30 December 2015

bits of December

Goodbye, 2015! You were exhausting and hard but quite educational. Among other valuable things, I learned that my life is better without Facebook. That the second baby is a completely different proposition from the first. That I'm not parenting from a higher moral plane than my children, just a redeemed one. That we should only plant one tomato bush next year. That snuggles trump laundry.

Ellie sitting still, for once.

That it's smart to keep art and music in your life when kids come along. That Amazon Prime is worth all the pennies. That I need to be outdoors, go to bed on time, and take the dang cod liver oil. That my momiform of Jeans and Black T-Shirt simplifies life beautifully.  That I should embrace my introversion.

Zoe is a lovebug... BTW that's my knee, not my stomach.

And that I don't have to feel guilty about eating cheese, forgetting to blog, or letting Ellie watch Netflix every afternoon.

Huzzah, merry holidays, and bottoms up to old lang syne! (Though all we're drinking these days is coffee and Yorkshire Gold; alcohol is too expensive and we need every bit of grocery money for yogurt and clementines because both of our children eat like little monsters.)

Speaking of! Here's what we've et lately:
- chicken and green bean stirfry in peanut butter lime sauce
- shepherd's pie with lots of mushrooms and buttery mashed potatoes
- Laughing Spatula's Italian chicken, definitely one of the best recipe discoveries of this year (I use bone-in thighs but remove the skin first)
- tacos with a crunchy, tangy cabbage slaw (dressed in lime, olive oil, and sour cream . . . and some halved grapes and green onions for good measure)
- loads of soup! (butternut squash, curried pumpkin, cream of broccoli, hamburger soup, zuppa toscana, creamy chicken stew, chili)
- The Pioneer Woman's creamy mustard chicken
- roasted brussels sprouts with bacon
- Greek kale salad
- smoothies with coconut milk (the best brand!), frozen fruit (thanks Costco), and gelatin powder
- BREAD (I started with this seeded multigrain bread, which is perfectly nice, but after making it almost every weekend since October, may I humbly submit that I've far surpassed the original: with the insertion of an autolysation step, by splitting the recipe into two round loaves, and after adding that glorious trinity of garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, it has risen [HA HA] into something truly dreamy)
- the Kitchn's butter-packed sugar cookies, the only Christmas cookie I made this year, and absolutely worth it!
- an incredible deep-dish key lime pie with sour cream topping

Whew! I know I just said that I don't feel guilty about eating cheese, and I don't, but we're doing a Whole30 anyway after the holiday/wedding season is over: some dear friends are getting married on Saturday and there is no way I am passing on appetizers. Or cake. Wedding aside, we have indulged with abandon ever since Thanksgiving and it's time for a reset. (Jared will be lamenting the lack of half-and-half for his coffee. I will be mourning the absence of butter, in general. But we all love potatoes, spinach, and coconut milk, so we'll be just fine.)

Pat Sajak has a funny Twitter feed.

Cockatoo dances to Elvis.

One man, six photographers, wholly different perspectives: the power of expectations to shape our opinion of someone.

Map of Europe, according to its culinary horrors.

"5 Wine Myths That Should Be Put to Rest."

"That's Not Autism, It's Simply a Brainy Introverted Boy."

On the other hand, discovering Aspberger's three years into marriage.

"Motherhood: The Highest Ordinary Calling."

P.S. I don't blog about my husband much, but in case you were wondering, he is still as delightful as ever. God had a real good idea when He established marriage. We'll be celebrating our sixth (!!!!!!!) anniversary this weekend.