Saturday, December 3, 2011

An artist

Cora and I have been making things. Fun things. Cool things. She has an amazing hunger for arts and crafts and baking - where does she get that? *ahem*

She's at her little art table now, with paper, scissors, watercolors, google eyes, a very large bottle of glue, glitter glue, ribbon, colorful duct tape, foam stickers and playdough. Earlier, she cut out snowflakes. Then she made me a playdough sculpture with red duct tape and a sparkly foam heat. Before that it was a craft with fabric and fabric markers.

She's standing up, mostly, only sitting down for certain parts of her work. She found last year's one-piece pajamas and they barely fit her, but she is wearing them. Purple with silver flowers. A t-shirt underneath. A ponytail leftover from ballet this morning. She does something on her page - paints something or glues on a google eye or rubs some glitter glue over something - pauses and looks at what she's done, then surveys her table to see what else she has to work with. She makes a decision about what comes next. She works slowly and intently. She knows exactly what she is doing.

I do not have anywhere near enough craft supplies for this girl. We have a pink crate that we keep everything in, and she can easily deplete it in a weekend. I love this of course, but also am still figuring out what to do with it all, how long to keep creations for, which craft supplies are worth keeping a larger stash of, and most of all what I might do to a) find more space for her supplies and b) find a way to keep up with her supply consumption!

But I love seeing her serious face as she does her art, as she puts it. The way she is clearly thinking about the aesthetics of her creation, considering options, pursuing an inner vision. She gets frustrated sometimes when the finished product doesn't match that inner vision - haven't we all be there before? We talk a lot about frustration being a part of the process, a part of being an artist, something that you learn from and use to spur yourself on, not something to spend time feeling bad about or saying mean things to yourself about.

She says she wants to be an artist. I say she already is one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A new milestone

I've read about this moment on other blogs, but it came sooner than I expected it would: Cora asked me not to write about something she said - not on Facebook or anywhere on the computer, she specified. She knew she had said something funny - she meant it to be funny - but she said she would be embarrassed if anyone other than me and her dad knew about it.

However, she gave me full permission to share her idea that we make our family Advent wreath out of teeth. Which, she is sure, is what the Tooth Fairy does.

She also is hoping to spread the word about next weekend being Eat New Foods weekend. They don't have to be entirely new; a new preparation will also fit the bill. For example, as I have never served poached eggs, they would count as a new food. They are, in fact, first on her list of foods we should eat. New Foods weekend will be a challenge for us - we are at a disadvantage geographically, for one thing. And while it would make it easier if we included the vast realm of foods we have never served by choice (cheese in a can, shelf-ready bacon, frozen breakfast pastries...), I am not prepared to open that can of worms. (By coincidence, something else we have never eaten.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

A sample list of projects

Recently, I pawed through all my fabric, looking for two things: neutrals and an advent calendar kit I bought about two years ago. Found some of one, not a sign of the other. Which means I put the kit somewhere "safe" and/or "easy to remember". Ha! 

In the process, I found a number of projects I really should finish. I thought it might be fun to list them. I reserve the right to make this a partial list so as not to scare anyone. Including myself.

I couldn't have made this list, or even looked through all that, anytime in the last several months. It would have been too hard, because I wouldn't have had any time to devote to anything. Now, though, I am making some space in my schedule so that I can do things like this again. Because, as you think I might be able to remember, few things make me as happy as making something.

Cora's sweater - 1-1/2 arms to go!
Knit market bag - handles needed
Cowl - yeah, maybe 1/4 done? But it's for me, so there's no time pressure
Noro socks - same as above.
Christmas quilt from an old block exchange (how old? I was still stitching by hand) - need two new blocks and then I can, you know, put the top together and so forth
Couple small quilt tops that need to be made into actual quilts
and a couple more quilt projects still in the works at various stages

Despite all those, and the secret ones, I would still really like to find that kit!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Monday, someone said something to me that both simultaneously filled me with excitement and panic: "Christmas is only about five weeks away."

I should have known, given the uptick in commercials devoted to toys and electric shavers and diamond jewelry (only one category in that list is of any interest to anyone at my house - can you guess which one?). But immediately my mind was swirling with ideas and questions about baking and making and matching nice gifts to nice people.

Now it is Wednesday night. I have an excellent start on a battery of lists. That always makes me feel like I am really accomplishing something!  I also finally located the box full of felt cut-outs for our tree skirt. For about eight years it has gone unadorned, but I swear that this year it will have some trees, stars, deer, birds, and rabbits on it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


1. My days must contain fewer hours than the days of some other people.
2. Our babysitter thinks all we ever eat is mac and cheese.
3. My sewing machine is secretly trying to commit suicide by getting me to kill it (you know, like on the cop shows when the bank robber won't put his gun down and makes the officers shoot him because he just doesn't believe he has any other choice).
4. There are at least four different ways in which I cannot afford to continue with this back-to-school idea.
5. The Universe is relieved I am finally picking up its messages.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Twice in the last week I've dreamed about making a quilt.

The first dream concerned a quilt with a traditional star block done in Kansas Troubles-like fabrics (not a type of fabric I typically work with!).

The second was about having a stack of really colorful fabrics and needing to make an applique quilt of some kind. Just as I settled on butterflies and started drafting my pattern, I woke up.

Is it a coincidence that I have in my sewing machine upstairs a half-done quilt and have been saying for days and days, "I'd like to have a chance to sew today"? That since starting to work at the local quilt shop I nearly constantly have fabrics and designs and colors and ideas dancing in my brain?

Surely not!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nothing ventured, nothing gained; Or, heaping high the plate and hoping for the best

NaNoWriMo 2011 starts in just over 12 days. While it is true I completely flamed out in 2010 and never wrote beyond week two (I blame the moving), and it is also true that my participation in Camp NaNoWriMo this past August was largely an imaginary endeavor, the third truth is that I for sure will not write anything if I don't sign up at all. At this point I would rather take the hit to my pride and admit I didn't finish my 50,000 words than not attempt it at all.

So, put the coffee on and warm up the laptop. I'll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year.

(And put some beer in the fridge, too, okay?)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The trouble with the buffet

I talked with my mom on the phone this morning, trying to sort through the difficult choices and dilemmas that life has been sending my way lately, and she said that maybe the Universe is sending me a buffet of choices so that I can better understand what I really like to do.

I can see the wisdom in this. But I still kind of wish I had a continental breakfast menu and was choosing between the bagel and the sweet roll.

Of course, sometimes a buffet is not as broad a choice as it seems. A seafood buffet, for example, would still probably only be offering me two choices that I would be interested in. Or, you know, sometimes you look at the buffet and wonder how long that food has been sitting there.

Don't you love how the further you extend the metaphor, the more ridiculous it becomes?

I remember when Cora was around three years old and, faced with two choices and wanting neither, she would cry, "These are NOT my options!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Possibly both waving and drowning

When things get very busy, I start to feel a little panicky. A little like the walls are closing in and all my chances to do anything important to me are fast vanishing.

Maybe it's the two part-time jobs, the part-time going to school, the full-time mothering and wife-ing and general holding-the-homestead-togethering, combined with having a kid who is in school full time for the first time in her life.

She comes home and she wants to spend time with us. She has an agenda for us, an imaginary play game that she cares very much about playing. After being on my feet for a full day of work, then taking care of emails and work for online clients, bolting down a dinner, I do still want to have the energy to be Ms. Flower the art teacher for a 20 minute bout of coloring.

But I also want to take a nap. To lie down and stare at the ceiling. To read a grown up book. To knit for a little or do some sewing or maybe even catch my mental breath enough to try to write something worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In the classroom

It is strange to be in the classroom as a student again. It is strange in two ways. First, of course, I am now more used to being on the other side of the teacher's desk. Second, and more strangely, it feels pretty natural - maybe not so surprising. I did, after all, spend 19 years as a student and only 8 as a teacher.

Some things are the same as they were for much of my scholastic career. I can't believe other people aren't doing the reading, don't bring their books to class, and never have anything to say when the professor asks a question. I get impatient for the teacher to move on to the next point; I wish the pace would either pick up or else that there would be more opportunities to move the conversation deeper.

I'm taking two classes. One is Introduction to Education (taught by a graduate teaching assistant - he has a lot of experience with elementary and high school teaching, but not much at all with college students, and he often puts himself in a position to have that lack of experience taken advantage of) and the other is Education of the Exceptional Student. Good material, interesting, but we're really just hovering on the surface.

I'm not really the type of student who likes to hang out on the surface. When it seems clear that that is where we are staying, I have a tendency to tune out and read ahead. This has its pros and cons. Luckily, I have 19 years of experience with the pros and cons.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Something completely different, indeed

It has been a month since I last posted. A strange month. Cora's time in daycare ended and she had a month of real summer break before starting kindergarten this week. I decided to go back to school to earn another degree in what I am thinking of as my personal Start a New Career Initiative (since I've been unable to find a position in my former career, which breaks my heart), and in the last month I applied, was accepted, registered for classes, bought textbooks (yep, they are still expensive), and started classes.

And I'm still looking for a job to bring in some sort of income, too (believe me, I see the irony of going back to school and thus spending more money at the same time). But, finally there has been some promising development on that front.

Of course, the real story is that we have a school-ager in the house now! Chances are that very soon a typical weekday night will find Chris doing his prep and grading while Cora and I do homework.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Report on Girl Week

Girl Week was good. It was beastly hot and humid, but the girl and I do know how to be on our own. Our days were busy with daycare, swimming lessons, VBS for her, and sweltering and running errands for me. On Friday, we had nothing going on. I'd planned some errands I thought would be fun: visiting our community garden plot, going to the library, the butcher, picking up a few groceries to make a good welcome-home dinner for Daddy.

She wanted nothing to do with my plan. She didn't want to get dressed. She didn't want to leave the house. She didn't want to do anything but watch some PBS shows, watch a DVD, play by herself in her room, and do some puzzles and coloring. I was very frustrated, but at the same time recognized that none of our errands were truly necessary.

It was, finally, a beautiful day, a perfect temperature for me, sunny, nice breeze, no rain coming, and I was really looking forward to being outside (a rather rare thing in the height of summer). But, she needed to stay in, and so we did, and we still had a nice day. Just the two of us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Girl Week / Heat & Humidity Week

Cora and I begin Girl Week this week, a week I thought would be filled with fun summery activities, but which may in fact be filled with basic tropical jungle survival skills. Who knew northeastern North Dakota could reach a heat index of 110 with humidity to match?


Well, we are starting with sitting with some DVDs and ice water and thinking of meals that require no cooking that we both will like and won't be embarrassed to admitting eating (i.e. no ice cream for lunch).

How will Girl Week turn out? Which of the photos below will end up as our representative image? I'll let you know.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yes, I knit a dog.

A while ago a friend gave me a copy of Knit Your own Dog, a book I really wanted. of course, the moment it arrived there was someone else who was very interested in it. Cora looked at every page, but really there was no contest. She wanted a poodle. And she wanted it to be pink. Pink and white. With specific directions about which parts should be which colors. I read through the directions, tried to visualize them all, and it turned out it was possible to do it the way she requested.

I do like her expression.

A few weeks later we trekked down to Fargo (where the yarn stores are) and I bought the yarn - a pink boucle and some white Cascade. And I was ready to begin! One of the first things I discovered is that boucle yarn and I are not tempramentally suited to each other. Then, at the point where the two sides of the body are joined up to make the neck and head, I forgot one of my own cardinal rules of knitting: Just Trust the Directions.  I thought the directions were wrong. I thought I had it figured out how it should go.

Oh, I was so wrong.

Does she stand at a jaunty angle because she has great confidence?
Or because I might have made some mistakes?

To fix my mistake, once I realized it, would have meant ripping out 10 rows of boucle madness. I set the dog aside for two months. Last week Cora asked about her poodle; she knew I had started it. So, two days ago I took another look at it, decided how I would "fix" my mistake without ripping things out. It meant having the "wrong" side of the stockinette stitch facing out on the belly, but I decided I could live with that. I knit the head, learning and using the loopy stitch, which was fun, and then last night I stitched the whole dog together and stuffed it.

Pippsi's good side.

I propped her up (there was never any question of the dog's gender, given who would name and own her) on the kitchen island, took some photos, and left her standing right where Cora's cereal bowl normally sits.

Happy with her dog!

This morning, Cora got up, dressed, went out to the kitchen, and then the squeals of joy commenced. She named the dog Pippsi, which I think suits her quite nicely.

Cora and Pippsi making faces.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer: part one

Swimming lessons are summer's first order of business.

Finally, a bike of her own to ride!

Still not crazy about the helmet.

Summer solstice is here already - somehow I missed that six months in our new city had already gone by, and now the days already going to start shortening, though I doubt we will really notice it for another month or two. This has been Introduction to Kindergarten month, with Cora in a kindergarten class for the first half of every day, at the same school where she will start in the fall. It has been great - she loves it, especially the daily trips to the school library and getting to bring a book home for the night. Her reading is picking up speed, too. We've already done one round of swimming lessons, with round two scheduled for July. Yesterday we signed her up for a week long ballet camp, and in late July she'll get a chance to try out gymnastics, too.

July and August stretch ahead with great promise - I'm able to take some time off and concentrate on reading, writing, and sewing...and unpacking. We still have many boxes surrounding us. Plus, there are trips to the Y's pool to me made, picnics to be eaten, a county fair to visit, road trips to take, gardens to weed, and lots of fresh vegetables from our new CSA to eat! There are a lot of adjustments in living farther north - while most of them are winter-related, summer is also different. Having to wait to plant until the first week of June. The CSA won't start until the last week of June. The farmer's market just started last weekend. But, we're adjusting. We're doing just fine.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

People who love books: a note of caution to Summer Reading Programs

This is me at Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara, CA. I worked there for 2 years in college - second best job I ever had for the job itself, best one when you consider that I met Chris there. Bookstores are great and terrible places to work when you love books. I don't think I need to explain that.

It turns out that Cora is also a lover of books and stories and really anything that has the smallest shred of narrative attached to it. She is starting to read a little for herself, and she loves looking at books by herself, and of course we read to her. Lots. Sometimes more than we might choose on our own.

On library trips, she maxes out her card. Her Intro to Kindergarten class goes to the school library every morning and each child checks out a book. Yesterday, the boy she shares a locker with accidentally took her book home. Oh, the tears! I asked her what the title was, thinking we could find it at the municipal library, and she cried, "I don't know! I can't read that well yet!" Do you know how hard it is to try to find the title for a book that has a purple cover with a cat whose tail makes a C on it? I sincerely hope that boy brings the book back on Monday!

So, it seemed like a natural thing to do, to sign her up for the Summer Reading Program at the local library.

Except that Summer Reading Programs are largely designed for kids who don't read or whose parents don't read to them much.

For example, a child can earn a coupon for a dish of ice cream for every five books they read or that parents read to them. Cora could be earning a coupon every day, were I to fill out her sheet honestly. On another sheet, you cross out an icon for every 15 minutes the child reads or you read to your child. Every 16 icons you earn a button, at 32 you win a ticket in the toy prize lottery (there are Barbie dolls at stake!). Again, if our sheet were an accurate reflection, we could cross off at least 12 icons a week.

So, why not fill out the sheets accurately, honestly? I remember doing a March of Dimes read-a-thon one summer. I must have been about 11 years old, give or take a year. I canvassed neighbors (who had no idea and pledged x amount of money per book I would read) and relatives (who knew better and pledged a flat dollar amount). I read lots of books. Some neighbors were appalled, some quizzed me on the titles, some were so aghast that I changed the sign-up sheet so they could give a flat amount (the $5 they anticipated shelling out instead of the $50 it turned out to be).

When it comes to reporting on reading, sometimes it is better to be modest. Especially if at the same time you keep your own list, in all its lengthy glory, to show off to people who will appreciate it, such as fellow readers and grandparents!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two things I wish I had a photo of

Yesterday I saw a girl, maybe eight, walking her little tan pug on a leash. She was also carrying an oboe.

This morning, a young woman on a white sidewalk with green, green grass to either side, halfway between her parked red bike and a yellow house; she had a red bike helmet and a bright orange dress - not neon, just bright.

One made me happy because of the juxtaposition, the other because of the colors.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Evening Ritual

Lately, in the evenings after dinner, something nice has been happening. Usually it starts with Cora playing her ukulele and making up a song (yesterday it was a song about going forward in time to Halloween and meeting your destiny in your costume), then she hands the uke off to Chris and dances as he plays. There is plenty of direction as to how fast, how slow, and whether or not it should sound like ballet music, and the dances are full of awesomeness.

Cora is also contemplating her future band. She says she still needs to think about her cool face and her cool moves. Tonight she mentioned the name of her band: Header Livered.

I like it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sunday Sauce: a photo essay

Beneath my husband's German-Norwegian-Swedish exterior lurks a more Mediterranean heart. This past Christmas he received the Frankie's Sputino cookbook (really, much more than a cookbook), and we finally were able to clear away a weekend day to make the (cue the trumpets) Sunday Sauce with meatballs and braciola.

First there is the simmering of 13 cloves of garlic in a cup of olive oil. I know!

Four big cans of whole tomatoes get mushed up by hand - this is just one can.

The sauce cooks, all told, for almost five hours.

The braciola - pork shoulder steaks butterflied and stuffed
with provolone, parmesan, garlic, and parsley, then tied up.
Chris was impressed with my butcher-grade tying skills.

Into the pot for three hours.

Pure yummy.

Meatballs! - Though these are actually the meatballs
from the excellent blog Dinner: A Love Story.

After baking about 30 minutes they go into the sauce for about 30 more.

There was also bread.

Dinner itself.
After the sauce night we had the braciola shredded in sauce on farfalle the next night, and then the night after that I made a lasagna with the leftover meats and sauce that was really fabulous. And we ate it for lunch all week long. Making the sauce is a big time commitment, over the course of the week, it felt like we had in fact saved time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Now she is 5!

Who knew that this:

would become this:

so very quickly?

Nevermind - I wouldn't have believed it if you had told me.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Goodbye April

The end of the month is here, and I see it has been a long time since I posted. April had its good moments (our trip to Minneapolis, getting the fish quilt underway), but it has also had a large number of steep plummets and it has left me mainly at the bottom in a dispirited heap. I find it hard to post at such times. I am hoping May will be better, or at least offer more reprieves.

Perhaps it has something to do with winter refusing to loosen its holds on North Dakota - in fact, the weather report says we may wake to an inch of snow tomorrow.

We have had a few sunny days in the past week, and some temperatures above 50. And before the temperatures rose we had some sunny mornings with beautiful sun streaming in through the big front window. It was a nice spot to sit and color in.

Cora working on a picture - no photos of the artwork are allowed until she's done.
Artwork from a different day. She drew the pteranadons freehand from a coloring page,
and then filled in the skeleton on her own - could I be more proud?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fish Quilt (finally)

I started a new quilt top tonight, even though I have yet to quilt the Circles top. But, things have been knocking around in my brain: blogs I've been reading, a book I bought, a book my mom sent me, and a pile of fabric that I bought in 2002.

Yep. The sales receipt is still in the bag with all the fabric, and it is from November 2002. There are a few fabrics I know I added to the bag later, but the core fabrics were all bought almost ten years ago. And I still love every single one of them. I have always wanted to turn them into a quilt for our bed; I last finished a quilt for our bed in 1997! But, I love the main fabric so much that I have always been reluctant to cut into it.

Or maybe I knew that I hadn't thought of the right project for it yet?

I've sketched out many ideas over the years, but none seemed quite right. I guess I still don't know if I have found the right one. But I do know that on Friday I realized I was ready to start cutting and sewing. I got a chance to start this afternoon, and then this evening I have a couple good hours to do some work.

I am working more improvisationally that I have in the past, and I love the blocks I have created so far. As I was working tonight I was wondering if I should feel a little guilty about getting back into quilting with a project for myself. believe me, Cora has noticed that while she has a couple quilts from Grandma, she does not have one from me. And I have fabric for a quilt for her. Okay, for two quilts for her. But there's something about making something for myself that feels right at this point, that feels almost like a necessary part of the process.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

B-I-N-G-O: a photo essay

Fridays are a good day for art projects at our house. Chris teaches in the morning and Cora and I are home. A good art project can take up that whole stretch of morning between Dinosaur Train and lunch. This past Friday I thought it would be fun to make our own bingo game. I was right.

I found some small pictures on the web and printed them for us to color in.
Then I created a blank card template in Word.

Then we cut apart our grid of pictures and pasted them onto the bingo card templates.
There were 24 squares to fill in on the template and 30 pictures,
so decisions had to be made.

The decisions were often difficult. Cora grouped hers into categories.
All the pictures under the "B" were Bad,
under the "G" were Good,
under the "I" were Items.
The "N" and "O" were a little more random.

One of my bingo cards. I made two so we could have a family game later.

Cora's bingo card. After making it, she also used it to tell a story.
The story included everything on the card.
It was a long story. And I loved it.

Next we needed a box to keep the calling pictures in.

Packing tape is great. I also used packing tape to "laminate" the bingo cards.

We cut squares of colored paper for the markers.

And took turns being the caller.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011: taking stock of the first quarter

I made some resolutions in January. I made them in keeping with my philosophy that this works best when I resolve to do things I really want to, but need a little extra motivation to do. Here's my new twist: reviewing my progress once a quarter. So, here we go.

Dye sock yarn with Kool-aid and knit socks: I've gathered all the supplies, but the time to do this has been hard to come by. I no longer have any long days without a small hamperer helper. This means I have to plan well for a day when nothing else really needs to be accomplished in the four hours I have in the morning.

One new recipe a week: At least 17 new recipes already made this year. I think it has actually been more, but I've been lax about writing them down. A lot of these have been curries, some breads, and things found on the internet.

Write more. Publish more: I have been writing more, but prose. I've been publishing short pieces on food and cooking online at Simple, Good, and Tasty. I've been sending poems out to magazines and competitions. I've written a couple poems, but not quite enough to be happy with.

Make and send birthday cards: A near total fail. I used to be very good at remembering to send cards to family and friends and I enjoyed doing it. But in the last four years I have had a hard time remembering - or, more accurately, remembering at the right time.

Read more: My goal for 2011 is 60 books, which is a fairly modest goal for me, but I am still losing ground. I find that when my emotions dip, so does my desire to read. I've read eight books this year. (Though, to be honest, I have read a ton of picture books, cover-to-cover browsed several cookbooks and knitting books, and read a lot of magazines...but, the goal is about books.)

Make a quilt, start to finish: Because I have not made a quilt in about five years. In the past three months I have finished a top, a smallish top for a wallhanging, but I think I am going to count it. Next up is to piece together some batting for it.

Finish four unfinished projects, one per season: In February I took an abandoned stub of a knit scarf and turned it into an earwarmer/headband for Cora. It turned out pretty well, and she was thrilled.

Whew. OK. On with the second quarter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cora quote of the day

"I am curious and mysterious."

And she loves turnips.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beignets: a (belated) photo essay

New Orleans has taken hold of Cora's imagination in a way that has little to do with the actual city, or even Mardi Gras, and a lot to do with brass music and Disney's The Princess and the Frog. This morning she told me that she thinks we need to make gumbo, and that I have a "Tiana spirit" because I like to make things and cook. And, I was sent to the CD shelves on a mission for New Orleans music (thank you Dirty Dozen Brass Band). 

I think it has been almost two months since the last time she watched the movie, but it has been only two weeks since I made beignets for the first time and we talked about mardi gras in New Orleans and Cafe du Monde, where Chris has been. The only time Cora and I have had beignets before was last January, when we went to California and my parents took us to Crystal Cove and the little restaurant on the beach, where we has what could well have been one of the best breakfasts of my life, thanks to the location, meal, and company. Except that Cora was too anxious to get to playing in the sand to eat anything and refused to even try the beignets!

Well, this time was different. Especially when I told her that, yes, she could eat as many as she wanted, even though they were covered in sugar, because they would be no good the next day. (Note to self: half recipe next time!) I think she ate at least eight of these that morning, and a couple more in the afternoon, when they were starting to fade. I used a recipe I found on for buttermilk beignets - it was incredibly easy, and fun, and delicious!