Friday, February 25, 2011

My "Boy" Room

 To be honest, a lot of this I would do for a boy or a girl.  However, we are generally not into sports themes and I am not a huge fan of going all the way with some Character themed room (superhero, or movie etc.) I LOVE this bedding and would have put it in the kids room now if I could afford it (or had the time to make it myself.)  There is so much you could do with this theme and in these colors that could easily be adapted as kids grow older.
Land of Nod Bedding$sharelarge$

Add caption
LED artwork

Monday, February 21, 2011

If I could do a girly room...

My kids are destined, at this point in time, to share a room.  That requires me to consider every purchase as gender neutral and pleasant to both. 

However, if I had the room and resources to do a full out "girl" room for Isabella.  I might go in this direction.
I had an internal *squeal* moment when I saw this duvet cover from Urban Outfitters.
Seriously...a rhinestone bow tie back...yes please!
What little girl (or big girl) wouldn't love a crystal chandelier in her room?
These eyelet curtains reminded me of one of her dresses that I love her to wear.
A velvet "fainting couch".  I could just picture her reading Little Women on that couch.

I for Isabella
All products and photos are from Urban Outfitters.

Pasta with Ricotta and Peas

From Parents Magazine

12 oz whole-wheat pasta (I used a 13.5 oz box of rotini)
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic chopped (I used 2...I would consider using 3 next time)
1 cup fresh peas (I used about 1 1/4 cup of frozen)
1 tsp. salt (plus salt for pasta water)

1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup halved yellow grape tomatoes (I used red grape tomatoes)
1 lemon, zested
1 c pasta water.

1.) Boil large pot of salted water and cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain and save 1 cup cooking liquid. In a bowl, toss pasta and ricotta until combined.

2.) In a large skillet, warm olive oil over med-high heat add  garlic saute for about 4 min.  Add the pasta water and cook until the peas are bright green and tender about 4 more min.

3.) Add the ricotta pasta and toss of low heat.  Add tomatoes.  Put in serving dish and sprinkle with Lemon.  Makes 4-6 servings.

I think this is a good mild, kid friendly pasta recipe.  For adults is not bad but not hugely flavorful either.  I might add more lemon or even other ingredients next time and set aside some for the baby of the family.

323 calories /serving (for 6), 11 g protein, 10 g fat, 5 g fiber, 68 mg calcium.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rice and Bean Salad

Adapted from THIS  recipe

1 can kidney beans (rinse and drain)
1 can Black beans (rinse and drain)
1 can Garbanzo Beans (rinse and drain)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 lime (juice)
1 avocado chopped
1/4 red onion (a big one) finely chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 c mexican blend cheese
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt.

Mix beans, lime, onion, bell pepper, avocado, salt and cumin.  Follow by the rice and the cheese.  Toss and put in the fridge to chill before serving (not really needed but it is good if its a warm day and will keep awhile before serving if needed)

This was really good with tortilla chips on the side.  I used it as a main dish and my toddler loved it and my 9 month old did too (I eliminated the onion and bell pepper because of size and texture from his bowl.)  I think this would work in a lot of different combinations of veggies and beans.  It could be a base for a burrito or served as a side with tacos or quesadillas.  Its a quick and easy meal that can be made ahead of time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What to Give a Mom

There are ample amounts of holidays and reasons to give a gift to the moms in your life.  Christmas, Valentines Day, Birthdays, Mothers Day, Anniversaries, or just because.  With all of those opportunities, many people wrack their brains trying to think of the next thing to get for their mother, wife, grandma etc.

Well here is a list that I think would help a lot of people who end up saying "I just don't know what to get her."

1.) Time with you:  If you are a child older than 10, you most likely have a "life" of your own.  I am also referring to all adult children no matter how old you are.  Your mothers want to see you and spend time with you.  Unless you are a serious pain in the neck who has shamed the family with atrocities, your mom misses you and wishes she could spend more quality time with you (and even with your spouse and children.)  Give her a "date" with the family.  It can be as simple as picking up dinner and hanging out, or going to a park and having a picnic with her.  Just think about being able to talk to her and give her time to relax with the family.

If you are a husband, a date with you doing something SHE likes or has always wanted to do with you.  If its inexpensive its okay, but it should be focused on her (including letting her know how much you enjoy being with her and spending time with her.)   Its is especially important that you plan it, prepare for it, and deal with all the details (babysitting, place, time)

2.) Time for herself:  This is especially true for mothers with kids at home.  Most moms have to be forced to spend time on themselves.  Pedicures, haircuts, shopping trips (for her not the kids), a nice lunch with friends, time for her hobbies are all things that get put on the end of the list when you have a family.  Think about the moms in your life and what they used to do pre-motherhood or what they have mentioned such as "when I ever have the time I'd love to...".   Sometimes an hour or two to concentrate on anything other than the house, kids, groceries etc. can be refreshing.  Again, it is important that this is done in addition to planning the details (babysitting, timing, dinner afterward so she isn't worried about it etc.)

3.) That thing she asked for: Seriously, the item or things she has been asking for, pointing at, emailing you about over and over.   She has said it, I promise you, and she has said it as bluntly as you can imagine "I REALLY WANT...".  If you haven't heard her or forgot, start sending yourself emails, texts, or saving a "Gift Idea" file for her and every time she mentions that thing/things write it down, set an alarm and save it somewhere for the next time you need to get her a gift.  Don't think it will seem like you weren't thoughtful for getting her what she wanted.  She will be so happy you listened and remembered and that you didn't just run out and grab some random gift to wrap, but got her something she actually wanted.  I'm really, really serious about this one. (AND I'M MOSTLY TALKING TO THE HUSBANDS HERE!)

4.) Something thoughtful:  This is not an easy category but it is a good one.  There are not a lot of specifics here but things to think about (AHEAD OF TIME) that will be super awesome when you have to give a gift.
FOR HUSBANDS: Think back to when you were dating like the first year or so of courtship.  Think about how you would notice things about her.: What her favorites were, things she needed but didn't know she needed, just little things you paid attention to because you actually wanted her to like you.  Try doing that for about a month and you will get some idea(s) that you might never have thought of or that she hasn't even asked for yet. 
FOR YOUNG CHILDREN:  Something sincere telling your mom how thankful you are for her for specific things she does and how she takes care of you (a letter, story, a handmade card, or artwork.)  Also, something from all the children that will capture a memory from that age like a photo book, hand prints, etc (most likely this will require grown up help which will also get a lot of appreciation for Husbands who assist.)
FOR ADULT CHILDREN:  Do something that creates a memory or brings back an old one.  Collect favorite clothes of yours and your siblings and make a quilt, or shadow boxes.  Something that shows a special connection for the two of you in particular.  Something involving the grandchildren is always fun too.
FOR ANYONE:  Think of something she HATES doing (filling up her car with gas, lawn work, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning out her car) and give her coupons or set dates that you will do that for her.  In the same vein, think of something she's always wanted done to the house, but never been able to do (paint, landscape, organize etc.) and get enough people together to get it done.  It isn't fancy or wrapped pretty, but I assure you every time she sees the work you've done, it will matter more than the sweater, CD or other gift you got her.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Adapted from THIS recipe.

1 large eggplant (about 12-14 inches long and thick) or 2 small/medium ones
1 jar pasta sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella.
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg
1-2 cups Italian bread crumbs (start with 1 and use more if needed)
Dried basil

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have 2 cookie sheets ready. Wash, peel, and cut eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Beat the egg in a bowl put crumbs into another bowl.
2.) Dip eggplant in egg to coat thinly then coat it in crumbs, place on cookie sheet.  Continue until done and bake 5 minutes then flip over and bake 5 more minutes.
3.) In a  greased (nonstick cooking spray) square baking dish put 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom. Layer some of the eggplant.  Sprinkle with a layer of mozzarella then some Parmesan. layer with about 3/4-1 cup sauce and repeat with eggplant to make 3 layers. 
4.) Final layer should be remaining sauce and a layer of cheese on top, sprinkle with basil.  Cook for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top.

Would be great served with pasta or some really good fresh bread.  Serves about 4 people.

Its really tasty and I didn't even care that it was meat free.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Products I Love for My Kids Part 3

1.) Soilove

SoiloveI don't know what it's made of but by the smell of it, it is not organic or fancy or anything that people love to use.  It is however really inexpensive and really effective.  You can find this at the 99 cent store or the grocery store for under $2.  It is one of the only things that I have found works on baby poop (you know the absurdly yellow stuff that blows out of their diaper on so many cute clothes for the first 5 months.)   Other than this product the only thing I have found that works is laying the offending stain in the sun before washing it and sometimes that is just not convenient.

So instead I squirt some of this on the stain immediately and wash as soon as I can and IT WORKS so I don't ask too many questions about how or why.  I am just happy that it does the job.

2.) Take N Toss Straw cups and sippy cups.

The First Years/Learning Curve ABC Fun Take & Toss Straw Cup, 3 Pack, Colors May Vary 
 I really like the straw cups with a disposable bendy straw instead of the actual straw.  Those plastic straws are nuts to clean.  My daughter never used a bottle and went straight into sippys and straws.

3.) Sterlite Small Storage containers
Medium Nesting ShowOffs™
These come in several sizes and are great for holding toy sets or small toys that don't come with a container.  They are stackable and easy for my toddler to carry and open/close.  I believe there are different brands (maybe Rubbermaid) that have similar containers.  The parts that make this great are: the see through box so you know what's in it, the locking top so things don't spill out if its dropped or knocked over, the handle on top so its easily portable around the house, and of course the ability to stack in a closet or bookshelf. 


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