You Are Cordially Invited…

29 04 2011

to play dress up with me and my little prince.

pop pop called him king moose the great

This morning Carter and I curled up and watched the lovely Catherine marry her handsome prince. I don’t think he was overly impressed. But hey, he’ll have a story to tell when he’s in his 30s and Will & Kate’s first child is getting married.

he'll grow into it

Half way through the day, I remembered that Scott dressed up as a King for Halloween a few years ago and there was a crown somewhere in my basement. Why not play dress up? We’ve had a week full of dress ups. I was cleaning out his closet and put his hot dog costume on one more time for kicks (will share later this weekend).

mom, it's sunny. do you see that? can we be done here and play outside?

Carter had his day of feeling like a king. Who are we kidding? This kid is a king every day in this house. I gotta work on that before he realizes it.

my pouty little prince

Did any of you do something fun like dress up and go to a Royal Wedding watching party? I want to see pictures!! I should have baked some scones to serve with clotted cream in honor of the special day. My morning espresso and bagel worked just fine though.

Making My Own Baby Food

27 04 2011

Okay, I’m not one of those crazy organic people who insists on everything we consume being organic. I try to serve us less processed foods, I like to know who grows our food when possible, and you all know how much I love to support the local businesses. That said, I’ve found myself being a bit more paranoid about the food I feed Carter. They say it will go away. Sort of like the “don’t even look at my baby unless you washed your hands” phase (which, I’m happy to report is *mostly* gone. Unless you are coming into our house from an office, a daycare, a grocery store, uh…ok, fine. But you don’t have to wash your hands a million times while in my house anymore!). Anyway, I digress.

I bought a few jars of organic (on sale for $1 a pop (holy cow, that’s pricey!)) food when we started introducing vegetables and fruits to CJ. The peas looked brown. They smelled okay. But they looked awful! And the spinach? It had ingredients other than spinach in it! What gives? So we hauled up one Sunday morning and went to the Ballard Farmer’s Market for some good fresh produce to make some spoils for CJ. I’m happy to report he likes all that I’ve made him so far. I’m looking forward to getting a little crazy with ingredients…but we have a couple of months before that can happen.

This batch was all steamed and puréed with the water in which it was steamed. No added ingredients. No preservatives. Just good colorful food!

fresh shelled english peas, pears, prunes, butternut squash

I tried many different ways of puréeing the steamed goods. First was my immersion blender. Love the thing, but didn’t get the consistency I really wanted on the peas or prunes. The skins were too tough. The food mill will be nice for traveling, but not very efficient for large batches of puréeing. I went ahead and brought out the best kitchen tool ever. My Cuisinart 14 cup Food Processor. I’m partial to the thing. It’s amazing. It did a perfect job with all the foods!

The best part? Each meal costs pennies. Not too shabby! I popped them in the freezer to make 2 tablespoon servings in each cube. I extract them from the freezing device and put them in Ziploc bags in the freezer after they’ve frozen.

qualified taste tester

Don’t worry. I took the blade out of the food processor before giving him the bowl to lick. He actually did lick it. He LOOOOOVES his pears.

Happy Easter!

25 04 2011

We had a quiet Easter here this year. No egg hunt (maybe the last time?). Just coffee, the paper, some errands, and relaxing family time. I made a delicious roasted leg of lamb with potatoes that may have become an Easter tradition. It was deee-lish-ous.

Not as delicious as these chubby feet and hands.

dimples as knuckles

But pretty darn tasty.

roasted lamb with potatoes

It was absolutely amazing weather on Saturday. Nearing 70°, crisp sunshine, perfect blue skies, happy snow capped mountains. Amazing.

mom, let's not pretend it's warm out here

But it’s still been a darn cold April.

don't tell me about my cousins in texas being in shorts

I keep telling Carter Joe about the hot, humid weather in Texas where his cousins are celebrating Easter. He doesn’t believe me that it could be that warm anywhere!

in fact, tell my cousins to call me in august

We’re all ready for a good dose of heat, maybe the Lpod will make a Texas appearance soon enough!

We hope your Easter weekend was blessed and full of family and laughter. Much love!

Octopus Chickpea Salad

23 04 2011

Ok. Don’t let yourself get tied up in the name. Or the main ingredient.  Hear me out. I tried a salad similar to this at a mediterranean restaurant a few weeks ago. I’ve been dreaming of it since and wondering how I could recreate it. Today, at the market I thought I’d ask the fish monger if he had any octopus. Sure enough, he did! I grabbed a small package (one leg was about $4.50). I had everything else I needed at home.

The goal was a side dish for grilled steaks. A little surf and turf, I suppose. Scott & I both loved it, but I think the recipe needs some tweaking to be exactly what I was looking for! The carrots should be softened some, but not too much…so maybe blanch them? The dressing could use a little more sea salt and some coriander. But, here’s the recipe if anyone feels like being adventurous in the kitchen! It’s a really tasty salad.

If you’re squeamish about the octopus, it’s not bad at all. It’s firm, kind of like cooked shrimp. If you didn’t know it was octopus, you wouldn’t even think twice about it! It doesn’t smell “fishy” or really like anything. It’s just really tasty!

Octopus Chickpea Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
1 small-medium octopus leg (about 1/4 pound), sliced into bite size pieces
2 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
1/2 of a 14.5 ounce can chickpeas

1/6 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the octopus, carrots and chickpeas in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a separate small bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing over seafood mixture.

Note: the dressing recipe makes far too much for the amount of seafood. I will use my leftovers on salads this week!

octopus chickpea carrot salad with lime cumin vinaigrette

Earth’s Belly Laugh?

18 04 2011

***warning – this post is full of self indulgent pictures of carter. unlike the rest of this blog these days.***
(why didn’t they invent the sarcasm font?)

Well, we were a couple of days early. Maybe even a mere 18 hours early. But we hit up the tulip fields in The Skagit Valley on Sunday. The daffodils were in full glory, and some tulip fields had popped. But yesterday afternoon and today we got a lot of sun and the fields REALLY popped as seen on the news this evening.

Maybe Carter and I should go back while daddy is at work this week? Hmmm…..

Who would take pictures of he and I together?

And what good are they without Scott?

He’s the one who makes Carter laugh.

And helps me take the collection bins to place my sweet child.

So others can take his picture. It’s something about babies and flowers, I suppose. I’m confident in my pre-Carter years I took pictures of unkown munchkins in tulip fields. Maybe it’s their innocence paired with natural beauty?

It’s almost intoxicating.

Oh? Sorry. Was that too much? Kids are sweet. Flowers are pretty. Is that okay?

Ahh. Better. Smiling boy.

His face below looks like “seriously mom. STOP embarrassing me. okaaaaaay, that’s funny.”

And this is just one of my most favorite pictures of all time.

He’s sitting in the mud. I think he likes it!

No, wait. Really! Guys!

I was tellin’ a joke!

And the chicken said….

Sorry. I get side tracked easily these days. I have a little ham on my hands (nooooo, I was talking about Carter, not Scott!). We had a great family adventure up to Skagit Valley. I’ll be sure to keep you guys up to date if we go back this week (sun is to be expected despite the SNOW that fell on us this morning).

What We’ve Done This Week

15 04 2011

Not much really. Just hanging around the house. Going to the pool on Wednesdays. Walks on Tuesdays. You know. Working on mama’s basement. She keeps frantically talking about Monica? Who’s Monica anyway?

nothing to see here, folks

What? You saw something in my mouth?

ooooooooooooh, you came to see my pearly whites?

Oh. THOSE! Yeah. I’ve been sprouting teeth. These are only two of ’em. Next week, I might show you all four if you’re really nice. But for now…here’s what I got.

i'm proud of 'em, but they sure hurt!

Do As I Say?

12 04 2011

Remember that movie with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson? And I think Greg Kinnear? The line “You make me want to be a better man.” always sticks in my head. Jack was a crotchety old dude (shocker) who was turned sweetheart by Helen Hunt’s character. Sometimes I feel like Jack. And Carter is my Helen (stay with me here, I know I’m getting a little crazy).

There is something about having a kid that changes you. It DOES make you want to be a better person. You start thinking about their little personality developing, the habits they are creating, and you start becoming painfully aware of your bad habits and attitudes. It’s made me evaluate decisions I made ages ago. And for the first time in my life I am thinking twice about some of them. I wouldn’t call them regrets, per se. I am who & where I am because of every decision I’ve made. It’s really more of a “hmm, I could have made a better choice.”

I’ve started my own internal campaign: Do As I Do! Live well. Live right. Your children are sure to pick up some of those good attitudes and habits. And one day, when they are sitting there writing their online journal (or laughing at their parents’ desire to share their diaries on the Internet), they might hope for even more for their own children (awwww, my grandbabies!).

Outside of the biggies (hello, Ten Commandments), this little campaign is mundane at times and profound at others. But I do so hope it will have a positive impact on our little family…

1. make your bed every day

2. wash your dishes instead of putting them in the sink

3. waste less food. use what’s in your fridge and pantry.

4. encourage your spouse to pursue their dreams. support them (with love) while they do it.

5. cherish your friendships. even when it’s hard. you chose them as friends for a reason.

6. confront issues that bother you. even when you don’t want to do it. the longer they fester, or the longer you ignore, the more they will burn you up later. even years later!

7. tell your parents you love them every day.

8. laugh when someone makes an honest mistake and help them pick up the pieces (or pureed pears on the leather couch).

9. smile at strangers. even when you don’t want to. they might be having a bad day and you could give it a positive turn.

10. never stop learning. be curious. look up more often (i now look up in every single store/restaurant/house/park thanks to my little fan & light lover).

Any other ideas for my “Do As I Do” list?