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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.