Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An amazing weekend

It isn't too often that everything works out and we have a perfect weekend that replenishes us for the week ahead. It was equal parts relaxation and snuggling up by the fire and getting things accomplished.

Things that made me happy this weekend:

1. A real magazine with ink and pages - not an ipad version. I love getting a magazine knowing I have the entire weekend to devour every page.

2. Appreciating art (and an impromptu children's dance party) with friends.

3. Tea. It warms me up and the smells of cinnamon and cardamom make me think of the holidays.

4. Giving our dog a bath. We have a high maintenance dog who I swear is better behaved when he's freshly groomed. We usually drop him at the groomer for the day, but this weekend he was desperate for a bath so we bathed him ourselves. And it was fun. Really.

5. Beautiful fall mums on my door step.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Grandma Wood's cookies

I have fond memories of cooking with my grandma when I was young. She always baked the best bread, sweet rolls and desserts. She had an amazing peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie recipe and sadly, I don't know the origin, but I've seen similar recipes online. I made these for my wedding five years ago. These cookies have a special place in my heart, and my stomach!

Here is my grandma's version:

Ingredients (approximately 20 cookies)
1 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c (1 stick) room-temperature butter
1/2 c chunky peanut butter
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 room-temperature egg
1/2 rolled oats
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

Mix butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add egg and mix. Gradually add flour mixture. Once combined, stir in oats and chocolate chips.

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, scoop dough (approximately 2 T dough for each cookie or smaller  if you prefer). Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly brown.

Tuscan bread salad

We have a deli near our house that we used to frequently weekly and I almost always ordered the same thing: the Tuscan bread salad. It was delicious and I craved it often. And then something horrible happened - I was mid-way through my salad and there was a bug. I will spare you the details (it still makes me sick to think about it and the restaurant's explanation for the problem), but needless to say, we have not been back.

Recently, I started thinking about the salad again. Not that exact salad, of course, but a similar salad. Fresh tomatoes, bread soaked in sweet balsamic dressing, fresh mozzarella and salty cashews. I decided I could replicate this at home.

Dressing Ingredients
2 T honey
1 t dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
3/4 olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove

I followed the instructions in this recipe using slightly less mustard, so it would be more sweet.

Salad Ingredients (2-3 large servings)
3 c mixed baby greens
1/3 french baguette, cubed
2-3 Roma tomatoes (any tomato will work)
2 t finely chopped basil
1/4 c fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 T cashews, roughly chopped

Make the salad dressing and pour into a glass jar or bottle, leaving approximately 1/4 c in the bowl. Add bread, mozzarella and basil to the bowl and mix. Be sure the mixture is coated well with the dressing. If not, add more salad dressing. Cover and refrigerator bread mixture for at least one hour. Divide greens, tomato and cashews onto two or three plates. Top with bread mixture. Serve with additional salad dressing, salt and pepper.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Emmerson's new room

We transitioned Emmerson into a new room in the last two weeks. Big changes around here, I know! With the exception of the one night I found her taking the outlet covers out (why is it that only children can remove those?!), we haven't had any problems with the transition. She's on the same sleeping schedule and stays in her room until I get her in the morning.

Here are the before and after pictures of her room.

We reused most things from her nursery. In hindsight, I wish I had chosen a color scheme that would work when she's older (she probably won't want pastels when she's a teen), but it works for now. I am still on the hunt for a white iron bed and a mirror for above her dresser.

The best part of her new room is that when I wake her up in the morning or from her nap, I crawl into bed with her and cuddle her for a few minutes before she's up and running. I have to savor those moments.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mirror makeover

I think the first rule in resale shopping is keep your eyes and mind open. You rarely find exactly what you went to look for, but you might just find something else that's perfect in another room. That's exactly how I stumbled upon this mirror. I was leaving and saw it in the window and knew I had the perfect nook for it in our foyer. And for just $30, it was mine.

I sanded it lightly (only because it was painted with a textured paint) and spray painted it, first with a white primer to make sure none of the gold finish would show through. 

The key to spray painting is to never start or stop on the frame. Shake the can well and start spraying off the mirror frame (on the cardboard), spray continuously and then move the paint back on the cardboard to stop. This will prevent drips from too much paint.

This mirror worked out perfectly.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First day of school

We've been enjoying the last week of summer before this little girl started preschool today. We have been preparing for this day - reading books about what school is like, talking about school, learning her teachers' and friends' names.

She was ready. She went to class without a tear (maybe just a little hesitation).

Everyone who has kids will tell you, it goes by so quickly. And yet, when it's you, you can't help but hope those not-so-fun stages will pass. And then one day you realize you're looking at a child, not the baby you once knew.

I am so proud to be this little girl's mommy.

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