Archive for August, 2009

August 28, 2009

cheap thrills

there is nothing better than a tea party with my favorite hostess with the mostess.

it was only after taking this picture that i realized my daughter is a walking cliché of suburban liberal hippie parenting: dirty faced and barefoot, wearing a gay pride t-shirt while her cloth diapers dry in the sunshine, playing with toys crafted of recycled milk jugs. awesome.
August 20, 2009

the daily DIY

i was inspired by a cool piece of art i found online here, but because i’m cheap and fancy myself to be a crafty little devil i tried to make it myself.

the original…

and my copy…
it’s hanging on my living room wall, and looks kind of bare….maybe it needs a little something to snazz it up a bit. or maybe not. i kind of like the simplicity of it.
the online site is selling it for 170 pounds, which at the current exchange rate is about 282 dollars. (thank you, google). i spent about $15 to make my own version. i bought two planks of precut birch plywood at hobby lobby. i’m sure i could have bought cheaper wood at home depot, but that would have required measuring and cutting, this was a much simpler alternative and it guaranteed me that the two pieces would be the same size. i’m not certain that i would have gotten that same guarantee had my husband been manning the table saw. a bit of black spray paint, some letter stencils (lowercase, natch, as i am obviously averse to capitalization), gold acrylic paint, and a few eye hooks. done. not too bad, if i do say so myself.
coming up…DIY curtain panels for my daughter’s room, modeled after pottery barn kids. but cheaper. they’re done and they’re cute, and they were a fraction of the cost. stay tuned!
August 18, 2009

she ain’t pretty, but she’s all mine

if there were a cash for clunkers program for sewing machines this little gem would be worth its weight in gold. i know a lot of the new models out there are super cool, full of whizbang awesome features that embroider monograms with a push of a button, automatically sew button holes, and probably make wicked capuccino…this is certainly not one of those. the new machines are thoroughbreds, the race horses of the sewing world. this old gal is the workhorse, the old nag. sure, she’s been around the farm a few times but she has a lot of life left in her yet before the glue factory comes calling.

the users manual that came with her says that she was purchased at the sears & roebuck in oakland, ca in december of 1977. for those of you playing along at home, that means that this beauty is as old as i am. she was given to me by a friend who inherited it her from the mother of another friend who was giving away all her worldly possessions before a move to thailand, or maybe indonesia, or somewhere else really far away, thus prohibiting the relocation of an 80 pound sewing machine.
she might not be pretty, but she works like a champ. she’s actually very similar to the machine i learned to sew on when i was a girl; my mom’s old singer that she got for her high school graduation in 1964. incidentally, my mom still has that sewing machine and it still works just fine. a few months ago i opened up the outer case to oil the inner workings. this gal is solid! all metal, nary a piece of made in china plastic to be found. i imagine that with the proper care, i will be teaching my daughter to sew on this same machine in a few years and it will still work just perfectly. maybe someday i’ll invest in one of those newfangled fancy thingamajigs with the whatnots and the buttons, that is, if i ever learn to sew more than just a simple straight line.
August 16, 2009

the weekend kitchen

banana bread, because i have 18 billion blackened bananas in the freezer

strawberry blueberry cake, because happy hour with friends is better with dessert
and tonight i made tomato-mozzarella bruschetta and a salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and pecans. but i was too busy drinking wine to take a picture.
August 12, 2009

cheap thrills

my daughter, my dog, and i ran in the sprinklers at the park today until we were soaked to the bone. our shrieking peals of laughter, hers and my own, were enough to draw attention from other park-goers, and probably made them question my sensibility. their curious stares made me question their vivacity.

August 11, 2009

missing: one perfectly intact sense of sanity

we’ve been on a bit of an organizing spree around here – purging junk, cleaning out closets, putting stuff into storage. my husband was taking large bins of too-small baby clothes out to the garage to store in the attic space above the rafters. when he got to the bin containing maternity clothes, i told him to stop. “i’ll store that bin inside somewhere, in case we need it sooner rather than later.” the Me of about three months ago – the Me that was feeling certain that we were going to be the one-and-done kind of procreaters – just shrieked “do you KNOW what you just said?!”and then promptly she lay down and died.

in recent months i have transformed my thoughts on having a second child from no way, no how! you must be crazy to want another child, to okay, let’s just see what happens. if we get pregnant, great. if not, no big deal, to the point i’m at now which is more like, “honey, you know i’m no biologist but i think i’m ovulating (did you know there’s an app for that?) so get on over here and hop on this.” clearly, i win high marks in the romance department, probably not so much in the tact department. i am clearly failing in the sanity department, but i am really excited, actually, to see where this journey takes us. hopefully we have an easy road to conception, an easy pregnancy, and an easy, healthy baby who sleeps 10 hours a night and takes two 3-hour naps a day, rarely fusses, eats like a champ, and is potty trained upon exiting the womb.
August 10, 2009

fingers crossed that this is just a phase

i’m a firm believer in using positive reinforcement to influence a positive change in behavior. i don’t believe in spanking, yelling, or other sort of punitive physical or emotional punishment, though after the shit my kid has been pulling lately i can totally understand how some parents end up at that place.

we’ve been using timeout with her and it works to stop the negative behavior in the moment, but i want to teach her make good behavior choices; to set herself up for success by earning rewards for good behavior instead of receiving punishments for bad behavior. besides, timeout is hard on all of us when out in public, which is where most of her outbursts are occurring these days.
after a rough couple weeks, culminating in a public tantrum to end all tantrums, i’ve decided to implement a simple reward system for the kiddo. i’ve created zillions of star charts for kids in my past life as a child & family therapist. typically, with the population i worked with most frequently, our target behaviors were more along the lines of “don’t set the cat on fire” and “no threatening my classmates.” our target behaviors will be much simpler, more age appropriate, and specific to the behaviors we’re struggling with as parents of a willful toddler.
it will look something like this:
the language we’re using (use nice hands, make good choices etc.) is very familiar to her as we’ve been using those words with her since before she could understand what they meant. now she can fully understand what we’re asking of her but her willful two-year old personality and lack of impulse control to reign in her behavior has left us looking for a more workable solution. the bruise on my left cheekbone (from a hurled nalgene sippy bottle) and the scratches on my neck (from fingernails on definitively not nice hands) are proof that our discipline strategy needs a boost. she’s wearing me out and she’s still 12 days from her 2nd birthday. how much more terrible can The Twos get? again, please don’t answer that question.
so, wish us luck. i’ll keep you posted.
August 8, 2009

so this is what crow tastes like

remember that time (was it only yesterday?) when i was crowing about how awesome i am at motherhood? well, BWAHAHAHAAA and HAAA HAAA. today totally screwed that whole notion.

i decided at 10:45 that i should go to the gym for an 11:45 class. the gym is half an hour away, so rush rush rush. YESSSSSSSS! i will work out! i will be physical! this will energize me to tackle the rest of the day! i drove to the gym and hit every single red light on the way. stressssssssss! and then the parking lot was full. suckkkkkkkkk! and then the daycare was packed. oh nooooooooooo! and the class was at capacity. dammmmmmmmnnnn! so i left. and drove another half hour through midday traffic (::stabs self and other drivers in fit of rage::) to take my daughter to the park instead.
but wait….it gets better. we’re about a minute from the park and i hear my kiddo say “ewwww, yuck! sticky!” from the back seat. “hmmm,” i think. “i wonder what she is talking about.” and then BLAMMO.
note to parents: blueberries and yogurt do not smell good when they are regurgitated. especially after three hours of digestion. and most definitely not on a 90-degree day.
holy, lord. and guess what? of course i don’t have any extra weather-appropriate clothes in the car. here, kid, put on this fleece jacket and sweatpants. mama needs to run to target to buy you some non-puke stained clothes.
of course, since this is a gold medal sort of day, her lovies puppy and blankie were soaked in purple blueberry retch so they had to be laundered before she could sleep, delaying nap time by a good two hours, in which my sweet-hearted toddler became a raging mess of toddler-tude, and i may or may not have snapped at her to “just stop hitting me for the love of god i am going to sell you to the gypsies if you don’t cut it the fuck out!” certainly not my crowning moment as a mom. but you can sympathize, right? right?!!
and now i may or may not be buzzing on half a bottle of sauvingnon blanc and a delicious vodka limeade cocktail, and am most definitely be praying that tomorrow is a better day.
August 7, 2009

culinary challenge #1: homemade wheat bread

i’ve been wanting to bake our own bread for some time now. i’ve mastered cinnamon rolls and pizza dough (two other yeast breads) i figured that it couldn’t be too hard to make regular whole wheat bread from scratch. and guess what… success! i used the recipe for quick rising white bread from the joy of cooking, and made their suggested modifications to make a tasty wheat bread.

from start to finish it was a long process because there are two periods of rising time (of an hour to an hour-and-a-half) needed. the actual hands-on prep time is quick and easy, and kneading the large mass of dough is a great work out for your arms, upper back, and abs. makes up for the fact that this mama was too tired to hit the treadmill today after her daughter’s early wake up scream this morning.

the ingredients are simple and few: active dry yeast, water, flour, melted butter, salt, sugar. i think that was is. and the actual preparation is quite basic. the waiting really is the hardest part, if you’re like me and addicted to baked goods. fresh bread hot out of the oven is one of my weaknesses, so the rising time was dreadful, and the baking time even more torturous still as i could smell the warm, comforting scent of bread wafting throughout the house. and then the cooling and waiting. GAH! deathly! i see mah bread, i wants to eat mah bread. gimme mah bread!

then…..ooooHHHOoooo. totally worth the wait. spread with a little butter and some fresh local star thistle honey i bought at the farmer’s market last weekend. to! die! for! i’m giving myself a pat on the back for kicking ass in the inagural bread baking challenge, and giving myself a pat on the tummy to soothe the bloated belly that resulted from eating a few slices…maybe many few slices. maybe almost a loaf. shhhhh. i wouldn’t want it to get stale, right?

August 7, 2009

because cereal for dinner just sucks

my husband would tell you that i am a great cook. fortunately for me, he is a man of simple tastes. seriously, you can throw a bunch of ingredients in a dish, add cheese and call it a casserole and he’s a happy camper. he’s easy to please which is just my style, but it doesn’t give me a ton of motivation to get creative in the kitchen. our meal preparation lately is probably best classified as “scavenging”, but this is something i’m hoping to improve. after all, what sort of domestic goddess allows her husband to eat cold cereal for dinner three nights in a row? (that was a hypothetical question. please, no finger pointing.) so, in an attempt to get this kitchen cooking again i’m going to tackle some new recipes, take a stab at menu planning, and challenge myself to make actual meals for my family. not only will this give me a chance to improve my skills in the kitchen, it will be better for our health, and way better for our wallets. if only i can find someone to do all the dishes after dinner….