Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Focusing on the positive

I haven't been posting a lot of personal thoughts lately because Creed attacks the keyboard tearing off keys everytime he can get his hands on it so I've been keeping posts to a bare minimum, but there are so many things tumbling around in my head right now: all the things we need to do to get ready to sell our house (including finding a realtor, any suggestions?), what to do for the Relief Society lesson that I'm teaching on Sunday and what I'll do with Creed during the lesson since Larry will be working, so many ideas for new craft projects that I don't have time to work on yet, some book reviews that I've been meaning to post, the debate over whether we should head to Punxsatawny this weekend for Ground Hog's Day with Creed in tow, and why does Larry have to work so so much! And really, who wants to hear me complain so here are a few things that have made me incredibly happy this past week.

My mom has started her own blog called "Charmed, I'm sure". I've been telling her that she should for ages because she's always telling me about her projects, but I wish that I could see them, and she finally did it! She thinks that no one will be interested in reading it but her own kids, but I'm betting that's not true.

Then in the midst of teething weariness, I ran out to pick up the mail and lo and behold, Laura, AKA Texas Girl, sent me this bag, even though we have never met in person because it reminded her of the tree quilt that I wanted to make. I LOVE IT! Isn't that incredibly nice? And speaking of incredibly nice, have you read the comments to my request for recipes? Thank you all so much!

And last, but not least, my long lost friend Jay found my blog!

Jay was one of my best friends. I think I saw him just about every day the summer before I moved back to the mainland, and I could say just about the same thing for the summer before my sophomore year of college when Jay moved to Utah too. He's such a great guy and I'm happy to have him back as a friend and the bonus is that his wife seems awesome and they live in Utah now so Larry and I will actually have some friends when we move.

And I'd just like to note that one of the first things Jay said to me is that I craft like an 80 year-old woman! Hmmmm . . . I'm sure he meant that as a compliment . . . Actually that was pretty funny because I'm always telling Larry that he has the vocabulary of an 80 year-old man so I guess we were meant for each other in many many ways! Jay also kept pointing out how old I'm getting so I'd like to take this opportunity to let him know that he's also getting up there! The little guy in this picture, his brother Mikey, is now a senior in high school (yikes!) and Mikey made a very wise decision to go to my alma mater, Kahuku instead of Jay's, Kamehameha (Ha ha!)

And now we are all caught up and Jay and his beautiful wife have a blog too! We can't wait to meet his wife Sarah and their new baby Adalie!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mr. Grumpy

Creed's second tooth has decided to make an appearance and the shirt pretty much sums up how that is going. Poor guy! I probably shouldn't have put him down to snap a couple of pictures, but I promise he continued to be miserable no matter what I tried, and at least Larry gets t know a little about how Creed's day went.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Great Man

President Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of our church, died last night at the age of 97. To say he will be greatly missed is quite an understatement.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Creed's New Monster

I love Uglydolls and I've been meaning to attempt making one instead of buying one since they look so easy to make. I couldn't sleep Friday night so I got up around midnight and decided to choose a project from my crafting To Do list (yes, I have a crafting To Do list! Don't laugh). One hour later I had this (mind you I bought the fleece for this project before Creed was born so I didn't exactly finish this quickly, did I?)
The hardest part was just deciding what to use for the face. I went with some towel scraps that I have from making monster towels because Creed loves to feel different textures, but fleece would have been easier to work with. I finished stuffing the monster last night so now he's finished.
I think this project would be a lot more fun if you had your child draw a monster and turned that into a stuffed monster (in fact, I think maybe I saw them do that in a Martha Stewart Kid's magazine . . .) I guess I'll have to make another one when Creed can draw.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Creed at Ten Months

Creed seems to suddenly be so big! His stuffed doll has become the incredible shrinking Max.

He's also becoming so expressive. He only says mom, dad, dog, and sometimes ball, but he can communicate so much more. For instance, here he is letting us know he wants us.

He's eating us out of house and home and gaining some pretty chubby cheeks in the process. After nursing in the morning, he'll still eat a bunch of Cheerios or goldfish crackers, half a banana, a whole Yoplait yogurt, and a whole stage three jar of baby food.
He's starting to stand so well, but is pretty hesitant to walk on his own

He's also so dang smart. Today he figured out how to push the little lever in to open the back of our TV remote over and over again. He watches everything going on around him in wonder and is pretty amused with just about anything the first time he sees it. Here he is amazed by a wrapping paper tube today.
Creeders still only has one tooth and Larry managed to snap some pictures of it for you.
And I just wanted to add this picture because I didn't want to forget that every night when we peek in on him, he's sleeping all curled up with his little bum in the air.

He's an incredible sweet, cuddly baby (which makes it a little difficult for me to do things at times, but I try to remember that soon he won't want me to hold him all day long). I've started taking him to baby storytime at the library and he's not really sure what to make of such a big group of babies. This week he actually did venture off of my lap with a wary eye watching for any babies that might head towards him while he made a mad dash to pick up a ball and carry it back to my lap.
I think Larry and I find ourselves saying, "He's so cute!" several times everyday. I don't think we could possibly be anymore enamored with him!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Reason Why Larry & I Were Made for Each Other . . .

Stephanie and Marissa being "Bag Ladies" in 1988
Larry, Scott, and Keri as the Three Bears

Monday, January 21, 2008

Our Baby is Such a Punk!

Whatever he's wearing, whatever he's doing, he's just so cute!

Got Glasses?

Ok, last night I asked Larry to take a picture of me in my new glasses, and looking over them now, I think they say a lot about us so I'm sharing all of them. First off, the glasses. I'm 100% sure these are not the frames that I ordered, but when I went to pick them up and get my RGP contact lenses fitted, the contacts were totally messed up (I couldn't even read the huge E at the top of the vision chart, which I can read just fine without contacts) so they had to remeasure the shape of my eyes and send them back and I already felt bad about that so when they handed me my glasses and they were the wrong pair, I couldn't bring myself to say anything. I'm pretty sure that I did try these frames on, and they are growing on me, but they are not the frames that I decided on. The ones that I chose were a bit more funky because I almost never wear glasses, so they might as well be fun, right?

Anyway, I knew I liked these, I just didn't love them so I took them home and figured that I could always work up the courage to say something when I go to pick up my contacts if I'm still not loving them by then.

In this first picture I was just watching Larry get ready, and I didn't know that he was taking my picture. Sheesh, I am so awkward in front of the camera!

Then he took this picture and I thought, "Ok, fine. Whatever. Now we're done."
And I was telling Larry something and making faces, which was when he caught this.

And he says this is the look I often give him; sort of amused and a little confused about whatever he's doing or saying
And then you can't take a bunch of pictures without trying the Blue Steel pose, can you?
And I am not the only one in the family to get new glasses! Larry got his first pair! His optometrist told him that he doesn't really need them, but that he could have them for driving at night if he wanted them, and how could he resist when they are free with our insurance? Even Creed admires them!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What's cooking?

I've never had much of a desire to learn to cook. I wish that it was something that I loved but, I've tried too many recipes that I've put a lot of effort into only to end in disaster and frustration so I mostly gave up. Unfortunately, Larry doesn't love to cook either. He says that if a recipe has more than three ingredients, it too complicated for him. So as you can imagine we eat out or we eat simple meals A LOT! We were both busy with other things so we were both fine with that, but now that I'm staying at home and Creed is eager to nibble anything that goes on our plates I really need to step things up around here. Our doctor says this is the perfect time to evaluate our eating habits to make sure that we are having balanced meals for Creed's sake and I have really taken that to heart.

I have most of the basics of cooking down (or at least I can call Cat with all of my stupid questions and she's always happy to explain them), but I'm really in need of EASY delicious recipes. And since I hope that you will share some recipes with me, I'm going to share a few with you!

Meal planning has never been our strength, but I'm greatly improving and this week I bought my first cook book!!!!! We have a few that were wedding gifts (and are mostly way over my head so every time I attempt a recipe I have to buy a million ingredients) and a few ward cookbooks put together at church (but how many recipes do I really need for tuna casserole? Gross!). Friday I was browsing Michaels and I had a JoAnn's ad sticking out of my bag, and an employee told me that I can use the JoAnn's coupons at Michaels. I never knew that! And you can use them on the Martha Stewart line there, including her books and magazines! So the new Everyday Food cookbook, Great Food Fast, caught my eye, and I decided to buy it because it sounds like just what I need (granted, I could probably get most of the recipes for free from their website or check this book out from the library, but hello? It was 50% off with my coupon!)

I haven't tested any of the recipes yet, but I was feeling encouraged because I tried an Everyday Food recipe for Soy-Glazed Salmon on Thursday and it was simple and so good. You can get the full recipe here, but all you do is mix together 1 Tbsp of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp of honey, and 1/4 tsp of ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh ginger). Brush it over your salmon (I used fillets instead of salmon steaks) and cook it under your broiler for 5 or 6 minutes. Even Creed liked it! Next time I may make a little extra sauce to brush on just before it's done cooking too. I made these Sesame Green Beans to go along with it and the whole meal was done in less than ten minutes.

Another really simple meal that we had this week was from an idea I got from my friend Amy Hall. She makes awesome black bean tacos. I don't usually have a lot of meat on hand, but we almost always have canned black beans. For these tacos you just rinse a can of black beans and heat them in a pot on the stove with about half a packet of taco seasoning (or whatever amount you prefer) and a teeny bit of water to help it dissolve and mix in. The we just heat flour tortillas in a skillet on the stove and add whatever taco toppings that we have on hand like cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, avocado, corn, etc.

And as long as I'm sharing, I tried another new recipe this week, that actually turned out well. This one takes a little more effort, but it made enough for a few meals and I was able to freeze some so it was well worth the effort. As I mentioned, Cat gave me some of her recipes for Christmas, including this one for meatballs, which she said I could share with all of you. I'm not a big meatball recipe, but these are not made with red meat and they are so good!

Meatballs (You can also use this recipe to make meatloaf)

1 lb. spicy pork sausage
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 large onion chopped
olive oil
1 - 2 cloves of garlic minced (optional)
3/4 cup (more or less) oatmeal uncooked
2 eggs (they make everything stick together)
1 - 2 Tbsp basil
Generous teaspoon seasoned salt

Dump the ground turkey & sausage in a large bowl. Splash some olive oil in a small skillet and cook the onion over medium heat, stirring while it cooks (sweating the onions). They're done when they're clear. Add the garlic when they are about halfway done. This pre-cooking softens the onion taste in your meatballs.

Now you mix everything up. Form meatballs.

You can bake them @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until done. Cut one in half - they're done when they're no longer pink in the center.

Simmer them in spaghetti sauce for a nice long time to make them really tender. All day in the crockpot is excellent - and you come home to a wonderful warm smell.

So do you have any recipes that you would like to share? I don't have the best of luck with recipes I come across on my own. I'd rather have recommends from friends that are tried and true (and that way I can call you for help if I become lost!)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Picture Perfect

It's been stated before, and I'll say it again, "I am an awful photographer." You see a few pictures now and then on the blog that are almost ok, but keep in mind that I take a lot more that don't make it on to the blog. I particularly have a hard time with all the indoor pictures I take with very poor lighting. Candice suggested that I buy a 50 mm lens that would be better for indoor photos, but it took me awhile to get around to it.

The lens arrived today so I pulled it out of the box, put it on my camera and . . . wow! Why didn't I buy the lens months ago? It's sort of a pain that you can't zoom in and out with it and you have to be a little further from your subject then I'm used to, but the indoor pictures are so much better it's worth it! Check it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Growing up

My mom just reminded me that I haven't posted since last Thursday, and she says she needs her Creed fix. I'm sorry to report that sickness visited our family last week and resulted in lots of nastiness, which resulted in some lovely moments, like last Sunday when I was sitting with the rest of the Relief Society presidency at the front of the room and Creed threw-up massive amounts and we were both soaked and the lesson was interrupted so people could run for towels and Creed and I slinked out and he had to make the drive home in just his diaper. Oh, and Saturday night when he had to sit pants-less through dinner at a restaurant with friends and family after an unexpected diaper explosion. Then there was this Sunday, when I was again at church on my own with Creed and he had another diaper explosion (should have seen that coming but he'd seemed fine in between) that coated every bit of clothing that he had on and once again we had to leave church early so he could again make the drive home in his diaper. Oh yes, it's been great!

We actually did manage to have some fun. Jess and I discovered the Chocolate Cafe in Upper Arlington.

Kirk and Eva made us some amazing pizza.

I chopped all my hair off and went home to then wonder what I was thinking. Good thing my friend Ruth does wonders. And Creed has grown in leaps and bounds this week. First, amid throwing up on Tuesday, he got his first tooth. And just to prove how grown up he is, he decided to rock on the rocking elephant in his room all on his own.
Then he decided to move on to bigger and better things so he stole my keys.

And went for a ride!
And did I mention that he's already kissing girls?
(sorry for being in the way of this clip. I didn't know Elle was filming.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Matchy Matchy Squared!

Sometimes you can tell that I dressed Creed and sometimes you can tell that he's certainly Larry's child.

Old School Vans with skulls on them

And Matching sock monkey pajamas
Thanks Del, Tina, Matt, Keri, and Jack. Creed loves his gifts!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

So many things to do . . .

When I was in elementary school I remember a man visiting our school and telling us about about how he had accomplished everything thing on his list of 100 things he wanted to do in his life. I specifically remember him talking about skydiving and visiting Thailand and being in awe of him. I've thought about that list several times since then, but I've never put together my own. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of these lists this year inspired by the movie Bucket List coming out. I'm still not sure of all the personal achievements that I would put on my list, but I have started thinking about some things that I would love to see on our travels. You may laugh at a few of these, but here's my list so far.

Attend the National Book Festival
Spend Thanksgiving in Plymouth
Visit Holland during tulip season
See Punxatawny Phil on Groundhog’s Day (this year may be our last chance and Larry has to work!)
Visit the Eric Carle Museum
Moonlit tram ride at Sundance
Visit Louisa May Alcott’s home
See The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze in Sleepy Hollow
Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach – Tickets on sale now for August’s event
See a movie at the Sundance film festival
Hermitage Museum in Russia
Watch the Haka while in New Zealand
Ride a gondola in Venice
Thrust my hand in La Bocca della Verità, the mouth of truth, in Rome.
Watch the bats come out while visiting Keri, Mat, & Jack in Austin, TX
Tour the Whitehouse
Attend my own book signing (I guess I would need to write a book first)
Eat a cupcake at the Magnolia Bakery
Spend a day in Central Park
Watch a taping of Martha Stewart
Cruise to Alaska
Attend the Dublin Fringe Festival and see all the plays that we can
Visit the Harry Potter Theme Park after it opens
Get burgers and shakes at Hodad's
Spend time in the Guggenheim

I think that we better get started on some of things things because you never know when thing may chance and you won't have the opportunity anymore. For example, I used to want to visit the fairy homes on Monhegan Island, Maine, but now the fairy homes are discouraged due to ecological concerns.

Larry and I aren't very far along in life, and we've been living on a pretty tight budget during his med school days, but we've had the opportunity to do some really amazing things. So far we've:

Climbed Chichen Itza
Hung out in Las Vegas casinos
Watched a Broadway show in New York
Sprayed by the mist of Niagara Falls
Watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (Steph)
Spelunked in Mammoth Caves
Watched the Eiffel Tower light up (Steph)
Explored the Smithsonian Museums in DC
Looked over Chicago from the top of the Sears Tower
Walked around Disneyland Wearing Mickey Ears
Sat in on a taping of David Letterman
Followed Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin's footsteps while exploring the Freedom Trail
Toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water
Smiled at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre (Steph)
Looked at art hand in hand at the Getty Museum
Sang Karaoke and ate sushi in Japan (Steph)
Been totally perplexed during a Canadian Football game in Toronto
Looked down from the CN Tower, the world’s highest observation deck
Held crocodiles in Crococun
Cruised the Caribean and spent Christmas in Jamaica
Debated over Pat’s and Gino's the original cheese steaks and looked at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
Viewed the Christmas lights at Temple Square
Admired the Golden Gate Bridge
Ate a hot Brown in Louisville
Cheered for the National Championship college football team (Go bucks!)
Looked up at Daibustu in Kamakura, Japan (Steph)
Got knocked over by an elephant in Thailand (Larry)
Went on a two year service mission (Larry)
Shopped at Harrod’s (Steph)
Visited Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and the Bronte sister’s homes (steph)
Walked among the graves at Normandy (Steph)
Gorged ourselves on pumpkin food at the Circleville Pumpkin Show
Seen the Christmas displays on Fifth Avenue in NY
Watched the night show at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Watched surfing competitions and ate Mostumotos shaved Ice on the North Shore of Oahu (Steph)
Spent a few days backpacking in Grandstaircase National Monument (Steph)
Watched Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone
Snorkled in the Grand Turk
Played in the water of Hana, Maui
Rode the crazy roller coasters at Cedar Point
Stayed in an Art deco hotel in Southbeach, Miami
Went fresh-water cave diving in Mexico (Steph)

So what would you put on your list?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Homemade Christmas Project #5, Christmas Cards

I love making my own Christmas cards, but I always feel a little bit of pressure to turn out something cool so people don't look at my cards and think, "Isn't she supposed to be a graphic designer? Hmmmmmm . . ." I was so busy with clients cards this year, I almost forgot about my own, but I love how it turned out. It was a bit labor intensive so thanks Larry and Eva for your help! I couldn't decide on just one picture so I tried to come up with something that could fit a lot of pictures without being too, "Look how awesome my baby is!" so it had a rhinestone brad in the middle which allowed the wheel to turn and you could see these pictures below.
I borrowed the Christmas tree and swirl on the front from some free gift tag downloads from Rhonna Farrer, which you can find here. I just altered them a little bit.

Homemade Christmas Project #4, Cupcake Pincushions

I love the cupcake pincushions that Betz White sells in her Etsy shop. Her blog is one of my favorite craft blogs to check in on so I was really excited to hear that her book was coming out and the Cupcake Pincushion pattern is in it. I headed to my local thrift shop and picked up some wool sweaters to felt and got so excited that I actually ended up starting this project before I got the book so my pincushions turned out a little bit different than her directions.

If your going to felt some old clothing, some pointers that I learned about felting from her book that I didn't read in my online research are:
  • The sweaters must be at least 80% wool, and the other 20% must be a natural fiber. One of the sweaters that I tried was 80% wool but the rest of it was synthetic and it did not felt.
  • Even some 100% wool sweaters will not felt. Read the care labels and the more specific they are (ie-hand wash, lay flat to dry, or dry clean only) the more likely they will be to felt. Also the finer gauge knit, the better.
I sewed the bottom of the cupcake "paper" instead of gluing it so I didn't have any raw edges so none of the wool actually needed to be felted anyway, and heavy sweater could have worked. The top picture is my first attempt and the bottom picture was my second. I definitely improved over time.
You can get the directions for the cupcakes in Betz's book, Warm Fuzzies. I used directions from her appearance on Martha Stewart to make the "whipped topping". She made really cute teacup pincushions on the show that you might also want to check out.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Peek into my reality that may scare you a tad!

So Larry and I are slowly working through the house, cleaning things out so the move this summer won't be quite as overwhelming, and I worked on my closet this week. I keep walking in my closet and thinking, "How can I own so much clothing and have absolutely nothing cute to wear!" I'm beginning to think that having a huge walk-in closet might be bad for me because I had some really awful clothing in there that I thought I got rid of ages ago! Yikes! Since our donations are being picked up in the morning, this is my last chance to air some of my dirty laundry (literally!) Proceed with caution and get ready to mock me.
Let us start off with the sparkly sequin purse: What was I thinking?I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad that the purse still has a tag on it; on one hand, I wasted money on something I never even used, but on the other, it means I never stepped out of the house with that monstrosity on my arm.
There were also sorts of really awful shoes. Remember these Chels? No, I wasn't holding onto them in case I someday need to dress as a pimp! These were only left in my closet because every time I go to throw them out, Larry says he loves them. This is where you can insert your support that they need to be sent far, far away. Maybe I need to mail them to Steve Madden with a little note that says something like, "Your past is back to haunt you!" No, that would be to cruel, huh? Or maybe I should hold onto them for days I need to get things off of high shelves? Oh, and let's not forget this lovely polyester blouse. At least I can say I just picked this up for my Dolores Umbridge Halloween costume, and now I am happy to release it back into the wild.

All of these beauties and more are waiting on my porch right now, and they could be yours if you make it there before the charity that's picking them up. This could be your lucky day!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wanna come visit me or go somewhere fun?

Skybus is having some great New Year's deals. You can fly on a lot of their January and February flight for $20 each way. It's killing me that Larry has no time off for the next two months because who doesn't need to go to San Francisco or Seattle for $20?

New Years Eve

We had a really great New Years Eve. Even though Larry worked overnight, he still spent the rest of the day celebrating with us. We spent the afternoon with the Hudsons. Nikki and I went shopping while David and Larry took the kids to play at COSI. Nikki and I had quite the interesting experience and picked up some really cute clothes and The Emperor's Newest Clothes. Then we all met back up to eat at the North Market. Jeni's has some really good flavors right now so you should stop by one of their locations if you get a chance. Larry Loved his Creme Fraiche with Amarena Cherries and I enjoyed my spiceberry ice cream (I guess spiceberry is a local berry described and Appalachian nutmeg. Who knew?) Then later that night the Rice's came over for a relaxed New Year's Eve at our house. We celebrated with Mama Mimi's pizza and sparkling grape juice while we watched Bourne Ultimatum (which I also recommend). It was the perfect opportunity to pull out the wine glasses that we received as a wedding present that have been sitting in a box ever since (Who thought we needed wine glasses?)

Now I'm working on some new goals for the new year. What are your resolutions?