Racing with the Big Boys

Finn and Travis came home from Home Depot the other day and Finn was very excited about this picture he took there. I wish I got that excited about something that was free.

Anyways, have a great weekend! I'm going shopping today without the kids....Yippee!


Creative Cats
My sisters are all pretty darn creative, if you ask me. I want to highlight them and their creations today because I think they deserve some showcasing.

Lauren, the youngest sister, is an up-and-coming jewelry designer.

She has made some beautiful jewelry pieces already and I personally would wear any of them.
If you're interested in her wares, go here.
Sister Emily is another creative talent. She has been making, creating, drawing and doodling her whole life.
She is now studying to obtain her Masters at BYU in Printmaking.
I loved this recent work.
She does alot of great artwork with women as subjects. I love her stuff! If you're interested in her stuff, she has an etsy shop or you can check here.
Erin, the second oldest daughter, is also creative in her own way.
Though she studied film at California Institute of the Arts, she is becoming an illustrator and family cheerleader of sorts. She made this book for Emily about Emily. I'm interested to see what Erin has up her sleeve and what we'll see from her in the near future.
And last but not least is Whitney. She turns old things into beautiful new creations. She has an eye for what's "in" and yet stays true to the vintage theme.

She made this adorable little book as a gift for a friend whose son was turning four. And, she made it with her daughter, who also inherited that creative spark.
This is a sampling of her jewelry lately. It's fresh, hip and made from vintage beads. If you want to see more of her creations, go here.
It's fun having sisters. We're best friends and it's fun to have the "crafty connection." It's been a lifelong pipe dream to have a shop where we all contribute. Wouldn't that be fun?


When One Door Closes...
My living room has bothered me since we moved in. It's really dark because it has only one window in it. And, I am like a plant drawn to natural light. So, we decided to do something about it yesterday. Here's a before shot (before Travis totally took the original door out).
With some creative distraction from a cardboard tent made out of the door packaging.

And voila! Sunlight in my living room. I think it makes such a huge difference. I think come wintertime I'll be especially glad we did this, as I'm sitting around nursing and tending a wee one. I really like the way it turned out, probably more than I expected. It feels like a totally different room.


It's A....

By these images, you'll be able to tell......
It's not these images that will tell, but the ultrasound technician who told us we're having a....
Now Finn will have someone to play trucks with and Lucy will have another boy to pick on her.
I'll have to be honest, I was a little surprised, but we were excited nonetheless. Now I have to start thinking of boy names. More difficult than girls' names, I think.
Shots of Girl
Sometimes I could eat her little bulging belly.

And this little $1 stroller was a yard sale gem. Lucy loves pushing it....
....and pushing it and pushing it.
If you're wondering whether we'll be adding another girl or boy to our brood, check back later.
I'll have the answer!


Happy Memorial Day!
We started the day with a bikeride. I wasn't sure the ol' gal could pull these two, but it was fine.
Then, Finn practiced his Fred Flinstone bike-riding skills in the driveway.
And, Lucy insisted on wearing her pretty yellow sunhat like her brother Finn.
Then, we went to the parade up the street where the parade exhibitors threw out lots of candy. Finn caught on real quick how to get the goods. You can see him here working his charm and getting them to throw him candy.
This last shot is for my Dad and brother Andrew. These girls were fun to watch on their unicycles. I'm sure they'd let you come out for next year's parade, Andrew, and be a part of their act!
In memory of those who have gone before and sacrificed on our behalf, Happy Memorial Day!
(now pass the potato salad, please!)


Building and Destroying
I made a fort out of some old bedspreads that I got at a yard sale last Summer.
Lucy quickly found out it was more fun to ruin it than play inside it.
Flashlights always make things more fun!
So, here's a great, healthy recipe if you like artichoke hearts. It comes from Drs. Oz and Roizen's book called, "You: The Owner's Manual." Very interesting read, in my opinion.
Pasta With Heart
8 ounces whole-wheat rotini
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (I used 1 teaspoon dry and it worked fine)
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used white grape juice)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (could use less)
1 can (14 ounces) quartered artichoke hearts, drained
6 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add shallots and garlic, and saute over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add oregano, wine, lemon juice, and artichoke hearts. Cook, stirring frequently, until artichokes are heated through. Add spinach and turn with tongs until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and pepper to taste. Drain pasta and return to same pot. Add pesto sauce and toss well. Serve immediately.
4 servings, 387 calories per serving, 10.6 grams fiber, 17.1 grams protein, 65.5 milligrams potassium
I'm still thinking about how good it tasted for being so healthy. I would make this again definitely. And, if you do make it, please let me know what you think. I'm always interesting in public opinion about food!


Nesting For This One
I love it when Travis gets a cleaning notion in his head. He always does a thorough job. This weekend it was cleaning the pots.Some Bar Keepers Friend and Heavy Duty Degreaser (plus some scrubbing pads) were what did the trick. Then, a cycle in the dishwasher and voila! Presto chango! New pans (or new-er).
And, going along with the nesting theme, I have this little "Brittany bump" that keeps getting bigger. Time Magazine did a cover story called, "Inside the Womb," in 2002 and I loved this quote:
"Imagine yourself as the world's tallest skyscraper, built in nine months and germinating from a single brick. As that brick divides, it gives rise to every other type of material needed to construct and operate the finished tower — a million tons of steel, concrete, mortar, insulation, tile, wood, granite, solvents, carpet, cable, pipe and glass as well as all furniture, phone systems, heating and cooling units, plumbing, electrical wiring, artwork and computer networks, including software."

---Tsiaras and Werth

The fetal growth process is amazing. I feel "it" kicking alot lately. Will it be a boy or a girl? I will let you know next Tuesday, for that is when we have "the ultrasound."

What do you think it will be?


Deeee-licious and De-light-ful!
Item of business No. 1: Beef Taco (courtesy Stacey)
It is delicious and easy to make. Here's the recipe:
1 pound hamburger, browned
1 cup salsa
1 cup minute rice
1 can kidney beans
3/4 cup water

Mix all together. Boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Item of Business No. 2: The sunroom has lighting!

I got these sconces at Home Depot. They were supposed to be "hard-wire only" but thanks to Travis and his handy-ness, he put cords with switches on them. Let there be light!


Emissions and Lighting Tuesday
Just thinking about yesterday's wild goose chase around Cleveland makes me sick to my stomach. We spent 3 1/2 hours running around from one place to another, getting an emissions test, getting a physical inspection, getting license paperwork, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We were trying to register the van and change the plates from Illinois to Ohio. Turns out, after all that work, we still have to wait a whole month before we can get it registered. Fooey on youey, I say to Ohio! Onto a more pleasant note, I'm looking for lighting for....
...this sun room. I'm thinking sconces. I hope it wouldn't look funny to have sconces on the panels between the windows. That's where the only plug-ins are the the whole room.

The sconces I like and can afford are at Ikea, which is almost 2 hours away. I can't afford to drive there, however. I need an Ikea in Cleveland!


Weekend Wrap-Up
We went to dinner Saturday to celebrate my birthday. This was my hair after I took it out of the barrettes. Travis said I looked like Annie with a mullet. I had to go back to the powder room and concoct another hair-do. I've never been very good at doing hair.
This was the cake I made for a family dinner of a senior missionary couple who had a fatal car accident a week ago. The wife died and the husband is in critical condition. What do you make for the bereaved family? Italian Cream Cake was what I came up with.
This is Finn after church-play in the backyard. He wasn't very happy about the whole picture taking thing.
Weekend yard sale find: a 1972 Fisher Price playhouse with little people and stroller included. Finn loves it. I got it for $8 and I looked online and they're selling for between $40 and $60. Good deal.
And, last, but not least, this is the pretty white cake Travis made me for my birthday. The frosting is a cream cheese/powdered sugar/whipped cream mixture and he put strawberries in the middle too. It was dreamy. Made for the perfect birthday!


Birthday Joys
I've already had a good birthday so far because:
01. Travis and I went for our morning run.
02. It's overcast but not raining---my favorite weather!
03. The bike store man inflated my stroller tires for FREE!
04. Finn and I found a great children's book sale at the library. We got a box full of hardbound, library-plastic-wrapped books for 50 cents a piece. What a deal!

{Here's Finn reading one selection.}

05. And, I got the sunroom-window-scraping project DONE yesterday! This alone calls for celebration! I can actually see out of my windows now without years of smudge marks, dog splatters and runny paint blocking the view.

And, here's a picture for my mom. I just wanted to show how her pruning job from last Fall is looking in the Spring. Not bad, eh? I love my yard right now. Thanks, Mom!

I'm turning 28 today. I'm pushing 30 and I guess that's not so bad. It doesn't seem possible. In my mind I'm still that little pig-tailed toehead running around on the playground at Livingston Elementary....

...or that girl who sat in her basement room at her desk drawing house plans, even making out lists of what every room in her English manor-type house would contain...

...or that nervous, insecure college grad about to perform a Patty Griffin song on guitar onstage at Club Passim...

...or, I'm just a housewife who lives day-by-day and enjoys family life and most things domestic(most of the time).


Join Us For Our Morning Run
We're out the door around 9 o'clock usually and the two Bobsy Twins are happy to be out.
The turnaround point is Shaker Lakes. Today we threw leftover hot dog buns to the geese and ducks on the bridge.
Sometimes we take this running path along the lake.
We always go by this house (mansion) which is in the Fairmount Historic District.
And homes like these are on several of the streets we run on.
I like looking at the homes, Finn likes looking for sticks to hold, and Lucy starts panting and screeching when we get within 50 feet of any animal, let it be dog, squirrel or robin.