Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve!

I think Christmas, or similar winter holidays, which are so rich in tradition are the best, and hardest holidays for couples.  Each family has its own traditions, and sometime combining them can be difficult.  I know growing up in my household, leaving the house was something we never did.  Christmas was intimate- something we did only together as a family.  John's family is more extensive, so they did traveling around Christmas time, something that's taken a lot of years to get used to.  Even now, I don't care for it, although I enjoy spending Christmas with the family immensely so it's worth it.

Other random things that I think about when thinking about Christmas now compared to the Christmas I grew up with...I don't remember Christmas Eve dinner being elaborate or special.  In fact, I can't even tell you what we had.  I think it was a normal dinner.  John's family does fish each year, which is so amusing to me since most of them don't even like fish!  My family always exchanged PJ's on Christmas Eve, which I have no clue where or when that tradition started, but I've always liked it.  Fresh new PJ's to sleep in, and to look cute in for Christmas morning pictures.  Christmas morning was always Cinnamon rolls for my family, and Bacon for John's.  Now it's a yummy combination.  Though I sadly don't mean Cinnamon Bacon Rolls.

I'm a firm believe that Christmas is what you make it.  All the stresses of the holiday can impact the overall feeling only if you let it.  Sometimes I hate the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, but when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they really are the best days of the year for me.  Mostly because the day is all about me and my husband and my kids, and our family, and just enjoying making one another happy.  Sure, the kids might not understand that right now, but they will some day, I hope.

I hope you and yours experience the joy and love of these days.  And please, share your Christmas traditions with me.  I love to hear about differences and similarities.

Our Christmas Card Photo this year

Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Guinea Pig Birthday!

For Lilia's 4th birthday, she asked for a Guinea pig.  I did some research to see if that was an appropriate gift, and while the opinion is mixed, I decided it was ok since I'm in the acceptance that the Guinea Pig is mine.  Her birthday is Monday, so we got the Guinea Pig last night so it had a little time to acclimate.

So here is the little guy.  I think he's adorable, although very skittish at the moment.  I'm afraid it'll be some time before Lilia can hold it, although I can hold him, and let her pet him.  Which I'm sure she won't mind.

Right now, he's in my open closet.  Lilia has no clue he's there, which is actually fun.  I keep slipping in to watch him, and give him fresh hay.  I've already discovered he likes the marigolds from the hay blend I got, and carrots, but not orange peppers.

Half the cage, the side he hides in.
Because he is Lilia's present, I'm letting her pick the name.  Lately she's taken to asking me what my opinion is though, so I have to come up with a few names.  And that's what I'd like hear from you!  Name suggestions, appropriate for a 4 year old.  So, please, leave a comment here in "A little bit me" with a name suggestion for the little guy.  Right now, I'm calling him piggy, which I don't really want to stick.  ;)  There are 4 days until my little girl turns 4.  And of course, I'll let you know what was ultimately picked!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hot WPOP action!

Do you know how much I miss Wegmans?  The funniest part of the story is the fact that Wegmans was rarely my grocery store of choice while we lived in Buffalo.  It's where we bought nice foods, like delicious cakes and pastries, good cuts of meat and gourmet items we couldn't find at Premier Gourmet on Delaware.

Regular, Diet or HOT??
But now...oh man, how I miss it.  My two grocery stores are either Walmart or Hannafords, or if I don't mind a half hour drive, Price Chopper.  It's so bad, I am half tempted to make monthly trips to Wegmans in Syracuse rather than shop at either place.  We have a trip to Buffalo planned for tomorrow and Wednesday and one highlight of the trip will be a visit to Wegmans.

I digress.  I also grew up in Rochester, and had a Wegmans five minutes down the road.  And that leaves certain memories.  Despite saying soda, I drank WPOP.  In fact, the reason I'm posting this particular topic is because this time of year in the 1990's, I remember drinking a certain ginger ale flavor- WPOP Hot Ginger ale.  I want badly.  In my memory, it was so delicious!  I also have a memory of a WPOP cola or lemon-lime soda with peppermint flavor, although I can find no reference to it online anywhere.  I wonder if I made that part up in my head.

So, there was really no point in todays blog, other than to whine, and reminisce a little about things I'm not sure even exist...(well WPOP hot ginger ale did exist...Please tell me if you remember it!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Melting Candy Canes

Ok, so I have no clue is this is the "proper" culinary way to melt candy canes.  But I'm never one for proper anyways.

So first some warnings- Melted candy cane is HOT.  Don't get it on your skin unless you like some serious burns.  Also, keep a close eye on it, so it doesn't burn.

I start with a small non-stick sauce pan.  Turn the burner to low, and then put a few broken candy canes in the pan.  You could probably crush them, and they'd melt faster, but I have this sick fascination with watching whole pieces of candy can melt.  I also don't use any sort of non-stick spray on the pan, since I'm not sure how that would affect the final product.

After bit, you'll see the candy canes start to melt.  Let them melt a bit, it'll look like the exterior of the candy cane is starting to melt off, and then take a spoon sprayed with Pam and stir.  Stir occasionally until the candy canes are completely melted- it'll look like a thick pink syrup.

To drizzle, you have to work fast, as it hardens quite quickly.  You can pour right from the pan, although I almost always use a spoon.  Be very careful not to get it on your skin.  You'll also find it leave threads, though if you just wait a few minutes, the threads will harden and you can easily clean them up.

To clean up the pot, pour water into the pan, and boil.  If there are any sticking to your spoon, stick that in the boiling water as well.

And Voila!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I liked adding twists...

Making rice krispie treats is always a part of the Christmas cookie tradition in this house.  I always add a little twist by melting down candy canes, and drizzling them over the finished pan of rice krispies.  I love doing this, mainly because afterwards I pour in some water to the pot I melted the candy canes in, and boil.  Not only does this make it easy to clean up, but it makes the house smell yummy!

This year, I spotted bags of Jet-Puffed Gingerbread Marshmallows.  I knew instantly we'd be doing something new to the rice krispie treats.  I ate a few, and they were pretty tasty.  Stronger in that gingerbread taste than I thought they would be.  Hoping for the best, I substituted these for regular marshmallows.

It worked really well.  They smell delicious.  They were a tad softer than usual, but in a good way.  And they tasted delicious!  I was pretty impressed, and very happy that I gave it a try.  Even the kids enjoyed them.  I still drizzled on a bit of the melted candy canes, which is always a plus. 

Ok, so maybe it's not as pretty as it could be...I promise it was tasty though!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cookie Fail!

So today I was supposed to write a little blurb on the wonderful gingerbread cookies I made using my new KitchenAid mixer.  Sadly, I won't be doing that.  I made a little mistake, unable to find my gingerbread cookie recipe, and used one that turned out dry and crumbly.  So frustrating!  I was able to make a small batch, but the dough was so crumbly it made the process annoying and I gave up.

Of course, I won't give up!  I just need to find MY recipe, so I can make delicious, light, soft cookies, worthy of the effort of making, decorating and of course, eating.

I will note though, that the cookies I did make were good, just a little bland.  It needed more molasses, and maybe another egg!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Early Christmas Present

I got my Christmas present early.  I've wanted a stand up mixer for a long time, and on Thanksgiving night, I went out with my sisters-in-law for some late night Toys-r-us and Wal-mart shopping.  I saw this, and the price ($149!!!), and immediately texted the husband.  We'd make a Christmas present, but of course Christmas is the time of year a stand up mixer is just so useful!

So today, I opened it, and used it for our first batch of Christmas cookies of the year.  Gingerbread cookies!  It was such a piece of cake, and my house is now filled with the smell of ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  It's so perfect!

Of course, now I don't really have anything to unwrap on Christmas morning...but I'll make up for that by using this little baby everyday until Christmas.  Oh, and subtly hinting to John which accessories I'd like for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, My birthday, Our anniversary, and "My wife is great" day.  I kid, I kid.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I never really had a nickname, outside of my internet "alias".  Shannon doesn't really have much potential.  At best, my little sister called me "Shan" when she first learned to talk, but it was never something that stuck.  My mother's choice of Shannon was not her first choice.  Her first choice was April Love, and I am forever grateful to my dead beat dad for doing one thing right for me.  He told her no way.  Her second choice was Jennifer Joan, so she could call me JJ.  Again, thanks Dad...nothing about that nick name sounds appealing to me.  So he picked Shannon, and here I am today, with a perfectly beautiful Irish name.

My daughter has a few nicknames.  She's called Lily or Lil by family.  She used to call herself Yada.  Now Liam calls her Yaya, though she doesn't seem to like it.  "That's not my name!"  I think it's adorable.

I wonder if Liam will have a nickname.  I call him bozu regularly, although that's my own little thing with him, as my special little guy.  Lilia used to call him Yam, but that didn't stick once she got better at her words.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Chrischris!

This is probably the first Christmas where Lilia actually remembers Christmas the previous year.  It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, and totally excited for Christmas morning.  I was impressed by how much she is able to retain this year.  On the way home from preschool, Lilia told me all the things we needed to do to get ready for "Chrischris".

First, she (again) reminded me that we need a tree, and that we needed to put lights and "stuff" on it, and put a star on top.  After that, we need to put stuff on the windows and on the walls, and put out presents.  It's gotta snow.  Santa is going to come, and we are going to eat cookies!

I think with Lilia around, being excited about Christmas is really easy.  I know Liam will enjoy it too, but it's Lilia who is just at that age where Christmas really is the most magical, beautiful and awesome time of year.  I'm so looking forward to making cookies, shopping and watching Mickey's Christmas Carol together.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Buffalo runs on Timmy Ho's

Despite being huge Buffalo fans, my in-laws have a flaw.  They believe Dunkin' Donuts is better than Tim Hortons.  This has led to some hysterical conversation and debate, about everything from Dunkin' Donuts lousy customer service to Tim Horton's "non travel able cups" to the more subjective "Which donuts taste better?"

I have one answer for them.  Tim Hortons has the Honey Cruller.  This alone makes Tim Hortons the best.  Light, Airy and melt in your mouth goodness.  DD has nothing like it, nothing even comparable.

:(  I miss Tim Hortons.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

All from scratch.  'Nuff Said.  Want a fork?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Kiss

Some mushy friend wants first kiss stories, so I'm going to oblige.

John and I were freshmen in college.  We were good friends, and drinking buddies.  Of course there was some sort of attraction between us, but as I had a boyfriend, we never pursued it.  Well...until one night...

It was actually Halloween.  Some how I ended up getting cornered by a former fling, and one of his scuzzy friends, looking for something I wasn't giving.  So I jump on my roommate's computer, get on irc and demand John come over and protect me.  So he does, and eventually, scuzzy one and two leave.

John and I start drinking.  It's 2 am.  AMP comes on MTV (Remember when MTV had music videos?)  And somehow, we started making out.  I don't remember what started it, though I'm positive it was him kissing me first.  And it was hot, and awkward, and awesome...and when AMP ended, we turned off the TV and turned on the CD player (Remember CD players?) and Radiohead came on and was telling us to "slow down fool".

It didn't lead to anything that night.  I remember him leaving, and thinking "OH sh**! We just ruined our friendship." and getting sad.  But luckily, it didn't.  We became friends with benefits for awhile, and eventually we realized there was a lot more between us.  And here we are, 13 years later, married, with two kids and a house and some apple trees.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apples here, Apples there, apples in my backyard!

One of the things I've always wanted in my back yard was an apple tree.  So for my 9th wedding anniversary, we ordered two apple trees, one red delicious, and one granny smith.  Of course they would arrive on a day I was leaving town, but luckily, the trees arrive in a pot.  So I put them somewhere safe and in the shade, watered them, and left them.  As it turns out, I was supposed to do that so they could acclimate to the new environment.  Yay for things working out.

The Red Delicious
A few days later, we were ready to plant them.  Digging holes in the ground is fun, when you get someone else to do it for you.  (Thanks dear!)  The process wasn't that difficult.  Right now they were only about 4-5 feet tall, easy to lift.  We stuck each in the freshly dug hole, filled it with soil, and covered it carefully with mulch.   It was also recommended that the tree be staked for a year.  Voila!  My own little apple orchard.

Now I've spent the past few weeks worried that I somehow did something wrong, and the plants would die.  They are still alive, and thriving.  We still have to get through winter, but if all goes well, these little apple trees can bloom as early as next Fall.  I'm really excited.  I love Apple season, and having my own apple trees is even better.

The Granny Smith
And with my yard as big as it is, it's so nice to fill it in with something as nice as apple trees.  I'm a big geek when it comes to dual functioning things- and apple trees are both useful AND aesthetically pleasing.  Of course, I'm not really done.  In the spring I plan to add a cherry blossom tree, strawberry and blueberry bushes, and some grapevines.  I'm so excited!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Confession of a bad fan.

I've been a little sick lately, with a cough and headache.  As such, I've also been really tired.  So when we were clearing up our plans for the weekend, I couldn't stand the thought of going to a hockey game, tired as I am, with two kids and a losing team.  So we sold our tickets, and changed our plans to go to Rochester instead.

I feel really guilty.  I think I'm a bad fan, and I should turn in my fan card.  I fully admit, if the team was good, we'd be going to the game this Saturday.  It's a lot easier to put up with chasing two kids around an arena while tired when the team can entertain me.  But the recent losing streak just leaves me with no confidence that the game will be anywhere near enjoyable.

So fellow fans, lynch me, and revoke my fan card.  This week, I'm a bad fan.  And you know's all good because we'll have a great time with the kids at the Museum of Play.  And we'll go to a game (or two) in December.  Maybe even without kids.  (A mom can dream, right?)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Interpretive Dance

I swear, when I don't have anything to blog about, I should just post Liila quotes.  She has the absolute best quotes ever. (I DO have things to post about, but I can't find my camera cord to upload pictures...)

Today, Lilia, despite being told not to jump on the furniture, was hopping on the chaise lounger.  Her reason?

I'm dancing like a spicy noodle Mom!

How do you say no to that?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Love Fall

I love Fall, though this year has been to busy to enjoy thus far.  Usually the time of the year consists of Halloween decorations, hockey, hot apple cider, apple pies, trips to Letchworth, and trips to the pumpkin patch.  I only have a few things up for Halloween, and we managed to get a trip to Letchworth in on Sunday on our way home from Buffalo.  Which leaves a lot left to enjoy once I'm done painting my bedroom, which by the way is taking far too long.

One of the nicest extras in our house is a fireplace in the living room.  Which, is easily becoming part of our night time routine.  I never realized how nice having a fireplace, with a fully stocked wood pile, could be, especially as the temperatures have dropped.  Clean up isn't that bad either, made easier with a shop vacuum, which I lack at the moment.

Of course, being this time of year, warm drinks are a good thing.  For awhile, Starbucks was selling an Apple Cider Chai drink, which I loved.  I don't think they sell it anymore.  So here's my own version:

Apple Cider (Enough to fill your mug)
Chai tea bag
Cinnamon stick
Cloves (1-2)
Cardommon (a pinch)

Simmer in a pan, letting the chai seep for a few minutes.  If you don't mind extra calories, top with some whipped cream and nutmeg.  Feel free to use the cinnamon stick as a garnish.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Halloween with kids

I love Halloween.  It's fun to decorate, it's fun to costume shop, and it's fun to eat candy.  This year, Lilia is almost 4, and I figured this year she could choose her own costume.  And she did.  Lilia has informed me that she wants to be...A Princess Dinosaur.

Not sure how I'll go about this.  Dinosaur head and tail in a princess dress?  It's do-able.

But it made me laugh her that much more.  It's so like her- to combine the two things she loves most right now in such a way.  When she was decked out as a flower girl, complete with tiara, she was stomping around a few times telling me "RAWR Mommy!  I'm a Dinosaur!" 

Pretty sure she's a dinosaur here.
So this Halloween, be on the look out for this beautiful terror: Miss Princess Lilia the Dinosaur.  She's going to woo your heart because she stomps on you. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another room done!

The Before
I am finally getting the pics to Lilia's room up. It's been done for a week or more... Her room seemed to move much faster than Liam's room, probably because I didn't have to measure and level and measure and level the way I did with those stripes.  So Lilia's room was pink to begin with- not a bad thing for a little girls' room I suppose.  But, I didn't really care for that pink, and besides, Lilia's favorite color is purple.

My original plan was to do a blue sky, on the ceiling, with purple on the bottom that would have large ferns and the like.  Basically a combination of this, although I quickly decided against the pink stripe, and this, the framework around the window and the closet.  I did the (Cast a Spell) Blue, and then did the walls a darker (Dreams Come True) purple.  For the closet area, I went with a lighter (Moonlight Waltz) purple, and the molding was done in an even lighter (One Enchanted Evening) purple.  I then did a border of Tinker Bell Pixie Dust around the room, in the One Enchanted Evening purple.  In the center of some of the stars, I glued a some jewels, which I think was just a very cute touch. 

Stencil Border detail
Finishing touches were the curtains, which I made.  I still think I'll make a valence too.   Around the closet, I put on a cute vinyl flower and mirror butterfly set that I found at Target for $10.  The mirrors came with some sort of adhesive stickers, but those didn't work.  I ended up hot gluing those, and so far, so good.  I still need to find the proper curtain for the closet.

I think it just needs some shelves, and some paint on the inside of the closet.  Maybe a little art and perhaps at some point, a new comforter set.  Once the new rugs are in, the room will be perfect.
A pull out couch for Guests!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today is our ninth Wedding Anniversary. Nine years.  It seems much longer than that, and in essence, it is longer, because we have been together since 1998.  Nine years and it seems like we've hardly changed.  John is still my best friend, and life is perfect when he is there.  How lucky I am, to have such a guy in my life.  All the silly little things that society says are important may or may not be there.  Things get crazy, things slow down and feel dull, life is still an adventure, and there's only ever one person I want to be by my side.  It wasn't the most romantic anniversary, or the best, but in the end, I get to enjoy a quiet evening with a wonderful husband, and fall asleep next to him.  And that's all that matters.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's in my garden?

It's time to play "What's growing in my garden?"  I'm going to be tilling the ground for the first time, and I really need to figure out if these things are anything I should keep.

So I have some things growing in my garden.  Things I have no clue what they are.  This is the first.  It looks like some sort of lettuce.  Arugula maybe, I just don't know.  It's very tangy tasting.

I didn't taste the second plant.   There's only a small patch of it, so it really could just be some weed.

So if you have any ideas on what these are, please let me know!  It would be fantastic to know what these were, and if I want to keep them.  If I don't find out soon, I'll probably just get rid of them completely.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's my first product review!

Well, this is the first time I've ever done a product review, but since I love Liz, and what I got from her was totally adorable, I had to share.

Reusable and Super Cute from MyMoes Threads!
We all know I use cloth diapers, cloth feminine products and have been trying to move away from paper towels by using cloth towels and napkins.  In preparation of the school year, I started planning on making Lilia and Johns lunches (though it turned out Lilia wouldn't need lunch.) and started thinking about how many plastic baggies I waste.  That's when Liz from MyMoe's threads linked me to some food safe reusable food bags she makes.  I took it as a sign, and made an order.

From top left to right- Velcro bag, sandwich bag, zippered bag and napkin    
I ordered 2 sets- which consists of a zippered pouch (I opted for a pocket to be added on), napkin, velcro pouch, and sandwich wrap, plus 2 additional zipper pouches.  Let me tell you how great these are.  Not only are the super cute, but they are really useful.  The velcro pouch is perfect for snacks like chips, vegetables and pretzels.  The sandwich wrap was great- it fit nicely around the over-sized bread we use.  The napkin is a nice feature- how many times would you just use a paper towel or napkin, or how many times would you think "Crap, I forgot something to wipe my hands with?"  Well, I know I do that a lot.  Finally, I just tossed everything in the zippered bag, along with some utensils, and voila!  A perfect way to carry a small lunch, without all the waste.
Zipper bags

 I also ordered the spare zipper bags, which are perfect for carrying around snacks for the kids.  Just toss in some Cheddar Bunnies or some Goldfish, and the kids have something to munch on, on-the-go.

They are also easy to wash.  So far I've just had to use wet cloth to wipe down the inside, and then hung it up to dry.  But the nice thing is they are washable is need be.

Liz has a cute variety of fabric, and there are some customizable options.  (With or Without a pocket, with or without a button) and it's all affordable.  So if you are looking for something different, or looking for a way to reduce a little waste- stop by her etsy shoppe, or her website and I'm sure she can whip you up a little something!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good Ol' Blue and Gold

I debated almost the entire summer on how to handle Liam's room.  This is a little bit earlier than when we did Lilia's Sesame Street room.  She was almost 22 months by the time we did that.  Liam, so far, hasn't really shown the love that Lilia showed for Sesame Street, probably because unlike Lilia, he gets more "cartoon" kid shows.  Kai-Lan, The Backyardigans, Blue's Clues, Mickey Mouse, The WonderPets...he loves these shows, and despite feeling guilty for exposing him to so much TV, I allow it.  Now that Lilia has returned to school, and moreso when I'm not busting my butt unpacking and decorating, I'm giving him more Sesame Street time.

The "original" look
Whoa, totally going off course here...but because he doesn't watch as much Sesame Street as Lilia did, I was hard pressed to decide on going full out "Sesame Street" room for him.  I went back and forth between Sesame Street room, Sporty feeling room, generic "baby boy" style, and I even contemplated an Ocean looking room.  But...none of it felt right.  What I decided to do was Buffalo Sabres Blue and Gold.  This made sense for a number of reasons.  The primary reason being, it easily goes with the Sesame Street theme- so I could do the painting, and then decorate it for a temporary look with Sesame Street decals.  When he outgrows that, we can easily switch to a more "grown up" look.

Never again!
I started with painting the ceiling and slanted sides white.  Then I had a lot of fun trying to eye where I'd do the Gold stripe.  Eying is never a good idea, so the laser level was broke out, and after several hours of measuring, leveling, more measuring and more leveling, we had the lines drawn, taped off, and ready for a coat of Gold.  After that, the work was simple- once the Gold dried, more tape, and then the Blue.  At least second, I decided to do the built in shelves, which I think turned out fantastic.

Curtains and a new rug will complete the look.
I think the paint came out really well.  We need to do some last minute touches on the ceiling, and then after that, the paint is done.  After that, it's all the little tiny things that make a room feel cozy- curtains, new fixtures, new outlet and switch covers, pictures and a new rug.  Seriously, the rug needs to go.  I contemplated painting the wardrobe and drawers to match, but decided that was going to far.  Oh, and the couch in there will be moved out, so he has more room to play.
Built in shelves are a nice bonus.
So that's the first room we did in the new house.  It really was a fun job, even if it were a tad exhausting (and mentally taxing, damn math skills.)  I definitely think it's something that can grow with Liam- it'll be exciting to put some Buffalo Sabres decals on the walls.  Who knows, maybe I'll invest in a fat head Ryan Miller for the wall!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm a Home Owner!

Opening the door for the first time!
We finally got the house on August 30th.  Since then, it's been a whirlwind of chaos- moving stuff, unpacking, sorting, organizing, trashing stuff, painting, cleaning...all on top of the normal every stuff.  It's been fun.

Home ownership was something I was unsure if I'd ever get.  It's a very weird feeling after renting my entire life.  But it's an awesome feeling, knowing that I can fix anything that needs to be fixed, or change anything I want to change, as long as I have the financial means, of course.

And we even had the fun of having to do "home owner" type things the very first night.  Our hot water heater pilot light was out, and it was supposed to be lit the day we closed.  However, it wasn't (after being told it was) so when I went to take a hot bath that night, there was no hot water.  So, we sucked it up, and lit the pilot light ourselves.  It was a success!

White and Pink Rose
Name that plant!
I think it's a Yellow Camelia
Unpacking is slow, decorating and painting is slow too.  But I now have fun things to update my blog with, so I hope you all will look forward to that.  (Next update will be Liam's awesome Blue and Gold Bedroom!)  For now, I leave you with some awesome things from my newly acquired garden.  It's a lot of fun trying to figure all the different plant growing in the garden.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The true yogi says "woof woof"

I think there is something innately wise about children.

They find enjoyment in such little things.  Spinning.  Flowers growing.  Empty boxes.  Running in circles.  Barking like a dog.  (Ok, maybe that one is just my kid.)  Recently, something that has been amusing me is watching my daughter get into yoga poses, without ever learning yoga.  Right now she's obsessed with being upside down.  She's on her head on the couch, or dangling, head first, off the chair.  I've seen both kids in Downward facing dog and child's play.  I remember doing those as a child too...they just felt good to do.

I guess maybe I find it amazing that people pay so much money to do yoga, and kids do it all for free.  If only life could remain so simple.

Maybe I should start doing yoga...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My own nature gets me in trouble...

Today we went for a short hike at Pixley Falls State Park.  It was a lovely little trail- a little more "rustic" than the trail at Moss Lake in the Adirondacks.  There was lots of little bridges, and the entire second part of the trail is by the water.  It was a good time.
This is deeper than it looks...
At some point in the hike, we came to a little waterfall.  It was only like 5 feet, and it was something I thought I could easily climb.  As I climbed the first rock, my foot just slipped on a small patch of moss, and down I came.  At first I landed on my bottom in some water, but in a surprised reaction, I went to stand up immediately, causing me to slip more, and I went right into the water.  There was a second of panic, followed my a mental reminder that the water was not deep, nor was the current something that could carry me a way.  So I swim the 2 feet back over to John and the kids, and laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh.  It's funny, I deserved it for disturbing nature, and for being so impetuous.
So there I am, soaked, and laughing hysterically and pretty embarrassed.  John and the kids finish up eating some snacks, we pack up and finish the hike.  I'm pretty miserable being so wet, and I realized during the hike that I'm going to have figure out how to ride in the car wet.  I don't have a spare set of clothes with me.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't have anything in the car, so I face the prospect of an hour drive in wet clothes.  Luckily when we got to the car, we found two spring jackets.  So I go behind some trees, strip my top off, tie the jacket around me like a halter top.  It's long enough that I can strip my shorts off, wrapping the second jacket around my bottom.  This is how I ride in the car- wrapped in a Blue and Gold Sabres jacket, and a Blue Buffalo Bills jacket over a wet bra, and wet underwear.

As we drive home through Boonville (yes, that is the town's real name), we stop at McDonald's Drive-thru for lunch.  I make John ask the McDonald's cashier if there are any Target, Kmart or Walmart in the vicinity.  There is.  So I ask John to drive to Walmart, and go inside and buy me some clothes.  I tell him to pick up some sort of slip on dress, and what size to get.  I make him park far back in the parking lot, away from any cars and people.  As he runs in, I realize that it was my perfect luck that today would be the day someone was taking pictures for and if spotted, I would be the unwitting model.

Luckily, our tale has a happy ending.  John came out with a dress, which I quickly tossed on.  Dry clothes never felt so good!  And my lesson is learned.  Sort of.  The lesson is always have a towel and a spare set of clothes in your car.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Decor Diva?

Well, it's been approximately 60+ days since we signed the contract to buy our little house in Herkimer.  We have the commitment letter, the sellers are eager to get this done, and we ourselves are more than eager to move in.  What's holding it all up?  The lawyers.  Those kind and gentle breed of men and women, who so kindly have had all our paperwork for nearly 3 weeks now.  Does anyone wonder why the general sentiment is "Kill all the lawyers?"  (I don't condone killing them, but maybe sending them to an island inhabited with hungry dinosaurs...)

So in the mean time, I plan and I make.  My "current" project was some cute little cork boards for the kids rooms.  They aren't perfect, but I think they will look really nice once they are attached to the walls, and strewn with pictures for the kids to look at.

Basically just took some corkboard, some fabric, and some hot glue.  Yes, I burned my finger at some point.  Used a little ribbon (Lilia's has some cute Tinker Bell dangle-y ribbon on the bottom), some thumbtacks, and voila!  Cute covered corkboards.

Color schemes are picked out for Lilia's room, and an idea is running in my head for Liam , although, being so young and not really having any definitive likes, makes it a tad harder to settle on anything permanent at this point.  But as of today, it's looking more like it'll be a blue and gold theme to match the blue Sesame Street curtains we used for Lilia's toddler room.  That way when he gets older, if he happens to like any teams that use the Blue and Gold colors, it can get converted pretty easily.  And if he happens to like any other team, well...then he's out of the family.  ;)

So we continue to wait.  Hopefully not much longer now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

For the love of coffee and cookies

I love coffee, although I love flavored creamer in my coffee more.  And I drink that coffee so slowly, it's not even funny.  This is a problem, because I don't like to do anything until my coffee is finished.  But sometimes, it takes me two hours to drink my Tim Horton's travel mug of coffee.  Sometimes, I pour it, and don't even take that first sip until a half hour after it's poured; instead, I just hold the warm mug in my hands.

Delicious, and we'll pretend nutritious
I made these cookies yesterday.  Although mine were m&m flavored, and not chocolate chip flavored.  Nutella M&M cookies.  Delicious.  I followed the recipe pretty precisely, but I'll re-post it here:

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temp.
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup plain M&M's.  If I make them again, I'd use either a half cup of mini M&M's, or a whole cup of plain ones.  It was just a little too sparse.)


  1. Mix together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
  2. Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.
I found that I needed to cook my cookies for 12 minutes, and then still do the 5 minute cooling on the baking sheet.  They were perfect- chewy yet slightly crisp.  The flavor was really interesting.  It was chocolaty and slightly salty, with a hint of cinnamonI had more than one person describe them as a Chocolate Ginger Snap, although there is no ginger in them.

It made 27 cookies, and there are only five left.  I've eaten four.  This just shows what a hit they were in this house!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mini Me

Sometimes, it's really weird having a mini-me running around in the world.  It's amazing, yet slightly scary how alike we can be.

I'm a huge water baby.  I could spend hours at time in a pool if I could.  We've discovered this summer that Lilia is the same way.  Once she got used to wearing her water wings, whenever we've gone swimming in a pool, she just plays and swims for hours.  When we finally got out for the last time, it was serious "end of the world" reaction on her part.

I hate being woke up from a nap.   If I get woke up, it takes like 20 minutes for me to function.  In the meantime, watch out!  I'll bite your head off for breathing.  (I admit it.)  Lilia is the same way.  See, she goes down for a nap around 1, and lately, she doesn't go to sleep right away.  She'll play in her room for an hour or two; reading and playing with her toys.  So sometimes it's 3 or 4 before she actually naps. So 5 o'clock comes around, and it's almost dinner time, and we don't want her sleeping too late or else she'll be wide awake around bedtime.  But when we wake's literally like waking a sleeping bear.  Today she sat at the dinner table, whimpering and looking like someone cast Zombie on her.  We couldn't help but giggle at the level of cranky.

I was being a huge pest while watering my container garden today.  I started chasing John around  the yard with the hose a little, laughing hysterically.  Lilia found this to be absolutely hysterical as well.  There are quite a few parallels in our sense of humor.  (Maybe this means I never grew up?)  Both Lilia and I seem to have a weakness for funny cat videos.  She cracks up when we watch them,  and I don't think she'd ever get tired of watching them (Oh thank ye wise LOLCats.)

Take this cat for example.  I showed it to Lilia, and she first squealed incredibly loud.  Then she laughed.  Then she proceeded to make up a funny story about the cat, and how he was meowing very loudly, and it was really funny.  Now she's demanding that I stop typing, and find some more funny cats.

I could probably go on and on about how alike her personality is to my own.  She's definitely a very emotionally driven child, which is pretty much how I'd describe myself.  And while this can be a challenge at times (Let's just say tantrums are a lot of fun.  Except not.)  it's also pretty cool to see myself reflected in someone I think is so awesome.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How I almost died. I think...

Since we love blowing stuff up on the fourth of July, this is a fitting story.

First you should know, I'm deathly afraid of electricity. I've been electrocuted on more than one occasion. When I was little I was trying to plug something into the wall, and my finger was touching a prong. ZAP.

Then when I was 13, my idiot step father, left some wires hanging out of a wall above the kitchen sink. I was washing dishes, a knife hit the wire. ZAP. Felt like someone came up from behind me and just physically grabbed me and slammed me against a wall. NO JOKE.

When it comes to stoves, I've had zaps a few times while using either an electric stove or a hot pot. These aren't fun either, although for the most part, they weren't as bad as the previously mentioned incidents.

Yesterday, I was boiling water. Just simply, boiling water. I filled the pot. I put it on the stove. I put the burner on high. I turned my back to peel potatoes. I peeled 2 1/2, when suddenly, all at once, I see this bright pinkish flash, and hear a ZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP POP! sound. I turn my head, see water and metal bits all over the stove, water rushing out the bottom of the pan, steam and sizzling sounds. I'm TERRIFIED.

The knob was plastic, so I figured it was ok to turn the stove off. I turn it off, shaking and just stare at everything. NO CLUE what happened. I look at the pot and there's a hole in it. I look at the burner, there's a hole in that. I put everything down, and just stare for a few more minutes, and then go find my husband, napping safe and sound.

I incoherently try to tell him what happened. I leave him, go turn off the breaker, and then go back up, trying to make myself coherent. He doesn't understand until he actually comes down and sees the carnage.

This is the coil on the burner.  Now clue what really happened, other than maybe it wore out, and faulted.  I had used that same burner earlier in the day, and didn't notice anything funny about it.

This is the pot.  It was a solid pot- I think it was also a pressure cooker.

I can't help but wonder what would've happen if I had been closer, or if I had been stirring the pot.  Would I have been electrocuted?

I know there are dangers with gas as well, but you know, I'm seriously considering installing a gas stove when we get into the new house.

I am laughing about it now, but man...I was scared when it happened.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dork update

What I'm watching:

Otaku goodness.

What I'm listening to:

I couldn't resist any longer. I'm a sucker for cheesy dance music, and Lady Gaga's songs are way to catchy.

What I'm playing:

I'm honestly not playing anything really. I pick this up every now and then, but I'm waiting for a new PSP (since the kids broke the old one...) and for Persona 3, PSP version, to come out in July.

What I'm reading:

I just finished reading this one. There were a few parts I didn't care for, but overall, I did enjoy the book. I guess it's asking too much to repeat the absolute genius of the original Kushiel series, but I will say this was quite good.

That's all I have at the moment. I feel like my life is on hold while we wait for all the pieces of buying a home come together. It's quite frustrating.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strawberry season

In the past few years, I've started to really love strawberry season. We've gone strawberry picking the past 3 years. It's the absolute best- freshly picked strawberries are so delicious.

Particularly with kids, strawberry picking is a lot of fun. Burns a few calories, and entertains the kids, all while collecting copious amounts of healthy deliciousness. There's just something fun about watching the little ones pop a fresh strawberry in their mouth, red juice dripping down their chins (and on their hands, nose and somehow forehead...) and then tossing some into the box, delighted to help.

Of course, even more fun is doing stuff with the strawberries.  The easiest is just a wash, and a few spoonfuls of whipped cream.  The place we picked strawberries sells smoothies- I had one that was simply ice and strawberries blended in the blender, and John had one that was milk, strawberries and ice.  Both were delicious, though I though mine was the best.   Of course we had to make strawberry shortcake.  Sliced strawberries, a touch of sugar to draw out the juices, angel food cake and whipped cream.  Perfection!

Strawberry season wouldn't be complete without a pie though.  Strawberry Rhubarb pie is absolutely delicious.  Because we're still living from a suitcase, my food processor is put away.  Hence, I did not make pie crust from scratch.  But it still turned out quite good, even if it was almost a disaster.  The recipe I used gave inaccurate times, and it was very liquidy.  Luckily, I saved it by cooking it an additional 40 minutes (!!) covered in foil.

9” pie crust, plus some extra for top.
4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour

Mix the sugar and flour with the fruit, let sit a few minutes to draw out the juices.  Pour into pic pan, weave top crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees for another 40 minutes.  If your crust looks like it's burning, cover pie with foil.  Let stand 20-30 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

Next year, I hope that I will be able to harvest some of my rhubarb.  I can't believe how well it's growing right now.  In April, I planted it in a small oatmeal container.  In May, I transplanted it to a bigger container.  There's currently 6 lovely stalks growing.  I can't wait to get it into the ground.  And since I'll also be growing strawberries, I will literally grow and bake a pie next year from scratch.  Am I a huge dork for being excited by that?

Remember kids, don't eat the Rhubarb leaves.