Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gratitude Practice

This has been a very tough week for me both physically and emotionally. After a week of crazy travel, quickly followed by the holidays, plus some personal issues, I am ready for a break. We are spending the rest of 2007 in the mountains enjoying the winter activities - skiing, making snowmen, and drinking hot chocolate! Hope you are also enjoying the last weekend of 2007.

This week I am grateful for my little family.

I am unbelievably grateful for my very supportive husband who is always there for me. Sometimes I am amazed at how well he puts up with my frequent crankiness. This week he set aside his own desires to make sure I got what I needed (even before I recognized what I needed!).

I was also reminded this week of how lucky I am to have my two beautiful children. I am so grateful that I was able to bring them into this world with so little effort and that they are healthy, strong, and capable (even if they seem a bit too capable at times!). Sometimes I take it for granted how lucky I am to have them.

I hope you find time this week for your own gratitude practice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blog Giveaway: Holiday Gift to Charity!

I got this idea a few weeks ago while reading the blog Country Dawn and pondering her post about Oprah's Favorite Things. I thought it would be fun to do a charity giveaway! I don't think there has been a blog giveaway like this before (at least not that I know of!). For every comment left on this post, I will donate $1 to the charity of the winner's choice*. So leave a comment and tell me which charity you choose. I'll close the comments out Sunday Dec 30th at 10pm, randomly choose the winner, and make the donation! So post a link on your blog and email your friends. Let's see how much we can raise for charity!

*I reserve the right to deem any charity unsuitable for the contest. The charity must be a nonprofit and must be legit (no i-need-a-new-car.org). I also will not donate to any group that I adamantly oppose (I can't actually think of any group that I oppose, but just in case someone finds something like killthetrees.org or clubtheseals.org, I want to be able to refuse to donate). I also reserve the right to limit the donation to $500 - although if for some crazy reason the comments get past 500, I will honestly consider more.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Break

There is lots (lots!) going on in our home this week. I can't tell you about all of it now, but I will soon. After a really rough day of travel, we made it home safely. My children were so well behaved despite the long hours, delays, plan changes and crowds. Actually they were better behaved than many of the adults I saw traveling yesterday! We didn't get home until after 2am EST. Matt has to go back to the airport today to get our bags and our car (which didn't start after a week of sitting in the cold!).

I think I'll continue to take a bit of a blogging break while we celebrate the holidays. BUT be sure to check back sometime this week because I am going to have a blog giveaway like NONE you have ever seen before! Really, it is going to be fun and inspirational. I hope to make it a holiday blog tradition.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Movie Premier - Steep

Tonight we are attending the opening of the documentary film Steep. My sister-in-law works for the film's production company. Matt is a ski movie addict, so he is really excited. I was a little disappointed that we don't get to walk the red carpet, but it is probably better since I have nothing glamorous to wear! *wink*
I am hoping the movie will get us psyched for our ski season to start. Due to a bunch of conflicts (and not a lot of snow at first), neither Matt nor I have been to the slopes yet. We start right after Christmas.
Check the release schedule to see when it is opening near you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Greenstyle Mom All Around

Real quick while I have an internet connection...

If you live in Colorado and get the Denver Post, I hope you saw my candy cane fudge recipe was published! Also be sure to check out my friend Shannon's yummy recipe. I sure hope she is planning to share some of those cookies with me!

Also check out the Greenstylemom interview at AlaiVani. I was pretty excited when Jen and I connected since we both share a love of India.

PS - It is a gorgeous day in NY today!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Traveling Woes

We made it to NYC despite it being a bit of a rough trip. I continued to be sick and couldn't hold anything in through the wee hours of this morning. I seem to be doing better now. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't get worse again.

Our flight was a bit delayed yesterday due to weather on the East Coast. A little over an hour delay doesn't seem bad until you throw in two cranky preschoolers. My kids were amazingly well behaved despite the long day of travel.

And this morning when we thought the turbulence was finally over? Jack broke a bone in his foot. Yup. You read that correctly. Jack has his first broken bone. There is (rather, was) a full length mirror with a heavy frame hanging on the hotel room wall. Jack was looking at himself in the mirror while holding the frame when the whole thing slipped off the bracket and fell straight down on his foot. Fortunately I was right there and caught the mirror before it crashed over onto him. His foot immediately turned nasty purple and red colors and swelled up. Jack would not walk or even stand. If I even looked at his foot, he started screaming. I called Matt out of his conference, and we took him in for xrays. There is a slight fracture. Fortunately the orthopedic surgeon recommended NOT casting it. He said the painful injury is the soft-tissue crush, and his recommendation is to let it rest. He said Jack might be walking in a few days... or it might be a few weeks.

While we are in NYC this week, I probably won't be blogging a bunch. If I even feel like getting on the computer, I am going to try to catch up on reading other blogs and do some commenting. Have a great week!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gratitude Practice

I've been looking forward to posting my Gratitude Practice all week! I was listening to Dr. Laura on the radio earlier in the week (I really don't like her all that much. I think she is pretty rude, but I do like her stand that you need to do the right thing no matter how difficult it is). Dr. Laura was talking about shifting your attitude about life by changing your wording. Instead of saying or thinking that you have to do ______, instead think of it in terms that you get to do _____. I am going to use that thought for my Gratitude Practice today.

  1. I am grateful that I get to pack for our trip. Our family able to enjoy so much travel.
  2. I am grateful that I get to do laundry. Our family can afford nice clothes.
  3. I am grateful that I get to wash dishes. Our family has more than enough food to satisfy.
  4. I am grateful that I get to disagree with my husband. I have a husband who will be with me through anything.
  5. I am grateful that I get to spend all day with my children. I am able to shape their lives (hopefully for the better!).
  6. I am grateful that I get to pay the bills. We have the money to pay them.
  7. I am grateful that I get to clean up toys every evening. My children have everything they need.
  8. I am grateful that I get to address holiday cards. We have many friends.
  9. I am grateful that I get to go to the post office today. I have much to give to friends and family.
  10. I am grateful that I got to have food poisoning the last 36 hours. I lost 5 lbs! (okay, I'm being facetious, I'm not really grateful at all. The last 36 hours have been awful. Can't keep anything inside me. Not even water. I'm a bit better this morning. I've kept down a bite of banana and half a piece of toast for 30 min, and I'm sure I'll gain the 5lbs back as soon as I rehydrate...)

Be sure to head over to Everyday Yogini and participate in the weekly Gratitude Practice!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Sweets

I thought after Halloween I wouldn't have to worry as much about candy and sweets, but then the holiday season arrived. Santa always leaves us something sweet in our stockings, but this year I want to make sure that Santa doesn't leave any sweets with artificial coloring, flavoring, or sweeteners. I sent Santa to the Natural Candy Store to stuff our stockings. They carry a variety of natural treats. They also offer organic candy, vegan candy, gluten-free candy, and allergen-free candy for those with special diet needs.

I was also pretty excited to find Natural Candy Store's selection of decorating sugars and natural food colors. I cleaned out my stock of cookie/cake decorations and thought we were going to have to skip cookie decorating this year. I'm excited to restock my supplies!

Natural Candy Store is offering readers 10% off any purchases through the end of the year using discount code greenmom.

The Boy Doll or The Difference Between Men & Women

We are a bit under the weather today. Being sick stinks because we were supposed to go see some friends, but I like having an excuse to not feel guilty about sticking the kids in front of the TV and surfing the internet. While browsing blogs, I came across The Not Quite Crunchy Parent's post Action Figure - "Boy" for "Doll". I decided I needed to record a family story from last year.

Christmas 2006, Jack is almost 21 months old and has taken an interest in Kate's dolls. He carries them around, gets the wipes and pretends to change diapers, wraps them in blankets and puts them in Kate's doll cradle. I think it is adorable but am concerned that all of Kate's dolls are female (aka lacking boy parts). I decide that what Jack really needs is a "boy doll" for play. A doll that has the same parts that he does. I know that Matt is not going to be pleased with my suggestion, so I plan my arguments which vary from developing a boy's nurturing side to helping him potty train.

All prepared for a battle, I approach Matt one evening and say, "I think we should get Jack a boy doll for Christmas." Before presenting my case and to my utter surprise and amazement, Matt quickly agrees that it is a great idea. I couldn't believe what a sensitive, modern man I had married! The next day I go to a small, local toy store and buy the boy doll that I have been eyeing. (Note that the doll's name on his shirt is Paul which also happens to be our neighbor's name) I bring the boy doll home and put him in our spare bedroom with the ever-growing collection of presents.

Later that day, I am out running more errands when I receive a call from Matt. He gives me no greeting and simply and flatly says, "I saw Paul." Confused and thinking of our neighbor, I ask, "What is Paul up to?" Matt continues, "Paul in our guest room." Still confused and concerned about the mess my guest room is, I say, "What in the world is Paul doing in our guest room?!?" Matt, still in a quite flat voice, responds, "No, I saw Paul the boy doll in the guest room." Finally realizing what we are talking about, I exclaim, "Isn't Paul great? I think Jack is really going to like him." Matt says, incredulously, "Does Paul have a penis?" and without missing a beat he continues, "When you said a 'boy doll,' I thought you meant a GI Joe..."

We had a good laugh, Jack got his "boy doll" for Christmas and loved it (almost as much as his Tonka truck), and Paul is still a close part of our family spending each night in bed with Jack. You can often find Jack in Kate's play high heels and Paul in a pink dress enjoying each other's company. It makes Matt cringe, but it makes me smile.

Holiday Priorities

Kate just asked me this morning, "Mom, when is it going to be Easter again?" I explained first is Christmas, then Kate's birthday, then Jack's birthday, THEN Easter. "I can't wait for Easter," she lamented. Huh?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Book Promotion

I was wrapping some holiday presents this evening and thought I'd do a little book promotion. I am giving several copies of The American Factionary as gifts this year. It was written by Sy Testa who happens to be one of Kate's godfathers (she has two because in the Catholic church at least one of the godparents has to be a practicing Catholic and our friends we chose are not Catholic. I should also add that I wouldn't qualify as a godparent since I'm not exactly a practicing Catholic), and my dad is mentioned as one of the contributors. It is as fun little reference book and is a great vocabulary builder. I've enjoyed reading it as I feel my vocabulary has suffered since leaving college and then was completely obliterated by mommy brain. Sy took all the words in an unabridged dictionary, threw out the everyday words like "house" and "cat" as well as words related to specific disciplines like medicine and physics. He also took out obscure words that you don't need everyday. What is left are words that you can use to improve your communication on a daily basis. Matt and I have discussed consciously trying to improve our everyday vocabulary to lay the groundwork for the kids as they grow and expand their speech. I should call Sy and see if he'll donate a book for a giveaway... maybe it will even be autographed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Perfect Day for Baking!

Today was snowy and cold, so the kids and I stayed home and made some holiday cookies. Yum!
The first batch was my newly invented fudge recipe - Candy Cane Fudge! (I can't imagine I am the first one to think of this idea, but I've never seen it before). I took the fudge recipe I grew up using, switched the vanilla for peppermint extract, and added crushed candy canes to the middle and the top. Crushing the candy canes was a great distraction for the kids while I fixed the fudge (although I wouldn't recommend trying to crush them with a rubber mallet in the thin wrap... it might get a little messy... try putting them in a bag or something!) The fudge turned out really yummy! I can't wait to share some with friends and neighbors.

Candy Cane Fudge
¾ cup butter
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz chocolate chips
7 oz marshmallow cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2-3/4 cup crushed candy cane plus some for top

Melt butter, sugar, milk
Boil for 5 min on med heat stirring constantly
Stir in chips until melted
Add marshmallow cream then peppermint then crushed candy cane
Pour into greased 13x9 pan
Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy cane
Cool at room temp, cut, and store in fridge or freezer
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We also made Marshmallow Wreath Treats. I love these. This was also something that we made with my mom while growing up. Just like Rice Krispie treats only with corn flakes (I sometimes use a multigrain flake cereal if I can find one that isn't overly sweet). I'm not sharing these. They are ALL for me!

Marshmallow Wreath Treats
1/2 cup butter
1 16oz bag marshmallows
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp (or more!) green food coloring
6 cups corn flakes
red hots

Melt butter and marshmallows over low heat, add vanilla and enough food coloring to get the shade of green desired. Mix in corn flakes until cereal is well coated with marshmallow mixture. Drop by spoonful on wax paper. Shape mixture in to wreath circles (keeping fingers wet will prevent too much sticking to your fingers) Decorate with red hots. Keep in the fridge or freezer until serving day. Let warm to room temp before serving. Eat and enjoy!
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I am entering both recipes in the Mile High Mamas Holiday Recipe Contest. If you have a favorite holiday recipe, I'd like to see it. But don't bother entering it in the contest because there is no way it would beat my recipes! *wink*



Hope For Women Giveaway

I want to share a very favorite product of mine - handcrafted notecards from Hope for Women. These notecards are probably my favorite gift to give, and I keep my gift closet stocked with extras. Not only are they exquisitely beautiful, but the cards are handmade by women in India who may not otherwise have a way to help support their families. (I met many women in similar circumstances during my time in India to study nursing. You didn't know I was in India? I'll blog about it soon) Of coure, I like that the flowers used to make the notecards are grown in organic gardens, and Hope for Women is also a member of the Fair Trade Federation. Read more on the Hope for Women Blog.
Hope for Women is giving one reader a set of 4 notecards. To enter, visit the Hope for Women website and then leave a comment on this post telling me which collection of notecards is your favorite. Entries will be accepted until Friday, Dec 21st. I'll randomly pick and announce the winner that weekend.

If you can't wait to win the giveaway or want to use the notecards as a stocking stuffer, you can find Hope for Women notecards on their website or find them in a store near you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Menu Plan

Keeping it easy this week as we prepare for our trip to NYC next week. Don't want to have any leftovers.
Monday - Leftover Chili Blanco (I didn't make it until last night since Matt brought home Indian takeout on Friday)
Tuesday - Southwestern Risotto (I'll post the recipe later)
Wednesday - Baked Chicken, steamed broccoli, butternut squash (I want to do something new and different with it, but I haven't decided what... any ideas?)
Thursday - Kids' Meal - English muffin pizzas
Friday - Rosemary Garlic Spinach Cakes (recipe below) served with whole wheat spaghetti and Rao's Marinara

Rosemary and Garlic Spinach Cakes
(from the Cascadian Farms spinach box)
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
10 oz thawed spinach, drained
2/3 cup instant potato flakes
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 tsp fresh rosemary ( ½ tsp dry)
½ cup bread crumbs
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
marinara sauce

Heat olive oil over med heat. Add onion, garlic and spinach. Sauté for 3 min. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Scoop and flatten into patties. Saute both sides of cakes until golden brown. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10 min. Serve with marinara sauce.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Tree

Today was the day we were going to go cut down a Christmas Tree from the National Forest, but a big snowstorm changed our plans. Our second option was the Christmas Tree farm we went to last year, but because of the weather and other activities, we ended up here
But that's okay, because we still had lots of fun playing in the trees and snow
Tonight we'll eat a soup dinner, then decorate the tree while drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies and listening to Christmas music. Gotta go make those cookies!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gratitude Practice

I've been meaning to join my friend Nona in her Saturday Gratitude Practice for a few weeks now. I've been struggling with a few issues, and I needed to take a few minutes to focus on how lucky I really am in my life. Here is just the beginning of what I am thankful for...
  1. My absolutely wonderful husband. I sometimes wonder how (and why!) he puts up with me.
  2. My two beautiful children. There really is nothing more wonderful than watching them be alive and explore the world.
  3. The really relatively stress-free life that I live. I know I just said that I've been struggling with some issues, but when I look at the struggles of others, I really don't feel like I have any right to complain.
  4. Our family's ability and love of travel. We are gearing up for a trip to NYC, and instead of stressing over all that I need to get done, I am going to try to focus on how lucky we are to be able to travel.
  5. Babysitters! I'm so thankful to have good babysitters that I trust and the kids enjoy. Allowing me to take time for myself and allowing Matt and I enjoy time for just us.

I strongly encourage you to participate in the Everyday Yogini's Gratitude Practice. I can already tell that participating will help me keep a positive outlook throughout the week!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

A long time ago I read a great article about friendship. I don't remember where I read the article or really many of the details of the article, but what stuck with me about the article over the years was the description of our need for "refrigerator friends." It described refrigerator friends as being friends that you know well enough to let dig around in your fridge. Really see what is behind the door. See the moldy leftovers, see the juice spills that haven't been cleaned up. Help themselves to something to eat. Of course this is just an analogy to life. The need in our society for real, deep, meaningful relationships not just superficial, casual relationships. These relationships aren't easy to develop in our modern society, and I think we are missing out on the emotional and social support. I know I crave relationships like this.

I have spent almost half of my life in another state from my parents and family, so I like to think that I know the importance of refrigerator friends. For me those friends become more than just friends, they really are like family. Only you get to choose them, and, honestly, isn't that better? I have found that once a refrigerator friend, always a refrigerator friend. You can disagree or even fight, but you always know that person is still there for you. I've also learned that it takes a long time to develop that closeness. For me it is part time, part energy, part experiences together, part a indescribable connection, and mostly the common need and want for the relationship. I find many potential friends not open or able to get to the next level of friendship. I'm just as guilty of not always being open to allowing a friendship to advance to the next level. Mostly because of fear of rejection or maybe from an experience where I lose trust and pull back. Although I am probably more guilty of trying to rush to the refrigerator stage. I know it takes time. Something that is often difficult to find with little ones.
I hope my refrigerator friends and refrigerator friends-in-progress who are reading this know who they are.
The internet is an amazing thing. After writing this I thought I would quickly Google "Refrigerator Friends" and was amazed at what I found so easily! The article I read years ago popped up pretty fast (although you have to pay to access it!), plus the book Refrigerator Rights that the article was based on, AND a Refrigerator Rights Blog by the author. I'm going to find a copy of the book and add it to my ever-growing reading pile.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Overwhelmed

I'm feeling really overwhelmed. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it is the holidays, maybe it is that I just got home last week and am leaving again in less than 2 weeks. Maybe it is my minor health issue that has me a bit worried. Maybe it is a household problem I am having. Maybe it is just motherhood. Maybe it is a combo of all of it. But I apologize if I'm not responding to emails, commenting on blogs, or returning phone calls. One of these days I'll get back in the swing of things.

I did re-learn (my mom has taught me several times) to knit last night which was lots of fun!

Giveaways

The winner of the paper baking pans is commenter #11 Erin!

If you didn't win this time, come back on Friday. I'll have another giveaway then!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sustainable Reading

Since I am probably going to be blogging about a lot of books I am reading, I thought I'd tell everyone about a site I've been using. Eco-Libris is a way you can "balance" out the books that you buy. You purchase book credits for $1 each. For every book credit, Eco-Libris plants a tree and sends you a sticker (made from recycled paper!) for your book. I have been adding the stickers to books I purchase (new or used) including the many books that I am giving for Christmas gifts this year.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's plan fell apart... I'll give it another go this week...

Monday - EV's Veggies

Tuesday - Lentil and Brown Rice Soup (recipe below)

Wednesday - Baked Chicken, Walnut-Apple-Blue Cheese Salad (recipe below), steamed asparagus

Thursday - Kids' Meal - Tofu Fishy Sticks, Baked Sweet Potato, Steamed Broccoli

Friday - Chili Blanco (recipe below - we'll eat the leftovers all weekend & I'll probably freeze some also)

Lentil and Brown Rice Soup
12 cups broth
1 ½ cups lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 lbs canned tomatoes, drained and chopped, juice reserved
3 carrots, sliced (or more!)
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
3 minced garlic cloves
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
½ cup minced fresh parsley
2 T cider vinegar, or to taste

In large pot, combine the broth, lentils, rice, tomatoes including juice, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 40-45 min, or until lentils and rice are tender
Stir in the parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf. The soup will be think and will thicken as it stands. This the soup, if desired, with additional hot broth or water.

Serves 16-18


Walnut-Apple-Blue Cheese Salad
Bag of mixed greens
1 cup or so of toasted walnuts
1-2 Fugi apples, cut into bite sized pieces
Crumbled blue cheese
3T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt/pepper
Make dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic and s/p. Toss dressing and greens. Stir in walnuts, apples, blue cheese.

Chili Blanco
(I've made a vegetarian version of this soup by omitting the chicken and adding additional beans)
2 cups Great Northern White Beans, sorted, soaked overnight, drained
10 cups broth
2 minced garlic cloves
2 chopped onions
1 T oil
2 4-oz cans green chiles, sliced
3 cups canned tomato quarters & juice
2 tsp ground comino
1 ½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups diced cooked chicken
salt/pepper to taste
garnish: Monterrey Jack cheese, chopped green onions, diced avocado, sour cream

Combine beans, broth, garlic, and onions in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the beans are very soft (about 2 hrs)

Add remaining ingredients (except garnish). Continue to simmer one hour.

Garnish as desired.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Weird Things Meme

Last week Kinda Crunchy Mama tagged me for this meme. I'm so normal that it has taken a long time to come up with 7 weird things. Just kidding. I'm actually leaving out all the really weird things about me.
  1. I have to have the TV volume on an even number or on an integer of 5. So 20, 22, 24, 25 are all okay levels, but 21 and 23 are NOT okay. It drives Matt crazy, but it drives me even crazier to have it on an odd number.
  2. I can't stand liquid coffee, but my favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee.
  3. I can play the piano, flute and euphonium (baritone) but not very well. I actually don't consider myself to be very musical.
  4. Speaking of music, background music is annoying to me. I can't carry a conversation in the car with the radio on, and I don't like music just playing in the house.
  5. I always feel a strange urge to coordinate my underwear with my outfit.
  6. I have always wanted pet chickens.
  7. I can't eat spaghetti without cutting it up into bite sized pieces. Fortunately Matt does the same thing.

I could go on and on, but I won't! I'm not tagging anyone since everyone else in the blogosphere seems to already have been tagged.

Fresh Pecans!

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Texas was the Texas pecans. Matt's Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Evva have several native pecan trees on their property. Native pecans are smaller than traditional ones, more difficult to shell, but oh so golden and delicious!

Picking Up Pecans


Jack Stuffing His Pockets With Pecans


Uncle Jimmy Cracking Pecans with the Kids


It was so enjoyable to sit and shell pecans while enjoying a nice conversation. I hardly noticed that 3 hours had gone by. I should have taken a photo of my little bowl of pecan. After all that work, I had a about 3 cups to show. Pecans should be worth their weight in gold! I told Uncle Jimmy that I was going to go home to Colorado and plant me a pecan tree. He laughed and told me, "That's a great idea... I'm guessing you'll be getting your first pecan off that tree in about 40 years!"
We took the pecans to my mom's house and made this delicious pecan-cranberry cake that I took from a Wild Oats magazine and adjusted a bit. I think the hard-won fresh pecans made it just that much better!
(This would also be a great recipe for the star pans in my giveway that continues through Tuesday! If you haven't entered, head over and enter now!)

Cranberry Pecan Cake
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
3 large eggs (or equivalent egg sub)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup finely chopped pecans
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9 inch square cake pan. Beat sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla with electric mixer for 5 minutes or until thick and fluffy. Fold in flour. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 45 min or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Last Day of NaBloPoMo

Finally! Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I did it. I posted every day for the month of November. This really should not be that big of an accomplishment for me. I posted almost every day in Sept and Oct also. So why, then, did it feel so stressful for me to post everyday in November? For me, blogging suddenly became something I "had" to do, not something I did because I wanted. The pressure to post everyday was to meet the expectations of others, not myself. It took away from my true experience of blogging and forced me to meet the standards of others.

This idea is something I've been mulling over for awhile and NaBloPoMo just brought it to the forefront. Not about blogging, but about life. That need to live up to the standards of others. It is something I often find myself in an internal struggle over. I often feel pressure to fit into my "role" in society as a mother, wife, community member. The expectations of others don't always jive with my internal desires.

Matt and I are wrestling with several life decisions right now. It is causing us to really look at what we want in our life. I am also going through a normal holiday process for me where I examine what is important in my life. I clean out both physically and emotionally. I'm reading a related book right now by one of my favorite authors. I'll probably be blogging a lot about the book in the next few weeks. It has many "exercises" that I might complete on my blog.

I'd love to write more but my kids are going in opposite directions... and not the direction they need to be going!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

PIF Gifts

I am packaging up my PIF gifts so I can get them in the mail this weekend. I chose two of my favorite things for my PIF gifts (I sound like an Oprah show!). Hope all the receivers enjoy their gifts!

The first is a handmade card from India from Hope for Women. I love these cards and will tell you more about them when I have a Hope for Women giveaway at the end of next week.
The second item is a handmade coffee cuff from my friend's Etsy site Gretchen's Creations. Gretchen is an amazing crafter. She handknits the cuffs from 100% wool then machine felts them so that they fit to-go coffee cups. A much cuter and environmentally friendly way than cardboard holders to insulate your cup and your hands. Mention that you saw the coffee cuffs on Greenstylemom and she'll give you the 2 for $20 deal. They would make a great stocking stuffer! (If you email her, she'll even make you a coffee cuff in custom colors!)

Be sure to check out Gretchen's other items. I LOVE her felted bowls. I have several for me, and I've given several of them as gifts. The little ones make great jewelry catchers.

Wanna See Me Drive a Tractor?

From our Texas trip...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

You can get the "word" version of the self-given haircuts here.

Before



After

Saffron Rouge

My friend Nona at Everyday Yogini recently introduced me to the website Saffron Rouge which sells all organic skincare products. Since I am in the process of switching to new skincare and makeup products it was perfect timing. I love that you get to pick your own free samples when you order. Nona and I are both going to join the "Inner Circle" where you get free samples of organic skincare products so we can compare products.

Saffron Rouge has a special this week to save 15% off your order. Enter the code timeout in the checkout cart. Offer expires December 4th, 2007 and is not valid with any other offer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recipe Rally - Butternut Squash Risotto

Thought I'd join in the Recipe Rally at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas because 1) choosing my favorite squash recipe is easy; 2) I need something to do while I am sitting at the computer waiting for trip photos to download; and 3) I'm avoiding unpacking...

This is a really yummy recipe, and I think I've posted it before. Just make sure the squash is fresh. Older squashes don't have as enough flavor for this dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 lb butternut squash
7-8 cups broth
2 T minced parsley
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
s/p to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice

Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and fibers, bake in oven at 375 until softened (about 30min). Cool. Scoop out pulp and place in medium bowl. Mix in parsley and nutmeg.

Pour broth into a saucepan and warm to a simmer.

In another saucepan over med heat, warm oil. Add onion and sauté until softened (about 3 min) Add the rice, stir to coat with oil, and cook, stirring, until edges are translucent, about 3-4 min. Add a ladleful of broth and cont to stir constantly over med heat. When the stock is almost fully absorbed, add another ladleful. Cont to add broth, a ladleful at a time, as soon as each ladleful is almost absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is tender but firm, about 20 min total. (If you have a rice cooker, I make my risottos in the rice cooker. Follow directions up until you add the broth. Put the rice/onions/broth in the rice cooker and use the slow cooking option. It takes about an hour for the rice to cook.)

When the rice is done, add the butternut squash mixture, stirring well.

Banned!

Remember the Online Nurse-In to protest the Facebook and MySpace ban on breastfeeding images? Seems that the video montage of breastfeeding (I am in it twice!) that was put together has now been banned on You Tube for being "inappropriate." Here's the press release from The League of Maternal Justice

Youtube Bans Protest Video
Video Depicted Breastfeeding Moms
A mom-produced internet protest video attacking Facebook's banning of breastfeeding pictures was itself banned by the popular video sharing service Youtube after gaining recognition as the top-five most discussed of its day. A group of moms called Youtube's action hypocritical and harmful, and pointed to dozens of sexually explicit and harmful videos currently allowed on the service. The moms also pointed to a number of state laws specifically stating that public breastfeeding was not inappropriate.
If you are interested in taking action check out What You Can Do.
If you want to see some "appropriate" clips on YouTube, check these out...
(warning: NOT family friendly)
Sample Three... ugh I can't look at them anymore... just search "breasts" and you'll get 64,200 results! (Note that there are several other videos of breastfeeding still up. There are also multiple videos of explicit "How to do a breast exam" and "How to do therapeutic breast massage" which I think fall into a gray category. I don't have a problem with them, but they are certainly exposing much more breast than the montage!)

10 Tips

The Green Mommy is collecting 100 tips to save the planet to celebrate her 100th post. She came up with the first 50 and is asking readers to come up with the next 50. Here is my 10 tip contribution (I tried to choose tips that aren't already on Jenny's list).

  1. Ride your bike
  2. Use the library
  3. Bring your own bag
  4. Use hand-me-downs (okay, those who know me can quit laughing... I would use hand-me-downs if I had someone to give them to me! At least I pass most of my kids' clothes on to become hand-me-downs.)
  5. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop
  6. Use scrap paper for all your lists (I probably save a forest a year doing this!)
  7. Breastfeed
  8. Hand pull your weeds instead of using chemicals
  9. Carefully choose the companies you support when buying new
  10. Teach your children how to care for the earth

And check out the Eco-Bag instructions on Penny's Walking Upside Down blog! I love the bag that she made for me. The stamping is SO cute!

The kids and I are headed home today (finally!) to join Matt who went home on Saturday. I'm ready to see the mountains again.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Holiday Tradition

How many times do you need to do something for it to become a tradition? Is two years in a row sufficient? For the second holiday season in a row, Kate has taken the scissors to her own hair and given herself a fabulous new do. This year she decided that Jack has enough hair to join in the festivities.

After hollering, "KATE!" and watching her scamper away, all I could do was give a good sigh and smile. And take them out to get the do's freshened up. The stylist was awesome. She blended Jack's chopped hair enough that he didn't have to have his head buzzed, and she gave Kate the cutest little stacked bob - as short as a bob can get - with a little unevenness of the sides where Kate did her finest work. I'll post some pics when I get home.

Sigh.

The Best Gifts Are Baked

Gift giving doesn't get much "greener" than baking gifts for family, friends, and neighbors. I love to give (and receive!) baked items during the holidays. Quick breads, cakes, cookies, candies. As I start more holiday baking, I'll share some of my favorite baked gift recipes.

I have been a fan of King Arthur flours (have you tried their white whole wheat? It is awesome.) for as long as I have been buying my own baking ingredients. I was naturally intrigued when I received The Baker's Catalogue from King Arthur Flour. I saw the bakeable paper pans in the catalog, and I knew I had to have some for gift giving this year. How cute will a loaf of quick bread look in theses pans with the recipe attached with a bit of ribbon?

The Baker's Catalogue has donated a set of 12 Paper Gift Bakers plus 3 of their new Bakeable Star Pans to be given to a Greenstylemom reader. To enter, comment on this post (be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win!) and link to this post on your blog (if you don't have a blog, you can email 3 friends a link to this post and cc me on the email kristen at greenstylemom dot com). The contest will be open through next Tuesday, Dec 4th. A winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Wed, Dec 5th.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monday Menu Plan

I enjoyed not cooking last week but that doesn't mean we quit eating! We are going to have some of our healthiest meals this week to counteract some of the not-so-healthy eating we did last week (I ate FIVE of Aunt Evva's Denver biscuits in one sitting - yum!).

Be sure to check out the giveaway I'll be doing tomorrow (Monday)! It will be an interest to any of you who like to bake.

Monday - Last day to enjoy Mom's home cookin'
Tuesday - EV's Veggies per Matt's request
Wednesday - Quick Barley Vegetable Pilaf
Thursday - Kids' meal - baked chicken, baked butternut squash, drop biscuits
Friday - Homemade pizza (using my favorite whole wheat dough recipe) and a great big fresh salad

Visit Org Junkie for more menu ideas!

Holiday Toy Gift Guide

Be sure to check out the Crunchy Domestic Goddess' Holiday Toy Gift Guide. It has some great info and ideas for holiday gift giving plus she has a great giveaway!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Toy Garden Discount

Time to start holiday shopping! I am happy to announce that I am almost done with my holiday gifts. I'll have everything for my side of the family wrapped and ready to give by the end of this weekend! I'll leave them with my mom to hand out and forget about it. I am giving pretty simply this year. I'll blog about some of my gift giving as the holidays get closer.

I have gotten several questions lately about age appropriate toys that I like. Thought it would be a good time to blog about one of my favorite places for toys. A Toy Garden carries the kinds of toys that I love for Kate and Jack to play with - open ended, natural, and creative. Many are made in the USA or are fair trade - and the website clearly marks these toys with little icons. I've bought many, many toys there. Thought I would share some of my ideas for the different ages for which I have given recommendations. Some are specific, some are general, all can be found at A Toy Garden.

Smaller babies - wooden rattles (there are lots of great ones on this site!), baby utensils, soft dolls, or any of the gifts listed for older babies - perfect for growing into

Older babies - Chunky wooden cars or rolling animals (my kids at 2 & 3 still love these kind of toys); stacking toys like this Dwarves Stacking House (a great gift that kids won't outgrow for years and years!)

1-2 years - my favorite gift to give for this age is pull and push toys - they are always a hit! Any vehicles for little boys. Jack likes these mini cars. Also check out the several cute floatable boats

3 years - Kate has this dolly stroller and loves it, anything crafty like this bead set, and anything that involves pretending to play house - tea sets, pots and pans, etc.

Always good for all ages are blocks, dolls, puzzles, and books. I almost hate to list any of the above toys in a specific age category, because these toys are so open ended that kids continue to use them as the grow and enter different stages.

Sonya at A Toy Garden has generously offered readers a 10% discount on purchases of $50 or more using coupon code GSM1007. If you want to do any of your holiday shopping there, hop to it! The coupon code is only good through November 30th!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pay It Forward Recipients

I finally have my Pay It Forward (PIF) gifts ready send! I will post pics and tell you all about the gifts next week after I send them out. The commenters I chose to continue the PIF are...
Shannon at The Cole Mine
Shokufeh
Geggie

Email me your addresses, and I'll get those off to you as soon as I get home next week!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so many things to be thankful for this year, but want to know what is at the top of my list? I am very thankful that NaBloPoMo is almost over!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's a Day

I'm not having the greatest of days...

  • I have a nasty cough and a bit of a stuffed nose
  • The decongestant I took last night before bed kept me awake from 2-4am.
  • Jack kept me awake from 4-5am.
  • I haven't had internet access for several days (which was a good thing!) but now I am behind on emails again (I am perpetually behind, huh?)
  • I left my laptop power cord at my father-in-law's house, so no laptop
  • I forgot to pack the skirt I was going to wear for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • I forgot my cell phone charger at home, but I did remember my car charger.
  • I forgot to charge my cell phone with my car charger on our long car trip yesterday.
  • This morning while trying to charge my cell phone in the car, I locked my kids in the car with the keys in the ignition! Fortunately the car wasn't actually running.
  • And that is all by 10am!

BUT it is Matt's birthday today! The day can only get better because we have a birthday party this evening with chili, presents, and a pecan pie birthday "cake" planned.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spinach Balls

I didn't do Monday Menu Plan this week because I am off cooking duty this week while we are away for Thanksgiving. Instead I'll share this recipe that I've been making it anytime I need to bring an appetizer to an event. It is a recipe my mom always made. I'm posting it at the request of Shokufeh.


Spinach Balls
2 10oz packages of chopped frozen spinach, cooked and drained
2 cups herbed seasoned stuffing mix (I found an organic brand at the grocery store)
1 large onion, chopped (I like it finely chopped in the food processor)
5 beaten eggs
3/4 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon garlic salt (I often use fresh garlic plus reg salt)
1 tsp pepper


Mix everything together. Chill 2 hours. Roll in small balls. Bake on cookie sheet for 20 min at 350. Let cool 3-5 minutes before serving or balls fall apart when taken off cookie sheet. Can freeze before baking. Makes about 90 balls.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free Subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine

After reading Mindful Momma's post on the Horizon boycott, I switched over our yogurt brand to Stonyfield Farm. When I opened a tub of yogurt last week, I noticed on the bottom of the lid seal that you can receive a free one-year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine by sending in 4 of the specially marked lids. We our big yogurt eaters so our family uses about 2 tubs a week. Since I'll have my subscription and extra lids in no time, and I am considering using the offer to give a free gift or two as well. You can get details here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Interview with Greenstylemom

Another interview! This one by Everyday Yogini. What amazing questions. Nona was one of my neighbors in cohousing until she decided to leave me and take off on her great adventure. She was also my first friend in Colorado!


1) Kristen, I love your blog, Green Style Mom. Where did you come up with the idea and what is your vision for your site?

My original idea stemmed from reading some of the mom-baby shopping blogs that review products and offer discount codes. I love the sites but often find that the products don't fit with my desire to buy more sustainable products. I wanted to write a blog where product reviews are more environmentally friendly. I also realize that being greener is more often about products you don't buy, so I decided to also write about other ways our family is trying to be more green (plus I didn't want my blog to be impersonal).


I'm not sure I have a true "vision" for my site. My approach right now is to see where it takes me, but I would like to eventually move to my own domain and learn more technical blog things.


2) You live in a cohousing community. Living in close community with a diverse group can be challenging. What is the greatest lesson you've learned living there?

There are so many lessons to be learned in cohousing! I think the most important on that I am trying (not always successfully) to live is to keep my mouth shut. Cohousing can be like its own small town where information travels quickly and not always accurately. Several times things that I have specifically said in confidence have come back to me only hours later. I am getting very good at going directly to those with whom I have an issue and encouraging others to do the same. There are so many other lessons I've learned living here. I have a few posts mentally planned about some of them. The best part is that these lessons not only apply to life in cohousing, but also to life in the great community.


3) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be, and why?

Physically it would be the second toe on my right foot. It is a long, wormy toe and sticks out further than all my other toes. Non-physical... I would like to be less paranoid. I won't even get into that.



4) How have motherhood & your kids changed you and your perspectives on life?

I've become much less judgemental. In typical fashion, I knew just how to be the perfect parent until I actually became one. I am also learning more how to appreciate individuality. I am realizing that I can't make people be who I want them to be (esp my children!) and instead I am learning to better love them for who they are.

5) If you could wish one thing into your life right now, what would it be, and why?

A daily housekeeper who would pick up and clean my home, know where everything belongs, know how to take care of everything (like not to soap and soak my cast iron or my porous stoneware), prepare meals as needed, and babysit as needed. Basically be at my beck and call. Do I even need to elaborate on why?

Now that you've read my interview, do you want to be interviewed? If you would like me to interview you on your blog, just leave me a comment!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Interview with Greenstylemom

(If you are looking for my TV interview, it is below!)

Awhile back (okay, a long while back) Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess was interviewed by a fellow blogger and offered to interview any of her readers. It has taken me much too long, but I finally found some quiet time to answer.

1) What was your inspiration for starting your blog?
I had been contemplating a blog for several years (even had my Blogger account!) but just never felt I had the time to start. One afternoon on a long drive, I was listening to a podcast by Hip Tranquil Chick featuring the founders of Ladies Who Launch. I was inspired to just start writing and see where it goes.

2) You have two beautiful children. Do you feel your family is complete or do you see more children in your future down the road?
I am pretty sure our family is complete. Occasionally I have an urge to add another child, but I also like the balance in our family. I am also enjoying the increased freedom of having older children. I'm not sure I want to return to the baby days. However, Matt won't do anything permanent because he says that he is only 98% sure that we are done.

3) What little known fact about you might surprise some of your readers?
Everyone always seems surprised to find out that I was a waterpolo player in college.

4) If you could ask everyone in the world to make one single change to benefit the earth, what would it be?
Recycle everything they can. It isn't that difficult, but I am amazed at how much people complain about it or don't think it matters. It sickens me when I think of the amount of waste that we produce.

5) Let's say you are going to be stranded with your family on a deserted island for 90 days. What 3 things would you take with you and why?
- My laptop to stay connected to friends and family (there is Wi-Fi on this island, right?)
- Sunscreen for my red headed husband and his sensitive skin offspring (although both kids tan)
- A collection of children's novels that we can read out loud around the campfire

It is interview weekend - I am doing another interview tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2007

TV Interview

Here is my big TV Interview! No making fun of me. It isn't easy to think clearly with a camera in front of your face.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Birth Story Collection

Every mom I know loves to read birth stories. I was inspired by the hostess at the screening of The Business of Being Born to share my stories. I think it is important for all of us as mothers. So if you haven't already, post your birth story (or multiple birth stories!) on your blog and use Mr. Linky to let use know it is there. To participate:
  1. Post your birth story
  2. Please mention the birth story carnival in a current post on your blog and link back to this site.
  3. Sign Mr. Linky below. You may sign more than once for multiple birth stories. please link to your individual birth story post instead of to your home page. You can do this by: right click on the time at the bottom of the post you want to link to, click “copy shortcut” and then paste it into the Mr. Linky.
  4. When signing Mr. Linky, please list after your name what type of birth you had. Examples: c-sect, home birth, unmed hosp birth, etc.
  5. Please respect everyone's birth choices.

I am really looking forward to reading all the birth stories!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Last Minute Great Deal

I have said before that I love Garnet Hill (and no doubt I'll say it again!). Great products, many of which are environmentally friendly. If you love Garnet Hill like me or you are interested in trying out their products, they are offering 20% off any purchases until midnight tonight! But you must use this link to get the discount.
Garnet Hill

I know I am behind on the birth story carnival. I am going to do it tomorrow... cross my heart!

AND interviews! I have lots of 'em! My TV interview should be ready to post on Friday. I also plan to post interviews from Crunchy Domestic Goddess and Everday Yogini over the weekend so you can learn even more about me.

Edited to add: Garnet Hill has extended their 20% off on the entire site until 11/18/07 if you use source code H7W44B

Cast Iron

Another great thing about cohousing? There is a box in the common house for "things that need a new home." There is a variety of things put there, but mostly it tends to be household goods. Since I am usually trying to downsize in our house, I usually don't take anything. A month or so ago I did find something that I wanted. A set of old cast iron skillets. They were a little rusty, but with a good scrubbing and re-seasoning, they were good as new. Jackpot!

My love affair with cast iron is fairly recent. It started last Christmas when Matt got me a cast iron griddle. I use it for everything... pancakes, fish, chicken, veggies, eggs. I expanded my cast iron cookware last spring and bought myself a small skillet. I continue to be amazed at how well food cooks on cast iron. It heats evenly and is nonstick once it is seasoned.

Cast iron is relatively inexpensive, and it lasts forever. Unlike Teflon and aluminum, you don't have to worry about what is seeping into your food with cast iron. Any iron in your food from cast iron is actually considered healthy!

Cast Iron Cabin has a whole line of cast iron cookware and is offering readers 10% purchases on their website using code GSMBS07. It would be a great place to start or expand your cast iron collection. They carry a 3-piece pre-seasoned skillet set that would make a great starter set. They also have muffin & biscuit pans or apple bakers that would make great gifts. And look at the cute alphabet cookie pan. I am planning on expanding my cast iron collection soon to include some bakeware and a dutch oven. I am also planning on giving several cast iron gifts this Christmas.

Edited: I missed a letter on the discount code, so try the corrected one!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Room for Guests

One of the benefits of living in cohousing is the use of the common house. I know that common houses vary from community to community, but our community has a great common house. As my friend Nona said when she and her husband were looking at homes in our community, "I want to live in that one!" (ie the common house). The common house is one of the ways that cohousers share resources.

The common house has multiple rooms for multiple purposes - a big kitchen, dining room, lounge room, playroom, etc. Our common house also has 2 guest rooms. One has a queen bed and the other has 2 twin beds. There is no charge to use them, and it is as easy as signing up in the reservation book for whatever nights you need them. Your only requirement is to clean up after your guests - wash the sheets and towels, make the beds, empty any trash, and do a quick vacuum. The guest room users are usually family and friends of community residents, although occasionally the community will host visitors in the rooms.

We use the guest rooms whenever we have visitors. I often leave our guests a little basket of extras in the room with some sample shampoos and soaps as well as a snack and some water. Can I tell you how nice it is to have guests close but not too close? At night guests usually wander over to their common house room before it gets to late giving our family a little alone time. I also don't fret over making sure guests are accommodated in the mornings. If they are early risers, they can shower and head over to the coffee shop on the corner for coffee or tea and a breakfast taco. If they like to sleep in, we don't worry about being quiet and trying not to disturb them.

There is also an environmental benefit to these guest rooms. We have over 30 households all sharing the use of two rooms. (Rarely is there a problem with one not being available - usually only over holidays) Instead of 30 families heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning, and up keeping 30 guest rooms, we share those responsibilities in just 2 rooms.

We hosted my friend from Indianapolis in one of the rooms last night. She is heading home this afternoon, so I gotta go get the room ready for the next guest!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Just for the record, I already don't feel like cooking this week. Sorry it isn't a more inspiring menu.

Monday - Dinner out with a friend in town

Tuesday - Community Meal - no cooking, just eating!
Wednesday - Salad (I still have some greens in the garden from my late summer planting!) with grilled veggies and goat cheese
Thursday - Kids' Meal - baked chicken, baked acorn squash, and roasted potatoes

Friday - Leftovers to clean out the fridge

And I forgot that I was going to do the birth story carnival today! I am going to try to get it up later today, if not maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Argh!

I finished my online class last night! Woohoo!

I have put everything on the back burner the last two weeks with traveling and trying to finish the class. The only reason I have been blogging is because of NaBloPoMo. I am at least 100 emails behind, and when I just went to check my Bloglines, I have over 500 posts to catch up on! So I'll be emailing and commenting a lot this week...

A quickie update on the kids - Jack started pedaling today, and Kate started really swimming on her own last week. I'm a very proud mommy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekend Plans

On the agenda for this weekend:
  • College hockey game (did that last night - I think Jack is going to be a hockey player!)
  • Finish online class (please, please, please let me get it all done...)
  • Memorial service for our friend Jinne (have to make spinach balls for reception)
  • Girls' night out with my good friend Becky visiting from Indiana
  • Double date with our good friends Shannon and Joe
  • Something outdoorsy with Becky from Indiana
  • Review and finish Christmas presents for my family (I'll be giving my side of the family gifts over Thanksgiving)
  • Hopefully do a little baking. I have a few new recipes I want to try. I'll share them if they are good.

What do you have planned for your weekend?

Friday, November 09, 2007

American Girl

Last Friday Kate and I were in Dallas for opening weekend of the American Girl store. We attended a grand opening benefit that evening at the store. Tickets and 10% of the proceeds that night benefited the Children's Medical Center. We went with my parents, my brother and his family, and my good friend Krista and her daughter Abbie. Everyone looked so nice dressed up. Kate and her cousin Mira even wore matching outfits! Because of my father's involvement with the store, we went right in when we arrived and didn't have to stand in the looong line.

If you have never been to an American Girl store (there are only a few in the country), the stores are decorated in a sweet candy pink with red accents. We were greeted at the door with champagne and pink lemonade. As we wandered the store and admired the displays, we were brought grown up appetizers along with child-friendly appetizers of heart-shaped, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit skewers, baked pretzels, mini pizzas, etc. There was a craft room for the girls, and little shakes available at the soda fountain. Yum, yum, yum!
I had intended not to go overboard with purchases for the evening. I wasn't even sure if I was going to get Kate a doll. In fact, I made my purchase at the end of the evening (a couple books and a little doll outfit) and was walking out of the store when I spotted THE DOLL. Somehow I had missed her earlier. She has blond hair and brown eyes just like Kate, and I had to get her. So I did. Plus a few accessories. So much for my best laid intentions.

I was feeling a bit guilty about my purchase partly because of price and partly because Kate really doesn't need the doll. But by the end of the weekend, I was glad that I did buy one. It is a special gift to commemorate our girls' weekend, and the girls had a great time together with their dolls and matching outfits. A newspaper article that weekend also pointed out that an American Girl doll and accessories are less expensive than a video game setup, more wholesome, and will last for generations. It eases my conscious... a bit.

A few more pics from our weekend:









More Girls' Weekend Pics