Just call me Susie Homemaker.
No, I didn't have a lobotomy, or a personality transplant. What I did was find a recipe for yummy bread that is so insanely easy that not even I could find an excuse not to make it.
Want to know my secret?
It's here. Basically, take 3 c. warm water, mix with 1.5 T each yeast and kosher or sea salt. Then incorporate 6.5 c. all-purpose flour with wooden spoon or wet hands. Let rise for 2-5 hours, covered but not airtight. When risen, transfer dough in container (covered, but not airtight) to refrigerator. It will keep there for up to 2 weeks, and whenever you want fresh bread, you just pinch off a section (this recipe makes 3 big loaves. 4 small ones) and bake it.
To bake: place baking/pizza stone on middle rack and broiler tray on bottom of oven. Preheat to 450. While oven is heating, spread cornmeal on your pizza peel (pictured above), shape your dough into a loaf, and let it rest on the peel. Sprinkle flour on top and slash with a serrated knife to allow dough to expand during cooking. (Also, this makes it look cooler.) When oven is heated, slide loaf onto stone using the peel, pour 1 cup warm water into broiler tray and close door quickly to trap the stream. Bake 30 minutes.
In the interest of full disclosure, here is a picture of my first and second loaves side by side. So there was a little learning curve as far as making it look nice, but the first loaf still tasted good. Even though it looked like an alien spacecraft. Or a little-known cactus variety. Or an armadillo.
This is bread that goes with my life. The dough takes 5 minutes to make. Less. Then there's less than an hour of lead time before you get actual bread, and most of that is just sitting around while you do other stuff. I love this! I feel like I need to tell everyone, because it's so good and easy.
I'm going to learn how to make regular, sliceable sandwich bread in my Kitchen Aid tonight, but I'm not optimistic because the ingredient list is so much longer. I'll give it a shot. But at least I know I have something that works here all ready to go!
Just call me Susie Homemaker.
How To Be Eve
by Eve Dixon
1. You have to start by being really, really adorable. Otherwise none of this other stuff goes down.
2. Cultivate a stubborn, argumentative streak. This will ensure you get your point across so your mother, even in her fragile mental state, can remember the pertinent blog points.
3. Pick a random question. Better yet, pick 15 random questions, and alternate them for maximum confusion and inanity. (Possible topics include, but are not limited to: swimming lessons, macaroni and cheese, the color yellow, Auntie Em, "when I am a grown-up mommy", feral cats, and sausages). Repeat. Shuffle. Repeat, louder.
4. OK, now back it off a little. Got to step mom up a little at a time. Run up, and give her leg a hug and a kiss. This will throw her off guard, making steps 5-7 more delightfully effective.
5. Answer all questions with "no", including "is your name Eve", "do you want a million dollars", and "are you arguing with me?" (This last one is especially delicious).
6. Know everything about everything. Also, be louder than everyone else in the vicinity.
7. Talk with your mouth full.
8. Wear striped tights in July.
9. Take long naps (maintaining this level of activity is exhausting!)
10. Insist, frequently, upon wearing nothing but your current favorite pair of shoes.
11. Mom says I have to wear undies too. Whatever. You don't have to listen to her.
(Mom, from offstage left: "Who is in charge in this house?")
You are, Mom.
(Mom: And when I ask you to do something, what do you say?)
12. Play along with these little exchanges. It will benefit you in the long run.
13. Read lots of stories.
14. Sing lots of songs. The best ones are made up on the spot. Suggested subject matter includes, but is not limited to: Rocket ships, mermaids, flowers, chocolate chip cookies, sleeping dollies, pigs, and Queen Victoria.
15. Have a big juicy round belly.
16. Pretend to dislike being tickled.
17. Practice all back, side, and tummy floats at home in the bathtub. Much more fun than doing it at, say, swimming lessons.
18. Have family home evening once a day. If you can't have it once a day, ask for it twice a day. Almost as good.
19. Dress like a fairy princess at every possible opportunity. Life is short. More is better.
Pounds of penne required for tonight's dinner: 1
Pounds of penne in cupboard: 0.5
Amount remaining in dining out budget: $60
Wait time at BJ's: 0 minutes
Wait time at BJ's for a table that can accommodate a high chair: 20 minutes
Number of high chairs at our table: 0
Number of minutes spent calculating relative expense of adult pizza plus two kids' pizzas vs. one big pizza for everyone: 5
Number of children who confirmed they were indeed "very hungry" and each required an entire 6 inch pizza to themselves: 2
Number of times Eve reminded us she does NOT LIKE PINEAPPLE: 6
Number of beverages spilled while waiting for pizza to arrive: 0
Number of divine interventions likely required to accomplish this feat: 4-6
Number of reminders for Eve to "sit down...on your bottom": 3,762
Number of "very hungry" children who finished their pizza: 0
Age of child who ate more than anyone else at table: 9.5 months
Number of waiters who earned their tip: 0
Making memories with the family: priceless
Last time I did one of these was 2 years ago - I figured things have changed sufficiently around here that it would be fun to document another one of my days, in all its glorious, ridiculous banality. David was working from home on the day in question (Friday) so he did help me take a couple of pictures, but what you see here is what there is, pretty much.
6:48: Iris awake. Lay in bed, nurse baby, let her crawl around, over, and through her mostly-sleeping parents. Put off getting out of bed as long as possible.
7:07: Eve awake. Reluctantly force self into vertical position.
7:25: Downstairs, breakfast served. Busy morning ahead, so it's the quickie version. Monkey cereal!
7:40: Dev up, with David's help. He is my sleepiest child.
7:48: Upstairs. Must dress self and children for public display - highly unusual for this time of morning. In the interest of full disclosure (since everyone else has been photographed in their pajamas), this is me. Your humble narrator, as is.
8:17: Leave for pediatrician. Well checks for big kids. Pray silently that Eve doesn't have to have any s-h-o-t-s, as merely entering the office parking lot is likely to result in pronounced sulking, dragging of feet, and whining to beat the band.
8:30: Arrive at doctor, ON TIME, congratulate self. Sign in, fill out new insurance forms. Big kids watch Meet The Robinsons in waiting room. Small kid frolics on doubtless germ-infested floor.
8:40: Dr. Mike arrives in exam room. I love Dr. Mike. I love timely appointments (this is why I schedule so early in the morning). Visit goes smoothly. Devlin can't seem to tell the different between a circle and a boat on the vision testing chart, but Eve is cooperative and remarkably not terrified.
(In case you are dying to know, Eve is in the 75th percentile all around, and Devlin is 61st for height and 29th for weight. This explains why his pants often fall down around his ankles when he runs.)
9:20: Get stickers for good behavior. Leave office.
9:32: Arrive home.
9:45: Baby nursed and asleep. Turn on Meet The Robinsons for the kids, who have been inspired to remember a forgotten favorite by the ped's office. Try and fail to whip newly not-bitten fingernails into shape. Whatever.
10:55: Finish. Wish I could lay on the floor and "meditate" for the next 72 hours.
10:59: Iris awake. She is much happier about this than I am.
11:00: That's the garbage truck in front of my house. My garbage can is not visible because it's still in my back yard. Argh.
11:05: Cut canteloupe for allegedly ravenous children. Surf internet. Try to stall lunchtime so we can all eat as a family, since David's probably not hungry yet.
11:25: David leaves for lunch. At a restaurant. With one adult friend.
11:28: Serve mishmash of leftovers for lunch. Field questions, with varying degrees of success, about the nature of carbonation and how crayons are made. Pile of dirty dishes grows frightening large and threatens to become visible above the island counter. (That is my personal threshold.)
11:30: Close laptop, which is sabotaging all attempts to be, or pretend to be, productive today.
11:45: Clean kitchen. (Lazy Mom tip #4,719: place large dishtowel under high chair for all meals. Shake off in sink when done, hence limiting your vacuuming to once per day. You can eliminate vacuuming altogether, actually, by placing the baby on floor after all meals and letting her eat the crumbs. She's as good as a dog!)
11:50: Kids happily entertain themselves while I scrub, rinse, load, wipe, etc. They have formed a band, which sounds as if it consists of one asthmatic penny whistle and a jackhammer.
12:15: Have managed to tame kitchen while simultaneously ready a magazine featuring fabulous clothing, makeup, toiletries, etc that I cannot even dream of affording.
12:20: Kids try, and fail, to work out their own "sharing" issues.
12:23: I try, and fail, to not let it bother me.
12:25: Eve is dismissed for naptime. This is Spectacularly Unfair and she makes sure everyone on our street knows it.
12:27: Potty. Ready Camilla the Zebra. Sing the Ariel song.
12:35: Goodnight Evie. One down!
12:38: Decide Iris isn't quite ready for a nap yet. But I am. If I wait until it's convenient, it will never happen.
12:39: Bring baby to her room, which contains no legos, marbles, or Barbie shoes. Close door. Lay on floor. Go to sleep.
12:44: Phone rings. It's my sister. Surprisingly, I do feel a little better. She wants help organizing her room at my parents' house, which Devlin has dubbed "Messland" to give you some idea of the magnitude of this task. Happy to have the company of a rational adult, I prepare to come over.
12:45: Nurse baby, put down for nap.
12:50: Decide that the minimum amount of further effort required to achieve a baseline level of hygiene/feeling good about myself is to shave legs. Run bath in relaxing, zen-spa-like atmosphere that is my bathroom.
12:51: Fold load of laundry while bath is going.
1:30: Dressed, clean-ish, Devlin collected and girls asleep while David works. To Messland we go! Unfortunately for both of us, Devlin's friend next door (where he would clearly rather be) is away camping.
1:40: At Nana and Papa's. Dev eats yogurt, works puzzles, and juggles balloons. I provide moral support and marvel at the untouched state of Emily's old room since she moved out 6 years ago.
2:30: Em and I grow weary of organizing and leave Dev at Nana's to go shopping instead.
2:45: The Anthropologie market research people have me pegged down to a science, except they grossly overestimated my income. Lovely window shopping though.
3:00: Per David's text, Eve is awake. Per my text, she is to be placed in front of the television as I am not coming home until I absolutely have to. I'm being honest here, people.
3:45: Drop Em off, pick up Dev. Cry single tear for the Outfit That Was Not Purchased at The Store Which Must Not Be Named.
4:00: Home again, home again, 3 balloons in hand.
4:15: Iris awake. Nurse.
4:30: Fold yet more laundry (don't worry, there's plenty more where this came from). Watch HGTV.
4:31: Dev learning to read might just be the best thing that ever happened to me. They can entertain each other for hours like this.
4:50: Devlin and David go to Lowe's to pick something up. Eve requests "Mommy and Evie time", which I am happy to grant since it involved laying on the bed and lots of hugs.
5:00: Make bed. Yes, 5 pm.
5:05: I have a date tonight! I decide to "get ready" for real, which entails the obscenely self-indulgent actions of trying on multiple outfits before selecting one and touching up hair and makeup. It has almost certainly been months since this happened, and quite possibly years.
5:30: Big kids grow weary of waiting for me to make dinner. Arrive downstairs to find them making their own PB&Js. My job here is done!
5:35: Kids eat. I indulge in a Cherry Coke, two ibuprofen, and the latest issue of InStyle.
5:50: Make up for lame dinner moment with fruit parfaits for dessert. In case you are wondering, Eve actually does have clothes, she just prefers not to wear them. And I can't say that I blame her. It's over 110 all week here and I didn't have to wear clothes I wouldn't.
6:05: Clean up dinner. I think I must spend half my life either planning meals, preparing them, or putting my house back together when they're over. GAH.
6:15: My sister arrives to babysit. The end is near!
6:25: Iris nursed and in bed. Yes, it's still light outside. No, she doesn't mind. Yes, she sleeps all night. This is not an accident.
6:35: Hopefully looking and feeling like two adults who still have interest in each other and the outside world, we leave the house for dinner and a concert.
Wow, I can't tell what is more exhausting - living it, or trying to blog it in an organized and moderately interesting fashion! I am DONE, folks. That's my day. I would love to read a similar post from any of my fanatical followers, but fair warning - it's quite an undertaking!
Good night all. Tomorrow is another day.