Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Inspired, Tired

It's been very dreary weather-wise around here, so I've been avoiding the blues by trying out recipes for Thanksgiving and other holiday events. Today I made the most delicious dinner rolls from an old Family Fun recipe, here. Although I would recommend adding a bit more water to the dough, and a little less butter before the rise. And, because I've been drooling over this recipe since seeing it on Posie Gets Cozy's blog, I cooked my first Chicken Saltimbocca, which will definitely be returning to my kitchen table.

The warm oven and the bright green sage against the red of my cutting board, put me in the holiday mood:

And, in case you think my life looks like a domestic dream, here are some shots of the aftermath in the kitchen, and the DVD my dog ate while I was cooking:

Oh yeah, and the kids hated the chicken. Goodnight, inspiration is over.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Thanks

So much to be thankful for this season. Our church has an annual bread service the week before Thanksgiving. We break bread at a large communal table set in the center of the sanctuary, holding fresh loaves of bread from our homes. It is one of my favorite moments of the season, where the definitions of sharing and family are wrapped up in all this abundance at the church table. As I mull over what bread to bring this year, I'm sharing a pictorial thanks:

Monday, November 9, 2009


My little guy often gives me food for thought on the short walk to pick up his big brother from second grade. It is one of the joys of living so close to the grade school, these little snippets of time where the boys talk in easy, fluid stories. Today he found one of the last dandelions of the season. He can't resist blowing the seeds into the wind and he has always been a wish-maker of the highest order. He plucked, blew, made his silent wish and on we went. When we were at the doorstep of the school, he looks back at me and says "Mommy, after you wish, do you just let it go?" He meant the remains of the dandelion stem, but the question struck me on a much different level. Yes, what do we do after?? After we wish, after we pray, after we've done what we can do, how many of us just let it go? We can control the actions but not the outcomes, and anything less than letting go creates pain and anxiety. So my answer to the little man is "Yes, Absolutely! Make those wishes, dream those dreams, and when you've done what you can to make them come true ... just. let. them. go."

On a lighter note, you remember those little chore cards of yesterday's post, today the kidlets told me I should have a chore card to remind me to clean my stuff off the kitchen table. Like I said, parenting is humbling!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chore Card Score

I'm not really one to give parenting advice. I'm too humbled by parenting my kidlets to feel I have the answer to any parenting dilemma. But (you knew that would be followed by a BUT and me giving advice anyway, right?), I feel like I've hit upon something that folks might find vaguely useful. After reading a section on Pioneer Woman's blog, this chore card idea sounded interesting. I created cards with one chore apiece which are set out for my boys to see in the morning. After they complete a card, they put it away in a little basket. If, by the end of the day, there are no more cards out, they get a sticker. Seven stickers grants them their allowance (or seven checks b/c my oldest is way too cool for stickers).

There are two reasons I find these better than a chore chart -- pictures and flexibility. My youngest is four and he loves cards, especially ones with a good pic. I quickly scrapped these cards onto a plain index card and added a fun, cartoon picture of the chore which he could understand. He doesn't need me to remind him what job he has, I just tell him to look at his cards. The visual clue is close-up and separated from the confusion of a chart. The second score for these cards is the flexibility. Chores seem so official and set in stone on a chart. With the cards, I grab the chore I need help with, or more important, a chore the kids need to practice or focus on when it's appropriate.

These cards may fall to the wasteside, as have other well-laid plans, but for now it works, and in parenting that's all I ever ask for -- one day at a time!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Blog Happy

This is my hallelujah for blogging post. I came to blogging VERY late. I looked at my first blog only a couple years ago, and felt like someone brought me to Disneyland! What? ... there are all these interesting folks out here just writing, creating, sharing, giving, and it's free?? I don't know why I never thought to check it out before. I guess I was busy with kids, life, trying to stop my dog from chewing shoes, who knows, but now that I am in blogland I have to say it is just plain fun. I know many think it a waste of time, and I do think someday it will be added to an addiction list for rehab, but I want to share with all of you what blogs have given me, just in the last month:

-got our pumpkin carving idea from Crafty Crow
-made mini pumpkin pie bites and lollipop pies from Bakerella
-cried and reflected on posts about loss and parenthood from Sweet and Salty Kate and Catherine Newman
-found out Mr. Pie can't live without these Oatcakes
-wasted so much time playing grown-up fashionplates from Polyvore which I found through Angry Chicken just yesterday, and I rarely buy clothes.
-created chore cards for my kidlets based on this advice from Pioneer Woman. I don't homeschool, but PW is so much fun I look at every section, and this time it paid off.
-laughed very hard at WhimsyLove's tacky Christmas sweater search.

And that is just one month. Look at those verbs I used: got, made, added, cried, found, wasted, created, laughed. So to all my favorite blogs, the ones here, and to those I've yet to find, I say "THANK YOU!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Birth, Death, and the Thrills and Threats In-Between

A very busy week of Halloween activities just ended at our house. After a rather dismal week of rain and wind, the sun came out for Halloween day and it was a beautiful night for trick-or-treating. My uncle always holds a giant Halloween celebration at his place, passing out candy and much needed cups of water to more trick or treaters than you can count. It is a reminder for me every year of the sheer joy kids find in this mix of thrill and threat. They don't know what is around the corner, what scary mask or frightening noise could emanate from the next house, but they are more than willing to find out. I've tried hard in the last couple years to maintain that willing attitude for what is around each corner I turn. We are born and die in a world where no certainty exists. We walk a path with so many doors open wide -- some joyful, some horribly infested with all manner of pain. I want to approach every door as it comes, thrill or threat I want to enter willingly, because ultimately the journey is worth the fear. Hope you got a good scare and a good treat this Halloween, and take a tip from the kids, never be too afraid of that next door!