Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, Part III

Last night we had the third of our three Thanksgiving dinners.

There are times when life just seems so hard. Weeks are full of long days of thankless routines. You start to wonder what the point of it all is. And then you get a weekend like this one. Full of friends and family who remind you time and again why it's all worth it a thousand times over. I am truly, honestly, endlessly thankful for all of you. You know who you are.

(all pics courtesy of the lovely and talented Cindy Vaughn)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Not a Bad Way to Spend a Thursday

(Hair is wet, not greasy, not that I'm defensive. Much.)

Tulips from nice husband.

Child crashed during prep. Made everything so much easier.

Martha's no-fail turkey recipe. Essentially, just have a pan of melted butter with a splash of white wine nearby & baste every 30 minutes. There is no better turkey.

Last minute place cards printed up from here.

Fanny and Tilly! Oh, and Grandpa.

Whipped cream straight from the can into the gullet. Because we're classy, that's why.

(Hope your Thanksgiving was full of blessings, too.)

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's that time of year again.

I really, really love Thanksgiving. I love that there are no gifts to buy (or even make). No cookies required at daycare. No cards to send. Just a day to fill the house with good food, friends and family. A day to count our blessings and watch football.

This will be my second year hosting, and I'm starting to develop a system.

First, make a list. Then another list. Then one more. You need to know what to do & when (polish silver, wash & iron linens, grocery shop the weekend before; make the cranberries and whatever will hold the day before; make the turkey & assorted side dishes the day of). I also list every single thing that must make an appearance (down to the butter) one one side of a notepad, and a grocery list down the other. Then I clip the whole thing to the recipes I'll need. It all lives on the kitchen counter for about three weeks, where I can annotate as needed.

We soaked all our linens in OxiClean this weekend (amazing what a difference it can make), and then I ironed for about 85 hours. I hate ironing. If you come over for dinner and the linens have been ironed it means my love for you knows no bounds. Fer reals.

Here's a good tip. Go over your entire menu a few days before a big party & write down every single dish on scraps of paper (down, again, to the butter). Then decide what will be served in what & place the scraps in those dishes.

Stack everything on the counter & try to ignore it until the party.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Well, it took six months and a lot of head-scratching & nose-holding, but we have achieved our first batch of compost. It looks & feels (don't ask me how I know) just like human poop. Smells nice, though. Like earth and rain. I hope it helps our sad little patch of clay that we call a garden.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yeah, I made a fucking CAPE (I told you I would). Mama, FTW:

I found a tutorial about making the Superman "S" in Photoshop. I followed it but rocked a "D" instead.

I sewed the two satin fabric colors together, but used Wonder Under to make the shield.

It is awesome.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Amanda Soule of Soule Mama fame (who I mentioned just a couple of days ago here) has started a new website called Mama to Mama. It is, in her words, "a website, gathering place and hopefully source of inspiration and action." A place where she organizes and inspires us to take small simple steps to help those in need around the world.

The first project she features is Caps to Cap Haiti Project: A Partnership with Konbit Sante. Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Northern Hemisphere and many women give birth with no medical care. Konbit Sante is asking for our help in assembling Safe Birthing Kits to be distributed by trained birth attendants in poor areas in Haiti. These kits will include plastic sheeting, Purelle, a sterile piece of string & razor blade, and a baby cap. The kits have the potential to significantly reduce infant and maternal mortality. Does that break your heart a little bit? That just those few simple things could so dramatically improve a mother's and baby's chance at survival? Mine, too.

Anyway, our job, as mamas and friends of children, is to make and send the hats. I made six caps out of three t-shirts I would otherwise have sent to Goodwill. It took 20 minutes (probably would take someone who know what they're doing 10 minutes). If you have some old shirts and a few minutes, could I encourage you to check out the project & maybe give it a shot?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


One of the many remarkable things about this (just) past election was the way art played such a huge role. Obama's campaign inspired so many incredibly talented people to create work that inspired us, too. Now it looks like the fight over Prop 8 will (pray God) benefit from some of that same talent pool.

Remember this amazing poster? It was created by the tremendously talented Aaron Harvey. After 8 passed, Aaron went to work on his next version of the iconic image here:

Well, then Shepard Fairey, the man who created probably the most famous image from the Obama campaign, took some inspiration from Aaron's work and created this:

It's a scary time now. The economy is in crisis. We're all holding our breath, waiting for the inauguration of the man we all believe will lead us away from the humiliation our country has mired itself in. And millions of Californians voted to take away the right to marry from their gay & lesbian friends and neighbors. But from all this hot, scary mess some beauty and strength is emerging from our artists. They are inspiring each other. And they are inspiring us. To do our civic duty. To think about equal rights. To hope that we can make it right again.

It not just art for art's sake. It's art for our sake.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Well hello friends! It may seem like I've been up to nothing these past 10 days, but it's not true! I have been incredibly industrious! Just not about posting! Ahem.

Here's a little of what I've been up to (I can't show much because mostly I've been making gifts! For Christmas! Have I mentioned how much I love the holidays!?)


I took the Thanksgiving decorating down a notch from last year, but I did want a cornucopia.

Featuring my favorite little corn husk couple.


Josh spent the better part of last Sunday on the roof cutting tree limbs away from the house. Would you like to know why? Because something that sounded approximately the size of a cat had taken up residence in our attic and spent every evening for a week scratching at the insulation. Josh waited until he was fairly certain it had left for an afternoon of hunting or mating or whatever and quickly got to work removing anything that might serve as a boarding ramp to our roof. It hasn't been back. And I had a ton of branches to choose from for our gratitude tree.

We keep it (along with my Limoges La Coupole ashtray full of blank cards & a pen) by the front door. We ask guests to fill out one or two with whatever they're grateful for that day. Dash has so far been thankful for "goodies in my mouth" and Batman.


Also, I have been sewing my ASS off. If I know you in real life & you have kids you can expect to see one of these in person in few weeks.

These are inspired by the pencil rolls featured in the wonderful Creative Family by Amanda "Soule Mama" Soule.

I made girl ones and boy ones and I love them. Dash finds them less than useless. Of course.


I bought this for Dash for Christmas. But then Josh gently explained to me that 2 year olds aren't really into art, so maybe it was more for me than him and I could go ahead & hang it. Either way, this kills me. For $18, James Spicer, whose work I have been drooling over for months, will spell whatever name you choose in alphabet soup & photograph it. Seriously, it KILLS me.


And finally, look at this oven. I am pretty close to having Thanksgiving catered because the thought of marring its spotlessness makes me inconsolable. Really, you could lick it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Thanks, America

I know the hard work is still ahead of him--and us. But I want to take a moment to just breathe and be thankful.

Counting Minutes

Now, we wait.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Last Halloween Post 2008!

We didn't have the most auspicious start to our Halloween. We were running a bit late for Dash's parade at school, so when we walked in Dash was descended upon by every single kid in his class. He was, astoundingly, the only Batman that day and the kids were pretty thrilled.

But Dash is not so great with attention. He clamped onto Josh's leg and didn't let go. I had to carry him through the parade which was totally not embarrassing at all.

Once the parade was finished and all the kids (except Dash, who refused) changed out of their costumes, he was fine. He rode his little tricycle around while dressed as Batman and that was really pretty cute.

We had to leave before the party because we'd noticed an increasingly pronounced limp on Dash & got a last minute appointment with the doctor. Nothing showed up on the x-ray & the doctor couldn't find a sprain, so who knows. He's better today.

Around 5pm, Aunty arrived and we had our traditional dinner of guts and worms (spaghetti in meat sauce that I made in the crock pot for the first time this year and Oh. My. God.) and vampire-killers (garlic knots).

And then we were off. He started out timid and pretty freaked out by the whole thing, but by the end he was psyched and didn't want to stop.

Jamie and I poured big glasses of wine and walked through the neighborhood with them because we're classy.

We ran into the world's-cutest-neighbor-girls who love Dash with a fierce heat. Dash looks stoned in this picture but I think he's just drowsy from all the love.

Now it's 5pm on November 1st. All the decorations inside & out are down & packed up in the garage. And now we start the countdown to Thanksgiving.