Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday dinner

We recently reestablished our Sunday pizza dinner tradition. Why pizza on Sunday? Because you can make the dough Saturday night, shape it when you get home from church, add some toppings, and still have plenty of leftovers for dinner. Plus, it's better than almost any pizza we can get in this town. (Another Matt and Allison note: Salvation Pizza is almost as good as Beauty's in Cambridge.) My favorite toppings: pineapple, mushrooms, and thinly mandolined onions. Luke prefers olives and salami. Needless to say, we each get our own pizza. So I have a few recipes that I cycle through, but I am a bit shame-faced to say that the NY Times propagated no-knead dough recipe is our new favorite. (Why shame-faced? I rather dislike following trends.) But it's good stuff. Check out the recipe and step-by-step instructions at King Arthur Flour http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/RecipeDisplay?RID=340
My personal adaptations involve tossing my dough onto a cookie sheet and shaping it, using fingertips covered in extra-virgin olive oil, and I add my toppings before baking the pie. I highly recommend trying this recipe: making a pizza with great toppings isn't hard, but making a pizza with a great tasting crust is often challenging. This dough really delivers!

A becomes a bbq convert

Basically, our entire family visited us in Austin during the first two months of 2009 - but you really really have to come back! Why? Because we found the best bbq joint in town.
Hmm, let me clarify. I find bbq to be only merely okay - a bunch of cooked meat with some often overly sweet sauce...Not exciting. I'm a hamburger gal, not a brisket girl. However, I accidentally discovered a year ago that I am a huge ribs fan! Artz Rib House in Austin is superb! Luke had their smoked turkey (makes me rethink my aversion to the standard Thanksgiving entree) and I dug into a half order of their classic ribs - wowee. Perfect sauce, perfect slaw, perfect formica tables and worn out chairs. A great joint! Allison and Matt, this is a must-eat-at-location for your summer sojourn in this fine city.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Musings on Women and Developing Talents

So I have to give some e-karma to a friend of mine from Cambridge. Her very new blog (http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/) received a mention in the Washington Post! Yes, our capital's main rag. Design has always been her hobby, but she recently launched into official part-time business owner status. I am so proud of her. I love to see fellow moms following their dreams, balancing raising a family, and developing their talents. It's so motivating!
Mostly because I'm been ruminating lately on what I would like to do to develop my own skills. I have hobbies, but I've discovered after two different gigs in two different states, that I'm really good at career counseling/life coaching/lending an ear. It sounds kind of fluffy, but it is marketable...But what do you do with that? And how do you put yourself out there and say, "Hey, I'm good at this, will someone please send some business my way?" How do you build that initial credibility?
Well, I just signed a contract as a corporate trainer with Balancing Life's Issues (http://www.balancinglifesissues.com/) (A thank you to my friend Cassandra for letting me know they were looking for someone in Austin.) I'm scheduled to run a lunch seminar in March - forunately it's a day that Luke doesn't have classes so I don't even have to worry about child care. But fun, huh? It will be really nice to get something on my resume again after an almost 2 year break. I'm looking forward to this chance to develop my skill set.

Date Day

It's so great when grandparents visit, because free babysitting is a major perk! We went out Valentine's Day in the afternoon (Luke and I have a strict policy of not going out on V-Day evening). Wow, dates during the day are the best! In the evening we're always tired and just feel like crashing on the couch. [Mom told the story of driving up and down the main drag in our town in Georgia on evenings when Daddy and she could secure a babysitter saying, "Okay, what do we do now? We had dinner, but it's too early to go back home..."] This I totally get.

Anyway, I'm been dying to get inside the Driskill Hotel. A local hotel downtown that is infamous for it's $300/night rooms. Incidentally, it's where Lady Bird and LBJ had their first date - now I think that's romantic. We visited their cafe instead of the fancy restaurant. Super reasonable prices and great ambiance. We sat at one of those adorable tiny curved banquettes that's just the perfect size for 2 people to snuggle up in. I love those! Naturally, I ordered the burger (that's my standard order at Sundance too). Their handcut fries were excellent. After our meal we strolled through the hotel, and upstairs Luke took me dancing in the ballroom. Granted, it was in the process of being set up for some event, but no one was around and we had the third floor to ourselves. I love when my husband takes me dancing! I'm a pretty easy to please gal - a good burger and some dancing in an abandoned room = priceless.

A big thank you to Oma and Opa for spending the afternoon with Laurel!

The Power of Positive Parenting

I always tell Laurel that she's my beautiful girl, and when I'm speaking to my Young Women, it's often, "okay, beautiful girls...." I just realized during this weekend's visit from my parents where this comes from: my mom! She's always been so consistent with telling us that we're beautiful. Isn't that a great thing? Mom, I love that I'm like you in this way!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Laurel's First Sentence

So tonight we were driving back from dinner at a friend's (paella with rabbit and snails, yes I ate a snail!), and we were taking turns telling Laurel, "I love you."

After a few rounds of that, she responded with "I love you, Daddy." Oh, you should have seen the look on her face when she said it - she was so stinkin' proud of herself - and we were too. That's her first sentence! Oh, we can hardly wait till she starts talking! It is such a heart-melting thing to be parents!

Oh, and two weeks ago she started folding her arms during some prayers. When we we drove up to the church this morning, she immediately folded her arms. Are little almost 16-month ones that observant?? It's a bit disconcerting!

And I brought crayons and blank paper to church today, and she spent the bulk of sacrament meeting coloring - such a big girl! I told my mom today I'm getting a bit baby hungry because I'm more fully realizing how much my baby isn't a baby anymore!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Who Me?


Thanks Grandma for the fab accessories!

All-in


Having problems with our editing tool - sorry it's sideways.

Inauguration Day With the Animals




Austin has a zoo?? You betcha! It's more an animal rescue facility for abandoned and confiscated animals. But it's pretty fun. Laurel was mesmerized by the monkeys bounding through their cages, but didn't get as excited as Mom did at the petting zoo.

Looking Way Too Grown Up!

Head Lean Towards Grandma


One of the best things about being a parent is watching your child do odd things. My very limited experience is that they'll do some behavior - for instance, the head lean towards you - for a week or so, lose it entirely, or they just might renew the habit in another month or so. Those little neurons in the brain must be doing some funky circuitry patterns!

Little Tiger Teeth

Well, or vampire teeth - but aren't they adorable? This video was made in December, and her top two middle teeth have finally come in, but we loved this look!

video

How organized am I!

Well, not necessarily, but people, I just realized that I have a cleaning system for two of my most overwhelming household tasks. What never ends in a house with kids? Spills on the kitchen floor and the need for clean laundry. I was ruminating on the pioneer household task system (Monday: laundry, Tuesday: ironing, Weds: bread making etc. etc.) and its wisdom.

A few years ago I was reading a time-management book, and it mentioned how many Americans save their chores for the weekend - but they pointed out, "How fun is that?" Isn't the weekend a time for having fun with family and friends? (Course, I can say this b/c I don't own a home which is an enormous task entailing mowing, weeding, pruning...I so am down with apartment life!) Anyway, this book encouraged readers to spend the extra effort during the week so that the weekend could become a more restful experience and help them renew themselves for the rat race.

Interesting idea, huh? Those of you who have ever lived in an apartment and had to use a laundromat: how miserable is it to wake up Saturday morn and realize you need to hustle your buns to the laundry before every other slacker gets there and takes up all the washers and dryers? That thought process precipitates a course of bad and nasty cortisol through your body. Not worth it.

So, my several weeks-old system is that I do laundry on Mondays and Fridays - and I mop my kitchen floor on Mondays and Thursdays. Mopping I can only do at night after Laurel goes to bed, so Thursday is the night since I don't want to spend my Friday night with the Mrs. Meyer's. When spills happen during off days, I spot clean them, and I can live with gunk building up because I know that I am going to definitely get to it, rather than my previous system of having to psyche myself up to clean the floor. If any of you out there have any cleaning systems, I'd love to hear them!