Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EOM: January

Just a few more shots for the month of January.

From Sir with Love

As some of you may recall, my sweet husband has a definite opinion on nail polish.  He has even dawned the doors of Barneys and chatted up the gay men at the makeup counter to secure a bottle of "Jungle Red" by Nars.  He swears it is the perfect red.  Typically speaking, he only likes red.  So, last summer, he wasn't too happy when I came homing wearing Chinchilly...by Essie.  I had seen the color on my friend Texas T and she rocked it-- but with my fair skin, I did look a little like a cadaver.  BUT, I still think it is a sophisticated, neutral and modern color to wear and if I could, I would.

Once it was mid summer, I switched over to Essie's mesmerize (i think).  It was a hot color here and my friend Chrissy turned me on to it.  It's one of my favorite colors and it matched a couple pair of flips I own and looked awesome with my silver and purple havianas.  But alas, it was lost on my husband.   I got a meager "cute" from him.
So, imagine, my surprise when he came home last night with a little gift-- a bottle of Peridot by Chanel.  Honestly, I think he likes it because it looks like a rainbow trout.  It's funky...and green...and bronze...and iridescent...and--- well, it's everything peridot is.  I'm hoping to get my hands polished today with the new hue.  I'll let you know what he thinks!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Camp Greenkill

KF and her Daddy took their first Indian Princess...I mean Y princess...camping trip this past weekend.  I think I was as excited as they were.  I got to do all the prep, but I didn't have to go.  I'm  all for glamping, but to be honest, camping is completely lost on me.

In advance of the weekend, each parent was given designated "snacks" to bring.  So, immediately I tossed that out the window and began to brainstorm on something for everyone.  For the kids I found these great campfire cones.  You put all the "toppings" into a cupcake pan and each kid makes their own "cone" to put on the campfire.  It is supposed to be safer and less messy than traditional s'mores.
source: www.chefjessicabright.com

source: chefjessicabright.com

 For the men, I had a little more fun.  For starter, I packed the basics...cheese, olives, 2 different salamis, Rosemary cashews (Barefoot contessa), hummus, veggies, and pita.  Then I decided to make some beef jerky.  I opted for a Mexican lime jerky with a little jalepeno kick.  This was my first shot at jerky, and while it needs some tweaking, it was pretty good for a first attempt.  
marinated meat
Finished product!

Last, I made the moonshine recipe that I posted last week.  My husband knows my "more is more" philosophy, but be wasn't "signed on" to the moonshine idea.  I saw him tuck a nice bottle of red and a mccallum 18 into his bag and I knew how this was going to play out.  Much to my surprise,  I got a text around 10pm and the nipping had begun.  The guys were loving it.  At 190 proof...who wouldn't.   My husband was sooo proud.  

The two arrived home Sunday afternoon pooped.  As I imagined, the jug was empty.  Apparently, they were in such a fog that my husband didn't even take out the beef jerky, the veggies to go with the hummus, or the campfire cones.  See, this is why men need a woman around!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the weekend...

Mighty Bluefish and chomps before leaving 
Sparkling Starfish
Making the Tribe Banner

The bird man

Their cabin...yes that is one of the two flatscreens!

Another pic of the cabin

Made it Myself Monday-- Wreath

It is true, I am completely addicted to pinterest.  I have been using it for about a year now and I love it.  I spend more time on it than facebook and I find myself using it instead of google.  My "tear-pages" have slowly started to dwindle...hooray!

While I am a good amount creative.  I can actually just be described as a self starter that is good at glomming.  So, for today, I worked on the above wreath that I found on pinterest.  I thought it was a perfect option for the month of January-- it looks snowy, wintery, and cozy-- all at once. Trust me when I say, the door to our "cottage" needs a LOT of love to keep it looking cute--unlike our doors at 4411 that were beautiful all on their own.  For this reason, you're likely to see lots of wreath and planter posts this year..stay tuned!
4411 doors

19 door

While I am at, I'll show you the wreath I have on the inside of the door.  I originally made it to put on the outside, but because our rental has a screen door that we can't remove, there isn't enough room in between the two to fit this fat wreath.  So, instead, I decided to put it on the inside and it looks great.
 And to answer your questions...yes, we drank all that wine and still have enough corks for probably 2-3 more wreaths.  So, stay tuned for more cork projects!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Grooving...In January

What I am l listening to this month? 

January is so flippin' cold that I feel like hibernating.  So, this month's mix is a little slow.  Some old school and some new finds.  And it ends with a little gospel....yes, gospel...I love me some good gospel.

  1. White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes)
  2. Sunday Morning (Maroon 5)
  3. Blue Eyes Crying int he Rain (Willie Nelson)
  4. Good Feeling (Violent Femmes)
  5. Hello its me (Todd Rundgren)
  6. Into The Wild ( LP)
  7. Landslide (Smashing Pumpkins)
  8. Rewrite (Paul Simon)
  9. If the Stars were mine (Melody Gardot)
  10. Falling in Love at A Coffee Shop (Landon Pigg)
  11. Just Like Heaven (Katie Melua)
  12. Tonight (Kate Walsh)
  13. Blue Moon Revistited (Cowboy Junkies)
  14. Soul on the Line (Connor Garvey)
  15. I just don't think I'll ever get over you (Colin Hay)
  16. Moonshadow (Cate Stevens)
  17. Furr (Blitzen Trapper)
  18. I and Love and You (The Avett Brothers)
  19. Auld Lang Syne (Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis)
  20. Victory is Mine (Dorothy Norwood)

Tipsy Tuesday: Apple Moonshine

This Friday, KF and Dad are headed for their Indian Princess overnight.  There are about 40 girls/Dads going from our tribe and it looks like a lot of fun.  Saturday night, after the kids turn in, the dads grill up some steaks and bring out the firewater.  So, I am making apple moonshine to send along.  I am guessing that I won't find grain alcohol here in town.

Apple Moonshine

1/2 gallon apple juice

1/2 gallon apple cider

4 cinnamon sticks

1 cracked nutmeg (optional)

8 allspice berries (optional)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 gallon Everclear Grain Alcohol (190 proof)
or Vodka (if you have to)


In a large stock pot (1 1/2 gallons or bigger) combine juice, cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, berries and both sugars.
Cook on high until sugar dissolves.
Allow to cool then remove cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and allspice berries.
Add Everclear.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One down-- nineteen to go!

And Chomps is now officially a little less chompy.  He lost his first tooth today at 3:40 and his Daddy pulled it out!

Peachette has a pink and green tooth pillow that I bought at hoofbeats in the city-- long before she even got a tooth.  Having not found a cute boy pillow option, I opted for the glow-in-the-dark tooth bank that can be placed on the bedside table (with tooth inside).  I hear this makes the tooth fairy's work a lot easier.  As is the tradition in our house, the tooth fairy usually brings a golden dollar for first teeth.  The lustre and weight always bring about OOH and AHHs from all the kids.

 Last year, in an effort to gain some control over my office and it's contents.  I decided to chart out the teeth my children lost and when they lost them.  See, my memory is officially shot, so if it isn't logged in some way it just isn't retained anymore.  Which is the case with so many other things in my life!  So, here is the anal retentive system that seems to be working for me.  Of course, if the tooth fairy didn't take the teeth I would include them with this piece of paper..duh!

Saturday Snow

My kids told me this morning that this didn't count as a snow day since it was on a Saturday and they weren't getting a day off from school.  Makes sense to me.

Connecticut has finally gotten it's first dump in 2012.  By this time last year we had already gotten 20+ inches.  But lets be honest, last year was a banner year here in the north east.  Connecticut felt the aftershocks of the earthquake in Virgina, endured hurricane Irene, and weathered some major snowstorms.  Our last day of school in 2011, was met with a flash flood that made it's way into our basement and the start of school was delayed until the 40+ roads in Darien could be cleared of the trees uprooted from Irene.  It was crazy!

It was during the aftermath of these events that we sat a little longer with friends drinking wine and bonding.  A certain fragility appeared among people.  Those with power offered up their washer/dryers, the library opened it doors for phone charging and satellite offices, and friends offered their country clubs and pool clubs for showering.  Everyone was on equal footing and did what they could for others.

I'll always be a southener at heart-- I guess that is why snow is so magical to me.  It amplifies the silence.  It stops people in their tracks and makes them stay a little closer to home and to family. 
It's peaceful. 

Beautiful March

After reading my December/January magazines I have found a common denominator, it seems that all my favorite mags have an article on sleep.  Like weight loss and de-cluttering, it must top most people's resolution list.  While it is not on mine, I am hopeful that this year will indeed bring me better sleep.

As many of you all know, all three of my children had a sleep study performed at the end of last year, and ALL three were diagnosed with varying degrees of sleep apnea.  What does that mean-- it means they don't sleep worth a plugged nickle.  My rose colored glasses pawned it off as adorable children that loved their Mom and Dad so much that they wanted an extra snuggle in the 2-3am hour.  I told my husband to enjoy it because one day they wouldn't want to do that (insert laugh).   What I learned is all three kids are restless, lip smacking, iron deficient kids.  If you care to read on...here were the diagnoses:

My oldest son, Chomps, is a shallow breather who takes a big gulp of air every few minutes;  and he apparently has a low oxygen level throughout the night.  Because he kicks his legs all night-- which I might add, results in my having to remake an entire bed every morning-- led the doctor to believe that he may have restless leg syndrome.  RLS is a result of low iron-- so a Ferritin test was ordered.  While we found his iron to be slightly low, it wasn't enough to cause RLS.  Chomps also completed a pulmonary function test-- which indicated that his lungs were functioning on par with an athletes, but he did have collapsible vocal chords which was a result of the slime that comes off the tonsil and adenoids on to the chords-- easily cured when tonsils and adenoids are removed.

My youngest son was also diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea and low iron.  But, here is what I found fascinating-- when the doctor watched his sleep study, he noticed that Baby J smacks his lips in the middle of the night--this is often associated with acid reflux.  So, a return trip to an ENT, led to a conclusion that not only does he have huge adenoids, but he also has acid reflux.  Then after a return return visit for a pulmonary function test, we also found that he has a slight case of asthma.  The good news is that after a couple of months of prevacid, this boy is eating like a champ.  He wasn't as picky as I thought, he was just uncomfortable.  Now, we have added a puffer that we will use until the tonsil and adenoids are removed, at which point, they feel the asthma will go away.

Last, the peachette.  She had the mildest sleep apnea.  Peachette sleeps with her head far back -- which the doctor said is a result of her trying to get additional oxygen into her lungs.  I had noticed this odd positioning, but never made this connection.  Her iron levels were a touch low too, but allergy and asthma tests came out perfect.  Looks like we just need a cast iron skillet and an air purifier for this one.

So, what is the next course of action?  Well, during winter break, our happy family won't be going any place warm and tropical,  we'll be headed to Yale New Haven to have all three kids tonsils and adenoids removed.  It should prove to be the week from hell, but at least they will all be done and recovered (fingers crossed) before school is back in session.

My doctor, said come March I should be getting the most beauty sleep I've gotten in 9 years.  Hopefully, I'll look like the 29 year old that I am!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Made it Myself Monday-- The Hats

About this time last year, I was perusing the Michaels like I often do, when I saw a girl who was wearing an adorable hat and was buying yarn.  In my chatty sort of way, I asked if she had made her hat and indeed she had.  She then introduced me to a life changing piece of equipment, The Knifty Knitter.  I could hardly wait to get back home to break it open and start a project.  Seriously, by the end of the day, I had made KF a hat and more importantly, I had taught her to make hats.  She promptly made a hat for Whisky, the cat, and her daddy.  It seriously kept her busy for hours upon hours. 

So, this Christmas, when we were making a gift-giving list-- we came upon two of her oldest and dearest  friends who had moved to Tokyo.  I told KF we needed to select something small and light since shipping charges can be crazy.  She immediately suggested hats.  Well, she started off with such gusto, that I thought we would have plenty of time.  Then, mid way, she started a sleeping bag for her stuffed hamster, and it went down hill from there.

Today, I put my foot down and together we completed them both.  I worked on pom poms and counted rows, while she knitted.  And when free skate started, I took over the reins and did a few laps for her.

Anyhow, this knifty knitter really is a stroke of genius.  It runs about $15.00 (before the 40% off coupon) and I have given them for several birthday parties with a few spools of yarn.  It always looks like a sleeper, but soon after, I have a mom chasing me down to say thank you and to tell me how amazed she is.

The picture above are the hats that will hit the mail tomorrow and below are some other projects we have completed!

As would have it, Martha has come out with her own "fancy" knit and weave loom that I got for Christmas.  I haven't played with it yet, but I do know that you can use finer yarns (which is a plus).  The optios are seriously endless as it has 34 pieces, but could easily make infinity scarves, knit rosettes and blankets.  Also, creativity for kids has come out with an entire set that is packaged much more attractively for birthday parties.  It comes with yarn and only one ring, but may be even easier for little kids.

Let me know what your up to today!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Artisanal Bread

I can officially cross the first of my "12 for 12" projects off my list.  Last week, I gathered all the equipment and ingredients to make my first boule (or ball in French).  As Tokyo Alex can attest, I do NOT have a way with dough or bread.  I think my failed pita attempts are somewhere around 5 or 6.  That's just embarrassing.

What has changed?  I bought this book that several friends recommended called Artisanal Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  This was to be the last attempt before I finally gave up on the whole baking thing.  And I have suceeded!  I popped my bread into the oven this morning and the most gorgeous boule came out.  Seriously, it took my breath away.

I think this is a great book for anyone, but it is particularly good for those with little time.  The method which was honed by a pastry chef and baker is simple, makes little mess (nary a bowl to wash or a lick of dough on my hands), and most importantly, is delicious. And seriously, what is more impressive at a dinner party than to present your guest with amazing fresh made bread.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baking Day

I hate waste and I LOVE a good challenge.  So, ever so often, I like to go through my pantry and attempt to use those things that have appeared mysteriously.  At some point, I am sure I had either good  intentions or I found a crazy good sales on the 3 bags of egg noodles, the bottle of fenugreek, the packages of prunes that stare at me from my pantry; but as it stands today, I am not sure what I was supposed to do with any of these.  So, I have zeroed in on a few things today that I want to get out of the pantry:
  1. Canned pumpkin
  2. Molasses
  3. Prunes
  4. Over ripe Bananas
None of us will touch a banana that has a brown spot.  We're all more likely to eat a slightly green banana.  That is, all except for KF... she stopped eating bananas at about age 6.  What a bummer considering bananas are tops for moms--they are both convienient (coming with their own packagaing and all) and they're super healthy.  Frankly, I thought it was control thing, but fast forward two years and she still won't eat one unless it is in a smoothie or yogurt.  Today I am using my Bananas in a banana nut bread...my mom's recipe.  I've made two loaves and I'll freeze one for later when I don't have my act together.

The molasses just went into a loaf of gingerbread.  I ate plenty of gingerbread cookies growing up, but I never remember my mom making actual gingerbread (although I am sure she would tell you she made gingerbread ALL the time).  So, when my friend Canada Heather, made it one day while I was at her house, I HAD to have the recipe.  My kids love it.  This may not be the epitome of the food pyramid and stuff, but I often send it to school this time of year with a dannon vanilla yogurt and a sliced navel orange.  It is a favorite lunch combination and it is so much faster than putting a sandwich together.

I have a LOAD of canned pumpkin.  I know what I bought this for, but apparently I didn't have the time to make it last Novemeber.  I'll use this to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips, and I am going to try a pumpkin carrot cake muffin.  These are great things to grab for breakfast or to pack for lunch.

Last, the prunes, my husband will be thrilled about this one.  One of my besties, Atlanta Anna, made a ridiculous Chicken Marbella one night when we were at her house.  So, I am glomming the recipe for tonight.  I've got it marinating and it looks fantastic.  Three kids, poor time management, and general disorganization often leave the hubs without a proper dinner...unless you consider chicken nuggets, eggs, or pasta with butter proper.  So, he'll be salivating as he reads this post on his train ride home.

My recipes are simple.  I no longer have the time to do anything too involved.  And for whatever reason, my kids just don't appreciate the layered salads, homemade crepe gateaux, and time intensive risottos of my past...not sure why.  So, believe me, if I spend the time making something...it is usually a tried and true recipe.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Made it Myself Monday-- The Belt


Each month this year, I plan to work on and complete a "made it myself" project.  Some are small and others are rather large, but I love the idea of making something with my own hands.  I know I am a lot like my father in that respect, we both crave to see how something is assembled (and unassembled).  Although his loves involved furniture, cars, and most airplanes...mine are slightly dumbed down in the way of garments, food, and crafts 

Since The hubs and I are celebrating our 13th anniversary this May, I have a special "made it myself" project that I have already started.  It's a gorgeous needlepoint belt.  I love needlepoint because it is exact and perfect-- you really can't screw it up.  I also thinks it is therapeutic and is great for multitasking while I watch "Good Wife".  The only downside is that I am terribly impatient and I just want it to be done already.

With the belt in the beginning stages, I toted it down to Atlanta.  I have a great Martha Steward thread holder that I love and it keeps it everything together in one place.  I showed the belt to many friends and family members who all complimented the belt, but I could tell that many didn't "get" the needlepoint-for-a-man thing.  Meanwhile, here in True Prep New England, Needlepoint belts are to men what gin is to tonic.

So, I am giving you a little snippet of my handiwork.  I glommed the pattern from a friend in town and I think it is just perfect.  I am adding a monogram in the middle back and I am almost there.  As long as the Good Wife keeps airing new episodes, I should continue on a steady course to get this project done by May.

Now, If you have have no interest in needle pointing, you can buy a beautiful belt off the rack.  Smathers and Branson has some of the most beautiful.  Ric has a couple, including the one below.  They run about $165.  In addition to belts, they also have key fobs, flasks, and headbands.  You should definitely check it out at www.smathersand branson.com