May 31, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things to Put in a Salad

I love salads! In fact, I eat a salad most Fridays for lunch. I eat them other times too but Fridays are almost always the same - I grab a good book or magazine and go out for my favorite salad and an iced tea. It's the perfect way to end the week as far as I'm concerned. So what's in my salad? Well, the first five items on this list... the rest are things I like on salads in general.

  1. Field Greens - I like Romaine or green leaf lettuce too.

  2. Dried Cranberries - Yum, yum, yum

  3. Gorgonzola cheese - other cheese is good too.

  4. Pistachios

  5. Dressing - on my favorite salad it's a sherry vinaigrette.

  6. Croutons - crunch is a good thing.

  7. Mandarin oranges

  8. Bacon bits

  9. Shredded Carrots

  10. Hard Boiled Eggs - in little bits.

May 23, 2011

Forget that weekend and move on

The weekend is over and I feel so frustrated. To be sure, there were some highlights and most of them had to do with Stinkette's sporting events. I forgot to bring my camera to the softball game on Saturday and it's a shame because with the exception of one play my girl was on. There are days when, for whatever reason, she's less engaged but this wasn't one of them. She got a really good hit(a double)in the first at bat and followed it up with many good plays that used her strong arm to it's best.

I remembered to bring my camera to her last field hockey practice on Sunday. She didn't have as many outstanding moments then but she was having fun and learning a lot. Here's an action shot of my girl.


If only the rest of the weekend had been as good. Instead it was dominated by 3 things that are ticking me off about equally. The worst part is that none of them are resolved.

Friday night I finally got a special mailing from People Magazine. I tore it open excitedly... and cursed madly for the rest of the evening. A few weeks ago my copy of the Royal Wedding issue got lost in the mail so I sent a request for a replacement and heard nothing at all for the longest time. As a subscriber for n embarrassingly long time (predating kids and marriage) I was ticked. They finally sent me something and it's the wrong freakin' issue. The one issue i really looked forward to is still missing.

But it gets worse. On Saturday I got another item in the mail that was long delayed. It was the photo album from DQ's Bat Mitzvah over 2 years ago! And it's wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Pictures still have glares spots. The style is wrong. Worst of all - the date printed in big letters on the cover is wrong.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, Sunday brought new aggravation in the form of roots in out sewer line. I'll leave out the details on that one but, suffice to say, it was not a good day at our house. They're supposed to come and finish fixing it today.

At least next weekend is a long one. It had better be wicked good to make up for this one.

May 13, 2011

ECF - Hello Darkness Edition

There are plenty of things blooming in my yard this year in a manner best termed as underperforming but, happily my Hello Darkness bearded Irises are not among them.


There are about 2 dozen blooms in various stages in my yard right now and I love them but photographing them is another story. Not easy at all.

In order to get a real appreciation you need to see them with the light behind them but then you get something like this.


Highly unsatisfying!

Then, a few days ago, I remembered my polarizing lens. I'd had it for ages and never used it. Until now.


Finally I can do these beauties justice.

May 12, 2011

Stash Aquisition Without Reason

While knitting and crocheting are still stalled, my stash continues to grow, albeit at a much slower pace. I may have aquired a bit of Wollmeise laceweight and a few new magazines. And then there's this.


This is Studio Sport from the Neighborhood Fiber Co. is a divine color (a little darker in reality) called Cooper Circle and it's the closest I'll get to knitting for Peanut prior to birth. I plan to pack this up in my bag along with a simple pattern and set of needles and a bit of ribbon. While I'm stuck in the hospital I hope to make a little hat for the baby to wear home - with ribbon if it's a girl, plain if it's not. Since I'll be there for a few days I think I can do it.


I also got this, a bit of Jared Flood's new yarn, Shelter, in a yummy red called Long Johns. I really wish that you could feel it. It's marvelous! I love nontraditional colors on babies and I see the 5 skeins of this becoming a nice, warm, fall sweater for Peanut.

May 10, 2011

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Tips for Throwing a Big Party

Smetimes when I see the TOT topics I feel as if someone was reading my mind. Just last weekend we started the process of choosing a venue for our families next big party (in May 2012). I take party planning very seriously whether it's a celebration at the house or something bigger. I can't say that I'm an expert but it's something I enjoy. Here's my list:

  1. Location, location, location - For me it all starts here. If it's a house party then it's easy but if not then for me it's got to be somewhere interesting. This is just me but I feel like if I'm asking people to fly and drive long distances to be with us then it needs to be something other than a generic party room.

  2. Food for Everyone - not just for me. We have family and friends with various food needs - kosher, vegetarian, and gluten free. I always feel like I need to accomodate them all. It shows that I care and that I really do want them there.

  3. Good Food - not only should there be something for everyone with restricted diets, but there should be something for most palates too. A party that only includes your favorite foods may send many people home hungry and disappointed.

  4. Music - This time around it'll be Stinkette's party so she'll choose the music but I'll be sure to give a little guidance so that it doesn't get too crazy.

  5. Space - this goes back to the location. I need to make sure that I can envision all of us comfortably in the party space. It's got to flow and feel good.

  6. Accessibility - for older relatives and now, for all of us with infants too.

  7. Parking - hiking to the party is no fun. Decent parking is a must.

  8. Outdoor Space - I know that this one isn't for everyone but I really can't imagine a party that doesn't include the outside in some way. It could be our deck at a house party, a terrace at DQ's Bat Mitzvah, or a little garden where guests can escape the music. I just need a little outdoor space.

  9. Choose the Right Time - I find that this is especially important when I plan events at work even though they're not technically parties. If you're going to all the trouble of planning the event then consult a calendar and use some common sense to choose a good time.

  10. Have Fun and Don't Stress Too Much - Ok, I pretty much suck at this one but a party really ought to be fun for you AND your guests. It's important to accomodate your guests but don't forget to include things that make you happy too. It's not the end of the world if it's not perfect.

Your party should be a day that makes you smile every time you think about it.

May 8, 2011

Last Minute Birthday

I did not go to MDS&W this weekend. It was the first time that I've missed it in 5-6 years. I thought that I'd feel sad about it but I was so busy that I hadn't the time to really think about it. My checkbook is much the better for it though.

There were many things keeping us busy. DQ was caught up in the last weekend of the school play, Wizard of Oz, - they sold out a few nights! Stinkette had softball and field hockey. We all did a few errands including the start of our search for a party venue.


The biggest thing was celebrating Stinkette's 12th birthday. I agonized over it all last week. Birthdays have always been big for me - ballons, unique cupcakes and cakes. Elaborate plans including crafts and entertainment. I wanted each of my girls birthdays to be memorable and different. Alas this year I just couldn't work anything out and last one night last week I had a bit of a melt down. The fact that my girl was being so patient, waiting with infinite confidence that I'd pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute didn't help.

Then, on Saturday, I realized that the answer was right there all the time - like Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. We had always planned to take Stinkaroonie to see Thor on her birthday. She just loves the comic movies. Then, just before noon she asked if she could invite 2 close friends to come with us. * insert lightbulb moment here* Add dinner before the movie and a sleep over after and it was perfect. Bruce and I sat a little apart from the girls at dinner and the movie and had that sinking feeling that our days of chaperoning her are numbered. We all loved the movie and my girl had the perfect day... except for losing her softball game. That was a a bummer.

May 5, 2011

ECF - Chocolate Turtle Edition

It's cupcake time again. You know what that means - someone in my house is celebrating a birthday. My sweet Stinkette turns 12 tomorrow.


As I have in years past, I spent most evenings this week in cupcake prep. This year we were inspired by our house-reptile Frankie and I made chocolate turtle to top all of the cupcakes. They're not perfect but I think they're cute and I was proud to send them to school with her. More immportantly, she was proud and excited to share them.

May 3, 2011

For The Birds

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is our favorite birds but to be perfectly honest, I'm more of a bird watcher and less of a bird identifier. I can certainly tell the difference between a Blue Jay and a Cardinal and I see both of them around my house but beyond that it's mostly a general joy at seeing birds enjoying the birdhouses and feeders that we've posted all about our property.

Here's one of the birdhouses that Stinkette painted many years ago. It hangs in a breezeway right outside out front door. You wouldn't necessarily think that was the most likely place for birds to live due to the constant foot traffice but it works surprisingly well. In fact, it may be one of the more popular spots. Look closely.


Just below the birdhouse and slightly to the left there is a nest in one of my golden mops. I really can't say how long it was there before I noticed it but I can say that I heard it before I saw it. The birds who live there were raising such a ruckus in there that one day I stopped to see what all the commotion was about and was shocked to find the nest right there under my nose.


And the feathered action around our house isn't limited to the front yard. We've got lots of visitors on and around the deck too. Happily, this year we are seeing more birds and less squirrels around the feeders. That's because this new one really is squirrel-proof. I was worried for a while that it may be bird proof too but little by little its emptying so they must be managing to get the seed.


Unfortunately now the squirrel is eying my strawberries. I'll have to be extra vigilant about that.

May 2, 2011

Just Like I knew it Would Be

Have you ever seen a place from a distance, or maybe even read about it, and just knew that you'd love it? I bet most of us have. I have driven over the bridge in the picture below so many times and every time I think that I would love Occoquan and I just have to go there one day. Both the park and the historic town call to me and remind me of the harbors on Long Island.


This Saturday Stinkette attended a birthday party right near Occoquan so I decided to take advantage of proximity and took a short detour into the park. It was a glorious day - warm and sunny and the park was full of people picnicing, launching boats, fishing and so much more. I'm not much for hiking and long walks these days (the humongous belly takes a lot out of a person) but I did walk around a little bit and I will definitely go back. It felt exactly the way I hoped it would and as always I felt so good being near the water.


Thankfully Stinkaroonie had a fabulous time atthe party and may go back to the place where it was held for classes which would give me a wonderful excuse to go exploring in the area. Win - win!