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Friday, July 30, 2010

This Week

I decided to post some pictures of Quinn, the
poor little guy wasn't mentioned below.

Its been another busy week. Wednesday took us back to Miller Children's Hospital, luckily though this time it was for fun. For anyone who doesn't know, Miranda was diagnosed with type one diabetes in March 2009 and Miller is where our pediatrician sent us to be educated and initiated into the world of blood sugars and insulin. We have become good friends with various people at the hospital and anytime public relation work has to be done, Miranda is usually called upon. Her picture is on the covers of brochures and has even done some work with The Mayor of Long Beach, Bob Foster. This time the hospital was making a social media video and Miranda had to play the part of a child preparing for surgery. Myself and Maura also had to look the part of very relieved parents speaking to the doctor afterwards. Very simple but lots of fun and nice to see some familiar faces at Miller.

Thursday kept us on the diabetes train as we had a meeting with an insulin pump representative from Animas. We have been yearning to get Miranda on a pump as it will make her life so much easier. For example, in a typical month she might receive one hundred and fifty actual needle shots. If she goes on the pump that number will decrease to ten! Technology is changing and the pump is smaller than an iPhone.

Today was Miranda's last day of preschool. I don't think she has quite grasped the concept of never having to walk through those gates again. We have been telling her for a while now and I know its going to hit her eventually. Now we have summertime ahead of us and hopefully I will be filling this blog with all the wonderful and crazy things we end up doing. I cant believe how fast she is growing up. I'm so proud of what she has accomplished in five years and how she continues to amaze me everyday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sticky rice recipe

Here is the recipe should anyone have a desire to make it.

1 1/2 cups glutinous (sweet) rice1 1/3 cups well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large ripe mangoes (chilled whole in refrigerator)*
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted lightly
Edible flowers or mint leaves for garnish

To prepare the sticky rice: Working in the sink, put the rice into a large bowl with plenty of water; stir well by hand. When the rice has settled to the bottom, pour off most of the cloudy water, refill and repeat until the water runs fairly clear. Soak the rice in plenty of water (so the water is approximately 2 to 3 inches above the rice) for 6 to 8 hours, preferably overnight (the grains will absorb water and grow in size). When ready to cook, drain rice well in a sieve. Set sieve over a large deep pot of simmering water (sieve should not touch water) and steam rice, covered with a kitchen towel and a lid, approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender (check water level in pan occasionally, adding more hot water if necessary). When rice is translucent and somewhat tender, it's done.
in a small saucepan bring coconut milk to a slow simmer, stirring constantly (hard boiled coconut milk will curdle). Add sugar and salt; stirring until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat. Keep mixture warm. Reserve approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup coconut-milk sauce; refrigerate until cool and thicken slightly.
Transfer hot cooked rice to a bowl and stir in coconut-milk mixture. Stir well with a spoon to make sure all the grains are well coated. Let rice stand, covered, approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until coconut-milk mixture is absorbed (the rice should be a little mushy). NOTE: Rice may be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature.
Just before serving, peel mangoes and then thinly slice by cutting lengthwise through flesh to the stone; discard the stone.

The finished dish can be kept, covered at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Do not refrigerate or the rice will harden!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Fun Times

Not quite ready.

Lazy River.

The smallest life vest we could find.

Quinn riding the rapids.

All Tinkered out.

We were assured by the lady in front of us that they were wearing underwear, how she knew was beyond me.

Demonstrating how kilts were utilised.

Large scary man with huge scary drum.

Ready to jig.
Sticky mango rice.

Wow, what a weekend! It began on Friday with our traditional visit to the concert in the park provided by the city. We meet with a bunch of good friends and have a huge pot luck whilst listening to the band and letting the kids run around until they drop of exhaustion. Lately the potlucks have had different themes and this Friday was required to have an Asian influence. Lots of good food arrived and I took along some Thai sticky rice with mango. This is Maura's favorite dessert anytime we eat Thai food, which can be quite often. The recipe was fairly easy to make but the ingredients were a little tricky to track down. I ended up buying the special sticky rice from a little Thai market in Norwalk. After finding the place I unloaded Quinn from the car into his stroller and manoeuvred around the aisles of this tiny store looking for my ingredients. Eventually after finding everything, I made my way to the register and after being rung up, found that they don't take credit cards. I put Quinn back in the car and then I had to drive around looking for an ATM. I found one at a gas station in a very questionable area, grabbed my money and took off for my booty being held at the store, unloaded Quinn again who by this time must have been a little fed up with all the jostling he was receiving, I paid for my rice and left. A good night was had by all and I look forward to next weeks theme.
On Saturday we made our way to The Ford Theatre where we watched a band called The Wicked Tinkers. The Ford is presenting music from a different culture each week and The Tinkers represented music from Scotland and Ireland. You know that foot tapping kind of music you might hear in the local pub. The band took some time to explain the history and origins of the instruments which they were playing and even I learned some interesting facts from them. After the Ford it was back home to get ready for Maura's sisters beach party at Huntington Beach which ended our Saturday adventures.
Sunday was a day at Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine. We met with Judith and her kids, Andrew and Sheridan and had a blast riding on some of the slides and playing in the pools. Even Quinn got in on the action and at five months is showing signs of loving the water like his big sister. Somewhere in between all of these events I found the time to start making my own wine. I have made it a few times before with moderate success. The first time I made it was when I still lived in Scotland and I was having some trouble trying to find some of the proper equipment, mainly a large fermenting vessel. I'll just have to improvise ,I thought, and I used a large plastic water carrier purchased from a garden center. After mixing the ingredients I left it to ferment. When I looked into the closet a week later to check its progress the water carrier had went from being a cube to almost completely round and was probably hours from exploding chardonnay all over my bedroom. My buddies and I went on to drink that wine demolishing bottles of it before we hit the town. What it was to be young!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cookie Class

Trying to make a cookie meatball.

And the mess begins.

This is easy as pie...or cookie.

Thinking about when she can eat some.

The frog looks worried.

I know, I know!

I'm ready dad.
So while speed shopping in Trader Joe's the other day I spotted figs on sale. Wow I haven't had figs since I was a nipper, I put some in the cart thinking there must be something I could make with these juicy Mediterranean jewels, hmm... I should have put a little more thought into that idea. Anyway I came upon the fig cookie and summoned my helper. After she donned the appropriate kitchen attire we were ready to go. Now I love to have Miranda help me in the kitchen whenever possible but I am guilty of treating her more like an employee rather than a lackadaisical ball of five year old , hey the kitchen is a dangerous place and after all her first visit to the emergency room was because of an accident in the kitchen! I have been getting better though at just letting her do her own thing and not stressing about the end result. So what if the cookies don't turn out, we would still have fun, right? It pains me just to write that sentence.
I think my turning point was when I was watching Bill Granger on The Cooking Channel (highly recommend this channel) and he was baking with his five year old daughter and having so much fun that I thought I must change or Miranda will be a microwave queen growing up. I think as you look at the pictures you will be able to tell we definitely did have a fun time, though by the end I had to take some deep breaths and pour some more wine as small pieces of cookie dough came flying at my head!! Have fun.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Introduction and San Diego wedding

The happy couple.

One of the few unique traditions from the brides family.

Me being rode upon.

All done.

Miranda getting some flower girl treatment.

Rehearsal dinner speech.

Today was Maura's first day back at work after taking four months of maternity leave. I on the other hand left my job two weeks ago and have been enjoying these last few weeks together almost like we were on vacation. As Maura enters her corporate world again I feel like today is my first day on the job, a new job where I make myself have to get out of bed at a set time and try to think twenty steps ahead of what I am doing at that moment. I have new priorities now like getting Miranda to school on time and making sure Quinn gets the attention a four month old requires,which can be a lot, tidying the house, laundry, dinner and any other mishap which may arise throughout my day. Today was a good day and I look forward to the future and my new job as a stay at home dad.
I started this blog because I am very proud of my kids.They make me laugh everyday and say the funniest things, more so Miranda right now as Quinn is more of a coo'er. He does have his moments though and I swear some of his coo sounds actually sound like real words.
So sit back and let a very happy SAHD share some of these strange and funny moments in our life with you and I hope I can make everyone laugh as much as we do.
Here are some pictures from Maura's brothers wedding which took place at the El Cortez building in downtown San Diego, congratulations Ace and Lindsey!