Ok, I admit it, I watch an inordinate amount of time watching Top Chef and the Food Network in general. I'm pretty addicted to any sort of decent food show. I love food, love cooking, I like talking about food, I like trying to new food, I like judging food thats on tv from my couch...basically it was only a matter of time until I got around to reading this book.
Anthony Bourdain always comes off as the incredibly rude and arrogant judge on Top Chef, and although he continues to be abrasive in his book, his writing is wickedly entertaining at times and he describes with finesse the details involved in a chef's life. He describes his way working up the ladder of tough kitchens, culinary school, and then a life devoted to finding the best money in being a chef to dying restaurants in order to fuel his drug habits.
His descriptions of life in a working kitchen are entertaining to read and make up the best of the book. There is a good amount of crude and rough language that I fully believe happens in the back of the kitchen, but it does seems to create an almost fictional atmosphere that can only happen at the hands of a good writer. Bourdain never ceases to be honest whether about food, people, his own drug addiction and his own place in the chef world which surprised me due to his large ego on tv.
Bourdain's great writing style made this book readable and entertaining, and is still a must read for a "foodie" or food tv addict alike.
I always feel like randomly posting on Mondays, its almost as if I can't attempt anything too serious until I've got the week under control. So heres a little randomness:
-I spent a whole blissful half hour in Starbucks flipping through Elle Decor on Saturday just for the sheer fun of it! I pretended that I do that sort of thing all the time, and that it doesn't take coordinated efforts to have spare time in the city where I'm not running errands AND my husband and/or in laws are alright in watching 3 kids run around for a while.
-My sister's birthday is today-Happy Birthday Alexa! Its also the feast(?) of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist...which is a weird feast day...but kinda cool at the same time...I've always teased my sister about it though, poor kid.
-My house is full of flies and its driving me nuts. Its the end of summer+living in the country+living in a pretty poorly built house which equals me vacuuming up flies every afternoon. Its pretty gross. I shouldn't be telling you about it.
-And finally, doesn't this beautiful bedroom feel like a wonderfully cozy spare room at Grandma's house?? It makes me want to curl up and read some Anne of Green Gables!
Just wanted to post a little Dom picture-lately he's been looking up at me with his big eyes and saying "I lub you too mama!" usually while eating something or when theres a strange lull in conversation.
Just another adorable thing I want to remember forever.
I know its been making the rounds but I had to post it because I love everything about it! Its light but homey, uses my favourite colours, has fabulous wallpapers, great fabrics, and most importantly looks very kid-friendly.
House Beautiful bills this home designed by Mona Ross Berman as a "retro beach house" which I don't know translates easily into Canadian style, but maybe I'm hesitant to see it as a beach house as its just so close to my style but definitely wouldn't describe my fav style as "beachy". Oh well, I'll get over it.
World Youth Day was remarkable once again this year. As always, upon reading the Pope's words I'm struck with how well he speaks to his audience. He concisely speaks to the issues young people of faith are dealing with, you'd never know he's in his 80s!
Here's a great quote from his homily at the Saturday vigil:
"If you abide in the love of Christ, rooted in the faith, you will encounter, even amid setbacks and suffering, the source of true happiness and joy. Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ."
If you get a chance the Pope's words are really worth a read. The Vatican news site has all the Pope's speeches.
I also found these two articles to be a great commentary on the importance of World Youth Days:
Tim Muldoon's take on what makes the Pope different from atheistic leaders.
And an article detailing the difference between the London riots and over a million young people gathered in Madrid.
This is what my kitchen looks like when I wake up!
I can't believe how fast the weekend/summer goes! My husband had another 3 day weekend which is always great, but its over before I know it! We went to the city for my nephew's first birthday party which was tons of fun, the kids especially were completely played out by the end of the day. Add the packing, driving, and of course, my big grocery shopping that is always entailed with a short trip to the city and I was pretty knackered as well.
So today I've already vacuumed floors, thrown some laundry in, done the dishes, but I need to do something with the awful clutter on my counter, and find some place for all the cheap(!) summer clothes for next year I bought for the kids this weekend. My family's also gone on a little holiday so the kids are going to have to tough it out with me this week, I think we'll try a little beach action at the lake one day. So that was my unnecessary wrap-up of my weekend and my exciting Monday, hope your Monday's more productive!
World Youth Day has begun in Madrid, and today Pope Benedict XVI landed in Spain. I have great memories from my two experiences with World Youth Day, in Rome in 2000 and Toronto in 2002. Its an indescribable experience of pilgrimage, Church unity, and real encounters with Christ.
Pope Benedict has said this morning after departing from the plane, “With all my heart, I say again to you young people: let nothing and no one take away your peace; do not be ashamed of the Lord", his words are already so encouraging! Pope Benedict is also going to be hearing confessions at this World Youth Day! The first pope to do so, and how crazy would that be?? I can't imagine lining up for hours at the little confessionals and then to find out I was going to confession to the Pope!
Anyway, I'm going to try and watch some of the Pope's arrival today on EWTN and wish I was there.
I use the word "routine" with an exclamation point....theres gotta be something wrong with me!
I've got to admit that I've always enjoyed routine, and any kind of routine. It really is part of my personality that I try to hide but it comes out all the time. Since having kids though routine is a must and I'm more often thankful for it than burdened by it. I've had my kids on a "routine" since they were month old babies and have seen the great rewards of it everywhere-sleep, eating, teaching new skills, letting them be babysat by grandparents, introducing new things, etc. I honestly don't think I'd still be sane with three babies if I didn't seriously work at a routine and thus get an hour to two hours a day of everyone napping! Its wonderful!
But its funny how used to out routines we can become. My husband's job has just changed slightly, in that he's home a whole hour earlier! To most people I'm sure its no big deal, but to me its amazing! My day seems about 8 hours shorter already and its only been two days. So far its helped to miraculously dissipate the witching hour between 5-6:30 pm. I'm cooking a little earlier, the kids are happier, daddy's home at 5:30 and has loads of time to play with them before I'm completely stressed out and yelling at everyone while I try to finish dinner! Its a miracle!
I guess I thought I'd just go on the record to say how grateful and appreciative I am! Its amazing what one hour can do to your day, or is am I the only one a slave to routine??
We spent a lovely whirlwind weekend away in the mountains-complete with good friends and an afternoon at the spa! Its really ridiculous how fast kid-free weekends go by though, it felt like only yesterday I was feeding them breakfast and putting them in corners...ah.
Since I'm feeling a little holiday hangover, and the kids definitely have a grandparents hangover, I'm hoping today will be slow. Wish I could spend some time at this perfect forest hideaway!
We went berry picking on Wednesday! It was definitely on my to-do list for the summer and we had a good time other than becoming prey to the mosquitoes! The boys ate their fill of raspberries and then were pretty bored, but Gemma picked for the whole time until I had an ice cream bucket full. I've frozen tons of berries and no one got sick so I'm pretty sure it was a successful day!
I could eat raspberries everyday! And I usually do, but they're usually the frozen variety blended into the smoothie I call breakfast. I finally came to the conclusion after baby number 3 that a) I hardly had time to eat breakfast myself and b) I usually ate up completely useless calories for breakfast like cereal, juice, or my pregnancy nemesis: a bagel w/cream cheese! The smoothie give me a solid base of fruit for the day, and I throw in all my health and protein powders so its gotta be good for me right?
It would be remiss of me as a Mad Men fanatic not to mention the gorgeous Mad Men Collection that came out this week from Banana Republic. Its gorgeous. Its classy. I'd own every piece if I could. Even if just to wear a little dress while staying home all day ala Betty Draper!
In other not so fun news, the stuff coming out of Britain regarding the unbelievable riots is so depressing. I don't claim to know much about the situation but this is a good article about it from The Telegraph that pretty much sums up the whole problem.
Yesterday was the Feast of St. Clare, and I just thought I'd mention it because I've always loved St. Clare. I'm not too sure if its because I visited Assisi when I was 15, or something more profound and spiritual, but I find her interesting. Its funny how some saints just grab you and others don't isn't it?
Isn't this bathroom out of control?! You've got to see the before pics from Design*Sponge. I don't think I've ever seen the rustic wood/chandelier/marble tile combo done so well before. I want this bathroom!
My husband and I are going away to the mountains for the weekend with some good friends of ours. We're all celebrating our 5th Anniversary-which seems like a big one! Time has flown by, and I'm going to enjoy this weekend of mountains, hotel, spa, and great food to the fullest! Its going to be a while before we have another kid-free couple of days together. You've gotta enjoy every second when you can get it! Have a great weekend everyone!
As loathe as I am to jump on the bestseller bandwagon (and slow!), I have to admit that this book is deserving of its vast praise and popularity.
I kept putting off reading this because in my head I somehow pictured a dire and depressing depiction of the American south in the 1960's, and I don't do well with dire and depressing. But the beauty of this book is that Stockett brings a light and almost joyful touch when telling the stories of these three women. The author is respectful and honest, but the sheer charm of the characters refuse to allow dark clouds to descend upon the story.
The characters, from the persevering maid Aibileen to the unbelievably arrogant Hilly, are beautifully drawn as well as realistic. Each has their own set of flaws and talents, and the most fun of the book comes from experiencing the story through the alternating voices of Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Stockett does an expert job detailing the experience of a black maid in the 1960's, their voices are tough, courageous, but at the same time likeable and funny. The characters are the most memorable I've read in a bestseller in a very long time!
If you haven't yet read this book then I would definitely recommend it for a charming read with a great story that will probably make you laugh and cry. And you've got to admit that it gives you hope for the future when a bestseller doesn't disappoint!
I was on Etsy for an inordinate amount of time today and stumbled onto these crocheted beads about an inch big! I crochet when the mood strikes me or for some reason get some kind of craft itch, and although I've made each of my babies a little blanket and a couple large afghans I'm really drawn to the more unique items that can be crocheted.
I think these would be pretty awesome as beads-but don't they look gorgeous just sitting in a bowl??
I've just read a great article bringing to light how sad and depressing "crying rooms" are in our modern churches. As I read it I couldn't help but think Deacon Greg is right for many reasons.
For the past 4 years we've always had a "baby" and usually two more toddlers at Mass with us. We go every Sunday, and try to go in the week and Holy Days of Obligation too, and I think I can count on one hand how many times we've had to physically remove our kids from the church. The church where we attend Mass is a very small and historic building built in 1919. Even the entryway is tiny and attached to the main part of the Church so taking the kids to the back is rendered useless as well.
But this doesn't mean the babies are completely silent and holy through every Mass. Usually at least one makes noise through a large section of the Mass, and in the case of my youngest and loudest child, likes to flex his muscle of getting away with as much as possible knowing we can't do too much in a pew! But, although its nothing close to easy, getting your kids used to listening to you in Church and behaving semi-civilized for about an hour is achievable. We've definitely had Masses where the temper tantrum has lasted a couple whole minutes and you can feel everyone looking at you wondering why you can't get your own child to be quiet! Our current priest sometimes stops his homily and asks Luke to lighten it up a little. (Going to Mass every week AND sitting in the front row AND making a lot of noise is definitely one way to have your priest know the names of your kids!)
But I've also been pretty strong in not wanting to take the kids out completely unless absolutely necessary. I think it teaches the kids first of all, that if they pitch enough fits, cry enough or be generally unpleasant they get to go run around to their hearts content for the rest of Mass. That'll take years to get out of their systems once you've let that go on. And I think that the only way you get kids used to being in Church and thus fostering a life-long interest and attachment to actually going to Mass, is to keep them there from the start and showing them that its important. We're not here to play, or eat treats, we're here to listen, pray, etc.
As for the mom's viewpoint, I think many women feel as if they're expected to take their children out as soon as they begin to make noise. I understand that feeling but also don't believe that the small normal sounds small children make are harmful or detrimental to the general population at Mass. Churches should be embracing the beauty of babyhood and children. Churches should be supporting and encouraging young mothers to bring their children to Mass no matter how much noise comes with them. The benefits for both mother, child, and family are too great to ignore in the back of the church somewhere.
That all being said, its tons of work bringing small children to Mass and getting them to behave. We always try to have them well rested and fed so that the chances for huge meltdowns are limited. I've gotten so used to always dealing with a child during Mass that strange looks from some people a couple pews over don't bother me, but I know it can be detrimental to others who may be new mothers, or not too comfortable in church themselves. If we truly want to open our faith to youth we've got to start at infancy, the infancy of the new child, but also a burgeoning family that should be welcomed into every celebration so they may be able to receive the graces of the Eucharist and in turn our Church will continue to grow.