Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thyme-Mustard Roasted Salmon + Prague

Nothing like a title that just lays it all out there, ammaright?

We're on our fifth day of rain, and the crankyness is reaching a fever pitch. I just broke up a literal knife fight... a PlayDoh knife - specifically, the much-coveted GREEN PlayDoh knife - but a knife nonetheless. Nevermind we have 2 other PlayDoh knives and a host of heavy plastic IKEA knives that also work quit nicely; it's an all out mutiny for the green.  

Thankfully, we have music class in 15 minutes, and upcoming Eastern European getaway daydreams are a welcome distraction from muddy paw prints and soaking car seat struggles. E and I are headed to Prague for 8 days in May, and I would absolutely LOVE any recommendations you might have -- especially in the restaurant and day trip departments!  I'll trade you an awesome salmon recipe for all your Czech knowledge! 

Thyme-Mustard Roasted Salmon

I've made this salmon recipe pretty much every week for the last month.  It is so incredibly easy and delicious -- even the picky tiniest terrorist eats it! 

Per usual, my photography is atrocious. Apologies! 

- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1.5 lbs salmon {we prefer wild caught Alaskan} - skin on and pin bones removed
- 1/8 cup country Dijon or whole grain mustard 
- 1 T honey
- 1/2 t white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 t fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
- thinly sliced lemon 

Give your baking sheet or pan a little misto spritz or line with parchment paper. Lay your salmon filet atop the thyme sprigs and set aside. 

Mix mustard, honey, and vinegar together  and brush over the salmon. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme leaves on top, then layer lemon slices over the whole shebang. You can let this marinate for a while (I like to prep at naptime and cook it right at supper time) or put it right into a 450 degree preheated oven. Cook for around 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. 

We love it with foil-cooked broccoli (broccoli, olive oil, garlic salt and lemon juice in a foil pouch for about 10 minutes in the same oven). 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Day in the Life: Spring 2016

Documenting these suckers brings a whole new clarity to the passage of time... Every time Julia puts out the bat signal for a new DitL, I feel as if I just finished editing my last go 'round.  And here we are again for the Spring version! 

Spring 2016: Wednesday, April 13th

I am 33 years old. 
E is 34 years old. 
L is 4 years old. 
B is 2 years old. 
Boom is 9.5 years crazy. 

6:45 am - I wake up 45 minutes before L's tot clock is set to go off.  I consider getting up and getting organized downstairs, but I decide to read instead {loving The Lakehouse by Kate Morton right now}. I was up at 5:20 yesterday for Pilates and am still feeling quite tired from doing the same all 5 weekdays last week.  Happy today my schedule allows for Jazzercise while the kids are at school! 

7:15 am -  L is all up in my grill fifteen minutes early, because TODAY IS PAJAMA DAY AND SHE HAS NEVER BEEN MORE EXCITED ABOUT ANYTHING IN HER WHOLE LIFE.  Last night, we were reading books before bed and she suddenly said "we forgot to pick out what I'm going to wear tomorrow!" {which we usually do right before books}.  And I replied "because tomorrow is PJ day" {and she's had her preferred jammies selected and laid out on her chair for over a week in anticipation}.  Her response?  "Oh mommy! My HEAD was saying we need to pick out an outfit but my HEART is SO HAPPY that tomorrow is Pajama Day!"  So freakin' cute.  I try to kid her about waking up before her clock, but - ever my literal child - she thinks I am annoyed with her and flops off to her room with a few crocodile tears.  Such dramatics!  I follow her and assure her I was only kidding and she is welcome to get dressed in her fresh Elsa jams.  

7:25 am -  E and L go get B up. B wants me immediately and starts crying and hollering "mommy!" over and over {typical reaction to anyone but me coming to get him, even though E wakes up with him at least 50% of the time}.  I talk to him over the speaker on the monitor while he gets his diaper changed.  The monitor is his latest intrigue so he is pretty jazzed we are walkie-talkie-ing. L runs back and forth from our room to B's room so she can talk on both ends.  B chirps "monitor off? Mommy monitor?" repeatedly. After his diaper change, he runs into our room and is immediately pissed he can't play with my Kindle. We all head downstairs where B continues to yell about the Kindle until he realizes it's time for vitamins and pumpkin bread -- "cake? cake? Bray-dee's cake?" L sings "This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made," and she is convinced the last line of the chorus goes "let us rejoice and be glad in main." No amount of persuasion will convince her otherwise {"that's not how we sing it in my class, Daddy"}. L stops singing long enough to announce "Daddy and me are the 'bossers' of Brady!" Uh-huh. I decide today shall be our DitL and start snapping photos and scribbling notes while eating my breakfast {overnight Bob's quick oats with chia seeds, unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, cinnamon, honey, and sliced almonds + coffee}. 

7:45 am - B is all done and E takes his tray to clean up breakfast.  B starts screaming "MOMMY ALL DONE! MOMMY ALL DONE!" {As in: Only Mommy may do grunt work for me. Jeesh.} The Mama Attachment is strong with this one. I give him a little snuggle before he runs off to join E in the bathroom with L.  There is some potty talk and loads of giggling.  B found my spare hairdryer he dragged downstairs yesterday and plays with that for a good while.  "Hairdryer off? Hairdryer not working? Hairdryer plug in wall?" 

E goes out and checks the rain gauge - 2.5 inches from last night's storm. He and the kiddos go into the den to play while I tackle some laundry. They FaceTime GiGi. 
8:20 am - Finished folding laundry and there's a fresh load spinning away. I check on my veggie plants to make sure the storm didn't damage any major stems. All is intact, plus there are some major blooms beginning on the squash and zucchini. E goes up to shower, and B starts jumping on the couch in our living room.  L finishes up reading a book and joins him. 

Lots of action on the couch.  B will not put that hairdryer down which is simultaneously cracking me up and making me nervous, given the trampoline time going on.  Instead of taking it away from him, I take a photo like a responsible parent and post it to IG. I notice the time and remind L to get her shoes and socks on.  Then I realize - crap! - B is still wearing his PJ top and I haven't made his lunch!  Pajama {& Pancakes for Lunch} Day at just one school is messing with head!
8:30 am - I throw a lunch together for B {leftover lemon chicken, mac and cheese, blueberries, and a yogurt} and help him with his shirt. L wants her hair "plain with clips" so we brush it and pick out blue clips to match her PJs. Stuff B's sneakers on his feet while he asks "Mommy car?" {meaning: are you taking me to school?}.  I tell him Daddy's car is taking him to school and J's car is picking him up. His new Paw Patrol book with music buttons is in E's car so he's not too terribly upset to leave my sight. 

Kisses and an uncooperative PJ Day photo on the front stoop, and the kids and E are backing out of the driveway by 8:40 am. 

I type up some notes on the morning, drink my coffee, and turn on an episode of Sword & Scale.  I'm new to this series, and I'm really not sure how I feel about it.  I listen to a lot of true crime stuff, and I am not easily offended or squeamish, but this one seems to go too far in a lot of instances -- it can feel waaaaaaay too rubber-necky at times {more on that later}. I get dressed for Jazzercise and head out the door.  I back out the driveway at 9:10 am. Traffic on Mopac is typically bad so I take the access road, still listening to S&S about Canadian porn star murderer Luka Magnotta.  I pull into the rec center right at 9:30 and hustle to get a spot in class.  The normal instructor is absent which bums me out.  The substitute is very nice but not quite as upbeat {she's cheerful but quietly so, if that makes sense}... but she does do almost all of my favorite cardio routines!  I am a total Jazzercise convert -- it scratches all my old dance team itches, it's ridiculously fun {I'm finding I much appreciate an exercise class that doesn't take itself too seriously}, and it's such a good workout.  I do think the 10 minutes of weights and abs could learn a few tricks from pilates / barre, but other than that, I really love it. I am totally covered in sweat by the time I leave at 10:30 am.

I see E called 7 minutes prior to class letting out so I give him a call back.  We chat for about 5 minutes about a new Nest camera we are ordering as I sit in my car.  I notice a large construction-type truck pull in and circle back around behind me but think nothing of it.  I turn on my car to head out of the rec center and see the truck is now blocking the only entrance / exit and is clearing brush. This goes on for about 10 minutes and is more than mildly annoying. I am still listening to that damn podcast, and it is officially Too Much. I unsubscribe and delete the entire feed from my podcast roll... all the while wishing I could delete the episode I just listened to from my brain.  Ick.  

10:45 am - Finally on my way out of the rec center.  I make a quick stop at Michael's to pick up three framing orders {two little water colors we bought in Italy five freakin years ago, and an abstract wildflower print by a San Antonian artist that we just found at an art fair} -- they all look great; I am super excited to hang them! I also text C about our dinner plans this evening before I turn on another podcast {All Killa No Filla - which is hosted by two hysterical British women and is positively DELIGHTFUL, if one can describe a podcast dedicated to serial killers as such} {one can, I personally believe} and head to 360 UNO for lunch with my mama. 
11:11 am - Yummmmm pizza. I picked a really, really out of the ordinary weekday to document in that I'm eating out twice. Definitely not the norm...but a fun a treat today. I love living so close to my parents but I actually think my mom and I had the opportunity to talk more one-on-one when we were in Dallas just because we chatted on the phone daily (or more!). Lunches out together to talk without interruptions are pretty much the best. J is not keen on the current state of her hair being photographed for Internet consumption, but our salads are very photogenic. I also have a slice of the prosciutto and arugula pizza and mom has the shrimp bisque. We leave no topic unturned and linger for a good 1.5 hours until it's time to pick up the kidlets. J has volunteered to pick B up and bring him back to our house so I don't have to rush to make both pick up times. So so so nice to have her help! The double pick up is the first-world bane of my existence...only 6 more weeks! 
12:45 pm - In the car on the way to pick up L, listening to AKNF on Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Apparently the name Myra tanked in popularity in England after this couple's killing spree, and it's never quite recovered. I wonder if Brady met the same fate {not where our inspiration came from, BTW}. 
12:55 pm - I'm early to L's school and take the opportunity to peruse the silent auction artwork for the spring fundraiser. Each class made two pieces for the auction and I bid on the photography offering from L's class. The whole school smells like syrup from the special pancakes-for-lunch feast that has just taken place. L plays hide and seek with her friends in the gym and then the group moves outside to play chase. 3 other moms and I chat about schedules for next year which leads to a conversation about red shirting for kindergarten. {L is currently in the "older 3s" but will be in the "younger 4s pre-k"with all different kids next year because of her February birthday. There's a bunch of current pre-K kids who are red shirting so the classes will be redistributed. I am kinda bummed about this, but I know L will be fine and will still do many activities at school with this year's same classmates.}  Sakes alive, the things I have strong opinions about now... Reproductive Rights! Sexual Orientation as a Protected Class! Kindergarten Red Shirting! One of these things is not like the other, Kate...

1:20 pm -  Oof!  Mama will be waiting for us with a tired B for sure!  L and I get in the car and she gives me a recap of Who Wore What to PJ day. She asks "do I get to take a rest still in my PAJAMAS!!??" Apparently, this is the best day ever! 

1:30 pm - We pull in and J and B are waiting for us in the front yard!  B wants to show me his pink feet from some project they did at school today.  His toenails look especially festive! We say goodbye to J and hustle to get B put down for his nap.  We snuggle with his bottle, sing Cowboy Take Me Away, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Twinkle Twinkle, then look at his shadow and touch the green monitor light.  He wants to do his shadow again before getting in his crib, but is appeased instead with Dear Zoo. Kiss him goodnight and head to L's room.  We read Xander Panda Party and find Where The Wild Things Are to put in her bed so we'll remember to read it with E tonight {he is taking her to the theater version for young kids tomorrow!}.  She snuggles up with all her books and buddies for her rest time. 

 2 pm - I'm back downstairs to wash out the bottle, unpack B's lunch, and oogle my newly framed art.  Then it's back upstairs for a shower.  The bluebonnets come with me since they will go in our room.  Shower, get dressed, makeup.  The weather is super humid so I get lazy and hope my hair will dry in waves so I don't have to bust out the blowdryer. I jot down some notes while listening to the rest of the AKNF episode. I make some collages of the morning's photos and type my food and exercise stats into My Fitness Pal.  I tend to think they overestimate the caloric output of 60 minutes of "dance," but since I'm indulging twice at mealtime today, I'll pretend they're right on the money!  Check FB and IG. Communicate with the guy who ran over our mailbox last week while delivering sod to our neighbor at 5:40 am in a thunderstorm {seriously, dude?} so he can pay us so we can pay the mason who rebuilt the damn thing. Contact potential babysitters for our Bonnie Raitt concert in a few weeks.  Enjoy a kombucha.  Text with E and A.  Phone is out of juice and it's about time to relieve L from her resting. 

3:40 pm - L and I cuddle up in bed and read a bunch more of her new library books; we checked out 10 this week!  We play a little bit in her dollhouse, and then head downstairs to grab some fruit snacks.  She wants to watch Tangled Ever After {the 7 minute short}.  Her commentary is hysterical -- "here comes the big jelly explosion!" {in reference to about a hundred barrels of red wine spilling open} and "he's gonna have to wash that dress" {after the horse - who is wearing a fancy gown - gets chased by a river of the aforementioned wine and falls into a tar factory}. Then it's Frozen Fever time.  We get through it once before I hear B {who has slept until 5:10 at this point making me think he is either making up for lost sleep from last week's ear infection or coming down with something else... Spoiler Alert: It's the latter.}.  I rewind FF for L while I go upstairs to get Brother. 

B is in a happy mood and wants to see the monitor first thing. Diaper change, another gander at those pink feet, and then the "cah-corn" demands begin. 

5:20 pm - B has his popcorn {and his blowdryer}, and I rewind Frozen Fever again for both crazies. B is super happy to see "Anna and Elsa!" They watch it twice {so... 4 times for L.  Glad it's only 6 minutes long!}. 

5:40 pm - We head outside to enjoy the nice day.  I figure since they kids had a good rest, they can eat supper later than usual.  Everyone is having a grand time until B backs his Cozy Coupe off the sport court and flips it.  This is one of those parenting moments that moves in slow motion as you have a heart attack.  We've lived her almost a year {!} and no one has ever fallen or wheeled off the sport court {one end is about a foot off the grass} so this was totally unexpected {but maybe inevitable?}.  Thankfully, B is totally fine but wants to sit in my lap and watch golf cart videos.  Thank baby cheesus for the thousands of retirement communities around the country that upload golf cart safety videos to YouTube.  We watch Mr. Thompson from somewhere in Florida tell us all about the perils of carting under the influence for a good 3 minutes, and B is in heaven. He then rushes off to mow our grass while I play Frozen Fever {ug} with L. 

6:15 pm - We head inside so I can get a very quick dinner together.  I was going to make black bean quesadillas but L says she doesn't want to eat her cheese "smooshed."  So we settle on pretty much the only other healthyish option I have that both kids will eat... scrambled eggs. This makes the 3rd "breakfast" L has had today!  L continues playing FF with her stuffed Elsa, and B occupies himself by dumping out my new bag of 100 stem clamps for the container veggies.  Awesome. We put on some Hamilton, and B {never one to throw away his shot at a seat in the room where the mixing happens} helps me finish the eggs. 

6:30 pm -  Eggs and baked apples for everyone under 4 feet!  L has some leftover salad as well. Both kids eat really well so I'm a little less concerned B might be getting sick {SUCKER}. E texts to say he is on his way home but stuck in traffic. 

7:05 pm -  The minions are finished with their dinner, and I clean up their plates.  Our typical post-supper routine is cleaning up toys and then jumping, but all the toys will have to be picked up mid-morning for our bi-weekly housecleaning tomorrow so no point in doing that this evening. We go straight to jumping.  The kids are pretty bummed we got rid of that love seat's couch mate as their trampoline real estate decreased by more than half.  But I am pretty happy to watch from our new chairs!  I get a text that my latest Le Tote is ready to be styled so I switch a few things out and then approve it for shipment. 

7:15 pm - E gets home and takes the kids upstairs for bathtime.  I touch up my makeup, and peek in to say goodnight as they are reading books.  I steel myself for a B freak attack, but he is a-okay since he has his yaya and bottle in hand! 

7:30 pm -  I meet C at The Grove.  She has managed to score us a table outside and the weather has turned absolutely beautiful -- perfect patio sitting!  We order flights and discuss the very intriguing couple seated near us {either a verrrrrrry interesting blind date or an escort situation... there is a bustier, a very intense foot massage, dancing, and possibly a restroom rendezvous involved in the 2.5 hours we are there}.  The wine is delicious, the food scrumptious, the "entertainment" amusing, and the company spectacular, per usual.  

10:30 pm -  Home again, home again!  Chat with E as he works in the living room for a little bit and then head upstairs to hop into bed since I have a 5:20 am Pilates wakeup call.  Nighttime skin routine pictured below... I am actually embarrassed to admit I love Rodan + Fields because I find their business model ANNOYING AS HELL. But it works well for me and my consultant knows I'd kick a kitten if ever pressured to sell it so love it I do.  Also, that Lancome melt-in masque is THE SHIT.  I read a little bit of my book and make sure my alarm is all set for class.  I fall asleep sometime around 11:20 pm. 

The end!

Thursday, April 14, 2016


My very-favorite, can't-ever-be-topped April Fool's Surprise turned T-W-O on the 1st!  This child has a smile as wide as Texas and a spirit like a twister.  Days with him are never boring, and I'm sure the coming year will bring adventures galore. We're ready for a wild ride with our Brady Back Ribs! 

B is a physical creature: he scooters with great ease, swings on the big-kid swings, jumps with two feet, scales 12 foot climbing walls, hangs from the monkey bars, and generally fires on all cylinders 24/7.  He is generally happy and sweet... until he is not, and then, woooooo-boooooy. When upset or frustrated, he can be aggressive or difficult to console, but tough moments {or hours} are easy to forgive when I hear that big and wide belly laugh. 

B is happiest when free ranging al fresco. He loves his Coze Coupe, scooter, plasma car, balance trike, water table, T-ball set, our little bounce house, and the park. Watering the veggies, smelling flowers, looking for bugs and leaves with "balls" on them, chalking, and climbing rocks on our hikes are also popular outdoor activities.  He is not the biggest toy guy when it comes to indoor pursuits -- he likes things he can tinker with {a myriad of flashlights, light switches, the keys and locks in his vet clinic} or push around {mini Dyson, doll stroller, the Swiffer}. I would say he plays best "independently" when L is in the mood to tolerate him all up in her grill with whatever imaginative magic she's making. "Sis-ter" is definitely his idol, and my heart grows 3 sizes whenever I see them enjoying each other. Their little conversations are getting more complex, and when they aren't pummeling each other, they are the best little buddies. Brother Bear is also very into coloring, PlayDoh, and helping me cook {the KitchenAid mixer remains one of his true loves}. 

B is my pickier eater and would happily subsist on buttermilk pancakes, mac and cheese, berries, "pah-corn," fruit snacks, nuggets from "Chicky-YAY-YAY," and smoothies if we'd allow it.  Seeing him take down 3/4 of a box of Annie's is truly a sight to see. He doesn't care for vegetables other than carrots, anything spicy, or anything with red sauce {sad times for pizza night}. But he did recently figure out ice cream isn't evil, so maybe there's still hope for him yet!

B's little mind gets fixated on the most intriguing things! He is very into talking about the moon and whether or not it's "off." {"Off" is actually a big point of conversation in our house right now. "Off?" can mean many things: "is it on? is it off? is it up? is the motor running? can we see it?" etc.} He is concerned about whose car we are taking where and knows exactly what all his people's vehicles look like. He needs to see both his shadow and the "monitor light" in his room prior to going to sleep. And he will not stop talking about that golf cart we rented at the beach last month. We've talked about golf carts every day since, and he squeals with delight when we spy them driving to our community golf course. School bus sightings are also major happenings! 

Other Favorites: sleeping with his ya-ya wrapped around his neck like a scarf, his purple and blue owl Beanie Boo, his "blue baby" doll; green rugby pajamas, sister's cowboy boots, dragon rain boots; Wheels on the Bus, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, This is the Day {that the Lord has Made}, the rap battles from Hamilton, Party in the USA {thanks, L}, Wagonwheel, Happy Birthday song; "Hulk Smash!;" Dear Zoo, Little Bluck Truck Leads the Way, Roadwork, all the How Do Dinosaurs books, Click-Clack-Moo, Eric Carle Around the Farm animal sounds book; "All Fall Down!" {Ring Around the Rosey}; sand; blowing out candles; his twice daily bottle {World's Most Okayest Mom!}; dum-dums {"lah-ee-pops!"}.

To celebrate our Bubba, we had a small gathering of immediate family and friends at our local park for breakfast tacos and red velvet cake. I just love feeding tiny people red velvet cake -- they all come away looking like pint-sized vampires!

As you can see, there was also a rousing game of T-ball. We were all thankful for the gorgeous weather and the opportunity to make B king for a day!