December 9, 2009

December 3, 2009

My Garden

Lotta, from Lottas Trätdgård, asked me about my garden, what must be forever ago.  I went outside and took some lovely photos.  Which, I have to say, just seemed pretty dreary in late October, but now that it is December, it looks so warm and inviting.  It just a lesson, I need to learn, love the place and time that you are in, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.  I’m sure the heavy cold drops of rain that are falling tonight will be nostalgic at some point in my life…well maybe.

Lotta, so you know, I live in a new housing development, so everything from the grass, and even some of the dirt has been brought in over the last three years, much of it by my husband and myself.  Now that I’ve said that, I’m pretty happy.  There is a TON of more work to do, but it is coming along and starting to come together.  So here is the peak at my garden.



PS the birch gives me a taste of home, I hope to have two more in the upcoming years.

December 1, 2009

My Husband Called Me a Geek

While I was reading some blog about Donny Osmond on Dancing with the Stars, I was lead to a link on Hulu.  Hulu?  What is that?  It's cable for your computer.

I don't know about you, but I really can't stand to watch TV these days.  My favorite day is Wednesday because I can watch NCIS on USA.  Otherwise there really isn't a lot on.  There is V, but I'm forgetting to TIVO it, then there is Desperate Housewives, but otherwise, I'm just flipping around just trying to find something with a storyline.

So today, I found Hulu.  It’s a website that offers tons of shows for free, and return you have to sit through a couple of 30 second commercials.  Honestly I don’t think there are two minutes worth of commercials.  There are tons of shows to click on, such as the pilot for V that I missed the first critical 15 minutes.  I'm going to watch it, but today I watched a Lou Grant episode.  It was great.  I loved looking at the dial telephones, metal desks, and the 70's cars driving by and in fact I enjoyed storyline.  Next time Monday or Tuesday rolls around and I want to watch some TV and WWF is on instead of NCIS, I am tuning into Hulu.  So, my husband has called me a geek for watching 70's and 80's programming.  What  can I say, I'm a child of the 70's and the 80's.  I’m sure I will be watching RhodaMary Tyler Moore or even 21 Jump Street down the road.

PS my husband is watching Lou Grant right now, who really is the geek?

November 28, 2009

Chocolate Balls

Got to love Swedish chocolate balls, they are a no-bake, kid friendly dessert.  The kids can help, and you are done in minutes.  Pumpkin jumped out of her skin when I asked her if she wanted to make a batch.




They turned out great, but I think I may try margarine instead of butter, because the sprinkles just don’t stick like the should.

November 24, 2009

The Debate

So I have three kids, I talk about them in my blog, but I'm not comfortable using their names.  So I have been calling them Pumpkin, Sport, and Tiger, which my husband loves.  However, according to the blogging experts, people would rather read real names, so I have been contemplating pseudonyms.  Some of the choices are Kirsten, Nina, Han, Leif, or Daniel. 

So, now I come to you for advice.  Should I keep the nicknames or should I rename my children?  If you choose to rename them what name do you like the best?

November 17, 2009

Things That I Love!

Every once in a while you just come across things that you love and you want to share them, what better place than a blog.  This weekend, I came across an idea I just love opposed to an item, it’s going to sound corny, but it’s Title IX.

Let me explain, I have a daughter who loves soccer.  She is good at it and doesn’t think twice that she isn’t as good as anyone else, no matter what their gender is.  Pumpkin knows that she has a shot to play soccer for a long time if she wants to, there is no doubt in her mind.  In contrast, when I grew up, if there was a boys high school team, there probably wasn’t an equivalent girls soccer team, because my generation was just receiving the benefits of Title IX.  Now, I didn’t mind, while I grew up, I really just didn’t notice it.  I occurred to me recently while watching my daughter play.  I realized one of the reasons I didn’t continue playing after 7th grade was because there just weren’t any teams to play on.  All the Rec boys went on to high school sports, and there wasn’t a pitch for the girls to join.  Never mind enough girls to make a team, since we all played co-ed at the time.  I’ll say it’s still not perfect, but the girls have access to the locker rooms, the coaches, the weight rooms, the fields, and a number of other things that weren’t guaranteed before and they all do so well.

Which leads me to this weekend.  Pumpkin and I drove to Columbus, to watch our local High School Varsity Girls Soccer Team win the State Championships.  It was an inspiration, these girls owned the field, they played tough and there was no question that they belonged there.  I just want to thank everyone who paved the way and fought for Title IX, otherwise these girls wouldn’t be on the field paving the way for my daughter wherever the road takes her.  Go Bees!

November 10, 2009

If You Are Going to Have a Star Wars Party,

DSCF5412 Then you have to go for it and hope the force is with you.  Sport turned 6 recently and since he has been diagnosed with Star Wars OCD, we had our theme.  Now mind you I couldn’t get my head around this for weeks, so about 5 days out it all finally started coming together thanks to Google.
DSCF5577 I was lucky enough to have Padme and Anakin (my daughter and my neighbors son, both third graders) stop by and help with the Padawan training.
The Padawan’s were greeted at the front door and were given their their vest and told to start building their own lightsaber, as all Jedi must.
The lightsaber consisted of swim noodles cut inDSCF5342 half, that had been taped with duct tape on the ends.  The Padawan’s built their light saber buttons out of yellow and black duct tape.  The vests, were pieces of felt that I cut a V shape opening for their heads, then uses some ribbon as the bDSCF5417elt.
Then the training began.  In the garage, there was reflex training.   They had to hit the balloon with their lightsaber.  Then the Padawan’s flew to the Dagoba system a.k.a my basement, for agility training on an obstacle course.
Upstairs, Padme and Anakin trained them with aDSCF5587 game of Yoda says.  Touch your toes, you must.  Use the Force you must, and if you must was not said, they were out and had to work on their listening skills.  The next game was Star Wars Charades, where they had to pretend to be a Star Wars character, such as R2D2, C3-PO, Darth Vader, Anakin, Jabba the Hut, etc.  We also played a game of pass the detonator.  While the Catina band played, the Padawan’s passed the detonator until the music stopped.  That child was then able to give the birthday boy his present.
What’s a birthday party without cake?  So we had aDSCF5570n R2D2 cake this year.  I finally learned this year to freeze the cake before you cut and frost the cake.  R2D2’s legs were falling apart like crazy, and luckily I had a ghost cake in the freezer for an upcoming Halloween party.  I grabbed the frozen cake and made a refurbished R2D2 leg and it worked out wonderfully.  So from now on, I will be freezing my cakes a day before and they will look a little less homemade.
That was our Star Wars party, thank you for everyone who has  gone before me and come up with wonderful ideas, my Padawan and his friends had a great day.

November 5, 2009

Star Wars Halloween

In case you missed it, but it was Halloween last weekend.  I have three, well two kids that are influencing the baby,  who are gaga for Star Wars.  Sport knows more about George Lucas’ creations than my brother does, I just never thought that that could be possible.  In fact, almost every breathing moment is spent informing me or someone else what this clone did, this droid, etc.  Speaking from the Crib describes this obsession to a T.

DSCF5577I digress, back to Halloween.  My daughter, Pumpkin, broke away from the Disney  Princesses last year and wanted to be Padme (for those of you who don’t know she’s from Episode I, II and III).  Since, I want a strong independent daughter I was all on board.  To be frank it was the easiest costume ever.  I purchased white leggings, a white  top and sewed a table runner into a cape and there you have Padme.

This year, has sadly marked the death of the princess fascination in general, this year she really wanted to be a Jawa.  So I pulled out the sewing machine and began goggling.  I found this pattern, and modified it, by taking a shirt pattern and making the arms a little more fitted.  I have to say I think I did a pretty good job.

This year my son, Sport, wanted to be a Clone Trooper.  So I could make a Clone Trooper costume or I could buy one.  Yes, I bought it.  I have to say it turned out to be one of the hardest costumes yet.  Silly me didn’t think that the 8-10 sized costume would fit my newly turned 6 year-old, but it was.  My Mom made a mad dash to Target and bought the correct size,   then we figured out the costumes seams were torn, probably because some 10 year old squeezed himself into the costume splitting the seams and mommy returned it without telling Target.  So at 5:30 on Halloween, Cinderelly whipped out her needle and thread and sewed it together.   Here are Sport and Pumpkin ready for Trick-Or-Treat by 5:45.


Now here is my favorite costume of the year…baby Yoda. S0045781 Thanks to Four Little Sparrows for the hat pattern.  It worked wonderfully.  The only change I made as I sewed a crease in the middle of each ear.  The cloak is made from felt, I simply cut a hole for the head and there was his costume. 

The Star Wars Halloween has come and gone, The Clone Trooper, Jawa and Yoda costumes are now in the dress up box.  I wonder who will visit next year?  Will princesses be back?  Will Star Wars still be the thing?  Will we go gory or cutesy?  I can’t wait to see.

November 4, 2009

November 3, 2009

Octopus for Dinner

Here is  the latest meal made especially for my finicky eater.

My daughter will eat just about anything, my son is another story.  He likes the usual kids stuff: sloppy Joes, spaghetti, chicken nuggets and spaghetti.  I usually serve some kid friendly meals two to three times a week, but there are days I just can’t do it and I make meals for Mommy and Daddy.  Then there are days that I just make dinner for them, and this was one of them.

I made a pasta salad with, mixed vegetables, served with octopus, a.k.a. a hotdog, and sprinkled with goldfish crackers and parmesan cheese.  The trick to the hotdogs, is after you cut the legs, boil the hotdog until it’s heated through.  This meal was a HUGE hit.

October 16, 2009

Cooco for Couscous

Milk and soy allergy you say?  How can that be?  But it’s true my little guy is allergic to soy and and dairy, which sent me reeling a few months ago.  I had to kick the dairy habit, which for a yogurt and butter lover such as I was hard.  I’m sorry did I just whine? 

Well, now little guy is a seven month old with two teeth and ready to move on from strained peas.  What do I feed him?  He’s not quite ready for table food, and quite frankly, with two other children in the household prepared baby food is so handy.  Don’t you know I have to read the labels of baby food for milk as well???  I just didn’t think baby food would have dairy in it since so many kiddos are allergic, but they do.
So what are my choices…there’s Gerber of course.  But the ones I found have dairy in them.  Organics' Best had a couple of choices.  Then there is Nestle which owns Gerber, they seem to be an option, but I can’t find them in the states.  I have a couple of samples from mDSCF5308y parents brought back some from their trip to Sweden this year.  Which brings me to the title of the blog, they brought back Couscous with Chicken.  Couscous for babies?  Babies can eat couscous?  They sure can, and little guy loves it.  Since I only had one jar, I am now making couscous with chicken at home, and it’s pretty yummy.  He loves it, and it wasn’t that bad to make.  Here’s the recipe if you would like to try it at home.  Big people like it as well, you just may want to add some salt and pepper and maybe a spice or two.  Enjoy!

Couscous with Chicken
1 lbs.  Ground Chicken
1 package couscous, cooked according to the package
1/2 cup pureed mango
1 zucchini
1 red pepper
4 carrots
1/2 onion
Heat about a Tbs. olive oil and sauté the onion and brown the chicken at the same time.  When the chicken has browned, set it aside (remember to break up the chicken into very small pieces).  Meanwhile I pureed a mango, with a little bit of water.  I cubed the zucchini and three of the carrots and boiled them until they were very soft.  Then using a food processor, I essentially pureed the vegetables.  The remaining carrot, I cut, into very small bite size pieces, just big enough for the baby to have something to chew on and boiled those pieces until they were extremely soft.  Then I combined, the chicken, prepared couscous and the vegetables, and the mango and we had a ton our own Couscous with Chicken.

Now I have to say, that it doesn’t have the same jelled consistency that a lot of baby food has.  I think that’s because I didn’t use any cornstarch and flour to make a gravy, but it really wasn’t needed.  He loves it just the way it is.  So, I’m not changing a thing.  In my mind if it works stick with it.

So this is the start of my baby food making journey, how long, and how intense of a journey it is going to be is still in the works.  This or one other recipe may be the entirety, you just never know.  But so far it’s been fun and rewarding.

October 12, 2009

An Award, who me???

My first award, and I don’t think any other will ever mean the same.  My friend, Hurst burst, just game me the “You are my sunshine” award and said the kindest things about me.  I’m speechless, really they were some of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten.  Go check her blog out, she has the greatest stories and makes me laugh daily.  In fact, she is pretty good at spreading sunshine herself.


So it is my turn to bestow the sunshine award, the best that I can.  As far a crafting website goes, Little Cotton Rabbits deserves this award.  Every time, I visit her site, I am amazed by her talent and inspired.  In fact, her Knitted Cupcake pattern decoration, inspired me to embellish a t-shirt for my daughter with a knitted heart.  Two Valentines later, she still adores it. I can’t wait to make the cupcake someday.

Every time I look at Lotta’s garden, I smile.  The photos are always beautiful, and let’s me get a taste of home every once in a while.  And to top it off, I have a chance to practice my Swedish with every one of her posts.

Karen, at And So I Sew, makes me smile.  I love the glimpses into her life, it reminds me how I want to parent, and she even has time to sew.  Her sewing Pledges for 2009, made me laugh, because in my mind I have the same goals.  I hope she reaches her goals. 

Lastly, there is Overseas Living.  I love to read this blog, it reminds me how wonderfully exciting the whole world is.  Through her eyes you get to see the craziest things, then the next day she’s busy parenting her children, just like any other American mother.  It’s a big adventure, that I have the privilege to see through her blog.

Ladies, thank you for filling my life with sunshine, I really feel honored to peak into your lives.

October 11, 2009

Unrequited Love

P1010013 I have to confess I have an unrequited love, my Brio stroller, baptized “the Cadillac” by my father. Of all the material things in my life, I have to say I love this the most. I used to think it was plain snobbery. I liked my Graco stroller I had when my daughter was first born, but it was hard to walk with unless the pavement was next to perfect. The wheels began disintegrating immediately, and I couldn’t see Pumpkin, she faced out into the world. But in the end, the Graco just didn’t hold a candle to the Cadillac. You see, my stroller is made of steel, has a suspension system (which means my children don’t have whiplash every time I drive them over a crack in the pavement), and the seat can face forward or backwards whenever I choose. But no, it’s not snobbery… it’s a cultural thing.
100_1268 For those of you who don’t know, I spent most of my childhood summers in Sweden and I lived there for a few years as well and every once in a while my Swedish side pops up in the strangest ways. After reading Linköpinglivin' I had an aha moment last Spring. It’s not just the engineering of my stroller I love, but just what it represents. If you read that post, it really sums up how I feel about parenting. Growing up strollers were just a part of life, you see them shopping, at restaurants, on boats, trains and trams. Everyone helps you through a door if you have a stroller, upstairs, and into the bus. In fact, trams and busses have a special place for strollers. If the baby falls asleep while shopping, so be it, you wheel it into your house, and that is where the baby sleeps. Babies are just an integral part of the culture. Now, I know most Swedes live in a walking culture, that American’s don’t have, that’s for another blog. Back to my unreasonable, undying love, it was rekindled this past week.

In the search for better mileage last year, we downsized our minivan to a Mazda 5 before baby number three showed up. To my great sadness, I haven’t been able to use the Cadillac as much as I like, because it’s only drawback is that it’s HUGE and doesn’t fit in the car when I have all three kids with me. However, things changed this last week, I was giddy, my kids began to walk to school and I follow right behind pushing my stroller. I love it, I forgot how great it rides, it can take uneven pavement, it even has a raincoat, and just like the Swedes, in my hallway, my baby took a cozy nap in the stroller. Cadillac, I love you even though there are newer and fancier strollers out there, even the US has the Bugaboo now, after nine years, there is no other stroller.

October 4, 2009

Chokeables Everywhere!!!!

There is this cute little guy, that came into our lives about 7 months ago.  He’s cute and sweeDSCF5124t, but he won’t stay put.  As of this morning he likes to play sitting up more than laying down.  He rolls, he crawls, he scoots, you name it he moves that way.  Sport thought his police car, that was 20 feet away and behind a chair, was safe…oh no, not for our little caboose.  Needless to say we are in a rush to baby proof the house before he decides to walk, oh I don’t know tomorrow.  Among many things that means LEGOS, are now restricted to the kitchen counter or our rooms.  And it means I have to tackle the kid’s art table, UGHHHH.

The art table, was a wonderful present from Santa, I guess about 5 years ago.  It’s been great.  The kids draw, paint and periodically have lunch on the table.  But the stuff that goes with tDSCF5295he art table, yikes!  I have paint, pipe cleaners, beads, you  name it stuffed in closets and cute little bins beside the table.  But as with everything else my kids seem to have, if it’s not out they don’t use it.  So today, in the interest of the little one’s safety, I proclaimed it was time to get rid of the art table or at least move it out of the kitchen.  I lost.
So, this is my happy medium.  I decided to put everything in this little chest from my grandmother.  The chest is going to be right beside the art table and if they have to get anyDSCF5299thing it is right there.  The paper bin will sit on top, because if the baby gets into that he won’t choke immediately and it’s heavy, so it will make a large sound as it hits the baby to the floor before he reaches the chokeables.  I may have to find a lock…. we'll see.
I have told the older angels, that I want wonderful little art projects from them, since they have all types of creative stuff at their fingertips.  But, if there is one chokeable left out it is getting ditched.  All for the safety of the baby.  Seriously, I’m not sure if this baby is going to survive…

September 30, 2009

Garden Update

Here’s the last harvest from the garden.  Unbelievably, the garden grew even though it didn’t get planted until the end of June.  We’ve enjoyed, salsa, bruschetta, plain tomatoes, salads, and peppers for the last 6-8 weeks.   It’s been a great project for the kids, they’ve loved picking what we need for supper, and watering the garden every now and then.  It sure helped that this summer was pretty cool and had a good amount of rain.
The highlight of the tomato harvest I have to say was the Krim tomato.   It doesn’t look like anything at all.  It is blackish green on top when it’s ripe, the pulp is even green. DSCF4132 So it appears as though it isn’t ripe.  But with a little touch of salt, it’s one of the best tomatoes, I’ve ever come across.

  Cheers to the harvest!

Harry Potter Cupcakes

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It’s Pumpkin’s 9th birthday tomorrow.  To celebrate I’m taking in cupcakes for the 23 kids, and their teacher.  These are the famous Weasleys’ Every Flavor cupcakes, that I’m bringing to her class to celebrate her birthday tomorrow afternoon.  They are decorated with the Gryffindor colors and the Every Flavor jelly beans (from Harry Potter) for decoration.  I wonder which kid is going to find the ear wax bean.  Aren’t they cute?
DSCF5102 I digress, as I was finishing up the cupcakes, I realized my rows didn’t match.  I counted up my cupcakes, and there is one missing!!!  Somebody snuck down this evening and had a snack.  Now using my NCIS training, I’ve discounted Sport, since he is much more of a follower in these types of matters.  Since the baby isn’t crawling, that leaves Pumpkin.  I believe she had the motive and the means to commit the crime.  So now the question is, since there isn’t enough for all the kids and the teacher, do I make the birthday girl give her cupcake to the teacher. Or do I  let her think I didn’t catch her and let her enjoy her sneakiness.  I’m leaning towards not letting her know that I know there are 23 cupcakes instead of 24.  But then there is the chance that she will enjoy a life of crime because I didn’t stop her now.  I hope she gets the ear wax bean :-)

September 21, 2009

So how much candy did you get????



Cleveland has this little gem of a store off of Interstate 480, it is called b.a. Sweetie Candy company. I think every known American Candy is within it’s walls. There are the typical M&M’s, Jelly Bellies, and the more exotics such as clove gum and candied crickets. Yes, the crickets were real.

I was in the neighborhood, and since I have two birthday parties, Halloween (our neighborhood has to have 200+kids) and a little decorating project all in the next month, I decided to take my kids and a friend to the Candy Store.

So, here is the loot…


Do you think we need anymore candy in the near future? I’m sure I spent less than if I had gone to Target. I am sure, that this year, trick-or-treaters won’t get the run of the mill candy from us. That has to be worth something right?

Oh and by the way, here is my little decorating project that was the primary reason for the trip.


I am Back!!!

Ok, so it's 1:15 a.m. and I can't sleep, because a) I had an incredibly emotional day. Really had to do some soul searching on what I believe in and that has resulted in some incredible restlessness. Why didn't anyone tell me that this would still be going on at my age... b)I feel like blogging all the posts that have gone through my head over the past month or more. So I have decided to take that next step and BLOG finally, because I just love it. I don't know why I love it, it's partially because yes it documents my life, and my children's life. But also it clears my head and helps me figure out what is important in life. And after today I really need that. So here is to you, my one or maybe 100 readers, and I hope you get some enjoyment from what I have to say...

June 27, 2009

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies

I found this recipe and I had to try it. The timing was perfect, I had a huge box of strawberries and bookclub was meeting at my house. They are from Martha Stewart Living Magazine (June 2009). The recipe makes a ton of cookies and they are delicious especially if you want something to do with those extra strawberries before they go bad.