Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Rainbow

I'm falling in love with the Waldorf Pedagogy. Our upcoming new year changes will include a nature table in our home. In my daydreaming about our nature table I imagine all sorts of beautiful wooden creatures interspersed with candles and twigs and leaves from our garden. I have long admired Grimm's Spiel Und Holz products, so simple and beautiful. My nephew has their set of nesting elements and I love their ability to be a decoration and an open-ended toy, a fun toy at that! They are made of wood and have non-toxic coloring on them that is beautiful and bright. I want the whole set on my coffee table. I bought the rainbow set above as a Christmas present for Q, all the milestone books tell me my child should be nesting and stacking things, and really they were just so pretty I wanted them myself.

Inspired by Grimm's Spiel Und Holz stuff I set out to find some nesting toys for our house. Looking at gorgeous handmade sets in a number of shops on etsy I stumbled across the shop Clickity Clack. They have a variety of nesting toys that are unfinished and are at a really great price.

I got a few sets of the nesting items for our family and I also got some of their other beautiful unfinished wood items.

How cool is that castle? It could be painted in so many different ways. And it would be especially fun with some dragons

I love this stuff because it's a perfect combination of making your own toys and buying them. I plan on painting ours with some watercolors which are great for painting wood safely and beautifully.

I promise I'll come back and update with pictures once we sand and paint ours but I just had to share now because I just got them in the mail. I'm thinking warm weather would be a nice time to sit outside and sand these down to be nice and soft for a toddler.

Monday, December 28, 2009


During these crazy last few weeks (months really) I find myself craving some relief/release. I indulged that craving yesterday with this bit of whimsy. A rainbow cake! inspired by this post I tried it out myself. I followed a recipe for white cake, even omitting the egg for egg-replacer so I didn't add the yellow of the yolk. I separated the batter into equal pieces and mixed in the food coloring

I just started pouring the batter on top of each other in rainbow order

It was so fun to see how it had baked once I pulled it out

I iced it with a very simple white frosting - butter, confectioners sugar and a little milk.

It's so much fun to cut the cake and find the rainbow inside

It wasn't particularly interested tasting, but really, everything tastes better when it's pretty like this!

and I don't think I've ever had such pretty dishes to wash

Sunday, December 27, 2009


My grandfather passed away yesterday morning. Death has been on my mind these last few months already, mostly my absolute fear of it/my LOVE of life. My grandfathers death and the weeks leading up to it have changed so many of my thoughts and have made me more willing to explore my feelings. These last few weeks watching my grandfather pass, he has looked more and more like a little boy to me and I've thought often of his mother and how she watched his first crawls, steps, first words the way I'm watching my own little boy. It comforts me in many ways to think that my greatest hope for Q is that he leaves this world the way my grandfather has - old, peaceful, painless, of old age and with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren around him.
I'm not sure what to do with myself now that he's gone. How do you mourn a non-traumatic and in many ways a non-sad death? I don't know, but I'm wading my way through it right now.

My father wrote a beautiful obituary of his father, my grandfather and namesake Charles Shoneman

Charles Shoneman, 92, made his transition Saturday December 26 after a brief stay at UNC Hospital and Carol Woods Health Center. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio he grew up in Woodmere, Long Island where he became a life long Yankees fan and developed a fondness for a good cigar. He later moved to Elkins Park, suburban Philadelphia and eventually retired to Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife Anne who pre-deceased him. He was recognized as being an extraordinary storyteller and jokester. He was also widely renown as the godfather of youth baseball. One of the last of a vanishing generation of heroic men and women, undeterred by Depression and War, he saw his enlistment as not only service to his country but to all mankind. Fiercely independent, Charles sought neither rank nor reward, yet it was the quiet richness of his life that was his greatest virtue and will remain his legacy. He led a life of purposeful simplicity and humility always eager to reach out and offer the spirit of his kindness, generosity and humor. He held tightly to those things most precious in his life and when it was time to let go he let go.

He leaves to cherish his memory son Chuck and wife Merle of Maryland, son John and wife Jill of Hillsborough, N.C. five grandchildren Seth, Dov, Charlotte, Lindsay and Jamie. Three great grandchildren Mateo, Sophia and Qais, devoted former daughter in law Mickey Jo Sorrell of Chapel Hill and his loving companion of twenty years Frances Fuller of South Carolina. To all of those whose lives he surely touched he will be warmly remembered and sadly missed. In this world he made a difference.

In lieu of a funeral a remembrance in his honor will be held at a future date. Condolence messages may be sent to

Monday, December 14, 2009

Birth, Death and TTC

11 days I've been away from my blog and so much has happened and is still happening. I'm swamped, literally swamped in a house full of stuff and emotionally swamped with everything the title of this blog post implies.

Birth - I have a new niece or nephew on the way and my heart swells with the idea of this child and the place it will hold in our hearts. I also have an honorary niece on the way and I can't wait to hold a little one again.

Death - My 92yo Grandpa had a stroke on Thursday morning and has been in the hospital since then. His days are numbered and the family is gathered by his bedside spending precious moments in his presence. I feel so many things about his impending passing that I don't even know how to start expressing my emotions. I love him so very much and I miss him.

TTC - that'd be me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yet Another Toy For The Boy

The little one has been obsessed with strings, straps, power cords, thread, yarn, and all things long and skinny and easy to grab. Tired of having my computer unplugged I whipped up a little toy for him.

A little shooting star.

It's just two pieces of felt, dark blue and light blue, zig-zag stitched closed with some sewn up strings from scraps I had around. I stuffed it with cut up pieces of plastic shopping bags to give it a little crinkle. It was a hit for the first 15 minutes, then ignored for a few days but whenever he spots one of those strings he has to pull on it and see what he can do with them

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Come Again Another Day

We're in the midst of moving. I'm really excited about this move except for one thing...
I have to pack up all my craft supplies! and right in the middle of some fun projects too.

Of course, as I pack up my fabric I get inspired to make all sorts of fun things. I also get overhwhelmed with the amount of projects I haven't finished and the list of fun holiday crafts that I want to do.

Look at all these fun prints just asking to be made into fun things. Christmas ornaments anyone? a tree skirt? a superman cape? a birthday crown? oh wait, for that I need my felt....

Goodbye beautiful felt, I'll try to unpack you soon

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fevers and Folk Remedies

The littlest one has been sick for the past few days - fever, diarrhea, throwing up, snotty nose, etc. This is his first time being sick and it stinks! I am struggling with the fever the most - let it go or treat it? I know a fever has an important job and I want to let it do that job "burning up the germs", but I also can't stand to see my boy so lethargic and unhappy. Last night as the fever crept up I decided to try out some natural ways of lowering the fever, or at least making Q more comfortable. Cool washclothes on his head, a tepid bath, lots of skin to skin with momma all seemed to help. We also tried a few other things people told us about - lemons boiled and putting warm cloths soaked in the lemon juice around his legs and we also tried an onion by the bed as he sleeps. I can't say that either worked miracles but we all slept much better last night. We did try a little tylenol when the thermometer topped 103 but it was mostly spit out and we didn't try again. Today he's been pretty steady with a 100-101 temp. Poor baby. I'm looking forward to this being behind us, I want my happy and playful boy back. So... you got any other home remedies we should try?

On a side note - Many people believe that fevers help to shape the child and help their being evolve. I don't know if I believe that but I do know that he's not quite the same kid he was before this sickness, he's different and I can't quite explain it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Molasses Spice Cookies (AKA Gingersnaps)

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie was Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies. Perfect for the holidays! I still think that holiday bundt cake from last week is gonna win for thanksgiving day. It was so addictive and not too sweet. Sorry, back to the cookies.

I have to say that I wasn't totally nuts about these cookies. They tasted like gingersnaps to me, which is fine and good but I'm not really that crazy about gingersnaps. They were just ok for me. I ended up taking them over to my grandpa and he and his attendants gobbled them up. While I don't really care that much for gingersnaps these were addictive and I did eat a fair amount. I will definitely use this recipe again when I want to make a gingery cookie and next time I think I would even add more black pepper (that's right!) and ginger to make them even a bit "spicier".

The recipe itself came together really quickly and was super easy, there weren't any special ingredients (besides molasses) so no extra trips to the grocery store! Always a plus around here.

This weeks recipe was chosen by Pamela of Cookies With Boys, she's got the recipe on her site.

...and don't forget to check out all the rest of the bakers on the TWD blogroll.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Been a while since I did this.

Monday - Crockpot day - Adobo Chicken
Tuesday - tofu + spinach + peanut sauce = yum
Wednesday - turkey meatloaf
Thursday - Thanksgiving!
Friday - soup. Lentil. maybe chicken...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Decisions decisions decisions....

I know I'm a bit biased but everything Q does is amazing. I've been enjoying watching his personality develop since day 1, but these past few weeks are just amazing. He's crawling everywhere now and I love watching him have control over his choices about where to go, what to play with, who to follow (the dog!), etc. I just love watching his personality emerge.

Here's a good example of the budding decision maker
On the back porch blowing bubbles, Q decides to explore.....

the steps

exploring the edge. He would get up and rock back and forth like he was gonna keep going but stop short, go back to his belly and look at it, and start the whole process over again

decides to just sit and play with the leaves over the edge and forget about trying to go over. This is so his dad.

Stopped caring about going over the edge, watched the dog play, played with the leaves

and then... he slipped.

but recovered quickly. with a bonk on the noggin

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Embellished Prefolds

I threw caution to the wind and didn't look up any directions for how to do this, I just did it. I measured the middle section of my prefolds, cut out some cute fabric the same size and sewed it on. That's right, I didn't tuck and hem the edges, I just zigzag stitched all around. I'm not afraid of no unraveling, I like to live dangerously! and I'm lazy
I think they came out pretty great though and I want to make tons more! I can't decide if I'll embellish all the prefolds we use or just do them for decoration as burp cloths and such. I'll have to see how much a snappi will damage the print...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Bundt Cake

I know I've already mentioned this but I really feel like we we went from summer straight into the holiday season and I have had a hard time adjusting. Well consider me adjusted! because this cake made my whole house smell like thanksgiving, all the pies rolled into one yummy bundt cake that I can't stop snacking on. mmmmm...

So Tuesday's With Dorie has been a little different this month. Because of the holidays there are 4 recipes for the month but each participant can cook them on whichever Tuesday they like. It's fun to see people making things I made last week and also to see what I'll be making next week. When I saw this cake pop up on other peoples blogs last week I wasn't all that excited, but I had all the ingredients on hand today so I went for it. It's pumpkin cake at the base, with nutmeg and fresh ginger that are very fragrant and delicious, cranberries, diced apple and pecans mixed in complete all the thanksgiving flavors. It was almost a one bowl cake and was super easy to make. It also wasn't super dense or rich which is a relief from some other TWD recipes.

Thank you to Britin at The Nitty Bitty for choosing this All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake and as always, check out the rest of the Tuesday's With Dorie bloggers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Here's a ball for baby

small and soft and round...

Made from
this tutorial. The tutorial was super quick and easy. Q's favorite toys lately are balls, he chases them all around the house and gets so frustrated when they roll under the couch or the dresser. He loves the wet felted balls I had made for him when he was a little guy and I love how this sewn felt ball looks in its beautiful bright rainbow colors. I'd love to make another in some nice autumn hues.

Crafts & Traditions

Does anybody else feel like it went from the end of summer straight to the beginning of the holidays? I am not quite sure where the time goes anymore.

I've got all sorts of fun holiday crafts in the works and on top of that I'm about to move so I'm not sure how much I'll get the chance to share on here, but I wanted to mention a project that I'm about to start on - an advent calendar. I'm still in the planning stages but I think I'm going to sew something to hang on the wall with a pocket of some sort for each date. I want the pockets to be big enough to hold a piece of candy or a small present. I want to make something that our family will be able to enjoy for years to come.

Maybe something like this, or this where you put decorations on. Oooh, I like this one too. I like the idea of putting buttons on the tree and being able to hang decorations from them. I'm not sure I want to have the decorations in the pockets but that might be fun too.Please link me to any other ideas or suggestions you come across.

I really want to make the calendar something of a family heirloom. That's a lot to expect from myself - a total novice sewer. Maybe I can get my mom to help me with it. I had originally wanted to make a wooden one but I could never quite come up with how I wanted it to be. I might try to do that at some point as well. My neighbors had a nice wooden one growing up and I always admired it.

In the same vein as the advent calendar, I've been working on a birthday banner for Q. His birthday is a little over 3 months away and I have a number of ideas for cute homemade decorations and things - candle holders, gifts, birthday crown, etc. The banner is just about done but I don't have a picture of it yet. I like it a lot but I might try making a few other banners as well to see what style I like better (felt, fabric, triangle, square, etc..).

Since Q was born I've felt even more of a need than usual to create. More specifically I feel the need to create things for our family to have and use for years to come. I want to make family traditions, I want to have special, simple homemade items that we can enjoy together for the rest of our lives. That's a lot to ask of some simple craft projects but it inspires me to get better at sewing and crafting in general and it gives me lots of fun project ideas. So for now I'm trying to focus on christmas crafts. Oh, and moving, and I have been feeling the desire to do a big jigsaw puzzle. How on earth am I going to do a big jigsaw puzzle with a 9 month old underfoot?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finds of the Fair

I've been meaning to share this cute find for the past few weeks but they've been such a hit around our house that they follow Q around everywhere.
In the Village of Yesteryear there were lots of local artisans with beautiful goods, including my friend Mary Anne Pagano and soap from her goats. There was also this very cool guy Dave (I think... I wish I could find his card and share his business name) who had all sorts of beautiful wooden toys. I was tempted to buy lots of different puzzles and trucks as gifts as they were painted so nicely and all non-toxic, but he had a big basket of unfinished wood cars and trucks for $4 a piece.

We bought two with the idea of saving them for gifts but... that didn't work so well. I wish we had bought more!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A week

without posting. Bad blogger! I've had family in town from California and have been neglecting my blog. But now I have tons to blog about! We had a fantastic visit filled with tractors, walks, babies, toddlers, food and more tractors. OK, so there was only one tractor, but it was a very big deal to a certain toddler.

I tried not to neglect my apple duties while the family was in town so I made 3 apple dishes while they were here - Rhiannon's Sour Cream Apple Pie (which I actually made twice and it was devoured both times), a classic apple pie, and Tuesday's With Dorie's Cranberry Apple Crisp. How fitting that this weeks TWD was an apple dish! Of course I didn't get it posted on Tuesday... bad blogger. I also didn't get a picture of it after it came out of the oven because it was quickly taken over to my Grandfather's house where it was devoured by a very enthusiastic toddler. The same one that is obsessed with tractors, diggers, and apparently apple cranberry crisp. I did get a picture of the filling to the crisp because it was just so beautiful. sugar coated cranberries are gorgeous. It looks like sweet sparkly snow

I have to admit that I barely even tasted the crisp. The one bite I had was delicious but I left it for my grandfather. Everyone said it was good and I loved the combination of apple and cranberry. It was also a total breeze to put together and I made it in a deep dish pie pan instead of individual sizes. I'm wary of crumb toppings because I feel like they are either too buttery and gross or they aren't crumby at all. This was quick and easy and didn't have either common issue. I'll definitely make this one again, once I'm not so sick of apples.

Thanks to Em of The Repressed Pastry Chef for this weeks recipe! and as always, check out the rest of the amazing TWD bloggers

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Blocks

In our quest for simple, planet friendly, open-ended toys we've been looking for a first set of wooden blocks for baby Q. At some point I'd love to invest in a really nice set of unit blocks for Q that he can use through his adolescence and pass onto his children but for now we wanted something simple, less expensive but still of good quality. Who knew there was so much info out there on blocks? We ended up with the Uncle Goose Classic Alphabet blocks.

I whipped up a simple denim drawstring bag for them to live in.

We're already big fans. This morning we've played two games with the blocks: give him one block, wait a few minutes, give him another, give him a few minutes to play and then when he has one block in each hand and is feeling quite proud of himself I put another block out for him. It blows his little mind. I mean HOW can he hold three blocks?! The other game we've played he wasn't as into - I was trying to show him how when the blocks are stacked up he can knock them down. I would get 2 stacked up and he would reach for one to chew on..... he knocked it down but didn't notice or care.

Besides the blocks having some 'new toy smell' we're loving them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Latest and "Greatest"

The Fair has come and gone and we're back to "normal" around here. For a few days at least and then our California family comes for a much anticipated visit. We're spending this week sewing little projects, obsessing over baby carriers and trying to use up these damn apples. While I'm cooking with apples I've totally been neglecting Tuesday's With Dorie. Today is cherry brownie torte and I'm going to make it this afternoon - you can expect pictures tomorrow or maybe tonight if I'm really good.

I am on an apple cake kick right now. The apple cider pudding cake was the best so far in my opinion but I did make this fragrant apple cake with brown sugar glaze for a gathering this past friday

I made these apple pie bars yesterday and I am loving them so far. They're nice and crumbly and not too sweet and not too heavy. Yumm.

I made B's coworkers a simple and classic Apple Pie this week too but I have no pictures of that to share with you. I also made some muffins that I'll share with you a little bit later.

I've also been doing a bit of sewing and I'll share that with you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

State Fair

The State Fair was in town this past week and Q and I went. We chose Tuesday midday as the best time thinking it wouldn't be too crowded and boy we were wrong! Maybe the fair is always crowded....
I had a few things in mind in particular that I remembered from going to the State Fair when I was a kid. First, I wanted to pan for gems. I also wanted to find maple cotton candy and walk down the midway. The panning for gems wasn't there!? what a tragedy. The maple cotton candy was though and I got 4 bags! I've already given away 3 of them though. I also got some honey cotton candy.

I was really excited for "fair food" but didn't end up getting anything besides a six dollar lemonade. I think I was more excited by the idea of fair food than the actual food itself.

Some of it did look good though....

The boy slept on my back most of the time until he decided he was starving. One of the best finds of the fair was this:

There were 5 'mothers rooms' around the fair and it was quite a relief to have a quiet place with comfy chairs to go and nurse my distractable boy.

I just love the fair, it's so iconic and old fashioned in so many ways. It smells so good and has such a fun mix of rides, food, games and agriculture, local folk art and performance. I mean where else can you see 'Big Willie The Alligator' for just $1?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Umm Qais

is arabic for 'mother of Qais'

and it's also the name of a place in Jordan

Friday, October 23, 2009

8 Months

I simply can't believe my boy turned 8 months old yesterday, wasn't he just born?

I was just telling B tonight that in some ways I feel like mothering was harder than I thought and in a lot of ways it feels much easier. I still feel like me. most of the time at least. The hardest thing about parenting is that it never ends. I mean, that's great too, but there are no 'days off' and no sending the baby back to its parents, I can never ever walk away from the fact that I have a kid. It's frustrating because I don't want to be away from Q but sometimes I need to anyhow (for my sanity) and it just never ends. I miss being single sometimes, but I'm so incredibly grateful for an amazing partner and an amazing baby. I think I totally lucked out in both departments.

Q is as sweet as ever, and developing quite the personality! He's a very weird kid. He makes weird noises, does the funniest things with his body and really makes us laugh a lot. One of his new things is to get up on his hands and feet and walk his hands up as much as he can and then walk them back down, I swear he's gonna do a somersault one of these days. He's also really starting to show preference between mom and dad. Not in a bad way, it's actually really sweet how he'll reach for us and get insanely excited when B gets in the car when we pick him up from work.

He still isn't eating solids although we offer them occasionally. I figure he'll want them soon enough and I may as well enjoy the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during this impending flu season. I would like to write another post about breastfeeding an 8 month old, more for my record than anyone else's interest but I need to read my last post to figure out what's changed. Mommy brain!

Q is so long and lanky these days, he weighs a lot though so I'm not sure where he's putting it, his hair has gotten longer and he's got teeth now too. What happened to my baby? Will I ever stop saying that? I can't imagine that I will

Our California family is coming into town next week and we're all looking forward to some cousin time. They'll be here for halloween too and we have plans for a big bonfire in the woods and some partying down. I've got a number of costumes that have come to me for the little one to wear so stay tuned for some cuteness during halloween week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Apples!

I've been cooking lots of yummy things this week. I'm feeling like my house is a mess and things are a bit hectic but I'm trying to roll with it and spend a lot of time on the floor with my son and in the kitchen keeping good meals on the table for all of us. Of course I'm also trying to use up these apples and so here are a few of the things I've made so far.

Grandma's Apple Pie (from the North Carolina Apple Growers Association)
5 to 6 cooking apples
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
dash of salt
double pie crust for a 9 inch deep dish pie

Peel and slice apples. Add lemon juice and toss. Sprinkle some of the sugar and cinnamon in bottom of crust. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. put half of slices of apples in crust; add half the sguar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add rest of ingredients, piling apples high. Dot with butter. Top with crust. Cut vents. Sprinkle sugar on top of crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Upside Down Southern Applie Pie (Elizabeth Deer Wake Forest, NC)
1/4 C butter, softened
2/3 cup pecan halves
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
pie crust for 9-inch double crust deep dish pie
6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (romes are good but I used winesap and it was really nice
juice of 1 lemon, strained to remove seeds
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans

preheat oven to 450. spread butter in bottom of a 9-inch deep pie plate. Arrange pecan halves in pie plate rounded side down and gently press into butter. Sprinkle 2/3 Cup of brown sugar over pecans and press firmly onto sides and bottom. Place pie crust on top of pecan sugar mixture.

In a bowl, combine remaining brown sugar, lemon juice, flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and chopped pecans. Sprinkle mixture over apples and toss gently. Spoon apple filling into pie crust. Put top crust on. Press edges together, then flute and pinch to let steam escape. You may want to place the pie on a baking sheet, because the brown sugar may bubble over the side during cooking.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until apples are soft and crust is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Flip on plate to serve upside down with vanilla ice cream.

Warm Apple Cobbler
I'm not even going to tell you this recipe because although I've made it before and enjoyed it quite a bit it has WAY too much butter in it and this time we made it, took a taste of it and threw it in the trash because it was disgusting. Maybe it would have helped if I'd doubled the amount of apples so the butter evened out or something but whoa - not cool. I love butter don't get me wrong, and most good things have lots of butter in them, but this totally crossed the line of being good and buttery and was just icky.

Apple Cider Pudding Cake