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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling Crafty

I have been feeling very crafty lately. I finally found a little bit of time to throw together an apron for me and a dress for my little girl. The apron is made from a sheet I found at Goodwill and the dress is made from one of my old skirts. The buttons were from a stash I inherited from my grandma. The dress needs to be taken up on the sides and hopefully I will get to that one day. The apron has been used as a cape more than an actual apron, but that is ok.


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On Friday, I discovered a new thrift store and bought a couple of things. Now I have all kinds of materials to work with and lots of ideas. If I could add about 5 more hours to each day, I would be all set.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Best Shot Monday- Lazy Sunday Afternoon

After the kids woke up from their naps today, we spent some time playing around the yard. I spent the morning cleaning so it was nice to have no plans, no chores waiting, just time to chill out. I had a blanket laid out so that I could be lazy and enjoy the occasional breeze. So when my kids decided to plop down on the blanket I immediately capitalized on the opportunity to snap a photo. This was the only photo I took because as soon as my daughter realized I was taking her photo she jumped up and went to play. Ohhh, one day she will appreciate it, right? Luckily, this one turned out ok. There is just something about it. I promise she does smile sometimes. Just not when I have the camera in my hands.

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There are more Best Shot Monday photos over at Tracey's.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Idle With a Chance For Flare

The theme for Theme Thursday is Idle. I knew that taking photos of the kids was out of the question. There is no chance of idleness there. So I decided to take a different approach. I have been trying to get some good flare shots and just have not been able to quite get it right. On Tuesday something clicked (no pun intended) and I finally captured some flare. I took these shots in our backyard. They are all SOOC (straight out of the camera).

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When I look at these photos, I feel like time was frozen for a split second and I captured it. The theme this week is very timely. I know I need to slow down. I have too many things running through my head. Too many things I want to do and learn. What I really need to learn to do is enjoy the moment. Be idle for once.

Head on over to Stacy's and see if anyone else has been idle his week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So Easy Yogurt Recipe

I mentioned the other day that I finally tried making yogurt. The second batch definitely came out better than the first. The first time I think I stirred the yogurt into the milk too much. The second go around I used less yogurt and stirred very gently. I also did not stir it at all when it was all done. I just poured it in the container and put it in the fridge. It still has a different consistency, but it tastes good. I have been sweetening it with some organice strawberry jelly and some homemade granola. Yum!! I want to experiment with it a little more. I will keep you posted if I have any great revelations. This recipe is really easy. If I can do it, anyone can.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Best Shot Monday- Another Day at the Park

Late Sunday afternoon we decided to take the kids to the park and let them burn off some steam. I did not take many pictures this weekend so I grabbed the camera and away we went. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity. The weather is finally cooling off some so going to the park was a perfect way to spend the evening.

That boy loves to swing.

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My daughter thought this was hilarious. Why blow it when you can eat it instead?

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I love the look of determination in his eyes.

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Swing on over to Tracey's for more Best Shot Monday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Theme Thursday- Playtime

This week's theme over at The Land of KA is Playtime. This is what playtime looks like at our house. We refer to this as dump trunk diving.


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And of course, playtime would not be complete without a little bit of Star Wars.

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Dive on over to Stacy's and see what everyone else is into this week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recipe Round Up

Since I have totally slacked off on posting a menu for the last several weeks, I thought I would try to make it up to you by posting some good recipes I have stumbled across lately and some old ones that I use all the time. I have to admit that I have not been planning our meals out since we got back from vacation in July. My husband has been doing a good portion of the grocery shopping and we have been winging it. It has definitely been less stressful for me, but the meals have been a little boring.


Here's some new recipes we have tried the last several weeks:

Granola- A couple of weeks ago we ran out of cereal so instead of running to the grocery store I whipped up this granola. It was really good and the kids gobbled it up too. The only problem was it did not last very long. It was gone the next day.

Baked Falafel Patties with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce- I thought these turned out really well. It took a little preperation and planning, but they came together pretty easily.

Yogurt- Yes, I made yogurt using this recipe. I want to make it one more time before I tell you about it.

Here are a couple tried and true recipes:

Pork Chops- This is my favorite way to cook pork chops. Of course, I don't eat them so I can't attest to how they taste, but they always get eaten. So I guess that is a good sign. It sure is easy.

Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs- This is the most requested dish by my husband and it is so easy. Every now and then we buy about 3.5 lbs of chicken thighs, make the sauce and freeze them in 2 batches. 6 thighs per bag. All you have to do is put them in the oven. Only drawback is it takes about 2 hours to cook. This recipe is from Fix, Freeze, Feast, which I love.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Favorite Things

The high today was in the low 70's. It felt incredible outside. For dinner we grilled out and let the kids play outside a little longer than normal. It was so cold out my daughter insisted on wearing her warm cozy jacket. I couldn't convince her that it was cold because she had her bathing suit on.


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As it grew darker and the sun was setting, I noticed the sky looked amazing. I walked to the end of the driveway to get a better view. I am sure that cars driving by thought I was crazy, but I didn't care.

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For some reason I just couldn't get that song from Sound of Music out of my head. I kept singing....these are a few of my favorite things. Anyway, it made me think it might be fun to share with you a few of my favorite things. Simple every day things. So here you go:

  • Snuggling with my kids first thing in the morning when they are all sleepy and cute
  • A fresh cup of hot coffee
  • The few minutes of solitude in the car on the way to work
  • Reading right before bed
  • An ice cold beer preferably on tap or a margarita (either will do)
  • Mexican food
  • Loading my photos on the computer and discovering that one of them is actually pretty good
  • Discovering a great new recipe
  • A big hug from my husband (he always knows when I need one)
  • My daughter's neverending imagination
  • My son's obsessive compulsive behaviors
  • And of course, blogging and reading blogs

Just to name a few. What are a few of your favorite things?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Best Shots Monday- Backyard Fun

We spent the majority of the weekend at home. This meant lots of time spent in the backyard.

Yes, it is still warm enough to enjoy the sprinkler.


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Here is the newest Jedi in training. If you come to our house, it is hard to escape Jedi training.

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My daughter is smitten with great grandpa. She kept saying over and over again, "I sure do love great grandpa. He is so sweet."

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Check out more Best Shots over at Tracey's.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Little Perspective

Tracey hosts Best Shot Monday each week. This week she posted a shot taken by her daughter and as a result proposed A Little Perspective Friday where we can come back and post shots taken by our little ones. This immediately sparked my interest. I would love for either or both of my kids to take up photography. Might as well let them be on the other side for a change.

When I received my new camera for my birthday, I let my daughter play around with the point and shoot. I posted some of the pictures she took here, if you don't remember. She was not as enthused about it this go round, but has not been too enthused about anything other than Jedi knights and Yoda lately. So I am not taking it personally.

Here's a shot of our neighbor's house. Don't you love the angle?


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She looked at me before she took this next shot and said, "I am going to take a shot of the sky." Ok, sounds like a good idea. I think it came out well.



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To be fair to my son who I don't quite trust with a camera yet, I let him play around with the remote. You can tell by these pictures that he had fun with it.

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Oh, the mischief in his little eyes. That little stinker.


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And this one would be my fault since I was actually holding the camera. I was not looking through the viewfinder, but my son wanted a picture of his sister. I had to include it because it shows her attitude right now. She is thinking can we finish with the camera and play Stars Wars please?

Head over to Tracey's and see a Little Perspective.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Theme Thursday- Friendship

I am the oldest of three. I have two brothers. One that is two years younger than me and one that is thirteen years younger. For a good portion of my childhood (the first 13 years), it was just me and my brother. Although, I am sure we had our moments. For the most part we always got along. We shared friends and interests. I can't imagine what life would have been like without him.

When my youngest brother was born, the dynamics of our family changed. We now had a baby in our house and I loved it. I was more than happy to spend time with my baby brother. He was 5 when I went to college and I missed him terribly.

Eventhough I have very different relationships with each of my brothers, I consider them my friends. I know that no matter what I can count on them.

When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I immediately did the math and realized that my kids would be 2 years apart. Just like me and my oldest brother. This revelation conjured up all kinds of marvelous childhood memories. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I haven't given it enough time, but my kids aren't there yet.

There are fleeting moments when my son can only be comforted by my daughter or they do something nice for the each other. It gives me a glimpse into what is hopefully to come. I want more than anything for them to look at each other as friends not just siblings.

So when I saw that the topic for Theme Thursday this week was Friendship, this is the first thing that came to my mind. The friendship that is found between siblings. I wanted to be able to capture that this week.


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See more great friendships over at Stacy's.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Ultimate Portabella Mushroom Sandwich

Rarely do I eat a meal that I have cooked that leaves me feeling nice and satisfied. Since this rarity happened on Monday night, I felt the need to write about it.

I marinated a couple of portabella mushrooms like I normally do. I just combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, a splash of soy sauce, and some spicy brown mustard and let them marinate while I get everything else together. Sometimes we grill them and sometimes I just pop them in the oven. Since I was already baking sweet potato fries, I decided to just pop them in the oven so they could soak up all that marinade.

I cooked them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. I removed them from the oven and topped with some brie. Brie is pretty strong so I used just a little bit. The mushrooms were warm that the brie melted right away. No need to put it back in the oven.

Meanwhile, my husband was cooking his turkey burgers stuffed with brie on the grill. He also grilled the sliced apples.

I toasted some fresh whole wheat rolls. Then I assembled my wonderful sandwich. Mushroom topped with brie and grilled apple on a whole wheat bun.

At first, the grilled apple seemed to disappear. But the last several bites I took I could really taste the apple and all the flavors just worked well together. I could not decide whether to add the lettuce to the sandwich or eat it as a salad. I opted to have a salad, but next time might try it on the sandwich.

You can never go wrong with sweet potato fries. I cheated and bought some frozen. I have tried making them from scratch, but these from Alexia taste so good. Yum. It was a great meal!!!


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I am still working on photographing food. I have not quite gotten the hang of it, but you get the point. It tasted good!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

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I had nothing of real significance to blog about today so I thought I would just ramble on about some things going on in my mind.

First of all, I played around with the Through The Viewfinder technique that Christina talked about a couple of weeks ago to process the photo above. I was messing around last night and realized that I could see my reflection in the back door. None of the photos came out that great, but thought it my work well with the TTV look.

Next, my daughter is in love with the site Totlol. I heard about it from the Jumping Monkeys podcast. It is basically a compilation of You Tube videos that are appropriate for kids. My daughter can scroll through the videos and click the ones she wants to watch. She feels so independent and there are some cute little videos on there. I don't want her to get in the habit of sitting in front of the computer for hours, but it is a good option every now and then.

Also, I have been tinkering around with the idea of making our own yogurt. We go through quite a bit of yogurt at our house. Anyone tried this? Have any advice? We recently found out that our recycling center does not take #5 plastics, which is what are yogurt containers happen to be. I knew we were messing up the system.

Lastly, I wanted to update you on my progress with the no new clothes challenge. Besides a new pair of shoes and a leotard for my daughter, I have not purchased any new clothes for the kids or myself for that matter. This is good for me. I am still holding strong.

Monday, September 8, 2008

He's A Swingin'

After several weeks of rest my 50mm lens came out of hibernation. I was getting frustrated with the manual focus and I just was not happy with the shots I was getting. So I have not used it in several weeks. I really like the shots that are actually in focus, but it is a lot of work to get so few shots.

It was really overcast on Saturday so I attached my 50mm lens and had some fun. I had to focus on an area and just wait for my son to cross that area and then shoot.

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I am choosing this as my best shot. I feel like it really captures how much fun he was having on the swing. When I look at the photo, I can hear his laughter. I can't help but smile. Man, I sure do love this little guy dirty feet and all.

Swing on over to Tracey's and check out some more great shots.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Menu Monday Sept. 7-11

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I actually planned out our meals this week. So here's our menu.

Sunday- Crispy Yogurt Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

Monday- Turkey Burgers with Brie and Grilled Apples, Sweet Potato Fries, Salad (Portabella Mushroom for me)

Tuesday- Black Bean Chowder and Spinach Enchiladas (maybe some cheese quesadillas for the kids)

Wednesday- Calzones

Thursday-Leftovers

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Funny Things They Say and Do

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I thought a post summarizing some of the cute/strange/funny things happening at my house was in order. So here you go.

Star Wars according to my daughter:
  • The gold shiny robot is C-creepio.

  • The green cute guy is Kody.

  • She is to be referred to as Princess Leia at all times. Please do not call her by her real name.

  • Your Highness means Queen or Princess. So and I quote, "Daddy, when I ask for cereal in the morning, you can say yes your highness."

  • The freezing of Hans Solo has caused her way too much angst.

  • She is a Jedi knight and will fight any bad guys that may enter our house. Since I do not have my own light saber, she will protect me from evil. (Boy, that is a relief.)

  • She has slept in her bathing suit the last 2 nights, which has nothing to do with Star Wars. It's just plain strange. I guess it is still better than the previous 2 nights, in which she wore no clothes at all.

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With a 2 year old pretty much everything they say and do is funny, but here are some that come to mind.

  • The other day he was eating a cereal bar and when I looked back at him (we were in the car), it was gone. I asked him what happened to his bar. He said "A bad guy took it". Hmmm. I can see a theme here.

  • His favorite movie right now is Annie.

  • He refers to his hair as "haircut". I have hair. He has a haircut. Makes sense, right?

  • When he gets out of the bath, he has to have his hair spiked up or put into a mohawk.

  • He has to dilute his own apple juice (from the fridge's water dispenser) and attempt to put the top on his sippy cup. If these exact steps are not followed, it is not pretty folks.

  • Every ball is a soccer ball and if he wants to play ball he says, "I want to play soccer ball."

  • While watching Star Wars, he constantly asks, "Where's Princess Leia?" or "What's that thingy?"

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Theme Thursday-Restful

Lately, life has seemed far from restful. So trying to find photos that fit this description was rather challenging to me. I have not picked up my camera since Monday and there were no restful shots from this weekend. I had not choice but to look through some older (within the last month) photos. This is all I could conjure up. I chose some photos that make me feel more at peace. Photos that make me glad that sometimes I make time to stop and smell the roses.


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Check to see if anyone else was restful over at The Land of K.A.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Identity Crisis

Here's the thing, I am having a bit of an identity crisis. When I first started this blog, I was all about going green. I had read so much and collected so much information. I felt the need to share. I also wanted a place to share with family and friends all the fun stuff going on with the kids.

As more people started reading New Green Mama, I felt a little uncomfortable about having the kids stuff on that site so I separated the two. Well, I quickly realized keeping up with more than one blog is just too much for me to handle right now. So that did not really work.


Because I felt like each post needed a photograph, I started taking more photos. Which in turn peaked my interest in photography. (I promise I have a point. Stay with me.) I stumbled across all of these lovely blogs, which made me want to improve the photos I was taking. My husband bought me my DSLR for my birthday and the rest is history.


So here's my point. I am still very green. I am still trying to improve the way I live and my impact on the environment, but it does not define me. I have such a wide range of interests and my blog is about so many different things. Not just being green. So I don't feel like the title New Green Mama does the blog justice. Besides, the term "green" is so overdone these days. I want a new name and a new look. The thing is, I just can't seem to think of a fun, creative, and defining name. I am also afraid that if I start from scratch I will lose readers. Not that I have tons, but it has taken several months to get to this point.


Any advice? Anyone else gone through this before?

Wordless Wednesday- Give That Boy a Ball

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Click here to see more Wordless Wednesday photos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a Labor Day Weekend

The kids did not have daycare on Friday so we had a four day weekend. And boy did we make the most of it. We started the day off with a trip to the park.

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My son decided a snack was more enticing. Don't you love the little crumbs on his face?

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Then we went to the library and picked up some books and movies. Our next stop was Target. Yes, I was bad and my family gave me a really hard time about my Target spree. But that's ok. I can take it. My daughter really needed some new shoes. For the last several years she has had the same shoes, which were of course from Target. She has wide feet so it is hard to find shoes that are comfortable and that she will wear. She has high fashion standards. Anyway, the ones from Target have been a favorite so my intention was to get the same shoes. I just was not sure of the size. Ok, so I am rambling trying to justify my Target trip, but that is ok. Well, she did not want those shoes. She wanted the Hannah Montana (she has never watched the show) shoes. She was persistent and very determined to walk away in these shoes instead. I gave in. Maybe they will be comfy. I will spare you on my other frivilous purchases. No need to go there.

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On Saturday, we received our first delivery from Plumgood Food. They are a grocery delivery service. We had a coupon so I thought we would try them out. The biggest hit was the dry ice that came in the totes to keep the groceries cold.

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I coerced my daughter into getting all of her hair chopped off. Doesn't she look cute?
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That night we went to our friend's house and the kids had a blast.

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Who wouldn't?
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Sunday was the family reunion. When we got home, the kids were pooped out. We did not do much that night. Just hung out at home. On Monday, we made another trip to the park. My daughter has been WAY into Star Wars lately. My husband and daughter have been bonding over their love for Star Wars. It is sweet in a strange kind of way. So when the kids got up from their naps on Monday they had a little surprise. My husband went to Wal-mart and bought them Light Sabers. My little girl has been begging for one all weekend. He sent them on a scavenger hunt and told my daughter that some Jedi knights came while they were sleeping. Oh, my gosh. This was by far the highlight of the weekend for my little girl. She even slept with her Light Saber last night. What have we done?

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We ended the weekend with dinner at my in-laws. Great Grandpa is in town and the kids were so excited to see him. Whoa, now I feel like I need a nap just from recapping our action packed 4 day weekend. Thanks if you stuck with me through this forever long post.

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