Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Getaway

I am a homebody, so when proposals arise to go exploring or check out a new city, I am usually reluctant to participate.

This is mostly because travelling with young children is challenging at best (and mind-numbing at worst).

I admit it, we are the world's most AWFUL hotel guests.  We are loud.  There will be crying at some point (usually in the middle of the night).  No one gets to nap.  There are never enough towels.  And someone is always complaining about the food.   But, once we commit to it, we COMMIT.

So, in the spirit of adventure, we took a drive to see our new hometown.


Finally!  A Chick-fil-A within driving distance!


Yes. They enjoyed the Cable TV. 


Near our new hometown is the Fenton Art Glass factory.  
My Grandmother was a collector of Fenton Art Glass, and gave us a beautiful pitcher for our wedding.  I don't recommend you visit with children under the age of 4.  Trust me.  


Of course I had to pick up a turtle to add to my collection.  

After a day exploring our new hometown (First impressions: small, well-kept, Willamette Valley-esque, damp, stay on the Ohio side), we headed up to Columbus to have a little fun & meet up with family.  

Despite the chilly temperatures (but still warmer than Michigan!) we headed to the Columbus Zoo.  


The gorillas were nice & toasty inside.  


The aquarium was open & the tidepool was doing a brisk business.  


The tigers were VERY eager to let us know they saw us.  

On our way out of town, we HAD to stop at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.  It did NOT disappoint.  


Most of the offerings were a bit exotic for the kids, yet they still managed to gobble down their chocolate/ vanilla scoops with sprinkles.  I had Salty Caramel, Brambleberry Crisp, and Wildberry Lavender.  I'm glad that it will be hours to drive to Jeni's, as I might otherwise be there every day until I sampled every item on the menu.  I think a birthday pilgrimage may be in order.... after all, what goes better with a summer birthday than ice cream??  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Sharing

This week flew by!  Plans are being laid & decisions are being made & it all makes my head spin a little. Of course there's always time to share a few of the things on my mind this week.....



  • I made sugar cookies and experimented with Royal Icing.  I love how these turned out with the little hearts in the middle.  The technique is easy - just dot in the royal icing & drag a toothpick down the center to create a heart shape.  They were a hit!


  • The Saturday before the Match, I treated myself to a mani/pedi.  I had a Groupon to a nail salon I had been wanting to try anyway, and the timing was perfect.  An hour and a half of pampering, Millionaire Matchmaker, and red OPI polish on my fingers and toes.  Pure Bliss.  
  • I have a silly secret.... I love Forever 21.  I don't shop for clothes there (it's waaaaaaay too overwhelming for me), but they are my go-to spot for inexpensive accessories.  I started buying Big Sis a few fun headbands and now I'm hooked on their necklaces and bracelets.  Can happiness be found for under $6?  It can at Forever 21. 
  • I am not a collector of objets d'art, but I can't get this little lion off my mind.  Perfect for the Leo in your life.
  • I adore the prints in Little Brown Pen's etsy shop.  I am daydreaming about framing and hanging them in my kitchen. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Match Day

Yes, after months of preparation, weeks of anticipation, days of dread, and hours of sleeplessness, Match Day finally came on Monday, February 14.  

We had flip-flopped tremendously over the past few weeks.  One day we were sure he would match, the next day I was researching hospitals with transitional year programs.  

Expect the Best, but Prepare for the Worst became our unofficial motto for February.  

We weren't sure what to expect, but knew that an email with match results should be sent in the morning, and results would be posted at 12pm EST.  We wanted to find out the results together (it HAS been a team effort, you know), but weren't sure how the day would go.....He began a new rotation that morning, so he left at 6:30am, agreeing that if at all possible he would come home when he saw an email, or at noon - whichever came first. At about 9:15am I got a call that he had an email, and would be home in a few minutes.  I set up the computer and anxiously waited.    

We looked together, and were THRILLED to find out that he matched to the ER program we wanted in OH.  



This is a small town in Southern Ohio, very near West Virginia.  We are so excited to settle for the next 4 years, especially somewhere with a slightly milder climate.  We'll be near Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC!  I am not so thrilled that it's a 2 hour drive to the nearest Target, but I guess there are trade-offs for quiet living.  It's going to be a busy summer! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekend Sharing



Are you ready for Valentine's Day?  I am getting there.  I still have a few goodies to pick up for my chairbackers, and some sweet treats to make this weekend.  In the meantime, here are a few fun things for you:

  • Isn't this Attic Playroom fun?  Look at the tree!
  • This Seafood Gratin looks soooo yummy for an intimate Valentine's Day dinner at home. 
  • I was intrigued by this Mark Bittman opinion piece on food.  
  • While I doubt I'll be watching the Grammys this weekend, come Monday morning I will surely be checking this site for all the fashion coverage.  Really, it's the best part of any awards show. 
  • I am obsessing about real estate.  Move is my favorite site to get a feel for various markets.  
  • The Osteopathic Residency Match is Monday.  This determines where we will go for the next 4 years.  I am a wreck.  Here's to hoping we match!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chairbackers

Well, I did it.  I conquered another crafting project.  

Although I STILL don't love Valentine's Day, I have always loved the 
Pottery Barn Kids Valentine's Day Chairbacker.  
(image from PBK website.  Sorry,  And thank you, PBK.)

I mean seriously, how cute is that??  

Fortunately, I stumbled upon an amazing tutorial, and decided to go for it.  This really stretched my crafting skills, and my confidence has grown tremendously.  


I learned to use interfacing.....


I made buttons.... I didn't even know you could do that!


I sewed buttonholes!!  


Back straps


Front, open.
I used ric rack!  


Hanging


Back


Hers & His.  

The PBK version is more like a backpack mailbox, whereas this one is a fully-lined backpack.  
I like this version better.  
I LOVE the end result, and can't wait to fill them with little goodies for Monday morning!

Notes: If I had to do it again, I wouldn't use the (cheap) eco-felt that I chose.  It's fine, mostly because this is only going to be used for one day a year.... but it's not as substantial as the (slightly) more expensive choices out there.  

I like this so much, I am seriously thinking about doing some for Christmas.  I think it would be perfect for Christmas cards & goodies on Christmas eve.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

7!

My girl is 7?!  

Oh yes, and we celebrated in princess style. 
We started the day with donuts and opening presents. 


We moved on to cupcakes for the class. 

After school, she got to take a special friend to Pump It Up for some play time.  



We discovered that J is FEARLESS, and will gladly climb, jump, bounce, and hurl himself off any inflatable he could get close to.  


That grey streak above?  Is my 2yo.  

After a lovely dinner of fried rice and other Asian delicacies, 
we retired to our home for CAKE!


Yep, I made that glorious creation. It began life as a chocolate sheet cake.  
Not bad, eh? 


Happy Birthday!  It's going to be a big year!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Weekend Sharing

Hanna Andersson monster sleeper for my little monster

Are you staying warm this week?  We're trying to, but because I am so cheap (and because our last gas bill left me with chest pains), staying warm in our house means sweatshirts and socks with slippers.

Maybe this will help to keep you toasty:

  • 6pm.com is offering $2.95 shipping through 2/14.  Check back often - prices fluctuate daily.  I am seriously addicted to this site!
  • Prudent Baby is a new discovery for me.  I love their Nap Time Projects section - because that's about how much time I have for crafting.  
  • I am NEVER a winner, but I do love a good giveaway!  The Kitchn is running a fab Thursday Giveaway this week featuring Williams-Sonoma goodies.  You have until 2/10 to enter.  
  • I went to a super fun Recipe Book Swap Party this week, and this was the most coveted book.  Personally, I was fortunate enough to leave with a lovely guide to Hot Chocolate. I can't wait to mix up something warm & creamy to keep me toasty this weekend!
  • We spirited the family away to Pump It Up after school on Friday.  It was a great way to burn some energy after a frigid week, and watching J hurl himself down a 20 foot inflatable slide was hilarious.    
  • Our local Costco has organic Hanna Andersson sleepers for $11.  I LOVE their quality, and this is an amazing price.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Steel-Cut Oats



I know, I know.  As always, I am tardy to the party.  But now that I have tasted steel-cut oats for myself, I am a FAN.

I've never loved oatmeal, but occasionally I force myself to eat it because it's so. good. for. me.  Ingested on a cold winter's morning, usually with a few slices of bacon for extra protein, oatmeal isn't a bad breakfast.  But it was never really a good one, either.

Enter steel-cut oats.  Unlike the flat, gluey oats found in the cardboard tube, steel-cut oats are the actual groats - chopped.  They are nutty in flavor and have a chewy texture.  I was initially put off by the lengthy cook time (20-30 minutes), but have discovered the overnight version from The Kitchn.  I'm working my way through a week's supply, and am thoroughly enjoying it.

Yesterday I topped mine with brown sugar, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries.

Today I added a splash of milk, a sprinkle of coconut, dried cherries, brown sugar, and a dusting of cinnamon.  

I think tomorrow may call for banana, pecan pieces, and a touch of peanut butter.

Y-U-M.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

V-Day Decor

I have never been a big fan of Valentine's Day.  Yes, it is wonderful to receive flowers or chocolates, but why on that one particular day?  And try getting a dinner reservation on that night... no thanks.  Surprise me on a day with a little less hype around it.

But, as with nearly any holiday, my kids get SO EXCITED about it.  So, I am trying to dig down and unearth my Valentine's Day excitement.  As such, I made these:




The wreath idea came from Tatertots and Jello, and the puffball was a natural extension of the wreath.  Total cost for materials was $4.00 ($1.00 each for wreath form, styrofoam spheres, and 2 packs of cupcake liners).  I used polka dot cupcake liners from Michael's (sold in a pack of 75 - 50 red, 25 orange).  I set aside the orange liners and ended up using about 65 liners for the 8" wreath.  I used a different liner for the puffball, but they coordinate.


The printables I found via links on Tatertots & Jello.  She did a contest with a weekend wrap up party, and there are TONS of great projects there. The printables are from here and here.  I printed them on cardstock and placed them in frames I bought at Pottery Barn Kids (they were having a floor sample sale & I picked up 2-11x14 frames & 2-8x10 frames with mats for $16 total!).  The frames are little beat up, but they are up high enough that you (mostly) can't see the scratches (I'm planning on painting the frames & just decided to use them because I had them).  The smaller print was larger than the mat, so I used 2 removable glue dots to secure it to the outside of the mat.  The larger one was a perfect fit.

I'm also going to make a Valentine's Day Chairbacker inspired by this one from Pottery Barn Kids.  I'll show you that one when I'm done.

How do you feel about Valentine's Day?  Do you decorate and celebrate or keep it low key?

PS - I'm sort of giddy about the puffball.  At first I was ambivalent, but it's growing on me.  It looks a bit like a cluster of carnations.  I know, carnations are the Wal-mart of flowers, but I much like the 'Mart, I think they are underrated.