Month: July 2014

My next project – The Armoire!

You may recall from a previous post that my family house has been sold…now the closing date is near and we have been hard at work emptying out over 60 years worth of furniture, collections, and just plain clutter.

In the deep dark depths of the huge basement, in a corner that had been accumulating various family member’s no longer needed possessions for many many years I spotted IT – an armoire!

The truth is that nothing about it reminds me of my Gran, and actually no one I asked in my family seems to remember exactly where it came from so obviously there is no sentimental value, but when I saw it something just sparked and I knew I had to have it.

Now I must figure out something to do with it. It’s not in the best shape – no handles for the cupboards or drawer, the wood is quite worn on one side and the edge of the top is splintered. But it has good bones and will look like a beauty once I’m done with it. 

I feel like this is a really great project to take on. I’ve never done anything like this before. I don’t consider myself crafty and honestly I don’t have a lot of patience, but I will make it work. It will probably take a while, but in the end it will be something I can look at and be proud of doing myself!

Has anyone ever restored an armoire, or another old piece of furniture? Do you have any suggestions or ideas for me?

Parenting fails

One night last week I was sitting on the couch with babygirl laying next to me. She was casually kicking her leg up, shifting to her side, then down again. I had my leg up as a barrier and one hand lightly resting on her stomach. The next thing I knew she had kicked up with such a force she rolled right over my foot and was laying on the carpet beside the couch! My heart stopped. I immediately picked my howling baby up off the ground and held her tight. Within about 30 seconds she stopped crying.

She was perfectly fine, not a bump or bruise on her and it seemed to just initially shock her. Like a new mother though I called the nurseline for advice and stared at her pupils obsessively, felt her head for lumps, and woke her up a few times over the next 24 hours.

Still feeling like a bad mother I turned to other mothers to admit my parenting fail. What surprised me is that most of them laughed it off with an “oh is that all” and proceeded to tell me their own stories of dropping their babies, bumping their heads and other similar ‘fails’. Even when I admitted what happened to our doctor at a routine visit a few days later she reassured me that these things happen.

No one is a perfect parent. We all just need to give our babies what they need – food, a safe sleep place, clothing, diaper changes and most importantly – love and attention. As much as we would like to we can’t put our babies in a bubble so the bumps and bruises are bound to happen and we just have to hold them and kiss it better when they do.

A whole new way to eat hot dogs!

Tonight was another one of those nights where the What’s for Dinner question came too late. Taking a quick look through the fridge I saw we had hot dogs, but just before I was about to ask my boyfriend to go out to buy buns I spotted the crescent rolls and remembered a recipe I saw not too long ago:

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/crunchy-nacho-crescent-dogs/8f34d447-4ff1-4291-8c36-c6240259d5ca

This was a quick, fun recipe to make and was a BIG hit with my boyfriend who was expecting regular old hot dogs for dinner!

I did change it up slightly based on what I had in the house – I used a slice of marble cheddar on each instead of the american cheese slices and used Old Dutch Arriba Nacho Cheese chips instead of the ones called for in the recipe.

As you can see from the picture one of mine unrolled, but the other three were perfect – and they all tasted yummy 🙂

In the future when I make this with Babygirl I will try to make it a bit healthier….perhaps deli ham or chicken instead of hot dogs and maybe plain tortilla chips or homemade seasoned breadcrumbs instead of the nacho chips. Adding tomato sauce and some veggies like green peppers would be good too.

Let me know if you can think of any more variations we should try 🙂hotdogs

Advice from the parenting club

When I was pregnant I was given a lot of advice from other parents. Everything from “make sure you do this…” to “make sure you buy…”. If I had followed all the advice I received, I would have one seriously mixed up baby, a lot of unnecessary purchases, and I would probably be miserable.

I’m not saying I didn’t appreciate any of the advice I was given. A few gems have resulted in me being a better mother and having a happier baby. I truly appreciate that when I posed a question and specifically asked for advice many people stepped forward with words of wisdom and stories of what helped them.

A few weeks ago I found myself giving advice to a friend who is expecting her first baby next month and I saw a confused overwhelmed look cross her face – the same one I’m sure crossed mine when I was still the pregnant one receiving the advice. I felt bad and immediately told her I knew how she felt and to just ask if she wanted any advice or had questions I could answer. I felt good about that….until today when I started offering up unsolicited advice again. Whoops.

Parenting is a club of sorts and other parents are rooting for you to succeed. We want you to know you are not alone when your baby cries for hours, the diaper leaks, or you just can’t stand the sleep deprivation. The well being of your children is important to us and if we can offer something that even possibly, might, kind of help then we’re happy to do that.

My cousin gave me a card at my baby shower where she wrote “If there was ONE way to parent there would be ONE book, instead there are thousands”. That about sums it up. So my last piece of advice to new parents is: listen to advice with open ears knowing it comes from a helpful place, take what works for you and your baby, and leave the rest behind.

 

Quick and Easy Fruity Baked Chicken

fruitychicken

On more nights than I care to admit the boyfriend and I realize we are starving and we haven’t decided what we’re having for dinner. We used to rely on the McDonalds drive thru or a trip out to get pizza on nights like this but I really need to make more of an effort to make more meals at home. Fast food is fine occasionally but I don’t want Babygirl to think it’s OK to eat whenever you’re busy.  I found this recipe in Grandma’s magical yellow recipe box that said it only took 25 mins. I don’t usually have canned fruit on hand but for some reason we did, and although we always have a box of frozen chicken breasts we actually had a few fresh pieces in the fridge so that shaved off any extra defrosting time.

This was by no means a gourmet dish, but it only took about 5 minutes to put together and another 20 or so minutes to bake, so I will keep this handy for busy nights when we need a tasty fairly healthy meal fast.

I did make some modifications you may want to keep in mind if this is a recipe you would like to try:

I had to triple the basting sauce because I used 3 full size thick chicken breasts and when I made the amount called for in the recipe it wasn’t enough. I also added a small bit of the juice from each of the cans when I added the fruit even though it says to drain. I cut the chicken up into about 2 inch pieces so I could be sure it would cook through faster. For the lemon juice I squeezed a fresh lemon half but I’m sure using the bottled real-lemon juice most people seem to have is fine. I also used the low sodium soy sauce, which by the way is still pretty darn loaded with sodium!

 

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp pepper

1 can (8 oz) water packed sliced peaches, drained

1 can (8 oz) water packed pear halves, drained and halved

 

 

Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, ginger and pepper. Pour over chicken in shallow baking dish.

Bake in preheated 350 F oven 15 mins. Arrange fruit around chicken, baste with pan liquid. Bake 10-15 more minutes.

 

Just in case you are wondering what the dark purple side dish is in the picture it’s Thai rice which made a great nutty flavored side dish. I just followed the directions on the package and it cooked up in about the same amount of time as the chicken.

Clutter Busting

Lately I’ve seen more than a few blog posts and magazine articles talking about how getting rid of clutter in your home greatly affects everything from your health to your relationships with others. However I’ve always felt that I’ve thrived a bit on my clutter. Anywhere I’ve ever lived has had piles of magazines, overflowing closets and just a lot of STUFF. When I previously worked in an office my desk was usually piled high. But it always worked for me, I always knew where things were and finished tasks on time. I always figured, why bother cleaning up, I didn’t need to change anything – my life was pretty great the way it was, so obviously the clutter theory didn’t apply to me. I’m nowhere near close to being featured on that Extreme Hoarders show, but I do tend to keep a lot of unnecessary things around.

 

Now that we have a baby, who requires more stuff than we ever even imagined, AND our family home (aka our storage unit) has been sold we need to find room in our house – NOW! I’ve already been working hard on the purging part – getting rid of 23 large bags of clothes and about 15 boxes of books – and now need to find a proper place for everything that’s left. I’m working hard to make our house a home for my family and I would like to be a better role model for Babygirl and be able to teach her how to be organized.

 

I have visions of how our home will look once I finish the purging and organizing, and I like what I see. It will take a while longer but we’ll see how things turn out. Now that I have more aspirations and plans for the future, maybe this is just what I need to do. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and there will be something to the clutter theory.