All shades of Purple

Because purple is my favorite color.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A new law of nature

I dress my daughter modestly. She "may only be two years old" but we feel that habits form early and thus it matters what she wears if we want her to develop a proper view of modesty. It never seems to fail, however, that the clothes she wears without issue at home become a problem when my parents are around. "Guess you'll be retiring that outfit, huh!" they chuckle as her midriff suddenly peaks from the outfit I just bought last week. Or they'll joke "She needs suspenders for that!" as my favorite pair of shorts rides down to show off the brand of diaper she's in. My sister laughed when I mentioned this paranoia to her, citing her own (different) fears when they keep her son. "You don't understand," I argued, "I specifically picked the clothes I sent this weekend because of comments they made last time we visited. These were totally safe clothes I sent, and even they failed the test!" So I decided it was just a law of nature; that for us, clothes that fit at home don't fit at the grandparents.
But guess what? It is worse than that. It is not just a law of nature . . . it has become a jinx! Today I put her in the offending blouse from the weekend and it was too short. I give up!

So. What are we taking next time? Overalls!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

In the Oven, on the Table and OUT!

Monday: I baked a loaf of my standby bread. Incidentally, I use a lovely pullman loaf pan so that we have nice square sandwiches and toast. It only needs a recipe using about 5 cups of flour though, and since most of my favorite recipes use 6 cups, I often make a few little dinner rolls that I freeze for later. There you have the secret of "my brown and serve rolls." While my little helper napped I whipped out (ha! laboriously produced!) a double recipe of flour tortillas. Thus we had bean burritos for dinner.
Tuesday: The little helper assisted me in making Peanut Butter Muffins. We had Rosemary Baked Chicken and Oven Roasted Potatoes for dinner with a small green salad.
Wednesday: Tacos for dinner!
Thursday: Chicken Pasta salad for dinner.
Friday: Chicken Fajitas for dinner.
Saturday: Dinner Out! To celebrate our wedding anniversary (late) we tearfully left our precious, small and only daughter with her adored and adoring grandparents. We went to a French bakery and cafe on Friday night for a snack and then on Saturday night we went to a German restaurant.
Vorspeise: Drei Verschiedene Wurst Sorten mit Senf und Brot Korb.
Salate: Gurken Salat Speziell Gewuerzt mit Sauerrahm.
Hauptgerichte: Spiessbraten Haus Spezialitaet (Pork Loin Roast stuffed with onions and spices and slow smoked). Warmer Kartoffel Salat und Spaetzle.
Nachspeisen: Apfel Strudel mit Vanilleeis.

Delicious! Pardon my German.
Sunday: I wish I could tell you that we went to a fabulous Italian restaurant on Sunday night, but no. We ran out of money, the 2 year old bundle of joy, energy and life returned and . . . ho hum. Chicken Salad for dinner. But it is wonderful to be a whole family again. I am writing this before the crabbitude of tomorrow sets in. The "I didn't sleep enough at my grandparents, they played with me all the time why can't you, when will we go back?" blues will set in with her tomorrow.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I loathe Echinacea!


I am an
Echinacea


What Flower
Are You?


"You are a health conscious person, both your health and the health of others. You know all about the health benefits and dangers of the world around you."

There were a couple of questions that I wavered on and when I went back and picked the other answers that I had considered I turned out a daisy. I much prefer daisies and the idea of being a daisy but in the interest of full disclosure, posting the echinacea seemed more honest.

Here is the description for daisy: "You are just a sweet person. When a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, you are happy to offer yours with a box of tissues as well. Once in awhile, you wish you could be a little more dramatic but then sensibility sets back in and you know that you are perfect the way you are."

I saw this quiz on Jordana's site.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Our anniversary was on Friday and I had a great post in mind. Here it is Wednesday and I have some crumbled remnants in mind of that grand post. Anybody out there interested? I didn't think so. I was going to write about the quilt we began making after we got engaged and use it as a lovely metaphor for marriage.
Here is a sort of outline:
  1. Doing it "right" takes time.
  2. Doing it "right" looks different for every couple. (Our quilt is machine pieced and is being hand quilted.)
  3. There are different stages that sometimes don't seem at all related. Some are more fun than others but they are all required to make a quilt.
  4. Is it ever "finished?" (We started this quilt over 5 years ago.)
  5. Practice makes "perfect." (This is my first time hand quilting and it took me / is taking me a long time to get the hang of it. It has gotten much easier as I have done more of it, and what I most recently did looks better than my first block or two.)
  6. Sometimes you can't fix your mistakes and you just have to move on.
  7. Even with lots of practice, some days you just can't seem to do anything right. Every thread breaks and your stitches wobble.
  8. As a whole, it will be beautiful, mistakes and all.
  9. It will have value to you. It very well may have value to others as well. (The example of faithfulness you set in your community. The security and comfort your commitment provides for your children.)
  10. Don't give up! There have been months that the quilt was put away (there was no room to work on it) but I always come back to it. I refuse to be discouraged that it isn't "finished already!"
  11. Don't give yourself an out. I have not bought a bedspread for our bed because we already have one. This is what we chose back when we were registering for gifts. We could not find anything we liked better or could agree on until we decided on this project and picked out the pattern and fabrics together.
  12. Stay committed. I will not take on any medium to large craft projects until it is finished.
  13. Do what you know is right. Listen to the opinions that matter. People may laugh, "She still hasn't finished that quilt?!" My husband and I know that this quilt will get finished and we are willing to wait for it. We don't make our choices based on what some else thinks.
Very rough, yes, but inspiring. Isn't it? Isn't it??

The Pros and Cons

Everyone has a blog, it seems. Many friends started them over a year ago. My husband started one last fall. I held off. I love reading blogs. I love to write, I think I even like writing this blog. But I like my privacy too, so that is why this blog is anonymous. But blogging hasn't gone as I expected and I think it is because I am anonymous. I don't have any readers because I don't tell anybody that I am here. There are parts of the anonymity I like. My mom doesn't read my weekly menu and fret that her granddaughter isn't getting proper nutrition (though don't you think it looks pretty balanced?). Nobody writes to criticize my use of time. My friends can't laugh about what I'm reading, watching or doing. (And maybe that says something sad about me: that I don't trust my friends enough to be completely honest.) I don't get hatemail for my bad grammar, discipline techniques, or sloppy blogging. This is safe! But how do you write to a faceless audience or no audience at all? How do you find any direction or motivation? And honestly? Even though "nobody knows about it" I edit myself here anyway. So I guess it wouldn't be bad to let a few people in on this oh so fabulous blog of mine. And if I don't have the guts to keep it real, I can always just stop, huh?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Not that I mind,

I just hadn't really expected to ever find myself making doll panties . . .

In the Oven and on the Table

Monday: Baked some bread dough left in the fridge from Sunday's cinnamon rolls. Fabulous Homemade Spaghetti for dinner with fresh green beans and my own "brown and serve" rolls. Note: I do not have a spaghetti recipe and it turns out differently every time. This frustrates me because, although it is rarely bad, I wish it could always be fabulous.
Tuesday: Baked a loaf of Crusty Peasant Bread to go with green salad for dinner. The new bread knife laughingly asked "Is this the toughest job you have for me?"
Wednesday: Dinner was leftover Spaghetti and green beans. Meager scraps of leftover peasant bread (it was so good hot), toasted and anointed with oil and vinegar.
Thursday: I baked some cookies from my new cookbook. Our frequent favorite for dinner: Lentils Flavored with Cumin over Rice.
Friday: Marinated, grilled round steak for dinner with Herbed Garlic Pasta and Peas. Then for dessert . . . ta-dah! Sacher Torte Cookies I made yesterday! After all, it is our real wedding anniversary even if we are celebrating next weekend.
Saturday: Cherub Tomato and Basil Pizza for dinner.
Sunday: Um, yes, it was Father's Day. And no, I didn't forget, I just didn't plan my menu well so we had . . . beans . . . for dinner.
Yes, that is me in the corner wearing the dunce cap.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thinking

I'm so tired I should just take a nap. I want to take a nap. But if I do, then I have to let my little helper help make cookies when she wakes up. And I'm too tired to patiently let her help.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Heavy Blunt Instruments, Sharp Pointy Objects and Fatty Food

Nobody asked, since nobody reads this blog, but I did have a wonderful birthday. It was the first birthday in 5 years that I celebrated with my parents. My wonderful husband and delightful daughter were present, which, if I were listing by favorites, I would have mentioned first. However, I am highlighting the fact that I am finally back in the vicinity of my extended family, so my parents come first on the list of guests. Both sets of my grandparents also came to our apartment for the cake and ice cream. I can't begin to say how special that was. We are all still part of a relatively young family but I remember with every passing family holiday and milestone of the last 5 years that I was away, thinking, "What if I don't see them again? What if they aren't around by the time I can finally be there for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or birthdays?"

But there I go getting morbid without the lightheartedness I had originally planned. For my birthday I acquired an enormous granite mortar and pestle, an extremely sharp bread knife and a cookbook titled Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book. Doesn't this all sound rather dangerous to you? I have so many new choices for self-defense! For the lingering guest: Noah's Chocolate Chocolatey Chocolate Chips or Fudgie Wudgies? Cappuccino Shortbread Sails or Chocolate Souffle Brownies? Stumble into my apartment uninvited and I'll clobber you with my 2 ton mortar. Insult my cooking or my daughter and I could saw a toe off! Isn't this exciting?

I am concerned about something though. My husband (he with bad heart genes) is the one who presented me with both knife and cookbook. And this, after his blood-work the week before came back less than thrilling. Just what is he up to?

The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock

After 2+ years of singing songs with our little daughter and months of doing the (sometimes ridiculous) hand motions to various ones she is finally showing an interest in doing the motions too. I am thrilled! There is nothing cuter than a small and serious little person breaking into song and seeing her eyes shine as she acts out her favorites with a mile-wide grin of pride. "Wake Up, Warm Up," is her current favorite, learned at the library. Our library's story time for her age is a lot of songs and most of them have motions that I help her through as she is learning them. Now, as we listen to music at home, she watches me expectantly at the beginning of each one, hoping that I will start flapping my arms around or stamping my feet erratically. I confess to feeling foolish while acting out many of them, but it is worth it to see her trying to join in. I love story time because there are so many songs I have forgotten or never knew. I have a terrible time trying to dredge up childhood songs so I am grateful to the librarian and eager to find a church with a good Sunday School program to remind me of other great songs we can sing together. (Not that action songs are my sole reason for going to church . . .)

Monday, June 12, 2006

In the Oven and on the Table

If I can actually remember . . .
Monday: Lasagna with salad and hot rolls for dinner.
Tuesday: Chicken Pasta Salad for dinner.
Wednesday: Leftover lasagna for dinner.
Thursday:
Chicken, Carrots, Peas and Potatoes flavoured with Cumin for dinner.
Friday: Madhur Jaffrey's "Chicken in a Red Sweet Pepper Sauce" and her "'Dry' Potatoes with Ginger and Garlic" for dinner. Quite a spicy dinner!
Saturday: Homemade cheese pizza for dinner. And the crust didn't rise . . .
Sunday: Made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Leftover pizza for dinner.

Friday, June 02, 2006

If you can help it

Don't mow the grass between 1:30 and 5:00 pm. My daughter might be sleeping.
Don't start your motorcycle under my daughter's window at 5:00 am. Do you want to die?
Don't wait till the blazing middle of the afternoon to do all the lawn maintenance around the apartment. Are you asking for sun stroke or homicidal mother strike?
Don't work on your motorcycle under my daughter's window all blessed afternoon.
Don't rev your motorcycle up and down the sidewalk outside our apartment at 2:00 pm.
In fact, why don't you drive your motorcycle into the lake?

Don't move a 20 month old from a remote and rural home on a quiet, dead-end road to a metropolitan apartment on a 4 lane. Bad idea.

In the Oven and on the Table

Monday: My mom made beef fajitas and hamburgers for the holiday meal. I made a fun "sweet fluff" type salad with orzo, box pudding, cool whip, crushed pineapple, etc. There were baked beans and potato salad and tons of fixin's - nat'ch. My mom had a simple but delicious butter cake with rum hard sauce which sounds both more wicked and less tasty than the reality.
Tuesday (which was not a Monday): The little helper and I made some chunky chocolate chip cookies. I am chocolate chip cookie baking impaired. I can only make two kinds that do not go all flat and greasy. One is chock full of ground oatmeal and ground pecans plus a ton of butter and chocolate chips. They seem healthier than they are and are sooo tasty. The other kind is a pile of chocolate chips held together by very, very little rich buttery dough. Anyway, so much for my life history of chocolate chip cookie baking. Roast, potatoes, carrots and orzo fluff for dinner.
Wednesday: Bbq beef sandwiches, green salad and cookies for dinner.
Thursday: Tuesday's leftovers for dinner.
Friday: Made Pita bread. Ham and Pea quiche for dinner.
Saturday: One of my favorite meals for dinner. "Greek Sandwiches." Lovely strips of sirloin tip all marinaded, fried and tucked into pita with veggies and sour cream. Cucumbers are my favorite vegetable. Unless I'm eating one of my other favorite vegetables at the time. Melt in your mouth Devil's Food Cake made by my mother with Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Happy Early Birthday, me!