Wednesday, April 21, 2010


What's wrong with Ke$ha?

This talent-less ass clown drives me nuts. First, the dollar sign in her name. Who does she think she is...ODB? Second, the song Tik Tok is the worst kind of garbage. Brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack? Boys try to touch my junk? And we wonder why people dress little girls like hookers nowadays and all their t-shirts say "born to shop" or "diva."

Heaven help our daughters. Wait, forget heaven. I'll be guarding my daughter's dignity and self-worth with a baseball bat. Or at least with a dinosaur t-shirt and a dump truck.

Monday, April 19, 2010

pot stickers

By his own admission, my husband could eat a thousand of these things. And not to toot my own horn, but I make really good pot stickers. Yesterday afternoon, these totally hit the spot. The dipping sauce is addictively delicious too, which always helps, but it's the sensory experience of the pot stickers themselves that is heavenly. Crunchy and soft, comforting yet exotic. The sticky, spicy dipping sauce just completes the deal. (Recipe for sauce at the end of post).

Pot Stickers
In a big bowl, combine 1 package ground chicken with 1 tbs each minced ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Add 1-2 tsp of sesame oil and cornstarch. Feel free to add whatever veggies and herbs you like, in whatever quantity you like. We had chives, mint, napa cabbage, and shitake mushroom on hand, so we used that.

Place a square wonton wrapper on your work space, so that it looks like a diamond. Then spoon a small amount of the meat mixture onto the center. Moisten the "roof" of the wrapper - the upside down V of the top portion - with wet fingers. I keep a coffee cup of water next to my work space for this purpose. Fold the bottom part over the filling, so the "roof" and the "basement" meet. To close, pinch and fold the edges as needed. My technique, if you could call it that, isn't pretty, but the things stay closed, so who cares.

Swirl a bit of vegetable oil in the bottom of a saute pan over med-high heat. Place the pot stickers in the pan and let them cook for a couple minutes. You want the bottom to get brown and seemingly burnt.

Once they are sufficiently "stuck" to your liking, add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the saute pan. The amount of liquid depends on the size of you pan though. Cover and let them steam! This creates a huge ruckus in the pan, and after you just purposely charred your food, this whole venture seems wacky. Trust me, they'll turn out great.

After a few minutes, the stickers puff, get slightly transparent, and the filling has been cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or tongs. Put on a plate with the charred side UP. That way, that delicious, crispy goodness doesn't get soggy.

Dunk and enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce
Put 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar in small saucepan. Stir to combine as you bring it up to low boil. Add another 1/4 cup sugar, 2 or 3 tbs fish sauce (or to taste), 1 tbs chile-garlic sauce, and juice of half a lime. Doctor these ingredients as you like. Add grated carrot and crushed, unsalted peanuts to garnish at the end.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday June!

One year ago today, I gave birth to June Katherine! Also known as Senorita Smooch Bottom. Adjusting to motherhood has been a wild ride - it's not covered in pink gauze like TLC would lead you to believe. "Oh, I was born to be a's so instinctual" Bullshit. In the beginning, my instinct was to run out for a pack of smokes and never come back. (I don't smoke, of course, it's just an expression). But I got the hang of motherhood eventually. :)

At Fleet Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass....never make a mako mad

To commemorate Junie's first year on the planet, I thought I'd share her birth story. CAUTION - this is a long and graphic post.

me at 36 weeks

Even before I got pregnant, I planned/hoped for a natural, drug-free birth. The Business of Being Born made a lot of sense to me and I wanted to let my body do what it was made to do. In addition, I read half a dozen books about midwifery and the history of childbirth that further cemented my desire NOT to have a doctor muck up the process for no reason. If everything was fine, then I wanted no wires, no IV, no flat on my back...just let me be. And let me be naked too - why cover up your boobs with a dressing gown, when your southern regions are all hanging out? Plus then the baby doesn't get direct skin contact on your chest. Anyways...I'm rambling.

Although we pondered having a home birth, my insurance wouldn't cover it, so we decided to go with a Certified Nurse Midwife (Louise Bastarache) who has privileges at a small, local hospital in Wareham, Mass - Tobey Hospital. The maternity ward at Tobey functions more like a birth center, with the lowest C-section rate in the state, thanks to the midwife factor and the nurses experience with low-intervention, natural births. And in case anything went wrong, the operating room is right there, so you have the best of both worlds.

My husband and I took a hypno-birthing class, practiced those techniques as much as I could stand, and hoped for the best. On April 13, 2009, I woke up at 2am to a pop and felt my water trickling. Only an hour before I'd gone to the bathroom and found my mucus plug. (Yuck). I was 37 weeks and 3 days. We called our midwife, who urged us to try to get some sleep. Since this was our first baby, we all figured it would be a while. Boy, were we wrong!

In no time, the contractions started coming consistently 3 minutes apart and were getting pretty intense. We wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but soon I was dry heaving into the toilet and bleeding. Okaaaay...time to go to the hospital. It was only 5am. We called Bridget's sister, Melissa, who was planning to drive up from Brooklyn for the birth. She and her husband happened to be in New Hampshire at the time, so they jumped in the car and started the drive down.

The ride to the hospital was rough - I had no idea how far along I was and only knew there was an inescapable, annoying pain grinding through my pelvis. It took 15 minutes to get to the hospital, which was locked, except for the ER entrance. I walked my ass into the ER while Nick parked the car and grumbled "Maternity." They led me to an elevator, as Nick ran in, while some bitch asked me, "Are you due?" Yeah, I'm kick your ass...can't you see I'm in labor?

A terrible contraction in the elevator that had me slumped against the wall. When we walked into maternity, our midwife hadn't arrived yet, so they hooked me up for the 20 minutes of fetal heart rate monitoring. Being stuck in that bed was not fun. The contractions were awful just laying there. I was bicycling my legs and moaning, begging them to let me up, put me in the tub, or give me drugs. Finally, my lovely midwife arrived, checked me - I was 8 centimeters! Thank Christ.

So, crying about how happy to be at 8, I stripped off my clothes and got in the tub. Oh sweet relief! The contractions were still tough, but totally bearable. The water helped a lot. So far, things had gone so fast, I hadn't listened to my hypno tapes or felt like I'd used the techniques. In the tub, I was able to use my breathing to calm down and handle the surges, even dozing between contractions. I was negative for strep, so an IV wasn't necessary. My husband knelt next to the tub with a cup and straw of water, and another of ginger ale. He kept pushing those fluids and whenever I refused, in my contraction daze, our midwife would threaten to put an IV in....that did it, I drank!

Soon I was 10 and we got out of the tub to try pushing, which was a total waste. My body wasn't ready yet - I didn't have that uncontrollable urge. So back in the tub, where I slept for a bit. Then back out of the tub, when I had the urge to push. In Massachusetts, it's illegal to birth in the tub inside a hospital (don't get me started...). We tried a bunch of positions, but pushing hurt, so I wasn't doing it right. I would push, but also push my knees down, which would narrow the birth canal and make pushing hurt less. Nice try, huh? It wasn't working and I was getting frustrated and tired. My cousin Melissa arrived at about 8:30am, at the height of the madness. Finally, I had to give in to the pain and push with all my might, damn the pain. At 8:50am, after only 7 hours of labor, June finally came out in a gush. Nick and Missy were both standing at my side and Nick was laughing/crying like a loony.

They put June on my bare chest and she just looked up at me. Blink, blink. Holy crap - I did it! I'd torn a tiny bit, so they gave me a couple stitches, but nothing bad. I felt great! Almost immediately, they handed me a menu and I ordered breakfast. Melissa fed me eggs and pancakes while June and I tried nursing. Although they did give me a couple shots of Pitocin in the leg to stop some bleeding. But I'd done it - totally naked, I'd given birth to our baby without drugs or any machines hooked up to me. I was so proud! Doing it all-natural was much harder than I'd anticipated, but totally worth it and I wouldn't change a thing! Given how fast this labor went, with the next kid, we may have to head to the hospital right away. Although giving birth in the living room would be fine by me, it makes my husband very nervous. :)

June Katherine - 2 days old

Happy Birthday, Juniper! I love you!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Joliet 2010

Our trip home to Chicagoland was great! Spring had sprung in Illinois and it was so nice to be barefoot in my grandparent's yard again. The house is in disarray, as we've been cleaning things out since my grandparent's died this summer. Going to the grave was hard, but my aunt reminded me that Merichka was probably standing right next to me.

The family's favorite funny picture has been brought up from the basement and given prime place in the living room. My poor Uncle Mike, the baby of the family...that's his disembodied head taped next to his older siblings.

But you know what's still standing? The personal holy water dipper next to my bedroom closet. You know you want one. :)

My grade school is closing down though! So sad. Joliet was once loaded with Catholic grade schools and many are closed or soon closing. The other downtown grade schools - St. John's and St. Mary Magdalene - are already closed. It looks like only 2 of the original 8 Catholic grade schools will be left standing, after the diocese gets through with their cuts. St. Joe's did a great job of serving not only the Slovenian community, but the nearby families on the east side and downtown. It sucks to lose that neighborhood element and consolidate the schools so that only the "rich" (and white) ones remain.

My church - St. Joseph's in Joliet - the grade school is behind it.

Across the the Slovenian Women's Union, baby!

Stefanich's - next to my grade school.
The sign hanging on the fence of my old playground. And by playground, I mean, where the older kids would hang out and play ball during recess. The train still runs on that elevated track in the background. The boys would let me play baseball with them, but they'd make me chase any home runs hit over the tracks.

The Catholicism never ends....June and I hanging with Mary in my grandparent's backyard.

And June and her cousin Emma finally got to meet!

Friday, April 9, 2010

fishscale design trend

this victorian architectural style is becoming all the rage again.

outdoor patio of the day

source unknown

Thursday, April 8, 2010

linguine with asparagus and pine nuts

so yummy; thank you real simple:
Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 25m Total Time: 25m


  • 12 ounces linguine (3/4 box)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan (about 3 ounces)


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the asparagus mixture to the pasta along with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the Parmesan before serving.

wicked smart

I took my own advice and purchased some lovely ikea furniture for the deck. in the past week I have spent more time outside than I did most of last summer. (okay, that is a lie, and I am on spring break, but you get the selling point).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

welcome summer home: design ideas

I cannot stop thinking about summer. as spring settles, now is the time to begin our musings about lazy sunny afternoons and sweaty weekend leisure time. here are some ideas on how to bring summer back after a tumultuous and somewhat bi-polar winter.

1. garden. obvious, but hear me out. sometimes, all it takes is a garden to give all angles of your home a glow. I am a fan of any and all colors growing in a garden, including lots of green veggies, but there are many ways to approach the garden design. and always remember to bring some of it indoors.


(I could do without the cat)

2. live outdoors. take it outside. all of it. reading. eating. laughing. drinking. go outside. but in order to do that happily, you have to make your living space as comfy to you as your living room.

the magazine formerly known as domino

for cheaper but just as decadent, try ikea:

3. eat fresh; be beautiful in your color choice, even in the kitchen. and let it all be seen. color = summer.

artichoke, fennel and tricolor tomato salad, recipe: here

prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with citrus dip, recipe: here

4. bring in the light. open your window. open your door. feel fresh air again. light is the quickest way to brightening a space and your mental state.

mirrors and white furniture help... do bursts of color. use flowers and fruit for this:

5. stay organized. winter moves to summer, thus time to clean up closets, sporting gear, garden tools, etc. I find that if I like the order, I am more apt to use the stuff. but, that's just my crazy side talking (which is really my only side). no surprises, martha has the best ideas.

bin it:
martha stewart

yeah, like anyone has space for this gorgeous recycling wall. but, pretty effing cool all the same:
martha stewart

sigh. I want a garden shed (with a gorgeous farm table that I would sell my right arm to have in our dining room, not wasted in the shed with my gardening tools):
martha stewart