Friday, June 28, 2013

Hand Pies and Long Shorts

Back when my dad visited us a few weeks ago, I made rhubarb cream cheese hand pies with my weekly stock of rhubarb. (Not sick of it yet.) They were a hit! If you're not much in to pastry, they're not for you because they're mostly crust. But if you're my sister or my dad, in particular, these little treats are the kind of dessert you love. I like to make my sister a similar apple version for special events, but sadly, not for her birthday this year.

Anyway, these were truly delightful with a nice lemon kick from the cream cheese mixture and a little bit of orange from the zest in the pastry. And, the rhubarb, of course. I highly recommend them, and I did not deviate from smitten kitchen's recipe righ' chere.

These pics are back from mid-June and show a little of the process:
You make your pastry and fillings (at the back of the counter), roll out the pastry,  cut it into squares, and add the fillings.

Make your hand pies and seal with your fingers.

Back them at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes!

We're in Texas now, and my parents were having a little dinner party, and my mother asked me to make these hand pies. Rhubarb's long gone around here, but I found some lovely plums at my beloved HEB. The plums had much more liquid so I had to simmer them longer to get the fruit mixture thick enough. But they don't need nearly the sugar rhubarb does. Maybe a tablespoon? The substitution turned out beautifully! A little tart, almost cranberriesh.

Didn't they turn out cute?

And for the dinner party, I killed two blog birds with one stone by wearing my long shorts (the only style of shorts I wear) in order to link up with Shana and Camille.

I am oh, so pleased with this outfit since I haven't fit into these shorts since Spring 2011, and I've never worn the shirt since I bought it right before I discovered I was pregnant with my second. Before I even knew what the word peplum meant. And the shoes cost less than $3 from a tiny thrift store in suburban DC! (Less than $3 because it turns out they only took cash, and I had very little on me. The man at the check-out told me he'd take what I had because he was certain I'd be back. Yes, I think so!)

So very, very boy. Leo would play ball all day long.

And this Cozy Coupe is pretty great, too.

Linked up at Ain't No Mom Jeans and Life in Mod.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I'm vacationing my little hiney off in Texas right now and having a grand time, as usual, but this is a post I wrote before we left Maryland.

Do you mothers out there feel like you're constantly told to "enjoy every moment" because your kids will be grown up and out of the house before you know it?

Well, let me tell you, I love what I do, but there are plenty of times I'd be happy to get a break from my kids. Times when Maggie is screaming "NO, LEO!" without ceasing or when Leo decides just to join in on the ruckus for the hell of it while he's tossing all his food on the floor. Or, when Maggie has wet her bed, and Leo is screaming from bed because he filled his diaper, and all I need is to sit still in a quiet place for two minutes. You know those times.

Then, there's just the regular life of errand running, house cleaning, meal preparing, etc. that isn't always boring, but it's hard to really savor those moments.

I read a Momastery post recently in which Glennon suggests you give up on "enjoying every moment," and isn't that what The Stage Manager suggests we can't really do anyway? I'm not a "poet or a saint," after all. Glennon suggests you just try to keep your eye out for Kairos moments: the moments when you step outside of chronological time and just enjoy a wonderful moment, maybe even just a few seconds.

So, in honor of that, here was my kairos moment of this morning, when I took a break from packing up three people while managing to keep two entertained and out of trouble. No one was fully dressed, but we headed out to the porch and just played. All of a sudden, I realized Leo was trying to water the vegetables while Maggie sang in the background. It was perfect.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seven Years

Happy Anniversary to us! We've managed to survive some tough times, and I figure that's a pretty good sign of our staying power. We can take what this world throws at us!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Papa's Visit (and Happy Father's Day!)

We were delighted to host our third house guest, my dad, this week, since he had a conference to attend in DC.

Conceived and designed by Miss M

With his business in the city, we didn't have many adventures, but we did venture down to the creek at the end of our street one afternoon. I hadn't yet taken the kids so it was fun to show it to all three of them.

"Now, this is a big rock!"

Really, there's not much more fun that throwing rocks into a body of water.

Dad sports the Ergo.

So stylish.

AND, he bought us these:

Thanks so much! We sampled the MM Saturday night.

One of the pluses of our neighborhood (aside from the annual block party above) is that there are tons of kids who always seem to be outside playing in each others' yards (including ours). When my dad visited, he wanted to know the names of the children as they walked by, and then he would call out to each by name, leaving them confused as to who that white-bearded man on our porch was. It reminded me of how he would sing silly songs to my high school friends when he answered the phone when they called. At that age, it was so embarrassing, but in memory I find it funny and a little charming.

Happy Father's Day, Old Dad! See you soon!

Monday, June 10, 2013


Wow, wow, wow! The productivity gods have been smiling upon me of late! And, let me say, I deserve it because they all but deserted me when we moved in to this house in April.

Last Wednesday, I decided it was time to paint our dining room. It was a pale gray, just about the last color I would choose to paint a room. In my opinion neutrals for walls are OK so long as they're deep. Better yet, a vivid color. Again, the "more is more" theory of decorating. I see the appeal of going pale so you can have color in your furnishings, but I wonder, "Why not go with color in both?"

So, I searched long and hard to find the right shade of green to match our plates. Then with two long naps the first day, and a little help from Olivia the second, I knocked that room out. The color turned out a little blah (I would call it 'olive'), but I like the contrast with the woodwork, and I can always repaint.

Exhibit A: Sarah loves color.

Then, The Dude took our daughter to Asheville, NC, our former home city, to see old friends and collect Rodney the No-Name Snake from his sitters (I feel he deserves a story himself, but poor Rodney, I detest him.) So, I figured with only one kidlet who naps long and goes to bed early, "Why not keep painting?"

My daughter long ago selected a shade of purple for her room, and I chose a nice dark blue for our son's. Lo and behold, I got those two rooms done on Saturday and Sunday during naptime and after bedtime! May I highly recommend Emerald paint from Sherwin-Willians? What coverage!

Of course, the experience did leave me looking like this:
Old faithful painting clothes. I can button the shorts again, though!

And the rooms look great!
Not much of a purple person, actually, but my daughter LOVES it! Her response the the picture I sent was, "It is davy beautiful."

Took a risk going this dark, but I LOVE it! I plan to paint the dresser orange. How about that for bold?

In case you're wondering, those alphabet posters were designed and created by my parents in the late 60s when my mother was a kindergarten teacher. How fabulous are they? Especially this one:
Sorry about the glare. I laminated them years ago when I hung them in a classroom.

And, then on Sunday, since the medicine cabinet in our upstairs bathroom suddenly fell off the wall this week,
One of the former owners of our home fancied himself a do-it-yourselfer. It was an illusion.
I thought, why not tackle that bathroom while it's easier to paint and I'm on a roll?
Just a first coat, though, and yes, I really need to clean up that paint drip on the toilet.

So, in other words, I'm pretty impressed with myself and ready to take a painting break. And I need to pumice my arms and legs to get all this paint off. While I feel we usually can go an entire weekend with no unexpected guests, we had about four strangers show up at our door this weekend. One of them asked about my "war paint." It was a little awkward but worth it. This house is becoming a home!

Linked up to Atelier.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


You know, I taught for 14 years (only three in a public school, mind you) and conducted more IEP meetings and parent conferences than I can count or remember. But I began to look on them completely differently after I had a child, and especially after I had to start attending IEP meetings as a parent. And I'd like to think I lead them with more empathy.

A teacher with no children, especially one without children with special needs, (my daughter's teacher, for instance) can have no idea of the dread and anxiety with which a parent of a special needs child approaches an IEP meeting. I am fortunate to live in a state in which I am entitled to see a draft of the IEP in advance, but there's no way to approach this meeting wholly calm. My insides are all in a dither and will be until a few days have passed after the meeting. We've been happy with the services provided, and I think next year will probably be good, too, but if an IEP is in the picture then you're going to have to listen to some information you'd rather not have to hear.

How much to share on this blog is a bit of a conundrum for me. I've certainly alluded to have a child with special needs before, and I'm not a bit ashamed or embarrassed to share more. In fact, I think it might be helpful for me and perhaps others out there in the blogosphere. But I hesitate because I'm not sure it's best for my daughter. I'm not sure it's fair for me to share deeply personal information about her here. When she's grown up, it can be her choice.

So, all that to say I have a daughter with an uncertain future. I worry more or less by the day. I'd love to reach out to others with similar concerns. Do you have them? We can always email!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gallery Walls

I now know this term courtesy of Apartment Therapy, a site I learned about from the classy Mary of Atelier. The concept had been familiar before, mainly because I have lots of small pieces of art that needed to be grouped in order to fill wall space. The process of hanging a collage of pieces on a wall is very satisfying to me; it's like putting together a puzzle but with a more permanent result.

When it comes to wall decor, I fall into the "more is more" camp. A bit of visual overload makes me feel cozy. I admire people who can hang one piece on a wall and be done. I think it looks classy. But it's just not me.

So with that introduction, here are some photos of gallery walls at my house:

Heavily influenced by my years and in Asia and that time I thought hats would be great for decorating. A little Austin and W Road if you look carefully, though.

 And, my pride and joy, created today:

I created this in the stairwell to our second floor thanks to a rainy day, a long nap, and several recorded episodes of "Liv-uh" (Olivia). My mother always makes a collage of family photos, and my home never seems likes home until I have one up. I like to mix it up with tiles and other odds and ends for a little texture, but mainly it pleases me no end to walk past loving relatives, living and dead, throughout the day.

I also managed to put together this one in the office for The Dude. It makes him happy.

And that's not even all the BD concerts he's attended!