Monthly Archives: February 2015

bye bye pink

If you’ve been around for awhile (an embarrassingly long while), then you read about my excitement when we stumbled across our Z chairs. Like so many things in life, this little project took 200 times longer than it should have. But now we’re rolling.

Kiss the pink goodbye.


We’ve ordered the fabric and selected an upholster. So now we just wait for others to do their job. I’m oddly impatient, a feeling that is quite misplaced in this scenario.

We really thought we’d go with a fabric that was generally solid with a nice mid century texture to it.

Poul Jensen Selig Z Chair

We had it narrowed down to five, and then to three…

The one on the far left was my favorite in person, but it’s wool and feels a little scratchy, like a sweater, and I didn’t think I wanted to sit on a sweater all year. So we were down to the two on the right – both are identical in texture and materials, but the one in the middle has more colors threading through it. We really thought we wanted to stay more solid, but there was just something about the way the various colors tied into things around the room that finally sold us on the busier one. I think it’s going to look  swell.

let’s eat: on the menu

on the menu
Last week was a good food week. We got our first real winter weather – a mix of snow and ice, and temperatures really plummeted. To counteract that a bit, we ate lots of warm roasted food, and kicked up the spice a bit.

Monday night is gym night, so we have to plan ahead and keep it easy because we arrive home between 7:30 – 8:00 and everyone’s tired and hungry (and sore). We had Spaghetti that we ordered from a Midwest Pasta fundraiser, tossed it with some marinara sauces and ate it with leftover vegetables from the weekend.


Tuesday night we made one of my favorite meals Smitten Kitchen’s Roasted Tomatoes and Cippolini Onions – it’s super easy to put together, although the tomatoes and onions take almost an hour to roast. It’s a great dinner for a cold night, and we managed to get a few family rounds of cards in while the vegetables were being reduced to sweet, juicy mush in the oven. They are served with white beans over toasted bread (we often use ciabatta), and three of us love it and one tolerates it and loads up on sides.

(Speaking of sides – we always have some type of fruit on the table, and usually a vegetable or two. Sometimes raw vegetables that get dipped in hummus or slathered in peanut butter and dotted with raisins. We try not to make two dinners, but we also know that our idea of delicious food isn’t as well received by the under 12, so they have options not to starve.)


Wednesday we got our box from Blue Apron – we’ve had a lucky spell lately with veg meals with no tree nuts – and I was especially excited to have a light grocery run this week because of the weather.  Wednesday night was Red Bean & Collard Green Dirty Rice with Buttermilk Biscuits & Honey Butter. Delicious, particularly the biscuits with honey butter. Unless integral to a meal, we don’t usually eat a lot of breads / biscuits on the side, but now I’m wondering why we don’t.


Thursday night I made the second Blue Apron meal, Winter Mushroom Ramen with Mustard Greens & Soft-boiled Eggs. While I was making this dinner, M was taking E to the urgent treatment clinic to get a throat swab, dropping off the kids (one with strep throat), picking up the first prescription of the night, realizing that his eye was now leaking, confirming at the second clinic of the night that he had pink eye, and picking up the second prescription of the night. So, it wasn’t much of a family dinner hour. The older kid ate nothing and climbed into bed, the younger kid ignored the ramen and made toast, so I ate a steaming bowl on my own, and M heated up a bowl later. We both loved it, and didn’t really mind not sharing.


Friday was a sick day, and Friday night another round of ice and snow hit. I made Farro Jambalaya with Crispy Maitake Mushrooms, and hot dog! It was so good. The sick kid ate three bites of applesauce all day, and the rest of us ate dinner and collapsed from the exhaustion of the week.


Saturday brought a warm up in temperatures and a precautionary trip to the clinic to swab the rest of our throats for possible infection. With the all-clear sign, we headed next door to Katie’s Pizza where I ordered the fig, pancetta, and butternut squash pizza covered in arugula, and when it arrived at my table I realized that I had ordered the pizza version of the sandwiches I’d planned for dinner at our school’s trivia night. I didn’t take pictures of either one, but both were very good. French baguettes smeared with fig jam, half of them with prosciutto, brie, and arugula, and the other half of the sandwiches with thin sliced and roasted butternut squash, granny smith apples, and gruyere. I planned to wrap them in brown parchment paper and tie them with bakers twine, but time got away from me, and they ended up just getting tied with twine by me, M, and the babysitter before we scrambled out the door at the last minute.


I also made Green Olive and Artichoke Spread with Pita Wedges, and one of my favorite cookies – Chocolate-Apricot-Ginger cookies from Super Natural Every Day**. We added it to the rest of the table spread and fueled ourselves to a third place finish. Feeding the brain well really works!

By Sunday we were all recuperating and while I caught up at work, M and the girls cleaned the house and caught a movie. We wrapped up the weekend with a good refrigerator cleanout, ready for the week ahead. Hoping for a warmer one, and a healthier one as well.

**Heidi Swanson has a new cookbook coming out later this year!

(story)time: ivy + bean


We’ve just finished reading through our Ivy + Bean collection again – this time with kid #2. E loved these books when she was first getting into chapter books – she probably read them dozens of times. We pulled them off the shelf a few weeks ago and started reading them to F, and we were surprised at just how much she loved them. As soon as dinner was done and cleared she would start talking about them. They were a terrific motivator for getting through baths and teeth brushing (for the most part), and they also elicited serious moaning and groaning when we reached the end of each night’s three chapter allotment. It’s just so hard to wait.

If you aren’t familiar with the books, that’s Ivy on the left, and Bean on the right. Ivy’s a bookworm with a brain full of interesting ideas and tidbits of knowledge, while Bean’s much more active and mischievous and impulsive. (Hmmm, sort of like two girls I know.) They make a bit of an odd couple, but their friendship is deep and sincere. They balance each other out a bit – but not so much that they don’t end up in some sort of trouble in each book. I’m probably not the first to compare Annie Barrow‘s Ivy + Bean series to Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books – Bean has plenty of Ramona moments, particularly in the way she interprets unfairness in her interactions with her older sister and her parents. Illustrator Sophie Blackall has a great website that showcases her masterful capture of both girls’ personalities and reactions, and there’s a fun little background video on the two characters here.


I think the favorite book of the bunch for F was “No News Is Good News”, and it’s probably my favorite too (lowfat Belldeloon cheese in a special just-for-you serving size!). We need to pick up the latest book in the series – maybe we’ll do that this weekend – and then we’ll likely start right back at the beginning and read them all over again.


The Ivy + Bean series is perfect for kids five and up, and the sweet spot is probably seven or eight.

Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!