a gift for “somebunny” special


If there was a Slacker Auntie award, I would definitely receive it. I have a box of Easter goodies for my niece sitting on the dining room table, and I have yet to mail them. But before Easter is out of everyone’s mind, I just wanted to share the shirt I made for my sweet little E.

Lisanne had e-mailed me a link to this tutorial from Girl. Inspired. I thought it was such a cute (and relatively easy!) project and I just had to make one. So I did! This was my first time sewing on a appliqué and I was kind of impressed with myself because I did alright around all those curves!


Laura was very upset that the shirt was not for her, so I think I need to make another one. I also made a coordinating headband. My niece is 17 months old and probably will take it off immediately, but I couldn’t resist. I love when things are all matchy-matchy.


And yes, I know it still looks like the middle of winter out there in my yard. My forsythias look awful, the stupid deer ate all my tulips, and the trees are just barely (finally) developing buds. But that has nothing to do with anything, really.

So this will be on its way either today or tomorrow (the car seat is in the car Drew took to work — see? I am totally disorganized this month!). I hope she likes it!

menu plan monday

If you celebrated Easter yesterday, I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday! We spent the day with my husband’s family. The kids all loved the annual egg hunt and were thrilled to find money in a few eggs (no military coins, though). My MIL sent us home with a huge container of ham, so I can’t wait to make some split-pea soup. It also saves me a trip to the deli counter — the boys love ham sandwiches for lunch.

So this week is all about getting back into routines. School is back in session, vacation is over, and we’re back to the daily grind. And that’s fine by me! The first thing I did was draft up this week’s meal plan:

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

easy easter desserts

Easter Eggs

Are you looking for a last-minute dessert to bring to Easter dinner? Here are a few ideas for you from my blog archives!

Easter NestsEaster Nests ~
I’ve seen several variations on this cookie, but this version courtesy of my friend Kelly is by far the best!


Sugar Cookie Cake ~ Sugar Cookie Cake ~
This delicious cake is so simple, but perfect after a big dinner. Add a little whipped cream and some fresh berries to make it extra-special! (It is also insanely yummy with some lemon curd spread over the top.)


Under the Sea Jell-O MoldUnder the Sea Jell-O Mold ~
In our family, it’s just not a holiday unless Jell-O is somehow involved. My mom made this dessert for special occasions when I was growing up and it’s a great balance of creamy and fruity.

We’ll be celebrating Easter at my mother-in-law’s this year. I believe that ham and scalloped potatoes are on the menu, but I’m not sure what else. I wasn’t asked to bring anything (sniff, sniff…), but maybe I’m getting a break since I host several other holidays. I might make something anyway. If you celebrate Easter this weekend, what are you taking to dinner?

honey, i’m home!

niagara falls, ontario

Did you miss me? LOL… I’m sure you didn’t even realize I was gone! We were in Canada for a few days while the boys are on spring break. After Albany ComicCon on Sunday (post about that forthcoming), we continued north to Niagara Falls. The boys had no idea and didn’t even guess that something was up until we were around Rochester! It was great. Well, maybe driving through blizzard conditions in Buffalo wasn’t so great, but otherwise we had a fabulous time.

This is the second time D. & I have been up there. The first time we went alone for Valentine’s Day when I was pregnant with Noah. Interestingly enough, the weather wasn’t too different! It was gray and windy and cold, and it even snowed a bit, and yes, the river was still frozen but I didn’t mind at all. It is just so beautiful and majestic. I don’t think there is a bad time to visit! I thought I’d share some photos with you.

This was the view from our hotel the first night. Every night, starting at 9 p.m., they light the falls up and it is really neat. The boys didn’t want to go to sleep; they kept getting out of bed to check what color the water was.
niagara falls, ontario

Maid of the Mist was not running because the river was still frozen (I was a little bummed about that — hopefully someday I’ll get to go!), so we went “Behind the Falls” instead. They said that these portals were still frozen solid until just days before we got there. The wind was insane!

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

After spending the morning by the falls, we headed up to the Clifton Hill area to have some fun. With our hotel package came a free game of mini golf at Dave & Busters, as well as $20 worth of games, so the boys had a blast playing. We had lunch at Boston Pizza and as you can see in the photo, it was snowing pretty hard! We also went on the Sky Wheel, which is easily the biggest ferris wheel I’ve ever been on. It was pricey, but the views were stunning and we all really enjoyed it.

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

It’s also nice to have a child old enough to trust with my camera (provided he wears the strap around his neck). This means that I actually get a picture of me and the hubs!

niagara falls, ontario

For us, it’s an easy trip and the drive isn’t too long (about 6 hours). I’m already looking forward to going back in a few years.

creamy indian-spiced lentils (dal)

As you are well-aware, I love Indian food. A good dal is a great recipe to have in your arsenal because it is inexpensive, delicious, and packed full of nutrition. Unfortunately, I have not had a lot of luck with many of the dal recipes I’ve tried. Either they didn’t cook down right, or else they were bland. So when I saw this recipe for “Dal Nirvana” on Budget Bytes, I was intrigued by all the rave reviews. Last week I decided to make it for lunch (even though it was scheduled for Friday’s dinner — I simply couldn’t wait that long). I made a few tweaks so the recipe better suited my tastes, and wow! Just… wow. It was absolutely delicious. I think the best part of this recipe is that it tastes great with regular lentils that you buy at any supermarket — there’s no reason to make a trip to the Indian grocery store (unless you want to, obviously!)

Creamy Indian-Spiced Lentils (Dal)

indian-spiced lentils (dal)

1 c. dry lentils
1 can (15 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c. half-and-half

Pour the lentils in a medium sauce pan and cover with 1-2 inches of water. (Make sure you have checked your lentils for tiny stones first!) Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and set aside.

Add the butter and oil to the sauce pan and melt over med-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and coriander, salt, and pepper and fry until spices are fragrant (just about another minute or so). Return the lentils to the pot and then add the can of tomatoes along with a can full of water (or just a little bit less).

Stir everything well and then add the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add that to the pot, as well. Stir everything again, bring the mixture to a simmer and the reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for a half an hour. If the lentils are not softened or the mixture is not thick enough, continue to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency. The dish should be thick, but not dry.

Finally, stir in the half-and-half. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro if desired and serve with rice and yogurt.


I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this recipe! If you’re searching for a meatless dish to try tomorrow (Good Friday), this one is definitely a winner!

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!

counting down to spring break


Happy Friday! I can’t believe that it’s finally spring vacation! The boys have not had a break since Christmas (unless you count snow days), so they’re looking forward to their break, which starts as soon as school ends today. I have some fun activities planned, but they have to remain top-secret. Sometimes I leave my blog up on my laptop and since they both can read… well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Yesterday my parents came down for the day. The boys didn’t expect to see them so that was another surprise. I got so much done while my mom played with Laura! Of course, as you look upon my dirty countertops in the above photo you wouldn’t think so 😉 I picked a few daffodils yesterday to brighten up the kitchen. I figure that if I don’t pick them, the deer will eat them so I might as well enjoy them! And I snipped a few forsythia stems, as well. I love yellow!

Speaking of yellow, here’s the Clapochet I’m working on right now. I don’t know… I think it just seems a little boring. Some of the other projects on Ravelry seem to mimic the original Clapotis a lot closer. What do you think?



Also, as I was cleaning up my work last night I found one huge, glaring mistake. I don’t think I can just come to peace with it and move on (because it looks incredibly sloppy). So, if I’m going to rip it out anyway, maybe I should just try another pattern. I think that the One Skein Summer Wrap might work (and it should hook up quickly). I think I might have to try the Clapochet in a different yarn. I like the pattern, but… the weight just doesn’t seem right.

Well, there are certainly worse problems to have. Maybe this afternoon I can give the Summer Wrap a go and get back with my decision.

spring sewing

spring sewing

Spring is in the air (finally!). That means it’s time to put away the le creuset braiser in favor of the grill, trade in my clogs for flip-flops, and switch out the wool for some delicious fabric. This week Joann’s has it’s “Daffodil Days” sale going on and the prices on fabric are so good! With 50% off their red-tag clearance fabric, I just could not resist going a little crazy. (And the week’s not over yet 😉 )

I do have projects in mind for most of this. With the blue and white fabric, I’m making a cover for Drew’s electric piano. With the blue and yellow polka-dot fabric, I’m making matching skirts for Lulu and her cousin. I’ll probably also make skirts from the other polka-dot fabric and maybe that patchwork fabric, too. (I should have bought more of that one — I love it.)

I’m not sure about the brown, yellow, and orange floral. Honestly, I don’t love it as much as in the store, but now I have two yards of it. Maybe it’ll make a cute pillowcase-type dress towards the fall? If nothing else, I can always make some kind of stuffed animal with it, I suppose. Might be cute for an owl.

What craft projects are you guys working on right now?

menu plan monday

There’s not going to be too much cooking going on in my kitchen this week because I’m trying to use up odds and ends. Next week is spring break for our school district (conveniently coinciding with the Passover and Easter holidays), and we have several outings planned. Therefore, I really don’t want a fridge full of leftovers that won’t get eaten.

So, while this might not be the most exciting menu I’ve ever posted, that’s OK. Sometimes, it just has to be dinner.

  • Sunday: Whatever you can find in the fridge
  • Monday: Leftover buffet
  • Tuesday: Sandwiches, chips, salad
  • Wednesday:Western fritatta, green salad
  • Thursday: Ham steaks, au gratin potatoes, some sort of vegetable
  • Friday: “Dal nirvana,” rice; cheese pizza & raw veggies for the kids
  • Saturday: Take-out

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.