{phfr} Flowers of the Fairest



I thought it was funny that Auntie Leila wrote about lilacs too. ūüôā Lilacs make me think of my Mom. ¬†They always bloom around Mother’s day (in the Northeast) and purple is Mom’s favorite color, so there were always bouquets of lilac around the house at this time of year. ¬†I remember on one of our first trips to the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, we passed a thicket full of lilacs and Mom made Dad pull over so she could pick a bunch. ¬†I can’t remember if they were for our house or for a May Crowning that we were on our way to… Do you remember Mom?

Of course, lilac season usually falls in the month of the Blessed Mother, which makes them the perfect flower to bring to Our Lady. ¬†I can remember when I went to St. Pauls Elementary, and later when I taught at MTA, more often than not the kids would bring lilacs in when it was their day to bring flowers to Mary. ¬†If I just close my eyes and breath in the scent, I think of Mom, The Blessed Mother, rosary processions, Marian hymns and maybe, just a little, (don’t kill me Mom) too long trips in the big blue van!

And speaking of pretty and Moms…


Carmela and Claire

{happy & funny}



Chair is stripped.  Next we have to sand and stain the wood.  And then, CUT!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For more pretty happy funny real posts, clickety-click back to Like Mother Like Daughter!

Happenings and Recipes

Dave and I have a lot of irons in our fire lately. ¬†This is saying a lot because I personally don’t usually ever have a fire going and if I do, I adhere to a strict one iron at a time policy to avoid getting overwhelmed. ¬†Ok, so maybe it’s only 2 irons. ¬†Here they are:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



The original putrid shade of green that was hiding under the cushion.


For shame, chair! Cover yourself up! PS, that toilet in the background is NOT hooked up, it’s just an old throne just hanging out in the basement.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dave is project manager. I am creative lead.

We’re still in the fun beginning stages of stripping the chair and meticulously documenting the process with pictures and labeling and tagging all the pieces. ¬†It’s easy to feel giddy and excited about the end product, but I get a little trembly and apprehensive when I ponder cutting pieces out of my beautiful yellow ikat. ¬†If it was just me doing this project, I’d probably chicken out and never do it, but Dave is helping me and he has that quality that I lack when it comes to big projects: stick-to-it-ivness. ¬†He’s a natural problem solver so he tackles projects with a very cool and logical brain. ¬†I just get frazzled!

Our second iron in the fire:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGarden!

We are complete first timers at this and have no idea what we’re doing. ¬†There’s this beautiful plot in our back yard that used to be our landlord’s garden and his father’s before him. ¬†Our landlord sadly passed away almost 2 years ago and we asked his son whether we could use the garden plot. ¬†He said go for it, and he deposited the leaves in the fall on top of the plot to keep the ground moist and protected (?) during the winter. ¬†Anyway, when we finally cleared the leaves and tilled up our little patch this past weekend (by hand!) the soil was rich and soft and beautiful. ¬†We mixed in some manure and we’re letting it sit this week and then next week, the seeds and seedlings go in! ¬†OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To be completely honest, I have very low expectations. ¬†We’re not planting much and we’re not aiming to take a chunk out of our food budget. ¬†We’re just trying our hand at it to see what happens. ¬†If anybody out there has any tips or lessons learned the hard way, we would be so grateful to hear them!


Now on to the good eats! ¬†I’ve been making this pumpkin banana bread for SK for a while now but recently I had an aha moment and made them into mini muffins. ¬†I know, I know. ¬†Brilliant.


Mini muffins, you may not know, are super easy to freeze and therefor preserve for several weeks. You can just pop a couple at a time in the microwave to defrost. Brilliant.


SK wants to share!

A few more things about this recipe. ¬†I’m not going for skinny, so I use 2 eggs instead of one egg and one egg white. ¬†Also, I don’t use nuts. ¬†I bake them in the mini muffin tin at 375 for 10 minutes. ¬†Oh, also, the combination of banana and pumpkin makes these muffins a really good antidote to baby diarrhea. ¬†Just sayin!

Finally, the¬†pi√®ce de r√©sistance. ¬†A word of warning: my picky McFamily members will probably not approve of this recipe but that just proves it’s deliciousness.


These tacos pair perfectly with a margarita (of course) but corona works in a pinch. And yes, judgy-judgers. I use paper plates and paper towels in copious amounts. I don’t have a dishwasher. Lay off me, Earth day was last week, sheesh!

These are…. incredible. ¬†They are the perfect warm weather Friday night meal, IMO. I’ve made them twice, the first time during Lent but even though it is fish and all, it is far too delicious to have on a Friday in Lent. ¬†Sinfully delicious, that’s what.

And that was my overly long post with far too many pictures that could have been split up into several posts over the course of the week. ¬†But who doesn’t love a long rambling picture heavy post?


Not I, said the pig.

5 Favorites (vol. 3)

Linking up with Moxie Wife again to share these very random 5 favorites!

1. Bisquick.  

Man, I love this stuff. What is it even made of anyway? ¬†Why does everything you make with it taste incredible? ¬†I know it can’t be good for you, but I don’t care.

2. This is my favorite thing to make with Bisquick:

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I’m sure you’ve seen these on pinterest, but if you haven’t made them yet, drop everything you’re doing and make them now. ¬†They’re incredible.

3. Color discovery boxes from Lakeshore:

I got these for SK when she was about 6 months old and just sitting up and playing with things. ¬†They’ve consistently been a favorite toy of hers ever since! ¬†I loved them immediately because, as a former Pre-K teacher, I geeked out over the infinite learning possibilites in these 4 simple boxes. At $50, they are pretty expensive, but if you get on the Lakeshore e-mail list, they’ll randomly send you coupons (I got my set for 40% off) and even if you pay full price, they’re worth it. ¬†They’re really high quality and I’m pretty sure they’ll last for a very long time, probably through several kids. ¬†I highly recommend these for homeschooling mamas with little ones!

4.Foscam wireless indoor camera

¬†In an uncharacteristically impulsive move, Dave got this camera about a month ago to use as a baby camera to see what SK does in her crib. ¬†It’s completely unnecessary, especially since SK is a really good sleeper and doesn’t tend to play in her crib, but it is really nifty to have all the same. ¬†The really cool thing about this monitor is that we use our phones and our computers as the receivers which is super convenient. When we use our phones, it’s through some random free app (I don’t know the specifics, Dave set it all up) and the best thing about it is the ads that run above the image of your sleeping babe. ¬†All this to say that I’m now addicted to online gambling.


5. Fabric!

mefabricI took the plunge and I bought the yellow ikat fabric for my chair reupholstery project. ¬†No turning back now! ¬†You can expect a series of posts in the near future titled “Hack Jobs” or “Why you should never DIY reupholstery”. ¬†Please pray for me!

For more fabulous five favs, head on back to Moxie Wife! Happy Hump Day!

5 Favorites (vol. 1)

I just HAD to join in the 5 favorites fun over at Moxie Wife this week. {This should not to be confused with the 5 things that Jane and Rose still owe us…} Just as the world is better off knowing about Claire’s storied political career, the world really needs to know what 5 frivolous things are currently making my materialistic heart pitter-patter.

1. I know I said that yellow wouldn’t work in my living room for my chair reupholstery project, but I just can’t get it can’t get it out of my head. ¬†Pinterest isn’t helping.

Aren’t they beautiful??? ¬†What do you think?

2.  Speaking of colors, this one is on my toes:

Essie Geranium

Too bad no one sees it because it’s basically winter still. ¬†Ugh.

3. Another thing that hasn’t seen the light of day since I bought them a few weeks ago…

Thank you Gap Friends and Family sale (40% off!) and oodles of hoarded rewards points.  Now I am sufficiently trendy for the spring and summer, IF IT EVER COMES!

4. ¬†Mint skinnies leads me to Laura of This Felicitous Life. ¬†I’m loving her series on style and the stay-at-home-mom. ¬†Clearly it’s something that I obsess think about very often. ¬†I love her funny/real take on this all-important issue! ¬†Oh, and I love her wordpress blog design. ¬†Stylish mom-minds think alike!


Mad Men.  This Sunday.  Dave and I are so crazy excited about this!

Check out the other fab five favs at Moxie Wife!

More Chair Talk

This is several weeks late, but I’m happy to report that I do have a smidge of progress in the land of hypothetical chair reupholstery! ¬†Whew, say that 5 times fast!

I actually went out on a limb and e-mailed the unparalleled Auntie Leila to see if she had any suggestions for places to look for nice, inexpensive home decor fabrics in the Boston area.  She very promptly replied with very helpful suggestions and the next weekend I checked out one of the places she suggested: The Fabric Place Basement.

I’ll start with the name of this fine establishment. ¬†Dave was mighty critical when we pulled up. ¬†“Why isn’t it just The Fabric Place or The Fabric Basement? ¬†Why The Fabric Place Basement?” ¬†Well, I can now report, the name fits! ¬†This place was huge and filled with fabric, notions, yarn, etc. ¬†It was quite overwhelming! ¬†Oh, and it was in a basement. ¬†A huge warehouse basement, to be exact.

Anyway, when I finally oriented myself and found the home decor fabrics, my eyes had a little feast ūüôā ¬†IMG_0860IMG_0859IMG_0857

Some of these fabrics were expensive (ie, $30-$40 a yard) but there was a heck of a lot of options that ¬†were in my $20 and under budget. ¬†Now that I’ve checked out the options and know what’s available to me, I need to settle on what I’m looking for in the color and pattern department. ¬†I love love love that yellow ikat, but I don’t think yellow would work in our living room at. all. I think a dusky red hue ¬†would look nice, like this fabric:


This fabric reminded me of a chest that I saw at an antique store last year.  I took a picture, I loved it that much.


Then again, the practical side of me screams “Go simpler! Neutral colors! Simple stripes!”


Maybe I need to pick up some swatches to play pretend with? ¬†What think ye? Your input is greatly appreciated! ūüôā

Chair Talk in Hypothetical Land

It’s time to do something about this chair.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

I found it on Craigslist last year for $50 and it’s always been my intention to reupholster it eventually.¬† Well, eventually has finally come and this chair is driving me nuts!

Do you ever have the experience of knowing exactly how you would do something, in hypothetical land?¬† But when it’s showtime and you actually have a wedding to plan, a house to decorate or a chair to re-uphoster, you’re paralyzed with fear and indecision?¬† That’s me, right now.¬† I really like a good statement chair, in theory… like these:

Isn’t she a beaut?


Red ikat… so trendy!

And speaking of trendy, the ubiquitous moroccan print:

Part of me wants a trendy, fun statement chair.¬† But then there’s the conservative, traditional (boring?) side of me that is always telling me to tone it down and play it safe.¬† It’s that safe side of me that can’t resist a traditional stripe:

I love how you can liven up a simple stripe with a fun patterned pillow.

And then, of course, there’s the headache of picking the perfect color!¬† My living room isn’t perfectly color coordinated, because I don’t have the money to pull that off.¬† I have a neutral off-white couch with blue and red-ish pillows and I have silvery-blue curtains.¬† And the wood!¬† I have a chipping old, ugly, hand-me-down side table and a spray-painted black coffee table that I’ve covered with cushions and pushed in the corner for more seating.¬† The wood legs and arms of the chair are pretty rough and Dave is itching to spray paint them, but what color?¬† Is black to harsh?¬† Is white too fruity?

And the rug!¬† On the one hand, I love my living room rug because it was given to us by Rose and it’s classy and traditional.¬† But it really doesn’t go with anything.¬† I’m afraid once we finish the chair, the rug is going to really stick out in a bad way and we can’t afford/can’t justify the purchase of a new rug.¬†¬† We rent this place, and I don’t know how long we’re going to be here, so I don’t want to sink money into the decor when we might move next year and the new rug we bought just to fit this place doesn’t fit in the hypothetical new place.¬† (Hey, I can dream, can’t I???)

So, what do you think McSisters and McReaders?  Should I go trendy or stay traditional?  Any color suggestions? What to do with the rug? Has anyone been through this before and has tips for how to rock the process?