Monday, December 31, 2007

hope yours was happy!

This year's holiday season was pretty intense as it was the first year Emily was fully aware and into it. We started off by putting up the tree with her help:

the tree is up

I think this was her favorite of the ornaments:


she claimed my small pink tree as her own:

the pink tree is now emily's

we went to our zoo's annual Christmas celebration, which was a lot of fun. We saw a ton of animals, including reindeer; Emily petted a rabbit, a chinchilla, a snake and a monitor lizard (!); we got hot chocolate, brownies and toasted marshmallows; Emily made a snowman ornament:

zoo snowman

decorated a cookie:

making a cookie at the zoo

and saw Santa, who gave her a little teddy bear. She helped me make stockings using designs from Aranzi Aronzo's Cute Book:

new stockings!

and we went to Mitsuwa to get our pre-ordered Christmas cake:

christmas cake!

on the way home, we happened upon the Ridgefield Fire Dept getting ready for their Santa run! Santa came over and talked to Emily and gave her a candy cane. She was totally beside herself.

Ridgefield Santa

And while her dad was the Swag Lord of Xmas, she and I did pretty well too. We then made it through her birthday (yesterday) and are looking forward to another night out with friends tonight!

Hope your holiday season was/is as merry as ours!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


the Pirate Krew

Everyone else needed to be a pirate. So, I made more eyepatches until I ran out of felt. Good thing Emily doesn't realize I can actually buy more...

Friday, November 2, 2007

pirate baby!

why is she so happy?

Our happy little pirate, trick-or-treating! What you can't see in this photo: the cute little pirate cutlass, her skull-face trick-or-treat bag (from Target!), her dog's eyepatch and matching bag. You can see a little bit more here.

The costume has two main pieces: first, a real dress she can keep wearing, with a skull-and-bones bodice and pirate-striped skirt. I had a lot of trouble with the dress, actually, but finally found a pattern that worked perfectly. (Thank you Joann's 99 cent pattern sales!) Easy, buttons instead of a zipper, and very finished-looking when done. I'll definitely be making more dresses from it. My only problem? They were sold out of her size, and I had to scale down a size 4 pattern. It worked out alright, luckily.

On top of the dress is a separate jacket -- big thanks to Jenna (of Glamarama and Tartlette fame) who sent me lots of pirate advice and a link to a McCall's fairy costume pattern that I was able to adapt by adding sleeves and a belt. I lined it in taffeta to try and make it more comfortable (Emily is anti-top-layers) and also did a faux buckle effect with velcro underneath so she could get out of it fast if it really bothered her. I don't think she'll be wearing it for fun, but she did tolerate it long enough to actually trick-or-treat.

The hat was a cheapo hat from Joann's, doctored up with gold trim and a copy of the skull-and-bones from Brobee's hat. All in all, a costume we were all happy with. And Emily now has a pirate dress to wear until she grows out of it -- or wears it out, she is crazy for her pirate dress, I think is it now 2nd only to the Brobee dress in her wardrobe hierarchy!

I hope you all had a Halloween as fun as Emily's!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

a lot has happened...

In the month (okay, more) that I haven't been around. We went on two trips (yay!); our Milk & Cheese figures finally came out (yay!); the long-awaited Biff Bam Pow! all-ages comic finally came out (yay!); we've got more fun stuff in the pipeline (shirts and mugs, yay!); we all got very sick with the flu (BOO!) and in fact took turns being sick for nearly 3 weeks (double boo!). So things have been pretty busy.

So busy, in fact, we have had barely any time for Halloween around here. Just a few meals of Halloween-shaped pasta: Emily's costume (photos after Wednesday!), which actually won a little prize at her kid's gym Halloween party last Friday; a little bit of Halloween music and repeated viewings of the Yo Gabba Gabba! Halloween episode.

Which, by the way, premieres about a half an hour EST? I'm sure they're repeating it this week, plus it's actually been available on demand for a couple of weeks now. It's my favorite episode so far, and certainly one of Emily's (she goes crazy for the "Too Much Candy" song). Plus there's another Super Martian Robot Girl segment!

Anyway...hope you are all having a lovely Halloween week and enjoying the week or two of Fall I guess we'll be getting before Winter strikes!

Friday, September 21, 2007

a quick YGG! note

new episodes next week! details here.

We're currently heading out to take advantage of this little bit of Indian Summer...see you soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

nerds with kids...

is a new site/blog that is, well, as they say: "devoted to that most rare of demographics: the geek who has procreated."

And we are officially nerds, as we've just been interviewed by them!

In honor of our official nerdiness, I'd like to revisit a few projects that qualify me as a nerd parent:

the boba fett dress!
boba jumper

the astro-bib!

and the brobee dress!
the brobee dress!

Friday, August 24, 2007

baby's first nightclub

OMG for reals I took my baby to a nightclub! I felt like a bad mom for at least a moment (not beforehand but during the actual show), but there's no smoking and the volume was not bad where we were. I won't be making a habit of it but she had a great time.

Evan has posted the details so I won't repeat them. I'll just say that it wasn't planned but it worked out well. Too bad I didn't have my camera to commemorate it, but I did have my cell and hopefully at least one photo is keepable. Emily was absolutely slaying me, we figured we'd leave after the first song but she kept insisting that she wanted to stay and that she loved the Aquabats. She made her little Aquabat toy dance to every song and at the end of each song she'd throw both arms in the air and scream "AQUABAAAATS!!!"

Of course, seeing your first show from the VIP section means things can only go down from here....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

we're back!

TCAF was great and Toronto was fantastic, I'm only sorry we had so little free time and didn't get to see much. I think a family vacation may be in order sometime soon!

And now, because I MUST PIMP YO GABBA GABBA -- While we were gone, we missed the first showings of Yo Gabba Gabba but we caught up yesterday and Emily is in love. For us it was weird to see something we'd seen bits and pieces of for so long become real! Very cool though. We have airdates for the first two weeks (less than a week and a half now) so if you want to see what we worked on check out our schedule.

One last day of semi-vacation (we actually have a meeting but it's a fun one) and then it'll be back to business as usual. Hope you're enjoying YGG if you're watching!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yo Gabba Crafty!

Okay, so yes, obviously I need to change the name of this site to "I PIMP FOR YO GABBA GABBA", I know. But this one actually isn't exactly about the's about Emily's favorite new dress!

the brobee dress!

Presenting -- the Brobee Dress! Somehow I bent time and space to sew this up for Emily while we were working...

How it happened is this: a little while back, we got our season 1 crew shirts. Emily kept asking if she could have one, and so I decided to turn one of them into a dress for her! No pattern, I freehanded it on paper and then draped it on her dressform (and I have to tell you, having a dressform for her made making this a breeze!), and I was really happy with the result. The contrasting bits are some cotton blend jersey that I thought would match, the main body of the dress is all cut from a M sized shirt. I was even able to cut around the logo on the back, thank goodness for today's oversized shirts! The dress has been a huge success -- too huge, in fact. She would wear it every single day, no joke, if I could somehow let her. It is going to wear out long before she grows out of it. After we get back from Toronto I'm going to see about making a Muno dress from the same pattern, this time there's no shirt so I'll probably applique him on.

Speaking of getting back, we are packing up as I type and getting ready to leave for the Toronto Comic Art Festival -- we're looking forward to the semi-vacation and hope to see some of you there!

And if you're not going, don't forget to tune in next Monday to the premiere episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! I'm not 100% sure what ended up in which episode, but I think one or two of the segments we worked on will air next week.

See you next week!

(update: I've finally finished up a Yo Gabba Gabba dress how-to entry, if you're looking for tips on making your own, check it out!)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Milk & Cheese toys are (almost) here!


One of our very longest-running projects has been this set of vinyl figures of Evan's Milk and Cheese...seriously, it's been years, but I won't bore you with the saga. Suffice it to say that after much work and agony on everyone's part, the figures are really truly done at last! We have a set from the first casefull and they came out even better than I had hoped. And I'm very happy with the printing on the box, which was worrying me a bit. The rest of the figures are just about to start wending their way over and will be shipping from SLG at the end of September. Preorders are being accepted now right here, and US orders get free shipping from SLG. On your whole order, so you can throw in a book or two while you're at it.

Now where we're going to put a load of these giant boxes when we get the rest of ours, I do not know!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Yo Gabba Goodness!


For those of you interested in YGG, especially if you have little ones in the house, Nick Jr already has their Yo Gabba Gabba! web section up! There are clips, a Brobee game, coloring pages and...if you have a color printer WHICH I DO NOT you can print out t-shirt transfers and masks of all five monsters! (I do think it's lame that you can't download them, just print them...I'm sure there's a workaround for that though). See supposedly home-made Brobee tee above.

Indoctrinate your children now!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yo! It's Gabba Gabba time!

As Evan has posted, what has kept us so busy lately is a job on Yo Gabba Gabba!, a show for pre-schoolers that will be debuting August 20th on Nick Jr. You may remember my posting about this ages ago a few times, little did I suspect we'd end up contributing to it in any way! We had originally done some design work for a live-action segment, but the bit turned into an animated segment, so now we're doing all the character designs, backgrounds and key poses as well as semi-storyboarding it. Pretty fun, if hectic. There are two big reasons we are thrilled to be working on this show:

1 - Christian Jacobs, the co-creator, is a long-time friend of ours. We are all mad excited to be working together on something finally, we originally met because we were going to work together on something years and years ago. I'd like to add that Christian is truly Super-Rad, of all the friends and acquaintances of ours who ever said "hey, if my show gets picked up I want you to work on it!" he is the only one who ever actually called us up to work. YOU RULE CHRISTIAN!

2 - we love it! if we had nothing to do with it, if we didn't know anyone involved, we would be crazy about this and dying to watch it with Emily. It is so much fun, and has so many 80s references both visually and musically...DJ Lance Rock looks like he escaped from the Groove Is In the Heart video, for one thing. As it is, we are nuts about everything we've been lucky enough to see so far...and so is Emily. Of course we are most excited to see our drawings come to life, but everything we see is really cool. And for those of you who don't have a little one, the bands alone are worth tuning in for. I mean, Cornelius! Wow!

Anyway, don't take my word for it, get a taste of it for yourself:

Learn more:
YGG Production blog
E! sneak peek (with Tony Hawk)

And we hope you'll tune in on Monday, August 20th!

ha ha on me...

So, what I get for thinking I was free and clear is....more trouble! The bad tooth flared back up again and now, finally, fingers crossed, I think I can say it's all over (except the rest of the 2nd course of antibiotics and the cleanup appt at the dentist's). Whew. That was a bad one. And I speak from experience. So. NOW I'm back. Expect me to start finishing off that post list soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

ghosts of mocca

ghost baby

It's a few weeks past now, so no reason to go in to detail, but Mocca was a lot of fun this year. We only planned for me and Emily to go on Saturday, but Sunday she got upset that we weren't going so we threw clothes on and went along, and it was lots of fun. Both days we saw lots of people, got new sketches in her sketchbooks, and ate yummy dinners. She was super and had a great time. I meant to take some photos of her to match up with the ones from the past two years, but forgot..and all I got were these shots of her playing behind the gauze curtains. (On a side note, she got nice bentos both days! But I didn't take photos....)

Emily got a paper doll set from M.K. Reed, a comic from Abby Denson, and an Owly giveaway comic which she is IN LOVE WITH. (So much for the "wordless adventure" aspect - we have to actually tell her the entire story, in fact she wants to hear it every single night!) We also got some adorable comics from adorable Todd Webb which I haven't read to her yet, but I think she will be loving Tuesday Moon. We've already bought our table for next year, so maybe we'll see you there!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

what has been up...

lots, but mainly: wretched, wretched dental trouble. To make a long story short, trouble began just as my regular dentist shut down for a long vacation. I thought I could wait it out, but I couldn't. Spent a couple days trying to contact my regular guy (they said to call if there was an emergency) but no dice. Called the dentist I'm assigned to through our coverage. Who wouldn't see me, because he was going on vacation for the 4th. Called my plan, who called around and made me an appointment, and transferred me to the new office so I could go right away. As I guessed, I needed a root canal. asap...and it was now July 3rd. And everyone was going on vacation. I managed to get an appt for the following Monday (I was offered dates as far away as July 26th!) and stuck it out...finally, the root canal got done, the pain from the actual root canal faded and now for two whole days I've been pain free again.

So that is where I have been. In pain.

Other things (which almost all have posts sitting in draft mode right now which will be finished soon):

loads of cool stuff in the mail!!
MoCCA was great! [check!]
The radishes never turned into radishes, we tried again, and guess what? They were attacked too! It looks like we may have saved a bunch of the seedlings though.
Emily has a pet snail.
We have been working on something very cool which we can tell you about shortly. [check!]
Emily's half-birthday rolled around and was loads of fun. I made the fastest thrown-together cake of all time.

so, more on all that soon. see ya!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

see how her garden grows

emily's garden - Day: 12

Emily has been fascinated by plants and seeds for a while now, so when I cleared up the garden and planted my annuals recently, I set one container up for her to garden in. We planted the seeds (a bit too shallowly, I'm afraid) nearly two weeks ago, and she faithfully waters them every single day and is very excited to see them growing! I picked "cherry belle" radish seeds since they're supposed to be such super-fast growers, and I have not been disappointed. Who knows what kind of radishes we'll get, but in the meantime it's been loads of fun. Check out the flickr set tracking our progress if you want to see just how fast these little guys have been growing!

Friday, June 8, 2007

we're heading to toronto!

heeyah! finally, we can announce that we (Evan, myself and Emily) will be appearing at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this August. we're pretty excited to be making the trip and also excited by the guest list - what an amazing line-up! If you have any shot at being near Toronto in late August, check it out, whether you want to see us or not -- it's free!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

eyeball shirts!


Okay, how insanely cool is this eyeball shirt from puchicollective? It's actually an illustration of a Blythe doll's eyechip but all I can say is HOLY GIANT EYEBALL! Available in four colors and in sizes from toddler to adult 5XL. Also available as a fitted women's shirt. I am seriously longing for these for the whole family!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

for certain friends of mine who know who they are

USA Today did a little "expose" today on "baby carrots", which aren't actually baby carrots. Most of you are probably saying "well, duh" but lots of people think they really are baby carrots, as in little carrots that have not grown for very long. And on top of that, many people have attributed special nutritional powers to baby carrots because they are supposedly "young" baby carrots. Which is why the whole baby carrot thing is a pet peeve of mine to the point where all you have to say to me is "baby carrots" and I will start rolling my eyes and making gagging faces. Which is why certain friends of mine will think it is hysterical that I read this article today.

By the way, I have nothing against so-called baby carrots themselves, even though I don't buy them myself. Anything that reduces waste and gets people to eat vegetables is a-okay with me.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

hello kitty cake

Hello Chocolate! Hello Banana! Hello Strawberry!

Presenting the wonder of the instant hello kitty cake! These are Japanese snack sponge cakes, made by adding a bit of milk to a mix and microwaving in the included mold (very similar to the ones where you add an egg and put in a mug, but it does taste a bit different). I love these cakes. Love love love them. Unfortunately, finding them is totally random. I won't see them for ages and then suddenly there will be loads. Lately, I haven't seen them at all!

Honestly, I do not understand why these cakes (in general, not just the hello kitty ones) aren't sold here in the US. It's not the best cake, no, but it literally takes a minute to have fresh warm sponge cake in front of you. (Hmm, that is probably the answer...there may not be a lot of people here in the US that want a plain, no-icing sponge cake for a snack.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

things been so crazy

it's been a weird and hectic week around here -- after getting conked on the head, we had a crazy rush deadline, I ended a long-time working relationship, Evan got sick, our deadline got lifted, we celebrated Evan's birthday, I got sick, we saw a hit-and-run accident (no-one badly hurt, luckily) which was scary, and to top it all off...

I woke up late at night to get some water and heard a drunk guy yelling in the street. As I got close to the window, I realized he was reciting Bob Dylan lyrics, and after every few lines would say "Thank you, Bob!". Suddenly, he asked the world "What was that song he won the Oscar for?! Didn't he win an Oscar?!" And when no answer was forthcoming he said "Oh, who cares, anyway!", proceeded to curse Dylan out and ended with the statement "I mean, you ain't no Johnny Cash, that's for sure!!". Then, all was quiet.

That was probably one of the biggest wtf moments of my life. I only wish I could have seen the guy, but it's probably better that I didn't.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

apron swap update

emily's apron

Here's the apron we got from Megan for the swap - finally got a decent photo of it out of the little imp! Isn't it adorable? And HUGE POCKETS!! It also reverses to the opposite color scheme. Thanks again, Megan!!

hi and hello

Just wanted to pop in and say hello since I know from my email that some of you read Evan's journal...yes, I did take a good whacking on the head from that ceiling. (A good reason to use drywall, since it wouldn't have hurt nearly as much as 80-odd year old plaster and concrete!) Luckily, I was near the ceiling so the piece that hit me hadn't fallen very far before it broke over my head! No sign of concussion but I am still feeling it in my head and arm where it hit me. Anyway, that was a really long-winded way to say I'm okay and none the worse for wear. In my history of blows to the head, it wasn't even a really bad one. Be back soon to set some posts free from draft mode!

Monday, April 9, 2007

my mini swap!

Our third What's Cookin' apron swap has come to a close, and I think it was my favorite one yet! The theme was mini aprons, made for each other's kids. I was really happy with what I made, and Emily and I were both thrilled with what we got!

First, my apron. I was making this apron for six-year old Ada, and after reading her likes and dislikes, my idea came together almost instantly for once. I scaled up this apron I'd designed for Emily, and used this adorable bunny fabric I had on hand (okay, actually I ordered more to use later and used what I had here while I waited for my order!). I thought the resulting apron was really cute, and apparently so does Ada!

swap apron

I also made little sister Esme a matching bib she can wear while she watches Ada cook:

swap bib

And here are the matching recipe cards to go with the apron!

swap recipe cards

I included one of our family's favorite recipes, one for strawberry bread. Imagine my surprise -- they grow strawberries and will have plenty of opportunity to make this bread come (real) spring!)

And as for Emily's apron, well, she is a reluctant model this week. So hopefully Megan will be posting a photo, because it's an adorable art smock with polka dots (one of Em's favorite motifs)! Megan and her little boy Canaan also included recipes chosen by Canaan and a book, Joey and Jet In Space, which Emily is in love with. (She loves rockets and space!)

Thanks to everyone who participated and made our swap so much fun!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

happy easter and happy spring!

easter rement

We celebrate it in the secular spring-has-arrived way around here (go read this for the best commentary on Easter I've seen in ages so I don't have to go into it, especially since I won't say it half as eloquently!) and this year that mainly boiled down to putting together a "basket" (really it's in a tin pail) for Emily full of colorful bunny stuff. Which I have just finished doing! More on that the meantime, have a fun day no matter how you celebrate it!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Emily's first bento!

So today I had a monster of a dental appt (why? because: if you have genetically weak teeth which have been weakened further by environmental factors; strong jaw muscles and bones; and you clench your jaws at night when you are can break your own teeth) which was going to last through lunch time. And Emily, being in a huge growth spurt, cannot miss her meals. So...perfect opportunity to make her a cute(ish) bento! Nothing super-exciting but it was fun anyway. Here's the box:

hello kitty bento box

We bought her this on our Girl's Day excursion to Mitsuwa. If I could have justified it somehow I'd have bought another for myself. And here's how I packed it:

emily's first bento!

the top layer holds grapes, strawberries and pancakes cut into flowers and hearts. The bottom layer holds macaroni and cheese plus some sauteed green beans. It's not too fancy because it was pretty last-minute, but I think it's pretty fun anyway, and so did she. Hopefully I won't have to crack another tooth to make her another lunch!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

new monster on the loose!


Lost Thomas has been added to our cafepress shop. This is the one that Emily will be getting -- while she has phases where she likes other monsters best, she always comes back to Lost Thomas. Poor Lost Thomas. He's so lost!

found! cute stuff!


So, commenter Jenna K turns out to have the most amazing kid's clothes on her site! Girl's stuff to die for. Some of my all-time favorite fabrics, for one thing (pink tattoo flash like our matching aprons! sugar skulls like on Emily's bib!) Pirate dresses, mod dress, and the newest one is killing me -- a pirate-y party dress WITH AN APRON. I am coveting it seriously. However, this is probably the one that Emily would pick, considering her current all-things-cheetah obsession!

This is exactly the kind of webstore I have been wishing I had time to do -- cute dresses and blankets and accessories (sadly, I even bought a domain name and everything, thinking I'd be doing it by now). Maybe someday, but until then...I can just go drool at these instead.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

now I know it's spring

With all the drama and deadlines going on around here, I completely missed the first day of spring last week! Luckily, I was just now reminded that Spring was here...because the ice cream truck made its first circuit of our neighborhood. Yay for Spring and Summer! And yay for chocolate soft serve!! Thank you, Lickety Split Ice Cream man! (Yes, I do know it's a man, I'm not making an assumption. His name is Dave. Unless he quit, that is. Yes, I had a lot of soft serve the summer I was pregnant. And in case you were curious, I am loyal to the chocolate dip chocolate soft cone in a regular cone. No sugar cones for me.)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

for those of you thinking of clearing out your pantries

You know how if you mix bleach and ammonia you get a deadly toxic gas? Well, apparently, old sushi vinegar and old almond extract poured down the sink at the same time have the same, deadly, effect. Agh.

why I do not "mommy blog"

Subtitle: "A Cautionary Tale"

This is actually something I have been wanting to touch on for a while, and the article "Blogging Your Baby" on CNET this weekend finally pushed me into actually starting this post. Now, I'm not talking about all blogging about parenthood and kids, I'm talking about the specific type of blogging they discuss in the article - the public blogs with intimate details of children's lives, written by their parents for whatever reason. In the article, they basically seem to be saying "well, maybe it'll bother them but we'll wait and see". I am here to tell you, you don't have to wait. It has happened, and it can be absolutely devastating.

You don't need the internet to "mommy blog" your way into nearly ruining your child's school years. Let's go in the wayback machine to my middle-school years (which do, in fact, predate blogging). My brother and I were good friends with a classmate of our who lived in our neighborhood. He was a nice kid, if a little on the geeky/awkward side at times. (Let's call him..."Bobby".) Bobby was in that middle ground at school - not bad-looking, but not a guy the girls swooned over. His parents had money, so he had the right clothes and stuff, but his goofiness made him a little uncool. You know the type...not really popular but definitely not unpopular.

As you may recall, middle school can be the worst....everyone is breaking down into dating and non-dating groups, most kids are just starting to really be interested in the opposite sex...things are very uncomfortable, and it doesn't take much to make you everyone's scapegoat. Right as all this was going on, someone discovered that Bobby's mom wrote a column every Sunday for our local paper. About her family. Mainly, about her kids. And in this column, our entire school learned (and this is just what I remember):

That Bobby had had a skating rink "date" with an easily identified classmate who hadn't told anyone about it (and the date didn't go well although his mom thought she was "cute" and called her hair "fluffy")

That when he had his first boy-girl party (which I attended with my best friend) his mom bought him cans of soda and he had a tantrum because he wanted bottles to play spin-the-bottle with (as we girls all said, AS IF!!)

That he had gotten really upset at another boy-girl party and called home (supposedly crying) to be picked up because the action was, well, out of hand (my brother and I were at this party, and the action was in fact out of hand because parental supervision vanished. I don't remember Bobby crying, but he did freak out a bit.)

Can you imagine the seventh-grade mortification that ensued? His mom had to pledge to never mention him again; and everyone scoured their parent's old papers for any more dirt. He did live it down, and although he left our school a year later I am pretty sure it was to go to a private school or something. He did have this air of being uncool until he left, though.

I can't even imagine what would have happened if it had been a blog that was discovered. No way was anyone motivated enough to go to the library and look through the microfilm for old columns, but online? We'd have all sat and read them for a week until we knew every horrifyingly embarrassing detail of his life. And even if he'd gone home and flipped out, it would have be very hard for his mom to erase all the things she said...they'd have been quoted in other blogs and articles, and depending on the type of blog she did, probably archived forever in the Internet Wayback Machine! If Bobby's mom had written even 10% of the things I have seen people reveal about their kids online...he'd have left our school that week.

Now, he was a little on the over-sensitive side, and like I said, not one of the "coolest" kids to begin with. But I think a lot of kids are in that position. So...what's my point? While we do mention Emily (and heck, take her to appearances with us) I plan to do my best to protect her from suffering even the smallest version of Bobby's fate. And I sometimes shudder at what other mothers post about their (identifiable) kids, when I think of what happened to him. Maybe he should have been "stronger"...but I think that's a bit to expect of kids at that age. Yes, he did get over it...but it really shouldn't have happened at all. And yeah, maybe if he'd had a MySpace page he'd have written about all these things himself...but having a parent be the one who screws you up at school is very different from being a blabbermouth yourself.

I don't think every most parenting blogs go into this territory. And I'm sure that plenty of kids are going to be fine with the world knowing all the mortifying things they did and do. And I'm sure the parents that do write these things about their kids could care less what I think! But I'm just don't need to wait and find out what might happen if you may be invading your child's privacy. Because one spring long ago, it did. And it wasn't very pretty.

I'd just like to add, I meant to save this in draft mode, not publish it, when I had some immediate toddler demands on my time. I won't tell you what she did, though ^_^. I think I could have written some of this better went up so a few quick edits and I'm just going to leave it as is.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

monster shirts!


At last! The winners of the Monster Vote of Confidence are now appearing on a wide selection of shirts in our cafepress shop. More stuff and better organization soon, but shirts (and onesies and bibs) are available now!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

NYCC year 2

We went to the New York Comic Con yesterday for the trade show and a few hours of the public show -- and I'd say we liked it as much as last year if not better. We were able to meet up with several people and get some work-related stuff done, so that was good. And Emily had an awesome time, she was given cute stuff by people and dragged me over to see the BIG PIKACHU! (suspended over the Pokemon Center booth) about once an hour. We are skipping what I think will be the very overcrowded mash rush today although Evan is there on his own but we'll be going back tomorrow for more fun and hellos. It is a Big Show and not for everyone, but we had a good time.

Some highlights from yesterday:

- checking in with Funimation, who we may still be working for on Shin Chan officially fired our asses a few days later, and seeing the Shin suit making the rounds all day long, which entertained Emily a great deal Although when they took our photo with the suit she got really freaked out -- but then when they left she went "bye bye Shin-Chan! Bye bye!"

- making some plans for the monsters which I'm excited about.

- seeing old friends and meeting Vivien of Cute Salad in person for the first time, who is a crazy crafter and awesome designer, and having a nice long chat about sewing and fun clothes and shoes and things. Her husband snapped up the drawing of Lost Thomas and Emily got a little upset when she saw us handing "her Lost Thomas" away!

- picking up our New Year's Qees from the Toy2r booth and seeing all the other cool toys on display.

- on one trip back from seing BIG PIKACHU! I swung by Toy Tokyo's booth to get Emily a new Gloomy Bear. She picked out a red one she'd seen earlier and while I was paying for it they opened it up for her and she was hugging and kissing it - I noticed a guy watching her and smiling, and as we left the booth I saw that it was Mori Chack (the creator of Gloomy Bear) himself! Holy smokes! I'd have stopped to tell him how much we all love Gloomy here but he was accosted by some nut just that second who wanted to talk to him about selling Gloomy Bear here in the US. (Um, like, hello, you are right next to a booth selling a load of Gloomy Bears? They are sold here?)

- oh, and how can I forget? Emily was looking at the Julie Strain posters in the booth across from us and pointed out one in particular to me and said, "Oh, look. That mommy...that mommy is getting naked!" I actually burst out laughing. Thank god she didn't ask me why.

One downside is the astoundingly overpriced food (although they did have a funnel cake stand!), but since I had a 2 year old to feed I had stuff packed and didn't have to buy anything. And a friend of ours pointed out what may be a possibly major disaster on Saturday - the gaming area is at the far end of Artist's Alley, and both are in a separate space from the main hall. This space has a single escalator in. On Friday they were already stopping people from going up there, and while it sucks to wait forever to get to an artist you want to see, games are scheduled, and have big prize money. If people are trying to get to a game they're supposed to be in with a big prize and can't get up there...well, people have committed murders over a couple thousand dollars. I can't imagine the mayhem that will ensue if they aren't more organized today. And this will also keep people from getting to artist's alley. We'll see if he was right today, I guess. Well, Evan will I guess, since I'm here supervising a viewing of Totoro right now!

So my final show report: go! have fun, bring your own snacks, and avoid Saturday if you can.

(PS to Tenae - I did take some cute food, but no time to pack it cute! So no photos, sorry!)

Friday, February 16, 2007

mini meme

A meme for our current apron swap! Um...i didn't write these questions, so I'm actually having a little trouble answering them! I'll try, though.

1. What is your first food memory?
Mmmmm...this is rough. Two very early memories involving food are leaving cookies and milk for santa; and eating fried fish after my brother arrived.

2. What was your favorite dish/food as a child?
I probably had a different one every year! A big thing I remember - cold fried chicken and sandwiches at the beach. The little bit of grittiness only made them that much more special!

3. Name one of your mini's favorite foods:
Strawberries. Cherries. Tofu. Konnyaku. Mushrooms. (The konnyaku thing is funny because Evan doesn't like it at all, and I am just slightly more than neutral on it, but she's all "I want some konnyaku!")

4. What was your mini's first solid food? Did they love it or hate it?
First mushy foods were rice cereal and sweet potatoes; first actual solids were...I think cubes of silken tofu? And, see above, she eats it as a snack to this day.

5. What was something you were excited to make for your mini for the first time?
Probably our favorite cookies since she was able to start "helping" me in the kitchen!

6. What is your favorite food memory?
Another really rough one, I have so many memories that are pegged to food! We always talk about this amazing Japanese omakase kaiseki meal we had at the Kitano in Manhattan though. I'll always remember that night! The above mentioned food at the beach is probably fighting for first place though.

7. Your mini's birthday party : All out theme with perfect kid food ala Martha? or Quiet family home party with scrumptious cupcakes? Something in-between?
So far it's been small (albeit with the fancy cupcakes) but she's only 2...I suspect I will have to rein myself in from going over the top when she starts having real parties!

8. Name one thing you absolutely love to make and eat when you are feeling like a kid again:
Hmmm. I have no idea. Cookies or brownies?

9. Name something you ate as a kid that you now look back on and wonder "what were my childhood taste buds thinking??" :
Ha! Easy one - pickles and applesauce. Maybe it's great but I'm afraid to try. Even pregnant I didn't eat anything that insane!

10. Name 3 things your mini loves (doesn't have to be food related):
Totoro, books, animals. Her wooden toy ones AND "her" cats (poor beleaguered things)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hey all bento-making girlfriends!! (or boyfriends)

This here bento:

Was made by my friend Tenae for her boyfriend this Monday. And Monday night...he proposed! Was it the heart-shaped apples? The mini-sandwiches? Or the cute little butterfly? Who knows? In any you blame him? Who wouldn't snap up someone who makes you lunches like this to take to work. In any case, congrats, you guys! Check out more of Tenae's cute bentos on her blog, This Little Bento.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

my favorite kitchen gadget...

emily helping emily! It's surprising how helpful she can actually be. She started out mostly washing things for me and smooshing cookies, but now she can add ingredients, stir, sort-of measure (if she's carefully directed - she levels the spoon and everything, which cracks me up!) and cut up mushrooms! Which works out well since we eat mushrooms quite a lot and she loves to do it. The only real problem? She eats about half of what she cuts! So I just give her lots extra and am grateful that mushrooms are pretty cheap.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

hello, cute monsters!

Okay, I know I'm biased, but seriously, isn't this monster series Evan has been doing so cute? Emily is in love with them and is starting to make special requests. (Last night she was falling asleep and mumbled "lost cute....") What we will do with them (if anything) we do not know, but they sure are bringing more fun into the house!

Friday, February 2, 2007

it's Groundhog's Day

And David Seah has a brilliant idea for celebrating it: in the spirit of the movie, make this your chance to get things right. Move your resolutions to today from Jan 1st! Go read his proposal, it makes perfect sense. In a nutshell - Jan 1st is the worst time of year to make resolutions; you're tired and worn out from the holidays (And I think January can be a pretty dank month). It's true, this year I was so wiped out I didn't even attempt to make resolutions. So make them on Feb 2nd, after you've had time to get your head back above water and think more about them. He then lays out a whole plan for reviewing your progress based on the idea that today is 2/2, so on each following month/day pairing (3/3, 4/4 etc) you will take some time to think about them. He did leave out the 3/3 Girls' Day (which we celebrate every year!) and 5/5 Boys' Day holidays, but I guess they're not that relevant.

Of course, the trick will still be to keep your resolution list short and realistic; and to approach them in a fashion that makes sense. But that's a whole different issue.

Okay, I'm off to think about making 3 resolutions for this year! What will yours be?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

recipe request - vegan dashi

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about our daily family bowl of miso soup (well, not actually daily anymore, but 3-4 times a week), and one thing I never really thought about is that miso soup made the traditional way cannot be vegetarian because the base is really the dashi, or fish stock. Using just water will make a much weaker soup, and using vegetable stock will change the flavor quite a bit. Luckily, my copy of the Book of Miso Soup* comes to the rescue with a seaweed-only dashi recipe that you can substitute for regular fish-based dashi!

Kombu Dashi

for each cup of stock you want, you will need 1 cup of water and one 2" x 4" strip of kombu.

wipe kombu down with damp paper towel. Using scissors, cut several slits partway through each strip (do not cut through). Place in a saucepan with the water and let stand 30 minutes. Put on low heat and bring to a simmer. When the water begins to bubble, remove kombu with tongs or strainer.

At this point, you can continue adding ingredients to make your miso soup, or you can refrigerate the dashi to use later. I also see no reason that you couldn't make a big batch, and freeze it in 1-2 cup servings. I doubt it would last incredibly long in the freezer, but certainly it ought to be fine for up to a month.

*I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes miso soup. The information in it is unbelievable, from a breakdown of every variant of miso to a guide on making your own, with over 100 recipes for different miso soups, each accompanied by color photos of not just the final product, but the ingredients as they should look prepped for cooking! One of the best designed cookbooks I own.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

what's on your menu?

So, you say you want to get into the weekly menu groove but you either can't cook, don't cook, or are out of ideas. Well, here are some of my favorite (print) resources for you!

First of all, if you're new to cooking or short on time, in general, avoid the ambitious stuff. And in fact, avoid any recipe with a lot of ingredients, especially if they're minor ingredients that you do not have on hand. (A little secret of mine - if I have a recipe that calls for say, a pinch of dried cilantro which I do not have, I just leave it out. And the food is none the worse for it.)

If you have cooked a bit but want some (mostly) quick recipes, do yourself a favor and check out the 1-2-3 cookbooks by Rozanne Gold. There are a ton of these (Desserts, Kids, Entertaining, Healthy, you name it) but a good place to start is with the basic Cooking 1-2-3 volume. Her gimmick is that every recipe uses just 3 ingredients (not including salt, pepper and water, I think) so while not all the recipes are easy, they are all pretty simple.

If you want to work more vegetables into your menus, Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day is essential. Nearly any vegetable you can think of, with buying and storage tips, plus recipes. And so far, not a single recipe I've tried from it has been a dud. This book is on my small "essential" shelf of cookbooks I literally could not do without.

Want to start baking? The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion is also on my essentials shelf. It covers everything you can make with flour, pretty much, from pancakes and biscuits to bread and cakes. Explanations throughout explaining "why", which is important to me when it comes to baking, which really is like science. Our family favorite pancakes are on page 3 (and I use malted milk powder, not sugar).

Finally, my number one current essential, Cook's Country magazine (which can be bought in collections by year, check the 2005 bound edition here). This is a sister publication to Cook's Illustrated, and is a more user-friendly version, geared to the beginner or busy cook. I am such a fan I get the magazine AND buy the bound editions at the end of the year, but you might want to just go for the books. Unfortunately a lot of their web content is inaccessible if you don't pay (which does suck, I mean, I buy the magazine AND the book but I still can't use the website without paying even more...) but there's enough free content on there for you to get a good taste (ha ha). This is a publication so user-friendly Evan reads it (and so does Emily, but that's a different story). Recipes, equipment tests, taste test and even menus!

In general I would have to also say, if you can, check cookbooks out from the library before buying. I always try to, and have avoided several purchases that I would have been unhappy with. And don't think people who write cookbooks are all infallible either; I have at least two cookbooks (by well-known chefs!) that have really bad recipes in them, as in they won't even work the way they're supposed to. So don't think it's just you if a recipe doesn't work or you don't like it.

So that's my quick roundup...stay tuned for a couple of tried and true recipes soon!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

what's on the menu?

Signs: Zaitzeff Menu - Originally uploaded to flickr by LarimdaME

One of the questions I get a lot, is "how on earth do you get so much stuff done?" And the answer is: well, truthfully, I don't get so much stuff done. My projects languish for what seems like forever. And I don't do even a tiny percentage of the things I want to. But how I accomplish what I do manage to get done is mainly due to being a little crazy with my organization. And one of my number one systems, because I know you are just dying to the weekly menu!

I know there are people who think doing a menu is insane, but seriously, it has worked out so well. And if I ever let it slide meals go to hell around here fast! I highly recommend it to anyone who cooks even half their meals (just mark those other nights as "takeout" or "pizza" or "tonkatsu at Mitsuwa" or whatever you plan on eating). In case you want to give it a try, here's my system.

First, I chose a day to do the whole week's menu. For me, Sunday is best, since it's a slow day and is one day after our local greenmarket and one before our main errand day. At some point that day I sit down and type out the next week's menu, along with a list of what groceries I'll need to make those meals. (I actually plan lunch as well, although that's pretty basic. Mainly I plan lunch to make sure we don't just eat the same thing every single day.)

How do I pick out meals? I have a master list of basic and quick favorites, which is easy because I can just copy and paste them into different days. I try to also plan one extra-special meal (roast chicken or brisket, for example) and include one new recipe. Although if things are busy I may skip one or both of those. Then once I have 7 dinners picked out, I shuffle them around until I have a line-up that makes sense (i.e. we're not eating the same thing three days in a row).

Once that's all done, I make 2 shopping lists -- one for Monday which is when we do our main shopping run, and a smaller list for Thursday or so for things I don't want sitting all week (produce and meats, mainly). And then I am set for the week - no last minute trips for something I needed, no staring into the fridge willing something to magically appear, and every day I can do a quick check to see if I need to pull anything from the freezer or start something early. So, a little time spent one day a week = lots more time during the week to....not get anything done anyway! yay!

Seriously, it really does free up a lot of time and save money. Give it a try if you are so inclined! Now, if you'll excuse me, I hear some multi-sided dice rolling down the hall and I think I need to go do an intervention.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

emily's apron

Emily's birthday apron!

You would not believe how small and cute this thing is. The apron, I mean. Emily has put it on every single day since she got it! Thanks again, Mary Ann!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

this girl is crazy lucky

first balloon

Today the last of her presents did show up! (additions to her animal collection from her Nonni) Then...the actual last of her presents (xmas from her uncle, aunt and cousin). And then....a bonus surprise extra birthday present from the truly awesome Mary Ann (my pal and 5-4-3-2-etsy partner)!! She made Emily an adorable teency little apron. First Emily stuffed it back in the package and carried "her mail" around for a bit, then she got it back out and tried to put it on. It was then on and off for the rest of the evening. Apron photos asap!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

oh happy day

A day of packages! Always exciting.

Today I got my camera back (I know it's old and a bit clunky, but I love it) -- it broke over the holidays, okay, got broken. When it was dropped. By a baby. Whose mother let her hold it. MY FAULT! Canon repaired it and got it back to me lickity-split and boy oh boy did I miss it. Using the crappy old Fuji while it was gone has been painful.

I also got my big post-xmas treat - a full-size food processor (or robot culinaire, yay!), something I've wanted for years and just couldn't bring myself to buy. Reading recipes with Emily, I kept finding things that called for a processor, and Evan finally said "let's get one!" So we did. And it's here. And we have already tested it with every fading vegetable we had in the house. Emily does not like it at all (probably a good thing) but Evan and I were like "sprouty potato? DIE!!" Now I have to go back and find all the recipes I've avoided because I didn't have one.

We also got an unpainted set of Milk and Cheese vinyl test shots for me to do a paint master on. Slowly but surely, these figures are finally working their way towards coming out.

Triple yay!

Now if the last of Emily's presents would just show up it would be the greatest day of the year so far.

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