Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sugar Support

So after Landon's triumphant return to a 98.6 degree temperature and performance in the school spelling bee, he crashed again that night with a 103 degree fever and the devastating knowledge that he would be missing his friend's cookie decorating party on Friday night. So back to the doctor we went. She requested some blood work to see what his white blood cells were doing, and turns out, though there's a bunch of them floating around in there, the distribution of the types look like Mycoplasma (occasionally, somewhat wrongly referred to as walking pneumonia). And by that point - 6 days of fevers and 5 days of missed school, it was just a relief to have a name and an antibiotic to fix it. And sure enough, two doses of a foul tasting white liquid later, and he's basically back to himself! No fever since Friday and driving us all CRAZY today with a surplus of energy and not near enough social interaction.

But first we'll go back to Friday. Before Landon and I went to the pediatrician, again, and before he nearly fainted during the blood draw (that was exciting; he told me I didn't need to go in the lab room with him, so I sat in the hallway by the door; suddenly I could hear the lab tech going Landon, LANDON!, and ran in to see a ghost-white, also lime-green Landon totally non-responsive with his eyes rolled back in his head. He's had finger prick tests before, so I assume his reaction was due to not eating and being sick for so many days, but man, it was a moment. He thinks it's super awesome and has told the story to everyone. He also got to drink a sprite in the office to recover, so I think he's going to try to faint again in the future just for that.).

new nightgown; loves it

But back to Friday. It was also Claire's parent-teacher conference! James was at a pro-am swim meet in Dallas, so it was just me, but she's doing SO great and it was so fun to get to chat with her teacher. We adore our school and its wonderful, dedicated teachers. Like last year, her teacher this year also taught Landon in 1st grade and has been at the school her whole career. She's so warm and kind and manages to maintain complete control of her classroom without ever raising her voice. When Claire calls me by her name when we're at home, it's a compliment. Academically, Claire's a grade level ahead in everything; she loves to write and she is great at math. And just as importantly, she loves 1st grade just as much as she adored Kindergarten. Mrs. H said she always has a bright smile on her face all day, and she is a diligent and careful worker. She plays school with her gaggle of friends at recess and leads them all around the playground in a straight line before finding a place to "teach." The visual makes me smile.

That night was our friend's cookie decorating party. A bunch of kids, a bunch of my favorite grown-ups, appetizers, drinks, cookies, and this mulled wine. Go make that mulled wine, I'm not sure why I don't have it simmering on my stove at all times. Landon couldn't go, of course, even though he woke up with fever bright cheeks on Friday morning and put on his dinosaur Christmas shirt "just in case." This is a terrible time of year to be sick. He and James rented a new movie and I gave him one of his Lego set stocking stuffers. And though we tried not to rub it in, the girls and I had a marvelous time at the party. Cora decorated cookies Montessori-style, deliberately and with great endurance. And then she ate a plain one because the weirdo doesn't like sweet things.

Yesterday I taught barre and then ran a few errands. One of them involved returning a sweater at the mall. I never go to the mall, but American Eagle has the best, cheap, non-see-through leggings to wear with tunics and their website talked me into also ordering a beautiful lavender sweater even though their tops never fit me, so I had to take it back. And once there, I walked by Victoria's Secret and remembered how badly I need new bras. I walked by again, saw the "every bra is $35" sale sign, remembered again that the bra I was wearing was purchased before I had Cora and before I started working out pretty much every day and there was no way it fit properly. But I kept walking, only to halt halfway to the exit, turn around and march back in to Victoria's Secret, grab a salesperson and explain that my newest bra was 3.5 years old and I needed everything.

And that's what I got! Turns out, I've been wearing the wrong size (shocking). I'm a 32D not a stretched-out 34C and wowza does that 2+ inches make a difference. Did you know your bra band should fit flat against your skin? That you should not be able to store extra items in the cups that aren't actually touching your boobs? You are not! I literally wore one of my new bras out of the store. I was a new woman. A properly supported, nicely shaped if-I-may-say-so-myself, adult goddamn woman in a powerful properly fitted bra. It's magic. I bought four and removed every single old bra from my drawer as soon as I got home. It was a big day for me.

bras not pictured, but have some ranch dip

Also while out shopping the temperature dropped 25 degrees in 1 hour, and then dropped 10 degrees more. Dinner plans were changed mid-shopping-trip (I'm a list maker; changing the menu on the fly is an act of lunacy for me, I blame the new bra) and we enjoyed cozy chili, mac and cheese, AND corn bread, and a tray of fresh vegetables because I was feeling a little guilty about the nutritional value of my new plan.

Also a friend brought the best veggie dip ever to the party on Friday and I was determined to eat as much of it as possible for the second time. Fiesta ranch seasoning packets?! Who knew? I don't even like Ranch dressing! I had to stop at a SECOND store to buy it, so you know I was in love. By then it was 35 out and I was dressed for the 65 degree weather it was when I left the house.

Today it was freezing. Literally, which is pretty rare here. It was 18 when we got up at 8, so I canceled my spin class and coped with the cold by fantasizing about what life will be like with a new HVAC duct system and baking 6 trays of homemade cinnamon rolls.

The kids made nests by the fire and/or wore princess dresses and snow hats. We all cope in our own way.

The cinnamon rolls didn't rise properly, so I have concerns, but they look pretty. Just not fluffy. I've made this at least a dozen times and have no idea what happened.

We're eating them anyway though. For the icing if nothing else.

By mid-afternoon we were going to divorce Landon (love and adore him, but he is a very active social butterfly who had been denied by activity and social interaction and OMG even Cora yelled at him - "Landon NO. I play BY MYSELF."), so we decided to go see Moana! You guys, we loved it. So bright and fun and beautiful. Loved the characters, loved the music- we sang Lin-Manual Miranda's "How Far I'll Go" the whole way home. As soon as we got in the house Cora exclaimed, "wait! I go get dressed!" and emerged with a crown and several wands, ready to hula her arms and sing up a storm.

Sometime during our sing-a-long I noticed Claire had decided to lay in front of the fire and sing from the floor. We ate dinner (a delicious Greek Lemon Avgolemono soup- go make it; recipe below) and after she stirred her soup for a few minutes she said, "Mom my head hurts." One click with the thermometer and yep, 101.5. Oh, Bear. We'd hoped she escaped what Landon has, and she has the talent show tomorrow night and she has been practicing SO hard and was SO excited. I feel just awful for her and am still holding on to hope she'll wake up tomorrow feeling great.

And now I just realized I listened to the entire Moana soundtrack all alone on the couch. Time to go to bed- but first, the menu:

Saturday: My mom's chili, Mac & Cheese, Cornbread, Crudites (Carrot, Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, Orange Bell Pepper), and the BEST dip (sour cream + packet of Fiesta Ranch dip - I hate ranch dressing, but I freaking love this dip)
Sunday: Avgolemono soup (with added chicken), Naan bread, Block of Feta, Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes (y'all, that soup was SO GOOD; I doubled the recipe and we had just a little leftover and James has already claimed it)
Monday: Claire will be performing at the talent show (we hope! I typed this menu before her fever spiked), so it depends on when the show ends; probably leftovers reheated real fast when we get home, maybe pasta because that's Claire's favorite.
Tuesday: James and I are going on a date night! His pool is closed, so for the first time ever we get to hit up a Happy Hour! Also, we like to find excuses to keep Tara in our lives. Kids will eat TJ's cod filets (basically fish sticks, but I feel better about them), veggies, and fruit. It's nice when your nanny is a nutrition major.
Wednesday: Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast, Rice Pilaf, Sauteed Green Beans, Crescent Rolls
Thursday: No idea. Realistically, probably something from a restaurant with margaritas. It's a very, very rare week where James is home before 7, I feel we need to celebrate with attendance at multiple happy hours.
Friday: My parents are here! They're bringing food.

Saturday, Christmas Eve: Dinner: Flank steak (marinated overnight in soy sauce, honey, and sherry; grilled; sliced thin against the grain), Twice-Baked Potatoes, my family's precious Asparagus Casserole, Mandarin Orange Salad (leafy lettuce, green onion, cilantro, cucumber, mandarin orange slices + red wine vinegar dressing), Fluffy rolls.

Later we'll eat leftover cold flank steak with cheese and crackers while opening presents, plus popcorn, champagne, and sugar cookies. It all goes together when gifts are involved.

Sunday, Christmas Day: Brunch: Cheesy Amish Breakfast Casserole, Tamales (from a local restaurant), Refried Black Beans, Tortillas, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (this recipe; different icings- mostly a cream cheese glaze, plus a few with a simple sugar glaze because some people are confused about the deliciousness of cream cheese icing).

Linner: All the meats and cheeses! Whatever looks delicious at the cheese counter, plus turkey summer sausage and prosciutto. A smoked turkey and pretzel rolls from Costco. Olives, pickles, crackers. A platter of the crazy delicious combination of sliced ham wrapped around cream cheese and a piece of pickle. And homemade mac and cheese to bring it all together. With sugar cookies on top.


  1. For the cinnamon rolls, how cold/drafty was it in your kitchen? Too cold stops them from rising. Also, if they have yeast, sometimes you need to make water/milk hotter when activating it to counteract cold. But they should still taste fine, just more dense :)

    1. Yeah, I think the yeast was too chilly. I let them rise in the oven, but I think the yeast never got hot enough to start with... and I rolled it out on cold marble which probably didn't help. So dense they will be! But the icing will be delicious :).

  2. new bras...after losing some weight I realized I was adjusting mine all the time at work which wasn't exactly the professional look I was going for and went to Nordstrom during the anniversary sale and spent so much money. (though I have no problem spending the same amount on two pair of shoes...the mind works in weird ways) but my clothes look better and I am no longer trying to figure out how to adjust my bra with no one noticing during a meeting :)

    1. YES! It's such a powerful thing to have a properly fitted bra, and yet it should be such a simple automatic step for any adult woman. Why is it not? Why did I wear the wrong size for 3 years? They should cover this in a bonus class in school.

  3. Ooh, thanks for posting that Mandarin Orange Salad recipe! I might just use it with my Christmas dinner. Sounds delish!

    1. It's so yummy and crisp and fresh! It goes with pretty much anything you make.

  4. I made the chicken enchilada soup you posted before for dinner. Delicious. Thanks for the recipe link. Also I made mine in a pressure cooker and it took 12 min instead of all day in the slow cooker (forgot to plan for dinner before leaving for work in the morning).

    1. Yay! So I ordered an instant pot within in minutes of reading your comment. It just arrived today and I'm SO excited. Expect a post with lots of questions soon.

  5. I tried the Avgolemono soup (with added chicken) last night since I was looking for something quick and easy. Couldn't ask for something quicker or easier and more delicious than that! Thanks for sharing! Love seeing your recipe ideas!

    1. I'm so glad! We just loved it- so different and somehow light and velvety at the same time.

  6. I had the same thing happen to my cinnamon rolls (same recipe) a few years ago. We had just moved into a new house and I started to realize I was having trouble with anything with yeast. I stopped putting things on the cold granite (obvious in retrospect, but I never thought of it before) and putting everything on a heating pad to rise. It looks totally ridiculous, but seems to do the trick. On a side note, they were still totally delicious. Just a bit...dense.

    1. I think you're exactly right - the last few times I made the rolls I rolled them out on a cutting board and this time I put them directly on the marble. It was 22 degrees outside that day, so even though I had the house heated, I think the marble was just too cold and my yeast never got warm and cozy like it was supposed to. Sad face, but the frosting is foolproof.