Monday, February 28, 2011

Kale, it's what's for dinner!

My crazy aunt (she knows it's true) gave me this yummy recipe last week.
 http://www.denverpost.com/rss/ci_17001586?source=rss
 Normally, it takes me a while to get to recipes.  They sit around for weeks or months or years until I finally try them out.  BUT... since we just git a big bunch of Kale in our farm share box and this recipe has the word "lasagna" in the title, it got moved to the top of the pile.   I started it during naptime, with special help from my good friend Coffee.  We're besties, especially mid-afternoon on a rainy day.  This is my ingredient pile:
You may notice, if you're comparing my picture to the recipe, that I have a rogue yellow pepper sneaking into things.  I thought the recipe could use a little more veggie, and my pepper didn't have many more days left on this earth, so in it went.


Into a saute pan with some chopped up garlic (I love my cuisunart chopper!), left to simmer for waaay longer than the recipe says (15 seconds??), because garlic deserves to be treated well.  Can you smell it?  

We pretty much followed the instructions after that...   with one exception.  Even though the recipe says to use 6 lasagna noodles, using 2 noodles per layer, that just didn't seems right to me.  I used the size pan that the recipe calls for, and decided that 9 noodles really worked better.  We don't have many pictures of the layering... mainly because it's hard to layer a lasagna and take pictures while carrying your apprentice on your hip.  We did get this one, which shows that some tiny teeth decided to taste-test the noodles to make sure they were worthy of such a yummy dish...


The recipe says to bake for 40 minutes, until the cheese on top is meted and the lasagna is bubbly.  I forgot to turn on my timer, but by the time I thought to check on it, it met both criteria, and had some lovely crispy edges.  Perfect!


Hubby was excited.  Here's his plate... 


He, of course, wanted the piece in the middle.  I told him that seriously affected my chances of getting out in good enough shape to be photographed, but hubby wouldn't be swayed.  It came out relatively unharmed in the end.  I got the crispy corner.  We like lasagna the same way we like brownies, it seems. :)

Ten minutes later...

We both had seconds.  It was declared delish, with the goat cheese and red pepper flakes adding surprising layers of flavor and kick.  We'd definitely make this one again, and would keep the yellow peppers, too!

Raina ate two bananas for dinner.

A lesson in mothering, bribery, and shopping with a toddler.

Today, Raina and I went to Target.  Like any good mama, I told her (as we were walking in the doors) that I'd buy her a toy if she sat nicely in the cart while I did boring things like pick out vitamins and search through the clearance racks for a bathing suit in her size.  Really, she'd be happy if I let her ride up and down the escalator while I shopped, but I'm pretty sure they frown on that.  Anyway, we started out in the dollar section, always a dangerous place.  DOLLAR PLAYDOH!  Score!  I opened the box, handed her a little pink tub, and off we went to vitamins.  Where, of course, the ones I wanted were out of stock.  Target:1 Me: 0.




After a ridiculously long discussion with an employee about why I wanted those particular vitamins, and not one of the other 500 hundred varieties they *did* have in stock (Gummy, on sale.  Really.), we trekked off to bathing suits.  Slim pickings, considering that we are still knee deep in snow here.  I did find 2 cute ones, though… and some kitty pi's… and that ruffle top and pants set I've been daydreaming about… and another kitty shirt.  All on clearance, though, so it's okay.  Right??  Target: 2  Me: 0.


Time to hit the toy aisles.  We played with a little laptop, tested Mickey's dancing abilities, ooh'd and aahd'd over the Barbie dolls.  We said our hellos to the dolls, pulled all the playdoh toys off the shelves, yelled "Moo!" at the little people farm.  We did it all.  By the last aisle, Raina was in the back of the cart with a pretty white Furreal Kitty (she has an older, WELL loved version of the same cat at home), and a large toy horse with accessories.  Both $19.  Then Raina spotted the Thomas the Train section.  "Choo Choooooo!!" she yelled.  I took down an Edward, shiny, wooden, blue, and according to the hanger it was on, $8.99.  Winner!  She got the choochoo, I saved $11.  Back went the other animals, and along came Edward to the registers.  The total was more than I expected, but since we had added in diapers, some aquaphor, and the $1 playdoh, I figured it was probably true and paid up.


We tried to leave then, we really did.  But the Target cafe pizza smelled so good, and I was so hungry.  One pizza please!  I split it in half between us.  And Raina immediately knocked my half on the floor, cheese side down.  All I could find in my bag to replace it was a bag of mixed nuts and some corn chex.  Target: 3 Me: 0.


Back in the car, I strapped Raina in, unboxed Edward, and handed over the beloved choochoo.  As I buckled myself in, I checked my receipt.  All was as expected… until I got to Edward.  $20.99.  $20.99?!  Seriously??  Apparently, he was on the wrong display.  Apparently I should have used a price scanner to check his true cost.  Apparently, you should read your receipt before removing toys from their original packaging and rendering them un-returnable.  Target: 4 Me: 0.




You win, Target.  You win.  Lesson learned.
And you better love that train, kiddo.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shoes.

I love shoes.  Little shoes, shiny shoes, sparkly shoes.  Shoes.  Recently, I noticed a few pairs of Raina's shoes lined up by the door, and I just couldn't resist taking a picture.

 
Before I know, her shoes will be much bigger, and these little shoes will be another memory.  Sigh.  She's growing so fast!  

I love shoes with feet in them, too... (and not in a weird and creepy way!)

Cute little fall feet, crunching up leaves.

Shiny, fancy shoes.  (Which the little miss can't stand...)

Party shoes, painted shoes, tiny butterflies.  Does it get any cuter?


When Raina was in daycare, she would frequently look like this by the end of the day.  Life is tough in toddler-land.  (On the left, one sock is missing.  Just one...)


My little fashionista has had quite a shoe wardrobe in her short life!  Her favorites, by far, are these:



My mom, Raina, and I went on a Christmas shopping day-trip back in November, and these shoes came home with us.  Bought in a Christmas music induced haze?  Perhaps?  But the "Who-whooooos," as they are affectionately known around here, are the go to shoes.  Her favorite outfit?  The owl crocs and a fleece scarf.  Too bad they are pretty inappropriate for Boston winters  :).  




New shoes. (Not photographed on model yet!)
(I think it's impossible for me to pass up purple shoes.  Or star shoes.)

Okay, you get the picture.  I love shoes!  Let me just leave you with one last picture... maybe my favorite shoe picture...


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Did somebody say... more hairbows?!

I've been at it again.  The dowels.  The clothespins.  The hot glue...


Yep, more bows!  I've been trying out some new styles, as seen on the right.  Also new to the bow box...


bzzzz!  Look who's flying in for spring!

I've been meaning to try out some "sculptured" bows...  the bee has been pretty successful, and there are some butterflies in beginning stages on my work table, too.  

These bows look pretty cute in my kid's hair, really cute if you ask me.  But what I'd love, what I would really really really love... is to see them look cute on someone else's kid, too!  I've amassed quite a collection of bows since I started hoarding ribbon and baking sheets for my newest hobby... it's be nice to be able to sell them somewhere.  Anyone have any thoughts?  I put together an Etsy shop, but so far I've got no looks, no likes, no nuthin.  As much as I love Etsy, it's so easy for shops to get lost in it.  I used to have a jewelry shop on Etsy, and I had the same trouble with that one.  A few pieces sold here and there, but mostly I felt like I just kept paying fees to list and relist, and it was getting me nowhere.  So do you know and shops?  Any fairs?  Anything that can point me in the right direction?  Drop me a comment, let me know!  Thanks!



(cuteness, in action.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Artist in the making...



Some kids are shy with paint.  Some are neat with it, and don't want any on their hands.  Some are just not interested.  Raina...  Raina would bathe in the paint if I let her.  We've taken a few art classes together this past year, and I can say without a doubt that she is *in love* with paint.  By the end of class, she has purple feet, red streaked hair, a green spotted belly, and is green from fingertips to elbows.  Yep, this kid was born to be an artist.
Last week I posted about a project we did with silly new brushes, that now hangs proudly in our kitchen.  Raina's room is decorated with her own original masterpieces, and her work hangs in the homes of many esteemed art critics (Gramma, Nana, Aunties... we've got all the big names hooked!)  Want to see some of her past works of art?





Markers and paintings and stamps, OH MY!  I always wanted a messy little crafty kid... and I was blessed to get one!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Butterflies!

For a looooooooong time, this project from Samster Mommy has been on my crafty "To Do" list:  http://samstermommy.blogspot.com/2009/07/butterfly-collage.html .  I love butterflies to begin with, and this project looks so bright and happy and springy!  Last week, we had two days of 60 degree weather, and it absolutely gave me SPRING FEVER!  Ever since, I've been dressing Raina in tellow and pink and orange, hoping to lure the spring back out and push this winter away!  This project is another attempt at that :).  Anyway...  it's been bookmarked for well over a year.  Last fall I finally bought the paper punch.  Right before Christmas I sat around one night, ignoring the mountains of wrapping that needed to be done, and punched out hundreds of butterflies from scrapbook paper and magazines.  Still... nothing happened.  Last night, finally...





Butterflies!!!

I am SO happy with the way it came out!  I used a regular, plain old white artists' canvas (much cheaper at Ocean State Job Lot than from an art supply store) and marked out the spots to glue on my beautiful little flutterbies.  Seriously, I think this is the part that has been making me put off the project.  Measuring?  Marking?  No thanks.  I much prefer to just "go for it!"  (something that has landed me in trouble more than once with art projects).  But I did it.  Two rulers, two pencils, and one canvas in hand... I marked out spots in one inch squares.  In retrospect, I wish I hadn't stsrted the markings one inch in and one inch from the side.  It left a border that I would rather not have had, but I guess that's a lesson for next time... and there will be a next time.  I think half an inch in and half an inch down would be better starting points, and then do the one inch markings from then on.  I spread out my butterflies, dotted glue on my pencil marks, and started making my butterflies fly!  On the advice of Samster Mommy, I folded them in half before gluing to give a more 3D effect, and definitely recommed doing so.  There was no real color planning, I just reached in for the next, only making sure there were no repeats next to or on top of each other. 





I think it will look lovely in Raina's room, don't you?  (Just say yes!)  For an accompanying piece, my plan is to give Raina a canvas, glue, and some extra butterflies to see what she comes up with.  Stay tuned!

Oh, if you're wondering... this is the punch I used:  http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Stewart-Punch-Classic-Butterfly/dp/B002BTMVM8 .  Martha Stewart punch, classic butterfly.  I looked for other options, but this one ended up being my favorite, for size, shape, and sturdiness of the punch.  You can usually find craft store coupons that will get you a discount if you buy it in a store.  I'm also dreaming of a project that uses Martha's monarch butterfly punch, also by Samster Mommy (Can you tell I love her blog?!)  http://samstermommy.blogspot.com/2010/07/pottery-barn-butterfly-mobile.html .  I fel in love with the original one from Pottery Barn, but not the price.  Maybe once my butterfly puncher from this project are used up, I'll give that one a try!  Yay butterflies!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Dinner

...a day late!

Somehow (ahem, 2 year old) my plans for a festive Valentines dinner went down the tubes.  We ended up with pasta and caulifower.  Because nothing says "I love you, honey!" like a big 'ol plate of caulifower, right?  So on Tuesday, refreshed by my afternoon "me" time I decided to give it another try.  This is what we ended up with:



Spicy potatoes, individual heart shaped turkey meatloaves (with red sauce), and heart-healthy veggies.  My sous-chef extroidinairre, (the lovely Raina) helped season the potatoes and mix up the meatloaf.  She definitely eats better when she has helped cook, and loves to be involved in what I'm doing in the kitchen!  The only part of the meal that didn't make it...  after slicing the potatoes, Raina helped me scoop them into a big bowl of water that we had colored red with fod coloring,  They soaked for a while, Raina stirred them for a while... we (I) hoped that they would pick up some of the food coloring and turn a festive shade of pink.  No such luck.  Though with the cayenne powder, paprika, and seasoned salt (applied liberally - thank you Raina!) they did end up sort of red in the end!  Everyone ended up a member of the clean plate club... hubby even had seconds!! 

I realy look forward to having Raina's help in the kitchen more and more as she gets older.  It may make things messier, and it takes about twice as long... but it's also twice as fun! 

Here's a look back at some of my kitchen-input when I was younger.  A plate I left out for Santa, who was surely tired of the regular cookies:
Happy cooking!

Operation: Naptime.

Raina has never been a great daytime sleeper.  Since she's always been a great nighttime sleeper, though, I've just considered myself lucky enough, and let it go.  Some time last summer, Raina decided to go on nap strike altogether.  The only way to get in some sleep was to wear her out at the playground, and push her around in the stroller afterward until she gave in to sleep.  Then the cold days came, and daily stroller naps were not always an option.  So I got her to nap with me on the couch, and now we've done this nearly every day for at least 2 hours since.  While it didn't leave me much time for my housewife-y duties, I did love the 2 hr rest every day, and the snuggle time with my otherwise "too busy to slow down for a hug" kid.  However... lately I've been thinking how nice it might be to have those 2 hours for myself in the sfternoon... and not just craning my neck to play jewelquest on my phone while hoping not to wake up Sleeping Beauty.  I have bows to make, laundry mountains to put away, and maybe I could even start dinner before 6 some nights!  So today I began... OPERATION NAPTIME!

At 2, regular naptime, I brought her upstairs to her room, saying that today Raina's nap would be in her bed, and Momma's nap would be in her bed.  We read "Goodnight Moon" (our bedtime book), and she went in her crib with no problem.  And then proceeded to sing "mama" to the tunes of every song she knows for an hour and fourty five minutes.  Occasionally she'd yell out a plaintive "mamaaaaaaaaaaa," and then resume her singing.  I was prepared to leave her up there for 2 hours as long as she wasn't too upset, and was starting to think that we were going to end up with a napless afternoon when suddenly, I heard it.  Or rather, didn't hear it.  Silence.  Really?  Really?!  She was napping?!  It lasted for a miraculous 32 minutes.  I went up to get her, excited to praise her and hopeful that this was going to be relatively easy on both of us.  Open the door... NAKED TODDLER.  Me: "Raina, you're naked!"  Raina: "HAHAHA!  YAH!!!"  Fortunately, nothing.... happened.

Today, we had a busy morning of playing with some of Raina's "big kid" friends.  We came home just after lunch, played quietly for a little bit, and then headed up for the same book routine as yesterday.  She even let me tuck her in.  I closed her door, expecting to hear the sound of crib-trampolining behind me, or singing.  Nothing.  She was asleep in minutes, and now, over an hour later, is still quiet.  Hooray!

Could it be this easy?  I expected crying and screaming and fighting.  I guess we'll see how it goes tomorrow, but for now... I'm happy!  Blogging and sipping coffee and planning craft projects... it's nice to have some "me" time!  Though truth be told...  I do miss the snuggles!!

Here's a look back at the days when Raina DID take naps!...




Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Did you do anything special to celebrate the day?  Raina and I made some Valentines for her special people: 



Pretty simple, and completely unique!  These were our supplies:  foam heart stickers, scrapbook paper, shimmery bingo stampers, markers, kitty stickers.  Ta-Da!!  True to form, I have still not mailed them.  Oops.  Looks like we'll be extending the holiday yet again!  I'm great with making cards... pretty good with writing them out... and terrible at actually mailing them.  :)  Even before I was a Mom this was the case, so I can't even blame it on my busy Mom schedule.  Alas...

Hubby and I had a lovely Valentines date while Miss Raina played with her Nana this weekend.  Friday night: dinner and shopping at IKEA!  Saturday: sleep til 10 (!), stay in p-jams til 5, dinner at a yummy Japanese fusion restaraunt, desert and drinks at Finale, and a midnight movie.  Okay, so maybe the midnight movie wasn't the best idea.  Maybe we almost fell asleep.  But the adventure was fun!

So Happy Valentine's Day, however you spend it!  May your day be filled with love... and I'll leave you with a picture of mine...


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Buried in Hairbows

I have a small problem.  I can't stop making curly hairbows.  See, I love hairbows.  I used to spend all kinds of money buying pretty curly ribbons for Raina.  My husband told me I should learn how to make them, so after a good visit with my friend Google for instruction I started making them.  And now...  I can't stop.

They're pretty simple once you learn the tricks!  Here are some basic instructions:
1.  Get some wooden dowels and cut them down to a managable size.
2.  Wrap them with ribbon from the craft store...  grossgrain and satin work really well.
3.  Secure ends...  I find wooden clothespins work best.  I tried straight pins, but my fingertips didn't like that solution.
4.  Arrange on a cookie sheet.
5.  Bake for 25 minutes at 275 degrees.
6.  Let cool and unwind.
7.  Cut into lengths depending on how big in diameter you want your bows to be.
8.  Sew curly ribbon pieces together, through centers,  Go through 4-5 times, then tie a good knot in the bottom.
9.  Use hot glue to attach to alligator or french spring hairclip.

YAY!
(This picture is really only a very SMALL part of the madness...)