13 January 2008

Thin Chicken and a Bowl of Warm Chocolate

On Friday, when I picked up the Bear and Mouse from their grandparents, my mom sent me home with a platter of frozen, breaded chicken - the thinnest you'll ever see. She prepared it and then, like everything else in her house, it went into a deep freeze - unsure of it's purpose or the role it may someday play in their lives. I decided to turn the 6 low-self esteem pieces into slim chicken parm with a side of penne. Never a big fan of Italian food - red sauce specifically - I have seen the light recently thanks in large part to the fine folks at Rao's in NYC. They make and distribute the best marinara and vodka sauce money can buy and a red with prosciutto and onions that is heavenly (and I'm not being paid to say that - I pay $7 a jar for the stuff like everyone else). As a result, we have been leaning on the relatively easy pasta dinner a couple times week over the past month or so - sometimes mixing in crumbled sweet sausage, sometimes peas and chicken (with the vodka sauce). I knew Rao's could make the flat chicken delicious.

After nap, we surprised the Bear with chocolate fondue - in a cool metallic red 100th Anniversary of the Hershey Kiss fondue pot (seen here courtesy of my iPhone). I picked this pot up on clearance for $7 last week at the local supermarket. We dipped strawberries, Nilla wafers, graham crackers, leftover oatmeal raisin cookies and pretzels. Sublime. I made the chocolate sauce with semi-sweet morsels (Toll House, of course), a dash of heavy cream, a 1/2 cup of milk and a few spoons of sugar (cause the morsels just weren't sugary enough). Against the easy-money odds, the Bear is not out of her mind tonight. I was prepared for choco-craziness, but nothing like that at all...yet. Hmmm.

In other exciting news, the Mouse is now doing the inward-facing hand-clasp thing that parents like to call waving. She is also clapping and just tonight began to use a sippy cup (okay, she held it for the first time and dribbled water onto her bib - but it's a start!) She is quite an amazing and fun little lady with a heart-melting smile.
I was not initially on-board with the idea of #2, afraid that we would mess up the great thing we had going with #1. I was also scared to death of something going wrong during the pregnancy. #1 was so smooth and easy for the Mrs. that I feared the law of averages crashing down onto her and us. Fortunately I was wrong. To see the Bear as big sis, to give her a built-in-best friend for life (hopefully) and to have a chance to correct our mistakes during the first go-around eventually won-out and I'm so damn glad. I just thanked the Mrs. the other night, after I snuggled the Mouse and put her to sleep, for talking me into expanded the family. Hard to imagine life without the Mouse nowadays.

The Mrs. and I started to discuss vacations for 2008 last night. We will surely hit Sarasota again, opting for, in all likelihood, a rental home/condo instead of a hotel room this time around. Looks like a nice place 1/2 block from Lido Key Beach can be had for less than $800 a week during the summer months (off-peak down in the Gulf Coast area). We are also considering a drive up to Boston for a long weekend. Long range...We have, in the back of our minds, a trip to France (again) planned for Summer '10 when the Mouse is 3 and the Bear 6. I'm afraid though that the stinkin' dollar will kill those dreams - $1.50 to buy a Euro now? That is almost 40% more than our first trip abroad in 2003 and 20% more than our 2 week stint with the Bear 15 months ago. That's nuts!

That concludes a rather rambling post, my apologies for that.

Bonne Nuit a Tous.

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