26 September 2013


We know some really kind, loving, and generous families around here. A couple of days ago, one of them invited Oliver and I to share their Chinese take out with them. It was SO delicious and such a treat! 

Oliver wanted to be just as cool as the other kids and use chopsticks, but I think he missed the point.

One in each hand!

Now I know how Ling must have felt when I saw her using chopsticks and asked her if I could try...

However, I would probably still look just about as silly as Oliver does now and I did then. I think the Mosai will stick with western utensils.

23 September 2013

The Art of Conversation

Oliver: "Mom, will you please talk to me?"

Me: "Sure Oliver. What should we talk about?"

Oliver: "Are you having a good day today?"

Me: "Certainly. Are you having a good day too?"

Oliver: "Yeah"

...long pause as Oliver J. contemplated the purpose of our conversation as well as the direction he would like to take it, and gathered his thoughts... 

"So...when did you learn how to eat a Popsicle?"

21 September 2013

This Week's Goal...

Confession: I've been slacking lately in the dinner department.

For the past two weeks, I've been neglecting any and all motherly dinner time duties. I've either been gone, leaving the boys to fend for themselves completely, or I have been home with no more moxie left in me by the time dinner should be happening.

Also, I'm not really interested in food this pregnancy. With Olivander, there were constant cravings and food tasted really, REALLY, out-of-this-world amazing. Remember how every other blog post from 2010 seemed to be food related? I mean, I was obsessed, kids!

This time, food is mostly just a hassle. I'd rather eat cereal and candy bars all day anyway. It's gotten bad, my friends.

So this week, I have a goal. I'm going to make a menu, and I'm going to stick with it! I'm also going to try new recipes, because that's fun for me.

This week, we'll be eating:

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham with a green vegetable which I haven't yet selected.

Drop Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes and another green vegetable, different from the first.

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza for dessert

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon (because Jesse asked that we have fish once a week...he's on a healthier eating kick...even if it means he has to eat fish. You can tell he's starting to get desperate, because he does not enjoy fish) with potatoes and a vegetable

Coconut Curry Soup with rice

Additionally, Jesse has asked me to make cinnamon rolls (did you know I can make cinnamon rolls now? I can!) for him to take and share with his clinical site, which he has loved immensely. According to his logic, nothing says "Thanks for working with me, I've really liked you" better than cinnamon rolls with brown sugar frosting.

And, if I stick to the plan (and I can find someone with a spring form pan that I can borrow) I have every intention of rewarding myself with a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust because while regular food is relatively unappealing, sugar speaks to my soul!

I'll also be sharing said cheesecake with a few friends, because I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be left alone with 2 pounds of cream cheese in cheesecake form sitting in my fridge calling out to me at all hours of the day and night. That means I'll be rewarding myself with a party, because sharing cheesecake with friends can also be labeled as "party" in my book.

So it is written, so it shall be done!

Now, who's coming for dinner and when?

18 September 2013

It Feels Like Fall!

For real this time!

The weather has been cool with temperatures in the low seventies for days.

The lower temperatures mean that the humidity doesn't splash (and I do mean SPLASH) over you every time you leave the house.

The leaves are starting to look on the crunchy side.

And I'm getting the itch for soup, and squash, and warm, baked goods!

I think I've almost talked myself into making soup every other day of the season as it is my very favorite food group.

However, I have to be careful about the baked goods. My doctor said something about eating a nutritious diet???

He was less than impressed with the my recent steady intake of cold cereal and candy bars...I probably shouldn't add an over abundance of delectable sugary baked treats to the mix.

Maybe just an abundance.

Not an over abundance.

There's obviously a distinction between the two.

Alright, that settles it! Now would somebody please be a dear and bring me some pie?

17 September 2013

Rocket Swish


We're having a baby...

It's a girl.

We call her Rocket Swish, because that's what Oliver requested that we name her.

My mom hates it.

The nickname, not the fetus.

Hopefully we'll be able to come up with something more acceptable by the end of the year...

16 September 2013

Summer recap...In TRUE Mommy Blog Style...Minus the 8 Billion Photos That Only My Mom/Grandparents Care About



Basically, I spent the month feeling nauseous on my mom's couch, soaking up the essence of HOME. I shared a bed with my sister, spent as much time as she could stand in my mom's presence, and enjoyed seeing my family for the first time in months.

Bryan and Brittany got married on a perfect day in June. It was so lovely, and there was this amazing pasta salad at their wedding lunch... You know me and food. Oliver grouched through their whole reception. Her mom probably hates me for bringing my screaming child to her daughter's wedding reception.

There were a couple of trips to Bryan and Brittany's house for swimming. We went to Ogden's dinosaur park, where Oliver was mostly terrified and awestruck at the same time. I got to go to Sunday dinner for four weeks in a row, which hasn't happened since before I was married. It was glorious.

Jesse stayed home and asked me to please never leave him for so long ever again.


We drove from Utah to Maryland in my new car. Mostly my dad drove because he is wonderful like that.

There was a short stay in the enchanting town of Oskaloosah, Iowa where there is a pastry shop that you must eat at before you die, and a park that you must take your children to before they are grown. The city of Oskaloosah knows how to make life worth living, that's for sure.

Pastries from Jaarsma Dutch Bakery. The picture doesn't do them any justice.

I got to eat my fair share of Beef Chalupas Supreme (I'm sure I'll never be able to get enough of them), and I started to remember why I held strictly to a "NO BATHROOMS BUT MY OWN" policy when I was younger.

Andre stayed with us through July and we were so lucky to have him. He kept Oliver occupied, he helped around the house whenever I asked with whatever I needed, he was fun to talk to, and he was always up for a new episode of Dr. Who. I'm convinced there's not a better house guest anywhere.

We visited a long list of places while he was here, walked our feet off, and mastered the metro. It was exhausting, but so much fun.


Mike, Jacque, and Emma came to stay...we had a full house. It was fun to watch them interact with Oliver, and he loved getting to know them better. Andre all but adopted them as his own. It was a nice visit.

Jesse spent our anniversary at Six Flags with Andre and Wonder Woman. I'm over it.

I put Andre on his airplane and sent him home with a whole bottle of hot sauce in his bag to surprise him with when he got home. Both Andre and the hot sauce made it home in one piece.

I spent the rest of August hanging out with Jesse, who had a couple of weeks off of school, and recovering from the whirlwind month of July.


Jesse is loving his Pediatrics rotation. He likes the clinic he was assigned, and not just for the unlimited free hot chocolate and free lunches. He's probably going to cry when it is time for his Psych rotation at the end of this month.

It's pretty safe to assume that Oliver is potty trained! And that's a big deal.

He's also got something going for himself almost every morning of the week. Monday is rest day. Tuesday is preschool. Wednesday is playgroup. Thursday is preschool. Friday is play date. The kid has more obligations than I do...I've had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that my mornings are no longer my own.

I'm the same old, same old. Just looking forward to the beautiful east coast fall season that is just around the corner...I can feel it! Also, I've decided that my son is truly old enough now to remember things like family traditions, and whether or not we decorated for holidays and things like that. I can no longer approach holidays with the level of apathy that I've shown in the past. I've been pondering things like family holiday traditions for various holidays and pinning DIY decorations like a madwoman.

And that, my friends, was my summer vacation. Probably the best one yet.

What are your various holiday traditions? Specifically for October, as I really stink at Halloween? Help a girl out!

15 September 2013


Recently, we took the youth to Patapsco State Park to float the river.

The past month has been so dry (it is SO STRANGE to refer to Maryland as dry, but it has been!) that there wasn't much water to float in.

Honestly, it was all good, except for the freezy water and over sized rocks that assaulted our bums.

I'd probably do it again next year, and that's saying something considering my attitude prior to the actual river floating experience...sometimes I'm crabby, ok.

The bishop took photos of everyone, and today he informed me that I'm fun to photograph on account of my overly expressive face.

Based on these photos, we can all agree that he is absolutely right has no idea what he is talking about.

13 September 2013

I Might Be Crazy

I often think I might be crazy, and sometimes I provide myself with proof...

Tonight, I purposely decided to wait until everyone had gone to bed before I started to make the Spiced Apple Carrot Cake that I'm planning to take to lunch tomorrow. I thought it would be so nice to spend some quiet time in my kitchen alone, listening to the new Mindy Gledhill album that I just downloaded with the itunes gift card I got for Christmas (thanks mom!), and scooping flour out of my new kitchen canisters (because that never gets old).

After Jesse went to bed and I sat talking with him until he fell asleep, because sometimes the only time we have, just us, together, I walked downstairs to get started. It hit me that I wouldn't be able to use the food processor to grate apples and carrots -too noisy- and therefore, wouldn't be making a midnight cake after all. Bummer.

Immediately upon realizing that the cake would not be baked this fateful night, I decide to stay up super late anyway, doing nothing at all. It wasn't really a conscious decision...just one Nothing lead to another Nothing, and then I'd spent two hours doing Absolutely Nothing...

Don't worry, I finally decided to go to bed when my eyes drooped for a moment and I started envisioning crickets playing maracas instead of rubbing their legs together.

12 September 2013

Do you Bake Much?

The following account is the riveting story of two new friends and the batch of brownies that sealed their friendship...

One day, my new friend Melissa was having a tough time. She was having such a terrible day that she petitioned the Facebook world for some brownies, or cookies, or ice cream. ANYTHING.

You know you've been there. 


Because I'm such a great friend (which none of you would know because I never call or write, and I don't live close enough to bring you brownies on your bad days, but thankfully you like me anyway), I whipped up some brownies from my favorite recipe and called her up...

(which is a whole story in and of itself about mixed up contact info in my cell phone, and me thinking that I was talking to Melissa's husband, and how could he not know where she was on a Sunday evening, and why did he not know her phone number...Don't worry, it was the bishop. This did nothing to placate my phone aversion...)

...So when I finally dialed the ACTUAL Melissa and got permission to bring said brownies to her home, I thought all was well.

 When I got to her house, she dove right into the brownies and I gabbed for a few minutes before taking a bite of mine.

My first bite was...off. 

The second bite was...strange.

The third bite was TERRIBLE, and prompted me to ask, 

"Do these brownies taste ok to you?"

To which Melissa only replied,

"Do you bake much?"

Which was the one liner that made us both laugh.

Her official diagnosis: The oil had gone rancid. Grossy-gross!

And bless her! She fully intended to choke the whole thing down if I hadn't noticed.

The brownies went into the garbage where they belonged, and we proceeded to talk well into the night about everything and anything that struck our fancy. 

It's so nice to know people who will like me in spite my baking skills...and phone skills...and letter writing skills...

My Favorite Brownies:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients. Add any desired add-ins for personaliztion...I'm all about adding a handful of dark chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in a 9"x9" baking dish. 

I love this recipe because it's as easy as using a mix, but it uses ingredients that I already have in my pantry, and it makes a much small batch than the mix does. If all that measuring and putting ingredients puts you off...make mixes using only the dry ingredients. Fill a few ziploc bags at a time and keep them in your pantry for up to six months.  

The Story of Jesse's Life: High School Mixes

Do you remember back before Ipods when people created playlist after playlist and burned them onto blank CD's?

We all did it. And so did Jesse.

Today I saw one of them, and the title made me laugh. 

A lot.

I wish I could tell you what sorts of songs Jesse felt would be well represented by using this as a title for his cd, but I'm not a huge fan of Jesse's music (there's a four year gap between us and a lot can change in the music world in four years), so I didn't bother to listen.

Moral of the story: Be selective about what you write with permanent marker and then save forever...one day, years later, your wife may post it on the interweb because it is funny.

11 September 2013

Andre, {not} Our Chocolate Friend - a silly story

So, you may or may not know that Andre came to visit us for the month of July and it was so fun!

Andre is technically my cousin, but he has lived with my parents for a couple of years, so he sort of feels like a brother. He's also about 15 years younger than me, so he sort of feels like a nephew. So I guess he's my cousinbrothernephew and I really, really, REALLY like him.  We all do.

One morning while he was here, Oliver saw him walking in the hallway upstairs and said in a voice that full of wonder and amazement, as though he had never noticed before,

"Oh MOM! Andre is SO BROWN all over!"

I didn't really know what to say, so I just agreed with him,

"Yes, he is brown."

Then Oliver followed up with this perfect line of hilariosity:

"He looks like chocolate. He is my chocolate friend!" 

While I thought it was hilarious, Andre did not love being Oliver's chocolate friend. I teased him a little bit about it and he was very perturbed.

"That's RACIST!"

He told me.

I told him that it certainly was not racist, because racism comes from hatred, and we love him, and don't hate anyone. He agreed that maybe it wasn't racist, but still was not a fan. And it certainly is not politically correct, so we stopped.

10 September 2013

Sometimes It's the Little Things


Guess what!

I got up this morning (THIS MORNING) and took a shower. Usually, shower doesn't happen until nap time.

Then, after I showered, I styled my hair (blow dried AND straightened). Usually, my hair goes into a bun on the back of my head. On Sunday, it goes into a nicer bun on the back of my head.

Then, after I showered and styled my hair, I put on makeup (on my WHOLE face). Usually, I only put on mascara and eyeliner. And that's only if I'm planning to see people I know. If I'm just planning a trip to the store or the mall, I don't wear any.

Yikes, right?

Then I took Oliver to his first day of sort-of-preschool (which he LOVED) and took myself to the mall to buy Oliver some socks. The socks were so cheap (80 cents), and I felt so good that I decided to buy myself a shirt. It is blue with sparkly sequin polka dots, and it was on sale. I plan to wear it this fall with jeans and boots (yes mom, I will wear a blue shirt with denim pants...I've come a long way!)

And you know what, I felt pretty great.

I guess you sort of forget how nice it feels to get yourself prepared for the day when you're busy trying to just get through it in one piece, and make sure that the little boy's pee pee makes it to the big boy potty more often than not, and other equally remarkably stressful yet mundane things

YIKES, right?

Maybe I'll do it all again tomorrow!