Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weather. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{14/52 & 15/52}: mulligatawny

{14/52}: bike trailer season!

{15/52}: sisterly love

The weather lately is wicked crazy. It can't decide whether it wants to be warm, cold, windy (correction: it is always windy), or raining. I feel for the poor weather experts who have to try to predict these doozies. Luckily we have had a few days of sunshine--enough for us to burn even while wearing sunscreen--so my need for vitamin D has finally be satiated.

It rained and was hella-windy today, so it seemed like a good day for soup. I like to tinker in the kitchen, and recently I discovered I love curry in soup. First I tried this curried sweet potato soup, which was completely delicious, even to the person in our household who lists sweet potatoes as the only food he won't eat. Next I decided to try mulligatawny, which was equally delicious.

It would be impossible for me to talk about mulligatawny and not mention Seinfeld. It's a great word and a great episode and a great soup. All great! My first introduction to mulligatawny was in a little middle eastern restaurant called Lulu's in Madison, Wisconsin (it's closed now, sadly). That restaurant offered not just my first introduction to the soup but also my first introduction to Middle Eastern food of any kind.

I learned when deciding to write about mulligatawny that it's actually a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine rather than authentically Indian. Also I learned that most recipes (including the one in my 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook) call for chicken and apples, which is such a strange combination to me. Because, you know, there aren't apples in India.

But perhaps the best part about mulligatawny is that you can make it whatever way you like, with whatever ingredients you have on hand. And it's so much more fun to say mulligatawny than "curried pea soup."

The reason I tried mulligatawny now is that I happened to discover "vegi soup mix" by Bob's Red Mill, and somehow the split peas, barley, lentils, and veggie pasta seemed to cry out for curry flavoring. I happened also to have a coconut curry chicken broth on hand, so I used it, but regular chicken stock or veggie broth would be fine too.

Pic quality isn't great, but yk, does lentil soup ever look good?


mulligatawny
serves 8

Ingredients:
few Tbs. of butter & oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 good-sized potatoes, diced (or whatever other veggies you like)
2 c. Bob's Red Mill vegi soup mix (or a combo of the beans above)
8 c. chicken stock or veggie broth
1 Tbs. curry powder (a mix of coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, and onion)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
salt and pepper (if you have citrus salt on hand, this is a good time to use it)
parsley
lemon

Directions:
1. Saute onion and carrots in butter & oil in Dutch oven over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
2. Add potatoes, soup mix, broth, and spices (everything except parsley and lemon), and cook covered over medium-low heat for approximately an hour or until the peas have all but disappeared and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice to brighten it up.



Thursday, March 06, 2014

for the birds

A startling thing happened earlier this week when the girls and I were exiting the mudroom.

 ****

I must pause already to tell you I love the word "mudroom." There has never been a room more aptly titled. A mudroom, in case you ain't from 'round here, is a room to catch all of the snow, ice, and mud that happens from winter to spring. Mudrooms come in all manner of shapes and sizes and can be as simple as an enclosed front porch or as formal as an entire dry-walled room. Coming from the front porch rockers of the south, I was a bit put off at first by all of these glass huts in the front of people's houses up here--they do obstruct the view of the front door, after all.

But by the time we were buying a home almost two years later, a mudroom became an obsessively important item on my homeowner's checklist. Luckily, we ended up with a pretty good one. It's not perfect, but it modulates the cold enough to keep shoes out there (and a mattress, as we currently do. Sigh. It's a long story). Our mudroom not only prevents wind, sleet, snow, etc. from hitting our front door, but it also provides a sound barrier. And it is via this topic that I return to my original story.

****

So the girls and I exit the mudroom, bracing ourselves for the cold, which does come as usual. But what causes us to pause in our snowy tracks is not the biting wind on this occasion but the sound coming from the trees.

Are those...birds? Vivi asks.

You know, I think you're right, I hear birds too! I reply.

What are they doing here? Charlie wants to know, puzzled.

We go so long throughout the winter without hearing a peep from the cardinals and robins. When they finally return, their miraculous lovely tones are striking enough to cause a three-year-old--who barely remembers their existence--to scratch her head and smile at the strange beauty of life.

For the birds, today I am grateful.

p.s. Remember the old Pixar short film, For the Birds? I'm going to play it for the girls when they get home from school. It's a great one!


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

{8/52 & 9/52}: screw gentility

There are two main reasons I try not to complain about the weather, and they both have to do with my southern heritage. First and foremost is that as a southern girl, and I am born and bred to please. Genteel manners are in my blood, and a lady never lets on that she is not in a state of supreme comfort. Secondly, I still really have no concept of what is normal for the weather up here, and I refuse to be that cliche, just another Dixie redneck who can't hack the cold.

Luckily, y'all, those reasons have gone out the frosty window now that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is complaining to me about the weather. And thus, I say to Boston, on this bitterly cold Wednesday in a sea of bitterly cold days, DUBYA TEE EFF.

I am done. Done with my drippy nose, my numb fingers, my arse that tenses when I walk outside my front door. I am DONE. But unlike other activities I decide I'm finished with, being done does not mean I will be any less forced to deal with this weather. But I don't have to like it any more. You hear that, Boston? I DON'T LIKE YOU MUCH RIGHT NOW.

{That's about as harsh as my criticisms get, but I mean it with all my heart.}

And yes, I'm sorry I'm using the blog again as my personal punching bag, but what good is it if not a repository for my bitching, moaning, and aimless ranting? Sigh. Okay, I suppose I should end with cute pictures of my kids, which I can only hope make up for all manner of blogging sins. Please say yes?

{8/52}: Vivi has two less teeth than when I took this pic.

{9/52}: Writing her name! My big girl.

I am, XOXO, etc., your cranky pal,
~J


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{6/52 & 7/52}: surreal

I didn't post the weekly update pic last week partly because I wasn't sure if I wanted to share that we were in a commercial. It seems like no matter how I phrase it, that kind of update drips with exaggerated conceit, almost too "Hey look at this impossibly cool thing I'm doing!" even for a self-important blogger like me. Then we got more snow, and I didn't want to be that person who is all "Poor me! It is snowing AGAIN!" so I stayed away for that reason too.

But then my family shared the commercial on Facebook and said such sweet things about us, and I thought okay, reality check. We are all fine, yes. And I do want you to know about the new Family Breakfast Project, which is how we got in a commercial in the first place (note: you can see the commercial in that link). Remember when I posted about the Family Dinner Project last year? They are the same organization sponsoring this new program.

So basically, last week was surreal in a few different ways.

{6/52}: Eating cheerios while watching themselves in a Cheerios commercial. A weird unplanned coincidence.

The snow isn't even the surreal part, although it has been a huge amount. I mostly don't mind the snow; it is magical when falling, and after that you dress for the weather and get over it. The unfortunate part of this weather isn't in fact the snow but the cold; it has been almost too cold even for Charlie to play in the snow, but Vivi is determined to play no matter what the temperature and will stay out there by herself for an hour or more, just digging and rolling around.

But here's the truly surreal part. We took them sledding over the weekend, and after just a few rounds with us at the helm, the girls decided to sled on their own! They are true New Englanders. I feel the need to mention that the first time I saw this hill covered with snow three years ago, I was hesitant to go down it. Me, a grown human. And now my three-year-old is solo-traversing it. Life, man, it's weird like that.

{7/52}: Fearless Yankees
video

video

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

dirt cups and spring adventures! {rhythm of the home}

The spring edition of Rhythm of the Home is out today! I have two articles to share with you.



dirt cups: a recipe

The first is a recipe for dirt cups, a snack tradition (like with haystacks) I've been keeping up since my summer camp days.

spring adventures

The second is a list of spring adventures we love to experience again and again. I hope they inspire you to get outside and enjoy the thaw!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

it's fall {again}, y'all

In case you are the last to hear this little fun fact, autumn is the best season in New England. The best, Jerry! The weather is unstoppably beautiful nearly every day, enough so that you don't even feel guilty wasting a few hours of mid-60's and blue sky so you can sort boxes in the basement. You know, in case you've got a move coming up in a few weeks and still have beach toys scattered about your yard. So...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

spring break!


Yes, okey dokey is the day
when all you Rolie did was play.
-from Rolie Polie Olie by William Joyce


We spent our entire day outdoors with great weather. What a wonderful way to start spring break with a bang. We made it to church but didn't actually step foot inside the building. Vivi asked me if she could just play on the playground instead (her absolute favorite jungle gym), and I couldn't say no. We spent two glorious hours playing and chatting with the first service folks as they came out and with the second service folks before they went in. Then we had a picnic at home, went to Vivi's favorite park in the afternoon, and stopped in Winchester for ice cream on our way to dinner with friends. The perfect day! (minus Daddy still being gone)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

the arc of a Saturday

My day began as a typical Saturday does. I sprung out of bed, stripped the sheets, did some laundry, dressed the kids and made them breakfast, and got ready for the gym. At this point in my day, I am hyped up about my productivity, feeling a lot like this...


Source: Hyperbole and a Half. But, you knew that already.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

for whom the snow tolls...

Beantown has been all aflutter for the last month. You see, we haven't gotten much snow yet. There was some aggravating snow back in October when the leaf-and-snow-laden trees cracked under the weight and caused lots of damage, but we hadn't had the winter wonderland, fluffy, puffy, flitty, giddy, perfect snow. Until yesterday.

Saturday is the absolute best day for it to snow. It started snowing Friday night, which is even better, now that I think about it, because you wake up with snow already on the ground. Coming from my childhood in the ATL, I still get excited when I see snow out the window. It hovered at 15 deg F all morning, so it was the beautiful, tiny, sticks-to-nothing snow us southerners ain't never seen a'fore. Well, Nate and I did experience it in Wisconsin, but that fact ruins my hackneyed, deep-fried joke.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

the busy and the tired

"There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired." -Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby

We are a house full of injuries this weekend. On Friday during a play-date, Charlie slipped and bumped into the corner of the banister just above her eye, so she got a shiner and a split cut. Luckily, no need for stitches. Then even worse, Nate was playing football yesterday and broke his leg in an accidental spill with another player. So that line from The Great Gatsby about sums up how I'm feeling today.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

top 10 frugal challenge goals

Having a good weekend? Ours is once again blissfully unfilled, except for church, the gym, and a few odds and ends. Today we spent many hours outdoors at our local park enjoying the unseasonal warmth. Vivi met and became fast friends with a little boy while we happily chatted with some neighbors we've never met and one who I haven't seen in a while due to her giving birth very recently. Oh boy do I love new babies! They make everything okay, you know? That is, when you only have to spend an hour with them.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

(almost) wordless Wednesday: single digits

See number at the very bottom for how many degrees it was outside my house this morning (hint: it is one more than the number of fingers on a hand)...


Once again, I joined the link party at 5 Minutes for Mom. Stay tuned for a "wordy Wednesday" post later today with my adventures in breakfast-making.

Friday, November 18, 2011

approaching the discontent of my winter

The unceremonious end to autumn has arrived and brought with it the arm-crossing, hurried pace of moms across Massachusetts trying to pick up their kids from school as quickly as possible. Gone already are the days of standing in the warm sun and lazily chatting with each other as one of us (maybe) keeps half an eye on the kids running amok in the parking lot or on the playground.

Oh, and Charlie has slunk off to a corner to eat wood chips in peace.


I miss those days acutely!

Although I whinge constantly about the upcoming weather, I can't pretend that we haven't had a divine--and even prolonged--fall. The girls and I have eaten up every moment of it, all the while gluttonously begging for more.


As the days and my patience grow shorter, I am adding new ways to entertain the kids to my repertoire. You know, so I don't go nuts during the impending abominable snowdump. Temporarily, raking and jumping in leaves is providing some good laughs. Eventually, I'll actually move the leaves to the compost bin. I got a great idea from the Interwebs to request coffee grounds from a local coffee shop to add nitrogen to the mix.

Museums are another newly introduced diversion. I would call my first jaunt into the city (to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum) only mildly successful, due to illegal picture-taking on the part of Triathlete Mom, followed by constant supervision of the uptight guards. Relax, man! Undaunted, we plan to try again, this time at more kid-friendly options like the Children's Museum and Aquarium.


In the realm of outdoorsy activities, I am fully committed to relying on locals to teach my kids how to ice skate. I've already recruited a friend to the cause. Remember Laid-back Mom, from Vivi's school? She's Canadian, so of course her kid has been skating since she started walking. She gave me a lesson today on the difference between figure skates and hockey skates. Mine are figure, Nate's are hockey, but I really had no idea there was a difference beyond that girls use figure and boys use hockey. Apparently, she has hockey skates because they are warmer, and something else I can't remember. You see? I'm already a wealth of information on winter sports.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

farmaniac

Time change + hubster's snoring = early rising mama. May as well get crackin' on the blog. And I have much to discuss about the world's best day that was yesterday.

Continuing the streak of birthday week awesomeness, it was a glorious day in Boston. The kind of day they pretend happens continuously in movies about New England in the fall but which I hadn't seen the likes of yet. It was a perfect combination of 68 degF and fantastic leaf peeping.

I may have officially become a farm groupie, as visiting a farm was the first idea that came to mind when I was pondering what to do on this beautiful day. Then I remembered the great Audubon farm in Lincoln that I took Vivi to on her birthday, which I, in classic idiot-baby-brain fashion, had forgotten about all summer and fall (that's even after paying for a membership last spring. I have no words).


Boy was I glad to have remembered! Because I had the foresight to pack our lunch, we had plenty of time to stroll and explore. We hit up the animals and hayride first--I had little choice with all the gleeful squealing and jumping around Vivi was doing upon first glimpse.


I played with my camera's settings a bit more than usual, and I focused my five brain cells on finding the right light. Once I had it all figured out, I realized I may need to do a bit of model-coaching of my primary subject. I don't mean to toot my own horn (really, I don't), but she just may have inherited my photogenicity. Fingers crossed! Here are my two favorites of the day:



Check out the wasted composition and great back-lighting. Oh well. I added some more to flickr below if you're interested.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

if the shoe fits, put it in your pipe and smoke it

Nate: What are you doing?
Me: Reading Facebook posts about the GA/FL game.
Nate: I just think that is pointless.
Me: UGH, yes, we know this.
Nate: I don't think you get why I don't like it.
Me: You are a snob, that's why.
Nate: No, it's not that. I just don't think I'm important enough that people will care what I have to say.
Me: Uh huh, and what I just heard is, "Blah blah blah you think you're important."
Nate: Ummmm. Yes. That's correct.
Me: Ergo, you're a snob. Glad we agree.

Blammo!

In other more dire news, we are almost certainly going to lose power to our house in the next few hours or days. This situation is thanks to the wet snow we got last night (in October!) and the fact that we are having a strangely late fall so the oaks still have green leaves. All this means that we now have a semi-disconnected heavy tree branch pressing on our power lines going to the house. Wah wah waaahhh.

We had a great visit with the Hair men this weekend (dad, brother, and grandfather). It's always fun to see my daughter bond with my dad, but the best part this weekend was watching Billy depose my dad as the new king in Vivi's life. She played with him nonstop for literally six hours straight yesterday. Kudos to him for being able to keep up with her. "Whirling dervish" is the nickname my grandfather gave her. I'll post some pictures and stories soon. For now, here's a couple from the vault I stumbled upon recently. Check out the sweet 'stache, socks, track jacket, and hat my dad was sporting. Doesn't it scream '70s? Love it!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

how to be (sort of) successful while trying really, really hard


A while back a fellow mom blogger, Suburban Snapshots, posted about the difficulty in making good friends that resonated with me. In fact, it was as though she crafted the article especially for me. As someone who doesn't enjoy talking on the phone very much, in-person chats are important to me. Having close buddies nearby means I can have a conversation where the two of us don't even need to speak in full sentences. I knew that moving to a new place would mean that I would be starting over, but sometimes I forget how much I miss the belly laughs.

I hate appearing needy, so I wonder if I might have a tendency to appear aloof to other moms. In reality, what I'd like to be shouting is "Gimme gimme gimme! I need, I need, I need!" Like Bob, I am babystepping it into friendships. I am thankful for the few good friends I have here; my dear cousin who lives a couple of towns over, Triathlete Mom, Laid Back Mom, and a few others I've been collecting over the months.

It doesn't hurt that the weather here is terrific pretty much all the time right now. Gorgeous. At least when it isn't raining. Great weather makes you want to linger outside a little longer, looking around for a good driveway chat or stopping to talk to the lady pruning her bushes. And Lord, do New Englanders love to gab. It's a little known secret that southerners don't own the rights to all the idle chatter this side of the Mississippi (M-i-ss-i-ss-i-pp-i). You just have to know how to make small talk, that's all. Here's the scoop on some solid gold convo topics:

1) Rag on the Red Sox, but quickly assert that the Yankees suck so they know where your allegiance lies

2) Rag on Tom Brady, but quickly assert he's the best QB in the NFL so they know where your allegiance lies

3) Say in an incredulous tone, "Can you believe this weather?" No one can ever believe the weather ("weath-ah"), no matter what the barometer reads. I can't figure out if they are just making polite conversation, or if the weather is really that constantly surprising here.

A few weeks ago I stumbled into meeting a nice woman at the library. She happened to exit during Vivi's "races," in which she runs like a maniac up and down the hill in front of the library and gives me a high 5 on her way back up. This woman's three-year-old ran right up to mine, and they stopped like a couple of dogs to check each other out for a moment, and seriously without a word--just a quick smile--they started back down the hill together, holding hands and laughing hysterically. Done and done. I've never seen a kid make friends as quickly as Vivi; she's the pied piper of three-year-olds, only without the creepiness.

Last week I went on a play date with Library Mom, and she and I had lots to talk about as fellow home rangers. She taught me how to give a kid some bangs. Bangs, y'all! I have a healthy fear of bangs due to having had ridiculous thick bangs that started from the back of my skull--or maybe farther back--for my entire childhood. A little too much business in the front, if you know what I'm saying. But that's my own quirkiness, and I dare to dream that my kids might have normal cute bangs some day. Apparently all you need to do is pick up the amount of hair you want made into bangs, twist it, cut straight across, and voila! Adorable 'do.

I've also met some fun moms at our local park in the woods, and we've made attempts via texts to get together on occasion. Although I've enjoyed these outings, I definitely agree with Suburban Snapshots that you make your good friends not by trying at scheduled outings but by living your life, much the same as with dating.

Maybe I'm proving myself a GenX slacker, but I want to fast forward a bit to the part of life where I've been here long enough so I can just sit back and attract friends through relaxed magnetism. Pretending to be at ease is hard work, people! Plus, I just discovered that TJ Maxx is headquartered nearby, which could be why we have some of the best stores I've seen. I need a plunderer to come with me!

Faithfully yours...
The Ellipsis Queen

Update:
Just in case you thought I was exaggerating about the excessive bangs I sported when I was young...


Shazam! See what I mean? But maybe I should be thankful, since if it weren't for the giant overgrown toupe on my head, I would have totally blended in with the sand, and my parents might have lost me at the beach! Seriously, what's with the color of my swimsuit?

Monday, October 10, 2011

there is a place for everything, and everything is out of place

Typical view of my living room couch:



I am see-ree-uh-slee considering teaching my toddler how to fold laundry, for reals.

In other news, we are getting all of Canada's geese as they make their way south, and they have taken over the local playground by the school. I won't get started about the poop. But there is some. Poop, I mean. Lots. There was no end to my cackling the other day as I watched a grandma attempt to shoo the geese out of the playground gate and back down to the pond. Go, Gramma, go! A valiant effort that I probably shouldn't have snort-laughed at, but you get your chuckles where you can, amirightladies? It was one of the many moments in life I cursed not having a smart phone so I could better capture the moment I knew I would blog about later.

Much like I almost always turn my amusing life moments into blog posts, I also live my life as a Monty Python sketch. See someone walking funny? They must work at the Ministry of Silly Walks. Feel like having an argument with someone for no reason? Go pay for an Argument Clinic. See a bunch of geese flying overhead? Discuss the potential migration of coconuts.

Somebody found my blog the other day by Googling "reason to hate Timothy Geithner." Not sure how I feel about that, but hey, I suppose I'll take what I can get. If you've forgotten why my blog came up (and I know I sure struggled to remember), here's the post under review, and its follow-up. I hope you found what you were searching for, angry-one-time-reader.

Did ya'll have a nice weekend? We are having glorious weather, prompting me to reconsider my bid to head south. Have I forgotten the blitzkrieg to come? Mayhaps. For now, I'm relishing in the most perfect autumn ever created. Thanks, New England.

Hasta lasagna,
~J

Friday, September 16, 2011

it's fall, y'all

It's another spectacular autumn day in Boston. The girls and I spent a few hours at the park soaking up the sun and breeze, and Vivi didn't even break a sweat! That's what 61 degF gets you. Ahhhh. I just want to bottle this up and bring it out in March when I am sick of the snow and ice and say "See?! It's worth living in Boston! Don't forget!"

As soon as the barometer drops below 65, I know I won't be seen in a bikini for a while so immediately begin thinking of all the carb-loaded foods I want to make. The hubster is in Athens this weekend playing tennis with the boys and calling the dawgs, so I decided to partake in one of my own fall rituals and cook up a comfort dish. Up today was mac & cheese, one of my favorites. You can dress it up or down, depending on your mood and the company you're serving. Since this time I am serving just me, I dressed it way down to the essentials. Below is the basic recipe, but you can always take a tip from Ina and add some fancy cheese if you want to dazzle guests.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

autumn


From "A Vagabond Song"
by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood --
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.


I got home from Atlanta yesterday, and there was the unmistakeable feeling of autumn in the Boston air. I celebrated by breaking out some of my traditional fall rituals, of which I have many. Last night's included donning a comfy sweatshirt, making a giant bowl of spaghetti, and lounging on the couch with a mug of mint tea and some ginger snaps.

How do you ring in the new season? Do you have a favorite fall ritual?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

off to the hizzot in the ATL...

I'm leaving for Atlanta today to celebrate Charlotte & my mom's birthdays and see my Dad and family over Labor Day weekend. Take a look at the weather I'll be missing while I'm gone...


The hot bugs are still chirping, but their swan song won't last long. Fall is getting ramped up, and I venture it's here to stay. It's a rare experience for me to have autumn begin on September 1st, with the brief exception of our two years in Madison, WI. Meanwhile, my home state of Georgia will still be in the 90's all week. I can only hope Boston's version of my favorite season lasts longer than a week (unlike the spring up here, apparently). Please don't start the winter yet. I'm not ready. Ok, I admit to having already bought snow pants for the girls, but that's only because last year I couldn't find any in January and because I got a great deal at Old Navy. But I'm not ready to be cold yet! Do you hear me, weather? I'm not ready yet!!

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