Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Blame my Brother

A couple of months ago, my brother who lives in California called me to get him a recipe. Said recipe was on the internet on a cooking website which I had to register for in order to get. Jared tends to call me whenever he needs something from the internet because he doesn't have a computer at home.

I didn't really think about the incident much until about three weeks later when I got a solicitation call from the website. It is associated with a magazine and a PBS cooking show, which of course means they have a "companion book" that goes with the series, because all the PBS cooking shows have one. This phone call offered to send it to me "risk free!" and a "free" trial issue of the magazine as well, just to see if I might like them. Isn't that nice? They caught me on a bad day. I was distracted by my kids and I was weak. I said yes, they could send it to me. I figured I'd get it here copy out the two recipes worth having and send it back.

The trick is when you have a plan like that you should never read the book. I read the book. They aren't getting it back. There's only one recipe in the book I don't plan on making and that's because it's fish and we don't eat fish around here. (Well the kids and I don't. Steve would like to but he has to suffer with a wife who can't even stand the smell of it cooking anymore.) We've tried several recipes now and each one has been fabulous. Steve's comment last night when I let him try the Orange Flavored Chicken was "wow . . . that's really bad. You should just let me eat it all." Silly boy. I wasn't falling for it because I had tried a piece myself before I let him try it. Oh and the recipes in the stupid magazine are just as good. And dang it, I want to subscribe to it too.

Now all the raving aside, the book and magazine make me giggle. This is the most Type A cooking I've encountered. I've never seen a recipe book that took so much pride in recording the process of perfecting a recipe. Each one comes with it's own little write up telling us that they tested fifteen different methods and this one is the perfect one. You musn't cook a pot roast with too much water or too little (and here's exactly what they mean by that.) Orange flavored chicken must have exactly two oranges. Pancakes are too eggy with two eggs. The scientific process of cooking is there in all it's obesessive glory. Most recipe books just give you the recipe, not Cook's Illustrated! They want you to know every single excruciating detail of creating the recipe.

Even though that's what makes me giggle, it's why I like the darn book so much. They do go to extremes to perfect a recipe. It is the best way to make teriyaki or pot roast or pork and the write ups help because it details exactly how they got those results and it makes getting the same results easier. (And also I tend to lean toward type A and I sercretly admire their thouroughness.) I also like them because the food is aproaching gormet good, but it's not even close to gormet expensive or gormet fussy. This stuff is within my budget to make and I'm pretty cheap with my food.

Which all means that when I see my brother today I can thank him for introducing me to this company. He's pretty lucky though, most people who get me to sign myself up for solicitations don't get off so easily.

Monday, June 26, 2006

T-minus 3 days and counting

Did I ever mention why I'm not blogging much these days? It's because I'm busy. not busy as in trying to get out and have fun with the kids. Busy as in going insane with all the stuff I have to do and none of it is really for me busy.

1. My sister is getting married on Saturday. It will be a lovely outdoor ceremony in a beautiful location with lots of beautiful things. She is also doing this wedding for under $2500 which means lots of stuff has to be made. Including the attendants' dresses. In my family, this means three. (my poor oldest sister had to sew five. ) Two are done and hanging in the closet and I'm working on mine right now. I'm excited to get to wear mine, because a girl can only be excited about ivory duponi silk, but I'm not excited to sew it.

2. My sister in law is getting married on the 8th. I'm not doing a lot of prep work for that but I am doing the photos. I'm starting to get a rash thinking about taking pictures in an LDS Church cultral hall. Think of the worst elementary school lighting you know. It's about that bad. I dont' think even custom white balance is going to help when the light from the bright side is white and the light from the shadowed side is a sickly green-yellow.

3. My brother decided to move his wedding from August to . . . . the 8th. which means my imediate family misses his reception and I have to be up at 6am so we can make it to his marriage at 9am an hour away, do pictures right afterward and go another 60 miles to my SIL's wedding.

4. because my sister and brother are getting married a week apart, much of the family is staying the full week. My oldest sister and her family are staying with us. They show up on Thursday. This means I'm expected to deep clean. I'm thinking she'll be lucky if my deep cleaning gets as far as the computer desk. I'll make sure the floors are picked up and vaccuumed but the baseboards are just going to have to go undusted because . . .

5. I have also had several photo shoots this month. Not complaining. I love that I'm getting business. However, it does add stuff on my schedule.

6. I still have laundry for seven people.

7. I still have to feed seven people. (and I do not have the money to let the restraunts cook it for us for the next week.)

8. I still have to take care of my kids and schlep them to swimming lessons.

9. after the weddings I get to proof the photos.

10. I have two fonts to make as well, hopefully to be done in July.

Luckily I get a mommy sanity trip the beginning of August. I think I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Analgesic Bandaids

You know, you don't have to buy special ones to get this. All bandaids have analgesic properties, but only in users under the age of ten.

Last night Joshua hurt his foot. Steve gave him a bandaid and Joshua went off happily to bed, content in the knowlege that his scrape would no longer hurt just because there was a bandaid on it.

This morning Joshua is up and roming the house for an hour with no problems at all. Then suddenly, he starts hopping on one foot and moaning. He had just noticed his bandaid had fallen off over night. He hopped to Steve to show him the sore, which Steve declared healed enough to go without a bandaid. Joshua argued with his dad about that; Joshua's main point: it still hurt. Of course, it didn't hurt before he noticed the bandaid was missing and technically the bandaid wouldn't help that anyway. Joshua didn't think his dad was using logic at all. Steve distracted him with a minor biology lesson and Joshua left content, if not completely satisfied . . . but not hopping.

Makes me wish bandaids were still magic for me, too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

In Bloom

We have a mature catalpa tree in our front yard. I don't know if I've mentioned this tree before, but I do love it. The house I grew up in also had one of these trees so I have that nostolgic connection besides the fact that it's just a beautiful tree. I was once told that catalpas are native to a more southern zone and were imported here. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case, mostly because of the flowers.

You see the catalpa is a flowering tree. In our zone, the only native trees that flower grow fruit and stay somewhat small. They are ornamentals and look lovely in the yard. The caltalpa on the other hand grows 40 ft tall and produces no fruit. It also is one of the first trees to lose it's leaves in the fall and one of the last to grow them in the spring. All the leaves will fall in the same day, and if it's a normal fall, they don't even have time to change color. They just all drop at the first hard frost. But back to the subject at hand. Imagine a 40ft tree covered in clusters of white flowers. They have a soft, sweet scent that drifts under the canopy on warm afternoons. The flowers are my favorite part of the catalpa. They make me want to grab a blanket and lay out under the tree for a nap. (not something I actually ever get time to do, I just want to.)

This last week, we had a wind storm. It blew down full clusters of blossoms from my tree. The next day, I gathered up the stems and brought them into the house and placed them in a pint jar on my table, a large bush of white brightening the room. That evening when the house was quiet and the room was lit with two lamps, the scent of the blooms filled the room, a promise that summer was just beginning.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lasts and Firsts

Steve found a a cute toddler bed at a yard sale this weekend. Since the crib was worn out, we decided to make the switch right away. When the bed got brought into the house, we introduced Libby to it. She sat on it and thought it was the best thing ever.

So I took Rilla and Josh to their ball games and came home to the crib in the trash and the new bed in place. She had napped in her crib but Daddy had neglected to take a picture of her last time sleeping in a crib. He doesn't think like a scrapbooker. Her first night in the bed was hard. She didn't go to sleep until eleven and then was up twice in the night. Sunday she just didn't nap and then at bedtime fell asleep on the floor. I woke up this morning to this:

on the floor again with an empty bed. She refused to sleep in it. At least she didn't wake me up to tell me about it. LOL!

the transition has been harder for Libby than it has for any of the other kids. This is the youngest we've ever made the switch and it shows. She just wasn't quite ready for the bed. I konw she'll love it in a week when she's used to a bed she can get into and out of by herself, but right now, it's not what she's used to so she's resisting.

Part of me wishes we could go back to the crib. I wasn't ready for her to make this switch either. As long as she was in a crib, she was still a baby. She's in a toddler bed. She's a little girl. It's weird to think that I will never have need for a crib again. Right now, Libby is napping in her little bed, too tired to resist the bed anymore. Laying peacefully on her pillow and catching up on all the sleep she shorted herself over the last few days. I think she's starting to transition. It's a bittersweet moment.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Hits

and I mean that quite literally. Summer always hits me between the eyes. I don't see it coming. I'm happily enjoying the beauty of late spring, the flowers, the weather, the bird song, and then BOOM! it's the last week of May and my peace is at an end.

Summer is in full swing in Bedlam. We have been doing baseball/softball/t-ball (which I always call baseball and woe betide the nitpicky child who knows what I mean and still chooses to correct me when everyone is yelling and three people need to be in three different places involving a sport of some kind at the same time.) We have a few weeks left of _____ball. The kids are enjoying it but then we don't take sports seriously around here.

We also have a pool pass. I'm still using it in the mornings, but there are times when I think life would have been easier if we had bought an individual pass instead of a family pass. This moring we went to swim lessons, then to lunch at the park and then back to the pool for free swim. By the time we were done I was done. I'm almost ready to start ingesting caffine just to get me through the summer.

So does Mountain Dew taste as bad as cola? ;)