey is that this bag of playdough weighs approximately 10 pounds. Well, maybe not 10, but close to it. Or maybe it is 10. Too heavy for a 4-year-old to carry in her schoolbag, anyway.

Okay, now on to clean-up. Thankfully this little project didn't make too many dirty dishes, but the ones I did use are pretty yucky. So I'll put them in the dishwasher.

Hang on! Where's the dishwasher?? OH, that's right. A week ago Thursday our 25-year-old dishwasher gave up the ghost, and the guy who came to put in our new one (on Friday night at 5 pm) was stymied by those little boards on the floor in the corner. See, it seems that even though all dishwashers are a standard size on the front, they're not all the same in the back. And our old one had a slight overhang that wasn't bothered by those boards, whereas our new one (with the super-tall tub that I was so looking forward to using for more than 4 plates at a time) needs all that space.

Apparently those boards are both nailed into the slab and providing stability to the cabinet, and we're going to need a cabinet guy to come deal with it. I actually did talk to some dispatcher-type lady on Saturday morning, but it seems that cabinet guys are pretty smart and don't answer their phones on Saturdays when the dispatcher-type lady calls them. She said she'd try again on Monday.

So here's the new dishwasher. In the garage. For the weekend. With its front towards the shelves, in an effort to protect it from things like that soccer ball there.

And we're probably going to have to order dinner out again like we have many all of the past several nights, because a) we don't have a dishwasher and b) I used the dinner-making time to make playdough.
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In case anyone's interested, here's the playdough recipe:

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
food coloring

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture forms a ball. Knead until smooth. Store in a covered container.

Oh yes, and if you're making enough for 16 preschoolers, you will need to QUINTUPLE this recipe. Not a typo. Have fun!