12.31.2012

NYE Plans - 2012



This year, we were originally going to go to our neighbor's house for New Year's Eve (we went last year and it was pretty fun even though I was super pregnant and crabby!).  But with family being in from out-of-town for my grandmother's services, we decided to do a small family gathering at our house instead.  My aunt and cousin are only in town until Tuesday, so New Year's Eve is the perfect time to spend with family.

I "won" a fondue set in the white elephant gift exchange at my husband's family Christmas gathering, so I'm excited to break it in!  I'm planning to make a cheese fondue using this recipe, and a chocolate fondue using this one.

My sister-in-law, cousin, and I all decided that the theme for our New Year's Eve gathering would be "Pajama Party," so that everyone can show up in their pajamas and/or bring their slippers, blankets, or other comfy attire.  Todd will make a fire in the fireplace, and we have champagne to sip at midnight!



I decided to add one other fun aspect to our party - a craft project!  I have to be honest here, this wasn't my idea... I spotted it on one of Jennifer Perkins' Pinterest boards and immediately knew it was perfect for our pajama party!  I bought pipe cleaners in various colors (including metallic, of course) and some self-stick rhinestones.  The challenge?  Make your own New Year's Eve tiara!  Hopefully, I'll get some good pics to share with you later...

In the meantime, I've been sorting through and editing photos from our Christmas extravaganza events (three days of celebrating...) and I hope to share some of my faves with you soon!

One of my fun Christmas gifts was this battery-operated milk frother.  I've been attempting to relax on evenings by frothing milk to add to my coffee with Bailey's and sitting by the fire.  When you have a sweet skull tiki mug like this, even better, right?



now playing:

12.28.2012

My grandmother...

My grandmother and I, March 2007.

On December 26, the morning after Christmas, my grandmother passed away.  The day before (Christmas), she was placed into hospice care at the hospital, so we knew that it wouldn't be long.  She had been unwell for quite some time.  So I can't say that it wasn't expected.  But somehow that doesn't make it hurt any less, just because we knew that it was coming...

I saw her in the hospital a couple of weeks before she passed away, mostly because I knew that when she would see Iggy that it made her smile.

My grandmother was beautiful.  I will miss her very very much.


now playing:

12.26.2012

DIY: Pinwheels! (w/free template printable)


I was short on time with my last group of students before winter break, and came up with this pinwheel project idea.  They came out so cute, I thought I would share it here with the idea that these pinwheels are a great craft idea if you're on break with the kids, or to make at children's parties, or even to make ahead of time and use as party favors!


Here's what you'll need (per pinwheel):

  • 6"x6" paper, heavier weight (read options below)
  • Pinwheel template
  • unsharpened pencil with eraser intact (those fancy decorative pencils that neither draw nor erase well are perfect for this!!!)
  • straight pin
  • needle-nose pliers
  • tiny bead (optional)


I made a free printable template of the pinwheel layout here.  It prints onto regular 8.5"x11" paper, but the pinwheel paper square is actually only about 6"x6".  I recommend using a slightly heavier paper, like construction paper or scrapbooking paper.  In the example above, I used watercolor paper, painted on both sides.  In a pinch, you could actually use the printed out template to have kids draw onto and just use the printer paper for the pinwheel, but they're not as sturdy.


The thing to remember about pinwheels is that both sides of the paper are seen.  So if you use colored paper and have kids draw designs, make sure they draw on both sides.  At school, we used experimental watercolor techniques over the course of two days (one for each side of the paper) in order to create our pinwheels.  But I was thinking that if you're going to make a bunch for party favors, two-sided scrapbooking paper is absolutely perfect for this.  Especially if you use 12"x12" paper, you can get four pinwheels from one sheet!

So, step one is to decorate your paper (optional, but if you choose to, do it now instead of after it's all curled up!).

Then, cut your square template out, and place the template over your 6"x6" paper and cut along the diagonal lines toward the center, through both sheets.  This is how I make sure I cut far enough into the middle, but also so I dont go too far in.  That's all you really need the template for.  You can recycle it now.

Next, you'll gently bend every other corner towards the middle of the pinwheel square.  Use a straight pin to secure the points down and push the pin through to the back side of the pinwheel.  If the head of your pin is tiny, use a small bead (optional) to make the pin head larger and to keep the paper from pulling through.

The straight pin will now go through the pencil eraser (I like to push it through perpendicularly close to the metal base) until the pointy end sticks out through the other side.  Then use the needle-nose pliers to bend the end of the pin (making an "L" shape) to keep it from pulling back out.

Okay, that might sound more confusing than it really is.  Just use the straight pin to stick through the whole thing and through a pencil eraser.  Bend the pin so it doesn't come out of the eraser.


Here, I even made a complicated diagram for what's actually a really simple task.  I'm afraid my teacher tendency to over-explain everything fifty different ways in order to reach everyone is getting the better of me here...

Let me know if you have any questions.

My sample pinwheels came out so well that I made a gigantic pinwheel out of posterboard and a wooden dowel, with thick wire as my "pin."  I painted both sides of the posterboard using acrylic paint first.


Whaddaya think?

now playing:

12.24.2012

Xmas Decor 2012



It's funny... I was so excited to share all of our Halloween decorations that I took photos even before I was finished, and had to split my posts into two parts.  But, uh, Christmas?  Not so much.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Christmas and all... it's just that we teach all the way up and through the 21st, so it gives me pretty much zero time to decorate when I'm too busy trying to figure out how to get all my damn presents purchased and wrapped.

Yeah, bah humbug to you, too.  I'm doing the best I can here.

Anyways, this post is about our Christmas decor.  I don't have as much as our Halloween decorations (no bathroom things), but we still do pretty well.  So I started up above with our main living room Christmas tree.  Todd painted the red star at the top so it had a more nautical star feel, and I made the tree skirt, way back when we first started dating.  It needed a few repairs this year.  We also have blue garland, and kind of have a love for non-traditional colored christmas decorations, so we keep an eye out for that.

Also, a close up of some of my fave ornaments: (clockwise from top right) a tree I made in first grade, a handmade Miss Piggy ornament from a craft fair that I picked out when shopping with my mom when I was little, and a martini "tree" ornament from my mother-in-law a few years ago.

Continuing our love for non-traditionally colored items, see our stockings below.  Todd and I bought these the same year we bought our tree and I made the skirt.  I hung all of our stockings from the mantle, and I'm thinking of making the red one with the tattoo print cuff into Iggy's stocking.  Just need some glitter paint or something like that... and the green santa "Jenny" stocking is mine from when I was little.  My mom gave it to me when I moved out, and it's so cute, so technically, I have two stockings.  We don't usually fill them, but perhaps next year when Iggy's older I may start something.



On top of the mantle is my reindeer collection.  It's a mix of new and old/vintage reindeer that I find, and usually each year I try to add at least one.  I think I found two this year at the antique mall by my house...



The larger gold glitter reindeer (photo right) is actually a vintage reindeer!  I love both the size and condition of him.  I think he's my favorite.

Below is a handmade beaded christmas topiary tree.  I made it myself!  I do keep it on the mantle, because the beads are attached by straight pins and I don't want Iggy grabbing it - it is somewhat fragile, but I absolutely LOVE how it looks.  I made it a long time ago before I even moved out of my parents house.  My grandmother had a similar one, and I loved it so much that I made my own.  (Note to self: do a DIY post on this project for next year!)



Other than the mantle and the tree, our house isn't super decorated.  Oh, I have a tablecloth and some candles for the dining room, but right now there's a zillion presents to be wrapped on it, so there was no way I was going to be able to take photos.

There are a few minor things about the living room: a white feather wreath on the front door, silver mirrored stars on the walls in the entryway, and cool springy ornaments hanging from the chandelier over the couch.



I do, however, have one really fun in-progress Christmas item in the basement: my pink full-size Christmas tree!  We bought it at Borders (a few years before they went out-of-business) when they were having a 50% off sale, and I actually have pink lights on pink strings for the tree, too.  I like to buy the most ridiculously girly, glittery, sparkly, cheesy ornaments I can find for it.  Some of my faves include (see below, left to right): the mermaid, a glittery deer (one of a set of 4), and a long silver glittery bow.



It's a work in progress, because you can see that I do not have a whole lot of ornaments for it, nor do I have a tree topper or tree skirt yet.  I've been casually looking for something in the vein of a unicorn for the tree topper... so if you see anything of that sort, send me in that direction!

now playing:

12.19.2012

Vending @ the roller derby!

I'm really excited to tell you about my new vending gig for Hell Razor!  I'll be at the roller derby, selling flowers and jewelry at the Aurora 88s Roller Derby League bouts!

 

I met Ieata Brains, the president of the league, at the Haunted Halloween flea market.  She mentioned a vending opportunity and I was super excited.  The first bout will be on January 13th at 7:00 pm.  So, if you're in the Chicago (and Chicago suburbs) area, stop by to check it out!  I'll be there with Stephanie (aka Calamity Layne) who'll be helping me sell and not be really socially awkward around people.  So let's see how that goes...!!!

 

This event is located at the Aurora Skate Center, 34W113 Montgomery Road in Aurora, IL.  Tickets are $12 at the door.  Perhaps Wayne and Garth will be there, and we can all hang at Stan Mikita's Donuts afterwards...  Kids 8 & under are free, so depending on how the January 13th bout goes, I may return with an Iggy for the next round...!

(all images via the Aurora 88s web and Facebook pages)

now playing: 

12.17.2012

My not-so-great internet shopping experience...

My mom received a catalog in the mail from a website called SimplyBe.com.  She passed it on to me, thinking that I might like some of their clothes.  She was right!  There was one dress in particular that I reallyreallyreally wanted, so the next time I got paid I decided to place an order.  Even greater, there was a 20% off code available!  I was very excited and ordered my dress, along with another dress I happened to see as I was checking out.


Imagine my disappointment when I found out the dress that I really wanted was on backorder.  Oh well, I thought... I was willing to wait because it was so cute!  This was on August 19th, 2012.  I went online to do a little research and saw that there are quite a few complaints about this website when it comes to ordering/shipping/restocking of items...

It took a month for the heart print dress to arrive.  It was marked as shipped within a day or two of ordering, but took "forever" to arrive.  In fact, I was pretty much convinced that someone had swiped the package from my porch (which has never happened at this residence, so it would be weird), but then it arrived.

The good new is that I liked the heart print dress.  The bad news is that after about a month of owning it  (and wearing it - um, maybe 4-5 times?) I discovered that the back seam (of the sheer part) has completely split apart.  Ugh.  Nice quality, huh?  And I'm really careful with washing - as in, delicate cycle/detergent and hang to dry...

In the meantime, I ordered some boots from SimplyBe, too.  I was really excited about this purchase because I measured my feet/calves with a measuring tape, and followed the sizing chart in the catalog exactly as it was listed, so I was stoked to finally have a pair of cute black boots for the winter that actually fit!

Buuuuutttt... the boots arrived and were way too big in the foot and way too small in the calf.  I reluctantly packaged them back up to return them.  Couldn't even exchange them, because if I bought a bigger size for the calf, the foot would be even bigger.  If I bought a smaller size for the foot, the calves would be even smaller.  No win.  I even wrote a post about my boot fail here.

Which leads me back to my original black dress with the bows that I reallyreallyreally wanted in the first place.  The whole reason I ever ordered from SimplyBe at all.  Still.  Hadn't.  Arrived.  I wrote a message on the SimplyBe Facebook wall, and customer service on there reassured me that the dress was coming back in stock.  By now it's about October.  I ordered in August.

I finally got word via my order history on the website that it was supposed to come back in stock on November 15, 2012.  I was really excited and happy.  November 15 comes and goes with no word.

On November 23rd, I've tried to contact SimplyBe via email at their "contact us" email address, but it keeps getting returned to me, so I try posting to the Facebook wall again:


No reply from them, but oddly enough, I receive an email out of the blue that my order was CANCELLED.  Hmmm.  Suspicious to say the least.


The real kick in the pants at all of this is that the dress is listed as IN STOCK in my size on their site right now.  So why was my order cancelled?

I'm feeling really frustrated at this whole ordeal and I needed to vent somewhere.  It sucks because there are so few plus-size places to shop (especially at halfway decent/affordable prices!), but I can say with certainty that I will NOT be shopping at this website again, and I highly recommend that you stay away as well.

You've been warned!

In conclusion, anyone have some suggestions for good places where I can shop for cute plus size clothing?  You know, some place that would appreciate my business and hard-earned money?
Thanks!

now playing:

12.15.2012

Totally Awesome Blog Hop.

Chantillysongs Blog hop

I recently joined the "Totally Awesome" blog hop, which I found via the Charlie Foxtrot blog, and hosted by:

For some reason, the button doesn't link to the list of people on the blog hop, it just links back to Chantilly's blog.  So here is the link to the blog hop with all of the bloggers on the hop, if you're looking for some new fun blogs to follow!

now playing:

12.14.2012

Iggy @ 10 Months



Technically... Iggy is 10.5 months right now.  But I realized I wasn't keeping up with my every 2 months schedule and I want to make sure I'm on track for the big first birthday party!  ...Whatever that ends up being...

Anyways, the big news is up on the top photo.  Iggy is STANDING.  On his own.  It's so cute.  No walking or stepping just yet, but standing for lengths of time, completely unsupported.  He can also now clap (like a normal person, not just flapping his arms up & down), and will sometimes echo noises people make.  No full-on words with intention yet, but intentional sounds at least.  Another new quirk of his is shaking his head "no" at really funny times, like when my mom tried to kiss him.  I don't know if he fully realized what he was communicating, but it was still pretty darn funny.



Iggy drinks from a sippy cup now instead of a bottle.  When we went for his 9 month doctor appointment (on Halloween, sheesh), the nurse seemed alarmed that I hadn't tried to give him a sippy cup yet.  I was all "what?" because I had no idea that he was old enough yet (remember, he's my first, and I'm the girl who refused to take a birthing class, so I'm kind of a figurer-outer on my own type...) but apparently the doctors office freaks out if they still have a bottle at 12 months and GOOD LORD WHY HADN'T I STARTED TRYING YET?!

Well, that's how it went in my head movies.

So I freaked out and started giving him the sippy cup which was frustrating at first, but within two weeks he had it down.  Now it's like no problem.  Why were they freaking out at the doctor?  All it did was freak me out.  Anywhoo... it's all good now.



Iggy's eating all sorts of regular-ish food now.  His favorite is shredded cheese.  He double-fists it into his mouth, but half of it dumps all over his lap so he has a shreddy cheesy diaper area.  It's a horrible mess.  In other food news, I've begun blending tofu into his food (think avocado-tofu and cheesy cauliflower tofu purees) and he seems to be cool with it.  He does not, however, seem to be a big fan of scrambled eggs.  I even tried mixing cheese into them but to no avail.  He eats a tiny tiny bite and then he's done, no more.

Iggy only has his two front lower teeth.  He's been chewing and seemingly teething for over a month now, but nothing new.  You can see in the photo below his bizarre new habit of putting the pacifier into his mouth pointing upwards.  What a weirdo.



Last weekend we took Iggy to see Santa.  We waited in line for an hour, and he was really well behaved.  He watched the kids in front of us go up and see Santa and he laughed.  Then I brought him up, and as I leaned over to hand Iggy to Santa, he started to squirm and fuss.  Oh geez.  But Santa flipped him around and was all "photo!" and it was over in less than 30 seconds.  Eh, maybe next year Iggy?  At least if he was gonna cry I was hoping it would be a full-on reaching out for mom howl.  I got this in-between crabby face, which I see plenty of on an everyday basis.

I really enjoy how much Iggy is turning into an independent little person.  I relish seeing him sitting on the floor, concentrating very hard on a toy or book.  I love seeing him pull himself up to standing and slowly letting go.  The excitement on his face when he realized he was standing was inexplicable.  So amazing.

See you in another two months for the next Iggy installment!

now playing:

12.12.2012

Another weird collection



I was organizing my art studio the other day and realized I have kind of a weird collection that I'd like to share.  I save interesting and fun tags from items that I like.  Sometimes it's a brand name item I couldn't normally afford, so it's fun from a memorabilia standpoint (remember when I splurged - or saved up - and bought myself that fancy purse?) but other times I just like the graphic design, or its from a favorite designer.

I have a small bulletin board that hangs behind my work area - most of the time I forget it's even there, and it holds my tag collection.  It's 8x10 inches, and I made it out of an old picture frame and a cork square.



Here's what my collection contains at present:
  1. Tarina Tarantino - the older tag had a female face with crazy hair.  The newer tags have the simpler "bow" logo.  I also have one from the Tokyo Hardcore Collection.
  2. Hello Kitty - There's a ton of different tags, these are just two I particularly enjoyed the graphic design on.
  3. Betsey Johnson - still my number one favorite.  Wish I had the money (and the body) to buy more.
  4. Chanel - this one's a cheater.  I love Chanel, but can't afford anything besides the occasional makeup item here or there.  This tag came with some Chanel buttons my aunt gave me.  I'm saving them for a special art or craft project one day.
  5. Anna Sui - This is the tag from her Anna Sui for Target line.  I still have two dresses from this collection.  They're too small right now, but I'll never get rid of them.  I dream one day I'll be able to wear them again.
  6. Harajuku Lovers - I found my purse at Marshall's for an excellent price.  Score!
  7. Harajuku Mini - I still snag the boy's stuff at Target whenever I can.  Especially if I find it on the clearance rack - oh boy!
  8. Rodarte for Target - I think I purchased almost the whole collection on this one.  Again, stuff I have that doesn't fit, but I wont get rid of...
  9. Marvel/Converse - tag from my wonder woman shoes.  It's made of real heavy cardboard.  I like when companies put tons of thought into packaging and stuff like this.


So, I start to wonder sometimes if I begin to seem like a hoarder when I show you my various "collections," but since I haven't been doing any outfit/personal style posts, this is what you get.  All my stuff.  Feel free to show me all your weird stuff, too.  I'm ok with it.

now playing:

12.10.2012

Meatless Chili

If you've ever stopped by my about page, you'd know that I don't eat meat.  People love to taunt me and think it's a challenge to try to "get me" to eat meat, or even try to trick me into eating it, as though my not eating meat is a direct threat to them.  Really?  I don't give you crap for eating meat - try not to give me any attitude for my choices, ok?

Whatever.

Here's the thing: I agree that certain meat-containing recipes are delicious.  I didn't stop eating meat because I thought it tasted icky.  I just like animals.  To pet.  Or go "aw, how cute." But not to eat.  That's all, no judgement on those who do.  Just my thing.

One recipe I've always loved is chili.  I like to mix it about 1/2 and 1/2 with elbow noodles, and sometimes I top it with some sour cream and cheese.  Yum.  But have you ever had "vegetarian" chili? It usually has a buttload of vegetables in it.  Like corn and carrots.  Damn, dude, stop ruining my chili with vegetables.  (Disclaimer: I actually love veggies, so no hate on that.  It's just, in my chili?  No.)

So, I have an awesome chili recipe to share with you that I developed all by my lonesome that's pretty pure to the basic chili concept: beans and tomatoes and "meat."  Well, fake meat.


It can be made on the stovetop in about 30 minutes, or you can dump everything into the crock pot and set it on low until you get home.  How versatile!  Here ya go:

HellRazor Meatless Chili:
  • Large 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups (approximately 1 bag/package) meatless "crumbles" (I like Boca.)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
Add-ins and toppings (optional):
  • elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • shredded cheese (typically cheddar)
  • chopped onions
  • sour cream
  • oyster crackers (in lieu of macaroni)
Directions:
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sautee garlic, oil, and onions until onions are translucent.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and beans.  Stir.
  3. Add "meat" and spices.  Stir again.
  4. Let simmer approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with toppings/add-ins as desired
(for crockpot version, just dump all ingredients into the pot, stir, cover, and set on low 6-8 hours)


You can actually double the recipe for a large group of people. This recipe feeds 4-6, depending on portion sizes.  If you choose to double the recipe, only use 1 1/2 times the spices.  

I like to make this for the two of us as dinner, and then I have lunch for a couple of days, too.  This is a yummy leftover, and easy to take to work.

now playing:

12.07.2012

Xmas Ticket Presents!



I'm so excited!  Todd and I have a hard time surprising each other at Christmas, so sometimes we make agreements (like last year) where we just won't buy for eachother, or we buy a "couples" gift that both of us will use and enjoy.  This year we decided to buy tickets to shows!  We both get to go out (date night, woo!) and see an awesome concert, but we feel like we also get an individual "present" because we get to pick which specific shows we want to see.

I picked Soundgarden (I've never seen them live, can you believe it?) - I'm a huge Soundgarden/Chris Cornell fan - yep, even the Scream album he did with Timbaland, I love that one!  So we have tickets for January 29th at the Riviera theater in Chicago.  Gotta make sure I go dig out my flannel!

Just TWO DAYS before this show, on January 27th, we'll be at the Riviera (again) for The Darkness, which is the show that Todd picked to go see!  I've never seen The Darkness live either, so I'm pretty excited for this one.  Expect some blog post action where I share all the fun concert-going deets with you!

(And if this wasn't exciting enough, Iggy's first birthday is January 31st!  What a week this will be!)

now playing:

12.05.2012

DIY: Chalkboard Signs



So, here's a DIY idea that's not super mind-blowingly original, but I wanted to show off my project anyways.  Todd cut this speech bubble-shaped sign from out of plywood (it's like 1/4 inch thick plywood, but you could cut it out of particleboard or nicer wood - whatever floats your boat.

If you're not feeling real confident on drawing and cutting your own speech bubble, I've made you a template here.  It fits onto standard 8.5"x11" paper, but you could choose to blow it up if you want to go larger.  I also recommend sanding down the edges of your cutout (see how mine look kind of rounded?  That's sanding.)  You can also add one of those little sawtooth hangers on the back if you wanna hang your sign.  Mine's just flat because it's sitting on the mantle right now.  Might add a hanger later.  This sign would also make an awesome photo prop!



You've probably found a ton of "recipes" for chalkboard paint online.  Honestly, anytime I've wanted to make a chalkboard, I just use flat black paint.  Wait, I take that back.  We did use paint labeled "chalkboard paint" for our basement door/entryway board, but for this project (and several other past ones) I've simply used flat black paint.  It works.  Seriously.

So, we gave this wooden speech bubble cutout a couple coats of flat black paint, and let it dry.  One good suggestion for any chalk board is to "condition" it first with a piece of chalk: rub a piece of chalk on it's side to coat the board, then wipe away with a soft cloth eraser.  Then you're good to go.

Now, perhaps you wanna make your sign look all spiffy like mine.  There's a couple of secrets that not all websites share regarding this.  First of all, they're NOT using regular chalk.  It's a chalk marker.  I went to Michael's and found one for myself (it's by Craft Smart, and has a chisel tip).  Here's a comparable one I found on Amazon (click image for link):


So now that you have a marker and can achieve those pretty clean lines, you need to be able to do lettering!  I found FREE fonts that you can download to layout, print out, and then use to copy your own lettering design onto your sign!  I used Chalk Hand Lettering Shaded for the "Lebans" section of the sign, and I used Bergamot Ornaments for the "The" section (hint: it's the lowercase z key).  These are both free fonts you can download from DaFont.com - one of my very favorite websites!



I have to add one little snafu that came up with designing my sign.  For some reason, the Chalk Hand Lettering Shaded font wasn't (and still isn't) showing up in Microsoft Word... but it works just fine in Adobe Photoshop, so I just did my layout and printing from there.  Bergamot worked just fine on Word though.  I'm on a MacBook Pro, if that makes a difference to anyone out there.  If you try it out and it works, or if you have any ideas, please let me know!

I think I'm going to use these fonts to make a "grocery list" banner for the top of our entryway board, you know, so it looks all fancy.  If you make something, be sure to show it off so I can go check it out!


now playing: 

12.03.2012

Right now...



Last week was a rough week, from many angles.  My grandma is in the hospital, and not doing well.  There's a whole bunch of ridiculous unnecessary family drama - both related and unrelated to the grandma thing.  For once, work may have been the least bad thing!  But there's always work drama too.  And it was pottery wheel week, so it's super messy and super stressful when that time comes.  Oh, and I've had some health things going on too... I'm being put on low dose thyroid meds, so we'll see how that goes.  I was told that your thyroid can cause you to feel overall crappy anyways, so my health issues may have just amplified everything else.  Oh geez.

So, here's to a better week this week.

I got through last week by making this self-portrait as grumpy cat.  Mad photoshop skillz.

now playing: 

11.28.2012

The Most Metal Baby Ever



Happy Wednesday!  Enjoy this short video of Iggy headbanging.  He is the most metal baby ever.

now playing:

11.26.2012

We cancelled our cable!

Cable Guy
via Netflix
I remember when Todd and I were first dating and we didn't have cable.  It was a big deal when we finally splurged and got it, since cable runs on average about $50+ a month.  Well, once we started, we never looked back, and for the last 6 years or so we've always had it.  We never had anything major, like movie channels or sports packages or anything like that, but we did have DVR service.

Last year while I was pregnant, I went through a big "OMG we're having a baby and now we can't afford anything and we need to save money!" phase and thought that we should cancel our cable.  I called up our service and let them know.  Well, if you want to save money on cable, CALL UP YOUR PROVIDER AND TELL THEM YOU WANT TO CANCEL!  They'll fall all over themselves to keep you and offer you all kinds of ridiculous discounts and free stuff.  Seriously.

I ended up keeping our service on our main TV set in the living room, and the woman on the phone cut our service to $25 a month.  Yep, you heard me right.  $25 a month.  It was a "promo" rate for 6 months, but then I called again and told them to cancel, and they put that rate right back into place.

Fast forward a year now.

Our "promo" code has ended again.  This time though, we have Netflix.  We have Hulu Plus.  And, our smaller cable package does not include FX or AMC, which broadcasts a majority of the things we like to watch (see more about my extreme TV habit here), so we've been "without" most of our channels for a while now.  This time I decided that even $25 a month is too much.  We need to go cold-turkey, no cable.

Good lord, I had to fight with the guy on the phone for a good half hour!  He kept trying to cut the rate back for me, and offering me 6 months of this channel and that channel just to keep me, and didn't I know that I could BUNDLE my services?

To which I would reply every time, "no thanks, I'd just like to cancel please."

Finally, he caved in.  They're sending us some kind of postage-paid box to which they threaten death if we don't return all the equipment in it.  I also had to reassure him that we did not, in fact, have another cable provider lined up and that if I ever did decide to go back to cable, I would use their services.

Geez!

So, as of Friday morning, we have no cable.  We've been living off of our Netflix and Hulu (we use Apple TV units in our house, if you were wondering) and it's been good!  I only watch stuff that I WANT to watch!  Whoa what a concept!

Those of you thinking "well, Netflix and Hulu cost money..." yes, you are right.  But it's less than cable, and I think the choices are better.  Watch what I want when I want.

My next victim is the home phone line.  That's also costing us about $25 a month and NOT worth it.  It's hard, having a baby, and thinking about not having a home phone line though.  What about when he's in school?  Does the school call me or Todd?  How do his friends call him?  I'm certainly not getting him a phone of his own...

Anybody out there with kids and no home phone line?  Please share.

now playing: 

11.24.2012

Giveaway! Act quickly!

Hey!  I've gotten into the habit of NOT posting on the weekends, but this one is urgent!  Natalie Slater of Bake and Destroy just posted her holiday gift guide and giveaway for this year, and I'm part of giveaway #1, which ends TOMORROW!



If you want to win BOTH of these two awesome new combination hair clips/pins, you need to head on over to her post to comment and win.  Earn extra entries for posting to Twitter and Tumblr.

See full details at Bake and Destroy.

Go go go!

now playing:

11.23.2012

Holiday Party DIY idea - free printable!

Happy Black Friday!  Is it really happy?  I don't know... I'm mostly hanging out at home, doing laundry, and being a total couch potato...

But I have a present for you! It's a DIY Holiday Party Printable to help with the traffic flow at your house during holiday events.

Check this out:


Have you ever been to a friend, coworker, or relative's house (at a holiday party, for example) and had no idea where the bathroom was?  And even if someone tells you "up the stairs, to the right, second door on the left," you still end up opening the door to the linen closet?  Uh, yeah, that's me.

Well, I made this fun sign for our bathroom at home, even though we don't necessarily need it (it's a small house and the bathroom is fairly visible in the center of the hallway).  I thought it just looks fun, but after I put it up, I realized how helpful it could potentially be if other people used this signage in their own home!  The best part is that (if you choose to use my method) it's contact paper, and therefore fairly easy to remove if you wanted to just use this as a temporary decoration, like for a party.  But you could also just print my sign and use it as-is.


I made these symbols into a downloadable .pdf for you to print out and use to make your own bathroom people sign!  (If you look around online, most bathroom signs have the head shape separate from the body shape.  I made my shapes all-in-one for easy tracing!)

If you'd like to use my method (just the positive shapes of the people), here's what I did:
  1. Cut out the black outlines of the figures above.
  2. On the back of a sheet of contact paper (I used white), trace around the figures using a pencil or marker.
  3. Cut out the people from the contact paper.
  4. Peel and stick!
  5. If you're super picky (like me) use a small level and a piece of tape to create a line for your people to stand on before sticking them to your door.

Now, your guests will know FOR SURE which door is the bathroom, and your linen closet can stay nice and messy because no one will accidentally open it.  Hopefully.

now playing: 

11.21.2012

Weight Watchers Drop-Out



So... I've made a big life decision in the last two weeks.  I've decided to full-on quit Weight Watchers.  This was like the fourth time I've been a member.  Twice I've lot some major weight on this program, so I want to start by saying that if you're looking for a good weight-loss program, this may be it for you!  It really teaches you WHAT to eat, and how much to eat, and making good choices and how to keep track of it all.

But I've come to a minor realization that those kinds of things - the knowledge of what to eat - are NOT what my problem is.  I mean, it may have been in the past, which is why it worked for me in the past.  But Weight Watchers now had become a chore for me.  I'd been skipping meetings... something would always "come up" and I couldn't/wouldn't go.  I didn't track my food.  What was I paying this money for?

But it's not what I need right now.  My weight issues are all mental.  Even when I know what I "should" eat, many times I actively choose not to do it.  I rebel against myself.  I'm obviously reverting to some really old coping strategies for something in the form of eating.

Although my outside physical self needs work, my inside mental self needed work too.  I've been focusing on that part for a while now, and I think it may just be that this is the key to bringing the physical self back in line.

Weight Watchers had become like a bad marriage, and I needed to get out.  I couldn't stay and keep throwing my money away and hoping that I'd magically begin evaporating weight form my body simply because my credit card was automatically charged each month.  I had to actually DO something.

Part one is that we (Todd and Iggy and I) joined our local YMCA.  The price I pay for a monthly family membership is only a little bit more than what I paid monthly for my Weight Watchers membership.  They offer free child care while we use the facilities.  The machines each have their own cable tv!  They have group classes, which is something that I actually used to enjoy doing.  Believe me, I am NOT an exercise fan, but I remember a time where I used to like some of that sort of stuff.  I'd like to go back and try to find that again.

The food stuff will come later.  I hate the idea of depriving myself of things that I love.  I hate going to a restaurant and having to order a "salad" when everyone else is having burgers and fries.  I'd rather make small, meaningful changes that I know I can keep up with.

I'll admit, quitting Weight Watchers scared the crap out of me.  I'm not sure what's gonna happen.  But stick around and I'll tell you all about it!

now playing:

11.19.2012

Green Smoothie FAIL

Over the weekend, I decided to finally go ahead and try to make myself a green smoothie.  My cousin had been raving about it several weeks back, and it got me thinking.  So I looked up a whole mess of recipes online to see if I could find a "basic" or "beginner" level smoothie.  I found several that looked pretty good and were very similar, so I decided to jump in and try it.  Here's my basic recipe:



Green Smoothie FAIL:
  • 2 cups of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze, cuz it's tasty!)
  • Spinach (like 3 handfuls? I'm not really a measurer...)
  • A frozen banana.  (I keep these on hand because when they start to get "too" brown, I cut them up and freeze them for later.  The baby likes them, but hey, now I have them for smoothies too!)
  • A packet of Truvia (optional, to make it sweeter)
  • Frozen mixed berries - THIS IS WHERE I WENT WRONG.  
Read on below...



Okay, here's where I started.  You put the milk into the blender with the spinach and you blend the heck out of it.  I hit "high" and walked away to gather the berries.  Probably about 30 seconds at least, til its fully blended and pretty and green.  I was feeling REALLY good here.

Then I added the frozen bananas and a handful of frozen berries.  Note that it consists of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  I SHOULD KNOW THIS PART BECAUSE I'M AN ART TEACHER!

Green + red = brown.  It's color theory.  Red and green are across from each other on the color wheel.  They're complementary (aka opposite) colors.  Want proof?  See it in action below:



BROWN.  My finished BROWN smoothie.  Oh man this looked gross.  It actually tasted ok, dare I even say good...

But now that I knew my mistake, I was able to go on and create an actual green smoothie that both looked AND tasted good a few mornings later.  Want this recipe?  Here goes:

Green Smoothie WIN:
  • 2 cups of milk (again, unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze!)
  • Spinach (like 3 handfuls)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Frozen peaches and mangoes (bought pre-frozen from Target)
  • 1 tbsp or so of almond butter (be generous, it's good!)
Similar steps as the fail version.  Blend the spinach and milk first, then add fruit, then I added the almond butter.  This makes at least two big glasses, so either you're really hungry/thirsty and drink it all,  or you can share with a friend!



So, the trick is to keep your fruit selection NOT red or black or blue.  I'm told that avocado is a great addition to green smoothies, as well as apples or regular peanut butter.  If you look online, people add all sorts of protein booster nutritional junk in there.  I'm not that fancy yet.

Also, many green smoothies use kale in them.  I'm working my way up to that, as one thing I did discover in my research is that the best "green" to use as a beginner is spinach, as it's the most mild.

I even got Todd to try a sip of my (actual) green smoothie, and he said it was good.  He didn't take a glass though when I offered it to him.  What are your thoughts on green smoothies?  Share below!

now playing: 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Google+