Saturday, January 28, 2012

Italy or Bust

This year, we've been considering how to make a trip to Tuscany fit within our budget and schedule. Although I've been talking about it now for over 6 months, I'm only now just beginning to "concretize" our plans. We want to plan something for Fall. Here's what I've figured out so far:
  • Dates are filling fast in September. 
  • Villa rentals are spacious - found one that fits up to 12 AND for a 1 week commitment, it amounts to $3,000.
  • One villa I'm angling for has a swimming pool!
  • Airbnb or VRBO might have other good options.
  • Other venues in Italy or otherwise?
  • Weather in Fall? Need to dig in to see if it's nice. Otherwise I'll base a final decision on SUNSHINE.
Here's a link. What say you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

My little Lady Bird, the 4-year old, comes pattering into my room one morning at some ungodly hour to snuggle. She nestles in close to me and then says, I brought my bunny to snuggle wif' us. I named her Valentine, cuz she has a heart on. I tried not to laugh because she is at that stage where she is extremely sensitive to ANYONE laughing at her. So I asked her to repeat it. Why did you name her Valentine? Because, she says, she has a heart on her. Oh, I say. A heart on her. (On her tummy, to be precise).
Lady Bird with Cujo
This evening, she earned two smiley face stickers on her chart for sharing her leap frog game with her sister. After adding her stickers, she asked for her pencil to write her "support". I watched her as she began to scribble a couple of lines with her pencil on her chart within the small box just above the sticker. That's her support. I have no idea what she thinks it means, but I believe she says it because it sounds important!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frenzied Baking, Part 2

There are a few things to note about Butter Mochi if you decide you want to make it.
1. I think the square 12x12 glass pan I used was too deep.  Really find a pan that fits the dimensions below!
2. I used the low-fat organic coconut and the crust was thin, brittle and fell off.
3. Lisa tells me you can try to mix brown sugar and white sugar.
Good luck!
Butter Mochi
1 lb Mochiko flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 cup Butter, melted
3 cups Milk
5 Eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
shredded coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder.  Add in remaining ingredients (except coconut flakes) to mochiko mixture; mix well. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.  Sprinkle shredded coconut flakes on top. You can put as little or as much as you like. Bake for 1 hour, and cool. Serves 24.

Baking Frenzy or Frenzied Baking?

After laughter and tears, I finally put down the book "The Help" and immediately decided I haven't baked in a long time (since Christmas). That book tugged at every heart string in addition to making me hungry for good food. And we all know that Paul is the cook, so I don't even try!
I decided I needed to use the Mochiko flour to make Butter Mochi, a recipe given to me by a co-worker and friend, Lisa. I also committed to making a pumpkin pie that dad was hankering to eat. Finally, I thought I might just use up the rest of the butterscotch chips from the holidays and make Chocolate Chip, Butterscotch Chip, Oatmeal, Coconut cookies. I ended up with an extra pie crust, and so, two days later, mom made a merengue topped banana cream pie, and she also felt inspired to make lemon bars. We are NOT lacking for baked goodies around here!

Butter Mochi

Banana Cream Pie with Merengue

Monkey decides she likes it better under the vet clinic doorway (out of the snow and wind).

Burning off treats (on a snow day)!

Chocolate & butterscotch chip oatmeal coconut cookies

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Look what I can do!

Yesterday morning, my little one woke up fussy (she's been sick and cranky). The minute she set eyes on her big sister, she was more cheerful and even smiled. Looking at the baby, my eldest said, "look, mama. She can do my trick!" What trick, I wondered. I looked at her as she was showing me her "trick". I then asked what she meant. She did it again. I realized that the trick was to move her eyes back and forth without turning her head. I looked at her and then we all laughed out loud.
Look what I can do!
In the car after school, she showed me her other tricks, including a dancing tongue and dancing teeth. Although too hard to share what that looked like, I'm always amazed by what my child is learning and communicating to us, every day!


I just got the first Anthropologie catalog for 2012 and it said "Renewal" on the cover and featured a beautiful, young, vibrant woman surrounded by nature. Her hair is blowing in the wind, she's wearing tight fitting capri's and a grey knit sweater.
She embodies everything to me that doesn't need renewal. She's young - doesn't need new boosts of collagen to appear more youthful. She looks well rested, NOT sleep deprived and in need of caffeine in copious amounts. AND, judging from her figure, she doesn't have an addiction to chocolate.

Yet the entire setting is so believable, I suppose we'd all like to renew ourselves by shopping at Anthropologie if we can believe we'd feel as good as she looks.

Having just endured a third night in a row of little sleep to the point where 7:00 a.m. is a painful wake up time, I've done what every frazzled mom would do. Find ways to cope. I had to get Elle ready to walk to ballet, drive Lily to the pediatrician and Paul left early for a regatta so it was a solo-deal for me. I have had 5 shots of espresso and about five chocolate kisses + 1 kinder schokolade (from Torsten) and 1 Emergen-C to ensure I don't get sick. Perfect diet of champions, especially for those of us who need about 24 hours of solid sleep to rejuvenate.

In order to survive this year, I have not made any new years resolutions to add extra pressure. However, I hope my 1-year old has made hers – to sleep through the night for the next 11 3/4 months.
Rejuvenating - Sleep!

Then I'll finally look like new, talk like new, and might even try to be a yummie mummie for my 2013 resolution!