The way we cook, boy edition.

The Mikey and Deli love doing Yucky Tests.  Especially during lunch time.  They dip things in their water, mix foods with sauces, and generally do their absolute level best to gross the sisters out.  The louder the protests from girls, the yuckier the tests become.  I personally really don’t care how gross they make their food, my rule being: Do whatever you want, but you will eat it all.

Both boys are slowly learning some knife skills.  Not because they are slow, but because their mama sometimes can’t handle supervising two sets of fingers at the same time.  And small spastic boys holding knives is a lot to supervise.


The favorite appetizer around these parts is the “Mikey Special Salad”, which involves chopped carrots, chopped celery, LOTS of Tajín, a whole bunch of pepper, and if I’m not watching closely, an entire week’s worth of our recommended salt intake.  It is actually quite tasty.  A plate of this hits the table and is gone in no time at all, every one of us elbowing the others out of the way to snatch up the last spicy bits.

He usually asks to make it if dinner prep is taking way longer than his stomach can handle (most of the time) and if he remembers before asking that I say no to “just a teeny handful of chocolate chips…” as an appetizer (always).  Del shows up halfway through carrot chopping and whines that Mikey always gets to make things and I never get to make things and it’s just no fair! So Del helps chop as well.
IMG_5322These boys concentrate so hard on chopping their celery and carrot bits until they’re not concentrating and I’m gasping, “Your fingers! Watch your fingers! No! Don’t look at me, look at your fingers!!”  No small miracle that up until now the Mikey Special Salad hasn’t come with a bit of chef’s surprise ingredient.

Now that would be a yucky test.



these boys

are goof balls.  Any guesses where this song comes from?

Here’s a hint:

Anytime anyone says “garden of your  mind” in this house, we all collapse into giggles.

Listen To Your Mother. Really. Listen.

In January, whilst trying to be me right now, I signed Sugarfield up for a Bridal Expo.  It was pretty scary.  But you know what?  We did it!  The husband made me some awesome trees out of huge branches stuck in cat litter buckets filled with cement.  I hung baby’s breath balls and moss and crazy stuff on them.  C.Chavis Photography took great pictures of my booth, go ahead, take a gander.   You saw the “Let’s Fall in Love” sign that the Mikey was holding while Miss Molly kissed him.  In a fit of not-really-hipster-craftyness I cross stitched that sign onto some window screen and stapled it to a frame.  It was pretty neat, and now it looks super neat leaning up against a wall with stuff draped on it.  That’s how we decorate at enanoslivolandia.  So, while riding the high of the Bridal Expo I saw that there were auditions for this thing called Listen To Your Mother.  I’d heard about it before, and I had watched the Youtube videos – which are great! and so I signed up to audition!

Two days before the audition I pulled a bunch of my favorite posts from this here blog and read and re-read them, trying to decide on the perfect one.  And then I wrote something totally new.  Then I went and auditioned.  My hands shook like you would not believe.  I already have crazy palsy hands.  People frequently ask me if I’m ok, and I blame both my mother and my father for cursing me with inherited shakes.  I wish the auditions had had a podium because it was hard to read my piece through the shakes.  But we made it through!

And guess what!  I’m in the show!  It’s pretty exciting, and a little bit scary, but mostly exciting.  For those of you in the area, sorry mi familia, you can go here to get tickets.  For the rest of you, the show will be posted to Youtube, and I will be sure and give you the link.

Crazy stuff, this.

We have another reader!

Just when the husband was beginning to wonder if those Hundred Easy Lessons had taken root, the boy started reading!  He’s decided that the Jack and Annie books are a good place to start.  He’s also decided that he will read to me both morning and night.

IMG_5306Now when I say “reading”, I mean that painful, slow, sounded out, makes you grip the seat with your nails because it’s taking sooooo loooooooong kind of reading.  But!  When you are sick and suffering from chills and body aches, there’s nothing else you would rather do than have your own personal heater lay on top of you and lull you to sleep with his monotone sounding out of words.  Soothing.

He finishes each reading session with “dum da dum dum…” (you know those old-time radio show endings where the announcer would chime in, “Tune in next week for the dramatic conclusion to The Shadow….), which makes me happy.  This morning we read the beginning of chapter two, where the Magic Tree House started swirling and they saw a Pteranodon.  I can’t wait for tonight’s dramatic conclusion.


Yet another hat

I finished another hat, for a newly minted 16-year-old niece.  It was a fun hat to make! Of course I chose one of my many willing models to show it off.  Look at that nose!  She reminds me of a rabbit all the time.  All the time.

IMG_5274Happy model, showing the front view.  Not like you care, but in order to achieve that cute little front Picot edge, I knit a few rows, did a bunch of yarn overs, knit a few rows, then rolled the hem under at the yarn overs and sewed it together.  The holes from the yarn overs became the sweet edging.  Clear as mud right?  At least that’s what I thought when I first read the pattern, but I just followed it and like magic, it worked!  Knitting is amazing.IMG_5277It’s slouchy, which is what I think kids these days are wearing…  and now that I used the phrase  “kids these days”, I have officially become old.  And kids are no longer wearing slouchy hats.  Because old people knit them.  Kids now wear tight yarmulkes I think.  I don’t know.  I’m old.  Note the happy grin on the model.  I hadn’t told her yet that the hat wasn’t hers.

Now I told her.

IMG_5280Sorry Smells.  Next time. Maybe.

And Happy Birthday, Raquel!

IMG_5293This is my chance, I thought.  My chance to do it right.

Not one hour after I hit publish on that last post, the cooking one where I talk about my sweet girl in the kitchen, this happened.  I had been patting myself on the back with that post.  Such a good mama I am.  Such a good girl she is.  Look at us, gettin’ all super cool in the kitchen.

What’s that they say about pride?

Getting ready to go downstairs for a snacky supper and a movie, Mikey attempted to take my favorite serving dish, the one I use every single day, with him, even though I had told him his hands were full and to leave it alone.

“I’m sorry!  I’m so, so, sorry!”, he exclaimed, a worried look on his brown face.  This is it, I thought.  I can follow my usual pattern, or I can break it.  I can choose to react with love or with anger.  Well, I didn’t quite make it to love, but I also didn’t get angry. Just a resigned sigh and a request for the escoba y recogedor…  Help me pick it up, Mikey.  Yes, of course we are still eating the food, we’re just going to rinse it.  See?  Good as new!

The next day, when Josie dropped my most used blue bowl, shattering it all over the kitchen floor, I had yet another chance.  Another chance to choose my reaction.  The little prayers I say at those moments never get much farther than “Lord, help me!”, but help me He does.  Another sigh, another reach for the escoba y recogedor.  This time everyone was sent out of the kitchen because while pottery just breaks, glass shatters.

I remember breaking one of the last pieces of my mother’s wedding dishes.  Beautiful pink maja with hand painted designs in the middle of each plate, I thought they were super fancy and so elegant.  My mother is a much kinder mother than I am, and she allowed me to use her fancy dishes to make fancy meals.  My brother and I, along with our friends would get dressed up, over cook some spaghetti, get out the chopsticks and candles and have a fancy dinner.  Sometimes there was dancing, mostly there was giggling.  But I remember dropping one of those beautiful plates.  And I remember Mom just sighing as she reached for the escoba y recogedor.  Mom is not a yeller.  I can’t remember a time she yelled at us.  I do remember getting hit with a spoon, but I’m positive I deserved every single whack.  What Mom did was sigh, clean it up, and start over.  Sometimes we drove her to her bedroom where we would peek in and see her kneeling by the bed praying.  The image of my mother kneeling in prayer next to her bed is an image that still strikes terror in my heart.  Because you know when Mom prays, she’s had it.  And when she’s had it, Dad will come home and hear about it.   And we don’t want Dad to hear about it!  But mostly, she reacted with kindness.  Occasional incredulous kindness at the ridiculous things her children did, but kindness and love nonetheless.

Two chances.  Two choices.  The look of relief and peace in my kids’ eyes told me I chose well.  Next time, because there will be a next time, I hope to react with love and kindness, not just a resigned sigh… And if I don’t, then I will have yet another chance.  To ask for forgiveness and to mend the bond.

Did you have a chance to do things right today?


How we cook now – again

IMG_5285It usually starts with Elia finding some type of new and interesting cook book at the library.  This week it is The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook.  She pores over the pages, marking all her favorite recipes with post-its.  She likes to choose the perfect time to ask to cook.  Like a day where I’m trying to get an early supper made so I can slip out to book club, or when I’ve already got three other things happening in the kitchen at that moment.  I find it hard to tell her no.  IMG_5284

Why not boil sugar and cornstarch?  I was only washing dishes, making supper, running interference on boys, listening to a podcast and baking cookies all at the same time.  So why not add candy making?

IMG_5288Look at those long arms.  When did that happen?  I must have blinked somewhere between chubby baby cheeks and “Mom, can we make Turkish Delight?”

Spending snatched moments in the kitchen with this girl makes the mess worth it.  She thinks deeply, but doesn’t like being asked directly.  Ask her straight on what is happening in her mind and she clams up.  Scrutinize too closely and she disappears into a book or a boxy sweater.  But help her stir a cornstarch/sugar mixture continuously for half an hour, and you hear all kinds of wonderful things.   Look at her from the corner of your eye while you do dishes and she glows.

How was the Turkish Delight?  Meh.  The texture freaked me out.  The delightful company of that precious girl?  For that I would make wonky Turkish Delight three times over.

can I possibly fit another link into this post?

Let’s ignore Christmas for a little bit longer, shall we?  As most/all of you/maybe just my mom know, I have this secret business called Sugarfield Flowers (website to be back up and running Saturday).  I call it secret, because even though I love what I do and am very proud of what I do, I find it incredibly, extremely, terribly, and hugely difficult to tell anyone besides my mom what I do.  I mean, Mom loves me and is proud of everything I do… well except for that one time….. in general though she loves to hear about what I’m into.  But does everybody else want to know how much I love carnations, especially the spicy purple ones?  Do you care that a field of tulips gives me the shivers?  Does it matter that I think red roses are the single worst flower to send on Valentine’s Day because you are paying the highest price for the lowest quality rose?  Do you care that I just read an article stating that two spaces after a period is the wrong way to write but I still can’t stop myself from double spacing before each new sentence because that’s how I was taught?  Do you care that my sentences are usually so run on that they take up three or four lines of type before I get to the end – mostly because I never learned how to use commas or semi colons correctly so I would rather use a dash – but that always leads to an awkward sentence?  Do you?  Care?

Maybe you do.  Because you know what?  I care about you.   I care about your interests.  I care about who your friends are and where you grew up.  I care about whether you eat nothing but cheetos, as long as they’re organic.  I really do love knowing what music you like so that I can like it along with you or secretly judge you for your love of Stevie Nicks even though I know all the lyrics to every Barry Manilow song by heart.  I really do enjoy the interesting things about you.

Enter this lady.


Molly genuinely cares about what I enjoy.  She genuinely cares about me.  She listens to my ramblings and chimes in at all the right moments, all while taking amazing pictures of my flowers.  She has her own fledgling business, Molly Sabourin Photography, and she came over yesterday to do a little photo shoot for my online Valentine’s Day Store (online tomorrow! I promise!), and the pictures turned out just beautifully.  She takes sweet flower pictures, but amazing people pictures.  Seriously.  Go to her website, I’ll wait.

cute cute cute

cute cute cute

Molly and I started meeting with a small group of women, also small business owners, as a way to encourage each other in taking the great leap forward.  We know that it is terrifying and exhilarating to take that first step.  We know that when it comes to the ins and outs of business we are finding our footing.  We have passions for different things and just want to share them with others.  You know what I took away from that first meeting with that group of lovely women?

I like supporting the people I know.

I like what they do, their products are awesome, and the best part is that I support them as friends and members of my community.  I know you know this, but we need each other.  I need to know whether the farmer who sells me my milk is having a good year and how the lady who make my soap is coping with higher supply prices.  That little meeting took away so many of my fears about putting my work out there.  Of course you want to hear about what I do.  Because just like me you want to support your neighbors and learn what is interesting to them.  You  may not care that I am listening to this song right now, but you are interested in me.

There will still be plenty of enanos on this Livo blog, but there will also be me.  And this is me right now.