my music man

My husband is a musician, but beyond that, he just loves music. And instruments. And our kids are following in his footsteps so you can just imagine the virtual music store in our house. Drew primarily plays guitar and has been saving for a special one, but in the meantime he enjoys searching for great deals on other guitars. Maybe I should let him know about the Gibson Melody Maker price drop at Musician’s Friend.


Of course, he shops there regularly so he probably already knows about it 😉 I know he’s owned a Gibson or two, so he probably has a good idea about the quality. His old Gibson SG was a favorite for a very long time!

Drew’s actually been working on new songs and reworking old ones lately. I love hearing the process of music being created. It starts with a few chords and after a while you have this beautiful song lilting through the house.

I think I’m going to take Laura up to visit my parents in a few weeks so he can take a day or two off and do some recording. While he can certainly do it when everyone is home, the fact is that it gets very LOUD. Not to mentioned the constant interruptions from his littlest fan who always wants to go down to the basement and play the drums with him.

Hopefully he’ll post some new stuff on his blog soon and I’ll definitely share it! In the meantime, he has some older stuff here. It can just be a hassle to upload everything. Plus, he doesn’t always have the time for extra blogging. I personally know how that goes!

skirting the issue

new skirt


With spring coming, I wanted to finally get around to sewing up some skirts for Laura. I wanted to do this last year, but never actually got around to it, even though I bought the fabric! Yesterday I had extra time in the afternoon so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

I used this simple skirt tutorial from MADE, a fabric remnant I had in my stash, and apparently the wrong bobbin for my machine (I’ll get to that later). Anyway, it really is a simple project. The ironing is the most difficult part of the whole thing! Laura was very excited about it. She immediately put it on over her pants and started running around the house like a crazy girl. You’d think she required a Duracell procell battery or something, but no… She just has a lot of energy!

Now, the bobbin story. As I sewed I noticed that the bottom thread wasn’t sewing a nice line. It was all loose and messy. When I checked my manual, I realized that I’m supposed to use a specific type of bobbin for my machine. Of course. And the bobbins I had been using were just generic bobbins. Of course. That might have something to do with my “bird-nesting” problems as well. So I ordered the correct bobbins, and today I am going to clean the machine and change the needle (because I have never done that, either), and hopefully that will take care of the problem!

But if you’re looking for a cute and quick little girl’s skirt – I recommend this tutorial to get yourself going!


menu plan monday, 2.20.12

Well, after several days of decadent eating last week on our vacation at Woodloch Pines, we are back to the usual menus here! I admit that I overindulged on breads and desserts. (By most people’s standards I probably didn’t do so bad, but for me it was a lot). Nevertheless, I savored every bite and don’t regret a spoonful 🙂

Lent begins this week, and that gives me an incentive to work more fish dishes into our meal plan. We ate quite a bit of fish on vacation, so that was a great way to get inspired! Of course, I only post my dinner plans and I realize there’s not much fish here this week, but I’ll be making it for lunch. I might try stuffing tuna fish into cucumber cups for a quick bite, or a quick marinated shrimp salad.

Here’s what I’m planning for this week:

  • Sunday: chicken fajitas, fruit salad
  • Monday: pesto chicken, riced cauliflower, green salad
  • Tuesday: mushroom-swiss burgers (buns optional), tomato basil soup, green salad
  • Wednesday:  onion soup, hard-boiled eggs, green salad
  • Thursday: cube steaks with mustard gravy, mixed vegetables, green salad
  • Friday: salt & vinegar baked cod, steamed broccoli, cole slaw
  • Saturday: Blue & Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts ~ no cooking!

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

friday favorite finds

It’s Friday! So that means it’s time to link up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week. I haven’t participated in a while, but I have lots of great recipes to share this week.

Raw Mango Lime Tarts – I think these sound so yummy and refreshing! I’d love to create a raspberry version, based on this one!


Frozen Coconut Limeade – Can’t wait to sit on the deck this summer while sipping on one of these.


Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps – We made these one night this week and they were delicious! I added more onions and water chestnuts to the chicken, and I basically made a big salad with lettuce, shredded carrots, and scallions instead of dealing with the wraps. Definitely a keeper!


Spicy shrimp and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Lemon, and Cumin – This looks like a delicious light lunch!


Low Carb Lemon Meringue Custard – I am totally making these for Easter dessert! I don’t like crust much anyway, and this recipe gives you the best part of lemon meringue pie!

Source: via Carol on Pinterest


(Finally, I am including a shameless plug for my Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Brownies — my kids have devoured these! They are so yummy, easy, and much healthier than a regular brownie! I hope you try them!)

Be sure to head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what inspired everyone else this week!

{wiww} man, i’m a boring dresser

Week 2 of my participation in What I Wore Wednesday has shown me what a boring dresser I am. But in a way, it’s a good thing because now I can work on snazzing it up a bit. Let’s just get to it, shall we?

I wore this outfit last Thursday. My brother-in-law came up to visit and my older son had a Folk Night at school. Drew said I looked a lot more like a French sailor than a pioneer, LOL…


shirt:: bought at a small shop in Arcachon Bay, France on our honeymoon… ten years ago!
jeans:: Target
scarf:: eBay
shoes:: TJ Maxx way back when I still worked. They were my “trade show shoes!”

I wore this next outfit out to lunch on Saturday.


shirt:: Land’s End
cardigan:: Bass
cargo pants:: Target
necklace:: gift from D.

Sunday my MIL cam up for the day and we all just hung out. I was feeling a little under the weather.


shirt:: Target
sweater:: Wal-Mart
jeans:: Target (way long ago)

Monday I was grouchy and coughing and really just didn’t care. So this is what I threw on.


sweater:: tag says New York & Co., but I actually bought it at Dollar Tree
jean:: Target
clogs:: Fly Flot

The clogs are definitely my favorite part of this whole outfit. When we owned the wine shop, there was a shoe store next door that sold mostly orthopedic shoes. I guess Fly Flot is a popular brand of nursing shoes (they are SUPER comfy). Anyway, that’s where I found them!


No photo yesterday because I was cooking and cleaning all day and really wasn’t wearing anything worth logging!


Linking up with…
Photobucket Photobucket

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownies

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownie

Last week I was craving something cakey. And chocolaty, but that goes without saying. Naturally, I headed over to Pinterest for a little inspiration and decided to try this Paleo mug cake recipe from The Wannabe Chef. It was delicious! Honestly, it was the first mug cake that I ever truly enjoyed. The only problem is that it was too much cake. So I set about to tweak it a little to my liking and to better feed a family of 5.

This recipe makes a standard-sized pan of gluten-free brownies. The best part? It doesn’t require any exotic specialty flours — I think most people have all these ingredients in their pantries right now! While you can certainly mix everything up by hand, I highly recommend using a food processor. It makes the batter silky smooth and as someone sensitive to texture, I think chunks of banana would ruin this recipe for me. (Just make sure you cover that opening with your hand because the cocoa powder flies everywhere!

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownie

3 medium bananas
3 large eggs
1/3 c. smooth peanut butter
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 packets of stevia *
1/2 c. chocolate morsels *


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bananas, eggs, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and stevia in the bowl of a food processor. Combine until smooth (be sure to periodically scrape down the sides). Pour batter into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and gently mix them in. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool.

Yield: 16 servings

* These are both optional ingredients, but I like the extra sweetness they deliver. You could could use fewer chocolate morsels to cut down on the sugar.

As prepared here, there are about 97 calories per serving and 10.4 grams of carbs.

So there you have it! A delicious, guilt-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free (if you omit the chocolate morsels) treat that is chock-full of healthy fats and protein (and potassium). You can certainly substitute another nut butter for the peanut butter and I’m sure it would be just as good!

happy monday 2.6.12


The weather::: It’s another mild one here in the Northeast. I am kind of missing snow. There, I said it. But it’s true.

On my reading pile::: I have not been reading much lately – just too many other things to do and reading hasn’t been a priority, I guess.

On my TV::: Getting back in to Downton Abbey (And here’s an embarrassing story: it wasn’t until last night that I realized what the name of the show actually is. I kept writing/saying “Downtown” Abbey. Why did no one correct me, LOL?)

On the menu for this week:::
Monday Cashew chicken, jasmine rice, roasted cauliflower, salad
Tuesday Taco salads (turkey taco meat, black beans, romaine, peppers, onions, avocado, tomato, cheddar and salsa-ranch dressing)
Wednesday Pizza & salad for the kids, leftovers for us
Thursday Crock Pot BBQ Ribs, green beans, salad
Friday Breakfast for dinner – coconut flour pancakes with strawberry freezer jam, some kind of fritatta.
Saturday Chili, salad
Sunday Leftovers

On my to do list::: Laundry (of course), washing the floors, re-organizing my jewelry box

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::: I need to sew up a speaker cover for Drew and I really, really, really want to make a new camera strap for myself. Think I’ll have to lug the machine down to the dining room and work on these projects when the kids are in bed.

Looking around the house::: It’s such a mess today. I think I’ll just cover my eyes instead!

From the camera::: Last week I started this February Photo Challenge and forgot about it over the weekend, so I guess that’s kind of a bust. But I do love this photo I got on the first day! My backyard with one of the Instagram filters:

2.1.12 - your view

Something fun to share::: (maybe you saw something on Pinterest you would like to share with others, maybe there’s a place you want to go visit, or a restaurant you want to try out or a certain item you have been wanting to buy) I am currently in love with this typewriter necklace from Forever 21. Unfortunately, I don’t really shop there and don’t want to pay the shipping costs for just one item, so I’m on the lookout for a similar charm somewhere.

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

On my prayer list::: Praying that Drew’s aunt has a safe vacation, and also that these colds everyone in my family is fighting finally go away once and for all!

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to link up!

tired of the clutter

Source: via Carol on Pinterest


I’ve been on a purging/organizing kick lately. Maybe the mild weather has shifted my brain to spring cleaning! At any rate, my big weekend project was reorganizing my closet. Someday maybe I’ll have a super-beautiful, insanely organized closet like the one pictured above, but… surely not anytime soon! Though we do have a large walk-in closet, so I really can’t complain.

Taking everything off the hangers, deciding what to keep, and what to give away, and trying to figure out better storage solutions took a good bit of time, but it’s so nice to walk into a clean closet that makes sense! It’s much easier to decide what to wear, and now I only have clothes that fit me. (I’ve lost weight, so there were quite a few items that just made me look frumpy.)

Now that my closet is squared away, I’m thinking about bedroom vanities… currently my sewing machine is on my desk but I wonder if I could work a little magic and turn it into a great place to do my hair and makeup. Well, I think the bathroom will continue to suffice for now, but it’s an idea.

{wiww} gotta start somewhere

I’ve really been enjoying other bloggers’ WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) posts, but I’ve never quite had the courage to take part. However, thanks to Pinterest and a newfound desire to whip my wardrobe into shape, I figured it was time to play along. And the first of a new month seemed perfect!

Please excuse the blurry photos. Bad lighting and an impatient toddler made this a challenge today. I swear I’ll do better next time! Anyway… last week I was at the Lee Premium Outlets and decided to see what Bass had, since the sign in their window advertised HUGE SAVINGS. I came out with a new pair of mary janes and two new cardigans. I’m wearing the red one today — the other one is the same style, but in black. Love them!



cardigan:: Bass
cream top:: Wal Mart
scarf:: Charlotte Russe
jeans:: Lee (Kohl’s)
socks:: Target
faux pearl earrings and bracelet:: Charlotte Russe

So there you have it! My plain and simple style for today. Hopefully next week I’ll bring you something slightly more interesting and in focus 🙂

Linking up with…
Photobucket Photobucket