From playdough to pasta

July 11, 2012 § 13 Comments

Little m and I have a little time each day when it’s just us. With J at work, and O down for his nap, we sneak off to her room to hang before her quiet time. During one of these times, she wanted to play with playdough. I opened up this cool tool her auntie Jenn passed us. You squeeze the playdough through different dies to make noodles. So simple and so fun. To little m’s delight, we made noodles of all different shapes, widths, and colors, carefully chopped them, and put them on plastic plates to serve at our restaurant, which m named “Bun Mee.”

While we were playing, the wheels in my head were churning. Why make fake noodles, when we can be making dinner! Let’s put this effort to good use and make some real pasta! I found a demo on youtube for making homemade pasta, and m and I watched it together, fascinated. When J came home, I explained what we wanted to do. He got onto eBay and secured us a pasta machine of our very own.

Little m is hilarious – she remembers so many details from the youtube video. We made our first linguine noodles, and both of us had a grand old time. The only issue for us was having to take turns using the machine.

Cranking the dough through the pasta machine, changing the settings to make the dough thinner and thinner, and passing the dough through the cutter, are all fabulous 4-year-old activities.

We also made some green pasta noodles, using our garden’s spinach, kale, and chard, chopped super-fine and added to the dough. Thumbs way up.

It has been so fun watching little m learn and enjoy things like making pasta. She loves making real and meaningful contributions to our household. It’s super cool to see.


Making hand soap from bar soap

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

These past few years I have been especially interested in learning how to do things myself. Part of that is wanting to live a more green life (I am going for a deep forest green, if possible), and part of it is for the love of the making. I am amazed at how easy it is to access do-it-yourself information in this day and age. Weeks ago I was scrolling through my Google Reader and came across this blog post on making liquid hand soap. So inspiring! I ordered some glycerin on amazon.

Yesterday J picked up the last piece of our soap-making project – a beautiful bar of Mrs. Meyers soap. YES! During our nightly ritual of watching Star Trek (currently  we are on Voyager, Season 5), J and I sat and took turns grating the entire bar of soap.

We simmered the shavings along with some glycerin and a gallon of water.

That was it. We left it to cool overnight, and when we found it in the morning, it was a bit chunky on the top. After just a little tiny bit of water and a nice blending with the immersion blender, we proudly filled our one gallon jug with our new hand soap.

Super-doable, fun, cheaper than buying refills, and will create less plastic garbage. A win-win-win-win.  Definitely doing this again.  Try it and let me know how it goes for you!

Living above my grandma

December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

Little m with her mom, her mom's mom, and her mom's mom's mom. 5/2008

After graduating from college, I moved to San Francisco with two dear friends. At the time, I was working towards my teaching credential at SF State. Since then I have lived in this same place, above my grandma. I appreciate living near her more and more. It was really exciting for all of us when little m was born in 2008. Then, my Pau-Pau also became a Tai-Pau.

Now, she lets me store my big, impossible-to-lug-up-the-stairs-with-two-kids double stroller in her flat. On non-rainy days, we will tromp down the front stairs, and let ourselves in. I call out, “Tai-pau?” And m copies me, “Tai-pau?” She will greet us with a big smile. We announce that we have come for the stroller. Sometimes she will sit and hold the O while I act as a spotter for the m as she climbs into her side of the stroller. (She is a big girl, and her favorite phrase as of late is, “No, I do it!”) Tai-pau will tell O, “Good boy” and smile at him, and he will do his best to coo at her and let her know he loves her, too. I strap the boy in, and then Tai-pau will say, “See you later” to which m replies, “Bye-bye!”

I once went down to get some milk from my grandma without m. When I came back upstairs, m was very upset with me, and demanded I take her to see Tai-Pau. So we went back down, and I explained what happened. My grandma was clearly pleased. Awhile back she offered m a banana when we came to visit. The next time we went down, m said, “I want a banana!” Now she gets one almost every time we visit.

Newborn O with two of his Bok-Bok and his Tai-Pau. 9/2010

Little m also loves visiting with her Bok-Bok and Bok-Gung, my other grandparents.  Bok-Bok (my grandma) always brings her little treats – breadsticks, crackers, and once a pair of beaded slippers (which she calls her shiny shoes).  A year ago at the family Thanksgiving meal, when m was a slower walker, she found her Bok-Bok’s golden-colored slippers and put them on.  She proceeded to carefully walk around in them, making the whole family crack up!

When I remember, I am thankful. I realize it is unique for my kids to grow up around three of their great grandparents, all four of their grandparents, lots of grand-aunties and grand-uncles (gruncles? New word?), aunties, uncles, cousins, and friends. Feeling rich with relationships this season.

knitting it up: cotton bath mat

July 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

I finished the cotton bath mat!  Not sure if it goes well with the floor in the bathroom, but I like the texture and the size.  I plan on storing it over the side of the tub, and pulling it down when it’s shower time.  That’ll keep the bathroom floor more clear!  WOO HOO!


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