The Noise Feared by Parents the World Over

I will always remember Saturday morning, March 12, 2016. It’s 5am and for the first time, in the almost four years of raising littles, I heard the noise feared by parents the world over. It’s not isolated culturally. Every parent fears hearing their children throw up. For four blissful years Matt and I have witnessed countless viral infections, endured our eldest getting rotavirus between vaccinations, and have had many nights of lukewarm baths and oil rubbing to draw down fevers, but we had managed to avoid throw up. Well citizens the streak has been broken. Our adventurous sixteen-month-old blazed a new trail that I was satisfied to have go unblazed. 

As Sophia was sitting pitifully in the bath tub to be de-throw-upped I had so many thoughts racing through my head. First, before I seem like a wretched parent, I felt extreme pity. She was a mess but still clinging to my arm and Mr. Bear, to whom she has become desperately attached, as of late. You can see his feet in the picture below.   

 

My second, third, and fourth thoughts were much less sympathetic and ranked highly on the panic and practicality scale. I thought this list of thoughts might ring a few bells and help other moms giggle through the post traumatic mommy stress of the frequent days of sick littles. Let’s face it, sometimes you just have to chronicle things to help you laugh later. If we can’t laugh at a lot of what happens in parenting, we’re gonna be in trouble. I often find myself saying

You just can’t make this stuff up…

So without further ado, here you go. My panic and practical thoughts …

It could be isolated right?

She might have just eaten something funny.

What did we eat yesterday?

Did we eat the same things?

Oh please Lord spare it going through the house! 

It really could be isolated. 

How much laundry money do I have on our card because wow, this is going to call for a lot of laundry. 

Do I have gloves? No my left one tore. Ok I need gloves.

I think I’m out of Lysol. 

How will Soph do?
We have to wash Mr. Bear.

It really could be isolated. I think it’s isolated. 

These are only a few and I would love to hear your add-ons, but when I finally got Sophia clean, redressed, and snuggling, I was thankful. All silliness aside, the journey of parenting is beautifully exhausting and we’re only at the start. I know that as our girls grow older, the problems will be larger and more complicated. In thinking about this I was thankful that all she needed was to be held close. I was thankful that could be my ‘job.’

After I got my practical list of thoughts out there on the table in front of the Lord it was alright. The day was still challenging. There was a mammoth pile of laundry, much of which I didn’t want to touch with a ten foot poll. If my sweet momma hadn’t handmade the crib bedding I think I would have spared myself the dry heaving and just tossed that fitted sheet. Lots of things needed cleaning and sanitized, I was tired and had a child that I knew was going to need extra attention. Life doesn’t stop when littles get sick, you have to manage through more, but praise God He is faithful to give us the energy and strength we need. Sometimes I wish He would fill the energy and strength tank a little more heaping, but then my sinful self would have even more opportunity for feeling a bit too self-sufficient. 

Well y’all it’s Monday night and honestly I wish I were still asleep from this morning, but let’s spur each other to lean on Christ and to encourage and uplift each other with what’s left of today. Don’t fail to reach out. Having friends who know where you’re at and can pray for you is such a treasure. Let’s not do today alone. 

Happy Mondaying!

Confessions of a Cauliflower Lover 

I love cauliflower. Now that we have that out of the way let me tell you something about this cauliflower lover. Until a month or so ago I loved it in safe applications only. Like raw or raw with ranch (does that even count), or oven roasted in olive oil, or in this wickedly delicious potato soup my mum makes, but that was it. I would see adventurous recipes and just toodle right past. So I really wasn’t much of a cauliflower explorer I just knew I loved the taste of it. 

When you see recipes for cauliflower pizza crust and faux cauliflower Alfredo sauce or caulirice do you roll your eyes and ignore? I used to as well, mainly because I love pizza and I love rice. My husband loves a good Alfredo sauce and sometimes when we have favorite thing change seems unfavorable, but y’all I’ve been won over and you should give it a try. 

  

 I still don’t have the courage mustered to present my hubby with a cauliflower pizza crust but we’re getting there. I made faux Alfredo sauce with noodles and sautéed broccoli this past week and he really liked it. We both agreed it needed Parmesan cheese but other than that it would be a sufficient replacement. It was beautifully creamy and had a luscious consistency. It also took the normal calorie count of an Alfredo sauce from 400 to 40 calories so hallelujah. 

  

Can you tell its cauliflower? Sure. It’s not a magical replacement but it’s also not overpowering. With Parmesan cheese I’m guessing your detection of it would reduce even more significantly. Throw some grilled chicken on top and you have a special and easy dinner for your family or loved one. 

  

Still scared? Don’t be. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t like it. Alright, fair enough, but since I’m a glass half-full person, what’s the best that could happen? You like it and now have the ability to swap one recipe for another that hits the spot, and is actually good for you – without tasting like it. Give it a try and tell me what you think. 

Here’s the link to Pinch of Yum’s original recipe: Creamy Cauliflower Sauce. I added a minced shallot with the garlic as well as a tablespoon of ranch dressing (added it directly to the food processor) for a small herbal punch. In her comments Lindsey, the mastermind behind Pinch of Yum, said many of her readers really did like it with the Parmesan, so add a 1/4cup to the sauce when you blend it or just grate some atop. I don’t know about you but something about cozy Italian food, even if it’s faux cozy Italian food, demands grated cheese. 

Happy Cauliflowering! 

What Happened to the Ice Cream?

I was realizing today that I hadn’t written about ice cream in several months. Considering my ice cream enthusiasm or enthusiasm for anything smooth, cold and refreshing, I had to remedy that and share with you a recent experiment. 

As some of you know I make ice cream for friends, family, and others in our apartment building. It’s therepudic and a great deal of fun. I can make the bases when my girls are in bed and they love to help churn them the next day. Izzy has always dragged a chair into the kitchen in order to mooch and watch the transformation, and Sophia quickly learned the word ‘bite’ from her sister, as she realized she wanted a taste too. 

It’s not an especially lucrative enterprise but it brings in enough to support itself and keep people sharing in this crazy season of seminary life happy. For those reasons it brings me a great deal of joy. One particular family orders a quart of dark chocolate every couple weeks. They are precious, and this is where my cinnamon experiment began. They asked me to make cinnamon ice cream. 

   

I had never made cinnamon ice cream before, and for that matter I had never had cinnamon ice cream. I looked in my go-to ice cream book The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, but didn’t see a recipe, so I started my cinnamon experiment with another I scavenged online. It only used ground cinnamon. The flavor was good but the texture was dreadful so I decided to look in The Perfect Scoop again. Sure enough I had missed it. There was a cinnamon ice cream recipe! This base began by steeping cinnamon sticks in cream. Brilliant! It achieved a solid cinnamon punch without the grainy texture. In the end I added about a 1/4t of good vanilla extract (not in the recipe) and it was perfect. 

  

Not sure what to pair it with? Think fall or winter desserts like pumpkin or apple pie. Or head in a spring or summer direction with grilled peaches. Give it a whirl and let me know what you paired it with. I’d love to hear. Or maybe you just snarfed it down on its own because let’s face it – if you like cinnamon but you’ve never tried it in an ice cream application, it can be quite addictive all by its lonesome. You’ve been warned. 

Happy Churning! 

If you’ve never checked out David Lebovitz please do. Just start with the ice cream tab but I dare you to stay there. davidlebovitz.com

 

 

For the Love of Branches 

My love of tree branches has not waned but increased since living in Texas. Dallas is not known for its trees although there are two particular varieties I have fallen in love with. We don’t have crepe myrtles at home, nor do you see live oaks with the same gorgeously gnarly, branches.  

  

As I mentioned in 50 Ways to Upcycle Tree Branches and Logs, when we moved from Kansas to Texas I was told the tree branches that had hung in our bedroom had to remain behind. It was a sad day parting with them but I knew I could find new ones. 

Over a year and a half ago I updated you with a picture of their Texas replacement. Since then we have moved apartments again but the branches got to come along this time … And they seem to be multiplying.

Not only do I love branches but I also have this ‘fear of the void’ problem, to pull out one of my rusty art history phrases. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to figure out that ‘fear of the void’ or horror vacui which in Latin is ‘fear of empty space’ or kenophobia from the Greek ‘fear of the empty’ is about where I fit when I look at our home. Just think  Adolf Wolfli, Jean Debuffet, Edward Gorey or the Where’s Waldo book series. In our case my ‘fear of the void’ is far less than the technical definition as our walls do not look like something out of an I Spy book, but I cannot have blank wall space and each room must have something on the ceiling. 

Just before Christmas my dad brought me two glorious branches that had fallen, via a storm, from the old sycamore tree at home. It is one of my favorite trees. My brother and I could never climb it growing up because where it branched out was probably twenty feet up, but it is a magnificent tree. 

Right now the sycamore branches are above our dining room table and I think that will be their permanent home. At Christmas Izzy and I filled them with greenery, gilded magnolia leaves and ice cycles. For Valentines Day we hung hearts from them. Right now they are bare and awaiting some sort of cheering for spring. They have become a fun vehicle for seasonal decorating, but even when bare they remind me of home and the glorious creativity of the Lord and His trees. 

Do you have branches in your home? I would sure love to see them. If not give bringing some nature inside a whirl and check out the link earlier in the article about upcycling. What fun and often inexpensive projects! 

Happy Tree Branching!