Friday, April 27, 2012

Prom Photos

Just thought I'd pop in to share some photos of Redheaded Snippet all decked out for her prom.  I figured it was only right after sharing all of the "dress rehearsal" photos yesterday!

First the hair: finished product:

My sister declared that Mom should get award for this hair and I think she may be right!  It took several hours, a ton of teasing, and senseless amounts of hairspray, but the end result was simply fabu!

The dress seemed to have a somewhat '60's feel to it (at least to us), so we decided to go '60's with the hair.  And since Mom was a teenager then it was a no-brainer for her to accomplish this look.

Redheaded Snippet said everyone was telling her she had Adele hair so we took that as a sign of success.

Makeup was done by yours truly.  I think it's one of the best jobs I've done, if I may say so myself.

We decided on smokey but not too heavy eyes with light cheeks and very neutral lips.  And I'd say I managed to pull it off!

We had one minor wardrobe malfunction which required The Viking's help.  Redheaded Snippet's feet are very narrow and the strap on her shoe needed an extra hole so it could be buckled tighter.  Gotta love a dad who will help fix his daughter's dancing shoes!

We were ready early!  Early enough for her to grab a sandwich and make me crazy with worry that she was going to mess up her dress or makeup.

I just had to post this photo for historical purposes.  That's my sister, Dharma, before her prom in 1994, one full year before Redheaded Snippet was born.   She was being posed in an "American Gothic" photo which is why she bearing a rake and a somber expression.

And here is the same dress, 18 years later!  Yes, it's entirely covered in gold sequins.  We called it the Disco Ball dress.  Somehow one of us got the idea of Redheaded Snippet borrowing it for the event and Dharma (who still had it) was generous enough to ship it to us.  And, of course, Snippet loved it the moment she tried it on and that was it.

Besides enjoying seeing my daughter looking so lovely in a dress I can remember my sister looking equally lovely in, I was glad not to have to buy another dress!  Because, have I mentioned this is only the first of two proms Redheaded Snippet is going to this Spring?  This was her prom.  The boyfriend's prom is next month.

But don't worry, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve for that one, too...stay tuned...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: A girl and her Gram

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter
A few weeks ago, I shared photos of Calvin with his Grampa, my Dad. This week, it's Redheaded Snippet and her Gram, my Mom. The Junior Prom is tomorrow evening. As always, Mom is doing Redheaded Snippet's hair and I will be doing her makeup. And, of course, we had to have a "dress rehearsal" last night. In the interest of time, mental energy and not stifling my readers' creativity and decision-making skills, I will allow YOU to detect the Pretty, Happy, Funny and Real of it all.

We decided on a somewhat '60's updo.  Which, as you may know, involves a certain amount of teasing of the hair.  And because Redheaded Snippet's lovely Titian locks are very fine, an excessive amount of teasing became necessary!  She had never seen anything like it!

I said she looked like Sideshow Bob.  Luckily, she didn't know who that was...


That's Mom, the master hairdresser!  With four daughters, her skills have served her well.  She did all of our hair for all of our formal occasions!  Except for our weddings when she simply had too much to do and too little time in which to do it.

After a while, I made Redheaded Snippet put down her phone and resume her homework.  She managed to study for her history test with all this nonsense going on!

It may not look like it, but it's actually starting to come together here.

I told her to pose like Ke$ha.  I think she did pretty well except she still looks too lucid to be authentic.  Also, nice open dryer and basket of unfolded laundry in the background, no?

This is all I can show you today: don't want to give too much away!  But the big night is tomorrow and the big reveal will follow soon!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Bread, a Birthday, and Beautiful Boys (see what I did there?)

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter
Two weeks ago, I realized a long-term dream and made bread.  Sure, I'd done it for a project back in the third grade and then again for with Redheaded Snippet for her project when she was in the third grade, but I have for a while now wanted to get into the practice of making bread for my family.  I guess it's taken nearly 40 years for me to make a connection between something homemade tasting so much better than its mass-produced facsimile and the fact that it's so much better for you!

I've been making scones and biscuits for a while now and have made advances in the art of pie crusts, but bread has always been rather intimidating to me.  And then I came across a recipe that made me sit up and take notice.  Here was a bread I could make!

I won't tell you where I got it.  If you read my blog or know me at all, you know exactly where I got it from.  I tried it for the first time in order to make Vigil Meat Pies (NOW do you know?).  Sadly, the endeavor did not go well.  Which is probably why the pies were not a hit.  Plus, I had forgotten the obvious and simple fact that the recipe given was meant to produce enough food for at least nine people and I am feeding only four (NOW??  So many hints)!  Which meant there was a LOT of dough and browned meat rolling around my kitchen.  Which was frustrating when there was so much left to be done for Easter.


Anyway, undaunted and realizing my mistake of somehow copying down "a few drops of water" when it was supposed to be, in fact, "a few cups", I set forth again the following week!  This time, I think there was too much water.  Sigh.  This is what happens when knucklehead me tries to follow a recipe that says, "Add enough water so the dough is loose but not runny."  I think of runny as pancake batter.  It didn't look like pancake batter so I supposed I didn't need that extra cup of flour (the recipe says 7-8 after all).

"It came from the mixer!"

I made quite the mess.  I don't think you can see it, but that darn dough rose up in indignation and wrapped itself around the entire spinning mechanism on the mixer, rendering it completely useless!  I had no choice but to go in there with my hands to pry it all off.  At one point I looked like the Swamp Monster.  Only covered in sticky dough instead of swamp goo.


But somehow, SOMEHOW, after much mental swearing, I managed to produce what looked, at least to me, to be a decent ball of dough!  Ta-da!  Now, I had learned a little from my mistake on Easter weekend and planned ahead this time.  I decided to divide the dough into six equal parts and make two larger pizza crusts and four loaves of Italian bread.

Can't esplain it but it makes me Happy

Can you believe I had forgotten about my great-grandmother's pastry cloth in the back of a kitchen drawer?  Usually, I just flour the island surface and roll my dough out right there, but that gets quite messy and I'd had enough bread-related mess for one month!

As does this
I made one cheese pizza (for the kids) and a white pizza with black olives for The Viking and me.  They disappeared so fast there wasn't time for a photo.  I don't know about you, but we rarely sit down for pizza.  It seems to be a meal best eaten while standing around the kitchen island.  But I did manage a photo of the loaves of bread!  There was only a small heel left at the end of the week (Calvin's appetite--and my grocery budget--has nearly tripled lately)!


I've found that homemade bread (even when made a wee bit incorrectly) makes lovely toast that goes very well with Greek yogurt mixed with raw honey and fresh strawberries for breakfast!  I felt so wholesome and accomplished until The Viking called me a hippie.  Harrumph!  He can go have a doughnut!


We interrupt this bread bash to announce that we are now a two-sport family.  Calvin just started recreational soccer and it seems The Viking and I have just the right genetic make-up to produce offensive players.  Calvin scored two out of three goals, leading his team to the win in their first game!  Must be those big feet...

Funny?  Funny looking for sure!  And Real...
Looks kind of...brainy
But back to bread for a moment.  And I have a question.  My recipe says I can leave the dough in an oiled bowl in the fridge for a few days until I'm ready to roll it out.  So, last night, I mixed up a batch and, this time, I followed the directions well and everything went beautifully!  Being completely inexperienced, I wasn't sure about whether to cover it or not--will covering it encourage it to sour or grow mold or will leaving it uncovered give it cause to dry out?  I hemmed and hawed but finally decided to cover it with plastic wrap.  This seemed to be not a good thing because when I came back to the fridge later, the stuff had puffed up, blown a hole in the plastic wrap and was oozing out of the top like a most disgusting thing!  So I hastily uncovered it and put it back!  Then later, The Viking went to the fridge and saw it puffed up again!

His reaction was actually rather funny.  He began talking as if he were the dough: "I will overtake you all!  I will inhabit this entire fridge!  Hear that, bacon?  Stop touching me!  I am going to destroy you!"  And then when I moaned that it probably should be punched down, Calvin took me literally (very Amelia Bedelia of him) and punched his fist right into the center of the dough before I could stop him.  And now it has a fine crust on top and looks all weird.  At least to me.  Look at that photo and see what you think.

So, what did I do wrong?  The recipe said nothing about punching down and kneading and letting it rise again but that's what it seemed to want.  I'd really like to get all the kinks ironed out of this!


Finally the Birthday and the other Beautiful Boy: we celebrated my nephew's fourth birthday this week!  And Calvin had to celebrate in style...


Little Man was all, "Me, too!  Me, too!" so Calvin helped him out.  His head is too small for three so two had to do.  Incidentally, despite its famously smallish size, The Viking has been known to fit five party hats on his head at one time.  So who needs a lampshade?  And, yes, this is a frequent occurrence at our family parties.

Happy, Funny, Real, and, okay, Pretty
I requested, "Good faces," and they supplied these!
Despite the seven years between them, Calvin and Little Man are the strongest of allies and becoming fast friends.  They're the only boys among the cousins, after all!  It's them against four girls, they have to stick together!  I think they're going to make things very interesting in our family as they grow older...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: A (rapidly growing) boy and his Grampa

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter
We have the joy of living about 2 miles away from my parents, who still live in the house in which I grew up. This means, among other things, that our kids reap the blessings of having loving grandparents who are very much involved in their lives.

My dad has always loved fishing. He used to go all the time as a boy with his father and I can't help but wonder if he was ever sad that, as the father of four daughters, he never had a child who was eager to go fishing with him.

Being a quiet and private man, he never said anything about it.  But, whatever his feelings may have been, his solitary fishing days are over now that Calvin is growing older!

I think Calvin made his week by calling him up on Saturday and asking if they could go fishing!  The Viking and I were quite busy, making preparations for Easter Sunday, so we were rather glad of the opportunity for Calvin to go and do something fun and spend quality time with Grampa in the process!

Calvin is the first surviving boy to be born into the family since 1948.  He's one of only two grandsons on my side of the family.  And we have always joked that Dad has an 11-year-old boy's sense of humor.  So, now, these two are quite the pair. They get each other laughing in no time at all and have a rip-roaring good time together!

Dad wasted no time in coming over to pick Calvin up once he got the call and I just sat on the couch, watching them prepare, watching a grandfather pass knowledge and passion on to his grandson.  And I couldn't help but detect the beauty, happiness, humor and reality of it all so I grabbed my phone and snapped away.

They didn't catch anything, but they came back smiling, red-cheeked and contented.  A day well-spent, after all.

P.S.  These are the shoes I bought for Calvin a few days ago.  He LOVES these silly things!  But scroll down a bit...

To give you a reference point, that's one of The Viking's shoes next to one of Calvin's new ones (carefully aligned along the desk chair mat for accuracy).  Calvin is 11 and suddenly wearing a Men's size 8 shoe!  Can we say, "growth spurt"?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

So, what'd I miss?

It's good to be back, now that Lent is over!

This year, instead of giving up sweets like I did last year, I decided to give up something I've never given up before, something that would really be difficult. Yeah, I know giving up sweets is difficult, but I have something that I'm a wee bit more addicted to than sugar.

Yup, I gave up blogging for Lent. Which meant no writing or reading them! I confess I did pop in here once to change over to more Spring-like colors and once or twice to other blogs when I was having a particularly weak-willed day, but for the most part I was very, very good. But I have missed those of you I regularly stalk so much! I felt so mute and isolated! It was really weird.

But now it's time to get caught up. There is LOADS to report, some good, some bad. For now, I'll start with today's festivities.

After church, we took Mom and Dad and went to meet Lobelia, Lenny, and the kids for a picnic.  This is something we used to do as a family every year on Easter.  Usually it was some place with both some kind of historical significance and lovely scenery suitable for picnicking.  Some sites of the past include Washington's Crossing, Frenchtown, Batsto, and Valley Forge.  Often, because lovely and historical sites in this area can be sadly scarce, we would just go to Ocean City.  We decided to revive the custom today.

What's Easter without an Easter bonnet?  And kindly ignore my finger...
But first, we stopped in at Lobelia and Lenny's.  Where Sweet Pea modeled her Easter bonnet for us.  Did I mention Lobelia MADE THIS?  She makes me just a wee bit sick.

She's obviously a whole lot more adorable and agreeable, but something about this reminds me of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  "Yes, yes but this is all extremely vexing...I'm quite put out!"

We went to the Curtis Arboretum, a place we'd had an Easter picnic ten years ago.  Back then, Calvin was the baby running around, picking things up and trying to put them in his mouth.  This time, it was Sweet Pea.

I was quite proud of myself because this was the first picnic for which I made all of the food!  And it just so happens I have all of these honey jars lying around so I decided to try the picnic-foods-in-jars thing everyone seems to be trying now.

Pasta salad (pictured here and in the photo above) jars up very well and is a perennial favorite with my family!    It's also very easy to take on a picnic this way: much less mess!  I meant to get a nice, artistic shot of all of the jars, but we kind of flung everything into the cooler and left like our pants were on fire so I missed the opportunity...

Not everything could fit into jars.  I made deviled eggs and chicken salad sandwiches on croissants and had to transport them the ordinary way.  But the dessert I made worked perfectly in jarred form and drew a lot of attention for looking both tasty and intriguing.  Of course, most of them got eaten before I could get a photo but I managed to save mine for later and have just taken it out of the fridge to enjoy right now:

Homemade strawberry shortcake in a jar!  Completely from scratch, made with unbleached flour and raw, unbleached sugar.  I think it's just so cute.  Mom says it isn't cute if I haven't wrapped a ribbon around it but I say this is darn cute, especially for me!  And she wonders why she didn't get one!

Well, I've just poured a cup of (decaf) coffee and have a lot of blog reading to catch up on.  I'm looking forward to finding out what I've missed!

Happy Easter!