Thursday, July 21, 2011

So many mini-milestones...

I don't know if it's the pregnancy hormones, the fact that our second son will be here soon (only 2 months left!) or I'm just that sentimental but it just seems that our little peanut is growing up so fast. I can remember how tiny he was just a mere 9 months ago weighing in at 7lbs (he was 7lbs 8oz when he was born but they always lose weight the first few days).  It is hard to beleive he will be 9 months old tomorrow. (Happy Birthday Peanut!) Now he's over 20 lbs and learning so much so fast. For example...
Just 2 months ago:
  • still figuring out the whole rolling over thing. He is pretty chunky and would rather fuss if he got stuck than actually make the effort to roll over on his own
  • would flop backwards sometimes and bonk his head on the floor. That really hurt his feelings!
  • wasn't so sure about textures of different foods. He was pretty stuck on liquid baby food that he could just swallow easily. And if you gave him any solid he just played with it or would toss it off his tray.
  • liked the idea of drinking out of a "big" cup but it mostly just ran down his front and he liked sticking his hands in it more, especially if it had ice in it
Peanut (AKA Charlie) at 7 mos

Just 1 month ago:
  • figured out how to roll over and really liked being on his belly. Even started pushing up but got tired easily
  • D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C about food texture. Stick a chunk of soft food on his lip and he'd dry heave and throw up until it was off. Got to the point he wouldn't even open his mouth unless he could inspect the spoon to ensure it didn't have any visible chunks on it. If it did, he'd push it away and clamp those little lips down tight. Waay too much drama for this mama and it sent daddy in to orbit when he'd be so dramatic (very scary for daddy to watch him dry heave). But we I kept trying...afterall you have to learn some day.
  • And we have a WINNER! Graham Crackers were the ticket...eventually
  • favorite part of meal time - the sip of water at the end in his "big" cup (still wouldn't touch a sippy cup). Most of it went down his front but we learned to actually sip some too.
Peanut at 8 mos

Just in the last 2 weeks:
  • realized that texture wasn't so bad if you just chewed gummed it in to submission (no teeth yet so "chewing" is more like gumming) so that opened a whole new world
  • Graham Crackers are still a favorite but we're willing to try chunky baby food and other table food within reason. Won't get all crazy and try anything but we'll try some things.
  • began rolling and pushing in order to wiggle around to new places, but we still don't go very far
  • can twist and turn and reach while sitting up with very few flops forward or backwards (i.e. face plants in to the floor)
Just this week:
  • pushed himself all the way around the couch on the hardwoods to the front door. I about panicked when I couldn't find him and then heard him talking and he was across the room! We aren't crawling yet but we're figuring out if we push and wiggle, we can go backwards. Uh oh. I'm sure he'll figure out crawling right around the time I'm 9 months pregnant or just had the c-section and can't chase him around!
  • decided that if he can't feed it to himself, he doesn't want it. Refuses to let you feed him unless you can sneak in a bite or two between handfuls of food he's shoving in. Do you know how hard it is to find food for a baby who has no teeth and can't really chew yet? Let me just tell you, there aren't tons of options.
splish splash! bath time (last weekend)

playing on the table at the pool

So little peanut is just growing and developing so fast. I just can't believe it some days! And to think we have baby Cole who will be here in just 8.5 more weeks. He'll be so little compared to his big brother. I'm having a hard time remembering those little days already. Of course Daniel will be entering his nervous dad stage. The first 4 months always stress him the most because they are so little and vulnerable. And me? Yep, I'm a little stressed about those sleepless nights AND chasing around an 11 month old. But so many other couples make it, so I'm sure we will too. Irish Twins - here we come! God has such a funny sense of humor. OK, I'll stop with the sentiments and the least for now.

How about you? Do you have moments where you just can't believe how fast time has flown? Any good suggestions on finger foods that mush very, very easily?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweet as a Georgia Peach

I love this time of year when you can get so many yummy fruits and veggies for great prices at the grocery stores and farmers market. It gives me an excuse to try new recipes and experiment.

As you recall, I made a yummy blackberry cobbler not long ago (see here) to which my hubby was quite skeptical...until he tasted it. I think I may have gotten 2 servings from the last one I made only because I threatened him and made him feel guilty for stealing from his pregnant wife. So when the new Southern Living came out and the topic was peaches, I couldn't wait to see the recipes. Here's a delicious peach pie recipe that I adapted from the July 2011 issue.

Peach Pie

2 ready made pie crusts (I prefer Pilsbury)
8 large fresh, firm, ripe peaches (be sure they aren't overly ripe and mushy or they will be too juicy for the pie)
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 Tbsp
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut in to pieces

Preheat oven to 425. Place one pie crust in pie pan. Peel peaches then cut in to large bite size pieces. Add brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix until peaches are thoroughly covered. Add to pie crust immediately. If you make ahead, the peaches will become too juicy. Cover with butter pieces then top with other pie crust. Be sure you seal the edges really well by crimping/pinching tight. Sprinkle the top with the 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar. Cut 4-5 steam vents in the top of the pie. Freeze the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put a pan in the oven to heat for 10-15 minutes. Place the pie on the hot pan and bake in the lower rack for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 40 minutes. Then cover the pie with aluminum foil so it won't brown too much and bake another 25 minutes. Don't worry if the juices bubble through the top of the pie, this is normal. Cool for 1-2 hours.

It's important to put the pie on a pan when you bake it because the juices will overflow and trust me, cleaning up peach juice and baked sugar off your oven is not fun or easy! (and no, I didn't do skip this step thankfully)

I think this is best served with vanilla ice cream and slightly warm. Yum!

Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wreath...take two...and how-to

Today was the realtor open house. Good feedback thankfully, just not exactly a "hot" location for the Columbia market right now. Boo hiss. So in preparation, last night I'm scurrying around trying to get everything cleaned up...again. How is it possible to get so dirty so fast!? Oh wait...that's right, I have a husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a baby. 

Anywhoozle, once most of that was done, or at least the part I could do the night before, I found myself looking around for any last minute updates. I have a pretty critical eye so I was fluffing pillows and making sure tabletops were organized correctly. Then it hit me. I never got around to making my front door wreath. The outside looked so pretty thanks to my hubby's hard work over the weekend but the door was naked. Eeegads!

Here's a picture of the naked door. Don't worry, this is a G rated blog.

And no, I haven't gotten around to removing the ivy poop yet. I keep hoping it's going to magically disappear but no luck yet.

So off I went to pull out my craft items. I had gotten some things at our local Hobby Lobby a while back but just never got around to it. And honestly, mostly because it was a theory on what I wanted to create more than anything so I had a mental block about starting the project.

You'll remember from this post that I tried a wreath from the internet and it was a big fat whopping failure. Been searching ever since. My ever so creative friend, Melissa, posted a wreath she created from burlap and fabric a while back. And another friend, Thersa, who is an artist, suggested I use moss for a wreath, which I love. So I decided to combine the two ideas. Keep in mind this was all done in my head, which can sometimes be a scary place, especially when it comes to design. And yes, instead of daydreaming, I typically design dream (make designs ideas up, rearrange furniture, etc...all in my little head)

Here are the materials you'll need:
  1. 2-3 bags of Moss, depending on the size of your wreath and type of moss - I used a new sheet moss. Easier to use in some ways since it was held together by a flexible sheet but not always easy when it comes to wrapping around a circular wreath form. So any type of moss will do as long as it's the color you like.
  2. Wreath form - I bought an inexpensive foam one to use
  3. Small amount of fabric - scrap fabric is cheap and easy if you can find the pattern you like
  4. Ribbon
  5. Hot glue and glue gun
  6. Large tacks or upholstery tacks

I chose a funky fabric in pink because our outside flowers and birdhouse are pink. Girly but hey, when Daniel starts making wreaths then he can pick the fabric.

First I covered the entire wreath form in the moss. Don't be intimidated by it. Just hot glue chunks of the moss one section at a time. And don't forget to do both sides if you have a glass front door. You don't want to see foam from the inside! Perfection isn't as important but it does need to look "clean."

Next I cut out circles from the fabric. I used a wine glass top and drew on the back of the fabric then cut them out. Now in my head I was supposed to cut out enough to cover a good portion of the wreath. In reality, after getting more tired by the minute and realizing how much of a mess I was making that I would now have to clean up, I cut out like 8-10. Kudos to you Melissa for cutting out as many as you did for your wreath!

Once those were cut out, I simply tacked them on to the wreath in a bunch. I used extra large silver tacks I found in the craft section of Hobby Lobby...or was it the sewing section...I lose track in that store so easily since I tend to wander. Seriously, all you have to do is push the tacks in to the center of the fabric and it naturally bunches to make it look like a flower. And to finish it off, I used 3 types of ribbon to make a bow. I used 3 types so it would add texture and volume.

Part way through the process, when I realized I totally didn't have the energy to cut out all those circles, I stopped taking pictures. That's when I decided to use 3 types of ribbon to make it fuller. I wasn't so sure how it was going to turn out but when I woke up this morning, I realized I liked it alot more than I thought I would.

And here's a picture of it from the outside...

I may go back and add more flowers. I haven't decided yet. Overall it added just enough warmth to the door to make it feel finished and it matches with the pink flowers and birdhouse.

Try it! It's not complicated and can easily be coordinated with the outside of your house or any season. You can add multi-fabrics or just one. The sky's the limit with this design!

Send me pictures if you make one or if you have a variation of your own handmade wreath. I love getting new ideas! 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hearth - who goes there?

When we replaced the front door...oh say in 2009 since I can't really remember other than it was pre-baby peanut...I painted the front door black to match our shutters. I really wanted to paint it a fun color but our house color, hideous green, doesn't really lend itself to a fun color. If we decide to stay here another year or two, that will change too. Anywhoozle, I got a little happy while waiting for the front door to dry in between coats and slapped a coat on the bick exterior of our fireplace.

WAY old BEFORE picture before I got jiggy with the black paint:

And AFTER said jiggy-ness:

But the hearth was still not all that attractive. I had toyed with the idea of a do-it-yourself-tile-job but got scairt. I could just see me ripping it all out and then not being able to get it back down. The guys on HGTV make it look easy but lets face it. It's never that easy. So it's sat all it's beige splendor. Not.

Last week we decided to have a realtor open house THIS week (gulp). And I got a little holy-guacamole-what-projects-can-we-do-over-the-long-weekend crazy. Hubby loves when that happens. But I didn't want to spend alot of dough in the process so that brought the project list waaaaay down. This project came up on the list as an easy, quick and simple change that will make the fireplace look a little cleaner crisper and newer. It was as simple as adding some gloss black paint to the hearth and another on the surround. I chose gloss because I thought it might be easier to clean in the long run, although semi-gloss would probably also work. Taping around the edges so as not to get it on the floors (although it's latex so it comes off easily) and 2 quick coats and that was it. I was sure to clean it  with Greenworks before applying the paint but there was no other prep work.

If I didn't have a big black TV over the mantel (not a fan but I chose another battle to fight in the adventure called marriage) and a big black armoire beside it, I'd paint the mantel black too or at least something other than white. But for now, the black hearth and surround looks much better and cleaner (well assuming I can keep the dog hair to a minimum).

Bring on the buyers! (pleeeeeeease!)

Let it shine!

Coming Soon to a computer near you: A sad post. We have a very pretty but rotting sycamore tree that must come down (assuming we don't sell our house in the next 30-45 days, hence the "coming soon" comment) But more on that later.

In the meantime, we had a medium size red-tip tree cut down. That sucker was blocking our ability to get back to the backyard AND it was blocking some of the sun to our garden. While I'm not a fan of cutting down tress (as you can tell by the intro of this post), there are some instances where it's OK.

Now I technically could have cut this down myself with a chainsaw. But we don't have one. I explained that to our friends at Sox and Freeman Tree Service but his prompt reply (he's a friend of ours) was "I know you are a strong woman but you have no business owning a chainsaw!" What!? Think I might be a little dangerous with one? Probably.

BEFORE said tree removal:

Do you even see the gate? Nope. And see how the guy is leaning? That's how we had to squeeze around the tree to get to the backyard.

And here it is AFTER:

Much better! Now the garden can have light and we can make it to the backyard minus any neck or head injuries. Another easy little update that makes life so much easier. OK, maybe not life - that's a little dramatic - but it does make accessing part of our yard easier.

So back to the sycamore tree...any suggestions on what to do with the stump that will remain? I'm toying with having them leave part of it so that I can use it for something like a place to hold a bird squirrel feeder, bird bath or plants? Have you done anything similar and can share some suggestions?

Area in question:
In case you can't read the labels - the Sycamore is the one on the right that has to come down