Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free Original Christmas Music!

Download 7 free ORIGINAL Christmas songs today!! The Hipwaders, Brady Rymer, Didi Pop, Gustafer Yellowgold, Princess Katie and Racer Steve, Rock Daddy Rock, and David Tobocman all share NEW Christmas songs!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Tudor Feast at Christmas

A Tudor Feast at Christmas Knowledge Network - oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my. As crazy as it sounds, this sounds like absolute heaven to me! I would give almost anything to be able to be part of a project like this. I love my kitchenaid mixer. I love my Cuisinart food processor. I love my fresh market! Still, the idea of making everything from scratch from the ORIGINAL recipes makes my skin tingle. It was made a few years ago and seems to be a bit hard to find. If you can find it on t.v. in your area, don't miss it! If you happen to be in the area of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, you can attend a recreation!! Yes, this is where they filmed Pride and Prejudice (deep breath).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love These Cards!

My kids got these as an early Christmas present from my parents. My parents found the cards at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, but I couldn't find them on their website. If you can visit the store, buy them there, otherwise they are here at the MoMA store. Or if you can VISIT the MoMA store, oh my gosh go, there! Each matching pair of cards has one complete image of the original painting and one close up shot of it. My kids love them and are learning all of these great works of art! We have our own names for a lot of them at this point - for instance The Seed of Areoi is "Naked Lady On A Rock", and The Jungle is "Moon Head Guy". But don't think for a minute that I'm not planning to teach them about each and every painting, the artist and the year they were painted as they grow up!! Think about the images from books you read as a child - these images will be part of their childhood. (Yes, my arm hurts from patting myself on the back...) We've been playing Old Master (Old Maid) and go fish all week and loving it. Usually, Girl with Ball is our Old Maid because, really, it's only fair.

If you check out the paintings above, seriously get lost on MoMA's website. YUM.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Perfect Stocking Stuffer

LOVE these mixes, too. They are just real ingredients: no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no refined sugar, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. They even have low fat, low cholesterol, and vegan mixes. Mixes are SO much easier, but I hate what they bring with them - these let go of all of the guilt and make just really, really yummy cookies and brownies and more. I chose the mudslinger brownies with a sweet mixing spoon for our Mr. H's stocking, and the snow angel sugar cookies with her own mixing spoon, too, for Miss Mae. I know they will love them!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Attic Journals for Christmas!

I just gave my kids' teachers their Christmas presents. I know some of them celebrate Christmas, I'm pretty sure some of them don't. But we do, so we get to give them presents. I adore Attic Journals. I adore Michelle and Miguel who make them. They are the most lovely vintage books, that would have otherwise been lost, turned into journals - the PERFECT gift for teachers - and everyone else. I found children's encyclopedias turned into journals and wrote personal notes in each one. Miss Mae dictated notes in a couple of them and drew pictures in all of them. I hope they inspire these awesome teacher people to take time for themselves and write their thoughts, or even give them a place to keep their to do lists. I wish I had taken a photo of my teetering stack, but the photo above is one I stole from Attic Journal's website.
I got each of my nieces and nephew one as well. A vintage vampire and werewolf for my Twihards (with photos of Jacob and Edward inside (sigh)) baseball for the little Mr., and palm trees for my California dreaming girl. They are the perfect gifts to encourage little ones, tweens and teens to write, too! Get some for everyone you know!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Items

I've been making these little Towel Tags for my family for a while now, and finally decided to share them. With two adults showering every day and 3 little ones taking baths every night, we create a LOT of laundry. Even though we have lots of different colors of towels, it seems impossible for us to remember whose is whose.

These tags allow us to keep our towels separate and use them a couple of days in a row. We save ENERGY as in electricity AND as in MY energy doing so much laundry. We save water cutting down on all those loads. Plus we keep our germs to ourselves.
The tags are great now in all of this flu uproar, because we each have our own hand towels, and everyone knows exactly which one is theirs.

They aren't up on the website yet, but I'm working on that this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

I sit here happily grateful for my lovely little family. How did I get so lucky? I think my feeling are best expressed by my son's Lego representation of our family. My mom should be very proud of her little hottie image and my husband is not quite as gangsta as the outfit implies, but does tend toward baseball caps on the weekends!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MOLD On My Paintbrushes?!

I just pulled out my kids' paintbrushes that we haven't used in quite a while, only to discover the source of the SMELL that has been coming from my paint basket! Our paint brushes had MOLDED. Who knew that was possible? They are mostly painted wood handles with a couple of those disposable sponge "brushes" with wood handles. The sponge ones were definitely the worst. After using them, I wash them, let them dry and put them back in the plastic Ziploc bag, and back in their basket. Obviously, I wasn't letting them dry enough. The mold was a sort of coppery colored powder that looked like tiny cauliflowers bursting all over it. I didn't take any pictures because I just THREW them all away! Even the plastic handled paint brushes had the mold all over the bristles. Very gross. I've been looking all over the internet to see if this has happened to anyone else, and am not finding anything, but still:


Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Little Halloween Inspiration....

Still need an outfit for tonight?? Here is some Mr. H. inspiration.

We have Cleopatra, King Tut, and the most adorable mummy you've ever seen in our house. Watch for photos later.

And The Winner Is.....


Thank you all so much for entering, it was REALLY fun for me (even though I don't get any glasses... JUST kidding. (no i'm not.)) / CSN will send them off to GroverFamily.

Thank you!!

(randomized list generated Oct 31 2009 at 9:9:34 by

Friday, October 30, 2009

iittala Giveaway

W.O.W.!!! Thanks for all of the entries! I have to say I'm more than a little jealous, I love the glasses, too!!

I'll keep the entries open until 12 midnight tonight - Pacific time since we are out west. After we check all of the posts, I'll use the random generator, and contact the winner first thing in the morning!

Remember you can get extra entries for becoming a Facebook fan, blogging about this giveaway, and tweeting!

Thanks again, and good luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Iittala "Put Your Feet Up" Giveaway with CSN!!

With all of the craziness leading up to holiday shows and the HOLIDAYS and costume making and school responsibilities, I seriously need a break. Do YOU need a break? How about taking a few minutes for yourself with a glass of wine - or maybe something a little stronger?

While I was studying architecture in Denmark, we took a 'field trip' around Scandinavia - yeah, I know: DREAMY! What I wouldn't give to be able to visit HALF those places NOW. One of my very favorite stops was iittala Glass Works. Or iiiiiiiiitala as our guide called it in a very Transylvanian sounding accent.

Thanks to the nice folks over at you can take a breather with the most beautiful glass! They are and carry everything modern and everything perfect for your home. They carry everyone from Saarinen to the Eames, to Philippe Starck!! Check out their cooking site, too, with gorgeous cookware including Le Creuset and Rachel Ray Cookware! I would like to simply move in. We'll supply the gorgeous glasses, you fill them with your favorite beverage it will seriously taste better sipping from these.

Choose from two of these gorgeous iittala Essence red wine glasses ,
or, if you like a little something stronger when you take a minute out of your mad day, choose two of these Aarna 2 oz. cocktail glasses.
To enter, just leave a post here and you'll get an entry. Blog or tweet about this giveaway and you'll get another entry. Become a facebook fan at the new Cat in an Apron facebook page, and you'll get ANOTHER entry! We'll choose one at random on Friday, October 30th.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are?

Anyone else conflicted on this one? It looks SO uplifting and SO exciting, and my little adventurer is sure to recognize a kindred spirit, but will those wild things come back when they are alone in their room, in the dark, at night? If you've seen it with your kids, will you tell me what they think?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Too Stinking Cute!

I saw these at ourbestbites yesterday, and have been thinking about them ever since! I must get tiny little jars and make these personal pies! The idea of holding a warm little pie in my cold hands after being outside is lovely! And the savory ones just might get my son eating chicken pot pie. What a great site - they have SO many good recipes. check them out!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

World Cuisine Organic Baby Food!

Organic, full of flavors of the world, and made right here in the Northwest! If ONLY baby O. was still eating baby food! This looks so fantastic. Two doctors, husband and wife, created these new flavors inspired by tastes from around the world. No bland strained peas or pureed sweet potatoes!!

This is Borscht! It is about that time of year that I make a giant batch (like the good Ukrainian girl that I am) and stock my freezer - Baby O. will be eating my borscht, but now your baby can too! WithOUT the hours of peeling beets and stained hands.

You can find it here in Portland at Whole Foods, but there are more stores in Washington, and you can order online.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Anthropologie... AGAIN.

I know I go on and on about Anthropologie, but SERIOUSLY? This image (and the shirt she is wearing that is cut off in the image) is STUNNING. Why do her smashed up messy curls looks so fantastically chic?? If I COULD manage a do like this, I would probably knock someone behind me over with the protruding pile without even noticing. and that sweet little bump in the front?? Why, on her, does it not look like Jr. High cheerleading hair??? Oh Anthropologie....
I have loved since I started sewing! They just always have the best fabric and books and notions. I was SO pleased to hear this morning that the folks over there have put out TWO books filled with gorgeous design prints! Each book even has a CD for you to use in all of your crafty goodness! What a fantastic idea - what a gift to all of us! They are also giving away stationary with every purchase and giving away an entire set to one person. Check it here.
Mmmmm. Another reason to love Repro Depot!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Frying Scotsman!

Eleven years ago my husband and I were married. We were just babies with almost no responsibilities... For our honeymoon we packed our backpacks and headed to the British Isles! We toured the most interesting and romantic places: London, Avalon, the windy Cornish coast, crumbling Irish castles... It was a beautiful month and we were both smitten with those funny people across the pond.
One of our first stops in London was for REAL fish and chips!! They were even served in newspaper!
Now Portland has true fish and chips by a real Scotsman! It is called The Frying Scotsman, and I can't WAIT to get there, although I'm afraid once I do, I'll not be able to go any where else!! This is a truly family friendly place - you can grab some food and sit outside or take it home to eat. Every kid (even my incredibly picky eater) loves fish and chips!

He is located at 2219 NW Raleigh St. You must go! And so must I!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jazzy Toes

I'm SO disappointed with Trumpet Socks. They were the cutest socks, but more importantly they stayed on my son's feet! Seven years ago when our Mr. H. was a baby they were all I put on him. When Baby O. was only a couple of days old, we made a special trip to a boutique here in Portland to snap up some new trumpets for him. I was SO sad to see that they are no longer made as beautifully as they used to be! I have a couple of pairs left from Mr. H, and holding them up next to each other, it is clear that the quality and shape have gone way down hill. When I pay that much for a product, I want it to WORK and last.This is why I was so happy to find Jazzy Toes!! They are so stinking cute - socks and sandals! cowboy boots! - and they are made with the right shape to stay on their feet and last. SO GREAT.

Freeze Your Wine.

I was just reading my new Everyday Food magazine/recipe book I got in the mail yesterday and there was the best tip! Freeze your leftover wine in ice cube trays so you can pop them in soups or stews for extra flavor or even to deglaze a pan! I know I've read this before, but I seem to have forgotten it and feel so guilty when I look at that little bit of wine left in the bottle. I can hear you now, "Leftover WINE??!?!" Yes, my husband and I often don't finish a bottle between the two of us. We are always going in so many directions and so fast that when we sit down to enjoy a glass of wine, it somehow makes us realize just how insanely tired we are and we are lucky to make it through ONE glass before peeling our faces off the table and heading to bed.

We are going to miss these days of having sweet little people, but the idea of sleep is nice.

Anyway, FREEZE your wine!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We Have a Winner

Congratulations Molly!!! My daughter picked your name out of a hat! Oh my gosh I love giving things away. I have to make this a regular thing!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Photos of the Swaddle Blankets

Here are some of the prints you can choose from. I'm just saying...

Swaddle Blanket Giveaway

As my baby is getting ready to turn ONE, I found this photo of him sleeping soundly in his swaddle at EIGHT MONTHS OLD! Swaddles are truly miraculous - the answer to all sleeping woes. Babies love to be all snug as bugs. He is a big boy, and still fit into our swaddle blankets at 8 months! This one is called O'Henry Swaddle Baby Blanket - Blue Green Clusters.

And because I'm feeling all warm and snugly thinking about my swaddled baby, I'll give one of these swaddle blankets away! You can even choose the print. Respond to this post before Saturday night at midnight (Pacific time) and I'll draw one of you at random. If you subscribe, post that and I'll give you another entry. If you post this in your blog, post your address and I'll give you ANOTHER entry!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I want two of these SO bad for our basement rec room. I saw them first at Airplay Cafe here in Portland, and it was love at first site. They are HUGE. They are soft but incredibly durable. They can be a chair, a lounge, a fort. Oh, and they come in Marimekko prints. The outdoor styles are on sale at The Mini Social right now - sign up!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


As I was reading to my kids tonight, I asked them what they wanted for Christmas. I've been thinking of things I can make or find that are made. We are making a gigantic effort to finally cut down on the amount of presents that are given to our kids. When our first baby was born, we had all of the lovely ideals about only having organic, natural toys, and not giving in to the mad commercial crush of noisy plastic toys. As the years went on, we seem to have lost our resolve, because our house is completely cluttered with blinking plastic!! We've spent most of the weekend going through all of this clutter and getting rid of everything we can. How do all of those teeny tiny toys and pieces of toys multiply so fast? We were literally dumping plastic bins full of worthless junk into garbage sacks (some bound for goodwill). We are making a place for everything so the kids can be successful keeping their areas neat. We are absolutely NOT buying anything from Mattel, which is MOST commercial toys, because of their complete lack of integrity and care for the safety of our kids. I'm going to make as much as I can, and we are going to buy handmade.

In answer to my Christmas question, Mr. H. starting listing, at a frequency so high I think he woke up the neighborhood dogs, every single Lego set under the sun. He also made up prices for each one even though he has no idea how much any of them cost or which ones cost more than others. YES I'm holding on to these days as long as I can. And thank GOD Mattel doesn't own LEGO!!

Miss Mae answered, "princesses." I started to think of lovely princessy capes and crowns, and she started describing SNOW WHITE. Puffy sleeves and all. I knew this day would come - she has never been interested in Disney princesses - but I hoped it wouldn't. And it is here. She went on and on and on about all of the Barbies (Mattel) and Disney princesses (MATTEL!!) So I'm scouring Etsy for a better version of princesses. A kinder, gentler version. Here are a few I've found and want for her:

This lovely pink hand felted crown by curlylulu!
Ooooo! and this great print by artelf!
This sweet Sparkly Crown Pink I Spy Bag by Cozy Things:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sheila Lukins

Sheila Lukins the co-author of The New Basics and The Silver Palate Cookbook died on Sunday at age 66. I'm actually sitting here crying. My mom gave me her New Basics when I was in high school, and it is still my favorite cookbook. Even now when it is so easy to just print out a recipe and toss the paper in the recycling, I pull out her book first. I was just at a friend's house for dinner, and she too had this sitting on her shelf. These women taught so many of us to cook! I always imagined their sweet little shop in New York and thought one day I'd go there.
Not one recipe feels dated or makes me think "that is so 80's!" How many books can you say that about? Every single thing I've made from it turns out wonderfully.
It is a sad day to think she isn't here anymore, but what a legacy she has left in all of us! I know I feed my family and friends with meals she imagined for us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I'm terribly embarrassed to admit that I'm fan of the series. (And even more embarrassed to admit that "fan" might be an understatement.) Just when I think I'm all grown up and jaded and tough, something like a tween vampire romance pops up and knocks me back into my sad, sappy reality. Really?? Highschoolers dating? I mean, a highschooler and a century old vampire..? Yes. I can't even figure out why I love it. I was completely ready to hate it. "I'm not 13," I said. "I read GOOD books," I said. I couldn't put it down when I turned that first page - and then I read all four books in the span of a couple of weeks. The movie is TERRIBLE. And I love it, too.
I read the Anne Rice Vampire chronicles when I was in college, (aHEM) years ago, and was a real vampire fan. I listened to Type O Negative and thought myself deep and dark. Anne Rice novels are transportive. I feel like I've lived in Louisiana because I remember the SMELLS of the scenes she wrote about. Her writing is incredibly descriptive. It makes sense to like her books.
What IS IT about Twilight? I honestly don't know.
Sephora has a new lipstain called DuWop Twilight Venom, and I want it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Group Quilt Project

I finished our group quilt! It is based on Denyse Schmidt's pattern for "What a Bunch of Squares" from her Denyse Schmidt Quilts book that I STILL adore.
I gave each parent a pattern for one block (number 1, 2, or 3), they chose their fabric based on the colors "Lake Blue", "Cloud White", "Limeade Green", and "Lemonade Yellow", and each child personalized their block. I sewed them all together and this is the finished product! I put more photos on flickr. I'm so, so happy with it. I hope our dear Kindergarten teacher will wrap herself in the warmth of all of our thoughts and prayers and know how very much we love and appreciate her!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Every single day I use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape from my kids' sandwiches. I cut the left over into pieces so it is like a little puzzle. I was terribly impressed with myself until I saw THIS! I'm not sure this would get Mr. H. off of our peanut butter and jelly jag, but SUPER cool sandwiches at Funky Lunch. Apparently they are releasing a book with instructions! I saw them at Cool Mom Picks, which I LOVE. You should subscribe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Cost of Raising a Child

My husband and I were dreaming of all of the things we would do if we won the powerball drawing. It is expected to be $250 MILLION dollars. I have a laundry list of things I would do if we won, but number one on the list would be to have another baby. ANOTHER BABY?! Are you freaking crazy??? I'm sure this is what you are thinking. My biggest dream, though is to have a house full of kids and have nothing to do but play with them. Oh, I'd paint, and sew and have a glorious time with the most incredible craft room ever. Wait. I'd make a craft HOUSE. A little comfy number in the back... Sort of like a potting shed on steroids. My main job would be to play with our kids. I would have someone to cook and clean, and I would never have to worry about money again. We could send them all to GREAT colleges! And they would NEVER have to worry about money.
According to the USDA, we are going to have to win the drawing just to afford the three kids we HAVE! The press release says a child born to middle income parents in 2008 will end up costing us "$221,190 ($291,570 when adjusted for inflation) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next seventeen years."
We have three kids. I'm afraid to do the math.
I have to stop and get powerball tickets on the way home from swimming today!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Benjamin Zander - How to be a Better Person

I just watched this on my cousin's blog and it is SO GREAT. Terribly moving. Of course I was crying by the end. It is quite long, but worth every minute - hang in for the very end.

He is Benjamin Zander - the music director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vacation and Reading.

I have three little kids - one who is crawling and JUST beginning to walk. Vacation is sort of a dream for the future. Here we sit at this lovely lake and most of my time is spent making food, feeding, cleaning, and chasing. BUT, I'm a mama. That is what we do. Every vacation, though needs a really great BOOK! And boy am I immersed in one right now. I'm reading World Without Endby Ken Follet. It is the sequel to his 1989 Pillars of the Earth, another amazing read. Being an architect, I love the immense detail he shares on the building of the cathedral in Pillars, and now a bridge in World Without End. Even more, though, I adore the people and the history! He teaches me SO much about life in the 1300's without being dry or preachy. I'm learning about manufacturing, medicine, church life, economics, all through the eyes of people I really care about. He describes what each is thinking and what drives them. It is really interesting to examine people's motives and what is at the root of their actions. We are not as black and white, for sure. Good people make mistakes, and 'bad' people aren't inherently BAD, but it makes a great book! It is incredibly long, so I can read and read and read and still have LOTS more time to spend with them! I definitely recommend this book!
And GREAT NEWS! According to Wikipedia, a TV series is in the works for Pillars!!! And guess who is playing Prior Philip?? My very favorite: Matthew Macfadyen!! How can I wait until 2010??

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Weight

This morning I had a grande black iced tea at Starbucks instead of my delicious frosty grande chai tea frappuccino. I saved 330 calories and about $1.50!! It for sure wasn't as good and spicy and sweet and comforting, but it was cold and okay. 330 calories would take me about 45 minutes to an hour to burn on the treadmill!! Tonight when I run, I'll know that I'm not just working off the drink, but maybe hitting some of that baby weight??

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fancy Nancy Party

We are SO lucky here in Portland. There are so many great things to do all the time. Today as we drove to swimming lessons, there was a giant mobile climbing wall in the park! Every one of these little pockets feel like living in a small town. How do we have such a small town feel in such a big-ish city? I don't know, but the people are warm and energetic and lovely.

Today's outing was to one of my favorite places in town. It is the locally owned A Children's Place Bookstore. I could seriously start in one corner and read every single book in there. Today they held their Summer Thursday event: A Fancy Nancy Party!!

My Mae adores Miss Nancy, and I love reading it to her. How nice to have a fun dress up girl who is exciting, and adventurous, and funny! For the party we did rag curls again, and layered on lots of ribbons and bows and skirts. Just like Nancy.There were stories read aloud, a game of FANCY bingo where when a winner called out "FANCY!!" we all broke into a rousing round of Fancy Nancy to the tune of "There was a farmer who had a dog...": "F. A. N. C. Y. N. A. N. C. Y.!!" Afterwards, the girls all got Fancy Nancy binoculars in celebration of her new book about exploring insects Fancy Nancy: Explorer Extraordinaire! (and anyone who thinks insects are gross are just IMMATURE. I guess I am...), sparkly stickers, some Fancy Punch, and yummy cookies. Mae even asked me if we could wash out her paper cup and save it because she loved it so much.

Great fun having a little girl who can be a friend. I love spending time with her!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baby Wearing part THREE

Well that was a bit of a failure! Baby O. was SO happy, laid his head right down on me and snuggled in, but with every step, the front ties got tighter and tighter and TIGHTER! I couldn't breath! I stopped, adjusted, retied, twice. Finally when we got to Miss Mae's school, I had to take him out and put him on the front. Not sure what I did wrong, but we'll have to try to get some instruction!

He fell asleep on the way home - soooo sweet.

Baby Wearing 2

I'm attempting my first Baby Hawk back carry walk this morning. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paper Airplanes!!

Our newest obsession is paper airplanes! They are SO much fun to make and Mr. H. LOVES to fly them. Who knew they were so technical?? We used to make them when I was a kid, but they were nothing like these.This one is from this book:The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes. My parents got it for Mr. H. when Baby O. was born, and he is just discovering it 9 months later. There are LOTS of great planes in here, but I have to do the folding, it all has to be folded PERFECTLY, and that is too much for a 6 year old. This site has a lot of them, too.

Next we tried it with a passenger. Our neighbor Brady brought the dinosaur.The camo paper and camo dino landed inconspicuously in a bush!