Archives for January 2013

Kitchen Through the Lens: Croissants


I feel I should start this post with the most crucial piece of information: Making your own croissants is the biggest pain in the ass.

Sure, you can try it once, y’know, do it just to do it…so you can say you did.

But if you were to do a cost-benefit-analysis of making your own croissants, the answer would most certainly, nearly 100% of the time tell you that it is a way better use of your time and patience to just go to the nearest bakery and buy one.

No lie.

Blobby dough

The process of making croissants is about eight hours long.

Yeah. You read that right.

Next add one heart attack's worth of butter.

And the butter!

Oh my gosh, the butter.

Once you make these yourself, you may not be able to shake from your head JUST HOW MUCH BUTTER YOU USED.

If it's SORT OF a triangle, does it count?

Or how you have to roll and fold and roll and fold and chill and roll and fold and roll and fold (that’s where the flakiness comes from).

Apparently the pros just run this stuff through what’s called a “sheeter” – flattens that whole mess right out – no rolling necessary.

Then again, I’m counting all that rolling as a strength workout.

You better love your rolling pin.

I'm pretty sure I'm doing this wrong.

But the thing is, when all is said and done and you take a croissant fresh from the oven and you take a bite of its buttery and flakey goodness? For a moment you will forget just how hard you worked and instead think to yourself, Maybe I could do this again.


If you’re smart, you’ll just eat your croissant and you won’t put the other ones back in the oven for just a wee bit more cooking and burn the bottoms. Yeah. I did that. Whoops.

i really should only make things when I have my lovely natural light to make them pretty

Really, will I make these again? Uh. They were amazing, but no. I just don’t want to work that hard for a croissant. I mean, start to finish EIGHT HOURS?

Delicious, but, no. Never again.

All Of The Pieces

all the pieces are fitting together

This morning, the girls and I went to visit my grandparents in their new home. This is the fourth place my grandfather has moved since his stroke, and it is what should be their permanent home. It’s an assisted living facility – but my grandparents have their own space. They were able to bring their own furniture – my grandfather can sit in his own chair, they get to sleep in their own bed, my grandmother has her same old card table tucked near the window so she can put her jigsaw puzzles together.

“It was lovely of you to move all my stuff here,” my grandfather said to my aunt last week, “but you know you’re just going to have to move it again in another few weeks when they send me home.”

He’s not going home. He’s nowhere near ready. He may never be ready.

He has an appointment with his doctor soon. An appointment with a neurologist to see how the old noggin is doing (has the brain swelling gone down? And man, I hope someone asks about the wonkiness with his short term memory). There’s a pain in his heel that is keeping him up at night, pain he is sure is the only thing holding him back from walking again.


He has a picture of Pumpkin that he apparently cut out of a calendar I had printed for them. He calls her “the funny one” – in the picture, she is making a funny face and has her fingers posed like antlers by her head. “It’s my favorite picture,” he told me today. “That girl. That’s some good photography there, Sarah.”


We posed for a picture, grandpa in his easy chair resting against a latched hook rug depicting Jesus. Jesus’s eyes staring, as yarn eyes might, over grandpa’s shoulders. My daughters hover near him, I lean my head in towards his. “Sarah, you’re blocking the Jesus eyes,” said my mom.


“Being old is no fun,” my grandmother said. “Getting old, that’s not so bad – the places you go, the things you see, the stuff you learn. That’s the good stuff. Being old? I hate this.” She paused. She sat perched at the edge of her seat, necessary with her short legs. Her slippered feet surrounded by a tangled pile of tubes from her oxygen machine. “I always thought we’d perish in an accident,” she told me.

That was her word… perish.

“The kids always say dad isn’t a good driver, but he’s a good driver. It’s not like I thought he’d get us into an accident, but that’s how I figured we’d go. Together, in a car accident.” My grandfather is an awful driver. He really is. That he’s unable to drive now is probably a good thing for motorists in West Michigan. “There weren’t even any near misses,” grandma said. “He’s a good driver.” Inside, I’m twisting around in my head the fact that the only requirement for being a good driver is avoidance of “almost” accidents. “Speeding tickets on the other hand…” she said.



When my aunts and uncles moved my grandparents’ belongings, my aunt wrapped my grandmother’s puzzle table with plastic wrap to hold all the pieces down and to not disturb her work in progress. Somehow I don’t think that I would have thought of that. I know my grandma would have been pissed to have had to start over.



I grabbed grandpa by the toe of his shoe, propped up on his recliner. I take the toe of his shoe and I shake it – it gets his attention, and his hearing is awful. I take the toe of his shoe and I lightly squeeze his toes in his white leather shoes and he looks up at me. “You like my new kicks?” he said. “I am going to walk all over in these!”

“I love them,” I said. I lift my foot and waggle a navy blue Chuck in the air. “Like mine?”

“I do! I do like them!”



We posed for our picture and without seeing the result he said, “Now that will be a good picture. You girls will always be my favorite.”

And he’ll always be mine.

Thursday Ten: This Is Only Sort of About Hair edition

I apologize for the formatting but i am too lazy to fix it. I wrote this elsewhere, copied and pasted here and bleh. Ugh. Let’s all pretend I did it on purpose because I super love white space.

1. I am wearing my hair in a braid today. There’s nothing about this “style” (to call it such is a tremendous overstatement) that looks remotely good, it’s just… I didn’t feel like straightening my hair and I was out of frizz-fighting product. If I could have shoved a baseball hat on my head before walking out the door, I’d have done that instead.


2. I didn’t want to straighten my hair because the split ends are winning. My hairstylist left/got fired/fell off the planet and I have an appointment for a trim on Saturday. I’m very very nervous. I’d avoid going at all if I could – oh the power a scissor-wielding stylist has to really mess up your appearance and your self esteem – but… the split ends. There’s so many of them. The dry weather and the heat of a straightening iron don’t help. So, hobo braid. Meh.


3. I really, really miss my daughters. They come home tomorrow.


4. For those curious about how my grandpa is doing… he and my grandmother have moved into an assisted living facility and so far they really seem to like it. I was tremendously relieved to find that my grandpa had accepted so easily the fact that he and my grandma wouldn’t be able to live on their own. This place seems like a good place for them. It’s a relief.


5. Some people choose a “word of the year” – this year I chose two words: SEEK JOY. And let me tell you, I’m not sure that I’m any good at it, but I’m going to try. Why wouldn’t one opt for happiness if given the choice, right?

068 | 365

6. I don’t make resolutions with the new year, but I am going to make an effort to get back on track with being healthier. I’m getting older and my metabolism isn’t what it used to be and blah blah blah… but also, life stress in 2012 followed by getting happier coupled with a lack of free time all kinda did a number on me. Happy is good, buying bigger pants is not. Do not look for me to cut tacos out of my life. Not gonna happen.


7. With a gift card I received for Christmas, I picked up two new books yesterday.
May We Be Forgiven
The Great Night
What are you reading now? (I haven’t been to book club in MONTHS.)


8. I am completely sucked in to the show “Breaking Bad.” I’ve just about wrapped up season two on Netflix and WHOA. The downside is that I’m so sucked in that I keep watching episode after episode because I want to see what happens next. (Sleep, whut?)


9. I know that winter is cold. I know that it could be much colder. I AM SO TIRED OF BEING COLD.


10. Over the weekend, I saw “Silver Lining Playbook.” Was it as good as I had anticipated? Um…no. But I did like it. And I like Bradley Cooper as a non-Hangover-goofball. And I liked Jennifer Lawrence (this was my first time seeing her in anything). Have you seen any movies over the holidays? (Django is next on my list. Then Les Mis. And then the movie about fracking that I’m going to see because Matt Damon is in it.)

Happy New Year. Welcome 2013.

I began 2012 awaiting the birth of my niece and all of the accompanying excitement relating to waiting for babies (with slightly less enthusiasm for the oh-so-many baby showers that came along with the whole ‘waiting for babies’ thing).

123 | 365

And the birth of my niece was one of the most amazing things about 2012.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of things about the year that were amazing and special and great and awesome. But.

It was a tough year.

I was among the many who couldn’t wait for the year to end, couldn’t wait to see what promise a new year would hold, and so here we are.

It’s 2013.

You know how when you wait for your birthday and you think you’ll wake up and look older? Like magically overnight you go to bed looking 15 and wake up looking 16 and whoa, amazing right? (I’m not talking about now that we’re older. I wake up looking older EVERY. DAMN. DAY). And the thing is you would wake up in the morning and you’d look in the mirror and you’d think to yourself, “Nope… still look 15.”

I am kind of feeling that way this morning.

I still hold a lot of optimism for 2013 – because 2012 was so difficult and I have a lot of hope that the new year will be better. I believe in new chapters and fresh starts and the whole symbolism thing about New Years Eve, which is why I’ve always loved it so much.

You know, maybe it would be better if the new calendar started in May – so instead of waking up to bleak cold, you could start fresh and it’d be green outside and spring and warm and you could start your year in sunshine. {Seasonal Affective WHUT?}


I didn’t mean to start the new year as a grump.

(The winter made me do it.)


The reality is… I’m very excited about the new year and its potential and I have hope for good things for me and the people I care about. I have hope that it will keep getting better. I believe it with almost every fiber of my being (except the fibers that are currently moody).


I am open to seeing what this year has to offer. Last year was full of so much change, there’s a part of me that strongly hopes that this year is boring. Boring, healthy, happy, content.