Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hacked Off

Hacked Off, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

I just cut off all my hair. The jury is still out. I thought I'd post a picture of myself for once, since I've been oya bakaing the littles pretty hard lately. Here I am. Fat and somewhat happy.


jbp, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


hi, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rabbit Magic

In the true spirit of the oya baka parent I have to report that Ella read her first word. It wasn't a memorized word. She sounded out the three consonant sounds and it was there. Rabbit. We had been reading a Pooh story, one of those first reader ones with simple sentences and little word finds at the ends of the chapters.

This morning as we piled out the back door with backpacks and the baby car seat there was a brown rabbit sitting between the porch and the car. Ella ran towards him and he ran under the car and then across the backyard. I told her it wasn't nice to scare rabbits, and she said that he wasn't scared, that it was his birthday. " I know when rabbits have their birthdays too."


Flat Lick Farm, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house in Farmville. It was warm and festive, and the food was above and beyond good. My brother smoked the turkey again, and I've got to get one of those smokers. Click on the picture for more Thanksgiving goings on. The baby was smiley and peaceful, and Miss Ella was doing her best to be grown up. She wanted to dress up for dinner, and she was quite prepared to ask if she could be excused when she was finished. She stayed at the table so long waiting for the very tall chocolate cake that she didn't even have to ask to get up.

On friday we went out for sushi in Petersburg. No, it wasn't scary at all. It was delicious at Wabi- Sabi, and we were wishing we had such a cool little outpost in our hometown. Then we took in the art at the Nathaniel Friend Gallery and did some antique shopping. We ran into a classmate of my mother's that hadn't seen her since 1961, and he told me some good stories about my father when he was teaching high school english.

John and I went to see Good Night and Good Luck friday night at the mall. The movie was good, but it broke in the middle and we missed a bit. We got free tickets for another movie but ended up staying anyway because we so seldom are out without two small children. During the movie repair process we went to a puppet store in the mall. I don't know if it is a chain or not, but it looked so fun. They had an incredible owl puppet that I wish I'd gotten E for Christmas. We are putting on another Provo production this weekend at Hiyumi's birthday party. Strangely enough, I was dreaming about puppets last night...and discussion about jesus with Mr Rodgers.

I've been thinking about the Gallo kids. They lost their grandfather on friday.

Who was the first one at the table?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ella's favorite thing about Thanksgiving....

Triangle Man

Triangle Man, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


JBP, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Mayflower, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Tis the season for folk art poultry, and you know how I feel about that. ( I love folk art chickens, and I just don't know why. ) Ella was determined to put the waddle on the turkeys, but she was 100% determined that the little red part under the neck was called a "wobbler".

Home Cookin'

Before 9 am and she is all dressed up and working

Before 9 am and she is all dressed up and working, originally uploaded by ellajohn. I, on the other hand, am bleary eyed and wearing pajamas.

18 months size on John

18 months size on John, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

The jolly green giant is wearing a size 18 months here. The legs are rolled an inch, but the rest is perfect.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog

We went to Roanoke today on a Christmas mission. We bought some apples at the Farmer's Market so that E and I can make a pie tomorrow. One pumpkin and one apple.
Ella got a wonderful letter today from Her great aunt Terri and her great Uncle Fred. Fred sent her two turkey feather's from Nebraska, and Terri told her that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the symbol for our country instead of the eagle. E has a turkey feather from Virginia, but both the shape and the stripes are different.

I'm trying

I'm trying, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

This was going to be the last chance with the paci. He has rejected every other brand there is. He loves his fist but tries to suck on just one finger and gets frustrated when his hand stays closed.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pilgrim Ella

Our young pilgrim in 2005, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Pilgrim and Native American John

I married this man. It is a little disconcerting to see him with the big gun---as if he had been out hunting that turkey. It is more likely that I married the guy in the bottom picture.

Marvel Baby

John as baby and riding horse, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

This is my husband when he was a baby. We have Marvel here in the living room, albeit not the original.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005



West African Chicken Stew

This dish, typical of West Africa, is traditionally accompanied by foo-foo, a porridge-like side dish made from corn, sweet potato, plantain, or cassava meal. Serve the stew with rice to sop up the delicious sauce.
Active time: 45 min. Start to finish" 1 ¾ hours
1 3 lb chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces or 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1 (14 to 15 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
¼ cup water
2 T tomato paste
¼ cup oil
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 ¾ cups chicken broth ( 14 fl oz)
1 (10 oz) box frozen WHOLE okra
1 lb sweet potato
Place chicken in a single layer and salt; let stand at room temperature for 30 min.
Pulse tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until finely chopped.
Stir water into tomato paste in a small bowl.
Pat chicken dry. Heat oil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, without crowding, in 3 or 4 batches, until golden, 6 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a 6 to 7 quart heavy pot. Pour off all but 2 T fat from skillet, then add onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring until edges are golden, 2 to 3 minutes, Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic paste, and cayenne to chicken in pot. Whisk together peanut butter and 1 cup broth until smooth. Add to chicken along with remaining broth ( chicken will not be covered completely with liquid). Bring to a boil, uncovered, then cover and simmer , STIRRING OCCASIONALLY TO PREVENT STICKING, until chicken is very tender, about 25 minutes.
Peel sweet potato and cut into 1 inch chunks. Stir into stew along with okra, then simmer, covered, until potato is tender but not falling apart, 10 – 12 minutes.

Cook’s notes:
Chicken stew, without sweet potato and okra, can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, covered, then refrigerated. Reheat and proceed with recipe.
The recipe is readily doubled.
From GOURMET 10/05

Four year olds love this and grownups swoon. The peanut butter sounds gross, but it is absolutely what makes the recipe taste rich and luscious.


Classic Potato Gratin
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 ¼ cups half and half
1 ¼ tsp. Salt
ground black pepper.
Pinch ground ( freshly) nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper ( optional)
2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick or less
Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350*
Rub bottom and sides of 5 to 6 cup gratin dish or shallow baking dish with garlic Mince remaining garlic and set aside. Once garlic in dish has dried, about 2 minutes, spread dish with half the butter.
Bring half and half, seasonings, potatoes, and reserved garlic to boil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with wooded spoon ( liquid will just barely cover potatoes, Reduce heat and simmer until liquid thickens, about 2 minutes.
Pour potato mixture into prepared dish; shake dish or use fork to distribute potatoes evenly. Gently press down potatoes until submerged in liquid; dot with remaining butter. Bake until top is golden brown, basting once or twice the first 45 min) about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Let rest and serve.
For a more pronounced crust, sprinkle three tablespoons of heavy cream or Gruyere cheese on top of the potatoes after 45 minutes of baking.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Double Buddha


Bathtime, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Afternoon Crown Creation

Afternoon Crown Creation, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

We bought.

Dress Up and Drop

Dress Up and Drop, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

The smile enforcer

The smile enforcer, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Sleeping with a Puppy and a Lion

Sleeping with a Puppy and a Lion, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On a happier note...

Rings again, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

My wedding ring fits again

Popeye's grave

There is a nice little eulogy here


Popeye, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

native american vest

Over in Mr Rodger's Preschool they are doing all these classic projects. Who amongst us doesn't remember wearing a paper bag? Only now they are native american vests, not indian vests. I saw that they are going to make the handprint turkey's this week and make some pilgrim clothes as well. It is pure sweetness over there as long as Barbie stays home and the Power Rangers don't take over the playground. E had her first parent teacher conference last week, and of course she is doing wonderfully for her age. It is hard to believe that she has another year of preschool before she even starts kindergarden. "School" is going to have to work hard to live up to her current experience. She can write all her letters, balance on a balance beam, and skip. She does not know how to gallop.

batgirl gladiator provo

batgirl gladiator provo, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Ben, Rory, John, and Ella

I love all their hands.

Monday, November 07, 2005


red, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Click for house pix on Flickr.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Cinderella at the Ball

The slipper fits, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

I love it when E comes out of her room in one of these get ups. This was after she had scrubbed the floors and the fairy godmother helped her get ready for the ball. She loves to switch roles and play the wicked step-sister and order me around. She will usually whisper, "I'm just pretending."

Cinderella Reinactment

Cinderella Reinactment, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

This game has been getting the floors cleaned almost daily.

Ready to get sister at School

Ready to get sister at School, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

leaf looking

leaf looking, originally uploaded by sbprovo.


leaves, originally uploaded by sbprovo.


train, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Sleepy Boy

Sleepy Boy, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

John took a bath with Ella last night for the first time. It was not as hard as it sounds. I put his tub inside the big bath tub with her and sunk it to the bottom. Then he could be supported in his little seat in the deeper water. They both loved it. John was laughing and kicking his feet. Ella was a little over enthusiastic with the water but he took it well. Here he is all bundled up and ready for bed.

Fashionista with Leaf

Fashionista with Leaf, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

A grass skirt really makes any outfit pop.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Don't you wish YOUR pants came with a Gigglastic waistband? If you aren't in the know, Gigglastic is a term I found on the Huggies box. The gathered elastic prevents the poop from flying up to the back of the baby's neck. Now it goes up the front;)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fairy Princess Ballerina QUEEN!

Ella chose her costume from her vast fairy princess ballerina queen zoo animal fireman colonial collection. She was adamant that she was a Fairy Princess Ballerina QUEEN. There were a lot of fairy princesses out there last night, but I can almost guarantee that mine had the most energy. She was sprinting! It wasn't so much about the candy as the pure thrill of saying trick or treat. She had been to the the doctor earlier in the day, so I hadn't even told her about trick or treating just in case. Yes, she has an ear infection for the first time. We made it four years. She has the big bottle of pink medicine to take, but she already seems fine. Not to completely digress, but they started studying germs at school yesterday. Each child came home with a bar of soap and a newfound interest in the science of handwashing. Maybe having twenty kids with running noses for a month has gotten to the teachers.

Back to Halloween.. Ella got a lot of treats. Her bag runneth over. I had let her carry baby John's little bee bag to limit her capacity, but she dumped and started over. Daddy John was running along with her with a bumblebee puppet on his hand, and I was thinking about Shakespeare---Midsummer Night's Dream. After making the full round of downtown we had dinner at Gillies, some tofu to balance out the chocolate. Back at our house we visited Jan next door for yet another treat for Ella. Walking to her house was very dark and spooky. The night ended with a lavender bath for Ella and some fairly horrid candy induced behavior before she crawled in bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

I think she is flying!

I think she is flying!, originally uploaded by sbprovo.

Are her feet touching the ground. Ella fully understands the nature of trick or treating for the first time.

Full on Crazy

Full on Crazy, originally uploaded by sbprovo.