August 18, 2015

I Want to Remember...

I want to remember Portia's long, skinny legs...how they go on for days and turn the color of perfectly golden pancakes in the summer the sun. I want to remember Holden's tiny butt...white as cream, rounded and small, and shaking when he dances naked while getting dressed in the morning. I want to remember their strong, slender, milky feet and tiny, delicate toenails that curl under at the tip. I want to remember their wide eyes looking deep into mine as they squish my cheeks between their little hands and tell me that they love me. 

I want to remember Portia's subtle lisp and how the words tumble out of her mouth surrounded by gasps of breath when she's excited, and the way she says "mazagine" instead of "magazine." I want to remember Holden's wild hand gestures, expressive faces, and full body explanations--his general inability to contain his excitement within his tiny body when he has something to say. 

I want to remember their crazy dances and silly games, their wild imaginations, their energy and joy and oozy buckets of love. I want to remember every tear and boo boo, every squeal of joy, every moment of accomplishment, every first...peeing in the potty, zipping their jackets, writing their names, reading a book, riding a two wheeler, making a hole-in-one at mini golf. I want to remember every cuddle and nap on my shoulder, every bedtime story and lullaby, every meal, every vacation, every splash in the pool and dig in the sand. I want to remember my husband making them laugh, throwing them in the pool, teaching them to swing a bat, and chasing them through the yard with a squirt gun. 

And I want to remember me, at my best with them; me being the mom I want to be. Me being the listener, the cuddler, the kisser of booboos and chaser of bad dreams, the attention giver, the food preparer, the surpriser, the fun haver, the tickle monster, the squeal-inducing chaser, the gift giver, the hugger and kisser, the back scratcher, the question answerer, the never-ending patience haver. I want to remember it all...

So where did this come from?

Two places.

We recently came across a video of Portia on her first day of preschool at 2 1/2 years old. She's singing this adorable, made-up song about the first day of school. And it's amazingly sweet and funny. And I realized that I had forgotten that version of her. The age, that look, that voice. I'd forgotten. I don't want to forget that.

And...

I recently did this exercise where I thought about how I want my kids to describe their childhood when they grow up and what I want to leave behind when I die. I'm not trying to be morbid and I certainly don't want to rush through my kids' childhood. The idea was to think about where I want to end up-- what my big picture, important life goals are; to really ground myself in that so that I could see if what I'm doing now has me on the path to get where I ultimately want to be.

Because here's the thing: if one of my goals is "to raise happy kids turned happy adults, filled with warm memories and lots of love; kids who follow their dreams and share that love," but I spend most of my time tackling a to do list, writing emails and looking at Facebook, well, then I'm not on a great trajectory to achieve my goal. Maybe my time would be better spent playing a game or doing a craft with my kids, or helping them with their homework or watching the show their putting on for me. If one of my goals is "to leave behind stories, lots and lots of stories," then writing, telling stories to my kids, and talking with friends are actually great uses of my time.

Because here's the other thing: our time here on earth is not infinite. As much as it might seem, on any given random day, like it is...it is not. And guess what? Our kids will grow up and move away (or at least out of the house). Some day I will die. It's the one thing we can truly say that we know for certain will happen, right? And when that day comes I want to have truly lived and remembered every moment with my kids (because not only was I there doing it, but I was also paying attention). I want to be able to picture their infant faces and their kid bodies and their wondrous souls. And I want to leave behind a long and winding rope of people who felt loved and appreciated and honored by me. Especially my kids.

I want to leave behind a legacy of strength and love and compassion and understanding and joy and silliness and laughter and growth and learning. And that legacy began 40 years ago. And it continues today, and tomorrow, and next week, with every choice I make, with the ways I choose to spend my day and the attitude I choose to have. It's not happening when I have more time or when the kids are a little older or when the weather is nicer or when I lose five pounds or when I retire. It's now. This day. This moment.

This is my life.

I want to live it, savor it, love it...and remember it.

Until next time, here are my words of wisdom for you: live the life today that you want to remember tomorrow. And pay attention.



August 7, 2015

Recipes for your Garden Haul: Sesame-Ginger Cucumber Salad


Look! A bird! A plane! No, it's more cucumbers!

Yes, I know.

Just go with it.

So here's a lovely, light little summer side dish for you! (And another great way to use those cucs!)

Sesame-Ginger Cucumber Salad

recipe adapted from www.reciperunner.com
1 large cucumber, thick sliced and quartered
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp fresh, grated ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Cut your cucumber in half lengthwise. Put the flat sides down on your cutting board and slice each half in half again, lengthwise. Then slice the four spears into half inch slices so that you end up with nice chunks of cucumber. Put the cucumber in a medium size bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except sesame seeds. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and toss to coat. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and refrigerate until ready to serve. It's that easy!

Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled if you have two cucumbers and more people. However, it really should be eaten the same day that it's made...those cucs can get a bit mushy if they're left in liquid for too long.

Until next time, happy cooking!



P.S. For more recipes for your garden haul, check out my Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/amylorbach/recipes-for-my-garden/.



August 4, 2015

Recipes for your Garden Haul: Cucumber Sandwiches


The garden haul in this photo is from a few weeks ago. I haven't been taking pics lately, but I need to. Next week I'll share some photos of the garden itself, along with the fun stuff we're harvesting (and, of course, some garden recipes).

So, we're moving on from zucchini recipes (as promised) to cucumbers...because that's what's coming in in my garden right now. I've got a few simple cucumber recipes to share this week. (I think every recipe involving cucumbers is simple.) In addition to those, my husband's been making lots of fun cucumber drinks and we've canned some cucs for dill pickles (as well as some hot peppers) that will be ready to eat later this month.

I also highly recommend using up extra cucs by making cucumber water. It's lovely. To make it extra interesting you can add some fresh ginger and lemon to your cucumber water. It is light and refreshing and very spa-like.

But today, we're talking cucumber sandwiches.

They're not just for English High Tea!

(And they are actually quite delicious. Seriously. Give them a try.)

These are so simple. They are cool and light. Perfect for a hot summer day. And they are a delicious way to use up the 542 cucumbers that are growing in your garden...or is that just in my garden???

Seriously people, those things are taking over! They have squeezed out the summer squash plant; they would be squeezing out the beans and lettuce if I hadn't put up a barricade; they might be trying to take over the world! It is a crazy tangled mess in there, but boy are those cucs delish.

So here's another way to use them...dainty, proper, English cucumber sandwiches.

Cucumber Sandwiches (makes 4 sandwiches)

recipe originally found on www.chindeep.com
3 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cucumber, sliced (I leave the skin on unless it's really tough)
8 slices, bread of your choice (I think a softer bread works best, but any kind will do)

Mix the cream cheese, mayo, garlic and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. (If you let your cream cheese sit out for a little bit before mixing, you can just mix it by hand. If your cream cheese is very firm you can either soften it a bit in the microwave (just a little though, don't heat it up) or you can mix this all in a mini food processor.) Spread cream cheese mixture on all 8 slices of bread. Add one layer of cucumber to 4 of the slices of bread. Sprinkle cucumber lightly with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with other bread slice. Cut and serve. (You can cut the crusts off to be extra proper, but I don't bother...I like crust.)

There you have it. Super simple summer sandwiches...say that 5 times fast.

Until next time, happy eating.