Monday, March 28, 2011

spring


according to the calendar it has arrived.



but when i look outside all i see is snow.



i am thankful for trader joe's and six dollars worth of spring. i separated the bunch and have them brightening multiple corners of the house. they are slowly opening and sharing their pink blossoms and delicate fragrance.




soon it will be summer and i will be complaining about the heat and my lack of air conditioning. Isn't that how life goes - i need to be thankful for now, for the cold and the snow and the last chances to snuggle with my six-year-old before he turns seven next week!




if you look at the picture above you can see our matching game strewn across the floor. I used to be a real pro at that game. But now he kicks.my.butt. last night i thought i would be real tricky and leave the TV on so he would be distracted during the game.




guess what. he beat me 18 to 4.




i should also be thankful for a kid who is destined to be much smarter than I am.







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

surprise!





Sometime in the middle of last week with all my cooking and working and running and nights out with friends, and furniture rearranging and school conferences........ (phew, and that doesn't even include all my normal "mom" tasks) I got it into my little head that I should surprise my mom with a quick visit. (Every item I listed above is a blog post waiting to happen. I just haven't had time yet) According to one of her last blog posts she
has been a little blue and missing my dad as she is in this transitional period of life. (They are in the midst of re-locating to Iowa. Since January my dad has been there working while my mom waits behind in Nebraska for the house to sell.)




I tossed the idea around in my head all week. I really loathe the 10 hour drive - especially when I am the only driver - and I had been so busy all week I kind of wanted to stay home and just relax. Then late Saturday night I checked the forecast and realized if I stayed home I would be enjoying a spring break full of snow. That was all the impetus I needed to pull myself out of bed Sunday morning, throw our bags into the back of the car and hit the highway!








And for once in my life the surprise worked! I actually managed to keep it a secret and i even talked to my mom while driving! I dropped Aidan off and kept my car hidden on the back side of their block. What fun! We were even able to see my dad before he headed to Omaha for some business meetings and thus far we have spent the majority of our time walking Charlie, playing with Charlie and making crafts.




Aidan picked out two Chinese origami and paper cutting books at his school book fair last week and we have been busy decorating Nana's walls.




In honor of our Chinese crafts we had an Aisan themed dinner last night as well.





I don't know - I think I may have over-done it with the food. looks like we won't have to cook today.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finishing up


So I have finished the bedroom, the downstairs, (minus the ceiling, I tweaked my shoulder cross-country skiing and I can't quite paint the ceiling in the downstairs yet,) the bathroom and closet. I just have to finish the stairs now. I was over at a friends house this evening and they recently refinished their stairs......... they looked so pretty I may just decide to copy them.

In the meantime, here are some finished pics of the bathroom and downstairs. I did like the teal I previously had in the bathroom but the light expanse is very calming to me right now.

Next week is spring break. Not sure if I am going to tackle projects or what I might do. But before the week starts i have a sewing date with this sweet lady. I am excited to have a good reason to sit and work through the pile of almost-finished lap quilts/baby quilts that I started a few months ago. (but have since lost steam.) I am hoping to put them in my Etsy shop.

Enjoy the pics!




The previous bathroom and closet view. I loved all the color and now in pictures it just looks so garish!



Had to show a picture of my Hunt & Gather treasure (the mirror.) Love it!


Just for fun. spring!

Painting in progress. See what a mess I have been making???



The bathroom is now a very light grey/purple. I had originally purchased a Martha Stewart color called "Frost." However, it turned a bright purple color in my bathroom so after one coat I had to cut it with white and grey. The color is still more purple than I would like but at this point I am willing to live with it. ( At least for now, right? )


So that is a little snap-shot of what I have been doing. I also have been cooking up a storm for a dinner at work..... I will share some yummy recipes later.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a new favorite


i don't care for flavored coffee. i have distinct memories of pulling {almost} all-nighters during nursing school while drinking pot-after-re-perculated-pot of hazelnut, irish cream and caramel coffee. just the memories give me heartburn.

i also don't care for chocolate..... i am more of a vanilla kind of girl.

but i have a new favorite.



they are currently selling it at Trader Joe's. i have been drinking it for about a month straight now. Try it - you might change your mind about flavored coffee too.

Monday, March 14, 2011

giveaway


First I have to confess that my recent spree of blogposts was due in part to the fact I was home one am with a broken furnace and the only warm spot in the house was snuggling with Aidan and my laptop. So I published a weeks worth of posts in advance. During that time my laptop actually was hit by a major virus and bit the dust for a few days. (thank you to this friend for volunteering her husbands help.)

Second I wanted to tell you to stop by this blog where you can enter for a chance to win one of my bags! Jessica has written the sweetest little article and I would love it if you entered to win!

Hope your week is going well - I am busy but I will catch up with you later.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ideas

I have been slowly painting our downstairs. I have no immediate plans to paint Aidan's room but I like this room a lot.

This would be simple - a fresh coat of paint - and it would be fun to use maps from the places we have been; then he could add more as he continues to visit new places.







{photos all found here. I love her blog.}

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

making bread


i used to make a lot of bread. especially considering we have a small little household of people who eat 1-2 of our daily meals away from home.

i wanted Aidan to grow up remembering the smell of fresh bread, i wanted him to also to enjoy good bread, so i was even grinding my own wheat. but neither Aidan nor James were really into sandwiches at that time so the problem was i was really the only one eating the bread............ realistically that wasn't a very good plan.



so i finally came to the realization that even though in my mind the "perfect mom" would always have fresh bread in the oven that wasn't going to work out with my family so now i only make bread for for special occasions. Or on cold days when we are stuck in the house, like last week.

i recently tried a new recipe i found here. it was fast and easy and filled the house with good smells.



  • Ingredients
  • 2 Tsp. honey
  • 2 2/3 Cup lukewarm water
  • 4 Tsp. dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 5 Cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/4 Cup wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp. Oatmeal (optional)

    (I didn't have molasses on hand so I used only honey)

    1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
    2. Stir 2 teaspoons honey into 2/3 cup lukewarm water
    3. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes.
    4. Combine 3 tablespoons molasses with 2/3 cup warm water and combine with yeast
    5. Stir into flour. Add salt, wheat germ and 1 1/2 cups warm water. Dough will be sticky.
    6. Pour dough into bread pan (I sprayed mine to prevent sticking) and smooth top with wet spatula. Sprinkle oatmeal over the top.
    7. Allow the dough to rise to top of pan (only takes about 15 minutes)
    8. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Let cool.

  • Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    So that I don't forget

    painting his own little treasure chest while Mom paints the downstairs.


    my helper who carried in all the groceries, carried them all upstairs and then unloaded all the bags. he has done it a few times in the past month. he is trying to get "big muscles."




    As he becomes more comfortable writing in English I find little notes taped around the house.

    working on his valentine's.

    (yes - he is always wearing the same clothes in all his photos. He has to wear blue/black for school and chooses to wear the same colors on weekends sometimes too.)

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    I kind of copied the smitten kitchen with this one. I didn't use her recipe, just her idea. I used my old standby blonde brownie recipe that I adjust depending on what taste I am looking for. I substituted some peanut butter for some of the shortening and added peanut butter chips. For the chocolate I used a Ghiradelli box mix and added a bag of chocolate chops. They were really rich and super gooey and chewy. And I admit about half-way through the "cutting process" I was ready to quit!
    So don't be discouraged if you feel the same way!

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    a little spring



    from me to you.



    i love watching bulbs grow, don't you?

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    I almost forgot

    One of the most important celebrations of our son's school year is the Chinese New Year. They celebrated it a few weeks ago and I admit that I almost forgot to blog about it. I think it is because we were so busy celebrating!!!!! (really - We literally packed that 3 day weekend with the Science Museum, Omnitheater, Roller Derby and Shrek the Musical to name a few.)



    The school has a new sign this year. I love it!


    The stage is ready.



    This year, 2011, is the year of the rabbit. As you can see the rabbit is chasing away the tiger, which represented 2010.

    Aidan's dance this year was not as complicated as last years. He was pretty pumped though because it was a "Tae Kwon Do" dance which is pretty cool to a bunch of 6-year-old boys.







    Traditionally they serve the children a Chinese meal over the lunch hour and a lot of the parents volunteer to help serve the little performers. We have so much fun with the kids!


    After they eat they are treated with the "dragon dance."


    We finished up the day at a Chinese restaurant and enjoyed the company of Jane, (a.k.a. Kitty Grandma)


    Another Chinese New Year celebrated - another benefit we have through Yinghua. I have said this before on my blog, I was a little skeptical about the Chinese Immersion idea but it has been so much fun to see Aidan learn and I have also enjoyed the opportunity to learn about another culture.

    And I must add - I am so proud of my son!

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Save your money





    Calypso St. Barth is going to be the next designer at Target.



    You can read about it here.



    I am drooling over their clothing and home designs.


    You know where I will be found on May 11th.



    (all photos from the Calypso St. Barth website)

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Forgotten photo


    This is for you, Val.

    I try really hard not to be an "immersion school mom."


    You know, the kind that manages to casually drop comments regarding their child's brilliance into every conversation. "Oh yes, our son is actually fluent in Chinese, he goes to an Immersion school in Minneapolis........."



    You know the type.



    Before Aidan started kindergarten I attended a "Back to school night" at Yinghua. That evening I sat with some parents who were absolutely horrified at the thought of living in a suburb. They couldn't. even. fathom. the. thought. Thankfully I have forgotten their faces but I haven't forgotten their careless dismissal of us "suburb dwellers." I think it is great to be proud of your children's school but when I talk about our choice I try really hard not to make others feel small by comparison.


    However....... there are times I do want to brag a little, and often it is about unexpected moments. Like last week when we were at Borders and there was a huge gathering of Chinese people there and my little blue-eyed, blond-haired son went right up to them and started conversing in Chinese. The look on their faces........

    Or earlier this winter when we spent an afternoon at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and he was reading all the ancient Chinese manuscripts. They were telling a story - and he could read them! Yes! It was amazing......... and if you have been there you might remember that there are staff everywhere (and I think they especially like to keep a close eye on potentially rambunctious little boys.) I could see by their faces that they were astounded as he read me the stories off of vases and wall hangings. Amazing.

    So there. That is my bragging session for the month - and Val - I hope that answers your questions about school. Watching your child learn another language is a great opportunity, but seeing him actually put his knowledge to use in a social setting outside of school is amazing.



    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    the color upstairs

    So while I am busy eliminating the color from my downstairs I am still adding color to my upstairs. (Or at least I was. My Dad kindly came this weekend and he is helping me come up with a solid, reasonably priced option for my kitchen.)


    A few weeks ago I met the lovely Jessica for some coffee and then we went to Hunt & Gather. Side note - meeting blog friends is a great idea. I have met a few over the past year and I now have real friends, not just imaginary computer friends.


    Anyway, no sooner had I met her than I put her to work carrying chairs out to my car and playing the "puzzle game." (for all my thrift-store shopping, estate sale-loving-friends you know this is the game you play when you try and fit your treasures into your vehicle and hope there is still room for you.)

    I found the cutest chairs that are perfect for my kitchen. They also don't creak and groan when you sit on them. (My other chairs were borderline unsafe. Cute - but unsafe and I had glued them and re-screwed them multiple times.)


    Anyway - back to the chairs. They are the best color green, that kind of color you could never replicate, and they look darling with my seat cushions and decor. The only problem is that they don't fit under my kitchen table. So they make my already small kitchen seem even smaller........ I could paint them white and then they would take up less space visually, I could keep my eye out for a pedestal table on Craigslist, or I can sell them again. I am still undecided so they still are crowding my table. Any opinions? (oh - and if you have a pedestal table with a leaf you are trying to get rid of I may be your girl. It just needs to have 28 inches clearance for the chairs.)



    How cute is that?

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Are mom's always right?




    Well, mine has that tendency. I like to think I do too.

    Today I am home with a sick kid. That's okay, I can work on a bunch of blog posts and put some items on Craigslist. I wanted to work on slipcovering my other chair but our furnace is out so I prefer to huddle under the blankets with my feverish little heat source.


    Did you catch the use of the word "other" in my previous paragraph? That's right. Keep reading.



    So my mom thought I could slipcover a chair. I didn't agree and priced custom slipcovers. Yeah. They cost more than buying a new chair. I really am trying to save my money for my kitchen, so I thought I'd better try sewing my own. Last night I whipped this one up in about 2 hours for the cost of a $10.00 paint tarp. really. If you ever come over I just ask that you don't look too closely as it is far from perfect. It also is kind of in "pieces," three to be exact. That allowed me to really tuck in some areas tightly and I think I like it that way. And then if I ever need to wash it I can just wash the piece that needs it, right?





    So hopefully tonight I will finish slipcover #2. Or if we are still waiting for the part for our furnace you may find my on the couch with Aidan, buried under a pile of blankets with my laptop battery strategically placed under our feet. (it generates some major heat!)