Monday, February 29, 2016

Curried butternut squash soup

Shucks, it's leap day - I've got to post.  My mama was a Leap Year Baby and today is her 15th official birthday.  My dad used to tease me when I was very young that my mom was "younger" than me.  It boggled my mind and I remember getting upset about it - I obviously wasn't able to wrap my mind around the concept. 

Meanwhile, I've been wanting to post a scrumptious squash soup recipe.  Most of my children can barely choke down squash, but they eat this soup with gusto - they actually shout with glee and hop around the kitchen when they realize I am making it.

Diego even asked this last time, "I wonder why I love this soup when I hate squash so much?"  Winter squash is pretty much the only thing he cannot stand.  And he is the king of the dramatic productions.  He will stuff his minor portion into his mouth all at once, hands at his throat, replete with overly-grand gagging sound effects as he chokes it down.  It is ridiculous.

But he loves this soup.


2 TBSP butter
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1-2 onions, sliced
1 baked butternut squash
4 cups stock
1-2 bay leaves
1 TBSP curry powder
pinch sugar
pinch nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups milk

:: Sautee the onion in butter, adding the garlic and curry powder in at the end.
:: Add the squash, mix well, then add the stock and seasonings.
:: Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 45 minutes or so.
:: Add the milk and blend with an immersion blender until velvety-smooth.
:: Add salt & pepper and enjoy!

I usually double the recipe to make it last a few meals.  Sometimes I substitute coconut milk.  It's really, really good.  Really good.

Happy Birthday, Muver!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Called out by the two year old

"You got mad eyes, Mama."

After a moderately rough morning and a burning need for solitude.  Little Eliah Len.

I've also realized that while noise and commotion may be the downfall for some moms (and that does get to me eventually), my weak spot is discord.  Fighting, screaming, crying, nasty attitudes, harsh treatment of each other, mocking, belittling, seemingly endless conflict.  It steals my joy and leaves me feeling like a husk.

So interesting too, because that list sheds light on the mix of ages I've got.  Parenting kids 5 and under doesn't involve much of  the latter end of the list.  What "they" say is right: parenting older kids involves so much more mindwork.  Little guys' needs are immediate and much more simply dealt with.  But big kids?  Mentally fatiguing.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A good winter for skiing

It was a great year for snow --
Blaine skied almost every weekend in December-January.
The boys joined him several times throughout the season.
And everyone was stronger and better controlled than the year before.
 Yiya and I even went out with them a couple of times.
He might be in skis next winter!  Goodness.
(He's already working on the second-half of Two.)(Ay-yi-yi.)

This was my favorite walk --
Eliah was very interested in walking through the drifts.
We got way, way behind everyone else and
Outside Bay even came along for a stroll.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Not again

It is amazing, it really is.  My boys, with their frothy leader at the helm - the oldest and most impulsive of the crew - have officially graduated into "wild animal" status.  I'm serious.

At this point in the game, if my attention is directed elsewhere - phone, skype, kitchen work, delivery person, whatever it may be - they almost instantaneously rip off all their clothes and stampede around hooting and hollering like feral monkeys.

Four boys: Ten, Eight, Five, and Two. Or four wildebeests?

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Those delectable chocolate curls

Shower Day: freshly washed and combed

I've developed an entire routine to keep Yiya's curls looking beautiful.

It takes a lot of attention and moisturizer to keep them tame and coiled, otherwise his hair frizzes into an unsightly and enormous mouse nest. (Stretched out, his hair goes halfway down his back.)

I wash it with conditioner every few days, apply in a leave-in conditioner, then comb through it with a hair creme.  On the off days, I spritz it with water with a few drops of beard oil added in. (Thanks Uncle Erik!)  The curls tighten right up.

As you can imagine, he detests having his hair combed.  It only happens every few days, but we have a routine for that as well: we watch Convos with My 2-Year-Old on YouTube while I comb through it.  Otherwise he is completely unmanageable: squawking, crying, fighting, curling up on me.  If Convos is on, he is mild and subdued.  So much easier.

But the real inspiration for this post ...

This morning the boys are making Lego conservatories for the flies and stink bugs they find around the house.  Everyone was gathered around the table building.  Yiya was draped in his towel.  After getting him dressed, I headed back to the bathroom for the hair creme and a comb.  He knew what was happening next.

When I came back into the kitchen, he was nowhere to be seen and sweet little disembodied voice called, "Me hiding!"  I looked around for a few seconds, laughing to myself and not seeing him anywhere, then looked under the table; sure enough, the little mister was crouched down and looking sly.

Everything unfurled as usual: Convos, creme, comb. Then I rushed to write this down as soon as I possibly could.  The "Me hiding" is just such a perfect example of where he's at right now: his sweet little two and a half year old self.

Also: the picture above.  We have local friends who run an online Catholic homeschool curriculum.  We posed as models for them last month and this shot came out of it.  We were giggling at each other. Isn't he just so sweet?