Archive for August, 2009

A t-shirt for a First Grader!

My dear friend and ROBAY partner in crime’s  daughter just started first grade today! Boy are we getting old.

When her daughter was two she was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease ie a gluten allergy. To make a long story short her birthday was coming up and I said I’d make her a shirt. She said she wanted a pink poodle shirt that said ‘ Gluten free Girl.” I convinced her into having a piece of cake with her slogan. She agreed and here it is!  I was thinking about starting a line of Ts like this!

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Recipe & Revelation!

Last night I invited a bunch of girlfriends  over for drinks as we all  needed a night out. When I came home I started freaking out over the fact that we had no ‘ good booze’ in the house or food to make appetizers with.

I ran to the store and pulled together some quick ingredients ( sadly I have no photos!!!) BUT I came to a revelation when I had an hour and a half to clean up my house and a  mere $15 – I LOVE ENTERTAINING. I think its what I want to do with my life. I want to entertain and teach people how to entertain.

I made pom spritzers with organic pomegranate juice and Korbel ( I know, yuck!) They came out really good! The second bottle I used a Martini de Rossi Asti ( Again, double yuck!) with pom and it also came out yummy.

I served two chopped bars of chocolate ( Cadbury) one dark, one milk with fresh strawberries. They were devoured.

I remembered reading inReal Simple about the beautiful veggie tart with feta. It looked impressive and I wanted to impress so I made it. It came out awesome! I am including the recipe down below.

The tart is the most simple and sinful thing to make it literally took me 5 minutes. You can use any ingredient you have around the house. Meats, veggies, cheeses- anything!

Here is the Real Simple tart:

image from Real Simple.com, Potato, Leel and Feta Tart

image from Real Simple.com, Potato, Leek and Feta Tart

Sweet Hours Goat Cheese, Tomato, Portobella Tart

1 store bought pie crust 9″

1 half log of goat cheese

Toppings:

1 portabella mushroom

1/2 jar of marinated artichokes

1 organic tomato

Cabinet Staples:

Butter, S&P,  EVOO, fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 375. Unwrap the pie crust and place on a cookie sheet. Spread on goat cheese. Place on toppings as you would a pizza. Leave a 2 inch border around the sides. Sprinkle S&P and fresh herbs. Fold the sides in towards the center. Bake for 5 mintutes. Brush on butter.  Be sure to keep checking so the tart doesn’t burn. Should take about 12 mintutes total to cook, depending on your oven.  Before serving drizzle on EVOO.

The tart will be crumbly. Be sure to use a spatula or two to transfer onto a serving dish or platter. Cut into slices or squares.

Variations:

~ cream cheese, top with rasins and honey.

~ricotta, fresh peaches and honey

~spinach and feta

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New Project!

Very excited, a friend who is due in November has asked me to make her little one a mobile! I am happy to design this! I have looked at a number of blogs and I have decided on some birds with drift wood and wire for a modern twist! I will be sure to post photos.

Still working to determine fabrics looking thru the items I have, but I may have to purchase some. I have been looking at driftwood but may just use painted wood. We shall see!

I love this mobile…

Now I Know My ABCs - Decorative Hanging Mobile - Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letters -MiChiMa- ETSY

Now I Know My ABCs - Decorative Hanging Mobile - Stuffed Felt Alphabet Letters -MiChiMa- ETSY

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Swimmy

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Organized Living: Tons o’Tupperware

Look at me! I am eliminating clutter from my life! This weekend I decided to purge the tupperware. I know lameo on a Saturday night- sometimes it just has to get done.

I started going thru the bunch and before I knew it the whole kitchen floor was covered in containers. Trust me this is half, I was too embarrassed to bare all.

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Seriously, you would think I was of the Depression Era. I save everything. Someone may need it, it might be good for a project, excuses EXCUSES!

My husband takes his lunch daily and somehow he manages to lose lunch containers. So what was my solution? Quick Holly, get as many containers as you can find. Save them all before they go extinct!

Here’s how I weeded thru the mess in 3 easy steps:

1) Remove smelly containers and toss them! ( Moreover RECYCLE them, I craiglisted them) Most can be recyled as long as they are clean.

2) SORT by size- Determine what you actually need. Do you pack salads? Keep a few solo cups for dressing etc etc.

3) How do I pick what I need?!- Think of what you need. You don’t need 50 containers. Think of how much bulk cooking you do and start from there. I make tons of soups, chilis and rice mixes, so I opted to keep the tall containers.

We now have an organized tupperware cabinet all thanks to moi. Tupperware Utopia!

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Mom Friendly: Smell Pretty All Day!

Toms New Long-Lasting Deodorant

Tom's New Long-Lasting Deodorant

So you ask: Why is my deodorant ( moreover antiperspirant) bad? Well, here is the  simple answer: aluminum ( in many deos) has been linked to Alzheimer’s and if that isn’t good enough, breast cancer , lymph node issues etc etc

For years I looked, searched, tested and purchased millions of au natural deodorants. NONE worked, by the end of the day ( even sitting at a cushy desk job) I stank and had to revert back to my stash of Dove.

Well it’s a beautiful day, I have found one that actually works! Tom’s of Maine ( yes the toothpaste folks) have developed a super hero deodorant that won’t kill you slowly!

Made with hops to inhibit growth of odor- causing bacteria  and zinc ricinoleate ( say that five times fast!) sourced from castor beans absorbs bad smells. Best of all it offers 24 , count that, 24 hours of protection.

I was amazed. The only reason I purchased it was due to a coupon. The first day I wore it was a hot one ( 85) and I smelled pretty all day long. My husband even said, wow you smell good. I chose the Beautiful Earth Scent. Stop by Whole Foods ( $ 4.99) or your local health food store today.

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Getting my ducks in a Row…

Today I made an agreement with myself, Mrs. Holly Johnson. I need to stop being lazy about my home. Since baby, I have let home improvement projets go by the wayside and enough is enough.

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I haven’t had any nice fodder for My Good House blog in MONTHS. I was reading thru the good ol’ bloglines and read one of my favs, ‘ Young House Love‘ the story of two people falling in love with their house and I got to thinking. I have lived in this house for 26 years, I need to get on the band wagon. I mean come on, we can really DIY it to the guilds. I vow to get that blog cracking. My first project will be revamping a terrible closet in my kitchen. Well, two. Then the kitchen. Then the bathroom and beyond…..!

OK, maybe I am a little hopped up on SUGAR.

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6 months, how do you feel ?

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When he was born I felt like I couldn’t breathe. This little thing was mine. It was my duty to take care of him for the rest of my life. So much responsibility. My heart just melted when I held him- there are no words for this feeling. It felt like a void had been filled in my heart to the poitn of overflowing.  He was crying when they weighed him and the second they brought him to me to see, he stopped. I was his mom. I was actually someone’s mom.

It’s been 6 months since little Baylen came into our lives and  I can’t imagine life without him.  My life has changed in ways I never thought it could. For starters, there is way more love in our home. My husband and I dedicate everything to our little wonder; every ounce of what we do is for him.

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I temporarily let go of my career , which was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It felt like I cut off my leg at first. I was lost without the news and my phone. I felt like a fish out of water just wriggling around unable to concentrate.

I have taken a step back now and realized that, the world is still my oyster and I am not done  with my professional life yet. There are classes to take AND teach, places to see and new media to pitch for a new clients. I learned that – THE WORLD WILL NOT END IF HOLLY JOHNSON IS NOT WORKING. I can’t tell you what the cover story was for Network World this week, or the latest legislation to pass at the White House, Allure’s top beauty picks or even the top convos on Twitter, but I can tell you that Baylen had sweet potatoes and loved them. I can tell you what is on sale this week and where to find the coupon. I can also do something called baking- from scratch!~

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I dreaded the term ‘stay at home mom.’ I heard the word and thought of it as a disease that I would never get. I remember being in highschool and crying when someone said that they saw my future as a SAHM wearing macaroni necklaces. I now know there is more to being a SAHM than I  could have ever fathomed. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to give my child my undivided attention for six months. It has been a blast.  I will not be a SAHM forever, but I will look back at this time fondly. I got to see my son grow up day by day. I watched him learn to smile and suck his thumb. I see him get frustrated by new toys and drift off in his swing.

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The past 6 months have by no means been rosey; there have been a ton of tears, but-there is nothing like holding that little body close to mine to rock him to sleep, knowing that he is content and safe.  I get to watch each breath he takes and every tear shed when he is tired. I see the smiles and the dirty diapers. There have been many ups and downs and we have become the king and queen of living with less. I learned to breastfeed in a car for christ sake!

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Breastfeeding has to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. When Bay was born he had what is called a ‘tongue-tie,’ which we now know if quite common. He came out and just wouldn’t nurse for the life of him.

All the nurses and lactation specialists said he was starving and that he needed a bottle. I refused. I knew that it wasn’t right for him. (Bear in mind, I know that many infants thrive on formula and I see nothing wrong with it. I wanted Bay to nurse for personal reasons, and you should feel comfortable with whatever works for you and your baby.) I fought them and would not give him a bottle. He did recieve formula from a tube, finger feeding.

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After we brought home our little 6 pounder we finger fed him for almost a week. My husband and I were on the verge of divorce. We fought all the time and were irritable. It was so stressful and I remember thinking the crying would never end. ( Mine not his) He had his tongue tie fixed but it was still a long week before he was nursing properly.

I will never forget the day he finally latched on. My little wrinkly baby finally learned to eat, and boy did he ever. He started putting on weight like a champ and thrived.

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I will admit to experiencing depression, I envy the moms that don’t. There is always this crazy feeling of being swept up in what I like to call ‘ baby frenzy.’ The nursery isn’t clean enough, does he have the latest and greatest?, the ” that is not how to change a diaper” lecture at my husband land so forth. Through the help of my husband, new mom friends, playgroup and the public library I am coping.

I don’t know what’s up next, but I welcome new challenges of parenting. I am ecstatic to be a mom and love my little one. How lucky we are to have him!

IMG_1488 HAPPY 6 months of life little Baylen of mine!

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DIY Baby Food!

It’s official, my little one is growing up. He’s been eating food for a week tomorrow!

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I am making my own baby food. I read up online on how to do it as I was a little nervous about providing my baby with nutrition other than breastmilk , but- I have to say this was ridiculously easy. A chimp could do it. A one armed chimp at that. I chose to make sweet potato. How did I make this choice? Well, I wanted to redeem myself from the avocado. My son wasn’t terribly fond of avocado.

Step By Step Instructions-

Ingredients:

~2 Organic Sweet Potatoes ( Made 16 servings!!!!!!)

Materials:

~ Food processor or blender

~Spoon

~Spatula

~ Breast Milk Storage Bags, or BPA free Storage Containers

Step One- Get in your car or walk to your local resource for organic produce. I purchased 2 organic sweet potatoes ( 1 large, 1 medium), a bunch of organic bananas and a small bottle of lemon essential oil. The produce came to about $6.00 ( Keep in mind I went to my local natural store. They tend to have higher prices. It was raining.)

Step 2- Wash your sweet potatoes! Scrub em’ good.

Step 3- Nuke them or Bake them. Then let them cool. I was in a hurry so I put them in the freezer for a bit. Check them out chillin’ like villains in the freezer 🙂

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Step 4: Cut the sweet potatoes open and scoop out the insides

IMG_1381 and put them into the blender or food processor. Here I am using a small 2 cup food chopper from Cusinart. I love this thing and use it all the time.

Step 5: Blend until smooth! Check for chunks! Look at you, you are making baby food!

Step 6:

IMG_1385Spoon the blended mixture into a large Ziploc bag. Squeeze out air as you will be making it into a piping bag. Form your piping bag.

Step 7: Cut a small hole in the tip and squeeze mixture into storage container. I used breast milk storage bags, a tip from a momma friend. What a great idea! They are BPA free and show the measurement so there is no guessing!

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Step 8: Squeeze out air from bag so that it is flat. Squish mixture flat so that can easily thaw once frozen.

Step 9: Be sure to label your food. Max time in the freezer is 3 months according to some books and sites I have seen. Store horizontally!

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There is no excuse not to make your own at least once. Super minimal  cleanup!

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This is all I used and it was all dishwasher safe. The whole process including cleanup was about 40 minutes ( keep in mind this was my first time.) I also was wearing my son the WHOLE time!!!!! ( including photo taking) You can do this~

Just think, you are providing your child with the very best. It is an affordable and a fun activity!

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