Friday, November 30, 2007

Say goodbye to leafy greens at the Farmer's Market!

If you like your to shop for fruits and veggies at your local farmer's market, you'll want to have a look at this:
The USDA is accepting public comments until December 3 on a new proposed rule that would force small farms growing green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce, to put into place industrial-style sterilization measures that reduce biodiversity and soil fertility. The proposal follows in the wake of the USDA's recent controversial crackdown on raw almonds,continued interference with raw milk production, and bans on the sale of locally produced organic meat directly to consumers. The proposed rules basically cover up the fact that e-coli 0157H contamination in lettuce and spinach crops comes from feedlot or industrial ivestock-contaminated irrigation waters or contamination in large processing plants. The rule limits hedgerows, and other non-crop vegetation commonly found on and around small organic and sustainable farms. In addition, although every organic farmer knows that healthy soil is literally alive with multiple types of healthy bacteria, the rules also discourage the development of beneficial microbial life in the soil. Send a message to the USDA today:
Learn more and take action:
As a small farmer using organic practices, I can tell you right now that my partner and I can't afford to sterilize an entire field and that sterilizing the soil is not a practice you'd want to follow for developing healthy soil (We're also no where near a feedlot - the source of the e-coli.). Healthy soil has lots of beneficial microbial life in it that helps plants to grow better. Compost, which we use a lot of, is filled with beneficial microbes. So if you care about small farmers, organic practices, healthy soil, supporting your local farmer's market and/or leafy green vegetables, please comment during the open comment period and tell the USDA how you feel.

My fellow farmers and I thank you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Super Powers

We are a family of super powered people over here.

Note that I did not say Super Heroes. That is because not all of our powers are benign.

Me? I have magical breastmilk production, the ability to knock infants unconscious with said milk and I can turn a crabby baby into a happy one by just placing them near my chest.

Eric can make up songs instantly that soothe the savage infant breast, but he has a dark power as well. He can take a sleeping, happy baby from me and turn it into a crabby, awake and crying one.

Emma has a sonic attack. She has the loudest screams I've ever heard. She also can knock you out with the cuteness of her smile and the magnetic attraction of her cheeks.

Logan can kill you with cuteness when he smiles and coos. His ability to cover you in vomit is only matched by Emma. I'm working on my Dodge skill.

Caitlin has the power of Super Reading and Super Whining. She can make your ears bleed inside a minute. She's also amazingly loving, so we're keeping her.

What's your super power?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Logan says...

After the doctor left the room, Logan, sitting on dad's lap, turned to me and said:

Hatchet: (With an indulgent grin) "Yes?"
Logan (via Eric): "I won't be allowed on airplanes anymore!"
Hatchet: "Why ever not?" (Raised eyebrow)
Logan (via Eric): "Because of these guns!" (Makes a muscle with his tiny right arm)

That's right folks, he'll be here all week!

What can I say? Sleep deprivation makes many things really funny. To us.

Photos by request, for Joseph, Matt & Janet.
These guns!

Muscles. I has them.

Oh yeah!

My workout routine involves many push-ups.

Doctor! Doctor!

We took the twins in for their 2 month appointment today. Fun, fun! We asked about:
  • The thrush and were told it's all gone. Hooray!
  • The cradle cap: nothing to worry about, just keep scrubbing with olive oil or conditioner and washing it out.
  • The baby acne and were told it's also nothing to worry about.
  • The red spot on the back of Logan's head appears to be a large birthmark and unrelated to the cradle cap.
  • The rash on his arms is definitely heat rash and isn't bothering him any.
  • The vomiting. My theory on the vomiting is that since it's only about once a day it is due to one of three potential things:
    1. Gas bubble that we didn't get out in time.
    2. Gag reflex. Sometimes we bite off more than we can "chew".
    3. Greed. Sometimes we drink more than our wee tummies can hold.
    The doctor agreed with me, especially since it is only once (or so) a day each and since they're both clearly thriving it isn't too much.

And then it was time for shots.

I asked them to spread them out, so we only got 2 out of the 4 shots we were supposed to get today. Even with that, one of those shots is actually 3 combined! It just seems like a whole lot of stress on a tiny body. Why did I do it this way? Well, frankly it's because I've gotten paranoid about such things as I've gotten older. Consider this: last year my cat had a bad reaction to a multi-shot and acted like he was dying. This freaked me out, yet we didn't know which one it was so we could avoid it this year. Basically, I don't want to see something similar happen to my babies, thus the spread.

Will it cost more? Sure. Will it help me sleep better at night? Absolutely. Just not literally. For which I weep in vain.


  • Height: 21.5" (10th-25th %)
  • Weight: 11 lbs 11 oz (75th %)
  • Head size: 15" (25th %)
  • Height: 21.5" (5th %)
  • Weight: 11 lbs 8 oz (50th %)
  • Head size: 15.5" (25th-50th %)
Many kudos on how strong they both are. Emma tried rolling over on the table to show the doc just how strong she is, but didn't quite get her hips over Clearly she's on her way. Thus, neither one of them are safe to leave alone on the sofa anymore. Can crawling be far off?

Oh man! The thought of the pair of them crawling gives me heart palpitations!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Months

Two months.

Sixty days.

A million diapers.

A billion loads of laundry.

More vomit than you want to know about, but that won't stop me from talking about it!

Things are going pretty well these days, we still aren't sleeping but don't expect to be for awhile. We have had a total of 3 4 hour sleeping periods and we're hoping for more since the twins now remain awake a lot more during the day. The crazy cluster feedings still occur, but now that we're no longer in the middle of a growth spurt it doesn't feel as though insanity is nigh. They're both very entertaining when they are awake and not crying. They smile a lot and coo. We've had many conversations involving goos, gees and ah-goos. Un-gee comes up as well which I translate as "Hungry!" and feed Logan when he says it. He doesn't object so I assume that I'm translating correctly.

Both of them like to stand up a lot. I suspect, that like Caitlin, they will be early walkers. Let's just see how early, shall we?

In the last two days the twins appear to have decided to swap the grumpiness factor. Logan is now grumpier than Emma and demands more attention and to not be put down, dammit! Which makes it difficult to do things like take pictures. Or clean. Or make food. But, enh!, who needs a clean house and food? The pictures though, that's a problem!

Emma still has thrush. We finally went out and bought Gentian Violet and gave it a try. I've gotta tell ya: it is PURPLE. I don't just mean a little purple, I mean ancient royalty would've killed for this dye!

Logan still has infant acne, cradle cap and crazy hair. Once his hair dries, he looks just like one of those Troll dolls. Would I kid you?
Crazy troll hair
Photos? Watch out: the cuteness is addictive.

The games parents play: Eric "talks" for the twins.

Emma "talks" with Eric's help.

Logan "talks" with Eric's help.

Yin and yang

Check out those eyelashes!

Too cute for words. Except maybe "Argh!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Buying Babies

Planned c-section: $14,000

Twin A: $3,500

Twin B: $3,500

Dealing with the insurance company to get them to cover your bills correctly? Priceless!

Effing insurance company!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Making Masala Chai

As I've mentioned before, I'm not a coffee drinker. Instead, I like tea. I also really like a nice cup of chai, however, finding a nice cup of chai in restaurants or in purchased mixtures is pretty difficult. There are only two places I've found where I like the chai, the rest have clearly used some sort of pre-made solution and it's bitter as all hell.

I was poking around on the Adagio tea site and someone linked to a recipe on wikiHow, of all places, for Masala Chai (Spice tea). Yum! Strangely enough, I'd always thought 'masala' was a specific set of spices, turns out it just means 'spice'. Chai means tea, which means every time you and I have been saying chai tea we were just being pointlessly redundant.

Here's the recipe:


  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root; grated
  • 1 whole star anise; broken up
  • 1 teaspoon orange peel; grated
  • 4 pieces cinnamon sticks; 1 1/2 inch
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds*
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves; (like Assam or Darjeeling)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cups skim milk


  1. Bundle up the first seven ingredients in a length of cheese cloth and tie it together with a string. This is called a bouquet garni (pronounced "boo-KAY gar-NEE").
  2. Place the bouquet garni in a pot of water. The string should be tied to the handle for easy removal later on.
  3. Bring the water to a very low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Boiling water may extract too much bitterness from the tea leaves.
  4. Add tea leaves and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the bouquet garni.
  6. Strain the remaining liquid through a sieve to remove tea leaves.
  7. Add honey, vanilla, and milk.
  8. Serve. Pour the mixture over crushed ice if you're serving it cold. This makes eight servings.


  • Tea leaves can release too much bitterness if exposed to hot water for too long. The general rule of thumb when making an "infusion" such as this is that the longer the ingredients remain in the liquid, the stronger their flavor will be. Experiment with a variety of leaves and time durations to see what works best for you.
  • Remember that Chai Tea is an infinitely adaptable recipe. You may consider removing or changing the quantities of any of the ingredients, to your taste. For example, instead of honey, regular sugar or brown sugar could be used. Nutmeg is a common addition (best freeshly grated), and you may wish to try licorice, saffron, chocolate or cocoa.
  • Feel free to experiment with other techniques such as using green or white tea instead of black tea leaves. Other variations could use soy milk instead of skim milk. Or you could use a different sweetener than honey, such as rice syrup or maple syrup.
  • If you don't have cheesecloth or find it messy to deal with, you can purchase empty paper tea bags from a tea shop. Fill it with your spices (and another with tea leaves if you wish), close it with an inexpensive bag clip, then discard it when done. You can also get cloth bags made of unbleached muslin that are reusable. They close with a drawstring. Alternatively you can rely on the straining process to remove much of the solids but finely grated spices will pass through.
  • The proper name for the drink known as "chai" or "chai tea" is "masala chai." The word "chai" is Urdu, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese and Russian for "tea", while "masala" is Hindi for "spice". If you say you are making "chai" that would mean that you are making plain tea. Thus both words are necessary.
  • There are four kinds of cinnamon: China Cassia, Vietnamese Cassia, Korintje Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon is twice as expensive and well worth it. Try all four or a combination.
  • Some chai tea recipes call for a longer boiling time, such as one hour. In this instance, some ingredients, such as ginger, can be chopped into larger chunks. The tea may be added last (separately), and allowed to infuse after the concoction has stopped boiling. Some chai tea variations may also call for mint leaves, and exclude other ingredients, such as vanilla. Delicate ingredients such as mint leaves should be added during the end of the boil, or merely allowed to infuse after the boil has ended.

Changes I made:
  • Didn't have star anise, so I skipped it. Can't stand anise flavor, anyway.
  • Used 2% milk instead of skim. This would probably be even yummier with whole. It's not like I'm currently worried about calories!
  • 1/4 cup of honey is only enough to just barely sweeten the tea, but it's probably better that way to allow the amount of sweetener to be altered individually. Eric liked it better with sugar, while I liked it with honey.
  • I made it with Darjeeling this time. Might be fun to try other black tea varieties.
  • I may drop the vanilla to 3/4 tsp next time.
Overall? Yum!

Do you have a chai recipe that knocks your socks off? Share it in the comments.

Now I just need some tea biscuits....

* Yes, I really do have strange spices like whole cardamom seeds in my spice cabinet. We're crazy foodies at Chez Hatchet.

Choosing Mr. Right: Activism Against Gender Violence

Did you know that today is The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?

And that today is the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence?

Me neither, but after a quick trip over to Feministe I know now! And you know what? I'm a woman. And I don't like violence against women, so I thought I'd say a little something about it. Maybe it will have a positive effect on someone out there or maybe not, but it's better than doing nothing which is guaranteed to have no effect. Hey...just like voting! Yes, I do harp on that issue a lot. Like I said before, I can make any conversation political because the personal is political.

So do you go about choosing Mr. Right? Clearly it's no easy task when half of all marriages end in divorce and women around the globe are abused on a daily basis. So how do you choose wisely?

Personally, I think it goes back to the relationship your parents had while you were growing up and how you internalized those messages. I believe it's about self-respect issues and boundary issues. The choices you make and the friends you keep all have an impact on you. From watching my parents I learned what I didn't want as well as some things that I did want in my relationships.

While my mom was out taking care of me, we had some very interesting and surprising conversations. She surprised me when she said that she had told her own mother that she had decided she would never get married. She had her list: no gambling, no drinking, no abusing and no jealousy. However, in Jamaica, there are very few men that didn't gamble, drink, abuse, cheat and/or harbor intense jealousies. Some time after, my dad came along and everything changed luckily for all four of us kids. Growing up, from time to time, we'd have little conversations where she made it very clear to me that she'd never put up with hitting and neither should us girls. She also made it very clear to me that I shouldn't hit my boyfriends, even if we were kidding around since once you open that door it's hard to close. If it's OK for you to hit them, why shouldn't they be able to hit you in return? Especially if they're "just kidding". It's a short trip from playful hitting to serious hitting.

Later, as I went through my series of boyfriends, I found that I just wasn't attracted to certain types. When I had a boyfriend that hovered over me and followed me from room to room, I actually asked my mother to ask him to stop since he wasn't listening to me. The relationship ended soon after. Needy? Creepy? Misunderstood? I don't know, but I didn't need to date it.

I had a list as well: tall, dark hair, green eyes, smart, funny, witty, and with common sense. It never occurred to me that I should include the items on her list. As it turned out, tall, dark hair and green eyes got kicked to the curb when I met Eric, but smart, funny, witty and common sense he had in spades!

Things I had never verbalized became more important to me as we got serious: respect, partnership, communication, reliability, commitment and similar life values became very important. Deal breakers, even. The way we argued and handled our disagreements was a big issue for me. These were all very important and remain that way today. I needed an equal partner, not a little boy in a grown man's body that expected me to mother him.

I know that Caitlin is watching us and how we interact. I hope that she remembers it and chooses wisely. I hope that we're setting a good example for her and the twins and hope that it's possible to inoculate them against abusive relationships. I don't know if it is possible, but we're trying. We have those conversations where we talk about self-defense, self-respect and respect for others. We model the behaviors and attitudes we want them to internalize.

And we hope.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How's your vocabulary?

Are you the type of person that used to look up a word in the dictionary and then get distracted and start reading all of the other words around the word you started looking for? Do you like quizzes? Do you like to help those in need?

If the answer to any or all of those is Yes! Then go to Free Rice and play their vocabulary game while giving rice away to those that need it.

Who distributes the donated rice?

The rice is distributed by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The World Food Program is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. Wherever possible, the World Food Program buys food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. We encourage you to visit the United Nations World Food Program to learn more about their successful approach to ending hunger.

I have to warn you though, the vocabulary game is addictive. Blame Missy. The web site says the vocabulary level goes up to 50 but that no one has scored higher than 48. I'm working on it!

Do some good. You can find the link on my bar to the right, under Buttons.

Click it! Click it, you fool!

When I Grow Up...

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was thinking about this the other day when writing about blogging itself (a very recursive activity) and was thinking about all of the things I wanted to be when I "grew up".

My earliest memories of what I wanted to be included a teacher, a writer or a veterinarian. Very normal little girl thoughts. As I grew older, I dropped the writer and teacher, but was still stuck on vet. I even went to a high school in NY where I majored in Agriculture.

Yes, it may seem odd, but in NYC there are specialized high schools: Bronx HS of Science for - surprise! - science; Brooklyn Tech for architecture; John Bowne for agriculture, etc. It didn't matter where in NY you lived, you could apply to any of them and if accepted, travel long distances to get there. I applied to Bronx Sci where I just missed the testing cutoff (I'm horrible at math.), and Brooklyn Tech because I thought being an architect would be cool (Didn't I realize there's a whole lot of math involved in architecture? I blame Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch. Oh, forgot he was an architect, did you?) and was accepted. However, my plan was to be a vet, so I applied to the only agricultural high school in NY and went there. I became an Aggie.

I went traipsing down the path of becoming a large animal vet and held several related jobs over the next few summers. I even came out to Colorado following the same path and majored in Equine Science where I got to do many things related to vet work, including sticking my arm up to my shoulder inside a pregnant cow in winter. Oh yeaaaaah! Unfortunately, I ran out of money and dropped out to get a job (Money was an issue, as well as Luh-uvvvvv entering the picture. Love, you see, is very distracting.) and suddenly got spun off onto another pathway altogether.

I worked as a temp secretary, then an executive secretary, then a trainer for a help desk and finally a project manager. All thoughts of vet school had run out of my head faster than you could say Starting-Salaries-for-Veterinarians-are-only-$35K-per-year?! With The Man flashing cash at me, and a little world travel thrown in, vet school didn't look quite as attractive any more. After several years of that, the tech bubble burst and I noticed I was spending way more time at work than with my husband and daughter and decided to get out of the rat race and try something new.

The new thing was photography (Ooh! You're sooo not surprised!), and then when my eyes started going funny on me and it looked like I was going to have to do something different, I started chatting with a friend of mine about plants.

I have a thing about plants. I'm crazy for them and have been for ages. I blame my mom, she's a plant addict, too. She blames her own mother in return, so I guess you could say it runs in the family. So now? Now I'm a farmer. I find it ironic that I'd gone to an agricultural high school and university and completely skipped over horticulture but am now involved in it professionally.

Nowadays, I wonder if I didn't manage to squeeze Teacher in there when I was a trainer and if I'm not also working on Writer with this blogging thing! You know what, though? I'm still not sure if this is what I want to be when I grow up but I think I'll try it on for awhile. After all, how many people really know what they want to be, pursue it, accomplish it and stick with it for the rest of their life? Very few I'm thinking if my friends and husband (Don't get me started! Four different majors in college!) are any measure.

Oh and somewhere in there I managed to work in Wife and Mother. Crazy! The hours are long and the pay is terrible! but the perks are very nice: smiles, smooches, hugs, teeny tiny hands to hold and plump cheeks to nibble on. It's not bad work if you can get it.

So tell me: What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you reach your goal?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy Nothing Day!

Did you know that today is Buy Nothing Day? While the rest of the nation (and if your Turkey Day wasn't yesterday, your BND is tomorrow) is off shopping like mad today - making retailers happy, happy, happy! - millions of other folks are sitting it out. I happen to be one of them.

Now I like a nice present just as much as the next person, but I'm not a shopper. Even though I like my gadgets, I am not big on the mall crawling and bargain hunting. Eric is. A bargain hunter, that is. So whenever I need something pricey, I talk to him, he does the internet version of mall crawling and deal finding and then I buy whatever it is online with a discount code. Today, however, we're opting out of the rushing about and purchasing stuff. (Although I don't think groceries count, because we're almost out of cat food and if we don't feed these tiny carnivores we're taking our own lives into our hands!) Later in the month, perhaps, but not today.

Actually, for Xmas this year, we've got to find a way to give better gifts to our family members that take less money. We're thinking about giving one another ephemeral gifts: sleepovers for the kids, movie/date nights for the adults, babysitting, dinners, that sort of thing. I may even consider giving someone a goat, because realistically? my kid has way too many toys as it is (And a grammy that owns a toy shop - presents show up like clockwork. Caitlin is starting to have a Pavlovian response to seeing her grandmother!), my infants don't need anything other than diapers and breastmilk (And regular baths.), Eric is impossible to shop for and all I really want is sleep. Well, maybe a few more Canon lenses, but no one is buying me those!

Grist has a few good ideas about buying "nothing" for your loved ones and one of the ideas struck a chord with me: getting rid of our junk mail!, is an organization that will contact the biggest junk mail distributors for you for 5 years and get them to stop sending you 80-95% of your trash junk mail for $41. They also send a third of that fee to a non-profit of your choice which also sounded good to me. From their site:

Stop Junk Mail — a Personal Nuisance & Environmental Hazard

  • Save trees. More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. 42% of timber harvested nationwide becomes pulpwood for paper.
  • Reduce global warming. The energy used to produce and dispose of junk mail exceeds 2.8 million cars.
  • Save water. About 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk each year.
  • Save time. You waste about 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail.

Your Mailbox Today

  • The pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities in developed countries, and it’s the third-largest industrial greenhouse gas emitter (after the chemical and steel industries).
  • The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year (about 560 pieces). 44% goes to the landfill unopened.
  • On average, we receive 10.8 pieces of junk mail a week, compared to only 1.5 personal letters.
  • More than 62 billion pieces (4 million tons) of junk mail are produced each year.
  • The majority of household waste consists of junk mail.
  • 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
There's more on the site. Check it out.
I mentioned this to Eric and he told me there was a way to do it all for free! It just involves some amount of effort on your part. So my gift to you this holiday season is to tell you how to get rid of your junk mail both ways.
Or do it yourself by going to:
  •, a site that removes "your names from marketing lists, data brokers and other organizations" electronically. They walk you through what you need to do.
  • which gets you off of the list for those ubiquitous credit card offers.
    Updated to add
    : Eric says ProQuo handles this for you.
  • Don't forget the DMA's Mail Preference Service! This one pisses me off because you have to pay them $1 to get them to stop sending you trash. They, in turn, contact their retailers and get you off the list that they sell to the retailers in the first place. These guys are making money off of you coming and going! Obnoxious? Oh yeaaaah!
    Updated to add: Eric says ProQuo handles this for you.
  • Do you get unwanted "sample" newspapers or circulars tossed on your doorstep regularly? Call the paper's customer service number directly and get them to stop asking you to recycle their paper for them.
There you have it. Or don't. In a few months, you should see a dramatic decrease in crap you have to throw away.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks: Part VI


The day started off at 8 am. After the twins gave us 4 consecutive hours of sleep, I was ready to get up and clean at 7:00 am this morning. I started on it while Eric lolled around in bed recuperated from our late night with Scott & Sierra.

By the way, I was thinking about Eric's complaints of sleep deprivation. We tend to argue about just which of us is getting more sleep than the other. What I've decided is this: regardless of who is clocking more hours of sleep (and I think it's him, really), Eric is actually the more sleep deprived of us both. I figure that I had months to get used to 1.5 hours of sleep every night while he slacked off got to sleep the normal 8-9 hours since he wasn't pregnant. Now that our sleep is broken up into 2 hour chunks (or 3 to 4 when we're lucky), I am used to it and respond better. I'm more awake during the day and less crabby. He, however, is a wreck. And very crabby. Also, he does this instant sleep thing that I can't do, which means that the 30 minutes it takes me to sink into a sleeping state is 29 more minutes that he's been asleep. Phooey!

But I digress...

There was cleaning and greeting and nursing and eating and cooking and talking and nursing and diaper changing and basting and laughing nursing and photography and birding and playing and eating and drinking and nursing and saying goodbye and cleaning and nursing.

Photos? Of course!
Linda with Logan. I suspect she likes him.

Eric with Logan. Definitely likes him.

Mother and daughter.


Max with his latest sports injury.

Caitlin with a mouth full of turkey.

All the family. This is the shot I got when Eric pointed out to me that at no time were all of us sitting and eating at the same time. Norman Rockwell we ain't.

Axl, up close.

The elusive Bret holds Emma. That boy will not look at the camera.

Jim, Linda and Logan. Jim had Logan cooing and smiling at him all morning, leaving Linda terribly jealous until she figured out the key: make a complete fool out of yourself and make sure there isn't a bright light close by. Infants are just like moths, apparently. Except for the flying part. And the insect part, too, I guess.

Jenni and Eric have the same smile! Do you have to train for that or what?

Axl hanging with the adults and being cool,

That's right. Laugh it up Monkey Boy. I'll get you sometime.

Jenni confiscates Logan from Bret. Logan was on a merry-go-round all night, passed from person to person. He was really working the crowd with his charm and stunning good looks.
Jenni says goodbye to Logan.

So, as usual, there was love and laughter, good food and chaos. We sat around complimenting one another on the fantastic food, our fabulous good looks and our brilliant children. Isn't that what you do at parties?
Oh yeah! I was there, too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Giving Thanks: Part V

Jenni Fasthands readies her breaded goat cheese rounds for baking.

The organic 18 lb turkey lived a happy, fulfilled life...right up until the point where the farmer came and killed it and then we ate it. So very yummy. My apologies to any vegetarian readers.

Jim makes gravy. Men who cook are A-OK in my book!

The spread: turkey with sausage stuffing and gravy, Cointreau cranberry sauce, salad with apples, candied walnuts and goat cheese, and roasted vegetables. Some water, some wine, and some beer.
Three big kids sitting at the bar top. Two infants sleeping or nursing. Six adults completely incapable of all sitting down together at the same exact time. I was off nursing one or the other twin. Bret was holding the non-nursing twin. Jenni was feeding children. Eric was getting drinks. And so on and so forth. Controlled Chaos. And next year? The twins will be one and probably walking. Aiee!

Ate it so fast I failed to photograph it first! Yummy!

And finally, the spiced pumpkin cheesecake with brown sugar bourbon cream. Even the kids liked it, even though I had to sell Max on it.

Max: "What's for dessert?"
Hatchet: "Cheesecake."
Max: "I don't like cheese!"
Hatchet: "You like cream cheese like on bagels, right?"
Max: Suspiciously, "Yeah."
Hatchet: "Do you like pumpkin pie?"
Max: Still suspicious, "Yeah."
Hatchet: "You will like this. All you have to try is a single bite and if you don't like it, you can have cookies instead."
Max: "OK."

Verdict? Loved it! As did Little Miss Yuck! I Don't Like That Thing I've Never Tried Before and Don't Actually Know If I Like It Or Not.

The best part about hosting at my house? We get all the leftovers! As a matter of fact, I'm boiling the carcass (In two separate pots since it was so big!) for turkey soup right now. Tomorrow? Turkey soup. Also, enough leftovers for a week of eatin'!

And cheesecake.

Life is good.

Giving Thanks: Part IV

The natural world.

House finches.

While we were having breakfast and getting the turkey ready to go in the oven, my mother-in-law pointed out all of the birds visiting my feeder. An avid (Rabid) birder, she spotted a red breasted nuthatch, a downy woodpecker, a blackbird and a pile of house finches in short order. I had thought the nuthatch was a chickadee, but it wasn't. We have chickadees, but they were visiting someone else's feeder this morning.

Isn't it funny how someone else's enthusiasm is contagious? I got wound up over her excitement and had her go fill the bird bath on the deck. Then, after the woodpecker showed up, I found my last brick of suet and hung it up outside off the deck. In my pajamas. In the snow.

The birds, I'm sure, are also thankful today.

Giving Thanks: Part III

A sense of humor.

Just call her Needle Nose!

Giving Thanks: Part II

Pulling a pair of shots.


Frothing milk.

Pouring the milk. Not attempting art here; I missed that particular shot.

Eric's first attempt at Latte Art.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I am not the coffee drinker. That's Eric. Thus, this could also be entitled Eric Gives Thanks For....

Giving Thanks: Part I

Four hours of sleep. Ahhh!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Food! Glorious food!

Even though you may not care what I had for lunch (New England clam chowder made by my mom and frozen for just this moment, thankyouverymuch!), you will care what I'm making for dessert.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake.

The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated's cookbook. I love it and have made it for the past 3 years running. It's been a hit with all that have had it so far.

Photos? Why yes, thank you!

First the cookie-like crust. Graham crackers with spices and butter to hold it together.
Then the filling. Sugar and spice and many things nice.
Then the pumpkin. The secret is to squish out the excess moisture in the packed pumpkin.
Mix it all up together with the 1.5 lbs of cream cheese, sugar, spices, salt, vanilla, lemon juice, eggs, and heavy cream.
Then pour it into your springform pan and place it in a water bath.
Unfortunately, if you walk away for a wee bit too long, distracted perhaps by children and too far away to hear the oven timer beeping at you, it will crack. The whole point of the water bath is to keep it from cracking, but it can't help it if you slack on your cheesecake watching duties.
Sometimes the distractions are too cute to be ignored.
I think the cheesecake will probably still taste just fine tomorrow, especially once there's brown sugar-bourbon whipped cream topping it. That will fill any cracks, I'm sure!

This is the second time I've baked something since Caitlin's birthday party in July. The first time? Last night when we had a friend over I made cranberry pumpkin bread with fresh cranberries. It was yummy!

Funny story about last night...Eric's friend A came over. She's a new Public Defender and told us all kinds of fun stories and really talked up the PD's office. We made her salmon, mashed potatoes, carrots and the pumpkin bread. I mention those specifically because I actually made all but the salmon. Be amazed that the twins let me go for any length of time! We had a great time, chatting away and were in the process of saying goodnight when Logan threw up into my cleavage.

Abruptly bringing an end to our night.

"I'll let myself out..." she said and scampered.

I headed off to my second shower of the day. Le sigh.
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