a homemade wedding present

wedding-1Our beautiful friends tied the knot last week. The wedding was delicious, both in a visual and edible way. I could go on for an hour just talking about the food, and I didn’t even get to taste the second half of the multi-course dinner. Instead, my date and I learned a very valuable and hard lesson–

kids do not belong at weddings.

Okay, maybe some kids, but certainly not our ambitious toddler. Not now.

Another couple, also new parents, albeit newer than us, arrived without their bubbly seven month old. Intially we thought it was a bummer that they would leave her at home, but by the end of the night we figured they deserved an award them for being wiser parents.

There is a time and a place for adults only. A wedding with long white tablecloths, glass wear, a  crowded room with guests in short skirts and killer heels is definitely adult only atmosphere. Needless to say we did have a wonderful time and took home some priceless, dark, blurry photos of Rivers chowing down on a loaf of challah the size of his head.

As much as I love dressing up our little dude and treating him like a mini adult, I need to realize that sometimes it may be best to let go, put the kid in comfy pajamas and invite a friend to watch Caillou with him instead of lugging him around like an accessory. Jonathan and I are grown ups. We’ve earned adult-only get togethers. We don’t have to take our kid everywhere just because we’re parents now.

Now onto the wedding present…

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Our newlywed friends are moving from NYC to LA, and are celebrating their honeymoon along the way. This is so genius…

They shipped all of their belongings, including their adorable dachshunds with their families in California. For the next few weeks they will live on the road as they drive along the country to their final destination.

Knowing they will experience more than they’ll be able to remember, we designed this postcard/journal travel kit so that they can document their trip and send each other some love notes along the way. Postcards are tough to find these days, so we included some old (unused) ones to get them started and tools to make their own, including postage stamps.

The project turned out so cute that I’m determined to make one for us before our next adventure. I’ll have to get their feedback on how well it worked.

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Jonathan totally sewed the travel bag. I’m giving credit where it’s due. Do not get confused with me! I still can’t sew and definitely need a lesson in zippers before I tackle something nice enough to gift. Anyway, I was quite busy enough with my own simple sewing project for the wedding. Check out this little bow tie. Does the fabric look familiar? It’s extra from his quiltbowtie

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food face photography: first pb & j

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“Hey go.”

He’s so good at sharing food. Should you decline he’ll gobble up the entire piece as quickly as possible to show you what you’re missing, or fling it to the floor without batting an eye. Ah, life with a toddler. There is nothing else like it, except maybe life with a puppy. Because, let’s be real, if I don’t clean up the floor before he gets down, he will. Nom nom.

 

food face photography

foodface-huhfoodface-fork foodface-seriousfoodface-hurrayfoodface-angryfoodface-duckfacefoodface-smile1 foodface-smile3 foodface-smile4Eat and socializing. The dinner table is about the only place I can photograph my little one without being barraged for the camera. I can’t sneak a picture of him doing anything else without distracting him and inciting a fight. All the photos turn out fuzzy anyway, as if I were trying to capture Bigfoot on film. Unlike the mysterious Bigfoot, I can entice this little fuzzy creature with food. He’s like his mama.

Check out the “artwork” in the back.

 

 

Birdie {Energy} Bites

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All this snow reminds me of making pine cone bird feeders as a kid. We have plenty of millet and sesame seeds from my Tassajara Bread Book challenge, so why not? ( I should update you on that.) The fat pigeons guarding the sidewalks get plenty of scraps, but I thought this could be a simple project to do with the little dude. Easy enough, spread peanut butter over the cones then roll them in seeds.

Ha! Then common sense kicked in.

Rivers can’t keep anything out of his mouth. My little man is practically a hungry baby bird himself. He will eat an entire adult-sized portion of oatmeal, then turn around, mouth wide, begging for a bite of mine. So why not just cut the pine cone and the birds altogether and just feed the baby? We used similar ingredients and rolled them into balls. They make great travel snacks.

Of course my little birdie can’t get enough! Even his peanut butter crazed dadda sneaks into the container. The method is pretty simple and very flexible as far as ingredient substitutions. Just keep in mind that the pieces will need to be rolled larger if your subbing larger ingredients, such as rice cereal or sunflower seeds.

©fourwoodthinking

Birdie (Energy) Bites
{Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free}
Makes 30-35, 1 teaspoon-size pieces

1/2 cup nut butter
1/4 cup freshly ground flaxseed
1/4 cup ground buckwheat or ground oats, or a combination
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
3 Tablespoons millet, divided
3 Tablespoons black sesame seeds, divided
cinnamon to taste, optional

In a medium bowl, mix together nut butter, flaxseed, buckwheat, syrup, 1 Tablespoon of millet and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Also mix in cinnamon if using.

In a shallow bowl, toss together the remaining  2 Tablespoons of each, millet and sesame seeds.

Scoop and roll pieces to the size desired. (I roll 1/2 teaspoon for the Smallest’s hands)

Roll or toss each ball in the bowl of seeds until the outside is covered. If the pieces are very sticky or melty, chill for 5-10 minutes. Eat at room temperature or chilled.

©fourwoodthinking©fourwoodthinking©fourwoodthinking

the purple apron

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“Somehow I know we’ll meet again. Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when. You’re in my heart, so until then it’s time for saying goodbye.”
– Muppets Take Manhattan

We said goodbye this week, somewhat reluctantly, to good friends who are moving out of the concrete jungle, in pursuit of a green yard and closer proximity to family. I’ll admit I’m a bit envious

Ok, completely.

It’s tough raising a kid in a one bedroom with no yard and a 30 to 40 minute commute to the nearest patch of grass. I wish them the best and will miss them terribly. There is no other person on the planet with whom I can say our kids shared their first lunch date en utero. Silly, I know. But that mama would agree. My one-year-old, on the other hand, may have no clue that his friend is even gone. Coincidently they moved closer to my in-laws, so play dates will ensue, albeit rarely. It may take Rivers years to figure it out.

His best buddy left just a few weeks short of her birthday, so I scrambled to make an early gift. Coming down with stomach flu didn’t help, but Jonathan came to the rescue and gave me a sewing lesson as we created this little purple apron. (Glad one of us knows how to sew!) It’s incredible how tiny kids really are at this age. A couple feet of scrap fabric, a good guide and an evening was all I needed. It’s probably the nicest thing I’ve ever completed with a sewing machine, which has greatly inspired me. I started a list of projects. Perhaps I can create something other than faulty baby hats this year.

I asked Jonathan to snap a couple photos for my records, to keep myself motivated. I expected a few flat images, maybe some details. Nope. I got my own little chef modeling the apron. Kid approved.

©fourwoodthinkingapron2 Such seriousness. Already has a top chef attitude.

six more weeks

snowboyThe groundhog saw his shadow, so that means six more weeks of winter. Or did he miss it? I’m never sure which is which, but judging by the storm we received yesterday and the one we’re expecting tomorrow, I’m pretty sure winter is nowhere near over. As long as we’re not into negative temperatures I’m fine with snowy blankets. I’ll take 29 degrees and six inches any day over immediate frostbite.

There are two types of people when it comes to snow, those who hibernate and those who revel in the outdoors. Jonathan usually takes to cozying up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate, while I make it my job to pry everyone out from under afghans and into wool jackets before the sun melts my playland. One upside to my partner being away this week is that there was no steaming cocoa to distract me from my mission. No partner to tell me not to plop the baby in the snow because it may be too cold and wet.

Shhhhh… don’t tell.

I handed Rivers a small snowball, just large enough for him to cup in a mitten-capped hand. He plopped the entire ball into his mouth like a giant jaw-breaker, and judging by his grimace, immediately regretted his decision. Not the least deterred he roamed the landscaped walkway and picked up clumps of snow, either by mouth or mitten. He’s a winter baby by birth and by heart. We may have another reveler in the family.

and one to grow on

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Everyone warned us  how children “grow up so quickly.” Jonathan swears they were right, that it feels like yesterday when I was laboring our son into the world. For me that is not at all the case, or it hadn’t been until this week. The in-between birthday parties week. The week that started on his actual birthday, back when he was still a baby, before he learned to toddle to our outstretched arms, or throw up his hands and say “ahhhh-done” at the end of a meal.

Uh, what?

What happened to my baby and who is this new kid?

I’m pleased we decided to throw a party the weekend after his birthday.  We went back and forth for the longest time, but in the end we realize our son is a social butterfly. He vies for the attention wherever he can get it, from our friends to strangers on the subway. If only I carried a cup, I’m sure his college would be paid already.  The extra week between celebrations gave him a grace period to learn a few steps to impress his guests. A crowded room full of adults cheering him along as he walked and no camera out to catch the moment. I don’t know which part of that is more impressive. First steps certainly, but twelve smartphones all tucked away is also surprising. Talk about living in the present moment! I was so engaged in conversations, catching up with friends, that I didn’t even think to photograph the cake with the birthday boy before it disappeared! Not that it would have mattered. I think he took one bite from someone’s plate before he darted off to play with (another baby) his buddy.

I’d been looking forward to the first cake smash since day one. Luckily I had a couple test cakes stored in the freezer. I cut the size slightly and frosted it for a photo op the following day. Unlike the snowstorm that dumped all over us during the party, the sun beamed through the kitchen and granted a pleasant glow to the morning. Like it was meant to be.

It’s almost impossible to take photos of this guy nowadays. Everything is a blur unless he’s eating. The one activity where he sits and focuses. Funny though how perplexed and grumpy he appears when he’s focused. ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking ©fourwoodthinking

©fourwoodthinkingRecipe coming soon!