Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A week in review

We have had a busy, busy week. Emma started Singers Co, and has been excitedly practicing, Andrew resumed Chess Club, Sophie became obsessed with books,


Ethan banned Emma (and any other girl who can't read) from his bedroom,*


Emma started reading, making Ethan's rules obsolete,


Sophie got a hair trim


Mommy started working on yet another doll quilt (aren't these cute),

And Daddy got to go visit the adorable AZ cousins.

*Click on Ethan's picture... I love this sign, which crosses out little sisters, but show a picture of Andrew and a girlfriend. Ha!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter quilt finished!

This morning I finished the quilt I was making for the winter quilt swap going on in blogland.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. My original design did not have a pieced border or as much quilting as the quilt ended up with, but I have always felt that quilting was a process not to be rushed, and I am happy with the end result.

I hand-quilted a grid around the circles, and did a minimal amount of quilting in the borders, as you can see from the detail shot.

Here is the backing fabric... I showed this fabric when I first bought it, and I was happy to have a chance to use it already.
The woman I made this for wanted a modern, whimsical quilt, and lime green is her favorite color. This backing, while not exactly lime green, is fairly close (the lighting isn't very good today!) I ended up really loving this quilt, and may make a similar one for myself... I hope *** likes it too.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Which Jane Austen heroine are you?

I am Elinor Dashwood!


Take the Quiz here!

For all you LDS moms out there...

... who may be struggling with how many children you think you should have...

A great article over at Mormon Mommy Wars. Just a little reminder that this should be a decision based on prayer, not on peer pressure or guilt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Starting her early...

Today Emma and I went to the quilt shop to choose fabrics for a small quilt for her dolly "Little Emma". She chose some great fabrics, don't you think?

We are going to choose a simple pattern, maybe a rail fence, so it will come together quickly. I may need to find a nice reddish to bind it with, just to make the reds in the prints and stripe pop!

Below is a sneak peak of the small quilt I am making for the Four Seasons Quilt Swap: Winter. It has been slowly evolving, and I am happy with the end result. I just need to bind it, hopefully I can get that done tonight.
I'll post a final picture when it is completed.

While at the quilt shop today, I also picked up the first month of the Second Saturday Sampler for the year. In January, you pay $5 for the fabric and directions for the first block. Each second Saturday of the following month, you bring your completed block to the shop, and they will give you the fabric and pattern for the next block. In the end, you will have 12 blocks for only $5.

There were 3 different color-ways to choose from , and I decided to go with the batik choice. I haven't made a full-size batik quilt, so it will be nice to have something a little different.

Delightful

There is nothing better than sitting with Sophie on my lap while she sings a pretty song.

Since you all don't get that privilege, perhaps instead you would like to make these beautiful paper globes that Heather Bailey generously posted a free pattern for.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Where's the Beef?

Some of you may know that Elliott and I were vegetarians for a few years, before I got pregnant with Sophie. There were several reasons for this, mostly religious and health reasons. When I got pregnant with Sophie, I started having crazy cravings for chicken, and then for beef, so we started eating meat again. I was vegetarian through my pregnancy with Emma, so I am not sure what was going in, but I had to give in!

I felt so much healthier and had more energy when we were eating more beans and vegetables. I think I am at the point now where I would like to go back to the way we were, but cutting meat out entirely would be so hard, both psychologically, and also because of the ease of fixing meat dishes. (Plus, Ethan's favorite dinner is hamburgers, so I guess every once in a while that will be a special treat!)

I decided we would baby step our way back to a meatless life... so for the past few weeks we have not bought any red meat. I am trying to be more creative in my cooking too, because I want the kids to get full nutrients. I have considered the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook, but I already have so many cookbooks that sit unused, I decided to forgo a new one.

Anyway, along those lines, I tested out two new meals for dinner, and they were both winners, so I wanted to pass one of them along (The other was pinto bean and rice burritos, which I thought the kids would hate, but they all ate right up.) Plus, another proven winner in our family is Shrimp Pasta, so I will include my variation of that here.

Chicken Parmigiana

3 Tb. Olive Oil
1 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 Tb. sugar
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 c. Progresso Italian Style bread crumbs
1/3 c. Kraft Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. shredded Italian cheese mix

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in 1 Tb. olive oil. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, and sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat until the sauce is simmering, and let it reduce until the chicken is done.

Between sheets of wax paper, flatten the chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness (I pounded them with a rolling pin, but if you have a kitchen mallet, that would be easier.) Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl, and then spread on a dinner plate. Dip each chicken breast in the egg, and then coat it with the bread crumb mixture.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken 10-15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in the center. Serve chicken with sauce spooned over it.

I served this over Barilla whole grain pasta, with green beans and a green salad. My kids each ate about a third of a breast, so we had leftovers for lunch the next day. I think they liked it so well because Ethan announced to them all that I had made chicken nuggets. Whatever made them like it, it was a winner.


Shrimp Pasta - This has long been a favorite in our house.

3 c. Barilla whole grain pasta
1 c. frozen shrimp, (approx. 1-1.5 inches long) tail off and deveined
2 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp. dried Italian herb mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 15 oz. can extra large ripe (black) olives, drained
1-2 Tb. capers, drained and rinsed
3 c. broccoli florets, steamed

Cook pasta according to package directions

Saute shrimp until cooked through.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, herbs, and salt. Chop the tomatoes, and add to the olive oil mixture. Add the olives and capers. Mix everything together until it is all coated with oil and herbs. Let sit until pasta is done.

Add the pasta and shrimp to the olive oil mixture, and combine well. Finally, add the broccoli, and combine gently.

Serve with San Francisco style sourdough bread, and fresh baby carrots. Yum!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Relaxing

Emma is laying in the kitchen floor listening to a CD my dad got her for Christmas...

Romance At Its Best

Jane Austen is the ultimate romance novelist. That is a fact, not an opinion... :-) Also, a fact... I get to see the house she did most of her writing in... can you tell I am excited??

I finally was able to watch the first installment of PBS's Masterpiece Theater series featuring her works made into movies. Persuasion aired on Sunday night, but we taped it, and last night while Sophie was refusing to sleep (at 2:30 in the morning) I decided to watch it with her!

It was fabulous, although I do think I prefer the earlier version. But I was happy enough to watch Rupert Penry-Jones play the role of Captain Wentworth. Wow, I haven't seen him before (have I?), but he is beautiful!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just indulge me...

...its been that kind of day!

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

I couldn’t quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.

Sign at a drug rehab center: “Keep Off The Grass”

Puns are for kids, not for groan adults.

Anteaters have long noses!

Gandhi walked barefoot everywhere he went which was very tough on his feet and made them very hard. He also fasted often which made him quite weak and also gave him bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis

******

Okay, a mushroom walks into a bar, hops up on a stool and asks for a beer. The bartender says “We don’t serve you kind in here.” Mushroom replies, “Why not? I’m a fungi.”

******

A piece of string walks into a bar, hops up on a stool and orders a beer. The bartender says, “We don’t serve string in here.” The string leaves, ties himself into a loop, messes up his “hair” a little and goes back into the bar and orders another beer. The bartender says, “Aren’t you the string who was just in here?” The string says, “I’m a frayed knot.”

******

A man walks into a bar
OUCH!

******

A family of four tomatoes were walking down the street. The kids were walking too slowly so the pappa tomato turns one of the little tomato kids, stomps on him and says - “Catch-up”!!

*****

An anteater walks into an ice cream parlor. The ice cream man asks, “What can I do ya for?” The anteater says, “I don’t knooooooow.” So the ice cream man says, “How about some vanilla ice cream?” The anteater replies, “Nooooo”. So then the ice cream man says, “Well, how about a banana split?” But the anteater says, “Nooooo.” The ice cream man says, “Okay, what about a brownie sundae?” The anteater says, “Nooooo.” Finally, the ice cream man is fed up, and he says, “Hey buddy, what’s with the long no’s?"

(puns courtesy of mental floss blog)



"Children, The Great Levelers"

I used to believe that I was a great mother, and that other moms must not be parenting right because Andrew was such a perfect child, and they always seemed to have issues with their kids. Then Ethan was born, and I had officially met my match!

Now that I have 4 children, each with amazingly different personalities, I understand that the spirits that our children bring from heaven affect them much more than anything I have done or can do to them.

I loved this article. I have always loved my pediatrician because I feel like he is never judgmental of issues and illnesses we may be facing in our household. I can see that this doctor has a good handle on parenting too.

Just don't ever let me meet commenter #1, who obviously has no children, or children that are severely lacking in personality!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dress-up

Sophie likes to bring us various items of clothing/accessories to put on her...(yes, these were all her ideas!)