Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Naptime Naughtiness

 "Freedom, you've got to give for what you take" ~ George Michael

On these lovely days when I'm at home and not working, Q's naptime brings a couple of hours of unfettered bliss. Well, that is when I'm not feeling guilty for lacking in productivity. You see, there are the things I should be doing while Q takes a nap, and then there are the things I usually end up doing. And it goes a little something like this (hit it!) . . .


Should Do:


- Clean my closet (It's a nightmare in there right now. My once beautiful walk-in closet is not so pretty anymore, so I keep the door closed, of course.)
- Clean the kitchen floor (sweeping and mopping is much easier without little feet in the way, but it's oh so unappealing)
- Work out (I did this yesterday! Wahoo! But it had been over a week since the last time.)
- Research preschools (I've done this before and we've even visited . . . one. But clearly more needs to be done because we have not settled on any plan.)
- Fold laundry (ugh)
- Take a shower (well, I prefer to do this as well, but often I while away the hours in front of some sort of screen)
- Plan Q's birthday party that is a week and a half away (I suck at mama-hood and life)



Prefer to Do:

- Eat a decadent lunch all to myself
- Watch bad TV like the Millionaire Matchmaker marathon (I kind of hate most of the people on there, so it's beyond me why I get sucked in.)
- Play around online, shop, read blogs, check Facebook 9 times, etc.
- Play games on my iPhone, like Words With Friends or Angry Birds (I recently discovered the latter and wow, addicted much? And yes, I realize I'm late to the party.)
- Read a book or magazine (currently reading Mockingjay and it's bittersweet because that means I'm almost done with this series)
- Take a nap (this is a rare but absolute pleasure)
- Write meaningless, procrastinating lists on my blog


Clearly I need help. What do other mamas out there usually do during the kiddos' naptimes? I can't be the only indulger out there . . . right?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Lord A-Leapin'

"All I want for Christmas is Q!" ~ Mariah Carey (as interpolated by Flyrish)


Our Christmas card image, 2010; photo by Kelli Yon

I'm on vacation this week and next. Pretty great, right? Two whole weeks of L-words. Being at home alone with a toddler is sooo relaxing. He gives me unparalleled head massages that consist of pulling my hair until my eyes tear up. Oh, and he's incredibly helpful with the Christmas prep. He wraps gifts (well, he rips the wrapping paper off of the tubes and runs around wielding them as weapons). He's my baking assistant (I pick him up repeatedly so that he can watch the stand mixer do its thing). And, he's my sidekick as I sweep and vacuum to get ready for our Christmas Eve gathering (I now have several bruises on my shins).

But, there is a silver lining. Q and I have a ton more bonding time, and he's honestly been a sweetheart compared to the Q of a couple months ago. Cuddly time by the fire. Fun outings all bundled up. Building forts. Sharing cookies. Turning the Christmas lights on together (and off and on and off and on . . .). He's such a bright light this Christmas -- I kind of wish I could pin him to the top of the tree. For several reasons.

May you all have a joyous lord a-leapin' or two in your lives this holiday season!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mamasay Memories: Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund

"Meet me on the highway, Meet me on the road, As long as you've got to travel, don't you want someone to help you carry your load" ~ Carole King

UPDATE: It seems I was mistaken and there is a way to donate online. Yay! Just go here and make sure to put "Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund" in the "Donated on behalf of" box.


When my cousin called me last spring out of the blue, I sat there all slack-jawed. Why would I be so shocked at a call from my cousin? One, I don't talk with very many of my 20-plus cousins on the phone. Two, this cousin had relayed the most incredible, generous, heartfelt idea to me. He wanted to start a scholarship fund in my mom's name. I was blown away. I didn't realize the impact my mom had made on her nephew. Just wow. (Also, why didn't I think of that?) In any case, I thought it was a brilliant idea and managed to mumble some sort of thank you as soon as my mouth started working again. Then my cousin got my sister and Dad on board, and after a bit of brainstorming about what the scholarship would entail, the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund was born.

My mom was a Language Arts teacher at a middle school in Pacifica, California, and teaching about literature and writing was her passion. But she also taught an elective class called AVID, otherwise known as Advancement Via Individual Determination, which became very special to her. AVID is a program that helps students who have the desire to go to college but fall in the academic middle. Perhaps they would be the first in their family to go to college or they don't have access to college prep resources. Through this program, my mom taught middle school students organizational and study skills and helped them to develop long-term plans, both academically and personally. We felt it would make the most sense to grant her scholarship to an AVID student. We're really looking forward to rewarding this scholarship in 2011!

So, I don't usually make pleas for cash on this blog (I could start if you like it! I'm all about making my readers happy, of course.). But if you're thinking about giving this holiday season to some sort of charity, think about giving to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund. She was such an amazing teacher and all-around person. We only hope to further her impact by giving a young person the ability to go to college who may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. 

We don't have a fancy website or an easy way to donate online at the moment, but hopefully we can get that going for next year.  For more information about AVID, please visit avid.org.

How to Donate to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund:
Make an easy donation online:

http://www.avid.org/don_donatenow.html


Or to go old school, please mail checks to:
Steven Baratte
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
AVID Center
9246 Lightwave Ave.  Ste. 200
San Diego, CA  92123
Checks should be made payable to “AVID Center - Scholarship Fund”. Please be sure to write “Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the memo field so that the donations are applied appropriately.
I would love to know if you have donated to the scholarship fund. Please let me and my family know by sending us an email to TDMScholarship@gmail.com. We can't thank you enough for your generosity and interest in donating to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Boo-yah! I'm Baking

"It's like candy, you sure are sweet -- sweet! You're so dandy."~ Cameo  

If your holiday baking has been more lackluster than festive and you've been perusing the interwebs for some exciting, new recipes, look no further! Flyrish departs from her typical mama whining, self-deprecation, and attempts at clinging to the semi-hipness of her youth to bring you some yummies for Santa's tummy.

For the last few years, I've given baked goods to extended family or friends who I run into around this time of year. I realize that I'm not very novel with this idea, but I think it's nice to have some affordable (and delish) options for those extra gifts that always seem to arise, whether they're for a teacher, a neighbor, or that random pop tart who shows up at your house on Christmas Eve. Oh yeah. It's always good to be prepared for a pop tart. (Note: I need to write a post about pop tarts and the awesome words/phrases my friends come up with.)

I typically make Caramel Shortbread Squares ( my friend Susan's amazing and easy recipe, see below) and these Peppermint Bark Cookies. But last weekend I baked Persimmon Cookies for the first time and they were a  sweet change of pace. Spicy and festive. A lovely option if you have a bunch of persimmons, which I fortunately had from the abundant orchard of Toby's brother and sister in law. Here's the recipe I used (from allrecipes.com):


Persimmon Cookies (yields about 3 dozen) 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe persimmons, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup raisins (this yields a very raisin-y cookie; I plan to cut down to 3/4 cup next time)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I substituted chopped pecans)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp and set aside.
  3. Sift flour, spices and salt together, set aside.
  4. Cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and raisins.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. 


Caramel Shortbread Squares

 Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Another 1/2 cup butter (What? I didn't say this was healthy.)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix together 2/3 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into 9" square baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In a saucepan, combine rest of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a gentle boil and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spin for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour over baked crust. Cool until it begins to firm.
  6. Melt chocolate (double boil method is best) and pour over caramel layer.
  7. Chill & cut into squares. It is rich, so smaller is better. I get about 45.
Enjoy! (I will try to remember to take photos for next time.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Michies Mix: Foolish Friday

"It's Friday, I'm in love" ~ The Cure

I realize I haven't posted about music in a while, so here's a mini mixtape for your listening pleasure. Speaking of, I totally owe someone a mix (since the summer, I'm ashamed) and should be making one for Christmas presents. Here's some of the ish I'm feeling right now -- possibly a preview for some of you mixtape recipients.









Have I mentioned on here how much I adore Esthero? Love. Favorite. And she is finally coming out with another album at the end of the month. Not in time for Christmas (boo hoo), but just in time to start 2011 off with some magic (woo hoo!). While we're all holding our breath, there's this. And this from her archives that I had never heard before. It makes me want to hop into my very own DeLorean and go back to Santa Barbara, circa 1997.

And continuing the theme of reminiscing on college days, this is hilarious and so not mom-ish.("Y'all like Twitter and we like beer!") What? I went to a party school. But I swear I learned more than how to do a keg stand. I can write real good, too.




Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Flyrish 'Fitted: Hanging for the Holly-daze

"Oh by gosh by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly" ~ Frank Sinatra

  


Cardigan:  Alexander Wang (from several seasons ago, a steal on ebay)
Top:  Madewell
Jeans:  Earnest Sewn
Shoes:  Steve Madden

Last weekend we did a lot of decorating and lounging around the house. It was rainy and chilly out, so it was the right time to pull out some cashmere. I adore this cardigan because it's made of a heavyweight cashmere and keeps me so cozy while still being breathable. Plus, the pockets are perfection. The Madewell top looks like a shrunken sweatshirt and has become one of the easiest choices for lazy days. I've had the jeans for 5 years and I still love them. And the lace-up ankle boots? They're pretty much my favorite pair lately -- a great wedge heel, lightweight, and little bit tomboyish = love.

P.S. Isn't our tree all kinds of pretty?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

23 Months: No Mo' Month Days

"Every day in every way, it's getting better and better; beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy" ~ John Lennon


My fiery, strong-willed, goofy, stubborn yet sensitive Q. You are 23 months old today. This means we've had almost 2 years to get to know each other. From sleepy, suckling newborn to smiley, stationary baby to late-blooming toddler who is becoming very much a little guy-guy (as T would say). From laid-back, roll-with-the-punches young woman to head-spinning, lovesick, lunatic of a mama. My, how we've grown in such a short time.



Recently, T and I cut your hair. Well, we attempted to. T ended up buzzing all of your hair off, while I hyperventilated across the room. We aged you three years with that cut. Suddenly, we lived with this little boy who talked like a baby. I guess we thought you were up to the challenge -- as if your height didn't make it hard enough for you at the playground. But at least now you're a Brad Pitt/Jason Bourne hybrid, making all the girlies swoon.



You're a tough guy. But you're also so tender. Like one of those Sour Patch Kids. Cuddle-time has increased lately, much to my absolute delight. Those are the fleeting moments I know I have to hold tight to. To keep the soft feel of your small, slightly pudgy hands and your warm, doughy scent in my memory. A place to go when I'm not appreciating you enough.

Stop photo-bombing me, Meem!

The holiday season is so much brighter this year, thanks to you. You're in awe of our Christmas tree and make a fuss if the lights aren't plugged in. Last year the presents intrigued you -- mainly the ribbons and the boxes, but this year I know it will be excitement galore. Your face will light up much brighter than our tree when you walk into the living room on Christmas morning. Then you will tear open the wrapping to reveal special surprises. "Mo'?" Yes, there's more.

In a month's time we will be celebrating the big 2 years! I plan to bake you your first chocolate cake. I plan to bring all of your favorite people together. I plan to pat myself on the back and cry and hope for many more birthdays with you healthy, laughing, loving.

But for now, it's your month day, Quincy. The last one I will write about. Happy 23 Month Day!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Wee Bit Wishful

For some reason, my holiday wish list this year goes on and on like some Taio Cruz song (I, too, want to celebrate and live my life!). I don't get myself. Santa should be making gifts rain down on Q, not on his Meem. Alas, there are too many pretty, tempting treats out there. Here are a few that make me want to throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ay-yo, baby, let's go . . .


RACHEL Rachel Roy
Alexa Chung for Madewell


ShopNastyGal.com  

For holiday entertaining -- West Elm