3.31.2009

Carrot Tea Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

*Image from Martha Stewart.com
This weekend gave us one beautiful day to play outside, and one wet and cold day to stay inside. I was okay with the balance. The wet and cold day made me feel less guilty for watching basketball during the day, and it also inspired me to bake. I made this super yummy carrot cake. I've been wanting to find a simple carrot cake recipe, and this one is perfect. It makes a small loaf, and it's just as easy as making a banana bread. The cream cheese frosting is of course what makes it so delicious, but you could just as easily enjoy this for breakfast as you could for dessert.

His Royal Cuteness

You know how you tend to take a bazillion pictures of your baby in the first year? Well, that does start to slow down after a while, especially when they're old enough to scream about wanting the camera or make goofy faces any time a camera is pointed at them. This is the phase A has been in for the last few months, so I feel like I haven't been able to get many good pictures of him. This bugs me, because he is really growing up now, and I want to be able to share pictures with his faraway family. I am confident it will be easier once it warms up, because it's always easier to take pictures outside.

Anyway.....he was looking particularly handsome (and clean! that's the other big challenge) yesterday, so I asked him if I could take a few pictures of him. He actually obliged, somewhat, for a few shots. Here's my gorgeous boy:









3.30.2009

Go Tar Heels!

*Image from www.espn.com

I love March Madness. Especially when my Heels win. They are winning this year, and I'm having a lot of fun watching them do it. Looking forward to next weekend's Final Four! Go Heels!

3.27.2009

The Lost Generation

Love this.

3.26.2009

Happy Birthday to me!

*Image from Pink Cake Box - I know it's for a 25th, but whatever.
They didn't have a picture with a big 35 on it! And it's a fun cake, no?



Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear Mary, happy birthday to me...!
I am 35 today. I think if I keep saying it out loud, I'll get used to that fact. Or maybe I should just ignore it all together. What do you think? Nah, I say embrace it! I am 35!

3.25.2009

Aretha

I had my iPod on shuffle the other day as I was cleaning the kitchen, and this song came on. I had to listen to it a couple times, because I was having too much fun singing and dancing. Play this, turn it up real loud, and tell me you don't dance around the room too.

3.24.2009

The Plumber of Rock Stars


The fact that Eddie Vedder is 44 makes me feel a little old, but he's still out there making great music, and that makes me feel better. Check out this interview. He just seems so normal. I love how he says he wants to be the "plumber of rock stars". Love it. Love him.

Chocolate Pudding

*Image from www.marthastewart.com

Yum. Check one last item off the list - I put my new ramekins to good use this weekend by making this very simple and yummy chocolate pudding. Chocolate pudding is one of my husband's favorites, so he was excited to say the least. The first night, I topped with the homemade whipped cream. We ran out of cream the following nights, so we topped with mini chocolate chips for some extra yum.

3.20.2009

If I won the lottery...

Oh my goodness, how many ways there are to complete that sentence. For today, though, I'll just say this: If I won the lottery, I would spend $368 on this pair of ridiculously impractical but so fun they make me giggle shoes.

3.19.2009

Reason #8 Why I Love Boston: Seasons

Boston is one of those places that actually gets four full seasons every year. I grew up in North Carolina, where Winter lasts two weeks, there is no Fall, and Summer lasts 8 months. And I don't know how you define the "season" when it's actually too hot to go outside. I'll admit that Spring is gorgeous down there, but I'll take all four.

Winter - Snow. Yes, alright, I know I do sometimes complain about the snow. It can be difficult when you have (or want) to be somewhere, and I've also learned this year that having a toddler makes winters more challenging than they used to be. But I do actually love snow. I love a good snowstorm when you can stay cozy warm inside by a fireplace, watching movies and drinking hot chocolate. I love sledding, making snowmen, skiing, ice skating... I adore the white frosting on the trees - it's so beautiful. And holidays are not the same without snow. Having wet or warm weather during the holidays just seems wrong.








Spring - Flowers. Okay, I'll admit it - I hate Spring in New England. It's cold and rainy and seems to last forever. Whew - now that I got that off my chest, I'll go back to focusing on the positives. I'm sure southerners do not quite appreciate those first daffodils in the same way that I do.

*This picture is from last year - I'm anxiously awaiting this year's arrivals. They are poking out a couple inches so far.


Summer - Sun. Summer in Boston is magical. Warm and sunny but not hot and muggy. I love seeing tourists crawling all over downtown. Lots of restaurants with outdoor seating. Little leaguers every day in my back yard. Fresh peaches and tomatoes and blueberries and corn.


Fall - Leaves. There is so much to love about Fall in New England that it's hard to summarize. Apple-picking, pumpkin festivals, crisp air and clear blue skies, the end of baseball and the beginning of football, perfect temperatures, starry nights.... It's hard to have a bad day in the Fall.

3.18.2009

Blog Love: Pretty Good


*Images from Pretty Good

This blog has been listed among my Favorite Sites for a while now, but I thought it was worth a shout-out in its own post. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do so. Each day, Mary includes a beautiful picture, and she includes a simple message. Her photographs are often of the simplest things - a door knob, a string of lights, blueberries up close... - and they remind me to focus on the beauty that surrounds us.

3.17.2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

*Picture from a Guinness Storehouse - image found on Wikipedia and source can be seen here
As a little side note, I actually do have a little Irish in me. 25%. My paternal grandmother was Irish, and I must admit that I am very proud to be able to claim some Irish heritage. One day I will visit Ireland the way my father did - rent a car and drive around the entire country, visiting pubs and castles along the way.

Picture of the Day


A does a pretty decent job of getting his food inside his mouth these days, even using a spoon and fork. But he's decided that he doesn't want to deprive me of seeing the food anyway. Here he is enjoying a plum.

3.16.2009

Happy Spot


This little spot in my kitchen made me happy yesterday. Even with the ugly green walls in the background, the happy colors of the fruit (in the fruit basket I got for Christmas) and those two little orange tulips in a milk jar made me smile every time I walked in the kitchen. My ugly and not so clean kitchen. It really doesn't take much sometimes.

Reasons to Love March

*Tulips are starting to peek out of the ground all around our yard. I can't wait to see their colors!

I'm sure there are more than eight, but off the top of my head and in no particular order...

1. Flower buds start to pop up on the trees and out of the ground. It starts out Winter but ends in Spring.
2. Winter (snow season) comes to an end.
3. March Madness (Go Heels!)
4. Spring Training (Go Sox!)
5. St. Patrick's Day (doesn't mean as much to me as it used to - before kids - but Boston is such a fun place to be on this holiday)
6. Runners are everywhere, completing their training to prepare for April's marathon
7. Daylight Savings Time begins and the days really start getting longer - means getting home before the sun goes down and having more time to play
8. My birthday (the 26th, but I'll remind you then too)

3.13.2009

Blog Love: makemesmile and Emily's Random Thoughts


My sisters have finally decided to join me in the blogosphere. Dawn, will you be able to keep it up? I hope so! If you want to check out my older sister, currently living in Barcelona, you can visit her at http://damakemesmile.blogspot.com/.




If you're interested in reading the seriously random musings of a 30-something (and yet still younger than me) woman living in North Carolina, check out Emily at http://ncbiscuit.blogspot.com/.

Five Senses Friday

See
- A robin in the tree outside my kitchen window. Ah, Spring, you really are just around the corner, aren't you?
- My Tar Heels escape with a narrow victory against Virginia Tech in the ACC tourney. Whew!

Hear
- A said, "Can I have more dinner please?" When you have a skinny toddler, that is music to the ears. (This Creamy Fettuccine with Peas and Ham, plus some sliced tomato, is the super simple meal that he devoured.)
- The peaceful silence that fills the house after A goes to sleep. With K out of town, I didn't even put on music or watch very much TV - I enjoyed the silence.

Touch
- A's hand on my belly, feeling the baby kick for the first time. His amazed expression was priceless. Before he could feel him, he'd put his hand on the belly and say, "Come on, little baby, where are you?"

Smell
- I used up the last of my spa gift card on a facial, which was heavenly, and I then splurged on some facial cream. The smell alone is worth every penny.

Taste
- I've been craving grapefruit juice lately - OJ is too sweet. A tells me it's too sour, but I love it.
- Two mugs of Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Yum. (When you eat ice cream at home, do you use a mug or a bowl? I'm a mug person. A bowl just doesn't feel right - I like packing it in.)
- Sushi day at the office cafeteria. Avocado, cream cheese, cucumber roll and a seaweed salad. Lots of wasabi. Perfection.

3.12.2009

Clouds

*Image and product from Velocity
I love these wall decals. Especially if you happen to have light blue walls, these puffy clouds along with a fun airplane would be a great way to decorate a wall in your kid's room.

3.11.2009

34 Things To Do Before Turning 35

*Some goals are easier to achieve than others. Getting to Barcelona to visit my sister and meet her new little man was an easy one.

I turn 35 on March 26th. As you may recall, I created a list of 34 things I wanted to accomplish before this date. I achieved some, and didn't achieve others. I may be able to get a couple more checked off before the date, and some will remain undone, but overall, I think I did pretty well. It was fun to create the list, and it was fun to check them off.
Here's how I did:

1. Take more bubble baths (this one will continue to be a goal)
2. Go apple picking
3. Create photo book in time to give it to my husband for Christmas
4. Visit Barcelona to meet my new nephew (So much fun!)
5. Write letters to 3 friends (Christmas cards don't count!)
6. Sign up for a yoga class (probably won't happen, especially now that I'm fully round and pregnant, but I'm focusing on getting exercise at home)
7. Take a picture of all 3 of us for our holiday cards
8. Organize our office desk at home (Okay, it didn't happen, but we're getting rid of our desk as a part of the next phase of house renovations, so this will resolve itself soon.)
9. Get dressed up and go to the Holiday Pops with K (Had tickets and babysitter all lined up - Darn snowstorm prevented us from going. Booooooo.)
10. Get rid of my wedding dress (if no takers on Craig's List, then donate) (Update: Okay, now my sister and SIL insist that I give it to someone in the family instead. So family - any takers?)
11. Take the little boy to the library (This has become a favorite Saturday morning activity.)
12. Bake a yummy gift for the neighbors for the holidays
13. Make time to see old friends while home for Thanksgiving (Marking it off because the holiday is over, not because I actually followed through. I tried, though - really I did!)
14. Spiffy up my desk at the office - new family photos, new calendar, clean out files, etc.
15. Watch Fantasia again (I only have a VHS, which just doesn't do it justice. My new goal is to get the DVD.)
16. Learn how to play a few new songs on the guitar (It's time to learn a couple more, though!)
17. Do some lessons in my Spanish instruction book - work towards doing one per week (Sigh....isn't going to happen.)
18. See a movie in the theater, complete with popcorn and raisinets
19. Use my still-unused spa gift card and get a pedicure (I just finished up this wonderful card and got a fabulous facial this weekend! Awesome!)
20. Host a brunch for some friends and little ones (This continues to be postponed due to our next phase of house renovations. I will do it eventually, I swear.)
21. Eat dinner at Blue Ginger, or maybe No. 9 Park if I'm really good (We had a wonderful dinner at Blue Ginger the night we found out it was a boy!)
22. Go sledding with my boys (Isn't going to happen this year.)
23. Bake a pie from scratch
24. Surprise my husband with homemade chocolate pudding (Maybe this weekend?)
25. Organize my CDs (Next phase of house renovations will force this one as well - it won't happen by 3/26, but it will happen.)
26. Get my hair colored at the salon
27. Organize drawers in the little boy's room (I did one - well, I basically just emptied it out, but still...that counts, right?)
28. Tickle the boy and giggle every day*
29. Organize my recipe binder
30. Pick out window treatments for our new downstairs windows (New windows coming soon!)
31. Clean out nightstand drawers
32. Go to a museum
33. Do some sit-ups and push-ups and stretching while watching TV
34. Carve a jack-o-lantern out of one of our home-grown pumpkins - let the little boy make a huge mess with the insides

3.10.2009

Recipe of the Week

*Image from Cooking Light
I know I haven't done a "This Week's Menu" post in a while. My lack of inspiration has hit the kitchen, too, I'm afraid. My husband's been traveling a lot, so I haven't been especially motivated to try new things. This weekend, though, I got a new issue of Cooking Light, which is usually a good source of food inspiration for me, and I decided it was time to try something new.
I made Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas on Sunday night, and they were so incredibly easy and tasty. I used frozen instead of fresh corn, which is more convenient and works just fine. This recipe will be cut and placed in my trusty recipe binder for future reference. As suggested, I served with yellow rice and black beans. The little boy loved this dinner, too, which is always a bonus.

Goodbye, Green Curtains

This post will make my sister smile. We are getting ready to begin the next phase of house renovations. This includes major updates to the living room and office, including new windows, a gas fireplace/mantle/surround, built-in bookcases, lighting, and more. It is going to be fabulous.

We've had to tackle home projects in stages, and this has required us to live with some less-than-ideal situations. This includes some rather awful green curtains in the living room. I suppose I could've just taken them off and done without anything in there, but the naked windows seemed worse than just leaving them alone. Anyway, now that we are finally about to replace the windows and cover them properly (we're thinking wood blinds), I am ecstatic to be saying goodbye to the ugly green curtains.

This post contains only a "before" picture, of course, since the work is just getting started. The real "after" pictures are probably a couple months away, especially since Kevin is taking on the painting himself. But I still thought it was worth a little moment of celebration as we took the curtains down, and I plan to post more steps along the way as we move towards a prettier and more comfortable living space.


3.09.2009

Tease

To take my mind off the fact that it's snowing right now, I thought I'd post a picture from yesterday. We had a very nice weekend, with temperatures in the 50s. The little boy was beyond excited to be able to play outside. Most of the snow melted away, revealing the grass and offering hope for Spring. I must grudgingly recognize that Spring doesn't officially start until the 21st, so I guess snow is still fair game.

March and April are all about "teaser days" - those few nice sunny days that make you think Spring is here to stay, followed by cold and wet days that slap you back into reality. My goal this year is to fully appreciate every nice day and remember that the cold and wet days will make the flowers more glorious when they do finally arrive.

Inspiration

A few of my loyal readers - okay, I know there are only a handful of you anyway, but I still love you all - have pointed out that I am neglecting my blog and that they miss me. That's nice to hear, and I appreciate it. To be honest, I just haven't been very inspired lately. I'm trying, though.

So let's start the week with just a few stories from the biggest source of joy and inspiration in my life - my little boy.

1. One night last week, he was getting cranky, because he wanted a snack, but it was almost dinnertime, so I was saying no. I said, "But Aaron, it's almost time for dinner, and we're going to have pierogies and kielbasa..." I didn't get anything else out before he leapt up with a big smile on his face and said "HOORAY KIELBASA!" He happily helped me prepare dinner as he continued to say "mmmmm...pierogies and kielbasa". His polish family would be proud.
*Image/Product from CafePress.com. I might just have to get this. With a matching one for Kevin.

*Image from http://www.espn.com/


2. Aaron has watched many sports games with me, and it is starting to rub off. I love this. Yesterday, as we watched the UNC/Duke basketball game, he spontaneously threw his arm in the air and cheered, "Go Tar Heels!" It makes a mother proud. I am confident that I'll have him firmly cemented as a part of Red Sox nation this summer as well.


3. Me: "Come on, honey, time to go upstairs for bathtime." Aaron: "But I can't, Mommy. I'm sleeping with Daddy."

There are tons of other funny things he does, and I really want to capture more of them. He is growing such a fun personality as he grows more and more into a "big boy". How the time does fly...

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