No one cares what you had for lunch

Maggie Mason, a well-known blogger in San Francisco, has written a book of 100 ideas for blog entries. She aims to provide inspiration for bloggers who are stuck on writing about their cats and other mundane details of their lives, and has titled it No One Cares What You Had For Lunch. I like the book, and have been using it, but today I will contradict the claim she makes.

Today you should care what I had for lunch, because it was leftover zucchini latkes made by Karen for our Hanukkah party. They are delicious themselves, but the best part is the yogurt sauce that goes with them. Here is the zucchini latke recipe. I encourage you to try it out, even if you're not celebrating Hannukah.


- Grate on a microplane:
about 8 zucchini (unpeeled)
1/2 a red onion or 1 small one

- Mix together:
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup water

- Mix batter with veg. Add:
a big pinch of salt
about 1/2 cup chopped chives
a bit more flour or water to make a consistency like thick cake batter

- Heat oil and drop into pan- spread them out thin in the oil with the back of your spoon a little bit. Cook thru and drain on paper towels.

for 1 pint whole milk plain yogurt, mix in to taste:
juice of 1 lemon
a couple big pinches of sea salt
a heavy dose of garam masala (around 2T)
a heavy dose of turmeric (around 1T)
a heavy dose of garlic powder (about 1T- could also use fresh minced garlic)
you could add other things like, chopped mint, chopped shallots (raw or pickled)
keep adding more spices until it tastes good. you need to put in a lot.
let it sit for a few hours in the fridge to marry all the flavors.


I Shpy

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah (which you can spell however you want). We'll have the Flibbs over for dinner and light the candles in a couple of menorahs. Tomorrow my mom will come up from L.A. so that at our Hanukkah party on Sunday, I won't be the only Jewish mother in the house.

Julian is obsessed with playing "I Spy" whenever he sees a picture with lots of details. He has a subscription to Animal Baby magazine, and "I Spy" is a feature in each issue. So... I was excited when I saw this printable "I Shpy" activity on the Chabad web site. It's not really 2-year old appropriate, but we'll find other things in the picture to quiz him on.

At "school" this week, Julian made latkes, decorated a Jewish star, and painted a menorah, made out of blocks. Perfect timing because when these 8 days of Hanukkah are over, we can turn our attention to Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and giving. Oy, do I love December.


Talent that cannot be denied

What’s he saying? Here is an approximate transcript:

ABCD. No, no ABCD. Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posie, ashes ashes all fall down.

I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star. Shoefly don’t bother me.

This old man…

Good bye, so long, farewell my friends. Good bye, so long, farewell.

Bye bye to mommy, Bye bye to (points to self) Julian…



(Adding to this post... I quit my job at LeapFrog... I realized this was confusing if you didn't know that I'm not working there.) I've decided that I'm not trying to figure out what I'm doing with the rest of my life. Julian's schedule is going to change so much over the next few years, and I've volunteered myself as primary supporter of that schedule. So for now, I'm focused on the next six months. We'll see what the summer brings.

One of the things I want to try my hand at during the next six months is making, and possibly selling, clothing for children. Especially boys.

Today I took a plain light blue t-shirt, and sewed a numeral 2 into the inside, and then cut out the inner piece to reveal the dark blue fabric I had sewn in. Ever since Julian was born, I had looked forward to him wearing a big 2 when he turned two years old. And here we are.

Yes, I will take orders on this...


Halloween confession

It hurts to admit it, but Halloween was more fun when we went to the Castro, dressed in silly costumes, and drank a lot with our friends. Ah, the early '00s.

This year, I was witness to at least six tantrums, spent two hours being cold at a playground, and was put in the awkward position of comforting a frightened Julian who buried his head in my arm and cried while his smiling classmates sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Welcome to the terrific twos!

I have posted pictures from this holiday. And here's one for you from our last Halloween in San Francisco when we dressed up as my grandparents.


An Apron for Amanda

Sounds like a children's book title, doesn't it?

It was Amanda's birthday last week, so I made her an apron. Her birthday party was an ice cream social, and the creative Miss Pxpxnikolas made the ice cream herself (her privacy is being protected from curious high school students who might be googling her). Since she's not typically a domestic goddess in the kitchen, I thought it would be nice to reward her efforts with a related gift. (This might not sound logical, but it makes sense to me.)

I bought fabric that I thought went with the ice cream theme, and here are the results.

Apron-making is sort of a trend right now among the craft bloggers, and you can see some amazing ones in this Flickr pool.

Giving handmade gifts is on my List of Things I Like To Do and Want To Do More Often. Amanda's birthday always inspires me.

P.S. My t-shirt in this picture is a handmade gift from my little sister.


Birthday 2.0: King for a month

It's birthday month in this house, and I believe that one's birthday month should be packed with all kinds of special activities. Julian's really kicked off yesterday with a trip to the zoo and then a birthday party for him and all of his mom's group buddies. In the next 14 days, eight of them will hit the big 2.0.

We parents had a great time watching our nearly-twos bang into each other, bang into walls, and shovel chocolate cake into their mouths. Julian wore his fabulous purple crown to the party.

If J-dog really knew how to take advantage of his birthday month and act like royalty, here's what I think he'd decree:

  1. All meals should consist of three courses: bunny crackers, scrambled eggs, and yogurt with infant cereal mixed in. Please stop presenting unfamiliar foods to me.
  2. If we are getting in the car, the destination ought to be Totland. There is no reason for any other outing.
  3. When I say "again," everyone will oblige my request. I might say "again" ad infinitum. The words "this is the last time" shall never be spoken to me.
  4. Going to school every day is acceptable, however Mommy shall stay there with me the whole time. Daddy too, for that matter.
  5. The ban on drawing on materials other than paper shall be lifted.
  6. I will be allowed to watch videos of myself as a baby for many hours each day.
  7. At all times, my comfort objects "Paci" and "Quackers" should be nearby. They are currently imprisoned in my crib, and I need unlimited access.
Since he cannot express himself in such terms yet, he's stuck with the choices I make for him. Such is the life of a two year old. Stay tuned for more birthday adventures.


Where credit is due

As Ryan knows, I really like to get credit for things I do. I am not the anonymous donor type. I like to get credit for my ideas and accomplishments.

Julian is all about giving credit right now, to himself and even to me. If he does something, he will usually say, "Juja did it". If he jumps, he will say "Juja jump."

Yesterday, after a minor struggle, I located a song on a CD he was asking for. While I tried to find the right song, Ryan was quelling the whining, telling Julian that I was looking for it. When I started the song, he was satisfied and said, "Mama find Trot Old Joe*".

Today, I got unexpected credit for the same accomplishment. We were driving along, through Berkeley, and when the treasured song begin to play, he acknowledged without prompting "Mama fixed it."

Yes I did. I fixed it.


Wheels on the Bus

Julian gives a sneak peek into a piece of his repertoire.


Our unaware superstar

When Julian was 10 months old, my colleagues on the LeapFrog Baby brand team asked me to bring him to a photo shoot since the other babies, actual models, were crying.

He was in a terrific mood and different photos from the shoot ended up on three LeapFrog products, plus some internal sales materials. The products are finally on the shelf, so if you are a collector of all things Julian, go order yourself a Learn & Groove Alphabet Drum.

He can sign it for you when he learns to control a Sharpie a little better.


In the eye of the beholder... or Sunset Magazine

A long time ago, when Julian was a little baby, I responded to a post on the Berkeley Parents Network. The editor of Sunset Magazine's Great Baby Rooms book was looking for gender neutral nurseries to photograph for the next edition of the book.

Guess what? We made the cut.

There are two photos from J-dog's room in the book, which came out one year later. I am particularly proud of the first one because I planned and painted the stripes on his wall myself, and bought the monkey clock just before the photo shoot because it didn't seem quite finished. Who knew that "monkey clock" would become one of the first terms Julian recognized?

The upper right photo on the above page is from our house. The others are not.

I cannot find the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. It seems they only carry a previous edition. It is available at Allbookstores.net.

The lower right photo in the page above is from Julian's room.

(Paxton's room is also featured. But I am too lazy to deal with photos for sharing it with you.)


Subtitles required

If you're up for a foreign film, watch this video of Julian performing one of his favorite numbers.


Dressing my dude

Girl clothes are always cute. Boy clothes? You have to try a little harder.

I just discovered Jeeto (pictured here) and had to share. Here are some of my other favorite resources:

Tutti Bella | Little Boy Chic | Black Wagon

And, I must say, the current "School of Rock" collection at Old Navy is awesome. Julian was rocking his new "Rushmore" jacket this morning.


Mom-to-Mom Tutoring

Yesterday I had the thrill of watching my friend Sarah learn a critical parenting technique: Underdog.

If you don't know, Underdog is when you push a child on a swing and then duck under the child and run underneath the swing. The child squeals and asks for more. If you live in Berkeley, your child might even throw in a Baby Sign for "more". We have no idea how a less-than-two-year-old even knows to ask for Underdog treatment, but Sarah's daughter, Gabriella, was definitely asking.

Sarah turned to the crowd and begged for help. Rachael stepped up and showed her what to do. She literally held Sarah's hands in the correct placement and physically moved her through the motion. It was like watching a dad teach his child how to ski on the mountain. Rachael was a masterful tutor. Sarah practiced her new skill with ease and comfort.

I felt like a witnessed an important event, this transfer of knowledge. Is this what the village is for? Underdog?


Julian & Paxton

It's nice that they are so comfortable with each other...

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Snip snip snip

Julian had his first professional haircut at Snippety Crickets this week.

Click here to see the results.


Here comes trouble

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I made this

First-time Moopy

The person who runs Nest Studio, which is a children's art lesson studio in Australia, makes these cute little stuffed guys. She did the Internet a favor and shared a pattern on her web site. It took me about two hours total to finish.

Here's a link to the pattern.

If you read this site then you probably know me. I think it would be superfun if you made one of these guys, too and then we could trade. Let me know if you're in.


Mexican Vacation... The Videos

We stayed in a huge house with Doug and Sharon for 5 nights. The first video is Julian talking and being silly. The second is a tour of the house.



We just returned from Passover with the Mosses and Easter with Steph, Hope and families.

Julian found himself attracted to 3-year old Grace. He caressed her hair for several minutes, and she seemed to enjoy it. The next day, I put him back in the chair with her, and he did the same thing. Ladies man in the making?

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He speaks

Ryan was silently counting to himself as we walked to the park this morning and then announced that Julian can say about 25 words. I haven't counted them myself, but here's what comes to mind. I thought we should capture this before the list gets too long:

nyah nyah (eat in one of the languages of Eritrea, the home country of his babysitter)
no no no no no... a few more times
this (while pointing at desired object)
wawa (water)
puppah (dog)
ditty (kitty)
mmm (moon)
pah-pah (paxton, his daycare partner-in-crime)
ta-ta (taddy, his babysitter)
wampa (any of his own grandparents)
glasses, baby, and jacket, all pronounced dadeh
momee (monkey)
animal sounds for cow, dog, cat, elephants and monkey
where is ...? (pronounced "eh'ish" may preceed any object that is hiding, such as dada)