Tuesday, August 25, 2015

first day! preK!

dear emme,

today was the first day of a huge new chapter in your life: elementary school. this is, to a large extent, what you'll be doing for the next fourteen years or so. it's a big deal.

your teacher is mr. butler and, though you were a bit reserved with him initially (your usual MO), you warmed up to him during the first day and had lots of stories about his silliness. you even gave him a hug on the way out the door!

your capacity to get on board with new situations and people is amazing to me - that adaptability is a great quality that will serve you well throughout your life. you don't dive head first, but you approach change with thoughtfulness and acceptance.

i know you are sad to leave your old school behind. you've told me so, and i've seen the fun you've had there - the attachments you've formed with other kids and many of the teachers. you've been comfortable and safe there, and you've learned a lot. but this is just the first of many times when you will have to leave the comfort and safety of one environment to venture into something new, and i am immensely proud of the way you're approaching it.

i have so many hopes for you this year. i hope every day ends with you full of stories about yoga and books and silly dancing and all the shells you found on the playground. i hope you continue to love the thrill of sitting in the cafeteria. i hope you grow in compassion and kindness toward your friends and classmates and your love of learning continues to blossom.

i love you so much little goose, and i am so excited to stand by you this year and experience all that it has in store.

love,

mom.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

incognito.

i came out of the shower this evening and emme was wearing a disguise over her pajamas. p.s. it is 100 degrees outside.

me: hahaha, sweetie are you incognito?
ek: where is cognito? is that a country?

this kid.


Friday, August 21, 2015

eat this now: crockpot chicken curry.

as we all know, my food photography is more than a little lacking, so no pics of this. but y'all. this curry is the easiest thing to make EVER and it is freakishly delicious. i love things with just a few ingredients that work together and are amaze.

this recipe sizes well - double it, or just add a little extra of whichever ingredients to make it your own.

ingredients:
- 1.5-2 pounds chicken thighs (you can use breasts, but thighs are more delicious i think)
- carrots (i usually pile quite a few in there - you can use baby carrots or chop some up, whatever meets your fancy. probably 4-6 carrots' worth)
- red potatoes - for this size i use 5-6 smallish ones, diced to bite size
- garam masala - this is an indian spice that i love. use at least a tbsp or so
- kosher salt - just a little
- curry - you can use any color, powdered or paste. this most recent time i used powdered green curry, about a tablespoon because i don't like it crazy spicy
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 a can of tomato paste
- cilantro and greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

method:
place chicken thighs and veggies in slow cooker (chicken on the bottom). sprinkle with garam masala, curry and salt. be generous, really. in a separate bowl, use a fork or spoon to mix the coconut milk with the tomato paste. pour that over the meat/veggie mix. let cook on low for ~8 hours. my slow cooker has a timer so i have it stop cooking and switch to the warm setting at the eight hour mark which i find keeps the veggies soft but not overly mushy. use a fork to mix it all around/shred the chicken, then serve. you don't need anything else, but i find it's delicious over a bed of cauliflower rice. regular rice would be tasty also, if you're down with grains. cilantro as a garnish is a nice finish, as is a dollop of greek yogurt (especially if you were a little heavy-handed with the curry).

modifications/options:
this is the most basic form of this recipe, but i have made it with sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, etc. as added veggies. also, if you don't have/can't find garam masala, it's not necessary - just add a little garlic powder and maybe onion power to round out the flavor profile. you could also do this with chickpeas, throw in some spinach...the possibilities are endless!

bon apetit!

Monday, August 17, 2015

port HAAAYYYYY.

so, it was only 48 hours, but we hit the beach in south texas this weekend and i think it was the most successful vacation endeavor we've had to date. we shared a house with two other families and everyone pitched in for food and gear and we had a great time. the drive was longer than we expected/would have liked thanks to super fun traffic, but next time we will stay an extra night and i think that will be perfect. there were eight families all together and it was a fantastic way to wind down the summer before the insanity of the next several weeks.

highlights:
- emme and willa being super sweet with each other
- emme and oliver getting along amazingly and playing non-stop
- the older kids being sweet to the younger kids
- kan jam
- hollis's beach nap in our tent
- tate's gluten-free ginger cookies - find these and eat them
- hollis eating an entire bag of goldfish
- the chimichurri sauce i made
- tacos, obviously
- hanging out with so many friends in a low-stress environment
- our golf cart
- being mostly phone-free
- bringing the right amount of food - not too much, not too little, and we didn't have to go out to eat once!

anyway...we didn't bring a camera, but i took a couple pics with my phone when it was nearby.









when i was a baby.

the kids are saying some hilarious stuff these days. i want to be better about writing it all down because i know i'm going to forget/do forget so quickly.

hollis says "right now" about everything. we should really get it on video because it amuses me to no end. he says it in place of please, or in addition to it. it's not demanding, exactly, because he also uses it as verbal filler. examples: "i'm wearing this spiderman shirt because right now" or "can emme give me my spoon right now". he draws the now out so it sounds kind of like noooow in his baby voice. i love that.

the other thing the kidlets are obsessed with lately is "when i was a baby". they start with that, and then they whisper whatever random thing they think of and then lose their minds giggling at it. for example: "when i was a baby, i wanted to take off my eyeballs" and "when i was a baby, i wanted to be naked all the time". i have no idea where this comes from, and much of the talk involves nipples (potty talk is a favorite pasttime of theirs these days), but it is pretty funny.

also, hollis has been weirdly gracious in his language. this weekend in port A, he was eating breakfast and he just busted out with "thank you so much for making this delicious dinner for me, mommy". such a sweetheart. we were sitting on the beach at one point and he crawled into my lap and said "this was a really fun day mommy". i don't know where this awesomeness comes from either, but i'll take it!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

how (and why) to make homemade mayo.

i started making my own mayo when we did our whole30 back in april/may and it is the best thing ever. i have always like mayo, but i can also take it or leave it. i realize people have crazy strong opinions about mayo, but i think even people who aren't mayo lovers would get behind homemade mayo. it's super versatile and one of those fabulous healthy fats. mayo (and the process of making it) doesn't photo very well (and i am not a food photographer in any capacity), but this is for instructional purposes.

homemade mayo (unlike store bought) has only a few ingredients:
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/4 cup of light olive oil (seriously, do not use extra virgin! i've heard avocado oil works well too, but i haven't personally tried it yet)

- juice from half a lemon
- salt (to taste)
- dry mustard powder (to taste - i usually just sprinkle a lil in there and don't really measure, but i think a quarter to half teaspoon is plenty)

that's it! no additives, sugar, creepy preservatives, etc.

the secret to good mayo that's the right consistency is starting with ingredients that are all at room temp. so, take your egg out an hour before you're making this, or just plop it in a cup of warm water for 5-10 minutes. make sure your lemon is room temp too, if you keep your citrus in the fridge.

so, just whip out your food processor (i have tried to make it with an immersion blender and that works well too, but i like the more hands-free method with a food processor).


put the whole egg, 1/4 cup of the oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard powder in there. put the lid on and turn that puppy on. while it's whirling away, drizzle the remaining cup of oil into the top slooooooowly. seriously. it should take you more than a minute or two to drizzle all that business in there. your arm will get tired. but slow is what you need for that perfect texture (in addition to the room temp thing). once you've finished drizzling all that in there, you can stop the food processor.


use a spatula or a spoon to transfer all your gorgeous mayo into a cute mason jar. label it if you think expiry will be an issue - it's not at our house since we go through a jar in about a week here, but homemade mayo will last one week past the expiration date of the egg you used. so, a while.


some ideas for tasty mayo use:
- use a dollop with an acid (citrus, some form of vinegar) and a little sesame oil to make a creamy and delicious salad dressing (especially perfect for cole slaw)
- toss a little with sauteed veggies and fresh dill for breakfast or a side dish
- dip homemade sweet potato fries in it
- make a variation - i love cilantro lime (add cilantro and garlic to your food processor at the beginning and use lime juice instead of lemon), dill, garlic, and any other herb variation
- mix it with roasted red pepper sauce for the most delicious sauce of all time, perfect for zoodles


bon apetit!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

34.

sunday was my birthday, so i'm in my mid-thirties now. it was a good day - i've been rocking this super fun summer cold for about a week, so i was a little drugged up and out of it from the nyquil, but my rad family was good about letting me be a bit lazier than usual. we had fun the whole weekend.

friday night i threw a little dinner party for benny who moved to california this week. he's going to teach at stanford, so i guess if you have to have a good friend move away, stanford is a pretty good reason for it...

saturday, we went to marble falls with the perques and the kids rocked out on the lake alllll day. they had an absolute blast. we haven't spent as much time with the perque fam over the last several months because everyone's schedules are psychotic, so it was super nice to just hang in the water with them. the kids skipped nap in favor of time on the boat and more time leaping off of the big water mat, so they were obviously exhausted by the time we headed home.

jb had arranged for miss crystal to come babysit so we could have a little date night, so we threw some dinner together for the kidlets and took the fastest showers ever. we were pretty tired after our lake adventures (and these stupid colds) too, so we went out for sushi and headed home right after. we did have this king salmon nigiri that was the most unbelievable fish i have ever eaten, and going on dates with jb is always a super special treat.

sunday morning, the fam let me sleep the nyquil off until about 8 or 8:30 when they serenaded me awake with happy birthday and cards the kids had made. they also brought me coffee in bed, the quickest way to my heart, while attacking me with sweet cuddles. i love those people.

we got up and headed to brunch downtown at z tejas. it was (amazingly) still cool enough to sit outside under the fan and the wisteria, so we did. the kids ate chocolate chip pancakes and jb and i split a tejas benny. jb also surprised me with a plane ticket to nyc, the nicest birthday gift of all time. so, i'll be in the City in september for a weekend with old friends. yay!

the rest of the day was spent getting a pedicure, doing a little sewing, and hitting the neighborhood pool. ek is becoming quite the little fish and it is super fun to watch her get a little more confident in the water each time.

all in all, a great birthday, setting up for a great year.



dudes.

there is a lot of construction on a street near our house that we drive on every day when taking the kids to school. it's been going on a while, so we talk about it a lot - the people doing the work, digging up the street, all that stuff.

so, this morning, we were driving by and this was our conversation.

hollis: mommy, are they doing that work on the street?
me: yeah buddy, those men are fixing up the pipes for the creek!
hollis: no, mommy. those not mens. those dudes.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

utah iphone pics.

here are the iphone highlights from my phone while we were in utah. now that we've officially landed in 100-degree days, i miss the mountains even more. and i know the kids are missing the pile of cousins they had to play with...






















Tuesday, July 21, 2015

home again home again jiggity jig - colorado in iphone pics.

hi there. we are back from vacation. actually we got back over a week ago, but getting back is always...an adjustment.

i have read and said a lot of super snarky things about vacationing with young children, and there is an element of truth to some of the snark. we were gone for ten days and i probably did as many loads of laundry. they still need to be fed, bathed, corralled; fights still need to be broken up. they are usually in possession of way more sugar and way less sleep than usual, which adds a fun gauntlet to all activities.

but. there is also so much to be said for unstructured time and family togetherness. the pace of our normal lives is nutso a lot of weeks, so it is really incredible to just take however long you want to eat a sandwich or walk back to the cabin from the coffee shop. the secret for us is not over-scheduling anything. we have a basic set of things we'd like to do, and each day we talk about what those things are. and then we try to do some or all of them.

during our stint, justin had a trip to urgent care and a severe sinus infection, ek barfed two nights in a row, and hollis had fever for a couple of days. but we also saw gorgeous elk grazing on a mountain top, saw waterfalls careening down mountains, watched ek hop across rocks across a stream, fed chipmunks from our hands, saw a great fireworks display, ate homemade ice cream, met family members we'd never seen before, sat in quaint bookshops and read, watched storms roll over the rockies, got to ride in four airplanes, played riotous board games. jb got to go on a fishing trip, ek got to ride a pony, the kids discovered fruit leather. we rode an alpine slide, saw groves of aspens and cottonwoods, jumped on trampolines, and visited the most incredible children's museum ever. it was a really great trip.

we have yet to sort the nine million "real" photos from the vacation, but here are a few fun ones from my iphone and our time in CO. utah will be forthcoming.

























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