Friday, October 30, 2009

Lentil Stew for Maggie

A hundred years ago, I promised Maggie that I would give her my recipe for lentil stew so she can make it in her new crock pot. I am now finally doing that. And I am also giving it to all of you, because I am just that nice.

First of all, when I say "my" recipe, I actually mean "my ever-so-slightly-modified recipe" from Mommy Made and Daddy Too by Martha and David Kimmel. A book I highly recommend, by the by.

So. Here goes.

prep time: ~30 min. Cooking time: 1hr, 20 min stovetop, 4-8 hrs crockpot.

2 tbsp virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carronts, diced
1/2 small rutabaga, peeled and diced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 quarts broth (2 qt = 8 cups = 64 oz) (use chicken or veggie)
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried basil
pinch dried thyme
2 medium red bliss potatoes, srubbed and diced (Note: I leave these out.)
2 tbsp cider vinegar (Note: I usually forget this, but when I remember, I just add a splash)
sour cream for garnish

Warm the oil in a 4 1/2 qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, carrons, rutabaga and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring often, till onions are translucent. Add garlic and lentils and cook for 2 min. more, stirring constantly.

Add broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. (Note: I add the herbs here, but the recipe says to wait.) Simmer, uncovered, stirring occassionally for ~1 hr until lentils are tender. Add herbs (and potatoes if you use them) and continue cooking 20 min. or until potatoes are tender. Splash in cider vinegar and put a spoonful of sour cream in each bowl.

After sauteing, transfer everything to a crockpot, add broth and herbs, cook on low for 6-8 hrs or high for 4 hrs. Splash in cider vinegar and serve with a spoonful of sour cream in each bowl. (I don't know when you should add potatoes if you use a crockpot, since I don't add them at all.)

It's a pretty yummy recipe, but the sour cream is CRITICAL for maximum yumminess. Without the sour cream, it's only meh. And I don't add potatoes because the first time I made it, the potatoes soaked up too much broth and seemed unnecessary anyway. The rutabaga is surprisingly necessary to this recipe, but you can switch up the veggies as you see fit.

On having two

Latest post up at The Bump!

Well, FIRST of all, having two is exhausting. This is not news, nor is it particularly interesting, but it is TRUE and must be said. So. It is exhausting.

Second of all, the “terrible threes” have descended upon us, officially beginning this past Saturday, the 24th. Sure, sure, the saying is “terrible twos” but that’s only because it’s alliterative. Three is MUCH harder than two. Last Tuesday I very nearly lost my mind entirely as every single solitary act I required of him became a battle of epic proportions. Sit on the potty. Wash your hands. Let me brush your teeth. Put on underpants. Put on underpants. Put on underpants. We will not discuss anything else until you put on underpants. Underpants. Underpants. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, CHILD, PUT ON YOUR UNDERPANTS.


Monday, October 26, 2009


So when do kids normally first start drawing recognizable faces? Because I want to know if Jack is a supergenius or not.


Even if this is totally normal, which I'm sure it is, it's still exciting since the last time he painted it was just blobs of color. Man it's fun to watch them turn into people, is it not?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three. Three!

I am very tired. So this is what you get.


My boy turned three. Three! The bad news, as far as Jack is concerned: He has to give up the bink. But there is good news! For example, he gets to go sledding down a HILL this year! You can't do THAT when you're two. And of course, there were presents to console him. Presents and two totally kick-ass cakes, made by yours truly:


Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yes, I did teach myself to do that. I did have a book, though. And, happily, Peep and Chirp are made of circles and triangles, so, honestly, they are not all that difficult to draw. You will notice a lack of Quack, who is oval and therefore I can't bake him. Oh, and Chirp should technically be red, but there is a limit to the amount of red food coloring I am willing to add, and that limit is dark pink. (For the uninitiated, these are characters from Peep and the Big Wide World which is Jack's current favorite show and mine too. It's just about the cutest show on earth.)

I'm insanely pleased with myself for making these cakes, and Jack warmed the cockles of my heart by telling me that his favorite part of the birthday was the Peep cake. So it was worth it. And also fun!

Nora was also at the party, but this is a picture from this morning, at four months exactly:

Nora 4 months

Four months is the age where they just smile all the time. Well, when they're not crying, but you get the drift. Not to brag or anything, but lordy, but I have cute kids.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Sometimes, the only way I can cope with the three-year-old-ness is by saying, "I can't talk to you until you do X," where X is the thing I have told him he needs to do. It's usually something completely unreasonable, like putting on his underpants. And then I have to question my methods while I listen to, "But Mo-ooooommmmm! I don't LIKE underpants! I like rough things!" (I told him he has to wear underpants because his pants will be too rough without them.)

Would you like to know how long a three-year-old can claim to "LIKE rough things" incessantly? I'll tell you. Forty-five straight minutes.

So let me ask you this. Is it a legitimate parenting strategy to calmly say, "I cannot talk to you or play with you until you put on your underpants," and then ignore the whining for forty-five minutes except for occasional repetitions of the "I can't talk to you" thing? Or is there a better strategy? I can usually keep it together enough to maintain a calm tone when I tell him I can't talk to him, but I often end up telling him he is driving me bananas and making me angry. I haven't yelled yet, but I am only human and there is a definite timbre of impatience and anger in my voice. I use this "technique" when I feel like I will LOSE MY MIND if I have to argue with him for one more second, and ignoring him seems better than losing it and screaming at him. I also use this method when I don't want to put him in time out because he will scream and wake the baby and then I will LOSE MY MIND.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today, Nora woke up for the day at 4:30. I tried unsuccessfully to keep her in our bed, but she was not letting me OR Andrew sleep, so it seemed pointless. As it was too close to morning to risk going to the rocker in Jack's room since she was sure to wake HIM up for the day, I put her down in the only other place available, the bouncy seat. Which was in our kitchen. And then I lay down on the floor of the kitchen.

OK, sure, yeah, I could have brought her into the living room and lain down on the couch or even the rug, but then there would have been no chance all that Andrew would emerge from our bedroom, see me lying on the cold, hard kitchen floor, and feel just awful.

Actually, let's say that it's because I didn't want to risk waking Jack by walking on the creaky dining room floor next to his room. Yeah, let's go with that.

Such is life

Today, while Jack was at preschool I had a list. I was going to
1. Clean the kitchen
2. Clean the bathroom
3. Change Jack's sheets
4. Fold and put away the laundry (apparently, there are no magical gnomes who do this although I keep hoping)
5. Vacuum
6. Sweep the stairs

Instead, I did the following:
1. Fed the baby
2. Fed the baby
3. Held the baby while she slept
4. Cleaned the kitchen while the baby cried
5. Fed the baby
6. Fed the baby

And now it's time to go get Jack.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

These games were around before board games

I am a fan of and actually subscribe to their feed. I haven’t ever bought anything, of course, but you never know. I might. I probably will not buy this, however:

Family Game Night

Let me just highlight something from their product description for you:

“Games Include: Blind Man's Bluff, Follow the Leader, Musical Chairs, Sound Charades, Pack Rat, Simon Says, Operator, Magic Hand, Pass the Slipper and many more classic games that don't require dice, game boards, playing cards or game pieces. [italics mine].”

So no dice, game boards, playing cards or game pieces, huh? What’s in the box then, UncommonGoods? A note that says, “Sucker!"?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Potty Training: Done and done. Sort of.

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So! It’s going much better now! So much better, we’re calling this kid “Trained.” Of course, he still wears a diaper at night, and he still has accidents sometimes, and he has yet to use our actual toilet… but! He has used OTHER toilets! One was even without a special seat!

Speaking of special toilet seats, has anyone else caught themselves about to say, “You need a special seat so you don’t fall in,” thus nearly instilling a heretofore unknown toilet fear? I came this close, people. “You need a special seat so you don’t – uh, so that it’s, uh, more comfortable.”

Read more at The Bump!

I don't even iron my CLOTHES

Every time I wash my sheets, I think of what my mom told Big Sister #4 when she got married. "You don't have to iron your sheets when you wash them," my mom said.

"Not to worry," replied my sister.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Curious George Redux*

I’ve got a potty training post submitted to The Bump, so I’m not going to talk about that here. You’re welcome. No, instead I’m going to discuss Curious George for the third or fourth time. I realize that Curious George does not demand such deep analysis, but, come on, the people in those stories have some serious problems. TV Bill, for example, has a severe inferiority complex, and the doorman appears to work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I don't even think he gets to go to the bathroom. The Man With The Yellow Hat? Clearly brain damaged. Well, let me clarify. TMWTYH in the books is brain damaged; TMWTYH in the shows is just weird.

See, in the books, TMWTYH regularly takes his monkey to inappropriate places and events and just… lets him loose. Sure, sure, he tells him to “be a good little monkey,” but then he leaves. And here’s the thing: when he comes back to find George, he is always completely oblivious to the havoc George has inevitably wreaked. Take, for example, the time TMWTYH left George at the ski lodge at the top of the mountain to go get hot cocoa. Within seconds of being left alone, George stole a bobsled and crashed it into the ski lift. Then, in an effort to escape the ski patrol who were – justifiably – attempting to catch the rogue, destructive monkey, he climbed up onto the ski lift and headed back to the top of the mountain.

Once there, he thought he saw TMWTYH skiing down the mountain and so grabbed a pizza pan and used it as a sled. Unfortunately for George, he accidentally slid onto a race course. It was even more unfortunate for the racer he crashed into, however. It is when both skier and monkey tumbled to a halt at the finish line that TMWTYH finally showed up with his usual blank, smiling face, totally unconcerned that George has destroyed a very expensive bobsled, imperiled the safety of the ski lift, and nearly killed a man. But, you know, whatever. He was getting cocoa.

There was a happy ending though, because the racer went on to win his next race, and he naturally gave all the credit to George. What’s that, you say? You don’t think that makes sense? Come on, now. Common sense, people. Obviously the racer wouldn’t have won had the crowd not been cheering so hard for him, and they were only cheering so hard for him because he nearly died in the last race when a monkey on a pizza pan came out of nowhere and took him down.

So, yes, I’ve done some serious thinking about TMWTYH. But in my defense, we read a LOT of Curious George ‘round these parts. Next time, I’ll tell you my thoughts on the time George made pancakes for the Children’s Hospital Fundraiser. TMWTYH is not the only brain-damaged person in the George-verse.

*I feel I should note that I don’t actually know what “redux” means, and I am pretty sure I’m using it incorrectly, but it sounds cool.

Hey, it looks like you can nominate me for a Mommy Blog Award over at The Bump. The dignified, reserved, polite part of me thinks that it's probably rude to beg for nominations, but that part of me doesn't do the writing.