Monday, February 28, 2011


Thankfully I can carry a tune and I have a little knowledge and appreciation for music, but I would not call myself musical.  Dave, on the other hand plays the hammer dulcimer and sings beautifully, what a gift!  The interesting thing is that Dave and I have very similar musical in the only cd's we buy are either Caedmon's Call (or Derek Webb/Sandra McCracken) or redone hymns by Indelible Grace or Red Mountain.  That is kind of odd in some ways.  Don't ask me about songs that are playing on the radio these days.  I can sing almost any song off of Debbie Gibson's album Out of the Blue, Mr. Wendal, Blame It on the Rain, or Straight Up...come on Paula Abdul was awesome in the 80s.  I actually did a dance routine (let's use the word dance loosely) to Straight Up with my friend Jill, and we performed in front of the 6 other girls who were invited to my 13th birthday first sleep over.  We even wore matching shirts.  Actually since I am in the mood to disclose all my adolescent moments, my best friend, Erica and I did a lip sync to "Fat Baby" by Amy Grant...let's hope that wasn't taped.

I guess that means that anything that has played on the radio before 1994 I probably know about, after that unless it is Hootie or U2, count me out.  Anyway, so we like music, mostly.  We sing together all the time, and if we are at home there is usually something playing on the ghetto blaster (remember when we had those?).

Last year for Christmas my parents bought the girls a series of cds on classical music and composers.  I actually remember listening to them as a kid, and thankfully that knowledge came in handy when I took Music and Art Apprec in college.  The girls love the cds and most recently we have been listening to Mozart, Brahms and Verdi.  The funny thing about Verdi is that he did mostly operas, and the girls thought it was hilariously funny when they broke out into singing in Italian.  They were laughing so hard.

This Christmas my parents bought Annelise a cd called Geography Songs.  This was another cd I used to listen to as a kid and all these years later I can still remember several of the songs.  Last fall our neighbor gave us a states jigsaw puzzles that we put together daily.  After we finished, Annelise would ask me to sing the states songs.  I could only remember the Southern Border and the Eastern Border, so I was thankful that my mom bought her the cd so now she can sing all of the songs.  I need to catch that on video, I mean how many 3 year olds can sing a song naming all the states on the Southern Border?  Unfortunately there are probably a lot of adults that cannot do that!

HC is amazingly musical too.  She can hear a song once and remember the tune and the words.  And she runs around the house whistling all her favorites.  While we were listening to Mozart the other day she was naming all the instruments that she heard playing, amazing! 

I had forgotten how much I love Dvorak until I was listening to that CD.  I enjoyed it so much I just ordered his New World symphony on amazon (along with another gift for Dave since he ruined my surprise birthday gift...maybe I can keep this one hidden, though it is not as cool as a Pomplamoose t-shirt).  In the mean time I'll try to catch Annelise in the act of singing the Geography Songs...was a cutie!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vanity and Redbook

"My daughter is vain," I lamented to my older mommy friend, Kris the other day.  "She's sane?"  "No, she's vain, she's vain!"  I had just french braided her hair and afterwards she tore it out in a huff because it was "bumpy" all the while yelling at me, "It's not pretty, Mama!"

She is 4, why is this an issue?  We have been battling this for a while it seems.  She wants to pick out her clothes, and wear dresses everyday, these things are fine with me.  But now everything seems to revolve around her being pretty or not.  The other day she said she liked another little girl in her SUnday school class because she wore a pretty skirt.  Really?  I am done with it all.

Thankfully Kris gave some good advice, like discipline her for being disrespectful, not for being vain.  And when she is level headed continue to talk about what actually makes a person beautiful, namely the way we treat other people, showing kindness and patience, when we share our toys and speak kind words.  She reminded me that if I were feeling particularly frumpy on a given day I would not want Dave to admonish me with words like, "You are pretty when you are kind to others" even if it is the truth.

So we continue to try to teach Hadleigh, and I continue to look at myself and see what in me contributes to the way she looks at herself.

I feel mostly lucky.  I have never had real issues with myself.  Most of my friends in high school had eating disorders, but I have never really struggled with my weight.  OK, I have never been the skinniest, I have just always been average, and that is good with me.  I would love to be more fit, and I would love to have lost all the goo around my waist from baby #3, but the weight will come off...or it won't...and life will go on.  And I'm happy, not obsessive, just happy.  I have heard that girls learn body image from their mothers.  I do not know if that is true or not, but it makes me very aware that I need to be careful about the way that I talk about myself and my body around them.

More and more I see that it is a real gift that I feel happy with myself, and I want my daughters to be happy with themselves.  Who cares if you are skinny and pretty, but mean?  Skinny and pretty fade but kindness never fades.  And honestly don't you think older women look better when they aren't bone skinny?

Earlier this week I read this article in Redbook (can I mention that I find it a little ironic...Redbook?  I mean isn't Redbook mag part of the problem?) like this one, and I cringe.  I already feel this when I go shopping for my girls.  My daughter is 4, she isn't a rock star, thank you very much.  However even at department stores like JCPenneys and Macy's once you are past age 2, the only choices for dressing are clothes that aren't even appropriate for 14 year olds. And, though maybe at some level it might be "cute" I just have to think if I don't want them wearing it at 14, why would I put them in it at 4?  I don't want my daughter wearing pants with writing on the bootie at 4, or at 14 or at 24.

Sometimes all this terrifies me, but hopefully we will all survive and my girls will grow up to love the Lord and care more about showing kindness than size and weight and clothes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Swim Lessons

We are hoping for a great time at the pool this summer, and to help make all my dreams come true I enrolled the girls in swim lessons.  This is HC's third year taking them from the same amazing swim club.  I love this place and swear by it...although she is not swimming on her own yet...but that seems to be more about her personality than anything else.  She has certainly been taught some great skills, and I am hoping that she will put it all together this year and be a fantastic swimmer.

Last year Annelise and I took a Mommy and Me class at the same place and I would say she did just as well last year in the pool, if not better than HC.  But we will see what this year holds for us.

After the first day I asked the teacher how they did and if there was anything I needed to talk to the girls about, etc.  He said that he believes HC can swim, she just needs to have confidence (surprise, surprise), and that Annelise needed to work on blowing bubbles...with her mouth closed.  It seems she is drinking up the pool which might explain why she keeps needing to use the bathroom mid-lesson.

In any case they certainly are adorable in their bathing suits and swim goggles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cookies and Cards

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Veggie Jambalaya

Last winter when I was prego with True, my sweet mother-in-law called and asked if I would like a few frozen meals.  They were going to be coming to visit for New Year's and she had thought it might be helpful if she brought along some meals that we could put in our freezer and eat as we needed.  I was overjoyed, of course.  My all-day-sickness tends to last from about 7 weeks to 20 weeks of pregnancy and bringing us some freezer meals was such a creative way of helping us.

Imagine our surprise when they arrived with a truck full of Christmas presents for the girls and several large boxes stuffed with frozen meals.  I think there were 30 in all.  No joke!  And she did not just make meals, she made banana bread and cherry pie and cheesecake cookies.  Seriously, it was amazing.  Both our freezers were stuffed to overflowing.  It was an amazing blessing to me, and I am still thankful that she did that for us.  Of course everything she made was wonderful because she is an amazing cook.  We had a couple lasagnas which are her specialty, a couple meat loaves, beef burgundy, spaghetti pie, tuna casserole, chili, chicken noodle soup, and several chicken casseroles.  One of our favorites she made was Veggie Jambalaya.  It is hearty, it is yummy, and it is easy to make and freeze.  And of course, it is vegetarian, which is wonderful because we do try to eat meatless dinners a few times a week.

The other day Dave made a huge pot of beans to use for "Pot O Protein" which is one of his specialties (and though I was scared of the name was actually very yummy), and we decided to use the leftover beans for the jambalaya.  I also decided to substitute quinoa for the rice and it turned out lovely.  You can use the exact same measurements and voila!  I also omit the fennel seeds in the recipe.  It is probably yummy with the fennel, but personally I'm not a fan.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

True's Baptism

Sunday, February 13th, True was baptized at our church.  It was a wonderful occasion and we were so happy to be able to celebrate it with my mom and Dave's parents.  Leading up to the event it was fun to think about how faith is a miracle.  It can only be created by the Holy Spirit, and we look forward with great anticipation to see this miracle take place in each of our children.  We also look forward to how our church, which has been such a huge and important part of our lives in Atlanta, will be a part of that miracle.  I feel thankful and fortunate to be part of such an incredible body of believers.  Perfect, no, but wonderful, yes.

During the ceremony the pastor asks us three questions and then asks the congregation if they will commit to encourage us as parents and to encourage our children toward faith in Christ (read more about HC's baptism).  It is always moving to see that as we are part of the body of Christ, we are not alone in raising our children.  We have others who are committed to teaching our children and encouraging them, and giving them grace.  I  am so thankful for our church and the people we have the privilege of worshiping with every week.

Friday, February 18, 2011


 Annelise can lately be seen around our house like this.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Last fall my bro and sis-in-law gave me a subscription to Southern Living for my birthday.  I had been receiving Real Simple and enjoyed it, but I thought I would try something new.  For the most part I do enjoy Southern Living probably a little more than the RS, but I thought I would LOVE the food section of SL, and I just do not.  I have noticed that many of SL's recipes have processed foods in them (like condensed soups), and while I do enjoy a casserole once in a while (they freeze SO well), I do not enjoy them every night of the week.  Overall I tend to think of Southern folks as good cooks, so it seems odd to me that there would be so many recipes with these kinds of foods in them.

Enough about that.  I love pot pies.  I mean LOVE.  You know those little Swanson pot pies you can buy in the freezer section (talk about processed foods!), I love those.  I love Boston Market's pot pie.  I love my Mama's pot pie.  I actually have her recipe, but why is it, it is SO much better when she makes it?  I seem to have a horrible time making the roux for her pot pie.  I cannot figure it out, but it hates me.  So, when I saw this section in the February issue, "Mama's way or your way, chicken pot pies," I just had to try it.  Of course, "your way" had a couple condensed soups, and "Mama's way" had leeks, so I chose Mama's way. Here is the link, you can try it yourself.  We substituted phillo dough for the puff pastry, mostly because when Dave checked the label for the puff pastry (and he was grocery shopping for it), it read something insane, like 17 grams of fat in one serving.  Just for the puff pastry.  Yea.  So, give this one a try, it won't change your life, but it is fairly easy.  It definitely needed some more seasoning, but it was reasonably good.  Not my Mama's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

All the Single Ladies

A couple years ago, Dave discovered Pomplamoose.  If you have never heard of them, you can check them out on you tube.  It is two folks who are very musically talented, and they redo cover songs with voice and different musical is hard to explain, but it is very fun.  The girls LOVE watching their videos, and HC has been known to walk around the house singing, "All the single ladies" after watching their rendition of the song.

So a few weeks ago I found out there was a Pomplamoose t-shirt, and decided that Dave would enjoy having one, so I ordered one for his birthday which is coming up in March.  The package came a week or so ago and I stashed it in the bookcase in our room.  It is on my side of the room and has mostly my books in it, so I did not think much about Dave bugging it.

For our 4th anniversary, Dave gave me a beautiful, antique looking butterfly diamond ring.  It had a wide band and was covered in little diamonds in the shape of butterflies.  I think I might have received more compliments on that ring than even my engagement ring, which I think is lovely and is an antique as well.  This summer when I was prego and swollen I was wearing the butterfly ring on my ring finger, and sometime between giving birth and today I have misplaced the ring.  Boo.  I have no idea where it is.  I had mentioned this to Dave because he is usually really good at finding things, and sporadically throughout the last month we have been trying to find the ring.  I have been going through pants pockets and purses and dice.  The other day he came up to our bedroom and was going through the clothes in my closet, checking pockets and such.

He did not find anything, and then we headed out to Pike's to pick up some supplies for our veggie garden.  HC is now taking her naps in our room, and so as I was putting HC down, I went to the bookcase to grab the copy of Dr. Doolittle that we have been you know what I saw?  No, not the ring...that darn package with Dave's pomplamoose shirt in it...and the package was opened.  I grabbed the package and looked at HC.  She grinned and said, "There is a shirt in there." ANd I responded, "Did you open this?" (because she has a tendency to mess with my stuff) and of course she shook her head no.  And my heart sunk to my stomach...that punk found my darn gift, opened it and did not even tell me!

I flew downstairs and out the door where Dave was unloading my beloved vermiculite, and said, "Is there something you want to tell me?"

"What?" he asked looking bewildered.

"Did you think my ring was in a wrapped postal package?" I asked punching him in the arm and laughing/crying.

He grinned, "You should have put it under the bed!"

"Oh, like if it was under the bed you would have left it alone?" I asked

And then we laughed and he assured me he would not wear it until his birthday and I could even wrap it up if I wanted.  Booo!  I just wanted to get him something that he would like for his birthday, but I guess I'll have to try for next year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stop the Presses

Today I heard two fabulous pieces of news.  Chick-fil-a is opening a new store close to our house.  We have one about 3 miles from the house, but this new one will be about 1 1/2 miles.  Sweet!  Actually I cannot think of the last time we went to CFA, but it is always nice to know that one is super close by.

My real excitement is over the fact that Home Goods is opening up a store close by.  Shut-up!  I feel like we are moving up in the world, and am positively giddy.  We discovered Home Goods about a year ago when we were doing a couple house projects, and I am almost addicted.  Now that we have one closer I might become addicted.  The pillows at the top were a Home Goods find, and do you see that awesome green table lamp?  Home Goods.  Shut-it.  I love Home Goods.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Out for a Walk

As you can tell from the background of this picture, it was taken after Snowfest 2011.  The ice was mostly gone from the roads and we could take a nice little stroll around our neighborhood.

I love this picture.  True is  watching the girls, dying to get in on the action.  The girls are hugging and loving each other and ready to take their babies on a walk.  Sweetness.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


For the past year I have been in a Bible study with 5 other women.  All of us are mamas and all of us have known each other (more or less) from our playgroup, although if you have ever been in a playgroup you will know that there isn't much time to have in depth conversations, so even though I have been seeing some of these mamas in playgroup every week for the last 4 years, I really didn't know them until we started meeting weekly without our children.

Before Christmas we finished reading, "War of Words" by Paul David Tripp (brother of Ted Tripp who wrote "Shepherding a Child's Heart" which incidentally I have never read...I started that one and got bored...can I still be a Presbyterian?), which was a wonderful book, but I cannot recommend it to anyone who can talk.  I suppose that rules out most of you.  If you can verbally speak, whatever you do, do not read this book, because if you read it you will have to change the way you talk...or at least you will have to think about changing the way you talk and I hate trying to change anything about myself, it is such a pain.

After Christmas we decided to do a "Beth Moore" study.  I have never in my life done one of these, and I was a little nervous.  I had heard good things about her, but let's be honest, videos?  Really?  I hate doing video studies.  And then there is the whole Texas thing, and the whole Baptist thing, come on you know what I am talking about, I was just worried.  Thankfully it has not been as bad as I thought it might be.  There are some moments on the video that are cheesy, but overall she has been wonderful to listen to and the study (Esther) has been interesting and challenging.

This past week, Beth said a funny thing on the video.  The title of the series is "Esther, It Is Tough Being a Woman", and she made a comment that sometimes she thinks she should have been born a man.  OK, I found it mildly amusing that this little, fiery lady from Texas, the ultimate Southern Belle wanted to be a man, but I catch her point.  Sometimes it is hard to be a leader when you are a woman, but actually though I entirely relate to that, I also think sometimes I should have been a man because I do not like shopping.  I like to go in, get it and get out.  Browsing and window shopping is not my style.  I remember vividly the last time I step foot in a store on the day after Thanksgiving.  It was 1998.  Yup.

So, the other day HC and I went out because I needed to find her a bathing suit for swim lessons and I was hoping to find a new little something to wear for True's baptism.  Oi vey.  Generally there is only ONE store that I buy clothes from, and that is, can you guess?  If you know me at all you would have said Ann Taylor, or Ann Taylor Loft.  And I had my trusty gift certificates in hand because both my mom and Dave's mom bought me gift certificates for Christmas.  Wouldn't you know, I could not get into anything they had in the store.  I am trying to think when that has EVER happened.  It might just be the colors of this season, but nothing was really working.

I felt lost.  So, we headed next door and I thought, let's give Banana Republic a try.  Well, have you ever gone into a store and everything you try on just seems wrong.  It was demoralizing.  I am not sure what went wrong, the style, or I just could not put an outfit together, and I left feeling dumpy.  First, why o why are the 80's back?  They were horrendous the first time around, why must I repeat them?  Thank God we are not having to peg pants, but there are so many clothes that just remind me of junior high and I really want to vomit when I think of that time.  I cannot go back!  Second, I left feeling like I'm not cute anymore, I'm the old, unstylish mama.  Boo.  And while that has always been slightly true.  I mean I am not a trendy person, I cannot pull off an eccentric look, but are there still clothes out there for me?

With a heavy heart I plodded into White House, Black Market.  My confidence was shot, but between HC encouraging me, and a wonderful sales lady who brought me out super cool heels (which I almost bought, but they were a size too big) to try on with my outfits, voila, I found something.  And I left feeling like I do indeed have a style, trendy it is not, you can keep your leggings and uggs for now, but at least it is a style!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Tequila-Lime Chicken

My new favorite thing to make is roast chicken.  It is SO easy.  Whenever I make it I wonder why I had been making casserole and thinking it was easy, roasting chicken is WAY easier.  My mom is the princess of roast chicken, I say that because I think my grandma is the queen.  When we were up in NY visiting my grandma she made us roast chicken.  My 88 year old grandmother made us roast chicken.  It was super yum, like way yummier than my roast chicken ever is, so I asked her how she made it.  "Oh you know, just a little seasoning and you roast it."  Yea, I do all that too, so why is your chicken so much better than mine!

Dave and I decided that it was likely the quality and freshness of the meat she purchased.  And I think we are onto something, because ever since we visited Grandma I have been buying the organic chicken.  Presto.  My roast chicken just got better.

In any case, as I mentioned before it is so easy to make, and you can do it a bunch of different ways.  Sometimes I throw some whole peeled carrots in the bottom of the pan and throw the chicken on top with some krazy salt and pepper sprinkled on the top.  Sometimes I throw some garlic in the cavity and put some onions and mushrooms in the bottom.  The other day I made this Tequila-Lime marinade.  The recipe actually calls for chicken breasts, but why not a whole chicken?  So I marinaded the whole chicken and then roasted it.  Oh yum.  When it was finished we put it on tacos with black beans, salsa, cheese and sour cream.  The following night I used the leftover chicken to make Mexican Chicken Black Bean soup.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 07, 2011


Over the weekend we were going through old pictures.  Our living room has several black and white pictures of European scenery and I needed Dave to find three more pictures to hang.  He scrolled and scrolled and finally decided on three, and in the mean time I stumbled upon these pictures which brought back some fun memories.
I do not ski, neither does Dave.  Six years ago we drove to Austria with two other couples to ski.  Well, Dave and I knew we would probably not be skiing, but we would go along for moral support and for adventure.  We went to a little town called Reutte, Austria.  It is just across the border from Germany, near Neuschwanstein (the Cinderella Castle that everyone recognizes).  

We drove down in two cars, the guys rode in one and the girls rode in the other.  We visited the castle and went on to our hotel and then spent the following day skiing.  Jim and Kristen and Travis and Kristine went downhill skiing and Dave and I went cross-country skiing.  I think we had a better time.  It was beautiful, and cross country skiing was super hard, but I liked it a lot more than downhill.  We swore we would get into it more, but of course here we are 6 years later and I have yet to put on a pari of skis again.  The following winter I was large and in charge with HC, and then we landed back here in Atl.  Bummer.  There is not a big cross country ski industry here.  Maybe one day we will move to a colder place where we can try taking it up again...or not.

My other favorite memory from that trip was driving out the Plansee which was a huge lake that had frozen over.  There were people walking on it and sledding on it, and we all decided to play bocce ball on it.  So much fun.  Afterwards we stopped in a little village, had lunch and shopped.  I bought my favorite pair of shoes there.  Actually Kristen and I bought the same identical pair.  Six years later the poor shoes are falling apart, but I love them and continue to wear them.  The other day Dave encourage me to go look for a new pair, but I am thinking of taking them to a cobbler to see if he can fix them (the leather is rubbing off them...don't know if that is fixable or not).  Ah well.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Heart Crayons

 I was talking to my good friend, Sar, on the phone the other day and she mentioned that she had made some "heart crayons" with her girls.  Oh what a fun idea, I thought, and asked her how she did it, because when I grow up I want to be just like Sar.  And actually we are very much alike.  She and I grew up together, we were a year apart in school, but still good friends.  We both left Cali to go to college, she was up in Chicago and I was down in Lexington, but we made a couple road trips to see each other during that time.  After my junior year she and her roommate drove down to Kentucky to pick me up and we drove cross-country back to Cali.  The whole trip was a funny story.  We had gone to see "Romy and Michelle's 10 Year Reunion" in the theatre the night before we were suppose to leave Lex.  And on the way home from the movie we thought...why wait until 6am, let's just leave now?  So we sped back to the residence hall, packed up the car and left at 11pm.  Sar had the first shift and we drove and chatted and noted that there is not much to see in southern Illinois (good thing we passed through it in the night).  We stopped at a Waffle House at one point and had a midnight (or likely a 2am snack of coffee and waffles).  For no apparent reason while we were eating and chatting, Sar got the giggles and spewed her WH coffee all over me.  Apparently it runs in the family because earlier this year her cousin spewed coffee all over my brother right before he had to teach a class.  Interesting.
Anyway, I remember driving from St. Louis to Kansas City, and of course everyone was asleep, so I was desperately trying to keep myself awake.  That night/day we drove non-stop from Lex to Denver.  We pulled into a Motel 6 at about 6pm, checked in and crashed until 6 the next morning.  We got up and drove the rest of the way home.  What an adventure!

So, anyway, I was one of Sar's bridesmaids when she got married in 2000, and she was one of mine in 2003.  And then she had her first born in December of 2005 and I had HC in March of 2006.  Our second daughters are 3 days apart, and our third children, both boys are just 2 months apart, True was born in July and Johnny in September.  I do not plan things like pregnancies, so it was all a fun thing to go through together.
OK, enough about that, Sar told me how to make heart shaped crayons.  I ran to Target and what do you know, even out here they had heart shaped ice cube trays on the dollar rack!  We then took the wrappers off our broken crayons and sorted them by color.  Thank goodness we had Andrew to help us out with it all.  And after we sorted them we put them in the trays and baked them at 250 for about 10-15 minutes.  And then I threw them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  They work wonderfully and it was such a great idea of how to reuse broken crayons!  Love it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

It's Time to Purge

I TRY to keep things simple.

OK, not everything, but somethings I try to keep simple.  For example, the girls have two pairs of shoes, sneakers and dress shoes.  That is it.  Please tell me I am not the only woman out there who doesn't care about shoes.  Oh well if I am, there I said it, I do not care about shoes, and if you had my feet you would likely not care either.  It is almost impossible to find shoes that fit my feet.  I have long, slender feet...I mean seriously the skinniest feet you have ever seen.  Like when I wear a pair of sneakers I have to lace them completely closed and sometimes my feet still swim around in them.  And trying to find dress shoes...ugh!

Yet that rant has nothing to do with what I am really concerned about as I type.  Truly my girls have two pair of shoes because I do not want to have to keep track of a bunch of things.  I want to be able to say, "Go put your shoes on" and know that they can go to the closet, find their shoes, put them on and go out the door.  I feel like the more shoes you have, the more complicated it gets.

I try to keep our toy situation simple.  I am trying to think of the last time I ever bought a toy for my children...hmmm...I cannot.  I am sure I have, but I sure cannot remember when or what it was.  We do not buy them Christmas or birthday gifts because they get plenty from the rest of our family, and we tend to like to give them experiences over things.  I'd rather take HC to see the Nutcracker than give her a toy that she will be done playing with in a year.

In light of the fact that we try to keep things simple I have no idea how our toy situation gets out of control.  All our toys live in the playroom.  Bedrooms are for sleeping, not playing, and thankfully we have the luxury of having some extra room/a dining room that has yet to be furnished, so we use that as our playroom.  Everything has its place.  We have a bucket for dress-up clothes, dolls and doll clothes, cars, little people, lincoln logs, play doh, stuffed animals, and puzzles.  We have a play kitchen with pots and pans, and we have an art table and some art supplies.  Why oh why is it that the room gets trashed everyday?  And my girls can clean it.  I help them, but they do a great job of cleaning it, but they also do a great job of wrecking it.

Sometimes I feel like they just go in there and dump things instead of actually playing with them.  So yesterday I told them we needed to purge.  I have been mulling some ideas around in my head and I am still trying to figure out what I will do.  I have thought about removing several buckets and then letting them trade out buckets from time to time.  You want to play cars?  Give me the doll bucket.  You want the dolls?  Give me the lincoln logs. etc.

The other idea is to truly have them go through their toys and decide what they want to give away to another child who doesn't have many toys.  We talked about this idea and HC was thrilled.  She asked me at dinner, "Mama, when will I be able to choose what to give to someone else?"  Sweet girl.

Before I decide what to do I need to call in my trusty mama counselors.  I am always interested in how other folks have handled these things.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Planning My Garden

I am planning my garden.  We are changing things up a bit since it will be our third year.  I had some grandiose plans two years ago, but Dave wisely and skeptically kept me in check.  Gardening is hard work, and I had a 2 year old and a 1 year old, so it was hard to say how it was going to go.  There has definitely been a learning curve, but overall we all enjoy having the fresh grown veggies at our finger tips.

The last 2 years we used a little 12 by 12 plot. which was a good starting point but we are ready to graduate.  Having a square plot makes it hard to get to everything, and I have felt that a lot of space goes wasted.  This year we are going to try raised beds and used the square foot gardening method.  I feel giddy.

I have done a little more research this year, so I feel better informed and prepared to be an excellent gardener.  Hopefully we will learn even more and have an even better year than last year.  Last year our garden was awesome, so I have some serious hopes.

The seeds are ordered and I'll tell you what is on its way here:
bush beans (this is my first attempt at beans)
spinach (new this year)
peas (new)
green onions
bell peppers
tomatoes, cherry and beef steak
butternut squash
edamame (new)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Asparagus Ravioli

Years ago I bought this fab cookbook called "Vegetarian Pasta" and it definitely has some winner recipes in it.  One of our favs is Lentil Coriander Lasagna.  Lentils, mushrooms, cilantro.  Yumm-o.  I love making up several of those lasagnas at a time and throw them into the freezer.  Then a month later, voila!  I don't even have to think, I just put it in the oven and an hour later we have a yummy dinner.

My second all-time fav recipe from this book is Asparagus Ravioli.  I have made this recipe with homemade pasta, but not recently.  I discovered this wonderful little thing called wonton wrappers.  You can buy them in the store pre-made and it is almost as good as homemade pasta.  That is what I use now when I make ravioli.  And surprisingly it is fairly easy recipe to make...come on, I have 3 kiddos and not a lot of time, it has to be easy!

1/2 lb asparagus, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbs. olive oil

This is where my food processor comes in handy.  I chop the asparagus and the onion separately.  Heat the oil in a fry pan.  Throw in the garlic and onion, let it cook for 3 minutes.  Throw in the asparagus and cook for 10 more minutes.  Can you smell it?  OK, put the pan aside and let it cool.

2 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c warm milk
3 Tbs. tomato paste
Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Stir in the flour and begin slowly adding the milk to make a roux.  Stir constantly over medium heat until it thickens and boils (I mean constantly).  Add the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper.  Yumm-o.  THis can be made a couple days before and stored in the fridge.

OK, now to assemble the ravioli.  Take a wonton wrapper, put a quarter size portion of the asparagus in the middle.  Use a little water to wet the edges and top with another wrapper.  Seal the edges and put it aside.  When all the raviolis are made, boil some water, and drop them in 3 or 4 at a time for just a few minutes.

That is about it.  Enjoy it!