Monday, November 30, 2009

Yeah right.

I retract my previous, more optimistic post. Moving IS stressful and it completely stinks. The cleaning team wasn't much help, and my arms still ache from painting and scrubbing. Oh, and it turns out I don't really like cleaning carpets that much after all.

In fact, making sure we meet all of the move-out requirements for the rental company ranks right up there with going to the dentist and having lots of cavities filled. Hmmmm....whine much?
We now know how good we had it when we moved out of military housing and it was a piece of cake.

On the bright side, we had yummy grilled and smoked turkey and lots of family fun and help with Skylar to ease the stress of the past few days.

Speaking of Skylar, she is enjoying some of the perks of being homeless and having distracted parents. Like today when she ate almost an entire bag of white Cheddar popcorn for lunch and washed it down with my diet coke when I wasn't looking.

She is also enjoying having her very own queen sized hotel bed with no less than five pillows.

Toddlers have all the fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Moving on out.

So it's moving week around here. Last week was full of good-byes and last lunches, dinners and play dates. This week is all about work, work, work. Skylar and I are currently lounging at the Fairfield Inn while Micah is back at the house with Dino, Joe, Rob and the other guy--those would be our packers and movers. They are putting in two very long days to get us out of here.

Poor Skylar doesn't know what's happened to her little life. I never realized how important routine was to her until we took it all away. First her dogs disappeared (doggy daycare is a lifesaver!) then her toys and books got packed away and before she knew it she was sleeping in a room full of boxes last night. She was trying to say goodnight to the flower mobile that hangs above her bed--as is her toddler custom--except it wasn't there. She was so upset it was gone that we couldn't even get through our prayers, and praying is her favorite. Talk about traumatic. How can life go on without the flower mobile??? I'm here to tell you it can't.

This afternoon after much weeping and wailing I finally got her down for a nap in our hotel room. So here we lie in our matching queen beds enjoying the peace and quiet.....and sheets and pillows and TV and Internet. (We've been without it for a whole 32 hours, which is pretty much forever). This move has been relatively stress-free thanks to all the babysitting help from Nicole (and some from Natasha too!!) and the fact that I hired a cleaning team to come and do all the dirty work for me. It is SO WORTH the mucho dinero not to have to worry about it.

I am however, cleaning the carpets myself and kind of looking forward to it. Few things give me as much satisfaction.

Tomorrow is painting day and then in the evening we head up to Castle Rock for Thanksgiving festivities with the Rue/Lathrop clan and Nicole. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sad but true.

Don't you hate when you can't find your car in a parking lot?

I intentionally make a mental note of where I park before I get out of the car because it's happened to me enough times that I now take preventative measures. So today at the commissary (where all bad things happen) I checked and saw that I was in Row I.

"I" as in "igloo". Got it. I went in the store, did my shopping and came back out.

And this is where it gets ugly.

I walk straight down Row I and get to the end without seeing my car. That's weird, I know I parked closer to the front. So I turn around and end up back at the front of the row and still don't see it. Hmmmm. Maybe it wasn't Row I maybe it was Row H, except I could have sworn my key word was "igloo" not "higloo". But I head over to Row H just in case. Unfortunately 1 in 5 cars is small and silver and I can't seem to locate the one I need.

I am so glad Skylar is at home with Micah and not squawking in the cart making this situation more stressful. I am especially glad that I bought less than 20 items so a poor bagger isn't following me around the parking lot. I hate when that happens. Not that it's ever happened of course.

I switch to my next tactic: hitting the car alarm. We all know they aren't there to protect your car, they are to help you find it. So I hit the little red button and nothing happens. I must be too far away, so I go back to Row I. I start hitting it over and over again and nothing is happening. It worked the other day, so why isn't it working now? Keep walking. Pretend like you know exactly where you're going.

At this point it briefly occurs to me that I have become that person. You know, the one wandering around the parking lot pushing a cart in circles trying to act cool like they may have just taken a wrong turn instead of having completely lost their mind....and their car.

Then it occurs to me that I have never seen anyone doing this but myself. Maybe I am the only person. Maybe the people inside the store see me coming every week and run to the windows when I leave to watch me get lost and wander around the parking lot. Maybe it's their inside joke.

As these thoughts go through my head I'm still walking around, going on lap 5 now, inwardly panicking and outwardly waving hello to the man in the red truck as he nods hi for the 5th time. Is he snickering at me??? He totally is. The worst part about getting lost in a parking lot is that there is always somebody hanging out in their car waiting and watching the whole thing go down.

And then I realize the obvious. Somebody stole the car. Crap!! Now I have to call Micah and tell him to come and get me and then I need to call the MP's. This is going to be so inconvenient right before we move. Who would want our car?????

Oh but wait.......

I didn't drive the Passat today, I drove the X-terra. No wonder the alarm wouldn't work, it was the wrong key! I should just go ahead and enroll myself in the special olympics right now. I've been looking for the wrong car for 10 minutes and there it is right in front of me. I just walked past it 6 times. And oh look, the red truck is parked right next to it. Don't make eye contact.

Just another day at the Trauma-sary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Broccoli to die for.

Okay, so that title is a bit dramatic. BUT if you like broccoli and are tired of the same old steamed stuff, then you will love this recipe.

But first, I have to share a cooking disaster from the weekend (just in case you thought we lived in a bubble of culinary bliss). Nicole and I decided to cook some dinner on saturday night.

Me: I have ground turkey in the freezer to use.

Nicole: Let's make Swedish Meatballs! (
Nicole does not believe in making the same thing twice and likes to find new recipes).

Me: Uh, sure....I've never made that before.

Nicole: I'll look it up online!

She found a recipe that sounded good. Then we realized there were 3 sauce options to choose from according to Joan on the website (presumably Joan is the friendly Swede who shared this recipe....because Joan is a very Swedish name....that should have been a red light.)

We decided on the red wine sauce because we had all the ingredients.

So red wine sauce it was. Except that it wasn't. It was like creamy lavender buttery floury yuckiness. Nicole got concerned and told me I should try it. I was too scared, so she tried it and said it tasted like butter. She added more wine bringing it to a lovely shade of purple. Still tasted like butter. And the thought of pouring purple butter on meatballs was not our idea of a good time.

Here's a close up for you, just in case you weren't sure how unappetizing it was:
Thanks for nothing Joan the Swede.

So now we just have meatballs. I stopped stocking up on groceries in anticipation of moving, so there is no tomato sauce in the house. We decided to make meatball subs out of them and I run to the grocery store and grab provolone, a loaf of bakery bread, and some sauce. I slice the bread in half and stick it under the broiler to toast.......and then I get busy peeling a tangerine that Skylar won't eat because she only eats Clemtines and I thought the tangerine was a clementine. So then I peel a clemtine and by the time I was done I remembered and screamed "The bread!"

But it was too late.......
Ever the optimist, Nicole said it could be salvaged. By the time we cut all the burnt parts off, it was mangled and pitiful but at least it wasn't purple. So we threw those meatballs on there, added some tomato sauce, and then we all pretended it was AMAZING.
In the end, the only amazing part was that dinner finally made it to the table.....pathetic though it was.
Okay, now for the best broccoli you have ever tasted. I love roasted vegetables and never thought of roasting brocolli until I saw Barefoot Contessa do it on her show last year. (Did you know Ina and I are BFF's? Yeah, she doesn't know either.) It has since become one of my favorite side dishes.


4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

(Let me just say that I frequently leave out the pine nuts or basil....but the lemon, parmesan and garlic are what makes the recipe and I wouldn't omit those!)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chai nasty.

I made myself an iced chai latte today, my favorite drink next to diet coke, and decided to sit down and drink it while Skylar was having a snack. As soon as she saw my glass she wanted a sip. I should have known that would happen. I didn't feel like sharing, but how could I turn down this face?

Besides, I love the way her squishy little baby cheeks puff out when she uses a straw.

Then she started blowing bubbles in my glass and I was totally grossed out.

Needless to say, it was all hers after that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More than just a muffin tin.

These days you hear a lot of talk about people "repurposing" things they already have in an effort to be a little greener. So here is a way to repurpose your a muffin tin into a centerpeice.

I promise I am not getting all Martha Stewart on you. BUT good ideas are meant to be shared, and I think this one is cute. A mentor mom at Mom's and Beyond (a group I go to on Tuesday mornings) shared this.
Since I was a little sad that I won't be able to decorate the house for Christmas this year, I decided to give this a try. All you do is grab an old muffin tin, the more beat up and worn the better. Mine happens to be nasty, so it was perfect. Then you fill it with whatever your heart desires and stick some candles in there. You could use twelve candles or make a random pattern and use less. It's festive in a rustic sort of way:
I used a bag of cranberries, took greenery from the bush in the front yard, and Skylar and I picked up these pine cones while we were out walking. I think some cinnamon sticks would have been nice, but I didn't have any. I put some glass gems that I had (the kind you find in an aquarium or the bottom of a vase) as a first layer and then covered them with cranberries to make it look fuller without buying two bags.
Total cost for 6 candles and a bag of cranberries was under $3. The possibilities are endless--you could use dried beans, sand, shells, dried flowers, or make it seasonal and do Red hots or conversation hearts for valentine's day, Indian corn, acorns, or leaves for Thanksgiving, jelly beans for Easter, etc.
(Side note: You can get a pack of 24 votives at Micheal's for $6 and print off a 40% coupon available on the website bringing it down to $3.60. I'm just here to help.)

I like that it doesn't have to be moved because we can see over it while we eat! A little ambiance is always a good thing. Or as Martha would say, it's a very good thing. (Sorry, I think I just threw up a little in the back of my throat.)
Oh, but I'm not done yet. There's more. Since we're on the subject of muffin tins.....

You should try feeding you toddler from a mini-muffin tin. This idea came to me a few months ago when I was desperate to get Skylar to eat something and I was trying to make it fun. (I'm sure it's not original, mom's everywhere may be doing this and I just never knew.) I put her lunch in the various muffin tin cups and let her sit somewhere special, like the couch. It makes a nice little tray so it stays pretty neat, and she spends a good 45 minutes moving her food around in the various compartments while she eats it, which means I'm able to get some things done.

It works so well that we have a muffin tin picnic a few times a month now. See how excited she gets when she sees it?

Okay, now I'm done.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blitz Day

We are getting down to the wire with only 12 more days until the packers and movers come. There's a lot I should be doing, but instead I've been procrastinating, taking care of a sick baby, and other important crafts.

I might also be in denial that we're actually leaving.

Nicole suggested we have a "blitz day" (Spring Canyon flashbacks anybody?) and she offered to take Skylar away so we could get things done. So while Skylar spent the day playing with Aunt Nicole I cleaned out every closet in the house except Micah's. It's crucial that I get organized since we are moving to a small apartment and a lot of our stuff will be in storage. It has to be labeled ahead of time to make it easier on the other end. I hate this kind of thing. (Edi where are you when I need you????)

Every room looked something like this:

I was ruthless--like I was was at my parents house last summer--and tried on every piece of clothing I own and got rid of anything that didn't fit or I hadn't worn in a year. It was hard to part with my college wind pants (yes I am aware of how dorky that sounds, but they were the epitome of casual cool at the time). I told myself that it was twelve years ago and just because you can still squeeze yourself into something you wore in 1997 doesn't make it right. So good-bye athletic wind pants with the cool side zippers and fleecy lining. I'll miss you. You made me feel like the athlete I never was.

At the end of it all I had 4 more bags of giveaway clothes from my closet and 21 neatly organized plastic bins filled with baby/maternity/summer clothes and other random things. Too much stuff.

Meanwhile, a neighbor came by and offered to buy baby things he saw in our garage when he drove by. He especially wanted the peg perego stroller. For a second I was ready to sell him everything Skylar wasn't using---swing, bouncy seat, you name it. Then I realized that even though there is no baby in the immediate future, that might be a little hasty. I tend to get a little carried away once I start getting rid of things.

Micah got to celebrate veteran's day by raking up a ton of leaves. He's a stud.

Nicole and Skylar came home with a cow outfit for Jack. It's a teensy bit small for his chubby self, but he seems to like it. It even has udders, so we can pretend to milk him, but he was too shy to show them off for the camera.

As luck would have it, we got a phone call this evening that the rental agency is showing our house from 11-1 pm tomorrow. Blitz day came just in the nick of time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I heart candy corn.

Want to know what the best thing about Halloween is?? Besides dressing your child up in a ridiculous costume just to entertain yourself, of course.

The sugary, delicious, stick to your teeth candy corn:

More specifically, eating all the white tips off the candy corn just because you can. Everyone knows the white tips taste the best.

Then you put them back in the bowl so that nobody else wants to eat the candy corn and you get it all to yourself.

Selfish, I know. But it doesn't deter Micah.

(Clearly I grew up in a big family where it was survival of the fittest and most strategic.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Those dang swine.

Skylar has H1N1..........

.....and it's pretty pitiful.

(My apologies to the people who were over here last appears we served a side of swine flu with dinner.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I've gone clippie crazy.

***Updated below with instructions***

I go through spurts of craftiness. I went through a dry spell while I was trying to keep an infant alive, but it appears the dry spell is over. I had to force myself to take a breather from the baby leg warmers. The number I'd made was getting obscene, and Skylar only has two legs. But the creative bug was not yet satisfied so off I went to Hobby Lobby with a jewelry idea in mind.

However, I got sidetracked when I saw the hair clips 50% off. I mean, it was only $1.50 for 25 clips, logically I should buy 125 of them. We always need those around here. And so the dining room table became a flurry of ribbon, flowers and brads and a new (temporary) hobby was born.
The real question is, how many hair clips does one little girl need?

I'm guessing not this many........

Which brings me to the point of this post.

If you have a daughter and would like some hair clips and don't see yourself ever making them (because if you start you won't be able to stop and your children will go hungry and your husband will stop showering in protest) then let me know and I would be happy to give you some. I will even mail them, although it might take a week or two for me to get there because I have a severe post office allergy.

The clips are free of course--this isn't a money-making blog--rest assured it will remain a blog about absolutely nothing. I already have all the stuff and it just gives me an excuse to keep making them and to say "thanks for being my friend".

(The catch is I have to actually know you, if you're a random person who I've never seen before who stumbled across this blog and was bored enough to read then you're out of luck...thanks for reading though!)

And if you have a little boy then I'm sorry this doesn't apply to you, but thanks for being my friend anyway!

***In case you want to make your own, here's how I did it:

Step one: Gather your supplies-- assorted fake flowers (80% off all fall blooms at Micheal's right now!) and/or scrap booking flowers, ribbon (5/8 inches or wider), decorative metal brads (there is a huge assortment to choose from), and your clips. At this point you may want to say good-bye to your family because you won't be seeing them for awhile. It's that addictive.

Step two: Attach the ribbon to the clippie. There's no right way to do this, but this seemed to work well. Cut a piece of ribbon (or measure the clip and cut it exactly), put fabric glue along one side. Open your clip, slide the ribbon in glue side up, close the clip, and then wrap it around to the back. Hopefully that made sense:)

I use the hot glue gun to secure the back, then cut off excess ribbon.

Step three: Make your flower! You can pop off the fake flowers, take apart the petals and do whatever your heart desires. After you stack your flower assortment, put the metal brad through the hole in the flowers, and close it in back like so:

Step four: Throw a little hot glue on the clip, attach your flower, and voila!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Denver or bust.

We decided it would be fun to spend a couple of days in Denver last week. Our non-refundable reservations at Embassy Suites (apparently we have become our parents--Embassy Suites lovers, all of them) happen to coincide with the biggest snowfall Denver has seen since 1999. Awesome.

The drive was a little treacherous, but Micah did a great job driving while I played on his new I-phone and surfed the Internet. It wasn't stressful at all:) This was our view from the balcony when we got there and it kept snowing into the next day.
Skylar loved Embassy Suites. Especially the water features, glass elevators and the pumpkin full of candy at the front desk. She tasted her first ever tootsie roll upon arrival and just kept saying "MMMM!!!". It must have been heavenly.

When were checking out she headed right back to that pumpkin and started signing for more. Here she is with her second tootsie roll--clearly it's not nearly as exciting as the first one was.
We went swimming after happy hour and pizza. Skylar was really excited to put on her bathing suit but when we got to the pool she kept shaking her head no and didn't want to get in. Eventually she did. This was after our swim and it looks like she had too much fun at Happy Hour. Maybe she got chlorine poisoning.The next day we headed to the Children's museum. The last time we went with friends Skylar was too little to do much of anything, but this time she had a blast! We let her play until 2 hours past nap time, and she would have kept going if we'd let her.
Micah has almost as much fun as Skylar and I have almost as many pictures of him playing as I do of her. He kept saying, "I wish Kristy could see this! Kristy would love this!"
Micah thought it was funny to line up all of the pig farmers in a row. I'm not really sure why.
One of Skylar's favorites was the little cottage with a kitchen. We were glad to see that since we recently got her a kitchen set for Christmas and it's hiding out in the garage.
Her other favorite was the grocery store where she could shop and fill up her cart, check out, and then make food in the restaurant. It's the coolest place, and if your ever in the Denver area, it's definitely worth checking out. You have to have a kid with you to get in....bummer, I know.
All the snow piled up outside of the museum:
We stayed with Kristy and Andy the second night and then Kristy went with us to the Denver Aquarium the next day since she had her third snow day in a row. I personally LOVE the aquarium---it's so relaxing I could hang out all day. Skylar thought so too.
After a stop off at the outlet malls where Micah finally acquired some new jeans (it's been 5 years since he's bought any, it was about time!!!!) we headed home to absolutely no snow. It's been in the 60's ever since. So bizarre.


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