Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mother's Day ...

Unless you are new here (and by "here" I mean "the world") you know that each May, we celebrate Mother's Day.

If you are, have, had or are married to a mom, this post is for you.

First things first: pregnant women are moms.
I was preggo on Mother's Day 2008. There was a tiny human being inside of me, and about one month later he came out. He was VERY much my son and I was VERY much his mommy. I could feel him kick, turn, hiccup. I was taking care of him, and he was already bringing me so much joy (and sleeplessness).

That year I received two cards wishing me a happy Mother's Day from two very thoughtful women -- two of my very closest friends. They both made me cry. I knew I was a mom, and it was amazing to know someone else thought so as well.

I'm not saying you have to buy your pregnant friends cards, I'm saying wish them a happy Mother's Day this year. (But if you want to make them cry-in-a-good-way, send them a card. There are special Mother's Day card for the preggos, and it means a lot to know you searched for one.)

Second, if you are a dad, your wife is a mom.
Many people, usually female people, think this goes without saying. But sometimes, male people need reminding that they need to wish their own mom and the mother of their children happy Mother's Day. Males, take note: "But you're not my mom," sounds even worse when spoken aloud than it did in your head.

Third, she doesn't mean it when she says,"It's just another day."
This usually applies to birthdays as well.

Fourth, it's the thought that counts.
Really. It is.

Some women really do want jewelery, lavish gifts and being showered with roses and fine chocolates. But most women want something that shows you thought about the day, about her and about her children, then came up with something that shows you care. Think: a handmade card with the hand prints of your children. Or a meal that she doesn't have to prepare -- even if it's just grilled cheese and tomato soup. Or a two pet chickens and a coop. Ok, that last one was pretty specific. But you get what I mean.

Finally, Mother's Day is also for remembering moms that are no longer here.
If your mom is gone, honor her in a way that she would have liked. Hug your family a little tighter. Share a mom memory with a friend, your dad, your siblings, your dog. I'm sure she would like that.

Disclaimer: This post is not directed at any one person who may or may not be married to someone whose name rhymes with Shmyonada Shmomas. It's just me writing because that's what I do. However, if you are looking for Mother's Day gift ideas for a woman whose middle name rhymes with Shmolanda, think: fabric and gardening.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A bunting convert

In the year or so that I've been reading crafting blogs, I've noticed a bunting trend. People , apparently make bunting all the time.

It looks whimsical and everything, but I had (and still do have) questions about practicality (doesn't it just get dusty? how do you wash it?) and usefullness (is this decor only? where are you putting it? how often do you switch it out?).

And, it seemed like it would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to make. All that tiny cutting and turning and sewing... for what?

Well, I've changed my mind a little after making my first bunting. I find this bunting acceptable because:
  • it is no-sew
  • it serves a purpose
  • it is reuable

.... but most of all, it looked waaaaaaay more cheery than I thought it would. I left it up for nearly a week because it just made me smile.

Here it is:

Please please please know that I am way self-concious about my blog pics. I've been trying to photograph outdoors and learn how to use all the settings on my point-and-shoot camera... but, for now, this is what you get.

I just cut letters out of scrap fabric (I used pinking shears and eyeballed it) and hot glued them on to the burlap triagles. Then I glued each triangle onto a piece of twine. I hung the bunting with pushpins.


Now, here's what I would do differently next time (not that I think there'll be a next time, so far birthday bunting is the only reason I can imagine I'll need bunting in the near future):
  • Decide on your triangle size FIRST, then cut your letters to fit. (I did it the other way around and ended up with bigger triangles than I had wanted.)
  • Set aside plenty of time to cut and glue... this probably took me close to two hours and I got annoyed with it pretty quickly because my hubby's birthday was the next day. I don't recommend this, but it's totally doable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here goes nuttin'

Sorry. I couldn't help myself. ** blushes **

Anyway... raise your hand if you love peanut butter. Now, raise your other hand if you love almond butter. And now, nod if you think almond butter is too expensive.

Me too!

You can put your hands down now. (And stop nodding. Seriously, people will start to worry.)

Well... I've seen the machines at Whole Foods that just grind nuts into butter and I've read that you can make your own peanut butter in a blender for food processor but just filling one or the other up with nuts and turning it on.

But I've been hesitant to try because:
1) nuts are kind of expensive and if it didn't work, I'd be sad and ticked at myself for wasting money
2) I couldn't figure out if it would be economical
3) it seemed too good to be true

But this week, I had all these random nuts left over from various recipes, an eating almond kick and a bag of trail mix, so I decided to just go for it.

I poured them in to my food processor. (Yes, I see the random dried cranberry. That's from the trail mix.)

Turned it on for a few seconds, and this happened.

At this point, I was worried. I never let my food processor run. I mean, NOTHING takes more than two or three pulses to be done. But I also realized the nuts were basically wasted in this state, so I kept going.

And got this: kinda' clumpy.

So, I added a little oil because I think I read that somewhere (maybe? doesn't matter. it worked.) And kept running the food processor 'til I got this:

Delicious multi-nut (and one random dried cranberry) butter! And get this: when I dipped my finger in to taste it, it was warm. And a little gritty. But the warmness made me call it done. (I doubt food processors can just burst into flames, but I wasn't taking any chances.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sometimes it's OK to just give up.

For approximately 22 months Benjamin has been obsessed with dog food. Apparently, this isn't rare -- children everywhere are obsessed with dog (and I'm assuming cat) food. It's an epidemic with no cure.

This fascination is completely inexplicable to me.

And for approximately 22 months we have been trying to keep Ben away from the food (yes, we've tried time out, feeding the dogs on a schedule, moving the bowl into the doggie area. He's like a moth to a flame.)

Luckily, he's not interested in eating it. He likes to throw it and watch the dogs run after it and eat it.
Imagine this face:

In this room:
(Please excuse this awful pic -- it was taken on or around moving day last year.)

With the carpet covered with these nuggets:

But this morning, I gave up. And you know what? It was worth it. Why? Because the dog food occupied him AND the dogs for nearly 45 minutes. He threw each and every nugget out of the dog bowl... one... at... a... time. And they ate each and every nugget.

The damage done: NONE! No mess! And a quiet baby and dogs. In the mean time I emptied and loaded the dishwasher, wiped down the counters, hand washed the pots and pans, organized my coupons, got dressed, and I would have written this post, but out Internet connection was out. (Does anyone else have to unplug and replug their stuff nearly every day? Obnoxious!)

So the lesson learned today? Sometimes giving up is OK for everyone. (As long as he doesn't start eating the food.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Born again vegetarian

That's what I'm calling myself... I'm not sure if I made it up (I'd like to think that I did, but I might have heard it somewhere)... but that's neither here nor there.

I am a born again vegetarian.

"Born again" because I've been a vegetarian several times in my life:
  • When my parents took me to the Westside Market and I saw an entire severed pig head in a deli case (that lasted several months)
  • After that claymation movie about the chickens escaping from the farm with Mel Gibson as one of the voices (that lasted at least six weeks or so. I mean seriously, how could you even look a chicken nugget without remembering those ADORABLE clay chicks?!)
  • In high school for a while
  • In college on and off

Each time, my reasons were different: adorableness of animals, persuaded by a character in The Babysitter's Club books, hearing someone say "I don't eat anything with a face," I could go on.

And the truth is, I have really never loved meat that much. Steak always grossed me out. Pork? Not a fan. Anything on the bone turned my stomach (until I discovered chicken wings in college and could look past it because of the yummy sauces that were drenched all over them ... mmm... Europe Gyro spicy garlic...)

But I'm back on the veg wagon have having read about and learned a lot about factory farming, including the treatment of animals and the environmental impact. (In addition to adorableness and the whole thing about meat having a face.)

I'm not going to get on a soap box. I still feed factory farmed meat to my husband and son. I'd prefer not to, but that just not something that's gonna happen. (Seriously, sometimes I wonder what Brian was thinking proposing to me: a hippie wannabe, liberal, Hispanic, Catholic-turned-Jew? But, what can I say? It works. Ben will either grow up very balanced or very confused. :) )

I'd still eat meat, if I could confirm the animal who gave its life was able cared for and able to live the best life possible -- one with a healthy diet close to what nature intended, adequate space and the ability to do its animal things like roll in the mud, raise its children, graze in the field (or peck in the coop or swim in the stream) -- and that it was slaughtered swiftly and without fear or undue stress.

Some day, when we don't have doggies, I'd like to have chickens and my own eggs. (Yes, in my suburb. I don't live on a farm.)

I'm not a vegan -- yet. I'm getting there. And I'm learning as I go. But I can tell you this: it's not hard. For me, it's the right choice.

P.S. If you're at all intersted in reading what I did, check out The Omnivore's Dilemma and Eating Animals (in that order). Both are written by men who wanted to understand from where their food came. Neither book is preachy or defines absolutes, and both are fascinating.