Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Blog: Etsy Under $20

I discovered this great blog called Etsy Under $20 this week when they featured belt buckles from my Etsy shop. It's such an awesome idea -- definitely take a look!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Buy Flowers and Be a Do-Gooder This Weekend!

This weekend you can buy your plants and Linders and support a local charity all at the same time. What's not to feel good about that!? Print out the coupon and take it to any Linder's greenhouse or garden center May 1 through May 4 and 15% of your pre-tax purchase will support Bundles of Love.

If you need something fun to do on Saturday, check out Craftstravaganza at the State Fairgrounds. Good fun!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's Fer Dinner?

Oh man, I hate to brag, but we ate the yummiest food all weekend. We tried three new recipes and every single one was a total winner. And they were all relatively easy, too.

Friday night I had a craving for Asian food of some sort, so we settled on the Pork, Mushroom and Snow-Pea Stir Fry. The pork was super tender and with brown rice, even the wee one ate it up.

Today we had to entertain ourselves indoors all day because it was 40 degrees and rainy all day (yay! not.). I decided we'd whip up the Dorie Greenspan Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. We carted wee one's little table into the middle of the kitchen, rolled up our sleeves, and let him go to town dumping all the dry ingredients in and helping to mix it up. When the dough was done, I thought the cookies would never turn out. The dough looked way too thin. But, even though we ran out of parchment paper for one of the cookie sheets, they all turned out and didn't spread out into a thin crisp cookie like I thought they would. They were VERY chocolatey, and brownie-like.

For dinner, Mr. Pumpkin (upon my request) made Spinach and Red-Pepper Calzones, which were absolutely heavenly, and vegetarian, too. Instead of store bought dough, he made regular pizza dough, but I don't think you'd need to. The roasted red peppers were awesome and the smokey mozzarella gave it great flavor.

Well, enough about that, I'm headed to the cookie jar...I'm hungry!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What to Our Wondering Eyes Should Appear...

...but a giant shiny digger pulled by a "dumpa" right out in front of our house!? The drivers of the vehicle were headed to the gas station on the corner for lunch, so we got to ogle the digger and dump truck at our leisure. Little Pumpkin wasn't quite sure what to think.

This whole digger and dumper obsession has gotten me thinking about nature vs. nurture. I swear that I haven't been pushing dumpers over dollies or anything, but this kid LOVES trucks and tractors and diggers just naturally. Especially if they are really loud. The two immobile ones outside our house may have even been too tame for him. Is it true, or am I subconsciously forcing my kid to be into "boy" things?

It was quite an exciting day. One of those days where you are lucky you are a diligent and watchful parent and that your child is still somewhat malleable to accidents which befall him. Enough said. We are all now safely tucked in at home, waiting for rainstorms and looking forward to the weekend! You?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Places, Wide Open Spaces

Bug Graveyard; Jack Purcell's

Ahhhhh, that's better. After a botched attempt to take an adult-acation in March we successfully got some fantastic family-seeing and babysitting time in this weekend. We all enjoyed the weather, spent a lot of time relaxing and eating good food, and none of us needed to visit a doctor. It's a good thing!

Singing Feet, Ella's Deli

Our first day included a trip to the zoo and a stop at Madison landmark, Ella's Deli. The weather was gorgeous, the zoo was free and the matzo ball noodle soup was hot. If you ever get to Madison, a trip to Ella's is not to be missed! Where else can you order a great kosher meal, ride on a carousel and see feet that sing? Nowhere!

Whilst in Madison we also hit Harvest and our new favorite coffee shop, Crema. Mmm, I love me some Alterra coffee. Oh, and we played outside, hit the only three garage sales in town, and scored a freebie kid's play kitchen off the curb. Yay!

The line at Hot Doug's

Awesome meal at El Tinajon

While in Chicago, we attempted to visit Hot Doug's after seeing the episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain pimps the encased meats emporium. However, Hot Doug's had other plans that included about 150 people waiting in line in front of us to get a gourmet dog. Undettered, we waited patiently for about 5 minutes and then blew that popsicle stand for one of our favorite joints called El Tinajon in Roscoe Village. Hot dogs, schmot dogs. I had some kick ass fried plantains and other fantastic Guatemalan treats.

Lest you think our vacation centered around eating, I'd like to assure you that we did a lot of other things. Sleeping in? Not so much! But we did have a ton of fun. Thank goodness for a do-over!!!

Did you have a splendid weekend, too? Did you get out to enjoy the weather?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Little House on the Prairie Bonnet

When I was a kid, I dreamed about getting an Easter bonnet from the Easter bunny year after year. It would be perfectly crisp and white - eyelet maybe - and I would prance around the house looking distinguished and adorable. However, the bonnet never came to pass, and over time I forgot about it (maybe when I hit my all-black stage at age 13).

Fast forward 20 years and I now have two nieces who like Little House on the Prairie and who yearly make the trek to Walnut Grove Minnesota to learn all about little Laura Ingalls Wilder's life. And, of course, wear a bonnet. I'm not jealous, but boy do I know a girl deserves a decent bonnet, especially if she has occasion to wear it!

The littlest niece is turning six in a few weeks, so I made her a special bonnet that's modern yet the style from the 1870s (okay, I'm totally imagining since I have no historical reference here, but I'm certain the bonnet appeared, at least in the TV show). I think it turned out pretty cute. It took me about 2 hours from cutting to completing, so I like to say it passed the "nap test" -- meaning I could make it in a single nap time (score!).

I may have to scale up my pattern a bit so I can make myself an adult-size version. Are you ever too old to wear a bonnet?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Goodby Grubby Hubby Tee; Hello Cute Kiddo Tee

My hubby thinks I have more clothes than him. Probably true if it weren't for all the 100s of tee shirts shoved in every crevice of his closet. Recently he parted with one (one!) and I decided last night to try to repurpose it into a small fry shirt for wee one. I realized my inadequate knowledge about sewing on stretch fabrics as soon as I started. The plain old straight stitch doesn't really work when you try to stretch out a neck to go over the head or things like that. Guess I'll have to call Granny Pumpkin and get a over-the-phone tutorial. But, for a first attempt it worked okay. And if I can perfect it into some pants and jumpers, then I'll have a potentially huge wardrobe for the little guy, made entirely out of punk shirts. Tres trendy, right?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Cupcakes, Lattes and Other Indulgences

Today was a good day. I wasn't so sure when I woke up and saw snow outside, covering everything in sight, but it turned out okay (and now the snow has already melted). First (after a fantastic Mr. Pumpkin quiche), we took a walk down to our local coffee joint Lily's for coffee and a treat. The wee one enjoyed it because he got to see some dogs and trucks and buses along the way, and I liked it because the top of my caramel latte tasted exactly like a perfectly toasted marshmallow (and looked like it, too).

We had guests coming for dinner (buy some art...DO IT) and it was a great excuse for me to get out some Pampered Chef tools I've never used. I made cupcakes with hidden vegetables (thanks Jessica Seinfeld) and topped them with pink and purple frosting. Yum. The homemade mac 'n' cheese wasn't bad, either. There was a lot of kid chaos and Wee Pumpkin loved every minute. As they walked to their car to go home, he looked at us and said with conviction: "More?" So, needless to say he likes playing with other kids. Especially adorable little girls.

Now, I'm in pajamas, enjoying listening to the song Notorious by Duran Duran. Does it get better?

Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Etsy Featured Seller Greenware Design

If anyone needs a gift idea for me, you know, Mother's Day is coming up, or Easter, or whatever, and I am drooling over this shop featured on Etsy called Greenware Designs. I "favorited" them a while back but haven't bit the bullet yet to buy one of their super awesome little succulents. I may just have to go for it...I could use a little spring pick-me-up!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Feather and Fan Progress

I have a notoriously short attention span when it comes to (well who am I kidding, everything) knitting projects. So why I decided it was a good idea to knit a blanket for charity, I'll never know. Maybe it was because that's what they said they needed most. Maybe I thought, hey, it's for a baby, and babies are small, right? They need small blankets, right? Wrong.

I already ran out of the yarn I planned to use so had to come up with a clever alternate color when I realized that buying more of the original teal would not pan out as it had been discontinued. In fact I got a computer virus trying to Google search to find more of it when I finally gave in and got the chocolate brown to finish the blanket. My thought is that it will be exactly half teal, half brown. Hey, it's gender-neutral! Bonus!

All frustration aside, I actually really love the pattern. I don't think it's turning out half bad. God bless Ravelry, right?? I can knit it in front of the TV, and I'm really looking forward to proudly handing it over to the ladies at Bundles of Love. I mean, last year I spent the whole year growing my hair out for a cause -- why not spend the whole year knitting for a cause? Lookout, next year it's going to be knitting a bus cozy for some sort of cause. That's at least a two-year project, right?

Anywho, next up in knitting I'm going to try to make the Purl Soho baby placket sweater for a certain wee one's cousin-to-be. I heard this pattern was a little wonky as first published; anyone know if this is the corrected one?