Friday, October 14, 2011

Popovers (redux) and Ben's Birthday (shhh)

I rarely recommend single-task bakeware, but this popover pan I'm recommending. I love ours.

In other news, almost-12-year-old Ben wants, and is getting from us and his grandparents, an iPod. But we're balancing out high-tech with low-tech, and also giving him this:

It's a mechanical music box set, like a mini player piano, with blank papers that you can punch out yourself for whatever song you want it to play. I seriously cannot wait to give it to him. Have I mentioned before that he is some sort of musical prodigy? Maybe I was too modest to. Ben's piano playing, right here in the house where I live, is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 

Speaking of best things, I am about to finish this book

and boy has it been fantastic. One of those novels that so perfectly captures this moment of my life: the long relationship, the school-age kids, love, and loss, and the mystery that continues to be the people living under your own roof. Sigh.

Any book news? Weekend news? Gift ideas to share? I will be posting a list of kitchen gifts for the holidays, but not yet. Not just yet, no.

Enjoy your weekend!



  1. Anonymous12:18 PM

    Happy Birthday, Ben!

    Twelve? Seriously? Twelve? Yikes -- I'm feeling the years with that one.

    I just finished Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante. It was a quick and interesting read. It's a murder mystery told from the point of view of a woman with Alzheimers.

  2. Happy Birthday to Ben!! I love the mechanical music box, that is a great idea.
    And, I have to tell you that my sister gave me a whirly popper for my birthday (reluctantly at first, but i told her that it was all i wanted for my bday) and I am LOVING it!!! She bought it from the Utah people too! :)
    thank you!
    oh, and I bought myself State of Wonder, and it was sooooo good! So thank you for that as well. :)
    Alas, since I am just following all of your suggestions, I have none to offer you....

  3. This happens everytime...if Ben is almost 12 then my Papoosie Girl is almost 11! Happy Birthday Ben and I bet he is going to love his gifts.

    I just put that book on hold...I am number 5 not bad!

    We had Thanksgiving this past weekend and it was so hot and wonderful. We went apple picking and spent time with family, it was perfect.

    Any ideas for your Thanksgiving new turkey ideas...brining perhaps? I know how much you love your vinegar!

  4. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Happy Birthday Ben! 12 is wonderful! Have fun!

  5. Ben is 12? Holy crap have I ever been reading your writing for a long time! And I never get tired of it, either. xo

  6. Laura2:43 PM

    You really have a way with gifts, always picking out very thoughtful ones like the Love spoons from etsy for Valentine's Day. Happy Birthday Ben and it's no wonder you're a musical prodigy with such talented, gifted parents!

  7. Laura2:45 PM

    I love that Ben's piano playing is one of the best things that's happened to you!

  8. casio4:22 PM

    I'm glad you asked. Mrs Ingalls Wilder gets all the press, but we have another, slightly less famous, local girl settler who also has a great book about her life--Jane Gibbs: Little Bird Who Was Caught. At age 5, she was kidnapped by missionaries in New York and brought to Dakota Territory (now Minnesota). The farm she had as an adult is a historical site in Ramsey County--where the Capitol, St. Paul, is located. I want to add it to the great list of children's books from the summer.

  9. Chris4:23 PM

    Books- Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Room by Emma Donoghue. As a mother, Room is incredibly hard to read at first, but I'm so glad I pushed through the uncomfortable part. Best book I've read in awhile.

  10. I'm always so excited to have a new book recommendation from you. Have read and enjoyed many you've recommended, the most recent being Good to a Fault. Also read The Borrower this summer by Rebecca Makkai and it was terrific. Just started In Zanesville and it's pretty good.

  11. Anonymous3:48 AM

    I just finished Bel Canto, then Blood, Bones and Butter. LOVED them both. Happy Birthday Ben! How lucky you are that your writing gives you a record of your ever changing children - who they are at this moment, right now. My lovely eldest turns 10 in November, and for the last 3 months I've been referring to her as " almost 10." But she's just 9 today. Just 9 for at least a few more days.

  12. Wow, I just caught my breath when I read that Ben is almost twelve. While I *know* that he's getting older, it's always hard for me to realize that he's not, like, five. (I started reading Bringing Up Ben and Birdy right after "and Birdy" was added.) And, I have to say, I'm so very glad you're still writing regularly online and that I've been able to follow along. Thanks, and a very happy almost-birthday to Ben!

  13. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Thanks for sharing the mechanical music box idea! I'm getting that for my nephew who likes to compose music. You have such great taste, I am always inspired.

  14. I just put that music box on my list for my own soon-to-be-12-year-old piano playing boy. As for books, I just finished After Nightfall by Michael Cunningham which I thought was excellent and Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman. I would recommend The F**king Epic Quest of @Mayor Emanuel which was hilarious but maybe it helps to be from Chicago for that one.

  15. Cathy3:43 PM

    I just finished Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, which made me buttonhole every person I met last week and demand if they had read it. It was so, so much fun, and brain-tingling -- and unexpectedly moving.

  16. Anonymous12:49 AM

    Popovers - takes me back to "My Blue Heaven" in the early 1990s - it made us try to make them, and they were terrible. I'm sure yours were 1000x better. Books - I'm late to the party but am through the 2nd Girl with a Dragon Tattoo book (have no time to read and got through it in 5 days - so good). Also this summer I started reading Laurie Halse Anderson - and love everything she's done! I've really come to appreciate the research that goes in to her books, and the Dragon Tattoo series as well. (Read Fever 1793 in 48 hours I was so hooked). Again, I'm sure I'm late to that party too but that's OK

  17. Kathy9:58 AM

    A belated Happy Birthday to Ben. My daughter turned 7 yesterday and she started partying Friday and continues today. My birthday is today and I am so thankful for your blog. I love the recipes, book and gift recommendations and your writing. Everything - even the melancholy - always seems to be right where I am. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Though we got it with apprehension, my 13 y/o's iPod Touch is his most valued possession. Honestly, we've gotten our money's worth compared to some pricey old school toys like Legos or PlayMobil.

    Made the popovers and they turned out well, if a little bland.

  19. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Happy Birthday to Ben! But, I don't get it. Doesn't he read your blog?

  20. Aww. I hope Ben had a lovely birthday! Those are some fantastic gifts. :)
    I just picked up State of Wonder from the library (I'd been on the wait-list since you posted about that), so now I'll add this. Have I ever told you that I've been passing Cruddy along to everyone I know whom I think may appreciate its addictive and disturbing charm? Thank you for all of the great recommendations, and hope you're enjoying your autumn.
    My word verification is "unmug". I wonder if that means I should dump out my coffee, or someone may be about to have a criminal take back their thievery? Hehehe.

  21. Ooh, popovers sound so...bubby. Like muffins who watch too much Mary Poppins. Like neighbors who pop by just to give you lunch. Love!
    I second Cloud Atlas. It's my favorite novel ever and left me quite breathless. His book Black Swan Green was awesome too. All I've been reading lately are slow food cookbooks. My almost two years old (where does the time go?) is desperate that I knock it off, because it's impossible to stir a pot for three hours and go to the playground at the same time.

  22. Anonymous7:14 PM

    It makes sense that Ben will be 12, as my eldest is almost 11. And yet, it shocks me. I can still recall your earlier writings when he was just a youngun'. This means I'm getting older too, right? Sigh.

    So GLAD you asked for titles, as all the comments have given me tons to get from the library. I will add my faves of this last while: This Life Is In Your Hands (adult memoir of daughter growing up in commune-like situation), fathermothergod (adult memoir of daughter growing up as child of Christian Scientists), The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (can't tell you what it's about, it'll spoil it!) and The God Of Animals by Aryn Kyle. Enjoy! And Happy Motherhood Birthday Catherine!

  23. Man, I just had to write and say that one,I love you and every word your write, and two, I bought State of Wonder (actually *paid for* not just borrowed from the library!)on your recommendation and I just finished it last night at midnight and it was such an amazing reading experience and such an incredible book that I felt, literally, high when I finished it and I just lay there in my bed feeling that whooshy rush in my ears, stomach aflutter, tingly nerves thing going on in me because it was Just That Good. Thank you, thank you for steering me to it.

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