I have been collecting recipes from various sources for as long as I have been married so that's approximately 12 years. Did I just say 12 years? I clip from magazines, make a copy from friends and family onto various items that are sure to never get lost such as napkins, sticky notes, newspaper edges, etc. I tear off the back of boxes and rip labels just to get at a recipe that "sounds" good. I get suckered into books and magazines because the picture on the front looks de-lish and if you know me at all it doesn't take much to convince me I need another book. (As a side note, what you see on the table is not even half of the recipe books mags I own, anyone need a loner? I'm all about sharing.) Besides can't we all use that ten dollar magazine that promises culinary masterpieces thrown into a crock pot for under 5 bucks? Well maybe you don't but me on the other hand is another matter. I want mouth watering loveliness smelling up my house with the "what smells so flippin fantastic in here" wafting up my nose as soon as I walk in the door. What I typically get would be described as "what smells so flippin awful that Garth (the dog) won't even come inside". I then proceed to walk around like a blood hound sniffing out the headache inducing culprit, to find that the garbage had been taken out but the broccoli juice in the bottom of the steamer (that I was too lazy to clean the night before) is now disgustingly leaching it's nastiness all over the entire house.
So, back to the story at hand, I have once and for all decided it is time to liberate myself from recipe hell. It looks kind of like this:
The aha moment came when I could not find my Zuppa Toscana soup recipe. It just happens to be the one soup I make that Jason absolutely loves. I like soup. I could eat it all the time, but according to my dear hubby the Pepsi Man "soup" does not equal a meal and not to mention is too much work to eat because it requires numerous bowls of "sipping" to get full. Really? Since when is eating food work? Can I get paid for this kind of work? I'm pretty sure I would be excellent at it. I wouldn't even mind working overtime if a baked good was involved. Pepsi Man is difficult to feed sometimes, especially with someone like me who is open to all foods. I have never met a veggie I didn't like, until New York that is and Chris's mom said broccoli rab was good. I must beg to differ, but in my defense I gave the green a good try. I was convinced she was right and it just needed a second even third try. Dustin wasn't sure how I even made it past the first. It was one of those moments you wanted to wipe your tongue with a napkin, bar the fact we were in a great restaurant in the big city and some would have deigned it bad table manners. For those of you who happen to like broccoli rab, well that's fantastic for your sophisticated pallet, as for mine I'll steer clear.
I have tried in the past to write down my recipes on those cutesy little cards and place it all in a neat box that I can bring out at a moments notice and find to my delighted fingertips all those amazing recipes to feed my family's body and soul. After about three cards I decide my hand is too tired to continue this sort of tedious work and hence proceed to the pantry to stuff some chocolate in my mouth as I scowl at all those little scraps of torn paper and what nots that have now become a rather bothersome chore instead of the "I'll be cooking like a pro in no time" I had hoped for.
I have once and for all decided to give it a true effort. Do you see that cute polka dot binder in the back? Well it's empty....for now. The goal is to fill it up with the recipes that I use frequently and categorize them into sections that make more sense than an "I'm sure it's in this stack of odds and end papers....maybe....I hope". My great grandmother who I hold dear to my heart wrote her potato salad recipe on a card for me and I cannot see myself ever giving that up. It is in her beloved handwriting but more importantly in her own words. Such as she uses the phrases "I like red potatoes best","maybe 4-5 eggs", and "to taste". Everything she cooked was to taste. She was an excellent cook and learned from her mother growing up on a farm in the early 1900's where people ate good homemade food all the time. When I read her recipe I can hear her voice just as if she were standing there peeling the potatoes with me. So for those particularly cherished hand written recipes I will retype them to suit my binder but I have decided to include the handwritten one at the bottom to be able to revel in those memories as I cook.
Now just as I would purge my closet of unused and unwanted clothing I have determined the same must be done with my recipe mess. I am not a keeper. I am a thrower, tosser, giver. I have no problems relinquishing items I don't need or use. How I got myself into this situation is beyond me. Is there a recipe clipper AA? I know it happened one tsp at a time. I guess it's the same old story we all have, you know the one where you tell yourself you might use it sometime. It then gets mixed up back in the stack and sent off to the island of misfit recipes. I'm putting a garbage can next to my work space and trashing every recipe that I haven't used. I'm not worried I'll miss something because quite frankly, I don't know what I'm missing. I can imagine it probably tastes good, but not enough for me to actually make it. Besides, I'm pretty sure I could also find it or something like it later. Just because I ditched mine doesn't mean it's gone from the world of culinary creationism for good. If I simply can't bear to give one up because I have tasted it or can realistically see myself make it, then I am going to set those aside and give myself a timeline to put them on my menu planning for the month. If they don't get made by then, it's ahsta la vista baby! Besides, I have three other mouths to feed that have to give a nod of approval as well. Maybe I can make a "test kitchen" section in my binder? Hmmm...gotta think on that one.
I know not everyone has my recipe problem. I guess it's a problem, not compared to the Middle East, Health care or rising fuel costs kind of problem, but it feels like it at least when it comes to wanting to make Zuppa Toscana and I can't find the dang recipe. Sure I could look it up on the Internet. I'm positive it's out there resting in cyberspace, but it's not MY recipe. My tried and true recipe. One change could throw off the whole balance of the universe, well my family's universe which feels like the whole universe when everyone is starving and complaining that they just might die of hunger. Not to mention, I finally found a soup Pepsi Man will eat and I'm not throwing that to chance on an experimental recipe replacement.
I am open to all ideas. I am no respecter of recipe organization. If you have any great but non-intensive suggestions, by all means suggest away. I know this is going to involve at least some work on my part. Liberation does not come without its price, but freedom from recipe bondage will definitely taste sweet!
I can definitely say it's possible to almost completely forget how to blog when you haven't done it for so long. I was thinking of attempting to change the background and can't remember how. Kala, I need to go through blog 101 again! Wondering why in the heck I'm up at 2:00 am and deciding to blog? Can anyone say RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME! Mercy! My eyeballs are rolling back into my head from fatigue but my legs are making me INSANE!! If this is the Lord's way of helping me to learn how to endure long nights of no sleep I'm not laughing. No sleep....how come you might say. I'm sure most of you have heard by now, news travels quickly around town and family, (especially when Wyatt blurts it out in primary) but we are expecting a baby boy in May. Some days I am still in utter shock and think I must be imagining it, but then the baby gives me a swift kick to the bladder and that's all the reminder I need (not to mention the nearest bathroom). I dare say it is possible to forget the joys and woes of pregnancy. I already cannot see my feet, look like I'm carrying multiples, using a bathroom every moment I turn around, crying over nothing (which does not seem like nothing at the time), waddling like a duck, eating like a pig, complaining about the temperature, going through bottle after bottle of Aveno lotion with Menthol (thank you to my friend Jennifer Judy for that advice) because I'm scratching like a monkey, I swear if I have one more animal symptom I'm going to be admitted to a zoo for observation.
But despite all the craziness of pregnancy, I can honestly say I would take much, much worse. After years of trying and seeing different doctors and then finally admitting defeat and basically giving it all over to the Lord, He decided we were finally ready to experience the joys of parenthood again. To say we were surprised would be a definite understatement. I swore the stick tests were defective because it just wasn't possible, but after two blood tests the doctors were positive and I couldn't deny that our blessing had finally come. It was hard at first. As much as we wanted to be excited it was also extremely scary. After so many years of trying we kept expecting the rug to come out from under us. I had to be on extra medication to help ensure we didn't miscarry. Thankfully, that never happened and so far the baby has been growing like he should and it has been overall a fairly easy pregnancy, bathroom trips and all.
I never thought I would have the chance to feel the sacredness of life growing inside myself again. I'm amazed everyday at how the human body works and builds from a single cell into a beautiful infant and cannot deny that there is a God. He lives and sends His spirit children to live on earth. I'm am overwhelmed at times that this spirit is coming to be a part of our family. As I look back, I cannot be angry it didn't happen sooner. I have learned so much. As frustrating as it has been it has also taught me that there are some things you just cannot do on your own. I have had many wonderful friends and family that have helped to lift me up and I have a wonderful husband and a compassionate son. I'll never forget the day Wyatt came into the bathroom after yet another negative pregnancy test to find me sobbing and he just put his arms around me and patted my back telling me he loved me. There were many times he was my Balm of Gilead. I'm immensely thankful for my eternal family. I have come to realize over the years that it is not what we lack here on earth that makes it worthwhile, it is what we are gifted. Sometimes it's not the children we hope to have, but it's the gift of perseverance to overcome the obstacles put forth before us and to be able to say, I made it and I'm better for it and I did not give in to despair. I will be a better mother because of it. Children begin in our heart. They come to us eventually one way or another. My brother and his wife have two beautiful children, not born of their bodies but made for them nonetheless. They are proof of love beyond ourselves.
I am in anticipation and apprehension for May to come. Does one forget how to comfort a baby, feed them know what they need? I hope not. Wyatt has become so independent that I have experienced way too much freedom. He's going to be my big helper though. I think that at times he is more excited than Jason and myself. Just today he was telling Jason that he was so happy to be having a brother because it's not easy playing by yourself and being alone. I can't say Jason and I are the only one's that have learned from this long wait. Wyatt has a quiet knowledge and compassion for others that could only come from his experience of waiting as well. He has told me many times he will love him even when he's a pain because it's better to have them than to not.
Jason my beloved husband, I cannot forget about him. He has been so patient and kind even when he was suffering just as much as myself. His shoulders have been my constant companion whenever I have needed them to cry on. Sure he can be a pain in the butt, but so can I. When the times have been tough though, he has never left me to feel alone in my burdens. He has been a strength beyond measure. I am enjoying seeing his joy in this new little one. I have been more pampered than the diaper. One look at me during the first trimester and he would take my hand, walk me to the bedroom help me lie down and tell me he had things covered. His love has been a gift that will last more than a lifetime. I look forward to seeing him hold his new son. Both his sons.
Well, I think I will give sleep another try, and hopefully my legs are ready too. Thank goodness I don't have sharing time tomorrow. I'll be lucky if any coherent words leave my mouth.
Thank you to all of you for your prayers and encouragement. I know it made a difference.
This is a shout out for all the moms out there with more than one child that happens to only be a few years apart. For two days I have been watching my nephew (age 3) and niece (age 1), who I dearly love, and let me tell you, I've decided that I have had things WAY too easy. I have had my eyes opened to the land of "Whys, How comes, and What's thats" at least 100 times a day, small little fingers that can snatch up any thing within a foot's length away quicker than I can process that a tub of yogurt just went flying through the air, painting with a baby on your hip while simultaneously trying to keep her from grabbing my glasses, sticking her fingers in the wet paint, or grabbing the paint brush,the joys of tattletaling, and my very favorite trying to help 3 year old go poo at the park while in a VERY disgusting bathroom with only one arm (being that baby was on my hip) while trying to not freak out when Landyn exclaims I think I got some on my pants (by the way wiping with said very quick baby grabbing everything with one hand is like an acrobatic trick). These are a few among the very long list of things that have made me want to run to the bathroom lock the door and rock back and forth sitting on the toilet while telling myself to think of a happy place. It's not very often I have to watch out when I turn around because there is a baby literally under my feet. I think I've come up with some new dance moves while trying to not squish her. Right now as I speak I have declared it officially quiet time with a "Why?" from Landyn of course. Answer: Aunt Hailey needs a time out or every ones going to take a nap! Nobody around here likes the "N" word apparently because that has seemed to do the trick for now. It has been a new experience for Wyatt as well. Whenever he tries to play the Wii or do something in his room I hear "Shayleigh NO", Shayleigh NO, "Shayyleigghhh Nooo!"......"MOM!!!" I asked Wyatt if he would still like a baby sister he quickly informed me "NO"! I think he was probably speaking in the heat of the moment.
Despite all of the chaos over the last couple of days I have also experienced many joyful moments that I wouldn't have had if they were not here. I would have missed Landyn saying "Hailey, I miss you.", or wouldn't have gotten the nice sloppy kisses on my cheek from him either. I would have missed the absolute and utter contentment of feeling a baby grip your shirt and cuddle up next to you like you're the best stuffed animal ever. I wouldn't have been able to rock a sweet smelling baby to sleep which brought back the best memories of Wyatt when he was that small. I definitely would have missed out on all the cute little smiles given to me from both Shayleigh and Landyn. I'm thankful for the opportunity to become closer to them. It's been busy and crazy and I've spent all day trying to clean my house while each time going back into the living room experiencing deija vu because I could have swore I just picked up those toys, but I'm proud to say through it all I have yet to run away to the bathroom (it has definitely crossed my mind though).
“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde
I was out getting wood tonight and couldn't help but notice the luminous moon rising over the blue ridge of the mountains. Every now and then, when I least expect it, I am fortunate enough to have small moments that stir my soul and remind me that in this vast universe there is a God who loves and is mindful of us. I am glad for those moments. Tonight as I sat admiring the majesty of the ascending moon, I couldn't help but be reminded of this truth.
Can any man who has walked beneath the stars at night, can anyone who has seen the touch of spring upon the land doubt the hand of divinity in creation? So observing the beauties of the earth, one is wont to speak as did the Psalmist: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." (Ps. 19:1-2.) — Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference April 1978
"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair," said Anne reproachfully. "People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is."
"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
"When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla."
We used to think our dog was the only one who could catch a gopher in our family, but last year we were totally wrong, apparently a 5 year is just as capable. We were camping up at Cougar Point which if full of the little buggers cheeping like crazy at each other. Wyatt has a butterfly net he takes camping with him just in case he needs to catch some sort of "wild little varmint". I know that when he puts his mind to it he can be a very determined little boy, but when he told me he was going to catch a Whistle Pig (which is what Jas calls them) I just gave him the motherly "Sure honey, good luck!" bit. Of course I never really thought he would catch one. It's not like catching a frog.
When I look back at it now, those little furry critters didn't even have a chance. So for those of you out there wondering how he did it, I'll let you in on a little secret.
1. Choose the baby ones. They are more naive to 5 year olds.
2. Dope them up sufficiently on burnt marshmallows that did not meet code for smores, sunflower seeds and graham crackers.
3. A good butterfly net.
4. Patience, Patience and More Patience. Only a child could wait that long.
5. A good dog to wait with you.
The result.......One happy and proud little camper!
Wyatt waited until it was too dark to see to catch his little whistle pig and was unsuccessful at his first attempt. Bright and early the next morning he got up and decided to try again. Jason and I were still lounging around in the camper with the screen door open. Then.......
"I CAUGHT A WHISTLE PIG, I CAUGHT A WHISTLE PIG!!!"
Jason got up to go check things out and sure enough, there it was. I told Jason to make sure and not touch it, unless he wanted rabies and then we'd have to lock him up like Old Yeller. What can I say, camping is always an adventure!