Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Change of Address

You may have heard, or then again, you may not have, that I am moving.

No, not houses.


I have a new blog now. Click here to visit my new home.

There are several reasons for this change. But most importantly, I can not continue to manage two blogs. So I am consolidating everything into one, brand new, super shiny blog. It will be your one stop shopping for all things Katherine, her three boys, Iowa, medicine, and the craziness that fills in the gaps.

I'm excited about the change.

But get yourself over there. Because this is the last post here.

Every person that has left a comment here, or followed me had given me insight, made my day, and become just like a friend. I hope you make this move with me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow Day

I realized several days ago that I had not seen the sun nearly this entire month. A combination of going to work when it's dark, getting home when it's dark, and long stretches of gloomy, cloudy days have made my exposure to sunlight next to nil. My vitamin D stores have definitely been depleted.

That is why, driving home Sunday morning, even though I was post-call from a strenous night on Trauma, when I saw blue skies, I was determined to make it outside.

Ignore the fact that it was 15 degrees. Ignore the fact that it was rather windy. Ignore that fact that it was 4 degrees with the windchill. We did.

We focused on the fact that the sky was blue, the ground was covered in new snow that glistened and sparkled, and that the entire world looked magical.

We bundled the boys in snow pants, parkas, scarves, hats, gloves, snow boots (after all, it did feel like 4 degrees.)

We then trucked through the glistening snow to the hill at school for some sunshine and snow.

Inner tubing...

Snow angels...

Blaise insisted that he wanted to swing. When I said the swings were covered with snow, he calmly, in his three year old list, reassured me that he could just wipe the snow off.

The afternoon was good for the cabin fever I'm sure was starting to descend on the boys. There was plenty of laughing, screaming, and completely darling children.

After everyone was sufficiently chilled, we trekked back home through the blue shadows for hot cocoa and dry socks.

It is truly amazing that a few hours with a inner tube, a snowy hill, and a blue sky can be thoroughly therapeutic.

This is truly what memories are made of.

Scenes from Christmas

Christmas is hard to write about. It's hard to capture the magic, happiness, and closeness. And there are never enough pictures to portray it either. But this is a start.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


What do you do when you want a Christmas picture of the entire family, but there is no one around to take it? Well, you put the camera on the tripod, set it for timed photos, and wish for the best.

Wait, Mom's not in that one... Maybe the next one...

Nope, Mom's not in that one either...

Okay, finally, all four of us. Roman, keep your hands down.

Almost. Look at the camera, Blaise.

Ahh, there we go.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Popcorn, a la Christmas

It feels that at this time of year, everyone is sharing snacks and recipes. There are blogs with recipes swaps. Even the female anesthesia residents had a cookie-recipe sharing party.

And I really want to participate. I do. But I don't really like to cook (I hope this blog hasn't given you any delusions otherwise.)

And I don't feel that sharing recipes I either make up (with varying success) and can never replicate, or those that come on the side of a Campbell's soup can or the back of a bag of chocolate chips just don't really work (or count).

But to get in the spirit of sharing, and cooking, I will share the recipe to a snack that I make every Christmas.

This recipe actually isn't mine. My very good friend in medical school, who is now doing her residency in California, shared it with me. But I don't always share that detail when people are telling me how much they like this.

Caramel Popcorn:
8 cups popped popcorn (salted)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (dark corn syrup gives a richer flavor, but it tastes just as nice with light corn syrup.)

You can also add 1/2 cup peanuts, but we never do.

Heat oven to 350.
Melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil while stirring nearly constantly. You seriously do not want this to boil over. It is very hard to clean up off the top of the stove. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken. I'm sure there is some temperature that this mixture should reach, but I wouldn't even know where to begin. I just boil it until it gets just a little bit thicker and turns from clear to caramelly color.

Pour caramel mixture over popcorn (in a very large bowl) and stir to coat evenly. If you want peanuts, be my guest and add them now. Spread on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check halfway through and stir ensure even cooking. Don't let it burn. This will result in frustration on your part and disappointment on your childrens' part.

Remove from over, place in large (heat proof) bowl and let cool.

We always double or triple this recipe. Because it is that good.

If you want to make caramel popcorn balls, let the caramel mixture cook longer. This will make it thicker. Pour over popcorn and let cool just a little. Coat your hands with just a little bit of Pam (or other baking spray. Although I'm sure butter or oil would work fine too.) Shape into balls. Let cool completely. Do not put the popcorn balls in the oven. The result is not good. Just let them cool on the counter.

There will be caramel popcorn in our house to munch on while watching Mickey's Christmas Carol and another bag in the boy's stocking, to enjoy Christmas morning and to buy us a little more sleep.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Baking

Why is it that every holiday seems to revolve around food? All the holiday treats weaken my will power and tempt my sweet tooth.

Not that I'm really complaining. I do love treats.

Despite the fact that I tend to avoid the kitchen, there is something about holiday baking that draws me in.

I love having Roman and Blaise standing on chairs on either side of me, taking turns dumping in ingredients (occasionally missing the bowl.) I love the floury hands, the attempts to be subtle while picking at the dough, the delight on their faces at placing the cookies in the oven, and their excitement when taking them out.

It also doesn't hurt that there are now cookies in our house.

In the past, we've done sprinkles. Which are not the most child friendly way to go cookies. As it usually involves incredibly vigorous sprinkling and then several weeks on clean up.

This year, we "painted" cookies.

I can't take any credit for this darling idea, as I found it here.

The boys created their masterpieces without needing my oversight. The mess was minimal.

The delight was endless.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree

I love Christmas trees. I could capitalize, bold, and underline the word love, then add two dozen or so exclamation points, and it still wouldn't be an exaggeration.

Putting up the Christmas tree, more than putting up the lights, baking cookies, or completing laps around overflowing store parking lots, marks the official start of the holiday season.

The tree gets put up (with only a little disagreement about what "straight" actually is). I wrap branch after branch with white Christmas lights. At that point, I think I like it best like that, and maybe this year we will only have lights on our tree.

But then I open the boxes filled with ornaments (all non-breakable, of course.) And then I let the boys decorate to their hearts delight.

Giant silver balls, small shiny gold ones, sparkly pears, glittery pine cones, copper wire stars, red and white (non-peppermint) candy canes.

Pipe cleaner wreaths, construction paper frames with smiling school pictures, a zoo of animals made from clay, puzzle pieces, paper, and Popsicle sticks.

Now, it is complete.

Well, almost.

All the ornaments are hung as waist height or lower. After Roman and Blaise are tucked in bed and sleeping, smears of Advent calender chocolate still on their faces, I rearrange and spread out the ornaments.

Our glittery, gold and silver tree is beautiful.

But then again, that's what I thought about our tree last year too. Poor little thing.

The glow of the lights fills the living room and twinkles through the window at me when I come home from work. The fresh smell of pine is subtle, but refreshing and homey at the same time.

And every 30 minutes or so, a Tonka truck, sword fight, or football reminds me of why I'm grateful for shatterproof ornaments.