Ultimate House Project List

Classes are over. Energy is awesome. Big trips during the summer are complete. Where does that leave me? Project time!!

At the end of last week I wandered around the house, going room by room, making a GIANT list of everything I’d like to change/update/fix. Then I sat down and made one for all the stuff I have to do to get ready for baby. It’s a long list.

Living Room

  • Glue wobbly shoe rack
  • Get new throw pillows (Lighter ones)
  • Slip covers? (for the ridiculously oversize couch/chair)
  • De-catfur the cat blankets
  • New coffee table/end tables
  • New TV stand
  • Centerpiece for coffee table
  • Personal pictures up

Kitchen

  • Seating for nook
  • Curtains
  • Wall decor
  • Kitchen Island?
  • Reorganize bookshelves/filing cabinet

Utility Closet

  • Reorganize shelves/storage

Guest Room/Nursery

  • Get rid of bar chairs (currently being used as night tables)
  • Get rid of rug
  • Clean out closet
  • Swap bed
  • Paint walls
  • Relocate chess table
  • Get rid of TV
  • Fix window cord
  • Buy crib
  • Buy dresser
  • Buy kid rug
  • Relocate fancy Egyptian prints
  • Buy/make kid decor
  • Figure out rocking chair situation

Upstairs

  • Organize upstairs storage closet
  • Buy a toilet shelving unit
  • Personal pics in bedroom
  • Pics up in stairwell
  • Organize makeup

20140723-215540-78940592.jpgAs I said…a long list. Much of the stuff requires me to be buying new stuff, which we’re not really in a position to do right now. But what I can be doing, and SHOULD be doing is cleaning out all the crud we don’t need anymore. Like the guest bedroom closet that was full of boxes still unpacked from when we moved in as well as boxes of miscellaneous craft stuff. Since the guest bedroom has the longest way to go before it becomes what we need it to be, I ended up starting there.

20140723-215538-78938815.jpgFirst step – removing all the junk from the closet. My goal is to get a big Salvation Army pickup within the next week, so I need it all out so I can make my itemized donation list. Unfortunately for my living room, all those boxes just got relocated to my entry way area. Hopefully not for too long! One of the boxes held my old (circa 2002) desktop computer. I still need to fire that baby up and wipe all the drives before it’s good to go.

Once the closet was empty, I moved in the bookcase that had been sitting in the guestroom not holding books. All of our books are in our living room so this bookcase wasn’t the best use of storage. Instead, I loaded it up with all of my random craft supplies that have been stuck in a giant plastic tub for the past few years. It’s not exactly pinterest-worthy craft storage, but it will do for now.

20140723-215539-78939706.jpgAs for the rest of the room – it needs some serious work. The uber-large, broken TV that was in the corner is now on the curb waiting for a craigslist buyer to come pick it up. Painters are coming next week to fix all the horrific moisture damage that happened from this past winter. My goal is to have all the extraneous non-nursery related stuff out of there by mid-August to make way for all the baby stuff that’s bound to start showing up here.

 

 

 

Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) Rewind: Mixed Berry Cobbler

cobbler

Last weekend we had a few friends over the a cookout. Our general policy is that we handle the main dish and dessert while our guests bring over sides/drinks. It seems to work well. But, that also meant that I had to come up with a dessert to present to our guests. Not having baked anything in awhile, I wasn’t really craving anything too complicated. Since it’s the summer I wanted to incorporate berries somehow, but no pie crusts and tart doughs or things that required multiple bowls and steps and lots of in between resting/chilling whatever time. I debated between pound cake and cobbler, but ultimately cobbler won out.
The recipe for Cobbler in Dorie’s Baking cook book looked simple enough and seemed similar to the type of cobbler I’m used 20140722-204238-74558488.jpgto. Some of the southern reviewers of the recipe balked, saying that cobbler should feature dough mixed in around the fruit but despite technically being a Southerner, homie don’t play that. The cobblers with which I grew up consisted of fruit filling on the bottom with blobs of biscuit/dumpling dough on top. The coolest (heh) part of the recipe was that you could use frozen berries if you wanted to make things easier. I like easier. Even though I picked this recipe to highlight fruits that were already in season, I opted to use up some of my frozen fruit stores. That’s right.
The first step in the cobbler is to make the dough. A standard combo of flour, sugar, egg, and cream is squished together into something resembling a sticky dough. I always love this part because I feel like a kid playing in the sand, squishing my fingers into the dough so it squirts through the gaps. I did add a little more sugar than what the recipe called for based on some reviews of the dough part being bland. 20140722-204318-74598397.jpgThe recipe for the dough was almost identical to the one used in strawberry shortcake, which is definitely more biscuit-like than cakey, so I sweetened things up.
For the berries, I used a combo of blueberries, blackberries and a small handful of raspberries and peaches. To this I added lemon juice, corn starch, cinnamon, and some sugar. This goes into a deep dish pie pan or whatever you happen to have (I had a 9×13). The recipe instructs you to roll out the dough onto the berries but that ain’t my jam. I just drop little blobs of the dough all over the berries until everything was pretty well covered. Doesn’t it kind of resemble a cobblestone path? No? Well whatever.
20140722-204319-74599315.jpgThe whole contraption gets baked for a solid hour or until the top is crispy and light brown.
The results? Ehhhhh. It was a good. A solid good even. It definitely tasted best warm with a scoop of whipped cream or ice cream on the side but also was decent the following day as a makeshift breakfast. But here’s the thing. It didn’t WOW me. And granted, I can’t remember ever being wowed by a cobbler, so perhaps my taste buds are a little biased. It’s just so…. Simple? Cobbler sans ice creamThere’s no magical dance of flavors and textures that show up in truly magical desserts. It was just warm fruit with some sweet biscuity-cake on too. Now that I think of it, it’s basically just the warmed up version of strawberry shortcake. Both are good. I’d probably make both again if the conditions called for it, but they won’t win any state fairs. I should add that generally I’m more partial to crisps over cobblers anyway. It’s that cinnamony-oatmeal-cookie esque top that gets me every time. I love me some oatmeal cookies (minus the raisins of course). NOM. Sorry. Digressing. Anyway, that’s my cobbler story. Not fantastic, but not untasty either. A solid B in the grade book.

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 22, 23, 24

20140718-092224-33744735.jpgCan’t believe it’s been three weeks since I last posted an update, but at least I’ve been dutifully taking my picture each week! Is it just me, or is my stomach shrinking?

Baby size: My apps have been letting me down. Week 22 I was at a spaghetti squash. That seemed to make sense. Then week 23 it went to a pomegranate. Uh, Say what now? Since when is a pomegranate bigger than a spaghetti squash? This week, Week 24, I’m supposed at a grapefruit/ear of corn. None of those sound good to me, so I’m sticking with squash until I get something better, like a melon or something. Squash weighs in at 20140718-092225-33745336.jpgabout 1.4lbs and around a foot long. The ultrasound measured squash at 18cm, which is only something like 7in, but squash was folded in half…so tough to say.

Weight gain: 6lbs. At one point I went up closer to 10lbs, but as of this morning I was back down to only a 6lb gain. I still have not surpassed my highest non-pregnancy weight… :/
Measurements: waist 33″, belly 39.5″. NO CHANGE. What the heck?!?
Maternity clothes: Yep. Stretchy dresses/skirts/running shorts for the win. Perhaps once it’s the fall I’ll break down and get some maternity pants, but I’m good for now.
How are you feeling?: Pretty good. Going strong. No major complaints
Movement: OH YEAH. Squash is wiggling around in the daily now. My husband even got to feel a couple of bumps. It’s still very light. Through the skin it’s no strong than what your pulse feels like at your neck, just more random. It kind of tickles…
Gender: KNOWN!! Another post to follow…so I can post the ultrasound pics and what not :D
Belly button: In, no change. I also don’t have the “linea nigra” yet. Not upset about that one at all.
Sleep: Improving. I stole some pillows from our guest bed and having a mound seems to help. I can still sleep on my stomach provided I half roll onto my side and prop a knee up with a pillow. My pillow count is up to…6?
Food cravings/aversions: My cravings tend to lean more towards carby/starchy/sweet things. But then that was true pre-pregnancy too. I served steak this week for dinner and I wasn’t too into that. I ate it, but I was my excited by the slice of bread that went with it.
Other symptoms: hormones galore! I have cried/sobbed more in the past few weeks than I have since….my teenage years? My last major break up? I don’t know, but it’s been awhile. Granted, some more serious stuff happened too, but I definitely have been more apt to cry than I use to be.
Baby items purchased: none. BUT – I started my baby registry so I’ve been elbows deep in all sorts of crazy research. Latest registry addition: the sleepy sheep (stuffed animal that plays white noise) and the door-way jumper harness. 
Looking forward to: name brainstorms!

Hello July 2014

And by hello July, I mean, hello the second half of July. Where on earth have I been??

Well, to be fair to myself, I was finishing up my final project for school in the first couple of days of July followed by going out of town for the ten days after that, so it’s not like I’ve just been sitting around. Though I have done that too. I guess I don’t have much of an excuse. I just haven’t felt much like writing about stuff. Which is sad, because I know in a few years I’ll be kicking myself for not documenting MORE. I always hated when there were large gaps in my journal/diary growing up. Why couldn’t I be more diligent!! Growl. Oh well. Can’t change the past. So here I am.

So what’s new?

Well as implied earlier, school is finished for the time being. I am thankfully not taking any classes the second half of the summer and can use the time to re-center myself, prep for baby, etc. Summer classes, btw, SUCK. 12 weeks of material shoved into 6 weeks. No thanks. Never again. Unless I absolutely have to. And then maybe only one class.

I digress. I headed out west for the second time (the first time was to head to San Fran to visit a friend/go to a wedding) to visit my brother, SiL, and niece in Nevada. Both of my parents also made the trip so it was one big happy family reunion. With the added drama that comes with having family in close quarters for a few days. It’s just not natural I tell ya. But it was good seeing everyone again, and I re-affirmed my dislike for the American Southwest. The desert is just not for me. I need my trees. And grass. And water.

The niece, who turned one while I was out there, was in fine form. She refused to try any of her birthday cake and instead opted to just mash it around with her hands. I don’t blame her. My brother was over the moon as he fears raising a sugar demon. I’m sure that comes later.

Exercise and nutrition have not been going so well. My plank challenge of June lasted a wopping 2 days before I forgot about it. I tried a few sporadic youtube exercise video but never with any consistancy. I DID make it to the pool though and lap swimming felt great! I just wish it wasn’t $6/visit.

With school over I feel a renewed sense of wanting to just GET. STUFF. DONE. I made a huge list of house projects I’d like to start tackling, and while some are serious long-term projects, others I need to finish before the bambino shows up. Speaking of bambino, I don’t know if it was hanging out with a 1-year old, or having our latest ultrasound, but this shiz is getting real. I finally start my baby registry and realized just how little I know about…everything? So many choices! And so many opinions about so many choices! It’s daunting. I have a little basic checklist of stuff to add but find myself getting bogged down in “research” on what brand/version I should buy. But in picking out colors and designs of random stuff I think baby needs, baby is becoming ever so much more real. We know the gender now, but I don’t want to be locked into gender stereotype stuff. It’s ridiculous how many things cater to that mentality. Why can’t things just be cute? Why do things either have to be pink and princess-y or blue and full of cars. Why not blue flowers or pink cars? I end up gravitating towards the gender neutral stuff or prints with little animals all over it. I’m not about to force my kid in adopting certain colors just because of their gender. You gotta do you, little squash.

Moving on. So despite the fact that I haven’t been writing regularly, I did actually manage to kind of keep up with June’s goals. They were as follows:

1) FINISH THE BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT!! And get it framed…

Check!. It turned out really really well. I was scrambling to get everything finished, but the fam seemed impressed and little niece was intrigued by all the glittery polka dots I had painted on the frame. SUCCESS!

20140717-223405-81245138.jpg20140717-223404-81244208.jpg

20140717-223405-81245579.jpg2) I’m heading out to CA in June, so how about taking some awesome photos of the Bay area/wine country?

Check! Most of my good photos are on my fancy camera though, so that will have to be a separate post. I did make it to the golden gate, as well as alcatraz. my two hot spots. It was also crazy cold. Not something I was expecting, nor prepared for. DC heat shouldn’t beat CA heat!

3) Plan a creative gift for our FIRST ANNIVERSARY

I count check on this one since I went out and got that extra cake. Good enough. 

4) Go swimming. At least once.

Check! I’ve gone exactly one time. But it was wonderful. And I’d like to go again.20140717-223407-81247813.jpg

5) Buy some new outfits that will accommodate my growing form.

Oh man did I check this one off. I didn’t mean to. I managed to get a trip to Target in and bought a handful of maternity-esque stuff. An elongated tank top and a “belly band” which promised to hold my pants up since I can’t button them anymore. Then I ended up in Old Navy, and found stretchy skirts and soft, loose tops. And Then I ended up in NY&CO which had more stretchy soft loose stuff. So. I kind of bought a lot. I should be set for the summer and early fall. The month of October may prove challenging though…

20140717-223406-81246859.jpg

 

So, now that we’re halfway through July, it seems a little silly to make up new goals when I only have two weeks to finish them. So instead, I’ll just (hopefully) report back at the end of the month with anything new/exciting that’s changed. Deal.

Toodles!

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Updates: Weeks 20 & 21

20140629-230753.jpgBaby size: A banana last week and this week…a Carrot?? To put it into perspective though, the carrot is almost a full pound.
Weight gain: 6lbs. According to some tracker I should be between 10-15lbs. Maybe carrot is a slow grower…
Measurements: waist 33″, belly 39.5″.  All of my pants still fit but none of them button :( 
Maternity clothes: loving all the stretchy stuff I bought a couple weeks ago and wore my first official maternity dress to a wedding this weekend. SO comfortable.
How are you feeling?: feeling ok. I’m starting to feel a bit heavy and certain movements (light sitting upright or bending over) are becoming less comfortable
Movement: I think so! It’s hard to tell because my body has felt so alien and irregular these past couple of months that’s its difficult to tell what’s normal but I think I’ve identified some weird bubbles as possible kicks/elbow jabs.
Gender: Unknown. I lean towards boy. For zero reason.
Belly button: In, no change
Sleep: not great. Side sleeping wasn’t working so hot so I’ve taken to mounding a pile of piles and sleeping propped up on those. It kind of works but I toss and turn a lot.
Food cravings/aversions:<span style="color:#2d3433;" last week I ate a piece of raw broccoli that immediately sent me running to the sink to throw it up. This week I are some arugula that caused me to start dry heaving. No idea what that's about.
What I miss: drinking wine at weddings
Other symptoms: my hormones are still pretty wacky but nothing new there
Baby items purchased: nope, but I have been pinteresting some nursery designs
Looking forward to: gender reveal!

Pregnancy Update: Week 18+19

The past few days have been a flurry of activity so I apologize for not remaining on schedule with my updates. Although really…it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve posted??? Yeesh!

20140614-222615.jpgBaby size: A bell pepper last week and this week…a Mango!
Weight gain: 4lbs. We’re making progress. Although to put in context, my current preggo weight has not yet exceeded my highest non-preggo weight…
Measurements: waist 33″, belly 38″.  Small changes. I kind of wish I had taken more belly measurements in general as it’s weird where the “girth” is most affected. This week it was all below the belly button. 
Maternity clothes: As of today, at 19w2d, I bought some maternity stuff. I bought the belly band that’s used to help keep your normal pants up as well as a bunch of dresses in my normal size but are loose and stretchy
How are you feeling?: Pretty good. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I don’t feel as ravenous as I have been. I don’t pee as much as I had been. Things are just…normal.
Movement: Still not yet.
Gender: Unknown and ultrasound isn’t until mid-July! Wah!
Belly button: In, no change
Sleep: Good. I’ve taken to sleeping on my side as stomach sleeping has begun to get uncomfortable.
Food cravings/aversions: Nothing particularly weird. Cooked vegetables are beginning to sound palatable again, but now it’s hot out so I don’t really want hot foods in general.
What I miss: Being able to concentrate on stuff
Other symptoms: my attention span is pretty poor right now which is annoying and the hormones are definitely pumping. I cry on the reg over pretty minor things. It could be something like my husband joking he should trade me in for a newer model and I’ll immediately start to cry even if I know it’s a joke and he doesn’t mean it.
Baby items purchased: nope
Looking forward to: feeling movement! Come on little bump!

This pregnancy is simultaneously cruising and inching by. I feel both not pregnant at all and very pregnant. I definitely have a bit of a bump coming out, but depending on what i wear, the bump can be pretty easily hidden. I am not at the point where it’s super obvious I’m pregnant. Soon though!