Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Great (online) Cookie Exchange

It's been cold here, more so than usual.  So why not before you begin the baking task treat yourself to a little nip of something?  

Ok, perhaps before you start baking isn't the best time...but if you're entertaining a surly group of travel weary types suffering the ill-effects of shopping burn out, this might be just be what you're looking for.  

It does take a little time, but well worth the wait.  

Trust mouse.  
Traditional Tom and Jerry

12 egg(s)
1 cup sugar
1 bottle brandy (or bourbon)
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 bottle dark rum


Please remember the average shot glass holds roughly 1.5 or 2oz of liquid so if you're using a shot glass to measure your alcohol adjust the amounts accordingly. 

Separate the 12 eggs, whew.  Beat the whites until they're super stiff, like you can turn the whole bowl upside down...No don't do that.  Lift the beaters, and if the peaks don't bend much, you're good to go.  Usually mouse throws them into the stand mixer and just lets it go while she does the other stuff...

In another bowl take your 12 yolks and add 1 cup of sugar (you can also toss in your spices too, bit of allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, or whatever you have -- but don't add nutmeg...that's for garnish.  

To that you'll want to add 4oz of brandy the egg yolks will look very thin and pale.  

Fold that into the stiff egg whites, slowly and carefully -- you're making a batter, a nice somewhat stiff batter here.  

You can store it a few hours in the fridge.  

Now to serve it:  

Heat milk on the stove top, do not boil just heat it, so it's good and hot and just about ready to boil.  

Add a tablespoon of the batter to a coffee mug, and to that add one ounce of brandy and one ounce of dark rum.  Stir constantly because you don't want to the batter to curdle.  Now, fill with the hot milk, stir more until frothy and dust with a bit of nutmeg.  

If you find it's too rich, you can cut it with half milk and half water (heated naturally).  Some people just add water, but mouse doesn't care for that.  

A word about eggs.  You'll notice the eggs aren't cooked, ah but they really are when you add the hot milk, the eggs will cook then if your milk is at at least 160 degrees any bacteria in the eggs is destroyed and probably safer than a real Caesar salad.  

Pro tip:  

You can certainly mix the whole thing ahead (with alcohol added) and keep warm in a heat proof bowl or even a thermos.

Now, you can visit the others participating!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tis the Season

It's almost inescapable.  The holiday season truly is the time of parties.  Invites begin arriving for some events before Halloween because some worry that their guests will already be booked if they wait too long.  Add to that the little cocktail parties, and the ones who splurge on big hotel gatherings. 

But what always seems to amaze mouse is that people will pay a copious amount detail into the flower arrangements or the place settings and the food is almost treated as an afterthought.  We attended a big swank hotel event a few years ago, and the food was a huge disappointment.  The room was gorgeous, the music was appropriate -- they hired a jazz band, ample seating so if guests got tired of circulating the room, they could sit.  Plenty of staff to hand out wine, and food.   The host and hostess put a lot of thought into the smallest details.  One could only surmise that they used up all their energy in those things so when it came to the food, they were burned out.  

The hotel featured one of those celebrity chef restaurants but that doesn't mean the restaurant is catering your party -- the hotel has their own kitchen and staff. Don't simply make selections from the various columns and call it done.  Taste the wine, and seriously if you hate it, don't serve it.  Don't assume that bacon-wrapped chicken will taste better because it's served on a long skewer -- actually taste it and if it requires three gulps of water to get it down -- ya might want to skip it.  

Why spend so much money on a big party only to skimp on the food and wine?  

We've seen this time and again.  It's often the worst part, because you don't want to be critical.  We once walked into the most gorgeous home, the kind of home that's just built for entertaining.  It has a kitchen that had mouse drooling.  4 dishwashers!  Seriously!  

It was supposed to be a cocktail party, but they bought the cheapest booze and wine.  Generic mixers is fine, but generic rum?  Then the food, and mouse isn't kidding when she writes this, chicken strips, little cocktail wieners wrapped in puff pastry, stuffed mushrooms that had little flavor and the texture like little rubber balls.  

You might think that mouse is just being a snob, but actually felt bad for the couple hosting.  We were the third couple to come up with an excuse for leaving early.  

Sometimes the opposite is completely true as well.  We attended a party that had the best food, but everything else was just awful.  No music, the room was chilly, and there wasn't enough seating.  No one wants to stand for 4 hours.  The host and hostess were so busy with the amazing food, they neglected everything else. 

Pity those two couples didn't merge and because together they would have thrown the best cocktail event ever.  

Thank goodness mouse has some good friends who basically saved her from making similar errors.  The first big cocktail party we hosted, could have easily been a disaster for a completely different reason.  We had the food, the room, music, not too hot or cool, but mouse had no clue how to mingle or introduce people (the art of dropping tidbits of information).  You gather people into a room and sometimes not everyone knows everyone else.  Trial by fire mouse learned there is an art to hosting that goes way beyond the other stuff.  Lucy acted as a buffer for mouse helping her fumble through, she knew things about our guests that mouse had no clue about because she runs with an adjacent circle. So she knew to keep certain people at arms length and who should be introduced. In other words, Lucy saved mouse's behind.  

It was completely fascinating -- because while mouse was fretting over the other pre-party details she never once thought about what happens after the guests arrive.   

Monday, July 21, 2014


Sometimes we're just ungrateful, during the winter months we all dreamt of summer at the lake, the warm sun soaking into our very bones. Then the heat intensified, and became what mouse would say oppressive heat. It's too hot for Sir to fish -- almost. Nothing much prevents that.

Maintenance has slowed though, but really it's not a problem since mouse is too uncomfortable to care either way. Thank goodness Sir insisted that mouse bring summer pajamas -- it sounds silly but this is exactly why. At night we have the room fans going all night, mouse becomes chilled, reaches for a blanket, can't get to it because Sir laying on top of them, and even if mouse could cover herself up, she'd just become too warm, then it all begins again. The pajamas keeps mouse just right (almost).

Really it's about perspectives. It's hard to remember that, but really mouse has learned to appreciate many things more. While mouse was obsessed with tilting at windmills just a couple months ago, now that's been replaced with confidence in who she is. That's all a huge credit to Sir.

In the meantime, we've been trying to discover new ways of beating the heat during the day. In the early morning, and later afternoon the lake is filled, but midday, when the sun is highest, everyone takes cover. Sir finds the hammock nice in a shady spot, but lately without a breeze it's been too warm. We all take cover indoors and well usually nap and that's probably since if we all try to do some activity everyone begins to just melt down. Unless we all head to to town like today because even though mouse makes the best ice cream, the ice cream shop in town, is air conditioned. Again perspectives are very important.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

When the Rain Falls

This morning the distant sound of thunder rolled through the mountains and lightning flashed across the lake. Inside some rather cramped quarters mouse snuggled against her Sir, smelling him. He's got the man smell thing that makes mouse swoon. Since the rains are expected to linger for the next several days, we found ourselves venturing into town for a coffee and the all important Internet connection.

Right now, mouse cannot decide which blog to post this in, but considering the last published post here was late May, well why not? Is it wrong to suggest the rains make things a bit dull? Sir did, just now, give mouse a small bit of 'mad money' to buy something frivolous. Now don't laugh but mouse will make her way to this fantastic soap shop in town and plunk down probably too much money on a bar of lavender soap that she will protect with her last breath!

It's a simple pleasure, like the smell of chicken roasting in the oven -- maybe its just mouse but it's one of those smells that seems to make her feel safe. Not sure why though, in fact mouse cannot recall anyone in her family roasting a whole chicken. It's not a thanksgiving turkey smell either -- chicken smells like love to mouse and the turkey reminds her of stress.

Ok, now mouse has gotten off the track, this is about rain. When it's rainy here, depending on how rainy maybe. Did you know there are degrees of raininess? Little rain, the kind that feels like mist on your skin that you might mistake for fog. Then there's the rain that comes on fast, departing just as quickly and leaving behind wonderful puddles to explore. Finally there's the kind of rain that falls loudly, with so much water you wonder where it all goes.

In case you're at all curious, we're in the midst of the last one. The longest time mouse spent outside was the amount of time it took to move the herb pots so they aren't drowned.

It's really the perfect day for exploring in town and sample some local flavors. There's a shop dedicated to all things puzzles here, so we know that's on the list. Sir already treated mouse to some lovely (unscented) candles and some coffee beans (tomorrow morning really can't come soon enough). It's just us here for now, so there's little point in spending the day cooking goodies we'll never finish and the house closest to us is still empty (tho we did notice the cleaning crew recently) so there's no one to share with.

Still the rains provide an odd sort of distraction for us. Finding a new kind of joy in everyday things. Added bonus, mouse gets to put off laundry another day, and if the rain continues long enough she'll be posting again sooner rather than later, as she watched the soothing tumble of clothing churning in the sudsy water.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Between the Sheets

Each Friday all the bedding is pulled off the bed, sheets are changed, the bed later remade. It's a ritual replayed in probably every home everywhere on whatever day they choose. There's something wonderful about climbing into a bed with clean sheets. The smell, the feeling of them -- it's like being held. Inviting. Recently, on a Friday evening we climbed into bed and mouse sighed, that contented happy sigh and felt embraced in lavender. It's a rinse we use only for bedding. Sir didn't notice anything -- not even that the sheets were different. How could he miss the smell? He took the default man or maybe husband position that he thought it was mouse.

We have another ritual at bedtime. Sir will toss all the pillows off the bed and onto the floor thst mouse painstakingly arranges each morning, with some satisfaction. Sometimes he'll muse about the connection between women and pillows.

The compliment isn't a serious one, since he doesn't really care what the bed looks like, so long as its made and not covered in flowers. He despises bedding with weeds covering it. To be honest though, between clean sheets and pillows mouse wouid take the feeling of clean sheets. So much so she's often considered washing them more often than once a week. But really it isn't practical. The only time however mouse will put off the ritual changing of sheets is when he's traveling. Often then mouse will put it off as long as she can stand the thought. It's like when she'll wear a shirt he's worn recently to bed, it smells like him. If he's gone for a few days, she will wait to put on clean sheets when she knows he's around thirty minutes from home!

Well we never suggested mouse wasn't quirky.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Busy, Busy

Yesterday, Daddy printed out the file of things we brought to the lake last year. Really, it sounds terrible but mouse forgot all the stuff we brought just for the baby. Various toys now mostly forgotten, that just a year ago she couldn't live without. As we gear up for our return, canvassing the previous list there isn't a lot we seem to need. Most things we'll need are waiting for us there. We did need a new vacuum cleaner. Nothing fancy but something that easily switched from fbare floor to carpet. Since it will live there Daddy said something under a hundred dollars seemed reasonable to spend.

Thats a relief to mouse because aside from clothes and other stuff there isn't a lot to pack...except well food. At home we can buy food staples far less expensively than we can there. It makes sense since most people who do live there year around make a big trip to the discount stores.

Daddy's busy too, with many late nights stowed away in his study or at work. It's hard on mouse, because she wants to lessen his load -- but there's only so much she can do (aside from making sure everything is order). The best news is we have a housekeeper again! Best Mother's day gift ever!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


When mouse finds herself with nothing exciting to do, often she'll look through old cookbooks she's acquired over the years. Believe it or not, they're fun to read. One mouse has been looking through is from the 1940s, and entitled, The New Bride's Cookbook. It probably belonged one of mouse's great aunts who was married around the time. What makes it fascinating to mouse isn't the recipes but the ads. It's chocked full of ads for long forgotten stores, butchers, dress makers, and even coupons in the back and some WWII ration cards! Bring the coupon with the accompanying ration card and you too can buy sugar for just fifteen cents a pound!

It's also classic Old San Francisco, phone numbers included are all Mission this, North Beach, Telegraph that...

The recipes are fairly simple, and a bit dull. A beef stroganoff recipe was marked saying to only get the egg noodles from some grocery in China town and another said to buy the Pasta at the Italian shop, next to a butcher (from the address mouse strongly suspects is now the Molinari Deli). Some recipes aren't really recipes but rather a list of ingredients. Still others begin by saying go into the backyard and find the biggest chicken and cut its head off. Then proceeds in minute detail on removing the feathers, proper dressing (which mouse presumes didn't mean stuffing the bird with seasoned bread cubes), but goes little further. Clearly going back to a time when people did keep chickens and rabbits in backyard pens and coops, a tradition that continued well into mouse's time, but died out with its older (mostly Italian decent) residents and changing city ordinances provided end (with the exception mouse is told, being San Francisco's famous, or infamous, China Town).

It's odd taking the mental walking tour into the past, one that mouse scarcely knew about since it was decades before her birth, but vividly recalled and being regaled with stories from back in that day.

The reason for this? In just 6 weeks we'll be departing for the lake and mouse wants to carry with her some recipes. Of course she'll bring her tried and true recipes along with her, but she wants newer (old) recipes to add to the collection. Specifically looking for older cake and pie recipes that seem lacking, along with quick breads and other yummy things no one should eat save for when you're on vacation. Here we rarely do dessert, but while on vacation, mouse is baking cakes or pies two - three times a week, and cookies are done dozens at a time on Sunday's so we have plenty for snacks and to give away to neighbors. With the abundance of fresh fruits it's really far less expensive to just bake a cake or peach pie or crumble (which are easier) and homemade ice cream, rather than spend lots of money on the bakery that caters to the weekenders.

Honestly, mouse has thought about seriously living there year around, but the lack of amenities (let alone a Target that isn't two hours away) would drive her crazy. No cable tv or internet -- yeah that might send mouse over the bend. For a couple months and the odd week here and there it's wonderful and nice to just get away.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Soul Crushing

A bit of irony that this post appears on April Fools Day?

Like most women, mouse really struggles with body image and has added issues she doesn't discuss. There are three things that can drive a woman into a mental frenzy. Well, perhaps not all women, but certainly mouse isn't the only one vexed with the soul crushing fear of the department store dressing room?

Recently, Daddy mentioned that mouse had brought far too much clothing (basically her whole wardrobe) with her to the lake last summer. He said the kids, and he could stuffed everything into one case that she brought. Shoes, purses, skirts, dresses, sun dresses...assorted tops, blouses...then all the under things, nightgowns, bathrobes...

His concern didn't stop there, the corset while lovely to wear isn't very practical when it's very hot. The lake is a place to have fun. With that he suggested that mouse buy some jeans, bras, comfortable shoes, underwear, something to wear to bed, preferably cotton..oh and maybe a swimsuit or at the very least shorts.

Normally mouse buys jeans once every 5 years or so. Seriously, while she loves wearing jeans, give mouse some blue jeans and a tie dye shirt and she's happy...but Daddy always hated mouse to wear denim. Or at least that's what he said when we first got together. When he threw out most of mouse's jeans that made up her wardrobe. Now, years later he doesn't mind it seems mouse going more casual.

So mouse went shopping. The last bra mouse bought was a nursing bra so since the baby is two, it's been a while. Breastfeeding is a great way to lose weight, but if you eat too much...

Daddy doesn't care, he wants mouse healthy and really she's probably more heathy now than she's been in years. Decades but it doesn't stop the feelings of having your soul crushed by seeing yourself in bad light and every flaw exasperated and highlighted. Also let's just say clothing manufacturers are just messed up. You find one bra that fits well and it's the only one they have. Reach for another brand in the same size you feel like it must be the wrong size. Even cup size depends on who makes it, one mouse tried was a double D...seriously there is no way mouse's rack is that big! Then a different manufacturer and mouse wore a C cup. It's beyond stupid. Underwear NEVER, ever matches your dress or pants size!

Jeans have the same problem, mouse gave up looking at sizes but the new trends in denim are just...well wow. Everything is low rise and they're like leggins. Leggins weren't a good look for mouse when she was in her 20s (remember the stirrup pant craze?) there are few things that can make mouse feel fat..even if Daddy insists she's not. The ones that fit in the waist made her butt look deflated, they looked like she had a load in her pants. The ones that fit her legs and hips well, some she couldn't button. stupid is that?

Low rise pants, are fine if you've got a body for it and really mouse's curves never hit in that way. It's depressing. Soul crushing...horrible. Don't start mouse on that wide belt shit either.

So mouse ended up at a hideously expensive store, Nordstoms. But they'll help you and run back and forth with different pants and sizes. They'll even go into other departments for shoes and such. Alterations are included in the price and they'll bring you water (if you spend enough money they'll bring you food). Four and a half hours 5 bras, 6 panties, 2 Capri style jeans, 3 regular jeans that needed to be shortened a little and no tops later mouse felt as though she'd been through the worst experience of her whole life.

Slinking out of the store mouse swore off all things carbohydrate and sugar forever her self esteem and self image were decimated by numbers.

But at home, when the tags came off, sizes forgotten mouse tried on the clothes, with tops she already had and was pleased. Everything felt comfortable and nice. Frustrating but in the end ok.


Saturday, March 22, 2014


In a few hours,,Daddy is taking the kids on a trip without mouse. Yes, you read that right, Daddy is taking the kids on a long weekend without mouse. A few days without kiddos, without Daddy, without kids....yes, mouse mentioned kids twice; it's pretty significant. The reason mouse isn't going is someone needs to take care of the animals. We have many, too many it seems. Something about kids that mean animals. We have dogs, a bird, fish a cat (don't ask and shhhh Daddy doesn't know about that one yet) and a hermit crab mouse strongly suspects is dead.

There's no one really available to care for the dogs and kennels won't take the bird, the fish, the cat and well the maybe dead hermit crab. It's too expensive for such a short holiday. So, Daddy asked mouse if it wouldn't be too much of a bother for her to stay home.

A bother?

Yes, mouse tried to feign appropriate disappointment. Daddy said he was looking forward to some time alone with the kids. Now, honestly having been alone with those people, mouse rather thinks he's lost his mind. But, the big question is what will mouse be doing with herself for the next several days?

Of course there are a stack of movies mouse has been planning to watch. Sense and Sensibility, The Notebook, and a bunch of other girlie movies that Daddy can't stand.

There's a mani and pedi in mouse's future, Sunday brunch with the girls and after that who knows. Maybe there is a pizza in mouse's future? The kind of pizza she likes without all the junk she doesn't like. Well, it's not that she doesn't like it -- it's just more about getting the stuff eveyone else likes. Isn't that what we do?

Maybe a big stew with mashed potatoes?

Why is it mouse only thinks of baths, movies and food that's totally not kosher? Yes, she wants to mix dairy and meat! Macaroni and cheese, with mushrooms, garlic and bacon? Ok, there's also movies...

And books.

So how long will it take before mouse is crying that she misses everyone?


Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day

As mouse has mentioned in the past, she's often inspirited by images or things she's come across on the web, in books, or whatever.  Not to imply that mouse is really into reading books -- like novels.   No, mouse is normally found searching the web for recipes ideas or cleaning tips.  LIke how to get grape juice out of a carpet.  Ya, aside from the obvious don't buy grape juice to begin with.   Obviously that ship had sailed.

For Valentine's Day, mouse wanted to do something special for the people she loves.  Girly frilly things, like exchanging gifts with good friends.   It's fun and something we all do each February because some of the husband's in our group tend to be forgetful about Valentine's Day.  Daddy traditionally does the bare minimum.  He will open his wallet and buy the roses -- He will grumble about the price he paid and he will complain ruefully if they don't last at least a week.  

So, while searching for ideas, mouse came upon this image that seemed easy enough....Well, that's just adorable, and who doesn't love banana's and strawberries?  So mouse wondered how do you make heart--shaped fruit slices?  You have to remember that mouse is somewhat challenged in this arena.  So she found a teeny cookie cutter...Well, two of them...

Bursting with cleverness, mouse decided to cut out or rather stamp out a smaller banana piece and replace it in the center of a slice of strawberry.  

With fumbling fingers mouse set to work on the berries, carefully slicing them, first too thin and then realized the banana was too thick...

For this to truly work, everything must be sliced the same thickness.  Back in the olden days mouse's grandma used to have an egg slicer....Hmm...Perfect not too think or thin slices.  The whole stamping out process and eating the left overs and mistakes took a whole lot longer than mouse was prepared to spend on this.  You can't have just a few....You need a bunch right?  

Everything was going well, mouse didn't fill in all the strawberries with banana because the banana began to turn a bit brown (as banana's have the tendency to do).  

Then she decided to make heart-shaped pancakes to go along with all those adorable heart shaped fruits.  It was truly a labor of love.  Now she'd read that you take a metal cookie cutter and fill it in with pancake batter, wait a little and then pull it away....

Perhaps mouse required much more patience, but time was running short, so mouse made regular pancakes and then cut them into hearts -- much easier and less time consuming.  

So now it's time for the plating, arranging her heart work (get it, heart work?)...Setting the table, quickly placing little Valentine Cards out...The silly ones kids exchange...

Dusting the plates with powdered sugar...Because that covered the obvious flaws in her work....

Daddy and the kids sat down, and ate.   No one said a word about the heart-shapped efforts.  

Well, the baby commented -- hearts!  That was about as much as mouse got -- but eagerly ate everything.  

Kiddo prattled about his class party they would have..And complained about the fruit on his plate (he's not a huge fan of strawberries -- oh well).  

Daddy grumbled about something in the Wall Street Journal and though there was nothing special on his plate.  

Let's be clear....mouse didn't do all this work because she wanted accolades.  

The only other comment that Daddy made, was he asked mouse why she wasn't eating...Ha!  

"Oh just not very hungry." Because she knew damn well who ate all the cut out heart pancakes, plus the mistakes and misshaped fruits, and not to mention the teeny cut out pieces -- seriously mouse would have to work extra hard to burn off all those extra calories.

Daddy got up and felt her forehead, and asked if she was feeling ok.  His concern was genuine because he knows that she's not been feeling well.  

That moment spoke very loud and clear to mouse, so he didn't notice the hearts on the plate.  He noticed mouse and that's really all that mattered.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


In a couple weeks we'll attend an annual super bowl party at a friend's home.  They do a pot-luck styled gathering, where everyone brings something.  It's wonderful because the people hosting divide up the guests by last name and assign each group an item to bring and there is no switching or bringing extra. If your "group" draws a main dish and you make a lovely appetizer, too bad.    It's so they're not overwhelmed with 20 dips and two bags of chips.  

It makes perfect sense to mouse.  This year we were assigned to bring a dessert for the kids and a main dish for grownups.  The main dish for grownups will be easy for mouse.  Just need to decide between enchiladas or a pasta dish (like baked zitti).  Children's dessert required more thought.  Of course cupcakes could be a standard.  So, mouse decided to make Mud.  Not Dirt, but mud; there's nothing wrong with Dirt but mouse prefers mud.  Dirt is more crumbly while Mud is...Muddy?  

It couldn't be easier, a couple metal pie plates, some chocolate wafer cookies (mouse doesn't like to use Oreos for it, but you certainly can), some gummy worms and chocolate pudding.  Now you can go all out and make your pudding and even the cookies (Martha Stewart would add whipped cream so it resembles more of a trifle for kids).  But no....Just break up the wafers, add the pudding so that it's good and muddy looking and dump into a pie dish.  You scoop out the mud with a small spoon or hand shovel if you're really clever...drop into a plastic cup...Yes that bit should be done by an adult or older child.  

Some like to place the gummy worms on top like the image shown here, but mouse prefers to stick them under the mud.  Like when we were kids playing in mud, you'd reach your hand down into it and find worms.   

Now this should be clarified somewhat it's not a Mud Pie which is totally different.  Mud is eaten with a spoon never a fork.  

It's not the first time mouse made Mud, the first time she mentioned it to Daddy was when we attended a Halloween party and had to bring a dessert.  He was appalled at the idea, but mouse rather insisted and it was a huge hit.  He thought there wasn't an adult in the place that would touch it, but grownups were once children.  

Every party we've attended where there has been a kid's table full of kid foods, the grownups couldn't resist sneaking a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a pig in a blanket.  It harkens back to a time when food was fun and not at all fussy.  Sure there are the parent types who bring a veggie platter or fruit salad, but when we do that aren't we saying this what we wish our kids preferred?  Sure, carrots and fruit are a staple here and part of a healthy diet, but even Princess given a clear choice isn't going for that, she'll snack down a pig-in-a-blanket over a carrot stick any day.  This isn't to suggest she won't grab a carrot stick..and mouse is always somewhat proud and completely surprised when it happens...

Of course, Daddy could play the "Master" card and overrule mouse's dessert choice but he won't because truth be told, he actually likes it too in all its wrong icky sweetness.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back to Basics

Doesn't everyone hate Monday? Well -- maybe not Monday exactly, whatever day is your default start of the week. Monday's around here, especially after vacations, holidays are especially rough. It's the whole slipping back into routine, which for us is a new routine. Monday began early -- pleasuring Daddy the way he enjoys, then getting the coffee started, and exercising. Finally, showering, getting laced up in pretty bondage (corset) and waking the kids, cooking breakfast and finally going over the daily agenda.

All the errands, deli, butcher shop, bakery, vegetable stand -- it really at times makes mouse miss going to the grocery store, except at the grocer we actually spent more for less quality -- go figure. Plus other stops like the post office, dry cleaner...oh getting gas too. But Daddy didn't send mouse unprepared; her tight corset made her feel contained and the smacks to her rear he applied that morning reminded mouse of him. Of course, there was also the frequent text messages to and from Daddy on her progress.

The cleaning schedule was light, so Babygirl and mouse went to the library for noon story time and crafts, where we made macaroni necklaces. While the baby napped, mouse cut up 4 chickens and tossing the backs (along with some others saved in the freezer) into a pot for stock and later soup, and wrapped most of the parts for the freezer.

Dinner consisted of some veal cutlets which mouse made into an Italian dish with capers, wine and mushrooms. Zucchini, onions, garlic and some heirloom tomato, and fresh basil. Dessert was a simple pear and Brie popover type of thing -- drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar -- Served later.

Believe it or not the meal took only 40 minutes to prepare.

Also did some prep for the next meals because why just cut up one onion when you can do more? Routinely mouse keeps bags of gut up veggies to throw into a soup or whatever she's planning on cooking.

Tonight's meal will be even more simple, a nice peice of fish pan cooked with some left-over Italian style veggies -- something Daddy will certainly enjoy might even toss in some olives as a surprise for him.

For Wednesday, mouse is doing a dry run, on a fancy meal she's planning for February, ossobucco, which is traditionally braised veal shank, with polenta If its a hit might repeat it for Passover (without the polenta since it MUST have cream, butter and all the goodness that's totally not kosher).

Thursday, we have dinner plans to eat out and a babysitter has been arranged.

Friday, Shabbat, a nice large roasted chicken, pan cooked new potatoes with fresh herbs, veggies and probably a gravy.

Saturday Shabbat, cold left-over chicken for lunch.

Saturday after Shabbat ends, pan seared fish with steamed veggies.

Sunday meal...well, mouse hasnt gotten that far yet.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Putting it Together

For Chanukah this year, Daddy bought a new treadmill for the family room, because the old one upstairs wasn't working well and there was no way we were carrying a new one up three flights of stairs. He's pragmatic like that. The old one was brought up by the movers and they had a difficult time.

He waited to put it together until all the celebrations were finished, which for us meant New Years Day. Since there's no TV in the sun room, he decided the family room was the best location. Close to the tv, relatively quiet and the kiddo can use it too.

We had a gym membership but this year, we aren't renewing it. There isn't any point anymore. The gym we used was clean, but small. Sure, it had all the equipment we needed for a good workout, but it was also almost always crowded. Many times he'd walk in, look around and all the equipment was in use, why pay to lift free weights we already own? Then, if he did get in to workout the showers were always full, or not working. This added an extra trip home to shower. And you'd think mouse would have better luck, but no. The gym offered Daycare for free, but it seemed it was always full. Machines mouse wanted to use were never available, and you can forget going to a class, because they were always filled and then we ran into the daycare problems.

Really, mouse is more a wake-up exercise kinds girl -- rather like Daddy, then we're done.

New Years Eve was spent moving furniture around the room. The area rug had to be shifted, and much of the room shifted around. Oddly, the new configuration seems to be nicer and the room flows better. It doesn't matter how many treadmill images mouse looks at, all make the thing look much smaller than they are! Daddy was very specific about its position, as he watches the news while he runs -- so having it hidden around a corner (which was mouse's first choice), simply wouldn't do for him. He said it could be moved into that hallway though for parties. That was until he actually began putting it together and pronounced it would NEVER EVER leave this spot. The carpet doesn't make it very easy to move. Too bad, if we ever move, it can stay in the house too. One thing old man dog refuses to go into the newly designed room. We haven't decided yet if that's good or bad.

This morning Daddy woke, exercised, watched the news and later drank coffee all before he showered! He said he really enjoyed it and said it felt almost luxurious. After we showered and dressed, mouse fixed a light breakfast for us and the kiddo. He's off the next few days, so we'll see how it works out on Monday morning.

The old treadmill was taken apart completely, which made it far easier to move around, Daddy even took a sawzall to it, making it even easier to truck down the flights of stairs. Although mouse did think he was a little crazy to do that, it ended up being much easier this way.

Here's hoping 2014 will be fantastic for everyone!