Friday, December 24, 2010



Happy holidays, everyone! See you in 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 5, 2010

Dec 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad. You are missed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Catching up: link love edition

Oh, hello there! Seems like forever since I've posted! There's been so much I've wanted to share with you all, but life got in the way. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some things I've been finding fabulous lately:

Gena, over at Choosing Raw, posted a recipe for Vegan Carrot Raisin Bran Muffins a while back. No, they're not raw, but they do manage to be super nutrient-dense while still tasting like dessert! I added one-half cup millet for some crunch and subbed maple syrup for the brown rice syrup. Yum!

This red lentil curry has become my go-to recipe of late. A big pot lasts for days and is so nice on these cold, almost-winer nights. I've made this with both red and green curry paste. I prefer the red, but it works either way. I also subbed diced tomatoes for the puree, just to give it a little more texture. You can also add in some other veggies, of course.

Have you seen Out of Sight, the animated short about how a blind girl sees the world? Truly beautiful.

I've just discovered That Artist Woman and she is blowing my mind with the awesome art projects she creates for her classroom. This is one that parents of kids of all ages should bookmark and visit regularly. I'm planning on making these snowmen with Anna in a few weeks.

I love getting things in the mail, especially little surprise packages. That's why I'm psyched to be participating in the Holiday Ornament Exchange over at BluPenny. You make 3 ornaments, you get three ornaments, from other artists/crafters around the world. There are a couple days left to register so go sign up!

Lastly, I've been through a plethora of cough medicines lately, from homeopathic to herbal to Western, including a horrible experience with codeine (migraine-sufferers beware!). The one med that finally worked was a prescription for Benzonatate (generic for Tessalon Perle). I'm not saying it's for everyone, but I had one hellacious cough, and this med quieted it down without weird side effects. (May you never need it!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm planning on trying some new veg recipes, which I'll post next week. XO.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Local color

We in Portland are having a gorgeous week. Those of us who have been here a while know that this is probably the last gorgeous week until February, when we'll get another week-long reprieve from the gloom. But the beauty of these weeks sustains me, season after season, year after year.









Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh, the cuteness

It's a Hoot owl handbag

Underwater Sisters mermaid skirt

Just a quick post to say finally (FINALLY) my Etsy shop is stocked again. I'm still sewing away and making more cuteness daily, but I wanted to let you know the drought is over! Stop by and have a look. And please, if you like what you see, mark my shop as one of your “Favorites” on Etsy. It will help send more eyeballs my way.

Only 55 days 'til Christmas! Just sayin'.

Monday, October 18, 2010

After the ballet


Last weekend I took Anna and a friend to see OBT perform The Sleeping Beauty. If I'd had my act together, I would be showing you photos of them before the ballet sipping fancy cocoa in the grand lounge at The Heathman Hotel, our favorite before-show ritual. We pretended it was our palace, I the queen and they my lovely princesses. But I am out of blogging practice, and I forgot my camera. It wasn't until after the ballet that I thought to whip out my iPhone and snap some pictures of these Beauties.









Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Best. thing. ever.


My amazing fashionista friend, Ami (mentioned here, here, and here), gave Anna this book as a going away gift (Ami was going away, not Anna) a few weeks ago. Anna immediately proclaimed her love for the book, and later for Ami.

Rosie Flo's Coloring Book is full of images of fabulous outfits: you add the head, hands, and feet. This little book kept Anna busy for about 4 days straight, and she keeps coming back to it. Paired with my Berol Prismacolors, left over from my art school days, it's a match made in heaven.





I love little things that give kids a jumping off point for their own creativity. Thanks, Ami, and bon voyage.

One an unrelated note, we're off to Florida (again) for a visit with the family (yet another excuse to delve deep into the genealogy stuff). Next post will likely be from more tropical climes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: When geeks breed

When geeks breed
This was the scene at a recent going away party for friends of ours. The parents were in groups talking about tech, while the kids lived it. I confess that our own little geek was part of the fray, out of the frame, but doing exactly the same thing!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Easy, healthy pumpkin pancakes

pumpkin pancakes

One of my pet peeves is unnecessary sugar in foods, especially kids foods (I'm looking at you, pumpkin pancake mixes!). At the same time, I understand the struggle to get something into your kid in the morning, and still get them to school on time.

I love this because it is low/no sugar, had loads of beta carotene, and is quick and easy enough for school days. The trick is that I make a batch of these pancakes on a weekend and freeze them. On school days I just pop one in the toaster. Ours get an extra protein boost because I mix about a tablespoon of tahini with less than a teaspoon of maple syrup and have Anna dip strips of pancake into it.

Note: this is really more of a hack than a recipe, because I don't make my pancakes from scratch (I use Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake Mix). Also, I don't measure, so I can't tell you exact amounts. If you're uncomfortable with winging the measurements, email me or leave a comment and I'll measure next weekend!

Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes about 8 Anna-sized pancakes
  • Mix about 1 c. Multigrain Pancake Mix with about .5 c. pumpkin puree (not pie filling).
  • Add about 3 shakes of cinnamon and 1 of nutmeg.
  • Stir.
  • Add milk to desired consistency (I like the pancakes to be a bit thick, so my batter is fairly thick).
  • Add about 1 t canola or vegetable oil.
  • Stir some more.
  • Cook on a nonstick skillet.

As you're cooking the first pancakes, the batter left in the bowl will thicken. Just add in a little bit more milk to get your consistency back where you want it. And remember that this recipe is very forgiving, so you can always add a little more dry mix if it's too thin, more milk if it's too thick.

To Freeze
After they've cooled, I place individual pancakes in sandwich-size, wax paper bags. I fold down the top of each bag and then place all bags in a Ziploc Freezer Bag.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you try this out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New York

Window box

I'm back from an amazing, whirlwind, information-packed four days on the East coast. I spent two days with my paternal grandfather's family in Philadelphia, and two with my paternal grandmother's family in New York.

The amount of information I gathered, both factual and anecdotal, was incredible. My next task is to start transcribing, scanning, and incorporating it into my existing research. As I do that, I'll continue to post here on my progress.

The downside to such a quick trip is that there wasn't much time for sightseeing. I did have a free morning and afternoon in New York, and I managed to take in the Matisse show at MoMA, lunch at One Lucky Duck (an overpriced but yummy raw café), and some shopping at Loehman's. I snapped these photos along the way.

Rooftop view from the living room



Window display with reflections

Apple store

Traffic cop

City rat

Window box 2

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fact-finding mission

Joe and Clara Millman
Joe and Clara Millman, my paternal great-grandparents.

When my dad died, I inherited a box of old photos and documents, many of which were unlabeled. My grandfather's and grandmother's family photos were tossed together, unsorted, in a big (classically Steven) jumble.

One thing led to another, and somehow over the past few months I've become pretty obsessed with piecing together my family history. The various online resources, of which is the mothership, make this remarkably easy. What they can't do, however, is tell me who's in the pictures. For that, I need to go to my dad's family, which thankfully I still have in Pennsylvania and New York.

So I'm off on a solo-adventure (my first since Anna was born)! I'll be flying out on a red-eye late Wednesday night for four full days of genealogy geekery. I'm going to interview my 94-year-old great aunt (my grandfather's sister) in Philly, and my grandmother's 84-year-old first cousin in New York. And I'll have the chance to do the same with my mom's side of the family in October. I'm super excited for all of this.

I can't recommend enough that you take the time to interview older relatives if you've got them (Go, do it now!). I feel like I'm doing this just in the nick of time. Because of this trip, this information will be available to Anna if/when she ever becomes interested. Otherwise much of it would be lost forever.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Penguins can’t breathe under water


Somehow summer is over and kindergarden has begun. There are so many things I intended to write about, photos and recipes and stories to share. Where did the time go? Oh yes, sewing and crafting, camps galore, travel to California (I will post some of those pics), learning to read (Anna), getting sucked in to the massive addiction that is (me), and so on.

Anna started her kindergarden year yesterday. Because she attends a Montessori school, kindergarden is not a big change for her. She is in her third and final year in the same classroom, with the same teachers, and many of the same students. Although much is familiar, the work she does each year changes dramatically. She came home yesterday and announced that she was writing a report on frogs. Today she began one on penguins.

I can't wait to see what she's doing next week!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pickle love



One might think that because I have been known to make my own bread, cheese, and lots of other yummy creations (like these, and this, and this!) that I would also have tried canning. Though I would love to have a bounty of homemade jams, lemon curd, and veggies stored up for winter, the truth is that canning intimidates me.

Because of this inner conflict (it sounds much worse than it is!), I was thrilled to find this recipe for homemade pickles in Real Simple magazine. The ingredients were all easy to come by (I think I already had everything except pickling cucumbers) and they take only 1 day to pickle, thus providing the almost instant gratification I usually get with cooking/baking.

I did modify the recipe by subbing regular white vinegar for white wine vinegar and used chopped dill weed instead of seed. I also reused the brine for a second (and third) batch of pickles, since we devoured these in a couple days (I topped the jar off with a splash more vinegar both times).

I plan to try repeating this process with carrots, beets, and brussels sprouts soon!

What about you? Do you can or pickle? Want to?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still lives

A couple weeks ago, two little girls came asking for an art project. Really? Does it get any better than that?

Neither of them had ever done a still life before, so I began by finding a few different examples online. I really wanted them to see that they didn't have to be representational. I think it's so important that kids understand there is no doing it "wrong" with art.

A simple set-up and some oil pastels were all that was needed. Their work, of course, was amazing! And I love that they both added in apples even though there wasn't one in the still life. Creative license at work!



Chiara's still life

Anna's first still life
You'll notice Anna went back to her stage name, Lavender, to sign her work!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banana Soft-Serve

banana soft serve

This right here? This is why I lugged around a Champion Juicer from San Francisco to Virginia, back to San Francisco, and finally to Portland. The good news is you too can make banana soft-serve with a food processor or good-quality blender.

This treat was whipped up for a discerning 5-year-old and her 10-year-old sitter/friend who proclaimed it the best ice cream she'd ever had! And the only ingredient is frozen bananas.

I've topped it with a homemade chocolate sauce (a bit of cocoa powder mixed with agave), and beautiful raspberries from our yard. Serious yum!

For step-by-step instructions on how to make soft-serve in your food processor, I recommend you look at these from Gena at Choosing Raw.

Friday, July 23, 2010

At a loss

I spent the summer between high school in college at my dad's place in Santa Cruz. He lived in a converted carriage house, behind a mansion on top of a hill which rolled down three blocks to the beach. It was pretty idyllic.

That summer I started dating a boy who was a similar combination of alternative, social, and desperate. We both had pretty difficult home lives and once we found each other we clung on for dear life. I spent my first year of college commuting between my dorm room in San Francisco and my dad's place in Santa Cruz, where Earl was a high school senior. The following year Earl joined me in SF, and the years of playing house began.

We spent four-and-a-half years together, with the inevitable, traumatic break-up our senior year in college. Over the years I have wondered what ever happened to Earl, and I hoped for the best. Despite the fact that he had literally no support from his own family, he was truly a smart, sweet, funny person with a ton of potential.

A while back, I decided to look Earl up on Facebook. Unsurprisingly he had started going by his middle name, Brian, but I found him a few months ago. I sent out a friend request and I waited. After a few weeks I sent a brief email, saying I'd love to hear how his life had gone, but that I understood if he'd rather not get back in touch. When I didn't get a reply, I figured he probably wasn't interested.

Today I got a reply. It was from his former sister-in-law telling me that Earl passed away 8 months ago. She was using his computer and found that he was still logged in to Facebook, so she had seen my email. Because no one discovered that Earl had died for four days, an autopsy was inconclusive. The speculation is that it was a heart attack — the same thing that killed my father three years ago.

So why am I writing this? Why am I posting about someone who hasn't played a role in my life for 20 years? I guess you could call it honoring the dead — something I seem to be doing more and more of these days (and I'm getting goddamn sick of it).

Earl Brian Neidhamer
Earl Brian Neidhamer

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend in Seattle


We recently spent the weekend in Seattle. We went there two years ago, but Anna got sick and the trip was really a bust. This time, despite the overcast skies, we packed our brief visit with time at Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, Sculpture Garden, and lots of amusements and distractions. We rode the monorail, took the elevator to the top of the Space Needle, chased pigeons, and made mud soup. Here are some highlights.