08/52

8-52-M

His new favorite food: oranges!

8-52-Z

She had a wildly successful first trip to the dentist! My favorite part: when they were all done and she said “look mom!” and showed me her teeth like I would be able to notice. Her favorite part: she really won them all over and ended up with about 6 special presents from the toy chest. ps. the sunglasses are to protect her eyes from the light.

A New Hobby: Cross-stitch

Do you cross-stitch? Cross-stitching has quickly become my new obsession, my craft of choice. But let me back up. I’ve been feeling a little….well, blah lately. This winter – all the snow, the days stuck inside, the potty training toddler, the many, many leaks we have in our house from ice damns – it’s all just too much. Too much! And I am not one to complain about winter, I certainly prefer the cold weather (coats!) and usually think we don’t get enough snow (to ski!), so, I needed something. Something new to be excited about. A new thing for me to spend all my free time doing (ha, free time meaning the couple hours I have after the kids go to bed before I go to bed or just fall asleep on the couch). I had some books I’d like to read all loaded on my Kindle, but then I’d fall asleep immediately. I have a bunch of great magazine subscriptions, but same problem (I also need more sleep apparently), so my search continued.

cross-stitch-1

Until one day I found it. On marthstewart.com by way of the Loeffler Randall Instagram account run by their Creative Director Jessie. She grammed a photo of a cross-stitch in progress of the face of every child in her son’s class and it really caught my eye. Because I’ve cross-stitched a few times when I was little and always did little kits, and honestly any kit you find ispretty lame. But here, this woman was taking an idea from Martha Stewart where you draw your own patterns on graph paper and then stitch them – adorable! I immediately (well, within a week) ran to the craft store to buy my materials. I decided to buy one of the lame kits to freshen my cross-stitch skills, I picked the one above because I thought a little someone in my house may enjoy having it framed in her room when I’m done (purple!). I’m almost done and it only took 3 nights.

cross-stitch-3
So now I am going to practice creating my own cross-stitch patterns and get to work on a little family portrait, maybe based on our family photos? Who knows! The ideas are endless and are swimming in my head right now. If you’re a member of my family or close friend, watch out – a cross-stitch of yourself may be in your future!

What’s getting you through this winter?

The Best Affordable Striped Shirt

If you’re like me, you have a plethora of striped shirts in your closet. There’s something so simple yet stylish about a striped shirt, am I right? Wear it with jeans while running errands or dress it up with a statement necklace for a night out. In my book, a striped shirt is almost a neutral and pairs well with any bottom – brightly colored pants, denim, and even floral patterns. Now personally, I need another striped shirt like I need a hole in the head, BUT an affordable, decent, quality striped shirt is hard to come by these days. I always went for the shirts at J. Crew, and I don’t know about you, but I find they end up getting tiny holes in them if the material is thin or they pill around the armpits if the materials is thicker. So, when in my travels I always seem to have eyes in the back of my head keeping watch for a good-looking striped shirt.

the-best-striped-shirt

And so the story of this striped shirt is that we were at Target earlier this week and when you’re at Target around 11:30 with a toddler and a baby there is little to no time to be browsing the clothing racks – you have to get in, get what’s on your list, and get out before anyone needs to eat lunch, tinkle, or sees the dollar area. And obviously you should walk a crazy route around the store and avoid the toy aisles at all cost. But, on our way to check out and avoid the dollar area, out of the corner of my eye I spied a great looking striped shirt that I had a gut feeling about and decided immediately I needed it in my closet. I only stopped fast enough to feel the fabric (it’s so soft and thick!), find my size, and throw it on top of our cart. You guys – this is an awesome striped shirt that you need in your closet right now. I love the thickness of the fabric, the scoop neck, and the fabulous exposed zipper in the back – exposed zippers are a favorite of mine.

the-best-striped-shirt-1

And it’s only $23!!!!!!!! It’ll be a great transitional piece from now to spring. Run and get yours before they’re gone (I searched for like 15 minutes on target.com and cannot find this shirt online, maybe it’s in store only? It’s Merona brand)! And no, this is not a sponsored post, I just like to report when I find good deals on great striped shirts.

Roasted Broccoli

roasted-broccoli-1

Maybe I’m the last person to try this, but have you ever roasted broccoli? Broccoli is a family favorite in our house – well, in terms of green vegetables and we usually steam it and serve with a dash of garlic salt. Very good and obviously good for you. In the summer we make a broccoli slaw, we put broccoli in stir fry’s, but I wondered what else we could do with broccoli? Then I thought, gee – we roast so many other vegetable, let’s roast some broccoli? I found a simple recipe on epicurious to get an idea of oven temp, etc… and it came out so great.

roasted-broccoli

Don’t worry if the garlic smells like it’s burning, it caramelizes and tastes great with the browned broccoli. Roasted broccoli feels like a heartier side than our normal steamed broccoli – try it, let me know how you like it!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

mexican-stuffed-peppers-4

Stuffed peppers are (and always have been) one of my favorite winter meals. You stuff a green pepper with rice that’s mixed with ground beef, tomato sauce, maybe some corn. Yum. My mom made these a lot when we were little and I have continued the tradition on our house and now it’s one of Z’s favorite meals (well, she eats the filling but not the pepper). I had the idea over the weekend to add a Mexican spin to our stuffed pepper dinner this week so I thought I’d share with you what I did.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

4 large peppers of any color (I used yellow and orange because why not?), cored
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 C cooked brown rice
1 C frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
s&p
1 1/2 C tomato sauce

mexican-stuffed-peppers-1

Boil peppers for about 5 minutes until slightly soft, set aside in a baking dish. Saute your onions and garlic until translucent then add your turkey. Once cooked add the rice, corn, and black beans and cook until heated through. Mix in cumin and salt & pepper followed by the tomato sauce.

mexican-stuffed-peppers-2

Fill peppers with mixture and spoon any remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Cover tops of peppers with remaining 1/2C of sauce.

mexican-stuffed-peppers-5

Bake for 30 to 4o minutes at 350 degrees. I love this Mexican spin on a classic stuffed peppers recipe. Enjoy!

Spring Craft Classes

 

hand-painted-vase-1

I am so excited to share with you the schedule of my craft classes this fall! This term I’m doing a 3-class series called Handmade Tuesdays with Jess. Click here to sign up for all 3 classes and save! Below you can read the catalog description of each class and click through to sign up for individual classes. All classes are taught at Arlington High School in Arlington, MA. Can’t wait to see you in class!

Hand-painted Glass Vase
Tuesday, April 7 7-9pm

Glass painting is fun and simple if you know how. Join master crafter Jess as she leads you through prepping and painting a clear glass vase, perfect as a gift or for your own windowsill, with light shining through. All materials will be provided. You’ll be able to paint your vase free-hand or use stencils and painter’s tape for a more precise design. Then make more vases at home once you learn the technique. Please bring an additional $10 materials fee to instructor at class.

 

Handmade Jewelry
Tuesday, April 14 6:30-8:30pm

Try your hand at making something more demure than a statement necklace. Learn how to make delicate handmade jewelry this spring with Jess. Each student will make two pieces of jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, or one of each). Please bring your own needle-nose pliers to class if you have them. Please bring additional $16 materials fee to instructor at class.  Children over the age of 9 are welcome to register when accompanied by an adult.

 

Handmade Mother’s Day Cards
Tuesday, April 28 7-9pm

In May 2014 one of Jess’s handmade cards appeared in Martha Stewart Living magazine, in fact it was a card she made for her own mother! Come make this “Martha Stewart Approved” Mother’s Day card, and create two additional cards using rubber stamps, washi tape, embossing powder and more. Please bring scissors suitable for cutting paper and a $10 material fee. Children over the age of 9 are welcome to register when accompanied by an adult.

Toddler Craft Project – Valentine’s Day Pasta Necklace

For this month’s toddler craft project I had to do something for Valentine’s Day. I thought it would be cute to put together pasta necklaces that the kids can either wear themselves or give to someone they love like, I don’t know – their moms! And to add an extra level of craftiness to this craft I thought it would be cute to paint the pasta in red, pink, and white to make them even more appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Now, we have about a dozen kids at 1 kitchen table doing these craft projects every month so having them paint the beads was not going to happen so I painted them ahead of time. But, if your toddler/child is old enough the first step in this project can be for them to paint the pasta.

valentines-day-pasta-necklace-1

For pasta I used ziti, ditalini (the tiny ones), and rigatoni (not pictured).

valentines-day-pasta-necklace-2

I used regular craft paint in red, pink, and white.

valentines-day-pasta-necklace-3

And painted each bead – you can roll the smooth pasta shapes in the paint but for a noodle like rigatoni you’ll have to paint each one to get in the grooves.

valentines-day-pasta-necklace-4

Once dry, string on yarn with a store-bought heart beads and voila – an adorable Valentine’s Day Pasta Necklace for your loved one!

 

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Other than these Valentine’s Day Rice Krispie treats, I haven’t gotten my act together this year to do a proper Valentine’s Day project to share with you so I thought I’d do a round up of all my favorite projects that I’ve shared over time so you can be inspired to make your Valentine something special this year!

valentines-day-cookies-8

Valentine’s Day cookies made from a cookie cutter as big as your head – YUM!

flowers4

A centerpiece to decorate your kitchen table.

Valentines-day-gift-guide

Gift Guide,

DSC_0620-1

…or send an Edible Valentine gift this year,

valentines-day-card-3

…or a hilarious Valentine’s Day Gift of Kisses.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!