Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Ramblings...

I love that little hand clutching my necklace.
(better that, than the top of my dress, or I'd be in trouble!)
Let's pretend I'm whispering something really sweet in his ear too.
Not correcting him for wildly swatting a stick a few inches from other children.
A few of these pictures were taken Sunday night at our annual "Taste of Mariemont".
It is held at the Concourse, a large open grassy area with a pretty, vine covered, stone overlook.
We like to pretend the ocean is visible on the otherside.
Ohio River, Ocean, tOmato, tomAto,  pOtato, potAto
It's a picturesque little spot for a picnic or after dinner family baseball game.
I'm still hoping to squeeze in one while the weather is warm.
Also, many/most of our backyards are small so it's nice to have this around the corner.
I know a number of you requested a little village show + tell.
I will, I promise. Maybe this fall.
We live in the first "planned community" in the US and it has all sorts of fun historical tid-bits,
if you are into that sort of thing! :)
I can tell you the bakery I took the kids to on the first day of school is
NOT part of our town.  It is a cute spot a couple towns over in Milford.
Also deserving of a little tour.  But one town at a time, shall we.

We've been enjoying these late summer days.
Spending as much time outside as possible.

{C and his buddy, Elliot, in the octopus T}

My Saturday night (I'm moving backwards in this post..)...
was a dinner of spaghetti with garlic, lemon, pine nuts, basil and Parmesan with my three favorite boys followed by Frank Sinatra on Pandora, a glass (or two) of wine, open windows and 
the production that was this fig + strawberry + hazelnut tart
I somehow missed the prep time of 3.5 hours when I set out to make it.
Here's my review...I love Martha, I am not her, and her recipes are not my favorite.
I enjoyed the dollop of fresh whipped cream more than the tart, though Jimmy said it's his favorite
dessert of all time.  Then he went on to have three servings.
It was fun to make, but will not become one of my go-to desserts.   

While Andrew's been in school, summer is still in full swing with my little smiley boy.
This child knows how to have a good time.
He loves his friends and makes new ones so easily.

Charlie is always up for new adventures.
I honestly have 100 pictures from an afternoon at a fabulous new park (below) and
his face and body radiate joy in each and every one of them.
Don't worry, he can scream with the best of them when the urge strikes,
but MOST of the time he is one happy, affectionate, little camper.

Let's see...what else.
Oh, my bedroom wallpaper is up.  I'm crazy about it!
Can't wait to finish off the room and share a peek with you gals.

And I finally finished a book this summer that isn't related to Harry Potter or Narnia.
I heard Diane Rehm's interview with the author and thought I might enjoy it.
It's about three women who live in a small town in Massachusetts with
husbands fighting in WWII.  It's the story of how their lives and
relationships are changed in the years following the war.
I'd say it was good.  Not great. Worth checking out at the library but not buying.
A solid B if I was giving out grades.

That's all for now.
Thanks for the painting advice + empathy!!
Still searching...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Painting Our House Chronicles

It's crunch time.
T minus 3 weeks and counting.
Oh, I was soooo sure I knew what colors to paint our house.
I might have bragged about how easily I came to the decision.
Piece of cake.
For once I wasn't going to over analyze.
I should know better.
At the moment (2:00 PM Thursday, August 25th), I want this....

Care to guess those paint colors??
While I can find pretty pics, I don't have sources.
Is that a charcoal gray?
Are those shutters a super dark navy?
Thankfully, I've got a trim color I love that is very close to this.

(source: pinterest)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School!!

You know it is the first day of school when:
1. you wake up + shower + dress before the kiddos even make a peep
2. lunch has been pre-packed the night before
3. you make smoothies to go along with homemade muffins for breakfast
4. everyone in our entire village walks their children to school
5. you write love notes to put in lunch boxes.
6. you happily indudge unusual dinner requests
7. you plan trips to bakeries for after school snacks

Soon enough I'll be sleeping in till the last possible minute...
throwing together lunches and breakfasts in a mad dash...
and passing off my jammies as workout wear...

As for the recap of Andrew's day?
in this order..
"i had a great day"
"i know what I want for Xmas"
"i hate spanish, the teacher talks too fast and i can't follow"
"my teacher put a lego table in our class room"
"we watched a movie during lunch"
"oh and i liked the note in my lunch box too. thanks"

Here's to 3rd grade!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ice Cream for Foodies

I feel a little greedy having kept this discovery to myself for as long as I have.
My sincere apology.

About a year ago, thanks to a neighbor, I discovered jeni's.
It is the best ice cream I've ever eaten. Period.  
Not sure I can even think of anything that comes close.
It is made in Columbus, Ohio and can be found in 
a number of specialty stores and they will ship nationwide from their website.
(Found at Whole Foods in Cincinnati)
It's all natural. From grass fed cows. 
With unbelievable flavor combinations 
like sweet corn + black raspberries or goat cheese + red cherries.

My favorite though, is the Salty Carmel. TO DIE FOR.  
Your mouth will do a little happy dance with each bite.

Initial notes of burnt sugar give way to mouth-watering saltiness. A perfect salty/sweet balance

I topped some on a homemade brownie tonight and was quite certain 
it ranks up there with the best things I've ever eaten.  

You scream, I scream,
now go get yourself some Ice Cream

website here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Window Treatments, Take Two....

This Mama's a happy girl.  
I fixed a rather big decorating boo-boo.  
My family room before:
Oh, Lordy, that valance had to go. 
I had really wanted drapery panels + bamboo shades from the get go, 
but I had purchased a discontinued fabric (the lure of a bargain!!) 
and didn't have enough for 6 panels, so I had 4 panels plus a valance.  
I knew it was wrong the second I hung it up.

My family room now:

ahhhh, much better. 
Sorry, I hadn't planned to take pics today so I didn't make the shelves all picture worthy, there are board games on top of the armoire, maybe a magic 8 ball standing in as an accessory....
I gave the pillows a quick fluff and then snapped a few.
 Just look at the curtains people! thank you!

They are even prettier in person. (thank you, Linda!)
The perfect color linen. (SK Parchment from Ballard)
And they are so soft and hang so pretty.
I debated doing a contrasting banding but at the last minute decided to keep them simple.
I do need to add a bamboo shade to one window still.

And this last pic has nothing to do with anything, 
'cept I moved a blue and white lamp to my living room
chest and it changed that entire little nook.
Yes, empty frame alert.
Like I said, I hadn't planned on taking pictures!!

Happy Thursday!

{ps. thanks for the sweet comments on andrew's little shin-dig, they made me feel all warm + fuzzy. 
if you had questions about sources, i replied in the comment section}

pps. Linked to Cottage and Vine Room By Room Series

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Outdoor Movie Par-tay

One of our planned "summer fun" activities was
to host an outdoor movie night for Andrew and a few friends.
Since summer was winding down and a certain someone was celebrating
turning NINE, we decided to make the birthday party + movie night one in the same.

Having just finished the book, Andrew chose the first Harry Potter movie
and invites went out to 15 friends...

We had a theme, without being TOO themey 
(they are 8 and 9 year olds after all...
AND to be honest, this Mama had fabric scraps that kind of dictated the colors scheme... 
AND I didn't want it to feel like Halloween.)

(see that little book page banner?  ummm, yeah, that was supposed to have "happy birthday" on it.  whoops. ran out of time! )

We figured out the seating - using some of our indoor furniture
and utilizing my plethora of fabric scraps to sew a few big throw pillows.
Baskets were filled with big quilts + blankets.
(Though I keep saying "we", it was a bit more like "me")

We had plenty (or so I thought) of snacks + drinks...
they ate and drank EVERYTHING!!

We had "Harry's" favorites -- Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans + Chocolate Frogs.
Andrew wanted to make a little Hogwarts Castle out of paper towel rolls.
Such a cute idea.  

Before the movie the kids used the "sorting hat"
to determine which "house" they were in
and they competed for the "House Cup."

The games included:
A Magic Hoop Spell
A Three Legged Enchantment Relay
A Transfiguration Test - Turn a "housemate into a toad"
A Game of Quidditch
{you'll have to read Harry Potter if this all sounds a bit odd}
{and for those that have, yes there was "broom flying"!}
{and to my friend and fellow DI manager, Heather -- our training came in mighty handy!!}

We had "wizard hat cupcakes" and then everyone got all snuggled in
and settled down for the 2.5 hour long movie.
Watching a movie outside, under strings of white lights (didn't get a good pic of these!! 
but they made everything more festive), with your buddies was a fun way to celebrate!

Now that we've got all the technical logistics figured out
we hope to do this weekly in the summer.
not with 15 children, but as a family, and maybe with adult friends too.

A few lessons learned...
We had a number of parents ask how we projected the movie...
we used a laptop + projector + speakers
We did a test run the night before to work out kinks.  There were a few.
Plenty of bug spray + citronella candles is a must to keep the bugs at bay.
 Next time I'm buying bagged popcorn or popping ahead of time.
 I ran around like a maniac for the first 30 minutes
of the movie trying to make mass quantities  of "fresh" (birthday boy request)
 popcorn with an air popper.
I had kernels, salt, and butter ALL OVER MY KITCHEN.
It wasn't pretty! :) But it was worth it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let 'Em Eat Cake

My Andrew turned 9 yesterday!!
There will be no mushy, mushy Mama love letter on the blog either.
I saved that for the handwritten letter I wrote him on the eve of his birthday.
A tradition I began when he turned one. 
Once written, the letters are sealed and dated.  
Then stashed away for someday when he is all grown up. {sniff}
My letter to Andrew this year was a whopping 7 pages 
and I thought I captured everything I wanted to capture.  
But as we were walking back home from the village barber shop this morning 
(both boys with nice fresh, long overdue, haircuts), we were crossing the street 
and I had Charlie on my left, one hand holding mine and one hand with his lollipop, 
and Andrew was on my right holding my other hand.  
Once we hit the sidewalk, Andrew pulled my hand up and gave it a quick kiss 
while it was still entwined with his and thanked me for a nice birthday yesterday.  
That he still holds my hand AND that he still gives it a kiss (on occasion), 
well I'm afraid I left that out of the letter and now wish I hadn't.  
So it's on the blog for safe keeping.  
Those moments make my heart smile....

We've got a party with his friends planned for Friday.  
Hoping this unexpected arrival of gorgeous weather sticks around till then.

{it is seriously hard work blowing out 9 candles}
{my children ate this for breakfast, more than one snack, and dessert today}

PS. I am waaaaaaaaaaay behind in blogging, as in 1000+ posts unread, 
I genuinely appreciate your comments and I'm sorry I've been MIA on your blogs lately.  
Once fall hits I'll be back in business!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bits-n-Pieces of Our Weekend

Here's a few random snip-its of our weekend...

My house smells like an English garden thanks to a couple of
big bunches of lavender from Trader Joe's ($3!!!).
I love that store.
I want lavender in my garden too.

I laughed myself silly with my dearest friend, Mindy 
on Friday night watching this movie.
Be warned, its a bit crude with a lot of dirty language and 
a ridiculous plot, but the acting is great.  My tummy hurt from laughing so hard.

Andrew and I sat toe to toe reading on the couch while it was raining and C was napping.  
Andrew discovered Harry Potter last week.  Of course he "knew" about Harry 
but he's now the perfect age to "read" Harry.  He is hooked and so am I.  
He's finishing up the second book and I just finished up the first today.
So glad I waited to read this series till he was old enough to join me!
SOOOO fun to read and discuss together.  LOVE.  (I thought of you, Katie!)

I was all a flutter in my kitchen making baked tomatoes (from the farmer's market.  yay!  they were in.) topped with golden crumbles of Parmesan, fresh oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.

And chicken marsala with mashed potatoes.  Yum! Yum!
(Thanks, Tara for pinning the recipe!  You were so right.)

And we also had a number of these sessions.  Reason no. 7,892 why I love Jimmy so...
(sorry jimmy, you might not be too thrilled i posted this, but I want to remember. xoxox)

I love how Charlie can't stop looking at his reflection in the dishwasher and oven.
(All that kitchen dancing had me thinking of you, Linsey!)

Ok...off to read some more.   Hope you squeezed a jam session or two in your kitchen this weekend!!
I've got a busy week.  Won't be blogging much, but I'll be back....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baked Creamy Chicken & Cilantro Taquitos

Goodness gracious these little babies are GOOOOOD!
I tend to crave Mexican food in the summer.  A lot.
Something about the heat outside makes homemade salsas 
(please let there be fresh tomatoes at the farmers market today) 
and recipes with lime and bunches of cilantro extra appealing.
Since I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago I have not been able to get it out of my mind.
This creamy chicken, pepper jack cheese, cilantro, lime concoction is right up my alley.
I made it for lunch today and my only regret is not inviting friends to come over 
and join me, because it makes a bunch and I don't think they will be quite as good reheated.
So, if you are in need of a little south of the border fix, I have got you covered.
You can thank me later.  
And while you are at the store you might want to pick up some mike's margaritas.  
Our garage fridge is full and it took some serious will power not to grab one while I ate this. 

Baked Creamy Chicken + Cilantro Taquitos
1/3 c cream cheese, soften in microwave for 20-30 seconds
1/4 c green salsa (used TJ's bottled salsa verde)
The juice of half a lime
1/2 t cumin (I used cumin seed)
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion power
1/4 t garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro (I used entire bunch)
2 T sliced green onions
2 c shredded cooked chicken (used TJ fresh cooked chicken strips, pulsed them in food processor a few times)
1 c grated pepper jack cheese

Small flour tortillas (TJ flour tortillas, needed 2 packs, only had one)
Kosher salt
Cooking Spray

Heat oven to 425
Combine all ingredients (cream cheese through pepper jack) in bowl.
Add 2 T of mixture to each tortilla
Roll up very tightly
Place on a foil lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Lightly spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray, sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake 13-15 minutes
Serve with fresh lime

(recipe adapted from here)