Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lazy girl's pasta primavera...

1/2 pound of linguine
1 package frozen spinach and artichoke dip
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 bell pepper, any color, roasted and sliced (I used some from my freezer)
1/4 cup thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook linguine to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Return pasta and reserved water to pot, add remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper, heat on medium until hot. Serves 4.

Monday, April 27, 2009


The theme at i ♥ faces this week is refection!

{kid entry} To me, this is a double reflection. First it's the obvious reflection of Lola on the glass wall of our local bio-dome (she looks so darn surprised cause she's watching monkeys, by the way), and secondly, she looks so much like her big bro and is dressed to match him, so I see that metaphorical "reflection" as well. But I am their mama, and I'm crazy like that, so lets just stick to the reflecting glass...

{adult entry} This is from a wedding that my hubby and I shot this spring. That quiet moment of finishing touches before walking down the aisle...

Don't forget to check out all of this weeks entries, and while you're there leave them a comment! Enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fix it Friday...

Time for another Fix-It Friday from i ♥ faces!

This is the original...

For my version I first brought the photo into Aperture and rotated it, cropped it and removed the blemishes. Then I reopened it in Photoshop where I dodged it a bit, and then, using Totally Rad Actions I applied Clare-ify, Grunge Rock at 30%, Bitchin' B&W and then Boring Old Sepia. The last step was adding a Fairy Tale overlay, changing it to blue and adjusting the opacity to 50%...

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stepping out to cure Scleroderma...

Support my Scleroderma walk

If you live in the North Country you are probably all too familiar with the blog One Day at a Time and the story of Randy Duprey and his beautiful wife, Kate and son, Alek. You are also probably very familiar with the turmoil and heartache that he and his family has faced for the last couple years because of Scleroderma. At this point the causes of this disease are unknown and there is no cure. On January 6th Randy lost his battle to this incurable disease and now Kate has decided to step up and Step Out To Cure Scleroderma by organizing a walk to raise money and raise awareness in Randy's honor. The walk will be held on Sunday June 14th, and there will be a meeting this Saturday to go over details. Anyone willing to help organize or contribute to this event should be there to show support and take part in a great cause for a great local family. Volunteers are needed! You can visit Kate's blog for details.

Let's not let this happen to anyone else...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mother's Day gift ideas...

In honor of Mother's day (which is less than 3 weeks off, people), I thought that I would compile a list of my favorite things. That's right. My favorite things! Well, I am a mama, right? Besides, I thought it might help you decide on a gift for the mama in your life.

This necklace is gorgeous and the price is pretty spiffy too. It tops my list! *hint, hint Jason*

Anything LUSH! Now if you've been reading this blog for a while, it's no surprise that I am a huge LUSH fan. It's all natural, Canadian made (although available in the U.S.), earth friendly (Happy Earth Day, by the way) and everything smells good enough to eat. My faves are Avobath Bath Bomb, Godiva Solid Shampoo and Rock Star Soap. So yummy!

I love to go for mini hikes with my family. Add a picnic and you've got the perfect Mother's Day afternoon. Include some brie, a French baguette and some chilled NY produced Pinot Noir Blanc or a bottle of Perrier and it's even better!

I wouldn't mind getting a certificate for a massage or a facial at a local day spa.

Nor would a refuse a clean house that I didn't have to clean.

You can never go wrong with candy. Yes, very cliché, I know. But really, who doesn't love their own private stash of Godiva or Jelly Belly?

Flowers are always appreciated, but I would personally prefer a couple of flats of perennials to plant around the garden or a potted plant for the deck. They last longer and mom will have a constant reminder of how much you care.

And last, but certainly not least, a family photo session with a professional photographer is the perfect gift for mom. And, how convenient! I happen to know a couple of really good photographers that can do just that ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baby proofing a hotel room...

Whenever we go to a hotel with our youngsters, we pack a roll of painter's tape along with the rest of our overnight necessities. It is the perfect baby proofing tool that can be used in a number of places to protect your babies and toddlers, and it easily peels away when you are leaving, so you can be confident that every surface will go unharmed, both on your baby, and on the room!

Use #1 & 2: plug protector on an empty plug or, on a used one, it also makes it tamper proof.

Use #3: drawer lock.

Use #4: cupboard lock.

And it works!

Do you have any tips or tricks for travelling with youngsters?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday...


So here's the deal.

Every week I come up with a menu plan fully thinking that I'm going to follow it exactly as written, and each week, things change. Unexpected errands or outings come up and I flake out on the menu. Then I feel like an unorganized loser.

But honestly.

My week can not revolve around a menu. The menu must revolve around my week.

So, I'm going to continue to plan a menu based on what I have in the house, but I'm only going to follow it when it's going to work in our schedule.

Cause really, life can't be planned, it has to happen.

Monday: Crock pot pork chops (scroll down for recipe), brown rice, steamed broccoli, Oreo pudding.

Tuesday: Tofu and veggie stir fry, rice, fruit.

Wednesday: Salmon cakes, brown rice, steamed veggies, fruit.

Thursday: Lazy girls pasta primavera (recipe coming on Thursday), salt and pepper crostini, fruit.

Friday: Errand day, getting take out at our fave Vietnamese place.

Saturday: Photo shoot and a meeting, supper out for mama and dada.

Sunday: Burgers on the grill, potato salad, fruit.

Crock pot pork chops

4 boneless center-cut pork chops
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

Arrange chops in bottom of crock. Cover with onion slices. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over pork and onions. Cover and cook on low for 6 hrs or until tender.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fix-it Friday...

Time for another Fix-It Friday from i ♥ faces!

This is the original...

And this is the one I adjusted in Photoshop with Totally Rad Actions. I used to work exclusively in Aperture and I am relatively new to TRA, so I have been experimenting with them a lot lately. I find that, although I love the ease of the basics, like cropping, straightening and vignetting in Aperture, using the TRA's in Photoshop is adding a whole new dimension to my photos that I have not been able to achieve before. The cropping was already perfect for my taste, so I left that alone. The actions I used were Grunge Rock at 70% to smooth everything a bit and add a touch of whimsy, Boutwells Magic Glasses to sharpen and pop, and then it needed just a touch more sun so I added Warm it up Kris at 30% ...

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exploring nature, one leaf at a time...

Nature walks are one of our favorite things to do as a family. Even before having children, my husband and I would pack up some snacks, hop in the car for a drive, and stop at any hiking trails that we stumbled across to get out, explore and enjoy nature. Now that we have two little ones, hiking has become a much more structured activity. We time our hikes between meals and naps, and we always end up at the same handful of trails that we know are safe, clean and maneuverable by stroller of wagon. And, you know what? Even structured, a day out on the hiking trails watching the little ones explore and touch everything around them just feels so magical. Like I'm the one seeing and feeling everything for the first time. It really is a breath of fresh air!
In fact, I think that this is how will be spending our afternoon tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I ♥ faces {Easter}...

The contest this week at I ♥ faces is Spring and Easter! Enjoy!

And don't forget to head over to I ♥ faces to see all of the other awesome entries!

Menu Plan Monday (...on Tuesday, shhhh, don't tell anyone)...

So here it is! Late, but still here. So I guess that makes me fashionably organized! *Ha ha, chuckle, chuckle, snort* I crack me up!

Monday: We cleaned out the fridge of all of it's leftovers and I attempted to make bread pudding out of leftover rolls from a local restaurant. Turns out, when you are eating a bunch of garlicky Italian food, it can be really hard to tell that the rolls have been brushed with garlic oil. Smelled awesome. Just like bread pudding should smell. But tasted garlicky. Gross. Lesson learned: don't make bread pudding from Italian restaurant leftovers without first licking the top of a roll.

Tuesday: Errand day without the diaper duo. We will be eating out and bringing back some of our kiddos favorite Indian dishes for Wednesday night.

Wednesday: Indian food take-out from Karma. Mmmmm...

Thursday: Chicken and veggie fried rice, egg rolls, fruit.

Friday: Tofu something. Not sure what yet, but I have a block in the fridge, so I would like to try a new recipe.

Saturday: Would like to take the kids out for a mini hike if it's nice, but we may go to the mall if it's not. Either way, we'll eat out.

Sunday: Milk Pork (see photos below) with maple roasted sweet potatoes, balsamic roasted onions (both recipes coming soon) and fruit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Figs with goat cheese, pepper and honey...

Well, there isn't much more to say than that! This is a simple starter (or midnight snack with a glass of wine) of fresh figs with about a teaspoon of soft goat cheese per fig, drizzled with honey and dusted with freshly ground black pepper. Delish!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FYI: roasting frozen bell peppers...

I recently posted about how I like to freeze sliced bell peppers. Well, this week I tried roasting the frozen peppers for the first time and they turned out wonderfully!
I just tossed them into a pan directly from the freezer, coated them with a bit of olive oil, seasoned them with s & p, and roasted them for about 45 min at 400˚.

I used these in one of my pesto pasta salads. YUM!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday...

clean out! This week we are skipping our weekly trip to the grocery store and are eating what we already have on hand in our fridge, freezer and pantry. We will still be needing a little of the necessary milk, fruit and yogurt for the kids, but that is it!

Monday: Chicken and green bean Curry from Sunday with brown rice and strawberries.

Tuesday: Steak with red wine reduction and Gorgonzola butter (we don't use a food processor for this, we just mash it together in a bowl, then we wrap leftovers in waxed paper and store them in the freezer), green beans and carrots, Italian bread with oil and balsamic for dipping, fruit.

Wednesday: Eggs and peppers, salt and pepper crostini made with leftover bread from Tuesday, cheese, olives, fruit.

Thursday: Shopping day for mommy and daddy and dinner out! Yay! It's a date!

Friday: Teriyaki pork loin in the crock, brown rice, julienned veggies, fruit

Saturday: Leftover pork from Friday along with anything else we can wrangle out of the fridge.

Sunday: Easter dinner with family at a local sugar house!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fix-it Friday...

Time for another Fix-It Friday from i heart faces!

This is the original...

And this is the one I adjusted in Photoshop with TRA...

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Super hero capes...

Sunday was rainy here, so while the kids were busy playing with their water table, my husband and I were busy making them these darling super hero capes.
They were so simple to make. We started by cutting the material into triangular pieces minus the tip. Then we folded the edges in a 1/4 of an inch, ironed them in place and repeated once more to make a double folded hem, this made it easier to run through the sewing machine (real seamstresses out there, I apologize, I am so clueless with the sewing lingo). Once the capes were completed, we cut their first initials out of felt and then Jason sewed those onto the middles of the finished capes.

We did not add neck ties to our capes because we didn't want out kids strangling each other or using the capes to pull each other down. We know all too well that our kids would try both, so why tempt them? Instead we just made our capes about 5" too long and tucked the top bit into the back of their shirts. So, yeah. There will be no naked cape wearing in our house, but safety first, right guys? If your kids are less wild, more trustworthy, or if you are just plain braver than I am, by all means, add the neck ties!

This is one of the finished capes (ours measured 21" long by 14" wide at the bottom and 6" wide at the top)...

They really did turn out very cute for such a simple design...

And they were super fast...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Emergency chocolate cake...

I got this recipe idea from my very thoughtful mother-in-law (Thanks Mary!), and after playing around for a while in the kitchen we came up with this very moist, nearly flour-less recipe.
This cake literally takes 5 min, start to finish. I even had just enough time to clean up while the cake cooked!

Emergency Chocolate Mug Cake

1 teaspoon flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons softened butter
Splash of vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to a large microwaveable coffee mug and mix well.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes on high.

The cake may rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed it will sink back down as it cools.

Allow to cool for a couple minutes, and invert onto a plate if desired.

This cake is somewhat fun to share, but it is more fun to hog it all for yourself!