Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slow cooker apple-honey pork tenderloin

My sister-in-law shared this recipes with me and it's really a keeper. It's super easy and quick to make and it looks really pretty and fancy! Pork with apples and honey is such a classic combination. This recipe is a good start, but I think it will be fun to experiment and add different thing. Next time I am making this, I'll add some cinnamon. I made this in a slow cooker, because if you read my previous posts, you know that I am kind of obsessed with it, but I think baking this would be delicious too!

Slow cooker apple-honey tenderloin

Pork tenderloin (I used 2,5 lbs and had to cut it in half to fit in a slow cooker)
1 onion sliced
2 apples, sliced
1 C apple cider
1/4 C honey
2 Tbsp honey Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

On a cutting board rub the tenderloin all over with sat and pepper. Slice it about an inch apart without cutting all the way, stop just before you reach the bottom. Insert apple slices into each "pocket", like this

Continue until all the "pocket's are filled with apples.

Spray a slow cooker with some cooking spray or place some olive oil on the bottom. Spread sliced onions on the bottom. Placed your prepared tenderloin with apples on top.

In a bowl with apple cider add mustard and honey. Stir until combined and pour the mixture over the meat. Cover and set on low for 8 hours.

Hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dancing on a newspaper

When I think of my childhood memories, the ones of any parties or celebrations, dancing on a newspaper always comes to mind. No birthday party or a New Year's celebration would ever feel complete without that game. There would always have to be:
1. Musical chairs
2. Dancing on a newspaper
then the party went successfully. I don't know if they play this game in the US, but I've never heard of it here, so I'll tell you how to play it, because I think it's such a super fun activity to do with your kids, no matter is it's just you and her or if you're having kids over and need some ideas for easy entertainment. By the way, it's a totally appropriate and fun game for adults too. 

Here we go. All you need is a few newspaper pages. Allie had "the dance-off" with her aunt J, so we only needed 2. But you get the idea: you need as many newspaper pages, as you have players.  Start with a fully unfolded page. One for you, one for your opponent. Play some dancy music and just dance and have fun, but the point is to not step outside of your newspaper. If you step outside of it, you lose. With the kids, of course, you may want to modify the rules a bit and let them step wherever they want, it's still fun. If adults play the game, it's most fun to compete against couples and have each couple dance on one piece of a newspaper, it's a lot more challenging, really fun and funny. 

So just have fun and dance for 30 seconds or so. Then stop the music and have all the contestants fold their newspaper in half. Get back to dancing, now it's going to be harder, since you have less room to dance on. The fun part is that everyone really, really has to dance, not just stand there.  Give it another 30 seconds (the time's really flexible, 30 seconds is just what we were doing this time). You must be getting the idea now. Pause and fold the newspaper again. It's getting smaller and smaller and dancing on it is now harder and harder. 

Although we weren't strict with Allie about the rules, she still liked to play fair and tried not to step outside her newspaper. 

Keep folding until it's too small to dance on. If you're playing with older kids of adults, you play until all couples are out and you have 1 winner couple. It gets really entertaining: people dance on one foot, people hold their partner in their arms and dance that way, then dancing on one foot while holding someone. The fun really depends on how competitive your friends are. And while we had to bend all the rules for Allie, she still had tons of fun and really enjoyed her quality time wit her aunt J! We'll definitely do the newspaper dancing competition at her next birthday party!

Friday, February 22, 2013

How to get rid of baby fat? or my 30 day ab challenge

How? How? How? Who knows? I am actually wondering if anyone knows...

It's amazing how some women seem to bounce right back into their pre-pregnancy shape right after they have a baby. I am sooooo jealous  happy for them! While I consider myself a pretty lucky person, that kind of luck never caught up with me :(.  I had Allie 2 years ago and the baby fat is still here, nice and comfortable chilling in my lower belly. I am happy with everything else, but it's just that belly... urgh... 

Of course, I understand that to lose the belly 2 things need to happen: exercise and diet. But I guess it's just one of those tings that you hope is not really an answer, and the actual answer will be discovered in science soon and it will be lots of chocolate and as much sitting on a couch as possible.

Like many other new moms (am I still considered new? when should I stop using "new"?), I know it's hard to find time for exercising, I was only able to find the time and energy, when  Allie was about 1. I am really, really lucky to have a gym at work, where we have a number of different classes to choose from (fitness and toning, cardio, spyn, yoga...) and I am pretty sure we have the best instructors in the world, too. So the only time I can find in my day to exercise is during my lunch break at work. That way I don't feel like I am missing out on the time with Allie by wasting my time on stupid exercise (which is how exercise would feel if I did miss out on the time with Allie). I've been going to classes for a little over a year now, usually about 3 times per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It definitely sows results, I feel great, I feel stronger than I had before I started and I am happier with certain pregnancy-affected body parts, and healthy, blah-blah-blah, but the lower belly... seriously  it's like some kind of a permanent damage. 

So clearly, just my exercise habits are not enough. Time to think about diet. Not in the sense of starting to eat fruit only, or say goodbye to a certain group of foods, but diet in the sense of when I eat, how much I eat and what I eat. 

A few month ago I switched our dinner time to 6, when Allie eats. The main reason behind that was dealing with Allie's "picky eating period", which I wrote a little about here. It definitely helped and in addition, it made our eating habits healthier: eating at 6 rather than 8 feels a lot better. It certainly comes with challenges, because the dinner now needs to be prepared in about 40 minutes at longest, but that's why my slow cooker and I are such good friends. That was about the only change I've done to my eating habits. I know what I really need to do is eat less of those refined carbs and eat less overall. But that's really, really tough for me. I LOVE to eat, especially carbs. A nice crusty white bread fresh and still warm right out of the local bakery, a big bowl  (or 2) of spaghetti with a hearty sauce, some nice cookies with a cup of tea for dessert. That's all very hard to say no to, that's why I am not doing that. At best I can cut back a bit, but if I even start thinking about giving up pastries or chocolate or white pasta, I lose all motivation to deal with my belly and I start thinking how it's not really a big deal to have a belly, and there are much more serious problems in the world. So I should just make my piece with it. That's not the kind of thinking I need!That's why I am just gradually working on making my pasta portions smaller and skipping "something sweet"  once in a while with my tea and so on. Nothing drastic.

Wow, that is a one veeery long introduction to what I am actually trying to say. So I saw this "30 days braid challenge" on Hair Romance and thought how cool it was! Not for me, but for someone else. I could not possibly find enough time in the morning to do my hair differently for 30 days. My hair trend right now is wear a pony tail for 30 days every month. It's working out great! But seeing that challenge totally inspired me to do my ow. Conveniently, I had a problem that could use a challenge  Wait, had? Have (present tense). I've decided to do a 30 day AB CHALLENGE! Yes, for 30 days, regardless whether I exercised that day or not, I have to do 100 ab moves. Every day, for 30 days, not skipping any days. I thought it would be more meaningful if I document it here, because that way I will feel more pressure to go through with it. Does anyone want to join me? That'd be so fun to do it together! It's great, because it's realistic, doable and easy it's good, ok? Noone can say they have no time for it, because I timed it and it takes 5 minutes exactly. Who doesn't have 5 minutes?

I am on day 3 as of tonight and just got done with my 100 ab moves. They can be any ab exercises you want, I combine really hard ones with medium and easy ones, because if I only stuck with the hard ones, this challenge would be over on day 2. Do what's convenient for you, something pushy enough to bring some results, but something not so hard that you actually don't want to do it. There are plenty of exercise examples out there, just go on Pinterest and you'll be overwhelmed by all the options you have.

I'll report back in 27 days on my progress. If that doesn't do it, then I'll revisit the topic of cookies and chocolate again and may actually have to consider quitting... (yeah, right...) If you're doing it with me, let me know, that would provide for an extra motivation and good luck to us!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stuffed Peppers

I figured I had to include my Stuffed Peppers recipe at some point, since it's one of the most popular Eastern European dishes. It seems that every cuisine has its own version of stuffed peppers. This is the Russian version. We use simple ingredients and sweet bell peppers of different colors for delicious taste and a beautiful presentation. It's a great dish, because it's a complete dish on its own, it doesn't need any sides, since it has everything: veggies, meat and starch. Very kid friendly, too. What I do for Allie is I buy a few tiny little bell peppers and stuff them for her, so she has her own small serving, and she really enjoys those tiny versions of the dish that Mama and Dada are having.

Stuffed Peppers

½ cup white rice
1 ½ lbs ground beef or turkey (I usually use turkey)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup mayonnaise (optional)

In a saucepan add equal amounts of rice and water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to
a medium-low and cook until the rice has adsorbed all of the water - about 10 minutes.
Let it cool down.

Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Slice the tops off the peppers and reserve them. Remove
and discard the seeds and ribs. Now the peppers are ready to be stuffed.

Prepare the stuffing by mixing together partially cooked rice, ground beef or turkey, onion, carrot,
parsley, salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the peppers, leaving a little room because
the rice will plump up a bit more while cooking. Once all the peppers are filled, spread a
little mayo on top of each pepper and cover them up with the reserved pepper tops.

In a Dutch oven add chicken stock and mix in tomato paste. Transfer the peppers into the
Dutch oven. There should be enough stock to come up to center of the peppers. Cover
the pot and bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium, leave the lid on and
continue cooking until the filling is cooked through - about 40 minutes.

Remove the cooked peppers from the pot and transfer them onto a serving platter.
Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Traditionally in my family we always served the peppers
with a little mayo on the side, but they are great if you top them with a little cooking

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A cool collage (cool-lage?) project for kids

Last weekend Allie had a special Valentine's Day dedicated playdate with Mooney. My friend, Moony's mom, brought over all kinds of arts and crafts supplies and Allie and Mooney were making Valentine Cards. Or what really happened is that my friend and I were making cards and the girls were covering themselves in red finger paint and trying to cut as much paper as possible. Still it was very cute. I don't get to see Allie playing with other kids much since it happens at the daycare, and it was so fun seeing the little girlfriends together. I mean how cute is it? Ladies cooking in the kitchen:

That day seeing all the cool arts and crafts supplies that Mooney's mom had, I realized that I had nothing. Nothing but a few crayons and some coloring books. I didn't even realize they made little safe scissors for toddlers, what a cool crafty item! Mooney's mom had everything stacked nicely in a large plastic container which I thought was a genius idea. I couldn't wait to get to a store where I could "build" myself the same supply box. 

A few days later Allie and I took a field trip to a craft store and bought all kinds of tings: washable paints, and finger paints, and the scissors, and glue sticks and new pencils and brushes and even a little puzzle, that by the way was a complete waste of money (too flimsy, pieces don't stay together :(( It was Allie's first impulse purchase. I am sure there will be more, she is a girl after all. I placed all the new items in plastic bin, just like Mooney's mom does (thank you for the inspiration! ;)) So now Allie and I are well stocked for making all sorts of art.

In our pre-supplies life, this was Allie's favorite project, maybe it will be a useful idea for somebody to do with your kids. I cut out different pictures from magazines (from ads mostly): animals, cars, food items, flowers and Allie would glue them on white paper. She just loves doing that and it doesn't cost anything, not messy and is really so much fun for her. She can literally do it for hours (but I usually run out of my cut-outs a lot sooner). Sometimes I do my prep work of cutting the pictures during watching some TV show, so it's very effortless for me, as well. Try it if you haven't yet, those collages really seem to keep them entertained for a while.

I imagine now that we have the scissors (which clearly I cannot get over, they are just too cool!), Allie will be able to cut her own images and this will only add to the fun.

P.S. Posting this on Valentine's Day and can't help but noticing how my images have a theme of the wrong holiday going on...  Will be more prepared for the next Valentine's day...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lesson from my mom: spend on experiences, not things

This past weekend MJ and I took Allie to see Disney-on-Ice, which I know is self-explanatory, but for those who’s never heard of it, it was a series of really great Disney cartoon performances,  only instead of being shown on TV, it was all danced and sang and performed by figure skaters. Very good ones! It was amazing! And only made more amazing for us, because of how much we lucked out with the tickets. I just have to include that part, because I still can’t get over it! The show we originally booked the tickets for was cancelled because of the crazy snow storm we had here over the last weekend. After trying to exchange the tickets for another show, the best I was getting was the 7 pm show, which clearly is not a good idea for a 2 year old. So I was starting to quietly give up. 

On Sunday during Allie’s afternoon nap and about an hour before the 3 pm show I was feeling increasingly guilty, because we’ve been telling Allie about the show for weeks now. And now the best she was gonna get was a home-made puppet theater and Donald and Mickey speaking with Mom’s and Dad’s voiced from behind the chair. So I called the venue and was told that there are still tickets, but they are all in the last rows. My mind rushed back into my childhood, when my mom took me and my sister to theaters, circuses and other fun events and we always ended up watching the show from nearly the front rows, although we usually started up much, much further away from the stage. Since I always want to be the kind of mom, that my mom is, I thought here was my chance. I’d bring Allie to the front once the show starts without anybody seeing me, because there always seem to be unoccupied seats in the front. Always. I don’t think MJ was too excited about the whole sneaking-to-the-front part, but he joined us anyway. Fast forward…. Somehow we ended up in the VIP seating area. I don’t know how. Those were the seats that our tickets directed us to, but we were looking around nervously for at least 10 minutes after we sat down, thinking that someone was going to kick us out. Noone did.
Anyway, there is a point to this story. Once again I was reminded that going to events like that one is something we should always, always do as a family, whenever we get an opportunity. We can say NO to buying new unnecessary clothes, we don’t have to go out to restaurants often, we can watch movies on DVD instead of going to the movies, we can make our own lunches instead of going out, but we must go to these fun events. That's the thing to spend money on. That's another lesson from my mom: she has always taight us to spend on experiences, not material  things.  I cannot tell you how much Allie loved it and just seeing her reaction when Minnie-Mouse or Mickey-Mouse and others came out – it was just priceless. MJ and I were almost in tears (happy tears) just seeing her face. She was amazed, fascinated, surprised and just so, so, so happy and excited! She couldn't contain it, she kept yelling out
 “Donald Duck is here!!!”
“Where did Goofy go?”
“Will Flounder come back?”
It was just adorable and although I loved the show very much, my main source of that unbelievable positive energy and happiness came from seeing Allie reacting to it. 

We took Allie to see Sesame Street a couple months ago and while I had no idea what was happening on the stage (because I couldn't understand any words they were signing, but as MJ explained to me later: there was in fact a plot), I loved it and again the part that I loved was seeing Allie's fascinated face.

I just cannot wait to experience more and more through Allie's eyes and feeling. So often even something ordinary becomes amazing when Allie looks at it and she definitely passes on her emotions and fascination to me. What a gift that is!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snack time

Today Allie and I made a snack together. She likes to sit on our kitchen counter when I cook. Sometimes she just watches me as I peel, chop, clean and cook, but most of the time she insists on helping, so I usually have to make up little tasks for her: move this here, pour this in there, break this into pieces...  

While we were making our snack today, she was actually completing real useful tasks to pepare the smoothie, as opposed to the typical fake tasks that she's in charge of. We made a very yummy smoothie for the both of us and Allie peeled a banana, broke the banana into pieces, added spoonfuls of yogurt in the blender and squeezed the honey out of the honey bear. All real stuff! Very soon she won't even need my help to fix herself a snack. Basically all I did, was I cleaned the strawberries and pressed "on" and then "off" on the blender. 

Make your child feel helpful in the kitchen, make this snack together :)

Banana-strawberry smoothie

1 banana
7-10 strawberries, depending on their size
1 C plain yogurt ( I use Greek yogurt)
2 Tbsp honey
a splash of milk

Combine and puree everything in a blender till smooth. Enjoy! Feel free to adjust the honey depending on how sweet you like your smoothies.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to potty train

Ahhh potty training... Fun, fun, fun...

If you are getting ready to potty train your child, here is what you'll need:

  • A potty seat
  • Pull-ups
  • Padded underwear (Potty Training underwear)
  • Lots and lots of patience
  • A few good kid books in the bathroom
  • Some nice colorful stickers

Although I’ve had some ideas and techniques that I read about for potty training for a while now, I didn’t really feel it would be appropriate of me to write about it until my own kid is potty trained. I think I am now at the point where I am “qualified”… At least potty training for the daytime has been completed successfully. Potty situation at night is a bit different, but I think it is completely natural and we probably don’t have to cross that bridge quite yet. In the meantime, Allie has stayed dry all day, every single day for the last 3 weeks (minus just a couple little accidents). Wearing big girl underpants and all! MJ and I are so proud of her.
I am sure the potty training age I am referring to (2 years old) will shock some readers in some countries, I know it’s considered pretty late in many cultures. But I think for the US (well, from what I hear and what I read and what I see), 2 seems to be an average age to do it, maybe even on a early side.  Most moms have a very short maternity leave and like myself, they do not spend long enough time with their kids to be able to potty train them too early.
Well, I am going to share our potty training story and tell you how it happened with us and you decide if you find any of the information helpful for yourself.
Let’s start by saying that I initially started to attempt to train Allie around age 1. That’s the age that my sister and I were already potty trained by, like most babies in our culture. I had read  A LOT of books, blogs and websites and used little techniques and tricks that I learnt now and then. While that was quite frustrating and didn’t really work too much, I think in the long run it was helpful to start doing it early to get Allie used to the potty and just to show her what it’s all about.  I would rush her to the bathroom right after she woke up from her nap, I would try to get her there soon after she had something to drink, etc. Sometimes I caught her on time, sometimes I didn’t. Many ups and downs.  During the “ups” I always made sure to reward her for doing it on a potty.  I kept a bunch of nice big stickers in the bathroom and gave one to Allie as a reward. She really liked getting stickers, but it was more like “If I pee on a potty, I get a sticker – great! But if I pee in a diaper and don’t get one, that’s no biggie … Whatevs…” Allie would think.
Eventually I just stopped after my friend at work, who had already potty trained once, told me to just chill out and wait until Allie is ready and wants to do it herself. So I chilled out.
One day a few weeks ago when Allie was 2 years and 1 month something must’ve just clicked in her head. She was ready! She came to me and said “Mama, I want to pee” (only she said “want” in English, “pee” in Russian and the rest in Allie-ish).  So I took her to the bathroom and *Ta-da!* like a total pro, Allie peed on a potty! I was pretty excited. But not as excited as when for the 2nd time that day she asked me to go pee again. This is when I knew it was happening. So I was very conscious of her “peeing times” and made sure to take her to the bathroom every hour or so. Even if she didn’t go right away, we’d hang on a potty and read books and stuff.
Now I knew from all my “potty literature” that I should expect set backs. But you know, we didn’t really have many at all! Right after that first day of success I went to the store and got a pack of pull-ups, so Allie could start learning taking her pants off and putting them on by herself. Our daycare gives us little “report cards” that include the info about the dry/wet/bm situation and the times of occurrences, so after seeing those cards and noticing a very quick improvement with each day, I bought some real underwear for Allie (I started with the padded kind) and brought them to the daycare. We only ended up being in the pull-ups stage for 1 week.  Now she only wears the underwear during the daytime (even nap), a diaper goes on for the night only.  During the last few weeks we had a couple accidents, and weirdly enough, unlike what they say about #2 potty training typically  being taken care of before the #1,  they were "the number 2" kinds of accidents, with  but overall it’s been great!  Oh my god, we are going to save so much money on diapers! I am psyched!
Allie is so proud of herself! She told MJ the other day “Daddy, I pee on a potty  like a big Bird!” (a Sesame Street fan’s interpretation of a “Big girl”).
So the lessons that I learnt from this whole experience:

  • Not to rush your child, apparently they DO let you know when they are ready. But at the same time, start the occasional visits to the bathroom early, just to demonstrate what it is for.
  • Not to get too graphic, but doing it on a potty together with mommy or daddy have seemed more motivational tp Allie.
  • Be encouraging and attentive. If you are seeing any signs for readiness, make sure to help your child to follow the new routine. Take them to the bathroom frequently.
  • “A reward system” in the beginning is great. Reward her with a sticker or something  fun when they “accomplish the mission". Some people talk about rewarding with some food item that wouldn't be allowed otherwise, but I don't like the whole idea of mixing potty matters and food.
  • Be patient. In the beginning you may spend a lot of your time in the bathroom, reading books and cheering on. But it’s good to get them used to the potty and have it associated with positive emotions.  Although there has to be a balance. You don’t want them to start thinking that potty is mostly meant for reading. It’s just a little added benefit.
  • Pull-ups are such a great invention for a “transitional period”, when they start going to the potty, but still have accidents. But I wouldn’t get stuck on them for too long. Once the pull-up/pull-down skill is learnt, it may be the time to move on to real underwear (and whoever invented the padded underwear for kids was a genius).
  • Don’t be angry or punish your child if she had an accident, but do let her know that she is a big girl/big boy/big bird (apparently) now, so she needs to use a potty
  • I think there is no need to rush with the nighttime potty training. It will come eventually. Allie is starting to wake us up early because she needs to potty. And frankly at 5 am I really wish that she would just do it in a diaper… But of course, I praise her desire to potty in the right place.
  • This is a piece of advice and note to self:  include hand washing in the potty routine. Make it clear right from the get-go that we wash our hands right after using the potty. I need to get on that with Allie….
Good luck!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine's Day decoration idea

I have been thinking about holiday traditions lately, how every family has their own.  Like everyone else, our little family has a few traditions, as well, but I haven’t really been paying much attention to that.  I think I should be more attentive about it now, that we have a child (I sound like I’ve just had a baby, when it’s been 2 years that we are not such a little family anymore…) 

So one of my goals is try to create more special holiday traditions, that are unique to our family. Unique and naturally created, and also some stolen ones, because sometimes I hear of a great tradition from a family and I immediately want to bring it home. For example, one of my colleagues at work is the queen of family traditions, I just love to hear about them. The ones to copy so far: they celebrate half-birthdays and for their half-birthdays kids get half a cake, half a present etc. I am totally doing this for Allie! Another one that I love is that their kids have always gotten 3 gifts for Christmas: something to read, something to wear, and something to play with. While I love getting Christmas presents, sometimes I think that kids in the US just get way too many presents for Christmas and I wonder if they value those presents as much as they would if they had gotten just one or 2. When my sister and I were growing up in Belarus, we never had the piles of gifts under the Christmas tree, like a lot of kids have in the US. We always got 1 or 2 gifts and always a bag of chocolates and candy. And then I would eat my candy and blackmail ask nicely my sister for hers. 

But anyway, this is not about just Christmas, this is about holiday traditions in general.  My family had a bunch. For example, we always had the same   New Years’ dinner (which is probably the same as most other families in the former Soviet Union had): baked chicken legs, roasted potatoes (that we called French fries. Although they were very Russian fries), Olivie salad (which is kind of like an American potato salad but with 5 or 6 more ingredients), “Herring under the coat” (which is a salad made out of herring, beets, potatoes and a couple other things. And while it's not understood everywhere,  it’s delicious). We also had a bunch of games that we played as a family on New Years night. My mom, my dad, my sister and I were supposed to think of a game or two before the festivities, so we always had very busy New Year's nights. These are just a couple, but now I am feeling that I need to write a whole separate post on holiday traditions. 

That was just a bunch of rambling, but really what I am trying to say is that I think it's important to create some holiday traditions that Allie will remember when she gets older. So I thought from now on, starting with the next holiday, I am going to start decorating the house with the holiday themed decorations. Even if it's something easy and simple (which is how it's going to be). And while I am not good at arts and crafts, I can probably do something low profile... Like for example,the next holiday we have is Valentine's Day. I can probably have some nice red and pink heart-pattern kitchen towels around during the month of February. Or special heart-shaped placemats. They don't require any work, other than getting those things out for only special occasions. And recently I found this really cool idea for a centerpiece that I just loved and decided to make.  It's basically what you're seeing right here: 3 short vases filled halfway with heart shaped candy. Then you put a small candle in the middle and wrap a pretty bow around the vases. That's it. Frankly, it did look much better in an original version of this idea (sorry, can't give a reference, I just saw it somewhere online and memorized it, but have no idea where it was...), but I think for a person who doesn't normally do stuff like that, I did a pretty good job! The original had a nice wide red bow around, but I used what I had: a silver bow an then pieces of thick pink yarn that I had on hand on top of the bow. So yeah, use what you have.

This is going to be a part of our special Valentine's decoration. I also got a small $1 heart-themed wreath for the front door, got the "heart-y" kitchen towels out and will get some red or pink napkins. Should probably also bake some cookies or cupcakes and decorate them with red or pink sugar.. But that's just thinking out loud here... It just creates a special holiday atmosphere and puts you in better spirits during the cold month of February.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What a fun read!

Fun read for moms, I should say... This is not a cardboard book for kids that I want to write about. And yes, I do remember that this blog is not about book recommendations, but once in while I come across  such a great book (sometimes for kids, sometimes not) that I just can't help but sharing. 

Today just happens to be such an occasion that I finished a book I absolutely loved! It was such a great break from how to potty train, how to say no to your toddler and how to handle tantrums series of books and such a fun read! (A post on Potty Training is coming soon though). The book is called "Heartburn" and written by Nora Ephron. That's the first book that I read by this author, but  am hooked! After I am done with this post, I am going to my library's website and ordering another book by her.

This book combines my 3 favorites things in books:
-engaging from page #1

The plot of the book is ironically a sad story of a woman's marriage breaking, but she writes it in such a way that you actually end up laughing most of the time. Because the heroine of the book is a cookbook writer, she drops a bunch of nice little recipes here and there that are described in 2-3 sentences and only include a few ingredients, so you immediately want to cook them right away. I ended up cooking her bread pudding the day after I read the part of the book with the recipe. Yes it has 2 sticks of butter in there and 2 cups of sugar, but it's soooo worth it (we only live once, right?)

So if you're looking for a next great book to read and want something light, easy and funny with an added benefit of inspirational recipes, this one is the way to go.I am putting it on my list of "Books to reread". Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.