Monday, February 15, 2010

Nothing New

I'm sorry to say I have nothing new to post. No new recipes, no crazy stories, no cute new pictures. Just our everyday lives. And maybe a few updates.

Aubrey has mastered the talent of going DOWN the stairs. In an attempt to give her mother a heart attack she ran full speed towards the top of the stairs and stopped just short of the edge, plopping herself down in an "about face" motion and proceeded to scoot herself backwards down each following step. Gotta keep an eye on that one. Her vocabulary also now includes "apple" "silly" "juice" and "beads." She amazes us with every new word.

Brendan has shown an interest in reading and Joe is working with him almost daily on identifying the sounds that go with each letter to create words. At 3 years old, his intelligence never ceases to amaze me. He also recently took a random interest in childbirth, asking me just how it was that his sister got out of mommy's tummy all those months ago. My mind worked hard wondering just how much to tell a 3-year-old as I explained that mommy "pushed" her out... He thought awhile then asked "how?" To which I replied "well... mommy pushed really hard." His mind tinkered some more as it came slowly to him "OHH!! Like this {enter strained, having a bowel movement look}?" I stifled a laugh and said "umm... yeah honey, kinda like that!" But I feared this wasn't enough. He thought about it some more and started again "but how... {enter a lapse of about 10 seconds and an obvious change in attention span} hey mommy! did you see the towers I built for my cars?!" *WHEW* I had survived!

And such is the life of this mommy of 2... full of strife and adventure, full of love and devotion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Together Forever

The Beairds and the Bessmans... PRICELESS!

A Work of Heart

I've waited so patiently to post these pictures. This quilt was one of the hardest projects I've ever done and yet still so rewarding.

After Aubrey was born, my good friend, Tracey, gave me a truly thoughtful and meaningful gift that she had been planning for months. I opened the sweet wrapping paper to find a very personal small set of handmade pottery (plate and cup) with Aubrey's name and birthdate hand painted sweetly on both. She explained that, growing up, she had been given her own personal set of china that she used every year on her birthday. A special tradition that she remembered with fondness and wanted to pass on to my daughter. And while she couldn't find a place that made personalized child-sized china, she tracked down a woman who makes and personalizes small pottery ( It was then that I realized why the gift had been late. The birthdate, the name... of course they had to be definite before she could finish the gift.

So when Tracey got pregnant with her own baby girl, I struggled to come up with a gift just as thoughtful. How could I top such a meaningful gift? I was silly to have overlooked the one talent that would truly be appreciated. And so it came to me. I would make a quilt. A handcrafted, straight from the heart gift. Little did I know the heartache and frustration it would bring me to create. But in the end I was able to see that my perfectionistic attitude was keeping me from seeing the true beauty of what I created. When I saw the look on Tracey's face when she opened it and received the hug of appreciation, I knew I had chosen the perfect gift.

The pictures don't do the colors justice. Tracey chose a combination of colors after I offered up the pattern as my template and they are a beautiful combination, much lighter and softer than the photo portrays.

Yummy Goodness

I absolutely had to post this one since I felt like every bite I took was a small taste of heaven. These cupcakes (Brendan calls them "muffins," which allows me to indulge in one for breakfast...) are an absolute keeper. So "melt-in-your-mouth" moist. And since I've accepted the fact that my critique holds more weight with a picture, here is a photo to start your mouth watering...

Amaretto Apple Streusel Cupcakes

A Winner and a Loser

Winner? Seafood Cakes with Mustard Crema. Absolutely amazing flavor. The hint of cheese (I substituted fresh shredded Parmesan for the Parmigiano-Reggiano) really brought out the flavors. And the mustard crema complimented them well. I used precooked shrimp and canned crabmeat and served them with a side of steamed cauliflower. Even the kids were pleased. The "not so much a winner"? I hesitate to call it a loser since I've never really been a "burger" kind of girl. I'm not even sure why I tested this recipe except that it sounded and looked good. And while it had great flavors, I resigned to the fact that I just wasn't into its "burger-ness." So, if you are a burger fan and would like a new take on a timeless meal, I suggest you experiment with this one. I used extra lean ground round instead of ground sirloin (maybe that's where I went wrong?), left out the horseradish from the spread, and replaced regular buns with Oroweat Sandiwch Thins. Final verdict? Good flavor if you like a good burger!