Did any of you see that movie Drive that came out last year? It was a bit grizzly, but seriously beautiful. I will admit to being one of the many fans of the dreaminess that is Ryan Gosling. ( I mean, can you blame me?) But even more than the movie, or monsieur Gosling, or the fact that Christina Hendricks came on for a bit part to scratch that Mad Men itch... It was the music that took my breath away. It's the perfect soundtrack for a grey-day road trip. Like this one Dr. P and I took on a whim to Roosevelt island last week.

Dr. P got back from the hospital when there was still daylight--a rare treat--and even though it was fading fast, we really wanted to get into the wilderness a bit. So we rushed off to the memorial to Teddy Roosevelt. For those of you who have never been to the island nestled in the middle of the Potomac, I highly recommend it. A fitting tribute to the conservationist president,Roosevelt island is a nature reserve right in the city. It's great for a long walk and some new scenery. You can even canoe over, like Dr. P and I did last year. This time however, the five minute drive was a necessary evil if we wanted to catch the sun.

This song featured prominently in the film, and it now plays in my head on lonely walks and quiet afternoons.


Mr. One's cousin (or, rather, one of his 50 [first] cousins) is an amazing cellist and bona fide YouTube star. His latest video just happens to be a mashup of two songs that are particular favorites of mine and Two's, respectively. It's rather lovely, and I thought I would share...

Incsi Fincsi

When I was a 'tween, (before that term existed), I belonged to the Stitchin' 'n' Kitchen 4-H Club. Unlike most 4-H groups, which tend to focus on animal husbandry, we were a rather domestic bunch. We did a lot of cooking and needlecrafts. And, truth be told, I never really excelled. I think the partially-assembled pieces to an abandoned red corduroy jumper might still be in a box in my mom's garage. But my inability to complete sewing projects never stopped me from putting together some sort of entry for the County Fair -- usually a song and dance with my best friend Amy, occasionally a wool scarf I had crocheted or woven on a borrowed loom, and, once, a full-blown Hungarian feast.

I don't remember exactly what was on that Magyar menu, but I'll never forget my interview with the sweet judge lady the day I presented my culinary homage to the TD's ancestral homeland. She surveyed my carefully laid table, full of family heirlooms and pungent paprika, and sampled dainty bites of the various things I'd prepared. "Everything is lovely and delicious," she remarked. I beamed. "...But I'm worried it's not quite nutritionally balanced." I was confused. I hadn't realized this was one of the goals of the meal. She continued, "Do you think, perhaps, it might be possible to replace some of the sour cream with yogurt?" I looked at her with wide eyes. "No, no. I think that would be a very bad idea. Because, you see, this is HUNGARIAN food. And they use sour cream." End of discussion. I did not win a blue ribbon that year....

I made Hungarian food for some friends this week, and, glancing down at my shopping list, I had to laugh at the memory. My post-it looked something like this:
  • eggs
  • sour cream
  • cream cheese
  • ricotta 
  • butter
  • sausage
  • cucumbers

No question about it, a lot of traditional Hungarian food is an indulgence. But it is seriously yummy stuff. Here is a recipe for one of my absolute favorites. I'd worry about divulging a family secret, but every time I want to make this treat, I pull out an old, battered (pun intended) copy of the 1982 Congressional Club Cook Book, to which Mimo contributed this gem. It's a fluffy, bright, ricotta tart that has seriously spoiled all other cheesecakes for me, ever. It's not the simplest dessert to put together, but I think, every once in a while, it's worth both the time and calories...

Hungarian Rhapsody Dessert -- or -- Mimo's Túrós Süti

For the crust:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup melted butter

Mix it all together and press it into a 9x13 pyrex. I usually just mix everything together right in the pan. Pop it in the oven @350 for 20 minutes.

While that's baking, make your filling:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated
1 lemon
1 Tbs real vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese

Beat the egg whites, gradually adding 1/3 cup sugar. When stiff peaks form, set the fluffy goodness aside. You don't need to wash the mixer before you continue. Love that.

Next, cream together the butter and remaining sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in the juice and zest of the lemon, vanilla, cheeses and flour, beating like crazy the whole time. Did I mention you should beat it a lot? When you're finally done beating everything, the concoction should be very light and fragrant. Gently fold this together with your waiting whites, and spread the entire floaty, fluffy, fatty cloud in the hot, par-baked crust. Put it back in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the center is set but not dry. Let it cool, cover generously with powdered sugar, and cut into squares. I like to serve it as slightly messy finger food, along with a big bowl of fresh berries and some nice sparkling water. Which can almost make it seem light....

Speaking of Mimo, can you believe she cooked like that and looked like this? Our grandparents were/are total hotties!

*My camera is acting up. If I can get it to work later today, I'll post some glamor shots of the cake, too...

And I win the prize for "Most Distressing Overall"

Sometimes, I waste time. Morphthing is a fantastically disturbing new way to do just that.
After my siblings and I spent copious hours making babies (<-- winner of the "Most Distressing Unintended Double Entendre Ever" prize {closely followed by anything ever uttered by Tobias Fünke}), we discovered the website's other great use -- finding new siblings. Below is the facial conglomerate of The Sisters Five. We like to call her

Bothered-->Courage Wolf--->Pinterest = :)

I've been feeling a little grumpy. I think I'm just suffering from a combination of cabin fever, the chills, and Downton Abbey withdrawal, but it is RAWTHER irritating. Five sensed something was off and showed me this. It worked. Kind of.

Anyway, you can now follow FIVE on Pinterest! (Which is new to me, but I'm a fan.)
A few pretty pictures from recent pins:

    OOOOooooooooooh! AAAaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

   The End.

Match Set

*Not actually Two's necklace. She's been kind of busy lately and hasn't had a chance to style hers yet...

Many of the readers of this blog will remember that when my sisters and I were small, our mother would dress us in matching outfits on a VERY regular basis. We would parade about sporting stripes, or stars or sunflowers, and it was very easy to tell that we were a set.

As the years rolled on, we each managed to convince Momo that we had grown past the age of synchronized styling, and by the time Four and Five were 11 or 12 our style as a family was definitely more mix than match. But it seems somewhere along the way, a seed was planted, and these days you will often find the 5 of us not only coordinating, but doing so enthusiastically.

These pendants were a subtle attempt to pay homage to our mother's aesthetic, while adding a bit of ourselves to the mix.

How do you feel about matching with friends or family? Would you ever dress your kids in coordinating outfits?


The countdown to Baby #3 is ticking away. And even though we haven't definitively decided in which timezone the wee babe shall make her grand entrance to the world (!?*#), we are nonetheless very excited for her arrival. Thus far, preparations include: talking constantly with Princess H and Tiny about their new baby sister; buying a craigslist double stroller for our Denver sojourns; generally stressing out (just a little), and; discussing baby names. 

This last item on the list is so fun. And so hard. While the responsibility of naming a child pales in comparison to many other parental duties, labeling a perfect, innocent, living soul still feels like a seriously weighty task. Mr. One and I have very different ideas about what makes a proper name (which can hardly come as a shock, since we have different ideas about so very many things). And -- surprise, surprise! -- Princess H is full of opinions this time around, as well. We have a short list, but I think it's unlikely we'll settle on anything for sure before the sweet thing shows her exquisite, wrinkled, purply, cone-head in about eight weeks.  

In addition to the favorites, we also have quite a few rejects. And, I feel awfully mean to say that many of them come from the Junior Member of our August Naming Committee. Princess H's ideas are so unique and amusing, though, that even if we're not going to commit her little sister to live with them forever, I definitely want to share them with you.

Princess H's Top 5 (vetoed) Baby Names

1. Oat Blossom
2. Jew-Z
3. Her own name
4. Her Dad's name
5. Home Depot

For any of you interested in killing a few hours -- even if you're not naming a baby right now -- I'd highly recommend taking a peek at nameberry and especially Name Voyager. The former is an eerily accurate source for names that are popular in my demographic of people who think they're giving their kids unusual names; the latter lets you map names by popularity across time and space using the coolest interactive tools. Very, very fun. Am I missing any other great tools? Or do you have a name to suggest? I'm all ears!!

A Little Space

Space awes me.

Pictures like this:

awe me.

But my favorite of all these gorgeous little specks

is this one:

I'll zoom in a little for you

Gee whiz.


On Tuesday, Five and I decided crepes were in order. We whipped these up in the tiny "kitchen" attached to our hotel room. I used this recipe for the crepes and mixed Nutella with banana, lemon curd with raspberries, and marmalade with blueberries for the filling. Combined with Martinelli's, pellegrino, teensy little cat shaped cookies and chocolate covered cherries, it made for the perfect little brunchie. 

Flower Porn

My friend K will send me emails every so often with a very simple subject line. PORN it reads. The first time I received one of these emails I promptly deleted it, and sent her a note alerting her to the fact that her email must have been hacked. She was distraught. Not on account of the hacking, but rather because I had deleted her messages which apparently was filled with pictures that--she assured me--would take my breath away.  

She was right.

The beauties within came in all shapes and colors and sizes. Some were bold and loud and fully saturated, others sweet and soft and delicate. Most were taken outside in broad daylight. Often the images were brazenly captured in public parks, but occasionally they were intimate, taken in private homes and gardens... 

They were, quite simply, the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen. And the mistake of deleting that first email was never repeated again.

Today, I have decided to dabble in some flower porn of my own. I will not be so bold as to promise breath-taking beauty, but I do think there is something so stunning and reassuring about flowers in winter. They are such a sweet reminder of beauty and life, amid the grey and gloom.  

Thank you. . .

A small Valentine's Day token from Two. It doesn't begin to cover all of the beautiful cards, garlands, packages, and general goodwill she's received and continues to receive during her stay here in Cleveland, but it's a start.

Much love,
 All of us (but especially Two)

The Parable of the Adorable Puppy -- or -- Why I'm Glad I Married My Husband and Not My Dogs

There are some things to which good people simply don't admit. Apparently, I am not a good person, because this one is pretty near the top of that list: I cannot stand my dogs. Seriously. I joke with passersby that they are "five pounds of pure terror." But I actually mean it. They drive me insane. Literally. When those two maniacs start barking, I say and think and feel and occasionally do things that are WAY over the Crazy Line.

Of course, it wasn't always this way.

I've never claimed to be a Dog Lover, but I certainly didn't consider myself hostile to the species. As newlyweds, my dog-obsessed husband and I would occasionally stop by animal shelters on Saturday afternoons looking for an apartment-sized, non-shedding canine (apparently, if you want one of those, you need to show up Saturday morning...). After a couple years of fruitless trips, I kinda thought we had moved on. But, one fresh April evening, Mr. One spirited me away to a picturesque seaside village and introduced me to the sprightly furball who would become Dolley. And she was just about the most adorable thing I had ever seen: Ten weeks old, barely two pounds, exploding with sweetness and personality and joie de vivre. She obviously adored me. Leave her there? Unthinkable. Dog Lover or not, I am human.

Don't let the sweet face fool you...

Dolley was so. dang. cute. She was sooooo happy to see me, always; so utterly thrilled to snuggle in my arms/lick my face/nibble my toes/ride in my pocket. Such sweetness made it easy to overlook petty "quirks." Like when she chewed through the cord to my fancy Swiss immersion blender. Or ate an entire roll of postage stamps. Or went poo on the seat of my desk chair. After all, nobody's perfect...

As time went on, though, Dolley started to seem less cute and more naughty. But every time she acted out, I blamed myself, made excuses and bent over backwards to placate her. We gave her fancy toys. And her own room. And a boyfriend. Who, bless his furry little heart, doubled the problems. And -- probably about the time their incredible barking (now in stereo!) made it impossible for my newborn Princess H to sleep past 5:15 in the morning -- I started to fall out of love with my dogs.

In the years since, the pups and I have had some good times together. But, when I'm honest, I know my life would be closer to my ideal if they weren't a part of it. They don't bring out the best in me, and I certainly don't love them with the unconditional abandon they deserve.

Which brings me to my somewhat belabored point. My dogs remind me of some of the guys I dated: terribly cute, utterly affectionate, well-pedigreed, great for a laugh. And there is absolutely no question in my mind that I would be abjectly miserable if I were married to my idiot dogs -- or their human equivalent. We just aren't right for each other.

Now, for those of you worried that the poor pooches have a desolate life with me, do not fear! Mr. One and his like-minded offspring provide more doting devotion than any two canines could ever possibly absorb or appreciate. I am a lone hater in an endless sea of affection. Which leads me to my second point. Those ill-mannered Yorkies bring my husband more joy than I can possibly understand or express. And because of that -- and that alone! -- I am so deeply grateful they are a part of my life. Because the thing that makes my life happy and meaningful and full of hope and sparkle is that it isn't my life at all. It's ours. And Mr. One is even more right for me than those dogs are wrong.



I'm only a half-hearted fan of both Harry Potter and Valentine's Day, but these witty little nuggets nonetheless thrill me. They were designed by my childhood BFF's* sister-in-law. See the entire first half of the brilliant collection here -- she'll post more soon!

*Seriously. We had the necklaces.


Oh hai.

I thought you might like to listen to this.

Aren't random Norwegian musicians the best?! I have a lovely dream that one day I will direct an exquisite film version of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and I'll use this song to score the execution scene.* It makes my heart hurt every time I think of it.

*I'm watching you, Sofia Coppola


This Ralph Lauren blazer from the little boys section (which fits me perfectly!) set me back a whopping $7. 

Five and I like to think of ourselves as thrift store connoisseurs. So, when we went exploring Cleveland, our first stop was--naturally--Goodwill. I am happy to report that it did not disappoint! Everything with a yellow tag was 50% off (a much needed discount with those exorbitant Goodwill prices), and, I have to say, Clevelanders have style -- or at least they used to have style, before they donated all of their clothes to Goodwill. . .

The red-and-black-giant-stripey-clover thing at the top right . . . it's a pair of pants. They're hideously awesome....Yeah,
I think that the $1 price tag may have impaired my capability for rational thought.
So pretty--and half price!
A cumulative price of these shoes? $13.00.

Be Mine?

I'm not very good at arts and crafts, but I can rock some MS paint skills if I need to. So, in the spirit of a very bloggy Valentine's, here are some homemade treasures.
It's not a question, it's an order.

more after the jump!

Happy Day!

Our dear Auntie M sent this link to celebrate Two's big move out of the ICU today! The video is so perfect, I just had to share...

Goodnight Moon

Remember how I'm pregnant? Because I sure do. Two's health is finally moving in a good direction, and for the first time since I discovered this wee blessing, I feel like I have a moment to breathe... except that there's a rapidly-growing being who's moved into my ribcage, occupying space normally reserved for my diaphragm and lungs. It does complicate things a little. Bless her baby heart.

The little bean has also helped herself to a large part of my brain. I'm afraid it's the functional part (maybe not so large a portion...). Anyway. I wanted to post about the glorious snow that has blanketed our beautiful hometown, but I'm having some photo issues. Alas.

Words don't seem like a very good substitute, but they're what I've got. The sky here is a luminous shell pink and, days after the fat, fluffy, flakes stopped falling, Momo's backyard is still a pristine white wonderland. The snow is clean and deep; the Russian olive tree is covered with a thousand tiny icicles, glittering in the moonlight. It's a glorious vision for this sleep-deprived mama, up too late with some prenatal heartburn and mild writer's block. Magical as the vantage out window is, though, it honestly can't compare to my view in the other direction: Princess H, with her golden hair and rosebud cheeks; a slightly booger-crusted Tiny, making little snores and fluttering his impossibly long lashes; Mr. One, wearing a tee shirt I swear he's had since our college romance, older and more handsome now, smiling in his sleep...

Things have felt pretty crazy the last few months. Sometimes, just putting one foot in front of the other -- and compelling my two willful babes to do the same -- is utterly exhausting. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed just trying to make my brain slow down to a speed where I can try to keep up with it. But, on a night like this, as everything is perfectly quiet, and beautiful, and serene, I'm totally overwhelmed for different reasons: gratitude, happiness, wonder. I think a few minutes spent drinking it all in is probably even more restorative than sleep.

But only a few minutes. Then the sleep becomes really necessary...

I'll love you forever, no matter what the health reporters say

Once, I went to this place. It had so much cereal. I was so happy that I didn't think I could be happier

Until. . .

Carpe Diem

It was a glorious day in DC. It was one of those walk/eat/bike/dance/sing/read/knit/take-your-whole-darn-class-outside kind of days. It was a day where productivity ought to be considered a sin. And yet, for better or worse I was stuck transgressing the rules of frivolity as I remained tucked away in my office, dutifully typing away. I didn't take the time to look out my window, and the notion, the wish to wander didn't even enter my head. By the time I headed home it was twilight, and it finally struck me what I had missed. Unseasonable warmth in the middle of DC's gloomy winter *le sigh*...

Sweet Dr. P scooped me up from work, and as I moaned about missing out, he reminded me that even as evening approaches there is time and opportunity to carpe your diem. To pick yourself up and change your predicament. Perhaps I had lost the daylight, but the air was still warm, and the company was more than willing. I tend to resign myself to the powers that be. But Dr. P was right. This was a take charge moment. So I grabbed life by the reigns, and called to the horses named Destiny and Fate saying "Forward steeds! Chase the daylight!! And on your way, stop by Thomas Sweet for some ice cream."

And as I sipped my hazelnut praline milkshake, I didn't feel like I had missed out after all...

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain. I think it might be a perfect day for friends and ice cream too.