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henry happened: February 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

DIY :: Homebaked Snake Cake

Well, what do you think?

I know, that much green frosting is a little disturbing. But he's a happy snake.

The directions looked pretty easy so I upped my game a bit by following this recipe instead of going with the cake-in-a-box.

FYI - I couldn't find green frosting so I mixed food coloring into vanilla. I also couldn't find the candy for the tongue so I just cut a marshmallow in half and used more food coloring.

I'm not sure it tasted as good as it looked. The recipe was meant for a 2-layer cake. Snake directions required baking in a bundt cake pan, which took longer and I think made it a little dry. It didn't slow down the eating much though.

It was nice to have a little something that I could do for my boy to make his birthday even more special. Thanks to all who helped us celebrate Henry's birthday. Two great parties! Such a loved little boy.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Favorites

Happy weekend! Hope everyone's week went well. Any exciting weekend plans? I'll be finishing up a certain cake for tomorrow's little soiree.

I have been completely sucked into the world of blogging this week & have stayed up way too late prowling the web. Which is probably why I have a cold. Again.

Thought I would share a few lovely things I stumbled across.

My new favorite artist 

I made my first blog comment here regarding design on the Little Green Notebook - I was obsessed with reading every all of her old posts over Christmas (lost sleep then too!)

Maybe I should have made this cake for Henry?
Caroline can only dream of having a room as lovely as this one.

I think I found my next DIY project

Excited for a new rainy day project with marshmallows!
This week's library find - the illustrations are so lovely 

Can't wait for the Oscars on Sunday. Should we fill out a ballot & see who wins?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DIY :: Homemade Birthday Cake

I saw my friend Nikki today and, as usual, I left wondering, how the heck does she work full time, raise 2 of the cutest kids, and make a quilt and tile a back splash in her spare time. Oh, and she's also a great cook.

She has a great blog idea (here is where I would link to her cool site if it existed!) but I'll just say that it inspired me to be more adventurous and just DO MORE. Because that's the intent behind this blog - to force me out of my shell. To learn new things. To connect with people outside of the 4 walls of this house. Because sometimes they feel like they are closing in on me....

With that said, I've decided to tackle a few DIY projects here. Can I learn to reupholster a chair? How about a homemade memory game for Caroline? I'm obsessed with felted bowls - could I make one?

First up: a homemade birthday cake for Henry's birthday party this weekend. Here's what I've narrowed it down to:

 Train cake via Parenting

Dinosaur cake via Parenting

via Sprinkle Bakes

via iVillage

Or a classic chocolate cake from Martha Stewart. How much fun would it be for Henry to smear this all around?

Which one do you vote for?

Check back this weekend to see how it turned out!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Henry!

It was a year ago that Henry happened....

Isn't this guy the cutest? 

I should look at these photos more often when he's cutting 4 teeth in a week, providing a 6am wake up call or laughing at me as I vainly attempt his afternoon nap. 

Here are a few more of Dad's awesome photos.

Always a smiley boy...

That little tongue is so cute.

He loves to do mouth & nose exploration with that finger. Lots 'o fun.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

List :: School Run Tunes

Caroline demands (yes, demands) to hear her songs in the car each morning (ok, pretty much anytime we are anywhere near a car). Desperate after the 847th repeat of Itsy Bitsy Spider we started to look for alternatives. 

And now I am sick of each one of them too. 

I can no longer enjoy The Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling after a period of heavy rotation. Caroline, however, does now say "Mazel Tov!" on cue.

I've tried various strategies to share the air time. "Mommy's turn" for the radio was short lived.

You can have a little songs. And then I can have a lot.

Here is a list of Caroline's favorites (not mine):

1. Classic Nursery Rhymes :: Where the madness began

2. The Johnny Cash Children's Album ::  I never thought I'd hear my 3 year old say, "I want Johnny Cash!" Ring of Fire is also a frequent request.

3. Music Together Family Favorites :: Allee Galloo is new & exciting for Caroline each and every time.

4. You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell :: Why can't all kids' music be like this? Thanks to Elizabeth for sharing it with us - unfortunately we must now endure it at every meal as well.

5. The E.N.D. by The Black Eyed Peas :: If only we could hear the rest of the album....

6. House Party by Dan Zanes :: Trying to get into this one; may take a while.

One more I wanted to share. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes is a great book & song combo. Loving it again now that I haven't heard it in a while.

Anyone out their have a solution? I'd love to hear from parents who outwitted the back seat DJ! 

If you caved (like me) what music do you listen to?

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cooking with . . . Gwyneth Paltrow

Images from Vogue

This spring Gwyneth has a new cookbook coming out called My Father's Daughter. And guess what? I'm going to interview her!!!!

At least, I think so. I hope so. My other favorite person on the planet, Lynn at BookPage, is working to set this up. Although I offered to go to London, GP's people have agreed to a 30-min telephone interview. Alas, a date has not yet been set. So keep your fingers crossed.

By some miracle, I received an advance copy of the book and set about cooking up a few of her recipes. First up: GP's signature dish, Perfect Chinese Roast Duck, and Bruce Paltrow's World-Famous Pancakes. Funny that these 2 happen to be relatively unhealthy, considering the GP is famous for her crazy diet regime.

Bruce's pancakes got the thumbs up from Caroline and her playdate Maddy. The biggest hit - the warmed maple syrup. The adults enjoyed how thin & light they were, with the perfect tang of buttermilk.

And my first attempt at roasted duck was not a total failure. The duck was great and even the hoisin sauce turned out damn good. But the homemade sesame pancakes were a total flop. Fortunately flour tortillas made a good stand in.

This week I'm going to channel GP with some stinky cheese and Galician Albarino wine (her favorite according to Spain . . . A Culinary Road Trip) while watching a marathon of Possession, Sylvia, and Great Expectations. 

I'll keep you posted on the interview - think happy thoughts for me!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Library find . . . Where's Walrus?

Caroline has a new favorite book that we picked up at library storytime last week. It's called Where's Walrus. She of course has to read it each night before bed and has been reading it to herself as well. 

I say "reading" because there are no words, just pictures of a crafty walrus who gets loose from the zoo and has to hide in various disguises to elude the zookeeper on his tail.

Now you can visit Mint for a chance to win a copy of the book and a framed poster of an illustration.

And check out this cute video of the illustrator

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GOOP SNOOP . . . Kids Clothes

Great minds think alike, right? While I'm working on a post about kids clothes for spring, this week's GOOP is all about kids clothes. This kimono dress from Deluna Kids is my favorite.

GP's budget is bit beyond mine but I do appreciate finding unique, well made clothes that aren't covered in Disney characters or only sold in pink & blue.

More to come on fun spring options for kids soon... but in the meantime Old Navy is having a sale on kids & baby items!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cooking with . . . America's Test Kitchen

I love America's Test Kitchen - now that I don't have cable, their PBS show is one of my favorites. Editor Christopher Kimball just wrote a great post with his 10 favorite cookbooks. I can't wait to find them at the library. Plus there is a special 15% coupon for Barnes & Noble .

My favorite cookbooks:
One of the best wedding gifts we received (along with the knives) this book really helped this newlywed couple learn how to cook the basics (french toast, roast chicken). Great recipes for the everyday or a fancy dinner party celebration.

A gem from Jessica Seinfeld. She's fun and relatable - she struggles to get her kids to eat vegetables too! She makes classic dinner recipes - meatloaf, chili, tacos - leaner with ground turkey and low fat cheese while not losing the taste factor. Her desserts with beans or spinach hidden inside are amazingly deceptively delicious.

This door stop of a book sat on my bedside table for a month while I slowly read my way through it. And it was not an easy read in bed! But who knew you could do so many things with beans? Amazing. Bittman is a great kitchen coach - he builds your confidence that you can whip up an amazing meal with simple, easy ingredients without needing a recipe.

Just got a subscription for my birthday, and I'm really enjoying their creative and fresh recipes. It's a good in-between of Cooking Light and Gourmet. They help dispell the myth that eating well is expensive with their budget friendly meals.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thinking of spring...

It's 60 degrees today so I'm ready to ditch the coats and bust out the sandals!

Saw this stripey tunic on Say Yes! to Hoboken and had to have it. I do love me some b&w stripes.

And wouldn't this be the cutest on Caroline? Find it here on Etsy. Post coming soon on cute (and affordable) summer kids clothes.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

What to get? . . . First Birthday Ideas

1. Custom name print 2. Helium balloon 3. Henry's own book 4. Curious George and Richard Scarry magnets 5. Little Bear book  6. Personalized chair

Henry's first birthday is in a week and a half (can't believe it!) and I'm struggling to decide on the perfect gift. Still overwhelmed from Christmas, I cannot imagine more toys. 

I remember Caroline loving the mylar Dora balloon her wonderful Auntie Sus got her - it totally got C out of the post-nap funk and into the party spirit! Such a fun, simple gift.

Love the cute-as-a-button magnets from my super talented babysitter. (I'll just have to make sure Henry does not eat them.) Check out her two Etsy shops, Parsnip and Pear and Poppy and Pinecone.

Anyone else have other good first birthday ideas?

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Check this out . . . Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler has a new blog My Vibe My Life.

So far only two posts: her creative process with mood trays and her love of metal.
This gal is crazy fun & weird. I loved her on Bravo's Top Design. It was worth watching just for her outfits.

I'm going to check out her new book, Hue.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

henry happened . . .

If you've wondered about my blog title, this might help explain.


Me running, "What happened?!"

"Henry," says Caroline.

 That's my little man, on a mission of destruction in the bathroom, taking out the sink and anything else in his path on the way to the cat's food & water bowls (he has a thing for cat food).

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Something to read . . . Ape House

Mommy is still trying to find ways to get out of the house and have some adult conversation. To that end, I invited myself to join a friend's book club (thanks, Nikki!). The next pick is Ape House by Sara Gruen. 

Anyone want to read along?

You may remember the author from the fantastic Water for Elephants. Soon to be a movie with the hottie Robert Pattinson (aka Edward) and Reese Witherspoon. Looks like the film is coming out April 22. Check out the trailer here.

Poster from here - a website devoted to all things Kristen & Robert. Hilarious.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Enjoying . . . Local Art

Mark and I got the chance to go to a charity art auction to support a local school on Saturday night. A chance to dress up, have a date with free babysitters (thanks, Dad!), enjoy a drink, what could be more fun?

So many amazing things but few in our price range. When we did get up the nerve to bid on something (a great owl picture) I realized I was bidding against our host. Whoops. 

I have visions of creating an art wall like this. It will be fun to have something up there that didn't come from either Mom or Home Goods.
Oct 2010 Lonny

We did wind up with a couple of pictures - even the owl! Here's what came home with us:
1. Feast More by Rebecca Crutcher. Apparently inspired by chaos theory. I loved the rich colors & beautiful frame.
2. Azalea by Rachel Seed. This reminded so much of Caroline.
3. Darla with Flowers by Julia Naiditch, an alumnus of the school the auction supported. I loved the dark pink color & embroidery on the sleeve.

What do you think?

Oh, and Mark couldn't resist bidding on a two-day Porsche driving school. Figures.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Practicing . . . Patience

We've entered the 3-year-old stage of "Why? Why? Why?" literally every 30 seconds. Alternated only with "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

I wish I could say I deal with the incessant questioning with Gwyneth-like serenity but that would probably require some dance aerobics and a cleanse.

Instead, it seems to bring out my not-so-nice self. In some sort of fit of retribution I decided that now is the time for C to give up her paci. (For real this time. Not like when I tried a year ago.) She seems excited by the prospect of a "special treat" and a new library book, but I know we're in for some rough nights.

So I'm trying to practice . . . patience.

One of my favorite blogs, zenhabits - I love their tagline "smile, breathe, & go slowly" -  had 15 helpful tips for becoming as patient as Job. (I'm a little nervous about what my tally mark page will look like.)

Caroline went to bed and I went into her room about 12 times to give her water, find new books, turn the light off, put her blanket on, give more water, take the books out, turn the light on, put her blanket on again. And I stayed upstairs like she ordered me to. Patiently.

Does anyone else struggle with this? Any advice?

Quote from here and He Loves Me rug from Anthropologie

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eat this . . . Perfect Halibut

Lest my 3 readers think that all I do is shop...

Yum, dinner tonight was a delicious creation from do it Delicious, the website from Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife).

I highly recommended the Perfect Halibut Over Spinach recipe. Even got a thumbs up from the hubby and Henry (Caroline was more interested in her Dora popsicles).

I've loved many a recipe from her two books, Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious!. The dessert recipes - healthy & yummy - are amazing. My faves are the chocolate chip cookies (with chickpeas!) and the ginger cookies (with black beans!).

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Something to wear . . . Rain Boots

It poured today. And as I pranced around in shoes that were highly inappropriate for both the temperature and the precipitation I had a tiny epiphany -- I need rain boots.
Before staying home, casual footwear was never a concern. I needed cute heels or smart boots. Now I need practical snow-stomping, rain-resistant shoes that are comfortable (oh, the dreaded word).

You see, I recently succumbed to my first pair of Uggs. Their warmth and sock-less-ness benefits are offset only by their innate dowdiness. I believe I have worn them literally every day since their arrival from Zappos.

I checked to see what Gwyneth Paltrow, my style maven, dons in winter weather.

Here are a few options to keep me dry & feeling stylish.

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