10.29.2009

Pumpkin Carving

I'll post the results after the big day. The big boy chose the design by telling us what shapes to use for the eyes and nose and then how many teeth the mouth should have. Expect lots of cuteness on Saturday. It's the first year we're really doing Halloween with the big boy, and he's very excited to wear his costume. In the meantime, we had fun carving our jack o'lantern this weekend. Halloween is great!

Photos of the Day



10.28.2009

Red Leaves, Giggling, and Rub Noses

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. The red leaves on the chokeberry bush in front of our house. Gorgeous!

2. The sound of the big boy giggling and screaming as he ran through the leaves and begged to be covered up again and again. *See pictures posted yesterday.

3. When I finished reading bedtime stories, I went to leave the big boy's room. He said, "Mom! Wait!" Then he asked me to come closer. He grabbed both sides of my face and pulled it to his so he could give me a "rub noses". Then he blew me a kiss and said "I love you". Sigh. I am a lucky, lucky girl.



10.27.2009

Online Cooking Club - Week 6

*Image from Cooking Light
Week 6! I chose Oven-Fried Chicken Parmesan. Super easy, and super yummy! I am sure I used more tomato sauce than it called for, though. The panko gives the chicken a nice texture, and it was juicy and had good flavor. I served with whole wheat spaghetti and salad. The big boy gobbled it up, and so did I! Another one that we'll definitely make again.

Leaves


Hard to know which pictures to include. We had such fun playing in the leaves this weekend.


10.26.2009

Closet Update


Okay, the deadline is almost here. For what? My organizing goals of course! I've done a pretty good job. I even got those wood hangers in my closet (see above). Such a little thing, but it makes such a nice difference. As I told K, it makes me feel like a grown-up. The only things I haven't done yet are to organize those bookshelves (still painting, if you can believe it) and to get rid of that old grill. Nobody on freecycle wanted it, but I figure I'll try again when grill season rolls back around.

Of course, the thing about organizing projects is that there's always a list of them to be done. And even when you check some off, they reappear only a short time later. For example, I desperately need to clean out the car again and replenish my driving music, especially as I restart my work commute. So for now, I'll pat myself on the back for accomplishing these goals. Next week, I'll put together my next list!

10.22.2009

Smile!

It's amazing how much I love this little guy.

The Botany of Desire


PBS is airing a special based on Michael Pollan's book, The Botany of Desire, on October 28th. From the PBS web site:
"Featuring Michael Pollan and based on his best-selling book, this special takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world, seen from the plants' point of view. Narrated by Frances McDormand, the program shows how four familiar species – the apple, the tulip, cannabis and the potato – evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control."
It sounds interesting. Perhaps I'll DVR it and check it out.

10.21.2009

Recycle - Crayons!

*Image from Martha Stewart
I'll admit that although I like looking at them, I will never attempt most craft projects and even organizing ideas. I'm just not the crafty type. But every now and then I run across ideas that are easy enough even for me, and this is one. Did you know you can melt your crayons and reuse them? I already have a growing collection of crayon nubs. I don't have super cool heart-shaped tins, but I'm thinking that's okay. I'm saving this one. I know A would love it, and I love that we can reuse our crayons and not throw away all those broken pieces!

10.20.2009

Online Cooking Club - Week 5

*Image from Bon Appetit
I've already told you that I love chowder, but despite my claims, I had never made it at home. After comparing a few recipes, I chose this one from Bon Appetit to attempt for week 5 of the Online Cooking Club. I like the additional vegetables - carrots, corn, potatoes - and anything with a little bacon sprinkled on top is okay by me (and certainly okay by my husband and toddler). I used 3 cups of half and half and 1 cup 1% milk. You could use whole milk as called for by the recipe, or go richer with half and half.

This is absolutely going in the recipe binder. It was awesome! It did take a little longer than I anticipated due to the chopping, and I think the potatoes take a little longer than 10 minutes. However, my husband described this as "restaurant quality", and after having it again the next day, he took the last few bites and said, "I'm sad the chowder is almost gone". The big boy liked it - he didn't eat a ton, but he ate it and liked it fine. This one's probably more for the grown-ups. I think it makes more than 4 servings - 6 perhaps - and it'd be good for company.

Photos of the Day

My boys kept me company in the kitchen while I made dinner. Don't you love the use of a tractor as a footrest?



10.19.2009

Fireplaces, Naps, and Apple Cider

Big fat snowflakes in mid-October


This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. I have a fireplace now, which makes the snow a little more bearable, even when it comes in mid-October.

2. My husband took over for a while on Saturday afternoon, allowing me the opportunity to crawl in bed for a much-needed nap. I don't even remember walking upstairs - I think I was asleep as soon as he said the word.

3. It is still Fall, despite the snow, and this means apple pie and doughnuts and cider. I love leaving a pot of cider simmering on the stove - it fills the house with a wonderful smell.

10.16.2009

Greenpots


I can't justify the expense of replacing all my nonstick pots and pans, but eventually I'd like to add a few cast iron pieces to my kitchen.


Have you heard of Greenpots? Enameled cast iron made without any chemicals, and they're super cute too. Check them out!

The Fun Theory

Just another fun video that came my way this week...

10.15.2009

Apple Picking - Take 3


Waiting for the train

Yep, this is our third time apple-picking this season. What can I say? We love apples. The big boy loves the train and the animals and the slides too. The farm is 1/4 mile up the road. And Daddy hadn't had a chance to go yet this year. I see season passes in our future, once we have to start paying for our little dudes.

Notice the big coats - it is getting chilly!!

He was scared of this slide the first time we came ("too big Mommy"), but clearly he's gotten over that.

Once again, the little guy slept through the whole thing!



Dad and son on a tractor. Doesn't get more fun than that!

Mother of the Year - Video

Just a little something funny to make you laugh today...

10.14.2009

Pink Skies, Chats, and M&Ms

I didn't capture the pink sky, but October skies are gorgeous most days.

This is definitely a week that I need to focus on the beautiful things.

1. One nice thing about getting up early is seeing the sunrise. I saw a gorgeous pink sky with wispy white clouds. Orange trees and a slight breeze swaying the branches.

2. I like it when my sister calls just to chat. I don't get phone calls like that often enough.

3. I bought a huge bag of M&Ms, hoping to use them for potty training. That's not going so well, but I like being able to grab a handful of the colorful chocolates whenever I need a little sweet. (The green-brown combo is making me particularly happy today.)

10.13.2009

Online Cooking Club - Week 4

*Image from Cooking Light
We're at week 4 already? Cool. I guess I'm just impressed that I've been able to try something new each week for a month. We'll see if I can keep it going.
For this week's entry, I chose Chicken with Balsamic-Fig Sauce. I'm always looking for simple ways to cook chicken differently. This one is easy, and I like the sweet taste of the sauce. I served with roasted potatoes and asparagus. The big boy ate all of his chicken, including a little of the fig sauce. I usually judge recipes by my husband's reaction, and his was: "Mm. I like this chicken. Figs? Yum." So it's going in the recipe binder and shall be made again.

10.12.2009

Photos of the Day

A big boy on his bike
Fun surprise visit from my big brother, an uncle the big boy had never met

Smiles during tummy time!

10.09.2009

A Look Back - October 2008

It's hard to believe it's been over a year and a half since I started this blog. Even harder to believe that I've been able to keep it up. I've gone through droughts of inspiration and motivation for sure, but I've kept at it, and I love looking back at old posts. This has truly become what I intended it to be - my happy place. Thanks for stopping by, and for that handful of repeat visitors, thanks for supporting me!


Here's a look back at some of what I was talking about a year ago:

What's the best dessert you've ever made? - A reminder that Thanksmas - and our annual family dessert competition - is coming up soon. Better break out the cookbooks and decide what to make. We were a little ambitious with last year's entry, and although we won, I think we'll go for a more simple recipe this year. Anyone have ideas?

Five Senses Weekend - Vermont Edition - Fun to look at pictures from last year's trip to Vermont. We weren't able to go this year due to our new addition, but I'm looking forward to Vermont 2010.

I Love Boston #4 - The Red Sox - Playoffs are about to begin. Although I've been somewhat removed from baseball this year, my Sox are in the playoffs and I'll be watching.

I Love Boston #5 - Head of the Charles - We'll be going again next weekend. Looking forward to it!

I Love Boston #6 - Clam Chowder - I still haven't tried this clam chowder recipe, but I have it printed out in my kitchen along with another one, ready to try and compare. I'll keep you posted.

The Seasonal Clothes Switch - I just completed mine last weekend. Still working on K's. Resulted in two donation bags, which feels good.

Pumpkin Fest! - Will you make it to a Pumpkin Festival this year?

How to be More Creative

My Favorite Apple Recipes - I've already made the pie and autumn apple cake so far this year, but there is plenty of time left to enjoy apples before I move on to pumpkins.

10.08.2009

Blog Love - Simple Mom


I like the blog Simple Mom. Although it is sometimes focused directly at SAHMs, most of the posts are applicable to anybody. They post about ways to be more productive at home, tips for being more green, ways to take care of yourself, etc. The ideas often aren't new, but they are good reminders. I may share a post every now and then from them when I read one I particularly like. A few recent ones I've enjoyed include:
*Note: I enjoy sister blogs Simple Nest and Simple Kids too!

10.07.2009

Read for the Record - 10/8

Do you have young kids? If so, then join this year's "Read for the Record" event. Sponsored by the nonprofit organization Jumpstart, the event is to have everybody read the same book on the same day (tomorrow!) and break the world record they set last year (700,000). You can read about Jumpstart and register for the event here.

This year's book selection is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you have young kids, you probably already have this classic. If not, then get it - it's a good one your kids will adore, I promise.

Good Books, Tricycles, and Kisses

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. I love having a good book to read. My current selection, The Book Thief, is making it nice to curl up in bed.

2. I arrived at preschool and saw the big boy pedaling a tricycle around the playground. He hadn't been able to use the pedals before. Every day brings something like this that reminds me how quickly my little boy is growing up.

3. I brought the little boy downstairs from a nap, and the big boy ran over to me, saying "N--, N--, do you want to see me?" He then proceeded to climb up me to give him kisses.


This isn't the greatest picture of the little boy, but it still makes me smile. It already looks like the boys are up to no good together. I love it.

10.06.2009

Online Cooking Club - Week 3

*Image via Cooking Light
For this week's cooking club entry, I decided to make something that is more targeted for adults but that can be adjusted as necessary for the kids. I made this Spicy Sweet Pork Tenderloin, and while the salsa mixture may not be a hit with kids, all you have to do is leave it off their plates, perhaps replacing it with a little mixed berry or apple preserves if you like. I've found that although the big boy won't eat regular pork chops because the texture is too tough for him, he really likes tenderloin. I served it with roasted potatoes and green beans. It is extremely quick and easy to make, perfect for those busy weeknights. This will definitely get a repeat performance in our house!

10.05.2009

Photo of the Day

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole

Muse has a new album out, entitled "The Resistance". I haven't listened to it enough to know if I love it. But I really liked their last one, "Black Holes and Revelations". You've heard it. Here's a live performance of "Supermassive Black Hole". Enjoy!
Image from StereoGum

10.02.2009

Fun Kitchen Items


*Image from Cheftools.com
I love kitchen tools, especially essentials that come in fun colors. I love my Crate & Barrel jelly cutting boards - I have yellow and lime green. My mixing bowls are red. Some other fun items that have caught my eye recently include this pretty red bowl scraper with measurement conversions, these great mixing spoons in lots of great colors, this veggie steamer insert, and these fun wasabi green mixing bowls.

*Image from Target.com

10.01.2009

Sara's on Apartment Therapy!

Okay, well her awesome house is. Oh how I wish I had her sense of style. I love it! Check out pictures from her very cool place here.
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