Wednesday, September 26, 2012

poor man's pesto

After sowing three packages of seeds and nary a plant in sight, I purchased a handful of basil seedlings, which thankfully, have produced a record crop this year.

I am busy making loads of basil pesto. I love having a another reason to use the ice cube trays I bought to freeze Mason's baby food.

I opted for walnuts instead of pine nuts in this year's batch. Pine nuts, although I love them, are ridiculously expensive. The pesto made with walnuts, which I'm calling poor man's pesto, tastes exactly the same to me. I'll save splurges of Brad's hard-earned bacon on pine nuts for recipes where it really matters.

What food substitutions do you make to save money?

Monday, September 24, 2012

life has changed

The picture below pretty much sums up how I spent the majority of my 90 minutes at the National Book Festival this year.

We had a grand time, though. Mason kicked and flapped and lunged when he saw the PBS characters from a distance, but as soon as we got up to them, he turned into a little scaredy cat.

Some day, I'll camp out in the pavilions and listen to authors speak, just like I used to. But in the meantime, I will cultivate my little guy's joy of reading and love for this amazing book festival.

Friday, September 21, 2012

National Book Festival

For the first time ever, I have no plan at this year's National Book Festival other than to just attend and check things out. It's kind of freeing, actually. And I look forward to experiencing tomorrow's festival with a one-year-old rather than a one-week-old. Even though I was only seven days post partum last year, I think having Mason in tow will be much more challenging this year.

Isn't this year's poster the cutest?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I've been nervous about the first birthday festivities since before Mason arrived. The politics of when, where, what, and who can be overwhelming. Thankfully, it all worked out fine and we've been celebrating Mason's birthday for weeks now. The grandparents each had their "birthday day" with him when they visited last month to care for Mason during my final two weeks in the office. I loved this arrangement and I think that they enjoyed it, too. Last Saturday, Brad and I had a cookout for a few of Mason's closest peeps and their mommies and daddies. On Monday (Mason's actual birthday), Brad took the day off work and we took Mason to the zoo. What a special day reminiscing about the past year!

For Mason's little cookout, I kept things simple. I made cupcakes and used my mini-bundt pans to make him a smash cake. The cake/cupcake stand was made from covering some old boxes with scraps from extra disposable table cloths.

I selected a picture from each month of his life, and made a birthday banner. It stretched the width of our yard. (This should tell you how narrow Capitol Hill row houses, and their yards, are.)

It was a beautiful day, so the party, and the inevitable mess, remained outside. What a blessing to have a September baby! May we always host Mason's birthday parties outside. This new revelation that parties (and the messes) can be outdoors makes being pregnant during last year's sweltering summer worth it.

Of course being pregnant all summer long was totally worth it. Look at that face. On a side note, my hungry boy did not hesitate at all with his cake. He knew just what to do. He dove right in and scooped handfuls of icing into his mouth until I took it away from him. He saw the sloppy mess on the counter later, and gestured and lunged for it, ready for round two!

I can't believe this first year is over. We've survived!

Although I'm mourning not having a baby any longer, I am eagerly anticipating Mason's new tricks in the coming months. Can't wait to experience the fun that life with a toddler brings!

Monday, September 17, 2012


My sweet Mason is one today!

No year of my life has ever gone by faster. I can't imagine loving this little guy any more than I do--my heart would surely burst.

Praise God for his faithfulness.

Friday, September 14, 2012

getting out

Mommy and me classes abound. Want to sing, dance, create, or exercise, all while bonding with your little one? Weekday and weekend offerings suit the availability of both stay-at-home and working moms, and flexible schedules cater to even the most unpredictable nappers.

One day, Mason and I may indulge in one of these treats, but at $15-$20 a pop, these classes are not in our current budget. I haven't even forked over the $5 to attend Boogie Babes at Eastern Market (although I want to--we just haven't gotten to it yet).

Instead, we are taking advantage of our magnificent city's free offerings. We stroll along our quaint neighborhood's bumpy brick sidewalks to frequent at least one park every day. I've started an unofficial weekly picnic group with some of Mason's baby friends and their mommies. Story time at the Library of Congress can't be beat. We took advantage of the pool this summer (free to DC residents!) and a local spray ground. And we've barely been to the National Mall and the Smithsonian and all of the offerings there. You know you live in a kid friendly city when even the zoo is free!

Once Mason gets older and I'm no longer a slave to his nap schedule, I hope to take advantage of the offerings posted on KidFriendly DC. In the meantime, as the air turns crisp and those early morning nursing sessions come to an end, we have one priority for the fall: resuming a regular running schedule--good for both of us and guess what? It's free!

What are your favorite activities to do with babes?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

best piece of furniture

I have loved this faux leather storage ottoman since I bought it a few years ago. So sleek. So practical. And extra storage in a small house is always a bonus.

But now I adore this ottoman, and its soft corners and edges, even more. Someone else I know loves it, too.

Monday, September 10, 2012

the fix-it pile

What do you do when your necklace breaks or the hem of your pants rips out? Shove the necklace in a drawer and the pants in the back of your closet? Or are you one of those people who whips out a needle and thread and fixes the pants right away?

I wish I were the latter. Sadly, items that break are the downfall to my mostly organized and clutter-free style of living. I will wear pants for months without a button, while said button rests on my nightstand, taunting me about my lack of motivation to sew it back on.

Mason's entering a destructive phase, and the pile of broken items has grown. To avoid losing my mind and my house being overrun with bits and pieces of items stuffed here and there, I've devised a new strategy:
1. Decide of the item is worth fixing and keeping or if it should just be thrown out immediately.
2. If it's worth keeping, I will place the item and all its parts in the "fix-it pile", located on the kitchen counter where I can't ignore or forget it.
3. Make fixing the item a priority on my to-do list. (Yes, I'm still a slave to the to-do list, even as a SAHM.)
4. Everything in the fix-it pile must be repaired by Friday of each week, or the items get thrown out on the weekend. No exceptions.

My fix-it pile this week consisted of a broken refrigerator magnet (Mason's fault), a page ripped out of a book (Mason's fault), and a button that popped off of my shorts (my fault). Once I made myself sit down and do it, I only spent about five minutes repairing all three items.

Motivation is 90% of the battle sometimes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fern's surgery

Gentle Readers, it's been a while since I mentioned her, but do you remember my beloved house plant, Fern? Just to recap, she grew too tall for our living room, I chopped her off, and her son Sprout appeared in the pot about 10 months later.

Fern and Sprout are thriving.

And as you can see, Fern is now too tall for our living room again. Our ceiling is ten feet tall and her upper leaves cluster against it. She's growing crooked.

So Fern went under the knife again. I went a little crazy this time and really hacked her off, hoping that this surgery will last longer than three years. 

I severed Fern, replanted her in a new pot, and then I cut a large piece off of her remaining stump, and replanted it in the original pot. I am hoping and praying for twin sprouts this time!

Late next spring or early summer, I'll be on the lookout for green in the pot, another miracle plant, or perhaps two!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

more consignment shopping

My boy will not have to go naked this fall because I hit up the Wee-Sale again. With one consignment sale under my belt, I felt like an expert this round. This year's fall sale conveniently occurred when my parents were visiting, so I left Mason home with them. (Thank goodness! Strollers and walking children are not allowed the first morning of the sale, and I haven't hauled Mason in the Ergo in months.) I arrived early and once inside, I made a beeline for the boutique, Gymboree, and regular clothing sections, in that order. My priority for these sales has always been clothes, but there are enough toys and gear there to keep you browsing for hours.

I found some high-end, never worn pieces for very cheap, but I stood in line for 90+ minutes to pay. (And I was in the cash only line, which moves faster than the credit card line!) Next time, I hope to consign, which will not only allow me to shop before the sale opens and the masses descend, but if my items sell, I'll make some money back.