Friday, March 16, 2012

"Free" Coffee

Today was busy and crazy, a nice antidote for spending the whole day stuck at home with a poor sick kiddo yesterday.

I started with a monochromatic breakfast (we didn't have any milk):

This morning I was honored to attend one of the cutest events I've ever seen, The St. Jude Bike-a-thon at Emily's preschool.  The kids rode their bikes around in a circle for 10 minutes to raise money for St. Jude's.  Well most of them did.  Poor Emily has not quite mastered the bike yet, so she scooted around in a circle for 10 minutes.  There were two other kids on scooters too at least.  But there were also some kids riding bikes without training wheels!  In preschool?  How is that even possible?

Ready to go!

The starting gun
Buckling down for the last 2 minutes

The triumphant finish!

Halftime show...watching the 3 year olds' lepreuchan parade

Sisters!  Who refuse to ever look at the camera at the same time!
 After the indignity of being forced to scoot around in a circle on a carpeted floor while wearing a helmet, Emily jumped up and satisfied her need for speed by sprinting around the circle a couple times.

She looks so tall and lanky to me in this picture!
Then I see her next to all the other kids in her class and realize she's still a teeny munchkin
 How can it be possible that Emily is still in the 50th percentile for height for her age?  Are the children of Frederick all freakishly tall as well as freakishly excellent at bike-riding?

After we finished bike-a-thoning Charlotte seemed to be holding up well so I decided it would be a good day to fulfill my duck feeding/playground promise.  Not as good a day as yesterday, but unfortunately circumstances prevented us from enjoying that particular beautiful day.

So excited

Declaring victory over a pond full of bread-stuffed ducks
The ducks and even the geese were well-mannered today (I remember my mom taking me to Culler lake when I was about Emily's age and a goose snatched the sandwich right out of my hand!) so our experience was nice.

When we got to the car we all had some food.  I thought to myself as I packed my salad this morning "I need to remember to bring a fork!"  And I thought I did, but I sure couldn't find one.  I don't think I could bring myself to just dig bare-handed into a salad unless I was starving to death, so luckily after some searching I was able to locate a plastic spoon in the door of my car.  Not as good as a fork, but at least it wasn't a knife.

After the quick drive we got out to go to the playground.  What a dreary day!  We made the best of it though.

The sun wasn't bright enough to REALLY get my girls their whitest, but I hung them out to dry anyway
Can you tell what Emily's favorite thing to do at the playground is?
 After awhile Charlotte started to get tired and whiney.

She still enjoyed playing peek-a-boo in Mommy's lap though so that gave Emily a little more time to dangle from various bars.

On the way back to the car Emily enjoyed some brand-new spring grass!  I always get so excited to see the ground turning green again.

With everyone still in decent moods I stopped to cash in a free coffee coupon at Joanie's Carroll St. Cafe.  I went here once before when I was pregnant with Charlotte and thought that it was unusual but really good.  I got chicken noodle soup that time, and everything in it was homemade, including the noodles!  Yum.

This was by far the strangest experience of my day.  This place is JUST like walking into someone's kitchen and having them make you drinks and food, down to a big kitchen table with random stuff all over it.  It's full of clutter almost like someone lives there, and Joanie treats everyone like a guest in her house.  When she saw I had one of the free small coffee coupons, our conversation went a little like this:

Joanie: You have a coupon!  What kind of drink would you like?
Sara: What kinds of coffee do you have?
Joanie: I can make you a vanilla latte, a pumpkin, a vanilla chai....whatever you'd like.
Sara: (desperately wants a free vanilla latte but also wants to be good) Wow.  Well, is the "pumpkin" pumpkin-flavored coffee?
Joanie: (nods)
Sara: Well then I'll have that please.
Joanie: It comes with a waffle.
Sara: Huh?
Joanie: (addressing the girls) Would you girls like a waffle?
Emily and Charlotte: YAY!
Sara: (sighs) Alright then.

Joanie then disappeared behind the counter, and the girls proceeded to try to shred her many houseplants, tell her fish they were going to eat them, and wander off into her room full of antique dresses.  After a time Joanie returned and handed me the biggest pumpkin latte I have ever seen.  Oh boy.  On the one hand this was not at all what I had come in for or thought I was getting, on the other hand she was really going above and beyond to be nice to me, and what kind of jerk would argue about being handed a FREE latte?  That was made with cream and real pumpkin.  I was powerless to resist it, and holy crap was it good.

After handing me the latte Joanie walked back into the kitchen and then I saw her go by holding a cup of flour.  Yeah.  She seriously mixed up 1 waffle's worth of batter to make a fresh waffle for us.  In the meantime I tried to control the girls while I watched people come in and out (all of whom Joanie greeted by name) and grab drinks from her cooler, soup from her pot, and sandwiches she had made, and none of them seemed to pay for what they were taking.  I felt like I'd wandered into some weird alternate (socialist) reality.  The only way this place can still exist over 2 years after opening is if Joanie is independently wealthy.  The giant real-life painting of her wearing a gown and reclining on a couch hanging on the wall lent support to my theory.

My free small coffee

Yep, that skin on top means it's real.  REAL GOOD.
I gave the waffle to the girls, and Emily demolished her half while Charlotte barely touched hers.  I took a tiny bite out of curiosity and it was just what a perfect waffle should be.  Luckily I don't like perfect waffles (crisp on the outside, soft and eggy-tender and almost hollow on the inside), I like dense brick waffles like the whole wheat ones I make :-)  Who wants their waffle to dissolve into slop when you pour syrup on it anyway?

I managed to leave about half a cup of the liquid deliciousness behind, even though I wanted to slurp up every last drop.  I wish I didn't have such issues with food.  Here this woman was being incredibly nice, and I just couldn't appreciate it :-(  Or perhaps I should just wish sugar and white flour didn't exist.

In a completely random side note, the yard near my driveway is filled with 3 kinds of teeny little flowers right now.  This is my favorite kind:

I enjoy being welcomed home by spring every time I step out of the car!

Once we got home I put Charlotte down for her nap, and Emily and I mixed up some pizza dough.  She's a great kitchen helper, as long as the food item you are making doesn't taste all that good in its raw form :-)

Stirring and measuring

Kneading the dough

Goofing off

Making crazy faces while kneading results in a more tender pizza crust
While the dough was rising, Emily and I did an hour of Zumba in the living room.  Since I wanted to keep a close eye on Charlotte today I didn't really want to send her to the daycare at the gym, so I skipped my normal morning Zumba class.  I do the same routine at home though, so I still got a pretty good workout in before my shufflin' shook the living room enough that it woke Charlotte.

Post-workout snack
Plus this because I was still hungry
Then we had some more excitement.  Emily had mentioned once before today that she was itchy, but upon inspection she seemed fine so I dismissed it as probably due to a tag in her shirt or having just been outside and possibly rolling in the grass.  But right before dinner time she was REALLY complaining about itching on her back, so I took off her shirt and discovered a bunch of hives all over her back!  I don't mess around with allergies because Will has them so badly and reacted so weirdly to his allergy never know when something benign can turn into a major reaction so I went running for the children's Benedryl.  Which OF COURSE tells you to call your Dr. for the correct dosage if your child is under 6 years old.  That makes call #3 to the pediatrician's office this past week.  Next time I call I think I'm just going to say "Hi, it's me".

So we dosed Emily with the correct dosage (1 tsp for a 37-pound 4 year old if anyone out there is wondering), then popped her in the shower to help with the itching until the medicine kicked in.  Afterward I smeared on calamine "lotion" (it's actually more the consistency of water) and Emily sighed and declared that it should be called "itch-be-gone cream".

I'll admit, I was very curious to see what Benedryl did to Emily, since she has never taken it before though I have been tempted on MANY occasions to use it to get her to go to sleep.  This child has only ever fallen asleep ONCE in her entire life without being laboriously PUT to sleep...I am so jealous of those pictures people post on Facebook of their kids just passed out on the living room floor surrounded by whatever it was they were doing.  But yeah, it turns out Benedryl doesn't slow her down one bit.  I blame the lack of pseudoephedrine.

Dinner was leftovers pizza.  One slice was tomato sauce + pumpkin puree + pesto topped with chicken and mushrooms, shredded kale, chopped chicken sausage and cheese.  On the other one I just dumped the rest of the leftover taco soup and covered it with cheese.  Yum.

We ate on the back porch again this evening.  Well, some of us ate.

I wasn't going to have a drink tonight, but then Will busted out the sangria and I had to partake.

I even forced myself to eat a bit of asparagus.  Hated this as a kid and I'm still not a fan, but I'm working on it.

These crazy things (who like to stand on the outside table and peek in the kitchen window at me after dinner) have no problem eating asparagus though.

I tried to resist dessert since I had a large portion of a gigantic pumpkin latte today, but of course I couldn't stick to that decision either :-(

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