Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A little man thoroughly enjoying his shredded pork enchiladas.

"Do I have something on my face? I am so embarrassed."

"Wow, this got messy. I might need another napkin."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mommy's After School Snack

Nearly every day around 3:00 p.m., I become completely incapacitated by the desire in ingest some sugar. Mmmmmm. Sugar.

Some days I am able to stave off the sugar craving, others days . . . I am not as successful.

Unfortunately for my children (and their nutrition and overall health), my sugar attacks coincide with our afternoon excursion to pick Ellie up from preschool. And more often than I would like to admit, our school pick up is followed by a stop at the corner Starbucks where the kiddos get a chocolate milk box and I get a hot chocolate (skim with no whip, of course).

Yesterday, my sugar problem really escalated when, after picking Ellie up from school, we drove out of our way to Sweet Mandy B's. Simply put, Sweet Mandy B's is the Lincoln Park after school mecca. The scene at this bakery between 2:30 and 3:30 is something to behold. Sugar addict mamas and their offspring lined up out the door waiting to purchase cookies, mud pies, cupcakes and other confections. We got right in line.

We chose cookies to split . . . and they were good. But the whole thing ended up feeling more shameful than anything. Moms indulging their little ones so they can indulge themselves. Me included. I mean, it is so obviously not a good idea to load your little guy up with sugar in the late afternoon. Tomorrow, apples and cheese cubes for after school snack for us.

A Mommy . . . repenting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Bright Day

Hello sunshine.

The sun came out today. After many days of sickness and cold, today seems warm and bright. Our spirits are better for it. We actually spent time outside. Hooray.
A little preview of our warm and sunny escape planned for later this week. Can't wait.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Bit About Jamie Oliver (And Why I Love Him)

I have a had a crush on Jamie Oliver for a long time. The handsome husband knows all about it. And he thinks I am a big dork for liking Jamie Oliver because, well . . . Jamie Oliver is kind of a dork too. Which is exactly why I like him. I love the way he sort of fumbles and bumbles around the kitchen in such an unassuming way. Just cute.

Years ago, I was a devotee of his old cooking show where he would speed around London on his moped gathering ingredients and then invite all of his interesting-looking friends over to his amazing flat for a fabulous meal. I always wished I was invited (I know, I know, it was obviously all staged for the show but it still looked fun).

Anyway, what I am getting at here is . . . Jamie is back! You can't even imagine my delight when I stumbled across his new cooking show called Jamie at Home on the Food Network (which hasn't done a thing for me in years - save for the occasional Barefoot Contessa rerun here and there).

So I watched his new show and. . . I am still totally smitten. I don't love every single recipe and some of his ideas certainly don't translate well to real life (i.e. smoking salmon in an old biscuit tin with herbs and wood shavings usually reserved for your pet rabbit's cage? What?). But some recipes do seem worth a go. Definitely going to try Butternut Squash Muffins with a Frosty Top (simply cannot resist an opportunity to reintroduce butternut squash to picky little eaters again - this time with frosting!). Good to see you, Jamie.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good Health . . . . Where Have You Gone?

We can't seem to kick all of the various ailments around here. Ear aches. Sore throats. Fever. Cough.

During the past week, when I wasn't comforting a sick babe or lying on the couch looking pathetic, I managed two (semi) coherent posts: Parenting Squad here and Chicago Moms Blog here.

Back to the couch. Sore throat is definitely getting worse.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This Bird Made My Day

This chicken was the absolute perfect antidote for a crabby mommy with a sick baby on a cold and snowy day.

I roasted this little guy (free-range and organic) with half a lemon, a few cloves of garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage. So good.

Ellie and Brendan ate it with a side of steamed basmati rice. David and I enjoyed it later along side sauteed chard with Parmesan (also delicious). The leftover chicken is going to make another appearance tonight in a cobb salad.

And it turned out not to be such a bad Monday after all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Really Sick Boy

Double ear infection. Continuous fever. And the pink eye is back. My poor baby.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I think Ellie has an imaginary friend. Her name is Lily. She has been around for a few months now and, although Ellie doesn't call her an imaginary friend, I am not quite sure what else you would call her. At first I thought that Lily was one of the many names Ellie gives her various stuffed animals, but now it seems clear that Lily is her own, invisible entity.

Here is what we know about her so far: Lily lives in California . . . specifically in Ellie's house in California (Ellie has never been to California but regularly tells people she lives there). Sometimes Ellie says Lily is her friend. Other times she says that she is Lily's mom "and takes REALLY good care of her." We don't know much about what she looks like, only that Lily has "two pony tails, not just one." And her hair is all different colors, "like red in the front and purple in the back." She loves ice cream. She has a strict policy of only wearing dresses.

Lily often comes up when Ellie is trying to deflect attention from some sort of mischief she has gotten into. For example, if I say, "Ellie, don't push Brendan. That isn't nice." Ellie might respond, "But Mom, Lily pushed her brother (oh by the way, Lily has a brother named Frank) and her mom told her that it was fine to push brothers and knock them down." Other times Brendan is prohibited from sitting next to Ellie on the couch because "Lily is sitting there and Brendan is going to totally smoosh her."

Certainly more to come on this interesting development.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Sick Boy

Brendan has pink eye. I can barely of think about it without wanting to compulsively itch my eyes . . . which I am convinced are also going to become infected with the pink eye yuckiness.
It is making me crazy. Itch. Itch. Itch.

As a result of this unfortunate turn of events, Ellie, B and I are sort of social outcasts today. No soccer. Had to cancel a playdate for Ellie. We are just hanging out at home . . . washing our hands every half hour or so. Good times.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Monday, January 7, 2008

Music To A Mom's Ears

Ellie: "Wow Mommy, you were right. That mushroom was delicious!"

Said while devouring homemade crepes stuffed with pancetta, mushrooms, and leeks baked with a gruyere cheese sauce.
And she was right . . . they were totally delicious.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


As much as I really love the whole seasonal go-round (spring = daffodils!, summer = farmer's market!, fall = apple crostada!), I have a hard time working up a ton of enthusiasm for January.

Holidays are over. House is a mess. Skin is pale. Toes have gone without pedicure for far too long. February and March are still going to be really cold. Spring is faaaaar away. Sigh.

I think it is definitely best to stay busy and get on with it though. Here is what I have planned so far:

(1) Waiting for new nephew's arrival
(2) Experimenting with Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food (chard with Parmesan, braised pork shoulder, minestrone, warm gougeres)
(3) Continue with my cupcake project (more later because it deserves it own post)
(4) Break in new sleds when a fresh snow arrives
(5) Organize our books
(6) Not one, but two opportunities to dress up and have night out with handsome husband
(7) Starting Montessori parent/toddler class with Brendan
(8) A clementine each morning with my coffee
(9) And at the very end of the month, a warm weather reprieve in Sanibel. Bike rides! Sand castles! Margaritas!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Ellie: "Mom, look at Brendan. I am worried that he is pregnant. And he is only sixteen."

Note to self: Must stop gossipping about Jamie Lynn Spears teen pregnancy debacle in front of impressionable little one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Things I Loved About My Trip To Switzerland

We had a really, really great trip to Zermatt for the holidays. Now that we are back home and readjusting to our normal life (with cranky, jet-lagged little travellers), I have had a some time to process the whole experience, check out the photos, and choose my trip highlights . . .

Croissants. Lots of them. Every day. I actually got to the point where I would pat myself on the back when I limited myself to only one for breakfast. On the last day of the trip, our little foursome ate a total of eleven croissants at the continental breakfast in our hotel. Shameless.

The Setting. Our first Christmas tree with a view of the Matterhorn.

First Ski. I am a lame skier. . . . but she isn't.

Apres Ski. Unfortunately, my skiing is not so great, but I grew very fond of my post-ski hot chocolate. Is there such a thing as hot chocolate withdrawal? I have been feeling shaky around 3:30 p.m. without one.

French/Italian/German Mish-Mash. As a poorly-behaved American who travels to other countries and speaks English to everyone, I enjoyed the fact that Switzerland provides the perfect opportunity to showcase my poor foreign language skills. A little high school French here. A little lapsed Italian there. And finish it all off with a "Danke."

Rosti. Potatoes taken to a higher level. I still feel full.

Live Entertainment. After dinner most nights, Ellie gave very entertaining, interpretive dance performances of "The Nutcracker."
Riding Ski Lift with Handsome Husband. Blustery . . . but also a somewhat romantic opportunity for five minutes of alone time.
Fun in the Snow. Sledding with our happy children.
A good time had by all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Ellie's New Year's Resolution: More pink cupcakes with pink sprinkles.

My New Year's Resolution: Get self to a yoga class from time to time.
(Sadly, same resolution as 2005, 2006, and 2007.)