Thursday, December 6, 2012

The dreaded question...

There are many articles that talk about the lack of support women in this country have when it comes to the decision to work or not to work. On some level, we self-perpetuate the myth that women should be able to have a career and a family. Companies don't have day care onsite, which they should. Companies don't push to offer more time off for a mom and a new baby, which they should. You have to fight to pump your milk someplace other than the bathroom because companies want to ignore that some of the employees will lactate.

I got the question today or perhaps it was a statement on my current life choice, "SO, does this mean you'll finally quit and stay home with the kids?"

Why is it a question only for woman? I have a Masters in Electrical Engineering and a career in semiconductors spanning twelve years. It is assumed that I will give it all up. Why do we as a country not find a way to better support women and families in the work place instead of assuming that half of our workforce should be at home.

Why wasn't the question, "So, will your husband finally quit and stay home with the kids?"

We don't know how to handle professional women. Period. Let's look at the latest CEO of Yahoo. She started the job six months pregnant. Should this be a major issue? At six months pregnant there was no way she was trying to hide it. However, investors panicked. Pregnancy should be viewed as good thing. It shows that this woman is healthy and young with lots of time to invest in the company. And let's be realistic, as a CEO day care costs will not be an issue. It's a little different for those of us lower down in a company, but somehow her pregnancy upset the business world.

As a professional woman, it is hard and it is even harder to connect with other women and feel like part of a community.

Going back to work with a newborn is hard. There is no ifs ands or buts about it. You don't want to leave your baby with someone else, but your do. Not to mention, if you do not have a good day care situation (another story for another day) it goes from hard to horrible. Maybe my job situation will change, there aren't any job options for me in a small town and my boss could tire of my working remote. Until that happens, I will continue to work.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Polka Dots!

Little N was helping me go through some hand-me-down maternity clothes the other day and came across a great little polka-dot sleeveless shirt. The shirt had gigantic black polka dots sprinkled across it. She immediately squealed in delight. Little N ran to her closet and produced her Easter dress from last spring. Wouldn't you know it, her Easter dress also has gigantic black polka dots sprinkled across it.

Little N informed me that I was to wear this polka dot shirt to church and she would wear her polka dot sundress. However, it was December and not exactly sundress weather. We dug around to find sweaters for both of us to wear during this non-sundress weather.

I had a lovely day being a polka dot twin with my little girl.

Monday, November 26, 2012

scrappy Fabric box

After digging through the scrap bin last weekend, I opted to make something fast for myself. My cats like to clear my sewing table and hopefully this little fabric box will contain the spools of thread I am working with. I have high hopes of not finding the spool completely unwound all over the house. I try to tuck things away when I stop working on a project, but the cats have the uncanny ability to find whatever it is I am trying to hide from them. This then becomes a kitty toy. I used the tutorial described on another blog and I was happy with the results. Definitely a great short attention span project for when you want to complete something fast.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baby pants for Baby D

I was invited to a short notice baby shower and this baby needs a homemade gift. I raided my scrap bin and came across some larger pieces left over from a puppy dog themed baby quilt. I found an online tutorial and made two quick pairs of pants. However, the pants looked lonely by themselves. I added more fabric scraps to the front of store bought onsies and had two instant outfits.

Of course, the baby needed a gift bag, too. I made that up as I sewed and I'm happy with the results. I used a little homemade bias binding on the side to facilitate an easier opening and a ribbon as the closure. I tacked the ribbon within the pocket to keep it from being pulled out.
I actually think the bag will be handy for carrying a spare outfit in the diaper bag and I may have to make a few for myself.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Our newest house guest

We have a house guest. We're not really sure how long they will stay and I'm sure we will need to do some clean-up after they are gone.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Big N's Last day of 2nd grade

Today was the last day of school for both kids. Both Pete and I took the day off so we could go to the assembly. Big N got a certificate for perfect attendance. He has had perfect attendance for the 3rd year in a row.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Worms in dirt on cupcakes

Little N is coming to the end of her year at kindergarten. When I picked her up today, she was taking her time leaving the classroom. This is a regular occurring event for Little N. She starts to chat with her friends, slowly puts on her coat, wanders the room in circles. She takes her time at school, she takes her time at home, I've tried rushing the girl, and sometimes it's just not worth the fight. We tend to pick our battles and give her plenty of time when we can.

Today, when she was done wandering the classroom, she chatted with her teacher on the way out the door. Since everyone else had already left, she had the teacher's full attention (perhaps she had a plan for her wandering). Little N suggested to her teacher that she would like to bring snacks for tomorrow. The teacher looks at me, raises an eyebrow as a question mark and I said, "why not." I, of course, underestimated Little N's grand plans.

As we were driving away from the school, Little N started to describe grandiose, flower covered cupcakes. It turns out that watching the food network can backfire on you. I had to break it to Little N that Mommy cannot make a frosting flower and I wasn't sure where we could find edible flowers as a substitute.

I suggested gummy worms on chocolate cupcakes, to which Little N suggested that we needed to make "dirt" for the worm to crawl out of. My super creative Little N thought of the chocolate graham crackers we have in the cupboard and the worms in the dirt cupcake was born.

This evening we made cupcakes. Little N did all the measuring and ran the mixer. Once we frosted the cupcakes, she put a worm on each cupcake and then dipped the top into the ground up graham crackers. She wanted the worms to look "dirty" and she was very successful. Big N helped, too. He was the official worm tester.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Please pass the pees

 Little N is learning to read and write. She has recently started to sound out words and read through some of the beginner reading books we have. She is also doing a very good job communicating on paper. She was listening at church, which is not always obvious when her head and fingers and busy coloring. The pastor told everyone to "Pass the peace!" and we all stood up to shake hands with our neighbors. She decided that she wanted to write it down after taking a moment to sound out the words and the back of the prayer request form served her purpose. She wrote it down on three different sheets before I realized what she had done and started to pass notes in church.

 Pees be wif you.

 And also with you. Love you, Little N.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A finished Quilt!

My first quilt!

The quilt began as a pack of puppy dog quilt squares I picked up off of a clearance rack with the intent to practice quilt squares I had learned in an introductory quilting class. I liked the way the practice squares came out so much that I wanted to put them into a quilt. I picked up some complementary fabric once I heard that a friend of ours had a baby boy. I then opted to applique the baby's name on the center square. The final product looks more like a scrap quilt with a puppy theme for baby Kyle.

This quilt was fun to make and I hope baby Kyle enjoys the puppy dogs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The rise of the pumpkin bread

Big N's Pumpkin Patch at the end of September

We had a bunch of volunteer pumpkins in the garden this past summer. They began from the compost pile and with a little neglect and a lot of water, we had quite the pumpkin patch. We even had one pumpkin that could not decide if it preferred the inside or the outside of the garden and opted to grow right through the fence.

At the end of the summer, we had a mixture of jack-o-lanterns and sugar pumpkins. I set the sugar pumpkins aside with plans to bake. I finally roasted the pumpkins and froze the puree for later.

I came across a recipe for a yeast based pumpkin bread and I was intrigued. I immediately made grand plans to bake. With my typical schedule, this means it happened about 6 weeks later.

Last night I started the dough and it took 3 hours for the first rise to complete. I am blaming that on how cold our house gets. When I put the dough in the loaf pans, I opted to use an overnight proof and popped the two loaves into the fridge.

This morning, I baked the bread. It smells heavenly in the house. I am now planning on making pumpkin rolls for thanksgiving next year just so I can have this on hand for a leftover turkey sandwich.

Here is the wonderful recipe with my alterations.

Pumpkin yeast bread
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages (2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin, either fresh or canned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a bowl of a stand mixer fit with the mixing paddle, stir yeast into water to soften. Add warm milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil, 4 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Mix vigorously for 2 minutes. Change the mixer paddle to the dough hook when needed.

Gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide dough in half. Shape dough into loaves and place in well-greased 10 x 5-inch pans or, shape half into a loaf, and other half into 12 large dinner rolls. Cover with plastic rise and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Loaves bake about 30 minutes, rolls about 20. Check the internal temperature of each with an instant-read thermometer; a reading of 190°F means bread or rolls are done.

Immediately remove bread or rolls from pans and cool on a wire rack to prevent crust from becoming soggy. For a shiny crust, brush tops of bread or rolls lightly with vegetable oil. Makes 2 large loaves, or 1 large loaf and 12 dinner rolls.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

White Chicken Chili and Cornbread

Crock-pot Chili and cornbread!

3 large chicken breasts
1/2 a large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1-2 Cups frozen white corn
2 Cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 7oz can chopped green chilies
Juice from one lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
32 oz chicken broth
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add chicken broth and cumin to a large stock pot. Roughly chop the chicken and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender.

While the chicken is cooking, saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or so. Add the onion and garlic to the crock-pot. Add the rinsed beans and corn to the crock-pot.

Dice the cooked chicken and add to the crock-pot. Add the broth that the chicken was cooked in into the crock-pot. Add the lime juice, chilies and spices. Add water to bring the liquid level just to the top of the ingredients, but not covering.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

The last 30 minutes the chili is cooking, make the cornbread.

Corny cornbread

1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1 can creamed corn

Mix everything together in a bowl. Bake in either a greased 8x8 pan or muffin pan (fill the muffins half full) for 15-20 minutes, until just brown.