Friday, July 29, 2011

tea for two

Would you like some tea?

Oh, you're quite welcome.

What, these old things?  Why, they're Wedgwood, of course.  Yes, Fisher Price makes a knock-off, but these are the authentic article.

Let me make sure the tea has steeped enough.  No use in drinking weak tea, you know.

Oh, you don't like yours hot?  Well, I'll test the temperature.  I am the consummate host.

This should be fine.  I'll pour us a cuppa.  One lump or two, darling?

Oh, I'm ever so glad you enjoyed it.

 Ah, delicious.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

you capture: fruit

You Capture is fruit this week.  I did not have much of an opportunity to photograph fruit this week.  If I had been inspired, I would have gone to the farmer's market and gotten some really arty shots of fruit stands or something.  But I did not.  So I took pictures of the tomatoes from my garden instead.  Uh, tomatoes are technically a FRUIT.  Just go with it, ok?

We have a bumper crop of these sweet beauties.  Fletcher's favorites!  Our other summer favorite is strawberries.  We do have wild strawberries in our garden, but they are very small and don't look very appetizing.  So we buy them everywhere else!  Strawberries are Rowan's very favorite food of all. 

Yum!  Hope you are all enjoying the fruits of summer!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

just like p.f. chang's lettuce wraps

Um, kind of just like.  Don't take it too literally.  But they are really good, so no worries.  I make these every so often, and we eat them fast.  Fletcher's not too big of a fan, but Rowan devoured them!  Yum!  I made these over a month ago, but I keep putting this post on the back burner (haha, no pun intended!).  But I recently got a request for a food post (this one's for you, Karen) so I'm breaking it out now.

You will need:
tofu or cooked diced chicken (I use tofu here)
1/2 c chopped carrots
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 medium onion
1 can water chestnuts- chopped
soy sauce
lime juice (fresh or bottled)
sesame oil OR olive oil
1/2 t corn starch
ginger (fresh or powdered)
red pepper flakes
big lettuce leaves (like bibb or romaine)

Obviously, as a vegetarian, I like the tofu.  But I know that some people love the chicken lettuce wraps, so you know, go ahead a do whatever you want.  But if you use tofu, I highly recommend the super firm tofu that's already been cubed.  Saves time, you know!  Plus the texture of the super firm is perfect for this dish.  And if you think you don't like tofu, you should try this kind.  It's pretty awesomely delicious when properly seasoned.

Get your carrots, celery, onion, and water chestnuts chopped up.  Then line them up so they look pretty.

Warm a couple tablespoons of oil in your trusty cast iron skillet.  Pour the above veggies into the skillet and cook until nicely browned.  Then pour your tofu or chicken (already cooked) in with the veggies and brown that up a little too.

Add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and a couple dashes of red pepper flakes.  Or to taste depending upon how much you love soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  I just keep tasting and adjusting- I don't measure anything usually.  Stir in the corn starch.

Turn your heat down to your lowest low, and then walk out to your garden to find some cilantro.  I was suprised by cilantro showing up in my herb garden this year since I didn't actually plant it.  But up it came, and I was so happy to have it while it lasted!  Also pick some big lettuce leaves while you're out there.  My lettuce is gone by now, too.  Hot weather is not a lettuce's friend.  It was all great while it lasted.  Oh, you could also buy the cilantro and lettuce at the store if you don't have spontaneous miracle herbs growing in your garden.   Chop up your cilantro and throw that in the pan, too.

Once the mixture's liquid is cooked down, you're ready to eat it... yay!  I did not have fresh limes at the time, so I did pour some bottled key lime juice over the whole mixture.  But if you have fresh limes, it's great to serve them in slices with the meal so everyone can squeeze their own over their dish.  Plop some of the mixture in the middle of a big lettuce leaf.  My leaf here is bibb.

Fold the leaf around the mixture like a leaf taco, and eat up!

Please excuse my pink pudgy paw.  Be sure to have a fork handy so you can eat all the delicousness that falls out.  Now you can cancel the babysitter and stay in instead of eating out at P.F. Changs!  Just kidding.  Don't do that.  That would be insane.  But these are a close second if you can't get to a P.F. Changs soon.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

goodbye, little crazy friend

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.  ~Mark Twain

Yesterday we said goodbye to our little French Bulldog, Napoleon.  I thought I would feel relief at him dying, but I only feel so sad.  If you don't know why I would feel relief, then you never met Napoleon.  He had a bad addiction to water.  No joke.  He would drink out of any receptacle- toilet, plant containers, open dishwasher, bathtubs- anything that had water.  And then once his bladder was completely full, he would have numerous accidents regardless of how many times we would let him out.  His system just was whack.  We literally spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what was wrong.  No urinary tract problems, no diabetes, no kidney disorders, no hormonal imbalances.  IT WAS ALL IN HIS HEAD.  His official diagnosis was psychogenic polydipsia.  In layman's terms: dog was CRAZY.  We even tried doggie-antidepressants, but no dice.  So since I am the stay at home mama, it usually fell to me to measure out his water, keep him out of the bathrooms, let him out every half hour, and clean up 2-4 accidents every day.  We got a carpet steamer simply out of necessity.  And I pretty much resented the dog for making me do all of it. 

I am not a dog person.  I know, tsk tsk, from all you dog people.  But I'm not even a cat person.  I'm an "I don't want an animal in my house" person.  But my husband is a huge dog person.  The only time in his life that he didn't own a dog is during the time we lived in Texas and he was deployed for 2 out of those 3 years.  I knew it was one of those non-negotiables when we got married.  I knew in advance that we would always own a dog, no matter WHAT.  So I tried to control the whole situation by insisting that I get to pick out the dog.  So after a lot of dog breed research and analysis, I settled on the French Bulldog.  They are lazy, sociable, and pretty good with kids.  And not too big, but not yippy or barky.  And oh so cute.  Napoleon was the cutest puppy I had ever seen.  He was perfect for us, and I actually fell in love with him. 

And then he went bat shit.  And we went into overdrive trying to figure out how to cure him.  I felt defeated when we realized there would be no cure.  And my love for him slowly turned to resentment.  He used to cuddle up and sleep with us- but now he started peeing on us in the middle of the night.  We had to start crating him at night and whenever we left.  It was madness.  And I wanted out of it all.  I wanted to give him away, get rid of him, drive him to Lake Michigan and let him die happy.  And you may think badly of me, but keep in mind that we've dealt with this for the past 3 YEARS.  He was only one year old when he went insane. 

Unfortunately, in those 3 years, our children have been born and had grown attached. 

{meeting Fletcher for the first time}
They both loved to give pets, kisses, and snuggles to him, and Napoleon tolerated it all very well.  He even seemed to be warming up to Fletcher, whose pets had started becoming less and less aggressive.  Rowan liked to share ice cubes with him, so I think she got on with him, too. 

And Brian never wavered in his love for Napoleon.  Every night after the kids were in bed, Napoleon and Brian would snuggle up while we watched t.v.  And no matter what rules I tried to impose on no leaky dog in our bed, Brian would try and sneak him up with him during naps or rests.  Napoleon adored Brian.  When Brian was out of town on business trips, Napoleon would start staring at the door around the time Brian usually came home.  He wouldn't stop until I made him go to bed.  He was Brian's dog, through and through. 

But me?  He drove me crazy.  But I owe a huge debt of gratitude to that crazy little doggie.  We got him around 6 months after Brian got back from Iraq, and I think that crazy little doggie saved him and us in many ways.  Brian was not himself after his last tour in Iraq.  I'm putting it mildly.  Brian had ISSUES.  Who wouldn't, after everything he had been through?  But it was damaging to our marriage.  I had no way of breaking through whatever shell had built up while he had been in Iraq.  But that dog sure did.  He helped Brian so much, I'm almost jealous that the dog could do more than I ever could!  But mostly I'm just grateful. 

So now we're sad.  He died at the vet's office yesterday from a bad infection that he just couldn't overcome.  When Brian brought him home, I sat petting him while Brian dug the hole.  We both cried and said goodbye to a little dog that saved us and that drove us to the brink of insanity.  I may not have liked that dog very much, but I sure did love him. 

Plus, he let me dress him up for funny Christmas pictures.

We'll miss you, Napoleon.  I promise I'll only remember you fondly.  All is forgiven.

Rest in peace, in doggie heaven.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

you capture: trees. beautiful plants. little cute babies.

Beth over at You Capture let her son choose the theme this week, and I guess he was feeling generous in his theme options.  All the better for me!  I happen to have a couple trees near me, and all my lilies are in full bloom.  And I don't have a little cute baby, but I DO have a big cute baby.  At 14 months she's not my little baby anymore, *sniff, sniff*.  But uh, no.  It's not time for another baby if that was what you were thinking.  Alright, here we go.

Trees!  Or, um, tree.

And beautiful plants!

{turk's cap lilies}


{I had to include my hand here to show how B I G these lilies are!  They are sitting next to me in a vase as I write this and they smell ah-mazing!}

And little (ahem) cute babies!  Uh, baby.  She'd be a toddler if she were walking, but not yet.  Come on Rowan!  WALK already!

The end.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

painting stuff. and keeping house.

That sums up what I've been doing lately.  The pros about selling a house you actually love and don't want to sell:
1.  You have to keep the house CLEAN.  So you actually ENJOY said house even MORE and want to leave said house even LESS.  Wait, is that a con?  I'm so confused lately.
2.  It is great motivation to get to all those projects you've been wanting to tackle, but haven't gotten to because, well, you've been busy having and raising babies and whatnot.
3.  Um, that's about all the pros I can think of, sorry.  Any that I'm forgetting?  Feel free to remind me, cause it's just a leeetle hard to keep on the sunny side all the time.

I do enjoy seeing my bed made every day.  I do enjoy not seeing clothes strewn about the bedrooms.  I do enjoy seeing my sparkly kitchen.  I do not enjoy making my bed every day.  I do not enjoy putting away clothes straight from the dryer, no stopping in baskets for a day or two.  I do not enjoy the effort in making my kitchen sparkly.  Cause, see, I have no time to do anything other than take care of the littles and clean.  And that's not fun.  What IS fun is painting stuff!  I love it.  I had a whole bunch of items that I've been wanting to paint, so in the couple weeks leading up to putting our house on the market, I disappeared into the basement for a few hours at a time and painted stuff! 

I unfortunately forgot to take before pictures, so it's harder to appreciate the changes, but I had our 2 bedside tables, 2 mirrors, and 1 little drawer set to paint.  Our bedside tables, or small dressers, really, were from Ikea, so I can show you this before picture from their website:

Just little plain jane pine chest of drawers.  They've been sitting by our bed, all naked and waiting to be painted for the past 4 years.  These are the RAST chests that only cost $34.99 each!  Did I ever mention I love Ikea?  I do.  So I got some primer and turquoise paint and slapped it on.  Well, I painted it on.  Then I sanded it down a little to give a slightly weathered look and so they didn't scream I'VE JUST BEEN PAINTED!!  And I changed the pulls to something just a little more exciting.

Much better.  They look cute next to our grey and yellow bedspread.

I painted a big mirror the same color to go with the dressers, but I just dry brushed the paint over the primer so it wasn't too matchy-matchy.

The mirror was formerly GOLD and was sitting in our basement.  I like gold okay, but we already have a huge antique gold mirror, so I wanted this one to be a different color.  Same story with a smaller mirror we have in Rowan's room.  It was GOLD, also.  This one I did a soft minty green to match her room better.

It's a sweet color with the pinks in her room.  And that Madonna and Child picture hung above my crib as a baby! 

The last thing I painted was a little bit of an afterthought, and it didn't turn out too awesome.  We have a little 2 drawer chest sitting on a built in shelf in our bathroom, but it was just boring brown.  I thought I'd use the same green as Rowan's mirror and then stencil a design over it on just the insets of the drawers. 

As you can see, I didn't tape it very well and the paint bled.  I was trying to get it done quickly and didn't take enough time on getting it all taped.  Oh well!  I matched the yellow in the design to the yellow in the bathroom.  It would have been cuter if I had taped better.  My mom made that ship quilt square in the frame.  Isn't it pretty? 

I've been looking at all our furniture with new eyes, thinking about what I color I could paint everything.  But Brian loves the look of natural wood.  My love of that shabby chic look can really butt up against his love of everything mission.  I also like mission style, but like to mix styles and eras.  We do not own one furniture "set" in our whole house because I think it's more interesting to mix.  It's probably because my parent's furniture never matched and was all bought at antique stores, auctions, or handed down through the family.  If it were up to Brian, our house would look like Frank Lloyd Wright lived there.  Heck, if we could afford it, I guess I wouldn't mind too much!

But for now I'll buy our cheap Ikea furniture and paint it whatever color my little heart desires.

*linking to shabby chic cottage

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

when you have sand in your cracks...

You know you've had a good time at the beach!  This past weekend, our friends from Indianapolis came and stayed with us at my parent's house so we could have a trip to the beach.  My parents live right on the edge of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, so I grew up eating picnics on the beach, swimming in icy waters, and building elaborate sandcastles.  So of course subjecting my own children to the icy waters is now a family tradition!  We took Rowan last summer when she was just a couple months old.  She did a lot of crying while Fletcher swam and splashed.  When we took her earlier this summer, we thought she'd happily splash and play in the sand.  But, uh, no.  She was really indignant when the sand stuck to her hands, and then when she put her hands in her mouth... well, she was all, THERE IS FUCKING SAND IN MY MOUTH, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.  Except she doesn't curse yet.  But if she did then we'd have REALLY heard about it when we put her in the near-arctic waters of Lake Michigan!  Oh, the lamenting and hollering was just far above and beyond her normal lamenting and hollering. 

Long story short, we left her at home this time with my parents.  My really, really awesome parents!  Fletcher shares our masochistic love of the beach, though. 

He doesn't even mind the sand in his cracks!  We also got pretty good views of the Gary Airshow without being in mortal danger from actually BEING in Gary. 

Our friend's son, Alex, shared Fletcher's love of the beach.  He is 3 weeks younger than Rowan, but seems to have a better opinion of all the sand and water.

Our friends, Marcus and Kelly, brought lunch for us all.  Including drinks.  But of course that is not an alcoholic drink in Marcus's pitcher.  It is not allowed at the beach.  So, it's probably juice or something.  But not alcohol.  Cause we follow all rules.

Nothing sexier than a man carrying a cooler towards ME.  I like.

We did a lot of playing in the water, and pointing out planes to Fletcher.  He would hear them, but not know where to look.  It was an exercise in frustration at some points.

And once you get used to that ice cold water, it starts feeling almost nice.  Almost.

Once we were all completely worn out, we went back to a really nice dinner at my parent's.  Did I mention that they are awesome?  Thank you, mom and dad for your hospitality! 

Alex is pretty much adorable.

Doesn't get much more adorable than that.  Of course Rowan and Alex together, well, that's almost too adorable for my eyes.

There was a lot of  HEY, THAT'S MINE!  When they played together.  But I think Rowan's just jealous of Alex's full head of hair.  Her baldness is a sensitive subject.  Not to mention the fact that he is WALKING.  Hello, Rowan?  WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WALK, ALREADY?? 

Thank you, Kelly and Marcus for making the trip up!  Hope you enjoyed the beach, and hope that you've gotten rid of all the sand in your cracks by now.

p.s. Thanks AGAIN, mom and dad!  We appreciate your bed and breakfast by the lake! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

i heart faces: props

Our bathroom's prop: the clawfoot tub.  Rowan enjoys her baths!  She's a waterbaby.  Go see more cool prop photos at i heart faces!

Friday, July 15, 2011

the things he says

Having a 3 year old is infinitely entertaining.  Here are some nuggets of Fletchisms over the past few weeks.

1.  I have nipples on my head! 
2. Do you smell that poop?  That is baby Rowan.  It is not me.
3. You broke my heart. (after I scolded him for using the word "stupid")
4. I want to see where Papa lives! 
5. Why do you let Papa sleep in your bed?
6. I want my room in the new house to be PINK!  I want the new house to be PINK, too!!!
7. What is that sound?  It is SCARING ME! (it was the trash liner in his garbage can crinkling)
8. You have antennas up here! (while patting my head)

And here's a little 3 year old logic for you.
Fletcher: Let's go to the neighbor's house and play with their toys!
Me: We can't because we weren't invited.
Fletcher: We can knock on the door!
Me: No, we shouldn't because they are sleeping.
Fletcher: We will play really quietly and not wake them up.
Me: Uh, no...
Fletcher: Why not?
Me: Um, they lock the door when they are sleeping!  So we couldn't get in.
Fletcher: We can knock on the door!

Seriously.  We could have conversations like this for hours.