Posts Tagged ‘family’

There’s a serious problem in our society, a matter of neglect and misuse that no one is talking about.  There are no celebrity campaigns or colored bracelets.  Mainstream media won’t touch this story! 

But I’m bringing it out in the open right now. 

It’s about recipes and the horrifying number of people who refuse to use them.  All across our country people are sitting down to food that is anything from merely palatable to downright repulsive simply because someone felt a little creative and decided to “wing it” in the kitchen!  Meanwhile, a cookbook leans forlornly on a dusty shelf, its pages still as crisp and clean as when it was printed.

I’ll have more– much more–to say about this urgent issue in a  later post, but in the meantime, rescue a recipe and give it a try! 



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Present Perfect

presentBaby number four is five days away and we still don’t know the gender.  For the fourth time, we chose the wait-and-be-suprised option.  It’s fun!  It’s like receiving a wrapped gift and being told not to open it for nine months. 

( A gift that grows a little every week and causes indigestion, fatigue and periodic mental distraction.)

I know the suspense is too much for some people; we who choose to wait are in the minority.  Believe me, I know.  Because the same friends and family who cannot wait to know about their own baby get a little antsy about mine!

With every pregnancy I’ve had several people moan and complain, “I can’t stand it!  How am I ever going to wait until you have your baby?”  or “You’re killing me with this suspense!  Are you sure you don’t want to find out?”   After I politely suggest that they get a life, I assure them that yes, we are really going to wait.  (Just kidding on that get-a-life part, though I may have suggested a hobby or two.)

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I confess that with our third child I wanted to “find out” before the baby was born.  We had twice waited the full forty weeks to open our present and I thought it would be fun to experience a pregnancy the other way, knowing the whole time what we were having, calling my growing bump by name and getting to know her before we ever saw her. 

The suggestion was not well-received.  Considering his horrified response, I might have said to my husband, “Hey, you know, we’ve already got two cute little kids.  Why don’t we just pass this one off to the highest bidder when it’s born?”

So number three was also a surprise.  Until the moment she was delivered my husband and I wondered if we would soon hold a baby girl or boy.  It was exhilarating when finally the bows and paper were torn away  as the doctor cried, “It’s a girl!”  

Waiting to see,


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Moving: All You Need to Know

packing boxesI set a few parameters for myself when I started this blog:  no mommy posts; no recipe posts; no clever tips and helpful hints.  Since I’ve already violated the first two,  let’s just go ahead and throw out that third restriction as well!

For the first time in my life, I  just completed a two-day trek across several states, moving my family and most of our worldly possessions several hundred miles.  I know this hardly makes me an expert, but I would like to offer three helpful suggestions. 

1.  Get a good pair of walkie-talkies.  This is an absolute necessity if your family is traveling in more than one vehicle. 

This is something like what my husband drove:


Approximate acceleration rate and maneuverability of a sleepy tortoise.

This is something like what I drove:


Approximate acceleration rate and maneuverability of a frisky Clydesdale. I led. I also had the sole GPS unit.


This is what my husband is used to driving each day:


Approximate acceleration rate and maneuverability of a cheetah.

Walkie-talkies are particularly important if, hypothetically speaking, the frisky clydesdayle gallops onto the highway and leaves the sleepy tortoise stranded at a red light.  Do your marriage a favor and get some walkie-talkies.

2.  Listen to your kids.  When your almost-three-year-old requests a bathroom stop, don’t tell them, “hold on, sweet-pea, it’s just thirty more miles to Memphis.”  Even if they have proven to possess an iron-clad bladder in the past.  Find a rest-stop.  Pull over to the side of the freeway. Hand them an empty water bottle.  But, please, listen to your kids.  

3.  Pack more than two outfits per person for a two-day trip.  (Please see tip number 2.) 

There you have it!  Just remember these three things and you too can successfully move your entire family from one side of the country to the other!


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CookbooksJust give me a good cookbook.

I like food.  I like thinking about food. I like to think about what I have eaten, what I am planning to eat, what I would like to eat and even what other people are eating.

Ah, let’s hear it for sensory memory.  Recalling a favorite ingredient or succulent dish is not a cold mental exercise.  It evokes the memory of fragrance, texture and taste.  Even better: memories that marry good food and important relationships.

The best book on my kitchen shelf captures this combination between its checkered cover.  Beverages like the simple Hot Chocolate that my children beg for as soon as the outside temperature dips below 90.  Dinner favorites, like the homemade pizza crust upon which countless Family Pizza Nights have been built. 

I began this  collection when my husband and I were dating.  It was nearing Christmas.  I was a poor college student and  wanted to give him a unique  gift that cost approximately nothing.  We occasionally enjoyed home-cooked meals together in his apartment so I decided to record the recipes for some of our favorites and  include a brief note about something memorable associated with each dish. 

One of the first entries was for the Chicken Provencal that my not-yet-husband made for me one night.  I took a study break so that we could enjoy dinner together and I could watch one of his favorite movies for the first time.  The romantic memory associated with this lovely dish?

“…We watched Spartacus while we ate.  I won’t soon forget biting into a moist, tender piece of Chicken Provencal while Laurence Olivier’s character speared the Ethiopian.”

 Yummy!  We have yet to have that dish again.  But it was a fun night and the memory is captured forever.  (Which is more than I can say about one child’s first birthday party.) And if we  ever go twenty-four months without watching Spartacus, I might try making Chicken Provencal myself.

There’s no  snobbery in this cookbook, by the way.  Among the homemade goodies are recipes for favorite treats, like a store-bought fried pie:


1 all-night convenient store


About 12:00 a.m., when you’re in the middle of an all-night study session, sneak down to the aforementioned store and buy a couple of fried pies.  Optional garnish:  one quart of chocolate milk.


Please, don’t worry.  I have no plans to turn this into a recipe blog.

Whether it’s homemade chocolate mousse served in delicate dessert cups with orange-scented whipping cream, or a roll of refrigerated cookie dough and a couple of spoons, this cookbook is all about the foods we love and the unique (or mundane) occasions and private jokes that make the memory of eating them special.

Eat joyfully!

(And please tell me what you’re having so that I can savor it too.)


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Besides, I’ve never been able to do them.  (I can pull off a mean pair of shadow scissors, but that’s about it. )




But this is serious fun!  Put yourself between the setting sun and a flat vertical surface and ta-da




 The kids love it! 




This is my one and only pregnancy profile shot.  Who knew a six o’clock shadow could be so slenderizing?



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Pot on the Teapot?

Earlier this week I had a near-tragic experience with this teapot.   



It’s a story that  involves my mother and illegal drugs. I’ll get to that  in a minute, I promise.  But  first, some history.

About a year ago my husband and I chanced upon this store and were immediately smitten.  There were shelves of heavy, cast-iron teapots in a range of sizes and colors, and with various designs imprinted upon their rotund bodies.  We saw an eye-catching blue pot with whimsical dragonflies. There was a rich orange-red vessel across which a dragon flaunted his curling tail. And the teas! 

Green, white, black, oolong, mate, leaves, fruits, nuts, spices;  fragrant blends in loose-leaf form ready for scooping into  bags or tempting tins.  We bought  a few ounces, declared the store a new favorite and went home.  The teas were delicious.  We were hooked. 

On Christmas morning  our house reverberated with squeals of delight when I opened a gift from my husband. My very own teapot.  The warm color and simple leaf design were perfect. 

Now to my mom.   A few days ago when I had my precious pot sitting out in the kitchen, my mom cornered me in another part of the house.

“Why does your teapot have marijuana leaves on it?

“What?  What are you talking about?” 

“Marijuana leaves.  On your teapot.  Did you not know what those are?”

“Mom, I wouldn’t know a marijuana leaf from a fig leaf!”

“Hmph!  Clearly you don’t work in public schools.”

(Weakly) “But…J gave that to me for Christmas, he wouldn’t give me something with marijuana leaves on it.  He must not have realized…”

“Please!  He’s from California.”

“But…but, all their teapots are decorated with meaningful symbols, they’re not just random designs!  Are you sure? I’m checking this out on the internet…  ”

So I did.  And look what I found.


Meaningful symbol?

Meaningful symbol?


I found marijuana leaves.  Leaves that look so precisely like what adorns the circumference of my teapot that I no longer questioned my mom.

Once again, for comparison.



Look familiar?


What I didn’t find:  any indication that marijuana leaves are a symbol of courage, prosperity, hope, joy, peace, or the promise of a really great hair day once in a while.

I was deflated.  Would this be a bad example for my children?  Could I come up with some kind of righteous symbolism for the marijuana leaf before my eldest reached adolescence?  Would that even be a good idea?  

Fortunately, I mentioned my problem on Facebook and within hours a friend came to my rescue with links to photos and discussions proving that marijuana leaves can be difficult to distinguish from…Japanese maple leaves

As soon as I perused the links, my common sense kicked in. Of course they could only be Japanese maple leaves.  Because why on earth would marijuana leaves be on a Japanese teapot?


I'm sorry I ever doubted you, beloved.

I'm sorry I ever doubted you, beloved.


Lesson learnedDon’t listen to your loving, 60+, straight-as-an-arrow-mother when it comes to illicit leaves.  

Once again happy to brew, 


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