24 February 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the baby officially has a name

If you don't know who this terrible character is, don't worry, neither do I. But Owen does. It went like this yesterday at the doctor's office:

Nurse: Owen, are you having a baby brother or a baby sister?
Owen: a baby broder
Nurse: Does your baby brother have a name yet?
Owen: yes
Nurse: what is it?
Owen: Swampfire
Nurse: (to me, still thinking this is a serious conversation) what is it?
Me: Swampfire

P.S. Swampfire is one of Ben 10's alien alter egos. I don't watch it, but Jeff has a serious weakness for all things superhero, and, therefore, so do our boys.

23 February 2009

Monday Fun Find(s) #19

Today has a theme. Magnets. Taking a glance at my refrigerator I realized the majority of the magnets holding my random shopping lists, photos, and kindergarten art creations don't add anything cute to my kitchen decor. I should just learn that the free magnets given in the phone book are usually advertising something I don't want, don't ever hold more than one sheet of very thin paper, and are just ugly.

Here are a few magnets I found that would definitely make a refrigerator happy.

Olive you, Olive me magnets by LittleputLand

Happy Monday!

19 February 2009

Comfort food at its finest

This was never meant to be a food blog, although I do have love affairs with both cooking and eating, so it seems natural to post a great recipe now and then.

Here is a dish I made last night that definitely ought to be shared. It is a delicious vegetarian main dish, but is not by any means a very healthy, diet friendly one. But since it's loaded with so many veggies, they might just cancel out the butter, cream, and cheese that make it so yum.

Roasted Veggie Pasta
the idea for the recipe originated from Taste of Home magazine, but has been modified quite a bit by yours truly
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 red onion, cut in large pieces
1/2 red pepper, cut in large pieces
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut in 2-inch pieces
olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 lb. fusilli pasta
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup cream (half & half would also do fine)
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (you could also use fresh)
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese (I also added a bit of sharp cheddar)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1) Cover a large sheet pan with foil. Toss all veggies generously with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on the pan. (Do not add the asparagus until the last 5 minutes)Roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
2) While veggies are roasting, boil water and cook fusilli until barely al dente. (It will continue to cook in the oven, so don't overcook it at this early stage). Drain.
3) In large saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook for one minute, then whisk in cream, tomatoes and garlic powder (you can use 1 clove of fresh garlic, but might want to sautee it a bit with the butter first). Simmer until thickened, then remove from heat and mix in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Mix cheese sauce with pasta and veggies, pour in casserole dish and sprinkle on more parmesan cheese if desired. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 4.

The original recipe called for fontina cheese, but I had gruyere in my fridge, so I used that instead. There are so many other veggies that would be really good in this recipe--butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, or mushrooms are a few I thought of. It might even be good with a little fresh basil added to the cream sauce.


16 February 2009

Reuse what you have: (or give it away) Freecycle

Have you heard of Freecycle? The idea is this:

It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free.

I have been receiving the Eugene/Springfield freecycle group emails for months now, and have never been all that interested in what people had to offer. Which isn't to say it isn't fine stuff--just not anything I found myself needing. But the beauty of freecycle is that it quickly and easily matches up people who might be needing that exact thing with those who just want to be rid of it.

Just last week, there were three postings for things that I couldn't pass up--and I ended up getting two of them (like craigslist, sometimes someone else beats you to responding). The process went so smoothly--a couple of pleasant emails exchanged, addresses shared, and items put on porches for me to come and pick up at my convenience. And at the end of it all, I ended up with one bottle and one box of laundry detergent and an open but unused package of gdiapers inserts. How awesome is that?
A couple of disclaimers:
  • You may want to sign up with an email that you check but don't use all the time, as there are many emails sent daily. But if you're really interested in something, you have to respond quickly, as stuff gets snatched up pretty fast.
  • You may wonder what is the difference between freecycle and the free listings on craigslist. There isn't much difference, other than these get emailed directly to you, instead of you having to go and check craigslist daily for new listings. Also, people can put up an ad for something they need, to see if someone else on the list wants to get rid of that but didn't know it.

13 February 2009


This morning the boys and I found ourselves in the sewing room (okay, who am I kidding--it is just my bedroom, but a girl with a small house can wish), creating, making, and imagining, side-by-side.

There was a little bit of this
And a little bit of this
And a little boy still in his jammies crouched under the ironing board with trains driving down a sewing machine-attachment-ramp
With a 3- and a 5-year-old attention span, I had to work fast and though the time spent wasn't long, it was very pleasant.

Now I just need to bottle up the sweet feeling in that room for opening later when one of those trains gets thrown at someone "on accident" or that pencil becomes the main attraction for a grabbing match.

11 February 2009

Whatever happpened to. . .

Now that American Idol has started again, it made me wonder what happened to some of my favorite runners-up from last season.

I found this song (not the best quality) but nonetheless, kind of a cool collaboration between Brooke White and Michael Johns. Brooke White's fan site says she will have an album debut in June?

I loved when she sang You're So Vain on AI, and here is another version she sang very recently.

I was also a fan of Jason Castro (maybe I was the only one?) and found this performance he did where he covered Crazy by Ray LaMontagne (the video is horrible, but the sound quality is pretty great, so just listen w/o watching). Apparently from info on his website and facebook page he is performing all over the country but hasn't released any album yet.

Last season was the first AI I had watched since Clay Aiken lost (well, okay, I watched the Fantasia season but wasn't ever that impressed) and what got me watching again was the variety of talent and the indy rock feel of many of the top 12, in addition to the musical instruments they played during the performances.

I just hope the show delivers with variety again this season and finds a few who can also play guitar or piano.

08 February 2009

Monday Fun Find #18

Scenic Four Seasons Quilted Oven Mitt

This Fun Find is what I would have given Alisa for her birthday if I had discovered it soon enough, and had she not had a special request for a birthday gift that is already in the mail.

What makes this oven mitt so awesome? Well, first of all that it is crafted by Bean of Coyote Craft. I discovered Bean's shop last year and bought this beautiful crochet/knitting needle holder for my mother-in-law for Christmas. She's a pretty awesome Bean, that Bean--and very talented, I might add. (for those who are not aware, Bean and I share that name--my siblings all call me Bean)

The other thing that makes this item so unique is that it is made of a thrifted vintage tea towel. Now that is my kind of crafting. This makes this particular oven mitt one-of-a-kind, but she has one other listed in her shop, also made of a gorgeous vintage tea towel.

Happy Monday, and Happy Birthday Lis! (on Tuesday)

06 February 2009


I debated discussing this here, but just can't resist sharing the success we've had with the mostly unknown red vines method for potty training. I cannot take the credit for this idea, which is another reason I'm writing this post. I think my friend, Jana, deserves so much praise for sharing this idea with me (I don't know if she thought of it or got it from someone else, but I'm giving her all the credit) and I think she deserves the praise in blogland.

Here's how it goes:
1) Buy a bucket of red vines
2) Put them on the back of your toilet (if that totally grosses you out, put them on the counter. Our counter is unfortunately too small to hold the bucket, so the toilet won out--disgusting or not)
3) Make a sign and tape it to the bucket that says
1. GO POTTY 2. WASH YOUR HANDS 3. TAKE A RED VINE. Hooray for you!

Now, here I revised the method a bit because I thought it would work better for Owen if he saw us all having red vines when we used the toilet (TooMuchInformation?). So that became the fun part. Anytime anyone in our house (visitors included) visited the loo they were rewarded with a red vine. As long as they washed their hands first, that is. We love red vines in our house, so this has been lots of fun. You can imagine how many times James would use the toilet all day long just for more red vines. But hey, I was willing to eat 5 red vines a day myself if it would potty train Owen. I know, it's quite a sacrifice.

And guess what? It worked. We are officially done with diapers until May when they will come back with a vengeance when the wee one arrives.

Jana, you're awesome.

Okay, seriously, no more potty talk on the blog. But if you visit our house soon, you might just win a red vine. Now you know how to get one.

03 February 2009


A few of my favorites from the past two weeks:

Things I do not want for Valentine's Day--alitris (this one needs no explanation
Amazing free patterns for paper toys--designmom, (great activity for these dreary, indoor months. we printed and cut out the bus and plan to do some others)
Video of a lambing--(The link for this was originally posted on a blog I read called my happy little life, and the boys and I enjoyed watching a bit of nature)
French Toast & Buttermilk Syrup--dinner's on me (she has a similar feeling about french toast that I do, which is why I am putting this on my menu to try)
SoulePapa blogs--soulemama, (they make a very talented couple, these two)
Make your own handwriting font--designmom (this one is for you, lis cause you're a little font obsessed. and it's FREE)


02 February 2009

Just for fun

James discovered this in his cereal bowl the other morning.
Can you find the smiley face?
You didn't know, but multi-grain cheerios really are magical.
How amazing that the eyes and mouth are yellow, the nose is brown and
the mouth is a half-cheerio?