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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quiet Book Preview and Adios!

I've been working really hard on this quiet book thing and I think that Peter thinks I'm nuts.  I show him a page that I've completed and he sortof nods and says, "that's nice, honey."  I guess I need a little bit more encouragement than that so I'm giving you all a preview. You're so good at giving me positive feedback!  I suppose that I wouldn't mind negative feedback either.  I tried to get Peter to help me with girl on the braid the hair page because she looked a little crazy.  In the end, I gave her eyelids and lashes which helped a little.  She still looks like she's had her share of no-doze but sometimes that can't be helped.  I haven't sewn any of the pages together yet, just in case I need to tweak something.  Also, I keep finding new ideas.  I need to decide which ones I'm going to include and pare down my list.  I don't think Charlotte needs a 50 page quiet book! I'm not going to include all of the pages that I've completed yet.  There needs to be a little bit of excitement and anticipation for when I finally do finish this project.  I wish that I could be done with it now so I could take it on our flight on Saturday morning.  Wouldn't Charlotte be so pleased?  Oh well, we have another flight in November so she can enjoy it then.  

The receiver can be taken off the hook.   

Braid my hair
The apples are attached with snaps!

There's a notepad in the white pocket and I'll add crayons to the pink one.  You can actually stuff little letters in the 'mailbox'!

The oven door opens and eventually, there will be cupcakes (or maybe cookies) on a cookie sheet that can be put in the oven.  Yum!  For the record, Peter actually helped me with this page.  He drew the pattern because I just couldn't get it to look right.  He did a great job, don't you think?

And just so you don't think that I've been totally neglecting Charlotte's clothing needs, I made her a little dress this morning.  I was procrastinating doing things like cleaning out my car and packing our airplane bag.  I actually decided to make the dress when I found one of my t-shirts had yucky, yellowing armpits.  I'm grossed out and embarrassed that I'm even telling you about that.  But, how else would I let you in on the secret of where I got the fun, already worn in, soft knit fabric?  I just cut the pieces out, used the hem that was already in the shirt, and ta-da, it's a dress!  It only took me about 25 minutes to make and should be a pretty nice little play outfit for Charlotte.
I'm heading out of town tomorrow, driving to Cincinnati to fly out to Mexico on Saturday morning.  I'll miss my boys but I'm sure we'll have a great time.  Adios amigos! (Wish I knew more Spanish!) 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

We've gotten a few eggplants through our CSA and I really wanted to do something yummy with ours. I made eggplant Parmesan lasagna! It turned out so, so good and the family loved it! I can't wait to eat it again for lunch today. I totally forgot to take a picture but you can just use your imagination, right? Imagine a casserole dish with hot, gooey, mozzarella (slightly browned) on top of pan fried eggplant, noodles, and more cheese. I hope you enjoy!!  Recipe adapted from one found on

26 oz pasta sauce (I used homemade but you can use two jars of ready made, if you like
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I used a little extra because I like it).
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (again a little more)
1/2 cup whipping cream (I told Alexander that there was whipped cream in our dinner.  This made him very keen to try it!!)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lb.); (I used two smaller ones and it worked out great)
Salt and Pepper
3 large eggs lightly beaten
3 tablespoons water
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 lasagna noodles cooked and drained
1 (15-oz.) container part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese (8 oz.) shredded
1. Cook first pasta sauce, basil and red pepper over medium-low heat 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cream and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
2. While the pasta sauce is simmering, peel the eggplant (I used a potato peeler), and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay slices on a cookie sheet or waxed paper.  Sprinkle slices evenly with salt and black pepper. Stir together eggs and 3 Tbsp. water. Dredge (here is a great explanation of dredging, in case you're new to cooking) to eggplant in flour; dip into egg mixture, and dredge again in flour, shaking to remove excess.
3. Cook eggplant, in single layers, in 1 1/2 Tbsp. hot oil in a skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and slightly softened. Drain on paper towels. (I had a hard time resisting a little nibble on this bad boys.  Yum.)  Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant, wiping skillet clean after each batch (I used an old tea towel that I got a little wet to wipe out the pan).  
4. Layer 3 lasagna noodles lengthwise in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third tomato sauce mixture and half of eggplant. Dollop half of ricotta cheese evenly on eggplant in dish (my part skim ricotta didn't dollop so I had to spread it on the eggplant but it ended up tasting fabulous anyway); top with half of mozzarella. Repeat layers with remaining noodles, one-third sauce mixture, remaining eggplant, and remaining ricotta. Top with remaining one-third sauce mixture and mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.  Feed to your family and smile a lot while they tell you how good this is!!
Bon appetite!
(P.S. I have been doing some sewing/crafting but am pretty busy with getting consignment sale stuff ready, and I'm getting ready to take a trip to Mexico with Charlotte and my dad.  I'll be out of touch from Friday until the next Saturday but I promise to bring some great pictures back with me!  Stay tuned when I return for photos of the Quiet book that I've been working on! And, check out my inspiration for some great Quiet book ideas:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Charlotte's First Haircut

Alexander has had his share of milestone posts lately so thought we should share one of Charlotte's rites of passage, her first haircut! Peter would have cut her hair ages ago but I kept thinking that if we could just brow it all out, we could put it behind her ear. Unfortunately, most of the time, she just looked like Cousin It (Thanks, Uncle Matt for the nickname).


I guess there was nothing to worry about since she looks great and can actually see when she rips the bows out of her hair.  She looks more grown up now though.  Hoping to keep her a baby for as long as I can but just got a phone call from her pre-school (mother's day out) teacher.  We'll meet with her next week and then Charlotte starts school on the 8th of September!  Wow.  What will I do with myself with both kids in school? Hmm...I can think of a few things...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dishin' it up party!

I'm so excited about my girl's night in tonight! A couple friends are hosting a Dishin' it Up party which is basically a bunch of women getting together to eat and talk about gardening, canning, cooking, and more! Several of us are bringing food to share and I think a few people are bringing door prizes as well. I decided to bring food AND a door prize because, well, why not? It's so much fun to share!
I'm making this butternut squash recipe using farm fresh butternut squash, onions, and apples. The recipe calls for canned chicken broth but I used some that I made on my own. I hope it turns out tasting as good as it smells right now!
I also threw together a little gift bag to throw my door prize into using this tutorial (again). It went together much faster this time, probably only took an hour or so from cutting the pattern and fabric to putting on the button.
I'll let you know how the party goes and if I end up getting any good recipes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New techniques

While we were away in Indiana, I missed my sewing machine! Now that we're home and the first day of school has passed without a hitch, I'm back to creating! I found a great little quilt shop in Madisonville, Kentucky called Notions and Whims. She was selling a pattern for a skirt made with four fat quarters (also called quilter's quarters). It's the easiest pattern and I was able to get this made in two evenings! It would have taken less time if I had a serger but I chose to do french seams instead. I'm pleased with the outcome and now just need to find a shirt to coordinate.

I think it's lots of fun to try something new, especially when it turns out. I've seen lots of little girls with t-shirts with cute appliques and decided that I could probably do it at home. First, I chose my fabric and ironed it to a piece of thick fusible webbing (interfacing). Then, I drew a pattern on a sheet of paper and used it to cut out the "C". Then, before attaching it to the t-shirt, I used a zig-zag stitch all around the C to seal the edges a little bit. It will still fray some when we wash the shirt but not as much as if I didn't do the zig-zag. Next, I ironed some lightweight fusible webbing on the inside of the tshirt. Then, I placed the C on the shirt and stitched it on using a straight stitch. I'm quite happy with how it turned out, especially since I didn't do any research before starting the project. Maybe I'll take a look now that I've done it to see what I can do better next time. The skort (skirt with shorts attached) that she's wearing is made from a Children's Corner Sara's Skort pattern. Let me just give them a little plug...the Children's Corner patterns are very good. They're easy to follow and they fit together very well. After using several different varieties of patterns, I feel like I can say, with confidence, that they're some of the best patterns out there for children's clothes. Don't let some of the old fashioned photos keep you from trying a pattern using a modern print! Even if you don't live in town, you should take a look at their website and maybe plan a trip to take a class or two. You won't be sorry! Everything that I know about sewing I learned from one basic construction class at Children's Corner!!
Doesn't she look grown up?


My baby boy is all grown up! Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But, he is old enough for kindergarten! We've been anticipating starting at his school since we moved back to Nashville when Alexander was around 18 months old. Before we put an offer on our house, we toured Glendale Elementary school to get a feel for the neighborhood and the school within it. Alexander has been so excited about starting at a new school.
His teacher this year is Ms. Lash. I'm excited to get to know her and wonder how we'll do that since we drop Alexander off and pick him up without seeing the teacher. It's going to be an adjustment (for me!!).
Here's Alexander relaxing in his classroom at Sneak-a-Peek, the day before the first day of school.
And here he is on the first day of school! I kept the tears in, don't worry! Doesn't he look handsome in his school 'uniform'? They have to wear a shirt with a collar with navy, khaki, or black bottoms. I had to do some last minute shopping because cargo shorts aren't allowed. We only had one pair of non-cargo shorts!!
I took a few pictures before this but they all came out foggy because the camera was cold and it was HOT outside, even at 7:45am!Did I mention that it was hot? And sunny?

Welcome to Miss Lash's class! Spanish immersion!!
The first (half) day was a success. Alexander wrote and sent us a post card, drew a picture of a rainbow, and made a friend named Max. He likes his teacher and thinks that it will be a great year.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mini-Vacation = Indiana

I'm sure that you've just been dying to know what's going on! I've been pretty good about keeping up with posting, or at least letting you know that we're still here. Well, we took a little vacation before Alexander started kindergarten so we disappeared for about 10 days! We decided to take a trip to Indiana, my home state. While that probably doesn't sound like much of a vacation for those of you who live there, at least it was time away from home and our normal routines! First, the kids and I went to Newburgh to hang with my Dad for a few days. I was able to catch up with a couple girl friends from high school, Michelle and Jenny. Jenny and I did some fabric shopping at the Village Mercantile in Boonville, where my mom used to shop (and she even worked there for a bit). We both did a little bit of damage and I hope that Jenny will let me know when she makes things with her purchases! I'll, of course, keep all of you updated on my sewing creations.
Our first outing while in Newburgh was to the Splash Park in Boonville. It was a very hot day and this was a perfect place to blow off some steam. Charlotte was unsure of the sprays of water at first but quickly warmed up/cooled off!

Alexander had been here before so wasn't at all nervous about jumping right in.
Next, we visited the Children's Museum of Evansville. Charlotte enjoyed the music room. *Note: I made the skirt that she's wearing. It's not a complete success, however. It needed to flare out a little bit more because she found it difficult to crawl and climb while wearing it. Not every project can be perfect, right? Alexander loved playing this 'harp'!

After two days of hanging with Dad, Peter drove up to Newburgh and we took Alexander to Holiday World (Thanks, Dad for watching Charlotte so we could enjoy our time in Santa Claus). Alexander had been hearing commercials for Holiday World and the "New" Wildebeest for months. We enjoyed our day, despite the heat (100!), saw the real Santa Claus, and even got to ride the Wildebeest, a water coaster that had an hour wait. No photos from that part of the trip because none of us wanted to lug the camera around on a hot day. This would be a good time to make a request for a small point and shoot waterproof camera, right???
The next day, we drove to Indianapolis to Caribbean Cove, an indoor waterpark attached to a Holiday Inn. We didn't take any pictures of the waterpark because we were too busy playing! And, we forgot the camera when we went to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. I was able to say hello to another friend from high school, Trish, who has worked at the museum for 11 years. How much fun would it be to work at a place like that? I think I'd love it! This museum is worth taking a trip to Indianapolis. I wish we had time to go for more than one day because it was huge and the kids had a great time!
We did finally take a few pictures at the Indianapolis Zoo! Peter even managed to get me in one of them!

As I was researching things to do in Indianapolis, I came across Traders Point Creamery. Since I've been on a kick of eating locally, this sounded like lots of fun, plus the tour of the farm was only $2 and that's a good price for running around and chasing chickens. We got some great pictures of the kids and ate some homemade ice cream that was so, so good!



This was a ladder to nowhere!
Sunflower garden at its finest!
He's happy because he just ate a lot of homemade caramel ice cream!

There was a clown convention at our hotel! How much fun to walk around and see these guys just hanging out!
No vacation in Southern Indiana would be complete without a stop at the Big Peach. It's a roadside market with fresh produce. We bought some peaches, plums, and popcorn. Couldn't resist a photo op with the peach. It's been there for ages!
We had a great trip but are glad to be back home!!