Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do yourself a favor

Run out and get the ingredients for this stuffing. You will love it, your taste buds, and me.
Thanksgiving 2009-jealous over my fabulously decorated table, eh?

Jamie's friend Kim's mom's stuffing recipe:

1 Cube butter
5 or 6 celery sticks
1 white onion
Cook these ingredients together over med heat till soft. Then add, 4 mild Italian sausage links and cook until done.

Make a Marie Calenders cornbread in an 8 x 8 pan. They sell her mix at Costco or most grocery stores, there is really no substitute for this.

Once cooled add this to the blue bag of Pepperidge Farms stuffing, mix up and break it apart with your hands.

Combine everything and add 2 eggs, 2 t poultry seasonings, and as much milk as you want to get it to your desired level of sogginess. I don't like it soggy so I usually only add about 1/3 of a cup milk.

Bake 350' for 30-40 min.

Eat and think of how awesome the Meads are.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A love letter to Arizona.

We've kind of gotten off to a rocky start. I was sick with pregnancy. You were hot. I missed my friends so so much, I missed my kids having friends. You were lonely place. I missed knowing where every cool store was. You were hot. I missed Becky. You were dusty. I missed my weekly tennis games. I missed our wonderful babysitter who came every Saturday night and loved us so well and we loved her. You had scorpions. I missed going to yoga everyday with an amazing instructor. You weren't Texas.

But. You do have mountains. And I love mountains. So much. I've missed being near them more than I realized.

If you look closely at this picture you'll see Owen and Luke way up there.
View from my patio. The desert can be beautiful if you look for it. I can feel myself almost softening. Opening up to the possibility of Arizona. The possibility that I could actually grow to love it here. It's hard to say that. Silly though, but it almost feels like I'm cheating on my love for Texas.

I've realized over these past months that while I loved many many things about Texas what I loved most were the people and connections I had there. My people as Lily says. But, while I miss those people everyday, there are people here too. . .

Making good friends is a process that takes time. There are no shortcuts to getting to know somebody. Seeing if you connect and understand each other. Developing a sort of shorthand communication. Laughing and getting each other. It just takes time.

No way around it, the process of blooming where you're planted can sometimes, be a painful, lonely time. For me, it's been compounded by a time in my life when I've felt I could have really used my friends shoulders to lean on. To be strong for me when I can no longer bear what I am called to bear. I'm better now, but still writing this down tears well up, unbidden to my eyes. It has been hard. But mostly, it's just been lonely.

I've always been a social creature. I'm so used to seeing my girlfriends everyday. Doing fun stuff with them every week. Going to parties, get-togethers, waving at them while riding by on my bike, shopping trips together, impromptu lunch, meeting up at the park, taking walks with them, putting on our workout clothes to go and hit it hard only to wind up sitting down for an hour on the grass chatting.

Mick Jagger's song comes to mind, You can't always get what you want, but, sometimes, you get what you need.

I know one day I will have this again. These connections with people. That I'll drive around in my car (now a mini-van, no wonder I'm having an identity crisis) and I'll have someone to wave to as I drive by. Eventually. And! I'll still have all those people in Texas.

While I will always have passionate love for Texas (Texans if you didn't already know are fiercely proud of Texas) I'm developing a love for Arizona. It's almost like the love you have for your children. You love different things about them, their own special qualities that makes them, them. But, you still love all of them, just differently.

For now though, I feel gratitude for the mountains. My doors are always open as the perfectly comfortable, lovely air wafts through my house. I can hear the vague sounds of my children playing in the desert. Running wild, finding creatures, building forts, climbing mountains. . .being children. This, this is the childhood I've envisioned for them, and that, my friends is, as Mick says"sometimes. . .you might just find you get what you need".

Arizona, you're growing on me. . .

You can take the girl out of the skirt.

But you will never take Lily out of one.





Lily loves to be feminine. Bows, ruffles, pink, princess dresses, skirts. All of it. All of the time. She changes her clothing thirty times a day, at least. That's probably an underestimation. Cereal.

We say cereal in place of the word serious. I don't know where it got started but actual meanings of words are no threat to us. We make up our own rules here.

Lily put on this little number last week upon my instructions that she had to wear pants to school. It was a bit chilly, a lovely 71 degrees. Arizona is trying to make out with me through her weather. It's working.

She bounded out of her room and I just laughed to myself. This is just so,. . .her.

I'll obey you, but, I'm still doing it my way.

Dinner, decorating and music. Or just about every single day of my life.

Chad boiled it down to the three things I do most these days; Milking (I'm trying to not be offended), decorating and shopping. The milking is new, but the other two are kinda staples.

Dinner. Done. Super easy and makes you look like a rock star to children. I make Pioneer woman's meatballs. Her recipe makes a bunch, I double it and love myself later for it. I form the meatballs, put them on a cookie sheet and stick em in the freezer to chill. Once firm, I take them and stick about 20-25 in a freezer bag for an easy meal later. From doubling her recipe I usually get five freezer bags of ready to go meatballs! Hooray.

Then on a day like this at 5:30 when I'm in the middle of five different things I can still be awesome.

Katy and I turn her up, throw the frozen meatballs in my le creuset with some olive oil. Put a pot of water on to boil and get my Costco jarred spaghetti sauce. If I don't want to make my marinara sauce this one comes the closest to it.

Between turning the meatballs I kiss baby.

If you try to turn them before they properly brown they will kind of tear open. Be patient. Channel your inner zen.

Finish your decorating project with ample confidence in your mad skills. So confident that you make a red sauce with white lamp shade a mere three feet away.


Then, when this happens. . .
Never fear. You are in control. Master of your domain. There's no problems only solutions. Takes more muscles to frown than to smile.

That is all.

Luke is now seven.

We had a party to prove it.


In keeping with tradition there was a birthday crown. Luke, still my sweet little boy wanted to wear his crown to school. I love that about Luke. He doesn't care what other people think about him one whit. He has the confidence to do what he likes and be who he is.


Some brotherly love.

Doesn't Luke look absolutely adorable. I wonder how much longer I will be able to use the word adorable or for that, want to? He he.


For dinner, there was beef on a bun. Try not to be disgusted by the fat being thrown down the drain. This is a great meal. Easy, delicious and everybody loves it.

Beef on a Bun

3 to 6 lb chuck roast

4 cups water

1 cup sherry

1 cup soy sauce

3 large rosemary twigs

1/2 T kosher salt

1 T thyme

Put all the ingredients in a crock pot for 6 to 12 hours, depending on when you remember you want to eat that evening.

Remove meat from crock pot, separate the fat and put back in the crock pot over low heat. Remove some of the beef juices and put it in one of those fat separators.

Caramelize 1 onion

Slice kaiser rolls in half, top with meat, onions and provolone or white cheddar cheese. Toast in oven just till cheese melts.

Serve with a tiny bowl of the beef beef juices.

Viola. You are a genius.


Buy them, no need to get all crazy and make them.


This photo is in now way related to the birthday celebrations but someone is looking too adorable to ignore.

Yay! Once I can no longer call Luke adorable, there's always Jack!


Now back to the party. Balloons, cake, presents.



Wishes were made.

Lily to Owen, "I want tend (ten) of dem, de pwincess."


We take our wishis very seriously.


He wished for a thousannnnnnnnnnnd more wishes.

Chad informed him that that wish is against the wish making rules. He then changed it to a thousannnnnnnnnnd video games.


Gifts were guessed on.





Happy birthday Luke. You are very loved. You're seven year old self is incredible. You have your dad's charms. You keep us and everyone you encounter in stitches. You're always saying some clever/funny thing. Very very often you will say something hilarious then your dad and I will lock eyes to communicate something silently. No words are necessary, we just take a moment and look at each other. We both already know what is happening in that moment.

. . .how proud we both are of you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Could you just die.

I am immensely talented.
I make the cutest babies.

Photo randomness.


We love this salad. I got the recipe from a friend but being as I've moved and so has she, I now freely claim it as mine! I am a genius in the kitchen.


This one is truly mine. Easy easy and so yummy. Saute in a little olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and a little red pepper flakes. Just for a few minutes over med-high heat, stirring frequently. YUM.


Chad discovered the secret to rough housing/co-existing with children. Noise cancelling head phones! Not just for mowing the lawn, these bad boys will save us thousands in hearing aides in the future.




She dresses herself. Like this. All day long.



I've been getting my furniture refinishing out of my system. It's especially easy to do when you wake up and it's pouring cats and dogs in the desert and you have your project out in the elements trying to dry. Yeah, that's fun to wake up to. But. A day in the garage drying out and viola! Presto chango, everything turned out okay. A miracle in November. The table is no longer that color too, it's now a color called Peacock Blue. I'll post the office with the new table in it soon.


While I painted away, the children do as they do, frolicking. Isn't she a beautiful frolicker? While she zoomed around on this conveyance she made noises like a race car. I know I say it all the time. But, just to be clear, THESE ARE THE DAYS. Life is just so darn, AMAZING.




Owen working the Ripstick.


I know I'm completely unbiased but isn't she beautiful?

. . .salad, noise cancelling devices, haricot verts, rain coats, painting projects, and beautiful beautiful Lily. How's that for some Wednesday evening randomness?