Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Why I Shouldn't Have To Work

Keegan has April vacation this week. That means five days without him having coverage. I would love to take the week off and in a perfect world we would take a family vacation like many others do. But I live in a world of no leave because we have young children and they tend to get sick. Or they have snow days we have to take off for. Or two of our kids live in two different states so they have completely opposite February vacations which means we each take a week off with one kid. But I digress. I took today off with Keegan and he will spend the next three days with my parents and then I will be off with him on Friday. I rarely get time with him without Harper. The baby is lovely but he does limit our mobility. And having a five year old is awesome because he can do stuff and is actually really fun to hang out with.

This is the Week of the Young Child and Harper's daycare is celebrating with dress up days as though each classroom is a different country they travel to each day. Maybe it is the cheerleader in me but I love spirit week. Harper could care less. Today he went in for beach day (travel to Mexico) dressed in a lifeguard shirt and a plaid bucket hat. Aaaahh so cute!! Tomorrow I will violate my strict no kids outdoors in pajamas policy (I actually worry I look like a lazy parent) so he can dress up for camping in Canada. Olympics in Greece (sports wear) on Wed and then I have to pull off safari (Africa) on Thursday. Does anyone have a tiny pith helmet I can borrow?

After dropping Harper at the beach, Keegan and I headed to T*rget for boring essentials and to check out some bikes. He grew out of his this winter and looks like a circus act riding it. No luck so we moved on. He was hungry and I can always eat so we stopped for a snack at St*rbucks. It was his first time. A fact I twittered and got many amazed responses. It is the only one in the area and not on my way to anywhere so I rarely go. I went today because I had a gift card (Jeff had one, same diff). Keegan dug the casual atmosphere and the concept of eating while sitting in an upholstered chair. He had the marble loaf and then later told me from the backseat that my hair looks like marble loaf. Um, thanks? We headed to T*ys R Us to look at bikes but they didn't open for another 25 minutes. That left us with Walmart. I don't shop at Walmart for several reasons: it is a hellhole (yours might be lovely), they exploit their workers in ways we don't allow foreign countries to, they purposely drive out small businesses and I have the luxury of sticking with my convictions because I have many other resources instead. We did go and waste some time, and I admit I bought a plastic safety swing to attach to our swing set for Harper. The same baby who hated the baby swing cannot get enough of flying through the air at daycare.

I decided to skip T*ys because I wanted a bike shop with knowledgeable help and the ability to properly fit Keegan and hopefully get something to grow with him for a while. We went to a bike shop and they helped us get what we wanted. They did not have red but they had something in camouflage colors which for some reason Keegan loves all things camo. He kept wanting the little bikes like he had but I think it was a comfort level thing. Once they had the training wheels on and he rode it around he was really happy. Tom's parents had sent money for a new bike and I had to double it to get this one. But I am sure it will last him a few years and then be Harper's after that. He couldn't wait to get home and ride it. Can I sing the praises of my minivan? I flipped those seats with ease and everything fit right in. We had lots of other things on our to do list. Like stop at Agw*y to look at dog houses (sorry Matsi looks like you are getting a homemade one because those professional ones are expensive). We also picked up some parsnip seeds and two honey sticks to keep our strength up.

Keegan's school is doing a fundraiser by selling organic seedlings. The farmer is one of the parents. I hadn't ordered any cool weather ones but I decided to see if she had any left. Fortunately they did not mind us stopping by. We walked down to the greenhouse with a lovely golden retriever as our guide. Keegan happily played on the woodchip pile with the kids while the mom showed me around. I told her about my new garden plot and she helped me pick out some seedlings. I left with pac choi, broccoli, early lettuce, late lettuce, brussel sprouts (for Jeff) and kale (inspired by Erin to try and like it). She also gave me some ideas on what to buy from her in May to maximize our sunlight and organic methods for pest control.

On the way towards home I remembered that Keegan had asked if we could visit his old school friends. So we swung by there but he got all weird and shy (he had warned me that might happen). Plus it was as they were getting ready for quiet time which wasn't optimum timing. The kids were all excited and Keegan seemed happy after we left. I think he will see some of them at a birthday party in a few weeks. Since we were downtown we decided to grab lunch. I had the best BLT made on sourdough. Keegan always picks the window seat so he can people watch and make comments (so totally my kid). They aren't mean comments of course, he just asks a lot of questions or make observations. I love seeing how his mind works. Then I dragged him to one more place even though he begged to go home. I really needed an instant read thermometer to make ice cream today. Once we were in the kitchen store he loved it because this kid loves shopping even if he doesn't think he does.

Finally we arrived home and he rode his new bike while I fertilized the grass. Then I made coconut cream pie ice cream because I had leftover light coconut milk from last week. I hate wasting stuff because a recipe only uses a smidgen. Which reminds me, I have bunch of buttermilk to use too. Do we think I successfully toasted the coconut without burning it the first try? Noooooo because if you know me at all, you know I cannot toast any nuts coco or otherwise. But I did finish the ice cream and get it into the freezer before we left to pickup Harper. And I ran out of time to plan this week's menu so no grocery list or dinner. Good thing Jeff stashed a B*rtolli in the downstairs freezer. And I don't feel like a horrible person because I didn't cook dinner from scratch.

Back to work tomorrow. Imagine what I could accomplish without that pesky job...

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