When the flag was laid out, the crowd joined in a chorus of the anthem. If you are someone who cries at parades (no mocking), you would have shed tears along with me. It was a beautiful and purely patriotic moment.
After a short round of applause a lone, deep voice emerged from the crowd. Quietly and confused, we listened.
Since I work out of my house and it's usually pretty crazy here, I thought I'd share some photos instead of inviting you all over for Take Your Customer to Work Day (which is really my loss because I'd love to have every one of you over for coffee).
I dream of having an amazing studio like this one or that one but I don't. Really. With the exception of the desk, which I bought years ago for my husband from a local woodworker, the furniture is what I like to call "re-purposed late-century Ikea" aka the furniture that was in my living room when I first graduated from college.
Even though I'd love to have my own studio space, my little corner of our busy downstairs family room is perfect. It allows me to keep an eye on the kids and encourages me to stop for play breaks.
Keep in mind, there are lots of reasons that I didn't give you a wide shot of the room. Like this:
Thank goodness for early bedtimes, portable laptops, and cozy corners upstairs like this:
I'm not a baker. Baking is not conducive to my impulsive-compulsive self so I much prefer to cook. I understand the science of cooking and enjoy the ability to alter the flavors of a meal right up until it's plated. But over the past few days I've been a baking fool.
There's a grocery store near our house that sells these incredibly amazing cinnamon scones. I'm not usually a lover of scones but these little triangles of cinnamon-y pleasure have done me in. They're moist, dense, and full of sweetness (almost like a soft cookie). I doubt my British grandmother would approve, but they are my idea of baked perfection.
Unfortunately I can no longer afford to feed my addiction. At $4 for a package of four (and two packages to feed our family for breakfast) I am determined to make them myself.
Since Monday I've been trying out recipe after recipe (which were both delicious) but still haven't quite hit it right. I've added ingredients and modified measurements but each attempt yields scones that are either too cake-like or dry. Today's recipe (a hodge-podge of ingredients) was definitely the best so far (and the only one my four-year-old baking companion/taste-tester approved of) but it wasn't quite right.
So far my recipe (mostly...I'm not good at writing things down) looks like this:
2 cups of flour 1T of baking powder 1/2 c sugar 1/4 c brown sugar 1 t salt 1 t vanilla 1 1/4 c of liquid-y dairy items (sour cream, milk, cream...don't mock me) 2t cinnamon 5T chilled butter No eggs (they made them even more cake-like but I'm willing to reconsider) I'll need to add cinnamon chips to the final product but haven't added them just yet. And I bake at 425 for 12 minutes.
If you happen to have any recommendations to make these scones less like well...scones, please post (my cupboard and my family will thank you).
We had a fantastic time at the circus last week. We were invited to a small reception before the show and had the chance to meet and greet some of the performers. Both kids were lukewarm on the clowns at first, but the juggling eventually won them over and we even convinced Jane to give one of the clowns a high-five.
I brought along my camera in hopes of getting some nice shots of the kids with the performers. As long as I have enough space to tote it, I prefer to use my trusty SLR when I'm taking pictures at night (or anytime I don't have enough natural light) because I can use a mounted flash. I can point the flash towards an object (usually the ceiling) and bounce light back onto my subject without creating harsh shadows. It usually works like a charm.
But my first shot came out really dark like this:
I checked the batteries and repositioned the flash to point more towards my funny circus trio. Then I got this:
Neither photo would have been a real keeper but I was puzzled about why the flash bounce method wasn't working.
And then I looked up.
That darn black ceiling stole all my light!
Photographer friends...what do you do to brighten a room with a black ceiling? I have one of these (which I love) but feel a bit self-consious about using in public :)
I spent a night away from my children for the very first time this weekend. I enjoyed an incredibly quiet (and uniquely solo) car trip to Manhattan to visit with my college friends. The night was filled with wonderful memories and inspiring stories from women I am so fortunate to have reconnected with.
And while I enjoyed every moment of my big kids-free weekend away from home, the only thing I could think of from the moment I woke up this morning, was returning home to this:
And tonight I am feeling refreshed, restored, and remarkably blessed.
Needing her own "feel good arsenal" to help her through postpartum depression, Julie, from Up, Up Creative, devised a Feelgood List. To help herself feel better, Julie created a checklist of things she knew she needed to accomplish daily and weekly during those early months of motherhood . Luckily (for new moms everywhere), Julie now sells these printable, customizable lists on her Etsy shop.
Oh how I wish I had a Feelgood List during those early months of motherhood-- when I felt I had lost control over every aspect of my life. I could have benefited greatly from the chance to feel like I had accomplished something other than nursing a newborn (even though that was an accomplishment).
Buy one for yourself and one for a new mom in your life. We all need the reminder to take care of ourselves (at least once in a while).
In the time before kids (BK), when cooking at home was a special occasion and grocery shopping a novelty, uneaten food would accumulate in the fridge until one of us was inspired to eat it. More often than I care to admit, we'd see an expiration date come and go and send uneaten food to the trash bin.
I'm not sure I remember the circumstances that led up to the "blue chicken incident" and don't know why this particular piece of poultry remained in our refrigerator for so long (urgent trip to Uzbekistan, maybe?) but it did. In fact this chicken spent so much time wrapped in its blue grocery bag on the bottom shelf of our refrigerator that it underwent some kind of cerulean metamorphosis. It absorbed the blue tint of its plastic home. Not only did our forgotten meal smell like a thousand deaths, but it glowed like a radioactive smurf.
Now that I have children, it's pretty rare that anything remains in our refrigerator past its prime. It's rare that I even need to check an expiration date once I leave the store. Until tonight.
No, there wasn't a blue chicken in our fridge. But I did notice that those bone-in chicken breasts I had planned on using for Taco Thursday had yesterday listed as its sell-by date. And because I will forever remember the long drive to the nearest dumpster (with Brian riding in our open trunk) to dispose of our blue chicken, I'm a bit cautious.
So I went online to do some research and discovered the goldmine of food preservation: a website called Still Tasty. If you want to know how long that bison steak will last in the freezer or ReddiWip in the fridge, look no further. I don't know who these people are or why they've decided to make my life so much easier, but my nose (and my belly) is thankful.
I am a full-time mother of two, part-time middle school counselor, and all-time champion at Hi Ho Cherry-O. I am also the principal designer, chief accountant, and head of the mailroom at Three Wheels Design & Paper.