Discussions about the weather with friends up north this week have led me to see that there is a need for a Cold Unfairness Index. Whenever I grouse about having to go out in rainy, 33-degree weather, they throw down with stories of blizzards, ice-covered sidewalks and highs in the 20’s. It always seems like they handily win the woe-is-me weather contest, but I keep sensing that there is something unjust about the scale.
It finally occurred to me: there needs to be some sort of winter weather index that takes into account the number of stinging bugs one has to deal with in the summer. For example, you get to drop five degrees for every scorpion sighting in your house, two degrees for every scorpion encountered outside your house, one degree for every wasp’s nest by your front door, etc. (And it automatically goes to zero Kelvin if you were actually stung by a scorpion. You just win. Nobody should have to deal with scorpion stings and weather below 40 degrees.)
A couple weeks ago my husband and I went to the coolest restaurant:
It’s called Ronnie’s Real Food, and eating there is a cross between dining in a restaurant and a cozy living room. The owner was an accountant who wanted to open a restaurant but didn’t want all the hassle, so he bought a house, set out some tables and started taking reservations. Each night he only offers a couple choices for entrees, you bring your own beer or wine, and it’s a fixed price: $25 per person including tax and tip.
The homey atmosphere, fresh, local food and personal touch made the dining experience one of my favorites ever. If you’re in Austin you have to check it out!
Speaking of food, here’s a tip for getting kids to get more variety in their diets: incorporate new or non-favorite foods into a “taco night.” For example, when I make beef stew my kids balk at the onions and mushrooms, and they don’t like the soupy texture. So I put drained meat and carrots on their plates, then set out little cups of sour cream and shredded cheese. I give them each a tortilla to combine it all into a taco, and they eat it like crazy. This works for all sorts of different food. You’d be amazed at the different kinds of “tacos” we make around here.
From the “I can’t believe this works” files, another tip: I’ve had great success in getting my three oldest children (ages five, three and two) to help me clean up at the end of each day by playing special music. Instead of setting a timer, I put on our two clean-up songs. It took a couple weeks to enforce the concept that they need to be cleaning while those songs are on (they get some treat afterwards in proportion to how hard they worked), but I’m telling you, it’s like they’re robots now. They’ll be standing around, whining, saying they don’t want to help straighten the living room, then I put on the music, and it’s as if their bodies start moving in cleaning motions without them willing it. It’s amazing.
(If anyone’s interested, our clean-up songs are 2-Minute Clean Up by Andy Dodge and Clean My Room by the Imagination Movers. Someone without young kids might find these songs grating, but they’re like freaking Tchaikovsky to my ears because I associate them with having my living room cleaned for free and not by me.)
Has anyone tried one of these Presto things? I love the idea: it’s a printer that prints emails for people who don’t own computers (a more thorough explanation here). We’re thinking about getting one for my 95-year-old grandfather. Anyone have any good/bad experiences with it?
I just remembered that this weekend is Valentine’s Day. That holiday never makes it on my radar. It’s not that I dislike it; I think my subconscious just has this tendency to block out non-essential holidays that require planning, creativity or domestic adeptness as a way to avoid epic failures on my part. My husband and I have half-jokingly talked about setting St. Claude la Colombiere day as our romantic holiday — there’d be less pressure to do anything elaborate, and since it’s the day after Valentine’s Day it’d be easy to get cards and flowers on discount. (This is why nobody asks me to write homemaking advice columns.)
Anyway, I like to live vicariously through people who do cool stuff for Valentine’s Day, though. Anyone have any cool plans?
Tomorrow I’m excited to be going to the Darwins‘ annual blogging meetup, where we’ll be joined by Melanie Bettinelli, Dom Bettinelli, Literacy-Chic, Christopher of Sanctus Christopher and a few other friends who don’t currently have blogs. (I apologize if I’m forgetting anyone!) Should be a great time, as always.
I look forward to reading your posts!