August 31, 2023

Sweet/Sour Weekend

We made another short visit to the beach this weekend, to catch up with some old friends and their daughter, who is 5 months older than SoJo.

Before we left, he got a surprise on our way out to the car when a hot air balloon went over my parents' house.
They seem to launch balloons nearby, as we see them a few times each summer overhead.
SoJo loved it, and for the first hour of our drive, he kept saying "baloo" while scanning the horizon out of the car windows.

Despite the pleasure in hanging out with friends, going to the beach, and watching the kids play and swim, it was quite a headache for me, since SoJo got his first ear infection.

Friday night he went to bed with a slight fever, and by 1am he was screaming in the pack and play, and burning up, that poor little boy. I couldn't believe how hot his skin was to the touch. I gave him some Tylenol, settled him next to me in bed, and he slept a few fitful hours. His fever went down, but around 4, he woke again, crying and hot and pulling at his head. Fortunately my mom was there (Mr. Geek didn't come with us, since he was required to work on Friday since it's the beginning of the semester), so she helped me take him to a nearby 24 hour clinic.

He was ok at the clinic until I had to pee really bad and had to hand him to my mom. Then the wailing began, and it lasted until we walked out the door. Not even a popsicle could sooth him, or all of the stickers that the nurses gave him. I'm thinking he might be starting to associate doctors' offices with shots now, and that he was suspecting that something bad was going to happen under those fluorescent lights.

They checked out SoJo's ears and found that he has a middle-ear infection. Not sure how kids get these, but I'm guessing it may have been from swimming or just laying down in the bathtub, which he likes to do. This is the first time he's been really sick, so I wasn't sure how he'd handle it, or even if he was allergic to penecillan. So far, he's been doing much better with his alternating doses of Tylenol, ibuprophin, and antibiotics.

He's feeling well enough to ruin the photos of the knitting project I nearly finished this weekend.
He insisted that the ball of yarn was a ball for him to throw.
And since being sick means getting to do pretty much anything you want to, I let him play a little while.
It was nothing that 12 hours of sleep couldn't fix (and make that 10 hours for me, since I hardly slept all weekend. Hope your dwindling summer weekend was much more relaxing, and didn't end with a bottle of penecillan in your fridge.

August 26, 2023

Wordful Wednesday: Tired

I'm too tired to even describe this photo, but I'm sure you parents can fill in the blanks.
"Ok, I'm ready to play now!"
For more Wordful Wednesday, visit

August 25, 2023

Africa Comes to PA Dutch Country

Our weekend was pretty eventful around our small town. We spent Saturday night drumming in the park, led by some master drummers from Ghana.
Sponsored by Bamboula, LTD, a wonderful company that I've worked with via my blog in the past, the drumming was amazing, and I'm regretful that I forgot my video camera at home, if only to be able to share the sounds created by the drummers and the audience. In addition to being drummers, the two Ghanian men are also accomplished Kente cloth weavers.
The first half an hour was devoted to children, and it was great seeing the kids sitting along the stage in our town's bandshell, making music with borrowed drums and tambourines.
SoJo was a bit overwhelmed by the intensity and vibration of the drumming. But he got over his trepidation towards the end of the children's drum circle, and was beating on the drum. Oh, he loved the beating part, and whacked my fingers a few times.
He was also possessed by the spirit of the dance,
as were many of the performers. I loved that guy in the hat, he was so jovial.The energy of the group was amazing, and indescribable. Thankfully, this will be a yearly event, and will resume again next August when the Ghanian drummers return.

We also spent part of our weekend at a local lake, which had a sandy beach that SoJo loved.
Yep, he's wearing just a cloth diaper, since I forgot to pack his swimsuit. It never fails, forgetting the most essential item in lieu of drinks, an extra change of clothes, and other not-so-necessary accoutrements.

He was content playing in the sand with primitive digging tools
(my little Lord of the Flies child with his driftwood shovel)
But the "surf" wasn't too rough, so he liked walking in and out of the water too.
Ah, summer, dwindling down to cool nights and earlier sunsets.


I'm sure many of you mothers feel this way.Pulled in four directions by obligation, not horses. Children maybe. And only pretend swords.

That's how I feel this week. Too many things I want to enjoy and accomplish, the short list being knitting, blogging, working on inventory for my future Etsy shop that I'd like to have up by October, cooking, fall cleaning, doing a graphic design project for a friend, organizing our chaotic basement mess, finishing the flower beds around the garage, painting exterior doors, knitting, wait, I said that already. And of course, spending time with SoJo. And some part time work on art activities for another project that has re-emerged (non-blog-related). Oh, and I was at the museum again yesterday, working, so I didn't get much time to be online, yet again.

I was fantasizing on the ride home from my friend Shana's house this afternoon about movies that I'd like to watch, even random ones like Yentil and The English Patient, neither of which are among my favorites. But thinking of spending two hours watching DVDs is not an option: there are just too many other exciting things to spend my time on.

So here I am, quartered by many things, and am in need of extra arms and legs to be pulled. Any takers?

August 24, 2023

Canning Salsa

'Twas a busy weekend, hence the lack of posting. I'm going to break it up into two posts, since I wanted to share my domestic achievement from Saturday and then our fun times.

I spent Saturday morning in the kitchen with my summer canning project--salsa! We go through this condiment so quickly in our household, from quesadillas to Spanish omelettes, so I decided to transform our glut of tomatoes and peppers into salsa.
I canned salsa a few years back, but kept remembering it as a lot of work, so I avoided it. But after making applesauce last fall (which wasn't too difficult), I thought I'd give it another chance. I started around 8:30am and was finished by 11:30am, including kitchen cleanup.

Well, I should actually start the night before: I washed the canning jars and lids,
and prepped the tomatoes. I learned a really great technique for peeling tomatoes from a friend. Just wash them, put them on a baking sheet or a platter, or even in ziplock bags
and stick them in the freezer. The next day, pull them out,
slice an "X" on one end, pop them in a bowl of warm water,
and the skins peel right off.
Here they are, peeled and ready to go.
Plus because the tomatoes are still frozen, it's less messy to chop. The juices don't run all over the cutting board.

I gathered my supplies,
started chopping like a madwoman, and cooked the salsa. I added all colors of peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, corn, black beans, and tomatillos.I should have added more than one jalapeno, because when I tried the salsa today, it was a little bland for my palette. I like stuff spicy! But it still beats store-bought stuff any day.

I made enough salsa (by eyeballing it) to fill all 12 of my Mason jars. The funnel came in handy.
Once the jars were filled, I put on the lids, used the canning jaws of life,
and stuck those babies in the boiling water for 20 minutes to can them.
And this is what you get.
Or should I say this is what you don't get, since I plan to keep all of these to myself. I made the mistake of giving one to everyone I knew last time I made this, and had only 3 jars to enjoy. But maybe if you're nice, you might get a taste, friends and family.

August 20, 2023

Mr. Geek Takes the Missus on a Date

Have I mentioned that prior to working in Information Technology, Mr. Geek was an artist?
(Not his work, it's a Mark Rothko painting)
Quite enamored with human anatomy, Mr. Geek studied figure sculpture in art school, before dropping out due to financial and philosophical reasons. Let's say that he made a scene during a vaguely-titled class called "Attitudes and Strategies", where students made up mumbo-jumbo performance art-type work. One girl's final project required the class to meet her at the top of a stairwell where she was lying there naked. Leave it to my husband to walk out on a naked woman for philosophical reasons.

But I digress. As a belated birthday present, Mr. Geek wanted to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a place where we spent many a day during our college years (I worked there for a while). So we packed off SoJo with his GG, and headed to the city, which is about an hour and a half away.

After a quick breakfast in the cafe, we headed to the galleries to reminisce about our times at the PMA.

We visited the Asian galleries first, including the replica of a Japanese Tea House,
and Tibetan thangkas.
Then just strolled the museum, though the Medieval section
and on to the European galleries, where I stopped to take a photo in one of the French rooms.The PMA has a wonderful entrance hall, with a huge staircase and an Alexander Calder mobile.
If you stand at the top of the steps and look out the huge front window down the Ben Franklin Parkway, you can see work from 3 generations of Calder artists (father designed the statue of William Penn on City Hall, and grandfather did the Eakins Oval fountain). Curtains were closed on the window today, so I didn't take a photo.

After that, we took a rest, and I admired the Campers that Naomi sent me.
Without boring you with the details, I'm just going to show some of my favorite artworks, which I enjoyed visiting with once again.
a shadow box by Joseph Cornell

Works by Paul Klee, including Fish Magic, below.

Posters by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Did I ever tell you the tattoo image I want to get someday?

The most charming mother/baby painting I can recall, by Van Gogh.

A painting by John Singer Sargent, whose watercolors I admire immensely

And finally, a pattern by William Morris.

It was quite a day, and so nice to stroll without a stroller and reconnect with my mister. Our 9th (!) anniversary is coming up in October, so we'll have to plan a bigger date for next time. I'm thinking maybe New York?

August 19, 2023

Wordful/Wordless Wednesday: Ipps

We've got a talker on our hands. He talks and talks and talks, from sunup to sundown. While I'm thankful for this, I cringe thinking about how he'll be when he REALLY starts talking in another year or two.

Mr. Geek says I talk to him too much. Ok, so that's true, but aren't you supposed to talk to your kids so they learn language skills?

SoJo loves when we sing to him, so rather than posting a photo, I'm adding this video. Forward in about 10 seconds, because I was having problems editing this down since it's in Quicktime (it doesn't open in Windows Movie Maker, and call me old but I just don't want to learn another piece of editing software).

One of his favorite songs is The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and it cracks me up every time we sing it. He goes around the house, saying "ipps" and trying to do the spider hand gestures. I've even seen him doing this in front of the full-length mirror too, all the while saying "ipps". So cute!

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at 7 Clown Circus, and for Wordless Wednesday, check out Ordinary and Awesome and 5 Minutes for Mom.

August 14, 2023

Happy Birthday Dada!

I pulled it off. Snuck cupcakes up to Mr. Geek's workplace and surprised him for his birthday.
The cupcakes were very simple to make, but gathering ingredients and then hiding the evidence was the challenge. I even had to walk up to our local grocery store with SoJo to buy some confectioner's sugar for the icing (we only have 1 car). Thankfully it wasn't that hot outside yet.

We tend not to celebrate our birthdays much anymore, save for maybe a dinner out. It doesn't help that this month our taxes and homeowners' insurance are due. Plus the expenses on the credit card from my Chicago trip.

I'm terrible about keeping secrets, but I did pretty good today. I sneakily baked cupcakes this morning (recipe to follow), did the dishes and de-smelled the place before lunch when Mr. Geek came home to eat, so that he was none the wiser to the birthday trickery.
This was SoJo's first taste of raw cupcake batter. Does that make me a bad mother? Or just a sloppy cook?
SoJo working his emo makeup
So here's the recipe, which is modified from a chocolate cupcake one I found online. I've changed a simple choco-cupcake to a fancy Hazlenut Mocha Latte Cupcake. La dee da!
Katydid's Hazlenut Mocha Latte Cupcakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Hazlenut Frosting
  • 1/2 cup Nutella chocolate/hazlenut spread
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
Optional Garnish: chocolate covered espresso beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the cake, sift and stir the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg, sugar, oil and milk together (preferably with an electric mixer). Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Ladel into cupcake tins that have been sprayed with cooking oil or lined with wrappers in them. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size. I made a dozen large cupcakes, but this recipe would make 2 dozen regular-sized ones. Cupcakes are done when a skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.

For the frosting, use a electric hand mixer to beat the butter, Nutella, sugar and milk together. You may need more or less milk depending on the consistency. I also had frosting left over, so you might want to cut back on the butter a bit, unless you like lots of frosting.

Spread frosting over the cooled cupcakes, either with a knife or using a pastry bag. Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans. And enjoy with even more caffeine when paired with a nice hot cup of coffee.
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