Tuesday, August 26

Pictures of the bag...

My latest project

Peanut and I are taking a trip from Illinois to Baltimore / Virginia this weekend. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy her a seat. What was I thinking!? Flying solo (Mister's staying here) with a toddler on my lap? Who will want to nurse at every opportunity since the proximity will remind her constantly... Note to self. Spend the money next time! Of course, I'll have to since we have no plans to fly again before her 2nd birthday, but still!

I was envisioning this trip last week and realized that my diaper bag, as much as I love it, was not big enough to contain snacks for two flights, books, a dvd player, changes of clothes for both of us, sippy cup, enough toys to distract her, etc... So I made a new one. This was my first bag, and definitely a challenge for me. I'm usually a curtain sewer, with the occasional venture into baby clothes.

I learned a lot of new things in the process: fusible fleece is awesome, magnetic snaps are easy to install and look cool, bias tape isn't that intimidating as long as you have the proper width for your project, and a heck of a lot about why my threads were looping. It didn't usually mean that I needed to adjust my tension, it meant that I threaded my machine with the presser foot down! How did I not know that you weren't supposed to do that? So I really got past something that had been bugging me during my last few projects. It's not perfect, but I'm pretty pleased with it.

It has oodles of pockets - one for:

  • sippy cup (outside)
  • cell phone (outside)
  • travel placemat
  • wallet
  • medicine (velcroed)
  • binkies (velcroed)
  • diapers
  • diaper changing kit
  • sunscreen / bug spray
  • and a key fob!
Want to see pictures? There's a little handsewing that needs to be done, but that will happen on the couch next to Mister tonight as we watch a silly movie. Sounds like a dream evening to me! I've had a sinus infection for (let me count) thirteen days now and it's finally starting to recede, just in time to fly. So a silly movie and my Mister sound good to me!

Hmm. Blogger isn't letting me upload the pictures. I'll try again later!

Sunday, August 24

Could This Be the End of an Era?

So this morning I was discussing our "get-ready-so-we-can-go-to-church" schedule with the Mister. As I'm down with a sinus infection, I thought a nice steaming hot bath sounded fabulous, so I could relax and steam out my head at the same time. So I mentioned that I thought I might take a B-A-T-H and that since I'd just given Peanut one a couple of days before that I didn't think she needed to get in with me.

This was all fine and dandy until I'm standing at the foot of the stairs and said "Hey, Mister, I'm going to go take my B-A-T-H now..." and from the kitchen I hear a delighted yell "BAFFF!" and in comes Peanut, racing to the bottom of the stairs rapidly signing bath over and over...

Of course she got in with me for a little after that. But seriously. All I did was spell it!! Mister's theory is that she's associated the sound of "B-A-T-H" with the delightful experience that goes with it. My theory is that we have an extraordinarily precocious twenty-one month old.

Wednesday, August 20

Notebook Experiment: Joining Fabric Strips

I'm an avid reader of MomAdvice, and especially love her Notebooks, and the resulting Notebook Experiments.

She opened up the Notebook Experiments to anyone who wanted to join in, and I couldn't resist! Here's the first one that I tried... Amy from Mom Advice listed it in her 6.26.08 Notebook, and the original post is from Laughing Purple Goldfish Designs.

I told you that I am in the middle of making a tshirt rug, which entails cutting up dozens of tshirts into long strips, sewing them together, winding them into balls and then crocheting away. I've tried a couple different techniques of cutting them, but many techniques left little flaps on the strips when I turned corners, and then those flaps stuck up out of my rug. Not exactly what I was going for! I came across this technique of cutting diagonals and I'm sold! I'm using a rotary cutter so it goes even faster...

Here's some pictures of my "yarn" before and after it gets rolled into balls. I'm also including a picture of the flaps on the "yarn" that are now a thing of the past... and for kicks, a picture of the rug in all it's tininess. =)

Dairy-Free Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars

I made these tonight - the only thing I did differently was to use 1/2 Rice Krispies and 1/2 Cocoa Krispies. They're cooling, so you'll just have to be patient until I cut into them and let you know how they are!!

Dairy-Free Taco Pie

So I have been tweaking a recipe for a while now, and think I finally got it to where we really like it - it's a dairy-free Mexican casserole that we call Taco Pie for brevity. =)

Taco Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup salsa
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1 cup cooked corn, cooled

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Drain off the excess fat, then add the taco seasoning according to the directions on the package. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mash the pinto beans (I use a hand mixer to get a super smooth consistency). Stir in the rice and salsa. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, the egg and the water. Stir until almost combined, then stir in corn kernels. Set aside.

In a glass 9x9 pan, spread the bean and rice mixture evenly. Top with the ground beef mixture. Spoon the cornbread over the top - it doesn't need to be perfectly even. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden brown. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19

Vacation vs. Trip

I read an interesting article earlier this summer about the difference between a vacation and a trip once you have kids. There were a number of points, but let's just say that a vacation involves staying in B&Bs, enjoying leisurely strolls down historical districts, memorable dining experiences and returning home refreshed. A trip involves chicken nuggets, fishing the sippy cup out of the diaper bag while driving, hours spent trying to get overly tired children to nap in unfamiliar settings, and piles of laundry once you get home!

We just returned from a lovely trip... we spent a few days with Mister's family at a fabulous resort in the Middle of Nowhere, IL. There's a great state park, an indoor water park and an indoor amusement park all in one spot! So there were hours of swimming, hiking and just plain fun to be had! All of us (seven adults and four kids) were in one big cabin, which was just a blast! From there, we drove up to Wisconsin to spend a few days with my side of the family. We didn't have too many plans, just hanging out with my parents, my bro, sis-in-law and their three girls... Oh, and we had to go to Irishfest - the excuse for that trip!

Peanut and I came down with a water-park-related-illness for a couple of days, but seriously, if you're going to be incapicatated, you might as well do so at your parents house where there are more people to look out for your little one... and people to bring you hot tea at intervals!! We spent a little time at a smaller local festival on Saturday. That was low-key and incredibly picturesque... which was a nice contrast to the fabulous craziness that is any of Milwaukee's Fests... if you're in the Midwest and have never made it to Milwaukee for a fest, you are seriously missing out! There are all sorts of ethnic festivals and one giant Summerfest on weekends throughout the summer. The grounds for the Fest are right on the lakefront, so it's beautiful and cool (sometimes!) and there are thousands and thousands of people enjoying the day with you.

Now we are attempting to return to normal. Mister took yesterday off, so we just bummed around and took a deep breath... but today involved many loads of laundry and a lot of catching up! I've got a little breather, but Peanut and I are flying across the country in just over a week for yet another trip!

Sunday, August 10

grown men crying...

So were any of you touched last night by Michael Phelps's quivering lips as he heard the National Anthem?

Yeah. The Olympics make me so darn emotional! I've always been so moved by the National Anthem being played for gold medalists... and the emotion on the athlete's faces. Like when the American women swept yesterday's fencing event and the gold medalist was crying so much that former President Bush had to give her his hankerchief? Classic Olympic moment... =)

On an unrelated note, I thought I'd share with you a craft project that I've undertaken. Our new house has a fairly standard design on the main level with a kitchen, formal dining room, formal living room and informal family room. Well, we said "heck with having both a living room and a family room." Who really uses two sets of rooms with couches and coffee tables? If we're having people over, we will invite them back to the fireplaced, comfortable space we enjoy. So we said to ourselves "what can we do with the front room that's so formal with this beautiful hardwood floor?" We've turned it into our "study," and it's lined with our big wooden desk and seven wooden bookcases. Our collection of diplomas are hanging on the wall, and there's a comfortable old wooden rocker over by the bookcases to curl up in if you find a book to read. But that's a lot of wood, and a lot of empty space in the middle of the room.

So I am making a rag rug for the middle!! I'm estimating I'll need about a 6'x9' rug, which is actually immense when you're crocheting it... and to add to the project, I'm doing it with strips that I am cutting from old tshirts. So I have to find tshirts in my color palette, cut them into strips, sew them together, wind them into balls, and THEN I get to start crocheting! I've already finished about 8 rounds on my oval rug and LOVE the way it looks so far... but I am running out of tshirts and I have a ton more to go. Let's just say I'm going to be hitting up some garage sales this summer!

Friday, August 8


Want to know what we're having tonight for dinner? It's a little weird, but do you see a theme?

GOLDEN Chinese eggrolls
RED-hot buffalo chicken strips on
mixed baby GREENs
BLACK Greek olives
BLUEberry pie

That's right! It's my Olympic dinner... With a Greek touch to commemorate Olympic history and Chinese to make it 2008... and the rest is straight up Americana! The pie is in the oven, but if it turns out as beautiful as I'm hoping, I might post a droolicious picture later...

Enjoy the Games!

Thursday, August 7

whoa... twice in one week?

Are you still sitting down? Seriously... I fall off the blogging planet, and suddenly I'm back! I have a few main sources of online contact with people, and one of them just came to an end, so I'm back to blogging. I really do enjoy it and the minute that someone comes out with the device that scans your brain waves and types up all those posts that are just in the "hey I should blog this" phase... this blog will be hopping!

Our summer has been lovely. We're now living in a beautiful home that's 5 years old and will be perfect for us for many years to come - we were looking a bit forward with this home, but we're really settling in and making it our own. I don't foresee us moving anytime soon. I've lived in - wait, let me count - this is the 13th place I've lived in the last ten years. That's different dorm rooms, apartments and houses. That isn't counting my parents house (wait, they moved during that time, so that is actually three houses for them), which saw me for a few summer vacations, Christmases, etc. So I'm really used to moving. It's actually a little foreign to think of living here for the next twenty years, but that's what we're hoping to do.

We've had lots of visits with family and friends and August is going to be hopping busy as well... I'll be gone twice for extended trips this month, which should be great!

Peanut is doing marvelously, talking up a storm and running all over keeping me busy. We're outside often, whenever it's cool enough... I'll post more on her adorableness tomorrow, okay?!

Tuesday, August 5

slacker and puppies

Okay, so I am a serious blog-slacker. It's summer. I'm playing with my toddler and my new house... what can I say!?

But I saw a contest online today that I just had to enter and share with you... it's for three life-sized stuffed dogs. WHOA. Seriously cool. I mean, I only need one and I get to inflict, um I mean share, the others with two lucky friends if I win.

Why do I want to win these? Well... I'm not really a pet person, but I'd like to be! My parents are the same way, and so when they moved into a house with a large yard and a kennel, they just had to do something about it. So they got a wooden dog, named him Bosco and put him in their kennel. From a distance, Bosco is quite convincing, and their grandchildren love to sit on Bosco, pull his ears, etc. And he's such an angel... I want in on the fake-dog trend!!

I haven't decided which one I would want to keep - I might just let Peanut make the decision. She's been getting very decisive lately, and when she makes up her mind, she gets thoroughly excited if she gets to keep the one she picks. My heart, like Susan's, goes out to the German Shorthaired Pointer, but they're all way cool.