Monthly Archives: March 2012

Edible Keepsakes

Last August we sadly said ‘Ciao Ciao’ to our dear friend and babysitter, Amy, as she headed to Florence for her freshman year abroad. (Of course we had to send her off with a journal and international air mail in hand!)

Over the past seven months we’ve written letters, received postcards from her travels, emailed and skyped with Amy. She’s even blogged about her adventures overseas. But when we really miss her, we make her family’s hummus.

It was a sticky July afternoon when Amy stopped by with not only some rockin’ homemade hummus but a handwritten recipe attached.  A girl after my own heart. So last week when Ollie and I were wishing she was close by we decided to break out the chickpeas and feel a little more connected with our far-off friend.

In the midst of the lemon juice and garlic scraps lay Amy’s handwriting. It was almost as if a little part of her spirit was right there with us. And it made me think of all the other recipes I’ve held on to from friends and family which I’ve saved over the years, written with their own writing.

Often after I enjoy a meal at my mother-in-law’s, Sally will mail the recipe of the dish she made especially if one of the boys ate it up as well. Her Smoked Salmon Frittata has become one of my faves. Her writing is always simple yet lovely, a teacher’s touch.

Speaking of homemade hummus, my childhood friend Theresa, who now lives in Des Moines, makes everything she can from scratch. So, of course, after she brought this appetizer for a girl’s weekend up north I asked her to send me the recipe…If not for future making, it’s a memory of our time. I have flashbacks of grade school notes whenever I see her writing which has not changed one bit.

And there is always the annual Holiday Baking with my mom. The sugar cookie recipe has been used for years now and although we probably know it by heart, every December I  thumb through my recipe folder to find mom’s handwritten recipe. It wouldn’t be a baking marathon without it somewhere in the middle of the mess on the kitchen island.

All of this talk about handwritten recipe cards got me thinking. Why not send your Aunt  who makes an unforgettable flourless chocolate cake a recipe card in the mail so she can share her baking secrets? Or your friend from college who made the wacky spice mix to sprinkle on popcorn? Not only will you accumulate some tasty recipes but you will also hold a keepsake to treasure for years to come. Every time you make that dish you will be reminded of the person behind the words however far they may be from your kitchen island. Although I print off many email recipes sent from friends, the handwritten ones bring an emotional level to each dish we create in our home.

P.S. Miss you Amy. Love your hummus (we added olives this go around, Oliver’s fav).

Two More Minutes

For most of my life I have been a morning person. In the old days by 7am I would have run around the neighborhood lake, made coffee, read the paper and written in my journal. Most of this changed with the arrival of our sons. But the thought of being productive in the early morning becomes nonexistent during pregnancy. At least for me. At 5.5 months I hold on to every moment I can, buried deep down under the covers I dream about how fast I can whip myself and the boys together before we head down for breakfast. And it never helps when Oliver, my 3 year-old, jumps into bed and wants to snuggle even longer. Which seems to be a daily routine these days.

Five minutes pass and I whisper “Ollie, we gotta get up” but he replies “two more minutes mommy.” I mean, come on. It’s now next to impossible for me to move a muscle. I start visualizing the days when Oliver is a teenager when I will be dragging him out of bed each morning, reminding myself of how much I miss these minutes in the morning with him. How do I know that I will remember the “sunrise moments” with Oliver? These are the kind of memories I need, I want to write down. I soon make a pledge of moving the kids’ journals from our downstairs office to my bedside table. Even though I’m moving at a snail’s pace late at night or early in the morning around our bedroom, my mind is always more open and reflective when I have a chance to just be.

Aside from the day-to-day details of our kids’ lives, it’s the moments that cause me to hold my breath that I want to remember later in life. And even more importantly, our boys might want to know what life was like with mom on random, rainy mornings in March, 2012 before their new sibling arrived. Maybe it will remind them to stay in bed with their kids two more minutes than planned. That’s always the hope.

By the way, if you are in need of a new journal catch the sale going on TODAY at Daily Candy with Graphique Boutique.  Ironically I noticed my dad had picked up the above Koco with Stripes Journal at the Chicago Institute of Art last month and was quite the stylish grandpa carrying his hip, new journal around town last week. Way to keep up the writing movement, dad.

Mail from the Mississippi

A few days ago my friend Jenny mentioned a story on NBC’s Nightly News which I had to share with you all. Lois Hayes, the retired second school teacher who lives in Mississippi, never forgets a student’s birthday. After 40 years of teaching, and even after retirement, she is still sending out birthday cards, over 400 a year.  “I’ve always wanted to make them know they’re special,” is the reason why she writes.  A lady making a difference, through the US Mail no doubt. See the whole story here.

Also wanted to mentioned a gathering which I’ve brought up in the past. If you are in the Twin Cities don’t miss out on tomorrow’s Stationery Saturday at the downtown Minneapolis Lunalux.

This month you’ll have the chance to create folded notecards, using a stunning set of 36-point lead letters rarely seen. And if you’re feeling adventurous, Lunalux encourages their customers to operate the hand-cranked proof press on their own. No need to head to the gym. These cards are perfect gifts or for yourself. I love the idea of placing a photo on the inside left page while writing affections on the right. I will see you there tomorrow afternoon and if you can’t make it try again on April 7th or May 5th. Happy writing.