Thursday, April 28, 2011

Totally toothless in Chicago

Ellie lost both of her two front teeth this week -- one at Easter brunch (to the total horror of her two year-old cousin who could not believe her eyes) and the other came out tonight when she gave it a little pull.

Ellie is delighted at the prospect of being visited by the tooth fairy twice in one week (who wouldn't be?)

When I tucked her in tonight, she said, "No apples in my lunch tomorrow, okay Mom?"

No apples for awhile Ellie Bellie.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What She Had to Say on her 7th Birthday

Time for my favorite blog posts of the year -- the birthday interviews! As always, Ellie had lots of interesting things to say. As always, I think she is the most fabulous little girl a mom could ask for. Happy 7th Birthday to you, Ellie!


Cereal: Three Sister's Graham Cereal

Vegetable: broccoli

Drink: water

Toy: American Girl Dolls

TV Show: Wild Kratts

Game: Hide-and-seek

Book: "The Puppy Place Series. My favorite so far is Buddy. It's like the best one ever."

Dinner: "I have three: Mommy's homemade mac and cheese; Dad's steak with Bernaise sauce and the skirt steak with that butter sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans."

Lunch: Mac and cheese

Breakfast: Waffles

Holiday: "Is your birthday a holiday? No. Actually Christmas."

Animal: Puppy Dog!

Doll: "I need to pick three. Kit, Ruthie and Bitty Baby -- I call her Lulu. I have two babies named Lulu. I am reading a book with a character named Lulu in it . She likes horses."

Color: blue and green

Thing to do at school: "Recess and there is some subjects that I like as well. Art, dance, technology, library, and I think that's it. Oh, and music."

Sport: ice skating

What do you want for your birthday? "American Girl Dolls stuff, Pet Shop Stuff, Critters for my doll house and maybe some new clothe."s

If you could change your name, what would you choose? "Ava. Because then I would be one of the first people in line."

What do you love about each person in our family?
  • I love Dad because he takes us on trips.
  • I love my Mom because she signs us up for good things that we like.
  • Brendan: He is funny!
  • Colin – That he is also funny.
Where would you like to go on vacation this year? "To horseyland. Where is that? In the middle of the world."

What are some of your wishes for this year? "Well, I hope that Alex and me have lots of playdates and we start that Puppy Place town we are going to do. I started the idea and Alex added things into it. He decided to buy this area of property and I thought it would be good to buy this whole street. Then I decided that this should be near Disneyland so that people would be like, 'This is a great area. It is so close to Disneyland.' So I decided that is where the area should be. This might happen when we are a little bit older or maybe an adult will help us. I think we are going to call it Puppy Place Street, but I don't know yet."

What makes you happy? "My family, My friends, my teachers."

What makes you sad? "When someone is mean to me or I do something wrong."

How old is your Mom? 34

How tall is your Mom? "Pretty tall, but not as tall as Dad."

What is her favorite thing to do? "Play with our family."

What does Dad do for a job? "He works at the Sear's Tower."

What is your mom's favorite food? "I don't know."

What is Dad’s favorite food? Fish.

What does our family like to do together? "Play outside and have fun together."

What going to be when you grow up? "A mommy. I am also going to be a teacher, ballet teacher, and I think that's it."

Who are you going to marry? "Joey. I don't know."

Anything else you want to talk about? "Well, that I hope that Lily* is able to come to my birthday party and celebrate it with me and that everyone has a good time and that I have a good birthday."

* Those of you who know Ellie probably know that this is the name of her imaginary friend who lives in California. But she also has a real friend named Lily and that is who she is talking about here.

If you are interested in what she had to say in years past, you can find it here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Switchin' Up Friday Night

By the time Friday night rolls around each week, I am one tired mama.

Friday nights at our house usually consist of take out or a lame dinner (because mama loses her cooking inspiration as the week moves along), super overtired kids who end up crashing into bed around 7:30, and the same conversation about how we wish there were better movie choices on On Demand or that we would manage our Netflix queue in a more organized fashion.

We are invariable in bed (or falling asleep on the couch) by 10:30.

Exciting stuff. Sometime routines like this can start to feel -- quite routine.

We were recently offered the opportunity to switch up our Friday night routine and try something new. So we did. Cottonelle Brand (yes, the makers of toilet paper) arranged for a swanky date night for us. A car service (so fancy!) picked me up at our house around 5:45 and then we swung into the loop to grab David from work.

Next, we were off to Graham Elliot for a fabulous meal. Want to hear about our meal? Okay, I'll tell you.

I started off with an Elliot Spritzer ("pineau de charantes, haus-alpez orchard apricot, organge bitters, cremant d'alsace"). I honestly don't know what any of those things are, but I can highly recommend the cocktail. David had something called the Scarlet Letter made with gin. It was apparently tasty, but it certainly wasn't as sparkly and pretty as my beverage.

As we looked over the menu, we munched on the most amazing popcorn I've ever had (Parmesean cheese, truffle oil, fresh chives). We decided to order a la carte instead of doing one of the tasting menus because we wanted to try a bunch of different dishes. We each eat half of our plate -- and then we switch. This way, we get to try six different dishes. Maybe not the most polite fine dining behavior, but . . . whatever.

For our cold course, I have the fluke tartare and David had the game birds. Both were delish. For the hot course, David had a sweetbread empanada and I had the chicken noodle dish -- a deconstructed version of chicken noodle soup. This was one of the tastier things I had the pleasure of eating in my whole life. The dish consists of "thyme tagliatelle, celery x5, carrot marshmallow, and hen veloute." So the dish contained a orange puffy marshmallow, crumbled carrot "cereal," a little piece of chicken wrapped in the homemade noodle and various other components that I couldn't identify. The waiter then poured the "hen veloute" -- which is a fancy word for the most delicious chicken gravy I've ever had in in my life into the bowl. I would eat this dish every day if I could. Despite the very unconventional presentation, this was delightful comfort food.

Then we were on to the main course (more food!). David ordered the black bass with smoked leeks, salted marcona, tomato marmalade, and creme fraiche. Super yummy. I had waygu beef with trumpet mushrooms, roquefort custard, salsify frites, and arugula puree.

The food was fabulous. My date was charming and handsome. It was a delightful Friday night. The experience reminded me of how important it is to take a break from our busy, daily routine and try something new. I am always so glad that we made the effort (and I am reminded of how much I like to hang out with my husband).

Cottonelle, the folks behind my "Friday night switch" are holding a sweepstakes now through may 1st. Each day, you can win a new prize that might help you switch things in in your own routines. Prizes include digital cameras, couples massages and manicures for a year. Check out to enter to win and learn more about how this fun giveaway works.

Disclosure: Cottonelle Brand provided us with complimentary car service and two American Express Gift Cards (one for dinner and the other for pizza and snacks for the kids and babysitter). We also received a 12-pack of Cottonelle Ultra bath tissue (which I have yet to open, but seems like nice, soft toilet paper).