Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's the Thought That Counts

Especially when your bank balance is low. So this holiday, we're making merry... like, literally. Making our own gifts (see what I did there?). Here's a bunch of sweet gifty ideas I found on Pinterest, everyone's favorite web-obsession.

These are easy, inexpensive and adorable. I found a couple of good tutorials, so I forsee a few weekends of wreathing in my near future. I like them because they are non-holiday-ish enough to leave up year round. I hope you like them, because there is a good chance you are getting one.

Find one signature food gift, make a million batches, give it to EVERYONE.

Salted Caramels from Barefoot Contessa

DIY Reese's

Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes

S'mores Cake In a Jar

I hate calling these "crafts." I hate crafting. But these are cute things, and you can make them.

Photos on canvas 

Chalkboard mugs

Sweater pillows (i want this)

Dictionary Art

Ruffled Throw

Better get cracking, only 26 days til Christmas!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Brass and Glass

Currently obsessed with this table spotted on CL for $175

I hate glass tables, I hate the way plates scrape on them, they are a beeotch to keep clean, and super impractical with a busy family, a baby and two dogs. But I LOVE.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Party Time, Excellent

The party is HERE
Little E inside the wreath
Living room is ready for guests of all age

The sweets table

DIY happy birthday banner
Banana Split Cupcakes, Cake Batter Truffles and Candy!
A Year of Elliot photo wall

Cupcake? PASS!

Those Chairs

Spotted again, today on AT!

Sexy in red, shabby and sweet in white, these chairs are so great. Still for sale at Jubilee - all 6 were there on Friday!

Image source: Shanna Michelle photography

Friday, November 18, 2011

Elliot Turns One

How can a year simultaneously fly by and be the single longest year of your life? Not sleeping much might have something to do with it.

It's hard to believe that our little buster turned a year old yesterday. He woke up in an evil mood too, but after a good morning nap he was a little ray of red-haired sunshine all day. We celebrated his big day by taking off work and going to the Shedd Aquarium. He absolutely loved it, even more than I thought he would.

Since it was a weekday, the aquarium wasn't crowded at all, so we let him toddle around the tanks to his heart's content. There are quite a few that go all the way to the ground or have short ledges in front of them, which meant he could get up close and personal with the fishies. There are also tons of hands-on exhibits and activities for little ones. He was especially enthralled with the submarine and would have happily spent hours pushing all the buttons and toggles. The only bummer was that all the restaurants were closed, so eventually hunger drove us to leave. but that meant Elliot got to have another birthday treat: his first Happy Meal! Mommy was happy to see that he liked the apple slices better than anything else in the meal. All in all, a pretty good birthday.

This 12th month has been a big one for our little man. This month he turned from a baby into a toddler, meaning he chooses now to walk vs crawl. One thing he can't do yet is stand from a sit without something to hold onto, forcing him to crawl to a wall or table. But he'll get it. This month he also started giving hugs, real good squeezes that could melt the blackest heart. It's best when he just toddles over and puts those little arms around your neck and nestles his head into your shoulder for no reason at all. Aw.

This month he also started growling, which never fails to crack me up. It usually precedes some sort of mischief, and is always accompanied by a big grin. ROWR!

Elliot is super curious about how things work. He loves turning light switches off and on, and putting things together. He doesn't have endless patience for it, however, and failed attempts usually end in a scream, followed by the object sailing across the room. I'm sure we all know where he gets that temper from.

Except for a few days when teething was bad (that fourth top tooth popped all the way through, FINALLY) he's been sleeping better. Not perfect, but better. He's eating regular meals and we've started the transition from formula and bottles to milk and cups. Last week, he got 1/4 milk and 3/4 formula in bottles. This week was 50/50, still in bottles. Next week will be 1/4 formula and 3/4 milk in bottles morning and night, but cups the rest of the day. We'll see how that goes, but I bought some sippies with soft spouts to ease the transition a little. Hopefully in the next few weeks he'll be switched over to whole, organic cow's milk, and down from about 26 oz per day to 16. More food calories, more snacking! Luckily that kid loves fruit and yogurt.

Other E stats at 12 months: he's fitting into 12-18 month clothes, has 6 big teeth (gotta start brushing them vs just the wash cloth) and weighs 21 lbs. No words yet but lots of babbling and yelling. He's the cutest! And he even has his own theme song!

"The Elliot Song"

Big party for Mr. One-derful tomorrow!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Picture It

Living room status: Walls painted, pictures hung (mostly). I kept some of the previous owner's art and photos in those vintage frames, and also added in some old family pics of my own. Featured are baby pics of my mom and dad, plus a hilarious photo of my mom at 15 trying to paddle a canoe, a photo of me and Wendi when she was a baby coming home from the hospital (what carseat, it was 1979), and a photo of my grandparents, who I miss every day. Plus a postcard written from a girl to her aunt in 1914 and a random photo from the thrift store of a windmill and a tree. And a big ghost baby who may or may not be from the opening credits of American Horror Story.

I love love love the end result, especially how it wraps around the TV on the left (thanks Pinterest for that nifty idea). Not sure about the floor lamp.

Yes, I have a wreath on my front door. But it is black and made of feathers, so there.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day Jubilee

This year, I celebrated Veteran's Day the traditional way. I took the day off work and hauled the baby out to the burbs to do some vintage furniture shopping while Josh painted the rest of the living room. As you do.

A few days ago I vaguely remembered reading on Nicole's blog years ago about an amazing resale shop in the burbs where she found her awesome vintage dining set. A little digging turned up Jubilee Furniture store, a furniture resale shop run by a Christian outreach organization - and some of the nicest people you could ever want to meet. I paged through their blog, where Susan posts pics of the new items for sale, and in a photo posted 3 weeks ago, I saw the most adorable dining chairs in the background.

Jubilee is only open Friday and Saturday, so I decided to take the day off and roll the dice that the chairs might be there and in my price range (read: almost free).

And they were! And they only cost $65! Sold.

Hey, do we need a new sectional? No? Are you sure? What about a vintage rocker? I bet I could find space. Also, did I mention that the wonderful store manager Susan was giving vets 25% off? I love this place!

A-MA-ZING tan & cream check sofa just $295
sectional couch fabric, close up
Vintage glider - perfect for a nursery $95
I love this couch for a vintage Chicago apt - just $65!!
Cute vintage wood rocker
SO CLOSE to buying - $30/ea and there were 2, original fabric under

These chairs were just listed for $75/each, which makes them one of the priciest things in the store.

However, they are still a huge deal. Check this out - they were featured in a home designed by Windsor Smith, painted red, and they are crazy-fabulous.

I almost want to go back out and see if they are still there. Anyway, I will definitely be dragging my sister out here to furnish her new apartment (TWO BLOCKS AWAY, WOO-HOO!)

Oh, right, my chairs. Aren't they cute?

To Do: new table, new linen curtains, new upholstery for chairs. Also, second job to pay for it all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Tea Party

Almost a year after having Elliot, I am happy to report that not only have I lost all the baby weight but also 7 of the extra 10 pounds dogging me before I got knocked up. And I guess it shows, because several people have asked me lately for my secret. Are you ready? It's lots of exercise and a sensible diet.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I eat so much dairy and so many potato chips it's kind of ridiculous, and I haven't seen the inside of a gym since the 90's. So, no, it's definitely not that. And I'm not following the diet plan I did after Olivia was born, which was Start Smoking Cigarettes Instead of Eating Food (effective, but it will kill you). No, this is much easier. It's really just a two step process.

Step 1. Don't get too fat when you're pregnant. I ended up gaining right around 25 pounds, so it was pretty much gone by the time E turned two months old. That's a good start.

Step 2. Drink a ginger tea every day.

Yep, that's it.

Jules from work let me in on this little trick, I hope she doesn't mind me telling you (all 4 people reading this blog). Ginger tea tastes like sweaty feet but I guess ginger has some nice weight-loss effects or regulates your digestive system or something. It does make you poo regular. Anyway, according to the Jules Diet Plan, start by drinking a ginger tea every day for a week. Then you're supposed to graduate to real ginger in your diet and a ginger tea every day, but real ginger is icky so I'm just sticking to the tea. 

At the beginning I did ditch sweets and any extra calories for a bit, which may have gotten the ball rolling, but now I'm pretty much just eating whatever and it's still working. I'd estimate I've gone down about 7 pounds in two months, and I am wearing skinny jeans for the first time ever. 


I love you, Jules and ginger tea.

DISCLAIMER: Okay, so here's the part where I say I'm not a doctor and I don't actually know shit about shit, so this might not work for everyone, blah blah blah etcetera. And some people (like preggos) should not drink ginger tea, and anyway if you're pregnant and concerned about gaining too much weight then just eat a salad every day and you'll be fine. For everyone else, I don't know, ask your doctor about this ginger tea business if you have questions. She'll probably just tell you it's a load of crap and that you should eat better and exercise more. But skinny jeans don't lie, people!!!!!!!