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Crunchy Meat



family ~ food ~ life



Updated: 2014-10-02T00:29:24.505-04:00

 



going places

2009-03-27T08:46:19.542-04:00

i've decided to move. i'm not really going anywhere far, but i have decided that my blog needs a little refreshing. a makeover, shall we say? I am staying with blogger, but from now on you can find me here, by the lakeside. i hope you'll come visit and join in the housewarming party.(image)



salted caramel love

2008-07-09T08:47:50.736-04:00

(image)
Some people adore chocolate, but I prefer caramel. Throw a little saltiness in there, and I am completely smitten. I found Tartelette's recipe for salted caramel sauce ages ago, and every so often keep a jar of it in the fridge for summer sundaes.
(image)
While the kids weren't looking, we ate one of these for lunch, figuring the peanuts were protein, and the bananas a source of fresh fruit. Let me warn you in advance though, that making this caramel sauce should be limited as you will find yourself eating spoonfuls of it with or without ice cream.



snacktime

2008-07-05T11:24:23.208-04:00

(image)
The Barenaked Ladies have a new cd out. I spotted it on another blog awhile back, and pretty much ran to the store to find it. It is one of the best cd's. Ever! And not just because they grew up in my hood. Take a peak here.
I think they were meant to make children's songs. Although we've been listening to it in the car even when the kids are not there.



sunday night cake, on a saturday

2008-06-15T23:02:59.723-04:00

Oh, what a week. I keep meaning to capture more moments with my camera, and finish a million fun projects, but life is just not letting me at the moment. Some changes are ahead for me at work, and although they are good for me, they were a surprise. And anything unexpected throws me into a loop these days. Especially because my sweet little guy started his first 'real' daycare last week.

Amidst all of the changes, I found myself day dreaming about this alternative life, where we pick up the kids and move to the country. Where I spend my mornings baking bread and hanging clean laundry on a clothes line. The kids are perfectly well behaved (yes, this is a dream) and we find adventures in the country every day...fishing in ponds, climbing trees, exploring the woods. All the while, my small, yet charming country home is ultra chic, and I look fresh and stylish while sipping lemonade on the wrap around porch. Sounds nice, no?

Instead of putting a for sale sign on our front lawn, I decided to tackle some things at home that could not wait any longer. Laundry. Ironing. Bathroom scrubbing. Dusting, vacuuming. Pretty much everything I've been avoiding for weeks. And with all of this domestic success behind me, I felt some cake baking was required too. I turned to my absolute favorite book on baking: Richard Sax's Classic Home Desserts. I made my second attempt at Edna Lewis' Sunday Night Cake, but this time with a candy thermometer. It was a complete success! It's a plain white cake, with a burnt sugar topping that reminds me of fudge, or tablet. Exactly the type of old fashioned cake one would eat in my dreamland.(image) Glen and I literally licked the bowl clean of that icing. We didn't even let the kids see it. I'd strongly recommend using a candy thermometer if you try it. Otherwise you may have a hard, brick like layer of burnt sugar that I had on my first attempt.

(image) So with some successful baking behind me, and a somewhat tidy house, I think I can tackle this week with confidence. If not, at least I have the rest of that pan of cake.



june

2008-06-11T00:43:00.383-04:00

Things I am loving this June......

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hanging baskets of flowers are everywhere, I just can't decide which ones should make it home with me.

(image)

finally, a completed knitting project. Or half of one? Does one slipper sock count as 50% complete?

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this favorite cookbook making it's way back in rotation.

(image) and the sheer excitement brought on by slides and outdoor fun.




making my house a home

2008-05-24T23:41:15.860-04:00

We moved into our new home over 3 years ago, and although it is nice, it hasn't felt quite right to me. I felt like we had pulled it all together at a time where I wasn't too focused on my home. I was a first time mom starting a brand new job, and had a big move to plan. So, instead of selling everything we own and starting fresh, as I had enthusiastically suggested, we spent the last week sprucing things up at home.

It started with my dream of a french country kitchen. I said good-bye to the pinkish kitchen cabinets and builder fixtures. The cabinets are being painted white (Benjamin Moore's Cloud White, to be exact). We had a white subway tile backsplash put in, schoolhouse lighting hung up, and a new faucet installed. It feels fresher and happier already.

(image) We recently purchased a new kitchen table, but the chairs we had were not feeling quite right either. Glen's addiction to Craigslist has been around for months and has produced quite a few cool and cheap finds. But this time, I really give him points for finding us the perfect reclaimed antique pine chairs with rush seats for about $8 a piece. Not only do they match my table, but there are 3 pairs of slightly different designed chairs which is exactly what I wanted. All co-ordinating, but not all matching.

(image) This one is my favorite one.(image) A few things are left to finish it up completely. We are waiting for the cabinet doors to come back and be returned to their rightful home. And I'm trying to find the perfect fabric for a relaxed roman blind in my kitchen window (one with little ties at the bottom). Of course, when I have a specific project like this, I can't seem to find any fabric I like at all.

And I am knitting some dishcloths after seeing this. Because my kitchen really needs them, don't you think?
Next up, the garden!



being a mom

2008-05-09T15:55:30.342-04:00

(image) I've often wondered how life has become so complicated. Of course, there are the obvious reasons that separate the innocence and ease of childhood from the world of responsibility as a parent. But I frequently wonder why my life as a mother is so very different than my own mother's life seemed to be. Or my friend's mothers, as I remember them. It's not that I wasn't a keen observer of the adult's around me. I was always the last kid awake and sitting quietly amongst the adults, listening, watching, taking it all in. I remember hoping no one would notice me and send me to bed.
I wonder what has changed so much then. No one ever seemed as stressed with the day to day as I often do, or actually spoke about it (unless there was a recession or job loss). But there seems to be a constant state of rushing and stressing now, that I don't remember. Our houses seem bigger (more to clean), wants seem more extravagant (more to buy), and careers so competitive (more stress). I don't think I like it much. The rushing around, that is.
In the last few months, I've been very drawn to simplifying my life. Remembering the things that I loved as a little girl, and making them a part of my life again. With children, I am able to relive some of that childhood innocence. And I don't see why we, the adults, can't have more of that too. The foods I am making, the way I am decorating the house, what I am planting in the garden this year. All of it circles back to what I loved as a child.
I read the most amazing words about mothering here. And I keep rereading the last paragraph because it makes it so clear that being a mother is such an important role. It reminds me that nurturing my family, loving my husband, and creating a sanctuary for us all that is both peaceful and pretty is an important role. And that, to me, is simple.
Happy Mother's Day!







my favorite pasta

2008-04-29T08:59:14.009-04:00

This may look like nothing special, but it is one of those dishes that I love so much, I just have to share the recipe. It is so easy to make, with very few ingredients, and I could shovel bowlful after bowlful down my throat (Nigella style) without feeling any guilt.

(image) The inspiration came from a little lunchspot in downtown Toronto which I used to frequent when I was working in the garment district. It was a pasta and salad bar that gave great portions for a very decent price. A girlfriend and I used to go for lunch there at least once a week and would nearly swoon if this fusilli with veal was on that day.

Here's my rendition of it:

Gemelli with Veal

500g of fusilli or gemelli shaped pasta
1/2 to 3/4 pound ground veal
2-3 cloves of crushed garlic
olive oil
crushed red pepper
salt, pepper, parsley
generous amounts of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese for serving

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. In the meantime, heat a skillet and brown the veal. Drain any fat (mine is usually quite lean and doesn't usually require this).
When the meat is almost cooked through, add the crushed garlic, crushed red pepper, spices and a small glug of olive oil.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the skillet. If it's a little bit dry, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water, or another drizzle of oil.
Generously grate cheese on top and try to stop yourself from eating that second bowl.
(image) Jamie had 3 bowls himself. (image) I think every family has their share of stand by dishes, especially pasta ones. This one has become mine. It takes zero brainpower to pull together and I love its simplicity. It has taken it's place at the top of my list of favorite pasta dishes.



olive

2008-04-23T09:28:07.581-04:00

I'd like to introduce you to someone. This here, is Olive.
(image) The second I spotted her over at Wee Wonderful's, I knew I had to make her (and Archie too). If you haven't seen Hilary's Make Along Story, you really have to. It's brilliant. Oh, what I would have done for this doll when I was a little girl! I would have traded my bike, my entire sticker collection, and my snacks at school for a year!

I ordered the pattern months ago and decided to make this adorable duo for my niece's birthday. Olive was pretty easy to put together, but she remained faceless on a shelf for quite some time. I have never embroidered anything before, never mind the everlasting facial characteristics of a doll that may end up a member of a loved one's family. You know how that can happen, right?

So, I procrastinated with that little face for ages. Camden would grab her faceless body off of the shelf and ask me to finish her about every other day. But with Jenny Hart's Stitch it Kit handbook, and a little urging from an impending birthday party date, I did it.

I think she ended up pretty cute. Interesting eyebrows, yes, but cute just the same.

I decided to throw in a little doll quilt as well. When else could I make use of some of this pretty pink fabric? My boys are not too interested in pink, it's about the only colour thread I didn't have in my collection. (I feel a purchase coming up for this spaceboy ).

(image) I didn't end up completing Archie though. I started and wasn't happy with the fabric I chose for him. They unravelled and kept causing me a lot of grief. I'll have to find some more masculin prints and now make 3 Archie's. One to be reunited with my niece's Olive, and one each for my boys.
Funny how with the completion of one project, I just gave myself 3 more.



self evaluation

2008-04-21T13:07:49.885-04:00

Why do I find it so difficult to say positive things about myself? If it was about someone else, my compliments would be easily forthcoming. But when the subject is me, it becomes really difficult to list positive traits. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I wish some of my European blood would show itself and I could be a little more self loving.
I was tagged by Lisa to describe myself in 6 words. So, with blushing cheeks I proceed......

1. Optimistic
2. Loving
3. Day Dreamer
4. Creative
5. Shy
6. Indecisive (which is why it took me so long to come up with this list)
(image) I tag Kate, Eva, Paola, Kelly-Jane, Claudia and Leslie.



faster than fast, quicker than quick

2008-04-11T16:19:41.065-04:00

(image) Oh my gosh, is it really almost the middle of April already? I am not sure where March went, but I am quite happy it's over and we finally have signs of Spring here.

March was full of craziness. I barely made a thing, and I've only just got my cooking groove back. We had a little mishap where we bought a fabulous new kitchen table and chairs from Craigs list, sold our existing set, only for the fabulous one to fall through. Ya, I wasn't happy. But after a weekend of frantic furniture shopping, and more searching on Craigs list, we came out good. Excellent, in fact. My new table is even better than the original fabulous find, and we scored some cool chairs for next to nothing too. Of course, this has sent me on a new decorating frenzy where I absolutely need new fabrics to decorate my table. Placemats, tablecloths, a new runner, maybe even napkins? And since my kitchen is open to the family room, my couch is just begging for new pillows too.
So hopefully my winter hibernation (and fatigue) is over. The new ideas will come into fruition. And I should be back to blogging more regularly.

Happy Spring!



James is 2

2008-03-18T08:57:53.091-04:00

When my little James turned 2 last month, we had many celebrations. Family & friends gathered, lots of food was enjoyed, and we happily watched him in the centre of it all. I didn't get a chance to post anything about it until now (our house has had a revolving door containing the flu, bronchitus, teething, etc.) But through it all, James' robust and happy self has kept us laughing. He is truly the sweetest little guy with a mischievous spark behind those eyes. (image) He is his big brother's shadow, but he is still so individual. He smiles the second he wakes up and barely stops all day long. He has such a happy soul.

Glen & I sit up at night and picture our boys as teenagers. We can already see the broken curfews and adventures he will pursue, probably with Camden by his side to lecture him and bail him out of trouble. But time is already passing so quickly, I need to slow things down and savour every moment while he is still this small. It won't last long enough.
(image)

Happy Birthday Jamie!!!



Lemony Sunshine

2008-03-09T10:49:57.380-04:00

We've been hit with more snow. A lot more snow. And as pretty as it is, I am sort of over it. It is March Break afterall. And instead of being able to set out on some of our planned adventures, we are homebound making forts out of the sofa pillows and baking.

I did make one of my favorite desserts. I feel like I say that a lot though, so I came up with my Top 5 Favorite Desserts List this weekend. (Yes, this is what occupies my mind on a Saturday night!). Here they are, in no particular order, because that would be impossible to do!

1. Outrageous Brownies Barefoot Contessa
2. Shortbread Meltaways (with Toffee Bits) -possible the best cookie ever!
3. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Tessa Kiros - Falling Cloudberries
4. Salted caramel Sauce to be poured on anything....ice cream, cheesecake, etc.
5. Sticky Lemon Pudding Jill Dupleix (from Delicious magazine)

Of course, there are many runners up and honourable mentions. World's Best Lemon Tart (Richard Sax), any kind of Pavlova, Salted Caramel & Milk Chocolate Mousse (from Lisa), Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars (Barefoot Contessa), Laurie Colwin's gingerbread, and so on, and so on. With choices like these, it's hard to make a decision of what to make! But I did, and in the midst of this winter wonderland, I needed a little sunshine so we had the Sticky Lemon Pudding.
(image) It is heavenly, really. And I am always amazed at those recipes that provide a silky, creamy pudding type curd beneath a fluffy bit of sponge cake. This one is SO lemony good and dusted with icing sugar at the end.

I found the recipe in an older issue of Delicious magazine (the Australian one). It's from Jill Dupleix. Here it is:

Sticky Lemon Pudding
serves 4

70g unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
180g sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
3 eggs, seperated
60g plain flour, sifted
1 cup of milk
100ml lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale.
Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
Add the flour and milk, alternatively until you have a smooth batter, beating well. Lastly, beat in the lemon juice.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm but not stiff, then fold into the batter. Pour into a buttered, 1-litre ovenproof dish and place in a large baking pan. Half-fill the pan with hot water, and bake for 50 minutes or until it is lightly browned and set on top, with a soft base of gooey lemon curd. Remove the dish from the water carefully, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

(image) I hope it becomes a favorite of yours too!



carrying on

2008-03-05T21:06:14.278-05:00

It's been a slow process, and it's not completely finished just yet. But I don't feel that any room in our entire house is ever completely finished. There is always room for some small item on a shelf or a unique piece to hang up on the wall. But my sewing room is making progress. Little by little.(image)
I ordered this poster and hung it up over the weekend. I first spotted it here and knew instantly I had to have it. I ordered it from here and framed it with a Ribba frame from Ikea. Aaaaahhhh, I feel calmer already.

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Glen found me this great blue table second hand too. I can't believe it was only $20. It's in my favorite corner of the room with shelves that my Dad handmade when I was a kid. I repainted them a few years ago, and now they are home to some of my favorite things.

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At the end of a long day, I sit in this corner and try to sew or plan new projects. Some nights, when I am too tired to accomplish anything, I just sit there and enjoy my little corner. It's my very own little nook, full of my favorite things.



a martha moment- with chocolate babkas

2008-02-24T23:02:27.082-05:00

I really wanted to bake bread this weekend. The only bread I've ever made is the no knead recipe (NY Times) and my timing for that just didn't work out. But I couldn't find anything else that I really wanted to try. Until I opened my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, that is. It was the one and only page I had tagged from years ago- Chocolate Babkas. It was a little ambitious for a mama with time constraints. But I persisted with afternoon coffee & babka break visions in my head.

(image) I started prepping and gathering more chocolate and butter than I thought possible. And it took hours between the dough rising, the chopping of chocolate, making a streusel topping, baking for 1 and a half hours, and so on.

(image) The smell from the oven was incredible. The loaves looked perfect (although they didn't rise quite as much as I would have liked). And late on Sunday evening, after the boys were sound asleep, we sat at the table with a slice that called for milk by it's side.

(image) I pulled out my handy menu planning notepad from the very sweet Norm, and thought about the week of food ahead in our house. There wasn't space on the notepad, but it's a given that the babka will be around each and every afternoon this week.





spring has landed on my couch...

2008-02-21T11:33:57.708-05:00

By way of this pillow:
(image) I finally made a pillow to liven up our dark leather couch in the family room. I'll finish the second one tomorrow night. I used some of the gorgeous fabric I recently bought from Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut line. And I used an excellent tutorial from house on hill road's blog to guide me through the lapped zipper. It's been awhile and this was a new technique for me.
I think I am really on a green kick lately.

Oh, I also got another package in the mail today. This time with some fat quarters of Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market fancy fabrics.

(image) I really want to make a picnic blanket for the summer with these ones. I have so many ideas. So much inspiration. I just need more time!!!



so long, february blahs

2008-02-18T21:00:01.095-05:00

After a horrid few days of feeling sick, and then passing it on to little James, I finally felt better and had a date! Yes, a long overdue date. We went for a long, delicious brunch and feasted on a californian omelette (me) and prime rib hash with poached eggs (Glen's). (image)
We wandered around a few of our favorite stores, grabbed coffees (the latest copy of InStyle) and then headed home to tackle a few small tasks without the little ones hanging onto our legs. Before picking up the boys, we set out to Ikea and got a few small things to add to my studio/sewing room. It's coming along so nicely and I will share pics of that soon.

It's been a particularly dark February, and my sister Julie has been taking such good care of our little James that I wanted to give her a special thank you. I felt so good about my green neckwarmer, I thought she would like one too. I made her a blue one and sent it over to her today.(image) After that project, I made my second attempt at sewing James a little toy for his 2nd birthday. It's an adorable pattern by Hillary Lang from the Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts book called peanut, the wee elephant. I tried completing one about a week or so ago, but the fabric I chose kept splitting at the seams and needed some adjusting. In the end, I wasn't able to stuff him quite as much as I wanted to (hence, the floppy little legs), but overall he's pretty cute. I have a lot of practicing to do on that blanket stitch on the eyes though. Whew!!! All of the apparel sewing I did in University didn't prepare me for the little hand details on a lot of these new projects I want to try. (image)

Here's my version of peanut, droopy legged, creepy eyed, but still kinda cute.



keeping cozy

2008-02-11T19:41:29.538-05:00

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I have finally completed a knitting project that is making me smile! It was easy and oh, so cozy for these blistering cold winter days. I started out with another one, which didn't end up in a happy place. It caused me a little grief from the start, yet I persisted and ended up with something much too large to ever wear. I summed it up to good practice and let go of my neckwarmer desires for this year. Until I spotted this lovely grey version, and then this one in a yellow yarn on a much larger needle!

I used Lion Brand's 'Thick & Quick' yarn, just as the yellow version does, and completed it in one Sunday afternoon and evening. I am no expert, but using a size 13 (9mm) round needle made it feel effortless. And I loved the yarn so much, that I also bought a skein in blue and am now contemplating going back for another one in cream. A girl needs options, doesn't she?



the good, the bad and the ugly

2008-02-08T12:57:44.508-05:00

I am loving my new green belt. It's just so cute, and it makes me feel like I am somewhat pulled together when that's hardly the case.
(image) And speaking of good things, have you seen the latest issue of Blueprint? It's a good one. But the bad part is that it is the last one. Ever. So disappointing. I really will miss this magazine.


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I would have liked to post a picture of my latest completed knitted project, but unfortunately it is just too ugly at the moment. I finished my super soft neck warmer/ tube thingie, but it is just way too huge to fit any human being. I am trying to come up with some resolution, but for now am just chalking it up to good practice.





i love snowstorms, i love ina

2008-02-08T12:58:10.806-05:00

We woke up today to a beautiful snowstorm and decided to avoid the roads and all stay home. Glen & I set into motion early choosing the divide and conquer strategy. He ventured into the dark recesses of the basement to sort through the hideous number of unused toys while I stayed upstairs to address the dirty laundry situation. By noon, we had made some good progress so I decided to make a special lunch.

I had some fresh tilapia in the fridge and tried out a recipe from Nigella Express that has been on my mind for awhile. The fish is cut into strips and dipped into corn flour first, an egg mixture second, and lastly panko crumbs. They were fried until golden and set aside while I made a salad (to offset the whole fried food thing). It was a simple mixture of baby spinach, diced tomato and sliced avocados. Dressed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maldon salt....yum!
(image)
Shortly after lunch, we indulged in Ina's Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars. The recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa at Home and is possibly one of the best desserts ever. Surely, it is the most fabulous bar I have ever made. I'm talking tooth aching, melt in your mouth deliciousness. (image)
I don't think Ina has one recipe that hasn't turned out well for me. But this one is a real winner. Glen asked me to bring some to my sister down the street, just so that he wouldn't eat the whole tray. They are just that good.



a little colour for dull days

2008-02-08T12:58:55.485-05:00

For me, the downside of January is that the days feel so dark and short. By the time I get to work, the sun is barely shining, and when I leave it's already setting. With no window anywhere near my desk, this makes for a pretty dreary day. I've been looking for a little colour to liven things up and thought these might help...(image)
They are sitting atop the prettiest fabric ever, which I just received today along with 2 others. I've been eyeing these fabrics by Joel Dewberry and Amy Butler for some time and can hardly wait to make something with them. The pale pink is going to be a simple summer top using this Simplicity pattern by Built by Wendy. I'm not too sure what I'm doing with the other two just yet, but something will come up, I am sure.(image)
I also got one of the best presents ever the other day from my sweetie. I have never tried hand embroidery, but this stitch it kit by Jenny Hart is awesome. It includes everything I need to start embroidery and the price is insanely reasonable. I may be getting a little ahead of myself here, but I feel like Spring is just around the corner.



Knitting love

2008-01-09T22:03:56.621-05:00

I think some people are naturally born with the talent to knit. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people, but I so want to be a knitter. I dream about picking up needles and yarn and effortlessly whipping up beautiful sweaters for my little guys. Oh, to be able to sit and knit without even thinking while watching a movie sounds like the epitome of multitasking to me.

(image) I have had a basket of knitting 'stuff' for over a decade now, yet so few projects have seen completion. I've been taught the basics by my Mom and filled in the blanks with how-to books. I also took a knitting course before having my first baby, when the urge to knit hit me full force. I managed to finish one adorable little cap in time for his arrival, but other than that my knitting dreams lie in bundles in a colourful basket tote tucked in a closet. Every so often when I pull it out, I have to refer to my instructional books to remind me how to cast on, increase or decrease stitches. These things just don't stick with me naturally. Yet, I persist because it really is my idea of the perfect hobby.

Knitting is calming. There is something almost meditative about it. It is totally portable and can go anywhere with you. You can pick it up and put it down in between playing with the kids and making dinner. As you can see below, even a few minutes waiting for Glen at the train station is put to good use. And best of all, you end up with something handmade for yourself or a loved one.
(image) Instead of picking up one of my old projects, I've found new inspiration and am rereading my how -to's. It really has been a slow start (which included a start, rip apart, and restart twice), but I'm hoping this time some hidden inner talent will finally shine through and my newest project will be ready before the weather changes too much. Not much need for a neck warmer / cowl in summer.



Betsy-Tacy and Tib

2008-02-08T12:59:09.676-05:00

I've already spent a good part of the year decluttering and organizing. Most of the work has been on the abundance of toys in our home which is really scary. I thought we bought very little for the kids this year, but I still feel like there is just too much. While practically buried in the basement sorting out toys to keep, donate to charity, or just toss in the bin, I found some of my childhood books. Among them was one of my old favorites Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace.
(image)
This book was always close by my bedside as a little girl. The yellow cover and illustrations alone made me smile. I could not remember all of the story details, it had been so long since I read it. So I started reading it again and was instantly filled with comfort. It's about Betsy, Tacy & Tib, 3 young girls who live on or near Hill Street and spend their days telling stories, playing games and occasionally getting into trouble (if you call ripping up their dresses, unravelling their hair and getting dirty trouble, that is). It's a simple, sweet and heart warming story about best friends enjoying childhood.

It just seemed fitting that I stumbled upon this old book that focuses on innocent adventures in a simpler time. I often wonder why balancing 2 young children with a full time career and life in general can get so complicated. It's been done since the beginning of time, and women used to have a lot more than 2 children. I think it's all in my approach and my own expectations, really. It's about realizing what is important, what is realistic, what is worth stressing over. At the end of the day, the boys just want love and attention. They don't care much if the laundry is piling up, or if the crumbs under the kitchen table could feed an army of mice. Their needs are simple, and that feels nice.
My goal for the new year is to keep things simple and enjoy the sweet moments with my family. This book reminded me of that.



Starting the New Year Right

2008-02-08T12:59:29.954-05:00

(image) Every January 1st, we all gather at my parent's house for New Year's Day Dinner. The little ones run wild and barely eat because they are so excited to play. But the adults completely enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Mama Lucy.
We feasted on a lasagna, roast loin of pork, ribs, mashed potatoes and various vegetables. For dessert, Mama Lucy's fun side came out with these adorable cupcakes from a recent What's Cooking magazine (from Kraft Kitchens). Jello is poured over the cupcakes, then they are topped with cool whip and sprinkles. (image)
Some of us so-called grown ups seemed more interested than the kids. We also had no-bake cheesecake which is one of my absolute favorite desserts ever!

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My sister brought over a traditional sweet bread from her Greek mother in law that was prepared especially for our family. The lower half of the large loaf has 2008 on it, while the upper half has a strip of dough signifying each one of my parents, my siblings and myself, our husbands, and all of our children. Inside is a coin and whoever receives the coin is pegged to have a year of good fortune. I was hoping to get the coin myself this year, but my husband got it instead, and I hope the good fortune will trickle over to me as well. The bread is so good, slightly sweet with sesame seeds and flaked almonds on the top.

(image) At the end of the meal, we were helping to clean up in the kitchen when the roasted potatoes and carrots were discovered, or more accurately forgotten, in the oven! Lucy was not happy, but she sent quite a generous portion home with each of us.

(image) We spent our first dinner of the year enjoying great food & family. We're off to a fantastic start.



Out with the old and in with the new

2008-02-08T12:59:46.590-05:00

I love the feeling a New Year can bring. It's like a spring cleaning in a broader sense. I've made quite a few promises to myself, which mostly involve slowing things down and stopping to enjoy the little moments in life. They can pass so quickly if you're too distracted with the laundry piles or the dust under the couch. I'd rather leave the mess behind and enjoy what I have.

I count my blessings, they are abundant. I look around and can't believe these 2 little ones are ours. The end of a year causes me to reflect a little. And even through some of the challenges, I feel so lucky. This is a year of possibilites, endless adventures and a new beginning.

Happy New Year!