Monday, January 31, 2011

Lullaby of the Gorilla Mama

I'm sure some of you have read about Amy Chua by now - this is my personal reaction to all the hoopla.  And if you would like to read an article about her book, "Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother" this is a link to the Time magazine piece.
A friend linked this on his FB page, and was obviously very much in favor of Chua's ideas on parenting.  I read the piece and felt physically ill.  Then forced myself to re-read it, and this time had to admit she had a few good points.  Yes, American kids watch way too much TV, play too many video games, and don't apply themselves enough.  Yes, academically we are behind a lot of other countries.  What I couldn't get behind was that she does not mention actually appreciating her children at all - in fact, she once handed back a Mother's Day card her daughter had made for her because she "hadn't put enough thought into it" and told her "I reject this."  She does not mention their individual personality traits except to mention that her younger daughter was much more difficult than her older daughter.  

And she also mentions calling her older daughter "garbage" because she felt that she had disrespected her mother.  Chua says her father called her the same thing once, but she never questioned his love for her and doesn't think her daughters do either.
I used to work for a man who was raised in the tiger-mother fashion.  He was head of a prestigious research institute at 31, but could not for the life of him carry on a casual conversation.  He was suspicious of everyone and admitted that he had not taken a vacation in 11 years.  In Chua's book she details the rules for her daughters - no playdates, no sleepovers, they are required to play either violin or piano and practice their instruments for 3 hours every night.  She said she would be devastated if her child ever brought home a B.

So here are my thoughts - why does it have to be a "battle hymn"?  Why can you not cultivate a strong work ethic in your children, while also allowing them to develop socially?  My kids are allowed to watch TV, but we do *try* to limit it.  Mooch also has to work in her math and vocabulary workbooks at least 3 times a week, and a little extra if she misses school for a snow day.  I think my sanity would suffer as much as they would if I took away playdates.  Mooch took ballet until this year and then said she didn't want to go anymore - we let her stop.  Then I read the Nutcracker to her and showed her the ballet when it aired on PBS, now she wants to start back up again.  I think if you continually force your children to carry on how you expect them to, it will go one of two ways : either they will rebel and fight you tooth and nail or they will become chronic people-pleasers.  I'm constantly telling the Mister, "Pick your battles!"

So I will continue to read to my girls, make them clean up after themselves, spoil them with trips to the children's museum and the zoo.  I will encourage them to educate themselves, make them eat their vegetables, discipline them when they are rude, and paint their fingernails.  I will let them have a cupcake for breakfast once in a while, blow bubbles with them, laugh when they make up silly dances together, hug them, kiss them, tell them they are my sunshine.

I guess I'm more of a gorilla mama.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Falling into the super-mommy trap once again

It is still a snowy icy mess outside, and these here anklebiters are over it.  And I don't blame them.  We haven't been able to be outside for more than 1/2 an hour at a time in so long.  For kids that spend all day, every day, outside all summer this is soul-crushing. 
Mooch has been coughing here and there again, and the Mister sounds awful and is doing his lovely throat-clear at all times ... and then wondering why I'm not down for passionate tongue-kisses.  Nothankskbye.
I'm trying to figure out how to jam physical activity, mental stimulation, house cleaning, and preparing a healthy dinner all into this one day - with the added disadvantage that the Mister is on 4pm-2am shifts this week, so I have to let him sleep late every morning of the short weekend and then say goodbye to him at 3:15 every day. 

I'm tired.  And I have that run-down feeling that always proceeds a cold.  I'm amping up on Airborne and drinking lots of water and hoping that my immune system is in fightin' mode. 

Also, Zac The Wonder Dog and Nunzio are following me around all worried-like.  Zac fell asleep next to the bed last night and Nunzio cureld himself up next to my head.  I'm not sure if they're freaked out about Tobey or are trying to escape from my apparent fatal psychic powers.

I'll leave you with Mooch and her "store".  Notice the blown-up picture from teh Princess bride that I had to laminate - she had already carried around 2 until they fell apart.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hey Mom! Jack Frost came all over the yard!

That's right, more snow here in Mama land.  It's a heavy snow with ice underneath, quite useful for falling and busting your tailbone or pulling every blessed vertebrae in your back out of line as you try to shovel out.  At least it was pretty, before the dog/cats/kids got to it:

 Umm, speaking of animals ...
I went downstairs to switch laundry yesterday, and smelled the lovely smell of cat poop on my floor.  AGAIN.  And Tobey had also peed in the corner.  I had just cleaned out their box the day before and put down new litter, I was pissed!  Cleaned up while cursing her out, then was on FB a while later and updated my status to "Dear cats : we really need to talk about this whole 'you being alive' thing, and how inconvenient it is.  I'm sick of cleaning up poop when your litterbox is clean!"
Mister worked last night til 2 in the morning.  I woke up at 5:15 thinking I was hearing Butterbean, closed our bedroom door, but didn't hear anything.  Went out to the couch and curled up under a blanket to try and sneak in some more sleep.  Then I hear "Mewwerrrrrr!!!  Mwerrr!" I thought the cats were fighting and went downstairs to tell them to knock it off.  I couldn't find either of them downstairs, then heard the sound again coming from behind the couch.  I looked back and Tobey was hunched over and sort of growling - I went to get her and she nipped at my hand.  She quieted down and I figured she was just working out a hairball.  Went back upstairs, curled up, fell back asleep.  
When the anklebiters woke up at 7:00 I went downstairs to check on her.  Still in the same position.  Still.  I couldn't quite reach her so I poked her with a ruler - she didn't move.  

So the Mister woke up to, "Hey - Tobey's dead.  I have to get to work so can you go get her out from behind the couch and decide what the hell we're going to do with a cat corpse when there's 10 inches of snow on the ground?"

He requested that I be very careful about what I say about him from now on.  One friend is calling me Tituba and my sister keeps IM'ing me to say, "She's a WITCH!!!!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yummy Easy Dinner

Ok, so this was originally an Imitator Seinfeld recipe, but she kind of stuck the fish option onto the back of it.  (Hers was for chicken fingers, which you can swap in here)  This is hands down a favorite and a staple in our house.  Mooch used to love sweet potato, now gags when she sees it.  So I let her pick either peas or carrot sticks as her side.

Fish Bites
1 1/2 lbs white flaky fish, such as tilapia or catfish
2 egg whites
3 Tb cauliflower puree (you can omit this if it's not handy)
2 c panko bread crumbs
3 Tb finely shredded Parmesan
paprika to taste

Sweet Potato Fries
2 large sweet potatoes
2 Tb olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

 First, make the fries.  Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into steak fry size pieces, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 for 10 minutes, remove from oven, toss to brown evenly, return to oven.  Repeat this process twice more, then remove from oven.

Meanwhile, cut fish into 1 inch chunks.  In a medium bowl whisk together egg whites and cauliflower puree.  In a separate bowl mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan, and paprika.  Heat 4 Tb olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Dip fish into egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture, then add to pan.  Cook until brown on that side (about 3 minutes) then flip and brown the other side.  Transfer to a paper towel lined platter.  Serve with sweet potato fries.

Easy, right?  I had to figure out how to make my own sweet potato fries because I used to work at a restaurant that made amazing ones, and I missed them.  

And by the way, Butterbean is baaaaaaaaack ....


Monday, January 24, 2011

Holy F$%#ing hell, it's f%$^ing cold out there

I decided to get all motivated-like and get serious about being toned enough to rock my bikini this summer, so I hauled my behind out of bed at 5:07 this morning to go to a Bodypump class.  Have you gone to one of these?  They are torturous, but they work.  And you get to learn how to do She-Ra Princess of Power-like things, like clean and presses, that sound all impressive.  I was taking this on a regular basis until my schedule changed, and my back and my shoulders have never looked better.  So I packed up my gym bag and my lunch and prepped the coffee maker for the Mister last night, and right on cue both kids decided to wake up at 4:00 am this morning - so I will be comatose by 6 tonight.
After class and a shower I stopped for coffee and an egg-white flatbread thingie from Dunks, then went to work.  I work on a college campus and have to park about a half-mile away from my building.  It was so cold I got a headache - it was so cold I seriously considered curling up in the fetal position on the ground until someone came along and carried me someplace warm.  I got to the office and it was EIGHT DEGREES.  We are reaching a balmy high of SEVENTEEN today. I called the Mister a little while ago and laid down the law - the minute I get home I'm putting on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, fuzzy socks, and we are getting delivery.  I was feeling bad about this until I came across this from Spells of Magic :

January's full moon is called the Hunger moon or the Wolf moon - This months full moon is named either the hunger or wolf moon because January is the month in the year when the wolves that used to populate much of Europe and beyond used to roam the country side extremely hungry, with frozen conditions and a shortage of ready food. Traditionally, astrological this is a time for planning your year ahead from a more spiritual if some times hungry perspective, it is a good time to be looking back and forwards at what you wish you to accomplish this next upcoming year. the January, Hunger full moon is for thinking about your needs - traditionally you should focus upon rites and rituals to do with planning - Consider and meditate on how best to acquire your needs and your wants - What is tit that your heart desires? The sun transits the zodiac sign of Aquarius during the month of January and the house of the 'group'.
So I am thinking of my needs (see what I did there?) and avoiding being eaten by the ravenous packs of wolves.  I'm not lazy, I'm thoughtful.  

Now let's look at these and think happy thoughts :

Friday, January 21, 2011

Stupid Cats & Mozzarella Sticks

Yes, these are the two things on my mind this morning.  Because, as I went to leave the house I dashed downstairs to grab my coat only to be greeted by the smell of poo.  Yes - stupid cat strikes again.  We have Tobey - she is around 10 years old, she's fluffy and pretty to look at, but she is seriously deranged.  She meows at walls, refuses to go in the litterbox (and yes, we've tried different litter, bigger litterbox, everything) and loves to vomit on carpet.  She goes outdoors a lot, and I'm secretly hoping one day she finds a nice family who loves her despite her being a pain in the ass and they steal her and keep her forever.  Then we have Nunzio - he is a great cat but has developed some eye wound that refuses to heal.  He is also obsessed with the Mister and if he's home, Nunzio needs to be in the same room or else he will wait at the door and "Mew!  Mew!  Meewwwwww!" until he's let in.

I don't get cats.  I don't get how people have them and think that them being assholes is really cute and "Well, that's just cats!"  I used to like them, before I had kids, and before I adopted the World's Best Dog.  I now have no use for them.

Anywho, the other night before our mad dash to the ER, I made homemade mozzarella sticks.  They are from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook

You know what the deception is in this cookbook?  That bitch claims to have ever made any of these recipes.  Her descriptions of them, and some of the measurements, are completely off.  My SIL also gave me the original cookbook that spawned this one

And it's pretty obvious that Jessica Seinfeld ripped off this lady's idea.  Anyway, with a few tweaks, the mozzarella sticks turned out awesome, and the Mister is now obsessed with them and has requested them twice more.

They contain cauliflower puree.  I got a big head of it, cut it up, and put it in my trusty bamboo steamer.  Do you have one of these?  My mom gave me one last year and I use it constantly.  They are cheap and so useful.  I steamed the cauliflower until it was fork-tender, then pureed it with a little bit of water to make it smooth.  You can divide it up into 1/2 cup servings, put it in individual containers, and freeze.  I use this puree with an egg white beat in when we make fish bites and chicken fingers, and the girls have no clue.  I also mixed two tablespoons into their eggs this morning with some cheese, and it was awesome!  The puree makes the eggs really fluffy.

Mozzarella Sticks

1 overflowing c mozzarella
1/2 c cauliflower puree
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 Tb flax seed meal
1 Tb corn starch
1 Tb sesame seeds
2 Tb olive oil

In a bowl combine the puree, mozzarella, and corn starch.  In a separate bowl combine bread crumbs, flax seed meal, and sesame seeds.  Shape the puree/mozzarella mixture into little logs (hehe) about 2 inches long then roll in the bread crumb mixture.  I found this was easier to do when the puree was cold, the warm puree was difficult to shape.  Lay on a cutting board lined with plastic wrap.  Cover the sticks (I couldn't say log again) with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.  Then heat the olive oil in a big frying pan, and add the sticks, turning to brown evenly on all sides.  Another thing ol' Jessica left out - coat whatever spatula you're using to turn these with non-stick cooking spray.  The cheese will stick otherwise and all the coating slides right off.  
Let cool on a paper towel lined plate, serve.

Mooch who loves anything with cheese was not so enthusiastic about these, but she is a stinker when it comes to trying new things.  She did however try the blueberry granola bars (with spinach puree) that I made later.  Oh children, how you underestimate your mother.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Scariest Night of My Life.

I've been keeping you all updated on the germ warzone that is our home.  Sunday we watched the Patriots lose horribly to those stupid Jets, I made homemade mozzarella sticks from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, pigs in a blanket, and sauteed sausage, peppers, and onions.  Butterbean had been super clingy and feverish all day, we just figured it was more ear infection/cold crap.  We were giving her Tylenol and Ibuprofen to bring her fever down, but it was 103 and we could only get it down to 100.  She was sitting on the Mister's lap and her breathing was ... loud.  She fell asleep and we laid her in her crib, and when I went in to check on her after we put Mooch to bed she was panting and gasping.  I called the pediatrician and he said get her to the ER, immediately.  I called my parents to come watch Mooch, and Mister stayed with her while I raced 'Bean to the hospital.  The admitting nurse took one look at her and said, bring her back.  The nurse who examined her slapped an oxygen mask on her and took her temp, it was 104.  They took a chest x-ray, then started her on an IV to re-hydrate her.  I felt like an awful Mommy - I swear, I've been getting her to drink water!  The doctor explained because of her fever she was burning fluids faster than she could have possibly taken them in.  The x-ray showed one area of her lungs that was very inflamed, with irritation throughout.  Pneumonia.  The doctor said, we'll have to keep her overnight - do you want to stay?

Is the freakin sky blue?  Does a bear shit in the woods?? 

They got her upstairs in a room.  Every time the oxygen mask wasn't close enough to her face her oxygen saturation rate would drop into the 80's (it's supposed to be high 90's to 100) then an alarm would go off.  Lovely.  I slept with her - well ok, I didn't really sleep - in the big metal crib.  My ass was hanging out for all the world to see and I couldn't get comfortable but there is no place I would have rather been.  For what a vital little thing she usually is - ordering us all around, gulping down food, running instead of walking - she wasn't even speaking, would barely respond to us.  Except for screaming every time a new nurse or doctor came in to poke her.  Then she would yell, "I want Moochie!" :-(  My heart could barely take that.  They came back with the results of her cultures and said she had RSV disease that became viral pneumonia, with a middle ear infection and dehydration.

The next day she was better, though still very lethargic and had no appetite, and I had to prompt her to keep drinking water.  She started spending longer and longer periods off of the oxygen, and that night she slept without it.  During that day when the Mister was with her I slipped home to shower, change clothes, and brush my teeth.  I also grabbed our car DVD player that we use on long trips - that thing was a lifesaver.  She couldn't leave her room because she was so vulnerable to germs, so having all her favorite movies right there was great.  The nurses were amazing too, and brought her anything she requested.  At 8:00 pm that night we were reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and all of a sudden she sat up and said, "I want CAKE!"  and our nurse went out and tracked that baby down some cake!

The next morning she wanted out of the bed, and I set her on the floor and kept my hands behind her.  She looked up at me and said, "I walkin, Mama!"  I could have just squeezed her to death.  She toddled around on her little wobbly legs until the nurse came in to say the doctors wanted her to stay in bed.  'Bean got all frustrated and tried to pull her IV and monitors out and hollered her head off ... that's when I knew she was getting better.

So after two days and two nights we are home.  She is still not eating as much as she normally does but she is so much better than she was.  Moochie is continuing to recover from croup as well - the doctor said he wouldn't be surprised if she had had RSV too.  

Here's a dark camera phone picture of my little 'Bean sleeping, the first night in the "hoskital" as she calls it :


Friday, January 14, 2011

Snowy Daze!

If you don't have anything nice to say ... then post pretty pictures from the snowstorm, and of the little germ-magnets crafting.

Back porch as the snow began 
Our one tree!  This was when it was starting to fall a little faster

The next morning.  That's our little potted Yule tree, waiting patiently for the thaw and to be planted.  Please excuse my incredibly formal tarp-draped wood pile next to Butterbean's scoot-scoot toys.
Being snowed in always inspires me to bake, and I had cranberries left over.  So I made these super yummy muffins.  The recipe is adapted from an Everyday Food recipe - I try and eat pretty healthy overall, and if I'm going to have  a muffin I want it to taste good and have some redeeming qualities.

4 Tb unsalted butter, plus more for pan (I swap this out with melted Smart Balance spread)
1 c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 lg egg, beaten
3/4 c milk (Martha says whole milk, I swap in soy milk and a dash of the Mister's half-n-half)
1 bag (12 oz) cranberries
1 Tb clementine zest (optional, but so good)

1/2 c pecans
2 Tb brown sugar
2 Tb melted Smart Balance (or margarine, or butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.  Whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl mix together the 4 Tb melted butter, egg, and milk.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix just until combined.  Add cranberries and clementine zest.   Use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter into muffin tin.  In a food processor, combine pecans, brown sugar, and butter.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add one heaping tablespoon to the top of each muffin.  Bake 1 hour, until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan and let cool.

Mooch also got inspired to up-cycle an empty sushi rice container into a bird house/feeder.  The results were ... ummm ... well I'll let you see for yourself

GLITTER!!!!!  The herpes of craft projects! (Thanks, SMKR website)

Dear gay birds of the mid-Atlantic, your new hangout is complete.
She even decided to share some of her craft supplies with the 'Bean

I'm not sure what Butterbean was crafting, possibly an ornately decorated shiv.  Or she's making a list of people to destroy in 2011.

I will be back at some point this weekend, and I will be positive.  I will!  I got my beautiful leather journal yesterday in the mail, and I'm going to start crafting my B.O.S.  Hope all you blog lovers have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oh Hell No.

There I was yesterday, being all hopeful and foolishly planning a night out with my husband for tonight ... because we have been like ships passing in the night lately ... when last night Butterbean starts feeling a little warm.  Mind you, Mooch only *just* got over croup, and still has a cough and a runny nose.  
Mooch was the Buddha baby.  When she grinned, she actually looked like Buddha.  She is just a little people-pleaser ... she likes to know what the rules are and most of the time she follows them.   Butterbean has made it clear that not only does she not care about the rules, she revels in being a little turd.  So last night as my blood pressure starts to rise and I compulsively keep checking her temp, I tell her only half joking "No getting sick.  Not allowed!  Mama can't take it."  So she walks around the rest of the night fake-coughing and cracking up every time I look at her all panicky.  
I tried to be good and put myself to bed at 10 pm ... only to be woken up by the little shit at 1 am.  She was up from 1-4.  Mooch woke up at 5:30 coughing and came in to tell me she couldn't fall back asleep.  Fine, go into her room and give her her Leapster and a glass of water and told her she was not to come out until the sun came up.  Butterbean was up at 6:30 ... and I really didn't even sleep most of the time because Mooch was coughing.  
Butterbean was still warm this morning.  I am praying, wishing, offering to sacrifice a goat, whatever - please, PLEASE let this be her 2 year molars coming in and not her getting sick.  My nerves are frayed, I'm exhausted, I look like shit, and I need a freaking break.  
The Mister is taking them both to my parent's house since Mama Lou and Pop have been missing them like crazy, so once I get out of work today I'm hoping to go home and get a nap, then head out to dinner with him.  
Here are my two anklebiters after Christmas ... Mooch is princess mode, and Butterbean in .... Butterbean mode.  She's lucky she's so dang cute.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Croup-y Head

I got home from work Monday and could hear Mooch coughing from outside.  I went to hug her and she smelled different.  You know how each of your kids has a certain smell?  I couldn't even describe what exactly it was - just not right.  I bundled her up and took her to the doctors, and the poor kid literally got worse every minute.  This is a child who never stops talking and she was huddled up on the examing table, completely silent.  Her temp was 103, and the nurse checked her blood pressure and it was really high.  I started to get a little weak in the knees and had to talk myself out of passing out.  I know the parenting gods knew I could not handle a chronically ill child, so they gave me two healthy ones.  The doctor diagnosed her with croup and gave us a steroid pill to give her, to reduce the swelling in her airways, and a seriously scary list of things to watch for.  He very casually said, "So if she starts to have trouble breathing you need to get her to the ER as fast as possible"  Gulp.
Luckily the pill worked, and despite her fever spiking yesterday she is getting better.  She was thrilled that the doctor told her playing outside was one of the best treatments for croup, so we ventured out all bundled up yesterday.  I stayed home yesterday, and today have a delayed start time thanks to the snow.  I'll post pictures later - I love waking up to these snowfalls!  And here's your useful tip for the day - diaper rash cream is excellent for healing chapped red noses.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Preschool, aka The Hive of New and Exciting Infectious Diseases.

Mooch has always been a healthy kid.  5 years old and has never been on antibiotics.  Until she started preschool and started hanging around with the pack of germ-swappers.  She had just gotten over the cold she picked up before Christmas - this is her in a daze at her Christmas extravaganza:

 when she started coughing the other day.  That night she woke up at 3 am soaked in sweat, burning up with fever, shaking, and complaining about a headache and sore arms.  Mama's red flag went up and I started freaking out, thinking she had meningitis.  Ran downstairs to google it, and meningitis was the first result to come back.  The Mister convinced me to wait until morning to completely freak out and call the doctor, and by the morning she was better.  Still coughing but better.
Today she woke up, had a coughing fit, and ended up throwing up some mucus.  No more headache (she gets one later on in the day, but at that point I think it's from hacking all day.)  To add to the fun, Butterbean woke up at 1:30 am and was screaming and insisting she wanted to sit on the potty and then go watch Dora.  I let her sit on the potty and then convinced her to let me read her a Dora book and give her an eensy bit more bottle.  She conked out around 3, then Mooch was up at 5.  So the Mister is home with the anklebiters today and running on about 4-5 hours of sleep, and goes in today at 4:00 pm to work until 2:00 am.  Any nap vibes you can send towards us are much appreciated.
I actually took down all the holiday decorations yesterday, organized our little storage nook under the stairs, and vacuumed.  The Mister wrestled our tree out back to the patio, where it will stay until the weather warms up a bit and it can be planted in my parent's woods.  I'm going to start work on two little blessing pouches, one with Butterbean's umbilical cord stump in it, one with a lock of Mooch's hair in it, to be planted underneath the tree. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowy Day

Not a lot - but I've been craving it, so this will do!
Excuse the first picture's blurriness ... I was trying to stay back so I could get a bird on the feeder.  This is right next to a GIANT butterfly bush that I moved this year, to disguise my homemade compost bin.  Yup, made it with my own two hands after waiting months for the Mister to help.  Nothing like some frustration to help you drive stakes into the ground :-)

You can barely see it, but underneath the feeder is something called a "Beauty Berry Bush".  My mom has a huge one in her yard, and she gave me this baby one.  In the summer it will look like this, and the birds love the berries :

The blooms on the butterfly bush are also purple, I'm excited to be able to look out and have that to see now that we got rid of our crappy metal playset and upgraded!  Mooch was using the clusters of berries as "grapes for the faeries" when she made faerie houses at my parent's house this past summer.
Our rain barrel.  I'm searching for another one identical to this, to put on the other side of the house.  I want it next to our new vegetable garden with a soaker hose attached to it, for ease of watering.  Gaah, just thinking about gardening makes me want to look at seed catalogs!
My hydrangeas, lavender, and lambs ear's all buried in the snow.  The hydrangea to the far left didn't bloom for the first two years I had it, and now spits out these gigantic basketball-sized blooms.  The lavender is two different varieties and desperately needs to be dug up and find a new home, it's gotten huge and is way crowded. Sigh.  I love my lavender.  Is it summer yet??

Also a rescued fern from Home Depot.  You didn't hear this from me - but Home Depot throws away any plants that are even a little bit droopy.  Once a week I drive by their dumpsters out back  and could easily fill my car every time with their cast-offs.  And you're saving them from being dumped in a landfill.  I'm hoping this fern survives the winter, but I had no room for it inside. Good luck, little buddy.
Our entranceway, and my sad little neglected stick-planter.   It got blown over in a bad wind storm a few weeks ago, and I haven't had time to re-work it.  Someday ...

I'm hoping we get a little more snow.  The Mister has off most of the weekend and I want an excuse to be lazy and drink Bailey's and lay on the floor with the kids playing Playmobil.
Also, the lovely Jen has stepped forward once again to design me a button.  My laziness knows no bounds.
Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review - The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton

Love, love, loved this book.  
It's the true story of Shreve Stockton falling in love with Wyoming and a man; and said man bringing her home a baby coyote rescued out of a den after it's mother and siblings are killed.   She ends up raising "Charlie" in her little cabin, with a cat named Eli.  The pictures are gorgeous, of the animals and the landscape ... reading it made me realize the furthest west I've ever been is PA, and I've been dreaming ever since about a road trip with the Mister.  Le sigh ... maybe after the anklebiters are grown and don't need/want us anymore.

Shreve's website is here, and is updated daily with pictures :

Hey, it looks all fancy & fabulous on here!

I love talented friends .... don't you?
The wonderful fabulous creative all-around-goddess Jen has re-designed this space for me!  Woot!!!  So excited for my new layout.  And completely inspired to get extra creative on here!

Jen's blog has recipes that will make you drool and is supercute :

Also, I ordered this gorgeousness yesterday :

Cannot wait to get my hands on this sucker.  
I still have neglected to take a single ornament off my tree ... although I kind of lazily pulled decorations down from around the house and piled them in front of the laundry room door.  Progress, right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holly Daze

I'm still there ... what about you all?
With this new year, I'm hoping to bring you all a new and improved Mama's Thyme.  I'm a newbie blogger and not computer savvy at all - my way of fixing things technical is to turn the stupid thing off, turn it back on again - and if that hasn't fixed it, walk away and pour a glass of wine.  But my friend Jen, who has an awesome blog (Sweet Bliss) has offered to lend some help and I'm taking her up on it.

Anywho, the holly daze around here were hectic but fun.  The Mister works a rotating shift with extra paid jobs springing up here and there, so he was MIA most of the time.  Gotta pay for the Santa loot :-)  So the girls and I made some cookies the night before 

The next morning they were up at 5:00 am (UGHHHH!)  The Mister hadn't gotten home the night before until 2:30 am so I held them off for about 45 minutes before we went downstairs.  We try and keep the presents to a minimum - I feel like the focus of this time of year should be family and being together and doing the cozy indoors stuff.  So they both got one big present then a few little things.  They mostly cared that they got to have M&M's before breakfast ... LOL
Butterbean was running around upstairs and then all of a sudden got really quiet ... could she be up to no good?

Just sacked out.  Turns out the nasty cold that we had all had in the week leading up to the big day had developed into an ear infection in her.  :-(

Mooch couldn't resist giving her cuddles.
So Butterbean had to go on the dreaded antibiotics.  She had to go on them last year for the same thing - a nasty cold that became a middle ear infection.  I had been dosing her with garlic mullein oil to ward that off, but apparently I wasn't aggressive enough with it.  I had also been trying to keep her nose suctioned to not let the mucus settle and had tilted her mattress up.  If anyone has any other recommendations, I want to hear them!  I hate putting her on antibiotics.  
I am trying to find a craft project to keep me busy, and my in laws gave me an Amazon gift certificate.  I came across an absolutely beautiful leather bound journal with a tree on the front that I fell in love with, and just ordered it.  I'm thinking of starting a project for the girls with it - kind of a Book of Shadows, cookbook, and love letter rolled into one.  I'll let you know how it goes.  It beats actually taking down the yuletide decorations and organizing :-)
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