The Best Collards I Ever Made

So, if you know me, you know that "cooking" is not really my thing.

BAKING is my thing.

Preparing nightly dinners is one of the most frustrating things that I encounter on a regular basis.

Make it healthy.

Make a variety.

Make it palatable to my kids.

Make it palatable to my husband.

Cereal is not an acceptable dinner (or so I'm told).

I will pour my heart and soul into a pie, cobbler, loaf of bread, cake, baguette, cheese straws, cookies. I want everyone to taste the love and feel a bit of heart warming, down home goodness.

But with dinner my main goal is to get something on the plate that is passable in it's edibility.

Last Thursday, however, I made something TASTY. Without a recipe.


We had Rice, black-eyed peas, collards, and cornbread. It's a simple meal that sounds a little lackluster. But is full of nutritional goodness, it's hearty and filling, and it's a nice meatless alternative if you are watching your budget or just not a big meat person (like my four-year-old). The meal as a whole was very good. But the collards. Well, I wanted to eat the whole pot. THE WHOLE POT, PEOPLE!

Here's what I did.  (In Recipe Form)

Take a large sautee pan and throw two large strips of thick cut bacon into it. Render that bacon fat. Then throw in one white onion (chopped) and 2-3 garlic cloves minced. Cook until onion is translucent. De-glaze your pan with maybe 1/4-1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar. Add in your washed and chopped collards. Make sure that collards get coated with all the goodness that is now happening since your deglazed with the vinegar. Last, take a cup of chicken stock and pour it in the mix. Keep over med-low heat and let it all cook down.

The best collards ever. My husband praised me and my kids still refuse to eat them. But if you are new to dark, bitter greens. This is a great way to prepare them.

You're welcome. (wink)


Happy {Music} Friday


This is just a snippet of a new favorite, St. Paul and The Broken Bones.
To listen to their full set, check out their full performance on KEXP

Happy Friday, 


Sleepless Nights

Last night was sleepless all around in our household.

It started at 12am when I woke up after having one of the most disturbing dreams ever.

A young Jeff Bridges was the long forgotten childhood arch-nemesis of my husband. My husband and I were trapped in a glass room (arch nemesis having found & kidnapped us in his now psychotic & sadistic adulthood). Good 'ol Jeff would walk past the glass and taunt us both (not physically harming us, but toying with us concerning my husband's inevitable death). I kept thinking, "Why aren't we trying to make a break for it?" However, in dream land I would then remember some vital piece of information that made our inevitable doom fairly sealed. Like airtight.

He was definitely wearing an eye patch and a white tux.
Tell me that is not scary beyond all reason? 

Somehow a blue ball (not unlike the one's that I throw in my dryer) came into play and was symbolic for something. At that point in this whole process I was just trying to wake myself up and could care less about the symbolism contained in my legitimately scary dream.

I'm a fan of Jeff Bridges....but he was fairly creepy.

Also, Hubs....if you have a crazy person from your past that I need to know about, can you go ahead and give me the heads up? And what does the blue ball mean? You got anything?

That being said, I did what every woman in my family does when she finds herself wide awake at night. I prayed for everyone that I know. For safety, clarity, etc.

I also got up and locked all the doors (or checked to make sure they were lock). I also discovered that the oven was still on from earlier in the evening and turned it off.

My fairly strange night time behavior caused my husband to be concerned and unfortunately, when he wakes up (more often than not) he will really struggle to get back to sleep.

So we sat sleepless.

Then the girls stirred.

And then we magically fell asleep (hours later), I got up early with the girls, and the hubs got to sleep in a bit.

Guh. Can it be possible to have a case of the Tuesdays?


A Case of the Mundays

Apparently, moving back to an amazing city where my husband has an amazing job and we had an amazing weekend and we have amazing friends DOES NOT mean that we are immune to a harsh "case of the Mundays."

If you're waiting for THAT THING that will make EVERYTHING BETTER. Or if you ascribe to the belief that when every external circumstance falls into place, you're life will finally be the sunset pony ride into the happily ever after unicorn rainbow land...well, this story goes out to you, all my homies.

Let's get a little background.

We've moved. It's been hard (as moving is), but it's been great as we have old friendships to enjoy, old favorite spots to introduce the girls to, and new favorites to explore together. Life at this moment seems full of endless possibility and hope. It's a good place to be.

My little fam enjoyed a weekend of shopping and visiting at TWO different and completely legitimate farmers' markets. It was one of those mornings (Saturday) where we bought that blueberry scone for the girls (even though they had already had breakfast) and we danced to the live music and we chatted and smiled with strangers. We acted like we weren't meeting strangers. We made friends with the local Ethiopian food vendor, Harigu (whose name I am probably butchering). We sat  in our backyard and pretended to be trees and listened to the hubs play the guitar. I mean, it was saccharine levels of annoyingly sweet family goodness.

So, I planned on taking my beautiful kiddos to the Ga Art museum. After such a great weekend, certainly my precious baby-smelling toddlers deserved a trip that (despite recent evidence contrary to the thought) they could totally handle. I went to sleep Sunday night just excited to wake up to the beauty that was my life. Oh, how pride (delusion) comes before the fall (reality).  

5:30 AM Monday. Wake to older daughter crying. Overhear husband calmly talking to her and starting the bath tub. Walk down the hall to check in. Wet bed. Not anything we can't handle. We do have plastic sheets. Strip bed, put linens in wash. Hear baby number two ask to get in the bath. Think nothing of it and go about my business.

5:50 AM Walk back to the bedroom to check on hubs. He's reading. Good morning hug. About to ask how he slept when "Mom! Dad! I pooped on the potty!" Give tremendous cheer and a "That a girl." "Mom! Dad! Clara ... in the bathtub." Can't make out what has happened. Husband and I head to bathroom to check.

Oh. "Clara POOPED in the bathtub." Gotcha. Too early. No coffee. Brain can't really process what I am looking at. Husband and I proceed to laugh hysterically while both daughters develop a growing concern that we have indeed lost our minds.

6 AM Finish cleaning girls' bathroom. Resign myself to not having a magazine clean house for the next 15 years and decide that a "lived in" house is much better.

6:15 Tub-pooper starts coughing. Bed wetter throws tantrum. Tub pooper not eating (her favorite thing). Bed wetter throws another tantrum. Tub pooper throws tantrum resulting in gross nose and more coughing.

Husband and I make telepathic executive decision that trip to museum shall be postponed indefinitely.

We all eat breakfast. Husband gets ready for work even though Tub pooper seems adamant that he not leave and demands a philosophical discussion of the merits of work and labor.

Bed Wetter and Tub Pooper begin begging to watch "Brave" which is apparently the "Make you feel better" movie in our house. I agree with this. I mean, I feel better that I have not been turned into a bear and/or am being chase by a separate angry bear.

7:30 Husband leaves for work - having not been convinced (by yours truly) that today is actually "Let Your Wife Go to the Office in Your Place" Day.

I immediately put on "Brave." Girls request all manner of stuffies, lovies, low-lighting, and momma cuddles.

So very thankful for a case of the Mundays, that life isn't perfect, and that we can laugh our way through it.

How's your Monday going?


Happy {Music} Friday

Because it's been a while and I like music. Here is some great stuff by Sigur Ros. 
My oldest reffers to it as "Beautiful Crying Music." True story.



Holy Moving Batman!


We moved. 

Across the country. 


If you are keeping count, that is 4 cross country moves in 5 years (I think). 

Let me caveat by stating that by no means is this the most moving that anybody has ever done. I know lots of wonderful people who have moved farther, more often, and to more exotic places in shorter amounts of time. 

But, I also know that when we have recounted our moves to people who know us they get this look on their faces that implies they think us to be either incredibly adventurous or incredibly certifiable. We happen to be both, thank you very much, don't try to stick us in a box and put a label on us. 

Oh wait. Boxes and labels. Holy Moving Batman. 

So, here is what happened: Hubster was offered a new job in Athens, GA...at our Alma Mater.

How and when and timing of the whole process is a much longer and interesting story and I will write about it later. 

But the relevant part to this particular post is that we are back in the town where we met, fell in love, and started married life. 

Which is really weird. 

I will take a brand new city any day. I'm a military brat and sad to say, it is much easier for me to just move onto another city...let relationships slowly drop off...re-invent myself...and well, move ON. 

But what happens when you have to move BACK. 

The expectations are different. Everything is different. Nothing is as clean or as new or as shiny. 

And your kind of sucked back into who you were five years ago...even though you've done a lot of growing up and have changed a ton. But all of those folks who lived life with you while you were changing and growing up and 'becoming' are in the other cities, the left behind cities....

and you're stuck. 

So, how to navigate it all? Without infringing on the lives of friends who have also moved on and gown up? How to navigate people having to re-get-to-know-you? How to feel freedom in who you are and to really be okay with it?


I have no answers. I really don't. And I'm generally a know-it-all.

I've walked around for the last two weeks in a complete fog. I'm going through the motions and not really registering or acknowledging any emotions or feelings. I think if I can make it through the day, then maybe tomorrow I will wake up and everything will feel settled and normal.

And that is exactly how it will happen.

But until then. I am in a fog. Second guessing every word spoken, wandering around aimless, trying to balance wanting to connect and not being needy.

How many times have you moved in the last 5 years? What's the hardest part of it?