Starting With The Spoon.

28 March 2014 | 16 Comments

Dave told me that I needed to come clean to all of you about some of my quirky little things.  I believe his wording was, “People think you are normal.  I beg to differ.  Start with the spoon.”

When we were registering for our wedding, I chose our flatware by how it felt in my hand.  The look wasn’t important and the pattern name escapes me.  Names apparently aren’t important to my brain, but a fork that I am going to eat with every single day of my life needs to feel right in your hand.   Right?  {This is where you nod and agree with me.}

So, the spoon…

He makes fun of me because I have an unnatural love for eating with the sugar spoon as opposed to a regular spoon.  We rarely use the spoon for spooning sugar.  Unless you count ice cream as sugar, which I do not.  I say he’s just jealous because he probably wants to use it but he can’t because I claim it every single time.  It is far superior to regular old spoons.  And if I could for the life of me remember our everyday flatware pattern, I’d probably buy 11 more sugar spoons and throw away our teaspoons. 

I am probably a lunatic

To further convey the power of the sugar spoon’s awesomeness...  When Emily of Jelly Toast was over at my house I did, in fact, use the spoon for sugar.  Mostly, to prove to her that I am fancy enough to be her friend, “oh look, we have a spoon only for sugar,” and she was mesmerized by it’s coolness. 

Maybe mesmerized isn’t the correct feeling, but she did say it was cool. 

So, take that, Dave. 

Further confessions for this fine Friday afternoon are as follows:

I wear purple dish gloves to do the dishes.  You can blame Meme for this one.  For as far back as I can remember, she has used a yellow pair of dish gloves to do the dishes, so in high school, I started doing that too.  I also have a pink pair just for cleaning the bathroom.   

I have favorite pens, they are Bic.  Plain old stick pens.  No matter the color, so long as it isn’t red.  {If you are following along, that leaves only blue or black.}  Sharpies are also awesome writing utensils.  Additionally, the cap must be firmly affixed on the end or I will avoid using it if at all possible.  You will also rarely find a clicky pen or a cap-less pen in our house because I throw them away.  Clicky pens and the people who are pen clickers are my nemesis.

I have more straws and napkins in the house than are probably necessary.  Ikea is by far, my favorite place to buy them because they consistently have fabulous napkins for so cheap that I don’t even feel bad throwing ten new ones in my cart.  Once, when my best friend was in town, I off-handedly mentioned that I probably had 25 different napkin patterns to use at a given time.  She swore I was exaggerating my napkin affinity, until I went and showed them to her.

I’m weird.  You can pretend it’s endearing. 

Now it’s your turn, tell me something weird about you.

PS. I spent nearly forty-five minutes figuring out the flatware pattern. 

PPS. Oh look, Dave, the sugar spoons are on sale.  You probably knew the pattern all along…


25 March 2014 | 7 Comments

Meme 06 From Michelle 2-17

She asked me if I was going to write about the party.  I don’t know that she really gets what I do, but she always hears from my aunts or my mom when I write about her. 

Which reminds me, ahem, snitches get stiches.

“You wrote out the beef stew recipe?  I hear you’re telling people about my drawings…”

I’m going to be honest, she didn’t want the party, that Meme of ours.  “You’re not coming back for that, are you?” she asked my Aunt Linda in disbelief that anyone would fly across the country to celebrate her ninety years.  Her sister flew in from Phoenix.  Her nephew flew in from Washington.  Chicago.  San Francisco.  Lansing.  Down the street and across the country, they were here simply because of her.  It made her anxious and she must have said at least a dozen times that she didn’t get what the big fuss was about her birthday.

“No speeches,” she made us promise. 

Five minutes with our family and strangers realize what a boisterous group of individuals she’s responsible for creating.  Some might use the word loud, but we’d like to think we’re entertaining.  But, Meme?  She is the one sitting back listening, laughing so hard she has tears in her eyes, dismissing us with a disgusted, “oh!” and a wave of her hand when we’re rambunctious and reminding us not to swear in front of her siblings.  Something she has to do repeatedly. 

She is quiet, unpretentious, honest, and intensely private.  Attention and spotlight are not her thing. 

She is content to be the one doing the celebrating, not the one being celebrated.  She’s been doing this my entire life and I have to imagine, for years before me.  My sister Lyndsey and I were talking, it’s something she has always done so unobtrusively that we were absolutely dumbfounded that we have never even noticed until now.  “Oh, that Morgan, can you believe it?  She made a basket at the last second and WON the game for her team,” she’ll casually mention, beaming with pride.  “Your mom, I don’t know how she does it.  She’s the hardest worker and has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen.” Then, later she’ll drop into conversation “No matter where we go, Judy runs into a student who remembers her.  She was so good to those kids, you can tell they really respected her.”  She’ll mention what a great cook Linda is, how gorgeous Sue’s garden is, how business savvy Anita is, and that Jim can make her laugh more than anyone.  Without even realizing it all these years, everyone else’s talents have been sung to me from every conversation with Meme.

She has no clue why anyone would find her remarkable when her children are so much more so, in her eyes.  She conveniently forgets the fact that she brought them up that way.  When someone mentions how hard it must have been raising six children after my grandpa died at forty-seven, she’ll staunchly say that she had no choice but to pick herself up and put one foot in front of the other.  Because that is what you do.   She has taught us by example to be kind to ourselves and even when you feel like you have little, there is always room to help someone else.  

The very moment that someone marvels that she got on a bus with her girlfriends after high school and went and lived in Los Angeles for a year, she just waves you off.  Not even your protests that women from small towns in Ohio just didn’t do things like that back then, will dissuade her that it isn’t a big deal.  She has been the vault for hundreds of secrets we’ve all whispered to her about babies on the way, impending moves, new jobs, or engagements.  She sees nothing interesting that at ninety years old, the Rolling Stones are still a favorite to listen to or that she rode her bike 5 or 6 miles everyday until she was in her seventies.  She’s so passionate about Ohio State basketball that she catches every game.  And she’ll deny it all the livelong day, but we all know she swears at the TV when they’re not doing well.

Yes, she seems just like every old lady out there, doesn’t she?

And I am.  Going to tell you about the party, I mean.  Just as soon as I can convince my uncle to let me share his {infinitely better than mine because he actually knows what he’s doing} photos with you.  The party was fantastic, but not half as fantastic as the reason behind the party.

Don’t you let Meme tell you otherwise.

All The Things of Almost Three.

18 March 2014 | 8 Comments

cell 155 cell 010 cell 031

Oh, they warn you of the terrible twos. 

Whispered tales of epic meltdowns and power struggles and refusals to eat anything that isn’t crunchy/orange/that one up there, NO, not that one, THAT one/insert the texture or color of your choice here, but please, leave room for corrections because it will change again in five minutes.  This is the escalating battle of wills they promise you, along with the assurance that it will eventually pass.  There is talk of getting out of bed twelve times to ask for another drink or another snuggle, the screaming screeching wailing banshee call of two year olds everywhere, which may or may not be coupled with the ever popular, throwing themselves on the ground in a spectacular fashion. 

There is a secret code of bonus points for doing this in front of strangers who silently stare, clicking their tongues at the obvious unruliness and your deficient parenting knowledge. 

You will wonder how it is humanly possible for one miniature person to make that spectacular mess in the three minutes it took for you to bring the laundry up from the basement.  Then, you will contemplate tearing your hair out as they flat out refuse to clean any of it up.  There is also, of course, the extra twenty minutes you should have buffered into leaving the house because they will get themselves dressed, thankyouverymuch.

Or, maybe they won’t get dressed at all… you just never know, really. 

There is usually a piece missing in this terrible twos speech. 

The part where, even in your maddening state of chaos as a parent of an almost three year old, you will be dumbfounded daily.  You will stand there mouth agape as they spell their name, or count something one-by-one, or stand on one foot.  It’s as if you can see their brain working.  And they look at you, as if to say, oh this?  What’s the big deal? I’ve been doing this for simply ages

You will develop an uncanny knack to hide your stifled laughter when she responds to your ‘we use good table manners’ lecture with an eye roll and fluttering eyelids while sighing loudly.  OK. Fine.  This looking away, eye roll, eyelid flutter is supposed to mean you can’t see her.  But clearly, you not only see her, but also a glimpse of what age twelve holds for you and you start to realize that maybe two isn’t so terrible. 

She will walk everywhere with determination, loud footsteps and cherub little arm swinging decidedly, laden with her plastic jewels or her brother’s Spiderman gloves.  This one does not go quietly, no ma’am.  She will sing Do You Want to Build a Snowman, through the door keyhole at her brother, complete with pause for him to say go away, Anna.  She will echo her laughter running through the house.  She will offer no apologies for being a gorgeous pirate princess one moment, and the superhero bad guy the next.  It is undoubtedly, up to YOU to keep up.

Let’s color!  Let’s stomp in the snow!  Let’s read this book!  Let’s read this book again!  She will play bas-et-ball, while building a Lego castle, having a picnic, a tea party, no… a dance party!  You wanna have a dance party?

Now, who-body wants to play with me?  Who-body?!

You skip a second and she’s cupping your face sweetly with her chubby, sometimes sticky, hands to tell you something of utmost importance.   Dis purple is WON-da-FUL, my fingers are boo-ti-ful!  Lavender manicures and matching pedicures from her Aunt Lisey are chattered about for weeks.   Or she’s throwing her arms around your neck for a tight hug and assurances that you are her best gir-wl in da universe.  You watch her slightly reluctantly share something with her brother.  Thank yous are remembered and sometimes table manners too. 

And in those moments?  You will turn to your spouse and say, “we seriously make the most magnificent human beings on the planet,” and mean it.


17 March 2014 | 2 Comments

Make sure you’ve got a bit of green today or you’ll get a pinch!


cell 320


Urticaria Multiforme.

16 March 2014 | 16 Comments

As a parent, you see some weird stuff.  This one though?  Let me preface this by saying, I attempt to remain calm when the kids get sick, but this was so weird, it had me really concerned.   All of the pictures were taken on my cell phone in the course of communication to Dave and my sister about just what the heck this might be.  After we figured out what it was, I thought that other parents might benefit from seeing the weirdness while they are frantically Googling “toddler rash” or “changing rash” or “toddler hives” or “toddler rash after virus” or “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS RASH ON MY TODDLER aaaaahhhhhhh!”  Because two weeks ago, that is what I was doing.

Finn, since he’s in the epicenter of yuck, also known as first grade, came home with a really terrible cold.  He was sick for about 5 days, high fever, bad cough, and chest congestion.  We ran him to the doctor who checked him thoroughly, said it was a bad virus going around, and cleared him to go back to school.  Tate seemed to be totally fine and then a few days later on Sunday night, she started coughing and we were sure that she just had the same thing that Finn did.

Monday morning, she woke up feeling warm and ran a temperature around 101, high, but not super alarming.  I gave her Tylenol and put her in a bath.  She was coughing and in general really miserable.  She was whining and upset most of Monday and didn’t want me to put her down which is odd for her.  I asked Dave if he thought we should take her in and we agreed that she probably just had the same yuck that Finn did and we should wait it out.  Monday evening she coughed so hard that she threw up on Dave.

Tuesday morning, she had a fever of almost 103, again with the bath and this time I went with ibuprofen.  Dave called the pediatrician’s office who told him that even with the fever and cough, as long as she wasn’t wheezing, they wanted us to monitor and let it run it’s course.  Then, a couple hours later, we saw a spots of a weird rash/hives on one arm and one leg.  Dave called again and the pediatrician told us to come in.

Urticaria Multiforme Hives Urticaria Multiforme

We weren’t sure if it was an allergic reaction or some crazy disease or what was going on.  {She has had Tylenol and Ibuprofen before and we haven’t changed anything else soap/detergent wise.}  Dave drove her to the appointment and in the fifteen minute drive, her face had broken out with a few hives as well.  The doctor saw her, checked her from top to bottom, did a strep test, and said that she thought it was her body’s reaction to the cold virus and fever.  She told us to give her Benadryl every 6-8 hours and that when the Benadryl wears off, it might make the hives might slightly flair again. 

Dave had to get on a flight for a business trip, so feeling better about what was going on, we drove him to the airport, came home and had dinner, then I put the kids to bed.  Tate woke up around midnight coughing.   Then, she threw up everywhere in her bed.  I gave her a bath, gave her another dose of Tylenol and Benadryl, and put her in bed with me.  When she woke up in the morning, she was covered from head to toe in rash.  It had changed from a just a few red hive-like spots to a full blown mottled red rash. 

This wasn’t the ‘slight’ hive flaring I had imagined… I She didn’t seem to be bothered by it much, it wasn’t itching, and her fever was slightly lower so I continued to keep an eye on her. 

cell 248 cell 250

By Wednesday evening, the rash had morphed into something a little different and she had a little weirdness around her ankle.  It looked almost like a tiny blood blister under her skin.  I called Lyndsey and asked her to come take a look and she thought that maybe we should go to the ER just to make sure it wasn’t something serious.  We’re lucky enough to have an excellent children’s ER in the city so in we went.  We had such excellent care and a bunch of the resident peds docs came in to take a look at the mysterious rash.  At this point, it was red covering almost everything with white portions of skin showing.   They decided that they wanted to admit her to monitor it for the night since she still had a fever, at that point Dave started looking for flights to come home. 

cell 243 cell 259

cell 241 cell 242

In the ER, they did blood tests and urine tests.  The nurses were shocked that she was potty trained and they didn’t have to catheter her.  She whipped her gown off and let the doctors look at her ‘scratch’ {rash} and told everyone about the shot {iv} in her arm.  All of the tests came back ok, they pulled the strep test results from her pediatrician, and at that point, the rash was changing again and now looked like a weird white center that looked like a purple bruise under the skin every so often.  This was, I think the third or fourth time it had changed appearance since it started.

After they spoke to her doctors and the pediatricians upstairs, the ER pediatrician said that we could go home instead of staying as long as we followed up first thing in the morning with her doctor.  All of her test results were in the good range, she was drinking fluids, animated and after four hours in the ER, we headed home to try to sleep.  She was wired and didn’t want to sleep most of the night, but in the morning, the rash was less angry red looking and more like purpley blue hue. 

Dave made it home that morning.  She had another pediatrician appointment that afternoon.  They wanted us to monitor the shape of the rash and notify them immediately if any blisters or sores developed in the hives.  {That could be a sign of erythema multiforme which is a very serious disease and the two can often be confused.}  When we asked, they told us that they could give her a shot of cortisone, but felt concerned that it might mask any of the symptoms she was having which is a bad thing when making sure they were right in their diagnosis.  The hives at this point were itching any time the Benadryl wore off.

Two days later, she had only slight markings left, it kind of reminded me of what a faint birthmark might look like.  It went as quickly as it arrived.  It can last up to ten days, Tate’s lasted five.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

Hello. Is It Me You’re Looking For?

14 March 2014 | 4 Comments

cell 423

My pain of a little brother left this on my computer when we went to visit him at Cincinnati last weekend.  Now you know, the weirdness runs in the family.

I should tell you that despite my slight absence, I am not, in fact, pregnant.  Not that I’d mind it one little bit.  I thought I might clear that up because one of the BFFs called to ask me on Monday when she checked in here to find that I was still on vacation. 

{Pssst… you can usually find me on Instagram.}

What have I really been doing?  Trying to survive a crazy toddler illness that I’ll tell you about tomorrow.  A post on a Saturday?  I know!  We also had a glorious 55 degree day immediately followed by snow days 12 and 13 for the year, our annual mad scramble for receipts and trek to the accountant, and a long overdue trip to see my siblings. 

Elise drove up from Kentucky and we just had a fun, low-key weekend visiting Christopher at UC.  Aunt Lisey gave them both tattoos and painted Tate’s nails a lovely lavender that she has been talking about non-stop all week.     

cell 422

Plus?  I’ve been mad prepping for Meme’s 90th birthday party.  I can not wait, she’s going to love it.  Her siblings are coming, her children are all flying and driving in, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, the whole crazy lot along with some close friends.  Now keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t snow another foot, shall we?

This was her cheerleading picture from her senior yearbook.  Fabulous.

cell 201

cell 311

What are your weekend plans?

Lunchbox Love.

13 March 2014 | 3 Comments

When I was a kid, I remember being thrilled when my mom would tuck a note into my lunch.  It is one of those things that has stuck with me over the years so when Finn started school I decided that I’d do the same for him.  I try to remember to do it once a week or so, but if I’m being honest, it usually goes in streaks.  I always tell myself that I’m going to make a bunch one evening so I’ll have them ready, but more often than not, it’s when I have an extra minute in the morning.  He saves them despite the fact that my artwork leaves a lot to be desired and I’ll keep it up as long as he’ll let me.

michelle cell cedar point 100

cell 356 cell 429

cell 091

michelle's cell 036 nov dec cell 126


michelle cell cedar point 083

Last week, I did this one on his Pirate’s Booty.  I was cracking myself up and could not wait until after school to see what he thought.  Booty!  Ha!  It’s a pirate with a big booty! 

cell 421

My humor is apparently way more low brow than my six year old’s.  He totally did not get it.  You win some, you lose some.

Do you do lunchbox notes for your kids?

Easy Beef + Broccoli.

11 March 2014 | 3 Comments

Broccoli Beef Recipe 197

This recipe is a delicious take on the original, the flavors are a little brighter and the salty sauce is absent.  It’s a quick and easy cheat, too.  Instead of stir frying, the steak is grilled and the broccoli roasted in the oven.  With just about 15-20 minutes of active cook time, it couldn’t be easier to get dinner on the table.  It can be completely prepped the night before and left to marinate in gallon sized zip lock baggies in the fridge.  I would really encourage you to tailor this to your family, add in more garlic or more spice, you can also add in a julienned carrot or onion with the broccoli when you roast it.  You can’t screw it up, trust me.  It serves four and we usually have a little leftover.  Add a green salad with a store-bought tangy ginger dressing and you have a healthy dinner pulled together in about half an hour. 

Pro parent tip:  pick up some chopsticks at the grocery or get extra when you have takeout… it’s AMAZING how fast chopsticks can change a picky {2.5 year old} eater’s mind about trying a ‘new’ dinner.  {You can whip up a pair of cheater chopsticks like I did with Tate’s with just a rubber band and the sleeve from the disposable chopsticks.}

Broccoli Beef Recipe 240 Broccoli Beef Recipe 231

Prep Ahead

For the Steak You Will Need:

  • 1  lb sirloin {flank, tri-tip, tip blade, top round, or tip steak also work}
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • zest and juice 1/2 of an orange
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Sriracha {you can sub in hot pepper flakes or add in much more heat if your family likes it}
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic {I buy the pre-minced jarred stuff and used 2 tsp}
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar {or sub in apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, even balsamic would work if that is what you have on hand}
  • 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 inch piece of FRESH ginger, peeled and roughly chopped {found in the produce department}

Combine all ingredients, cut the steak into 3-4 large sized equal pieces to make grilling and slicing easier.  Put everything into a baggie and allow to marinate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. 

Broccoli Beef Recipe 031 Broccoli Beef Recipe 036

For the Roasted Broccoli You Will Need:

  • 1lb – 1.5 lb head of broccoli  {or pick up a bag of fresh broccoli florets in the produce department}
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha {sub in 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes or add more if your family likes heat}
  • 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
  • zest and juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 6 cloves of garlic {1 heaping Tablespoon of jarred pre-minced fresh stuff}
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger {feel free to add more if you love ginger}
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey {or brown sugar}

Trim the broccoli into bite sized florets, these will shrink down slightly during cooking, so don’t make them too tiny.  Mix up the marinade, dump it all into a baggie and marinate up to 24 hours.  As an option, you can buy a slightly smaller head of broccoli and add in a small sliced white onion and/or a julienned carrot or two.  Roast all the veggies together as above just as you would the broccoli alone.


Pulling it all together

Take the marinated steak and the marinated veggies out of the refrigerator and allow them to come up to room temp while you start prepping everything else.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with foil, use one with a lip since you don’t want any of the marinade to spill in the oven.  {The foil just makes clean up easier, you can skip it if you like.}

Begin the rice.  We just use a white rice or jasmine rice, but even minute rice is fine here.  

Preheat your grill to medium.  {If you don’t have a grill, you can always roast the steak in the oven, just adjust cooking times.}

Pour the marinated broccoli onto the pan and roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. 

Roasted Broccoli

While broccoli is roasting, you will grill the steak.  Remove from the marinade and place on the hot grill.  As a guide, our steak was about an inch thick.  Dave grilled it for 2-3 minutes on each side at medium/medium-low, then cranked it up and grilled it for another 2-3 minutes per side to get a nice char on the outside.   We wanted it to be slightly more ‘done’ than our usual medium/medium-rare, but you can grill it to your liking.

When steak is done, remove from grill and tent it with foil.  Allow to rest until the broccoli is finished, then slice the steak into thin pieces against the grain.  This just means that if all of the lines in the meat are running one way, you slice the meat perpendicular to that.

Broccoli Beef Recipe 059 Broccoli Beef Recipe 226

Serve the roasted broccoli and steak slices over rice.  Add a couple shakes of toasted sesame seeds over the top of the broccoli if you like.

Related Posts with Thumbnails