Friday, January 30, 2009

Three in a Row!

What an unexpectedly wonderful week for me! Time spent with friends not often seen on 3 separate occasions:

Breakfast with Kim on Tuesday - almost turned into lunch as much to catch up on! So nice to laugh together again!

Dinner with Stacy on Wednesday - and although this is a picture of the dessert tray, we did NOT order dessert, for the sake of my Mii. We just had tea & sympathy for dessert.

Impromptu wine tasting and "event planning" evening with Ched and Tara on Thursday. We didn't get far in the "event planning" so we'll have to sacrifice and do this again soon!

These are parmesan crackers that I made following (well, I use that term loosely) a recipe in my new cookbook (yes, I needed ANOTHER one) Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites. The recipe calls for Pecorino cheese and all purpose flour, but I only had parmesan cheese and white whole wheat flour, hence the darker color of these crackers. But they were soooo easy to make, and my kitchen smelled like a Cheez-It tastes while they baked in my oven. Just the right amount of cayenne pepper for a spicy after taste in your mouth (yes the cayenne actually WAS part of the recipe). I will definitely be making my own crackers again. I didn't think it could be so easy!

Also on the menu:

Toasted Ciabatta bread with goat cheese, fig jam and walnuts (really, it's a staple here)

Warm Artichoke, spinach and garlic dip

The three went really well with our conversation and the 2 bottles of red wine that we sampled...

So blessed with friends that can just pick up right where we left off, despite how much time has passed, and who obviously love to gather around food like Keith and I do!

Of course it makes sense...

to play on the swings in the snow for almost 2 hours when it's 25 degrees outside...

If your 7!
And to tobaggan down a 1/2 degree slopped hill in the backyard covered in a millimeter of icy snow....

If your 8!

Hope they get some real snow this winter. They are desperate! I'll be inside with my Pero , and coconut creamer, thank you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Although buried under Girl Scout Cookies...

...and attending the Lip Sync at our Elementary school, and attending a 6 year old birthday party, I squeezed in an hour to put together this... cause I promised.
Front ( sticker says: Life is a series of beautiful moments that, over time add up to precious memories.)

First Page (will be January)

I've been wanting to do a "year at a glance" book for a while, and this year CTMH came out with a My Creations Display Album with 12 6x6 page protectors in it. Perfect. Each month I'll pick one picture to put in the book, and by next January, I'll really feel like I've accomplished something because at least I have one picture scrapped from each month this year!

I haven't decided on January's picture yet, or perhaps I just haven't taken it yet! I'll show you the final result when it happens.

In case you are interested in doing this project along with me each month, here is what I used:

Display Album: (Z1054)

Front & Back Cover: Emporium Level 1 Kit ( (X7105A) and Creative Basics Emporium Collection ( X 5806) (and I'll be using these kits again for my February page)

January page: Aspen Level 2 Paper Packet, and Aspen Level 2 Stickease (X7103B, X7103C)

You can find all of these items at my Close To My Heart Store. And there are only 4 more days to take advantage of their National Papercrafting Month Promotion!

I'm thinking this is also a great project for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to scrapbook, but still wants to do SOMETHING! I'll be posting each month's page if you want to just copy. But I'd love to see what you come up with, too! Let me know if you want to play along with me!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Give, Save, Spend

I figured that since it is National Papercrafting Month - what, you didn't know? Oh. Well, it is, and I guess I should have said something earlier, especially since CTMH is having an awesome special this month because of it. And since papercrafting IS a favorite hobby of mine, I thought perhaps, this month I should dedicate some time to it. Today, I'm starting small, but I hope to have some more to show you after the weekend.

Something I've been wanting to do for Noah and Emmy for several years now, just couldn't discipline myself to save the 6 jars. After going to the Container Store last week, I found these, and decided they would do.

I hope they inspire Noah and Emmy to Give a little more, Save a little more, and financially speaking, Spend a little less.

In what ways do you hope to Give, Save, and Spend in 2009 - financially or otherwise?

Strangers in the Night

I love when something so random happens that it stays with you forever. There was a time when I was rushing through the uneven sidestreets of Bologna in an attempt to get to a bookstore that had a book about the city that I wanted to purchase as a souvenior. I guess I was going between classes because I remember being in a hurry to get there. The bookstore was not far from the University of Bologna and for some reason the streets seemed to be buzzing with pedestrians more so than the usual. Because the streets were small, people were walking close to each other, and I remember listening in on bits and pieces of Italian conversation trying to understand a word or two, hearing friends huddled together as they walked, laughing, etc. but for the most part I was so focused on my mission that I wasn't paying much attention - until I lost my shoe. An Italian guy about my age, I am guessing, had given me a "flat". As he did, it was as if everything on the street froze - except my shoe -which went flying over people's heads and landed on a man about 5 paces ahead of me. Then everything unfroze, the sounds of the streets returned and the man turned around holding my shoe up over his head. The boy behind me and I just stared at each other in shock and horror, and then began laughing so hard, we had to move to the side of a building to get out of the way and catch our breaths. The man holding my shoe manuevered through the crowd to get back to us and the three of us laughed for what seemed like forever. I apologized in my "best Italian"and retrieved my shoe, the boy replayed what happened, we all laughed together again and then we all shook hands and stepped back into the crowds to go our own way.

I love moments like that. Moments shared with strangers that could have gone a completely different way. I could have been hobbling through the streets of Bologna back to class with an angry Italian man charging after me, yelling things I didn't understand while shaking a shoe over his head. But that didn't happen. Instead, I got to share a bottom of the belly shaking laughter with these two people, and looking in their eyes, it was obviously just a shared moment of humanness, of fun, of laughter at ourselves and the sillness in life. I'll never forget it.

Why do I share that? Cause today, I had another moment. While traversing the grocery store, list in hand, and pushing my cart, an older gentleman, (I'd say 60ish or so by his graying hair, although, his dark skin was the kind that I don't think will ever wrinkle so he could have been much older,) and I were trying to manuver around each other without much success. Everytime he'd go left, I'd go right, I'd go left, he'd go right. And each time we'd both apologize. When we finally were able to get it right, I laughed and said, "Thanks so much for the dance!" He laughed and started to walk away, but then came back and said, "Hey, too bad it isn't this past Tuesday night and we weren't dancing to ..and he starts singing "At last..., that was a beautiful song" (in reference to the Obama's inauguration dance) so we cart danced one more time as he sang and we laughed, and then he walked away, on to retrieve whatever he was there to get, waving with his back to me as I wished him a good day.

I saw the same thing in his eyes as I had that day 18 years ago in Italy, which is what brought the memory back along with several others. Do you have memories like that? Memories that you can turn back to when you are having a bad day, or need to remember that there are "good" people out there? I hope so. Write them down!! I just did.

And since this is SUCH a long post, without any pictures... I couldn't resist THIS little dance around the grocery store... I know it's random, but it made me laugh...

How The Day Sounds from Miky Wolf on Vimeo.

Monday, January 19, 2009

To Answer your Question

Several years ago, my friend Ann Marie shared with me an awesome magazine called Paper Crafts Gourmet. It was a one time issue, and when I tried to find it, it was already out of circulation. I was really disappointed because it combined my favorite hobbies: cooking/baking/entertaining/papercrafting! Recently, I found that they had come out with a book called Paper Crafts Gourmet, and I mentioned the name of it several posts down. I received a number of questions about where I found it, so here it is: Paper Crafts Gourmet

So, I'm hoping to be able to share some of the things that I've made as a result of the inspiration from this book in the coming months... but right now, I'm still working on the office!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How old IS Grown-Up?

Surprised Emmy today with an early birthday present... a trip to the beauty salon and then off to get her ears pierced!



And The Big Reveal:

okay... so maybe I got a little too close, but I think it's cause I just wanted to try to hug her back to about 3 1/2 again. She asked me at what age she'll become a "grown-up" because she is thinking 10. I said "35 if you are lucky". After we did a little window shopping we bought a box of Auntie Annie cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks and headed home to show the boys her new look. A fun morning had we! But I want to know where my baby girl went???!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Great Beginnings

I've been meaning to share how I started out my birthday...greeted by this....

Noah and Emily "surprised" me with a special breakfast in the dining room: grapefruit, a BIG glass of o.j. and REALLY buttered toast. They took this on all by themselves while I was in the shower. When I came downstairs I saw this first:

Notice the different stations around the table...peanut butter without the lid (peanut butter? Emily decided to make her own lunch...) toaster on the chair, the lunch box on the butter, the bread tumbling out of the plastic bag, the sugar and grapefruits, the orange juice container... those poor dears needed our WHOLE kitchen to make this gourmet feast! I'm such a blessed mom. And I can't imagine a better way to have started out my day.

Answer to Wednesday's post.... 1st pic: Anthropologie!! Love that store 2nd pic: William Sonoma ( how'd ya know, Annie??? :) Pic 3: Treated to a birthday lunch of Afternoon Tea at SpecialTeas. We also went to Anne Taylor Loft but I neglected to get a picture. My 3 favorite stores - all in one day! Brings a tear to my eye, never thought it would happen. Thanks for a fun-filled day, Maria!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guess Where I Am Today

I spent a much needed, wonderful day today with my dear friend, Maria. Guess where we went...( 3 pics, 3 different stops) Leave your answer in the comments, and I'll let you know if you were right tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

They're Hee-re

600 Boxes in my living room.....

yummy, chocolatey Girl Scout Cookies...

Now I just need to sort, distribute to my 10 adorable brownies, sell, deposit $, trade cookies, and pray that all the cookie money is accounted for in the end... and that I don't eat them all myself.


It can be a dangerous thing, having a blog. There is a fine line between sharing/journaling what one is feeling/experiencing at any given time, and creating an image of life and family that might not be accurate. Mostly, I want my blog to be a way to remember what was important to me and/or my family at any given time, and to keep others who are interested up to date. Occassionally, it is a fun way to share tidbits, and always, it is a creative outlet for me.

But when mostly all you post are positive experiences, well, one's life can start to seem - perfect. An individual can start to seem too good to be true. I sometimes start to feel that way with other blogs that I follow. And sometimes, I hate to admit, I compare my life to the perfection they are blogging. And tiny seeds of discontent can grow from that. I don't want that here at this blog. So, I ask for accountability in keeping it REAL.

For instance, if one should think it amazing that I had time to bake so many cookies over the holidays, I offer exhibit A:
My nightmare office that I've been putting off cleaning for months-
the other half of the room is even worse.
And there just happens to be a door and a window leaning against the bookcase there so you can't even see what's behind there. (in fact, not sure what's back there myself...)

For every evening of bliss around the dinner table after the dishes are cleared, know that there are 4 others of complete chaos, spills on the floor, whining and tears. There are many happy times here, but there are days bitten by disappointment, hurt feelings that need mending, floors that need washing and clothes that need folding. For every 2 papercrafting projects I complete, there are still 100 more I want to do. We do NOT eat a vegetable with every meal. And some days I just get in a major funk cause all I want to do is go to Europe. Oh, and my Mii hasn't lost any weight yet and for the past week all I've been craving is chocolate.

Just layin' it out there for ya, people.

I could go on, but I think you get the point, yes? I want to share stuff here, but don't want anyone to see it as bragging, and don't want to be creating a false image. So, if it starts to seem that way, let me know, and you can always stop back here to the Disclaimer to be reminded of just a few of the flaws I've shared so far...

And as for sharing... I'm hoping to share an "after" picture of the office with you within the week. Hold me accountable, please?

Friday, January 9, 2009


Many a person in my family tree has dealt with or is dealing with "digestive discomfort". I'm sure it is purely hereditary and has nothing to do with the lasagna ladened with layer upon layer of cheese and tomato sauce, the garlic endowed - everything, the flow of wine or any of the other culinary enjoyments my family partakes in. Nor do I think it has anything to do with the umm, how should I say, "excitability" of living in an Italian-ish family. Nope, it's purely genes.

To help settle digestive issues during my youth, my parents found a drink to replace coffee, which my sisters and I were allowed to have because it was healthy and contained no caffeine. After a few years, it disappeared from our pantry shelves. I asked my parents about it when I myself was diagnosed with "digestive issues" recently and they said that they could no longer find it in the stores.

So, I found it! Pero is now my drink of choice when decaf tea just isn't cutting it, and I need something "heavier". It doesn't taste quite like I remember as a kid, but when I add a little of my flavored creamier, I can easily be fooled.
To a healthier 2009!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Making Wishes

things I’m thankful for today…
the health of my family, the laughter of my children, the patience of my husband, the sound of the ocean, the dark chocolate in my pantry, the honesty and loyalty of my dear girlfriends, nutella, leftovers, Beth Moore's blog, my ice cream maker, the new Papercrafts Gourmet book, my camera, the bills that are paid, hearing from old friends, my sister's new home only 5 minutes away, the newness of my calendar, my playlist, the flannel sheets on my bed, fondue, my new sneakers, my laptop,, the recipe books cluttering my countertop, the name "Mom", recalling a Bible verse, goodnight kisses, Noah's ability to see rubber chickens in the clouds, my dad's hand whistle, playing the piano, remembering some Italian, Emily's toothless grin, mom and dad's beach house, a basketful of Christmas cards, figs and goat cheese, facials, "play-dates" with friends, plans to travel, finished scrapbooks, having a creative outlet, God's sovereignty,
And you. Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not-so-mini Mii

Last year I had a goal to lose an undisclosed amount of weight by my 40th birthday, which is - this week. I was doing pretty well until December. I could tell you that it was because I ate all of those Christmas cookies (a few blog posts down) myself instead of sharing them with neighbors, but that isn't true. I did eat my fair share of those... however, the particular food item that sank my ship (or tightened my clothes) was a delicious dessert, that once I began eating could not stop. The recipe was given to me by dear Tamara after telling us this summer that her favorite dessert when home in Switzerland is this: Toblerone Mousse. So, as it is January, and so many are determined to lose weight AGAIN this year, I give you the recipe. Enjoy, and keep in mind that this dessert, while it may weigh you down, will make you feel as if you are ascending towards the heavens, light as air. Pure bliss...

Toblerone Mousse
Serves 6 generously (if you care to share)

200 g. Toblerone Chocolate (2 triangular-tubed shaped boxes)
4 eggs, separated and whites whipped
1 cup cream, whipped

What to Do:
1. Melt the chocolate
2. Mix the egg yolks into the chocolate with the beater. Beat until smooth and thick.
3. Fold in whipped cream and blend well with the beater. Use a metal spoon to stir in the whipped egg whites til no foam is evident.
4. Spoon into dishes and chill. When set, top with a dollop of whipped cream and shavings of chocolate. ** I chose to put it in one big bowl and serve it at the table into individual cups, after it was chilled. More of an "all you can eat" approach - which have been the reason for my demise...

Here's a picture

Oops. Sorry, it was gone before I could get a shot. Pay no mind to the chocolate on my nose, please.

As for my Mii... well, we got the Wii Fit for Christmas. We set it up the other night, and well, my Mii, she's chubby. I'm going to have her workout when I finish here. Which is now, I think.