Friday, January 31, 2014

Flashback Friday

Making popovers with Daphne, January, 2008, Dallas TX.  

Sitting Still

A lot of the snow has melted, but it sounds like more is on the way next week.  Maybe a LOT more. We had a friend from Texas visitng early in the week, but the last couple of days have been quiet and slow, with our company gone and Daphne back in school.  

Yesterday, we had some red beans and rice for dinner, with a side of avocado dip.  I won't call it guacamole, because it isn't, really.  It was just some mashed up avocado with a little salt and lime juice.  I don't like "real" guacamole.  I don't know why.  Do they put cilantro in it?  If so, that's probably the reason I don't like it.  But I like "avocado dip."  Simple and cool and creamy, and a good contrast to spicy rice and beans.  

This week we also had the roasted vegetable soup above, which was tasty and warm.  Grilled cheese on the side.  Lots of comfort food during these cold cold winter days.

And lots of dressing up.

I never know who I will meet next.

I have been going to work out almost every day, but I've also been doing a lot of sitting still.  Daphne's poncho is almost finished.  When that's done, I may get back to my quilt.  It would be good to have that finished, too.

In a way, I'm ready for spring.  It would be nice to see another color besides white and gray outside.  But at the same time, I love all this winter.  It's so much better than months and months of relentless heat and humidity.  When it's cold, you get to enjoy things like fires in the fireplace, big fuzzy sweaters, hot chocolate, warm KNITTED items, and all kinds of soup.  SOUP!  I love soup.  And I also think that when there is a nice long winter, you sort of appreciate the good things about spring and summer more.  I didn't appreciate ANYthing about summer when I lived in Texas.  I was just bitter.  For months.  And spring in Texas was practically summer.  Actually, fall in Texas was practically summer too.  So, I'm not going to complain about the winter.  Bring on the next big storm.  I will knit and eat soup and enjoy it.

Looking forward to the weekend.  We have nothing planned except watching the Empire Strikes Back. No plans are good plans.  That just means more sitting still.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thank You, Wayde

You may not believe this, but Daphne is at SCHOOL!  We didn't get the call!  Kev just left for work, and I am ALL ALONE.  I am not quite sure what to do.  It's quiet.  It's weird.

The other day at Wegmans, a man had samples of challah bread and vanilla creme fraiche.  It was delicious, so we bought some.  I am not usually suckered into things by the sample guy, but this time, I couldn't stop myself.  Yesterday, we made it into french toast. With vanilla creme fraiche on top.   

And it was GOOD.

And last night, we had this:

Also good.  We even used the gravy boat.  I felt like such a grown-up eating this plate of food, except for the fact that my pile of mashed potatoes should probably have been about half that size.  But they were so good.  And warm.  And did I mention there was gravy?  Tomorrow, the left-over vegetables will become soup, which will be perfect since it's supposed to only be 20 degrees.  And Kev could probably make a really good sandwich with the leftover chicken.  And I'm sure I can find SOMEthing that needs to be topped with gravy.  

Lately, our weekends have been very food intensive for some reason.  It's working out well, though, because the left-overs are getting us through the beginning of the week without having to plan meals and rush off to Wegmans every Monday.  

Unrelated, we bought some luxurious bath towels.  They were not cheap.  But, I have to say, if you're going to spend money on something, towels are a good thing to spend it on.  These towels are amazing.  They make every day a little happier.  Seriously.  I told Kev that I want a whole suit made out of those towels for my birthday, but I think he thought I was joking.  When Daphne grows up and goes out on her own, my advice will be never cheap out on sheets, toilet paper, or towels.  She can be thrifty with other things.  Not those.  And also, she should always bring flip-flops when travelling because you never know how gross the shower floor will be.  I should probably start making a list somewhere of all these pearls of wisdom so I don't forget to tell her.  

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What a Difference a Day Makes...

On Thursday, things got pretty dicey.  It was our 4th day off from school, and everyone was cranky.  Kev went back to work, but Daphne and I stayed home and faced the snow day.  Things were OK at first.  There was teepee time, and Free Willy (Spoiler Alert: Willy goes free at the end!), but at some point after all that I became the Most Terrible Mom EVER because I asked Daphne to wait five minutes for me to help her change the batteries in her DS.  I am SO mean!  Anyway, after about 30 minutes of stomping and yelling and so forth, peace was made.  The next day, I got the card and bracelet above, which was a promising start to our fifth (and hopefully FINAL) snow day.

We decided that it would be good to actually get out of the house on Friday, so I took Daphne to the Art Station to paint some artwork for her bedroom.  She did a nice painting of an owl:

While she was painting, I got to sit and knit, which was nice for me.  And we also got to go to lunch at the coffee shop next door, the Bean Bar.  The Bean Bar is cute and has good food, plus this tip jar, which I think is funny.  Nicolas Cage is terrible.

After lunch, we hit the grocery store, which was without incident.  A delightful day.  And a VERY nice change from the day before.

Yesterday was Saturday, and we cleaned.  Kev is awesome because he went out to pick up a few things at Wegmans that I forgot due to poor planning.  There was mushroom and barley soup and some knitting time once the chores were done.  I love it when the chores are done.

Yesterday was also my dad's birthday.  Happy Birthday Dad!  Another family birthday that I have to miss.  I hope they put a piece of cake in the freezer for me.

It's Sunday now, and there will be french toast for breakfast, and a roasted chicken and vegetables this afternoon, and Kev picked up some surprise gelato for tonight.  If we can stay awake, episode 2 of season 3 of Sherlock is also tonight.  And we will of course be waiting for a call from Wayde.  School, or no school?  That is the question.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow Week

It's Thursday now, and still no school.  School is closed tomorrow, too.  That's one whole week.  We could have taken a trip or something!  It's snowing outside now, and is supposed to again on Saturday.  And it's COLD.  Really really cold.  When I checked this morning, it was 0 degrees.  ZERO.  That's crazy.  

Daphne is worried about the animals, so we strung up some cheerios for the birds and sprinkled some peanuts in the yard for the squirrels.  A bluejay found the peanuts, but no takers on the cheerios so far.  These things take time, I guess.

That used up about 15 minutes of our morning.  Everyone is getting a little stir crazy.  Daphne is in the other room watching Free WIlly at the moment.  I don't feel bad about's really the first time we've turned on the TV this week.

There has been a lot of complaining about snow days on facebook.  All the moms of Leesburg are going nuts.  They need a break.  Then, yesterday, a local dad posted that everyone should stop complaining and go out to build snowmen with their kids because his kid died of cancer and he would cut off his arm to have a snow day with her.  So, that shut everyone up for a while.

But, I started to think about it, and here's the thing.  I am totally and sincerely sympathetic to this dad.  I cannot imagine anything more terrible than what he has gone through.  And I am also sick of all the complaining on facebook, but mostly because I don't like all the USUAL general complaining on facebook anyway.  Some people go on facebook ONLY to complain.  It's tiresome.  But I don't think anyone out there should feel the least bit guilty if their hearts sank just a little when Wayde called with the news that school would be closed today and tomorrow.  It is normal, and it is OK to want/need a break from your kids.  It doesn't mean you are a bad person or a bad parent if you don't spend every single second of your life killing yourself to create a Pinterest-worthy existence for your kids.  It's unrealistic.  It's impossible.  And I am betting that our kids could use a little break from us, too.  We've been in each other's faces for the last 6 days.

That's my two cents, anyway.   

At sewing class yesterday, Daphne finally finished her poof.  It turned out great, and she is really proud of it.

This morning, she put it in her teepee.

Then, she put on her Indian costume.  I like this picture (below).  It has a sort of Moonrise Kingdom-y feel to it.

This took up about another 15 minutes of our day.  Everyone needs the routine back.  Gonna go see if Willy is Free yet...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It Snowed Again.

I'm not really sure what day it is.  I think it's Wednesday.  It's hard to keep track with all the craziness in the schedule around here.  Holidays, snow's hard to get in a solid groove.  I'm happy to say that I haven't missed a day of my 365 Project, but THIS blog has suffered.  And what happens when THAT happens is that you (the reader) end up with a whole bunch of pictures and not so much content.  Sorry.  So, here are some pictures from the last week or so, in an attempt to sum up.

Hmmm...this (above) is from LAST Monday.  Not the one we just had, but the one before that.  I went to a really nice knitting night out with my friend Jill, and we made these coffee mug sweaters.  Now my coffee has a choice of two sweaters!  Kevin has informed me that his beers aren't going to be needing  any scarves or anything.  We'll just see what comments like that will get him!

Since Daphne was actually at school last week, I started seriously taking control of the house.  I made a lot of progress in the office/craft room, and I wish I had a "BEFORE" picture so you could see.  It's been a long time since you could see the surface of my desk.  Or the FLOOR!   It makes me so happy.

Daphne's rocks have finished Phase Two in the rock tumbler.  They look pretty, and should look even prettier when they finish Phase Three.

We had chicken marsala.  I love chicken marsala.  And the best news is that Daphne's "I don't like mushrooms" phase is over, so she loves it too.  She calls it Chicken Awesomesala, or something like that.  That also makes me happy.

There was no school on Monday for MLK, so Daphne took a little sewing class and made a scarf for her American Girl Doll:

And a groovy necklace for herself:

When she got home, she made a paper chain and hung up streamers so we could have a proper MLK celebration, complete with leftover chicken awesomesala and a moose-drawing contest (?!).  Sometimes it's like I live with Buddy the Elf.

Meanwhile, I took some time to work on this:

At the MLK sewing class, another Mom said snow was on its way.  That was the first I heard about it, but sure enough, it came, and we got the call from Wayde Byard - Public Information Office for Loudoun County Public Schools - no school Tuesday.

We watched as the snow kept on falling.  Kev stayed home from work and decided we should go sledding.  I was NOT on board with this idea because I looked outside and saw snow falling sideways in the strong strong wind.  But, we bundled ourselves up and headed over to the school where we were the only people crazy enough to be outside sledding.  And I have to admit, it was a BLAST.

That's me in the green hat, sledding down the hill, happy in spite of the strong strong wind.

Here is the aftermath:

We ended up with a LOT of snow.  The most we've had probably since the Snowmageddon a few years ago.  We got another call from Wayde last night.  No school today.  So I was right.  It IS Wednesday.

The snow days have been fun.  Kev has been home with us and has had more time than usual to play with Daphne.  We got to watch the first episode of Seaon Three of Sherlock (brilliant).  Daphne had time to knit this collar for Quincy:

And I had time to finish this:

And I LOVE it.  It's soft and warm and pretty.  And FINISHED!  And I can now move on to another project.

Hopefully, there will be school tomorrow.  I love snow days and having everyone home, but I am losing ground on getting the house back.  And I don't do well when I get derailed.

In other news, I was finally given the All Clear by the cardiologist.  My heart is completely fine.  I couldn't figure out where to insert that into this post, but felt it was noteworthy.

And, that about gets us caught up, I think.  Happy Snow Days!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Very International Weekend

We (Kev and I) spent most of the weekend in the kitchen, but it feels like we went around the world.  Saturday afternoon was spent making some delicious Rogan Josh with Aromatic Rice, Garbanzo Beans, and Naan (below).  Above is the mise en place that turned into our rogan josh.  Thank you Madhur Jaffrey for your excellent recipes.  And thank you, Food Network, for hammering home the importance of mise en place.  No kitchen panic...just SMOOTH sailin'!

Sunday afternoon was spent making mushroom ravioli.  I LOVE RAVIOLI!!!!!

All of this cooking was pretty exhausting, but here is the good news:

1.  All of the food was GREAT.  Fresh and from scratch (except the chick peas, which were canned).  

2.  Kev and I displayed excellent kitchen teamwork.  It was fun!

3.  Daphne ate it all and loved every bite and kept hugging us and thanking us.  Yes.

4. There are leftovers of everything.  I don't have to go back to the grocery store or plan any meals or do any more real cooking until at least Wednesday.  YES!

So, hooray for India and Italy and their good food.  Totally worth all the work.

Meanwhile, Daphne has suddenly become obsessed with learning how to speak German.  She brought home a vocabulary book from the school library on Friday; and then this morning, Kev dug up this gem (above) from his record collection, and let Dapne listen to it.  It's pretty funny.  Mixed in with "Hello" and "Thank you" and "Where is the bathroom" are other useful phrases like "I wish to make an appointment with Dr. Brown" and "Must I open everything?" and "I cannot open the trunk."  It all sounded like sneezing to me.  Did you know that baby pigs in German are Ferkel?  I am going to insist that Daphne's next stuffed animal be named "Ferkel."

Daphne asked Kevin how many years until middle school when she can take German as a class.  I love her enthusiasm, but I don't know how useful German would be.  Plus, it's really difficult.  And it sounds like sneezing.  I hope she decides to take Spanish.  That seems both easier and more practical.

When I was in high school, I took French.  Completely useless.  I took French because I heard the teacher was cool.  She was!  Her name was Mrs. Parrot, but we all just called her Muh-DAHM.  She had a giant poster of Adam Ant on the wall, and she occasionally gave us cheese.

Then, in my second year, MuhDAHM quit teaching,  and we got a new MuhDAHM who was significantly less cool, but at least sometimes let us listen to Edith Piaf, which I didn't appreciate at the time, because I listened to pretty much only heavy metal back then.  And sometimes Adam Ant. Now, though,  I love Edith Piaf.  

Anyway, aside from knowing what "mise en place" means and appreciating the greatness of Edith Piaf, I am not really seeing many benefits of my three years of French, so I sort of wish I had taken Spanish.  Oh well.  C'est la vie.

The week ahead looks promising.  Tomorrow night I am going to a knitting thing via the Finch that should be a lot of fun.  (Coffee sweaters!!!).   I don't have any appointments this week, and there is no snow-day weather in the forecast, so I should be able to get some things done in the house.  There will be leftover rogan josh and mushroom ravioli for dinner, and it's ALREADY MADE!  And one week from tonight, Sherlock returns!  Good times.

OK, I'm off to watch Chopped now.  Fahrvergnugen!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thinking Outside the Boxes

Yesterday, I was tired of winter.  Only temporarily.  I actually really LIKE winter.  The truth is, I had no plan for our Brownie meeting, so I thought we could ALL use a break from winter and have a Beach Party, and that would give us something to do.  So we did.  The girls wore Hawaiian leis and sunglasses and sat on beach towels and ate popsicles and made pet rocks.  Then they put balloons between their heads and walked around.

Oh, those wacky Brownies.

We got home just in time to help Kev take Doug out to the sidewalk.  Daphne cried and cried.  It was heart-breaking to watch.  She gets SO attached to EVERYTHING.  I think the pet rock she made is probably the very best kind of pet for her.

The living room looks very strange and kind of empty and sad, even though there is plenty of stuff in it.  It may take a while to get used to it.

To cheer us all up (and because I was too tired out from the beach party to cook dinner), we went out for Vietnamese food.

This morning, there was freezing rain and school was delayed for 2 hours.  That meant I had to miss my Friday morning Pilates class, but once Daphne went to school, I still mustered up the will and the energy to do some cleaning.  

Today's genius move:  See all those boxes on the right?


They are all craft kit boxes that used to be stacked precariously on top of this cabinet (below), creating all kinds of chaos and feelings of distress, and threatening to topple over at any moment.  So, today I removed the contents of the boxes (so much excess packaging - what a waste!), and put it all in ziploc bags, neat and tidy in a cubby now known as the "I'm Bored Bin."  Next time Daphne is bored, she can grab a baggie and do something she probably totally forgot about since it was all piled in boxes on top of the cabinet.

The cabinet is still packed full of stuff on the INside, but it's a definite improvement.  The boxes are now in the recycle bin. Nothing on top!  Woohoo!

It looks REALLY good when the doors are closed:

So, it feels good to have that done.  There is still a lot to do, but I am buoyed by the progress, and inspired to keep going.  Maybe by the end of January, I will have the house back.  That will be good.  And in February, I can do FUN projects!