Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tray-O-La-Biking....



Finally the sun came out yesterday....

Memorial Day.... 

A perfect day to wash off the dusty bicycles and go for a ride... 

Kate is a training wheels kind of girl right now,
so it would have been slow and painful riding that way....

Our neighbor gave us their Trail-A Bike, aka to Kate, "Tray-O-La Bike"..... 

She was nervous at first, riding behind me with no extra wheels for insurance.... 

Soon she was so happy, she almost cried out, "Wheeeeee!!!!" 

We hit the Blue Park for some jungle gymning

and then we circled Wrigley Field to see the crowds,

smell the hot dogs

and hear the game roar....

Last  stop was for Italian Ice.... 

Hot faces cool right off with a little Superman flavor and chocolate ice....   

Now it feels like summer! 

video
And of course, Kate wants to Tray-O-La-Bike everywhere.....

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seven Leaks, but the Food is Good!

 
Would you go to a restaurant with that name? 

I didn't think so...  

Well, Chez Herlihy is just that, and peeling paint, um, I mean, and a bag of chips...  

I found leak #7 this morning....  

Pantry ceiling....  

Not sure if it's from the driving rain this week or our bathroom...  

Tiny drip drip drips fusing my boxes of Jello... 

Oh well, nobody liked the butterscotch flavor anyway...  

Do you live in a money pit?  I do...

in spades....   

The basement project/disaster/financial destroyer is not complete yet 
and now the roof is whining to be replaced.   

At times like this, when the Jello is ruined, 
I have run out of buckets to catch the leaks 
and Jack has just tripped his sister, causing a header on the floor, 
what would you do?  

Option one is the Death's Door Gin staring at me from across the counter... 

Good thing I don't like gin...   

Or bake!  

With three barbecues to attend, I have some serious desserts to concoct...  

What better way to take my mind off Jack's grounding and this very vintage house?  

First on the list was Trisha Yearwood's Key Lime Cake..  



Next I made Springtime Poke Cupcakes...

Okay, don't laugh at the title...you know who you are.... 

The only undamaged Jello was orange, 
so I went with that, 
found some sugar decorations in the spice cabinet 
and followed this recipe.....



Next on the baking tour was banana bread... 

Apparently bananas are not a hit as a post kid baseball snack... 

I had about two dozen left over and they were a lovely shade of ick this morning... 

Which is perfect for banana bread!  

I made a bunch of small loaves to give as hostess gifts this weekend...  

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
2 C sugar
1 C butter, room temperature
6 very ripe mashed bananas
4 eggs well beaten
1 T fresh orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 1/2  C cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar and butter until light.  Add bananas, eggs, erange juice, and zest.  Mix well.  Sift together dry ingredients and fold into the banana mixture.  Divide into two greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.  Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until firm in the middle.  Cool the loaves on wire rack for 1/2 hour before you remove them from pans.  They freeze well.... 


And finally... coconut cake... 

I have been wanting to make this recipe for a while...  

You are supposed to make it a day ahead to let the flavors mingle.  

Here is the recipe:  
We will see how it tastes...

It's cool outside and gloomy, 
but the kitchen is cozy and smells like bananas right now...

Yeah, I could still use a margarita........feel  free to stop by with one... 
I have limes......

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sleep Overs and Lemonade....


The days were counted until the sleep over....  

Highly anticipated event, it was....  

And today it came!  

Jose was staying here for a sleep over... 

For some reason, sleep overs are not old hat yet for my third grader...  

Some kids are old pros with the sleep over, but not my son... 

He is limited by dog allergies and perhaps his rambunctious behavior, but tonight he was the host.  

His buddy returned from school with us and they commenced with drum playing....

followed by a good game of cops and robbers.  

Next was basketball in the alley, then dinner and then some Wii.  

After they made their own sundaes and showered up, it was movie time.  

Let's hope they sleep all night.  

I remember marathon games of monopoly in my friend's basement...  

Sometimes we lost our game pieces in the deep red shag pile at three in the morning...

While watching "The Omen".....EEEEK! 

There is something magical about having a friend snore in your room, 
among your toys, and to share Captain Crunch with in the morning...  

It's the bridge from sharing erasers in class and playing tag at recess, to sharing your home life... 

It feels good and is fun.  

It's being a big kid now.  

It matters... 

While the boys were navigating the WWII Wii combat planes, I made two wreaths made of lemons... 

I have been wanting to make them since I saw the tutorial on Tip Junkie.  

It looked easy, but I couldn't find fake lemons that were affordable, until, 
a most serendipitous visit to JoAnn Fabrics this week...  

Oh yeah, these babies were 50% off and I was in!  


I fired up the glue gun and set to work... 


I found the wreaths at the dollar store, used old ribbon and felt to cover them 
and glued the leaves and lemons as instructed.... 

It took about an hour to make two of them...
Don't they look nice against the chocolate brown front doors?  

Not so bad for home made.....  

Memorial Day weekend is here and at least my wreaths are summery... 

Still colder than a welldigger's butt outside... 

May in Chicago and not a tan in sight.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brighter Days....





Things are lookin' up...

The sun finally came out today and the southerly winds are warming things up... 

It's been so gloomy in the Midwest for so long 
that meteorological records are being broken daily for cold and lack of sun...  

You'd think half of Metro Chicago would have hurled themselves 
off the seventh floor railing at Watertower Place by now....  


Luckily, it is a beautiful afternoon and the whole town is crawling out from under their blankies... 

Kate had a modeling gig this morning for the July cover of Time Out Chicago Kids.  

It's a great magazine with creative ideas for things to do with your precious children... 

The photo is of Kate eyeing an 8 scoop ice cream cone tower, with trepidation...  

Gotta say it will be pretty cute...

The scoops were fashioned from corn syrup, Crisco and powdered sugar, and they were dead on... 

Next, the food stylist made at least ten triple scoop cones for her to lap up repeatedly....

Can you say sugar high?  

She had a blast and I didn't have to make lunch....  

And my good fortune continued....  

Baseball practice was moved to a high school lawn,  much closer to home...  

Double bonus!  

The usual play lot is a torturous 40 minutes in solid traffic away.   

Kate enjoyed running around like Laura Ingalls Wilder in the opening credits of "Little House on the Prairie" while I watched poorly dressed 14 year olds make out and swear.  


Okay, that part wasn't enhancing my good day, but whatever.....  

It more like filled me with dread of things to come in the years ahead...  

Okay, can't think about that right now...  

Tom has been out of town on government business and his successes out there point to indications that we might actually be profitable soon....woo hoo!  

Dinner was bone suckin' good ribs (recipe below), green beans, canned pears and one fat artichoke.  

Now I am lucky that my son loves such veggies as artichokes and the occasional avocado, but the little one would not touch them with a 10 foot pole.  

Tonight her curiosity got the best of her and lo and behold, she tried and LIKED the big green thistle.  

Totally amazing....

Maybe I should play the lottery.....

Here's your bonus:  Dessert!


Fried Dough Puffs With Lime Syrup

Recipe courtesy Food Network Kitchens

Serves:
25 fritters

Ingredients

For the Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 limes

For the Fritters:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions

Make the syrup: Combine the sugar, honey, lime zest, lime juice and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside. (You can refrigerate the syrup, covered, up to 3 days; reheat before serving.)

Make the fritters: Whisk the flour, 3/4 cup water, the egg yolks, butter and salt in a large bowl to make a loose batter.

Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large deep skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, pour scant tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per batch. (Return the oil to 350 degrees F between batches.) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drizzle with the lime syrup.

You can fry these treats up to 4 hours ahead. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 375 degrees F oven.

Baby Back Ribs

Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Serves:
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 recipe Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the racks of ribs in half crosswise. Rub the ribs, paying special attention to the meaty side, with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Lay the rib pieces meat side down in an 11 by 13-inch baking dish. The pieces will overlap slightly.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the meat begins to pull away from the ends of the bones and the ribs are just tender, about 1 hour. You can bake the ribs up to a day before and keep them refrigerated. Bring refrigerated ribs to room temperature about 1 hour before you grill them.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill the ribs, brushing them with about half the remaining sauce, until they're crispy and heated through, about 10 minutes. Move the ribs around as they grill, the sugar in barbecue sauce makes it easy for them to burn. Let the ribs rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting them into 1 or 2-bone pieces. Put out the rest of the sauce for dipping or brush it over the ribs.

Bourbon Barbeque Sauce:
1/2 cup steak sauce
1/2 cup bourbon or good dark beer
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon regular or grainy Dijon mustard
2 pinches red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mini Me...



Since the kid could sit up, folks have remarked how much Kate looks like me... 

 I guess it's the eyes that bring us both together... 

She has her dad's blonde hair... 

He was a tow head until second grade and her uncle is a blondey, too. 

Maybe she will keep the light hair... 

Her personality sure resembles mine, from her silly euphamisms that come from me...

"Hey!  Your hair is all catty-whampus!" 

to her short temper...yeah, that's mine, too... 

So, this morning, she took one look at me and decided it was Dress Like Mom Day. 

At least we aren't similar in a scarey Hannah Anderssen kind of way. 

No diss on H.A., I do like their tees and kids undies, but you won't find me in a horizontal red stripe with matching clogs any time soon.....

Jack kindly took a photo of us twinkies on the way to school this morning.... 

Notice the TWO pairs of old lady readers on top of my head... 

I am officially OLD and WEIRD!  

But hey, I am trying a groovy new salad for lunch....

Brussel Sprout Salad.  Recipe below....


There may be an ounce of hipness left.....


Brussels Sprout Salad


Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

1 serving.Ingredients

For the Dressing:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

1/2 small clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Salad:

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, leaves only (3 1/2 cups leaves)

1 tablespoon dried blueberries

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons smoked almonds

1/2 ounce manchego cheese, shaved

Bagel chips, for serving (optional)

Directions

Make the dressing: Whisk the vegetable oil and olive oil in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the honey, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.


Slowly whisk the oil mixture into the vinegar mixture until combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour; store in an airtight container up to 1 week.


Make the salad: Toss the Brussels sprout leaves, dried blueberries and cranberries, almonds and 1/4 cup dressing in a large bowl. Pile the salad onto a plate. Top with the manchego and season with pepper. Serve with bagel chips, if desired.



.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Would you rather...


Would you rather takeyour kids to Chuck E. Cheeses 
or suck the hairspray out of Donald Trump's comb over?

I know, it's a tough one...

Three of Kate's classmates banded together to celebrate birthdays in one fell swoop...  

Real genius, 
 and it saves us  from attending three parties in close succession... 

Who can blame the choice of C E. C?  

The kids love it, the food mess and mayhem are contained and parents don't have to clean up...  

Perfect, except for one little element....  

Chuck E. Cheeses is pure parental hell...  

The moment your child learns they are headed to C E.C 

(and God forbid you give them advanced notice or they will bug you every 
2.5 minutes about when they are going there...) 

he/she goes into spasms of hyperactive ecstasy that builds in the car ride to the party...  

Once inside, their mouths drop in awe, their eyes glaze over from the massive stimulation
and then they dart into the crowd of surely predatorial strangers...  

I had an extra Andrew Jackson in my pocket to redeem for Jack's tokens... 

This time he was glad to be dragged along...
He disappeared faster than you can say Skee-Ball... 

Chuck E. Cheeses employees must only last a few months,  
if only for the potent hearing loss they must experience from working there...  

The roar of games, fake animated figures, sobbing children 
and shouting parents must surely qualify for hazard pay...  

Going to Chuck E. Cheeses is like Vegas on steroids... 

Two hours there is similar to three days in V-Town... 

If you hear one more beeping machine or clinking coins, your head will pop off...  

Sixty minutes into the experience, you see dazed children half running, 
half staggering to the first open game, parents are trying to keep up, with a look that says,
"I'd better have scotch in the next thirty minutes or else someone is gonna get tazed..."  

Thankfully the drama ends in two hours and after the kids have redeemed 600,000 tickets for a stick of plastic gum, I dragged them outside, somewhat satisfied with their day... 

Was it as bad as Trump's Aqua Net?  

Happy kids are worth a lot of things....this one's a toss up....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mac and Fitzwear...


JoAnn Fabrics is driving me crazy... 

Every time I stop there for glue gun sticks or cupcake wrappers,
those gorgeous, whimsical fabrics call to me.... 

I am dying to sew more girlie skirts! 

Especially when this sexy, new hunk just arrived at the factory....

He's hot, ain't he?  

We have  a trim shop in the factory now, for making the upholstery
 and insides of the armored cars look finished and "pimped out", so to speak... 

Years ago in design school at FIDM, we used industrial sewing machines
to complete our homework projects... 

They sewed so fast that your finger would be part of the design if you weren't careful... 

They were awesome to use... 

Now that there is one just steps from my desk, I am salivating to put Mac and Fitz back into production... 

Little problem, zero capital....  

Solution; sell existing goods and make some moolah...

Or put the kids into slave labor, selling lemonade and red vines at the Cubs games... 

So, Tah Dah...

The First Mac and Fitz Clearance Sale!

I have some fabulous first run Mac and Fitz little girl's skirts that
I will sell on Etsy (click here) at a steep discount...

All skirts will be $10.00 each, reduced from $25.00 

These cotton cuties will go on sale tonight, first come, first serve...

Sizes vary from 6-12 mos to 5T...

They make great and unique gifts, as each one is original...

Your little one won't have the shock of seeing someone else wearing the same skirt...

Oh the horror of it....

The skirts look great all year round... 

Kate wears them in the winter with leggings and a turtleneck....so cute! 

Once they are gone, I'll be hitting the fabric store for some happy inspiration
and that delicious machine will hum with cotton instead of Kevlar... 

If you have any problems with Etsy, or questions, email me at: lorile@lorile.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day....



Growing up, Mother's Day went a little like this:
My parents and some of their friends costumed up like it was Halloween...

 Then they pulled high school pranks such as stealing twenty or so House for Sale signs
and placed them in someone's front yard...

 Then they retired to the Governor's Tavern where local patrons were so amused
they bought my parents and friends free drinks...
It was my mother's attempt to escape convention; 
the stifling brunch with her mother in law and us kids, I guess...


The Mother's Day antics became an annual tradition for years...

My first Mother's Day after Jack was born I wanted to be Super Mom...

I made the impossibly complicated brunch for my parent and in-laws...

As I was weeping over the failed sticky buns, 
I learned that perhaps brunch reservations next year may be the best course of action...

This year, after subjecting myself to a day of kid bickering
as my husband tried vainly to give me a good Mother's Day, 

I learned that perhaps I should have taken my friend's offer to escape to The Kane County Flea Market 
for a half day of country breakfast, antiquing and girlfriend bonding...

Next year I won't feel an ounce of guilt as I disappear to do what I want on my day.
I will be happy and my husband will be relieved.....

My own escape, as it were....


I sat on the floor last night, poring through old photo albums, searching for photos of my mother and I.  

She must have been the photographer all those years, 
because I had a devil of a time finding even a few shots... 

Elusive as she was in front of the camera, Mom was and is ever present in my life...  

She has been my boo boo kisser, lemon bar maker, last-minute social studies project helper, stage mother, driving instructor, cheerleader, nurse, travel companion and friend to this day... 

She lost her mom in her early thirties to cancer
and I almost lost her in the same way when I was only five years old... 

I feel pretty damn lucky to still enjoy the company of my mom 
as my gray hairs are becoming more numerous... 

Heck, just the other day we went shopping like girlfriends do and it was so much fun... 

As a mom myself, the realizations hit pretty quickly how hard a job this mother thing is...  

I see so much of her in me at times, it's scarey, but mostly, it's comforting...  

We have all read so many email trails or articles about what motherhood means, 
but I think Erma Bombeck put it best:  

"When the Good Lord was creating mothers He was into His 6th day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And the Lord said, "Have you read the specification on this order?"

"She has to be completely washable but not plastic"

"Have 180 movable parts . . . all replaceable"

"Run on black coffee and leftovers"

"Have a lap that disappears when she stands up"

"A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair"

"And 6 pairs of hands" 

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "6 pairs of hands....no way."


"It's not the hands that are causing me the problems," said the Lord, "It's the three pairs of eyes that Mothers have to have."

"That's in the standard model?" asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front so that she can look at a child when he goofs and say, 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."


"Lord," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "come to bed. Tomorrow . . . "

"I can't," said the Lord, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. 


Already I have one that heals herself when she is sick . . . can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger . . . and can get a 9 yr. old to stand under a shower."

The angel circled the model of a Mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this Mother can do or endure."

"Can it think?"

"Not only think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You You were trying to put too much into this model."

"It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."

"What's it for?"

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."

"You are a genius," said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there"

Thank you, Mom, Grandma Allen, Grandma Benson, 
Lynnie, Mimi and Mamaw for raising me and Tom so well.... 

We are who we are because of you, and we love you..... 

Hopefully one day my kids will say the same......

Whether I choose to celebrate Mother's Day in costume or not.....