For you.

30 June 2008 | 1 Comments
You're totally going to hell, but I still adore you.

Summer swap, part deux.



I'm so releived that Lori liked her swap items!

Her loot:

- chips & salsa

- cotton candy chapstick

- a pedicure set

- MOJITO mix!

- a candle



And I made her this rocking card!

Zucchini cakes!


New recipe of the week this week... yummy zucchini cakes. Dave was NOT thrilled that I chose to make these because he's not a huge zucchini fan, plus I decided to make this a meatless night. Anywho, one bite later and he was more than happy that I made them. He asked me to throw these in the rotation. They were also a huge hit with Finn. He ate two and a half himself!


Here is loosely what I did.

Quarter a red onion and mince, sautee in a bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the raw is cooked out of it.

While the onion is cooking, peel two (small to medium) zucchini and a potato. Stick in the Cuisinart and shred into strips (like hash browns), pull out and 'dry' on paper towels. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

Put onion, zucchini, & potato in a bowl, add 2-3 beaten eggs, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs. I also added about a teaspoon of chopped fresh dill, salt, pepper, a little garlic salt. I told D the next time we make it, I'll add some minced garlic to the onion and some thyme and a little bit of lemon zest.
We served it with a salad of romaine, feta, green apple, and dried cranberries. YUM.

I think my garden needs...

29 June 2008 | 0 Comments

These awesome herb markers from Bridgman Pottery. Visit her etsy shop, she has some great pottery pieces... and don't forget to pop one or two of these in your cart for me! Sarah, she's in Memphis too!

Summer swap!

27 June 2008 | 5 Comments

Please don't let it be kitty bones. Please don't let it be kitty bones. If you're wondering why I'm worried... click here. I got a super secret (and slightly illegal) package today from Ms. Bunny Mendelbaum.




It was awesome.



The slightly illegal part: spearmint & lemon mint right from her garden! They were carefully wrapped for transport... I must say that it very much reminded me of Kevin Kline in French Kiss when he's bringing back the grape vine.


The coolest crayons ever! They're big enough too that Finn can hold them and (hopefully) won't eat them. Plus, she included a recycled "drawing pad" made up of a million old blueprints.

Lottery.


My post for tonight is a bit late. I was completely and utterly engrossed in a book. I started it at 7:30 tonight and just finished. It was one of those quick reads that completely enveloped me until I finished it. It's called Lottery by Patricia Wood and you can get it here at Amazon. It was amazing.


So my question for you is what would you do if you won the lottery?


Would your life change? Would you squander it? Would you be able to deal with people coming out of the woodwork begging for money? Would you buy a new house? New cars? Invest it?

Sproket hotels and the avian bird flu.

25 June 2008 | 2 Comments


You know who (YKW aka: the husband) and I went to Ireland and Paris for our honeymoon. I have to say that it was one of the best trips of my life. Ok, ok... so we were in Ireland when news that avian bird flu had made it to the island broke AND we were in Paris during intense rioting and demonstrations. There was an international incident involving my driving in Ireland and more disturbingly, with a questionable food item from a street vendor in Paris. I was sick in Dublin, Dave was sick in Paris.

Where was I? Oh yes. The honeymoon and why it was a wonderful and marvelous start to our marriage.

My husband learned french for me. He even ventured out on his own to pick up our laundry & got a Coke & learned our room number in french for the front desk. Now, he could have just gone along for the ride and not done the work since his wife is fluent(ish), but he didn't. He worked really hard and did something out of his comfort zone.

He made a charming impression on my friend Severine and her family by attempting to speak french. It was sweet and really touched me. I even overlooked the fact that he KISSED my friend.

and her sister.

and her mom.

and almost her dad.

I guess during all the lessons, they neglected to point out the kiss, kiss is really just air kissing. It was charming and lovely nonetheless.

For the first time in our marriage, things fell apart around us and we still kept our humor. We were in Paris and couldn't go to the top of the Eiffel Tower because of the riots. You would think that Dave would be crushed (I had already done it on a previous trip), but he just smiled and said we'd be back and do it on the next trip.

I was bedridden sick upon our arrival in Dublin. He went sightseeing alone in a foreign country while I slept and located cold medicine and juice for me. He also got stopped by security at just about every flying opportunity

In Ireland, I drove and Dave navigated. It was really quite strangely, metaphoric for our marriage. Had the roles been reversed, we likely would still be stuck on one of the hideously small half dirt roads near the cliffs of Moher. You think I jest, but I do not. It is the same in our marriage, Dave keeps me on track, not lost, and I keep him driving for new possibilities and adventure. Wow, that sounds cheesey as hell, but it is true.



In conclusion I have a million lovey pictures of us kissing near the Seine. But, if posing (at the extremely strong urging of your new wife) with a chicken right after hearing the news about the BIRD FLU doesn't scream LOVE, then I don't know what does.


Love, I still think you're wonderful & marvelous. I can't wait for the next international incident and all those that follow.

Simple spaghetti & Sandy.

Reluctant Entertainer is having a giveaway! Sandy wants to know your entertaining challenge and she's willing to send THE cutest prize to the winner.

Inspired a bit by my answer of needing to learn to keep things simple, I had a VERY simple spaghetti dinner for my friend tonight. She really needed a night to relax. I didn't take photos and blogging wasn't on my mind, but we had some yummy pasta, laughed, and talked for hours. Her company made my night, her understanding about Finnegan's "mama, mama, mama!" interruptions was appreciated, and her looking the other way at my not perfectly clean house made me comfortable.

So thank you Emily and thank you Sandy for reminding me that sometimes it isn't about making a big to do, sometimes it's just about the company.

Crossing the Threshold

24 June 2008 | 3 Comments
My awesome new treasure is a booklet from 1948. My Meme gave my mom a box with photos and miscellaneous things from her childhood. In it, tucked away in a bag from a drugstore was Crossing the Threshold. It seriously has made my month.


There is a welcome letter, numbered gift certificates from a bunch of now defunct businesses, and a listing of sponsors.

Recipes galore! Where was this one last week when I needed it?!? It also has a nice listing of what to do with leftovers and how to reheat them. It's amazing how we take for granted our microwaves.

Articles and ads about budgeting. Need to furnish your new home?? Buy a sofa with clean lines so that it is easy to slipcover later! Don't forget HIS and HERS chairs.
Not many people can afford to pay cash for a home, so you *may* need to speak to your friendly bank to get a loan.


Bunny, this one is for you. I can send you better pics via email... it may help with your kitchen reno.

Coming soon...

23 June 2008 | 1 Comments
From the mouth of YKW: "You know who would like that? Your friend with the weird name and the crack house."

So my dear Bunny, I concur that you will love my newest treasure. I will post about it tomorrow when the light is better and I can take proper photos.

Until then... you'll have to dream up what it might be.

Ooooey gooey BIRTHDAY goodness aka my Janet turns 50.


Dear Mom,

Happy BIRTHDAY. I can't believe that 50 years ago today, Meme was lying in AGONY writhing in pain as she expelled that big head of yours. Ummmm EW. OK, I tried giving you the birth story, but that was just gross. I am not sure how you stomach doing that to us every year. It grodes me out. Anyway, happy birthday old lady. I've just announced to the internet that you're FIFTY. WOooOOoo hoooo!

Love,
Your (favorite, smartest, best, prettiest, loveliest) Daughter


PS. I am pretty sure the best present you got was having a fantastic daughter like me, but you did get some lovely presents. I'm eyeing that Marks & Spencer bubble bath... just so you know. Oh and I only bought Fearless Fourteen so I could have it after you. Cheers!


Now dear readers.... on to the eye candy. Let me tell you that for every bit that this looks delish, it tastes 10 times better than THAT. Chef Bob outdid himself. The food was amazing.

The Menu
  • tequila lime shrimp
  • vichyssoise with grilled, seasoned flatbread
  • smoked chicken, brie, and mango salsa quesadilla (TO DIE FOR!)
  • assorted veggies (grilled zucchini, cauliflower, green onions, celery, etc...) with a roasted red pepper, vidailia onion dip
  • fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, peaches topped with granola and fresh whipped cream
  • insanely decadent cookies, mini cheesecakes in a bunch of flavors (I had the amaretto), and the Better than Sex chocolate torte with like 3 kinds of ganache.




How I love thee npr.

I love. love. love. NPR.

Yep. I know this makes me a geek. Dave likes it too, so we're a match made in heaven. All I have to say for you haters is one episode of Praire Home Companion and/or Car Talk and you will be hooked too.

Where was I?? Oh yeah, so anyway. They have the MOST fun tool ever. It's a ROAD TRIP station guide. You type in your beginning and ending destinations and it gives you every station along the way. Where the hell have I been? This would have been perfect for our Georgia trip. Damn it.

Check it out for yourself.
http://www.npr.org/stations/

Stay tuned for JANET'S BIG BIRTHDAY post coming later tonight. I promise lots of delish photos and loads of birthday finery to oogle.

Imaginary Dinner Parties - A Summer Solstice

20 June 2008 | 3 Comments

Dear readers, I'm introducing a new feature to So Wonderful, So Marvelous called "Imaginary Dinner Parties" and I hope you enjoy it. Don't get me wrong here, YKW and I love to throw ACTUAL dinner parties and will continue to do so, but sometimes I have more ideas than time lately...


First, allow me to set the scene...

The linen is yellow bristol brown from BBJ linen that can be found here.


The Il Nodo Ceramiche Fleur-de-Lis dinnerware in Honey found here at Neimans.


These totally insane, lovely raspberry Villeroy & Boch Mankai Goblets found here at Amazon.

All set up on our front porch with these incredible white string lights from Luna Bazaar found here.


Now on to the menu...

Appetizer: Roquefort Crudité Dip with veggies for dipping.

Salad: romaine with figs, toasted walnuts, goat cheese and a balsamic vinegrette.

Main Course: grilled shrimp on lemongrass skewers, chili lime chicken, served over wild rice with fresh grilled zucchini

Dessert: just picked strawberries (of course) macerated in a vanilla lime simple syrup and served with fresh whipped cream

All served with a fantastic Prosecco.

Wow, now that I'm done creating, I may have to make this happen. My mouth is already watering.

The summer solstice & take your dog to work day.


I tried to get Monty & Daisy to type this post for me, but they're being a bit lazy this morning. Don't they know that by taking them to work with me, they're supposed to do my job? I mean, the least they could do is take care of Finn this morning. Since I don't need any dingos eating my baby, I guess I'll just suck it up and take care of him myself.


Today, dear readers, is the summer solstice. The longest day of the year and the official start to summer, well at least here. Down south, aka Australia, they're officially starting WINTER.

I have another post for later today, but I wanted to wish you all a HAPPY SUMMER, bright and early this morning. What are YOU looking forward to most this summer? Leave a comment.

The great JAM adventure...

19 June 2008 | 8 Comments

So tonight at 6 pm we went berry picking.

As of 11 pm:

  1. we drove the roughly 45 minutes home.
  2. went to the grocery store.
  3. ate dinner.
  4. gave Finn a bath (YKW).
  5. cleaned and de-stemmed EIGHT pounds of strawberries (me).
  6. put Finn down for the night (YKW).
  7. went back to the store.
  8. flash froze & bagged up 2 quarts of strawberries for smoothies at a later date.


  9. blogged Strawberry Fields Forever.
  10. canned 16+ jars of strawberry freezer jam!
  11. cleaned up the whole mess... well there are a couple rogue dishes to do in the morning.

That, my dear readers, is a full night, let me tell ya. OK. Without further ado, here is the strawberry jam making process. You need to FOLLOW the recipe to a T for which ever pectin you're using. We chose to do freezer jam simply because I have heard it keeps the freshest taste AND we have a wonderful lovely freezer in the basement thanks to the inlaws generous Christmas.


I used Sure-Jell and here is basically what we did...

  1. boil the jars (you can use the plastic freezer canning things too)
  2. mash the berries (do this in smaller-ish batches) - use 2 cups mashed
  3. measure the sugar - use 4 cups
  4. mix the berries and the sugar, let that sit for 10 minutes
  5. pull jars out of boiling hot water trying not to scald neither yourself or your husband who is only helping out because he loves jam
  6. put the pectin and 3/4 cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute, then pour into the strawberry goo
  7. stir goo and pectin mix for 3 minutes
  8. jar it up (leave 1/2 inch of space at the top for freezing), put tops & rings on
  9. let sit for 24 hours at room temp until set up, then put in the freezer.

It will keep for 1 year frozen, 3 weeks refrigerated. Allow to unthaw in the fridge before eating. We made 3 batches of jam and it's enough for the whole year plus a few jammy gifts for our grandmas and a select few other special peeps.




Strawberry fields forever.



OK, I even puked a little in my mouth at the title of this post. Everyone and their mom has used this title, eh? I really tried coming up with something clever, but it just didn't happen. Anywho, on to the heart of the matter. Here is my nephew Dylan to show you.




WE WENT STRAWBERRY PICKING! Ooooh it was my first time, but not my last. I loved it. Finn loved it. Well, he didn't love it so much as he ate his weight in berries out in the field with Uncle Britt.



We're in the midst of making jam as we speak so I am going to do a separate post for that lovely endeavor... the cans are boiling as I type. We're going to be in jam up to our eyelids tonight my dear readers.



"Yes mam. I'll take EIGHT pounds of strawberries and a cute little boy in the monkey backpack. Can you box it all up for me?"
(That cutie is Jude, my friend Brittany's son, sporting the monkey on his back.)


More pictures to come of our great jam adventure!

Frijoles negros & rice with a twist.

18 June 2008 | 0 Comments


Dinner tonight was really really good. We make black beans and rice about once a month, but we're constantly trying different recipes and spice combinations, having yet to settle on one we reeeeeally like. I think tonight, I've finally created it... mostly out of "Oh, I have some of this left over in the fridge to use up." What a happy surprise to have it turn out so incredibly good!

Here is the recipe-ish version of what I did.
  1. cook the rice. i made brown basmati, it's our fave, but you can use white or whatever rice you have on hand.
  2. in a pan cut up a turkey smoked sausage and cook with a little water in the bottom of the pan (andouille would be best, but it's a little spicy for Finn)
  3. in a separate pan, cut up and sautee one white onion until it is translucent and the raw is cooked out. at that point, add a dash (or 2-3) of Tabasco
  4. add in 4 cloves of garlic pressed and about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger grated, cook for 2 or so minutes until fragrant.
  5. add in 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed + one half can of pineapple (tidbit size is good) *note: I would totally prefer fresh pineapple, but the canned works in a pinch
  6. add in a little (maybe 2 TB) of the pineapple juice and squeeze a quarter lime over the top
  7. add in cumin, oregano, basil, and black pepper to taste. you will need a liberal amount to make it work. cook until the mixture is heated through.
  8. then add the sausage into the black bean mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blend flavors.
  9. serve black bean mixture over the rice

It would work just as easily to go vegetarian and not add the sausage. It would also be fantastic with a crisp green salad. If you like bell peppers you can add those in as well when cooking the onions.

Card making frenzy + a mini project to keep me busy.

Well, I can't post all of my card creations yet (I will soon!) because some of them are in the mail to you, or you, or maybe you. It's safe to post this one that I sent to my sister Lyndsey though. Britt has informed me it's in the mail box waiting for her to find it as we speak.


I also worked on these fun business cards for Annie. She is an amazing artist that is going to be featured down at One South St. Clair for an art walk tomorrow night from 7-10pm. There are going to be tons of galleries open in the Warehouse District, so if you're feeling froggy head down there!

What we're doing tomorrow. (aka: why my BIL is awesome.)


I got this email from my BIL this morning:
Michelle,
Heres todays bounty.... Open 7-7 Tues,Thurs,Sat.... $1.25/lb. We picked 8 lbs in approximately twenty minutes...
Me...




  1. He is a gardening GURU. Seriously. If I have a question, he has the answer.
  2. He introduced us to Keil's in Swanton... the only place I'm buying herbs and strawberries next year.
  3. I have been bugging the shit out of him about the "you pick" farms out that way for months... he has provided me with all kinds of info about where to pick what.
  4. I'm thinking of asking him to be a guest (gardening) blogger.
  5. And last but not least, he's a regular reader of So Wonderful, So Marvelous and he knew I was going to use this email and pics so he took arty shots like this....


Britt. You rock. Don't be shocked when you get jam for Christmas this year.

The littlest houseguest.

17 June 2008 | 0 Comments

Miss Daisy is visiting with us for a bit. My dad is away on business for a week so she is bunking at our house. When she and Monty aren't busy looking out the front door, they're chasing each other around or wrestling. It's been a joy having her around if for nothing else than she really tuckers him out. Even Dexter the wonder cat doesn't seem to mind.

"So, ummm Daisy? What are we supposed to be looking at?"

Goddamnit. And other things not to say.

16 June 2008 | 3 Comments

Little One,
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly you're growing and learning new things each day. That picture was taken a year ago, and LOOK at how little you were! You've taught me to view the world with new eyes and create adventure in our day to day activities.
I would, however, appreciate it if you didn't repeat "Goddamnit," when mama says it. I fully well realize I need to watch my mouth, but cut me a little slack here love.
Love you,
Mama

Goals

Well readers, we're halfway through 2008. I can't believe how quickly time flies when you're having fun. In an effort to keep myself on track, I thought I'd post my half year resolutions.

  1. Lose 35 more pounds before the end of 2008. (I'm down 15 already.)

  2. Plan (and take!) an end of summer or early fall trip for YKW, Finn, and myself. Some ideas so far: New England, San Francisco, Hocking Hills, Toronto, NYC...

  3. Introduce one new recipe per week to my cooking repertoire.

  4. Keep the house more organized & develop a cleaning schedule.

  5. Blog at least 5 times per week.

For a little added motivation... here is a picture of me in Sonoma at the weight I will be 35 pounds from now. I'd be really happy to be back there. The sooner, the better.




Our cute little Marley lovin' visitor.

14 June 2008 | 0 Comments

Myles, his bad game playing daddy, and his sweet mommy, came to play today. He is the cutest patootie ever... well, right behind Finnegan that is.


For now, he's just the baby cousin that Finn can't wait to play with. Give him a year... they'll be chasing each other around and beating each other up. John and I already have bets placed on the cage match.

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