Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:15 am

Miles did a practice round of trick-or-treating last night in honor of Nana, Papa, and Uncle Michael’s visit.

He decided he wanted to be a green dog months ago.  I waited until October to make the costume, because I thought he’d change his mind.  We don’t know where he got the idea to be a green dog.  As far as we know, there’s no green dog character in any of the books or videos he likes.

He stuck with the idea, though.  I had some free time in early October, so I made the costume and lived in fear for the rest of the month that he was going to change his mind.

I was afraid he was going to reject it, because when we went to the mall for an indoor trick-or-treat the other night, he didn’t want to wear it at first.  But when he saw the other kids in their costumes, he got into the spirit.

He enjoys being outdoors, so he’s psyched about tonight’s neighborhood trick-or-treat.

He also enjoys candy.


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:17 am

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:06 pm

While we got ready for bed, Miles was singing to himself.

M:  Oh, Susanna
Don’t you cry for me.
I come from alouette
with a banjo on my knee.


Caramel apples

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:49 pm

Check it out, I’m blogging about something not related to my kid.

I made caramel apples today.  I haven’t tried one yet, but they’re pretty.  My concern is that the caramel seems a little grainy (gleaned from the fact that I ate the dregs out of the pot with a spoon).  The taste is good, though.

I halved a recipe, and the recipe indicated the full version would coat 8-10 apples.  I found the half recipe to be barely enough to cover 3, which was fine since that was how many I wanted to make, but just keep this in mind.

Step 1:  toast and salt your nuts (optional)

All I keep around is kosher salt, which I knew wouldn’t stick to the nuts well, so I dissolved some in a little water, tossed the pecan pieces in it, and then toasted them up in a skillet until the water was evaporated and the nuts were kind of toasty.  I think they’re too salty to eat on their own (next time I’ll use either more nuts or less salt), but I think they’ll be a good foil for the caramel and apples.

Step 2:  Prepare your apples

While the nuts are cooling, wash your apples thoroughly.  I used some all-natural dish soap and scrubbed them really well.  The goal is to get rid of the coating that makes them shiny, because it also keeps the caramel from adhering.  Then stick skewers up their butts.  I looked at the store for skewers, and I couldn’t find any, but these chopsticks were cheap and kind of cool.

Step 3:  Prepare your caramel

(This is for a half-batch.)

1.5 Tbsps butter
.75 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsps whipping cream
scanty pinch kosher salt

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar, water, and cream; stir until smooth.  Bring slowly to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.  Let it simmer for 3 minutes (in retrospect, I think I’d let it go a little longer).  Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.  That’s a real mess.  It will be really bubbly, but try to keep it under control.

Remove from heat and let it cool.  It’s ready when it falls from the spoon in ribbons a bit thicker than what you see in the picture.

Step 4:  Coat your apples

Coat the apples in caramel, the coat in nuts.  I did all three apples in caramel and pressed some nuts onto the sides, but you could go immediate from caramel to nuts if you want, which would improve the nut coverage (Mine won’t have any on the bottoms, obviously).  You could also get wild and use other coatings, like chocolate chips or coconut or candies or something, but I personally find the caramel sweet enough and find too many coatings to be overkill.  But hey, do what makes you happy.

The recipe suggests letting them chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, but mine wouldn’t fit in there with the chopsticks and all.  They seem to be doing okay on the counter.

One adjective at a time

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:11 am

M:  I’m going to be a green dog for Halloween.

A:  Yeah, you’re going to look so cool.

M:  No, I’m going to look cute.


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:19 am

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.


Fruit, Wonka-style

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:28 pm

Even though they’re basically his favorite food, Miles announced during an iChatAV with Mubby and Skittergramps today that he doesn’t like apples.  Skittergramps was trying to entice him with some varietals.

S:  When you come to our house, should I get some Honeycrisps?

M:  No.

S:  How about some Pink Ladies?

M:  No.

S:  Maybe some Golden Delicious?

M:  How ’bout…chocolate chip?


Cartographer’s dream

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:00 pm

We spent much of the weekend on the road with Mubby and Skittergramps, first visiting Uncle Tyler in Lincoln, Nebraska, then detouring up through Storm Lake, Iowa.  After many hours on the road, we finally hit exit 113 on Interstate 35.

Mubby:  We’re in Mubby and Skittergramps’ town!

Miles:  I call it “Ames.”


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:04 am

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

There’s a lot to say after being quiet all night.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:54 am

Miles had just woken up and was still lying in bed.

M:  I want Mommy.

A:  Hi, sweetie.  Mommy’s here.  Do you remember that we’re going to Uncle Tyler’s house today?

M:  I’m going to like Uncle Tyler.  I had a toot.  I don’t want the Mommy-blankie.  Put it away.  I want [tater] tots and veggies for lunch.  Where are the rubber bands?



Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:33 pm

I was cradling Miles in my arms, baby-style.

A:   Are you my tiny little baby, or are you a big boy?

M:  I’m a chicken.


Pick me a good one

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:23 pm

Miles and I were watching a video about apple picking.

Character in the video:  Now, everybody choose a partner.

A:  I pick Miles.

M:  No, you don’t pick Miles.

A:  I don’t?  Who should I pick, then?

M:  You pick apples.

Monthly Miles Memo #33

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:03 am

Dear Miles,

I normally pride myself on my punctuality.  All I can say to excuse my tardiness on this post is that it’s been a busy week.  I’m almost surprised you haven’t called me on it.  You’re getting to be a stickler in many ways.  You get grumpy when I change the lyrics to your favorite songs, which is a bummer given my love of song parodies.  You sometimes correct perceived inaccuracies in the world, even when you’re totally off-base.

A:  (handing you some Play-Doh) Here you go.

M: This is blue Play-Doh.

A:  Yep, it sure is.

M:  Actually it’s white.

Either you are trying to see whether you can slip it by me, or you don’t know what the word actually means, but it’s pretty funny either way.  I interpret it as you exerting some control over your environment.  You’re old enough now that you realize you have an impact on the world, and you want to maximize it.  You like helping with household chores (sometimes).  You’re always quick to haul out the broom when a mess gets made, though more often than not you’re the mess-causer.  You help me cook, and you did an excellent job picking apples on our trip to the orchard the other weekend.

Whenever we eat an apple, you want to make sure that it’s one you picked.  I used the last of those in a pie to celebrate Nana and Papa having paid off their farm, so I might have to try to pass off some of our store-bought Honeycrisps as orchard-fresh.  If you ever catch me in a fib, though, I doubt you’d let me off, so maybe I should stick to honesty.

I can tell that everything about you is getting more complex these days.  You’re talking in long sentences with multiple ideas, and it’s really funny and interesting to hear your observations.  One of the best ones from recent days, which I documented elsewhere on this blog, involved you pointing out that our neighbor’s curly white hair looks like a sheep.  You’re also thinking more and more about words and letters and sounds.  You were jumping on the bed the other day, saying, “Bah-bah-bah-BOOM!” over and over.  At one point, you stopped mid-bah-series, and said, “Hey, that starts with B.”  You’ve also invented a new letter.  We were reading a book with a character named Shelley, and you listened and thought about it for a while.  Then, after a few readings, you announced, “Shelley starts with chef.”  It took me a few repetitions before I figured out what you meant, but it turned out you decided there was a letter kind of like F, only it made a sh sound.  So…chef it is.

The greatest controversy in our household these days is naps.  You hate taking them, even when you obviously need them.  I often find you yawning and rubbing your eyes while you yell, “Miles doesn’t want to take a nap.”  It’s gotten so that if you take a nap, you’re up till crazy hours, but if you don’t take a nap, you’re a major grump in the afternoon and evening.  I’m sure you’ll grow out of them entirely in not too long, but my strategy now is to think about what we have planned for the night and whether it would behoove you to go to bed early or have more energy.  Then I make my decision about whether or not to wrestle you down for a nap accordingly.

You have had some wonderful evenings lately.  It’s been an unusually warm couple of weeks, which has meant lots of playground time after Daddy gets home from work.  You’re so much braver on the playground equipment now, going up and down the stairs and flying down the slides.  You still get a little intimidated by other kids and dogs, though that’s getting better.  You’re learning to play with other kids more, especially when you see the same ones at the playground.  Overall, though, you still prefer the company of adults.  You particularly like quiet, calm adults, like our friend Danny.


Danny came to visit earlier, and the two of you had a lot of fun playing at the library together.  In fact, the next two times we went to the library, you asked, very sweetly and hopefully, “Is Danny going to be there?”

Fortunately, you love the library so much that it’s still fun even without Danny.  You took immediately to the concept of borrowing and returning books.  I was a little nervous that you wouldn’t want to return the ones that became your favorites, but that hasn’t been a problem so far.  Your favorite authors right now are Robert Munsch (especially the books of his that are illustrated by Michael Martchenko) and Laura Joffe Numeroff.  Whenever we start in on one of those books, you announce the author and illustrator.  You also like to carefully analyze the pictures and ask questions about what’s going on in them.

Another thing you’ve done lately is ask us to cuddle you like you’re a “tiny little baby.”  We’ve been talking about little siblings, not that there’s one on the immediate horizon, and the idea seems to have sparked something in you.  You’re mostly a big boy, especially when I remind you that babies can’t eat hot dogs and waffles and noodles and grapes, but it’s still nice when you do the tiny little baby cuddle now and then.

Your dad, who is home with you this morning on one of your regular Daddy-Miles mornings, tells me you’re not feeling your best.  You had a rough night last night and seem to be experiencing some gastro-intestinal distress.  I’ll be home soon, sweetheart, and if you need to be a tiny little baby on my lap all afternoon, that’s just fine.

If you’d prefer to be a big boy and go to the playground and zoom down the slide, that’s cool too.

I love you any way you are, my Scoop.  Oh, wait; you prefer to be called Waffle these days.



Peachy pruny

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:51 am

Miles and I were in a hotel swimming pool.

M:  Where are your feet?

A:  (lifting one foot out of the water) One foot… (lifting the other) two foot…red foot, blue foot.

M:  No!  Peach foot, peach foot.

Waiting for the other shoe to honk

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:47 am

I don’t know if everybody does this or if it’s just a Clarke thing, but we’ve always said “Honk, shoe” as an onomatopoetic imitation of snoring.  After a long drive the other day, I had a big yawn.

A:  (recovering from my yawn) Honk shoe, Miles.

M:  Miles is not honk shoe!  Miles is good morning!


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:55 pm

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:08 pm

Our next door neighbors are an elderly (80+) couple.  Jo has had several health scares since we’ve lived here, but she always seems to bounce back.  This evening, she was out for a stroll.  From his position on Daddy’s lap on the couch, Miles saw her head of curly, white hair bobbing along.

M:  Hey!  It’s a sheep!

Legume, legu-you

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:33 am

Miles has heard the story of Jack and the Beanstalk about a hundred times.  He knows the whole thing and corrects me if I get details wrong.

A:  Jack and his mommy were very poor.  They didn’t even have enough money for food.  Their tummies were always hungry.

M:  (anticipating the next development in the story) Hey!  Beans are food!


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:17 pm

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

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