Thursday, March 31, 2011

sing for your supper

The title of the cookbook on top of the pile pretty much sums it up: when Matt gets home from work it's time for dinner.  In order to be prepared for his growling stomach I do some list making nearly every Friday.  I start out by flipping through my recipe binder, recipe box, and any cookbooks I plan on using during the next week.  Some of my favorites are Time for DinnerMake Ahead: Food Made Fast, and Everday Italian.
I reference this handy guide that I tore out of an old issue of Real Simple to decide on one or two pasta dishes each week.  I'm fond of brown butter and sage combinations and, lucky for me, Matt isn't a big fan of sage so I get to eat it all.  
This week it was cheese ravioli with butternut squash sauce (not from the guide) on Monday night, and I have plans to make a giant batch of gravy (that's tomato sauce to those of you who aren't married to an Italian living in the Cranston-Johnston region) using my mother-in-law's recipe.  I made enough for four pounds of pasta, so I'll store it in the freezer in separate plastic containers for use in the coming weeks.
My recipe box is filled with clippings from magazines, cards from Whole Foods and other stores, and scribbled notes on scraps of paper.     
After I select my recipes I pencil them onto this notepad (referenced here as well), mixing up the meals so we have a variety throughout the week.  This week is a bad example, but usually we have different types of main dishes Sunday through Thursday (pork, beef, chicken, pasta, fish, or vegetarian) and Friday ends up being leftover night.  I leave Saturdays blank because inevitably something will come up during the week and one of the meals will get bumped.  Another thing I left off of this week's menu is the place to find the recipe - typically I'll write 'binder' or 'TFD' (Time for Dinner) next to the meal, as well as sides like mashed potatoes and green beans.  Then I write out my grocery list using the recipes as a guide.  Any other helpful hints?  I'm always looking for ways to streamline the process that is getting dinner on the table!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

bare walls

'Bare' is the only way to describe nearly every wall in our house.  I've talked about this before but still really haven't done anything to remedy the problem.  Here are some ideas from around the internet that I'm thinking of replicating for our home... 
punch collage via Ali Edwards.  maybe stars for Ezra's room.
log cabins via martha. for the living room, over our couch.
message board via moxie home. for the craft room.
portraits via Eden Lang. for the living room.
chevron on canvas via decor8. for the dining room.
Recommendations for affordable wall art, either DIY ideas or for purchase, are welcome!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

smooth move

(images by Grant Cornett for Real Simple)
Now that spring is here I can't wait to begin making lots of smoothies with fresh fruit again.  I love these smoothie ideas from last month's issue of Real Simple.  First on my list to try are the mangokale-apple, and raspberry and nut smoothies.  Whole Living also has some tasty looking smoothie recipes, like avocado pear.  What are your favorite combinations?

Monday, March 28, 2011


(image via etsy seller onneke)

This week I'm instituting a new daily plan inspired by a conversation with Jaclyn and a post on balance by Liz. Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom to Ezra and wife to Matt (ok, so I already was his wife, but now I'm a stay-at-home wife), I want to make the most out of my day.  I don't want to be stuck with my mouth hanging open when people ask me what I do all day, but most importantly, each day I want to feel like I've been productive and spent my time in a worthwhile way.  First things first: I need to be fed spiritually.  For me, that means being in the Word, spending time in prayer, and listening to worship music.  That's priority number one.  Next, I need to do something physical.  Most days that means a walk outside with Ezra in the Moby or some yoga.  Home maintenance is on the list, too, so cooking, cleaning, and organization are a part of my day as well.  Liz also listed creative, outdoors, and education on her daily to do list.  Education is taken care of by the sixteen or so books I'm always reading at any given time.  Outdoors will get easier to check off now that the weather is warming up in Rhode Island.  Ezra and I can go for walks or I can bring a blanket outside so we can play or eat lunch in our yard.  Creative is the one area that I want to work on incorporating more often.  There are so many sewing, crafting, and home DIY projects I want to complete that if I try to do them all in the time Ezra sleeps at night before I go to bed too I'll be working on them until 2012.  And that doesn't include any projects I may decide to do this week.  So here's to prioritization and finding balance in the day-to-day.  What's on top of your to do list each day?       

Friday, March 25, 2011

happy weekend

(image via a vintage poster)

This weekend is low key - a LLL meeting and mom & baby yoga at the motion center today, dinner and a game of Settlers of Catan with Amanda and Jared on Saturday, and accompanying Matt on a photo shoot on Sunday.  Do you have anything fun planned?  Now prepare yourself - this week's link list is super long.
- pretty soon I'll be making baby food
- a sweet fill-your-own tote bags favor
- these tips for making your house feel like a home are spot on
- down with diets
- I'm loving Joanna'a hair tutorials
- I wish I had some Pantone chips lying around so I could make these
- what a funny board game!
- the perfect DIY ottoman for any room
- mmm... yumbots
- I want to replicate this chalkboard door in my hallway
- must make lots of these bracelets to wear this summer
- how to host a girls' day in complete with gum drops
- how to make a market tote
- a capiz shell chandelier for $9!
pomegranate sparkling water sounds refreshing, doesn't it?
- Jordan's zig zag streamers look super easy!
- I like this cool concept for a child's bed
this room is adorable for a little girl
Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

thirty-one virtues

(image via red fish photos)

I once heard that Shirley Dobson wrote a prayer for her two children every morning.  I remember being impressed by such a commitment and wanting to give the gift of prayer (both on behalf of them and taught to them) to my children as well.  Since giving birth to Ezra my dedication to prayer is stronger than ever, so I was excited when my friend Jaclyn sent this list of Biblical virtues my way.  There are thirty-one virtues, one for each day of the month.  I'm looking forward to praying for Ezra to develop these qualities as he grows and matures.  How do you pray for your children?

Humility – pray for the willingness to submit (James 4:10)
Reverence – pray for the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10)
Purity – pray for a desire to be clean (Matthew 5:8)
Purpose – pray for the wisdom to set goals (Proverbs 4:25)
Simplicity – pray for an uncluttered lifestyle (Romans 12:8)
Commitment – pray for dedication to the “cause” (Joshua 24:15)
Diligence – pray for a willingness to work hard (2 Peter 1:5)
Servanthood – pray for a ministry of helps (Galatians 6:9-10)
Consistency – pray for a quality of faithfulness (James 1:8)
Assurance – pray for depth of faith (Hebrews 10:22)
Availability – pray for a willingness to go (Isaiah 6:8)
Loyalty – pray for a zeal for fidelity (Ruth 1:16)
Sensitivity – pray for openness of heart (Luke 10:30-37)
Compassion – pray for love to be exhibited in action (Mark 8:1-2)
Tenderness – pray for a willingness to weep (2 Kings 22:19)
Maturity – pray for the capacity to grow (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Holiness – pray for Christ-like behavior (1 Peter 1:16)
Reliability – pray for a depth of dependability (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Revelation – pray for the ability to listen (Ephesians 1:15-18)
Denial – pray for a spirit of sacrifice and surrender (Luke 9:23)
Confidence – pray for a spirit of boldness (Philippians 4:13)
Integrity – pray for a quality of truthfulness (Romans 12:17)
Repentance – pray for a willingness to change (Luke 3:8)
Trust – pray for fearless reliance (Psalm 125:1)
Submission – pray for a willingness to yield (Ephesians 5:21)
Teachability – pray for a quality of meekness (Titus 3:2)
Prayer – pray for a longing to wait (Isaiah 40:31)
Unity – pray for a respect for others (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Restoration – pray for a ministry of healing (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Authority – pray for a capacity to command (Matthew 16:19)
Generosity – pray for the desire to give (Matthew 10:8)

[adapted from the Modern Day Joseph blog]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

wee woodland

Another quilt in the works using Wee Woodland fabric...
probably sized for a crib or floor play quilt
It will probably be the first quilt listed in my shop!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

operation cardigan

(image via you are my fave)
Last week I read about Melanie's completion of what she called operation cardigan and immediately thought her more brilliant than before.  I decided to embark on my own operation cardigan with the eighteen cardis that are currently hanging in my closet between my button-down shirts and Matt's dress pants.  There are some favorites (hello, green cardigan) and some that leave much to be desired.  In about eighteen days I should be able to determine the keepers.  I'll leave you with this quote from Notting Hill - "Ooh! Sexy cardi!"  No, it doesn't make any sense when taken out of context like that, but it always makes me laugh.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 21, 2011


So. Pinterest.  Are you as obsessed as I am?  If you don't know what Pinterest is then I suggest you go check it out immediately.    
For me, it's the perfect place to catalog all my favorite party ideas, recipes, and things I want to make in one place.  Now I don't have to scroll through hundreds of bookmarks to find that new quilt pattern, yummy recipe, or way to create a felted ball garland.  
If you want, you can follow me here and request an invite so you can start pinning your own inspirational images.

Friday, March 18, 2011

happy weekend

Hooray! My first crocus popped through the soil yesterday!

Three things I love about this weekend - visiting Ari & Matt tomorrow for dinner, free Italian ice at Rita's in North Providence (Find one near you!), and then family fellowship night at church on Sunday.
Here are my favorite finds from this week...
- if I was still teaching I would totally do this for my students on St. Patrick's Day
- healthy change number eleven
- my new resource for all manner of deliciousness
- if I didn't have a black thumb I would keep succulents like these all over my house
- another reason why I wish I knew how to crochet
- a yummy looking dish to try next week
- I bought myself a little present and even better, my purchase supports relief efforts in Japan

If you live in Rhode Island I hope you enjoy the nice weather we're expecting!  See you Monday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

my little leprechaun

Ezra is a quarter Irish so naturally he had to wear green today in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  Tomorrow night we're going to my mom and dad's house for corned beef and cabbage - yum!  If you're in need of some baked Irish deliciousness, check out last year's post from March 17th, complete with my great-grandmother's recipe for Irish soda bread.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

new use for an old thing

(image via bluebirdheaven)
Have you heard of a California job box?  I hadn't, although there was one hanging in the kitchen of the house where I grew up.  I learned from my dad that its original use as compartmentalized wooden tray was to store all the little metal letter stamps used in a printing press.  
My mom used to have one filled with miniatures, which are basically tiny little dollhouse accessories, but it made its way into the attic years ago.  She recently took it back out and is now using hers to store all manner of thread.
Kimberly Canale suggests using one to display placecards at an event and has a DIY on her blog.
Etsy seller BlueBirdHeaven creates beautiful jewelry displays out of them.
I love these inventive ways of repurposing... find your own California job box on ebay.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

lovely love

Just had to share this shot taken by Keri (of Quaint & Quirky) of our family at our friends' wedding last month.  It may be hard to believe, but we are not coordinating on purpose.  I was the maid (I know, technically I was the matron) of honor so I'm wearing my prescribed outfit, Matt is wearing what I consider his Sunday best (a J.Crew suit and tie from Laura & Ed's wedding last summer), and Ezra is wearing his only button-down shirt, so we're basically matching out of necessity.  Can't say that I mind.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Why is it that my first thought when I saw this bouquet was that I wanted to eat it?  What a delicious way to start off the week.

via The Sweetest Occasion via elizabeth anne designs

Friday, March 11, 2011

happy weekend

(image via 20x200)

This weekend I'm excited to do nothing with Matt and Ezra and then spend some time with the girls from our youth group and the other leaders, Amanda, Jackie, and Missy.  We're going to drink lemonade and eat cupcakes - yum!  Now for some things I enjoyed around blogland this week...    

- some tips for moms who quilt
- what a sweet gift idea!
- a way to make a rainbow chip cake without buying a box of Funfetti
- must pick up a copy of this magazine 
glittery cookies.  what more is there to say?
- this week's healthy change
- a floating house, just like Up!
this is making me hungry
what to do with stale cookies
- loving this quilt and working on a similar one
- just discovered seeds
- I love this rainbow baby shower
- a heart-shaped tea set
- I want to make cute mini apps  like these
- a healthy snack I want to try this weekend
- and finally, the anatomy of a cupcake

image by youngna park

Thursday, March 10, 2011

how to be an artist

My mom had this poem printed for me on a piece of wall art that was created by my cousin when I graduated from high school.  I wanted to write a post about it so that I never forget it.  My favorite lines are "giggle with children" and "listen to old people."
By Sark

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

babies love presents

A friend of mine is due with her first baby, a girl, next month.  I sent these gifts along with a friend to her shower in New York.  Each one is made with Alexander Henry's mod dot fabric in aubergine.
Amy Butler's snuggie wrap blanket, from Little Stitches for Little Ones.  See the snuggie I made for Ezra here.
a stack of burp cloths made out of cloth diapers
a tiny appliquéd onesie
and a little bird
I think I went a little overboard on the mod dot but I was on a roll.  Hopefully the baby girl and her mama get a lot of use out of these!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

anthropologie photo documentation

 As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I visited my new local Anthropologie on the day it opened, February 25th.  This post is for those of you who haven't made the trip yet.  Eye candy was everywhere, as you can imagine.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves (for the most part) ...  
a cork and thread installation
shelves lined with green glass jars serving as miniature topiaries
This wall reminds me of my Valentine's Day gift to Matt
a bucket of pinwale alphabet letters
 an antique Parisian bench, actually for sale!  I think it was $1200...
 check out that Rhode Island pillow!
a detail shot of the wall art featured above the bed
 one shelf of the tiny kids' section
And finally, Ezra, who was a good sport as we explored the store.
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