Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A history of quilts

Quilts seem to be knit into our family. In a vintage suitcase in my closet are three quilts intricately stitched by my grandmother and great-grandmother. I take them out and smell the scent of the antique hands that lovingly pieced each together. I hope one day to display them by hanging them from hooks on the wall, but for now they're in safe keeping.

Back in high school I resurrected the tradition of hand quilting by making a windmill quilt. I sewed and quilted the entire piece by hand which took three years and a LOT of patience. Most of it was done while visiting our cabin in the woods where there is no television and few distractions so crafts were easier to tackle. At one time my quilt served as the bedspread for our guest room, but it too is tucked away right now.

Here's a photo of my hard work. I made it to fit a standard size or twin bed.

Now that my second son is on the way, I've decided to make another quilt by hand. Below is a photo of the fabrics I chose. My quilting may be a little rusty and I may not have as much free time as pre-child number one, but I think it will work well in the boys room.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Are you (going to be) "that" parent?

Do you ever wonder if you're going to do all the embarassing things parents are known for? Are you embracing becoming "that" parent because it's finally your turn afterall?

Everyone can probably recall moments from their childhood that made them cringe. Maybe it was how your parents dressed "so un-cool," said the wrong things in front of your friends, told the story of your birth over and over again while you rolled your eyes, made a habit of showing houseguests the "cute" photo albums of you and your brother-- some sans clothing, or insisted on hiring a clown long after you'd outgrown the circus theme parties.

Let's face it. Parents can't seem to help themselves when it comes to embracing doing things that make them "that" parent. Not necessarily the one that becomes so obnoxious they're kicked off the sidelines of a baseball game, just the one that makes their offspring cringe at times or roll their eyes. And while some things will be unavoidable, it still leaves the question: Are you the parent that embraces this role?

There are a number of moments I wished to become invisible at the expense of a parental faux pax. And I admit that becoming "that" parent is not something I look forward to. The first time Maddox tells me, "Moooom, you're sooo embarassing," I admit my feelings may be a little hurt. Afterall, being the "cool" parent makes one feel better than being the one that makes your offspring want to hide.

But some parents I know embrace the joy of making their kids cringe... just a little. They know they're going to show off baby photos to everyone they know, even after their children are grown. They plan to yell the loudest at sporting events, run on stage to give their kiddo a hug following a great performance, and push their kids into trying hobbies they wouldn't want their friends to know about. They reason that THEY went through it and survived, so their kids will to.

I hope Maddox and I will remain close as he gets older. I hope that we have open communication so he can tell me how he feels without fearing judgement or that I'll somehow jeapardize his trust. Life is tough and even navigating family can be tricky. I just hope to help make that as easy as possible.

What about you? Are you afraid of becoming your parents? Or is being "embarassing" just part of the parental role, one you embrace without apology?

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th recipes for Red, White, and Blue fun

Happy 4th of July readers!

It's time again for barbecues, fireworks, and family get-togethers. Pack up the picnic gear, heat up the grill, (if you're here in the South be sure to slather on the insect repellent), and get ready to enjoy the best summer holiday. It's always a great opportunity to sample some of the fresh local produce picked at the peak of ripeness so be sure to visit your local farmers market or vegetable stand!

If you're a busy momma, then chances are you're still trying to pull it all together for tonight. (Don't worry, I fall into this category so no judgement here.) But here are a few of our family's favorite last-minute holiday recipes.

Fresh local fruit
Watermelon never tasted better than now! Slice up a sweet red melon and buy extras for watermelon eating contests-- it's a menu item and party game all in one.

Other tasty fruits include blueberries and strawberries. Walmart has strawberries for only $.98 per container so stock up! (We sliced six cartons and put them in freezer bags to enjoy later this winter.) We enjoy serving our berries with fresh whipped cream. The more talented mommies can make an American flag out of fruit-topped fresh whip.

There are a few ways to grill corn. One favorite is to husk the heads and place them in tin foil with butter, salt, and pepper. Cover and place on grill until tender crisp. The second way is to keep the corn in the loosened husk and grill on a rack or to the side of the coals, turning often until tender crisp.

July 4th pudding cookies
A different take on pudding is to make festive cookie. Start by mixing up a standard vanilla (or bananna) pudding recipe. Add red or blue food coloring and spread between two Vanilla cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Juciest burgers ever!
Or... at least that's what the recipe says. This year I'm trying a recipe for the "juciest" grilled burgers from All The recipe calls for 2lbs ground beef, 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs (I reduced this to about 1/2 cup), 3 Tbs milk, 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, and 2 cloves minced garlic. Mix together and form into patties before grilling.

The verdict has not come in yet on these, but I love that this site allows other cooks to leave feedback and rate the recipe.

Bon apetit

Friday, July 1, 2011

So I've decided...

Yes. I've decided that Maddox is allowed to grow up: He can make friends, experience life, travel far and wide, expand his mind and his interests, and do everything his heart desires.

He just can never leave. I've decided it's not allowed.

Because I wouln't get "mommy time," Maddox hugs and kisses, or goodnight 'I love you's.' And those are my favorite parts of the day.