Thursday, July 27, 2017

I have hours and hours and hours of video footage on multiple thumb drives from years ago, so I've started trying to compile them into short videos. Here's one from Winter of 2013 - our last few months in New Mexico before we moved to Brooklyn.
Earlier today, Evie was watching me edit the video. She started to tear up and when she spoke, I could hear her choking back tears. She said, "I wish I could be like that again." I asked, "Like what?" "So cute and happy and nice, like I am there."
A few hours before that, we were in a tussle about something. I'm sure it was me asking her to do something and her adamantly and violently refusing. I'm not even sure what I said to her, but I remember I was trying to encourage her. I was trying to complement her and build her up to help her feel up for the task I asked her to do. She yelled back at me, "I'm just a stupid, disrespectful kid!'
Parenting a five year old has been hard, but I'm convinced being five has to be a lot harder. When we've had a day like today, I wonder if I've done something to royally screw this up. I wonder if all kids say these kinds of things, think these kinds of things about themselves.
I've been reading parenting books and articles for years, trying to gain an idea of what kind of parent I want to be, hoping desperately that I can do this right. I still have no idea what I'm doing most days, but I have learned that parenting her the 'normal' way isn't an option. She isn't 'normal,' but I love her that way. The extra effort that I have to put into being her Mama is worth it.


Monday, June 27, 2016

With the Summer months coming and the fresh fruit soon to be abounding, I thought I'd pull this recipe from the archives and share it with you once again. This is so fun to make with kids on a Summer evening after a day spent berry picking. Enjoy, and be sure to let me know if you give it a try!

I've said it here before, but I love to cook - and it isn't just because I love to eat. I do, but there is something poetic about food that has always appealed to me. The significance of meals withstands any season of life. A certain recipe can bring you back to your childhood even if it's been twenty years since you last tasted it. An out of sorts day can turn memorable as soon as you gather around the table together and share in a meal, even if it's a simple one. You can create ties to your community and let your roots sink deep into your neighborhood just by inviting people over for dinner. It can be the most important gift you can give when someone is having a hard time financially, is under the weather, or is in the trenches of learning to care for a new life. Sharing in meals together is something that I feel has lost it's importance in society over the years, but it's something I hope to deeply ingrain in my children. There's something vulnerable about opening your home to someone, allowing them to see your flaws more closely, allowing them to put things into perspective and see that you're just human like them. We all have dirty kitchens. We all have loud kids. And here in this city, we all have small spaces.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Once upon a time I had a goal to bake something new each month for a year. It started out decent enough with a fairly tasty and successful raw cashew cheesecake in January, but come February, my ideas of being such a domestic goddess were promptly squashed, resembling the cake I attempted to make. I had high hopes for a beautiful, photogenic, decadent German chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting on the sides and a coconut pecan topping. The middle of the cake sunk. The frosting was too thick. It was a disaster that ended in a pile of crumbs held together by brown goo, topped with coconut mush. It was still tasty, but it was not picture worthy. I thought seriously about creating a 'nailed it' meme, but was not in good enough spirits at the end of the whole ordeal to laugh at myself yet. I was frustrated and I was sweaty and all I wanted was a piece of (okay, like half of a) cake and a bottle of wine. That's how bad that baking experience was. Thank God I still have my Kitchen Aid mixer to pull me back to reality or I might never bake again. (Who am I kidding? I love cookies too much.)

After I lost my baking juju, I waited for baking inspiration to strike, and I waited, and I waited, until I neared the end of the month, saw some old bananas on my counter and thought, "Eh, those'll do." So I set out on a quest for a banana bread recipe, but I didn't want the plain old stuff your Grandma makes and I think it's just wrong to add chocolate chips. (I know that statement will probably cause uproar, but I like chocolate chips in cookies. Period. Not in waffles or pancakes or banana bread or anything else that people toss them into. They were made for cookies.) While browsing Pinterest, I came across a recipe for Tropical Banana Bread on theKitchn and it was like an eHarmony commercial. It was love at first sight. I had to make it.

So I did, with a few little additions of my own, and it turned out better than I could have imagined. I mean this has to be what Manna tasted like.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's always fun when we meet someone on a pretty intense trail, Noble perched high in the frame pack on one of our backs and Evie trekking along between Alex and I. One of two things happens - they pass us by with scarcely a word, but their raised eyebrows and dodgy eyes say it all, or they can't stop commenting on how surprising it is to see us out here. Though we all enjoy hiking, I seem to be the ringleader of the whole parade. Alex is usually like, 'We can't do that with the kids,' and I just shrug and say, 'Sure we can!' Maybe it's the military wife in me, but nothing fazes me anymore. We aren't logging any long miles these days, but we manage to get out quite a bit more than I ever thought would be possible before I was a Mama. Most people try to convince you that life is over once you give birth. You can't sleep anymore. (Well that one is a little true.) You can't hike anymore. You can't eat at restaurants anymore. From the very beginning, my determination kind of came in handy because I waved all of that off. The fact is, I can go without a full night of sleep and I can be those people in a restaurant for a few years, but I have to hike.


Monday, May 2, 2016

I've been taking a bit of a break from blogging. I wasn't sure exactly why I was stepping away or how long I'd be gone. I just knew that I needed time to organize my thoughts and hone in on what I really want to use this space for. Last week, inspiration hit and I started brainstorming on paper and here I am: I'm back. While I wasn't writing, I managed to sort through older posts to tweak some things and mostly make it all a bit more accessible. I originally posted this recipe a few years ago while I was in the throes of the 'morning sickness in the middle of a Brooklyn Summer and this window unit is not cutting it' stage of my life. I basically laid on the couch all day, nauseous and in my underwear, and fed my kid a bag of Goldfish for lunch. It was fun. We took these on the road with us to Niagara Falls and I will forever equate Morning Glory Muffins with Canada and my pregnancy with Noble. I stumbled on a more basic recipe years ago and since then, we've made them our own by tweaking them just right until they became a staple in our house. My favorite thing about these muffins, besides how healthy and filling they are, is how versatile they are. As long as you keep the ratios generally the same, you can add anything you like. We've added blueberries, oat bran, flax meal, chia seeds, and more. When I think of muffins, I think of food and I want something that tastes like food, not cake. This is really the only muffin recipe we bother to make because we enjoy them so much. Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you though! It may seem daunting or expensive, but they come together quickly, easily, and cheaply once you have the basic ingredients in your pantry.


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