Sunday, September 27, 2009

Consignment Store Find

I know, I know, I already talked about the couch - but do you just love this table?? It was $25 at a store, and although I favor a more modern streamlined look, for that price I was willing to try something more glam. Isn't it fun?

The Perfect Saturday

As we had Priesthood Preview on Sunday, I was tasked with making the dessert, so Laurel and I made some intense dark chocolate cookies, decorated with candy corns. She was a big help! (...except when she'd put a candy corn in her mouth, and I'd tell her, "no, those go on the cookies", and then she'd proceed to put the sticky piece of candy on a cookie... I promise I tried to separate those cookies out!)
Luke was thrilled when I suggested heading to a hiking trail in Coventry where Laurel was a fan of all the "big rocks". We wore her out but good, eating oranges and carrots on our tailgate at 5:30pm when we made it back to the car. Our late outing meant I was late getting dinner on the table. It took some time to simmer my pasta sauce (finely diced carrots,celery, and onions with tomatoes - wow it was perfection if I do say so myself!), so while waiting we served Laurel first. I improvised and mixed her penne with mascarpone. That's the most sophisticated mac and cheese I've ever tasted! She devoured it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Morning

I was mending Laurel's baby blanket (i.e. my ancient almost-30 year old beauty) yesterday on the couch. She climbed up beside me and proceeded to pull all the buttons out of my sewing box, separate them into piles, unwind colorful thread from bobbins...for an hour! I remember being fascinated by my mother's button box when I was a kid. Warm fuzzies to think that little girls always seem drawn to mommy's sewing notions. But having her next to me while I was doing some hand sewing (which I always find so calming) was the best feeling. I don't think I've felt so content since I was nursing a newborn. Bliss!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to the Old Stomping Grounds

Luke had to speak at the Kennedy School on Thursday, as well as network with some regional businesses, so Laurel and I of course tagged along to see old friends. Laurel was ecstatic at the number of babies whose toes she was able to pull. And I was glad to see that she wasn't too much of a bully, besides removing and inserting Lillie's pacifier for her over and over again.
The 2nd best thing about our trip was the food, naturally. I grabbed a burger at Mr. Bartley's with my favorite HLS colleague, while Laurel danced with the waitresses. And I picked up Lakota Bakery cookies from Cardullo's. And on our way out of town we swung by Basta Pasta for homemade fusilli, eggplant parm, and chicken cacciatore.
It was so poignant to walk the streets of Cambridge with a toddler holding my hand, remembering how I used to hustle her down the same roads while she was wrapped up in the stroller. My beautiful baby has turned into such a delightful toddler, and I'm such a lucky mommy!

Luke is 29!

What a fun day! Luke only worked an 8 eight hour day instead of his usual nine, so we had lots of time to enjoy presents and a delicious dinner. Luke's most fascinating present was a set of Texas Longhorn spurs that my father had set into wood to serve as bookends in Luke's new office. They are sooooo cool!
I volunteered to make a "Mormon" (sans coffee or liquor) tiramisu for Luke and it was luscious divine! Can I just say that I am in love with a grocery store called Price-Rite? You can buy a package of ladyfingers for $1.19 and a POUND of mascarpone for $2.99. This was the least expensive tiramisu in American history! (Mormon version: flavor the tiramisu with drinking cocoa made from scratch, and dust with shavings of dark chocolate.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Being Creative Step 1

So ever since our stay at a fly hotel for our 5th anniversary, I've been longing for an upholstered headboard. A crafty DIY-er could secure plywood and batting and make one, but that's even out of our budget. But I had a yard of outdoor fabric I picked up at Calico Corners earlier this year and decided just to hang it on the wall with some double-sided tape. It's not exactly even, but it is a nice shot of color and one day I'll move it farther down the wall so that it's looks more headboard-y. But it's a step in the right direction towards a more colorful bedroom. Next up: spray paint for the lamp shades.

Test Driving Halloween

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why do I have a picture of a couch on our blog?

We've always packed as light as possible during our moves, which means at each new home I have to find a couch. A task that is unrewarding and depressing - because used couches are ugly and new couches in our price range are ugly and more expensive than their micro-suede is worth. I spent three weeks in both Austin and RI trying to find couches - it took over the bulk of my days, bustling Laurel from one furniture store to another. So tedious!
This may sound dumb, but I am confident that the Lord looks out for the things that are important to us, even if they are couches. In Austin, I left Laurel home with Luke one Saturday morning and told the Lord that I needed to come home with a couch. And the third consignment store I visited I was able to find what I needed.
In RI, my divine inspiration struck at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, when I felt like I really needed to visit this consignment shop in the next town over, even though I knew I would hit rush hour traffic coming and going. Lo and behold, I walked in, saw this hidden in the corner, plunked down my $150 and left in 10 minutes. They delivered it the next week, and the owner told me that people came in all weekend and were crushed at seeing its "Sold" sign. It's so comfortable, and quite attractive in its greigey goodness. Seriously, the Lord answers prayers - even those that seem trivial to the rest of the world!

We love Greek Festivals!

Thus far, there's been one Greek Festival per month in this tiny state. We hit up the Cranston feast last weekend. Laurel had a great time running back and forth between Daddy in the open-air dining room and Mommy making her selections of Greek pastries.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hot Wings

I've never eaten them. In fact, I avoided them; I always thought they looked disgusting. But I've repented.
One of our grocery stores has a bulk-meat deal - so we bought 25 pounds of poultry for cheap! It was an assortment of cuts, including 2 pounds of wings. I asked the butcher what I should do with wings, never having been in a fraternity myself, and he said just dump them in the crockpot with some hot wing sauce and cook for a couple of hours. I was pretty skeptical, but with the addition of Trader Joe's blue cheese dressing, I definitely see the appeal. Granted, it was the fattiest meal our family has ever eaten, but it was really good - fabulous flavor contrasts and it was fun sucking the meat off the bones! Laurel loved the hot sauce.

A note in my crock-pot cookbook (Thank you, Matt and Allison!) said that if you had leftovers, to put them over pasta. Luke whipped up some farfalle on Sunday with some additional chicken and used the hot wing sauce, blue cheese dressing, and some chicken broth to make a sauce and folks: these were some good eats! I wouldn't have pegged it as leftover hot wing sauce - it had the same kick as a good arrabiata sauce, and a lovely perfume of blue cheese. This was a restaurant quality entree. Let me know if any of you try this!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Church Stuff

So I was able to enjoy Relief Society for two weeks in our new ward before being called to Primary. Sigh. Which of course I love the little kids, but was really enjoying some adult time. And a quick shout out to anyone who has ever been the Primary Music Leader. You could get rid of all the adult leaders in Primary - and as long as you have the music leader - the kids would still learn and be happy and involved. I think it's one of the most critical callings in the church and thank goodness for ours!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh my gosh I'm almost ready to get a sewing machine!

Will you please check out this amazing post from my uber-talented friend, Jenny?
Years ago my mother offered to buy her three daughters sewing machines. My younger sisters took advantage of the offer, but I demurred because I wasn't sure I was ready for that sort of commitment. But after seeing what Jenny did with the bias tape and the comforter cover, I'm almost ready to take the leap.
Mom, check with me in a few days...maybe this is just a phase....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Favorites

Ocean Trundles

A Day at the Beach

I've been dying to get to the beach; my idea of a good time is sitting in a chair on the sand with a book, but that sounds like the worst sort of torture to my husband. If there aren't trees and trails he's not happy. Fortunately, Goddard State Park has both. On Labor Day, we went to the beach for a bit and then to the grassy knolls. A good compromise. Laurel loves the water. We brought a picnic lunch and ate on a bench, but as soon as Laurel saw the water she made a beeline for it. L&P, you guys gave her a great intro in Carlsbad!

A Real Job

Our whole family is thrilled with Luke's new job - especially Laurel. She loves saying "Bye, Daddy!" And "Daddy, work!" This weekend she seemed quite determined to send Luke off in style. (And those actually are the last boxes we have yet to unpack.)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Getting Picked Up...In a Bakery, No Less!

I was doing some price-comparisons at the local bakeries earlier this week in preparation for the Farmer's Market, and was ensconsed at our Portuguese bakery with some delectable cupcakes and tarts. Labor Day weekend is a huge holiday for the big Portuguese population (Boas Festas). Another patron heard me asking about the festival, and she gave me some pointers, and then said, "Hey, this might be weird, but I'm having a bunch of friends over on Friday night for some Portuguese food, and you're welcome to come." Once I found out that it was just going to be girls + good food, I was so in.
Portuguese food! Anyone seen/read "Silence of the Lambs"? Let me tell you, Hannibal Lecter had it going on when he was eating favish: baked fava beans with fabulous spices. I'm such a convert!
The whole gathering was so surreal - reminded me of our days in Utah - there were 4 elected officals there, including a candidate for U.S. Congress. And so rad that they were all women!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Farmer's Market Debut

I finally fulfilled a dream! West Warwick has a tiny Farmer's Market on Wednesday afternoons/evenings and I had a table. Colorful tablecloth, cute sign with my specials of the day: carrot cake with caramel icing and chocolate peanut butter cream sandwich cookies. After paying the $15 to reserve my spot, and buying premium ingredients, I didn't make a profit. (Our town has the 4th highest unemployment in the state and you just can't expect them to pay fancy prices.) But it was such a blast! I met tons of people and a woman opening a coffeehouse downtown wants to work with me on stocking her shelves, so how fun is that? Well worth it. I told Luke I may just go next week and pass out free baked goods for fun - we stay at home moms have to get our kicks somehow, right?
Laurel had the most fun. A gentleman played acoustic guitar and sang and she stood in the middle of the plaza tapping her feet, clapping her hands, and dancing - you should have seen those pigtails go! The musician loaned her a tambourine at one point and she did a great job of keeping time. I love how unselfconscious this age is. And bemoaning the fact that we didn't have a camera!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

1.3 Children

I just hit 12 weeks and we're so excited! Due date: March 18th. That means the baby will be just in time for a late New England blizzard... "People" aren't kidding when they say that every pregnancy is different; I didn't get nauseous with Laurel until weeks 11-week 19, but this baby has made me motion-sick since day 3 of conception - I still occasionally get afternoon sickness, but it's petering out, thank goodness!