Archive | September, 2013

Rainbow Rice

10 Sep

I wanted to make a new activity for the toddler.  He has piles and piles of toys, yet all he wants to do is color at his craft table and tear my house apart.  Pulling things out of cabinets and drawers is utter fascination.  Then there’s the action of putting stuff into other stuff.

Toys?  Pshaw.  What does he care?  He turns 2 next week, and we really didn’t even look much at toys for his birthday gifts.  Or even books.  I find myself having to read the same Veggie Tales book over and over and over that I have fantasies of throwing it in the garbage can.  So he’s getting a stuffed animal, a matching game, and a tricycle.  And of course, crayons.  My word, the boy loves crayons.

So, that leads back to my desire to come up with a new activity for him.  Perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago brought up the idea of rainbow rice.  That’s nothing more than rice colored with food coloring, then given to a child to play with.  Cheap and easy.

I started with a inexpensive bag of white rice.  I measured 2 cups of rice into 4 loaf pans.  (That’s 2 cups per pan for 8 cups total.)  I added several drops of food coloring to each pan, plus 1 tsp. of vinegar.  Stirred it all up to get the color nicely mixed in and all the rice coated.  Then I stuck the pans in a 200-degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes to dry it all out.

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Next, I went on a search in the house for a large container with a lid.  I discovered a plastic bin full of bank statements from 1999 and figured those could be shredded and tossed, so I dumped them out on the guest bed and commandeered the bin for another, more interesting purpose.

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I added some tubs from Alex’s Box of Trash (a bin full of old containers, mayo jars full of rice or beads or water or some other thing to shake and make noise, milk jugs, etc.) and some dollar-store measuring scoops.  Then I let the little man go at it.

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Alex got busy scooping and sifting and having a great time with the rice.  (And if you’re wondering why my kid is shirtless, it’s because he has started to freak out if he gets any food on his shirt, which means it must come off right now or there will be a meltdown, people!  Nevermind that this wouldn’t be an issue if he’d stop ripping off his bibs during meals.  So, the shirt gets removed, and Mommy is too tired to go upstairs and get another one from his drawer.)

This activity was a big win with the toddler.  It was a losing proposition for the floor, though.  Thank God, we have a whole lot of tile, rather than carpet.  And I have a stick vac.  I nearly lost my mind trying to clean my tile before I bought that thing!

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The bad thing is, rainbow rice cannot compete with a bag of flour while I’m cooking.  I set Alex up in the kitchen yesterday with his bin, hoping that he’d happily play with that while I cooked.  He was good until I turned on my electric mixer (too exciting!), and then I got out a bag of flour, which looked like the Most Exciting Thing Ever.  That turned into a full-on tantrum when I became Mean Mommy and wouldn’t let him play in flour.  I have my mess limit, after all.

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I Put the Labor in Labor Day

3 Sep

My poor husband.

My parents gave him money for his birthday.  He bought a new grill, as the old one had a major problem.  He put his new grill together on Saturday, then we threw some inaugural spare ribs on it on Sunday.  We’d never grilled ribs before, but I read up online how to do it, so it didn’t seem difficult.

Except, apparently, it was.

The ribs didn’t cook up in time.  We were doing it low and slow, like I’d read to do.  But it was too slow.  Steven fiddled a bit with the temp and burners, but it still wasn’t cooking.  We ate frozen pizza for dinner.

While Steven was upstairs bathing Alex, he asked me to go out and turn all the burners on low.  So, I did.  At least, I thought I did.  It was dark and our motion-sensing light out on the deck has a difficult time actually working.  I fiddled with the burner knobs, and the flames looked nice and low, but seeing as I’ve never grilled before (that’s always been Steven’s job for the entirety of our 15 years of marriage), what did I know?

Not much, as it turns out.

Steven went out a little later to check on the progress.  He started yelling.  Our ribs were on fire.  He turned off the burners, then the propane tank, but things were still flaming inside.  Hugely flaming.  By the time the fire was out, our ribs were nothing but charred dust.  And Steven’s new grill?  Well, it survived, but he had to order a new thermometer and nameplate for the lid.

Even worse, I took out the internet.  This house has an abundance of cables running all around it.  This drives Steven nuts, and he occasionally pulls some of it down, when he can see that it goes nowhere.  But the cable that runs along the roofline of the deck covering?  That one actually did something.  I fried our internet.  We thought that the cable company was just having a little hiccup, but hours later, the ‘net was still down.  And down again in the morning.  That’s when it occurred to me to go outside and check.  Yep, I smoked the side of the house and melted the important parts of the cable several feet above the grill.

I’m not kidding when I say that we’re really lucky I didn’t burn the house down.

I cried.  A lot.  Apologized to my husband approximately 952 times because I messed up his birthday present.  Then cried some more.  He wasn’t mad at me in the least (because he’s just awesome like that), but I was furious with myself.  And scared because I nearly started a fire.
Thankfully, he was able to order new parts for the grill.  It didn’t cost all that much.

Then he spent Labor Day outside cleaning up my mess.  Scrubbing grill grates.  Scouring the brick on the house to get all the soot off.  And cutting off the ruined bits of internet cable and splicing on some new cable.  Good thing I bought him a DIY book in a $5 book sale a while back because it told him how to do the cable splicing.  You know, since we couldn’t go online to figure it out.

I’m pretty sure he will never again ask me to do anything with his grill again.  I think I’ll stick to the kitchen.

This used to look nice and unwarped and not bubbly.

This used to look nice and unwarped and not bubbly.

This used to work.

This used to work.

The lid is now discolored.

The lid is now discolored.