We got a car for a couple hours last week and went down to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to see the amazing Christmas lights display. It's one of those neighborhoods where every tries to outdo the others in their fancy, crazy, amazing show of lights. We played Christmas tunes on the radio and drove slowly around the neighborhood for about an hour. I've never seen lights like these before! Here are only a few:
This photo doesn't do this house justice. The home is huge and the Santa and toy soldiers are massive towers!
Every Monday and Wednesday morning Isabella and I participate in a preschool co-op with some friends. Four other parents and I take turns hosting, helping or just dropping off (so it's 2 adults to 5 kids). The last two times I've had the opportunity to host the co-op at my house. One day went particularly well, when I decided to center the activities on the letter 'H'. The kids all wore different hats, we danced the Hokey Pokey, traced our hands and colored little paper houses I made. I put a large piece of butcher paper on the floor and the kids would come and go, coloring, tracing, practicing their 'H's". It was so much fun!
Our friend Beth invited us to join them on their voyage to Macy's to go see Santa. Going to see Santa was never a tradition my family really participated in, but I was game and wanted to see all the holiday decorations. Our time spent in line, waiting to meet Santa was a lot of fun: dancing bears, rocking horses, zooming trains. Isabella really enjoyed the magic of the lights, music and entertainment. Then we got to Santa and she was so hesitant that we just chatted for a bit with the old guy (didn't even attempt to sit down) and continued on our way.
Then we went outside and enjoyed the window display until the moment when Isabella completely freaked out. You know the dreaded two year old tantrum in the busy public place? Yup, that was us. I received my first initiation (and I'm assuming it won't be my last) into public humiliation by my child. I was glad she was contained in the stroller until she flung her self back and flipped the stroller right over. I quickly and quietly gathered all our stuff off the sidewalk of W 34th St & Broadway, took her to a more mellow place (very difficult to find) and tried to figure out what to do next. Once she was a little more calm I took her to a nearby H&M to let her run around a bit. Once we got to the little girls accessory department she was in heaven, putting on every possible necklace, shoe, and purse she could find. I think we spent well over an hour there and after trying on all the women's high heel shoes she was willing to sit in her stroller and go home, with only a little fuss.
Delicious, crunchy ginger snaps with extra ginger because I love it so.
Making my first caramel sauce ever and sauteing some delicious mushrooms.
Isabella enjoying the gingersnap dough. No eggs, no worries.
We had a couple of friends over last week and I was impressed at how many different parts of the meal I had going all at once. I'm always amazed at people who can orchestrate a beautiful meal with different dishes all ready to serve at once. I'm working on it and that day was almost a success. It's a tricky thing juggling a hot oven, a hot stove, cleaning the house and entertaining a toddler, but I did it!
It was so fun to make a batch of homemade playdough with Isabella and then she entertained herself for about a half hour while I worked on dinner. I loved it. We made a simple, no cook, no cream of tartar batch. But the cooked, cream o' tartar stuff turns out much nicer. Each time we play with this stuff it gets our hands all grimy. Which means Isabella keeps wanting to wash her hands and then go back and play some more.
Here's a good website, instructables, that shows how to make the good stuff.
Last night there was a small event called Hands on Kirtsy which taught me how to use some of the internet's social media tools. We learned how to use kirtsy, Twitter, and RSS feeds (which I already knew, thanks Brian).
It was really fun to be out in the city (the swanky Hudson Hotel to be exact) with some fabulous, successful women who are working to help others become successful. I felt excited and motivated to pursue the talents and opportunities I have and to continue to learn, socialize and reach out of my comfort zone.
A few inspirational ladies I was able to chat with a bit:
Mariah of Playful Learning. I loved talking with her about her experiences in education and motherhood. I love, love, love her website that she has started since deciding to stay home with her daughters after working for 5+ years while being a mom. I love the Learning Experiences section of her website; such amazing, fantastic, educational ideas I can't wait to do with Isabella in a year or two. She's a real inspiration to me.
Adriene is a freelance writer, mom and blogger at What I Made for Dinner. We chatted about writing, motherhood, and finding decent housing in NYC.
Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom and one of the kirtsy founders. Okay I would have loved to have talked to her more than just, "Hi, my name is Kiasa." She's seriously a celeb in my book. Mom of 5 young kids and seeming to do a great job balancing work, family, life, etc. I want to know her secrets; how does she do it all? When I grow up I want to be like Gabrielle Blair (but she's probably pretty close to my age, just seems so much more advanced in life).
Okay, so maybe it's not 'extreme' yet, but it sure felt cold, cold, cold today while we were out with friends at a local playground. Isabella wouldn't get out of the stroller for the first little bit. Which I can't blame her, all snuggled up in a fleece blanket. Finally the toy strollers persuaded her to get out and run around.
I finally made these magnetic letters for Isabella. I posted about the idea found on The Purl Bee blog a while back. I have a lot of scrapbook paper someone gave me many years ago. So I used that, stuck it to business card magnets (purchased at Staples) and then cut out the letters using our best scissors and an exact-o-knife.
Isabella is enjoying them a lot. They are actually more sturdy than I would have thought...so far. And we are practicing learning the letters. She's such a little sponge right now with tons of new words and sentences all the time.
We had a fabulous Thanksgiving with the Carini's in Connecticut. I got to make my Dear Little Rolls, the cranberry relish, and the orange/cranberry bread. It was fun and so delicious. I took only a couple of photos, none of the actual meal, or family, just Isabella.
The photo above is her at one of the local South Glastonbury farms, Belltown Hill Orchards. We bought a couple of apples and some delicious cider doughnuts. They were so good! Isabella kept asking, "More doughnut?"
The newest Carini Bambini is scheduled to arrive June 4, 2009!
We are so very, very, very excited!
I just got back from my 12 week visit at the doctor and the baby is strong and healthy. I've been so concerned because I have not felt sick (silly, I know). I was quite queasy with Isabella. But in March I had a miscarriage (same weekend as my 30th birthday...awful!) and had not felt very sick with that pregnancy, so I assumed this one might turn out the same way. Fortunately we seem to be in the clear! With very little morning sickness! Yeee--haw!
This morning when I had to go to the doctor Isabella was upset so I tried to explain, "I have a baby in my belly and the doctor is going to make sure the baby is healthy and strong." We talked about it for a while. As I was putting my shoes and coat on she kept saying to me, "baby" "doctor" "belly" "strong!" After reassuring her that is what it was all about she said, "Later!" "shaio, shaio!" (ciao, ciao!)
I went to H&M a couple days ago just to grab her some hairclips (the only ones I've found that hold onto her fine hair). When I left I remembered why I rarely go into H&M anymore. Because, really, who can resist pink cable tights, pink rain boots and soft knit hats? The shopping trip was a rare time when I didn't have Isabella with me so she loved the surprise when I pulled out the new clothes for her at home. She wanted to try everything on. So this is her new outfit. The pink boots are now an everyday item.
This is what I found when I finished my shower this morning. Her royal cuteness, on top of the kitchen counter, guzzling from the huge honey jar.
It was a good reminder why I don't shower very frequently. It was seriously the quickest shower ever; no shaving, no hair washing. But when I was done the apartment was quiet...too quiet. So quiet that I made her jump when I busted up laughing.
Now that the weather is cool we can pump up the oven for some pizza. (For those who don't know we turn on the oven to 500 degrees one hour before cooking to get the pizza stone nice and hot...which makes delicious, crispy crusts). Isabella loves pizza and has been getting into helping me roll it (and everything else nearby). My favorite pizza this week: fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. So fresh, so simple, so delicious!
This past year I've had a desire to become more creative. It's a pretty broad desire that I'm still exploring, but I feel like I'm heading in the right direction and felt good about some of the creations that have come from my hands. It is very exciting for me.
The top photo is one of many notecards that I made. Isabella loves to fingerpaint and I had a huge pile of her artwork, not sure what to do with them. Should I keep them all, hang them up, etc. When I was in recent need of some notecards and not pleased with the designs and cost of what I found at the store I decided to make these. I had all the materials on hand: paintings, blank cardstock, paper cutter, and gluestick. I thought it was brilliant, resourceful, and beautiful.
The second photo is my perfect loaf of bread. I've been working on making good bread for a while now and my last batch was fantastic. Perfect flavor and perfect texture. Hopefully I can recreate it with next weeks' batch. The recipe and techniques that I've been working with are from the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. If you want to know some of the things I've tweeked (like raising time) just let me know. There's nothing like warm homemade bread slathered in butter and honey. I think a loaf ended up being dinner one night (with a side salad :)).
My lovely, talented sister let us borrow the monkey costume she made for her kids. There were a whole lot of monkeys in the parade, but they were all exactly the same...except Isabella. Yeah for homemade!
Brian and I went as rockstars. We, of course, forgot to take photos with our camera. Luckily we have friends with cameras. Above photo is by Rebecca and we are still waiting on others.
Halloween was fun! We packed a lot into one day and were exhausted when November hit!
I wish I had taken photos of everything, but I only captured a couple of moments of the day.
--We met up with Beth and Morgan at the playground. --Ate pizza at Angelo's in Midtown with a good friend who recently moved to the city. --Met Brian for his lunch break at some swanky Bon Appetit shin-dig. --Walked from Midtown to Washington Square Park (a long walk, if you're not familiar). --Participated in the 15th Annual Greenwich Children's Halloween Parade around the park. (Marched with Gwyneth Paltrow. Yes, the real one.) --Rode the carousel at the carnival (located at the end of the parade). It took about an hour of standing in line and I was regretting that I said 'yes' to Isabella's pleas to ride the "forse", but she still talks about it everyday. She loved it and that makes it all worth it. :) --Left the Village a little late and had a horrible time fitting onto a train during rush hour. --We all got into costume and went to Marci & Dan's for a fun party. --Brian and Isabella danced until 10pm attempting to get Isabella off her sugar high. --Yes, it worked. We all slept well.
It's been a while and I have a bit of catching up to do. Let's see how much I can post before Isabella wakes up from her nap.
The Monday before Halloween we got outta the city and took a lovely drive up the Hudson River to Van Courtland Manor where we went on a fantastic tour of over 6,000 jack o'lanterns all lit up (after sunset). It was a fun, fabulous display that got us in the Halloween spirit. They call it The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze. And blazin' awesome it was.