Friday, April 22, 2011

For the Mamas. And the Papas.

I'm a little underslept today----we leave for Bali tonight for a wedding which of course is turning into a babymoon as well. The pace before leaving town always accelerates---I'm not sure why. So I don't remember my dreams as well as I often do, but I know I was madly in love with my baby in my dreams, and the baby was the gender that it always is when I have baby dreams. We're not finding out what we're having, but the dreams match what I believe is on its way.

One of my best friends sent me this.

It's by Tina Fey, so you should know you're going to laugh. And then maybe get a little choked up. For you mothers, or soon-to-be-mothers, or women who think maybe-one-day-I'll be-a-mother. And for the daddies too.

A Mother's Prayer

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her:
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
pic from here

See you first week of May! With Bali Belly pix.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pretty Panna Cotta

Make this.
Maybe now.

Because it will take you all of 10 minutes and you'll feel like a gourmet gone wild.

The easiest, freshest, simplest spring dessert out there:
Panna cotta from, big surprise, Ms. Goin.

I've made this twice in 5 days. The first was for a family dinner at Brock and Kristina's. There were 5 of us, so I halved the recipe which serves 8, and it was perfect. The second time was yesterday because the ones at Family Dinner were gone too fast for me to photo. I halved the recipe again so as not to be left with too much cold custardy creaminess all to myself in the fridge. I am proud to report there's still some in there, though restraining from having it for every meal does take some effort.

All you need for this recipe is some dairy products, a packet of gelatin (and those if you who don't use it, try agar agar--I bet it will work), an amount of sugar probably sitting in your sugar bowl, and some berries.

It's completely delicious and incredibly easy, so you can surprise someone with homemade fantasticness during the week even. Which can be really lovely. A no-occasion special-occasion treat. I made mine in individual ramekins; you can also use one large dish and serve it family style at the table.

Here goes:

Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta With Berries
from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

1/2 c cold whole milk
one 1/4 oz package unflavored gelatin
3 c heavy cream
6T granulated sugar
Vegetable oil, for molds
1/2 c plus 2T creme fraiche ( I love Bellwether Farms)
1 1/2 pints fresh berries

Place milk in large bowl, sprinkle gelatin over it, stir to combine

In a saucepan, bring cream and 5T sugar to a boil. Lightly oil 8 4-oz ramekins or a large gratin dish if serving family style.

When cream boils, turn off the heat, let sit for a few minutes.

Slowly whisk cream into milk/gelatin, then whisk in creme fraiche.

Strain (though I didn't need to---nothing was in the strainer after I did) the mixture and pour into prepared molds. Chill at least 3 hours in the fridge.

10-15 minutes before serving, slice berries as necessary and toss with a tablespoon of sugar.

Run a hot knife around the edges of the molds and invert panna cotta onto individual plates or onto a chilled platter. Surround panna cotta with berries and juice.

See what I mean?

Now I will tell you when I made it first I added the seeds of a vanilla bean to the cream mixture before boiling and it was heaven. Made the top of the panna cotta a little speckled, but no matter. I also think you could add a tablespoon or 2 of Grand Marnier at that same point.....
The tang from the creme fraiche is wonderful, and the berries offset that beautifully. Use whatever ones look freshest at your market.

Also: use a VERY HOT knife. Like stuck in boiling water hot. I had a little trouble unmolding them, which also could have been from not using quite enough oil. But a very hot knife makes a difference too.

Shelf paper giveaway winner gets chosen today! YAY!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kitchen Transforme, a GIVEAWAY, and Lots of Exclamation Points

Remember we spoke about Chic Shelf Paper not too long ago? All those adorable patterns for those old drawers longing for some personality? We've teamed up. I went with the pattern most of you liked that was actually my favorite too and


{Ahhhhhhhhhh!} That's me singing an aria.

Look how nice they look!!!!!!

I should have taken before pics but who wants to see worn stained drawers? They were sad. And now I want to keep them open all the time! The pots and pans shelves actually don't have doors and I'm finally happy about that.

I love love love this company. It's something subtle you can do to a room and totally change it from "ugh" or "eh" to "oooooh". And guess what?! They are sponsoring a giveaway--my first ever:)

Simply leave your name and email in the comment section and a winner will be selected at random on Wednesday the 20th. The lucky recipient will receive one roll of 24" by 10" laminated vinyl shelf paper in the pattern of her choice. Shipping and CA sales tax included.

Maybe you'll go for the distressed damask
I do love it. Or you could go with this for a tropical feel
or here for classic feminine
or here

the antique ceiling tiles are pretty cool. There are a couple hundred options so you should be covered for the kitchen or hutch or bar or bathroom room.

FUN! And promise me you'll let us see the results.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Things are Growing....

....around here.

Me, for one. Here's 24 weeks; I'm currently at 25.
Graduated a few days after this pic to maternity jeans, the one item of bonafide maternity wear I was committed to buying. I went for Paige, because hers have always fit me great. Such a relief to be comfy in jeans again.
Also growing:

Some bonuses with the new house. Just growing all over the back fence without me lifting a finger and getting more and more lush each day. Thank you plants.

And as part of belly getting bigger, we took our childbirth education class over the weekend. As opposed to what other kind of birth I'm still trying to find out. I hope I birth a child. And not, say, a baby horse.

It was so good. Sky's schedule makes it hard to commit to a 6-week deal, so we did the weekend intensive with Ana Paula at Binibirth. She is amazing. Brazilian (with an Italian background so the theatrics were on at times which I loved), hilarious, compassionate, experienced (she's won every doula and childbirth educator award there is to win in LA)--I adore her. I expected to learn some techniques for coping with labor and maybe some postpartum tips, which I did. She doesn't overcomplicate it because I believe the point is to feel secure enough in the basic knowledge of the process that I can get out of my head and go with my body. I expected to meet some other parents-to-be, which I did. I expected for Sky and I to have a beautiful time together as we took another step towards this massive and incredible change about to occur in our lives. That happened too.

What I didn't expect was to feel so excited to be in labor when the weekend finished. Ana asked us at the start of the weekend what we expect from labor and I said I expect it to be the most challenging thing I've ever done, but also the most sacred. I feel that way having finished the weekend and having learned more about what I can most likely expect (the feeling that the baby is going to come out of my rear, for one thing). I feel.....relaxed. Like the weekend was an affirmation of what I know: I am designed to do this. I have 2 friends who for their first births were 3 1/2 hours start to finish, so I know that exists, but I'm not planning on that. I'm planning on a good, I don't know, 15-24 hours of moderate to extreme intensity. And I'm looking forward to it. Pain scares me when I think it signals something wrong. This is going to signal something so incredibly right. So I don't have to be scared, and I'm not. Ana distinguished between pain and suffering. I might be in pain during labor, but that doesn't mean I'll be suffering. We have a while--another 3 1/2 months or so---but I'm glad I took the course now so I have time to let it all sink in. And an excuse to ask Sky to massage me. A LOT. It's practice for labor, after all.

And the prize at the end of all that squatting and moaning and maybe yelling and definitely breathing will be one of these

I'll be writing a whole lot about my thoughts on impending motherhood. Right now I can hardly put words to the waves that washed over me during the weekend where I felt the magnitude of the change that's coming, the miracle that's coming, and with that a sense of complete wide-eyed bewilderment because I cannot comprehend it. Its utterly unknown. For the first time in my life, I can't even try to plan what this will be. It's like I'm standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean and someone just told me I will swim across it and I'll know how. But it's bigger than that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sneak Peek

The house is coming together. SLOWLY.

I'd of course like to do a grand spread where I show you everything perfectly in place, clean, with flowers everywhere and dappled light. And that will be next year. Or hopefully (please!) by June. I'd like to feel moved in by the time baby arrives.

But here's a snippet:

Our front living room. I say front because we have a lounge-y area in the back that a big comfy couch is going in (which is supposed to be delivered this week and my hopes are so high.). This front room has a day bed, eventually an armchair, our books, and this desk

It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I L.O.V.E. it. We had a gift card to Room and Board and we put it towards this, the Parsons. Technically a dining table, but whatevs. Works as a desk for both of us. The light in this room is spectacular, and I love working amidst all the green from the yard out front.

Side note:

Isn't that Einstein quote the best?? Can you even read it? Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions. And the calendar I bought on Etsy from Karey at mackin' ink.

We're figuring out seating at the desk. The bench you see in the photo is actually from our dining table (thank you, table, for loaning), and obviously too dark. But it did get us thinking that we like the bench thing. Especially since the desk is in a room where when people come over they'll sit. We could do two desk chairs for sure (and I actually have 2 from Ikea I'm going to try out because they were $39 and I was there and isn't that how it goes at Ikea? I have no problem driving back to return--I'll come home with another planter or kitchen towel), but the bench idea might look nicer given that this is suddenly a hybrid room.

I've been scoping these:

from Room and Board (most are customizable, including the Parsons which is a match for the desk which we did in white powder coat on the legs and cherry butcher block on the top)

from Croft House but the wood doesn't look as smooth. No butt splinters please.
And from Environment. Too dark but maybe they'd do a lighter one?

And of course if you've seen some out in your travels please send along. I'd love to find one that's budget-friendly; at the same time Sky and I are both feeling like we're buying pieces now that we're going to have for a long long time. So Ikea may lose this one.

And for your final preview: what I started tackling yesterday

THE GARAGE. It doesn't look a lot different from that now because the Ikea Antonius shelf that should have taken 20 minutes to assemble took an hour and a half because the metal things you hammer in are f-ing ridiculous and barely fit. Easy my ass. But I did get it done (mind you I have the Omar shelf ahead of me still) and the next garage photos I post will be shiny happy ones.