Saturday, September 21, 2013


Inspired by another bloggers piece I came across today I decided to take the opportunity to document some of the constant dic-toddler commands that are frequently uttered In my home these days…while they are still cute…and only mildly annoying…

1. Hand, Hand! This normally results in being lead to any variety of places or to any variety of things he might find desirable at that time (which of late includes the new container of candy corn in the kitchen…OY) Or just as often this commandment is promptly followed by ;

2. Shoes, Shoes! That inevitably leads to …

3. SIDE, SIDE! This is the one that is repeated over and over and over ALL DAY LONG. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that my kid likes to be outdoors-really- but at 5:30 in the morning…when it’s raining…it’s not nearly as charming, or as easy to explain why it’s not happening.

4. More! A term normally reserved for food items, especially of the small orange fish shaped variety (or his new obsession…)

5. Chips! I SWEAR we do not ply this kid with junk food, but I’ll be dammed if he didn’t look over the baby gate last week at the new bag of pop chips I bought at BJ’s and begin emphatically chanting Chip Chip Chip…Not only did I not realize he knew the word…I sure as heck didn’t expect him to ID the bag in a dark corner of the dining room!

6. Pop-Pop: This phrase can actually encompass either or both sets of grandparents or his Auntie but it is directed at the computer, as he believes its only purpose is to see and talk to people who aren’t here… Yea for Skype! (Although he is starting to call in “pudee” which makes the request a tad easier to understand)

7. Dia-poo (Diaper): As in this one is old and full…new one please!

8. Poddy (potty): In keeping with the previous demand, he makes this request often…but always after the deed is done…baby steps

It’s really pretty cool to watch these connections form rapid fire and I know this is the point when it’s supposed to happen but it’s still pretty awe inspiring. Let’s just hope I can keep that perspective as the demands get louder and the vocabulary gets wider!

Friday, May 3, 2013

This is 15 months

Your mother is a delinquent who procrastinates on good ideas far too often, but this one she’s jumping on. So ideally while this would read “This is 1 year”, rather than scratch for the memories that should still be fresh (but you are changing far too quickly) I will strive to capture the here and now…
At 15 months old you are 31 and three quarters inches tall and 27 pounds 15 ounces but your personality fills up the space of an 8 foot tall man. Your smiles are so big and so genuine and your belly laughs can make the whole day better. You have just started cutting your eyes and playing coy and when we catch you, you think it is the funniest thing in the world. But make no mistake there is plenty of fire to counter that sweetness. You definitely have your own opinions about what you want and when you want it and you don’t hesitate sharing them. You will furrow your little brow and babble baby unpleasantries at us. For the moment your “tantrums” are incredibly short and for this I am grateful because I know already, with your level of focus and determination, we are in for some epic battles.
You don’t like wearing shoes and make quick work of removing them while you are in your car seat. Socks are sometimes better tolerated but not really, apparently you like feeling rooted to your surroundings. You have been walking since a little before 11 months and now, boy can you can fly. I can barely get down the hall in front of you before you are on my heals. Two weeks ago you figured out how to get yourself onto the couch without any help at all (the hard version of this involves you throwing your leg up as if to scale a wall and pulling and grabbing with all your mite, your newer, much more creative version, involving using your mini arm chair as a climbing tool to make your couch assent). You also just figured out how to use your Bumbo seat as a stepping stool adding a cool 10 inches to your reach span…sorry to burst your bubble but mommy’s moving that one to the attic tonight!
You are talking up a storm…I’m not sure where you get it. You can say mama, dada, dog, hot, bye-bye, hi, shoe and yes (or rather “yea”… we’re working on this one-but its pretty adorable). Sometimes we would swear we hear you say “I got it” or “I don’t know”. You mimic us (and everyone else) like crazy. Your babble has perfect conversional inflection, you clearly know what you are saying-we’re the one’s trying to catch up. To help you “talk” we have been teaching you some sign language. You have mastered signing “please” and “thank you” and now you sign “please” anytime you want something- not yet old enough to understand that please won’t always get you what you want-but your so damn cute when you do it, it almost always does. Daddy has taught you “show me” so that you can guide us to what is it you are grunting about at any given moment…now you take our hands and “show us” EVERYTHING. But it’s so sweet to hold your hand we don’t really mind.
You are very inquisitive and are clearly like your daddy in that you want to see how things work. I see lots of broken stuff in my future. You like to play with the remote control and a toy Elmo cell phone; you also like to pretend to “stir” things like mommy does in the kitchen. Just last night you accomplished this with an old wipes container and a toy hammer. You love books, just not reading them. You prefer to pull them all off your book shelf or chew on the bindings if your teeth are bothering you. Apparently you are getting plenty of fiber as eating paper is becoming a favorite past time. You defiantly prefer the books that have fun textures to touch…or pull out…or eat. As for real food you actually eat really well. There aren’t many things you don’t like, except green beans and this baffles me, but you will still try new things and although I’m sure it will, I really hope this doesn’t change.
You want to be like us in so many ways and do the things we do but it is so very clear that you are your own special person. You give sweet hugs to your friends by leaning your head over to touch theirs, although this sometimes ends in you with your head on the ground, the gesture is so meltingly sweet. You give kisses upon request although when you aren’t really feeling it you might offer up your cheek or on a particularly stingy day the back of your hand. You love dogs and the cats at your daycare and I’m pretty sure you think your daddy is the best person in the world. He is your best buddy and I love watching the two of you together. We have many many wishes for you wonderful boy and at the rate you’re going you’re going to grab hold of them all!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Too much noise...

I am a terrible blogger.   This is a fact.   Perhaps I should rename this blog confessions of a failed southern blogger...I've literally had that sentence typed for over a week and find it is only now that I have anything useful to finish it with.  Life has been noisy lately.  I'm not entirely sure what I mean by that but it's the phrase that keeps coming to mind.  It's not really any one particular thing or even a bunch of little things I'm just finding myself holding my breath a lot lately, and I mean that in the literal sense.  Hubs actually ask me what was wrong as I let out a big sigh the other day.   My answer; "Nothing,  I just forgot to breathe."   It seems weird to say, as there is no big item of change on the horizon, but I feel like life is in flux and not in the normal everyday kind of way.   I can not put my finger on it but it's there,  pressing on my chest, reminding me with a heavy presence that it knows where to find me.  Adding to the noise is the terrible act of violence carried out on Monday in Boston.   I've spent a fair amount of time over the past few days trying to wrap my head around what would cause a human being to wantonly take the life of another.  A husband, father, mother, brother, sister...child.  Save for standing between my own and a source that seeks to harm him,  I just can't.  Becoming a mom has ripped me open and exposed me in ways I could have never anticipated.  Every child becomes your child, every loss feels much more personal.  Quite frankly sometimes its just more than I can stand.   Many times, too many lately,  I have sat at my desk in the morning and cried as Ive read about the various atrocities occuring around us that blanket our newspapers.  Some just the hard realities of living, dying and being human.   Others lack any glimmer of humanity whatsoever...too much noise.  I think of the world that I now share with my son and it leaves my heart heavy.   It makes me want to hide under a rock for a bit and hibernate, go off the grid and at least eliminate the electronic noise, the 24 hour new cycle, and focus on the wonderful people that surround me.   I'm not foolish enough to think I can hide for long,  but maybe a few days,  just long enough for me to find some ear plugs.  Im also not foolish enough to think that will do anything other than give me a whole bunch of crap to catch up on when I raise my head from the sand.  Life with a child presents me with an even bigger challenge of trying to find the balance between the beauty of the world and the majority of good that comprises it and these horrible, seemingly increasing, acts of evil.  How do you teach your child to be loving and trusting, compassionate and non judgmental of others when you feel like you are living your life in direct contrast to those very ideals you crave to reclaim?  Im starting to understand why old people become so crotchety, the older I get the fight to not become jaded gets bigger and bigger.  I hate it.  So I pray.  A lot.  I pray for peace, and safety and understanding.  I pray for the ability to be a better example of the person I really truly want to be, despite my human faltering.  I pray for a world for my son that will eventually know less hate and more tolerance.  And I pray for quiet, just a little bit of quiet in this noisy, noisy world.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1 Ball 2 Strikes

I may be a lot of things in life but one thing I'm not is a quitter...unless you count the cello in 7th grade-which I don't cause I had an injury- so it just wasn't in the cards for me to lie down on this Macaroon business.  I plotted my attack all day yesterday.   I stopped at the store on my way home and bought actual almond meal flour -hangs-head-in-shame- thinking that maybe my home grind version might have been to "chunky" and "torn" through the cookies as they tried to rise.   I even busted out the oven thermometer, left by the previous owner, and as I cooked dinner attempted to nail down how out of caliber my temperature readings was a piece of garbage by the way and lagged my oven temp by over 100 degrees. ..clearly why it was left bring behind.   Again I measured by weight,  sifted and beat down my meringue, I even left out any coloring, in hopes of removing a variable I couldn't control.  I filled my piping bag less full this time, eliminating one problem from round one, and worked to create uniform sizes -my patience failed me however,  they were sort of all over the map.

My "quarter size" turned into a silver dollars...

One big thing I did this time...banged those damn pans...a few more times than prescribed...which might explain the "silver dollar" phenomenon mentioned above...but whatever, there were NO air bubbles to wreak havoc!
I baked each tray individuality this time letting the pans rest too, 15 min for the first one, and subsequently longer for the others as they waited their turn in the hot box.   I hoped...oh I hoped upon hope. the nine minute mark when I went to rotate the pan...cracks, ugly ugly cracks...I was greeted with cracks... Dammit...I felt defeated. I was committed to finishing the other two trays but the results were more of the same.
Tray one

Tray two

I even turned them over to cool, sort of like an angel food cake...

But I don't really know if it helped...Little tiny "feet" Boo.....

Bottom line was that I needed these for my party on Saturday and come hell or high water I had to  make them work.   So what does one do when taking a ride on the failure train you might ride that bitch to the end of the line...and that's exactly what I did.   I had all these Macaroon shells,  crappy as they were, and they needed to be filled so naturally I decide to make a brand new butter cream recipe...hey if your gonna fail at least do it spectacularly...and I'll have you know that Swiss butter cream came out fantastic!   Finally something went my way!!!  It was terrifying as it involved a double boiler and no powered sugar but it is the most amazing icing ever, now I know why the pros use two strikes on the Macaroons but I'll take a ball on the icing.   Now if everyone likes them, that'll be a huge home run.

Swiss Butter Cream goodness

Matching up the shells...Today's debacle makes yesterday "failure" look pretty damn good now...

Its amazing what a little icing can do

We called these the little fugglies.  Not party worthy for sure, but still damn tasty and a nice little "cooks treat".  They gave me hope that everyone might actually enjoy these at the party after all!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rah & Blah...

As the afternoon progressed I found myself actually getting excited about tonight's baking experiment.  I  have read so many post and recipes and tips and tricks, like a coach studying the opponents playbook before the big game, that I was feeling pretty positive about my prospects.  I do think its worth mentioning that it didn't matter what site, post or cookbook I was referencing they all, in one way or another, built in a few sentences that more or less told me to expect failure.  Not every time mind you, but regularly...and often.  They also mentioned 435 different reasons you might experience said failure but urged you to bake on anyway.  Why?  Because they are yummy...even ugly, they are yummy.  So project Macaroon commenced:

I ground my almonds and sifted my powdered sugar.  I followed good baking procedure and weighed all my ingredients (in grams) to be as precise as possible.

For anyone that has known me for at least 5 minutes its pretty fair to say that I'm not the most patient in an effort to improve my efforts to create similarly sized shells I even took the time to trace a templet on my parchment paper

I whipped my egg whites as instructed to create stiff dry peaks

I added my gel color and prepared to pipe

 Despite my best efforts my sizing wasn't as uniform as I would have liked.  My piping bag was smaller than called for and I unintentionally overfilled it.  So while battling batter overflow out of the top of the bag I did my best to follow my templet.

This is me, praying to the Frigidaire-Macaroon gods 

It was shortly after my prayer session, while I was starting on the dishes, that it hit me...I didn't bang my pans.  My heart dropped.  I knew at that moment, without even looking, that this would not be the outcome I was so hoping for.   This was another one of those items, like the guarantee of failure, that all research sources agreed on.  They might call for a different number of bangs, or a different degree turn on the pan before banging again, but they ALL called for it.  If you have ever made a meringue you know the goal is to fill the egg whites with air.  Ironically in Macaroon making even though you make a meringue to start you actually beat the air back out of the batter when you incorporate the dry ingredients.  The banging of the pan is important to remove any remaining air bubbles to not only keep your interiors fluffy but to keep your shell tops from cracking.   I entertained a brief hope that maybe it wasn't all that critical and things would be just fine, but I didn't let myself bask in the lie for long, I knew better.

And as worst French fears were realized...Cracked...Blah...

One lonely perfect shell in a sea of frightening failures

Somehow my second pan, while still nothing to write home about, bore much better results.  To be honest if my entire endeavor had produced this result I probably would have called this whole thing a HUGE success, in spite of a few cracked tops.

                      Shiny shells, pretty frills (or feet) overall an excellent first Macaroon attempt

I already know several things I will do differently next time...yes their will be a next time, I was too damn close this time to give up...Obviously the biggie is that I will remember to follow ALL my directions and I will bang out the piped shells before baking.  I also think I might let them sit for 15 min. or so before baking.  This was a suggestion of some while others said it wasn't necessary. I figure if nothing else the extra 15 minutes might have helped me remember to BANG THE DAMN PAN!  Lastly I would bake them one try at a time.  I'm fairly certain that my bottom tray of shells got too hot too fast on the bottom rack and thats why the cracking was so bad.

The good news...these still taste great.  And oh by the way-are grain free- can a get a Lenten HELL YEA!  excuse me while I go eat the evidence!

Going for it...

This is perhaps a precursor to a new blog post titled "living up to my name-and other kitchen failures" but God I hope not.  
I like to think I'm a pretty good cook (no one's died yet) and a pretty  decent baker (although boxed brownie mix is my nemesis-go figure that shit) but I've had a goal in my sight lines that I have managed to stall on repeatedly...Macaroons.
I had declared the summer of 2012 as the summer I would master the Macaroon...a declaration made mind you while I was still pregnant...and thus naive...and slightly delusional.  What?   My conjured images of whipping up French delicacies while my infant slept  serenely in the background was a stretch you say?   Anywho,  needless to say I've yet to even attempt a batch,  but that's all about to change. 
This weekend I'm hosting a shower for one of my dearest loves and these little dainty morsels seem to be the perfect sweet bite to complement the occasion.   Knowing (after my copious amounts of reading) that they improve with several days in the fridge I'm going to attempt them tonight.   I promise to take pictures along the way and give an honest account of the exercise but I'm really hoping tomorrows post Is more Rah Rah and not ewww blah...

Friday, March 8, 2013

OK maybe not...

Well, so far having this access on my phone has done little to improve my blogging habits...but don't quit on me yet please I'm a constant work in progress and I might just surprise myself!
I'm currently sitting at the eye Dr.  waiting for these terrible dilation drops to kick in.. .yuck. ..apparently Free Feb. must have had a positive effect because I passed on spending the extra 40 bucks to use the fancy camera to do this test opting instead to do it the old fashioned way....the WAY stupid way by the way.   Those blind lady sunglasses I'll get to take home are only a small consolation prize...
As I sit here waiting for my pupils to turn into saucers all I can think about is how hungry I am!  My next thought is how that stupid hard boiled egg in the car sounds completely unsatisfying.  I want a scone.  A big fat  cinnamon-y one from Starbucks...with a big fat coffee.   Ahh,  not even half way through Lent.  I'm already harboring fantasies of pizza for Easter dinner.  I had really hoped this would be easier.  I mean it IS getting easier.  For example I had zero heart ache passing up multiple offers of shared Girl Scout cookies this week...and I do mean multiple,  seems like someone had a new box every day, spreading the sugary carb-y goodness (and guilt) to everyone.   Even just day to day stuff is long as I'm prepared!  See eating grain free isn't complicated.  I can have all the meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts I want but short of an apple or hand full of nuts how many of those item are"quick" or prep-less?  Its the 6:30 in the morning "I'm starving and don't want to scramble an egg" moments that are hard.   I've found a few approved recipes that might offer me some better quick grab "healthy" options for that always challenging start to the day. I mean think about it,  breakfast above any other meal of the day is the one most riddled with grain loaded convenience foods (think cereal, cereal bars, granola bars, oatmeal, donuts, get where I'm going here...), and let's face it we are a people of convenience...and instant gratification...which can sometimes only be cured by a big fat scone...but not today, not today my friends.
They don't even have the paper retractable arms anymore!  What a rip off...