What went in the box – a gift for a mama on bedrest

My sister-in-law is pregnant with her first baby far away from family in Ohio. She  was recently put on bed rest due to elevated blood pressure. She has several weeks to go, and all those weeks in bed. I can’t imagine what that must feel like to be stuck in bed for weeks on end waiting to give birth. So I decided to conspire with my mothers-in-law to send her a “we’re thinking of you” box with some little things to help pass the time.

Bedrest box.

Bedrest box.

Want to put together a bed rest box for your friend or family member? Think about pampering her while she’s in bed.

Something to pass the time: A DVD of her favorite television show, or a gift of a Netflix account might be nice. You could throw in a book like this one that is actually called Bed Rest, or a book of puzzles, or magazines on her favorite subject.

Something to eat: Add something that she can keep close by to snack on or something soothing to drink. It might be nice to give her a way to enjoy a meal that she (or her significant other) doesn’t have to cook. Before you pick foods and drinks for your friend, check to see if bed rest has limited her already limited pregnancy foods and drinks.

Something to keep her feeling human: Do you remember that last time that you had to stay in bed because you were incredibly sick. Do you remember that feeling – that you can’t remember when you last washed your hair? She might be in that bed longer than your last flu left you bed-ridden. Think about adding a bottle nail polish, a hand cream or other bath and beauty products that will help her feel like her.

Of course you know your friend best. And if you live close by you can forego the box and just visit her and, maybe, ya know, just hang out with her and maybe to the dishes.


Beer, babies and roots

I grew up in a military family, and as a result, the “where are you from” question always makes me pause. I’m from everywhere. In elementary school I would say that I was from Washington, then Hawaii, then Missouri, until the list became too long to really have an answer. My younger brother, now infamously, used to fill in the “Pacific Islander” bubble on standardized tests.

The beach

Emily and her father in Hawaii.

And then we moved here. We moved to Oklahoma, and my parents purchased land in Osage County. For a very long time, there was nothing there except for the land. We camped on it. We brought our dogs there to run. For a series of weekends during middle and high school, we cut down trees to revive the roads that were build a hundred years ago. We found piles of stone from when the railroads were built. I found rosemary in the fields and Indian Paintbrush filled the roadsides in the spring. In the summer, tarantulas crossed the roads slowly, thoughtfully.

Oakley and Ike

Oakley and Ike running at the ranch.



I’ve been here long enough now that when people ask where I come from, I can ease into one answer: Oklahoma. I love the weather year-round. I love the green-ness. And while it used to bother me that, unless they are from here too, no one can really put their finger on our state. I distinctly remember being asked by a fifteen-year-old in Washington D.C. if I lived in a tee-pee and rode a horse to school. (The education in this country, amiright?) Yes, it was uncomfortable, and all that I could do at the time was mutter, “No.” Did I mention that I was fifteen too? No? I was.


We may not all live in teepees, or ride horses, but it is home.


Five for Five

This is the last week of a challenge that the church that my husband and I attend proposed last Sunday – “the five for five challenge.” Based on the amount of money available to families on food stamps, we were asked to spend only five dollars on food per person per day for five days.

I did not want to participate. I have been feeling depressed lately – down and out, tired and your basic case of the blahs. I listened and immediately dismissed the challenge. My husband picked up the sign-up sheet in the pew and started filling our information into the blanks. One thing led to another and we were signed up, and awarded purple plastic bracelets to remind us of our challenge.

So we did it. We ate carrot soup, tomato soup and beans for five days.

Beans: 4 cups beans (dry) + 4 oz ham + water.

Tomato soup: two cans diced tomatoes + 48 oz tomato juice + one onion + chicken bullion.

Grilled cheese: White, gluten free bread + singles.

Carrot soup: 2 lbs carrots + one onion + water + ginger + chicken bullion.

We spent $40.82 on the week, which I budged to allow us to use the olive oil, salt and pepper that we had at home already.

We made it, which surprised me. The trick, if you can call it that, is that this is how we eat already. I apparently did not realize how little we spend on actual food at the grocery store. When you account for the soaps and other cleaning supplies, I spend a lot more than $50 a week at the grocery store. Which made me think, maybe instead of contributing canned goods to the donation boxes, maybe we should be giving household items like shampoo, etc.

Have you done a similar food challenge? How did you fare? What were your thoughts?




Sweet Corn Ice Cream

I remember in college reading about a small ice cream shop in Columbus, Ohio and falling in love. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams makes ice cream from local cream from grass-fed cows. They mix flavors in small batches. They create flavors that reshape your idea about what ice cream can be. And that’s something worth writing about! I fell in love when I read that article six years ago, and read anything I could about Jeni.

So when the ice cream was available in local grocery stores, my husband bought it for me. And when the cookbook came out, I bought that. And when Jeni was in Dallas hosting a cooking class… we went. Don’t I have the best husband ever?

The first ice cream that we tried was Corn Ice Cream. It sounds silly – vegetables in ice cream? But it is delicious. Think about corn again. Think about sweet summer corn, fresh and bright as Iowa. Imagine that flavor cold and creamy. It works. Trust me, I’ve converted lots of people. Just ask my friend at LisseLovesLife.

Or ask me. Because I have an unnatural obsession with corn ice cream.

sweet corn ice cream with raspberries

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

This isn’t my recipe, but you can find it here – http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Jenis-Ice-Cream-Base. Please go there. Make it. You won’t forget it.