Saturday, January 29, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual, often a Saturday one for me, from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

it takes a village

And that village showed up tonight.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends. Teachers, who were there to support the students and to support me. Administrators, current and former students. Nieces and nephews. A room full of love and support for 2 wonderful boys who are now high school graduates.

When I look out at an event like this, I get choked up. Partly because graduations always make me cry happy tears, but mostly because you don't often get to see what love looks like, and I get to, almost every year.

I believe in the importance of connectedness. (My Loyal Readers can attest!) I know that it takes more than one person to help us make it. We all need friends, family, teachers, and community members checking in and cheering for our success and supporting us in our mistakes. And while there are different levels of involvement, they are all vital. On nights like this, I get to see it, and feel it, and give it shape and form.

I love my job. It is often really, really hard, but it is always rewarding. Congratulations, boys. I am very, very proud. Thank you for letting me be a part of your village.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

learning to trust herself

"Mumma, how do you make your chip dip?"

Most of you can answer this question without my description, and because you know how 'semi-homemade' it is, you are giggling as I was earlier.

"Take sour cream, and add onion soup mix."

She asked for a few more details, like how much cream and how much dip. Until it looks right, honey.

Shockingly, she headed off into the kitchen, by herself, and made it. Asked for my help tasting it, and agreed it could use more soup mix. "Is it right now?"

The smile on her face when it was finished was like she'd just made a souffle.

So much of cooking is tweaking the recipe until it looks and tastes right. As kids we started with chip dip, too, and moved on to create our own Chex mix... and from there, any recipe we thought looked good. Mom was around, but we quickly got to the point where we'd tackle anything, even without her standing next to us to help. Today, I mostly look at recipes to confirm that I'm on the right track with whatever I'm doing. This is one family trait I'm happy to have her take with her.

Friday, January 21, 2011

{this *proud* moment}

A Friday ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

and I didn't even need Mommy's Little Helper to pull it off

I have always loved to cook. All my siblings do. We used to make cookies after school... which turned into teaching ourselves to make blondies, and chex mix, and anything else we wanted for an after school snack. From there, it was an easy leap to making dinner when we got home before Mom and Dad. (My mom still tells the story of my brother calling her at work after school one day asking what it "hard crack stage" meant. She did panic a bit on that one.)

Sometimes, cooking is a means to an end. We're hungry, we need to eat, therefore, someone must cook. But sometimes, I feel like Kitchen Goddess, where I combine my love of cooking with my love of recycling and my Yankee frugality.

Last week I made a roasted chicken with roasted veggies. This was a HUGE chicken from a local family, so I knew we'd get at least 2 full meals out of it, plus some lunch leftovers. It did not disappoint. As I was cutting the rest of the meat off the carcass (which I of course turned into stock) I was pondering what they might become. I remembered the turkey gravy in the freezer, left over from the most recent turkey. And then I saw the buttermilk purchased for Girly's birthday whoopie pies... and then I knew. Pot pie, baby. Oh yea.

So today after Boy's ski meet, I threw the cut up chicken, prepped leftover roasted veggies, and gravy into the pot, heated it 'til the gravy boiled, and transferred it into my casserole dish. Made Bisquick biscuits (which are just like dumplings but rolled out instead of dropped into hot soup) with buttermilk instead of regular milk. Half the batch is now covering said dinner, the other half is baked off as regular old biscuits for breakfast this week. Dinner was going in the oven as my boys were coming through the door. Goddess, yes, I believe I am.

It's meals like this one that make me channel my inner 1950s housewife. I don't like to get pushed around by anyone, male or female, but there is something satisfying about knowing how to get every last bite out of your food dollar and then combining it all into a delicious recipe of your own creation. Housewife or not, that's a good day.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual, often a Saturday one for me, from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

healthy, wealthy, and wise

Since I started kindergarten in 1975 I've been tied to the school calendar. I think of today as being a continuation of my year, rather than the start of something new. I mean, when I go back to work I'll have the same kids in the same grades; change doesn't happen until June when everything is shaken up by graduation.

Except for making Resolutions, which I faithfully make and sometimes keep.

I guess it's the act of reflecting and reorganizing that appeals to me. And the optimism that comes with it-- that this year, I really will [insert goal here]. That every January 1, I get a chance to try again.

So, with a shout out to Ben Franklin for the theme, here goes nothing.

I'll try to follow Cooking Light's 12 Healthy Habits challenge. I like that they're focusing on one change a month, like eating more fruits and veggies in January and moving more in February. The idea, of course, is that once you get through the month the habit has stuck and you're ready to move on. We'll see if I can master 12 healthy changes in 12 months... I am giving myself permission to change the timeline as fits my life.

I want us to be smarter about our finances: to be more conscious of what I'm spending and do a better job of saving. I don't want to be rich, but I want to be debt free. Becoming debt free this year is not realistic, but changing how we handle our money is.

I need to spend more time reading and writing. Which might mean less time on this machine... which could make this the hardest one of them all.