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Friday, September 14, 2012

I've moved .......

My new blog can be found here, please come join me:

http://motheringbythemoon.blogspot.com/

I'm leaving this blog for now, I'm not sure if I'll ever delete it but I did need a new space. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tofu, and Notes On Not Being A Dick.


I've always been kind of meh on tofu.  It's kind of slimy and I don't love the texture.  But every vegan recipe site I look at (since I am a proud faux-vegan) is all tofu this, tofu that, you must gargle with tofu 3x a day.  So I tried it again and Das Bich recommended baking the tofu first, which dries it out and gives it a more meat-y texture.  Last night I pressed the tofu first instead, laying it on a plate lined with a paper towel, laying another paper towel and plate over top, then laying a heavy cookbook on top of the plate.  This squeezes out the extra moisture and firms up the tofu.  And then I did this:

Slice tofu into 1/4" slices, then in half.  In a small bowl add soy sauce, in a separate small bowl mix together panko bread crumbs, 1 Tb nutritional yeast, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Spray cookie sheet with baking spray.  Dredge tofu slices in soy sauce, then bread crumb mixture, then lay on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 1/2 an hour, flipping slices halfway through.  I had mine with a side of lemony sauteed kale from our kale-zilla plant.

Mooch has become a persnickety eater as she got older, but she loved these.  She kept asking if they were chicken or cheese (suckah)  Forget about the Mister coming near these - he is not down with faux-veganism.  He's all about the Paleo diet these days and if I hear "but is it Paleo?" one more time I may lose my shit.

This week started out with me being stressed about everything I have to finish up at my current job.  I start in a new department on August 6th, and my baby brat sister B'lanna is getting married on the 25th.  My house looked like a tornado hit it.  It was very all about me and how stressed I was, and then someone walked into a movie theater in Colorado and killed a lot of people, including a six year old little girl.  And if there is ANY positive, and positive doesn't even seem the right word, out of these horrific unimaginable senseless things; maybe it's that for some of us it makes us hit the reset button on our "all caught up in me" world.  I hugged the girls so tight they complained, and fixed my husband the stupid f-ing Paleo dinner he requested. I put together a big bag of stuff to donate to Goodwill.  I made a conscious effort to smile at everyone, and played parking meter fairy.  It's my small response of putting positivity back into the world when people are hurting and reeling and angry and scared.  And I re-posted a portion of Obama's speech that he made regarding what happened in Colorado to my FB page.  Because he was essentially summing up my feelings - pay more attention to how we treat each other.  And it turned into a politicized freaking argument. 

In the midst of this I was accused of "living in a haze".  You know what?  Fine.  Yes I do not follow politics to the point I can rattle off statistics, because the more I learn about politics the more it becomes crystal clear that all politicians are more or less actors who will tell us whatever we want to hear.  And the more I follow them the more frustrated I become.  And the more frustrated I become, my patience with everything goes down, and that's not good.  Because ultimately I think it's the small things that matter the most - and how we treat each other is the end-all, be-all.  The truth is if you look back over your day and realize that 90% of the time you were either annoyed or stressed or angry, then you're not being a positive force in this world, no matter what you're doing.  If you realize that almost everything you've said in a day has either been argumentative or negative, THEN YOU NEED TO CHANGE.  And if you make a decision not to then you own a small piece of the bad things that happen in this world, no matter how you spin it.  And if consciously trying to be positive and spread the love is a "hazy" point of view ... then stay hazy :-)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rodents of Unusual Size?

I don't think they exist.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Here Is Your Chance To Be Super Awesome

Tegan was the first person to tattoo me (and probably the last) and she also inked a giant pin-up girl on the Mister's shoulder.  She was one of my bestest childhood friend's girlfriends for a while.  She moved a few years ago and I still hear updates on her occasionally from a mutual friend who drives 4 hours to get tattooed by her because she is hands down the best, least painful tattoo artist ever.  Like, no cartoon-y cheesy crap, you could seriously hang her artwork up and it would look like something you would find at Anthropologie and want but not be able to afford.

So when her and my childhood friend broke up it got nasty for a while and of course since my friend was my friend I had his back and was on Team Anti-Tegan, which is childish and high-school-mean-girl-y (what?).  I said some things I shouldn't have said.  And then after all was said and done I felt like a dick - rightly so - and emailed her to apologize.  She didn't reply and I probably wouldn't either.  Another mutual friend linked me to her blog, and I saw that she had gotten married and had a baby and was total hippie-mama-organic-gardener-co-sleeping-breast-feeding lady.  In other words, my kind of chick.

So then I randomly look at her blog one day and the c-word is there.  There is a picture of her, dazed and in a hospital bed, after a double mastectomy.  She just had another baby, 4 1/2 months ago.  She has invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2.  She had to stop breastfeeding her daughter, get a double mastectomy, and then start chemotherapy.  She has no health insurance, and since she is self-employed, is not eligible for unemployment or disability.  Yeah.  And you know what she is thinking about?  She set up a breast milk donation page for her daughter, Joslyn, so she will continue receiving breastmilk (which also needs couriers and other kinds of support -https://www.facebook.com/groups/359465547452714/

There are stories on her blog of her daughter crying and rooting around for her breast, while Tegan lets down milk that she can't feed her daughter because she still has radioactive chemicals in her body.  She talks about the frustration of not being able to work and make money when she needs to make money to fight her cancer.  http://talesofatattoomom.blogspot.com/?m=1
Dudes.  Fuck cancer.

Here is her website with a link to a PayPal account that you can donate to, and don't forget to look over her amazing designs -  http://www.teganink.com/donation.php
Anything is better than nothing.  It will make you feel so good to give sparkly unicorns may fly out of your butt.  And if you know anyone in Jersey who could help her out, please spread the word. 
http://www.giveforward.com/tegansbreastcancerfund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fb_wall&utm_campaign=vanity_page&og_action=hug

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Phonetic Alphabet Done RIGHT

Because I have an uncommon first name and a monstrosity of an Italian last name, almost every time I'm speaking on the phone I get asked to spell my name.  And then the panic sets in because I cannot remember if "d" is dog or diptheria or demonstrative.  "G" is even worse. 

I was on the phone with a hotel clerk this morning making a reservation for SB and he asked the dreaded "G as in ...." and trailed off. 
G as in goat.
Did you just say goat? *snicker*
Umm, yeah.  (OMG I hate your stupid face)

The lovely Beth helped me come up with a MUCH more user-friendly phonetic alphabet.

A as in Appolonia
B as in Bratwurst
C as in Conundrum
D as in Divorcee
E as in Elliptical
F as in your Mom.  BOOM.  (Not my fault if whoever you're speaking to hangs up)  As an alternative you can also use formidable.
G as in Gelatinous
H as in Homoerotic
I as in Invasive procedure
J as in Jorge
K as in Kim Zolciak
M as in Menarche
N as in notyourproblem
O as in O-face
P as in prescription, those are prescription
Q as in Quinoa
R as in Romper room
S as in Slutty
T as in Tumultuous
U as in Uterus
V as in Victorious vagina
W as in White trash
X as in X-mas
Y as in YOLO
Z as in Zacquisha

You are welcome, world!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Garden and Ass Kicking Update.

I'm kicking my own ass, not anyone else's.  22 lbs lost in the last 3 months - that's in addition to the the 40-50 lbs of preg weight that I had to lose with each kid.  Yes that much - go big or go home people.  So I've lost at least one Olsen twin

by my own mix of somewhat-veganism, Jillian Michaels, and running.  It has been tough as balls.  And made me really mad at the people who lose weight and you ask how they did it and they're all "Oh I just stopped drinking soda."  First of all, how much soda was your fat ass drinking; second of all I hate you because my body wants to make sure all my internal organs are really, reaaallllllyyy well padded and it would never let go of precious fat that easily.  I'm working on getting the last 10 lbs off right now and toning the stomach that hauled two 8+ lb babies around and my body is desperately trying to make sure my intestines keep their highly important M&M and wine padding.

Onto .... ze garden


It's funny to me the way the garden evolved this year.  Even though it's only 18ft I rotated where everything was planted, and tried garlic and carrots which I've never grown before.  I don't know if my garden is planted on top of fertilizer-rich murder victims or I just am super lucky but everything is going CA-RAZY.  I thought I was being super proactive getting my pea supports up early (metal stakes with plastic mesh fencing strung across)  these babies are 3 feet tall.  And then my peas grew straight up and over and across their neighbors.  From last year where I only got enough peas for a handful a day, I'm picking half a basket every other day.  The carrots took a while but are now producing regularly (we planted heirloom Danvers carrots) and the garlic was SO easy.

 I'm going to give you the super simple dummy proof way to grow garlic and use it.  You ready?  OK.  Go to the store - any store that sells garlic.  It does not have to be organic or pesticide free or whatever.  Get two big bulbs and break it apart into cloves and plant the cloves, pointy side up, in rows right before the first frost of the fall.  In the spring you'll see what look like spring onions shooting up from them.  Then they will develop little flowers, called scapes

Aren't they pretty?  I kept them in a vase on the windowsill.  And they are completely edible and have a mild garlic taste to them, so chop them up, stem and all, and use them where you would use green onions or garlic. 

Now you just have to wait for your garlic stalks to turn brown and look dead-ish.  Then you dig up the garlic and braid the stalks





And then hang it up.  Feel free to point out to anyone who comes into your house that you may indeed be the craftiest bitch, ever.

Still trying to re-fabulize the blog (ahem JEN) and work on getting back up to speed with all my bloggy lovahhhs.  I am reading your posts, I'm just too busy braiding garlic to comment.  Bear with me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hay What's Up With Your Totally F-ing Jacked Blog?

  Oooooohhhh you know, just that Blogger has decided to charge you from now on if you try to upload new images for your header or anything else.  So this is just one jacked-up looking blog until I figure this shit out.  It looks awful and I apologize, but honestly every time I try to fix it I would get so frustrated I'd log onto Pinterest instead, and that's not productive so instead I am giving you a post about Jen. Jen is the original MT blogger-design-thingy diva and my BFF from way back.  Jen is funny as hell and is raising two kids by herself and working full time and being a domestic goddess.  AND bailing me out of my self-constructed blog crisis.  She had to be difficult and move to Florida though, so my only means of harassing her now is through phone, text, or IM.  I was trying to find a recipe she IM'ed me a while ago and ended up reading through all of our past IM's and laughing so hard I did this weird snorty thing, so I am sharing some highlights with you.  Enjoy.  I've left the typos.   me: just held lil tiny one month old baby
  so effing cute
and so nice to hand him back the minute he started crying
Jen: No joke...I'm so done with kids
me: I'll drink to that   me: Hi, I'm a fegan. That would be the word for a faux-vegan
 Jen: Sounds like a lord if the rings character
me: I am Fegan the Undecided, I shall pillage your veggies and maybe sneak a bite of sausage   me:Veep line fromt onight to spice things up :
  *tonight
  you know what the fuck I mean
  "Really, have you met most people, Amy? cause I have, and most of them are fucking idiots"
Julia L.D. speaks the truths.
 Jen: Never correct yourself with me, i have my lydia to English dictionary with me always
me: it is most handy and littered with profanity.
  *and slutty
 Jen: Way smitty
  Slutty
Auto correct didn't like slutty
  It's judgmental
 me: YOU DON'T KNOW ME AUTOCORRECT
  and yet you are an excellent judge of character
Jen: It refuses to let me type shitr
  S
  H
  I
  T
 me: Type "shiite" maybe you're talking about kurdish rebels.
 are they?
  wait
  is that true?
  goddamnit brain, you come up with weird facts   me: uuughhhhh SB just heated up his lunch and I would swear on a box of wine it smells like a bucket of rotten vegetables
 Jen: it probably is...well fermented anyway
me: so nasty
 Jen: speaks the woman who ate a baby sheep on a stick and muched up chick peas
 me: Baby sheep are delicious, don't step   me: Lookatcha with teh wedding pinboard :-)
  i love it
 Jen: oh thats me planning for Thing 1
 me: worse comes to worse we'll throw ourselves really big elaborate parties
 Jen: ive gone off marriage
  we can have theme parties
me: And have registries and everything
  and everyone will be contractually obligated to look worse than us
Jen: yeah, we can tell them its a troll and goblin party and we can dress as sexy fiaries or something
 me: Slutty faeries
 Jen: i pretty much have it all worked out in my head
me: I'm only undecided on teh proper # of man-slaves to carry us in
 Jen: never too many, thats my thought  Jen also has forever bad-ass-ness status because after I was all about how great rats are for pets she got two for her kids and then **this** happened   Jen: Dude, just got home from 1 night over at Dude's house
  and one of the rats ate the other one
  like from the side, all the guts and stuff
 me: OH MY HELL
Jen: we gave them lots of food before we left too
 me: Have you considered the possibility that your house is built on an Indian burial ground?  I mean, seriously.  Who has that happen to them?    Jen: ok so cannibal rat is like super rat
 me: did it wrestle a rattlesnake to death?
Jen: hes doing tricks now
  i think he killed the other one because it was inferior
 Me: you need to rename the rat cage Thunderdome  She also is a vegan.  A vegan WHO BAKES.  And makes really yummy amazing things that even non-vegans would eat.  me:I hate that for every "motivation to exercise" pin there's like 10 recipes of the worst junk food
  like cookie batter brownie bites with snickers topped with marshmallow fluff
  I just made that up but now I want ti
 *it
 Jen: i think i just went into a diabetic coma reading it
 me: but you're drooling too, right?
 Jen: maybe a little
 havent had snickers or fluff in a dogs age
  cookies and brownies....guilty!
coming up on my 9 month vegan anniversary
me: Vagaversary?
  Vegaversary
  vagina?what?
  Jen: vagwho?
 me: vagyourmama
 Jen: your momma so fat she eats her cereal out of a satellite dish
 

Jen: got that sunabitch IUD out yesterday
me: OMG ... I will say a rosary for your ladybits. You OK?
 Jen: fine now, but damn near kicked my dr in his face
 me: The WORST
 Jen: it was implanted in the UPPER PART OF MY UTERUS!!
what the fuckity fuck fuck
 me: Ugh ... my butthole just puckered for you
 Jen: yeah, it was nasty
  me: Only date snipped men
  it can be the lithmus test to see if they scare easily
Jen: not bad... "hi, your cute, are you shooting blanks? ok lets go out"
 me: While rocking some cleavage, don't get me wrong  me: ugh, pinterest is being a whore
 Jen: it's a pinstitute
does it have a pinp
 me: ba-dum-chingggggg thanks folks she'll be here all week  And that my lovaaahhhhhhs is the awesomeness of my Jen.  You can't have her so find your own.  But you can read her blog here and get inspired by her super awesome fantabulousness.  Peace, Love, Pinterest & Pimps. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garden Update, Spring '12

It's amazing to me that I took these pictures earlier this week and already the garden looks so different, so much more lush.  I'm also letting it overrun it's borders a bit - we planted the fig tree about 5 feet away where it has southern exposure but is sheltered from high winds, and planted everbearing strawberries (they produce May-September) along one side.  The two gardens that flank our driveway I am thinking of expanding as well, especially after going to a lecture at Longwood on "No-Mow Lawns", which actually had a lot more to do with not removing any greenery, even "weeds" from your lawn, and reducing the amount of lawn.  I also found out that our lawn which we had always called the "let anything grow that's green because we are both lazy and somewhat environmentally-conscious but mostly lazy" is actually called a .... wait for it, wait for it ....

Freedom
Lawn


Which sounds way better and makes us seem patriotic and awesome.

Soooo ... onto the garden!

From left to right - spinach, calendula, snap peas, garlic, carrots, lavender, kale, radish
 Slightly more planned out and well spaced then last year. In the background you can see the tomatoes that have gone in the ground, as well as the milk jug which is acting as upcycled mini-greenhouse and is starting my blondkopchen grape tomatoes. All tomatoes are going along the wall this year, for ease of getting to them and to keep them nice and warm at night. The 3 rows of garlic will be ready to dig up soon, and then I will plant additional carrots and radish in its place.. See? I have a plan. Kinda.



My kale plant that wintered over and kale seedlings, Mooch's planter of basil, and strawberries. The kale that wintered over keeps bolting and producing flowers and seedheads, which I just snap off and it continues to leaf out. The broccoli that wintered over bolted so badly I just had to yank out all 3 plants and compost them :-(
Side view
Close up of peas.  They need to have supports put up for them, hoping garden gnomes intercede.


Our fig tree. I was lucky enough to find an edible landscape advocate nearby who has a small nursery - this is a fourth year tree. It was completely happy after planting and really leafed out and produced fruits - and the dropped them all while they were still tiny. I contacted the grower and he said not to worry, this is typical when they go in the ground and it *should* produce another round of healthy, maturing fruits late summer.
In the meantime the ladybeetles are pretty happy.
 This is one of our front gardens. Peeking out from underneath the purple bush badly in need of pruning is oregano, behind the mum is a dandelion we keep for the greens, and there is my crazy rosemary that also needs to be pruned. In the middle is a knockout rosebush.

 From left to right, phlox with curly parsley below, a peony bush that used to be my grandmother's, chives, primrose, jacob's ladder, and stupid f-ing azalea. I don't like azalea. Too common and not that pretty .... but I digress. The chives and parsley both wintered over, and this will be the first season of that heirloom peony being in this new spot, with afternoon sun and slight shade.



Many more updates to come, of course - and if you are even slightly interested in food production, I cannot recommend this book enough:

I am tearing through it right now. Just read it, ok? Or I will dig up these azaleas and dump them at your house.

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dollar Store Confessions

I still haven't done this whole blog-reformat thing, because honestly every time I google re-formatting blog I get back answers like "Just log on, then click 'Layout' then click the button shaped vaguely-unicorn-ish then type in 'hey5973@$%&#kkk/////%%%~~~~fehfiqdjqxbi' but ONLY if you are using Windows 10 or later then if your state has a population of more than 83,000 type in 'boo' and then sacrifice a baby goat.  So easy"

So then instead I log onto Pinterest for hours and eat chocolate.

Although only a little bit.  I've finally gotten fed up enough with the post-two-babies wubby (that's  a real word) belly to commit to getting rid of it.  I've been trying to introduce more vegetarian meals to the family anyway, and I've never really been a meat person.  Hold in your dirty jokes.  I don't really go for steak or pork or even chicken that much anymore, but I cannot be a normal functioning member of society that doesn't routinely stab people without chocolate.  Cue all the amazing vegan blogs out there that have dessert recipes without added sugar and some even include vegetables.  THANK YOU INTERNET.

I've also made friends with this bitch




I love to run but it is hard on your knees, and only really tones your legs.  So I alternate running days with Jillian.  It's only 20 minutes and it is crazy intense.  I also have her 6 Week Sixpack DVD and it is KILLAH.  Her voice does grate on my nerves after a while so I've been muting her and laughing when she starts yelling into the camera.  I can't hear you, Jillian.

Last night I set out all my running stuff and remembered to plug in my iPod and everything and went to bed early.  And then of course I slept until 7.  And rocketed out of bed yelling "OHMYGODeveryoneupwe'rerunninglategahhhhhhhh!!"  and hustled through the morning. 

The Co-op is a 10 minute walk from my work and we needed the organic apples that don't make me break out in hives, so because I didn't work out this morning I decided to walk there at lunch.  And 5 minutes in I realize the super cute pair of shoes I got from that shoe store who's prices make me cringe were rubbing my toes in all the wrong ways.  The shoes that were subconsciously convincing me in the store that they would lovingly cradle my feet because I was willing to spend a truckload of money on them.  I made it to the Co-op but on the way back was debating calling the Mister to ask him for a ride for the last 3 blocks.  Then I remembered - this crappy mini-mall that I'm passing has a Dollar Store in it!  Three whole dollars later and I was in bliss.
Dollar Store flip-flops, crafted by angels.  Complete with chipped pedicure and angry red welts left by Nazi-shoes.
 I adore flip-flops.  There was a fancy flip-flop store in our town that sold $50 flip-flops.  Fifty damn dollars?  It's a piece of rubber with two pieces of fabric.  And now I sound like my grandmother.

The moral of this story (?) is of course that the Dollar Store rules, expensive shoes lie and Jillian Michaels will yell at you but you can always mute her.  Or something like that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If This Blog Was a Baby It Would Have Been Taken By the State By Now.

So neglected, this blog .... sooooo neglected .....

It's become obvious that there will be some changes in my life, that things need to change if I'm going to be truly happy.  Starting towards your dream career at 33 is exciting but also incredibly daunting when you think of just how long it could take.  I refuse to compromise the standards I have for how my children are raised for anything. 
I've talked before about the struggle of being a work outside the home mother.  I'm simply not around my kids as much as I want to be.  My husband is more supportive than most, but there are still implied jabs that I'm not "all about the kids" from him and others.  And you know what?  I never thought I would work after I had kids.  But things change and we are in a position where I need to work.  And now I will most likely be switching departments with guidelines that I have to go full time within the next two years.  These days it's more likely that both spouses have to work then one can stay at home. 
And that is NOT our fault.
The argument "well you could just cut back and then you could stay home" makes me see red.  We never go out, I cook for the family 95% of the time, and I'm wearing a dress right now that I bought 7 years ago.  And we still baaaaaaaarely squeak by every month.
My whole thought process on this started when I got back from Seattle.  My husband was rude and obviously annoyed with me when I got back.  Why?  Because I told him that I went out to events and parties the nights that I was there that were directly related to the conference I was helping out with.  Could I have stayed in the hotel?  Yes.  But why would I?  Why isn't it ok for me to enjoy a city that I wouldn't have been able to go to on my own?  Why is it STILL - in 2012 - not ok for a woman's first thought process to not constantly be putting someone else in front of herself?

I have two gorgeous daughters who are going to do big, amazing things.  And one day I'll have to send them out into the world and look on as their hearts get broken and they realize that not everyone has their best interests in mind.  But until then I can show them that it's alright to take care of yourself just as well as you take care of everyone else.  That they are worthy of every great thing that will ever happen to them and to enjoy this life, this one life that they have here to make their dreams come true. 
 Pictures from Easter with their favorite cousins ...




















Friday, April 6, 2012

Hey There Strangers ...

I'm in the process of picking a new layout and design for this space, and the gracious and lovely Jen of Sweet Bliss, who just happens to be my best friend, has agreed to help me since she is more tech-savvy than me.  Not that that's hard.
And to tell you the truth it's hard to get excited about posting because I'm impatient and easily distracted and I want my shiny new awesome blog layout RIGHT NOW. 
I blame Pinterest.  It's addictive and makes you ask the big questions - like why did me and Daniel Craig never hook up and why the HELL don't I have a restored antique clawfoot tub in my bathroom?  And why have I never gotten around to converting that old bureau into a play kitchen/bunk bed for my kids?  Yes Pinterest - you maybe inspire us to set the bar slightly high.

These things do all make me happy, however -
http://pinterest.com/mamasthyme/moments-of-beauty/

And these things make me giggle -
http://pinterest.com/mamasthyme/heh-heh-heh/

And I can legitimately claim that I have made TWO WHOLE THINGS I saw on Pinterest.  Yes.  Don't be intimidated (I'm kidding, of course you are)
I'll leave you with Butterbean and her first attempt at lipstick.  Lord, BB, use liner first!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mama's Got A Brand New Bag

... except the bag is actually a textbook which is much less fun.  (But more useful, let's be honest)

Sorry 'bout the glare, I am bad at Photo Booth.
So.  Actually starting this path towards the degree in Landscape Horticulture and Design, and the first step is MATH.  Which is in capitals because it is intimidating, like another class I have to take called CHEMISTRY. (dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnn).  What were my worst two subjects in high school?  You know, math and science.  Strangely I am enjoying math this time around, and figuring out I am not "bad at math" just "super lazy and unmotivated".  I also am thanking the baby Jesus for YouTube, because there are awesome tutorials on there for everything I'm getting stuck on.  Also super thankful that I work at a university and walked over to meet with a prof. in the Math department and told her I was studying ahead of my math class in the fall, and she straight up just handed me a $100 textbook to borrow for the summer, complete with a tutorial DVD.  And French Post Doc, aside from being annoying because he speaks French and I don't, is a math genius and happens to sit right in my crosshairs hallway, and will be SUPER happy to help.  Won't you, FPD??

When I'm not studying and finally wrapping my brain around prime numbers (oh, OHHHHHHHH) I'm reading the most beautiful and simply inspiring book I've read in a long time, Seeing Trees, by Robert Llewellyn and Nancy R. Hugo.  I randomly grabbed this off the new arrivals shelf at the library and could not put it down.  It's so simple - genetic traits and characteristics of everyday trees - maple, oak, sweet gum, beech, gingko, pine - photographed and described in vivid, simplistic terms.  She (Hugo) describes the fertilization process of these trees, bark characteristics, budding stages, root maturation processes, etc.  You will never be able to walk or take a run again without noticing these things you take for granted, whether Osage orange balls or dropped willow whips.  In fact, several early-morning runs have been delayed because I find horse chestnut buds or early sweet gum balls and have to stop and study them.  And sometimes this happens -
... where I am staring intently up at a bud on a branch, trying to determine if it is white oak or red oak (it was red), after a 4 mile run and do not see the slight rise in the sidewalk and trip and fall and bruise myself.  Read at your own risk, you guys.

Hey You Guys, My Husband Took A Picture Of Me.

Sigh.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hi, we're in ..... Delaware


Delaware is the second smallest state (behind Rhode Island), and the silver fox of the White House came from here:
Well, hey there. 
But other than that we're not known for a lot.  But I am FURIOUSLY PROUD of our lil' state right now:

From Delaware Online:
Wilmington City Council sent a message to lawmakers everywhere Thursday night: It's time to hold men accountable for the well-being of their sperm.The council passed a resolution that asks state legislatures and U.S. Congress to enact laws that forbid men from destroying their semen.
For Loretta Walsh, the councilwoman who introduced the resolution, it's a way -- an admittedly "tongue-in-cheek" way -- to call attention to "the absurdity of men making health decisions for women."
Two weeks ago, at the last City Council meeting, Walsh railed against Virginia lawmakers pushing to require women to undergo ultrasounds before having an abortion. So upset over the issue, Walsh said, she stayed up until 3 a.m. drafting her resolution.
Michael A. Brown Sr., the lone Republican council member, wondered before the meeting if Walsh was "going overboard" or showing "bias" against Republican legislators.
"It was cute to some folks when she lashed out two weeks ago, but a lot of people I spoke to and [who] spoke to me said that wasn't funny," Brown said.
Walsh dressed entirely in red Thursday to show her anger and wore her mother's pearls to honor the woman who taught her to stand up for herself, she said.
"I am standing up for women in this city, I am standing up for women in this state and I am standing up for the women in this country," Walsh said.
The resolution, designed to address "equality" issues, said that lawmakers have not introduced similar legislation regarding men in the United States. If some lawmakers believe the female egg is "bestowed with all the rights of personhood," government should think the same of sperm, the resolution notes.
"[E]ach 'egg person' and each 'sperm person' should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian," according to the resolution.
"What's good for the gander is good for the goose," Walsh said.

How fantastic is this woman??
This the day after this misogynistic dinosaur
His picture makes my blog feel dirty ... and not in a good way
 called a birth control activist and law student a slut and said if she wanted contraception she should post a sex video on the internet. 
The same man who once requested Jenna Jameson send him all of her videos for "research purposes" and then called her a whore. 
Hmmm, Rush - you sure you didn't kill off any viable sperm cells during "research"??

Anywho, I do have some lovely garden pics to share but my camera's batteries died as I was trying to upload them, so I leave you Butterbean belly laughing her head off over a party blower.





What, you don't wear rain boots and jeans with your party dress??

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Know When ....

You know when your boss who has a PhD doesn't read an email that was sent to him?  And then something goes wrong because said boss did not read through that email?  And then somehow it becomes your fault for not marching into boss' office, email in hand, and demanding they listen carefully as you loudly read through email, stressing important points?  Yeah, that.
OK, focus on the positive - since it's so warm I planted radish, carrots, and dill yesterday, and my 3 rows of garlic are good and sprouted.  I pulled the wisps of Butterbean's hair up into pigtails today and they stuck straight out, she looked like Cindy Lou-Who.  Mooch said, Bean I love you even though you look ridiculous - let's start wishing for some real hair for you.  And it's Friday.  THANK THE BABY JEEBUS.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Veggie Burger That Will Change Your Life

So it's spring ... we skipped the whole winter thing this year.  This was the great snowstorm of 2012 in the mid-Atlantic ....




Slush angels!



Good thing I stocked up on can goods and knocked that old lady out for the last loaf of bread. We're snowed in!

I'm hot Mama, can I take my coat off?
Boooo.  I like at least one good snowstorm a year.

I know we are all hooked on Pinterest and letting it make us feel like failures as decorators/cooks/craft-types/model-types (my pinboard is here) so I take it as a personal challenge to test out any particularly raved-about pin.  That whole "put a chopstick on a boiling pot and it won't boil over"??  FALSE!  I got a little excited to comment on that one.  However, the apple slices with mini marshmallows between them to look like teeth thing was so easy and so cute, and I got to feel super-mommyish at Mooch's birthday party until my sister called me out for getting the idea from Pinterest.  WHATEVER.

I re-pinned this recipe for Sweet Potato and Bean Burgers and it took me a while to hunt down the link, but here it is -  http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/02/easy-sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-with.html
I was planning on making the kids turkey burgers with sweet potato fries anyway, so I just peeled and chopped up extra sweet potato and threw it in a pot of boiling water.  When it was fork-tender I drained it and added rinsed and drained black beans (1 can - I was out of cannelini) then used a potato masher to mash everything up.  I added 1 Tb tahini sauce, a dash of lemon juice, s&p, and about 1/4 c of panko bread crumbs. 

Word to the wise, I tried these on the George Forman since that's what I was making on the kid's burgers on - nooooope.  They fall apart and don't crisp up.  Definitely either pan fry them or put them under the broiler.  I used olive oil in my cast iron skillet - lightly coat the patties with additional panko before frying them.

Served over a bed of greens with avocado and of course, Frank's Red Hot.  These were sweet and savory at the same time and I haven't been able to stop eating them.  I had high hopes of freezing these and having them available for work lunches but they went too fast. 




It is the veggie burger that makes you forget why you would ever want a fast food version.  Now to plot out my sweet potato patch.

Left on the table by my sweet big girl - she loves her "famale" :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Very Sad Poem

A poem for you:

Never have I forgotten
Your lips the last time they touched mine

Gone those days may be
In my soul indelibly etched.
And what now?
Not more time away from you.
Time is too cruel.
Sweetness, bittersweetness, I will take it all.

Again this want
Rapidly wearing down my resolve
Eroding every reason to say no

Tracing our timeline, right back to the beginning
Holding onto you in the only way I can
Entering into this new chapter, this new hope

Bittersweet love
End this indecision
Sun, drive away the shadows
Tell me I can never lose you.

***READ DOWN THE FIRST LETTERS***
*DISCLAIMER* First of all, I am a terrible poet.  Second of all, normally I wouldn't allow this kind of filth on my blog, but I lost a bet. :-)  I promise to go back to gardens and minions and being snarky tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey You Guys I'm Old and Wise Now.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of thirty three years of - ME!!  A friend told me this was the age where Christ was reborn and came back as a zombie and killed all the dinosaurs, or something.  So far my water into wine skills are lacking.  Sad face.

As a pre-birthday present to myself (thank you self) I took a personal day to go to a symposium at Longwood Gardens in PA.  Longwood is an absolutely amazing estate and public gardens established by Pierce duPont (more history, etc here) they have concerts, tours, kid's activities, etc.  Oh, and the Christmas displays ...

Ahhh-maaaaa-zing.  They have themed rooms of different cultivars and climates.  A ROOM FULL OF ORCHIDS, FLOOR TO CEILING.  It is my happy place.
The symposium was called "Today's Horticulture" and touched on everything from sustainable landscape design, container gardening, entomology, water resources management, and native planting vs. non-native.  And in between these sessions that were so informative and interesting, I got to wander through the gardens and shop the plant sale.  The only downside was the majority of people there have degrees in plant science or are professionals - a lot went over my head.  So, it's officially time to figure out this whole getting-my-degree thing.  I have never wanted anything quite like I've wanted this, but I also refuse to give up any time I have with my girls.  So it will take me a loooong time, because I will only, realistically, be able to take 1 or 2 classes per semester.  I have to start with the hard (for me) classes, math and chemistry, and I will probably cry and swear and throw things but I WILL get through them, because without chemistry none of the soil or plant science will make sense. 
And while doing this I will also have to work and take care of a house and husband and two kids, and a dog and a cat and two rats; and volunteer at Mooch's school and take care of the garden and cook every night, etc.  Completely do-able, right??

Oh yeah, resolutions.  Because this post is about me being OLD.  

1. Practice being still and present, at least once a day.  My degree won't matter much without my sanity.
2. Make peace, completely, with my body.  Yes my belly is pooch-y from two babies and my boobs just aren't what they used to be.  Yes, stretch marks happen.  But at 33 I can run 3 miles in under 28 minutes and tear up a spin class.  These things I couldn't do 10 years ago.  Mooch said to me the other day, "Mama you're not too fat and not too skinny, you're just right"
3. Plan more.  I suck at planning.  I blamed this on the Mister the other night (I can't completely remember my reasoning here, honestly - he handed me a piece of dark chocolate and kept watching the Military Channel) but I need to carve out my own space in our home to set up as Mama HQ and plot all this junk out.

3 things, plus all that other junk.  Bring it, 33.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Make Granola, Not War

True story - I once worked at this super-fancy gym for a summer just because I wanted to be able to work out there for free.  Everyone who worked out there came in in designer work out clothes and full makeup and drove these gigantic SUV's.  Obviously I looked slightly out of place pulling up in my '01 Focus and running on the treadmill in stretched-out yoga pants.
I was working at the front desk and one day this family that looked like they had stepped out of a J. Crew catalogue came in and my coworker nudged me and pointed and the trophy-wife had "PINK TACO"* written across the ass of her pants.  I shit you not.  Her kids, who were behind her, were old enough to read.  When I recounted to the Mister he said I should have told her her pants were on backwards.  I LOVE THIS MAN.

 One of the Pilates teachers who worked there was always super cranky and the staff couldn't stand her.  One of my front desk bitches said this chick was on the "Master Cleanse".  Have you heard of this?  No?  Wikipedia, help us out, will you?

Master Cleanse is a modified juice fast that permits no food. There are three parts to the regimen. Each morning one drinks a cup of water with 2 teaspoons of salt or a cup of herbal laxative tea. This is followed by six to twelve lemonade drinks during the day. Finally, a cup of herbal laxative tea is taken in the evening. The lemonade is made from purified or spring water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The alleged purpose is to "detoxify" the body and remove excess fat. The regimen is followed for a minimum of ten days.

Because nothing says I'm healthy and sexaaaayyy like having non-stop diarrhea and routinely fainting since all you're allowed to consume is cayenne pepper lemonade.  No wonder this woman was bitchy.  My regular talking voice would have been full-on yelling.

There are lots of cleanses out there and for the life of me I can't figure out why people are so into them.  Quick fix?  I guess - but you also gain back any weight you lose when you go back to eating regular food.  That they're even referred to as "cleanses" kills me - your body does a fine job of removing toxins itself, as long as you eat right.  When you attempt to "flush toxins" with an extreme diet you also upset the balance of good bacteria in your gut and leave your immune system compromised, and you can do serious damage to your digestion.  And you will probably be like Bitchnado Pilates Instructor and people won't want to be around you.  

  Instead, just make granola, ok?
My mama always made granola and we would eat it like cereal in the morning, and use it to top apple sauce and yogurt.  This is my own, loosely measured recipe.  I tend to use whatever I have on hand and once substituted finely chopped up apple for the dried fruit (I added it for the last 20 minutes so it would dehydrate) and it was extra good - the fruit juice means you don't need to use as much honey.

Mama's Granola 

3 c rolled oats
1/2 c each finely chopped almonds, walnuts, and pecans (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c water
1/4 c honey (or agave nectar for vegan version)
1 1/4 c dried fruit (raisins, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, whatever you prefer) 

Preheat oven to 250.  On large rimmed baking sheet mix oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and whole wheat flour.  In a small bowl whisk together water and honey.  This will be the "glue" to bind your granola a bit more.  Pour over oat mixture and toss well with a spatula.  Bake for 1 1/2 hrs, until granola is lightly toasted on top, tossing mixture every 20 minutes to toast evenly.  Add dried fruit for the last 5 minutes of baking.

This recipe makes a LOT of granola, but don't worry, I know two minions who can help if you don't finish it all.

 *The "Pink Taco" from what I gather is a bar in Florida that caters exclusively to assholes impressed by a vague vagina reference. 
 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why The Mister Is Fired From Taking Pictures of Me.

This post is dedicated to the return of the crazy bitch who I love so dearly, Miss Hippy Jersey Devil.  As Marlin said to Nemo (it's been a long week) You think you can do these things but you just can't, Nemo.  You can't walk away from your loyal followers so get your little fishy butt back in the ocean.  Let's pretend that made sense and move on.

I had a request - no, really - for more recipes on the blog and I was trying to be accommodating and take pictures, but I just went through my pics and honestly they're not that good.  See?

This was something called "Lentil Butter" which, confusingly, contained no butter.  It was a mix of beans and lentils that were soaked overnight, then mixed with carmelized onion, tomato, red curry, fresh ground ginger and s&p.  Very tasty, but not very pretty

This was the bread I made to go with it.  I'm trying to get rid of as many funky materials as I can from my kitchen - plastic, teflon, etc.  and use my cast iron skillets exclusively.  This was a basic french bread recipe cooked in the skillet, and it was oh-my-god amazing

But again, picture is not great.  And yes my oven is honestly that in need of cleaning.
I was thinking it's time to switch up my profile picture so I looked through to see if there are any decent shots of me.  The problem is, the only one who takes pictures of me are the Mister, and this is what he comes up with :
Do you see me?




Now I'm all the way in the picture but unfortunately I also look pregnant.
No makeup on after staying up til midnight playing Santa
Everyone wants a picture of themself eating breakfast with no bra on, miright ladies?
Ok there was one.  I have to hand it to him.  I won't mention my shiny forehead.


Luckily he's got other things going for him.

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