Thursday, September 29, 2011

a month of meals.

Apparently last week was the week of clothing. This week is the week of food.

For some reason, I've decided it's a good idea to tell you what the Ouisers have eaten for the entire month of September. In case you need a lot of dinner ideas. Or because I was bored and crazy enough to actually write it down. You be the judge.

For the record, these aren't actually in order. They are mostly in order. But not completely.

Also, I have linked to recipes where available.
  1. Ordered pizza.
  2. Ate at Casa de Reid. Steak and Blueberry Cobbler.
  3. Ate at my family's house while M and Daddy went to the UConn/Vandy game. There were potatoes, roasted broccoli, and a braised brisket.
  4. Spaghetti al Limone. I made this on Holly's recommendation. It was quite tasty.
  5. Fruit salad and homemade bread (Whole Wheat Basil Bread).
  6. Homemade pizza (using the dough and sauce recipes from The Bread Bible)
  7. Okinawan Takoraisu. This was good, but I've already scrapped the recipe because it wasn't that good. However, I'd totally eat it if I was in Okinawa.
  8. Barbecued Chicken
  9. Spaghetti with Sausage and Bell Peppers
  10. Eli's Asian Salmon (I've made this before, and I don't know why I bothered to make it again. I cannot stand sesame oil, and the sesame flavor hits me over the head in this dish.)
  11. Homemade pizza (again)
  12. Pasta with marinara
  13. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (this time around, I got all brilliant and prepped everything early in the day and used the veggie scraps and chicken bones to make the stock)
  14. Rosemary Polenta (one of our favorites!)
  15. Quesadillas (I ate Ina's Tuscan White Beans since I'm still not really doing dairy)
  16. Pierogi with roasted carrots and broccoli
  17. Steak and Italian Fries
  18. Petit Pains au Lait with apples and cheddar
  19. Chicken tacos (I started with Smitten Kitchen's recipe, but I was really disappointed by how flavorless the chicken was, so I doctored it by making a sauce with a lot of spices)
  20. Pasta with olive oil and sea salt
  21. Pork tenderloin with Raspberry Balsamic Preserves, roasted potatoes, and green beans
  22. Aglio e Olio (I could eat this every single day. Forever.)
  23. Turkey Chili (M could eat this every single day. Forever.)
  24. Pancakes
  25. Cornmeal Brioche with Cinnamon Honey Butter, cheddar, and baked apples
  26. Roast Chicken with carrots and onions and roasted green beans
  27. Pasta with leftover chicken, garlic, and white wine
  28. Cajun Chicken Pasta (I left out the cayenne this time in hopes that S would eat it. She did not, so it's going back in next time.)
  29. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  30. Homemade Pizza
The Chicken Tortilla Soup is happening tonight, and I'm defrosting the pizza sauce for tomorrow night. I've also made a lot of bread this month. The Whole Wheat Basil Bread, lots of pizza dough, petit pains au lait, cornmeal brioche, orange-carrot bread, orange-cinnamon swirl, chocolate Babka, and Kolache. If I can ever lay my hands on some canned pumpkin, I am desperate to make a Pumpkin Brioche, and I'm making American Chocolate Bread this weekend.

Then I'm going to wallow in my fatness.

Now, I've got some embroidery to see to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I know you have all been checking for the roast chicken update constantly. You probably thought I had utterly forsaken you. Alas, here I am.

The roast chicken was very, very good. The jus was a little salty, but I think that I allowed it to reduce too much, overly concentrating the flavors. Also, I used bought stock instead of my homemade unsalted stuff, which I didn't account for when salting the bird. I was not deterred, however, from eating it with gusto! I don't think that using Octoberfest to deglaze the pan really added anything, so I will try it with wine next time, and if that doesn't seem to seal the deal, I'll just use straight stock.

Besides, I don't want to waste perfectly delicious beer and wine if I don't need to.

I'll also make mashed potatoes next time. I had planned to this go-round, but I needed to cook the green beans in the fridge, and having carrots, green beans, and mashed potatoes seemed a little extravagant for a Tuesday night. Don't you think?

The croutons were nice. The texture added a nice juxtaposition. I'm calling it a success.

I also promptly used the old girl's carcass and all the peelings from the carrots, onions, and garlic to make stock for tomorrow night's Chicken Tortilla Soup. I am so old school, aren't I? Next thing you know I'll be all Little-House-on-the-Prairie...making quilts and rags out of our old clothes. Wait, I already do that.

I'm amazed that I have any friends at all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I have a cold.

T is not all about the sleeping. Or the pooping, which may explain the sleeping since he's been knocking us out with the gas.

He has been up three times each of the last three nights. Finally, last night at the 4am wake-up call, he had unloaded the poop of the century. I'm hoping that means that he'll snooze hard tonight because I doubt I'll kick my little cold quickly on the amount of fractured sleep I'm currently getting.

To make myself feel better I am making a roast chicken. I am slightly obsessed with roast chicken. Not so much the actual dish as the concept of it. I think it's because Ina writes about and talks about roast chicken like it's the second coming...and also because the concept is so soothingly and simply French. And I love few things better than the concept of France.

Anyway, I'm doing a little improvising. I've made Ina's roast chicken several times, and while it's always good, it's never goooood. The delicious aroma is always more intoxicating than the taste. I've made it according to the gospel of Alice Waters. I've winged it.

Today? Today I am going to conquer it. I am determined to make it taste as fabulous as it smells.

I started by washing and drying the bird; stuffing the cavity with salt, pepper, a halved lemon, a tablespoon or so of dried thyme, and five cloves of garlic that I smashed to smithereens; and lovingly rubbing the old girl down with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I browned a couple of halved onions in a very, very hot skillet in an olive oil/butter combo. When they were nice and brown and smelled like heaven, I 86ed them from the pan and tossed them in a bowl with a quartered lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Then I browned some carrots in the super hot skillet. After I removed the carrots I browned the skin on half the chicken. I didn't really think that one through, though, and gave up before browning the other half for fear of catching my kitchen on fire with splattering oil/butter.

Now the whole concoction is in the giant skillet, waiting to go into the oven. And when it's all roasted, I think I'm going to deglaze the pan with a little Octoberfest and chicken broth to make a nice au jus. (I can't call it a pan gravy because no one in my house would eat something called gravy, including me.)

I'm also going to roast some green beans and make croutons from the weekend's leftover cornmeal brioche. (The brioche and accompanying Cinnamon Honey Butter are a whole different post. Because that butter? Dang.)

If roast chicken with carrots and onions, green beans, and cornmeal brioche croutons can't make me feel better, I might as well hang it up folks.

I'll report back on the fabulousity or the epic failure tomorrow. I know you'll wait with bated breath.

Monday, September 26, 2011

the great outdoors.

Have you ever noticed that your kids never do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it? Is that just my stubborn darling girl? I doubt it, but just the same...

Her life has been filled with my longing for her to want to do things, love things. The greatest example: I worked diligently when she was younger to make her love being outside, digging in the dirt. For the better part of the past 4-1/2 years, she couldn't have cared less. But suddenly, that girl is outside all the time. In fact we had our first experience last week of M having to tell her she had to come inside because it was getting dark. It was one of my proudest moments as a mother. Right up there with the first time she wrote her name unaided.

She spent most of yesterday outside with her daddy. He's still working his tail off to remove all the insane overgrowth at the side of the house where our garden will live next Spring. (For the record, I walked outside at one point and the smell of freshly dug soil hit me immediately. It's a glorious smell. It's right up there with baking bread and my babies after baths.) S had been digging in the areas he'd overturned, and she discovered all kinds of bugs. She tried to "rescue" a caterpillar by putting him in a tree, but it apparently didn't work out.

We're also working to create her "clubhouse" beneath some very low hanging branches in the front yard. She and I raked all the old leaves out Friday, and now we're collecting rocks to make walls ala Roxaboxen. We've got some furniture to put into the clubhouse, too, but we need to slap a coat of Rustoleum on first.
She's also started collecting things from the great outdoors, and we talk about them, and I love every second of it. I've read about creating Nature Tables for kids, and I always thought it utterly ridiculous to have a space in one's house dedicated to crunchy leaves and rocks and acorn caps and other seasonal detritus, but then I looked around the other day and realized that my whole house is a big nature table. A significant percentage of our horizontal surfaces are currently housing all sorts of things. We've actually forbidden her to bring branches in the house for fear that she'll put her brother's eye out, so there's a stick collection just outside the door. You never know when you'll need a pointer, a sword, a magic wand, or a digging tool the second you walk outside. Luckily, we're covered for all stick related emergencies.
This weekend's coolest find was a magnolia tree seed pod whose seeds are exposed. They are bright red and lovely. We've also talked extensively about acorns holding the seeds for oak trees, the concept of which largely more understandable because of this book, and we found a ton of hickory nuts that were in various states of decomposition, so I was able to show her how the seeds get out of their tough shells.

We're very scientific around here. And our nails are all dirty.

Do your kids collect things from outside? Do you even want them to?

Friday, September 23, 2011


A breakdown of the past 24 hours.

1130am (Thursday): Puked on. Changed from sweater jacket to gray cardigan.
1230pm: Post Office. Puked on. Can't do anything about it because I have to pick S up from preschool.
130pm: Home from preschool pick-up. Changed from cardigan and jeans, which were also puked on. Gave up on the whole concept of being actually dressed. Put on yoga pants.
230pm: Yoga. I was wearing the pants after all.
330pm: Made dinner. We are phasing out T's third nap, which means he is awake and cranky when it's actually time to make dinner, and he requires being in the Baby Bjorn. I tried to make pasta the other night with him attached to me, and I burned myself draining the pasta water. Lesson learned.
430pm: Thad wakes up from his nap.
530pm: Realize that M is going to be later than he expected. Subsequently, devastatingly realize that I'm on my own for the next hour of upset baby. Feed S. Feed me.
630pm: T to bed. Want to fall into bed myself.
730pm: Supposed to be at House Blend helping Holly paint, but M still isn't home.
830pm: Painting at House Blend.
930pm: Headed home from House Blend...sit down and sketch a dozen more ideas for their tables.
1030pm: Bed.
1130pm: T is screaming bloody murder. Trudge upstairs. Nurse the little booger.
1230pm: asleep
130am: asleep
230am: asleep
330am: Nurse screaming, hysterical baby.
430am: Wonder if that dying animal sound outside is indeed a dying animal. Contemplate finding animal and ensuring his swift demise.
530am: In the shower.
630am: Say goodbye to husband. Take photograph of daily outfit. Laundry. Scrub toilet.
730am: Fix S's breakfast. Pay bills. Balance checkbook.
830am: Play with baby. Fold laundry.
930am: T napping. Dust the furniture downstairs. Start chili.
1030am: Send S to her room for an hour because she had a fit about wiping her bottom. Realize how quiet life is with one sleeping baby and one four-year-old that is sent to her room and threatened with her life if she continues her hysterics and wakes her brother.
1130am: Write dumbest blog post ever. Realize by looking at it that I need to sleep more. I already knew that, though.

Riveting, eh?
Here's today's outfit. Gray v-neck dress. I put on my rainboots this morning for the picture because it was pouring buckets. The sun is now shining, though, so if I leave my house it will be in the greatest ballet flats ever. I'm also sporting another Betsy Carr necklace, but you can't see it in the picture. And that's an awesome vintage umbrella. Just so you know. It's impossible not to feel awesome holding a vintage stick umbrella. Don't you agree?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

another day.

It's Thursday, but my brain is pretty well convinced that it's Friday because we inexplicably ran out of groceries a day early this week, so I had to go to the market* last night instead of tonight. I desperately wish today was Friday. Alas...I'll have to wait another day.

As I have virtually nothing interesting to say today, I'll just get to the outfit, then get offline.
Today I'm sporting bootcut jeans and my wheat sweater/jacket thing. I've got a pink tank underneath. I'm also rocking my new ballet flats. The hunt for the perfect ballet flat was a massive undertaking. I looked at Tieks on Scarlet Lily's suggestion, but I wanted brown. Just brown. Not faux-crocodile brown or leopard, which meant I was out of luck. I looked at French Sole, but I was again thwarted by a lack of brown leather. I tried Corso Como on Vintage Darling's suggestion, going so far as to order them and send them back when they were uncomfortable.

Finally, after a ridiculous amount of research, I decided I wanted the Bloch Arabian Ballerina III, only to find that they cannot be found anywhere in my size. I did try a size that I thought might fit, but I had to send them back because they were so, so small. I settled for the Bloch Giselle Roll-up, and I'm happy. The right shoe feels like it was actually MADE for my foot, but the left heel digs a bit. I'm hoping this little problem will fix itself after I've worn them a bit.

Wow. That might have just bored you to death. I hope not.

Have you ever gone to so much trouble for a pair of shoes? I nearly drove myself and Mr. Ouiser and half the people I know insane on this quest.

*I am trying to bring out of fashion words back into the popular lexicon. Market is one such word. I'd also like to start saying "I believe" in lieu of "I think." My Granddaddy does, and I find it charming as all get out. Just so you know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

sew awesome.

Are you following me on Pinterest? If you are, perhaps you saw this.
I had to make it. How could I deprive my darling girl of this level of cuteness? I couldn't possibly. So once I finished my little embroidery project to send overseas, I dove into the pile of fabric in my attic and started cutting.

And since it was so cute and was all over Pinterest as an item for sale in an Etsy shop but nowhere to be found as a DIY project, I even planned a tutorial. Shocking, I know. I took a couple of pictures at the beginning. A picture of a pile of fabrics. A picture of some scraps and my pinking shears. A picture of all the pieces lined up in the order I wanted to attach them. A picture of a 1/2" seam.
Then I realized that I am not cut out for making tutorials*. I have neither the patience nor the photography skills. (Also, I don't think tutorials with glasses of wine in the background are as popular.) There were no other photographs taken until I snapped one of S in the finished product.

I love how it turned out, but I think I'd like it better a couple of inches shorter. When S is a couple of inches taller, I'll let you know because I am now done with the project.'s outfit. There will be no photograph because the photos that M took were all terribly unflattering. As in, I know the outfit is rough, but it doesn't look as bad as the lighting and angles would indicate, and I have rules. I do NOT share photographs of myself that are bad. Clearly I've shared "not so good" photographs for the past three days, but these are bad, and I will not have truly wretched photographs around on the internet as long as T's disposable diapers are in landfills. But I will tell you that I am wearing a light gray v-neck tee and a brown knit skirt. The photos made me so depressed that I may actually go change and then burn the skirt. Then I'll have space for one more article of clothing!!

*Should you have any interest in making one of these, I'll gladly send instructions, but there will be no pictures. Also, I think a monkey could make this. It was so deliciously easy.

in my dotage.

I'm not getting any younger. Are you?

I don't actually want to get any younger since I like myself so much better than I did ten years ago. Just the same, I am constantly noticing that I am getting older.

Examples of my aging:

  • Copious amounts of gray hair that I don't care to color because I'd rather spend that time baking something,
  • I am inexplicably, voluntarily getting up before the sun to have coffee with my husband*,
  • I have started keeping dried beans and ham hocks in my pantry in case I need to make a pot of beans,
  • I don't need to consult a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies anymore,
  • I clean my house often,
  • I need Ibuprofen more than I should,
  • My feet are always cold...actually, I am almost always cold,
  • I think people should be hanged by their thumbs for shooting off fireworks after 8pm,
  • I catch myself using phrases that only old people use,
  • I almost yelled at some middle schoolers who were playing in my yard with water guns the other day, and
  • I eat prunes, and I like them.
I am practically geriatric. Wow.

Here's the ensemble du jour. Boyfriend jeans, white layering tank, green cardigan, and one of my favorite necklaces. Have I told you about my darling Besty Carr??
A note regarding today's photo. Mr. Ouiser called me out on his making me look shorter yesterday, so at 530 this morning, he plopped his tail in the floor for today's photo. Whilst I do look taller (hence the "Ouiser Attacks" pose), my arse looks as wide as the broad side of a barn. I suppose a girl can't have everything. Perhaps I should use a Fun House mirror tomorrow. Anybody got one handy??

*This makes me think of my grandparents. When I would spend the night there growing up, I would sometimes wake up when I heard my Grandma making Granddaddy's breakfast. I was always aghast at the fact that it was still dark outside when he headed out onto the farm. I could never understand why they were up so early. Now look at me...

Monday, September 19, 2011

weekend update.

My girl, walking into her first collegiate stadium. Look at her holding that ticket just so. Also, observe her scouting the concession stands.

My girl went to her first college football game this Saturday, and I am proud to say it was an all SEC affair. Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss. It was her first exposure to the Mississippi Swoop, though I don't think she noticed it, and I'm hoping that by her first game being between these two schools, she will grow up knowing that you're supposed to dress for football games like you dress for church. No one told me that growing up, and I didn't know it until college. Of course, I went to high school games covered in paint half the time, so it doesn't matter. I digress.
M and my dad took her. My dad (and stepmom) took me to my first collegiate game, too. I was eleven. Fifth grade. Neyland Stadium. Whilst I was seven years her senior, my first game was like a pilgrimage to Mecca, and I avow that she will be old enough to understand and appreciate football and its traditions before she experiences the Vol Walk or Running through the T. But experience it she shall, and I'll be there for that one.
For the record, she loved it. She loved the popcorn, hot dog, and cotton candy. She loved her new shaker. And she apparently yelled for all she was worth at all the appropriate times. That's my girl.

As for yesterday, I was a waste of space. I had a wicked headache, so I didn't do a whole lot. Though I did make a delicious Orange Cinnamon Swirl bread for breakfast, a fresh batch of lactation cookies, and a pan of Petits Pains au Lait for dinner. Other than all that, I didn't do much. I showered and threw on a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeved tee. I sat in the big chair and read a bit of Wuthering Heights. I watched Life as We Know It. The bread was successful. The book is captivating (Kris, you're right!!). The movie was disappointing. The day, however, was sufficiently restful that I don't feel like a zombie today. Unfortunately, I slept on my arm all wonky because I cannot lift it today without wanting to burst into fits of tears. (Washing my face and hair was a comedy of errors this was putting on a clean shirt.) I've hit the Ibuprofen like an addict this morning, though, so I am confident that all will be well.

Outfit updates: I did not photograph myself in sweat pants. It goes against my rules. If you'd like a photo of the outfit in the laundry pile, I'm happy to oblige. This is today's ensemble. Boot cut jeans, dark gray v-neck. It's raining, and we're not leaving the house, so this is as good as it gets. I think I deserve bonus points anyway for being showered and dressed and capable of looking so darned chipper at 530am. You read that right. I am a sadist apparently.
A note regarding this photograph. M took it. While taking it, he said, I am going to make you look as tall as possible, and I had no idea what he meant. I think he meant that he thought it would make me look taller if my whole body was in the photograph. I don't know. What I do know is that I look shorter than I actually am because there are thirty-six feet of atmosphere above my head in the photo. Goofy tall husband...making everybody else look like little people all the time.

Lastly, and unrelated to this entire post...S just got out of bed on her own for the first time in her entire life. I am beside myself with shock. Like, this is me...and this is the other me...way over here beside myself with shock. Who came up with that goofy phrase anyway?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We are in the glorious season that is fall. Sort of. I realize it doesn't technically begin until next Friday, but we're pretty much there.

There is cider for crying out loud.

The problem with fall in the South is that it's kind of teasing. In the course of three days it can be hot/sunny/85 degrees, rainy/windy/55 degrees, and cloudy/70 degrees. I realize those don't seem like great variations, but 85 degrees in the sun is definitely warm, and 55 degrees in the rain is definitely cool, and it makes dressing a challenge. Especially when you're rocking a wardrobe with 33 articles of clothing.

So yesterday I revamped. I swapped out a couple of dresses, put away a couple of skirts, and hung up a few tanks for layering under sweaters.

The new 33:
  1. Long camel cardigan sweater,
  2. Long gray cardigan sweater,
  3. Blue v-neck knit dress,
  4. Gray v-neck knit dress,
  5. Brown 3/4 sleeve knit dress,
  6. Purple 3/4 sleeve knit dress,
  7. Dark gray v-neck tee,
  8. Light gray v-neck tee,
  9. Gray cardigan*,
  10. Gray sweater,
  11. Gray layering tank,
  12. White layering tank,
  13. White button down,
  14. White v-neck tee,
  15. Pink v-neck long sleeve tee,
  16. Pink assymetrical cardigan,
  17. Gold v-neck sweater,
  18. Green layering tank,
  19. Green cardigan,
  20. Green print cardigan,
  21. Navy v-neck long sleeved tee,
  22. Teal ruffled henley,
  23. Blue cardigan,
  24. Navy sweater jacket,
  25. Purple v-neck long sleeved tee,
  26. Maroon cardigan,
  27. Wheat sweater jacket,
  28. Black knit skirt,
  29. Brown knit skirt,
  30. Cream skirt,
  31. Boot cut jeans,
  32. Boyfriend jeans,
  33. Slim ankle jeans**.
*Technically, there are still three. I still only wear one in public.
**I had to exchange the pair previously on order, so these aren't actually in my possession. Still.

So there you have it. This is probably what will be in my closet all winter, though I may put away a couple of dresses at the end of the fall and pick up another pair of jeans. The glory of the cardigan is layers. You can throw one on to be warm in the cool mornings and evenings, but take it off in the heat. Cardigans. I love thee.

Also, regarding this Project 333 insanity. I talked to my dear friend J about it last night upon mistakenly hearing that he didn't believe I only had 33 articles of clothing.

"So, I hear you don't believe that there are really only 33 things in my closet," I accused him.

"Oh, no. I believe you, I just think you're crazy. Why would anyone want to do that?"

I explained to him that if you have limited choices of clothing, you won't spend much time at all deciding what to wear, and you'll be absolutely certain to genuinely like every article of clothing you have. He thought it sounded good in theory but admitted that his hatred for doing laundry makes it necessary to continue owning 14 pairs of jeans. To each his own. He also asked if I didn't get sick of wearing the same things over and over and remarked that he didn't really notice that I was always in the same things. I will say that no, I don't get sick of wearing the same things, but honestly, even when there were more things hanging in my closet, I still only wore a small percentage. This little endeavor just removed all the things I owned but didn't wear. It physically removed the clutter. It's been great really.

I've decided that starting today, I am going to photograph what I wear every day for a week so you can get an idea of how it comes together.

I know you'll eagerly await the week's worth of pictures...try not to lose sleep in the excitement.
In the interest of showing my boots, which I love, I cut off my head.
Don't say anything.
It's not supposed to be a picture of my head anyway, right?

Today's outfit: maroon cardigan, blue v-neck knit dress, woven leather belt, brown boots, whitest ever flesh tights. mean my actual legs are so white that they're blue? Yep. I do not do sun. I am part vampire.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a word of advice.

I try to steer clear of any and all popular gossip here. I try not to let the entire world know that I am a slave to celebrity gossip, but I am. Some of you aren't though, and I try to please the masses (aka the nine people who read this blog).

Not today.

Today I'm going all Perez Hilton on you.

So Scarlett Johansson has herself a little nude photo scandal going on. And the FBI is investigating. I'm pretty sure the Federal Bureau of Investigation wouldn't be helping me out if there were nude photos of me leaked into the ether. Nope. Of course no one would be looking without screaming, "My eyes, my eyes!!" because I've had two babies, people, and I am not a supermodel. But enough about me and my issues.

Back to ScarJo's issues.

Here's a word of advice to all you celebrities*that have been victims of nude photo scandals and sex tape scandals. If you don't want to be involved in one of these scandals, don't let anyone take your picture naked. And don't let anyone make a video of you doing something you wouldn't show your grandmother. Also, wear panties**.

It doesn't seem like rocket science.

*I know you're reading this, celebrities.

**Clean ones in good repair in case you have to go to the emergency room. This is a lesson taught to all southern daughters, I believe. You really wouldn't want to be in a car accident that requires you to go to the ER and have them see you in grundy undies, would you? Of course not. Then again, if I need emergency medical attention, I might not be thinking about the state of my panties. Who are we kidding, I am Ouiser. Of course I'll be worried about it. I'll also be worried about whether or not my toilet is adequately scrubbed. A leopard cannot change its spots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

on oatmeal and boredom.

A couple of weeks ago my milk supply suddenly dropped. I had thought perhaps it had dwindled, but then T wasn't feeling well and when I took him to the doctor, the proof was in the proverbial pudding...meaning he hasn't been gaining weight. Needless to say, I began a quest to bring up the milk supply. It's an unfamiliar quest for me. Me, the milk maker. I assume the drop was a combination of my having been sick, being a little dehydrated, and stress. I've been taking better care of myself, and I think it's helping, but I've also started eating oatmeal. So much oatmeal.

I've made lactation cookies, which are glorified oatmeal cookies.

I've eaten steel-cut oats.

And I've jumped on the OOIAJ bandwagon, though I have no idea what a black Chia seed is, so I don't use them.

This morning, as I started eating my oatmeal, I instantly realized that I am over it. Eating one more bite of oatmeal sounds wretched. Wretched, people. So instead of oatmeal, I'm going to start drinking more beer. Sam Adams Octoberfest is out right now. It'll be great.

Moving on...

I saw this on Pinterest the other day, and I was instantly captivated. Of course, they absurdly named their creation a Boredom Jar, which is insane because alliteration is so lovely. Thus, our Boredom Bowl was born. (In the interest of alliteration, one could also create a Boredom Bucket, but bucket is one of my least favorite words.)
The concept is simple enough. When S says, "Mommy, I'm bored," she has to pull an activity from the bowl. Some are good, some are not so good. Here's a list of all the activities that I added to the bowl:
  • Map your heart.
  • Take a nap.
  • Jump up and down 100 times.
  • Draw a self portrait.
  • Rainbow Scavenger Hunt.
  • Rhyme Time.
  • Have a snack.
  • Draw a picture of someone you love.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Look at picture albums.
  • Play a game.
  • Make a papier mache bowl.
  • Pick up sticks in the yard.
  • Draw a Cutie Mark on mom.
  • Look at your atlas.
  • Play with play dough.
  • Choose a toy to donate.
  • Make popcorn.
  • Make cards.
  • Write a letter.
  • Clean the playroom.
  • Clean your bedroom.
  • Build with blocks.
  • Dust the furniture upstairs.
  • Dust the windowsills.
  • Make a collage.
  • Color a picture.
  • Sweep the kitchen.
  • Paint with watercolors.
  • Write a story.
  • Read a book.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Do yoga.
  • Play outside.
  • Dance to Beyonce (one of S's favorite songs is All the Single Ladies)
  • Go Gaga for Gaga (one of her other favorites is Bad Romance, though she clearly has no idea what either song is about; she is also a huge fan of Walking on Sunshineand Everybody, so not everything she hears is inappropriate. Just so you know.)
That's it for now. You can see that there's a pretty decent mix of fun things to do and not so fun things to do. My hope is that even with the not so fun activities, she'll find something to do in the process. Maybe she'll come across something she'd like to do. It's kind of brilliant...and maybe it'll keep me from having to dust.

Do you have any go-to boredom busters? If you say anything that has to do with oatmeal, I will hunt you down.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

another conversation with the little man.

T had rice cereal for the first time this morning. He wasn't crazy about it. I'll let him tell you...
Mom, what's that?
You want me to do what with that glop? I thought maybe it was glue for papier mache. I'm not really supposed to ingest that, am I?
It doesn't look so good. Really, I'm happy with the boobs. There is no need for this little experiment.
Is something supposed to be happening? Because I'm not understanding. Maybe it's above my pay grade, but I am thinking this stuff is just kind of funk-y.
Woman, you have stripped me of my dignity.

that was awesome.

In case you can't imagine how awesome jumping out of an airplane was, allow me to show you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the road to hell.

Good intentions, peeps. I've got them by the bucket load. My current good intention is to really get my house in order. When S was a baby, there was only one way I could do that. I had to schedule it. Once she got older, the need for rigidity passed, but with a wee one in the house again, I find myself lost.

When was the last time I cleaned that mirror? It is so dirty.

Questions and comments like that make up a lot of my inner monologue. A lot. It doesn't help that we've brought so much new stuff into the house from Mr. P's condo. Lately, it's just been hard to stay on top of things. Especially when there is still so much to do with this house and its lovely, overwhelming lawn.

I've been working on creating a schedule. I've made lists of things that I need to do daily, bi-weekly, weekly, and monthly. Eventually, there will be quarterly and semi-annual lists, but I need to start somewhere. Luckily, there are many places for inspiration online...especially on Pinterest.

Here's what I've got so far. For my daily lists, I have a list of goals and a to-do list. The goals are to shower and get dressed, read, create/bake, exercise, RELAX, play with the kids, and go outside for fifteen minutes. The daily to-dos are to make the beds, pick up the common areas of the house, clean the kitchen counters and sink, wipe down the bathroom, tidy our bedroom and closet, sort/wash/put away laundry, and wipe down S's table and the kitchen table.

I realize that this seems absurd on many levels. Level one of absurdity: writing down that you need to relax. This is a tough one for me. My natural mode is go-mode, and I wear myself out on a daily basis. Some days I feel like I am going to fall asleep in my dinner plate because I can't keep going. I have to make myself slow down, and being the Type-A freak that I am, the best way to achieve that goal is to put it on a list. Level two: writing down that I need to play with my kids. You might be thinking, "You're a stay at home mom, that's kind of your job," and you'd be right, but sometimes the laundry or dinner seems so important that I forget that my main priority is to raise happy, healthy kids and that playing with them is part of the gig. Level three crazy: the outside thing. We are a much happier bunch when we get to go outside, and we need to do it more. Besides, the more time S spends out of doors, the more confident she is that she can go outside to play, and I want my children to play outside. I want them to play with sticks and rocks and make mudpies. I want them to explore. Getting my tail out there with them seems like a logical way to make it happen. Level four: it's a little nuts that I have to tell myself to do any of this. I know.

Moving right along...

The bi-weekly list includes: sweeping the floors, dusting the furniture, washing the towels, and scrubbing the toilets. The weekly list includes: sweeping the courtyard and front porch, tidying all the closets/dressers, vacuuming the carpets, mopping the cork floors and bathroom floors, cleaning out the fridge, wiping down the appliances, tidying the art cabinet/pantry/medicine cabinet, changing the sheets, paying bills, and balancing the checkbook. Monthly, I need to mop the wood floors*, clean the windows and mirrors, and seriously scrub the shower**.

My plan is to create a schedule from these lists that works for me. I imagine my Tuesdays and Thursdays will be pretty chore-heavy since those are the mornings that S is at school, which makes everything a little easier. I'll try to schedule chores that she helps with (like dusting and sweeping the porch) for days she's home.

This is a work in progress, people, but I feel good about trying to really make it work. How do you stay on top of your life? Do you schedule?? Do you let things slide?? Are you, unlike me, able to just remember what you're supposed to do and do it while maintaining your sanity?? Let's have some feedback, folks.

*This may seem gross to you, but the wood floors are mainly in areas of the house that we don't spend a lot of time in, so I don't feel the need to mop them a lot, especially since I keep them swept. Besides, I'm working on making us a shoes-free household.
**Again, only scrubbing the shower once a month may sound abhorrent, but since I spray the shower daily, I'm good with it. Before I sprayed the shower regularly, I scrubbed it weekly. This is a much sweeter deal. Much.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

laissez les bons temps roulet

Monday we finally tried marble painting, and I am so glad we did. It was fun for the whole family really. Throughout the process, S kept saying, "Let the good times roll." I don't know where she heard that phrase but she's using it as much as her other current favorite, "I need to get it out of my system." Mr. Ouiser doesn't get to participate in our brilliant art making much, and he was very hands-on (hands-in?) for this one.
Prep work.
To paint or to play, that is the question.
A work in progress.

We made two paintings. One is hanging in her calm place. The other is a late birthday gift for her Uncle Drew.

Now we're collecting acorns to make these. We are making extra sure to leave plenty for the wildlife. We're friendly like that. Besides, we stopped feeding the squirrels birdseed, and they're not used to foraging anymore. They need to get with the program because winter's coming.

In other craftastic news, we did this with friends yesterday, and I'm hoarding toilet paper rolls for this.

What's on your craft agenda? You don't have one? For shame.

Unrelated to our overconsumption of paint, more examples of T's stellar communication skills. This look pretty clearly conveys, "What the heck is wrong with her?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

the subtle art of nonverbal communication.

My son, the one who can't talk...he sure can say a lot. His looks are highly nuanced. Let me show you.
What's up, Mom?
Pictures? Oh, smashing. You have been utterly remiss in documenting my existence you know. I am such a second child.
You need to adjust your camera settings?
It's cool. I'll wait right here.
Ready now?
I'm going to grin now. I'd say it'll charm your pants off, but I'd rather charm your top off. I'm a boob man.
I've got some drool on my chin?
You think I should wipe it off or just go with it?
Did I get it?
Let's just keep going.
What?? There's a pig over my shoulder?? Holy cow. I mean pig.
Wait. What's a pig?
Is it gone?
Are we done here?
No? Not done?
I'm getting sick of this. I'd rather be eating my fingers.
One more? Okay, I'll do one more.
Really, mom. I'm done.
Go away. I am over this.
Seriously, why aren't you listening to me?

The boy is brilliant.