Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Surviving Three in Three

So my sister-in-law just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy...her third in a little more than as many years.  Both of the Mommies, Esquire had three babies in three and a half years.  And have lived to tell about it ("live" being a relative term of course).

I posted on my sis-in-law's facebook page the other day that I would offer advice but I honestly don't remember much of those first days/weeks/months home after number three's arrival.  I'm still suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

So I went back to my old blog and found my first entry after coming home with Thing Three.  It made me laugh.  And gave me flashbacks.  And sent me back to corner rocking back and forth chanting I Will Survive.

Until I realized that....I did!

Thought you might enjoy this little trip down memory lane with me....

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2007

Welcome to the Jungle

Didn't think I'd have a spare second to blog again for another 3 years but a small window has opened up and I wanted to share about our homecoming. First of all, the nurse came into my room yesterday morning and cheerfully said "You ready to go home? We can discharge you anytime this morning." I burst into tears. I looked at my tray of food they had just brought me, Regis and Kelly on the TV, and the trail of the bassinet as the nursery was taking him back until the next feeding. Can I get a late checkout, I asked? We managed to stay until lunch.

We walked in the door of the house, with a screaming hungry baby. I immediately took him into our room to feed him but forgot to lock the doors and push chairs under them to keep everyone out. Within moments of settling down to nurse my newborn as I'd done the past 2 days, William came rushing in, then Catherine after him, and then Psycho Dog. They all jumped up on the bed and William started showing me his new new trick, which was doing summersaults across the bed and landing with his feet in Stuart's face. Catherine kept patting the baby on the head, yelling over and over "sweet baby." And Psycho Dog was trying to dig out a spot under the pillow on which the baby was resting his head.

Oh Lord....hep me, hep me please.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Desperately Seeking Hazel...Or Alice

So I have a sweet girl who cleans my disaster of a house every other week.  We can do a lot of damage in the 13 days she isn't here.

A day or so before she comes I usually break out in a cold sweat.  Because my house is a wreck.  A dirty, stinkin' wreck.  Like pigs have been camping out.  It's just embarrassing.  So I start getting ready for her at least 24 hours prior to her arrival.

I start cleaning.


Seriously!  I start cleaning my house.  Because I don't want her to see how we really live.  Like pigs.

Not only do I start cleaning to get ready for her to get here and start cleaning, but I usually meet her at the door apologizing because our house is such a wreck.


But she can't understand me because she doesn't speak English.  So I say it slowwwwwly....and if she is deaf.


To which she sweetly laughs and goes about her business of trying to put us back together again for another two weeks.

What I really need is a Hazel.  Or an Alice.  To follow us around with a vacuum cleaner and a toxic waste disposal container and keep us straight.  And grocery shop.  And cook.   And run errands and keep us stocked up on toilet paper and toothpaste.  And help discipline the children.  And do flashcards and math drills.  And feed the dog.  Oh the poor dog.  Don't even get me started....

Forget the housekeeper.

What I really need is a wife.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Celebrity Email!

Check it out, y'all.

I got an email from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve...Mr. Ben s. (lowercase) Bernanke himself!

I am a little confused though because (a) I really don't know Mr. Bernanke well enough for him to call me "dear", (b) I have no idea what I will do with 10.5 million dollars once I send all my personal information to him and (c) the return email address is .

AOL?  Not GOV?

Maybe Gladysnroyp is his pet name?  I dunno.

Am a little disappointed though.  Would have thought someone in Mr. Bernanke's position would at least know when and how to use capital letters, proper verb tense and punctuation.  Not to mention avoid run-on sentences.


Guess he wasn't homeschooled. it is!  I think I will frame it.  After I cash the check.  First things first you know.

U.s bank Federal Reserve board

Address: 33, Liberty Street, new York, NY 10038

Contract fund credit from bank federal reserve board.

Attn: valued fund beneficiary,

my dear, this is to notify you today dated 19th June, 2010 that we received a valued amount of fund to credit instruction from the federal government of Nigeria bank by (cbn) to credit your account with your full inheritance fund sum of us$10.5million from the Nigerian federal reserve account with our bank federal reserve board in new York.

However, what we required from you is your full banking details where you want your fund to be transferred.

{1}. your full name and address:

{2}. your telephone or cell phone, and fax number

for easy communication:

{3). your bank name and address:

{4). your a/c name and numbers:

(5). your swift code / routing numbers:

(6). your occupation:

(7). your id or international passport copy.

(8). your alternative email:

Be informed that transfer will commence immediately we hear from you with the account information. Once more, bank federal reserve board will not hesitate to credit your account within 24hours in accordance with fund

Release order regulations.

Your immediate response is highly needed to enable us commence for the transfer.

Thanks for banking with Federal Reserve Bank while we looking forward to serving you better.

Congratulation to your inheritance fund!

Thanks and god bless you.

Best regards,

Mr. Ben s. bernanke


Federal Reserve Bank New York.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some of our latest favorite things!

Says Julie:

~When I was in New York a few weeks ago I happened upon the most delightful little french bath shop in Greenwich Village.  They had a lovely sink in the middle of the store where you could sample some of the products.  After traipsing up and down the streets of the Big Apple all day and riding the fluway all over the city , my tired germ infested hands welcomed the chance for a scrub down and lotion application.

Oh.  My. Goodness.

My hands felt like buttah.  And I smelled so good when I walked out of there I'm surprised I didn't get a few marriage proposals as I made my way down the street.

I couldn't leave that place without going broke bringing some of the magic home with me.

~My next favorite new thing is this darling little stack of retro flash cards I ordered from Pretty Little Studio.  They have the cutest collection of flash cards, tags, labels, etc.  Since we are learning our ABC's in homeschool kindergarten, and since I will be drilling these cards with my darling five-year-old ad nauseum,  I wanted something that makes me happy.

And Isabel Ironing her Shirt for "I" makes me very happy for some reason.

Hey, when you're homeschooling you try to find your zen wherever you can.

~Artisan bread in five minutes a day!

Liberty, one of our BFF's over at 16 Balls in the Air, told me that making homemade bread this way was easier than throwing everything in my bread machine and flipping a switch.  Yeah.  Ok.  What....ever.

I felt brave and homestead-ish one day and decided to try it.

And guess what?  She was right!  And it's delicious!  And my house smells like a Sunbeam bakery.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about...check it out here.   And get busy bakin' y'all!   You know you knead some homemade bread.

Sorry.  Couldn't resist.

~My new 50mm/1.8 lens for my camera!

I have been wanting this little lens for a year now and never could bring myself to buy it for myself.   It's not that it's very expensive (in fact...for the's really a bargain!).  It's just that I suppose I'd rather spend all my money on bath salts.  So I hoped that someone would pick up on one of the hints I've been dropping for months now and buy it for me.

And he did!  The man really does listen to me!  In fact, he gave it to me sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane for New York.  So I immediately replaced my old lens with my new one and snapped this picture.  Because I was excited.  And because he's so handsome.

But I guess I was too excited to hold still so it turned out blurry.

I had calmed down a little a few days later and snapped this one of the same cute guy.  My camera likes him a lot!


Says Kim: 

My favorite things?  Well, here they no particular order:

Mary Jane's Farm Magazine:  I anticipate the arrival of the this magazine with the same excitement that my grandmother used to talk about her excitement over the arrival of the Sears catalog when she was a girl.  I love this magazine.  It is pure eye candy for the lovers of all things organic and agregarian.  I want to live out on a farm like Mary Jane Butters and decorate my old farmhouse with flea market finds and primitive furniture.   I sent Julie a year subscription for her birthday.  It's so good that I knew she'd love it like I do. 

Good Instructional Art Books for Children likeDrawing with Children by Mona Brookes and Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn F. Kohl & Kim Solga

I can't emphasize enough how important I think learning to create with purpose is to a child.  My boys like learning how to actually draw things, people, animals.   They also like to know about artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Degas, Matisse, etc.   These are two books that I cannot live without.  I love them!

Candles:  I cannot live in a home without candles.   Maybe it's my Episcopal upbringing...all that candlelight and incense.  I don't know.  I adore burning them day and night.  What kind do I favor?  Easy.  Trapp Candle #13 - Bob's Flower Shop.  Yankee Candles -  Sparkling Lemon or Lavender.  Target brand candles - Lavender.  Soy Candles - Lavender.  See a pattern, here? 

Kiss My Face Lotion:   I adore this lotion in the hippiest of all scents....Peaceful Patchouli.  Yes, I like the hippy dippy smell of patchouli.  I'm probably the only person born after 1969 that likes that smell and actually takes a big whiff when I walk into a health food store.  This lotion is the bomb.  It moisturizes my skin and I lurve it.

Good Earth Pottery:  I love pottery.  I wish I had a whole set of this stuff.  It is my dream to own a whole set of Good Earth Pottery in the Hummingbird pattern.  I can imagine setting it all out on my farmhouse table that seats 14 and having Thanksgiving turkey served on it.  It's beautiful.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cooking with Cats

So the other night I decided I was hungry for a corn and tomato bisque that I used to get at one of my favorite little cafes back home.  But I had a few problems, not the least of which were ~ (A) I didn't have the recipe and (B) I was herding cats alone so I really had no business trying to cook anything more complicated than a piece of dry toast.

But I really wanted that soup.

So I did a quick internet search and found one that I was able to adapt with what I had on hand.  And it turned out dang good.  Dang good.

Because I'm sure you will want to make this delish soup as well, and because I'm a giver....

Corn and Tomato Bisque (adapted from Food and Wine)

Gather ye ingredients while ye may:

1 large jalapeno pepper

1 TBSP white wine vinegar (or sherry wine vinegar)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 TBSP unsalted butter

1 small sweet onion (about 1 cup), chopped

3 cups frozen corn kernels or 1 pound fresh corn kernels (fresh is best but I used frozen)

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock or low sodium broth

salt/pepper to taste

2 TBSP creme fraiche (note:  I did not have any of this fancy french cream (plus I can't figure out how to put the little french accents in those words), nor would I have been able to find it anywhere within a 75 mile radius of where I live...if this were 2 TBSP of Grapico or Cheeze Whiz I might have found it at our local wally world.  But I did learn that you can make your own creme fraiche by using heavy cream and buttermilk...of which I also had neither on hand.  Therefore I used fresh whole milk and a tsp of sugar.  The end result was still fabulous so just do whatever you are able to do with this ingredient!)

4 fresh plum tomatoes (I used 3 fresh regular tomatoes), peeled, seeded and chopped

Scallion, thinly sliced

Blue cheese, crumbled


Turn on Little Einsteins to keep the toddler busy for 28 minutes and pour yerself a glass of wine (white pairs best with this soup!)

1.  Roast the jalapeno over an open flame, or under the broiler, or on top of the stove in a cast iron skillet if your oven is broken, like mine was when I made this.  Cook it 'til it's charred.  Then put it in a bowl covered with saran wrap and let it steam for about 10 minutes.  Peel, core, seed and finely chop the charred little pepper and combine with the vinegar and sugar.

Set it aside and pour another glass of wine.  Hit rewind on Little Einsteins if you can and score another 12 minutes.

2.  Melt the butter in a large stock pot.  Add the garlic and onion.  Like so.

Take a deep breath and inhale.  Mmmm.  Butter.

Sautee onion and garlic on high heat for about 10 minutes and then add the corn.   Cook, stirring constantly, for about another 5 minutes.  Add the stock and simmer for about 15 minutes until corn is soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the corn mixture to the blender.  Add the creme fraiche (or whatever you are using) and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Puree until smooth and return to pot.

Note:  I stopped taking pictures at this point because all hell was breaking loose in my house...I'd had to leave the kitchen to go wipe someone and my soup was about to burn.  Just keeping it real.

4.  Add the tomatoes and scallion to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes or until heated through.  I probably let mine simmer longer because at this point Little Einsteins was over and Stuart was rolling around in the floor at my feet, screaming and crying because....well....I guess because he's 3 and that's how he rolls.  But my point can obviously simmer longer and still taste fabulous! sure and throw that jalapeno pepper and vinegar sauce in the pot at this point.

5.  Now here's the most important step of all.  When you dip you a bowl full, you MUST....I repeat....MUST... garnish with blue cheese.   Lots of it.  And don't skimp.  I've never been more serious about anything in all my life.   It might even be the law or something.

Can you believe I did all that while dealing with all this?

Eye yi yi.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Birthday Girl

Today is our girl's 5th birthday.   She loves chocolate donuts.

I mean...she loves chocolate donuts.  So what better way to wake her up this morning?  (along with a side of cream puff).   Her whole class showed up to celebrate!

There was a homemade card.

And a few presents.

A new Barbie DVD might as well have been a little blue box with a girl's name on it (starts with a "T', ends with an apostrophe "s") filled with something sparkly.  (the only thing I can think of that would cause me to react like this).

Little brother got all hopped up on sugar and fried dough before we sent him off to preschool.  So sorry, Mrs. Teacher.

Celebrating our sweet girl today!  There's a real story behind us getting her here safe and sound five years ago.  I'll share it soon because it's kinda cool.

Just.  Like.  Her.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Turning Forty Fabulously

So I've been MIA for the past few days for a good reason.  I was kidnapped last Wednesday and transported across several state lines to....

New York City.

This is my abductor.

Good thing he is dashingly handsome.

We arrived in Manhattan sometime around noon, and since I didn't know until that morning where we were going, I had not been able to get my hair did before we left.  So while we were waiting to check in, I told Andy I wanted to "run out real quick" and see if I could find a salon that might be able to take me.  I lucked out.  About a block from the hotel was a charming little salon and they had just had a cancellation and took me right away.  Best haircut I've had since we moved.  Actually it's the only haircut I've had since we moved, but it was so good that I feel like I may need to go back every 2-3 months.  Just sayin'.


After I bopped out of the salon with my cute new do and met Andy a few blocks over, I was starving, so he suggested this one particular coffee shop that we "just had to try."  I thought it odd that out of the hundreds of coffee shops in downtown alone, we had to go to this "one."  But he was adamant.   I soon discovered why.

Our dear friends from Atlanta had arrived and needed a place to walk in and yell "surprise!"  And surprise it was.  Of the best kind.

I later learned that even though the occasion of the trip was to celebrate my birthday, it was a surprise for both of us girls....planned carefully and lovingly for months by these great guys of ours.

They planned fabulous dinners.  And after dinner entertainment just for us.

Like this:

And this:

There was food:

And treats:

Oops.  Wrong picture.


There was much laughter:

And a lot of walking.

Looking for bargains.

Molly found a purse and bought it.

I found a blouse that looked like it would be perfect for a school marm such as myself.  Fortunately for Andy and the rest of my family, I did not buy it.

When it was time to leave, I asked if we could just send for the kids and cancel our return flight.  I beg for that every time I leave New York.  One of these days it will work.

I was still in a New York state of mind when we left.

Until I walked in my house to find my final surprise....a homemade cake decorated by little hands, tons of streamers, and three of the most excited little folks jumping up and down squealing with delight because they pulled off their surprise.

If my birthday celebration is any indication....I think I'm going to like my 40's.