Archive for the ‘family’ Category

You May Say That I’m A Dreamer…

September 6, 2017

 

Many years ago, I had a dream. I would take a child, most likely a little girl who had been abandoned by her birth mother and placed on the steps of an orphanage, and raise her with all the love and advantages I could possibly offer. That dream became a reality in 2001 when we brought our daughter home from China, where she had spent the first 13 months of her life in a welfare center near Nanchang, in the Jiangxi Provence of China.

She was beautiful, and even at a year old, she was verbal, pointing at animals and foods and saying their names in her native tongue. She was fiercely loyal, crying when her caregiver from the orphanage left her and mourning her departure throughout our time in Nanchang. Our pediatrician assured us that her inconsolable outbursts, despite the discontent of the other hotel guests showed that she was able to bond and that she would in time, bond with us as well.(She did.) She told us that children who are able to thrive in the worst of conditions are innately fighters, able to overcome the obstacles that appear in daily life. That these kids tend to have exceptional grit and rigor. She hit the nail on the head.

Throughout her life, our child has been a fighter. When faced with challenges, she says “bring it.” When faced with adversity, she confronts it, sometimes with tears, but ultimately with strength and resilience. She adds value to our lives in a way I could never express, but even more importantly, she adds value to her community, through hard work and service to others, and will no doubt contribute to society as an adult.

Today, as I read that our president wants to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) my heart breaks. I remember sitting in that dingy room in John F. Kennedy airport in New York, holding my squirming and crying baby after a grueling 20-hour flight to her new home, listening to the cacophony of languages around us as we waited to be allowed to bring our immigrant child into this country. A few months later, the government issued a ruling that children adopted by American families during a specified period of time would be granted automatic citizenship. Our daughter was issued an American passport and no longer needed to use her Chinese issued papers and green card for identification. There is no official record of her birth.

She has lived the American dream; one where she has access to a loving family, a safe home, abundant food and clean water, a top tier education and the opportunity to be the best version of herself possible. Other than the fact that her parents are Americans, how does she really differ from the “dreamers’, some of whom may have been in that room with us on that very day at JFK when we brought her home? How does she differ from those who share that same desire to achieve, to rise up above their humble beginnings and fulfill their greatest potential? How bland of a country would America be, without our rich tapestry of cultures that weave together a society filled with bountiful flavors, styles, music, and customs?

Yet with the stroke of a pen, our president can take away the life these people dreamed of when they came to America. He can order nearly 800,000 young people back to their former homelands. Many of these people are living productive lives, whether they are working in our kitchens, picking our food, serving in our military, or tending to our health. These are the dreamers.

You might say that I too am a dreamer. I dream of a world where people are treated with respect and dignity and granted the opportunity to contribute to society in a way that is uniquely theirs. I dream of a world where we are judged solely by our actions and not by our race or religion. And I wake up to the realization that my child, had there been a very slight twist of fate affecting her parentage, could now be facing deportation back to the country that shunned her in the first place. And that is a nightmare.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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How To Host A Successful Thanksgiving

November 21, 2016
The Jones Family

The Jones Family

When one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, invited me to participate in their Thanksgiving video series, I jumped at the opportunity. But the real magic happened when my family wandered in, and reluctantly joined in on the fun.

While the content is as promised, what puts a smile on my face is seeing my family together as we really are; raw, authentic and very happy. In a time when many are feeling isolated, disenfranchised and afraid, looking at my multi-cultural and multi-racial family, gives me great joy, and for that I am thankful. This Thanksgiving, do not let fear or hatred cloud your thoughts. Family isn’t just about gene pools; it’s about love. I hope you can feel ours in this video.

This is us…

http://www.thekitchn.com/videos/p8Kj7Vly

Tips For Cooking the Best Thanksgiving

*Sorry, I can’t get the video to embed. Please click on the link to view.

Thank you Rebecca and team at The Kitchn + Apartment Therapy for letting us be part of your series.

Thanksgiving Prep: List Making

November 8, 2016

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Now that election day is here, and we can begin to cleanse our palettes of all the nastiness and hatred that accompanied it, it’s time shift our focus to THANKSGIVING! With only 16 days to go, there are lists to be made, and pre-work to be done, to make the big day way less stressful than political campaigns we just lived through.

Over the next 2 weeks, we will be sharing our preparations with you, so you can get ready for the Superbowl of Cooking right along with us.

Today’s project is a big one, but it sets us up for success. It’s all about planning and making lists.

First, grab yourself a folder; real, or digital and mark it “Thanksgiving 2016”. Whatever lists you make, and recipes you gather will live in this folder.

Start your list making:

First and foremost, make a guest list and invite people however you choose. Emails, phone calls or letter pressed invitations are all fine. Make this as casual or as formal as you like. Keeping a guest list will allow you to have an accurate headcount so you are sure to have enough food, drinks, placesettings and chairs for everyone that is coming. And if your house is like ours, be prepared to take in a few “Thanksgiving Orphans “at the last minute.

Next, plan the menu. Write down every course, and if you are sharing the cooking with some of your guests, assign dishes to each of them now. Put their name next to the dish they are reponsible for right on your menu so you don’t need to worry about it.

Gather your recipes. Now is the perfect time to pull out all of the recipes you will be using for the meal. Many cooking websites and magazines are overflowing with Thanksgiving recipes, so if you want to try something new, or you don’t have a favorite recipe for something, now is your chance to do a little research. Place the recipes into your folder as you find them.

Now that you have your menu and headcount, it’s time to check to see if you have all the serving dishes, utensils and place settings to accommodate everyone. Think about table cloths, napkins and extra tables and chairs if necessary. Check for serving dishes, and oven to table dishes for things that require them, Arrange to borrow what you don’t have, or go out and purchase it now, before things get hectic. Trust us, you don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute, when you need to be home cooking. You know where we are going with this one: make a list of what you need and plan to get it all by the end of next weekend.

Once all of your lists are made, place them in your Thanksgiving folder. We will be referring to all of this later in the week.

Happy Planning!!!

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Signs Of The Times

October 17, 2016

North Carolina’s ridicuous bathroom bill, stating that everyone must use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender assigned to them at birth, set off an explosive debate that rippled across the country.

When Target responded with their commitment to allow people to use whichever restroom they felt most comfortable in while visiting their stores, ultra conservatives vowed to boycott them.

How some percieve gender neutral restrooms

How some percieve gender neutral restrooms

It raised consciousness of the issue, causing people to question the way we label the facilities in public establishments.

In the ultimate desire to be politically correct and create an atmosphere of inclusiveness, some have resorted to extremes.

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Great sign by the way, just not necessary when there is only one restroom to choose!

At a recent photoshoot, the studio posted a sign next to the restroom door that stated it was for men, women or transgendered individuals. While I respect their desire to create a comfortable environment for everyone, there was in fact only one, private restroom in the entire studio. I am pretty sure that a year ago, that sign just said restroom. Was this overkill, or an attempt to boast of thier open-mindedness? I am willing to bet that a year ago, that sign simply stated restroom.

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A little cyptic perhaps, but allows for free choice

Later in the same week, I attended an event in the auditorium of at Cooper Union, a local college in the East Village that specializes in art, architecture and engineering. The restrooms, which had clear gender labels on them just a year ago, now had cryptic signs on the doors. One showed stalls, and sinks, and the other showed stalls, sinks and urinals.

In Europe, most public restrooms are unisex, offering fully enclosed stalls and communal sink areas. While not as conducive to primping and gossiping as single sex facilities, it offers equality, accessibility, and most importantly privacy. I mean, who designed toilet stalls that exposed people’s feet, and could be looked under, over or through anyways? The idea that anyone can walk into the bathroom and recognize who is sitting on the toilet by their footwear is ludicrous, causing women in offices a lifetime of embarrassment and subsequently, constipation.

Should we be patting ourselves on the back for being so modern and inclusive by posting witty signs, when we should be finding ways to allow people to take care of their natural biological functions in private?

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Bed Bugs and Beyond

June 20, 2016
via The Atlantic

via The Atlantic

My daughter returned Friday night, from a fun and productive trip touring colleges with a group from her school. Not one to over communicate, she will gradually release tidbits over the course of a few days. Her tidbit Saturday afternoon? Look at the photo of the gross bed bug Ginger found in our room in Boston on Wednesday. (insert record scratching noise here.)

Her father, not one for subleties or discretion, went crazy. He called me immediately to tell me to come home because B had bed bugs. By the time I got back, he was in full irrational panic, pulling things apart and tossing things around. While a few things had been removed, the suitcase in question was sitting on the carpeted bedroom floor upstairs.

I tried to calm everyone down, and did a little internet research. The photo was in fact, of a bed bug. Although B had many bites, they looked like mosquito bites from being outdoors, vs. the clusters of small raised bumps consistent with with bed bug bites. One thing I knew was to bag up any suspect clothing or bedding and seal it in garbage bags to prevent the spread and smother the eggs or bugs. I called the hotel, while my husband arranged to have the bed bug sniffing dogs come in to find out if she brought unwanted souvineers home with her.
I have to confess, that by now I am scratching furiously, just thinking about a bed bug infestation.

The super supplied some heavy duty bags and somehow Mr. Genius proceeded to fill 10 of them, although the entire suitcase and it’s contents would have easily filled one. Over-react much? I am pretty sure that whatever is in those other bags are now infested, should there actually be bed bug eggs in her bag. As he piles them up in the vestibule, I notice the strong scent of faux mint. A really unpleasant smell, like a toothpaste truck collided with a truck of cheap scented candles. The stank is so potent it is permeating the whole main floor of our house. I am pretty sure it will over-power the bed bug scent and render the dog’s trip useless. $381 useless.

So, what does Mr. Genius do? Transfers all the potentially bed bug infested items into new bags of course. You can see where all this is going, right? Everything has picked up the scent, so not only will the dogs be deterred, but most of the items in B’s room will smell like a NYC taxi for a long time. IF, in fact there are eggs in there, they have now been spread yet again.

At this point, I am pretty sure that the dead bed bug was isolated, since they didn’t have any other incidents, so I am hoping this is all for naught.
I’ll keep you posted…

UPDATE: Sherlock, the K-9 bed bug sniffing dog did not find anything, either in the bags, or anywhere in the house. It looks like we are bed bug free. Hallelujah!!!!

 

Related posts:

For more on the life and times of my family’s genius capers, you may want to re-read this little ditty.For more on bed bugs, check this one out.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

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Visit our shops on Gourmly ,Ecohabitude, and Etsy

Download the HOMEMADE app

Newest Additions

November 30, 2015

It has been a busy time around here. We have been cooking up a storm for clients, friends and family. We also have a couple of new additions to introduce you to.

Indigo Jones Eats hired a sous chef. His medium is usually plastic food, carefully prepared in a pint sized kitchen, but his cuteness makes up for his limited skills! Can you resist food made by this little guy? We certainly can’t.

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Would you eat a plastic hotdog made by this guy?

Then, after years of pressure, I aquiessed to adding a dog to the family. Meet Winston, a toy Australian Shepherd. Even I have to admit that he is pretty cute. He has been well-behaved so far, but he keeps trying to eat his Pee Pads. He also peed on B’s homework. He is only 3 months old, and weighs just 4 pounds, but he has a lot of energy. Wish me well…I am still a little apprehensive!

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It’s all great fun until someone pees on your homework.

We will try to resume our normal posting schedule this week, amid early holiday baking orders and a few small catering jobs, as well as making sure Winston doesn’t eat the entire house.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

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Visit our shops on Gourmly and Etsy

Download the HOMEMADE app

Superheros

October 5, 2015

It has been a busy week, with no sign of it letting up for awhile.
This weekend was spent with a very special “client”who requested a “Spiderman birthday cake with 3 candles, and marshmallows for all my friends.”

Done and done. Here are a few photos of one happy customer and the cakes:

There were actually two cakes: a 3-layer chocolate cake with buttercream frosting, and oreo cookie crumble. It was surrounded by mini cupcakes. The other cake was Spidey himself.

 

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The layer cake was topped with balloons, and a some hand molded chocolate spider lolly pops.

 

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Spidey:

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The marshmallows, as he calls them are actually s’mores. These had spider webs on them.

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The ulitmate sign of a good party…all tuckered out! Being 3 is hard work!

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Happy Birthday!!!

Photos: Top: kidsofharlem instagram, bottom: Britjazzy instagram

all others, indigojonesnyc instagram.

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Body Love

August 26, 2015

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Body acceptance is a hot topic these days. The media is reaching out to encourage women everywhere to love their bodies, regardless of how they look. Body shaming, and setting an unrealistically high (and often photoshopped) bar for beauty is the subject of many news stories and ad campaigns.

I completley agree. Women should be able to go to the beach without panicing about their “beach body”(something I am completely guilty of). A jiggle here and a bump there shouldn’t keep women from enjoying their lives. A few extra pounds or a little “junk in the trunk” is nobody’s business but our own. Every story about women being fat shamed, or called out by total strangers for exposing thier stretch marks from childbirth on the beach makes me cringe. It is time that society comes to terms with our imperfections being part of who we are and move on.

Ok, so here comes the kicker. I mean, you knew there was going to be one, right? If we should love our bodies regardless of thier flaws, than shouldn’t we love them enough to take care of them? And by taking care of them, I don’t mean going on an all kale diet, exercising three hours a day, or being a size 2. I don’t mean never leaving the house without full pagent makeup and a fresh blowout. I do mean eating healthfully most of the time, getting a moderate amount of exercise and maintaining a weight that prevents chronic and serious illnesses to manifest. I would never, ever make a rude comment to someone of any gender about their weight, or how they look. It is rude, and frankly, none of my business. But, I have a hard time condoning a lifestyle that allows people become so over weight that they develop heart problems, hypertension, diabetes or even joint issues as a result of over-indulgence in food, and a lack of significant movement. Just walking at a moderate pace is considered exercise, yet I watch people circle the parking lot, looking for the closest possible parking spot so they don’t have to walk a few extra feet. Should we tell those women (and men for that matter)that it is ok and they should love their sick, unhealthy bodies as they are?

It is all a self fulfilling prophecy. Once the health issues begin to set in, physically being able to exercise becomes more problematic. Once the bad eating habits form, it is very hard to break them. You don’t just wake up one day and decide that you aren’t going to eat all the foods you are used to and stop cold turkey. Super clean eating requires discipline, both in choosing to avoid the unheatly items,and in buying and preparing the right ones. There is not a fast food, convenience store version to fall back on. I get it. Its not easy. Busy women with families and jobs don’t always have time to exercise, and commuting by foot or by bike is often not an option. So is the solution to say its ok, you are beautiful anyways? Isn’t that a twisted way of objectifying women? As health care costs rise, isn’t it cheaper to eat well, and less time consuming to exercise than take time out for frequent doctor visits and sick days?

BTW, skinny shaming people, such as celebs like Amal Clooney and Guilianna Rancic is just as offensive. Sometimes being overly thin is a natural state, but it can also signal health issues. We are very quick to say “eat a sandwich” to someone who is very thin, but not so quick to accept someone saying ” put down the cookie” to someone who is over weight. Until we can come to terms with the equality of the situation, we aren’t ready to embrace body love fully.

Are we, the media and society in general doing women a great disservice by focusing on accepting how our bodies look, vs.how our bodies function?

Sound off in the comments below!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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RSVP

April 15, 2015

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RSVP

[ahresveepee
Spell Syllables
verb (used without object)RSVPed orRSVP’d, RSVPing or RSVP’ing.
1.

to reply to an invitation:

Don’t forget to RSVP before Thursday.
nounplural RSVP’s.
2.

a reply to an invitation:

He sent a lovely bouquet of flowers with hisRSVP.
3.

(used on an invitation to indicate that the favor of a reply is requested).

 

This week, I hosted a dinner party for a group of parents from my daughter’s school. The school provided a guest list that had 31 guests on it, many of whom I did not know. I received 2o responses, and despite multiple resends of the invite and a group message, 11 people still did not respond.
In this case, the host had the option of providing the meal, or coordinating a pot luck. Since cooking is my passion, I opted to cater the event myself, with a beverage sign up sheet for wine and soft drinks. Five people signed up to contribute.
Many of the other hosts opted for potlucks, or ordered food. I am sure some of the parents thought that it was no big deal, hence their lack of response. Frankly, it isn’t a big deal to anyone other than the host of the party. Even serving hot dogs requires a head count.

I toyed with my options. Cook for the amount I knew were coming, or incur the time, leftovers and expense of covering for the extra 11 people, “just in case.” I tend to over do it when I entertain, so I knew that I would have plenty of food if a few extra dropped by, but 11 extra? I wasn’t so sure. I decided to do an antipasto table, with dips, cured meats, and roasted vegetables to start, and serve a casual buffet dinner when most of the guests arrived. That included salads, wild mushroom tarts and 7 pounds of shrimp cooked in a tomato and fennel sauce.

The doorbell started ringing promptly at 6:30. And then it stopped. Exactly 10 people came. Ten. If I had a proper headcount, I would have done things very differently. In fact, for 12 people (including ourselves,) I could have prepared a nice sit down dinner, instead of huge quantities of a vast variety of food, some of which looked like it was barely touched.

It was a pleasant evening, and I met some people who were new to the school community, and got to know a few who I only knew superficially. They were all warm, lovely guests, and I sent each one home with containers of food to enjoy at another time. I also threw away huge quantities of dishes that I felt had sat out too long to safely save, and packed up the rest. I am sure some of it will spoil before it will get eaten and end up in the garbage, due to the sheer quantity of it.

It was my pleasure to host these families, so I don’t want to appear bitter or regretful.  I am however, a little peeved that people cannot take 2 minutes to let their hosts know if they intend to come, and alert them if they have a change of plans. It’s the wastefulness that is nagging at me, not to mention the expense of preparing food for people who didn’t show up.

The solution? I don’t have one. I don’t believe in being an apathetic host and not going out of my way to provide a wonderful meal and a warm atmosphere to anyone that comes to our home. I don’t have any hints to get people to respond, as after 3 resends and a friendly reminder, I was coming perilously close to being a stalker.  I can however, use this forum to remind you dear readers, that being a good guest is as important as being a good host.

So, in case you were wondering, RSVP stands for “respondez vious sil vous plait”, which is French for “please respond.” Next time you get an invitation, please do.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Secret to a Happy Marriage

April 6, 2015

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Tomorrow marks my 31st wedding anniversary. I met him when I was still in school. He claims it was love at first sight,and that I just didn’t realize it for a long, long time.
He wasn’t at all my type, and I didn’t even consider him boyfriend material. He was however, a nice guy, and during a summer break in college when not too many people were around, we started hanging out.
I guess he eventually he grew on me, because about 5 years later we were married.
Since we met in our teens, it is easy to imagine how different we must be today. We have grown up together, had career successes and failures, adopted an amazing child, shared our life with another incredible young man who has brought a lovely women and adorable baby into our lives to love.

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Yet, I would be lying if I didn’t say that this man can irritate me like no other. When you live with another person; friend, relative or lover, you will find some, or many of their habits annoying. When people ask me how I have been able to make it work so long, I always give this reply:

Every morning, my husband unloads the dishwasher. He stacks the bowls however they fit, which is often the larger ones placed percariously on top of the smaller ones. He puts the toaster in the cupboard sideways, so nothing else fits back in. He leaves a ring of sticky stuff on the counters. And every morning, I quietly restack the bowls, flip the position of the toaster, and wipe the sticky spot.

I could make a fuss about this. I could complain about it everyday. I mean, how hard is it to do properly? Didn’t he ever play with blocks as a child? Clearly, things stack best from large to small. But if I make a fuss over things this trivial, then what happens when a real issue comes along?

The moral of the story, is that I pick my battles and I’m sure he picks his. I don’t dwell on the little things. It just makes everyone unhappy. If the worst thing he does in life is stack the bowls wrong, how bad is that?
Oh, I do my share of snarking, and he does too. But at the end of the day, that’s all it is. He is my partner in crime, and I hope he will continue to be that for a long, long time. I try to focus on the positive and just walk away shaking my head at the rest. Because, life is simply too short to sweat the minutia.

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Here’s to another 31 years of restacking bowls, turning toasters and wiping sticky spots!

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