Friday was almost a total wash. Michael had to work almost all day, and in a fit of major PMS, I spent the day sulking in his office instead of doing anything interesting or productive. Oh well.
When he was finally able to stop working, we headed over to a fabulous cheese shop called La Fromagerie. Thanks to the wonderful Robert Phillips, we were able to meet Patricia Michelson, the owner of the shop. She treated us to a pot of tea and some fabulous maple pecan biscuits (and by some, I mean a lot - there were probably 15 cookies on the plate).
For dinner on Friday, we headed out to The Cow in Notting Hill. Sadly, Hugh Grant was nowhere to be found, but we enjoyed our dinner nonetheless. We shared two appetizers; some boiled prawns with mayo and some terrific chicken liver pate. For my main course, I had Londoner sausages and mash with onion gravy (very good!). Michael had the onglet (hanger) steak.
Yesterday was a better day than Friday! It started off with me sleeping until noon (!!!!) while Michael worked out. We then headed out to the Borough Market, which was fascinating. I was a little bit freaked out by the sheer number of people milling about, but we ended up enjoying ourselves. We had beer at a great pub, did a little shopping at Paul Smith and Neal's Yard Dairy (raw milk, organic Bleu cheese - what could be better?) and then had a very late brunch at Tapas Brindisa. The food was perfect. We had cheese and meat and squid and wine and sherry and more cheese. Michael had a cured fish platter that looked phenomenal. We highly recommend this place. It was definitely worth the hour and a half wait (just wander around the market to kill time).
After eating, we made our way over to the Tate Modern where we encountered about 50 people dressed up as zombies for Halloween. It was dark out by this time, so the effect was rather spooky. We loved the museum. We only checked out one exhibit, but we really liked the way the art was organized. For example, one of Monet's waterlilly paintings was exhibited directly across from a Jackson Pollack landscape of a similar size. This was art exhibited in a way to make you think - not just by era or by style. I think my favorite room, though, was the room dedicated to these giant Mark Rothko paintings (the Seagram murals) that were originally commissioned for The Four Seasons restaurant in NY.
After leaving the Tate, we walked across the Thames, circled around St. Paul's cathedral, and then took the underground back to Michael's apartment for a quick breather. We then continued our tour of London pubs, and spent a few hours playing Yahtzee and Rummy 500.
Michael is working out now, and I'm about to head over to Marks and Spencer for those tights.
After a ridiculously long journey (I think it was 18 hours total, including the drive to Toledo, the drive up to Detroit, the 2 hour flight delay, the flight, the ridiculously long wait at customs, the train to Victoria station and the taxi to the Edelman office), I am finally in London. I didn't do much yesterday other than work (and yawn), but it was nice to be with Michael and see where he has been working!
After work yesterday, we walked over to a pub with some co-workers. The pubs here are great. As I texted Megen (my sister-in-law), every pub is kind of like the best bar you've ever been to. The one we went to was called Crown and Sceptre (doesn't that sound like a pub from Dungeons & Dragons?), and though it was packed, we managed to find an open table. I think this is just kind of an everyday pub here, but the decor is insane. The ceiling is black, ornate tin, and the walls are covered in really crazy floral wallpaper. Something that really surprised me was that people were hanging out outside. It's not really a patio area (though I think they refer to it that way). It was kind of just like people were allowed to carry their pint glasses outside to drink on the sidewalk. So, that was weird. And, I also just can't believe that outdoor areas have people in them given the weather! It's definitely not as cold as Chicago, but it is super damp, and I've been wearing my wool coat.
After leaving the co-workers, we headed down to Soho, and popped into yet another pub to kill time before dinner. By total happenstance, we bumped into more Edelman folks (the bigwigs) and spent our time discussing our various meal options with them. These guys know all of the top chefs in London and have assured us that they can get us in anywhere. The question now becomes, where to go?? I think I'm most eager to check out St. John. If you are not into eating strange body parts of animals, that menu might make you barf, but I am dying to try the marrow bones and the sweetbreads there. Fergus Henderson, the chef and owner of St. John is world-renowned for cooking offal and bones and everything in between, and even wrote a book about it (the introduction to the book was written by Tony Bourdain, which helps to explain my desire to eat at St. John.
So, back to my evening. After the second pub, we crossed the street for dinner at Red Fort. This is a top-notch Indian restaurant, and we loved everything we ordered. I think my favorite dish was a side of white pumpkin. It was delicious, especially with the peach raita and bread served alongside our meal.
After dinner, we had one more beer (Michael did, actually. I had sparkling water because I was about to fall asleep) at a little restaurant near Michael's apartment and then we called it a night.
Today I'm hoping to check out a fabulous cheese shop, eat some more terrific food and drink lots of beer. I also need to buy some black tights, which will probably run me $40 because everything here is so insanely expensive.
I am on the plane to London, but we are stuck at the gate. We were actually racing down the runway when the plane abruptly stopped. Apparently, the computer radar was alerting the pilots to weather problems that weren't. So, as I wait for the technicians to fix things, I figured I'd blog from my blackberry.
A couple of weekends ago, Dylan's friend Ruby and her mom Michelle came over for a playdate. Dylan had been well-behaved the week prior, so I wanted to reward her with some baking. She loves her Pink Princess Cookbook (by Barbara Beery) and picked out the cheesy biscuit recipe. In the book, these are shaped like flowers, but we used our Halloween cookie cutters. They looked great, especially since they were bright orange from the cheese.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a big bowl, combine a very soft stick of butter, 2 cups of heated cheddar cheese, and a tablespoon of worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. Once this is well blended, add one cup of flour, a dash of salt and a pinch of cayenne if you like. Roll out and use cookie cutters to form any shapes you want. Place biscuits on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Max starts his speech therapy tomorrow morning at 8am. I can't wait. I can't wait for this kid to start talking to me. We had our evaluation a couple of weeks ago, and his expressive language is right between 9-12 months and 12-15 months. He is 26 months old.
Thankfully, his expressive language is basically his only delay. There is some slight concern with aggression (he's a pusher) and introspection (I think that's the term they used), but that's because he doesn't say "max" or "I" or "me" and because he is frustrated a lot of the time.
But, despite the language issues, Max is just so frickin' awesome. I love that kid so much. He is obsessed with things being on and off and in and out. He carries this little wooden step stool around the house so that he can turn lights on and off. He totally has an addictive personality. A couple of months ago, he wanted milk non-stop. We were going through 2 gallons a week. Now it's apple juice, but a trip to the dentist last week freaked me out (though I knew it was bad, but somehow hearing it from "Dr. Bob" scared me) and we're currently going through appuhh detox. The kid wonders around the house moaning, "appuhhh! appuhh!" Tonight in his crib, he screamed "appuhhh! appuhh! for half an hour. It's quite sad. I tried to lessen the blow with a darling little Sigg bottle for his water, but he's not buying it. Sometimes he longingly calls his Sigg bottle "appuhh," but you can tell that his heart isn't into it.
He also gets addicted to characters. For a while, Elmo was his main man. He still sleeps with the little one-eyed freak, but now his obsession is focused on Diego, or as we call him, "uhgo." Max has a Diego outfit from his Moppy (Michael's mom), and he wants to wear it every day. He will pull it out of his hamper and insist on wearing it. He wants to sleep in it. It's these cute camo track pants with a matching zip-up jacket and a long-sleeved orange shirt. So cute. He will wear his other outfits, but only if I tell him that Diego has the same thing. Sucker.
Max also likes Cars, but he calls it "kwee." I believe that's short for "Lightning McQueen." I'm totally down with this obsession, because despite his shortcomings, I do love me some Owen Wilson (I actually went to see The Darjeeling Limited last weekend and LOVED it.)
What else? Max is very fond of jewelry. In this picture he is wearing an orange floral bead bracelet that he snagged from his sister. He wore it for two days straight. He has also been known to don hot pink headbands, assorted bangles, and any flashy necklace in site. He is very fond of flash. If shoes light up, he is all over them.
Despite all of his charms, Max can also be quite the stinker. This past weekend, he started exhibiting signs of entering the Terrible Two's. At one point, he pulled a big ziploc of Cheerios mix out of the snack drawer, opened it, made eye contact with me, and then proceeded to dump all of it on the floor. An hour later he did the same thing with some dried strawberries, but by then he had learned his lesson. He immediately went to the under-sink cabinet (which he has learned to open), grabbed the dustpan and brush, and cleaned it up. Lest you think he is the perfect child, though, he then started snacking straight from the dustpan.
I can't believe how crazy my schedule has been lately. I'm so tired, but the end isn't really in sight.
Last week I went to Atlanta for a night. I helped organize a mom blogger night out for one of my clients (3-A-Day). It was a great evening. Miss Zoot acted as hostess, and brought her son with her. Those two are so stinkin' cute. He is taller than her, and so loving. I kept thinking about how beautiful their relationship is. I hope Max and I are like that when he's older. I also got to have a late night nosh at Waffle House. OMG. The food there is so trashy but so good. I got cheesy eggs and hash browns covered (with cheese) and smothered (with onions). Oh, and a vanilla coke, made on the spot with vanilla syrup.
I got back to Chicago on Thursday (Michael thankfully came home Wednesday to help with the kids). We had a great family weekend, but I had to leave the house today at 3:45 to fly to Minneapolis. The good news is that the hotel I'm at is fabulous. The picture above is the desk. It's super swanky. The best part though? Hannah Montana is playing across the street at the Target Center! I'm totally hoping to bump into Miley Cyrus in the lobby. :-)
My crazy schedule doesn't end tomorrow when I get home. I have a conference Tuesday and Wednesday (in Chicago, thankfully), and then I leave Wednesday for London. I'm bringing the kids to Toledo to stay with Michael's parents and then flying out of Detroit. I will definitely miss the little crazies, but I'm also really excited for the long weekend away. I haven't had a chance to research anything yet, but I'm looking forward to lots of wandering, shopping and eating.
Today is Blog Action Day (just in case you are living under a rock and don't know. or if you're my mom and don't read any blogs other than mine.)
So, for the under-rock dwellers (and my family), here is a summary of Blog Action Day, direct from their website:
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single
important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger
will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their
own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
I figured that the best thing I could do today is to share with you the changes that I have made to better the environment. If you have your own blog, you should sign up on the site and write your own post about the environment. If you don't have your own blog, feel free to tell me about your green-ness in my comments. I'm always looking for ways to get greener, and I know that many of my friends (and readers) are seeking the same thing.
So, here is what I'm doing:
I have become a big fan of the tote bag. I don't have the $300 (on eBay) version that is pictured above, but we have about 10 tote bags in our front closet, and I grab a few before heading out to Whole Foods or to the farmer's market. I do wish that there was some way to eliminate the gajillion plastic bags that I get when I order from Peapod, but for now, I bring the totes when I can, and try to avoid taking a plastic bag at the store if it's not essential.
I have taken a pledge to stop using (and buying) water bottles. Brita filters (my client) created this site, and I think it's pretty awesome. I added the pledge badge to my blog (on the right, scroll down) and if you have a blog, and are also down with eliminating water bottles, you can get that badge as well. Or you can just take the pledge and pass it on.
We don't use disposable paper or plastic cups in our house.
As our lightbulbs burn out, we are replacing them with those ultra long lasting swirly kinds.
We use primarily non-toxic cleaners in our house, such as Method and Mrs. Meyer's. I also like Seventh Generation stuff.
We recycle, though Chicago makes it very hard! But, things are changing (thank goodness).
I try to give things away on Craig's List or Freecycle (like cardboard boxes filled with packing peanuts) instead of just throwing them in my alley. One man's trash...
Here's the final product. I had to add some more chicken stock (I had a pint in the freezer), and then I also added about a cup and a half of raw white rice. We topped our soups with Parmigiano Reggiano. We also added some salt, as I hadn't added any during the cooking process. Everyone liked the soup.
On a completely unrelated note, are any of my readers mom bloggers who live in the Atlanta area? I am helping to host an event in Decatur, Georgia next week, and we have some slots open for mom bloggers. If you are interested, let me know in the comments or via email. We have some great women coming already (including Miss Zoot!) Not only will you get to hang out with us, but you'll get a week's worth of dinners for free, and lots of food and wine that evening.
1. Catch laryngitis from small child. 2. Attend a two-day food summit at work, complete with dinners out, wine and lots of fun people from all over the world. 3. Give a one hour presentation while sounding like Bette Davis. 4. Try to avoid coughing up a lung while listening to other presentations. 5. Cap off the summit with two large glasses of wine with lunch at a fabulous restaurant. 6. Develop chills, sneeze uncontrollably. 7. Leave work, stopping at Whole Foods for a rotisserie chicken and some spicy, mashed, ginger sweet potatoes. 8. Arrive home, change into sweats (including the maternity velour yoga pants that I refuse to give up) 9. Eat the above comfort food for dinner. 10. Throw the leftover chicken and its carcass into a large pot. Add water, simmer for two hours while catching up on TV (Dexter! SVU!) 11. Sleep like the dead, wake up with one nostril not working at all. 12. Call off work. Get back into bed. 13. Stumble downstairs for lunch (frozen tamales from Trader Joe's). 14. Put chicken stock back on stove. Add chopped up chicken pieces, chopped carrots, old saggy kale and two Italian sausages, chopped. 15. Get back in bed, looking forward to dinner.
To all of my friends who have emailed me, I am doing fine. I'm sorry I haven't responded! I feel like my weeks go by at super sonic speed, and then Michael has been home the past two weekends, so those have been filled with major family time. I have been leaving my laptop in its case every evening. I think that's a good thing, but my poor blog is suffering, and my inbox is overloaded with emails that I need to return.
A week and a half ago, Dylan had a day off from school, so I took a vacation day and we joined her new BFF Brooke and Brooke's mom for a day of apple picking. I saw this fun picture tool on Miss Zoot's blog, and I thought it would be fun to showcase here. Let me know what you think! By the way, 10 of our apples made their way into a yummy apple cake. If I ever remember to write down the recipe and bring it to work, I'll post it.