All about food.

I waited until Christmas Day to give Camilla her first bite of food because I’m sentimental about stuff like that. She was 6 months old and had been closely watching us put that mysterious stuff in our mouths for weeks so I deemed her ready for some rice cereal. Before we gave Camilla her first bites, I was feeling a little mopey about nursing and how she wasn’t going to want me anymore and that sort of thing. But as you can see, it turns out that I didn’t need to worry: milk is definitely still baby’s first choice.

(These photos are actually from her second taste since the lighting was terrible the first time and I was laughing so hard that all the photos are shakey. But the sequence of events is essentially the same.)

One of her first bites...

What?!? Is this for me?? I am literally shaking with excitement that I get my very own bite of food!

Slurp.

Cough, cough, splutter.

What the heck, people? This is disGUSting! There is no way that this is what you get so excited about.

Ewwwwwy ewwwy ewwy ewy ew.

An empty spoon…now that’s more like it.

Done!

We figured out pretty quickly that the most objectionable element to oatmeal and rice cereal was the texture. So we gave that a break for a few weeks and switched to large pieces of apple and pear that doubled as teething toys. They were a much bigger hit.

Yaaayyy, I know what this is!

This is the good stuff.

Apple is much better than oatmeal, I guess.

I don’t know who they think they’re foolin’ with that other nonsense…rice cereal is for loser babies. I only want apple.

Once, in my (ahem) absence, husband also presented her with half of an overripe cantaloupe.

After inspecting it closely, she tackled the problem with all of her baby skills.

I guess cantaloupe is pretty okay, too.

Her first taste of cantaloupe.

Unfortunately, the arrival of her two bottom teeth meant that handing her big chunks of fruit wasn’t such a great idea anymore since she could break off surprisingly large pieces. Enter those genius little mesh bag thingies.

We stuff a piece of apple or pear in the top, hand it over, and let her work on it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

Then everybody is happy.

My only concern is that the mesh part is really hard to clean sans dishwasher. If anyone has any tips, let me know…

Oh, here is a photo of those two little teeth. I know you were really wanting to see them, right?

Two little teeth.

Do not be fooled: they are adorable, but they are also razor-sharp. And gnawing on fingers is their preferred form of entertainment. Camilla has been teething again like crazy recently and I am crossing my fingers that about four more are on the verge of appearing. If only one piddly tooth shows up after a month of this then I am going to be a little put out.

Scootin' on the floor.

Who, me? Make a fuss? You must be joking.

All I do all day is roll around on the floor while Mommy tries to sew.

Playin' with the Beans.

I even play nicely with The Beans.

Now that I have sticky fingers and I’ve learned to throw food on the ground, she likes me more than ever.

It’s funny how that works…

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The Christmas Feast.

Husband really likes to take photos when we cook a big meal together, so here are some belated ones from our Christmas dinner. The menu was:

Goose rubbed with citrus and 5 spice and stuffed with sage, apples and onions
Crispy potatoes with white cheddar
Chesnut stuffing
Brussel sprouts with bacon and chesnuts
Christmas pudding

Everything turned out quite well except the potatoes, which were not as crispy as we wanted and better upon reheating. It was quite a bit of food for two people, but we invited friends over the next day to help us finish the leftovers and made a nice goose noodle soup after that. It turns out that goose is delicious and surprisingly versatile…I guess we’ll have to have it next Christmas as well!

Making our Christmas dinner.

Orange zest for the rub.

Apples and fresh sage.

Stuffng the goose.

The goose!

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

The stuffing begins.

Chesnuts.

Brussel sprouts with bacon and chesnuts.

'Taters.

Carving the goose.

The feast.

Christmas pud.

The pudding aflame.

A tasty distraction.

Each day that the baby has not come yet (like today), husband and I find ourselves with the quandry of what to do. I realize that this problem is a luxury in and of itself, but it’s still troublesome when the single thing you most want to do is the thing that cannot be done on command. Today’s solutions included reading at Panera for a few hours (thanks to my sudden scone craving) and spending a ridiculous amount of time making dinner. Husband blogged about the event and you can find his description and my photos here.

Of course, it’s all part of our plan to convince the baby that good things await her if she will only decide to come out.

Pretty food tastes better.

This was a very twenty-something weekend for me, complete with home-made sushi and Knocked Up. (Pretty good, on both accounts.)

It feels rather demographically stereotypical, but husband and I have decided that we really like sushi. He even likes it enough to watch some youtube videos, make a few trips to the store, and make some himself.

Making sushi...

And the results?

...And eating it.

Well, let’s just say that the brother who lived in Japan for a year gave it two thumbs up. :)

White on white.

I made cupcakes Tuesday night for my mother’s birthday, which was yesterday. I can’t find the recipe online, so to make your own batch of incredibly delicious vanilla cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting you’ll have to buy the June issue of Martha Stewart. I bought a copy for mum as part of her present and happened to, um, skim through it before giving it to her (the recipe page might be an teensy-weensy bit rumpled now).

As I was making the cupcakes, I noticed that the batter and frosting were the most beautiful shades of white on white. 

Vanilla cupcake batter.

One thing I really like about having a new camera is that I’m trying harder to see now. When you’re limited to the small viewspace inside your lens, you look harder at how things relate to each other. You think more about things like color, composition, and value – things that I forget about most of the time. I remember walking around Providence, RI, the day after discussing value (how light/dark something is) in one of my illustration classes and seeing the trees and houses and cars like I had been blind for years. Sometimes knowledge + understanding can give you new eyes.

Cream cheese + coconut frosting.

I guess this doesn’t really have anything to do with cupcakes anymore. I really enjoy that fact that making one thing acts as a trigger for all manner of ideas for unrelated things. From cupcake batter to white compositions to Mark Rothko paintings to home decor to that piece of furniture I didn’t buy at the Goodwill to the pillowcases I did to the idea I had for a new purse made from them to I should probably paint instead to I don’t paint enough anymore to what should I paint next…You get the idea. All while standing at the kitchen counter mixing flour and eggs and sugar.

Back to mother’s birthday, it would have been an entirely lovely event except that brother-in-Japan was missing. I coaxed some beautiful but rarely used china teacups and depression glass plates out of her cabinets and set them on a, old printed tablecloth. And I had the first red roses of the season, cut from the bushes in the yard.  

I hope she felt loved, because she is very much. Happy birthday again, mum!

Thrifting + Cooking.

The dining room is done, but I’m not going to take photos until the furniture is put back in place (it doesn’t look like much of an improvement with plastic, rollers, paint cans, etc. scattered all around). I do have pics of my other weekend accomplishements: thrifting and cooking.

I don’t know why I’ve been on such a thrifting kick lately, especially since I don’t have a lot of money to spend. Thrill of the hunt, maybe? Anyhow, I spent about $15 last weekend and came away with a lot of new treasures, including:

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..two pillows in a really lovely linen print (from a thrift store). The pillows are strangely lumpy, so I think I’m going to throw the stuffing out and keep just the fabric. I really, really like the combination of green and turquoise.

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..a vintage Christmas tablecloth in perfect condition (from an estate sale).

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..a French wallhanging (from an estate sale). I’ve started collecting these – I have one with Swedish flowers (in Swedish) and one with American birds.

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..a hobnail vase and a jar(?) with lid (from the dollar shelf at an antique store).

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..a piece of fabric-that-I-didn’t-realize-was-polyester and a great old photo (from a thrift store). Can you see the expression on the man’s face??

Not pictured: new spider plant, large piece of printed fabric, and some other stuff that I can’t remember right now.

I’m out of time, so I’m going to post the food pics without any comment other than that they were delicious. The potato soup moreso than that ravioli, but it was my first try. (Don’t the raviolis look like little alien spaceships?)

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Some biscotti.

Last night’s big project was to finish the biscotti I’m giving as my office Christmas presents this year.  I sort of messed up the present thing last year and gave larger presents to a few people, only to discover that around here people give small gifts to everyone.  I wanted to bake something other than cookies, so I got ahold of a biscotti recipe and gave it a shot.

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According to Josh, my biscotti turned out really successfully.  It’s crunchy, almond-y, and slathered in chocolate with vanilla stripes.  The only problem is that the recipe didn’t make as much as I thought it would (why is that always the case??), so everyone only got two pieces.  But the hand-stamped gift tags should count for something, right? 

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As I was dipping pieces of biscotti in chocolate I watched Little Miss Sunshine, which – as Josh agreed – was much better than we’d thought it would be.  The VW that needed a running start was hilarious; I don’t think you can come up with something like that unless it’s happened to you.  And I really really like DeVotchKa, so the soundtrack was a nice surprise (“How It Ends” is one of my Favorite Songs Ever).

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Amusing office moment of the day: did you know that the Missouri Botanical Garden is very particular about being a Garden, and not Gardens?  I didn’t, at least not until after I had 350 holiday cards printed that included an announcement about a “special tour of the Missouri Botanical Gardens.”  Oops.  My very kind supervisor helped me cover 350 s’s with white out.

Another amusing office moment: I read through lots and lots of applications from international students, so I see a lot of Engrish (“Dear officer, I am very interesting in your program…”).  But today’s was the best – one student’s letter of recommendation came from an assistant professor who had spent two years as a “poster-doctor” in Germany. 

If you don’t spend any time around postdocs, you might not find that funny. But I did.