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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby's Room Decorating Tips

Here are 2 ideas we used for Carver's room:

For this one, all I did was spray paint letters (from Michael's) and hot-glue ribbon to the back. Or you can buy pre-made letters from Pottery Barn Kids at an absurd cost.

Instead of a store-bought mobile, I had Ethan hang these paper lanterns above the crib.

Tempeh Update

I made the Tempeh (using this recipe)! It was very delicious and will become a regular. Now if only I can rope Ethan and all his ideas in ("I wonder how hard it would be to make a tempeh incubator...").

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday: Finally... A Weekend At Home

With all our recent weddings and weekend trips, it was so nice to be in Gainesville this weekend.

Friday: We busted out our electric fryer for the first time (it was a wedding gift we received 3 years ago) and celebrated our friend, Chris' birthday by frying some fish. We also turned our kitchen into a fry factory and acquired a blister or two (ok, I'm exaggerating), cutting pounds of potatoes -both white and sweet- to fry. Some of the guys slip & slid (is that the past tense for slip & slide?) and we discovered that Carver doesn't like the Happy Birthday song. Either that or he was over-tired and intimidated by the crowd.
That night I got 8 straight hours of sleep!!! The old me would not be so excited to wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, but after going to bed at 10:30 on Friday night, the momma me was thrilled to look at the clock and realize I had an uninterrupted night's sleep!

Saturday: I put the finishing touches on my summer cleaning frenzy by attempting to sell all our stuff that wasn't Craigslist material at a garage sale. We combined forces with the Rohans, Putnams and Dourtes. I would say they were a little more successful than us, in that we made only enough money to pay for our Cuban pastry breakfast. However, it was an overall great time and now my closet is only filled with overflow storage that we actually want.
Saturday night we went out for Megan's birthday dinner. Happy birthday, friend! Carver stole a little bit of the attention with his blueberry mustache.

Sunday: I freaking love our church. Even though I missed most of the sermon, trying to get Carver to sleep, I always feel like I'm in God's presence when I'm there. After church, we came home and had a relaxing lunch while Carver napped for over 2 hours! Ethan went to help the Putnams move into their new apartment while I took a look at our budget to prepare for Financial Peace University. This led me to call Verizon to see how they might be able to lower our monthly bill. Hey, its worth a try, right? Right! All I said was that we would like to pay less and the customer service guy offered us the "loyalty plan" that still provides well over the average number minutes of minutes we use every month and will save us about $20. Its not going to cover Carver's college tuition, but, hey it was worth the 15 minutes I spent on the phone.
FPU was great. Dave Ramsey is pretty funny for a good ole' boy and really got us excited about saving money! The first "baby step" is saving $1000 toward an emergency fund. After we picked Carver up from Natalie & Dan's, we all headed to Sweet Dreams for wild flavor night. My favorite was peanut butter with chocolate covered potato chips. Thanks for the ice cream, Putnams!

I'm looking forward to a mostly un-eventful week. Hope you have a great one, too!

Friday, July 17, 2009

"B" Sounds Make Him Laugh

Also, if you search "Carver laughing" on youtube, not only is there
another baby Carver, but a baby Ethan Carver!

Friday: Pool Time

Thanks for the float, Tampa Grands!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday: Free Tea @ McAlister's!

Next Thursday, July 23rd is free tea at McAlister's deli. I know its a whole week from now, but I didn't want to post this next Thursday and risk being too late.

Half Birthday

I have a 6 month old. He has a tooth.
Ethan's thinks its a mark of genius that he got his first tooth on his 6 month birthday, yesterday. It takes about 3 hands to pull his bottom lip down, push his tongue back and get a good look at that little white bump, so there's no way I can give you a picture, but I'll give you the overall affect of his big-boyness:

I love this stage in his life. Now that he's a big(ger) boy, he sits up for a few moments on his own, but usually topples over. He also has a few great tickle spots that make it easy to evoke a shriek/squeal of delight. We have finally moved his bedtime a little earlier, around 8:30-8:45. Every week I go back and forth, trying to decide whether its more important to focus on his schedule and be consistent, or adapt his life to ours and go with the flow. Although I love a good list and always look forward to starting a new planner in the fall, I am much more of a go with the flow kind of gal than a scheduler. But then again, its so nice to be able to predict his schedule and his needs. I have a suspicious feeling the next 20-something years are going to be filled with balancing these two strategies.

In other bedtime news, ours wasn't until 3:00 AM Tuesday night because we went to the opening show of Harry Potter 6! This was some of our group:

I highly recommend the movie. It was the first one we've seen since Carver was born and definitely lived up to those high standards.

Wednesday: Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus calms a storm.
It sounded so simple in Carver's Beginner's Bible:
Jesus and his disciples got into a boat. They wanted to cross the sea. Jesus took a nap. The waves gently rocked the boat back and forth.
Suddenly a great storm came up. Waves splashed over the boat. Winds whipped around the disciples. They woke Jesus up and shouted, "The boat is sinking. Don't you care?"
Jesus asked, "Why are you so afraid? Don't you have any faith at all?" Then Jesus told the storm to stop. Right away it was calm.
The disciples were amazed. They said to each other, "Who is this man Jesus? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

Reading this story caught me a little off-guard. It made me pause and think Why am I so afraid? Don't I have faith? Right now just feels like such a transition for our family. There are so many unanswered questions. But suddenly the how-long-are-we-going-to-live-in-family-housing-what's-going-to-happen-with-Ethan's-career storm calmed in my heart. I guess sometimes it takes reading the Beginner's Bible to have child-like faith.

I like the English Standard Version of verse 26:
"And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday: Regenerating Scallions

You can thank Melissa from "The Next Food Network Star" for this one:
Put your scallions/green onions (does anyone really know the difference?) root side down in a glass of water after you've cut them and they will grow back!

I love this trick! I am going to use my re-growth to try and make tempeh fried rice. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that, in my opinion, has a more appealing flavor and texture than tofu. I love living in a college town where vegetarian food is abundant. We are by no means vegetarians, but as my husband's thesis has revealed to me the environmental impact of raising beef, pork and chicken, I like to cook a few meat-free meals a week. I first tried Artie's tempeh at Cafe Gardens and bought a brick to cook myself at Ward's, our local grocery store.

Monday, July 13, 2009

MInute Monday: Busy Wedding Weekend

Friday: A runny nose caused Carver and I to skip play group (bummer!). When he woke me up for a 5:30 AM feeding, I was half-asleep on the glider, convinced he had swine flu. A cup of coffee and call to the doctor's office settled my mind. The nurse suggested I give him a few days and some saline spray to help him breathe. He seems to be just as content as always, just noisier as he nurses. After the most boring Friday I've had in a while, I gladly welcomed Ethan home and we adorned our cow costumes. A torrential downpour might have washed away some of our spots but didn't dampen our excitement for free Chick-Fil-A. I love that they have Dr. Pepper. I love that the employees always say "my pleasure" and were walking families out to their cars with umbrellas. I love that they gave Carver a free kids meal even though he has no teeth and the only cow-like thing he was wearing were his cute new black & white converse hi-tops.

Saturday: Ethan's on a new campaign to finish his thesis (praise the Lord!), so he woke up at 7:00 and worked on that. I slowly got up and got everyone packed, fed and headed out to Orlando with Kari. We met some friends for lunch in Winter Park, dropped Carver off with Ethan's mom and got ready for the wedding. The Greek Orthodox ceremony was really neat. I was a little off when I said there would be no words, however, there were no vows and most of what the priest said (sung) was in Greek. It was great to see some old friends and learn some new dances. Somehow, I ended up holding hands with the father of the bride during a circular Greek dance. "9 steps forward, 3 steps back...its that easy," the DJ said. Now, I know my college days are behind me, but I was counting and I'm pretty sure there was more to it than that.

Sunday: We drove to Merritt Island after the wedding and went out to breakfast with Ethan's parents the next morning. The last time Kari, Ethan and I were in Merritt Island together was the first time I met Ethan's parents and the first time I knew Ethan was interested in me. We had just gone down to the beach for the day and when we stopped by his house, his parents told me how much they had heard about me. Six years later and we're back with their grandson! That evening we started Financial Peace University at our church. I'm excited to do this study because (as you know) I love saving money and because it will be 2 hours of grown-up time every week for Ethan and me.

Now I'm home, looking at an overflowing laundry basket and an empty fridge thinking how does this happen so quickly?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Foto Friday: Dance Party

This weekend we are off to Dave & Melissa's wedding in Orlando. I'm very excited. Her family is Greek Orthodox and apparently their will be no words in the ceremony. I love our ridiculously fun group of friends and our equally ridiculous dance parties. Here's a shot from our reception...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Free Chick-Fil-A

Tomorrow (Friday, July 10th) is Cow Appreciation Day. Dress like a cow and get a free Chick-Fil-A meal! Click here to get the details.

Also, Snapfish is doing 100 prints at $0.04 each! Check it out.

As always, Southern Savers (link to the right) has some great Publix deals, including a $10 rebate.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Word Wednesday: Ephesians 4:26

"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger"

This is another verse I came across in my Bible Study. I remember our pastor, Father Ron teaching on this passage. I found his explanation interesting; that anger itself is not a sin, but a natural and healthy reaction. Its what we do with this emotion that determines the spiritual consequence and its affect on our lives. Thankfully, Paul, the author of this letter to the Ephesians tells us what to do: resolve our anger before bedtime!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Teachable Tuesday: Crazy Cream Cheese

I like to spice up plain cream cheese and make my own flavors. For example, a veggie variety might include shredded carrots, red pepper and green onions. I just made a honey-walnut version today, using Tupelo Honey from Lindsay & Danny's wedding. Use whatever you have laying around (and let me know how it turns out!).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Minute Monday: 4th of July & Baptism

Friday: Ethan's day off!!! I love those! We got Cuban pastries for breakfast (did I mention I'm fake doing Weight Watchers?) and had a double date with the Dourtes that included Bed Bath & Beyond followed by a Chick-Fil-A lunch. Carver did his new happy yell throughout aisles of towels and linens.

Saturday: What's more American than breakfast with friends? Having breakfast with friends and then going swimming!
We swam, grilled, and the boys played whiffle ball. Then my family came in to town, we got some BBQ and watched fireworks. Perfect. Uncle/Godfather Sam:
Sunday: Apparently Carver invited even more people to his baptism than we did! Three rows of pews were occupied by family and friends, surrounding our little one with love and prayer.
(You can tell I married into this family; closed-mouth smiles must be a genetic trait.)

He did great during the baptism, even leaning down to play with the water. Wiped out by the post-baptism lunch celebration, we came back and took well-deserved naps. To top it all off, Ethan manned bedtime while I went out for a glass of Sangria with the moms from our play group. What a weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Cool Whip for $0.24 each!

Cool Whip is BOGO (get one free, buy one, as Dan likes to put it) at Publix, starting today. It costs $1.49. Get a $1 off coupon here and $0.49 will buy you enough Cool Whip to make one of these:

Speaking of thrifty, guess what we spent on groceries during the month of June. $176.09! Now that's a lot better than the $300-400 a month we used to spend. Although that does include about $40 in quarters for laundry, it doesn't include all the random stuff I get at Target (vitamins, paper goods, cleaning supplies, etc.). That's my next goal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Word Wednesday: Hebrews 6:10-12

I came across this verse in a bible study and it made me think of Ethan and my brother, Sam, two loving servants.

"For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

What else would I be doing at midnight?

Can't sleep.

I was thinking, why not do some sort of fun blog for every day of the week? Who knows if I'll actually stick with it, but it could be fun. My ideas so far:

Minute Monday: You know how you take "minutes" for a meeting? I'm pretty sure that's an old school term. Or maybe I just made it up. I used to take minutes for our Young Life team meetings, only it wasn't on the useful stuff. I would write down all the crazy/funny stuff that was said and do a recap at the end of the meeting. Well, these minutes will describe the Stonerook weekend (which I know you are all dying to hear about by time Monday rolls around).

Teachable Tuesday: I'll share a craft, recipe or some other idea.

Word Wednesday: That's a capital W, as in scripture (not the segment on the Colbert Report...although I usually enjoy that, too).

Thrifty Thursday: My favorite deal of the week!

Foto Friday: Most likely, this will be a picture of Carver.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Think She Had a Baby

I find myself avoiding all the extensive topics I want to blog about because I know how much time it'll take. I'm not one of those people that just writes as they think and then...boom! Posted! (Kind of like Michael's "boom...roasted" from The Office) See, I've already edited this first paragraph.

Anyway, instead of some great story or update, I'll just tell you:

Carver is grabbing everything out of my hands these days. He loves water bottles and cell phones. We've started him on solids. Did I already tell you that? He's tried peas, bananas and carrots. He seems to really like all of them.

We bought tickets to see Harry Potter 6!!! I'm so excited. It comes out midnight of Carver's half birthday. Any volunteers want to come babysit/spend the night at our house (I think the movie is 3 hours long)? You probably won't have to do anything and I'll make you cookies! She doesn't know it yet, but I'll try and trick Kari into it.

I have a side ponytail right now.

I'm so relieved with the state of our bedroom. It was becoming the project/junk room and hardly looked like a comfortable place for two newlyweds to relax. Ignoring my list of to-dos on Friday, I cracked down and rearranged. This also involved a lot of dusting and vacuuming as it had been a while. Saturday I tackled my surprisingly large closet that not only contains my clothes, shoes and bags, but all other kinds of random storage. Everything from Christmas decorations to beach towels end up in there because we don't have the luxury of a linen closet. And honestly, with the 100 degree weather, there was not much else I would have rather done with my weekend. Mmmm, how I love organizing...

Going through my old maternity clothes brought back some fond memories, but who the heck let me buy so many maternity clothes? I had more cute clothes that fit me then than I do now.

Carver's getting baptized July 5th. Ethan's afraid I'm going to dress him up "like an angel." At first I was a little offended by this, but thinking about it now, I'm very amused.

This is the kind of little stuff Lauren and I used to talk about when we worked for AmeriCorps together. I miss you, LC. I also miss working with other adults and kids I can talk with. I saw two old students of mine today. They were at my pool. I think its really funny that little kids have no intention of lowering their voices when they talk about you. I saw the older sister first and said, "Hi, Jane. Do you remember me? I'm Ms. Valerie." She then turned to her little sister and said, "Erin! Its Ms. Valerie. I think she had a baby!" I was literally 5 feet away from them in the pool.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

All Needs: Met

I'm feeling extra sentimental tonight because Lauren and Nick are moving back to the Jers, so bare with the cheese.
I would just like to declare to the world and myself that though we're broke as a joke, I have never felt so rich. As Carver, Ethan and I rode our bikes home from Moe's tonight, I looked up and saw a beautiful Florida sky. Not the most beautiful I've ever seen, but awe-inspiring enough for me to pause and listen to the beads on my spokes sing a song about this life.
I wouldn't give up our modest living room full of friends for a mansion, nor would I trade my weekly $5 burrito for lobster or steak.
I think tonight I have a better understanding of what Paul meant by "glorious" when he said,
"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Phillipians 4:19

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2 Things I LOVE

1. My new contact Rx. Somehow, my left eye got sharper, yet my right eye has significantly worsened. Either way, I can see again!!! Making out the leaves on the trees reminds me of when I first got glasses in elementary school. My sister got a pair and I was jealous, so I claimed I had vision problems too. Turns out, I did.
2. Carver sleeping through the night again (not to mention this 1 hr. 10 min. and counting nap he's taking as we speak)! We let him cry himself to sleep when he woke up during the night before last. I wasn't sure what I thought of the plan, but if that's all it took for him to get 9 straight hours of sleep, call me Babywise. Now if only we could go to sleep when he does...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Family Reunion

Getting ready for Carver's 1st flight!
We went straight to the Matyja's basement to play!
We started off the weekend with lefse-making, a throwback to our Norwegian heritage.
Lots of grandkids!
We missed you, Sammy!
Carver's excited to meet great grandpa, Vern.
Nothing says Nebraskan like a family bike ride.
An intimidating putt-putt team if I ever saw one
We can't wait to come back next year!
Preparing our camper stew... Horihans are serious about their food.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Feels Like Beard-picking Weather

Right now my hands smell like bleach because I was sterilizing the bottle and pump I took on our trip that had remnants of 5 day old breast milk in them. Sick. Tomorrow we walk with LC, host play group, go on a much-needed trip to the grocery and work on a project for a certain lovely lady who's birthday is this Saturday. Oh, and how could I forget Moe's? I wish I had time in there to tell you about my AWESOME family reunion! I miss it already! But right now, Ethan's beard hairs are calling me, "pick me...pick me..."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

I'm reading a piece of historical fiction that led me to ask a friend "Why did everyone hate the Jews so much?" To which my friend said, "They are God's chosen people. Same reason everyone hates the Gators."
Oh geez.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Where are all these ants coming from?
Gator baseball & softball= FUN.
Drinking a glass of not-yet-frozen homemade ice cream (egg yolks, heavy cream and chocolate) will not help you loose baby weight.
Gotta go pack.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Confusional Arousal

Carver had one last night. And I'm not talking about his first erection (that already happened during a diaper change about a month ago). Normally, when he wakes up in the middle of the night (depending on how long he's been asleep), we just go in his room and give him his pacifier and he's back to sleep. Well, he didn't take the paci this time and I thought, hey, maybe its a wet diaper (I wouldn't be too crazy about sleeping in my own pee, either). BAD move. Changing his diaper set off an ear-piercing scream (very un-Carver like) that didn't go away with the normal comforting techniques. I eventually laid him down in the crib and pinned all four of his limbs down which settled him quite a bit. He didn't seem to actually wake up throughout this whole scenario. Because one of our play group friends suffers from several of these a night (poor soul) and she has done a lot of research (the mom, not the baby), I knew what it was right away. Confusional arousals fit in the category of night-terrors and sleep-walking. Everyone knows not to wake a sleepwalker. Well, I won't wake a confusional arousaler again. Ever. Other than that, his sleeping has been getting better. He's back to waiting about 8 hours to eat and only stirring every now and then (which used to be solved with the pacifier). He also ate 2 Tablespoons of rice cereal yesterday like a champ!

Sincere apologies for the lack of creative blogging lately. I got nothing. Maybe its because I've been sleeping better. No restless middle of the night writing. Although I do love sharing with you, I'd rather have the sleep. While I write this, Carver is nursing on one side as I soak his jammies with a leaky other side. Got to go!

Oh yeah, we are preparing to go to our family reunion next weekend. Any advice on packing for and flying with a 4 month old will be much appreciated!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sleepily Ever After

There's not too much happening around here besides rain and waking up in the middle of the night. It literally has not stopped raining since Sunday afternoon when lightning got too close to our ultimate Frisbee game for comfort. I haven't even had a chance to plant my herbs from the farmer's market.

Let me tell you a little story called why isn't my baby sleeping. Once upon an 8 week old, he slept through the night. Since mother's day, however, he has been waking up at least 2 times a night! I know, not the greatest gift, right? He's still a drool machine, but that's not new, so I don't know if he is teething or not. I gave him rice cereal for the first time this Saturday. I was going to wait until he was 6 months to start it, but he seems genuinely hungry when he wakes up around 4 AM (he nurses on both sides). I decided to start cereal early partially because I thought it might help and partially because I wanted something fun to do while Ethan was out of town kayaking/camping. He seems to like it (the cereal, not the kayaking). I don't know who is funnier to watch; Carver, who concentrates really hard by leaning toward the spoon until he is completely slouched over or Ethan, who is easily grossed out and makes the same face/shudder he makes when I watch Discovery Health.

Free Frosty, Lauren

Even if you didn't just get your wisdom teeth out, help yourself to a free Wendy's frosty.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nuff Said

Ok, despite my title, I can't help but point out a few things about this week's shopping trip:
1. Check out those savings: $106 worth of groceries for $40. And that includes two big ticket items- 32 ounces of extra virgin olive oil and 50 Huggies diapers (we buy 'sposies for back-up). See why I love Publix?
2. All but $5 of that will be paid for tomorrow by the guys we make lunch for.
3. There was more than enough left over in the grocery budget for some Farmers' Market finds:

Thank you, Lord for providing for our family!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Best Blueberry Banana Muffins

3-5 Handfuls of blueberries
2 Bananas
1 Cup vegetable oil
2 Eggs
3 Cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup milk
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Set water to boil. Beat all ingredients (except blueberries) with a mixer, adding boiling water last. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased muffin pans. Make 20 minutes or until done.

Or, leave out the blueberries, add walnuts and bake in loaf pans to make the best banana bread ever.

Have you ever tasted straight-up vanilla? Yuck.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He's Got Quite The Social Life

Baby swap! I had lunch with Gwen and Hillary and got to meet sweet baby Josiah.
Grandma Ronda came for a visit.
Carver got his toes wet at Danny & Lindsay's lake house party/wedding shower.
The big boys got all the way in.
Rolling over!
Kari graduated! Carver wanted me to match him, so he drooled on my shoulder too.
Sunrise from the sailboat we stayed on in St. Augustine
The reason I was up at sunrise
Self-inflicted family photo

We were in St. Augustine for this lovely lady's wedding.
Hahahaha...this is right after Carver pooped ALL OVER a restaurant patio. Casey: "I feel a rumbling!" Vinny: "What is that?!!"
Wiped out after a long weekend
Aunt Natalie took us blueberry picking!

Now if I don't have the cutest family, you just tell me who does.
This looks so much like his cousin, Ayden!

Playgroup with birthday twin, Lukas

If I Had $30 I Would Get A Pedicure & Eyebrow Wax

If I had 30 minutes, I would do it myself.

I don't have time for a real update, pictures, or even to write the blog I was brainstorming of last night (that would also require me actually remembering what it was about). So, this is what you're going to get:

I hate computer problems. Specifically, printer problems. This is a problem since I'm now a crazy coupon lady. Most coupons are online these days.

A great thing about children (specifically, my child) is that I don't know anyone else who smiles in delight when I sing to them.

If you ever want bigger boobs, don't. Mine are full of milk, a hassle and don't fit into my clothes.

I didn't know anyone outside of my friends and family read this, let alone outside the US! I don't need names, but who the heck reads my blog in Europe? Africa? Just know that you made my day when I saw your little red dot on my map ------>

Ethan and I decided if we ever move we are going to give ourselves a style makeover. We might have been half joking. I'll have to check with him. I am so bored of my clothes!!! It doesn't help that the only ones that really fit are the ones I bought when I was 3 months preggers.

Update on my new catering business: its going well. We are still making 4 meals a week for 2 of Ethan's coworkers at $5 a meal. Its really a light breakfast (usually a banana), lunch, a snack and a vitamin. Its a good deal on both sides. I hope and think they feel like they are getting a variety of healthy foods. Plus, its fun for me to feel like I'm contributing to our income (besides the free childcare). Shh, don't tell them, but I might make banana-blueberry muffins and send them in with Ethan tomorrow as a Friday freebie. We went blueberry pickin' with the Dourtes (siblings) and it was great. Pictures later. I promise?

Well, I think I'll go have some quiet time with The Lord (say that in a Beth Moore Southern accent) before Little Carverton wakes up.

Tomorrow's Friday! Love, Val

Ooh! I remembered! I was going to blog about how much I freaking love my husband. He always thanks me for feeding Carver. Who does that? 

Friday, May 1, 2009

Why I Pee In The Shower

Multitasking is an important tool on the belt of motherhood. This hasn't ever been a gift of mine. You probably know this if you've ever called me while shopping. Or ever shopped with me while I was on the phone (sorry Ethan, Kari). I like to focus on one task at a time.

I'm trying to get better, though. Ok, ok, so pumping while I watch Ellen doesn't really count. But now that I realize the value of time and a free hand, I don't ever walk into another room without de-cluttering and bringing a misplaced item back to its home. I check my email while nursing Carver, I stuff diapers while reading to him, I even chop vegetables while changing a dirty diaper (just kidding, that would be gross).

Dumpster Diving

This article is written by my friend Amy (Stewart) Greene. Great writing Amy! And so interesting. This sheds a whole new light on my coupon frugality. Now if you would only keep up with your blog...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shout Out

I have the coolest family EVER. Big and little.

Little family: Ethan came home to a cooped-up, stressed-out wife and sent me on a walk to relax while he did dishes, dirty diapers and cleaned the tub.

Big family: Natalie, my sister called today to see if we wanted her to watch Carver! She gave us the best date night. We even got to go skateboarding around "the neighborhood" (418 and Shady Oaks territory for those of you who know what the heck I'm talking about), which was like the #1 thing on my list titled, Uh Oh- Now I'm a Mom and What If I Can Never Do ____ Again.

Nat, thanks for listening to the voice of God and blessing us with something we didn't even know we needed so badly. You are amazing and humble, a wonderful aunt, and I am so proud to call you Sister.
E, you are a spirit-filled, hilarious, tireless, freckled servant of a husband and I love you all the way to Chinatown in China.

101 Posts!

Guess what! I just noticed the last post was my 100th. Congratulations for reading.

So, I joined Twitter. I mostly did so to follow Tina Fey and Ellen Degeneres. So funny. Then I started thinking it might be funny to create a Twitter for Carver. I mean, do I really have enough material for a blog and a Twitter myself?

In other news, we drove to the Latin Market because yesterday was a rainy one. I didn't find the low prices I was hoping for, but it was a fun challenge to hunt for my ingredients among the Spanish labels. And the Paella was a success!

Paella Recipe (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine):
4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, plus 4 bone-in skinless chicken drumsticks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 link precooked Spanish chorizo, chopped (2 oz.)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes in juice
1C Arborio rice
1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 box (10 oz.) frozen peas
1/2 lb. peeled and deveined frozen medium shrimp, thawed

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot (I used a not-so-heavy-bottom-pot and the bottom burned. Listen to Martha, you heard), heat oil over med-high. Working in batches, cook chicken (do not crowd pot) until browned, 7 to 8 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate (reserve pot); set aside.

2. Place bell pepper, chorizo, onion, garlic, and tomatoes (and juice) in pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes (I found liquid didn't really evaporate, even after 10 minutes, so I just left it in there).

3. Add rice; cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until rice begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add peas and shrimp, submerging them in liquid. Cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes.

I doubled the amount of sausage, onion, garlic, tomatoes, rice and peas- basically all of the cheap ingredients- to make it go farther. I also bought 2 whole chickens for what I would have payed for the parts (and have 4 breasts, 4 wings and parts for making chicken stock sitting pretty in the freezer). Playing butcher is a little time consuming, so you'll have to do your own cost/benefit analysis on that one.

Happy cooking and see you on Twitter.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sewing Is More Of A Winter Sport, Anyway

I like to take Fridays "off." That usually means leaving the dishes for Ethan. How is this different than any other day, you ask? Well, as far as dishes go, its not really. Actually, I hate doing dishes. I will clean the whole house, the kitchen and even organize the stack of dishes before I wash a single one. Really, you should see my clean counters and the sink full of dirty dishes.

However, by the end of the week most of the straightening, laundry, grocery shopping, coupon hunting, bill paying and other chores are all tackled, leaving a free day for hobbies, lunch dates and other adventures. That's not to say I don't relax the rest of the week. Earlier in the week I layed out by the pool while I waited to switch the laundry over. Fridays are just set aside for whatever Carver and I feel like doing. Last Friday it was cashing in the Lowe's gift card my momma gave me :) and gardening! Check it:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Can't Sleep

Its exactly 1:00AM and both my boys are sleeping noisily. If I lay in bed and think I usually start to get too overwhelmed with ideas and projects and dates and money and goals and plans, so you can see why I'm blogging instead.

I bought $105 worth of groceries today for $59.

I think Carver and I will walk to the Latin Market tomorrow if the weather is nice. That's because chicken and shrimp paella is on the menu for this week. And pork enchiladas (remember my deal on pork a couple weeks ago?). Two things about that. One is my mom used to date a Basque Jai-alai player (pretty baller, I know). Anyway, we would go with him to this family-type "club" (Latin version of a country club???) with pool tables and kids running around and sweet ladies that talked a lot and always kissed me on the cheek. It was called El Choco, which I thought was Spanish for "The Nest," but I just looked it up on Wikipedia and it looks like I'm wrong. Mike Cincunegui's birthday party was there one year. I think the boys locked Ryan Lab in the bathroom. Point is, the men of El Choco made the best paella. I didn't even like seafood when I was a kid, and I loved that stuff. I wonder where Javi is now. He could probably give me a few paella pointers.

The second thing is, Ethan's coworker is going to pay us to make his lunch 4 days a week. Apparently, he was spending $7+ a day on take-out and Ethan said "heck, pay me $15/week and I'll bring you lunch" (or something like that). I'll let you know how it goes.

I can't believe I forgot to tell you until now! Carver rolled over again! It was tonight in the living room and Ethan got to see it. Speaking of the cutest little booger butt in the world, I really love that kid. If I wasn't cheesy enough before, he has melted my heart into a big, mushy pile of mozzerella. He is drooling A LOT. Teething? At 3 months? I hope not.


Friday, April 17, 2009

One Month Later

My faithful readers out there will note that its been a while since we redid (Ikead, if you will) our living room. If I only have one kid and it took me this long to post pics, what will 2 kids be like? You might never hear from me!

One of the reasons I was dragging my feet was because I wanted to wait til our hub was de-cluttered and completed. But that wouldn't be fun or realistic, would it? I still want to relocate the profesh family photos and make a more artsy picture ledge. One day.

Notice the details: box of tissues (I think the Easter bunny brought me laryngitis) and cafe' con leche (the Latin Cafe' is a Friday morning tradition in this household).
Happy Friday!