Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday night sushi

It took me about 3 minutes to decide to tag this as "food day" Those posts are exclusively on Friday. But today is clearly Monday. eesh. But it's about food. I'm such a stickler for word and label choice. I still don't really like the tag, but I'm not making a new one just for a food post on a Monday. So here we are ... reading my internal crazy lady monologue. I digress ...

We haven't made sushi since October. We were long overdue.

We just did a very simple roll. (and there were ALL the same except for proportions).
Nori wrap
sesame seeds
sushi rice
spicy shrimp



served with these fabulous condiments:
the top left is Plum Perfect Plum Sauce (Husband's favorite aside from soy)
below that is Sweet Ginger Chili Sauce by the ginger people (it has a fabulous flavor and caught our eye at Whole Foods a couple of months ago. Husband also likes it with eggrolls)
top right is sliced pickled ginger (so good)
below that is spicy mustard (the only thing on the table that is exclusively mine bc Husband doesn't like it)
then there's the tube of wasabi (and just a little dab will do ya)
and in the single bowl is soy sauce.

It was nice to have rolls that were all the same so we could change up the condiments. Everyone of the 6 have such distinct flavors it's nice to try them all on the same pallet.

Husband enjoying his last piece.
the ramekin beside Husband had the spicy "juice" he used to cook the shrimp with.

I'll be completely honest, the reason I didn't post a picture featuring the rolls is because they looked pretty horrible. I did a bad job of filling and rolling them and that made them harder for Husband to slice. They really looked like they were going to fall apart if they were sneezed on hard! But, they tasted fantastic. And actually stayed together better than the last two batches we made ... so there's that. ugly but functional.

When we were clearing the table Husband announced we could have made at least 2 more pieces of nori worth of rolls. As much as he loves this stuff, we'll have to make it again sooner rather than later.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

70degrees in January = outdoor fun

Yesterday it was 70 (SEVENTY!!) degrees outside. Fabulous weather. Adventures to be had. Daughter has been asking about a picnic for a couple of weeks now so off we went.

Our adventure in pictures:

We packed our picnic lunch, a backpack with snacks and a spare diaper for Son, a huge thermos of ice water and off we went to Palisades Park.

Thanks to Lauren's Mommy, I looked for and found heart shaped sandwich cutters at wal-mart.

This is the first time the kids have EVER had a pouch drink. I thought it would be a fun novelty for the adventure and they LOVED it. (more then their heart shaped sandwiches actually)

I need to update the sidebar, huh? What a cute picture of Son.

and Daughter

we started off on the Trail of Trees and Son was very interested in knowing what all the trees were. or rather he was interested in flipping up the lid.

Daughter balancing on rocks

After we took this picture, Daughter ran up to Husband and said, "Mommy did not let go of me while I stood on a BIG rock and then she cheesed me."

checking out more trees

Husband showed the kids prints of horse shoes. After that, the adventure was on to catch up to the horses. When we lagged more than a few yards behind Daughter she would yell, "Come on team. We have horses to find."

Daughter standing on a stump with the man who looks just like her.

Son standing on a stump with a man who looks nothing like him.

"ride 'em cowboy!" -Daughter's anthem on the tree trunk
Son is still holding the cookie he got on our oranges/water/cookie break.

The only time I handed the camera to Husband.

Having a juice break after our hour long hike.
I'm telling you. firstly, yesterday was the first time they've NEVER had watered down juice. secondly, yesterday was the first time they've ever drank out of a pouch. thirdly, they loved it.
Later we asked Daughter what her favorite part of the day was and she said, "hiking and drinking apple juice."

jumping off a rock

that cleared off land behind Daughter is going to be the new home of a fabulous playground. Sure it's about 10 minutes further away from the park that's in walking distance to our house, but I'm excited about it.

Son with the Cat and the Hat. Daughter recognized him from the book but refused to get close enough for a picture.

the boys resting.
We had such a fun time. A definite bright spot in the middle of a winter when we don't get outside to play much.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I love: Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser

Seriously, this stuff is great. Since I've started using it, I've noticed it does actually moisturize while it cleans -- a claim made on the back of the bottle. Even in the winter I don't have to use as much moisturizer to keep my skin feeling soft and not dry. I've also noticed my skin tone evening out (which means, I'm wearing less makeup -- HURRAY for that). I've always had kind of red cheeks, and I can tell a difference in the tone and texture of my clean skin.
If you've got a cleanser you're feeling wishy washy about, give it (or another of the Burt's Bees cleansers) a look. With coupon codes and free shipping, I can usually find it cheaper at or than I can in store.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Food Day Friday:The Cream Cheese Spinach stuff

seriously, we have no name for this. We usually call it the cream cheese spinach stuff. It is loosely based of this recipe of Giada's.

What we use:
one block of cream cheese
one bag of spinach (sometimes we use it raw, sometimes Husband blanches and drains it)
feta, as much or as little as you like (Husband likes A LOT, probably a cup)
5 or 6 garlic cloves (you can leave them raw, but when we do I can taste garlic in my mouth for days. I usually roast them.)

blend in a food processor, serve with wheat penne pasta or as a spread for crusty bread.

Son's second helping.
A little goes a long way and there's always leftovers. For me, a bowl of pasta needs about two tablespoons of spread. (If your spread is too thick you can melt it a little in the microwave. Husband usually adds some of the feta brine to thin ours out.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our seeds arrived!

Our seeds from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds arrived Friday. It was just what I needed to jump start GARDEN 2011 EXCITEMENT! This is our second year to get their catalog but only the first year to order.

Here's what we picked out:

The carrots were a free gift and after reading their description, I definitely think we can grow them in our garden. So that's a fun little treat.

Last year, I put some seeds in the ground from a packet labeled cucumbers. What grew was not cucumbers but some mystery vegetable. Later identified as butternut squash. We both really loved how easy it was to grow and maintain. Plus we love butternut squash. So we decided to grow it again. Only this year we'd actually pick the seeds and not use surprise seeds.

Last year I wrote a lot about the squash. We had 4 plants and it grew and grew and grew and produced like crazy. We liked the taste or the variety but didn't love it. Then it got infested with squash bugs and I wrestled with pulling it up prematurely. This year, I decided to only have 2 squash plants and to plant this variety. I'm hoping I don't experience summer squash fatigue again!

Husband requested fennel and picked out this one. We haven't grown fennel before, but it was the only seed packet that we could actually SMELL. And it was amazing. There's high hopes for this buggers.

This is another high hope packet. We're replacing our Stupices with these Jersey Giants. I picked them because they're supposed to be high producers with big fruits with few seeds. I'm hoping when pair with the Juliets, there will be lots and lots of canning to do. Last year definitely gave me "canning courage" and I'm preparing to jump in and do as much as I can! We're actually making our own cages for them too. I'm excited about that also.

These are the cucumbers we picked. Last year we ended up not having any (because of the butternut squash) so I'm excited about growing them again.

Lastly another Husband pick. Rhubarb. ugh, I'm a little wary to these. Why? The leaves and roots are poisonous. And it's not recommended to grow them where there's the possibility that small children or animals could accidentally eat the leaves. Now, our kids have never eaten leaves before but seriously, better safe than sorry. I'm lobbying to hold off on these for another couple of years.
We've got our saved seeds from last year: The Juliet Tomatoes, The Japenese Eggplant (not sure if we'll grow these yet), The Star of David Okra and the Livingston Musk Melons.

We also still have to get basil and mint plants for our containers. Plus we're getting a tommy toe tomato plant for the kids. I don't know what you call the little baby tomatoes (like cherry tomatoes) but we've always called them tommy toes. Son loved the ones at my parents house this year so we're getting one for here this year. Plus, we'll get some onion bulbs, space permitting.

I'm not bothering with potatoes, garlic, greens, broccoli or peppers this year. Or that's the decision at least for now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I love: fresh flowers

I love when some catch Husband's eye and the grocery store and he brings them home.

What I don't like is when I have to put them on top of a very high cabinet in my bedroom so the cat doesn't eat them.

boo for the flower eating cat. yay for tulips.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The fears of Blue Bear

This is Daughter with her dear friend Blue Bear. She picked Blue Bear out at Wal-Mart when she was 16 months old(in the Valentine's Day section). He was the very first stuffed animal she ever showed any interest in and she hugged him for the remainder of that store trip.
He's her constant companion. He used to have to go with us whenever we left the house, but now his attendance is more sporadic. They do sleep together every night and he even has his own blanket.

Daughter will tell us when she and Blue Bear are hungry, want to play a game, need to potty etc. She definitely uses him as an extension and a way to express her own thoughts and desires. As in "Mommy, Blue Bear and I would like some popcorn. We're very very hungry."

A few days ago we had this actual conversation:
Daughter: Mommy, Blue Bear is a little scared
ME:What's Blue Bear scared of?
Daughter: Noises.
ME: What kind of noises is Blue Bear scared of?
Daughter: Fire trucks and the wind make Blue Bear scared.

[time out: the night before this she woke us up at 4am bc wind was rushing down her chimney and rattling the fireplace grate. IMO, it's an irritating noise but not scary. But it scared her and now she was telling me it scared Blue Bear. Previous sirens have woken her up and she's expressed concerns about that. I decided to address the fire trucks since she mentioned it first]

ME: Well, Blue Bear you know that when you hear a fire truck it means heroes are on their way to help someone in trouble. Fire trucks come to the rescue. You shouldn't be afraid. They are helpers.
Daughter: Mommy, Blue Bear can't talk. He's just a bear.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

All things big boy bed related

Sunday, Husband assembled Son's big boy bed. We've been talking to him about it for at least a month (since he's been able to climb in and out of his crib by himself !!!!!!!) He's been telling us that, yes, he does want a bed like his sister's. The day he tried to take a nap in her bed we believed him and Husband got to work.

The first time he saw it after assembly. He climbed right in. Look at that grin!

Daughter came to give it her seal of approval

He climbed in his crib one more time for old time's sake.
THREE times this week after nap time I found him asleep in his room in/on something that was not his big boy bed! The first time, he dumped out the clean cloth diaper laundry I hadn't put away yet, put in his pillow and fell asleep in a laundry basket. The second time, he pulled his changing pad off the changing table and fell asleep on that. And the last time, he pulled all his extra linens out of the cabinet of his changing table and slept on them.

WOW oh WOW, I wish I would've taken at least one picture of one day. But he woke up all three times in a horrible mood. So the camera was forsaken for cuddles.

He does great at bedtime. Hasn't gotten out of bed once (or if he did, he didn't leave his room). I figure it must be a light thing. At night he can't see to get out of bed and play and during nap time he can.

Thursday was breakthrough day where nap time was concerned. He actually slept in his bed and woke up in a great mood. Imagine that!

He's also taken a sudden interest in reading. So after he requests that I read his current favorite books (3 times each) he goes to his bed and looks at them a little more.

That silly Olivia. Always doing something.

I don't have a pillowcase that even remotely matches his bedding. (what's covering it now is his extra fitted sheet just wrapped around it) So I have loose plans to find some coordinating fabric for a pillowcase or two. There's always the possibility of using the crib skirt. I'll use it for something, I just don't know if it'll be pillowcases yet. I'll have to see what I can cook up. And finally put that sewing machine of my mom's that I borrowed over a month ago to some good use!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Food Day Friday: Dinner with Dirt

We call this ABC Noodle Soup. Though it is clearly not soup. It's more like spaghetti-o.

quick and easy. By the time the water has boiled and the noodles are cooked, the sauce it ready to combine.

I use ABC noodles
a can of diced tomatoes
a couple of cans of tomato sauce
spices (usually pepper and Italian seasoning)
and a couple of Hebrew National hot dogs.

I get the sauce going (usually water is down with a can of water too because when I add the noodles at the end, it REALLY thickens up and makes it even LESS like soup). Dice the hot dogs, add the spices all while the noodle water is boiling.

boil and drain the noodles and add them to the sauce.

I use this kind of ABC noodles bc they are 68 cents at Wal-mart.

Son's bowl when he's about half way finished.
Don't you *love* how dirty that place mat is? I got them on clearance at walmart for 25 cents each at the end of summer.

It makes a lot so the kids have it for lunch/dinner a couple of times a week. Son loves it and until the most recent batch, Daughter has loved it also.
Last week she took one look at her bowl, sniffed it, declared it had dirt in it and refused to even try it.
(look closely, you can see the dirt)
In our back and forth dinner banter when I was trying to reason with her about her dirt dinner, I used the phrase, "kiddo, believe it or not, I have better things to do with my time than ruin your dinner with some dirt."

She didn't believe me and decided not to eat until breakfast the next day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Son, Trendsetter

It's so fun watching Son develop his own personality, likes and dislikes. Lately he's been most expressive in his wardrobe. The things we wants to wear cracks me up and reminds me of the time when Daughter wore this old Premiere jewelry necklace of mine and her ladybug raincoat for over a month straight.

Here he's sporting his rubber boots. With his pj shirt and matching bumGenius4.0

This morning he wanted to wear elmo panties over his turtleneck onesie and pair it with baby legs. He believes horizontal stripes are all the rage right now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And that's all of our snow family

It rained last night. And this is what we found this morning. I went out and collected the hats and scarves and Daughter already started planning the building of our next snow family.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

3 week "measure in"

Yesterday was my scheduled day to take my measurements again.

thigh: -1/2 inch
hips: -1/2 inch
waist(not where my pants sit, but my actual waist, where my torso curves in): -3/4 inch
chest: didn't measure.
arm: no change. (boo)

to tell you the honest truth, I was disappointed. I just expected more out of 3 weeks of working out and lifting weights. Not that I was on the elliptical 3 hours a day and maxing out on weights every other day. I did take a less aggressive route.

30 minutes on the elliptical 5 days a week and weights every other day.

I just expected the numbers to change a little more. BUT, again, I know I'm going to see less movement taking measurements than I would on a scale. My jeans are looser. So there's that.

It definitely pushed me yesterday to have my most intense workout thus far. So I made yesterday's workout the minimum goal of what I want to make my workouts feel like.

Plus, I know my metabolism has kicked up a notch because I am hungry ALL THE TIME. So, I've picked up some healthy snack options

AND I'm not afraid to have a glass of coke if I really feel like I need it. little things like that add up ... on the negative side.

I'll tell you right now, that I've been avoiding that fabulous bread I love to make. between garlic bread, nutella, butter, roasted tomato basil, and olive oil dip I could eat an entire loaf in a day. SO, it's just easier to not bake any.

I'll have to give myself a break and have some in the next month or so.

SOMETHING I LEARNED THIS WEEK BY READY LABELS: 1 tablespoon of white sugar has MUCH few calories than 1 tablespoon of clover honey. (I guess I'll slow down my search for raw local honey as a sugar substitute in my hot tea)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday snow family

This is what our snow family looked like Saturday morning before we headed out to the library. Still going strong. mostly. I'll admit the majority of the chocolate chip eyes, nose and mouths have fall off.

Daughter spend a little time patting some more snow on Brother snowman.