May 29, 2009

Stand by Me

Please take a few minutes to watch this. It's another one of those videos that will make you smile and feel good about the world.

Sunny Days!

I just checked the weather forecast. This week has been cold and rainy, so I had my fingers crossed for nice weather for the weekend. Lo and behold! The forecast: Mostly Sunny and Temperatures in the 70s starting tomorrow and lasting through the entire week! HOORAY!

May 28, 2009

Red Kitchen

*Images from PointClickHome
Thanks to Erin at Perfect Sentiment for posting this gorgeous red kitchen. I've said all along that we'll be going for a white kitchen. I don't think a bright color would really work in our space - it's not big or open enough. That said, I adore this red kitchen. I'll at least need some splash of color, and I really love the red. What do you think?
You can see more pictures and read about this fabulous kitchen here.

Make Way for Ducklings

*Image from Wikipedia

Another reason I love Boston: the Public Garden and the Swan Boats. They inspired the book, Make Way for Ducklings. It is a very cute and fun children's book, even if you don't live near Boston, but I think living here makes it that much more special. A adores this book, especially saying the names of all the ducklings: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack. He knows quite a lot of it by heart now, so he'll sometimes read along with me. We haven't done it yet, but I am looking forward to bringing him to ride the swan boats and see the statues of those little ducklings.
Disclaimer: I will be honest and admit that I'm writing this post to try to negate the loathing I am feeling towards this book right now. I have read it almost every night for the last month, and for some reason, it must be read on the floor as opposed to the bed. This hurts my back, and it also allows A to dance around the room while insisting that I keep reading. It really is a cute book, though.

May 27, 2009

Menu of the Week

*Image from Cooking Light
Items to be used up: Grits, Cheddar Cheese, Green Pepper, Mushrooms, couple boxes of almost-empty pasta, and pesto (only a little bit left from last Fall!).
Grilled Chicken and Pesto Sandwiches (with Cheddar)
Corn on the Cob
Pasta Salad
Baked Ziti (*I just made my own meatless version with mushrooms, onions, cottage cheese...but I thought I'd include an easy recipe here.)
Cheese Grits
Pierogies with Onions and Peppers

Packing for the Hospital

*No, no news yet - this is me and Aaron the day after his big arrival.

I still have another month, but I'm starting to prepare myself for the arrival of my new baby boy. I'm putting together the list of items I'd like to bring to the hospital. I have done this before, so I do remember the key things I found useful and other things that weren't necessary. As a result, my list this time around isn't nearly as long. Take a look - were their other things you found helpful to have in the hospital?

iPod/speakers - I loved having my own music, especially during early labor. I could focus on the songs during contractions.
pajamas (simple cotton nightgowns) and robe
toiletries (toothbrush, hairbrush, etc)
hair elastics - must be able to pull the hair back!
going-home clothes

For Kev: couple drinks, snacks, magazines
For the little guy: going-home outfit and car seat (which we should probably install soon, huh?)

I know there are lots of other things on the lists that I've seen online, but last time I remember going home with about 5 bags full of stuff from the hospital! They provide so much - receiving/swaddling blankets, sanitary pads, nursing pads, diapers, etc.

May 26, 2009

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles

It doesn't take much to make a two-year old happy. (This very silly lizard tee - we call it "the eye" shirt - is one of the things that makes A happy.)

Being outside with bubbles is enough. (Check out me in the background for the latest "belly shot" - just one month left!)

These little bubble guns are the greatest - they let A make bubbles on his own,

and then chase after them, screaming and laughing the entire time. Life is simple and fun and happy.

Five Senses Weekend - Memorial Day edition

*Picture taken during a walk to a nearby children's garden. This giant red rocking chair is a highlight.


- Good friends that I haven't seen in years
- Newly-blooming pink rhododendrons in our yard
- Golf-ball sized hail, in the middle of an otherwise gorgeous day

- My squirming belly. The little dude has been getting the hiccups a lot lately.
- Aaron's tow truck, monster truck, and garbage truck - we roll them back and forth across the living room floor. He's going to be disappointed when we finish the room and get a new rug.

- Kevin's quote of the weekend: "I feel like I should just keep eating the pulled pork, because really, how often do you get pulled pork, ya know?"
- Aaron, squealing and shrieking as he chases after bubbles

- Sweet basil seedlings, now planted in my herb barrel. Yum!
- Fresh cut grass. LOVE that smell! I also love being able to open up all the windows to let that fresh air in.

- Strawberry shortcake, lemonade, grilled chicken and pesto sandwiches, watermelon, blueberry pancakes...lots of tastes of summer!

May 20, 2009

Menu of the Week

*Image from Cooking Light
I have been getting a little lazy when it comes to planning our week's meals, particularly since my husband has been traveling a lot. But I can definitely tell a huge difference when I fail to do this. It simply adds unnecessary stress to the week. So I'm trying to get back in the habit.
I'm also focusing on identifying a few items that are in our pantry/fridge that need to be used up so we're being as efficient as possible with our groceries. On this week's list: package of boursin cheese, corn on the cob, shredded cabbage, cheddar cheese, and tomato sauce. Here's what's on this week's menu:

Cole Slaw

Hot ham and cheese sandwiches
Vegetable soup

Chicken Scallopini (*Use thin-sliced chicken to save a step.)
Corn on the cob
Herbed mashed potatoes (I took the "fake it" approach and mixed Boursin cheese and a little milk with cooked red potatoes.)

Baked tilapia w/ roasted tomatoes

Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted to Sin

Tori Amos has a new album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin. I don't have it yet, but I like what I've heard so far. I love Tori, but I haven't been thrilled by her recent releases. I'm holding out hope for this one.

Here is a link to Amazon, where you can sample the songs and view the video to the album's first single, "Fire to Your Plain".

May 19, 2009

This Week's Organizing - Dresser Drawers

*Image from Apartment Therapy - my sock drawer is in decent shape now, but I will never fold socks!
Organizing, like cleaning, is just one of those activities that is never "done". But I don't spend enough time doing it. I go through moods and phases of organizing, but I'd like to make it more of a habit. I know people who designate time every week to organize some part of their house and others who partner up with friends to tackle projects on a regular basis. Well, I do the best I can, but I haven't been able to make it a regular activity.
I wrote this list of organizing projects that I would like to tackle in the next several months in an effort to motivate me. So far, it has worked. I've already done several. Actually, the day after I wrote that post, I decided that there really should be nothing stopping me from going through my sock/underwear drawers. So I did. I emptied everything out; matched up singles; got rid of all "holies", singles, and unwanteds; and put everything back in its place. It took about 20 minutes, and my drawers are so much cleaner and more accessible now!
The other key to maintaining an organized dresser - in my opinion anyway - is doing the seasonal clothes switch. I also did this recently - packed away all my sweaters and wool pants and brought out all the shorts and tees. I not only achieved a cleaner closet and dresser, but I also filled two bags to donate!
Apartment Therapy has a good post about organizing your dresser if you're interested in tackling this one yourself.

May 18, 2009

Perfect Sentiment

I thought this was a nice way to start the week. The blog where I found it - Perfect Sentiment - is also lovely, if you're looking for some additional inspiration today.

Have a happy Monday!

May 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

*I love Spring in New England....once the tulips are blooming.

"Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others."

- H. Jackson Brown

May 14, 2009

Lilacs, Baby Girls, and Being Prepared

There are some weeks when finding three beautiful things is more difficult, and therefore all the more important...

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. Is there anything in the world that smells as lovely as a lilac? A calls them "eye-lacks", and he thinks they smell yummy too. They're also gorgeous of course, but it's the smell that gets me.

2. My brother/sister-in-law had a baby girl on Sunday. A new and gorgeous niece! What a wonderful Mother's Day gift for them. They're healthy and happy, and I'm so excited for them.

3. I have gotten better about freezing portions of our meals, especially when my husband is traveling. Having that ready-to-heat option is so nice, especially during the week.

May 13, 2009

Picture of the Day

There isn't much cuter in the world than a boy and his bubble mower...

May 12, 2009

My Sweet Boy

*This is from a different night, but you can't capture everything on film. This is from a night that Aaron wanted to help get dinner ready, and he ate a ton that night!

After dinner, as I'm unbuckling Aaron from his booster seat...
Aaron: "Why are you sad, Mommy?"
Me: "You didn't eat very much dinner, Sweetie. I don't like it when you don't eat."

Aaron puts his hand on my cheek and then reaches over to grab his fork off the table, and he puts one more bite into his mouth. He eats it, and then says...

Aaron: "Be happy, Mommy."
Oh my goodness I love this kid!
Another dinner-related exchange....this one is from last night.
Aaron and I are both a little under the weather. When I picked him up from day care, he hugged me and said, "Let's go home, Mommy, and let's have some tea." (Reminder: He's 2!) Later, at home...
Me: "Sweetie, what would you like to have for dinner?" I was expecting a response such as "pretzels and whipped cream", and I was fully prepared to give him whatever he wanted.
Aaron: "Um......(15 seconds of serious deliberation).....soup. and grilled cheese. please."
Me: Stunned. "Okay, hon, you got it."
Later, after our soup (vegetable even!) and grilled cheese...
Me: "What else would you like to eat?"
Aaron: "Can I have some berries, please?"
Me: "I love you. You're fabulous. And yes, of course you can have some berries."

Vegetarian Recipes

I love finding new recipes, especially ones that are simple and contain few ingredients. I saw this list on Real Simple, and I think lots of the recipes included here look good. Simple to prepare, familiar ingredients, and healthy too. The fact that they're all vegetarian is great as well - I do try to limit the amount of meat that we eat at home. Take a look and see if you find something you'd like to try.

May 11, 2009

Big Boy Room

Here's a picture of Aaron's new "big-boy room". I think it turned out really cute, and he seems to love it, which is all that matters of course. He actually does take his play cars and "drive" them down the roads on his rug.  He counts the clouds on his wall.  He adores all the vehicles on his quilt.

When we first painted this room, my husband was afraid it was "too blue". As a guest room, perhaps it was. But it is perfect for a little boy.  I love how it came out.

Laughs for a Monday

*Image from Newsweek
I saw this Newsweek article about a blog called Postcards from Yo Momma, and it cracked me up. If it can make me laugh on a Monday morning when I feel like crap, then surely it will give you a giggle too.

The blog contains emails and messages written by people's mothers. They are sometimes sweet, but mostly they seem unintentionally hilarious. Here are a few good ones from the article, but go check out the blog for more:

good news!Our insurance covers : THE HPV VACCINATION.but, this is NOT a license to have wild, unprotected sex, y'know!! hehehhehehee.xox,mom

Mom: hi kid. on the way to jumble java, i started crying. the kids are moving in to the dorms today and i saw a dad hugging his daughter goodbye and i lost it. that feeling never goes away.
:( mom
Me: don't be lame, mom
Mom: i hope i live long enough to see you experience the same feeling. and i'm not lame.
Me: well at the rate i'm going, i doubt you'll be around to see my kids go to college. even if i do have some, they'll have three heads because i won't have them until i'm 50.
Mom: well then it will be three times as hard to say goodbye.
... I heard on the radio that people can google themselves. I've done a lot of things to myself before, but I've never googled myself.


May 8, 2009

Office Update

I'm going to wait to post the real "before and after" shots for after it's really all done - painted and decorated and everything. But that will be a while. In the meantime, I thought I'd post another in-process picture. These are of our office. We ripped up torn and stained carpet, put in a new window, new overhead light... but the biggest improvement is this wall of built-in shelves and a desk. Isn't it fabulous?

We'll be able to have all of our electronics (hard drive, modem, printer...) inside the lower cabinets. We were able to get rid of an extremely large desk, we will now have a great working space that doesn't take up so much space in the small room, and we'll actually have some place to put all our books! Oh, it's going to look so so good! I can't wait to get it all done so I can set things up. (Deep breaths. Patience, Mary. I'm going to appreciate the progress we're making, I promise.)

May 7, 2009

White Chicken Chili

*Image from Cooking Light
Every now and then, it's good to take stock of the items in your pantry. Identify the things that have been there for a while and need to be used up. Same goes for the fridge. I can't stand it when I forget about something and end up having to throw it away. So for one of this week's meals, I am making this White Chicken Chili. It will help me use up the couple cans of cannellini beans that have been in the cabinet for a while, and I also have some cilantro and sour cream that will go bad if I don't use it up. I can't stand letting good cilantro go to waste!

Etsy Love - More from Nella Designs

*Image from Nella Designs Etsy Shop
I've posted about Nella Designs before. They have such cute notecards, invitations, and prints. Wouldn't this one look sweet in a little kid's room?

May 6, 2009

New Beds, Spring Flowers, and Lawn Mowers

This week's Three Beautiful Things:

1. A's transition to his "big boy" room went extremely smoothly. We just needed a white noise machine to block out the sounds of the cars driving by. ("The motorcycle scared me, Mommy!") Once that problem was solved, he happily gets in bed every night and waves "night-night". An added bonus of the new room is that he now also accepts Daddy reading bedtime stories to him, something he had typically resisted. Hooray!

2. Yellow tulips are blooming all over our yard. They look so cheerful, and they smell wonderful. I know they won't last long, but I also know that the lilacs are right behind them!

3. I took an extra long shower on Saturday morning, because K took A outside with him. Having the bathroom to myself is such a luxury. Afterwards, I walked outside to find K mowing the lawn. I was initially confused - where was the boy?, I thought - but then I saw him, pushing his bubble lawn mower around the lawn like Daddy. Quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen.

May 4, 2009

The Reader

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I recently finished reading "The Reader", by Bernard Schlink. It is well-written, but simple enough that it is a very fast read. I read it in three days, which is an accomplishment for someone who has a hard time keeping her eyes open once her head hits the pillow. That must say something about how engaging it is.

It is not the type of book that will make you cry - I don't think the author really gets you close enough to the characters to achieve that - but it is one that will keep you entertained and will make you think. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie eventually, but I almost always prefer the books over the movies anyway. If you're looking for something to add to your nightstand pile, I'd recommend this one.


I know, I know. I'm probably very slow to jump on this bandwagon. I just discovered Izze. I went to Whole Foods last week, and I had planned on buying some Limonata, which is my usual refreshing beverage of choice for a hot day. Well, they were out, so I decided to try something else. I picked up a pack of Lime Izze, and I could say with the first sip that I was hooked. It's nothing but fruit juice and sparkling water, so it's refreshing without being too sweet.

Then I went to Costco this past weekend and discovered that they sell cases of Izze (for significantly cheaper than buying individual four-packs at the grocery store). The flavors sadly did not include Lime, which I've already determined is my favorite (after trying 3 others), so I'll probably still occasionally splurge on Lime. Lime is apparently pretty new, so if you already love Izze but haven't tried it, please do. It's yummy.

May 1, 2009

Words and Sayings

*Image from Inchmark

I haven't done anything in the way of a baby book or journal. I do have photo books made every year, and I did capture some of the big milestones (crawling, walking...) that way, but I am amazed at how much I already don't remember. To that end, I thought I'd put a post out here to capture some of the words and phrases that A currently says. At least I'll have it here.

My sister and her family keep a quote book - just a simple notebook where they write down the funny things that they all say. It is hilarious to go back and read them. A couple other ideas I love and plan to put into action: This one - having a jar to capture some of the funny things that A says. (I think this is an easier version of the journal concept for when he's little.) And this one - blank notecards featuring some of the funniest quotes. Wouldn't you love to receive one of these?

Here are just a few of A's current words that leap to mind...
spaghetti sauce = "scobetty sauce"
freckle = "inkle" ("not freckle, Mommy...inkle")
dirty diaper = "stinky stinky diaper"
lawn mower = "lawn mowmow"
helicopter = "hopcopter"

*Image from Angry Chicken

Stevie Wonder - I Believe (When I Fall in Love...)

"Superstition" came on the radio the other morning on my way to work. What a great song to have in your head all day. I was going to post that one, but then I decided to post my favorite Stevie song. Enjoy, and have a happy Friday!


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