Archive for February, 2008

Again with the poop

February 27, 2008

There is a certain karma surrounding me these days, and it seems to have a whole lot to do with poop.

For example, a friend sent me this not too long ago, and I smiled and shook my head while reading, thinking “there but for the grace of God go I.”

There was Henry and his poobacle (poop-debacle) last month.

And then recently, my husband was changing Henry’s diaper, and our little prodigy tried to wiggle off the changing table, saying “Potty, potty!”

So we put him on the little potty and cheered—and then cheered again when, holy sh*t, he pooped in the potty. At 19 months. Kind of like getting a hole in one the first time you play golf.

Fast forward to the other night, when he asked to sit on the potty again, and I obliged. And he pooped, but got up AT THE SAME TIME. And walked around the bathroom.

And subsequently learned to say, “Oh, no! Mess!”

P.S. Thank you so much for all the insight into your organizational lives. Keep those comments coming, please! 

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To do today: tell me how you stay organized

February 25, 2008

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So, readers…help a list-crazy-but-never-quite-organized-enough person out.

I’m a sucker for the Next Best Thing (NBT) that will magically keep me organized, and yet I rarely commit enough to anything to give it a fair shake.

I’m all about the lists, but WHERE to keep them? And HOW BEST to use them?

After an intensive discussion yesterday with ubertechnology user friend Rush who uses everything and makes it work for HIM, I’m still left wondering what will work best for me.

And this Web 2.0 world full of zippy, cutesy, helpful free apps is just a giant candy jar for people like me who aren’t always sure that a simple pen and notepad, calendar and address book work better than the NBT.

Use Gmail to corrall and mastermind all email addresses? Use Google calendar and contacts? Use this beautiful new address book from Real Simple? Use Ta-Da Lists? Use Backpack? Use Sandy? Todoist? Jott? 30 boxes? Google stickies? Remember the Milk?

I’m not over burdened with traveling and meetings, but I do manage, like all of us, tons of projects at home and at work with plenty of easy-to-forget details in both places.

It can’t be harder to manage than my life already is—any system I adopt can’t be its own project! It has to be visually appealing, it has to be intuitive and I need to be able to access it easily at home and at work.

I’d love to hear about your system, any system, and why it works for you, even if it is just a gorgeous Moleskine notebook and a freshly sharpened #2 pencil.

Because I’m going to stick one of those pencils in my own eye if I can’t get more organized than this.

Edited to add: I just tried Jott and Sandy. I think I might need to marry Sandy. Thank goodness that would be legal in my state. Er, if I wasn’t already married, that is.

Edited again to add: I had no idea how much I would love hearing about your systems. Please, keep sharing! This is like organizational p-o-r-n.

Windows of the soul

February 24, 2008

Battling technology and CV joints here. Also, playing in the snow and celebrating our new swimmer, Will, who paddled free of my grip this weekend, on purpose!

What’s new with you?

For Best Shot Monday, I experimented with a little photo technique I like to call GETTINGREALLYCLOSE.

H & W’s cousin Nora was, as always, an extraordinarily patient model.

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Get close to more photos at Best Shot Monday.

“Rewarding and cheap because it is a Buick”

February 21, 2008

Double click  below, to read the subject of this entry at full size. Seriously. It’s worth it.

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 Evidently it isn’t enough that I have to suffer through valentines-as-paper-airplanes.
My father-in-law sent this little gem along today, explaining that I have this kind of thing to look forward to, also.
Times two.
I’ve stopped laughing just long enough to post this priceless piece of the past.
Since it is SO funny and SO completely without irony, I don’t think you need much editorial from me on this note, written by my clearly desperate-for-a-car husband, circa 1985.
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 In case you didn’t know just how smokin’ hot the Opel Manta really is.
And my husband says to any of his offspring that might someday be reading this, “it didn’t work for me, and it won’t work for you.”
You have a salubrious day now.

How to charm me

February 19, 2008

Sneeze or cough, and immediately say “God blesh you!” to yourself.

And say the same for anyone else around you who sneezes or coughs, and wait expectantly for acknowledgment.

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And so the snow

February 18, 2008

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We went to Vermont in search of snow, and found plenty of it. In case you were looking for yours, it’s up there in the Green Mountain State.

We enjoyed winter playtime, visiting with family, newborn cows, including a three-day-old one named Arabella, delicious food and a stop at baker’s mecca.

But for today, my Best Shot Monday is this contented pair of bovines. Click over to Tracey’s for more Best Shot Monday!

 

Food Friday: Merepoint Banana Bread

February 15, 2008

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, I would rather bake anything, anyday than cook. I do love cooking, but I REALLY, REALLY love baking.

Given that, I’m often trying to figure out things I can bake that offer some nutritional value and that won’t clog our arteries and make our thighs look like (any more like) trembling Easter hams.

Enter Merepoint Banana Bread.

I first learned about this recipe about ten years ago when I was editing a cookbook, and I latched onto it HARD. What?! No butter?! And it tastes this good? And is this easy? And is dairy-free for all of those out there with milk allergies?

YES.

Not only that, read what the recipe submitter wrote about it when she first tasted it. You’ll be hooked.

I first had this bread fresh from the oven with a cup of steamy hot coffee sitting on the porch of a cottage on Merepoint, near Brunswick, Maine. We sat talking over a day filled with sunshine and salt air on Casco Bay. A bite of this bread never fails to bring back a sense of that jewel-like day.

Heard enough? Okay, start baking!

Merepoint Banana Bread

3 medium or large ripe bananas

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups sifted flour (I often replace the white flour with some or all of King Arthur’s White Wheat flour. I do this in lots of baking, actually.)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Mash bananas in a bowl. Add eggs, sugar, flour, salt and baking soda. (No butter or shortening is used, the only fat in the recipe comes from the egg yolks.)

Bake one hour at 350 in a greased loaf pan, 9 x 5 inches or equivalent.

For variety, try adding the following, singly or in combinations:

Almond flavoring, pecans, walnuts or almonds, grated orange or lemon zest, spices such as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg, chopped candied ginger or chocolate chips.

I made this last week with all white wheat flour and raisins for a kid’s playdate. Myself, I prefer it with double-strength vanilla extract, a full half-teaspoon of Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon and several generous handfuls of mini-chocolate chips. Got to make up for that lack of butterfat somehow.

Want a less goody-two shoes version of banana bread? Try Deb’s Jacked-Up Banana Bread over at Smitten Kitchen. To die for, as usual.

Happy baking!

Valentines? Or stealth bombers? You decide.

February 14, 2008

You know what these are?

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These were the beginning of sweet little valentines for Will and Henry’s nearest and dearest.

We cut the paper, and got out the stamps. We found the pink and red ink pads. We colored, and we stamped.

Henry gnawed a little bit on his beeswax crayons and painted a little while we added heart stickers to the valentines.

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And then Will decided they were “airplane cruisers” instead, and folded them up and started tossing them around the room.

Sigh.

Good luck with those three boys, Amily.*

Any girls out there want to make valentines with me next year?

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* All’s well in Tripletville. Amily is on the rough road to recovery from a difficult c-section, but little squirt Griffin has been hanging out in the room with mom and dad since birth, while big (ger) brothers Philip and Alexander are getting ready to kick that whole NICU scene to the curb. Who needs it when you are big and healthy and ready to give your family a run for the money? If all goes well, the whole family will be heading home together next week!

It’s a…

February 12, 2008

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…boy, boy and a boy!

We’ve got three MOORE babies in the world this morning:

Baby A: 5 pounds, 15 ounces

Baby B: 5 pounds, 4 ounces

Baby C: 5 pounds

Word from the groggy mom was that all are doing well, with two babies in the NICU and one already in the well-baby nursery.

She shared the names she THINKS they are going with, but given her loopy state and given the fact that Rush says, “You know, she might have been giving you the names of the doctors in the OR,” I’ll wait until we get further confirmation to share.

Hooray for Amily and Tyler!

Gametime in tripletville!

February 12, 2008

 

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It’s a big day in triplet town—after a healthy 35-week pregnancy, Amily and Tyler’s triplets are being delivered this morning!

While we wait for the news, and send them our best baby vibes for three healthy newborns (apologies if you don’t know them and you’re just here looking for a brownie recipe), here are a few pre-triplet Amily and Tyer photos to enjoy.

And, what’s your guess on gender? I say it’s going to be one girl and two boys. Because who wouldn’t want two boys?

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Amily at nearly 32 weeks—and she made it three more weeks after this photo! Can you believe this lady is carrying triplets? She looks FANTASTIC!

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“T & A” at 21 weeks, Nov. 2007

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Amily & Tyler’s wedding, 2004

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Some of the rowdier guests at their wedding.

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Wedded bliss! Maine, June 2004

We’re so thrilled for you, Amily and Tyler!

Lots of love from the whole crew at H & W

A sign of spring

February 11, 2008

Spring, I know you’re out there.

The calendar may say February 11 (happy 20 months to Henry today!), and the thermometer may read a bone-chilling 14 degrees(!) this morning, a temperature we don’t often see in my balmy coastal locale.

But spring, you can’t hide forever. I caught a glimpse of you this morning, and I know it won’t be long before you’re really here, showing off your stuff.

Can’t wait.

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Witch Hazel—February 11, 2008

And to be fair, it was really blooming last week when it was 48 degrees. Sigh. 

Click here for more Best Shot Monday!

Food Friday: French Bread. Yes, I said French Bread.

February 8, 2008

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Bread making, like spectacularly detailed needlework or translating hieroglyphics, is one of those things that just wows people.

And while I could never produce detailed needlework or spell my name in hieroglyphics, I CAN make bread. But here’s the thing—you can, too. It couldn’t be easier, especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t, well, whose upper arms couldn’t use a little toning from hand kneading bread?

The thing to keep in mind about homemade bread is that even imperfect homemade bread, which many or even most of my loaves are, is still AMAZING. There is almost no such thing as a bad loaf of homemade bread unless it didn’t rise at all, but if that is the case then we’ll just call that plaster of paris and make art out of it.

So this recipe is a double wow, because it isn’t just sandwich-style bread, it is actually fancy French bread. Or at least it appears that way, but in fact it is just as easy as regular bread, if not easier.

I made this recipe for the first time recently when my can’t-bear-to-load-two-boys-back-into-the-car-and-go-to-the-store self was at odds with my carb-loving-must-have-bread-with-this-meal self, and I was surprised at how well it came out.

Try this next time someone says to you, “Oh, how about you just bring some bread?”

Easy French Bread

1 Tablespoon yeast

2 cups warm water

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 cups all-purpose flour (can also substitute up to 1/2 the amount with whole wheat flour)

1 egg white to brush on the top (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar, salt and about three cups of the flour. Turn on your mixer or start stirring. Beat until smooth, then gradually add remaining three cups of flour. Knead on a floured board until satiny smooth or just keep that mixer going.

Cover your mixing bowl with a clean cloth, and put in a warm place for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. (I put my bowl in the oven and turn the light on, which makes it very cozy warm indeed.)

When the dough has risen to your satisfaction, punch it down (this part is fun), and knead a little bit.

Now you can take the dough and shape it into desired shapes, like two long skinny snakes. Put the snakes on a greased baking sheet.

To get all fancy-like, cut diagonal gashes in the loaves, about 3/4 inch deep. Don’t be shy, lots of cuts are good. Cover with the same cloth, put in the warm place again, and let it rise for one hour, or until doubled.

Bake at 450 for about 35 minutes on the highest rack possible. If you want shiny loaves (and, really, don’t we all?), brush with egg white, and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom. Serve with butter or with a fruity olive oil for dipping.

To get really fancy-like, you could also sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds or poppy seeds after the egg wash, too. Where does one get those? Why, from the bread baker’s mecca, of course, King Arthur Flour. I’m going to their STORE later this month—it’s heaven.