I have some friends who never seem to have things out of place--their houses are so spotless that I take this sort of naughty delight in seeing dirt and/or dust that has been overlooked. Some of them even have children at home. Other friends have this comfortable mess or clutter and then others fall in between. I fight this battle all the time with my house. Growing up, I always had a messy room and every now and then, I'd take a night and spend hours and hours de-cluttering and organizing and cleaning. I don't know why I lacked that discipline--some of it it personality driven, I'm sure. Lots of times, I just don't notice things. Then, suddenly, I'll realize how bad everything is and get so overwhelmed. My best friend is one of those neat, clean people. I remember staying at her house for sleep-overs and she would meticulously clean up her room and put things away and have everything organized before going to bed. Even her hair would be braided! I wanted to be like that, but it just wasn't me.

I work hard to keep my house from being nasty deep down, but clutter and surface mess is a constant battle. The other day, I was complaining to Tuan about how it seemed I was always cleaning and picking up and straightening. (Yes, complaining) He gingerly suggested that perhaps I was getting too involved in micro projects rather than getting the big stuff done. I wanted to protest, but as I reflected on the day and how dusting led to moving a pumpkin and gourd--thus creating a still life and then taking apart two hurricane votives, emptying them of poporn and cleaning them, then cutting branches from the yard to fill them and then artfully arranging them on the piano with some other things, I thought . . . "yeah." It really hit home that night when I was "straightening" our bedroom and got involved with re-organizing sewing supplies. Tuan walked in and said: "micro project." Gulp. I quickly finished it and tackled the job at hand.

So I am now trying much harder to balance the two. Wednesday, Tuan took the day off and I got some much-needed rest while he tackled an unfinished project. Thursday, we got up early and walked two miles and that just got me going. Everything got picked up and put away and felt good-before lunch, too! So, Thursday afternoon, I had a clean house and time to quilt/watch a netflix and play outside with the kids. Yesterday, I was coasting on the bliss and somehow things stayed clean while Johnny had a playdate and I worked on a Christmas present. During naps, I started painting the bathroom and all was so well. We even had company last night and there was no mad dash to clean up beforehand. All was still well until bed-time when Tuan asked if there was any clean underwear. gulp. I hadn't thought about laundry in days, okay, 24 hours . . . . I opened the closet and it was not a pretty sight.

So, today I am tackling laundry. While the kids nap, I'm watching Jon and Kate and folding clothes. The irony of this is that the other night, I was reading Carolyn Mahaney's GirlTalk blog and the subject was pleasing your husband and how that (whatever it may be) is the first priority of homekeeping. I asked Tuan how I could be a better wife. "Clean underwear" he promptly replied. I can't understand why he doesn't find artfully arranged gourds, pumpkins and branches more important than that, but I will submit.


Candy Corn Cutie

I have been longing to sew some dresses for Aubrey. Beth and Casey have been so inspiring with their sewing projects. A pillowcase dress seemed easy-breezy and it was! I randomly came up with the idea for the candy corn and had a blast making it. I also figured out a super easy way to do armholes without bias tape or an interfacing pattern. There is a whole stack of fabric that I can't wait to tackle now. Aubrey hasn't tried it on, yet, but I'll post a pic when I can get her dressed and photographed.


What don't you like, Kavanaugh?

As we were eating breakfast, I was watching Aubrey grasp Cheerios in her tiny little fingers and place them in her mouth. It gives me such pleasure to watch her--I love those chubby little fingers--so I began mentally compiling a list of things that I really like and enjoy right now. I thought I'd share them with you all (and naturally, the things I don't like).

Things I like (no meaningful order):
1. House Beautiful. The interiors are so gorgeous and inspiring, the food reviews/recipes are so fun; Ina Garten is the food lady for HB and I love the way that Steven Drucker (formerly of MSL) is editing/directing the magazine.

2. Johnny and Aubrey's "Power Breakfast". Mashed bananas, blueberrries, baby oatmeal, flax seed and wheat germ. I feel downright virtuous serving it to them and they devour it! It's quite tasty, but usually gone before I get to it!

3. Jon and Kate Plus Eight. For years I've heard about this show from my mom, MIL, Guitta . . . Everyone said: Jon is just like Tuan. I could never catch it on TLC when I was near cable, but was just thrilled when it came out on DVD--go Netflix! We watched several episodes yesterday and not only was it fun, but Jon is so much like Tuan that I called Mrs. D to see if she was certain she hadn't misplaced a twin upon Tuan's birth.

4. Singing with Johnny. He likes to sing and we've been learning This is the Day, Come Christians Join to Sing and From the Rising of the Son. Sometimes he inserts other lyrics ( I thought I heard something about Thomas train in the middle of This is the Day).

5. Thomas the Tank Engine. We try to be deliberate about what Johnny gets involved with and Thomas is just as enjoyable and tolerable for us as it is him.

Those are the abbreviated likes--for lack of time. What don't I like?

1. Foundation: it makes my face feel dirty and grimy all day long.
2. Sewing with terry cloth--there's a blasted story behind that.
3. Houseflies.
4. Histamines.
5. The state of our bathroom. It needs to be painted, and has a blank wall, but I really have some sewing that should be done first.


Nellie Olsen, eat your heart out.

When I was a little girl, my mom, sister and I often watched Little House on the Prairie before we started homeschool. I always envied Nellie Olsen's large bows. Perhaps the designer of this outfit did also? I thought the outfit cute, but did gasp at the size of the bow. I will say it is a step better than what my mom would do (sorry, Momma). Every Sunday morning, my mom would brush my long straight hair and then attack my bangs with a curling iron. Sprayed and teased to high heaven, even Vanna White would have been envious of those bangs. The juxtaposition of the curly teased bangs with the long straight hair conveyed the same message as a mullet--only this time the party was in the front.


Carbonara Update

So, it's been weighing on my mind this new and wonderful dish." How truly awful is it for you anyway?" I wondered . . . So, today, I ran the numbers and found out. I was actually surprised at how horrible it wasn't! In fact, the biggest surprise was that the worst thing cholesterol-wise were the eggs! Go figure. I may not eat as many eggs now . . .

If you were to eat the entire dish yourself (I did reduce the pasta)
1,622 calories
56 g fat
16.5 g sat fat
517 mg cholesterol (172% dra)
59 g protein

Now,even I can't imagine eating the entire bowl . . . perhaps on a really bad night when Tuan was out of town and there was no ready chocolate. Here's the deal if you eat a serving (1/3 of the recipe)

540 calories
18.6 g fat
5.5 g sat
172.3 mg cholesterol (57.3% dra)
19.6 g protein

That's less than a little burger and small fries from McDonalds, and only a little worse than a snickers and dr. pepper (sorry, Leigh!) I think if you paired it with a good salad or some veggies, you'd have a great meal. Anyway, we made it for lunch today. Johnny devoured it as did Aubrey the last time. Johnny begged for more, but, ahem, we had already scraped the bowl clean! Also, I have to say that I am surprised at the lack of bad-ness that a serving of bacon is. This is off the top of my head, but I believe that a serving of bacon (two slices) is a mere 90 calories and less than 5 mg of cholesterol?

Oh, and here's another recipe. Tuan was dubious when I told him what I was doing, but devoured most of the dish and begged for more. Everyone probably already knows this one, but here goes!

Roasted Baby Carrots
Preheat oven to 450

Place baby carrots in a pan, drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake approximately 40 minutes until carrots are happy and somewhat tender. (a little browing/blackening is okay)

This is an especially guilt free recipe. Johnny likes it as well and he and Tuan vie for the carrots.