Thursday, June 30, 2011


 My mom has a neighbor with apple trees. Mom is hardcore and cans the sauce, but boiling jars still intimidates me so I will continue to bond with my freezer.

Add a bit of water and boil.

Locally grown, organic, and homemade. But really, it's the "free" part that makes it taste good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book club

Back in high school I worked at a reception center as a dish washer. Eventually I worked my way up to catering server, doing the centerpieces, then wedding rehearsals and subbing for the owner when needed. My boss told me they'd train me to run the place for $60,000/year if I stayed and didn't leave for college. I wasn't completely sure he'd follow through on that salary or I might have contemplated the whole athletic training and teacher gig.

Back to the dish-washing. The only way you got a job at this place was if you had a friend or sibling that worked there so I pretty much made money chatting with my friends as my hands became pruny. There were two fellas in particular who enjoyed some literary discussion. After struggling with the fact there were few books all three of us had read, one buddy said we should all read the same thing so we could talk about it. He lit up with enthusiasm while he laid out this plan for us to choose a book, read it, then meet up and talk about what we liked and didn't like about it.

With a voice dripping in 17 year old attitude I went, "Umm, like a book club?" He said, "No, we're just going to talk about the book we read. Nothing so fancy as a book club."*

I think there is something about calling it a book club that evokes Masterpiece Theater and pretentious discussions on symbolism.

But really, it's an excuse to swap book suggestions and read something you might otherwise never open.

Since I chose the book this round in my church book club, I hosted it at my house. I may have let my cheeky side out a little too much in the email invite by making several references to tweed, leather elbow patches and the like, because several people remarked on it to me. So I figured, why not go with it?

I borrowed some props

Real Simple had a special on layer cakes so I decided to give one a try.

The secret I have been missing my whole life is Don't Overmix the Batter. Just 30 seconds past combined and the cake turns out fluffy

It's a fake pipe, the orchid is real though
I adore this book. It is a slow first 5 chapters, and has no place in my typical teen fantasy genre, but it is fabulous. You feel like a better person after reading it. And after you finish it, you must talk about it. You can't help it. I have a copy from madre dos and everyone who reads it signs the cover, so if you need some new reading material, please borrow it. It's awesome.

My love of books must be contagious because J is already showing interest. These were absolutely unstaged too.

*We were such nerds that we actually did pick a book (Dracula, we were so ahead of the vampire craze), read it, and discuss it.  But you better believe we didn't advertise our old lady pastime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Father's Day Breakfast, a post which was planned for last week.

I have come to the conclusion that I am incapable of taking quality pictures of food. Stuff French toast in particular. It's divine I tell you. Slice it thick and half way open, cram cream cheese and berries, soak in custard for 30 seconds. (Custard is the egg stuff in this case, not the creamy dessert. Although my recipe calls for honey and orange zest in the custard, so it does come pretty close to dessert. Oh and the cinnamon butter on top from our adventure to the dairy farm adds more pizazz). Why the real maple syrup comes in a flask, I have no idea.

If you are curious, the box held a new shirt and a Big Skinny wallet. It's ultra thin and when full it is smaller than his old wallet empty. I also like the rubber lining which keeps the cards in even when shaken upside down. Just an idea if you need a present for the fella in your life (I'm always on the look out ma' self for possible husband-worthy ideas). Plus, when I was working in physical therapy, giant wallets were the cause of many a gentleman's hip complaint. Husband always keeps his wallet in his front pocket for booty comfort and pickpocket protection, so a slim one makes a big difference.

And in case you haven't guessed through the blog already, my husband is awesome. Happy first Father's Day darling. You must be doing something right since you are J's favorite. Well, after the stupid dog :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

If You're Happy and You Know It...

Then your face will surely show it. Especially if you are excessively proud of yourself for crawling over a pillow and your mom happens to have her camera phone at ready.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Felt flowers

I saw this tutorial for felt flowers on Not Martha and gave them a shot. They are slightly addictive and perfect to do while watching tv. If you don't mind getting little bits of felt all over your couch. I had extra petals so I put them together for the multicolored one.

I gave one to a friend for her birthday and it fit perfectly into the little round boxes I made. I have recently discovered what I consider big kid handi-snacks-creamy swiss and club crackers. It has given me a plethora of little round boxes just itching for a make-over.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Arboretum, Again

I really do love it there. It's been completely worth it for the membership. Madre Dos came and stayed the night last Friday so we could head out before the scorching sun. 

There was a bird walk being hosted and my madre dos has all the accoutrements for bird watching.
I'm not going to lie, bird watching used to seem pretty dumb to me. However, my eyes were opened when I looked through madre dos's binoculars when we went with my French friends. Waaaaaaaaaay cooler when you can see the birds up close. Then my madre dos started  teaching me how to recognize some of the bird calls and it got even better. At least that's what J thinks.

It gives me the same kind of awesome I feel when I know the names of plants. But this gives the added bonus of trying to see the bird making the call. All of the sudden my brain could pick up on all of these squawks and chirps that were formerly just white noise.

So I was excited to go and check out some birds with my own maternal bird guide. I've never seen so many vultures in my life. I figured there must be some awesome rotting carcass around, but my expert told me they just like to play in the hot air vents.


I was also happy to see some flowers still hanging out despite the temperatures.

Some of the local wildlife also made an appearance.

To give you a little taste of the birder experience, see how many birds you can spot in this picture. Find out after the jump.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

J's Grey and Yellow Nursery

I was doing so well with my 5 days a week posting but I slipped. It's a combination of factors really. One is grass. Not the kind for card-carrying glaucoma patients either, although both do make your time and money evaporate. I'm talking about the 28cents/foot, hybrid bermuda midiron variety. It's been my goal since we've moved into the house to get grass. But you can't put in sod until you have a sprinkler system. You can't put in the sprinkler system until you have your hardscape (i.e. retaining wall) done. You can't have that until the yard is graded. You can't do the grading until you know what you want your yard to look like. So 3 summers later I am getting grass. And an education in landscape architecture and manual labor. But this is all a post for another day when I'm sitting around watching my grass grow, because you better believe there will be before and after pictures.

The other major factor is the kiddo's 6 month check-up. My little peanut is good on length and head size, but she only gained 2oz in two months. Serious! So that means I watched a very skilled phlebotomist draw some blood from her teeny tiny vein today. And drove the 30minutes to the lab my doc recommended to get the pro's. Even though it's probably just the way my skinny mini's genetics are telling her to be, we're covering all our bases. Including the cystic fibrosis sweat test that is only performed at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Laaaaaaaaaaaaame! Meanwhile, my blogging time has been replaced with the olympic sport of solid foods every hour. Let me tell you, her triple salchow was just the beginning of her repertoire.

Ok enough excuses! Let's get to the nursery I finally "finished" ( "" means a room is never really finished) only 5.5 months after she was born. The good news is I'm no longer in denial about being pregnant. Only took my 6 months of not being pregnant. (and since people see the word pregnant and get excited, no, I'm not currently pregnant).

Behold the modern, delicately feminine, non-saccharine, nursery!


My mom made her the most beautiful quilt and crib bedding.


The paper crane mobile I made out of 3 chop sticks, some ribbon, fishing line, and a few seed beads. I used origami paper and vintage book pages (don't worry, the book was headed to the trash due to neglect before it was rescued for re-purposing.)  And the wipes box came with a yellow lid so I glued a little striped scrapbook paper to make it match.

 The rocker was the most expensive piece of furniture in the room. I wanted an upholstered one because I think they are prettier, more comfortable, and can work in other rooms. The only problem is that all rockers and gliders are made for short women and don't have the next support. However, there is a very nice specialty store in Chandler called Rocker World that sells only rockers and curio cabinets. I just use a pillow instead of a boppy because folding it worked better since I'm so tall and J was so small. And the chair was totally worth my entire baby budget. Oh and the crib was $150 online

 The squares on the wall are hand prints and foot prints. I make one each month (hopefully for the 1st year) and I'm currently searching for the perfect frame. I want 2 that hold 12 a piece if you want to help me search. The curtains were black and white at target for $20 and I took a yellow fabric pen and colored some of the flowers. The little table I refinished in this post.

 While I really like the wooden letters on the wall, I thought this would be a cool modern take on it. I made it in powerpoint and had it printed 20"x30" at walgreens. It was somewhat of a pain to get the spacing done right, but I'm happy how it turned out. Shout out to my pops for helping me with the mat board.

We had the Ikea bookshelf and dresser already and my mommy painted them white for me while we toured the hospital. The awesome plaque was made by my brother and sister-in-law and I adore it. The top shelf is where the paper craft I kept in my classroom found a new home.

The dress is the one both me and J were blessed in. I found the cute little cup at an antique store and since J wouldn't keep any of the shoes on, I figured I might as well find another way to enjoy them. And the 4 generation picture fit perfectly.

Now if only I had a fancy flash and wide angle lens, I'd submit it to Ohdeedoh.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Graduation Card

I was looking for a cute way to send John's cousin a graduation card with some cash and the best thing I found was this tutorial on how to make a little pop up box. I figured I could use this piece of graduation scrapbook paper I had and it would work out nicely.

 Then I thought the top was a perfect shape to add a little mortar board.

I'm thinking this would be perfect to fill with some confetti or little treasures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Of course, they were still a little hollow on the inside and I spilled the food coloring so I have a  lovely purplish mural on my counter top, but overall it was much more successful than this attempt.

Oh and the husband pointed out that these little babies are gluten free, so my celiac friends will be getting the rest of my macaron attempts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Handkerchief skirt

Yeah, I told you I've been on a sewing kick lately. This skirt took a total of 20 minutes since the handkerchief is already hemmed and the satin was a hemmed scrap from some wicked ugly curtains we inherited with the house. I have a pink one for J waiting for my next free 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


 I was watching my niece the other day and we decided to go for a little swim. Early morning walks and afternoon swims are how we reach the 2hrs outside goal in this heat. I realized while I was taking pictures (one-handed! most without looking!) that they had matching swimsuits. Double funny since J's is a hand-me-down. My sister has a definite style.

This shot was a total accident because she stood up in front of me

My kid loves the water. Well, she sits contently and doesn't cry. Even when I hold her in deep water or let her ears get wet.


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