Menu Plan Monday

How is it possible that tomorrow is the first day of May? This month really flew by. I think I need to start thinking about anniversary gifts. In a month, D & I will celebrate our 11th anniversary! So much has changed with wedding planning since then, hasn’t it? Back then, titanium wedding bands were a new thing, but now I read about them all the time. And let’s not even begin to get into photography and decorations. All you have to do is browse Pinterest. I’m actually glad I’m not planning a wedding now. Thing were much simpler back then!

Speaking of planning, time to plan out this week’s menu!

  • Sunday: Out to dinner
  • Monday: Chicken cordon blue, cous-cous, steamed broccoli
  • Tuesday: Running errands – grab something out
  • Wednesday: Crock Pot BBQ spare ribs, cole slaw, steamed veggies
  • Thursday: Grilled chicken, roasted cauliflower, salad
  • Friday: Burgers (buns optional), sweet potato fries, salad
  • Saturday: Southwestern wonton “cupcakes” (new recipe I’m working on)

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

Giraffe Hat and Diaper Cover

Ah, it’s been a while! Well, last week the weather was too beautiful. Earlier this week, Laura wanted nothing more than to rock with mama and cuddle (growth spurt perhaps – her conversational skills seem to have exploded overnight).

At least I had my Apple iPod Touch to keep me connected! I also have been working on some crochet projects.

Every year the Rhinebeck Science Foundation hosts a gala fundraiser with a silent auction. As much as I want to attend the gala, it’s just not in the cards this year. But some of my friends from our craft group decided to put together a basket of baby items for the silent auction.

I offered to whip up a baby set. Originally I intended to make a cute bear hat, figuring it was gender-neutral and come on — who doesn’t like teddy bears? But while looking through my stash of yarn I changed my mind. I was inspired by some buttery yellow yarn and a bit of brown. A giraffe set! Here’s how it came out:

giraffe baby set - front

giraffe baby set - back

I combined elements from three different patterns to complete this project:

  • Hat body (or use your own favorite pattern): EZ Earflaps Hat
  • Horns: I used the horns from this pattern as a guide, but didn’t follow the instructions exactly:
  • Ears: from this Baby Giraffe Hat pattern
  • The diaper cover is a pattern I came up with on my own when I was making all those bunny sets. For the tail I just made 5 DC into a magic circle and crocheted around until it was the length I wanted. I stuffed the tail into the opening, and then DC2tog until it was closed up. Then I reinforced everything by hand-sewing. For the spots I just crocheted circles (again, the magic circle is your friend!) and sewed them on.

It was a pretty quick and satisfying project! I hope that whoever wins the basket loves it!

Hippo Birdie to You!


Today is my sweetie’s birthday! Unfortunately he’s been on conference calls for work all day, but at least quitting time is drawing near.

Instead of a cake, I made sugar-free lemon mousse and blueberry parfaits to enjoy tonight. We’re also indulging in pizza (at least it will be piled high with veggies) and champagne. So very not paleo or low-carb, but what’s a birthday without a little wiggle room? We’ll just get back on track tomorrow. (That’s the best thing about consistently eating a diet full of healthy fats, veggies, and protein — you bounce back from a cheat day pretty quick. Sure beats diet pills. You can find out more here.)

Other than that I don’t know what we’ll do tonight. We might put the finishing touches on his Kickstarter project (Oooh, it’s so exciting! Can’t wait to reveal it!) and watch a movie. I love birthdays — even when they’re not my own 🙂

let’s grow!

At the end of this month, we’ll have lived in this house for eight years! That seems crazy to me. Aside from the home in which I grew up (that we moved out of when I was 16), this is the longest I’ve stayed in one place. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was heading out to Boston after I graduated from college. Or doing searches like “title loans Connecticut” when I needed to buy a car after relocating to Fairfield. But now I think it’s safe to say that the Hudson Valley is home sweet home.

This year I am determined to spruce up the outside of our home sweet home, and I’ve started by clearing out what seems like a metric ton of leaves – ugh! While I love all the trees on our property, they make such a mess when the leaves fall.

I have grand plans for actually taking care of my roses, for planting some more colorful perennials, and even adding two large planters near our front steps. The only thing is… I’m no gardener. My thumb is black as night and I am very lazy when it comes to caring for plants. Hopefully I’ll find the motivation this year, though. I’d love to add a little more curb appeal.

My New Toy

new toy

I never had any desire for any kind of tablet computer, especially given my track record with expensive electronics, so you all are probably shocked by this photo of an iPad! Well, my very generous techophile father-in-law upgraded to the newest version and kindly sent his old one to us. Voila!

For the first couple weeks I was afraid to touch it. Seriously, it pretty much stayed put on the dining room table. But I’m slowly starting to get acquainted with it. It’s handy for quickly checking a recipe, and I admit to liking it for watching shows on Hulu or YouTube. (Including my newest obsession (thanks, Dad): Doomsday Preppers. Craziness there!).

Anyway, as you can see in the photo, it is precariously propped up on a basket. I’m thinking that it would be in my best interest to invest in some iPad accessories to ensure that this tablet doesn’t meet the crashing fate of my last laptop. (Clearly I still have not recovered from that tragedy.)

Easter Mani

It’s a little-known fact that I love nail polish. Love it. I pin lots of cool manicures and I have a basket overflowing with bottles and stickers and doo-dads. Of course, I don’t always get around to actually doing my nails, but that’s beside the point.

If you pay any attention at all to beauty boards, chances are you have seen the amazing-sounding sponge gradient manicure. Now, as with all things I find on Pinterest, I approached this technique with great trepidation. No way could it possibly be that easy.

Well, strike me down, it actually worked! I thought it would make a fun Easter manicure so I tried it out this morning. I used Zoya Kendal as my base polish, and then simply striped various other pastels onto a makeup sponge, per the tutorial. I pretty much love how it came out! (Sorry for the lame photos — I was trying to do this quick).



I only did one accent nail on each hand because I think at at my age, 10 rainbow nails would be a little more than I could get away with. But a little bit of fancy on my ring fingers? No problem!

What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Have you tried it yet? The only thing is that you definitely need to apply a topcoat because your nail picks up the texture of the sponge. Don’t skimp on that step. I recommend trying this, though. It’s quick and easy and makes it look like you spent a lot of time on your nails. I plan to experiment with other colors after the holiday!

easter softie decoration

I didn’t do much Spring or Easter decorating this year. Terrible, I know. But sometimes the idea of dragging out the boxes, putting out the stuff, and just having to pack it all back up in a few weeks seems like too much effort. But I felt like I should do something.

I had collected a few ideas on my Pinterest boards, and for my inspiration I used these fabric carrots from The Ballard Bunch and these other fabric carrots from Clare’s Craftroom. This is what I came up with:


I’m pretty happy with them, though I don’t think I like the fabric I used to tie the three together. It’s just what I grabbed. Maybe a need a small bow around the top of each individual carrot, too. What do you think?

The carrots were easy enough to make. I just cut long triangles from three different fat quarters and sewed up the side. I sewed a casing at the top, stuffed the carrots with Polyfill, and then cinched the opening together with crochet thread. For the leaves, I used my trusty hot glue gun and some green ribbon. I just made loops that looked about right. I glued the sides of the center loop to each adjoining loop in order to get them to stand up a little bit.

Super easy project and now at least I feel like I did a little something for the holiday!

that’s more like it


Ahh, now this is April. Today was near 60, but a little breezy. (Not that long ago, you could have been chatting with me and it would have seemed like you were video conferencing with someone in a much warmer climate!)


I had to get some lab work done this morning (just routine thyroid bloodwork), so we took the kids out to lunch and did a little grocery shopping before coming home. With gas being so expensive, I try to combine as many errands as I can.


Anyway, we got home and the kids played outside. A pretty uneventful day.


And that is just fine with me.

menu plan monday – spring break!

OK, I’ll be perfectly honest. There’s not a whole lot of meal planning going on this week. I threw down some ideas, but will they stick? I don’t know. The kids are on spring break this week and D. took several days off, so we’re mostly flying by the seat of our pants.

Plus, it’s Easter weekend, so there will be a few family dinners where I am not cooking. (Which reminds me I need to finish gathering stuff for Easter baskets and make a few Easter cards. I can’t forget to sign them – imagine getting contactless cards and having no idea who they’re from!)

BUT since it never hurts to have a plan…

  • Sunday: Chili
  • Monday: Salad or sandwiches because I’m going out with a friend (though I did make a real lunch – Greek chicken with olives and zucchini, with salad on the side)
  • Tuesday: Roast chicken, broccoli, sweet potato spears
  • Wednesday: Burgers, corn on the cob, broccoli, cole slaw
  • Thursday: Thai chicken curry with vegetables, jasmine rice
  • Friday: Dinner with family
  • Saturday: Dinner with family

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