Reframing Life: A Meditation On The Home

My two-year-old sincerely loves all things musical – Recently we’ve discovered that this includes The Lawrence Welk Show.

My husband took this photo yesterday as we were working on getting dinner on the table. He had been about to shut off the TV after playing the toddler Pandora station for awhile and it landed on The Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.

Sebastian saw the horn, looked up and him and said, “I love it, daddy! I love this show!”

We sat back amused and allowed our kid be exposed to the music of another era, while daddy made dinner and mommy worked on her blog.

Sebastian Watches Lawrence Welk

I love this picture because my husband took it and there is not one thing I would change about the composition – which, I must admit, is rare.

For once I can’t say, “Next time try not to get the counter top full of clutter right behind his head.” Or, “It’s better if the light is behind you.” Or, “See how the light fixture looks like it’s sprouting out of his head.” (I got this photo pickiness from my mother, in case you were wondering why I should be such a nag.)

The timing was perfect, too. How awesome is that Geritol ad at the top of the screen?!!!

Here is a rare snap-shot of a day in our lives in which I feel that we really do live that unattainable, magazine-perfect life. Outside of the shot, the rest of the house is steeped in the clutter of the weekend, and of my recent trip to Target to get toilet paper, diapers, and La Croix sparkling water.

But in this photo, I’m not bothered by the out of place kids toys, the old Turkish rug that doesn’t match anything, the crumby blanket that covers our crappy couch, the new curtains that still have creases in them from the package, and that I hate but we can’t return. Etc, etc, etc.

In this photo I see our house as an outsider might see it. A comfortable place to be at home with family. Watching Larence Welk to boot!

This photo has been a reminder for me to be truly grateful for life and the home that we share together as a family.

I love it because it’s aesthetically pleasing to me: I love, love, love the composition. It stands on it’s own as a photograph. (Old-school photography, before digital cameras, was the first art form I fell in love with.)

I love it because it was such an amusing moment in our lives. A moment that made my husband and me smile together and appreciate the wonder that is our son. That despite us being sleep deprived, him being on-call all weekend and trying to get dinner on the table, and me feeling uncomfortable and swollen with pregnancy, allowed us to step into another frame of mind and enjoy our family time.

I’m planning to use this whenever I need a lift and a smile this week.

My new meditation on the home:

As I look around my house this week I’m looking through the eyes of the photograph. Our house – even with the bits of clutter that I’m always battling on the counter tops, with all toys and books and things that the two-year-old tornado is always depositing all over the floors in all of the walkways, with all the clutter that gets shuffled from place to place because it doesn’t yet have a home – even with all this stuff, our house is still a comfortable, happy home when you step back and look at it from the right point of view.

This week I will look at our home from the frame of mind of love, comfort,  togetherness, and amusement,  not with that critical eye that infects my everyday battle with domestic chores.

Scrambled Egg Enchiladas with Fruit

What We Ate – Mother’s Day Weekend Edition

Since I’m finding it impossible to keep up with blogging during this very demanding and needy stage that my son is currently in, I’m just going to have to do a few posts where I catch up on the meals I’ve wanted to share with you. Today, I’ll start by sharing some of the lovely vegetarian things we ate this weekend – my second Mother’s Day as a mom. Basically, these are just more examples of the delicious meals that my meat-eating husband cooks for me – I am truly feeling lucky and spoiled of late. (Please try to look past the quality of these photos. Right now this is the best I can do with my iPhone and the lighting in our house.)

Breakfast Egg Enchiladas

Scrambled Egg Enchiladas with Fruit

Yesterday morning Tim let me sleep in and got up with Sebastian. When I got up an hour later the coffee was made, and then Tim cooked scrambled egg enchiladas. He used a store bought, jarred sauce, and our opinion was that it was – meh. It needed more heat. We’ll have to tweak this meal, but didn’t it look pretty!

Easy Supper – Farro Salad, Veggie Chorizo, and Sauteed Greens

Farro Salad, Veggie Chorizo, and Sauteed GreensLast night was yet another example of Tim’s genius in the kitchen. He had bought a ton of greens at the local farmer’s market – mustard, turnip, kale, arugula…. While chatting with some of the people about greens, somebody mentioned that he loved to eat mustard greens with chorizo sausage, but that he couldn’t since his wife was vegetarian. Tim is not one to be deterred, so even though we’ve tried vegetarian chorizo in the past and it wasn’t that great, Tim remembered that there was still a brand we hadn’t tried. He picked up some up on the way home and sauteed them in olive oil. Chorizo and mustard greens is a great combo!

But the real genius of the meal was the farro salad. This was our first time trying this mostly whole grain (I guess it’s pearled, so part of it is removed or sanded down – I have to do more research into it) and Tim’s preparation was inspired. He tossed it with grated parmesan cheese, arugula, peas, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, which I couldn’t really taste. It was a very satisfying meal.

Mother’s Day Breakfast – Veggie Sausage Scramble

Veggie Sausage Scramble, Small Quesadilla, Honeydew Melon

Mother's Day Breakfast!

The not-so-great picture above, is of the breakfast that Tim made for me this morning (again, he got up early with Sebastian and let me sleep in – squee!): Scrambled eggs with veggie sausage (a different one, apple and fennel flavor, I think) and greens leftover from dinner last night (mild mustard greens and turnip greens, sautéed), with a small cheese quesadilla, and a slice of honeydew melon.

Mother’s Day Lunch – Farro Salad and Sardines

Farro Salad, Sardines, and Fruit

Mother's Day Lunch!

As I said, last night Tim made farro for the first time and it was a huge success. We are thrilled that it makes a great leftover lunch and we are going to start making bigger batches for Tim to pack in his lunch throughout the week. As for the sardines, I prefer smaller sardines, but these have a mild flavor and taste good if I just try not to look at them. I pretty much chopped them up with my fork and mixed them into my farro salad. It was like a very grown up tuna-noodle casserole.

And by the way, Sebastian is quite fond of sardines too! I can’t find the photo I took of the first time he ate a sardine, but here is another cheeky pic of him instead.

Sebastian Sticking His Tongue Out

As you can see, we’ve been eating a lot of eggs and veggie sausage lately. We’re actually trying to find some alternative proteins to that – but this is what you end up with when you have an open-minded meat-eater and a “pescotarian” that hates to cook.

Drink the Harvest! Apple and Pear Infused Vodka

This had been the year of fruit infused vodka for my husband – ever since he read a post about it early in the summer on a blog called Punk Domestics He has made strawberry, raspberry, and peach flavors so far. The process really brings out the essence of the fruit.

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It has been so cool to use organic local fruit from nearby orchards for this process, and to change the fruits with the seasons.

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The process is quite simple. Just stuff a bunch of fruit into a jar and cover it with vodka (lately we’ve been using Tito’s Handmade Vodka for the value, but we first made it with Prairie Organic Vodka, after out Minnesota relatives visited, and that honestly tasted smoother) then agitate it twice a day for two weeks. To agitate, you turn the bottles upside down and then upright ten times. Then strain it through a cheesecloth and funnel it back into a bottle.

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I know that pineapple infused vodka has been popular lately. Let me know if anyone tries any other off-the-wall flavors – like peppers or cucumbers!