In the kitchen

January was filled with kitchen nesting, or or maybe it was just the fabulous books that inspired me.

Lamb Osso Bucco

Cilantro and parsley chimichuri

Quick Pickles and Home-made mustard

Our favorite roast chicken.

We always make a large butternut squash, and after you eat the chicken, you can stick the leftover squash and potatoes in the food processor with some chicken stock (bonus point if you make it from the chicken carcass) and a fantastic second dinner is born.  I add curry paste and top with plain yogurt.  We love it with naan.  Yum.

February was a quiet month in our kitchen, as we come to terms with the rhythm of nursing, diaper changes, and laundry.  Endless laundry.  Luckily, it was also filled with my mom’s cooking (thanks Mom!) and staples from my well-stocked freezer.

Coming soon… I have a pork belly in my freezer and it will be turned into pancetta (from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter,) as soon as I remember to order pink salt.  I also want to make these meatballs for Jack Jr.  He loves meatballs.  Oh, and I’m searching for an easy, freezable pizza dough.  Any ideas?

This is Vital

:: Appreciating my husband more daily. Marriage has never been more important or more comforting than it is right now. And you never know just how deeply you can love your mate until you watch him cradling the newborn he helped deliver.

:: Guiding Jack Jr. through the tough adjustment of being a big brother. And appreciating his budding sense of humor. This kid is funny, and so cute that I can barely tear myself away from him.

:: Savoring every minute with my two week old boy. Rubbing his back when he gets the hiccups after every feeding. Memorizing the way his skin looks like a too big outfit and the four very prominent frown wrinkles on his forehead. Inhaling his sweet baby smell mixed with a faint hint of my husband’s cologne.

:: Caring for myself – physically and spiritually – so that I can be at my best for these three boys of mine.

:: Saying thanks with every breath for all these good and perfect blessings.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Can I get a booya (or other appropriate self-congratulatory remark) for this one! We have never celebrated valentine’s day – Captain Jack and I usually smirk over the “hallmark holiday” and at most get each other a card.

This year, in my newfound obsession with treasuring every minute and celebrating every occasion, I converted. My son took handmade valentines to his thirteen classmates. (No Martha worthy artwork, but still.) And then, in the hour it took my mom to drive into the city to pick the boys up, I nursed the baby. I decorated. I cooked dinner. I baked cupcakes.

Cookie cutters hung from the chandelier with ribbon from my stash.

Heart-shaped meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas (my son’s favorite green vegetable.)

And chocolate cupcakes with the worst butter-cream frosting ever (I cut the recipe in a third, but used the full amount of vanilla. Gross.) Decorated in hugs and kisses with vintage red icing from my refrigerator.

Talk about something out of nothing. Without shopping, planning, or lists, proof once again that love is all you need.

PS: I’m blogging with a baby on my chest, prompting me to pray again a mother’s most heartfelt and desperate prayer – Please God, let them outlive me.

It’s been 12 days, and I can’t imagine life without this little boy.


Our new arrival – February 3rd, 7lbs 1oz, 21 inches at 38 weeks.  We are all ecstatically happy, and getting more sleep than we thought.

My Happiness Project in February

Bulbs flowering on February 1st.  Crazy.

I made a few discoveries about this project in January.  My tracking system was way too complicated.  I had a check-sheet for each day in my planner (which made it unwieldy and heavy) and the list was not posted anywhere where I could see it easily.  This month, I’m posting the list on the refrigerator, in the bathroom, on my office wall, and on my armoire/desk at home.  I also made a one-page tracking sheet per week – easier to manage and less waste of paper.

Here’s my January recap:

  • Read a devotional daily.  Most days I did, although not the one I had planned on.
  • Say grace at mealtimes.  Failed at this completely.  Note to self.  For things that involve other people, you should discuss and have buy-in.
  • Ask for help.  I did okay with this most days.
  • Be kind.  I was horrible about this – especially to myself.
  • Gratitude journal daily.  About 30% of the time
  • Make the bed – 99% This habit stuck!
  • Finances/paperwork 15 minutes per day.  More like 15 minutes per week.  UGH.
  • Declutter 15 minutes – didn’t do this daily, but did do some big stretches, so I’m going to call it a victory.
  • Take a picture every day.  50%ish.

What’s next?

The goal for February is maintenance.  With a new baby, I’m not climbing any mountains.  Some days, taking a shower is a pretty ambitious undertaking.  Here’s what I would like to do daily in February.

  • Read a devotional (I have this on my phone now, so it is easy to do anywhere.)
  • Gratitude journal – one sentence daily
  • Make the bed.
  • Drink water
  • Take a shower
  • Take a vitamin
  • Eat
  • Deal with today’s mail
  • Take a picture (iphone camera counts!)