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June 2009

May 2009

go-to dinner #2: spaghetti and salad

It's summertime and I don't really want to cook much.  However, the chorus of 'What's for dinner?' doesn't go on summer vacation.  I know spaghetti and salad isn't a major discovery, but I had to share my 'olive gardenesque' combo tonight.  It was fast and delicious.  (If only the stuff I slaved over got these kinds of rave reviews.)

So.  We did your basic spaghetti.  With jarred sauce.  I know, fancy.  Added some spices and some parmesan, but that was about it.   My eldest decided a few months ago to eat vegetarian, so we don't even add meat to the sauce anymore. 

As for the salad, which is the whole point of this post... it was a bit more than that, but only a bit.  And there was no hot oven or stove involved, which is even better.  Because it's hot in the kitchen, baby.

I tore some romaine lettuce, added some parmesan and thinly sliced red onion.  (I can fully credit Olive Garden for my early acceptance of raw onions in a salad.  I know this for a fact.  I'm sure it was because those mandarin-sliced slivers of pink were swimming in the delicious dressing.  It would be a sin to leave them out of this salad.)


To the basic lettuce mix, I added a generous dose of salad dressing and tossed it well.  Croutons would have been a nice addition, but I didn't have any, and I didn't want to use the oven to make any.  


It's basically this recipe, and modified based on what I had on hand, as well as the fact that I get tired of measuring.  Let me tell you, it was gooooood.

Without further ado, here's a yummy dressing you should try.  (And nope, it's not in any way low-cal.)  It's not exactly OG's... but it was close enough for me to wish we had a server coming by with another bowl. 

  • 1/2 C. Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 C. White Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Vegetable (olive) Oil  (more or less)
  • 2 Tbsp. Corn Syrup (I used dark.  And less)
  • 2 Tbsp. 4Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. Romano Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt - or one clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Basil and oregano, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. Parsley Flakes
  • (about, but probably more) 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

(By the way, I used a rather medium-ish bowl to mix this together. Because it makes quite a bit.  Enjoy!)

lovely time.

Hello.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend. We did.

Sunday picnic

It was full of

  • visiting with friends
  • catching up on some reading
  • a picnic at the park
  • watercolors
  • a little nesting
  • some all-day pj time
  • freshly grilled burgers and strawberry spinach salad
  • naps
  • pink shoulders from the pool
  • more reading, napping
  • snuggles and giggles (and only a tantrum or two)
  • JiggleJam with daddy

It was good.  Really good.  Summer is here.  I can feel it.

keeping it simple

So it's mid-May, and that means we're pretty much in the clear in Kansas City to plant outside and not worry too much about too-cold nights.

keeping it simple.

Last weekend I ran to the local nursery and picked up some beautiful geraniums for my back deck.  Our deck gets zero shade and it's elevated and I swear it gets to 115 degrees out there in the summer.  Clearly, we're fairly limited as to what we can put out there.  Usually I try to mix it up, but this year I am going all-red-geraniums in every pot and calling it done.  I'm fairly certain we can remember to water these easy-to-please plants nightly before bringing in the dog.


I have to be honest; I'm pretty tired and achy these days.  We've got about 4 weeks left until baby is here and I'm feeling every bit that far along.  My normal 200 mph daily speed has slipped considerably.  I'm still keeping up with housework and laundry and cooking and the kids, but at the end of the day there isn't much left. 

And this slower pace is oh-so-frustrating.  I'm in a funky mood because of it.  I'm frustrated with my inability to tackle everything and get stuff done.  And then I'm mad because the funk is obvious, and you know what happens when momma isn't feeling as happy as she should.  Everyone picks up on it and then it's just a household pandemic.  Crankiness abounds. 

Maybe this is a long way of saying I need to step back and readjust my expectations from here on in.  Maybe I shouldn't let my list stare at me the way it seems to.  Maybe I should exhale, put my feet up and read a little more.   Maybe I should accept that, yes, for a long while after this sweet baby is born, I won't be able to tackle all the projects that are swimming in my head.  But, no, that doesn't mean I have to get them all done now.

Yes, maybe that is it.  Maybe what I need is to simplify my lists, my expectations, and my attitude, just like the pots on my deck. 

Mother's Day Pjs

Hello!  I just up and left you last week, didn't I?  Took a quick trip out to Arizona with hubs for a long weekend of sitting by the pool and taking naps whenever I felt like it.  Sound like heaven?  Oh, it was.  My in-laws came up to watch the girls, and now my mom is here helping me while my partner in crime stayed behind to play some golf this week.

tunic from Simplicity 9505

They're both so deserving of something special on Mother's Day.  Naturally, last week I was busy scurrying about getting some gifts ready. Enter the vintage sheet pj set.  Not original, I know.  (I gave my sister I set for her birthday last September)  But, be honest, who can resist soft comfy pjs?  (Simplicity 9505 for tops and bottoms)

This first set was for my Mother in law -- a tunic style top with her pj pants.  I loved how the wild floral sheet contrasted with the delicate white and green pillowcase print.   I didn't get to see these on her, but she left a note saying they were comfy... I guess it fit ok.

contrast at cuffs

My mom got a more muted pink and gold palette, along with a babydoll-esque top with cap sleeves. Her top was cut from the gold sheet and has a band of pink around the bottom, and the pants, pink with a band of gold around the hem.  

pjs are not easy to shoot.

She's been wearing them this week and they look so comfy.

contrast at hem.

The thing about pjs is they don't really photograph well.  They sort of lie there like a crumpled heap on the bed or droop from a hanger.  I also finished these late on Thursday night, so the lighting was very, very poor.  I'm sorry there aren't any good quality shots; however, I'm going to guess you all have a pretty good idea what nightwear looks like, so that's ok.  ;)

playing with stretch knit: more of B5119

Fidge and I were at Hobby Lobby on Saturday looking for some fabric for a teacher gift, and she spotted (ha! Punny) a brown and pink and green dotted knit.  And she wanted another shirt.  I've never sewn knit with any kind of success, but I thought it was time to stretch my wings.  (HA!  Still punny.)

Enter Butterick 5199, my confidence-building go-to pattern.   You know what?  Stretch doesn't have to be scary.

butterick 5119, in a dotty stretch knit


  • shortened the length of the top
  • added a ruffle to the bottom
  • shortened the sleeves (but not as short as the last one.)
  • Note: I ALWAYS shorten the length of the neckline elastic.  For some reason, this pattern calls for enough elastic to make this an off-the-shoulder top. Not really what I'm going for here.
  • Instead of hemming the bottom of the ruffle, I took my zig-zag stitch and went around the edge to finish it off a bit.  I did a wide zig-zag on a short-to-medium stitch length.

slightly clowny?

Fidget was too busy pretending to be a rocket ship this morning to give me some decent shots before she went to preschool, but I'm pretty sure you get the idea.

My eldest also thinks this paticular shirt has 'Clown' potential, but we should be okay if Fidge avoids wearing it with stretch pants. Duly noted, resident fashionista extraordinaire. (she's probably right.)

Butterick 5119, again. With mods.

When I get frustrated with one project or need to kick-start myself and get my sewing rhythm again, I inevitably turn to 5119.

back to the old standby, Butterick 5119, with lots-o-mods

Like the horsey shirt.  And the green woodland tunic.  And the one she hated.

I didn't have very much of this Anna Marie Horner fabric, so I made some adjustments: 

  • Shortened the sleeves to caps
  • Made the front and back panels narrower by an inch each 
  • Added a second fabric on the bottom for length
  • Also added a channel around the bodice area for a ribbon

I think what I like about this pattern is that it gives me room to experiment and make modifications.  Up until this year, if I were sewing by a pattern, the pattern was The Way I Would Make It.  I didn't have the experience or confidence to go making changes.  This pattern is letting me stretch my wings a bit and I'm thankful for that.  It doesn't take much fabric or time, but the payoff in confidence is huge. 

Everyone should have a confidence-building project, whether it's in the kitchen or the garden or the craft room or wherever...just something comfortable that triggers all sorts of 'what if' situations in your brain... (and hopefully doesn't keep you up at night turning over the possibilities)  Creativity is something to be nourished and encouraged; sometimes we are so busy encouraging our children, we forget that adults need that kind of stimulation, too.  So, what's your go-to project?  Have you mixed it up lately?

(oh, and I am really not kidding about this; I made two of them this weekend. Prepare yourself for Stretch Knit tomorrow.  Woohoo!)