Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Food Soup, Art, and Proof that I May Need a Vacation

I was in a funk this weekend. Stressed, worried, tired. But I needed to focus on the positive with the hope that everything will be alright. We have two days to recharge. Mainly, it's two days to make the best of our time, with our children, our cats, our home.

Saturday morning, it's off to dance class. Here are the children, cramming.
The hooks at the Dance Collective were designed by the Art Farm folks. Love them.
Cyd's class had a lot of fun with the parachute dance.
The reunion.
We also visited a local farmer's market. We love these Dos Homos jams. We picked up the Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar and Pepper jam. De.Li.Cious.
Laura spent a very long time at the tea counter, as the children and I were getting restless. Though, I admit, the tea vendor was very charming and well educated and passionate about tea. I wanted to take a photo of him, because he was so beautiful, with his white beard and twinkling eyes.
He reminded me of my father. 
Or, Dostoevsky.  
Instead, I photographed his tea, which was also lovely.

We stopped by a few art studios, for the third annual Rural Studio Tour. Our first stop was the Art Farm, where we were greeted by the best dog in the history of dogs: Pinkerton. 

We made it to a couple more studios before we had to head home with our two sugared up kids.
Saturday afternoon, there was bread baking. I found a recipe for "Real Whole Wheat Bread". You mix the ingredients together and let them rise for 24 hours. There was no kneading, which was a plus. 
Just noticed the whole wheat flour package has a scripture quote. Weird.

For dinner, I made a roasted red pepper and carrot soup, since the children like both of these vegetables.
The recipe called for jarred roasted peppers, but I decided to roast some fresh ones. 
Because I'm a glutton for punishment, that's why.
The soup, frankly, tasted like baby food. So I added a bunch of salt, which made it taste like salty baby food. I added a teaspoon of ginger infused honey, a lot of curry, a pinch of turmeric, and some cumin. Served with pita baked with Parmesan and curry, it turned out OK. Cyd ate her entire bowl, Laura had seconds and Fiona barely touched it. In hindsight, I should have served Fiona the baby food version, since she's not big on spices. You live. You learn. You kick yourself for your stupidity.
Fiona built us a cozy nook to read during "quiet time", otherwise known as "I'm going to stab someone unless I can read my book in silence" time.
The fun never ends when you have tiny pet shop critters. Anything is better than playing with Barbies.

Sunday morning. 
Fiona actually ASKED me to take her picture while she was sitting on the Target ball. OK, twist my arm.
I baked the bread, finally, on Sunday night and it was OK. Dense, but flavorful. Next time, I'll add sunflower seeds and other nuts and maybe some flax seed. Since this is the "healthnut" type of bread, it really should be a bit more hearty and protein laden. 
 I tried out a new recipe: Twice baked mini potatoes, stuffed with white bean and spinach.
 The hardest part was hollowing the potatoes.
I thought they turned out well. We had our protein, our starch, our veggie. What else can you ask for? Laura didn't love them, which, basically, means they sucked. She likes almost everything I make. I still saved the leftovers because I'm totally having them for lunch tomorrow. And probably the day after. If only to justify the labor of making these damn things.

I have to say, there was a lot of noise this weekend. I was rarely in the moment and felt mostly absent, drained, as well as overwhelmed with the chaos that should be joyful.

I am hopeful that this week will bring good news.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just Your Typical Post about Getting Buried in Mulch, Not Making Gnudi and Other Adventures

I love everything about mulch: the smell, the look, the feel, the knowing that Spring is here. Laura had a truck bed full of it on Friday night, so we went with it.

Laura thought it would be fun if we buried the children in mulch. The kids thought this was the hilarious.

Fiona wanted to have a "photo session" and I never, ever turn her down for this request. I could spend the rest of my life taking photographs of this kid, this family, this life.
 Yet it's like pulling teeth to get her to smile for a photo. Usually, it's crazy, quirky, zany faces. I love all of her, nonetheless.

Saturday night, we went to a party, during which I drank an entire bottle of Boone's Farm. I'm not proud. That stuff is damn good. (PSA: Also, I had a designated driver.)
There was also dance class, beignets from Yum Mee's bakery, fort making for naps, and kite flying.

 In the dresser. Again.

On Sunday night, I decided that Gnudi should be on the menu. Gnudi, you ask? It's kind of like gnocchi, except with ricotta cheese and semolina flour. It sounds adorable and yummy. I had all the ingredients and started getting everything together when I actually read the recipe in its entirety. I got to this step and laughed out loud.
You have to mix the stuff, pipe it, roll it, and then refrigerate it for THREE TO FOUR DAYS! Really, Gnudi inventor? Really? No.

Instead, I made a lentil, chickpea curry stew, served over quinoa, and it only took an hour. I forgot to take a photo.

End of story.

Peace out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break Re-Cap, for Those of You Not Following me on Twitter

It all started with Fiona leaving us for a short sojourn at her grandparents' for Spring Break. Happy as a clam, with her luggage and her gigantic bear in tow. She was in good hands.
We picked her up on Thursday and headed to Marengo, Indiana.

Our accommodations were quaint (rustic). Otherwise known as Little House on the Damn Prairie.
 Bathrooms were not only "Off-Site", you had to climb a mountain to get to them. At least the children got in the spirit of things. i.e. they didn't care at ALL about the bathrooms, or lack thereof. And showers? Who the hell needs them? Not us.
Laura, forever our fire maker, did not let us down.
 Sweet Cyd brought me a dandelion. It was beautiful in and of itself, but Instagram gave it that extra shine:
Our first meal was simple, yet delicious. I was thankful that we didn't have to hunt down some squirrels for dinner. Also, I was on the last book of "The Hunger Games". Therefore, I was ready to rough it out with the best of the victors. That being said, I was thankful for my store bought kosher dog. 
 Marengo National Park is dry. No alcoholic beverages allowed. How are we expected to survive without wifi, without bathrooms, without alcohol? Whatever. Secret cocktails were served.
 Fiona got busy, trying to make the cabin feel homey. It worked.
A few photos of the caves:

I spent most of the time clutching the children and thinking about the cave collapsing. I totally blame "The Hunger Games" for these irrational fears.
On our first evening, marshmallows were roasted. And, eaten by the dozen, apparently.
Fiona looks so refreshed, the following morning.

 Cyd, right below a bat in hibernation. She so wanted to pet it.
The girls hunted for treasures. For $8.95 each, they got a bag full of gemstones. 
This is what I look like when I spend a night in a rustic cabin with no heat, in 40 degree weather. Then again, this is what I always look like. But Fiona looks cute.

Identified flying Frisbee.
Flying Cyd.

On our final night, Luna was shining bright. Also, (not pictured, for apparent reasons), there was champagne.
 We came across this adorable site on the way home: "Beck's Mill".
 And then, on Easter Sunday, we decided to go down to the creek at the Stine farm, and just do whatever we felt like doing, which was get really wet and muddy. This is what we do.