Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I've spent some time the last few days clicking links through a bunch of different crafting and sewing blogs. I get so inspired doing that. I have a couple of crafty things I've been working on here. First I'm painting a TV stand that Ben built for our bedroom. It's basically just a raised shelf with legs so the DirecTV receiver fits underneath and the TV fits on top. I painted it brown and am using blue paint and a brocade stencil on the top and sides. I know it won't show when the TV is on top, but a little of the design poking out is my goal. I don't want too much pattern in there, anyway.

The second thing I've been doing is making pillows for the girls. I just finished the one I'm making for Natalie and now I am going to start on Lauren's. I'm appliqueing their names and a design on them, a rose for Natalie and a butterfly for Lauren.

Ben dropped the crab pots again today, it will be the last drop of the season, which ends on Sunday. He goes back to work on Monday after having roughly two weeks off. Lauren will miss him, I'm sure when we get back to normal. Ben took her to see the second Alvin and the Chipmunks movie yesterday. She had a good time and thought it was funny. I took her to get her hair cut today at the cutest little hair salon. It's called Jack & Jill's salon and it is just for kids. Lauren sat in a Barbie Jeep to get her hair cut, and she was really well behaved the whole time.

Natalie is doing great, she is crawling a little bit and is holding herself up if I help get her standing. She also sits in the grocery cart now. Santa brought her a shopping cart cover to help keep her germ-free.

Christmas was great. It was just the four of us at home and it was so nice. We opened presents in the morning and had cinnamon rolls. I made posole and we had that and tamales for dinner. Ben spent most of the afternoon putting together the new dining room set he got for me and I unpackaged the girls' toys. Lauren made out like a bandit and has more toys than I know what to do with. It was a really nice holiday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Things I Love

Occasionally on Facebook I'll set my status to a list of things I love. I thought it would be so much better if I did it here with pictures and links. Some things, like the smell of cookies baking can't come across in a blog post, but there are many things that I'd love to add a visual to.

1. Shawl Collar Cable Knit Sweaters

I am a HUGE fan of cable knit stuff. Last year Ben got me a soft, brown, cable-knit scarf, which, regretably, I can not for the life of me find this year. (I blame it on the move.) I'm going to keep searching, but in the mean time, I'll buy more sweaters that are cable knit to hold me over. I bought this one from Kohl's a few weeks ago in red. I love it. Really, I could have divided number one into one and two and separated shawl collar sweaters as one and cable knit everything as two. But this sweater is the reason I kept them together. It's comfy and warm and I just love it. I think the shawl collar is such a cute little detail, and on this sweater, the little woven-look leather button is adorable. It's the details that make clothes special, and this sweater has the details I like.

2. Hot Chocolate

So far, I have resisted the ever-present PNW (Pacific Northwest) pressure to become a coffee drinker. Seriously, not just a coffee shop on every corner, but three on every block around here. I just can't handle caffeine. I'd be shaky and jittery all day long and unable to sleep at night and even more tired the following day. I see potential for a terrible, terrible, viscious cycle and I just don't even want to go there. But, if you didn't know, it's freaking COLD up here. Some mornings I just cannot warm up. So I drink hot chocolate. I got a sweet set from Santa like this one by Swiss Miss. The characters on the box are a little bit different on mine, but it's the same flavors: Mint Chocolate, French Vanilla, Caramel Cream, Milk Chocolate. The Caramel Cream version is so delicious.

3. Surprising Christmas Decor

I would not have the guts to do this to my tree, but when I came across the picture I was totally in love with it. It's so FUN and not traditional. Just gorgeous. I think Lauren would love something like this. Do they flock Christmas trees anymore? And what about tinsel? Did too many animals and children eat it and become sick or did everyone just finally realize what a big pain in the neck it was to put up... and then take down? Bad for tree-recycling? I don't know.

We did our tree in red and white ornaments this year, except for a few sentimental ornaments and some princess ornaments that Lauren got last year and this year. I think ours was beautiful, but this tree is really something to look at.

4. My iPhone

Seriously, I love that thing. And I don't even really care if it has a phone on it. It's a texting machine, and I can get to my email, Facebook and Twitter on it. I love the Apps - there are so many. Some of my favorites are The Weather Channel app, ShopStyle, PopSugar Mobile, Time Mobile... I even downloaded a fun spelling game for Lauren. It comes in so handy in waiting rooms - like all the ones I sit in for Natalie's many appointments, and even in the grocery store when I need to look up an ingredient. Which reminds me of my number 5!

5. The Pioneer Woman

Man, this lady posts simple, delicious recipes with fantastic pictures. She has a cookbook, too! There are five sections on her website: Confessions, Cooks, Photography, Home and Garden, and Homeschooling. And this year she launched, where users are submitting great recipes, too. I've found more than one recipe on her site and will cook many more, I'm sure.
I think that will be my whole list for tonight. I've got a bunch of stuff going on here tonight so this one will have to be only 5 things long.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Belated Pictures

Lauren and Natalie visiting Santa Claus at the squadron Christmas party. They're in a blackhawk.
And here's our tree.
Here's the bread I posted about a couple days ago. It came out great! I've been eating it as much as Natalie has.
She likes it!

She really likes it!

Monday, December 14, 2009


Natalie has been doing a lot better with eating solids lately. And I'm not referring to the Christmas tree needles I dug out of her mouth this afternoon. She loves little finger foods and things she can pick up and feed herself, but she's not really into things that she has to eat with a spoon. When Lissa was here she mentioned making vegetable breads and I've been looking around on the internet for a while about making breads using baby food since it's already pureed and I have it on hand. I have some rising right now and I hope it turns out. Here's the recipe that I used:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pkgs fast-rising dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • approx. 5 cups flour

Preparation: Scald milk. Stir in salt, 3 tablespoons sugar, shortening, and 1/2 cup cold water. Cool to lukewarm Measure 1/2 cup lukewarm water into bowl, stir in the 1 tsp. sugar, sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir until well blended. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth and elastic. (use electric mixture if you like) Work in sufficient additional flour to make a soft dough. (approx 2 cups more) turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth and elastic approx 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl. Cover bowl with greased waxed paper. Let rise in warm place until double in volume. Approx. 1 hour. Punch down batter. Cut into two equal pieces and form into 2 loaves and put into 2 (9" X 5" ) greased bread pans. Let rise again for approx. 45 minutes - 1 hour. or until dough fills pans and the centers are well above the tops of the pans. Bake 425 deg. oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 deg. and bake until bread is done. about 25 - 35 minutes more. Remove loaves from pans and place on wire racks to cool. Brush with melted butter if soft crust is desired.

But I made a couple of alterations. First, I used butter instead of shortening because it's what I had on hand. I replaced 1/4 cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. And I added two 2 oz containers of baby food, one squash and one mixed vegetables. It would be great if these work out and if she likes them. If it doesn't work out, though, I'm going to keep trying other recipes, maybe a quick bread recipe instead of a yeast bread.

We got our Christmas tree from the Christmas tree farm yesterday and it's up and decorated. Lauren just loves it. Natalie does, too. She keeps working her way over to and then under the tree so she can reach up for the branches. She's also been trying to untie ribbon from the presents. I am starting to think we'll need to put a fence around the tree.

If anyone out there is still looking for something to get for Natalie, she needs long sleeved tops in size 12 months and sweatpants/soft pants/fleece lined pants in size 12m also.

Last year I made the resolution to read at least 12 books and I finished 18. This year I've read 18 also. I'd like to try to get one more book in this year and shoot for 20 next year. Waiting rooms certainly helped the last two years, hopefully I won't be in as many of those in 2010, but I'd still like to get 20 books in.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Half of December

Things have been so crazy busy here!

Natalie's birthday was fun. Lissa flew in from Albuquerque on Thursday and Jon and Maya drove down on Saturday. We went down to Steilacoom and found a great little bar & bistro where we had lunch and then we took the ferry. It was a short trip, but perfect for Lauren's attention span. Then Jon, Ben and Maya went out to pull up the crab pots (they only got one keeper) and we all met back at the house. They made a crab stew and smoked salmon on the grill and I made the Pioneer Woman's Fettucini Alfredo. I made Natalie a small angel food cake with whipped strawberry frosting and a bit of whipped cream around it. The rest of us had german chocolate cake. Natalie wasn't really sure about her cake, she put her hands in it and then seemed a little grossed out by her sticky hands. She spent more time playing with her fork than trying to eat, but I got her to take a few bites. That's ok, though, she's one and doesn't really need all that sugar, anyway.

I wish Lissa could have stayed longer, I feel like we hardly got to show her anything around here. But, we'll get to do some more touristy things when my dad comes in a week.

Natalie finally got started with physical therapy at the pediatric physical therapist. I took her on Tuesday and it looks like we'll have a standing appointment on Tuesday mornings, except next week since we'll be taking her to Seattle for her MRI. She has been doing so great! She got herself up into a sitting position on her birthday two times in a row and has been doing it more and more the past few days. Ben babyproofed a couple corners (walls and coffee table) and we're going to have to start doing more soon, I'm sure.

Her eye surgery was successful. They look straight now and seem to be healing pretty quickly. The day of surgery she napped a lot, but I did pull her out of bed before 6 am, so I don't blame her. I wanted to nap the rest of the day, too. She is still wearing her glasses, we'll go back in February and they'll check her eyes again and see if she needs a new prescription. I think her depth perception is already better, she's grabbing things with the first reach now and hasn't been overshooting things like she used to. I can tell how much stronger she's gotten just in the past few weeks. We have a lot to do still, but she's such an amazing little girl.

Lauren is still doing ballet. She has been paying attention and is able to show me moves at home now. I got to go observe her class at the end of last month and she did great. She's going through some quite dramatic three-ness right now, which kind of sucks and makes me want to lock myself in my room sometimes, but then she can be very sweet and funny and I can forget about it for ... well, a few minutes. She comes up with the funniest things sometimes. The other day she told me she was full all the way to her neck. Last week she asked me how old I'd be when she was grown up, and when I answered 40, she said, "Then you won't fit in the car!"

My cookie exchange went really well. I had four ladies over, one brought her 12 year old daughter and one brought her 5 year old daughter. I made the melting moments I mentioned before, and the other ladies made sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, pecan blossoms and snickerdoodles. We have some great cookies tempting us here at the house now. We sat around and ate and played taboo and talked for a while. I really liked the girls who came over and I'm glad I did it. I get so nervous about meeting people, but it helped relax me a bit that it was at my house, I think. Today was the Christmas party for Ben's work and I saw two of the ladies there. The Christmas party was pretty low key. The girls got their picture taken with Santa in a Blackhawk and there was food and desserts and Lauren sat and colored for a while.

I think tomorrow we're going to head out and cut our own Christmas tree. I put red ribbons on the columns in front of our house today so they look like candy canes. I also put a strip of ribbon on the wall under the window in the living room so I can display Christmas cards on it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Samples

If you like beauty samples, go to Fashion Under $100 and enter to win by leaving a comment. FashionUnder100 always posts about great outfits which come to a total cost of under $100. Dana is the blogger behind the site who is a super cool chick that I got a chance to hang out with in November 2008, right before I had Natalie. She has an amazing sense of style herself as well as an amazing talent for finding bargains on clothing online. Check out her contest and her site.
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