Friday, September 28, 2012

Growing Vegetable Soup

Here's your Friday recipe!  It's a really good vegetable soup recipe that I got in the back of a children's book, of all places.  It's from Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup, a cute book about kids that plant a vegetable garden and how the plants grow until they're ready to be harvested and eaten in a vegetable soup. 
Growing Vegetable Soup (Voyager Books)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dusting off the sewing machine

I had to get 3 things at the craft store.  I came out $60 poorer.  This always happens to me.  I didn't mean to buy the other stuff, but there it was.   I was looking for an applique butterfly for Olivia's Butterfly Fairy Halloween costume and I got lost in the wrong aisle.  I stumbled upon a gold-mine of do -it -yourself baby stuff.   It's called Babyville Boutique. (@ babyvilleboutiq)  There were two guides, one for cloth diapers and one that had lots of other pictures of projects, like headbands, diaper pail covers, burp cloths, placemats, etc.  I THOUGH I was going to get the patterns for the cloth diapers too, but I didn't read carefully so after I attempt my first project from the book, I'll have to go back to get the diaper patterns.  The company makes fabric (PUL, polyurethane laminate), appliques, elastic, snaps, everything you need to complete the super cute projects in the book. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sage Creek Organics---Surprise!

This past Sunday my book club had a surprise baby shower for me/Olivia.  Being the fourth, I didn't really expect to have a shower for her.  She had all the big stuff and I'm fine with having her wear the same thing over and over.  I was ready to leave her "shower" baby book page blank.  But my book club girls gave me a pink and green polka dot shower so now her baby book will be complete.  I was really touched that they planned the shower for me, but I was almost cried when I realized thet went meat-free for the meal and even had organic iced tea.  It was just so thoughtful!  I know you don't want to hear about the whole evening, but I wanted to mention yet ANOTHER sweet thing, someone gave me organic baby clothes!!!  It's really hard to find organic clothing so I was super excited not only to receive the clothes, but also to learn about a company that makes them.  It's called Sage Creek  Organics.(@organic_clothes)
Click to Enlarge
Sage Creek Organics Monkey Business Non-Footed Playsuit  $38.50

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Fall!!

I'm sure everyone had it marked on their calendars and took note, but Saturday was the first day of autumn!  It's my FAVORITE season!  I was outside brushing Abby and as the breeze blew (and whirled all the dog hair around) it had a different smell to it than it did in the summer.  It smelled like FALL.  Have you seen the trees!?!  There's one on my street and a few more I've seen around town that are starting to turn.  That's the sign that it's REALLY here.

I love fall because my mother has conditioned me since I was a small child, but also because there's so much fun stuff to do in the fall.  We always go to an apple orchard, to a pumpkin farm and try to squeeze in as many Halloween activities as we can.  I usually try to do the apple orchard in September so I have 4 weekends in October to focus on Halloween activities.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jack Frost

Last night I had to get up out of bed at 12:00 to take care of my babies.  Not the babies, you're thinking of, my baby kale. 
I'm fanatical about checking the weather.  I check the weather app on the iPad or Ellie's iPod at least twice a day.  Yesterday, I noticed that there was a frost warning for last night.  I was originally worried about my peppers that were still on the vines, but then I realized my baby kale plant would stop growing once it frosted and while baby kale is supposed to be very tender, I don't think the 1/4 inch sprouts I have in my garden are what they mean by baby kale. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Fondue

Here's your Friday recipe!  It's not TOTALLY healthy, but it's a healtier option than the traditional chocolate fondue. Ellie LOVES it!  (Shocking, I know.)  We dip strawberries (Caden), banana slices (me), graham sticks (Ellie) and fingers (Vince).  It's from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Family Bed

This blog post came to me this morning at 6:30.  I was cramped, almost falling off the side of the bed, when I opened my eyes and realized there were three other people in the bed with me.  Evan was in the shower.  Three tiny people had managed to kick me out of my own bed.  This is not something you read about when researching co-sleeping.  Everyone's arguement is the safety of the child.  What about me?  I'm the one who wakes up with my arm in an unnatural position because I'm avoiding Olivia's head.  I'm the one who wakes up to the sound of Mario in my ear because Ellie's playing DS.  Evan and I both have sustained injuries from sleeping with Caden, who flails about as much when he sleeps as he does when he's awake. 

We never planned to co-sleep with our kids.  When Caden was born, I did everything in my power to stay awake in the middle of the night nursing him.  I propped myself up, using pillows and the boppy and tried to focus on staying awake.  The option of co-sleeping was still a no-no to me from all the experts I had read.  Plus the dogs were still sleeping in our bed.  We were already cramped.  (If you have known me a long time, or if you have lived with me, Kristin and Cecilie, you understand that staying awake is not my forte.  My college friends love to tell how I would fall asleep, face down, on my textbooks.)  When Ellie was born we lived in the new house and I had a rocking chair.  I spent MANY hours at night sleeping in that rocking chair, with Ellie propped on the boppy.  Vince was he same story, until I realized I was sleeping more in that rocker, which at this point had seen much better days, than I was in my bed.  So when he woke up at night, in his crib, we always started in the crib, I just took him back to bed with me to nurse.  I didn't roll over on him.  I didn't smother him in his sleep.  I just woke up a little later, carried my sleeping baby back to his crib and went back to bed.  As he got older, he would just get up by himself in the night to nurse (I nursed him for a LONG time).  Before he weaned, I  was pretty sure he was nursing to cuddle rather than actually get any food.  Before Olivia was born we only had kids in our bed when beds were wet, dreams were scary, there were storms (thanks for that Meema!) or someone was sick.  And it was fine.  With three little kids, that was almost every night we had someone in our bed.  Ellie came to bed almost every morning when she woke up.  Sometimes, she'd grab the iPad and play for an hour or more, while I got to keep sleeping.  I was comfortable with our version of the family bed.  Then Olivia was born.
Miss Olivia has never slept in the crib (actually the pack N play because we're still working out the bed situation here).  The first night we brought her home it was after midnight.  I had to be up by 6:30 the next morning to get the kids off to the HOF parade and I was tired.  I layed her down beside me to nurse and that's what we've done every night since.  It works for me.  People keep asking if she's sleeping through the night.  She's not, but it's not a big deal for me.  She makes little noises, I take her to the girls room to change her diaper, then we both lie back down to nurse and sleep.  Whether it's from cosleeping or not, she's never had a night where she was just wide awake and I had to pace the floor with her.  I remember these sleepless nights that everyone talks about with the other kids.  Maybe her's are yet to come.  But as for now, she's content to snuggle down with me at night and sleep.  I plan on putting her in a crib at some point.  I'm not one who really WANTS to whole family bed thing, but I've found that it's easiest to do what works, and right now, the family bed seems to be working. 
You'll notice that I didn't mention Caden in the bed this morning.  He used to be in my bed every morning, but now, if he gets up before me, he plays Wii.  I kind of miss holding him.  It's a sign he's getting bigger and needs me less, which is good, but still a little sad.  If I have to put up with getting kicked and smushed against the edge of the bed, I'll do it, because now I know it's just temporary and I'll miss having a little hand on my cheek in the morning when they're all up playing Wii, or worse...DRIVING!
Evan and Ellie.  It's as close to a co-sleeping pic as I could get.  It's a little creepy to take pictures of people in their bed at night!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I think I've mentioned before that my two oldest kids went to a Jewish preschool.  I loved it!  I thought they got a great academic education, but I also loved how they learned about Jewish life, mostly through food and holidays.  Fall always reminds me of the Jewish Center since there are so many Jewish holidays in the fall.  Of course every Friday night is Shabbat.  The center would send home a "Shabbat Box" with each student once during the school year.  Inside was everything you need to celebrate Shabbat at home.  My kids LOVED their turn with the Shabbat Box so much that we started to do our own Shabbat on Friday nights. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Vince!

Today my little man turns 3!  I've been telling people he's "almost 3" for a long time, so it's actually harder for me to believe that yesterday he was still only 2.  He's a big kid, not heavy, just tall.  He's looked like a 3, even 4 year old for awhile now.  Of all my kids, he's the cuddliest.  He's sitting on my lap right now, which make it hard to type, but it's fun to have him close. 

Now that Olivia's here, I think about this time 3 years ago a lot.  I remember how it was with a newborn Vincer trying to get Caden and Ellie to preschool.  I remember how much time he spent at the YMCA Gymnastic's Center while both kids did gymnastics and Ellie did dance.  I tell people he learned to walk in the mezzanine there.  Back and forth, back and forth, trying to avoid the lethal stairs.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Controversial Dip

Awhile ago I blogged about how I couldn't get Ellie to eat fruit, so I was going to try to sneak it into foods.  It was a bust.  Everything I tried got a thumbs down.  I even had her help me make some things, hoping THAT would make her interested enough to try them...not so much. 

Friday, September 14, 2012


I've decided to make Friday "Recipe Day" on my blog.  I'm always on the look-out for good recipes so I thought I'd share them here when I find them.  This one is a Greek spinach pie.  It's pretty fast and easy to make and I love it!  (So does Vince.)  It's from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook by Cathe Olson. (One of my favorites!)


2 tsp olive oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1lb fresh spinach, washed and chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp dried dill or 1 TBSP fresh
1 C crumbled feta cheese
black pepper to taste
8 sheets of phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 375.  Warm oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add green onions and saute 2 mintues, or until soft.  Add spinach to pan.  Cover and cook 5-10 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Transfer to a colander and let it drain.

In a bowl, beat eggs and dill.  Stir in cheese and spinach.  Season with pepper.

Lightly brush a 10 in pie pan with olive oil (I use a spray).  Place a sheet of phyllo in pan.  Spray with oil.  Place a second sheet over the first but position it so the corners don't match up.  Spray with oil.  Repeat until you have four layers of phyllo.  Spread the spinach filling evenly in the pan.  Turn the corners of phyllo over the filling.  Layer 4 more sheets of phyllo over the filling, spraying each with oil as before.  Tuck corners under pie.  Bake 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown. 

This is from Google Images--NOT what mine looked like!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Excercise-A Healthier Mind and Body

"How old is your baby?"
"6 weeks"
"You look great for having a 6 week old!"

But I don't mean thanks.  I mean, please, Mrs Stranger, don't comment on my body, especially since I just gave birth.  I'm not sure why people feel it's appropriate to talk about my weight at any time, especially after it's just multiplied exponentially.  I'm not wearing these yoga pants because I think they're the height of fashion!  It's because they're the only pants I own that fit!!  I know they're just being nice, and trying to pay me a compliment, but all it does is make me feel self-conscious. 

When I originally started this blog, my description of what I would be writing about included exercise, a word I later went back and deleted because I felt like I wasn't really addressing it.  Well now I am, kind of.  SO, to you, Mrs Stranger, I'm going back to the gym!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Penzeys Spices

This is a blog originating from my mother.  A few years ago she discovered a spice catalog (stores too, but none very close to us)  and it became her "thing".  (See, I come by these quirky obsessions genetically!). It's Penzeys Spices and in addition to having all the spices you can find in the grocery store they also have spice blends, salad dressing mixes, herbs and seasonings.  Thanks to my mother, we have a cupboard full of Penzeys.  Evan uses them to season steaks (he has his own method which uses about 4 different bottles), Ellie uses them to season her baked potato, I use them for veggies and to make homemade salad dressing.  They're really very versatile.  My current favorite is Fox Point.  I put it on everything! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tyler Florence's Cookbook

Awhile ago I blogged about Tyler Florence's baby food line, Sprout and his cookbook, Start Fresh.  Well, I found not only the cookbook, but also the baby food.  We found the baby food at Giant Eagle.  I bought a  toddler meal (Sweet Potato and Apple Risotto with Turkey) and a baby food pouch (Peach Pumpkin Pie with Graham).Vince and I gave them a taste test.  We both liked the pumpkin pie.  We were so-so on the toddler meal, but in all fairness, we didn't really get a good taste because soon after I served it, Vince got up from the table and our rotten dog jumped up and pulled it off the table.  (Abby gives it two paws up!)
Sweet Potato & Apple Risotto with Turkey Peach Pumpkin Pie with Graham

Monday, September 10, 2012

EWG's Cleaners Database is Up!

I'm sure you're all as excited as I am that the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Healthy Cleaning is up and running.  I blogged a few weeks ago that it was coming, and I've been back to the EWG site a few times to check to see if it was up yet, but today's the day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Butternut Squash Indian Pudding

As I've said before, my garden is producing TONS of butternut squash, which is great, because I love squash, but I'd also want to get the rest of my family to eat squash too, so I need to get creative. (And by that I mean I need to look for recipes because I'm not at all creative in the kitchen!)  So I dug out some old Vegetarian Times and found a recipe I had flagged, but never tried.  It was under there One Food 5 Ways section and the topic was Butternut Squash. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Late Summer Planting

The other day my mother told me I should be proud of my garden, which obviously I am because I won't stop blogging about it!  So her's yet another blog post about my garden.  I found some kale seeds.  I don't know why I didn't think to look at the store 5 minutes away from me with "Seed Company" in the title, but surprise, surprise they had some seeds.  I bought curly kale and Russian red kale.

Russian Red
Curly Kale

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

FREE GIVEAWAY: Kashi Soft-Baked Squares

I was selected again to be part of a sample and free giveaway from Kiwi Magazine's Mom's Meet!  This time it is for Kashi Soft-Baked Squares. 

The color looks a little off to me here.  It's really not a greenish hue!

When I saw the opportunity to apply for this product I was really excited because Ellie had JUST seen it in the grocery store and asked if we could get it.  I don't usually buy snacks like this so I said no.  Luckily, we were selected and Ellie got to try them after all! 
Before I got the products I attended a webinar by Kashi which gave a little more information about the company and the product.  I'm a fan of Kashi products, especially their cereal so I was glad to learn a little more about the brand I've been feeding my kids.  Here's a crash course:  "Kashi foods feature a signature combination of seven whole grains and are natural, minimally processed, and free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives, and preservatives."  You can check out Kashi's Website or their Facebook page for more information on their products and some recipes.