Monday, March 30, 2009

Hanging with the teacher

Today Finn and several of his friends from his class last year spent the afternoon with their second grade teacher. Mrs. K served up pizza, helped them make brownies, and put in a movie for them to watch together. Pretty cool considering this was her first day of spring break, too!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Murderer Unmasked

The stage was set...the setting divine...all characters in place...we were all fully prepared to enjoy our very first murder mystery party. The Frigs set up their home in an extraordinary fashion and Chris and I cooked up a pretty fine meal! I played Pepper Keegrip, the singing cell-phone toting stressed out workaholic. Leif wore a togue and bistro apron and embraced his role as celebrity chef Bameril LaCrosse...he even carried his own signature spice blend!

Just as dinner was coming to a close a much disliked character was murdered with a champagne bottle! We had some big laughs as each member of our masked crew accused their fellow diners of the heinous crime!While many members of our party had means and a motive only one murderer was revealed....

On the menu: Tomato, Beets, Goat Cheese and Greens, Split Personality Soup, Shellfish Risotto, Chicken Roulade and Potato Tower, and Death by ? with Blood Orange Sauce.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hat Trio

Yesterday was "mix-match outfit day" as part of spirit week at Finn's school.
His creation drew a good many laughs!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Album Cover

My friend and design junkie posted a challenge to come up with a fake album cover on his blog. I am not even close to a designer and my attempt above is about as savvy as I dare get with Picasa, but it is a pretty fun game! Go on give it a try! Email my friend your cover he's going to put up a collage on his blog!

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random” or cut & paste The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations" or cut & paste The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album....

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or cut & paste Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Tonight was one of those bizarre divide and conquer parenting nights. Finn had a double header at Sportzone and I watched the first game. Leif came for the second and while our "red headed little fireball" (the parents from the opposing team referred to him that way) played his second game I went to pick Emma up from dance and take her out for a late dinner. We went to the Buzz and I swear she didn't take a single breath (save for the moment I snapped this picture) during our entire hour long dinner. I just love listening to her...she bubbles over with middle school stories and tons of questions about growing-up, the behavior of girls, and yes, the occasional boy. She talks about books and art and dance. I know the janitor moved her lunch table of choice, she wrote a tribute poem about my dad entitled "He Makes Me Believe in my Dreams," and if they are doing walk-fit in Gym they can get a detention for running. Our easy dinner lasted over an hour and I simply drank in the view of the world through the eyes of my daughter.
Time well spent.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


While we were growing up, my brother was kind of notorious for breaking things when we had dinner at my Aunt and Uncle's house. Each time we visited he would famously break the light covers in their basement and on more than one occasion actually ran through their screen door. Things eventually got so bad my parents started bringing items for repairs in advance of things being broken. I couldn't relate to them at all...until now.
When the weather is nice there is no better way to celebrate than having a cook out with friends. We were delighted to spend the evening on Saturday with our friends Aim and G for some grilled pork chops and sunny chatter. Finn was kicking the soccer ball in the back yard and despite several statements to our gracious hosts about the potential hazards of soccer play in the back yard he was encouraged to continue kicking the ball. He was told he could shoot the ball against the canoe.
Finn eventually started kicking the ball against the fence and when I saw it wobble I said, "Finn, not against the fence."
He turned direction.
"Yes, against the canoe, but be careful not to hit the win..."
My words were still hanging in the air.
It was the cleanest break you could imagine; definitely a solid shot. The glass literally exploded into the garage.
Our hosts were very very cool about the whole thing, but Finn totally broke their garage.
So now Leif and I are looking into purchasing a piece of glass. We'll buy a spare piece of course because we like Aim and G and would like to go back to their house someday.
When Finn got home he passed along every cent of his money to put toward fixing the window without being asked.
At least he understands he has to take responsibility for the effects this boyhood rite of passage had on our friends' garage window...

Friday, March 20, 2009


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Last night, for the first time since high school, I was given a corsage to wear! The Day Nursery unveiled it's new kitchen for the media, village officials, and special guests during a cocktail reception; it was a wonderful celebration.
Our hardworking board did not disappoint last night...everyone pitched in to make a memorable evening...the dining room looked adorable, the food was divine, and the drinks were flowing! It is always a joyful moment when the Day Nursery is full of life in the evening!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Three of the Pfour joined us for some corned beef and cabbage and a couple of green beers for the grown-ups! If I do say so myself, it was a mighty fine meal!
Oh and I managed to get a giant wad of gum out of C's hair in the middle of serving dinner.
Who would have thought a little peanut butter could bring the luck o' the Irish to a little leprechaun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meet Loie

‘Fire Dance’
( Dancer: Mary Kelly Kren Photographer: Steve Ewert)
Leif and I headed out to the MOMENTA evening show tonight to take in a fairly astonishing series of dances. For me, the highlight was an awe inspiring trio of Loie Fuller reconstructions: 'Night,' 'Fire Dance,' and 'Lilly of the Nile." My love of dance has grown over the past several years and I have discovered a new respect for historical works.
This was my second opportunity to view these pieces and Loie Fuller is my new dance obsession.
From Isadora Duncan's "My Life" about Loie Fuller:
Before our very eyes she turned to many coloured, shining orchids, to a wavering, flowing sea flower, and at length to a spiral-like lily, all the magic of Merlin, the sorcery of light, colour, flowing form. What an extraordinary genius! No imitator of Loie Fuller has ever been able even to hint at her genius!...I went every night to see Loie Fuller, from a box, and I was more and more enthusiastic about her marvelous ephemeral art. That wonderful creature--she became fluid; she became light; she became every colour and flame, and finally she resolved into miraculous spirals of flames wafted toward the Infinite.
‘Lily of the Nile’
(Dancer: Jessica Lindberg Photographer Steve Ewert)

While I would never openly dispute the sentiments of the great Isadora Duncan, I have to admit Momenta came as close as humanly possible to capturing the visionary works of Loie Fuller tonight. It is hard to imagine these dances premiered prior to 1900...I assure you they have not lost their luster over time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


There is nothing better than a clean bill of heath from the podiatrist and 45 minutes in your first pair of ponite shoes in Emma's world!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Call to Action!

Look, sometimes you have to do your part to help your fellow man during an economic crisis. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices that are all together uncomfortable, but in this case I am asking (read begging) you to stuff your face with pot roast sandwiches, fried chicken, chili, and the occasional cream pie in an effort to save The Depot!
The old school diner, opened several years ago by former Oak Park residents, is always buzzing with a genuine community feel and serves up family friendly fare as unpretentious as the setting. If you order the egg salad sandwich it will be an honest to goodness simply delicious version of the classic. Order a grilled cheese and it will come as a triple decker gooey mess of deliciousness and of course the corned beef sandwich is to die for! Once I had a vicious stomach flu and when I finally started to recover the first thing I ate was an open face turkey sandwich from The Depot and it was exactly what the doctor would have ordered!
And yes, The Depot, is in real danger of closing its doors sooner than you could imagine. So please...make a point of heading over there this week. Bring your family and your friends...lets do what we can to flood this crazy yummy diner with support and cash! We cannot afford to let this one slip away....the made to order doughnuts with mocha alone are reason enough to save the place! Go forth and pig out!

The Depot American Diner
5840 W Roosevelt Rd(between 58th Ct & 59th Ave)
Chicago, IL 60644(773) 261-8422

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Foodie Tip: Stone Soup really wants to eat them. Not to mention the leftovers produced by family of four are often bizarre. Three fourths of a pork chop, a few tablespoons of peas, half a dozen shrimp, and a stray handful of spinach...not enough to make a full meal yet just enough to make you feel a little guilty when you throw those scraps out.
We all know times are a little tough right now; we are all clamping down on everything we can in order to pinch a penny.. I have been trying to come up with fun ways to combat the economic crisis in my kitchen and I realized capping the waste in our house would be a great first step. These are baby steps of course, because budget conscious menus make me nervous...women's magazine articles boasting a family of forty-two can be fed on $.07/per person a tin can and a prayer stab me right in my gluttonous heart. The gourmand in me shivers at the thought of excessive uses of elbow macaroni, ground meats, canned fish, and Taco Sauce and I think, "Hell...Meet the Duggars? Head down this path and I am one tater tot away from being a Duggar."
Somebody slap me.
Relax...the answer is the noodle bowl. Last night was a prime leftover night...Wedensday...there were just enough bits and pieces laying around that needed using. In the spirit of Stone Soup, I sliced up some left over meats and veggies and placed them in small bowls. I made a flavorful broth with chicken stock, onion, ginger, garlic and soy sauce and added a few carrots, some baby corn, eggs, and spinach. Ladle that yummy broth over the meat and noodles and garnish. For crying out loud I even used our mixed nut ice cream topping in the dish! It was just divine and didn't feel remotely like eating leftovers; the dish was a spicy special occasion. My garbage is lighter, my fridge is cleaner, and my creativity is sparked. Maybe every Wednesday should be leftover night...


On Monday, while celebrating Finn's birthday, we played our traditional family birthday candle game and Leif was the big winner. I have played the game since I was a girl and I naturally introduced it to my kids when the time came. My grandma was the driving force behind the tradition and It occurred to me that I have never seen anyone outside of my family play. So...for all of you looking for a little competition while you enjoy your is how it works.
The Birthday Candle Race
After the candles are blown out each person at the table pulls one "racing" candle from the top of the birthday cake.
Frosting may not be wiped away.
Using a lit birthday candle that is not "owned" by anyone carefully drip wax onto a glass plate. Place the base of a "racing" candle into the hot wax and wait for it to solidify.
The candle should stand. Repeat until all candles are standing on the plate.
Working quickly light all the candles on the plate.
The Race is on!
The last candle to burn out wins!
Frosting makes the candle burn faster
Sometimes your candle can create a perfect pool of wax and it will outlast any candle on the plate.
Have fun and don't burn the house down!

Monday, March 9, 2009


  • March 9th, 1959: The Barbie Doll was introduced at the American Toy Fair in New York.
  • March 9th, 1933: President Franklin Roosevelt submitted the Emergency Banking Act to Congress to ease the run on small banks causing them to go into bankruptcy.
  • March 9th, 1955: James Dean’s first performance in a major film started. He starred in a movie entitled East of Eden, for which he won an academy award nomination.
  • March 9th, 1974 : Work on the 800 mile long Alaska Oil pipeline connecting oil fields in northern Alaska to the sea port at Valdez began. The project was completed in just over two years and transports up to 2 million barrels of oil per day.

And on March 9th, 2000... Finnr Sverre Elsmo entered the world.

His shock of red hair was the loudest thing about him; he was soft and gentle and snugly. He snickered and drooled and slept. In every way he was exactly what I had been waiting for and my love for him was an instantaneous overflowing flood.

He is my peaceful Pisces in a sea of Geminis

Today we are captivated by Finn's sincere kindness, sensitive heart, and sense of humor.

Happy Birthday Finn!

Our lives are forever improved for having met you nine years ago...

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Thanks Paul Colt (aka Papa) for coming down today to check out I See America Dancing and participate in the back stage tour! We were all so happy both you and Grandma could celebrate Emma and Finn's performance in this special show!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Emma and Finn Perform!

It is going to be a rainy day tomorrow!
Bring your kids and check out Emma and Finn's MOMENTA performance!
I See America Dancing is a fast paced and at times gut wrenching show. Kevin Dirckson's Deer Dance and solo by Cora D. Mitchell portraying Sojourner Truth are worth the price of admission alone. Oh...and Finn plays a turkey.

Capture the American Spirit and make sure your child joins us for the "I SEE AMERICA DANCING" back stage tours! Children will receive tickets to "ride" the MOMENTA Express and travel through American history. At every turn young guests will savor the opportunity to interact with talented MOMENTA dancers, touch and try-on costumes, and see the stage and sets up close. The train offers several stops including San Francisco where Chinese -American immigrants will teach choreography, a Powhatan Village where Native Americans will supervise a craft, and St. Louis where a Western writer and "real cowboy" Paul Colt will share stories of Lewis and Clark's adventures.
If you want your child to feel like a VIP make sure she or he is a passenger on the MOMENTA Express!
Backstage Tours are Sunday, March 8th @ 1:00PM and Sunday, March 15th @ 1:00PM. Ticket prices are $ 15.00 for children and $ 10.00 for adults. The child's fee includes a backstage tour, meeting the performers, a keepsake photo and special activities prior to the show. Their is a 25 child limit. So order your tickets early! Please call the Academy of Movement and Music @ (708) 848-2329 with any questions or orders.

Friday, March 6, 2009


This evening Finn had a friend over Friday night pizza. Since he is just coming off a week long "groundage" having a friend in the house was reason enough to celebrate. Our friend E and her son Z stopped by to trim Finn's hair and decided to stay for pizza, too. It was a fun and spontaneous Friday night!

The Feast

The Roman feast was well received by team 6-3 at school today. The food was delicious and many of the students were willing to try many new dishes! The meatballs Emma and her friend made were a hit! Following the feast some students put on skits for extra-credit...Emma was already in her peasant costume before she helped herself to some yummy hummus.


I love that Happy Spring Feeling!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Emma's teacher called me yesterday to let me know she was planning a Roman feast for her students on Friday. She asked if I would be willing to make some contributions for eighty students. Ummm...I am feeling like I had been outed as a chef. Of course, I'm just a girl who cain't say no and agreed to make Kofta style meatballs with Cucumber Raita and a couscous salad. I farmed out the meatball making responsibilities to Emma and her Friend Bell and they laughed all the way through the task!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Foodie Tip: Lasagna

Like clockwork I crave lasagna every 20 months.

Lasagna was one of the very first dishes I experimented with when I started to dabble in the kitchen. Even though it took longer to clean up my mess than it did to cook and eat the sloppy meal, I was drawn by the repetition and method of literally building layers of flavor...noodle by noodle. Perhaps a silly lasagna was the first dish that really tapped into my love of cooking.

Enduring complex methods to yield a simple flavor profile is the exact opposite of my food philosophy today and consequently my love of lasagna has morphed to include variations like Crispy Duck Lasagna, Sauteed Leeks and Carrots, Pomegranate, and Hoisin Glaze.

And yes, I do maintain my morphed version is much easier to make than the classic...
but every 20 months or so I go back to my roots. Over the years I have decided that the recipe below is the best version of lasagna to feed a basic craving.
Enjoy! I did last night and I am sure I will again in November 2010!

Simple Cheese Lasagna

15 oz hand dipped ricotta cheese (1 3/4 C)

2 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 C torn fresh basil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Salt and Pepper

6 C. Tomato Sauce (recipe below)

12 Barilla no-boil Lasagna noodles

1lb whole milk mozzarella

Mix the ricotta, 1 C Parmesan, basil, egg, salt and pepper. Spread 1/4 C sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 glass pan. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Drop 3T ricotta down the center of each noodle, then spread to an even thickness. Sprinkle evenly with 1 C mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 C over the cheese. Repeat this layering two more times. For the final layer, place the three remaining noodles on top. Spread remaining sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and remaining 1/4 C Parmesan. Spray a large sheet of foil with vegetable oil spray and cover the lasagna. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until cheese is browned and the sauce bubbles about 25 minutes longer. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Chunky Tomato Sauce for Lasagna

1T olive oil

1 onion, minced


6 cloves garlic minced

1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes

1/4 t dried oregano

1/8t red pepper flakes

8 basil leaves torn


Saute the onion and 1t salt in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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