Thursday, May 31, 2007

new bag... new baby stats... new found love

my mother in law reupholstered a wing back chair for me a few months ago (love it!) and she had some left over fabric that she gave to me. i made some pillows but i still had a pretty big piece that was screaming at me to make something out of it. the fabric is bright and cheery but not crazy. it has my favorite colors reds, oranges and pinks. so i decided to make another bag for myself. this time i bought some hefty interfacing to help it keep it's shape, it was the sew in version... next time i'm going to try the iron on kind to see how it makes a difference. i basically made two bags, each with it's own interfacing layer sewn to it, i turned one bag inside out and sewed the edges together, then attached the magnetic closures, folded the top into the inside of the back and pined the straps into place and sewed up the top. it's very thick, very sturdy and i love the shape. i did some basic measuring to keep everything even but i didn't use a pattern, same as last time.

here's a photo:

i attempted to take some photos of the inside but my batteries died :( i found some new ones, i uploaded all my photos to flickr then i realized that i really wanted to take an inside the bag shot but again, as i got all set up outside, my new (but used - thanks for lending them to me max... you won't notice that that crazy toy doesn't make those whacked out noises anymore will you?) batteries died again... sorry... there is one other photo on flickr if you want to check that out.

max turned 9 months over the weekend! he's crawling like a uh, i dunno, baby? ha! anyways, he crawls like mad, he loves it! he had his 9 month drs visit yesterday he weighs 19 lbs 11 oz and is 28 1/2 inches long. he is right on target for growth and a little bit advance in the skilz department! lol he also has been given the green light for eating meat. so last night chris made some sweet and sour chicken in the Pressure Cooker (segway into "new found love") and we gave max some of our chicken all mushed up, he liked it but it was a little dry for him... we're just happy that he can now start to eat what we're eating :) how fun is this going to be?

new found love... my Rapida Pressure Cooker. Number one reason, chris cooks with it! number 2 reason, it's fast and super tasty food! we received this as a wedding gift almost 4 years ago and we had one failed attempt at using it to make some beans... we are not back on the pressure cooker wagon with a vengeance. AND, i'm going to attempt to use it soon... it scares me for some reason... but i WILL figure it out. chris has made three totally yummy things in it. the first was beef in an onion raisin sauce, the 2nd was rice pudding with dried cranberries! (he's made this twice actually) and the third was the sweet and sour chicken. one thing that we need to work out is the timing. it's very easy to over cook things, then they turn out kinda dry but still tasty. it's a work in progress.... stay tuned for more fun food stories surrounding the rapida pressure cooker! i like the name rapida.... it makes me think of mexican food! mexican food that's FAST! Rapido!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

for annie

and anyone else that would like to see a proper "after" photo.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

woes of a new entertainment center

(i'm sorry this is really long.... at least there are photos... and there are more here.)

for the past few months we've been in search of a new entertainment center. we have a small unit that is from Ikea however it leaves all our components open and at perfect button pushing level for a small human. this is, one very unsafe.... two very unsightly and three prompts us to look at a tv even when we are not watching it. i am the hunter and gatherer for our family, i had looked at a few of these, some a jcpenny's, some online at pier 1, and we had plans to drive to Ohio to look at a furniture storeroom that has a good reputation and low delivery costs. all the units i had looked at were between $650 - $850 plus tax and delivery. this was fine it was within our budget but we're always looking for ways to save when possible. so this past monday, we went out to kmart in search of baby gates for said newly crawling baby which we did not find there.... they were out of the preferred style... however we did find an entertainment center in the form of an armoire in the color and style that i liked, it was Martha Stewart Everyday brand. we checked out the quality, found it to be pretty solid plus it was on sale for $332!!!! less than half of our budget! yes, we would have to build it but if that meant that we could pocket the unspent cash and use it while on vacation in june and actually be able to afford a few drinks while there, we were game! Chris is very handy so we figured this would be a breeze. and it was! well sorta.

we opened the box, it was packaged very well, lots of protection, lots of labels on all parts, everything was in order and the directions were very clear and only in one language, ENGLISH, that was a first! the entire time we were putting the armoire together we kept saying how impressed we were with the quality and how nice it's going to look in place of our old system. which looked like this (yes our tv is really old... it was my parents i believe they purchased in in the early 1980's, hey it works... we're holding out for prices on the new hd ones to lower...):

so we are putting our new armoire together, raving about it's greatness... totally jinxing ourselves... we put the doors on, then chris lifts the really heavy top and fastens it into place. we close the doors..... err try to close them. the right one, will not stay closes, it is out of alignment, the left door closes but rubs on the frame really bad the doors are not lining up at all it looks shameful. ooh note, the time. 1 am. yes, we had to wait until max went to bed to put it together for obvious reasons... he goes to bed at 8:30.... we started building at 9. it had been 4 1/2 hours. not bad really, and frankly we were having fun until this "small" snag. next chris attempts to fix this problem, he loosens the hinge brackets and messes with it, he tries everything, again, he is handy this wasn't hard for him... but at this point he was not a happy man. so we move the new armoire into place, shove the old stand in the corner and straighten up as best we can with plans for me to call the company in the morning.

the next morning. max sleeps late, he could hear us making noise the night before and didn't sleep well. i tried calling the manufacturer, busy signal for more than an hour. i check out their website, find another number, call it, more busy signal, ooh it rang and i got some voice mail. finally i got a hold of a person in the shipping department, yes, wrong department but they at least got me to the manager that i wanted to speak to. after talking with her, measuring the bracket placement while on the phone with her, finding the brackets were installed incorrectly at the factory, waiting 7 hours for a call back with a solution and playing with max on the 2nd floor all day, thus getting nothing done on the first floor, she called to say she was shipping us new doors. which we found to not be the problem the brackets were fine on the doors, they were NOT fine on the side panels... we found this because we had also called Kmart and asked them what we could do. they suggested bringing the parts back to them and exchanging the broken parts with an existing box. ok, so we took the armoire apart, took the parts to our local kmart to find that they were out of them. we were pretty grumpy at this point. my house was a mess, i had a very unsafe play space for max, we were hungry, ooh did i mention my house was a mess? and we were dealing with utter idiots at kmart. finally we find that another kmart down the road has what we need. we go there, they tear open the package right in front of the door for us, we get our parts, take them home and are really hoping for a good turnout. we play with max for a bit, feed him and put him to bed. yes i spent all day with a house that looked like this:

finally, we put max to bed. we ate... chris was out of the house until 5, we wanted to get to the store and exchange our parts before it was time to put max to bed. by the time we got home, it was 7.... one hour til bed time.

we started to rebuild the top of our armoire, it was looking good, until we found that some holes on the new parts were ill placed... chris had to then get the drill out. a tool that was not supposed to be needed for assembly. he drilled new holes, it fit. we put the doors on, then the top, we secured everything and closed the doors. Ahhh! thank you, they closed, stayed closed, and lined up perfectly! chris then put the tv/cd player/cable box/receiver in place, wired everything (this took an hour itself) and we finally could clean up the mess that you see above, there was more by the way, all the packaging was in the foyer, the dining room was a mess too.... (see flickr for more photos) everything was put back where it belonged and this morning i took this photo while max was finishing his bottle:
much better huh?

overall, we are happy with the product. we have realized that the cost difference actually reflects the costs for assembly, delivery and installation. if we purchased the more expensive one from a furniture store that's what we would have been paying for. the quality is just the same as what i had seen in the other stores. for the cheaper price we had our new piece installed in a day, that's quicker than we would have received it if we would have purchased it and i would still be pulling max away from the mess of buttons and wires he was able to reach with the old system. now i can let him go in the living room with no worries :) and that's a good thing, as Martha would say!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

max tried to eat the cat

so stinky came up to max today, plopped down on the carpet and max went in for the kill. apparently stinky had the same mode of play in mind because he didn't move, he didn't twitch he did nothing but stay where he plopped so that max could bury his face in stinky's belly, play with stinky's feet and give him the Max Death Grip! funny stuff.... no photos sorry.

as for knitting, i've done a few more ball bands, and i've got one of those on the needles and a baby genius burp cloth from mason dixon knitting. i'm trying to see how large this one comes out so that i can adapt the pattern to be large enough for a kitchen towel. i think that would be a good texture for one. they knit up quickly as well and fairly brainless but still fun.

chris is finished with the semester, this means he's home most of the time doing things from a list that was created from things that have been put off since january. this is a huge adjustment for both of us. i'm not used to being here while he is home in the summer, and he's not used to me being here. it's an adjustment.... one good thing (among many regarding being home during the day), max naps while the sun is at it's best and optimum location for sunning on the deck! i WILL be tan again this summer! it's been a long time since i've had the ability and time to actually get some sun during the day.

ooh, i made some kick ass mac and cheese..... chris had an opening this past sunday so i made some cheese trays. there was a lot of cheese left over, so instead of it rotting away in our fridge i decided to make some mac and cheese.

5-8 oz asiago
5-8 oz smoked gouda
5-8 oz sharp aged cheddar
5-8 oz regular cheddar
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 stick o butter
1 lb of elbow noodles, cook to al dante

butter casserole dish
shred all cheese and toss together

once noodles are cooked, drain and melt the stick o butter in the pot that you boiled the noodles in, once melted add noddles back in, toss to coat. then add milk and all but 1/2 cup of cheese, stir. add beaten egg and combine. transfer to the casserole, top with remaining cheese. and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until edges are bubbly. mmmm good stuff! was really great with a few slices of fresh apple on the side!

ok, this entry was pretty lame.... sorry for all of you devout readers... hopefully i'll have more to write about in a day or so.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

peek-a-boo, i see you! bath time fun and a thank you

max has learned how to do peek-a-boo :) how cute is that? he and daddy were sitting in the living room this morning before chris had to leave for a meeting. and max had a burp cloth that he was trying to eat when all of a sudden he put it over his face then pulled it away and laughed! so we both said "peek-a-boo!" to him and he kept doing it! adorable...

he also took his first bath in the bathtub without the baby tub, he wasn't too keen on sitting in that little thing for the past month or so... so i cleaned up the tub and plopped him in with his foam letters and numbers and he was so funny, he kept scooting his little butt all around the tub. i don't know if he liked the wave action he was creating or if it felt funny or what... but it sure looked hilarious.

a HUGE thank you to Melissa (masavvy) on the nest (sorry i don't have your blog link), she suggested the use of a Magic Eraser in the tub over on the nest in Amanda's bathroom cleaning post, you deserve a big hug! WHY have i been scrubbing and scrubbing with crappy cleansers for so long? why didn't i try this magical cleaning product in the bathroom before? i've used these things in the rest of the house and have been happy with their results... why didn't i think to use it in the tub? seriously a duh moment... especially since my tub has a non-slip micro texture on it that creates a polka dot effect on the bottom of my tub. only the polka dots are usually dirt colored... nice... i usually have to put some serious elbow grease into it, but not this time! i think i might like cleaning the bathroom again! or maybe for the first time ever!