December 1st, 2004


Productive morning and boxes from home beat fresh pumpkin pie.

Things here were a little awkward last night, but I needed a kick to work on self-improvement. I've been practicing muttering positive things and being more upbeat all day and so far, it seems to be paying off.

Today I woke up before Laurel (I hope to wake up at that time without needing a reminder from my phone in a few weeks) and we took a shower straightaway after breakfast instead of dawdling like we usually do. After breakfast, we put the sheets from both bedrooms in the wash (I changed Laurel's sheets on Monday and left the set I took off to wait until I did the master bedroom ones to be one load of laundry) and some fabric I'd washed last night in the dryer, then made mini pumpkin pies using some of the spiced pumpkin puree Vogon made last week and a Classic Crisco Pie Crust, which I had great success with compared to my previous attempts at homemade pie crust. Laurel demolished the bonus tart I made with the scant leftover crust while it was still warm, so I take it as a sign they're good.

When Vogon came in at lunchtime, I had everything we used for piemaking washed except for the pastry cloth, almost all the clean dishes from the dishwasher unpacked (have to find a place for the new deviled egg plates), a load of clean laundry folded and partially put away, the sheets in the dryer and the master bedroom comforter and shams in the wash. I wasn't too hungry but I'm always craving cheese, so he delighted Laurel with lunch at Double Dave's.

We returned from lunch to find a UPS slip (stuff my parents shipped last weekend) and Vogon retrieved the packages while Laurel and I took off our jackets and shoes. Holy frijoles, it's like an early Christmas! The rest of Laurel's cool-weather clothing from my parents' house arrived, including two pairs of size 4T footie PJs she recieved last Christmas (just in time for chilly nights here), my wool clogs and favorite sweater, lots of atole mix packets, treats for Laurel (she's been playing with the Dora the Explorer Adventure Doodler for ten minutes straight now) and even treats for me! I now have several back issues of Shutterbug, an issue of Yankee and catalogs from Patternworks, Keepsake NeedleArts and King Arthur Flour's Baker's Catalogue. The latter causes both foodie nirvana and homesickness at the same time, but it's all good. I have shoes again which are neither sandals nor lug-sole. (:

Laurel is now running around wearing a Dora the Explorer baseball cap cockeyed, alligator rain boots with her pants hitched up to her knees and a felt Backpack looking for someplace to make a mini blanket nest and draw some more with her Dora magnetic doodler. It's too cute.

Photos/How-to: making muffin-paper crayons.

As a little burrito, I remember making round, easy-to-grasp crayons from broken crayon bits in an old muffin tin. After saving most of Laurel's broken crayons until I had a small plastic container full, I decided to do try it myself using a dollar-store muffin tin. My local dollar store didn't have any in stock, so I decided to try it using muffin papers (better known as baking cups) on a baking sheet instead.

Many recipes I found online recommend making them in a 200-225 degree oven. My crayon bits were still firm after 25 minutes at 225, so I bumped the thermostat up incrementally and checked every five minutes until they finally melted. I got the quickest melt between 300 and 325 but the wax seemed to vaporize slightly at 325; I felt waxy steam when I opened the oven after the second batch was ready to take out. (The oven smelled a bit like crayons the next time I heated it up, but it hasn't affected anything I've made since.) Also, there was a small amount of wax left on the baking sheet under where I had used paper baking cups that scrubbed off easily under hot water.

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SITREP: No change.

Laurel swallowed a penny after she finished dinner. I heard her cough and half-cry, so I went over to check on her. When I asked her what happened, she said, "I had a penny in my mouth!" (we've talked before about not putting non-food items in the mouth) followed by "I lost it!".

After running back to the study to let Vogon know what happened, I told him, "I guess she picked a penny so she wouldn't have to make change."

He replied, "It will be the most money she's ever made in her life."