Saturday, October 27, 2007

First Plane Ride, East Coast Visit

I don't have the time to give a detailed description of our vacation but here's the quick version-- The kids were great on the planes, especially considering we sat on the runway for 2 hours while waiting to take off for our 1 hour flight. We had a great time at my sister's and played with my niece Marley. we also went to a festival where Talia took her first (and second and third) trip down a super big slide. Had sushi with Katie in the city and saw her new apartment, where Talia ran around naked. Drove Talia through Times Square on the way to NJ. She was sufficiently impressed! Relaxing time at Nana and Papa's. The weather was fantastic and it was nice to have other people who want to play with my kids! Ron and I even went to the movies. Off to Philadelphia where we saw many friends and had a nice time. If they ever send me pictures I'll post them (ahem ahem). We definitely miss friends and family (and I bought 5 pounds of yummy La Colombe Coffee) but we still love living in the midwest! We've only been here 4 months but I hope we feel that way forever!
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What we're eating: Squash and Rice Gratin

I've been meaning to add a new section to my blog called "What we're eating." I cook a lot and am always trying new recipes so I thought I'd keep track of them online. Unfortunately the pictures never look as good as the food. For example, this one looks like vomit. Whatever-- I'm going to do it anyway. This recipe is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers. It's a book I've had out of the library for a LONG time now and I'm enjoying pretty much everything I've made. Unfortunately, Deborah Madison must have someone else to clean up her kitchen for her because many of the recipes use every dish in my kitchen. I guess you have to get messy to eat well. Ron and I have something called the goodness to dish ratio. Basically you rate the tastiness of a meal and compare it to the messiness of kitchen (with the difficulty of preparation as well). If the goodness outweighs the dishes, you've got a winner. This was a winner. It was pretty good, (maybe a 4 out of 5?) and not a lot of dishes were used (maybe a 2/5?). I think I even cleaned up most of the meal while it was cooking-- something I rarely do. Decently healthy too-- without the cheese the meal is vegan!

Crookneck Squash and Rice Gratin with Summer Herbs from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers

1/2 c long grain rice (I used basmati and I made it in the rice cooker)
salt and pepper (fresh of course)
fresh parsley, a handful
marjoram and thyme (I used dried)
2 garlic cloves (I might recommend more)
2 tbl olive oil (I probably used more)
2 large leeks (white and some green, cut into thinnish moons)
2 pounds crookneck squash (I used two yellow squash and two zucchini, cut into thin rounds)
2 ounces of Gruyere (I probably used more like 5 ounces, grated)
1 tsp lemon zest

1. preheat oven to 350
2. make the rice (1 cup water to 1/2 cup rice, of course!)
3. chop the herbs and garlic and set aside
4. heat 2 tsp oil over medium low heat and saute the leeks for about 12 minutes. add some dry white wine if it starts to brown (I wanted to do this but was out of white wine! I think I added a tiny bit of water after a while)
5. add a bit of the garlic/ herbs and generously salt and pepper the leeks. saute a little longer and then scrape the mixture out.
6. return the pan to the stove and switch to high heat. add 4 tsp oil. saute the squash until golden brown. I thought I would never get a good result because the squash filled the pan but it shrinks a bit and all of the squash eventually made contact with the pan to brown. add more garlic and herbs, salt and pepper and saute a little longer.
7. turn off heat. add the leeks and rice and cheese. toss, season with salt and pepper and the rest of the garlic and herbs (I didn't have any left at this point!)

8. put the food into a pyrex or whatever you have and drizzle olive oil over the top (I didn't read about the oil until just now so I didn't do that). bake for 25-30 minutes.

9. sprinkle lemon zest on top just before serving. YUM! the recipe says serve hot or cold.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Matching Outfits

I can't really buy matching outfits for the kids so I thought maybe PJ's would work. These are definitely girly pj's (trim around the neck that thankfully you can't see!) but they looked so cute in matching sets! Alex wears Talia's old pink pj's anyway so this isn't much different. I really need to get a camera with a working flash though...
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apron Dress (The three hour "ten minute" dress)

Sewed this dress for Talia. I've had it in mind for a while. Another Target T-shirt top (must remember to learn how to "set-in sleeves" but a knit top is so much more comfy than woven anyway), cut off an inch under the arms, one yard of fabric sewn into a tube, hemmed, gathered and attached. Then I took a piece of fabric, hemmed it all around, gathered it a little at the top and attached it to a sash. Sewed the sash to the dress. Tie it in the back. Done! It should have taken ten minutes. Nope. Here were my mistakes:

1. I cut the skirt part of the fabric (eyeballed the correct length of course), hemmed it and sewed it into a tube AND GATHERED IT. I could tell right away that it would be "not spinny." I took the leftover fabric and created two panels. Ripped out the first seam, had to trim the entire skirt length an inch to match and repeated the whole process.

2. Ran out of thread while re-sewing the gathers. Had to rip that out and start again.

3. RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER! Sewed the shirt to the skirt inside out. Duh!

4. As always, "caught" some of the t-shirt fabric (creating a horizontal tuck) when attaching the skirt. Had to rip that out and fix it.

5. The skirt part in the back was bunching up above the bow when T moved around. Decided to sew the entire sash all the way around. This completely stretched out the knit fabric, looked ridiculous and did not cause the desired effect. Took it out, created belt loops to keep the sash in place. Of course the fabric is directional and one of the belt loops is upside down. I did not fix that.

6. Talia didn't like the dress, said it was too short (it is NOT) so I added a ruffle trim with embroidered hearts. I meant to use that in this project anyway but forgot.

7. T still hates the dress and I had to bribe her to wear it. I think she might like it better now. I guess I got some pictures and I can just save it to look at and caress because I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

Pumpkin Patch

Went to the Pumpkin Patch over the weekend. Talia had a great time with her friends and really enjoyed the corn maze, hayride, playground AND petting the farm kitties (wash your hands!).
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Welcome to Suburbia!

We've been "ghosted!" Someone left this on our doorstep this evening. It's a bag full of Halloween Goodies (almost all non-candy-- thank you!). The thing that freaks me out is that I answered the door pretty quickly and there was NO ONE in sight! Yikes! Those stealthy bastards! I honestly don't know who it was-- the only people who would bother don't live in our neighborhood and I think you're supposed to keep it local. Anyway, we get to pick two unsuspecting families to "ghost" ourselves. I have on family in mind but anyone else I would think of has most likely been "ghosted" already. You put the paper ghost on your door to show that you have already received a goody bag. I'll have to pay more attention when I drive through the neighborhood tomorrow morning. Anyway, thank you very much-- it really makes us feel like part of the community! PS- my flash no longer works so the pictures are coming out dark dark dark and quite wobble-y.
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Monday, October 15, 2007


That's right-- for less than $3 I got a hand-pieced quilt top to add to my collection.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not too sick

Alex hashad a fever the last few days. I guess he's feeling better. It was actually much colder than I thought... I guess I'm not such a good mom! Talia was wearing a tank top and short skirt and a light light jacket!
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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Two for the price of one!

I used the reverse (negative) image to make another shirt. I'm hooked!
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On the edge

"I'm kind of like a baby but kind of like a big girl too."

Out of the mouths of babes! What do you do when you child is mature enough to stay dry overnight but not mature enough to get out of bed and go to the bathroom at night without freaking out? Talia has NEVER been a good sleeper and still rarely sleeps through the night. Now that she can stay dry overnight we have a new set of problems. Up until a few weeks ago, she would just pee in a diaper overnight and not really notice. Now that she stays dry, she wakes up crying hysterically if she has to pee. The trick has been to give her "milky" early so she won't have to pee overnight. But we often go out after dinner to the park or somewhere else and she doesn't always get her milk in early enough. She has no problem wearing a diaper to bed but instead of peeing and staying asleep she now will wake up and cry if she has to pee. She thought she HAD peed in her diaper the other night and was really upset-- even though we weren't upset at all! I think I have created a monster. She still will forget to go to the bathroom during the day once in a while and pee "just a teeny tiny bit" in her panties and certainly doesn't feel any shame about that so... what's the deal!?!?

Three nights ago Talia had a fever and woke up with nightmares about "people who grew taller and taller." She also freaked out because her water bottle was in front of her clock and it created a prism effect and the water bottle glowed red. She kept thinking people were coming into her room. She woke up hysterical and talking nonsense three times. Now she won't sleep with her nightlight and wants the door open and the hall light on. I bet Alex will sleep through the night before she does.

On another note, we moved Alex to his room (out of ours) and of course, he got his first fever/sickness that very night and is now back in our room. He woke up 4 times before 11:30pm. Last night I kept him well-medicated and we was acutally fine (in our room). We'll try again in another night or two.
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Details:: 8 :: Fresh Flowers

You can get the most beautiful bold colored flower bouquets for $5 at every Farmer's Market in Madison. I get fresh flowers at least once a week. Sadly they don't last as long as I would like. I think I need to take EACH flower are get all the leaves off the stems and that might make a difference. Usually I just chop off the bottoms and throw them in a vase. Still, for $5 what could be better?
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First tooth!

Hooray for Alex! He got his first tooth about a week ago. He's been sleeping better ever since. Phew!
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I've been going to garage sales on Friday mornings after I drop T at school. I'm really just looking for another exersaucer for the basement. By the time I find one Alex will have grown out of it already. I just go on Craigslist, pick out a few sales that say "kids' stuff" and are in my area and then plug the addresses into my GPS. I *love* GPS! Anyway, I saw one that said "many quilts" so I added it to my list. When I got there I noticed a very determined looking woman had just gotten out of her car and was heading up the driveway. She literally SNATCHED a handmade double wedding ring quilt ($20) out from under me. She also took another one I wanted. I overheard her saying she wants to use them to practice her machine free-quilting (Not a bad idea actually). I got this fantastic 1970's polyester blend material quilt. It is very much "of an era!" There are some really wild prints. It's huge-- at least a queen size. I don't know what kind of batting was used but this quilt weighs about a million pounds. The back looks like it might be a floral bed sheet with light blue strips attached to each side. It is machine pieced and hand quilted in diagonal rows (each square has an "X" quilted in it). $12.50, I'm thrilled! I also got about 20 hand embroidered hankies and dishtowels ($0.50 each). I hope to piece them together... someday. At another sale I got a bunch of clothes for Alex including a pair of 80's white overalls with red, blue, green and yellow airplanes on them. I also got a yellow fireman/ policeman jacket for $1 that I gave to T's class. Those kids LOVE firefighters.
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Better than expected

I made my first freezer paper stencil shirt. It came out GREAT! (ok, it's a little off center. I seem to be doing that lately...) I originally used a glitter fabric paint. I thought it was silver glittery paint but it turned out to be clear with silver glitter. I just put the blue on top so now it's actually blue with a hint of glitter. I love it. It was very easy but I had to force myself to be precise-- I HATE being precise-- in my tracing and cutting. I have a bunch of other stencils I want to do. I have to find a plain shirt for Talia... I can't wait for this to dry so Alex can wear it!
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Sunday, October 07, 2007


So my kid is a pillow flipper. BIG TIME. During the 10 minutes or so before she falls asleep she flips her pillow over approximately every 20 seconds. Oftentimes she will ask me to do it for her. She says she likes it to be cold.

I don't flip my pillow. I don't think I have EVER, even once flipped my pillow. I guess I prefer a warm pillow. I always, even in the summer, use flannel sheets to avoid having a cold pillow. I know Papa (my dad) likes a cold pillow. I think my sister does as well. Ron says he occassionally flips his pillow.

It's quite frustrating to see T so uncomfortable in bed. Once I saw an ad for a product that is supposed to keep your pillow cold. It's a Chillow. No Joke. I bought it for my dad about 5 years ago. I don't think it was particularly magical for him but I have now purchased one for Talia. I hope it comes soon-- this flipping thing is getting annoying.