Best Days.

Yes, we know it is Tuesday. It's just that this weekend was quite good and it took us an extra day to re-adjust. Not to mention, Lindsay spent most of Monday in front of her sewing machine. She was creating a Sir Richard Grenville costume for Gavin's school project. Is it just us, or does anyone else not remember 5th grade project's requiring much more than 2-3 paragraphs and a shoddy pencil sketch. Oh well, he/we should probably get used to it early. And by it, we mean, getting excited about wearing handmade clothes and procrastination. Here's the re-cap.

We have a somewhat irregular gathering with friends called "Show and Tell Club". It is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, but with beer. Lindsay made a version of Christina Tosi's amazing Compost cookies.

Terrence and Pippi, top bunk refuge.

Stop #1 on Friday night was a Scotch tasting. This one was $70 for a 2oz.pour. No, we did not try it.

Having an all night babysitter (for once) means we get to out to our favorite spots for more than 2 hours! 

Mini Meatloaves and Mashed Taters'. Supremely American Sunday meal!

Sir Richard Grenville!



The how and the why.

  I'm not sure if I have ever told you, but my wife rules. So much. I'm not here to gush or anything, just stating the facts. If we could all be so lucky to have someone that compliments them so well. You know, balance. Yin Yang and shit. We's like puzzle pieces. Man this whole world would..................What the F#@K. Somebody stop me. Seriously though, Lindsay Cheesebrew. She is tops.

   I think one of the things that makes our relationship so good is our willingness to tell each other the things we don't want to hear. I suppose in certain circumstances, some amount of restraint is appropriate in just about any relationship. Just not ours. It is this brutal honesty that keeps us motivated and productive. I am also certain that it is apparent to both of us that we could never leave each other because nobody else would put up with that shit. Until death do us part we'll be answering "yes" when the answer should have been, "I'm sorry what? I didn't hear you". It's how we do.

     One of my favorite sweet reminders that she often gives me is "Your metabolism won't stay this way forever, John. One day you are going to wake up and weigh 400 lbs." It is often in reference to a helping of food on my plate that she has mistakenly identified as being "Family Style". What can I say? I like to cook, because I like to eat. In her defense she does usually follow it up with "I will still love you, should you become immobile. I just don't think that you are going to like it". Damn!  

   I thought about the power of these exchanges this morning. At 8:00 a.m it was 34º and, I was bundled up and running. Oddly enough, no one was chasing me. I had to laugh to myself about it. She totally got me. It is her combination of honesty, paired with subtle and creative hints, that make L so dangerous. It is her lingering, ever so briefly, while flipping through channels, so I can catch a glimpse of some other goofball doing something that nature and/or gravity has deemed inappropriate for humans. Then, "You could totally do that. If you trained, of course". The challenge. It gets me every time.

     I love her because she knows me. Maybe too well. She knows that to get me off my ass and staying healthy it's going to take a little more than a gym membership and reminders of my winter weight. I need some sort of extra push. Risk, Danger, the possibility of of unwillingly expelling my meal for 4 and collapsing in a heap before the finish. I need a goal. A goal that I have to work for. Otherwise it's no fun. And if there is one thing I love (besides her, of course), it's is puking and passing out after extreme athletics! No, wait, I like fun.

    So far, I have two events planned for this year.

Spartan Race is coming up quick! If you are a Hoosier (or are willing to travel here), we could use a few more members on our team.

Fort 4 Fitness half marathon is 245 days away. I hope that is enough time to shave 30 minutes off of the last one (yes, I am that guy).

   Hooray for honesty!
   Hooray for Danger!
   Hooray for Crafty spouses!
   Hooray for the word Hooray!



In Case You Didn't

In case you didn't already check it out, here is a link to the recipe for January Rolls over at Foodie Parent. 



Clementine Meringue Tarts

Last week i promised more recipes, and I hate to disappoint, so here it is. Clementine Meringue Tarts. I made these for Finn because lemon meringue pie is his favorite, and he didn't really get much in the way of a dessert for his birthday (two weeks ago). There are three separate components to these tarts, but I think they are well worth it. There were none left within hours of making them. The poor guys wanted more, and had to resort to eating clementine curd on graham crackers....

for the crust

**I did not use a traditional tart dough for this. I used my go-to pie crust recipe. You can use whatever you like best. Graham cracker would be great, too.

1 1/4 cups flour // 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar // 1/2 teaspoon salt // 1 stick of butter, really cold and diced into 1/2 inch cubes // a measuring cup filled with ice water //

*special equipment - a muffin tin

Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter cubes, and using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Drizzle a little of the ice water (no cubes) over the mixture. Use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. Dump your dough onto the counter, and gently knead a few times. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least two hours.

After dough is sufficiently chilled, roll it out on a floured surface, until it has a thickness of 1/4 inch to 1/8 . Use a 3 inch biscuit cutter ( I used a glass) cut the dough into twelve discs.
Place the discs in the bottom of your muffin tin, and prick the bottoms with a fork. Put the muffin tin in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the tart shells for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn them out onto a rack to cool.

Clementine Curd
1 teaspoon clementine zest // 2 tablespoons lemon juice // 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons clementine juice //1/2 cup of sugar // 3 eggs // 1/2 stick of butter, cubed into small pieces //

Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan. Add butter and cook over low heat. You will need to whisk frequently (you arm will probably feel like it is going fall off) until curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve, into a bowl. Cool and set aside.

*I have read that curd will last up to two weeks if you store it in a sterilized jar. It has never lasted more than a few days at my house, so I am uncertain of proper storage techniques.

Italian meringue
2 large egg whites // 1 cup of sugar // 1/4 cream of tartar // 1/3 cup water // 1/8 tsp salt // 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract // 1/4 teaspoon orange extract //

* special equipment - a stand mixer

Combine sugar, cream of tartar, water and salt in saucepan. Bring to a boil, until the syrup is clear and all the sugar has dissolved.

Begin beating the egg whites. After they have soft peaks, slowly stream the boiling syrup down the side of the bowl. Continue beating at full speed. Add the extracts and beat until the meringue is cool and very stiff.

* This meringue should be used the day it is made. Again, we have never had an issue with this at our house.

Time to assemble. Place as much or as little curd as you like, into the shells. Top with meringue. If you want to be fancy, use a blow-torch to brown the tops. Stash some in a secret spot before they are all gone.



Ours is (h)ours.

You remember the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons? Yeah. Good. Picture this in her voice, because that's how it usually sounds to me:

  "We've got kids. We never have any time to ourselves. We never sleep. Our "Adult time" is all but extinct. Our lives are Macaroni, wiping noses, wiping butts and watching cartoons.Wha Wha Whu Waa Wha...................."

  Boo fucking Hoo, Ma'am!

    I have no sympathy for parents who complain about being parents. None. Being a parent is hard sometimes, no doubt. But seriously, do people really not realize that their life with children is going to be drastically different? Like, forever. It also never ceases to amaze me that when presented with these "problems" that people choose to just lay down and become the complete opposite of what they once were. As if there is no alternative, no middle ground. I don't know how many times I have seen people just throw in the towel when they realize that going out every night isn't an option anymore. "I used to be in a band, but then I had kids." "I used to make art, then I had kids." "I used to__________, but then I had kids". Well, I say Bullshit. Or maybe not. Perhaps they have secretly always wanted to wear pants with pleats in the front. Maybe they like listening to versions of pop songs that were  already terrible to begin with being sung by misguided pre-teens over and over again. Who am I to judge? Maybe I am being to harsh, and it is I who is actually misguided.

Nah, that shit sucks.

   Maybe it is a lack of perspective that causes people to act in such a way. I really have no idea what makes it so hard though.
  • Make the time you have count, even when the window is small.
  • Include your kids in the things you love.
  • Don't dress like an asshole.
Pretty simple.

   Lindsay and I have always tried to find new ways of making our time together count. Sometimes there are long stretches in between actual real "going out dates". So lately we have taken to having mini "dates" at home. They have been pretty awesome too. The food is better. The drinks are cheaper and we are already "back at my place". Oh wait, kids. Did I mention the food is better? These times have been really awesome reminders to us both that we are still special and individual. Then a Nerf dart straight to the cornea brings you back to reality.

  I imagine this is where I would put something like "Have fun, be creative". That just seems cheap though. Bridging the gap between being a parent and being an individual is something very dear to me, so I feel like I should come up with something better. I owe it to myself. I owe it to you.

How about: Having kids doesn't mean you have suck. So don't.

We had a lunch date at home earlier this week. Set the table. Had a beer, ate appetizers, plated the main course (took pictures), the whole bit. It was pretty awesome. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been a dishwasher, or disposable pans.

* It should be stated that the post is totally null and void if your significant other isn't really rad and/or you are actually the guy who allows Maroon 5 songs redone by 4th graders to be played in his presence. If so, you're on your own.

** Totally shameless plug. Recipes for the appetizers can be found here.


the best days.

   This weekend was spent cooking, baking, hanging out, and watching movies.  We both are working on getting more recipes up over here, but until then you can check out John's posts over at Foodie Parent.  He will have recipes up for the panzanella skewers and gazpacho tomorrow.  Hope you all had a great weekend!



Giveaway//School of Vintage//Mikasa Dishes//CLOSED

**Miss Teacups is the winner of this giveaway! **

We love Erin + Jeannine.  If ever there were kindred spirits in the realm of blogging and the vintage aesthetic, it would have to be SOV.  Their eye for detail is impeccable and  their blog is always refreshingly honest.  We are so very happy to be teaming up with them for this awesome giveaway!  We are also beyond thrilled about their big announcement last week!  They signed papers on a physical space that they will be opening later this year!  So, enter the giveaway and pop over to their blog and congratulate them!

  •  This giveaway is for a set of 1960's Mikasa dishes.  Four small plates and four dishes. 
  • The giveaway is open to all readers.  Please remember to leave your email with your comment, so that we may contact you if you win.  
  • Additional entries for tweeting about the giveaway or ♥ their esty shop.  
  • The contest will run through Sunday and a winner will be picked via random number generator, and announced on Monday.  
Good luck!!


Day Off. +1

    If you have kids, you probably already know what these are. When I awoke this morning, aside from an 8:00 a.m meeting at the shop, an epic battle involving hundreds of these little guys was our only plan. Gavin's school district has today and Monday off so Finn and I got to hang with him today too, which was awesome!

    Last night Lindsay and I decided to stay up for a bit after the boys went to bed to drink a few cocktails and muse about future plans and things to be done. The trouble with these times is that once we get rolling it's hard to put on the brakes (you can read into that however you wish). It also seems that we choose to do this almost exclusively on nights were we have somewhere to be early the next morning. It is usually on these mornings that we realize we did not make the best decision. Ugh...

      After stopping for coffee I miraculously made it to my meeting (and only 10 minutes late!). Blah, Blah, Blah, Big plans for the bike shop next year. Good job, now work harder, More on that some other time. Or not. Actually, most definitely not.
I returned home to two faces peering out at me from the front windows. Ready for the Nerf Apocalypse to start. I however, was not quite prepared. "Let Daddy sit for a few minutes, then we will battle". Since Lindsay had not yet had any, and the 4 shots of espresso I'd already consumed were not quite cutting it (don't judge me), I ground some beans and made another pot of coffee for she and I right before she left. I sat down for a minute to check my e-mails. Nothing. Nothing. Junk. Nothing. Then I opened a seemingly innocuous one from multiple co-conspirators. I can't really say what is (potentially) going on but suffice it to say, my response to said e-mail was, as such "HOOOOLLLLYYYY SSSHHHHHIIITTTT". Lindsay had left already so I immediately called her at work, hung up when her boss answered, then shot her a text telling her to call me immediately. She whispered her enthusiasm and quickly let me go. 
"Hey boys, small change of plans. We have to hit the store".

"WHAT? WHY? COME ON DAD!" Little boys do not like it when you mess with their plans. Of course I had planned for this already. "I will buy new darts. Ya know, the big pack". Instant silence. Then.... "YESSSSSS"! It pays to know your children's currency. 
And we were off to the store.

Darts purchased. Check.
Food for the days activities purchased. Check.
Charcoal and grill dug from the depths or the garage. Check.
Wait, what!? It's 19° outside.

I have my reasons. And they are pretty good.

So, yeah. I had an epic Nerf gun battle. I grilled chicken skewers on the coldest day of the year. I cleaned the house, did dishes and laundry. Played with Legos. Did a little lazing about. Sent some e-mails, got some e-mails. Did some daydreaming. Did some head scratching. Had an awesome dinner. Now I'm finishing it up listening to bedtime stories from the other room.
 Damn good day.

 I hope yours was too.



Sneak Peek


Five Years of Awesome

Five years ago we welcomed this guy into our family. And we haven't had a good night's sleep ever since.    He is free-spirited and loving and the perfect addition to our family.  He has made John and I better parents, and helped Gavin to take risks.  He has never met a stranger, is a natural performer (what do you expect from a kid who shares a birthday with David Bowie and Elvis) and will eat just about anything.  Basically, he is awesome and we are  proud to be his parents.  Happy Birthday, Finn!


Day Off.

 Finn and I didn't have much in the way of plans for the day. This morning I suggested that we cook something together. Like I always do, I asked what we should make, his response "Star Wars Food". Um, can you be more specific son. "Nah". So helpful, that one. Well o.k then, I will see what I can come up with.

Have I ever said that I find Google frightening? Because I do.

Search: Star Wars Food
 Results:  Wookiepedia. 

How far down the rabbit hole do you wish to go today?

As you would expect there was also, of course, the Star Wars Food Blog. But that was bullshit. Who wants to make a cake that looks like a lightsaber? We want the real deal. We want to know exactly what those fuzzy little Endorians eat. Unfortunately, much to our chagrin, there were no recipes. Only descriptions of the many delicacies of far away galaxies. At the very least they could have provided us with appropriate substitutions for all those hard to find ingredients. No such luck. 
As I often do, I prepared something yesterday (actually over the last two days) for us to use for a meal either today or tomorrow. However when it came time to decide how to use the  Roasted Pork Belly in the fridge, the option of slicing off small pieces when no one is looking instead of actually doing anything with it seemed much more appealing to both of us. Time for plan B. Or C. Whatever.

Hey Finn, how about we take your mom to work, go get some sushi listen to Rock and Roll and go to the thrift store? 

"Can I get chopsticks?"
  " Then,YEEEEEESSSSS".   

And were off. 

That was pretty much exactly how it went. 
  • Dropped mom off.
  • Picked up sushi. (also jellybeans, green peppercorns, sherry vinegar and cornichons. Have I ever mentioned how Finn and I should never be allowed to shop together.)
  • Dropped some sushi off to mom at work (brownie points).
  • Listened to some good jams.
  •  Engaged in some Dude-Thrift  (Use that one freely. Or on second thought, maybe not. Sounds kind of questionable).

 I love it when these days happen. Even if we did get totally skunked at the thrift store(s). Seriously, not a single worth while camera, action figure or piece of bar-ware to be had in this whole damn city today. It was still a great day though, there were even a few firsts for the little dude.

This guy joined the "No forks club". One handed even! 

Instead of channel surfing until he heard "ya know, that one song". We listened to this! I'm pretty sure I even saw his little head start to move in the rear view. Stoked!

Like I said. Small triumphs. But it is these seemingly small things that make me proud.
Happy Friday everybody!



What's inside. (my house)

 I thought it would be fun to do a kitchen/dining room tour, since these are the two rooms we spend the most time in.  As with most things in our house, the kitchen is a work in progress.  We hope to get some mini projects finished up this Spring.  I cannot wait to get a new sink!  Until then, here you go.


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