July 4 BBQ


We were invited up to Tammy and Mark’s house for a BBQ on July 4th. Since we had gone up there already, the drive wasn’t so bad. Their house is perfect for entertaining and there was plenty of food and good people. I love any excuse to bake and tried 2 new recipes for me: ‘real’ strawberry cupcakes and strawberry lemonade cupcakes using the frosting from the 2nd cupcake recipe for both (of which I had trouble). Both were really good and got lots of praise despite the look of the frosting (which tasted good but didn’t look anything like the photo posted on that blog).

Tammy and Zack and friends. No shortage of babies and kids at this BBQ!
Alison, the tattoo artist!
Sienna’s new Donald Duck tat
My new tat to match the other one!
Quiet swing time
Sienna playing ball with a baby. She loves babies!
Tammy going around giving samples of bacon ice cream. You can see that Yves isn’t that excited to try it but he did and liked it!
Got cupcake frosting?

The cupcakes:
See how blah my frosting looked?
Filling for the Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes. This is the first time I had less than what the recipe said I would (I usually have more, way more!)

Sew Crazy!

Here’s an update on the last few things I’ve sewn. I think this should make me up to date on most of my crafts!

This bag is from the Sew What! Bags book. After already made a smaller messenger bag type, I took some liberties with this one but not too many! I knew I wanted to make the strap wider and longer (I ended up making it too long and had to fold it onto itself to shorten it) and added an elastic strap to the bag to hold in magazines (which I ended up cutting off since it was useless!) Because of it’s size (it’s pretty big), it’s a little flimsy and I wish I knew that so I could have used a heavier interfacing for the base of the bag. I think if I can figure out how to add a zipper to the top, I should be ok with it.

Next up is a pencil/marker roll I made for Sienna. I wanted to have this for travel. There are lots of tutorials on the internet but I liked this one because it has a place for a pad. I messed up on the closure of it because the instructions aren’t as detailed as I like but I fixed it ok. I really like this Snoopy fabric.markerrollblog.jpg markerroll2blog.jpg
I really liked the pattern so I made another one for a swap and added a cover to it so the markers wouldn’t fall out.

Then I saw this blog tutorial and thought it was a great idea because it holds a coloring book too. Even though she includes a ton of photos, I did get a little confused and wondered how a standard sized coloring book was going to fit in the slot (it didn’t!) I found a small pad to put in but was perturbed that I didn’t follow my instinct about it. I’m not crazy about the raw edges showing but live and learn!

I made this little pouch for a July birthday swap. My partner loves Mickey Mouse (as well as the color purple) and found this stencil online and printed it out on fabric paper and outlined it with fabric paint.

This pouch was for a Share Your Favorite Craft swap. I have lots of favorite crafts but figured since I’ve been making so many pouches lately, I’d make one for this swap. My partner likes her monogram so I did a reverse applique on this pouch. The first time I’ve done this and I think it’s cute! (She also likes purple!)

This one is also for a swap, Reversable Purse pattern from martha stewart’s site. My partner likes pink and orange.
(I realize now that I should have just reversed the bag to show the other fabric! My brain wasn’t functioning the day I took photos of this!)

And lastly! A project on the to do list! Sienna got this Old Navy dress as a hand me down from either Maia or Eli. I wanted to applique an S on there. I finally did it and used cupcake fabric that I got from a swap. First I did a zig zag stitch around the letter (not very well!) and then a straight stitch for all the missed spots (not that well either!) It’s hard sewing around so many curves!


On the 11th of this month I turned 40. I can’t believe it. I don’t think I really mind turning 40 probably because I don’t look 40 (fingers crossed!). Time just seems to be going so fast. And I always feel like I still have so much I want to do and see and make. It was hard to decide what to do for my big day since it landed on a Saturday. Yves organized a birthday BBQ for me but we had that the following weekend. I decided I wanted to get a pork sandwich for lunch from Porchetta. It’s a little tiny place in the East Village that my friend Brenda told me about. We had tried to go there one night before a mixer but it only has 6 seats and it was raining. I managed to get a couple of bites from a sandwich she brought to another mixer. It was delicious. I wanted a whole one for myself. I actually forgot about the place until a couple of weeks ago when I saw a post on one of the foodie blogs I read who had recently gone there. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then I figured it was a good place to go while Sienna was home with my parents. And that was that.
It was really good although I did find the skin a bit on the chewy side. I like my pork skin crispy.
Potatoes with burnt ends

Yves enjoyed the sandwich but he didn’t think it was worth the price. I might have to agree with him on that. We went back home to have cake that my parents bought for me. They buy me a cake every year and this year I managed to talk them out of going to the chinese bakery. (Not that I dislike chinese bakery cake but they order from one every year) I managed to convince them to go to Jean Danet Bakery (after an attempt to get them to go to Ivy Bakery failed-they thought $35 for a cake was too much which I would usually agree with them but come on, this is my 40th! Anyway, I digress…)

The cake was a chocolate cake with strawberries and chocolate pudding. They were very generous with the strawberries! The cake was delicious! So good that I forgot to take a photo of a slice.

Yves got me a mega stand mixer, the Cuisinart 5.5 quart in brushed steel, for my birthday. It’s fabulous! Sienna bought me an orange case for my Ipod touch! Thanks guys!

Blue Water Grill

On Monday I met up with Peter to have lunch at the Blue Water Grill as part of NYC Restaurant week. We usually go to Nobu but seeing as we have been going to Nobu for the past 3 or 4 restaurant weeks, I thought it might be fun to try a different place. There are so many restaurants taking part so it can be a little intimidating to pick one. When I saw that BWG had a BBQ soft shell crab sandwich as one of their entrees, I picked that place. Unfortunately it was changed when we got there and it was a swordfish sandwich instead. Pete got that and it was good. I got the seafood salad, that was good too. For appetizer I got the Spicy Laughing Bird Shrimp Maki Roll, which was quite delicious! And Pete got the watermelon gazpacho, it was different and refreshing. Pete got the watermelon granita and I got the chocolate truffle bar for dessert. It was all yummy. We enjoyed our dishes but we both agreed that we probably would not go back there. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with anything we had but it didn’t have any WOW factor that would make us want to go back. But it’s always fun spending time with Peter!

My appetizer
The gazpacho
My seafood salad (that I wish there was more of!)
Seductive Pete and the fish sandwich (the fish was yummy as I am sure Pete is too)
The granita

PA Vacay Part2

playgroundblog.jpgSo Tuesday afternoon we headed over to Lancaster. It should have taken 1.5 hours but I was a bad navigator and steered us the wrong way (google maps can be a little confusing). Since we made it in 2 hours, the misstep was not too bad. We stayed at the Fulton Steamboat Inn. It was very cute! They had a playground and a duck pond right in front and Sienna was perfectly content with playing in the playground. At this hotel they gave us an air mattress as their rollaway and when we saw that, we were both like DOH! Why didn’t we think of that? We have 2 at home! It worked out perfect until Yves realized it was deflating during the night. So she ended up sleeping in the other Queen bed in the room. We left the air mattress on the side of her bed in case she fell out (which she did on the last night although we are still not sure it wasn’t on purpose.)


We ended up at a Thai restuarant for dinner because I refused to go to Olive Garden or Ruby Tuesdays. I did not want to eat at chain restaurants that we can go to at home! It ended up being really good. Sienna was used to getting crayons at all the restaurants we’ve been to so when the hostess didn’t give her any, she looked a bit confused and told her, ‘crayons!’ Sienna actually ate her dish of chicken satay. We took a dip in the pool and jacuzzi later that evening.

Yeah I know, I didn’t get waffles but this was the best bacon, egg and cheese on a biscuit I have ever had!
Yves’ waffle
Sienna waiting for some waffle

Wednesday after a delicious breakfast at the Waffle House (I don’t despise all chains!),  we headed out to the Amish Village. Yves was very interested in learning about the Amish people and since I hadn’t been to Lancaster since probably college, I didn’t mind learning about it either. It started out with a tour of a typical house they would live in. Sienna was very good. After the tour, we got to roam around and we saw horses, chickens, rabbits and turkey lurkey! We learned a lot! Then I was really interested in taking an Authentic buggy ride. There were actually quite a few places advertised for that so I picked the place I had a coupon for, Aaron and Jessica’s. I was a little disappointed to see wagons but they did have a few buggys that we had to wait for about 30-40 minutes for! We ended up riding with one other family. It was cute although not what I thought it would be. We basically went around a block. A large country block.
At the Amish Village
Aaron was our buggy driver

After about 5 minutes, Sienna was ready to get off the ride. LOL. It’s a good thing it was just around the block! We were going to head to lunch but then realized Sienna was super tired, it was 1:30 so we headed back to the hotel and she slept for almost 3 hours! We had an early dinner at the Family Cupboard (recommended by Aaron the buggy driver). We ordered off the menu instead of getting the buffet and it wasn’t bad. At least I got some PA dutch food. We went back in to the pool and jacuzzi later that evening.

There was some debate about whether we were going to stay Thursday night. I forgot that I had booked 3 nights in Lancaster and didn’t realize it until we got there. All along I thought it was just 2 nights and we were going to head home Thursday after some sight seeing. We decided to stay. So Thursday after another delicious breakfast at the Waffle House, we headed to downtown Lancaster. There was some advertising that made it seem like a quant little area but my main reason was to go to the Fractured Prune. Well, we didn’t get to explore very much as street parking was hard to find. The meters cost 25 cents for 12 minutes!! So I suggested getting some donuts for later and heading to the Strasburg Railroad, which I had wanted to do but they didn’t open until 11 so it worked out anyway. We took the 11 am train ride. I don’t know if we are just jaded New Yorkers but I was a tad disappointed in the ride. It boasts a 45 minute train ride through the Lancaster country side. Basically, it was 20 minutes 1 way, 5 minutes to move the engine to the other side, and then going back 20 minutes. So it was just a straight line. I always like trains and railroads so that kinda sucked.
The Lancaster countryside
We got the open air breezy car, which was exactly that so that was nice!
Sienna was more excited to ride this 50 cent train.

For dinner on the last night, we went to Cracker Barrel.  I don’t know why but I have this soft spot for Cracker Barrel. I think I’ve only been there about 3 or 4 times in my life but whenever I pass one or see a sign for one, I always get excited. Sienna actually ate the mac and cheese we got for her and my BBQ pork was pretty good. Yves got a chef salad as he was beginning to feel the weight of the vacation eating!

We left Friday morning at around 10, after a delicious breakfast at the Waffle House (again!) and made it home in under 3 hours with a quick rest stop. I know it may sound like I didn’t have a good time but I did and I’m glad we went. I wonder if Sienna will remember this trip?

PA Vacay Part1

So the first part of our trip was Sesame Place. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was sick! I felt something in my throat during the drive down but didn’t think anything of it. It didn’t dawn on me until later that night that I was getting sick. GRRRR. We grundingly went to Chili’s for dinner as the choices for dining were limited to chain restaurants. The service was very slow and then food was just ok. The next morning we went to IHOP for breakfast and a quick stop to Walmart for cold meds and some misc. things we forgot. Since the park opened at 10, we weren’t concerned and we got there about 10 after. There was a big line! Several other families had the same idea of getting there at opening and there were a backlog of people waiting to get in. That was annoying and we must have waited about 20 minutes (although it felt longer.)

I went on the Merry Go Round ride first with Sienna. Then Yves rode the airplane ride. Those went well but then there were a couple of things she did not enjoy. This net climbing thing and this bouncy thing (I think only because she wanted us to bounce with her but we weren’t allowed or maybe because she saw Elmo and wanted to go see him.) Lunch wasn’t very memorable and Yves thought we should leave after lunch so Sienna could get her nap in. I was hoping to get more activities in to get our money’s worth but because I was also lacking in energy from being sick, I succumbed.
Sienna helps Yves push our crap into the Marriot hotel
We were concerned about where Sienna was going to sleep on this trip but the pull out couch worked out. Until the 2nd night when her diaper leaked all over her pj’s and she ended up in the king bed with us. It actually worked out ok even though she was edging us both out!
We made it!
It was hard to get a good shot of them on the ride!
Sienna did not like this thing.
Or this!
The 2nd day went well. The line to get in didn’t seem as overwhelming. Since I was sick I had to bow out of the water rides so Yves went on this water tube ride with Sienna. She loved it! But then she was shivering for a bit afterwards. It was warm but a bit breezy.So we ended up not going on anymore water rides. It just didn’t work out. Me and Sienna did go on this up and down ride that was really fun! Yves was hesitant and wasn’t sure if she would like it but she loved it! She wanted to go see Elmo again so we went back to the photo area. It was Abby and Elmo again like the day before yet she was still just as excited to see them as she was the day before. We also got to see an Elmo World Live show, which she enjoyed. We left around 2 to head to Lancaster and Sienna fell asleep on the way over.

Looking for Elmo!
Driving a fire truck on Sesame Street
At the Elmo’s World Live show.

Reading over what I just wrote, it sounds like I am complaining a lot and didn’t have a good time. Besides being sick, I did enjoy myself but I’m mostly happy that Sienna enjoyed herself. I feel she is still a tad bit young for the park and when we go back next summer, it will be a lot more fun. But I am glad we went!

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Water Tube Ride from Lisa on Vimeo.

Sesame Place

We’re back from vacay! I don’t have as many photos to look through (compared to other vacations) but wanted to quickly post up these “gems.” I’ll post more about the vacation later but in a nutshell, it was generally a nice time. I got sick with a cold the first night there so my energy level wasn’t at what I would have wanted it to be! The first half was Sesame Place and then we went off to Lancaster. I just wish I wasn’t sick! Blah!
She was excited to meet Big Bird but he had “to go pee” so she didn’t get to officially meet him. She did keep yelling out HELLO BIG BERD! But Abby came out to replace him!
But she was really excited to meet ‘DA MAN!’


The moment right after this, the sand went into her mouth. UGH!

Since Yves had off on Friday, we decided to finally head out to the beach. I am not a big beach person (I get restless) and Yves is a beach snob (after being at the beach where he grew up in Jamaica, I can’t blame him!) But a few moms had recommended Riis Park, a beach I haven’t been to since probably high school when I rode my bike there! We decided to give it a shot since Sienna loves the beach and playing in the sand. It was fun! The water was a bit cold but you got used to it and Sienna loved running in and out of it with us. In between water excursions, we tried to get Sienna to build sandcastles with us (mostly so we can rest! HA) It wasn’t as easy to get her to do that. She would knock down any castles we put up and basically kept wanting to go back in the water.

We would definitely go back as it is so close to our house. It was a nice time although we didn’t see any showers on the boardwalk. There must be some there and probably just missed where they were. We spent about an hour and a half there and stopped by Golden Krust to pick up some patties for lunch. We left at the right time as a thunderstorm came just as we were getting home. It only lasted about 20 minutes tho.
Walking to the water
In the water
Running from the water
Sienna babbling away while building sand castles
No Sienna, we don’t put the shovel in our mouths! sigh…
Side by side play
Squashing one of daddy’s castles
Singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Trying to do a headstand in the sand!

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Twinkle Star at the Beach from Lisa on Vimeo.

More crafting!

For Nico’s 3rd birthday:
Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba and an N pillow where his name is supposed to glow in the dark.

For Elanor’s first birthday:
An E pillow and my first ever stuffie, the Wee Bunny from Wee Wonderfuls

For some swaps:
A pencil roll for a July birthday swap for a 10 year old.
Embrace your Geekness day as part of the Wacky July Holidays swap. My partner loves bowling so I carved this from my clip art book. She also loves to play cards so make her this pouch for Stay Out of the Sun day:
This was for another birthday swap for Cancers:
She is a Texan living in Chicago so I thought it would be fun to print out these shots I took in Chicago with my holga. I bought her the funky purple fabric and included a card. I also made her a Mexican skull wristlet that I forgot to photograph but she has it on her flickr page!

And these were made just because:
Yves humored me and let me crochet him an apple cozy as he brings apples to work every day.
I’ve been wanting to make this crochet bead bracelet for awhile and finally sat down to do it. Summer is here and in the hot weather, I can’t stand to wear necklaces so wanted to compensate by wearing bracelets. I got the pattern from futuregirl’s blog. Her wrists are smaller than mine as I followed her instructions to the T and it was too short for my wrists. Since I already strung on the beads, the last few rows had to go beadless as you can see from the last photo. I don’t mind.

I also made a pencil roll for Sienna using Snoopy fabric that I haven’t downloaded from my camera and a new messenger bag that I haven’t photographed yet so there is still more to come! I just love making things!

Nico turns 3

Nico had a birthday party to celebrate his 3rd year here on the 20th of June. It was to be in Owl’s Head park but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Geneva was kind enough to offer her house as an alternative. The kids played pin the tail on the donkey but I think they mostly enjoyed getting tattoos! Starr made birthday cupcakes and pizza was ordered. It was a nice day despite the rain.

Sienna and Phoenix playing ball and not minding the rain.
Phoenix showing off her tats
Sienna getting her 2nd tattoo by Diana, the ‘tattoo artist’
Sienna and Phoenix going to show off their tattoos to the pizza delivery guy!
The rest of the birthday cupcakes

And Nico opening some presents
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The Singing Frog from Lisa on Vimeo.

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