Saturday, December 28, 2013

Zen Entertaining and the art of faucet repair.

I hosted my first Christmas this year for my family, because my brother just wanted everyone together, and I am too pregnant to travel comfortably. It was going to be great. Perfect. Beautiful. The menu was set, much was preped ahead of time so I could relax instead of cooking, the decorations were beautiful, the house was clean, so what if the paint wasn't all touched up, and the closets completely cleaned out, faucet was a little loose, it's an old house. I could get to all of that later.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sweets for my sweet, sugar free chocolate cheesecake crepes

As some of you know, The Personal Assistant is not allowed to have any sugar. None. Zip. Zelch. But... 'tis the season of cookies, and pie, and candy canes, and hot chocolate. And he's two, so it is extra hard to watch him forgo all of the sweet treat fun. And as a bonus, I am allergic to eggs, so breakfast casseroles are also out. Oh, and I am hosting this year, so I probably shouldn't just serve toast and cereal.

But I think I found a solution...for Christmas breakfast we will be dining on Chocolate Cheesecake Crepes! They are divine, and easy, and make ahead and freeze-able, and totally egg and sugar free, but no one will know but you and me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Greens: Simple secrets from a former florist.

Have you ever wondered how florists and decorators put together those beautiful displays of over the top holiday greens?

Turns out it is easy, and cheap! Follow along to learn how...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

As you know by now, my son eats very little variety, and I'm working on not being crazy about that.  One thing he never fails to eat is mashed sweet potatoes.  While my Cooks Illustrated recipe was delicious, I've been tinkering with a way to reduce the massive amount of heavy cream in that (admittedly heavenly) recipe. What I've come up with is incredibly decadent tasting, but much lighter.  And the best part is, my son has no idea that I've changed anything!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cinnamon Ornaments


I believe in crafts. I do. I believe they are not only fun, but they encourage us to see potential in everyday objects and encourage creative problem solving. I also believe they are messy, and messy=awesome.

We try to do craft time at least once a week. The Personal Assistant is 2 (almost 3) and his skills include gluing, mashing, and cutting shapes from dough. If you are looking for a fun craft to do with your toddler this season, this one is by far my favorite.

Cinnamon ornaments have been a tradition in my family since I was a kid. They are cheap and easy to make, require no advanced skills, look great on the tree or tied to packages, and make your house smell DIVINE. What more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY little boy stocking stuffer round up

Christmas around here is a DIY fest, and I love it. I might be crazy, but I grew up getting DIY gifts made lovingly by my parents and I think it is a great tradition to carry on. We have a rule that Santa gifts should be conceivably hand made, if not by us (me) then by some one else. It is a great way to support local (and ot so local) artisans and give simpler toys to our kiddo that leave lots of room for open ended creative play-the kind that builds imagination and inquisitive minds.
That said, stocking stuffing can get pricey fast! A little DIY spirit can also stretch the Christmas budget with out skimping on fun! Follow the jump for my picks for toddler friendly stocking stuffers any boy is bound to love!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's Thanksgiving, and everything is perfectly normal.

The Hubster asked me to make a "traditional" apple pie this year. No rosemary infused crust, no citrus in the filling. "Fine," I said, "but it IS going to be a mile high, and have smoky molasses notes in the filling, and the lattice crust will be extra dense and smothered in melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar, and you can't stop me."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick Fix: Super Easy Slate Trivet

Want to make a super easy, super quick rustic trivet? Are you Craft-Impaired? Can you apply a sticker? Well then. grab a slate roof shingle, some felt furniture pads and follow me!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Doughnuts

 I adore pumpkin and while I don't embrace the pumpkin spice coffee situation that happens this time of year, I do put it in everything else...bread, pancakes, muffins, pie, risotto....

I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Doughnuts on the King Arthur Flour blog Flourish.

My first attempt was an A-, so of course, in the name of science, I'll need to reproduce this study in deliciousness.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Double Your Donation: Track your donation spending

So, hopefully by now you have started your donation box for your local food bank. How are you doing? Are you buying BOGO deals to double your dollars? Are you couponing? How are you tracking your spending?
Because I like spreadsheets and I am a NERD, I made a couple of quick spreadsheets to help us see if we are truly doubling our donation. The first one is a simple chart, like a checkbook register (remember those?).
I printed out a copy and tossed it in my coupon binder so I could take basic notes while shopping. You can download the PDF version by clicking the link below.
Double Your Donation Tracker PDF
Because I don't love doing math long hand, and because excel exists to do it for me, I made a slightly more detailed excel version. Then I downloaded it to my iPad and opened it in Numbers (because numbers is cool like that) and entered the info once I got home.
It is calculating the totals for me, AND spitting out a report at the bottom to let me know just how I am doing...
A 50% increase represents a doubling of my donation dollars. So far, I am doing pretty good. This week I have to pick up a few fresh items for Thanksgiving and will be picking up a few stock up deals for the donation box as well. The super nerd in me is excited to see if I can push that total back up above 50% (I was at 55% last week!)
Download the excel tracker below, and use it on your PC in Excel or iOS device in Numbers.
Double Your Donation Tracker EXCEL

Let us know how you are doing in the comments! Is there anything we can do to help you meet your goal?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Popcicles

Taking a little break from couponing and shopping today. (I actually just finished my meal planning and shopping for this week through January 5th yesterday, so I am a bit exhausted.)

I'll be back tomorrow with more helps for the Double Your Donation Challenge, but today I'm just Mom, and we are just making my Personal Assistant's favorite treat, Peanut Butter Popcicles.  Before we get started, I should tell you that this recipe is totally easy, and super adaptable to your kiddo's dietary needs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Give to the Max Day!

When I lived in Minneapolis I always donated on Give to the Max Day.  Now that I no longer live there I am focusing my efforts a little closer to home.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Double Your Donation Challenge: Couponing Basics

So you've never couponed before, and here we are asking you to coupon and DOUBLE your donation. This is going to be really hard right? WRONG! This is a piece of cake. Follow me!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Double Your Donation Challenge.

It seems like tough times are going viral these days. The recovery never really happened, pay for the working and middle class has been stagnant, and the price of everything has gone up. At my house, (and we can't be alone) the usual money stress (let's be real, every house has money stress) has been increased by an onslaught of medical bills (we are on track to meet two individual deductibles this year) and some urgent household repairs (the pipes backed up, the washer broke and had to be replaced, and a gutter cracked and must be replaced before winter), we need to save for my upcoming, unpaid maternity leave, and the holidays are coming. But still, we are the lucky ones. We have more than most.

Quick Fix: Flowers

Flowers make everything cheerier, but sometimes keeping them alive is a challenge. Especially plants that must be watered from the bottom like African Violets. They do sell special pots for this, but I have an easy, cheap fix that I used to use when I worked as a florist during grad school.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Free Money.

What if every week I handed you money to go shopping? You probably would use it right? You wouldn't say "oh thanks" and toss it in the trash would you? Nope, not a chance. What if I told you that every week you are doing just that?

My grocery bill this week should have been $39.67. Instead it was $20.32, here's how it happened.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to organize your coupons, QUICKLY.

This is a picture of the 'before' mess. Maybe it doesn't look too bad, but that drawer is stuffed full of inserts that I didn't have time to deal with this summer because I was too busy being nauseated. It happens. BUT it only took about an hour to get everything organized and back on track.

I don't do it often enough, but I'm actually pretty great at organizing. Maybe it's my Type A side, maybe it's because, as I tell the Hubster often to tease him, I'm just spacialy gifted. Whatever it is, I feel comfortable telling you that this is the EASIEST, BEST, MOST EFFICIENT WAY to organize your coupon stash. I have tried many methods, this is by far the best.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Salsa (nearly) Verde

I love canning. Especially in the fall when it makes the house warm and cozy. I also love that it is a easy way to preserve and share the bounty from the garden, and homemade canned goods can make great Christmas presents-presents that you are done with in October. I had about 6 quarts of green and mostly green tomatoes that I decided needed to become salsa. I used a recipie from Ball as my guideline.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Curried Greens

If You Give a Mama Some Greens

The CSA is filled with greens.  When she picks up the greens she gets chilly.  When she gets chilly she wants some curry.  When she wants some curry she'll need some garam masala.  After she's made some garam masala, she'll need some naan to go with it.  After she eats her curry and naan, she'll need to go back to the CSA to get more greens!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A construction zone of his own.


My Personal Assistant loves all things construction. (It might have something to do with the number of site visits I take him on, but every parent drags their kid to work at some point right?) Diggers, dump trucks, skid steers, flat beds, transporters, front end loaders, steam rollers, tractors, name it, he loves it. Oatmeal is not oatmeal any more, it is "construction zone oatmeal". Nothing is picked up with our hands, only with our "crane hands". We even have a scripted conversation about diggers that we have every time we get in the car. The script must not vary, this is not improv. This is serious.

Him: "Can we see some diggers today?"

Me: "Perhaps, if we keep our eyes open."

I got the idea that perhaps he needed a construction zone of his own.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekend Project: Homemade Garam Masala

I work at a college that runs a program called "Friendship Families."  This program matches international students with contacts at the school or in the area.  We're not responsible for hosting our students, just checking in on them, taking them to dentist appointments, and making a homemade dinner every once in awhile.  One of our new students this year is from Nepal. As we were getting to know each other over the summer I asked about the foods she liked and promised to try to make them here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

We need a joke.

I think my Personal Assistant knows I am stressed.

He rubbed my back today when I burst into tears after the latest bit of "Not terrible, just terribly inconvenient" news and said, "I think you are just having a frustrating day Mommy." Poor kid. He is two-and-a-half and already doomed to a life of unrequited empathy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Creating Life

While Jenny is busy creating real people life, we have ventured into the land of Sea Monkeys!  I am having an ethical dilemma regarding the little critters.  First of all, as evidenced by my fails to even grow bean sprouts and carrot tops, I'm a little shaky in the life sustaining department.  And then, my son was given a Sea Monkey "kit" for his birthday.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quick fix: DIY Maternity Jeans.

I LOVE wearing jeans. I have way too many, which are all packed up at the moment because they don't fit my pregnant body. I have found that Belly Bands and hair elastics work for awhile, but... eventually the hair elastics feel like they are cutting across my belly and the Belly Bands just don't keep the pants up, leading to lots of yanking and adjusting, not the most flattering look.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest time.

See that little bit of red? That is my wheelbarrow. My totally normal-sized, not-miniature-at-all wheel barrow. The giant UFO sized disks are sunflowers. Ahh harvest time, so rewarding, so overwhelming...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quick Mama Moment

Today I observed my adorable baby, and realized how really grown up he really is.

He was sleepy and I asked, "Do you want me to hold you?"  I got a very polite, "No thanks mama."

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Perfect Tomato Pie.

Tomato pie really is one of the best things on earth, and chances are, you are missing out. Part savory cheese cake, part pie, part galette, part BLT, all deliciousness. It is creamy, crunchy, ooey-gooey and juicy all in one bite. Just thinking about it makes my eyes roll involuntarily, and I already had two pieces tonight. And at the height of tomato season. When my kitchen is over flowing with tomatoes and I am running out of ways to eat them, I can't seem to get enough of tomato pie.

Did I mention my recipe starts with bacon? And butter? No? Well it does.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How well do you balance?

I live a particularly charmed life (though maybe not successful, it depends on your definition).  I work about 30-40 hours per week from September - May and then I work 10 hours a week from June-August.  I work "Mother's Hours" and am usually able to pick up my son from school.  So why is it that I feel guilty when we're both home and he's all, "How can you expect me to play on my own?"  And I'm all, "Dude!  This curry isn't going to cook itself, and do you WANT fresh underwear?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Potluck...with allergies.

Potluck dinners are so fun! It's like domestic dietary anthropology and a party, all mixed up! At least it used to be...before I knew I had an egg allergy.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Menu Planning for Specialty Diets

This past year has seen a lot of health challenges for my family in Vermont, and they just seem to keep piling up. My Aunt is now taking care of three family members day to day, and the rest of the family is looking for ways to help without being in the way.

Two weeks ago my poor Aunt drove three people to 22 different doctor's appointments. Last week she had 4-5 appointments scheduled each day, plus the dog got sick. As you can imagine, this doesn't leave much time for menu planning or cooking. (And I thought I was busy.)My parents who live in New Hampshire are planning to visit once a month to help out until things settle down, and my Dad was brainstorming about how to prep food for my Grandparents for the days in between visits.I can't do too much to help from Pennsylvania, but I DO now how to menu plan and shop for extended periods of time!So here we go.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Things I can smell.

Part of being pregnant, for me at least, is smelling things that my husband swears are not really there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This Post is Gross.

Ugh. Bath toys. Hands down on my top ten list of unexpected joys horrors of parenthood. Including having some one poop diarrhea in your hand. They are really, really gross, and they hang out in your bath. If bath toys are not a good reason to have a separate "adults only" bathroom, then I don't know what is.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal.

Quick & easy, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal is a mostly healthy breakfast a toddler will actually agree to eat. A real stick to your ribs, protein packed hot breakfast in under 5 minutes. And it tastes like a cross between a Reese's cup and a chocolate no-bake cookie. Yum! You will need a few basic things:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Support in the beginning.

I have been a bit absent from the blog this past month or so. I wanted to write, but I have not been feeling up to it. I've been hot and cold, dizzy, achy, crampy, fatigued, nauseous, dizzy, really nauseous, fatigued, more nauseous and did I mention fatigued? Don't worry it's not catching. It's just pregnancy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Picky Eater = Neurotic Mother

I was SUCH an excellent parent, before I had my son.  Back then MY child was (of course) never going to use a pacifier or watch television.  MY child was going to be polite and get along well with others.  MY child was not going to be a picky eater.

I was a totally rad parent, you know, before I was a real one.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Big Balls!

Sometimes Jenny is just so far ahead of the curve.  When her personal assistant was born I went to meet him, hold him while she showered, drink tea with my friend, do loads of laundry...whatever.  I just wanted to be there.  She had this crazy idea about making dryer balls from wool.  Apparently dryer sheets aren't good for cloth diapers, but wool dryer balls would work like gangbusters.  (CLOTH? you say!  I know, right?  But that's how she rolls.)  As I watched her wind them from wool yarn, wash them in hot water, and dry them so they would felt a bit I kept hearing this song in my head...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lady Friends

The highlight of my week, my month, happened tonight; Jenny was in town!  Jenny and I used to live together in college.  We perfected the speaking while brushing teeth, laughing until we almost peed, fighting over milk, and dishing about boys while living together. 

But now we live too far apart to visit often, and the "boys" we talk about are our sons, and our gossip consists of family shenanigans and weird produce.  Don't judge, you'd laugh too if you received that parsnip in your CSA! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Road Trip Baby!

During the summer I hear a lot about vacations from other families. Things like, "I am really looking forward to our trip to the beach, but it is four hours in the car with the kids, ugh." I just giggle to myself. We take a 12 hour car trip with the Personal Assistant twice a year to visit family, and believe it or not, it's mostly enjoyable.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Refrigerator Pickles

The thing I love about summer, especially late summer, is eating fresh food from the garden. Like refrigerator pickles. The recipe could not be easier...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hush-a-bye Burdie Croon

My four year old is boisterous, opinionated, busy and demanding.  He is creative, curious, shy of strangers but desires to be a leader.   He has no time for cuddles for anyone

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Multipurpose Yogurt Lid

I work on making yogurt at home, but sometimes I've just gotta grab some Stoneyfield Farm.  What kills me is the plastic.  I don't get to recycle #5 around here so I have to throw the container away.  But what I have learned is that the lid is perfect...for EVERYTHING!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why I Love Thomas.

I used to hate Thomas the Train. I mean really, that song. Ugh. But now I really have grown to love that little blue engine and his friends. Why? Because I can use him to manipulate my kid.

  • It is the one show I can put on for my kid and leave the room to shower or clean and know that no one's Mother will be killed so that they can grow up/have an adventure. (Seriously, why do all the Moms bite it in the first ten minutes of a kid's movie?)
  • They appreciate nature (on really beautiful days my Personal Assistant will exclaim "Oh! What a beautiful day on the Island of Sodor!")
  • When they screw up, they always own up to it. (Now when my Personal Assistant spills or breaks something, he always comes running to tell me. Very Useful.)
  • They celebrate "special days" by being on their best behavior. And by "special" I mean totally ordinary.
  • They are obsessed. OBSESSED with being helpful. I can and do use this to my advantage.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Antique Strawberry Preserves II - The Recipe

This is the recipe I use.  I keep it just like this because I'm sentimental.  My grandmother, who tells stories of making this with her grandmother, Pearl, wrote it for me one hot afternoon. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Antique Strawberry Preserves - Part I - The Story

I am enjoying my new kitchen and the brief strawberry harvest.  Even though there was too much rain, the berries are plump and soft.  They are like clouds that melt on my tongue with the taste of flowers.  I really - really - love strawberries.  Do you see my new kitchen window?  I have basil, chimes, a view, and of course wine. 

As I gaze at the mountains and contemplate my strawberries, I get nostalgic.  Of course I do.  That's like my second most common feeling.  (Sigh)  I would put a winky emoticon here, but that seems weird.  No?  Ok.  ; )

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life without Internet

Currently I am writing to you from the parking lot of a cute pub in my neighborhood across from a lovely harbor.  You'll have to picture it because I have no photos...

The children are jumping into the water from the dock, and the laughter rides the ripples of water to the shore.  There is a line at the ice cream stand and children with sticky smiles of chocolate.  Someone seriously just ordered Gummi Bears on their ice cream sundae just because she can.

But I'm not here for pleasure...the internet provider who shall remain nameless has bumped us again...that will make two weeks with limited contact with the outside world.  At first I was FURIOUS!  But now....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

OMG. I have a blog. (And sidewalk art stuff.)

The division of labor around these here blog parts is that Daisy writes for Thursday/Friday and I write for Monday/Tuesday, which usually happens on Sunday/Monday evening respectfully. Only yesterday was my seven year anniversary and the night before it was my turn to teach Wee School, my neighborhood's free parent run summer school for tots, and I have been feeling really sick, so I skipped the writing, figuring the five of you would understand. Unfortunately, Wee School got rained out. And I was totally bummed. I had 8+ cups of fresh sidewalk finger paint and a quart of fresh frozen wacky sidewalk chalk plus all the fun water activities I had planned, and no one was going to see it. Then I was all...OMG I have a blog. (Literally, that is exactly what I thought. Total weirdo, I know.) So sweet blog readers, behold, I present all five of you with sidewalk finger paint!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Easy rag yarn.

It would see I have a one track mind lately. Actually, I have a lot going on and having a simple craft to cling to when life gets overwhelming has been a real blessing. Summer is tough, because the attic studio gets too hot to work in even with the a/c on full blast, and unfortunately, creative activities are my chance to r-center myself, so it can get a little hairy around here when I am art/craft deprived. Thus my new obsession with rag crochet was born.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Leftover meal - Pasta

Please imagine Don Lafontaine's voice here: 
In a world :
...where your dream was to buy a new home...But the previous owners left crud in the refrigerator.  All of your groceries are wrapped in bags, safe from mysterious crumbs and stains.  Most of your pots and pans are buried under books and toys in the garage.
...which box is it??!! 
It is dinnertime!
In your  desperation you have located one pan and one pot.  You have located the runty stubs of several type ingredients.  You WILL survive!  You WILL make dinner!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

We're Moving!

Okay, we moved.  Past tense.  My therapist says that the stressful / challenging things we do in life allow us to "meet ourselves."  Hail, and well met!

After a lovely crew of friends and family arrived to help us move on a Thursday, we were left with the dregs on Friday.  Moving that couch makes a huge impact.  That cord?  That compost bucket?  The baby picture that needs to go into the album that is already packed and at the new  The sorting, cleaning, second round of packing took about 13 hours the next day.

But I learned some important things!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 does your garden grow?

Welcome to part 2 of my mid-summer garden update. You are thrilled I am sure. Whatever, I am doing it anyway.

The play area looks really different. The daisies have filled in, the grasses are growing but short, (I may replace them with something taller in the fall) and the grass has filled in except for all the places we killed it by leaving toys out. (The shade on the sand box is fine, it just rained and I forgot to straighten it before taking this picture.) The climbing wall has become a place for building forts. Adorable, yet not pretty. Good thing this area is more about fun than pretty.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mary, Mary quite contrary...

Can you believe it is mid-summer already? Holy cow. Summer must be the fastest season. Really, July always seems to catch me off guard. I thought it would be a good time to take stock of what's happening in the garden. The spring garden is, of course, well past it's peak, and there is something eating the columbine. But...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

5 Things I Learned While my Husband Was Away

Recently my husband went out of town on business for 10 days.  For me this translates as, "OH MY GOD NO, 10 WHOLE DAYS!"

For several of  my friends who are single parents, or friends whose partners travel a great deal, this was a very amusing tantrum.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Love letters just aren't what they used to be.

I always dreamed of sending and receiving long love letters. You know the kind you read about in books, or find in a box in your grandparent's attic. Well, it ain't happening. I do however, exchange emails with my love on a regular basis, and in the spirit of Too Honest Moms, I will share this morning's email with you.

(You may not want to go any further if you don't have a strong stomach.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yogurt, take 2.

In case you missed the original yogurt post, you should take a minute to check that out and get caught up. Because today, I am going to talk advance yogurt making. As in what to do with all that yummy homemade yogurt when you want something a bit different.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You are probably good enough.

This was on a good friend's Facebook account today. She is a working Mom and business/marketing consultant, and she is great at it, AND she's a wonderful Mom. So what's wrong with this article and question she posed? Take a good look, tell me when you see it...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rags to rugs pt. 2: Hookers.

I have become a reluctant hooker. It's true.

Although I have tried knitting and crochet in the past, I can't say I like them. They are repetitive and tedious hobbies. I made some afghans in college, and they took forever and I did not enjoy making them. Also, there is the whole yarn can be really expensive thing.

Dispite my misgivings, I bought an extra large hook, and tried the crochet method for making rag rugs. And I have to say, they came out kinda great.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rags to rugs.

I make a lot of scraps. A lot. I also have waaaay too much fabric in my once neatly organized craft closet. I needed a way to use them up, so I decided to try my hand at making some simple woven rag rugs.

Friday, June 14, 2013


A friend of ours gave a wallet and $3 per month to her little boy when he turned 5.  Two of those dollars go in the savings account and one is for spending.
Another friend gave $3 per month but one was for keeping, one was for saving, and one was for giving away to someone else.  

My son, however, has recently been spoiled by my dad who decided to give him a quarter every time he made a basket on the 5 foot net.  Then kiddo followed my dad around for the rest of the trip, "Will you give me money if I take a bath?  ....if I play with trains?  ...if I pick up sticks?  ...if I keep all my pee in the toilet ??"(okay, I could get behind that one!)  

So, we've entered the world of money. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Conversations with a 4-year-old

A friend of mine told me that 4 is a gift for surviving 3...and our little respite before the whole "school years" start.  I am enjoying the hell out of my 4 year old.  It's not always sunshine-y, but most of the time I am filled with wonder at his growing body, his expanding mind, his interesting sense of justice, and his voluminous curiosity.  His ideas often make me think, I mean, REALLY think.  And sometimes I have to admit, I just don't know.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Solar powered pondless water feature

I have wanted a water feature in the garden for a long time. This year I finally found a solar powered fountain pump that looked like it was worth trying. I had the perfect pot, but I needed the fountain to be kid safe, so I made it pondless. Here's how I did it...

Monday, June 10, 2013

The one that will make Daisy "Pee with excitement"

As much as I have been looking forward to teasing Daisy, I and been also avoiding this post, because, well, it feels genuinely embarrassing on both a personal and professional level. I hate it when that happens. I had to call poison control this spring when I found my Personal Assistant chewing down on my grape hyacinth because, in his words, "they look like little purple beans!" And according to the Internet, those special purple beans were not so good for eating and possibly dangerous. This was news to me.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sunday Pancakes

 Big ol' stack of love.

In my house pancakes wear many hats.  They are the special Sunday morning treat when my son and I wake up and my husband has his "sleep day."  (Don't worry, my husband is a good man, Saturday is my "sleep day".)  

They are also our weeknight "go-to" when we realize  a) there is no food that anyone wants to eat and b) mama has no motivation to cook.  We make them for company, or for one.  Don't eat cereal, toast, or pop tarts, just eat these.  Everyone will think you slaved over them - but you won't!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I recently spent a few weeks in southern Pennsylvania.  This is a place where you need to watch out for the Amish buggies on the road, but when you finally get home you can enjoy a few glasses of sweet tea and biscuits and gravy.  Oh my, I love going home.  And so does my son.  Not only is he mercilessly spoiled by two sets of grandparents, and one set of GREAT grandparents...he also gets to play with all kinds of "new" toys.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fast Fix(es)

I was going to write about just one quick fix, then as I was taking the final picture, I realized there were several in one area. Here's the list of problems I had with this corner of the patio. There aren't any before pics. You will just have to trust me that it was unsightly.

  1. Dirt was coming through the chain link fence every time it rained.
  2. Chain link fence (duh).
  3. It was boring.
  4. Weeds.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Found Fruit Salad.

I promise this isn't (too) gross. Really.

I like to leave out a bowl of fruit in the dining room for snacks and to have a visual aid for the Personal Assistant when allowing him to select his fruit for breakfast or lunch. He loves it. Unfortunately, he is growing, and can now reach the fruit bowl himself, which really wasn't an issue until I found this:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Found Food - 2

I got so excited to see Jen post about "found food" because this is one of the ways I have started saving money as well.  I have a freezer full of "bits and scraps" that are actually very useful.  I think this might be a continuous topic as we continue to find food.  My husband sometimes looks in the freezer with exasperation..."Seriously?  Broccoli STEMS?  Where is the pizza?"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three days to a better house.

We did a blitz on the house this weekend. It was a mess. Two years without a big spring cleaning and purge had caught up with us. (Coincidentally, my Personal Assistant showed up about two years ago. Weird.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weed Killer!

This entry will be brief and to the point.  I have weeds.  I hate them.  I kill them.


I do not want to kill my child with Roundup.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Potato Kale Curry

We used to live in Minneapolis.  We adored the place.  It was far from family but it was alive, it was busy.  It was full of people and colors and ideas that were exciting to two corn fed hicks like my husband and I.  Let's not forget the people...we made our family of choice there.  We quickly became used to our limitless choices.  For us, it was a virtual Eden of entertainment, and delicious food.  Unfortunately, five years ago we had to leave everything and move to a rural New England town for my husband's job.  We went from: