Friday, September 28, 2012

Table Topics and Pink

This is a little random for today.

One of my loyal readers (ha,ha, my cute NY sister) sent me a gift that she thought would help my project.  It has been awesome!  I can't believe what stimulating and enlightening conversations we are now having at dinner.  Each card has a question-- they are called "Table Topics."  The questions are simple, but somebody did their homework because they work!  One night I was really laughing about how heated (in a good way) the conversation was about what they like to do at recess.  And practical for eating because the cards are protected from spaghetti fingers by a pretty clear box.

Speaking of acts of service, I've done my school shopping the last two years about a month after school and gotten some killer deals.  Like some cute cotton shirts at GAP for $3 and $5.  I always struggle finding P.E. shoes for my girls that are still feminine and cute, until I found these at a discount retailer for a great price.

My one well filler for last month, a splurge tube of NARS lipstick I read about on this cute girl's blog.  I haven't bought lipstick for 3 years.  So it's been fun and I even got a compliment today!  This tube was MIA for a few days, until I found what looked like some shady marks on the walls and carpet in a few places.  Luckily the lipstick did eventually turn up and wasn't as much worse for the wear as I thought it would be.  :)  And it came out of everything but the carpet.

The lipstick color is Roman Holiday.  I love it!  Just a touch of pink that feels updated without being crazy.

Happy weekend!  Have any fall weekend plans? For us:  soccer, a wedding, and some religion.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Basque Boy Eats - Watermelon Lemonade and Fresh Tomato, Mozzarella, and Egglplant Salad

I'm still trying to be a little creative in the kitchen with produce from my garden, when possible, just to save time and be healthy.

(and having some quick fun with photoshop, too...nothing too fancy)

(Update: 9/11: I wrote on the pic "buffalo mozzarella" because that is what is written on my British recipe, but I just used fresh mozarella from supermarket)

So we tried a simplified variation on a favorite recipe from when we lived in England, and it was SO yummy!  My kids liked all but the eggplant, and my husband and I had 3-4 bowlfuls each.  Super good.  I had made a soup at the same time and we ended up saving it for tomorrow.  :) 

1.  I cubed one eggplant into 3/4 inch pieces which I then sauteed in olive oil until soft (we had to add some extra olive oil part way through as the eggplant absorbed the first round), then let the eggplant cool. 

2.  We cut some garden tomatoes (8-10 medium tomatoes) into wedges and put them in a medium-sized bowl.

3.  Then we cubed up 1 lb. of fresh mozzarella (yum) and added it to the bowl with the tomatoes.

4.  Then we added some chopped fresh basil.

5.  Then extra virgin olive oil to coat all the things in the bowl and salt to taste (it always takes more salt than I think, but still better to under-salt and let people add more if they wish).

6.  Add just a two tablespoons of white vinegar.

7.  Add a pinch of sugar (I'm not sure how it would taste without it, but our British recipe called for it).

6.  Add the cooled eggplant and stir all the ingredients together.  It tastes better if it sits for a little while before eating so the flavors can meld together.


We enjoyed some watermelon lemonade from Sweetgreen that I found a recipe for on the Rockstar Diaries here.  So yummy and fresh I didn't even want dessert.

(ha ha, to go with our English recipe, lemonade in a pint glass that has always been a teetotaling pint glass)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Motto and Animal Craft Jar Idea

Last month when I learned about teaching my kids how to work, I gleaned some great ideas from The Parenting Breakthrough from Merrilee Boyack.  Finally, after all this time, I've (mostly) finished this one.  Update, 1.1.2014: I have mixed feelings about this book after thinking about it a little longer.  Not sure I would recommend it for parents of kids with ADD after reading Smart But Scattered by Dawson/Guare.

Her idea was to write down all the things you'd like to teach your children by the time they leave home at age 18.  She also talked about creating a family motto or slogan.  I read about this on this blog, too.

A couple of years ago, I decided if I could teach my kids only one thing, it would be "Love like His Son."  I made some vinyl lettering and it is now on our wall in the living room. 

Here is what my husband and I came up with to supplement the first slogan, with a few more nitty gritty details:

Below you'll find the sheets I made from to correspond to each part of the motto. They go in order Learn, Do, Be.  I know some of the things on my list wouldn't appeal to everyone, nor will they even apply exactly to each of my children (Eagle Scout, for example).  That is why I'm making individual ones for each child.  Plus, there needs to be some wiggle room as children get older and make their own choices.  For example, on the "do" list, I put "learn the Norweigian Concerto."  This is just symbolic of mastering an instrument, doesn't have to be that specific song or instrument.  I still haven't figured out how to display the sheets I made...this is just temporary.

We did another craft at the same time.  I wanted to make something for my kids to keep their tithing in when I saw a cute idea in Parenting magazine (so far, I wouldn't recommend this magazine, but I did enjoy this craft idea-- you can also see it with instructions here -- if I were to to it again, I'd do it exactly as it was done in the instructions...including using spray paint instead of acrylic).  It's meant to hold crayons and craft things.  My kids were playing so cute with the animals before we made them that I felt really badly taking their little playthings to make this craft.  Then they didn't want to paint "their" animals.  So I gave in and let them paint their own jars the way they wanted to.  They actually turned out really cute.  And my kids enjoyed themselves.  They even said to me "Mom, look how creative we are!  Aren't you glad we didn't paint our animals?"  I think they are right.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kindergarten Poem

That day has come.  The day when I close the chapter of a little one's time with me. 

Little Pink Backpack
This morning I watched

The back of your little pink backpack

As you marched with golden

Curls into a fall


I think when I hugged you

A string from my heart

Attached itself to that

Little backpack,
Because with each

I feel it stretch

As if it might burst.
Yet I realize

This means
You’re not looking back.

You’re happy,

Moving forward
To meet your life without regret or remorse.

I hope I’ve done right.

From that first moment
When they placed you in my arms,
Your tiny baby cry

Made me cry too.
I loved you,

Watched you grow,
Smile for the first time,

Take first tentative steps,
Smear baby food on

Your head,

Look for bugs,
Read books,

Welcome little siblings with
Now maybe you’ve packed up

Those memories,
With my love,

Into your tiny backpack,
Ready to see what


The strings are still attached

To my heart,
You’ll never know.

But I’ll be watching my baby,
And loving you,

And remembering
Our time together,

As my little girl
Marches toward Womanhood

On this sunny autumn morning.

   (with Grandpa)
Speaking of something sentimental that reminds me of my own childhood, I heard a story on NPR about John Boswell's PBS remixes.  Some are funny and quirky and inspiring.  This one with Mr. Rogers brought backs some serious memories and made me cry.  :)