Monday, March 29, 2010

Curling!

I wish I had learned to curl BEFORE the Olympics. A lot more would have made sense.

I LOVED Curling. I had an absolute blast, and think our entire group had fun. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We arrived a little before 9 on Saturday morning, paid our $10 fee, and were instructed to put on a bootie, which was essentially one of those blue hairnets that they make you wear before surgery. Here AC & HC (and Baby C!) model:


This is to make one of your feet more slippery. It turns out that the type of shoes you wear can impact your throwing. Our friend WB had to put duct tape over the rubber toe of his shoe because it was creating too much drag.


They split our group of 6 into 2 groups of 3 and we each got 2 instructors. First we learned and then practiced throwing rocks. You basically put your non-slip foot in a track start and use that to propel yourself forward on your slippery foot while balancing on your sweep and rock. It is really hard to learn to feel how much to propel yourself so that the rock goes where you want it to go. I did fall once, but it wasn't bad or painful since I already was low to the ground. After a bunch of practice, we graduated to these teflon slings for our slip foot and got rid of the booties.

After throwing, we learned to sweep, which is basically running on ice to stay with the rock and listening to the Skip (person at the end) yell "SWEEP" (aka begin vigourous sweeping) or "UP" (aka stop vigorous sweeping). This is the most cardiovascular part of curling. A few times of sweeping and you are pretty pooped.

Sweeping can be dangerous if you lose your balance on the ice. The ice is treated wih something so it isn't super slippery but you still have to be careful. I did not ever fall while sweeping.

After learning the basics, we played a game against each other, and rotated through the four positions. It was only after I learned the skip position that it all sort of fell into place for me. Here is a picture of Nate playing the skip position:

As you can see in this picture, all of our group's rocks barely made it over the legal line at first. We got better at it as we played more rounds.

The rocks each weigh 40 lbs and are made of granite that comes from one specific place in Scotland. Here Nate moves a bunch of rocks to the other side using his sweeper:

After the game, you sit in the lounge and talk about it. We got cheese and crackers and soda, coffee or tea. The preggos (HC and myself) were pumped about the snacks. I jokingly said that I was going to put Baby Schlotty in the Baby Bjorn and curl all next fall and winter with him/her. We are all excited for the alumni game that will be occcuring in the fall. Here is our group - yeah, we're ready for the Olympics.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Learning to Curl

Guess what we are doing tomorrow morning?? Learning to curl!!

I am excited - we watched curling during the Olympics and wanted to try it out ourselves. Enter this curling workshop which is just that!

I don't anticipate being very good at curling. It seems that you must have good balance and be coordinated, two things that I am lacking.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Martha's Next Awesome Book

Only a few more days until this book comes out!!!

I have the Encyclopedia of Crafts and LOVE IT. I only wish that I lived in NYC so I could attend the Stitch Fest that is occurring with the book release.

I know a lot of people don't like Martha, but I love her and all of her products!

Here's Another Lovely Bathroom



I found this on Ohdeedoh (site of several hundred starred nursery/baby room pictures) but it is originally from Southern Living. Love those shutters! Unfortunately our window is located IN the shower so there will be no cute shutters on it. Do you see that peek of a claw foot tub in the lower right hand corner?! ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More bathroom pictures!



Alas I will not be getting a clawfoot tub. Be forewarned that many of the pictures I have feature clawfoot tubs. What I do like about and want to capture in our bathroom remodel from this bathroom is the light airy feel. I like the hexagonal flooring and the trim work around the walls. I'm very drawn to more old-fashioned looking bathrooms, which I think will also fit into our cape cod style house.




Similar light airy feel to this one.



Showing off some beautiful wainscotting!

Photo Sources: Country Living

Unaccustomed Earth



I just finished this collection of short stories at 4:30 this morning. This book recently was recommended to me by a colleague and I also purchased it for a friend, who introduced to me to the author back in our grad school days. It is a beautiful book and I was literally sobbing when I was finishing it. Now this could be because a)i'm preggers or b)i'm a walking tired zombie but either way, I like to think that the stories are that good. My favorite (and the sob-inducing one) was the last triology about Hema and Kaushik.

I don't often read short stories because I like getting involved and lost in the characters of a long novel. However, I was able to get immersed in each character of these stories. Lately, it has been nice to pick up a book, read a story and be done with it. I'm actually a little sad that this book is over. If you have any short story recommendations, pass them on!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Upside Downside

Downside: We won't be winning our NCAA bracket pool after this weekend's crazy basketball.

Upside: We did have a fantastic getaway.

Holy Weekend. A lot of our weekend was consumed by NCAA basketball, but we managed to go out for sushi on Friday night and get some errands done on Saturday. We also met with the bathroom guy on Saturday afternoon. It seems that our plans sound fine to him - I was excited about this often I find pictures of stuff I like but do not know if these ideas are executable. Our next step is to start ordering things like tile, toilet, vanity, fixtures, etc.

Sunday we left home around 11 to head to Delafield for our anniversary getaway. (The certificate was only reedemable on a Sunday night stay.) The hotel let us check in a little early and then we headed out to do some shopping. We grabbed lunch at this Italian grocery store and then headed back to the hotel for the Badger game. Holy terrible basketball. Nate didn't even want to see the end of it so we headed to Lapham Peak Park to climb the observation tower and wander around the trails. It ended up being a gorgeous day yesterday. We worked out at the fitness center and then I was able to take a nice relaxing tub before dinner.

Dinner was amazing. I had a roasted beet salad, Nate had the house chop salad, and then for our main entrees, I had shitake mushroom crusted halibut on wild rice and esparagus with a lemon veloute and Nate had pork tenderloin, basil mashed potatoes and asparagus. We shared the carrot cake with maple glaze frosting and hazelnuts. I woke up this morning craving that cake.

Today started with breakfast in bed before we had to leave for work. We both took some flex time so that we could maximize our stay at the hotel. It was so sunny and nice this morning that I just wanted to drive home instead of driving to work, but oh well. Now that both of our NCAA brackets are toast, we gotta get money somehow, ha ha ha.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy 2 years, 6 months and 12 days to us!


The baby is due one week before our 3rd wedding anniversary. When we told Nate's parents about the baby and the due date, they gave us our anniversary present early. They got us a night's stay and dinner at the Delafield Hotel, where our wedding reception was (and pictured in the background of the above photo)! They bid on the package at an American Cancer Society benefit and won! The certificate has to be used by October so they gave it to us early so we could decide when to use it -pre or post baby.

We decided to celebrate our birthdays and the 2 year 6 month and 12 day anniversary of our wedding so we are heading there this weekend! I am very excited as I love this hotel. We stayed there on our first anniversary (wedding present from the hotel) and I was all weepy wandering through it. I can't wait to take a nice long relaxing soak in the huge bathtub!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bathroom Inspiration #1


Here is the first picture in my bathroom inspiration file. This bathroom was designed by Jessica Helgerson and was featured on many blogs including Design Sponge, The City Sage, Remodelista. Remodelista even lists a bunch of fixtures to replicate the look. I only wish I could have a claw foot old school tub. In house #2 maybe.

Heather asked in the comments what sources I used. Oh boy. I will be documenting them with the pictures, but check out the blogs listed in my Decor Blog Roll post for a start. My Google Reader is the most used thing I have. I star any post that I like the pictures of. Design Sponge, Young House Love and Remodelista are all great sources. For in-print magazines, I rip out pictures of rooms I like and put them in page protectors in binders that are organized by room. I know - I should not be openly admitting this crazy behavior. For In print magazines, I regularly subscribe to Elle Decor, Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living in the house realm and have back issues of Domino and This Old House as well. I used to subscribe to House Beautiful. I highly recommend going to your local library to check out home interior books, particuarly in the NEW section of your library.

Upstairs Bathroom Remodel

As I mentioned, one of our "get this done before the baby comes" goals is to start and finish our upstairs bathroom remodel. Now, you may be thinking, how are the two people that took almost two years to do a kitchen remodel going to start and finish a bathroom remodel in 23 weeks and 5 days (countdown to due date)?

Simple - we are not doing some of it ourselves.

We are meeting with J, our go to guy for contracting/handiwork for our house, tonight. We have used him to put in our faucet and garbage disposal, to install a gas valve and electric box for our stove, and to change/install our water heater. We decided he was up to the task for the bathroom.

This bathroom is located directly at the top of our stairs, in between our bedroom and the guest-room-now-baby-room. Originally, we had grand ideas of combining our current bathroom with the guest-room-now-baby-room closet. The more we thought about this, the more we didn't really want to lose the giant closet in that room. My shoe collection was not about to get whittled down for a bathroom, ha ha ha. So the bathroom remodel will not be as extensive as we originally had thought.

What are we doing? Here is our list:

1) Change out current window (which prevents use of the shower) with a glass block waterproof window. Here is a picture of the window/shower situation from move in day.


2) Remove drywall from shower and put backer board (or whatever the appropriate stuff is called) up and tile shower so that the shower can actually be used. (Notice how the current situation is only dry wall in the photo above).

3) Remove current light fixture, towel bar, soap dish, etc. Re drywall necessary areas.

4) Put up wainscotting around the non-shower walls.

5) Paint

6) Install new light fixture.

7) Install new mirror.

8) Replace toilet

9) Replace old sink with new vanity (increasing storage space in this bathroom from zero to some!)

10) New flooring.

The only thing we did to the bathroom is paint with some leftover living room paint to get rid of the previous pink and take down that pink curtain. Here is what the bathroom looks like now:

I will be posting some of our inspirational pictures in the days to come.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

VACATION ALL I EVER WANTED!

"In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine
Can't you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I'm gone to Carolina in my mind"
~James Taylor's Carolina In My Mind

We have the Carolina 2010 Road Trip Planned!

Our first stop will be Asheville, NC. We will stay three nights in the Grand Bohemian Hotel. We plan to hit up the Biltmore Estate, some shopping, and hiking through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Then we are heading to Charleston, SC and three nights in the French Quarter Inn. We will wrap up the trip with three nights in Myrtle Beach, SC before returning home. We likely will make a stop overnight between Myrtle Beach and home. Total: 2,141 miles, 11 days and 11 nights.

Sounds like a great way to kick off the summer to me!!!

Spring!

I love spring - I love that we get extra daylight at night, I love that summer gets one day closer with each passing day, I love that our daffodils have started to bloom and I love warmer weather. We have been having delicious weather lately that makes it hard to sit inside an office all day. Last night, we decided to bike over to the tennis courts and play some tennis.

I have not played tennis since we moved from Atlanta, where we had courts in our apartment complex. This was over 5 years ago. Nate made the comment that pregnancy has worked wonders for my game - I am better than he remembers. A few more kids and I might just be the next Venus Williams, ha ha ha.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 13: A day of Two Birthdays

Guess Who Turns the Big 3-0 today?!?!?!?!??

Baby Daddy Schlotty, that's who!



Check out the awesome office decoration that his co-workers did.

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom as well today. Yes, Nate shares a birthday with his mother in law. Funny stuff. I think she might take the cake on birthdays this year as she is celebrating in Venice!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pasta Bean Toss

I haven't posted a recipe in a while. Here is what we had for dinner last night, recipe courtesy of Runner's World.

Pasta Bean Toss

1 lb whole grain penne pasta
2 red onions, sliced thinly (we only used one and I think it was fine)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (i would use more of this)
12 plum tomatoes diced (i used a carton of cherry tomatoes, not cut)
5 julienned carrots
2 cups raw broccoli
3 TB Worcestershire sauce
5 TB fresh basil (didn't have this so i used a TB of Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle)
1 can red kidney beans
1 can white beans
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the pasta as directed. Cook Garlic and Onions until softened in some olive oil. Add in tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, worcestershire sauce and basil/spices. After 2 minutes, add in beans. Toss with pasta when finished (you may want to test a vegetable so that it's done to your liking). Garnish with parmesan. Easy and very tasty. This makes a ton of leftovers too!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

February = No Books


I came to the realization that I did not read a single book in February. It's a good thing i didn't set a book goal in 2010 because I would be far behind. Currently I am reading The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry. It is a nonfiction account by one woman who uses her life savings to attend Le Corden Bleu cooking school in Paris. It is also our book club book for March. So far (I think I am on page 75) I am enjoying it but am also wondering what the rest of the book is about because I'm getting a little bored with the cooking school recaps only. She doesn't seem as whiny as Julie in Julie & Julia, which this book is compared to on the book jacket. As in "if you liked Julie & Julia you will love The Sharper Your Knife...". The book does make me want to get out Mastering the Art of French Cooking though!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soup Club!

Last month, we started a soup club at work. Each month we rotate who is bringing soup, bread, salad and dessert and we have a really great meal and an hour's worth of conversation that is not work related. It was a great idea that was brought in by one of my coworkers after seeing an article in the paper about such a club.

February's soup was Rachel Ray's Green Minestrone. Say what you with about Ms. Ray, we all thought this soup was really great.

March's soup was homemade gumbo by my coworker that used to live in New Orleans. It was delish. She uses the recipe from Mr. B's Bistro. Warning: one HALF recipe contains 2 cups (i.e. 1 pound) of butter!! YUM!

I am a big fan of soup club so far!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Black Apple Dolls

Martha Stewart featured instructions from Emily Martin, one of Etsy's top sellers, to make Black Apple Dolls. I originally found out about this through Homemade by Jill. I have been wanting to make one of these dolls for a while.

Enter 3/6/10 - the first birthday of Sarah D. Most of the doll was made during my periods of insomnia between 3 and 5 AM. (Thank you Baby Schlotty). The instructions call for hand sewing most of the doll. I did some hand sewing but also tried to machine sew some of it. If you decide to do this, make sure you have a fairly wide stitch on your machine. I ended up stitching it too tight and had to re-sew a lot of the doll by hand.

The instructions call for a painted face. I preferred Jill's embroidered faces to as I said, I found some tutorials on The Purl Bee to embroider the face. I also dipped a Q-tip in some blush for her cheeks.

The fun thing about these dolls is that you can jazz them up as much as you want. I did not include any buttons, sequins, etc since this was destined for a one-year old. Aunt Amy does not want to be responsible for choking!

So here is my Sarah doll-



I was very happy with how it turned out!

Monday, March 8, 2010

RIP Avocado Green Fridge

We had a good weekend - one where we got a lot of accomplished but also had some fun too. Friday night we went to Cafe Hollander for a fish fry. I would rate this as middle of the road in terms of fish fry. Not my favorite in the whole world, but definitely good. It is nice because they have a regular and extra crispy option.

Saturday I got my haircut!!! I follow this statement with three exclamation points because this was about 3 weeks overdue. I started rocking this mini ponytail a couple of days a week because my hair was that gross. I returned from my haircut to find our avocado green fridge in several pieces - it was time to move that thing outta here. My husband grossly overestimated my strength - I was not able to assist in getting it out of our basement. Luckily our neighbor D was home. I traded him - I fed his daughter while he went and got the fridge out of our house. We took the fridge to the dump where it joined a couple of its friends from 1972 - a butternut squash fridge, a pumpkin orange one... Taking things to the dump is so cathartic.

The weekend held excellent weather - I was able to run outside in a T-shirt!! YAY!

Saturday night we met some of my family members for dinner before going to M's surprise 30th birthday party where I made it out until 12:45 AM. By far the latest I have been able to stay up in a long time.

Sunday we went to the Harley Davidson Museum. Last October we attended a wedding there and part of the favor was two tickets to tour the museum that were good for a year. We called up the Bs and the five of us went. I was really impressed with the museum - and learned a lot about the H-D company that I previously did not know. I was mostly excited to see their special Hollywood and Harleys exhibit but was a little disappointed to find that it was a very small exhibit.

The weekend concluded with the RED CARPET and the OSCARS! I'll have to report more on the Oscars later but I really liked Sandra Bullock's whole look (AWESOME hair and lips) and thought SJP might have been one of the biggest train wrecks of the night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beef Cilantro Tacos. Me LIKEY!

Woohoo it's the weekend and it's 40 degrees outside! I have major spring fever, but know fully well that we'll probably get a snowstorm or two before spring is really here.

Last night we made beef and cilantro tacos. This is one of my favorite meals we make because it is quick and very very yummy. We get so excited to eat these that we literally stand in the kitchen, make a taco, scarf it down and start preparing the next one. Basically you prepare ground beef much the same as you would for tacos - we like Penzey's Rojo Taco Seasoning, which comes in a jar. Then you warm some corn tortillas, chop some raw onion, chop some cilantro and voila. Beef Cilantro Tacos. Sometimes we add cheese. It is best if you have that crumbly Mexican White Cheese.

MMMMMMM.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Road Trip!



In the spirit of the annual Schlotty road trip, we've been starting to think about #3. We had wanted to do one in early spring, but my teaching schedule messed that up. We are considering going to Ashville, NC and Charleston, SC. Why? Neither of us have been to the Carolinas and we've both heard great things.



Here's what the trip looks like:


It is 2024 mile roundtrip. It doesn't beat our Texas trip at 3500 miles, but it is a bit more than our Cleveland/New Buffalo trip at 898 miles.

Has anyone been to either of these places? Thoughts? Recommendations?

We'll have to see if the timing works out, but here's hoping!

Photo Sources: Magnolia Plantation, Charleston from aeenderson's flickr account, and Asheville, NC from A Life's Design, map from Google Maps.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Re-learning the Art of Embroidery

I am now in trimester 2 of pregnancy and thankfully all of the nausea, bad tastes, and just generally feeling queasy have passed. My lingering symptom is insomnia, and I could either see an improvement in this during trimester 2 or it will be with me for the rest of the journey. Nate & I have come to the realization that one positive outcome of this is that at least when the baby comes, it might not be such a huge transition for me to be up all night with him/her.

I have spent a lot of time whining about insomnia, mostly not on this blog, thank your lucky stars. However, this week, I have taken a new approach - I am embracing it. The night before last I used my 3-5 AM window to do some grading. Then last night, I started work on a project for a certain 1 year old's upcoming birthday and re-learned some embroidery. Did you all have the embroidery unit in grade school art class? We certainly did and I loved it. We got a burlap square, piles of yarn and had to use 4 stitches for our masterpiece. I'm sure my mom saved those somewhere.

Fast forward 20 years and I only vaguely remembered some of the stitches. Thank goodness for the Internet. My love for the Internet grows and develops in new ways everyday. The Purl Bee by Purl Soho has some fantastic embroidery tutorials for some simple stitches should you find yourself embarking on a project that requires some minimal embroidery. I will reveal my project soon enough.



The Purl Bee is also useful for other types of tutorials - knitting, crocheting, sewing, along with project ideas and patterns. Craftsters - bookmark it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Job #2 Is Making Me Tired

Who am I kidding - Job #1 is making me tired too.

I have to submit midterm grades this week which means that when I am up at 3 AM, I actually have had something to do. Holy cats. Whining about being pregnant really makes the time fly by, ha ha ha. It has definitely been hard to motivate myself to get into teaching this semester. I am looking forward to the first week of May when I will be dunzo. I also officially gave word to them today that I am out of the game for Fall 2010 due to the arrival of bebe. Weird, but it seems that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, even though I know I have 2 months left of this semester. Taking on two jobs has definitely been more work than I thought it would be, pregnant or not. I do get to trade some pretty great stories with another woman in my office at job #1 that also has a job #2.

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Lovely Package Exchange


The lovely package exchange is back! I participated in the exchange last year and loved it. It was really fun putting together a package for someone and also receiving one.

Click here to sign up to participate on Oh, Hello Friend's blog.

Weekend Update

I had a great weekend.

Friday night I finished Season 1 of Mad Men. LOVE THAT SHOW. Then I fell asleep on the couch at 8 PM.

Saturday BCK and I headed to Chicago. We had planned on fabric shopping in Chicago for quite some time and finally found a weekend that worked. First we headed to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. I had never been to this location, as the Vogue Fabrics that I usually went to was the one in the South Loop. The Evanston location is much better - which makes sense since this is the Flagship location. Vogue Fabrics is a great store with a great selection. I actually purchased my wedding dress material here (made by someone else). It was fun to go back now that I am on the sewing train.

After Vogue, we headed to Al's Deli since BCK had been talking about the yumminess of their butter cookies. We had soup and FABULOUS sandwiches and the famous butter cookies. To.Die.For!

We then went to The Needle Shop. Everytime I visit this store, it seems to have expanded with more and more fun new stuff. I could spend a small fortune in this store. After The Needle Shop we headed to various stores to shop and ended the day with dinner at Xoco.

I was one tired chica after that and fell asleep on the train ride home.

Yesterday, Nate & I took care of business around the house. We started off with some breakfast in bed and the real estate channel. Have you ever watched the local real estate channel? It is hilarious. Or maybe we are just THAT dorky. Probably a little bit of both.

Since we have new carpet in the basement, we got to work arranging the space. We haven't decided if we are going to put the pool table back up. All that extra space is really nice particularly because we turned a whole corner of the basement into a CRAFT AREA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't take pictures yet but am very excited. We moved an old dresser that we inherited down to the basement to hold my fabric collection. Then we moved the sewing machine and sewing machine table next to it. My sewing machine and fabric collection previously were residing in the office, which is the smallest room in our house. A bed and a computer desk were also occupying the same space. When I would work on projects, they tended to take over the room, the living room (the only space I could use for cutting) and part of the dining room (best light). So now I will have plenty of room and space to work. This also freed up almost a whole closet so that we could move some of the stuff in our guest room (to be nursery) closet downstairs.

After that day of brilliant organization and repurposing, we had more stuff for Goodwill and a pretty nice basement area. Nate commented, "I feel like we just added square footage onto our house." I definitely see us spending more time in our basement now. I'll take some pictures soon. We still have some work ahead of us, but progress is being made!

Then the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I cried several times. I am sad that they are over. Loved that Neil Young performed "Long May You Run".