Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring Shopping

Hello, friends!
Are you like me, at the first change of seasons you open your closet
and realize you have absolutely nothing to wear?

Sometimes even a virtual shopping trip helps.
Here's what I bought today.
In my mind.

Because the truth is, if I had the $1000 plus it would cost to buy these 10 items of clothing,
I would get much more joy spending that money on things for the house.
Love cute clothes, but love a pretty home even more.

(clothes & jewels from j.crew and anthropologie, shoes from boden)

Happy Cake!

Last Friday my beautiful Mum celebrated her birthday!
Charlie was especially excited about the whole thing.
But saying "Happy Birthday, Nana, we made you a cake"
proved to be too much, so instead, every time he looked at her he said "Happy cake, Nana!"

(My Mum and me circa 1974. She will deny this, but she still looks remarkably the same today. 
She has a figure most 30 year olds would kill for, but she's very modest about it!)

(yep, still me!)

My Mum and I are very close (despite the fact she used to dress me like a boy).
She is the most supportive, unselfish, and generous person I know.
I got very, very lucky.  As did my dad, brother, and her 4 grandsons.
For her birthday I made a French Lime Yogurt Cake with Fresh Blackberry Sauce (via Smitten Kitchen)
Lime + Yogurt + Fresh Berries
How can that be anything but delicious?
All of us had seconds and thirds.  Even the little people.
When I make it again.  And I will. Maybe this weekend.
I might try switching the lime with lemon and the blackberries with raspberries for fun.
I also preferred the sauce more before straining it. 
That's a personal call, but I don't mind the seeds and liked the thicker texture. 

Click here for the link to the recipe

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For The Love of Boys

10 Things Every Mother of Boys Needs to Know

1. How to hold your own in a light saber, sword, stick, Nerf gun battle.

2. The difference between a skid steer loader, front end loader, and a back hoe.
3. The proper sounds effects for fire trucks, police cars and ambulances
 (or "Ambi's" as Charlie says).

4. Which Star Wars characters are on the good side and which are on the dark side.
5. How to design and stabilize world class pillow forts.
6. How to remove balls from gutters.
7. Henry Huggins, Horrible Harry, Nate the Great, Peter & Fudge, Captain Underpants.

8. How to reassemble complex and intricate Legos AFTER
 they have been played with and the instructions have been recycled.
9.  How to remove miniature weapons from the vacuum cleaner bag.

10.  The proper conditions for creating hurricanes, tornadoes,
 earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes.
Be able to explain in great detail and
carry on lengthy conversations about said topics at a moments notice.

(11. ) Be able to do all in one weekend and repeat on a daily basis.

I have to say, maybe it's with spring around the corner,
but I'm finding my boys to be particularly delicious these days.
Eavesdropping to find them hugging and Andrew telling Charlie "there are no scary monsters."
The expressions Andrew uses like "I'd be delighted."
Last week Andrew was with me when I had to run to the mall to buy some make-up.
A: " Mom why do you need to buy make up?"
Me: " Because I'm all out."
A: " No, I mean why do you even wear it in the first place? I think you look prettier without."
Me: " Aww. That's sweet, babe. Are you only saying that because you are my son?"
A: " Maybe, maybe not."
Ok, is that honesty not the sweetest??!! :)

And I wanted to say thank you to these lovely bloggers...

Town & Country Mom and Happenstance Home for the Stylish Blogger awards.  I am always humbled by such kind words! Please click on the links to check out their wonderful blogs.  And if you missed my list of 7 things click here.

Megan from Little Blue Prints for featuring our playroom (I really need to take some pictures of it when it is light outside!!) on her favorite rooms series.  She has some awesome inspiration pictures, so be sure to check out her pretty blog too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lamp Love

I am not sure what it is, but there is just something
about beautiful lighting that makes me completely come undone.
And when I see a stunning pair of lamps, well, I find it hard to catch my breath.
Lately, I'm drawn to bigger, chunky lamps.
And it has me longing to update the ones behind by living room sofa with something more substantial.
See? I'm just not feeling these little ones anymore.
(And no, that's not dust hanging on the rim. :) 
Long ago they had dangly little beads and I chopped them off.)
Any of these beauties would do quite nicely.

Murray Feiss
Martha (discontinued)
Martha (discontinued)
Aiden Gray

Sadly, they are either no longer available or have soaring prices.
My reaction to pretty lamps might border on crazy, but not
crazy enough to pay $900 for a single one.
Chandeliers, maybe, but table lamps - NO WAY.

I'm often reading about great thrift store and flea market finds.
Like Rene's Re-Store lamps...
She seems to share a similar lamp loving affliction.

These designer girls just have a knack for finding the most gorgeous lamps.
Like the new ones on Julie's foyer table. So perfect, right?

Or the chunky glass pair, Alexandra just put in a client's home. Love!
Happy lamp hunting I will go...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Gorgeous Kitchen & My Vinaigrette

I love how this big kitchen still feels charming.
With gorgeous high ceilings, beautiful doors, and that incredible butler's pantry.

What a joy it must be to cook in.
Except for the marble counters - so pretty - but those would stress me and my messy cooking self out.

Speaking of which...
 Charlie has mastered making a vinaigrette.
I do not like store bought salad dressings.
I've tried many.
My recipe is so fast, so easy, there really isn't a need.
So, I thought I'd share it with you.

Lemon Vinaigrette:
The juice of one fresh lemon
Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard (I use Maille)
A spoonful of sugar
A tsp of kosher salt
A tsp of fresh pepper
Whisk together
Slowly drizzle in olive oil. (I do this part while Charlie whisks)
I like my dressing very lemony so I probably only use about 2 tbsp of olive oil.
If you want it less lemony mix in more oil.

When you want to dress it up add a couple tbsp. chopped parsley,
and a half glove of crushed garlic.  I never do this unless we are having company

I make this almost nightly.
It is good tossed with field greens or baby arugula and nothing else.
Or you can add things like almonds, dried cranberries, feta, Gorgonzola, or Parmesan.

Charlie did squirt in some Mrs. Meyers Basil Scented counter cleaner yesterday
when I turned my back, this however, is not recomended. 
Please supervise your children!! (wink)  :)

(Pics from House Beautiful)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Little Too Late....

So..being honest here....
I don't have my act together this week.
I have showed up, not once, but TWICE with a shoeless child.
Once for preschool registration.  Way to make a good impression!
I thought we'd sneak in and sign up, write a check,
and be on our merry way, but no, the director spent TWO HOURS with us, giving us a tour. 
There ran my little Biscuit, up and down the halls in his socks, with his Love Bug tucked under one arm.
And then AGAIN today at the zoo.  The ZOO! 
I was even willing to fork out the $50 I was anticipating for a pair of Crocs
 or rain boots from the gift shop, but they didn't have any.
They sadly searched in lost-and-found for pair of shoes in C's size - gross,
 but we were there with friends and I was desperate. 
I even tried putting his little chubby boy feet in a pair of sparkly mismatched sandals. 
I settled for a couple pairs of very thick penguin socks
and kept him in his stroller for the bulk of the trip. 
 He had a blast!  Ever wonder why second and third children are more flexible than firstborns?!!

My creativity didn't kick in for cute class Valentines either.
I started out ok.  Downloading the Love Stripe gift tags from Olive Manna.

But I couldn't figure out what to make to put them on. 
I printed some valentine cards off line instead,
embellished them with a little fabric ticking heart & twine and tucked in a lollipop. 
I waited too long to get valentine lollipops, so they were Blow Pops. 
Ok, but they sound better than they looked. 
I kept waiting for inspiration to hit and it never did. 
I even (gasp) copped out and went the store bought route on cupcakes.
I know. I know.   

Anyway, since then I've been inspired by all sorts of fabulous Valentine cuteness
that I am tucking away for next year.  Let me share...

These little cake pops from Armommy are made using cake mix and frosting.
Super easy and DARLING.

They remind me a bit of the these, made by Lorri, using oreo cookies.
I'm guessing you could put a stick in hers too and turn them into pops.
Click here for her recipe.

And these adorable homemade Valentine's Grace made for her son Harper to hand out.
She lives in walking distance of a Paper Source (how dangerous that would be for me,
but having one in driving distance would be nice -- we don't)
I am on the hunt for the fabric tape making machine.
And last, Darby made these delectable looking cookies and
packed them in little vellum envelopes that she stitched together.
Next year, I'd kindly request you all post your wonderful ideas a month or so in advance so
just in case I find myself in a similar predicament I can copy,
inspiration by osmosis, if you will.
Thanks so very much! :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

Here is how we spent our happy heart day in pictures.
Andrew helped me make the dining room look festive with lots of hearts...
Felt, glitter, confetti, and homemade ones...
We also had pently of edible ones...
Chocolate, lollipops, cookies...
And the pink (Pepto looking) ones I made for breakfast.

I helped Andrew make his Empire State Building Valentine box for school.

I stayed for their class party, where they had more cupcakes, cookies and candy.
I believe I also asked Andrew why he was acting so hyper.  Hmmm..
Not sure what I would have expected!

Yep, that would be my child, with the hair long enough for a ponytail, sporting the Christmas T-shirt.
Looks like his buddy is still in Halloween apparel.  Boys!  :)

We also did a lot of this...

 Unfortunately, Charlie has discovered Andrew's light sabers...
so there was a copious amount of this (fueled with extra sugar induced theatrics)...

I have mentioned that I have 3 boys, right??!!!
My eldest (ha!) took me out to a movie and late dinner 
while Nana put the other two monkeys to bed.
"The Company Men" (good, but wait for it on Netflix) & Palomino
(I am addicted to the tomato, basil, feta concoction they serve with dinner. 
The scallops were pretty tasty too!)

And lastly, I read this a few weeks ago and saved it to post on Valentine's Day,
but it is a lovely reminder on any day.

Ten ways to love
1. Listen without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)
 2. Speak without accusing. (James 1:19)
3. Give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)
4. Pray without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)
5. Answer without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)
6. Share without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)
7. Enjoy without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)
8. Trust without wavering. (Corinthians 13:7)
9. Forgive without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)
10. Promise without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)

So how did you spend your Valentine's this year?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I can be very indecisive about a lot of things for our home.
But when it comes to art, I am not -- it is an immediate, emotional reaction.
I know right away if I really like something or I don't.
It only takes a second for me to fall head over heels.
Art to me is the most personal "accessory" in a home.
And while I have nothing against mass produced pieces, what endures for me,
what I grow fonder of with each passing year, are the original ones.
When we lived in Boston I would often stop in at the
Museum of Fine Art because it was so close to the hospital where I was interning.
I would spend forever in just one exhibit. Completely mesmerized.
The Impressionists were and still are my favorite.
While we only have a small collection of original art, we do try to add to it every year.
I gravitate to antique impressionist style oils by European painters of landscapes, sea, and farm animals.
We have both antique and current works on our walls.
Some bought at flea markets, some directly from the artists, some from favorite dealers.
All of them tell a story....
Of an anniversary, birthday, vacation, Christmas....
Some have been gifts from my parents, others from Jimmy, and some bought together.
This past Thursday a family friend in Europe bid on a sketch
for me that came up at auction in Belgium.
It was by a more well known artist, Jakob Smits (1855-1928)
I adored this little sketch.  I didn't really care if he was famous or not.
Though I heard my chances were slim because his work seems to be in higher demand lately,
but thanks to a generous mother, the piece will soon by traveling over seas
and finding a new home on my mantle.
I cannot wait.
The work has special meaning too.
Painted by a Belgian artist.
Though I have lived most of my life in the US, I am still Belgian myself.
I was born there to a Belgian mother and Danish father.
We moved to the US when I was in 2nd grade for my father's work.
Shocker, I know, given my very American looking blond hair, green eyes,
 & the big flag flying outside our home.
And no, I do not speak with an accent.  Though both my parents still do.
My love of art is likely inherited too.
My Danish Aunt is an well known artist in Copenhagen, though her work is VERY contemporary, I still like it and need (yes NEED) to get at least one of her paintings in our home.  Inge are you reading?? 
I cannot afford your work, but I would give it a very good home, I promise!! :) 
My Belgian grandfather was a banker but drew as a hobby.
I have several of his sketches hanging in our home too. They are beautiful!
All the pictures in this post are by Jakob Smits, most hanging in museums.
The last one, below, now proudly belongs to me.