Monday, April 30, 2007
I have such great memories of putting May Day baskets on neighbors doors when I was a kid, and am excited to pass that on to Maya. She is already excited thinking about where she plans to leave them! Here she is "modeling" the baskets.
Mason, of course, kept busy during this activity by making a huge mess. Grrr...that boy never stops!
I do realize that Mother's Day is still a couple of weeks off, but I figured I should give my husband some lead time! :) Not that he needs it - he's Chris, after all, and always takes care of me (and blows me away with his clever ideas). But just in case...Lookie here - a Mother's Day gift idea and life mantra all in one! Everyone (especially Chris) knows that I'm terrible about cleaning (I'm good at tidying, though!). I think that having someone come and clean my house would be the ultimate Mother's Day gift.
Extra sleep, (not the actual sleep masks) is what I'm going for here. (They are really cute, though, and are available at Flight 101 along with other really cool travel-ish gifts.) Sleeping in is the ultimate gift for any Mama.photo book from Shutterfly titled "Our Perfect Mom." Hello! Talk about a get out of jail free card! It was a great gift, and I absolutely loved it. (All of his coworkers thought he was a genius and made me promise to never show their wives!) Since then I've made several, including "yearbooks" for each of my kids' birthdays. They are way cool. Definitely check them out.
brunch at the Austin Four Seasons or to the extra special Mother's Day Brunch at the Driskill Hotel. It's unrealistic because in my little fantasy, my children are all dressed up and behaving beautifully. Sigh - this one will have to wait a few years, I guess!
Is it cheesy that I'm dying for a couple of the Willow Tree Mother figurines? They're not things I ever imagined myself coveting, but alas, I'd love to have the Mother &Daughter and Tenderness figurines. What a cheesy Mama I've become!
What are you hoping to get for Mother's Day? Or what have been the best gifts you've received? Post them in the comments!
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Today, I was browsing for an apron. (I have convinced myself that I will enjoy cooking more if I'm wearing a cute apron, and then, perhaps, actually COOK more! Fairly optimistic, I know.) Here are a couple of super adorable options:
If you ever get pajama envy when your kiddos run around in their cute little "feetie" PJs (as we call them) then have I found a product for you! Adult-sized "Big Feet" PJs. How hilarious is that? I'm partial to these (for $39.99), but they come in lots of styles, including cashmere (a splurge at $119.99) and drop-seat varieties. Too cute to pass up!
On the bookworm note, I picked up several books at yard sales yesterday that I'm excited about:
- Persuasion by Jane Austin (I've never read this one! Or Pride & Prejudice. I know, I'm practically a sinner!)
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (about reading banned books in China)
- Light on Snow by Anita Shreeve (about a father and daughter who find an abandoned baby)
- Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl (a memoir told through FOOD! Sounds right up my alley!)
It's always fun to have a whole slew of books to choose from. But before I dig into those I'll be reading The Ladies Auxilary by Tova Mirvis, which my friend Juli recommended and let me borrow ages ago.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
We all love homemade mac & cheese and I feel less guilty about our unhealthy ways when I make things (anything, even mac & cheese) from scratch. So I wanted to try a recipe I found in a book I've been reading, Lunch Lessons by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes.
It's a pretty interesting book about improving the way we feed our kids, something I'm all for in theory but pretty terrible about in practice. The book has a bunch of great recipe ideas, though, which is helpful.
And now, homemade mac & cheese!
1 pound elbow macaroni (4 cups)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- Boil macaroni in large stockpot
- Melt butter in a large saucepan
- Add flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes
- Stir in milk gradually and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes
- Stir cheeses into sauce until fully melted and remove from heat
- Toss pasta & cheese sauce
- If desired, bake for 30 minutes at 350 in 9x13 pan to make it crusty
I made the long trek to Ikea yesterday and really dug this Hamra Leather Sofa. I don't think the pictures do it justice at all...it's really cool looking. I'm thinking leather would be a good option for my house...we can wipe up spills (and puke and whatever else the kids are dishing out!) easily, which would be handy. I think the Hamra couch with the Astrid Chair in Native Tropical print from Anthropologie would be the perfect living room for us.
Of course, if I had an extra $3,000 that I had nothing to do with, I'd most definitely buy this Amelie Sofa (also from Anthropologie). Holy cuteness! That is so Natalie style. Dream on, girl!
We are on an ongoing quest for better manners at our house. Our area MOST in need of improvement (there are many, believe me!) is at mealtime. Maya bounces off the WALLS at mealtime. I've always thought that maybe I just expect too much of her...maybe it IS actually impossible for her to sit still and just EAT! But last night we went to Galaxy Cafe (one of our favorites - try the mashed sweet potatoes, YUM!) and I noticed 2 kids about her age just sitting there eating. Just sitting and eating. I was dumbfounded. They weren't laying down on the bench. They weren't standing up on the bench. They had their shoes on! And they never once got up and wandered around the table. They just SAT and ATE! Right then and there, I pointed them out to Maya and vowed that we had to improve her table manners. (Any help you have in this area should be posted to the comments and would be greatly appreciated.)
I read a great article about manners a while back, and of course, I cannot find a link to it anywhere. I do still have the e-mail, if anyone want it...I can forward it on to you. Anyway, there were a couple of quotes I wanted to share:
"...Manners are just the external manifestation of some essential personal qualities: gratitude, empathy, and concern for others." - Jenny Hansell
"I used to think that manners weren't very important--that what was in your heart was all that mattered. But I've realized that sometimes if you start with the outside (the behavior), the inside (the feeling) follows. When my children are polite to me, and I am polite to them, it feels nice. We each feel respected, appreciated and a little more loved, which creates more loving feelings all around. (Note to self:this applies to spouses too!)" - Jenny Hansell
If you have any great advice in this area, I'd LOVE to hear it (post in the comments.)
Friday, April 27, 2007
Jennifer is famous in my world. If you know me well at all, you've at least heard of her (perhaps as my "best friend in NYC"). She's nearly my oldest friend and still my best. Not only is she gorgeous, she's independent and successful and we must not forget, HILARIOUS! So, happy birthday, Jennifer! (PS - if you're reading this - your gift is adorable and your card is hysterical...unfortunately, it hasn't been mailed yet. Coming soon, I promise!)
And here we are at our 10 year class reunion last September. That deserves a post ALL it's own. Sadly, I wasn't blogging back then. But those were some good times!
I'm always excited to see Maya after her nap/quiet time. She's a budding fashionista and usually uses her time to pull together some pretty unique outfits. Today it was a gigantic pink fuzzy robe that used to be her Grandma's and a white straw hat. Fantastic! And she's ready for the runway!
I saw this fantastic idea for creating a "The Day You Were Born" Box in Family Fun Magazine. I don't think I'll ever get my act together enough to actually DO it, but what a cool idea! Check out the images below and check out the full details here. What an awesome keepsake!