So Long…

This was our last night in the Crazy Crowded House. I thought I was going to get all weepy when the moving trucks pulled into the driveway. But such was not the case. It was a bit surreal knowing that our house would soon be someone else’s home. But I think we had all mentally checked out and were more than ready to move on.
We spent two nights in a hotel and last night was our first night here in the new house. Not so crowded, but as crazy as ever. (I hope this is only temporary!)
The kitchen is almost completely unpacked. I figured it was the most important room in the house — this house, at least!
Tomorrow we will tackle the play room and get started on some of the bedrooms.
It feels great and it feels like home and I have to keep pinching myself!

for Kim

Garden Patch Cakelet Pan, Williams-Sonoma

Kim is my friend who does everything by the book. She dots all of her i’s and crosses all of her t’s. She makes sure she eats everything she should, including every color in the rainbow. She doesn’t cheat like I do. (I think m&m’s are a perfect way to achieve this result.) Nope. Not Kim. Kim has to do it the right way. This means eating carrots even though she secretly loathes them. She eat tomatoes for breakfast every day too. She would eat a daily dose of purple, but to her chagrin the little purple fruit does not exist in Turkey where she is living and homeschooling her toddler. I am pretty sure her littlest one (just a few months old) can speak both her native “Canadian-ish” and Turkish quite fluently now, as well.

Kim does not cheat at mealtime like we do, offering a few grapes, a cheese stick and perhaps a few Peppridge Farm Goldfish in for good measure. Nope. Her kids get 3 proper meals a day. The guilt she expressed after one day offering her Two Year Old ice cream for lunch! Oy vey… It’s a darn good thing she is not Jewish! I say ice cream is healthy. It’s got dairy and protein. if you’re lucky it could very well have some fruit thrown in for good measure. Not telling you all what my kids had for breakfast. Sheesh! No, sillies… not what Alexander requested the other day!
Kim is also on a one person mission to save our planet. You should see all that she does. As I type this I am hanging my head in shame. I am a Planet Killer. Though I really try not to. I do everything that she does not do. And I am sure I do very little she does do. I’m wearing a green sweater today. It’s cashmere. Cashmere is wool. Wool comes from sheep. Sheep eat grass. Sheep poop on grass. Sheep poop is good fertilizer. See, in my own way my Green sweater is saving Mother Earth! But check out Kim’s Blog to see what she is doing and you may get some good ideas from her!
So Kim, here is my little vegetable garden for you! I hope you can plant this on your kitchen garden. You might even find the carrots to be a bit sweeter, moister, more pleasing to your palate! For all you do Kim! For all you do!

what a little sh*t!

Mothers Around The World have just nominated me for Mother of the Year Award. Here is why:

Alexander: “Mama, I’m hungry”

Me: “What do you want?”

Alexander: “Shit!”

Me: “Excuse me? What do you want?”

Alexander: “Shit.”

Then again….

Alexander: “Shit. Shit. Shit.”

Me: “That’s not so nice to say Alexander.”
(I, of course, have no idea whatsoever where he learned this word)

Alexander: “I want shit for Breakfast.”

Do I take him literally?

Edamame as a side

In their pods they look like giant peas, when shelled they look like lima beans. But they are so much better both in consistency and in flavor. Edamame are soy beans and used very frequently in Asian cuisine. We discovered them not too long ago and love them. You can find them fresh or frozen, and both in their pods and loose in a bag.

Yesterday I decided to saute some up with a scant amount of olive oil (a couple of teaspoons) some freshly ground sea salt and a very generous amount of garlic powder. Fresh garlic can be used but I love the flavor and consistency of the garlic and salt as it forms a shell of sorts on the edamame.

I poured my oil in to a non stick pan and heated it up. When the pan was hot I added the shelled edamames*, salt and garlic powder. I seasoned to taste. I let the edamame cook in the hot pan for about 5 minutes until they were nice and brown (not too dark!) on the outside. Serve immediately. (A nice Jasmine or Arborio rice would be a nice accompaniment along with a meat, poultry or fish.)

*Prior to being sauteed I had parboiled the edamame in boiling water.

Pepito’s Pants

Rebecca was obsessed with Madeline when she was younger. Right around the time she turned two we introduced her to Madeline. I read the book to her morning, noon and night until she could recite it from memory. We had all the books and eventually her love for the books led us to the dolls, plush characters and videos. Rebecca, in her own mind, was Madeline. She would eat, sleep and breathe this little French girl who lived in a house all covered with vines. Her Madeline obsession grew and grew and grew and lasted a good many years. (I was secretly thrilled that she loved the 12 little girls in two straight lines, the youngest being Madeline… I was so happy not to have to deal with overly purplish-pinkish princesses!)

Rebecca instantly fell in love with a little boy character named Pepito. He lived next door, was the son of the Spanish Ambassador. Some called him a Bad Hat. Some simply said that he needed “an outlet for his energy.” I think Rebecca loved his devilish little ways and since he was Madeline’s best friend he grew to be hers too. There was a point and time when Pepito went everywhere with us. Everywhere. Eventually Pepito’s red outfit seemed more grey than red and we decided we should toss the little clothes in to the washing machine. Well, Rebecca would have none of this and could not bear to be a part from Pepito even in her sleep

So Mama went out to the store and bought another Pepito. I hid the doll in my room until it was safe enough to bring it out — ie,when Rebecca was sound asleep. I gently pried the old Pepito from her clutch and quietly, stealthily switched his clothes. I dressed him in the new Pepito’s fresh, clean outfit and slid old Pepito back into Rebecca’s hand.

Quietly, carefully I tip-toed out of her room and placed new Pepito in the back of my dresser drawer. The dirty clothes were placed in a garment bag and sent to the washing machine. When they were cleaned and dried they went into hiding into my drawer as well. This bait and switch act went on for a very long time.

Eventually, as often happens with young children, Rebecca played with Pepito less and less. By the time she was in Kindergarten she had almost stopped playing with him altogether. But new Pepito and the spare set of clothes remained in hiding.

Last summer I was rummaging through my drawers and located the old new Pepito and the spare set of clothes. It brought back a flood of memories and really made me chuckle. Rebecca heard me and I decided to let her in on the secret. She loved it!

Well, I must have missed something last summer as I found Pepito’s pants in my drawer. It was a nice thing to have found.

the countdown begins…

It’s our last Wednesday night in the Crazy Crowded House and it doesn’t feel as strange as I thought it would. I drove over to the new house this afternoon and there was a big moving truck in the driveway! On our way home from soccer practice I took the kids by the house. The truck was gone and in its place mounds and mounds of garbage. Looking up we could see the once full playroom was now empty.

The house stands magestically on the hill. Her former occupants are packing up their belongings and preparing for their new lives while we do the same. We are closing yet another chapter in our lives, another book, with just pages left. A new book with new stories waiting to fill the now blank pages waits to be written. The now empty house on the hill waits to become a home again.

I wondered whether the kids would be sad but they didn’t seem to be. They each looked to the house and seem to know that this house would be their home. New memories will be made. New dreams will be realized and hopefully will come true.

The unknown is a scary thing and I am not it’s biggest fan. But if we didn’t take a chance here and there and we didn’t try anything new… if we never ventured out of our comfort zones then we wouldn’t really be living, would we?

We will have a lot of work to do to make the house our home, but even though we haven’t moved in it already feels right.

Margot’s Red Raspberry Sauce

My friend Margot hosted our most recent book club dinner-get-together. I’ve never eaten anything I haven’t liked at her house and I should post all of her recipes but if I had to choose one it would be this. Normally I wouldn’t drool, dance, shout or sing about a fruit sauce poured over ice cream. But I have to tell you that this was To Die For… so without further ado I shall post… and let you know that her recipe is not written and all approximations, so you may want to change a little something to your liking. I thought it was divine the way it was!

In a saucepan over medium heat, Melt 2tsp butter, add 2 tsp brown sugar and melt.

Add 2 cups raspberries, stir
Add ½ cup (give or take) Cointreau (I am sure Grand Marnier would work well too)
Add ½ cup (give or take) Chambord

Margot says she someone Flambée i to burn off the alcohol. She could not get hers to light so she brought it to a boil for a minute then served it over vanilla ice cream. I can’t wait to serve this out on my new deck this summer!