Apr 30, 2014

Wednesday Whine

Yesterday afternoon made me feel like my two year old.  I just wanted to turn my face up and launch into an epic whine at top volume.  So let me get this off my chest, enjoy your sympathy, then I will resume looking on the bright side.

1.  The swing ran out of batteries.  Right when Mr. Deeds was being a fusspot and refusing naps in anything but his swing.

2.  Deeds is going through a wonder week, and being a tough nut.  I think he might be having a growth spurt as well.  Awesome.

3.  Dell Harper cut her nap in half, then disappeared to my bathroom to go potty while I was feeding her brother.  She is not potty trained, but occasionally goes, so I just let her roam.  Plus, I was stuck feeding.  Now the toilet is clogged and there is a lot of missing toilet paper.

4.  The day improved with a way too pricey trip to Target, then home to some bubbles outside during the brief burst of sunshine and dinner.

I made a stove top pasta and cheese from this month's Martha Stewart Living, as well a big pan of roasted red peppers and onions.  Deeds was hollering his head off, so I hurriedly made a picnic on the floor for Miss Priss.  While I was doing that Buddy jumps on the counter and eats half the pan of vegetables.  Cursing, I put him outside to incessantly bark at us.

I look up to see her dumping her plate on the floor, and announcing "Dat so ew-ey, Mama!  Ew!  I no eat dat." I told her it was pasta with cheese, and she likes it.  She proceeds to pick it up and put it in her bucket, then scatter around the house.

 Grr. I put away my own plate, and gave her a cup of raisins and peanut butter crackers.  Dinner of champions.  She is thankfully occupied with a Frozen magnet set while I head off to do Deeds' bath and bed. Have I mentioned Morgan is out of town?

Everything seems to be turning around.  One child in bed, I let Buddy in to clean up the pasta, and get DH in her pjs and toward her bedroom with a minimum of fuss (just about ten minutes of chasing her).
FInally, she is in bed.

5.  Ahhh.  I pull some leftover roasted chicken from the fridge, and proceed to cut some meat off the bone to enjoy with my dinner.  Then I hear a wail.  I put my plate of chicken still on the bone on the highest counter, and head to Miss Priss.

I came back into a happy dog and a missing piece of chicken, bones and all.  Off to the emergency vet.  Thanks to Mama for coming and sitting with my slumbering kids.

 Buddy had to stay overnight and get fluids and charcoal.  He was thrilled.  Hope he likes ramen noodles because after his vet bill that's all I will be able to afford.

6.  I have a sty on my eye.

7.  Last night I tried on a pair of jeans I wore last month.  I could not even button them.  I think they accidentally got put in the dryer for a long period, but it was all I could do not to burst into tears.

Okay.  All done.  Today will be better.

I had a shitty evening yesterday.

Apr 29, 2014

Ham for Eternity

Dorothy Parker once quipped that "Eternity is a ham and two people."  Now, as y'all can surmise from the amount of pork that I eat, that's the kind of eternity I can handle.  However, in the post-Easter aftermath of egg salad for days, one simply does not have time for ham sandwiches.  While perusing "A Private Collection" (my nose is in the air just typing that), that snooty snoo cookbook from the Junior League of Palo Alto, I happened upon this pasta dish that is just a perfect way to use up leftover ham.  It's downright delicious as well.

It even looks nice and springy with Easter egg colors.  It calls for fettuccine but I substituted whole wheat angel hair as (1) I don't really care for fettuccine and (2) I forgot to buy pasta and it was what I had in the pantry.  Also, I used only 1/2 a pound of pasta, because I like super saucy pasta.  Morgan made fun of me because I commented on how deceptively rich this dish is- he reminded me it was because I had in effect doubled the cream and butter content by halving the pasta.  Thank goodness for jazzercise and toddler chasing.

Fettuccine Ferrari (oh, you fancy Palo Altoans! Adapted from A Private Collection)

1 lb pasta noodles of your choice
1/2 cup butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping cup of quartered cherry tomatoes (I used both red and yellow)
1 cup of ham, chopped
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until it is al dente as described on the box.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the green onions and the garlic, cooking gently on medium low heat until the onions are tender.

Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the ham and heat through.

Best the egg yolk and then beat the cream into the egg until well-mixed.  Slowly stir into the veggie and ham mixture with a whisk.  Cook until it is just thickened and well blended.  Add the cheese, and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

Add the sauce to the warm pasta, toss, sprinkle with more Parmesan and try to restrain yourself.

I served it with simple roasted asparagus, but a green salad with a simple vinaigrette would also be good.  The Palo Alto Junior League says, "The cherry tomatoes give it extra appeal for a summer supper."  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Good cherry tomatoes are easily found year round, so they in fact give a bright taste, which would be so refreshing in the dead of winter.  Also, then you wouldn't have to worry about your figure in a swimsuit after devouring copious amounts of this pasta.  

One day  I will begin to eat like a lady, in tiny bird like portions.  That day is not today.  Or tomorrow.  Especially with these leftovers around.  And the rest of that eternity ham.

Apr 28, 2014

Weekend Review

Friday started out well- delirious with lack of sleep I met some ladies from church at the flower wholesale place to get flowers for Sunday.  The cooler was freezing, but at least it revived me somewhat.  I also rallied enough to accept my mom's invitation to join her at Costco, especially while I already had a babysitter. (FYI- our Costco has Hanna Anderson dress/legging sets for under $20!).  I made an excellent dinner (recipe to follow), and got to watch my silly Hart of Dixie while Morgan met up with some friends after the babes were in bed.

Saturday was fun and flower filled- creating the arrangement at church (with extra care as my niece was baptized this weekend), Trader Joe's, Aquatots, Chick-fil-a, then working on planting my containers.  Dell Harper is a bit confused right now with Target and the grocery store. "I get dis at grocery store!" she proudly proclaims, holding aloft whatever item from the dollar hot spot she is carrying around that week like a made in China plastic talisman.  Nope, that's Target, kiddo. "Oh." she says, "I get dis at Tar-gay!".  Thatta, girl.  Now we've thrown Trader Joe's in, and she is really confused.

Dell Harper helped me plant some nasturtium seeds.  She then proceeded to absolutely drown them with water from her watering can "all by myself!".  Repeatedly. I might have to procure some more seeds, and secretly plant them in the dead of night.  

Deeds and Buddy also assisted.

During all these gardening, Morgan suggested calling a babysitter and going out. I scoffed at the idea.  Exhausted, sweaty and still smelling like chlorine, putting on makeup sounded equivalent to marathon running.  Then he said "You need a break.  Doesn't getting out of the house and having someone else do baths and bed sound good?"  I called a babysitter immediately.

 Cheers to an adult dinner out!

Sunday I got these two cuties up and dressed, with time for some quick pictures. Conveniently I captured the four minutes Miss Priss deemed a bow acceptable before replacing it with a pink sequined tiara "Just like Fi-fi!".  That would be Sofia the First.

Being the exhausted parent that I am, I rolled with it.  She looked quite royal in Sunday school, and I loved it. A friend remarked that I was fun, for not insisting on a bow and removing said tiara, but it's less a matter of being fun, and more that I think it's funny.

 My niece was just precious and perfect during the baptism.  We dropped the kids off with a babysitter at home, then headed over to my brother's house for a little party.  The party was lovely- weather was perfect and it was a great celebration.  There were several of Deeds' peer group there, but this toddler would have been a tornado.
 After nap we headed up to a local watering hole that has been revamped to meet some friends.  She picked out her own outfit and accessories.

 No one was there so the kids got to go free range, while we sipped on some beers.

Deeds just wore himself out.
 Milkshakes were had and enjoyed.

Then storm clouds came in, we picked up pizza from a new-to-us New York style place, and headed home for a pizza picnic on the floor while it thundered and rained.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Apr 25, 2014

Five on Friday- Housekeeping

1.  Thank y'all so much for your comments, e-mails and texts about yesterday's post.  It's hard to turn a light onto your own faults and confess to the world.  I feel so much better knowing that many of you struggle with the same thing.

2.  I had my first gel manicure last week.  What a revelation!  I hate getting manicures because I ruin them within hours.  I probably hadn't gotten a manicure in 3 years, but this is amazing!  It might have to become a regular occurrence.

3.  I underestimated Dell Harper.  I saw her Sunday school teacher at school pickup yesterday, and told her the story of DH confusing Santa and Jesus.  The teacher said that DH is actually correct- Jesus in fact says "Ho-ho-ho-hosana!" a song they have been singing.  Sorry, Dell Harper- Mama sold you short. Miss Priss -1.  Mama's silly blog- 0.

4.  I got tons of geraniums and other blooms at Costco last week.  Today is going to be the day I finish up my containers.  I hope.

5.  Or I might take a nap.  I am struggling so much right now- I can't get my children to sleep!  Or at least sleep at the same time.  Last night was particularly bad.  Deeds had a bad night, and woke up at 12:30 and 4.  Dell Harper woke up at 2 and 5 with bad dreams.  I am at my wit's end.  I am working on Deeds' schedule, and hopefully he will get more consistent at night.  I know it's my fault for not scheduling him/sleep training like I did DH.  It's time.   It really would be totally doable if it wasn't for Dh and her bad dreams middle of the night wake ups.  HELP!  Any advice would be so appreciated.

Thank goodness they are so cute.

Linking up with these lovely ladies!

Apr 24, 2014

Not My Circus

I'm listening to Rob Lowe's new book right now.  In one section relating to drug and alcohol use (he is a recovering alcoholic, sober for many years) he states "I do not judge".  He then proceeds to gets really judgey, regarding those who do enjoy their cocktails too frequently or use drugs.  The book is read by Lowe himself, so the extent of his nonjudgmental-judging comes across quite plainly.

I was amused at first, until I realized that he sounded just like me.  Lately I have been struggling so much with judgment.  If someone doesn't do something the way I would- well, bless their heart!  They must be just upside down in their thinking!  I mask it to myself in the guise of concern and wanting to help some misguided soul do things the proper way.

 In reality?  It's me being critical.  Critical of how much money someone spends, or how they spend their free time, or whether they are a picky eater, or whether someone reads. . . why in the world do I give a shit?  I don't worry or fret about things much.  I don't tend to struggle with a longing for expensive things (um, anymore.  Not sure how I beat that one.)  So why do I create negative energy worrying about other's choices?

And when it comes down to it, I don't actually care.  My friends and loved ones make decisions I disagree with constantly, and I don't bat a eye or change my estimation of them.  However, I will get fixated on an issue that I disagree with and brainstorm ways to subtly guide someone to a path that I think is best.  It's ridiculous! (And there is absolutely no subtle way to tell someone they need to volunteer or expand their worldview without sounding self-righteous.  Perhaps because it's an incredibly self-righteous thing to suggest.)

Lord knows I'm not perfect.  People are likely judging me for the stack of unsent thank you notes waiting to be addressed on my desk (tonight!  I am going to get it done tonight!), my inability to remember birthdays or other dates of importance in others' lives, the long-standing unpedicured state of my feet, my tendency to be a hermit and not reach out to friends often enough, the amount of time I spend in yoga pants, that all my clothes come from Target or the toys scattered on my front walkway and the length of my grass. I'm just letting it all hang out in this post, huh?  It's pretty terrifying to admit to the world at large to your most annoying characteristic.

I tend to think pinning quotes on Pinterest is rather silly (here I go, judging again- this time strangers on social media), but this one really spoke to me-

So, every time I get worked up about a choice that is not mine, I will remind myself "Not my monkeys".  Or, in the language I converse in most, toddlerese-

Worry bout yourself!  You said it, honey.  Now I just have to do it.

Apr 23, 2014

Conversations with Dell Harper (Part 1)

On the way to school yesterday Miss Priss and I were having our normal morning chit-chat about current events ("Look, Mama!  Birdy go by!"), relationships ("I see Jack at school, Mommy.  Jack my friend." and arts and entertainment ("Mommy, I watch Frozen movie.  It my favorite. Elsa my friend.  Anna my friend. Olaf my friend.  They come play at my house?").

We passed a little church on the way and she said, "Look! A cross!" Impressed, I asked her if she learned about the cross in Sunday school.  She replied in the affirmative, and I then asked what else she learned about there.  She said "I learn about Jesus."  Even more impressed, I think back to her weekend baptism of Buddy and start envisioning her as a religious leader- providing faith and comfort to many, and changing the world.

Then she continues.

"Jesus say 'HO, HO, HO, Mommy.  Ho, ho, ho.  Ho, ho, ho."

Hmmm.  I guess Billy Graham  or Mother Theresa she ain't.    

Apr 22, 2014

Holly's Chicken Meatloaf

Our baby dinners have finally come to an end. I'm depressed. Morgan also mentioned that it is now time to remove the blue bow from the mailbox.  This is a capital BOO HOO!  I just love that damn bow (it also hides the disintegration of my mailbox.  Thanks, carpenter bees).

One of our last dinners was this great meatloaf that my friend Holly (her daughter's outgrown clothes comprise the majority of DH's wardrobe- she is my one-stop shop) brought over.  She described it as meatloaf you will love even if you don't like meatloaf.  I love meatloaf, and loved this.  Please excuse the iPhone pics of the leftovers consumed the next day.

I gobbled this up- it is simply delicious and very different from your typical meatloaf which is doused in ketchup and bread crumbs.

Holly's Best Meatloaf EVER

  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 good sized cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1.5 t of salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 t (or more to taste) cayenne pepper
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 pounds lean ground chicken
  • 1 lb of sausage meat (without fennel- Holly used bulk sausage and it was fab)
  • 3/4 cups panko crumbs
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet and add the vegetables.  Cook stirring often, until he moisture has evaporated, about ten minutes.  Try not to brown them..  Set aside to cool briefly, then refrigerate for one hour.

Combine all of the spices with the eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat well.  Add the ketchup and half and half and blend well.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Let the meat "warm up" a bit at room temp before mixing with the panko and egg mixture.  Add the chilled veggies and knead everything with your hands for about five minutes.
Pout the mixture into a large baking dish and form a loaf the size of a large loaf of Italian bread (about 17"L x 5"W x 1.5"H.

Place the baking dish into a larger pan that can hold water halfway up the sides of the baking dish.  Pour boiling water into the larger baking dish.  Place the layered pans in the oven and cook the meatloaf uncovered for 35-40 minutes.  Let the meatloaf rest for 15  minutes after removing it from the oven.  Invariably, the fat comes out of this dish while baking.  I usually take the meatloaf out of the baking dish and blot with several paper towels before putting it on the serving dish.  This makes great cold leftover sandwiches and freezes well.

In other news- doesn't Deeds look adorable in his new clothes?  These are from Little Hoot Designs, which my dear friend Colleen owns.  I have loved their dresses and tees for DH, and now Deeds is finally getting some clothes other than pjs.
So serious here.  Probably pissed off that he is sitting in a bouncy seat in my flower beds while I work in the yard and Miss Priss plays with the hose.

I know Easter is over, but this family of bunnies has decided to permanently move to my kitchen table.  The extra bunny child has a revolving identity of Gigi, Jordan (my niece who was just visiting) or Ellie (DH's best friend), depending on Dell Harper's mood.  As always, we have some fascinating condos round these parts.

Apr 21, 2014

One for the Books

It has been a whirlwind of a week- filled with good food and family.  My darling niece came in from Charlotte on Tuesday for an action packed spring break of toddler chasing and baby holding.  However boring it might have been, when you are almost fifteen anything is better than being around your parents.  Or at least it was for me, ha!

 She was thoroughly smitten with this handsome fellow, and now he is spoiled beyond belief.  Poor buddy is in for a rude awakening when we get back to the routine of a busy mama- it's back to lots of bouncy seat, tummy time and the baby Bjorn, mister!

The rest of Morgan's family arrived in town Friday afternoon.  We had Easter lunch Saturday at my house- timed during nap time so I could actually sit and eat.  The menu was asparagus rolls, smoked salmon and crackers to start, followed by ham, balsamic green beans and hot potato salad.  Casting aside any illusions of modesty, I must say it was a damn fine lunch.
And a beautiful table- no thanks to the freeze earlier in the week that killed about everything blooming. Trader Joe's and Costco to the rescue.  This was my first trip to Costco- that needs its own post.  I could spend my life savings in a single aisle.  Absolutely amazing.

Sunday was just such a special Easter.  Deeds was just perfect during his baptism.  Dell Harper stood up there with us and didn't make a peep until the prayer when she stated (rather loudly) that Deeds is "All clean now mommy!".

Maybe I need to up my bath time skills if she thinks a Presbyterian style sprinkle of water gets you all clean.

After church our families headed to our house for a simple lunch- Chicken Florentine with orzo, a big salad and rolls.  And some Prosecco- a glass of which was just what I needed after surviving an Easter baptism of a 2 month old with a two year old in attendance.

Deeds got a little visit in with his cousin Charlotte, who is exactly 16 weeks older.  She's getting baptized next weekend at our church, so Deeds had plenty of tips to impart.  (I just watched the Internet-stream of the church service solely to see if my hair looked as messy as it does in these pictures during the actual service.  It did not- just wilted afterwards.)

Of course it's not like one person paid a whit of attention to my hair.  Not with this darling buddy around.

 Grandparents from both sides of his family holding him- happy baby.

The hundred year old gown Deeds is wearing was profusely spit up upon immediately before pictures.  Ain't that always the way?

 Pop-Pop with all his grandkids, with one notable exception. Miss Priss passed out an hour early for nap on our way home from the church.  She could not be roused and missed the party completely.

After everyone headed home, I put up my feet and ignored chores. It was getting close to wake-up time, so I closed my eyes with the intention of taking a nap.  Sure enough, I immediately heard "Mama?!?  WAAHHH!!" coming from her room.

I deposited her in front of her Easter basket to avoid any post nap temper tantrum.  She stared into space for a bit, then realized it was for her.  Lots of crafts and opening up of stuff ensued.  So no pictures exist to document all four of us dressed, accessorized and bathed. I need photographic documentation of this rare occurrence!  I guess I can always watch the baptism online again, sigh.  It's pretty amusing to see Morgan surreptitiously wipe the sweat form his brow during the prayers.

DH obviously got more from the baptism than I expected, as she chased Buddy around the yard hollering "COME HERE BUDDY!! I put water on your head!!"

Buddy now can wreak even more havoc knowing his entrance to doggie heaven is secure.  Hmmpph.

Apr 14, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

It was a busy weekend (par for course come spring, it seems), filled with sunshine and friends.  This little artiste got to stay at her grandparent's house Friday night, since I had to do volunteer work at a plant sale all day Saturday. She is enthralled with my mom's pottery studio (the "Shop") and loves to sit on her stool, paint, and drink Sprite from a cup down there.  Gigi and Graddy's house is truly a magical land in the eyes of Dell Harper.

Having a little peace and quiet with this fella Friday night was a lovely little interlude.
I had a blast slinging sandwiches with these ladies at said plant sale- it was perfect weather and a great day.

Things I have missed- blue skies, sunglasses and shorts!  Lawdy, my legs are a mess though.  I bought some of that Jergens gradual glow stuff after noticing the extreme level of white trash-ness my legs have attained.  I must bang Deeds' carseat against my shins as I tote him. Bruises galore, and, pale! Oh, it is just pitiful.

After church on Sunday we headed to the Lilly store to see the Easter bunny.  Miss Priss was all fired up about the "big bunny", then would not get within six feet of him.

 DH did enjoy the yogurt pretzels, however.

After naps for all, we headed back to church for the annual Easter egg hunt, which was more of a success.

 Cookie decorating with one of her best buddies- they share a love of Frozen and sprinkles.  Toddler friendship at its finest, people.

Followed by some egg hunting-

 I had to step in for some assistance in explaining the concept of putting the eggs in her basket.  She preferred opening, examining the contents, then discarding.

Deeds wants it to be known that it was his nap time, he was still wearing church clothes, and it was hot.  Not an opportune for a mother-son picture I suppose.

 Ahhh, the discovery of candy inside helped move the collection process along.  Those eggs started flying into her basket.

She couldn't even make it past the mudroom before stripping down and investigating her loot.
Toddler tornado.

Off to fold some laundry that I have been procrastinating all evening.  My poor sister-in-law was the recipient of approximately eighty-seven thousand texts while I put off washing dishes, and y'all are getting eleventh billion pictures of Miss Priss to avoid laundry.  Priorities.