Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peel and Cook a Fish

Warning - Not for a weak stomach! Peeling a catfish before cooking.

A small piece of pliers helped grab hold of the skin, while a thin serrated blade helped along the tough bits of connective tissue, especially near the fins. Once there was a large enough piece of skin to grab a hold of, simple hand pressure could strip most of the skin off.

Mark caught another catfish today out of the lake on our family's land. It is a flathead catfish, just like the one he had caught a few months ago. This one was quite a bit smaller, but the meat was just as good. He did the gory part and then I peeled the skin off of it. That really is the hardest part and takes the longest. I ended up with one and a half small fillets of meat that were fried up in dairy butter with a little bit of tarragon. Then I boiled what meat was left on the bones in a stock pot for 45 minutes and drained off the liquid. The 'fish soup' stock was quite good mixed with some miso. All in all, it was a good experiment.

Esme said 'hello fish' when she saw it in the sink and tried to talk to it. I explained to her that people eat fish and that we were going to cut this one up to eat. She was 'ok' with that - she said 'bye bye' fish and told him he was going to be cook cook in the oven. haha. She even wanted to look in our aquarium for more fish... but it has been empty for nearly a year. I think when she gets just a little older the full gravity of the situation will require a bit more comfort and explanation than a simple 'bye bye.' But I'm glad she took this well.

Esme got her own 'regular' fish sticks out of the freezer. She ate all of her fish and said it was very good. The whole 'real' fish experiment took too long and she was hungry right then. Mama and the cats both thought this fish was pretty good, though! The meat is like chicken in texture but with different 'break' points and finer bones. The taste was also like a much milder form of chicken and it held the butter flavor VERY well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hourglass Windmills

I'm working on Esme's quilt, but it isn't coming quickly. I didn't want to choose too hard of a pattern - so I sat down at the sewing machine and made a block that was easy... and it turned out to be this 'hourglass' pattern, set in fours so they look like pinwheels. These aren't the colors going with it exactly... but just a basic idea.

We went to the library sale in Camden today - but it was a terrible mess. There were way too many people in too small of a space, and hardly any of them looking what they were doing. It really was just too much, mothers screaming at children and people shoving and/or standing right in the middle of the walkway. Esme said she was scared and fell on the floor refusing to walk. Mark said he was done and went back to the car after less than five minutes. I did get Mark a set of scifi books that may or may not be any good, and a beautiful Static Mechanics book for me that was in the only area people were not flocking around - the science textbook section!

I have the weekend off and back on Monday to work.

NOTES: I got four quilter's magazines at a yard sale for a quarter each.. They are almost as old if not older than I am, and have some neat basic patterns in them to photocopy. On the cover of one magazine is a sampler quilt made with 49 different quilt blocks all the same size. Searching on that I found this website and was in love! I may actually have to try some of these little blocks soon -- after I stop letting Esme's quilt kick my tail and get it further along.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A day of not much...

We actually didn't do much of anything today, and it felt nice. I did try to take a nap earlier after Daddy got up from his. I've been badly in need of one after being woken up early in the morning every day by a little voice! During the nap Esme forced her hand inside mine and said 'you awight mama?'... then tried to yank my foot off... then left me alone for a little while. Daddy gets naps... why can't Mom?

There was a huge thunderstorm a few hours ago - thunder, lots of lightning etc. The power must have flickered off and on about seven times within an hour. I was at the sewing machine, glad that sewing machines 'reboot' much quicker than computers during power outages! I finished a pair of purple 'short pants' that have been cut out for a while. Grandma gave us the material for that - and there is another pair of short pants cut out that are yet to be sewn up. Making just a little progress here and there on the quilt, nothing to photograph yet.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of balloons , trees and wagons

We had fun today after the sun went down a little bit. I got this 'Happy Birthday' balloon from a coworker yesterday when we stopped in to check my next week's schedule. Esme really likes balloons - and this one went for a walk with us and managed to get stuck in a tree (I even had it tied to a weight but she undid it somehow). Daddy climbed this far up the tree to get it and scratched his leg a little ... but he did get it down. Wow!

I wasn't sure whether to take a picture or not at this point!

Daddy also did a little 'Calvin and Hobbes' in the wagon on the way down to the lake - these pictures are going to be classic! We took the boat out for a little bit and the dogs swam around a lot, then Mama and Daddy took turns pulling Esme back up the hill in the wagon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Swimming lesson

Esme did such a good job today at her 'swimming lesson' at our lake. She has been saying 'No No' to 'Do you want to go swimming?' for two days in a row. The last two 'lessons' she has been screaming and crying most of the time asking to go back to the truck, to go 'outside, inside, sorry, please!' etc etc..

Today she giggled, blew bubbles in the water, kicked her feet and hardly clung to either of us. In fact, I had to ask her to come back once! Her little swimmer lifejacket is doing a great job letting her wave her arms and swim around by herself.

I think it helped today that she knew after we swam some she would get a ride on the boat. She loves the boat. That is how I got her to come willingly to the lake with us - she didn't want to swim but DID want to go on the boat. I told her we had to go swimming before we would ride the boat (which is the 'process' every time) and she said 'ok' and got ready to go. She is our process kid, definitely...

Esme is also scared of 'big brown bear' lately. This comes from two things. Her Starfall on the letter 'b' has a 'big brown bear' that growls. And this game I'm playing lately Frontierville has a big brown bear that stands up on the loading screen and is roaring with fangs beared. One night when we were outside in the dark playing in the sand I told Esme I was worried about big brown bears coming and finding us.. and she grabbed my hand and marched right inside. I feel a little guilty, but not much *haha* as I was hearing noises in the woods that I couldn't attribute to the dogs. When we were out on the boat the other day Esme was saying 'what's that!' and making her scared noise in several places. I (jokingly) pointed to a very dark area of the woods and said a 'big brown bear' lived there. Today on the boat she pointed to a different but similar dark part of the woods and said 'big brown bear there'. She has quite the memory!

And yesterday at Grandma's house Daddy was getting a metal jar out of a cupboard. Esme sometimes plays with that jar and makes it go 'ding' by hitting things against it. It lives in a specific cupboard, or at least - it did, until Daddy decided to take it home. It was something Grandma was keeping for him. Esme got really upset about us not putting it back away in the cupboard, and didn't want us to go out the door without putting it away. She knows she has to put away toys and that was a toy! We had to explain we were taking it home and have Grandma say it was okay. Again, the process kid...

Note We went to the flea market this morning. The alphabet panel fabric came in the mail today, as well. It looks like it is just about the perfect size if a border is added around the outside. I haven't made many more squares for the quilt yet - machine is still acting up some, but hope to get to a few more tomorrow? We don't have so much running to do tomorrow as we did today.

Lifejacket: It's a Stearns Puddle Jumper in bright yellow :) We got it at WM, but Amazon has an online listing for them. It really doesn't look like much until you see it in the water! If the strap is loose she gets a little water right up under her mouth and she gets scared. When the back strap is properly tightened it is just perfect... need to double check that each time before going in the water because it loosens up and slips position as the straps dry out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thirty one

I went out for my sunrise this morning. I didn't actually focus on the sun itself like last year - but in the difference between light and dark, the noises of the world, the bugs and frogs and dewdrops, mist on the lake and being childlike wherever I wished. I stuck toes in the sand, played with the garden hose and the mud. I sat down and watched minnows and frogs smaller than the nail on my pinky finger. It was nice. I discovered a pink gladiolus in our garden that is all by itself in the weeds - and saw the mist on the lake turn three different ways at once as it wandered around the surface. There were two blue herons and a plucky wolf spider that did not want me anywhere near it's mud puddle. The dogs ran about and made a general ruckus breaking the other normal morning noises of birds and faroff roosters and engines on the distant highway.

I came back and slept for a few more hours until Esme was awake - and then we went out for a short walk to the lake with the camera. She really wanted to ride the boat - but Mom said not without the lifejacket, which was at home. She gave me yellow leaves where she found them and collected green nuts. She was unhappy with the watching of frogs... have to go run Mom! I let her play in the sand a little back at the house until we decided what we wanted to do for the day.

Sunlight coming through the trees, filtering and making the thermal air currents dance between light and dark.

We went to Jackson for the afternoon, and visited the craft store and the bookstore. I bought one yard of the Kanji fabric I had made Esme a dress out of last year. I was surprised to see it there again! I found other little things that are hard to find for me here, a good sketchbook, pencils and eraser, an array of cardstock colors to make mosaic pictures out of and a glue pen for that.. etc... Just little odds and ends where we found them - seems to be the theme this year :) Esme got wooden snakes and lizards, a foam airplane toy and new crayons. At the bookstore I bought a harmonica for Esme and a bag game called 'Pairs in Pears' for both of us. It has four different 'font' sets of hard letter tiles like Scrabble in a zip bag that looks like a pear. Esme is excited about it and doesn't ever want me to put it away. Mark got another few books he has been looking for. Then we all got strawberry shakes on the way home :)

Esme has been a fairly good girl at home, except for not wanting to put away new toys at dinnertime. And now she is napping in her room after a full belly of fish and carrots.

Thirty one is nice.
And six more days of vacation is nice, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day for Mark

Happy Father's Day to Mark, you are a wonderful Daddy. I've already told you that, including this morning, but posting it here, too :)

Here is our little couch potato in training!

Haha.. just kidding. She was outside just before this running around, crying because Mama was on the lawnmower and she wasn't. Then she played in the dirt, got dust all over her face from the tears - and then came back in to finish her applesauce and granola bar while watching 'Chicken Run' at her request.

and here is a Father's Day flashback :)

Esme and her Daddy

It's been a while since I updated -- just too much to do, and waiting waiting on this vacation to get here! It is now the second day of a nine day stretch. I'm sunburned slightly ALREADY- and it is bound to get worse! Esme is getting better at the swimming again with her little lifejacket. She actually stopped crying for a bit yesterday when we were down there. She also stayed almost stock still in the boat while we were going around the lake - which is very good training. She wore her life jacket then, too.

We're not planning on doing much during this vacation. A grocery shopping trip, a few more swimming lessons at the lake... I learned how to drive the 4wheeler yesterday, but it will take a lot more practice to be confident on it. I've decided on the pattern for Esme's quilt and the alphabet panel for the back will probably come in the mail this week. We have some packages ready to be sent out to Virginia and elsewhere this week, as well.

I'm spending some time on FrontierVille on Facebook (a new game) and working on the quilt, eating oriental flavor Ramen noodles and drinking coffee. That is a nice vacation, even if Esme doesn't let me sleep in!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

finally a day off....

Just got back from our town run. I finally have a day off - two days even! And we're still counting down to vacation on the 19th. We went to the thrift store and bought a changing table we saw there a few weeks back. That will replace the one that was attached to the crib, but take up less space than the crib and have shelving for storage. Esme is doing a little better using the potty chair before or after a bath - but there is a long way to go still and she is easily frustrated by it. We also did some grocery shopping then ran back home to the shade as it is nearing 100 degrees out there. Esme got a pair of 'rose-colored glasses' at the thrift store but she broke them first thing in the door falling over the dog. I duct-taped them... so it isn't a total loss. Right now she is sitting in Mark's lap watching him adjust the new reel for his fishing rod that he got for Father's Day.

going to go play with a quilt block or too, cool off and think about lunch.

LATER: We took Esme swimming in the lake, with the 'learn to swim' lifejacket we bought for her last week. It has the arms free with extra floaters on each one so she can move her arms and try to swim. She HATES it... and hates the idea of swimming... but that is because it has been so long since last year. She was really proud and happy about her floatees last year... but then the season was over and I hadn't really gotten out there very often with her etc... The funniest thing was when we were out there she was yelling 'Outside! Outside!'. We told her she WAS outside, and pointed to trees, sky, clouds etc.. Then she started yelling 'Inside! Inside!'. Finally she didn't know what to say 'Inside! Outside! Sorry! Please Sorry!' as if apologizing would make us stop the torture of having her her out in the water with us. I was proud of her for walking back in the water to us when she didn't want to.. but she wanted to be back with mom and dad and not alone... and then she tried to drag us out when she got to us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alphabet panel

I bought this alphabet panel the other day : Aldo to Zippy by Jenn Ski. It should be the back of Esme's new bed quilt.

Esme talking to Ninja cat this morning: Kitty, you are CUTE. Are you awight? You cry? You have bug in your ear? Awww... kitty.

Monday, June 14, 2010

odd comments

Last night Esme got a hold of an old project I had been working on quite a while back... I can't even remember from when, there was dust on it! It was a bisection of a brain, made in felt, but lacking the cerebrum and cortex. I told Esme:
"That's mommy's partially made brain, it's not done yet, you can't play with it until I fix it here and here."

Mark said that was just too weird not to post somewhere, so I've posted it a few places haha.

And Esme this morning was looking at a picture of a sunset through the trees in a book and said 'There's ALIENS there' while pointing to the lights in the trees. We watched 'BOLT' last night and she was really excited about identifying the aliens there, too. She's been saying the word ever since she saw that episode of the simpsons with Mr.Burns wandering spaced out through the woods and Homer thought he was an alien.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New bed for Esme

This is how you sleep in it!

We found this at the fifty mile yard sale today. We put it together here - but we'll move it to where Esme's crib is later tonight. Thank you to Grandma and Grandpa for chipping in for a brand new mattress to fit inside it, and a set of green sheets Esme picked out (not in the pictures yet - going to put them on before she goes to sleep).

Mark doesn't understand why I call it a guilty pleasure that the first thing I thought about after getting it was making Esme a special quilt to fit it. Haha! Grandma understood, though!

She also ate the entire peach blended up with some applesauce tonight. There was enough for me to have some, too. It was very good!

There will be a LOT of bouncing in it.. no matter how much we tell her not to. She has also been drinking orange kool-aid today and has a very orange tongue!

LATER: She has a green sheet with a mattress protector underneath it. AND - the pillows I made a while back with the striped yellow/red/blue cloth - one of those fits perfectly in the bed (WOW). I put an old pillowcase over it and it is now her pillow. The dreamweaver blanket Leilani at work gave us (Blanket bug) is on her bed and we retied her music pull toys to the 'rear view' mirror place in the car.

As Mark was grabbing tools to adjust a baby gate some Esme asks 'Are you going to fix it?' plain as day :) When we were assembling the car earlier I handed Mark one of the side pieces and before I could turn around and get the second Esme had it in hands and was running to the other side to help Daddy put the piece in the right place. :) she's really excited!

One last picture of it all put together in her room:

kangaroo and mr.frog get to sleep with her, if they're good!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Living up to her name

As some might remember, Esme shares a first name with Granny Weatherwax in Terry Pratchett books... I didn't know that when I first chose the name and spelling 'Esmerelda' - but Mark directed me to the books after that and it didn't change my mind about the name. Today she was living up to that name by attempting to ride the broom in the kitchen and taking her stuffed kitty for a 'whee' on it with her as well. The kitty rode on the broom much better ;) Silly little girl!

Feeling somewhat better but still not great. Mark went to the flea market yesterday and picked up more fresh milk and butter from the dairyman. He also did a complete overhaul and cleaning of our fridge the other day - and fixed the clogged freezer drain that was dumping water on the floor. That was a lot of work!

He has also been busy getting the boat ready to go out into the lake. Grandma and Grandpa came down yesterday and took a ride with him. I walked Esme down to the lake to see them and Grandma and Grandpa gave her a ride back up. My sewing machine is acting up again... broke another needle. I've worked a little more on the front of the shirt for Esme - but messed up on one of my alterations on the back.

Note: When changing neckline shape on the back of a garment be sure the shoulder widths are still the same as the front piece.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Still just very tired today... .:( Did finish the purple alien and will get him in the mail today. Esme wanted so badly to help put his eyes on that I had to put her to bed last night and go downstairs to finish it. Poor girl... but she did sleep well and is now watching her dog/kitty movie. I have to work the midshift and then the early shift tomorrow... just want some more sleep and I'm not going to get any.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

32 months

Much MUCH more talking, repeating, commenting on anything and everything. She holds conversations, describes actions in movies and books and that her toys are doing. She makes me wear an invisible hat and give her one too. Sometimes her hands are monsters and they eat things and talk. She understands how things work much better - and is much more likely to listen to instructions. She can squirt a squirt gun, open a marker and other things she refused to listen to how to do before... She will sometimes listen to reason and befores and afters (you can do X - but we have to have a new diaper / wash your hands / pick up toys etc... you can't do that - it will bite you / fall down / be 'ewwww' etc.)

She still knows all her letters, a few numbers now and a lot of colors and animals. She can rote count up to ten if she feels like it, but most of the time feigns ignorance. She will proudly proclaim twos and threes, and 'this one and the other one' for pairs of shoes, twin toys etc... She can read some words and announces every STOP sign loudly.

She can walk up the stairs one leg at a time, and pull down most of the shorts and pants she has on her own. That was something she had a lot of trouble with before. She's much more obstinate about picking out her own clothing lately - which sometimes is a pain because she doesn't want to wear anything that is clean.

Some of the things I've heard her say recently:
Drink cup, where are you? Have you seen drink cup Daddy? There you are drink cup! Bad Drink Cup! etc etc..
We're going to go to town.
Take off cow shirt please.
Bad dog, no bite (to the puppy pulling on her shirt)
Kitty, get off the bed.
Doggy, don't eat my food!
Mama, this my read, no my read, go away!
Farmer, watch out! Oh no Farmer, you awight? (to the farmer in Shaun the Sheep who got scared by the rat in the glove)

Sand and poison ivy

Mark identified about ten poison ivy plants in this one little patch, of several different types... He says he keeps her out of that particular place when they are out. Bad Mama! She is usually cautious about places Daddy yells at her for going - but charged right up to here before Mama saw the patch climbing the tree..... should have known better.

Esme begged to play outside this morning almost first thing after she got up. Mama was being kind of lazy sitting on the porch until I went to get the camera -- and then I didn't look out for poison ivy. I hope she didn't get into it too badly - and that she isn't reactive like my side of the family. Mark says she has gotten into some before and not reacted too badly... bad Mama!

I thought this was a particularly pretty shot - she was trying to help me put the road marker back up near the driveway.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Projects on the desk

A purple alien monster is on the desk - going with me to work in a ziploc actually.. to get sewn up. Esme's shirred front shirt is also on the desk, cut out, but not sewn at all. I still need to cut the facings for it, though... I have a drawing made of a three-headed dragon I'd like to make.

Esme is in a slightly better mood this morning - but she really wants to go see Grandma. She even found an old pair of slippers to put on because we wouldn't put on her shoes at 9 in the morning. Now she is chasing the cat around clopping in the slippers.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More tantrums and patterns

Picked up a few more patterns at a shop after work - the man there said his MIL had a few he would bring, and several of them were well worth both our time. I am cutting out a shirred front shirt out of one of them now.

Esme is still having her dinnertime tantrums... *sigh* - not really sure if it is because she is too tired for dinner or just being contrary etc...? Just trying to wrestle a new diaper on her makes me feel like I'm torturing her, she screams and cries and throws herself on the floor. Washing her hands is just as bad - and then she throws the food down or falls asleep instead of eating. Tonight we just put it in the fridge instead of fight with her... she's sleeping it off now and maybe starting to stir now at 7 (we ate at 5). Some people I know said to try to give her a little bit of protein food in the middle of lunch and dinner - as an afternoon snack... that might stop the meltdowns, but we're not sure. Usually she has crackers for her snack - but the recc. for protein food was specific.

AFTER ALL THAT: She woke up and was cuddly and clingy, which was sweet - and then she wanted to eat, and choose clothes, and play with toys, have a bath and more food and watch her Shaun the Sheep. It's nearly eleven though and I do need to convince her to go to sleep!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Main street toy

I knew she'd love it because it has a 'slide.'
It is supposed to have another one on the other side - but it is remarkably complete for something found in the back of a thrift store. I remember having something like this as a kid - but my people were made of wood and there was a school, as well. They put so much detail into these toys back then, the little payphone booth, mailslots on the doors for little plastic letters lost from this set, holes in the cars for 'gas' pumps, pictures on the inside of the shops, a 'manhole' that opens up that toys can drop inside the fire station through... etc... The thing that sticks up in the back actually drops down to enclose two of the rooms for holding items safe while being carried by the handle. What kind of forethought is that? Good, that's what ;)

Peaches and Corn

Esme loves fresh peaches. We bought some at the grocery store yesterday and she was gaga about the idea then - and even more so when she got a whole one cut up for her on a plate. She ate it all, making yummy noises all the time. I put some canned peaches in her cereal this morning and put the syrup in her cup with some water - she loved that too.

We also bought fresh sweet corn, just a few ears. Esme watched me 'open corn' and I tried to explain it was the same as what we bought in cans - but this was what it looked like right after they took it off the 'corn tree.' She understands 'tree' - I know she does, but she didn't understand corn plant, so I said tree and saw that register better. She ate some right off the cob (after I washed it) and thought it was excellent. She didn't think it was quite as good after cooking - but after a bit tried to eat some of it and eventually lost her cob to the cat. The corn bits we shaved off half the cob she didn't want much of, but ate some. They weren't as novel as the ones on the cob. It's funny she thought they were two different things even though they taste the same.

I slept till eight-thirty this morning and it feels like I slept till noon! That is because I've had so many early early mornings this week. Have another one tomorrow. Hope to get some ambition to start on something while she is watching Muppets with Daddy. She asked for them specifically, as well as for the blue pinafore she is wearing. Daddy says she's getting demanding about what she wears lately - sorts through everything until she finds what she wants and cries if we put something else on her. I said I'm just responsible for making the clothes - not for which ones she is going to like best.

Still reading 'The Road', but only at work. The world there is so desolate it is too sharp of a contrast against my home, but works well in the white and quiet breakroom at work. I feel so much for the characters - want to always leave them 'safe' and in a good place before I have to go back to work. Yesterday I stopped reading ten minutes before the lunch was up because they had found a good place and were safe... Because it is a father and child I think it plucks my heartstrings more now that I have Esme and I always want to keep her safe...

THRIFT STORE: Found Esme a 'Fisher Price Main Street' with about half of the cars and people and signs in it. Less than 5 bucks! WOW. She thinks it is a very cool toy and so do we. I also picked up a stack of patterns as they had some new ones I hadn't went through before. Yes - just yesterday I was saying I could work up almost anything I need to - but for a quarter apiece it is nice to have them to hand and there is a lot of 'art collector' quality to it for me at times... I like to look at the pictures and read through the instructions and see when in time that style was popular etc..

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fabric bonus and pattern thoughts

Received some bright polycotton solids and a bit of other assorted fabric from a lady at work today. This was a bag she had laying in a craft room and stumbled across it. It is all in good condition - and I promised I'd see what I could do with it. There is a nice piece of long white curtain fabric that is almost exactly like the fabric on the sleeves of Esme's last shirt.

I have been looking through old patterns again on the Internet. It is sad I can think through what most of the adjustments would be from patterns I already own. Well, not sad for me, just for the pattern seller! A few of those also show the pattern pieces from the back of the envelope - which feels like cheating ;) I saw a child's sundress with huge pockets someone wants 15.00 for as 'antique.' They showed the pattern pieces and I am going to try to work it up using of my other patterns as a base. Esme would love the pockets!

Not a whole lot else today - had to work very early and we did grocery shopping after work. Esme was extremely good at the store. We had supper but she didn't want to eat much. I have tomorrow off.. and maybe Esme will stop running full speed tonight long enough for me to start a project ;) Yea, right haha.