Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Good Paragraph

It was almost midnight. The tables were cluttered with napkins and used silverware, tablecloths rumpled like bed-sheets. The diners reclined in their chairs, hands drifting leisurely back and forth between espresso cups and the last sips of port. Tips of fingers caressed the surface of white plates, snaring the last flakes of chocolate left from cinnamon dusted truffles. Smells lingered in the air, sliding across bare shoulders, nestling into the curls of hair - risotto and chanterelle mushrooms, sweet and rich and buttery, the bite of Parmesan, the rosemary and white wine and garlic of a slow-cooked pork roast. And bread, of course, the long loaves having been passed hand to hand, chunks pulled off, dipped in small white dashes of green olive oil with dark, molten drops of balsamic vinegar floating in its midst. Wine bottles had long ago lost their ownership, traveling up and down the tables like porters on a train. 
{Erica Bauermeister from Joy for Beginners}


Don't you just wanna be there?
If {when?} I write a book, I want to write about food, about people, about gatherings this way.
I want to make people wish they were there. 
And if they don't wish they were there the only reason is because they felt they were already transported there through my words.

My goodness...I just love words.


{photo: here}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Five Star Review {Cutting for Stone}

I've been keeping up my book review blog for just about as long as Star-Crossed.

I love sharing good reads...I'd like to give you heads up whenever I read and review a really good one.
I rate my reads with stars.
1 Star = Don't Read It.
5 Stars = Read It Or I Won't Be Your Friend.

I just finished Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
So, so good.
5 Stars, no hesitation.


For my review visit Insatiable Reader.

What's your buried nose in?

How to Make Eggs

Start with the comfortable burbling of the coffee maker in the background.


And be sure the children are appropriately occupied.


Admire the chives and their cheery purple blooms.


Snip one...


...and dice it fine.


Grate the swiss.


And scramble.


Find a sunny spot with your chosen reading material.
{Reading and breakfast are the closest of companions...did you know?}


Consume.





Happy Tuesday morning to my friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

1000 Gifts

This morning I was ugly.

I was blind to it until my husband's voice, from the kitchen said, "You complain a lot."

Oh. 
Like a punch to the gut.
Not a mean-spirited punch...just...truth.

I stopped in mid-action.
Folding yet another pair of rip-kneed jeans that had been left on the floor.
My hands froze and I rewound my brain through the morning to view it like a shameful movie.

Me: scowl on my brow.
Me: taking in the mess of life all around me.
Me: with words coming forth full of negativity.
Me: overwrought.
Me: undone.
Me: ugly.

And then I rewound again and watched, not myself, but my family.
Them: numbering three.
Them: running, laughing, eating, smiling.
Them: making messes and then surprised at the fury coming from my mouth.
Them: healthy, breathtaking, smart, funny.
Them: joy.
Them: the face of God.

And then I saw Mr. B.
Him: making three lunches.
Him: carrying the heavy weight of responsibility.
Him: tuning the iPod to a higher volume to tune me out.
Him: a blessing to me.

I was shamed.
And then I cried for forgiveness. 
What can I do to stop this?
My plight - the plight of all mommies - is not going to change.
There will always be plates that sit in the sink, unmatched socks, floors to vacuum, crumbs on the counter, broken toys to step on.
I can't change that...but I can change something.
I can change me.

I've talked about Ann Voskamp's book before.
How it worked in me to make a difference.


And I started a journey there.
A journey of gratefulness, of counting my 1,000 {and ever more} gifts.


I saw the fruit of noticing His goodness to me in my life.
I saw myself realizing the blessing in the simple, the mundane, even.
But then I stopped.
The journal got pushed to the bottom of a pile and soon I stopped fishing it out to chronicle the good.
And I miss that now.

The list was young in these photos.
In it's 20's. 
It has grown to be in the 200's but it stalled there.
I'm ready to pick it back up.
To remember the gifts.
I miss the gifts.


I found my notebook and set it back out on the dining room table.
Open to it's page left from March...

Gift # 213. Warm foreheads and Disney movies to rest.

#208. A new two-year-old

#65. Honey-Vanilla pound cake.

#78. Little pink leotards and tutu skirts.

#129. Funny Friends.

#203. Humming of the dishwasher & dryer...quiet home.

#168. The first mosquito bite.

#172. Red wine and pizza.

#47. Safety from the storm.

I'm going to start reading the book again.
And penning my gratitude.
Because, she's right, there's something about searching for the gifts 
{and finding them, because they are always there}
that heals that broken spirit.
The spirit that is accompanied by creased foreheads and negative words spat before you think.
I need to be healed...again.

I may post some gifts from my list here on the blog now and again.
And...so that I'm not alone, would you please post just one 
{or two, or...however many you can come up with}
of your gifts in my comment section?
A gift is not a gift until shared. 


Lullaby Playlist


Over the Rainbow :: Judy Garland

Wonderful World :: Louis Armstrong

Sweet Sweet Baby :: Michelle Featherstone

Stay Awake :: Harry Connick Jr.

Wish Upon a Star :: Libbie Linton

Baby of Mine :: Bette Midler

Wish for You :: Faith Hill

Rainbow Connection :: Sarah Edwards

All the Pretty Little Horses :: Laura Veirs 

Edelweiss :: The Sound of Music Soundtrack

Cannot Lose My Love :: Sara Groves

Goodnight My Angel :: Billy Joel

Can't Take That Away From Me :: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong


This list of songs is the soundtrack of Britt's baby-hood. 
He was a colicky little mess in his first 8-ish months of life.
Just hearing the first few notes of most of these songs brings me right back to those precious evenings.
Me, at my wits end, having just put the big siblings to bed and finally able to devote my full attention to a red-faced, stiff little fellow.
We turned down the lights, docked the iPod and snuggled in for a slow dance around the kitchen - lit by only a candle and white twinkle lights.
Gradually baby would fall limp in my arms, growing heavier (as if that were possible), 
resting his head on my shoulder...
He wouldn't sleep.
Not a chance of that.
But he was quiet. And quiet was my objective.

Dance long, Mommies...
Sleep well, Babies...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Mama Care Package

A few weeks ago one of my best girlfriends had her first baby.
We live sort of long-distance...
She: Chicago
Me: St. Louis

You have to know that when I saw those first facebook photos posted of her perfect little guy I was ready to jump in my car right then and hurtle myself straight up highway 55 to Chicago.

I didn't.

But I did send her a box of new-mama must-haves to help her through those first rough weeks.


Here's what was inside...


A few of Britt's used BabyLegs.
Because, as cute as they are, big-toddler-boys like Britt don't look the coolest in leg warmers.


My kid's favorite book, Time for Bed by Mem Fox.
I think I've bought this one for every friend with a new baby...
this is that book I have memorized because all three loved it so.


A few things that - in my opinion - are completely essential for the new mother.
{take yourselves to Trader Joe's right this moment and buy this chocolate. divinity.}


A burned CD of my favorite lullabies. 
The playlist that new-baby-Britt and I wore out the floor to in his colic days.


A little sustenance. 
Because Lord knows there's not much cooking going on in those early days.
Spicy for daddy and mild for mama & babe.
{Spiced Nuts recipe here.}


I will post my lullabye playlist in the next few days...
just the sweetest little set of songs perfect for a slow mama/baby waltz in the candlelight.

This weekend I'm putting myself on a train headed north to snuggle my new little baby friend and congratulate his beautiful mama in person. 
: )

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bachelorette.

Weekly recaps...



You wanna?

Monday, April 16, 2012

iStudy


Today is my Pediatric Nursing final exam.
And Spring Break commences at approximately 11:30 am...so I'm feelin' good.

In honor of Spring Break 
{and therefore the hopes of more frequent blogging - which I'm really excited about} 
I shall post some of my "studying" pics from instagram.
Adore instagram.

I promise, this is not a Starbucks sponsored post...










Posting my {exhilarating?} study scenes has become a sort of tradition for me.
I know my followers are absolutely thrilled each time I post photos of textbooks.
{Sarcasm.}

If you want to follow on instagram you can find me at:
starcrossedb

I want to see your life in pics, too!

I promise I post more than just medical jargon, Starbucks cups and bare feet in the vague background...
See?




 And I have some exciting news on the Kenya fundraising/supplies collection front!
I'll be posting about that soon. 
If you wish to contribute you can click on that little pay pal "donate" button.

Or email me at starcrossedserves @ hotmail .com

To read more about my medical mission to Kenya go here.

Happy Spring Break! 
{to me.}

Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 Before 30 :: Updated

Oh my, you guys.
I had some lofty ambitions when I created this list about a year ago.

Did I not know how consuming my nursing classes would end up being?
How utterly absorbed I would be in trying to parent these three little piggies?
{Especially the two-year-old...this little boy of mine is indescribable in his "toddler-ness." It's extreme.}

But I have had the chance to do a few of the things I had hoped to do.
#12. was in February and it was totally refreshing.
Made me contemplate a facebook-less life.
Still kinda thinking about it.

#7. I'm trying. Lord knows I'm trying.

#14 & 23. Were in December and so much fun.

#18. South Carolina in December 2011:



#26. I did one better and it felt so good.

#27. Saw the Civil Wars.
It was beautiful.
 {photo from little sister's instagram}

#15. is in the process.
This one deserves a whole blog post on it's own.
This endeavor is not good for my blood pressure...


#17. Ha! Hahahahaaaa.
No, those aren't caterpillars on my forehead.


I have a little over seven months to complete the rest of my list.
Big endeavor but there are a few, like numbers 2 and 3 that are so close to happening I can taste them. 
But there are some (ahem, #16) that may just have to be rolled over to the 
Maybe-I-can-do-this-before-I'm-31 List.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scenes from a Saturday Morning


There's coffee hot in a mug and paled with cream.


There's rain outside and a curious watcher.



There is a box full of donuts and rioting bed head.





There are rainbow sprinkles and chipped neon nail polish.


An abandoned umbrella.



There's a miniature "Giada."


It's Saturday.
Where wooden blocks and pirate swords weave together and make total sense.



Happy Saturday, my friends.
Let it be.

{I updated my About page.}  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spiced Nuts

Let's make roasted spiced nuts, okay?
But don't turn on your ovens. 
Not in this ridiculous "April" weather...is it unseasonably hot where you are too?

Let's do it in the crockpot.
Mmmhmm.
Let's. 


Aren't pistachios pretty?
Use your favorite mixture of nuts, but please, be sure to splurge on the shelled pistachios.

They're spiced with cayenne pepper, curry, and rosemary - an unexpected and sumptuous trio - along with maple syrup.
Yes, and Amen.



See how nice?



Spiced Nuts
{in a crockpot, praise the Lord}        


1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup raw, unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 T maple syrup
1 tsp curry 
 1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray

Use a crockpot over 4 quarts in size.
Spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray.
Add all ingredients in and mix well to coat.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours stirring every 20 minutes.
{The nuts will burn if you don't stir.}
Spread the nuts on a layer of foil or wax paper to cool and store in an airtight container.


Here they are finished and cooling.
So pleasing, really. Just perfect.



Here's an idea, make a double batch like I did and give some away...