Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I love lunch

Why do I love lunch?
  • There's something about how simple lunch can be that makes it so special. During my pregnancy, lunch was a collection of snacks--fruit, ants on a log, cheese cubes.
  • It always tastes so good to me, whether it's at home after a day of work, or between classes at work, or way before the hour designated for lunch when I'm at home. I once got in trouble for tossing a salad--like in a giant salad bowl-- in my high school English class!
  • The best buffets are open for lunch--an Indian one and a Brazilian one are my favorites.
  • I've never been a fan of sandwiches, so planning lunch forces me to be a bit creative. Lately some inventive salad combinations have resulted.
Yesterday's salad: sweet butter lettuce, red delicious apple slices, crumbled feta, pumpkin granola, and blueberry pomegranate dressing.

What have you been enjoying for lunch?

Monday, July 27, 2009

experiment in shirring

I've been messing around a little with elastic thread lately, and made a quick little muslin jumper before committing to the fabric I really want to use. When it turned out too short for this very long baby, E said, "Add a stripe." You see, even my husband has learned the design-flaw-turned-design-feature trick! I didn't intend for this prototype to get worn, but I kind of like it. And it's definitely nice and cool for our hot Florida summer.

Thank you, Alicia, for the elastic thread coaching! Blasting the shirred area with steam was what it needed to shrink up and get all ruffly. So satisfying.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

almost there

Thank you all so much for the kind words about my work decision. I know that it's not the last dilemma I'll face, so it's great to have support from people who know where I'm coming from.

I've made great progress on Cora's quilt lately. The quilting and binding are done! The last step is a bit of embroidery to personalize it. I'll post complete photos soon.

Wendy's post about the cute earrings she bought recently reminded me to share a recent earring purchase of my own. I first bought these earrings a couple years ago from Kathryn Riechert, who had the table behind mine at mutation craft fair in Savannah. I wore them almost everyday, but then, a few months ago, they disappeared. I looked everywhere (losing things makes me sort of manic). So I finally sucked it up and ordered another pair, and they arrived this week. I have several more of her pieces, and I love them all.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's final

Probably the hardest part of motherhood for me, so far, is the worry, the constant questioning of whether I'm doing the right thing. With a baby comes big changes and big decisions. I often feel like I lack the wisdom needed to figure these things out. But that's life, isn't it? Thankfully, my mom is always available to reassure me that it will all work out.

So after 2 years of working full-time at my dream job, and many more previous years working to finally get that coveted position, I turned in my resignation yesterday. Was it the right decision? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to this new schedule (I'll still teach part-time) that will allow me more time with my girl. I realize I'm really lucky to be faced with this decision, but, man, is it still hard!

These photos are of a quilt that my aunt made for me when I was little. We use it when Cora is practicing her upward facing dog, and I love to look at all the fabrics that were used. There is so much detail to take in.

Monday, July 20, 2009

fungus in the kitchen

Usually we just stick to growing mold on our bread, but lately we've had more fungi growing in the kitchen, in the form of shitake mushrooms. My brother sent us a mushroom log for my birthday. It came in a kit with a sponge and a plastic sheath for maintaining enough humidity (like we need help with that in Florida!). You basically just soak the log in water and then put it in indirect sunlight and let it do its thing. It has been so exciting to watch them grow. They seem bigger after just a few hours, and overnight they have huge growth spurts.

On Saturday we 'harvested' these (3 about 4" in diameter) and ate them in padt thai. I love mushrooms, but rarely buy anything but the bland white ones because of price. I sure do miss the little mushrooms we ate in Japan. I guess they were enokis?

With all the rain we've had lately, we've been cultivating a few other varieties in the yard. Too bad we can't eat those!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

time for okra again

Last week we went to a new once-a-week farmer's market, one of several that have popped up around town. I was excited to buy a bag of okra since I haven't gotten around to planting any of my own this summer.

In the past, I've always pan fried my okra, but this time we decided to pull out the deep fryer and do some sweet potato fries, too. We keep trying sweet potato fries because I think I have this memory (maybe it was a dream) of getting them right once, but they keep coming out soggy. I love them so much in restaurants. What's the trick?

Anyway, I really over did it on the fried food and was close to swearing off okra all together because I ate so much. The way E breaded and fried it would convince any okra hater to love the slimy veggie!

Here's how: dredge 1/2" slices of okra in flour, then dunk in a wash of 1/2 milk 1/2 egg, then coat in cornbread with a little salt. Fry until browned at 350. So crunchy! I wonder if there's still enough time to get some of my own in the ground.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

wet diapers

I just got these photos uploaded, and now it's pouring rain. The first and last photos, taken just a bit ago. Yeah. Those are still on the line and now all wet again!!

Even before we decided to have a baby, I knew I would want to give cloth diapering a try. I had read some crazy statistics, and couldn't imagine one little baby creating that much waste. After we found out Cora was on the way, we discovered pocket diapers like bumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz. I don't think E would have gone for it if we were using traditional prefolds like our parents did. These are way better--just like disposables in how they go on, and easy to wash. They create about 3 additional loads of laundry per week, better (for me, at least) than buying more throw-aways over and over. It's an investment initially, but definitely worth it. We bought our set up (bumgenius 3.0, a few fuzzibunz, wet bags. etc) mostly from kelly's closet. We're about 2 months in to using them, and I'm happy to prove all the naysayers wrong:)

This is before we got a few of the drying contraptions below.

Friday, July 10, 2009

easy burp cloth tutorial

Remember those burp cloths I mentioned working on a while back? Well, as soon as we got Cora home, I realized how handy these 'burp' cloths are. You can use them under baby for a quick diaper change, as a place to dry breast pump parts, to prop baby up, not to mention their intended use. Because the ones Julie made for me were constantly in the wash, I bought some more from the baby store, but of course they were covered in an ugly teddy bear pattern. Why can't they just keep baby supplies simple?

I liked the design (similar to a cloth diaper) and the fact that they're soft flannel, so I decided to make some of my own. They are super simple, but also so practical, so they would make a great baby shower gift, and like Julie said, the new mom will think of you every time she uses them!

The photo tutorial is here on my flickr page. If anyone makes them, I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

eating good!

I mentioned recently that I was trying to plan more meals using the food we have on hand, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it. Then we started tracking expenses and realized we spent almost twice as much as usual on groceries last month. What?! Now, we have cut way back on eating out since Cora's arrival, so that means more meals at home, but it still seems like we're spending way too much on food. I guess we've been eating pretty good. And indirectly, Cora's been enjoying good nutrition, too--she weighed in at 13 lbs today!

Here are a couple things we've enjoyed recently:

Pizza made with homemade dough (from our neighbor), arugula pesto (frozen, from our garden), alfredo sauce (left over in freezer), and fresh broccoli + grape tomatoes.

Summer rolls made with salad greens (left over), carrots, tofu (left over), rice noodles + wrappers (in the pantry for way too long!). This is the best summer meal/snack. Here's a recipe.

It might be time to start clipping coupons.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

too short

Yesterday I took this photo of these birthday flowers from my good friend--thank you, Aub. This morning, when I woke up to the news that Naomi is gone, the buds had opened up and looked even more beautiful. It's crazy how much better flowers can make you feel.

So this morning, the world lost a beautiful person, and I lost a wonderful friend. If you would, please take a minute to look at some of her photography. You'll see how talented she was at capturing the beauty of moments. Her passion and her spirit during her short life were so inspiring. Naomi, I know I will miss you even more than I realize right now. I love you, girl.