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Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Round Up

I am a fuddy duddy when it comes to Valentine's Day. There are plenty of holidays that I can get in to, but V-day is just not one of them!


Don't get me wrong, I totally love my husband whom I've been married to for 8 1/2 years, but I just don't need a day to tell me I love him. And don't get me started on the idea of commercializing love. 


Instead of going out to an overpriced prix-fixe dinner, our Valentine's Day tradition has been to stay at home and fondue with the kids!


But just because I am anti-V-day doesn't mean you have to be! Below is a Valentine's Day Round Up from bloggers with a bit more school spirit!!


               Felt Fortune Cookies















Just because I don't love Valentine's Day doesn't mean I don't love you!!!


Friday, January 27, 2012

fabric corner bookmark



Here's a tutorial for an easy fabric corner bookmark for all of you avid readers out there. (They'd also make a nice little present)


But first, thanks for the kind emails regarding my dog. She is back home with us now and recovering. The ultrasound showed no signs of pancreatitis (which is what they were worried about) so it could be just a little tummy infection or the beginning stages of pancreatitis (hopefully the former). In any case, she's on anti-nausea meds and some painkillers.



Sweet girl. 


FABRIC CORNER BOOKMARK


Cut out two triangles. I used a canvass fabric for extra thickness and durability. The two shorter ends of my triangle were about two inches long. Note this is not an equilateral triangle. 







With right side together, sew the two short sides.




Turn the whole thing right side out. 




Cut away any extra fabric. 


Hold your place by placing the bookmark around a chunk of pages. 






I realize this bookmark kind of resembles those pee-pee teepees someone bought for my boys when they were infants.....I suppose this could be a pee-pee teepee tutorial as well??





Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Farmer's Market Bliss (and a sick dog)

It was a bountiful trip to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market this morning!


purple artichokes, New Zealand spinach, strawberries, haricot verts, satsuma tangerines, sage, kale, cherry tomatoes and one sappote. Excited for this week's meals. 

In other news, our dog Reba is currently in the ER. When I came home this morning, she was crying and then ran over and rolled on her back at my feet. She was telling me she was sick. She has a habit of ingesting things she shouldn't (i.e. dirty diapers), but she usually leaves the evidence behind and I didn't see anything in my house. She is getting an ultrasound and I am anxiously waiting for the results. 

I did fall in love with these two brothers in the waiting room.....their owner only thought I was mildly weird for asking to take their photo. 


Hope you're having a good one. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

breast cancer support through art


I wanted to take a few moments to share with you the wonderful and important work artist Amy Black is doing for breast cancer survivors. I learned about Amy in a recent edition of Bust Magazine. 




As a talented tattoo artist, Amy Black has been transforming breasts that have undergone surgery or mastectomy by creating nipples using a shading technique that adds such incredible verisimilitude to survivors' bodies. 


I was worried that I would get red-flagged if I shared the photos of her work on my blog, but you can check them out here.


What a great way to put artistic talent to good use!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quinoa and Veggies: Breakfast of Champions

I am a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast choices. 


During the week, I alternate between Oatmeal with berries or bananas and walnuts or an egg white omelet with vegetables and a piece of whole wheat toast. 


In my imaginary world, I am feasting on waffles with syrup and croissants, but, in trying to stay fit, I save those options for vacation. 


On the weekends, I allow myself whole eggs (I have to watch my high cholesterol), usually in the form of a sliced hard boiled egg over whole wheat toast with tomatoes and basil drizzled in some olive oil:




But I recently stumbled upon this high protein, very filling breakfast: Quinoa and Vegetables:






For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, it's a high protein grain-like seed, sacred to the Incas. 


        


The above photos are quinoa as seeds on plant, quinoa once flowered and quinoa harvested. 


But back to my yummy recipe:


Ingredients:
quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
spinach
squash
shredded carrots
cilantro
egg
salt
pepper


Prepare quinoa per instruction on package. Prepare squash (I cubed, then roasted mine. I like to do this in bigger batches so I can use it throughout the week.) Place cooked quinoa in a bowl. Add spinach (or kale or chard would do nicely), carrot and cilantro.  Add your squash. And, if you'd like, a egg (I left mine a little soft in the middle so the yolk dripped all over the salad). Or keep it vegan and leave out the egg!



This breakfast is full of nutrients and protein! (and is far more visually appealing than oatmeal.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Juice Cleanse

Mr. P. spent the day in bed yesterday after coming down with a violent stomach flu. It was odd to see him sitting in one place for so long. But at one point he said to me, "Mom, I really like just relaxing in bed. I see why you want to do this." Ah, he's starting to appreciate the joys of relaxing!


Since I couldn't leave the house yesterday, I decided to do a one day juice cleanse. I could have made these concoctions in the juicer, but I didn't have any ingredients as I missed my weekly farmer's market trip yesterday, so after dropping Doodle off at school, I headed straight to the Pressed Juicery for a bundle of organic liquid goodness.


Normally I am way to hungry to survive on juice, but since the day consisted on watching Scooby Doo and reading Harry Potter, I figured I could handle it (i did sneak in a bagel chip or two towards the end of the day.)


Here's what I consumed yesterday...you can follow the ingredients to make your own versions at home:



Kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple and lemon


beet, apple, lemon and ginger (This one was my absolute favorite)


grapefruit and mint


coconut meat, coconut water, cacao and mint


chlorophyll water



Aloe Vera Water

In addition to lazing about with  my sick child...I spent a lot of time running to the potty...these juices move right through you!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pinterest

Come follow me on Pinterest!


(I realize this isn't a very meaty post, but Mr. P. was sent home from school with the stomach flu. Actually, said stomach flu didn't materialize until he had a seat in my car! Poor guy!! Poor car!!)


For those of you who haven't yet heard, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board - a place to store visual ideas and inspiration. I collect lots of sewing, cooking and kid projects as well as other little delicacies. 


It's a fun little time suck (just what you need, right?) 




Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What I'm Reading - December / January


I had a good amount of reading time over the holidays, which doesn’t really make sense, considering the fact that I had both kids at home. But there was a long car ride to Vegas (Luckily, I can read in the car without getting sick) and a general effort to be in bed early to save my energy for holiday madness made for some reading splurges.

In any case, if you’re looking for book recommendations, here’s what I read in December / January

Room by Emma Donoghue


I uploaded this on my ipad over a year ago. I knew it was a dark tale and I just wasn’t in the headspace to dive in quite yet, so I let it sit there on my virtual bookshelf until I found myself in Las Vegas in December with some down time. I finished the book in two nights. 

The story follows five-year-old Jack and his mom who have been held captive in a “room” one room his entire life. His mother has managed to create a stimulating, educational life for him. The story is told from Jack’s point of view and is an account of the re-birth of this child and his relationship with the world. This was a really powerful read highlighting not only the bond between mother and child but also the resilience and bravery of survivors.




Mr. P. is a passionate and insightful child. He is imaginative and kind, energetic and wise. He is also one of the most strong-willed beings I have ever met. Give him a minor discrepancy in your logic and he will plow through it like a bulldozer. He will get what he wants in this world, but in the meantime, I need a boost once in a while when it comes to parenting him. For me, this was a must-read and has given me the confidence I needed in dealing with his persistent character.


 The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides


This story follows Madeline trying to find her way post college. She becomes tangled in a bit of a love triangle.  Like Madeline, I am a fellow English major and I got a kick out of all of the discussion surrounding the  “importance” of understanding Derrida. Reading this in my thirties, it does seem as though she doesn’t have so much at stake, but then again, that’s kind of what the 20’s are all about…finding your way in the world and feeling as though everything is at stake.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

This book exploded on to the parenting scene in 2009. I missed the boat (what’s new), but finally got my hands on a copy a few months ago. It essentially breaks down multiple assumptions about children and parenting to reveal truth behind our often times counterintuitive ways of dealing with our kids. The authors argue that many of the ways modern society “nurtures” children are actually backfiring. I took issue with some of the assertions in this book, but nevertheless it was definitely a provocative read which made me think more deeply about my own parenting methods.

The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern



As a young adult author, it’s imperative that I keep up with what’s going on within the YA market (or at least that’s what I use as my excuse to read The Hunger Games trilogy, for example.) After reading a review of this book in the L.A. times, I ordered it from the library. It is a whimsical look at a competition of magic and illusion between two affiliates of the circus who are in a battle that puts their lives at risk. I was enchanted by the world created in this text, but found the prose to be a bit frilly. It was quite a rich visual experience reading this novel and I am sure that we will be seeing it on the big screen in a few years.

What have you read recently?? I’m always up for some recommendations.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

romanesco and cannellini bean salad



I bought these beautiful romanesco heads at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market this week and needed to use them! So I put together a warm romanesco and canellini bean salad. 




The romanesco looks weird and cool enough that the kids will try it. 


For those of you who have never seen this type of broccoli, it is so striking with spiral-shaped spears and a vibrant green color. The texture is quite soft and the flavor is nuttier than regular broccoli. 


Ingredients needed:
romanesco (two small heads)
cannelini beans (one can)
parsley
spinach
olive oil
garlic
pepper
salt (optional)
chili pepper


Start by cutting the romanesco into small pieces, drizzling in olive oil and pepper (add salt here if you like)  and roasting for about 10 minutes at 450 degrees. 




Meanwhile, in a skillet, add some olive oil and crushed garlic (I like this Trader Joe's crushed garlic because it saves me lots of time and mal odor.) 




Add a large handful of spinach leaves as well as your cannelini beans. 




Wait a minute! These beans above are NOT cannellini beans. I know! In my vision, they are cannellini beans, but in my cabinet, there were only garbanzo beans. So, let's be welcoming of whatever type of bean you have handy. 


Once the romanesco is roasted, place in a large bowl. After sauteing leaves and beans for about five minutes, add to romanesco bowl. 




Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, throw in chopped parsley (mine's from the garden!) as well as chili powder to taste. 





Delicious and hearty!


This serves me well as a main dish. My husband would call it a side dish to chicken breast or salmon. 


But the best part of this meal is that it has some real versatility to extend its shelf life. 
For example, for breakfast, I could add it to egg whites and some tomatoes. 
For lunch, I could throw it over mixed greens. 
For dinner, I could put on top of a whole wheat pizza and mozzarella with pesto. 



What else would you do with it?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Math Block Tutorial



Mr. P. has really gotten into math since starting kindergarten, so I decided to use this Velcro number math block to help him practice his addition and subtraction. As he progresses, I can amend it to reflect multiplication and division. 


Materials Needed: 
1 wooden block
adhesive Velcro
paper
lamination (optional)


To start: print out numbers. I did two sets of digits 1 - 9 and one set of 10 - 20. Don't forget to include an addition, subtraction and equal sign. 


Once your pieces are printed. Cut away! (If you have a fancy cutter or are fairly more anal retentive than I am, your squares will be equal on all sides.)


Laminating the squares is an option. It will allow for more wear and tear of the  numbers. I laminated these at home, but if you don't have a laminator, you can get them done at any print place like Kinko's. 




Next, take your wood block and sand it down if you need to. 




Take your adhesive Velcro and pick one side to stick in 5 places onto the wood. 



Cut and stick the other pieces of the Velcro on the backs of all of your numbers. 




Check and make sure your numbers and addition / subtraction / equal signs will all fit nicely. 


Now add and subtract to your heart's content! 




I need to come up with some sort of storage container for all the numbers. I'll try and do that some time this week and get back to you!

I hope this tutorial adds up to a nice project for you and your kids! (Insert ridiculous laugh at making a most terrible pun here.)