Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy National Waffle Day

This week on August 24th, Mackenzie informed me it was National Waffle Day and therefore he absolutely HAD to eat large piles of waffles. Of course, this kid would use any excuse to eat large piles of waffles, but this was a good one. In the U.S., National Waffle Day is the anniversary of the first U.S. patent for a waffle iron. Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York received his patent for a "device to bake waffles" in 1869. 

Mackenzie can, and has in fact easily put away four waffles at a sitting. I make a huge recipe up at one time, modifying my basic Betty Crocker recipe by substituting coconut flour, almond meal, flax meal, and hemp seeds for about half of the flour. Then I bake waffles for an hour or two, and put whatever he doesn't eat into the freezer in gallon freezer bags. That way at least he's got a several day supply of frozen waffles for whenever he needs some. They're far healthier and more cost-efficient than the Eggo-style waffles, but they're just as easy once they're made up and frozen.

If those don't sound appealing, here's a great listing of over 100 waffle recipes, including bacon cheddar waffles, blue corn waffles, and Belgian coconut waffles. Sounds like I might need to try some of these out and get creative!

After I watched my once-sturdy, now-skinny almost 14 year old (2 days and counting!) devour platefuls of waffles, I logged onto Facebook to find that friend Laura posted this adorable photo of our two kiddos at about age three. As you can see, Mackenzie's pastime of food obsession has a long history. But man, isn't this the cutest picture ever? It's hard to believe they're both teenagers now.

I'll have to end this food-based post with a funny quote from Mackenzie. We were in the store the other day and he asked me to buy him two corn dogs. After handing him the corn dogs, I turned back to the cashier to pay for them. 30 seconds later I turned back to Mackenzie to see his hands completely empty. "Where did you put the corn dogs?" I asked, thinking he had set them down on the counter.

"Well," he replied "I was holding them in my hand. Then I heard this suctioning noise, and when I looked down there was a corndog-shaped hole in the universe where they'd been a moment before."

"Ah," I said, "was that suctioning noise perhaps you inhaling two corndogs?"

"That's within the realms of possibility" he admitted.

Life with a teenage boy. Never a dull moment, and never enough money for food!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Best. Play. Ever!

That was Asa's comment after seeing Macbeth tonight at Free Shakespeare in the Park. This was uttered just after the soldiers carrying branches (from Great Birnam Wood) came rushing past our picnic blankets to the battle at Dunsinane. I also heard (though this did not happen to us) that the witches came and switched stuff from  people's picnic baskets and coolers, taking and leaving food as they went. What fun!

MacBeth : For Kids (Shakespeare Can Be Fun series)Mackenzie of course loves the Bard. In fact, just to torture him, I showed him this book from the (I'm not making this up) "Shakespeare Can Be Fun!" series) My kids, being homeschoolers, find any of the "Learning Can Be Fun!" type stuff intensely amusing. Like our society has made learning into such a horrifying thing that we now need to dress it up in exciting ways so that kids might actually like it again. Hey, I've got an idea, how about making it Not Boring in the first place? Even fidgety Asa was more than happy to sit through Shakespeare's weighty verses because damn it, the man could write a fine play. Love, death, murder, friendship, swordfights, what's not to like?? No need to "make it fun".

William Shakespeare's MacbethMeanwhile, the day before going to see the play, I did check this excellent book out from the library: William Shakespeare's Macbeth. It was the best re-telling of the story in the kids' section, including lots of good actual quotes from the script, and had beautiful illustrations. There are a couple of nice-looking graphic novel editions as well, but they were all checked out.We discussed the story and I think the kids were really ready to see it in its full version. Although Free Shakespeare in the Park does lack some in sets (I first saw Macbeth at the awe-inspiring Ashland Shakespeare Festival and the staging of the witches on the moors was incredible!) and costumes, one thing I like is that with being able to sit 10 feet away on a picnic blanket, for some reason it makes it seem so much more accessible. Even the language is easier to understand when you can see the actors' expressions up close and personal. They do quite a nice job with their plays, and used real swords with some nice sword-fighting choreography thrown in. The weather was warm and pleasant but not too hot, and we got to enjoy some chicken, grapes, and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons (which has become our annual "Shakespeare treat"). Yes, Shakespeare can be fun!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Absence of a Whirlwind

For the third week this summer, we are Asa-less. First there was the week at grandma's, then the week at sleep-away camp, now a week at her friend's house. It's an eerie precursor to the future when our kids will be grown and gone. The house seems so quiet. Too quiet. Asa is probably responsible for 90% of the music, talking, chaos, energy, mess, confusion, delays, and cheeriness of our household. A double-edged sword, she's an unstoppable force of nature, a whirlwind of sound and energy and love radiating in all directions. When she's home, she's here, there, and everywhere. She's petting the cats, painting a picture, singing a song, painting my toenails, leaving the radio on in her room, making pancakes and forgetting to put any of it away (the paints, the paper, the fingernail polish, the flour, the eggs, the radio, the pet food...)

I miss her very much.

But the house is clean.

And quiet.

Too quiet.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Virtual Solution to A Real World Problem

This is a mind-bender of epic proportions, but I think it also gives an insight into my kids' mind and how he thinks, which is very cool.

So Mackenzie just got this Xbox game from a friend, it's obviously in used condition but it seemed to play fine. Then at one point in the game, it got stuck and wouldn't let the character go any farther. As it turns out, there was a scratch on the disk. Mackenzie buffed it a little and tried again, but it still got hung up at the same point.

He reasoned that he might be able to get around this problem because, as he explained to me, games used to load an entire level at one time, which made it take a very long time each time you went to a new level. However now they buffer and load segments of the level while you're actually playing it, loading just the areas that your character is going to travel into. So he figured that there was a scratch in this area of the disk, it would probably only affect that particular area of the map in the level. So he had his character WALK AROUND THE SCRATCH. Yep, he walked way off course, down into some valley and took the long way around, and he walked around the scratch on the disk because he walked into a different map segment that wasn't scratched. Isn't that cool? It just blows my mind how entwined virtual and real can be, and provides a glimpse into the future that's kind of freaky.

It also gives me a lot of insight into the cool deductive way that my kid thinks. No wonder his favorite novels are the Sherlock Holmes series!

There have been many such examples lately that demonstrate to me how alike we are in some ways. It's no surprise that when I worked at Microsoft, Testing was my field. To be a Tester, you need to be able to understand the code and how it works, and then think of all of the different ways that you could stress that code. I'm sure he gets a fair amount of this ability from his dad the jet mechanic as well. Wayne has to do this kind of problem-solving frequently in his job. Mackenzie totally thinks like this on a daily basis. When he finds a problem, whether its hardware or software related, he starts thinking of all of the different things that could be causing it, and then starts methodically narrowing them down.He's the kind of person I would've loved to have on my team at Microsoft! What a cool kid.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Yep, It Happened

He's taller than me. 5'7" and counting...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Your Cute and Funny For the Day

This one's for the kids. We loved it! But then you might guess, we're a sucker for animals...