Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Self Portrait T-Shirt: Freezer Paper Stencil

Alex has learned how to draw a self portrait! I took one of his many drawings and turned it into a freezer paper stencil and put it on a t-shirt. (If you want to know how to do it, google the words "how to make a freezer paper stencil" and you will find tons of tutorials.) Isn't it cute?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 27, 2010

San Diego 2010

Despite all the rain, we had a nice time in San Diego. We hit the Science Museum (twice), the Natural History Museum, the Aquarium, Legoland, and the zoo. Talia even got to go indoor rock climbing. Ron and I saw our new nephew Joel in the NICU- he's doing great! We also got to go to a movie (Thanks Christa!), do a little shopping and see an old friend (Hi Lauren!). Somehow we only managed to eat at Rubio's once-- how did that happen? Flying with three kids is not that bad but it's a major juggling act / musical chairs event. We came back to typical Madison cold and snow but... there's still no place like home!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sub-optimal Photo Shoot

Despite promising my kids ice cream sandwiches for participating, I did not get a stellar picture for our holiday card. My sister, mom and best friend agree that the first picture is ok but not "holiday card worthy". I know, I know-- it's a little late to be starting this process but better late than never, right? I don't think I have it in me to try again. It's too annoying and so not me. Perhaps I will let Talia just draw a picture of our family this year. It's Shayna's first holiday card though and I don't want to give her the shaft. She was the one who wasn't participating which is strange because she's such a smiley kid. Must have been hungry/tired/etc. Well consider this your holiday card people-- we might not be sending them this year!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Some belated first day of school pictures. As I mentioned in an earlier post, all of my photos are on our dead computer. As soon as we get a new one up and running I should have them back. Luckily I sent a bunch of recent photos out to my family via email and was able to retrieve these there. I've also included a note that Talia wrote the other day when she answered the phone (which is a miracle in and of itself). It says, "Dear Mommy and Daddy. Cory kld! He wtid to tok to you." So cute.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our New Family Hobby

The kids love hiking! And I love hiking with them! Ok, we've only been twice now so I'm not sure I can safely call it a hobby but as soon as we were done they asked when we can go again. The first time we left Shayna at the bottom of the mountain with my in-laws. I wasn't sure how the kids were going to do. I can't explain how much fun it was. Ron went up ahead with Talia and I stayed with Alex. I loved seeing everything through his eyes. He really felt like we were on an adventure. He wanted to touch all that he saw and collect items for our nature table and climb the super tall mountain. He felt compelled to talk to each person that passed us by. It was a blast. The kids just wanted to go higher and higher and higher. We only got them to come back down the mountain by telling them that we w ould return when the leaves changed. This time Ron put Shayna in the Ergo carrier and she loved it. The leaves weren't as colorful as we hoped (next weekend should be perfect for anyone interested) but the kids were thrilled to be climbing again. We went even higher and it was much more crowded so Alex had more people to talk to. I hope we will be able to get back once or twice before it gets too cold.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bo Peep Skirt II

There has been some sewing going on here. I've been working on small projects lately and hope to get into some bigger ones as soon as it gets colder. I bought some coordinating corduroy fabrics and have been making a set of clothes for the kids. Alex got some great pants that have cargo pockets and contrast cuffs. Talia got another Bo Peep Skirt. The first one can be found here... (She never really wore that first one. I got a little wiser and made it slightly less full and used a lighter elastic because she said it itched her) I need to make Shayna a little dress and we'll have the whole set done. Talia gets a lot of compliments on her skirt. I taught her to say "Thank you, my mommy made it" emphasis on the "Mommy made it" part.

I got so sick of the kids wanting to "help" me sew that I brought out my old sewing machine and took the needle and electrical cord away. Now it is theirs, along with a big bin of scraps, their own kid scissors and notions and even a rotary cutter without the blade. I also gave them my small ironing board and got them a thrift store iron and cut the cord off. Unfortunately, the magic (and it was wonderful, imaginary, cooperative magic) wore off after a week or two and now they are bothering me at my sewing machine again. Alex tried to "help" me clean up my sewing room and organize my fabric by putting all the ones he liked (which is pretty much everything) into a bin for himself. I would like to admit, however, that Alex names all of the parts of the sewing machine (presser foot, feed dogs, bobbin case etc.) as if they are common words everyone knows.

I have two quilt tops done and I'm thinking I'm going to just send them out to a quilter. Until I can afford a long arm machine I think I'm only going to quilt baby quilts by myself.
Posted by Picasa

(Non)Triumphant Return

Just when I was about to start blogging again after the long (so long) summer... our main computer broke. It has all of our family photos on it. Plus, we moved Shayna to "her own room" which happens to be our office. This means that there wouldn't be a good time to get to the computer anyway. So that's one of my excuses.

The other excuse is that I started going to the gym. Everyone always asked me how I found the time to sew/cook/blog/whatever and my answer was threefold: I don't go to the gym, I don't volunteer at the kids' school and I try not to maintain too many close friendships. Now I'm going to the gym 2-3 times a week and there goes all my creative time. I'm into this class called "BodyFlow" which is mostly Yoga but also a bit of Tai Chi, Pilates and Meditation too. I'm thinking about joining a different class once a week called "BodyPump" which is cardio/weight lifting and will kick my ass. The one time I did it I couldn't move for 3 days. I'm happy about my new interest in Yoga and I hope I can maintain it. Alex and Shayna seem to like the gym daycare but... Alex got sick last week (probably from the daycare) and gave it to everyone else in the house.

On to updates:
We had a good summer. Talia had summer camp, our Israeli friends (who live in Amsterdam now) came to visit us for two weeks, we spent lots of time at the pool and our porch is the best addition to our house ever. Summer seems like a long time ago already.

Talia is enjoying first grade. She has really made a huge jump in her reading skills and has now read her first chapter book by herself. She does seem to be going to the nurse a lot...?... I don't know why. Some claims are legit-- she did have a nosebleed, for example-- but she seems to have a reason to go EVERYDAY.

Alex is the cutest thing ever. He is so funny. He never stops talking- just makes observations and shares his thoughts about everything. He is still at preschool three days a week. He's in a new room but has the same teachers and classmates so it hasn't been a big transition.

Shayna has grown up a lot. She sits up easily, she eats absolutely anything you give her, and she LOVES her brother and sister. We moved her to her own room, as I mentioned above. She's very easy-going and doesn't complain about anything. She only cries when she is tired. I've started trying to be home for her nap, which pretty much kills my whole day. If I try to let her nap when we're out she will only take about half an hour but at home it's two hours at least. It seems like I drop Talia off at school, run to the grocery store, run home for Shanya's nap and by the time she wakes up it's time to start thinking about getting Talia from school already. How can that be?

Hopefully I can be a little more consistent in updating my blog. I have been sewing and cooking to some extent, just smaller projects mostly. Happy New Year and all that... Love, Nikki

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Farmer's Market Quilt

For those of you who think I never quilt anymore! This quilt has been three years coming. I bought the RJR Farmer's Market Fabric when I first moved to Madison with the intention of making a picnic blanket. I got so far as designing the blanket and even began to cut the fabric. And then... the first winter came. and the next summer and the next. Finally this summer I was determined to get this project off the ground. I scrapped the original quilt design and started by making disappearing 9 patch blocks. I love how easy they are and the random looking design it creates. I knew I needed this quilt to be BIG to accomodate the five of us as a picnic blanket so I layed out what I had and figured the best way to use ALL the blocks was with the 4 large squares and the strip in the middle. I picked black for the sashing so the colors would really stand out. And then... I decided I wanted the quilt to be EVEN BIGGER so I added the filmstrip edge. It's about 90 by 110 inches, which is by far the largest project I've ever made. I believe it counts as a king size quilt.

Now... I have to piece the back (using home decor fabric for strength and I think it's just shy of being big enough so I'm going to have to come up with some solution since I can't find more in the store) and then... baste it (yuck!) and quilt it (yikes!) Obviously I'm going to do something simple but... what? I always get stuck at this point. My goal is to finish it in two weeks. YEAH RIGHT!?!?
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

East Coast Vacation

We took our annual trip to the East Coast to visit family. As always it was very rushed and hectic but the kids were incredibly well behaved and flexible. Shayna was great on her first plane trip. We had a vacation within a vacation when we spent two days in New York City. The highlight of that trip was definitely our time at the High Line (a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park built on old elevated freight tracks. It features an integrated landscape, combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings, fixed and movable seating, lighting, and special features.) We had a nice visit with my family and celebrated some special events. I'm happy to be back home in Wisconsin now and able to officially kick off the summer.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kick Ass Dinner

My neighbor had a baby a few weeks ago and I wanted to make her something filling and warming and full of nutrients. I picked out this recipe for Black Bean Chilaquile from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I'm not exactly sure what was "low-fat" about it but it was DAMN GOOD. The only CSA ingredient I used was spinach but later in the summer you could use local corn, tomatoes and onions as well. This meal could be made very easily and quickly using canned and store-bought ingredients or more slowly with fresh. I opted for canned tomatoes, canned black beans and bagged shredded cheddar but cut the corn fresh from the cob. It's really up to you...

Black Bean Chilaquile (recipe from Moosewood Low-Fat but here from memory)

1 onion

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 cup of corn (fresh really does make a difference!)

juice of one lime

tortilla chips, crushed (I actually used "hint of lime" chips)

bunch or bag of spinach- wilt by blanching in boiling water or steaming (I did it in the microwave with a little water for two minutes)

shredded cheese (cheddar, mexican blend, queso fresco, monterey jack- use whatever you have)


1. saute onions until translucent, about 6-8 minutes

2. add black beans, tomatoes, corn and lime and cook for about 10 minutes or more

3. start layering:

a. crushed tortilla chips into the bottom of a baking dish (9X9 or 9X13)

b. sauteed vegetables over the chip layer

c. spread wilted spinach over the vegetables

d. layer of cheese

e. layer of salsa

f. layer of chips

g. layer of salsa

h. layer of cheese

4. bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until bubbling


Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another graduation of sorts

Shayna is now big enough for the exersaucer, the high chair, and toys! My house is being overrun by baby gear.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 11, 2010

What a difference 9 months can make...

My almost first grader! Talia has grown up so much this year. Well, in most ways...! Today is a very special day for her class. Not only is it the last day of school, it is also her teacher's last day. Everyone seemed to be weepy-- especially the teacher-- when I dropped her off. I'm so proud of Talia and all her accomplishments this year. The skill I was most excited for her to acquire was learning to read and she totally did. I love reading with her each night and watching her brain work it all out. Congratulations Talia!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Measuring Cups

not a measuring cup-- a little cake plate or something but oh so cute...

matryoshka doll measuring cups


Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Kindergarten Quilt

Talia's kindergarten teacher is retiring after almost 30 years. A parent of one of her classmates wanted to make a quilt as a gift for the teacher. She had each child paint on fabric and then... she got stuck. She hasn't ever quilted before. I took over the job and decided to make the pieces into flowers and added stems, leaves, butterflies, the school photo and a colorful binding. It's a challenge to take over a project that wasn't your own idea. The only thing I would change would be the fabric she chose for the background. Everything else came out great. The teacher was overwhelmed when she received it last week. This is the first major project I have worked on in a long time and I have already started another since!
Posted by Picasa