Friday, January 27, 2012

My Swedish Kid

I haven't posted in a couple days, because I've been working on, well.... work.  When it rains, it pours. 

I've also been working on silly things like this, because it's Rose's birthday tomorrow, and I would like her to have some stylish, crafty things in it.  So I was up late last night mostly working on this:

You can't really see it, but we're having a mermaid-themed party, because Miss Rose likes mermaids for the moment.  I thought this would be pretty and fun, and I really am liking the idea of having festive decorations you don't have to throw away.  She can hang it in her room after.

I got the pattern from Little Lizard King.  Very cute if I do say so myself.  The fabric is from Nauvoo Quilt Co.  These two shops are lovely and speedy with tons of cute stuff, which basically will eventually translate lots and lots of -- well, let's call them necessary -- purchases.

But let's go back a bit.

First, I love this place:

And of course a good part of the reasoning for this is it's a cool store with furniture I can afford.  I actually had a brief moment of insanity where I almost bought TWO cute craft bins at Joann Fabrics -- two at $17.95 apiece!  People need organization, right?  Right???  But can you imagine?  Then I came to my senses and remembered to just jot it down on my running list for a future Ikea visit when I had enough on there to rationalize the amount of gas to get to the store.


Another part of the reason is the cafeteria is actually pretty darn yummy.  And, once again, economical.  Sometimes, I can feed my kids there for free.  I don't usually plan it that way, but sometimes you just get that extra happy grace.

What I usually get there (except for breakfast, because it's woefully unavailable) is this:

But as I haven't been there in a while, I decided to make my own and experiment on my family, because what are family for except the leeway to experiment on people who have to love you no matter what?  I had made Swedish meatballs before, but this time I used this guy's version:

Because when I make his recipes, they usually turn out awesome.  (For recipe, see:  Alton Brown's Swedish Meatballs.)  Also he doesn't use sour cream in his gravy, which is good because me mum does not care for the stuff.  And while she's family and, as aforementioned, therefore well-placed for experimentation, it would not do to experiment with things you know they don't like.

Unless your kids have a fatal aversion to vegetables, and then it's just tough noogies.

In my opinion, the recipe was much better because of it.

This is my sous chef.  Or at least my sous chef for the evening.

She apparently, judging by her shirt, had some sort of Italian dish at school that day.  Nevertheless, she's good to have in the kitchen.  Whereas Lily is good for serious culinary training, Ivy is good for morale.  For me, anyone three feet tall who can fall off a two-step step stool and laugh about it is okay in my book.

So here is my sous chef on the floor.  It's so easy to find good help these days.

Side note:  My kids are a motley cultural blend of Welsh, German, Mexican, Norwegian, Lithuanian, and a little bit of Swiss and Irish just for fun.

Ivy is now all of this and half Swedish.  She ate enough of the resulting Swedish meatballs to be practically fluent in the Swedish language.  She's been listening to ABBA ever since.  She's planning a viking raid that I'm not supposed to know anything about.

Actually, I think she was doing that anyway.

I'd have taken a picture of the actual meal, but min familj inhaled them too quickly.

I shall have to explore more Swedish cuisine in my off time from now on.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Sometime's I'm too practical (and sometimes not).

I've been called a cynic once or twice (but mostly an optimist... I hope).

In the past I've been able to talk myself out of the frivolous or unnecessary, but I've found that as I get older and responsibilities get more pressing, it takes an added effort to make sure to include the fun and silly and "unnecessary" things of life.

So in celebration of having three little girls,  I have decided I'm going to throw girly birthday parties, paint tiny fingernails, continue on my search for pixie dust retailers, embrace pink, pink, and more pink (if they want to), and continually seek ways to help them celebrate their girlishness in as much as it goes with their personalities.

Rose's family mermaid birthday party is this weekend.  Yayyy!  Shhhh.  It's a surprise.  

So in that vein, I'm in the middle of making tutus for all of us.  Well, the tutus (and ensuing dress-up madness) are for them; the pictures will be for me.  

They like tutus.

And pink.

Crafts are fun; girl crafts are girly fun.  

I'll let you know how they turn out.

Don't worry.  Leif won't be left out.  We like all his boyishness, too.


That's my manly sound.

Never mind.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Of Gardens and Guns

Garden & Gun is my new favorite magazine.  Why?

Well, it might be because I do enjoy a good garden.  A beautiful garden is enough to stop me in my tracks and make my heart do a little dance.  Of course, I enjoy many beautifully-crafted things in this way.

It may also be because, though I am not enough of a gun enthusiast to actually subscribe to a guns publication, nor even devote a single thought to munitions in any sense in a given day, I have enjoyed a trip to the shooting range on occasion.  I was actually a pretty decent shot at one time, but it's been a while.

It may even be because, since having moved back to the semi-North for a couple years and then coming back, I have a whole new loving appreciation for the South, and I now consider myself an adopted Southerner.   I never, ever want to leave ever, ever again.

These consequential reasons aside, the absolute reason this is my new favorite magazine is that they had the perfect good sense and good taste to exhibit Wine Guy's and Chef Girl's noteworthy and beautifully handcrafted Old-Fashioned on the cover.  Can a cocktail be art?  Obviously, it can.

Of all the accolades they've received -- and The Gin Joint has received a few -- this is one of the coolest.

They also placed first in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience for South Carolina with their Tobacco Project Manhattan.

But now I'm just bragging.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Six Servings My Eye

I have seen the future... er... my future, and it almost certainly includes weekly Costco trips.  If you didn't know already, my four beautiful, sweet munchkins are ages two (Ivy & Lily), three (Leif), and five as of next weekend (Rose).  I made these wee toddler/preschooler people what Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats calls "six servings" of oatmeal with a generous cup of raisins and divided it amongst the four of them.  (Please see above.)

This is the aftermath, or as I like to call it -- post-carnage.

That second bowl is Lily's.  You'll have to excuse her wastefulness.  She ate her body weight in penne at the Macaroni Grill the night before.

What in blue blazes am I going to do when they're teenagers?

I need to stop dreaming of a house and start looking for a farm.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Sunshine

I'm starting a collection of homemade things for our new house.  We don't have a house yet; nor are we in a position to begin house hunting.  But I'm going to be ready.  Of course, these projects may not survive till then.  I may end up giving them away before we get there.  Either way...

And I usually tend to jump into things with both feet -- I have this thing called "zeal" -- which can sometimes lead to messy, disorganized results.  So since I only get about 5-6 hours of sleep at night as it is, I figure I should add projects little on a small scale to see what I can accomplish without sacrificing more sleep.

(I mean, what the heck?  It drives me crazy sometimes that I have to sleep at some point.  All that time when you can't actually do anything.  When I was in high school and college I actually tried to nurture insomnia every now and then.  One of my many examples of healthy decision-making over the decades.

Then I had infants.  And when you function on 2-3 hours of sleep at a time, you want to murder anyone who gets in the way of more sleep.  I have now found that I can function pretty well (with minimal grumpiness) on roughly six, and then about once or twice a month, I'll try to throw in a couple extra hours just to catch up.  This makes me seem more productive in my waking hours than I actually am, however.  Alas, whereas I have oodles of drive, I lack focus.  

I'm getting better.  I can read one book at a time now.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

But I digress.)

I really love Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn, because if when I make something, I like it to be functional.  And like a lot of clever yarn manufacturers, they include free crochet and knitting patterns with their yarn or little pattern booklets nearby in the craft store.  I crocheted these sunny, little dishcloths from their Kitchen Kolors booklet (cheesy name, good patterns).  The patterns are good for beginners, too, and pretty quick to do.

Okay.  That's my spiel for the day.

Lily Yarn, please feel free to send me free balls of yarn, and please don't mind the "cheesy name" comment.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I love how I can do that.  Two minutes on and my little cell phone snapshot in a pizzeria turns into the portrait that was meant to be.  Picnik is one of my best friends ever, at least till I can get a proper camera once again.

Ahh... wish list.

Not that my tiny, green Fuji point-and-shoot isn't lovely.  It was my 29th birthday present to myself when myself really needed a birthday present.  I would love to be the type who usually bought birthday presents for herself, but myself always talks myself out of it.  But that birthday came at a bad time, and it so happened I didn't have a camera.  Hence the little, green Fuji, which I am now becoming sentimentally attached to as I think about it.

I'd better stop.

I've been lazily not blogging for the past week, mostly because since my recent re-fascination back into the crafting world, I've been getting my projects started and together, whilst attempting to remain somewhat organized.

It's half working.  My projects are going nicely, but my bathroom cleaning regimen is suffering.  Which I am determined to tend to after I key in this itty bitty entry.

I also plan on keeping track, pictorially, my projects to make this blog even more riveting.

Ha!  Just when you thought that couldn't happen.

At least I'm excited.  I can't help it.  So many ideas.  That's what happens when you put together caffeine and a person with the attention span of a --

Hey, what's that over there?

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evening Tidbits

1.  Ivy snores.  Like a buzz saw.  You might think this was as funny and sweet as I do if you saw how tiny she is.  She's a half-pint family terrorist and one of the funniest people I've ever, ever met.

2.  I always look in on the kids and gently arrange them in their wee beds before turning in myself.  Well, actually, I gently turn snoring Ivy, tenderly pull the covers over curled-up Lily, and carefully arrange Rose's many necessary sleep fellows (i.e. Steve the dog, Winnie the Pooh, and Piano the baby) around her sleeping form.


I then heroically perform a feat of near-mythological proportions in order to gymnastically propel Leif, from whatever defiance of physics he's managed to achieve while falling asleep, back onto his pillow, yanking his covers over him, and marveling that once that boy's fallen asleep, I could catapult him to New Mexico, and he probably wouldn't wake up until around 6:30 a.m. to wonder aloud that he shouldn't have to go to school that day, him being in New Mexico and all.

I swear it actually took me three minutes to find him on his bed tonight.

3.  I found out a couple nights ago that my kids love chicken parmigiana with a ferocity once only reserved for Cracker Barrel pancakes.

Run, chickens!  RUN!!!

4.  I'm in the weeds.  If you've ever worked in a busy restaurant, you are familiar with this term.  It means orders backed up from here to kingdom come.

Well, I've got household stuff backed up from here to kingdom come.  My list of stuff to do tires me out just thinking about it.  I'd go to bed, but of course, there's a giant mound of clean laundry on it to be folded and put away.  I think it's time the kids and I learned to live with a shirt, a pair of pants, a couple undies, and a pair of socks apiece.  What do we need all these clothes for anyway?

5 people  x  a couple days of normal livin'  =  big pile of laundry on Mama's sleep space


5.  I love being a mom.

Actually, I love being my kids' mom.  No offense to the rest of you and your supposedly lovely children, but my kids are super awesome!  And I don't think any other arrangement would be quite the same.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Sweet Addiction

Rose along with has inspired me.

My name is MP, and I'm an Etsy-browse-a-holic.

Oh, brother.  I've got the crafting bug.  It is both wonderful and terrible.  Wonderful for joie de vivre.  Terrible (possibly) for the pocketbook.

I will try to be reasonable.

I will try to be practical.

I will look at the supplies I already have, and I will try not to get sucked into the usual crafter's dilemma of...

Oops.  Too late.

Now, I have ideas.  And every time I investigate that idea, it leads to another idea.  I have idea overload, which of course will lead to project overload and a plethora of half-finished projects.  But I am resolved to be organized and not begin another project before the one before is complete.  I will pace myself.  Unfortunately, at the moment, all my spare seconds are being swallowed up by browsing an endless supply of supplies and inspiration on Etsy.

No need to feed or bathe the kids.  Mama needs to find the best price on 325 yards of tulle.

The house is burning down?  Hold on.  I'm trying to locate the perfect quilt pattern.  I'll meet you on the lawn in a few. 

Can you blame me?  Endless possibility...

So I'll probably need some of these.

I don't know what I'll do with this yet, but I know I'll think of something.

This is absolutely crucial.

And this needs to get here yesterday.

That's the tip of the iceberg...

A beautiful, delightful, homemade iceberg.

Fortunately, Rose's birthday is coming.  Such a beautiful and nearly unselfish excuse to make things!  Then my mom's, and then...  well, everybody.  

Whether you like it or not.

You're welcome.

I must be feeling a bit of a nesting vibe, because I also feel the need to cook and bake.  But that subject, and all the wonderful, delicious calories therein, are for another post.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fruity Goodness

Sigh.  Memories...

Anywhoo...  I'm not a big vegetable person or even a big fruit person.  I was a born pub-food fan.  I like potatoes, I like cheese, and most of all, I am carnivorous.  Like a T-Rex.  I want steak, and I want it mooing.

My parents used to say when I was growing up that my steak needed a tourniquet.  If you're not a rare meat eater, that may be gross to you, but it's heaven for me.

My mom also figured I'd marry a butcher.

It could still happen.

It's not that I don't like vegetables, it's just when I'm hungry, which is often, I don't want to mess with them.  I mean, I love brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus... mostly the green ones.  And fruit, too.  But when my stomach is grumbly, it doesn't really occur to me for more than three seconds that an apple is going to hit the spot.  So I invest time in denser foods.

Football foods.

Southern foods.

Yummy, heavy food.

Which brings me to my third pregnancy.  (How's that for a non sequitur?)  I was being pretty well taken care of toward the end of it, ironically, after my husband left.  (Go figure, but that's a story for another day... or maybe never.)  My brother, Wine Guy, had stayed with me for a while, and then my wonderfully awesome grandparents stayed with Rose, Leif, and I for about three months for before and after the twins were born.  But even when they had to leave for a weekend, my brother's mother-in-law (Do I have an amazing family or what?) came to stay from about four states away.  And before she came down, my brother apparently told her, "If you don't make vegetables for her, she won't eat them."


What am I, four?

The NERVE of some... oh, all right.

So she did.  And we ate them.  And they were good.

But before you call child services on this woman who was pregnant, ate nothing but stereotypical guy food (Can someone please bring me some ribs and/or beefy nachos?), and was fortunate not to have little, short-armed, sharp-teeth, pot-bellied, mutant T-Rex babies instead of those sweet, precious darlings you see above, I did have a secret produce-based weapon.  And I am only just now willing to besmirch my carnivorous reputation to share this with you here today.

I found this recipe while going through my little, blue recipe box given to me by my darling sister-in-law, Chef Girl, who I still want to be when I grow up.

She also put in delicious baby food recipes.  (I may have to share them with you some day... or maybe never.)

But here it is.  Scrumptious for the pregnant and non-pregnant alike:

By the way, not much of a measurer either, so just eyeball it.

Mama Poobah's Pregnant-with-Twins Smoothie
A couple cups of Frozen Fiesta Fruit (or frozen papayas, pineapples, mangos, and strawberries if you can't find that in your frozen section)

1/2 cup of Whole Vanilla Yogurt

1 Banana

2 tbsp Flaxseed

Orange Juice

Coconut Extract  (A few drops go a ways.)

A good healthy drizzle of Honey to taste

Blend.  Enjoy.  Share with those you love or even just like a little bit.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'll Procrastinate Later

I may be the world's best procrastinator.  I procrastinate my procrastination.  Four feet away from me this very instant is a large pile of clean children's laundry that is mocking me.

I'm not crazy.  If you were here, you'd hear it, too.  We have very rude and weird laundry here.

But I digress.

Never mind the fact that I have had time to fold this laundry throughout the day.

Never mind the fact that today (and this is big for me) I actually wanted to fold the laundry because, in fact, the laundry was a tool to facilitate the procrastination of another large to-do.  And I was looking forward, optimistically, (Is that redundant?  Oh well.)  to having a lovely, organized dresser/closet in the kids' bedroom.

I am pretty sure I did something productive during my non-work time today.

Does Google-ing recipes count as productive???

What gets me is that I was able to procrastinate this chore without even having to think about it.  I was able to little by little push what is right now in my peripheral vision, to the back, back, back burner without even making the conscious decision to do so.

I think I'm loosing my marbles.

So now I'm looking at the clock and looking at the laundry and looking back at the clock...

.. and writing this blog post.

Of course.

So right now, I intend to get up, walk over to the laundry...

... and go to the kitchen for a cookie.

Sunday, January 1, 2012