Archive for the life in general Category

Violet Ruth, 11-22-12, 4 pounds 12 ounces

Posted in life in general on February 11, 2013 by askthesky

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Yummiest. Burgers. Ever.

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, primal cooking with tags , on May 29, 2012 by askthesky

No photo, sadly, due to the speed with which my family inhaled them.


1 pound pastured ground beef (locals, get some here, others, here)

1 pound happy life ground pork

3 TBS Penzey’s Greek seasoning

Mix it all up, form into patties, make a little indentation with your thumb in the center (keeps them from puffing up on the grill), and grill carefully until done.  I can’t say how long, since my grill a’int your grill.  Also, the carefully part is important here- the pork will drip more fat than a regular beef burger, and you don’t want to catch your deck on fire.  Start them on a low flame, get some color going, and then finish them on a sheet of foil placed over the grill rack to reduce flare-ups.

We ate ours sandwiched between romaine hearts “bread” with mayo.  Zander commented, “this is the best meal ever.”  So matter-of-fact, that one.


Mystery, solved.

Posted in life in general, musings with tags , , on May 18, 2012 by askthesky

So, remember all that stuff about my stomach being so out of whack, and putting my foot down about getting to the bottom of it all?

Yeah.  I got to the bottom of it, all right.  😉

Baby Ask The Sky, due Christmas Day, 2012.  If you’re inclined, please pray/light a candle/chat an incantation/send some good juju our way.  If you’re a long time reader, you know why.  Thanks in advance.

Linky love…

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, primal cooking with tags , on March 13, 2012 by askthesky

Um, I have been bad about taking photos lately.  But!  I have lots of things to recommend to you today, that others have been posting, and that I have been trying.

First!  My nephew had his b-day party last Saturday, and although my sweet sister went to the trouble of baking Cherrybrook Kitchen cupcakes and making icing from scratch that was safe for the kids (thank you, sissy!), I wanted something for husband and me that was festive and birthday-ish without being so very full of refined sugar and junk.  I ended up making this cookie dough dip, but I changed it up a bit.  I’ve been having a serious craving for truffles lately, for some reason, so I rolled the “dip” into balls (I think I added a little more almond flour to facilitate this), stuck them in the deep-freezer for a couple hours, then dipped them in melted 80% dark chocolate.  They weren’t really hard (the coating was, but not the inside), even after a night time rest in the freezer, but I sort of loved that, b/c it made the coating sort of crunchy and hard, but the filling stayed nice and soft, like… a TRUFFLE.  Which is what I was going for.  I’m really excited to get my pre-ordered copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur, written by the Paleo Parents who came up with this brilliant recipe.

Tonight, I decided it was time to use up the rest of my Coconut Cream Concentrate.  I made chocolate fudge with it at Christmas, which was Very Very Good, but I still had about half the jar left (I got the big one), and it’s been taunting me up there in the cabinet.  I decided to try this recipe, which looks so pretty in the photos over there (go, I’ll wait… weren’t they nice?), but I wanted to dull the coconutty-ness a little.  The fudge was really good, but there’s something very science-experiment about the consistency of the cream concentrate.  It’s like that substance I used to have my students make with cornstarch and water- just when you think it’s a solid, it’s not.  Anyway.  I melted the coconut cream concentrate, melted some super dark chocolate, and chopped up some dried cherries and blueberries (Trader Joe’s).  I poured out the coconut first, then scattered the fruit and some sliced almonds over the top.  Then I topped it with the chocolate and spread it over the top so that it completely covered  the coconut.  It’s setting in the fridge now, I’ll let you know what we all thought of it.

Thanks, internet, for the great ideas!  Next post, I need to outline my family’s new favorite side dish- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna.  With pictures, for crying out loud…

The haps, as of late…

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, musings, primal cooking with tags , , on February 23, 2012 by askthesky

So!  We got some new windows in our house!  I realize this is likely only exciting to me and my husband, but I’m going to show you some photos anywho:

Old windows = Crudsville, USA

Nice packing tape screen patch, eh?  We’re all class over here.


Here's the surprisingly unsettling empty window hole

New wondrous window goodness!

Of course, I had to buy new curtains.  The old wood blinds just weren’t cutting it with these new, sexy windows.  I got the kids plain black (above), because I don’t care what their wants and needs might be.  Mother of the year!  Seriously, though, the Target had NO cute curtains that weren’t ridiculously gender specific.  In fact, they only had girly ones, and one “manly” print for a boy’s room that was inexplicably covered in frogs.  Like, anatomically correct, from a biology textbook frogs.  Maybe for the boy’s bedroom in a… hunting lodge?  In the wilds of Canada?  I don’t know, people.  I got the black ones.  I actually like them a lot, cause they block out a lot more of the light than the wood blinds did, therefore facilitating the possibility of the children sleeping in past 7 on a Saturday morning.  And truly, it’s the little things.  I got new curtains for our room, too, wheeee!

They are purple with a white paisley-esque print on them.  Not too girly, though.  They really give the room a “someone gave a crap” kind of a feeling.  I dig it.

Ok, enough about the windows, woman!  On to some cooking… things have been really doused in homemade chicken stock the past couple of days (weeks), since we’ve all been sick in one way or another recently.  I’ve managed to make a few other things, though, including fake Larabars (using this fantastic recipe).  They are approximately 1/16th of the cost of actual, real-life, non-imposter Larabars, which are now dead to me.  Also!  Meatballs!

Here’s how I make meatballs, which I tend to make once a week if not once an hour.  We love the meatballs.

Ground meat (I usually use 2 pounds of ground beef and 2 pounds of ground pork)

eggs (if you’re using 4 pounds, 3 eggs- one pound, 1 egg)

seasonings of your fancy (these had greek seasoning, and dear LORD were they amazing- if I’m doing Italian ones, I’d add a little worcestershire, some garlic powder, basil, and lots of oregano)

Mix the above ingredients together until everything is happily mingling and making small talk.  Then, dust over the top some almond flour.  I can’t give you a measurement here, because it really depends on how moist your meat was (sorry, I hate that word, too, but ‘wet’ seemed even more gross).  You want the mixture to hold together well without crumbling.  Add almond flour a little at a time, mixing as you go, until you can pinch a little bit of meat together in a ball and it holds its shape.

Use a teeny tiny scoop to scoop out meatballs onto a lined (parchment or silpat) cookie sheet.  My scoop is 2 tablespoons, which I think is a great size for soups or appetizers.  I like them smaller because they cook quicker, and hold together better.  Bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes.  Rotate your pan(s) and bake for another 10 or so, if they aren’t browning yet.  Take them out when they’ve got a nice color, and try in vain to hide them from your ravenous family.

There have also been some lovely brussels sprouts:



AND, I bought myself an apron for Valentine’s Day, because the kitchen was my Valentine.  I couldn’t resist it.

Cook covered in hearts, signing off!

Discipline reminder

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, primal cooking with tags , , on February 6, 2012 by askthesky

I am sick as a skunk today, home from work and everything- all because I couldn’t tell the difference this weekend between eating out and giving myself a much-deserved break from cooking, and eating out CLEAN and giving myself a much-deserved break from cooking.  Saturday, I had a carnitas burrito bowl from Chipotle, sans rice and beans. Totally and completely “clean” (meaning, compliant with the eating plan that doesn’t turn my body into a trash dump), right?  Right!  BUT NOT IF YOU DOWN TWO GIANT CUPS OF HFCS SODA.


Sunday, we went out again (twice in one weekend!), to one of our fav little burger places, and had burgers without buns, with veggies.  Great meal!  One I often make at home!  Here’s the thing, though.  I have a lot of trouble resisting french fries.  And then dipping the non-resisted french fries in HFCS ketchup.  The waitress goofed this time and left the potato chips on the plates too, instead of subbing the fries, so of course I decided to eat a few of those, too.  I didn’t want them to feel left out.

For dinner last night, I made chili for the superbowl in the slow cooker all day, then whipped up some guacamole when we got home to top it.  I also made a sort of frozen yogurt type dessert for husband and me with coconut milk and berries, whizzed in the food processor with a little bit of honey and vanilla.

I went to bed around 10:30, and slept for probably half an hour or so before I was hit with the most intense stomach cramping I have had to date.  It was nearly unbearable, and I couldn’t really lie still or sleep for the rest of the night.  I felt so bad to wake my husband at 4am to let him know I needed him not to go to his early morning swim, because I needed him to rouse the kids and make breakfasts and lunches.  I had a fever, chills, still the stomach cramping, and now a raging headache to boot, along with hardly any sleep.  And now, several hours of sleep later, I still have the headache and a low-grade fever.  Do I think it’s the flu?  Nope.  I think it’s the crap I couldn’t resist eating this weekend.

Now it’s a prescription of lots of tea and water, homemade bone broth, and clean foods when I feel like my body can take them.  There’s some braised kale in the fridge that’s sounding mighty good right now, alongside some scrambled eggs.

In happier news, here’s some things I’ve been cooking lately:

Cauliflower Soup, Veggie Bacon Egg Pie, Pulled Pork

Aforementioned Egg Pie with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli

Z's fav new snack: Celery filled with apple butter and coconut flakes

Laptop lunches- the breads are spinach garlic almond flour rolls

Canning Adventure!

This last one- Z and I decided to get some little persian cukes at the trader joe’s last week, so we made one little jar of pickles together.  I had leftover brine, so I thought I’d try some giardiniera– Italian pickled veggies, but I only had carrots and cauliflower, so I tossed in some garlic, and we’ll see how it turned out in a couple of weeks.

New Wife, New Life

Posted in life in general, musings on January 9, 2012 by askthesky

So, I was writing on Facebook yesterday, thinking about whether I should explain my year-long absence from this here bloggity blog, or just plod forward, leaving you all (anyone?  Bueller?) to catch up as you could along the way. I decided to do the latter, but I think I might be changin’ me mind, at least a little bit. You see, dear reader, the year that has just passed has been the most awe-inspiring of my life.  Many wondrous things have happened that have altered the course of everything, for the best.  I don’t feel as though I can just walk past those things here and not mention them at all, so here’s an explanatory post for ye.

+><+:+:+   Cue tinkly jingle jangle dream sequence music  :+_+:{:”>:”

FLASHBACK!  When I last posted to the blog, we were seeing some Christmasy sights around our house in the year 2010.  I wasn’t saying much more at the time, because I didn’t want to jinx anything, but now, apparently I’m all about tempting the fates.  Just kidding, fates!  I love you guys, for realz.

FLASHFURTHERBACK!  Right before that post, I went to a wedding with my good friend Danny.  Danny and I had attended another wedding together, as friends, so that was no big thing.  This all went down the first weekend of November.  But wait!

FLASHEVENFURTHERBACK!  (Isn’t this fun?) I first met Danny at church circa 2005.  Danny was a student at Towson, studying music education.  He was hired to sing as one of the soloists in the choir that I sing with.  Danny was… a goofball (spoiler: he still is.).  He looked a lot like this at that time:

I’d apologize for the small size of this photo, but I think it’s actually a blessing.  So, we have established a few things:

1. Danny and I worked together at church (and still do).

2. Danny had very interesting hair.

3. Danny was a college student in 2005 (this part becomes more important later*).

We became good friends over the years.  Our choir soloists used to always head out for drinks after Thursday night rehearsals, which was really fantastic for this single mom who didn’t get a lot of social time.  Danny was (and is) the guy who is always holding the door open, getting the drinks from the bar, listening to you yammer on about the latest jerk you had the misfortune of ending up on a date with, picking up the tab, and driving you home even though you live only three blocks from the bar.  He’s just good people.

He also was very flirtatious with me, in a sort of sweet way. *For years, I wrote him off as way too young to be seriously interested in me (see college student in 2005, and do some mental math).  What a mistake THAT was, my friends.

Back to the wedding in November 2010.  We go to the wedding, the wedding is lovely, Danny asks the DJ to play Journey’s Faithfully for me, I had lots of wine.  Danny took this amazingly unflattering, jaundiced photo of me:

Everyone there is pulling me aside to ask if I’m Danny’s girlfriend.  After the eleventy billionth time of explaining that no, we’re just friends who look like we’re together, seem like we should be, but we’re not… I started to think that my explanation wasn’t making as much sense as it had before.  That, in actuality, it wasn’t making any sense at all. We drove home from that wedding and had a nice long talk about things.  There was a shooting star, right across Orion, which if you know me, you know there’s no way I could ignore a sign as clear as that.  We decided to start dating, BUT!  I wasn’t going to let him get some sort of free pass, just because we’d been friends for so long. I told him he’d have to court me, properly.  Not in a colonial way, on wagons, but he was going to need to work to impress me (in hindsight, though, wagons would have proven quite impressive, indeed).

The Tuesday following, Danny called me as I was leaving a meeting at church to find out when I would be home.  He was waiting for me when I got there, with a large paper bag and two soy lattes.  Once inside, he explained that there was going to be a hot (lattes) and cold theme to this, our surprise first date, and pulled from the bag with a flourish a pint of Hagen Daas.  My heart sank.  I haven’t eaten dairy in years, and he was being so cute, I didn’t want to burst his bubble.  It must have shown on my face, so he stuck his hand back in the bag and back out again, grasping the greatest dessert known to man, a pint of Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet from Ciao Bella.  Friends, this is my absolute favorite thing.  I mean, I love it with a firey passion.

The date was going very well.

Our second (or maybe third) date was Thanksgiving at my brother Jason’s house.  My family is HUGE and REDONKS, so I was a little nervous for Danny.  He’s never a wallflower, but meeting 35 or so immediate family members of a girl you’ve gone on two dates with has got to be daunting for any man.  Here’s how he fit in:

That’s my sister Laurie, Danny, and a bunch of my nieces.  It was the party table.  Needless to say, he fit in just fine, and set a new record for learning everyone’s name on the first try.  He’s got a gift for that.

FLASHONLYSLIGHTLYFORWARD!  (You thought I was finished with that, didn’t you?) Christmas Day, 2010.  Roughly one month has passed since our first date.  Now, Danny has known my kids since they were little (see: mental math, 2005, above), and he’s an elementary school music teacher, but he had never been alone with them for any extended period of time.  My dear friend MA was in labor, and I was her doula.  Christmas morning, the kids were up at 7, opening presents.  By 7:30, I was out the door on my way to the laboring mama, and Danny was left alone with the kids for the first time ever, ON CHRISTMAS DAY.  This little angel man:

…was born that evening.  Danny had to give my kids a happy Christmas day, then deliver them to their dad, all while I was away.  Looking back on it, he could have turned and ran after that. He could have said, you know what, this just isn’t what I’m looking for, so thanks for the fun times, but I’m out.

After all, we’d only been dating for one month.

Instead, he stayed.  He stayed because he wanted all of me- he wanted me, the kids, the responsibility, the weight that is us.  He needed us, and we sure as hell needed him.

He asked me to marry him in February.

I did so in June.

I have never been so happy, and I have this man to thank for it.  Every single thing in my life is now in clear focus, because we are an unstoppable team.

I love you so much, babe.  You’ve made me me again.


time, time, time… see what’s become of me?

Posted in crafting, life in general, musings on May 3, 2010 by askthesky

When I think I don’t have enough time, I usually do everything in my power to spend what little extra time I do manage to find doing something that I enjoy.  Lately, this has meant talking on the phone.  A lot.

Well, there’s gonna be some space freed up there, and tonight is night one of more free time.  So.  I have an afghan repair job that sucks all the joy right outta life, the usual household list- laundry, cooking prep, dishes, lunch making- and several baby presents that aren’t going to finish themselves.  What do I choose?  To write a blog post, and stare wistfully at the nearly-due library books on my bedside table (suitcase), alongside my languishing sock that was begun when it was actually cold outside (today in Baltimore it was about 90 degrees).

But, there’s nothing I like less than when people complain on their blogs about silly things we all certainly deal with all. the. time.

SO!  Some things I’ve done recently that were full of the awesome:

1. Planted a community garden at church:

2.  (not in order, cause whatevs)

Spent time with one of my most favoritest people ever:

3.  Made a super cute baby sweater (which I’m teaching at Lovelyarns soon!):

4. Stumbled upon this super rainbow in the backyard:

5. Got this amazing photo of my babies (it’s a few years old) that I cannot stop looking at, from the kids’ aunt Sylvia (and it’s copyrighted, so don’t be swiping):

…and there’s lots more awesomeness to come.  I can feel it.  Let’s go.

Thanks, Supa!

Posted in bloggin mamas, crafting, life in general, super fun for little one on January 18, 2010 by askthesky

I was honored to be interviewed by my long-lost (although I know she loves her new city!) friend Mary Beth of Supafine fame for an article she wrote at Meylah about balancing kids and creative work.

And just to juxtapose this perfectly…  I’ve been passing this post over at Illuminated Mind on to every creative person I know- I think there is a lot to be said for going with your creative urges, even if it means being out of balance for a time.  If you’ve been to my house, you know that I’m much more likely to spend hours working on a creative project than keeping my house perfectly clean.  I’m more likely to spend hours on anything, actually.  Even dental work.

Well, maybe not dental work.

Here’s a gratuitous photo of poor Sage, who broke her arm in 5 places this past Monday, trying to hurry down from the top bunk.  We’re still fine-tuning the design for her cast embellishment.

Happy Halloween!

Posted in crafting, life in general, super fun for little one with tags on November 2, 2009 by askthesky

Sage, in a borrowed store-bought Indian princess costume, and Zander in a homemade dragon costume…