So, I was on the treadmill the other day literally laughing out loud. I had downloaded a recent episode of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and am now officially the biggest geek I know. Just to be clear--we don't own a treadmill. I was at the gym. With several other people around.
Now I'm laughing out loud again, this time reading my new friend Stacey's post about her efforts to potty train two of her three young children. No blog makes me nearly pee my own pants as often as Stacey's does. The map of her house below indicates where her kids have had potty accidents, among other misadventures. She updates it daily. Need I say more?
For $1, who cares? (Except for the fire hazard part. That would suck.)
There's an estate sale in the neighborhood today, and the girls and I nabbed these plastic Christmas lights. You insert a string of tree lights in the back of the eight little houses and the church. I have no idea when they were made. '60s? '70s? Anyone? Anyone?
I keep forgetting to mention that I didn't get the Ohdeedoh gig.
Just to recap, I was one of four finalists to be one of their regular bloggers. We all submitted sample posts that Ohdeedoh ran over the course of a few weeks. People seemed to like my how-to project, but I'm guessing the tour of Bo and Magpie's rooms sealed my fate. I knew it was going to be a little too country and not enough rock-n-roll for Ohdeedoh. We're going for a modern look in our house, but the girls' rooms are very artsy craftsy because, well, I'd rather spend money on a Barcelona chair for the living room than a gajillion-dollar crib that's only going to last a few years. Not that I've bought that Barcelona chair yet ... did I mention I'm a cheap SOB?
More than anything, Tammy, the blogger who got the job, did really well. I knew after her first sample post I was in trouble. Those darned lit majors. They're so stinkin' witty.
Que sera. If nothing else, the whole thing got me even more addicted to Ohdeedoh than I was. I really love their emphasis on living small and simply. We could yammer on about how it's nice to be able to choose to live simply (and buy really expensive products to help us do so), when there are plenty of people who live simply because they have to. But, truly, it's a great site full of interesting parenting discussions and beautifully designed goods. It was an honor (and a shock) to be chosen as a finalist for the job. Thanks so much to everyone who cruised over there and supported my posts.
Here's a photo re-cap of the nursery tour that (I'm pretty sure) tanked me:
Our wee garden is under construction. That's right. I ordered the wee garden kit that I gushed about a couple of weeks ago.
What you see in the photos below is more than what you get from the kit. I embellished it with some items from the toy store (animals) and craft shop (house and birds nests).
We're giving it to Bo half baked for her birthday, so she can get the idea of what it's all about when she first sees it but still be able to do whatever she wants with it. The fixtures are loosely situated, so she can easily move them. I'll transplant some greenery, but I think I'll take her to a nursery after her birthday so she can pick out some mini plants to add to it.
We'll have to collect more miniatures from Wee Garden as we go. The additions from the local stores aren't as charming as the little wheelbarrow, chair and watering can that came with the kit, but they were a cheaper way to fill the space a bit.
I placed my lens cap in the bottom photo so you could get an idea of the size of the garden.
This is my favorite way to buy some "me time" in the middle of the day (me time, so I can make dinner for everyone else):
-Fill a roasting pan halfway with water.
-Set it on some towels on the kitchen floor.
-Get the kids naked.
-Throw in some sippy cups and other small containers.
-Ommmmm yourself silly for a good 20 minutes.
Yes, it makes a big splashy mess, but it's just water. I just rub the towels around after and consider it one less floor to mop. So, really, I'm multitasking.
My book club's monthly meeting was held at our house tonight, so I thought I'd share a couple recipes for some of the snacks I made.
I always mean to match the food to the book when I host, but I never get clever enough in time. We discussed "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson tonight (excellent) and chose "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan for next time (can't wait).
One recipe below is for an almond cake that my friend Jovanka made for a play date last week. It reminds me of the pistachio cookies I used to get all the time in Boston in the North End. Tony Soprano had his cannolis. I have my pistachio cookies. Oh, Tony. Where are you now? Still in the diner? I miss you.
The second recipe is for Bleu Ribbon Dip. People go bonkers for this one whenever I bring it to a party. It's from the Junior League of Spokane's first cookbook, Gold'n Delicious. I had to cut a few corners tonight, so the photo might not jive with the recipe (i.e., I used green onions instead of red).
Easy Almond Cake
Sunset magazine, May 2008
Makes 16 servings
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Spray two 9-in. pie pans with cooking oil. Divide batter evenly between pans and sprinkle each with half of the almonds. Bake until light brown around edges, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Twist: Layer Them. To quickly transform these modest cakes into showpieces, use a serrated knife to carefully slice each cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Whip 4 cups heavy cream with 1 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread each bottom layer with 1 cup of the whipped cream and sprinkle with fresh raspberries. Add top layers and spread with remaining whipped cream; top with more raspberries. (If you only want to layer 1 of the cakes, just halve the amounts here.)
Bleu Ribbon Dip
Makes 8 servings
8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil (I use a lot more than that because I like it runny)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all the ingredients and spread into a shallow dish. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 2 days. Serve with baguette slices, crackers, or fresh vegetables.
For one reason or another, Magpie hasn't been a great nurser the last few days, and I'm wondering if she's trying to say bye bye to the boobies.
I've always been a part-time nurser, with both girls. In the beginnings, I try for their milk to be 100 percent mama, but after a week or two of screaming, hungry babies, I cave and there I am shaking up a bottle of formula to top them off. J jokes that I produce diet breast milk since it only fulfills them for about half an hour.
But It's a slippery slope from there, and I go from 80 percent breast milk to 60 to 40 to where I am now, eight months later with Magpie, where she's just nursing at night and in the morning.
I'm sure my supply has tapered off to a pretty dismal amount, and Miss Mags seemed angry at the breast this weekend. Pulling off. Looking around as if to say, Now where did I misplace that darn bottle, that easy-flowing liquid of joy?
So throughout today I wondered if this was going to be the end of it. I thought it would be. But I can't. Why? I don't know.
It's not the guilt. I'm used to the dirty looks I get from women when I pull out the formula can in public.
I think it's more biological than that. Knowing that this is absolutely the healthiest thing I can give her, even if I'm just giving her a bit. And, I'm not a natural at this part of motherhood, but an inexplicable sense of purpose washes over you when you look down and see your child's face go soft, eyes closed, jaw gently tugging as she drinks.
(As a side note, I read a really horrible book this spring called "The Senator's Wife," by Sue Miller. In a key scene, the author sexualizes breast feeding. The only conclusion I came to was that Sue Miller must never have breast fed her kids, because nothing makes you feel less sexy than nursing. It was ridiculous.)
So tonight after I nursed Magpie--then topped her off with a bottle--I rummaged through the cupboard for my jar of fenugreek, an herbal supplement that improves my milk flow and makes my armpits smell like maple syrup. I chased a few down with about a gallon of water and plan to pull out the pump a little later.
Magpie might think she is, but I'm just not ready yet.