Sunday, January 31, 2010

Product endorsement


I have about 4 products I want to tell you about, but I am going to take my time and just give you one today. I need to spread my blogposts out a little. If I tell you everything at once I have nothing left to say for awhile!!!!!



I love this oil! I use it in my hair year round. I am hard on my hair, I highlight it regularly, blow dry it almost daily and frequently try to tame it with a curling iron or flat iron. I have been trying to grow my hair for the past few years and so I try hard to avoid dry ends. I like to spread a few teaspoons of oil in my hair from scalp to tips, put my hair up and put a bandanna on, and then go to sleep. Sometimes I even put it in when I get home from work and really give it alot of time to work its magic. My hair is noticeably softer, smoother and shinier the next day, and it really helps prevent that dry, brittle look that color-treated blonds often get.


So there you have it, one of my favorite products. Let me know if you have ever tried it or what you think about it!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where I have been this week

..... Hanging out in the smitten kitchen.
We made this salad which tasted as good as it looks, (I also added an avocado I had sitting around.)
and made this spaghetti but we had to add some meatballs for Aidan's sake (and it really was delish! I admit I was skeptical that butter and tomatoes would be sufficient. I am used to making homemade spaghetti that requires hours of cooking and spices and work)
This macaroni and cheese is always a hit,
Tried this, but my cake somehow imploded and ended up as a trifle instead. Our guests didn't even know they were eating a mistake.
Burned some of this granola that I was making for a work breakfast, but came out with a really good recipe I kind of made up with ingredients I had on hand. Lots of people wanted the recipe, so I think it is a keeper. It is still crispy too - which I think is directly linked to the massive quantity of butter I used.
Homemade Granola
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix these together and then add:
3 cups oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped almonds/walnuts/pecans or nut of your choice
(I also added 1/2 cup of flax seed to try and make it a little healthier, but you don't have to)
Line a large baking sheet with foil, and spread out your granola as thinly as possible. Bake at 275 until all the pieces are toasted to a golden brown. Stir frequently.
After the granola has cooled you can add 1-2 cups of dried fruit. I used craisins, but in the past I have used dates, figs, apricots, apples, peaches, raisins, blueberries etc. Store in an airtight container for 7-10 days, or keep it in your freezer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And the winner is.......

I had so many people enter that I just played "Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo" to come up with a winner, and it was Stephanie. I have to say I am a little relieved, I was imagining the cost of shipping tea to Valerie in Mexico........ maybe when you come to visit I can hook you up, Val, and we can drink our tea after we shop at the Naturalizer store.

So Steph - I guess this means we really will have to have lunch! And I will send you some tea! Thanks for playing.!

Coconut Orange coffee cake


My mom used to make this coffee cake for us kids as a special breakfast treat before school.


I have made it a few times lately and it is always met with rave reviews so I thought I would share the recipe. (Although Aidan won't eat it because I told him it was coffeecake, so he thinks I have literally put coffee in it and refuses to try it. I guess next time I make it I will have to make it with him so he can see there is absolutely no coffee in it!)


Orange Coconut Coffeecake


1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 8 oz carton of orange yogurt

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs


Mix wet together, add dry, trying not to over mix.


Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.


Arrange 1 8oz can of well drained mandarin oranges on top of cake.

Next, mix 1/2 cup of coconut with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and then place that mixture on top of the oranges.


Bake at 350 for 20-40 minutes, or until cake is done. If you use the toothpick check method it will be a little "wet" on the toothpick because of the oranges, so I usually jiggle the cake, and when it is solid in the middle you know it is done.


Also, sometimes it is hard to find orange yogurt, so then I just use vanilla. Just make sure you are using real yogurt that has no artificial sweeteners because they don't have predictable outcomes when baking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Giveaway!


Don't forget I am having a giveaway this week that ends Tuesday! I guess I don't know as many tea drinkers as I thought I did. You can always re-gift it, you know.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sew Happy



Yesterday I had a few moms from Yinghua over and we sewed all. day. long. We actually had alot of fun and it was great to get to know some of the other parents better. All the parents pitched in with lunch, and Fung Laoshi (Aidan's teacher) made us homemade Chinese dumplings which were a real treat!





Here are a few pictures from our day and a little sneak peak of the children's dance. I was trying to film them discretely during one of their rehearsals using my phone instead of the big camera, so it isn't the best quality but fun to see nonetheless.




And the best news is, even though our numbers were few- we almost completed the costumes. A few people had to cancel, and the weather forecast was predicted to be uncooperative, so I imagined myself sewing all night long for the next month and my spirits started to wane, but the six of us pretty much wrapped everything up! All I have left to do is sew the ties on the tops and finish the waistband and hems on the pants! They did a great job! Thanks to all who helped.







Getting ready! I put Valentine's candy all around for them, but they were all so healthy! I had to ask James to hide the peanut butter M&M's or I would have finished off the bowl.





As you can see I did slap up some curtains in the windows. I am of yet undecided about the curtain issue, but I figured since I was having company I should have something there.







Happy sewers!





Fung Laoshi kept our coffee mugs full!




Ironing the shirts turned out to be the most challenging job ever but Kathy had an amazing technique.


She taught the rest of us how to do it.

We put our completed piles on the couch. The piles keep growing!


Lunch Break.


Thanks for all your hard work, ladies!


The end results. I will have to have Aidan model one for you. They look so cute! (even though the boys wear the same halter type top as the girls...... which takes a little getting used to, but it's cultural, right?

(Scroll down for video)
























Saturday, January 23, 2010

Really?




Noodles?


We both blogged about noodles?
I am turning into my mother!





That's right, guess what we made too, with lots of pictures intended for the blog.





Sooo........... I guess it is noodle season.
We must both have good taste, right mom?

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Cut?

Or not to cut.



Mom- this post is really for you, so I hope the rest of you will humor me for a moment.





I have Christmas party at work tomorrow, and I have it set in my head that I want a skirt/sweater outfit similar to this. (It is Minnesota you know, thus the sweater!) But alas, they only have fuchsia, and it is a little out of my price range.









So last night I dragged my poor child from store to store in the mall, ( a place I usually avoid!) We checked all the clearance racks searching in vain for the perfect party dress/skirt. The whole night was a disaster because as soon as I would undress Aidan would suddenly need to make an urgent trip to the rest room! This happened five times. Let's just say that the bean soup was a little hard on his system.



At our last stop I found this dress marked down to only$30.00 from $128.00, and while it is a cute dress, I really want it as a skirt. And if for some reason it doesn't turn out it will make a few fabulous bags or pillows.






However, making the first cut is always hard. Once you do that there is no turning back. So there it lays on the bed in my sewing room.




Waiting for me to decide.










To cut? Or not to cut.

Hmmmm......



Aidan is sleeping on the couch downstairs.




James is at the gym.




I should be sewing or getting the house ready for all the moms who are coming over to sew costumes tomorrow.






But here I sit.




Isn't this blog dreamy? Maybe next year I will paint our whole house white. It's probably the only color I haven't tried out yet!




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Looking back

Just for fun I thought I would look back and see if I had uploaded any photos five years ago today.
I had.
Aren't they fun? I admit they brought a tear or two to my eye. What a happy little fellow.
I hope you enjoy them too.











Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When I like something,


I really like it.





I like these teas, their taste, their packaging, the way they work. (or the way they make you think they work. My office mate swears by the "Get Charged" tea. She drinks it every day on her long commute home before she hits the gym.) Plus- I am trying to drink tea throughout the day at work. I have a more sedentary job now and instead of reaching for the candy dish I am trying to keep my tummy full of tea.

So to celebrate the New Year I will have a giveaway of two tins of tea. Just leave a comment and tell me which two kinds you think you need. This could be fun.



You can check their website to see the full list. I can't guarantee that the grocery store I buy them at carries all the different kinds, but I will do my best for you!


I will keep the giveaway open until next Tuesday.

Feel free to tell others about it too!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dilemma




I have been chronicling the growth of my amaryllis this year. If you remember, I planted it right after Christmasand today it has three blooms on it. This is the most success I have ever had with an indoor plant, and I attribute this success to the fact that I haven't finished painting the kitchen trim, so the windows are curtainless right now and our kitchen is flooded with sunshine. I love it, especially these winter months.






So.... my dilemma is, Is there any rule that says you have to have curtains in your windows???? These windows have always been challenging for me, and I ended up just putting a panel curtain inside the window frame, which looked fine, and I think will look very pretty now that the trim is white.






In the pictures you can see, however, that we didn't paint the inner part of the window, because the carpenter thought that painting windows is something you usually end up regretting later as they stick. So as we have no plans for new windows in the next few years, I had just planned to put my old curtains back up, which would cover the brown wood.






But then I was distracted with Christmas preparations and busyness, and now I am busy sewing costumes, so I haven't finished up the kitchen yet, and in the meantime I am loving the sun. Our kitchen is on the main level but our house is a walk-out, so it feels more like the second story. All you see when you look out our windows is tree-tops.






So, I am trying to decide if I should risk it and paint the rest of the window, knowing that I will likely struggle with them in the summer months, or is that just a bad idea and I should put the curtains on and forget that we ever saw the sun. Or do any of you have any great window painting tips??? Or do any Dad's living in Nebraska want to come for a few days and just put some new ones in for us? Hee Hee.
Considering the windows have sat curtainless for the past month, I am sure one month might lead to another, and another, until soon it is summer and I need to put curtains back in the windows so we aren't so how in our treehouse. And then the dilemma will be solved, until next year.
Isn't home ownership fun? Always something to do, something to work on.......

Sunday, January 17, 2010



Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010
Time: 6:00am - 9:00pm
Location: Corner Coffee 514 N 3rd Street, Minneapolis MN



All day Thursday, January 21, 100% of brewed coffee sales will be given to the American Red Cross for relief in Haiti.


Bring your whole office, family, building... over for coffee that day.Along with fabulous coffee, we'll be having a silent auction to benefit an orphanage in Haiti.


Items include lovely handmade items, family and child photography sessions, gift certificates to local restaurants and more!(email christina@capturetheexperience.com if you have goods or services you would like to donate for the silent auction)



Live music worth staying around to listen to, and a local portrait photographer will also be taking headshots and portraits for you to use on your facebook, linkedin, email and other online apps.




All proceeds go directly to Haiti earthquake relief!
(Yours truly will have a few things there. Thanks, Ali, for pulling this together!)

In the Night Kitchen


Well, kind of. We were actually in Buca's kitchen, but "In the Night Kitchen" is one of Aidan's favorite books, and we have the Maurice Sendak Scholastic movie as well, which is a real treat. Honestly, what could be better than kids books set to music and sung by Carole King?????





Anyway, Buca's has a kitchen table you can reserve, and yes, you sit right in the kitchen. You can barely carry a conversation or hear yourself think, but you can watch the chef's in action. Aidan and James have been there a few times before for special lunches, but last night was my first time. I am still full today.





Here are a few pictures and next time you are in town, if you want to eat in the kitchen let us know and we can reserve a spot! (The only down side of sitting in the kitchen is that our winter coats reek of garlic!)





Spaghetti with meatballs, of course.




We made pretty fast work of the Mozzarella bread. As an avid anti-tomato activist Aidan was literally stunned that the spaghetti sauce was the same as the tomato sauce you used to dip the bread. We may be slowly converting him to enjoy food made with tomato's, which is good because I love to cook with diced tomatoes.


This is why I rarely let anyone else have the camera. I asked James to take a "nice picture of Aidan and I." Isn't this the age of digital? When you can take as many pictures as you want/need and view each one to make sure they turned out????




And this is why I usually prefer to shop sans James. I can keep Aidan in line, but those two......... Someday I am sure Aidan will have lots of fun memories of shopping with James - unlike shopping with Mom - who must be very boring in comparison. (But Aidan has noted in the past that unlike James, I am easy.)


So.... that was our Friday night. We finished up at REI and bought Aidan's coat and boots for next year. I know buying ahead is a gamble sometimes, but here's a good mom tip: REI clearances out quite cheaply, and if you find out next year that the items don't fit when you thought they would, if you are an REI member they can look the items up and will give you a full refund. So Aidan is all geared up, and I love knowing that his little feet and body will be toasty warm in good quality boots and jackets.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

(The picture is from her blog)


She has been on my heart alot these last few weeks. Please keep them in your prayers.


Confession

I came home early from work yesterday. I had big intentions of going to the gym and then running home to shower before I had to be at Aidan's class to watch their rehearsal at 2:30. But I stayed at work longer than anticipated, so to save time I decided to do a Jillian Micheal's DVD at home. (Actually, my real motive was that we were eating at Buca's for dinner, so I had to exercise!!!!) I closed the garage door because I only had 1 1/2 hours to exercise, shower and gather all my supplies to bring to his class, and I didn't want to risk any well-meaning neighbors stopping over if they saw I was home.


Then I started exercising and my brain kicked in and I thought, no one knows I am home.... if something happened to me, or if someone came in..... so I locked the door. (This is something I never do, I leave our doors and garage open all the time and James is always after me to be a little safer.) So I felt pretty proud of myself for thinking to lock the door and shut the garage.


Jillian kicked my butt, I showered, gathered the sample costumes and went to leave, but I couldn't find my keys anywhere.


I looked through my pockets, dug around in my huge bag, and then it dawned on me, they were right where I left them.








Please tell me I am not the only one who does this.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not sure......


..... what I am going to make for dinner this weekend.







Or maybe both. Her recipes are always amazing. And both recipes utilize the crockpot. How perfect is that for these busy, Minnesota winter days?


I don't know about you, but we seem to be so busy. I am totally swamped at work and that sweet kind man I live with informed Aidan's teacher that I just love to sew and help others. Don't get me wrong, I do, but sewing 25 costumes out of red satin with gold trim for the Chinese New Year celebration at Aidan's school, well..... that's a little different. But it is fun to be involved, and it is fun because at this point in his life Aidan is so proud to have his momma helping out at school. If only the costumes weren't satin. That is my most unfavorite fabric in the world to work with and I struggle so with it!


So that is what is going on at our house this week. If you are in the area and you want to come by and sew, maybe I'll feed you some soup. (This is one of those times I wished my mom lived down the street so she could help me!)
And stay tuned for pics of the costumes. I must say the kids have worked hard learning some amazing dances. I will try and take some good video for your viewing pleasure.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010


There are times in your life when you suddenly wake up and realize that you are indeed getting older. One of my recent wake-up calls was when I noticed I was avoiding certain cute shoes because they hurt my feet so bad I could hardly make it through the day! I used to wear all sorts of strappy, sexy shoes, but for the past few years I started living in Teva's and Keens. They looked great with scrubs, but weren't really the proper attire for my new job. The past few weeks when I picked up Aidan from school every day I would hear myself saying, "Hurry up- we need to go home because Mommy's feet hurt!"


So this weekend I decided that Friday was the last day I was going to hobble into Aidan's school, and I was going to finally face the reality that I am turning into my mother and my grandmother, and that comfort beats beauty. So I made my first ever trip to the Albertville Outlet mall to shop at the (sshhhhh.......) Naturalizer store. I tried to enter the store incognito - you know - sunglasses, big coat, head down, hoping the old ladies inside the store would be merciful to me........... and I was totally unprepared for what I saw. There were ladies, ladies my age and even younger browsing the aisles of cute boots and sexy heels! And the sales- half the store was %50 off or more!


My favorite purchase of the day were these ballet flats. They were down to $13.00 from $65.00 and they will be great for summer as I enter into the realm of professional close-toed summer shoes. (Again, my summer shoes consist of black or brown Reef flip-flops. This is going to be a big adjustment!) And no, you don't need to adjust your computer, they are indeed in mustard yellow which happens to be one of my favorite colors this year.


So if any other of my young friends out there are hobbling around at the end of the work day, it might just be time for you to bite the bullet and head to your local Naturalizer store. It is totally worth it! And you can leave your disguise at home!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gas Money

That's right, the Jordison/Kauffman men have a traditional poker game they play every year at the family Christmas. Sometimes James wins some gas money, sometimes not, but winning or losing they have a great time and it is also a great way to kill a few hours. This year we ended up staying at Leslie's until almost 1:00 am while Phil, Tim, Graham and James played another round. I was pretty bored so I took lots of pictures. They all seemed pretty brilliant to me at 1:00 am on Januray 2nd. They look a little less so today, but I will post them anyway.