Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Fourth Anniversary

Our fourth wedding anniversary was on Wednesday.  We had planned to go out last Friday night, but Nolan was sick so we stayed home.  Mrs. Bickel was gracious enough to keep the kiddos for us, so we went out on Tuesday. 

We parked the car in Park Slope and hopped on the train so we didn’t have to find a parking spot in downtown Brooklyn.  It’s been a long time since I rode the subway with just Ben!

Fourth Anniversary

Ben took me to Juniors.  They have been making world-famous cheesecake since 1950, and it is a true Brooklyn experience.  While I can’t say the food was anything extraordinary, it was certainly delicious!  We had a fried calamari appetizer which is one of my faviortes! The cheesecake, however, was out of this world!  I had a festive slice of pumpkin swirl cheesecake. 

Fourth Anniversary

Our beverages were served in glasses that had lines on them for the proper proportions of an “Egg Cream.”  I was intrigued enough that I ordered one to accompany my dessert.  It is flavored syrup {I chose coffee}, milk, and seltzer.  It doesn’t sound great, but it was yummy!

Fourth Anniversary

First Snow

It is snowing right now.  According to the weather channel it was predicted to start tonight and we might get an inch.  After enjoying a late brunch of eggs and pumpkin pancakes, we looked out the window to see the large wet flakes beginning to fall.  It didn’t take long before the swimming pool and lawn furniture in our neighbor’s back yard were accumulating the white fluff.

First NYC Snow

Elaine was a little more than excited to see the snow falling.  We donned hats, mittens, coats, and snow pants to go for a quick tramp out front in the snow.  There wasn’t much to be had because the snow isn’t sticking to the ground yet, but Elaine was thrilled!

First NYC Snow  First NYC Snow

First NYC Snow

First NYC Snow

We read on the news today that this is the earliest snow NYC has received since the Civil War!  This is Nolan’s first snow, but since he is still napping he doesn’t really know what he is missing!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nolan’s Bumbo

Here is a picture of Nolan the first time that he sat in his Bumbo.  He wasn’t very good at holding up his head!

Nolan in Bumbo for the first time

Nolan is growing so fast I can hardly remember when he was that little.  He sits in the Bumbo a lot now, and he really seems to like it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Scones

Money Saving Mom had a link to a recipe for Pumpkin Scones recently.  I made a batch…and then another!  They were sooooo delicious.  They are the perfect autumn breakfast or coffee compliment!  Here is the recipe, originally found at The Shoebox Kitchen.

Ingredients:Pumpkin Scones
2 c. flour
1/4 c. + 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. canned or fresh pumpkin puree
3 Tbsp. half and half
1 egg

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter, blend butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, half and half, and egg.  Add at once to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  The secret to perfect scones are a minimum of handling!  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Cut into triangles.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Spiced Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of ground cloves

Combine sugar and spices.  Blend in milk until glaze reaches drizzling consistency.  Cool scones and then drizzle with glaze.

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

The original recipe called for two glazes, but I thought that was overkill.  I also cut some large and some small triangles for my scones.  I made my own pumpkin puree using the information gleaned from this post.  Use a washed sugar/pie pumpkin and coat it with coconut oil.  I then placed it in a 9x13 casserole pan and baked it at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Then slice the pumpkin open, scrape out the seeds (this task is so much easier after the pumpkin is baked rather than before), and then the “meat” of the pumpkin falls right off the skin.  I blended it in the blender with a small amount of water until smooth.  Two pumpkins yielded me 6 cups of puree, which I froze for making these scones and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

A Note to Men

Our toilet seat has been loose and wiggly for a while now.  I finally bought a new one this week.  I installed it myself because I had a guest on their way over to the house, and the current seat was barely held in place!  I happened to glance down at the box and got quite a chuckle out of a little note at the bottom.  Here’s what it said:

So there you have it.  The secret to a harmonious home!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Glimpse into Brooklyn: The Feast of Tabernacles

This post is for my friends outside of NYC.  If you’re like me, you are a little ignorant of some of the Jewish holidays that are celebrated.  Living in Brooklyn has opened my understanding to a lot of things regarding the Jewish people.  Though I knew the Old Testament was given to the Jewish people, I am learning more and more about just how Jewish my faith as a Christian really is!

I wanted to share an example with you.  We have a large Orthodox Jewish neighborhood not far from us.  In fact, I gave birth to Nolan at the hospital in that neighborhood!  I am always amazed to see how fastidious they are in their traditions – keeping the Sabbath, wearing the prayer shawl, and the modesty of their dress to name a few.  It is amazing to drive through Boro Park and just watch the people.  It is also sad, because they are so lost and so blind, though they claim to serve the same God as do I.

Last week the Feast of Tabernacles began.  My pastor has written a series of handouts on the Jewish Feasts and Festivals and he gives them to us at the appropriate time of year.  This is from his handout on Sukkot:

It is the harvest festival to remember God’s visible presence and abundant provision during Israel’s forty years in the wilderness. God commands seven days to be set aside to dwell in a sukkah (booth) to recall with rejoicing their temporary homes.

Today, the building of the sukkah begins at the close of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It must have a view of the stars through a palm and willow roof decorated with harvest fruit. It is the custom to carry myrtle, palm and willow branches (lulav) which are bound together and held in the right hand, while the etrog (citrus fruit) is held in the left hand and waved together by individuals at the appropriate time during the synagogue services.

John described Him [Jesus] as the Word that was made flesh and “dwelt” (God in a sukkah/booth) among us (John 1:14). The resurrected Messiah ascended to Heaven and the Spirit descended to dwell not just among us, but in us. The Church, every believer, is God’s sukkah (Ephesians 2:22).

The Orthodox Jewish people actually build a sukkah on their house to celebrate this feast.  I coerced Ben into driving through Boro Park so I could take a picture and show you what they look like!

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
Some are bought, and look very “professional” and nice.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
Some are just plywood panels.  Most sukkahs that I have seen are on the terrace or in the front yard.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
This one is more like a tent.  Some are just tarps over a frame.

Feast of Tabernacl Sukkah's
I really wanted a picture of a blue sukkah, because they are prettier.  Ben was nice enough to drive around until we found this one.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paint Chip Color Matching

Recently a friend gave us some paint chip samples to make an activity for Elaine to learn her colors.  We put it together last week.  Here is the original inspiration for this craft.  They did it to teach different shades of colors.

I cut the paint samples to 2x3”, rounded the corners, and laminated them.  Then we cut a smaller square, about 1x1” and glued each one to a clothespin.  Not only does this teach color matching (and names), but it helps to develop motor skills!

Paint chip color matching Elaine

Paint chip color matching Elaine

Paint chip color matching Elaine

Paint chip color matching Elaine

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to Drink Chocolate Milk

Last week Ben earned the title of “best daddy” when he introduced Elaine to chocolate milk.  Here’s how to have chocolate milk…Elaine style!

Gather the stuff…cup, straw, milk, syrup.

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Pour in Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.  It’s important to buy the name-brand product for this one!

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Stir!

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Daddy says it needs more chocolate.  Add some more!

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Insert straw.

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Taste.  This is the first reaction.  Always give it a second chance!

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Mmmmm.  Much better!

Elaine's first chocolate milk

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nursery Organization–Frugal Style

update: I was featured on IHeart Organizing for Reader’s Space!  If you are here from IHeart Organizing, thanks for stopping by!

One of the two closets we have in our Brooklyn apartment is in the kids’ room.  It has been the catch-all for anything that doesn’t have a home…and it’s been driving me nuts.  It wasn’t high on Ben’s priority list because he isn’t in that room very often, and there wasn’t a lot of money in the budget to spend on cool organizational containers.  So…I decided the tackle the task, frugal style.  In the end I was very pleased with the results.

BEFORE:

I only took one before picture, and it’s hard to tell what is going on, but most of it was a mess!

Nursery Makeover

AFTER:

Here is the final after shot.  I’ll show you some close-ups as we go along!

Nursery Makeover

Nolan’s clothes were organized into plastic tubs and labeled by size.  I already had these containers, but they were a mess. 

Nursery Makeover

I used the same labels that I had designed for Elaine’s clothing bins.  They match the Peter Rabbit d├ęcor of the nursery.

Nursery Makeover

Nolan’s clothes had to go in the closet because Elaine’s were already stored under the crib (below).  I would have preferred bigger containers, but the closet isn’t very deep so I had to get the only size that would fit.  In the end it was a good choice because I will have to be selective in which clothes I choose to keep for future boys (if there are any).  I don’t have room to store everything!

Nursery Makeover

Back to the closet.  There is a lot of storage room above the shelf, but the height of the door frame limits the access.  I had things in zippered plastic bags (like new comforter’s come in), but they were all just thrown and shoved onto the shelf and it was hard to find the needed items.

Nursery Makeover

I decided to use cardboard boxes.  I have a lot of them on hand from my internet business.  But…I was going for a more visually appealing effect.  So I covered the front of each box with a piece of 12”x12” scrapbooking paper.  I just folded it to overlap on the top and the bottom.  Since the items in these boxes are not used frequently, I didn’t feel the need to cover the whole box.  I popped off some more labels – IHeart Organizing style – and taped them on the boxes!

I also re-organized the toys.  For one toddler and one baby, I feel like I have toys coming out my ears!  (Thank you, grandparents.  The endless noise from these toys never ceases to remind us of you!)

I also added a shoe organizer for Nolan’s little shoes and other items.  Elaine had an organizer on the front of the door was was whipped into better organization.

Nursery Makeover  Nursery Makeover

And I sorted the clothes by child and by size, eliminating the ones that Elaine had grown out of.  Why didn’t I do that before?  Now I have a better idea of what we have and what we need for the fall/winter!

Nursery Makeover

Elaine loves to draw and color.  I used some containers already on hand to get her art supplies into shape!

Nursery Makeover

Nursery Makeover

We use a frosting container for crayons and a parmesan cheese shaker for markers!

I don’t have much space to store a lot of craft supplies, but I do like to keep things on hand for making projects for my toddler.  I don’t remember where I saw the idea, but I chose to use Ziploc bags and clip hangers (or clothespins and a hanger) to hang them in the closet.  Most of the kids’ clothes are in drawers, so we had the space to spare on the clothes bar.

Nursery Makeover Nursery Makeover

These plastic drawers have been around for a while, but we re-purposed them for the toys, baby doll “equipment”, purses (Elaine has TONS of those considering she is not yet two!), and quiet/learning activities.

Nursery Makeover

Nursery Makeover

Nursery Makeover

I really like Elaine’s book “center.”  It is an old army trunk from WWII that I got for $1 at a garage sale when I was in high school.  I sponge painted it.  It holds extra sheets and bedding.  (We have another larger one as the coffee table in our living room).  We just turned a crate on it’s side for the books.  And the blocks found a home in a big plastic candy “barrel” that our neighbor was going to recycle. 

And just in case you’re wondering – that is an original Little People farm.  I played with it as a little girl too, and now Elaine gets to enjoy it!

Nursery Makeover

And since we’re in the nursery, I just want to take another opportunity to show off the crib.  Ben made built (that’s a more manly word, right?) it, and it will {hopefully} last for generations.  I think it is just so pretty!  And I made the crib sheet and blankets.

Nursery Makeover

So that’s it – the nursery organized, and I didn’t spend a dime on it!  Thanks for stopping by.  I found a lot of my ideas at IHeart Organizing, and Pinterest.