Wednesday, September 26, 2007

things that go bump in the night

...or in the afternoon.

Monday was a tough day for the wee one. She woke up cranky, which is completely unlike her. I could tell immediately that she wasn't feeling 100%. Fast forward to morning nap time. She took her diaper off in her crib again and peed. Then she tried to go to sleep, but her bed was all wet and cold with pee. I went to check on her and felt so sad for her. So, no morning nap. The middle of the day went okay, and she took a really good afternoon nap. When she woke up, we played in her room. We love to play. What we do not love? Smacking her little face into the edge of her bookcase, which, of course, she did. She screamed like you'd cut off one of her limbs. It was pitiful. I thought she'd have a bruise, but she woke up yesterday without one. She does, however, have a mosquito bite on her face. It's really fantastic. Needless to say, Monday wasn't fabulous.

Tuesday was better, however. I made sushi for the first time, and I was really pleased. I also made a little fleece jumper for S, but it's still too hot to wear despite the fact that the original plan was for her to wear it to the Homecoming parade in DC Friday. It's orange and it has a football on it. I'll post a picture soon, but for now, the camera battery is charging, and I don't have the energy to deal with it. My brother also came to visit yesterday, which was nice, and he's riding to DC with us today.Which means...S and I are out of pocket until at least Sunday. She is going to experience her first DC Homecoming, even though she won't be able to go to the football game because it's past her bedtime. I think she'll live. Have a great rest of the week, peeps.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Did anyone ever see that horrible movie with Kevin Costner? Me, neither. Of course, I don't suppose anyone would really have to qualify a Kevin Costner movie as horrible as most of his movies are (with the exceptions of Robin Hood, Bull Durham, and Field of have my sincerest apologies if I've failed to mention some Costner movie that you love.) What am I talking about here?? This post has nothing to do with Kevin Costner at all. It was just a title. You know how I like to think I'm all clever. The post is actually about water.

A happily greywatered plant in a sadly blurry photograph.

I have had one of those "why didn't I think of that already?" moments. About water. Watering plants to be precise. I read on Green as a Thistle about greywater. I'm sure that loads of you have already heard about this, but I hadn't so I feel like I've stumbled onto something really, really fantastic. Think about how much water you nonchalantly pour down the drain everyday. If you're like me, it's a lot...between unconsumed glasses of water, water used for steaming S's meals, water that makes it into the giant Pronto Pup cup for Otis but not into his water bowl lest it overflow. Lots and lots of water needlessly poured out. Then, think about how much water you use for watering plants. Houseplants, plants on the front porch, plants in the garden. Lots and lots of water required. What if you could reconcile the "lots and lots of water" lists into just one thing? I started today. After I steamed a pear for S, I poured the leftover water into one of the plants in the dining room. When I rounded up the glasses of water that I had scattered around the house yesterday, I poured them into a couple of other plants. The next time I run across some extra water, I'm going to start filling up the giant watering can that I use for the outdoor plants. It's amazingly simple, isn't it? I'm beside myself with glee at the thought of being able to do such a small thing that will make me feel so much better. Three cheers for greywater. And seriously, why didn't I think of this before?

Jack in the box? Nope. S in a box.

Friday, September 21, 2007

further up and further in

I just finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia to S. It's taken almost two months to finish the whole shebang, reading a bit at a time as she plays before naptime and bedtime. I had forgotten how much I love the end. Most of The Last Battle makes me so sad, but then the ending comes and it makes me so happy. It's almost exactly what you would hope for, you know? Well, if you haven't read it, you don't know what I'm talking about. If that's the case, I recommend reading it. It's just lovely.

It makes what I read last night in Newsweek seem that much more absurd. Yoga for Christians. Even my right-wing Evangelical buddy (that's right, there is exactly one of you) has to admit this is ridiculous. Yoga as blasphemy? Whatever. Follow that link and read the article so you can laugh out loud. I mean, wow.

S and I are actually headed to church today (this is a very "jesus-y" post, eh?). They're having a big children's consignment sale and I volunteered to help. I'm actually not sure how much help I'll be as I'll be lugging S around, but we'll try. Besides, we can't even stay for a whole shift, as we are technically signed up for 10:30-3. We'll only be helping during the time between her naps, which means we'll show up at least an hour late and we'll leave at least an hour early. I already let them know that and I think they thought I was insane for even offering to come out at all. I try (to help, not to be insane).

please note that S, the bear, and the turtle all sleep in the same position

Sight: really, really perfect red color of diced tomatoes; naked baby buns in the crib
Sound: Ray LaMontagne's "Jolene"
Smell: lentil-sausage soup, lavender
Touch: cold ice cream with warm apples, cool air in the mornings
Taste: the soup, scallops in butter and parsley, Naked juice

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I don't think I mentioned last week that we had S's friend 'Lijah over for a little baby play date and mama lunch. I mention it because my daughter has apparently developed some highly questionable behavior. She kissed Elijah. Kissed him smack on the face. M is jealous because she doesn't even give him kisses. She had just been with her friend A the Saturday before, and we caught him "putting the movez" on her (boob graze, if you were wondering). Is it already starting? Do we already have to sit M out on the front porch with a shotgun to ward off potential fondlers of our daughter? Maybe we should just go ahead and shackle her to her crib. Our regular Thursday playgroup starts back today, so I'll be interested to see if she tries to make out with any of the boys. Hopefully not.

Her other lovely new behavior? A little story. S does not like having to take naps. At all. She's screams as you leave her in her room, then she'll calm down and play with the animals in her crib and talk to herself, then she'll realize that you're not coming for her and you expect her to go to sleep. Then the waterworks begin. It can be fairly stressful, but I can deal. As long as what happened yesterday does not become de rigueur. "But what did she do," you ask. She stripped. After she finally fell asleep, she managed to take about a half hour nap. When she woke up, I opened the door to find a naked baby standing in her crib, laughing. Apparently, she was very pleased with herself. She had, of course, peed in her bed, which makes the second time in two weeks that we've had to deal with pee in the bed. I am thrilled, I'm sure. It was actually pretty hysterical to see her little naked butt when I opened the door. Just don't tell her that I thought so.

So my little stripper harlot of a daughter will be made to pay strict attention in church this Sunday as we can't have this morally reprehensible behavior continue. What a stinker. Of course, I'm getting ready to plop down in the floor and play with the stinker, so I'm off. Happy Thursday, peeps.

Monday, September 17, 2007

go. now.

As in, "Now. Go make this. Now."

I think I mentioned that I was going to try a new soup from my Barefoot in Paris cookbook this week. Well, I did. And you must make this. For dinner. Tonight. Go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, and get cooking because it was that good. Lentil Sausage Soup. It was so delicious, and it made the house smell so delicious, and I can barely even talk about it. Here's a link.

I will tell you that I didn't use leeks because there weren't any to be found at the grocery, I forgot to add the cumin, and I used Healthy Choice sausage. I added about an extra cup of onion to make up for the leeks. I'm not sure that the cumin would've added much to the soup...or real sausage for that matter because, I'm telling you, it was so good. In fact, I think I'll go heat up a bowl right now for lunch.

Other than the soup, the P family had a pretty productive weekend. We cleaned up the garden and added a little red fence around it to deter Otis from stomping through it. M also mowed and trimmed at our house and his daddy's. Then I repainted the trim on the front porch, but I never made it to painting the garage door. I'm hoping to get that done this week. It's loads of fun around here, people. Loads. Of course, we had to stay busy to keep our minds off the shellacking that Notre Dame and Tennessee took this weekend at the hands of Michigan and Florida. There are no words to express how devastating it was. At least the Colts won...and UK beat Louisville, which was cool, and it looks like M will win at Fantasy Football this week, which is a whole different breed of excitement.

New mum on the front porch.

I'm off peeps. Have a fantastic Monday. And enjoy the crazy colorful pic of S...just ignore the crusted mucus. We're still working on it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

the tide is high

I think the tide is finally turning. S seems to be feeling better, as evidenced by her lack of screaming fits when I bust out the booger sucker. Now she's back to just not wanting her face washed, which is especially critical when she has mucus smeared across her otherwise adorable face. She has, however, taken her naps today (nap #2 is in progress) without throwing any fits, and she seems to be in an excellent mood. Of course, I let her ride in the buggy at the grocery store today, and she thought it was a blast. It's getting a bit cumbersome to try to wear her while grocery shopping as 1) she's a lot of extra weight to lug around, and 2) having her strapped to my chest puts her within reach of everything I pick up, making my attempts at moving items from the shelves to the cart a constant struggle. So, today, I plopped her in the cart, and she loved it. Of course, I could wear her on my back, but I'm not brave enough to try that on my own the first time.

How did this turn into a recap of the day's grocery excursion? No idea. Anyway...

I am so frickin' excited about the weather. It is pleasant outside again. Plus, we've been sleeping with the windows open and it's just lovely. I'm trying to take advantage of the nice weather by getting the garden all in order. I dug up the dead zucchini plant this morning, and groomed the tomato plants a bit. I'd dig them up, too, but I can still see some little green tomatoes, and I can't bear to miss out on them. Soon enough, there won't be fresh tomatoes. I'm also trying to decide what to do about the basil. Should I make a truckload of pesto and freeze it, or would the plants survive if I put them in pots and moved them inside? I will miss my fresh basil terribly if I have to give it up.

Speaking of tomatoes and pesto, I picked up some fresh mozzarella today, and I'm planning to make tomato, mozzarella, and pesto paninis one day this week. Of course, I don't have a panini maker, but I heard somewhere that I can just use my waffle iron (or a skillet and a weight, but where's the fun in that?). My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I'm also going to try out a new soup next week from Barefoot in Paris and also Scallops Provencal. I'll keep you posted (as always). For now, I'm going to go make an apple cake. Yum. Have a great weekend, my peeps.

Sight: S learning to get down the front step without landing on her face...hysterical
Sound: quiet.
Smell: apples with cinnamon
Taste: vanilla ice cream on warm apple dumplings, homemade chicken soup, tomato tart, spinach pastry, sweet tea (I've been a glutton this week.)
Touch: cool air at night

Thursday, September 13, 2007

lord of the flies

So, I built the compost bin, right? Did I mention that I'd been hoarding kitchen scraps in a bucket on the back porch for a few days in anticipation of the compost bin? Probably I failed to mention that. Well, I had this bucket (a red bucket with hearts on it, if you were wondering) that I had been throwing apple peels and banana peels and egg shells and such in for a few days. I had noticed that there were flies flocking to the bucket, but I wasn't too worried about it. Then I noticed that the flies were getting a bit aggressive. That's part of the reason that I made sure I got the compost bin finished yesterday (as it was the first day it hadn't rained this week). The flies aren't on the back porch anymore, but they are creating what seems like a new civilization inside the compost bin. I'm not even sure how they're getting in there since there is a lid, but they're in there, and they are feisty. I'm not exactly sure how to get rid of them, though I did read a little blurb yesterday about killing flies by alcohol poisoning. The problem is I don't know where to put the alcohol...because I've got some banana liqueur that I'd be willing to sacrifice. (I only own banana liqueur because it goes in Bananas Foster, I don't drink the stuff. Barf.)

Any other brilliant ideas? I've already covered the food scraps in the bin with newspaper, so don't bother suggesting that.

Oh, and I had a couple of friends over for lunch today. I made the full-sized tomato tart, which was so yummy, that I feel the need to share:

1 piecrust
4-5 small tomatoes, sliced and drained
1-1/2C shredded mozzarella cheese
1C loosely packed fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1/4C shredded parmesan
1/4C mayonnaise
1/8tsp pepper

Bake the piecrust according to Pillsbury's directions. (Why would you bother making homemade piecrust??). Sprinkle with 1/2C mozzarella and let cool. Arrange tomatoes over cheese. Process basil and garlic and spread over tomatoes. Combine remaining mozzarella, parmesan, mayonnaise, and pepper and spread evenly over basil mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden.

This is so yummy. I hope you all run out and make it. I also made the Spinach in Puff Pastry last night. It was delish, too, though M's response was, "I wouldn't call it my favorite thing." As long as he doesn't call it his least favorite thing, I can deal. He'll also have to deal because I will be making it again.

Have a great Thursday, peeps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

changing things up

I was inspired by Feathernester to shake up the blog. Hope you least I hope you don't hate it and abandon reading all my crazy, incoherent rambling.

a new kind of seamstress

I always have these great intentions of sewing things. Like curtains for S's room. I've been staring at the fabric that I bought (and now passionately dislike) for months. As I no longer like it for curtains and the yellow in the fabric doesn't match the yellow of her walls anyway, I think I'll make some napkins out of the fabric. Again- good intentions. It'll likely never happen. If anyone out there will actually use some yellow striped fabric for some eco-friendly napkins, I'll gladly send it to you. Anyway, the sewing machine rarely comes out of its box for any projects. I did a little hand sewing today, though. On the new compost bin. Bizarre, I know. I was following the instructions online, but the screws just weren't working to hold the wire mesh onto the bottom of the bin, so I busted out the garden twine and sewed the mesh to the bin through the holes I'd already made in it. It worked, and after spending a solid 20 minutes digging a hole in which to put said bin, we now have a compost bin in the garden. I am so way excited. It was really nice to be able to work outside in the middle of the day. The high today is supposed to be 75 degrees. That's 20 degrees less than a week ago. Unreal.

The break in the ungodly heat means I also shut off the AC today and opened the windows and turned on all the fans. It is insanely pleasant and fresh in the house right now. I think the fresh air will help the P family get over our little plague. Along with the Vitamin C and chicken soup. in fact, I think I am beating this little cold. M is feeling pretty cruddy, but S seems to be doing better, and I am not really feeling so bad. Just a scratchy throat really. And apparently, S is now old enough for Infant Dimetapp. I called the pediatrician about the Bactriban suggested by Mama Morton, but the nurse said to try the Dimetapp since Bactriban is an antibiotic and S probably doesn't really need it. Thanks for the tip, though. Maybe next time the snot monster attacks baby girl...

I'm off. It's getting close to nap time.
Oh, old roommate is scheduled to have her baby girl via c-section today. Keep her and her family in your thoughts. S is so excited about having a new friend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

funniest card ever??

M and I used to love searching for the funniest (read: dumbest) cards we could find for each other. As we've been together longer, we've agreed to forgo buying each other cards altogether unless we just happen across one that is begging to be purchased. One of my favorites was a Valentine's Day card from several years ago that read,"Don't kiss your honey when your nose is runny. You may think it's funny, but it's snot."

What's the point, you ask?

Snot. Snot is the point. I think I've been essentially covered in my daughter's snot for three days now. It's another one of those things that makes me feel like a "real mom."

Needless to say, baby girl has a cold, and it sucks. She hates the "nasal aspirator." Hates it, and it's not like I can reason with her, so in order to de-snot the poor girl, M and I have to basically wrestle her to the ground and pin down her head and arms while she screams bloody murder. It is somewhat less than fun. Also less than fun? The fact that M and I both seem to have caught a bit of baby girl's malady. I've been hitting the Vitamin C as hard as I dare while breast feeding and trying to take in egregious amounts of fluids. I'm trying as hard as I can not to get sick. I think M is pretty much doing the same. To aid our quest, I'm making a huge pot of chicken soup for dinner. Cross your fingers that it works.

Monday, September 10, 2007

an apple a day

S has had her first apple-picking experience. I'm sure she was thrilled out of her little head as we strolled her through the apple orchard in the blazing hot middle of the day on Saturday. She didn't actually seem to mind as we let her keep her cup of water with her the whole time. Either way, M and I had a nice time, and I am, just as I was last year, already trying to think of every conceivable way I can eat our yummy apples. So far, I've eaten three apples, used six for an apple strudel, and steamed three for S (she'll have her first taste for lunch today). I'm also going to make some apple bread to take to a friend tomorrow, and I'll likely make two loaves as the apple bread was my favorite apple concoction last year. Yum. Yum. In other culinary news, both the soy-fig butter and the bunny muffins were terribly disappointing. Yuck. I made some carrot croutons out of the muffins and munched on them a bit Saturday, but I threw them out last night. I couldn't take any more of it. Oh, well. The tomato tartlets that I made for dinner at our friends' house Saturday evening were good, so at least the weekend wasn't a complete disaster in the kitchen.

Lastly, M and I purchased a giant lidded garbage can yesterday to make a compost bin. I am super excited about it, so thank you LD for the link you sent. Next on the list is a homemade rain barrel...thanks to CC for the tips on that one. I feel greener already.

Friday, September 07, 2007

back in the kitchen

First and foremost, thank you all. You know, for all the friendly encouragement on my little green dilemma the other day. I'm feeling much better now (not that I was that upset), but a little encouragement never hurt anyone, right? I'm also especially pumped at the prospect of building my own compost bin. Hopefully, I'll get around to that on Sunday afternoon. Also, M pointed out that I'd forgotten to mention that we purchase renewable energy. So, there you have it. Moving on.

I'm back in the kitchen today. Do you do that? Somehow manage to not make anything new or spectacularly yummy for a few days and then you break down and decide to make anything and everything you have ingredients for? I'm sort of there. I did bake a cake last weekend (three layers of chocolate-y, chunky deliciousness with mint in the icing), but that sucker has been gone for days. Days. My FIL brought over some brownies last night that his neighbor had brought him, so I'm not making any desserts today. That will be tomorrow- after we go apple-pickin'. Yum.

Anyway, I've got two things going right now. The first is soy-fig butter. There is a recipe on the back of my bag of soy nuts that has been staring at me from its perch on the counter for weeks. I just never had any dried fruit around. So, today, I ventured into the dried fruit aisle of the grocery and grabbed a bag of figs. The soy nuts have now been roasted, and they are patiently cooling in the Cuisinart until I go add a little oil and the chopped figs. I'll let you know how it turns out. The second is bunny muffins. The recipe actually came out of a baby food cookbook that I bought forever ago. The idea of carrot muffins sounded good, though, so I'm playing with it, and I look forward to having bunny muffins for breakfast tomorrow morning. Oddly enough, S won't be able to eat them because I haven't allergy checked her for apples yet, and I won't until after the aforementioned apple-pickin'. So, despite the fact that the recipe originated in Well Fed Baby, S will have to wait. The carrots are steaming now so I can puree them for the batter. Again, I'll let you know how it goes.

Beyond that, I look forward to trying out my first recipe from Barefoot in Paris this weekend. Of course, it's Spinach in Puff Pastry, which sounds a lot like a little Greek dish I like...spanakopita. So, it doesn't sound French at all, but it does sound good, so I'll have a go anyway. Also, I'm trying to use up the last of the tomatoes in the garden, so I'll also be making a tomato tart this weekend. I am super excited about that. That's about all I know, peeps. Have a good one.

Sight: the trees in the backyard, swaying in the breeze
Sound: S "zerberting" the couch over and over
Smell: roasting soynuts, basil
Touch: aching muscles from finally going back to the gym
Taste: mint chocolate chip ice cream, red peppers from the garden

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

it's not easy being green...

...easy on the wallet, that is.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that everyone who reads this blog knows me pretty well. Well enough to know that aside from my family, I'm pretty passionate about the environment and being healthy and a whole barrage of liberal causes (war on poverty, anyone? healthcare reform? education reform? anyone?).

Anyway, my desire to be green has only increased since the arrival of baby girl. Not only do I want to do my part to make sure the planet is inhabitable for her, I also want to set a good example for her. I want to live in a manner that being environmentally-friendly will be second nature to her. I don't want her to even think about paper towels or ziploc bags. It's not that easy, though.

There are lots of things that I want to do. Lots. I just can't afford it. (Or I don't know the cheap way around it). Like...I want a rain barrel for the garden. And a compost bin. I just can't find them locally, and I can only find them online for several hundred the oversized freight charges (and doesn't shipping the stuff negate a bit of the purpose?). I want to eat locally grown, pesticide free foods, but it's hard to do, though I know I could do it if I really tried.

Does anyone else feel like they have trouble committing? For instance, to start shopping more locally, we'd have to drive across town to the co-op or the farmer's markets. So, I'm already driving farther to the store. Second, it's crazy expensive. I'm not just talking organic produce and meat here, people. I'm talking about flour and butter and sugar and all the staples. Do I go to the co-op for the fresh stuff and then hit the Kroger for staple items?? I was pseudo-trying that approach for awhile. Sort of. When the new Fresh Market opened, I was going there religiously for produce and meat. Then S got a little older and a little less interested in being hauled in and out of the car for multiple errands. It became easier to just go to the Kroger down the street. The produce isn't as good, but since I'm trying to only buy things in season, it's been okay. I just don't know where to start. So, I'm starting a list. Things I do to be more environmentally friendly, and things I wish I did. Here goes:

Things the P family does to be green:
::cloth diapers
::homemade baby food
::cloth napkins
::chemical-free cleaners
::gardening (with no pesticides or chemicals)
::drive a hybrid (within the speed limit)
::keep the air set to blazing and the heat set to frigid
::wash clothes in cold water
::use our own shopping bags
::recycle like mad people
::buy in bulk
::use reusable containers instead of ziploc bags

Things we don't do, but I wish we did:
::eat locally grown foods only
::use a rain barrel for the garden
::use a clothes line

Things we do that I'm embarrassed to admit:
::still use Kleenex instead of handkerchiefs
::fertilize the lawn
::leave the computer and tv power strips on because we don't want to reset the clocks
::run the dishwasher on hot water

This is likely just the beginning. My brain is too tired right now to keep thinking. Anyone have any brilliant ideas on what we (and all my loyal readers) can do to save the planet? (Besides convincing Al Gore to re-run for president??)

This post is rambling...I'm trying to wrap my own brain around it, so good luck to you making sense of the whole thing. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

back to normal

Everything is suddenly, and sadly, back to normal around here. M went back to work this morning after ten days out of the office, so S and I are on our own. I think I've almost forgotten how our days go. Almost. Of course, she's being a screaming terror right now, and I don't remember that being a part of our routine. I think she got a little spoiled by her Favorite Great Aunt Mel and her great-granddaddy this weekend. My granddaddy refused to let her cry, so he would sit and rock her forever until she'd fall asleep. One day of that was enough to show her that there are other ways of doing things, so now she's seriously unhappy with us. I'm pretty sure she thinks we're awful parents...especially since we're making her eat plain cheerios instead of those baby-crack fruit puff things. Hopefully, social services won't take her away.

Nothing new to report around here. It's been a pretty low-key couple of days. M and I did go see The Bourne Ultimatum Saturday night. There's a Movie Tavern here now, and it was our first chance to go. It was nice to turn the usual four hour "dinner and a movie" date into a two hour event...with beer during the movie. Not a bad set-up really. I'm surprised it's not catching on everywhere. The Bourne Ultimatum was good...if you like the other Jason Bourne movies, which we do. Good, mindless, high-octane entertainment. Probably less mindless than the other movie we discussed seeing: Superbad. I loved that kid on Arrested Development, and it looks so stupid and funny that I can't wait to see it...though I'll wait for Netflix on that one.

Have a great Tuesday, peeps. I'm hitting the showers.