Birthdays for Days

Ok, it’s been a week since my last post. Can you ever forgive me? To be fair, it was my birthday extravaganza last weekend, which was the most fun I’ve had in such a long time. Jen came up from Portland, and brought 2 of my new BFFs, Kris & Katie. We laughed so much and it totally filled up my tank. I wore a jumpsuit, which was completely amazing. Got the best blowout from my new favorite Seattle spot, Charbon Salon and had such a fantastic makeup application at the Laura Mercier counter at Nordstrom (thank you Danielle!). I felt like a million bucks. Add in 45 friends at The Gerald in Ballard, a whole bunch of French 76’s, and you’ve got yourself a party!

By the time I had recovered from my birthday, I had to gear up for Oliver’s 4th birthday on Tuesday. Cupcakes at school and dinner at home. As much as I want to believe Oliver wants to go out to dinner to celebrate his birthday, he doesn’t. So we did burritos (his choice) and ice cream with just my parents and it was perfect. His birthday party is tomorrow and we are heading to a bounce house. So much easier than hosting 22 kids (plus their adult) at my house. Of course, Oliver wanted a superhero theme, so all the kids are dressing up.

I promise to be back more regularly next week (um, as if you missed me?). On top of the birthdays, this new house project is stressful and time consuming, super exciting, but stressful nonetheless. Oh, and I have a full time job too. Alright, complaining over.

Here’s to a super-duper 38 for Mama & 4 for Oliver.

Thirty-eight

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am turning 38. Honestly, the number doesn’t bother me, I’m surprisingly not super concerned about being old (maybe that’s the Botox talking). My life is most definitely not where I thought it would be. I’m divorced. I’m a single mom. But I am looking forward to this birthday more than I have in a long time. It feels clean. There is no 1st anniversary of anything bad this year. Not of my divorce, not of my husband leaving, not of moving out of our family house. This year is just about me, feeling good and ready to see what 38 has in store. I’m even having a birthday party to celebrate, this year just felt right.

As we just rang in 2014 and my birthday is early in the year, I have been trying to set some intention for what I want this year to be. I am conflicted about the word “happy”, it seems almost empty and meaningless when a real life and feelings have so much more depth and color, but in essence, that is what I am striving towards. Happiness, contentedness. Not every moment. Not all the time. But as a general rule. Is it totally acceptable that I get lonely and sad sometimes? Yes. Those feelings are not exclusively about being single or divorced, they are just about being human, and I’m good with that. Note – get yourself a good therapist. Worth every penny.

The last 2 years have been an absolute challenge in finding my happy. I have worked really, really hard to keep it in sight. I have shed a whole bunch of what I used to think made me happy. This includes friends, husband, job. I still struggle with some of the friendships that are no longer a part of my life, this has been one of the most difficult things to make peace with. But I ultimately know that the people I have around me, who love me unconditionally, have stuck with me and been loyal, are all that I could ever want or need. I really cannot stress this enough. The friends and family who make me laugh, feel connected, emotionally and intellectually, this fills me up.

Oliver fills me up. Being his mom is something I feel so rooted in and good at. I am not saying for one second that I am the model mom. For instance, some days we may watch more TV than is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And we love it. Sometimes he drives me crazy and just this morning he told me that I wasn’t allowed to talk, only he could talk, and he would tell me when I could talk. He hits me sometimes and he gets time-outs. But lots of the time, we laugh and we are goofy and we love to snuggle. The moment I hear his feet pad down the hall in the morning and he crawls in my bed…all is right in my world.

It’s kind of cool to be starting a year and have it be a bit of a blank slate. I am moving into a new house in a few months. Super exciting. It’s in a new neighborhood, Magnolia, just close enough to Queen Anne to make me feel comfortable (and still exercise at Inspire), but far enough away to feel like a new adventure. I know this post is different than my norm, but I have to say, part of my happy has been this blog. I like to write. I like to put myself out there (and sometimes feel super uncomfortable after I post something, like the Botox post). I don’t mind opening up my life a little and being vulnerable.

Here’s to thirty-eight. Happy Birthday to me! I truly cannot wait to see what this year has to offer.

Wall Decor, Prints Galore

I am getting ready to move. For the second time in about a year and a half. Booooooo! The good news is I will be in my next house for a good, long time. I am pretty excited about this new house of mine! The rub is not having the funds to do all I want to do in said house. Isn’t that always the deal!? I have a very small budget to do the actual moving and buy a couple of new things. I prioritized a new sectional sofa and chair from Masins furniture, which is always fun because I get to work with my cousin and uncle and get lovely, high quality furniture. You will definitely be seeing a post on that when we’re moved in.

I also love the idea of some new stuff to pretty up my walls as my color schemes are evolving from my current house and furniture, but I am not in a place in my life where I am acquiring art. My place in life is more about prints. I ran across an email from Minted, where I have gotten my holiday cards for the past 2 years, and was very pleasantly surprised to see the vast array of wall art they sell, framed and unframed. Tons of prints to choose from, a few of my faves shown below. Sizes galore as well, from 7″ x 5″ ($20 no frame, $29 framed) up to 60″ x 44″ ($207 unframed). Perfect for mixing and matching a few for a collage on your wall or picking one you love and showcasing alone.

I will definitely be picking out a few of these to fill the walls of my new pad and my wallet isn’t going to freak out. BONUS – if you order 3 or more prints now, you save 15%. Use code GIFTS15.

Sunday Dinner – Roast Chicken & Veggies

All of Seattle is watching the Seahawks play the 49ers for a shot at the Superbowl. I, however, am listening to Jake & the Neverland Pirates as I am home with a sick little guy who has commandeered the TV. I am making one of my fave Sunday dinners, roast chicken and veggies. Until about 5 years ago, the thought of roasting a chicken was completely intimidating. In hindsight, I have no idea why. It is seriously easy, and one of those dinners you just throw in the oven and let ‘er rip. Perfect for company, makes your house smell amazing.

I have been doing various versions of roast chicken, one of my favorites is Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken. I love the gravy you make at the end, it’s the best part. I have also been digging Smitten Kitchen’s Flat Roast Chicken, where you remove the backbone from the chicken (or have the butcher do it). This shortens the cooking time to about 45 minutes rather than 75 minutes. Both are totally fantastic recipes. Staples. But today I felt like getting crazy today and trying something new. Enter Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken. What I like about this guy – you pierce a lemon all over and insert the entire thing into the cavity, as well as garlic cloves, fresh thyme, salt & pepper. Gives the final product such great flavor.

Veggies on the menu tonight are Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, yellow onion and carrots. Also planning to roast a little kale to green things up.

Sunday Roast Chicken & Veggies

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken (so, I guess it wasn’t quite perfect)

Ingredients

  • 1 4lb organic chicken
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled (plus 4 more to include with veggies)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more to include with veggies)
  • 1 medium onions, peeled, cut in half width wise, then sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into even chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Let chicken and 1T butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  3. Cut up all veggies and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Make sure the veggies are all around the same size.
  4. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body.
  5. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  6. Place the lemon on the counter and roll back and forth, this softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in large roasting pan. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
  7. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Spread veggies evenly around the chicken in the roasting pan, if they are too crowded, they will steam, not roast. Place in the oven, and roast for 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to 350º after 15 minutes.
  9. Continue to roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 hour. When chicken seems done, insert a thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 165º.
  10. Remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Raise temp back up to 425° and throw the veggies back in to continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes.

Pretty exiting, Oliver let me turn on the Seahawks game and we got to watch them beat the 49ers and get their 2nd chance to play in the Superbowl!! Dinner was delish as well. Good Sunday in Seattle.