Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm totally Gleek - how about you?  I look forward to Tuesday night like a little kid looks forward to Christmas!  And by Tuesday night, I mean whatever night after Tuesday we can squeeze in 42 minutes to watch it on the DVR, because who has time for commercials anymore? My favorite episodes are the mash-ups where they take two seemingly unrelated songs and make something better.  I'm always amazed at the creativity of those kids - um, I mean producers.

Anyways, last night we were having a different kind of mash-up in our house.  Dinner time is never fun for little Miss T.  She is a great eater for breakfast and lunch, but dinner has never been her thing.  I've stopped being insulted (kind of) that she won't eat anything I make, no matter how long I've slaved away at the stove (microwave), and that she'd rather eat the raw ingredients including shredded cheese and frozen peas.  I've tried to stay away from the motivation of condiments.  We will not be a household that considers ketchup a vegetable!  However, the inevitable happened and now T has a liking for both ketchup and ranch dressing.  OK, fine, if she'll eat the food dipped, I'll learn how to deal.  Usually, though, she just sucks the condiment off of the bite and dips again.  Total fail.

Last night, T decided to make some new mash-up combinations of food and condiments.  I'm sure we're all familiar with dipping chicken in ketchup or ranch, perhaps even french fries.  Last night, T decided to dip pomegranate seeds into ranch dressing.  Ever try doing this?  It's basically battered in dressing and now so are your fingers because this is work that a fork or a spoon just can't handle.  In doing so, T also discovered that a more efficient condiment delivery system is just to dip your entire hand into that beautiful puddle of flavor.  Why waste time with some bite of food that will just get in the way and cloud the savory taste?  Before I knew it, her hands were completely coated in ranch dressing and she was rubbing them together as if washing with soap! 

Silver lining?   At least the girl has mastered the mechanics of hand washing.  That came in handy as I carried her up to her bath at arms length and plopped her in a tub full of bubbles.  I think I need to hide the ranch dressing now or the girl will be hitting the sauce straight out of the bottle!

p.s. By the way, don't think for a second that the condiment will hide food that you want her to eat.  She was no fool when I tried to dip a bite of zucchini into ranch.  In addition to hand washing, the girl has mastered twisting as far away from the offensive food offer while whining "noooooooo!". sigh.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

sigh, December

Anyone else's calendar look like this?

December 2011

Work, then stuff
Work, then - Whoa!  Open Day! Quick fill it up!

Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then - Whoa!  Open Day! Quick fill it up!

Stuff –
Morning, afternoon
Stuff –
all day
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Work, then - Whoa!  Open Day! Quick fill it up!

Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Work, then stuff
Drive 18 hours
Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Whoa!  Open Day! Quick fill it up!

Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day
Stuff –
all day

What is it about December that we need to cram everything in and then some?  sigh, I don't even know when we are going to get our Christmas tree or even do our shopping!  Oh January, I look forward to your serenity and peace!

Monday, November 28, 2011

So thankful for my husband!

OK, I know Thanksgiving was last week and we're all just coming out of our turkey comas (well for me, it was a stuffing/mash potato/squash/broccoli/carrots and turnips coma!), but I really do want to share just how thankful I am for that wonderful man I married.

I've always felt very lucky to have him by my side, supporting me.  He is truly my best friend, a great husband and a terrific father.  However, this past week, all of that was made more true a thousand times over.  As usual, we began our holiday trek up north Tuesday night.  (Apparently, Tuesday is the new Wednesday as far as Thanksgiving travel.  We were so ahead of the curve!)  We timed our departure for T's bedtime so she would settle down quickly and we could enjoy the trip (and our snacks) in peace.  Our dear friend C was spending the week with us too and was following behind.  Our travel route is nearly carved in stone.  However, early on, there appeared to be a one-hour back up.  The GPS easily got us around that with only minor delays and we were so pleased at the time we were making given the holiday rush.  With only a few miles to go until our mid-point rest stop for gas and french fries, our trip quickly turned into a disaster. 

All of a sudden, our tire went flat.  It was midnight, cold and rainy.  We were on the side of the Garden State Parkway with T and Dru in the back.  After calling AAA (thank goodness we renewed!), we were told that it would be about 45minutes until help arrived.  My wonderful, self-sacrificing husband made the decision that I couldn't have made and though I didn't want to go along with it, I knew he was right.  We would transfer T, Dru and our suitcases to C's SUV and continue our trip without him.  Knowing that he wouldn't be able to drive the remaining 180 miles on a spare tire, B would have to find a hotel and get the tire fixed the next morning.  So, in the freezing rain, the transfer was made and us girls (and Dru) were on our way, my heart and gut wrenching at the thought of leaving B on the side of the highway.

It's moments like these that solidify what an amazing husband I have.  As tired as we were, we made the right decision for his family in a split second.  By lunch time the next day, we were reuinited.  I love you B!  Thank you for being so wonderful to us!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fond memories

Last week, we said goodbye to my grandmother.  She was my dad's mom, and until I was 11, the only grandmother I knew.  Because my dad didn't get along with my mom's family, until their divorce, we only spent time with his side.  So, for 11 years, we spent summer afternoons, holidays, and birthdays with my Grandma.  After the divorce, I didn't get to see her as much.  She was always very kind and welcoming to my mom and I still spent some weekends with her, but our lives got busy and there was less and less time to go see Grandma.  I haven't spent much time with her over the past 20 years, but I do still have many fond memories of her that I would like to share.
My Grandma was Miss Massachusetts!  Pretty cool, huh?  She survived three husbands and one of her five biological children (three girls and two boys).  She also adopted three more children (one girl and two boys), one of whom was my closest friend growing up as we were only one year apart.

My Grandma loved dogs and always had them, from giant slobbering great white Samoyeds to disciplined, trained German Shepherds.  I think I got my love of dogs (and animals in general) from her.

My Grandma LOVED McDonald's.  I think in part, it is because she always remembered how good it was when they first started and actually served real meat in their burgers.  Anyways, she would take us there on the weekends and she would always order extra pickles, like, a small cup of pickles!

My Grandma often wore polyester pants, sweatshirts with kitties or dogs on them and a turtleneck.  She was always comfortable, but she was also always very primped.  Her silvery-white hair was short on the sides and curled on top - the classic Grandma look!

She wore Jean Nate.  There was always Dial soap in her bathroom.  Today, I cannot used original Dial soap without thinking of her.

She was our "Grandma with the pool".  We loved swimming in her above ground pool, making whirlpools, playing Marco Polo and perfecting our flips and handstands.  I also learned how to do the "Ariel" in her pool. :)

She lied about her age pretty much since the day she was born!  B and I went to an 80 birthday party for her about 11 years ago and that was the first time I ever really knew how old she was.  She was 91 when she passed away.  I do regret that I wasn't able to see her much these last couple of years.  From what my family tells me, she probably wouldn't have remember me anyways due to the Alzheimer's. 

Eleanor Myrle (Woodward) Wright had 8 children, 18 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.  She loved her family, as well as reading and the weekend garage sale.  Thank you for the fond memories and time spent together Grandma.  I hope you knew that I loved you and had a special place in my heart for you.

A good sampling of family in a polaroid, so you know its old school! I'm the one in the pink and white striped dress, bottom left. My brother is to the right in the orange and grey striped shirt with the bowl cut.  My Grandma and Grumpy Grandpa are right above me. 

My Grandma on her 88th birthday with two of her great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sugar and Spice

No snakes, or snails, or puppy dog tails... we're all girl here!

We had our anatomy ultrasound yesterday and had two people confirm for us that we are having another girl!  I'm so excited! 

Leading up to yesterday, I would have been really happy either way.  A boy would even things out, give the full experience of parenting, carried on the family name; a girl would be a best friend for T, another adorable Daddy's girl, and more sweet dresses!  Once we found out it was a girl, I was a little surprised at how happy that news made me!  Yay!  Two little girls!  Two daughters! Uh-oh, two weddings! ;)

Immediately, I began thinking about all the things I want/have to do now:
  1. Sort out T's closet and dresser to make room for her sister. 
  2. Wash and put away all the newborn items that we'll need right away.
  3. Make a list of things we'll need to stock up on (nursing pads, newborn diapers, crib sheets, milk storage bags, etc.)
  4. Research and purchase another crib.
  5. Rearrange T's room to make space for two.
  6. Start making handmade items:
    1. sleeping gowns
    2. bibs
    3. hats
    4. crib skirt
    5. blanket
I am both daunted and excited by the list above.  I have so much going on with school, but I can't wait to start these projects too!  Here are some of my inspirations:

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Miss T's crib skirt made from the Amy Butler Little Stitches pattern.

Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

I can't wait to start tackling this list and giving you updates on my progress.  Maybe I'll even craft a tutorial or two along the way!  I'm really excited about the sleeping gown project.  How cute would it be to have it lined with minky on the inside!?  So soft and comfy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Corn and Potato Chowder

There's something about brisk autumn air that makes chowders and hearty soups so appealing.  Easy, one pot recipes are awesome too, especially when a certain 19-month old insists on you picking her up every time you're at the stove! :)

So, I know this isn't a recipe/food blog, but I had to share this recipe because it was so good and it was completely vegetarian!  Even so, it was hearty enough that my non-veggie hubs loved it and had seconds (OK, I did too!)

This recipe was originally from the Disney Family Fun page, but I've made some modifications.  I'll star the changes I've made:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil*
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped*
  • 5 1/2 cups vegetable stock*
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 large all-purpose potato, peeled and diced*
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced*
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Black pepper, to taste
In general, I doubled the potatoes and celery, added a sweet potato for color, and substituted veggie stock for chicken stock. I'm always adding more veggies to recipes! :)  I'm sure you meaties out there would love to add bacon to this recipe, but it definitely doesn't need it!
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or medium soup pot.
  2. Stir in the onion and celery.
  3. Partially cover the pan and cook the vegetables over moderate heat for 9 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the veggie stock, corn, potato, and salt and bring the mixture to a low boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and flour.
  7. Stir the mixture into the soup with the pepper.
  8. Bring the soup back to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes.

Altogether, this took me about 40 minute to prepare.  Super easy, very satisfying, and definitely delicious!  Garnish with chopped dill or parsely, I totally forgot to do this! Serve with rolls or bread and you have yourself a meal!

Of course, this recipe was found via Pinterest, my new best friend in the kitchen!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

364 more days until Halloween

You know that feeling when Christmas is all over?  When all the presents are opened, all the get-togethers have been had, when you're so full you think you'll never eat again?  You know that sad feeling that you have to wait an entire year for those festivities to roll around again?

That's how I felt last night after tucking T into bed and turning off our outside light.  I have to wait an entire year for Halloween to roll around again.  sigh.

We had such a great night.  After a rushed dinner, we got dressed in our costumes, met up with our fabulous neighbors and their two adorable girls and headed out into the neighborhood.  I was a little worried about T.  She was scared of our jack-o-lantern and normally doesn't like people in costumes.  At the first couple of houses, she didn't want to go up their stairs.

After we went through the process a few times though, the girl was loving it!  She was dancing and hop-stepping down the street, pulling her Daddy to the next house, reaching in not once, but twice for the candy and each time she would come away from the door with a humongous grin on her face!  So adorable!

We went to about 15 houses in our neighborhood and headed home.  Now, I'm not a crazy, no sugar ever, kind of mom, but T (as far as I know) has never had candy before.  Sure, she's had cake, bites from my brownies, cookies, etc., but not candy.  I let her have most of a fun size pack of m&m's and that girl was in heaven!  She was popping them two at a time! 

She helped me finish handing out candy and then the lights went off and she went to bed. 

Nothing like brisk fall evening air to tire a little girl out!  After closing her door and heading back downstairs, the sadness kicked in.  That's it for Halloween 2011.  There is a silver lining though, I've already figured out what the four of us will be next year!  Let's just say it involves some favorite video game characters.  I better get to work if I don't want to be finishing our costumes on 10-31-12!