Renn Faire Privateer Gone Mom.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grassfed slow roasted beef (back and short) ribs and veggies; Plus a Kale sautée recipe for leftovers!

We were supposed to have a game night a while ago.  Some friends ended up sick, others couldn't find someone to stay home with their youngest to get him into bed at a decent time, and a few had other plans.  No biggie.  

Except I had put a few packs of beef ribs in the fridge to thaw the night before.  Hm... What to do?

Cook it up anyway!

I'll be honest, I was super intimidated by the ribs.  For some reason I thought it was going to be a big, messy process.  I poked around online looking for a few different methods and decided to that slow roasting in foil packets looked easiest.

I need to work on my plating, ya?
I gave the ribs a sea salt, pepper, and chili powder rub with some olive oil.  Wrapped them in a giant foil packet and let them sit in the fridge until about 4 1/2 hours before I wanted dinner to be served.  Preheated the oven to 225 and cooked those babies for 4 hours, flipping the packet (which was an adventure, trying not to lose all the juices) halfway through.  Then Captain tossed 'em on a grill for a few minutes to give them a good crisp.

Beets were boiled then peeled and sliced.  Asparagus was sauteed with butter, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.  Zucchini coins were also sauteed in butter, with salt, chili powder, and pepper.

It was a hit all around.  Cabin Boy #2 especially loved the crispy fat and marrow...

We ended up having a few ribs leftover, so a few nights later I popped the bones out, trimmed the big pieces of fat off and cut them up into bite sized pieces.  I tossed it in a heavy bottomed sautée pan with some coconut oil to reheat and get a little crisp.  While the beef was doing its thing, I slivered some almonds then added them to the pan.  I washed and chopped a few big handfuls of purple and green kale while the almonds toasted with the beef.  I threw in a handful of raisins, waited a minute, then added the kale.  Quickly sprinkled some salt and pepper on it, then tossed everything around while the kale heated through.

 Easy peasy!  It's a favorite of ours with any meat; ham, chicken, bacon, beef... or just some flaked parmesan cheese.

It's great cold, too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays from the Wild

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet 
and the winds long to play with your hair. 
-Khalil Gibran

Monday, February 25, 2013

The 11 ways sushi is like sex

The other day I had sushi for the first time in YEARS.  Since before I was pregnant with Cabin Boy #2.  I had a serious craving for it and there's a great little conveyor belt place near our house that has smoked salmon and cream cheese, tempura shrimp, and chicken katsu rolls.  All definitely preggo safe.  So I indulged and IT WAS LIKE SEX IN MY MOUTH.  Except for, you know, actually being sex in my mouth...

ANYHOO... that got me thinking... sushi is kind of like sex!  Let me count the ways...

But, no matter the other similarities, it's not okay to invite your friends over for one of them.  Unless you roll that way *snicker*.  No judgements here!  Just don't expect an invite to our house for anything called 'hand rolls' anytime soon.

P.S.  Sorry, but I couldn't resist throwing the fish one in there!  You know what they say... When in Rome and all that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Painful Secret About Being Mom.

This mom-cage I live in is terrifying.  Beautiful, maddening, breathtaking, disastrous, hilarious, chaotic... terrifying. 

How can I be so lucky and feel so deprived?  Am I spoiled?  Do I just not understand how good I've got it?

When you can't go into the bookstore with your children, not only because you don't have the energy, but just KNOWING what a task it will be takes all the fun out of the idea.  When the people in a fast food drive through start to recognize you because your only escape is strapping the kids in their seats and driving until everyone either passes out or claims they're starving.  When a room is finally clean after an hour of hard work and distractive play for a whole 5 seconds only to be destroyed when you turn around to tackle the next task. 

When you look upon your husband's job... the long hours, the coworkers, the inclimate weather, the problem solving, the danger... with envy, and you resent him the 30-45 minutes he gets alone in the bathroom to wash off the day before facing a pregnant wife and 3 children who NEED his attention.  Because he was outside.  He got to interact with others.  He feeds us tiny morsels of what life is like in the real world on a daily basis because he's THERE.  He's IN IT.  

When you feel guilty for making plans out of the house 2 nights in a row.  When a Dr. appointment and parenting class elicit such feelings of bliss that it shakes you to your core.  'Please let the Dr. be running behind so I have an extra 10 minutes to stare out this window with nothing but my thoughts.' 

Oh Mother, is this what I sound like now? 

When you've become so sucked into the lives of these tiny people that need everything from you that you lose yourself.  You are a cup and they take gulp after gulp after gulp out of you, never able to quench their thirst, rarely, and sometimes never, giving you time to refill.  After a time you begin to stop offering yourself as a cup.  An empty vessel is not useful if it does not have something to carry within it.

What can I fill my cup with?  What do I like to do?  What music do I like?  Is there a new book I could read?  When did I stop knowing everything about myself?

Is this really who I've become?

I came across this today and it is what sparked these musings:

Which begs the question:

How do you choose?  And, once you have chosen, how do you go about spending more time with these idyllic people without scaring them away?  I would certainly be wary of a woman saying, "Hi, I admire you and want to share qualities x, y, and z of yours.  Here's my cell, Facebook page, e-mail address, and Twitter handle.  Can we start spending every Wednesday afternoon together?!"

Yes.  I have become like a child.  A toddler, even.  Socially awkward.  Demanding.  Prone to fits and tantrums.  Clueless and lost and just hoping someone will come along that's willing to entertain me, spend time with me, understand me... for just a minute.  Wait, please, 1 more?  Where are you going..?

Am I the only one?

Easy Peasy Gluten Free Lunch: 6-Toothed Toddler Approved!

Peeled, shredded zucchini in scrambled eggs, served with organic ketchup and avocado on a corn tortilla.

Notice how the tortilla ended up, veritably untouched, on the table?

This one demanded seconds.  His tortilla also ended up being cast aside.
I happened to like my eggs wrapped up nicely in the tortilla.  And they never noticed the zucchini.

DIY Body Butter

I've made it no secret that the Cabin Kids and I have bad skin.  This morning Cabin Girl came downstairs complaining that she was itchy again.  I'd been procrastinating on trying to make my own lotion since my first lip balm batch was a bust, but her poor, dry skin was the push I needed to just try it.

Of course, I scoured Pinterest for various recipes and tutorials, and came across this tutorial from nataJane. 

With 1 adjustment/addition, this was the result!
One for Cabin Girl, and one for ME!
There are a few little lumps because I *may* have fallen asleep on the couch after I put the oil/butter mixture in the fridge to set, so some of the cocoa butter hardened a bit too much.  Nothing a little extra rubbing during application won't smooth out.

I made the alteration of using 1/2 Tbs. Witch Hazel distillate and 1/2 Tbs. Grapefruit essential oil instead of a full tablespoon of oil.  The cocoa/shea butter combination has a stronger smell, not unpleasant, but enough that you can't smell the super subtle grapefruit.  The butter is thick enough that I think I will try to use a full tablespoon of each next time to get more of the soothing effects of the Witch Hazel and the scent of the grapefruit.

I bought the distillate, shea butter, and cocoa butter off to use for various diy beauty projects I've been wanting to try.  The essential and coconut oils I get at our local healthfood store.  The little jar with the flip lid I found at Fred Meyer for about $3.

As I type my hands already feel more supple.  It was suggested in the original tutorial to apply immediately after getting out of the shower, before toweling off, to get the most out of the oils, and to make sure it's completely absorbed before getting dressed so you don't get oil stains on your clothes.  

Hopefully I can report back with a positive review from Cabin Girl in a week or two!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quick and Dirty: How much screen time can you eliminate?

I got SO SICK of seeing nothing but the back of Captain's head this weekend.  90% of our family time is spent with him on the computer or his smart phone, while the kids watch a movie, and I read a book or putter around the house.

Being totally honest, during the week, that's what my kids see of me.  

Oh. My. Goddess.  

What have I been doing?!  What am I teaching them?!

This week I will be turning the computer off at 8 a.m. (excepting today, since I got a late start after Cabin Boy #3 gave us a rough night; today I will turn this thing off as soon as this post is done).  It will not be turned back on until 7:30 p.m., when we have a post-bath pre-story dance party with the kids.  The t.v. will not come on until Cabin Girl gets home from school so I can have 30-60 minutes of dinner prep and homework help time with her.  The e-reader and smart phone will only be used for music or actual phone stuff.

I'm not sure what we'll do come the weekend, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Wish me luck!

It's funny, it's true, it's sad.

How much screen time can you eliminate from your house?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Experiment! A pledge to my children.

For a long time we've I've struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Captain doesn't care one way or another, as he doesn't seem to have health issues related to the type and amounts of food he eats.  The kids and I, on the other hand, do have issues.  Gut issues, skin issues, behavioral issues...  Issues that I've been in and out of denial about.  Issues that, because of this first trimester exhaustion, I just haven't been up to the task of facing.

I have to remind myself that these issues only make my days more difficult.  That feeling good is just as important as getting enough rest right now.  That if what I'm eating is making me feel like crap, what is it doing to the little bodies of my children, and the one that's currently incubating?  I'm constantly wondering if my pregnancy nutrition with the first 3 Cabin kids is the baseline for all the issues they have with allergies and digestion now.

So I've come up with a pledge to my children, and my experiment will be to stick with it, for as long as possible, and check in occasionally with how we're all doing and feeling.

What would you add to the pledge?  Will you make it to your family with me?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The lazy mom: This century's brand of feminism?

This is a subject that's been preying on my consciousness for a while.

While I totally agree that being June Cleaver is hardly the norm, nor should it be expected of women today, I feel like we're quickly sliding in the opposite direction.  Blogs about how few meals are cooked at home,  social media posts about drinking while kids are entertained by a screen, not giving a crap about a house that hasn't been vacuumed in months, contests to see who has the messiest house on the internet (which I voted on, because, let's face it, I need a handheld vacuum) are no longer few and far between, they're everywhere, and people LOVE them.

What with working parents, single parents, work from home parents, grandparents raising their grandkids, there is definitely a lot of redefining regarding the traditional household going on, which I TOTALLY support. 

BUT, with the stress of work, the economy, slipping school standards, public services being cut, should our rallying cry really be, "The standards of my home don't mean anything anymore, either!"?

I'm not perfect in the least.  I've never been tidy, organized, or a sparkly clean person in general.  I like sitting on the couch watching tv.  I like playing video games.  I like having fun instead of doing chores.  Our clean laundry sits in the basket for days.  Captain has pretty much taken over doing dishes, because it's something I just can't seem to get a handle on doing.  But I owe my kids more than being a lazy mom that won't show them how nice a home can be.

What happened to teaching our children pride in a job well done?  What better place to start than showing them that the accomplishment of having a dining table has a clean cloth, a swept floor, and knowing a space is usable without fear of stepping in a day-old dollop of yogurt is a feeling worth working for?  Why not show them that a home cooked meal that the whole family sits down to enjoy together is really where it's at; Not getting 8,000 'likes' on a status regarding having mac'n'cheese with your wine for the 5th night in a row.

I am guilty.  We all, at some point, are.  But let's leave it to the occasional "I do this sometimes, too.  You are not alone and it's okay," instead of something that all the cool kids are doing.  Let's stop the trend of  vilifying the parents that manage to maintain a clean house, cook their family's meals from scratch, and play with their kids outside.  Let's stop before the 'Super Mom' that used to be an awe inspiring term just makes other parents snicker with derision.

We're better than this.  Let's teach our kids that, too.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I may be an ass, but you will always think twice about carseat safety now.

Car seat safety.  

It's like the 'shoe shopping' talk of parenthood.  Someone mentions the new standards and people start to gaze off into the distance dreaming of things like dancing cats.

But it's SERIOUS, people.

Oh sure, "I grew up laying in the back window of my parents' station wagon, and I'm fine!"  

Or, "We drove home from the hospital with you on my lap in the passenger seat!"

Yes.  Yes, I know.  But today, in so many ways, is so, SO frighteningly different.  The food we eat, access to television, the internet, cell phones, and travel are all so different.  Standards are constantly being updated and changed for a reason!  Yes, it's hard to keep it all straight, and it's another huge worry point that a lot of parents, especially first time parents, tend to overlook.

The reason for this post:

I saw a picture on FB today of a friend's 15 month old in his carseat and the FIRST thing I noticed was that he had a winter jacket on underneath the harness.  Okay.  It's not SO bad, as long as you snug up the harness, right?  Except, the clip was crooked, visibly below armpit level.  And, he was forward facing.  And, oh man, is that the rear latch strap going across the seat next to it to the other side of the headrest to clip in?  

Usually, I let other peoples' parenting choices be just that; other peoples' choices.  But I couldn't this time.  Mother help me, I just COULDN'T say nothing and leave it to chance that he might be okay should they get in an accident.  So I sent my friend a message. 

Now, when his wife was in labor, I sent him a few helpful tips that I wish someone would have shared with Captain or I during our first labor and delivery.  I specifically said, in one way or another, 'You can totally tell me to stuff it if you don't want anymore unsolicited advice from me,' but he seemed pretty happy to have the information.  We've known each other since grade school and have an easy enough rapport that I'm confident he'll tell me when he doesn't want my advice or opinion.

I just hope he took my concerned message to heart.  Even if it makes me look like an ass by pointing out all the things he was doing wrong with his son and he unfriends me, or whatever, at least now he'll think twice about it whenever he buckles that sweet little boy into his car seat.

The 2012 Guidelines for carseat safety are here but they can be changed and updated at any time!

Have you ever spoken up when you noticed a child's safety in question?