Thursday, July 30, 2009

musings for thursday

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I haven't updated in a while.

We've been busy trying to stay cool while Portland temperatures have gone over 105 during the day. Hello weather...there's a reason why I live here and not in Louisiana. Still, it seems that we are through the worst for now, and thankfully, we have lots of friends with AC who have been kind enough to let us come hang out for the day.

Joel starts his new work from home gig next week. I'm both excited about this, and not. Excited because it's a dream job for him (doing something geeky for a company that makes things for super geeky people), and he will be home all the time - leaving more time for family time. Not excited because the domestic goddess facade that I have will be no longer - eek, he's probably going to catch me putting my feet up, magazine in one hand, tea in the other while the girls are napping and quiet timing! My guess is that he won't pass judgment the first time, but by the fourth, I might get the "look." Hey, there's a reason I stay at home, man! It does have its benefits ;o)

I've also been deep in the depths of planning our homeschool curriculum for the year. I've found a great curriculum to follow and have some fun ideas to add to it. We're going to meet with a co-op once a week, and do our own thing every day. Can't wait!! I know that pretty much everyone (well, everyone who doesn't homeschool) thinks that I am nuts - why would I not send Ava to pre-k??'s insanely expensive. It's stuff we do at home anyway (even without a set curriculum). And it's not like she doesn't get social interaction between MOMS Club, playgroups, and classes at the local community center. Besides...if one or both of us hates it, there's always pre-k to fall back on, right? I'm flexible.

And so, I will leave you with this list of currentlys:

Currently I am:

reading:: Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret (for book club...should be a fun discussion as a mom of girls)

listening to:: an acoustic cover of GNR's Patience by Ben Taylor

looking at:: artwork by Emily...scribbles, scraps of paper, and glitter glue

longing to:: bake something! anything!

excited for:: my crop tomorrow night. it's been MONTHS since last I scrapped anything! I've got about 100 pages bookmarked at TwoPeas.

waiting for:: the time to be 3 pm...we have our weekly playgroup and I love all of the moms and kids...they are such wonderful friends!

planning:: next week's menu and grocery list

taking a break from:: folding laundry

Monday, July 20, 2009


Hard to believe it, but our sweet Emily Grace is two today.

It seems like yesterday that we were heading to the hospital at this very moment. Such an easy labor and delivery. Such an easy baby (well...easy if your name was Mama. Otherwise, you got a whole lot of crying...). Such a happy, happy, happy little girl.

Emily is our sunshine. She is truly a joy - always smiling, always snuggling. She loves her Mama most and her sister almost as much. We're pretty sure that Emily will grow up to be the class clown - she'll do anything for a laugh.

Emily, my hope is that you read this someday so that you can know what you were like at two:

- You are a daredevil. You love ladders and slides and climbing. You LOVE swings.
- You love grapes and making "grape eyes."
- You have a contagious, musical laugh.
- You love water. Bath time, pools, water tables,'ll go for hours if we let you!
- You love to love. Kisses, hugs, leg loves, snuggles...When I pick you up, you put your head on my shoulder and pat my back. It makes my heart melt every time.
- You are a miniature of your daddy in every way.
- You love to do whatever your sister does. Watching you play together is so much fun!

Hours old with your big sister:

On your first birthday:

15 months:

18 months:

Being your goofball self:


Birthday cupcakes:

Birthday cookies:

Happy Birthday, Emily Grace! May you eat lots of cake, slide, swing, dig, and have a day as joyful as you make those around you.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


My college roommate, Meggan, lives in Tokyo and was recently home for a visit. She brought the girls some adorable bento stuff and today we had fun with our lunch! We received an onigiri mold, lots of fun food picks, food dividers, and little silicone cups to keep everything from touching. The boxes themselves are beyond adorable. Of course, Ava picked the pink box for herself right away! Thanks Meggan for such a fun gift! These will be great to pack up for park visits and play dates :)

one of the boxes all assembled:

the food inside - baked tofu, onigiri, carrots/ranch, berries, a hard boiled quail's egg, some shredded zucchini, and some cookies stamped with animals:

each box came with a fork and chopsticks:


There are some amazing bento pictures on Flickr here.

rock climbing!

Ava was invited to a birthday party at a local rock climbing gym, and it was so much fun!

There was a tightrope to practice balancing on:

A slide at the top of the climbing wall:

LOTS of rocks to use for leverage:

Even our youngest monkey got in on the action:

Friday, July 10, 2009

zucchini cupcakes

We've certainly put that Cupcakes book to use around here! I picked up two HUGE zucchini at the farmer's market for $1, so I thought I'd bake with one of them (the other is going to end up in a tuscan baked egg and tomato concoction that I had a dream about the other night...but that's another post...).

Ava and I made these while Emily was napping. They are super easy and again, Ava did all of the work aside from chopping the zucchini and putting the pans in the oven.

Spiced Zucchini Cupcakes
Martha Stewart - Cupcakes

makes 24

3 cups AP flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 t grated lemon zest
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 cups packed grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting or sifted powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners, Whisk flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices together. In another bowl, whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and zest until well blended. Whisk brown sugar until well blended. Add flour mixture, then zucchini, stir until just combined. Stir in walnuts.

Divide batter evenly between lined cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Ayelet's notes: I used half the amount of sugar and 1/2 a cup of applesauce in place of half of the oil...these were plenty sweet. Since we are nut-free, I replaced the walnuts with raisins. We left our cupcakes plain, save for a few that I frosted with some leftover cream cheese frosting. YUM! These seem like they would freeze pretty well.

today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Did you know that today is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day? It is!

So we decided to pack up a picnic and our teddy bears and read our favorite story under a shady tree.

As you can see, our bear friends enjoyed themselves (while not being force-fed carrots by Emily).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

on counting to ten

It's one of "those" days. I haven't slept in I don't know how long. The girls were once again up at an ungodly hour. A trip to the gym only made me even more tired. The kids had a play date that got canceled and were cooped inside all afternoon. The husband has been gone and his high tech TV/stereo/music player computer thingy has officially become my new enemy. The art bin got dumped out, the couch got colored on while I was in the bathroom (bad mama! how dare I actually try to pee in peace?!?!), and my curtains are now in need of laundering again because of sunflower seed butter.

Plus, we were out of bread.

So...why not entertain the troops by mixing up a batch? Normally, they like to stand by the bowl and watch the yeast bloom. Not today. Today, Emily pulled my favorite glass bowl (that I put the dough in while it rises) off the counter and smashed it to the floor. A thousand tiny glass pieces scattered everywhere. I got the broom and started sweeping. It went the living room, down the hall, and even into the bathroom. Mind you, I'd just swept up from the post lunch mess. Hey, I told myself, at least this probably means that I won't have to sweep again until tomorrow.

That's when I looked up to see Ava dumping the entire salt cellar into the yeast mixture. Needless to say, in my haste to run and spoon as much salt out as I could, I stepped on a piece of glass and now have a nice cut on the bottom of my foot.

And that was the last of the yeast.

Well, I told myself, at least I can put those deep breathing exercises from childbirth class to use. Too bad I can't put my husband's bonus to use and buy a one way ticket to Fiji. Instead, I have to put it to use to *gasp* buy bread.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

pictures from the weekend

Trying hard to stay awake for fire works:

Running through the sprinklers:

playing in the water:


Ava at a park play date:

Making Daddy proud:

happy birthday america...

let's celebrate by lighting things on fire and watching them explode!

princess tea party

Yesterday was a day to recover from our long and crazy weekend, so the girls and I stayed home and relaxed. Ava decided that baking would be fun, and Emily kept bringing me the tea set, so I decided to bake some tea cakes with the girls and then have a fancy tea party.

We made Strawberry Filled Tea Cakes and had pink tea (leftover watermelon lemonade from our 4th of July party). A fancy table cloth and tiaras for everyone (I wore the one from my wedding)!

Strawberry Filled Tea Cakes
Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Makes 16

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for tins
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for tins
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
4 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush standard cupcake tin with butter, dust with flour, tap out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cream butter, sugar and zest until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with milk until everything is incorporated.

In another bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites into soft peaks. Fold gently into batter. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each prepared cup. Make an indentation in the middle of each, fill with one tablespoon jam. Top with 2 additional tablespoons batter, covering jam completely.

Bake 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Remove from oven, turn cakes out onto cooling rack, and cool completely.

Ayelet's notes: Martha suggests a citrus glaze over these, but I thought that they were sweet enough without. In fact, I only used half the amount of sugar and they turned out pretty sweet. I also used lemon zest because that's what I had and they were super yummy.

I definitely suggest making these (with or without little helpers) for your next tea party! Ava basically made these herself (the only thing I did was separate the eggs and put the tins into the oven) so they were pretty easy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

can't wait...

i just finished rereading this charming book...if you haven't read it, it's a must! the movie looks so cute. can't wait to have a date with my mama and see this!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ice cream

cool salads for hot nights

4 Bean Salad

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans

1 cup cooked kidney beans

1 cup cooked organic edamame beans

1 cup raw green beans, trimmed and cut in half

1/2 red onion, sliced very thin

12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together and pour over the beans & vegetables. Mix gently. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Brown Rice and Black Bean Salad

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 (3 1/2 ounce) package crumbled reduced fat feta cheese (I use the kind with tomato and basil)

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1/2 cup Italian dressing

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cider or champagne vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 T chopped fresh dill

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate before serving.