Friday, April 29, 2011

My New Anthem

You might remember it - "Really Rosie" by Maurice Sendak (of Where The Wild Things Are) and sung by Carole King. I had forgotten all about it until just the other day. I grabbed it at the library and took a walk down the lane to childhood days of singing with my sister at the top of my lungs.

"I'm Really Rosie...and I'm Rosie Real...You better believe me! I'm a great big deal!"

But listening to it with Brother-Bug this morning I realized there is a perfect song for a mother deep in the fray, trying to perfect her own mother-magic to keep her family happy and calm and maybe even Stop the

Screaming and Yelling
(From Really Rosie - by Maurice Sendak)

When everybody
Screams and yells
Who calms them down?
Who rings their bells?
When everybody screams and yells
The enchanted one
That's me
When everybody screams and yells,
There's nothing to do!
There's nothing to see!
Who dreams up a place they'd like to be?
The enchanted one
That's me
It takes personality
A lot of personality
To make them see it my way
It takes personality
More personality
To turn twelve boring hours
Into a fascinating day!
That's a fact
Don't you see?

Do you know?
Can you guess
Who I simply have to be?
The enchanted one
That's me.


I love it - especially the bit that talks about making 12 hours into a fascinating day. Isn't that just the way of a mom? Or at least our goal when we wake up and plan for fun?

I'm going to start referring to myself (at least privately) as The Enchanted One.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Liver N' Onions For Me...

I really don't like liver. In fact, I refuse to eat it. There is something in the texture and flavor that I can't force myself through. Foods like that make me crazy, because I have very few foods I just don't like. Most things I can eat and even enjoy.

But liver is good for me - I know that as a nursing mom my body needs the iron and vitamin D in liver. Add to that the fact that I buy our meat in sides, split with friends, so I get half a cow liver once a year. That's a lot of liver. And so I have to eat liver. Somehow.

Wonder of wonders! This year I have figured it out. On recommendation of my midwife I have been grinding my liver, a quarter-pound at a time, into our ground beef. It takes a few minutes. You can't taste the liver, can't even tell that it is there. If anything, the beef is even tastier for the deeper flavor the liver imparts. And it bulks up a pound of ground nicely, just making those burgers a little bigger.

Maybe someday I will learn to love liver for its own sake, but for now I am just glad I found a way to get it in our diet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Brother-Bug was (is) disinclined to interact with a whole lot of people. He was never much of a one to go find his Papa, especially if it meant squirming off my comfy lap.

Sister-Bug is so different in that way. Even in her early morning haze, she was off my lap and in her Papa's arms right away (well... after a nice cuddle and nurse). Obviously someone has to help make breakfast!
And heaven help us if he doesn't pick her up first thing when he walks in the door after work.

That feels good to Papa-Bug. And watching them have such a sweet bond feels so good to me!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Go! Go! Go! No...Slow Down.

We all do it. Every Mom, everywhere. We are so busy. We process so much. And yet... We don't need to do it all. There is, in fact, no way we will ever do it all. This has been a topic on a couple of other Mommy-blogs I read. We are so busy.

Mom-101 has two eloquent posts here and here. Hat's off to gainfully employed moms - I don't know how they do it. When I look at my week, I can't imagine trying to squeeze in a job as well! Oig.

Over at The Happiest Mom she writes about the importance of the "mom-reboot" and questions how important some of our tasks are. I love her frank writing style and go back there for post after post. I am strongly hinting that my "kids" get me her new book, The Happiest Mom, for Mother's Day.

This has given me a lot to think about. My thoughts on this are many and scattered - not at all ready for a post just yet. But it's in the works. But I need to prioritize...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ready to Cook

I unpacked my cookbooks today. Much like unpacking the rest of the books, this goes leagues to making this house feel like home. Now I know this is my kitchen. And now I can feel even better about cooking and meal planning - less at sea.

Open in the cookbook holder (thrift store score!) is our family favorite cookbook: The DK Press Children's Cookbook. It's a great book for soon-to-be-master-chefs. The instructions are clearly written and illustrated with great photos. The ingredients are photo lists as well, so even a pre-reader can follow along and really get messy with a good recipe. We finally bought this book because we had checked it out from the library more than 20 times! So far we have loved every recipe we have tried. Especially the Marinated Chicken. That one is really good.

And it led to a revelation in my head. A busy mom should make children's cookbooks a major recipe source. Why?

1) The recipes are bound to appeal to kids' (sometimes narrow) tastes. So no agonizing over whether or not your kids will eat that risotto. No searching for something "kid friendly". It already is.

2) It's fast. Kids will focus in the kitchen for usually 20-ish minutes. So most of the recipes in a children's cookbook will be fairly quick and basic to prepare.

3) It inspires me to get my son in the kitchen more. If he cooks it, he is more likely to eat it. And a kid in a kitchen gains mad skills! Following instructions, math (measurements, counting, doubling, etc.), chemistry (baking soda, anyone?), safety, nutrition... It's one of the ultimate homeschooling learning centers.

So that's that. Cookbooks are up and easy to reach, especially the children's cookbooks.


Over at my brother's blog, he wrote a great series about his cookbooks - what he uses and why. As an avid cookbook reader, I loved that series and it was a partial inspiration for this post.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

No Naked Salads Here

I just made my first attempt at my own bleu cheese salad dressing. It's okay. It's missing something. I used this recipe... Papa-Bug says a sharper bleu next time and I am inclined to agree. Brother-Bug will complain about stinky cheese, but he can have naked salad.

Sister-Bug? She helped me make it because she loves to help in the kitchen. And she tasted the cheese - and then asked for more. That's MY girl!

Maybe a different recipe next time.

In the meantime, here I am with a bunch of bleu cheese dressing to eat so I'm thinking about bleu cheese and bacon hamburgers.


Speaking of burgers, I am looking forward to grill weather and trying out some of the wonderful burger toppings here and here. Some really good ideas in those lists.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recipe: Biscuits and Gravy with Goat Breakfast Sausage

I am blessed to work for a local meat farm. The meat we raise and sell is mostly organic, pastured, free of chemicals, hormones, anitbiotics, and other nasties. The animals are happy and appreciated. And my understanding of different types and cuts of meats has expanded quite a bit in the 2 1/2 years I have worked for Deck Family Farm.

For example, prior to working for the Decks, I probably wouldn't have voluntarily eaten goat. But as long as I am trying to sell meats to people, I need to know what those meats are like. And it turns out that goat is one of our family favorites. A little more meaty than chicken, not as heavy as beef or pork, and packed with good flavors.

I was so excited to see that we developed a breakfast sausage over the winter and couldn't wait to try it out. This past weekend I had the opportunity to throw this basic Sausage Gravy together and it turned out really well.

The really important thing here is the addition of the yogurt which balances the goat. Also, goat is not as fatty as pork, so it is important to add the extra olive oil to get enough of a grease/flour rue.

Biscuits and Gravy with Goat Breakfast Sausage

*Biscuits – use your favorite recipe!

1 pack Deck Family Farms Goat Breakfast Sausage (Maple or Pepper)

2 tbl. olive oil

3-4 tbl. flour

2 cups of milk

1 cup yogurt

Salt a pepper to taste

*Optional – onions, garlic, herbs, Tabasco…

Goat sausage makes an excellent breakfast gravy and is lighter on the stomach than a pork-based gravy. The goat sausage needs a little extra something in the basic gravy flavor – provided here by the tartness of the yogurt. Fresh fruit makes the best side dish for this hearty breakfast.

1) Slice the sausages or remove them from their casings. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the sausage over medium heat till done. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. *Here you would add onions or garlic and sauté them with the sausage.

2) Whisk the flour into the remaining fat to form a thickening rue. Work quickly so no lumps form.

3) Still whisking, add the milk to the pan and mix until the rue is smoothly combined. Whisk in the yogurt. If the gravy is already too thick, add a little more milk. If the gravy feels to thin allow it to simmer for a few minutes to thicken.

4) Stir in reserved meat. Salt and pepper to taste.

5) Serve poured over split biscuits.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On The Shelf

The major event of the weekend - the one that took three days to clean up from - was unpacking the majority of our books and getting them on the shelves.

There is still more to do - still many more books to unpack - but we are all happier in our living room. It feels like ours in ways that furniture and laundry piles just can't replicate.

We love books. We read all the time. Recently the one-year old has figured out the magic of bringing a board book to me to be read infinite times. ((Banana, Spoon, Cracker... add nausea)). It's gratifying to my Mama-Heart to know she will be adding to these shelves. Our shelves reflect classes we have taken, writing we have done, interests we have pursued, dreams followed or let go. So many books are old friends.

Bookshelves are a reflection of life and soul. I'm so glad we have books (and lots of them) in every room.


*While I was contemplating this post I ran across this awesome bookshelf with a reading cave built in! How I would love to put that in our house somewhere, someday, when we have room for it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What a Difference a Label Makes

You know the way a fridge looks when it's full. You can't find the cheese, you have to move six things out of the way to get at the cream for your coffee... and what the hell is in that old tupperware?? Yuck!! Oig. Close the fridge. Clean it. Put everything away logically. Two weeks later the logic has failed and the cream is again buried.

At least, that is my experience.

Or WAS my experience. It is no longer so.

Enter my Label Maker.

It wasn't an intentional organization project. Brother-Bug loves to label things and it is great spelling and reading practice. So, one day while we were cleaning the fridge we decided to label what goes on what shelf.

((Side note: a sorting project like that is great early math!! Homeschooling rocks.))

To my surprise, the labeling stuck. That was a pun.

All of a sudden, you could always find what you are looking for in my fridge. Leftovers were a breeze to clean out. Making the shopping list was a joy because I could easily see what was missing.
Papa-Bug and I both put things back where they belonged. Brother-Bug is able to easily find the snacks that we get for his enjoyment. When the system gets messed up it is obvious, as well as being quick and easy to fix.

It's amazing, the power that a label has.

When we moved into a new house a couple of weeks ago, the fridge got loaded in a rush. No time to put things away neatly, just get them put away and move on to a more pressing issue. But over the course of two weeks, I watched every family member struggle with the disorganization of the fridge. Where were the carrots? The string cheese? What happened to the leftovers we were planning on eating? Why on earth is the Hoisin sauce always in the way?

I got out my label maker.

Things are calm in the fridge again. The salad dressings and hot sauces have their shelf. The Hoisin sauce is where it belongs. Lettuce is no longer mingling with yogurts. The organization makes the fridge feel more spacious. I did the freezer and pantry too.

Contented sigh.

I just put this week's groceries away. It took half the time that it took last week, because there is a place for everything and now everything is in it's place.