Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Sad Tree

Well, the nursery man apparently was right, that the tree is still alive. A few green buds have finally opened. I took a picture a few days ago...

And again, today.

But, as you can see, it still looks like a twig from any kind of distance.
While this doesn't look promising to me, we'll see what happens...

Wayne didn't want to plant a garden this year. But, as spring set in, he changed his mind. We will only have a few tomato and pepper plants and a few herbs, but I'm excited just the same. I also got some violets from a coworker today that I'm looking forward to getting in the ground. It's so nice to work outside this time of year while the weather is so beautiful.
(And before weeding has gotten to be an exhausting chore).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Creepy Snails

Here are the creepy snails we made this evening.

Tyler working very hard...
Well, yet again, Tyler and I have colds. What excitement! Ready for more excitement (not really)? This week, I renewed my social work license (without getting audited as my peers assured me would happen) and my driver's license. At the driver's license branch, there was a camera crew and director. I don't know why it seems hard for me to believe, but they claimed to be a crew from California doing a documentary. So, someday, my backside may be on some movie. I hope not. :)
Ty with his new love...tattoos. (Cars tattoos, of course)!

Tyler was not very comfortable on his new bike, so we are borrowing Abe's smaller bike until he's more confident.
Last night, my car was in the shop, and Wayne was out, so the garage was empty. Tyler enjoyed driving around and around.

"Ha ha" (emphatically)

"Flowers" for Mommy.

Here's Michelle keeping warm at our garage sale today. It was cold, cloudy and windy most of the day. The sun finally peeked out this afternoon.

Wayne was not so thrilled about the garage sale or sitting outside all day.

I need to keep a paper and pen on me more of the time because Tyler's little quotes slip out of my head about as quickly as he says them. One I do remember from being at the park a couple of days ago... He was climbing up a ladder. When he was even with me, "Mommy, I'm as tall as you." He took a couple of steps, "Mommy, now I'm as tall as Daddy." After a few steps more, "Now I'm as tall as God."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dr. Phil

I always had a bad feeling about him, but couldn't articulate why. That is probably why I really enjoyed the following article...


Thursday, April 17, 2008

First Bike

Tyler is getting more comfortable with going to the bathroom by himself...but needs help with pulling up his pants. Last night, we went over to the Pankratz's (Matt, Michelle, Abe and Leo). I didn't even realize Tyler was going to the bathroom, but when he emerged with Leo like this, I knew...and just had to take a picture.

Tyler has become more comfortable with his hand-me-down tricycle. Wayne and I decided it was time to think about a bicycle. Here he is with his shiny new bike!
But, he was quickly distracted.

Looking good with a helmet and pampas grass.

watching it swing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Well, the votes are in. 9 for the beard and 4 for clean shaven. The beard is back. I'm getting used to it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring fever

I'm starting to feel the itch of spring fever. The trees have had their pretty buds and blooms for a couple of weeks. The daffodils are fading and the tulips are in full bloom. Today we have a wind advisory...not something I really remember having in Indiana. Luckily, we have the lovely spring temperature of 70 degrees, so it does not yet feel like a convection oven as it does in the middle of summer.

Speaking of summer, we have made plans to head to Indiana! Ted has so kindly agreed to allow Tyler and I to join him on his trek to Indiana leaving on May 24. (My last day of school/work for this school year is May 23). I'm very thankful that I won't have to make the 14 hour trip alone. AND, I am very excited to be home to visit friends and family again.

OK - here's my Tyler quotes (that I remember) from the past week or so...

We were watching a commercial with a cute little dog. After it was over, Tyler said, "I want to buy a dog and a baby sister."

I am bad about remembering or taking the time to have Tyler complete art projects. So, last week I suggested that Tyler make Grandpa Norm a birthday card which he was eager to complete. (Grandpa Norm has received it, so I feel free to write about it). He wanted to paint and picked out fish stickers because
"Grandpa likes to eat them, and throw them, and ...be crazy! Grandpa's crazy about fish. " I thought that was funny and proceeded to affirm that Grandpa does like to eat fish and explained that Grandpa likes to scuba dive, and what that entails. He thought about it for a few minutes, then said, "that's like a mermaid or something."

A week and a half ago, I accidentally cut my thumb, and I'm still wearing bandaids because...well that part is gross. Anyway, tonight I was re applying my band aids and Tyler (who is apparently very tired) began crying, "I want that bandaid because my skin keeps flapping off."
Here is the ensuing tantrum. Please be warned, this is rather annoying. Though somehow it seemed more annoying at the time than on video. I recorded him to see whether it would distract him. Soon after, he watched himself and couldn't help but laugh.

Tonight he said, "Mommy, you're so cute. You're so precious. I'm hugging myself. I love myself." Here he is, hugging himself.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan

In Lawrence, we ate at the Indian Palace buffet. Their food is fabulous, down to the Indian tea which is piping hot and has just the right spices and sweetness. We all loved the chicken tikka masala and were lamenting the fact that there is no Indian Palace in Wichita to satisfy our cravings. So, I set out to try to duplicate at least the naan and chicken tikka masala.

While there seemed to be common themes in recipes, per Wikipedia, "Chicken Tikka Masala is a westernized Indian dish...There is no standard recipe...a survey found that of 48 different recipes the only common ingredient was chicken."

So, I made lots of adjustments from a base recipe and ended up with what I think is pretty close to what we had in Lawrence. If you'd like to try it...

Chicken Tikka Masala - Melody's imitation of Indian Palace
1 cup plain yogurt
1 T lemon juice
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent in thighs, tenderloins, etc)

1 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup (or so) onion, diced
3 T sugar
2 t ground paprika
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, optional, for garnish

1. In a bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 1 t salt, and black pepper. Stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Or several days, if you don't get to it). Or, if you don't marinate, sprinkle salt, pepper and lemon juice on chicken before cooking.
2. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill chicken until juices run clear, approximately 5 minutes per side. (Until it reaches an internal temp of 165*).  (Or roast in 375 degree oven until internal temp reaches 165 degrees). Let rest five minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent. Add spices and saute briefly. (I let the sugar get liquidy/start to caramelize). Add tomato sauce and cream. Stir to combine. Add chicken and heat through. Simmer until slightly thickened. If it becomes too thick, may add extra water. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve over rice.

Naan - Manjula
3/4 cup warm water
1 t yeast
2 t sugar
2 cups flour
1 t salt
1/8 t baking soda
2 T oil
2 1/2 T plain yogurt

1. Mix yeast, water and sugar and stir to dissolve. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add oil and yogurt and mix well. Add yeast water and knead to make a very sticky dough. (I use my stand mixer). Oil the dough, place in medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for four hours.
(You may form into 6-10 balls at this point and freeze. Remove from freezer several hours before baking).
2. Preheat the oven and baking stone to broil/500 degrees for 20 minutes. Oil hands and divide dough into 6-10 balls. Roll balls in flour. Using a rolling pin, roll to 1/4 inch thick. Wet hands and place naan on baking stone. Bake for 3 minutes. Remove from oven. Brush with melted butter (or ghee - clarified butter).