Friday, May 13, 2011

There is no joy in Hockeytown

Despite Ben's adorable modeling of this shirt yesterday, it wasn't enough for the Red Wings to pull off a come-from-behind win against the San Jose Sharks. We are disappointed that they are out of the playoffs, but when Ben woke up this morning (having not seen the game), he assured me, "The Red Wings are okay!" Thanks to Grammie & Papa for the shirt!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Pulled Pork

Taking a brief respite from the Ben photos (sorry, grandparents!) to share this delicious recipe we tried last night. The Pioneer Woman has a huge collection of recipes on her website and most of them have step-by-step photos. We tried her Spicy Shredded Pork yesterday. It was so tender it was falling off the bone when Dave removed it from the pan.  It's not a weekday meal, since it takes several hours to roast - our 6 lb. pork shoulder roasted for 5 hrs and then had 15-20 minutes extra at a higher temperature to crisp it up and render more fat. You could probably also cook it in the crock pot.

It's called "spicy" but there's not much heat, for those who like milder flavors. It did have a nice flavor blend and needed no extra sauce other than a squeeze of lime juice. We have a 9"x13" pan of leftovers, so it would be great for a crowd or to make some freezer meals. We will definitely be trying it again!

Visit from Grammie & Papa

My parents drove out from Michigan for a long weekend. Ben had a day off of daycare for teacher inservice, so I took an extra day off of work and we got to have an extended visit.

We finally took Ben to Fritz's Railroad Restaurant in Crown Center.  The food isn't anything beyond basic diner food, but it's delivered by overhead train, which makes it so fun! They also have model railroad trains that go through windows at each booth. Ben got excited anticipating when the train would come back to our booth.

This has been the goofy face we've gotten when we tell Ben to say "cheese" lately. I'm pretty sure this is a regular preschooler phase, because I remember my friend Sarah's son doing the same thing.

We also visited the Crayola store in Crown Center. Ben & Grammie colored on big easels & Ben played with a giant magnetic tic-tac-toe board.

Shortly after this picture was taken, Ben tried climbing into the fountains outside Crown Center. Luckily, Grammie was too fast for him!

Helping Papa wash their new car:

Helping me collect branches from trimming an overgrown burning bush. He really wanted to help and was getting a little frustrated when I didn't have any more small twigs for him to carry.

My dad assembled this Radio Flyer wagon we got at a garage sale. Ben was pretty unsure of it - he would only let us move it about 3 feet with him inside, but would pull it himself with his stuffed animals riding. He'll probably get used to it with a few more tries.

Mom had Dena make Ben an adorable apron & chef's hat as he's been having so much fun helping with baking. Dave & I also got coordinating aprons. Ben & Grammie were having fun making imaginary oatmeal in this picture.

Passover & Easter

We celebrated Passover at Dave's parents' house. We got Ben some fun Passover books from the library so he would be familiar with some of the food & rituals. He liked repeating Moses' command to "let my people go!" Here are Ben & Grandma reading My First Passover Board Book. We also thought The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah was funny, though less specific on the details as compared to the other book.

The next weekend we dyed Easter eggs with Ben for the first time. Ben kept trying to reach in the cup with his hand and pull out the egg. He had a typical two-year-old's impatience at waiting for them to dry, but loved eating them!

On Easter we went over to Uncle Kenny's & Aunt Lynn's and had such beautiful weather that much of the after-brunch time was spent outside.  Ben had a blast with all of their toys and playing with his cousins. Most of these photos were taken by Jerry; the lighting & all the flowers outside made for wonderful pictures!

Trying to help Ben learn how to use the pedals:

Running back and forth with the shopping cart:

Ben bringing cousin Tara some "food." Earlier, Tara & Karastin were ordering imaginary groceries and Ben was so excited to deliver them with his shopping cart!

More running. Very dangerous for the unprotected toes of innocent bystanders!

Ben & his other young cousins had a great time with the kitchen that Kenny & Jeff carried out. I think Ben thought it was just dropped from heaven; it wasn't there, and then suddenly it was! And entirely stocked with food and dishes!