Sunday, December 23, 2012

White Christmas

Hi,

I took a little break from blogging after the Connecticut shooting. There was really just nothing I could add to what had already been said, and none of the usual frivolity that's posted here felt appropriate. I shared in the profound grief that is felt by so many, and I pray for the comfort of the families left behind, especially during the Holidays. I repeat my previous prayer; Maranatha, Lord. And may the God of all peace be with all our hearts.

Around here, our whole family is sharing in the generous gift a special someone brought home from her vacation. (Hint: it's a cold :) ) We're all fine though and Bucci-in-utero gets the gift that keeps on giving - antibodies! Joking aside, my mom also brought home two of the prettiest mantillas I've ever seen :) Thanks maaaaaaa!

I cut all my hair off (imagine a creepy bag of hair picture here) but I got two 10"+ ponytails to send to Locks of Love and that made me really happy. Bonus, I look and feel very pretty and can now do so many pretty things with my hair instead of putting it in a bun. Special props to Kate Naylor, stylist extraordinaire who specializes in making this pregnant mom of a toddler look pretty dang fine.  

I got my first B+ in college. Please circle any of the following excuses and submit to my future employer:
A) First trimester nausea/exhaustion/indifference/babymaking
B) Toddler. That's all you need to know.
C) Sociology on a community college level is basically a class telling you different people's theories about everything and anything with conflicting studies to show you why each of them could be both right and wrong. I found this so annoying that I really couldn't force myself to absorb some of it. Basically, I could get into an argument with myself and come up with better reasoning than some of the material presented. It was that special.
D) All of the above.

Regardless, we're all very thankful to be together with family for Christmas, in good health besides the sniffles, and celebrating the birth of our Savior. I hope your holidays are a blessing to you all! And I hope we get some snow.

Love,
Me

Monday, December 10, 2012

You can't see what I wore Sunday.

Why?

A) We downgraded (my FAVORITE hobby as of late - I am not kidding. Can I cut the cost/clutter/crap out of an area of our lives for the greater benefit? I'm in.) our fancy shmancy iPhones that cost almost as much monthly as my car lease does, in exchange for going with Virgin Mobile. Previous phone bill: $150/month. Current phone bill: $75/month. And that extra five is only because I genuinely NEED the $5/month insurance, what with my rampant phone dropping skills. Next to go is the cable. Anyway, with the downgrade came a downgraded camera on said phones, so until I find a way to make 3.5MP look blog worthy, you'll just have to use your imagination.

B) Part of my outfit was this skirt:


...except instead of some weird dupioni silk curtain-turned-skirt, it was burgundy corduroy. NOW picture the back zipper, but instead of it being invisible or of a matching burgundy shade, it was bright yellow and not so invisible. Love the skirt. Love that it fits over the baby bump. Don't love the zipper. I also don't hate it enough to take it out and re-do it invisibly. (I KNOW someone out there shares my HATRED for sewing invisible zippers.) 

C) We slept in till 7:15am, had an 8:30am service, rushed home to try and force-nap the critter (failed), and rushed to a Christmas party (WIN!). I just didn't have it in me to find a flattering angle and lighting.

So, black shirt, red peplum bump hiding skirt, black legging, black pumps, and cream lace headcover. That's all I got, folks.

~

In botany news, I've been to Longwood Gardens twice in the last four days. Dear Husband buys me a membership every year for Mother's Day and it is a haven and a refuge for me. When I bring the critter, it's a little less refuge and a little more running, but it is a gift from God to me. I can breathe and rest and smell and rest and breathe and rest some more. I have always found great comfort in creation, and although DuPont had more than a little bit of a hand in building this place, it never fails to comfort me and render me thankful to God for making all that He did. I do have a minor conflict of interest that DuPont is in cahoots with Monsanto (I believe?), but I don't have the strength to complain about it now, and to me, Longwood will always be untouched.

My favorite smell in the place is Cinnamon Wattle (Acacia). While this is literally the weed of weeds where it grows in it's native Australia, Longwood is the last place it is cultivated in the U.S. I asked today if I snatched a cutting, would it propagate with a little root hormone....sadly, no :/ So, the only place to get my fix for this particular Acacia species is an hour away, in a hallway tucked behind a rainforest, between the orchids, ferns, and main atrium. Oh well, I'll take it :)

Korban loves the children's garden (so do I), and we ALL love the food. The BEST mushroom soup I've ever had was at Longwood, and their polenta with mushroom ragout is another favorite of mine. It doesn't hurt that it's right outside Kennett Square, the mushroom capital of something. The world? The country? Anyway, great fungi there. It doesn't matter if it's snowing, raining, or four thousand degrees outside...once you step into the conservatory, you're transported to another world. I want to start collecting little terrariums or wardian cases and bringing home little plantlets from there on each trip.

Are you still reading? I almost fell asleep writing that last sentence. Hope your weekend was everything that is good and lovely.

Love,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Anecdote

So, our son is a very happy, very well adjusted, very verbose two year old...around close friends and family. If he hasn't seen you for more than a week (or ever, if you are a friendly stranger), chances are good that when you say "Hi!" he will tuck his chin or just stare at you with his big, beautiful blue eyes. I have spent the last three MONTHS prodding, poking, and pushing him to say "hi," encouraging him to "not be so shy", excusing him to well meaning adults and kids saying "oh, he's just my shy guy", etc, you get the idea. I never felt comfortable with it, but lately I've really been thinking that I not only don't want to label him as "shy", I don't want him to think there's something wrong with being reserved or introverted; it takes all types of people to make this world, and if the Good Lord gave my son a gift of meekness in the temperament department, who am I to argue? Or make him feel like something's wrong?

Case in point: We took a trek to my favorite place for "Jesus walks" today, Longwood Gardens. I love going here alone, with family, when I need to think, when I need to get away, or in today's case, when I desperately need to get out of the house, into the sun, and surrounded by nature in a balmy 76 degree environment. I've been stuck in the house since Tuesday, thanks to the WORST timed trip to the ER thanks to a stupid-cyst-feigning-as-appendicitis-on-date-night, but ANYWAY - I needed to get out. So get out we did, Korb walked the entire Conservatory by himself (a first!) and we had a great time. Along the way, a polite older gentleman tried to strike up a conversation with him, and he answered as usual, with an aversion and a head tuck. Instead of making a big deal or trying to make him say hi, I just let him be him, and the man said "Oh, he's shy, isn't he?". Not wanting him to feel pressured, I said "He can be sometimes, but it's okay!" and we just kept going. When we were about 15 feet away, Korban said "Sorry mommy. I sorry mommy."


:/


Mom fail. Even with a recent realization that it probably wasn't beneficial to him to call him shy, he'd already gotten the message that he had done something wrong in the interaction. I told him oh no, there's nothing to apologize for, that he's mommy's good boy and if he wants to talk, he can, and if he doesn't want to talk to someone, that's okay too, and it's nothing to apologize for and that it's just the way God made him, and that's perfectly fine, etc etc but man did I feel like a jerk. SO, I called up my best friend, Dr. Google, and found this great article from Dr. Sears that I wish I had found three months ago about how to not be a failure as a parent and make your kid feel shame for his God given, wonderful personality. My new go-to redirection for well meaning folks that call him shy: "He's not shy, he's a good listener", or "He's just very observant", both of which are true. Also, don't hold me to that first one when I call his name ten times and he pretends not to hear me.

Anyway, any stories of your own in how to approach interactions with adults or strangers in a polite way that doesn't leave your more reserved children feeling like weirdos? I'm all ears. Also, I'm still looking for the instruction booklet that didn't come with this kid. Hopefully the next one will come with two.

Much love,

I finally look pregnant.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What I Wore Sunday!

I DID IT. Linking up with the ladies of Fine Linen And Purple, I present: What I Wore Sunday!



Ignore my left alien hand doing the robot. Please excuse my sweet critter trying to flash you my "baby button". I think I confused him a bit with the whole 'baby is in mommy's belly/mommy also has a bellybutton'.

My technicolor dreamoutfit is composed of...
Snood: Target from ten years ago.
Shirt: Gift from me madre, Kohl's Maternity, I believe?
Materni-pants: Old Navy Maternity.
Shoes: Gift from my beffy 5 years ago.
Korban's Outfit: Carters and Car Slippers.



I didn't think twice before wearing heels to my first day in the Preschool room of our children's ministry, but let me tell you, I'm thinking twice for next time. Those chairs are SHORT. Those tables are TINY. My whole body self is NOT. I looked like a spider squatting and crab walking all over that room today. Gangliness aside, today was a REAL blast! I honestly LOVE the whole 2-4 year old age, and if I ever had to go back to work before my kids were in school, I think it'd be at a nursery school or something, cuz today was just FUN. Side-note, shoutout to my Shearer's, I cannot get enough of your kid.

In other church news, we had our first service in our new renovated building today. It was beautiful. We expanded our crowded main hall into a glass atrium, and you can pretty much guarantee if I'm not somewhere I should be, it's because I'm photosynthesizing somewhere in that atrium. Seriously. I have chloroplasts in my retinas that take the place of all the rods and cones I'm missing, and I NEED sunlight for a certain number of hours a day. If you're looking for me, you know where to start. If I'm not there, check the loo, where I'm sure to be peeing for the billionth time that day (thank you, baby.)

While absorbing my precious, precious Vitamin D, I spotted a woman wearing a headscarf tied just enough to make me think it was intentional as a headcovering, and like the weirdo I am, I had to see if we were, in fact, sisters of the 1 Corinthians 11 variety. It turns out that she had noticed MY snood in service and had bet I was wearing it as a headcovering! - I tell you, we can spot each other a mile away. I was SO excited to make a new friend that I did the running man, even in those heels. Unfortunately, she goes to church in another state, but my day was certainly made either way! It's the little things, I tell you. Also, she wears the tichel, which I've never tried, so now I have a fun new thing to learn.  I have a future blog post on the docket about how and why I decided to wear the headcovering, but aside from the doctrinal reasons, it has become my favorite thing to put on on a Sunday. It is just so feminine and beautiful in a way that has nothing to do with the fabric or aesthetics of it... I can't quite put it into words, but I just love being a woman, and I love that God gave women the gift of femininity.

Welp, I hope your Sunday was full of peace, gladness, and joy!
Much love,
Chelsea

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I Wore Sunday...almost

So, one of my favorite bloggers (Grace at Camp Patton) started linking up with the ladies of Fine Linen And Purple a few weeks ago on a post called "What I Wore Sunday". I love. love. LOVE. this weekly blog "segment" because it's just cute, modest church outfits. I love getting dressed up for church because I think Church is very special, and it's a very very welcome reprieve from my mom uniform of glasses that are too big for my face, sweatjamas, house slippers, and bi-weekly washed hair. Eventually I put normal clothes on. If I'm going outside the house. Okay, outside the car.

.

Anyway, the last two weeks I got all excited to have my husband take pics and then link up with the ladies, but as a first-time linker, I got shy. Two weeks in a row. Shy about linking a blog post with a group of like-hearted Christian women who are posting pictures of sweet, modest outfits appropriate for Church. I can't roll my eyes at myself any harder, so feel free to join in. Completely unrelated, whenever I think of eye rolls I think of this hilarious picture that honestly, honestly makes me laugh out loud for at least a minute.




Right?!?! I can't stop laughing! I know it's GOOGLY EYES and not rolled eyes, but next time someone rolls their eyes at you, think of this. Is there anything funnier than googly eyes?







I just found a website called allgoogly.com, so my evening's about to be gone.


Anyway, fun times tomorrow linking up with "What I Wore Sunday"!


PLUS IT'S ADVENT!!!!!!

Love,

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven.

At this point, I think I'll just keep track for fun during this pregnancy. Apologies for the scratched foggy iphone lens.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Numbers

13+3 ... Weeks plus days the little munchkin in my belly is. Helloooooo second trimester energy. HA! Kidding. Sorta. I'm 1/3 of the way through my pregnancy. What?!?

1 ... Week since I've felt quickening. Please spare me any links telling me otherwise, I know a baby vs a fart.

2 ... weeks since I've been inundated with morning noon and night sickness! PTL!

3 ... number of goldfish I have. I used to have five. One got eaten. One got sucked into the filter. You're welcome.

4 ... days of hacking coughs from my sweet pea. He's so cute when he's sick. When he's not screaming anyway. It's the only time I get snuggles!

5 ... the number of hoagies I had in the last two weeks until today.

6 ... number of small Veggie Diablo Primo Hoagies I've eaten in the last two weeks including today's.

0 ... number of lbs gained in the last 3 weeks, so don't judge me.

Stop judging me. You're judging me.



Stop judging me.

600 ... times a night I wake up tossing, turning, peeing, or praying for relief from what may or may not be a double ear infection. Stay tuned for that exciting development.

Are you judging me yet about those hoagies? They're small. They're mainly broccoli rabe and eggplant. And peppers. Ignore the 1/2 yard of provolone thrown in. And the oil and spices. And the hot peppers so hot it clears the sinuses of the person sitting next to me. Which right now, is no one. And the bread. Oh, the bread.

Stop judging me!!!!


Love,
I-have-to-visit-three-different-Primo's-in-my-area-so-the-counter-person-doesn't-judge-me-either.

Im not kidding.




You better not be judging me.



Friday, November 16, 2012

12 weeks

It has been 12 fun filled, nauseating, exhausting, food aversion and craving filled weeks since my last blog update. Surprise!!


In other news....there is no other news. There's a BAAAAABBBYYYYYY in my belly!! We are thrilled, and when Korban realizes what's going on, I'm sure he'll be thrilled too :) Much like my last pregnancy, I have REDIC food cravings, combined with obnoxious aversions roughly five seconds after considering the craving, leading to lots of leftovers and ginoooormous grocery bills. Hopefully that calms the heck down this trimester. School is the farthest thing from my mind, but it's still simmering away on the back burner. I'm maintaining my GPA, and hoooope I can keep it up by the end of the semester. I'm enjoying (read: rolling my eyes through) my sociology class and leaning on every bit of medical curiosity I've accumulated over the years in my A&P class. Somewhat terrifying fact: I have barely skimmed my A&P chapters due to sheer exhaustion and limited brain CPU's and have aced every test so far. This is because I was raised by a physician and used to read the Physician's Desk Reference and Pediatrics Quarterly for fun. Additionally I took a few weeks of Latin 10 years ago, and these things added to my fondness for reading medical blogs have given me enough of a prefix base to figure out most of the questions. That, and it's open book. Anyway, this means that theoretically it is possible to ace A&P without any real working knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. I'll try not to think of that next time I'm in the hospital.

Anyway, here's the best meal I've made in weeks.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Not my photo - picture taken from this website.


Serves 4 to 6

Recipe directly copied from Four Seasons Pasta, no copyright infringement intended.
1.5 - 2 lbs of broccoli rabe (I used one head)
1 pound orecchiette or spaghetti
6 TBS of evoo
5 lg cloves of garlic, minced (minced is important!)
Pinch of hot pepper flakes
6 - 8 oz (1/2 lb) of hot italian sausage
Salt
Freshly grated pecorino cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the broccoli rabe, removing any tough stems and slicing any stems thicker than a pencil. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water, and cook for three minutes until stems are just tender. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a colander and cool quickly under cold running water. (Keep the cooking water boiling.) Drain the broccoli rabe, squeezing gently to remove excess water, and chop coarsely.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir gently, and cook until al dente (one minute less than the cooking time on the box recommends).

While the pasta is cooking, put the evoo, garlic, and hot pepper flakes in a large skillet. [Important: I Never mince garlic, just chop it, but there REALLY was a taste difference in using minced garlic. I'm sure this isn't news to the rest of the world, but it was news to me! So, throw yourself some gerlics in the Cuisinart and buzz em for a few seconds.] Remove the sausage from its casing, if it has any, and add it to the cold skillet. Warm over moderately low heat, breaking up the sausage with a fork, and cook it until the sausage loses its pinkness. Add the broccoli rabe and season with salt to taste. Stir to coat it with the oil and seasonings.
 
Set aside one cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot over low heat. Add the sauce and toss well, adding some of the pasta water if it's too dry. Serve immediately with cheese if desired! It. is. sensational. My picky almost-two-year-old had two servings, as did my husband, my baby in utero, and myself. My mom only had one, that bastion of self control, she!

ENJOY!!!

P.S. Regarding my last post about Weight Watchers - that was the FIRST call homegirl made after telling family about the new baby. There was never a subscriber happier to cancel. See you in a year, suckerssssss!!

Love,
The Fetal Snuggler

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Weight Watchers...

Dear Weight Watchers,

Thank you for helping me drop 20 last year. I gained sommmmeeeealot of it back when I stopped counting, and now that I'm trying to stay in my allotted 26 points a day, I just want to let you know - I'm pretty sure my internal organs are breaking themselves down for fuel by this point. I am so very headachey and miserable. It could have more to do with the fact that we've just cut my daily carb allotment from 30,000 grams to something more reasonable. Or cut my daily calories from 2,000+ to 1,200. Or had to cut off my snack-breakfast-snack-snack-lunch-nibble-snack-snack-dinner-dessert-snack habit. Are you sure I can go more than thirteen minutes without refueling? Because my tummy grumbles disagree. And no, I don't want another banana or apple or celery stalk, thank you. No, I don't want a cup of broth. No, I don't want to use spray oil. I want an entire yule log, via IV, prn, STAT. According to my BMI, we have a long, long way to go. Like, 40 pounds to go (literally. not a use of hyperbole there. 40 pounds to even be in the midrange of normal weight for my height. 50 if I want to play it lean. are you freaking kidding me, BMI setters?) To be fair, you do have some of the best recipes around, so, Weight Watchers, thank you again for all your help last year, and I'd appreciate it if you'd keep up the game. Also, I'm hungry.

Love/Hate,
Your 18.99/month fan for life


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeostasis

I love that word. I love the mental picture of Biodome that pops up when I hear it. Did anyone see biodome? I haven't in over 12 years, but I remember laughing very hard at Pauly Shore.
Anyway, I'm learning about homeostasis in my newly registered for Anatomy and Physiology class, which started today! I love A&P, and it was the only class I aced if memory serves me well (it sometimes doesn't) at my short stint in alternative high school. Boom.

This semester I am tackling Anatomy and Physiology as well as the sensitivity-charged waters of community college Sociology through a distance learning class, the preferred mode of education that allows Deej to finish his thesis sometime before First Contact occurs. Oh, you don't appreciate Star Trek references indiscriminately scattered throughout your eyeline? Go watch it, right now. And don't hold your breath for the ending of Nemesis, which still has me slightly kerfluffled a full 24 hours later.

Anyway. Soc. Methinks the estrogen saturated discussion forum hasn't seen much in the ways of complementarian women under the age of 60, but we'll see if I can ease in reeeeeaaaallll sssllloooooowwww without offending too many ovaries :) JK, I really do aim for civil and fruitful discussions wherever possible (sometimes my aim is very off), and I am thankful for my right to vote and my option to work if I want or have to (I do want to again, when the kids are older).

Speaking of work, which is a major reason I'm in school, I've gone back and forth with the idea of joining the medical or nursing field for the last eight years or so, for the following reasons:
A) As the daughter of a very accomplished and competent physician, I have always had a respect and appreciation for the art of medicine.
2) I think IV's are cool, except when the Dentist 2 scarred me for life with a fear of bubbles in IV tubing. Dang you, stupid halloween horrors from my preteens.
C) I love to care for people, minister to people, nurture people, comfort people, make people laugh, serve people, and I think nursing covers all of those things in a special way. When I had my throat surgery I will NEVER forget my anesthesiologist (spell check is telling me that's the correct spelling, but I thought it was anaesth...) or my surgeon. They were confident, comforting, and wonderful in their bedside manner. I realize they weren't nurses, but honestly, I don't have 14 years of med school in me time-wise, and I'm not sure I'd be competent enough anyway.
D) Medical mission trips always need medical personnel.

5) I see it as an extension of ministry in a very practical way, plus, who better to be praying for you than your healthcare provider in real-time?

Fears: I want to hearken to God's call in my life, and don't know if nursing is just my idea of a "Plan B" since the track I was on for ministry was abruptly derailed last year (in my finite view of things, not that I have a birds eye view on my life). Also, I care very much for people in a way that is disproportionate to the amount of time I've known them, and I don't know if my heart could handle seeing people dying. (I can't even say the b word. NICU is not for me.) Really. I don't know if I could guard my heart enough in seeing others' rawest times of grief. Also, I don't want to miss my time with my child(ren). I very much enjoy raising children and making a home, and while I'm comfortable with the idea of clinicals or working while the children are in school, I strongly desire to send them off on their day and greet them home from school, do their HW and projects with them, etc. (VERY IMPORTANTLY, my mom managed to be a full time physician AND earn a coveted spot in Mr.McBride's 6th grade class project shelf with my clamshell 3D amoeba, so all those things are certainly not contingent upon staying home.) I just don't want to miss anything, and I want to give them the best I can, because as fast as these almost two years have flown by, I have a feeling the next 16 go even faster. I know I can't be the only woman who wrestles with a work/life balance, although I may be the only one that worries about it half a decade before her "work" would even begin. Maybe I should be a professional worrier, since I have that down pat. Also, I always want to spell profession with two f's - proffession. You're welcome.

Work/life balance: discuss.

Bless your hearts,
The ever vigilant heplock inspector.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blog blog blog, wonderiffic you're terrific BLOOOG

Five points to you if you can name that tune.

It is RILLY nice out today - cloudy and 60's = FALL IS HERE. Fall candles start burning anytime after July 15th, fall decor always makes it out in the latter days of August, and September 1st is the official start of fall. I don't know why everyone insists on waiting till the end of September.

School is done for now and went lovelyish, and I ended up getting an A in Bio and an O in Math 055 - if you're confused about the O it's because you thought I was taking college courses, not sitting in on Elementary School politics. You'd be right.
I pared my schedule of three classes down to one for the fall since this summer was a fail in DJ getting ahead with his thesis, aaaand I missed my kid. So Soc 101 it is. Buckets of win.

Nnnnnoooott mmmuuuccchhh eeellllsseeeee to write about...I got five zucchinis too many last week and made two loaves of zucchini bread, three thousand zucchini cookies, and a tray of zucchini chips that sucked so bad it's hard to adequately describe it here. Jealous, right?Also, Korb calls every bird a Duckie.

Welp I'm off to spend the day with ze family and not sit on my tater tots all day staring at a computer screen.

Bless your hearts!
The zucchini whisperer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sitting Olympics

For real, am I the only who fears DVT from being forced to sit for one million hours a day doing hw? Yes? Okay. Well, pin a rose on your blood clot.

Anywayyyy my Bio class from hades only has 9 more days of cruelty left in it before it extinguishes itself in its own schedule crippling horror, and I could not be more ready for it. The last five weeks have consisted of 100% guilt over the aformentioned time suck, during which SOMEONE had to take care of the baby while I plodded through 15 weeks of information squeeeeeezed into 1/3 of the time. To the pace of six hours of labs every other day. That someone watching the baby is my husband, who did I mention, is home solely to work on his PhD so he can graduate in the next ten years?? No? Oops. No, instead of PhD completion we are working on Mitosis and Meiosis for an associates degree that, by the way, is NOT bringing home any bacon, at least not for the next twenty years. Wife fail. Bio fail. Summer fail. From now on, I'm maxing out my schedule at one class a semester. Class of 4035, here I come.

In other news, this week was our church's VBS - that's Vacation Bible School for those who did not grow up with that (like me, who had to ask what VBS was a few years ago.) I've never participated in a traditional VBS and honestly, there are not letters enough in our alphabet to describe the amounts of fun I am having. First off, I get to serve in ministry with my husband - right there, my two favorite things in one: ministry. my babe. together. Secondly, we're characters in a skit put on each night for K-6th graders, and I am really not sure who enjoys it more. They think we are hilarious, and my heart gets filled to the brim and overflows allll over the floor at the sight of a gym full of kids laughing and singing Scriptures and competing with who can recite their verses the loudest and and and and so many things. The first night they all got construction hats to take home to decorate, and when I tell you I teared up judging them the next night (for a prize, not bc I'm a judgy judger - see previous post) I am not exaggerating even a little bit. These kids put time and effort and heart and stickers and hammers and lights (!!) allllll into these hats, and I melted. And seeing their little eyes light up when they finally catch on to the song or dance we're doing, there are no words. Thirdly, the skits in themselves are dang hilarious. I haven't made it through a single one without cracking up completely. Deej gets to be silly, I get to be silly and loud, so everybody's happy.

There's also a very comforting undertone to the whole camp that the pressure is not on us...the feeling is very much one of trust and faith that we are there to serve God and His children, and He is the one who draws little hearts to Himself. We can make mistakes and it's ok. We can flub a line and the kids still have a blast and they get the point. This is very comforting and peaceful and redemptive for me for ministry as a whole. Whether it was being part of creative team meetings this week, witnessing others serve as a team, or just worshipping with the kids and having fun, I am finding hope awakened again.

Welp, this has been a wonderful procrastination from the bio lab just waiting to take over my afternoon, but the cells they are a-callin'. Lurv you all.

Bless this mess,
Chelsea

Friday, July 27, 2012

The letter of the law


Hiiiii! How are you, how are things?
What? How was the beach?

It was great! Korb loves running headfirst into waves taller then his head, then feigning a near-drowning while laughing the whole time. He's def my kid. We didn't see too many duckies (seagulls), he avoided playing in the sand (boo), and we only slightllly pushed his insulin receptors to the limit by force feeding him chocolate water ice. Strangely enough, he wanted nothing to do with boardwalk fries. Maybe he's not my kid. Also, we lost a tent spike, I got a 10th degree sunburn bc I blocked everyone but myself in SPF protected-up-to-100-Kelvin sunscreen, aaaand I got hoodwinked by Manco&Manco Pizza, who were masquerading as Mack&Manco Pizza. Rude.

I'm two weeks away from the end of my 5 week Bio Lect+Lab, and let me tell you - a five week class is NEVER. HAPPENING. AGAIN. Ever. I LOVE science like I love fresh bread, but this class has almost ruined it for me. Between "optional" 10 page papers (not kidding), a professor who I'm pretty sure doubles as a loon (semi kidding) and 6+ hours of homework every other day (not kidding), I'm done. Also, I screwed around in high school bio, so I need to start at step A, not step 11, and they're already on the next continent of information, so basically, this might break my 4.0. As a reforming legalist, that might turn me prematurely grey.

Speaking of reformed legalists, (you're welcome) I wish St. Paul were around so I could have a few words with him. Or a long afternoon over coffee. Or 15 years of discipleship.
Let me back it up. I love the Lord. I've read the Bible cover to cover at least once, read through it at different tempos over the last nine years, and our family is a little more then 1/2 way through the Bible in One Year plan we started in January. To say I like things in black and white would be an understatement. God has graciously given me a desire for righteousness after spending the first 19 years of my life as what some might call a hellion, which might have led to a little pendulum action in the form of turning into a "secret" Pharisee. Which I still contend isn't a bad thing, bc Paul was still calling himself a Pharisee after He was converted by Christ, but hey, I'm not St Paul.
When we started our reading plan last year, it was with the NLT translation of the Bible, while I had always read NIV or NKJV, which is a bit like being used to NJ accent all your life, then taking a vacation to Lancaster, where people speak a little friendlier and with that lovely Dutch lilt that I love so much I will purposely ask the Amish at fairs what is in their pretzels just so I can hear them talk. Creeper alert.
Anyway, same language, same Bible, same message, different accent, so it's like reading it with fresh eyes. Then I come to Romans, which with Ephesians and Proverbs, has always been a favorite book of mine. And Paul has the beautiful audacity to write these words:

"Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law." (Romans 3:19-31, Emphasis mine.)


How achingly beautiful that is. Truthfully, this is so wonderful and so difficult for me at the same time. I don't know why, but for someone who loves to know the boundaries, the lines, the clauses and consequences so I can stay inside them (which is a delusion), it made me almost...indignant.. at the bold grace God offers in salvation, like somehow I had forgotten that I was and am every single day the pigpen prodigal daughter, desperately in need of that grace and salvation.
Do you hear what Paul is saying? That God counts sinners as righteous. That God justifies them APART from their (inability to) follow the law, by their faith in Christ. That, beloved friends, is the Good News, the Gospel.

Do you know what that does to a legalist like me? Exactly what it should. It humbles me.

I think there may be a line between a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness, which is a good and holy thing, and a legalistic, judgemental, self-rightousness that will always only end up forsaking grace and the power of the Cross.
I pray God gives me and keeps me in the former.
This is not to say that Christians can do whatever they please (and honestly, it gets old. Sin is pleasant for a season but it really does suck you dry at the end. It promises life and leaves you empty). In fact, there are very strong admonishments against it and consequences for it (see: the entirety of the Bible).
We are to die to sin and be baptized into Christ. But honestly, someone who has received the grace of God, really received it and felt the relief wash over them as their soul resonated with what they've always known was true, that they are sinners and in need of forgiveness, and God has provided it, really, truly, and abundantly, for them... their first response isn't going to be "oh goody, I can't wait to sin and blaspheme all over this grace." We stumble. We sin. We repent, and we abide in Christ.

I'm working it out.

Love you very much,
Chelsea



P.S. the zucchini died, my pumpkins are taking over, I have a perfect daily bread recipe, I need God's wisdom very very very very much in raising my little peanut toddler critter, I aced math, my math creeper is probably getting expelled, and I'm pushing fall in all forms here on the homestead. xoxoxo



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Honestly

Really will do a complete update soon. Honestly. It's 11:29pm and I am going to bed after x hours of bio agaaaain.

By the way, six hours of labs yesterday. Six. Hours. Of distance-learning bio labs. Mendel can keep his plants, I don't care about yellow peas, I just want to deepen my love of science without compromising my husband's entire summer work lineup and making my kid feel like a motherless lump.Which tends to happen when teachers assign SIX HOURS OF LAB HOMEWORK every other day. Donnnnnne. I'm done. Jk I'm almost done, 2.5 weeks left.

In other news, the family is taking a much needed trip to the beach tomorrow. I haven't been since I was pregnant, and Korby needs to chase the "duckies" (seagulls or any other bird or animal that's not an "ent" <any insect, ever, especially ants.>) I'm looking forward to the smell of sunblock, exploring tidepools with Korb, and of course, Mack and Manco's with real boardwalk lemonade. Korby is looking forward to anything and everything, all the time. That's my boy. Deej is looking forward to the chapter 13 bankruptcy that he seems certain will ensue from buying pizza and ice cream. (and lemonade. and beach tags.) All in a day's fun!

Thank your polypeptides today,
Chels


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Still there?

Just checking.











JK promise I'll update soon. Up to my eukaryotes in bio lectures by a professor whose persistent challenges to my perfectionism are giving me hives. Literally. Ok, it may be the weather. Drowning in bio labs. Allllmmmoooossst dooonnneee my math class, complete with almost needing to file formal investigation against a creeper aaannndd wife/mom/house/food/garden/friends/life/St. Paul/legalism/end.

Talk soon.

LOVE
"eats bonbons and does nothing"-for-nine-months-a-year-then-makes-up-for-it-all-at-once.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Punderful

Dj, putting on Star Trek: TNG; "Babe, are you ready to watch Frakes On A Plane?"

HILARIOUS!!

To boldly go...

I took my first math class today in about 11 years. Surprisingly, I think I did really well. Nail biting results in two days.

In funny news, a conversation with Dj upon waking a few days ago:

Me: Babe, I had a nightmare about snakes.
Dj: you had a nightmare about Jonathan Frakes?
Me: no, snakes.
Dj: was it his beard??

I laughed really hard.

For those of you not gifted with the genetic addiction that requires a steady stream of Star Trek in regular doses, Jonathan Frakes is this beardmuffin:

'eyyyyyy

He didn't always have that disgusting thing hanging off his face. Here he is in better days:

"helllllooooo miss lady"




Anyway, his beard is a pet peeve that will plague me through the next four seasons, so I can't blame Dj for his estimation of its nightmare inducing potential.


In gastroenteritis news, I made the cheapest dinner possible by throwing together some quesadillas, opening a can of beans, and "making" homemade salsa by adding onions, chili powder, and garlic to a can of pureed maters. It was delicious but I need to run in exactly 12 minutes. I don't want to puke on the side of the road. What to do, what to do.

In my quasi-mennonite dreams, I am a long lost cousin-sister-niece-half godchild of Laura Ingalls. I want a farm, I don't have a farm, so I've turned my 1/5445th of an acre (really!) front walkway and back patio into my own little barnyard. Livestock: mosquitoes, chipmunks, very rude squirrels, a bunch of birds, snails, slugs, spiiiiiders, spittlebugs, praying mantii, and lots of worms. Vegetation: four hot pepper plants, four tomater plants, 16 basil plants, one zucchini plant, six pumpkin vines, a variety of lettuces, celery, and a rogue cilantro growing under my rhododendron. I guess that's pretty impressive!


The zucc is the giant dinosaur plant taking over the other six. The rest are in the back. The pumpkins are in the middle patch of grass that I may or may not have dug up without permission. Promise I'll reseed before we leave.

Is your weekly need of non-sequiturs satiated? You're welcome!

Bless your heart,
The soil whisperer. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lax

I know. I have been riding this summer vacation thing and not updating. Sowwy!

There has been simultaneously much going on and not much going on, the perfect recipe for lax blogging. I have new recipes, new sewing projects, new pictures, and new news. I have not shared any of it. Sowwy.

Today, in my pre-algebra class, I answered 2 questions right, one of which had about 13,000 numbers in it and was a half-mile long written out on the board. I only exaggerate a liiiittle bit. Anyway, I had to write it on the board in front of everyone, and I got it right with no heckling! This is a big win for me :)

I have been keeping up with my 0-5k training (I think I blogged about that already? Maybe? I am on week 5 of training for a 5k so I can get off my lazy duff before I synthesize into couch material.), and it is really nice. My clothes don't fit, and for someone who never cared about how they look, I am really enjoying it. Not the need to buy new clothes, of course, but the ability to recognize the person in the mirror, that's nice. Let me give you some history.
I was a ballet dancer for about 13 years, pre-professionally.  What that means is I danced multiple hours a day, 5-7 days a week, depending on if there were rehearsals or not, from the age I was two or something. I could have gone on to be a professional ballerina, and was on the right track, but life got very painful, and lacking any plumb line to hold on to, I veered off track very hard. When I was 15 (I think), I pulled a diva act during the second show of a spring performance and walked off stage, and out of ballet for the first time, ever. Although a hobby is not sufficient to ground one's life upon, ballet was the last filament of the very thin thread holding my life together, and when it snapped, I kinda did too. I cast off any remaining restraint and did what I wanted, when I wanted, with whom I wanted, to the very great detriment of my soul and my parents. I did not come to my senses until our Lord Jesus Christ very mercifully brought me to them, and to Him, at the age of 19, by which time an incredible amount of damage had already been done. Life since then has been a beautiful, painful, and joyful trek ever upwards, and on even my worst days I can still ground my hope on the truth that one day I will be with Him in heaven, where everything is redeemed and there are no more tears or heartbreak.
Of the multiple good and bad consequences of my ballet training, one is that even though I am almost 28 with a toddler and very different lifestyle than I had when I was dancing 6 days a week, my internal mirror still thinks, by habit, that I am a size 2, peak-fitness dancer. When this internal scale meets reality through action or a visual check, it is still, even now, an adjustment. When pregnant and recovering from birth, I didn't mind my weight at all. When I started taking ballet classes regularly again last fall, it really bothered me that while in my head I still had the extension necessary to do wide angle arabesques and penches, in reality the physiology of my current physique meant I couldn't lift my leg above 30 or 45 degrees. Maybe this would also bother someone who had never danced in their life, I don't know. I only know that when you spend more than half your life doing something, it doesn't leave very easily, and the muscle memory never really leaves you. The ache I feel in my chest watching the Grand Pas during Sleeping Beauty or The Nutcracker will probably never leave, and I don't think I would want it to.
I should've named this post Serious Sally.
So, all that to say, I haven't been in shape in a really, really long time, about 11 years. It has felt really good to get in shape, not because of the terrible messages media sends to girls about body size (which I think IS terrible and I wish photoshop was banned), not because I'm superficial, because I'm not...but just because I feel like the real me again. You wanted to know all that right? I know. You're welcome.

In semi unrelated news, I haven't been home 2 weekends in a row, and this weekend will make three. Add the Sunday from two weeks ago when I was in children's ministry, and that makes four weeks without being in a church service. I really, really miss church. If there's any part of technology I embrace, (besides all of it hypocritically, because I like to think I'm Amish) it's the fact that I can watch our church's services online when they are recorded. Also, the fact that I can even type that, much less admit it, is a testimony to God's mercies. More on that another day. It will be nice being back next weekend.

In completely unrelated news, my husband introduced me to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I am irrevocably hooked. Ok, maybe someday I'll grow out of it but honestly, I have the Trek bug as bad as I had it when I first saw Star Trek (2009 movie), and then the Original Series (I went to a convention and practically had to be revived with a defibrillator because I got to side-hug Leonard Nimoy, in the flesh, IN REAL LIFE. I MET AND TOUCHED SPOCK. Even typing that, I get a little tachycardic. I love Star Trek.). I always said I would NEVER watch TNG (the next generation) because it would be like cheating on TOS (the original series). I mean honestly, who could compare to Kirk and Spock?



Picard and Riker, that's who. I am in deep. I love them. I love the whole crew. I don't know if I have enough room in my heart for TNG and TOS. I must find a way to make it so.
Ok enough.

I need to get dinner on the table in 12 minutes, but it takes 35 minutes to make. God bless you, friendly readers.






Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Educational Larvae


I finished my semester maintaining a 4.0. Woohoo! I do give genuine thanks to God because I prayed before every study sess and test, lest my eyeballs bleed over the content over my english "literature" (read: smut and quite literal horror) and give me nightmares.

As I updated on the time suck Facebook the other day:

"Fall Registration complete. Item 786 of why screwing around in high school is a bad move: I have to take approximately four and a half decades (rough estimate) of remedial classes due to the fact that although I could comprehend high school biology, instead of passing tests and studying, I spent my time in class literally doing cartwheels in the aisles, pulling the emergency shower, or tossing backpacks full of notes with my old friend Larry Luongo. Since none of those things qualified me for a grade of "C" or better, I get to retake everything at the ripe young age of TWENTY EIGHT. All before actually getting to take the core classes needed for a simple ASSOCIATES DEGREE...much less one in Nursing. So by the time I complete my remedial Biology this summer, it'll be too late to register for General Biology this fall. So on the docket is Sociology and a long looked forward to elective, Astronomy. Look out for me folks, I'm looking to be in the graduate class of 2064."


Total Core Curriculum classes complete: 4, two of which were transfers from 10 years ago.
Total Electives Complete: 1. 
I'm pretty sure Korban and I will be in the same graduating class. Not that I mind, or that he minds. I think I'm a cool mom. 

Anyway, my classes at BCC don't really have a timetable. If I maintain a 3.85 or above, I have a guaranteed admission to Jefferson University's School or Nursing, and then it will be a whole new bag of marbles. I've only been staying at home with my sweet critter for the last two or three months, but I could not be happier. I don't want to work again anytime soon unless we really needed my income. By the way, anyone want to buy an apron?
I really do think I was made to mom. I love being able to raise my son, keep my house (messy), and just enjoy this season of motherhood. The last 18 months have FLOWN by, and I'm sure that doesn't change with additional peanut heads. I really can't wait to have a herd of kids running around the house :) No, I'm not currently with child.


I do miss the tangible aspect of helping people that I had when I was working though, even if it was just talking to them about their week or sneaking an extra sample to their kids. I try to keep the perspective that I am helping my family, that no one else can raise my kids etc, but I do miss it. I miss serving more in ministry, although I know when the kids aren't so young I'll have more time to help in different ways. The whole reason I went back to school was to finish my education, because I think an education is important, but also because I've been thinking about Nursing for about 7 years. Again, the hours don't really work with being committed to raising a toddler at home, but when the kid(s) are older, it's something I think I'd like to do. And when they're older older, it's a skill I can use on mission trips, in ministry, anywhere. Who knows what the Lord has planned. I just want to run the race well.

In completely rough segue news, I started running. Outside. As a dancer, I always said I couldn't run because of my knees. While true, I honestly hated running because it ALWAYS felt like my lungs were exploding, one lobe at a time. Stuck between a choice of expectorating alveoli and not fitting into any of clothes/feeling my butt glue itself to the couch fabric/dying at 30 from a sedentary lifestyle/a nagging conviction that I was not stewarding my health well...I decided to take a little walk jog. A yog. There's a great couch-to-5K app on the iphone that surprisingly helps. Theres a little man (or lady) in the phone and it beeps at you and tells you when to walk/run/cool down/etc. I'm in week 3 and I feel pretty dang awesome honestly. My first few runs I thought I was going to die. My last two runs I thought someone had slipped me some demerol, cuz I was flyin'. Running. Is. Awesome. 


So I signed up for a 5K on my birthday, at me old stomping grounds, Camp Ockanickon. (Matolly4Lyf) We'll see how it goes! Already I need a belt with all of my pants, which is nice. Also I can see my cheeks again, also nice. 


And in a final update, my bee print apron is done. I know, get back on your chair. It honestly looks really dang sweet. I'll post pics when I figure out how to sync my iPhone with Ubuntu better, cuz right now the process bites. 


Love you all, faithful readers (that'd be you, mom.)
God bless you!

 



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finis

We are officially finished with our spring performances! I am exhausted but very happy. We've loved dancing Coppelia, and I'll really miss the warmups and shows. On the other hand, my son is ready to have his parents and schedule back. Also, we've missed church 2 weeks in a row and that's about as long as I can go without developing a twitch. I really miss fellowship with the body of Christ, the church. There really is no substitute. I miss the preaching of the Gospel, the worship together as a congregation, the prayer, the fellowship, the tangible feeling of being loved as you walk through the doors...It can be the loving church we currently attend, or the teeny tiny hometown church near my aunt's house 2 hours away, or a new church we're visiting on vacation...any church that worships Jesus as Lord will always feel like coming 'home' to me. And I miss that. So, we'll be happy to be back next weekend :)

In random news, we can't find any of the critter's binkies, so this poor child may be weaned accidentally. I just hope he gets a good night's sleep. And by he I mean we.

I sewed a fun 2 hour skirt a few nights ago, and barely escaped with my finger intact. Late nights + sewing = accidents abound. I have a backlog of fun projects on the docket though, and I am really looking forward to working on my bee apron. And my chicken apron. To sell, of course...of course. Ok, I may be keeping one.
 ...Speaking of chickens, I cannot be more thrilled about that fact that hubs has given me legit permission to buy a few chickens when we purchase a house in a few years. Right now we lease a condo in a beautiful town and I have enough room for a small garden and some patio plants. I started a billion plants from seed under a modified grow lamp in my kitchen back in February, and my continual high rate of plant failure keeps me pretty busy, and my need to be in the dirt fulfilled. But. BUT. In my dreams, I really want a few acres...or even just 1 or 2, and I want chickens. Big chickens. Small chickens. Silly chickens. Egg laying chickens. MEAT chickens. I want chickens! And maybe a cow for dairy, but that's a whole other ball game. I didn't ever think my Babe would go for it, but he is genuinely all about getting a few chickens, and a few acres, and a few dogs (that was the compromise). All my Laura Ingalls dreams are coming true :) I'm not some off the grid granola head, but I really would love to be able to grow a good portion of our food. It's good for our bodies, it's good for our budget, it's good for the environment, and I like knowing where my food comes from. And there's just a good feeling you get when you plant a seed, with a little hope, and you water and wait and water and wait and water and wait and then - pop! The miracle of life! A seedling. Truthfully, I pray for my plants when a frost is coming. Don't judge me. The zucchini survived, didn't it? (it did.) So, even though we won't be looking to buy for two more years, I've already got the hen house basically mapped out :)

So, there is your smattering of rambling, two weeks overdue. Now that the performances are over, I'll be updating more regularly. I'll post soon on planning a weekly menu for your family, and budgeting (ha!), and sewing, and maybe even a reflection on dancing ballet again as an adult, if I'm feeling sentimental. And I am, since my kid weaned two weeks ago, and my hormones are as stable as our weather patterns right now. No joke, I cried actual tearballs during the bows at the end of the show today because 3 senior girls were graduating, going off to college and one won't be dancing anymore. Do I know these girls on an intimate friendship level?? Have we ever hung out, ever, or had more than a two sentence verbal exchange in our lives? DO I EVEN KNOW THEIR LAST NAMES?? Nope. Just your standard hormonal loon crying over complete strangers taking their last curtain call. No big deal.

Off to bed. God bless you.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Coppelia

This week was tech week, and tomorrow is our first of four Coppelia performances over the next two weekends. It's a very fun show, and you can find more performance info at www.balletnj.org, as well as purchase tickets. I'll be back to blogging when the shows are over!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Today's Happy Things

In order of appearance:

His mercies are new every morning!

My husband didn't need to leave till 9am.

Baby Praying Mantii (many mantises?) in my garden.

Errands with a happy baby.

Spending the afternoon in a friend's sunny, farmy backyard with our toddlers and a baby pool and water toys and warm dirt and green grass.

Bugs. I do love em when they're not arachnids or in my house.

My sweet baby's blessed temperament today. Nary a screech and while weaning no less!

We are weaning. Bittersweet but oh so ready.

Quiet time on my patio with the Lord. Reading the Word, hearing birds and bees and the smell of grass and sunshine and the peace of God...there is nothing on Earth like it.

Undercover Boss: Seeing people work with integrity and excellence when they don't know they're working with their CEO makes me really happy. Honestly, seeing integrity and a job well done anywhere makes me really really happy.

Banana chip ice cream. That makes twice this week.

Windows open...lullabies on the baby monitor...a quiet home and heart. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for everything. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Boy oh boy, are you in luck.

We went to Sam's today to lock down the bee print situation. For some lucky saint, an apron made from one of these fine materials awaits. Yes, those are chickens and roosters sitting in various buckets and teakettles. Try to control yourself.






This was me overjoyed at locating my bolt of bees.


These are actually going to turn out really well, I can't wait to get started on them. I ordered two yards of each, just in case I wanted a little extra to play with around here :)

Bzzz for now.




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bee print REMIXXXX


Here's the thing. Tonight, I finished cutting out the pattern pieces for THIS sweet little number out my oft discussed BEE PRINT fabric.


Ok, that's not quite what the apron looks like, but if you're asking my husband, it's close enough.

Truth telling time: I have 3/4 of a yard left. Enough to make another apron. Presumably to sell. But I don't think I can do it. What's that you say?? Who needs TWO bee print aprons?

Ask these ladies.



There can never be enough bees. Or aprons. Or bee aprons. Side note, if I get stung this summer it'll be the for the first time since I was five, and we will all know what to blame.

So I think to answer both my need for bees and the public outcry for more bee printed aprons, I need to go back to Sam's, buy more bee fabric, and by then I'll be prepared to part with it, blessing the world with Hymenoptera goodness.


Sigh. You see what the demanding public puts me through?

Love,

The Bee Whisperer

New England Whatever Chowder

I've had some bought-in-bulk Haddock fillets from Wegman's waiting to be used in my freezer. It was a little chillier this morning, and I figured why not try a fish chowder? You really can make this with anything seafood, clams, fish, scallops, shrimp, although they may add more fishyness than a lighter fish would. This chowder is delicious and really easy to throw together. Easy to make, store, and clean up, it's a weeknight winner. Boom.

Haddock Chowder
BACON - we used 5 pieces
russet, red, or yukon potatoes - 4 large or a bunch of smalls, quartered and diced.
1 large onion - we used a sweet onion and it was extra yummy. Diced.
1/4 lb of Haddock or any kind of seafood, cut into small pieces.
frozen corn if desired
1/2 cup heavy cream
chicken broth, enough to cover the potatoes, 32oz should do it. (water is fine too)
SALT
pepper

Throw some bacon in your dutch oven or large pot on medium and let all the fat render out. Can you see the theme on this blog? Render. Fat. DELICIOUS. Make the bacon nice and crispy, then put it on the side. Exercise ALL your willpower to not eat the bacon while you're cooking.

In the bacon fat, sautee the onions and throw in some seasoning; we used Bell's Seasoning because I think it should be part of the structure of the onion itself. That's how well it goes with onions. They should call it Bell's onion enhancer. Anyway, cook the onions and seasoning and salt and pepper for a few minutes until they're soft and smelly and wonderful. Throw in the potatoes. Cover the onions and potatoes with just enough chicken broth (or water if you don't have it on hand), and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 15 minutes, or until taters are tender. Towards the end you can throw in as much or little frozen corn as you'd like.

Add your fish to the simmering broth, and cover for 5 minutes, or until the fish is no longer translucent. Turn the heat down till you no longer see bubbles, and add as much heavy cream (or milk) as you'd like, to taste. 1/2 cup is good. At this point, check the seasoning, and add more salt if you need it. Toss the chowder in some bowl, add the crumbly bacon on top and serve with crusty bread if you can. We used Trader Joe's ficelle bake at home rolls and it was just perfect with this. All in all a cheap and yummy meal! You'll have leftovers for a few days and chowders are ALWAYS better the day or two after :)

Enjoy!!




ps I hope you washed your hands first.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hydrangea Fever

First Apron for sale! 
This lilac-hued half apron features a Hydrangea print with a short and sweet scalloped hem. A cotton lace detailed side pocket will hold all your goodies, or at least hide your hand. Material is a cotton sateen with a slight give. Perfect for hostessing, cooking, cleaning, or making hubby blush because you look so sweet in it. 
Price is $23.00 plus shipping or, free delivery if you live in a 7 mile radius of 08053. Spread the word! Also viewable soon on my etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/blueletterchels.

 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blue Ribbon Chili

Whoa Mama. Tonight, I had the best chili I have ever eaten in my whole life. Ever. I have been to two (or one? I don't remember) chili cookoffs - this is still better. It takes as long as you want it to, anywhere from 2-4 hours, so it's perfect to start at lunch and eat for dinner. I don't have anything else to say - make this and eat it and LOVE IT. It is SO good.

2lbs of ground beef - we used angus beef from Shoprite, maybe this is the difference? I don't know. Get a good cow and grind it up.
6 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 cup chopped onion - one big one or two small ones
2/3 can of tomato sauce, eyeballed. It was a 28oz can, I poured in a little more than half :)
1/2 cup chicken broth or beef broth or water I'm sure it'll be just as good
1 bottle Corona - this is so key. It smelled so good. It tasted so good. I don't even like beer and I want to make it with 2 bottles next time. Maybe.
"3 Tablespoons Chili Powder" - we did not do this. I had 1 tablespoon and 1/2 packet of a Trader Joe's taco seasoning packet. It was perfect. I did find more Chili Powder later and I did shake a few dashes in. You should do this. 3 TBS of Chili Powder can kiss a lemon, because that TJ's taco seasoning made it.
2 tsp Italian seasoning - eyeballed. It may have been closer to a TBS. It was good.
1/2 tsp ground coriander - if you dont have it, NBD.
1 can black beans
1 can Cannellini beans 
Cornmeal

First, wash your hands please.

In a dutch oven or stockpot or cooking receptacle, brown your beef. If you set the heat a little lower than medium, more fat will render out, which is what you'll be cooking the other ingredients in, so this is a good thing. Brown it, render it, whatever, then remove the beef with a slotted spoon to a separate plate or bowl, keeping the beef fat in your stockpot. Remove all but 2 TBS, or enough to cover the bottom of your pan and then some.

Turn the stove up to med high and toss in your onions and garlic cloves. Let them sautee a few minutes until slightly translucent and largely good smelling.  

Return the beef you set aside to your pot and throw in the rest of your ingredients except the cornmeal. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. Walk away for an hour or two, but stir it every once in a while.

After an hour or so, sprinkle in a handful of cornmeal slowly. Stir it up. Walk away for another hour or two. Every once in a while, stir it and scrape up the goodies from the bottom of the pan.

When you're almost ready to eat, check on it - if it's thick, go for it. If you'd like to thicken it a little more, slowly stir in one more handful of cornmeal, and give it 15-20 minutes. Then take off the heat, serve into bowls, top with shredded cheese and tortilla chips on the side if you want. I am a chip fanatic with my chili and I am telling you, this chili didn't need a blessed thing.

Sit down. Thank the Lord for giving you this delicious nourishment. Eat it. Waddle away to do whatever you want to do, full and content.


The end.



 



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Selfish Seamstress

I am in love with my 3 yards of this spring/summer calico for aprons.





I really don't think I can use it for any pieces to sell. Reason one being I am selfish with my bee prints. Reason two being no body else wants to be covered in bees.


This will be the finished product. But with, you know, BEES. There should be 1/2 yard left over...MAYBE some lucky soul will get a half apron out of it.

Maybe.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Better

So, we are all better at the House of Babe, but I haven't been keeping up with any sort of schedule, meal or otherwise. No joke, this week's menu had "leftovers" in four different day slots :) I'm trying to finish out our freezer stash, which we started 8 or 9 weeks ago as an experiment, which by the way, I mark down as failed. Here is why:

We decided at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb to blow through approx a month of grocery budget in a day and stock our freezer with meat and pantry with sale items. Wegman's had the best prices on meat, so we went with them. The premise was if our freezer was stocked with meat, and our pantry stocked with dry goods, then supposedly we should only need to supplement with fresh produce, milk, eggs, and cheese every week, keeping our budget waaaay down. I don't know how, but every single week, with the exception of one week, we blew the budget. Without fail. We didn't buy anything different, fancy, foreign, just the normal stuff to fill out a week's worth of meals. So, buying in bulk did not save us money. It cost us normal money, and extra money, and I can't figure any reason for it except we like to eat and I am really bad with money.

So, it's back to the sale papers and weekly shopping. Here's another grocery conundrum, since I know you're on the edge of your seat; when working, I tried to keep our grocery budget at $50/week for our family of three. Since I was working nights, we only made dinner 3 or 4 nights a week, and Deej fended for himself the rest of the week. Baby was eating grilled cheese or oatmeal, so no budget busting there. Now that I don't work, and the toddler eats a lot more, we need more meals at home, and we can't do 21 meals plus snacks on $50 and still eat healthily. The conundrum is I'm not willing to compromise on health and food safety, so I buy my milk, eggs, baby snacks, and produce at Trader Joe's because everything in their store is non GMO. Call me silly, but I don't want animal DNA in my apples. I buy our meat and other staples at Shoprite, because their prices are good, I like their savings club, and it's clean and I grew up with it and will always think it's the best place on earth. No lie, when we used to go south for a conference every year, I called all the Food Lion's "Shoprite." If its a grocery store, it's a Shoprite. Anyway, the conundrum. It is exponentially cheaper to buy processed "foods" but it also is not always real food and I really think America's health problems are environmental and diet based. So, I don't want to compromise there either. I bake my own bread about 50% of the time, and make most of our meals from scratch. I think the long term health benefits of not eating a highly processed/non food diet out weigh the short term wallet squeeze...But we still need to be in the black at the end of the month. Choices, choices.

I love not working and being home with our critter, and I would not go back unless I was physically forced to, or Deej wanted me to.  Thankfully, Deej LOVES that I'm not working, and can feel a palpable difference in our home atmosphere, and the meals ready when he comes home from work don't hurt either. But I still want to contribute to the family income in some way. It just seems right. I'm going to try selling aprons on an Etsy, since vintage is back and they really are a great help with cleaning and cooking. Our grocery budget will also be a little looser June-September since we joined a local CSA, and I'm growing produce out front. All this to say...there's no super simple easy way to run a house. There's choices and consequences, checks and balances, faith steps and risks, successes and failures. I really do enjoy learning it as I go along though :) We are very blessed.

Time to put the peanut head to bed. What are you guys cooking this week?
xoxo
Chels

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recipe For Disaster

Guest Post by Dj Bucci:

Take one Norovirus. Add one baby. Let crock for two days. Add in parents. Bake overnight. Wake up disgusting and sick. The end.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lazy Daisy

Hi mom and my two other followers :) (PS Mom, I miss you!) (PPS do any other grown women legit miss their mom when they are away? I would hang out w my mom every day or so if I could.)

This week was sorta unstructured of us. Deej had a somewhat more relaxed schedule so he was home a few days, which usually means any daily plan, meal or otherwise, goes out the window and dinner is fast and loose. Or slow and loose. Or a bowl of cereal :)

Today we did get to go to my second or third favorite place on earth - Longwood Gardens. My sweetheart bought me a membership for the second year in a row, and I am determined to make the most of it. It was super foggy right up until we left, but beautiful just the same. If you've never been, Longwood is the former DuPont mansion/wonderland/residence. It has 1077 acres (really!) of gardens, including a mega conservatory that is just a little slice of heaven for me. Seriously, today there was a point when walking where I felt the presence of the Spirit, and it was just a moment of perfection. But really, the whole day was close to perfection. I am more aware and thankful of the blessing of our family every single day. My husband and my son are such special gifts from God to me. The joy I see in my son's eyes when Deej is making him laugh is so treasured in my heart, every time, every day. Today was filled with so many of those moments :) I'm so thankful we get to give him memories like this, whether it's the park or a special trip like today, I just love that part of being a parent.



In other news, I am about to wear the fibers right out of my denim skirt. I finished this bad boy last week and have worn it four out of the seven days since. It looks really good if I do say so myself and is so dang comfy I really don't ever want to wear pants again. I'm going to sew another two in khaki and a darker stretch denim, then just go by Cinderella for the rest of my days. Honestly, we had friends over Tuesday night and I tried to change into jeans and I felt like my legs were strangling. I wore this thing to the park. To playgroup. To the gardens today. To another playground. I'm hooked. Sewing is something I didn't know if I would like, but I have really ended up loving. I'm working on an easter dress, and finishing out my spring wardrobe. I really need to start selling some of this stuff, but I end up liking everything I make so much that I keep it for me. Selfish seamstress :)

So, no new meals or recipes this week. In fact, I really would love to continue to hear what any of you make on a regular basis, because I always need new ideas. Especially toddler meals. Some days, my kid surprises me, and other days he only eats cereal, oatmeal, goldfish, and raisins. He is turning into a walking carbohydrate. Help.

Also, I can't figure out how to put pics into my actual blogs where I want them to go (the pastry blender in a previous post decided to go there and I had to work around it.) Someone help me, or you'll be stuck with links.

Godspeed,
Chels






ppps you can thank NASA for that signoff.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whacha Eatin?

Last week, I posted our tentative menu for the week on Facebook in hopes of getting some new ideas. It backfired, no one posted, and I got sick so instead of cooking all our meals, we went out to eat for 1/3 of them. I just didn't have it in me.

The plan was:

Caramelized Onion Quiche and Salad - this was bangin. So, so, so good. Your house will stink for days, but it's worth it.
Vegetable Soup with Pesto and Bread - this was not great. Not bad, but not a hit.
Chicken Scallopine with Lemon and Green Beans - didn't happen. This turned into "grilled" chicken thrown on top of lettuce with leftover soupy.
Pizza - easiest midweek meal ever. TJ's dough, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.
Sausage Peppers and Onions - didn't happen. Used a gift card to go out for dinner, sick and all.
Herb Crusted Halibut and Ratatouille - didn't happen. Used a gift card to go out for dinner, sick and all.
Fried Chicken Drumsticks - didn't happen. Ate leftover bread with leftover marinara and shredded cheese.

When I'm sick I usually don't want to cook, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something comforting, even with sinuses so congested I can't enjoy the food. It's similar to nesting, I guess. I could taste food just fine this week, and although I refused to make meals for three days in a row, I did somehow manage to squeeze in a batch of cookies.

So, this weekend, I really, really, really would LOVE to hear everyone's meal plans for the upcoming week, especially if you have kids! I'm always looking for new things to feed my family (or to pretend, with Korban, since it's just as likely to end up on the floor or in his hair or anywhere else that's not his mouth.) The only thing I have planned for this weekend is a roast chicken on Sunday. I made it last week, and it was the best meal I've ever had. So I'll try and post that with pics. Anyway, what are you eating this week? Tell me, tell me, in the comments!




Pâte Brisée

Pâte Brisée is just a fancy way to say pie crust. It is also one of the EASIEST things to make. There are only three-ish steps, see? Cooking is really nothing to be intimidated about. As we used to say at [neighborhood grocery store of employment], it's just food, folks. Ok, really we said "It's just groceries." We had to remind our customers of that, because sometimes they confused grocery shopping with high drama, life and death situations. Anyway, it's just cooking! We're just taking foods that are friends and making them a nice happy family. In your belly.

So, piecrust. You can use this with savory dishes like quiche (QUICHE!!!) or chicken pot pie, or sweet dishes like fruit pies, but it's not a particularly sweet crust. It's kinda neutral. Like the Romulan Neutral Zone. Can you tell I haven't slept in a week? It's this stupid cough.

This recipe makes 2 crusts; one for the bottom, and one for the top. If you only need a bottom, just make half. I did this by hand and it didn't take more than 15 minutes. Martha's original recipe says you can use a food processor, but honestly, it takes me longer to setup, use, take apart, and wash the food processor than it does to just do this by hand. See also: my lonely bread machine collecting dust. I just don't like doing dishes. So, it's easier for me to just use a pastry blender and go at it by hand. 

A pastry blender

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe
For flakier crust, make sure all ingredients are cold before use. (Martha suggests refrigerating the flour, but I couldn't be bothered. You can try it.)

You will need: 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Wash your hands, please!
  2. In a big pyrex bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a pastry blender or fork and knife until the mixture resembles coarse meal or sand. It should be lumpy.
  3. Add ice water, using your above tools or hands until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. It took a few minutes of me coaxing this mess into a ball, rolling it around the bowl to collect more flour, and squeezing it into a ball again. It's kinda like packing a snowball, after enough forming it'll become a solid mass, not just a flaky, falling apart dry floury mess. Promise I'll start posting pics soon. 
  4. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in saran wrap. Put them in the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month, but really, who's gonna do that?
  5. Take out, flatten, roll, and form according to your recipe. Enjoy!



    My last post also promised a pesto soup recipe - it just really wasn't that good. I'll work on it some more and post it when it's delish! Additionally, my tomatoes are looking very sad, so no pics for you.






Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contagious Pie Crust

Doesn't that sound gross? I haven't forgotten about posting the easiest scratch pie crust recipe in the world, I've just been under the weather since last week. I did manage to get some tomatoes potted though, so pics, pie crust and pesto soup recipes up next!

Cough, cough
Chels

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quiche

Oh boy. Who hid the secret deliciousness of QUICHE from me for all these years? It sounds disgusting but tastes AMAZING. I stumbled across quiche because I try (TRY!) to keep our grocery budget at $50 a week for our family of three. (I have succeeded once in my three months of trying. It may be time to raise that budget.) This recipe serves 6 at $1.08 per serving, so hey! It takes about 15 minutes of active cooking, but the rest of the time it's either simmering or baking, so it's a great recipe if you have things to do other than saunter around the kitchen all day.

Adapted from a Family Circle recipe

Caramelized Onion Quiche
Makes 6 (really, 8) servings Prep 15 minutes Cook 40 minutes
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes Cool 10 minutes (right.)

1  refrigerated pie crust
1/4  cup olive oil
5  cups thinly sliced onions (2-3 big ones)
5  eggs
1  cup milk
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2  tsp salt
1/4  tsp pumpkin pie spice
1  cup Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio (Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina, mild Provolone)


1) Wash your hands please.

2) Preheat oven to 375° and fit a 9-inch pie plate with your pie crust. (Recipe to follow in the next post if you want to make your own. It is worth it and delish.) Cover the pie crust in the pie plate with saran wrap and stick it in the fridge.

3) Heat your oil in a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium heat and add all your onions. Stir em around and leave em alone but come and check on them every once in a while. They should get stringy and gloopy and sweet and caramelized after 35-40 minutes, and when they do, just turn off the heat and set them aside for a bit.

Completely unrelated, I always use a wooden spoon when messing with onions. There's no reason for this, it just feels right.

4) In a large bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pie spice together. Remove your pie plate from the fridge and sprinkle the cheese on the bottom, followed by the onions, then pour the eggy mix on top of it all. Pop it in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the crust lightly browned.

After this time you're supposed to let it cool for 10 minutes before eating, but honestly, you have some willpower if you can wait the full 10. I am telling you, it was the yummiest, best thing I've eaten in a while. It's good to serve with salad or something else really light, lest you eat your weight in cheesy, custardy, savory goodness.

Enjoy with friends or family!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

About Me

So, I’m giving this blog a try after some prompting from a friend. I love to cook (read: eat), and keep my home (messy, ha!), and sew, and garden, and girly things like that, and I figure since everyone needs to eat and wear clothes and keep their home somewhat free from the homemaking equivalent of an OSHA violation, we could all learn from each other! Being a new mom*, I was remiss to find my son was born without his accompanying instruction packet, but lo! none of my friend’s kids came with theirs either. So we can all bumble along together! Join in and enjoy!


*I am not a supermom, and I adhere to the wisdom that it is unwise to compare ourselves by ourselves. Only normal humans, or superhumans open to remediation allowed.