Valentine's Babies

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Circle Caper

Let me begin by saying this: my girl is precious. She is a sweet little lady. She is smart - like her daddy and mom - but she's also a baby. I do realize that babies are babies and there are several universal truths about babies.
Like everyone else - I get a little bored when people want to tell me their version of the "my kid is advanced" story.
I think another universal truth is that first time moms tend to spend lots of time adoring their smart babies and have a propensity toward bragging, "big fish" tales and the like. And I certainly fall right into that category.
That being said. I want to brag about her.
But I will resist. I'll just let my "new to me" camera tell you a story of an 11 month old that can't talk in sentences yet, doesn't walk without assistance - but who already has a favorite shape.
In the photos (unstaged) you'll see her own collection of circles. I totally allow her to have them - but i didn't give her any. I have a low kitchen cabinet that she likes to open. One day, I finally let her look inside. I have all sorts of rectangular small cutting boards, square Tupperware and lids, etc. But miss Lilypants carefully selected each circle - then she kept herself gleefully busy for about a half hour playing circles on the big checkerboard kitchen floor. Now we've made a little circle game that we play for (literally) hours of our days. Mostly because it's fun for both of us. I like checkers. But I never thought she'd be teaching me to play.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Requested Recipe: Roasty Toasty Sweetie Pots

For my good friend Dawn - and all you other hot momma's!

2 big organic sweet potatoes
1 big sweet onion
about 6 large baby bella mushrooms
coarse sea salt
Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (or your own savory blend)

chop the potatoes as quickly as you can. don't peel them or cube them. just use a knife or food chopper and break them down a bit.

quarter the onion and then chop it a little.

toss that all into a pan with some oil or butter and a couple tablespoons of water.
don't mess with it for a while. just cover and let it sit for around 3 minutes over medium heat.
then stir it and whatnot.
wait for the potatoes to soften a little and the onions to cook down. that should be around 5 more minutes or so.
then quarter or slice your shrooms and put them in.
DO NOT SALT ANYTHING UNTIL THE SHROOMS ARE DONE. doing so will make your mushrooms hold moisture and get rubbery.
when the shrooms are cooked in (1-2 minutes or the way you like them) load that baby up with some savory seasonings (garlic & chives work well) and a bit of sea salt.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mr. Mommy

Today is my first, official Mother's Day.
I'm loving every second.

Since 12:01am - I haven't changed a single diaper.

This morning, Adam helped me make a huge breakfast and a friend of ours come over to share with us. Adam prepared our favorite breakfast side: roasted sweet potatoes with onions, baby bella mushrooms and a special savory seasoning blend. Its a dish Lily and I like to call "Roasty Toasty Sweetie Pots." And if you know Adam - you'll immediately be impressed that he overcame his kitchen-o-phobia to prepare the dish. This was his first time slicing mushrooms. (Don't tell him - but I think he might have made the sweetie pots better than I do.) Anyway - I made chicken sausage and eggs, sliced avocado, we made banana-cherry muffins, hamsteak for our friend, old fashioned oatmeal, French Roast coffee and also a new drink - fresh squeezed orange & lime juice spritzers (recipe to follow post). It was a fantastic spread. Breakfast is always my favorite meal. We all ate together. Lily had some avocado and muffin. Good conversation & good times. Our friend brought us the Sunday paper. The boys read on the couch after breakfast and I put Lily down for a nap. House got quiet. Friend went home. Adam went out. And I took a "Happy First Mother's Day" phonecall (from Adam's big sister.) Within minutes - Mr. Mommy was sneaking in the back door with the tallest and prettiest Rubrum Lily plant that I've ever seen. For me. Then he gave me the sweetest card and told me not to wash one dish. (I'm pretty sure we dirtied every dish that we own.) Adam is napping next to Lily Ann and I'm about to plunge into a hot bath with three drops of calming ylang-ylang oil in it.
It is 10:30am now and I can't imagine one more ounce of goodness could fit into my first Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day to you and yours too!
Fresh Squeezed Orange & Lime Spritzer
1 c. fresh squeezed OJ
2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 c. sparkling mineral water (to taste).
Combine & serve over ice in pretty glasses.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Giving up an old toy

Well - it's been a tough decision. But I'm confident it is the right one - for now.

When Lily was just a tiny baby - she wasn't scared of anything. We have two big loud dogs that live near us - they barked big at her and she leaned in closer. I like to hammer things and Adam likes to vacuum. Didn't phase her. Nothing scared her. None of my kitchen gadgets. Until last week.

My immersion blender. Actually, my second (upgraded) immersion blender. The one I got for my 30th birthday. The one that the pros use. The one that replaced my tried & true, worn, motor burnt Braun model (sweetly handed down to me from our late dear Aunt Ellen). I practically use it every day. It is the one gadget that replaces three (food processor, blender, magic bullet). And it is better, easier to use and more efficient than any of them.

I had used it one day - no problems. Lily just played in the kitchen floor like always. Next day - the moment I pressed power. I heard a scream and a new cry from her. I knew - without even turning around that it was the scream of terror. Of course I stopped and picked her up. She cried for a while. Then I reassured her and took her over to the blender; let her touch it and then tried to use it again when I was sure she was deep into her playtoys. Same thing. I felt awful for putting her through it again.

Tonight, I was prepping some stuff for our Sunday breakfast. Lily was playing really well and I thought maybe it was a last week thing. Same sad story. This time I really felt like a brut. I shouldn't have even tried again. But I'm not all that efficient at pulverizing frozen blueberries by hand. I quit right away and, this time - when I picked her up - she looked at the blender like it was a monster. She lurched backward - almost backbending over my shoulder as if the blueberry mutilator might get her next.
And that was the end.
I really hope I can use it someday again. But for now, and for the next few weeks or months - my immersion blender is put up in a high cabinet unless my sweet Lily girl is out with her daddy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Buying Extra Bananas

Lately, I've been resolve to re-establishing my own persona. I'm Adam's Wife and Lily's Mom. But I'm also Amanda.

In the past year my focus has been on my new title of Mom and my current role as Wife. I think that has been an appropriate focus. I will continue to focus on those priorities for the rest of my life. But it is also good for me to remember that I am more than just a wife and mom. I am Amanda. There are things that I love to do; things that excite me; things that make me all teary-eyed, things that give me goosebumps; things that really irk me and things that give me peace.

I've started doing little things again. Little things that I didn't think I'd have time for - with a crawler. I'm baking again. Making herbal tea blends and home-made hand lotion. I'm sending cards and handwritten letters. Making gifts for my friends by hand. I'm finding my passions again. I just finished a great book about food (The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan). Earlier today, during Lily's naptime - a time that I normally spend cleaning, bill-paying or washing diapers - I prayed and then sat in quiet with God. I'm just making time to still be Amanda. I'm making time for the things that enrich my soul and make my life more enjoyable.

It is really easy to put household chores and my all important "to do" list in front of any number of these little fun things. So I've been buying extra bananas. That way - when they turn brown because there are too many for us to eat - I have no choice but to bake some fresh banana bread. Recently, I found a recipe for chocolate banana bread. Fantastic.

Merry Christmas!

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