Wednesday, August 31, 2011

House Update


Quite the turn of events since my last blog post.

My work trip to Atlanta went well. I was hanging out at the airport last night waiting for boarding time on my flight home. My phone was about to die so I plugged it into a nearby wall. My flight was starting to board so I went to collect my phone and noticed that I had about five missed calls from Nate.

Now, every SINGLE time he has called me in the last week, I have immediately thought about the house. But after MANY false alarms, I did not think "house" when I saw him calling. Last night, I thought something had happened to Maggie.

I called him back as I was boarding the flight.

"THE BANK GAVE US A COUNTEROFFER!!!!!!!"

I was shocked.

Our gut instinct was to take it but we decided to talk about it when I got home.

We discussed, called our realtor and he came over late last night to do the paperwork.

ACCEPTED offer!

We now are trying to schedule a home inspection. Basically we will have a home inspection on the home we purchased and then the buyer of our current home wants one as well. We have a SHORT time frame to get these done - by 9/6 - as stipulated on the offer on our current house.

Provided all goes well with the inspections, we close on the morning of 9/29 on our current house and then immediately close on our next house.

CRAZY.

Here is a sneak peak of our almost-new home:


September promises to be a crazy month for us!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Live fom the ATL

We do not have any house updates, unfortunately.

Friday, the last day our offer was good for, came and went without so much as a word from the bank. Apparently the foreclosure department was relocating last week. Grrrr. We filed another offer to be submitted first thing tomorrow morning since our first offer technically expired. The waiting continues....We have until Saturday to figure something out as that is the end of the 10-day period that the offer on OUR house is good for. So many pieces to this puzzle. I could never be a realtor without being on anxiety medication!

Meanwhile, I am posting this from Atlanta, GA where I arrived a few hours ago for a reverse site visit at CDC for work. It is my first overnight trip away from Maggie. I am doing okay. During my run earlier today, I felt like it was a good time to go. While i certainly would miss her, I also was not riddled with anxiety about leaving her, or dreading the trip. I cried a little when They dropped me off at the airport and that was it. I read a chunk of my book, enjoyed an in-flight beer, ordered room service and will definitely enjoy having a king-sized bed all to myself for 2 nights! The morning will be the hardest as that is my favorite time of the day with her. Nate is under strict orders to give her a few extra mooches for me! I am looking forward to meeting up with my friends AH, CD, and MAM tomorrow night for dinner!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Boots No. 7 in Cherry

Last week (or was it the week before), I posted about my red lipstick trials. I fully meant to put pictures of each color in the post but I had opted to do a bunch of posts and scheduled them to post and forgot to update the post before it was scheduled.

So here is the winning red lipstick.

I played with some of the editing features on the camera so hence the weird effects. And because Nate had to be the cameraman, Mags had to be in the picture so we could keep an eye on her. She is QUITE a fast crawler.











This is also one of my favorite outfits of late because it is comfy and easy. The pants have been a longtime favorite. $2.97 off a Gap clearance rack 3-4 years ago. The only issue they have is that the snap will sometimes just unsnap randomly throughout the day. I thought at first I had a defective pair but BCK has the same pair and the same thing happens. Wear a long enough shirt, you're fine. The shirt also has a great neckline to show off my new necklace ;).

I still don't know what I think about the quality of Boots No. 7 in Cherry. It is very easy on - and likely you have to do this with all red lipstick - but you have to be VERY careful when applying lest it gets all over your face. I think it has quite the staying power though b/c shortly after these photos were taken, I put Mags to bed, changed and went for a 31:52 run (every second counts!). I came back in and the red lips were still large and in charge. Yep - I was that woman running with full makeup on.

The Red Shirt

It's back to school time and the 4th annual Red Shirt was released from our alma mater - The University of Wisconsin.


I love it! Bonus: Proceeds go to The Great Scholarship Fund. As someone who applied for (and luckily received) MANY scholarships back in the day, I always like to support scholarship efforts.

Fashion meets Philanthropy. WIN and WIN.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yes. This is another house update.

Well, things are moving quite quickly. And to think this whole thing started as a "Well, we might as well try it". I never in a million years thought things would snowball like this!

The woman who made an offer on our house last night accepted our counteroffer that we submitted this morning. Basically, we got our listing price. I still don't know if the showing scheduled for tonight is still happening.

Step 1 in this crazy process is done.

We now are waiting to hear back on our initial offer for our "family stone" house. We originally gave them until Friday - our realtor is calling them (did call them?) this afternoon to notify them of our accepted offer and that we would also want to move our closing date from end of October to end of September. Two very nice enticing things that beef up our offer.

So we are back to waiting.

CA-RAY-ZEE.

Working on a Dream


Yesterday was one of those surreal days when I thought I should keep pinching myself to see if I wasn't living in a dream world.

We had two showings yesterday. My sister was at our house with Mags and one of the showings was going to be while she was there. We had asked her if she would be okay with vacating the premesis and she was fine with it. We left a list of things to make sure were done before she left for the hour.

ALL day yesterday I was thinking about the showings. I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up because I knew that it was unlikely we would get an offer and that we might be doing MANY more showings.

I had to rush home, grab some food for Maggie and head out right away as the second showing was early in the evening. I was praising God that the rain held off because we went to a nearby park, did some laps around the pond to watch dogs in action, did some swinging and then ate dinner outside. I came back to the house, which my sis had in FANTASTIC order, dumped Maggie in the tub and got her to bed.

PHEW. IT had been a long day.

I checked our realtor site to see if any of the showings had left any feedback. None.

So I settled in to read my book.

Nate walked in the door, on the phone. He hung up and said, "Honey, we got an offer!"

WHAAAAA?!

We called our realtor back and he said he was on his way over in a bit.

Meanwhile, Nate started telling me about his golf outing. I was only quasi paying attention to him, thinking that I really wanted to get back to my book. (Evil, I know....especially when you hear what happened next.)

After his LOOOOOONG story about the raffle, he announced that he was the grand prize winner. I was excited for him and wondered what he won. "...And the prize had your name on it!"

I suddenly became VERY interested in the rafffle.

He went out into the kitchen and brought in a gold bag, which I IMMEDIATELY recognized as one from my FIL's jewelry store.

I started squealing.

Then I opened the box:



Woohoo!! A diamond necklace.

Then our realtor came over with the offer. We counteroffered and it was submitted this morning. We have not heard anything about the offer on the house that WE made. So now we are just in the waiting game. I am not good at waiting.

I was so excited/overwhelmed that I could NOT sleep. So I read my book for awhile. Finished it. Updated Goodreads. Updated a few Words With Friends games. I think I probably went to bed at 3 AM. YIKES!

The title of this post comes from a, you guessed it, Bruce Springsteen song.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For Sale



The Beatles did it...and now we're attempting it. House For Sale.

WAIT. WHAT?!

Yes. We are attempting to sell our house. Totally crazy.

We had been casually looking for houses to get a sense of areas to eventually move to/what we want, etc and then we found it. An AMAZING house. With a back yard. (Currently we have no back yard). And while we don't NEED to move anytime soon, eventually we plan on outgrowing our current house.

Things went into fast forward quite quickly.

So, we put in an offer - contingent upon selling our house - and the for sale sign went up yesterday. If we get "the house", then we have to sell our house by October. If we don't get "the house", our house is off the market and we stay put in our great house. All in all, a win-win situation.

We cleaned frantically last night because we have two showings already today! As always, we'll keep you "posted" (pun intended).

And now I have "I'll Follow the Sun" (my favorite song off the album Beatles for Sale) in my head.

P.S. No I am not pregnant again. Not even close.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What a weekend!

This weekend was luxurious - we had absolutely nothing planned. Because this does not happen very often, I soaked it in.

We started watching the show Burn Notice upon the recommendation of a friend. I'm not that into it. I have nothing against formulaic shows (I do love Law & Order and The Closer after all) but this is just not grabbing me. I like it enough to watch it if I happened upon it on tv and nothing else was on, but not enough to dedicate time to watching all of Season 1 on DVD.

We also watched the movie Cedar Rapids. Because Redbox had nothing else. It procured a few laughs (mainly the jokes about The Wire, one of our faves) but (and I think you know this) I would not recommend it. I do not understand why movies set in Wisconsin always seem to make it like this hokiest place in America to live. It is not like that!

We had some great meals out of the house - we went to Le Reve for lunch on Saturday and Nate ordered the cheese tray!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love cheese trays - we rarely order them. So when he suggested it, I wanted to give him a huge kiss in the middle of the restaurant. Sunday we went deli style and hit up Ninos. Such.An.Amazing.Italian.Sub. Our meals this weekend in the house were only ok. I tried a bunch of new recipes - none were keepers.

Other than that, we spent a lot of time outside soaking up the beautiful weather. We went to an outdoor Art Fair, a park, neighborhood walks, and of course, the swing in our yard. Mags also accompanied me on a run. I had been running sans Mags for a few weeks now and I think she doubled in size in those few weeks. We still finished a four mile hilly course in 30 minutes. I think the running legs might be back!!! Or maybe it was just my amazing Lululemon sports bra from the outlet in Orlando.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stolen Dinner: A Love Story

Stolen Dinner
Several of my family and friends own the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I would say if you are looking to buy a cookbook for someone, buy them this one - it is definitely a classic. It would make a great college/new home/wedding gift. Everything I have made out of this cookbook has been good, and often those of us with it will email back and forth - "We tried this and it was great". I received one of those emails this week from BLK, who recommended the Asian Marinade (page 418) on Chicken and the following simple sesame noodles. This looked like an easy dinner, so I quickly followed suit. She was right.

I marinated the chicken and skewered chunks with red pepper and pineapple for a kabob grillout! How very retro of us, I know. Mags was a big fan of the kabobs - even the red pepper!

Simple Sesame Noodles
Source: The Pioneer Woman
Noodles - I used thin spaghetti because that was what we had on hand.
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-4 cloves garlic
3 TB sugar
2 TB rice vinegar
2-3 TB sesame oil
4-5 TB canola oil
1/2 tsp asian hot chili oil (I omitted this because I didn't have it)
1-2 TB hot water

Mix all above. Chop up a green onion or two and throw it on top.

I made this with a (I'm Guessing) 23-lb baby on my hip in the Moby Wrap. For whatever reason, she wanted to be held - probably to be closer to the action. Thank goodness for that Moby wrap.

We gave Maggie a few of these noodles, expecting her to not like them - they were a little zippy with all of the garlic. She inadvertently sucked the first noodle up and decided she loved it. We spent the dinner laughing at her sucking up spaghetti noodles.

Dinner: A Love Story
If you are looking for a cooking blog to add to your Google Reader, I highly recommend Dinner: A Love Story. I get giddy when a new post pops up! I first heard about DALS from A Cup of Jo's My Balance Motherhood posts. Pop on over and give it a try!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cheesy Beef-Stuffed Zucchini

I am providing the full recipe for this, however, we did not make the tomato sauce to serve with these because I didn't read that step until the zucchini were almost done. They were very good sans tomato sauce, but I could see how the tomato sauce option would also be good.

Cheesy Beef-Stuffed Zucchini
Source: America's Test Kitchen 30 Minute Suppers Summer 2011 Issue

4 medium zucchini (6-8 inches each), stem ends removed
Salt & Pepper
4 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3/4 pound 85% lean ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup shredded provolone
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, heat oven to 425 degrees and place rimmed baking sheet on rack. Halve zucchini lengthwise. With small spoon, scoop out seeds and most of the flesh so walls of zucchini are 1/4 in thick. Season cut side of zucchini with salt and pepper and brush with 2 TB olive oil. Set zucchini halves cut side down on hot baking sheet and roast until slightly softened and edges are beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer zucchini, cut side up, to a 9x13 inch baking dish.

2. Heat additional TB oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3minutes. Add beef and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add 3 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stri in 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 2 TB basil, and provolone. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stuff zucchini halves with beef mixture. Toss remaining bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle bread-crumb mixture on top. Bake zucchini until topping is golden, about 8 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in empty skillet until shimmering. Add remaining garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with zucchini.

Better-Than-Ever Black Bean Burgers

This recipe was published in the Food section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the beginning of this month. It is from Sarah Matheny's new book, "Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love".

I love black bean burgers and this was one of the better recipes that I have tried for them. Nate even said, "This is one of the better meatless burgers I have had". Mags ate a few bites but much preferred the sweet potato fries we had on the side.

Better-Than-Ever Black Bean Burgers (Makes 4)
1 can (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (we used baby portabellas)
1/3 cup minced onion
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (we used 2 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB nutritional yeast (also called brewers' yeast - we got ours at the bulk bins at Outpost)
1 TB tahini

Place black beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork to a chunky consistency. Grind oats into a coarse flour using a blender or food processor. Add to bowl with beans along with remaining ingredients. Combine until a thick batter is formed.

Place bean mixture in refrigerator to chill and allow flavors to meld for at least 20-30 minutes.
Place a large skillet coated with vegetable oil spray over medium-high heat. Divide bean mixture into four portions and form into patties. Place patties in skillet and cook 6-7 minutes per side until patties are crisp and lightly browned. As an alternative, bake burgers in preheated 350 degree oven 15-20 minutes per side.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Going Wack-a-doo at One Year

The face that lauched a 1000 tears:


Maggie's first birthday is quickly approaching and I have been a wreck! Nate might ban me from looking at all pictures of her from her newborn days.

Yesterday I almost had a panic attack. I had to go get a form from one of the Emergency Department doctors I work with for a grant application. The ED serves as the triage location for pregnant women - so I started thinking about the last time I went to the ED - shortly after my water broke. I did not burst into tears there, but I was about to.

This morning I was looking through her newborn photo shoot photos - we just booked our one-year session with the same photographer. Thank goodness I have an office door to close - I started balling.

I don't really feel like I was that emotional after she was born (although that could be selective memory!) - maybe I am experiencing a one-year delay?! Someone please tell me this is normal!

Making Mom, MPH Proud



Mags remembered her sunblock for her first trip to the beach with her aunt!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Faux Indian Goulash (FIG)

We have been cooking up a storm lately mostly because we came to the realization that we must start cooking for THREE versus two. Wonder Child can POUND the food.

It started with chicken sausage. I made two chicken sausage for dinner last week - one for Nate and one for myself and figured we would just share with Mags. The girl ate more chicken sausage than either of us combined - lesson learned. I now will make THREE chicken sausages.

She also can polish off at least half of a large grilled chicken breast, so I have started making 3 of those as well.

The food report has become a sort of joke between Nate and me - one of us will typically call the other with the Mags Report mid-day, after we have heard from the Babysitter du Jour. Today I found out that Maggie had her normal amount of oatmeal (1/2 cup mixed with 3-4 oz breastmilk), a good 2/3 of a banana and a leftover banana pancake...for breakfast. When I pack her food bag, she gets the biggest soft-sided cooler that we have - and it is FULL.

So - I have lots of recipes to share this week. First up - Faux Indian Goulash. For those of you who text, FIG for short. (BLK - is this in the text dictionary?!)

This is a meal that is one of those "we really need to go grocery shopping, what can we make for dinner" meals! It started with a recommendation by my colleague for Patak's jarred Indian curries. (Please note: Neither Nate nor myself has a very distinguished palate when it comes to Indian food. We're novices - so Patak's may very well be faux-Indian, hence the name of this dish.)

For this dish you will need the following pantry staples:
Basmati Rice (We get the bag from Trader Joes)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove water
1 onion
Patak's Curry - Flavor of your choosing. We currently are using the mild curry paste.

Prepare Basmati rice as directed. Meanwhile, cut up an onion and saute in olive oil in a pan until softened. Spoon 1-2 spoonfuls of the Patak paste into the onion along with the spinach, the chickpeas, and tomatoes. Heat through until warm. Serve over rice and with Naan. We also get the frozen Naan from Trader Joes although we have gotten fresh stuff from our grocery store as well.

Voila. Faux-Indian-Goulash. Ready in about 15-20 minutes.

Maggie was not a fan of FIG. Although I used a mild curry paste, I think it was still too spicy for her. She ate a few of the chickpeas, spit a few more out and moved on to her chicken sausage. :)

Yays and Nays from the Weekend

First, the Longer YAY list (in no particular order)...

1. Riding Time Warp with my brother, sister and niece having to look for the dinosaur that scared my niece last year at Noah's Ark.

2a. Nate's homemade pancakes with real buttermilk. (9 times out of 10 when we decide to make pancakes, we have to use the replacement buttermilk - add lemon juice to regular milk. Having real buttermilk makes a HUGE fluffy difference!) Maggie LOVED the special banana pancakes made just for her.

2b. BLT sandwiches with fresh tomatoes from our garden (well, ok...it really is a big pot of tomatoe plants outside - not a garden).

3. Taking Maggie to PetSmart aka the cheap zoo. The girl's infatuation with dogs grows by the day. She was in heaven watching the grooming area at PetSmart.

4. Watching Hall Pass with Nate. We both did not expect much from this movie, but it was all that Redbox had left. We were pleasantly surprised at the laughs it procured.

5. Maggie's dance moves at YoMama, complete with booty shaking and Stevie Wonder.

6. Belly laughs while swinging

7. Books from the Friends of the Brookfield Library book sale. I found a vintage (1968) McCalls Sewing book and the Julia Child & Company cookbook for $2 each and I found the PERFECT book for Maggie - it has animals, playing peek-a-boo and it is a lift-the-flap book. She cuddled up and had me read it no less than 10 times in a row. I don't think you could spend fifty cents any better!

8. Running two of the three days this weekend!

9. Watching Maggie stand unassisted for 2 seconds before she fell onto her bottom.

10. Leaving the windows open all weekend - our house smells great!

11. CAP & SG are {finally} engaged!!! WOOHOO!

12. Tooth #3 is in sight!

...and the NAY list

1. Having a $10 giftcard to spend (last week only) at Jo-Ann fabrics - finding some great fabric in the remnant bin, standing in line with a hungry baby, getting to the register only to find out I cannot use the $10 on the remnant bin. Get a pack of replacement machine needles instead and get back in the long line...FRUSTRATING!

2. Rain at Noah's Ark. We had almost an entire month of 90+ degree temps and the one day we plan to go to the waterpark it is 70 degrees and rainy. In the words of my niece, "We still had fun!".

3. Running out of Cheerios at the aforementioned library book sale BEFORE we got to the entire room of Fiction. Thank goodness the sale is still on next week!

4. No Law & Order episodes on last night? This is pretty much our standard Sunday night - folding laundry while watching L&O. What was up last night?!

5. No Athleta returns to Gap stores. UGH. Guess I have to pay the $6 to return all of the items I bought. This is why I hate online shopping.

6. Packing up burp rags and size 2 shoes from Mags and having to buy size 4 diapers. My baby is growing too fast!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Style for Style: Red Lips

"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick." ~Your favorite and mine, GP

"It's true, lip colors come and go, a bold red lip is forever." ~Refinery 29

This week's Style for Style post comes straight at you from my cherry red mouth: I HAVE FOUND THE PERFECT RED LIPSTICK!

I love makeup and remember my first "lesson" came during Catholic Schools week parent classes in 8th grade. One of the parents was an Amway representative and always taught the makeup class. However, you could only take the makeup class if you were in 8th grade. Imagine my excitement 8th grade year! The first thing the mom/teacher did was hold a magenta fabric and an orange fabric up to our skin to determine if we were "cool" or "warm" (Yes...this really did happen and I remember it like it was yesterday). When it came to me, I stumped her because I could go either way. I have had MANY makeovers in many department and makeup stores over the years and this is something that usually comes up. Makeup people usually go towards the "warm" side of things with me, which is not my cup of tea. However, I don't want to be too "cool" for school either.

Lipstick is my favorite makeup item to try and buy. I love the pretty tubes and I love how a different shade of lipstick can change the rest of your makeup. My quest for red lipstick started several years ago - I wanted RED lips. Not too "warm" and not too "cool" - RED. I started with a trip to Sephora. I was too chicken to go for the real thing and thus purchased Stila Lip Glaze in Cranberry. I "lost" this for a couple of months (only to find it in the pocket of a rarely used purse). It is ok. It is quite sticky, and often looks pink.

I dove into "real" red lipstick during my inaugural trip to NYC two years ago and a trip to Bloomingdales (which I blogged about here). The Estee Lauder guy recommended Pure Color Gloss Stick in Pomegranate Kiss (color no longer available). I rocked this for a while, although sometimes felt it was a bit too orange-red. The tube was/is beautiful, however.

Last year, I purchased Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick Berry Queen on impulse. I liked the purple tube. As the name might imply, this was a bit too berry/pink.

My next purchase was a bit softer - the Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia. If you are nervous about red lips - this is a good introduction and feels great on your lips.

I was pretty comfortable switching between all of the above options, although I would admit that none of them were the PERFECT red.

Then my xoJane newsletter arrived in my email last week with a story about a Pin-Up Makeover. The makeup artist recommended Boots No.7 Lip color in Cherry - available at Target. This was a "true red" - not too orange and not too pink.

Could it be? I threw a tube in my cart the next time I was in Target.

AHHHHH!

She was right - it's the perfect "true" red and so far, I love it!

Anyone else have any red lipstick recommendations? More red recommendations, and tips for wearing red lipstick, can be found in the August issue of Matchbook Magazine page 40.

Next week's Style for Style: The perfect neutral lipstick

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Help - Good Book, Good Movie


Last night I went with some book club ladies to see The Help.

I lugged this hardcover book with me to NYC two years ago because I had waited MONTHS in the library queue to get it and of course it arrived the day before we left. I was glued to it every night in the hotel room. I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you have not read it.

As always, I was a little doubtful about the movie - I never feel the movies live up to the books. However, I thought they did a great job with the movie. From what I remembered of the book, they stayed very true to it, and my fellow book clubbers agreed. Hilly's character is just pure evil!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Skirt Kits

Here are some photos of the skirt kits I alluded to last post, thanks to BLK.






Those outer velum folders and cream ribbons may look familiar to some of you - they were used in our wedding programs. My friend BLK recognized them immediately. When I showed them to Nate and asked if he remembered them, he gave me a blank stare. ha ha ha

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Craft of the Month

Wait..What happened to June & July?

Nothing. Sewing hiatus.

I have several projects in the works but just could not bring myself to finish one in the past two months.

I was excited to get an email from Slunz commissioning me to make a purse for her Mom's birthday. I was a little nervous picking out fabric to match the black/white/cream request. Thank goodness for camera phones and text messaging! I knew we were on to something when the middle-aged woman working at Jo-Ann's complemented me on the fabrics.

The finished product:




All packaged up and ready to ship:


I also will have a few more skirts in the upcoming months due to my skirt kits I gave to three of my besties for their summer birthdays. I wish I would have taken a photo of them, but I basically made cute booklets out of velum and ribbon announcing the swingy skirt kit - containing a brief questionnaire card and a pink measuring tape. The recipients have to take their waist and waist to knee measurements, indicate whether they want a bright or neutral color, and choosing floral or geometric pattern. They also have the "surprise me" option. I packaged everything up in plain brown craft bags with sticker labels for each.

Try Suave Dry Shampoo - Free!


During my last hair post, I raved about Suave Dry Shampoo.

If you are interested in trying this, you can get a sample of it here as part of the Suave Sample Box.

PEEK A BOO!




Monday, August 8, 2011

Baby's First Eden Parade

Every year we would go to the Eden Parade the first sunday in August when I was a kid. I LOVED it. The day before I would decorate my candy bag and make my sibilings do the same. I would always use my ride tokens to go on the craziest, dizziest rides.

I try to go to the parade every year and this year I was excited to take Mags. She enjoyed the dancers, the bands, and the horses.

We took the opportunity to take a five generation picture featuring Maggie's great-great grandfather:

We joked that they shared the same hairstyle.

Maggie (with my mom in the photo below) also met the Italian sausage of the famous Klements Racing Sausages:


If you have been reading this blog long enough, you may recall that Nate took a turn as the Italian Sausage about three years ago:


Now I am just hoping that I won the cow or pig in the Fireman's Raffle. (My bro is a volunteer fireman and always hits us up for raffle tix.)

11 Months!

Maggie is 11 months old today!

FOOD
This month we used our last tub of baby food (I may have gone a little crazy with stockpiling!) and our last container of puffs! She has completely made the transition to table food (with the exception of the "baby" oatmeal, which she still has for breakfast for the iron) and eats dinner with us every night. This has been fantastic and way easier! It can be difficult to have her wait for dinner, so she sometimes will start her dinner a little earlier with cheerios and fruit/veggies to avoid a meltdown. We do not use her tray much anymore and pull the high chair right up to the table. She also eats from a plate or bowl. She has done very well with this - however, you know she is done when she starts to pick the plate/bowl up and dump the food. We have gotten good at anticipating this maneuver! I have been working with her to self-feed from a spoon. I either will say "Help mama" and she will put her hand on the spoon and we will both guide the spoon into her mouth or I will pre-load the spoon and put it in front of her for her to pick up and feed herself. While this is messy, she is getting pretty good!

She had her first food reaction last night. The doctor thinks that the cherries were to blame, even though yesterday was not the first day she has had cherries (that was earlier this week). After dinner, her trunk and chin were covered in hives. They didn't seem to bother her too much so we just plopped her in an oatmeal bath and that was it. I did call the doctor just to make sure we weren't suppossed to do anything else. She still had them, albeit very faintly, this morning. They didn't appear to bother her too much!

We have made the crossover and have given her scrambled eggs a couple of times. She seems to like them and hasn't had any reactions. Since eggs were in some of the food she eats (bread, pasta), we then just made her yolks to try and then worked our way up to the full egg. Nate always makes some form of eggs for breakfast on Saturday and this past Saturday, she joined in her first traditional breakfast with us.

Her food schedule has not changed at all in the last month. The bottles are all packed up. She no longer uses them, although I'm not sure what we will do when she weans from the night nursing. I think we will just give her milk in a sippy cup during books and try that rather than go to a bottle. She still nurses right when she gets up and right before bed. During the day she gets breastmilk from my frozen stash in a sippy cup.

GROWING
I do not have any stats on Maggie because she does not go to the doctor until the one year mark. Regardless, she feels heavier. She basically is in 12 or 18 month clothes. We are huge fans of those rompers since it is really hard to crawl in a dress! Still doing cloth diapers except for days when Maggie is in Hartford. We will likely make the switch to size 4 disposable diapers when our remaining supply of size 3s run out. The size 3s are a little snug but fine.

Her hair continues to (slowly) come in!

LANGUAGE
She talks in her own language still, although she can understand a lot. For example, this morning she was playing in the living room and I was making my lunch in the kitchen and said, "Maggie come by mama in the kitchen please" and she crawled into the kitchen. She really understands the word "puppy"!!

MOVEMENT
She started crawling and pulling up last month! There was no real transition between these two things - she was pulling up before she actually crawled and now will use the furniture as a guide. She still will prefer to crawl though, most of the time. For example, our coffee table is right in front of one of our couches. She used to sit down to go between the two but in the last week has figured out how to go between the two and remain standing. She still has not figured out how to crawl stairs.

For awhile she would stay in the same room but she quickly figured out there is a whole house to explore and will go between rooms quite easily. Our house works well for crawlers because we can shut doors to our bathrooms and basement and any rooms that we don't want her in. We use a baby gate to keep her out of the entryway where all the plants are. Our house is pretty much completely baby proofed. We have a gate installed at the top of the stairs and got the magnet cabinet locks for cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom that we want to keep her out of. These things are amazing but I never remember that we have them and it takes me a few pulls on the cabinet doors before I remember to get the unlocking magnet on the fridge. We kept the tupperware cabinet open for her to play with.

All of this movement has led to some injuries. We always seem to find scrapes and bruises on her, the most recent one is on the middle of her forehead from the bathtub. She was standing outside the bathtub (as in she was not taking a bath) and I didn't catch her when she went down and she hit her head. She does always seem to want to stand while taking a bath too. There is a lot of "Maggie, No. We sit in the bathtub" during bathtime!

TOYS/BOOKS
She has figured out how to turn her ball popper toy on by herself. She will sit and just hit the on button a hundred times in a row and then start shaking her head and body (dancing) when the music comes on. Each morning when we set her in the living room, she makes a beeline to that, turns it on and then plays. When the music stops, she goes over to it and turns it back on.

She really likes this toy truck that I got her from the Target clearance sand toy section. She might be getting a few more cars/trucks for her birthday. She just figured out how to push them and "drive" them around.

She does not like when toys are cleaned up. She has this turtle where you can put shapes through the shell and if the shapes are inside the turtle, she will make it a point to throw the turtle shell in one direction and dump the shapes out. I like cleaning it up right after she does it just to watch if she will empty it again. Every time! Another toy that she likes to have a certain way is the 5 pop up animal toy. If we open all the doors and have them in the popped up position, she will beeline over and close them all. This too, she will keep doing as long as you keep popping up the animals.

Now for the non-toys...As I am sure everyone knows, kids like "non-toys" more than toys. Maggie's most favorite thing is the remote control. We let her play with it but I wouldn't be surprised if she ordered a pay per view movie one of these days! She also likes the laptop computer cord - most likely because it has a little light on it. We do not let her play with that! She still loves oatmeal canisters and has amassed quite a collection to build towers with and roll back and forth with you. I don't know if I have mentioned this on one of these yet, but she also loves our Sonicare toothbrushes, and has for a LONG time. Every morning once she hears one of us turn our toothbrush on, she will want to hold the toothbrush and "help" you brush your teeth. She will laugh EVERY time. I am not sure what is so cool about those, but oh well! She does not have a sonicare - but does enjoy brushing her teeth.

In the last month she has become a book magnet. (Yes!!! My plan is working!!!) She has a few favorites that she "reads" like the Baby Book (it has pictures of real babies in it) and she will go over to her bookshelf and pull all of the books off it every morning. Because of this, I try to read to her whenever she has a book. Nate continues to do all of the before bed reading and rotates out books. We used to be able to read some more story type books but she really prefers books that have bright colors and pictures - those boring one word type books. One of her other favorite books is this Shutterfly photo book that I made her containing pictures of her family.

KIDDOS
Maggie LOVES other little kids. She made a seamless transition to the in-home daycare place that she now goes to once a week. Nate does the drop-off and pick-up for this since it is near his work and always has funny stories. Last week, when he walked in the door, a 5 yo boy name Trevor screamed "MAAAAGGGGIE" when he saw her and let her wear his hat. Trevor's 2 yo brother asked to wear the hat and Trevor said "No". Her first boyfriend, ha ha ha. Every time she has just crawled from Nate over to the kids without even looking back!

PLAY PLAY PLAY
She still loves outdoor swings. The swing works wonders if she is in a bad mood or you need to distract her! We (and Nate's parents and my mom) all have a version of the little tikes swing. It is a great swing and reasonably priced, if you buy a new one. We all got them from yard sales!

Maggie is also a shark. She LOVES swimming. I took her to Hoyt Park Pool last Friday for the first time during tot time. She kept wanting to crawl into water that would be over her head and would NOT be happy when I picked her up to take her back to the shallow part. Unfortunately tot time is right around the time she takes a morning nap. I tried to have her sleep a little earlier, which did not work. Thankfully I was able to get her to sleep in the stroller after a little swimming. Next summer, we will take Hoyt Park Pool by storm!

My in-laws replaced their pool liner this summer so she has gotten some swim time in there as well. My MIL also bought one of those kiddie pools for her to splash in. I think we will probably resume the swimming "lessons" in late fall at the Y.

TEETH
She still only has the 2 middle bottom teeth. None appear to be making their way in anytime soon.

SLEEP
She goes to bed around 7 PM and is up anywhere between 6 and 7 in the morning, USUALLY closer to the 6:00 end of that time frame. (God bless the rare instances where she gets up at 7:00 AND it's a Saturday!) She takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap, which are usually an hour each.

ANIMALS
She LOVES animals, especially dogs. Every morning we look out the window to see if there are any puppies walking by. Nate's aunt sometimes babysits her during the week and has a yellow lab, Ike, whom Maggie loves. We took her to the Madison Children's Zoo a couple of weeks ago and she liked the goats and the meerkat - basically the only two animals that were moving around in the heat! She really loved the horses at the state fair.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Baby's First Wisconsin State Fair


Last night we decided last minute to go to opening night of State Fair. If we arrived there before 6:00 PM, we could get in for $2 a person with 2 canned goods. I had a bag of free formula canisters to donate to the food pantry so we took that and managed to get in at 5:59!

We toured the pig and goat barn as well as the "discovery barn" for little kids. Maggie LOVED all of the animals. Her head was spinning from left to right almost the entire night!

Of course we tried the "new" foods - the chocolate covered cranberries on a stick and the deep fried butter. The deep fried butter was basically small donuts with a pool of melted butter inside. I thought they were good, but after eating 4 of the 5 in the serving, I was sick of them for sure. I got my usual grilled cheese from the Wisconsin products pavilion and shared some with Maggie. "MMMMMMMMMMMMM" she said after every bite. We then went to the Herb Kohl Milk barn where you can get cups of flavored milk for 25 cents. Nate bought cherry vanilla and root beer. We let Maggie have a few sips of the cherry vanilla. She was a fan!

I also got a corn on the cob, which Maggie thoroghly enjoyed sharing, even if I think she was doing it just for the butter!

A gyro rounded out our food experience. We sampled some sausage, mello yello and sparkling cranberry juice as well.

I think the crowning moment was watching the Clydesdale horse judging. It was very interesting and Maggie was mesmerized by the horses. She even got into clapping when the audience clapped.

For the first time in my experience of State Fair, I rode on the Giant Slide. HOW FUN! Totally worth the $2.

We finished the evening with watching the pig races. As much as jumped and screamed with Maggie, we never were selected to be the "pig rooter'. However, the woman ahead of us was and gave Maggie her sticker (photo above). I was bummed because I didn't realize the camera battery was dead until we arrived so I wasn't able to take any pictures. (The photo above was taken this morning).

The State Fair is always a fun time and we were glad Maggie seemed to be as enthused about it as us!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pool Shark

Over the weekend, we hung out at my in-law's pool. The water was so refreshing!
Of course, our bathing beauty loved it:

She didn't have quite enough grasp on balance to be entirely independent in her floaty suit, but she liked that she could get a drink whenever she felt like it:

She only thinks she can swim in it:

Children's Music Contest

BABYMAMAS: You should head on over to AH's blog to comment to enter a 3-pack of In the Nick of Time Children's Music CDs....

...because GaGa's Government Hooker is so NOT kiddo appropriate.

*If you are not a babymama, comment anyway. Children's music makes a great baby/shower/birthday gift!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Month By Month: 10 Months (...and 3 weeks)

In less than one week, Maggie will be 11 months old.

Good thing we took her 10 month old pictures with Mickey and on the Quilt tonight. Yikes!

Maggie with Mickey: 10 Months (...and 3 weeks)


Maggie on her Quilt: 10 Months (...and 3 weeks) Such a long girl!


And one with Mom for good measure:


So much as changed since Jan 15:

Pasta...Peas...Prosciutto...Popsicles!

I made this for dinner last night. I made the popsicles Sunday evening and we all shared one for dessert.

The dinner: Maggie approved
The popsicles: Jury's still out. At first she was not a fan, but by the end she was grabbing it and trying to eat it by herself.

Creamy shells with Peas and Prosciutto
Source: America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesean cheese, grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
salt and pepper, to your taste
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 because we Schlottys are garlic FANS)
1 pound small pasta shells
2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.Bring water to a boil in a large pot for shells. While that is starting, begin to combine the ricotta, Parmesan, butter, and around 1/4 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Mix together until the salt and pepper are distributed evenly and the butter has mostly been broken up.

2.Cook the prosciutto and oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is well browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Saving the drippings in the skillet, transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel plate with a slotted spoon.

3.Add onion to oil in skillet and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until its just beginning to turn golden. Stir the onion and garlic into the ricotta mix.

4.When the water is boiling, stir in salt for flavor and then add the shells. Cook, stirring often, until the shells are al dente; almost tender but still a little firm to the bite. Add the peas during the final 30 seconds of cooking.

5.Reserve around a cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the shells and peas. Whisk the lemon juice into the ricotta mix until smooth. All the shells and peas and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add small amounts of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce Sprinkle the crisp prosciutto over the pasta and enjoy.

Banana Pineapple Popsicles
Source: Craft Magazine Blog

6 oz (3/4 cup) fresh squeezed orange juice
8 oz chopped fresh pineapple or frozen fresh pineapple
6 oz peeled and sliced banana; about 1 medium banana
4-6 oz plain or Greek-style yogurt

Puree all of the above and pour into popsicle molds. If you do not have popsicle molds, the recipe features instructions for using dixie cups.
NOTE: This recipe makes a LOT of popsicles - my estimate is 3 popsicle molds worth. My popsicle mold makes 4 popsicles - when I make these again, I will probably make 1/3 of this recipe.

Style for Style: Animal print ballet flats

I love lists of wardrobe classics. You know, "staples" that every one should have in their closet. (One of my favorites starts on page 38 of Issue 2 of Matchbook Magazine.) Although I like the idea of having items forever, I can't say I subscribe to this approach at all times. Particularly when faced with an 80% off clearance rack...ANYWAYS...

One of my wardrobe staples is leopard/cheetah print ballet flats. (Animal print is #2 of Nina Garcia's Top 100 list, BTW.) You might be amazed at how versatile this shoe is. I originally bought my first pair at Target (on clearance) thinking they would be a fun shoe. Little did I know how often I could wear them! I burned through that Target pair and am now on my second pair, from Old Navy.

I was wearing them at my work conference in Iowa a few months back when our center director asked where I got them because his wife would love them. I responded that they were from Old Navy. We moved on.

Then yesterday, I was wearing the shoes again, and he again asked me where I got them because he had forgotten and I responded, "Old Navy...but if you are going to get these for {wife's name}, you should get higher quality ones. Coach used to have a cute pair." He asked if I could send him a link to them.

WELL....

I was then on the hunt for leopard/animal print ballet flats. I personally like the pony-hair (or faux pony-hair) types, rather than the shiny types. Here is what I came up with:

Stuart Weitzman $235


Elizabeth and James $147.50 (SALE)


Ivanka Trump $129.95


Halogen Ellis $99.95


Kelsi Dagger $71.20 (SALE)


Aldo $70


Anne Klein $59.01 (SALE)


Calvin Klein Jeans $59


BP $59


Unfortunately, I could not find a current pair (aka non-ebay) version from Target, Gap or Old Navy, although one of these three usually has an offering. After my Target pair bit the dust, I was on the hunt for months to find a replacement that actually fit (Does anyone else have a hard time with flats that fit? I often find that they are too wide for my foot), I found my current pair at Old Navy. You would think I would have bought two pairs, but I did not. Thankfully, I think I have a while before these go!

This was a fun post for me to put together so I might have more "Style for Style" posts in the future. Indulge me...