Monday, February 28, 2011

Making An Effort Monday

This might sound like a cop-out, since it is only my SECOND-EVER Making An Effort Monday, but the truth of the matter is, I am in the midst of a HUGE effort at this very moment.  Yes, Mama Bear drove from the other side of the state to help me with two sewing projects that I was much too scared to try by myself.  I can "sew" but these are what I consider "high stakes" projects, so I knew I needed the deep wisdom of my talented mother to guide me.

We are currently making the bumper for Josephine's crib (finally!) because I actually committed to a fabric (finally!).  Obvs, it had to be PERFECTO for my little bucket of love, but the sad story is I found my dream fabric when I was about 14 weeks pregnant and we didn't know the sex of the baby yet. Well, *I* knew that it was a girl, but everyone else in the world thought it was a boy.  Anyway, I found the perfect fabric, but decided not to buy it because I could see Jeremy saying, "Are you serious? What if it is a boy?  You KNOW you won't return that fabric, and it will just sit around and be a waste of money!" and he would be absolutely right, so I left it.  And then ... you guessed it ... our bundle of joy was a GIRL and I could NEVER FIND THE FABRIC AGAIN!  I have been looking ever since then. Long story short (too late), I finally settled on a fabric that is as close to my dream fabric as I could find.  Here is it:

And here is the pattern I am using to make the bumper:

And please, please, for the love of god, do not be a helpful and conscientious person and kindly remind me that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies not have bumpers until they are one, because I KNOW, but that doesn't change the fact that my little cherub really enjoys sticking both of her legs between the slats and then screaming bloody murder until I run in, and then she laughs at me.  Ahem.  So we are making a bumper.  The End.

We are also making a PINK TYRANNOSAURUS REX!  My talented friend Marilee made one for her nephew, and I was so dang jealous that I had to get the pattern and make one myself.

Here is how Marilee's turned out:

Adorable, right?

And here is the fabric I bought to make mine:

(pink fuzzy for the body, swirls for the spikes)

If this works out, I bought this pattern to try next:

Jo PDF Pattern

(Mine will not have an eye-patch.  Boring, I know.)  The pattern is called "Jo."  Perfect!

So, maybe I will update this later if we finish tonight, but if it turns in to a big project (which is highly likely), I will post about it next Monday.  

In the meantime, I DID make an effort last night.  I was putting away clean laundry at 2 AM (don't ask) and decided my closet needed to be cleaned.  Sooo ....  TA DA!

 (I know.  Not many clothes.  So sad.  A lot of my clothes were destroyed when I tried to wear them through pregnancy instead of spending millions of dollars on maternity clothes, and now that I am only getting about a third of my old paycheck, we are on what they call a "budget" and when I have money for clothes, I spend it on Josie clothes.  Also, the shoes I actually wear are with the coats.)

Of course, as per usual, I don't have a before picture, because when I start a project, I usually don't set out to do it, I am usually in the middle of something else and decide I MUST ORGANIZE IMMEDIATELY and launch into a huge project.  When I was done with the closet, I thought either I could just go with only an after picture or mess it back up, take a fake before picture, and then clean it again.  I went with the "not crazy" option.

I think that is pretty dang good, especially since I don't have a dresser.  That tiny dresser on the bottom left is one my dad made me for my doll clothes when I was a wee one, and I now use it for my unmentionables and socks.  Problem solved.  Who needs a dresser anyway?  Our bedroom is too small for one, and I bought one to refinish and use, but then we got pregnant (!) and I realized it would be the perfect dresser/changing table combo.  And it is.

Here is a "mid-way through" picture (because, of course, I forgot a before picture.  Doh!):

And here it is as of today:

(Maybe I should have pushed in the drawers before taking the picture.  Heh.  Dresser re-finishing by my amazing husband, drawer-pull selection by amazing me, amazing artwork above the dresser by my amazing sister.  Weird combination of wall colors, materials, and different woods courtesy of our landlord.)

Okay, that was way longer than I anticipated, but ... there you have it.  I am making all kinds of efforts. Brag about your own in the comments!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Etsy Saturdays: XV

In support of the handmade revolution, I bring you Etsy Saturdays!  I will highlight a fun new shop every week, and I hope you will stop over to see their merchandise or find something else you love while you're there.  To see all Etsy Saturdays, click here.
*I have not been compensated in any way for this post*

This is one of those days when I wish my little cherub would allow us to put hats on her head.  Some of the most adorable headgear EVER can be found at Butterfly Boutique.

Crochet sleepy owl beanie ear flap hat in blues, greens and yellows - Twit Twoo..

Crochet Pink and Purple  Flower  earflap beanie hat

Crochet Hello Kitty earflap beanie hat

Crochet Brown and Red Sock  Monkey earflap beanie hat

Oh, and just for you, Kristina:
Hello Kitty Crochet Bag 100% Luxury Cotton

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Day in the Life at THE PLAGUE HOUSE

Let me walk you through yesterday.  It was a bit of a "cluster," if you catch my drift.  And I think you do.

The night before, I slept about two hours because of a combination of not being able to breathe and my little Bean being so restless that she was awake about every hour on the hour.  Poor darling.  At this point, she didn't have a fever and she wasn't coughing or showing any other obvious signs of being sick, but she wasn't sleeping well, so I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

8 AM:  Josephine up, ready to eat.  Jeremy decides to stay home from work for the second day in a row and goes back to sleep.

8:30 AM:  I convince Josephine to take her morning nap!  Hallelujah!  Jeremy still sleeping.

10 AM:  Josephine is ready to eat again.  Yep, this kid is not feeling well.  Jeremy still sleeping.

12 PM:  Josephine takes a half-hour nap, so I get one too.  Amazing!  Jeremy goes and buys himself Dayquil and Nyquil (neither of which I can take), but he buys me a Cadbury Egg, so ... there's that.

12:30 - 4:45:  Jeremy sleeps.  I rock Josephine and cry off and on, because I am dying, Josephine is getting a fever, I have papers that aren't getting graded, and Jeremy is sleeping.

4:45 PM:  Josephine "accidentally" wakes up Jeremy.  (Heh.)  Jeremy decides he needs to go to the doctor.  I cry and tell him I am sick too.  He says, "Oh, I thought you were feeling better."  Summon remaining strength to keep self from hurting Jeremy.

4:46 PM:  We remember we don't have a primary care physician because we only lived here for four years, how would we have found time to get one of those?

4:48 PM:  Josephine starts coughing.  BTW, she has like, the CUTEST cough ever.  And she is still smiling and cooing at this point.  With a fever and a cough.  Precious.

4:50 PM:  Decide to go to Urgent Care.  

5:05 PM:  Get to Urgent Care and realize all the unwashed masses might make my baby more sick than she already is.  Shit.

5:15 PM:  Ask Jeremy to take Josephine over to look at tank full of exotic fish.  Six sick slimy little children follow, and get their germs near my baby.  Hiss ABORT!  ABORT!! at Jeremy.

6:00 PM:  Nurse says Josephine and I can stay together but Jeremy will have to go to his own separate room because of the "size of the rooms."  Get taken into the LARGEST exam room I have ever seen in my life.  With three chairs.  Hmmm.

6:10 PM:  Take a picture of Josephine.  Because this is her VERY FIRST trip to Urgent Care!  Must preserve memories!  

The fever makes me MORE crazy, not less crazy.  Who would have guessed?

6:15 PM:  Doctor tells me I have a viral infection AND a bacterial infection and Josephine has a viral infection that we should watch in case she also develops a bacterial infection.  However, he is nice enough to invade Jeremy's privacy by telling me his Strep test is negative and he has a viral infection.  I like this guy.  

He then proceeds to tell me I am "basically screwed" because I need rest to get over the viral infection, and he's guessing that's not gonna happen (he's a freakin' psychic), and I can't take Nyquil because I'm breast feeding.  At least he's honest. 

6:45 PM:  Drop prescriptions off at Meijer Pharmacy.  Am told Jeremy and Josephine were prescribed free prescriptions, but MY antibiotic is not free because I am allergic to penicillin and can't take Amoxicillin.  Feel discriminated against.

6:45 - 7:15 PM:  Buy fixings for chicken noodle soup and then get back in line to pick up prescriptions.

7:16 PM:  "Lady" at head of line is SCREAMING at pharmacy tech because she is trying to charge her $10 when she KNOWS FOR A FACT THAT SHE SHOULD ONLY HAVE TO PAY $5.  

7:19 PM:  She realizes she has given the pharmacy tech the wrong card.  Gives her a different insurance card.  Does not apologize.

7:22 PM:  "Lady" at register next to her (in riding pants and boots covered in what I can only hope is mud and not horse crap) is insisting that she not be given any pills that are "robin's egg blue in color" because they are "of poor quality."  Am unsure what this all means.

7:25 PM:  Am finally given prescriptions.  Have to sign a "Meth Check" card to somehow prove I am not buying Jeremy's Sudafed in order to make Meth from it.  

First "Lady" screams at her pharmacy tech because "that chick" (meaning me) "got her shit so quickly."  Flee Meijer.

7:30 PM:  Make chicken noodle soup while holding a sick baby and a sick husband walks the neglected dog.

7:30 - 10 PM:  Eat, feed child, cry, feed child again, pray for a swift death.

10 PM - 8 AM:  I rock Josephine while she wakes up every five minutes.  Jeremy sleeps.


But hey, look at this soup.  

Not bad for a dying lady, huh?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Josephine's Books

I added a new tab up above and a lovely picture on the right sidebar 

it looks like this!

because I need your help, dearest Internet friends.

I already have an excitingly-large number of books for my darling daughter, but I know there are oh-so-many more I NEED.  Some of these books I already know I need, but others?  I might not even know they exist yet!  This is where you come in.  Please, please, take a moment to let me know the books I need to provide for my daughter.  If you click the "Josephine's Books" tab above or the lovely picture to the right or even the picture above!), you will see the current list of books we own.  Leave me a comment with any suggestions you might have.

Thank you in advance, loyal readers!  What would I do without you?



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big Day in Baby Land

Sunday was a big day for baby Josie.

She moved on from the rice cereal that she was so OVER it made her make this face:

Yes!  VEGETABLES!!  Processing ...

First bite! 


Delicious!  So much excitement!  So many exclamation marks! 

Then she got a present from Granny and Gramps for St. Patrick's Day, and apparently got a little confused.

Wait.  I'm IRISH?  Huh.  Who Knew?

Then we capped off the night with books.  Of course.

What a big day for such a little lady.

Monday, February 21, 2011

And Now, "REALLY??!?!!?" With Your Disgruntled Host, Veronica

I know, twice in one day, right?  Well, the tone of this post is slightly different.  I could not keep my disgruntledness (it's a word, even if my spellcheck says it's not) to myself.  

#1:  Jeremy was sick all last week.  Really sick.  NOW, I am sick.  REALLY sick.  I have not been this sick in two years, at least.  Here's the kicker.  Jeremy just turned to me a few minutes ago and said, "Ummm, my throat is starting to hurt again."  Really??  REALLY?!?!!?!?!?!  As soon as the little Bean starts coughing, I am calling for reinforcements.  Oh wait, my mom said she is "booked" all next week.  Sigh.

#2:  I'm sitting here, watching all the school closings for tomorrow, which of course, would screw my classes up schedule-wise, but I am SICK people, so a snow day would be awesome-balls.  So far, EVERY SINGLE school and day care in the county I teach is closed, except (yep, you guessed it) MY COLLEGE.  Really??  REALLY?!?!!?!?!?!

#3:  After having Jeremy off and helping me out today (the naps were MUCH appreciated, loving husband), I went upstairs and opened the diaper drawer, and there are only TWO diapers left!  Really??  REALLY?!?!!?!?!?!  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE, like L-O-V-E, using cloth diapers, but when I get lazy and wait until they are all dirty ... man oh man ... it is a nail-biter.  I have to run them through on cold, then on hot, and then they take a while to dry because I have to dry them on low heat, THEN I have to re-assemble them all.  Sigh.  Looks like I will be up for a few more hours.  (BUT, we got all of our cloth diapers as gifts, meaning we have not bought a SINGLE DIAPER since our babe entered the world.  Holy savings, Batman!)

Okay, I should probably think of a good "Really?"  Like, a "Really? :)"  Here's one:

It should be here in eight days.  Cha-ching!  Jeremy said I should photoshop dollar signs over his eyes in that picture!

And, of course, as I was typing this, I looked over and saw this:

This is MINE?  Really? 
And, she REALLY is.

Man, that was quite a twist at the end there, eh?

Making An Effort Monday: Bacon Cheesy Mac

Okay, in the hopes of a new feature (A feature?  A FEATURE?  Could things GET more exciting around here?), I want to try to post something every Monday, whether it's a new recipe I've tried, a craft I've completed (Heh.  We'll see how that one goes.) or a organizing project.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing some major organizing, just by doing one thing (a cupboard, a closet, etc.) every day, and I'm bummed that I didn't take before and after pictures, because I am so damn proud of myself.  Seriously, why didn't we take pictures of the big basement clean-up last Saturday?  Fools.  

I also have been bound and determined to try more new recipes, because I might hate to cook with every last ounce of my being, but I sure do love to eat, and I love my husband, and I know he deserves good food as well, so HERE WE GO.  I am making an effort.  At least once a week.

Without further ado, my first effort.

New recipe of the week:  

Cheesy Bacon Mac (named by Jeremy)
(Adapted from a Family Circle 4-Cheese Bacon Macaroni recipe)

Maybe one day my effort will also involve taking better photographs ...

1 box (1 pound) cavatappi
6 slices bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I used margarine)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used whole-grain)
2 cups 2% milk (I used fat free)
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes (I skipped these because I forgot to get them at the store)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
1 cup (4 oz.) colby-Jack cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
1 cup (4 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used low-fat)
8 slices American cheese (I used fat free)

1. Heat oven to 350. Coat a 3-quart broiler-safe baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling.

2. Cook cavatappi 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crispy and set aside. Pour off drippings and return 2 tablespoons into medium-sized saucepan (I used Smart Balance oil since I didn't have bacon dripping from the turkey bacon). Add butter.

3. Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. In a large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-Jack, and mozzarella.

4. Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1 3/4 cups of the cheddar mixture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese.

5. In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture. Pour in rest of noodles and top with rest of cheese mixture.

6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil and broil 3 minutes, until top is lightly browned (I forgot the last step and I like the way it came out).

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars (I'm a tough nut to crack)
Jeremy's rating:  5 out of 5 stars (He said, "My socks are blown off")

Additional thoughts:  I really liked this mac and cheese recipe, because as lame as it sounds, I have NEVER had homemade mac and cheese turn out right before this.  So sad.  Next time I might try adding a sharper cheese like an Asiago or some Parmesan to zazz it up.

Please, PLEASE, if you made an effort in the past week that is worth bragging about (or, even if the effort is NOT worth bragging about), brag about it in the comments!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Etsy Saturdays: XIV

I thought I should do a special Etsy Saturday in tribute to all my creative friends, both in real life and on the bliggity blog.

In support of the handmade revolution, I bring you Etsy Saturdays!  I will highlight a fun new shop every week, and I hope you will stop over to see their merchandise or find something else you love while you're there.  To see all Etsy Saturdays, click here.
*I have not been compensated in any way for this post*

Starting off the list, my lovely mama has a shop, arlenemar, which she just recently opened.  She has about ten bazillion creative skills, so the shop might feature more of those in the future, but for now she is featuring sassified upcycled purses:
Pink sequined purse

and ready-to-go baby scrapbooks:
Baby's First Year Scrapbook (ready to add pictures)

The scrapbooks have pages for all a baby's firsts; you only need to plunk the pictures in.  Perfect for a baby shower gift or for all the sentimental people amongst us (like myself) who appreciate scrapbooks but do not make them ourselves.

I have told you all about my friend Melissa over at Relishdress before (and before), but I love her with a deep love, so let's check her out again, shall we?

Drama Sweep Earrings

Umbrella Earrings

Next up is Lisa from The Sarcastic Lab Rat.  Lisa's shop, Pomegranate Penguin, is a little different.  All of the proceeds from her shop go directly to the Alabama EARS Rabbit Rescue.  As Lisa told me, "It's all for the bunnies!"

Lisa has a bunch of fun stuff, like reusable sandwich bags -- clever!
Starburst Sandwich Bag Trio

And enchanting knits!
Crochet Dragon Hat

Last, but certainly not least, is Sara of Welcome to Sara's Organized Chaos and her awesome shop, Scrapin' Sara's Gifts.

Let me tell you, she is one crafty lady.  Take a peek!

Pastel Butterfly Set of 6 Cards with Envelopes

Giggle Frame

Sara has new stuff in her shop all the time, and she promises that every order comes with free goodies!

A few bloggers also had suggestions for me, so be sure to check out Home Made with Love, forever88 gifts, and Grrldog Design

Friday, February 18, 2011

How Can She Look So Much Like A Toddler When She Can't Even Toddle Yet?

This kid is getting super-old and super-cute and acting more like a kid than a baby every day.

I mean, look at this little monkey:

hamming it up for the camera
showing off her Kung Fu moves

She is also REALLY into her books now.  Before, we were reading to her because we were supposed to, and she was kind of meh about it, but now, she is INTO reading.  She is either concentrating super hard on the pages or smiling and laughing while she looks at the pictures.

Reading Love You Through and Through in her special Valentine's Day outfit from Granny

It's amazing to see all of the things she "gets" now.  Excellent example:  The other day I plopped her in her crib so I could have five minutes to do my hair, and from the bathroom I heard a BASH BASH BASH coming from her room.  I crept in and found her lifting up her "soothing music player" and bashing it against the bars of her crib:

And when I leaned over her and ahemed, she flipped over and immediately gave me this innocent look:

As my sister put it, we're in big trouble.

She also knows that when she makes certain faces, I laugh, so she makes those faces and gets excited when I laugh, then makes the face again!  

I know, it seems so simple, but she is purposefully doing something to make me laugh.  I love it!

And, I swear, she knows how to do "cute" poses now.  

She used to only put her fingers in her mouth when she wanted to chew them, but now she will put one to her mouth and hold it there without chewing it ... she is totally pulling off the "aren't I darling?" look, isn't she?

Who am I kidding?  She pulls off EVERY look.  I love my little almost-toddler.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Catching Up with The Duggars: Now with More Rage and Disbelief

The Duggars.  Oh, the Duggars.  

My love affair with the super-sized family began when I saw their very first special on the Discovery Health Channel (this was during my little phase where I had that channel on pretty much exclusively.  I learned a lot.  Maybe a little too much.) and I have been with them ever since.

Here's my problem with those rascally Duggars:  For every sweet, adorable, or interesting thing that happens on the show, there is something ridiculous, strange, or offensive to balance it out.  I go from laughing at something that little scamp Jackson said to shaking my head while Jim Bob explain's a woman's "proper" place.  Guh.

So really, it probably shouldn't have shocked me all that much when the Duggars took a family trip to the shooting range.  Everyone except the infant, Josie, of course, because you have to be OVER the age of one to shoot a firearm.  Duh.

And actually, I was just thinking, "Par for the course" until the 5-year-old asked his dad, "Dad, why do I have to wear goggles?" and Jim Bob matter-of-factly replied, "So you don't get a bullet in your eye."

Really Jim Bob?  REALLY?!!?  You have NO PROBLEM letting your CHILDREN shoot guns, and have no problem not only presenting them with the image of getting shot in the eye, but with putting them in a position where that could actually happen ... but you strongly believe women are "not meant" to wear pants and every female Duggar has to wear an ankle-length skirt.  

According to Jim Bob, women wearing pants is like them making promises they don't intend to keep, and that is too difficult for men to understand.

So, let me get this straight: when women wear pants, men THINK those women are offering their vaginas to them, but the women are NOT because good ladies don't have sex (unless it is to make a Duggar), and since good boys don't have sex (unless it is to make a Duggar), it is mean of those loose pants-wearing women to PRETEND they are going to give them the sexy time, because all boys have feeble little brains and they will not be able to control themselves or sort out their emotions when they see the outline of a leg shape.  But a child under the age of ten shooting a gun?  Not dangerous in the least.

I don't mean this to be an anti-gun post.  I am not a gun-lover by any means, but I am going to go ahead and assume that even people who are fans of guns will agree that shooting a gun could be slightly more dangerous than wearing pants.  Just a thought.

I surely hope those teen and tween Duggar girls (who do ALL of the cooking and cleaning and childcare and serve their brothers hand and foot) are not cooking up leg-shaped food.  Or, heaven forbid, actual LEGS, like chicken legs, because who KNOWS what would happen!  Chaos at the dinner table!  Inappropriate touching of legs!  Boy brains exploding all over the tater tot casserole!

And, um, does anyone one else think that rule is a little weird considering those kids only ever see EACH OTHER?  What are you REALLY afraid of, Jim Bob?  Hmmmm? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Good Times with a Good Man

It started out the MOST IMPORTANT DAY EVER EVER EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD.  Our first Valentine's Day together I spent lots of moola and carefully wrapped the millions of perfect presents and picked out the perfect card and wrote the perfect message in it and handmade tags for the presents and a second card and planned a romantic dinner with candles and music (Note: do not, I repeat, do NOT place a huge arrangement of romantic candles in FRONT of the CD player and then blow the candles out.  Hot wax will fly everywhere, including the speakers of said CD player.  You're welcome.) and bought a special outfit and set up a camera on a timer to take a picture of that magical evening so we could remember it FOREVER!!!!!

Sigh.  Good times.  

Then, we slowly started realizing that we should calm the eff down about some things.  And, like, maybe not spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on each other for EVERY single event, like birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, our anniversary ... the anniversary of our first date ... the anniversary of our first kiss ... 

New love.  I used to think there was nothing like it.  Those butterflies in your stomach.  The electricity.  The giggles.  Everything is new and special and momentous.  Where we have landed now, however ... I like it.  I mean, I know he loves me.  He really loves me if he didn't leave me in my most monster of all horrible states of being: the pregnancy.  If he made it through those hell-acious nine months with a Veronica who fluctuated between breathing fire, crying, spinning her head 180 degrees, and whining, then he is in it for the long haul.  He gave me my daughter.  He gave me the past 8 years, which have been some of the best of my life.  I love him more than anything, and I don't need a huge fanfare and millions of dollars worth of presents and schmoopy cards and candy and flowers and jewelry (although ... sigh.) to prove it.

Valentine's Day is nice and all.  I still like the idea of setting aside a day where everything is pink and red and you give people heart-shaped things and candy, and people are happy and talk about love.  It's just not such a big deal anymore, and that is not sad at all.  It is nice, because I know it means I am so damn happy with my husband that we don't have to spaz out on Valentine's Day -- all our days are happy and filled with red and pink and heart-shaped things.

The card I made for Jeremy a few years ago still sums up my level of devotion to him.  Feel free to print it out this electronic version I whipped up and give it to your loved one(s).

Outside of card:

Inside of card:

Now THAT'S love.

Happy VD to all!
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