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All things Florrie…

Florrie was 20 months on January 18th… All I have to say is wow where did that time go to? She had a check up yesterday at her pediatricians office, she weighed just over 21 lbs with her diaper on and is right on track developmentally for her age… Yay Florrie! She really is developing into such a cute little person, her vocabulary is improving by the day with words like and/hand, no/snow and tees/trees, she understands everything you say to her and will complete all tasks she is asked to do happily! She is very bossy just like her older sister, but in her defense she does have a house of doting siblings running around after her, so she constantly has attention from all angles as she is the apple of everyone’s eye in our house!

Food is a big issue, she is not the best eater, but her doctor did not seem concerned… She will eat anything off of mine or Paul’s plate, the spicier the better but she will just not eat out of her own bowl, her doctor thought this was very cute, but my thoughts are not so cute when you are trying to eat your dinner! I am still breastfeeding her, which she absolutely loves, now I realize this may be an issue for some people but I personally am a firm believer she will wean when she is ready, I did this with both Blu and Mabel and they both stopped at different times, Blu was 15 months and Mabel was nearer 3, both were very discrete and only nursed for comfort… No 7 year olds lifting up my top in public, believe me this would horrify me too, just discrete time cuddling with Mommy!

On a quick side note, the weather was positively spring like in Florham Park yesterday for about an hour, we saw the sun and the temperature was 54 f… It made me very happy, but then later we were issued with flash flood warnings as the rain pelted down into the night, one good thing though it cleared all the snow and now we have grass again… I guess it’s true what they say about New Jersey, if you don’t like the weather, just stick around its sure to change pretty soon!

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All things Florrie…

Florrie was 20 months on January 18th… All I have to say is wow where did that time go to? She had a check up yesterday at her pediatricians office, she weighed just over 21 lbs with her diaper on and is right on track developmentally for her age… Yay Florrie! She really is developing into such a cute little person, her vocabulary is improving by the day with words like and/hand, no/snow and tees/trees, she understands everything you say to her and will complete all tasks she is asked to do happily! She is very bossy just like her older sister, but in her defense she does have a house of doting siblings running around after her, so she constantly has attention from all angles as she is the apple of everyone’s eye in our house!

Food is a big issue, she is not the best eater, but her doctor did not seem concerned… She will eat anything off of mine or Paul’s plate, the spicier the better but she will just not eat out of her own bowl, her doctor thought this was very cute, but my thoughts are not so cute when you are trying to eat your dinner! I am still breastfeeding her, which she absolutely loves, now I realize this may be an issue for some people but I personally am a firm believer she will wean when she is ready, I did this with both Blu and Mabel and they both stopped at different times, Blu was 15 months and Mabel was nearer 3, both were very discrete and only nursed for comfort… No 7 year olds lifting up my top in public, believe me this would horrify me too, just discrete time cuddling with Mommy!

On a quick side note, the weather was positively spring like in Florham Park yesterday for about an hour, we saw the sun and the temperature was 54 f… It made me very happy, but then later we were issued with flash flood warnings as the rain pelted down into the night, one good thing though it cleared all the snow and now we have grass again… I guess it’s true what they say about New Jersey, if you don’t like the weather, just stick around its sure to change pretty soon!

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Steak for dinner…

Who would have known I could of made five of my children so very happy with one average size piece of steak for dinner last night… Well that’s what happened and I will tell you about it… I finally managed to perfect medium rare steak last night, I’m so happy, it wasn’t completely uncooked in the middle it was perfect, all I needed to do was use my meat thermometer, hidden away in my cupboards, next my Mum made the perfect pizza dough and a pizza was created to each persons specifications, then when it was cooked it was topped with African smoked, lightly charred medium rare steak slices, sorry for the long description but I’m just so happy to get my steak perfectly cooked, my thermometer will be used all the time now. Once the pizza’s were cooking I searched around for something warming to accompany them with, the weather is sooooo bitterly cold soup is always a good winter warmer, I had two potatoes, and a bag of frozen leeks… Lightbulb time… A firm English favorite in our house, good old leek and potato soup was quickly thrown together in my rice steamer… Voila the perfect dinner for my children, I have never had so many compliments on food before from them… I completely forgot I was in my own house!

We are busily trying to reorganize and decorate upstairs in our house… We started with Mabel’s room, after weeks and weeks, dollars and dollars spent on paint samples she finally came to a decision on the color, Paul has done a fabulous job painting her room, he is such a perfectionist, we will soon be on the finishing touches, the fun part, we have the curtains ready but she wants white wooden slatted blinds and new cream furniture, a long chest of drawers and a dressing table from Ikea! Next room for a makeover is Blu’s drab green room, my Dad has been priming the walls and Paul has started on the perfect grey paint. My Mum is in the process of making gray roman blinds to go with the gray check curtains I already have, all this is going to go with a new dark wood full size bed and tv cabinet and a vintage look British flag bedding set from restoration hardware! If anyone knows anyone who would like to buy a high twin bed with a desk underneath and a red Ikea sofa, let me know as we are selling both from Blu’s room! Finally it’s onto Florrie’s room, I think it will be a very pale pink, again my Mum is going to repurpose Mabel’s old pink gingham curtains into roman blinds and then I will add white ruffled drapes to go with them!

It is extremely cold here, the temperatures are way down in the minuses, so most of the winter I have forgotten to wear my gloves and just worn thick cardigans instead of a coat, but yesterday the chill in the air actually hurt your skin, so I did not forget to put on my gloves and my coat came out of retirement… It looks like we are in for a few more days of this freezing weather and maybe another snow storm on Friday, so I’m off to buy groceries today, stock up my cupboards so that I can stay in, keep warm and at least I know we will be able to eat too… there are so many winter illnesses going around too, I’m thinking of hibernating until this winter is over! Stay warm and keep healthy!

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Happy hour at home…

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Is it ever to early to have a glass of wine? It must be 5 o’clock somewhere in the world right? Sunday afternoon lazing around at home, dinner is cooked for later, lemon curd frosted vanilla cupcakes are prepared and baking, Florrie is napping on the sofa next to me and Blu and Mabel are quietly doing their own thing… Wine time, Happy Hour begins!

Dinner tonight is a green chili stew with warm flour tortillas…
My pork has been diced and lightly salted then browned before setting aside, I then sautéed one large onion, diced with 4 cloves of garlic for approximately 10 minutes, I then added the pork back to the pan and one jar of roasted mixed peppers from trader joes, toss lightly then add 2 cubed potatoes, 1 tablespoon of dried chili flakes and 4 cups of trader joes vegetable stock… Now comes my greens, shredded Brussels, just because I needed to use them up… Cook for approx 40 minutes on low simmer with a lid on… Now is the part I have never tried before, I am adding 1 can of drained hominy, I googled this and it is a dried then soaked maize, interesting, then I will re-warm it through along with the tortillas, I have some jalapeño and lime tortillas from trader joes to serve with mine!

Next on the menu for tonight is lemon curd frosted vanilla cupcakes… The cupcakes rose well, I just need to make my frosting with lemon curd that’s been hanging around a short while and needs using up. Mabel has sampled a warm cupcake and says they are delicious, so here’s the recipe…vanilla cupcakes, I made 21 cupcakes and baked them for 25 minutes, now for the frosting recipe… lemon curd frosting

Now for that glass of wine and lots of yummy food on this exceptionally mild Sunday in January!

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My not so favorite things…

Menu plan for this week

California flatbread – page125 food network magazine
Green chili stew – page 152 food network magazine
Steak with spicy olive pesto – page 123 food network magazine
Big Greek salad – page 125 food network magazine
Turkey and rice stuffed peppers – page 125 food network magazine
Monday night red beans and rice – page 112 food network magazine
Spicy sausage ragu nachos with pickled onions – page 136 food network magazine

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This California flatbread was delicious, we made the pizza dough in the bread machine pizza dough recipe then instead of drizzling lemon juice over before serving I added the balsamic glaze from Trader Joes… So good, worth a try, and added a nice prelude to thoughts of Spring, coming soon!

My favorite things so far in 2013 are having my Mum here and sharing her birthday along with her, taking a photo every day so that I can look back over 2013, although some days I have forgotten (all photos can be seen on Instagram, my username is florrieflower) but I’m trying hard to keep to my resolution, my new lockable straining lid pasta pan from Costco and Trader Joes Coconut oil body butter, this is sooooo nice and so reasonably priced, after a hot shower it is wonderful to rub in over your body, the smell is divine and it leaves your skin silky smooth, something I desperately need in this freezing cold weather!

Things I am not liking so much in January is the cold snowy weather, I am so ready for spring to arrive, not being able to light a warm fire whilst we eat in the evening, due to our fireplace being under renovation, having deer standing on my doorstep when we are trying to get out our house and not having a working washing machine still… Trips to the laundromat are just not fun anymore and it is costing me lots of money, I have had friends offer me to use their machines… Thank you, but I’m not always in Madison at the moment, as you can imagine washing for 10 people can take up to 3 machines at a time in the laundromat, in fact yesterday we had 4 machines running, 2 extra large ones with dark and light colors, a red wash and then a white wash in the extra small machines, thankfully it was not busy unlike Sunday when you had to fight to get a washing machine, now that was a nightmare!

Well it’s a snow day here in a very white NJ, so after a 5.15am phone call and then a much needed lay in, I am off to put some cinnamon roll dough in my bread machine, (cinnamon roll recipe), then I am going to bake some vanilla sugar cookies… (vanilla sugar cookies)It just feels like I should be baking today and so that is what I am going to do!
Have a very warm winters Day!

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Friday night frenzy…

Friday night Frenzy… Sausage and potato soup, homemade ciabatta bread, wine, no alarm in the morning… Friday nights are to be enjoyed to the fullest! Taylor Swift, Katie Perry, Paul and Mabel singing together… Joy! My Mum sleeping on the sofa and my Dad right next to her… Priceless!

Neil Diamond starts right next to me… Reminding me of a warm summer night in a pool not so far away… 2am, several adults, several children, Neil diamond playing, wine flowing, hands held, whirling waters… Fond memories, fantastic friends… Wonderful summers here in New Jersey!

Cracklin’ Rose… It has to be sung…
Forever in Blue Jeans… My all time favorite!

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Birthday Frenzy!

Frozen pizzas, garlic bread sticks, chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and a glass of red wine all make up a winters Saturday night watching a movie… Priceless, when you just want to relax and forget the events of the past week… Well, that’s how we spent our weekend anyway!

Normally in our house Birthday season does not start until March when Paul kicks off the celebrations, but this year is different as my Mum is staying with us and hers is one of those annoying January Birthdays… Annoying because you just give yourself a huge pat on the back that you have successfully completed Christmas, presents bought, wrapped and opened, food planned, cooked and eaten, children happy and back to school, then BAM, it starts all over again, but this time you have to switch into Birthday mode… This is something I am just not used to and it threw me for a loop!

So my Mum’s Birthday started with a relaxing cup of coffee in bed, then some housework and preparation for the rest of the day… Table laid, cake frosting made and cream whipped! Lewis then cooked my Mum a Birthday Brunch, bacon, scrambled egg and crispy toast… All very delicious! We then chilled out for a while with coffee in the kitchen then it was time to kick off the real celebrations with a glass of wine at our local brew pub down by a very snowy, icy Lake Mohawk!

There is an article in my latest Food network magazine, a Birthday cake for each month of the year, January’s cake was a delicious vanilla cake, so Mabel and I decided that this would be the cake we were going to make my Mum. The ingredients in the sponge were not a conventional equal parts fat to sugar to flour, in fact the cake had considerably less sugar to fat and flour, it also had a large amount of milk/cream and eggs, but I do have to say this was one of the nicest cakes I have tasted, it had a slightly less sweet taste that worked really well with the incredibly buttery vanilla frosting, it was more like a shortbread consistency that really worked well with the whipped cream and strawberries I added to the recipe!

Well my three eldest boys are heading to the Jersey Shore this afternoon… Atlantic City here they come! It will be interesting to see how they have coped since Hurricane Sandy and how much damage there is down there… I have told them I want lots of photos! They have snagged a huge bargain, probably because no one wants to go down there in January, the hotel room for the three of them is only $47 with fees and that is to stay in one of Mr Trumps Casino hotels!

With half the house out tonight it is going to be left over night here tonight… We are having lunch at the trendiest new place in Rockaway, Buffalo Wild Wings, I will report back my verdict of the newest sports bar in town… So my thoughts on dinner are LEFTOVERS, always good to clear out the refrigerator at least once a week!

Two more Birthday wishes go out to my nephews this week, well actually last week too… My brother’s youngest son was 7 last Friday and his eldest son is 12 tomorrow… Where does the time go to, 7 and 12 is just getting too old now! Happy Birthday!

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Funky mojo…

It may be because it is 2013… 13 being the part I am focussing on right now, but the universe seems to be against us right now, or there is some funky mojo going on… Last night on one of my son’s way home from work a deer charged into our car and has left it with a lot of damage, $2300+, the deer even left some of its skin on the bumper just to remember it by. The whole head light is smashed and damaged and the front fender is buckled and cracked in several places, thankfully my son is fine but he was very shaken when he got home!

I am trying to remain positive as really once again the situation could have been far worse, but really how many more bad things are going to come our way, we are only a couple of days into January… I guess the only way is up!

On a more positive note though, I had a fun shopping trip to Shorthills Mall, I had several Anthropologie gift cards to use up, presents from Christmas… so with the lure of an extra 30% off sale items I spent way too much money, well over my budget… It was so much fun though, all followed by a yummy lunch in the Cheesecake Factory, one day I will actually eat the cheesecake in there as it looks sooooo good, but every time I am so full after eating the delicious entree’s!

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Happy New Year…

Happy New Year… I was not going to make any resolutions this year, but what is January without things to work towards and build upon, so mine are as follows, by the way they are in no particular order…
1) family – my aim is to have more quality family time together, days out, projects in the house, and movie afternoon… I just love these!
2) fitness – I really do need to get fit, so I think my first aim is to walk more, then maybe get the wii fit out again before I start anything too ambitious like joining a gym!
3) organization – I really want to be a much more organized tidy person in 2013, so I really need to continue what I started last year and stick to my schedules for housework and tidying.
4) crafts – I have already started my resolution to be more crafty and learn new skills, a resolution from last year I want to continue… I am knitting myself a new scarf, with the snow on the ground and the winds chilling around us I thought it was a perfect project to start off this new year… Wish me luck 30cm done already, just another 120cm to go!

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Finally number 5 is to have more fun, not to take life so seriously and laugh a lot more, so that means I need to be more positive as a person!

Dinner tonight was a white chili with white kidney beans and fluffy brown rice, I also managed to make a desert of croissant and chocolate bread pudding … Delicious all served with a glass of red wine… Happy 2013 to everyone!

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