Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seth's Successful Santa Session

Friday night we bundled up in our rain gear to visit the Santa House in downtown Renton. It was nice because unlike mall Santas (which I steer clear of anyway), you can either feel free to take your own photos, or there is a photographer there and you can download your photos for FREE! Anyway, I guess no one else wanted to be out in the weather because we were the only ones there and could walk right in. Seth wasn't too sure about this guy, but it was nice and quiet and we weren't being rushed by people waiting behind us. Eventually, he saw that the big guy was OK and agreed to sit on his lap.

So, compared to last year's visit Santa...

...this year was a happier experience!
My friend/distant-second-cousin-twice-removed-in-law (?) Jessica wrote a post I just love about the goodness of Santa. I, for one, figure that as long as I teach my children why we really have Christmas and they understand that, the magic of Santa is too fun to ignore. So, if you agree, check out her argument for Santa post. If you don't agree, I recommend you read it anyway to see another point of view.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mr. President

Ever since we checked out The President and Mom's Apple Pie from the library, Seth's favorite word is "president" (sounds more like "ped-i-dent"). So, last night while I was away at school, this is what was going on at home after dinner. He's saying the president has a big tummy (which is true since the book is about President Taft, our largest president weighing in at over 300 pounds! Plus the illustrations in the book really emphasize his girth. :-))

And, speaking of pie, I tried a new one that was delicious for Thanksgiving. Paula Deen said it's best not to try new things for a special occasion dinner, but I don't think anyone minded being a guinea pig for my experiment. Like most pies, it is best with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream! Here it is:

Maple Dream Pear Pie

5 1/2 to 6 cups peeled 1/2" diced just-ripe pears (if they're too ripe, I'm guessing they'll get mushy when you bake it)
1 1/2 TB cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 TB chopped candied ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
9-inch deep-dish pie crust

Oatmeal Crumb Topping:
2/3 c. flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Please the diced pears in a large bowl, sprinkle with cornstarch and stir well. Add remaining filling ingredients and toss gently, until the mixture is evenly combined. Turn the filling into the chilled pie crust and smooth the top of the fruit. Place pie on oven center rack and bake for 45 minutes.

Combine topping dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and using your hands, rub the ingredients together until you have large crumbs. Refrigerate topping until you are ready to use it.

After 45 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the pie from the oven and spread the crumb topping evenly over the top of the pie. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, about 15 minutes. If edges of crust begin to brown too much, cover with a pie shield of strips of aluminum foil. Cool at least 2 hours before serving.

While I was making our Thanksgiving meal, I heard some serious giggling coming from the family room. I knew Matt was upstairs, so I really wondered what Seth could find so funny by himself. He had pulled his winter hat down over his eyes and belly-laughed every time he ran into something. This is the kid who never likes things on his head, but he was genuinely entertained by his own cleverness. When he pulled it over his eyes, I'd say "Hey, who turned the lights out?!" so here's a moment when the "lights" were on: