Monday, June 23, 2014

At the dining table...

In our 1000 square foot house, we have to improvise with some of our space. Eric and I agree that it feels as though we gained square footage by turning the playroom back into Guy's room. And he loves his new room by the way, even though I'm not completely done with it and all the projects I have in store.

^That being said, my dining room nook doubles as my art studio. It's not so bad, I just have to be mindful. But, that can be a challenge when sometimes all I want to do is be free and sling some paint!

This week I will be trying something new that excites me as well as slightly terrifies me. That would be painting with watercolors. My Aunt Lulu is nothing short of a watercolor master, she is basically self taught and has done some amazing portraits. Up to this point, I never had the chance to learn from her. Now, she's giving me pointers and a beginner's strategy by way of Facebook, it's good for something.

But before going for it, I still had some acrylic work to do. One being for our (Eric's) Aunt Mimi, who is a wonderful cat mom, and an absolutely amazing person all the way around.

The other, for a dear friend who is about to become a mommy to her first born baby. His little room will be in a precious Dr. Seuss/The Lorax theme. The baby shower I attended this past weekend was the first one I have been invited to where you are asked to bring a book instead of a card. Smart idea, might I add. It's like an instant book collection for the new mom and baby! What do cards do? They cost way too much money these days (a Father's Day card I purchased last week cost $5.99!!), only to end up in a keepsake box in someone's attic (if not the trash). Function over clutter, I like it.

Our family gave her this painting along with one of our favorite books that we would read to the kids every night for quite sometime, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night. As I wrote our little personal message inside the page of the book, it made me think of the wonder, and laughter our kids had as we sat and read it together before bedtime. I mean, think about it, how do dinosaurs say goodnight??

And finally, at the dining table, the gathering of our little family sharing a delicious, warm meal.

This new dish is spot on with flavors and ingredients the whole family will love. Enjoy the recipe!

Smothered Chicken and Pasta Bake

2 cups mini shells pasta, cooked and drained
2 chicken breast, cooked, diced
4 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup milk
2 cups (one bag) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 tbsp chopped parsley
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine first 6 ingredients, 1 cup shredded cheese, parsley, and a dash of black pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into 11x7 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow a little time to cool. Don't count on any leftovers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Turning negatives into positives

This past month, I suffered through some emotional turmoil brought on by hormones. You can fill in the blanks on that. Not trying to get too personal but I go through phases from month to month. I either get depressed or turn into a monster. Most months I crave chocolate. And by chocolate I mean chocolate fudge cake with chocolate chips, covered in a gallon of dark chocolate ganache. There have been a few times, though, where I craved savory food, like sushi, bruschetta, and crunchy tacos dripping with taco sauce, all in one sitting of course.

A couple weeks ago, I was not excused from enduring the wrath of mother nature which brought on the depression, the b*tchyness, and ultimately caused me to shut down one afternoon.

Could I see that I had such a good husband who sees me go through this month after month? Could I cherish my precious children? Could I be thankful for the nice car in the driveway or the decent roof over my head? Shamefully, no. But deep in my heart I knew better than to feel that way.

So, in that moment, I grabbed the canvas and began rendering a visual of what I felt in my heart. No laundry was done that day, just painting, in between helping the kids and fixing dinner.  I was not proud of the pity I had brought upon myself that day, and with each brush stroke I put it to rest. The result is something I am proud of.

I present to you, "Sorrow".