31 March 2009

Driving at night

2 remarks

Ever since Ari & Emilie were born, I rarely leave the house after the sun goes down. If I do, my surroundings seem different, more mysterious; especially while I am driving.

I don't remember feeling this way when I was younger, and I chalk it up to the fact that I was out late a whole lot more then than I am now.

I am not afraid to drive at night, it is just a whole other sensation with the streetlights dimly shining down and constant headlights zooming by. Almost surreal. I like it.

30 March 2009

Seeds

3 remarks
We got the ball rolling on our small garden that we are hoping to have this summer. By small, I mean tomatoes and some herbs. Unfortunately, our yard is not big enough for us to grow much more. Plus, this is our first attempt at growing our own food, so we are starting small.

Ari and I planted some tomato seeds about a week ago in a small container that we are keeping on the front porch. It gets plenty of sunlight and is generally warmer on the porch since it is enclosed by all the windows. We have not seen any growth yet, but Ari looks forward to watering the seeds and checking to see if there is any progress every day.

I'll post updates as we see progress with the tomato plants, hopefully. Also, once we get the herb garden started. I am really looking forward to the herb garden, I have always wanted to have my own fresh herbs on hand ready to use at a moments notice to brighten up a dish.

26 March 2009

Ceiling then and now

1 remarks


I don't know why I have a penchant for taking pictures of the ceiling. Maybe something is wrong with me. Something more than was already just assumed. Let's investigate.
I suppose it is because I rarely lay on the floor on my back and my surroundings look so much different from that perspective. Somehow, everything that was normal looks new and I see things I've never seen before. So why not take a picture?
That's the best explanation I can come it with.

Pie

2 remarks
Here is Alton Brown's take on pie:




Pie is indeed my favorite dessert. What can I say, the savory, tender, flaky crust, the sweet (but not too sweet) filling makes for a flavor sensation second to none. There is nothing better than a well executed pie, and it has to be homemade, of course, right down to the crust.

I can't say that I had a whole lot of pie growing up. Nonna's apple pie is the earliest memory I have of pie. I have tried to replicate it, but I have not been able to get it just right. Going through an old box of recipes from her house, I found another copy of the recipe that called for minute tapioca. I had only used regular small pearl tapioca and the pearls never softened up enough. So now, armed with this bit of information, I have a new challenge ahead. I can only hope to come close to the original.

Another family recipe that I more recently became aware of is buttermilk pie. It is like a sugar cream pie, but it is not as sweet and has a little tangyness from the buttermilk. It is absolutely delicious. Every time I eat it I am reminded of why it is my favorite pie. Where had it been all my life? It is my great-grandmother's recipe, so I guess she must have not made it all that often when I was a kid. Or, I may not have tried it because to a kid buttermilk pie doesn't sound all that appetizing. If I had only known what I was missing.

Whether it's apple, blueberry, strawberry rhubard, pumpkin, lemon merange, buttermilk, chocolate, or peanut putter, I am a fan of pie, and it is welcome on my plate any night of the week.

25 March 2009

Just one of the dogs

1 remarks

We've taken the dogs to the park a couple times this year and one thing has become evident, Ari thinks he's just one of the dogs. He's not afraid to get in the mix at all. He runs with them, chases them, and at times seems to have more energy than they do; still running around after the other dogs have gone their separate ways to rest in the shade. Except Sundance, he has an unlimited supply of energy.

We have been meeting at Northwest Park so we can let the dogs run around in one of the softball diamonds. The biggest group of dogs we've had this year is Walter, Wyatt, Ginger, Pepper and Sundance. All the dogs get along really well and Ari fits right in with them, too. We usually take a tennis ball to throw, and that is Wyatt's forte. Last time, Walter and Sundance played quite a bit; which was good to see, because Walter is usually shy around other dogs.

We always have a good time at the "dog park" and we try to get there as much as we can early in the year because we can't take them out there once softball starts up again. It's a poop thing. It's fun to see all the dogs interact, each with their own personality and quirks. They have a great time getting to stretch their legs and run again after a long winter break.

23 March 2009

Profile picture update in the works?

1 remarks
Ari and I were outside the other day taking pictures and I noticed something familiar in the shadows. I looked down and I saw that our shadows looked reminiscent to the picture I use for my profile. I quickly took a picture before the boy could move and I think it turned out pretty true to the original; except for the fact that there are two sets of legs instead of one.

I'm sure I could search for some meaning between the two pictures. I could go on about growth, change, time, or fatherhood; but I don't really feel like it right now. Believe me, I've tried, but I am getting tired of hitting the backspace key. I suppose I'm not really good with words so I'll just let the picture speak for itself. I love that little guy.

21 March 2009

That thing is this...

2 remarks

The Google Earth image I posted the other day is of the playground at Jackson Morrow Park. The playground area is in the shape of the state of Indiana. How cool is that!?

Thanks for everyone who guessed; and thankfully, since the picture was not a stolen piece of Daniel's artwork, we don't have to harm any one's balls.

20 March 2009

The One I Love - Embryonic

3 remarks

The One I Love was R.E.M.'s first Top 10 single in the United States, and is from the 1987 album, Document. It is also one of the first R.E.M. songs I remember listening to on the radio when I was a kid. It was released on Document, R.E.M.'s fifth studio album; the last album with I.R.S. records.

The song's title most likely has caused many to consider The One I Love as a love song. In fact, Michael Stipe has called it one of the most violent songs he has ever written and was surprised that he was even able to write those lyrics. With lyrics like"A simple prop to occupy my time"; and the single word "Fire" as the chorus, Michael Stipe stated that it is clear that the song is about using people over and over again.

The first live versions of the song are more fitting to the theme of the song. Michael practically yells "Fire" during the chorus and the whole feel of the song is more violent overall. I enjoy the early version of the song. There is more passion, and it feels darker and full of angst.

I have included both the early live performance from 1986 and the studio version released in 1987. Enjoy!

video video

An interesting side note, the director of photography for the video of The One I Love was none other than Alton Brown. Alton is my favorite chef, and I owe much of my culinary knowledge to him, but that's another post.

19 March 2009

What on Google Earth is this?

3 remarks
Inspired by Katie's guessing game post, I decided to do one of my own. I don't know if it is common knowledge here in these parts what this is, but I thought it would be fun to post about it anyway. I think it's pretty cool.

This image is a saved screenshot from Google Earth, and we are looking at it from straight above. What is this a picture of? What are we looking down on? Hmmm...


18 March 2009

Sneak Preview

6 remarks
The March topic over on Ditalini Press is to write a children's book. So, I was thinking about what my children's book should be about. Should it be a fantasy, about the alphabet, numbers, or something regarding everyday life? After to careful pondering, the idea hit me like a ton of bricks...cooking! ... Cooking with Daddy!

I have not seen one single children's book about cooking, or kids cooking with their parents anywhere. I love to cook and I fear that preparing foods from scratch is something that is not being taught to today's youth. Too many pre-made "convenience" meals if you ask me. Too much fast food infiltrating the everyday lives of many Americans.

The book is due by the end of the month so please check it out. If you've never been there before, Ditalini Press is a wonderful creative writing site; and I'm sure you will enjoy the many imaginative and inspired children's stories that will be posted soon. I hope you enjoy Cooking with Daddy. Look for it soon!

17 March 2009

The mystery of the soda bread - solved!

5 remarks
Whenever we visit my dad in Louisville, we almost always go to The Irish Rover for lunch. If you are ever down around that part of the country, I would highly recommend you make the trip, you will not be disappointed. The Irish Rover is a pub with authentic Irish recipes, they have thier Guinness shipped from Dublin, and the restaurant is housed in a 150 year old building that used to be a saloon. But it is the food that really makes this restaurant stand out in my eyes.

For an appetizer, we all usually share a couple scotch eggs. A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, lightly breaded, and deep fried. Delicious. I have made these myself and they are wonderful. Surprisingly not as heavy or rich as you might think. For the mian course, I almost always order the fish and chips. They are the best I have ever had, and I would not even try to duplicate at home. A generous portion of Icelandic cod, fried extra crispy and served with unbelieveably delicious tartar sauce. Add a little malt vinegar and it doesn't get much better than that.

With the meal there is always a basket of bread at the table filled with sourdough and Irish soda bread. The sourdough is good, but I always go for the Irish soda bread. It is truly one of the best breads I have ever eaten. I don't know what it is, but I enjoy this bread more than any other. I have spent the last couple of years trying to find my own recipe that could compare. After countless dead ends searching on the internet, I finally decided to just ask for it at the restaurant. So, the last time we went to The Irish Rover, Valerie asked our server if we could have the recipe. He told us that they don't make it on-site anymore and he didn't have the recipe. What!? My last hope of finding the recipe was gone.

Defeated, I began looking again for soda bread recipes that I could use for our St. Patrick's Day meal. I always cook an Irish themed meal on the Friday after St. Patrick's Day for our Friday night get-togethers. Thinking I was on a fools errand, I started trying to find the Irish Rover soda bread recipe on the internet. I stumbled upon a website called Louisville Originals. There it was! The recipe was posted by the owners themselves on 01/04/2009. I had finally found it! I was beside myself with joy! I told Valerie, I called Angela, I called my dad; they probably thought I was a little nuts.

I couldn't wait until next Friday to make it, so I made a loaf for Michael's birthday meal. The taste and texture were spot on and what was even better is that it was fresh from the oven. Truly, a delicious loaf of bread. I am going to make it again this Friday, along with a Shepherd's pie and some scotch eggs. Angela is going to make the Chocolate Guinness Cake that was posted by the Irish Rover owners on the Louisville Originals site. It should be a meal to remember, thanks to The Irish Rover.

If you want an quick, easy, delicious bread, I have posted the recipe below. Please try it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!




Brown Soda Bread
Recipe by Michael & Siobhan Reidy, from Irish Rover
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour, preferably coarse
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 T. butter
1 + cups of buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 450.Stir dry ingredients together with a fork. Cut butter into dry mix. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Stir to mix well, making a slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto floured surface. Working the dough as little as possible, pat it into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 375 and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. Bread is done if tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound. A spoonful of brown sugar may also be added to the dry ingredients for a sweeter loaf.

Cook Time: 45 Min

16 March 2009

3 is not so far from 16

3 remarks
Well, we bit the bullet and finally bought Ari that new truck he's been asking for. I'll tell you one thing, he's a persistent little cuss, he is. Valerie and I talked about it, and decided we weren't going to find a better deal, especially with the recession and all, so we did what any reasonable parent would do, we bought our three-year-old a vehicle. Needless to say, he was thrilled, and for the first time in a long time, speechless. He was so excited he didn't even put on matching shoes when he went out to see it for the first time.

I figure we'll just put a tarp on it and it should be fine until he gets his permit. Unfortunately, Ari said that I can't drive it. Doesn't want me to scratch it up. Figures. Ungrateful little thing. Oh well, it should be fine in the driveway for the next 13 years. But it's really going to be hard to shoot some hoops with that truck in front of the garage.

15 March 2009

Sprung

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Spring has sprung, as they say. Signs of new life are springing up all around and I couldn't be happier. We have plans this week to take the dogs to the park and I'm planning to start riding my bike to work again. The mornings will be cold, but it looks like the days will be warm. Hooray! What an exciting time of year.

Ari is anxious to get out the house and play on his swing set and go to the park. We were outside the other day taking pictures of nature in the warm mid-day sun, he with his camera, and me with mine. He took some pretty good photos as well. Keep the beauty coming spring, we are ready!

13 March 2009

Friday Night Frenzy

3 remarks

We took a detour from our normal Friday night get-togethers at my house and went over to my Mom & Marty's because Aunt Sue was in town. It was great to see her and everyone else. We ordered Pizza King pizzas, played Wii Sports and had a jolly ol' time. Plus, last night was Michael's birthday so Marty bought him a Pizza King shirt when we went to pick up the pizza's. Needless to say, Michael loved it.

It was fun to see Uncle Lee play tennis on the Wii, he did really well. We had a mini-tournament, which was a blast, and my mom kept challenging me to another match. It was a raucous event, indeed. Ari finally got the hang of golf and was driving and putting the ball like a pro. The look on his face was priceless the first time he made a putt. That's just what we need, another video game for him to play. Oh, well.

Ari and Emilie started to "crash" about 8:30, which is when we heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and it was Katie! Seeing her revived Ari for a few minutes, but Emilie was too far gone, so we had to leave. As Valerie and I were loading the kids into the car, Aunt Mare, Uncle Dave, and Tim pulled into the court. We were leaving just as the party was really heating up! I was bummed. But, it was a wonderful evening full of food, family, and fun. And, thanks for the pizza's Mom & Marty!

12 March 2009

Tales from Fast Food Past

3 remarks

So, I was riding along in the car with Valerie and the kids and she looks at me and says, "Do you know what I miss?"

Expecting her to regale me with some memories of our past or something Ari used to do as a baby, I inquisitively replied, "What?"

"Rax."

"Rax?"

"I miss Rax," she said. "It was really good."

Confused, I just left it at that. I don't remember my reply to her, but we started talking about something else.

I have been thinking about Rax since then, and it was good. Their roast beef was great, and as a child, I often got one of those uncle Alligator squeeze bottles with my meal.

I did some research and Rax does still exist, but there are only a handful of stores left. At the height of their glory, Rax had 504 stores in 38 states. That's when they apparently got too big for their britches. They tried to become more of an "upscale" fast-food restaurant and drove away their core customers. Too bad. This led to a decline in sales, which led to a series of mergers.

Now I know more than I ever wanted to about Rax. I wonder if the stores that still exist have the same quality product that I remember from when I was a child. If so, I may have to make a road trip to Ironton, Ohio!

These memories of Rax triggered other fast-food memories of my youth, namely of Scotty's Sandwich Junction, where my dad used to work. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything about Scotty's as of yet. I will continue my search, though, and will let you know if I find anything.

11 March 2009

Gas Madness!

2 remarks


I really enjoy those Mythbusters. Sulfur Hexafluoride, who knew?

I am about as scientifically inept as one can be, but I still find most of the experiments they do really interesting and, most of the time, fascinating. I just wish I could retain more of it.

Bath night

7 remarks

One thing you can count on when daddy is in charge of bath night is bubbles, and lots of 'em. Ari is not a big fan of the bubbles on the head, but Emilie doesn't seem to mind. In fact, I'm not sure if she even realizes they are there.


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Bath nights are fun. The kids love the water. Recently, Emilie learned how to splash, much to Ari's dismay. All the splashing interferes with him doing his job, which consists of him drawing on the grout lines with his bath crayons. I have to admit, though, the kid does good work.




10 March 2009

The beat goes on

3 remarks

Here is the progress I have made on my quilt so far. With Eva away, I am going to have to go it alone for awhile. I have sewn together the four columns of t-shirt material and now I am ready to cut the long strips I will need to sew the columns together. For some reason, this new challenge seems daunting. I keep looking at the fabric I am using to sew the shirts together and I don't know how I am going to cut such long even strips. I am sure I will find a solution though. I just need to do it. Anybody have any advice for this quilting novice?

07 March 2009

An Ari Lullaby

0 remarks
When I mentioned singing Fall on Me to Ari before bed, I got the idea to post about some of the other songs we sing. This is one of the first bedtime songs that I sang to him. It is called Swan Swan H, and it is from R.E.M's 1986 album Lifes Rich Pageant, same as Fall on Me.

I honestly can't say why I started singing this song to him. It really wasn't one of my favorite songs, or one that I would really consider a typical bedtime type song. It seems to be R.E.M.'s attempt at a folk ballad, bringing about a lot of imagery from the Civil War era of the American South. Yeah, I know, not really bedtime song material at all. It is a beautiful song, and Ari can pretty much sing it word for word.

Also, on a side note, this song contains the lyric in which I chose to use as my e-mail address.

05 March 2009

Bunny Guts

3 remarks
Easter, 2007, Ari had just finished rummaging through his Easter basket and held a white plastic bunny in his hands.

"Is it?" He said to me, wondering what the object was.

"It's a bunny," I told him as I pulled away the clear plastic that encompassed the toy, "let's see what's inside."

I slowly pulled the bunny apart to reveal a bright orange blob of Play-Doh and I said, "Ewww, bunny guts."

Ari laughed and I showed him some of the things he could do with Play-Doh. I was the first time he had seen anything like it and he really enjoyed playing with it.

The next day, he said to me, "Daddy, I want to play with bunny guts." I didn't know what he was talking about, and then it hit me...Play-Doh. I laughed and got the bunny out so he could play with it some more.

Loving the fact that he called Play-Doh "bunny guts", we decided not to correct him. Besides, we didn't care what it's called. It was fun to see the reaction of family and friends when they hear Ari talk about playing with bunny guts. They are all used to it now, and some of them also refer to it as bunny guts, too.

He knows now that it is also called Play-Doh, but he still refers to it as bunny guts, and so do we, and hopefully always will.



03 March 2009

Where's Waldo... and why did I stop caring?

2 remarks

I was watching an old episode of the Simpson's and Homer made a remark about Where's Waldo and I thought to myself, "Where is Waldo?" For so long during the early 90's he provided me with so much entertainment; then, as quickly as he came into my life, he was as quickly gone. What made me decide to just throw this beloved character to the curb; and where is Waldo now?

Well, as it turns out, he has his own website, and you can visit him at http://www.findwaldo.com/. You can even play the Where's Waldo game and relive those cherished memories of searching through a sea of people in search of the man with the funny glasses in a sock hat.

After about 30 seconds of trying to find him, I realized why I stopped trying to find him in the first place. I wasn't having very much fun and I started to get a headache. Maybe the search lost something in the transition to the Internet. Oh, well. Part of me is glad that my search did not renew the Waldo-mania I had in the 90's. The thrill of the hunt is over, for now...

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