Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Forget the Jell-o

A friend and I are doing a little blog post swap today...she would like to remain anonymous.
When I was married, my mother hired a friend to cater a small luncheon for family and friends who had traveled for the wedding. I can’t remember a thing about it, except that it was delicious and there was a delightful lemon sponge cake for dessert with a raspberry coulis.

Evidently there had been a Jell-o salad.

A few months into my marriage, my sister-in-law called to request my Jell-o recipe.

“Jell-o recipe?” I asked.

“Sure. That delicious recipe you served at your wedding luncheon.”

“Um, that was catered. I didn’t make the Jell-o,” I said, wracking my brain to remember eating Jell-o at my wedding luncheon. Or in the last 7 years.

“Oh, it was delicious,” she said. “I’d love to get the recipe from you.”

“Well, it was a caterer,” I repeated. “I don’t really have the recipe.”

“Whenever is fine.” She said. “I want to make it for Christmas dinner.”

I called my mom:

“Mom, was there Jell-o at the wedding luncheon?”

“Oh yes. Wasn’t it delicious?”

“I don’t remember eating Jell-o, but Bjorn’s sister wants the recipe.” I said.

“Oh, well, you just throw together the frozen raspberries and the sour cream and, you know, it’s very easy. You need to let one layer set before adding the sour cream of course. Don’t forget to tell her that.” Mom said.

“I think I’m going to need to write this down.” I said.

Long story short, I got my new sister-in-law the recipe and I got myself a reputation.

“Could you bring one of your Jell-o salads?” My new in-laws would ask whenever we got together for a shared meal.

“One of my Jell-o salads?” I complained to Bjorn. “It was the caterer’s Jell-o salad! Why do they think I have a cache of Jell-o salad recipes.”

I gave up trying to convince Bjorn’s family that I knew nothing about Jell-o and started searching for recipes. In those days, many of my requests were by mail, to old college roommates and resulted in little recipe cards being sent back to me weeks later.

So I brought Jell-o salads to the family gatherings.

Eventually, my food assignment morphed into green salads. No one else replaced me as Jell-o maker and I suspected the assignment had been superfluous--a test maybe--to see if I could be trusted with more important dishes. Green salad must be the next rung in the family gathering food assignment ladder.

I began with basic green salads: Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery. Maybe a radish if I was feeling adventurous. But after three years of nothing but green salad assignments, I began to feel under-appreciated.

“I can do so much more!” I said to Bjorn. “What about desserts? You like my desserts. I should do dessert.”

However, my subtle hints to the sisters-in-law that I would be happy to bring anything else to family gatherings went unheeded.

I had no choice but to sabotage myself and get fired from green salads.

Bjorn’s dad is a strictly meat and potatoes guy. He feels no need to try anything new, or that might contain a seasoning other than salt and/or pepper. I figured I could make a salad so strange he wouldn’t eat it. And if dad wasn’t happy, changes would have to be made.

My new salads now featured mesculin, blue veined cheeses, pomegranate seeds, candied nuts. I scoured the internet for strange green salad recipes that would shock the family into giving me a different food assignment.

My plan backfired. “Oh, your green salads are the best! We could never make anything like this.” They all said.

“It’s cutting up things and throwing them in a bowl,” I told Bjorn later, at home. “Any kid old enough to use a knife could do the same thing!”

Now the assignment always came as, “Please bring one of your green salads.”

At least this time I did have a stack of recipes I could claim.

Then, one day the call came. It was Bjorn’s dad’s birthday. Could I bring his favorite: a pumpkin pie?

The clouds parted and I think I heard angels singing: I was being promoted to dessert.

I labored over that pumpkin pie like I was birthing my own kid. The crust was perfectly fluted and I made the filling with the freshest canned pumpkin I could find. I covered the crust towards the end of baking so the edges wouldn’t burn. I let it cool and carefully transfered it to the fridge.

It wasn’t until much, much later that I realized my epic mistake: I’d added a whole can of evaporated milk, instead of one cup.

“That doesn’t look quite right” I said to my sister-in-law when she stuck a candle in the middle of the pie and it almost fell over.

“Something’s wrong.” I said as she carried it over to the table.

“I don’t think it set up correctly.” I said, my heart going a million miles a minute.

Abort! Abort! I thought. Please don’t let this fluke pie be the thing that represents my baking skills!

Did I mention that Bjorn’s family is polite? So polite in fact, that they cut that pie like it was the most natural thing to have pumpkin filling the consistency of pudding. So polite that each person commented on how tasty it was. Even my niece who doesn’t like pumpkin pie ate some and gushed about its tastiness.

Meanwhile, I wanted to rip the pie out of everyone’s hands and throw it down the garbage disposal in disgust. But there was no other dessert. Nothing else to serve. Just my disastrous pumpkin mistake.

I wasn’t too surprised when the next family food assignment I received was for a green salad.

And you know what?

I was OK with that.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to be Awesome - A New Series

How to be Awesome? Write like Cjane.

Nutmeg, just moments after she was born, in my bedroom. Don't you just love her "hospital bracelet?" I had a matching one.
I have had 3 babies, 3 labors, 2 homebirths. I don't really like to share my birth stories online because to me they are just too personal and spiritual. That is the thing about a natural delivery it is the difference between driving to the top and hiking to the top. There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that prepares you for the spiritual moments.

This birth story is the best I have ever read, and I have read a LOT of powerful birth stories. It takes skill to write a birth story like this. It is written in installments so scroll down to the last post and read up.

In my quest to be awesome I would like to be able to write as well as Cjane.

And while I am at it, I will add:

How to be awesome? Have a homebirth. It's like hiking to the top, totally worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

9 Things I am Looking Forward to Doing When I No Longer Live in a House That is for Sale

Hennaing my hair
Crafting with the kids
Letting the kids play with all of their toys at once.
Frying food.
Leaving my clothes on the floor.
Spending the entire day reading or sewing and not caring what the kids are doing to the house.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"I Just Like Nature"

Boba Fett has made an important decision. He phoned the grandparents right away and left the the following message: "Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to become a zoologist and I started a nature journal. Bye."

This does not come as a surprise to the Mr. and I. Boba Fett has been aiming at a career at the zoo for some years now but this evening he confided to me that he didn't know if he wanted to to work at the zoo or to study animals. He was relieved to find out that the two occupations are compatible. He was a little dismayed to learn that college was involved as well as mastering the tricksy skill of reading but I think he is willing to power through.

One problem though, Boba Fett plans to relocate to Montana and was sad to learn that the only zoo in Montana isn't anywhere close to Grandma's house. I will have to let him know about the fish and game opportunities in NW Montana.

We discussed "observing" things and set up a nature journal with a primary study of Little Fishy, one of our goldfish.

Tomorrow's subject: Rocks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Motherhood, Don't Miss It for the World

I remember so clearly, were walking out of a store, Camrock was just 3 days old snuggled up in my sling and I turned to my mother and said "Mom, I just love him SO much!" I didn't know how much a person could love another person until he came into my life. I mean you think you love your husband, really, really love him and then this little one shows up and you KNOW that what you felt before was nothing compared to this. That all you have or ever could accomplish means nothing without those little spirits in your care.

I always feel so sorry for those women who consciously choose NOT to become a mother. How sad to miss out on this.

To Camrock, Happy Birthday, thank you for a decade of motherhood, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Did You Pay Your Taxes?

Did it hurt, I mean really hurt to look at that big number the government took from you so that Nancy Pelosi can fly her family about in taxpayer jets and we can bail out failing car companies and greedy banks? Are you happy that you contributed so much to Social Security when you know you will never see a penny of Social Security in your old age? Does it feel good to know that your hard earned money is for teacher's unions who no longer teach but exploit children and that the State dances to THEIR tune not the students'? Isn't it nice to have pretty green bike boxes even though violent criminals are set free because there isn't money to keep them in jail?

Does it make you angry to know that you work so hard and get to keep so little of it? Does it alarm you that you could actually pay someone a living wage with what you DIDN'T get to keep from your business proceeds?

If so get yourself to a Tea Party tomorrow. Let the politicians know that you will remember this day in November. If you are in Oregon visit November Recall to get involved.

Even though last April 15th was one of the most inspiring days of my life, this year I will be laying low as Camrock will be turning 10 on that day. He gave up his birthday for the Tea Party last year so this time it is his turn.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sneak Peek

Cary Grant and I met with the Bishop for a pre-wedding interview yesterday. Here is a little sneak peek.
The Living Room with French doors to the Covered Porch
The first fireplace, in the Living Room. I love the words the owners have on the ledges, so appropriate for our struggle to buy this house.
The Kitchen from the Dining Room.

I am going to need a LOT of rugs.

***Still need your prayers but the Lord keeps blessing us and helping us find the path.
We are really close.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

One Year of Unplugged

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of our Unplugged Experiment. It isn't really and experiment any longer, we have decided it is a keeper.
One year ago I decided that it was time for extreme measures and send all of the remote controls to work with Moose while I and my plucky band of small people were left to amuse ourselves in other ways. We were not allowed to play on the computer or watch TV until Moose came home from work.

Occasionally, on Mondays we watch an episode of "Nature" together.

The results? We are now able to maintain some sort of a routine during the day. Increased imaginative play in all the children. Those same children playing with one another in general harmony. Commander C has become an avid reader and has taken to drawing comics. Boba Fett continues to ask questions that floor us and is learning to read. Nutmeg has learned to knit AND read and spends hours a day writing and drawing and dancing. I grew a garden, created an entirely new form of biking, started a fashion empire, kicked a congressman's butt and fell in love with a house.

Our pet fish still live.

Friday, April 02, 2010

If it's Cute They are Looking for...

Then I have it in the bag. job interview today, but I don't want a job, I want to stay home with my babies. I want my house to sell!