Friday, November 30, 2012

The Mother Land

As a mother I've learned to choose my moments. When I say choose my moments, I mean to meticulously plot every task or chore or indulgence to take place during Jordan's nap time or after bed time. New Gossip Girl ep? Nap time. Catch-up phone call with long time friend? Bed time.

Every once in a while, however, the Fates condescend to smile upon my morning and preoccupy Jordan in such a way that I am able to wipe a counter or clean a dish without her carefully inspecting the backs of my kneecaps by way of pressing her cheeks against them with Rudyesque determination. Or another of her favorites, "helping" me with the kitchen by emptying the dirty silverware in what she deems their rightful place (the pots and pans cabinet) to be found a few weeks later, along with her stash of sippy cups. I recently had such a morning, and while I was finally getting around to the two day assemblage of dirty dishes, the Fates interested Jordan in the living room.

Do you ever just airhead out? Do you ever kinda get absorbed with what you're doing and forget that you have a sixteen-month-old responsibility? Ok good, glad to hear it. Whenever I get these moments to accomplish a housewifely duty I first confirm that the bathroom and bedroom doors are firmly shut, and I am sure to occasionally check on Jordan - because duh. She's miniature. But I am a space cadet. Sometimes it's a few minutes before I notice the telltale silence in the adjacent room.

Oh, well that's fine. She's just standing in her slippery footie jams on the slippery plastic seat of the tricycle that's been sitting untouched - and I assumed unwanted - in our living room for months. Right next to the sliding glass door...that's made out of glass. (Insert that weird double-take noise that's in pretty much every episode of Scooby Doo.) Oh, no no Jordan, that's actually not fine.

Mom, don't I look B-A?
Jordan don't use that acronym. And get down from there.

I guess I should've anticipated this development. I've been so indulgent about letting her grow out that mullet. Mullets speak to the biker lifestyle and rock n' roll frame of mind. Next she'll have a barbed wire tattoo on her thigh where her diaper indents are and will be belting the lyrics to Sweet Child o' Mine right along with her father. Sean's the one stopping the scissors, see. I'm pretty sure he's trying to model his daughter's look after Whitesnake

Although I wouldn't mind far right's volume. or shiny pleather leggings.

I've deviated. Since allowing my daughter that taste of freedom blowing through her Joe Dirt 'do, she lives and breathes trike. I've placed it in the middle of the living room so that when she simulates Easy Rider every morning, she doesn't break on through to the other side (of the slider) but instead lands on the carpet. Responsibility at its most lustrous.

Well the trike has freed up a little time in my mornings (for cleaning of course, not blogging), and there could be worse babysitters I suppose (like a tequila bottle) but I'm pretty sure I heard Jordan humming We Built This City of Rock n' Roll so I don't know if the trade-off is worth it. If she starts hedging at getting her tragus pierced we'll revisit the topic.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When Life Hands You Rolled Oats

Yesterday was a blur of NyQuil, Exedrin and Target trips - that is to say, Jordan and I did take a trip to Target, but I'm also pretty sure I was tripping on NyQuil and Exedrin.

I called in oh so very sicky sick to work yesterday after a night of insomnia, hacking cough, searing throat and dramatic flailing about. I sniffled and whimpered and shuffled my martyred self to Target with Jordan in tow that I might procure some healing off-brand drugs. I also did a quick breeze through the children's clothing but exercised Olympian resistance to blazers, boots and bonnets, with the help of the image of Sean's eyebrows raised precariously high should he look in on our checking account after such a spree. After being carded for my Exedrin (??) Jordan and I made our way home 'round about her naptime at which point she bequeathed me three full hours of solace. I used them to get completely - if unintentionally - delirious on NyQuil and, after attempt-fail-fail to nap, I trolled the internet and flipped listlessly through my Better Homes mag, looking quite alarmingly similar to one of the Walking Dead.

The only nice thing about calling in sick (<--- when you're truly sick and not just playing hooky, which is thoroughly delightful) is I actually get the chance to spend the day with my Jo-friend. By the time she awoke from her generous nap, the weather had done me a solid and mirrored the state of my health - doom & gloom

which is kind of my absolute favorite.

Jordan and I discussed the best course of action for the rest of our evening and she emphatically agreed to my cookie baking proposal. I've been meaning for weeks now to try out this scrumptious-looking recipe that my friend Meg (whose name is still not clickable *good-natured snarl*) sent my way, and I had every last ingredient for its execution except....chocolate chips. They had inexplicably disappeared by 4 that afternoon, but I'm fairly sure that is not directly correlated with my being at home for the day. It's under review.

A Whole Foods excursion and 365 Dark Chocolate Chunk purchase saw us back in the kitchen where Jordan was gracing us with her anticipatory cookie dance

which she chose to make a bit of a Tarantella thus her folksy yet aggressive use of kitchen towel.

In case you're so inclined to try these gluten-free and relatively healthful suckers out, I have described our professional process below. First, as with every recipe, you'll need ingredients

and this is unequivocally unhelpful, it's merely a gratuitous photo of Jordan.

So here they are in more accommodating form:
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, room temp
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 cups gluten free or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I did 3/4 teaspoon because I'm a cinnaho)
  • 1 - 10 ounce bag dark chocolate chips (or you could go the chunk route like meee)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cream coconut oil, almond butter, granulated and brown sugars until well blended. Add vanilla and the ground flax-water appetizing. Mix to combine, as supervised by your toddler

3. In a separate bowl, mix oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients with chocolate chips and mix until they just come together, being careful not to overmix.

4. Place small balls of dough about three inches apart on a Silpat of parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until puffy. Let stand five minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

I'll tell you something the original recipe doesn't: this dough is uber-sticky. I have always used a spoon and one finger to form cookies - and that's what I did this time around too - but you might be better off using two spoons, fancy Food Network style. By the time I finally formed the cookies to be baked into golden goodness

Jordan had completely lost interest.

I regained a little bit of her enthusiasm when the cookies were done (and hello Chuy McChewChew) Mine never got puffy as the recipe indicates; they actually turned out flatter than my usual pancakes. Nevertheless they were the scrumptious I Jordan was craving, and you can trust me on this one because I'm a much better baker than cook

Do enjoy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

you know you're a parent when

1. toilet paper rolls are never put in the holder; their permanent station is on the bathroom counter

2. you make no effort to clean up the living room until after 7:30 p.m., or whenever your bug's respective bedtime is

3. your lower kitchen cabinets are duct-taped shut ( have child safety locks? me too...)

4. when groping for your keys in your bottomless purse you encounter a half-eaten slimy slice of  tomato

5. you know all the words to "Hush Little Baby" (if you're not a parent then perhaps you'd be interested to know there are eight sing-songy verses to that sucker)

6. your Pottery Barn catalog has pages ripped out

7. you find Pottery Barn catalog pages under your papasan chair

8. you go to put on you UGG and there's a pacifier in the toe

9. you develop a deep affinity for wine

10. crackers are always on your person (as in literally on your person, but also in your purse for distribution purposes)

11. at any given time there's more food in the carpet than on a plate

12. this is what you do with your mornings:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Running on Empty

Alright. I need to talk to you guys about exercise. It hurts me bad. The thing with exercise is the mental game is just as horrible as the physical anguish. Allll day I sit in my cubicle and my brain casts around for things that could occupy my time between 5:05 when I walk into my apartment and 5:45 when my husband and baby walk into my apartment. I know there's a good solid 40 minutes there which would be perfectly utilized by pounding the pavement in some form of physical exertion. But....oh but shouldn't I alphabetize Jordan's expansive library that she might find the book she needs more easily? or perhaps I could call the President and discuss with him the secession of Texas? how about recounting all the times I wore my older brother's button-up shirts when I was homeschooled? All preferable options to running.

But then there's my conscience. She's sleek and fit. She looks like this

She talks a good game about how much better I'll feel after a run; how it only takes a few runs to get into the swing of exercising; how attainable a perfect body is. She's obnoxious.

Then my running self looks like this

and feels like this.

And she's pretty persuasive too. She reminds me that there are chocolate chips in the pantry, and that I didn't skimp and get the off-brand this time. There are real Nestle's in there.

All 26 minutes of my run, my Monster running self bargains with my Aeon Flux alter ego conscience. Runner says "Ok, at this corner *huff, huff* I get to take *dry heave* a breather" and Conscience silkily reasons, "You know you've only been on a decline since you started running 95 seconds ago." They have some friendly banter while my legs carry my body reluctantly and spasmodically forward until we all reach

The Greatest Hill That Ever Was

sometimes referred to as

The Cliffs of Insanity

In reality it only takes 62 Mississippis (or 62 "one-thousands", whichever your counting preference is. Or do you not count like you're in 2nd grade anymore?) to reach the crest of The Greatest Hill That Ever Was. But it might as well be 600 Mississippis, and Alabamas for good measure. Because by the top of it my running self swears running self that she'll never put her through that again. And the only way I get through the 1/4 mile that remains after the G.H.T.E.W. is to promise Running Self chocolate chips and to ignore sleek Conscience's snide remarks.

Thus the reason "exercise" leaves my body in stasis.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Attention travelers of the Great State of California, or of any other state I may want to tour in the future:
This is your official notice. When I am going to be commuting during a holiday weekend or any other weekend I please, you are encouraged, nay instructed, to stay off the road. And out of my thin, damaged hair. I'll give you proper notice, worry not, but then I expect you to respect my wishes as I have laid them out here so politely.

By now a quizzical look may have passed over your face: why Jessie? Why should I avoid the freeways and highways and byways whenever you deem fit to take a trip? Oh, because I hate traffic. Especially I hate holiday traffic. Most especially I hate holiday traffic with a sixteen-month-old that decides to skimp on her usually generous 2 1/2 hour nap in favor of the thrifty 40 minute route.

After having our Thanksgiving feast - complete with stuffing gorge and adequate 4 pound gain - with my side of the family on Thursday (which looked something like this)

 Mountains and Sunshine

Mornings and Beer

Aunts and Hammocks

Bows and Mockery

Sean and Jordan and I made the trek up to the northern half of this beautiful state to visit his family. Our trip, beginning at the very crevice of dawn otherwise known as Hell:30 still further known as 5:30 on Friday morning, was as quick and efficient as a 7-maybe-8-hour-drive-depending-on-your-toddler can be. We had a lovely visit with Sean's parents and sister, got to see his grandparents and his aunt and uncle, had some truly delicious meals and evening walks, and all too soon we were packing up for our journey home yesterday afternoon. 

We could see it from about ten miles out. It was in the last leg of our journey home, which despite very scant naps (on Jordan's part, not on Sean's part - I drove the first portion) had gone fairly smoothly thus far. From this distance the blinding white of the onslaught of oncoming headlights mingled with the alarming red of retreating taillights to make an orange beacon ascending up the winding stretch of the Grapevine, like some kind of homing device for extra-terrestrials.

Despite the virtual wall of taillights and the flashing signs warning our upcoming delay, Sean cruised up to the traffic quickly and confidently, shrewdly ascertaining the best lane, and not braking until the last second. I think he thought that if he ignored all the indicators, he might just be able to glide over, around or between the gridlock like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Alas, we are Muggles, and are forced to withstand the demeaning just as all the others are. 

As I sat at the base of the Grapevine, staring up at the swirling, candy-cane-colored vortex of doom and taillights, a neon sign mocked me with "HOLIDAY TRAFFIC. EXPECT HOUR LONG DELAYS AT THE GRAPEVINE." Hey, how 'bout you expect a load of buckshot right through your fancy fluorescent bulbs? In the meantime, Jordan was loopy from her stubborn lack of nap and could only be soothed by my fishing my hand back from my perch in the front seat so that she could puppeteer my fingers to massage her scalp, sacrifice themselves to her incisors, or rub themselves all over her face, as she saw fit. 

Our grand and dignified total came to nine hours of driving. Jordan nodded off in the last 45 minutes, bringing her grand and dignified waking to sleeping minutes ratio to approximately 540:90.

I think I've made my point. I've painted my canvas. I've proven my hypothesis. There is no reason, nor is there room in my patience banks, for everyone else to be traveling at the same time I am. I do hope you'll all bear this in mind for Christmas. We'll be taking the hideous I-5 again so just work that out of your itinerary. I hope we've come to an understanding, and thank you in advance.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

And the Kitchen Sink too

Today I join my fellow red-blooded Americans (or blue-blooded, if you're feeling regal. your call) in counting my blessings. I do have so, so many that it's too bad it takes a holiday to remind me to think of them every once in awhile. For my own benefit - and I'm sure your reading pleasure - I'm going to take a quick sec to list a few.

Jessie is thankful for

 Dr. Sheldon Cooper. We commiserate about string theory. You wouldn't understand...

Nestle's. My body just wouldn't be the same without you.

My Gap card (not this Nolly person's, this is just your visual aid via the ever-giving Google). Jordan keeps asking to hit the sales at Old Navy so this has been a life saver. She really needs to curb her enthusiasm or we're going to have to stage an intervention.

 Chuck. This hardly needs captioning.

That's it for now. Until next year.

Alright...I am thankful to Grace for her invitation to my first linkup ever. I'm scared and excited and don't know what I'm doing. I took twelve self-portraits (oh, that's another thing I'm thankful for: that my husband was in class while I was making an idiot of myself). I took off my cowl (trust me on that decision. Or don't.). I put in earrings. I have electric blue mascara on.

We'll be traveling today to a cozy family gathering in the mountains, so I took these pictures last night. Therefore this is entitled

What I [Intend to Wear] to Thanksgiving Dinner

Sorry we're so uncomfortably close in that second one. Had to snag a shot of the lobes. And I'm not pissed at you in the first pic. That really was best of twelve. So I might be black, gray and boring all over but I DID it! And I'm also going to give you my outfit details because that's what you do in linkups right?

Blacktastic Shirt: Gap (ihhhh, I really don't want to tell you this but it's actually Gap*Maternity*. blush&shiver.)

My Absolute Staple Gray Pleated: Dockers from ages and ages ago. I wear this all.the.time.

Tights: who knows? They're black tights.

Boots: wayyy too comfy via Cathy Jean.

Sash: vintage from m'Grandma.

Earrings: my very lovely sister mailed these to me from India while on her travels around the world last year. I had just had Jordan, and along with the super cute outfit my sister sent for her, she put these and a note in the package saying "because a mother deserves to have nice things too."

Speaking of the Bug....

What Jordan [Will Wear] to Thanksgiving Dinner

Jordan's Details:

Whispering Warmth Cloak (<-----trying to Anthropologize the title because Jordan's coat is really just): Target

Screw it: Jordan is head to toe Target. From her pibsqueak bow to her faux Uggs. And she owns it too. Incidentally we both had a camera-shy moment

 in which our boots became extremely interesting to us.

That's it. Happy Thanksgiving.

Ok one more callback. Best for last and all that. These two

along with my incredible siblings, parents and friends - I don't deserve them but God gave me them anyway. I'm a lucky duck. 
So for these I give thanks. Today, everyday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


As I prepare for the whirlwind of the next month and half that is "holiday season", it sometimes amuses me to reflect on Sean's introduction to my whopping extended family. He is one of two kids, you see, with a grand spanking total of eight cousins on both his mom and dad's sides. This makes me chuckle.

I am the second of eight. I grew up surrounded by my cousins, as we all live in the same general area. There are 57 first cousins only, and as some of the older ones have started their families, we have expanded by another 31 kidlets. Right now there is a possibility your brow is furrowed. Let me help you out: we're Catholic. (ohhhhhhh....)

Please take a moment or two to consider being a boyfriend or girlfriend on your first foray into such a family gathering. Heck, I was nervous when Sean introduced me to all 14 of his extended family members. So Sean may have felt a little like Jet Li

marching to his doom.

Sean's first holiday with us was a 4th of July that he decided not to make the trek up the Nor Cal to spend with his family, probably 6 years ago or so. Independence Days get an extra shot of exciting since you add about twenty 5-8 year olds running around with sparklers. We also have some wholesome family traditions like the never-intimidating tug-of-war, and "wagon whomping" which consists of riding a wagon down the flight of stairs from the patio to the lower yard (because we're all so very intelligent). Another favorite of all mothers' blood pressures is the attempts at tipping the bouncy house on its side, one year resulting in its unplugging and rolling end over end down a slope, while 15 screeching kids climbed over one another trying to free themselves from rubber-and-netting suffocation.

You've got the background information. I guided a timid puppy named Sean into my uncle's backyard and watched his large brown eyes widen perceptibly in awe and anxiety and disorientation. The best way to orient Sean is to hand him a Bud Light and I felt I owed him that much so we found the beer cooler.

I assured him it really could be worse. I have a very nice family that completely understands how horrifying it must be to encounter all of them at once, baptism of fire style. Over the years we've welcomed many a boyfriend and girlfriend into the folds, and have only had one notable incident. (My uncle chatting up my cousin's girlfriend about all the reasons why he doesn't understand the concept of tongue rings and thinks they are disgusting, all the while completely unaware that she had one. She didn't make it with us.) And after the initial shock, Sean found his comfort zone within the volleyball tournaments, lighting of illegal firecrackers, and even found some Nor Cal solidarity with one of our more hick traditions:

tractor rides.

These days Sean is completely at ease with our gatherings and the chaos that ensues. Once you get used to it, it's all part of the fun. He is always sure to offer his support to a new (and usually cowering) significant other on his/her maiden voyage into the clan. He had to accustom himself to the economy-size family concept anyway: even while just dating I informed him that we'll be having 9 kids minimum. If that doesn't run a guy off then he deserves to be here.

With that, a very happy kickoff of holiday season to you all. I'm just gonna blink a couple times and it'll be Twenty-Thirteen, so I'm trying to savor the flavor of the promise of stuffing that awaits my palate tomorrow. Stuffing only happens once a year, friends. Relish it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Goodwilliam

A number of blogs I've encountered feature super cute segs where the blogger showcases an outfit on a dime, or pulls from their closet a forgotten item and gives it a new spin, and other such creative and chic endeavors. I'm pretty sure I would fail at that game since my wardrobe consists mainly of hand-me-ups from my vastly more fashionable younger sisters (who are likely getting rid of their items because they've gone out of style...); an appalling, yet assorted, amount of band t-shirts; flip-flops; and a few pair of the same style American Eagle jeans in different shades. You may call me Diane von Furstenberg.

A consistent trend I've detected in these posts is there are a lot of way cute things c/o Goodwill (um, Grace). The Goodwill is cheap! The Goodwill has so many options! The Goodwill is exceedingly organized for a thrift store! I've a little bit written myself off in the fashion department but I do so love dressing Jordan, and her wardrobe is woefully under-winterized. This called for a Goodwilson venture on our recent spare Saturday afternoon in between mixers and soirees. Because Goodwill = Goodfun for the whole family.

Sean hate hate HATES clothes shopping, I guess because he's a boy, so he loaded Jordan in a cart and went to investigate the Dean Koontz paperbacks that were like 25¢ apiece while I perused the infant-toddler racks. I don't know if this is a universal Goodwillingham truth but ours organizes by color, not size, and - while I appreciate the aesthetic - it's a pang in the gluteus maximus to find your desired ranges. And may I just say there are some things that shouldn't be Goodwilled. Just let it go people: when the monkey pajamas are threadbare enough to see through the bottom, they've had their day.

Fifteen minutes later Sean returned to my corner of thrift pushing this

and have I mentioned he's a pushover? "Jess, every girl should have a stuffed animal that's bigger than her. They'll protect her and they'll all be best buds." He absolutely insisted on buying "at least the lion!" and since it was $2.99 I conceded, but have felt obligated to douse it with Lysol repeatedly because who knows what kind of toddler gave that up? He might've been suspect.

I hope for your approval and applause when I tell you we got all of these treasures

for $15.73. Lice lion and all. Is my penchant for stripes showing? Sorry about that.

I feel I should defend my butterfly purchase. I'm really against decals on clothing (and as I've told you before I am the authority on all things fashion), but the butterfly wasn't overly offensive and it didn't say anything like "I am the Queen" underneath, so because it looked very cozy and Jordan has nary a warm sweatshirt in her drawers, I made the concession and it only stung a little. Oh and it was $2.99. 

After I gave my purchases a good soak in the coin-op washer I dragged Jordan away from her important business that she might showcase her best Kate Moss:

Dead. On.

Her teal jegs are from Old Navy and they have me all kinds of confused. Jordan is 15 months, so I bought her 18 monthers and thought they would be amply spacious as Jordan is in the 20th and 25th percentile for weight and height, respectively. She cannot even walk straight in these they are so tight; she waddles around the living room and occasionally falls over. I don't laugh at her, promise.

But I think I've found the culprit:

120th percentile burgeoning belly
à la

 Zach Galifianakis

Anyway, if you're on a church mouse budget, if it pains you to spend $20 on a shirt that will fit your child for 5 minutes, if you're an adventurous personality, the Goodwilfred is the place to be. I actually saw some very smartly dressed young ladies leafing through the racks and was tempted to ask if they were currently donning Goodwill duds. If they were, they've got the place wired. These girls looked fab. 

But then I might've just had my sweatpants goggles on. The ones that make everyone look like a trendsetter when placed next to me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Noteworthiest Transformation of 2012

And I'm not speaking of

Boy Jordge


less masculine Jordan

Kind of our fault on the first shot because we put Jordan in distinctly boyish pajamas, but in our defense it was a posterity thing. Those were Sean's when he was an infant and we were being sappy and comparing photos of the two of them with their same jams. Who Wore It Better and all that. Anyway, my dad still currently calls Jordan "the prettiest little boy I've ever seen." I think he's teasing me about our name choice. And working on a self-image complex for Jordan. What else are grandpas for?

But no, I'm not even talking about Jordan's journey from "put me in a ruffle dress and glue a bow on my scalp and I shall still elicit 'he's precious' and 'what a sweet little guy' comments" to "put me in a ruffle dress and clip some of my wisps in a barrette and I shall elicit the safe, diplomatic 'oh, how old?' and 'that one's a cutie' comments." I'm talking about The Great Dining Room Project.

Sean and I were extremely fortunate that acquaintances of ours were getting rid of significant items right around the time we got married. Our couch, refrigerator, patio set AND dining room table were all given us for f-r-e-e-e which of course saved us buco bucks. The down side to that money saving arrangement is you don't get to choose your possessions and thus are unable to express your super sophisticated decor taste that you got from Better Homes and Gardens.

After two years o' marriage and one child production under my belt, I felt I deserved to choose a new platform on which to serve and participate in meals. SO here is dining room before shot:

 And after a peek around Craigslist resulting in a freaking score you get the dining room after shot:

BH&G divulged that if you position a mirror where it would reflect light the room would appear longer. It sounded like a wives' tale to me. I did it anyway because I thought the mirror might look better over there, and because I was craving adventure in my life. The first thing my sister said when she popped by was, "Wow, the room looks a lot bigger!" The table is a foot longer than our previous one so...Better Homes strikes again! You crafty b's.

Sean was leery of this table when he saw the listing (I think the picnic-style threw him off), but it really was so affordable and looked so sturdy that he caved to my will. He has been obliged to eat his apprehension. Now that the mirror elongates, the sultry smell of linseed oil sealant saturates, and some homey succulents cap off, Sean admits to being quite pleased with our new dining room.

Ever since Sean and I got married - and even before really, because I shared an apartment with my sister and cousin - I have been holding off, holding off, holding off on making big purchases. On trying to spruce up. On infusing my taste. My logic is "this is a temporary living situation, you don't need to invest your effort and time and money." Here's my new advice: don't do this. Don't hold off. Sean and I don't know how long we'll be here. We don't know when we'll take The Big Leap that is home ownership. I've recently decided that I didn't want to wait to make our living quarters feel more like a home, especially since Sean and I have already started our family. I want Jordan to love this place, temporary though it may be. It is her first home.  But she's already knocked her head pretty smartly on the table's corner so their relationship is not off to the best start. They've got time.

If you're in a similar situation and you've been thinking the way I used to - stop it I tell you. We've only had this table a couple days and it has vastly improved my attitude toward our little abode. Make that pint-sized apartment your own. It's fun, really.

Items of Note:

Jordan's Fantastic High Chair: is also a rocking horse and a child's table. It's flippin' awesome. It was a gift from Sean's lovely parents. It's Amish-made so I have every confidence it will withstand the apocalypse or ten children, whichever comes first.

Mirror: Target, from a few years ago.

Table Runner: Etsy. This shop has almost any color you could want of this print, plus tons of other prints and solids options. The owner, Tanya, is super nice. It does take a couple weeks to arrive so if you ever consider ordering, leave yourself some time.

Galvanized Bucket: JL Designs advertised a fire sale on Instagram to purge their old warehouse in Santa Ana. I picked up a few of these suckers for $2 apiece. But I've seen completely adequate galvanized buckets at Michael's and Home Depot, so if you really want one get your bottom over to one of those.

Succulents: oh come on, you can get these anywhere. But mine were Home Depot'd.

And finally, My Kickass Table: Craigslist. The listing is for an Adirondack patio set, but don't be fooled. They make those too but the table is listed in the pics on your right. If you're in Ventura County or even a neighboring county, I totally recommend these guys. It's a father and son that make them by hand. Old school carpentry, pretty bomb. They'll either simply seal the table with linseed oil at no charge, or add whatever stain you like for $60 extra. Table, benches, stain and delivery set us back $320, and I'm totally ok with that. We'll have this for a long time.

This has been "How to Improve Your Quality of Life in One Easy Purchase." Stay tuned. Our old couch is next to die.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

They Call Me Giada

because of my kickin' bod, winning smile, and ability to cook like the dickens.


Ok I'm gonna debunk that statement fragment by fragment.

Jordan left her indelible mark on my physique in the form of nearly ten hellllll-no-I'm-never-gonna-leave-you pounds. Kickin' bod

My smile is less winning than menacing due to my cuspids looking like I intentionally filed them to a point à la True Blood. Winning smile

Finally, I cannot cook like the dickens. This is a time-tested fact. Want chicken for dinner? Two choices: chalky chicken or inedible chicken. And when you said you liked mashed potatoes, you meant you liked them with the pungent black film that is burnt milk adhering to the bottom of the saucepan, right? 

And Sean tries so hard to look satisfied by the meals I put before him. But there's a tiny amused upturn hanging out at the corners of his mouth when I know I've fouled it up again. Granted, it's not every time, but it's pretty close to every time. We've compromised. On most occasions now Sean is in charge of the meat dish and I put together sides. I think he relegated this task to me because there are only so many ways you can microwave peas. And he also really enjoys his barbecue.

A regula Bobby Flay. With rabid eyes.

Anyway, I was reminded again of my hopeless inability to produce succulent anything yesterday morning when I set out to make the Bug some pumpkin pancakes. I had Googled "pumpkin pancakes no eggs no milk", not because we're vegan, but because I'm a negligent housewife and we were out of these everyday essentials. I found this gem which I had used in the past (because, um, being out of eggs and milk is not wholly uncommon) and it had worked tolerably. Jordan had done her food dance with this recipe on a previous occasion, which looks remotely similar to an epileptic seizure in that she keeps her bottom solidly rooted to the high chair while she jerks her head back and forth at the neck repeatedly. It's all very attractive and not at all off-putting.

So, did you know coconut flour can't be substituted 1:1 for all-purpose flour?
Then why didn't you tell me?
Well you shouldn't assume I would use the vastness of the world wide web which sits at my fingertips to verify it for myself.
I blame you.

As you may have gleaned, I was lovingly and responsibly trying to make this recipe healthier for my baby, that's all. No good intention goes unpunished. Quite immediately after I began mixing the ingredients did I realize that it was muuuuuuch drier than my previous go-around with this recipe. No big. More water, a splash more oil. Alright I guess a little more water...more? Coconut flour thirsts like the Mojave!!

Claycake batter after 2 1/2 cups more water than required.

I did a taste test of the above appetizing, and discovered that, though the texture was verging on disturbing, the flavor wasn't repulsive enough to waste all the work and expensive ingredients. In my logical brain thoughts I figured the texture would be altered upon cooking so let's just give this a shot.

Jordan was killing this downtime by making out with the oven

while I formed pumpkin play-dough into what may resemble a pancake in some galaxy. Far far away. I left them on the pan for much longer than a normal cake would take, probably five minutes or so. Upon attempting a flip:

No chance in hell.

You make my soul cry, Mom.

Cook like the dickens