Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct. 5 - Canvases, and Acrylics, and Elephants - Oh My!

 I got it in my head that we should do an art project together this afternoon as a family.  I had gotten the idea somewhere of cutting a shape out of paper, taping it to a canvas, and letting your kiddo paint like crazy all over it.  Then, when you peel the shape off, there is the white shape left behind.  Well, it started out all fine and dandy, but there is a reason you don't usually let an obstinate almost two year old use acrylic paints.....or maybe even paints at all.  Griffin has been going through a...."difficult" phase lately, and we got about halfway through the project before it became a total fiasco [think acrylic paint in hair, screaming "no", beating on the canvas, chewing on the paint-covered brush, multiple crying fits, etc.]  Ah, well.  I do know better.  It's a lesson learned pretty early on in motherhood:  Don't set your mind on having anything done a certain way or done at all.  Especially don't expect things to go smoothly, without trial.  It just doesn't happen much, and I need to learn to let go of words like "easy" and "smooth" because I just end up getting frustrated when I go into things with those expectations.  Anyway, I can't say we got a ton of enjoyment out of the actual project, but I love how it turned out!  We decided on an elephant for the shape.
 After Griffin had had his way with the paints, I filled in some of the blank spaces.  Once it had dried, it was time to peel off the elephant.
 Clearly, Mr. Elephant needed a bit  He was looking slightly amorphous.
 So, obviously, I made a cup of tea first.  Then, I sat down with the white paint to clarify things a bit.
 Cranky toddler in bed, happy apple cinnamon tea mama with said cranky toddler's work.
Motherhood ain't pretty some days.  Some days it doesn't look too hot on me.  When I look at this painting, there's no delusion...It wasn't pretty painting it together with my son.  Smudging, hitting, drooling, kicking, yelling, crying, flailing.  But the paint dried, and I came back over the rough edges to smooth them, filled in the empty spaces, and completing what we started together.  Isn't that motherhood, in a nutshell?  I think we are quite the unruly toddlers in how we act in life, toward others and toward God sometimes.  I'm so thankful that I have a Father who comes back over the rough edges to smooth them, who fills in the empty spaces, and who completes what He started in me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oct. 4 - Stew, Please

I have been craving me some stew lately, probably because of the shift in weather, and I came across this recipe in Rachael Ray's EveryDay magazine.  It was in the section of "Easy to Freeze $10 Dinners."  Yes, please.  Of course, my photo of the finished stew cannot hold a candle to the photo in her magazine, but I digress.  The recipe is for "Sausage and Lentil Stew," and boy is it fabulous, filling, and perfect for fall.  It says it serves 4, but only if she's talking about 4 giants or something.  It probably makes more like 8 servings.  Oh, and can we talk briefly about this adorable pot?  I found this in a set of 3 (small saucepan, medium saucepan, and this large soup pot) with lids (thrifters, you will know how amazing that is!) at a thrift store in Michigan.  Come to find out this brand is virtually impossible to find (can't find a single one on Ebay, if that tells you anything) and is super high quality [read: expensive]. They're enamel over steel, weigh a TON, and cook beautifully.  Have I mentioned how much I love thrifting?  Anyway, here is the recipe for this lovely aforementioned stew:

2 T EVOO (I used coconut oil)
1 lb. sweet italian sausage, crumbled
1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 c.)
1 large carrot, chopped (about 1 c.) (I used 4 carrots to get this much)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
8 oz. brown lentils, rinsed
4 c. reduced sodium chicken broth
1 head escarole, coarsely chopped
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional, but delish)

1.  In a large dutch oven (I used a regular ol' soup pot), heat EVOO over med/high heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned; transfer to bowl using slotted spoon.
2.  Add onion and carrot to pot and cook until slightly softened (3-4 min.).  Stir in garlic and rosemary and cook 1 min.  Add lentils, broth, and 3 c. water.  Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer until lentils are tender (25-30 min.).
3.  Stir in escarole and sausage, cover and cook until escarole is wilted and sausage is heated through (3-4 min.).  Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct. 3 - Tea and a Robe

I don't think I've posted a picture of just me, all by my lonesome, on this photo-a-day venture, and I doing it.  Well, I'll just have to get over it because it's the only picture I took today!  The weather has cooled substantially (I'm talking it went from 90º during the day to 45º at night!), and I've been craving the smells, tastes, and sights of autumn.  It has gotten so chilly at night that it became quite necessary to bundle up in my fluffy, cozy robe (which I pretty much wear 90% of the time in winter) and enjoy hot beverage after hot beverage.  Since caffeine is pretty much a no-no for me (it's an anxiety trigger), I've been drinking a LOT of herbal tea.  Can't wait to get my hands on some cinnamon apple tea a.s.a.p.  Annnnnd a little secret, just between you and I...I've been indulging in a small cup of half-caf. coffee with pumpkin spice creamer here and there.  Bliss.  I love fall and have fully concluded that it's my favorite season.  Robes, hot tea, sweaters, moccasin boots, smells of cinnamon, spices, and fires in the air, changing leaves, getting chilly enough to want to get cozy, crisp breezes, warm blankets, new episodes of my favorite t.v. shows, the South Carolina State Fair, dressing my already quite adorable son up in a costume that somehow make him even more adorable, feeling like it is again acceptable to light a candle in my home (in the sickening heat of the summer, it's just.....wrong somehow).  Ahhh, autumn-I welcome you with open arms.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oct. 2 - Beautiful Sunday

It's next to impossible to get a family picture.  All attempts today failed miserably.  So, we settled for some halfway decent mother/son, father/son pictures.  You've got to take what you can get.  Griffin looked so adorable in his outfit for church that I just could not let the day pass without pictures of him in it.  He looked like a little lumberjack in his flannel, plaid button-down, corduroys, and little boots.  Today was just as beautiful as yesterday, and the heat must come on tonight (it's supposed to get down to 45º!).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oct. 1 - Meeting of the Olivers

Our friends, Kenny and Shari, recently had their second child and named him "Oliver!"  Big Oliver and little Oliver have met before, but I got some cute shots of them together this morning.  It was such a gorgeous day...the kind that only come around a few times a year.  Clear blue skies, 65 degrees, soft breeze, first smells of Fall in the air...ahhhh.  It was lovely.  Griffin and I started out the day walking to some yard sales where we scored a ton of great finds (including an end table, tons of books and clothes, toys, etc. etc.) for $10!  I haven't gone yard/garage saling in the south, and I'm so glad I finally did.  We stopped by my friend Anna's house and hung out for a bit.  Oliver came to get us, and we spent a lazy afternoon together with the windows open and pumpkin spice creamer for our coffee.  Tonight, Anna and I went to get cookout food, and we had a cookout over at her and John's house with their son, Sully.  What a wonderful, beautiful, so good, very nice day! 

It was the kind of day where you are enjoying it so very much that you don't want it to end.  We only get a handful of days like this a year.  I just could not absorb enough of it all....I'm feeling healthy and happy, energized and revitalized; I am thankful and content, friends surrounding me; I can go to yard sales and be around a bunch of strangers and not feel a twinge of anxiety; I feel so, so much better in every area of my life, and I think I can actually say that I'm "on the other side" of the anxiety and depression of this spring/summer.  I realized this morning that the weather today would not have been so completely enjoyable unless there had been about 2 weeks of steamy, hot, rainy days before this.  It's always the deluges in life that make you appreciate the sun, the heat that makes you appreciate the cold, the suffering that makes you appreciate the relief.  I'm so thankful to the Lord today for the suffering that He has used to change my life, to give me new eyes to see His goodness and love, to bring about a greater appreciation for His gifts.  I'm not perfect, and I may have more issues with anxiety in the future; but I'm not going to fear that possibility because I know that my God will use it for good in my life and for His purposes.  It will not be in vain, if I must go through it again, and He will be with me as He always, always is.