Monday, April 30, 2012

"Rooted Remains"

Writer's block. (yes, I think I've realized this is cyclical... not the first post and probably not the last one on this subject!) I don't know if I qualify for the "writer" part of it (that feels rather presumptuous), but the "block" part fits nicely. Yes, yes, I've been sick, the husband has been sick, the small ones have been sick (twice!)...but I don't like that feeling. The feeling of things rolling around inside me, unformed and fluid; nothing I can wrap a hand around. It makes me anxious because there are hints of ideas, small nuggets that could be something if I could just hold on to them for more than five fleeting seconds. But then, as I'm fumbling for paper, shoving a thermometer in a mouth, or trying to unload the dishwasher for the third time, it disintegrates into a lingering essence; haunting and wisping around me.

It's ironic that it took a WitFit prompt for me to even write that currently I'm stumped!

I get an email every day with a prompt to use for writing. I'm challenging myself to use at least one prompt a week and write something, anything... I'll be posting some of them here on the blog. I have no idea where they'll take me. You've been warned. (The prompt word will be italicized in the text.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Snack Time

Hummus. Sweetpea wanted her own bowl of it, The Princess wouldn't even sniff it...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rainy Day Blues

My most favorite days, even with small children demanding attention! and snacks! and games! and kisses!, actually the kisses are okay, my most favorite days are the cool, cloudy, rainy ones. Not the flat gray ones but the kind where the clouds curl up on each other; thick quilts of fluff in various shades of pewter, silver, and slate. This day, this break from the grind and excuse to cozy up at home, is rare. It is no ordinary wet rain, it is a day when fairy tale diamonds drop from the sky, silver rivulets wind down the glass, castles build in my imagination and the world is transformed.

The rain comes down in a steady plunk against the windowpanes, a background percussion that insulates and provides a steady rhythm for life happening inside. Somehow, the green walls become a hideaway with secret happenings shielded from the outside world. Bread baked is homier, stories read are more engrossing, and songs sung are sweeter and tunier (I know that’s not a word).

I slip into my running clothes and run through the drops, now the pitter patter of rain on the plastic stroller shield accompanies my dash. The water rinses away the sweat so that I feel as clean on the outside as the inside when I get back, eager for a warm shower to seal in the freshness.

Soup bubbles, tea kettle whistles, the fire winks cheerfully (it’s gas so I pretend that it’s crackling). We have laughter and creativity and chocolate chip cookies. There is no fear of rainy day blues; this is a day I cherish. It's a day I wish I could store away in a shiny little bag, waiting to be pulled out and sprinkled like fairy dust over the harsh, unrelenting sun to give a little relief and refreshment.

I get an email every day with a prompt to use for writing. I'm challenging myself to use at least one prompt a week and write something, anything... I'll be posting some of them here on the blog. I have no idea where they'll take me. You've been warned. (The prompt word will be italicized in the text.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the fittest...If the past week is any indication, we might not make it.

Fun facts:

  • There are 3 empty boxes of Kleenex in the recycling bin.
  • A twenty-month old can, indeed, sound like a 30-year smoker.
  • There is an infinite amount of Kipper and Madeleine videos on Netflix streaming.
  • Kipper gets old fast.
  • Christopher Plummer, aka Captain Von Trap, narrates Madeleine.
  • Christopher Plummer's voice is very soothing when you're feverish on the couch.
  • Four-year olds, when done with their own fevers, are not terribly empathetic towards others with the same malady.
  • I ate potato soup for two meals a day for 3 days straight. It had a 1/4 cup of garlic in it. I hear that garlic is helpful in fighting germs. It probably didn't make me any more desirable to be around, but I think I'd already lost that fight...
  • 80 degree weather, while probably helpful in fighting germs, fills me with dread for the summer. But, I hear that rain is coming back on Wednesday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Those Deep Dark Trenches

Today it was Sweetpea's turn...  I won't be posting a picture of myself on the couch because, while I may be pathetic, I haven't mastered looking cute at the same time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In the Trenches

Day three of Round two with this virus...  So far I've been the only one unscathed but it's niggling on the edges so I don't know if I'm going to make it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Toy Story 3

Yesterday I watched Toy Story 3 for the very first time. Yes, I'm a little late to the game but that's because, up until now, I haven't had small children who suddenly come down with high fevers and curl up pathetically under quilts while holding warm rice bags. She, with her scarlet cheeks, who informed me that no, she wasn't sick because she wasn't coughing. (She saved that for a solid hour in the middle of the night...) Coughing is the bar by which we measure true or fake sickness around here!

Anyway, Toy Story 3. I'd heard the rumors. That kids came out of the theater laughing followed by their red, swollen eyed parents clutching kleenex and sniffling with abandon. Sure enough. The movie should come with a warning label.

Even though I was busy in the kitchen and catching just snippets of the movie,Woody still managed to tug on my heartstrings. Since I was holding Sweetpea and The Princess seemed a little vulnerable in the corner of the couch I managed to hold back the deluge of tears that was threatening, keeping it at a face-saving slow leak.

But, if I'd been by myself...there would have been full-on, whole body sobs, I'm sure. Oh the bitter-sweetness of growing children and the memories they leave behind.

(via imdb)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monthly (March) Menu Review

Steve eats this chili from a can that makes me want to hurl. But he loves it, so I buy it for him and try not to think about the horrible things that are going into his body. It's not like he eats it every day.

But, I may have found a substitute. I made this chili and about fell over from shock when he said he REALLY liked it and that he'd eat it instead of the canned stuff!  Well...I put the rest of it into 15 oz can sized servings, threw those baggies in the freezer and then went out and bought supplies to make more! If I can just keep it up I will have banned that canned chili from the house and good riddance!

Turkey and Bean Chili via Martha Stewart

4 slices bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 lbs ground turkey (I only did 2 lbs and even that seemed like a lot. I'll do 1 1/2 lbs next time)
4 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 med fresh jalapeno chiles, minced (leave seeds if you want more heat)
3 Tbs chili powder
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp ground cumin
2 cans (28oz each) whole tomatoes in puree
2 Tbs molasses
3 cans (15 oz) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1. Heat Dutch oven (heavy 5-quart pot) over med heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp and brown, 6-8 minutes. Raise heat to high; add turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking up meat, until no longer pink, 8-10 min.
2.Add onion, garlic, and jalapenos; cook until soft, stirring often, about 5 min. Stir in chili powder, cocoa powder, and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
3. Break up tomatoes with a spoon or hands and stir them in along with puree. Add molasses, 1 cup water, 4 tsp salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook partially covered 30 min.
4. Add beans; continue cooking, uncovered, until meat and beans are very tender and chili is thick, about 30 minutes more.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bunny Food

The first year The Princess went egg hunting I told her that all of the candy in the eggs was bunny food. She thought that made sense and dutifully emptied all of her eggs for the bunny!

That only worked for one year.

This year Sweetpea, on her own(!), went one step further and put actual bunny food into her eggs...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bunny vs. Santa

Easter. I hope everyone had a wonderful celebration. We had a delightful mix of Bible stories, Easter egg hunts and discussions about the Easter Bunny.

For The Princess, a bunny that delivers chocolate is much more believable than a man in a red suit delivering presents... Sweetpea was just wondering why on earth she was being forced into trash collection with hoards of other kids on a sunny Saturday morning!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Wilds

What was that?” Something small, maybe the size of a cat, blundered through the brush ahead of them.
“Dinner” his voice brightened considerably, the annoyance of her company temporarily lifting.
“Really? We have to kill something? Don’t you have some dried meat or hard tack we could eat instead?”
“We’re not in the wild west so, no, I don’t have any hard tack in my saddlebag.” His annoyance was back, along with a healthy dose of sarcasm. “We’re out here without horses and supplies because of you, so stop complaining.” He walked forward a couple of steps before spinning to face her. “And you do realize that any dried meat I might have had was alive at one point, right? Someone somewhere killed your food for you.”
She huffed, defensiveness wrapping around her. “Yes, I realize it was alive at one point. I was just hoping I could keep out of the killing portion of my food. Obviously I was wrong.”
“Obviously.” He stalked forward again, eyes scanning the ground for something she couldn’t decipher. “Here.” He stopped suddenly, kneeling down in front of a moss covered log.
As she got close she saw that the middle portion of the log was suspended from the ground leaving a six inch gap. He pulled out mesh bag and a length of thin rope and started twisting a coiling it quickly. She could see that, whatever he was doing, he’d done it before. He hopped over the log and knelt back down on the other side, digging a small hole before covering it with a couple twigs and laying the bag on top. The rope was looped over a branch on the fallen tree pulling the mouth of the bag open. He dug into his small leather satchel again, pulling something out and rubbing his hands together before carefully placing it into the mesh bag. He hopped back over to where she still stood watching. One more handful and rub and then small crumbles were scattered in a trail leading to the bag.
“Oh!” She gasped. “Those are…are…” she wasn’t sure exactly what it was but she knew it was food.
“Crackers.” He answered matter of factly. Standing, he brushed his hands against his pants and started scanning the nearby trees.
“You said you didn’t have any!”
“I said I didn’t have any hard tack, crackers I have.”
“Then can I have some?” She tried to make her voice sweet.
“No. Either I give them to you and shut you up for all of five minutes before you’re complaining you’re hungry again or I use them to feed both of us.” He stopped in front of a large tree that looked like an oak and hauled himself up two branches while she stood, mouth hanging open, stupefied from his audacity. Finally looked down, “Are you coming up or what? Dinner won’t arrive until you’re out of the way.” Her glare was cold fire before she followed him up into the leaves bits of bark flaking onto her skin as she climbed. They sat in cold silence for awhile before curiosity got the better of her.
“So, what are we doing?”
“Waiting for more malmoles to come by.”
“Oh, like a stakeout!” he rolled his eyes and she ignored it. “How do you know this is where they’ll be?”
“Because they always travel in pods. I heard the other one snuffling around so I know there are more nearby. We just need to wait until one stumbles onto the trail.”
“You really think one will just walk right into your bag?” she was skeptical. Getting an animal seemed like it might require more of a weapon, like a bow and arrow or a spear or something.
“Well, normally I’d have a few more options but since you managed to spook both horses and left me with my bag, a pocket knife and ten crackers we’re doing it this way.” It was like he could read her mind. “And yes, once it gets a whiff of the crackers it should just walk into the bag. They’re not that bright, they move slowly, and smell is their best sense. That’s why we’re up here out of the way.” He leaned back against the trunk and closed his eyes. She wondered at a life that could make you so comfortable in a tree that you’d close your eyes without worrying about losing your balance and falling out of it.
“So, does it taste any good? You’re going to cook it, right?” She drew the line at raw flesh.
“Yes, we’ll build a fire and roast it.” His voice gave away his alertness even if his body looked completely relaxed. “They don’t taste that bad. They’re better baked.”
“Too bad we don’t have an oven.”
“Yes. That’s the real tragedy in all of this.”

I get an email every day with a prompt to use for writing. I've been ignoring them since January but it's time. I'm challenging myself to use at least one prompt a week and write something, anything... I'll be posting some of them here on the blog. I have no idea where they'll take me. You've been warned. (The prompt word(s) will be italicized in the text.)

Monday, April 2, 2012