Monday, July 26, 2010

Mall Schmall...

Hello Friends!  I've been in a "ain't got nuthin' to post or talk about or show pics of" space.  (untrue, but every writer gets this way!)  So, I was all prepared to come to you today fresh and fun and filled with genius.  HOWEVER, I spent the ENTIRE day at the MALL.  Dear Lord help me.  I headed to Sears Automotive dept. at around 10:30 this morning.  I left at almost 4:00 this afternoon. 

Now, let's talk about how much I detest malls.  I can shop with the best of them.  I can usually "gear up" even if I'm not in the mood to shop.  But something about MALLS just makes me feel trapped in the 80s (and not in a good way) and depressed.  And let's add in two children.  One of whom is teething and a little off.  So I was rescued by the hubby and sister-in-law for lunch.  When we headed back to Sears they gave me the 'ol "ready in 20 mins."  SURE.  I should have realized it was a hoax. 

The mall I was at I consider not that fantastic of a mall on top of my "stuck at the mall" all day.  YIKES.  I did however get some funky new throw pillows and some new towels.  (New towels?  Am I my mother?)  But I really don't need to return to this mall for a LONG LONG time.  BUT, my vehicle still has some "mystery" clanging and I just couldn't take waiting any longer for the poor mechanic to figure it all out.  Did I really need that left sway bar or was that his guess at the clanging?  Hmmmm, I'm waiting on the left hub assembly.  Whatever the heck that is.

So I have my feet up, my son sleeping after not napping all day and a glass of wine.  PEACE OUT! 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday is Fun Day....

Gettin' serious about my sucker!!!!

We met a friend for lunch today at Red Robin/Woodfield Mall.  Lunch was great and the kids ate every last lick of food I ordered for them.  Amazing.  Then they got balloons.  Delightful.  Then we headed to Sanrio (HELLO KITTY) store.  Evan at some point was like, "um, yeah, I got nuthin' here people, can you do something for me??"  Therefore he got a sucker.  Which equaled a happy Evan for a bit.  The red head OF COURSE had to go pee so I headed to Nordstorm because I know where the bathrooms are and they are super close to Sanrio.  Well, it's "sale days at Nordstorm's" or something like that.  They have the prices so jacked up that apparently on sale days (which they only do like twice a year or something) the world comes out.  You'd never know we are in a depression by the amount of cars and shuttle buses in the parking lot or the amount of people at Woodfield Mall.  What the hell?  I depise malls.  I had to get the hell outta there.  Both kids crashed on the drive home.  Which is monumental for the red head.  The kid just doesn't sleep.  

Yes, I put gel in his hair.  Cuteness factor HIGH.
We have already started a braces fund for the teeth!

 Eye teeth coming in AND a sucker = good on the gums!
We can't forget the red head!
They were seriously doing "cheers" with their suckers?
Hmmm, I wonder if I drink too much????

My Love...

Evan has been cutting his eye teeth this week.  He is such a good natured, even-keeled boy....always happy and smiley.....basically, how every 19 month old child should be!  Life is nothing but fun times from waking to bedtime!  So this week has nailed me to the post.  I feel like all I did was yell and try to get to bedtime.  No "in the moment" moments or celebrating the "messy years" and will I miss all this?...................YES.  Probably YES.  But will I be glad to have advanced to the next stage of our family?  YES.  YES.  and YES.  But when I look at this picture it just melts my heart.  My tiny little white-haired boy.  Checking out all the big trucks and workers paving the road. 

Years from now I will cry and wonder how all this went by so fast.  He's my last baby.  (Shop is closed thank you very much)  I cherish the babyness of him..........when I can break free from the YELLING at the red head. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fighting the Elements....

If you look closely you can kinda see the mating Japenense Beetles that have now found the flowering bush in the backyard.  (on the small yellow bud above the flower) We fight these dirty little destructors every year at this time.  They love the birch tree in the front too.  I've heard the commonly purchased chemicals (from Menards, etc.) are the ones that do real damage to the enviornment because of poor disposal.  Despite my efforts and arguments, my husband will be on the warparth with his chemical concoctions after he sees this.
Here is the damage they leave behind. 
Munch and crunch...
(I won't even get started on the rabbits
and what they did to the beans)

But on a happier note, I got this lovely little Mexican planter for $3.50 at the new local thrift store!  I am kind of obsessed with Mexican pottery of any kind these days.  I am growing a nice little collection!  All purchased from garage sales, Good Will, or resale/thrift shops......which makes me like them even more!  Nobody loves the thrill of a bargain or the bargain HUNT more than me! 

Yukon Golds in the garden...

Q. My potato plants flowered and formed green fruits that resemble small tomatoes. What are they?


A. These small seed balls are the fruits that contain the true seeds. They are not edible. Except for breeding purposes, growing potato plants from the true seeds in these fruits is a troublesome and unrewarding exercise.

Well, that explains that!  : )

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ode to a hot summer day....


Popsicle

by:  Rebecca D., Schuylkill Haven, PA

Popsicle.

Melting, melting into my hand.

Sticky!

Dripping, dripping to the ground.

Forming a puddle small and round.

Popsicles are rainbows.

They can be every color from white to brown.

Popsicles are my favorite treat.

Especially with a friend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mommy's Little Helper....

Okay, the wine might have helped a bit, but the kids are
now in bed and that is what I really needed!
2008 California Cabernet Sauvignon "MAD HOUSEWIFE"....
again, I'm completely drawn to the label...great photo. 
The look of a mom...
"I'm so over every last bit of this day."
(or in other words...ME today!)

Here is what the back of the bottle says:

"Somewhere near the cool shadows of the
laundry room.  Past the litter box and between
the plastic yard toys.  This is your time.
Time to enjoy a moment to yourself.
A moment without the madness.
The dishes can wait.  Dinner be damned."

Um, you had me at passing the litter box!

Backyard Delights....

The purple coneflower (echinacea) is in full bloom in the yard.  It attracts butterflies and I caught this beauty while having coffee while the kids got sandy and wet all before 9:00 am!  I adore butterflies (monarchs in particular) and I am really appreciating all the work the former owner intially put into the landscaping.  We have done a ton of work ourselves, but these flowers were here when we arrived.  LOVE!
Yellow Lilies in full majesty...

Blooming Hostas hedging the yard....

more lilies...

Coneflowers mixed in with brown eyed Susan's
and Stargazer Lilies...

Stargazer Lily in full glory...

Lavender in full bloom...
smells insane


The word Idyllic comes to mind....

Funny, when I googled the word "idyllic" this is what I found:  excellent and delightful in all respects; "an idyllic spot for a picnic"  Well there you have it!  My thoughts EXACTLY!  I am Crabby McCrabberson today DESPITE my Jillian "I am aim to kick your ass every which way to Tuesday" Michaels workout.  I DID the workout to change the mood....which it usually does.  "A good mood is just a workout away" is my favorite saying!  or "You will never regret working out."  (that one is from Valerie Bertinelli)  So I follow this blog called  Apartment Therapy and I stumbed across this photo.  This is where I want to be.  RIGHT. NOW.  With wine......lots of cold, crisp refreshing white wine.  And cheese.  And bread.  A friend or two.  NO KIDS.  I REPEAT.....NO KIDS are part of this sweet little picture inside my head!!!!!

I kinda wanted to go to work today.  Just get up and say "okay, see you all later...."  No cleaning, no messes, no cooking, organizing or dishwashers to unload.  No poop diapers or a 4.5 year old driving me bannanas all day.  She most certainly IS going to camp for two weeks and I don't care if it's only 3 times a week for 3 teensy, tiny hours.  Those 3 hours will be glorious.  Evan doesn't talk yet.  He can't ask questions or talk back or tell me he's bored.  Look, sista, I'd be bored too with ME all day long, everyday 24/7.  I feel your pain.  Hell, I feel MY OWN PAIN.

But this feeling too shall pass.  I'll be crying in my coffee soon enough when all these messes are gone and I've got to really work again!  (Ha, nothing is harder than this!)  And nothing is more glorious when I choose to embrace the love and insanity of it all!

You stay at home mom's out there.........do you f eel me???  Come join me at the table with the wine, bread and cheese....conversation optional.  We can just BE and feel the breeze on our faces and listen to the wind blow through the trees.  And then, we'd probably just end up talking about the kids!

Monday, July 12, 2010

For the Love of Sunflowers....

While I was growing up as a child, my mother had this picture hanging in her bedroom.  ("Sunflowers" by Vincent VanGogh)  Maybe this is why I can't get enough of sunflowers.  I never get sick of them and they always make me happy.  I even had them in my wedding bouquet as well as my bridesmaids bouquets.  In fact, this may have shaped my whole life and I've just now realized it!!!!  I minored in art in college, adored my art history classes, and can't get enough of art musems....any kind....any where.  I checked out a new thrift store today and walked in and immediately saw this print hanging on the wall.  The universe is speaking to me today through sunflowers! 

We have our own beauty that cropped up right below the bird feeder.  (the birds LOVE the sunflower seeds!)  This little fellow finally showed us his true color this morning!  We have been watching him inch is way up and B-L-O-O-M!!!!  He has a friend making his way up right next to him as well. 
And this fella just "self-planted" himself right next to the hose! 
Still awaiting his bloom...

Kickin' it Old School....

I've told you before about my love of vintage Tupperware.  Well have I shown you this beauty yet?  My mom's vintage (circa 1975?) avocado green cake carrier.  And you bet that I used it yesterday to carry my rum cake in to a picnic!  I was GIDDY to use it.  Oh for the love of my mom's old Tupperware.  It just makes me happy.
Here's the EASIEST and BEST recipe EVER!

RUM CAKE:
1 box butter cake mix
4 eggs
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
Mix and pour into a bundt pan
Bake for 40-50 mins at 325 degree oven
TOPPING or GLAZE for top of RUM CAKE:
1/4 cup rum
1 cup sugar (I find powdered sugar works better)
1 stick butter
Melt butter in sauce pan
Pour in run and sugar, stir and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and stir for 5-6 minutes
Let set up a bit before drizzling down the top of cake
Cool for 30 minutes before serving and this also allows the glaze to set

I must admit that I began cake preparations yesterday morning and realized I did not have rum in the liquor cabinet.  (yes, I have a liquor cabinet and I love love love it!  My husband calls it a "dry bar"...EVEN better!  I don't even drink all the liquor in the cabinet but as any good hostess or friend, I like to have lots of stuff on hand in case somebody requests it!  Shocking to find out the rum was gone!)  So, I simply used something else...Christian Brother's Brandy.  I swear to you I couldn't taste the difference from the rum.  My father-in-law said he could taste the brandy and loved it.  My sister-in-law then commented "Well, he's a brandy connnoisseur!" 
I also have used Hennessey in the cake for a friend who loves cognac.  Another friend used Kahlua.  I am convinced you can use any type of liquor and it would be good!  But, you let me know!  My best pal told me today that she used a box chocolate cake and chocolate pudding with Captain Morgan's spiced rum!!!  She wanted to use Malibu and add toasted cocout on top of the glaze but her husband hates coconut.  So mix it up and give it a try. 

And when you see vintage Tupperware being used, make sure you comment to the owner!  It makes us very happy!  : )

Pink of Perfection....

Last week I was sitting on the couch, looked up and saw this beautiful sunset right outside my window.  I follow a blog that you should check out.  It's just like this sunset.....soft and lovely and peaceful.  The blog is called Pink of Perfection.  When I saw this photo I just thought "pink of perfection" so this post is for Sarah McColl and her blog.  It makes me happy and I look forward to her posts.  In this crazy world that we rush around in, we all need a little slice of calm. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another Trader Joe's Wine Bargain...

I'm a sucker for a good looking wine bottle label.  LOVE this one!  So retro, so adorable....as I sip a glass right now I'm gonna make the call that for $4.99 a bottle, it's not bad. Even the back of the bottle is cute AND the cork too!  

 I could buy a whole bunch of "cute label" bottles at Trader Joe's.  I'm delighted with this and my $2.99 basil plant.  Mozzerella, basil and tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper?  Yes!

Here is the Trader Joe's description: 
Winnefred Central Coast
Chardonnay • $4.99 a Bottle!
Gracing the label of the bottle is Winnefred: smart, sassy, grounded, balanced and very focused on getting good value for her money. In short, the kind of woman we’d all like to spend time getting to know. Winnefred, the wine within the bottle, lives up to her standards – you’ll enjoy getting to know this balanced, spunky, Central Coast Chardonnay.

Winnefred is 100% Chardonnay aged in 82% French oak and 18% sur-lie (on lees), giving it added complexity and creaminess. It’s a citrus-forward wine with pear, lemon and a hint of fennel. Winnefred, like   Winnefred, makes an excellent dinner companion. Try it with chicken or whatever suits your fancy. We’re selling each 750 ml bottle for $4.99 – we told you Winnefred liked value.

That's the basil plant in the background!  : )

Another good summer recipe...

Okay, enough with the Rachael Ray recipes....I know, but really, for as much as she bugs me, her recipes rock.  I do find myself adding or deleting here or there or changing them up a bit.  The burger is Rachael's and the broccoli salad is a tried and true old favorite.  Hope you enjoy!  : )  We didn't even eat the burgers with a bun or add cheese to the top.  I added the blue cheese crumbles to the meat mixture.  Our grill was out of gas so my plan to do the burgers on the grill got sidelined to the pan on the stove.  They still tasted great but I like to keep burger splatters outside!  (that and bacon...no matter how careful you are it still splatters and stinks up the joint and I have a super power vent)


Celery, carrot, garlic and onion sautee....
I used green onions
Add the sautee to the ground turkey
I always use RRay's "scoring technique" of
the meat for equal size patties!
lovely patties!
Frank's Red Hot Sauce
I can't resist (sorry people)
"I put that *hit on everything!"
Dip cooked burger back in butter and hot sauce!

Broccoli, red onion, golden raisins, BACON
and a lovely vinegar/sugar/mayo sauce....
Please note the old-school Tupperware bowl...LOVE!

"Graduating" from Swimming Lessons....

Evan and his pal Aiden....
(his mom was my swim lesson buddy too!)

Eight days later, 45 minutes per day (entertaining Evan while waiting) the little red head mastered the big slide (once with her teacher and once alone....this after "Mom, I am not going on the big slide or jumping off the diving board....") and it was suggested she do Level 2 again next year.  Well, after reading the list of things that each child needs to do without help from the teacher, I am very fine with doing Level 2 again.  The list of things she accomplished vs. what she still can't do is huge and I'm very proud of her progress in only 8 days.  It is amazing to see her dive down under for rings and listen to her teacher and take the whole thing very seriously.  Love it!  And really, for as much as I claim to be dying for her to start Kindergarten and reclaim a bit of my life back, it all goes by so quickly and she's growing up so fast.  So yes, Level 2 again next is just fine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Out of the recipe box....(or "Ode to Gwen!")


I guess we have a theme going here friends!  "Outta the box" and what have you.....I made these recipes on Friday night with several glasses of wine.  They are simple but for some reason it all seemed like too much work for me on a Friday night. 

Now, I will admit that I have made recipes like this before so the outta the box part is for YOU my dear reader!  Give it a try.....if you can't handle the ground lamb part.....just use ground beef, chicken or turkey.  Compliments of Rachael Ray I found these recipes.  Bengt LOVED them.....great Indian flavors.  And you know.....like RRay always says....."you can travel to India tonight" minus the exhausting plane ride...(and all that other irritating stuff she likes to say.)




AND I just realized I probably deleted the photos I took of the food!  So.........you'll just have to trust me that the recipes were delish!  : )  My friend Gwen and her family just moved to New Dehli, India so this one's for my girl G! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stepping out of the neighborhood box....

BEFORE...
and
AFTER...


So the front door and sidedoor panels of the house desperately needed painted.  I really didn't realize how bad it needed paint until we started the project.  A lovely little pre-4th of July project!  We discussed many color options with some input from my mom and sissy.  (basically, their opinion trumps all others!)  Sissy suggested canary yellow even though she was slightly scared....yet, still intrigued.  Mom suggested red (brick or merlot perhaps?) or blue.  Well, all the other "blues" in the neighborhood are those faded out grayish blues and wasn't the object here to kick it up a bit?  Get out of the box?  Shake it up a bit? 

We are the only house on the block....and for blocks and blocks in the neighborhood....that even painted our house a color that isn't creme, or tan or SAFE.  And really, we didn't go crazy....it's just a lovely brown with creme trim.  (as seen above)  Everyone has creme with creme or brown with brown......no contrast.  So we took a quick trip to Lowe's and found a blue we both agreed on.  "Planetarium" blue to be exact.  We got the job done in a few hours.  A job like this is instant gratification and curb appeal so I was ready to rock it out.  (unlike, um, say........insulating the basement) 

So now that the job is complete and I've done a few "drive-by's" I am okay with the color.  This only happened after obsessing part of the morning and then sending a before a after shot to my sister and mom, who both confirmed it was bright but good.  So I moved on.  I found some lovely perennials to fill the planters on the front porch and feel better.  As Bengt and I were painting (while slightly scared about the color too....) we kept making up things that we thought the neighbors would be saying......."What were they thinking?"  "Why would you paint your door that color?"  etc. 

But if it's one thing we hope not to be.......it's LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!  Isn't this what we are trying to teach our children?  So therein lies the moral of the blue door story my friends!!!!!!!!