Friday, 31 December 2010

Vivian Vendredi - BFFs

When I was pregnant, I made no secret about the fact that I was hoping for a boy.  In my mind, I could just picture myself with a little boy.  I've always wanted an older brother and was hoping that I would have a boy, then a girl so she would have that older brother I always wanted.

Of course, now that I have a girl, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Not only is it special that I'm an oldest daughter and now my oldest is the same, but she has an instant best friend in her cousin, Blair.

My mom calls them "Sister Cousins" because they'll grow up more like sisters.  This freaks my sister out though, because it reminds her too much of Sister Wives - something totally different.

They are only 6 months apart, so it's really nice.  They can share clothes and secrets, and they'll always have a friend at family gatherings.

My sister and I can't wait to see what they get into!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Leftover Management

I hope everyone had a great holiday filled with lots of goodies!

I'm a big leftovers fan.  I'm incapable of cooking the right amount of food for just two people, so we usually end up with enough leftovers to feed a small army.  The tricky part about leftovers is making sure they don't get eaten when they've gone bad.

I have a habit of realizing that something should be thrown out, but leaving it in the fridge until the night before garbage pickup, then cleaning out the whole fridge and tossing everything.  This is especially effective in the summer when you don't want a bunch of rotting food sitting in a hot garage.  This habit leads to a lot of fun conversations between Jagger and I.

Jagger grabs some container of food out of the fridge.
Me - Uh, I wouldn't eat that.  It's like a week old.
Jagger - Then why is it in the fridge?
Me - I'm just keeping it good until I throw it out.

It makes sense, don't argue with me. 

I'm not the only one who does this.  I also happen to know that my friend Amanda uses this same method with her husband.  Nothing like being warned not to eat that sour cream in the fridge because it's bad.

Does this make sense to you?  Or are you more of a toss it before it spoils kind of person?  Let me know - I'm off to eat some pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Loose Plugs

I promise - this isn't a pregnancy related post.

Probably my least favourite part about our house is the plugs.  For some reason, some of our outlets are oddly loose which leads to the cords hanging out a little bit.  In our bedroom it's especially bad which leads to an outlet looking like this...

See, these are the plugs for the TV and alarm clock in the bedroom.  If we don't have them taped in, then they slip far enough out of the outlet to shut down the clock and TV.  It's super annoying.

Unfortunately, having the electrical tape holding the plugs in the wall makes it that much more appealing to the cats.  So, in addition to the tape, there's usually a laundry hamper in front helping to hold the plugs in.

The cats have also realized this issue with other plugs in the house, and Gibson especially enjoys pulling things out of the outlet.  Always entertaining.

I have no idea how one would go about fixing this though - does the whole outlet have to be replaced?  I'm not keen on electrical work.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

What I've Learned - After She Got Here

I've read a lot of really good "what to expect from post-partum life" posts that go over all the weird, gross stuff that you should expect.  Here's one of my favourites you can check out.  I didn't want to write a post like that, because I think there's already so much information out there.  Instead, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I've picked up so far.  Obviously, I'm no expert.  I haven't been a parent that long.  But, these ideas worked for me, so maybe they'll work for you!  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

  • Arm workouts.  Holy crap.  I couldn't believe how sore my arms were after the labour and delivery.  Had I known, I would have been doing biceps curls for the whole 9 months.  I literally couldn't lift anything heavier than Vivian for about a week, it was insane.  Do yourself a a favour and get your guns ready for delivery!
  • LED lights.  You know those little sticky LED lights?  The ones you can stick in a cabinet or something for a little extra light?  They're super cheap, you can usually get them at the dollar store or something?  Well, they make awesome baby lights.  I have a couple stuck to my night stand and leave one on all night long.  I find Vivian sleeps better with a little bit of light, and that way I'm not struggling to find the lamp when she wakes up in the night.  One light gives us just enough to get through a feeding, and then I turn on the second one to change her.  It doesn't wake her up in the night and it doesn't wake Jagger up either.  Win-win.
  • Have everything within arm's reach.  It took us a few nights to figure this all out, but now we've got it down.  Before going to bed at night, I make sure I have a change of clothes for Vivian, at least 4 diapers, wipes, soother, some breast pads, my water bottle, Tylenol, extra blanket and a couple of spit blankets and a clean shirt for myself right on my nightstand.  That way I don't have to wake Jagger up to get Vivian a clean sleeper or go fumbling around for a dry T-shirt if I soak through the one I fell asleep in (yes, my life is incredibly glamorous right now).  Having everything within arm's reach makes life much easier.  During the day, we move most of the same items out to the living room so we can keep going out there.
  • Baby + Vibrating Chair in the bathroom = shower for mommy.  It's quite the cliche that new moms can never get a shower.  I'm quite happy to say that so far, I haven't missed a shower since having her.  I'm not against a good lazy not-showering day, but it's nice for me to think "At least I took a shower today, if nothing else."  The trick for us to to have Vivian in her vibrating chair in the bathroom while I shower.  That way she's happy because she's close to me, I'm not worrying about her in the other room with the cats and she usually sleeps through the whole thing.  The steamy air and white noise of the shower combined with the vibrating chair completely relaxes her.
  • Speaking of showers - the first shower you will take after having the baby will be the best shower of your life.  You know how good that first shower feels after you've been camping and feel completely disgusting?  This shower is about 1000 times better than that.  Even though you're completely sore and don't feel totally clean after the shower, it completely makes you feel human again.
  • Which reminds me - bring some spray-in conditioner to the hospital!  Because my arms were so sore (see first bullet) I couldn't comb my own hair.  So I just left it all knotted until my mom got to the hospital and asked her to comb it out.  Some spray-in conditioner would have really helped things.
  • Save something nice for yourself.  I'm having kind of a hard time dealing with the whole post-partum body.  Things just aren't going back to normal quite as fast as I'd like (even though I've lost about 30 pounds already) and it's hard to be stuck in maternity clothes still.  What did make me feel better was getting my hair cut.  I had been wanting to get quite a bit of hair cut off for sometime before having Vivian, but my mom encouraged me to save it for after I had her.  What a difference it made.  It felt so good to get my hair cut and get my eyebrows waxed.  Now I just need to get my grey hairs covered and I'll really be feeling better!  It was so nice to have a little something to do for myself so soon after having her.
  • You really, really do need to eat.  I'm having a hard time adjusting to this one.  I know I need to eat more because I'm breast feeding, but I'm still used to being able to skip meals every now and then.  I really, really can't do that now.  Going too long without eating means I'm super pale and ready to pass out really quickly.  Make sure you've got snacks around.  My mom was awesome for showing up with a bunch of quick and easy meals for us, as well as a huge veggie tray for me to snack on.  It was awesome.  Soup makes a really great meal because it's so easy to have in a slow cooker and you can just grab a bowl whenever you have a minute to sit down.
  • I'm not sure if this is a breast feeding thing, but I think it is.  My skin is sooo dry.  Like crazy dry.  I know it's winter, but this is more than my normal dry winter skin.  The problem is that I've been avoiding wearing a lot of scented stuff because of Vivian.  When you have someone who spends several hours of the day burrowed against you, you don't really want to overwhelm them with scents.  Instead, I've been using her baby lotion.  It's great for moisture and I know it's safe for her skin.
  • Don't push yourself.  This one is hard.  I ended up needing stitches after delivery (awesome, I know) so it was close to a week before I was even walking totally normally again.  Even now, almost two weeks later, I have a hard time bending down.  My problem is that I'll feel better (thanks Advil and Tylenol!) then immediately try to do too much and end up completely sore and stuck lying on the couch.  I'm sure I would have healed more quickly if I would have just relaxed and left things, but that's not in my nature.  (True story - the other day while Vivian was sleeping, I went into her room and tried to put together her crib by myself.  Jagger wasn't happy when he realized what I was doing.)
  • Things I stocked up on before she got here - paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent.  I didn't want to go crazy stocking up on a bunch of stuff, especially since it's the holidays and I knew people would be bringing things over, but it was nice to have these things on hand and not have to worry about them.  My mom brought some paper plates too, which was nice to have around for meals.
  • Things I should have stocked up on - garbage bags, newborn diapers, cat food.  We had the unfortunate circumstance of being snowed in for several days after Vivian was born.  This meant that we had no garbage pickup for 2 weeks (it was finally picked up today - hooray!) and were totally housebound.  I was going to get more newborn sized diapers before she was born, but I didn't want to go crazy with the super-tiny diapers without seeing what we ended up with.  Since she was 11 days overdue, I was kind of expecting a giant baby.  Once we saw how small she was, we should have gone out and bought more newborn diapers right away.  Oh well, lesson learned.  As for the cat food, well I just didn't even think of that.
  • Accept help wherever you get it.  I have a hard time letting people help me, but I haven't been turning down any help lately.  People bringing food, my mom taking a day off to go shopping and to have Vivian's pictures taken, Jagger getting me dinner or even just filling up my water bottle for me, it's all much appreciated and really makes the days go more smoothly.
  • Charting - they start you charting in the hospital to keep track of how often the baby eats and how many diapers they go through.  I kept this up after we left the hospital for just a little over her first week.  It was helpful to show the doctor when we went for her one week checkup and it was helpful for me to start to see her pattern (not a schedule, just a pattern).  I've stopped charting now because it was getting tedious, but it was really helpful at first and I would definitely recommend it.
  • Keep on top of your thank you cards.  I know it's hard, but you'll feel so much better after you get them done!  I'm planning on doing mine today.
  • All in all, just don't be too hard on yourself.  If you don't get something done, don't worry about it.  As long as your baby gets to eat, gets changed and has some clothes on, it's a pretty successful day.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Shrimp and Rice Bake

This one was rather misleading, as I chose not to bake it at all.  It worked quite well on the stove top, and seemed a lot easier.  This one also heated up really nicely for leftovers - always appreciated!

Shrimp and Rice Bake
Serves: 4  Prep: 20 min  Bake: 25 min

4 slices bacon, chopped (I didn't use the bacon, because I don't believe in cooking bacon unless you're going to cook the whole pound and I didn't feel like defrosting it)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups rice
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with italian herbs
1 pound frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 375 (or don't and just cook it on the stove top, like me).  In a large, ovenproof skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes; stir in the rice.  Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper and the paprika.  Add teh tomatoes and 1 cup water and bring to a simmer.  Cover and bake until the rice is just tender, about 20 minutes.  (Okay, maybe that's why we were supposed to bake it - I cheated and used Minute Rice, it's a lot easier)
2. Stir in the shrimp and zucchini and bake for 5 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and serve.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Vivian Vendredi - Crazy Faces

Hey everyone - in an attempt to keep the blog from turning into a "look how cute my kid is" blog, I'm going to try to keep Vivian posts to Fridays since it provides some nice French alliteration.  I was hoping to have the birth story posted, but she hasn't given me enough time to sit down and type it out.  I wasn't sure at first if I was going to post the birth story, but I always enjoy reading other people's stories, and I figure if I enjoy reading it, then other people will too.

Until then, here's some new pictures of the peanut and her many faces.

She's a funny little kitten.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

What I've learned.

Here's the post with the helpful advice.  The thing with being pregnant is you can't really know what to expect until you're into it.  Then you're just full of advice and tips and tricks to pass along.  So here I am, doing my part to tell you what worked and what didn't work for me.
  • Bella Band - I cannot say enough good things about this product.  I got one early in the pregnancy when my pants started getting tight and ended up wearing it practically every day.  Later on, when I had a more definite belly I started to find that my underwire was really digging in to the top of my bump because I was carrying so high.  The Bella Band was perfect to tuck under my bra to give me a little cushioning.  I also found I just really liked the support of wearing something tight but not constrictive around my belly all the time.  I would definitely recommend it - best $40 I ever spent.
  • Body Pillows - By the end, I was sleeping with 4 pillows under my head, one body pillow behind me and one in front of me.  I should have just spent the money and gotten a Snoogle, but thought it seemed silly.  I definitely would want to get a Snoogle next time, because it seems like it would be just perfect!
  • Embracing my cravings - I didn't have many cravings, but when I did, I went with it.  If I wanted nachos for dinner, I would have them and make sure that I had some black beans and lots of veggies in there to get my proteins and vitamins.  I also tried to drink at least one glass of fruit/veggie combination juice for breakfast to help make sure I got my daily servings.  It made me feel better later when all I would want was a meatball sub.
  • Water bottle - I don't know about anyone else, but I couldn't stand to be more than a foot away from my water bottle.  I carry about a 1 litre reusable water bottle everywhere with me and refill it constantly.  Some days, I only have one or two, and other days I have five or six, but it's always nearby.
  • People will ask you stupid questions.  Answer them and move on.
  • You don't need that many maternity clothes.  I get it, it's easy to get sucked in to wanting lots of maternity clothes.  Whether you enjoy the way you look or not, you just want to feel good in what you're wearing, and so it can be tempting to buy lots.  I, for one, didn't want to look like a present (why do so many maternity clothes have big bows on the bellies?) and just wanted what I needed to get by.  I lucked out by not showing very much until the end, so I got away with my trusty Bella Band (seriously, it's a life saver) for the early part when I started outgrowing my pants, and then lived in dresses all summer.  Once it got cool out, I did have to spend some money, but a 40% off sale at Old Navy combined with a 15% off coupon from completing one of those online surveys meant that I only ended up spending about $250 for all my maternity clothes, including a winter coat.
  • You won't be ready for the baby.  I was very aware of this.  Every time someone would ask me, "So, are you ready for the baby?"  I bluntly replied, "No.  I don't think I'm supposed to be."  Did I read far too many books?  Yes.  Did I spend way too much time online researching various things?  Yes.  Did I attend prenatal and breast feeding classes?  Yes.  Did I ever feel like I was "ready" to be a mom?  No way.  You can't know what you're going to get into until it's go time and I think it's silly to feel like you're "ready" for your entire world to change.  You're just setting yourself up for failure.
  • Get a pedicure.  I got a pedicure a couple of days before my due date and it was awesome.  By that point, I had such a hard time reaching my toes, it was so awesome to have my nails all nice and painted and feeling good before the big day came.
  • Make use of friends and kijiji.  I bought very little new for the baby.  I got really lucky with gifts, loans and used items.  It only made sense for me, I wasn't about to fork out oodles of cash for things that I wasn't even sure I would get much use out of.
  • Baby bathtubs make the perfect place to soak swollen feet.
  • Go to prenatal fairs!  I can't stress this enough.  Not only did I get loads of helpful information and little freebies (pens and notepads?  Don't mind if I do!) but I also won a carseat and a baby sling - combined they were worth about $200.  I ended up going to three separate fairs, and it was definitely worth it.
I'm planning on doing another post later about what I've learned from labour/delivery and life at home with the baby afterwards.  Hopefully someone will find some of the information helpful!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

I wasn't crazy about this one actually.  Maybe it was because peeling the squash nearly killed my back, or because the squash ended up really mushing up into almost a sauce on its own, but I wasn't crazy about it.  Jagger seemed to like it, but I thought it was too similar to a BLT pasta that I make which is way better!

Penne with Bacon, Butternut Squash and Spinach

Serves: 4  Prep: 10 min  Cook: 20 min

1 pound penne rigate pasta
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3 cups baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 7 minutes (the pasta will only be partially cooked).  Drain, reserving 2 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in an extra-large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels, then crumble the bacon once it is cool enough to handle.  Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.  (I didn't follow this part, because I think it's ridiculous to only cook 4 pieces of bacon.  I never cook less than a pound of bacon, otherwise I think it's a waste of time.  I prefer to cut up the bacon while it's raw, then cook the whole thing.  Then you can use what you need and throw the rest in the fridge in a container for later.  Much simpler than cooking it a few strips at a time.)
3. Add the olive oil and squash to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 7 minutes.  Add the pasta and 2 cups of the reserved pasta cooking water.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the pasta and squash are cooked, about 5 minutes, adding additional pasta cooking water if needed.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, garlic and parsley.  Season generously with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cheese and crumbled bacon.

I burned the bacon a little bit, which also might have added to my disinterest in this dish.  I was in kind of a crabby mood that day.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Meet the Kid

On March 29th, 2010 I peed on a stick, saw two lines and cried.  I cried not because I was happy or excited, but because I was scared.  I was scared of my life changing, of not being able to afford what I was facing, of the challenges yet to come.

On December 8th, 2010, I cried for a different reason.  For not being able to imagine how my life could ever have existed without this little person.

Meet Vivian May.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The kid is already a procrastinator.

I am very overdue.  If I were an item in a grocery store, I would be sitting on a shelf with a big ole 50% off sticker on my forehead just to try and get me out the door.

Tuesday was the day that I finally hit the "I'm done" wall.  I was just so tired.  Physically tired and emotionally tired.  I was just done.

Luckily, the doctor agrees and the induction process has been started.  Shouldn't be too long now before we finally get to meet the kid.  Updates to follow, I promise.

Here I am, 10 days overdue.  Goodbye pregnant me!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Snow Days

So most of Southwestern Ontario has been hammered with crazy amounts of snow.  London is on the verge of declaring a state of emergency.  Strathroy usually takes the brunt of these storms, but here's what we've been looking at...

We got some snow, sure.  It's just nothing compared to the 100+ centimeter snowfall that some areas have seen.  Jagger's had to get out and shovel just twice since Sunday.  We've parked my car in the garage so we wouldn't have to clean it off in the event we need to get to the hospital.

I'm very grateful that we were both off this week anyway, expecting the baby to be here.  I would be so worried if Jagger was trying to get to work in this!  We're also very lucky that the hospital is just down the road from our place, so we shouldn't have any problems getting there when we need to.

Actually, we were there yesterday, and almost got induced!  But, because of the weather everywhere else, they were short staffed on OB nurses and sent us home.  We may be able to be induced this afternoon if they have the staff, but I'm not holding my breath.

I am pretty done though.  I'm 10 days over and I'm not sleeping very well.  I'm tired of wondering about every ache and pain and am ready to just get things going.  Who knows, maybe I'll go on my own today and the nurses will just have to deal with me!

If you're stuck in the snow, I hope you have good books and good hot chocolate to keep you company!  Hopefully this is the one big storm we get this year, and not a sign of things to come!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Storage Wars

Holy crap.  Have you seen the new show Storage Wars on A&E?  It's so awesome, I'm in love.

The premise is simple - people don't pay their rental fees on storage units, so they get auctioned off to the highest bidder.  The auctions are cash only, and you get five minutes to look in the unit without looking in any boxes, then you start bidding.  The buyers that they follow are mostly guys who run consignment shops and thrift stores who are looking to spend a little and score a lot on these units.  Case in point?  One guy gave an example of a storage unit with a bunch of comic books that he bought for $2100 or so and ended up selling the comics for $130,000.

It's part Antiques Roadshow, part Pawn Stars and part treasure hunting, with loads of awesome.

My favourite part?  There's one guy (Dave) who seems to be a bit of a douchebag and likes to bid on units he has no interest in just to jack the price up on other people.  It's hilarious.

Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but either way it's darn entertaining.

So far there's only been two episodes, but it's the kind of show that I could easily watch as an all-day marathon.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Bean Taquitos with Cucumber Salsa

Bean Taquitos with Cucumber Salsa
Serves: 4  Prep: 15 min  Cook: 15 min

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
12 small corn tortillas
one 16-ounce can spicy refried beans
1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber, garlic and parsley.  Stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Stir the lemon peel into the sour cream.
2. Heat a large skillet over low heat.  Soften each tortilla in the skillet for about 15 seconds on each side.  Place the tortillas on a work surface and spread each with 2 tablespoons refried beans; sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese.  Roll up the tortillas to resemble cigars.
3. Using the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Working in 3 batches and using the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, fry the taquitos, turning, until crisp and browned, 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve the taquitos with the lemony sour cream and cucumber salsa.


Well, here I am nearly a week overdue.  Contrary to what you might expect however, I'm pretty comfortable.  I definitely haven't hit that "I'm done being pregnant" stage.  If the kid isn't ready, then neither am I.

We had a stress test yesterday, just to make sure everything was cool with the kid since my blood pressure has been a little wacky lately and I've been having some headaches.  No issues with the test though - neither one of us are stressed out, so we're back home waiting it out.  Next doctor's appointment is on Monday, and I'm sure the doctor by then will want to set a date for induction, since I'll be like 9 days overdue at that point.

Being off work has been weird.  I've never been very good at unstructured time (seriously, I spent a couple of months not working after university and nearly lost my mind) but so far it's been okay.  Because I'm still pretty comfortable, it's been kind of nice to have the house to myself during the day.  I haven't even had that nesting bug, so I've been spending lots of time lying around watching hours of TLC and even managing to cook dinner for the hubs once or twice.  There's also a Twin Peaks boxed set that's been keeping me busy.  (Why didn't anyone ever tell me that Kyle MacLachlan used to be so awesome?  I've always found him so grating from Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives)

Sleep has been interesting - I have a hard time falling asleep (I've been going to bed around midnight and falling asleep somewhere around 1:00) and tend to toss and turn all night.  Once Jagger gets up to leave in the mornings, I tend to sleep better so I usually sleep in until 10-11 before "starting my day".  I'm not napping during the day though, so I figure that being lazy in the mornings is really just my afternoon nap tacked on to my nighttime sleeping.

So, here I am.  Patiently waiting.  This week has definitely been harder on Jagger than on me.  He's had a hard time focusing at work thinking about me sitting at home.  Tomorrow is his last day at work, then I'll have him hovering over me just waiting for something to happen.

I'm definitely hoping that things take their due course, rather than having to be medically induced.  We'll see what happens though.  Considering how stubborn and contrary this baby has been all along, my bet is that as soon as we have a date set for induction, it will come on its own terms before then, just to be difficult.

In the meantime, I'm quite happy on my couch.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Beef Kebabs with Roasted Green Beans and Almonds

Beef Kebabs with Roasted Green Beans and Almonds
Serves: 4  Prep: 15 min  Cook: 15 min

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds green beans
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, crumble the beef and mix in the parsley, garlic, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Form into sixteen 1 1/4 inch balls and thread onto 4 skewers.  (I didn't have any skewers, so I just cooked the meatballs as they were)
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the green beans with the olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; spread out in a single layer.  Roast for 10 minutes, then stir in the almonds and roast until the green beans are lightly browned and the almonds are toasted, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan to medium-high.  Grill the meatballs, turning, until just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve with the green beans and lemon wedges.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Dust Jackets

Lately, I've been obsessed with dust jackets.  I realize this is a weird sentence.

I think it's because I've been reading a lot of hardcover books lately, and maybe it's just my nesting instinct right now, but dust jackets are driving me crazy. 

They rip, they tear, they slide around while you read.  Their only saving grace is that they provide you with a built-in bookmark.

On average, I'm more of a trade paperback kind of gal myself, but sometimes you get stuck with the hardcover.  I don't know if I'm ready to be that person who gets rid of dust jackets and leaves the books on the shelf all naked-like (although I love the clean look of it).  I feel like that would be too permanent of an option for me, and I would want to remove the dust jackets, but keep them all filed away somewhere just in case one day down the road I realize I have some rare first edition of something that is worth far more with the dust jacket intact.

We've also accumulated a lot of used library books over the last few years from our annual attendance at the Friends of the London Public Library Book Sale.  It's my favourite thing - it seems to always be the weekend before my birthday, so I have licence to scoop up as many books as I can manage.  It's a great way to stock up on books, but then they are usually hardcover and have that plastic cover from being a library book.  So do I take them all off, which would require cutting it off of the cover (since they're taped down from being library books).  Do they lose some of their charm that way, or is it more practical because right now my book collection looks like a good chunk of it is racking up late fees by the minute.

Colourful and unique...

...or uniform and neat?

Where do you stand on dust jackets?  Are they part of the book and should be appreciated, or are they a messy waste of time and should be tossed immediately?