Friday, January 30, 2015

FAVORITE THINGS: JANUARY


 
Oh, January. You start out so darn hopeful. Ideas of clean closets, organized workspaces, new healthy recipes, running on a regular basis again: all glitter before me, with a will and hope and starry eyes. But in the end, you always just have me pining away for summer days and wanting to eat carbs.
 
(And I don't even want to talk about the snow. Someone hold my earrings, because I hate snow and am about to beat it down. Everywhere I go, my refrain is, "I'm from CALIFORNIA." Which translates to "I am grouchy and I don't understand how to function in a bulky coat and for the love of God can someone explain to me why it is SO HARD to put mittens on a preschooler!? I'm sorry/not sorry.")
 
Anyway.
 
These are my favorite things from January:
1. We've eaten the Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast a bunch of times this month, and it is hand's down the husband's most favorite meal ever. It is so perfect for a cold night!//2. On my birthday, we went to MOMA (amazing, wonderful) and I picked up a Moleskin Classic Lined Notebook in the gift shop, something I've treated myself to the last couple years. I do list journaling, and this is the perfect notebook for it.//3. Dylan started taking guitar lessons. I feel that his practice book is really adding to the d├ęcor of my home. I LOVE the graphic on this book.//4. I read Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. I've managed to read a lot of not so great fiction lately, and this book made up for it. Great story! //
5. Downton Abbey is back and that mean's reading Tom and Lorenzo's take on it every Monday. Highlight of the week. If you watch Downton (if you don't, I'm not sure we can be friends), you need to read these recaps.//6. Meghan Trainor's Title Album is fabulous.//7. Neal bought me Burberry Brit (the eau de toilette, which I love because it's a bit lighter then the perfume) and the smell is incredible.  
 
Favorites Around the Net:
Instagram: @womenirl HILARIOUS.
 
 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DIY: CHALKBOARD CHEESE PLATE

 
I like Pinterest. I know that these days there is a lot of talk of resisting Pinterest, and that talk is valid. Comparing your life to the picture perfect-literally-world of Pinterest is not healthy or sane. But I love Pintrest for the inspiration. There are some people out there with lovely, smart, and inspiring ideas and I love looking at them and coming up with ways to incorporate some of them into my own life.
Example: the chalk board cheese plate.
I love the look of these and it's so easy and pretty.
I bought a chalk board tile (similar to this one, but smaller) and it works perfect as a tray.
 
 

Christmas Eve.

 
New Year's Eve.
 
Now I've thinking of all the chalkboard projects I can do.
 
You can following me on Pinterest here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

SCENES FROM A WEEKEND


I got some work done this weekend.
 



 
We went to Wild Kratts Live! The tickets were a Christmas gift to the kids, who both LOVE Wild Kratts. The show was really fun and the kids were so excited to meet the Kratt brothers, who were gracious and really engaged with all the kids they spoke to. These guys obviously love educating kids about animals and nature.
 

 
The show was at the Count Basie Theater, which had this amazing ceiling.
 
 
We wrote letters to our friends and family. We've been missing people!

 
Ava and I got our bake on.

 
These muffins....are ridiculously good. Look for the recipe next week!

 
The pond by our house is frozen.
 
 
Dylan and Neal dug this chunk out. Holy thickness! The east coast doesn't mess around with winter.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP WITH KALE & TURKEY MEATBALLS



 
 
Guys, it's cold out there. The East Coast isn't messing around with winter. I did not realize earmuffs were more then a fashion accessory until recently (real talk). I now own a puffy jacket. My kids are wearing and losing mittens like there is no tomorrow. Tomorrow when they will need these lost mittens, because it is freezing!
It's the time of year where one needs a soup recipe. Soup makes things better. There is nothing like ending a long, cold, dark at 4:45pm day with a big pot of bubbling, golden soup. But there are requirements for soup. You need one that everyone will eat, that will make your home smell like heaven, that is healthy (Hey there, holiday indulgences. You're drunk, go home.), and that is easy. Italian wedding soup is the winner at our house.
 
This soup is full of healthy kale, the most delicious turkey meatballs ever (from Shutterbean!), and an egg swirl that makes you not even miss noodles. And, as a friend once said as I made this, "The house smells like Thanksgiving!" Really, with compliments like that, this soup is on permanent winter dinner rotation.
 
 

Italian Wedding Soup with Kale & Turkey Meatballs

 
Ingredients:
 
Meatballs (makes about 15-20):
via Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean
1lb ground turkey (85% lean)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped finely
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper 

Soup:
12 cups chicken stock (homemade or store bought)
3 cups kale, steams removed and coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

To make meatballs: Mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated. Do not over mix. Roll mixture into 1-2 inch balls, set aside on a plate or baking sheet.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the meatballs and chopped kale. Season kale liberally with salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until kale is tender and meat balls are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Whisk the eggs with the parmesan in a bowl. Stir the soup, creating a circular motion in the stock. Drizzle the egg, all at once, into the moving stock. Stir with a fork to make thin ribbons of the egg mixture. Cook for 1-2 mintues. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowl and enjoy!

 

 



 


Monday, December 1, 2014

BANNERS AND FLAGS

I was lucky to work with this adorable family to help debut the new items in the shop...banners and flags!
 


This sweet little girl is going to be a big sister to a brand new little girl.

 
Aren't they the cutest!?


I love how the banners look in these photos. They're now available for purchase in the shop!
 
The banner and my big brother shirt was also featured on one of my new favorite blogs Teaching Sam and Scout. It was so fun to work behind the scenes with E on her gender reveal party! She has a coupon code up on her blog for the shop, so go check it out. 
 
And while we're at it, let's have a coupon code here too! You can use: HOLIDAYS2014 for free shipping throughout the ENTIRE month of December.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

SCENES FROM A HALLOWEEN

 
 
Halloween has seemed like a month long event around here. This week especially was Halloween overload. Our week was full of Halloween-y things: two parties, spirit week at school, a "Fall Festival", and the big show of trick or treating. Our week was full of sugar and costumes. Our week also had dogs in costumes and pumpkins : 
 

Vampire cookies for Cub Scouts.


Costume no.1
 

 
Bugs in his hair for crazy hair day.
 
 
Reading to the dogs that visit at the library story time, in costume no. 2.
 
 
 Pumpkin craving with Daddy.
 


A Wild Kratt with Bat Power, Tinkerbell (costume no.3), and Rosie the Rivter.


 
Let the Sugar Rush Weekend begin!
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

HALLOWEEN FOR EVERYONE

 
Last weekend, the kids and I flew home for a wedding. While I was there, I got to see all my girlfriends and their children.
My best friend's daughter, a beautiful, smart, vibrant five year old, cuddled up to me and with sparkling eyes said, "Auntie Michelle, I'm going to be Elsa for Halloween! I love my costume!"
The excitement of the holiday bounced off of her. She rejoined the other kids and they talked about their costumes and trick or treating.
Later in the weekend, when Halloween came up again among the adults, my best friend, the little girl's mother, sighed and said firmly, "I hate Halloween. It is the worst."
This is not because she is a stick in the mud. She doesn't hate fun, or costumes, or children. But her beautiful, smart, vibrant, five year old has a peanut allergy. And that makes Halloween with all of it's "fun" size Reese's peanut butter cups, peanut M&M's , and Snickers* stressful and, frankly, scary for their family.
 
Let me be clear: my children have absolutely no food allergies. I can honestly say that I thought very little about allergies before we found about my friend's daughter. Of course I had heard of them. You can't pick up a parenting magazine without it being mentioned. But I didn't think much of it. I probably at some point, in our life of not worrying about food labels and epi-pens, even might have had a passing thought that all this allergy talk was overdone. I certainly had sympathy for families with these issues, but it just wasn't part of everyday thinking.
But then, when my friend's daughter was diagnosed with her peanut allergy, I woke up. We'd go out to dinner or pick up snacks for a playdate, and I suddenly, sharply was aware of how hard it is for allergy families. It's not an inconvenience; it's, and I don't in any way mean to be dramatic, a massive health issue. Food allergies are hard, endless work for the people and families dealing with them.
 
In our non-allergy family, we have established a few rules that we hope help others who do have eating limitations due to allergies:
1. ALWAYS ask if someone is allergic to anything before offering any snacks or sharing food. Double check with their parents too.
2. If someone you know has food allergies, be kind. Put away all foods that they can't have in the cupboard and don't bring them out or ask to bring them out when they are visiting.
3. If we are taking treats to school, make sure to find out if there are any allergies in your class. Bring a treat that EVERYONE can share.
 
 
And since I see this as an argument all the time in articles about allergies, let me say, because we have always followed these rules since my son started school, my kids have never once felt "deprived" or "that things aren't fair" or that their "right" to eat peanuts/gluten/egg whites** has been taken away from them. They just feel they are being courteous to their friends and helping others stay safe.
 
This Halloween, we are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. We'll have candy to pass out, but in a separate bowl, we will have non-food treats for kids as well. We'll hang the pdf printout of a teal pumpkin (you can find it here) on our door too, so families can know they can ask for treats without feeling like the biggest drag on the planet.
I'm encouraging everyone to participate in this. Read this article and pick up some non-food treats. Let's make Halloween fun and safe for everyone.
 
Some fun ideas!
 
 
*Top three choices of Halloween candy last year. Do they not poll allergy families??
 
**In four years of being in a classroom structure, we have seen kids with these allergies in school with Dylan. Look around. I would bet that someone you know is working through these issues everyday. Be kind, be courteous and teach your children the same. And if an allergy parent is not kind or courteous back to you (another argument seen frequently on articles about allergies)? That is also a life lesson. Not everyone is pleasant, allergies or not. Don't allow a few people to speak for everyone with food allergies in their family. Another thing to pass onto your kids. :)