Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I didn't want to do the usual Thanksgiving post. Anyone can be thankful on Thanksgiving right? What about the other 364 days of the year?

We did go around the table yesterday at Lee's and mention for what we are thankful. There we some sweet things, like my husband said he was thankful for his family. There was a thankful for my job, thankful for 51 years of marriage and health. Me? I was thankful I had eggs for breakfast. ( I had been out for a couple of days and had to eat yogurt.) I can't follow the trend you know. Because, every day I am thankful for my wonderful husband who takes good care of me and B, and works to provide for us. Every day, I am thankful that my Mother wakes up another day. I am thankful everyday, that B is a smart little cookie, who frequently tells me how much she loves me, or that I am her best friend, or that "we always like to be together." I am thankful, that while we may drive each other up the wall, my Mom, sister and myself, talk everyday to try and keep our family close. Every year, I am thankful my sister works so hard with her family to make Thanksgiving delicious and special. And every time B spends time with her cousins, I am thankful they love her so much. And every time we see Cathie P., I am thankful she is such a wonderful "aunt" to B. And believe me, every day I am thankful that this pregnancy is easy, and my future delivery is, so far, a healthy little bundle.

OK, now for the fun part. The cynic in me is not thankful for the following:

  1. Cats who throw up, all the time, everywhere.
  2. Family members who won't tell me what they want for Christmas.
  3. Though I am thankful for a husband who cooks dinner, I am not thankful for the amount of pots, pans and bowls I have to wash afterward.
  4. And yes, he vacuums too, but do we have to have the loudest vacuum ever?
  5. And I love my mother, but does she have to live an hour and a half away and not want to come to any holiday/special event that occurs?
  6. Why, oh why, does junk food have to taste better than the healthy stuff? Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas trees vs. swiss chard.
  7. Why is it Shadow (our dog) can run around after the cats, often jumping off the furniture to "get" them, but when you yell at her because she is in the front yard again, on the corner by the fire hydrant (where she shouldn't be), she limps and hobbles so slowly up to the door?
  8. The dishwasher. Yes I am thankful it washed the dishes (usually), but why can't it fill and empty itself? Seriously, I fill, run and empty the dishwasher every day.
  9. And I will regret complaining about this, but why is it I gain weight every summer when there are bathing suits involved, but I lose weight in the winter when all I wear are jeans and sweaters? Yes, I am thankful that I lose weight at all.
  10. Why is it B wakes up just as my toast is done from the toaster oven. It is like she wants me to eat cold toast. And forget about eating any treat behind her back, she can sniff that stuff out a mile away, asks for a bite, then finished it for you. IF you ask her to share? "Be patient and be patient," she says.
  11. And finally, I am not thankful that B and Mike bring random bugs home from school/work, give me a cold, and don't have the decency to even get a runny nose.
Hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving. I know I had a wonderful day with my family. And today, we will do nothing. With all the shopping hype, I feel like I an missing out if I don't participate. But really is it a bargain if I am trampled trying to get it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

I MAde These! A Semi-Crafty Weekend

Last weekend was an extremely lazy one. Most weekends are lazy, but I don't think we left the house but three times. The major reason? Mike was out late Friday night. He, and some other James Street Dads, had a fun poker night to counter-balance the James Street Bunco Women. Yes, bunco. I know, I know. But it is really fun. I hosted this last Wednesday and it was great. It is very exciting when someone rolls a bunco or has a rolling streak. Anyway, Mike had a good time playing poker with the guys, but we didn't get to sleep until after 11:30 - late for us. This is on top of going to sleep late on bunco night too.

So, with Mike home, hanging out with B, I was able to work on B's tree skirt. I bought the pom poms last week, so there was no use procrastinating any longer. I have to start by saying I HATE my sewing machine. Why don't I buy a new one you ask? Well, I was going to, then my machine starting performing. Now that I didn't buy one, it is crapping out on me. It sews along fine for about 10 inches, then does what I call chunking. The bobbin thread makes a mess on the underside of my project. Like a nest of thread. Then, if I continue sewing without stopping, it fixes itself, then does it again in another 10 or sew inches . AHHHH!!!!!!

The other project I worked on was a t-shirt for B. I did a dinosaur applique with some cute fabric from Joann's quilting section. She already has the dino tee from Boden, so I thought I would try for another one. it is not as exciting looking as the Boden tee, but I think it turned out cute. And shouldn't a little girl wear a cute dinosaur tee?

I also worked on my Christmas cards. They are a bit time consuming - more so than B's birthday invitations. I will do more of that this weekend.

B fell asleep at the island before dinner
last Sunday night. She woke just as I snapped
the photo. Then proceeded to cry.

B's tree skirt. Of course, I will only put
it down when we have company. Otherwise, Annie
the cat will use it as her personal litterbox.

B's new dino shirt. At first she wanted a t-rex. I
didn't think a t-rex should wear polka dots. Not
very fearsome. She agreed to the brachiosaurus.

Friday, November 20, 2009

B's New Favorite Shirt

In August, (if not earlier) I ordered B some stuff from Boden. She picked out a dinosaur shirt from the boys section. (She's a diehard dino fan isn't she?) It was back ordered, and then delayed. Every time a polka-dot Boden bag arrived in the mail, she wanted to know if her shirt arrived. Well, today it did. I debated whether or not I should hold it for Christmas, but I am glad I didn't. Her little face lit up when she saw it. She put it on right away. I think she will want to wear this shirt everyday. Worse than the whale shirt from this summer.

My little girl. Weird thing is, she wore
pink sparkly shoes today. Go figure.

Mike got a package yesterday. B loves
packing peanuts. They are a mess to clean up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Check out this Blog: Holiday Applique Tutorial on Crafthours!

Crafthours is a blog I just started following. Two women who can only craft while the kids sleep - hence the name Crafthours.

Anyway, today is a cute tutorial on how to do cute ornament appliques on t-shirts. Here is one of their examples:

For me, this is a cute way to get B to wear something Christmas - y. When (and if) I get it done, I take a photo and post it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Made This Skirt!

I have a cute dark denim pencil skirt - maternity. But, it needs a shoe/boot with a higher heel. OK, for a "dressier" occasion, but I need a cute denim skirt to wear with my flat black boots and these really cute charcoal cable tights I bought at Target. And I really don't want to buy any more maternity clothes - though I really need them. Anyway, I remember a tutorial off of Grosgrain where Kathleen took regular pants and added knit band. I thought I can do this with an old pair of Levi's 505s that I have had forever. They were already cut apart, I must have thought about making a skirt with them years ago. So, I used a combination of three tutorials. One from Savvy Seams, one from Thread Banger and one from Grosgrain.

I used a seam ripper on the inside seams of the jeans, then seam ripped the back all the way up to the top. I cut off the waist band, and cut the front (way) lower than the back. Then I added a panel to the front (as seen on Savvy Seams) and sewed up the back (like Thread Banger). Stood in the table where Mike drew a line around the bottom where I then cut the excess length away. I haven't added a knit panel yet, mostly because I don't have any knit fabric. I am using a Bella Band to hold the skirt up. I may keep using the band, it is easier and I only have seven weeks or so to go until I drop this load. (If the baby doesn't fall through the bottom front of my belly first - what is that all about?)

The skirt turned out better than I expected. The hard part was I constantly had to baste, try on, then take it off and try again. It is real hard to try to pin things behind you. My back up plan was to buy a low rise skirt a couple of sizes too big at Old Navy, then cut the bottom off if it was too long. I still may resort to plan B. We'll see how the skirt I made holds up to wear and tear.

My big belly (33 weeks) and the skirt.

My big bottom and the skirt.
Big me and the skirt.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Made These!

Awhile ago - couple of years even- I saw this cool product in a magazine. Which one? Martha Stewart Living? Real Simple? The now defunct (makes me sad) Blueprint? Who knows. The premise is, you take clear glass objects (vases, bowls, plates) and spray them with this Looking Glass stuff (this link takes you just the Looking Glass Spray. The kit I show below came with a sealant too.). *** Krylon makes some cool sprays. Glow-in-the-dark, Glitter, stone etc.*** They come out all mirror-y and shiny. And I remember, the magazine said if you didn't clean the glass well, it would come out looking like mercury glass. I admit, I didn't try to spray dirty glass. Next time. I want to buy a shallow bowl to spray next.

I bought this at Ace Hardware. I assume they
still sell it. I found it in the basement with assorted
glass containers.

Another who knows. Who knows where
this came from? I found it in the basement
with the spray kit.

The finished product. Do I need a photo booth
or what? With some lighting.

Here is a little votive cup. See how mirror-y
it is? You can see the camera.

So, what aren't you seeing? Flaws, drips, misses. You have to spray the inside of the glass so the curvy vases, well any receptacle, proved difficult. I needed to spray 8 inches away from the surface, but I couldn't reach every part unless I put the nozzle closer. And that equals drips. Still, they look pretty stinking good. My plan is to use them at Christmas, with some flowers or maybe faux glittered red poinsettias. I would love to try a metallic red spray on the glass. That would be perfect for Christmas. But, alas, the silver will do for now. It is a bit addictive. I wanted to spray everything yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the Table or in the Trash: Alton Brown's Granola Bars

Yes, I haven't done an On the Table or in the Trash for quite some time. Truth be told, I haven't made anything new, or really anything at all, in a long time. Here on James Street, we don't cook a lot in the summer. We don't eat out, we just make things that are simple.

Anyway, it has been a long time since I made granola or granola bars. I planned to do both, but B wanted the bars. I made some a couple of months ago and froze them. There was a two-fold reason to freeze them. One, they don't go stale/bad. Two, the bars are crumbly and freezing them makes them stick together.

Here is the recipe I based my granola bars on today. I tweaked it a bit after reading the comments on the Food Network website. I substituted peanut butter for butter and used half agave, half honey. I used all of Alton's measurements so the consistency would be right. What else did I change? I used a metal 9x13 pan, sprayed with oil and lined with parchment. I also used a measuring cup sprayed with oil to really pack the mixture down. Baked for 25 minutes.

I am happy with how they turned out and so is B.

One thing I can say is they are not very peanut butter-y. Still, I think peanut butter has to be better for you than butter. Maybe next time, less brown sugar and more peanut butter?



8 oz old fashioned oats, approx 2 cups
1 1/2 oz raw sunflower seeds, appox 1/2 cup
3 oz sliced almonds, approx 1 cup
1 1/2 oz wheat germ, approx 1/2 cup
6 oz honey, approx 1/2 cup
1 3/4 oz brown sugar, approx 1/4 cup packed
1 0z butter, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 oz chopped dried fruit

Butter a 9x9 glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and wheat germ on a jelly roll pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the hiney, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium beat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit and stir to combine. Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Verdict? On the Table!

WTF? What Is With The Weird Dreams?

For awhile now, I have been having weird dreams. Sometimes I can remember them, sometimes I can't. I have had a couple weird ones lately that I didn't forget.

The first, I had one really hairy leg, and one that wasn't. I hadn't shaved my legs, just the right one looked like a man's leg, and the other looked like my leg.

The second, there was a knock on our door late at night. I opened to see some men who wanted us to give them stuff. I said, no thank you and closed the door. Then one of them ran around the back, and another started shooting at the picture window in our loving room. No bullets came through, and they were shooting around the perimeter of the window. I ran onto the family room to dial 911 - then I woke up. I think I had this dream because I woke up around 4 this morning and heard knocking or something. Turns out I left one of our cats on the screen porch last night and she was trying to get in the house - which leads to my next dream.

Lastly, I was either at my Mother's or my Sister's - I should mention, I have had this dream more than once - and there was a room full of cages. Cages that held various small animals, mice, hamsters, gerbils (how I could tell the difference I'll never know, they all looked alike). Anyway, I had forgotten about them. Forgotten to feed them, give them water et cetera. And one cage had a funky water bottle, not sure what that was about. Anyway, in one cage, I couldn't tell if some of the mice were sleeping or dead. Yes, bad feeling. Turned out they were fine. Yes, I realize this one is my fears about taking care of two kids, plus the menagerie of animals we have (including a mouse!).

There have been more, some really weird, some not. And vivid too. My sleep is often fitful, so I wake up remembering and then forget (especially if it happens early at night). I can only hope that my dreams return to normal after the baby comes. Of course, if I am not dreaming, it is probably because I am not sleeping.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Great Giveaway At Grosgrain!

Check out this opportunity to win five dress patterns from The Handmade Dress.

Surprise! Mike Turned 40!

This past summer, my friend and neighbor reminded me Mike's 40th birthday was this year and we should do something fun for it. So, one of us, probably Marci, suggested a surprise party. I sent out a save the date email in August, just so everyone could keep his actual birthday free.

I didn't do too much planning early on, except to think up an invite. I started making them a couple of days after B's birthday.

The invite inside.

The photo on the front of the invitation.

In actuality, the party was Marci and Markus's
idea. They were gracious enough to host the party
and worked very hard to make it a success.

My sister, (sorry, no picture, I never take enough and that is if Lee let me take a picture of her) Lee also pitched in to help. She got some homemade tamales (awesome!) made taco dip and guacamole, and even picked up the food for me! (I got tacos and rice and beans at a local mexican grocer.) Both Lee and Marci picked up the phone every time I called with a question of dilemma. It was hard, usually Mike is my sounding board when we entertain. It was also hard not to tell him! As the party came closer and closer, I kept making more and more mistakes, cumulating in sending the plate rental people to the wrong address!

We used the premise of a birthday drink to get Mike over to Marci's. I got him dressed by having Mike's Dad asking us out for a birthday dinner. It did get a little dicey during the day when Mike wanted to head into Chicago to go to Xoco for lunch. I felt bad when I had to discourage him, he seemed pretty grumpy after that.

I was surprised Mike was so surprised.
I thought for sure he knew.
(that is Emily, she LOVES Mike.)

Marci did a great job decorating.

The bar table.

For dessert we had ice cream sundaes, Mike favorite. I got four different kinds of ice cream and lots of toppings. Mini m&m's, mini reese's pieces, sprinkles, hot fudge, caramel sauce, whip cream, it was great.

I do have some other photos, but B took them after most everybody left! I hope everyone had a good time and I am thankful they came to wish Mike a Happy Birthday.

How Quickly They (B) Grow

I really never realized how quickly children can change the first year of life. Well, I know they go from being truly helpless to walking within a year, but I didn't really realize how drastic the growth really is.

I was looking through our iPhoto program yesterday, looking for pictures to put in a book or calendar for my Mother for Christmas. Either is a good idea for her, since there really isn't anything she needs or wants. She always says, "save your money, I don't want anything." But I know she would enjoy a little book of photos of B and she would use a calendar for sure. Anyway, I was as I was showing B the pictures of here when she was a baby, I was really shocked. Here are a couple of pictures that highlight her growth. Oh, and you know what is sad? Of all the pictures I take, so few are actually good.

I don't have any pictures on the computer before this.
New camera, new computer. My little chubbub.

Just a couple of months late and crawling.
Still not a lot of hair.

A little over a week after she started walking.

The walking really slimmed her down, and
oddly made her hair grow. Go figure.

This is when she used to let me dress her.
She would never wear this now.

Right after her birthday.

Not much different from the last picture.

This is from 10/21/09.
My grown up girl who eats
cake all by herself, picks out her own clothes, and knows
the difference between a quadruped and a biped.

I hope I am good about taking photos of Charlie after he/she is born. It is fun to go back and look at B as she has grown. I always think she looks the same, never changing. And she pretty much looks like herself in all these photos. A lot of the same expressions, doing the same things, and the same hair color (though it blonds in the summer then goes back to strawberry in the winter). I will have to remind myself to go through the pictures from time to time, so I don't find myself wondering when she grew up - though I do wonder when she went from 3 to 12.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Am Glad I Am Glad I Am Not A Giraffe

I was looking through some "Photos in the News" at the Chicago Tribune website, when I came across this one:

This handout photo provided by the Miami Metrozoo shows an unnamed female giraffe being cleaned by her mother Kita at the Miami Metrozoo. The calf was born last Tuesday, and weighed in at 135 lbs. and stands almost 6 ft. tall.

This is the exact caption that was underneath the picture:

This handout photo provided by the Miami Metrozoo shows
an unnamed female giraffe being cleaned by her mother Kita
at the Miami Metrozoo. The calf was born last Tuesday and
weighed in at 135 lbs, and stands almost 6 ft. tall.

Now, the gestation period for a giraffe, according to Wikipedia, is between 400 and 460 day. Those of you who know me have heard me complain how long I have been pregnant with Charlie. And for those who haven't heard me, the answer is forever. But after hearing about poor Mrs. Giraffe, I am glad I am a human. I'll still complain, but I'll feel a bit bad when I do. Why should I complain when I give birth after 40 weeks, to something that is, most likely, less than 8 pounds?

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    More Pictures of B

    I am a lazy blogger these days. But I know my family likes to see photos of B. These were taken Tuesday in the yard. It was a bit cool, but B didn't mind.

    Jumping up and down with Mike.

    Running around with Shadow.

    Hey Mom, I'm a Stygimoloch.

    She actually chose to wear a dress.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Halloween 2009

    I wish I had taken more photos. That sums it all up. We had a couple of neighbors over so I spent the morning baking a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting. Then I sat down. Big mistake. I was tired from not sleeping the night before and from Thursday night when I went to Kim's Stella and Dot jewelry party ( and ate too many pumpernickel pretzels - they were so good). Anyway, I sat down while B was napping and lost my momentum. So, when it came time for B to get dressed, both Mike and I were in a hurry to get the chili and the rest of the food ready before everyone arrived for trick or treating.

    OK, let's talk Halloween for a minute. What is up with kids these days? Do they not want to trick or treat? Is it the parents? I LOVE Halloween. (I wish I had pictures of the house. Spooky windows with orange and purple lights, candlelit grave yard complete with a ghoulie, bats, a witch, spider and some webs.) We had maybe 10 kids total (not including the kids B trick or treated with). Mike said there weren't even a lot of kids out! Most of our neighbors were in the spirit, giving out candy and having pumpkin and other decor.

    Speaking of pumpkins, that is one place I failed. I forgot to buy them until Friday, then I couldn't find them anywhere! B didn't seem to notice, but I did. Next year.

    So, after trick or treating, we had a veggie tray, cool cheesey crescent ghosts, corn bread, crunchy green bean salad, bison chili, homemade malt ball ice cream and the cake. It was all good. I think all the kids had fun trick or treating and then wearing themselves out playing while the adults dug through the candy bags finding the good stuff.

    B helping with the pumpkin cake.
    (I guess he fell asleep while I made the
    cream cheese frosting.)

    Here is an out of sequence picture. These are
    the treat bags B gave to her school mates.

    B, the octopus. We tried to to get her black
    Uggs on, but Bsaid they hurt. Note, they
    are the same size as the red ones. B did
    pick these boots out, all by herself.

    Ready to go. Another note: I bought the shark
    treat bag she picked out, but as of Halloween, it
    scared her, so she carried her trusty pumpkin.

    B and Max. B loves Max.

    The cake, with cute little sugar decorations
    (compliments of Jenn - thank you again!). The
    cake was good, however, I wish I had used my
    I used had too much butter in it. It was OK, but
    a little fatty on the tongue.

    B enjoyed her day. We went to bed scary late, but hey, it was Halloween, the day to be scared! Truth be told, I am still recovering today. I was up early on Sunday, took down all the Halloween decor, put all the entertaining stuff away, cleaned out my dresser (to make way for a new one - Yeah!) and raked leaves. I was happy we had chili leftover for dinner.

    Random Photos

    Here are some more random pictures of B. See if you can guess my favorite one.

    B helped put of Halloween decorations.

    Way to young to have heard of "vogue."

    Singing while you shred cheese makes the
    work go by quickly.

    Are we breaking the child labor laws?

    I love cheese!

    This was taken on Halloween. I was in the kitchen
    making a cake and Mike was dusting. He walked into
    the family room and found B. She is holding "Charlie."

    As you might have guessed, the last picture is my favorite. This is the first non-car nap she has had in months. Plus, how sweet does she look?