25 February 2013

apple of my pie

we've been in project mode lately. mending fences, repairing broken glass doors. i am married to a man who can fix damn near anything. i love it, but it makes me often wonder, "what talents and trades will i pass on to our boys?" how will these lads o' mine remember their fair aproned mother?

besides my flair for choosing fingernail polish and decorating with thrift store furnishings, my boy life skill mentorship has much to be desired. however, when it comes to baking, well, i do have a little to offer there.

the other night the second born asked to make a pie. he was going to give a presentation at his tutorial on pi{3.14}and thought it would be clever to bring in a pastry. like his mother, he loves to play with words as well as share his sweets. so there we were him and me at 9 pm making pie crust. 

he listened attentively as i told him about using cold butter{not a fan of shortening} as he raked through the dough with a pastry blender. his conversation was peppered with questions like, "why do you have to pour the ice water in slowly?" it was a precious moment. him fully engaged in what i was telling him. me playing the expert. if i can fool this one, then i can fool anyone.

he wielded the knife to peel, cut and chop as i talked him through the recipe. the Mister came in and sweetly commented, "i love to see you teaching him how to bake." to which i sarcastically remarked, "gotta give him skills that make his future roommates want to keep him around." 

i showed him how to dust the rolling pin as well as the cutting board. pie crust is one of those simple few-ingredient staples that proves "butter makes everything taste better"{and homemade is far superior to store bought}

with a little dash of some turbinado sugar as well as some cinnamon, the diced apples were folded{another vocab word he learned that evening}into the first pie crust awaiting the second layer that would be rolled, glazed{"you can use an egg white, but for the sake of time, let's just go with cream"}and vented{"let's keep explosions to the volcanoes"}with a dash of cinnamon sugar to boot. 

this boy o'mine was a captive student and completed each task with thoroughness and thoughtfulness. he was quite pleased with the end result. we snuck up to bed late, leaving the pie out to cool.
cutie pie

i missed his presentation. i peeked in too late. all the pie had been eagerly gobbled up without so much as a crumb. his classmates{and some parents}were quite satisfied with his presentation. and if he continues to hone his baking prowess, he may never have to wonder when his next sweet fix is coming. of course, i am speaking of the pastry kind. wink wink.


22 February 2013

another day, another city

we were heading down on monday when i asked the simple question, "who can tell me about mt.vernon?" a voice from the back volunteered, "isn't that the place where all the president's heads are sculpted on the side of the mountain?" stunned i replied, "um. no. that would be mt.rushmore-in south dakota. we're not going quite that far. today we're just driving to virgina."
happy birthday, mr. president!

no field trip is complete without a cooking segment

passports stamped

that would be washington's mansion in the background

may i suggest visiting mt. vernon on president's day because admission is free! a good tip from a sweet{and thrifty}friend. 

what a dazzling day. well worth our peanut butter and jelly freezing car picnic. although we were prohibited from taking photographs inside president washington's home, you'll be happy to know that he chose blue and green paint to adorn his walls {which we learned were the most expensive to which the 11 year old observed was a little showy} and yes. it was HE not SHE who made the decorating decisions back in the day. house rules. 

the grounds were once 3600 acres and have been pared down to a mere 400. lots of space for boys to roam. o, and did i mean he built his abode on the banks of the potomac? a water feature! my heart's desire. with a porch. swoon.

until next time...


14 February 2013

love is in the heir

february 14 rolls around and everybody starts talking candy and cards. expectations run the gamut. single people can feel the sting. married people sometimes bicker. relationships can quite literally be put to the test for this hallmarked holiday. and i can't help but feel like we have fallen for a great big{sometimes expensive} bag of lies. been tricked. o, dear me. let's stop the insanity shall we? 

why not make this love holiday obsolete by loving everyday, not just february 14. use the date on the calendar as a reminder not as an ultimatum. look around you. i would venture to guess if you spent a moment, you would see evidence of love all around. common, simple, ordinary observations of something that is great. gifts from the giver of love, our creator. those who have eyes, let them see!

here are some of my everyday loves...

sharing a roaring fire

small beginnings

coffee. yes. and amen.
clean dogs and the boys who love them

the sincerity of a handwritten note 

barber shops and the boys who frequent them 


boys who make their own lunches-and photograph their spoils

making ridiculous faces-and not caring what anyone thinks

one-of-a-kind-lego finds

kids who love history


slow starts

shrouded geeks

clean dishes

boys who learn at the table

first dances

brotherly love whilst keeping it real


sunshiney walks to the park

friends who knit me fun headbands-thanks, ariana! 


homemade cards

a man who isn't afraid to lead

love: may you have eyes to see!

p.s. i was just informed there is a spongebob valentine's special. sounds promising.

12 February 2013

where have all the good men gone?

happy birthday, abraham lincoln. i saw you this weekend. well, a version of you. it made me wonder what you would think if you knew that 204 years after your birth somebody would be wearing a caricature of your likeness down the chilly streets of DC. would you laugh? cringe? 

it made me pine for all the greatness that this country once knew in the way of honorable leadership. i watched a speech by dr. benjamin carson. you would have lauded him for his veracity. and he has you to thank. you quite literally paved the road for him to move beyond the slavery of poverty and into a life of greatness as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins-right up the road from your old political stomping grounds. 

you did it 200 years ago. being raised with nothing and growing into greatness. you lived without excuses, without condolences to a humble beginning that somehow did not keep you from becoming one of the greatest leaders who ever lived. before words like entitlement.

i wonder where we would be today if more of us stopped making excuses about our limitations-how they have robbed us-and instead simply decided to move forward, be helpful, argue respectfully, live honestly, speak unapologetically.

o, abe. mind if i call you that? we need more men who are not afraid to speak the truth, respectfully. hand wringing has incapacitated us. actually harmed us. 

so many people are more concerned with whom they might offend then they are with speaking the truth. we have become a nation overwrought with political correctness and litigation. we're too busy making up rules that most of us have forgotten the first rule, the golden rule. common decency. compassion.

there are some who are belligerent with voicing their opinions. hateful. angry. disrespectful. the hand wringers and the hate mongers: neither are helpful.

today is your birthday. and living up the road from gettysburg, antietam and washington, DC makes me quite wistful for your kind of leadership, your kind of punctuated unparalleled lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way unapologetic stalwart gracious manner. you showed us that compassion and strength can not only co-exist, but they should co-exist.

so, here's to remembering you and so many others like you who are long gone, but not forgotten. especially by the likes of me who believes that honesty, compassion, strength aren't outdated, complicated or old fashioned notions.



p.s. i beg you to watch dr. carson's speech. his thoughts on education are astounding and unoriginal-a reminder of what once was the norm.

10 February 2013

on guard!

we snuck out. him and me. well, that's not exactly true. i mean it's not like we didn't tell anyone where we were going. and we did hire a sitter. but it felt so exhilarating. akin to doing something secretive. decadent. 
i booked a cheap room{not to be confused with seedy}in the heart of DC{thanks, expedia}.

for 36 hours we wined and dined ourselves silly. 

we ran around town like a couple of younglovers. it was grand. and so so perfect. 
conjuring my inner mary tyler moore
he's been working a lot{like our whole marriage}and i've been impatient and overwrought with decisions{like our whole marriage}. this was our breakout session. 
good stuff 
nonstop talking about anything and everything from thoughts on DC's former superintendent of public schools michelle rhee{go, rhee! rhee for president!} to my wanderlust{and how we can use it for good}. the trivial to the important-and a lot in between. 
ebenezer's coffeehouse

union station
some mighty big changes are headed down our path. some decisions have already been made. others are being prayerfully sorted as i write. some will unfold as they unfold. 
a boyhood pastime 
how grateful i am to have had this short getaway. a time to turn away from dog and boys and clutter and noise and distraction. 
from the shores of alexandria{you can barely see the captiol on the horizon}
and turn to my Mister and changes and whim and adventure and courage. and it didn't hurt that a littlelove holiday is around the corner. we celebrated early since st.valentine's day falls on fencing night. on guard!
founding farmers:worththewait