September 30, 2008

Kid's Clothes

*Image from MiniBoden

I remember before I had kids, I always said I'd only buy clothes from Target or yard sales, and I'd use hand-me-downs in a heartbeat. Kid's clothes are so expensive, and of course the kids grow so fast that they don't even get to wear them out! Well, now that I have a little one, I'm learning that there are times to stick with Target and times to splurge just a little.

Old Navy is my usual "go-to" store for kid's clothes. Still relatively cheap, but the quality is good enough, and there are some cute options, too. I shop the sale racks a season ahead, and I'm able to keep costs down.

Sometimes it's also good to spend a little more for high quality. Items such as coats - things that are worn every day - would fall into this category. And let's face it - sometimes it's just fun to splurge. For your own little ones, nieces and nephews, or friends. There are tons and tons of kid's clothing stores, but I thought I'd share one I like: MiniBoden. It's a little more, but the quality is great and the clothes are super-cute.

One other lesson learned, which all you parents will roll your eyes at because it's so obvious. Don't laugh - I just hadn't spent a lot of time around kids before my own. I honestly didn't understand why all kid's clothes had to be full of characters, animals, monsters, etc. Now I get it. The other day, I tried to put a plain blue t-shirt on the little boy, and he threw a fit. I asked him what was wrong, and he said "shark". He wanted to wear his shirt with the shark on it. Of course he did.

This Week's Menu

Honey-glazed carrots



How Do You Wear Rain Boots?

*Image from Piper Lime

I'm serious. I've never owned a pair of rain boots. I am one of those people that wears regular shoes and then walks around with wet socks all day. So what do you do? Wear them to work but bring another pair of shoes to wear in the office? Seems like such a pain, but maybe it's better than wet socks, and I've seen a lot of really fun boots. I'm just curious. Help me on this one. Winter is coming fast, and Spring is right behind it.

September 29, 2008

34 Things To Do Before Turning 35

I read this post on Simple Lovely and Doobleh-vay and thought it was a fun idea. Essentially, the goal is to come up with a list of things to do before your next birthday. Not huge life-changing events - just small things to make life fun and happy. That's certainly in the spirit of this blog.

I will be turning 35 in March, so I will have less than half a year to accomplish mine. Of course some of these are things that I already planned on doing (I already have my ticket to Spain!), but putting all the items in a list may help motivate me to do some of the others (my gray really is out of control). And besides that, it's fun!
*Does this count as exercise?

1. Take more bubble baths**
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
5. Write letters to 3 friends (Christmas cards don't count!)
6. Sign up for a yoga class
7. Take a picture of all 3 of us for our holiday cards
8. Organize our office desk at home
9. Get dressed up and go to the Holiday Pops with K
10. Get rid of my wedding dress (if no takers on Craig's List, then donate)
11. Take the little boy to the library
12. Bake a yummy gift for the neighbors for the holidays
13. Make time to see old friends while home for Thanksgiving
14. Spiffy up my desk at the office - new family photos, new calendar, clean out files, etc.
15. Watch Fantasia again
16. Learn how to play a few new songs on the guitar
17. Do some lessons in my Spanish instruction book - work towards doing one per week
18. See a movie in the theater, complete with popcorn and raisinets
19. Use my still-unused spa gift card and get a pedicure
20. Host a brunch for some friends and little ones
21. Eat dinner at Blue Ginger, or maybe No. 9 Park if I'm really good
22. Go sledding with my boys
23. Bake a pie from scratch
24. Surprise my husband with homemade chocolate pudding
25. Organize my CDs
26. Get my hair colored at the salon
27. Organize drawers in the little boy's room
28. Tickle the boy and giggle every day*
29. Organize my recipe binder
30. Pick out window treatments for our new downstairs windows
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

**I should seriously spend more time here!

September 26, 2008

Pearl Jam - Crazy Mary

Just because I love Pearl Jam and I love this song. Have a happy Friday!

September 25, 2008

I Love Boston: #3

Why I Love Boston Reason #3: New England Micro-Brews.
I know not everyone will appreciate this one, but this list is my own, and I appreciate a good pint of beer. I am lucky to live in an area with a plethora of good brewing companies. Some of my favorites include: Long Trail, Gritty's, Otter Creek, and Geary's. Other local notables include: Magic Hat, Wachusett, and Harpoon.
*I figured I had to include a picture of me enjoying a tasty beverage. This is a few years old (Seriously - I have no pictures of me since my son was born!), but I look happy, so here it is. It's of me with my good friend A, who also appreciates a good beer.

Apartment Therapy is now in Boston!

Apartment Therapy is now in Boston! It is a good site for design ideas, but also for organizing, simplifying, recycling, and other inspiration. I like checking it out every now and then, and I particularly like their sister sites - the kitchn (what you'd inspiration), ohdeedoh (kid/nursery stuff), and re-nest (all about living green).

Addicted to Pudding

I am addicted to the chocolate pudding from my office cafeteria. (I blame my husband - he's a pudding fanatic, and I honestly didn't understand the appeal until I met him.)

This week, they started putting a piece of Dove dark chocolate on top of each pudding cup. Oh my. Now I really have no hope of kicking this habit.

Is this a problem?

September 24, 2008

Fall Sunshine, Home, and a Warm Bed

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. The first day of Fall brought cooler weather but that just seems to make the sun shine even brighter.

2. When we approach our street, the little boy raises his hands in the air and says "We're home!"

3. Especially when it's cool outside, I love climbing into a warm and cozy bed with nice clean sheets.


I hate how many catalogs I receive, and I continue to add them to Catalog Choice. This has helped tremendously, but new ones pop up all the time. Every now and then, though, a new catalog comes along and I actually discover a company I like. VivaTerra is a great example.

From their web site: "Our name VivaTerra or living earth is inspired by our dedication to living in harmony with nature - for a healthier life now and for future generations." In other words, all their products are earth-friendly, and I've found that this is a nice site for unique gift ideas as well. I think I might have to put one of these balloon vases on my Christmas list. (In case you notice that my list gets pretty large, that's only because I like being surprised. ;-)

Of course I added VivaTerra to CatalogChoice as well, because it's simply not good for the environment to mail all those catalogs, but I'll continue to look at their online store for future gift purchases.

September 23, 2008

Kitchen Inspiration

*Image from This Old House

One day, K and I will be able to redo our kitchen. It's not going to be anytime soon - gotta save up first - but we do enjoy talking about our ideas and thinking towards the future. (Actually, I often get frustrated by talking about it, since I know it's not going to happen for a while, but I'm trying to look at it differently and have more fun with it.) I'm starting to collect ideas by pulling pictures from magazines and put them in a binder, and you'll start to see some here every now and then as well.

Our house was built in the 1850s, and we want the design to keep the historical image of the house in mind. The picture above highlights one decision we've already made: a white farmhouse sink. Most of the pictures I am drawn to have them.

From Gazpacho...

If you are not quite out of tomatoes, here's another idea for you. I made this yummy yellow gazpacho on Sunday. The last day of Summer reached the mid-70s. It was sunny and gorgeous - a perfect day to enjoy some cold tomato soup and a burger off the grill. Chili (*The Easiest Chili Recipe Ever!)

The first day of Fall only reached the low 60s, and it was cloudy. Perfect for a beer, a bowl of chili, and a piece of cornbread.

Adapted from an old recipe I clipped from a Self magazine many years ago, this is the easiest chili recipe ever! Fast, simple, and I love that it leaves no leftovers (I hate recipes where you end up with a half-can of whatever).

1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped (optional...if you have one that needs to be used up)
2 tsp canola oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, undrained
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (*Adjust to taste)
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (*I usually just give it a few shakes. Adjust to taste.)
shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, saute pepper and onion in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add turkey, and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, beans, seasonings. Stir well. Increase heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls; top with cheese. *Serve with cornbread.

September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to a gorgeous grandma! Your grandson keeps getting older - it's amazing how much he's changed since last year, isn't it? - but you have completely stopped aging! Amazing!

Don't Let Your Basil Go Bad...Make Some Pesto!

I planted a small container herb garden this year, and I got a huge bounty of basil as a result. I've enjoyed it all summer long - pizza, pasta, sandwiches, etc. I wanted to use as much of it as possible before Summer ended, so this weekend, I made pesto. I used this recipe, which I think is pretty standard, although you can adjust it easily to your own tastes. (I used more basil than it called for, since I have a ton and several reviewers said it was pretty garlicky - mine is super yummy.)

I filled an ice cube tray with the pesto, covered it with plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer. Now I have homemade pesto in small manageable portions for whenever I need it!

Schoolhouse Rock!

"Conjunction Junction, what's your function?"
"Oh, I'm just a bill, I am only a bill, and I'm going up to Capitol Hill."

Tell me those lyrics don't bring you right back to Saturday mornings, eating cereal in front of the TV. If they don't, you are not of my generation, and that's okay, but man you missed out! Well, you don't have to any more! They released Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)! ALL the videos! Can you tell I'm excited? (Okay, they released it years ago, but I didn't know about it and I didn't have a kid then.)

They are releasing Schoolhouse Rock: The Election Collection next week, which is cool, but now that I know there's a DVD with everything on it, I think I really must have it.

My little boy will be old enough pretty soon to enjoy a little Saturday morning fun. I think this is going on my Christmas list. I bet Fraggle Rock is on DVD now too. And Muppet Show. Oh wow, I'm going to have a little fun on this tangent.

September 19, 2008

The Cardigans - You're The Storm

Long Gone Before Daylight, by The Cardigans, was one of my favorite albums in 2004 (man, the years do fly by). Have a happy Friday!

September 18, 2008

Find Some Peace and Quiet

One of my resolutions this year was to find some time for quiet every day. I will admit that I am not always successful, but I am more often than not. I've found that it is very beneficial to my mood. I have not been successful at meditating, but I think this quiet time is a step in that direction.

The times I am most often able to find peace and quiet include:

1. After the little boy's bedtime/before dinner - Particularly when Kevin works late, I am usually able to find 10 minutes after Aaron's bedtime. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet while making dinner or putting dishes away, but I've learned how to do these tasks while allowing my mind to be still. Other times I am able to just sit and relax. My front porch is a great place for this.

2. My commute. Most of the time, I need to sing my way to work, but sometimes I turn the radio off and let my mind wander.

3. Early morning. I get up and showered and dressed before the little boy wakes up, and since Kev usually leaves before me, I get a few minutes of quiet time. Again, sometimes I'm packing a lunch or putting dishes away (ah! this neverending chore), but the house is still and quiet.

4. Walks. On particularly busy days, sometimes I take a break from my desk at work to take a short walk outside. Walking feels good, and getting a burst of fresh air helps relax me. On other days, the little boy and I will take a longer walk when we get home at the end of the day.

5. Reading. I end most days with a good book. It's a nice way to unwind and take the focus off of my to-do list before heading to sleep.

What are the ways you find peace and quiet during your days?

I Love Boston - #2

Why I Love Boston Reason #2: The New England Aquarium.
I've lived in Boston for 9 years, and I just visited the aquarium for the first time a couple weekends ago. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get there, but I do know that if I had gone earlier, I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much as I did with an almost-two-year-old running down the halls, shrieking with excitement. He is still reminding me of the seals, penguins, and turtles.
It's a great place, and it's conveniently located on the water downtown. It's easy to get to, with lots of nearby restaurants and other attractions. We enjoyed a very nice morning at the aquarium, followed by brunch. It's a little expensive, so it won't be a regular stop for us, but I can definitely see this being an annual event.

September 17, 2008

J.Crew Fall Collection

I love this red jacket. And I think it would look cute on me. But would I really wear it all that often? And should I really spend that much money on it? Probably not, and no. But it sure is cute.

I got a "free shipping" email from J.Crew, so I thought I'd check out the latest. I love the orange sweater - not yet over my "I love orange" phase - but it's already sold out in my size! Geesh. Lots of other cute stuff, although when did J.Crew become a place you go to spend $500 on a bag? Or $3000 on a bag?!? Who buys that stuff? Disregarding those oddities, there are some cute items to be had if you're looking to add something new to your wardrobe for the Fall.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Rediscovering Music, and Fringe

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. The little boy sang all the way home at the top of his lungs. "Finkle, finkle, leetle sah, ow I undah ut ooh ah....up above the wool so a diamon in a sigh....finkle, finkle, leetle sah, ow I undah ut ooh ah." My cheeks hurt from laughing.

2. I had to take a road trip by myself, with an old CD case in the car. I rediscovered the music I was listening to a few years ago, and I loved it all over again.

3. The Fringe season premiere was fun. It reminded me of X-Files, and I loved X-Files. Joshua Jackson is much better than I realized, and I like the lead actress (Anna Torv) a lot already.

September 16, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

*Image from Stephmodo

Still enjoying my home-grown tomatoes. I came back from a couple days away to another handful of ripe ones. Since it was rainy and dreary on Sunday, I thought the right use for them was to make a soup. Luckily, Stephmodo had posted about this recipe just this week! (Thanks, Stephanie!)

I used a mix of red and yellow tomatoes, so my soup was a creamy orange. Also because of the kind of tomatoes I used, the taste was milder and even a little tart. Perfect for a warm night. I liked the soup, but what made me especially happy was that I grew enough tomatoes to make it!

Bon Appetit

*Image from Bon Appetit (taken by Gwyneth's daughter, Apple)

Okay, so I know I said I was going to cancel my subscription to Bon Appetit, but I figured I'd just let the subscription run out instead. I've also really enjoyed the last several issues and have found recipes I'll actually make, so...

In this month's issue, I read this interview with Gwyneth Paltrow. I think I'm going to have to watch Spain...on the Road Again, a PBS special starting the week of 9/20. "Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols take the ultimate road trip adventure, showcasing the pleasures of Spain, the country's regional cuisine, art, history, and culture, as it's never been seen before."

I love food, and I think it's fascinating to see how people in different countries and cultures eat. One of my favorite aspects of travel is trying all sorts of different foods. I also love Spain. I've only been twice, and I've only been to Catalunya - certainly there's a huge amount of the country yet to discover. My sister and brother-in-law (and soon to be nephew!) live there, so I'm sure I'll get opportunities to go back and explore. In the meantime, I'll watch this special and live vicariously.

September 15, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

I don't care what your politics are, you have to admit that this election season is intriguing. If you missed SNL this weekend, please watch this video to see Tina Fey doing an absolutely perfect impersonation of Sarah Palin. She and Amy Poehler (doing a great Hillary Clinton) crack me up! Happy Monday!

Orangette and Banana Recipes

*Image via Orangette
I love food. And Fall is coming, which means I'm becoming more inclined to spend time cooking. This past weekend, I made a banana coffee cake that we're enjoying for breakfast this week. (If you know me, you know that I love banana recipes.) I couldn't find the recipe online - if I find it, I will share. It was yummy. In the meantime, you can check out one of my favorite foodie blogs - Orangette.

September 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Six years ago today, I married a wonderful, handsome, silly, fabulous man. I am so incredibly lucky to have found someone that complements me and brings out my best. Happy Anniversary, Kev - I'd marry you again tomorrow.

September 12, 2008


*Thanks to for the image.

I had the opportunity to drive to NY yesterday, and I felt an immense amount of gratitude as I passed by the Manhattan skyline. I paid for the tolls of the people behind me as a tiny little way of spreading some kindness on a day of remembrance. I was happy to be there.

Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

This video is of Lucinda Williams, playing the title song from one of my favorite albums of all time. Enjoy and have a happy weekend!

Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

September 11, 2008

I Love Boston: #1

*Top two images via Lookout Farm.
There are some things not to love about my city - traffic, cold and rainy Aprils, housing name a few, but there are so many more reasons to love Boston. This is part one of a continuing series highlighting all the things I love about living in New England.
Fall is my favorite season, and September is my favorite month. Clear blue skies, warm sun and cool breezes. It seems appropriate to start my "I love Boston" series now while I'm in a loving mood.
Why I Love Boston. Reason #1: Apple-picking. With so many farms so close to the city, everyone has accessibility to one of my favorite Fall activities. We are lucky to live in a suburb with a large number of farms. Not only do they allow us to pick their fruit, but we also have farmer's markets available year-round. Even when I'm not visiting, I love just driving by the farms, seeing the animals, smelling the smells. I am just a few short minutes outside of the city, and yet I live in the country. Perfect.

September 10, 2008

Happiness is a Choice

"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." Anne Frank

Why are some people happy and others unhappy? Because they choose to be happy or unhappy. How happy you are often has very little to do with what's going on in your life, what problems you have, what things you have or don't have. I've seen people with a seemingly large number of problems who are genuinely happy, as well as people who seem to have it all who can't stop complaining. Being happy is a choice, and as soon as you come to this realization, being happy is really pretty easy. I certainly have things I could complain about today, but instead, I'm choosing to be happy.
*I love this picture. K and my brother-in-law in Central Park. (Notice my two sisters ahead of them.) We all decided to try to jump up and click our heels together. Just because. Do it sometime. You'll be amazed how quickly it brings a smile to your face.

While we're on the subject of being happy, here are a few posts I like from a few sites I like:

September 9, 2008

Front Porch - Before and After

I took this picture of our house during my first visit to see it. It was (and is) a cute house, but it needed (and still needs) a lot of love and improvement. I've posted before on some of the improvements we've been able to make during our first three years. (Has it really been that long?)

In this post, I'm going to focus on the porch. Check out that huge and ugly row of shrubs in front!
Notice also the ceiling and the cheap old lights and an unpainted door...
Here's my handsome handyman, showing off some brand new lights, and a new beadboard ceiling.
Next step, and the hardest one of all: Cutting down those bushes and digging out the stumps. Thankfully, we have a good friend who came to help!
Aren't those stumps lovely? And notice the railings and posts. Those will change dramatically...
Even lovelier was the lack of anything under the porch! Kevin and a friend added cement posts to stabilize the porch, and then built, painted, and hung lattice around the front and sides. Kev also constructed brand-new railings and posts, having to sand/paint each individual piece (thanks to Tracie for help on this step!).
We had fun during last year's end of season sale at a local nursery, buying some new plants and bushes, including this chokeberry bush.
And here's the final result! A beautiful porch with a sky blue beadboard ceiling, a painted door (which you can't see of course, but trust me, it's a nice green), new lights, sturdy posts, brand-new hand-built railings and posts, gorgeous lattice, and a nice assortment of plants and bushes.
Our front porch is now one of my favorite places to be, especially during these lovely days of September. Thanks for visiting!

September 8, 2008

Five Senses Weekend

*Photo from Cooking Light
- The little boy's eyes open wide at the aquarium Saturday morning as he saw a shark, turtles, penguins, seals....up close and personal
- Eight episodes of Entourage (We no longer have HBO, so it's nice to be able to rent. Also fun to be able to watch an addictive show like Entourage back-to-back like that.)

- The little boy shrieking with delight as he ran through the aquarium
- Kids laughing and making other kid noises. The gorgeous weather on Sunday brought everybody outside to play.
- Aaron said, "more broccoli" during dinner. I swear. (Cutting it into little pieces and smothering with cheese was the solution.)

- My husband's warm hands
- A crab and starfish, along with the little boy

- Lavender from our back yard. The little boy loves pulling the "purple flowers", and then he smells so sweet - I love it.
- The cool breeze blowing in the windows smelled like fresh cut grass after K mowed the lawn.

- Still using fresh tomatoes and basil, this pizza margherita was awesome!
- Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey. Yum!

This Week's Menu

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle

Sloppy Joes
Cole Slaw

Vegetable Quesadillas (*I can't find the recipe I'm using online, but this one looks good.)

September 5, 2008

Juliana Hatfield

One of the strange things about getting older is watching the musicians you love getting older with you. It's a little weird to think of someone in their 40s or 50s playing rock concerts every night. (I can't imagine how strange it must be for Rolling Stones fans to see those guys still running around on stage!) In some cases, artists seem to look lost as they get older, like they never expected it to happen, and they keep trying to make the same music they did when they were in their 20s. It doesn't always (usually doesn't) work. In other cases, they actually mature, and their music matures with them.

The inspiration of today's ramblings is Juliana Hatfield. She's 41, and she has a new album out. Juliana also wrote her memoirs, which are coming out soon. Check out a recent article in the NY Times. I don't have the new album yet - it's on its way - but I like what I've heard, and it's getting good reviews. I'm looking forward to listening to it in its entirety.

If you don't know Juliana by name, you'd probably recognize a song or two of hers - she had a song on the Reality Bites soundtrack, and a few on the radio, especially here in Boston, where she's from. I've been a fan for a long time, and thankfully I think she falls into the category of someone whose music has changed along with her. And as I grow older, I continue to appreciate it. It's still rocking, don't get me wrong, but fans who love her purely for her Blake Babies days may not like her more recent albums. They can be more introspective and emotional.

Give a listen to her recent performance on The Tonight Show and enjoy!

September 4, 2008

Afternoon Road Trip

The other day, the little boy woke up from his nap a little cranky. I got the usual smiles when I walked in his room to get him, but he then proceeded to say "No" to everything I asked.

"Can I change your diaper?", "Do you want a snack?", "Do you want to go in your swing?"...everything I tried was met with a whiny "No", and he kept pointing his arms outside. More specifically, towards the car. He got more and more frustrated with my countless suggestions and questions. I finally asked, "Do you want to go for a ride in the car?", and he almost jumped out of my arms with joy. He smiled and exclaimed "Yes!", as if to say, "You finally got it right!".

Now I knew that what he really wanted was to go to the farm with the petting zoo as we had done the day before. As he pointed to the car, he was also saying "animals", "goats", "pigs". And of course, "ice cream", which we had enjoyed the previous day as well. I wasn't planning on going to the farm, but I was hopeful that a ride in the car would be enough of a distraction. His memory is getting better and better every day, though. So I started the car with my fingers crossed...

I gave him a bowl of sliced pear and a cup of water. I turned on the radio just as a Brandenburg Concerto was starting. The Brandenburg Concertos are my favorite classical pieces of all time, and my mindset suddenly changed. Maybe a car ride was a nice idea. The little boy sat happily in his car seat, eating his pears and pointing out all the trucks we passed. I sat happily in the front seat, driving leisurely through neighborhoods while humming along to the music.

Fifteen minutes later, as the music was ending, we pulled back into our driveway. "Daddy's car!", he exclaimed. I asked him if he wanted to go say hi to Daddy, and mercifully, the answer was "Yeah!".

September 3, 2008

Dining Room Pictures

*View from our room at the Vermont B&B we visit each year

*Waterfall on the Charles River, down the street from our house
Continuing my efforts to decorate our house, I had to choose something to hang in our dining room. Especially since it was painted beige (very nice and clean against the white trim, but still beige), it needed something.

I spent some time on Etsy, looking at paintings and photographs, and then I realized that maybe we should hang some pictures of our own. We have quite a few very nice photographs that Kevin and I have taken ourselves, particularly since we got a nice camera last year. It also feels a little "homier" having our own memories on the walls rather than something somebody else saw.

So I decided to hang two 8X10 pictures, matted in 11X14 frames, above our buffet. We're going to rotate the pictures seasonally. I've chosen Fall and Winter so far, as you can see here - I have some time to choose Spring and Summer.

*The bridge across the Charles, again down the street from our house
*Close-up of our chokeberry bush in front of the house
*And here's a little peek at the results
What do you think?


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