Bad, Bad Blogger.

February 25, 2009

I know I've been a very bad blogger lately. Infrequent posting, generally lame topics, very few photos. I've had a lot of stuff going on, including the computer issues, so yes, I'm making excuses.

I need to ask a little favor. To get things going around here again. Will you answer this nifty little poll? It will let me know what you people like to read most. No promises, I will do as I please, but I do have that darn people-pleaser streak so you just might get what you want. Also, for you lurkers out there (I know there are many!!), I promise there's no way for me to trace your answers, so go ahead and be your anonymous selves! Just answer this poll! Thank you.


This one took place early one morning with C-Man sitting at the kitchen counter. We hadn't said anything to each other yet (it was verrrrrryyyyyy early).

(As a little background.....we had never talked about "dreams" with C-Man. I mean, it's a hard concept to get down when you're three, right? Well, maybe not.)

C-Man: Guess what? I dreamed a dream last night.

Me: (trying to get caffeinated as quickly as possible) Really? What was your dream about?

C-Man: (getting very serious and dramatic) A.....CRAZY.....dinosaur.....pooped behind the wall!

The end. Life is simple when you are three.

Vicki Cristina Barcelona.

February 23, 2009

Yes, I know. I see everything months, years, decades after all of you. But I finally saw this movie the other night, and all I can say is love, love and EVEN MORE LOVE. Woody Allen has always been near and dear to my heart -- one of my all-time favorites -- but the fact that he can still put out something fresh, modern and exciting at the age of what... 73? Impressive. Get the movie if you haven't seen it. Netflix has it.

Ten Things Making Me Happy.

February 19, 2009

I think it's about time for another one of these lists. I find it keeps my focus in the right direction, it sort of chronicles what's going on in our lives, and what can I say, I LOVE MAKING LISTS.

1. Being back online -- sort of. We have suffered through many a computer problem in our house over the past week, which makes for cranky hubby (can't do his work) and cranky mommy (feels like isolated 1950s housewife with no one to talk to in the middle of the day). But. We are back online thanks to a new router. Whatever that is. Still having some lingering issues though. May not be posting regularly for awhile. Grrr. Wait -- this is a Making Me Happy List! Almost forgot.

2. Spectacular sunrises. One of the (ONLY) benefits of having early-risers for offspring is that you get to see sunrises, which, I don't care what anyone says, are hands down more beautiful that any sunset I have seen. Even your run-of-the-mill 6 a.m. sunrise is breathtaking. I must admit I had not seen too many sunrises pre-kids, but they are now a part of my life. Did I mention I am trying to stay focused in a positive direction?

3. This darling cactus pot Ryan made and brought over the other day. I love that yellow pot. It makes me smile. By the way, check out Ryan's blog.
4. Our citrus trees are blooming and that means the most intoxicatingly sweet scent is perfuming our yard. It reminds me of being in Palm Springs in the springtime. Geez, I love this time of year.

5. Which leads me to my next item. Freshly-squeezed juice. I'm not a huge juice person, but lately B and C-Man have been juicing tangerines and grapefruits and boy oh boy. Is that stuff ever hitting the spot. Soooo tasty in the morning or for an afternoon pick-me-up.

6. Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins. A new discovery. These make the perfect sweet tart snack in the afternoon with a cup of tea.

7. Our bedroom at this time of year. It faces south, so it gets the direct sun in the early afternoon, which would make it, in theory, the perfect place for a mom to catnap. (Not that I would know anything about that. You try getting two kids to take simultaneous naps!) But it sure does have that perfectly cozy feel that I can appreciate....napping or not.

8. Mothering Magazine. Every time I'm about to give up on the whole mothering thing (which lately has been about every afternoon at around 2 p.m.), I read something from this magazine and it gives me that little nudge in the right direction. It reminds me why I'm doing this in the first place. If you have never picked an issue up, you should.

9. Reading The Joy of Living. This is a book I think I first read about on Emily's blog quite awhile ago. I ordered it and then it got buried under a bunch of magazines and other books for many, many months. I know this isn't everyone's thing, but if it happens to be your thing, I highly recommend it. I can't wait to get into bed at night to read it.

10. Last, but not least, our house was chosen as --get this -- Home of the Year (!) in a local house and garden magazine. We were sort of trying to keep it a secret for some reason, but people have emailed and called us after seeing it: "Why didn't you tell us??" So, there. Now you know. :)

My Favorite Room.

February 11, 2009

My favorite room in our house is, without a doubt, our master bathroom. There are many reasons, really: I love to take hot, hot baths; it is one of the only places I really get any privacy these days (let's be real); and there is the absolute best natural light in there (a huge thing for me). I really want for nothing when it comes to our bathroom.

But something about this bathroom from Amy Butler's book Found Style: Vintage Ideas for Modern Living that Anne featured yesterday just took my breath away. It is 1000% different from our own bathroom, but I know I could love it all the same. It feels like something you would find in one of those old New Orleans homes, doesn't it? Oh, and in case you're wondering, I would sit right there on that chair with my feet on the ottoman, while the breeze air-dries my hair.

Have You Ever Been to a Waldorf Party?

February 10, 2009

I've waxed poetic about Waldorf Education and its approach to raising kids before. And I definitely don't want to do too much of that around here...I understand it's not for everyone. But have you ever been to a Waldorf kids' party before? So refreshingly sweet and homespun, I just have to share.

About a month ago, C-Man (and Baby J too!) was invited by a classmate to attend his party at a local park. There was a "fairy" theme, so one of the crafts was decorating a wooden framed painting of a fairy. See?
The parents brought little wooden tables and chairs and table cloths from home for the children to sit at. Snacks were a big bowl of tangerines (in a beautiful wooden bowl) and popcorn with agave nectar and fairy dust.
Lunch for the kids included cheese sandwiches (in those oh-so-smart unbleached waxed paper bags which I have been trying to use at home instead of ziplocs) and nori strips. Look: C-Man gobbled his up. I need to get some for home.
They set up a very tasty sandwich bar for the grown-ups with lots of homemade salads, including one zucchini salad I became obsessed with for a couple of weeks (see below).
The best part, however, was when a Leprechaun announced his presence in a nearby tree and all the children ran over. He dropped little handmade (of course!) cloth bags and then it started snowing "golden coins" (really just pennies, but don't tell C-Man).... which the kids just flipped for. Who needs a pinata which always leads to at least one kid getting smacked and a bunch of kids strung out on Now-n-Laters? (Kidding...C-Man loves those parties too.)
(One of the older girls even shared some of her golden coins with C-Man, isn't that sweet?)

Of course there were homemade cupcakes. (There's the zucchini salad I was talking about, down in the corner of the photo.)
Lastly, I can't resist sharing this photo. C-Man was taking such good care of his baby sister during the whole party, can't you tell?
Here's the recipe for the zucchini salad. I guess it's an adaptation of a Mollie Katzen recipe which is made with green beans, bell peppers, toasted sliced almonds and swiss cheese. I will have to try that version too.

Waldorf Party Zucchini Salad

2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 t. dijon mustard
3-4 T. lemon juice
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. chopped fresh tarragon
1 T. chopped fresh dill
1/2 t. salt
black pepper to taste1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. minced parsley
3 small zucchini, very thinly sliced in strips

Whisk the first 8 ingredients together. Gradually whisk in olive oil, then parsley. Toss with the sliced zucchini and marinate overnight. (This was especially good scooped up with slices of Bread and Cie Caramelized Onion bread.)

That Vintage Thing.

I believe I have mentioned before that I love vintage finds, but I am simply no good at the finding part. I don't have the eye, the patience, the energy, any of it. (You should have seen me traipsing after AliceQ at some thrift stores the other day, pushing the stroller, hand sanitizer in hand, headache from overexertion after 10 minutes. Not a pretty sight. Speaking of, have you checked out AliceQ's etsy store, which offers some of her vintage treasures? You really should. Here's her tagline: "Boho-Modern Vintage Wares from Sunny California - selected by a girl with with an eye for modern, a taste for the bohemian and a serious weakness for whimsy.")

Anyway, this next item is exciting for someone like me. I saw on Design Mom that there is a really cool etsy shop with vintage kids books (most in the $3-4 range). Awhile back I started checking in on this blog written by a mom who reviews a vintage children's book almost everyday. I guess she has so many that she decided to open a little shop and share the goods. Go check it out! If you buy four, she'll throw in a bonus one for kicks and giggles.

C-Man would totally dig this book, given his keen interest in all creepy, crawly things these days.

Meal Planning Monday.

February 9, 2009

b's pasta e fagioli
italian ceci
grilled ciabatta with green acres cavolo nero

(nichole's) bubby's stuffed cabbage rolls
green acres savoy cabbage

chicken with vegetables and parsley dumplings
green acres mixed greens

We made these Oat Bran Muffins today and they turned out really good. Light, but with crusty tops. Not too sweet. We'll have these for snacks this week and I'll pack them in C-Man's lunch for school.

Yum. Donuts.

Somehow, I have let C-Man make it through almost 3 and half years without knowing what a donut is. (Actually, on some perverse mom level, I'm proud of this.) Anyway, the day came a weekend or two ago when James and Alice were having work done in their garden area, so it seemed appropriate to bring some donuts by for the workers, and OK, us too. I wish I had taken a picture of C-Man's face as he looked in the case trying to decide which one to pick for himself. Not surprisingly, he picked the one with rainbow sprinkles. In the car, he told me he would just like to hold his donut and "touch the sprinkles." He made it clear he wanted to save it to eat at Alice's. I snapped this one at a stoplight at the beginning of the drive. I love that he is so very carefully touching those sprinkles and exercising such restraint: Alas, the temptation of a donut is too great. A couple of miles down the road, this is what came up in the camera viewfinder:

A Lesson In Letting Go.

I couldn't help but think of the quote that Heidi has up on her blog the other day when I dropped C-Man off at the airport to fly with B to Mary's funeral. It's the first time he has flown anywhere without me.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone

Look at him...he's such a big boy standing in line checking everything out.
Just after I took that picture and was about to drive away, he turned around and started waving and blowing kisses like crazy and yelling "Ti amo, Mama!! Ti amo!!" (That's what he and I say to each other.)

Live Life With No Regrets.

February 5, 2009

Like we needed another reminder. But I guess I did.

Last weekend, the matriarch of B's family, Mary Marshall, passed away in her sleep at age 95. She is sort of a great aunt to him, but I think she was really the cousin of B's grandmother (whatever that relation is). Anyway, she was the pioneer, the one who immigrated to America first. The one who sponsored B's mother and her four siblings when they first arrived from the Azores (they had to come in shifts spread over 2 years....moms, can you imagine?). She was never able to have children of her own, but she mothered so many of those kids. I remember the first time I met her and she spoke of "her Tony" who had passed away many, many years ago, but with tears in her eyes that showed it was still fresh. She lived independently until her passing in the house she and Tony shared all those years. She was the type of person who would send a crisp $10 bill when a baby was born with a sweet note. Amazing lady, that Mary. Her house was always spic and span and her mind stayed sharp as a tack.

When I heard the news last weekend, my mind shot to the card I had on my desk that I had been meaning to send her for more than a month. One with a photo of the whole family. How I regretted not calling to get her address sooner as I know she loved getting pictures of the kids and notes about what is going on in all of our lives. So that was a tough reminder. Do the stuff you need to do and don't put it off.

I'll probably be on my self-imposed break for a bit longer.....thanks so much for all the sweet notes and calls. Everything's good, I'm just a bit distracted and uninspired at the moment!

Time Out.

February 3, 2009

I am feeling the need to take a time out for a bit. Hopefully it won't be too long and hopefully you won't forget about me. xoxo

Super Salsa.

February 2, 2009

I'm guessing lots of you had some sort of Mexican food yesterday....being that it was Superbowl Sunday after all. For some reason, we always end up serving it, even though I have aspirations to try something new. But let's face it, everyone likes digging into chips and salsa and guacamole while watching The Big Game, don't they? Also, icy cold beers and hopefully margaritas are in order.

I thought I would share my recipe for Pico de Gallo. Actually, it isn't my recipe. An old high school friend of B's taught it to me when I first met B and it has stuck ever since. There's nothing earth-shattering here, but the formula just works. There are times for salsas using special chiles or fancy ingredients, but this is an all-around crowd-pleaser. As B's friend told me, "The chips are really superfluous. They are simply a vehicle to shovel the salsa in your mouth." I like to think of this as a semi-healthy snack because of that fact. You really can eat a ton of it, and it's just a bunch of veggies. Oh, and best part? All supermarket ingredients. And you can use the ho-hum winter tomatoes right now because the flavors get perked up by a few little special additions.

Pico de Gallo

8-10 Roma tomatoes (you could use other tomatoes, but I like that Romas aren't very juicy), diced and seeded as best you can
1 large white onion, diced
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced to a paste with a little salt
2 jalapenos, minced (use gloves!!)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (you cilantro haters out there could leave this out or sub in parsley)
juice and zest of several limes
1 T. sugar
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
2-3 T. olive oil

Gently toss all the vegetables together. Sprinkle over the sugar, salt pepper, juice, zest and oil. Toss again. Let sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
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