Friday, February 26, 2010

Flashback Friday

This flashback is on the somber, teary side. It's 5 years old. It's something that has been on my mind lately.

5 years ago I was a newlywed wife, newly pregnant, newly grieving. This picture is us Scott & I, a couple weeks before the birth & death of our first child.

February, 5 years ago, began with me on serious bedrest. My new husband lay on the floor next to the couch every night, trying to sleep, but wondering why I was bleeding so much & hoping I wouldn't die. After a week of bedrest, we had an ultrasound. We didn't find the specific answer to why I was bleeding. But, we found out something else. We found out our baby had something called Anencephaly. And, we were told it is 100% fatal.

We were shocked, stunned. We had never heard of this. What was it? It is fatal for sure? Was the ultrasound tech right?

He was right. This was really happening to us. Our baby was not going to live. We were greatly grieved. There is much I could say about grief. But, that is perhaps for another time.

What I have been thinking about is something a little different. I have been thinking about, when we are face to face with great troubles, our priorities are often re-ordered.

Ours were. It didn't bother me anymore if Scott wore his muddy boots into the house, or emptied dirt from his pant cuff onto my clean floor. Morning sickness wasn't something I complained about. I was glad for it. We were able to see things from an eternal perspective. We had a very limited time with our dear baby. We needed to cherish it. Why grumble about the trivial?

I thought that this new perspective was a blessing that we had to keep. That now we would always be well aware of having our priorities straight. But, how quickly we forget. I don't forget Gabriel. Each time we find out that I am pregnant, we wonder if this new baby is okay, wonder if this new life will be so short as our first child's.

I remember certain things.

But, it was way too easy for me to forget to keep that eternal perspective. I get upset with my kids for squealing too loud & waking the baby. And, at that moment, I forget to rejoice that I have happy, healthy children. I get irritated when juice is spilled all over the floor I just mopped, and then stepped in and tromped all over the place.

I read this birth story yesterday. And, while reading more of this woman's blog, I got a good reminder from her.

I pray that God will keep me more & more mindful of what matters.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: My Cheap Wine Picks

I am not going to pretend to know anything about wine. I don't. I like to drink wine. But, pretty much just like the kind I like. I don't appreciate all varietals. I don't understand nuances. The way I describe wine is like, "that was too watery" "that was too sweet" "that was nice & full tasting..."

I like Sauvignon Blanc, but I never can taste the grapefruit or melon. I like Cab, but I don't ever taste the blackberries. It sort of just tastes like wine to me.

I found this list of wines under $10 which looks great. I've never tried any of the wines, nor have I ever heard of them. I would like to give some of them a try.

But, I don't make it to the-little-wine-shop-that- has-everything very often.

Here are my favorites that you can find at Nob Hill or Trader Joe's or Costco or wherever.

All these picks are under $10 & can be often found for around or under $5 if you get 'em on sale.

BV Coastal Estates
We like Cabernet, but other varietals are good, too.

and for a cheap pairing - we had this the other night with out Piroshkis & it was so good. It's also good with Tater Tots.

I never wanted to try this wine, cuz it kinda has a cheap look. And, it is cheap. So, I figured it was bad for sure. But, I tried it. And, it is good. They've won medals for just about all their varietals.
Again, we like the Cab & also the Savingnon Blanc.

Clos du Bois Chardonnay

Jekel Chardonnay

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two Years for our Boy

A little family celebration for our little guy.

It was so cute how Peyton started understanding more & more as the day went on that it was his birthday.
We made pizza together. Ate it. Opened a present & had candles & cupcakes & the birthday song (his favorite part) & strawberry milkshakes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Time isn't Really Money

Is time money? I've been pondering this.
I'm pretty sure, for me, it is not.
When you are figuring how much something costs & how to save money & you factor in "your time", what does that mean? Is that time you are taking off of work & therefore losing money? If not, then time is not really money. And, time really shouldn't be factored in. Apparently a stay-at-home deserves to make a 100k + salary. That is so nice & flattering. People are trying to recognize your hard work & value, but no one is going to pay you that money!
I guess, you could say time is money, if you are using your time to save money.
False - When I factor in the time that it takes me to weed my own front yard, it is cheaper to hire someone.
True - If I have the time to weed my own front yard, I am "making money" (i.e. saving money) for my family by doing it myself.
Are you considering the cloth vs. disposable diaper factor? Is it really correct to add into the money equation the extra time the cloth diapers will take you?
Time is valuable, though. That is very true. So, if you don't want to spend your time doing such & such, then, very good. Spend your time wisely, doing what you value.
Time isn't money. It is worth so much more.

Office Deliveries

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Christmas Seeds

Remember Gillian's love for Christmas seeds? Well, I forgot, until tonight when I was googling Quinoa recipes, that I used to make this Quinoa & Apple Salad with Curry Dressing & it is so good. You must try it!

Proving to Myself, Once Again, that I am Not Martha

I really like making Valentines. Five years ago, I was so excited to now have someone to make a really nice, real love-inspired valentine for. I quilled a fantastic valentine for my husband. It was inspired by Martha.
This year I made another valentine inspired by Martha. When I say inspired here, I mean, I didn't really read these directions. I just took a photo & glittered it. When I stepped back from my project to look it over & laughed out loud. It is nothing like Martha's beautiful glitter paintings. It is rather hilarious looking, actually.

But, Scott didn't laugh even a tiny bit. He was gracious & grateful. Another reason to love him!

Artful Gardens

We finally have some gorgeous sunny skies here,
after an abnormal amount of rain.

We went to visit Sierra Azul's Sculpture garden this weekend.

It was lovely! The kids had a blast running around.

The three playhouses, carved from tree trunks, are so cute.

There is Little Bear's House, Rabbit's House & Mr. Toad's House.
They all look different.

This nursery is less than 5 minutes from our house.
It's one of daddy's favorite places to go.

It is a fabulous place to run & play & explore.

There was a bit of drama when the kids & I
ran right through a good patch of super slimy mud.
Peyton had the worst time of dealing with the situation.

With many tears, he sat in a dry patch of grass
to try to clean off his feet.

The sculptures are all really fun, even for the kids.
The big pair of hands is one of our favorites.

We also saw a little bunny scurrying through the bushes.
They thought for sure we would find him again in the bamboo forest.

But, he hid himself too well. Maybe we'll see him next time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Valentine Menu 2010

In case anyone is still looking for ideas for Valentine's Day -
Here's our plan.

Breakfast -

Heart Shaped Scones

Egg Scramble with Ham, Chives & fresh Ricotta


Lunch - (our date meal while the kids take their nap)
Sparkling Wine
Puff Pastry Cheese "Straws"
-simple puff pastry twists sprinkled with salt & pepper, pecorino & parmagiano.
Roasted Beets with leeks, pine nuts & goat cheese
-coat whole beets with olive oil & salt & pepper in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until tender.
Do this ahead of time so they are cool enough to handle - rub the peel off & slice (into heart shapes!)
saute sliced leeks & toast pine nuts.
arrange the beets on your plates & sprinkle with leeks, nuts & cheese.
Fresh Pasta hearts layered with Fresh Ricotta Cheese & drizzled with brown butter & sage
I am going to make my own pasta & roll it & cut it into hearts. Then do a layered type ravioli dish.
I'm going to make the ricotta. It's really easy.
You just need a lot of whole milk.
-Since Rosemary is a so-called aphrodisiac. And, men love beef. And, Ruby Port sounds Valentine-y.
Lemon Cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing
We have so many lemons. Our tree is about to explode.

Dinner -
Tomato Soup with heart shaped cheese toasts
Broccoli (I don't know why. Just because it's a kid meal.)
M& M's

Flashback Friday

My friend Sara has done some pretty cool Flashback Fridays. I wanted to participate. But, I thought I had a busted scanner. I found out last night that I just wasn't doing it right. It does work.
Since it was my sister Leah's birthday yesterday, I'll post some pictures with her!

This is 1981 at Marine World USA. My dad looked so cool.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kid's Club Card

I just learned about the Whole Foods Kid's Club this morning. I don't know for sure that every store has it. I can't find anything on their website. But, here's what they do at our store -
Your kids can become members of the club for free, without signing any paperwork or anything annoying. They give 'em membership cards. When you come to do your grocery shopping, they get to pick out a free snack. There's a store rack full of goodies that they can pick from - juice box, fruit leather, raisins, sandwich cookies, cereal bars.... Or, they can take their card to the bakery for a free .99 cookie!
I remember being a member of Safeway's Cookie Club when I was a kid. It was so exciting to be able to hand the baker my card & get my cookie. It makes a kid feel so grown-up to have a card. Getting my first library card was also very momentous.

Thrifty Thursday: Learn the Art of Laundering

I want to become a good washer woman. I so am not that. I am the one who seems to have 1 load of laundry a week, with a pen left in a pocket. Sometimes it gets really fun & it is a crayon. Or, like last week, a hunk of purple playdough.
I don't often ruin delicates by accidently putting them in the dryer. But, on occasion, it happens. I used to do it a lot more. I am not sure if I have gotten better at this, though. It could just be that the likelihood of me wearing anything delicate has vastly decreased over the last several years.

One good thing I think I have learned is to use plain ole baking soda in the laundry. I put a big scoop in every load & I think the difference in cleanness is pretty huge. And, I don't use quite as much detergent. I used to always use a little more than the cap said to use. Now I use a little less. So, the baking soda is getting my clothes cleaner, and is saving money on my detergent usage.

The better I launder our clothes, the longer they will last, the less I will have to buy.

But, if I slip up with the laundry, there are still options.
When I do leave that pen in the khaki pants' pocket & it leaves a massive ink spot, I can just turn them in to a backpack. Or, if it happened to be a pair of Cargo pants, I could make a messenger bag.
A grease stain that just won't come out of that t-shirt. No problem. I can make a kid sized tee from it.

Speaking of laundry. We have had the stomach flu in this house for over week. I bet there is a load I could put in right now...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tutorial Gone Horribly Wrong

I was going to show you guys how to dry your Valentine's roses. But, my attempt was a total fail. So, I can show you how not to do it, I guess...

I had these Milano Roses leftover from some arrangements.
I decided to try to dry them in Borax, following some directions on the internets. It sounded simple enough.

Cover rose heads completely in Borax for 2 weeks.

I unearthed them today & this is what I found!

This dreadful looking one was the best of the whole lot. The only one that retained any good color.

Hmmmm... Not sure if I will try this one again.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: Cabbage

You want to know something that is cheap? Cabbage.

And it will last & last & last in the little produce draw of your frig.

What can I make with cabbage, you ask?

I have a tasty main dish recipe for you. This recipe makes 6 main dish size turnovers. They freeze well for a last minute meal in the future.

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cups Flour

1/3 teaspoon Salt

1/4 pound Butter

3-5 Tablespoons Water


2 cups sliced Potatoes

3 Tablespoons Butter

2 cups chopped Cabbage

1 cup finely chopped Onions

1 cup Cottage Cheese

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 egg

1/2 Salt

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Chives or scallions

1/2 teaspoon ground Caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon Pepper


1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water

sesame seeds or poppy seeds for topping

In food processor, mix the flour & salt thoroughly. Cut in the butter. Mix in a small amount of water at a time until a ball can formed. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.

Boil potatoes until fork tender, then drain & mash in a large bowl. Saute cabbage & onions in butter in a covered skillet until tender, about 15 minutes. Add them to the potatoes & stir in all the remaining ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Divide the pastry dough into 6 equal parts. Roll each ball into a thin circle, approx. 6 inches in diameter. Place two or three heaping tablespoons of the filling in the center of each circle. Brush the edges with the egg wash & fold over to form a half-moon. Press the edges with your fingers or a fork to seal. Carefully lift each piroshki with the spatula & place it on an oiled baking sheet. Brush the top of each pastry with the egg wash & sprinkle with seeds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Top with sour cream to serve.