Sunday, September 26, 2010

Empty handed

I'm feeling empty handed tonight.

It happens whenever the conversation turns to child rearing or the news that someone is pregnant. And tonight, it hit me, like it does every so often, that my baby didn't make it. I'd like to say I have been doing much better with the whole acceptance thing and even subscribing to the " This is just the way our life is. This is something we have to deal with and keep on trying." Of course there is no rhyme or reason for why bad things happen to good people. We surely didn't deserve to go through the loss of a child..but it happened anyways, and well, it is now most definitely OUR life and our reality.

I struggle most with the "what should have been" thoughts and feeling at times, like something was taken from me. I wish I could seperate those feeling from what I know to be true, and that's that there was no guarantee that we'd bring a baby home, so I have no right to act like she was "taken" from us. She simply was not ours to keep.

Instead, she provided me with a glimpse of motherhood...and what it feels like to carry a living being. She ended up teaching me a brutal lesson in life, which I sorta already thought I had learned..but again, I was shown that "Life is unpredictable"

I understand that life is unpredictable, but why do I feel like the only woman who will never be certain she will one day make it through 9 months of pregnancy and have a healthy living baby?

Afternoon Project: Christmas Tree Skirt

The weather man warned us that we would see triple digits this weekend, but I was skeptical. He was right, I was wrong. Our truck read 101 degrees at noon today. What better reason to stay inside, pull out the sewing machine, turn on some football ( GOOOO Steelers 3 and 0 now!) and do an afternoon project. And, while we're at it, why not make it a Christmas project?

So, that's exactly what I did. I found a super duper cute pattern over at Sew4home.

I love the Heather Bailey prints that she used, however, I am on a budget, and can't afford to fork out $10/yd for those prints. Instead, I used JoAnn's Christmas fabric which was on sale for 30% off today. Although you can go to Sew4Home's website and follow their step-by-step instructions, I made some simplfications to my pattern ( omitted using bias tape-this saving $$$ and time).

You will need:

  • 5/8 yd. of 4 coordinating fabrics or 3/4 yd of 8 coordinating fabrics

  • 1 1/2 yd. of 46"wide muslin ( I pieced scraps of 1 1/2 yd of 36"wide muslin together)

  • scissors

  • sewing machine with a straight stitch

  • thread

  • measuring stick

  • 26x26 paper to make a pattern

  • pins

  • marking pencil

  • string

INSTRUCTIONS ( sort of...go to Sew4home for really good directions)

  1. Pick out fabric. I used 5/8yd of 4 coordinating fabrics to keep cost down. 2. To make pattern piece. Follow diagram below. Photo credit: Sew4home.

3. Fold 5/8yd fabric in half. Lay pattern piece and pin. Cut. Repeat for remaining 4 fabrics.

4. Arrange your wedges into an appealing pattern.
5. Sew each wedge to the one next to it. Leave the last wedge unsewn. Press seams open.

6. Lay the completed 8 wedges right side down over your 46" square of right side up muslin ( again, I had to piece muslin together to make a square). Smooth out both upper and lower fabric pieces and pin. Cut muslin using the skirt as a guide. Sew around perimeter, remove pins and turn right side out.

7. Press perimeter of skirt and pin so that muslin does not peek out under the print fabric. Sew a strightstitch around perimeter of the skirt. There will be raw edges left open on two of your wedges. Turn them under, pin and press. Sew with a strightstitch.

8. Using a 6" circle ( I used a pot lid), center it over skirt, trace and cut around guide. Turn each raw edge under and pin. Sew with a straightstitch.

9. Remove all remaining pins and press. There you go. A Christmas Tree skirt for under $20.

Do you think September is too early to get a tree? I can't wait to see it wrapped around ours this year!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Handmade tortillas

Being native Southern Californians, NZ and I have a thing for real mexican food. Not like El Torito, Chevy's or Taco Bell (although we do partake in the TBell drive through a few times a month), but real-deal authentic mexican food. The kind you get from the family owned, mom and pop, hole in the wall joints. Sometimes, it may not be a storefront, but instead a taco truck on wheels..They may or may not have a valid food license...but that's besides the point.

My most recent adventure in trying to make mexican food from scratch (note, not canned or packaged), was a complete success, although I ended up eating pinto beans for lunch AND dinner for 2 weeks straight. I just finished off the last of them for lunch today. Next time I will make sure I only soak half a bag of pinto beans at a time to limit the amount of pinto bean meals to a normal amount of servings.

Tonight, I made tortillas.

I confess, this was not my first attempt. I have made them in the past, and between you and me, I think it's partially to blame for NZ falling in love with me way back when. You see, about 6 months after we met, I quit my job as a teacher, and became a nanny for two families, which also allowed for me to be a somewhat stay-at-home girlfriend. In that stay-at-home-and-play-soccer-mom-to-someone-elses-kids time, I also started cooking for NZ, and experimenting in the kitchen with cheap, healthy alternatives to storebought. Amongst my discoveries was a recipe for flour tortillas. AWESOME.

{Handmade Tortillas}

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 c warm milk (water can also be substituted)

Using my Kitchenaid Mixer with the paddle attatchment
(Look at me cheating..I just hate kneading!)

1. Pour all ingredients in the mixing bowl, except the milk.

2. Turn mixer on slow, and slowly add the milk.

3. A sticky ball will form

4. Mix for 2-3 minutes, then cover bowl with saran wrap for 30 minutes

5. Break dough into 5-6 sections

6. Roll out each dough ball onto a well floured surface until it is translucent

7. In a dry skillet, cook each tortilla about 30 seconds per side.
(The tortillas will bubble up when it's time to flip them)

8. Keep tortillas wrapped in a dishtowel until ready to eat

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Twinkie love

You know those people who you meet, and right away, you pick out some super fancy pedestal and put them on it? Only to watch them fall off it right in front of your eyes, as you learn more about the person they really are?

Once upon a time, wayyyy back in December 2002, I picked out a pedestal for this bartender I met. I put him on it right away, and was expecting, like everyone else I had ever put on a pedestal, that something he would do or say would send him tumbling off of it....and my life would go back to normal, and I would be forever single because Dammit, there are no Twinkies out there! My college friend and I were forever looking for the guy version of a Twinkie, because Twinkies, as we all know, have a forever shelf life, and never go bad. Leave it to us, to come up with that analogy, but that's how our 24 year old brains worked.
But instead of falling off that pedestal, he continually secured his place on it, and four years ago, today, we said " I do" and I couldn't be a luckier girl. Not only did I find my Twinkie, but he has been more than I could ever ask for in a husband. In a world where marriages are considered disposable, it's nice to have someone who is willing to put the work into making sure we grow stronger together despite any adversity we've encountered. He never ceases to amaze me, and I am so proud to be his wife.

So, to celebrate my sunshine, and everything he's added to our life together, here's a slew of photos over the years.

{2003 Country In the Park}

{2004 Fishing in Santa Barbara}

{2005 Good timin' vacation}

{September 23, 2006 " i do"}

{2007 Disneyland}

{2008 Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, Australia}

{2009 Parents-to-be}

{2010 Ring'n in the New Year}

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY SUNSHINE! 4 years down, many more to come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

By golly, he's got it!

A while back, I made my three-year-old nephew a mini-memory game. I attempted to teach him how to play it about a month ago, and the whole taking turns concept was just not happening. It was "let's flip them all over and throw them up in the air"..Still fun, I'm sure, but definitely not what I had anticipated.Well, we tried to play again over this past weekend, and by golly, he's got it! It was awesome. We took turns flipping them over, 2 at a time, and he even found the first match! I think we must have played 10 rounds of it before calling it a night.
{ My big match of the night}

He noticed me taking pictures during our game , and when I finally got a match, he asked if he could take my picture like it was some big celebration that I actually matched something.

Final Score....Nephew: 5, Aunt B: 1

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Sissy!

{Mom's back porch all set up to enjoy a Bday BBQ}

{ Sis, Granny, Grams & me}
**Note: Anyone over 5'0" got their heads chopped off in the picture. Gramps had the camera aimed at our feet**

{Sissy LOVED my SB& NY wordart gift}

{ What does the Queen of Cupcakes get on her birthday?}

{Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream Pie, of course}
All in all, my weekend spent at my mom's in Santa Barbara was fantastic. I love my family and was so glad that we were able to pull it together and honor my sister for a day. She is the glue that holds my family together, and deserves to be appreciated more often.
Love you sis!
Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dixie Chicks & me

The Dixie Chicks & me have a long history together. Although we disagree on all things political, I adore their songs. I've had many " OMG this is my FAAA-VOR-ITE song(s)" from the chicks over the years. Some of my best memories are soundtracked by songs like "There's Your Trouble" , "Cowboy Take me Away" and "Some Days you Gotta Dance". They've been there for me in tough times too, with songs like " Hello Mr. Heartache"& " Cold day in July".

And whaddya know, I just found a soundtrack to my " life-as-I've-Known-it-for-the-past-3-years", and it happens to be a Dixie Chicks song, yet again. There is a wonderful non-profit group called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope ( FOLFOH) that I have blogged about before. It's a meeting ground for many women whose "life-as-they-know-it" is similar to my "life-as-I-know-it" and on that site, there is a list of songs that aim to help moms cope with life on the days when we miss our "should've beens". So the other day was one of those, and I went through the playlist and stumbled upon a submariner song from the Chicks called " So Hard".

Ten seconds into it, and I understood why it was listed. It got me wondering, did the any of the Dixie Chicks experience infant loss or infertility? The song was obviously written from someone who had been there. A quick search and I learned that the Maguire sisters were both familar with infertility and miscarriages, and the feelings of jealousy watching bandmate Natalie Maines get pregnant effortlessly. Here's the article from ABC news that I read....and having learned of their struggles, and seeing their beautiful children now, it makes me feel just a tad bit better knowing that none of this stuff discriminates. Rich, poor, thin, fat, intelligent, ignorant, famous, wallflower, black, white, young, old, healthy, can happen to anyone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's a wrap

I found a new use for wrapping paper today.
With the help of a little ModPoge and a foam brush, I transformed some green damask wrapping paper I scored after the holiday's last year for 10 cents a roll on clearance at CVS into water proof shelving liners. I have been holding onto it to use to wrap this years gifts, but considering I have 3 rolls, and this project barely used 9 sq. feet of it, I've still got plenty.

With my little one-day project, I freshened up our tired looking shelves in the guest bathroom.
1. measure out width, length and depth of shelves and cut paper accordingly.
2. Rinse shelves with warm soapy water, then dry.
3. Apply layer of Modgepoge to the shelf itself
4. carefully lay paper over it and smooth out any bubbles
5. Allow to dry 3-4 hours
6. brush a thin coat of Modgepoge over the top of the wrapping paper and allow to dry another 3-4 hours*.
*If desired, another coat can be applied. I used only one coat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Besties Birthdays

Over Labor Day weekend, two of my girlfriends from my college years at UCDavis came to visit me. We've attempted to re-unite at least once a year since graduating 11 years ago.

It just so happens that labor day weekend falls between their birthdays, so I made a cake for them to share. I made the owls from marshmallow fondant, a few circle cutters and the letter "V" cutter from my alpha set. Super easy to make and cute to boot!

We had a relaxing weekend complete with a sunburnt butts from laying too long on one side at the beach, a few dinners out, shopping and a couple of P90x workouts ...Oh and we can't forget..we ate cake.. CAKE is good!

Happy Birthday(s) to a couple of my besties,

Ma'am and Miss Jen!