Wednesday, June 29, 2011

RIP Lawn Boy

Almost four years ago, I had a post with Nate showing off our new/used lawnmower that my in-laws gave to us so we can mow our then-new yard!

I thought that Lawn Boy was on his last leg, but he gave us four good years.

Nate not so sadly had to buy a new lawnmower last week. He claims he can mow the lawn in half the time. These pics are a bit fuzzy because he was moving so fast!




I wouldn't know and I don't plan on finding out :) Lawn care is one job I am more than happy to leave to him!

It seems crazy that we in a week we will have been homeowners for FOUR years!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nose Job


My mom gave us a swing that she had hanging in her yard from the days when my niece was little. We finally hung it up and Maggie loves it.

I was a little too in-your-face with the camera and she ended up swinging right into the camera/my nose. The camera was fine - my nose, not so much. I have a small bump on it but it really has hurt now for 2 days! It's really too bad someone didn't catch the moment of impact on camera - I'm sure it was hilarious.


Birch Box


I love free samples, particularly of beauty products. After book club on Saturday, one of my friends told me I should sign up for Birch Box. I think these look fun - has anyone ever bought one?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crimp N Curl disaster

I started a Pinterest account a few weeks ago...as if I needed another Internet-based distraction.

For a while, I was safe at work because Pinterest didn't always work on my work computer. Then I got a BRAND NEW computer at work on Friday. PINTEREST WORKS!!! ha ha ha. Suckers.

I started a board to collect photos of hair dos that I like. (Yes, this is another post about hair).

One of the photos on this board, features your favorite and mine, GWYNETH:


How fantastic is this hair?!

I decided to attempt this over the weekend. I have a really old curling iron, but it doesn't really seem to work whenever I try it. I thought (probably incorrectly) that the curling iron was just old and that I needed a new one.

So I went to Target. I bought this curling iron.


I was really excited. I got home, heated it up and even read the instructions.

OH MY LORD.

I should have taken a picture of the result, which was NOT even remotely close to Gwenyth's. Basically, the spiral portions of the iron were burned into my hair. It was like the evil spawn of a curling iron and a crimper. Thank goodness a ponytail was able to hide the evidence of my little experiment before I went to book club.

I think I need hair curling lessons.

11 for 11: Q2 Progress

In a few days, June will be over, taking 50% of 2011 with it.

Here is my quarter 2 update because the next few days will have me busy finishing up some work stuff and packing for vacation!!

1. Read 18 books.
Goodreads has a tracking tool that allows you to enter your book goal for the year and it tracks your progress. According to the tracker, I am 3 books ahead of schedule! Here are my 2011 reads so far
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
March by Geraldine Brooks
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I am still an active participant in three book clubs. I have gotten pretty lucky in that often a book is picked that I have already read which then I can still join in the discussion but can read books for the others.

2. Run a half marathon.
This is not looking likely. I cannot get my act together with running. It still is hit or miss for me. The thought of running a half marathon right now seems basically impossible.

3. Make one thing a month.
I have made 7 things since the first of the year.
January, February, March, April, May 1, May 2, May 3. Three crafts in May makes up for zero crafts in June, right? ACTUALLY...I may still pull through for June. I started something at the beginning of the month for a certain little man's third birthday and I have dreams of finishing it so I can deliver it in person on the last day of June. We shall see...

4. Work on my posture.
I actually have been working on this. I think this is one of those things that will be a continual work in progress for me - not something that has cross-off-the-list-ability.

5. Drink more water.
I have not been drinking that much water in lieu of the copious amounts of hot tea I drink during my work days because my office is FREEZING.

6. Paint our hallway.
DONE in Q1!

7. Remove the overgrown, hideous bushes from our front yard.
This is on the post-vacation agenda.

8. REALLY clean out my closet.
This could stand to happen again even though I technically crossed it off the list in Q1. I should adopt a one in, one out policy but I do not. And consignment sales and rummages sales have been good to me lately...

9. Go through the GIANT scrapbooking tubs in our closet.
DONE! Delivered a whole bag of supplies to my goddaughter, LM, earlier this month.

10. Call my sister by her real name.
I still continue to do well with this.

11. Get back into doing Yoga.
To borrow from Q1's update: Could be doing a lot better with this. I bought some classes at a local studio (thanks Groupon!) and bought a DVD. I did the DVD one time. My Groupon is about to expire! AHHH!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures in Canning


Strawberries are all over the place right now so I bought a whole ton of them thinking Maggie would enjoy them since she liked strawberry puree. I was wrong. She spits them out if she even puts one in her mouth anymore. Maybe the texture bothers her? Since we leave for vacation soon, it was looking like my strawberries would go to waste.

I cannot stand wasting anything so I decided to invest in canning supplies to save my $2 quart of strawberries. Yes. I know this makes zero financial sense. Really, I have wanted to try canning for a while and used this as my excuse.

The jam-sized jars plus lids and metal rings were on sale at the grocery store. A box of 12 4-oz jars with lids and rings was $6.49. (If you coupon, there was a coupon in last Sunday's paper for Ball jars, which would make that even lower!). My aunt J recommended the instructions and recipe in the package of Certo pectin so that is what I went with. A box containing 2 pouches cost $5. (In my experience, one pouch made 9 4-oz jars of strawberry jam using the recipe inside the box.)

I thought I needed to have one of those big canning kettles with the wire racks so I called HB to see if she had one. Thankfully she informed me that I only need to have a pot big enough to hold the jars and that the wire rack mechanism only serves to assist in lowering the jars in to the hot water. I took HB's suggestion to use tongs.

After Nate made fun of me, he offered his assistance. We started the process after Mags was in bed. Making strawberry jam is actually pretty easy! It was a little hot in our small kitchen during the whole process from the gas stove and boiling water steam. It didn't help that I sloshed boiling jam onto Nate's bare foot. It worked well - Nate filled jars while I wiped the rims off and capped them. He then screwed on the metal rings and I used our huge grill tons to put them into the boiling water.

The curing time ended last night and all 9 jars seemed to have worked (photo above)! I am excited to have some fresh jam for winter!

Next up - using some rhubarb from my MIL for rhubarb jam, courtesy of Martha's Recipe via Tara's blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

National Pink Day

I found out that today is National Pink Day.

I don't know what this means, I just thought it was funny that I happened to wear a pink dress on National Pink Day.

Maggie had pink in her dress so we decided to take a pic in front of our VERY bloom-tastic pink rose bush. Our windy, stormy weather has littered our yard and driveway with rose petals. A pretty side effect of crummy weather.



Here is high/low styling, Amy Style
Dress: JCrew via a rummage sale
Belt: Kohls via Sale + 30% coupon
Bracelet: Banana Republic Clearance Bin
Scarf: Banana Republic Clearance Bin
Shoes: Circa Joan & David via DSW Clearance
Earrings: Bridesmaid Gift Courtesy of AH

Grapefruit Popsicle "Recipe"


(This ones for you, Slunz.)

I have been collecting popsicle pictures and recipes for a while (such as these, pictured above). I did not have a popsicle mold so imagine my surprise when I found these at Target on Clearance for $1.98.

Before I made any recipes, I wanted to make sure the mold worked. For some reason, I remember trying to make popsicles when I was younger and they didn't really turn out.

We had some grapefruit juice (Florida's Natural Ruby Red Grapefruit) in the fridge.

I poured it into the molds.

Voila. Grapefruit Popsicles. And Might I just say - they were fantastic. The handle part of the mold has a little cup that catches any drips while you eat it - awesome!

Referring to that as a recipe in my previous post might have been a bit of an oversell.

When I do make some "real" recipes, I will for sure share!

SWINGS!

Yesterday was my day off. We were invited to go check out Hoyt Pool with HB & AS, however, the "tot time" coincides with Maggie's morning nap time. And of course yesterday she took a stellar nap so no pool for us.

At the risk of getting poured on (SO MUCH RAIN lately!), we set out on a walk after lunch and found swings at Elm Grove park. YAY! You would not know it by these crappy cell phone pictures but Maggie was giggling out loud while swinging. She didn't quite learn to pump her legs but I was happy to push.



After swinging, we headed to Bigsby's sewing to get some thread for the Sorbetto tank top I'm working on. We ran into a bunch of construction on the way home so Maggie fell asleep while I trekked on.

I parked in her in the yard, grabbed a chair, my book and a homemade grapefruit popsicle and sat in the shade and joined her. Until the downpour started! I managed to haul her into the house without getting too wet and she stayed asleep! SCORE!

We rounded out the day with grocery shopping and canning! More on that to come...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inside = Outside


Today Maggie is 41 weeks old - the exact amount of time that I was pregnant.

The outside 41 weeks went by MUCH quicker than the inside 41 weeks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!


Nate is one of those guys who was pretty much born to be a dad. I think he was counting down the days for me to say "yes please" to parenthood since we got married. So I pretty much knew he would be amazing.

I am happy to report he has lived up to my expectations. While his top fear of becoming a parent was poop, he has never shied away from a poopy diaper, he reads stories to Maggie in silly voices and comes up with these hilarious songs featuring her name. My favorite nickname he has bestowed on her is "Margaret Marmot" because the Marmot is the animal featured on the letter "M" card hanging in her room.

I developed his father's day gift with some help from the blogosphere. I have been giving people coupon books since I can remember. My mom has a few of them that I have made her over the years. So I was VERY excited to see the Daddyland coupon book on the Disney Family site. I thought this was perfect a) because it was a coupon book b) it is styled after the "Disneyland" font and logo and Nate loves Disney and c) we are going to Disney(World) in a few weeks.


Then, for each coupon in the book, I came up with a present:

A) He had asked me for a new pruner at one point so I got him a new pruner and a hose sprayer for the yard work coupon.

B) For the Nap coupon, I bought him some new loungewear since most of his t-shirts are pretty ratty.

C) For the TV remote coupon, I bought him his favorite snack (pistachios) and two of his favorite ice cream flavors (cookie dough and reese's peanut butter cup) and I affixed these Martha Stewart labels onto them.


D) I will wait to see what his favorite meal is that he wants me to make for him.

E) For the fill in the blank coupon, I filled it in with "storytime with Maggie" and bought him "Hop on Pop". Last year for Father's Day I bought him two books about Dads that he frequently reads to Maggie. I thought it was a nice "TRADITIIOOOOON" to continue (We went to see Fiddler on the Roof Friday night. Pardon my slipping into song....)

Here is the most recent pic of Nate with Maggie. He was perching her on his shoulder the other night and twirling her around like a figure skater. She, obviously, loved it:


I have to thank the Mon Petit Amour blog for providing me with the links to the Daddyland Coupon book and the MS Labels.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tired Legs

I ran three days this week!

Don't be too impressed. The devil is in the details.

Sunday Nate said, "Do you want to go for a run?" I thought he was asking me as in "Do YOU want to go for a run and I will stay here with Mags". Turns out he wanted all of us to go for a run. Since this is maybe an annual occurrence, I jumped at the chance even though I may not have been in the best condition to run due to some shananigans with my BFFs the previous night.

We went 1.1 miles. He pushed the running stroller. FUN!

Tuesday night I took Maggie for a run after dinner before her bedtime. I was on a mission to find out if a nearby school had swings on their playground since our neighborhood park does not. We went 3.5 miles. I posted on FB that it felt like 6 and I thought the running stroller was to blame.

Last night I was feeding Maggie before bed, reading blogs via Flipboard on my Ipad. I read the latest post by iamarunnerchica who is the daughter of Nate's family friend. The post rang so true with my memories of running marathons I was so excited. I put Maggie in bed, put my shoes on and hit the road.

Well I don't know if I thought I was going to run a marathon right then and there but I headed out on one of my 5-mile routes full of energy and motivation. WHEEE! I love running!

I turned the corner and realized the pipe dream that was my 5 mile run. Thankfully the route I chose has a escape button. Clearly my delusional pace was not going to continue - the small inclines felt bigger than Heartbreak Hill. I crossed over into our neighborhood and the angel on my right shoulder motivated me with the mantra "You gave birth, You can do this!". (The devil on my left shoulder retorted, "BUT YOU HAD AN EPIDURAL!") I came panting home after another 3.5 miles. It wasn't the running stroller. I'm just woefully out of shape!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The definition of "MOM"

I woke up this morning and thought "TODAY IS A WORK DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ok, 9.9 times out of 10 I would rather be at home with Mags than at work. I look forward to my weekday off while slogging through the four ten hour days that I do work.

Typically my day off is Wednesday which is lovely. Previously, I would have thought that having a Monday or a Friday off would be great (3-day weekend!) but after some experimentation with my schedule, Wednesday turned out to be THE day. Why? It breaks up the work week. Four 10-hour days in a row gets LONG. By the fourth day I was feeling so frazzled. Wednesday lets me re-group and keep up with stuff on the homefront.

HOWEVER, there is at least one week a month where I cannot take Wednesday off due to scheduled meetings. This week is one of those weeks so yesterday I was home.

By about 8:30 AM I wanted to be at work. Mags was driving me CA-RAY-ZEEEEEEE.

I have no idea what her deal was. I thought maybe she was sick of being in the house so we went outside. No improvement. Then we went to Target. Holy breakdown - I only got halfway through the shopping. This was capped off by an all-out SCREAMFEST lasting from 4:00 - 4:40 PM.

After she was in bed for the night, I grabbed the keys and headed back to Target to finish the shopping.

LUXURIOUS! I wandered the clearance aisles. I was not wrestling with a nosy 9 month old who wanted to be in the cart, then held, then in the cart. I TRIED CLOTHES ON. I got a new bikini for $3.96 (thanks to a $5 online Target coupon), a three-pack of Magnum ice cream bars and a People magazine.

And then at 5 AM this morning, I got up to go to work.

By 7:30 AM, I was wishing I was back home.

Sigh. Those must have been some powerful ice cream bars.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pesto!

One of my favorite tastes of summer is fresh basil. Today I made the first batch of fresh pesto for the summer and used it for the following:

Chicken, Chickpea and Pesto Salad
Source: Everyday Food June 2010

2 shredded cooked chicken breast halves
1/2 large English cucumber
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup pesto
Lemon
salt and pepper

Mix ingredients. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and salt & pepper.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BOOMBOX!

Speaking of boomboxes and CDs (and mixed tapes!)...

The comments to my previous post made me think of these pictures:



Check out that boombox on my friend BLK's shoulder!

These were taken almost 2 years ago at my friend JN's bachelorette party. We spent the day at the beach and I wanted to play some Mix CDs that JN had made for me back in the day (because let's face it...mix CDs and tapes are AWESOME) so I dug out that boombox and the "D" batteries. My friend B, always one to make me laugh, put it on her shoulder and walked back to the car like that. Horns were honked.

Crack me up!

The boombox now resides in Maggie's room. I like to call it "vintage".

10 Things that Make Me Feel Old

{Sang to the tune of "Things that make you go MMM" ~C&C Music Factory circa 1994 (SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO!!).}

I am not one to "feel old". I genuinely was so excited to turn thirty this year, mostly so the number of condescending "you're in your 20s" comments would go down and I would be taken more seriously at work. But this week, I have had a number of of moments that made me "feel old"...

1) I did not renew my Vogue subscription...or Elle or Harper's Bazaar...I actually do not think I get any fashion magazines anymore!

2) I spent Sunday morning organizing my coupons and paper clipped like items together and then proceeded to snail mail my friends coupons. Diapers for BLK! Formula for KL & EL!...the list goes on. {anyone who needs Huggies diapers and/or wipes coupons, let me know!}. Furthermore, my day is made when our admin assistant (who is in her late 40s/early 50s) brings me the Target Baby coupon books that I mysteriously do not receive yet she does.

3) The last few blogs that I have added to my Google Reader have been couponing/deal-seeking blogs.

4) BLK and I just had an email conversation trying to decipher texting/FB language. Neither of us are really sure about a few things!

5)I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 the other night. My husband had to wake me up to go to bed.

6) I put my pajamas on when I get home from work. At 5:15.

7) I am obsessed with online Scrabble.

8) Everything I bought yesterday at Target I had a coupon for: diapers, baby cereal, mustache wax. My daughter was having a breakdown while I was in the waxing/shaving aisle while I frantically was trying to find the $1 off Sally Hansen coupon I had. AHHH. Someday little girl you will have to wax your mustache and I will tell you this story about how you almost made me abandon ship and become the mom with a mustache.

9) I actually said, outloud, to the woman at Fleet Feet Sports who recognized me right away as the woman who has bought and returned several sports bras over the past 9 months "Having children totally messes with your boobs".

10) Every year my HS friends and I venture back to our hometown for the Walleye Weekend. A reunion of sorts. This year, we have to take into account babies and plan around nap times, feeding schedules, and when to pump. One husband actually wondered aloud if his wife could breastfeed in a porta potty. (He kids! I think)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

9 Months!

9 Months old today!!!

Maggie with Mickey: 9 months

Side note: there were only 2 photos that were not blurry - a 9 month old moves a LOT. And, note the hair clip - slowly but surely we are getting some hair!

Pure Glee on the Quilt:


See previous months here.

Incidentally, I got the idea for these month-by-month photos from Nicole at Making It Lovely. This week she featured some tips to doing the month-by-month on her blog.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In the last month (9 Months)....


Maggie is 9 months old today. CA-RAAA-ZY.

And now it's time for the breakdown of the last month.

FOOD
We have been transitioning more and more to finger foods and less on purees mainly because Mags prefers to run the show with food. If you do not want her to eat something, then do not put it on her tray! We give her finger foods and then try to give her pureed foods in between. Gone are the days when we could just spoon food into her mouth and let that be it. She absolutely LOVES bananas and watermelon. The kid ate 1/4 of a huge watermelon entirely on her own. She also was a fan of trader joe's spinach tortellini. Basically, we have been letting her taste pretty much anything. When she gets bucky about having to be fed, we have found that giving her an extra spoon helps. Sometimes I will even put a little food on the spoon to see if she can get it into her mouth. Yes, this is messy but I feel like that is how she is going to learn!

She has become better with a sippy cup as well. We give her a cup of breastmilk with every meal and every day it seems she drinks a bit more. It was all about finding the right cup. We were gifted a variety of sippy cups which she didn't seem to be a fan of. I went to BRU and bought one that did not look like any we currently had and voila. That was her favorite. (It is this one in case you are interested). By and large she really likes drinking out of a regular glass, which we let her do frequently. We took her to Cafe Calatrava over the weekend and girl liked the cucumber water:

The sippy cup lets her get liquid when she wants it though which is nice. The sippy cups do not have a valve but they also don't leak liquid out when she drops them - I'm not sure how this works but I like it.

We are down to only one bottle a day when I work! I actually packed up all of the big (8 oz) bottles this week to make room for the sippy cups in her cupboard. I confess, it made me a little sad.

Here is our current food schedule:

6 AM wake up and nurse
Sometime between 8 & 9 AM: breakfast
Noonish: Lunch
Sometime in the Afternoon: 4 oz bottle (work days) Nurse (home days)
5-5:30ish: Dinner
6:30-7: Nurse before bed.

We basically feed her until she isn't hungry. The girl eats a TON of food. For example, yesterday for breakfast she had 1/3 cup of oatmeal cereal mixed with a couple of ounces of breastmilk, two slices of watermelon and half of a banana with milk in a sippy cup. I am trying to use up jarred baby food so she will regularly eat 2 (4 oz) jars of food along with a hefty amount of finger foods for a meal.

GROWING GROWING!
During the last month, we also moved Maggie to a convertible carseat and out of her infant carseat. We were planning on keeping her in the infant seat as our second/backup carseat but when I went to get the convertible carseat installed, the carseat technician pointed out that she is almost too tall for the infant seat! Thus we packed up the Chicco Key Fit 30 and loaned the Snap N Go stroller to another friend.

Maggie had her 9 month doctor visit today. She had not been to the doctor since she was 6 months old so I was excited to see how much she weighed and how tall she was:
Weight: 20 lbs 3.4 oz - still in the 75th percentile


Length: 29 inches! around the 95th percentile


She is entirely in 12 month sized clothes, with a few things (pajamas, swimsuit) in the 18 month size.

LANGUAGE
She says "ba-ba" "ma-ma" and "da-da" indiscriminantly. I have no idea if she knows what she is saying, but I constantly reinforce things! ha ha ha She has done more gobbly-gook talk too to which I (I think Nate does this too) just pretend I understand what she is saying and keep talking to her.

Mimicking has begun! She will raise her hands over her head if you ask her, "How big is Maggie?", she will wave "bye-bye" and she will clap her hands if you say "yay" or start singing "patty cake". Sometimes she will smack her lips if you say kissy kissy but we have some work to go on that one.

MOVEMENT
Well, we roll all over the place. No crawling. Sometimes she will scoot backwards and sometimes she will sort of hop on her bottom while sitting. Just in the last few days it seems like she WANTS to move. Where previously if a toy was out of reach she would just continue playing with her hand or foot, she now will WANT to get the toy. So maybe crawling is just around the corner? It doesn't really seem like it. At her appointment today we were given an ASQ "ages and stages" questionnaire to fill out. As we suspected, she killed the fine motor, language and problem solving sections. Gross motor skills = FAIL. The doctor mentioned that she may be a candidate for some gross motor therapy if there is not improvement by 12 months.

TOYS/BOOKS
Still loves the stacking rings and stacking cups, particularly if you build a tower out of the cups for her to knock over and "crash". With her kitchen, she has developed preferences for some of the songs - and will sort of sway back and forth to them! It is ADORABLE! She loves riding on her dinosaur too. She really loves hearing the ABCs. She has this giraffe that sings them but she will still crack up even if you just sing them to her.

She has developed a strong preference for "lift the flap" books. Books with real babies in them make her smile as well. We continue to read SEVERAL books to her every night before bed.

AND...the blanket. She LOVES blankets, particularly the soft furry kind. She will suck on the tags. She actually likes going in her crib because then she gets a blanket. We make this huge production over covering her with the blanket and she will kick and squeal with excitement. So funny. I joke that my sister is teaching Maggie to be a blanket baby since my sister was a blanket baby.

As I noted she "graduated" from swim lessons last weekend. I totally make fun of the swim lessons, but have to admit that she did make progress on things from lesson 1 to the end. This is the type of stuff that BLOWS MY MIND about babies. You can actually see their brains start to work and process things. We are not going to continue with the lessons through the summer since we can actually swim OUTSIDE but come fall, I think we'll do them again.

TEETH
She still only has one tooth. We went through two rough nights very recently which makes me think another might be on the way. Teething is terrible since there is really very little you can do for them. We give her baby ibuprofen but I don't think it makes much difference.

SLEEP
Bedtime is still sometime in the 6:30-7:00 window and she will be up by 6 the next morning. Yes this is early but for the days I work, it works perfectly. On the days I don't work, it's early. :) The thing about her is if we put her to bed later, she still wakes up at 6 so we would rather have her continue with the early bed time. Last night she was in bed by 6:40 and she didn't wake up until 6:45 this morning!!! Love these days :)

Naps continue to be whenever she needs them. GENERALLY, she takes a morning and an afternoon nap. But some days she takes two morning naps. We have tried to put her more on a nap schedule a couple of times, but it hasn't worked very well. We were just talking about it and there really doesn't seem to be a good reason to have a regimented nap time with our lifestyle so we continue to go with it. I feel very lucky in the whole sleep department so I try not to mess with it too much!

THEY'RE BAAAAACK!


Dude.

Am I too old to rock a friendship bracelet again?

Lately the blogosphere has been all over the re-appearance of the friendship bracelet making trend. Holy bring me back to middle school. I was shopping at Target last week and perusing the jewelry and lo and behold. THEY HAD A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET FOR SALE. As my friend AH pointed out, we could have been millionaires back in the 5th grade! Granted the price of DMC embroidery floss has gone up (used to be 4 for a $1), but still.

Today, my friend MS sent me a link to a tutorial to make a friendship bracelet. We agreed that if you need a tutorial to make a friendship bracelet, you are so not authentic - those skills should be buried in your childhood memories.

I still have my yellow floss organizer with the little cardboard floss holders in my closet. I can remember staying up late to make the coveted "rainbow" friendship bracelet - the thicker the bracelet, the more coveted. You pre-teens out there (Liz M, I'm talking to you - your mom nailed the friendship bracelets back in the day!) need to GET ON THIS.

Which leads me back to my original question...at age 30, can I still rock a friendship bracelet?


Photo Source: This blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One Year Ago Today



26w 6d pregnant at Myrtle Beach! WOW.

Thanks to BLK for making this discovery on Facebook.

Countdown to Vacation!

"It has been a year since we went on a vacation" ~Nate

WOW! A whole year! I know - a lot of people go a lot longer and/or don't go on vacation, but we have maintained a nice 2x a year vacation schedule for the past several years.

It was time to get planning.

We depart at the end of the month for ATL/FL!

We are excited to see our ATL friends and introduce them to the Magster in person since she isn't a big Skype fan. We are also excited to meet A, our friends' baby, who is about 6 weeks older than Mags.

After a few days in the ATL, we will head to FL to visit my BIL. Since my BIL conveniently works at Disney, we will also be introducing Maggie to the real Mickey Mouse after making her pose month after month with a stuffed one. Plus, I really want a Dole Whip, which can only be found at the Magic Kingdom. A few days at my in-laws condo/BIL's residence and then we will head to the JW Marriot Grande Lakes where Nate has a work conference and Maggie and I have a daily reservation at the pool.

You may have guessed this already but our plan is to road trip. St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, pray for us.

Saturday: Bringin' back High School

I had not one but two high school throwbacks on Saturday. First, it was Maggie's last swim class on Saturday morning and we were not going to have our usual teacher. The substitute was Courtney. Courtney looked so familar to me, and I think I must have looked familar to her because we caught each other looking at one another like, "Where do I know her from?" a couple of times. Finally while we were getting Maggie's completion certificate (!), I asked her, "Are you from {my hometown}?" After she said, "Yes", I asked if she went to my high school. "Yes, Are you {name of classmate of mine}?" I said, "No, I'm Amy" but at least we figured out the connection. She was a few years younger than me but definitely one of those small world moments since my hometown is an hour away.

A few hours later, a former cross country teammate of mine facebooked me to tell me that one of his track runners (he is now the coach of our old team) broke my school record in the 3200 m run. That had a nice thirteen year run, pardon the pun.

Both of these just made me feel old, which doesn't happen very often.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maggie's Favorite New Book: The Target Ad

I typically use my mid-week day off to do errands as the stores are much less crowded during the weekday. One key step that I have started doing is going through the ads and my coupons BEFORE going to the store to speed along the process. (Thank you extreme couponing.) Today I even made a diaper chart in Excel...and we don't even primarily use disposable diapers. OMG. Yes. I just publicly admitted that.

Maggie thought she would help me with the Target ad:



I had to laugh as this brought back a funny memory from growing up. My mom had propped my little sister (who was probably about the same age as Maggie) with some pillows. The TV Guide was nearby and when we came back into the room she had DESTROYED it. My mom snapped a picture, which i am hoping to get and scan since many people say that Maggie resembles my sister.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maggie Had a Little Lamb

I was pleased to find the Summer issue of America's Test Kitchen 30 Minute Suppers at the grocery store a few weeks ago. I had planned on the Greek Burgers for last night's dinner.

I was also excited that Stauss Veal supplies the ground lamb at our grocery store. Why? Anthony Bourdain visited them on his trip to MKE.

I had planned on reserving some of the lamb for Maggie to try. Lamb was recommended in the Baby & Toddler Cookbook my BIL gave me for Christmas as a meat high in iron, B vitamins and zinc. Apparently the cookbook states that lamb is an ideal first meat as it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than chicken or beef. This was not our first foray into meat, however. Maggie has tried turkey and chicken, with less than stellar results. I am now going to admit that I have given her jarred meat, sparingly. EW. I know. I gave her some of the Earth's Best Organic meat/veggie combos which made me feel slightly better but still. She loved the meat veggie jarred combos but when it came to "real" versions, results were mixed. For example, we brought home a rotisserie chicken once and she gobbled it up. A few weeks later, I poached her some chicken and she literally started crying screaming when I put it in her mouth.

So let's just say I wasn't expecting much from the lamb.

As usual, Maggie was my sous chef. While we were picking mint from our mint bush, she grabbed a leaf and started chewing on it...LOVED it. (This also is no surprise - while we were at Stein's Garden Center last weekend, we discovered her chewing on a couple of leaves that she must have yanked from the flowers while standing in the checkout line!)

We had everything ready to go so when Nate got home, he grilled the burgers for us and I poached some ground lamb for the Mags.

What do you know - she loved it! I guess she prefers expensive meats, "like her mother" according to Nate. I did not puree it - I just broke the lamb into bite sized pieces, let it cool down and let her feed it to herself.

The burgers were also stellar. Here's the recipe:

Greek Burgers
Source: America's Test Kitchen 30 Minute Suppers Summer 2011

1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (i didn't use this much because I only made 2 burgers, not 4)
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt & pepper
4 hamburger buns, halved
1 small tomato, cut into slices
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 in rings

1. Mix yogurt, olives, 1 clove garlic, and 2 TB mint in small bowl and set aside. Break lamb into small pieces in medium bowl. Add cheese, remaining garlic, remaining mint, salt, and pepper. Using fork, toss until ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions and lightly pack into 1 inch thick patties.

2. Grill patties until browned on both side and cooked to desired doneness, 4-6 minutes per side. Grill cut sides of buns until toasted, about 2 minutes.

3. Arrange burgers on top of buns. Top burgers with dollop of yogurt sauce, tomato and onion slices.

We had our burgers with corn on the cob and watermelon slices!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ipad: Bringing back the Radio

One of my daily uses of the Ipad (besides WWF) is a streaming device at work. We do not have very many Internet restrictions at work (obvious point to those of you that personally know how me and my online habits) but the one thing we ARE restricted from doing is online streaming of music or radio programs.

Since having Maggie and beginning ten-hour work days, I am in the office a good 1.5-2 hours before my other colleagues. And even when my colleagues are here, I'm pretty much in front of a computer all day. It gets a little boring. Enter the NPR App. For whatever reason, I can stream live NPR through the NPR app using my Ipad and office wireless. I still can't stream live NPR through npr.org on my ipad but the App allows for it.

SUHWEET! Bring on Fresh Air! Bring on the entymology guy on Wisconsin Public Radio! (Yes. I love this program. GEEK!)

The NPR App is tied with Words with Friends as my MOST USED APP. LOVE IT!

For those of you that say "Why don't you just bring in a radio to your office". Tried that. For realz. Boombox style. Our building is an old concrete bunker and thus, radio signals do not travel well.

Since my Ipad is used daily and travels with me wherever I go, I have thought about upgrading the case beyond the standard one that comes with it. Unfortunately, they are pricey. I have thought about making one, however I generally just do not get excited about this idea.

Then the universe collided in three ways:
1) I got an email about the new 1154 Lill Ipad cover, "Taylor"

I was less than excited about the $69 pricetag, however. Onto number 2:
2) I won the annual career development award at work (proof that I do, in fact, do some work) that had a payout of $100. YES! Now I could just order this online but it isn't as fun as attending a party where you get to oogle all the fabrics so an email to my Lill Cohort here in WI was in order and then...
3) HB is having a Lill party! woot!

I love when the stars align, he he he.