January 30, 2010

Procrastination + Balloons

I should be putting the finishing touches on my talk for church tomorrow, but I really wanted to post these photos instead.

Brian and I are both speaking on "joy".  The one thing I feel like I'm really lacking is a good personal story.  I love it when others share a brief poignant story on the topic they are speaking about.  I have lots of little, personal examples I plan to share, so maybe that's enough.  My memory resembles mud pie lately, so if I've shared any experiences with you that might work, please remind me!

If anyone wants to come, please do!  Everyone is welcome!  The meeting is at 11am on Sunday.  The church is on Columbus & W 65th St.  Once inside the building go up to the 3rd floor.

Here are the photos...

January 27, 2010

Whole Wheat GOODNESS!!!

This is THE best whole wheat bread EVER!!  So soft, so moist, so delicious!  I'm dead serious!  If you like to make bread, make this!  I don't buy bread at the store any more, just make this for our everyday use.

A friend made this bread (and some yummy lentil soup--I'll post that recipe someday) for me after I had Oliver.  The recipe below has been adapted just a bit from the one she gave me.

3 cups very warm water
6 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup gluten

Place the first set of ingredients in mixer, starting with water and 2 cups of flour and alternating with other ingredients until all 6 cups have been added. Turn the mixer on low as soon as there is enough flour in the bowl, and leave it on while adding the remaining ingredients. Add the oil and honey, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary, then the remaining flour and gluten. Allow the dough to mix for 10 minutes. Take it out of the mixer, and on a clean surface, divide it into 3 equal parts. Form each dough section into a loaf, pressing out air bubbles as you go. Place each loaf in a greased loaf pan and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take the loaves out of the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.

***Some things to keep in mind (or what I've been learning).  Use filtered or bottled water.  Try different brands of whole wheat flour and find what works best for you (Bob's Red Mill is my #1 and King Arthur is a close 2nd).  Make sure the mixer is on the whole time you are measuring and adding ingredients.  I wrap and freeze one loaf and bring it out a few days later.  We eat all three loaves in about a week.


January 25, 2010

Where to eat?!

The lovely Marci has put together a new blog where some gals (including me) are posting favorite places to eat in NYC.  I'm so excited to try some new-to-me restaurants.  She just started it today and there are 24 posts already!  If you want local recommendations, go there!

So simple!  So delicious!

Unique New York #7

~Unique New York~

Broadway & W 57th Street

Unique New York #6

~Unique New York~

W 74th Street


Unique New York #5

~Unique New York~

7th Avenue & W 51st Street

Big City Bella

Some fun pics of our lovely lady in our big city.





January 22, 2010

Farewell to Slime

 Science Explorers has been such a fun adventure these last three and a half years.  It started as a challenge, really.  Could I actually start my own small business in New York City?!  Hands on science classes were hard to come by and I knew a lot of kids/parents who were interested.  I did a lot of foot work while largely pregnant with Isabella, taught one class and learned a lot.  By the time she was 4 months old I was teaching 7 classes a week.  It required so much physical, mental and emotional stamina I burned out.

After weighing different options I reduced my work load and only offered science birthday parties.  It was so much fun!  And did not require constant care, like the classes did.  Now with two wee ones it is time to completely dump the load, let it go and maybe look at it again later.  Later, as in, when I sleep at night, as in, when I'm not completely exhausted with the energy required to adore and love my little ones.  Oh, how I love them, and look forward to dedicating all my time to them.

Some fun things that came because of all this business stuff:
~Approached by Martha Stewart's people to possibly do a segment on her show.
~Approached by Scholastic to work on a hands on science book.
~Did a party for Maude Blair, DesignMom's daughter.
~Nominated for Best Party Entertainer in New York City by Parents Connect.
~Did a party for the son of Sara Ruffin Costello (formerly of Domino magazine) and Paul Costello (amazing photographer).  I would love to see the photos he took of the event.
~Did a party for AlphaMom's son
~Went to many amazing apartments in the city.
~Met and worked with some wonderful people.

It's hard to say goodbye to something that has been so good to me.  But I know, if the time is right, I can do it all over again...maybe even better!

January 19, 2010

Manhattan Movies

Manhattan movies have been on my mind lately.    If you haven't seen any of these (and I suspect many of you have never seen Little Manhattan) I highly recommend them.  Even if you don't live and love Manhattan like I do.  Put them in your queue, you won't be disappointed!

 Maybe I love all these flicks because they are romantic comedies that take place on the Upper West Side.   A great combo!

Unique New York #4

~Unique New York~

Unique New York #3

~Unique New York~

 Yesterday we found ourselves in Union Square where a new playground has recently opened. 
40 degrees + a school holiday = crazy playground!

Unique New York #2

~Unique New York~

Last week my photography goal sat on the back burner while my sweet Isabella was quite sick.  We didn't leave the apartment for days.  Today you get the view out our window.  What you don't see in this photo is the quietness...or maybe you can see that.  We may live in the middle of a bustling metropolis, but you'd never guess it when you are inside our apartment.  It is so quiet!  That quiet solitude may change when the weather turns warm and our neighbors enjoy their patio.  When that time comes, I may just  reach out my window and grab a burger off their fancy grill.

January 13, 2010

Oliver: 7 Months

 Oliver and 7 months old go together like peanut butter and jelly!  It's a perfect fit.  Seriously, he is absolutely adorable.  So curious, so happy, so deliciously plump.

What he's into:
*Eating Cheerios like it's nobody's business.
*Sitting up like a strong little man.
*Expressing his own opinion.  As in, "Don't you dare take that from me or else I'll scream."
*Being best buds with his big sister.
*Adoring his daddy.  
*Eating his mamma's face.
*Pivoting on his round belly like a lazy susan.
*Laughing.  Smiling.  Repeating.
*Bringing amazing  joy into our little family.

January 11, 2010

Saturday was a Special Day

A good friend gave us fantastic tickets to the American Museum of Natural History.  We go there often but never into the special exhibits, which cost an arm and a leg.  We took advantage of the generous tickets and went to as many special exhibits as possible in one day.  It was fantastic fun.  Throw in lunch at the Shake Shack and dinner at Angon and it was a fun, exhausting day.

Funny thing: I realized I don't get "museum back" like I use to.  (Do you know what I'm talking about?)

The Butterfly Conservatory.
Isabella had asked to see real butterflies for the last few weeks and was excited that she might touch one.  (I don't know where the idea came from.)  But the reality (which I figured might happen) was fear.  Brian was very patient with her and they went in and out 3 times.  The last time she was so brave and calm until a huge butterfly came right toward her face.  Understandably freaky.  Above, she's experiencing the exhibit from outside the glass.

We saw Mysteries of the Great Lakes at the IMAX theater.  It wasn't a great IMAX film, but it was interesting. 

The Silk Road
I wasn't sure what to expect with the new Silk Road exhibit but I was pleasantly surprised.  There was enough interactive pieces that Isabella was able to be entertained most of the time.  I enjoyed the scents of the market: rose oil, musk, jasmine and watching the live silk worms at work.  Isabella loved stamping her passport along the way.  And Oliver found the coziest spot possible and took a little nap.  (He's never fallen asleep in my arms!)  Thanks Spencer!

A cold, but beautiful day!

Smothering Adoring her brother.

I love this photo!

After the Silk Road exhibit we were hankering for some Indian food and lychee bubble tea.  We hopped on the subway, down to the East Village to satisfy our cravings.  At Angon on the Sixth Isabella adored her way into a complementary mango lassi.  She was pretty proud of herself.

Getting out!

Last Thursday we met friends at the Met and then walked home through Central Park.  It's such a lovely park even in the bitter cold winter.  Although it couldn't have been too cold because I took off my coat...but I guess I was hauling Oliver in the ergo and pushing Isabella uphill...

I used to think I was such a wimp in the cold, but now I'm thinking just the bitter cold.  I'm a wimp when the windchill takes the air below 15 degrees.  (Which is quite frequently the last few weeks.)  When that happens I'll cancel all plans to take the kids outside.  I vote cabin fever over a teary numb face any day.  It really is amazing how warm 30 degrees feels after experiencing 5 degrees.  This week is forecast to reach 39 degrees.  Ahhh, spring!

January 8, 2010

Unique New York #1

In an effort to use my camera more and also capture our everyday life here, in New York City, I'm setting a bit of a New Year's resolution.  With wee ones I hesitate setting anything too rigid (if anything at all) other than the necessities (i.e. take a shower).  (I never thought taking a shower could be a resolution...sweet children certainly change life, don't they?!)  I stray...back to my goal.  I'm hoping to photograph and share, here on the blog, 150 New York City moments this year.  I want to focus on things of the everyday--our everyday--that are unique to our lifestyle in Manhattan.  Why 150 photographs?  Well, one per day (365) sounds fun, but unattainable.  And somedays we have lots of fun, unique experiences which might necessitate more than one photo and other days are, well, pretty hum drum (especially during these cold months) when we don't leave the apartment.

Goals (in a nutshell):
1--carry, use, become more familiar with my Nikon D40
2--capture our everyday life in Manhattan

There you have it! 

~Unique New York~

Getting keys made for our new apartment at a hole-in-the-wall locksmith shop.  It's a door, a hallway, and a whole lot of keys.

And for the grandparents:


Thank you, Grandma Nikki, for all the cute kids hats for Christmas.  We love them!  Isabella wears a different one outside everyday.  (The next few posts--above--have Nikki's homemade hats as well.)

January 6, 2010

Right Now

Playing at the American Museum of Natural History, aka our new backyard.

January 5, 2010


This boy has the fastest hands in the East!  As I reach for an item he grabs it before I do.  Which is making cooking, while holding him, very tricky.  And working on the computer, with him on my lap, practically impossible.  And taking photos while we are out and about is resulting tiny fingerprints all over my camera lens (I always have him in a front carrier).

Dress Up

For Christmas Isabella got several dress up outfits and she loves them.  This, snow princess, is one she's been sporting most of the time these last couple of days.  Heather (Brian's sister) picked up a bunch at Target the day after Halloween for $5/each. Awesome!

January 4, 2010

Cousins + Trains + Pizza = A Perfect Saturday

It was a bitter...I mean BITTER cold out (wind chill=5 degrees), but we were determined to enjoy the city!  We succeeded.

This was the beginning of our adventure.  She wasn't actually asleep, but still groggy after her nap. We went out to meet up with Spencer, Heather, Devon and Roman for some play time.

I think the New York Transit Museum is one of the city's best kept secrets (and cheap too).   I have heard about it several times, but it was always dubbed "If your kid loves trains..."  I never considered us train lovers, but we loved the museum and could have spent hours here.  Too bad we arrived 30 min before closing (but they let us in for free).  We will be going back again soon.

We finished the evening with some delicious pizza from Lombardi's in Soho.

 And over-priced pastries from Celi-Cela


The Magic

the amazing windows at Bergdorf Goodman
I know and understand the true meaning of Christmas.  But there is a special, inexpressible magic and sense of wonder that made this Christmas even more special as I witnessed Isabella begin to comprehend and enjoy this season of hope.   I'm convinced little children make the celebration of the birth of Christ more meaningful, pure, and exciting.
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