csa 2011: share 1

csa 2011: share 1

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, they say. And when our CSA starts, you know that’s true! Oh, how I missed my bi-weekly bounty of fresh, local, organic vegetables last year. And this first share did not disappoint me.

Considering how wet the spring was, combined with the crazy heat of the last few days, I am really impressed with these greens. We got 2 heads of lettuce, 1 bok choy, 1 lb. spinach, 1 bunch of radishes, and 1 bunch of salad turnips. Instead of the turnips I could have chosen 1/2 lb. of mixed greens (arugula, tat soi, etc.), but I really enjoy those little turnips and between the lettuces and the spinach we have more than enough.

I’m already planning on making myself eggs Florentine tomorrow morning, perhaps with a little Swiss cheese. The bok choy? Sigh… I will dutifully search for some recipes and give it another try. There has got to be a way to prepare it that I will find enjoyable. If you have a favorite way to make it, I am all ears.

last minute lists


So, I think I am pretty set for the party on Sunday. There are a few items I’ll buy tomorrow (mostly produce), but I think I have everything I need. The thing I’ve learned in all of my years of hosting birthdays and holidays is that no one ever eats at parties. I have way too much food, which means way too much leftover food taking up my precious refrigerator space. I tried to trim things down this time, so we’ll see how I did. I guess a lot of the time I just feel guilty since  our family members drive anywhere from 1-2 hours to get here, so I overcompensate by trying to stuff them full of pasta salad, LOL.

I still have to wrap Lulu’s gifts, though. Since we live in horse country, maybe someday she’ll ask for riding lessons, but for now I’m very glad she’s happy with things of a much simpler (and less expensive!) nature.

has it been that long?

This week marks the 13th anniversary of when Drew and I met. Crazy! We celebrate our 10th anniversary next week, and I have a special gift all ready to go. Nothing as fancy as something from Diamonds International, but I think it’s something that will surprise him. We don’t really have any anniversary plans yet. We’ll go out to dinner at some point when we can unload all the kids. On our actual anniversary we’ll probably keep it simple — maybe some creme brulee and champagne after the munchkins are in bed. This time of year always makes me yearn for France (we went to Paris and Bordeaux on our honeymoon), so it’s only fitting to go with a French dessert!

red and blue vintage circus bunting tutorial (sort of)

fabric bunting

Yesterday I completed the one project I wasn’t sure I’d complete in time for Laura’s birthday party — a fabric pennant/bunting/whatever you want to call it. These have been all over the web for a while now, and on my “to do” list since spring. I kind of made up the instructions as I went along. All I knew was it had to meet these requirements:

  • Easy to do. I do not have the time right now to be all fussy with things like this.
  • Look old and vintage-y. Fraying? No problem. Uneven lines? Hey, that’s okay! It just makes it look more handmade.
  • Be multi-purpose. I need to use this for more than just one event.

So, the color scheme I’m using, as you know, is turquoise and red. Well, it’s lapsed into various shades of blue and red which is perfect since the party is also Memorial Day weekend. I will be able to use this bunting for years on the 4th of July as well, so I will definitely get a lot of use out of it.

First, I chose my fabrics. I just bought a bunch of fat quarters in patterns that I liked. Then I ironed them flat, then folded each in half the long way (with right sides facing each other) and ironed it again. I used this template from Cicada Daydream to trace triangles on the wrong side of the fabric. Because I wasn’t going to be turning my triangles inside-out, I cut out my triangle pattern on the dotted (sew) line. I used pinking shears because I like that look. It looks old. It also makes me think of my grandmother 🙂 Then, I sewed a straight stitch around the two long sides of each triangle. I didn’t go across the top.

fabric bunting

Then I took some navy blue bias tape that I had in my stash, snugged a triangle up inside, and sewed it. Repeat until you run out of triangles or the bunting is as long as you want it. And let me warn you: if you decide to have a little glass of Tia Maria and milk while you sew up your second bunting, chances are you will mess up a few triangles and then your husband will ask why you’re cursing so much. 😉

In hindsight, a smarter thing to do would have been to take fabric glue (personally, I like Fabri-Tac) and glue each triangle into place on the bias tape, and then sew one single line across. It would look a lot neater and save some time. But I’m still happy with the way this came out. I’ll be sure to take a photo of it “in action” at the party on Sunday!

menu plan monday

Is it really May? Then why is it weirdly chilly and so rainy? Eh… oh well. At least the weather makes for cozy days, right? This week is going to be so crazy. We have Drew’s dad & stepmom coming up from Miami on Thurs. We have various school activities. And I am doing all the prep work for Laura’s 2nd birthday party, which we are having on Sunday. So I am trying to keep things super simple because I don’t need to be more stressed out! I am also not doing much grocery shopping because I need to clean out the fridge for the party. (Have I told you how much I hate having a side-by-side fridge? It makes it very challenging when you have party platters and whatnot.)

  • Sunday: Grilled chicken salads
  • Monday: Sausage parm sandwiches, broccoli cheese soup
  • Tuesday: Dinner out
  • Wednesday: Grilled chicken, whatever I can find in the fridge for sides, LOL.
  • Thursday: Sandwiches, chips (In-laws are getting in from Miami, so I need something I can make the kids and us earlier and have for them later)
  • Friday: Grilled London Broil, grilled chicken with Piri-Piri Sauce, baked potatoes, tossed salad
  • Saturday: Whatever you can find in the fridge or freezer 😉

If I make it through this week with my sanity in check, then I will most definitely have earned that big slice of cake I am looking forward to on Sunday.

(Side note: while I have not been as diligent with exercising as I’d hoped to be this month, I am still down  2.5 lbs, which is awesome since I am really only trying for about 7 lbs. And really, this is just by cutting down on sugar. If I could eliminate carbs I’d be doing much better, but I have a Celiac panel later this month along with my routine thyroid bloodwork, so I have to continue eating bread and pasta, etc. at least until then. All in all, I’m pretty happy with my progress!)
For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

just an observation

innisfree garden

Well, 6 pm has come and gone on the East Coast with nary a hint of Rapture. No earthquake. No one flying up into the sky. Not even a slight rain shower. Life just continued on as my husband, my friend and I enjoyed a glass of wine while all of our kids played together. Of course, I never expected anything to happen, but clearly there is a group of people who did. And as it becomes clearer and clearer to everyone that Harold Camping is a fraud, I’ve noticed how people love to make fun of these people who believed it would happen.

Don’t get me wrong — they’re idiotic. Even if you believe in a Biblical Rapture, the idea of a rolling global earthquake just sounds silly. But what happens to them now? And please don’t say “Who cares?” That seems to be what a lot of people are saying, unfortunately. Because I am a sap, I feel sorry for these people who have lost so much: homes, savings, family… it’s more than I can personally imagine doing for my faith. I hope they’ll get help if they need it. Their disappointment must be great. But instead of making fun of them, I think we really need to show them compassion.

Of course, there is still the click here to donate button on the radio station’s website, and there’s no message stating “We were wrong, sorry” or anything like that, so I can only imagine what the future is for this man. I would hope that he’ll take responsibility. While he does not believe in churches, per se, like it or not, he is the leader of an ersatz church. He is the leader of a flock of sheep (and you can take that metaphor as far as you want to go). He needs a better excuse this time than “miscalculation.”

rainy friday

rainy day

Oh where, oh where has the sun gone? It was out earlier this morning, but now the rain is pouring down. I’m actually having a rather cozy day at home. I have my friend Rachel’s recipe for Indian meatballs simmering away in the Crock Pot. They smell so delicious and I will definitely be sharing the recipe with you. Lulu has been happily playing (mostly) independently today, so I’ve been able to get a few things done.

Later I need to make a hair bow for a little girl in Noah’s class. He’s going to her birthday party tomorrow and a while back (when I was still selling on Etsy), I ordered these adorable Strawberry Shortcake bottlecaps to use as bow centers. He thought she’d like one, and it goes along with the gift we picked out for her. I haven’t played with my ribbons in quite a while. I hope I didn’t forget how to make bows, LOL!

Yes, despite all the doomsday predictions, I am still planning on tee-ball and a birthday party tomorrow. Although I haven’t actually seen any of the people proclaiming “The End Is Nigh” (do you think they paid their motorhome insurance for the RVs they’re travelling in?), there is a “May 21” billboard close by. This one is on Rt. 9G in Hyde Park (I haven’t been out that way in a while, but last time it was still there). I snapped this photo back in March:

rt. 9G, hyde park

I could write on and on about this, so I’ll spare you. (My poor husband, on the other hand…) Chances are we’ll all still be here Sunday morning and I just hope that the “Camping-ites” somehow find comfort because I’m sure many will be disappointed. I feel very sorry for them and if/when this is a non-event,  I hope their faith won’t be completely shattered. Maybe they’ll turn to a religion that isn’t quite as… apocalyptic? Anyway, I’m sure you are all bored to death with this stuff, so I’ll stop, LOL.

Anyway, I have a lot to do over the next few days getting ready for a visit from my in-laws and for Lulu’s birthday party. I am so excited about all of it! Hope you are having a great Friday!


we girls can do anything

80s barbie collection

Right, Barbie? Say what you will, I love Barbie. My Barbie dolls were my favorite toys when I was a kid, and I have already started buying Barbie stuff for Lulu. I grew up with a healthy self-image and I really don’t think my Barbies damaged me at all. (Of course, other people may think different — I don’t know, LOL!)

Anyway, when I was at my parents’ house on Mother’s Day weekend, I took back boxes of all my old Barbie stuff. I was so happy that my dolls were in (mostly) good condition, considering how long they’d been in a hot attic! I thought I’d shared them with you.

80s barbie collection

These three are my oldest. From left to right is Winking Western Barbie, Golden Dream Barbie, and Beauty Secret Barbie. Western Barbie is the only doll that sustained real damage. As you can see, the eye that winked is missing the eyelid. As I researched these Barbies from the 1980s, I learned that this happened to most of the Western Barbie dolls. The plastic just could not withstand wear, age, and temperatures and this damage is common. There is also some plastic broken off at the back of her neck. I think I was pretty rough on her. I am pretty sure Beauty Secret Barbie was my first doll, though this is my second Beauty Secrets doll. I melted the hair of my first one with a blow dryer. (I didn’t know better.) I still have the clothes and the accessory case, though. And finally, Golden Dream Barbie. I always wanted to take those weird gold armwarmers off her, but they were impossible to put back on! I still have the curling iron that came with her, as well as the comb.

80s barbie collection
Here we have Great Shape Barbie and Skipper, products of the interest in fitness and aerobics at the time. I know I had a Great Shape Ken doll at one point, but he exists no longer. I found his shirt, though, and it’s possible that his pants are in the bag of clothes.

80s barbie collection

And then Day to Night Barbie, Angel Face Barbie, Twirly Curls Barbie, and Dream Date (I think?) Ken. I have most their accessories; I just need to get them organized.


80s barbie collection

Finally, there are these two dolls. Among several generic “fashion dolls” in my box, I found these two, both stamped “Mattel” on the back, so I’m guessing they are some sort of Barbies from the 1960s. The clothes on them are not original, and obviously the one on the left has had a bad haircut. My grandmother made me heaps of doll clothes, so perhaps she used these as models to make sure the fit was right? I don’t really remember them, so I’m not sure.

Later this week I’ll share some of my favorite outfits that my Babci made. As a crocheter and a sewer, I have a true appreciation for how much work she put into all these doll clothes.

circus party prep (with resources)

balloon wreath

Lulu’s 2nd birthday is quickly approaching and I am frantically trying to finish up all the prep for decorations and planning. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve gathered so far. First, as shown above, I couldn’t resist making a balloon wreath. They were all over Pinterest and are so easy to make. You can find tutorials at How Does She and Two More Seconds. I’d like to add my two cents: this is a fun, inexpensive, and quick project. I completed in in under an hour. However, I would highly recommend using a thimble to push those floral picks into the wreath form. I did not and my finger was still hurting the next day. Total cost was under $7. I purchased the balloons at Dollar Tree (three packages) and the wreath form and picks at Hobby Lobby. They were much cheaper than Walmart or Michael’s.

On to lunch! I’ve finalized the menu and I’m keeping it super-simple and kid-friendly: hot dogs (I’ll use my large slow cooker to steam them since I have to make a few packages), mac & cheese, fruit salad, popcorn, and oriental cole slaw. For appetizers I’m planning on making antipasto skewers (not circusy, I know, but I can only have so much junky food) and a veggie tray. Beverages will be water, soda, lemonade, and double-berry sangria (obviously for the grown-ups, and a recipe I have yet to put together). I found these great popcorn bags to use! You can find them all over Etsy (overpriced, honestly). After extensive searching, the best price I could find for a reasonable number was from eBay member “frozendrinks.” It cost $5.65 (free shipping) for 50 bags.

circus party prep

circus party prep

As for the cake… yikes, I’m still deciding what flavor! I will probably do a white layer cake with strawberry filling and white icing. If I can’t find blue and white sprinkles, I’ll use blue and white M&Ms around the outer edge of the cake. Maybe (maybe) I’ll use some licorice whips to make a scalloped pattern along the sides. We’ll see about that. And since I am not a great cake decorator by any means, I’m not trying to make a design on the top of the cake, or even write “Happy Birthday.” Instead, I made a bunting that I will attach to skewers. This was another quick and easy project (also no-sew!). I used ribbon from my stash, fabric glue, and baker’s twine. I’m putting together a tutorial, but I’m sure you can easily figure it out yourself.

circus party prep

Finally… favors. As most people who plan a circus party do, I’m using popcorn containers from Target’s Dollar Spot to hold the goodies. I also have clown noses (purchased from eBay member lookwhatabargain for $5.99/dozen (free shipping)) and animal crackers ($1/box at Walmart). I need to figure out one or two more items.

circus party prep

circus party prep

circus party prep

I still hope to sew a fabric bunting to decorate the food table, but if I don’t get to it… I won’t beat myself up about it. Red and light blue streamers will suffice. I think things are coming together well, and I just hope that it doesn’t rain on the party day!

menu plan monday


Another week, another meal plan! Nothing unusual this week, just recipes I can throw together pretty easily. I’m really looking forward to making the slow-cooker gyros again. They were a huge hit with everyone last time. I’m not sure what kind of quiche I’ll make this week. Maybe spinach, bacon, and swiss? Zucchini, tomato, and mozzarella? Anyway, here’s my plan:

  • Sunday: Turkey tacos
  • Monday: Crock-Pot Gyros
  • Tuesday: Beef & veggie stir fry
  • Wednesday: Quiche, salad
  • Thursday: BBQ chicken, cole slaw, baked beans
  • Friday: Broccoli-cheese soup, salad
  • Saturday: Leftovers or take-out

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