Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Don't you just love recipe books that look like this?
The original copyright dates back to the late 1800's.   Many things have changed since that time, but some of  core values highlighted in this book are very similar to the current new/old way of thinking as we embrace some of these simpler times.  The introductory pages talk about eating square meals and how to appropriately set your table for a dinner party.  A whole section is dedicated to how to be a good host.  Ahh, the basics of human interaction that are lost in our fast paced, fast food world.
My neighbor has a wealth of rhubarb and I was on a search for the perfect recipe.  Thought there are tons of exciting new recipes online, sometimes it's nice to go back to an old cookbook for the goodness of a simple recipe.  My mother-in-law makes my husband's favorite rhubarb pie, so I decided to give it a try.  Besides the pie crust, just 4 simple ingredients are added.  
Although I will never make this like my mother-in-law, the results were quickly eaten by every individual in the house - including Charlie.  I'd say this was a win.

Rhubarb Pie 
3 cups rhubarb (the recipe calls for 2, but my mother-in-law said to add more).  I estimated and also threw in some strawberries.  I promise, a little more or less won't ruin it.
1 egg
2 Tblsp flour
1 cup sugar
Mix all together in a bowl, pour into pie crust. 
I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then drained out some of the liquid so that it wouldn't be so runny.  I also used a premade pie crust - the organic brand in our local stores are wonderful!  The recipe also calls for a 2nd pie crust over top.  I opted to cut stars out of the second pie crust for a lighter and fun variation.  
Bake at 375 for about 40min (until crust is browning).
And with some of the rhubarb extras, I reverted to my most favorite muffin recipe ever highlighted in this post from Charlie's newborn days.  The great part about these Ricotta Muffins is the fact that I can just substitute in the fruit that is in season at the time.  
And a special happy birthday to my favorite sister.  I would bake all of these special things for you if I could be with you right now.  You would yell at me and tell me I was trying to fatten you up.  
That's what sisters are for!
I am encouraged daily by your strength and grace and your ability to keep life in perspective.  Sometimes you move at a slow pace, but I think you've got it will do just fine when you're old.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

making it big!

I'm not the world's best sales person.  I have always had the perspective that people make the best choices for themselves and if they're not sure, they'll ask.  The sales realm gives me this weird vibe that some stranger knows what's best for you.  I feel it when a salesperson hovers over me in a store.  I feel it when I have to buy the obligatory fund raiser candle from the neighborhood kids.  Wouldn't the world be so much less stressful if every good salesperson just provided the best, no-pressure information about the product?
When a friend asked me to make some things for her child I was pretty excited about the endeavor.  Yes, sewing involves a few good hours of free time and sometimes pricey fabric, but I was so excited to take on the project that I could care less about the money.  My thoughts: if you appreciate good fabric, cute onesies and barrettes, then welcome to the club, you can have it since you appreciate it.  Since I have been doing this for quite some time I now recognize the value (literally) of selling some things.  When my friend Laura asked me to join her in the craft fair realm (rid your mind of cat ladies and cat blankets and cat paraphernalia, right Laura?  The craft fair is making a comeback!) I figured I might make the jump into selling some things.  
So here you go.  If you like it, send me an email and I will make it for you.  Once I get organized, I will post more pictures and prices.  In the meantime, stop by Ludlow Boys and Girls Club on 5/19 to rediscover the good old fashioned craft fair.
Here's some of my stuff:
Onesies made for twins (this picture was when they were still in progress) there was a string that connected the balloon to each of the bird's mouths.   This cute little project is the reason why people get so excited over twins :)
And click on Laura's etsy shop for some other great handmade products.
Send me a message, comment or email if you are interested in onesies (of any size) and/or barrettes.  
There you go, a no pressure sales pitch. I'm getting better at this already!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

humble pie

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  
- Roald Dahl
 While pregnant with Julia, Charles and I attended birthing classes, which not only opened my eyes to the fact that this baby was indeed going to enter this world somehow, but also provided some interesting and unexpected education.  We were privileged to witness some other childbirth attendees who proved that just about anyone is capable of becoming a parent.  This includes the guy who thought that it would be cool to yell out "cervix" like we were in 7th grade health class whenever the instructor asked a question.  Yes, he was the one who was later found to have a house arrest ankle bracelet - an accessory that he wore proudly.  I assumed that everyone who was interested in committing to childbirth class (and on a larger scale, parenting) was soft and sentimental about the upcoming birth of their first child.  While being hysterically entertained by our classmates, we also took in some other important information - you know, the basics: breathing, the role of your partner during labor, the importance of taking time to work on your relationship with your spouse...basically everything that goes completely out the window with the onset of the contractions.
Each week after class, Charles and I (sometimes along with our friends, Jared and Shana who were due a month later) would sit around a table eating fried pickles and enjoy a commentary on how we were definitely going to turn out okay as parents.  The other day I found myself contemplating some of the lessons learned during our blissful preparation as I tried to explain the value of childbirth class to a newly expecting friend.  As I described our experience, I suddenly felt the need to recapture that time with Charles in some small way.  I have no need to go through all of that again, but it was high time for a date night.  It was much needed for many different reasons.  These nights are the ones that we promised ourselves before we had children - the ones that we said would never fall to the back burner.  I would have been horrified at myself if I knew that I wasn't getting to this whole "date night" priority for months at a time.
We finally did it - we went out to our favorite restaurant, ate all of our favorite things and talked about everything except for our children.  My husband said funny things and I laughed with him the way that I did when we were first dating.  I felt like such a liberated adult.  I was starting to feel recognizable again as someone who can pull off parenting and marriage and family and everything that comes with it while still retaining a little kick of my 20-ish year old self.
Then I happened to look down only to notice that I was wearing 2 different shoes.  Really? Two different shoes?  Much of my cute, date-night confidence was zapped in that moment.  Of course, in all situations I am always brought back to the planet earth.  
I ordered up my humble pie for dessert.  
This is my everyday. With the best of intentions I am late for everything, no matter how fashionable I try to be, my clothes are always coated in someone's lunch, thoughtful dinnertime prayers are typically spiced up with Julia's thoughts-of-the-day, gourmet dinners are mixed with way to much ketchup, phone calls involving precious conversations are cut short as I rush to the latest catastrophe, my workout turns into an hour negotiating with Julia to sit in the stroller, my comfortable bed is abandoned for the chair in Charlie's room after another sleepless night.
I have lately determined that there is no preparation for this stuff.  Maybe I should have gotten off my high horse and realized that Cervix-Boy and I were in the same boat.  I may have jumped into parenting with a level head and a bit more planning under my belt, but when it unfolds, much of it goes out the window.  I wish that part of the childbirth classes included a topic on the fact that things will never again go as planned with an added emphasis on not taking things to seriously.
Life happens here.
It happens in the moments when not all of the toilet paper is on the roll and seltzer cans line up my coffee table in an effort to build the "largest castle in all the land!"   I can laugh at the fact that my wardrobe often matches this chaos.
Date night wouldn't feel complete without it.