Keeping House

30 05 2011

This may surprise you (no, not you mom). I’m not the neatest person on the planet. Not even slightly. At least I have a little monster to blame for it now. It’s like The Tipping Point: if you leave the spray paint on the subway cars instead of cleaning it immediately, the spray paint & crime will only get worse.  If you leave one toy out, all one cajillion of them will find their way out of their hiding place and take over your living room. Your kitchen. Your bedroom! Your basement (oooh, update on my Monica Basement coming very soon!). They might even commit a crime while you’re sleeping if they are super creative.

exhibit a: dump out basket and try to get in it

While my mom was visiting last week, she asked me if I had a schedule for doing laundry now that I have a mess making machine living with us (note: she also DID MY LAUNDRY and FOLDED IT while she was here. The woman is a saint.). I couldn’t answer the question well. Maybe she was hinting that there was a funky smell downstairs because I can’t seem to ever remember to actually move towels from the washer to the dryer – maaaaaaaaybe it’s because I don’t have a schedule and exhaustedly wander down there and chuck some towels in hoping I’ll remember to get them this time? Then I realized I have no system for keeping the house tidy between bigger cleaning fests and sometimes feel conquered by the plastic toys (especially that creepy dog above who tells me he loves me when I kick it’s foot by accident at night) and blueberry puree stained washcloths.

exhibit b: attempt to break basket into tiny shards of wood

So it made me laugh to dream up my thoughts on the matter. Here is my new housekeeping routine:

  1. Attempt to change screaming, wiggly, wild baby’s diaper. Barely get it on without losing an eye.
  2. Perform wrestling match doing what was formerly called nursing wild baby.
  3. Lay wild baby down in crib.
  4. Turn on glo-seahorse.
  5. Soothe wild baby and say “see you in a little while to play!”
  6. Chant three times “this nap will happen.”
  7. Sneak out of room listening to mayhem.
  8. Check monitor to make sure the glo-seahorse is not poisoning wild baby. It sure sounds like it.
  9. Relax for a minute. Wild baby is asleep. Collect towels and head down to the basement to start laundry*.
  10. Real quick: just need to check Facebook. Oh, I wanted to read that blog entry too. Oh yea! I need to emai…Crap. Wild baby awake.
  11. Collect wild baby from crib and play.
  12. Rinse.
  13. Repeat.

*exchange basement with kitchen, office, garage, bedroom, bathroom and various tasks that would mean cleaning for each said space and you get the picture.

Tell me I’m not alone. Tell me we can all band together and just not care about those little things? But please do let me know if my towels are smelling funky. Ok?

exhibit c: precious little mess

The Spoilers Come to Town

26 05 2011

Two of Carter’s biggest fans came to visit last week! Scott had his first week of school and was headed down to the Bay Area, so Mimi & PopPop decided to come help me out. It had nothing to do with the fact that they wanted to love on sweet CJ. Our week was packed full and come Tuesday morning our house was quiet again. Apparently too quiet for my child who discovered his screeching capabilities over the weekend.

We were fortunate enough to have some amazing weather. So we went to the park to swing on the swings.

save me from the swing

CJ wasn’t a huge fan. Once again. He liked the swings the first time. Since then: “Meh. Get me out of here!”

i said save me, don't make me do it again!

We rode on the merry go round. Which apparently is very fun after a few minutes!

spin spin spin. upchuck blueberries? maybe.

We went down to Pike Place Market to get some fresh produce and flowers. We wound up with a lot more than that. The market is dangerously delicious that way.

rows and rows of goodness

Thankfully, we hit it up in the morning before the major crowds showed up.

hiding under his hat. vampire baby thinks the sun is too bright.

The Copper River Salmon season began the day mom & dad came into town. The market was full of the delicious fish. We picked some up from the Ballard Fisherman’s terminal later in the week to grill.

get your fresh copper river!

We went to Ray’s Boathouse to soak up some rays while taking in the views of the lovely Puget Sound. Carter is really enjoying sitting in the highchair at restaurants now. No more infant seat, he’s a big kid now!

dining al fresco for the first time in for.ever.

We picnicked at Greenlake with some of our friends. I think I enjoyed my  last picnic with a stationary child. The other mommas were chasing their children to the lake and beyond. Crawling and walking and running will come soon enough. For now, I love my sitting munchkin!

picnicking with my buddy

We went to Fremont’s Sunday Market to pick up baubles and treats!

searching for hidden treasures

We were silly and ate our socks. That kid likes when he makes his Mimi laugh.

being silly

We wandered through the arboretum and stood under a “snowing” cherry tree.

it's raining cherries! hallelujah!

And checked out the amazing Azaleas, Lilacs and Rhododendrons.

bright pink azaleas

All along Azalea Way!

azalea way

We showed off our teeth! Two more are making their way in these days.

teefs. lots and lots of em.

And we blew bubbles.

what. is. this?

Lots and lots of bubbles.

can i catch it?

We tried to catch them, but didn’t have that much luck.

maybe this one?

Most of all, we laughed. We had a lot of good times with Mimi & PopPop in town.

ha ha. poppop! did you see that over there?

They love to spoil CJ in the best way possible. Lots of hugs and kisses.

hey, mimi, you come here too!

And always willing to help CJ learn something new.

hi mimi!

I left out the weeding, planting, chair fixing, nail pulling, curtain installing, map hanging, cooking, shopping, and voting they did too. My house hasn’t had this much fun in ages! Those are two efficient people!

happy as a clam

Thank you for the visit, mom & dad. The time you share with us up here is so precious. You made our week without daddy a lot more fun than it would have been otherwise! Love you both!

Peek In Her World

16 05 2011

A fellow blogger, Brooke, at Peek In Our World has been working on a really neat project called “A Mother’s Voice.” She’s asked several mothers to complete a guest post on her blog for the project. There are some excellent stories of how motherhood has changed some, lessons they have learned and of course, good humor. Because life as a mother is not fun if you can’t step back and laugh at yourself every now and again.

I did a guest post for the series, go check it out! While you’re at it, kick up your feet, grab some popcorn and enjoy perusing Peek In Our World. Brooke has some fun tales to tell, wonderful advice and beautiful pictures of an ever-adorable squirrel named Harper.

You are now free to move about the country

16 05 2011


Lemon Olive Oil Cake

7 05 2011

Most of you know I’ve had to go dairy free while nursing Carter due to his intolerance to the protein in cow’s milk. The first few weeks were a tad shocking and I had myself a little pity party. No cheese or butter? You have to be kidding me! It’s okay, it’s short term, I’ll figure it out. I’ll just eat this sandwich. But wait, there is dairy in EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING  I TELL YOU! Scott would come home from work in those first few weeks, I’d be in tears, Carter’d be in tears, and I’d just hand off the baby and go cry.

I’m kind of like a baby. I don’t do well when I don’t eat. I whine a lot. There might be a melt down or two. And I can’t sleep well. Yep. Juuuuuust like a baby. After collecting myself, I’d come back in and Scott would say “what did you eat today?” The water works would resume and I’d say (all pathetic-like) “a sleeve of saltines” booooohoooo. I seemed to have a difficult time finding foods to eat while holding a baby who refused to be set down in those first 6 weeks (he literally slept ON me (or scott or mimi) for the first 6 weeks – oh, those days were sweet, but it was hard to take care of myself and let him sleep).

One Saturday I was busy feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t have queso with my college football and my husband disappeared. I noticed his car was gone and thought he had just gotten sick of me and needed a break. I was whiney, I tell you. The next thing I know, in walks my knight with three huge bags of groceries. And guess what? Not one of the items contained dairy. He scoured the aisles and read hundreds of labels to find healthy quick snacks, some junk food, and some delicious fresh produce (duh). Then he made me lunch. I got some calories and collected myself. And all was better.

Once I got over the initial hump of figuring out how to avoid dairy products, I started trying to get a little creative. Olive oil really is kind of buttery. It goes nicely in potatoes (Thanksgiving dinner without creamy mashed potatoes is not Thanksgiving dinner), can replace butter on toast, and can be used for the cooking and roasting of any vegetable. It’s got less saturated fat to boot.

Anyway, when we were in Italy, I saw olive oil cake on a lot of menus. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t quite grasp the flavor and wasn’t willing to try it, but I kept hearing friends and others talk about how great it was. So I finally decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t taste overly olive oily. In fact, you would barely know. It’s velvety like an angel food cake, but heavier like a pound cake. It’s lightly sweet and a little buttery. Delicious!

Lemon Olive-Oil Cake
Gourmet via Epicurious

3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.