Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday with Molly was one big ball of frustration for both of us. She threw a huge tantrum while we were at Porter's swimming lesson. The laying on the floor big fat tears nothing will make me stop kind of tantrum. A girl who often comes to swim at the same time told her that every time they saw each other, Molly was crying. She was trying to get Molly's attention to get her to stop, but it just made me feel embarrassed. We came home, she took a great, long nap, and then woke up to another awful mood. I had to put her in her room and close the door while I was finishing dinner, because I just could not listen to her scream and whine any more. I don't even know. I guess I'm not really looking for advice or ideas, because I'm all done with trying. I'm just sort of waiting it out at this point. And venting.

Then today, we went to nursery school, and she was actually pretty good. Playing nicely, no tantrums. I even left her there for awhile (grocery store by myself, thank goodness!), and she didn't even notice, or really seem to care when I returned. She was peaceful getting in the car (one of her big triggers), ate a good lunch, and is now still napping. So. Yay. I'm not really sure what gives. But I'll take what I can get for now.

Yesterday evening, after all of Molly's theatrics, I had a total failure of a dinner too. Just so you don't think I cook great food for my family all the time. I tried to make some kind of four cheese pasta, and the cheese all clumped up in the bottom of the pan while the sauce was all runny. We ate it, but yuck. It's a good thing today is going more smoothly. I think it reflects in my cooking.

Monday, September 27, 2010


We had a busy weekend here filled with friends and food and activities and rain. It looks like fall is here to stay now, but I'm actually happy to stay inside and nest.

Last year we were a little flaky with the ice skating, but on Saturday Porter started some more serious lessons. He had a blast! I think maybe he was just a little too young before (for him anyway), as there was a lot of laying on the ice and snacking and not a lot of skating. But this time he lasted for an hour, and was sad when they made him quit. Maybe I'll be a hockey mom after all. Or maybe not.
We also got the chance to ride the tram, which is a normally expensive tourist attraction. But at the end of the season they let locals ride for a much better price. We were treated with a halfway decent morning, and lovely views of downtown and the channel. Molly was actually a little bit scared, but Porter had a blast.

Included in the weekend's festivities was a small dinner party at our house, now that Bryce's work is finally slowing down, we are getting social again. There was the usual chaos of small children, but it was fun, and nice to see friends. I made a smoked salmon lasagna, and it was a hit. I've been making it for years, and it really is a crowd pleaser (and super easy).

Smoked Salmon Lasagna
adapted from the Best of the Best from Alaska Cookbook

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
4 cups smoked salmon (or more!)
freshly ground pepper to taste
one big container cottage cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
one box no boil lasagna noodles
3-4 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Blend in the flour, and gradually add milk to make the sauce. Bring it to a boil for a minute until it has thickened. Off heat, add smoked salmon and pepper to taste. In a bowl, stir together cottage cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray, and put a very thin coating of sauce on the bottom. Then layer (uncooked) noodles, cottage cheese mixture, sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat twice, so you'll have three identical layers, having used up all the cottage cheese mixture. Then lay the last layer of noodles down, spoon the rest of the sauce over, and top with mozzarella.

Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more or until lightly browned.

**Note: This makes a really big, saucy lasagna. You can totally scale back the sauce and cheese, and use one layer less noodles, and it will still be a lot. This is helpful, especially if you don't have a lot of salmon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Party of Five

Yes, it's official. Sometime in mid-April 2011, we will no longer fit at a regular restaurant table. I'm pregnant! Eleven weeks today. We heard the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler yesterday, and everything looks good. We are all excited, but Porter had some especially astute observations.

When asked if he wanted a brother or a sister, he thought for awhile and told us that if it was a girl then Molly would have a friend. Which was very sweet. And then he said if I was Superman I could use my laser vision to look inside my tummy and find out for sure. Which is also true. But alas, no laser vision here. I don't think we're going to find out the sex until delivery, so we have a long time to wait.

I've been waiting to post this until I felt confident, but I'm hoping it explains the lack of cooking posts and lack of posting in general. I'm hoping to get into a better groove soon with the advent of the second trimester. More to come!

AND. As a side note. Although this baby was very much planned and wanted and we are so excited, I have been feeling like a big old pile of crap. There is something about little babies that makes you forget all about "morning" sickness and labor and all the other good stuff. But. I am so done. I really can't do this again or put my family through it. If, in four years or so, I start talking about how fun it would be to just have another cute little baby, slap me in the face quickly and refer me to this post. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


In his never ending quest to find a comfortable place to sleep, Porter recently chose the stairs on a sunny afternoon. He slept there for two hours.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunny September Days

We've had this totally amazing September in the Far North. Everyone here in town with me knows what I'm talking about. You pretty much don't want to say it out load for fear of messing it up. I almost can't even remember what rain is. Almost. We've had warm, sunny days, and cool, crisp fall nights. Perfect for a bonfire on the beach with friends.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Girl (Again)

Since my last post, I've been reflecting on Molly and her current difficulties with being in public view. And I've decided there really isn't a whole lot I can do about it. But...

1. I can just NOT go grocery shopping with her. Bryce's busy season is winding down, and this can be done. Really, why fight it?

2. I've spoken to several other moms with children of a similar age recently who have (unsolicited) told me of the woes of their child all of a sudden becoming a different person over night. So I am not alone here. Maybe it's in the water.

3. I think she is overly tired. Maybe all this good weather is wearing her down, but she really needs to go to bed at like 6pm.

And right now she is on the floor next to the computer screaming, all because I put her shirt on after she asked me to. Sigh. I'm out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Girl

Molly had her first day of nursery school (and I use the word school very loosely here) on Monday. It was fun! But I discovered that Molly sure has a loooooong was to go on the whole sharing and get along with others thing. I think that in our house, most of the toys are not really contentious. Porter doesn't really want much to do with Molly's dolls, and if she howls, he just gives her whatever she wants. And she's used to being around Porter's friends, who pretty much do the same thing. Around a group of kids her own age though, it was tough. There was much grabbing of toys and howling on the floor about the injustice of it all. I'm hoping that it'll be good for her in the end, and that the other moms don't get really annoyed when I leave her there.

Along with that loveliness, Molly has been throwing holy terror tantrums lately. The kind that start with something small, and escalate into back arching, screaming, never ending ridiculousness. I know that this is normal, but looking back on Porter's toddlerhood, I'm realizing how easy he was. He had his moments, but was really easily distracted and very easy going when we were out and about. For the first time ever, I had to leave my shopping cart full of groceries in the store while I carried Molly's thrashing screaming body outside. She did it again when we left preschool. And again this morning at Porter's swimming lesson. When she acts like that at home, I put her right in her crib for a sort of time out. And it works great. She really likes her crib, and calms down immediately in there. It gives us both a chance to cool down, and after a couple of minutes I can get her out and everyone is fine. I am really at a loss on what to do in public places though. She doesn't want me to hold her, will not listen to any kind of reason, doesn't want food or a toy or anything. I've noticed she starts whimpering "go home, go home, go home." Like she knows she's just out of control, but can't do anything about it. And she pretty much just screams and screams until we do get home or into an entirely different situation. I'm starting to dread trips to the store, and I'm really not sure what to do about it. Help!

But! The same things that make her so stubborn and difficult, make her so funny and easy. It's a double edged sword. She play really well by herself, and doesn't need my attention all the time to be happy. She came to me the other night, very proud of her, um, outfit.

And tantrums or not, we've been having a fantastic indian summer here. We've all been soaking it up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Wednesday was Porter's official first day of school. It was not a momentous occasion for him, but exciting for me. He'll be in kindergarten next year, so this will be our last year of part-time school, and we are going to enjoy it.

Pluots. Why had I never had these before? I ate four this morning.

You know what Porter's teachers told me when I went to pick him up from his first day? That he spent most of the time organizing the Legos. They were really happy about it, but I kind of wish he'd do something different.

I'm looking for a toy kitchen for Molly's birthday. Anyone have one they like? That didn't fall apart immediately?

I will admit that when I see another mom having a hard time with their screaming kids in a public place, it makes me feel relieved.

I'm Cooking: I honestly have not been on a good cooking kick lately. It's been all about the quick and easy and as few dishes as possible. I have two classic American dishes in my rotation that fall into this category, that my kids will eat, that are cooked in one pan, that contain minimal processed ingredients and are cheap and easy. They both adapted from a cookbook I have from the editor's of Cook's Illustrated, The Best 30 Minute Recipe. Anyway, I thought I'd share.

Salmon (or Tuna) Noodle Casserole

I use my own canned salmon here, but it's just as good with tuna. My kids pick out the mushrooms, but I like them in there.

2 tablespoons butter
10 oz (or however much you have) sliced white mushrooms
1/2 onion, minced
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces egg noodles (or any other smallish pasta)
1 cup frozen peas
1 15 ounce can canned salmon (or an equivalent amount of canned tuna)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 cup of seasoned dry breadcrumbs tossed with 1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 475.

Melt butter in a 12 inch oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and a little salt and cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth, cream, and noodles. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring often, until noodles have softened and sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in peas, salmon and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until lightly browned.

Skillet Chili Mac

If you like spice, you could add some jalapenos in with the green chiles. You can also use canned diced green chiles and add them with the corn. Sometimes I also add some finely diced or frozen carrots.

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, minced
1 or 2 fresh green chiles, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup frozen corn
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (or 2 cups shredded cheddar)

Cook the beef, onion, green chiles, chili powder, cumin and a little salt in a 12 inch non-stick skillet until beef is no longer pink.

Stir in garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, water, and macaroni. Cook, stirring often, and adjusting heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. When macaroni is almost done, stir in frozen corn.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half of shredded cheese, and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Cover and let sit off heat until cheese melts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's For You

Porter: Mom, what's a telephone?

Me: What do you mean? (holds up phone)

Porter: Mooooooooom. That's an iPhone.

Me: (tries to explain the difference between a cell phone and a telephone)

Porter: Oooooohhh. It's one of those weird phones that's connected to the wall.

Me: Um, yes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back To School

I have not been a good blogger lately. Things around here have just been not conducive to getting anything done I suppose. We sorely need a routine, and soon we are going to get one. Porter's first day of preschool is next week, thank goodness. He's kind of an old pro at preschool by now, and he is so excited to see his friends and teachers again.

And, actually, I am going back to school as well. Only one class. And it's online. But still. I've been reading my textbook with my highlighter, and I have my first audio conference tonight. It's nice to have something besides diapers and carpools to think about, and it gets me one prerequisite closer to nursing school.

Last, but not least, is Molly. She'll be attending nursery school one day a week this year. It's really more like a facilitated play group than actual school. But I will get to leave her there on occasion, and (gasp), have a couple of hours to myself.

I'm hoping everyone learns something this fall. Or at least gets to drink coffee in peace.