Quick recipe share

For all of you drowning in ripe tomatoes, if you have a gathering to attend soon, do yourselves and everyone there a big favor and make this BLT dip. Delish! Mimi and I enjoyed it 🙂

blt dipThis is not my photo, but it’s pretty much what it looked like, and it’s the photo that made me try out the recipe to begin with. I used lowfat sour cream instead of yogurt, and I served it with bagel chips. Worth the bacon-frying time!

Garden Update…

Last year was our first experience with gardening — Paul’s first ever, and my first since 4-H in junior high, plus my high school farm working experience. We were pleasantly surprised with the results. The peas, tomatoes, and onions were all plentiful and delicious, and the broccoli was really yummy if not high-yielding, and everything was very easy to grow and maintain. We had total fail with our cucumbers and peppers, but we were still raring to go when spring came around again this year. We wanted our garden this year to be bigger and better than last year’s, so Paul built three more raised beds, filled them with topsoil and manure, and we planted MORE tomatoes, MORE peas, MORE onions, MORE broccoli, plus some melons, lettuce, potatoes, and peppers.
Results: mixed. The peas were easy and delicious and disappeared quickly, just like last year (I keep meaning to plant another round, but it’s getting late in the game now…). The onion sets I planted were dubious (small and squishy) as was the soil I planted them in (shallow and hard) and the results have been bleh — lots of dead or tiny onions, with a few stragglers seeming to be coming to full size out there. Oh well, onions are cheap.


The tomatoes have been late in coming and not as drop-dead delicious, but they’re definitely ripening aplenty these days, and the plants themselves are monsters!

So now I have to put these tomatoes to good use! I’ve already made this old favorite recipe twice (please try, it’s delicious!) so tonight I went with a chicken bruschetta recipe instead– similar, but definitely its own distinctive flavor. We liked!


If you try this recipe, two things: eggs first, then breadcrumbs, and add balsamic vinegar to the bruschetta topping, because duh; and also, warm the bruschetta up on the side or tucked in around the chicken rather than on top of it, as it ruins the crunch of the crouton topping, in my opinion.

Here’s a closeup of some of our ripe tomatoes, delicious-if-tiny broccoli, and sad little onions.


And I almost forgot — we’re really looking forward to harvesting our watermelons! So far we count five of them, but there have been lots of flowers, so I don’t know what to expect for a total yield. We made little beds of straw for them to rest on so they don’t get flat or squishy. They look delicious already and are growing really quickly!watermelon

As far as the potatoes and peppers, well, it’s almost September and there have been no blossoms on either, so our hopes aren’t high, but maybe everything will just be a little late this year (oh, please, do not let this apply to babies, too!).



{PFHR} Third trimester effort


Since I was supposed to do Five Faves yesterday and forgot, I’ll make this a combo post by using a “Fave” as my “Pretty.”

I’ve been lazily looking about for nursery ideas to introduce some bolder color into this baby boy’s room, and I liked this one I found on Pinterest that looks really easy to boot.

Seems like you could take this idea any direction you wanted for just a few bucks and not a lot of effort. Works for me right now! I have way too many craft projects sitting around in semi-completed stages at this point, since I lack the energy and enthusiasm to finish them.



This was one happy four-year-old last week, with two different family parties full of cake and presents to enjoy. I am sad about my lame-o cake efforts: for her actual birthday I sent Paul out to get a grocery store bakery sheet cake, which I then did a very bad job decorating with Hello Kitty. Then on Saturday I rallied and baked Funfetti cupcakes, but when I tried to decorate those with number 4’s Paul said they looked like swastikas. Oops!



After a hard week of partying, Margot got very tired on the way to Mimi and Baba’s on Sunday afternoon, and was exasperated by our efforts to keep her awake. It also occurred to me that she looks about how I feel by noon every day lately.




This child loves to get dirty. I’ve found it’s best to just strip her down and go with it, and then when she’s done she and Margot will happily spend 45 minutes in the bathtub together. It’s a good way to get through an afternoon!

Check out more PFHR with Like Mother, Like Daughter (and congratulations on Baby Evangeline!)

Mouthy Mondays

From the mouth of Miss Margot lately…

mouthy margot



One day, after being told that Mommy couldn’t jump up and down with her because of the baby in my tummy:

Margot: “Yeah, then the baby might slide down into your leg.”

Another time, wandering around singing to herself:

Margot: “We pray you, we bless you, we ignore you…”

Yesterday, after being admonished for something and running to her room to get bunny to commiserate with her:

Margot (to bunny): “We just have to get Mommy, Daddy, and Ruthie OUT Of this house. [Pauses] Yes! A net! A giant net!”

After seeing part of the first Harry Potter movie at Aunt Claire’s house:

Margot: “Mommy, have you seen Peter Potter?”
Me: “Harry Potter. Yes, I have, but that movie is for bigger kids.”
Margot: “Yeah. I think I will see Peter Potter when I’m five. Or twenty.”

And finally, after everything Margot says or does…

Ruthie: “Mah too!”

dress up

WIWS “Happy Boopee, Poopee!”

To translate, that’s “Happy Birthday, Ruthie!’ in the words of the birthday girl herself. We got spiffed up for Mass and went all together for once, so we thought we’d share our outfits and a little photo essay on our current favorite 2-year-old.
Margot and Ruthie are wearing matching dresses from Nana, who go them at her favorite store ON SALE (that’s very important to Nana, who never pays full price). I can’t actually remember the name of the store right now, but they are lovely old-fashioned dresses with lots of nice pleating and smocking and embroidered details. Can’t wait to see them on Jackie and Carmela! I’m wearing a non-maternity dress (from Target?) as a tunic over maternity leggings.  Worked pretty well!
Ruthie was born 2 years ago today, only 5 days after we moved into this house, which is craze-balls but that’s pregnancy for you. Here is she is already showing what a happy easy baby she would be at just a few days old…
baby ruth
Margot had been a very high-maintenance infant (and toddler…) and so Ruthie’s babyhood was a huge relief — I actually forgot she was there several times because she’d just lie happily in her pack and play looking at the ceiling for, like 30 minutes at a time, which had NEVER happened with Margot. I do remember saying even then, though, that I’d probably pay for all this peace once day.

Here she is on her first birthday, looking so little still!

ruthie 1And here she is earlier this week, just before heading to Mimi’s on the 4th of July for her early birthday party.

ruthie 2
She is still sweet and cuddly, but she has become a very stubborn and defiant little thing, too. She has pretty much developed a textbook case of the Terrible Twos! But we love her. Happy Boopee, Poopee!


Linking with the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple!


Womb Service: Rose’s Cravings

29 weeks

29 weeks

Little McBaby #3 is my first boy, and so far I’ve noticed fewer cravings (and hence gained a bit less weight, KNOCK ON WOOD 10 WEEKS TO GO!) than with my girls. This could also be because I have less time to indulge my food cravings and my general laziness because I have to chase said girls around and can’t nap twice a day and eat lots of donuts. That being said, my “cravings” every pregnancy are pretty lame and run along the same lines: cereal and frozen yogurt. Which is to say, carbs and sugar. Which is to say, sugar. But I prefer mine to take the form of about three bowls of cereal and one bowl of frozen yogurt daily. Lest you think the frozen yogurt is some stab at healthiness, please know that it’s only because I’m a tad lactose intolerant and have learned that it’s easier on my stomach than real ice cream. Otherwise, believe me, I’d go for the real stuff — there are SO many more fun flavors and extra goodies in ice cream than in frozen yogurt. In fact, one infamous maternity meltdown of mine had to do with frozen yogurt: When I was very pregnant with Ruthie I decided to take myself out to Stewarts for a dish one night, thinking they’d have just vanilla and chocolate, but no biggie, I’ll put some candy and caramel on it and it will be delish. I was really looking forward to this treat and planning my toppings, and so when I got there and looked up at the board to check my options I just about died. Here’s what they had for frozen yogurt flavors: Raspberry fudge torte. That’s it. ONE bloody kind of frozen yogurt, with FRUIT in it, and I don’t even know what the torte part meant. NO vanilla, NO chocolate.
I cried, people. I cried a lot, all the way home, cried to Paul about, felt like a fool but remain to this day really peeved about it. If you’re going to bother selling frozen yogurt at all, and you’re only planning on offering one or two flavors, give us a blank canvas, for Pete’s sake!
Joanie and I went to Stewarts just the other day with free ice cream passes and sure enough, still just the one flavor, so I told her my sad story and then got the raspberry anyway. It was actually pretty good.

7 Quick Takes — Displaced Persons

Taking on 7 takes from Mimi’s house, where this McFamily has been bunking for a week now waiting for our …
#1. WOOD FLOORS!!!!! to finish drying and off-gassing and all that good stuff. We have been dying to replace the wall-to-wall beige carpeting in our raised ranch since we moved in two years ago and everything finally seemed to line up for it. Of course, now we have no money to do any other house projects for the next 5 years, but at least I won’t be packing my sinuses with 30 years worth of dust and cat dander every time I breathe. (Pictures to come, sorry!)
#2. Staying at Mimi’s house has been an interesting experiment on putting the two girls in a room together, something that’s supposed to happen to give the new baby a room later this year. The score for this week is 50% — half of the nights, Margot and Ruthie both went to bed at the same time and fell right to sleep. The other 3 nights, Ruthie stayed up until at at least 10 and had to be driven around one time to get to her to go to sleep. At home, all we do is stick her in a room by herself and let her fool around and fuss until she passes out by the door, but Mimi’s room are decidedly not Ruthie-proof so other than a dog cage (an option we may have briefly considered…) there was nothing to do but tough it out. I think we’ll keep trying to put them down together at home to get them used to it. Sleeping suggestions from the crowd about a 2-year old who’s uncribable?
#3. Every time I do go home I check on the garden and it is lovin’ this hot and humid weather with rain every night. The tomato plants are getting bigger by the minute, and I have already harvested a huge snowpea crop (yum).


   Confession: This is from last July. But it’s accurate for this year, too!
#4. Ruthie is talking more and more as she gets closer to being 2, but she’s nowhere near as articulate as her big sister was at her age. The result is some pretty funny Ruthie versions of people’s names — some are easy, like Mimi and Baba (well, when she’s not calling Mimi Nana), and we love that as soon as Margot stopped calling herself Marmo Ruthie took it right up. She calls Aunt Joanie “Dodie” and Uncle Jim has become what sounds like “Applebee.” The best are her names for herself and my mom’s dog, Penny: “Poopy” and “PeePee.” Very appropriate.


Up past her bedtime and chilling with “Applebee”
#5.Tupler technique update: Okay, total fail on the technique part — I hate those darn exercises! But the splint has been a lifesaver. I can’t get through the day without it, and when I try I’m in a world of pain by the end. It’s part shield from Ruthie’s knees and elbows and part support for my growing belly. It’s not very flattering — makes me looks more fat than pregnant because it shoves my tummy way up under my ribs, and since that’s where my muscles are split it’s very bulgy up there. But this is not about looking good, people!

#6 I will now randomly share a seasonally inappropriate recipe that I’ve made twice lately to rave reviews: this apple cinnamon scone from Skinnytaste. I had some apples that were getting soft and didn’t want to waste them, but I didn’t want to make something really sugary or heavy, so I hit upon these scones from my favorite recipe site. I made them for a MOPS meeting and they disappeared, and then I made them for mom this Monday and they were gone pretty fast here, too. My only change was to back to vegetable oil instead of unsweetened applesauce because I had none around. Highly recommended!

#7  I’ll end with this photo of lots of McWomen and kids standing up for the unborn at the Capitol a few weeks ago. And it worked!


Happy Friday! For more Quick Takes, click back to Conversion Diary, of course!

Mouthy Mondays

My kids aren’t so much mouthy as whiny, and they certainly don’t come out with anything as hilarious as some of my nephews, but Margot is an interesting little person who does a lot of deep thinking in her carseat and has been making some pointed life observations lately. Of course, I have a terrible memory and have failed to accurately record most of them, but she had one this week that I’ve told to several people so I think I’ve still got it down.
Here’s the background: Margot has a little friend whose Daddy is a college professor, and whose already flexible schedule was made even freer this year by some generous paternity leave. The result is that he’s the only Daddy other than her own and her uncles that Margot actually knows and sees out and about quite often. He’ll show up at home while we’re there on a playdate, or we’ll run into him in the library or something, at least once a week. Oh, the other salient detail here is that we have the exact same car as this family, in the exact same color, so that has led to amusing car confusion on a number of occasions.
Anyway, this past week I was on my way to a playdate at the park with the girls and decided to pull through CVS to see if a prescription was ready. Who happened to be walking across the parking lot as we pulled in but this particular Daddy, whom Margot immediately recognized all the way from the backseat. We slowed down to say hi, and he came over (mostly because he thought I was his wife!) and then we moved on. As we drove away Margot was obviously contemplating the strangeness of how often we ran into this particular Daddy, because a few minutes later she piped up with, “Mommy, Daddys aren’t supposed to live during the day. Daddys only live at nighttime!”
Poor Daddy.


Here with a slightly belated recap of our little trip to Florida to see Paul’s lovely Portuguese grandmother (Vovo) and some other relatives from that branch of the family…

Paul and I have made the trek to Florida together five times now, the last time with Margot when she was 9 months old, and this time we were flying with a preschooler and toddler, so we were prepared for a challenging trip. All in all, it went very well, especially when it came to Margot — she did a great job on the plane both there and back, and colored placidly and diligently for at least half the trip. Ruthie did pretty well on the way there, too, and they were both in good spirits while we waited for Daddy at the car rental desk before the hour and half drive from the airport to Vovo’s house in Venice.


Nana (Paul’s mom) was waiting for us at Vovo’s house, and the girls and Paul and I had a very nice week there with them. We went to the beach a couple of times, which was just a few minutes’ drive away, and both the girls loved the sand and especially the water.


Venice is on the Gulf Coast, so the waves are pretty small, but big enough to be exciting to a tiny kid. They were both in love with being in the water, and Ruthie was particularly hard to control about it, since she had all of Margot’s enthusiasm, half her height and balance, and absolutely no fear. This was more of an issue at Tia Manuela’s pool (Vovo’s sister, who lives three doors down from her). Ruthie wanted IN, and there was no shallow end, plus she shunned the floatie tube we tried to get her to use. All she wanted was to jump off the side and be caught again and again, and then be dragged around like she was swimming. It definitely took two adults to deal with them and it was exhausting, but they had so much fun.


(Walking down to Ti Ne’s pool — Ruthie refused to relinquish her tube for the walk there,

then totally abandoned it once we hit the water)

We also, to my slight embarrassment, took the girls to Disney World one day.

photo-1 IMG_0694

I never went to Disney as a kid, and totally understood why even then, and believe me, I get it even more now. Paul has been many times, as his mother is a devotee and goes as often as she can, even without any kids. I enjoyed it a lot more when Paul and I went a) in the the WINTER time and b) without kids. I would add that a good time to go is definitely NOT on a holiday weekend when there’s a special 24-hour party going on, and oh by the way, military families get in for half price. It was mobbed, and ridiculously hot.


Poor Ruthie just sat in the stroller and sweated most of the time, but Margot walked everywhere and was very stoic and both girls really enjoyed the (air-conditioned) rides and shows we managed to get into.


My favorite part of the trip was definitely all the childcare help that comes with staying over at someone’s house for several days. Nana and Vovo like nothing better than to feed and play with small children, which is totally cool with me, and Paul and I even got to go out a couple of times on our own. We saw the new Star Trek movie (two thumbs up!) and went on a lovely date night that included Mass at a very nice parish in Venice, a delicious dinner at a restaurant right on the Marina in Sarasota, and a walk around the Marina itself and later around St. Armand’s Circle, a high-end shopping district where we got some delicious sorbet for dessert.



Paul and I agreed we should’ve just stopped after this incredible (and very filling) appetizer of PEI mussels with chorizo and corn and tomatoes. That sauce was toe die for with bread!


I even ran into an old friend of Claire’s in a jewelry store, and stopped for a photo.


After four short days we had to head back. The flight home was less crowded, both in the airport and the plane itself, and Margot was just as good as on the way there. Ruthie was tougher to handle, but we survived, and I think did pretty well for flying with a 2-year-old. Most importantly the girls got to spend a lot of quality time with Vovo, and we wish we could do it more often!