Saturday, April 26, 2008

vog, really?

this week i learned about vog. i honestly thought a woman at owen's preschool had misspoke when she mentioned how she thought her son's allergies were worse right now because of the vog!

vog is volcanic smog that's been blowing our way from eruptions of the kilauea volcano on the big island. areas of the big island have been evacuated because it's can be harmful to have significant exposure to sulfur dioxide. the sky looks pretty hazy... much like LA on an exceptionally hazy day, but we're far enough away that the health risks are low.

although, one of the side effects is lethargy.... at least now i have an additional excuse for wanting to take a nap!

Owen L. Johnson: Couch Jumper Extraordinaire

The Olympic Committee just announced several new events in this year's games in Beijing. I hear that Owen Johnson from the US is the one to beat in the Couch Gymnastics.

The scores were:

6.0, 6.0, 5.9, 5.4 (Germans), 5.9

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

field trip to sea life park

today we joined owen's preschool class on a field trip to sea life park, and i'm so glad we did! we had a blast. owen loved to see the dolphins jumping and splashing and we were both entertained by the "miss sea lion" competition - with talent, dance and question/answer segments.

my favorite photo

dolphins named buster, maui, and kai

"owen having so much fun sea life field trip"

petting a baby sea turtle named gizmo

sharing his snack with a friend

miss california paints

sea turtles, aka "honu"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

best banana bread

i'm such a fan of banana bread, and the recipe that follows will never disappoint. tonight my little man was helping out with everything from banana mashing to batter tasting. this recipe is definitely one with a stronger "banana" flavor and less of a "spicy" flavor... which is why i love it so much. i've made a number of variations too... coconut macadamia nut, chocolate chip, and orange spice were all winners. tonight was just the basic recipe - sans walnuts.

The Best Banana Bread

Cook's Illustrated 3/1998

Greasing and flouring only the bottom of a regular loaf pan causes the bread to cling to the sides and rise higher. If using a nonstick loaf pan, on which the sides are very slick, grease and flour sides as well as the bottom.

Makes one 9-inch loaf

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups toasted walnuts , chopped coarse (about 1 cup)
3 very ripe bananas , soft, darkly speckled, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs , beaten lightly
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. Combine first five ingredients together in large bowl; set aside.

2. Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl. Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Owen's laptop

Like most kids his age, Owen loves computers. So many buttons and colors and sounds. Heck, I find them irresistible, too! But I can't have The Boy banging on my computer anytime he feels like it. So I took Erin's old work computer--an IBM Thinkpad from the stone ages (2001)--out of the closet and dusted it off. I set up the voice navigator and customized Wordpad with huge fonts and bright text colors. I also daisy-chained two USB keybords together, tripling the number of keys to push and allowing the whole family to push buttons if Owen wants to share ("Ehbody do it!"). Leapfrog's got nothing on our homemade interactive learning device.

Last night, Owen figured out how to use the track-nub to move the cursor to the login icon. The computer is officially his now...


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Now you know his ABCs

Owen sang his ABCs all the way through, all by himself while in the bath tonight. He gave us an encore performance. Sorry for the poor lighting...