Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blog Remodel

I'm working on this blog.

Ummm... duh.

No, what I mean this blog isn't quite what I've envisioned yet.  But mostly because I'm not done envisioning yet.  What has started out as a random way to maybe share funny stories and pictures and interests... well, unfortunately it's stayed just that.  Which is not bad, but something inside tells me it should be something more.  So I'm barnstorming.... or brainstorming...

Probably more brainstorming than barnstorming.  I don't think I was meant to be a stunt pilot in the 1920s.  Or was I?

See, I really need to plan this out.

What I'd really like to do is focus it and organize it to be the little world I'm imagining in my head.  So I'm filling a notebook with ideas and doodles and questions and reading some of my favorite bloggers to get inspiration, while trying to come up with a unique perspective.

I would love to hear suggestions, things you like, maybe would like to see, what is maybe missing, etc.  Feel free to leave your comments!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


My, my, my.  What a handsome young man.

Leif is going to be four years old in a couple of weeks.  I love who he's become this year.  He's started being very talkative, and I love that.  He hardly ever let me know what he was thinking before, but over the last few months, he'll just talk and talk.  It's wonderful.  He has the most beautiful thoughts in his head.  He's gotten into the habit recently of just being really cheerful and generous and gracious.

And what an imagination he's got.

And what a blessing he is.

My, my, my.  What a handsome young man.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sleepy Tuesdays

As usual, our get-it-done day turns into my where's-my-pillow evening.  Except that more than usual, the kids were more like four individual fussy, rambunctious, screaming cyclones of whirling preschool-toddlerness melding into one perfect storm of chaos.  Even now after they'd seemingly settled into bed, I hear the patter of Leif's feet as he attempts one of the most dangerous stunts of his 3-year-old life in sneaking up behind this tired mama bear.  Fortunately for him, a mild threat and a low growl sends him scampering back.


Time to wind down, settle into bed, and dream of the day when I have the time, space, and mental freedom to make this Ollalieberry Ice Cream Quilt by Alison Paulson.

Actually, to be more accurate, I'm dreaming of snuggling under it some weekend morning and hearing the silence generated by kids who sleep in

But for tonight...

Place:  Snuggly bed.
Project:  Finishing up crocheted flower project.  (Can't wait to show you when it's done!)
Entertainment:  Eureka
Drink:  Hot Cocoa
Reading:  Favorite bloggers.  (See that way under Neat Blogs --->)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Handmade Things

I was a studio art major for two years of college.  I loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  But in the second semester of that second year, I kinda chickened out -- or as I prefer to think of it, made a more practical choice.  See, the way I saw it, while I may have had some God-given creativity, I never saw myself as having much in the way of talent.

Useful thing, talent... for the artist at least.

It worked out that as I was deciding that being an artist wasn't for me, that cathedrals came into my life while working on a research paper.  French, English, and German Gothic cathedrals to be more specific, and art history became my new love and focus.  And it worked out, really.  I have no idea how I would have been able to pick a studio major.  I want to do everything.  Then I loved that, because I got so much out of seeing other people's ideas and the things in design, printmaking, sculpting, painting, and so on.

Every once in a while, I regret not being able to make things for a living.  I mean, the rare times I still get to walk into a craftsman's or artist's studio, I still get a little weak in the knees.  I absolutely love the creative environment and inspiring potential of it.  I love to see what people are making and what ideas they come up with.  I love things that people can do with their hands, with art, science, and design and making something beautiful, taking that passion that God gave you and fashioning something really well done out of it.

It's why I go to the farmer's market, seek out craft entrepreneurs, look for ideas, and try to learn to make things and do things on my own.

These guys are cool.  They remind me of what I'm talking about.  And they have rad facial hair.

I think it's so great that there seems to be this new movement -- or a revitalized one to less mass market and more handmade.  Don't get me wrong.  One day I would love to be able to make almost all things myself or get them from small business and local makers, but unfortunately I often don't have the money, but mostly the time to do this.  As a single mom of four kids with a full-time job, I'm a regular at the local Super Target.

And there is something to be said for supporting big businesses that you know provide jobs, though it always turns my stomach to think that my ability to buy $4 shirts for my kids reinforces the view that certain large companies have of it being in their interests to short-change their factory employees in other countries.

The war within continues, and I hate that I cannot always afford my principles, but I digress.

Stepping down from soap box now.  Anyway...

I'm trying to instill a little bit of this into my kids.  I mean, they can be whatever they want to be, and only God knows what it is for each of them -- plumber, astronomer, homemaker, teacher, accountant, forest ranger, writer; the list goes on -- but I'd really like to encourage their creativity.

At the moment, they are in the midst of making clothespin people.  I think they really, really like making these, because they're toys, too.  I got inspired by Nicole at Making It Lovely.  And I love how my kids' version of these people look so diverse.

And how this picture looks like the clothespin person version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Anybody else feel like making a monumental object out of mashed potatoes?  Just me?   Mmmkay.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Etsy Love

I need a doorstop.  And I can't just get any old doorstop.  I need an awesome doorstop.  I love when I feel I have to buy some piece of clothing or a household item, because then I have the freedom to choose something unique, even if it's something seemingly inconsequential.

This item, however, is crucial.  I have a bathroom door off balance.  If that doorknob nails me in the arm again while I'm helping a toddler wash her hands, I'm going to have a psychotic break.  So you can see the how urgent this particular purchase is, can't you?  Of course you can.

So of course I went to Etsy, because, as I've mentioned before, I have a problem.  An Etsy addiction problem.  They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, but unfortunately, this is as far as I'm willing to go on this road to recovery.

I love seeing what people make, and I like to support them when I can.

So here is my new doorstop:

I'm so excited.  I wanted to take a picture of it after it came, but I'm in a hurry to share my new nautical coolness with you.  I ordered this from Next Door to Heaven.  They make rustic and homey things from burlap, which I can't wait to get in the mail.  

I love getting things in the mail.

Ordering this got me in a nautical frame of mind.  So I started looking for other things seaworthy.

This bracelet is so simple and whimsical from GreenDuckWeed.  I imagine wearing it out and about on Saturdays.  My kids would love to see this in my jewelry drawer, which they love to investigate from time to time.

I love the freshness of blue and white alone.  This would look amazing with Lily's untamed curls.  I'm going to have to make something similar for her soon, but I'm not sure it would look as adorable as this one from Chocolatine.

Can anyone else smell the saltwater?  Concertina Press.

Lepun is one of my favorite shops.  Her stuff is so sweet and fun.  I have my eye on some red and white stud earrings from here.  

I've moved a lot.  But there's a reason I always end up in a coastal state.  Give me a quiet beach on an overcast day, and I'm in paradise.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tales from the Toddler Side

So I've been mulling over Ivy's transition from pahlah at bedtime to no pahlah at bedtime.

Oh, sorry.  Pahlah = pacifier in Ivy-ese.

It was around this time that Leif was transitioned from his pacifier, so on a whim, Wednesday night when Ivy asked for her pahlah, I said, "No more pahlah.  You're a big girl."  Of course, since I am a horrible mother, this induced a rather large, hearty cry from Ivy.  So I picked her up and held her while she cried, but I do try to be firm (pause here for possible ironic foreshadowing, please), which is most of the time rather easy with Ivy, because she's a practical girl at heart.  

Ivy's actually pretty amazing.  I mean, they all are, but we're talking about Ivy now.  Her practicality wars against her extremely determined sense of independence and knowing what she wants.  It's actually made her, so far, into a wonderfully challenging person to deal with, but fun and reasonable to work with at the same time.  

I see that I'm explaining myself with my usual muddy clarity.  You're welcome.

For example, she'll cry when not getting her way or getting into trouble, and then mid-cry, I'll ask her if she's done, and she'll stop and say, "Yes."  Then she'll get up to, most of the time, hug me, and say, "Sorry, Mommy," (if she's not decided to hold a grudge that time and therefore seek out Nana to tell her how cruel her mommy has been), and all is well.

So she has her cry out over her pahlah and her lost childhood and so forth, and then stops, gets down from my lap, lays on her pillow, and decides she wants her bear, who is normally bear non grata at bedtime since Ivy likes her space. (Isn't my Latin impressive?  Don't gush.  It's embarrassing.)  But then she gets up and decides she needs to go potty, which is what she usually does over and over each night until she gets too sleepy.

The problem this night is she doesn't gets sleepy.  The pahlah is apparently toddler-grade Ambien.  I mean, she's Ivy, so she's completely game to give up the pahlah to be a big girl now, but now she can't sleep.  She can't even get sleepy.  I figured she naps without it, so that wouldn't be an issue.  But I was wrong.  Very wrong.

Frustration met hilarity that evening.  Ivy's a good sport, and I'm feeling gracious and good-sporty, too, since I knew it would be a tough transition, and I feel for her.  Nana offers to rock her to sleep, which she agrees to for about half a minute.  But she's wired for sound without her pahlah, so then she's ready to visit me in my room.  She wants to lay in my bed.  I'm cool with that.  I figure it will last about a minute since she really, really does like her space, unlike Lily, who always opts to sleep with me if she can.  

Ivy likes her own bed.  

But we're in pahlah-free wonderland now, and everything is on its head.  She's up, she's down, she's bouncing round.  Now, two things that tend to work individually around here are, one, lying down with a spastic child so they can calm down, or, two, watching late TV a little (rare thing in these parts) to focus the kid, keep them still, so their sleepy brains take over their bodies.  So I decided to employ both, and since Ivy's such a good sleeper, we'll hang out, enjoy each other's company, and she'll eventually go to sleep, right?  RIGHT???


I'm laying on the bed next to her, and for a little bit we're watching The Sorcerer's Apprentice, because how could an action movie not do the trick?  I'm saavy that way.  But of course, Ivy lays down, she's up, she's gotta go potty, she's down, she's sitting on my belly bouncing and laughing hysterically, then she's smooshing her face onto my face saying, "I want to look at your EYE!"  What are you doing, Ivy?  "Looking at your FACE!"  Ivy, you can't see my face like that.  "YES, I CAN!  I want to go potty."

By this time, we're both laughing hysterically.  Good for a school/daycare night.

We're doing this till about 11 o'clock, by which time she's flopped down again and said for the 50th time that she has to go potty, to which I reply, "Fine.  Go.  I'm going to sleep."  

But then I turn to her, look her in the eye and say, "Ivy, do you want your pahlah?"  

To which she replies, "I want to get in my bed."  

"Okay, we'll try again in a month or two," I say as I tuck her in to her bed.  She's asleep in about a minute.

Did I lose this battle in the parenting war of attrition?  Not really.  Ivy was a completely good sport and wasn't trying to get her way.  She just didn't know what to do with herself, and I get that.  If my kids are throwing fits or crying, I do stand firm.  I tell them they can never get what they want by whining.  Never.  So if they're going to change my mind, they'll have to do it another way..

Which brings me to this thought:  

I mean, I always have known that Ivy is very clever.  But is it possible that she's really criminal mastermind?   An strategic genius perhaps?  

I'm beginning to think it's possible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sleepy Tuesdays

Well, I was all set to do some serious sewing this evening, but after a long after-work slog of running errands and getting the kids in bed and taking Ivy to pee-pee for the skiddillionth time, I'm about done in.

Heretofore, I present a simple synopsis of tonight's events:

Place:  Warm, cozy bed.
Project:  Crocheted flower gift for certain favorite person.
Entertainment:  Latest installment of absolute favorite series of the moment, BBC's Sherlock. 
Drink:  A little Kentucky bourbon.
Book To Fall Asleep Reading:  Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter

Until we meet again...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Time for Doing Things

I always overbook my week.  I think the reason might be that I like to have lots of to-dos to choose from.  I'm able to weigh priorities along with just doing whatever suits my fancy that day/evening.  And after years of trying different planners and lists, I've finally found a personal to-do system that works!  Huzzah!

This one actually works a little more like my brain works, and it's snappy, too.  And I can just take goals down as they're completed and replace them with new ones.  I got the idea from Rachel at Cornflower Blue Studio.  I had a few different ideas for the little decoration in the header, but her idea was so simple and pretty, I just had to use it.  I figure I may eventually need a few variations of these lists hanging up as life continues to vary.    You can get instructions to make your own version of Rachel's DIY Rotating Goal List here.

I was using bigger sticky notes, but they were some odd brand that didn't stay put.  So I decided to use the little Post-It ones until grocery day when I could pick up some proper large ones.  But now I think I like these better.  You can fit more in, and therefore they cater to my delusions of free time.

I plan to invest a lot of time in making things this week, so what to do when the munchkins are around?  Why, have them make things, too, of course.  They love it.  Then they love playing with the things they make.  So I decided maybe it would be more fun to have it tie into what my mom and I are working on, too.  So the kids made clothes for paper dolls.  They had so much fun, and it's fun to see how they interpret these things with loose guidelines.  I pretty much just gave them the supplies and gave them the okay to have at it.

The Supplies:  

First I cut out four naked little people and drew on faces.  I made their faces resemble the kids because they really like their own stuff.  My kids don't really look like these dolls, though; that would be weird.  But it was easy to make them recognizable, though, since I have four kids with very different hair.  I so love my kids' differences -- personality-wise and every other way.  Then my mom cut out little bits of fabric so the kids could collage them however they wanted onto their dolls.

The Process:

Next I threw a blanket on the floor so that it would be protected from stray bits of glue stick and fabric.  It's so cool that they're all old enough to do a lot of the same things now.  Some said I was crazy for having these guys so close together (I believe the polite way of alluding to this is, "Boy, you sure have your hands full."  If I had a quarter for every time I heard that one, uh.... I'd have a heck of a lot of quarters.)  But it's so cool that they like to play together.  Who's laughing now?  Huh?  Huh?  

It's possible I'm paranoid as well as delusional.  Please don't lock me up just yet.

The Results:

I love how Leif picked the the more manly fabrics, and actually those are bits of the shirts that are being made for him presently.  And I love that his is wearing a tie.  Rose's is wearing the most lovely maxi dress.  Lily and Ivy made sure to glue bits of fabric to the back of them, too, which of course is so practical.  Who wears clothes just on their front?  Nobody I want to hang out with; that's for sure.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Day for Two Mamas

Happy Mother's Day!  I sure hope you're enjoying a beautiful day celebrating with your mom, calling your mom, remembering your mom or whoever might have filled that special role in your life.  I know I've been blessed by mine.

This is my mom back in the day shortly after I was born.  Such a sweet picture, I think.  Brand new mom.  Now, I'm going to point out something weird that kind of makes me wonder.  Ummm... was I kidnapped?  Because she does not look like a woman who's recently given birth.  Very Twilight Zone if you ask me or maybe America's Most Wanted.  Who looks like that bringing a newborn home?  Seriously.  Did I look like that after having my first child?  Uhhh, no.  

True story:  Upon visiting Rose in the NICU about a week after she was born, I was in an elevator with a lovely older woman and her granddaughter.  The little girl must have pointed at me, because her grandmother explained lovingly, "She's going in to have a baby."  


Genetics, ya done me wrong on this one.

Now, when I was growing up, my mom's favorite thing to do for Mother's Day was hang out with her kids.  She's a pretty fun person and usually picked something awesome to do.  She's like that... kind of hobbity in that she, like Tolkien's hobbits, like to have everybody have fun and feel loved on her day.

I'm a teensy weensy bit more selfish myself.  I do love hanging out with my kids, especially on Mother's Day.  In fact, I have some crafting with the kids and a lovely, tickle-y dog pile scheduled for sometime after the kids wake up from their nap.

There is nothing like being at the bottom of a squirmy, lovely, tickle-y, four-kid, one mom dog pile for remembering you're totally blessed.  There are lots of ways to feel blessed, but it's easily one of the best.

However, I also will greedily snatch up and enjoy some well-needed grown-up time for regathering whatever tiny scraps of sanity I have left whenever I can, especially since they're rare as hen's teeth -- both the grown-up time and the scraps of sanity.  So since my kids were elsewhere engaged on Saturday, my mom and I got to hang out and do grown-up stuff all day.  It went beautifully.  We didn't even have a real plan, but it just developed into one of the best mother-daughter days ever.

First order of business:  Visit local awesome coffee shop and get french press to share of darkest french roast imaginable.  This was a tiny bit of a mess-up since french press was not nearly as tasty as our usual pour-over choice where the hot water is slowly and deliciously seeping through ground coffee.  But it was still good.  My mom and I got to browse The Wall Street Journal at a leisurely place, which was very relaxing, though we ended up talking most of the time.  See my section?  I don't go for the shallow and silly world news or business reports.  It's all book, food, and art reviews for me.  It's the weekend.  That's how I roll.

This is my mom talking about IPOs.  I'm serious.  Once again, I have to question our related-ness.  What you can't see is me with my huh? okay... face.  She couldn't either I hope.  I was hiding behind my camera phone.  She's got a math-y brain like I think Rose does.

I hope they're very happy together.

We did eventually get around to talking about concepts I more readily grasp, which I was thankful for.

Notice anything weird in this one?  She looks almost the same.  Look at the first picture and then look at this one.  People always ask if we're sisters... actually, twins lately.  At this rate, I'll look older than her in a decade.

Then we browsed the farmer's market, which I intend to do a post on in the next few weeks.  We visited our favorite honey guys, produce guys, and cheese guys (Ooh, I love the cheese guys.  For one thing I love good cheese.  But for another, I'm pretty sure they know I've already tried every cheese, but they always let me try everything again.  And I'm only too happy to.)  Unfortunately, we forgot to visit our flower guy.  Sorry, flower guy.  But we've resolved to grab twice our usual flower bunches next week to make up for it.

Then being famished, we headed over to our local French-inspired cafe-bistro-bakery for lunch.  I'd have taken a picture of eating there, but I was so hungry, my food disappeared rather rapidly, and I don't think you need a picture of my piggy face inhaling a sandwich and a piece of cake.  I'm sure it wasn't pretty.

Really hoping my possible future husband wasn't sitting anywhere nearby.  Pretty sure he's scared away now if he was.  

Oh, well.  Who needs him anyway... 

Pedicures!  I'll let you guess who's who.  Sorry for the weird, grainy picture.  It looks like someone just left some feet lying around.

This was the delicious sangria we made out of some terrible wine.  It's really good now, all lemony and limey and orangey and refreshing.  We sat out on the lanai talking about all the projects we wanted to take on in the near future. 

These are the rosemary gin and tonics we made a little later.  Oh, my goodness.  Soooooo good!  Please try these.  Just muddle a a sprig of rosemary with some gin at the bottom of your glass, fill with ice and tonic water and enjoy.  Lemon wedge optional, but much more complementary than lime I think.

We couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to visit the craft store.  Can't wait to use these new supplies!  There are actually parts of about five projects here.

You may notice that I'm wildly delusional about the amount of crafting time I have.  Feel free to keep it to yourself.  I'm enjoying the delusion.

Once reunited with my beautiful monsters, I found that they, too, had been busy in a craft-minded kind of way.  I now have two new jewelry boxes and two new frames!  I love the use of color.  And Lily and Ivy actually created art for the frames.  So cool!

Sunday, of course, is church and hanging out with the kiddos.  Best Mother's Day yet and they keep getting better.  I hope yours is going just as well, and that you're feeling very blessed today.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Flowers

I'm going to have to hijack my parents' camera soon.

But for now my trusty camera phone will do.

I'm making a present for someone.  I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner, but I'm thinking that since I love for people to make me pretty homemade things, maybe my loved ones feel the same way.  We'll see...  So I'm making these pretty crocheted flowers, pattern courtesy of Rose Hip.  I really like making granny squares, so I was pretty excited to see this neat spin.  

(On a side note, I've also been inspired by these,which she sells on Etsy, and which also remind me of these found on Posie Gets Cozy.  Whenever I get the chance to get at my pillowcases, that'll be it.  I don't think I'll ever be able to have a plain pillowcase in my life ever again.  Bless you lovely dears and all my other favorite craft bloggers for giving me constant inspiration.)

I actually had nine flowers completed, but Lily, who loves the be around the process of things homemade, and all things pretty and cozy for that matter... well, the lovely child snaked one of them.  And now apparently it's her flower.  I try not to argue with Lily if I can help it.  She's tough, cute, and, of course, I'm flattered that she carries it around with her along with her beloved bear.

I also tried to use the yarn I had on hand and embrace frugality and practicality all at once, but alas, it's all so wintery and deep and dark for this spring/summer flower project.  So I gave myself some leeway to go (yay!) yarn shopping.  I found these opposite-of-dull bright colors by Caron called Sheep(ish).  This may end up being my go-to for my home, non-kitchen projects.  It's so soft and fun.  

I'm also super excited because my beautiful friend, Bubbles, gave me a Mother's Day present!  Aren't Amazon gift cards wonderful?  I thought I'd add some fiction to my collection (Frank Peretti has a new book!), but I had so many crafting books and cookbooks on my wish list on Amazon, I couldn't resist, and it took me all of about three minutes to spend my present.  So now I've got two books coming:

This one's for me, of course.  Tanya Whelan is an amazing fabric designer and the author of the blog, Grand Revival Designs.  Man, oh, man, if I wasn't committed to using up our fabric stash before getting any more, I'd go bananas stocking up on her beautiful designs.  

This is for as soon as Rose is ready.  My mom is a master seamstress among other things, so she'll do the initial teaching in her own way (the best way I happen to know from experience).  After she gets the basics, though, this is for Rose and whoever else gets the bug.

God bless my crafty family and the friends who enable us.  

Unfortunately, these books will be on the slow boat, since I'm too cheap to pay for shipping.  But that will make the anticipation all the sweeter.

I'll let you know how the "flowers" grow.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


My kids come from a good line of crafty and creative people.  My great grandfather was a carpenter.  My great grandmother sewed her own clothes, crocheted, quilted, and painted.  My grandmother knits, cross-stitches, and quilts.  My mother has a degree in fashion design, sews, and crochets.

Thankfully for a person as focus-challenged as me, this gave me the resources and foundation to be able to be crafty and creative later myself.  And though, as a kid, I often lost interest in a hobby shortly after I learned the basics, I still learned the basics.  And my family's encouragement of my creative pursuits allowed me to dabble in drawing, painting, jewelry making, et cetera.  

In college, after starting out as an environmental science major, I gravitated back to the arts only to decide I did not have the talent to take my show on the road, so to speak.  So I took my love for art and history and combined them to result in the bachelor's in art history I have today.  Sometimes I wonder if I should have tried harder, since working with my hands fills me with joy, and am exhilarated merely stepping into a studio or a workshop... or the Home Depot for that matter.  (Is that normal?)  But I have found a new outlet and purpose for my artsy background and have begun to notice bits of creativity on the parts of my kids that I'd like to encourage.  

It's not just the gluing, painting, drawing, play-doh sculpting, beading, lego building stuff I'm talking about when I get their supplies out.  Though the stuff they make, I think, is pretty rad.  Rather it's the things that they do when they have other options.

The twins have it, too, but since Rose and Leif are older, and I see it in them more.  And I'm surely not going to count two-year-old Ivy's pen drawing on my wallet.  Mostly because I really like that wallet and am not completely pleased with the finished product. 

When playing outside, this is the kind of stuff they do.  

Rose has a mathematical, methodical, and legalistic mind.  I don't.  So I like to see the kinds of things she comes up with just having goofing around on her own.  I think she got the idea of plant collages on the driveway from Lief, though.  She likes to hijack good ideas.  That's kinda smart, too, I think.

This is Leif's bed -- the upper bunk.  You may also see a lemur hanging from the tail and a blanket tied under as well.  You can't see the rest, because today, I thought Woody was the most interesting part.  None of it is accidental.  He spends about half and hour or so working on making his bed.  No two days' creations are ever the same.  He actually has the mind of a sculptor I've found.  He arranges things in ways that remind me of artists I admired in school, only with his own three-year-old flare.

Exciting stuff, I think.  Subtle, but exciting.  I'm definitely going to praise this kind of stuff when I see it barring any involvement of destruction of property.  (Ahem... Ivy.)  Because even if this is just the uninhibited natural creativity of preschoolers, I don't want it to fade away.  Ever.  

Rosemary Round-Up #1

Rosemarypalooza has begun.  

I hope you like rosemary.  I do.  It's delightful.  I'm so glad there's an enormous bush of rosemary we need to consume rather than a giant cilantro plant.  I may be a quarter Mexican, but that's not enough, apparently, to conquer the blech I have for cilantro.

But rosemary... ah, rosemary is lovely.  So since we have now been challenged to find things to make with this delicious plant, it's on.  And here is our first -- Rosemary Batter Bread.  It's so good, we're actually fighting over who it really belongs to and who may be eating more than their fair share of it (ahem... certain mothers of certain blog authors).  We used the Williams-Sonoma recipe, but if you Google "rosemary batter bread," you can certainly find a comparable recipe.  It goes really well with cheese and cold grilled chicken or salami as you can see here.

In case your wondering -- yes, that is (clockwise from the top) hard salami, doux de montagne, some herb wine cheese I can't remember the name of, and emmentaler.  Glad you asked.  We have a great cheese supplier at our farmer's market.

Also, we prefer using a mixture of whole wheat flour and all purpose flour as well as olive oil in place of shortening.  (Actually, I'll use olive oil in place of just about everything.)  And online recipes for batter bread use a mixture of herbs (preposterous) whereas we just used a mess of rosemary.  Mmmm...

Yesterday, we made popcorn with rosemary infused oil from Giada di Laurentiis.  It was one of my favorite recipes long ago when I was a single gal.  It's sooo good.  That and a bottle of chilled dry white wine... magnifique.

This is after infusing the olive oil with rosemary.  I didn't get a picture of the popcorn.  I was too busy eating it.  And you don't need to see a picture of me stuffing my piggy face with mounds of delicious rosemary popcorn, do you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sticks and Acorns

I'm going to be doing this Instagram thing for a while.  As a former photography major, (one of my many experimental paths) I really appreciate the casual irreverence and simple fun of just snapping a picture this way without all the technical stuff.  It feels more real somehow, but then also a little more charming.  

It also helps because I don't have a fancy camera at the moment, and I tend to always have my phone on me.  No more running to find the camera and hoping time (or more impossibly, my kids) stood still.  

I was watching the kids in the backyard and they were, of course, "making plants," seeking out lizards and ladybugs to play with, and birds to feed without any actual food.  It's really no wonder the birds don't actually show up.  

My daughter came up to me and sighed heavily -- the only way she really knows how to sigh -- about how she didn't have any food for the birds.  Leif suggested she feed them the small stick she was holding.  I advised that the birds would more likely want to use the stick for a nest rather than lunch.  Birds are picky that way, aren't they?  Rose's face lit up and decided that, yes, she would like to donate the stick to the birds' nest-making endeavors.  So of course, she would have to throw it for them.  I'm not sure how this was supposed to help or where the stick was supposed to end up that it would be more convenient for the birds, but nevertheless, there she is giving it a second try since the first one didn't achieve the desired result, whatever that was.

This brief scene reminded me of being a kid and believing that the world pretty much revolved around whatever was in my wee head at the time -- not so much believing that I was so important, but believing that if I left a small pile of neatly gathered acorns, absolutely some fortunate squirrel would come upon them and be delighted even if it were under an oak tree with thousands more acorns lying all around.  I meant it for good and it would be received because it was significant to me.  

You know what I mean?  

It's okay if you don't.  

Anyway, I think this is how God sees us, as His kids.  Though, some of us tend to believe that God doesn't have time for our small joys or disappointments or the small things that are important to us, He's actually able to care about those things and everything else in the world.  And deeply, too.  That's what makes Him God.  We are significant, our thoughts are significant, our ups and downs are significant, our plans are significant because we are significant to Him. We're his greatest love and greatest joy no matter what, and I think that's breathtaking.

Maybe I'm reaching with that parallel.  

Oh, well.  If you're befuddled, it's your fault for reading this far.  But I love that you did.

That's all.  Have a lovely Monday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Mountain of Rosemary

This is the magnificent rosemary bush.  It's been left to its own devices and would have (but for some very stubborn mexican petunias) taken over my mom's garden by now.  Loving rosemary like we do, we have decided not to get rid of such a beautiful and productive plant, but rather to eat it.  It has been said by a beloved critical mind that this will be impossible, that we cannot possibly come up with enough uses for it, and it should go.

The challenge is on.  

As we speak (so to speak) there is a a loaf of Rosemary Batter Bread (recipe found in a Williams Sonoma bread book) in the oven placed there by an unpaid, and yet, practically professional bread maker.  

Dinner is going to be fantastic.  And the house smells wonderful.

I Got Instagram


Pretty soon I'll discover the microwave and DVDs.

Here are my first Instagram shots.  They're just me practicing taking pictures of whatever so that I can play.  And this post means just because I'm don't have time to post things to my blog, just because everything always seems to go funnily sideways and I'm terrible at time management, just because I don't think I'll necessarily have anything to write about doesn't mean I'm not gonna.

Me Amongst the Greenery

Morning Hallway Picnic

Mama's Mama's Raisin Bran Muffins

Farmer's Market Sunflowers