Archive for May, 2009

Olivia Fix

A post-lunch nap…


Ava Fix

This is what passes for fun at the Smith household most Friday nights–pile all the couch cushions on the floor and try not to break your collarbone as you jump into them. So far, so good!


Catalog considerations

I have a penchant for unusual furniture—an old desk from my Dad’s one-room schoolhouse, a church pew, a door-turned-headboard—and now, my most recent acquisition:


I got this library card catalog on an auction recently, and Bryan and Tom helped me move it into it’s place in our dining room earlier this week. I love it, but it’s quite a bit bigger than I thought it was.

Now, I’m torn—there’s really no other place to put it, unless I move the hutch next to it. The issue here? There’s no place for it to go except the basement. I have a sentimental attachment to the hutch—my great grandfather stained and varnished it for my Great Grandma Wallen—and it houses my wedding china. Plus, Dave bolted it to the wall three years ago.

I would really like to have the catalog in that room—in my mind, it will look something like this once it’s all set up. In reality, it will probably house Barbie clothes, random puzzle pieces and the 18-month-old who scaled the open drawers and has perched on the top.

My solution is to cut it in half (circular saw?) just above the pull-out shelves and use it as a bench behind our love seat:


I think it would be quaint and interesting—Bryan thinks it would be impossible to get a clean and even cut.

What do you think? Any ideas?

Update: Here’s a similar treatment.


Things I’m almost positive I’ve heard Olivia say in the last day and a half:

“I see the kitty!”

“Where’s Daddy?”

“I want to go outside.”

These all sound relatively reasonable, but I also think she said “What’s up?,” so I realize there’s a margin of error.

End of the rainbow


Morel mushrooms

While I was in Madison, I picked up a pound of morel mushrooms. Our friend Tom had never had them, so we lightly breaded fried the first batch in butter, because I think that’s the best way to make them. (Personally, I think that’s the best way to make a lot of things…)


For the main course, I made Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Morel Saute from Bon Appetit, a recipe that starts by marinating the chicken in a mixture of lemon zest and fresh herbs. Then, I browned each side before situating the chicken in a bath of broth, wine, onions and morels.




After baking at a low temperature for 90 minutes, I placed the chicken on a bed of rice and topped it with a reduction of the wine and broth, as well as sauted morels, asparagus and leeks. It was a time-intensive recipe, but it made for a fun Sunday project.


My friends Chuck and Lori found pounds and pounds of morels this spring, and they’ve tried a number of incredible recipes. You can check them out over on Horse Farm Diaries.

Fire up the grill

I took the long weekend at Mom’s as an opportunity to do a bit of cooking–specifically, batches and batches of barbeque sauce. Seems like a perfect recipe to try in a kitchen other than your own, don’t you think?


I used the recipe and variations from this month’s Martha Stewart Living.


I tripled the recipe for the classic sauce, starting with 10 chopped onions and two heads of garlic.


To that, I added five cans of tomatoes, molasses, sugar and quite a bit of spices.


Once the sauce had cooked for three hours, I pureed it and began work on the variations. The bourbon peach sauce was good, but the roasted garlic and lemon sauce was by far the best.


I ended up with just under 30 half-pint jars and one giant mess. (Sorry, Mom!)


Fish tales

We took the girls fishing while visiting the lake this weekend. Bryan and Dave spent most of the weekend in the boat, and as such, caught quite a few fish, some of which were large enough to keep for the fish fry we had on Monday.



To make things a bit more exciting for Ava, Dave secretly baited her hook with a small catfish he had caught earlier in the day. When he alerted her to her bouncing pole, she excitedly reeled in her catch.


Everyone was pretty excited about this…


But we were downright shocked when Ava had two more actual bites on her little pole!





Olivia eventually lost interest…


And she missed her dad’s big catch.



Backyard wildlife

Mom and Dave have a number of deer that visit their yard in the evening. I managed to catch one through their spotting scope.


And we’re back…

With a lot of catching up to do! We took the girls to Mom and Dave’s this weekend–they had a blast playing, swimming and swinging. Plus, Bryan and I really enjoyed and appreciated the extra help.





Ava and Gramma had a number of projects over the weekend. They made great desserts:


And snow cones , which were definitely a highlight.


Olivia’s was without flavoring, but she loved it nonetheless. (Katie and I made ours with margarita mix.)




And speaking of Katie, the girls kept her quite busy this weekend, too.