Archive: August 2012

Other posts on this project: Little Apples Quilt Pt. 1, Little Apples Quilt Pt. 2.

I started this quilt last fall, then put it aside until January, then put it aside again until last weekend. No idea why, I just couldn’t get the juice to finish it. Some of the half square triangles are uneven, and I think I just gave up. But now the top to this quilt made with Aneela Hoey’s Little Apples fabric is finished! Since H’s outgrown the Tula Pink quilt my mom made her–she can wiggle way past its perimeters now–I think this one might replace it as her rolling-around-on-our-bed quilt.

Read more on Little Apples Quilt Pt. 3…

I’ve had kind of a mental block around H’s baby book since before she was born. Baby books are not a thing in England, so it was a new concept to Adam and he looked to me for direction. But I don’t know, something about the cookie cutter nature of the questions, the limited space in all the books for writing and photos. We’ve been given several gorgeous baby books to keep a record of H’s firsts, and we’ve even started writing in some of them. But somehow the process just felt…incomplete.

Read more on H’s Project Life…

I feel like I’ve made a lot of variations of this kind of pasta dish in the past. Essentially a mac and cheese with a green vegetable and (usually, but not always) some form of smoked pork product. They’re always really good, they always call to me when I see the recipes, and they’re always quick but a little more special. I liked this recipe, but truth be told I get confused by all the different versions of this I’ve made in the past and never make them again. In one way or another they are all versions of Shells and Peas, a dish I’ve personalized and been making regularly for years. So while I love them, I probably should just move on from this dish.

That being said, this was actually pretty darn good. And, as is often the case, from Food Network Magazine.

Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto
Kosher salt
1/2 cup diced prosciutto (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
12 ounces fettuccine
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Read more on Sunday Dinner: Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto…

I’ve been obsessing about what H will be for Halloween since we arrived home from the UK and I started seeing Halloween stuff appearing in stores. I’d been thinking about it vaguely before that, but it really kicked into gear once we were home. And I was feeling really competitive about it. I think I’ve just always assumed, long before I even knew we were having a baby, that I would make my children’s costumes while they’re young. But I couldn’t find any patterns that I even remotely liked, and inspiration just wasn’t coming.

So I got a little fanatical about finding The. Perfect. Store-bought. Costume.¬†Pottery Barn Kids sent me an email announcing their costumes were in; so did Old Navy. A friend from grad school, Rebecca, told me to check out Chasing Fireflies, and then the next day I had their catalog in the mail (how do kids’ catalog companies know when you’ve had kids?!). I’ve been making Adam nuts about it for days; the second he mentioned he would consider dressing up as a family, I started discussing whole family costume options nonstop. After all, this is a guy I’ve never seen in a costume of any kind in almost a decade together. It was too tempting. And too much to think about. And too overwhelming. If I couldn’t find something great to make H, I’d make something for us. If H went as a banana, Adam and I could wear ice cream-colored t-shirts and khakis, I could knit us each cherry hats, and we could be an ice cream sundae! You can see where this was going.

Adam asked me the other night who I’m competing with when I admitted that my costume hunt was getting a little out of hand. I was completely incapable of making a decision because the whole family needed to be themed (and at least partially homemade). I realized just this morning that it’s my mom I’m competing with. When we were little, she was a single working mom who handmade gorgeous and elaborate Halloween costumes for us. I remember the Sister Bear costume (of Berenstain Bears fame), the Garfield costume, all the crazy stuff she came up with using things around the house (the Mop Monster was an often-used Carney family classic). She was always so crafty and creative, and that’s who I’m competing with. I just always assumed store-bought costumes weren’t made with love in every stitch, like when your mom makes you something (and they aren’t, really). I remember being really proud to show up for the elementary school parades in these crazy getups that she’d imagined, sometimes with only days to spare if I couldn’t make up my mind that year. I thought she was amazing and perfect. It was such a great feeling to have a mom like that, and I really wanted to give that tradition to H.

But let’s face it, life is short. And my maternity leave is about to end. And there are 500 things on my mind at the moment. And, frankly, the store-bought costumes look way cooler than anything I could make right now. I didn’t want the good costumes to sell out while I futzed around making everything harder. I think H will grow up knowing her mom is crafty and feeling that homemade love in a million other ways than just her Halloween costume. Maybe this realization will even help me finally make her a quilt, rather than just obsessing about making the “perfect” one. Because, if I’m honest, for all the love I felt in those costumes I also remember taking the headpieces off halfway through trick or treating because I was hot. Or whining that something was itchy. Or forgetting important bits at home right before the parade. Nothing is “perfect,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful. So this is what I’ve ordered for H’s first Halloween costume: practical (she’ll wear all of it without fuss), funny, and adorably offbeat:

Read more on H’s First Halloween Costume…

Other posts on this trip: Manchester and Blackburn, Derbyshire, Sheffield, The Bakewell Show, Bristol, Bath, and Stonehenge.

Okay, this is the last of my posts on our 2 weeks of adventure introducing H to all of England. After we left Stonehenge it was time for a wedding! I’m not going to post a lot of photos from the wedding since it was Morgan and Katie’s own wonderful, beautiful day to share. But we do need to take a moment for H’s wedding outfit.

Read more on Travelogue, Tour of England: A Wedding, A Palace…

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