Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby.  Sadly, I will not be in attendance.  But if I was, I would be wearing what can only be described as a "statement hat".  What do you think of this one?

Too big?  What about this show stopper?

Don't like the bow?  Okay, I offer you this.

A veritable garden in my hair.  Sold.

I'll wear it while I'm drinking a delicious mint julep.  How delightful! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greek Salad Skewers

I love a greek salad.  The cool, refreshing taste of cucumber and tomatoes mixed with pungent feta cheese, rich black olives...I could go on and on.  And I am consistently intrigued by the array of food one can serve on a stick (probably stems from my childhood years spent attending various midwest county and state fairs).  So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled onto this awesome appetizer idea from YumsugarGreek salad bites.  How completed inspired.  Wish I would have thought of it.

{image via}

I will be serving these at my next party.  In fact, I may need to throw a party just so I can make them.  Consider yourselves invited.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Review: Await Your Reply

I'm totally bummed.  I just finished reading Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon, and it has left me in a bit of a funk.  The book, which deals with the theme of identity theft through a series of three stories running concurrently, is beautifully written and completely and utterly depressing at the same time.


I don't typically shy away from serious themes, so I dug into this book right away despite its dark plot.  I was captivated immediately and finished the book a few days, but it has left me feeling uneasy.   Chaon has the ability to write so vividly that his sentences leave the reader with haunting images long after the story is over. 

 Perhaps my next two or three reads need to be fluffy and uplifting to counteract some of the darkness I am left with.

The Intimidating Ingredient

I consider myself a pretty good cook considering my complete lack of formal training.  I'm usually willing to try anything once, and don't have a problem tackling strange ingredients or recipes (usually those of the Asian variety).

But there's one food that leaves me shivering at the very thought of preparing.  No, it's not tripe.  Nope, not blowfish.  Not even the dreaded Macaron.

It's this cute and unassuming little artichoke.   I'm afraid of the thorns!  I'm scared of the choke!  I'm terrified of being afraid of a vegetable!  Okay, I'll stop.  This weekend, I'm overcoming my fear and preparing artichokes using this handy step by step guide.

Wish me luck.  I'll let you know how it goes.

image via

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sushi for Kids

I am in a serious cooking rut.  Lately I have felt like a robot, serving the same meals to the kids over and over.  Pasta, chicken, pasta, turkey, and a little more pasta.  Did I mention my children have a deep love for noodles?  It brings back memories of my childhood, where my mom would say "If you keep eating that, you're going to turn into a (insert foodstuff here)."  I'm having nightmares of driving cavatappi and rotini to school.  Scary stuff, I know. In an effort to get help, I've been navigating the web in search of kid-friendly food ideas NOT involving noodles.  And voila....

Check out this clever idea from the folks over at The Kitchn.

{image via The Kitchn}

Fruit and peanut butter sushi.  Looks totally yummy, healthy, and non-noodley.  I am adding this little recipe into the dinner rotation.  

What are your go-to kid dinners?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Wish List

I love birthdays.  There is nothing I enjoy more than throwing a fabulous party, picking out the perfect gifts and wrapping pretty packages, and everything that comes with celebrating my friends and family.  I just don't particularly care for MY birthday.

I tend to get very introspective as I approach the annual milestone, thinking about what I've accomplished and what I haven't, which puts me in a quiet, thoughtful mood rather than the happy, buoyant state characteristic of most birthday celebrants.

This year, though, I've decided to save my introspection for another day and enjoy the celebration of moi.  I'm so thankful for my healthy, happy children, my wonderful husband and fantastic family.  Those are some pretty impressive reasons to celebrate.

And in the spirit of birthday selfishness, I'm drafting my ultimate birthday wish list.  I already have everything I need, most of which are not "things".  But I'm going to dive into the world of materialism and decadance for a few moments.  Endulge me, won't you?

I'd like a pair of Tory Burch flats.  Silver buckle, please.  No gold for me.  Totally posh.

And a new handbag.  I know, I've already waxed poetic about my love of the House of Gucci, so I won't regale you with any further tales.  A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words.

Since I'm on a roll, I would also like the Lauren Moshi bow t-shirt dress.  I heart bows.

And after I'm done opening all of my fabulous gifts as noted above, I'd like to dive into a slice of tres leches birthday cake. 

Okay, I'm done.  Thanks for listening.  Above goodies aside, what I want most is a happy and prosperous 2010.  And we're already off to a good start.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Night With My Favorite Author

I am so excited.  For our wedding anniversary in December, my husband bought us tickets to a David Sedaris reading.  Mr. Sedaris just happens to be my favorite author on the entire planet.  His books consist of hilarious essays recounting his somewhat unusual life experiences.  At the readings, he tells stories, introduces new material, and reads from his books in a way that makes you think that listening to an author read their own material is the only way to go.

I've been anxiously counting down the days until the show, and it's finally here.  Tomorrow night!  I am giddy!

If you haven't read anything by Sedaris, I recommend you start with this.

And follow it up with this.

And to get you in the mood for the holidays, you MUST read this.

Heck, just go buy his entire library.  I promise you will eventually.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I'm the first person to say that I could live for the rest of my life without watching another TV show.  The truth is, I generally don't enjoy or find much value in the loud, glowing box that seems to mesmerize my husband and children.   But I have to confess, I am totally and completely enamored with Parenthood on NBC.


I adore the Braverman family, perfect in their imperfections.  The characters are rich in their depth, and contain universalities that we can all relate to on some level.  Working mom with a successful career who struggles to find balance?  Check.  Oldest son who can't figure out where his family ends and he begins?  Check  A family that, above all else, supports each other through life's challenges?  Double check.

I love this show and truly look forward to it each week.   If only there were more of this type of reality show and less of the other kind, maybe I could stop threatening to throw the TVs away.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Summer Graphic Tees

Temperatures are on the rise, and this weekend I spent some time sifting through the kids' closets in preparation for spring and summer.  I folded, organized, and most importantly, purged clothes the kids have outgrown to make room for the sundresses, shorts and tee shirts that summer is sure to bring.

With a little extra room in their closets, I can justify a couple of new and fun purchases, so I headed to J.Crew to scout the goodies.

Check out this adorable graphic tee.  Pirates + Dogs = Total Cuteness.  Wrap one up for my little guy.

And this one for Princess R.?  It totally makes me smile. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Favorite Kid Product Ever

When I registered for baby gifts before the birth of my son, I wish someone would have told me about the Beaba Babycook. 

Forget swings, bouncers and burpcloths.  Oh sure, those things are wonderful; some are even necessary. But this is the best baby item you will ever buy.

I bought my Beaba after my dad read a review on it and sent me a link.  $170 for a baby food maker?  Ummm, yeah.  And I filed the email away for months without another thought.  Until my son started to expand his culinary scope beyond milk.

Strolling through the baby food aisle, I was shocked by the sheer nastiness of the veggies and fruits in the little glass jars.  Sodium, sugar, additives...these are not things that my child should be eating.  To be fair, some of the packaged stuff is better than others, and it came in very handy when we traveled or didn't have access to a refrigerator.  But nothing you can buy on the grocery store shelves is as good or rewarding as making the food yourself.  At least that's what I found out after I skeptically purchased the Beaba at Williams Sonoma.

Even after taking home the shiny little green machine, I figured it would be one of those appliances that you use twice and set on a shelf, never to be used again.  I started making applesauce, and the machine is so simple to use that I quickly graduated to pea purees, meat and veggie mixes, and a blend of every kind of fruit you can imagine.  My son absolutely loved the food; even the veggies went down easy.  I've continued to use the Beaba through the birth of my daughter, and still use it now that the kids are one and two.

The Beaba Babycook is a fabulous little machine, and the nutritional benefits it provides my little ones are completely worth the initial investment.   For those of you that make your own baby food, what are your favorite recipes?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review: The Help

After a few false starts, I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Although it took me more time than usual to get into the story, by the halfway mark I couldn't put it down. 

The Help was a fantastic story about the Civil Rights Movement told by a group of women living in Mississippi in the 1960's.  It gives a brilliant and thought provoking look at the moral and ethical implications of pre and post-movement race relations. 

I love the feeling of finishing a good book and being satisfied of the time you devoted to the process.  The hard part is finding a new story to captivate your attention as much as the last one did.  The search is on.  Any recommendations?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Tablescape

Happy Easter to you and your families!  Here is a look at our Easter table.  This year, I wanted to do something unique with a budget of $50, not counting items I already had at home. 

I love the clear plastic vases that I picked up at our local floral shop.  They looked perfect filled with colorful jelly beans, which contrasted nicely with the all white tulips and hydrangeas.

Easter Table Supplies:
White tablecloth: Target (wedding gift)
Green Fabric: $5.47 at JoAnn Fabrics
Dishes: Grandma's Milk Glass China
Silverware: Kate Spade Dot Pattern (wedding gift)
Clear plastic rabbits: $1 at WalMart
Grass squares: $2.97 each at Hobby Lobby
Eggs: $2.50 at JoAnn Fabrics
Clear vases: $12 each at Sunnyside Florist
Jelly Beans: $3 at Jelly Belly Factory Store
Moss rabbit picks: $2.50 each at Pier 1
Tulips at Hydrangeas: 4 for $12 at Jewel Osco
Green floral napkins: Thrift store find from Mom