Thursday, August 31, 2006

smart mama crumb detective

There are crumbs in our bed! Smart daddy-o said accusingly (as if I was to blame because you all know smart mama does is eat bon bons (and i guess crummy foods) all day in bed) Really I told him- I haven’t eaten anything in our bed (on your side!)- when would I have the time for that- it’s one thing when I am sick and pregnant and spend the majority of hours in the bed- but not now- and I certainly don’t feed the boys their lunch in our bed or anything. I was tired and ready to sleep- I had already taken out my contacts and put up my glasses so I couldn’t look to inspect but I ventured a hand to attempt crumb identification-- I had to clear my good name and solve the mystery of the bed crumbs. It took a little deduction but I figured it out- Smart baby of course was the culprit- smart daddy-o (is a good man) takes him and smart son down for breakfast and allows smart mama a few more precious morsels of sleep (although it usually isn’t really sleep- it’s a few more minutes to wake up slowly and organize my brain before I start full steam into my day) Then he brings the boys back up to our room, says good bye and leaves for work-. So this is who the crime played out- the crumbs I deduced were blueberry muffin breakfast remnants which clung to the jammie folds (when smart daddy-o fed him unbibbed) and seat of the jammies and were then transported upstairs and subsequently deposited on smart daddy-o’s side of the bed- Mystery solved.

And when they finally create a mommy network- programming entirely focused on the exotic and alluring world of motherhood- I am hoping to get my own riveting prime time show- Smart Mama Detective- (Through my snappy deduction I could do things like identify mysterious substances, stains, and explain with mathematical models and trajectories how each of those scrapes, bruises and abrasions appear on children, solve household crimes- I am telling you my expertise is second to none!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

vigilante "nature" justice

Speaking of sn*kes on a plane- Its just the sort of bizarre idea smart son would come up with (if he had a dark bent). He likes to harness the power of nature to right the wrongs of the world through his own smart brand of vigilante justice- For instance the other day, in the car he was plotting against the melaleuca tree (a subject on which I had little knowledge and forced to Google to catch up to smart son on) For any other unmelaleuca savvy readers- the tree is particularly hearty and has been responsible for much damage to the south Florida ecosystem- there are aggressive programs in place to remove the trees) He explained to us that he was going to capture large quantities of tent caterpillars and Japanese beetle bugs and unleash them on the melaleuca tree. (These are the “bad plant bugs” he has had experience with) also he said he’d throw in some velvet ants, cowkiller ants, boll weevils, termites, boring worms, bees, wasps and yellow jackets (I think just to "rough-up" the neighborhood so to speak and isolate the melaleuca from all "good" creature society

He also has great natural means for solving problems- see we have some giant weeds- (well they are almost small trees now- that’s what happens when you vacation for a month and don’t have lawn service) and smart son said instead of struggling to pull them up we could use a targeted attack of termites to do the job for us. He also had a relocation plan for flies and fruit flies. How he intends to carry out this Herculean feat setting out a tempting trap of rotting fruit in jar to attract all the local flies/fruit flies etc. which could then be covered (with a napkin and rubber band), and taken to some remote location where they could be released causing us no further annoyance. He had also heard about a type of cockroach that eats garbage. He told me I’d really like that kind and that we could just have a sort of compost cockroach habitat and could cut out trash service altogether- saving time and $- it would also solve the problem of smart baby playing in the trash.

And in honor of all that is random, today we made this cake. As you know it doesn’t take much to talk me into making and eating a cake. Smart son informed me today was the birthday of the stuffed rattlesnake- so i give you snakes on a cake.

Friday, August 25, 2006

just do it

Sometimes planning fun family things seems like a lot of work- there is scheduling, organizing, loading, schlepping, etc. but when it comes down to it, its great and worth it (ok usually worth it) The other day smart daddy-o forgot to take back some library stuff on his way to work- so instead of just loading the boys and going to do the return, I planned a fun outing. We met smart daddy-o at the park on his way home from work, had a picnic and the boys played, we went to the library and checked out new stuff. Then walked from the library to Dairy Queen for my favorite a small chocolate ice cream in a cup with chocolate dip. And then walked back and went home- It was relatively cheap simple fun. I am really glad we did it. I can already tell the days are getting shorter, the afternoon shadows are getting long, and the weather is starting to cool. Summer will soon be gone. So my advice today- enjoy the seasons of your life while you are in them because they will pass all too quickly and we’ll only look back and wish we enjoyed them more while we had them.

one of the greatest dinners

I feel it my moral obligation to share this recipe-For the good of all who read-It is one of my boys favorite dinners—Penne Arrabiata (ala roommate Lauren C.- although if you know me, you know full well I modify every recipe to my own liking so this has undergone revisions and is quite forgiving and flexible) This qualifies as a great dinner on numerous fronts
1. It is fast- whole thing start to finish in under 25 minutes
2. The ingredients are staples, things you have kicking around and so something you can make spur of the moment –no advance planning needed
3. It is so yummy- one of smart son’s favorite foods
4. It is cheap—Really to serve 4- probably costs $1- $1.50

So here it goes

Penne Arrabiata- serves 6
8 oz. Penne pasta
1 can diced tomatoes (I like the petite diced best)
6 cloves of garlic or 1 TBSP. chopped garlic in jar
1 medium onion chopped
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 t. or less of crushed red pepper flakes (vary this depending on how spicy you like it.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, Sautee until onions are clear. Add tomatoes simmer for 20 min.

Meanwhile- Cook and drain pasta. Toss tomato mixture with penne. Top with fresh parmesan or mozzarella cheese-

** and of course serve with some goodgarlic bread- may I recommend the ecce panis semolina batard with homemade garlic butter


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

i love billy- some great eye candy

billy bookcases that is, from IKEA- they are cheap, easy to assemble and hold a multitude of things-- yes I will proudly admit to owning 4 billy bookcases--

even better than the bookcase itself- is the BILLY BYOM door (which can be put on billy bookcases to hide the shelf contents)- seriously i got 4 of them this weekend and they rock my world- turning this- into this-

sadly i'd take this kind of eye candy anyday- as a mom it is a constant war on clutter- nothing makes me more excited than reducing visual clutter- seriously i could stare at those doors all day

anything to hide the tattered cookbook edges, ratty church books, lesson manuals and all the unaesthetically pleasing, although highly useful items. they have taken my office a step closer to the idealized magazine- office (where everything matches, coordinates, all papers are the same size and color)

(they normally look a little better- but i loaned some of my "cool decorations" to stage my friends house that is for sale- but you get the picture)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Child noise canceling headset

I have to say I love our Bose noise canceling headsets- but what I think and even better seller would be the child noise canceling headset- What prompted this you ask? I am the mother of a shrieker- yes smart baby in the last 2 weeks has been an intense shrieker/wailer (he has always been quite expressive, but I must say his verbal exuberance has reached a new fervor and can now be officially described as earsplitting, grating, and deafening-
I used to see (or rather) hear those parents and say man how do they stand that- well the answer is you don't--I dream now of a 24 hr period with no wailing, shrieking, whining- I'll take that noisy airline racket anyday...
So if you are in a crowded place and you hear a baby wailing and shrieking- it might just be us!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Favorite Things- Virginia Edition

1. My parents house- I love the view, it is so peaceful and relaxing, always good food, and someone to get up with your kids and let you sleep in, and more flora and fauna than smart son can take in, pear trees, chokecherries, snakes, skinks, deer, bunnies, groundhogs, luna moths, birds, frogs, bats

2. Ukrops chocolate frosted donuts- hands down the best in the world

3. It is home- my house is in Massachusetts but the place that truly makes my heart feel at home is Virginia

4. Friends- I love to go there because it is where many great people are, people who are amazing examples, mentors, and friends. And there is always a party to be a had: a shower, a wedding, a birthday soiree, a dinner party.

5. Family- my parents, aunt and uncle, grandmother

6. Southern gentility- people wave you in when you drive in traffic, say ma'am and sir, and exchange pleasantries

7. Lush green, things just grow there- magnolia trees, blooming flowers

8. It has everything- beaches, mountains

9. Fun places- charlottesville, williamsburg, richmond, northern Va, Va beach

10. Fun luncheon spots, resteraunts, boutiques

Friday, August 18, 2006

to be young again

Today, I was driving in Boston- it was a clear summer day, tons of sailboats out on the Charles River and I kept passing college age couples walking along the river. And for that moment I wished I one of them, not middle aged mom, attempting to keep the viva burrito from getting all over my clothes while enduring a chorus of shrieking from the back seat, as I navigated serious construction traffic and explained to smart son why eating salsa in the car isn’t wise. It was a blissful summer afternoon inviting you to soak in all the vibrance of the city: the views, the trees, the breeze, the sparkling water. Sadly, it was an invitation I had to decline, I just couldn’t spend another 20$ to park and stroll aimlessly with my tired troops. I think Boston is a great city, everytime I am there I just want to get out and walk. To walk without worrying about time, without a specific destination, to hang out in the freedom of youth- free from schlepping and potty breaks, free diaper bags and snacks- something you never truly appreciate until it is gone. I adore my life and my boys – but you get nostalgic for those good old summer afternoons-to be young and in love.

Monday, August 14, 2006


well i made it home- smart son was engrossed in the animal planet and the jet blue tv screens, smart baby was less entranced and has taken to very loud shrieking- i was glad to be in the last row! It was so nice to come home to a clean house- thanks to smart daddy-o- i got all unpacked now- it is slogging through the 1 months worth of mail pile up but, i had to give you a brief shameless snapshot showoff from beach vacation-spending time with family reminds me how much i love mine-

Sunday, August 13, 2006

wedding extravaganza

Well my “will travel” wedding gig is done, the final chapter in my month long vacation and I am on my way home!. Lindsay, sister of one of my dearest friends, Chelsea (who is one glam, talented, super mom), and daughter of my dear friend Suz (one of the craziest women I know) was getting married and I was doing the flowers and cakes-- and I am happy to report it all came off with only a few minor incidents...

I did 17 arrangements, 19 corsages and boutonnieres and 5 bouquets using lisianthus, bouvardia, roses (5 varieties), football mums, fuji mums, snapdragons, larkspur, tuberose, glads, wax flower, curly willows, day lilies, godetia, bells of ireland, stock, field hydrangeas, salal, coin plant, bear grass, seeded eucalyptus, & sorghum. My favorite was this giant urn arrangement we affectionately termed the "New york hotel lobby" arrangement it was 4 feet tall and over a yard wide!
Special thanks to great friends who put themselves at my beck and call (kim, debra, kelsey, and auri), who cheerfully obliged in the tasks of greening down vases, stripping roses, keeping me company, and occupying my troops. The greatest catastrophe was when I turned the corner onto my parents road after my 30 min drive back from the flower market and all 6 buckets tipped in domino fashion, sending gallons on flower water all over my moms van, (which required a serious intervention -2 shop vacs and numerous fans).

After finishing the flowers, I assembled the grooms cake and began the wedding cake,in the great company of one of my other favorite friend, Jennifer (she and her 2 kids have been spending the night at my parents with us, as her husband was away on high adventure- she is like a sister and she gets incredibly funny when it is late). She was a part of many of the preparations leading up to the cake assembly including the “great frosting color matching night”- see her with our 24 cup vat of green frosting-and note the great match with the bridesmaids' dresses--she is also a frosting and cake taster extra ordinaire) I did learn when using green frosting all layers must be frosting virtually simultaneously to maintain an even color- as the more it dries the deeper the color gets- this require a speedy sat am refrost of the entire cake and full assembly before transport something I never do - many potential cake tragedies flash before your eyes as you hold wobbling 4 layer cake on your lap in the Virginia August heat.

It was a was a gorgeous reception and so fun to see so many old friends and of course- eat cake!

And like Mary Poppins when my work here is finished, I must leave. I must return to my normal life- bills, cleaning, real life responsibilities. It has been a great trip- I will miss sleeping in while my parents get up with my kids, playing with my old friends, visiting with family, doing so many fun things, and most of all seeing how much my boys love being with their grandparents.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly

In a few days I will return my vacation to my regularly scheduled blogging- as for now- I continue the wedding extravaganza and, helping smart son identify the extensive flower and fauna at my parents house, and tending to a million other details- thanks for being patient- will have an ample supply of vacation, wedding, new cakes, fun with friends, and recent project stuff to blog by Saturday!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Week in Heaven

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingDid you miss me? I am back from an absolutely perfect week . You know I like to work hard- but truth be told I like to play even harder- even outrageous heat indexes of 105+ didn't dampen it in the least. If you have never been to the Outer Banks in North Carolina it is a must- it is a very narrow strip of land less than a mile across in most spots- the sound is on one side and the ocean on the other. It is the one place I can truly 100% relax and would live if I only had a couple million dollars. Here are some of the best parts of my week...
1- the pool- smart son finally decided he was ready to jump in and swim underwater by himself and is now a total fish! Smart baby was so relaxed he liked to take naps in the pool in his floaty innertube. Smart mama and smart daddy-o enjoyed countless hours of languid swimming and relaxing in the hot tub.
2- the beach- we enjoyed much fun beach/ocean frolicking, evening beach walks, the catching of ghost crabs, sand fleas, and some other jellyfish like creatures, shell gathering, dolphin watching.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
3- the house- I will blog more later about "Arthur" the great home we stayed in, but I will touch upon my special favorites here-- the jacuzzi tub, which is giant and which I loved to sit in and watch movies when the little ones were asleep, the ice maker at the bar which makes the perfect shaped ice, the heat lamps in the bathroom which warm you perfectly when you get out of the shower, the decks which I love to sit out on at night a look at the stars and listen to ocean, the floor plan which is party perfect! The totally amazing views. The screened eating deck when smart son enjoyed countless hours of "talking about animals" with my brother- in- law the wildlife biologist.
4- Jockey's ridge- giant sand dunes that are so fun to climb on and provide a little taste of Egypt,
5. Corolla- lighthouse and outer banks wildlife center.
6. The annual T-shirt purchase- it is a family tradition to get a t-shirt from Duck, NC- they have great beach shops where you pick a shirt and decal and design your own heat transfer shirt
7. Catching crabs on the sound- as you know I love to paint crabs, catching them is equally fun- a chicken leg on a string throw it in the water and in about 1 min you feel a tug pull it up, grab a net, and you have a crab. It is one of my favorite beach activities. (Right by the pier were chokecherry bushes so there were also 2 chokecherry picking extravaganzas)
8. Date night dinner at the Blue Point- okay seriously hands down best restaurant I have ever eaten at in my life- It is one restaurant I always splurge on- it is so good you can't get in without reservations, made weeks in advance- but seriously the food is to die- so savory it makes you realize how pallid your standard fare is.
9. Walking- I loved the 5 min. walk to the beach, to the pool, to the pier, into the village for dinner and shops. It is the kind of place that invites you to walk, its just so perfect. There is something to leaving you shoes at the end of the boardwalk, spraying off as you head back to the house.
10. Family and food- yes warm cookies, ice cream, fresh cooked meals, cold drinks and great company.
11. Stops at Sonic and Pierce's BBQ on the way to and from, and a stop at the Williamsburg pottery (to buy 17 frames for my art)