11.28.2012

The Most Metal Baby Ever



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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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11.16.2012

Midnight Movie Field Trip



Last night, I went to see Breaking Dawn, Part Two with my sister-in-law.  Full disclosure: I don't consider myself a Twilight fan.  I was mostly so excited that my sister-in-law asked me to go out somewhere with her (outside of a family thing, you know, just the girls) that I probably would have gone anywhere she suggested.  But she's been talking about this since the last movie came out, and she lent me her copies of the DVDs of the rest of the Twilight saga.  So since last January (right after Iggy was born), I've been slowly but surely catching up on the whole story.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad story, nor are they bad movies.  They're pretty entertaining, and don't require a ton of concentration - but it never pretends to be a deep philosophical heavy-type movie, so you can't fault it for that.  If I was in high school, I no doubt would have been totally into this.

Ha!  I actually have to admit that I asked my 8th grade girls a few questions about the storyline before I saw the final movie, so I felt all caught up and schooled in the correct background info.  That's when it's pretty darn helpful to teach middle school.  The kids don't mind those kinds of questions.



Also, this was the MIDNIGHT showing of the movie...  My biggest concern was: "would I be able to stay up long enough until the movie started?  and if so, would I be able to stay up during the movie?  and if I did that, would I also be able to stay awake to drive home afterwards?"

I did it all!

Totally stayed up, watched the whole thing, and made it home completely safely.  I did chug a Monster energy drink at about 10 pm, and I entertained myself driving home by singing loudly along with the radio at 2:30 am.



We went to the Hollywood Boulevard theater, which I had actually never been to.  I've been to the "premium cinema" by my house, which is a 21+ theater that sells alcohol and has assigned seating.  I like that one.  But this one was slightly different.  Not quite as fancy, and open to all ages.  Still selling booze, though.  And food.  How about the cheezy movie-themed menu?  We ordered "Grinch Dip" aka spinach-artichoke type dip, "Fu Man Chu Crab Rangoon," and "Moe Stix" ...which are really mozzarella sticks.  Oh you crafty menu planners.

We sat in the Chinese theater, which basically meant dragon statues and old hollywood movie posters.  And a couple of palm trees, I think?  You know what would be REALLY cool?  A theater that's horror theme!  Someone give me a bunch of money and I'll make it happen, ok?

...Oh wait, I didn't even tell you how the movie was!  I would say that it was my favorite out of all the movies, and that there were some surprising parts that made me throw my hands up in the air (I wasn't the only one).  Ooh and that Dakota Fanning is a good villain!  I mostly wanted her to die throughout the story.  So I guess that means she did a good job.  I think Twilight fans will love this movie, and others will be thinking it was an entertaining time.  You kinda know what to expect going in, so I don't think you'll feel like you wasted your time or money.  Good times.

And tonight, Peter Facinelli (Dr. Cullen) is making an appearance at this same movie theater!  I mostly think it would be fun to go and be all "MIKE DEXTER!  Woooo!"

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11.14.2012

Adding to the collection...

Over the last few weeks, I've added a couple more dolls to my Monster High collection (mentioned previously here and here).  I thought I'd share them with you!  In fact, I think the last time I wrote about these, I had four dolls total.  I can't remember when, but I did get a fifth doll - Rochelle Goyle, the daughter of the gargoyles.  I should post a photo of all of them later...


Anyways, I've picked up Rebecca Steam, who I love because she's all steampunk robot-inspired.  And I also grabbed Venus McFlytrap, even though she's a little creepy with her half-shaved lame-o Skrillex hairdo.


I would like to still find and buy the Operetta doll (daughter of the Phantom of the Opera) and the original Ghoulia Yelps doll (daughter of the zombies!) but people are selling the Gholia Yelps doll for $99 online!  Sheesh!  I don't need it THAT badly.  Just thought it would be cool.

Do you have any ridiculous collections like mine where you're probably "too old" but you can't resist?

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11.12.2012

Shoes! Wonder Woman Converse!



Last post, I mentioned the DC Comics x Converse Wonder Woman All-Stars I wanted to buy from Journeys.  Well, I couldn't resist and ordered them last week - and they're here!  I wore them for the first time today.  Every time I looked down at my feet, it made me smile.



I got lots of compliments on them at work.  I'm mostly impressed by the high quality of the design, and how no detail was overlooked - even the insides are amazing!



I had my choice of traditional All-Star white laces, or the yellow ones that were also included.  I went for the yellow.  Oh yeah.  I love these shoes so much.

There are a whole bunch of DC Comics x Converse designs, including Superman and Batman!  I'm kind of partial to the Poison Ivy All-Stars as well...

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11.07.2012

Mid-Week Window Shopping

Glasses Dress
Eva Franco dress / Fat Face oversized shirt, $67 / Derek Cardigan Coastal.com glasses / Brooks Brothers argyle socks / Ilse Jacobsen low heel boots, $150 / Betsey Johnson patent leather handbag / Sutured heart necklace long and sexy edition by idlehandsdesigns

Ugh!  I saw this incredible glasses dress over the weekend online and I was all "oh man I gotta have this...!!!" but then I saw two things: 1. It only goes up to size 14... and 2. It's $244.99...

Two strikes and you're out?

Right now I'm no way Jose a size 14.  Never thought I'd say this, but I WISH I was a size 14.  Also, I have nowhere near $244 to spend on a dress.  Even if it was $150 I'm no so sure I could afford it...

So I made this lovely window shopping collage "ode" to a most fantastic dress that I wish I was able to buy in my size at a reasonable price.  Oh well.

In other shopping news, I want to go out and buy these Wonder Woman Converse shoes.  Because $60 is less than $244, and shoes fit all girls, even the fat ones.  For the most part, at least.

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11.05.2012

The zombie that never was...

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I had a pretty cool Halloween costume all planned out.  At work, they made last Wednesday "Pajama Day," presumably so that kids wouldn't show up in costume.  I had mixed feelings about that.  On one hand I was thinking that it sucks that we have to suck the fun out of everything.  But then I remembered what the girls' Halloween costumes look like at the Halloween stores: skanky fairies, skanky witches, skanky vampires, skanky princesses... etc etc etc.  And it all made sense.

Nevertheless, I was still kind of sad that there was no opportunity to dress up, even within a set of dress code standards, so I had a plan.  I would wear pajamas, but I would go as a PAJAMA ZOMBIE!!!

I was so excited.  I went out and bought pajama pants and a shirt.  I bought makeup so I had white face paint to help "zombify" myself.  At ten o'clock at night the day before Halloween, I was slicing and cutting up my clothes, then splattering red paint mixed with water as "blood" on my outfit.

Then it hit me.

I can't wear a blood-spattered costume to a middle school!!!  ...Sigh...

So I vowed to put on some "regular" PJs instead and save my costume for after work, when I could go out and see trick-or-treaters and such.  But Iggy had a doctor's appointment at 5:45, smack in the middle of the evening.  So I vowed to change into my costume after that.

By the time we got home it was so late and so dark out, no one would be able to see my zombie costume anyways.  Booooo.

...and that's the story of the zombie that never was.

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11.02.2012

A DIY Halloween Baby Bat.

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Happy (belated) Halloween!  The last week has been INSANE.  On Halloween night, Iggy had a doctor appointment.  Then Thursday night, Motorhead had a vet appointment.  Now it's Friday and I'm finally getting to sit down to write this.  What's that?  Why don't I schedule posts ahead of time, you say?  Well, I'd love to, but that would require having a chunk of time with which to do so... sigh.  One of these days...

Iggy was a baby bat for Halloween!  He turned 9 months exactly on Halloween.  I wanted to go all out and super creative, but then I realized that a nine month old wasn't going to want to keep any makeup or wigs or pretty much anything out of the ordinary on his body for any length of time.  He does, however, wear hoodies.  And they're warm.  As a protective mom, that was a plus.  He could look cute, and be weatherproof!  So I made this baby bat costume.  Here's what you need:

  • Felt (Not much, I had a couple yards laying around already...  If you buy it by the sheet, maybe three?  One per wing, and one to cut out four ears.)
  • Black thread/embroidery floss
  • A sewing needle
  • Straight pins (to hold stuff in place while you sew)
  • A black hoodie in the size you need (this is a 12 month)
  • Poly-fill, fiber fill, you know, stuffing... you could even use cotton balls in a pinch.  It doesn't take much - just for the ears...
  • Chalk or silver Sharpie for tracing and/or drawing on the black felt
  • Awesome tiny scissors (optional)

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This DIY is pretty self-explanatory from the photos.  First, you gotta cut out the shapes.  Each ear is two pieces (front and back).  Each wing is one piece, and I simply laid the sweatshirt out (as shown) and free-hand drew the wing shape, then cut it out.  I laid the first wing onto felt and traced it to make them both match.  I did that with the ear pieces, too.  So you only have to make one that you like - you just trace and cut the rest to match.

Next, I matched up the ear pieces, and sewed them together on two sides, leaving the bottom open for stuffing and attaching to the hoodie.  Might wanna use straight pins to hold them together.  For the sake of easiness, I just hand sewed them using a blanket stitch and black embroidery floss, but you could use a machine and turn them inside-out and junk.  That just seemed like more work, dragging the machine out.  Plus, blanket stitch gives me nice crisp edges and points.  I wanted to make sure the ears were pointy, and I was afraid flipping them inside-out would make them round.  See the middle photo below for a close-up of my stitching skillz.

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See?  Ear pockets!  I stuffed the ears with stray poly-fill I had laying around (I have an art studio at our house - and I teach art - so, it's totally cool if you don't have stuff "laying around" like I do, I get that).  Then I used straight pins to hold the ears to the hood of the sweatshirt right where I wanted them, and used a straight stitch and embroidery floss to attach them.  Don't forget to remove the pins after.

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Sewing and attaching the wings proved to be the most awkward, but I made it work.  Twelve-month old sized sweatshirts don't have a lot of room in the arms for me to reach in and sew anything to the sleeves, you know?  So I used a weird made up straight stitch/slip stitch to secure the fabric wing pieces to the body and sleeves.  Hey, it worked.  If you're not a sewer, you could probably use fabric glue.  It's just a little baby, so he's not gonna be running around too much.  Plus, it only has to last one day, right?

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Well, I might have to make him wear it other days anyways.  Look how darn cute he was in it!  My mom brought him to work to visit me in my classroom at lunchtime.  Yayy!

How was your Halloween?  Did you see any cute baby costume ideas?

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