Thursday, April 30, 2009

My new favorite thing: Gardening!

You may have read in previous blog posts and comments on other blogs that I want to have a garden this summer. Well, last weekend Maison and I went outside, looked at the grassy rectangle that had never before been a garden, and tackled it head on! Okay, I tackled, Maison "supervised." I wish I had taken a before picture, but trust me that this was just a regular patch of grass before. 2 hours at Home Depot and 3 hours of tilling (thanks for letting me borrow your tiller Mike and Jamie!!!) later and we were ready to landscape and plant. I had the bricks, wood, and circle paver at the house leftover from other projects so my only expenses were plants, seeds, string, weed block, mulch and a few other minor things. You may notice that the garden is laid out differently than most. My Mom had a book on square-foot gardening when I was growing up, and I knew it was a way of planning out a garden so you could plant more in a smaller space than if you planted in the normal rows. I looked it up online, and there is a great site that has all the information you'd ever need to create your own square foot garden (click here). I did not follow the steps exactly by building the boxes, etc., but I did use it to plan out my spacing. I am hoping to have a garden full of veggies in a couple months! We planted corn, green beans, yellow beans, tomatos, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, onions, sage, oregano, thyme, and basil! I am really happy with how it has turned out so far. I'll keep you posted on our progress!

While I was planting, Maison wanted to have her own area to do with whatever she wanted. Here's her rectangle. Watch it be the only part of the garden to thrive! Notice all the seeds that are strewn about in her area. I have determined that Coco Bonbons rainshoes make the perfect garden shoes for kids too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Favorite Side Dish

I posted a comment on Seeryus Mama's guest post at Momma's Review about a favorite side dish at our house that is a little out of the ordinary, and I thought I'd post it here as well!

There is a side dish that I had at a trendy restaurant once and I decided to try it at home and it has become a staple at our dinner table. What is it, you ask? Mashed beans. Yes, you read that correctly. Mashed beans. Mashed potatoes take a long time to make, and they are not very healthy. So, instead, I take two cans of Northern Beans, rinse them off, put them in a pan along w/about 2 cups of water, heat them up to boiling, drain them, then use a blender to mash them just like I would mash potatoes. I add about 3 tablespoons of butter once they are pretty mashed, as well as some garlic powder. I heat up some milk and add enough to make them creamy (usually no more than 1/4 cup). I have also used black beans instead of or in addition to the northern beans (whatever is in the cupboard!). I’m telling you there will not be any leftovers. My daughter gobbles them up. We had a teenager over for dinner the other night and he was skeptical, but gave them a try…and then asked for seconds. It’s cheap, easy, and much better for you than mashed potatoes!

Do you have any "different" sides that you've created (or stolen like me!)?

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Girls At Work

A couple weeks ago (Good Friday) most of the schools and daycares were closed so Coco (the owner of Coco more about her here) and I brought our girls to work with us. Phoebe and Maison are exactly one year apart, Phoebe being one year older than Maison. (Their birthdays were yesterday actually...more on that to come.) The girls had so much fun together. Here they are mixing up something sweet to eat:

(Phoebe is wearing the Maison Blue Flower Skirt and Maison is wearing the Josie Cupcake Knit Dress)

Maybe they had too much fun. Maison wouldn't let me go the following Monday when I tried to drop her off at daycare and I ended up bringing her to work with me again. Now Moms, don't be too hard on me here. I usually would not give in and bring Maison to work. I believe in sticking to my guns and not allowing Maison to manipulate me, but I also try to make sure I'm seeing the big picture and listening to my daughter. Normally she would not hold on to me and cry for me to stay when I drop her off. So a red flag went up and instead of getting frustrated and making it about me ("I need to get to work...I'm going to be late..."), I quickly tried to figure out why she was behaving this way. I stopped trying to rush and really listened to what she was saying. I then realized she was not throwing a tantrum. She was genuinely sad and those were real tears. Then it dawned on me. Duh. Her Dad had moved back that weekend and she spent a lot of time with him that she normally would have spent with me. (Her Dad had been in another state for almost 2 years, still seeing Maison, but not as often as either of them would have liked due to the cost of travel.) It was also Easter weekend, so we were fairly busy and out of our normal routine. After thinking about what a weekend that must have been for her, I knew Maison just needed her Mom at that moment. So, I made the decision I felt was best for my daughter, and in spite of the frowns I received from some of the staff (I don't fault them for the frowns...I understand that to an outsider it looked like I had just majorly given in to a tantrum), I took Maison's coat back off the hook I'd just placed it on and said "Okay, you can spend the day with Mommy today." She went to daycare the next day without any trouble at all.

I am very thankful that I work in an environment that allows me to make the best decisions for my daughter at a moment like that! I used to work for a big corporation and never could have done that. Any parent who has kids in daycare has had rough mornings when you have to leave while your child is crying for you. It's one of the toughest things working parents (and the kiddos) have to go through. How do you deal with those tough days?

Monday, April 13, 2009

We had a fabulous Easter!

This Easter we stayed where we live instead of driving across a couple states to see my family. I have to say we will probably continue to stay here from now on. It's time to form our own family traditions. I was realizing that now is the time that Maison will start to remember the holidays and how we spend each one.

We started out the day pretty early. Thankfully when I was woken up at 6:30am Maison accepted my response that the Easter Bunny may not have come by yet because it was so early and we got another hour of sleep! So, around 7:30 we started things off with a scavenger hunt! Here's a tiny snipit of what went down (and my first ever video posting!):

After that, we had a pitch-in lunch with a group of friends. Maison and her "cousin" Ellie wore matching Coco Bonbons outfits of course. They looked adorable!

A good time was had by all, and I think we have started a wonderful new tradition. Have you started traditions of your own?

(Thank you "Aunt Erin" for taking pictures!)

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Friday, April 10, 2009


Okay, so I set up my Twitter account a few months ago, but I am just now learning how to use it. So, you can now follow me (and those of you who were already following me, I am now following you too!) and I will send out regular AWESOME coupon deals among my normal tweets. (For instance, today's deal is 40% off girls rainwear...follow me to get the code!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where was I, you ask?

I was in Hong Kong last week. I've been there enough times that I know my way around, for the most part, and just take the subway (they call it the MTR) around the city. My hotel was right next to one of the MTR stations, so I just hopped on over there every morning and was on my way. Here's the street I crossed every morning to get to the MTR. (The entrance is where that red and white spidery looking symbol is.)

I had some free time on Monday so I got some Starbucks (yes, I must have my coffee even in Hong Kong), grabbed a magazine and headed to a bench on Star Pier overlooking Kowloon Bay and Hong Kong Island. It had rained that morning, but the sun was shining when I took this pic...hence the squinting.
And, by the way, those glasses are a purchase from the local Hong Kong prescription none the less...for a whopping $8!!! I had been needing to get some glasses. Score!

Maison lucked out with some glasses as well, sunglasses that is. I found a pair of "diva" sunglasses for $5.

So, what I'm getting at is that everything is on sale in Hong Kong too!!! The economy was the topic of discussion just like it is here. We are all in this together folks! Hopefully the jump in the market today is a sign of good things to come.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Excuse me, Mr. Spring?

Mr. Spring, where are you? You were here a couple weeks ago, I went out of town last week, and when I returned last night it was cold. What gives?

Hopefully the weather is nice in your neck of the woods. It is getting better over here. I was out of the country last week and I heard there was even some snow while I was away! I'm glad I missed it! I'm hoping it warms up for this weekend so Maison can wear the Hallie eyelet dress I picked out for her!