Thursday, December 23, 2010

Paddy is planning

I am as bad at menu planning as I am at picking out paint.

The menu wasn't finalized until probably 3 days before the party, even though I made a valiant effort to have it done much earlier.

The gathering was from 2-4, so we didn't need to serve a full meal, but being that a lot of cadets were coming, I wanted to have enough substantial food that they would leave feeling full.  So, at the last minute we decided to add some meat to the menu.

Here was the final menu...

1.  Artichoke Breads 
2.  Grandma's French Onion dip and chips

3.  Ina's Hummus with tomatoes, feta and black olives sprinkled on top with pita chips
4.  Cheese, Crackers, Apples and Grapes
5.  Caprese with fresh basil

6.  Sausage Cheese Balls (I always just google these before I make them, so I never have a consistently good recipe - does anyone have one that they always use/like??)
7.  Chinese Chicken Skewers with dipping sauces (ginger, sesame and mustard vinaigrette)

1.  Red Velvet Cake Pops  
Once these were made, I covered them with glassine bags and tied them with orange polka dot gingham ribbon)

2.  Brenda's famous carrot cake cupcakes (I made small and regular sized cupcakes for guests at the party and I made Paddy a ginormous cupcake with a silicone mold that I found on eBay.  His cake turned out completely lopsided and weighed about 20 lbs.  Too funny.)


from a distance it doesn't look quite as bad as it really is...

here is the leaning tower of carrot least Paddy enjoyed it...

3.  Chocolate covered marshmallows (it took me a while, but I finally found the really giant ones at WalMart.  I used baking chocolate in the disposable plastic containers to make it easy on clean up and then sprinkled with orange/blue sprinkles.  Once they were set, I stuck lollipop sticks in the bottom of them.  I had a large hurricane that I filled with sugar that we stuck the marshmallows in for display.)

4.  Chocolate covered graham crackers (just because I had lots of melting chocolate left)
5.  Texas Sheet Cake (recipe from my mom)

Orange Sherbert Punch (equal parts orange soda and ginger ale and then add orange sherbert ice cream)

If I had to do it over again...

1.  I would not make hummus...I feel like this is a food that people either like or hate....not too much of it was eaten.
2.  I am SO glad that we decided to make the chicken...almost every skewer was eaten!  We made ~5 lbs of it.
3.  I would try to make the foods as accessible on the table as possible...those that were less accessible were less eaten.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cards

I made our Christmas cards this year, and as with other years, I wanted to include a picture, but I wanted a wallet print just because it would fit the best.  I don't know if you have ever priced wallets, but they are so much more expensive than 4x6s!  I have never bought them before for that reason.  However, I found a site, mPix, that had wallets at a good price.  They turned out pretty well...although Sean's head did get cropped a bit, and on the preview, I had ensured that no one was cropped. 

I designed these in PowerPoint (I know, I really need to figure buy/figure out how to use Illustrator one of these days), and then just used double stick tape to place the pictures on the card.

I enjoy making, if I could just get my printer to cooperate and not have a jam on every other page, or stop wirelessly printing whenever it feels like it, I would save hours and hours of my life and be much happier during the card making process :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paddy is one...invitations

Paddy turned one on November 13th (I can't believe it has taken me this long to post this!).  We decided to keep it somewhat simple by having a small gathering with the cadets that we sponsor and a small group of friends.

I sent out some invitations that I made using baker's twine, double sided tape, and scraps of fabric that I had laying around.

I know the banner theme is very played out, but I am still a fan.  I seem to be like that with most trends...probably late to the game and stay in the game longer than I should. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


So, due to the super-sized fiddle leaf fig tree, there really wasn't room for a Christmas tree as well.  We are happy with our decision to re-purpose our new tree as our Christmas tree.  I can't believe I agreed to this since I am such a HUGE fan of Christmas trees...especially the biggest, roundest one we can find.  But, it really does make sense for this year.  Paddy doesn't know the difference, and we will be able to enjoy the trees at our parents' houses when we head to IL. year, I will shove the FLF into the basement if we have to (and if I can keep it alive that long), and get ourselves a tried and true real deal Christmas tree.

We are embracing the unconventional new member of the family.

I am one of those people who loves decorating with the old school ornaments...
Love this beautiful Christopher Radko ornament from our friend, Blair...

Tufting Lovers Anonymous

I seriously seem to have an issue with the following:
1.  Buying chairs that need lots of TLC (this is as nicely as I can say it)
2.  Buying tufted chairs/couches

I found this chair last weekend in Cold Spring at Pop's Barn (where I got my citrine colored lamps earlier this year for $5 each!).

I couldn't stop thinking about the chair as we perused the other antique shops on Main Street.  Everything else that I saw just couldn't erase this chair from my mind.  Sean is such a champ to put up with me.  :)  We sat down at dinner, and I decided to quickly duck out to see if I could make it back to Pop's to get the chair.  I was so thankful it was still there!  Why do I love this chair, my husband may ask...why, because:

1.  It's only $10!
2.  It's tufted!
3.  It has caning and I have been wanting a chair with caning!
4.  It is a barrel chair, and I am a fan.
5.  It is actually sturdy.

Now...what to do with it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fiddle Leaf Fig...found.

Remember my quest for a fiddle leaf fig tree?  I have been obsessed, and I never thought I would find one that would fit the bill.  Well, we went to Adams Fairacre Farms last weekend in Newburgh.  This is just one of those feel good places that feeds the soul.

I had spotted a fiddle leaf fig here a long time ago on one of my trips to visit the Crows, before we moved here.  Well, I am pretty sure this is the same tree that I saw then...only she is a LOT bigger now.  For how big she is, she was a total steal.  We actually felt like we better pay for it before someone realized that there was a mistake.  I recently saw some of these in NYC, and they were $150 for a tree that was probably 1/5 the size of this one...and we paid MUCH less than that.

So, we bought her.  Got her home...and my oh my....she is BIG.  Too big for our room, I will be the first to admit it.  But I still love her and need to make her at home.  I think we may give her a trim....we will see.  I am worried to mess with her too much because I want her to stay healthy!

We will keep moving her around until we find the best location for her...I will keep you posted.

Here is the action unfolding...

Friday, November 26, 2010


I have an ample stash of pinecones that Sean and I retrieved about 6 years ago from Fort Benning.  I have such fond memories of hitting the less beaten path and scouring around for the best ones.  We filled up the entire Jimmy (RIP) with these large pinecones.  I have given many away over the years and they are a staple to my Christmas decorating...mostly because:
a.  they are free
b.  they have sentimental meaning to me (and I am such a sap for things like pun intended)
c.  I like them :)

Anyways, in this house, I don't seem to have many places to display things.  Both in Columbus and Boston, I seemed to have many more shelves/nooks, etc.  So...this is probably a good thing for me...hopefully it will encourage me to continue to donate/sell things that I simply don't need. 

Back to the topic...I recently saw a cute idea where someone painted some pine cones white and then strung them across a window on the second level of a bunk bed.  It got me thinking about somehow trying to adapt that idea for our house. 

My mom helped me while she was here (thanks again, Mom!) and we tried to first string them (using baker's twine) across the window, but that just looked silly.  So, I am still not sure that I am in love with this idea, but I love the fact that I can see these sentimental objects!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bear Mountain

Recently, I have had a thing for Carousel rides.  Okay, I guess it is just since Paddy has been born.  We took him to the one in Central Park, and recently, on his birthday, we took him to the Bear Mountain Carousel.  Bear Mountain is such a great park to visit anyway, and I hope we will continue to take advantage of being so close to it.

The ride only cost $1/person, and Paddy was free - I can't remember what the age cutoff is for a free ride...but you can't beat $1 ticket!!

The beautiful building that houses the carousel...

Love the detail...
We had to get a bear for Paddy to ride on...he loved it.
If you are ever in the Hudson Valley, this is definitely a place to check can rent cottages, go hiking, rent paddle boats, go to their zoo, have a picnic and use the CUTEST grills ever...what more could you want after seeing this owl grill?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Red Hook

Sean learned about this amazingly generous program that some BB owners take part in where they give free rooms to Veteran's on Veteran's Day.  Sean booked us at the Red Hook Inn, about an hour and a half north of here in beautiful upstate NY.  Because my mom came in early, we were able to do our first official getaway without baby.

We arrived in time to grab a drink in Rhinebeck at Terapin, which is a restaurant located in an old church.  Having a yummy cocktail with my husband at a nice restaurant reminded me of our DINK (dual income no kids) days...ahhh, how the times have changed.  It was fun to get out to a somewhat swanky place, even though I felt/looked like I had a long day with an almost one year old :)  We then went to Flatiron Grill for a scrumptious dinner.  The next day we hit up all the local antique and cute gift shops before heading home.  I love trips like this because they always feed my soul and provide lots of unexpected and welcome inspiration...

Since I am such a detail lover, I loved that the B&B always had fresh chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa in the foyer.  They also had a 24 hour snack station area, which I think is genius.  It can't cost them that much, but little touches like that can go such a long way.  They also had a vast library of DVDs and interesting books.  Nice.

Here is some of the inspiration...

French Fries with Wasabi dipping sauce...need to re-create..

Vermont Cheddar Ale soup with homemade pretzel...need to make those homemade pretzels again, pronto.

Many thanks to the beautiful Red Hook Inn for their incredibly generous Veteran's Day deal...

This antique store was by appointment only, and I was so tempted to try to break in because their merchandise was so cool and even more beautifully displayed.  I had a hard time walking away from this store...

 look at those shovels!  LOVE.

Then we went to a very cool paint and gift shop, Tivoli Mercantile.

They have colored chalkboard  Loved the vintage ornament display.
They also had a great book that Paddy will be getting for Christmas - No No Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli.  I felt like this was written for a very 'curious' one year old like our Sean Patrick.

Love these flashcards suspended from string...would be fun to make different sayings...

I love scales and when I saw this huge vintage one, I decided that this would be something I would love in a dream house kitchen.
We then went to Rhinebeck where we hit up the cigar shop and a few antique places (overpriced...or, I guess, more appropriately, out of our price range).  We then grabbed some slices of pizza, and then stopped in Grand Cru - a Beer and Cheese shop (genius!) to bring home a mix and match 6 pack of local beer and some stinky Hudson Valley cheese for happy hour before the Toby Keith concert here at West Point....ahhh, what a day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lucky Find.

Since we have moved in, I have been wanting to figure out some way to conceal this large, unsightly radiator in our entryway.  It is unfortunately some wasted space, so I have been hoping to stumble across a radiator cover for a VERY cheap price since this is something I won't really be able to use after living here.

In a series of lucky coincidences, my friend Jen grabbed one for me from Habitat for Humanity's REStore in Newburgh.  It was intended to a be a tall radiator cover, but after sitting down and conquering my fear of using my jigsaw (yes, I actually read the directions - and that almost never happens), making a few cuts, and flipping the cover on its is now re-sized to fit our radiator.  I may paint it, but it is fine for now.  It was the the most lucky find, and I am so thankful to Jen for saving my mom, Paddy and I the trip!

The Find...the open end that you see here should have been the bottom, but I figured, I could make this the 'right' side of the cover as it would pretty much bump up against a wall and not be very noticeable. 



If I am being completely honest, it is just one more place for me to put a bunch of stuff that I probably don't need to have out.  But...this pretty milk glass bowl can catch our keys which always seem to be scattered around, and at least it looks prettier.  I find myself looking at this more than the has definitely brightened my last few days!