Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Galley

I love good finds. I love good deals. I love authenticity. I love good food. I love things you can't get at any strip mall in the suburbs. I found something that fits all these categories.

I loved this dinner. Saleh Hamshari is Palestinian and he is a great chef. I note his ethnicity for two reasons. I think it's cool we have a Palestinian IN OUR SUBURBS. Second, I don't know much about Middle Eastern/Palestinian cooking (turns out it was Peruvian cooking I think), and maybe you do. Maybe you would know better than to dunk your chicken in this sauce without heeding caution.

But I didn't know better. Nor did I know the name of it. MEAN GREEN HOT SAUCE. That definitely would have been a hint. But, honestly, I wouldn't have been prepared. Because I would have started talking crack about how I grew up down South and nothing in Minnesota is truly spicy. Well, let me tell you, this hot sauce is not fit for any native Minnesotan.

This was a perfect hot sauce. It was spicy from the inside out. Not a sauce that you make and then you want it to be spicy so you add hot stuff. Or something that tastes like it had a spice packet added, like jambalaya in a box. It was so flavorful, so rich, that it stung when you ate it, but had you crawling back for more because the flavor was so sincere.

Moving on. The MEAN GREEN HOT SAUCE comes with an incredibly moist, juicy flavorful whole chicken that is roasted and then pressed over a charcoal fire. It is also accompanied by your choice of two sides. We had fluffy, sticky (yes, it was both) jasmine rice and flavorful green beans. We have a family of five and have left overs of everything.

Total Cost: $25

For more information, and for those who live in town and want to order, check this out.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Its all in the way you look at it

I have often thought about the power of writing. There are so many different perspectives and outlooks. So many different ways to view any given moment in time. It is not just in writing, but an attitude.

Todays post and picture are about the same day as yesterdays post.

Notice in the picture above. My son has a nice claw mark down his cheek given to him by his sister when a fight broke out. Oh, I don't remember exactly when this happened or what it was about because it happened ALL DAY LONG. Often in louder, whinier voices than I am able to write.

"I don't like yours. Its not pretty."
"You can't have that one. It's mine."
"That ornament doesn't go there."

There ensued moments of sneaking ornaments on and off the tree. Child A didn't wanted it to look one way. Child B either didn't want it to be that way, or more likely, wanted to antagonize the other, and took the ornament off when A wasn't looking. Child A would discover it, shriek, and seek to remedy the situation in whatever way they could.

When someone was feeling especially powerless, they would resort to, "you can't ever have a sleep over in my room again," or "meanie", or "I am not getting you a present."

As much as I hate to admit it, the banter sometimes crept into the grown ups in the house. Oh, it didn't get as vicious, mind you, but it was there. If one of us had an idea that differed from the other, little things would happen. Someone would disappear so they couldn't help or make snide comments about who is doing more.

And, being a part of a competitive family, somehow we can turn Christmas decorating into something you can win. I can get more ornaments on the tree than you. I will hang the prettiest one. Who can get more boxes out? Who can put the most money in their giving jars?

This also, rather than extends to, probably stems from the adults. Mostly the one not writing this. :)
While putting up the lights on the tree, I actually stopped to write down this quote to make sure I got it right.

"My side is gonna look perfect. Yours will need tons of help."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Dreamy Day

The Kids stayed in their pajamas all day. We call these jammie days. THEY LOVE THEM !

We didn't have anywhere we had to be ALL DAY LONG. We love that.

We decorated for Christmas, played games (current favorite of my six year old is cribbage) , built with legos and blocks, unloaded ornaments (a favorite of everyone), made rice krispie treats, hung the advent calendars, had a candle light family dinner, and even did our part to help out others.

Look how cute little Sally is peeping through!

May the rest of the season be as joyous as this day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cutting down the Christmas Tree, Year 15

For the last 15 years, we have gone to Tallackson's Tree Farm in Big Lake, Minnesota to cut down our tree. This year seemed easier, at first. It was a warm 45 degrees and the sun was shining. No need to make sure we had all the snowsuits and extra garb to stay warm. No diapers or sippy cups to pack. The kids got themselves dressed for the most part, packed what they needed for the day, and off we went.

I had a letter I needed to mail to my grandmother and he said, "What's this?" A letter I need to mail to Nana, I want to drop it in the box on the way out. OK. When we drove the 2 houses to our mailbox, he put the letter in the mailbox. I said I didn't want it in the mail box, I wanted to drop it in the US Post Mailbox. "It will post faster here." I don't care, I want it in the US Post box so no one will mess with it. "No one is going to mess with this." Now, it didn't really matter where it was, and most probably no one would mess with it, but I just don't like doing it that way and I CANT UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE ARGUING WITH ME ABOUT THIS WHEN THE US POST BOX IS ANOTHER 50 YARDS DOWN THE ROAD.

Steve and I always want a latte for the hour plus drive, so he obliged me and we went to Starbucks. Then I was being a little high maintenance, and he obliged me because he knows he can be that way too - I wanted to stop at Lunds to get tweazers. I needed a new pair and I wanted it NOW otherwise THIS ONE HAIR WILL BE DRIVING ME CRAZY ALL DAY AND YOU WILL HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT. He didn't really mind stopping once I explained it like that. So then he asked me to get some donuts while I was in there. OK.

I came out and needed one more errand. Now I know that I was pushing the limits now, but it was in the same parking lot, same little strip mall. I needed some conditioner for my hair and WE WERE RIGHT THERE. I hadn't been able to get it all week because someone always had to be somewhere and didn't want to stop. Now they all had a movie, Steve had his coffee and donuts, so I wanted to stop. So he stopped. And he was very nice about it.

On the road now. We get on the interstate and their movie is over. Wow. The dog is jumping over the back seat and landing on the kids. They are screaming. About the dog. And wanting another movie. So we pull off at the next exit, the one after we entered the interstate. Steve is losing it now, but trying not to let on. He gets out to take care of the dog and Chloe unbuckles to change the movie.

All is well and we are off again. We pull out of the gas station where we stopped and are about to turn left to make a quick right to re - enter the Interstate. Chloe can't find the remote to work the DVD player and is getting louder and more frustrated with it, the dog has gotten out of his leash and jumped on the kids again, and Steve starts yelling that this is my fault because I didn't get out and help when we stopped. I snap back that there was nothing I could have done because he was doing a GRAND job of RE - TYING up the dog and Chloe was changing the movie. We make a U turn and screech back into the closed gas station we just left. Now Steve is pissed. He opens the rear of the Suburban and PUNCHES the dog and the kids start crying because he punched the dog and WHY CAN'T WE FIND THE REMOTE? I am at a cross as to what to do. I yell at Steve that he has upset the kids and he can't punch the dog while I am looking for the remote. I eventually, after removing half the crap from the car, find the remote under the seat.


So we are back in the car, everyone is calm, some small sniffles coming from the kids, Steve is being extra nice because that is what he does when he feels bad for losing it. I am about to laugh because we are at the same light where we are going to turn left to make a quick right for a reentry onto the interstate and NO KIDDING BUT I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. I quickly wonder to myself if I can hold it for the hour or so trip , and decide I can't , so I just laugh and say I have to go to the bathroom. If he would have ignored me and driven on, (which I would have done) I would have said it again, and I guess he knew this and didn't want to hear about it for the next hour. So, instead of that left that we had tried to make twice before, he went straight and pulled into another gas station and was very nice about it and asked me which side of the car the gas tank was on because we might as well get gas. I am laughing out loud now even though he isn't quite able to do that yet. I asked if anyone had to go to the bathroom and the kids yelled, "Can we get out and get a toy?" "NO!" I did get Sally out and we went to the bathroom and came out and they were ready to go. We did sucessfully re- enter the interstate at this point, and one of the kids asked, "Are we almost there?"

We talked about rethinking this tradition and going to the lot down the street.

But what will we really remember when we see the photos from the day?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bedtime Prayers

This was Chaucer's prayer tonight:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Angels guard me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.

And God bless John and Gabriel the most.  Then all of the St. Paul Saints players I watched today.  And all of the Minnesota twins players.  And every baseball player in every baseball game in the whole world.  And everyone I like in this world.  Well, I guess just bless everyone in the world today.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lucky ME!


Because they work so hard....

To give me these!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Day of Preschool

My youngest child finished her last day of preschool today.  Many mothers have walked this road before me with many different emotions.  Some are so ready.  Others are unapologetic.  Others are nostalgic.  Some are so proud of their little ones.  Some are sad.  Some are excited.  Some are so busy just trying to get through the day that they barely notice.  

I fall into the sad camp.  Of course I have other emotions, but , honestly, I am sad.  I can't believe it has gone so fast.  How can  you live a life where some days are so long that you think they will never be over and yet claim it has gone by so fast?  I unapologetically raise my hand to this.  Thats just life with little ones.  

I am sad that the years with little ones are over.  I am sad she will be going to school every day next year.  I am sad for the things left undone.  I am sad for what I could have done better.  I was not always the mother I wanted to be, or expected myself to be.  I am sad I will not be called upon to make play dough for the class room.  I am sad to not get book order sheets because I didn't always get those filled out like I wanted to.  I am sad not to know who the "very important kid" of the day is each day - one of her highlights this year.  

I am grateful that she will still be going half days next year and we will still eat lunch together every day.  I am grateful that she has had such extraordinary teachers the last two years.  I am grateful that she is healthy.  I am grateful that she will be at the same school as my other kids next year.  I am grateful that she is excited for her new adventure, and comfortable with where she will be.  I am grateful for the teachers she will have next year.  I am grateful for the summer ahead of us.  I am grateful for my husband and all of my children. 

I am grateful for being able to watch her walk the stepping stones in the children's garden at her preschool this year.  She did it most every day before and after school.  

And I am grateful that I got to watch her walk her last steps in that garden today.

First Day of School 2007 - 2 years old, 

First Day of School 2008 - 3 years old

 In the beloved garden May 2009

Last Day of Preschool May 2009 - 4 years old

How did you feel about your child's last day of preschool?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mine That Bird

Doesn't everyone love the story of the Underdog? Why is that?  Why are we drawn to those stories? How can it be that I don't know a thing about horses, horseracing, Kentucky Derby, or Preakness, but I can turn on the TV right before the event, watch the 2 minute race, and be in tears with the story about a small town Louisiana boy and a trainer who drove into the tracks with a 20 year old pick up truck and a trailor, with a 50:1 odds, win the race? 

We can identify with these stories.  They give us hope and inspiration.  They make us believe almost anything is possible.  These stories could be you, me, or the guy down the street. They feel good.  

Sometimes I am just a sucker for the feel good stories.