Love This.

October 31, 2008

Look at this awesome etsy find. Order up your very own custom family family of four (or however many your family is). You can even add in a pet! Hand painted with non-toxic materials. This would look absolutely adorable on a shelf in the nursery.

A Mom's Confession.

October 30, 2008

I have been a bad mom. In some books I guess. Maybe not in others. You see, I always make C-Man a separate dinner. (Almost always.) This goes against all of our parenting philosophies about not catering to the children, raising them to be good, decent, responsible human beings, and not giant kids who need three dipping sauces for their KFC strips.

Plus, we are foodies. We love travel. Trying new things. Being open-minded. We want these things for our children. So, why, oh why, am I making C-Man separate meals that he eats separately from us? Not by himself, don't worry, he eats at the bar usually while I am cooking our "grown-up" meal. We chat, I teach him table manners, etc. Then baths, Baby J down by 6:30 p.m. (strict) and C-Man by 7:00. Then B and Jora exhale, open a fancy bottle of wine (not always, but more than we probably should), pretend we don't have kids and eat a lovely meal together. Sometimes sitting right next to each other and sometimes directly across from each other. Depends on our mood. {Can I just say: what is up with all of these fragmented sentences??}

I have lots of elaborate rationalizations for this routine that we are in. We will start eating together at (gulp) 5:30 when C-Man is 3, or the summer is over, or when school starts, etc. The problem is obvious I guess. We don't want to eat as a horrible as that sounds. I love being a mom, I hate leaving them for almost any period of time, we've gone on very few trips without them, but dinner is our sacred time. It always has been. Plus, I want to drink wine, and if the kids are involved that means I have to breastfeed before I put Baby J down, so wine isn't going to happen during a dinner with the kids. Plus, that's no way to enjoy a fine glass of wine, is it ladies?

Then I blame the food police. In particular the American Academy of Pediatrics for freaking out every first-time mom about all the "no way" foods. I found it so hard to feed C-Man what we were eating when he was a baby because I am a natural born rule follower and there were so many to keep up with. So, I got used to make him something separate. Now, I just follow my mom's and mother-in-law's advice (and the AAP's to an extent) to feed the babies healthy, real food and they will grow up to be healthy, good eaters. Luckily, Baby J is on that track.

The other part of my rationalization comes in this form: the kid eats Really. Healthy. Food. And likes it. Piles of cooked chard, kale, spinach. He snacks on radishes, bell peppers, green onions (that's right), handfuls of arugula straight from the garden. The only yogurt he knows is organic plain with flax and the tiniest drizzle of honey. He asks for "butternut smoothies" (remember when I started sneaking frozen vegetables in his smoothies? Well, the kid catches on quickly and he now asks for them by veggie type). So. I could have worse problems, right?

Herein lies the problem: he has a fairly short list of foods he will eat without any protest and I want that list to expand. I want to have the type of kid that eats what's put in front of him at dinner, knows how to act at a grown-up table, and enjoys lots of different things to eat. Heck, that's how B and I were both raised. No special meals for us!

So that's what we've been working on this week. And in just a few days, C-Man has already tried several new foods (OK, with a little bribery, but still!), he helps set the table, and we can keep him sitting there for most of the time it takes us to finish our meal. But, no wine for me and B and I barely get to look at each other in the eye (just like my girlfriend Heidi said family dinnertime is like for her and her husband).

(Exhale.) With that very long introduction, I give you a recipe. A healthy and delicious dinner to enjoy with your family. Everyone gobbled it up (including C-Man).

Turkey Meatloaf
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2003

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 1-2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and zucchini and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.

Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in eggs, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)

Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.

Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

(I served this with roasted potatoes, carrots and onions, all cut in matchsticks to somewhat resemble "fries.")
photo via Gourmet

Looky, Looky, Looky. I Mean Listen, Listen, Listen.

October 29, 2008

OK, this makes me so happy. A dear friend of a dear friend started a new site that wants to put you (yes you!) in touch with cool new music. It is not one of these music sites that will overwhelm you with tons and tons of recommendations....this is just one band per week...delivered to you in the form of an email newsletter. A song to listen to, info on the band, where to buy, a schedule of shows, etc. It's a very well-edited group of bands that I've seen so far. (This week is Bon Iver. And geez, if you haven't already, listen to Skinny Love right now. Now. Now. Now.) It's sort of like having your very own younger, cooler, in-the-know sister who has lots of time to check out live shows and report back.

Check out SpOOOnful here!

A Corner For Dressing Up.

C-Man is just now getting into the dress-up phase. "Look, mama! I'm a king!"... "I'm a BIG SCARY MONSTER!"... "Now I'm a princess!" (We know he doesn't care about those gender labels yet.) So, when I saw the dress-up area that Soule Mama set up for her kids, I got all excited. Wouldn't it be fun to have all of these pieces organized and ready to go for your kids? Soule Mama is the one that had that super cool kitchen area set up, remember?

Something For Baby J.

I really, really, really want this hand-embroidered bib for Baby J. Is that so wrong?

A Blog Crush and Really, Really Good Food For Thought.

October 28, 2008

OK, so I have a new blog crush. Her name is Jill. She and her husband, along with their two wee ones, just traded in their old conventional life for a new one. One that involves building their own home and becoming farmers. Jill is an extremely thoughtful, in-the-present type of person, one that is not afraid to follow her dreams. Many of the things I want to be more of. Please read this post if you are at all intrigued by Jill and her new life as a farmer's wife. Awhile back she posted this quote about parenting and I have decided to print it out and keep it right on my desk, front and center:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”

- Anna Quindlen


I am intrigued by this pea coat. I adore that color. I could totally see it with some Audrey Hepburn-style black ankle pants and ballet flats. But Old Navy is the type of place you really need to see the stuff in person. And since I don't really get out of the house to shop much (being that I am with two ankle biters most of the time), I guess I'd better pass.

A Trip to the "Patch."

On Sunday, we went to the world's lamest "pumpkin patch." I put it in quotes because they don't have a patch. They just buy the pumpkins at Vons, mark them up $5, rent a bunch of jumpees and lure unsuspecting families in. I shouldn't complain because we were supposed to go to the real deal with some friends, but time got away from us and the drive didn't sound so great, so we opted for somewhere closer. But I really shouldn't complain because we ended up at the same second rate "patch" two years ago and we made mental notes: NEVER COME HERE AGAIN. But that's what mom brain will do to you. You forget very important things like this.

The good news is the kids didn't know what they were missing. But the best news is that I got to take a photo of C-Man in almost the exact same spot as I did two years ago.

There he was two years ago. Awwwwwww.

And here he is now. He is saying "Cheeeese."

Baby J had a nice time being held by my dad for most of the morning. She wanted to get down and crawl around in the hay, but yeah, that wasn't going to happen.


Me (in rocking chair, lights out, babe in arms): C-Man, I'm putting your sister down. Please get out of here and go see your father.

C-Man: But I have to give my baby sister a hug.

Me: OK.


C-Man: Annnd .... a kiss.

Me: OK. But hurry it up.


C-Man: Aaaaaaannnnnnnd........................... an Eskimo kiss.

Me: OK, just do it, now get out of here!

(World's cutest Eskimo kiss)


Movie Blabber.

October 27, 2008

We finally saw No Country For Old Men last night (I think I've mentioned we are usually at least a year or more behind on movies). We were both hooked from the fist 30 seconds. Great character study, so intense, beautiful cinematography (especially the stark, barren, shockingly beautiful West Texas scenes). Gotta love the Coen brothers.

I really want to see Burn After Reading. Maybe, just maybe, we could get to the theater to see it..... Check out the super cool movie poster. So. Very. Cool.

via Orange Yoyo

Latest Harvest.

We don't have a lot to eat from the garden at the moment. B has all of the new fall vegetables coming up, but it will probably be at least a month before we will be able to taste anything (*fingers crossed*). In the meantime, I will be completely and totally satisfied by these beauties. Lovely, crisp, sweet persimmons.
If you have never tried persimmons, pick up a few the next time you are at the farmer's market. They are all over right now. I don't really like the softer, heart-shaped Hachiya persimmons (they are OK to bake mom would bake breads and cookies with them). I like the Fuyus pictured above. I read somewhere that they taste like a sweet apple dusted with cinnamon. Not exactly, but that's sort of close. They are really good in salads and with cheese. We like slicing them up and snacking on them while watching a movie.

Meal Planning Monday.


Vietnamese Fried Rice


(I'm going out with girlfriends)
Pink of Perfection's No Cook Black Bean Tacos (for my abandoned family)


Date Night (first Slow Food Urban San Diego Mixer)


Mom's Meatloaf
Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Onions


Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp

Annual Fall Fest Party.

We went to our friends' annual Fall Festival Party this weekend, and as usual, it was so much fun for the whole family. There was face painting, pumpkin decorating, apple bobbing, fun kids crafts, homemade caramel apples (C-Man enjoyed one, as you can see above), a taco cart with all of the fixings....

Paula set out bowls of party favors for the kids to choose from. C-Man spent lots and lots and lots of time at this table. He is all about the collecting of small trinkets right now. And taking them with him and accounting for everything many times during the day. "Here are all my stickers. And here is my whistle. And hey! Who took my bubbles?" (You should have seem him a few minutes after this photos was taken.... running with the other kids on the playground....very carefully holding the treat bag straight out in front of him where it wouldn't get knocked around....what a careful little man he is!)
Baby J had a nice time in daddy's arms, eating some apple (without caramel, of course).

And with mom too.
I know this picture is fuzzy, but I love it. It shows what a little snuggle bunny I got the second time around.

Cute Little Stamps For Your Cutie Pie.

October 24, 2008

Stick this in your "Under $20 Gift File." What? You don't have one? Well, you better make one, because you'll want to remember this. I don't know one mother that doesn't want to teach her child to write sincere and thoughtful thank you notes. With all the gift-giving that comes with having a child, surely the least that you and child can do is send a nice note, right? These custom name stamps will get your child in the mood. I have never met a kid isn't stamp-happy. Geez, C-Man could do it all afternoon.
Choose the image that most resembles your child (oh yeah, I see C-Man alright!), or send in a photo.

The Little Things In Life.

OK, I've been inspired (once again, I might add) by Maxwell over at Apartment Therapy. This month he asked readers to write in with the Little Things in Life That Make It More Lovely (that's my interpretation of the topic). Well, I didn't write in with my ideas, but I have been thinking about this subject over the past couple of weeks. And I thought I might share a few of my ideas here....and maybe you'll share them right back.

Here are some little things that make a big difference in my world:
  • Making my bed everyday. I don't care what you say....getting into a made bed just feels better.
  • Having some sort of home baked treat ready for an afternoon snack. Sooo much tastier (and usually healthier) than a store-bought one. And in the family I grew up, food is love. And something sweet and hot out of the oven is as much love as one will ever need.
  • Opening as many doors and windows as possible. The fresh air does wonders for my mood.
  • Using cloth napkins...when you're done, just toss them in with one of your loads of laundry. It's really no work at all, but it makes a meal fell more, well, civilized.
  • I keep these flushable cleaning wipes in all of our bathrooms for a quick wipe-down of the sinks and floors. It makes such a difference between the regular cleanings and it takes just a minute.
  • Having lots of cold beverages ready for guests. I like to keep a couple of types of beer, white wine, champagne, sparkling water, Izze sodas and Classic Coke (in bottles).
  • Fresh flowers -- this goes without saying. I like to put them in unexpected places, like the bathrooms. Whenever my mother-in-law comes to visit, she always finds flowers and other things in the yard to put in vases. I want to do more of this rather than always buying them at the market.
  • Having a stash of hostess gifts ready to is always a good choice, but having less expected choices on hand and ready to go is nice. I feel so clever (sort of 007) whenever I pull something out of my stash as we are rushing out of the house to go to a friend's for dinner.
  • Not saving the special wine (and bath products and food and the like) for "special" occasions. Today is special. Open that bottle that means something to you and enjoy it rather than letting it decorate your shelf.
  • Putting the toys away. Everyday. All. Of. Them.
  • Candles....they don't have to be fancy, just plain white tea lights and the plain white ones you can get in the Latino section of your supermarket (an AliceQ trick I learned...they are cheap, simple and last a long time).
  • Keeping pretty notecards and interesting stamps handy and ready-to-go. I always feel better after writing a note or two, and I find I am much more inclined to write them if they are accessible and if I like the way they look.

OK, what are your ideas??

Family Home Tours.

I am totally and completely hooked on the home tours that Cookie Magazine features on their Nesting Blog. I guess it is the combination of family friendly design with real style that appeals to me. Check out this house from Denmark:

Another awesome, simple, utilitarian, yet still warm, kitchen. I love the rows of spices in little glass jars, don't you? If I did that, it would just look cluttered.

Perhaps the most darling nursery I've seen to date.

Another shot of the nursery....isn't that the sweetest little changing table? And that sunny and cheery!

A Follow-Up to the Compost Pail Post.

Remember that little compost pail I showed you? We just got ours (thanks Mom!) and it's working out great. No smell, holds lots of stuff and doesn't look half bad, does it?

(I hear they are sold out online, but that you can still get them in the store.)

Slow Ride.

October 23, 2008

I completely understand the decision to have one child (or none at all). There are definite and obvious upsides. But. When your baby is old enough to now play with your older child? Oooooohhhhh boy. That makes it all worth it. Like this morning. While I was over here on the computer and my kids come down the hallway doing this:

Slow Ride from domestic reflections on Vimeo.

Making Us Happy.

This song is making us very happy this morning.

C-Man: "Again, mama! Play it again!"

More Kids Undies?

Geez, where is this blog headed? Not somewhere good, I know. I promise to get back to some non-kid stuff sometime soon, but in the meantime....I had to share these. They are too cute! This etsy seller stitches her own designs onto her son's skivvies and now she will make them for your little man.

These pirate ones are for your little man, Mel.

Baby Gift Help.

October 22, 2008

OK, so you know when someone has a new baby and you need to buy a gift and you just don't know what they need? Or maybe you are a little late and you don't know what size the little one is? Or maybe you aren't a parent and are confused by all the baby stuff out there? Heck, maybe you are a parent and you're still confused? This is the gift to get. Trust me. (Of course there are tons and tons of other great ideas out there...this idea is perfect if you can't come up with anything on your own.) And come to think of it, this gift would be great for any kid up to about 3 or so.

You've been a responsible citizen and reading all the literature and you want wood, right? Check.

Made in the good old U.S. of A.? Got it.

Something the baby can use for a long time? Yep.

Looks classy? That too.

Not something that the baby already got four of at the shower? There's a good chance you've got that taken care of.

Oh yeah, and won't break the bank? Yes, yes, yes.

May I introduce to you Uncle Goose Brand ABC Wood Blocks. They are old-fashioned and beautiful....and the best part? They come in about 14 different languages, so your yuppy friends will think their kid is soooooo international because of little old you. Hebrew, Italian, Dutch, German, Swedish, French....they got it. And the blocks come in a really nice heavy canvas storage bag. All for about $30.

More info here.

Check Out New AliceQ.

October 21, 2008

No doubt you already know about my good friend AliceQ (if you have been here before). She is, among other things, the quintessential foodie and party thrower extraordinaire. I am lucky enough to live down the street from her now, so I get surprised with all sorts of homemade goodies delivered to my front door. Plus she is just one cool chick. She just started a new blog...because apparently a girl can't live on food alone. She must have clothes and makeup and art and beautifully designed things too. (We already knew that!) Check it out. She has been posting from NYC this week. (Did I mention I live vicariously through her while I am at home schlepping groceries and wiping baby bums?)

p.s. She even did a little custom post for me (and my love of Airstreams)!

Dream. Country. Kitchen.

Thud. That was me falling off my little chair when I saw this kitchen over at Marvelous Kiddo. I know my taste is normally minimal and simple and classic and plain jane. But. In a parallel universe or a future life or maybe just in a country home (for reals) someday.....I WANT THIS KITCHEN.

photo by David Giles

On Having a Son.

October 20, 2008

I have a great big huge gigantic (you get the idea) soft spot in my heart for my little boy. I was never one of those women who really wanted a boy or a girl. It was just never that way for me. But when C-Man was born, I became totally and completely smitten not just with him, but with all little boys. (Don't get me wrong, I luuuuuuuuuv my little girl too, but there is some sort of special vibe between a mama and her little boy...especially her firstborn little boy.)

I have been reading a really interesting (and a bit controversial) book called The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian. Has anyone read it? Its basic premise is that boys and girls are biologically quite different (that's the controversial part), and therefore have different needs. It is the first book about boys that I've read (I've read lots of parenting books), so I don't know if this is the be-all and end-all of what it means to raise a son, but so far I'm really liking it.

On a related note, this is a poem that a friend with two boys shared with me. It is about having a son. I just love it. So much that my chest hurts when I read it. Even for the 472nd time.

by Alastair Reid

My son has birds in his head.
I know them now. I catch
the pitch of their calls, their shrill
cacophonies, their chitterings, their coos.
They hover behind his eyes and come to rest
on a branch, on a book, grow still,
claws curled, wings furled.
His is a bird world.

I learn the flutter of his moods,
his moments of swoop and soar.
From the ground I feel him try
the limits of the air--
sudden lift, sudden terror--
and move in time to cradle
his quivering, feathered fear.
At evening, in the tower,
I see him to sleep and see
the hooding-over of eyes,
the slow folding of wings.
I wake to his morning twitterings,
to the croomb of his becoming.

He chooses his selves--wren, hawk,
swallow or owl--to explore
the trees and rooftops of his heady wishing.
Tomtit, birdwit.
Am I to call him down, to give him
a grounding, teach him gravity?
Gently, gently.
Time tells us what we weigh, and soon enough
his feet will reach the ground.
Age, like a cage, will enclose him.
So the wise men said.

My son has birds in his head.

Something For the New Mom.

One of my favorite things to get a new mom...because really, does the baby need anymore frilly dress and tights get-ups? something comfortable and pretty and practical to wear around the house. (For the mom, if that wasn't clear.) All new moms are pretty shocked by the amount of house-time that is involved with a wee one. It's easy to slip into the old sweats routine, as showers and makeup often go by the wayside. Also, most new moms aren't feeling their sexiest, sveltest selves. Here are a couple of ideas that might help:

I highly recommend some sort of pretty robe. You can grab it when you head into the baby's room for a night feeding (like I'm still doing at 11 months, I'll just add). You can cover those old sweats with it (but you really should just toss those, come to think of it). And when the baby actually goes down for a nap, one of these robes will help your relationship with your husband. Get one in a pattern so the stains don't show. Come on moms, wouldn't one of these make you feel instantly more glamorous? (Both are from Anthropologie.)

A new mom is also going to need a lovely little housedress. "Housedress" does not have to be a scary word. It's something pretty and forgiving and simple to slip into. These are both from the sleepwear section of the Anthropologie site.

A nursing gown is also nice.

Or a nursing pajama set, like this .

And if you're a super, super, duper good friend, get her a beautiful nursing dress to go out on the town in.... like this by Isabella Oliver. It is the only piece of clothing designed for nursing that is truly beautiful (that I've ever seen, anyway).

Meal Planning Monday.


Orchiette with Broccoli and Sausage
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


Fish Tacos
Black Beans


Chicken Rice and Mango in Lettuce Wraps


Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry




October 17, 2008

I don't have much for you today. Until I come up with something better, here are a couple of random shots Dustin took at the house during the photoshoot. (I hope you don't mind I took them off your flickr page, Dustin.)

C-Man checking everything out from above in the living room. (This would be one of those "Hey Girls! Watch this!" moments.)

After C-Man convinces me to take him downstairs for a closer look at the action.

A peek of the model in the pool. I like the way he took this looking through the tree.

The model again. She looked so much like Catherine Zeta Jones. But prettier. Younger too.

The work table. Lots of Starbucks going on.

The photogs taking a break.

Our trees. They know it's fall.

Come On. Admit It.

October 16, 2008

I don't care who you are. You know you want to see more of those Angelina photos. Well, here you go:
photos from W Magazine

Just Some Pretty Pictures.

I have decided there is really no need to look anywhere beyond etsy for beautiful things for your home. Lately, I have been particularly drawn to these photographs. The artist says she likes to create "little poems for the eyes."
Dustin from Nixon was telling me the other day there is a movement away from crisp, clear images in advertising to a rougher, more vintage feel. There is less of an emphasis on accuracy and more on mood. I like that, personally.

Check out the artist here.
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