Friday, June 12, 2009

etsy find--Retro Classy Cufflinks

What do you get for the bespoke dad who dreads the thought of another crayon covered coffee mug or a "World's Best Dad" t-shirt? Try one of the whimsical designs from Retro Classy Cufflinks. I am partial to the more subtle designs, like the Monopoly cars or the wooden typewriter keys. They add just the right amount of personality to the standard suit and tie without being crass. Three cheers for playful elegance!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

pica pica picaboo

My first photo album from Picaboo arrived yesterday and I couldn't be more pleased with the book. The paper is high quality and the pictures and wonderfully crisp and colorful. Picaboo has hundreds of page layouts and background designs to create a perfectly customized album. It is so nice to skip the photo corners and annoying plastic sleeves and get the perfect layout without taking up the dining table for days at a time.

Right now Picaboo is offering a buy one, get one free special. Use the code JUNEGF at checkout.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

get your veggies

We are about to pick up our very first CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery of the season. I am thrilled to be able to get 10 to 20 pounds of organic produce a week for just $25 and to support a local farm in the process! If you are looking for farm fresh products in New York City check out Just Food. Nationally, Local Harvest has a superb database of CSAs, farmers' markets, co-ops and more. Get out there and eat your kale!

Monday, June 8, 2009

yay for music together!

We have been going to Music Together since Little Man was just two months old. He has loved every class and we have had a wonderful time each session. Most of our favorite songs come from their song collections and I know that we will miss the program when Little Man starts preschool in the fall.

Friday, June 5, 2009

etsy find: AmyGaines

Amy Gaines sells her adorable toy patterns individually, in sets or as part of kits with everything you need to knit or crochet a darling little creature. The PDFs arrive in your inbox in 24 hours or less and the designs are suitable for novice yarn crafters. Check out Amy's book, Cute Little Animals, if you want her patterns in a more substantial form.

Monday, June 1, 2009

pancakes for dinner?

Why yes! Especially when they are made with wild rice and served with spinach. Little Man, a notorious grain-phobe, loved these and asked for them at every meal for days after I made the first batch. They froze very well and needed 20 seconds in the microwave to be perfectly reheated.

Wild Rice Pancakes

* 1 tablespoon chopped onions
* 2 teaspoons walnut oil
* 1 teaspoon butter
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* Pinch of salt
* 3/4 cup cooked wild rice
* 1/4 cup chopped scallions
* 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
* Canola oil, for cooking

Sauté the onions in the walnut oil and butter for 2 to 3 minutes or until light golden brown. Place the egg, egg yolk and milk in a medium bowl and whisk together until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Fold in the wild rice, cooked onions, scallions, dried cherries and parsley. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the pancake batter into a lightly oiled nonstick sautépan and cook the pancake for 1 minute on each side. Repeat this process for all of the pancake batter.

Adapted from The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, Ten Speed Press, 1999

Friday, May 29, 2009

etsy find: PCwoodcraftandPens

Need the perfect gift for the Dad who has everything? Check out PCwoodcraftandPens and their fantastic selection of hand-turned badger shaving brushes. The razor handles are stunning as well and far less expensive than the designs at specialty shaving stores.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

home again

After an intense burst or traveling we are so happy to be home. Little Man had a blast road tripping down the Eastern seaboard and I am thrilled to report that he was meltdown free! I must give a lot of credit to inexpensive stickers. We grabbed a pack or two at nearly every grocery or drugstore we patronized.

Friday, April 10, 2009

etsy find: char's bead creations

Dangly statement earrings are all the rage this spring and Char's Bead Creations has a huge collection of fantastic chandelier designs made from woven thread. They are lightweight and swingy and look fabulous with jeans and a tee. I love that they don't get caught in my hair like beaded styles. There are lots of cute earrings available but is the unique and colorful thread designs that really set this shop apart.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

monkey see, monkey do

If your little monkey loves animals half as much as mine does then you must pick up a set of these monkey doorhangers from The Container Store. They come in sets of three and are available in pink, green and brown and are on sale for $6.99.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

tub o' fun

I have been hanging on to some empty oatmeal containers while I search for the perfect use. After Little Man and the cats broke my bamboo floor vase it dawned on me--fill the tub with rocks and branches for a spring arrangement.

I painted the canister with three layers of white acyclic paint and a medium-sized artist's brush. It took about 30 minutes for each layer to set and I left the final coat to dry overnight. At this point you can leave it white, paint it another color or attach paper or other decorations.

Drop in a few branches or dried flowers and, voila, spring has sprung! When the pussy willows are no longer seasonal I am going to try putting inside a plastic cup of water and some long stemmed flowers. Even if it gets knocked over the only cleanup is a minor water spill.

Monday, April 6, 2009

eat your greens

Little Man has always been a bit skeptical of broccoli (or any green thing that isn't a pea). So I was thrilled when he wolfed down a big helping of broccoli casserole and asked for more. The savory custard base works best on pre-cooked vegetables if they are crunchy but in a serious time crunch you could add a bit of water and cook for a few minutes longer.

Mix together:

* 1 cup whole milk
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
* 2 large eggs

and pour over one bunch of broccoli (about 1.5 pounds).

Top with:
* 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Bake at 350°F until the custard sets, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

keeping track

I have found it easy to forget to add little milestones to Little Man's baby book and it often feels overwhelming to try and catch up. The Pocket Journal from Graphic Image makes it easy to jot down all of those special moments right when they happen. Any small datebook would work but I really like the small format, ribbon bookmark and easy care vinyl cover of the Pocket journal. If you are a New Yorker they make a city edition complete with subway maps, a calender of events and an address locator.

Friday, March 27, 2009

etsy find--MamaDama Designs

I love my Diva case from MamaDama Designs. It is slightly oversized to fit those dramatic shades so in right now. The construction is solid yet elegant and every piece is finished beautifully. I am looking at getting a clutch to store diapers and wipes as Little Man grows out of the need for a giant diaper bag. Right now MamaDama is offering specials on her gadget cases and small zip pouches--3 or 4 for $25, respectively.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a good read

Little Man can never get enough story time. But some of his books are a real chore for mom and dad to read over and over and over. We recently discovered the work of Kevin Henkes and the library and couldn't be happier. Our favorites are Kittens first Full Moon, winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal, and A Good Day. The stories are simple enough for a toddler to follow or read to himself without being too repetitive and the illustrations are positively charming.

Friday, March 20, 2009

etsy find--Paper + Ink Studio

Why ever did calling cards become obsolete? Well, bring them back with the wonderful designs from Paper + Ink Studio. Perfect for stay-at-home parents, the cards are also a lovely alternative to handing out your business card in social settings. I think they would be perfect for college students and freelancers as well. I am trying to decide between the Lulu and the Art Deco designs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

cheep cheep cheep

Time to start collecting blown eggs for spring decorations. I've never been a fan of hard cooked eggs and I don't have the space to store dozens of paper mache eggs in a closet. As a compromise I will be opening all of our eggs for the next couple of weeks using a pin and a bulb syringe.

Step 1--Pierce the top and bottom of the uncooked egg with a long pin or needle.

Step 2--Insert the pin/needle into the egg and wiggle it around. The goal is to break open the yolk be vigorous and work from both ends.

Step 3--Finally get some use out of that bulb syringe by using it to blow out the yolk and white.

Step 4--Rinse the shells under running water and blow them out again. Persnikity folks or those who will be filling the eggs with choclate will want to gently boil the eggshells for a couple of minutes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

get cookin'

The Weekly Dinner Planner at Epicurious is a real sanity saver. I'm not a fan of those cook-once-and-eat-chicken-all-week-long programs. It always seems like the last three days of the week have you eating progressively blander versions of soup. Not so with these menus. There is a little overlap--extra rice from Monday in soup on Thursday or broccoli twice in a week--but the food is fresh and interesting and the shopping list is fantastic.

Sticking to the pre-determined menus has lowered my grocery bill and exposed Little Man to foods I would never have imagined he would love. Everything from the Medina night--orange couscous, sauteed kale, spiced lentils and scallops--are on the most-requested list.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

i love cabbage

And any excuse to eat it plain with butter. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

best tank ever

Straps wide enough to hide the now-required bra? Check

Long enough to avoid looking like a plumber when bending over? Check

Tight enough to keep playgroup from turning into a peepshow? Check

Inexpensive, available in many colors and machine washable? Check, check and check!

Drumroll please...

I present you the Women's Stretch Tank from Old Navy. Brilliant in all twelve colors, alone or under spring's crisp white jacket.

Friday, March 13, 2009

etsy find--LoveLeeSoaps

Featured on Martha Stewart and interviewed by etsy's The Storque, Leeana makes adorable pint-sized soaps. Many of her molds are handmade (meaning you won't find these designs just anywhere) and they are small enough to fit in little hands. Great for showers or gift bags, the fun scents and kooky shapes are a fantastic way to get kids excited about washing their hands. Who doesn't want to lather up with popcorn or a doughnut?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's my party

Shopping for unique paper plates and napkins for your next party? Look no further than Plates and Napkins. They have everything from Cloisonne beverage napkins to a Surf's Up tablecloth.

I love to include pocket tissues in gift bags. I always keep a few on hand for diaper bag duty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Under the weather

We've been fighting tummy bugs and blizzards here for what seems like forever. Luckily I had a copy of Food Adventures on hand and nursed us through on a steady diet of barley water, pureed carrots and potatoes and chicken soup with rice. And liberal doses of Advil Cold & Sinus for the adults, of course.

Friday, February 20, 2009

etsy find--Little Sapling Toys

It can be so difficult to find beautiful wooden toys that don't cost an arm and a leg. But the heirloom quality goods from Little Sapling Toys fit the bill. The toys are unfinished or waxed (no worries about the chemicals in paints or polyurethanes with these beauties) and the packing material is 100% recycled.

Friday, February 13, 2009

etsy find--bittychouchou

I cannot get over how absolutely adorable everything in bittychouchou's is. Right now the items are all failry feminine but she does custom work. I would love to see those boots with some cowboys and felt cacti decorations.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

maestro mayhem

Little Man has always adored music but has recently become obsessed with it. He begs and pleads to have CDs playing all day long and pulls his favorites out of the cabinet. Sometimes he manages to pop them out of their cases and into the CD player. Fearing for my collection I purchased a few CD wallets and tossed out hundreds of jewel cases. So far, so good; the zipper foils little fingers and I freed up enough space to move the DVDs behind the glass doors. Now to tackle the toilet paper.

Monday, February 9, 2009

share the love

With just some construction paper and twist-up crayons Little Man and I were able to make these adorable Valentine's cards for friends and family. This was such an easy way to share his artwork with far-flung relatives. I let him draw all over 8 1/2 x 11 paper and then cut the sheets into quarters with decorative scissors. We found that pre-quartering the paper was a recipe for toddler frustration.

Friday, February 6, 2009

one potato, two potato...

I usually try to avoid plastic toys for Little Man but even I cannot deny the appeal of a true classic. Removable goofy body parts, a giant grin and endless possibilities for imaginative play. I am talking, of course, about the beloved Mr. Potato Head. He has come a long way since my childhood and now has scads of additional costumes. I am particularly keen on the Safari and Alien Spud kits.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

splish splash

Western Chief Kids Frog Rainboot & Coat/Umbrella Set

My thoughts are turning longingly toward April showers. And with a little walker that means April mud puddles. I can't wait to slip Little Man into a pair of rain boots and watch him stomp around in the water. Mommy will be investing in a windproof travel umbrella small enough to fit in a purse or diaper bag.

Polliwalks Penguin Boot

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thumbelina Lives!

Tuesday on The Martha Stewart show Morgan Levine crafted these gorgeous crepe paper flowers. She uses double-sided paper, which is nearly impossible to find. Much easier is following the directions for double-sided crepe paper from D. Blumchen.

Wouldn't these make a fantastic addition to a Valentine's table or a child's birthday party?