Sunday, February 26, 2012

Welcome Back, Mac

First the good news: Apple was able to save the data off my old, dying hard drive and put a shiny new hard drive into my iMac, for just over $200. I picked it up yesterday and it runs like a dream.

The bad news? Oops, they never transferred the data to the new hard drive and, oops, they forgot to give me back my external hard drive that they had backed up the data on. I called as soon as I got home and realized I still didn't have the stuff I was originally trying to save (ie, every picture of Elliot's life for the first year). "Yeah, oops, your external hard drive is right here! You're gonna have to come back and get it," said the dumb kid who answered the phone at the Apple store. Annoying! And I had no intention of dragging buns allllll the way back to the Apple store to deal with traffic and parking and customer service, just because they forgot to give me my stuff. So I made them Fed Ex it to me instead. (I have the original hard drive with everything, just in case.)

Fun fact: the fools at Apple sent me a survey about their customer service while I was on the phone arguing with them. Bad idea, dudes.

Net-net: hopefully more frequent blog posts now that the Mac is back. Typing on an iPad was a royal pain in the keister.

Conflicted
It's 8AM on Sunday and the house is totally quiet. Josh took the baby to the grocery store, god bless him, and the teenagers are of course still snoozing. I can't decide if I should go back to bed, do a project for the book shower next weekend, or sit and read the paper with a cup of coffee. It's like Sophie's Choice!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bye Bye Ba-Ba

When we switched E from formula to whole milk, it was a bit more traumatic than we expected. That kid L-O-V-E-D formula and resisted the change with every fiber of his little being. So we abandoned the plan to also switch him to a sippee cup at the same time and let him have his bottle a while longer.

He's been doing so great with cups though that we decided it was time ditch the bottle this weekend. Cold turkey. We waited til Saturday since he had to get shots on Friday, poor man. That's enough for one little buster to handle in one day. But when he woke up on Saturday morning, we handed him a sip cup of milk instead of a bottle and said "We drink milk from cups now!" And waited for the meltdown. Except... it never came. He acted like he has been drinking from a cup his whole life, like what the heck is a bottle, who cares. And although there were a couple of cranky minutes over the weekend, he never did have a tantrum. That's that!

Pacifier, I've got my eye on you.


Thrift Score
Yesterday was some kind of holiday, which means there were sales in every store in America - including thrift stores. They were all half off, so I took the chance to look for some glasses and plates for the party. Why buy paper plates and cups when you can get china and glasses for the same price? And boy did I. I collect ironstone in my kitchen hutch, so when I saw a stack of these plates for 90 cents each I snatched them up. 

[photo courtesy of etsy]
Ebay tells me they are worth around $100 for a set of 8, maybe more since they are in PERFECT condition. Nice! 

I also picked up this pitcher for $1.45. 

[photo courtesy of goantiques.com]
It's impressed with Greenwood China Trenton NJ on the bottom, and according to goantiques.com it could date from 1886! Wowser, I bet it's worth more than $1. Yay, thrifting!

btw if you ever see this ugly thing, GRAB IT. 



Make It
In honor of not going to work, I made these blueberry muffins yesterday morning. They are like blueberry crack.


Because you asked nicely, here is the recipe (adapted from allrecipes.com). Makes 8, and just TRY not to eat half of them by yourself.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

  • Crumb Topping
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners (liners all the way).
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder (I sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the sugar). Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture, just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in clean, dry blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together brown sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix with fork (or fingers), and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Transformation

For kicks and grins, here's the difference in the dining room between November 2010 and February 2012. Don't you just love a good before and after?



Those walls really wanted a strong color, didn't they?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spring Showers

My sister is one of those cute pregnant people. You know, the girls who just have the little belly poking out and seem to be able to wear mostly normal clothes and have shiny shiny hair and dewy fresh skin and generally make being pregnant look easy. She’s due in early April, and if she knows what’s good for her she’ll be popping that baby out on my birthday, April 2.

With the due date rapidly approaching, a sista's thoughts start turning to baby showers. That lucky duck is having not one but TWO baby showers, one at the homestead in Indiana and another here in the big city. I’m officially in charge of City Shower, which is going to be a co-ed brunch at my house (yay MIMOSAS!). I've decided on a book theme and have a whole crapload of neato ideas pinned. 

I was going to order invitations from tinyprints but none of them blew me away, especially for the price. So, inspired by a pic I saw on Pinterest (yes, obsessed), I made these:



HOW: Found a free library card template, put it in Powerpoint and added text. Used photoshop to make the "stamp" art and added that to the card. Printed on white cardstock. I also downloaded the free template for library pockets at the same site, since no store on earth seems to carry the damn things, traced it onto manilla colored paper, cut and folded and glued each pocket together. I picked up a pack of pretty scrapbooking paper to glue the pockets to, and popped them into some colorful envelopes I already had at home. Crafty! Budgety! Adorbs!

Not crafty? Buy yours on Etsy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dining Redux

Better photos of the dining room post-table and chairs makeover, now that the dang sun came out. I'm still on the fence about the Amy Butler fabric. It's sassy. Maybe too sassy.

Anyway, please enjoy many views of the dining area:

Oh hi Ozzy!
The living room, full of baby toys
pretty.

Let's put some casters on that table and call it a day. NEXT!

For kicks, here's the before:


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cool CL Find of the Day

Urban Outfitters at Woodfield Mall is selling their dress forms for $80. I always see these in house tours on AT. Picturing it in a girly bedroom of some cute single girl...







The Best Medicine

When family DRAMA! and foster dog failures have you down, the thing to do is grab a glass of red wine and a comfy afghan and burn through the sitcoms on your DVR. Maybe you think Modern Family is the only decent comedy on TV right now, but you are sadly mistaken my friend. Add these four shows to your must-watch list and laugh your cares away. Promise.

New Girl
She used to annoy the bejesus out of me, but Zooey Deshanel has won me over thoroughly and completely with this hilarious, sharply written sitcom. Especially since the show loves to poke fun at her adorkable Deschanelness (note the expressions on dudes' faces below). Best quote from Jess this week, in defense of her twee ways: "I brake for birds. I rock a lot of polka dots. I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours... and my CHECKS have BABY FARM ANIMALS on them, BITCH!" The rest of the cast is awesome, in particular her roommate Schmidt (skeptical dude on the left). I loves me some Schmidt. $20 in the douchebag jar!


Happy Endings
Scrubs meets Friends, set in Chicago, and quite a bit naughtier. This is my new favorite show, but I can't watch it with anyone else because they inevitably get irritated at how many times I rewind to hear a joke again. It's that fast-paced Gilmore Girls style writing, where jokes are peppered throughout the dialogue and the viewer just has to try and keep up. I love the cast, especially Damon Wayans Jr. I haven't seen the first season, but I've watched most of season 2 twice. It's AH-MAH-ZING.


Parks & Rec
Another ensemble comedy that works because the writing is crisp and there's no damn laugh track. I do love the crap out of Amy Poehler, but this show is all about the supporting cast. Every week I have a new favorite: Ron Swanson, the grumpy boss with the sweet 'stache and blatant distrust of humanity. Tom, who is smarmy yet somehow also loveable. Andy and April, two dummies whose dumbness is magnified by the fact that they are married. Ann, the adorable Rashida Jones, who is the lone voice of normalcy. It's a happy-go-lucky little show that is laugh-out-loud-funny without relying on snark and mean-spirited jokes (ie, Two Broke Girls which is A THOUSAND SHADES OF TERRIBLE, or Glee, which has become one of the worst things on TV).


Up All Night
Ever since Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter Is Dead, I have been convinced that Christina Applegate and I would be best friends in real life, if only we knew each other. Watching this show every week just reaffirms that belief. She's funny, cute, and not afraid to look like a doofus when necessary. I am a big fan of the way the writers on this show portray marriage - not like modern warfare between the sarcastic wife and the idiot she shackled herself to for life. They tease and poke fun at each other, but it's gentle and affectionate. Even though this was promoted as a comedy about parenting, the baby doesn't have much screen time... and it's better that way. You don't have to be a parent to love this show.


NOTE: If you're looking for non-comedy recommendations, you might want to ask someone else because I only watch Project Runway, Top Chef (but not this season because everything in Texas is stupid) and House Hunters. But that new show Prime Suspect with Maria Bello is pretty good, usually. And Jeopardy. Jeopardy is good, especially when it's dirty. Which is more often than you would think. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bummer

Today we said goodbye to Violet, but not the way we had hoped. This morning I had to drop her off at a boarding facility where behaviorists and trainers will work with her. Turns out sweet little Violet might be a bit dog aggressive. She had an adoptive family all lined up, but right before she was to go to them, she got into a couple of scary fights with Ozzy and Layla. Fights she picked. Fights she probably would have won, if I hadn't scooped her up and whisked her away.

It's too bad, because she is AWESOME with people, including little kids and babies. But her prospective family has another dog, so we couldn't risk it. Plus, for our dogs' safety, we had to find another spot for her. She can Houdini right out of a crate, and Ozzy is terrified of her - he won't even go into a room if she is there, so he's been living in our bedroom. Poor old Bear, he doesn't like dogs who bite him on the face.


My hope is that she can be worked with to be dog-friendly, or they can find a great forever home for her without another dog. She is a sweet little girl, and I will miss her.

I feel like a foster failure, and not the good kind. Sucky.