March 31, 2010

Pesto Lassagne

Guess what?  It FINALLY stopped raining here; a good thing because we were all about to clamber aboard our ARK and set sail on our lake for a while.

Spring, come on and visit us up here in the Green Mountains.  Anytime now.  Any 'ol time...

Seriously, you can just stay at my house for a while.  

Would you like that? 

How 'bout if I made you some PESTO LASAGNE?  Would that entice you to stick around until, oh I don't know...

Pesto Lassagne (by T.J.)

 1-1 1/2C pesto (great way to use up any summer leftovers you might have hanging around in the freezer)

12 lassagne noodles

2-3 cloves minced garlic

2 C cheese (I used an Italian blend of Mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan)

2 C (or 15 oz) Ricotta

1-2 tomatoes cut into small chunks

2 1/2 mixed, chopped veggies (zuchinni, eggplant, squashes, onions, spinach etc)

1 egg
olive oil

Italian Seasonings/ salt/pepper

To begin, place the lassagne noodles in a pan of warm water to soak for about 10 minutes.  That's all you need to do to prep them as the presoak and the added liquids from the veggies and pesto soften them up during baking.  Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot.  Throw in veggies (including tomatoes) and garlic and begin to saute.

Add in any seasonings you want- I tend to go heavy on the usual suspects: basil, oregano and then I add in a bit of marjoram and thyme.  Or just shake the heck out of your spice jar for a while. 

Add in about a tablespoon of the pesto to the veggies and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue cooking until fork tender, but not mushy.  Should take about 10 minutes depending on the type of vegetables you used. 

While that is cooking, mix up the ricotta cheese with the egg and add a little water until you get a spreadable, but thick consistency.

Now the layering begins.  I have a specific small lassagne pan for the job, but you could use any deep pan you have from 13X9 on down.  My tip here would be to see which pan best fits your lassagne noodles before beginning.  Just add in or take out a few noodles as needed.

Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of pesto then a layer of lassagne noodle.  Just shake off the excess water and place directly in pan while still firm.  Next put a few dollops of the Ricotta cheese mixture and a sprinkling of the cheeses.  Finally, spread a handful of the veggie mixture over the cheese and mix in a few spoonfuls of the pesto.  Begin again with the lassagne noodles this time coating the top of the noodles with some pesto, next the cheeses, veggies ... so on and so forth until everything's been used up.  End with the noodles and sprinkle a little bit of cheese over top for good measure.

Bake covered @ 350* for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Serve as is or with tomato gravy.

March 30, 2010

Ten things

Today I'm linking up with:

She does this lovely post each month about 10 things that have made her smile.  I can always use me some reflection so:

with the help of my Gratitude Journal here they are:

1. Our sign of Spring has arrived: the beaver are out and about

2.  being able to hold true to many of my Compact ways this month

                 (nothing here cost over $1.00!)
3. A dear, caring husband discovering and changing my flat tire (in the rain) so that I wouldn't have to do it with Bear.  Would have been my first post baby tire change.

4. Urine in the dishwasher.  It certainly brought a look of horror smile to my face.  Without Bear, I never would have experienced that.  

5. For dog snores and snuggles in the middle of the night 

6. Reading 2 books in 2 weeks.  How in the world did I manage that one?!

7. Girls on the Run has started!  I'm so excited to be coaching with M and the girls!

8. for being able to chatter with all my friends no matter what state they live in

9. for homemade cookie dough just waiting to be baked up in the fridge

10. I had lots of reasons to cook for gatherings of friends this month.  How I love to celebrate with food!  

There you have it.  Remember to visit Emmy for more.

March 29, 2010

Montessori Moments: toilet training Part 4

 So, I checked with Bear and he said it would be OK to continue sharing with you all about our toilet training process.  As long as you promise to now refer to him as

 Your Majesty (Seriously, give a kid a handmade, heirloom toilet and it's like he thinks he owns the world).

I began writing about our toileting journey WAY before I went public with my blog.  So, to save you time searching my older posts, I've listed them below.  Let me just say, that even if you aren't currently toilet training a child, Part 3 is still worth the read, OH BOY.

Part 1-why

Part 2-how

Part 3- vocabulary

Bear will be 21 months on April 8th.  He pretty much has the toilet thing down.  During the day he is in underwear: sometimes I let him wear just that so I can see how gosh darn cute he looks in his little skivvies!  If we are headed to the babysitter's, out to eat, to my work etc. I put a pair of "rubber" pants over his underwear just to be extra careful.  Bear chooses his underwear to be worn.

He wears a diaper when going to bed.  I am not phasing this out just yet because I don't believe his body is physically ready for it.  His diaper is still SOAKED when he wakes up in the morning and cutting back on liquids at night didn't make much of a difference.  Plus, I'm in no rush.  I mean, having only 7 diapers to wash once a week is awesome!  I also put a diaper on him if we are going to be in the car for over 2 hours.

Toilet training run down (aka notes that I'd like to remember about the process)

- after asking around to family and friends, I was informed that the easiest way to transition a child out of diapers during nap time is to pad the mattress.  So I did just that.  I already had waterproof wool mats on the bed, I added a few towels and a few older blankets.  I removed the sheepskin that Bear usually sleeps on and kept my fingers crossed.

I had to replace the bedding regularly during that first week, but by the second, Bear was rarely "leaking" in his sleep anymore.  Currently, Bear knows to toilet before his nap and if he has an urge to go, calls for me (although this rarely happens).  I hardly even find him wet and when I do, he has made it out of bed before "going".

- Whenever Champ or I have to use the bathroom, we take Bear in with us.  It helps him understand we all use the bathroom and cuts out any argument he might put up.

- We use the vocabulary we've introduced and Bear verbally gives us warning of when he has to go as well as physically heading to the bathroom.  Yes, he still says bowel and yes, it's usually shouted.

- Montessori recommends referring to urine/poop in the underwear as something besides "accidents" since it can put a negative spin on the incident.  Around here, we call them "leaks" and never discipline for it.

- I'd say he has about one "leak"/week at this point and it's usually because I forget to have Bear visit the bathroom before a big distraction like Papa coming home, or guests coming for dinner.

That, in a nutshell, is where we are at.  I'm no expert and this method is kind of a hybrid, but it worked beautifully for us.  How about you?  What have your experiences been like?

March 26, 2010


Sweet, sweet Christy over at Mommy Brain gave me this award:

Yay! What a fun way for me to end the week.  Thanks Christy!

If you don't yet know Christy head on over and give her a little bloggy love.  She has 3 adorable children, a husband for a best friend and a heart of gold.  Her day to day experiences as a Mama are a delight to read and just confirm that I'm not the only one out there having a "Mommy Brain" sometimes :)

 So, the rules for the award:
1. Must thank the person who gave you the award and list their blog and link it.
2. Share "10 Honest things" about yourself.
3. Present this award to others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.
4. Tell those people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award


1. I adore long rides in the car (especially as a passenger) and thank goodness, Champ does too.  I'd rather drive than fly anywhere not because I am fearful of planes, but because I feel like I'd be missing so many experiences along the way.

2. If I were a princess, I'd be a mermaid.  No question. 

3. My biggest phobia in the world are crowds of strangers- my heart starts racing and I get faint.  This does not apply to crowds of people I know or crowds of people I am speaking to.  If I'm behind a podium, I'm fine (weird, right?!).

4. My other biggest phobia is being put to sleep.  Only ever had to go under when I had my wisdom teeth out, but I apparently flipped out so much that I clawed at the surgeon upon waking and they had to escort me out the back door so as not to FREAK OUT all the other patients. 

5. I so believe in eating healthy, local, hopefully organic foods.  I need to know where my food comes from.  Except for: circus peanuts (the orange candy kind), hot dogs, candy apples, pierogies, mozzarella sticks and bacon (kind of)

6. See, here's the deal.  I'm going through a food revolution.  It started a few years ago and now I'm on the hardest, but clearest path.  A path that leads to less bacon :(  I've read much of the literature (Pollan, Sinclair, Kingsolver, Foer to name a few), I've faced my fears and I tested the waters (during Lent), but now it's official.  I can't bring myself to eat factory farmed meats.  I know too much.  I pass no judgment on those who can, I just can't, literally, physically CAN NOT do it right now. 

7. When I became pregnant I really, really really really wanted a boy (PHEW!)

8. I don't think I could live without color, especially ORANGE.  

9. I was just sharing this the other day: I am scared out of my mind for when the moment comes to get our next pit bull.  All our dogs have been rescued and each time it gets harder and harder to know that whichever dog I rescue, there are 1,000 more dogs watching with sad, sad eyes.  Waiting...

10. I recently took on a new side job.  Along with working for our local public access tv station, I now am an educator with VINS (Vermont Institute of Nature and Science) which explains why I get weird looks when driving around with specimens like this

in my car.  That's a red shouldered hawk (stuffed) that caught me off guard in the rear view and I had to laugh!

I'd like to award
and my mother-in-law, B, and my Dad.  They don't have blogs, but the rules say "or those who have encouraged you" and from day one on this blog these two have been my most rabid readers. 
Thank You.  It means a lot :) 

Enjoy the weekend everybody!

March 25, 2010

You Capture: moments


In honor of this week's theme "Moments" (hosted by the awesome Beth over at I Should Be Folding Laundry) I present:

             "A Wagon Tale"

The tale begins with a free and Springlike moment that the gang and I decided to take advantage of:

We went on a walk in the neighborhood.

It was a rather nice walk, complete with some lovely weather (for Vermont standards).  Please note, Trot likes to help pull the wagon, Sterling likes to pretend she is strong enough to pull the wagon.

As we stroll down the dirt road admiring things to our right AND our left, the moments pass.  Suddenly 30 minutes have gone by.

Sterling decides

she would rather ride IN the wagon than walk.  Bear is happily surprised by this.  We continue on.

Moments turn in to an hour and SOMEONE decides that she truly prefers the wagon over walking.  Trot and I begrudgingly agree and continue to pull the chariot wagon.

We eventually arrive home whereupon we heartily eat up our lunch and all lay down for naps.  The only problem being SOMEONE forgot to put the wagon back in the shed and of course once she realizes it, the moment has already passed and it's begun to snow...


March 23, 2010

Irish soda bread pudding and St. Joseph

First off, I am happy to report, I found no urine in the dishwasher today (ahh, how you all made me laugh with your comments on yesterday's post!).

Last week my friend M told me about a delicious Irish Bread Pudding she had sampled.  I came home from our gathering and was suddenly face to face with the stale, leftover hunk of Irish Soda Bread I had made.

That's when inspiration struck... 

   (I was halfway through eating it when I realized I should take a picture)

TJ's Irish soda bread pudding

3C leftover Irish soda bread, torn
2 eggs  
1/4C sugar (1/2C if you like it quite sweet)
2C milk
2T melted butter
1t vanilla extract
palm full of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (or 3 passes on the grater)
1/4t Chinese 5 Spice (you could omit this, but it is KEY to ultimate yumminess)

butter the sides and bottom of your slow cooker, then sprinkle in the bread.  In a bowl, mix up all remaining ingredients.  Pour over bread and push down on the bread a bit so that it soaks up the mixture.  Put cover on and cook on low setting for 6 hours (this is perfect for breakfast, so if you don't have a timer on your cooker use a) an early riser like Champ to adjust settings as needed b) one of those timers you'd use to set on electronics in your house).  Serve warm with whipped cream of course!  Serves about 4-6 depending on appetites

                        (quite literally the center of our house)

March 19th was the Feast of St Joseph and since he's a pretty big deal in our house (being our resident patron saint and all- it's a Catholic thing) we held a party and invited him to attend.

Every time this fest day rolls around I am reminded of how much I have.  It was just about 6 years ago that we buried a St. Joseph statue in our yard (another quirky/quaint Catholic thing), said our prayers and hoped that our house would sell and we'd be on our way to New England. 

Well gang, it worked

In under 2 weeks, we'd found a house of our dreams in Vermont, Champ secured a job there and our house in Pa. had a bid on it (a bid mind you, by a 
children's author who had just published a mystery about a lighthouse.  Fate?).  

Here's to You St. Joseph is what I say! 

I'm mostly Italian (it's obvious with my hazel eyes and currently red hair) and so I refer to my roots when it comes to preparing the feast menu.  Pasta and gravy (no cheese- yet another quirk), stuffed mushrooms, stuffed artichokes and broiled Italian sausage. 
To top it all off...

Doesn't matter what we ate though, because what I really want to share is the prayer we say BEFORE the meal.  Here's an excerpt (questioning how one has spent his/her life):

the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. 

It always kind of slaps me back in to the reality of "yeah, what am I doing with this one life I have?". 

The kind of thought that's a good question for us all to be asking ourselves, no matter our religion. 

March 22, 2010

Not Me Monday: is that urine in the dishwasher?

Even if I were going to have a little Not Me Monday fun, there's no way no how  I would share the event that happened last week.  I'd just send you right over to Mckmama's where you could read about everyone else's adventures.

I mean, perhaps if I were participating I might venture to show this bagel 

perched on the fireplace with a WAD of butter on it (and some chew marks, see the chew marks?  Dog or human you think?). Only God knows how this garnished bagel got there, but I know it was certainly no member of my family who put it there.  Uh. uh.

If I were in a "Not Me" kind of mood, I might even show you a picture of Bear falling off his stool during our recent camera playdate together.  I would never, ever be so in to the photo taking that I barely flinch when Bear takes a tumble and instead continue to SNAP SNAP SNAP away.  This picture does not even exist because it never would happen.

In the heat of the moment, I might remark to some of you that I pulled over the car to see some turkey wandering through a neighbor's yard BUT I would never admit to cupping my hands around my mouth and doing my best turkey call just to get their attention.  Attention so that they'd wander closer, curious and I could practice my wildlife photography skills. 

Who does that?!  Not me. 

and even if I did slip up and spill a little turkey gossip to you, I would never ever in a million years admit

is urine in the dishwasher.  'Cuz it's not.

Case Closed.

March 19, 2010

5 Faves Friday

FFFpub copy

I have a blog friend, Caroline, from Frog-Photoblog.  As if she weren't super cool enough being from the UK, homeschooling her adorable children and having awesome photography skills, she recently created "5 faves Friday" as a way for us all to link up 5 favorite photos from the week. 

It has been an action packed week of photography and editing lessons for myself, so I figured what better way to end it than with a "5 Fave Friday"... 

                   (Kitchen Aid has the best customer service ever!  Look what 
         arrived at my house for free!!)

 (technically a month old, but hey, I edited it this week!)


(We made juice with raspberries- can you tell?)

Want in?  Head over to Frog-photoblog.  Enjoy your weekend and I'll meet you all back here on Monday!

March 18, 2010

You Capture: reaching


I'm discovering that even on weeks when I don't do so hot capturing the essence of the You Capture theme (reaching is today's), I still can work to expand my photography and editing skills.

So here goes, I'm not in love with them all, but I learned a lot (whether or not it um, shows).

Bear and I had a camera play date: he got to ham it up a bit while demonstrating his reach, I got to experiment with my point and shoot.

He did well with the hamming it up, No?

Sterling tends to sleep with one paw reaching out.  Must be to guard her place on the bed.

 That's all I got for today, but there is an community of amazing bloggers and photographers over at Beth's blog.  Go check them out for more "You Capture"moments.

March 17, 2010

I think we have a house gnome

'Twas St. Paddy's Day 'oh ten

when the sightings first began:

a little blue gnome

ran clear

through our home


and then 

right back out again!


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