Archive | May, 2012

Mama Bird

31 May

I remember as a kid noticing that the moms in my life had rings with various precious stones in them, representing the birthstones of each of their children.  Some of those pieces are not really my style, but I adore the idea.  I love wearing jewelry that represents my little guys.

I came across this tutorial via Pinterest and fell in love.

I immediately ran out and purchased beads and wire, a rare outing as I recoup from my C-Section.  Luckily for me, making these pendants is low impact and can be done while “resting” in bed.


These are so simple and sweet that once you start you won’t be able to stop until you’ve made one for each Mama in your life!  Too bad I didn’t get on the ball before Mother’s Day!

T-Shirt Re-Fashion

30 May

Having delivered a baby just three weeks ago, I am sort of in between sizes these days.  I am certainly more comfortable in my husband’s t-shirts and boxers, but I can’t go out in public like that (can I?).

Well one afternoon while “resting” I took one of his XL plain white Hanes T-Shirts and did a little surgery.

First, I cut along the neckline and both sleeves to remove them.  Then, I made a single cut all the way down the center of the back, rounding the bottom corners.  I then overlapped the two pieces of the back by about 1 or 2 inches and hand stitched it in place, sewing a straight seam down the back so that my bra wouldn’t show.

Then I tried it on.  Looking in the mirror, I pinned a box pleat front and center and hand stitched it in place as well.

Finally, I made the arm holes a little smaller by pinning them shut and hand stitching a straight seam down each side.

I added a decorative touch by ironing on some feathers I cut out of some scrap fabric I had lying around using Heat and Bond.

Not only is this top cute and comfortable, it provides pretty easy access for nursing my new baby!  And the best part is that I had everything I needed on hand.  This project was completely free!

Whole Living: Chicken Dinner

29 May

Occasionally I try the recipes from Whole Living or Martha Stewart Magazines… not very often because they usually lack flavor so I have to improvise and add something. Tonight I made the Sautéed Chicken with Spinach, Garlic, and Pine Nuts but I added cherry tomatoes. Mostly because I wanted more color. Here’s the recipe with my **additions/changes:

the list:

1 cup brown rice

3 tbsp evoo

4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/2 inch thick (whoopsie, forgot to do this)

coarse salt

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

a handful of cherry/grape tomatoes sliced in half with salt and pepper on them, salt and pepper from a grinder

pinch red pepper flakes (hmmm… didn’t see that part either, I just sprinkled them in there)

1 bunch spinach, trimmed and rinsed (10 oz)

pine nuts and fresh goat cheese

1/2 lemon

make it:

Cook the rice however you make your brown rice. I am not a good rice maker so I cheat and use the frozen variety from Trader Joes. If you’re like me save this moment for after your chicken have finished cooking.

Heat 1 Tbsp (I eyeballed it but WL says 1 Tbsp) oil in a large sauté pan over med-high heat. Season chicken with salt & **pepper** and sauté in batches (I was able to get all my little chicken breasts in the pan), adding another Tbsp of oil, until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside.

Add remaining Tbsp of oil, garlic, tomatoes, and pepper flakes to pan. Cook spinach in batches, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt  **and pepper**.

To serve, top chicken with spinach and tomatoes with pine nuts and dollops of goat cheese. Squeeze with lemon and server with rice.

the verdict:

no left overs: the adults loved it as did the 6-year old. the 4-year old liked the spinach but not the tomatoes and the 3-year old loved the chicken and rice. go figure.

Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

28 May

Need an easy hostess gift or maybe just a sinful snack?

Melt 12 oz of peanut butter chips per package instructions and stir in one 16 oz. can of milk chocolate frosting.  Pour it into an 8×8 dish and place in the fridge to set up.

Once set, cut into bite sized pieces and enjoy!

These are smooth and delish.  They seriously taste like peanut butter cup candies.  You won’t be able to resist!

Sweet Sundays

27 May


There is a reason people just go to Starbucks, Coffee Bean and the like for their morning cup-o-joe… coffee brewing is an exact science. Usually my coffee comes out too strong, too weak, bitter, etc. Mother’s day weekend I finally figured out how to brew a good pot of coffee in my coffee maker! At last! My coffee maker holds 14 cups.. who knows what that really means in terms of actual fluid ounces of water! I fill the water basin and then add 3oz of grounds, by weight, in the filter. I knew I figured it out when I got many compliments over breakfast.

I can only make my coffee this way now, how can I adjust portions and still have it perfect just for me?!?! So… I still make the full pot and when it cools down, I put the remainder in the refrigerator. For the next couple days, I have myself some iced coffee to-go! I also want to pick up some ice trays so I can make coffee cubes… no more watered down iced coffee! Now this can save me many trips to Coffee Bean!

The Oregon Coast

26 May

Two days and one night along the Oregon Coast with three young children was quite the adventure. This mini-vacay/ road trip is, so far, one of my favorites. As soon as my husband got home for work we hit the road and took the long way (avoided the 5). We drove through the Willamette Valley, passed like 1,000 wineries and a ginormous boarding school. The thing I love most about driving to the beaches or “the coast” as Oregonians call it are the long winding forests drives and streams, rivers, and lakes that you pass by. Once on the 101 it’s still almost as if you’re in a magical forest with the lovely (and chilly) sea to the West. Once we arrived at our hotel we changed the youngest and set out for some dinner at Rogue’s Ale House in Newport.

The next morning we surprised the kids with a visit to the Newport Aquarium. We were surrounded by sharks, saw some sea animal behaviors, got splashed by a naughty puffin, and got hands on with sea cucumbers, starfishies, and sea urchins.

photo by summer browner (c) 2012

After the aquarium we wanted to hit up the Yaquina Head Lighthouse but two out of three of our chitlens were too small for the stair-hike. So we continued on back up the 101 to visit the Devil’s Punchbowl and Cape Foulweather.

photo by summer browner (c) 2012

photo by summer browner (c) 2012

The views from Cape Foulweather were amazing. You could almost see the curvature of the Earth.

P.S. To visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse requires a $7 day pass and a height requirement of at least 42″. Also, if you are traveling without children there are plenty of wineries and a couple casinos along the way… depending on where you’re coming from.

Home Depot Chic

25 May

I realize this is a little late, but hey, I just had a baby!

For Mother’s Day this year, I gave my Grandmother a pretty rock ‘n’ roll bracelet.  You see she and my grandfather frequent Home Depot.  They have never met a project they weren’t willing to tackle.

So, when faced with a gift idea for Grandma, I went to her old stomping grounds for inspiration.

Using small door hinges and jump rings, I made her a super easy bracelet.

The best part?  When she opened it, she genuinely marveled at its simplicity and said she couldn’t wait to wear it on her next trip to Home Depot.  I am certain she’ll rock it while picking out new paint or flooring options!

Saute It: Mushrooms

24 May

For some wild reason I bought a ton of mushrooms: baby bella, shiitake, and button mushrooms. I had to do something with them before they got funky.

photo by summer browner (c) 2012

So, I chopped and sauteed them with a little butter, truffle oil, some salt & pepper, and a light splash of balsamic vinegar. We used the ‘shroom melody as a turkey burger topping and the next morning in a veggie egg scramble.

photo by summer browner (c) 2012

How do you eat your mush-a-booms?

momfilter + partout

23 May

How happy am I that… well first, do you remember Cookie? The magazine I was obsessed with after I had Violette (my first in ’05). I think I purchased subscriptions for all my friends that had little ones. It was so cool, inspiring, and so didn’t feel like an old mom wearing awful jeans and baggy shirts parenting magazine. It was fun and a perfect blend for cool parents and their kids. So, where was I? How happy am I that momfilter thrives on the ol’ interwebs (the founding editors of Cookie Mag created it) I came across this article from a friend: Lice Arsenal. Although we have yet to experience the irritating and itchy insects I did feel it necessary to drop them a note or comment about agnes baddoo’s partout.

partout by agnes baddoo

Not only is partout all natural and smells wonderful. It’s fun to roll on and acts as pesky bug repellant (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure). I thought I should share this on our own blog because I think Vett and Caas would want me to. Got any de-lice  recommendations or preventions of your own?

Individual Birthday Cakes

22 May

Today is a special day.  Today is both my God Mother’s birthday as well as my Father’s.  What a coincidence, right?!  Well, not so much.  They are twins!

They say that twins are connected in a very special way.  Twins often get stuck in a matchy matchy situation and the lines of individuality can be blurry.  But I believe everyone should at least have their own birthday cake.

One way to ensure everyone enjoys their own treat, is to make cupcakes.  Cupcakes are so typical though.

So, I made individual lemon cakes with buttercream frosting.

I used lemon cake mix and baked it in a jelly roll pan.  Once it was finished and completely cooled, I used a biscuit cutter to cut out 24 rounds of cake.  Simply frost a layer of buttercream on top of one round and top it with another.  Finally decoratively frost the top with more frosting and add some festive sprinkles.

Happy Birthday Dad and Nina!!

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