Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"More more more... do ya like it, how do ya like it?"
Stuck in my head. All day. Haven't heard it in ages, but somehow it magically crept into my brain box and made itself a little home.

But since we're on the subject of more, I've got more aprons ready to go! I'm pretty excited to get up to Memphis to drop these all off on Friday. And maybe do a little fabric shopping as well. I'm more excited to eat a peanut butter cookie from Muddy's, to be real with you. It's a cookie I'd drive 2 hours for.


and Two

Monday, June 7, 2010

One of those days...again

Yep. It's been one. My problem is that I just want to be able to do it all. I set my sights WAY too high. Unreasonably high. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that this has always been a fault of mine. I'm just so caught up in wanting to be the perfect mom and wife and crafter and friend and cook and martha stewart wannabe, that I consistently go to bed feeling like a failure. It's insanity, I know. No one can always be all of those things. And I guess there's something nice about the fact that I set my sights so high. I don't want to be mediocre. Maybe I wouldn't mind being mediocre if I didn't have the best kids and the best husband. But they're a lot to keep up with.
I got up this morning and it was all going great. The kids were dry and fed and happy and Sid the Science Kid was entertaining the stew out of them and then we went for a walk, they went down for a nap in their own beds, and I ironed all of Joe's shirts for his work week. I was the poo right at that moment. Untouchable. Superwoman. Aaaaand then Charlie woke up suddenly. I think she got hot. And she woke up Davey which made him mad. That was at 10am. I think the crying and yelling and fussiness stopped around 3pm. Nothing makes you feel like you're doing a bad job better than two kids screaming at you. And I wanted so badly to keep all the plates spinning before Joe got home, and he'd be so impressed with me, and the kids would be soundly asleep and we'd enjoy our dinner together and fall asleep blissfully on the couch together watching reruns of Gilmore Girls (because Joe likes to watch it with me just because it makes me happy). But none of that happened. And Joe doesn't like to watch Girlmore Girls.
But here it is - 10:25pm, and I realize that soon I'll be in bed, soon after that it will be tomorrow, and I'll get another shot at being Superwoman. I'll even settle for Pretty Alright woman.
Here's what I do know.
When I feel like this:
I have this:
and this: make me remember that Superwoman or not, I've got it made.
For realz.
Ok, I promise to post crafty things I've been making in my next post. I've got Charlie dresses and throw pillows and aprons I've been working on. And I'm determined, at some point, to make that darn tool belt for Davey. He deserves some handmade swag too, dangit.

How we roll...

One of my favorite things to do lately is taking the kids on a walk up and down our hill we live on. It's a great workout considering I'm pushing a massive double stroller with 30lbs worth of babies in it on a gravel road. We take these walks twice a day and sometimes they really are my favorite part of my whole day. It's a great time for all of us to just quietly look around and enjoy what's surrounding us. It's a nice time for peace and quiet but time together.
Our walks always start with me loading the kids up in the ginormous stroller. And we're hillbillies up here so once they're lathered up in sunscreen, we sure as heck take a stroll sporting the diaper only look. I took some pictures of our typical journey. Davey was so over the camera and so ready to go. Charlie wanted to show off her face as usual, though. I love our time together in the kudzu wonderland around us, down past my favorite little house at the end of our road, to the place where the land goes totally flat, and then back up the gravel and it's home again, home again, jiggity jig.

We live the best life. The kind of life with sunshine and porches and babies and birds and love.

Friday, June 4, 2010

James Taylor - Steamroller Blues (live)

John Cusack makes me feel like such a dork for loving James Taylor the way I do. But I'm old enough or tired enough or dorky enough (or all three!) to not care. His version of Steamroller Blues is my favorite. Well I have a lot of favorites. Maybe it's the Memphis in me and the Elvis in any Memphian, but this song makes me think of my mom and home. Play it, James. Aint no shame...

Noggin fab

Now that I have the new sewing machine, I can get back to making clothes and aprons - a thing I had to postpone a lot because the old machine was so NOISY. But the new one is wonderfully quiet. I will say, however, that having the time to find something new that I loved without using tha machine has really been rewarding. I've really enjoyed hand sewing headbands for Charlie. I love doing anything girly for her. It's our special little thing. Davey and I can jump and kick and make funny noises, but Charlie and I spend our time just being fabulous.
I've started making a few of these headbands for some friends and their daughters as well. Spread the love, ya know? Upon doing so, I've created some new styles and I'll be putting the same headbands up in the Etsy shop soon!
I can't wait for the day when Charlie bird sits in the sewing room with me and we talk about her day and she tells me all her plans for her big life in this big world. I can't wait to teach her to sew. Headbands, dresses, whatever. And I can't wait to teach her that without any of those things, she's the most beautiful girl in the world.

We're gonna have the best time.

We already do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy early birthday to me!

I knew the day would come. It could only last so long. And finally, with no real warning, my sewing machine said "I've had enough!" It was a great first sewing machine. We had the best of times and the worst of times. It was actually April's sewing machine that somehow always stayed with me and now it's been almost 6 years and here we are. I guess I owe April a sewing machine!

So the old gal finally gave up. And Joe mentioned he'd been planning to buy me a new one. It's something we've both talked about for at least a year now mostly because the old machine can do only the very basic functions. We had to run some errands this morning and while we were out Joe said "Go ahead and pick up your sewing machine. I mean you need it now anyway and your birthday's only a month away." So I got it! And its puuurty:

It should be fun watching me learn how to go from, like, 12 stitch patterns to 70. I've already got some pretty servere mom brain after only 6 months, so this could be interesting. But I'm so excited to learn! I'm ready to make skirts for Charlie and superhero capes for Davey. I'm ready to make clothes for Laura Beth and maybe even some for me. I'm ready to learn new stuff so I can make some super rad aprons for the bakery.

The sky's the limit, yall!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"No one's gonna love you more than I do..."

I woke up this Memorial Day Monday thinking "This is going to be the best day". Maybe I was channeling our old psychic friend Ms. Cleo from prision or something, but you guys, I was totally right.
Sunday, Laura Beth and I went over to Batesville and I picked up a kiddie pool for the babies to play in. We all love being outside, but it's getting hot and they are definitely noticing. So I thought "Kiddie pool party!"
So we woke up Monday morning bright and early. We headed out to the porch as a family while the kids played on their mat and Avett Brothers hummed through the porch. The kudzu is spreading green all around us and it smells like honeysuckle. THIS is the life. This surely is the life. Later the kids nap and Joe and I fold laundry and have cheese and grapes and just enjoy each others company. That might be a detail I could leave out, but those moments are rare these days, with two babies, so I feel it's worth the mention. When naptime is over, I am squirming with delight over the approaching pool time. Joe sets it up, fills it with water, I lather everyone up with SPF 5 bajillion and we make our way to the pool (which is covered in dinosaurs for extra awesomeness). Instantly the kids are not happy with how cold it is and instantly my face drops. My big idea was a flop. I get so excited when I think I've really figured out what will make the kids happy. And when I fail, man do I take it personally. But Joe, being the wonderful dad and husband he is, just wouldnt let that be that. He knew it meant a lot to me. So one by one he carried out 4 buckets of warm water to pour in with the cold water in the pool. We tried it again. This time I was less excited and more nervous, not sure my heart could take more rejection. But...THE KIDS WERE SO HAPPY! We played in the pool for an hour and a half, which is a pretty big deal around here. I kept saying to Joe, "This is the best day ever. I am so happy right now."
And folks, I really was so happy right then.
We were all so happy.
I live for this.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visions of Anthropologie dance through my head...

So I was "window" shopping online last night, like I do, over at Antropologie. I was particularly in love with the Martinique collection. If I'm ever in need of a second skin, I now know where to look.

While I can't afford to actually shop at Anthropologie, I did manage to draw some excellent inspiration from it. Mostly, it was in the details.

Which brings me to my two latest aprons for Muddy's:

These were really some of the funnest aprons to make. And I've got piles of fresh ideas stored away in my brain box. Time to get to'm!

Bring it on home to me

There are a few things I miss about my life in Memphis. And, if I'm being honest, aside from missing having my friends so close by, most of the things I miss are centered around food. I miss the sweet potato fries at Young Ave. Deli. I miss the sandwiches at Memphis Pizza Cafe. I miss everything at the Qwick Check. I miss sushi from Sekisui and Lemongrass Tofu from Pho Ha Bin and cupcakes from Muddy's!

Maybe I should've written this AFTER I had breakfast....daaaaaang...

My solution to this longing is not to make plans to move back to Memphis. And I can always visit. It's not too far away. Instead, I've just decided to recreate my very favorite things to eat from my very favorite spots in Memphis. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!

My favorite dish that I always ordered from Boscos was their Gorganzola Pear Salad. Paired with Rosemary bread it was exclusively what I ordered whenever I went. So I made it last week for dinner! I paired mine with some homemade focaccia and the always yummy balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping. I think other than using spinach instead of lettuce and using Bartlett Pears instead of whatever kind of pears they used, it tasted exactly the same. Making Maggie a happy girl:

And last night, we went totally southern traditional, with mashed potatoes and corn and snap peas. But I was longing for my favorite appetizer from Paulette's. So for a desert, I made custardy popovers with strawberry butter. Sooooo good. I thought I'd messed up because I used salted butter instead of unsalted. But the salt really brought out the sweetness. Happy mistake:


Monday, April 26, 2010

Please excuse my brain mush

I'm having one of those days where I feel like I just can't get it right. I think we all do. At one point in my day, I had peas in my hair, two screaming babies who really needed naps, a phone ringing off the hook, and I was still in my pajamas when this was taking place at 2pm. To any onlookers, this was not a happy place. But, like always, just as soon as it calmed down I got just enough peace to think to myself "I love my life" before the circus came back to town (which was about 30 minutes later).

All day every day I think about this one thing: Am I a good mother? Because these babies of mine, well, they're perfect. And deserve nothing short of a perfect mother. Knowing I could never be perfect, I struggle with an inferiority complex like I've never had before. Paired with the post-pregnancy hormones and my hopes to be my old size again being dashed, I struggle some days. Not every day. Just some days. But I have these two faces to wake up to each morning. And I have this wonderful husband of mine. And we live in our dream house. And I have friends who drive hours to visit. And a porch to have dinner on with the people who come over. I have adorable clothes for my kids to wear and endless diapers and food and love for them.

Truthfully, whether or not I ever fit into my old jeans, I really do have it all.

And it's because of my friends and family that I feel this way. You have all been a part of making not just one, but FOUR people so very happy and comfortable and blessed. Not a day goes by, despite how hectic it gets, I don't think of how lucky I am to have all these wonderful people around me. All of YOU.

So, I have done a poor job of showing this by not sending out formal thank yous, yes. And I have every intention of rectifying that THIS WEEK (to dream the impossible dream). But in the meantime, please know that we appreciate each and every thing you guys have done. Whether it be the cute outfits you've bought, the diapers you've given, simply saying "your babies are so cute!", forgiving me for not supplying you with as many aprons as I'd like to (Kat, you rule!), or just calling to make sure I'M ok; all of it is more appreciated than any thank you card could say.

I believe in paying it forward. So, along with thank yous, I will raise my kids to be as loving as you all. I'll teach them volunteerism and how to nurture mother earth. I'll teach them to be better about manners than I am :) And I'll teach them that there's nothing like the love of friends and family to get you through each day.

I thank you. Joe thanks you. And most importantly, they thank you:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New flowers for her hair

Two new headbands for all the little girls in the world who just wanna decorate them heads like my Charlie does! Available now in the Etsy shop!

I wish it never had to end...

This weekend started with Friday night in Oxford with my husband, Joe. We were celebrating the anniversary of our first date. To me, this is more than worth celebrating. It took nearly 8 years to snag him, and I might be the luckiest girl on earth to have him. And two beautiful babies on top of that? Icing on the cake, my friends.
So we walked around the square, hit Square Books, then dinner at Two Stick for sushi. The crunchy asparagus roll is too good for me to even attempt to describe here. The sun was setting, the weather was warm, it was me and my man and it was a Friday night thatreally felt like all was right with the world.

I love my Joe...

Saturday, we got up early, put some oldies on the radio, and did a little cleaning together. Then we went to meet the folks in Cleveland at the Crosstie Festival. Laura Beth had a booth there with all her fantasticness displayed. She's got the midas touch, that girl. I wanna post a picture of her sketchbooks but I'd have to ask permission first. Just trust me - everything she does is awesome.

So the kids and all the rest of our group enjoyed a day in the sun surrounded by shinny happy people and handmade goodness. They dug it. But that Charlie - she is determined to stay a naked baby.

And finally, today I am home alone to do some work. As I work away, "Harold T. Wilkins" by Fanfarlo plays in the background. I can't stop listening to this. Thanks to Urban Outfitters for giving away free downloads like this all the time. DAAAAANG yall. It's good .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bears Of Blue River, "Betty Homemaker "

Last week I had lunch with my best friend, Laura Beth. And Corley and Joannah joined us which was a special treat! Charlie came along with me, and really I could've just stayed home because, lets face it, no one pays attention to me with her around. Which is perfectly ok with me. But I'm glad I was there because LB gave me THREEEEEE new cds full of musical delights! I've had all 3 playing non-stop since I left Cleveland last week. They're ripped to the computer and the originals are in the car so they're all basically always playing somewhere around me.

I've been on this quest to find the perfect music/band to suit the current season and happy life I'm living. And I feel like this band and I found each other at the greatest time. It was meant to be. Bears of Blue River, you're my new favorite:

And a quick thank you to my LB - you make my life more colorful, you make it sound so much better, and I love borrowing your shoes.

Best friends for 7+ years now. Don't see it changing.

Happy days!

I was almost sure of it - my circle of mom friends kept saying "it does get easier..." when I we would talk and I'd tell them about Charlie's colic or Davey's looooooong teething process or the other bajillion ups and downs we've experienced with two babies at once - and I was almost sure they were lying. "WHEN?" I'd think to myself, so exhausted by the circus (though secretly kinda loving it at the same time). After 3 pretty much perfect days in a row with the twins from awesome town, I think I can officially say we've hit a smooth sailing patch. The teething isn't as bothersome (but the drool is never ending), the colic has subsided, and I see smiles the majority of the day. And there's nothing like a baby smile. Unless you're getting to see two of them at once.

Man...what do you say to that? Love is what I've got, and I've got so much. So so so much.

So today the 3 of us played on the floor with toys and practiced high fives and read pop up books, while daddy napped. And then daddy got up and played while we talked about our plans for screening in the porch weekend after next (yessssssss!). And then I proceeded to tackle another recipie from Moosewood for supper.

Tonight we had tomato walnut pesto with fresh basil (from my new kitchen window herb garden - love) with wheat penne and a garden salad with homemade lemon dijion vinegrette. It was perfect for a springtime dinner. Joe and I even got to sit at the table together while we ate and the kids were down for the night.
I've been enjoying my time in the kitchen so much this week. I want to be supermom and supermom, in my mind, needs to be a really good cook. I was always really proud of my mom and dad's cooking skills. Big shoes to fill. So I'm committing to learning how to be awesome in the kitchen.

I didn't get to sew at all today. Well, ok, I got about 20 stitches done on a pocket pal, but I'd hardly call that impressive. But not sewing on a day when we're all so happy is just fine by me.

There's a saying around my dad's house, coined by my stepmom: "I live in my dream house". I think I'm living in my dream home.

Bow Head

Having a daughter is basically amazing. When I was still trying to guess what sex the baby would be while I was pregnant, I'd think "I'd love a boy because I grew up in a house of girls, but I'd love a little girl so I could teach her to sew and done fun girly things with her like play dress up..."

I lucked out and got both!

But having miss Charlie means I spend a lot of my free time making little headbands for her pretty head. I've been thinking about moving LFS in a more kid friendly direction and with the addition of kids in my life, it certainly makes the most sense. And, man, it's SO MUCH FUN to make kids stuff!

All of this is to say that while I've been making headbands for my Charlie Wren, I'll be making them available on the etsy shop so that other little girls can be bow heads too!

Tilapia with Sweet Potatoes and Red Peppers

I posted a picture of our dinner from last night on Facebook and had a few messages and comments about wanting the recipie so here it is you guys!

(From the Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers Cookbook)


2 large sweet potatoes

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper, preferably red

3 tblspoons olive oil

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tblspoon Old Bay seasoning

Tilapia (you can use cod or halibut too...)

4 fish fillets

1 tblspoon olive oil

2 tblspoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves minced or pressed

1 tblspoon Old Bay seasoning

Preheat the oven to 450. Oil a baking sheet for the veggies and a baking pan for the fish.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise and then crosswise into slices about 1/3" thick. Peel the onion and cut it in half and then into 1/2" slices. Stem and seed the pepper and cut it into 1 1/2" chunks. In a mixing bowl, toss the veggies with the oil and thyme and Old Bay seasoning. Spread on the baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and browned.

While the veggies roast, place the fish fillets in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk the oil with the lemon juice, garlic, and Old Bay seasoning and drizzle over the fish.

When the veggies have roasted for about 15 minutes, stir them with a spatula to prevent sticking. Put the pan of fish in the oven and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

So easy, guys. And soooooo good. The seasoning is really easy to find in the baking section at the grocery store. And it makes everything taste awesome. And my house smells like I wanna eat it. Prep time was about 15 minutes. This is a great nice meal in a hurry. Go eat it!