Pope Francis’ Presence

Pope Francis

Pope Francis (Jack Gruber, USA Today)

While thousands of Americans caught a glimpse of Pope Francis in person, I was relegated to watching the pope online, but this does not mean that I felt the power of his reach any less. A former colleague posted a video that brought me to tears. The pope’s gesture of calling the child, Sophie Cruz, toward him and blessing her was a simple but powerful act. I saw this gesture repeated at Mass this past Sunday when a Franciscan friar blessed my child during service. I will continue to pray for Pope Francis as he has asked us to, and I hope that he too, can continue to have a meaningful presence in my child’s life. In fact, on the day Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, we found out that we were expecting a child.

Smokey’s BBQ near RDU Airport

IMG_6326

I’d been sick all of last week and craved something with a little flavor on Saturday. My family and I went to a fantastic kids’ consignment sale (Kids Everywear) and by the time we were shopped out we needed something quick. Yelp pointed us to Bojangles or Smokey’s BBQ and we picked the latter and were not disappointed! First off, kids 5 and under eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal! My husband had the ribs, green beans, and mac n cheese and I had the pulled pork sandwich. My son was happy with the mac n cheese and apple juice box! After finishing our meal, we went to the back of the restaurant to look at the outdoor seating and discovered a medium-sized lawn and picnic area. There’s even a small pond with a fountain, but beware I think there was an eagle that we disturbed near the pond and we saw him fly away!

Football for Family Time

IMG_6253

We are not die-hard football fans, but we can still enjoy watching a game or two. This past weekend, my family and I attended Duke’s first home game of the season. I still have never been to a tailgating party despite attending the University of Southern California for two years. The one who seems to enjoy the game the most is our son, who shouts “ball” and cries in delight when fireworks are launched to mark a touchdown. This is the second time I brought him for the first home game. As long as we’re in the Triangle, I think this will be a fun family tradition for years to come!

Tea Time at Honeysuckle Tea House

IMG_6194

A few miles from Downtown Chapel Hill is a bustling, outdoor tea house off a little known country road. Honeysuckle Tea House premises include the tea house, herb gardens, a terrific outdoor stage, and even a playground for kids! The tea house boasts of being self sustaining and grows its own produce, including the herbs in its tea. We ordered 铁观音茶 (Guanyin Tea) and coffee; I found their tea to be relatively mellow but in a good way, and I hope to return and try their popular homemade sodas and iced teas. The tables have high barstool-height chairs so that you can sit overlooking the herb gardens on one side or the musical performance on the other. On the Sunday afternoon we went, there was an eclectic mix of families, students, and artists and musicians (and pets!). My son enjoyed swinging on the tire on the playground and watching the dogs skip through the ponds.

In Your Face…Banana Cream Pie

pie

Don’t go bananas while making banana cream pie! I made plenty of mistakes this first time round. To start, I accidentally crisped my crust but it was salvageable. Then, as I was washing the dishes waiting for the milk to bubble, I stirred the pot and quickly realized that the milk was burning at the bottom of the pot. I removed the pot, poured the milk through a sieve to remove the burnt milk, and then returned it to the stove. I googled ‘custard’ and immediately lowered the heat and glued myself to the stove, occasionally whisking the custard for the next 15-20 minutes. Continuing the rest of the recipe instructions was less stressful. Other than the actual cooking method, the pie turned out to be very tasty. I cut the sugar to 2/3 cup and added cinnamon to mask the tiny pieces of burned milk that were left in the custard. If you try making a cream or custard pie, do not try to multitask and focus on making the pie!

Postpartum Core Workshop…22 Months Later

half moon

half moon which took years in the making

Last Friday night was the first time I attended a postpartum class at Carrboro Yoga Company and it was incredibly eye opening, especially because I had not taken a pilates class before (I have been doing yoga at least once a week). My instructor, who looks fabulous at 3 months postpartum, taught us how to engage our core abdominal muscles. Other moms in the class were two moms who were 3-4 months postpartum, one mom who had two boys, and one mom who just gave birth to her second child only 1 month ago!

I found out I had been doing a lot of the wrong moves after giving birth. I had no idea you’re not supposed to do crunches! Some of the postpartum core/yoga moves I was familiar with include the ‘chair,’ ‘plank,’ and ‘bridge.’ With all the moves she instructed us to do, she said to tuck in our pelvis, pretend to move our belly button toward the back, and to shift our lower ribs in. Considering I ‘felt’ it in my core the next morning, I’ll be back for a pilates class!

My Quiche Venture

IMG_6097

Before trying to make quiche every ‘easy quiche’ recipe I looked up said that making quiche was a cinch. I couldn’t agree more. However, making a ‘tasty’ quiche, especially for your first time round, is not. My brother always said that if your ingredients are ‘good’ then your food will be too. My ingredients were good, but I think this quiche lacked the main ingredient: cow’s milk or cream. I made this quiche with a frozen Trader Joe’s crust, 4 eggs, 2 cups soy milk, baby spinach, farmer’s market cherry tomatoes, and shredded cheddar cheese. It tasted ‘ok’ and you could definitely tell by the consistency and taste that it was made out of soy milk. The next time I try to make one, I think I’ll definitely add some salt, use cow’s milk or cream instead, and vary the type of cheese!

IMG_6099 IMG_6079