Thursday, January 31, 2013

make something

One of my New Year's resolutions was to make something once a week.  Create something with my own hands.  I can't tell you how happy I am when I am making something.  I always want to finish, finish, finish, but then when I am actually finished with my project, I feel sad that it's over.  Is that weird?  Probably.

And these somethings that I am creating every week?  Well, I am keeping some, and I am giving other somethings away.  I've already been mailing out packages with somethings in them to friends and family.  And I am definitely counting something as small as a batch of cookies sent with Brian to share at work.

We're just about to say good bye to January, and I have to tell you that making something to give to someone else has kept me happy through a dreary winter month.

So.  Check back soon, because I am going to make something for you (yes, YOU, reading this right now).  I will post soon on the details, because I really want to send you something special.  Because you're kind of awesome to just be here right now, and you have no idea how much it means to me.  You're pretty much the best ever.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the things he says part 3

I've actually been better about remembering some of the funny things Fletcher says, thanks in part to Instagram and my hash tag #fletcherisms.  I have a neat little compiling now.  I tell you, four years old is turning out to be one of my favorite ages.  Don't get me wrong, they're all pretty great so far, but some of the conversations I have with Fletcher just slay me.
He walked around yesterday with only one sock because according to him, "One of my toes got hot.  Just this one here (pointing to his little toe)."
This stick became a light saber, a pogo stick, and a walking stick in a one minute time frame.  He has some imagination, this one.
Fletcher told me yesterday that he has 5 jobs.  Here is his 5 point job plan:
1. Drive trains "No, not real ones, silly mama.  Just toys ones."
2. Share my toys with Rowan and with the kids at school
3. Love everyone
4. Play
5. Be a happy boy
 He says he runs faster if I sing/hum the theme to Superman.  Or the theme to Chariots of Fire will do in a pinch.
 He loves to tell me his dreams in great detail, and they usually include trains, vehicles, or an adventure we all went on as a family.  Once in a while he'll have a dream about zombies (why do other kids know about this to tell him at school?  At four?) but he tells me they aren't real, so I shouldn't worry.
When we say prayers at night, I try and get him to say, "God Bless" for each family member and friend we know.  But he will say, "No, no, mama.  God Bless everyone in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD."  I'm not sure if he's just trying to shorten prayer time, but it's just too sweet to me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

green tea oatmeal + blood oranges

I was never a huge fan of oatmeal as a kid.  I would eat it, it just was not my favorite by far.  But all the additions I've come to use as an adult have made me a complete convert!  I love oatmeal now, especially in the winter.  And my favorite kind by far is the steel cut oats.  So much more substance and flavor than the rolled oats for some reason.  This morning I made my usual bowl of oatmeal, but decided on an unusual twist.  I cooked the oatmeal in tea steeped hot water.  Green tea to be exact.  Constant Comment green tea to be even MORE exact.  Green tea is so very good for you, and gives you an extra jolt of caffeine.  At the end I added a whole blood orange, and drizzled it all with honey.  Simple and delicious!  Here is my easy (very easy) recipe for one serving of oatmeal.

1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
1 serving green tea
1 blood orange (or grapefruit, or clementines- any citrus will work)
1 T honey

optional milk or cream
1 serving

First boil your water, with the tea bag (or tea infuser).  Add your oatmeal, and turn the heat down to low.  Continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.  Take out the tea after the first 5 minutes.
When oatmeal is cooked, add chopped orange, drizzle with honey, and add a splash of milk or cream if you'd like.  I'm a fan of a splash of milk in mine.  That's it!  Constant Comment has a spiced orange flavor that I thought tasted wonderful in this.
Enjoy!  Breakfast is important, my friends.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

space invaders

Almost 5 years ago now, I had a grown up house.  We had precious items down on low shelves, cabinets with glass fronts, and special books laid out on side tables.  And then children happened.  I took a page from my mom's book, and put away only the most special items, and taught my children that some things are "no touch."  But it's hard to tell them not to touch books, and glass front cabinets?  Oh my heart just seized at the thought of them tumbling into one while playing.  So things got put away.  Things got tucked up on high shelves.  And our house slowly became a children's house.  Don't get me wrong, I love that the littles can play almost anywhere in our house, and I don't mind toys.  I really don't.  But some days I look around, and I feel like these little people have come into my grown up house as space invaders.  Some days I look around, and there seem to be toys EVERYWHERE.  And it's hard to find a space of my own.  Even my bedside table is currently littered with tiny little toys.
Yes, even places that are supposed to be "grown up" spaces are left with a Candy Land game.  Or Pokey the horse.
 And when I try to get organized and keep a chore calendar for our family, little fingers come by and erase it.  I haven't been able to do a chore since, ha!
I gather all the toys up, help the littles put them all away, and make some spaces "grown up" again.  But it only lasts until tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

meyer lemon sidecars

I picked up a bag of Meyer lemons last week, and we've been squeezing them into drinks, sprinkling them over salads, and just enjoying the heck out of them.  Have you tried them yet?  So tasty.  Sweeter than a normal lemon, but still tart.  So Brian asked me last week, "What else can we do with these?"  I thought about maybe making a lemon cake (right, Jo?) or maybe a lemon tart.  But then.  Then.  I had a stroke of GENIUS.  "In a SIDECAR!!!" I may have shouted back at him in excitement.  But he understands my love of the cocktail named Sidecar, which is why he completes me.

If you've never tried a Sidecar, I definitely recommend it.  It is really refreshing, curiously perfect for any season, and goes down easy.  Maybe too easy, but that's for another blog post.  And let me tell you, my suspicions were correct.  The Meyer lemons made it the BEST Sidecar I had ever had, and I have had pleeeenty of good Sidecars.

If you're in the mood for a easy and deliciously in-season cocktail, gather the following:

Meyer lemons
Cocktail shaker

For optional garnish
lemon zester

Brian is playing the mixmaster here, as he is the cocktail genius in our family.
First cut a lemon twist from the rind of one of the lemons.  No matter if it breaks apart, but try and make it as long as possible.
Now here's a trick from Brian, who is the cocktail genius.  Wrap your twist around a straw and pop it into the freezer for at least 5 minutes.  It comes out perfect and holds up well in the drink.
We did not use the lemon that Fletcher had tried to suck on, don't worry.  But he did give it a go trying to use the zester on his own lemon.
Juice your lemons.  We used our trusty Juice O' Mat to squeeze out every drop of lemony goodness.
The thing is a workhorse.  And a treasured hand me down from my grandparents.  Fill your cocktail shaker about halfway with big ice cubes.  Pour in your juice, Cointreau, and cognac at a 1:1:1 ratio.  Brian used a jigger of each, which made one cocktail at a time.
Shake your shaker until it gets frosty.
Pour out into your choice of cocktail glass.  You can serve over crushed ice, but I prefer mine without ice.
Take the lemon twists out of the freezer, unwrap them from the straw, and garnish your drinks!
Enjoy thoroughly and don't feel bad about making a second.  They really just slide right down!
 xx special thanks to Brian for doing all the work

Monday, January 21, 2013


One day last week we woke up to a world encased with ice.  Rain froze right where it dripped off branches.  Water in suspension.  The bamboo forest bowed down, their tips grazing the ground, and delicately laying across our electric line, with an unspoken threat.  We had been warned by neighbors that the bamboo forest had taken out the neighborhood electricity for 10 day during an ice storm one year.  So a call to the electric company happened, and then I was out with my camera slip sliding away.  It was like a world sprinkled with crystals, glittering and cold.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Brian has wanderlust in his soul.  I have it too, but only for so long before I long for my own bed.  I'm a home body at my core.  I just happen to also love traveling.  So Brian can't sit still when the weekend rolls around.  Even if I decree a "home" weekend to relax and get chores done, Brian will volunteer to take the kids off my hands for a few hours.  And I always agree, because I can never get too much of a quiet house.

Last weekend Brian packed the car with snacks, a change of clothes, and a Missouri map. I asked how long they were going to be gone.  And where?  He shrugged for an answer.  Kisses, hugs, and a see you later, and they were off.  They came home about 8 hours later.  Tired, happy, hungry.  And when I downloaded the pictures that Brian took, I saw that they had a beautiful adventure.  Somewhere in the Missouri wilds.
{all photos by my dear husband, Brian}
I was almost sad I missed it.  Almost.