Archive for June, 2009

Farmers Market or Bust

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

One of the things we miss about living in Pittsburgh is our favorite farm market.  When we lived closer to downtown Nashville, we ventured to the big one there several times but haven’t since we moved further away.  We’ve tried one in the town north of us and were frustrated to find little produce and instead lots of handmade soaps, honey and bread.  All of that is fabulous but not what we were looking for.  They have been trying to get one started in our little town but the time we went there were 3 onions, a bell pepper, and some honey.  There is a town about 20 minutes south of us that has a farmers market a couple of days a week.  I decided today was the day I was going to find it.

dsc09582I loaded the girls up and off we went.  Sabrina insisted on wearing a hat since Tessa had one on.  I was anticipating we might be outside roaming around the market for awhile so I put sunscreen on them, packed up drinks and snacks, loaded the big double stroller in the car and away we went.

After driving quite a bit out of the way and turning around, I finally found the it.  Farmers Market may be rather misleading.  It was more of a farmers stand.  There was one older gentleman with a box of onions.  A woman with a few things under a little canopy. And another older gentleman who had a decent spread of stuff.   We got a nice little assortment even if the market wasn’t quite what I envisioned.  Getting really fresh produce is great and I love supporting local farmers.

My total was $7 and he even carried it to my car since I was carrying Tessa and holding Sabrina’s hand.


dsc09642Then, we popped into the Hobby Lobby.  Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that place is possibly even more fun than Michael’s?  I had a grand time – and it seemed like every other aisle was filled with things that were 50% off.  I wanted to replace the wreath on our front door.  There was a cute little one at Target that I thought about but then the neighbor across the street put it on her door.  While wondering the Hobby Lobby, I started thinking about making my own but as I gathered items, it started becoming a rather expensive wreath.  Then I saw a great metal star on clearance…Sabrina said we needed it so who was I to argue?  (I need to move my hook up…it is hanging too low.)

Then since we were right there and Sabrina had been so good in Hobby Lobby, we had to pop over to Bruster’s for some ice cream. A good morning was had by all.


Asian Chicken Slaw

Monday, June 15th, 2009

This is another recipe rerun.  I’ve made this twice in 2 weeks at my husband’s request and it just tastes so yummy in the summer.  This is from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I believe and I’ve only changed the recipe slightly.



1/4 C Rice Vinegar

1/4 C Vegetable Oil

2 T Sugar (Splenda also works well)

1/8 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)

1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles (we like more noodles so I use 2)

2 chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded or cubed. (Cook as you like…I boiled them today but have grilled and baked them in the past.)

2 C shredded cabbage and carrots (coleslaw mix)**

3 or 4 green onions chopped

1/3 C sunflower seeds (out of the shell – unsalted is best)

For dressing whisk together first 4 ingredients and the flavor packet from the ramen noodles.

Cook the ramen noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles in cold water.  Add remainder of ingredients and toss. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again to coat. Put it in the frig for a couple of hours to chill.

**Target didn’t have coleslaw mix today so I substituted broccoli slaw, which is a mixture of shredded broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage.  We actually liked this better – it held up better to the other ingredients and flavors.


2 more things

Friday, June 12th, 2009

toilet-cleaning-gelSoft Scrub Toilet Gels

For a variety of reasons, I thought I would try these gel things.  You use an plunger to stick it to the side of the bowl above the water line. It is supposed to help keep your toilet “clean and fresh”.

The clean part of the claim I’m on the fence about.  If pressed, I would say they probably helped a little.  But the scent is overwhelming.  My bathroom smelled strongly floral for days. I feel about these the same way I feel about a certain femine product: if it is clean you don’t need to worry about making it smell like a spring meadow.

Verdict: Unless they come out with unscented or a less violently floral scented version, I won’t be buying these again.


corn Birdseye Steamfresh Corn.

Corn isn’t something that would deserve a comment in my world.  We rarely eat it.  On the cob – heavenly.  Frozen or canned? Fine but nothing worth discussing.  But I have to say this stuff is the best frozen corn we’ve ever had.  It tastes really close to corn that someone cut off the cob and froze for winter.  It is really fresh tasting.  And my Kroger often has it on sale for $1 a bag.


Those are my (non prompted or compensated) public service annoucements for this Friday morning.  This momma is going out with the girls tonight and attending a neighborhood picnic tomorrow.  I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend.

Gearing up

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Sabrina must have heard the talk…or it is just hard wired in her toddler self.  She will be 3 in a few months.  Everyone talks about the Terrible Twos but most moms know to fear 3.  Sabrina has moments of being spectacularly 2 – but they are thankfully few and far between.  She is an easy, joyful, pleasant child 95% of the time.  We consider ourselves pretty lucky.  But this week, she is showing shades of the year to come.  In the past 2 days, we’ve had 3 screaming, raging fits the likes of which I’ve never seen from her before.  Fortunately, they have all happened at home so I can just put her in her bed to rage until she decides to get a grip.  But I know that sometime in the coming year, I will be that mom in Target geting the looks of pity and disgust.

In Tessa news, she is constantly on the move.  She LOVES to screech and have her sister screech back – it totally cracks her up.  So I work hard to tolerate the screaming screech in the house because I love hearing them laugh together.  Thanks for all of the food suggestions…we’ll give some of it a try.  She sort of enjoys Sabrina’s extended fits because while she is out of commission, Tessa has free reign to play with all of her sister’s toys.


If you look, you can see her 2 teeth on the bottom.  They are razor sharp.


Gag a-go-go

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I’m a pretty laid back momma.  But now and then something comes up and I wonder if maybe I should be worried.  So I ask all of you.

At Tessa’s 9 month pediatrician appointment, he encouraged us to keep working on solids and baby food.  I shared that she didn’t like the Stage 2 foods that had texture.  He suggested we work at small items of table food because sometimes the mixed textures (smooth with tiny pieces) of baby food is weird for babies.  I’ve spent 6 weeks trying.  I give her a couple of gerber puffs everyday.  I’ve tried tiny pieces of cereal, pasta, rice, bread, banana, potato, even bland hummus.  I get the same result every single time.  She spits it back out.  I put it back in her mouth.  She spits it out.  I put it back in.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  If I tuck it back in her cheek so that she can’t spit it out easily, she gags and then throws up the entire contents of her stomach.  A single piece of rice caused a very large puddle of vomit on the floor of a mexican restaurant on Saturday.

Tessa is 10.5 months old.  She tolerates no food that isn’t thoroughly pureed.  Do I worry?  Do I keep trying?  Do I just buy a magic bullet and plan on pureeing her food well into college?  Oh wise internets, please tell me.


A couple of photos…they aren’t great but I’ve been limping along with a broken camera.  I can’t see what I am taking photos of and I can’t change the settings.  Considering that, they aren’t so bad.



Chickpea Salad

Monday, June 8th, 2009

This is a recipe rerun because I made it this morning and forgot how yummy it is. It tastes all fresh and summery. Thanks to momma for the recipe.


Chickpea Salad with Herbs

2 (15-0z) cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/ 4 tsp salt
1/ 4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced

1/ 2 cup red onion, thinly sliced OR 1 bunch green onions sliced

1 Roma tomato diced

Combine all ingredients. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

I prefer it with green onions rather than red. I leave out the tomato because I don’t like tomatoes.  And I use whatever fresh herbs I have on hand – today it was basil, oregano, and parsley.

mouthwateringbutton-1-2-1Click the button to visit Southern Fairy Tail’s Mouthwater Mondays.

2 years ago today

Friday, June 5th, 2009

dsc02654Two years ago today, we were on a jet plane making our way back home from our Guatemalan adventures.  I’m never sure what day we should call our official Family Day.  April 12th is the day we picked Sabrina up and I moved to Antigua with her.  She never left our custody again after that day.  Or June 1st which is the day she became our daughter legally.  Or June 5th the day she stepped onto US soil, became a citizen, and truly came home.  In my head, I mark each anniversary.  Externally, we don’t do anything to mark the occasion other than tell Sabrina the story of what happened that day and why it is significant.

Baby clothes

Friday, June 5th, 2009

dsc09522What is it about baby clothes that turns otherwise logical, rational adults into high pitched cooing puddles?  After 2+ years as a mom, I am pretty good at avoiding really stupid clothing purchases for my children.**  But sometimes one sneaks by me.  At the consignment sale this spring, I remember picking up a sweater set and saying to Steve “Oh look how sweet! And it’s Talbot’s so it is nice quality…and it is only $5!”  I promptly put it in my must have pile of purchases.  What was my internal dialog – “Throw on some ballet flats and it will be perfect if she needs to run into the office for a quick meeting on casual Friday!”? Seriously, a sweater with butterfly appliques and capris.  For an infant.  I only put her in it to punish myself for the stupid purchase.

**If I am buying a gift for your child and am therefore not responsible for dressing said child or laundering said garment, I make no such promises.


Thursday, June 4th, 2009

dsc09505I’m amazed at how little thought was given to outside living in the area where we live.  This is my front porch.  Yes, the whole thing.  Out back we have a 5′x8′ slab of concrete that is in direct sun from noon until sunset so it is unuseable for much of the year.

We had declared the front porch unuseable when we moved in but Sabrina wants to be outside all of the time now.  In front of the porch is a planting area about the same size as the porch.  Into it the builders crammed 5 azaleas (2 of which died last year- which allowed me to plant my herbs), an evergreen bush seen at the end in this photo, 2 bushes I can’t name, and the monster that is right in front of the chair.  I don’t know why they couldn’t see beyond year 1 when they crammed all of that into this little patch of dirt but it is all cramped and crowded and overgrown.  My leases says I can’t make any permanent changes so I haven’t removed anything that is still alive.  In order to fit a chair on my little porch, I had to hack away at the monster bush for days.  But I finally managed to clear away enough to put a chair out and sit so Sabrina can play outside without all of us frying.

dsc09966This success led to Sabrina and Tessa both having their first popsicles.  Sabrina was a big fan. Tessa was less sure what she thought.  And by the way – the slow melt popsicles really do melt more slowly but they are made with some gelatin so the texture is a little weird.


If you are on Facebook with me, you already heard me lamenting my inability to get a decent photo of the girls in their big sister/little sister shirts.  I took 67 photos yesterday.  These are the 2 best.



And that is why I don’t take them to a portrait studio to get professional photos done at this age.

A stupidly smart idea

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

wfmwbannerkristenI never liked iced coffee until I lived in Antigua.  My friend, Seegal, got a slushy coffee drink at Contessa Cafe and it looked pretty good.  After she headed back to the states with her beautiful Abby, I decided to try it one day when it was almost too hot for coffee (if you’ve been to Guatemala, you know the coffee is so good that it is never really too hot).  It was sweet and creamy and yummy – just how I like my coffee.

Fast forward to our bringing Sabrina home (it will be 2 years in 2 days!), we moved to the surface of the sun Nashville.  Some mornings it really is too hot to enjoy coffee.  So I started making iced coffee at home.  After some experimenting, I learned to make the coffee really strong so it would still taste good when the ice melted. I also learned that ice coffee only tastes right when you drink it through a straw.  I don’t know why.

dsc09982This spring, I was reading a novel set in the south.  One woman criticized another woman’s iced tea as too watery (oh no she di’in’t) and suggested she freeze iced tea in ice cube trays so that the ice didn’t water it down.  I was struck with how brillant that was.  Why hadn’t it ever occurred to me to freeze coffee for my iced coffee?  I’m a smart woman but I would have never thought of it.

dsc09983So that is my tip for the day.  Freeze left over coffee (I know, it is a rare thing around here too) in an ice cube tray and use those cubes for enjoying non-watered down iced coffee this summer.  Oh and you can totally do it with your iced tea too.  If all of you are rolling your eyes at me because you thought of this years ago, just pat me on the head and pretend you hadn’t thought of it either.

And warn your husband because he might be really concerned about these weird things in the freezer.

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