Bestie.

30 June 2013 | 2 Comments

So.  It’s the last day.

And instead of writing, I’m sitting on the couch with my bestie {here from Florida} laughing about all kinds of ridiculous things.

In other news, I’m dis-owning my father.  Why, you ask?

Hello.  Kitty.  Piano. 

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I have a fun giveaway for you tomorrow and then I’m taking a little break for the holiday before sharing all the goodies from Tate’s birthday.

Tell Me What to Watch on Netflix.

29 June 2013 | 16 Comments

It’s time for this edition of tell me what to watch on Netflix.

Just so we’re being honest, Dave is a little dismayed by the fact that his Top Ten looks like this…

What to watch on Netflix

Incidentally, my friend Amy was still using her ex-boyfriend’s Netflix account until recently.  He is so hipster-cool though, that he thought the Netflix people would judge him for her choices in romantic comedies, so he would call her mid show and tell her to stop watching marathons of girlie shows.  Nothing but documentaries for his Netflix queue.  She decided to get a new boyfriend AND a new Netflix account.  Now, she can watch whatever she likes without the harsh eye of the imaginary Netflix Police silently judging her cheesy 80s movies.

Tell me… what are you watching on the ‘Flix?  AND do you think the Netflix peeps are silently judging your choice in shows?

Friday Finest | 06.28

28 June 2013 | 5 Comments

Friday Finest

Oh, hi there.  My month long, BLOG EVERY DAY IN JUNE, is almost over.  Are you sick of me yet?  Because I can’t wait to take a day or two off.  Not that I don’t love you guys and all that.

We have lots of fun coming up, my family is arriving from all over today!  Tate’s birthday party is this weekend, the fourth is next week, and at the end of July, I’m heading to Chicago for BlogHer!  Will you be there?  If so, I want to meet you!

Speaking of meeting people.  This is Erin.  She has been commenting and reading So Wonderful, So Marvelous for three years.  Last week, she was coming near-ish and we met up and had lunch.  It was so nice giving her a great big hug and hanging out for a couple hours.

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We have a winner on the $75 Minted Giveaway!  Is it you?

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Ten heart attacks is totally right.   Times infinity ZDub. 

PS.  I love crazy stories when they don’t involve me.

PPS.  I totally got to hug her at Blissdom.

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Corporate States of America… leave a comment telling me which company reps your state in this funny map of the US.  Wendy’s.  I guess there are worse things we could be… I’m looking at you Florida.

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I just ordered these.  Love Toms.

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How to make the fourth of July flag cake… it is easier than you might think!  Give it a try.

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I am pretty sure I’m never going to another Ohio beach ever.  America’s cleanest and nastiest beaches.  Look at it if you dare.

 

Happy Weekend!  Tell me one fun thing you’re up to!

She Is Two.

27 June 2013 | 9 Comments

Two.  Two.  Two.  I still can’t convince myself that this is happening.

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5 Things I Love Right Now.

26 June 2013 | 7 Comments

1.  Having my sister Elise home for one last summer before she moves and becomes a stodgy grown up. 

2.  Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce over vanilla ice cream.  I wouldn’t pass up some roasted almonds on top too.

3.  Hot summer days.  My hair would thank you for a little less humidity though.

4.  The smell after a thunderstorm passes through.

5.  Texas Senator Wendy Davis.   

What is on your love list right now?

Orzo Pasta Salad.

25 June 2013 | 2 Comments

This is hands down Dave’s favorite summer dish.  I made it the first time for his birthday five years ago and it quickly became a family favorite.  Each time I make it, someone asks for the recipe.  It is definitely one of those dishes that having never tasted it, you might find it odd, but trust me it just works.  It has a little bit of everything, sweet cherries, a peppery punch from the fresh basil, a subtle nuttiness from the pine nuts, saltiness from the feta, and a light lemony brightness.  I love it because I can make it ahead of time AND it can be served for outdoor/hot weather potlucks. 

Perfect for summer. 

I never really measure ingredients for this, but I did this time and apparently, I should just call this “quarter cup Orzo” since it is all in quarter cup measurements.  Bonus, it’s easy to remember!

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You will need:

  • 8 ounces of Orzo pasta {half a package}
  • salt for pasta water  
  • handful of pine nuts, toasted {approximately 1/4 cup}
  • handful of dried cherries, chopped {approximately 1/4 cup}
  • zest and juice of one lemon {approximately 1/4 cup of juice}
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • salt + pepper or seasoning blend, to taste
  • feta cheese {yep… 1/4 cup}

Salt the water and set to boil.  Add half a package of Orzo pasta and cook pasta slightly longer {a minute or two} than the directions on the pasta.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  I use a fine mesh strainer because the pasta is small, but you can use any pasta strainer.

While the pasta is boiling, lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan.  Shake the pan often and don’t leave them unattended.  You will burn the hell out of them… not that I would know that from experience or anything. Ahem.  Allow to cool.

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Zest the lemon. I just use a small grater and give it a quick once over.  Then use a citrus juicer and squeeze the juice out, reserve.

Chop the cherries.  Chiffonade the basil. {This just a fancy pants way of saying you roll it up and slice thinly.  It makes these thin ribbons of basil.} 

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Pour the pasta into a bowl and add lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Mix.  Add pine nuts, dried cherries, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  I usually shake on a seasoning blend instead.  {I love the Kick N’ Chicken from Weber, a lemon pepper blend, or a veggie blend.} 

At this point, you can cover and throw it in the fridge until you are ready to eat.  I think it just tastes better when it has had an hour or two for the flavors to come together, but you can certainly just eat it right away too.

When you are ready to serve, add the feta cheese and give it all a quick stir.

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Paarty.

24 June 2013 | 6 Comments

Tate’s birthday party is this weekend.

I’ve been putting off planning anything.  There are flat out way too many things for girls that involve hot pink.  Tate isn’t really a hot pink kind of girl.

She told me she wanted cookies and strawberries.  More recently she said she wanted cake and happy birthday and Baby Reece {her cousin} and Chris {my brother}.

We’re having all of her favorites.  Done.

If you have ever wondered what it’s like party planning with me, it mostly involves wandering around aimlessly until something strikes my fancy.

Then staying up until ridiculous hours because I can’t make the ideas stop.

And after, me wandering around some more with party swatches in hand.  Because I am that weirdo in the store.

Scribbled menu lists.  Finn suggesting things.  Cooking, cleaning, and crazy amounts of the Justin Timberlake Pandora station.

Who wants to come over and fluff tissue paper flowers with me?

Happy Birthday Janet.

23 June 2013 | 5 Comments

Hi Mom.  We were too lazy to make a cake… you’re getting store bought. 

I thought maybe if we told you on the internet, it would soften the blow.

It doesn’t mean we love you any less.

No really… I swear.

We were a little worried though, since your acts of kindness are over that you would use all of those stored up karma points for non-homemade cake revenge.

I mean, we could have just thrown on an apron, and tapped a little a little flour on our faces, lied, and said we made it. 

You’re so old now, you probably wouldn’t know the difference.

But its unethical to lie to someone on their birthday, we thought.  Especially to a senior citizen, such as yourself.

Hey, did you have to wear glasses to read this post?  Just in case…

Happy Birthday Mom.  We love you.

Janet

Minted + A Giveaway!

22 June 2013 | 27 Comments

If you have been reading So Wonderful, So Marvelous for any length of time, you already know that I have mad love for parties of every kind.  Birthdays, baby showers, dinner parties, I’m not picky, I love them all.  I have long been a fan of the pretty paper virtuosos over at Minted.  I care about design and I love gorgeous, thick paper, both of which the folks over at Minted have in copious amounts.

Every holiday season I drool over the designs they offer, especially the photo Christmas cards.  I love that they source independent designers because each one is unique and there are tons of gorgeous choices.  If you have ever had the good fortune to open a Minted card in your stack of mail, you will know that the paper can only be described as luxurious.  I mean it is thick, gorgeous, and the printing is flawless… this isn’t your average cardstock.  

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And yes, they are known for their holiday cards, but they have gorgeous invitations and announcements of all kinds.  I only wish they had been around when Dave and I were getting married because their wedding stationery is incredible.  They also offer business cards, journals, gift tags, and full party suites as well as a la carte items. 

I want the funniest thing journal to record all of those Finnisms. 

Minted Giveaway

The sweet peeps at Minted would like to offer one of you $75 in store credit to be spent how you wish.  Maybe a pretty new cake stand for your favorite blogger whose husband has banned her from purchasing any more?  Oh, ok.  Use it on yourself.

Tell me, what would you do with $75 to spend at Minted?

{You will use the Rafflecopter box to record your entries!}

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Contest runs until 6/28/2013 at midnight EST.

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored content and Minted is providing me with a store credit to enjoy their many amazing products as well as a store credit for one lucky reader.  Pssst… I hope it’s you.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Finest | 06.21

21 June 2013 | 7 Comments

Friday Finest

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I Write Like is a fun site that analyzes your writing and tells you which famous author you’re most like.  {via: Jules at Pancakes and French Fries}

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Leave a comment and tell me who you write like!

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I loved this from NPR, a touching look at James Gandolfini through the eyes of those he worked with.

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{Photo by: Léo Caillard}

Classical sculptures dressed as hipsters look contemporary and totally badass.

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I feel like maybe these bullying jerks have too much time on their hands.  Oh, and if you’re feeling froggy, donate $10 to Jayden’s fundraiser, just because.

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The Wolf of Wall Street looks like it’s going to be a great movie.  It’s out this fall.

 

Have an excellent weekend, my peeps.  {Though, I will see you tomorrow, right?  You’ll want to be here tomorrow.}

Dot. Dot. Dash.

20 June 2013 | 2 Comments

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This is my morse code necklace from Crave.  I am in love with pretty much everything Jaci makes, but this one is my fave.  It is a teeny tiny maybe 1/4 inch and it says Dave, but no one has to know I’m secretly walking around like a 13 year old girl with my boyfriend’s name around her neck.

{Disclaimer: Jaci is a friend and I love her things, but this was purchased by me.}

I {Mostly} Don’t Entertain My Kids.

19 June 2013 | 20 Comments

I talk a lot about special things that we do.  The big things, the fun things, the cool things.  But today, I wanted to let you know that in a typical day at our house, my kids play, or look at books, or just sit and stare at the wall if they want to.

Independently.

Yes, yes, I get the crayons off of the top shelf if they want to color… and that little one goes into her highchair to keep the “artwork” contained.  I pull Tate’s play house out for her and help open the box to her My Little Ponies.  I choose to keep the TV off during the day.  I ooh and ahh over their Lego creations.  {Hint: Tate’s is always a tower.}  Then, I answer emails, work a bit, do dishes, make breakfast, or overhear them getting along for a fleeting few minutes before they are annoyed with each other again.  We sit and read to them daily, but the vast majority of the time on a typical day, they entertain themselves.  {Tate is younger so obviously her attention span is a little shorter, there are more stories and song singing and snuggle breaks with me when Finn is at school and she is here by herself.}

I fondly remember as a kid playing Barbies or He-Man or Star Wars.  Playing with our Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  Playing school.  Building things with Lincoln Logs.  Playing church when I was the priest and smashed up white bread was communion. {Weird kid.}  Playing house and making my cousin be the dog every time.  Pretending my sister and I had a cooking show.  Searching for coins in the couch, buying a packet of Kool-Aid for ten cents, and having a lemonade stand.  Playing store.  Playing bank.  Playing roller rink in the back yard with those ridiculous plastic skates that you’d put on your shoes. 

Playing.

I don’t remember adults having anything to do with what we played other than making sure we didn’t hurt ourselves.  No one scheduled out every second of our day with activities and cookie baking and elaborate art projects and sensory tables with summer camp worthy zeal and told us how to have fun.  Other than my mom writing a pretend check for us to play with at our bank, we didn’t even want adults hanging out with us.  We wanted to play and build forts and make up dance moves to Janet Jackson songs.

Clearly, we were the rad-est.

At our house you won’t be constantly entertained, or watch tv, or sit on the computer or complain incessantly that there is nothing to do.  Really? Look at all these toys you can play with!  There are also chores, but that is a discussion for another day.  It’s not because I don’t love and want to spend time doing fun things with them, there is plenty of that as well.  I think that I was inadvertently telling you the fun part of our life and not realizing that you don’t see the day to day. 

I am not their daily cruise director, I am their mom.  I think a lot of my generation has that bit wrong.  When my friend started staying home and we had a play date one morning, she asked if she had to schedule an activity for them to do.  Uh, no, unless you mean sending them outside to play in the backyard?  We think we’re failing our kids when we don’t have them enrolled in twelve activities, have them creating masterpieces hourly, and have their daily schedule rivaling a CEO’s.  Screen time is replacing face time and human interaction.  And I realize that as they get older, it just gets worse.

Frankly and probably selfishly, scheduling out activities from day until night for my children is exhausting for me.  And I feel like I’m putting their imagination to sleep a bit when I do.  When do they get to just be kids?  How are they ever going to come up with crazy games if I’m constantly telling them what to play and how to play?  Or allowing them to sit in front of the TV all day?  Or taking them from one activity to the next and spending our day in the car?  I want to see them figuring out their own ideas and even being a little bored. 

Yep, I’m going to say it, boredom is ok for my kids.  It gives them a little time to rest their brains from the constant stimulation of everything around them.  And that is a good thing.

Believe me when I say I am not a Puritanical parent.  My kids have  both watched TV before they were two, they both play games on the tablet.  They fight and whine and they are normal kids.  There are days when they stay in their pjs and watch 5 episodes of Phineus an Ferb capped off by Tangled.  They eat junk sometimes and hear me swear and do things that make Dave and I nuts.  They tell me that they are bored.

And I then tell them to go play. 

Ann and Nancy.

18 June 2013 | 4 Comments

I’ve been to a lot of concerts.  A lot.  The Beach Boys when I was five or six was my first.  I thought that all concerts had blow up beach balls flying around and I wanted to go to as many as humanly possible.  My dad took my sister Lyndsey and I to concerts all the time.

I think all along, he was hoping that one of us would get half the musical talent he had. 

I was just recounting this story to some friends and to Dave over the weekend as we talked about some of the ridiculous concerts we’ve been to.

Yoko Ono, anyone?  Rick Astley?  Bijork?  Milli Vanilli?  Color Me Badd.  With two Ds, people.  Two. 

There were amazing concerts too.  Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wynton Marsalis, Sponge, Nine Inch Nails, New Kids on the Block, Dave Matthews, Prince, Michael Buble, Beck, and that is just a fraction.  I can’t remember half of them.  I wish I were one of those people who wrote things down for a living...

Ahem.

My dad took us to see Heart when I was in high school, maybe it was late junior high.  He was beside himself for us to experience the Wilson sisters live.  I’m pretty sure he had a crush on Nancy, more for her guitar skills than anything.  Back then, we rolled our eyes a lot and sighed when he thought things were cool, but we agreed to go.  

About half way through the concert, he leaned over to me and he said, “Two sisters.  You and Lyndsey, that could be you.”

“Dad, Lyndsey gave up the guitar in fifth grade.”   Eye roll.  Eye roll.  Sigh.

Here I am, writing this blog, while Ann and Nancy are performing at the Kennedy Center Honors in front of the President and Led Zeppelin.  Making Robert Plant cry because they did such justice to Stairway to Heaven is about the same as belting out Somewhere Out There, dressed as a mouse, in the sixth grade talent show, right?

Right?

Hey Dad, there is always Finn and Tate...

Adoption Shower!

17 June 2013 | 7 Comments

Bridget and Joe have been our friends for almost eight years.  Through a very happy accident, we became great friends after living across the street from each other.  We’ve been through kitchen remodels together, we’ve helped each other through countless projects, had many many porch parties and dinners and on and on.  We adore them and if either of us ever move, we’re going to have to bring the other along.

They are officially on the list to adopt a baby and we, along with a whole bunch of friends and family, wanted to celebrate and help them prepare.

Bridget is using black and white with bright colors for the nursery.  Since they aren’t sure if they will be bringing home a baby boy or a baby girl, they are keeping everything gender neutral, so Amy and I used all of those colors in the shower too.  We also included Bridget’s favorite black and white, houndstooth. 

We can not wait for the announcement that this little baby is on the way.  He or she is already incredibly loved.

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