Wednesday, December 29, 2010

30 Before 30

Today is my champagne birthday. I turn 29 on the 29th. It's not a big milestone, but next year sure is.
Between that and the new year fast approaching I have been thinking about my "do before 30" list. It's a list I have going in my head but I've never articulated. Until now.
I want this list to be something to keep me accountable to my goals, however small they are. I want to be able to at this time next year look back on the year and not think "what have I done this year??" but instead think "Wow! look at all I've acheived!" In that vein I'm not going to put vague things like "eat out less" on the list. I want concrete things I can check off. Some are things I've done before, some are not.

30. Sew something for myself, that I wear, regularly.
29. Have a professional family portrait taken, of all four of us.
28. Learn to make cheese and actually make some.
27. Send out Christmas Cards. Don't address them and forget to mail them.
26. Start to compost.
25. Send out Thank You cards to people who deserve them.
24. Knit a pair of socks, for myself.
23. Make a family tree.
22. Paint the kitchen cabinets.
21. Learn how to change a tire.
20. Skate at the Rockefeller Center.
19. Visit Ellis Island.
18. Send an anonymous gift to someone.
17. Write at least 6 handwritten letters to my Grandmother.
16. Host a dinner, at my house, for my In-Laws.
15. Go for a ride in a horse drawn carriage.
14. Grow something edible and eat it.
13. Get drunk on Champagne.
12. Visit the Museum of Modern Art.
11. Make some art I'm proud enough of to display in our home.
10. Take a yoga class.
9. Make a will.
8. Have a burger at White Manna.
7. Go to a taping of the Colbert Report.
6. Eat at Babbo.
5. Go to a wine tasting.
4. Go see the Statue of Liberty.
3. Read 6 NEW books. Not books I've previously read or part of a series.
2. Volunteer for something.
1. Lose 30 lbs.

One Word Wednesday: Snow

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turkey Leftover Pie!

By this point each year I'm so over turkey leftovers. Usually the carcass sits in the fridge with nobody wanting to do the work involved in getting a decent piece of meat from it. So much turkey goes to waste and I know that we could even save money if we had the energy to tackle it.
But with a little preparation this year the leftovers are not bothersome at all. And I'm actually looking forward to cooking another turkey so we can have this again!
My husband carved some beautiful pieces of meat off our bird. What we didn't eat got set aside for turkey sandwiches. But once carved there's always a lot of meat left on the bird and it's just a matter of getting to it. (And I'll admit I'm not an expert at cutting those pieces off and making it look good!)
I was planning on making an apple pie, but knowing I didn't have time for a scratch crust we bought a pre-made Pillsbury pie crust. As things go this time of year, the apple pie plans collapsed under the weight of so many other things. So while we were cleaning up I unrolled a pie crust into a pie plate and started piling the little pieces of meat into it.
Once it was fairly full of meat, and the bird was fairly clean, (I did set aside some of the dark meat for another leftover project) I topped it up with leftover veggies and some extra frozen peas and carrots. I tossed the meat and veggies with the leftover gravy, topped it with the second pie crust and put it in the fridge.
It warmed up quickly in the oven, baking the crust into a beautiful flaky deliciousness. (Follow the directions on your pie crust)

In case you want it as a more recognizable form...
The Recipe:
2-3 cups Leftover Turkey in small pieces
1 cup Leftover vegetables (potatoes, carrots)
1/2 cup frozen veggies (peas and carrots)
1 cup Leftover Gravy
Crust for a 2 crust pie

1. unroll a crust into a pie plate.
2. toss turkey and veggies with gravy and put in crust
3. cover with the second crust, poke a few holes in the top so steam can escape
4. refrigerate until ready to cook.
5. Bake at 425F for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Learning a New Skill

I love to learn. And learning a new skill is always so satisfying for me. Over the past year I've learned several new knitting techniques, some more recipes and techniques for candying and soap making, I've figured out how to digitally color an image I drew by hand.

This year I want to learn cheesemaking, sausage making and letterpress!
What do you want to learn this year?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ever have one of THOSE days?

Last night Baby D was up all night teething and crying and screaming.
I decided to take advantage of her nap time to nap myself. I bought my duvet and pillow out to the living room so I could nap while the toddler played.
She took advantage of my nap too.
She unwrapped all the Christmas presents.
Then later on, she wanted a snack and grabbed the cheerios, it wasn't until I heard the tell tale sound of cheerios dumping all over the floor that I realized it was a mistake to let her snack from the box.
Fortunately I have a sense of humor. My first response to the mess of cheerios on the floor was to grab the camera.
As annoyed and grumpy as I am, I recognized that I'll be able to laugh at these pictures... once I get a good nights sleep.
Besides, they loved it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Feature!

I've been wearing this ring for months now. It's time I tell you about how much I love it!
I got married when I was 6 months pregnant, so needless to say I was carrying a bit more weight in my fingers than I am now. I've been paranoid that I'm going to lose my wedding ring. To solve that I bought a second ring to wear on top of my wedding ring.
I got it from
LittleBugJewelry on Etsy. Despite all the action it sees with the two kids, and me being all crafty with my hands all the time, It's still as beautiful as the day it arrived!
I know it seems a little soon to start dropping hints for Valentine's Day but I highly recommend you plant the seed early. All her pieces are handmade and most are custom made at time of purchase. There's so many things in this shop to love!
Here are a few of my favorites!

Go check it out!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Baby is One Today

She's One.
Where did the time go?
A year ago Baby D was born at home. First blizzard of the year, the midwife got stuck behind a snow plow on the way over here and didn't quite make it on time.
A year ago Baby D was born into her father's hands.

A year previous, when T was born, she was a hospital birth. Everything about the way a hospital birth is set up is designed to make the laboring woman feel like she can't do this on her own. I left that experience feeling like I couldn't do the one thing my body was designed to do. Despite giving birth at a boutique hospital, I felt like nobody genuinely cared about the well being of me and my baby.
I felt like I was in a Monty Python Sketch hooked up to the machine that goes *PING*. Except it wasn't funny. At all.

So when D was born at home, in our own bed, caught by her father it was the most healing thing I could have experienced. It got a little less peaceful and intimate when the Cop and EMT arrived from when my Husband called 911. Aside from my own birth, I'm fairly certain that's the first time I've met anyone, let alone two men, whilst completely naked. The midwife arrived, spoon fed me ice cream while I nursed baby D for the first time. She helped me into the shower, helped my husband throw away the linens. She stuck around for a little bit to make sure I ate, and told me to spend the day relaxing in bed with the new little one.

T had spent the day with her Grandpa. She returned home at 9am, about 5 hours after her sister was born. When I brought the baby out of the bedroom to meet her, T got a HUGE smile on her face and she signed "baby." She loved her instantly.

These two are going to be the best of friends. I love them both so much.
Happy birthday little one!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Looking ahead: Creating Goals and Mini Goals

I've been frustrated lately that I am not moving towards my goals.
I'd like to have the sort of home where when a friend calls and says "I'll be over in 10 minutes" I'm not scrambling to get the kids dressed, clean the living room and pick up all the clothes on the bathroom floor. I'd like to hear "I'll be over in 10 minutes" and be able to take that ten minutes to bake some cookies and make my friend feel welcome.
I KNOW I need to take time everyday to do maintenance. But I'm too exhausted at the end of the day At this point though, just maintaining is not going to cut it. I need to do a "big" job everyday too.
How do I stay motivated when the results are slow coming?
Answer? I don't.
That's why I've never been good at losing weight. (Though I'm getting more serious about it in the new year, I swear.)

So what can I do?
Checklists motivate me.
So rather than work towards the big goal of "being a Martha Stewart style home manager" I need to break it down into little goals like "clean living room"

I'm going to try to get into the habit of making a checklist every morning.

Today I want to:
Tidy the living room
Vaccuum the girls room
Put away the craft table I set up (it's become a dumping ground instead of useful space.)
A least one load of laundry

How do you personally stay motivated when a Mother's Work is never finished? (even if you're not a mother)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pancake dips!


I don't know about you, but as a kid I LOVED to dip things. My kids are no different. Despite lacking the motor skills to pull it off without needing a bath, D loves to dip things. T is in that toddler phase where she's perfectly willing to make an entire meal out of ketchup.
I can't trust T not to discard her fork and use her fingers to eat her pancakes. This gets to be really messy if I put any toppings on them for her.
What I like to do instead is to make dippers for her to dip in. It's so easy. Which is an important feature of a toddler breakfast recipe for me. T comes out of her bedroom and heads straight for her table for breakfast. Meanwhile I'm still trying to rub the blur from my vision.


To make I mix 2 parts jam to one part juice. (For my toddler I just used tablespoons, though I don't measure it, I just eye it) To get the juice and jam to mix well I microwave it for 15 seconds.


Today I made peach with apple juice.

Peach-Apple Pancake Dip
2 Tbsp Peach Jam
1 Tbsp Apple Juice
Combine in a small microwavable dish. Microwave for 15 seconds on high. Stir until the jam and juice combine to a nice dipping sauce consistency. For a thicker dip add more jam. For a thinner dip add more juice.


You can make this with just about any jam and juice. Though I've never tried a citrus juice with this, if you try it let me know how it goes!
Here are some that I've made that have been a big hit.

Strawberry-Pineapple Pancake Dip
2 Tbsp Strawberry Jam
1 Tbsp Pineapple Juice

Cran-Raspberry Pancake Dip
2 Tbsp Raspberry Jam
1 Tbsp Cranberry Juice


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Santa Photos

The classic Santa photo.
I don't know if I'm going to try it this year.
I took the girls for some portraits and T would not sit still for them. I don't imagine adding a strange fat man in a costume would help ease her into it at all.

Recently I found a copy of a Santa photo from when me and my siblings were little. I'm not sure how old I am here. I'm going to share it. Partly because I know I have friends who will enjoy seeing a younger me. Also partly because I have friend I know will enjoy the mild embarrassment it causes me to post it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Chore Chart Chalkboards

I've implemented a meal plan system that is working well for us. Now I need a way to tell everyone what's for dinner. I also need a way to let people know what my expectations of them are.
Admittedly at 11 months and 2 years my girls are too young for the chore portion to work for them. Right now it's all about teaching me to organize better. And to actually state my expectations. I can't get upset that my husband hasn't unloaded the dishwasher if I never told him to do it.
So here's what I've got. (There are a few frames missing because I need to find ways to mount them to the wall)

I found some great frames at my local antiques/consignment shop. The largest one was only $20! Brought them home and took out all the glass and backings leaving just the frame. I wanted a uniformly clean look so I spray painted them all with a glossy white.
Then for about $15 at home depot I bought some masonite board and chalkboard paint. I painted the whole board and then marked on the back where the cuts needed to be made by tracing the glass inserts that came with the frames. Once the board was cut each piece fit perfectly into its frame. Then all I had to do was hang them up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maple-Bacon Popcorn

I made something tonight that I want to share with you.

I was working on the recipe for vegan marshmallows. After several failed attempts with agar-agar flakes I've opted to go a different route tomorrow. In the mean time I had some great snackers in the house that I wanted to make something new for.

A few weeks ago we picked up a ridiculous amount of maple smoked bacon from the local bulk food store. After making pasta carbonara with the stuff it became clear that the maple flavor was too strong to use it in any savory dishes.

The house smelled like maple syrup for days. It gave me the idea to make popcorn with the stuff. I want to share the recipe with you so you can make it too.

Silicon spatula, candy thermometer

8 cups air popped popcorn*
1 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp butter
1 pkg bacon

Spray a big bowl with non-stick spray. Cut the bacon into pieces. I like to use my kitchen scissors to cut the bacon into 1/2" - 3/4" strips shortwise. Fry it up, drain the extra fat. Toss the cooked bacon with the popped popcorn in the coated bowl.
In a small pot cook the maple syrup and the butter until it reaches a temperature of 310F. Quickly pour the syrup over the popcorn and bacon stirring while you pour to coat as much as you can.

*you can use a bag of popcorn for this, but air popped is way better

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A second birthday

T turns 2 on the tenth. (Say that ten times fast)
We had a party for her yesterday with some of her favorite people. Grandpa was there, spoiling her rotten. Her best friend, S, moved to Indiana a while ago and was back in town for a visit! The girls loved seeing each other!

Her boyfriend, F was there too! They cuddled on the chair for a while. And when it was time for him to head home the two of them hid under the table.

I can't ice cupcakes at all but I can make toppers! These were so easy.
I cut out a template in the triangle shape I wanted the flags to look like. Then I folded the patterned cardstock I was using and cut the shape along the fold so I had an elongated diamond shape. I ran the cutouts through my Xyron sticker maker. Wrapped them around lollipop sticks et voila!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Christmas shopping!

I'm trying to get started on Christmas shopping.
I'm usually one of those people who forgets and ends up last minute shopping.
This year I'm on top of it.
but that also means I've been doing some shopping for myself too...
I make a point not to buy anything for myself in December because both Christmas and my birthday are in December. I don't want to be the person who buys themselves something only to have a duplicate given as a gift. I don't want to make myself harder to buy for than I already am.
But since it's not yet December...

I bought this for myself from Zwzzy!. I highly recommend her store. Vintage clothing is a serious weakness for me.

It arrived today and I love it!

I've been eying these bowls from nightowlcraftworks. I really love the color! I'm probably going to get them for my Dad. I never know what to get him and these would be perfect!

Who's your hard to buy for person? Any thoughts on what you're getting them?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Organizing the house...

I need to organize my house. It's a total mess. Things don't *belong* anywhere, which means it's very hard to tidy up. I'm hoping to remedy this situation but purging a lot of our junk and only keeping things that have a home in our home.

How do YOU organize your home?