Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's Old is New Again

I love the transformative power of accessories. The way a statement-making necklace can take wardrobe staples and dress them up (or down). The way a belt can change the shape of a jacket or dress, giving those items new life (and the illusion that you have the tiniest of waists (not possible anymore post-twins, believe me)). Accessories are, to me, miraculous. And even though I now go days at a time and don't even leave my house, I'm still amazed at how much better--more confident, more happy, more ME--I feel on the days I take the time to throw on a pair of earrings or a stack of bracelets. (That's right, I'm saying I'm a better mother when I accessorize.)

Take this outfit I wore last Friday to a lunch date with a friend. Each of the pieces of clothing are so basic. I've also owned them forever (the shoes are the newest, but were purchased two years ago). But by layering on some of the pieces from the Stella & Dot Fall 2011 collection, and a vintage belt and bag, the clothes felt new again. I felt fresh. And pretty (and that never happens anymore).

The lunch, the dressing up, the feeling of being out-and-about midday sans double stroller was a rare treat, and I reveled in it. I left the house feeling tired and disgruntled and came home ready to tackle dishes, dirty diapers, and five days as a single mom while S headed off on a fishing trip. If that's not some kind of transformation, I don't know what is.

wearing: old navy vest, target tank, vintage silk skirt, dolce vita sandals, S&D soiree studs, S&D soiree trio ring, S&D graceful nomad necklace, vintage bag, vintage belt.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CSA Supper: Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes

It's around this point every summer where my enthusiasm for the copious amount of greens we get each week in our farm share starts to wane. Those giant bags of kale and chard become less of a blessing and more of a curse. I feel obligated to take them, but the idea of eating them braised, steamed, tossed with a vinaigrette, etc., honestly makes me gag a little. It's too much of a good thing, if you will.

That's why last week I did a little nosing around on the 'nets for some inspiration to get me through the next 12 weeks of farm pick-ups. I came across this recipe on and loved the sound of it because I'm trying more and more to make dinners that all four of us can eat. G and Q love chard and chick peas, so with a little alteration, this meal was perfect!

I think this recipe was intended as a side dish, but to make it a complete dinner, I increased the amount of beans and served ours over Wegmans Golden Jewel Blend, a mix of Israeli couscous, mini-garbanzo beans, orzo, and red quinoa. The lads had their's with sprouted white quinoa. We all had grilled asparagus on the side. (Oh yeah...and S and I had a glass of Malbec rose.)

Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes
serves 4 (or 2 adults and 2 babies*, with some leftover for the hubby's lunch the next day!)

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 16 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, cleaned and sliced into ribbons
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the garbanzo beans and season with salt and pepper.
4. Layer the chard ribbons over the bean and onion mixture, top with the tomato slices, and season with more salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover the pan, cooking until the chard has wilted.
5. Once the chard has wilted, juice the lemon over the top. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Baby version:
Once the chard has wilted, remove 1 cup of the chard/bean/onion mixture from the pan and transfer it into a food processor or food mill. Add one tomato slice. Puree to the consistency to which your baby is comfortable. I decided to leave out the lemon juice since this was our first experience with tomato (two new foods at once seemed risky). I was also pretty light on the s&p until I removed the babies' portion.

*We follow the Super Baby Food diet, which says it's safe to eat cooked onion, greens and beans at 9 months and tomato and citrus at 12 months.

Monday, August 15, 2011

1st Birthday Party, G/Q-style (part 1)

We loved these whale invites from Tiny Prints. They perfectly
coordinated with our theme. We're big DIY-entertainers,
but I'm a stickler for nice printed materials.

I was ridiculously excited about making these decorations.
I'm not crafty at all, but give me some crepe paper, paper
lanterns, curling ribbon and a hot glue gun, and somehow
I'll give you a giant octopus and a jellyfish garland!

Ms. Octo is ready for her close-up.

I thought the jellies had the sweetest faces!

My dad thought everyone should have to
"swim" through the tent.

This is the pool I bought to soak in while pregnant last
summer, now with MUCH cuter contents: an inflatable
octopus from Pottery Barn Kids and whale and beach
balls from the dollar store.

Our centerpieces were cheapo bubble bowls from AC Moore,
filled with Rhode Island sand from vacation and our tub toys.

I had the most fun making these octopus party hats out of
paper plates and ribbon. I knew it was doubtful
that the babies
would keep them on, but the idea was
too cute not to attempt!

Party hats and high chairs waiting for the guests of honor.

We used sand buckets scored for $1 each at
Christmas Tree Shops to hold favors.

I gussied them up with a resin sand dollar
and personalized tag.

My mom used these felt banners at my shower last summer,
and I thought it would be a nice tradition to hang them every
year on the boys' birthday.

We spread a beach blanket as a hangout
for all the babies in attendance.

I'm sooooooo ready to get my party on!

Stay tuned for more details from the bash!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Arm Party

Having babies has seriously cramped my accessorizing. I'm not complaining. I'm happier spending every day in grubby shorts and t-shirts than I ever was getting all dolled up to go sit in an office every day. But sometimes a girl just needs a little bling...bling that can't be hauled on by curious baby-hands. Hence my current obsession with the arm party. Since I can no longer wear my beloved dangley earrings or giant necklaces, why not throw on a massive pile of bracelets?

Sunday Morning arm party

Walk like an Egyptian arm party
Stella & Dot Renegade Cluster bracelet
Bermuda and Cape Cod bracelets
Vintage scarab bracelet and enamel cuff

Super Shiny arm party
Stella & Dot Devi bangles in silver
Stella & Dot Corso cuff
Bermuda and Cape Cod bracelets
Vintage Sarah Coventry bracelet

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A letter to myself.

37 weeks , August 4, 2010

Dear Me:

I know what you're're sitting in bed, watching Twilight in a feeble attempt to distract yourself from the dread that's making your heart so heavy you think it might suffocate you and the babies. You're feeling like before your tenure as a mother has even begun, you've already failed. Failed because your c-section was scheduled and instead of being so excited to meet those two little guys you've grown, you're terrified. Failed because despite every attempt, you couldn't get Baby A to turn. Failed because you think having a natural birth was your last chance to have a "normal" pregnancy experience. Failed because after everything you've been through over the last two years--the heartache, the fear, the shots and procedures--you've been so brave. But where is your courage now?

Well, lovey, let me give you a little peak into the future. I can't tell you that the c-section was great, that the hospital met all your birth plan requests, that breastfeeding was a breeze, or that what happens on August 12 won't change you--make you stronger and harder in some ways and more fragile in others. But I can tell you this: one year from now, you will be so proud of yourself.

You will have these two perfect little humans that you will marvel at every day. They will exceed your wildest that somehow the embryologist selected the two sperms and two eggs that contained the very best of S's and your DNA. You will look at them every day and be reminded of how blessed you are, of just how much God spared you from...that, as bad as it was, it could have been far, far worse.

You won't suck at being a mother. In fact, for the first time in your life, you'll actually feel like you're good at something. You'll find patience and love like you could never have imagined (Mom was had NO idea the depth of a mother's love).

You'll finally understand that you couldn't move Baby A (that's G, by the way), because once he makes his mind up to do something, he does it no matter what. He's stubborn and tenacious. And you'll love him for those qualities and a million others.

And I know you're worried that things will change between you and S. They will. But not like you think. You'll actually be closer and more of a team than ever before. His stoicism will balance your neurotic mama freak-outs, and your heart will break at how deeply devoted he is to the boys. Seeing them together will remind you over and over of why you went through what you did--to give him this gift...these babies...his sons.

Now go back to watching Edward and Bella. Enjoy these last few lazy moments. Thank God that you're 37 weeks pregnant with two strong, healthy babies. Find peace in your heart knowing that despite what happens next week, it will all be worth it. In a year, G will sing along as you two dance around to the Slackers. Q will give you big, wet kisses and rub his little cheek against yours. A lot will be taken from you in that operating room, but not these moments. They will be made more precious, more sweet and fleeting, because you will never forget that for as bad as it was, it could have been far, far worse.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ricotta Spelt Pancakes

Sunday morning was the last day of our first family vacation (we were technically home at that point), and even though we often make a big breakfast on Sunday mornings (like this one), I decided I wanted to do something extra special. Try something new. Most importantly, I wanted G and Q to be able to eat whatever I made. I looked for some inspiration online and decided to make ricotta pancakes. To make them baby-friendly, I opted to use spelt flour instead of all-purpose.

The result? The lightest, moistest, most flavorful pancakes ever. To gussy them up for S and me, I topped them with a homemade lemon thyme syrup and blackberries from our bushes. The lads just had them plain, but loved them any way. Q scarfed two in two minutes flat (mmmm-mmmming the entire time, as he is wont to do (that kid is a serious foodie already!)) and would have eaten more if we hadn't already polished them off!

Ricotta Spelt Pancakes, aka Babies' 1st Pancakes
serves 4 (or, in our case, 2 piggish adults and 2 babies)

1 cup organic whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup water (you could use milk to make them richer, but I used water since the lads haven't had milk yet)
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp sunflower oil

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, water and egg yolks. Add the flour, baking powder, and sugar, stirring to make a thick batter.
2. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are white and foamy, but still loose. Gently fold the beaten whites into the batter. (Note: you could easily skip this step if you aren't yet ready to give your baby egg whites. The result would simply be a denser, less fluffy pancake.)
3. Heat the oil in a skillet or large frying pan over medium heat. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto the hot pan. Cook pancakes approximately 2 minutes per side, or until they are a golden brown. I ended up getting about 24 half-dollar size pancakes (yep...we ate them all!!!).

Lemon Thyme Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup raw sugar
5 sprigs of thyme
1 lemon, zested

1. Add water, sugar, whole thyme sprigs, and zest of the lemon to a small sauce pan over medium low heat.
2. Bring mixture to a slow boil, just until sugar is melted.
3. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove thyme and strain lemon zest (if you'd like--I left the zest in because I think it looks pretty!).
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