100 Things

• 30 December 2008

I read this article a few months ago about people who are attempting to live with only 100 possessions. While I don't consider it possible for my family of 5 to live with so little (this includes silverware, pots, clothing, shoes, furniture, toys, bedding, etc.), the concept is intriguing. These days I am beginning to feel like we have too many things yet again. They seem to creep into our lives oh-so-slowly, don't they? Time to pare down and make things more simple around here.

picture via majorchange academy



The Husband took me on a much-needed, last-minute getaway Monday evening. Part of our evening included a beautiful dinner at Wahso. I'd read about it in Salt Lake magazine a few years ago and quickly added it to my "wish list" of local restaurants. It was such a treat for us to dine there...we truly enjoyed the delicious food, people watching (ski season makes for quite the crowd in P.C.), and romantic ambiance. I think Wahso would be an excellent choice for an anniversary destination too. Those private alcoves look intriguing...

Okay, time to get back to our "date-nights-in" complete with a Netflix movie, popcorn & o.j. :) What are some of your ideas for cheap dates?


Kitchen of the Month

A "station" like this appeals to me on so many different levels. If this set up were in my kitchen, oh how lovely it would be.


New Year's Prep

Tomorrow evening we are hosting a small dinner party to celebrate the end of 2008 and the incoming year of 2009. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has mixed emotions about this event. It's somewhat bittersweet, and I guess that's why I wanted to do something fun this year. When the Christmas holiday, or the month of December for that matter, do not meet our expectations for whatever reason, it's nice to feel like you end the holiday season on a good note.

I began cooking today (I chose a menu with lots of make ahead options) and had a few successes as well as a few disappointments. Why oh why do I try new recipes on nights like this instead of relying on old favorites? I really need to learn this lesson once and for all :)

On the revised menu for tomorrow...

Crudites with Herb Buttermilk Dip
Crostini with Prosciutto, Mushrooms & Blue Cheese
Spiced Pecans (add half the amount of salt)

Potato Fennel Gratin
Fennel Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Artisan Breads
Three Lettuce Salad with one of these vinaigrettes
Sauteed Haricots Verts

Ginger Cake Trifles with Carmelized Apples, Cranberries & Whipped Cream; I may end up substituting this ginger cake recipe based on its reviews...we'll see.


Cowboy Party, Part 2

I experienced a small camera malfunction when originally uploading the pictures from my son's 4th birthday party. I thought I'd totally lost them...but the other day they reappeared so I wanted to post a little "Cowboy Party P.S." if you will :)

A few notes...

* I served clementines with the cupcakes to not only add color and interest, but because the song, "Oh my darlin' Clementine" seemed kind of cowboy-ish...no? yes? Regardless, they'll never know :)

* Grandpere dressed up as a "real cowboy" and surprised the crowd with his amazing lassoing capabilities :)

* Hobby horses provide great interim entertainment...I'm not sure what we would've done without it! (Thanks Jen)

* I hired a baker to make some Western-themed sugar cookies, which I then placed in clear cellophane bags (best thing I did was outsource these cookies!). I tied them up with "wild west" ribbon and a homemade tag made out of vintage-y looking scrapbook paper. Once I had those taken care of I placed them all in a cowboy hat flipped on it's back (again, thank you Grandpere!).

You can view the other pictures from the party here.


How to Tie the Perfect Bow

I know Christmas is over, but it's not like Christmas is the only time of year we give presents! I'd love to master the art of wrapping a stylish bow on the gifts I give...who wouldn't? I think this tutorial is very informative and easy to understand. With a bunch o' birthdays coming around in January, I'll have to give Eddie's little trick a whirl...

found on Eddie Ross via Armelle


Rainy Day Pictures

• 29 December 2008

Check out these beautiful pictures Leah took of my sister and her family. I am not sure how it happened, but this sister took all the "exotic" genes available in the pool. Gorgeous family and gorgeous photography all in one. This oceanside location is about 5 minutes from their home just outside Seattle, and a place our family loves to visit too. I can't imagine a more appropriate place to snap a few family portraits.

p.s. Leah also took our family picture last year, which I still love, love, love. You can view them here.


Organizing Tip #20

...in light of the current recession...

When you feel the urge to impulse buy, go organize a drawer, closet, cupboard, etc. instead.

For whatever reason, using our energy in this way causes some real thinking to occur. After the 30 minute project is completed, you'll find that you've either:

1. talked yourself out of the impulse buy

2. realized you already have it, you just didn't know it :)

3. that you do need it after all and that ridding yourself of unnecessary things (whether by donation or Craigslist) created a space for a new purchase

In no time at all your home will be in better shape, you'll feel like you've utilized your time more wisely, and you'll feel see a new level of productivity emerge. It's a win-win in my book. When your purchases are thoughtful, you'll avoid the whole return/exchange process (which eats up time, gas $, etc.) and enjoy them more because of all the closets/drawers/cupboards you've organized in the meantime :)

Caveat: Let it be known...I like a good deal like anyone, and I'll continue to post about them when I spot them, but there is a time and a place for everything...right?

You can view more easy organizing tips here.

image via Henry Art Gallery blog


Bird in the Grass

• 26 December 2008

This would be a beautiful centerpiece for a Spring wedding, a New Year's Day brunch, a baby shower, you name it. It would be easy to add interesting variations to this basic {and beautiful} formula too. If you could get your hands on an Ann Wood bird, lucky you. If not, I'm sure there are many-a-pretty bird available at your local craft store, on Etsy, at a Christmas-themed store in the form of an ornament or on the world wide web :)

Basically you find some sort of grass to use (in the wintertime wheat grass is the best bet) and trim the ends evenly. Place the grass in a footed glass container filled with about one inch of water. If you wish, anchor the grass with dried split peas (rinse well first!) or marbles (you can find these for cheap at Big Lots). Perch a bird ornament on the edge of the container or arrange millinery butterflies in and around the centerpiece. Voila!

from Everyday Celebrations by Donata Maggipinto


Seen Around Town: Wooden Pant Hangers

Boy, the combination of feeling "snowed in" and the influx of new stuff (albeit relatively little) from Christmas is putting me in organization mode before January. Bear with me :)

Finally, after being out-of-stock for months, they are back on the racks at none other than "the Rack". While IKEA carries a wooden bar pant hanger, it's tough to find this style, which looks just like the regular wooden shirt/dress hangers but with clips as well. If you use these, you end up with a streamlined look in your closet. I noticed a bunch last week, so if you've been on the hunt for these {like I have}, head over to the Nordstrom Rack and snatch 'em up. As an added bonus, they are priced at just under $1 per hanger. Not too shabby...

I found that having an organized closet starts my day off with a calmness that my often-disorganized closet can't create on its own. Once I figure out a way to maintain the organization (always half the battle) I'll be in good shape. I've been working on this for awhile now...can ya tell?


Merry Christmas to You!

• 25 December 2008


Spiced Pecans

• 24 December 2008

A friend and I got together and made several batches of these. We couldn't decide which we liked best (they are all so different) and found them all worth making. I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

We purchased our pecans at Costco (most cost-effective we found) and packaged them first in cellophane bags (to maintain freshness) before placing them inside mini-gable boxes (thanks again Amber!). We added some homemade labels and ribbon and voila...neighbor gifts galore.

Spiced Pecans a la Southern Living

Spiced Pecans a la Whole Foods

Spiced Pecans a la Bon Appetit

P.S. This is a great last minute gift! Costco usually carries a bajillion bags of pecans at this time of year :) In fact, our local Costco carried 1800 bags as of last week!

P.P.S. These would also be fun to make and deliver for a "New Year's" giftie as well. Sometimes we just can't pull everything off before Christmas...


Stocking Topper

Are you tempted {like me} to snip off a few branches off the back of the tree (who would ever notice?!) and top off the stockings with a little evergreen?

What a beautiful look this is.

via Martha Stewart Living


Give the Gift of Diapers

If you wanted to do a "Sub for Santa" but it didn't work out, this is a wonderful way to contribute...

Many war-fleeing refugees, new to the Salt Lake area, are in less than desirable circumstances this holiday season. They are struggling financially, amongst other things, and are in need of many things. One of the things they need most is diapers. New disposable diapers...like Huggies or Luvs or Pampers or Kroger, or whatever. The most in-demand size? 3.

If you would like to give the gift of diapers, please drop them off at the IRC office in downtown Salt Lake City.

International Rescue Committee
Attention: Candice
231 E. 400 S.
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

You are welcome to drop by any diapers you might have in your home, or a new package from the store. Either way they are extremely grateful for any donations. Typically a grant takes care of this urgent need, but it has apparently run out. I don't think any of us can imagine a world with small children and no disposable diapers and no diaper service. Let's help out!

Another option, if you are out-of-state, or can't make it downtown, is to donate money for the purchasing of diapers. You can download the form here. You'll need to include it with your check.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve!


My Boyfriend's Back...

• 23 December 2008

...so I won't be blogging today :)

Rather, I'll be enjoying time with the Husband. He's been gone for 2.5 weeks and I'm ready to just hang out, catch up, and enjoy these few days together before Christmas. Holiday preparation is so much more fun when we do it together.

Have a lovely day! See you tomorrow~

picture taken in October outside Bi-Rite creamery in the Mission district of San Francisco. We are totally pulling a classic "Katie & Shaun" pose :)


Christmas Craft

• 22 December 2008

Now that the kids are out of school and you're wondering how to preoccupy them for awhile, consider a few Christmas crafts...this being top on my list. Seriously, these little men are adorable. You can read more about the "how-to" here.

P.S. These could be great homemade gifts for your kids to make for their little friends. After they are done creating their gumdrop people/snowmen/santas place in a small, cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon. Off they go to deliver their homemade goodies!


Christmas Traditions

Despite being married for 9 years, I still feel like we are figuring out our own Christmas traditions. I guess we've spent so many Christmas holidays with our parents (which, is super fun mind you!) that we haven't really figured out what we want to do for our own little family, on our own. Some years we do one thing, and others we do another. I'd like to be more consistent and really figure out what is most important to implement.

So my question is, what are your favorite Christmas traditions? Do share :)

photo from "bredgur's" flickr stream


A Good Lunch

One of the things I miss about working professionally (it's been years...you'd think I'd be over this!) is not going out to lunch every day. Whether it be a Crab Louis Salad at McCormicks on Ghirardelli Square, a meatball sub at the Viking, or a vegetarian meal at Greens...I could always count on eating well during the day. Now, it's not like that at all! Other things (like 3 little people) take priority and sometimes it seems overwhelming to take time to prepare a delicious, healthy lunch. But, despite feeling that way, it's important to make time. The trick is finding something easy to make that you find tasty. I found something that works for me and I'm sharing it with you in case it ends up working for you too...

Turkey Havarti Sandwich

Boar's Head All Natural Tuscan Roasted Turkey Breast (no antibiotics, fillers, etc.), sliced thin.
Boar's Head Havarti Cheese
Harmon's Country French artisan bread sliced at a "12".
a teensy bit o' mayo
a little Dijon mustard

I love cornichons and olives so I'll sometimes grab a little plastic tub of those to add alongside :)


Eames Stamps

• 19 December 2008

While your local post office likely sold out of these a few months ago, they are still {luckily} available online! I hoarded a few sheets and will likely hoard a few more :)

If you've never ordered stamps online consider it worth trying. It's easy, the stamps arrive quickly and buying online saves you a trip to the post office, which at this time of year is nuts-o...especially if you have kids in tow.

Buy your Eames beauties here. Until you have the real thing in your home, the forty-two-cent version is the next best thing :)


Seattle: Discovery Park

One of our newly-discovered Seattle favorites is Discovery Park. I can't imagine a future visit to Seattle without stopping by...it's that wonderful. I love places like this that are large and open and have paths for the kids to run along. It allows them more independence, and I don't feel like I have to be on their heels making sure they are safe. Nature has a funny way of putting everyone at ease and making it possible for everyone to enjoy her...needless to say I was a happy camper too. You can't beat a long walk along hills, grasses, trees and beaches...culminating at a scenic lighthouse.


Homemade Pizza

When we lived in San Francisco, we knew a couple who made homemade pizza every Friday night and often invited people over to join them. The Husband and I always thought it a fantastic tradition. While we don't do host a pizza party every Friday night, we do try to make it every two weeks as it is a favorite in our home. Our favorite types of homemade pizza include a basic salami/pepperoni pizza and our version of the Potesto pizza (Za Pizzaria of SF makes the original and best version). Luckily, before we moved to Boston, this pizza-lovin' family shared their homemade dough recipe with us...here it is for all to enjoy! What I like most, besides the obviously good flavor, is how easy it is to make. Total hands-on time is about 5-10 minutes.

Homemade Pizza Dough a la Hendricksons

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar

Place yeast and sugar in bowl; pour warm water over and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.

In another {larger} bowl place:

2 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 TB olive oil

Mix for a minute. Dig a well in the middle and add the liquid mixture. Mix again (will be gooey). Place bowl in a warm location and allow dough to rise for one hour (a little longer doesn't hurt either).

Using a spatula, place dough on a well-floured surface. Knead slightly and roll, with a pin, into desired shape (you may have to add 1/4 cup flour to make dough more manageable). Grab a few cookie sheets and sprinkle cornmeal evenly on both surfaces (err on the side of too much or your pizza will stick to the surface). Place your shaped dough on the cookie sheets. Your dough is now ready to be adorned with any toppings you wish.

Cook the pizza for 15 minutes in an oven heated to 425 degrees.

We like:

* Salami & fresh mozzarella
* Harmon's Sweet Italian Sausage (cook this first), julienned yellow bell peppers & mushrooms

For a more unique pizza, try our wannabe-Potesto version:

* fresh Pesto Sauce (Harmons, Liberty Heights Fresh, etc.), blanched red potatoes cut thin, Gouda cheese

Recipe Notes: Using fresh mozzarella (Costco is the least expensive place to purchase this) makes all the difference in the world. Promise. We've treaded in pre-shredded-dried-out-mozzarella territory and it isn't pretty...or delicious :) Also, if you opting for canned pizza sauce, make sure you opt for the best version you can find; I like Enricos All Natural Pizza Sauce.

Once we hosted a dinner party where each couple made their own pizzas. The theme was inspired by Alice Waters so we included both traditional pizza ingredients and then not-so-traditional ingredients like Feta, a variety of peppers & the like. It might be fun to do something like this for a New Year's Party...

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as we have! Have a lovely weekend~


Menu of the Week

• 18 December 2008

Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro, Cumin, Tomatoes
* Tortillaland tortillas...yum...and salad

Honey & Lemon Marinated Chicken
* steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes

Parmesan Pork Chops
* salad, lemon vinaigrette, roasted potatoes

Chicken with Thyme, Tomatoes
* freeze make ahead...good for 3 months

Pancakes :)
(I've got to create an excuse to try my new cinnamon-infused maple syrup!)


Je Lis Avec L'ours

I love looking at my children's French books...all carefully chosen by daddy-o. The illustrations are especially lovely and well-executed and the handwriting...oh the handwriting...is so lovely and perfectly perfect. It seems like most people in France write in a similar way...it makes me wonder if a certain style of penmanship is taught in schools? Regardless, it is beautiful and something I've always admired.

* the picture below is from "Je lis avec l'ours"...a cute little book about bears one of my daughters loves.


Phabulous Photo Card

• 17 December 2008

I'm not usually a photo card fan, but these cards have me converted. If I ever did 'em, I'd do 'em here. With a few days warning, she'll print them on a classy linen or watercolor paper. How cool is that? Have you ever received a photo card on pretty, heavy, matte paper? ( Isn't that pattern so Hable Construction-esque?)

I must tell you how lovely the card really is...and the price is equally as lovely...twenty (20) bucks for the photo work and voila, you have yourself a Christmas card. No one will ever you know you never intended to send them out this year until you saw this :)

* if you don't have time for the watercolor paper option and only have time for Costco, choose the "luster" finish instead of the "glossy" finish for a more polished appearance.


How to Make Creme Fraiche

I love creme fraiche...whether a garnish, an ingredient, or on a pastry, it is something I enjoy immensly. It's typically hard-to-find at a regular grocery store but is readily available at higher-end stores (locally you can find it at Harmons & Liberty Heights Fresh). The problem is that it's so darn expensive in the U.S. (in France it is $1-2) and 7 ounce tubs range from $6 to $8. Ouch. So, I decided to do a little research about making a homemade version. I came to find out I am not the only one in this same predicament (love creme fraiche, hate the price). This is the recipe I used...

Homemade Creme Fraiche

1 cup heavy or whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized for best results)
1/3 cup regular sour cream (not lowfat) or buttermilk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt containing acidophilus cultures (Mountainland Plain Yogurt works)

1. In a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, sour crem, and yogurt; whisk until smooth. Leave in the bowl or pour into a clean jar or small crock (a mason jar is ideal). Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, 6 to 8 hours. Let stand a few hours longer if you want it a bit thicker.

2. Cover and refrigerate the creme fraiche until ready to use. It will continue to thicken as it chills. The creme fraiche will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

I also want to try this recipe and this recipe and do a comparison.

Three cheers for saving lots of $ and enjoying this delicious ingredient!

picture via Young Cannella's flickr page


To the Mom Who's Not Perfect

Lynne passed this article along to me and I must say I loved it as much as she. Every mother should take two minutes and read this. I feel buoyed up and I bet you will too.

This one is also a must-read if you've lost a little child. I am so sad for the mothers who experience this...bless your sweet hearts.


Donna Hay Makeover

Yeah for us all. The "Martha Stewart" of Down Under, Donna Hay, recently revamped her website and it's full of so much wonderful information, recipes, tips, etc. Her styling is uh-mazing to say the least. Check it out and you'll see why I'm so excited. Now, when I make her recipes, I'll be able to include links for you and that makes me a happy camper.



• 16 December 2008

This could be a very cool gift for the right person. You won't have to worry about this already being under the tree. I'm dying to try a few on roasted potatoes...

Note: the fact that the Saltistry Classic Sampler is back-ordered on a few websites is a good sign that this is, indeed, a great product. Nice packaging too.


Turning Four: Cowboy Birthday Party Ideas

Watching my one and only little guy turn four was a little bittersweet...I was so sad to see him one year older! He has been such a joy these past few years and I couldn't ask for a cuter little boy. Granted, I know no different, but any little person who spontaneously gives me kisses and hugs is a keeper :)

Sometimes when planning parties, all it takes is one "ingredient" to solidify the theme. It could be a set of invitations, a color scheme, a particular favor, a decorative object, etc. I've planned entire parties around cute things found in the $1 aisle at Target...like L.'s "monkey party" last year. This year I planned L.'s party around some "Wild West" ribbon on sale at Michaels several months ago. At the time he'd ridden a horse for the first time and was in heaven. I thought, "eureka!"...that will be our theme this year. Also, I find that when I take the time to plan a theme well in advance, I am able to plan a much better party all-around. Advanced planning also gives me time to find the best stuff at the best price.

Oh, and if you're local and want that "Pin the Spur on the Boot" board, it's yours. I can't throw it away. My friend Susan put so much heart and soul into it :)

Also, I'd love to mail anyone the "Country Western Party Music CD". It's perfect for your child's next "Wild West" or "Cowboy/girl" themed party. I'm happy to pass it along now that ours is all done :)

Many thanks to the friends and family who helped me pull this off in a jiffy!

More birthday party ideas posted here for you to peruse!


Holiday Shopping Deals

Wow, it seems like everyone is having a sale, although some are notably better than others. Here are a few worth mentioning...feel free to add your own input. We all love a good deal...

Shabby Apple - free shipping through December 25

Restoration Hardware - 20%

Anthropologie - 50% off all boots in store

Macys - 20%

Crazy 8 (Gymboree's more economically priced sister company) - 25% off through Tuesday + free shipping

Banana Republic - 40% off selected items + free shipping for orders over $100

Shade Clothing - 25% off everything + free shipping through December 18.

Neiman Marcus - up to 60% off (like this dress pictured, which I love, love, love)

Victoria's Secret - 25% off your entire order through today


Letterpress Poster of the Salt Lake Temple

• 15 December 2008

If the Salt Lake Temple holds importance and meaning for you, this would be a wonderful work of art to own. I am certain it would look stunning framed and matted.

If you are interested, I wouldn't wait very long. I believe the first printing, several months ago, lasted a day or two! They just barely went on sale this morning.

I'd opt for the signed version...just don't cover up that part with the mat :)

Thanks for the link Amber!


Le Bournat

Today I am thinking about our trip to France a little, so please humor me a little as I reflect for a minute here :) I'm mostly dreaming of Le Bournat--a working organic farm and village in the Dordogne region, with an abundance of old-fashioned rides. All vintage. All French. I'm not sure who enjoyed them more...me and the Husband or the kids! One of my favorite aspects of Le Bournat is the lack of in-your-face commercialism there. When my children jumped off a ride, there was no one trying to sell them a bad picture for 15 Euros. It was just pure, simple, clean fun and my kids spent 6 hours there, despite the rainy mist all day. Oh, and did I mention it was a bit chilly? No matter, it was one our best days in France.

On site they make walnut oil (you can watch it being pressed), which is the most delicious oil I've ever tasted. They also grind their own organic whole wheat flour at the local windmill. I love that people still do that! Bottom line, it's a great time for children and adults alike.

Don't those rides remind you of something out of Mary Poppins?

(thanks for humoring me!)


Stuck Labels

Look what Jordan is up to now...fabulous as usual! Get "stuck" here.


Favorite Recipes

I've thought about the different ways I can share my favorite recipes and finally decided to do this: write about all my favorite desserts in one post; then my favorite salads in one post, etc. Then, I will place permanent image links in my sidebar to these posts. That way, you can always find some great dessert, salad, entree, soup, and breakfast recipes quickly.

Since it is the season of entertaining and also a time where much dessert is consumed, I'll be starting with those :)

Caveat: as I discover new recipes I will continue to edit the original posts so you will always have up-to-date information.


12 Days of Christmas

I'm sure many of you have already seen the AMAZING giveaways going on right now at Design Mom...but in case you haven't, get thee hence. Hey, the odds are a lot better of winning if you enter 12 giveaways at one time, no? Lots of fabulous stuff for you and yours.

See here.

pretty ornaments via Land of Nod


Procrastination Pays: Letterpress Christmas Cards

• 12 December 2008

This year the Husband asked that I not make our Christmas cards...not because he doesn't like my crafty creations, but that they take soooooo much of my time. Secretly, I am relieved. It's often just as expensive and a lot more hassle. Although, I always appreciate a beautiful, handmade card myself...maybe next year :)

Given this newfound freedom I've been looking around shops and the internet for about 3 weeks now...trying to find a great card at a great price. A deal was not to be had. So I waited. And then good deals popped up all over. In fact, I just snatched up some beautiful letterpressed Christmas cards from Crane & Co two days ago for about a dollar a piece...and they threw in free shipping! (It looks like I cleaned them out of that particular design but there are still a few other designs remaining.) Bottom line: if you are like me and waited to get on the Christmas-card-bandwagon, here are a few options...all letterpress...and all discounted. For the Etsyans you'll have to contact the shop owner about discount specifics, but I found them all willing to cut the price if you want to purchase larger quantities (50, 100, 150, etc.), which we all know is easy to do at Christmas.

Crane & Co - also check out the Kate Spade offerings in "Clearance Holiday".

Night Owl - they even have letterpressed photo cards! Apply a 25% discount on all orders placed between now and December 31, 2008 by using the code friend08 at checkout. They have an ample sale section, which you can view here.

* this dealio found via Paper Crave

Precious Bugarin (top left)

Ruby Press (top right)

Turquoise Creative (bottom left)

Papered Together (bottom right)


Mistletoe Gift Toppers

This is a fun little holiday project I've taken on two years now. I keep coming back to it because it is so pretty, and simple, and not time-consuming. You can't beat that combo!

See the project how-to's here.

Another option, which is similar, is to cut out felt leaves and then sew them together. You can string the jingle bells as outlined in the directions, and then strap them on to the sewn leaves. This variation is equally as easy.

While they show lovely shades of sage & red, I think kraft brown paper is equally pretty. You can find large rolls at Xpedx and smaller rolls at Big Lots for $1 each. IKEA also sometimes stocks kraft brown paper and solid reds too.



• 11 December 2008

Who knew our favorite big box store could get any cooler? Target is like a relationship...it gets better with time. These recent discoveries are clear indicators that I should definitely stick to my "only-once-every-six-weeks" rule. The temptation to spend is too great to shop there more frequently :)

1) They offer Kiehls products now. Seriously. Granted, it's a limited selection but I'm still stoked. I'm hoping to replace a few things stolen with my diaper bag...oh that creme des corps.

2) They also offer delicious-smelling Origins products too. Again, it's a limited selection, but still...

3) Being a huge maple syrup fan, I was ecstatic to discover Archer Farms cinnamon-infused maple syrup. The ingredients? 100% pure maple syrup and a cinnamon stick. Yum. It's waffles for dinner tonight!

4) Super cute Victoria Hagan red bird pillows. The location I visited (Ft. Union) only had two left and they are sold out online unfortunately (if you catch a glimpse, you'll see why), but you might just get lucky if you act quickly :)


A "Chore Chart" for the Modern Child

How cute is this?

I totally want to make this...any idea where one can find magnetic sheets? I'll have to do some phoning around...

You can read how to create this stylin' chart here.


Meaningful Gift No.2

A plant.

Why plants are lovely gifts:

* we often don't buy them for ourselves, but love to have them around

* they last a long time, unless of course they are in my care :)

* every time the recipient looks at the plant they will think of you and what a great gift-giver you are...

* chances are, no one else will put one under the tree, giving it a bit of "unique factor"

If you're local, you can't beat Cactus & Tropicals for presentation. Classical music while plant shopping? Sounds good to me. The holiday display is "bee"-utiful. Sorry, couldn't resist :)


I Just Can't Get Enough

• 10 December 2008

After two helpings in 4 days, I'm officially hooked. Three words folks..."egg", "nog", "gelato".

You can find this scrumptious holiday treat at Dolcetti Gelato right now. The owner assures me they will make more once the first batch is gone. At the rate I'm going, that's going to be really soon :)

p.s. add one of their homemade waffle cones for an even higher delicious factor


Etsy Pick of the Week: Amanda Lockrow Jewels

Jewels indeed...

This li'l necklace is perfectly feminine. I love how the shop owner is willing to customize chain length and bead color to match our unique preferences. If you are a ring wearer, you must check out her extensive selection...

See more here.


Darling Art

Rebecca, of Darling Art Photography, takes many a beautiful picture. I feel so lucky to have a few snapshots of my own children, taken by her talented hands and eyes (she took the photo on my blog too). I love this picture (although the cute children are not my own) because it captures how I feel at the end of the day (the one lying flat on the bed--not the one bouncing up and down!).

How 'bout you?


Kid-Friendly Soup

• 09 December 2008

My kids are pretty good sports about eating all the new recipes I'm constantly presenting to them, but it isn't every night they are begging for "seconds" and even "thirds". I guess that's what I get for being a somewhat adventurous cook :)

Last night I made this hearty recipe and they couldn't get enough...and as an added bonus, Mommy enjoyed it too. The fresh, simple, well-chosen ingredients make it a meal sophisticated enough for adults, especially with the addition of a good artisan sourdough bread and a green salad (skip the cheese toasts). The only change I made to the soup recipe was to pre-cook my bacon in the microwave. This made it so I didn't have bacon drippings to saute with the vegetables so I substituted olive oil instead. You can also make this recipe ahead and reheat before serving, making it ideal for a cold, winter night.


Notecard + Envelope

One of my sponsors {and all-time favorite Etsy shops}, Labokoff, is offering a free notecard {with matching envelope} to everyone who makes a purchase. It doesn't matter if you buy a $5 mini-print or one of Fabienne's larger, and totally gorgeous 12x12 prints. I can attest firsthand to the beauty of her prints and I love looking at them every day in my own home.

I am giving a few away for Christmas presents this year and if you decide to do the same, make sure you order by December 13th to guarantee a Christmas delivery...your prints will ship from France.

See all her luscious works of art here.


Beecher's Fruit Paste

• 08 December 2008

A trip to Seattle isn't complete without a stopover at Pike Place Market. Second only to San Francisco's Ferry Building, this market offers beautiful, even tantalizing local produce at reasonable prices. You'll pay the same as you will at the grocery store but the quality will be twice as good. Moon Valley Honey is my new favorite...I've never tasted honey this delicious. Anyway, across the street from the market is Beecher's, a cheese house we also love to hit. In the past I've purchased this paste (in apricot) and enjoyed eating it with Brie and some hard cheeses too. During a recent visit to Harmons I spotted this very paste, in several flavors, in their cheese aisle. I can't get over how gourmet Harmons is becoming...it's awesome :) These fruit pastes are the perfect addition to your holiday cheese plate. Add a few Mediterranean olives from the olive bar and you'll have a gourmet appetizer in a matter of minutes. Think: "Work Party".


DIY: Elegant Handmade Ornaments

Kate's Paperie, a wonderful NY paper store I've fallen in love with over the years, is sharing several ornament templates on their website...for free! If you're feelin' crafty, give a few of these a whirl. They are gorgeous!

You'll want to use beautiful paper for a project like this--maybe a Japanese Chiyogami or an Italian Florentine style. In San Francisco you can find such paper at Paper Source and inside the Japantown shopping mall--southwest corner. In New York, Kate's Paperie! In Salt Lake City, Floribunda.

Thanks Jason for the link!


Mini Chambre

For some reason I'm drawn to this mini-bedroom inside what appears to be a trailer of some sort. If I spoke more than just basic French (J'aimerais trois pain au chocolat si'l vous plait) then I could tell you what exactly it is housed in, but let's call it a trailer because that is what it appears to be :) I am loving the Swedish all-white look...and those three pillows stacked too (it never occurred to me to display pillows like that...).

photo by Vincent Leroux for Marie Claire Maison


Butterfly House

• 05 December 2008

We loved walking amidst butterflies in the Butterfly House at Seattle's Pacific Science Center. It was simply beautiful. A must-see if you take a family vacation to this wonderful city.


Noa Noa Miniature

Loved Noa Noa for grownups, but had no idea they carried a children's line. Add that to your "must-visit" list for Paris. I hit the shop during their one of their two yearly sales and found the {sale} pricing reasonable and the styling top-notch. I loved the small boutique-y feeling--a nice change from all the large, busy, department stores.

Note: sales are government-regulated in France, typically taking place in July and January of each year.


SLC Blogger Meet Up

Finally uploading pictures from my phone, and they are not fabulous. But, I couldn't not post about this night out. I met so many lovely ladies, including Gabrielle Blair, Amy Hackworth, Liz Stanley & Susan Peterson. It was such an enjoyable evening and I'm so happy I showed up--albeit alone--which felt kind of lame initially. I got over it :)

As an added bonus we met up at a favorite local restaurant...Caffe Niche. I love hitting it on Friday night when they play live jazz. Reasonable prices for the quality of food presented--you locals should give it a whirl.

Can't wait until the next one...

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