Thursday, July 26, 2012


Cooking in a new kitchen is always a bit of an adventure.  Some things are better, some are worse.  I'm really missing my huge kitchen with storage galore up north.  But I am a master at fitting things into small spaces.  I'm also surprised by how much I miss my gas range.  The whole time we were up there, I silently cursed it for being so difficult to clean and thought about how much I hoped for glass top stove again.  And now I have a glass top and all I can think of is how great it was to be able to shake a pot on the gas.  The grass is always greener somewhere else, isn't it?

One of the biggest cooking adventures of the summer is learning how to use my grill.  I'm not a great griller; typically grilling to me means marinading some meat or putting together Lucys and then handing off the raw tray to Hubs.  A short time later, dinner is magically done and we eat.

Last summer we had a million chicken legs in the freezer that I bought on sale and needed to use up before we moved.  Hubs was working late so I threw them in BBQ sauce and put them on the grill.  How hard can it be?  Okay people, I didn't even know how to read my grill's temperature settings.  Or I am just really, really dumb.  Because I threw those legs slathered in sweet BBQ sauce on the flaming grill on HIGH.  Soon the grill wasn't the only thing flaming.  Those legs ignited quickly.  I gasped, not unlike the crazy old guy does in Back To The Future when the model starts on fire.  Then I turned the grill too low and a half hour later when I took them off, they were charred and chewy on the outside and raw on the inside.  Not quite what I had in mind for dinner that night.  I think we ended up eating pinto beans out of a can.

On top of my inability to grill, I also wanted to add veggies to the challenge.  We don't eat a lot of meat and we love to eat veggies.  Particularly roasted veggies.  But as I've already said, it is waaayyyy too hot to use the oven.  So, this summer, my big kitchen adventure is to make tasty vegetable-heavy meals on the grill.  I'm doing alright.  So far we've had grilled eggplant parmesan, stuffed bell peppers, and loads of beets and sweet potatoes.  Yum!  Hubby has also grilled up a number of sausages and burgers and lucys.  And this weekend we are going to try pizza on the grill.  I'm excited.  Feel free to share any of your great veggie grilling ideas! 

This grilling adventure is fun.  And do you know the absolute best part about grilling?  The clean up!  No pots or pans.  Not a lot of prep bowls.  Usually just a cutting board and a tray.  Which is great because my dishwasher is here is only a half dishwasher.  We can usually fit in Little Lady's bottles and the dinner plates and  Doing dishes is my LEAST favorite household chore.  Okay, maybe folding laundry is worse, but I really despise doing dishes.  And every night I find myself standing at the sink looking out at the chain link fence and the garage siding and thinking about what God wants me to learn by doing all these dishes.  This is a refining process for me and I hope I get out of it what I'm supposed to.

I made these for breakfast last weekend.  Pinterest is so much fun!

They are black forest pancakes.  Chocolate pancakes, covered in a fresh cherry sauce and whipping cream.  Surprisingly, my chocoholics both decided they don't like chocolate pancakes; Little Man refused to eat them, but he did eat the cherries and whipped cream.  I thought they we great and I'm usually the one who doesn't eat chocolate.  Or at least I was before Little Lady was born.  Now I can't seem to get enough; she's made me a "real" woman, I guess. 

Alright, off to make some raspberry lemonade and strawberry cupcakes with Little Man.  Tonight is Ladies Night with my sister-in-laws and mother-in-law.  We are having dessert and drinks at my place and then heading out for a crazy night of BINGO.  I can't wait.  Have a great weekend, friends! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


It seems every box and bag I open has some memory of my boy in it.  Some memories make me smile, some make me cry.  All of them make me miss him so much and my heart just hurts a little more this month.  For the past year we have lived in a furnished vacation home and I feel like I'm unpacking some of my grief with the boxes that have been stored away since we left a year ago. 

And we have so much stuff we will never use again; it drives me batty.  Because everything contains memories, or, at the very least, significance.  We needed it because we had Jameson.   And now we don't.  And the ever-practical-and-always-moving gypsy in me can't handle keeping things around that we don't need.  And my heart just can't take looking at the stack of third birthday presents that were never opened and played with.  Every cell of my being longs to trade the stuff for the boy.  Oh God, how I want him back.  But I can't make that trade.  I can't have him back.  It just totally blows.  I don't even know how else to write it.  There are not words in this world that are powerful enough to describe my sadness and longing.

I'm not overly sentimental with his stuff.  There are some things that I will keep forever.  His blankey.  His Spiderman sneakers that he wore to the hospital and should have worn home that crappy August afternoon before all hell broke loose.  His Irish Prince T-shirt.  A few toys that make me smile because they made him smile.  But stuff in general doesn't do it for me.  Other than pictures, I think I could walk away from everything I own with a shrug and an oh well.  Because I've already lost something that really matters.  And let me tell you, stuff doesn't really matter.  It doesn't.

So, I've got all this stuff that I don't need and somebody else probably does.  I'm trying to maximize the feel-good return on the donations and bless people with special needs as much as possible.  The books and Down Syndrome stuff is all going to a brand new GiGi's Playhouse in the Twin Cities.  And maybe some toys will go to them, too.  The birthday gifts that still have tags will go to the hospital for other sick kiddos.  Some of the used stuff will go to a garage sale benefit for a friend's sweet girl.  My Jameson will give lots of smiles to other kids.

Sigh.  I'm sitting on the floor trying to process all of this and so much more and I've got the most smiley, happy girl rolling around next to me, squealing and tooting up a storm.  Hahaha.  She is Grace and a balm for my broken heart.  Right now she's chewing on the T-Rex Jameson had with him in his hospital bed.  Sometimes her little fingers wrap around the tail the same way his did and it is hard to breathe.  I imagine it makes him smile down on us.  My happiness and sadness are all intertwined in these moments.

Ah, and now it is time to dry my eyes and feed little mouths.  Happy Saturday.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Whew!  My head is still spinning, but I wanted to say hi and let you know I haven't forgotten about this blog here.  The past few weeks have been such a whirlwind!  We really enjoyed every last ounce of the lake.  Swimming, fishing, walking the dirt road, sunrises and sunsets...  It was such a lovely last week.

We moved back to the Cities just over a week ago.  Little Lady cried when we hit the suburban sprawl.  I was right there with her on that one.  We are missing the serenity of living in the country, but we'll survive.  Our new house is probably a third the size of the lake house and we have probably two-thirds more stuff.  Clearly we did this the wrong way.  I need to have another garage sale.

This past Sunday Little Lady and her cousin were baptized.  My parents came and up and stayed in a hotel so the kids could swim in a pool.  It was super fun.  My brother came up, too, and he brought me a tres leche cake.  I'm having it for breakfast as I type.  Right now, I'm spending all my free time unpacking way too many boxes and looking for a job. 

Happy Tuesday!