Monday, December 26, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup

We used to have this amazing restaurant in Oshkosh called the Water City Grill. The space was vintage, the decor was hip, and the food was incredible. It was one of our favorite date spots before it closed in 2009.

The food at this place was the stuff of legends, and the chef's famous tomato basil soup is no exception. The recipe has been included in community cookbooks over the years, but I got a variation from a friend of a friend of a friend who used to work there.

Ben and I made this with grilled cheese for Christmas Eve dinner. It should serve four people, but we're freaks for this soup, so we ate the whole pot ourselves. Enjoy!

(Sorry, no photo! We gobbled it up before I thought to grab the camera.)

Tomato Basil Soup
Adapted from Ryan Nolan and Water City Grill

4 cups diced or crushed tomatoes (we used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
2 cups cream
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 T. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine tomatoes and cream in a large pot. Bring to a boil.

Blend the mixture with an immersion blender (we don't have an immersion blender, so I just poured into my regular blender, pulsed, and returned to the pot).

Add basil and cheese. Season with sugar, salt and pepper.

Allow flavors to simmer for at least an hour. Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil sprinkled on top.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

This Christmas

Be merry and bright

Feeling extraordinarily blessed this year, celebrating Christmas in our new house, watching the holiday through the eyes of our toddler. He's wholly unaware of everything going on, but he loves the special decorations and food. Not to mention having Daddy home with us for 10 days straight!

We started celebrating last night, hosting Ben's parents, brother and sister-in-law for dinner. We ate together, exchanged gifts, laughed, talked and drank plenty of wine. It was the perfect start to our holiday.

Tonight, we go to church. I love church on Christmas Eve. The candlelight. The carols. Taking a moment to slow down amidst the hustle and bustle. Taking a moment to be thankful for all we have.

Later on, we will put Will to bed, pull the gifts out of the guest room, and enjoy a bottle of wine in front of the fire place. We will go to bed early, excited to celebrate with our child on Christmas morning.

He won't understand what is going on or why, but it doesn't matter. We do, and we will always remember this, the first Christmas in our new home.

We will make pancakes and hot chocolate for breakfast, pile into the car and head to Ben's parents for Christmas Day. I went overboard on the food (two desserts and two sides), but there will be almost 20 of us this year, so I'm sure it will all get gobbled up.

After a fun-filled day with family, we will head home, stuffed and exhausted. We will take a day to rest, only to head to Minnesota on Tuesday to do it all over again with my family.

As I said, we are so blessed. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, joyful holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Interim Break

Oh, how I love interim break. No classes. No homework. No group projects. I don't even know what to do with all my free time.

However, I could use some direction, so here's my goal list...

  1. Read three "fun" books (i.e. books that aren't assigned for grad school)
  2. Organize the hall closet, coat closet and laundry room closet
  3. Organize the basement and garage
  4. Paint Will's bed side table and book shelves
  5. Plan out Will's activity schedule for the winter/spring
  6. Finish Will's 7-12 month baby book
  7. Start Will's 12-18 month baby book
  8. Blog at least 3 times a week
  9. Start working out at least 3 times a week

Help me stay accountable, people! Interim break ends on January 30.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

15 and 16 Months

These days, we can only get photos in motion

Dear Will,

As you can see from the title, this is my first combo month. Not to shabby really. I'm impressed I didn't drop the ball before now.

Here's the thing though, actually playing with you is so much more fun than writing about playing with you. So the blog goes by the wayside a bit. But I want so desperately to remember every second of your precious little life. So here we are.

At 16 months, you have quite the vocabulary. You're picking up new words each and every day, and you like to try and imitate what Daddy and I say. The words you use on a regular basis include: up, milk, more, apple, oatmeal, bread, cheese, truck, duck, Mama, Dada, shoe, book, hi, bye-bye and help. You also know a lot of animal sounds, including: horse, sheep, cow, dog, cat, elephant, lion, monkey, fish and bird. Granted, Daddy and I are often the only one's who know what you're saying, but we think you are the smartest child ever.

You continue to love books, but we've entered the stage where you want to read the same book over and over and over again. Like 10 times in a row. Literally. And I think you would want to keep going if I didn't hide the book ask you to pick another one. It can be mind numbing, but it's hard to say no to books. I love that you love reading, so we read them over and over and over again to your heart's content. Your favorite book this month is probably Dear Zoo (you like to lift the flaps and say all the animal noises) or Ollie.

Moving vehicles continue to be an obsession of yours.  Buses, trucks, trains, cars, you name it. If it has an engine and wheels, you're all about it. Tuesday is garbage day in our neighborhood, and you love to peer out the front window and watch the garbage truck head down the street. Several weeks ago you started crying as it rounded the corner. "Ma," (more) you cried to me and pointed. "Ma!"

Considering your parents both adore food (and adventurous food at that), you are an exceptionally picky eater. Your favorite foods are cheese, yogurt, apples, peanut butter, bread, bananas, waffles, kiwi and cinnamon graham crackers. But you still won't touch meat, and you turn up your nose at most vegetables. We've gotten pretty creative at sneaking vegetables into your meals. We've found you'll eat them if we mix them in with your yogurt or hide them in a peanut butter sandwich. Whatever it takes.

We were so excited to put up the Christmas tree earlier this month, but you know what? You could have cared less. I thought for sure you'd freak out over the bright twinkling lights, but you gave it a resounding "meh". On the plus side, that means you pretty much leave the tree and ornaments alone.

One of my favorite things you do right now is help Mama with the laundry. You toddle in the laundry room after me and announce "helper", which means you want to help put the wet laundry into the dryer. So I put a few pieces on the dryer door for you to throw in yourself. You love it. So much so that sometimes you take the wet laundry back out of the dryer, only to throw it right back in.

Your favorite toys this month are your yellow dump truck, fire truck "book", Zany Zoo (wooden activity center) and popper. Grandma picked up the popper for you at a garage sale because it looked just like one Daddy had when he was a little boy. It's in great condition and you love it. Often you just run back and forth across the house, pop pop popping away.

I can't tell you how much I love this age. You are so fun and funny, sweet and silly, inquisitive and energetic. It's not easy parenting a toddler, but we're having a blast. You are our whole world. I love you so much, my sweet baby boy.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Spicy Kale Lasagna

It tastes as good as it looks!

We've been doing Meatless Mondays at our house for the last month. I don't think I could ever be a full-on vegetarian, but I certainly see the health benefits of limiting your meat intake. Plus, Will hates meat (seriously, the child eats NO MEAT). So I'm always looking for recipes that he'll enjoy as well.

However, we're not all veg-heads at our house. Ben is very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so while he goes along with Meatless Monday, he doesn't exactly look forward to it. I haven't been able to produce a meatless entree that he's actually enjoyed. Until tonight.

Allow me to introduce my first husband-approved Meatless Monday meal: Spicy Kale Lasagna.

I got the recipe from my friend Nicole over at Baby Food Scoops. And let me tell you, it's awesome. Really easy to make, and packed with green, leafy kale goodness.

I followed Nicole's recipe to the letter, except for one substitution. Instead of cottage cheese, I used 15 oz. of part-skim ricotta and one egg. But that's simply due to personal preference. I don't really care for cottage cheese.

There's some excess water in this lasagna due to the kale, so I would advocate for buying the no-boil noodles. Less water in your noodles = less water in your lasagna. And definitely take Nicole's advice to let the lasagna sit for a few minutes before eating. We let ours rest for 10 minutes after it came out of the oven, and it was perfect.

Husband-approved and all-around delicious. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Life's Tough, Get A Helmet

One of the most common searches that drives new traffic to my blog is "baby flat head". I've been really open about Will's brachycephaly, but I wanted to do a quick post for anyone looking for help and support.

First of all: stop the guilt. Right now. I know you feel awful, and you think this is all your fault. But you know what? It isn't. Some kids develop this condition. You did nothing better or worse than the parent of a kid who doesn't have to wear a helmet. What matters now is that you're doing something to help your child. And that's what counts.

When we first brought up Will's flat head to our pediatrician, he told us it would fix itself. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it was more serious than that. So I pushed for a referral to a specialist, and guess what? Will's case was severe. Helmet outcomes are better the younger your child is, so get that referral before 6 months if possible, even if your pediatrician says its fine. The specialist (in our case an orthotist) will tell you if treatment is warranted.

Making the decision to get the helmet is a very personal one. It's a big commitment on the part of the parent, and some insurance companies will not pay for treatment because it's deemed "cosmetic". If you're on the fence, allow me to share some advice that really helped me: I have never once heard of a parent who regretted getting the helmet, but there are plenty of stories out there of parents who didn't helmet and now wished they would have. The window of correction is so small. No one wants to look back and think "if only..."

Helmets come in all kinds of colors and patterns. If possible, get a solid color so you can mix it up with some fun vinyl stickers. This made the helmet process a lot more fun for us. My friend Lisa at Vinyl Wall Decor and More has some super cute designs available. Bling Your Band also does great work.

When your kid gets their helmet, you will probably waiver between thinking it's the worst thing in the world to thinking he/she looks super adorable in it. I would literally go from sobbing about how horrible it is, to taking a million pictures because Will looked so damn cute (see photos below).

Some people will be really rude. I had people tell me I was a bad/lazy/selfish mother. I had people tell me that this wouldn't have happened if I would have done baby wearing (which I did). I had people tell me that they never would have spent that kind of money ($2,800) on a "cosmetic" condition. Going out in public with your kid in a helmet makes you develop tough skin. But I took it as an opportunity to educate people about the condition and teach some empathy.

Despite the occasional rude comment, most people were really wonderful. They told me how adorable Will looked, or made a point to comment on his bright eyes or shy smile. What I really appreciated though, was when a parent would come up to me and tell me their kid wore a helmet too. It was so nice to talk (even briefly) with someone who made it out the other side. I make a point to do the same now.

Talking to other parents who know what you're going through is really helpful. I was fortunate to find a wonderful Facebook support group for parents of kids with plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. It's a closed group for privacy, but anyone is welcome to join. The community is wonderfully supportive. I largely credit this group of women for helping me get through Will's treatment.

Finally, I know it feels like they'll be wearing the helmet forever, but I promise it will go fast. Soon your kid's head will be much rounder, and this all will be a distant memory. I pulled Will's helmet out of the closet last night and smiled. As weird as it sounds, and as much as I hated it at the time, it's hard not to love something that was such a part of him for 5+ months.

Proof you can be adorable while wearing a helmet 
Isn't he darling?!?

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Vaccines

Not to engage in a pointed and highly political debate, but I had to share this post by one of my favorite bloggers. She sums up my stance on the vaccine debate perfectly.

We choose to vaccinate Will because we believe in herd immunity. We believe in the good that vaccines do, and we believe in our responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe from serious illnesses.

That being said, the amount of toxins and preservatives in vaccines troubles us, so we do a delayed vaccine schedule. We choose to space out shots so that Will doesn't receive more than three vaccines at any one appointment. I know three sounds like a lot, but when you consider how often kids receive combo vaccines (MMR, DTaP, etc), we typically reach that three vaccine threshold in just one shot. At our last appointment, if we would have followed the recommended schedule, Will would have received three shots for a total of eight vaccines. That just seems like a lot for his little body to handle.

For us, the delayed schedule is the best of both worlds. It allows us to control the toxins being put into Will's body, as well as monitor any reactions or side effects more closely. Yet he's still fully vaccinated.

I know several families that don't elect to vaccinate. They are wonderful, caring people, who also care deeply for Will. This was not a decision they made lightly, and I respect their individual choice. But for us, herd immunity is a powerful thing. We're a community and we need to think like a community.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Our Christmas cards hit the mail this week! Here's a peek...

We ordered them from Tiny Prints this year. Aren't the gorgeous? The quality is amazing, and the turn around time is fast. I splurged a little more than usual, but I needed a beautiful card to showcase a beautiful photo.

Anyway... Happy Holidays to you and yours!

P.S. This post was not sponsored or endorsed by Tiny Prints. I just love their products.

Friday, December 2, 2011

52 Reasons

Ben and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary today, but we exchanged gifts last night. I was so excited to give him my present...

It's a book of 52 reasons why I love him (made with a card deck). I got the inspiration from Pinterest, and had some custom playing cards made on Shutterfly. I know it's a little sappy (and will just gather dust on his bedside table), but I had a lot of fun making it and I think he really got a kick out of it.

Happy anniversary, dear! I love you, now and always.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Being A Mother

There are a lot of great motherhood quotes out there, but I recently (as in five seconds ago) came across this one from Kourtney Kardashian...

Being a mother is powerful, selfless and beautiful.

I know everyone isn't keen on the Kardashians, but I love Kourtney. She's bright, fashionable, and seems to be a really good mom. I see in Kourtney a lot of what I've experienced as a mother... more confidence, seemingly super-human drive, and a greater sense of self.

My friend Maggie recently gave thanks for all the changes motherhood has ushered into her life. Being a parent isn't always easy, but from what you give up, you gain so much more.

As a mother, I care significantly less about what other people think. I stand by my decisions. I'm unapologetic (unless an apology is warranted). I'm more respectful. I care more. I connect with loved ones in more meaningful ways. I take charge. I'm more accountable. I'm more flexible. I don't take things personally. I'm always putting someone else's needs first. I understand the importance of self care. I show more empathy to others. I set goals and stick to them. I'm more purposeful. I'm amazing.

In any given day, I sleep less and do more. I am powerful, selfless and beautiful. I am a mother.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Pumpkin pie with pumpkin mousse and candied pecans. Yum.

Food is an immensely powerful experience for me. I love what a shared meal represents: family, friends, fellowship, and a full stomach. While it's always a treat to have someone cook for you, I especially love cooking for other people. Or better yet, cooking together. Which is exactly how we do Thanksgiving at our house.

In the 18 hours since I have been home, my mom showed me how to make perfectly pinched pie crust, my sister helped me bake a beautiful pumpkin pie, we both helped my mom make her famous Thanksgiving stuffing, and now we're all sitting around as the turkey bakes away. It's heaven.

Wishing you an equally wonderful day with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Year of Thanks

I recently read 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. In this memoir, author John Kralik chronicles his efforts to write a thank you note every day for an entire year.

I was really struck by the concept, and I decided to do something similar (although modified) within my own life. A thank you note a day is a bit unrealistic for me, but a thank you note a week is certainly doable. So I'm launching my own thank you note project, which I'm calling a Year of Thanks.

Starting this week, I will begin writing one thank you note a week to someone (a friend, family member, coworker, professor, neighbor, store clerk, barista, librarian, anyone really) who has done something to make a positive impact in my life, no matter how big or small. I will be chronicling my progress here, writing a brief description of who I thanked week by week.

It is my hope that between this Thanksgiving and next, this project will help remind me of all I have to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Wisconsin!

Ben and I are proud University of Wisconsin alumni. I think we both secretly (or not so secretly) hope Will will attend our alma mater when he gets older. But we also know it's his life and his decision, so we'll support him regardless. As long as he doesn't go to Ohio State. Or Michigan. Barf.

Though Ben and I have season football tickets, we haven't been able to get to many games this year. After an awesome season start, the Wisconsin Badgers faltered a bit in the last month. Luckily they're back on track and on their way to earning a spot in the first-ever Big 10 Championship Game! Woot!

Here are a few shots of our Badger baby cheering on his favorite team...

Monday, November 14, 2011


Did I mention he likes to feed himself?
Yogurt is his favorite 
He gets so excited to eat
And he's so proud of himself 
Note the yogurt in his hair
And his short attention span

Saturday, November 12, 2011

14 Months Old

Copyright Lanari Photography (2011)
Dear Will,

Once again, this letter is so overdue. You turned 14 months back in October, so I am writing this over 35 days late. Luckily, I keep lots of little notes about your development, so I am actually able to remember what happened and when.

Despite our early worries about talking, at 14 months you said your first real words! You now say "Mama", "Dada", "Milk", "Up" and "Hush", and you're adding new words each and every day. You also know lots of animal sounds, including "moo", "baa" and "neigh".

The weather has been beautiful this fall, so we've been spending lots of time outside. You love to watch the sky for airplanes and birds, run through leaves on the trails by our house, and take "nature walks" with Grandpa Jeff. Another favorite outdoor game is to throw rocks from our landscaping into the downspout and watch them roll to the ground. You giggle and laugh, collecting them all from the pile at the bottom, putting them back in the landscaping, and doing it all over again.

Your favorite toys this month are your finger puppets, blocks, fire truck "book" (it's a book with wheels on it), and dump truck. You also love your tupperware drawer, filled with lots of plastic kitchen tools from Nana. You like to help Mama "cook", pulling out bowls and spatulas and pretending to stir.

You are turning into quite a confident walker. Daddy and I joke that you have one speed: fast. You run everywhere, and love being chased.

Daddy taught you how to be a "muscle man", so you now flex your arms when prompted. You get this goofy little grin on your face when you do it, and your little fists shake from flexing so hard. You're so cute!

You love snuggling on Mama and Daddy's bed. You like to bury your face in the covers and pillows, and wait for us to tickle you. Somehow you and Daddy started playing this game where you'll crawl to the edge of the bed and fall off into his arms. He'll scoop you up and playfully toss you back into the covers. You giggle and laugh, sitting up and crawling to the edge to do it all over again.

You got your first molars this month, which made for lots of drool and few really long nights. Despite your teething pain, you were generally a good sleeper, taking monster morning naps (up to 3 hours!) and typically sleeping for 11 or 12 hours overnight.

You've started a bit of an independent streak, insisting on doing many daily tasks yourself. You want to put your pacifier away (it always stays in your crib), hold your own spoon, buckle your own shoes, etc. There's also no getting you to do anything you don't want to do, which means that you throw quite a tantrum when you don't get your way. Right now, your tantrums are generally short-lived and adorable. They typically involve you throwing yourself on the floor and crying, but after a minute or so you pick yourself up and toddle over to me for a hug. As I often say to you, "it's so hard to be the baby."

Perhaps the biggest change in your life this month was that Mama went back to work part-time. You now spend three days a week with Grandma Julie, which you both love. I miss you terribly when I'm gone, but I know you're happy and well cared for. If I can't be with you, I'm so thankful that Grandma can.

Sweet boy, you are my everything. My whole world, and the light of my life. Raising you is my greatest joy and accomplishment. I love you, now and always.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let It Snow...

Look who was super excited to see the snow yesterday! It wasn't Will's first-ever snow fall, but it's certainly the first one he's really noticed. He spent the entire day at the window and the patio door saying "no" (snow). He loved it!

The weather outside is frightful, but his smile is so delightful...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Halloween Fun

Just wanted to share a few shots from Will's first time carving pumpkins! I don't really enjoy carving (it's too messy and my designs never turn out), but it was fun to sit back, take pictures, and watch Will and Ben have fun.

Scooping pumpkin guts
I got this, Dad!
Is this edible?
Getting messy
Messier still 
Inspecting his handiwork

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Music Flash Backs

I listen to Pandora at work most days, and today I had a series of crazy music flash backs. You know, those moments where a song transports you back to a specific place and time. Where the memory feel so real that you swear you are living it all over again.

I just kept getting these songs over and over today. Among them...

1) "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman. My roommate Emily and I practically had this song on repeat our entire freshman year. It always makes me think of Sunday study sessions on our gnarly black futon.

2) "Breathe" by Faith Hill. This is the song that was playing when I kissed my high school boyfriend for the first time. It was after junior prom, before he was my boyfriend. When I hear it, I swear I can still feel the scratchy toile of my prom dress.

3) "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Vegas. Spring Break. 2005. My girlfriends and I were obsessed with a cover band that played in our hotel, and they sang this song every night. I can't help but smile when I think about that trip.

4) "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones. This was our wedding song, but it's had special meaning to Ben and I for a long time. When I hear it, it's like a continuum of memories... from flirting (ahem, studying) at my apartment in college, to his arms wrapped around me in my wedding dress.

Do you have any songs that provoke an intense emotional connection? It's such a powerful experience for me. Crazy to hear so many in one day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I know, I know. I sucked at blogging this month. Quite a let down after the September of blogging awesomeness. I'm going to try and do better in November.

We had an awesome Halloween party at our place on Friday, complete with 13 babies in costume. Now that's scary! Here's a couple of shots from the party...

Kiddos and mamas
Good grief
What fun! The party was an absolute blast. Here's a quick run-down on what we did...

Theme: Halloween (duh).

Decor: I didn't want to do anything too scary, so we did lots of pumpkin decor with black and orange accents. I got some awesome 10-foot paper buntings on clearance at Michaels for $2.99 each, which we strung up all over the house. I love the whimsical look of buntings. They are festive, without being cheesy. They are my go-to decor item for almost any party.

Halloween buntings
I splurged on a black and orange pumpkin table cloth at Target for $14.99. I'm sure you could go today and get the exact same table cloth for pennies, but I just had to buy it for the party. It looked so cute on the table, and really helped set the mood.

Crafty and spooky
My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I also made these really cool mason jar lanterns for the table center piece. They were really easy to do. We just covered mason jars with tissue paper and Mod Podge, then glued on paper faces and ribbon trim. They looked adorable on the table all lit up.

I also had my regular fall decor out and about, which was really fun to do this year. I have not one, but two mantles to play with at our new house! So I did maple leaf garland, pumpkins and candles on one mantel, and tall fall florals in hurricane vases on the other mantel. I think they turned out really darling.

Fall florals
Pumpkins and garland
The candles pictured above are flameless candles from Target. They look really real when they're lit up! They flicker and everything. I love that I don't have to worry about the hot wax or flame with Will.

Food: The food for this party was so much fun. For the kids, I did "frightening" fruit salad (mango, kiwi and grapes) and "jack-o-lantern" pitas (pitas topped with hummus and fresh veggies).

For the adults, I made lemon-rosemary chicken wings (my mom's recipe), mini pumpkin pies, caramel apple bites (bite-size apple pieces topped with caramel drizzle and toffee pieces), and of course the standard cheese and antipasto platters. A friend also brought a dairy and nut-free spiced apple cake that was an absolute hit. We served sparkling apple cider, beer, soda and water to drink.

Devilishly delicious
Favors: My mother-in-law had these little two piece pumpkins that snap together, so we stuffed each pumpkin cup with two animal finger puppets. Since the cups were free (thank you, Julie!), I only had to buy the finger puppets (20 for $9.99 on Amazon). Not to shabby!

Halloween surprise inside!
I actually forgot to pass out the favors at the party (of course), but I'll be getting them to the kids in the coming days/weeks. Will's really into finger puppets lately, so I hope they like them too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Remember Me?

Oh, hi there!

Allow me to sheepishly re-enter the blogging world after a two week hiatus. Things have been a tad... hectic. I'm up to my ears in work and grad school and child care, oh my! Unfortunately, the blog is the first thing to go when life gets busy.

We've had a great start to our October. We were in Minnesota last weekend to celebrate Grandpa Jeff's 60th birthday, and we were in Door County this past weekend to celebrate my in-laws 30th wedding anniversary. So many fun milestones, so many reasons to celebrate!

Of course, I have photos of none of these events. Chasing after a 14 month old doesn't allow much time for capturing memories.

Fortunately, we took some time last weekend to take some family photos with my friend Kristin and her husband Tom at Lanari Photography. Here are a few of my favorites...

Lanari Photography - Copyright 2011
Lanari Photography - Copyright 2011
Lanari Photography - Copyright 2011
Lanari Photography - Copyright 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Daybook

Borrowing this from my friend Meghan over at Fumbling Grace... happy October!

Image courtesy of 123RF, via Google Images

Outside my window... It's chilly! Only in the 40s this morning. Sunny and brisk. Great fall day in the works.

I am thinking... I need to start getting my fall decorations up. I want to make these mason jar lanterns and get some pumpkins and mums in front of the house.

I am thankful for... A lazy weekend at home with my family. It always seems like we're going, going, going. I love being at home and doing whatever strikes us in the moment.

From the kitchen... Ben is making these yummy crock pot ribs for tonight. The recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking shows/cookbook series.

I am wearing... My favorite Gap jeans and JCrew cardigan.

I am going... To the farmer's market and the tree nursery today! We already stopped by the market for apples, pumpkins and lamb shanks. We're heading to the tree nursery after Will wakes up to buy three trees for our new house. I'm thinking two maples and a linden, but we'll see.

I am reading... "Leonardo and the Internet" by Thomas Misa for my graduate class in Technology, Culture and Learning.

I am hoping... That my contract proposal gets accepted by the dean (more on this later).

I am hearing... The clink-clank of Stella's collar as she snuffles around the kitchen for dropped goodies.

Around the house... Will is napping, Ben is cooking, I am blogging.

One of my favorite things... I'm going to have echo Meghan on this one and say my Google Reader. I just embraced RSS instead of visiting each of my fav blogs individually. It's such a timesaver! And I don't miss any posts from any of my favorite bloggers.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Will and I are going to a local farm/orchard on Friday with our stay-at-home mom and baby friends! I'm really looking forward to that. Otherwise, lots of school work, work work, and house work for this mama.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 30: That's All Folks

What a fun month with Katie and the gang for the September blog challenge! I had a blast with all the prompts, and I blogged almost every day this month. Go me!

For our final post today, we are sharing a photo that we love. This has to be one of my favorite photos, taken by my friend Kristin at Lanari Photography. It just captures so much of Will at that point in time (6 months old). Sweet, tentative, curious, adorable... need I say more?

My love
Kristin and her husband are taking more family photos for us next week. I can't wait to see how they turn out!

Anyway, that's it for the September blog challenge! Thanks again to Katie for hosting. And thank you for reading! My apologies if you've gotten accustom to me writing every day. October is going to be a whole different story!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 29: Three Things

Today on the blog challenge we're sharing three things we can't live without. Aside from my loving husband and beautiful son, here are my top three:
  1. Coffee: Black only please! There's nothing better than a hot cup of coffee in the morning (or afternoon, or evening).
  2. MacBook Pro: My mom and step-dad gave me a beautiful MacBook Pro for Christmas last year. I love it. It's perfect for grad school, and I love how intuitive the operating system is. Team Mac all the way!
  3. Note Cards: I have a slight obsession with note cards. I probably have over a hundred blank note cards in my kitchen side board. I love handwriting notes to people, and insist on having cards on hand at all times. I just wrote a note to my cousin Jenny this morning!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blog Challenge Day 28: Favorite Books

Today on the blog challenge we're sharing our favorite books. I posted about my favorite fiction books and authors a few days ago, but I have a few other favorites I would like to share...

Nonfiction Book: Infidel (Aayan Hirsi Ali)

This book is incredibly compelling. It chronicles the author's youth growing up in the Middle East and Africa, her escape to the Netherlands to apply for political asylum, and her work in Dutch government. It reads like a novel, but it's based entirely on the author's life experience. It concludes with a really powerful dialogue about family, religion and citizenship.

Children's Book: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (Du Bose Heyward)

This was my favorite book as a child. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story is really powerful. In the book, the mother bunny works toward becoming the Easter Bunny while taking care of 21 children at home. The message is that young women can follow their dreams and have a family. Surprisingly, this modern feminist tale was written in 1939.

Classic Novel: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Fitzgerald is such an incredible writer. I love the way he sets a scene; I can always visualize his characters in specific detail. I was immediately hooked on Daisy Buchanan the first time I read the book, and I have a continuing love affair with the 1920s. A classic that will always be in our collection.

Gifted Book: Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach)

My dad got me this book when I was in high school. It's a fable about self-discovery and the pursuit of knowledge. The depths of this book are staggering. I continue to pick up on new themes and nuances each time I read it.