spring fever.

 Oh, my!  What a lovely day it is.  The sun is shining and it is 66 ° outside.  This beautiful day makes us even more anxious to be out and  working in the garden again.    As with everything else in our life, we believe in utilizing as much old or recycled stuff in the garden as possible.  Part of it is sustainability.  And part is that we don't have lots of money to invest in our outdoor area.  Who wants to go buy something at Target when you can create a beautiful space of your very own??  Here are some various gardens or outdoor projects that inspire us.









Another Peek

 We are working really hard to get the shop stocked and ready for the 1st of April.  Here is another peek.


Check out our show & tell over at Lollipops and Roses!


Day Off - The ultimate story time idea.

 Up early. Dishes done. House picked up. The beans I soaked overnight have made there way into the oven along with some giant hunks of Jamison's bacon. Everyone that was going somewere has arrived safely at there destination. Pretty accomplished morning. Now, it's just Finn and Dad time. I have been slacking on these posts lately. Things have been piling up pretty quick around here, and writing about the tornado surrounding us hasn't been at the top of the heap. Today presented a brief window, so were taking some time out to do something fun. (Directly upon completion of this sentence, Finn and I were called to action. Mom was without lunch and unable to leave to acquire some. Fun had to wait a few hours.)

Alright, back at it.

Gavin has been working, rather begrudgingly, on using writing prompts at school. When he told me of his dissatisfaction, I was a little puzzled. How can it be bad? Especially for someone so creative. "Gavin, you can take these prompts and turn them into anything. All they are is direction." To which he replied "My teacher has boring ideas. What am I supposed to do with things like Write about someone special and pretend you are on an island." Touche, son.

I suggested to Finn that we write our own story together. I thought it would be fun to do something different than our normal Friday pastimes. "This will be a really fun project Finn. We can read it to mommy when she gets home". You can always sell an idea if you add impressing Mom into the mix. Man, I am so clever! We wasted no time getting started,  
Finn insisted on doing some typing:

snwhbsgxhsxggggbvmhkkjggygytt8t7+rstyfg+itfs cbxxvvggxtrerfascsfds+shhchhjdkxxnjl;;c+kbhcbccdcddbc cmmcxbxbbxdccd+




And that was it.  As soon as he finished his frantic typing he stood up and wandered back to Gavin's room and started building with Legos.

"Hey Finn, aren't we going to write this story to read to Mommy? "

 "I did already"

"Oh really, what does it say"

"It says, Obi Wan Kenobi robbed a bank and went to school."

"So that's it, our story is done?"

"Yes Dad, I think mommy will like it."

Can't argue with that, I guess. My attempt at "Super Fun Creative Dad" was not very successful today (which somehow, is already almost over!). However, I was at least able to convince Finn to create a picture to go along with his story.
You didn't think I'd let him off that easy, did you?

Behold, Obi Wan Kenobi robbing  a bank!


Have an awesome weekend everyone!



Chipotle and Sun-dried Tomato Hummus.

We all love hummus, right? It's tasty, healthy and simple to make. Just throw some stuff in a food pro and  voilà, Hummus. Well, not exactly. That is unless you are looking for a kind of lumpy and faintly metallic paste to smear on your favorite cracker. If that's how you roll, keep on keepin' on. However, should you want to up your game. Proceed with your readin'

There are two steps people often forget when making hummus at home. First and foremost, ditch the can. Canned beans don't taste that good. They are fine in a pinch, but pale in comparison to making your own. Also, they are cheaper, and who doesn't like a bargain. Second, hummus is not an "everybody in the pool" kind of party. There are steps to this process. This method is more time consuming,  however the steps are simple and easy to follow. If you give this a shot I promise you will never go back.

Chipotle and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

16oz. bag chickpeas//9-10 slices sun-dried tomato packed in oil (about 1/4 cup)// 4 chipotle peppers packed in adobo, rinsed// 1/4 cup cilantro// 1/4 cup lemon juice// 1/4 cup water// 6 tbl tahini// 6 tbl olive oil// cumin// salt and pepper

  • rinse chickpeas and cover with cold water. soak overnight.
  • Rise chickpeas, cover with fresh water. bring to a boil reduce heat to medium-high and cook until tender. about 1 hr- 1.5 hrs. cool.
  • place chickpeas in food processor and blend for 1 minute. scraping the sides.
  • add cilantro, tomato, peppers, lemon juice and water. blend 1 minute.
  • combine olive oil and tahini together until combined.
  • while food pro is running drizzle in tahini mixture in a steady stream until totally combined.
  • the mixture may be slightly thick still. you can alternate between water and olive oil adding it tp the hummus in the same way until a smooth texture is achieved.
  •  add in salt, pepper and cumin to taste (start with 1 tsp. each).
Eat it straight out of the bowl, or maybe off a pita! You can thank me later.

*As I have always said, change, substitute as you please. Just don't monkey with the steps, dig!



what's inside (my house)



Good riddance.

 Well, we have almost made it through yet another mid-western winter. This time of year makes me unbelievably antsy. I get this way because I know what is soon to come. Good god, I can't wait for warmth. And decent vegetables. And road-trips. And, and, and........

 Obviously, for me spring time means the start of bikes, bikes, bikes.
  •  I think I might need a leather can cage from WALNUT for one of my rides!
  • I have always wanted a mini pump track of my own. Maybe if it came apart the boys and I could convince Lindsay to let us have one.

 This is probably the first and only picture you will ever see of my (brand new!) CX bike where it is actually clean enough to be in the house! 

When the snow melts we all start thinking about our other favorite pastime. Camping!
  • I could see this print hanging just about anywhere in our house.
  • If you have never checked out POLER, go do it! Like right now. Awesome gear and some amazing camp photos on their blog.

Seriously, who needs winter. We wanna go on trips, and ride on merry-go-rounds, and stuff ourselves with fresh tomatoes. Come on sunshine, hook a brotha' up!


Valentine's Inspiration from Sandi D

Hi, Bird and Cleaver readers, it's Sandi here and I wanted to share some Valentine's inspiration. I'm always on the hunt for simple DIY projects which I can add a bit of my personal touch too. Besides the amazing wooden cut candy box, all of the other pieces of inspiration could be recreated for your loved ones this Valentines day season. Hope you have a splendid week
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Best Days

 We had another whirlwind weekend.  We also managed to have fun and be productive.  Pretty much the best combination, right?  On Friday night we had a quiet night in.  It was a lovely end to the week.

On Saturday, John and I had a day date.  We had lunch and drove out of town to go thrifting and antiquing.  I love days like this most of all.  It reminds me of our first few dates.  
After a successful trip, we headed home to make dinner for friends. 

Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast.  In the afternoon, we went to see the Phantom Menace in 3d.  I am not a fan of the first three episodes, but it was fun to see the boys' reaction to their first Star Wars experience in the theater.   The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent making fancy sundaes and watching the Grammys.  I don't know the last time we watched, but between Finn's love of Adele and Gavin's need to be in the know ( the pre-teen years) we had to watch.  I imagine there have been worse shows?  I could have done without certain parts.  Especially Gwyneth Paltrow and her weird eye blinking.  But for the most part it was o.k.   We survived.  

We hope you had a fun /productive/ leisurely/ weekend too.


P.s We will have a couple of fancy sundae recipes up over at Adalou just in time for V-day.
You should probably check them out!
She will have a guest post up here tomorrow, so be sure to  stop by.


Handmade Happy Hour // FTW Edition

 So, this is happening tonight.  If you are in the area, you should come out, have a drink and make a valentine. 
  Old Crown // 6-8


Roasted Butternut Squash// Pearl Couscous// Curried Yogurt

Yesterday I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and John suggested this.  It is one of our most favorite vegetarian meals.  It doesn't take much time to make, but something about it seems sorta fancy.  Perhaps, it is because it is served inside of the squash instead of on the side??   Whatever the reason, you should give it a try.

(this recipe makes enough for 2 1/2 hungry people)


1 medium butternut squash, cleaned and halved //  3 cups pearl couscous, cooked // 1 pint of grape tomatoes // 1/3 cup feta cheese // 1/4 cup toasted almonds // 1 can of chickpeas, drained // cilantro//

Spice paste// Yogurt Sauce
1 T. Olive oil// 1 small onion, minced// 1 garlic clove, minced// 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated// 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander// 1 tsp. cumin// 1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)//1 tsp. paprika// 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 small container Greek style plain yogurt

  • Heat oil in medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant and soft. Be careful not to brown.
  •  Turn heat to low. Add remaining ingredients, except yogurt, cook 2 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and set aside.
  • When cool add mixture to yogurt, to taste. *This spice paste makes quite a bit. I only used about 1tsp. for the sauce, but it will keep in the fridge and you can use more to season the dish as you like.
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Squash
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly drizzle squash with olive oil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Place cut side down, in shallow baking dish.  Roast 40-50 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.

For The Couscous

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan.  Add tomatoes.
  • Salt lightly, and cook until the tomatoes have softened.  About two minutes. Gently break them apart with a spoon. Remove, set aside.
  •  In the same saute pan used for spice paste, add 1T. olive oil and turn heat to high. Add chickpeas and cook until starting to brown and slightly crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Combine tomatoes, chickpeas, couscous, feta, and almonds. Serve over squash. Garnish with fresh cilantro and yogurt sauce.



    Best Days

     Wow!  This weekend really flew by.  We spent most of Friday thrifting.  We were really lucky.  We found some stuff for the shop and a new couch!  I have been obsessively checking craigslist, and online stores like Thrive and Urban trying to find exactly what I wanted.  I found things I liked, but I did not love the price tags.  I was convinced I would find the right sofa at the right price locally and we did!  I am so excited to pick it up later this week ( as well as some other new pieces) and re-do our living room. In addition to the excitement of redecorating,  John and I have settled on our ninth anniversary, April Fool's Day, for the grand opening of the shop!  Stay tuned for more on that.

    The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating Gav's birthday.  We played out in the snow, ate out ( a lot) partied with friends and family, listened to music, did some shopping, went to the movies and finished it off with dumpy food and the Puppy Bowl. It was a busy fun-filled few days.

    Now we are in preparation for our first "Handmade Happy Hour" on Wednesday, as well as a few guest posts, and out of town thrifting trip next weekend.  We hope your week is off to a great start!


     P.s. John got a pretty awesome new bike this weekend.  I am sure he will tell you more about that soon.......


    Day Off. - An Ode to The Elusive, Older child

    *Warning: Sappy Dad Post. Continue at your own risk.

    After we did a little birthday shopping this morning, it was just the boys and I at home. Being here with them is pretty much my favorite thing in this world. Sometimes though, it is hard to believe that I am here and this is my life. I couldn't be happier, it's just crazy how life works out sometimes. Gavin turns 11 tomorrow. I am not sure what it is about this birthday in particular that makes me feel so nostalgic, but it does. I guess it's just a clear reminder that he is getting older and, before we know it, he won't be a boy anymore. Wait, that came out wrong. I don't think he is considering "the change" or anything, I'm just feeling older, and I am gonna miss these times. He is that much closer to be the tallest one in the house (which isn't saying much, but still significant as a parent). He is also that much closer to really caring about all things that teenagers care about; things like clothes, and girls (maybe), and money. Lots of money. I wish they would never get any older than 4-5. They would always think I am funny (mostly), and bribing them to do what I want only takes a couple of M&M's and not a hearty percentage of my weekly wage. But alas, this is my lot as a parent.

    So yeah, Gavin. I can honestly say that he has been a huge part of making me the person that I am today.

    I suppose a little background is in order.

    2 Months from now will be Lindsay and I's 9th anniversary together. It will also mark the 9th anniversary of when I met Gav's. Blood says he is not mine. But from the day we met, I knew that wouldn't ever matter. I think he felt that way too, at least that's what I tell myself! When I say that I give him credit for making me the person I am today I mean it. I have no idea what either of them saw in me in the beginning. But for some strange reason they chose me.

    I was pretty much the absolute opposite of what any sensible person would have wanted as a boyfriend, let alone a Dad. I didn't have a real job. I was touring in a band all the time. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. Not really the responsible type.

    I will never forget the first time I met him. I went to pick up L at her Mom's house. She answered the door and there he was, sitting with Grandma. I still remember their faces, sizing me up, they looked almost the same. Which is not much of a coincidence, considering that I'm certain they were thinking the same thing. "Who the hell is this guy?" "His clothes are very wrinkly." "He really needs to shave." "I hope he brought chocolate". It probably would have scared the shit out of me, had they both not been so polite. Despite the fact that they both seemed less than impressed, I could tell that he was curious about me, so I ran with it, and never looked back.

    That seems like so long ago now. We have grown so much as a family and as people since then. Admittedly, I was not the best dad in the beginning. I didn't really know how to take care of myself, let alone baby Einstein (did I ever mention that Gavin is brilliant? well, he is). But he stuck with me. Through his patience, kind nature, and his unrivaled inquisitiveness, I learned how to be a dad; and a better person.

    I give him so much credit, because he didn't have to choose me. He and L have always been so close that I am all but certain his disapproval of me would have been a deal breaker. But he chose me. Stuck with me. Loves me. And I will always be thankful for that.

    So, to the most curious, stubborn, brilliant, funny, self actualized, kind hearted and unbelievably empathetic child I have ever known. Thank you. You make me so proud.




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