Wednesday Picture Post: Projects and Objects

Be warned: I'm going to write this post as if you, dear reader, are just as interested in the mundane details of my life as I am. You may not be, and I am prepared to greet your complete disinterest with understanding and acceptance.

This year's cookbooks are finished and in the mail. You should be receiving yours soon, possibly today! Run out to your mailbox, quick! I'm pleased with how they turned out the this year; the pictures of the boys in chef's hats were a big hit with the grandparents.

Here is the gift I'm still working on for Nate. I'm hoping to finish it today during the boys' afternoon nap. It's a t-shirt that I am embroidering with some kind of vintage music equipment. I think it's a drum machine, but I'm not entirely sure.

Here it is next to the picture that I traced to get the image. I know this picture is crap. Here's a link to the actual photo. On the shirt, the papery substance that you see will not be part of the final product. It's a special interface used to embroider stretchy fabrics. You can see I already tore off one corner as a test. I was worried it would mess up my stitches, my precious stitches. But it seemed to work okay. I'm curious/anxious to see how this shirt holds up to being worn and washed. If this project is successful, I foresee a lot of embellished clothing in our family's future.

Next up is my big project this week. It takes a bit of explanation. On Friday we are driving down to visit my grandma, Simon and Theo's Great-Grandma. This will be Theo and Grandma's first face to face meeting.

Grandma is my only living grandparent, and she is special to me for more than that reason alone. I lived with her for two years while I went to school in Southern Illinois. During that time I came to appreciate the depths of her personality and humor. She is amazing and we don't get to see her nearly enough.

Grandma is 81 and lives by herself. She gets around just fine, albeit somewhat slowly. For all of my life, a visit to Grandma's has meant the chance to splurge on her meals. She is a fantastic cook, specializing in food of the calorie-laden, southern-comfort variety. In the last several years, I have noticed that she is more and more exhausted after each meal she makes for us. I have tried offering help, but she generally refuses. I understand that: sometimes in life (especially in the kitchen), when you have a plan, it's easier to do it yourself.

This visit I wanted to give her a break, so I told her we would be cooking all of the meals. The papers you see in this picture are the lists and recipes I have been compiling all week. I had to consider carefully what to make, then make grocery lists, then take note of everything that I could do ahead of time. Tomorrow I will be in the kitchen all day, chopping and shredding and measuring everything possible for these recipes. I find it difficult to cook in someone else's kitchen, so my hope is that preparing as many ingredients ahead of time as possible will make the process at my Grandma's house much easier. Also it should free up more time for visiting.

Because I know you are dying to find out, here is our menu:

Friday Dinner: Curried Quinoa with Carrots and Cashews

Saturday Breakfast: Scrambled Egg Pizza

Saturday Lunch: Beef, Blue Cheese, and Spinach Quesadillas

-Salad with Romaine lettuce, blue cheese, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and poppyseed dressing. No recipe for this, just mimicing the salad Colin brought to our last potluck on Kedzie Blvd. Did I miss anything, Colin?

Saturday Dinner: Oatmeal-Crusted Chicken Tenders

-Cowboy Mashed Potatoes

-Brussels Sprouts for People Who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts

-Yellow Squash Casserole (Grandma offered to contribute this)

Sunday Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats with brown sugar and raisins

-Winter fruit salad

Sunday Lunch: Simple Chicken and Oat Groat Soup

-Cheese-Onion Bannocks

I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to cooking for my Grandma, though. I hope she likes the things I've chosen.

I have another plan to make this trip to Grandma's a special one. We'll be bringing down most of the gifts we got for the boys (minus the ones from Santa; he'll have to visit our house). I thought it would be fun for her to watch them open their presents. She doesn't do any decorating for Christmas, so I bought this little tree at Target. Cheap but fabulous! You can never go wrong with fiber optics. Of course, before our trip, we had to try it out at our house for a few days.

We made this cute garland by stringing pom-poms on dental floss. Idea via the thoroughly wonderful Kiddley.

Because the trip to Grandma's cuts our Christmas weekend short, we had an early celebration with Nate's family on Saturday. Here are a few highlights from under their extremely benevolent tree.

A few months ago I was an antique store with Nate's mom. I spotted this bowl, proceeded to flip out and paw it lustfully, then put it down when I saw the price. Nate's mom is a renowned gift giver. She always knows just what you want, and, true to form, she remembered this bowl and went back for it. I love it dearly.

(In the background are some postcards from Janna that I framed. I love those too.)
Here we have our new mammoth food processor.
And Nate is the blissful new owner of an espresso machine. He says this gadget has a pretty steep learning curve, so he is just a beginner. Maybe by the time we have friends visit in January and February he'll be able to pull a perfect cup of espresso.

We also got the 4 cutest espresso cups on the face of the earth.

Theo's big gift this year was his lovey. I am hoping that he'll become as attached to his lovey as Simon is to his.
Loveys are miraculous healers of boo-boos and hurt feelings, so we welcome this new helper with open arms.

Finally, I captured these moments of concentrated play. Simon hasn't touched this toy for maybe 6 months, so I was surprised to see him meticulously lining up his animals this morning.
You just never know when a toy will come back into favor.

This will be my last missive before Christmas. Have a great holiday, everyone! Love to you all.


Colin Hughes Taylor said...

You remembered the recipe for what I like to call "Shotgun Bougie Ensalada" perfectly.

Now that I've typed that out, I think it might be even better if called shotgun "Boogie" ensalada. . . hmmm.

Regardless of lame nicknames, we got your cookbook today and it is frickin awesome. I am especially hyped to pan up some beef and blue cheese quesadillas.

And nice job on the t-shirt for Nate, I look forward to seeing the finished awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Hey Laura,

Thank you! We received your cookbook as well. It's always such a great scrapbook of the past year. See you soon! mmm. can't wait for espresso.


MJ Watson said...

I just got it!! I think it may be the best cookbook yet, which is really saying something as last year's ROCKED!!! And the embroidered shirt looks awesome. You truly are the coolest girl in the world. :)