Monday, May 28, 2012

P.52 photo challenge: week 21.

This week's theme is favorites. My most favorite favorites are my family.  My husband, little boy, mom, dad, brother, grandma(s).... these wonderful people to the right (minus my brother, who is not in the photo).

Then there are my mother/father/sister/brother-in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

And then, for fun, there's "favorites" as in food, band, hobby, team, etc.

To that I answer: pizza, Pearl Jam, photography, White Sox. For etc., I answer: online shopping, taking walks, tv, sweet treats, writing my blog....

But, for this week's photo(s), let's go with my most special, favorite  little person.  My little boy.

One of my favorite things to do is just sit and watch him -

laughing, smiling, having fun.

Another favorite is to watch him deep in thought, playing intently,  taking in the world.

And after my heart swells with love watching him, I like to grab my camera and capture those moments.

I absolutely adore seeing his beautiful smile.  And how excited he gets. And how funny he is. How he giggles. How happy he is. And curious.

I love love love this boy.

My favorite little peanut.

I cannot help myself from kvelling (if you aren't familiar with the word, it is a Yiddish word and means to be delighted, happy, extraordinarily proud, to beam, to rejoice).

I am a kvelling momma.

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pear & Feta Salad and Trader Joe's Cornbread. Yum.

We had a great BBQ this past weekend.  And I'm very excited because I contributed to the menu.  Since most of you don't know me, you would not know that I don't really cook. I would like to, and the few times I have, I've enjoyed it and felt great satisfaction when my items have turned out and tasted good!  I guess I think either it's overwhelming to cook or I don't feel like I have time.

So, I didn't exactly "cook" for the BBQ but I made two delicious items - salad and cornbread. And both were big hits! Very exciting for me.  Let's start with the salad.

I knew I wanted a salad with feta, and thought the addition of a fruit and nuts would make for a nice light salad.  After considering green apples, strawberries, mandarin oranges and pears, I opted for pears.  Feta and candied walnuts seemed like a nice fit with the pear, and my new signature dish was created.

Pear & Feta Salad

One pear
Feta Cheese
Candied Walnuts
Mixed Greens
Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl
2. Add dressing & toss
3. Serve

And here is a look at the finished product:

Yum. I love the mix of sweet & salty. And the feta and candied walnuts offset the pear and balsamic so nicely.  And for someone who doesn't cook much, you can imagine how thrilled I was when both of my sister-in-laws asked me for seconds - and declared it delicious!  So proud, the next day I recreated the salad for our sitter, and she too asked for seconds! 

And now, on to the cornbread.

Trader Joe's Cornbread

One egg
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup milk

1. Beat egg, milk and oil together.
What kind of oil? What kind of milk? Good questions. I used whole milk and olive oil.
2. Add cornbread mix and .... mix!
3. Pour into desired pan/tin and cook for 35-40 minutes
I used a muffin tin.
4. Take out, cool and serve

And here is  look at the finished product:

Tasty Cornbread!

I really want to commit to "cooking" more. Whether it's preparing from a mix, making a salad, baking or serving up a dish uniquely -- I want to do it more.  So if you have any great recipes, or easy to make (or prepare) dishes, I'd love to hear about them!

In sum, I really recommend making (& eating) the pear & feta salad. It really was so delicious.  I think you'll love it.  And go to Trader Joe's for the cornbread mix too!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

P.52 photo challenge: week 20.

Mothers. That's the theme, appropriately right after Mother's Day.

I first celebrate my mom for being the  most wonderful mother in the world, for being an amazing, caring, loving, happy, inspirational, positive, open minded and strong person.  She is a great friend, mother in law, wife and grandma.  I could not ask for a better momma and I love her so very much.

I also celebrate my little boy and husband, for they made me a mom. And being a mom to Buddy is the most wonderful thing I could ever imagine. I just want to cuddle and kiss this wonderful little boy.

And that is what my photo is of - kissing my spectacular little boy, relishing and loving being Buddy's momma.  Oh how I love this boy!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Thursday, May 17, 2012

P.52 photo challenge: week 19.

Still life. I used to take tons as I've mentioned in the past.  Flowers, bugs, birds, animals, trees, etc.   But my little boy is my favorite subject, and I mostly take pics of him.

And while he is absolutely my favorite subject, it was really nice to go out and focus on the outdoors and take some pictures. I went up to my deck and looked around to find my "still life' photo.  Tops of roofs, tops of trees and sky greeted me.

What could I shoot that would be interesting?

And then some interesting items came into focus for me. A plane. A steeple. A flag. A bird. A building.

And with the building shot, I took two - one focusing on the building and the other, exactly the same, but focusing on the leaves.  I always think it's very cool to see how the same shoot can look so different by changing either your focal point or your aperture.

So - here are some of my shots:

And, do the photos give you a clue where I live? The flag and the building should give it away....can you guess?

Happy week everyone!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Marc Jacobs bag splurge.

I've been wanting a new bag for a long time (browsing pinterest will do that to you).  A nice bag. A fancy bag. And when I say fancy, I think I do mean designer.

But not an expensive designer bag; a more "reasonable" designer bag (If that isn't an oxymoron).

Point is - I'd like a new bag. A splurge bag. A treat.

I get most of my bags from Banana Republic and they have great bags -- stylish, high quality, long lifespan AND -- when Banana has a 30% or 40% off sale -- a great bargain.

On to my splurge bag. Maybe it will be a Mother's Day present for myself.  And I've identified Marc by Marc Jacobs as the maker of my bag.  There are three I love.  I've cut it to two, and now I need help deciding which one.

Here they are:
Little Tate Tote
Take Me Tote

Love the color. Love them both --- totally different, but not different enough to warrant both.

Normally I'd say Little Tate is more my style - I love the faux quilted look and it'd be a cute, fun, light everyday purse or diaper bag. But....Take Me Tote is just so shiny and pretty and sleek! and can oomph up any outfit....

Which do you like?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Just in time for Mother's Day: cute and free online cards.

If there are other procrastinators out there or people who just like to send online cards (a fun way to brighten someone's day) - I found a great online e-card site,

I still think an actual hard copy of a card is best, but if, like me, you sometimes get around to it a little bit late (meaning: tomorrow is mother's day and I still haven't sent out cards), this is a very cute, classy way to send an e-card.

Punchbowl has lots of free choices, tons of different categories and customization options (you can change fonts, wording, colors, etc.)

And it's sent almost like it's an actual card - there's an envelope with stamp and label, you click to take the card out of the envelope and click again to open the card . There is even customizable envelope liner!

Take a look at the two cards I just created for my sisters-in-law.

cute right? I especially like the choice of fun fonts. Makes it more my style. Hope they like them too! And if either of them are reading this, I'm sorry I didn't send you physical cards in time! 

Happy Early Mother's Day to all the moms!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Reading Challenge.

I like this. It's a reading challenge from a blog I just found, A Cupcake Love Affair. The challenge was created and is hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life.

This sounds fun. But, I haven't exactly been reading a lot lately.  Don't get me wrong, I love reading. I can put away a 300 page book in one night if I get really into it, but I just haven't a) found the time or b) felt a strong pull towards that many books lately.

The Happiness Project
There have been a few - five to be exact - that I have read this past year and have really enjoyed and recommend:

-Happy Chaos (Soleil Moon Frye)
-Bossypants (Tina Fey)
-MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend (Rachel Bertsche)
-The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)
-Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay (Stephanie Wilder Taylor)

cute covers!
And my choices have definitely changed; I used to be VERY into chick-lit. Especially with really cute covers, ie, all of the Shopaholic books, Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green books....

Now I'm choosing books that are either autobiographical/memoir-esque, but they still have that light-hearted vibe (and they also happen to have cute covers!)

Ok, back to the challenge. Here is the list of types of books you have to read:
  •  One chosen for the U.S. 2012 World Book Night
  •  One you were supposed to read in school, but either bailed on or Cliff-Noted
  •  Memoir or narrative nonfiction book
    • Examples: Friday Night Lights, When the Game Stands Tall, The Devil in the White City
  • One in one calendar day (at least 150 pages)
  • One you've always wanted to read but haven't gotten around to yet
  • A pair of books that have antonyms in the titles
    •  For example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Boy in the Suitcase, or The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Heart of Darkness
  • One set in a place you've never been but want to visit
  • One written the year you were born and later made into a movie. 
    • Read and then watch the movie; compare. Or find a movie released the year you were born that was based on a book and do the same
  • Go to a bookstore or library and pick any bookshelf. Read the third book from the left on the fourth shelf from the top. (If it's not at least 200 pages, pick the next book to the right)
  • One about which you’ve heard bad things
  • A trilogy (or any three consecutive books in a series)
For full rules and information, visit here.

Sounds fun! I think I shall give it a try. Truth be told, I really don't need to be on the computer THIS much, right?

oh, and ps - I LOVE Danielle Steel. Always have, always will.  Can't beat a good Danielle Steel book!  What's your favorite?

Monday, May 7, 2012

P.52 photo challenge: week 18.

This week's theme has two options: fiesta OR siesta.

Fiesta. Siesta. Either one, both are good.  We'll go for the fiesta before the siesta.

Here's some pictures of Buddy fiesta'ing 20 month old cowboy style.

He absolutely loves his cowboy hat and his rocking horse. He is so very funny.

ps - I really want to take a beautiful photo of him siesta'ing, but I can't seem to figure out how to take one while he's asleep without the big bright flash waking him up!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy 20 month birthday buddy.

I can't believe that my little boy is 20 months old today. It is amazing how fast it goes. And in the past two months he has been doing so so many new things.  He is talking in multi-word sentences, repeating everything, loving sports, spending hours throwing balls around the house, dancing, asking for what he wants more and more and really having great association with things. He also loves trying to take pictures with my camera - seriously.

I'm trying to find a new class to take with him on the days I don't work.  We have recently tried Li'l Kickers soccer class and today, Little Gym gymnastics class. Both seem slightly advanced -- he isn't really yet following directions from teachers in a class (ie, kick the ball, jump up and down), but he is able to understand and follow directions one on one (ie, from me).

Some of his new words - hockey, basketball, football (or as he says it - oh-toe-ball), soccer, baseball, southpaw, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Go Sox, big sun, draw big sun, draw purple sun (he's very into the sun), outside, mama outside, dada outside (also into being outside) bicycle, motorcycle, park, swings, shadows, cowboy....

He is saying more and more people's names - and remembering their names later or in pictures.

And his little personality comes out more and more. He is really a sweet, funny, loving, happy little boy.

So happy 20 months to my little bestie. Much love.