Saturday, July 17, 2010

Days of Play--Tie-Dye Paintings

What you'll need:

  • watercolor paper
  • water color paints
  • water
  • salt
  • cookie sheet
  • newspaper
What to do:

  1. Line a table with newspapers.
  2. Take the cookie sheet and put water in it.
  3. Dip the watercolor paper into the water.
  4. Lay the wet paper on the newspaper covered table.
  5. Apply paint with paint brushes.
  6. Watch the colors run and blur together in a tie-dye effect.
  7. Add a dash of salt here and there and see how it "soaks up" the paint.
  8. Let dry.
  9. When the pictures are dry, use a felt tipped marker and add detail.  



Friday, July 16, 2010

30 Things I Love About You: A Tribute

Welcome to the Dirty Thirties!
 
Today my smokin' hot husband turns thirty.  Yes, that means I'm older than him.  What can I say?  This cougar, cradle-robbin' thing is really working for me ;)

To celebrate Matt's special day we're having a yard-game party tonight with our friends and tomorrow we are going camping with a pair of our favorite people in the world!

Anyhow, for a little "Dirty Thirty" birthday fun, please read 30 random things I love about Matt.  And when you get to the bottom, leave a comment of birthday love for him (since he was my first follower on the blog and facebook and he is a loyal reader)!

30.  I love that you leave shoes everywhere.  Okay, it drives me nuts but I love that you can drive me nuts and I find it endearing (whereas other people drive me nuts and it makes me want to commit justifiable homicide).
29.  I love our inside jokes (like knowing what I mean and to the 2004 event to which I'm referring to above with the whole "justifiable homicide" thing).
28.  I love that you love chick flicks.  
27.  I love that you don't love anything Twilight related.  Now you know how dumbfounded I am during football playoffs.
26.  I love that you prefer to read non-fiction.  I mean really, who prefers non-fiction?  Just my hot guy!
25.  I love that you are convinced that you can read a map and drive at the same time.  You can't but I love that you think you can.
24.  I love that you love yard work.  It's all yours!
23.  I love that you care about what you wear.  And how your hair looks. And I really love that you get the distinction between something "matching" and something "going."
22.  I love that you aren't a pack-rat.
21.  I love that you've allowed me to "train" you to keep all the light switches going the same direction.
20.  I love that you love me in spite of my eccentric, OCD behaviors (like needing all the light switches going the same direction before I can go to bed).
19.  I love that I've know you since you were 19!
18.  I love that you bring out the adventurous Bond Girl in me!
17.  I love that you do all the car maintenance.  If it wasn't for you my car would never be clean or have oil.
16.  I love that you support me in all things--being a SAHM, being a doctoral student, being a blogger.  It's nice to know you are always my fan.
15.  I love that you help me decorate the house.  You have such great taste!
14.  I love working out with you.  Bring it!
13.  I love that you don't "see" the little smiley face icons in e-mails and texts.  I <3 U! :o)
12.  I love that you are so good to my family.
11.  I love that you play with our children (and other people's children).
10.  I love that you taught a room of my 8th and 9th graders how to do legal research for their Lincoln/Douglas debates. 
9.  I love that you can be totally metro but on the other hand, you aren't afraid to get down and dirty (I'm referring to brandings.  Get your head out of the gutter!).
8.  I love that you are obsessed with watches.
7.  I love that you think garlic bread and chocolate milk go with every meal.
6.  I love that you know when to laugh with me, when to laugh at me, and when to not laugh. (I may or may not be referring to the "it's another f****** mile away" incident).
5.  I love that you will eat whatever food I put in front of you (so long as it isn't an oyster or snail).
4.  I love that when we go on vacation, you just want to lay around.  You make me relax and that's a good thing.
3.  I love that you take care of all things linked to finances.  *Sigh of relief!*
2.  I love that you pray for me.  And the kids.  And my family  And your family.  And the president, the economy, our future, the dandelions, the Cowboys to win some sort of championship ...
1.  I love that the longer I know you, the more I love you!
Happy 30th, Babe! 
How about a little comment love for the sexy thirty year old?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things I Love--My CSA

Last year Matt and I got together with some friends and joined a Colorado-based community supported agriculture (CSA) group.  A CSA is a way to buy local produce directly from the farm that grows it.  Basically, a farmer sells "shares" to his farm and you reap the benefits in the form of ultra-healthy, vitamin rich, produce!  CSAs may or may not be certified organic. Ours is.

Hear me now.  I LOVE OUR CSA!

When we broke down the amount of food received and compared it to what we would have paid if we would have purchased organic produce from the supermarket, we realized we were saving a bundle for quality food we loved.  You can't beat that!

Something the CSA has really challenged me on was eating what is locally produced.  Wyoming doesn't exactly produce a ton of citrus fruits and "out there" veggies.  But I'm learning to love what I can get from the people I trust to grow it!

Anyhow, common staples in our CSA share include lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kohlrabi, kale, and scapes.  Let me share some of my favorite recipes!

Spinach
 


Spinach Pesto
You will need:
  • spinach
  • parmesan
  • garlic--minced
  • kosher salt 
  • black pepper
  • lemon zest
  • olive oil
Okay, my pesto is nut free because I can't have nuts!  
Here's what you do:
  1. Wash your spinach leaves and tear into smaller pieces.
  2. Put 2-3 T. of oil in a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon zest, a dash of kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add minced garlic.  Start with one clove and add to taste.
  5. Put spinach in (1-2 cups of torn leaves).  PULSE that processor!
  6. Add Parmesan and more oil/seasoning as needed.
  7. Put this over pasta for a quick, cool dinner.  Dine al fresco!
Kale

First of all, Kale grows everywhere here.  Our university decorates with it.  Now that's practical--pretty landscaping you can eat :)  Kale is a leafy green with a slight cabbagey taste.  You can rip leaves and put them in stir-fry.  Our friend Bryant has a Kale Smoothie he swear by.  At our house, however, we love kale chips.  M.E. prefers them to potato chips (did I mention that kale is a super food?)


Kale Chips
You'll need:
  • a bunch of kale washed, ribs removed, and torn in to potato chip sized pieces
  • cookie sheet
  • apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • seasonings to taste
To make kale chips:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, combine 1 T of apple cider vinegar and 3 T. of olive oil.
  3. Add in 1/2 T. of kosher salt (and other seasonings as desired--garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and red pepper flakes are all great!).
  4. Put the kale leaves in the bowl and mix with your hands until every leaf is coated.
  5. Put leaves on cookie sheet making sure that no leaves are doubled up or on top of one another (bake in 2 batches if needed).
  6. Bake 10-15 minutes but watch them closely.  When kale starts to look crispy and brown the chips are done.  Don't over-do it because Kale burns fast (and smells awful).
  7. Let kale chips cool and then eat.  
Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the long, green tendril tops to a garlic bulb that must be removed in order for the bulb to grow correctly.  They have a mild garlic taste and are a garlic lover's nirvana!  You can put scapes in any recipe that calls for garlic or you can slice it thin and add scapes to eggs, marinades, etc.  Scapes can be grilled and eaten like asparagus or sliced and put into stir-fries.  I prefer the following recipe! (BTW, if you see scapes at your farmer's market, grab a bunch ... or ten.  You won't be sorry!).


You'll need:
  • 2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
  • Juice and zest of 1- 1 and a 1/2 lemons 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 kosher teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
To make:
  1. Put oils and lemon juice in the bottom of your food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Eat with these pita chips.  Mmmmmmmmmm!
See, it is possible to eat good food that tastes good and is good for you!  Any of you a part of a CSA?  Do you love it or hate it?


A special shout out to the hard working' men and women at Grant Farms who grow the produce my family loves!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I Think About--Skinny Jeans

I highlighted skinny jeans in some previous posts--one on how to make your bum look smaller and one getting Jessica Alba's look for less.

Both times I've gotten comments and e-mails from gals stating:
  1. They want to know how to wear skinny jeans.
  2. Skinny jeans are for tall, thin people.
Today I will address both.


Skinny jeans are for tall, thin people
I agree that skinny jeans tend to flatter those with eating disorders.  That being said, I have a hard time thinking of many trends that are geared toward "short, muffin top, ample bottomed" women.  Okay, I guess there are mumus but I'm not jumping on that trend!  Think about your average model and celebrity--they are tall and thin.  Our society values the way clothes look on tall, slender men and women.

So what are we short, curvy women to wear?  Nothing?  Hardly.  Even if you don't have a model body, you can still wear trendy garb.

How to wear skinny jeans

Okay, now that we've cleared up the misconception that only tall and thin women can look pulled together and sexy, let's address the issue that makes some women's stomachs tighten into a knot of anxiety--SKINNY JEANS.

Find the type of skinny jean that works for you. 
Skinnies come in SuperSkinny (the painted on look), Skinny (stretchy jeans that taper at the ankle), and Straight Skinny (a cigarette-shaped, straight leg skinny that doesn't cling too tightly.  These are great for the skinny-shy).

Buy a pair of skinny jeans in a dark color (black or dark denim) with a slight stretch. 
Consider buying one size bigger if you need the extra hip room.  You can always wear a skinny belt and a tunic to cover it!
Play with skinny jean length.

Role up your skinny jeans (a la 1980s) for a casual, sexy look.  
Get skinny jeans at ankle or capri length if you are short 
Notice the varying length of skinny jeans.  The ones on the far left are well suited for shorter gals.  Don't they look fab with heels!



 Wear your skinny jeans with the right top.
Balance out the skinny jeans with volume on top.  Bell sleeve tops or tunics are great.  A tunic with a belt helps hide large hips.  Empire waist tops are great for hiding wide hips and ample bottoms.  Long, lean tops that hit at hip level are fabulous.
This long, flowy top looks awesome--not to mention those hot, peep toe heels!

Perfect shoe pairings with skinny jeans
  • If you have larger hips and bum, tuck skinny jeans into high heeled boots to balance out proportions.
  • Wear skinny jeans with high heels.  Pointy toe heels will give the illusion of longer legs.  Peep toe sandals and wedges make you look taller, leaner, and sexier!
  • If you are tall and slender, wear your skinny jeans with ballet flats **warning** this does make you look fuller around the hip area!
  • DO NOT wear skinny jeans with Converse All-Stars unless you want to look like a high school student.  It's a cute style--if you are 17.
 Tunics, belts, and boots--Easy ways to wear skinnies if you AREN'T the model type!
Want more information?  Watch this two minute video!


How to Wear Skinny Jeans -- powered by eHow.com

What I think is that YOU, yes YOU, can wear skinny jeans.  Work it girl!

My skinnies--dark color, rolled, paired with a thin, long tee, scarf (for balance), and gladiator sandals.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"These Genes Make My Butt Look Phat!"

In January I made a resolution to go from frumpy to fab!  I wanted to be a mom without necessarily looking like the stereotypical one (see the post on mom butt).  It's not that I fear aging but rather, that I didn't want to look back in fifteen years and think, "Man I really let myself go."  FYI, this effort is paying off.  Recently Matt said, "You are dressing so hot lately!"   

Anyhow, Melissa from Nouns and Violets is on a similar mission.  Enjoy her sassy guest blog.  
Melissa

I'm one of those girls you hate. I eat what I want. I never exercise. After birthing two kids I weigh the same as I did in my 20s: 110 pounds. My mother weighs a whopping 115 pounds. What can I say? These genes make my butt look phat.

DON'T STOP READING! There's a downside to this, I promise.

Other than the matronly muumuus I wore while pregnant, weight gain hasn't forced me to buy new clothes. My ancient wardrobe is a little youngish. Okay, it's juvenile and people often misjudge my age... by a decade. Once while dropping off my young daughter for Sunday School the teacher wanted to know what class I belonged in. “Are you 16 or under?” she asked. I was 25.

How can you tell if your wardrobe is too juvenile? When it's laundry day and your clothes get mingled with your 13 year-old's stuff. Together you sort the pile and say things like, “Is this yours? No, wait. It's mine. Right? The one you have is blue.” If her friends are calling you a cool mom, telling you they love your top and want to know where you got it, that's probably another sign that you're dressing too immature. It's worse if you have to sheepishly admit “Forever 21” and then you find out your nineteen year-old niece also shops there. The ultimate worst is going to dinner with an older male friend and having the waitress assume he is your father. Trust me, that kind of blunder is uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Sure, most women want to look younger. Billions of dollars a year are spent on cosmetic surgery and women account for more than ninety percent of the patients. But there's something to be said for dressing in a way that makes people take you seriously. A few years ago while shopping in Target I noticed people staring and snickering. I whipped out a mirror and checked my face. All clear. No toilet paper stuck to my shoe either. In the checkout line the clerk burst out laughing and said, “That's a great shirt.” Oooohhh, so that was it. I was wearing a bright pink tee that said: “Jerks Love Me.”

I'm secretly hoping someone will nominate me for What Not to Wear. I can only imagine the humbling fashion crimes that would be caught on camera during Stacy and Clinton's stakeout of me. Vibrant red Elmo slippers in the grocery store. Pajama bottoms in Circle K. More message tee shirts that embarrass my daughter (“Geeks are Hot”). I think the five thousand bucks in New York fashion hanging in my closet would be enough to repair any damage to my ego.

Until Stacy and Clinton ambush me, I'm updating my wardrobe one garment at a time. All new apparel at once means it wears out – and you will tire of it – at the same time. A another style truism I've learned: Every girl should own a pair of stellar black heels that make her feel feminine and confident. Emergency shoe shopping is emotionally exhausting, not to mention expensive. A few years ago I got invited to attend a ritzy soirĂ©e. Instead of pleased I was panic stricken. With little time to shop, I bought the first dress that fit and a matching pair of shoes with a price tag even greater than the cost of the dress.

That kind of expense is also part of what has kept me browsing instead of buying the latest trends. As a mother, I'd rather spend my cash on my kids than myself but I've recently realized you can be posh and a parent. A little research will uncover some great bargains. I've already scored some fabulous finds on my newly started fashion journey. You can follow along at www.nounsandviolets.com. I'll show you the new stuff I buy and the old stuff I banish from my closet.

All I ask in return is that if you bump into Stacy and Clinton, you send them my way.

Thank you Melissa for contributing to Where is the ME in Mommy? but as far as Stacy and Clinton are concerned, get in line! Ha ha!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Your Words--An Ad

LOST
My sanity has been missing since Thursday June 24, 2010.  It was last seen at the corner of Teething Baby and Testing Boundaries Pre-schooler.  Sanity may or may not be in the presence of a package of pepperoni that is so old the mold has gone grey.  For the sake of my husband, please return if found.  Quilted toaster cover and rubber band ball reward offered.


Your turn.  What would your ad say?

What section would I find it under?  LOST, FOUND, FOR SALE, FOR RENT, SEEKING EMPLOYMENT, WANTED ...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What's Cookin'--7/12-7/18

The continuing saga of P90X diet meals.

Monday--Cranberry Chicken and wild rice
Tuesday--grilled flank steak and creamy Greek potatoes
Wednesday--grilled chicken and spinach
Thursday--shredded beef wraps
Friday--Asian chicken salad (Happy Birthday, Matt!)
Saturday--Halibut with spinach pesto
Sunday--grilled baby back ribs and raw veggies

Photo from Frontier Kitchen