Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I tend to look pretty much everything up on the internet. I can't even tell you how many things I look up per week just out of curiosity. Last night, I was researching something or other and stumbled across an interesting idea for any parent to keep in mind. The article I was reading mentioned that people tend to recall events that are unique and/or infrequent occurrences in their lives (I believe the context was that because of this fact, it's not the expense that matters but the uniqueness when planning special outings).

I frequently wonder what memories my children will look back upon with special fondness. After reading that article last night, I think I might have a better clue. Thinking back on my own life, I do realize that nostalgia is a very funny thing. I may not have tons of vivid memories from early childhood, but those that I do have are in fact quite unique. One of my favorites involves my mom ironing while watching Hawaii 5-0 (which, I feel like she did often, but maybe it was actually a one time thing). While she ironed away, I sat in an inflatable yellow plastic raft (that we had apparently just bought and had blown up to test) eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sprinkled over the top. Given the fact that this all took place in our livingroom, it doesn't get much more unusual that that.

As a parent, I want memories like that one for my own kids. Of course, I can't select what they will recall later on in life, but as a stay-at-home mom, I can do my best to fill their young lives with potentially great memories. This is actually the number one reason I chose not to work especially while they're little. And, armed with this new information, maybe I can do a little better at choosing fun/unique activities that they will remember for years to come.

Activities like the pizza making from a few nights ago. Daddy was out of town, and if I know how to do anything, it's bread baking. I don't often make pizza, though they do love it. The other night, I had the appropriate ingredients and offered to let them make their own. They jumped at the chance to dig into the dough. They made the entire pizza dough from scratch themselves. The only thing I did was measure the ingredients and show them the proper way to knead. They had a ball (of dough! hee hee!) and were so proud to learn how delicious their very own homemade pizzas could turn out (and, they were perfect). Just take a look at how yummy they were...

Oh, and in case anyone would like to know...

The recipe for their mini-pizzas was pretty simple. I gave them each a cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp yeast. They mixed that with a fork and then we started adding warm water. Once the mixture was a little moist, we added about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Then, we continued adding water till the dough was workable but not too wet. When it was a tiny bit sticky we just added a bit more flour to help get the kneading going. They kneaded for quite a while (adding more flour when necessary). This kept them both busy while I breastfed/got the baby down for a nap. When they were done, we let it rise for a while and then rolled it out and added the toppings.

You might notice there is no tomato sauce on this pizza. It was really good that way. It does have tomatoes, but I didn't just chop them up and toss them on there. I used to do that but found that the dough gets soggy in places when the tomato juices are released in cooking. This time, I chopped the tomatoes into chucks (slices would work too) and sprinkled salt over them. I let them sit for about 1/2 an hour in a collander placed over the sink (or a bowl to collect the juice if you want to use it for something else). This got just the right consistency for the pizza. So tasty, and they weren't sautéed in oil, so they'd definitely be lower fat (and, did I mention this was really easy?).

Still in keeping with the feel of nostalgia we've got going here... I made an apron. It took me forever to get it done. I used a man's button-down I got at the thrift shop for a euro in January. It was this shirt originally. I chopped it up to make it into this halter top apron. I can't get away with halter dresses, which are kind of sexy (but picture your grandma without a bra and that's what it'd be like on me), but I can do a halter apron. I love the look of this apron. It feels so very retro and kitcheny to me. I'm going to love it.

And, one last thought on nostalgia before I go. You might have noticed that I tend to take lots of pictures of my kids. You actually only see a small portion of those that I take. I try to select the best so that my family overseas can share the happy bits of our lives here. I took one photography course at the age of 19 (we won't get into how very long ago that was), and I didn't learn as much as I should have. I've got some of the basics down, but I recently stumbled across the text book I had for that class (which I'm almost certain I never actually read). I pulled it out and have begun to study it. I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth (I'm fully aware this is relative) surrounded by four of the most beautiful people on earth (Nope, this is not relative - it's just a fact). They are the ideal inspiration and subject matter for picture taking and have inspired me to improve my photography skills.

What I would really love is to be able to actually take pictures for a living. To get paid for doing something I find that fun would be amazing. For now, I just have a tourist digital camera. It is at least capable of being set on "manual" so that I can control all of its different functions, but I can't change it's lenses or anything fancy like that. I can't afford to go out and buy my dream camera, though, so I've decided to work on my framing and composition until the time that I will be able to afford a new one. Today, Lambchop #3 and I played around with some soft back lighting by putting a sheet over our heads. She found this to be great fun, but it might have been a little hard to snap the shot before she pulled the sheet off (I may or may not have erased more shots than I kept, which is the real beauty of digital cameras). I don't think our efforts were in vain, though (Mom and Aunt Dis and Uncle B, let me know if you'd like these sent via email so they're more printable)...

She's a keeper. That much is for sure.

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