A Fabulous Retro Website

The Glamorous HousewifeI just discovered a fabulous website that I love, The Glamorous Housewife! It has a retro feel and provides inspiration for anyone who wants to add a little more glamour to housekeeping.

I really enjoy Bethany’s vintage pictures and posts on cooking, entertaining, fashion and domestic design. The 50′s and 60′s have always been very appealing to me. It was a time when women wore pretty dresses, pearls. and aprons.

For years I have enjoyed being a stay at home Mom, but it is very easy to get a little too comfortable being home. Why get dressed up and put on makeup if know one will see you? It was also hard to find the time when my boys were little.

However, I find I feel better and get more accomplished if I do take the time to put on something nice. I also just so happen to adore skirts, so if it’s warm out, most of the time you will find me in a skirt or dress.

I live in a pretty rural area where most people don’t dress up and mainly wear jeans. Back in suburbia where I grew up, dressing up was the norm. And of course being a teacher, I needed to look the part. But after being home in the country, I often felt like I didn’t fit in when I dressed up just to go out shopping.

Despite this, I am learning to embrace my inner girl! I try not to worry what other people think and wear clothes that make me feel good. It is comforting to see that there are others such as Bethany who feel the same way!

 


Summer Science Experiments

Book CoverYesterday we made bombs. No not the dangerous kind, but rather small plastic bag bombs that exploded in our driveway with a loud bang!

You simply need to make a paper towel packet full of baking soda to drop into a sandwich bag full of vinegar. Seal the bag, walk away and wait for the gasses formed by the chemical reaction to cause the bag to explode! A very fun, yet simple experiment to do with your kids.

Our goal is to try out a new experiment from The Book Of Totally Irresponsible Science almost every day. This book has some daring experiments that my older boys will like, such as making static electric slime and a cola geyser, and also teaches the scientific concept which the teacher in me loves.

I know it’s summer, but I don’t want my boys brains to go completely to mush!


Chocolate Pavlova

Chocolate Pavlova

What is Pavlova you say? Well, Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. A chef in New Zealand created the dish for Pavlova when she visited the country on her 1926 world tour.

This particular recipe has a crisp chocolaty meringue crust, with a chocolate and whipped cream topping. Our good friend made this for a lovely summer party we attended last night.

It was absolutely delicious! Also, quite festive since she topped it with blackberries and raspberries. Red, white and blue for the upcoming 4th of July!

I just love trying something new and unusual. You can check out the recipe at PureWow.


Summer Gratitude

sunrise

Today I am grateful for…

  • Planting pretty flowers with my Mom at the lake. We need more color and beauty in our lives!  
  • My son being invited to a fun end of the year party at an old farmhouse with good friends, good food and a winding river for swimming.
  • Lovely new summer magazines to browse through for ideas and inspiration while relaxing outside in the sun!
  • Being able to order yummy pizza from a local restaurant when I just don’t feel like cooking on a warm summer night.
  • A summer solstice celebration with the guys that involved catching fireflies and lighting sparklers after dark. So looking forward to relaxing summer days with my boys.

To Russia With Love

russia-c

The Olympic games have begun in Russia. Maybe it’s because I am of Polish and Ukrainian descent, but I am fascinated by Russia. I especially love the colorful St. Basil’s cathedral that looks like something out of Candy Land. It was built in 1555 on orders from Ivan the Terrible. I so hope to be able to visit it someday.

I am also intrigued by the story of the Russian Czar Nicholas Romanov, his daughter Anastasia and his family that were all brutally murdered. I love the beautiful wooden Matryoshka nesting dolls where each one fits so perfectly inside the other. Russian painted eggs or jeweled Faberge eggs are another beautiful Russian creation.

Russia is the largest country on earth which spans 11 time zones, has over 40 national parks and is home to Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. It’s a place where grandmothers are called babushkas, people eat beet soup and chess is a national obsession. Although Russia has had a dark past, it also has moments of great beauty.


The Boy Who Loved Math

Book CoverThis is a wonderful children’s picture book about the incredible life of mathematician Paul Erdos. At the young age of four, Paul could calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head.

I love the colorful, fun illustrations! This story presents many interesting math concepts in an appealing way.

It surprised me that I have never heard of this fascinating, brilliant man who contributed so much to the world of math. I really wish this book had been around when I was a child.

As a young girl, I hated math! I was led to believe that most girls just were not good at it. There seems to be a widespread belief that you are either born good at math or not. I now see this is simply not true.

Anyone can become better at math with a little desire, time, and practice. It is so important we convey this message to children. Math should be a part of every day life. It needs to be presented in a meaningful, fun way that children can understand from an early age.

This is a great book for younger and older children to enjoy! You can also check out the author’s website for links to math activities.


Welcome October!

Woodstove

As Anne of Green Gables said “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!” I just love this time of year in New England. The leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. And soon it will time for fires in the wood stove. Apple crisp and pumpkin bread will be baking in the oven.

I have always enjoyed decorating with the changing seasons. There are little orange lights draped on a large plant in the corner of the living room. I have brought out the fall colored table cloths and candles. Mini scarecrows and pumpkins are scattered around the house. Pretty mums grace our steps and add a splash of color.

Welcome October!


Chocolate Bread Pudding

bread_pudding_lg

I just have to tell you about this delicious bread pudding I had at my friends fabulous party the other night. It was amazing~ the ultimate comfort food! The picture and recipe below are both borrowed from the Tupperware website.

I have always thought of bread pudding as being very old fashioned and not too exciting. It is not something I would have chosen to make… before sampling this yummy dessert.

Bread pudding has it’s origins in the 11th century, as a way for frugal cooks to use up stale and leftover bread. Basically, the dish is made by layering bits of bread and  pouring a custard sauce over before baking. The possibilities are endless, because you can vary the type of bread and add different ingredients of your choice.

 The lovely hostess baked the bread pudding in Tupperware’s new ultrapro ovenware which is made out of plastic and pretty cool. She also sprinkled chocolate chips on top before baking for extra chocolaty goodness. We enjoyed the bread pudding warm with a chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

My boys really loved this yummy dessert! I like that the recipe calls for six eggs and lots of milk, as I feel all that protein is good for my growing boys and somehow helps make it more nutritious. :)

~ Tupperware’s Chocolate Bread Pudding ~

(serves 12)

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Simple Indulgence™ Cinnamon & Vanilla
6 eggs
1 loaf Challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine cream, milk and sugar in Chef Series™ 2 1/2 Qt. / 2.5L Covered Nonstick Saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and cool slightly. Add chocolate and Simple Indulgence™ Cinnamon & Vanilla; stir until chocolate completely melts and is blended in. Break eggs into Prep Essentials™ Mix-N-Stor® Plus Pitcher; gradually beat in the warm chocolate to temper the eggs. Place bread cubes into a buttered 9″ square baking pan. Pour chocolate mixture over the bread, pressing down to fully coat the bread. Bake 45-60 minutes until center is set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center.

Slightly cool and lightly dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

 


I am thankful for…

flowers

On this Monday morning I am thankful for…

1. Meeting new friends like Carolina, who are just so warm and kind that you instantly feel connected to them  It is so nice to know there are still kindred spirits out there!

2. Khan Academy which is such an amazing website with videos and practice exercises to help supplement my children’s education and get them excited about learning new things.

3. A very fun Tupperware party hosted by a wonderful friend. The lovely hostess demonstrated some great products and served up some fabulous food such as guacamole and chips, chicken with veggies and citrus sauce, and chocolate chip bread pudding.

4. The Cuckoo’s Calling by J. K. Rowling, which although it is nothing like Harry Potter, I am really enjoying this book. I can’t put it down!

5. Finding new and interesting people to follow and connect with on Twitter, especially other moms. I never thought I would join, but I am really enjoying this form of social media!


Chicken with Citrus Herb Sauce

steamed chicken with herbed vegetables

This lovely photo is borrowed from Tupperware. I attended a fun party last night and the hostess made this delicious chicken with citrus herb sauce and steamed vegetables. The herb sauce recipe is listed below. It was so good! I  happen to have one of Tupperware’s handy choppers, which I love, and you simply add the ingredients, chop them up slightly and then pour over your cooked chicken. Yum!

Ingredients for Citrus Herb Sauce:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 green onion
2 tbsp. Italian parsley
2 tbsp. capers, drained
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth
2 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 lb./225g green beans, trimmed
1 red pepper, cored and cut into thick strips