Friday, December 31, 2010

Letting Go

To say I haven't posted much this year is a huge understatement. The last six months have been pretty spare in particular but I thought it was only appropriate to write one last post for the year and to put it up on the very last day of 2010 (except that Blogger didn't post as scheduled so let's just pretend this went up on 12/31/10).

This year was big for our family. Both my husband and I celebrated milestone birthdays. October marked the end of our first year as a married couple. And in the summer we made the monumental decision to expand our little family. I am apparently one of those fortunate women who gets pregnant in a snap but the pregnancy itself takes its toll... hence the absence of blog posts. I spent the first few months in a fog of perpetual "morning" sickness with little desire to do much of anything. Finally I hit that blessed turning point and regained both my energy and my ability to get through the day without feeling like I was constantly one second away from tossing my cookies. I enjoyed a couple wonderful months and then last week the bottom dropped out just a little. 

Excessive contractions sent me to the hospital in the middle of the night just a few days before Christmas. I'm fine. The baby is fine. But now I'm on bedrest for at least the next month and possibly for the duration of this pregnancy, which leaves me stuck on the couch potentially until the end of February. Fortunately I was able to get home in time for Christmas. I was here to see the excitement on my little girl's face when she recognized that the formerly bare space under the tree now held dozens of wrapped packages. I got to watch as she inspected the empty plate of cookies and milk we had left for Santa the night before. I saw the joy and delight as she opened her presents and helped everyone else open their gifts as well. And I was home to see her spend the day playing with all the toys we had known she would love. 

I try to be thankful that I was here for Christmas and not stuck in a hospital bed. I am doing my best to focus on the fact that I see my husband and daughter each day and get hugs and kisses and snuggles. But I would be lying if I said that I'm full of joy all day. I spend a lot of time feeling frustrated, helpless and exasperated with my situation. I'm here but I'm only able to participate so much. I have a million things that I want to do floating around my head at all times and very little ability to get any of them done. It might sound like a picnic to have everyone waiting on you hand and foot but I thrive on being the caretaker. I'm sure I sound like a whiny little baby but at least I'm being honest. Every day I fight feelings of uselessness and helplessness. Instead of being a major contributor to our home running smoothly, my job is now to do as little as possible in order to keep this baby inside as long as I can. In my heart, I know that's a worthwhile task, but the daily reality is a struggle. 

So here is my resolution for the next two months... focus on the positive. Instead of worrying that I'm a burden to my family, I'm going to be thankful that I'm not in this alone and that I have an amazing husband and supportive family and friends to take care of me while I need it. Instead of thinking about how little I am accomplishing around the house, I'm going to try to take advantage of the ability to rest before the birth of our child which will most definitely demand a lot of energy. Instead of dwelling on how little I can do, I'm going to remember that no one else can do what I'm doing right now and that our baby depends solely on me to be born healthy and strong. All in all, that sounds like a good goal for the next eight weeks.

Happy New Year~

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Been Busy

Just in case you thought I had dropped off the face of the planet, here's a sneak peek into what I've been doing the past couple months.

I know it's a little blurry but you get the idea! Big news in our house but the morning sickness has been rough so I haven't been in a very bloggy mood. I do have a lot of projects coming up that I will hopefully get around to posting about. Now that I'm feeling a little more like myself, I hope to get back to more regular posts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ch Ch Changes

I haven't disappeared. I'm actually still here. Just haven't been doing any blogging. Obviously. Today I decided to play around with the new Blogger design feature and it completely screwed up my old design. I couldn't figure out how to get it back to normal despite a lot of messing with it. I decided in the meantime I couldn't live with it looking crappy so my blog got a completely unintentional revamp. I'm not sure if it will stick but until I can figure out the new design tools, I'd rather live with this template than the gross messed up version of my old one. And I promise to write a real post soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

This is How I Roll

Recently our friends’ twins turned 3 years old and we needed some birthday presents. Obviously there are two of them so in my mind, the presents need to be somewhat equal in cost and as far as the “coolness factor” goes. In other words, you don’t get one twin a fabulous toy and the other socks and undies. You don’t want to cause unnecessary drama for someone who is already dealing with the inevitable crazy that raising two children of the same age can bring. I also hate to spend too much on something that they may not even like a few months down the road. Knowing my own child’s frequent change in interest, I’d rather get something they can use in the short-term without breaking the bank. This is where Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy comes in to save the day.
Lindsey has an online shop full of adorable items that she makes herself. One of the cutest things she makes are her Crayon Rolls. And just last week, she very conveniently posted a tutorial, just in time for the twins’ birthday party. This could not have been an easier project and turned out really well despite my tendency to be impatient and skip through insignificant details like measuring. The twins are a boy and a girl so I chose cute fabric for each and I was happy with the result.
I packed these up with some coloring books, stickers and a little t-shirt for each one. It wasn’t too expensive and turned out to be a great birthday package.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where Did May Go??

In my last post on May 5 (cringe) I was just beginning my spring cleaning. Believe it or not, I actually did it. Well, most of it. Over the past few weeks we had family in town, we celebrated Baby’s 2nd birthday, we all got the flu, I cleaned and re-cleaned to get the gnarly flu germs out of the house, I planted my garden with tomatoes and corn, the Husband and I went to an awesome concert and had a fun weekend getaway, and now May is almost over. Where has the time gone?!

We’re planning a semi-relaxing Memorial Day weekend without too many commitments so I’m hoping we’ll be able to pay some much-needed attention to the house. As if we need any additional tasks on the to-do list, I was completely inspired by Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick who recently revealed her son’s “big boy room.” For a long time, I’ve been working on completing Baby’s bedroom, but I just haven’t been feeling motivated. I think the problem is that her current nursery design is still based on the original bedding we purchased before we knew we were having a girl. It’s fun and bold, but it’s not feminine at all. I wanted gender neutral minus the pastels, but there’s no girly-girl in her room.

I kept holding off on any changes because I planned on doing a redesign when we were expecting number two. Well, we’re not on that road just yet, but I’ve finally decided it doesn’t matter. Baby is getting a semi-big girl room with some feminine updates! It won’t be a full big girl redo because she’s not out of her crib yet, but her crib transitions to a toddler bed so the bedding will be the same size when that time comes. This is my justification reasoning for buying new bedding.

I’ve been scoping out design ideas all over and I’m hoping for a Pottery Barn look on Marshalls prices! Here are some of my current inspirations…


Pottery Barn


Pottery Barn


Better Homes and Gardens



girlsroom5 girlsroom6


It will be hard to make up my mind but I’m excited to give Baby a girly room of her own!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Days Two & Three


The second and third days of Simple Mom’s Spring Cleaning Party are focused on the living room or central area of your home. After the quick sweep on day one, my living room wasn’t in very bad shape. It mostly drew my attention to the fact that our sofa really needs to be cleaned professionally. Otherwise the process entailed some dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the wood floors, none of which are worthy of pictures or further detail.

I thought today I’d focus on cleaning the natural way, a work in progress for my house. It’s hard after years of antibacterial products, disinfectants, and bleach-based cleaners to believe that the house can be just as sanitary using far less toxic tools. Feeling a little light-headed after cleaning the bathroom has always given me a sick sense of accomplishment. But I think it’s common for many families to rethink their cleaning products when a baby arrives. The day that you watch your newly-crawling infant lick the wood floor causes you to rethink what they might be taking in along with the knowledge that no, the floor is not that tasty.

I have yet to fully abandon the old cleaning products, but I’ve switched to “green cleaners" for the areas that Baby comes in contact with the most. I recently read an article in Natural Home magazine that outlined the uses for super basic products that are far less toxic and far cheaper than the standard buzz-inducing stuff. Here are a few of the alternatives.


Cut a lemon in half to clean wood cutting boards or to remove stains on the countertop. Just let the juice sit and then wipe down.

Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle to help brighten your whites.


Coarse salt can help remove stubborn food from pots and pans. Soak the pan with 3 tbsp salt in a few inches of water before scrubbing.


Mix 1 part water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with natural disinfectant properties (avoid granite because the acid can damage the finish).

Pour 1 cup vinegar into the toilet and let sit for a few hours before scrubbing to remove rings, deodorize and disinfect.

Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle to help soften sheets, towels and clothing.

Baking Soda

Mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda for a natural abrasive cleaner to remove stains on tubs, counters and sinks.

Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the garbage can or in the bag to help control odors.

Tea Tree Oil

Mix 15 drops tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle for an all-purpose cleaner with antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Mix 2 tsp tea tree oil with 2 cups water for a more powerful spray to use on toilets or to kill mold.

I have to say I was pretty impressed by all the different ways to cut down on the junk that pollutes our home. It’s bad enough to have a hangover from cleaning the shower and I don’t need to be worrying about Baby dealing with the same problem.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Day One


Last year Simple Mom had an awesome series on spring cleaning. It was a very practical approach, taking the house room by room over a span of ten days. I had every intention of following along and even started a post string but after a couple days, life intervened and the plan was derailed.

Let me clearly state that I have done at least one deep clean in our house since then. Nevertheless, the time has come again. After house guests and vacations and a full calendar over the past month, our home has been somewhat neglected. So I’m going back to Simple Mom’s series and starting fresh.

Day One entails doing a quick sweep of all the surface clutter so that you can more clearly see just how sad a state your house is in. We actually didn’t have as much crap lying around as I thought and the whole quickie decluttering took me about half an hour. Just for your enjoyment, here are some before and after photos, all in the name of motivation for me to continue over the next ten days.

Living Room:

Before (the toy basket has a removable cover that we put on when we have company to fool our guests into thinking our house is cleaner than it is)                                                                             DSCF1119




Before (this corner is the notorious dumping ground in our home)




Kitchen Table:

Before (another constant stop & drop spot)





Before (this picture really doesn’t do justice to the magazine stack on the top corner of the bed)




And there you have it. I am a cleaning machine. On to day two.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Transformation of a Rooster

Today I’m headed to a shower and I wanted to come up with a handmade gift for the bride that fit her interests and coordinated with the wedding gifts we chose from their registry.

Remember this from yesterday…


Well this is just part of a whole so here’s the full picture…


In my opinion that’s a Cockadoodledon’t! I especially love the matching mini-roosters on each of the pockets. Roosters, yes, we get it. I found this hideous beast at the Dollar Store and envisioned a greater purpose. So with a little tweaking, I used it as a pattern for this…


For my first apron it came out pretty close to how I imagined without using any real sort of pattern. I think it will be a fun gift for the bride and truthfully it was really easy.


Both the bride and groom love to cook so I went with a whole kitchen theme in the gifts. Try not to be too amazed by my brilliance. I like the black & white because it works with whatever colors they plan for their kitchen. I’m thinking I’ll wrap it up with a coordinating potholder or maybe a wooden spoon set.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’m so excited to post a new before and after project because it was such a transformation. The end result came out great and it’s a good thing because it’s a gift. I bet you’ll never guess what this is going to be… 


The finished project will be posted tomorrow!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Quickie Before & After

I never posted our Christmas setup (at least I don’t think so and I’m too lazy to check for sure) but it was pretty simple. I  had some garland on the mantel, with some Christmasy knick-knacks and added red votives to the Pottery Barn candle thingy that hangs above the fireplace. When I took all that down, it was very stark all of a sudden.
See what I mean! I obviously had other stuff up there before fall and Christmas hit, but I can’t for the life of me remember what. Anyway it was very depressing and given that it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door, it needed a change. For the past few months, I’ve been playing with it and constantly changing it up. I’m still not fully satisfied but I’ll live with it for now. Here’s the new pre-party-hosting update.
The red tulips are still alive – all the arrangements are going strong even after almost a week! I’m about done with the candle thingy but the Husband says it was very heavy and awkward to put up so I’d better be sure before it comes down. Sounds like a dare!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dining Room Before & After

Recently I’ve been itching to make a few small changes around the house. In my opinion, when you can’t do a major overhaul, a few minor details can make a room much more appealing.
This past weekend we hosted a surprise party for my friend CK’s 30th birthday. It was great- she didn’t suspect a thing and we had a wonderful time! Needless to say when you are hosting a get-together, you want your house to look nicer than usual. The stuff that you can tolerate on a day-to-day basis doesn’t seem so insignificant when you have guests coming. So before the party, we changed the decor in the dining room to help pretty it up a bit.
The before…
DSCF1021 DSCF1023
Pretty bland and boring. The picture is to small for that wall on its own and the window needs some dressing up.
And after…
DSCF1070 DSCF1073
So much prettier!
I got the curtains at Ikea and love them because they are super long. They come 98” long with iron-on hemming tape so you can adjust the length to your windows and how high you want to hang them. $14.99 for two panels works for me.
The photo arrangement was so easy and cheap compared to buying expensive artwork or photography, which frankly just isn’t in the budget right now. I found a book about lighthouses at Barnes & Noble a while ago and it’s been sitting in the garage waiting for this very project. Believe it or not, the frames were from the Dollar Store! Up close they’ve got a couple dings and they certainly aren’t high quality but unless you really look hard, you can’t tell. I bought mattes at Michael’s and we just attached picture hangers to the back and voila! The arrangement fits the large wall much better and brings some color into the room.
The hydrangeas and tulips are from Trader Joes. I was really impressed with how many stems you can get for such a reasonable price. The vases are from Ikea and Target and were so cheap. Overall I’m really pleased with how much different the room looks with just a few cheap thrifty updates.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sleepless in the Springs

photo from
Our Easter celebration with the grandparents this year was a fun one but not the relaxing, restorative weekend that we had imagined when we set out for the Pink Palace.
Baby seemed to be recovering from a cold so we decided to make the trip even though she had been stuffy and sniffly. Wrong. Her cold escalated to a cough and made for a very difficult time getting her to sleep in an unfamiliar bed, which is usually a task on its own. Which bed did she want to sleep in? Ours of course, which we were happy to oblige at 9:30 the first night when she still wasn’t asleep after over an hour of useless attempts. By the third night of wrestling with her at bedtime, we were ready to pack our bags.
Easter was spent with an egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa’s golf club. You’d have thought they had hidden $100 bills by the chaos that ensued when 40 or so children were released into the wilderness of the golf course to find eggs. Eggs, which by the way, were dyed and got all over everyone’s hands… except ours because at almost 2 years old Baby couldn’t give a rip about finding eggs in the grass. She was far more intent on pulling the flags off the putting green. The egg hunt was followed by a delicious brunch at the club where we ate enough that the idea of packing the car and fighting traffic was so unappealing that we decided to give naptime one more shot and were able to spend a few hours in the sun. All in all, I’m glad to be home and I’ll be even happier when everyone is back to normal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I have followers??

I was logging into blogger not too long ago and something strange caught my eye. My blogger homepage showed that my blog had a follower! And now I have two. Compared to the major blogs who have followers in the thousands, this may seem like small potatoes, but to me it is pretty cool. Considering the haphazard frequency of my posting and the random assortment of topics, it is somewhat hard to believe that anyone aside from my friends would be interested.

You’ll see that below the list of blogs that I read, there is now a little gadget where you too could become a follower. It looks a little sparse but that doesn’t bother me. Maybe seeing that little reminder that people actually read this blog will prompt me to get off my butt and write a little more often!

Thank you to the two lovely people who are already followers! I sincerely appreciate your interest in my sometimes ridiculous ramblings. And thank you of course to my friends who I know read as well and often comment. I love those comments!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Changing it up… again

Lately I’ve been feeling a little dissatisfied with how my blog looks. So I’m trying another new background and with it a new header. I’m liking the coordination. We’ll see how it sits after some time.

It would be so fun and motivating to have a custom design but that won’t be happening unless I start using this blog to make money. I’m not sure the Husband would see personalizing my blog design for my own benefit as a “necessary expense.”

Speaking of necessary expenses, we’ve been having a lot of unexpected additions to the bills pile recently. Our furnace was making this horrendous shrieking noise whenever it kicked into gear and because our house is small, you could hear it in all the bedrooms, which was a little unnerving at 3am. A repairman checked it and determined that it might need the motor oiled. Thirty minutes and 140 bucks later, no more shrieking.  Sometimes I wish that I had some sort of knowledge in the heat/AC/electricity/plumbing arena. For the amount of time that it seems to take, those guys sure do charge a bundle. We also had to replace our garbage disposal this weekend, but I’m proud to say that the Husband did that all on his own and it’s working great.

I also found some super cheap frames this weekend and finally managed to complete a project that I’ve had in the back of my mind for months (and months). I’ll hopefully get the frames hung this week and then I will be a very happy camper. And maybe I’ll post pictures too. I have the before pix already but I’d rather wait and reveal both at the same time. I think I’ve been writing a lot about projects yet to come and not a lot about the results. I wonder why that is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Computer Caught a Cold

Aka a virus. A nasty one. One so bad that even my dad the software engineer couldn’t fix it. I had to physically take my laptop to a repair shop and let some guy remove the virus. And for the record, I wasn’t surfing “inappropriate sites” on the internet. I was actually looking for a picture to add to my blog post; a post which no longer exists because of course it wasn’t saved prior to my computer having a nervous breakdown.

Thankfully I didn’t lose anything. Even more thankfully I had recently backed up all our pictures and videos because obviously if I hadn’t, I would have lost everything. That’s how Murphy’s Law works and for once I was on the right side of the law. That being said, if I ever happen to meet someone who casually mentions that they write virus programs for a living, I will beat their ass to a pulp. Seriously? Get a real job and stop screwing with other people’s stuff!

Anyway… here are some pieces of the post I wrote on Friday. Just a few links really to blogs where people actually write posts on a regular basis (unlike some of us). In honor of spring, the web is buzzing with all the happy homemakers updating their home decor.

Layla at a The Lettered Cottage wrote a few great posts about updating your mantel. The one about her mantel update is great and definitely inspired me to lighten things up a little.

Kate at Centsational Girl has also been on the spring kick lately and I loved this post about freshening up her dining room. I like the idea that just a few small changes can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of a room. Our dining room is right at the top of my list right now and I have some ideas brewing.

Melissa from The Inspired Room brought the updating to the outside with a great post about bringing spring to your front porch.

That’s all I have for today. Hopefully my next post will be about my own house :) Many works in progress…

Monday, March 8, 2010

Know Your Enemies

We all have them. We all try to avoid them sometimes/most of the time/none of the time or all of the time if you have the willpower of an Olympian. I'm talking about our diet enemies.

I don't mean "diet" in the typical sense of the word, but more in the traditional sense of a balanced diet. Everyone has those certain foods that sabotage even the best intentions. Some of us are better at avoiding those diet killers than others (I would be included in the second group - the others.) But I'm trying to make an effort towards better health right now. Both the Husband and I are working on making regular exercise a part of our routine, and we've had many a conversation about cutting out the crap in our daily diet. If not for ourselves, we owe it to our daughter and any future children to be healthy parents and to instill that knowledge in them.

Unfortunately this is not a "keep your enemies closer" situation... if only that were the case. When it comes to your personal diet saboteurs, ignorance is bliss. If you don't know how bad that burger is for you, then you can avoid the guilt that often comes with eating something you know you shouldn't. I'm not into complete deprivation by any stretch, but I think I could probably deprive myself a little more often and not suffer too badly. Truthfully in this age of increasing awareness of calories, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, etc., I believe it's a rare individual who doesn't have at least a slight idea of the nutritional content of the food they eat.

Below are a few of my personal enemies and their content. It's alarming in many cases, and while I'm not eating these foods every day, they certainly make the cut more often than they should if I want to slim down a little before summer. It's almost embarrassing to reveal...

*Islands (oh how I love you) is a favorite of ours on a Friday night so here's my typical order:
Big Wave w/ Cheese plus avocado and onion rings on the side
1230 calories + 60 (avocado) + 380 (onion rings) = 1670
83 grams of fat + 5 (avocado) + 15 (onion rings) = 103 g
Don't forget the Coke I usually have, which probably tacks on around 300 extra calories, bringing the grand total to almost 2000 calories. If I'm not mistaken, this is probably above the total calories I need in a day. Ugh.

Tall Caramel Frappucino minus whipped cream
220 calories
3 grams of fat
Note: Sometimes they add the whipped cream by mistake and the total goes to 300 cal and 11 grams of fat.

*Panera Bread
Favorite Order: Chipotle Chicken Sandwich w/ Panera Potato Chips
1150 calories (including chips)
64 grams of fat
Recent Favorite: Cup of Broccoli Cheddar Soup & 1/2 Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich
530 cal
24 g fat

I thought it would be interesting to see how some of my favorites stack up and it's pretty grim. Again I'll reiterate that I don't plan to cut these items out altogether, but instead make it a once in a while treat instead of a weekly occurrence. By the way, I got the nutritional info from each company's website and the links go straight to the nutritional content pages.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Revamping the Routine

photo by calloohcallay

I will start with a disclaimer. I am NOT a morning person. I could gladly sleep until 9:00 every morning without any guilt whatsoever. But those days are over (except for the lucky weekend mornings when my wonderful husband takes the early shift.) Baby usually gets up somewhere around 6:30 or 7:00, and the Husband tries to go for a run before leaving for work by 8 or 8:30.

I'm trying to work a little more fit and a little less fat into my life but there are only so many hours in the day. By the time the Husband gets home from work, I want to sit down to dinner as a family, put Baby to bed and relax. My motivation level to work out at that point is hovering somewhere between "never gonna happen" and "I could give a rat's ass about being fit right now." Many people have suggested that I use naptime for working out but how many people go to the gym during their lunch hour at work?? Besides the fact that I don't usually want to use my "break" to work out and shower, there are also plenty of things that need to get done during that precious un-distracted time... like blog :)

Due to my own personal preferences, this leaves the morning as my opportunity for some exercise. As clearly stated above, I am NOT a morning person. But if it's a choice between a little extra sleep and not exercising, the time has come to change up my priorities. Today started an experiment in switching up our morning routine and I have to say that day one was a success. Here's the breakdown:
6:30 - alarm goes off and I'm out of bed
6:35 - my time to exercise (today I did a power yoga dvd in the living room and now feel like a "tight and sturdy structure" - thank you Denise Austin)
*the Husband gets Baby when she announces her presence and gives her the morning bottle*
7:30 - after a shower, I take over and the Husband goes for a run before leaving for work

I went to bed at a decent hour last night and felt good getting up. I also got out of bed as soon as the alarm went off before I could start the excuses and stay in my cozy bed. I recently read this post at Inspired to Action and it definitely got me in the right mindset. If I linger in bed after the alarm goes off, I won't get up. I feel good for getting up. I feel good for working out. I feel good for being in a better mood when I took over with Baby. Instead of the grouchy mama who doesn't want to get up, I was the motivated mama ready to conquer the day. It's nice to do something for myself as a way to start the day. On to day 2...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Deceptively Delish

About two Christmases ago, I found the cookbook Deceptively Delicious on sale while I was waiting in line at Borders. This is the book that Jerry Seinfeld's wife developed based on the idea of sneaking vegetable and fruit purees into standard kid foods to up the health factor. At the time, Baby was barely eating solids but for $7 it seemed like a worthwhile purchase for the future. Now that she is eating a lot of big-kid foods, this cookbook holds a lot more interest.

Instead of buying frozen chicken nuggets that are full of preservatives and fat, I tried the "deceptive" chicken nugget recipe. Really not much difference except that they are coated in either broccoli, pea, sweet potato or spinach puree prior to rolling in a breadcrumb mixture. The recipe instructs to pan-fry them but I thought I'd try baking them instead. They turned out great. You can taste a hint of the broccoli in some bites but not if you dipped them in any sort of sauce.

I had a few bananas that were getting close to a trip to the trashcan so I decided to try her banana bread recipe. It calls for a mix of whole wheat and white flour and uses brown sugar instead of white. The recipe also calls for half a cup of cauliflower puree. Even as I write that, it sounds revolting but this is the essence of the cookbook. You add purees to recipes in such a way that the taste is not noticeable. The bread is actually very tasty. My only complaint is that it isn't as fluffy as the regular banana bread I make, probably because there are less dry ingredients overall. The texture of the bread is similar to my normal recipe but the slices are a lot smaller because the bread doesn't rise as much.

I'm digging the concept behind all this. The purees are relatively easy to make, but more time-consuming than it sounds when reading the introduction and directions. I like the idea of sneaking veggies and fruits into standard foods. Baby isn't fussy and eats pretty much whatever we put in front of her but I've seen enough kids to know this may not always be the case. Rather than make meals a misery, it's a simple way to help us all get a little extra nutrition without really noticing. Because as my own mom pointed out when I told her about the premise, I'm 30 and I still don't care for vegetables or eat them as much as I should. Maybe I'm not just doing this for Baby after all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Good Scolding

I got a nice slap on the wrist for neglecting to mention my commenters, Mrs. J and Mrs. R, in my last post. Call me crazy, but I was having a hard time figuring out how to naturally work them into a post about curtains :)

Instead I'll say thank you to both of them for helping to stock the nursery with an all-star of a baby shower way back when I was just waddling around like a duck. Now instead of waddling, I'm racing at full-speed to keep up with my almost-two-year-old, but Mrs. J and Mrs. R are still right there with me. All I can say is thanks so much, ladies. And when you can't see (or reach) your feet, I'll be there to tie your shoes too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Undressed Window

As I mentioned recently, I've been working on a few projects to spruce up the nursery. A long while back, I posted very early pictures of the nursery when all we had done was paint the walls a cream color and put together the furniture. Obviously we've done far more than that over the almost two years that we've had Baby, but getting it to look like the picture in my head has taken much longer.

One of my least favorite parts of the room is the window. It's actually a nice big window with an inset frame that will someday be perfect for a bench or some low shelves. Because of the configuration of the room, the window is partially blocked by the glider where we sit and read with Baby before naps and bedtime. The other big problem is the curtains and the horrendous sheet hanging to help darken the room. See for yourself...

I love how you can see the masking tape holding the sheet (sort of) to the wall to keep the light out. It was an in-the-moment desperate attempt to darken the room so Baby would possibly take a nap by herself after months and months of struggling. While it did do the trick, it looks awful and I'm always so embarrassed when people see it. The first step is admitting you have a problem right?!

The brown curtains aren't my favorite but they actually coordinate with her bedding while helping to keep the room dim during daytime naps. My plan is to shorten them and to hang the sheet from a suspension rod so you can't see it behind the curtain. I also found this great pelmet box tutorial on Little Green Notebook that I thought might do the trick to dress up the window.

In the midst of cleaning out our linen cabinet, I happened to find a red checked sheet from an old bedding set that coordinates with Baby's bedding as well. Following Jenny's tutorial, all I needed was batting, foam core board and some red bias tape. I stapled the fabric and batting to the foam core board just like she did and trimmed it with the bias tape using fabric glue. The only real difference is that our nursery window is a lot wider than the windows in her girls' bedroom so my pelmet box is a lot bigger.

The masking taped foam board ready to be wrapped in batting & fabric.

The final product!

A close-up of the checked fabric and red trim.

I'll have the Husband help me hang it once I work some magic on the curtains, and then I think the depressing window should be just a little less pathetic looking. I can't wait to post the official "after" pictures. For now I'm proud of my little project and grateful to Jenny at Little Green Notebook for such an easy fix.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Background

In honor of the fabulous weather we've been having here in southern California, I decided a brighter, more springy background was in order. I'm not completely sold on this one but it's called "Paradise" from Shabby Blogs and that sounded nice. It might feel more fitting if someone... ahem... with graphic design experience... ahem... would design me a new header. Just saying.

What do you think? First 3 people to comment will get a shout-out in my next post. What a selling point right?!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Funny Valentine

One of the projects I've been working on recently is a Valentine's dress for Baby. I found this tutorial at Made and I had a couple extra shirts lying around that would work well. In particular I had this red shirt that never quite fit right but had been hanging in the closet for a couple years with the tags still on. The big question is why did I even buy this shirt in the first place? Sigh.

I know the picture is awful but try to ignore that and you get the general idea. The sleeves were 3/4 length which made it a little more challenging but it worked out okay. Here is the end result minus the little sash that tied around the waist.

So cute! It looked adorable when I tried it on Baby and I had grand visions of her being so darling when we went out for our family Valentine's dinner at Islands (my favorite). Unfortunately, being a toddler and having very strong opinions these days, Baby absolutely refused to wear the dress to dinner and threw an all-out fit in protest. It was either put her in another outfit or cancel dinner and obviously Islands always wins. Sadly the Valentine's dress didn't actually get worn on V-day, but it was free and pretty easy so no great loss. Maybe another time. Happy belated Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thirty is Crazy

So far being 30 has been busy! I had a lot of fun celebrating and was completely spoiled by the Husband and my girlfriends. I ushered in this next decade of my life with some pampering, some great food and a lot of toasting.

The past week was spent mostly in the desert at the Pink Palace. Baby and I spent time with Grandma and Grandpa while the Husband had a well-earned weekend with the guys in LA. It was a fun weekend despite the unfortunate weather but it's good to be home, although not because of the mountain of dirty laundry that's staring me down.

I've been working on some great projects recently and I'll be ready to post about them soon. About a million years ago it seems I posted about wanting to work on Baby's room and after the wedding and the holidays, I'm finally getting around to it. Seriously it was a long time ago... embarrassingly long. But I've got some great stuff to spiff it up and if the staple gun weren't so freaking loud, I'd be working on it now. However, you couldn't pay me enough to bother my sensitive sleeper so it'll have to wait. In the meantime I hear some laundry calling my name :(

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2009 And I Got a New Name

I've written a lot about the most significant event of 2009, but since a picture is worth a thousand words...

Photographs courtesy of Chris Johnson Photography.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2008 And Baby Makes Three

Baby was born on the Monday after Mother's Day in May, 2008. It was eventful and exciting but in a very calm sense. This was not a birth in the back of the car on the way to the hospital sort of situation.

The story starts on the previous Thursday when I was at a routine OB appointment having an ultrasound. During the course of the ultrasound, the tech noticed some early labor signs and notified the doctor. After the exam, I sat in a recliner for about 45 minutes with a fetal heart monitor and a contraction monitor strapped on my 33 1/2 week pregnant belly. During the course of those 45 minutes, I had about six contractions, a few that were significant enough to do a little of the deep breathing I had been practicing at our childbirth class for five weeks. Of course the Husband was sitting there in the early stages of panic, waiting for our child to pop out then and there. As it turns out, six contractions in under an hour is too many for 33 weeks. "Okay my darling, it's time to go to the hospital," the on-call doctor said in his middle eastern accent. He always called me things like sweetheart and my darling, which was a little strange but made me laugh inside and helped diffuse my anxiety. Fortunately, the hospital where we were planning to deliver was right around the corner from the doctor's office so I drove myself.

Once I was admitted, I was strapped into the monitors again and given some IV drugs to stop the contractions. Of course I wasn't remotely prepared to go to the hospital at that point so I had no suitcase or any of the things I would have wanted. We just sat and watched tv and waited. Baby was doing just dandy and the monitor showed a strong, consistent heart rate but the contractions still hadn't stopped so we moved on to a different drug. This one worked. I also had the first of two steroid shots to stimulate her lung development in the event of early delivery, and all I can say about that is "ouch." Over the next three days, I had numerous blood tests, lots of monitoring and watched a lot of tv. My parents were on the edge of their seats in Colorado, waiting for any indication that they should get on a plane. By Sunday, the doctor was saying that most likely I would deliver within the next two weeks and would be in the hospital until then. Aside from a roommate across a small hallway who watched tv on high volume and snored, also at high volume, it wasn't too bad.

Monday morning, I was expecting my doctor who had been out for the weekend. I remember him walking in and saying something like, "What happened here? I leave for a couple of days expecting to release you after the weekend and now I hear your blood work is all crazy." Over the weekend, each blood test revealed higher and higher counts of liver enzymes, showing that my liver wasn't functioning properly and indicating HELPP syndrome, similar to pre-eclampsia. The only way to stop it is to deliver the baby and it was progressing quickly. He told us that they needed to get the baby out before things got too bad. We asked if they would induce and when, and he explained that things were worsening too quickly and that a c-section was necessary. Again, we asked when that would happen. "I think in about an hour. So the nurse will be here soon to get you ready and I'll see you in the operating room." WTF?! An hour?? As in one hour?? I called my parents, told them to get on a plane, and five minutes later things were moving quickly. The bonus of all the craziness was that I didn't have much time to think about how our lives were about to change forever... in an hour.

Literally less than an hour later, I was on an operating table, numb from the waist down. The Husband sat next to my head, holding my hand, and before we knew it, the assisting doctor was singing "Happy Birthday" and my doctor was announcing "It's a girl! You have a daughter." Lots of crying, both us and her. A minute later, yet another doctor said, "Mom look over hear and see your baby girl," and there she was. Our baby.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2007 The Year of Surprises

2007 and life was good. I was working at a tolerable job with a lot of fun people close to my age. I was dating a great guy and having a blast. I was happy.

In April, my then-boyfriend surprised me with an invitation to Cabo for a friend's 40th birthay celebration. I was so excited for a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend, but also for somewhat of a milestone in our relationship. We spent five days in paradise and it was everything I had hoped. We went with a great group of people and had so much fun. Everyone got along and had a wonderful time together. The boyfriend and I even got an extra day to ourselves after everyone else left, and that was one of our best days ever. I know that I was deeply smitten prior to that trip but that week sealed the deal for me. I knew that I wanted that boyfriend to someday be my husband.

Fast-forward to October and we hit the one year mark. Things were still going great and while we hadn't talked marriage, I think we both knew that we were on the same page. And then came the next surprise; the surprise that would change both of our lives forever...

There's nothing confusing about this picture, but I remember feeling like I must be missing something. I decided I must be one of those women who can't do something as simple as correctly read a pregnancy test. As it turns out, I am capable of interpreting basic test results. Baby was on the way!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2005/2006 California Girl

In August 2005, I packed my car with some clothes and drove to California to stay with Mrs. J and see if San Diego was the place for me. After deciding to stay, I found myself driving across Death Valley yet again with my friend CK in a hot moving van filled to the brim with my stuff. My first several months in SD were surprisingly harder than I expected. Finding a job seemed nearly impossible and there were many times that I was ready to pack up and leave. I hardly knew anyone and without a job, I was bored and lonely. California seemed crowded and overwhelming compared to the laid-back attitudes of Boulder. I was used to living in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in suburbia, not surrounded by traffic and noise.

Shortly after I arrived in San Diego, a guy named Chris that I knew through friends from Boulder called proposing that we find an apartment together. He was moving to SD for grad school and hadn't had any success finding a roommate. We found a 2 bedroom, 2 bath place just outside of downtown and moved in, practically strangers. It was one of the best decisions that I made. We ended up becoming fast friends and that helped a lot with the adjustment to California. Our apartment was a great set-up for platonic girl/guy roommates and our only issue was the jackass who lived below us and complained semi-frequently about noise. Since we weren't having parties, the main noise was the two of us jus t walking around like normal. Here's a thought: if you don't want anyone making noise above you, don't live on the bottom floor of an apartment building. Ironically this same moron drove a fancy red corvette with an extremely sensitive alarm system prone to going off early on the weekends and had a dog that barked almost constantly when he wasn't home. Seriously?! And yet he felt the right to complain to us!

About a year after I moved to California, I met my future husband. We were introduced at a group gathering by Mrs. J and her hubby. Little did I know that a short year later we would be expecting a child. And now here we are all married and stuff. It's amazing how what once seemed like such an impulsive decision to move now makes so much sense. A place that once felt so foreign is now home and people that were practically strangers are now so dear to me. I give a lot of credit to Mrs. J for convincing me to move here and for helping me not to just pack up and leave when it was hard at first. You're a good friend, Mrs. J and I'm lucky to have you!
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