Friday, June 27, 2008

Recipes: Pasta and Potato Salads

Bagel's birthday party was today, so yesterday I made an old family favorite, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, and attempted a vegan version of another favorite potato salad. I hate mayonnaise-based potato salads, so I used to make a potato salad that was sour cream-based, with dill. It tasted like sour cream and onion potato chips, it was delicious. I wanted to get that sort of taste in an egg-free milk-free potato salad.

We make the pasta salad without using anything raw, because of FH's allergies to fresh things. Feel free to use fresh ingredients instead of canned, raw onions instead of sauteed onions, etc.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

16 oz. small shell pasta
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can whole olives, drained
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar or to taste
chopped fresh or dried herbs to taste (rosemary, basil, parsley)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Saute onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until onion is transparent. Toss pasta, onion/garlic, and all other ingredients. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Vegan Potato Salad

A bunch of potatoes (Knuckles was handing them to me so I lost count)
12 oz. firm silken tofu
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. really non-dairy creamer
2 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Peel potatoes, chop into 1" cubes and boil in a pot full of water; drain. Combine all other ingredients in food processor and cream it to within an inch of its life. Combine with potatoes and toss until all potatoes are covered in sauce. Chill and serve.

Potty Boot Camp, Days 8-10

Pottying is getting better. Yesterday Bagel had another accident-free day, so this morning we stuffed his party favor bags. He's fallen into a pattern of pooping once a day around 10 a.m. so we are going with that. He is also going more than one hour between wetting, and has been recognizing the feeling of urgency better.

This is like a miracle. I was totally expecting this to be like pulling teeth, like it was with Sonshine. It was so much work to get him to do the first phase of potty training, sitting on the potty. We had to do everything according to the same routine and nothing could be flexible or change according to our situation.

Bagel has been so much more flexible since he went on the meds. He's tolerating loads of changes in his breakfast routine-- having different cereals from day to day, allowing me to pour his rice milk, even not having to fill the bowl all the way to the rim. You have no idea how amazing this is unless you've experienced it yourself; the breakfast routine has been Bagel's most rigid routine. He would have to watch me give him the spoon or he would not believe it was clean. He had to pour the rice milk, even if it meant that we wasted a ton to spills, and he had to fill the entire bowl to the rim, pat down the cereal, etc. Some days he wouldn't even eat it, but we had to do the routine anyway. And he's tolerating changes in his bedtime routine too-- if we get home late, for example, he'll let us put him straight to bed. It feels so weird to have such normalcy in my house. I feel like I just got home from a war zone-- I see Bagel and expect him to explode with rage, but nothing happens.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Potty Boot Camp, Day 7

After Sunday's successful no-accident day, we thought we'd try for an accident-free Monday as well, but alas, it was not to be. I urged Bagel to poop in the morning, but he rebuffed me-- and fifteen minutes later, had a #2 accident. Other than that, though, he was dry and clean all day.

Today (Day #8) so far appears to be a repeat of Monday. Bagel did the exact same thing this morning as yesterday morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Potty Boot Camp, Days 5 and 6

Potty Boot Camp is going better. Bagel only had one accident yesterday (while he was with the sitter when we went out on a date) and has had no accidents at all today. However, today he's been reticent about going to the potty and I'm worried that he's started holding it back. He's on his "break" right now (we told him once a day he could take a break and have a diaper) and I'm worried that he'll start saving his waste for break time. I suppose that wouldn't be the worst thing that could possibly happen, but I just don't want him to start doing what Sonshine did, which was to completely constipate himself rather than use the potty. I need to start paying more attention to his fluid consumption. The last several days he's actually been drinking more water than usual, which I regarded as a good thing because (A) it gives him more opportunities to potty and (B) he would also bring me a glass of water at the same time as he got himself one, so it got me drinking water. But I have to confess that I lost track of it yesterday, and I've been asleep most of this afternoon.

UPDATE: Bagel made it to dinnertime without an accident, so he got his promised reward: he stuffed his pinata for his birthday party. Woohoo!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Potty Boot Camp, Day 4

I forgot to post yesterday, so this is how Friday went.

Bagel had two accidents in the morning, one a really bad #2 accident. After that, we had a talk about briefs and what they mean you have to do, and he got a bit of a nap, and he had no accidents all day after that. We pottied him every half hour.

We promised him that if he went all day till dinnertime without an accident, he would be allowed to fill his 4th birthday pinata with candy.

This morning he had a wet diaper, but when we pottied him for the first time today he relieved himself of an excellent amount of waste, so we called him a "Super Pooper" and praised him magnificently. I'm hoping this is a sign that the morning will go well-- if he lets it all out now, there's less of it to have accidents with later. Hopefully it'll become a habit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Potty Boot Camp, Day 3

Yesterday we "took a little break" from potty training in the afternoon, and put a diaper on Bagel. This was a good strategy because it reduced his frustration. Quite frankly, anything that reduces his frustration is a good thing. It's only Day 3 and he's already starting to get so frustrated that he's making threats again. Mostly he's just making threats to fire us and/or run away from home; at least he's not making death threats today. I bet by tomorrow he'll have moved on to death threats though. I hate that because when he makes death threats I have to put my foot down on those, which usually provokes him so much that he ends up in his room calming down for considerable stretches of the day. I've been trying to teach him a self-calming strategy of retiring to his room voluntarily for a few minutes to play with toys and "cool off" when he starts to get violent, and this morning he did it!

We went to the store and bought him three packages of briefs: a six-pack of tighty whiteys, a six-pack of colors and prints, and a three-pack of Transformers briefs. We are pottying him every half hour. No accidents yet, although it isn't even 9 a.m. and we still have to get through the science club coming over to our house. I expect I'll have to take care of at least one accident during the club meeting.

Bagel was DRY this morning, so we must be doing something right.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Potty Boot Camp, Day 2

Yesterday we pottied Bagel faithfully every hour, and he had three accidents.

Today we've pottied Bagel every hour, but he had three accidents before lunchtime, and I got really sick of it because at that rate he's wetting his pants faster than I can wash them. So I had him potty every 10 minutes for the next hour after an accident. I'm hoping that he will learn to hold it for 10 minutes, and to get his bladder and bowel so empty that he won't have an accident for the next hour or so, to give me a break between accidents. Most of his accidents so far have been outside (which was what I was anticipating by waiting until summer to do this) but if he has one inside on the carpet, it's work to clean it up, plus FH The Super-Smeller will come home and say "What stinks?"

I'm starting to think that one hour is too long an interval. Tomorrow we might just go to half hour intervals.

Gotta run now and clean up Accident No. 4. At least they've all been "#1" accidents today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Seven With One Blow

I kill flies with a dishtowel.

I grab one corner and roll it up and snap it like you'd do at somebody's butt in a locker room, if you were mean enough to do that to somebody. I wait until they're in a good position. If they keep getting into corners and stuff I flick them half-heartedly with the towel to make them keep moving until they land in a better spot. Wham! Dead flies. And they don't squish either, just drop.

Lately they've just been congregating on the living room window in the late afternoon, though, so they're easy pickings for anyone with a flip-flop.

Potty Boot Camp

Bagel knows how to potty. He even goes on the big potty (with the aid of a stool). He likes his Big Boy Briefs. There's just one problem: he seems to be totally unable to recognize the need to "go".

We've tried using thick, padded training briefs, but he would soil them and just sit in them. He wouldn't even tell us they were soiled, and if we asked him if they were soiled he'd deny it, even if we could smell that they were soiled. I suspect he might like the feeling of the full diaper. So we need a new approach.

What we are trying to do with Bagel is called "habit training". Normally, pottying is cued to the "special feeling" (as we called it in our house growing up): when you feel full, you go. But you can also train a child to cue pottying to a different stimulus, like an alarm bell, a particular time of day (e.g. 10 o'clock), or a sequence of events (e.g. eat lunch, then potty). This will allow them to successfully potty train before they are able to recognize the fullness in time to get to the potty.

So what we have here is a two-pronged approach: first, get Bagel out of anything that will feel like a full diaper, and don't allow him to potty in his pants in case he enjoys that too; second, get him onto a pottying schedule and keep it firm.

To accomplish the first step, I've put him in Big Boy Briefs and I'm sitting him on the potty every hour until he makes something or three minutes elapse, whichever comes first. He's already had an accident-- dumped a load on the stairs not five minutes after sitting on the potty. He was very apologetic and said he wanted a diaper, but I talked him out of it. (I'll give him a diaper for naptime.)

This is Potty Boot Camp. There's no diapers. There's no rest. We are just going to do it. Bagel is turning 4 this month and he can potty. There's no reason why he can't be trained, other than the fact that it's going to take a Herculean effort to get him to do it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rabbits Come Out Of The Closet

Our pet rabbits, Lisa and Emily, are lesbians. (LesBuns?)

We got them last summer on Freecycle. They are about 5 years old which makes them about 50 or 60 in bunny years. Lisa is definitely the "butch" rabbit and Emily the "femme". I was told that Emily had been in a relationship with a male rabbit who died, and she got so lonely, so Lisa was brought in as a companion to her. Lisa is constantly humping Emily and she doesn't seem too particular which end of Emily she mounts. Emily seems very henpecked and we suspect Lisa is keeping Emily away from food. In truth Emily is pretty plump for a rabbit and could probably stand to lose some weight, but still, it seems... unusual.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Vista Sucks

If you've been thinking about getting Windows Vista, stop it right now. Don't even think about it any more. You don't want the hassle. FH has Vista on his laptop, and it is like what Windows would be if it were designed by the Department of Education.

Remember the old joke about what cars would be like if Microsoft designed them-- you'd have to keep restarting them, they'd die in the middle of the road for no reason, etc. etc. Well, Vista is like that, only worse. It is constantly trying to be "helpful" but it comes across as more like that creepy guy in the office who's always trying to "help" the girl with the nice legs by bringing her staplers she doesn't need. If you want to delete a file, it will ask you if you want to delete it, and then it will ask you if you really want to delete it and if you really REALLY want to delete it. It will reboot your computer in the middle of something you're doing because it figures you'd really want to install that update it just downloaded. And it downloaded the update while you were trying to watch a video, but it made the video g. o. l.ik.e. th.i..s so you gave up trying to watch the video.

FH's computer has more memory than mine plus a dual-core, but mine brings up programs faster than his (I'm running XP).

Trust me, you do NOT want Vista.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Can Dream, Can't I?

I want to see this book made into a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Git a Rope

WANTED: The Toy Gang!

The infamous Toy Gang has been menacing floors 'round these parts, causing plenty 'a' foot injuries, slips and falls, and general mess and mayhem. Folks are mighty riled up by all the trouble the Toy Gang has been causing, and we won't take no more of it!

We done sworn in Pa as the Sheriff, and Ma as his Deputy, and we put up a Wanted poster announcing a one-cent bounty (for Legos, 5 for 1 cent) for those as help put away any member of the Toy Gang. There's hundreds of them thar Toys around, so that's a mighty big pile 'o' cash!

Round up the kid posse, there's a new Sheriff in town and he ain't gonna put up with no sass!

UPDATE: After I adjudicated a fight over whether kids can stake out certain rooms as their bounty-hunting territory (they can't), the boys have moved onto a different floor, and Princess is vacuuming without being asked.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

For Female Dumas Fans

Who's the sexiest Musketeer?
  • Athos-- cultured, brooding, melancholy
  • Porthos-- tall, burly, hedonistic
  • Aramis-- intellectual, poetic, Machiavellian
  • D'Artagnan-- young, impetuous, unafraid
Put your answers in the comments.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Random thought

Something you don't want: ballet lap dances.

Those pointe shoes HURT, especially if the dancer's feet slip. And having your head in the way of a rond de jambe isn't a good thing either.