Monday, August 20, 2012

kindergarten schmindergarten.

My girl has been an honest-to-goodness kindergartner for a couple of weeks now, so I suppose it's time to post some sort-of-first day photos and some actual first day photos.
Her sort-of-first day...the day she went with only half her class.
 

The official first day.

With M.

Me and my girl.

Over the past two weeks, she's been to music class, art class, computer class, the library, and gym.  She has eaten lunch in the cafeteria. She has had recess inside on a rainy day and outside either on the blacktop or the playground on all the sunny days.  She has successfully gone into school every day since the second day on her own without getting lost. She has had one incident wherein she got on top of a jungle gym and couldn't figure out how to get down and was rescued by "an older boy that's not in my class." She has stopped writing her "S's" backwards, and she has started writing her entire name on all of her papers despite the fact that we never call her by her entire name. She has learned to recite the entire book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, which doesn't sound that interesting until you realize that she's reading it with a serious southern drawl, which is new.

Those are the big things.

The changes? Moving from a lifelong 8pm bedtime to a 715-730 bedtime.  Having to have a shower every single day.  Waking her up at 630 every morning, which is tough because she's a sleeper, but is amazing because I wake her up by snuggling with her.  Planning outfits the night before.  Packing snacks and lunches every day.  Brushing her hair every day, which she hates preferring a cave girl look. Having to wear shoes all day every day.  Being tired.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

corny country.



M is in Indiana this week, so it's odd that my day revolved around corn.
Image from IndieBound.
Stella and I dried corn this afternoon. There was a recipe (directions??) for it in my new book, and since the only thing we eat corn in other than popcorn is Corn and Bacon Soup, I decided to give it a go.  Thus, my girl and I sat down this morning to shuck two dozen ears of corn.  She gave up when a giant worm ended up in her hand on her first ear.  She squealed like she'd been hit with a branding iron and threw the worm halfway across the room.  Her role was then downgraded from "co-shucker" to "girl who halfheartedly pulls silks off cobs after her mother shucks them and makes double sure there are no worms left." She also decided during this venture that we were playing prairie girls who were putting up food for our families for the winter.  She stacked all the ears of corn on the counter, and when we were done she said, "Look how much corn I have to feed my family during the winter. Where is yours?"

Ingrate.

After parboiling all the corn, I cut it off the cobs and dried it and dried it and dried it and dried it.  The book said it would take two hours.  It took four hours for one pan and six for the other. And now we have one quart of dried corn to rehydrate for soup during the long, cold, evil winter.

I will say that she has been a great helper during my food preserving experiment.  She helped peel all zillion pounds of tomatoes that I canned, and she added the lemon juice to each jar.

For now our food cache has 21 quarts of tomatoes, three half pints of strawberry jam (we've eaten two jars since May), four half pints of drunken cherries, and four half pints of dried corn.  I've also got a pound of green beans strung up in the kitchen drying.  They're called leather britches, and with a name like that you know I had to try it.
Image from Friends Drift Inn.
We're planning to buy a freezer soon, too, because you can barely open and close ours as I'm constantly making and freezing chicken and vegetable stocks, and I loaded the fridge with frozen strawberries earlier this summer.

Also, I bet you're wishing I'd just stayed gone because the past two posts have been the opposite of riveting.  Now you understand why I've not been blogging.


Friday, July 27, 2012

there was an old lady...

...who lived at my house.  Her name is Me.

I realize I've not been blogging, but we're going to ignore that and jump right in.

I am an old, old woman.

A few examples (some of these are repeats.)

  • No matter how hot it is outside, and we've had plenty of 100+ days this summer, I almost always have a sweater on in the house.  And slippers.
  • I have a head full of prematurely gray hair.  At some point in the not too distant future, it will cease to be "prematurely gray" and just be "gray." I'm not there yet, though.
  • I have noticed that my parking jobs are becoming increasingly wonky.  (I may soon be the blue hair driving the wrong way down a one way street. In addition to parking like a geriatric, I ran a red light the other day.  I was stopped at the red light, and the turn arrow turned green, so when the person next to me moved, I went right through that red light. I immediately realized what I'd done and felt like a prize fool, and when Stella asked why I gasped I told her that I'd run a red light.  She thought I said that I'd run over a boy. She was not alarmed at all.  I must already be driving questionably.  Look out Oakmont Elementary car riders, Ouiser's going to be rolling through soon.)
  • I have BURSITIS, which is something for old people, I'm sure.  I was having to take arthritis meds, which are just really heavy duty anti-inflammatory pills, but they were making me sick, so I quit. Now my hip just hurts if I sit still too much or move too much or get cold.  And I take a lot of Aleve.  
  • Did you read what I just wrote about not being able to sit still too long?  Because if I do, I groan like an old person upon standing and then have to do some stretching and cracking. Bring on the Chondroitin.
  • I wear pearl earrings like Barbara Bush wears pearl necklaces.  
  • Lastly, and this is my totally new thing that has taken over my life for the past two days, I'm canning.  That's right, I'm putting up food for the winter.  I canned Strawberry Jam a couple of months ago, but this is a new beast.  I'm canning tomatoes.  Lots of tomatoes.  When I finish with the tomatoes I got yesterday, I'm going to get more.  By golly, I'm going to be making fresh pasta sauce and salsa all winter long. I bought a book and everything.  
Image from StoreIt.
So, that's it.  I will tell you that I had to get up a moment ago to help Stella (who starts kindergarten in THIRTEEN DAYS...which means that there's basically just enough time to squeeze in a Cuban Missile Crisis before school begins), and when I got up my hip was all stiff.  Go ahead and laugh because it's absurd.

Happy weekending, peeps.  It's good to be back.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

i do not understand.

I have sincerely, truly always believed that everything happens for a reason.  From a religious perspective, I suppose I drank the Kool-Aid on the whole "I know the plans I have for you" thing. From a secular perspective, I suppose I'm a fatalist.  I don't know why, but it's always been firmly rooted in my psyche.  I suppose it helps me deal with things I don't like or particularly understand. I can even come up with reasons.  My grandmother passed away a week before my wedding, and I am convinced that it happened because she was too sick to attend my wedding in Memphis, thus she passed away so she could be there in spirit.  M's daddy passed away a week before T was born, and I know that he passed when he did because he was too ill to be a part of T's life and because his continuing to be so ill would've kept M from being fully present at the birth of his son and during the first weeks of his life.

I deeply believe these things.  I believe that every disappointment happens because the true purpose of life is just around the corner and couldn't be realized in any other way.

But today, my belief is massively shaken.

Many of you have followed Lucy Krull's struggle simply because of that little button on the sidebar of my blog.  Others of you, like me, know Kate and Erik.

I simply cannot understand why a child, Kate's sweet angel baby, should be put through this.  I cannot understand why she'd be made to suffer so much already, only to have it happen again.  I cannot understand how this can possibly be part of the plan for Lucy, for Kate or Erik, for Ella, or for Jack, who will likely not remember his beautiful, blonde older sister.

I feel lost today.

So, I can't honestly imagine the gut-wrenching reality that the Krull family is going through right now.  I can't fathom being in a place where you sincerely pray for mercy for your child after you've already sent up so many thousands of prayers to save her.

I don't generally ask for prayers. I always think it sounds hokey or selfish, and I think it gets overused for the wrong reasons.  But I'm asking you to pray or meditate or do whatever you do to communicate with the universe.  I'm asking you to pray for Lucy and the Krull family.

Then spend today being extra thankful for your own blessings because you might not always have them.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

i am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told.

The boxer. Otherwise known as "the boxing turtle." Otherwise known as an Eastern Box Turtle that lives in the wild kingdom.

Last week, I took a peek out of one of T's windows to see what I could see.  I spotted five different types of birds all at the same time and then I noticed something moving around on the ground that was different.  It was a turtle.

S and I went promptly outside to investigate our newest neighbor.  Then we came inside and did some turtle research.



Some days, life is so simple and perfect.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

since i have little to say...

(aside from the fact that 1030 church is amazing because you can make and eat pancakes then sit in the courtyard with your husband drinking coffee before anyone has to shower)

...I will show you what life looks like around here today.

While T sleeps, S is watching Ramona and Beezus because she "got sweaty" helping me pick up sticks in the yard.

While T sleeps and S watches TV, M is diligently working to remove the stump created by the chopping down of the whomping willow.

 While T sleeps, S watches TV, and M works his tail off, I made these rock sculptures to inspire him because that's the way art works and I "got sweaty" picking up sticks and raking.


While T slept, S watched TV, M worked on giving himself a heat stroke, and I did nothing of any consequence, our mailbox sat out by the road looking shiny and cool with a tree wrapped around it. I love that tree.
And there you have it, a lovely Sunday afternoon.




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i almost forgot.

video

graduation.

S graduated from preschool yesterday, and my only struggle with sentimentality was when I walked her into school.  She was perfect and amazing, and I couldn't love her any more if I tried.  

 Before her last day of preschool.
 Getting ready to sing.
 Announcing that when she grows up, she'd like to be a princess, a ballerina, a teacher, and a gymnastics owner.
 Please note she's standing on a pew. She's not quite that tall yet. 
 M, however, is standing on the floor.  He is that freakishly tall.
 The girls.
 Leaving preschool for the last time.
Please note the difference between the boys' table and the girls'.

Friday, May 04, 2012

ugh.

Yesterday evening, as M put T to bed, S and I built a couple of new fairy houses.  They are awesome, but that's not the point.  The point is that when I went to cross the item off of our Spring To-Do list, I realized that the only item left on the list involves her preschool graduation, and for the love of Pete, can someone stop time for a minute so I can catch my breath from all the growing up that's happening around here?  

S taught herself to snap.  She's literally been trying to snap for years.  Suddenly, her teeth are falling out and she can snap and I feel like she's going to need a bra or something the next time I turn around. I suppose I'm not that weirded out by the fact that she'll need a bra someday, but when Thad comes to me and tells me he needs a jock strap I will fall over dead. 

I'd like donations to be sent to a charity in lieu of flowers when that happens.  Just so you know.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

checkout lane gut check.

I go to the grocery store on Wednesday nights.  I used to go on Thursdays, but a few months ago we ran out of a bunch of stuff a day early, so I went on Wednesday and realized that 72% of the county's population was at church on Wednesday nights, so the place was practically deserted.  So much less playing of chicken in the aisles, so much less being annoyed at the ladies who park their carts in the middle of the aisle whilst they peruse the numerous choices of boxed cake mix, so much less waiting for Suzy Q No Decision Maker to choose what flavor of Yoplait she wants this week so that I can grab T's plain yogurt.  It was really lovely.  I can't bear the thought of going other times now.  It's a standing date between me and the Kroger.  Every Wednesday night.

Last night, for some inexplicable reason, the store was packed.  I didn't notice it while shopping, but when it came time to check out, the lines were mighty.  I grabbed a magazine from the rack and hunkered down.  A mom and teenager got in line behind me.  They kept looking in my direction and talking quietly in a way that made me really self conscious.  When I started unloading my cart onto the belt, the mom crept up alarmingly close to my cart, peering in.  I said, "Oh, I'm sorry, am I in the way?" (In a nice way, not the snarky way it just seemed.) I thought that maybe she needed a Twix.  Or a prepaid Visa.  It was weird.

She looked at me and said, "No.  My husband just had open heart surgery.  He just came home today.  He has to eat healthy, and I don't know what to do, so we were looking in your cart for ideas."

I told her that I was sorry about her husband and that she could rifle through my groceries as much as she liked.  She proceeded to tell me that her husband wasn't heavy, but that they'd always eaten whatever they wanted and that they'd basically never wanted anything healthy.  The woman was totally lost, admitting that pretty much they had always lived off cheeseburgers and pizza.  It didn't really add up.  This woman looked really fit.  Her daughter looked really fit.  She even told me that she and her daughter walk every single day together.  She told me that they were hauling hay when her husband just fell over.  Seven bypasses.  Seven.  I didn't even know that was possible.

She asked me what I do with broccoli because she saw a head of it in my cart and sent her daughter off to the produce section.  I told her she could steam it or roast it, and that we like it roasted.  Then I told her how I do it.  She just started asking things like, "Can he eat tuna fish?" I said that yes, fish would be great but that he probably shouldn't eat tuna salad with a bucket of mayonnaise in it.  She saw unsalted butter in my cart and said she'd probably need to get some for his toast.  I told her to check with her doctor on that one.  The poor woman was overwhelmed.

When she sent her daughter off to grab something else, I asked how the daughter (who's name is Lindsay and is 15) was coping.  She said she was okay.  She was driving the truck her dad was throwing hay into when he collapsed. She was shaky a lot and obviously freaked out.

I asked about her.  She just said it was completely overwhelming.

I desperately wanted to hug this woman.  And I wanted to go to her house and roast her some broccoli.  I didn't hug her.  Frankly, she didn't look like the type that would want a hug.  Instead I told her I was giving her a mental hug.  I didn't know what to say after all of that.

This whole long story is just to remind you that you need to take care of yourselves.  And that there are multiple parts of the equation.  This was an active guy.  A young guy (44).  But he ate like he thought his body was a garbage disposal, and his wife mentioned a family history of heart disease.

Take care, my peeps.  And teach your kids to do the same.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

time flies.

Sorry I went missing for a week.  I realize you've weathered longer breaks than that, but still.  I've been busy with life and slight meltdowns over the pace at which life seems to be moving along.

Last Thursday, I jetted up to Albany to snuggle Scarlet Lily's baby E and C.  Shrimp and Grits was made and eaten.  Mac and cheese was made and eaten.  Molly's cake was made and eaten.  Wine was consumed.  Stories were told.  Belly laughs were laughed.  And I invented a new color.

Before I left on my trip, it was made very obvious that T was about to start walking, and he waited for me to get home on Sunday to start because he loves his Mama, and if he hadn't waited for me then there might not have been adequate snuggles if he fell.  It's solid logic.  Sunday afternoon, he started taking a couple of steps at a time.  Very tentatively, but they were deliberate and they moved him from Point A to Point B.  Each day there have been a few more steps added before the inevitable flop onto his bottom.  Last night at the tennis courts, he figured out how to stand up without pulling himself up on something stable.  He'll be totally over crawling in a matter of days.  It's magical to watch, but also a little scary in that "wobbly toddler" way.

Then there's kindergarten...

...Sidenote: I just got up to check the bread that's baking.
Do not poke at a loaf of bread from a 400 degree oven.
It smarts.
Also, I have no fingerprints anymore.
Anyone who's up for a bit of illicit activity should send me an email.

...back to kindergarten.  Registration is just as convoluted as one might expect from a public school system.  Don't get me wrong,  I have a deep, true love for public education, but when you're publishing a list of required documents for registration, please don't ask me for another document when I get there. If you want me to bring in a utility bill to prove my place of residence, add it to the list of stuff you want me to bring.  Hauling a wiggling toddler in and out of an elementary school is not as easy and graceful as I made it look whilst trying to break into said school because I did not see the sign saying you have to be buzzed in and thus yanked on all the doors like I was trying to escape the boogey man for several minutes.  In front of a classroom's worth of kids. 

So, that emotional milestone is not yet met.  But we're getting there.

Then, to just pile it on with reckless abandon, S approached me with not one, but two, loose teeth this morning.  
  
It's like these two children are conspiring to see if they can break me with all the milestones at one time.  And you know what?  They can.  I can't win this fight.  I'm a broken woman.  

And I love every second of it.  The seconds just go a little too fast sometimes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

just saying.

This will be the shortest post in the history of ever.

I'm just here to tell you that next week, I have to register Stella for kindergarten.  Honest-to-goodness elementary school.

Please send bottles of wine and a pack of hankies.

That is all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

burning out his fuse up here alone.

This is one of my all time favorite commercials.



This and the Discount Double Check.  Anyway.  Let's talk about song lyrics.

Incorrect song lyrics are never a problem for me.  I know them all.  I sing them flawlessly.  In my head.  We all know people who don't, though.  Right?  I had a friend in college who thought Prince was singing, "Baby, come on back," instead of, "Little Red Corvette." The number of syllables matches.

Recently, M and I were talking about Nebraska and I started singing the Counting Crows song "Omaha".  He looked at me like I'd just grown a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead and asked what I was singing.  When I told him he was like, "Wow.  That makes more sense now...that whole somewhere in middle America thing."

And we laughed about it a bit.

But now, S is playing the incorrect song lyrics game, and she puts the rest of the Earth's population to shame.

I'm going to out myself right now as a questionable parent.  S and I rock out to some Lady Gaga.  I made a mix CD to get myself pumped up before I jumped out of an airplane last year.  It's got some old school hip hip, some Beyonce, some Lady Gaga.  In fact, other than one Will.I.Am song, I don't think there is a single song on there that I should let my daughter listen to, but she butchers the lyrics so horrendously that no one knows what she's singing.  For example:

In "Bad Romance," instead of singing,"Want your bad romance," she says something about, "you right a man's place."  Perhaps she thinks this song is about a woman who is putting a man into his place.  A feminist battle hymn.  That's not what Lady Gaga is saying, but it's what S is saying, and she really likes the "Rah Rah" part.

Also, she told me yesterday when we were listening to "Bad Romance" that she would sing Lady Gaga's parts and I could be the Cushion Lady.  Apparently, that's the part that says, "Walk, Walk Fashion Baby." Millions of people didn't know that she's really talking about a Cushion Lady.

It took me awhile to figure out what she was asking to listen to when she started requesting "Carrot Line," but that's what she thinks they're singing when they say, "Can't read my," in "Poker Face".

Regularly, M and I play a game when we hear her singing.  It's a game in which we try to match sounds and syllables of actual songs to the sounds and syllables that are coming out of her mouth.  It's challenging.

She does, however, have the Avett Brothers' "Hard Worker" down cold.

What about you?  Your kids?  Your spouse? Any hysterically incorrect lyrics in your lives?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

sympathy for the devil.

Lord, help me*. Please don't let them kick S out of preschool right before graduation. She'd be devastated, and I don't think there is a GED program for preschoolers.

When I picked S up from preschool earlier, the teacher was recounting a story to another mom. She laughed a little under her breath, pointed at me, and said, "Come over here and listen to this." Apparently, they'd been talking about the devil. The other girl involved, J, was going on and on about how the devil is bad and wants us to do bad things and reciting all the things she's learned in Sunday School. Well, S doesn't go to Sunday School because she's the only child in our church that isn't her baby brother and apparently the Episcopal liturgy is above her pay grade.

I digress...

The point is we don't talk about the devil a lot.

So, as J was talking about how bad the devil is, S spoke up and said, "Yes, but he needs friends, too. He doesn't want to feel left out. It's not nice to hurt people's feelings."

I can't believe they didn't call me to come pick up my little heretic right then and there. Thank you, Walnut Street Preschool, for recognizing that she is a good child. She just doesn't want to hurt the devil's feelings. It's not like they're BFF's.

Somebody stop me. Then pray for us all.

*Also, please don't strike me dead for blasphemy. Because I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to blog about the Lord and the devil in a sort of tongue-in-cheek way. I'll write an extra big check this Sunday.**

**There I go again. Hell in a handbasket.

buttery, cinnamony deliciousness.

Sometimes, I feel the need to back off when it comes to food. I tend to want to do things a bit high falutin'. Not five star or anything, but not Hamburger Helper. I think that's been pretty well documented.

An example of this insanity can be seen in this tidbit of an email I wrote to Scarlet Lily yesterday:

Sometimes, my yuppie moments just make me laugh. M and T both have colds, so I'm doing NOTHING unnecessary in an attempt to keep myself well. Thus, I am having a grand old' time perusing food blogs and one of my Alice Waters books.

Upon reading the following sentence, I rolled my eyes at the absurdity of my life:

An individual pizza with a baked egg makes a great main course for an autumnal weekend lunch.

Who actually writes sentences like that?
And what kind of yuppie jerk wad buys the nonsense and reads it multiple times?

Oh, wait. I'm the yuppie jerk wad in question.

Despite that exchange yesterday...despite the fact that I patted out some goat cheese rounds and started marinating them in fresh herbs for tonight's Baked Goat Cheese salad...I knew M wasn't feeling well, and I wanted something simple for supper, and I had planned on having blueberry pancakes, but T had eaten all the blueberries, so I made Baked Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.


Fancy they were not. Not in the least. Delicious they were. Yes indeed. Cinnamon and butter and brown sugar all baked into gooey fabulousness in a pancake then coated in maple glaze. The family happily gave their stamps of approval. And they were probably silently grateful that I didn't try to feed them the Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan salad I was eyeing in that Alice Waters book.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

bouchons au thon

I did it. I made Molly's bouchons au thon yesterday. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that her writing made me want to make them. When I looked at the ingredient list, there was nothing about them that I wanted to eat. However, I'd bought a can of tuna, and I wasn't about to be deterred.

Yesterday afternoon, I got to work. It took about nine seconds for me to start seriously questioning myself. I believe nine seconds is exactly how long it takes to open a can of tuna. Thus, nine seconds until the smell of canned tuna wafts into your life.

I pressed on. I added the grated cheese. I added the finely diced onion. I added some drained Greek yogurt (like you can buy creme fraiche in Dickson...please). I added parsley and salt and pepper. I added eggs. And I thought maybe, just maybe this wasn't so bad. Then I realized that I forgot to add the tomato paste. And, bam, we crossed into uncharted territory. The batter looked positively revolting. Like really, really chunky thousand island dressing. And it still smelled like tuna. Tuna and tomatoes and Gruyere.

What, that doesn't sound appealing to you either?

Still, I boldly forged ahead.

The entire time they were baking, I kept making myself think of something other than the smell. When they were finished baking, I kept making myself think of something other than how they looked. I questioned my sanity multiple times. Why on Earth did I think I would enjoy something that literally translates into tuna corks?

After they cooled a bit, I decided I was going to have to try one to see if I would have to order pizza. I picked one up from the cooling rack. I smelled it. I looked at it. I gagged a little. I ordered pizza online.

However...

When L came to pick up S, I made some faces at them and talked about them and decided I really did owe it to Molly to try. We're close personal friends, you know. So I cut a little wedge from one and ate it. And you know what? It wasn't bad. Not anywhere near as bad as the canned tuna smell or the baked thousand island appearance. In fact, they were almost good. They were intriguing. A strange texture that I can't actually compare to anything really. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a frittata. Just the same, I loaded those suckers up and sent them home with L, and S apparently liked them quite a bit.

Now I've been thinking about them all day, wondering if I gave up too soon. Who knows? What I do know is that I doubt I'll muster the courage to give bouchons au thon a second try because even if I'm intrigued, I don't think I can stomach the eau de canned tuna again.


Monday, April 16, 2012

dinner with my peeps.

Friday night, I had the girls over. We had champagne cocktails and wine and an entire meal that would've been handily endorsed by the Dairy Council of America. Ashley brought a bleu cheese and bacon dip that I would've eaten with a spoon if I'd been alone. Holly brought salad with crack pecans and blueberries and bleu cheese. I made macaroni and cheese and slow roasted tomatoes. Andrea brought roasted broccoli. Then we had Tiramisu Cake.

The evening was not unfabulous.


Honestly, everything was pretty awesome, but I'm especially here to tell you about the macaroni and cheese. It was perfection. Really. I'd make it again today if I wouldn't weigh a thousand pounds if I kept eating it. I used Deb's version of Martha's Macaroni and Cheese, and I used extra sharp white cheddar and Romano cheeses and the cheapest white sandwich bread I could find for the topping. Just thinking about it right now is making my mouth water. I'm telling you: you will never want to eat another version of mac and cheese again...and this is coming from a woman who swears by Creamy Rigatoni with Gruyere and Brie.


Also, the Tiramisu cake. It was good, don't get me wrong, but the sponge cakes dried up so badly overnight that the leftovers were inedible, and that's just sad. It needed a little tweaking or a more significant dousing of coffee syrup. It didn't matter much, though, because the filling and the chunks of dark chocolate and the frosting were so good that I could've died happy whilst eating it.

Now, I made herbed focaccia yesterday afternoon and homemade tomato sauce, and there is a hunk of fresh mozzarella in the fridge, so I'm going to spend the afternoon daydreaming about paninis for supper. And tomorrow night, we're going to give Molly's bouchons au thon a whirl. I love my life. Everyday and twice on Sundays.

one.

I've got several blog posts floating around in my cranium these days, but first things first. Like, first birthdays. Here are some photos.

It's official.
With Grandma.
Loving presents.
Downtime with Dad.
S playing Corn Hole.
SR in action.
Girls Gone Wild? Sometime I'll tell you about their campfire.
Cake boss.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

evidence.

For today, here are just a couple of pictures of the kiddos. I realize there have been zero photographs lately, and I didn't want you to think they'd disappeared and I was making up all the stories about them in an elaborate conspiracy. I know you were all thinking that.

This photo turned out super grainy, but you can clearly see that when S and A get together, there is no shortage of personality. Even when making cookies.
S, being gorgeous. It's her thing.
T, with treasure.
Kids in a wagon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

eats.

I mentioned some time ago that I have a goal to try 1000 new recipes. It's a lifelong goal. I decided you probably needed to know about some of the successful recent dinner attempts.

Here goes.
  • Orangette's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter. This is nice and simple, but it didn't really sing to me. When I blended it, there was a small fry headbutting my legs and I didn't blend it enough for fear of some errant tomato sauce leaping out of the pan and landing on his face and somehow ruining his perfect visage ala The Phantom of the Opera. I'm sure you understand. It made a ton, though, so I'm going to reblend it tonight before we try it again.
  • Skinny's Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken. We ate these last night. They were very good. Emphasis on the very good. I'm eagerly awaiting lunchtime so I can hoover the leftovers. Alas, S had a deconstructed version (noodles tossed in sauce in a bowl, accompanied by a pile of chicken and a pile of red peppers). That kid wears me out.
  • Skinny's Asian Lettuce Cups. These were also good. T gobbled up the turkey mixture, but S wouldn't eat it because she couldn't separate with scallions from the meat and that was no good for her. She's a brat like that sometimes. I ate leftovers on a whole wheat tortilla for lunch yesterday, and it wasn't bad, but the lettuce wrap was better because the textures were a better combination.
  • Deb's Scrambled Egg Toast. This isn't so much a recipe as a combination I wouldn't have thought of on my own. The combo of goat cheese with eggs and chives is divine. Add some crusty bread and stick a fork in me. I never want to eat eggs another way again. Ever. Really.
So that's what we've been eating lately. What about you? Any new deliciousness on your plates?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

it's a bird, it's a plane.

S has a bizarre fascination with cemeteries. She always talks about them when we pass them. Always. The girl is full of questions. Perhaps she's more intrigued than her friends because her Grandpa passed away last Spring. Maybe it's just how she's wired. That could well be the case because the child comes up with random BIG questions often.

Anyway.

Sunday, M and S drove past a cemetery, and she was asking him about his mother and during the course of the conversation he told her that God has a plan for us all. Then this happened.

S: But, Daddy, when do I get to ride on the plane?
M: What are you talking about? What plane?
S: You said, "God has a plane for us all."
M: No, baby. Not a plane. A plan. God has a plan for us all.
S: Oh.

Every time I think about it, I laugh and want to squeeze the cuteness out of her.

For the record, our very soon-to-be one-year-old is also hysterical. His new favorite game? Chewing up his food, taking it out of his mouth, and watching me squirm as he tries to wipe it into my mouth. It's a riot 'round here. A riot, I tell you.

Monday, April 02, 2012

you know you should.

I liked this post over at Small Notebook this morning.

The backstory: the blogger lost her camera and only good karma apparently got it back to her because it wasn't labeled with her name or number. The post is a call to action: do all the random things that you probably know you should do to save yourself a monster headache in the future.

I, for one, have never even thought about labeling my camera with my phone number, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea at all now that I'm thinking about it. She also mentions hiding a house key somewhere and actually learning her husband's phone number. Luckily, I've already done those two. (Disclaimer: Mr. Ouiser took care of the house key. I'm not entirely sure I know where the hidden lockbox is or what the combination is, but luckily I memorized his phone number, so I can just call him or my brother who has a spare key to our house and is always good with a damsel...or a sister...in distress.)

Now that I'm thinking about it, I know that there are at least a handful of things that I often tell myself I should do, but I haven't done them, and I don't remember what they are, and I'll remember as soon as it bites me on the backside.

What about you? What random task would you suggest to help yourself out of a jam in the future?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

granola.

Image from Great Grandmother's Kitchen.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of making granola. I don't know what got me thinking about it. Perhaps it was because I had a bowl of Cascadian Farm Granola recently at my daddy's and knew I could do better and not have to ingest all those random things that must be put into food before it goes into boxes to live on a shelf for an indeterminate amount of time.

This morning, I put my plan into action.

You are also going to need to put my plan into action. If you like granola of course.

I browsed a few recipes online, and I quickly realized that homemade granola is pretty much a free-for-all. The only required ingredient is oats. After that, you're on your own if you want to be.

For my granola, I combined the following:
  • 3C old-fashioned oats,
  • 1-1/2C roughly chopped raw almonds,
  • 1tsp kosher salt,
  • 1/2C light brown sugar,
  • 1/4C maple syrup, and
  • 1/4C olive oil.
I mixed the dry stuff. Then I folded in the wet stuff. Then I spread it on a foil covered sheet pan and baked it in a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes (stirring a bit every fifteen minutes). Then I sat it on a cooling rack for a bit. Then I added some dried cherries. Then I put it in an airtight container and put it away in the pantry because otherwise I'd have sat down and eaten the whole thing like the glutton that I am.

I love that the salt and olive oil gives it a savory vibe while the granola still maintains its sweetness. I cannot wait to try a bowl with milk in the morning. You should think about doing the same.

Here are a couple of recipes to give you some further ideas. I know I plan to use dried blueberries next time. I just happened to be fresh out of them today.

Orangette's Olive Oil and Maple Granola (my inspiration for this morning, but only because I was sadly devoid of bittersweet chocolate)
Spiced Pumpkin Granola (sadly not suitable for Andrea)

That ought to keep you in breakfast for a few days, no? As Molly says in her French Chocolate Granola post:

I mean, hell, breakfast happens every day.
You might as well be prepared for it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

cool.

I have this friend who is fabulous. We don't know each other well, but that's mostly logistics. The time we have spent together has been lovely, and we seem to have almost precisely the same taste in almost precisely everything.

So, despite the fact that Mr. Ouiser and I watch almost precisely zero current television, I decided that Dara could not be wrong...that Mad Men must be worth watching. And since the first four seasons are streaming on Netflix, I decided to give it a whirl, so I sat down during T's nap and watched the first episode. And then I almost died of happiness. And then I immediately texted M and told him that I have our new show to watch. And it's all over but the shoutin'. I'm hooked. I'm loving some Jon Hamm, and I am really loving some Christina Hendricks. I had loved the visual aspect of the show since its inception. The fashion particularly.

Anyway, when we went out Saturday night to see Mary Poppins, we decided to go British in honor of the practically perfect heroine and went to Fleet Street Pub for English beers and pub food. I had the beef and Yorkshire pudding with rosemary gravy. And a couple of London Porters. M had a cocktail. And as I sat there next to my handsome, tall husband in his sport coat having a cocktail I thought, "Yes." It was a modern interpretation of the Mad Men vibe. I don't believe I would've traded Mr. Ouiser at that moment for anyone. Not Jon Hamm. Not even George Clooney. And then, as he regularly helped the girl sitting next to us during the show, the girl who had recently undergone ankle surgery and couldn't walk, I knew that cocktail or no, I'd never trade Mr. Ouiser anyway. He is my lobster.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

perfection.

Sorry for all the Negative Nancy yesterday. You'll be happy to know that I pulled myself together nicely. Going to the gym got me going. Plus I got to go see The Hunger Games last night. I thought they did a nice job. I was skeptical about Josh Hutcherson, having only seen him as Laser in The Kids are All Right, but he really was good. The banter between him and Caesar Flickerman was perfect. Mostly because Stanley Tucci is always perfect. Also, Woody Harrelson was perfect. And Lenny Kravitz is basically the embodiment of perfection. It was just good. Anyway...

I was just thinking about perfect days. I'm not saying I've had one today. It's been a really good day, but not one of those days. Those days where you just realize you wouldn't have changed anything. However, I was looking at Pinterest a moment ago, and I noticed that I am often drawn to photographs of books and coffee, of bookshops, of front porches, of rainy streets in Paris. So I was wondering what my perfect day would be if I could design it from top to bottom. I think I'd have to create multiple versions because there are perfect days with husbands, perfect days with kids, perfect days with dear friends, perfect days alone.

I do believe wholeheartedly, that you can never go wrong with books and coffee in the morning. And a fresh croissant wouldn't hurt anything.

What do you think? Could you design a perfect day?

Friday, March 23, 2012

wanted: motivation.

I can't be the only one who has these days. The kind of days when you have zero motivation. As in I actually woke up thinking, "I do not want to do anything." By anything, I definitely meant that I didn't want to be constantly headbutted by my son (he crawls up and rams your legs with his noggin when he wants you to pick him up). I meant that I did not want to have this week's umpteenth argument with my daughter about why she may not talk back/disobey/stick her tongue out at me. If that child has been sent to her room once this week, she's been sent a dozen times.

It's not just that, though. I don't want to read. I don't want to spend an hour on Pinterest. I don't want to paint the chairs that need painting. I don't want to scrub the toilet.

I want to take a nap. In a hammock. On a beach.

You have these days, right? Good. I'm glad it isn't just me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go parent my children and head to the gym. No motivation is not an excuse to be lazy. Just keep swimming, eh?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

sad.

My friend Frank, the one that was injured in the fire, passed away. His son is recovering well, but the boys have lost their father. His wife has lost her partner. Many people have lost a friend.

My heart is broken for them. I cannot imagine going through what they'll have to go through.

If you didn't check your smoke alarms last weekend, you really should. A working smoke detector might have saved Frank's life. After you've checked your smoke detectors, hug your babies extra tight. Hug your husbands or your wives or your mamas or your daddies extra tight. Remember to look around and be thankful.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotations by Garrison Keillor:

Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.




Monday, March 12, 2012

yuckedy yuck.

It's rainy and cloudy and muddy outside. Blech. We've been teased with so many gorgeous Spring days that when we have days that don't allow us to be outside, I'm a grumpus. Today is one of those days.

However, because I'm so hopeful and joyful about Spring coming, I've made our Spring to-do list. I added one item that I actually did yesterday because I wanted to feel accomplished and cross something off the list. I do that sometimes...add items to my to-do list that I've already done just so I can cross them off and feel better about myself. You do that, right?

And here are some pictures of Spring that I've found around the ol' internet. Just for inspiration on this dreary day.
All images via Pinterest.