Saturday, September 27, 2008

"How's the Garden?" you might ask...

The garden is still going strong. We've had a resurgence in peppers and eggplants-- definitely enough to keep up with though. The recent rains have revived my parsley crop. The cherry tomatoes are still coming in strong with many many new yellow flowers that may or may not have a chance to become tomatoes before the first frost. I'm sort of sick of cherry tomatoes-- sick of eating them, sick of picking them, sick of seeing them. I don't pick them that often so when I do (twice a week?) I have way too many and some are overripe. They are seem to be splitting either on the vine or right after being picked. I don't have an abundance of big tomatoes but I have some. They seem to be really small. I actually bought tomatoes last week, can you believe it? I think I went three months without buying them so... I guess that would be about $100 saved. I'll subtract it from the cost of the garden bed, books, seeds and plants etc. Actually, at that rate it will only take me about 4 years of tomato savings to work it off.

The one thing I know nothing about is how to put the garden bed to sleep. Rip up the old plants and then what? Can I bring some of my herbs inside? which ones? There's nothing I hate more than paying for fresh herbs at the grocery store. Any advice would be appreciated!
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Party of Two

Alex is finally old enough to really play with Talia. Today he wore a necklace and a homemade apron to Talia's tea party and actually took sips of pretend tea and shared a snack with his sister. He wants to be just like her-- it's adorable. Most of the time she allows him to play with or next to her. She's such a good sister. If he's crying she trys to find a way to make it better. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this friendship lasts a long long time.
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Uncle Mikey Visited Us!

We had a great time with Uncle Mikey! We went to the farmer's market on Saturday (cheesy bread!), the Dells for waterslides on Sunday, and the cloth diaper store on Monday (thanks for being such a trooper Mike!). The kids had a great time too-- especially Talia who got to play Trouble, Uno and have a tea party. She's already asked for Mikey to come back. Thanks for coming all the way from Boston.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Haircut for Miss T

T has been asking for a haircut for quite some time. We compromised-- she wanted it a few inches shorter and I wanted to still be able to put it up. I like it and might consider going shorter next time. She likes it too but did cry over it at least once ("I want my long hair back!"). She definitely doesn't like it touching her neck (it "tickles") so she's sporting some cute short pigtails these days. Sleeping lately has been pretty good with both kids. Alex is doing great actually, but Talia is still waking up each night-- usually twice. The first time is usually a night terror and the second she just wants her blankets fixed and some patting. She's so lovey and cute at those times that it's hard to refuse.

Two nights ago she had a weird night terror where she kept licking her hand and then rubbing it on my arms and face, sort of like how a tiger might clean her cub. She was also freaking out, mostly incoherently, but possibly about a bear caught in a trap? Her eyes were darting around the room like she was witnessing something scary. Her class has been reading The Magic Tree House at school and the story takes place in the jungle so... maybe that's the issue? I don't know. It was freaky!
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Left Out

Talia wanted a shirt of her own. She picked out the fabric for the 4 1/2-- it doesn't have great contrast with the pink shirt but it will do... Note the "half cupcake." I know, it's cute.
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What We're Eating: Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Mint, Feta and Lime

I know it doesn't seem like these ingredients go together but they are delicious! This salad is really easy to make because you don't have to toss the salad or mix the dressing separately.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Feta, Mint and Lime

1. Cut equal parts tomato chunks and watermelon chunks (equal size). I used half a mini watermelon and about three big tomatoes.
2. Crumble feta and sprinkle chopped fresh mint on top. The mint in key so use more than you think you need.
3. Drizzle olive oil on top (just a little) and add fresh salt (a little) and pepper (a medium amount).
4. Squeeze lime over everything-- I would probably use at least two limes for maximum flavor.

See how easy that is? This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe. I saw so many salad recipes this summer with watermelon in them and I wondered how they must taste. Really great!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

What We're Eating: Grilled Salad

This is one of my favorite salads of all time: Grilled Caesar Salad. Grilling romaine lettuce gives it an amazing flavor. Lots of garlic, shaved parmesan and tons of fresh lemon juice make it stand out. I like to serve it when friends come over because the taste is so unexpected. Of course, it must be cooked on the spot and served immediately so I only pair it with a main dish that either goes in the oven or simmers on the stove so I'm don't have to cook anything else while guests are here.

I basically slice a head of romaine down the center, paint it with olive oil and chopped garlic and then let it sear on my grill pan or saute pan until it starts to turn black. Then I flip it over. I've tried to cut it up first and that works ok too. I just toss it in the pan a little. When it's getting black all over I transfer to a plate, cut it up and add salt, pepper, shaved parmesan and lots of lemon juice-- maybe two lemons per lettuce head. It has to be really tart. Sometimes I add lemon zest too. I've tried it with anchovy oil but it didn't really seem to make a difference. Serve this with crusty bread and a yummy soup and it is a great meal. Try it-- you won't be disappointed!
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See, I am crafting!

We have some birthdays coming up. I made these for friends Mira and Eli. Now if only I can get to the post office...
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Freezer Paper Stencil for My Niece

Made this shirt for my niece Marley (My sis designed it). Had to let Alex model it though-- love him in pink!
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Quilting Update

Park Slope Fabric

I have a blog stat counter on here and it gives me a tiny bit of information about the people who visit my blog. I know that many of the people who come here are referred from various quilting websites. I haven't posted about quilting in a long time. Never fear-- I am working on some quilts! I can't show them because they are gifts but they must BOTH be finished by the end of October so they will appear soon.

I bought this fabric collection (Park Slope) not too long ago. I don't have any specific plans for it yet but I really love it. It reminds me of the quilt I made for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. Don't you agree? I can't take all the credit because I based that quilt on a headboard from a vintage craft book. I have had an amazing response to that quilt on flickr (1500 views, 115 people call it a favorite, 40 comments...). I'm thinking of recreating it and expanding it and entering it in next year's Quilt Expo.

Speaking of... I went to the Quilt Expo last week. I didn't get to spend that much time there (I had to carry 25 pounds of Alex love on my back) but I bought a decent amount of fabric (lots of candy/cupcake fabric... why? I don't know. I actually have a pretty extensive collection of cupcake fabric) and certainly took lots of inspiration from everyone there.

I did not get to my summer family quilt which was supposed to be a picnic blanket using RJR's Farmer's Market collection. I designed something I liked and barely started cutting it before I got sidetracked. I have to say I'm quite excited for fall (and even winter). I scheduled the kids activities so that we would have at least one day each week where we could stay in pj's all day and never leave the house. Looking forward to getting some quilting done then. ("Kids, why don't you try watching a movie-- Mommy is busy"). The summer just got really busy with outdoor activity and elaborate home cooked meals with local, fresh ingredients. I'm going to try to keep it a little simpler for fall-- bake some bread, throw some soup in the crock pot. We spent the whole summer going out to the park and to friends' houses after dinner so more of my "free time" has been spent socializing. I'm ready to get back to hibernating (just kidding... sort of).

I have a few small sewing projects to complete that I hope can be posted soon so quilting friends, don't give up on me!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008


I wrote that the sleeping situation was bad in our house. Miraculously we had two great nights after that. So I wrote that things were getting better. Then we had two bad nights. Now things are good again-- we've had two good nights. Am I jinxing it? I should keep a chart.

In this picture Talia is wearing her "Team Petra" shirt. We wore it to the Ironman Race and got to see our friend Petra who participated (and finished!). I love going to the Ironman; we went last year too. Ron says he feels worthless while watching the racers-- I feel quite the opposite. It is incredible to see people who set such an outlandish goal for themselves-- swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 miles, then run a marathon of 26.2 miles. All in the same day. I love seeing all the supporters on the sidelines. It brings tears to my eyes to see kids wearing shirts that say "See Mommy Swim. See Mommy Bike. See Mommy Run." Each participant has their name printed with their race number. The people who look especially worn out get the most cheers and encouragement from strangers along the side of the road. It's also striking that some of the participants don't look like what you might expect a triathlete to look like. They look more like, well, me. (Ok, not exactly but closer than you'd think). Watching the race I feel the opposite of worthless. I feel energized to know that when I set an incredible goal for myself someday (whatever and whenever that will be) I'll be able to reach it.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I apologize

I probably shouldn't have said my kids suck. Talia and Alex, I'm sorry and I love you both dearly. I've felt kinda bad ever since I wrote that. Of course the kids have been great sleepers the last two nights. In bed around 8:30-- they both fell asleep easily (Alex cried a bit both nights and then settled down-- whew!) and slept through the night until after 7am.

Today was Alex's first organized activity-- a music class. He was a really good boy. He sat some of the time, ran around some of the time and interacted well with the other kids and adults. I think he was definitely better than Talia was at her music class. At the same time, I longed for Sally's Music and my good friends there. We had such a nice class with real instruments (not just a CD playing the music), mixed ages (0-6 years old) and a great group of parents-- moms and dads-- that stayed together for about two years. This was just Alex's first class, of course, and all the non first-timers seemed really happy to reunite after the summer break so I'll just have to give it a chance. I can't believe my baby has become such a big boy.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

My Kids Suck-- am I not supposed to say that?

How on earth did I get two terrible sleepers? I *love* sleeping. It's possibly my most favorite activity.

Things had gotten much better in our house-- I finally figured out a way to get Talia to go to sleep by herself instead of me staying in her room until she was asleep and then creeping out. (I lay with her for 10 minutes and then check on her every 5 minutes until she goes to sleep-- it's working beautifully and I don't think it's taken her more than 15 minutes to fall asleep yet).

Alex also had been getting better with sleeping. I would often lay him down awake and he would turn and wave bye-bye to me as I left. The era of 4 hour naps for him seems to have ended but I'll take 2 hours without complaining. Since our trip to California, however, he has not been going down easily. Lots of crying with self inflicted retching. Ron, who was the primary person to put Alex down, suddenly lost his touch. I'm not doing much better.

Anyway, Talia has been really tired since we came home from vacation either due to the time change or her new school schedule of three days in a row instead of every other day. I actually had her asleep last night BEFORE 8pm. It was a miracle. Then Alex would absolutely not go to sleep. Ron and I each tried twice to put him down. He was hysterical. He was finally down by almost 9pm instead of the usual 7:30 or 8.

Then Talia woke up with a night terror. I don't blame her for it, it's out of her control but it sucks anyway and is scary to me because she is so not herself. Then Alex woke up. Then Alex woke up again. and again. Then Talia woke up again. and again. This happened all night and then finally Alex was up for the day at 6:30 instead of the usual 7:30. Why is it that I have to wake the kids to get Talia to school on time (9am) but they magically get up early on the weekends? Of course Ron is working both days this weekend. I feel burnt out already and I just had a vacation-- but then again, considering my "job" is to take care of the kids and the home at this point in my life I never do actually get a vacation. So my kids suck. Am I allowed to say that?
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

San Diego with Kids

We had a great time on our vacation to San Diego. The highlight was definitely Legoland-- If you are ever looking for something to do in San Diego with young kids, Legoland would be my top choice. It was really fun for both kids. It's nice to go to an amusement park that actually has lots of activities for a toddler. The water park part of it was a refreshing treat in the middle of the day. More vacation pictures to come...

We have a big week ahead of us with school starting up again on a new schedule for T, new activities and times, new people to clean the house (I can't wait!) and more. Alex is starting his first activity next week-- a music class! I may have to put him in a gym class too; he needs some structured activities with other kids his age.

The garden is winding down. There are still many tomatoes, some new eggplants and peppers growing also. The yellow squash just shrivelled up and died, which I think gave new life (well, sun actually-- isn't it the same?) to the peppers and eggplants. A few green beans are growing but only enough to snap off and eat right then and there. My herbs seem to have taken a beating while I was gone. They are drying out and also flowering at the tops-- too many to pick off at this point. This is all ok with me-- I'm ready to gear up for fall and start taking my extracurricular activities *inside* (quilting quilting quilting!). Of course, it's going to be 90 degrees out tomorrow but if I remember correctly summer turns to fall kind of suddenly around here. I think it was really warm in the beginning on October and then really cold by the end last year.
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