Readying for the Weekend


I bought some pretty nail polish today because the girls aren't wearing nearly enough yellow this weekend (clearly they need fancy fingernails too) and I think I should upgrade my (currently blue) toenails for the big event.  I'm also dying my hair this afternoon (I'm not bringing all this gray along for the weekend), but that's not nearly as pretty or sparkly.

So, what is going down?  Oh, nothing major...just my baby brother is getting married!  We are so excited!!!

Adventures in Roasting Veggies

We've been roasting more and more things in the oven lately in the hopes of getting the boys on board with vegetables they aren't big fans of.  Overall, it is working!

I made zucchini parmesan crisps when we had family over for EJ's birthday and while they did not turn out crisp, they were yummy.  When we make them again, I'll try to keep them in longer and see if they get crispier.  I really didn't mind the softer texture, but was disappointed as it was not what I was expecting.

We made chickpeas again.  This time we just tossed them in oil and baked at 400 for about 40 minutes.  This were definitely hard and crispy (like what I imagine cornnut consistency to be).  Everyone liked them, but they weren't devoured like the last batch.  I think we'll stick with Nora's recipe in the future.

And per Jackie's suggestion on our broccoli post, we did a little roasted cauliflower this past week too.  It was SO good!  I was sure the boys would hate it, but Jack sort of liked it and Matt really liked it.  I think I might do a combo roasted broccoli and cauliflower for Easter brunch.  Yum!

All of this roasting is so super easy and the girls are loving having veggies at home for dinner (yes, they are the weird kids that order broccoli as a side at restaurants)!  Any other favorite recipes you'd like to share with us?

Work-in-Progress Wednesday 24


I have been working on two blankets...same pattern, very different colors.  I had started both and then focused on working to completion of one of them which I did this past weekend.  I blocked it and went to start on finishing the second one, but my hook has gone missing!  It shouldn't be hard to find a bright red metal H hook, but yet...  I've looked everywhere I may have put it, but I'm having trouble channeling where the almost 3-year-old may have put it.  Ugh!

So in the meantime, I got going on another project.  I am making a light hat to cover the red head and her fair skin as the sun keeps peeking out (and the summer bucket hats are not in stores yet). I am using this pattern, a G hook and Patons Grace cotton (#3 weight).  As expected given the change from an adult pattern, use of a different yarn and my tight hooking, I've had to rip and redo about 3 times.  But I think I've finally got the sizing down.  I can't wait to see how it comes out, but I am also fully aware that I could have finished the other blanket in this same amount of time.  Maybe this hat will sway her to tell me where my hook is?

The beginning
Joining up with Yarn Along at Small Things & WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis.

EJ Danced Under The Sea

EJ had her first official dance recital this weekend.  There were special leotards, tutus, hair bows, white socks, dress rehearsals, a stage...she was beyond excited!  There was a definitely a huge improvement since her last dance show (this time she only waved to me instead of yelling) and now little sister can't wait to start dance class this summer.  I am so happy to have an awesome rec department!


Early Spring


Hi again!  I'm working my way back to blogging.  There has been so much going on, so I have a lot to share.  However, when outside looks like March, you just have to spend every possible second soaking it in.  Soon though...a birthday celebration weekend, a dance recital, some new creations...I promise!

Taking a Break

Screen Shot 2012-03-19 at 11.05.52 PM

Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy the moment.  Right now is one of those moments for me...amazing weather that I want to be out in as much as possible, busy times for the kids, not seeing the hubs enough...I'm trying to focus on the fun.  So, I don't think that I'm going to posting regularly/every day for awhile.  I'm planning to post when I actually have something to say or share (although I just logged on to find out I have reached my photo storage capacity on this blog...ugh!).  I guess I'm playing it by ear.

I hope you are relaxing and enjoying this amazing Spring too. Namaste.

Birthday Bling

Someone I love is turning 5 this weekend and she is very excited!  This is her first year at a school that does birthday treats, but we decided to do something a little different than your usual cupcake treat.  Each of EJ's friends will be getting a shiny shamrock necklace with a gorgeous tag, designed by our fabulous friend Nellie (check out her blog and shop and free printables too).

Yep, she's just a little excited about them...

Work-in-Progress Wednesday, Floors

Sure I have some yarn projects going down this week and the ongoing race around town to find EJ's birthday gift in-stock somewhere, but the biggest work-in-progress this week is beginning floors!  The last big thing for the kitchen is finally getting done.  I'm so excited!

Roasted Broccoli

{before and after}
This recipe is not an example of my recent attempts at tricking the kids into healthier eating.  The girls and I love broccoli!  Anyway, I was planning to do a version of a recipe I saw with rigatoni and sausage and broccoli.  The trouble is that the boys won't eat broccoli, so I decided to do it on the side and also make edemame for their version.

I made the broccoli using this Roasted Broccoli Recipe and everyone loved it...even the boys!  I will definitely make this again, but next time I will double the broccoli and halve the salt.  Super yummy though!

One more food rave...grilled cheese using honey crisp apples and sharp cheddar cheese.  They were so good!  And yes, I'm cooking a lot more now that we have a working kitchen again.  We are very close to having it all finished (the floor should be put in this week) and then I swear, I'll share some photos.


{Livie playing with her shadow...Matt said she looked like Bono}

Our Sunday was a whirlwind.  So much fun, but words cannot describe how tired this family is tonight after all is said and done (showers, quick dinner & bed).  We did so much...behind-the-scenes at the zoo, bowling, a little urban walking/exploring/geocaching, indoor soccer game.  The kids had a really hard time choosing their favorite part of the day, but one of my favorite things was that we only spent money on breakfast and lunch.  Everything else was free (or semi-free) thanks to memberships, expiring groupons, and a contest win.  What do you get out of the deal?  My iphone photo dump from the day...

[breakfast of champions...Cranky Al's in the car}

 {They are closer than it appears here}

{this one loved every second of bowling}

{EJ's happy dance}

{They are sad because we just announced it was the last frame}

{rally towel...they won!}

A New Friend

This beautiful girl had a really tough day yesterday (adoption loss sucks).  It was one of those days where you just want to be able to take all her pain away, but you know it's important for her to feel it and mourn too.  Instead we gave lots of hugs, we told many stories, we printed new photos, and we talked about the things we have in our home from Guatemala.  And then we took EJ's special doll down from her high shelf and decided it was time that this doll is loved instead of protected.

A birthday celebration, a photo timeline and a class discussion about worry dolls all triggered EJ's grief.  I hope that having her new friend "Dorothy" with her for naptime, playtime and a special visit to show-and-tell tomorrow help her to start healing and working through all those feelings of sadness and loss, happiness and love.  It's too much for a (almost) 5-year-old to handle without a friend who "gets it."

Kale Chips

I made kale chips yesterday.  Yes, I am aware that is crazy talk in my world, but after our huge chickpea success I was feeling overconfident.  Jack (my all-time pickiest eater) has been so much more open to trying new foods lately.  He doesn't always like them, but he's at least been trying them with an open mind (huge progress by the way), so I've been trying to introduce some new things when I can.  I've read a bunch of blogs from kale chip lovers, but when Michelle said her two veggie haters loved them, I was sold.

Off to the store we went.  The heaping bowl of kale shown above cost just $1...not bad, right?  I followed this recipe from Pip & Ebby and it was super easy...olive oil, baking pan, salt, done!  I'm going to show their after pic too (because it's so pretty & mine was not).

EJ took the first taste and fell in love.  As my most adventurous eater, I am not surprised.  She had more with dinner and she is taking a bunch of them to school tomorrow to share with her friends.

Jack tried it and said he liked it.  However he didn't ask for more.  At dinner he did ask for a few more, but he also said that he could tell it was healthy.  Baby steps...

And this is the face I got when I asked my little diva if she'd like to try one.  It was green and crunchy and she didn't want any part of it.

Matt & I both liked them.  Matt echoed Jack's "healthy" comment.  I like the salt too much and therefore am sending them to school with EJ so I don't continue to eat them all day tomorrow.  I'd say this recipe will be made again, but not as often as we'll make the chickpeas.

Work-in-Progress Wednesday 23

Last week I was starting a secret project (shown on the left) and I really liked the pattern, but not for this gift.  It just wasn't quite right (although I'll probably return to that pattern in the future), so I enlisted my niece's help and we spent some time looking through patterns on Ravelry until we found the perfect idea.  It's still a secret project, so I'm only showing a peek, but I love it!  Oh, and that is the same blue in both photos (the right is more true to color).

I like the new pattern so much that I am starting to make it again (yes, before I'm done with the first one) for another gift.  It was too cute not to do again in a new set of colors (I have a feeling I'll revisit this one often).

I am still reading Garlic and Sapphires.  I really enjoyed it at the beginning (I'm at about 2/3rds read), but am having a hard time pushing myself to finish.  I'm not sure if the storyline is repeating or if I'm always reading when I'm too tired.  Next on the agenda is these two books about Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.  One is written for teens and one is 300 pages long. I think you can guess where I'll be starting!

I'm excited to read more books on the great women book list, but I am mad at myself because I keep checking out library books.  Having books with a due date means I have to wait to read these awesome (and funny) books that I now own (thanks to my birthday), but just get to stare at.  Boo!

Joining up with Yarn Along at Small Things & WIP Wednesday at Tami's Amis.

The last straw...

Source: via Adam on Pinterest

The Girl Scout cookies arrived and were the final straw in my admitting that I could stand to get moving again.  Everyone knows I'm not hardcore fitness girl, but I let a kitchen remodel, a foot injury and general busyness send me straight to the couch.  This would probably be fine if I wasn't always eating, but...I'm a serious snacker.  I don't have any big goals, and I don't usually weigh myself all that much, but I just want a little less arm jiggle & belly fat.  That's not too much to ask for, right?

Anyway, I've definitely already overdone it the past two days (the warm weather today encouraged me to double my walk distance).  The plus to the extra exercise is that it will slow down my snacking.  It's tough to snack when you can barely move.


We had a crazy (and rough) week/weekend (but hopefully we're on the upswing), so I thought I'd start this week with a laugh.  Is it wrong to admit I would cue this one up on the dvr too?  I love all the Housewives crazy!

Reading List Summary, February 2012

Family List
Some Kids Are Blind (Lola M. Schaefer)
There's A Hamster In My Lunchbox (Susan Clymer)
Shout! Shout It Out! (Denise Fleming)
Penelope Popper: Book Doctor (Toni Buzzeo)
If I Ran For President (Catherine Stier)
Stars (Mary Lyn Ray)
Serving Your Community (Christin Ditchfield)
St. Patrick's Day (Amy Margaret)
Everything I Need To Know Before I'm Five (Valorie Fisher)
Perfect Square (Michael Hall)
Elephants (Jenny Markert)

Jack's List
The Boxcar Children #59: The Outer Space Mystery (created by Gertrude Chandler Warner)
The Boxcar Children #16: Mystery in the Sand (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
Shark Attack! (Cathy East Dubowski)
Platypus: A Century-long Mystery (William Caper)
Darth Paper Strikes Back (Tom Angleberger)
The Boxcar Children #26: The Mystery of the Mixed-Up Zoo (created by Gertrude Chandler Warner)
The Boxcar Children Special #1: The Mystery on the Ice (created by Gertrude Chandler Warner)
Garter Snakes (Mary Ann McDonald)
Dinosaur Cove: Catching the Velociraptor (Rex Stone)
Dinosaur Cove: Charge of the Triceratops (Rex Stone)

Mom's List
Give A Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World (Wendy Smith)
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany) 
The Descendants (Kaui Hart Hemmings) 
The Helping Hands Handbook (Patricia Adams)