Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And I went to Art School!!??!

I realize so far I've been quite biased with the topics I've chosen to blog about. They may have included a minor mishap or two, but all in all, they've been subjects I've been proud to share. It's nice to show off, but only showing my triumphs doesn't live up to my name of Mrs. DoMESStic, nor is it an accurate representation of my daily life.
But the following is...

Kenz and I spend a lot of time together, as many of you know. I'm a SAHM, she's an only child, I am truly her best friend. But it means a lot of two-year old style playing. And sometimes, truthfully, it bores me. So everyday we at least do something artsy, art being what I actually enjoy doing. It's mostly little coloring projects, but the other day I wanted to try something a little different.
I remembered doing paper mache in art class over a balloon. I didn't have any balloons in the house, so I chose two small containers (a small cake pan and an empty feta container). My planned project was to make little baskets which, once dry, we'd decorate for Easter and put eggs in and I'd be super-mommy and life would rock. So I mixed equal parts flour and water (a good way to get rid of all that white flour I had gotten for an ancient baking venture), cut up some newspaper into strips, and into the yard we went.

Kenzi loved it. Well, she loved playing with the goo anyway. Which was fine. She'd coat herself, hold her hands up, and say "Montsa! I monsta! Grrroowww" A very scary monster indeed. So I paper mache'd (sp?) while she pretended and it was a pleasant afternoon.

I set our/my finished 'baskets' on the front porch to dry, we took baths, and waited until the next day to complete phase two: decoration.
You remember the mention of using a balloon in class before? Well, turns out, that was because you could pop it, and then remove it, leaving only the hardened form behind. It also turns out, that it's rather hard to pop a metal cake pan. Same goes for the feta container.

Who'da thunk it? (Please refrain from answering this.) The feta-mold came off in chunks, while the cake pan had to be soaked overnight.
(At least it could be composted?...)

Sigh. I guess I should just stick to drawing circles with crayons for awhile....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Worm's meat?

Ok. I know it's a gross title. It's kinda a gross subject. And definitely some 'yucky' pics. But it's all for a good cause. Healthier self, healthier plants, healthier ocean, healthier planet. That's right, kids, we're talking about compost.

I'm new to the compost scene, and am in no way as experienced or informed as pretty much anyone else who has a bin in their backyard. So this is a way for you to track my experimentation in turning leftovers, yard waste, and cardboard into what they call in the gardening community "black-gold."
As soon as we saw this house, with its postage stamp plot of land (hard to find/afford in Hawaii!!), I knew I wanted a little vegetable and herb garden, and a compost bin. But we have a lot of landscaping work left to do, plus the addition of a deck over our back slope, so I couldn't really put in anything permanent yet. I've, therefore, started my composting in a plastic trash can. Good compost needs plenty of air flow, so I drilled a ton of holes in the sides of the bin and simply started dumping kitchen scraps in. Not the best idea. Only adding kitchen waste means lots of bugs, and a bit of a smell. Compost done right smells yummy- like sweet earth- and should be mostly free of swarming bugs. My initial attempt was not done right. It didn't stink, per se, but I wouldn't have recommended a good inhalation over the bin, either. And the bugs were EVERYWHERE. Ugh!!!
So I actually read about composting (brilliant, huh?) and found out that I was doing pretty much nothing right. After adding layers of "dry" waste (soaked shredded paper and cardboard, dry grass clippings, dead leaves) the bugs started thinning out, and the mixture started to heat up- the process necessary for the composting to "work". And it is working! I get far too excited when it's time to go 'churn' my bin. I love knowing that I can no longer see certain things I've added, as they've turned into blackness. We add all kinds of things- fruits and veggies, of course, but more unusual additions as well- egg shells, coffee grounds, dryer lint (free of fabric softeners) and it's all slowly losing it's original form.

One new addition to the pile is grubs. We'll say grubs because I can't bear to think of the pile swarming with maggots. From what I've read, as the pile grows, heats up, and balances even more, these should thin out. But while they are there, they are beneficial to the compost, churning it, eating it, and pooping out super-rich grub poop. But no matter how good the little buggers may be, it still really freaks me out. And knowing that soon I'll need to actually handle that dirt they're living and pooping in gets me a bit squeamish. True gardeners suggest to pick them out to feed them to birds and fish. Hmm. Maybe that'll be a chore for hubby.
But I can't be Earth-Mother without holding a few...erm...grubs... right?

The first batch of usable compost should be able to be sifted out in about two weeks. I'll keep you guys informed (I'm sure you're beside yourselves with anticipation!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where Daddy go?

So as I was taking a break from typing away on my computer being really productive and cleaning my window screens during Kenz's naptime, I realized I hadn't heard from DH in awhile. I called out for him, looking around, not finding him. This was odd as he's 'suffering' from a cold and not really in an active state. I retraced my search route, finding a strange lump on the couch:

Silly boy. The snoring was apparently muffled by the quilt (which, since you asked, is my very first quilt ever made!!). And a sneak peak underneath:

Please note, the super hip shades are worn because of his recent eye surgery, and not because he's a mega-fan of Corey Hart. Aww, he's still sexy (my hubby, not Corey Hart. I don't know what Corey Hart looks like).
Random useless fact:
The song Sunglasses at Night was originally written about a "totalitarian society that made everyone wear their sunglasses at night". Deep.

She's not my child.

We eat curry about once a week here. Hubby and I both love it- and it has so many variations that we never tire of it. Indian curries, with lentils and cauliflower, Thai curries with rich coconut milk, even the occasional Chinese curry. Throw some veggies together, add a protein, choose a spice-profile, and simmer away. So when a mommy-friend recently posted a Shrimp and Pineapple Curry recipe online I knew it was for us. Let me just say, I didn't just eat seconds, I ate THIRDS! It was sweet, slightly spicy, creamy (ie fattening), and delish....

Thanks Amanda!!!
(BTW, the thai basil and cilantro topping the dish came from my very own herb garden. I'm inordinately proud of this small garden...)
Here's a quickie recipe (adjusted a tad from original):

one can coconut cream
1/2 a fresh pineapple
one green pepper, roughly chopped and seeded
2 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
3 sliced garlic cloves
2 tbsp red curry paste

2 tbsp fish sauce
three spoons of honey
hot chili-infused sesame oil (to taste)
12 oz shrimp
cilantro/basil for garnish
brown or jasmine rice

Put all ingredients but tomato and shrimp in large skillet or wok, heat until sauce thickens a bit and veggies are tender- if pepper is getting too cooked, add flour (try soy flour!) to thicken sauce sooner. Add shrimp and tomatoes- cook until shrimp are no longer translucent. Serve over rice with cilantro/basil.

We were sitting down at the dinner table to this amazing dish, when Kenz caught sight of her portion. She made this face:

What?! You crazy child, this is the most delicious thing your Mommy has made in weeks, and you turn your nose up at it? I tell you, she's not mine! No child of mine would refuse curry... I noticed when taking above picture that I had forgotten to change the camera settings, so it was blurry. I asked Kenzi to make her sad face again. Here's what she gave me:

"Kenzi, is that your sad face?" "Yea...so sad."
I think she wound up eating one bite of rice and a string cheese for dinner. We battled. Mom and Dad lost. (We always lose....)

Love affair with grain.

Sunday mornings are pancakes at our house. A note on my pancakes: most people would not recognize them as "pancakes." They are ugly. Really ugly....
But this is one of those times when you should not judge a book by it's lumpy, brown mottled cover. 'Cuz these babies rock. I think the secret to my success is my holy trinity of grain. On my counter, and scooped into almost everything I cook/serve, are canisters of ground flax meal (omega-3s), wheat germ (protein, potassium, iron, and vitamin E), and soy flour (protein).

Please note: in above picture, absolutely no photoshopping was done to remove dirt from countertop. Because that would be super-lame. Really, what kind of a person would do that?...

Kenzi and I don't eat red meat or poultry, so it's important to add protein sources and omega-3s to our diets. An easy and delicious way to add these grains? Scoop into yogurt. So yummy! You can even thicken sauces with the soy flour. Anywho, today I added Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips to the batter as a special treat. The last time I did this was for Kenz's birthday (Feb 10)- as I served her pancake this morning she started singing "Happy Birthday." She cracks me up!! We thought about explaining that it wasn't her b-day, but eh, why spoil her good mood? We all joined in and had MacKenzie's second 2nd birthday today. No presents necessary.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Everyone else is doing it...

Haha, well. Here's my blog. Why should you read it? Your guess is as good as mine ;) If you're family, you'll likely be checking every-so-often for new pictures of MacKenzie, and hoping that I update here more frequently than my flickr page. Hopefully, you'll find some satisfaction. I'm new to this, though, so no guarantees. If you're a friend, you'll probably be checking up on me- to make sure that the last conversation we had (in which I mentioned that river I'd soon be visiting with my daughter) did not indeed become reality. I love my lil pumkin- she is just sometimes sixteen and a half handfuls. And I'm sure some of her finer moments will find their way to this page. And if you don't know me- stay tuned. My daily life is constantly changing/improving(?)/improvising and some of it is pretty humorous.
A little bit of history. In terms of being domestic, this is a very new frontier. I hate to admit it, but I was a spoiled child, and didn't do much for myself. I remember leaving for college, not really knowing how to do my own laundry, throwing away a shirt if it lost a button, and burning boxed macaroni and cheese. In the microwave. (Apparently I needed to add water...) I met my now-husband, and all we cared about was having fun- we climbed mountains and went on camping trips and hung out in pjs with lots and lots of take-out. His house was much much cleaner before I moved in. I began learning to cook, and had a few specialties, but we still ate out several times a week. And then, as we were comfortable and happy in our messy-packaged food bliss, along came MacKenzie. And our world changed.
I always wanted to be the earth-mother type. Cloth-diapering, making my own baby food, nothing processed/dyed/dead/wrapped in plastic would ever enter our home. This was my dream as I sat in Starbucks with my triple shot soy latte, thinking about ten years from then when I'd maybe sorta be ready to think about having a child. Hahaha. Fat chance. I'm proud of the challenges I've taken on and conquered in my mothering, but I've had many many defeats as well. And I'm okay with that now. But I do make dinner for our family, and we use a lot of natural products, we recycle, compost, are conscientious about our carbon footprint, and have a little vegetable garden out back (more on these topics later..), and my hubby and I shower together to "save water." ::wink wink::

And Kenzi eats a lot of boxed mac and cheese. Sigh, oh well.

So that's basically it. My domestic life now revolves around a phrase my hubby and I coined- WWmJD? "What Would Mary Jane Do?" Mary Jane, hubby's step-mom, my mother-in-law, World's Best at Pretty Much Everything. A lot of my homemaking advice/tips/goals come from her (and Better Homes and Gardens) and I'm sure I'll reference them from time to time.

Check back for more posts (with a lot less words and more pics of the pumpkin-head, don't worry!)