Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back in the Windy City

Only this time I decided to spend the night twice and then make the trek home. Partly an anniversary trip (6 years wed to my love), partly mental break and partly a visit to some good friends and their new addition. I only wish we could have stayed an extra day.
Hubble's out-of-town BFF
This is Jeff. He is now the proud owner of a fantastic home in the city of Chicago that he got for a steal, not to mention how freaking cute it is. He blamed this on his mom. And that little bundle is a complex concoction of baby sweetness. He also happens to be the recipient of Gromit (sigh). I confess that I never pegged Jeff as a daddy, but he is a natural and fatherhood suits him well. Not to mention his energetic and terribly sweet wife, who unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of.

Since our plans were flexible for the weekend the new sleep-deprived parenting duo obliged our request to go look for cowboy boots by taking us to a thoroughly Western storefront.
Talk about a hootenanny! This place was packed and in the middle of the city...WTF! The kids' section was hilarious, but the baby ranch-hand clothes were far too pricey for the little wear they would get. But let's get down to the brass tacks. We were here for boots and boots we did find.
This is just one row of the men's section. Some new, some used, all in great shape. And the price? Well I didn't come home with any boots and contemplated purchasing kids boots because they were cheaper, but I didn't care for their styles as much.
$400...on sale. They weren't all this high and there were a few that were higher still, but methinks I will just be dreaming about boots for now. Really I am hoping to come across the perfect pair in the thrift store someday. I just hope I won't be over 50 then.
 Apparently this place is pretty popular too because they have a pair of Andre the Giant's boots on display. Woot! That footwear is massive.
 We finished up the day with some thrifting and a Giordano's pizza. I had the chance to crochet for hours throughout our stay and John got a new pipe. On our way out Sunday we had a brisk first encounter with IKEA. I am pretty sure that store is as big as Andre's boots and just as nutty as professional wrestling, but I look forward to going again-perhaps when we aren't as rushed.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Bedroom Makeover

Really, it's about time we updated our sleepy reprieve...something a little more grown-up and pulled together. I am getting pretty excited. Currently we are right about here-
The closet on the right is now primed as well.
I love this color red, but it goes with nothing I own now and is too much for our room. We also found some artwork for that big, empty wall.
The colors are way off here, but that is our new comforter at the bottom (my first Marimekko...Huzzah!) We had a mini-helper in charge of the paint chip organization and removal and we finally settled on a light gray color called "Reflecting Pool". How serene! Well, it will be when we can move back into the room.


Saturday, March 26, 2011


Just wrapped this up and added a rattle to the inside. Free pattern here. My embroidery skills need A LOT of work, but I foresee many more of these being made in the future for baby gifts.

Shhhh...Try not to wake him up.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blue and Gold

Welcome to the Cubbies! It's a huge event amongst the ranks of boy scouts in America where they are recognized for their achievements throughout the year. This pack tried a different approach this year with superlative awards at the banquet to keep the mood lighthearted and fun.
It all started with strut down the red carpet past the "parent-razzi" that was commissioned to snap photos of the troops.
Most Dramatic
When Bud was recognized for being "Most Dramatic" he threw up his hands in disbelief and exclaimed in protest "What?!!" And the drama ensued...
Being unprepared for his tongue-in-cheek award, Bud retired under the table because he is not at all dramatic.
Despite his respite under our feet the little Wolf Scout eventually emerged to collect is prize, patches and belt loops for all of his hard work. Keep up the good work dude!

Friday, March 18, 2011

P.R.I.S.M Project

This year Bud had to try his hand at a science project for school to prepare him for the evaluated version in third grade. I was happy to see the format for science projects have a come a long way since I was in school. Without sacrificing the content educators have developed a method that can possibly involve the students in the learning process more if their parents give them the opportunity to explore the material. Also these projects are not just based on writing anymore either giving those with different abilities a chance to express what they learned in an acceptable format. For Bud this is great because he was able to create some art for this project as well as write and research. He chose hyenas as his topic and this is his model. He sculpted and painted the whole thing and I couldn't be more proud.
Great job Buddy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Under 150

Yep, that number is my weight or rather it was my weight. 150 pounds I am no longer and what exciting news that is. At least for me. You see, last year I made it my goal to change my lifestyle and establish some good habits to keep me fit and in overall better health. I pay very close attention to what I eat now and I make sure I am "moving" 6 out of 7 days a week. I lost 25 pounds in the process and feel really, really good...mentally and physically. I feel good, not because I am down a few dress sizes, but because I changed my habits and not just my weight. I am proud of my success, but got held up at this 150 number for several months towards the end of 2010. And it is not a bad number for my height to be, but there was/is still a little room for improvement and that has been my goal for 2011...refining my habits and the process. Last week, it finally paid off when I stepped on the scale and saw 149. In celebration I thought I would share a few of the snacks I eat regularly that have really helped me achieve my goals.
Simple homemade trail mix
I make this simplified trail mix about every two weeks for my husband and myself. I have no clue what serving size he eats, but I eat no more than 1/2 a cup a day and really, I don't need to. This serving will hold me over for at least two hours and usually longer. To make it mix 1 lb. whole almonds, 1 lb. walnut pieces, 24 oz. raisins and half a normal bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large bowl. That's it. The nuts are unsalted and supply the good fats and protein I need and the raisins and chocolate chips add that little bit of sweet I sometimes crave. This is a great afternoon snack when you need that extra Oomph to get you to dinner. No need for mini-candy bars and you could actually split the bag of chocolate into thirds for this mix. I kind of feel like they are everywhere.
Plain Yogurt Parfait
I really should have gotten a better pic, but I don't typically eat this out of a brandy glass. This is my new favorite, go-to eatsy treatsy. I realize this is not ice cream, but ohmygod this does the trick in the mornings. I eat this nearly everyday. Very simply I mix 1/4 cup frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup plain yogurt the night before. This gives the blueberries time to thaw so they don't hurt your teeth! In the morning I add 1/4 cup of Grape Nuts cereal, mix and eat. Protein, fruit, whole grains, fiber and low fat...can't beat it.

Now, to be fair, I cheated on this one at first. The process is ongoing ya know? I used to despise plain yogurt, but I am trying to get away from foods with added sugar. Don't be afraid to use a vanilla yogurt instead though. It's better than eating a super sugary granola or candy bar. I figured that I could probably acquire the taste for plain yogurt if I just tried it long enough though. I did, too, after a month of adding a 1/4 teaspoon of cane sugar to this mix. I slowly backed off and can now eat it without any hesitation. I have found that the organic plain yogurts tend to taste better than non-organic, but Dannon has a whole plain yogurt that consists of just cultured milk and a has a sort of cream cheese taste to it that was very good. If you can't/don't do organic, then I would give that one a go.

In long-winded conclusion, let's see how long it takes me to get to 145. Swimsuit season is coming up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Week Ago Today...

...I arrived home at 5 in the morning after an arduous drive from Chicago. It was sooooo worth it. About a week before that Jenn and I found out this little group would come to visit from Down Under. We knew we had to go. 
Heather on keyboards. Her 12 or 13 key reach did not look so big in person.
Our first glimpse of the Jezabels came from a blog called Meet Me at Mike's, run by Pip. Pip posted one of their videos and these two St. Louis girls were instantly enamored with their sound.
Sam made some awesome sounds on his geetar.
 The show in Chicago also happened to be their very first headlining show in America and they did not disappoint. Their sound was tight and they packed the house which was pretty amazing because a lot of the people there didn't even know their songs! Jenn and I made sure to stand front and center and sing and dance.
Nic rocked on a borrowed drum kit.
The running joke for the week leading up to the show was "Oh, it will be small enough that we'll get to meet the band." Honestly, I think we both halfheartedly believed that. When we arrived in Chi-town we parallel parked for about 10 minutes in the biggest spot we could find (I think it was meant for a Yaris) and went to the restaurant to eat. As we walked to our table I took stock of the other patrons and saw them. The Jezabels were sitting no less than 10 feet away and we were overcome with a somewhat embarrassing starstruck awe.
J-Fer trying to contain her excitement
We needed a drink, but figured we would never have an opportunity like this again. They weren't eating yet and the restaurant was relatively empty so we nerved up and said hello. 
Haley on vocals. Oh my can she sing.
They were totally grateful and laid back. We shared our travel story and let them know we thought they were worth the sleep deprived trip. We also told them our joke about meeting them and Nic, the drummer said "Well let's one-up that. Let's have a beer after the show." Are you kidding me?!!! We were in heaven and decided to let them eat in peace.
After the show, we hung around and chatted with the group and they were kind enough to take a picture with us. We told them we would make the trip again if they ever came back and thanked them for the wicked show and memories.

I got two hours of sleep the next morning and went to work, but hearing "Easy to Love" live was one of the best moments of my life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rice Krispie Treat Trains

The kids got a cool kit from Momo and Pawpa this Christmas to construct train engines out of rice krispie treats. Sweet! The best part about this kit was the kids could do just about everything themselves which was awesome! And the time it took to complete it was right on point with their attention spans. I wish more activities were like this. It gave me the chance to back up and observe them being creative without stifling them. Sometimes that happens when you are too involved. They both did great!
Little artists at work.

Bud's engine that could....

...Boober's engine that would.

The other good thing to this project is there is lots of room for error and imagination. We probably won't use the mold next time and just see what we can come up with. In the meantime, I think our next project might be a papier-mache volcano. We'll see. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photo of the Day - Lichen


Lost, Found and Hand-Me-Down

This week I made some major finds at the thrift store after spending entirely too long there, but it was so worth it. First, let me back up. You remember the last one of these I did back in January about my grandmother's recipe album? Well shortly thereafter, I received an email from my West Coast auntie with a reflection. I asked her if I could share it and this is what she had to say:
Thanks for sharing that.  Boy, you're right.  Mom's handwriting is unbelieveably perfect.  I notice you're showing a page with Famous Barr's French Onion Soup recipe.  Famous Barr had a lunch counter in their downtown store that was famous for its onion soup.  This was even from the time when Mom was a girl.  It was there all through my childhood and young adulthood too.  When they finally closed the counter (or maybe it was the whole store), they released the recipe, which was printed in the Post Dispatch.  That's where Mom got it from.  I don't think Mom ever tried the recipe though because, of course, it is for producing soup on a large scale.
Very cool! The "Lost" posts have been fun for me for reasons such as this. They have been a good way to connect with my out-of-town relatives and bring their memories to light.

I did, however, do my own rummaging this week and came away with an armful for pennies. Here's some of what I found:
Union Jack hankies. These will be napkins in my new picnic basket.
Vintage dress the first. One small hole on a seam and no stains!
I love the two buttons at the neck, but not on this dress. They will go in my button jar. The belt was no good either so I will need to find a better one. I know thick belts are out, but I really think that is what would look best.
Vintage dress number two.
 Another cheap polyester frock, but you should see these bad boys on. Very flattering and adorable. I can't wait for some warmer weather. I was somewhat surprised by the pleats on this because they are actually really cute.
The piping detail is to die for.
I also got four pairs of pants for the smallest and two summery skirts for me. No luck on awesome t-shirts. Maybe next time.