Kung Fu Ezra

Ezra and his magic glasses attended his first for-real, serious cooking class. It was everything he dreamed of and more. It was taught by a for-real, serious chef, who complimented his knife skills as "perfect." It took place in a for-real, serious chef's kitchen, stocked to the rafters with every spice and kitchen tool imaginable. He was allowed to explore and touch and taste whatever he wanted. He chose the Dim Sum class because it sounded the "most hardest." (Also because of Kung Fu Panda, I'm pretty sure.) We made a variety of dumplings and spring rolls, with different fillings and folding/rolling styles. He and I were tasked with making the shrimp dumpling filling for the class, and he admirably did almost all the chopping and measuring and even dug into peeling and de-veining the shrimp, which neither of us had ever done before. (He did ask me what the black stuff was and I told him that it was shrimp poop, which embarrassed him. "You didn't really need to say that," he told me, but then carried on bravely with his de-pooping duties.) (Turns out I don't have an actual shellfish allergy after all, but more of a "sensitivity."... Read more →


The Idles of March

Happy Spring! It's so refreshing after a long, depressing winter to wake up to a beautiful sunny day full of promise and renewal. OH FOR THE LOVE. Schools are canceled again and even the boys are completely over it at this point. The first thing I heard this morning was a loud, concerning-sounding crash in the hallway outside, followed by a couple whimpers and a small voice saying, "Maybe we should not have done that." And to think this was us on Monday night, outside making s'mores in bathing suits and light jackets, enjoying the big outdoor landscaping/hot tub project we completed JUST IN TIME to cover/lock everything back up before getting slammed with several inches of solid ice followed by buckets of (still ongoing) snow. This was us last night, right after it was announced that schools were closed. We'd just finished watching Dolphin Tale and I figured fuck it, let's stay up and watch Dolphin Tale 2: 2 Tale 2 Furious, because we can all sleep in tomorrow morning. Unless, of course, you two goobers decide to ride down the stairs in a baby doll stroller at 7 a.m. instead. (And yeah, Ike is suddenly ["suddenly"] incapable of... Read more →


Will It Instant Pot? Blue Apron Edition

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 100 people will receive $40 off their first two weeks of meals here! My husband finally caved to the Internet Multi-Cooker Hype and bought us an Instant Pot. He bought it just a couple weeks before Valentine's Day, which is when I planned to buy him an Instant Pot, because he loves to blow up my gifting spot every. Single. Holiday. (He got socks for V-day.) He is MORE THAN A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH IT. Him: (looks at phone, eyes widen, gasps) Me: OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING IS HE GETTING IMPEACHED Him: (shows me yet another Instant Pot recipe) — amalah (@amalah) February 9, 2018 (After I finish this post I've been tasked with taking his precious Instant Pot full of his precious pork chili verde to his office to enter a cook-off on his behalf because he's stuck in meetings elsewhere. It's cute that he thinks I know how to turn the thing on, let alone how to not burn the building down.) (UPDATE: He won first place. I graciously accepted the award on his behalf. If he asks, just tell him about the spoon.) Anyway. What? Oh right. Our lives... Read more →


In the Sticks

We spent our weekend turning this: Into this: Our trees lost a TON of branches during the wind storms, though we're lucky we didn't lose an entire tree like many of our neighbors. (Noah's social studies teacher lives just down the street and had a tree crash through her bedroom window, barely missing her bed, which she was in at the time.) It was a lot to clean up, but hey! Free DIY firewood! (Ike is wearing a very old Coach logo-print rain hat, circa the year I started this blog and was inexplicably and basic-white-girl obsessed with all things Coach. I didn't even know I still owned this, but Ike has taken a liking to it and insists on wearing it all the time.) Poppy was not happy to be confined to the backyard while Ike and I cleaned up the front. Also not happy that we cut up or threw out all those big, delicious sticks. The firewood will be used to fuel our new fire pit (that old inherited-from-the-former-homeowners one there is completely rusted through because we...uh, forgot about it all winter and also did not inherit a cover), which we shall enjoy before/during/after dips in the... Read more →


PatiOHHHHHH

Well look at that! It's a patio. (Weird pipe thing is the conduit for powering the hot tub, which arrives on Tuesday, so look for updates typed by severely pruny fingers every day after that.) Those are some of the most uninspiring photos on earth, but they were all I could snap before they had to cover the entire thing with plastic sheeting to protect it from the coming snow storm. It's still wrapped up, waiting for the crew to come back tomorrow-ish for the final touches, including replanting all the grass that got mercilessly destroyed and churned into swampland during construction. And we did indeed get snow! And for the first time in the history of my children's existence on earth, waking up to some fresh snow on the ground did NOT automatically equal a day off from school, or even a delay. They were LIVID. Downright INDIGNANT. What do you MEAN. How do you DARE. We are being sent out in the frozen WILDERNESS to DIE or GET OUR SHOES WET. When I informed Noah that no, I would not be driving him two whole blocks to the bus stop because the sidewalks were perfectly clear, he collapsed... Read more →


Whoosh

Hello! Is everyone continuing to enjoy this ass-bonkers March weather? Tomorrow it's pgoing to snow, on Sunday I walked to Starbucks in a hoodie, and on Friday all our outdoor furniture tried to make a break for it and blow off the deck. (#TIREWATCH2018 #ISEEYOU) I bundled up and battled the wind for awhile and got all the furniture and cushions back in place and securely covered, only to look outside like 20 minutes later at this: Yes, that's much better. The kids are LOVING all the canceled school days, although I predict much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in a few weeks when they realize they're losing most of spring break to make-up days. Pro-tip: If you have to go to Target in the middle of a N'oreaster, try a ponytail! We still do not have a completed patio, and therefore no hot tub either. It's been a lot of stop-and-go trying to get work done in-between all these wind/rain/snow storms. I'm hoping they'll manage to finish up today but who knows. The whole patio-building process is a lot more complicated and labor intensive than I realized (I thought it was more like, "Here are the bricks,... Read more →


Pave the Swamp

Look, it's a patio! Er...well, not quite yet. We admittedly chose the worst time of year to start an outdoor project, as the crew can't work in the rain or whatever the hell kind of INSANE WIND STORM swept in last night that canceled schools and sent everybody's trash cans dancing up the street. So right now we have a lot of dirt and rocks and pallets of pavers beautifying our yard. Also this! Which is delighting the boys to no end. Look at them, not even wearing jackets three days ago and now we're trapped in a sub-freezing bomb cyclone vortex of some kind. All very fine and normal and I am feeling really great about the climate right now!!! We're getting a patio for two three reasons. One, that area behind/under the deck gets absolutely zero sun and is basically a perpetual, unusable swamp. So trying to do anything in the backyard (be it gardening or s'mores or magical berry gathering) requires you to first wade through several inches of mud worthy of the Fire Swamp. Not pleasant, also take off your shoes take off your shoes omg children stop coming inside with those damn muddy shoes. Reason... Read more →


what

Ike: That's Ezra, Noah, Mom and Dad. Dad is mad and yelling I LEFT MY PHONE IN THE CAR! Me: Um. Okay...are you that little person on the end there? Ike: Yes. That's me. I'm standing by PopPop's grave. We're all there to visit his bones in the semescary. Me: ... Ike: Dad's really mad he forgot his phone. Read more →


More #StuffPoppyAte

In other non-home improvement news, Poppy ripped open almost-new bag of cat food yesterday and promptly horfed the entire thing down in under five minutes. Or however long it took me to go from, "hmmm I don't like the sound of that" to finding this in the living room: (AND OF COURSE: It was a bag of expensive specialty cat food. Rey's on an elimination diet as we're trying to pinpoint what our vet thinks is a protein allergy. She is one high maintenance dumbass, but she's like, my high maintenance dumbass, you know?) (TANGENT: I had a doctor's appointment yesterday in Baltimore and not long after I got there Jason texted me asking about Rey's whereabouts, as someone on Nextdoor reported seeing a stray black cat on the road right by our house. She'd been on our bed when I left and for the life of me I couldn't think of a single rational explanation for how she could possibly have gotten outside but you KNOW I came up with several irrational ones* and was low-key terrified until I got home and could confirm that yes, she was still right there on the bed.) (Then I got in the... Read more →


The Storches Did A Thing!

Not long after we moved in, we hat electrician come by and do a couple random jobs -- fixing some faulty plugs, installing extra outlets, etc. We also asked him to wire up some wall sconces and switches in our bedroom. Which he did, and when he called me to come observe that everything was working, I realized that he'd sliced out a huge slab of the drywall rather than...I don't know, I'm not an electrician but I've had this exact job done at two previous residences and neither time resulted in a giant gaping hole running between the outlets. "I know a good drywall guy for that," he said very nonchalantly. I bet you do, I thought bitterly, imagining some sinister organized electrician/drywall referral racket. I told him we'd make the repair ourselves. Which, of course, we did not. We simply pushed the bed back in front of the hole and figured we'd deal with it whenever we finally got around to painting the room. We did not paint the wall, but we (Jason) did fix the hole. And then we (both of our asses) did something else: We hung wallpaper. Wallpaper! Who does that anymore? Nobody at all,... Read more →