5.11.2015

mothers day

Can everyday be Mothers Day? I mean... I slept past 8 while Husband got up with kids and made me crepes. We ditched out on church early (again) because the kiddos are sick (again), but not so early that I missed being handed a big ol' chocolate bar on my way out, along with the comment,

"Your girls are so beautiful. You're doing a great job."

(Whoever thinks women are unheard or unappreciated in this Church-- I don't understand where you get it. Not one bit. Being a woman and a mother in the LDS Church is the best thing in the world there is to be.. and not just because of the chocolate, either.)

I then got to take a nap while Husband put the baby down for her nap, and cleaned my whole kitchen. Which is really something, because we both hate to do it and it almost always needs some kind of love. And how often do I get to sleep simply because I'm tired and I need it?

Exactly. Almost never.

I woke up to Husband presenting me with the sweetest, most thoughtful gift: a couple hundred slips of paper in a vase, each contributing to an ongoing list of things he loves about me. 
 It meant so much to me, because we both know how much I need to hear these things, and how easy for him they aren't to say.
 Husband and the girls brought me a beautiful bouquet of lilies (my fave) and a bag of mint chocolate Milanos (also my fave) the day before, and the smell of those lilies is absolutely intoxicating. I seriously wish my home always smelled so heavenly!
We then had dinner with Husband's family. The men cooked up a whole lotta stuff, and cleaned up afterward, and all I could think was, "Man! Can we do this everyday!?"

A life where someone else cooks and cleans for you and attends to your every need? How did I not appreciate this when I was a child?!

Because, dang... my kids have it good.

As I read through all those slips of paper as well, I could help but think how awesome I am to my Husband, and hopefully to my kids. And I'm thankful to have such a happy list to look over again and again, whenever I'm mothered-out and need a break, or feel like all my greatest efforts amount to so little.

Many of those meant a great deal to me.

When I look back at my first Mothers Day as a mom of one little infant, I remember feeling so awful. Like I didn't deserve any of the appreciation I was being given- like I wasn't a good mother, or that merely bringing a child into the world wasn't equal to it all. I think we all have times we feel like that. 


But this Mothers Day, I loved every bit of it. Enjoyed it all. And was grateful for everything, because I know I work hard at this job, and every other day of the year it is mostly thankless. I do a lot. I don't get a lot of breaks. I give it my all and keep going even when I'm running on empty. All of these wonderful gifts and acts of service were the perfect thank you, and I loved it. The whole day and everything in it.

Special thanks to Husband, for making it all so special!

4.18.2015

Little Black Book: Thai-Tuscan Soup

I believe it was sometime last week as I was pulling in the driveway, having just returned from the grocery store, that an idea struck me for a fusion of two delicious recipes: Thai red curry, and the Zuppa Toscana that I can down endless bowls of at Olive Garden.

When I pitched the idea to Husband, he wasn't entirely sold on the idea of gnocchi and curry together (to be honest, neither was I, but I was willing to give it a go). I found a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi that intrigued me, and included it in my first version of this soup.
(doesn't everyone with small children have scratches on their tables...?)
And as it turned out, the sweet potato gnocchi just wasn't as sweet tasting as I'd hoped, and so on the second go I ditched the gnocchi and simply used sweet potatoes (which were delicious). I also brought my first prototype to my friend Heather, who is, in my book, the best authority on Thai cooking that I know, and she agreed. Nix the gnocchi, go straight for sweet potatoes.

She then continued to crave my soup for several days and asked for the recipe, and so.. here we are!

Ingredients:
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper
1 lb sweet Italian chicken sausage
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin coins
1 can white beans
2 cups mung bean sprouts, chopped in large pieces
4-5 stalks kale, finely chopped
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 Tbsp palm sugar
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1 can full fat coconut milk
1.5 qts chicken stock
5-6 Tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup chopped Thai basil

Directions:
1. Begin by sauteeing onion and bell pepper in coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. 
2. Remove casings from sausage and add to pot, cutting into pieces with a spatula as it cooks. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for one minute or until it smells absolutely amazing.
3. Pour in chicken stock. Add the sweet potato, mung bean sprouts, white beans, kale, and palm sugar. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until sweet potato and kale are soft. 
4. Stir in the coconut milk, and add curry paste, basil, and salt to taste. Serve with breadsticks or naan and enjoy!

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
A word regarding curry paste: I used about 5-6 Tbsp, which makes this soup pretty spicy. It was perfect for us, since Husband and I like things spicy. However, I did have a slight runny nose and started to break a sweat. My friend Heather coughed after nearly every bite. So for those who prefer a more mild level of spice, I recommend starting with 1 Tbsp of curry paste and gradually adding more until it reaches your desired level of heat. 

I think the most fun part of this, aside from seeing my idea actually work out, was Husband's commentary.

"Man, I love the kale in this soup!"
"Mmmmmm... hmmmm!!"
"I am the smartest man on the planet."
"I think this might be your best recipe yet!"
"This is just.... mmmmm!!"


Okay, I love making him smile. So I might just love this recipe even more on account of how much he's gushed over it. I mean, I make a fair amount of yummy food, so getting rave reviews like this means that in his eyes, it's really something.
And for those who venture to try this out-- I'm curious how much curry paste everyone likes in it! So please, be sure to let me know!

3.28.2015

happy rainy days

I try to encourage my kids to explore their world, read, develop their imaginations, be creative, make mistakes, get hurt, be polite and kind, give hugs, use real words and language, have fun, and make messes. 

This is what we did the third day in a row it was too cold and wet to play outside.
(I wanted to hug her... I really did.)
This totally shows their personalities and I love it. I love the motion in Verity's painting- as if she's swing dancing as she does it. I love that Libby decided to paint with her feet. 

I love that a bubble bath had them clean 30 minutes later.

It was the kind of day in which I put the kiddos to bed and for a few moments enjoyed the feeling of just having nailed one beautiful day of their childhood, of feeling I succeeded in providing the best dang childhood I can give them.

It was a happy day.