Pimento Cheese

8421576412_62da4af718_bOnce upon a time, not so long ago, my routine went something like this:

  • Get up
  • Go to work
  • Come home
  • Dinner
  • Go to bed

Interspersed, at totally random intervals, were things like:

  • Run errands
  • Meet friends for coffee/drinks/dinner
  • Read a book
  • Take pictures
  • Cook, leisurely
  • Nap

There were also regular reoccurring chores that worked their way into the day as needed:

  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Cat box
  • Trash

It was a pretty relaxed schedule where, between me and The Mistah, things got done and we still had bits of time to do with as we wished.  And then we became parents.

Between the little person who was now relying on us for every aspect of her care and the deficit of sleep that The Mistah and I were running, I had to write down reminders to myself of even the most basic things to do during the day:

  • Load dishwasher
  • Run dishwasher
  • Put away dishes
  • Wash bottles
  • Wash formula jug
  • Make formula
  • Fill bottles
  • Sweep
  • Scoop cat box
  • Wash baby clothes
  • Trash
  • Put away clothes
  • Empty diaper genie

Depending on the day in question, some of those things might need to be done more than once….so lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.  And then, once Libby started daycare, we had to fit all that in either before or after the end of the work day.  I have to be honest, it has not been easy to maintain some aspects of our life to the same degree as we did before becoming parents.  I don’t cook like I used to…gone are the days of leisurely preparing meals.  I need to maximize the efficiency of what time I get in the kitchen and get food on the table.  And sadly, the other casualty is the state of the house itself.  We have tumbleweeds of cat hair rolling around the hard wood floors, multiplying like Tribbles; clean clothes mound up and take up residence in our bedroom instead of being folded, hung, and put away; and I swear the house itself has shrunk.  We didn’t use to have a lot of clutter.  But now piles and stacks and heaps have become the norm instead of the exception.

And I’ve decided to stop beating myself up about it.  Because these things are the result of choosing to spend time with Libby.  Yes, I could put her in her crib and spend a weekend afternoon (or a Tuesday night) braising or baking, cleaning and organizing.  But she is only ever going to be this age once.  If I miss out on helping her discover the world around her now, I don’t get a second chance later.  So maybe I choose to use a quiet weeknight after she’s gone to bed to sew her a bib instead of sweeping up tumbleweeds of cat hair.  Don’t get me wrong, a clean, tidy house gives me inner peace.  But seeing her wear her bib like a superhero cape and “fly” gives me way more joy.

So, if you happen to pop in to say hi or we set up a date for you to come over for a leisurely visit, I ask that you kindly turn a blind eye to the state of my house.  I’ll do my best to make things somewhat presentable.  I may even manage to pull together a little something for us to nibble on.  And I will most certainly try and distract you with adorable baby cheeks and squeals.

Pimento Cheese

Adapted from Biscuits and Such

BAH Note: I love Elena’s experience and tradition of hand kneeding the pimento cheese in a ziplock bag.  Seriously, if I had luxury of time these days, I’d give that a try.  And I totally see that becoming one of Libby’s ways to help me in the kitchen and introduce her to cooking.  But right now, time is not on my side so I turn to the food processor.  Whichever way you choose to make this delightful spread is perfectly acceptable.

Serve on crackers, spooned into the cavity of a celery stalk, or eat right from the spoon.  Much like my housekeeping choices these days, there’s no right or wrong, only what works for you.

  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (go for something with serious bite here)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons mayo
  • 4 ounces diced pimento, drained (look for this in a jar at the grocery store)

Using the shredding disk of your food processor, shred the cheddar.  Dump the shredded cheese out of the workbowl onto a sheet of parchment, foil, or paper towel and replace the shredding blade with the regular blade.  Return the cheddar to the food processor and add 2 tablespoons mayo and the drained pimento.  Process, adding the additional mayo as necessary, until you reach your desired consistency.

{printable recipe}

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6 Months

Dreamy

Happy Half Birthday precious girl.  You have amazed me over the last 180 days with your growth and development.  You’ve gone from being a cuddly bundle of newborn-ness, completely unaware of the ways of this world to becoming this tiny person who has a big personality and is beginning to tap into the power you wield.  I am in awe of the fact that within moments of waking up each and every day, you BURST into smiles.  Once the sleep has worked itself out of your hazelish eyes, you are on…singing, jabbering, flailing your arms and legs, just itching to launch yourself out of my arms and across the room.  It is only a matter of time before you figure out that if you synchronize the arms and legs you will be mobile.

As much as you smile, it’s no wonder that you have the sunniest disposition imaginable.  You seem to be happy whatever and wherever; you charm everyone you meet with your easygoing nature.  I love that you sit back and take everything in.  You’re an observer.  But you’re also the ring leader.  At daycare, you’re the one showing the other children how to scoot around, stealing the socks off their feet, and deciding that napping is optional.

There are many milestones yet to come….if your increased fussiness is any indication, you should be cutting teeth soon; before I’m ready for it you will be crawling and walking; and soon enough you will recognize that those noises and sounds that come out of your mouth have meaning and power.

But I’m in no hurry for those things to happen.  I am enjoying the moments as they come.  Whether it is watching you make a glorious mess of yourself and your highchair as you discover solid food, trying to comfort you during these days when all you know is that your mouth hurts, or listening to you unleash a rare belly laugh when your dad manages to uncover one in your cheeks or behind your ear or under your arm…I keep telling myself to commit these moments to memory because they will be gone before I know it.

Six months from now we will be celebrating your first birthday.  And there will be cake and presents and family and friends.  And I will revel in every second of that experience.  But these half birthdays, they are my special opportunity to celebrate all that you are.

Happy New Year

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For most of my 41 years, I was someone who was chronically early and organized.  I got tasks done before they were due.  I would show up at least 15 minutes early for an appointment, date, or event.  Suitcases were packed days before departing on a trip.  The table was set the night before a dinner party.  You get the idea…I was on top of my sh!t.

But since our Tater Tot arrived in July, all that went out the window.  The basic functions of our household still manage to get done…just not always in the timeliest manner.  I like to think of it as adopting a fashionably late attitude towards life.

So in that vein, I would like to wish you a fashionably late Happy New Year.  I am eager to see what 2013 brings as the year unfolds.

PS, Libby I hope that you will see the humor in this picture.  Your dad and I made sure you were safe at all times…but boy did we have fun with this one.