Wednesday, April 30, 2008

being a mom

I've often wondered how life has become so complicated. Of course, there are the obvious reasons that separate the innocence and ease of childhood from the world of responsibility as a parent. But I frequently wonder why my life as a mother is so very different than my own mother's life seemed to be. Or my friend's mothers, as I remember them. It's not that I wasn't a keen observer of the adult's around me. I was always the last kid awake and sitting quietly amongst the adults, listening, watching, taking it all in. I remember hoping no one would notice me and send me to bed.
I wonder what has changed so much then. No one ever seemed as stressed with the day to day as I often do, or actually spoke about it (unless there was a recession or job loss). But there seems to be a constant state of rushing and stressing now, that I don't remember. Our houses seem bigger (more to clean), wants seem more extravagant (more to buy), and careers so competitive (more stress). I don't think I like it much. The rushing around, that is.
In the last few months, I've been very drawn to simplifying my life. Remembering the things that I loved as a little girl, and making them a part of my life again. With children, I am able to relive some of that childhood innocence. And I don't see why we, the adults, can't have more of that too. The foods I am making, the way I am decorating the house, what I am planting in the garden this year. All of it circles back to what I loved as a child.
I read the most amazing words about mothering here. And I keep rereading the last paragraph because it makes it so clear that being a mother is such an important role. It reminds me that nurturing my family, loving my husband, and creating a sanctuary for us all that is both peaceful and pretty is an important role. And that, to me, is simple.
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

my favorite pasta

This may look like nothing special, but it is one of those dishes that I love so much, I just have to share the recipe. It is so easy to make, with very few ingredients, and I could shovel bowlful after bowlful down my throat (Nigella style) without feeling any guilt.

The inspiration came from a little lunchspot in downtown Toronto which I used to frequent when I was working in the garment district. It was a pasta and salad bar that gave great portions for a very decent price. A girlfriend and I used to go for lunch there at least once a week and would nearly swoon if this fusilli with veal was on that day.

Here's my rendition of it:

Gemelli with Veal

500g of fusilli or gemelli shaped pasta
1/2 to 3/4 pound ground veal
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
olive oil
crushed red pepper
salt, pepper, parsley
generous amounts of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese for serving

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. In the meantime, heat a skillet and brown the veal. Drain any fat (mine is usually quite lean and doesn't usually require this).
When the meat is almost cooked through, add the crushed garlic, crushed red pepper, spices and a small glug of olive oil.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet. If it's a little bit dry, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water, or another drizzle of oil.
Generously grate cheese on top and try to stop yourself from eating that second bowl.
Jamie had 3 bowls himself. I think every family has their share of stand by dishes, especially pasta ones. This one has become mine. It takes zero brainpower to pull together and I love its simplicity. It has taken it's place at the top of my list of favorite pasta dishes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I'd like to introduce you to someone. This here, is Olive.
The second I spotted her over at Wee Wonderful's, I knew I had to make her (and Archie too). If you haven't seen Hilary's Make Along Story, you really have to. It's brilliant. Oh, what I would have done for this doll when I was a little girl! I would have traded my bike, my entire sticker collection, and my snacks at school for a year!

I ordered the pattern months ago and decided to make this adorable duo for my niece's birthday. Olive was pretty easy to put together, but she remained faceless on a shelf for quite some time. I have never embroidered anything before, never mind the everlasting facial characteristics of a doll that may end up a member of a loved one's family. You know how that can happen, right?

So, I procrastinated with that little face for ages. Camden would grab her faceless body off of the shelf and ask me to finish her about every other day. But with Jenny Hart's Stitch it Kit handbook, and a little urging from an impending birthday party date, I did it.

I think she ended up pretty cute. Interesting eyebrows, yes, but cute just the same.

I decided to throw in a little doll quilt as well. When else could I make use of some of this pretty pink fabric? My boys are not too interested in pink, it's about the only colour thread I didn't have in my collection. (I feel a purchase coming up for this spaceboy ).

I didn't end up completing Archie though. I started and wasn't happy with the fabric I chose for him. They unravelled and kept causing me a lot of grief. I'll have to find some more masculin prints and now make 3 Archie's. One to be reunited with my niece's Olive, and one each for my boys.
Funny how with the completion of one project, I just gave myself 3 more.

Monday, April 21, 2008

self evaluation

Why do I find it so difficult to say positive things about myself? If it was about someone else, my compliments would be easily forthcoming. But when the subject is me, it becomes really difficult to list positive traits. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I wish some of my European blood would show itself and I could be a little more self loving.
I was tagged by Lisa to describe myself in 6 words. So, with blushing cheeks I proceed......

1. Optimistic
2. Loving
3. Day Dreamer
4. Creative
5. Shy
6. Indecisive (which is why it took me so long to come up with this list)
I tag Kate, Eva, Paola, Kelly-Jane, Claudia and Leslie.

Friday, April 11, 2008

faster than fast, quicker than quick

Oh my gosh, is it really almost the middle of April already? I am not sure where March went, but I am quite happy it's over and we finally have signs of Spring here.

March was full of craziness. I barely made a thing, and I've only just got my cooking groove back. We had a little mishap where we bought a fabulous new kitchen table and chairs from Craigs list, sold our existing set, only for the fabulous one to fall through. Ya, I wasn't happy. But after a weekend of frantic furniture shopping, and more searching on Craigs list, we came out good. Excellent, in fact. My new table is even better than the original fabulous find, and we scored some cool chairs for next to nothing too. Of course, this has sent me on a new decorating frenzy where I absolutely need new fabrics to decorate my table. Placemats, tablecloths, a new runner, maybe even napkins? And since my kitchen is open to the family room, my couch is just begging for new pillows too.
So hopefully my winter hibernation (and fatigue) is over. The new ideas will come into fruition. And I should be back to blogging more regularly.

Happy Spring!