Friday finds: Bank bank

I missed Friday Finds last week because I was too busy getting ready for Sid’s 4th birthday party. Worry not, this week I’ve got a real gem to share with you.

It’s a bank shaped like a bank. A little bank bank!

It’s made of some kind of really heavy painted metal and has pretty much all the fantastic detail. 4 year old finger on left for scale.

4th Birthday!

I realized as I prepared with increasing excitement for Sid’s 4th birthday party that this would be the first party I’d had in my own home since Rose’s Rainbow Thomas Buzz Lightyear 4th birthday party. That was 6 years ago, way back before this blog even existed but you can see some pics here on Apartment Therapy.

It was such a familiar exercise, decorating with paper streamers and sparkly letters, setting up the bar, digging out the serving dishes and tchotchkes I haven’t used in 3 1/2 years. The party was at 11am so we served bagels from Kupels, with most of the trimmings, some fruit, coffee and juice (also mimosas which nobody was in the mood for).

Sid had to take a break in his bed, about 45 minutes into the party because it was “too noisy and messy”. Gotta love a guy who knows his limitations. After 15 minutes or so under the covers, he said he felt better and we served the cake. His birthday request was that people not sing, he wanted to sing the song himself, which he did very sweetly and quietly before blowing out his candles.

No matter how banany things are in life, I will always be able to find the time to make the cake of my kid’s dreams. In this case, a purple and blue vanilla cake. I used Martha Stewart’s white cake recipe from her Baking Handbook to get a pure purple cake (a yellow cake would have muddied the color), and a classic butter and confectioner’s sugar icing, tinted blue.

We don’t have a baby anymore. I’ll stop there before things get messy.

Love you Sid!

 

Knee replacement update: this is hard

On Monday I was going to write a post entitled “We’re Doing Fine!” I was feeling optimistic coming out of a 4 day weekend in which I’d spent every free moment preparing for the week ahead. I even bought gas for the car when the yellow light came on!

But by the end of the day on Monday, there wasn’t enough time to post if I also wanted to drink a glass of wine while watching an episode of Insecure. That’s my carrot on a stick these days, if I get everything done by 10pm, that’s how I reward myself. 

By everything done I don’t mean folding all of the laundry, which is clean but hasn’t been put away in 3 weeks. I also don’t mean going out to the recycle bin in the cold or bathing the kids. Just the bare basics, dinner, clean up, breakfasts, lunches, getting the kids to school fully clothed, and to bed with teeth brushed. Showering.

Tuesday was not so great, the kids gave me a hard time in the morning, and the evening. Exhaustion was beginning to set in from going nonstop. And when I woke up this morning I thought: Oh god please help me because it’s only Wednesday

By 7:00am I was in tears. 

I once read this article by a single mom talking about how offensive it is to her when people use the phrase “Single Momming It” when their partner is away for the evening, or sick, or even gone for a few days or a week. I never used that phrase again. 

This is really hard, this knee replacement business. Normally, Shane cooks dinner, cleans up, folds laundry, buys gas and toilet paper, does the grocery shopping, helps with the kids, takes care of the car, lifts the heavy things, changes batteries, and that’s just the start. He was there when I gave birth, he was there for those newborn days. He’s still here, even though he can only sort-of walk.

And it’s exactly because he’s here—in the other room or on the couch or doing PT or whatever—that no matter how hard this feels right now, I’m sure it’s nothing compared to being a single mom. And I appreciate my partner all the more.

I wrote this post on the train.

P.S. My amazing brother-in-law brought us Franke Pepe’s.

Thanksgiving latergram

It’s a sign of a good time when you forget to take pictures. There are so friggin’ many things I have to be thankful for always, but in particular this year:

Family near who welcome us with open arms when we’re not well enough to visit family far. And then send us home with ALL the food.

Family far, whom we miss.

Friends.

A career finally, and those who got me here.

Knee replacement, which eats turds, frankly, but isn’t cancer.

Gracious husband/patient.

Sister who babysits (and baby whispers)

Brothers-in-law on call, because I am too small.

Daughter, incomparable daughter, exceeding all my expectations.

Son, snuggles, comic relief.

Mom & Dad who gave us half their house because we were too unconventional and/or dense to find career paths in our 20s and 30s like normal people.

Mom & Dad who endured a year of construction hell so that we could have a home.

Home.

Thankful doesn’t even begin.

Friday finds: Captain Kangaroo and… tomato?

Today’s Friday Finds features a very old plastic Captain Kangaroo tumbler with googly eyes, and this lovely tomato(?) woman salt shaker with a sweet face and excellent cheeks.

Now that I think of it, she actually doesn’t really resemble a tomato at all, I’m not sure why I’ve always thought of her as one. Maybe she’s a turnip? Oh my god, what IS she?

In case you’ve been wondering where the dinner posts are, things have been the wee-est bit busy since Shane had his knee replaced 10 days ago. But tune in tomorrow for a Thanksgiving-ish post, if I can get my act together.

Friday finds: Elephant & chair

Things have been a wee bit hectic around here what with Shane getting his entire knee removed, and then replaced with a new prosthetic knee. But don’t despair, Friday Finds is here to brighten your evening with a little* old metal elephant on a crooked little metal chair.

*1 1/2 inch long, or so

 

Second to last supper

I kind of felt guilty about not cooking tonight. It’s the weekend, and I have the time, and I love to cook….  Then again, Shane is having his knee replaced on Monday, so I might as well take advantage of having him in the kitchen since it’s going to be all me for the next few months.

Yeah, I might as well sit by the fire with a glass of wine and enjoy having an able-bodied husband while I can.

Shane made one of his favorites, a recipe he got from my dad, Penne with Anchovies, Tomatoes & Garlic. My mom contributed a gorgeous green salad with corn, gem-shaped mini mozzarella & sunflower seeds.

And all I did was sit on my butt and then combine these two photos into one to make it fancy-like.

Friday Finds: marbles

Welcome to the very first Friday Finds post! Here’s some background on the Friday Finds feature, in which I show you, one week at a time, some of the cool old objects in my home that bring me joy. In other words, stuff that makes me happy besides food, family and friends.

Here’s a small collection of antique, vintage and vintage-ish marbles. You’ve got to love marbles with their cold roundness and ability to mesmerize. As a teenager, marbles got me hooked on collecting old stuff, a glorious habit that has stuck with me for life. Hooray!

I also have a soft spot for old glass jars, especially if they have lids.

Enjoy. Happy Friday!

It’s like I only know how to make cauliflower

I feel like every time I do the cooking, I make some kind of cauliflower dish.

The cauliflower gratin I made tonight was really, really decadent and good. It’s like mac & cheese except with cauliflower instead of mac. We had it with roasted tricolor carrots. Shane and the kids had the leftover chicken & rice from last night.

Scroll down for the recipe. Also I had a cute helper.

• Cauliflower Gratin•
Adapted from Ina Garten
serves 4-6 

30 minutes prep (with kids around), 1.25 hours start to finish

1 large head cauliflower broken up into bite size florets (approximately 6-7 heaping cups of florets)
2 cups grated gruyere or comte
1/2 cup grated cheddar
4 tablespoons butter divided
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375. Boil a large pot of generously salted water. While the water is boiling, grate your cheeses, combine & set aside. Break the cauliflower up into bite size florets and boil in the pot of water for about 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat the milk on the stovetop or (carefully) in the microwave. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When the butter is melted add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Add the hot milk, increase heat to medium and whisk constantly until it begins to simmer (about 3 minutes). Whisk for an additional minute, until thickened.

Remove sauce from heat and add 1 cup of the cheese mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg, stir well to combine. Spread a layer (about 1/3) of the cheese sauce in the bottom of a greased 8 x 11 x 2 inch baking dish. Add the drained cauliflower. Top with the remaining sauce and then the remaining cheese. Sprinkle panko evenly over the top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle all over the top of the gratin.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden. Let sit for 5-10 minutes (so it’s not totally molten) and serve.

30 days of posting challenge: day 30!

We made it to Day 30. The challenge is complete. I should really have a better quality and/or celebratory image, but I don’t. Some nights are just like that.

I’ve learned a lot in the past 30 days. I was reminded that I love and have missed blogging daily. I figured out that that the connection between this personal blog and my job designing brand campaigns for real estate developments, is that they are both about home.

Most importantly though, in the past 30 days we finally started to move into the first real home we’ve had in over 3 years, and that just tied in really nicely with my return to the blog.

I posed the question a few days ago about what makes a home feel like home. And then I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

Of course it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s about my family but it’s not only about that. Living with my family in a tiny, dismal, dark hole of an apartment for a year didn’t make it feel like a home.

I want my home to be the nicest place I go all day (except on days that I go to the beach). I want it to be filled with beauty, light & art. I want to be comfortable and happy there, and I want to cook and eat good food there. And I want… my things.

Yes! My things. I know it sounds horribly superficial and un-Buddhist-minded of me but it’s true! My stuff makes me happy.

By stuff, I don’t mean pedestrian stuff like lotion, belts or Coach bags (or whatever). I mean the carefully curated, mostly-vintage, yard sale finds that are pretty much useless but for the fact that finding, collecting and admiring them brings me great joy.

You may have seen some of these things if you were following the black and white challenge The Steady Table did on Instagram last week. If not, no worries because I’m going to start featuring these wonderful items—I hope you’ll find them wonderful too—on Fridays. Friday because it’s the day that I am most likely to find the time to shoot pictures. And because then I can call it Friday Finds.

In the mean time, happy Tuesday! Shane made chicken and rice and was so hungry that I didn’t even get to set up the shot. I threw a hunk of cheese on my salad.