Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Give the people what they want.

And today, you all want 2 things. 1) Video of the actual fire from yesterday's preview video. And I'm told that it's in the works and will be released soon. Get your popcorn ready.

And B) Everyone wants another recipe. Well, maybe not, but I made this butternut squash soup on Sunday and it's seriously so delicious and perfect for fall. And easy! And cheap! Squash are like 65 cents at Aldi, so hop on that!

You'll need:
- 1/2 of a large sweet onion, chopped (GG would want you to use a Vidalia)
- 5 tablespoons butter (real butter...and if you drop in an extra tablespoon or two I won't tell!)
- 6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (this is like a medium sized squash...maybe 2 lbs.)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (No idea what this was before this recipe, but it's a spice. Go figure.)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese (do yourself a favor and DON'T get the reduced fat crap)
- salt, to taste

Then do this:
1. In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add squash, broth, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
2. Puree everything in the pot with the cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

It's so good. Like, punch-yourself-in-the-face good. Next time I'm going to add some crab or shrimp chunks and some corn to make it like a chow-dah. Let me know if you try it!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I don't even know what to title this post.

Joe and I had an unexpected week off last week, so we laid low and did a whole bunch of nothing. Well, if nothing equates to a spontaneous trip to Chicago, late-night ice cream runs with friends, cider mills and lots of home organizing. Like I said, nothing.

Anyway, in the interest of being too lazy to blog about my week, I'd like to share the following video which was created by my cousin, Jeremy. You don't really need much backstory to understand it, except that my Dad (Greg) and his brothers like to light shit on fire. A lot. And they also like beer. A lot.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My treasure box.

The 5 year anniversary "traditional" gift is wood (snicker, snicker). And in addition to the gifts Joey got me (more on that later), he had some special help with a gift from Alex.

He asked Aunt Jane if they could do a wood craft that day, and boy, did she deliver. This was my first legit "Mom cry" over a handmade present.

The world's greatest treasure chest.

The back of the lid and bottom of box.

Oh, I know! Isn't is just the BEST? I keep all my most precious treasures in it, and it will probably go down in the books as one of the best things he's ever made me. I love how there's a bigger jewel in the center of the lid to help remove it...and I can just picture how careful he was with his little tongue stuck out, gluing all the rest of the sticks and gems in place.

And look at how good he's getting at writing his name! *sniffle*

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I will never forget.

It was my freshman year of college. My roomie had just left for class and I was watching the news getting ready for the day. When I saw the unthinkable, I ran into the hall looking for someone, anyone with answers. I nearly ran into another friend, who had just ran out of his dorm room, too. We sat together for most of the morning and into the afternoon, filled with fear, sadness and anger. I will never forget.

And although Alex is too young to remember, I will teach him about the tragedy of that day when he is old enough to really understand the gravity of the situation. For now, his young mind knows that bad people exist, and sometimes they do very bad things.

More importantly, however, the boy is PROUD to be an American, and I am proud to be his Momma.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gymnastics as a metaphor for growing up.

I firmly believe that in order to be a decent human being, you must experience life. Like, truly and deeply live your life bravely, boldly and confidently.

Alex is bold, but he's not very brave. For example, when other kids are playing "throw the ball in the pool" at Aunt Jane's house, Alex is prancing around a tree, flailing his arms and singing "I'm running arounnnnnd the treeeeeee, Mooooommmmmm." (<--Which I LOVE and adore and will encourage him to continue to march to the beat of his own drum. So step off the judgment train, mmkay?) And we're learning confidence. Like when we're at the park and he has trepidation about going down a big slide...but then he musters the courage and does it and we cheer him on like he's won gold in London. #thoseparents

Because that's what parents do. It's what parenting is. You encourage your kids, whether they fail or succeed. And if they fail, you dust them off for another go 'round when what you REALLY want to do is lock them in a bubble for the next 10 years. Until other kids aren't mean anymore. Until germs don't exist. Until life is always easy. Until no one breaks their heart. Unfortunately, that world doesn't exist.

So instead of the bubble, I'm choosing to do the next best thing: Let him do everything in this world that he wants to do. Except diving. He can't be a diver. All I see is smashed faces into diving boards. No diving. I want him to try new things and experience things that are outside his comfort zone.

At 60 that might mean a trip around the world. At 50 that might mean white water rafting for the first time (Hi, Dad). At 40 it might mean a red corvette. At 30 it might mean becoming a Dad or getting a new job. At 20 it might mean falling in love for the first time. At 10 it might mean mastering a new Lego creation.

And at 3, it means gymnastics. Learning to take instructions from someone other than Aunt Jane and Mom. Learning to make new friends in a strange environment. Learning how your little body can do new and scary things. Essentially, learning to be brave, bold and confident.

Joe and I sat in the parents' viewing loft last week during his very first class amazed at how he's grown. Amazed at how this thing we created embraced a new challenge. He listened so well, paying painful attention to what his teacher asked him to do. He tried so hard, wanting to be good at everything and to earn the praise of his teacher. And not once did he look up to the balcony for reassurance from Mom and Dad. He was strong, confident, brave and ADORABLE.

I'm not entirely sure how I'll be brave enough to let him go for the many, many milestones we have ahead of us. But I know that I will continue to try to be the best Mom I know how to be to help him achieve any of the milestones that he wants to achieve in life. But for now, galloping around a tree in Jane's backyard is all the milestone I need...but this once a week gymnastics business is a step in the right direction.

And for your viewing pleasure... (I recommend making the first one full screen, as it's too cute to not be life sized.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why I love small businesses.

Earlier this year, I wanted to purchase a keepsake for myself as a little reminder of my sweet tWIPs. Something special that only I would know what it meant.

I went to all my favorite little sites and shops and eventually ran across this ring from an etsy shop called Hand Stamped by Lorelei. I've purchased many gifts from this shop before, and I knew the ring would be the perfect thing. I loved that it was sparkly and fabulous with a little, hidden engraved secret that only I would know about.

I had mine stamped with "twips" instead of the "xoxo" and when it arrived I wore it every single day. When I looked down at my hand, I would smile to myself knowing each moment I stole was a memory for me and me alone.

And then we experienced another miscarriage earlier this year. I don't know if I ever blogged about it, but we named that baby "BDub." I sent Lorelei a note asking if she would do a custom listing for me to have "bdub" stamped in the ring...and for whatever reason, I also told her the story of why I was choosing to get such weird-sounding names stamped into a ring.

Lorelei offered to do it...and at no charge to me. And if that weren't enough, when she shipped the ring back to me she included the sweetest, kindest, hand-written note expressing her heartache for our situation. It's my perfect reminder.

Lorelei and her shop are one of the many reasons I love small businesses and why I will continue to promote them on my little corner of the Internet.

Click here to discover some of Lorelei's one-of-a kind hand stamped items. Some of my faves are pictured below. (Think ahead for Christmas's just over 3 months away!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Home Sweet Home.

Remember this? Well, I finally finished (and hung) my version!

I just love it--and am so proud that it's something I actually made, vs. bought at HomeGoods and just pretended I made it. Some letters were purchased as-is, and others I painted and played with a bit more. You'll also notice that the first M, W and last E are different than my original plan. I found more treasures since October and simply had to use them!

For those that need a little inspiration, most of these are from Hobby Lobby (use the 40% coupons or buy when on sale!). I also got a few of the unfinished ones from Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics (same story with the coupons, yo). The whole thing cost less than $30.

And the best part is there's not a SINGLE nail whole in the wall! I used these to hang them. (And pretty much everything in our house, because a hole in my brand new walls? So not happening.)

Be inspired, my friends! If I, the self-proclaimed "uncrafty Queen" can do it, so can you!