Monday, November 30, 2009

Hiding out - the Post Thanksgiving blahs

I don't feel like posting today.  I caught some sorta crud while visiting family, just got back from a Doctor visit and apparently I'm wearing the turkey I ate on my thighs!  Plus, it's cold and the babies (mine plus the one I keep a few days a week) are howling upstairs after micro-naps and keep waking each other back up.  (this could possibly be the reason I want to eat my way through whatever sweets are left in the house - good thing there aren't any left!) and all my posting ambitions for Thanksgiving week got waylaid by sickness and lack of internet.  So happy Monday, I hope your Turkey day was great and I'm gonna go climb under the covers until I feel better.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful :: Family - all zillion of them

This does not even being to cover half of them, but it's a good start and is most of the immediate ones (at least on my side.  It's funny how family becomes more important with the years that go by.  I didn't think of them very much as part of the fabric of my life and there was also a time in my youthful selfishness that I didn't think very much of them either.  Now, this holiday spent without them while they all head to a family camp, I am a little sad.  I miss them, no matter how many weeks I head to TX to catch up on visits this summer.

So here's a smooch along the miles (and probably bounced between cell phone towers, rather than sent along the phone lines).  I miss you all and am so thankful for every single on of you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful :: My parents were (and still are) awesome

It's a great week to give thanks.  I have to remind myself sometimes that I have a lot to be grateful for.  I'll do some 'Thankful' posts this week as Thanksgiving approaches.  This post is inspired by a site called 'My Parents Were Awesome'. Which is a beautiful tribute to parents and how cool they once were!

I love these photos of my parents and even how they go together in opposing black and white.  We've come a long way as a family, through very rough patches and more.  At the center were two people who stayed together, no matter what.  And there was a lot of 'what' that happened.  I'm grateful for that.  Thankful that though doing the right thing was often the hardest thing, both personally and relationally, they chose that, not just for us, but for themselves.  And they continue to grow in beauty and richness as people.  (Here's a recent article about the work my Mama does.)  I am thankful to have such amazing people in my life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Kitchen :: Candied Almonds

I love the holidays!  Especially the preparing (and let's face it, eating some too) of so many great dishes.  For a little brunch I attended this morning, I whipped up some candied almonds.  It was very simple! 

Candied Almonds
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder (or a bit more if you like them spicy.
2 cups of raw almonds

Set the almonds aside and mix all remaining ingredients over a medium heat in a large thick bottomed sauce pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.  Add in the almonds.  With a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula stir the mixture continually, but not rapidly, until most, BUT NOT ALL, of the moisture has boiled out. 

Once the moisture has boiled out, the sugar will crystallize very fast.  Watch the edge of the pan for the start of crystallization.  You want to get the almonds out of the pan before that happens.  While the nuts still have a shine to them, but are not dripping in the caramelized sugar, pour them out onto parchment paper to cool.  Separate any clusters.  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Serve at your favorite holiday gathering! 


OK.  I'll admit it.  I've been a slacker blogger this week, posting just before midnight and just eeking in a few words here and there.  I guess I'm having trouble adjusting to life with work added back in.  Maybe I'm just out of things to say (naaah.  That can't be it!).  Either way,  I'll be back to more punctual posting on Monday, chock full of ideas, I hope!    Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

These days...

I commented to Matt recently how much messier our house is now that I am keeping a second baby a couple of afternoons a week.  I look at it as practice for our future.  (No, this is not an announcement of any kind)  We have been recovering from a few weeks of parties (me and the doot).  And now are frantically crafting for the days to come.  I have a lot of projects to finish and start before Christmas gets anywhere close, and nothing really to show you.

These days are filled with the sunniest of babies!  After a pretty nasty drug reaction (to ear infection meds) and more drugs (steroids ack!) to counteract it, she is feeling much, much better.  In fact, she is more smiley than ever!  She has also figured out that camera means 'cheese your face off'.  Here's an example: (the super pink cheeks are part of her drug allergy, although admittedly cute)

I'll get back in the swing of things here soon.  I will, I tell ya!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On stage

the click of the pick
the scratch of the strings
the boom of the wood through my lungs as I sing
the moment, the lights, the song to the night
this is the thing I drink in.

(no.  It's not me.  I just got back from a Jen Knapp concert.  And like a dork, forgot my camera)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I can bundle myself and my baby against the weather and the world, but I cannot remain insular.  I took my neighbors to meet with the benevolence team from our church, but their need is so great.  It's everything.  Water, lights, gas, rent, food, clothes.  All these things that I take for granted.  All these are things they need. 

I'm pondering how I can help today.  Would you readers be willing to pitch in to get them a kerosene heater?  Just a thought.  Let me know.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On turning 33

It was my birthday yesterday.  I am 33 years old now and so far, so good.  I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I really like my 30's.  I'm so glad to be free of the angst that haunted my teens and twenties.  Whoever I was going to be, I already am, or am not.  I am me, and I have always been me.  What I do for a living isn't what makes me me.  What ever I was going to do, I know if I get to it, I'll enjoy it more, not looking for the ultimate moment, and whether I do it or not, it won't define me, it will just be a path I walked down for awhile. 

The days are glorious in parts, hard in others, sad, and joyful, boring and thrilling.  I have to remind myself to be present.  To stop time for a moment and look around.  To not get swept away in the raging current of life, dishes, laundry, projects, work, and bills.  To relish little hands, and little feet, and little teeth.  Furry pets and glorious sunrises, sweet kisses from my fuzzy Geek, good conversation, sweet alone time.  I was made to be in this moment, to know how much I am loved.  So bring on this 33rd year (technically 34th year in the world - if you think about it).  It's just getting better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sick, sick, sick

Mama sick.
Baby sick.
Taking a break from blogging.
Have a great weekend. See you Monday!

Here's some sweetness to tide you over.

P.S.  Email me if you'd like to get 30% off this weekend at Old Navy, Gap etc.  5% goes to your charity of choice!  The first 25 get the invite. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


When it goes from a partially knitted thing, to this, balls of re-wound yarn, that is frogging.  Oh the dreaded frogging!!  I started this stocking and got about halfway through, then realized it is too skinny and WHO wants a SKINNY STOCKING?!  No one.  And you know why it's too skinny?  Any knitters want to guess?  Yes.  It's because I did not knit a swatch to check my gauge.  I just started knitting.  If you use the kind of yarn it calls for, it's usually not a problem, but I didn't!  So I'm going back to the pattern and adding in stitches somehow.  Ah well.  The point is to knit, right?  Right.  I enjoy it, so doing it over won't be that big of a deal.  And now, I have a pattern to modify.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gook! and glorious autumn foliage

Cora has had a verbal explosion!  Her first word came out on Saturday and it was 'Thank you' (two words technically)!  And me, not wanting be replaced by manners, asked her if she could say 'Mama' and she did.  (Still no 'Papa' though.  He gets 'Lala') To which she quickly added 'Stop' (I guess I say that a lot, to the dog, to a wiggly baby on the changing table, to the cat, oh well), then 'dog' and 'no' and even a sly little sing songy 'love you' which I said to her as I put her down for her nap yesterday and she repeated  back!  Then as we were reading her a book before bedtime she came out with 'gook' for book.  Today she has been crawling over to books and saying 'gook, gook, gook'.  Very fun.  We now have a talker on our hands!

Here's some gorgeousness from this past weekend. We went for a walk in Centennial Park and soaked up the sun and all of the beauty of trees still turning in this oddly prolonged season of fall foliage.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Food for Fines!!

As I may have mentioned, food for those in need is foremost on my mind right now.  So when a little banner ad flashed up on the Nashville Public Library website about Food for Fines, it caught my attention right away.  For two reasons.  First, collecting food for Second Harvest will directly benefit those in need in our community which is fabulous and much needed, and second, I've got about $20 in fines that I need forgiven!  And I'm all about trading my cans of tomato sauce for a clean slate.

So November 9th through the 24th, haul your cans of food and boxes of pasta (etc) in to the circulation desk  (Bag them or box them up) and bring your library card so you can get credit!  Visit the Nashville Public Library website for more information about when, where, and how.  What a great way to start off November!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Neighborly :: Revisited

Sorry for the disappearance.  I'm kind of in a hard place.  The lovely neighbors with all those kids I mentioned a while back?  We hang out a lot.  At least the kids hang out here a lot, anyway.  The mamas are still wary of me unless then need something.  (eggs, matches, garbage bags etc.)  And here is my problem.  They need a lot.  More than I have to give, sometimes.  They are now without gas, without electricity, and cooking in the back yard.

We often struggle to make the ends of our budget meet, but comparatively, we are doing just fine.  Their poverty is staring me in the face and I have no idea what to do, or how to help.  We can't really support two more families, but how can we sit here in our largely empty, well heated and well lit house while they are just across the street, cooking over an open fire?!!  (not to mention that it is, in fact, November and while winter is nothing like Maine around here, it can still be bitterly cold)  I need wisdom.  I need direction.  I need to know what will actually help them and not just put a band-aid on the problem.  They already see me as 'wealthy' and, well, I am a bit of a bleeding heart.  I would happily give them our dinner tonight, (and did last night) or pay to have their electric turned back on, but really, that is not the problem.  It would just get turned off again next month.  I am at a loss.  Well.  Not really. I know what it would take to be helpful and to be very honest, it is more time and energy than I have to give.

I've seen others at our church care for those in need and I know that that level of caring for others right now, would swamp and capsize the little ship that is our family.  I called several friends who have been in similar kinds of relationships and they heartily agreed that this is a job for a church (or a larger organization), not one family.  So we start on this journey.  There are things I can, and have have already begun to do, but it's only a beginning.  If you do this sort of thing, say a little prayer for our family and the family across the street. 

See you Monday.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Starting the Holiday Knitting!

This year, I have time, gumption, and sensation in my hands (oh, and no postpartum depression).  I will be making things for Christmas!!  Sometimes for our family, sometimes for other families.  I have this sweet little Christmas stocking on the needles right now and it's a whole new world of intarsia and stranding.  I'm slightly intimidated.  See how the letters are puckering up?  Not sure how to make it STOP doing that.  I'm gonna get a few rounds further along and go back and fiddle with it.  The pattern is from Annie's Woolens and is very cute and only slightly hair-pulling inducing.  (Don't try to knit this and watch Hulu.  Bad things happen, I tell ya.  There will be a lot of frogging and tears.)  I've got lots of other ideas and things lined up in my queue over at Ravelry.  More than I could ever actually get done!  But still, it's fun.  Happy brisk Thursday!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I asked for Wonder

The baby is awake at the crack of dawn again.  I grab her, sure I smell a poopy diaper, and lurch down the stairs, my joints and muscles protesting and reminding me of my impending birthday.  I grumble and muster a little smile and a 'good morning' for my wide awake wee one as I change her wiggling bum.  Then the dog makes her needs known.  I cringe at the thought of opening the door to the cold air and just open it wide enough for her.  Then this catches my eye.  A beautiful moment that I would have only caught if I had been awake (and let the dog out to pee) at exactly this time.  I am stunned, bowled over by the colors and the glory of an autumn sunrise.  I asked for Wonder.  He delivered.

What about you?  Did you find wonder in your day?  Go listen to this song by Susan Enan on my friend's blog.  It's putting words to how I feel this morning.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


It's quite easy for me to get lost in the daily shuffle around here.  I suppose this is the struggle of every human, no matter what their job or station.  We grow up, put on our big girl (or boy) undies and head out into life, clad in the requisite gray, black, or brown, ignoring the world around us in an effort to get things done.

Today I want to take the opportunity to find wonder.  To find something like these three leftover birthday balloons suspended in a stream of heat from the vent, and to think, as a friend said when she saw it, 'It's kinda magical', and it is.  I know the principles of thermodynamics (etc) behind it, but still it is a bit magical.  I hope you find a bit of wonder in your day today.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Vegan Carrot Cake - for birthdays and lessons learned about friendship

The back story:
For the first time ever in my thirty-some-odd years, I have friends who are vegan.  (Yes, yes, I lived a sheltered life.  I grew up in Texas, people!  'Vegan' is practically a cuss word there, and being one is almost worthy of a boot up your a$$ or at the very least, making you a social pariah!)  When asked to events at their house where they requested vegan or vegetarian food be brought, I was sorely tempted to show up with a side of beef, or some hog jowls.  Seriously.  I am stubborn girl.  I don't like being told what to do.  (Ask my Mama)

But after some conversations with women much wiser than myself (and being directed so some even wiser texts), I got a grip and embraced the idea that showing up with vegan food is loving my friends well.  And THAT, I really do want to do.

Cora bird's birthday party was this past weekend and I invited those friends.  I decided to Vegan-ize my Mama's carrot cake recipe.  (can I just say I love my Mama.  She writes her recipes with instructions like 'whoop together the following ingredients' - pronounced 'whup' and I know just what she means)  I actually made both a vegan version and a regular version and so was able to compare them side by side.  I could detect only the slightest taste variation, but both were equally good!  So here it is:

Mama's Carrot Cake (Vegan-ized)

(1) Beat together the following:
1 cup vegetable oil OR 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs ( for vegan version substitute 1 cup silken tofu blended smooth in the blender (I used Mori-nu Silken Tofu (firm) and added a 1/2 tsp of oil to get it to blend better) 1/4 cup of Silken Tofu for every egg you replace

(2) Sift together the following:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Add (2), the flour mixture, to (1), the egg or tofu mixture.

Fold in [mix and match] (we used the carrots and the pineapple this time)
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts are our favorite)
1 cup raisins
1 cup dates
1 cup crushed pineapple -well drained (she means it!!)

Pour into a greased (with veg. shortening) and floured 9x13 casserole pan. Bake 45 minutes at 325 F.  (add 10-15 minutes for the vegan version) Cool 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. (or leave it in the pan because you didn't listen to your mama and didn't drain the pineapples enough and it threatened to come apart on you because it was so moist!)

Ice with Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting, (which oddly enough has no dairy products in it.  Mysterious!) if you want to serve it as cake, or leave it plain for breakfast bread, which is also awesome!...and don't expect any leftovers. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...