Leap.

29 February 2012 | 1 Comments

This day only happens once every four years… kind of like cleaning out my closet or getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  It’s a rarity. 

We’re having friends over for dinner and indulging in the almost 60 degree weather which is unheard of for February in Ohio. 

What are you doing to make this leap day special?

Tutu.

27 February 2012 | 12 Comments

Tate, my sweet girl, you are 8 months old today.  How is that possible?

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You light up every time Finnegan is around.  He comes in the room and you immediately start smiling and laughing and trying to get his attention.  He doesn’t always love the fact that you like to steal his toys, but he tries to be a good big brother and lets you take his favorite superhero from time to time.

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Your daddy is wrapped around your little finger.  He picks you up and you snuggle into his shoulder.  You’re still throwing out DaDa to his delight, we both know you don’t know what you’re saying, but he still loves it.  {And doesn’t let me forget it.}

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You are trying some new foods.  Yesterday, it was potatoes and you loved them.  You are still loving most fruits and veggies, but your hatred of baby food peas lives on… we did try a few mashed up ‘real’ peas and they were a hit, so there is hope for you yet.  You especially like pumpkin, zucchini, and banana. 

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As much as I would love it if you stayed put, you’re on the move.  You are standing by yourself for a few seconds, as soon as you realize that we’ve let go of your finger, you slowly sit down.  You are crawling like a madwoman and cruising furniture like a pro.  I am awaiting those first steps with a mixture of excitement and dread because I know when you start, you just won’t stop.  You are also cracking us all up with your dancing.

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I love this age, Tate.  You smile and laugh, great big belly laughs with screeches thrown in for good measure.  You are an absolute blast to have around.

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Happy 8th month, we can’t wait to see what is next.

Real Moms.

23 February 2012 | 14 Comments

We’ve had a rough week here.  It’s never just a typical rough week, everything that can explode at once, does.  I suppose it’s a blessing and a curse that we don’t half ass things here at So Wonderful, So Marvelous.

Oh, no my friends.  We do shit up right.  A teething, snot filled baby who unbeknownst to me {while I was on a conference call and Daddy was watching her} managed to fall and now has a shiner like Rocky.  Oh, did I mention that the aforementioned snot is impeding her ability to sleep more than two hours at a stretch, nurse, or be put down for more than 10 seconds?  She has also lovingly passed her germs along to me. 

A four year old who is either the most helpful, loving child on the planet or a crazed, tantrum throwing madman.  The latest battle?  It is over 5t versus 4t jeans.  He apparently believes that 5t jeans are way too big even though he has, in fact, been wearing them since Christmas.

I can’t even talk about the state of this house.  I mean, we’re not at Hoarders level, but my mom is still appalled when she stops by unexpectedly.  I’ve also been working on a few projects and I apparently have lost my ability to have a job in addition to being a mom. 

When we have weeks like this, I start questioning both my sanity and my ability to handle this whole mom thing.  The doubt starts rolling in and it eats away at my resolve that I am, in fact, awesome.

A real mom would know how to soothe a screaming baby who wakes up because her teeth hurt and in her thrashing, head butts you in the face. 

A real mom would know her baby just has an awful cold and wouldn’t schedule an unnecessary doctor visit. 

A real mom would remember the tissues and not have snot on her shirt. 

A real mom would make sure there were vegetables and fruit at every meal and not serve pizza for dinner because of poor planning. 

A real mom wouldn’t let her child break the ‘no TV on school days’ rule just to have another hour of sleep. 

A real mom would know how to juggle work with family life. 

A real mom doesn’t stay in her pajamas until preschool pick up, she would also shower before noon.

A real mom would be able to handle getting three hours of sleep.

Here it is though, my peeps, I am a real mom and so are you.  Things are not always calm.  They are not always going to go my way.   There are days of sheer perfection and there are days weeks of crazy ass chaos.  The house will be a mess.  I will step on Wolverine & Captain America first thing in the morning and I will run out of freaking coffee.  It happens. 

I pick my battles and sometimes I don’t win.  

Lipton Tea + Giveaway.

22 February 2012
You all know I’ve been working hard on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list. 

OK, that is a lie.  Lately, I’ve been slacking.  I mean, ok, #21 {Tate} took 9 months to complete, so I have been working on things.  But, with just a few months to go, now is NOT the time to slack!

Luckily, Lipton was there to kick me back into gear.  They contacted me a few weeks ago and said, “Hey Michelle, we can totes help you with #51, yo.” 

And they did!

OK, they didn’t say it exactly like that, but they did say it.  They also said, probably because of my massive tea love and/or my love of British TV, {because follow me here, British anything = tea & crumpets} that they wanted me to participate in their Tea Tastemaker program.  They also INSISTED that I give YOU {well one of you anyway} a crazy fab basket o’ goodies.  Aren’t those Lipton peeps awesome? 

Sadly, it doesn’t include any crumpets.  Don’t you fret though, there are so many goodies, you won’t even miss them.

Want to know what you can win?  Click here.

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Full Disclosure: This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the Lipton Tea Tastemaker Program.  Visit www.facebook/lipton to join the conversation.  All opinions are solely my own.

3 Day Weekend.

20 February 2012 | 7 Comments

The Davester has a floating holiday every year and they choose random weird holidays to use it.  This year it is Presidents’ Day.

Too.  Much.  Togetherness. 

Did I type that out loud?

We did get to have a fun play date yesterday.  The boys weren’t so thrilled with the fact that the snot filled baby chased them around and stole their cars and their Toy Story guys, and anything else she could get her hands on. 

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Gummi Bears.

17 February 2012 | 7 Comments

We spent a lot of time with my cousin Jay growing up.  A lot.  So much so that our relationship feels more like siblings than cousins.  I was the oldest {and therefore the boss!} then came my sister Lyndsey, then Jay. 

We used to force him to be the dog a lot when we were playing house.  We also used to try to put barrettes in his hair because it freaked his dad out.  He played his fair share of Barbies.  To be fair, we also played He Man and Star Wars with him until his action figures got stolen out of my Meme’s Pacer when she was at the grocery store.

Such a loving family.

Once, when I was in the third grade, Jay was over at our house.  He is almost 5 years younger than me, so he was probably four at the time?  We were playing and getting into trouble as we always did.  Lyndsey and I got together and hatched a plan.

That is the way it worked.  There were always two of the three of us ganging up on the other one.  We just rotated who was on the outs with the other two.  We’re equal opportunity, some times it was based on age, sometimes gender, sometimes level of bossiness.  Ahem.

You’re cool, so I’m going to let you in on the plan.  Convince Jay that we were descended from Gummi Bears.  Not the candy variety, but the cartoon variety.

These guys.

I always wanted to be Sunni Gummi, she was such a rockstar.  Look at that blonde hair.  Lyndsey was totally a Gruffi.  He’s the angry one in the green hat.

So we tried our best to talk him into believing us.  He was holding out though, he just knew we weren’t descended from gummi bears so we had to step it up a notch.

We had to prove it.

We mixed up some Gummiberry Juice {also known as several packets of Smarties crushed up mixed with kool-aid for a straight up sugar rush} and made him chug it.

Then we stuck him in a dark closet, told him to close his eyes as we jostled him around and told him that we were riding in a quick tunnel. 

Ridiculous?  Of course.  But he was four and you can mess with four year olds pretty easily.  After all that sugar and our fake quick tunnel ride, he was convinced.  I think I also conned my mom into confirming it.

We are pretty much the best cousins ever, right?

Poodle.

15 February 2012 | 4 Comments

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Name:  Monty Poodle {named after Montgomery Burns}

Likes:  Car rides, dog bones, cat food, food dropped on the floor, sitting in Finn’s chair, bouncing through snow, and belly rubs

Dislikes:  Late breakfasts, Finn calling me Scooby, Tate pulling on my fur, and my people remembering to put the cat food up when they leave

How to Choose a Valentine.

14 February 2012 | 4 Comments

Choose a Valentine who is funny.

Choose a Valentine who is sweet.

Choose a Valentine who is kind.

Choose a Valentine who buys you sparkly things.

Choose a Valentine who is handsome.

Choose a Valentine who is loving.

Choose a Valentine who is a good kisser.

Choose a Valentine who, after completely inadvertently ruining your first batch of cupcakes, helps you wash all the jars, & make a completely new batch so your four year old isn’t bummed that he doesn’t have a treat for his school friends.  At 10 pm.  The night before Valentine’s Day.

Davester, I’m super glad you’re my Valentine. 

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Consider this your card.

Whitney. And Lyndsey is Probably Going to Hell.

13 February 2012 | 11 Comments

I was 9 when the Whitney Houston album came out.  It was the first tape I bought with my own money…

Hey, at least I didn’t say record… 

I took it to the YMCA after school program and showed all my friends.  It was orange and she wore a white dress on the front.  Like every other little girl my age, I stood in front of the mirror dancing and belting out How Will I Know and The Greatest Love of All until my mom wanted to remove the D batteries from my boom box just to get it to stop.

I was very cool.  But obviously, you know this already. 

She was larger than life.  Her voice, unparalleled.  Whitney was IT for me and so many others my age.  She was the one we looked up to, the one we wanted to be, insomuch as a suburban white girl could be a black, Grammy award winning, mega superstar.  She was a good girl with a huge voice.

My sister Lyndsey {who knows my Whitney love from back in the day} hasn’t stopped responding to me in Whitney lyrics since it happened… I am pretty sure this is a clear indication that she, in fact, is going to hell.

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I don’t want to remember the drugs or the voice squandered and lost to them. Because really? What a damn shame.

I’ll just say this.  She will be missed.

How To Make Green Eggs!

09 February 2012 | 15 Comments
Last week, I had an email from a reader asking me how to make green eggs like the ones we had at Finnegan’s Dr Seuss Birthday Party.  {Deana, I hope your eggs turned out perfectly!}  I thought, since Dr Seuss’ Birthday is coming up on March 2, we should do a quick tutorial on how to make them.
Pull out your copy of Green Eggs & Ham, whip up a batch, & surprise your kiddos with this easy recipe.

Green Seuss Eggs

You will need:
  • 6 large eggs
  • green GEL food coloring {Americolor’s Leaf Green is my fave}
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 t mustard {I used spicy brown, but yellow works just fine}
  • salt, pepper, paprika, tarragon {you can just use salt & pepper if you like}
First, we need to hard boil the eggs.  Turn the egg carton on its side and let the eggs sit out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Letting the eggs come up to temp helps them not to crack and turning them on their side helps the yolk slide to the middle of the egg  so they are not off center.

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Put the eggs in a pan and fill with cold water, covering completely with about an inch of water over the top of the eggs.  Do not crowd the eggs or they can crack!  Put on high heat allowing the eggs to come to a rolling boil.

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Turn the stove off, cover tightly, and remove from heat.  Allow to sit in the pot, covered for exactly 17 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer from the pan into a bowl of cold water and ice cubes.  This will stop the cooking process and prevent the egg yolks from turning greenish.  Leave them in the ice water for 15 – 20 minutes.

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Peel the eggs under running water, if you follow the above steps, they should peel easily.  Pop the yolks out and mash lightly.  Add salt, pepper, paprika, and tarragon {or any combination of these that you like} to taste.  Add the mayo and mustard.  Stir until mostly combined.

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Then, add two small squirts of the gel food coloring.  Do not use the liquid food coloring from the store.  It is too runny for these purposes and will make the egg mixture really loose.  Stir them until all of the food coloring is incorporated and put into a piping bag.  If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a plastic Ziploc and just snip the tip off for piping.

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You can store in the fridge separately until ready to eat.  Pipe into the egg whites and enjoy!  It’s a great way to celebrate Dr Seuss’ Birthday!

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Tip Junkie handmade projects

Finnisms.

08 February 2012 | 4 Comments

Dave:  *mumble mumble grumble grumble*

Me:  You’re mean Dave P!  And exclusionary.

Finn:  You can’t call him that.  You can call him mean, but that is it.

Me:  But he is exclusionary.  He leaves people out.

Finn:  No.  He drinks beer with his friends.

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Finn:  Mom, do you think our next baby is going to be a boy or a girl?

Me:  Finna, I don’t think there is going to be a next baby.

Finn:  But J & Amanda & Myles have three babies.   Well, one is a midget.

Me:  Everyone has to decide for themselves how many babies their family will have.  You know Noelle has FOUR babies!  And Meme had SIX babies.

Finn:  How many babies did Gigi have?

Me:  She had two babies.  I am pretty sure daddy only wants two babies.

Finn:  Well, maybe daddy will be out of luck and maybe he will be in luck.  We will see.

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Finn:  Mom, Hulk got strings from the bad guy and his pants fell down and the bad guys saw his underwear!  That is too funny for me.

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Finn:  Mom, you want to know how to say blue in Spanish?

Me:  Sure.

Finn: Azul.  And mom?  If you want to know how to say blue in plain old English, you say, blue.

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Finn:  What are you feeding Tate?

Me:  Some butternut squash and some blueberries and bananas.

Finn:  What is that white stuff?

Me:  Oatmeal.

Finn:  Is that human oatmeal?

Me:  Of course it’s oatmeal for humans!  What other kind of oatmeal is there?

Finn:  Baby oatmeal.

Me:  Um, I think you must misunderstand what a human is…

Finn:  No I don’t.

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Gratuitous Baby Pics.

07 February 2012 | 9 Comments

I know no one cares {well, maybe her grandmas do} and that is ok.  Really, you should just feel lucky that I didn’t post a video of her jumping like a madwoman in her jumper thing because I sit here half the day just watching her and laughing.  She is the cutest damn thing ever and she loves her mini Cabbage Patch.  Just like her Mama.

I love this age. 

Except when we’re not sleeping.  Curse you teething and your damn messy biscuits!

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Tortellini with Red Grapes

06 February 2012 | 5 Comments

Ages ago, we went to to visit my friend Steph, she took us to this little Italian restaurant called Rose Angelis.  The food was to die for.  I mean, pasta so delicious that you didn’t know what to do with yourself, it was that good.  The portions were huge, the wine list was fantastic, and they let you do meals family style if you’d like.  If you’re in the Chicago area, go there.

We ordered the gorgonzola tortellini with red grapes and fell in love with the flavor combination.  It has this walnut pesto cream sauce that melts in your mouth, a richness with the cheese, and a pop of sweetness with the grapes.  When we came home, Dave and I talked for weeks about re-creating this pasta.   Here is that version.

tortellini with red grapes recipe

It is one of Finnegan’s favorites and it comes together quickly for a weeknight meal. We usually serve with a big salad and some bread.

You will need: 

  • 1/2 c walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 c pesto {make your own or used jarred, I’ve done both}
  • 1 1/2 c cream or {half & half}
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sautéed until translucent
  • package cheese tortellini
  • 1 1/2 c red grapes, sliced in half

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First, toast your walnuts in a pan, they only need a few minutes, remove and allow to cool.  Slice your red onion and sauté {use the same pan} until just translucent.  Start a pot of water to boil.

Wash and slice your grapes in half.

Throw the walnuts in the food processor and pulse a few times just to break into smaller pieces.  Add the pesto, cream, olive oil, & red onion.  Whir until smooth.  The sauce will be thick. 

Throw the tortellini in the pot of boiling water and cook to package directions.

Transfer the sauce to the same pan used for the walnuts & onions.  Turn on low and stir constantly.  I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of the pasta water to the sauce if it is too thick.

Drain the pasta, transfer to the sauce immediately and stir to coat.

Stir in the red grapes and serve immediately.

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Triple Shot.

01 February 2012 | 10 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I believe the Universe works in mysterious ways.  It can bring two people together.  It can gently remind us things aren’t the way they should be.  And then, there is the big old slap in the face.

I don’t really do subtle, so this is usually the form that the Universe takes when speaking to me.

Monday, I texted Dave and asked him {again} to help me figure out the espresso machine.  It isn’t that I am an idiot really, but you all know I am spoiled, the Davester usually makes it for me.  Plus, he doesn’t like it when I break his stuff.  He called me and walked me through grinding the beans with his fancy pants grinder and making a double shot.  I whipped up a cup of hot cocoa {extra marshmallows} for Finnegan and an afternoon vanilla mocha for myself and then, I posted this on Twitter:

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Yesterday, I hit my afternoon slump and decided that it was a triple shot kind of day.  I started whipping it up, the smugness permeating the vanilla latte.  Oh yeah.  I don’t need your help any more, Sucka.

Everything was coming up Millhouse. 

Until I tried to remove the thingy with the espresso powder in it.  {That, I think, is the technical term?}  It was stuck.

Shoot.  Do I call Dave? 

No way.

I push it, at which point the thing EXPLODES with a bang, shooting the still hot espresso powder everywhere.  It was on the floor, on the counter, on the tops of drawers, all over the machine, all over me.  It blew the metal basket holding the powder straight across the room and the plastic grate with it.  Finn came running from the other room when he heard the boom. 

Someone {Jess} really should have told me that Twitter has a direct line to the Universe, I might not have signed up for this.

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Apparently, Dave says, you need to wait five minutes for the pressure to subside and/or release the top thingy {also the technical term} so the pressurized steam can escape and NOT blow all over the kitchen. 

Which is WHY, Michelle, it was ‘stuck’ and not opening.

Thanks, Universe, I’ve got that now.  Loud and freaking clear.

And just to drive home the message a teeny bit more…  I cleaned off the counters of the insane amount of espresso powder {so VERY much powder everywhere} and bent down to clean it off the floor when riiiiiiip, a hole right in the butt of my beloved monkey pajamas.  Ok, ok, they are 10 years old and the flannel is so worn it is almost see through, but REALLY Universe?  Really?  The monkey pajamas?

I was going to take a picture of my butt, but Finn {rightly} said, “Mom, no one needs to see that.”

Drinking that triple shot of karma right now, Universe.  Thanks.  Thanks a freaking lot.

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