Monthly Archives: January 2012

Cross stitch iPhone case thank you Pinterest and inlaws

Like most people, I have a ton of stuff that I’ve pinned on Pinterest that I can and want to do, but actually doing it is the major task.

Then Morgan and her friends came up with this genius idea:

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My project of choice involved a Christmas present! A couple months ago I saw this cross stitchable iPhone case via Kara of Knitting Lemonade (I think I have followed her blog for forever now) on her Pinterest board. So I repinned it.

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Then, even though I had just recently purchased my very cool and protective (and giant) Etch-A-Sketch case, I put it on my Family Wish List. I knew Stephen wouldn’t get it for me because this would be my fourth iPhone case. Stephen’s dad got it though!

The thing is perfection. My traditional and crafty side meets my technological side.

I started it up a few nights ago.

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I got halfway across the case with that pattern and ran out of thread. So then I decided to go a different direction. I Googled “owl cross stitch” and found this cute little guy.

Then I could not put him down.

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Last night while watching Moneyball, the most boring movie ever. Ever.

Today after nap time I was finished:

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I may go back later and add a branch or two, but it’s done and protecting my iPhone for now.

Pinned it, did it. 🙂

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Closet Purge Part 2: My 27 pieces and some dresses

So closet purging is taking longer than I thought. We keep getting sick and tired and babies not sleeping and major life conversations and decisions happening. BUT it turns out the stress induced hives were a virus rash (I know because after most stress going away it was still there and then Sprout got the rash too). Also not fun, but at least I know I am managing my stress better than I thought.

So two nights ago I purged my closet after the kids went to bed, filling up 3 Trader Joe’s bags with stuff that basically just sits in my closet unworn and is mostly junky stuff from Target.

So a little background on my fashion adventures. Back when we lived in Bakersfield, my husband and I were DINKS and I had a walk-in closet that was practically the size of a small bedroom in our current abode. It was mostly filled with my things too. I had two upper and lower racks along one wall, the rack along the back wall and Stephen had the other single rack wall. It was A LOT of clothes.

Well then I got pregnant, quit my job, got really sick and lost 5 sizes worth of weight from being sick. Not only did most of my wardrobe not fit me, it no longer fit my new lifestyle. While great for interviewing chamber of commerce members or politicians, a three piece suit isn’t something you want to burp a baby in, ever.

So once my body kind of leveled out to normal after Bean was born, I bought a bunch of new stuff from Target and American Eagle. And then I had two more babies. The favorite cut straight leg jeans from American Eagle were also designed for exhibitionist teenagers with no butt and not meant for mom-butts that have to bend over all day long picking up children, toys, breaking up fights, getting down on their level, etc.

After Sparrow was born my husband forced me to go shopping and replace most of my wardrobe, most especially my jeans. And he said he didn’t want us to buy crap clothes from Target ever again.

I hate shopping for jeans. I tried on a pair of Joe’s and they weren’t super low rise so I decided they would work. The thing is you can’t really tell if jeans work until you wear them for at least 24 hours. I couldn’t do this though because mine were at the tailor making them right for my short 5’2″ stature because even the petite length was way too long on me. We headed to the Camarillo Outlets and I bought two more pairs from the Joe’s outlet store thinking these were “the” jeans.

Oh they SO are not.

After only a couple hours of wearing them I spend the rest if my day pulling them up. They lose their shape and just fall down. I find belts really uncomfortable so that really isn’t the solution. So I am still wearing them and don’t have much other choice. I can’t go drop another $400 on jeans that I can’t be sure about without a 24 hour run.

That was sort of a tangent, but those three pairs of jeans make up the 26 pieces now left in my wardrobe. I might have to do something about it later this year. Not sure.

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On the right side of my closet are some dresses. A few fancy, but mostly not. I am not getting rid of those dresses, but can’t really wear them while breastfeeding so they don’t really count.

So what does count?

3 pairs of jeans, already discussed
1 pair of black slacks
1 black and mustard ruffle skirt
1 khaki distressed skirt
1 teal jersey skirt
1 long brown, mustard and grey linen skirt that I made myself
1 yellow open/lace knit cardi for Spring
1 beige ruffle jersey knit cardi
1 chunky knit grey cropped cardi
1 mustard cable knit wool cardi
1 grey bird and polka dot cropped cardi (still love and is holding up great even though it’s from Target)
1 green striped jersey cardi
1 3/4 sleeve striped tunic shirt (this shirt was part of the not buying junk trip, but it already has a couple of small holes near the button strips on the sides and it kind of pills in the front when I hold kids, it might have to be tossed or replaced later this year, but for now it is still OK)
1 lavender empire cut 3/4 sleeve blouse with ruffles
1 sleeveless white ruffle blouse
1 tank top with a cascading print that I love, also for Spring/Summer
8 t-shirts that all have an interesting detail or two like a print, way they are cut, collar, print, etc so that they aren’t t-shirts in the typical sense, but are super comfy and work for what I do.

=26 pieces

I feel like this is a good amount for me. I need a little more than twenty because of spit ups and spills and messy hands that touch me and so may go through more than one wardrobe change in a single day. I need the occasional nice outfit, but mostly not. But just because I am a mom, I don’t want to look like I am sloppy or unfashionable especially when going around with my always in a button-up shirt husband. So there you have it. Living life more simply this year, I hope, with 26 pieces in my closet!

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Instagram Digest: In Real Life

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Last Friday I decided to delete my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“What why?!” my youngest sister said.

I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with social media. This isn’t the first time I’ve gone cold turkey on Facebook. I love that it makes it easy to keep in touch and keep people updated on your life.

But for me, it just becomes too all consuming. A personal public relations machine that requires constant attention. When you start going through your day thinking about it in terms of status updates, you know you have a problem.

I know some people set a timer, delete the app from their phone, etc. and maybe those things would work, but knowing me I would still be thinking about it a lot, my introvert brain needing to process every little thing, thinking about the comment I just needed to leave on that photo or status update, thinking about the thing that someone said, maybe not even actually to me, that hurt or made me angry, thinking about the news article someone posted that fouled principles of journalism ethics or was overly politically charged or gave me another reason to be scared or disenchanted with our country, life, the political system, food, the church, etc.

Really, I have better things to do with my life, don’t you think?

I do.

It’s been a great week. I’ve been able to focus in more on our family without getting distracted by all the chatter. I’ve blogged! I’ve played with our kids! We’ve had two play dates with friends! I’ve called friends, sent text messages and told people directly things I am thinking instead of sharing with the masses or making vague or passive aggressive statements.

Well, anyway, that was a really long intro to say that one of the social media outlets I’ve decided to keep going is my Instagram because I love taking pictures of things with my phone all day long. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much an iPhone only thing so I’ve decided to share a weekly digest of my photos on here for those of you wanting to keep tabs on our lives.

So here goes week one:

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Stephen took a gamble on the trash truck not coming last Friday due to the holiday. So guess who hefted the dead tree out to the curb all by herself?

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Where there are dead pine trees, there are pine needles. Sprout helped me clean them up though.

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Winter harvest.

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Happy boy.

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Baby doll Ergo!

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Basil garlic linguine with shrimp, spinach, caramelized onions and Meyer lemon infused olive oil.

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Uncle Eric sharing his guitar.

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Bean’s turn.

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Panettone and Cars2 make for one very still Sprout.

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Technology is crazy! We hooked up the WiFi adapter to our Blu-Ray player, connected it to my Amazon account, “rented” The Help from Amazon Instant Video, I got a receipt in my e-mail and we were watching it two minutes later.

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Taking pictures of her babies.

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That explains everything. Sparrow is on the verge of getting FOUR new teeth.

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I am apparently the only Southern California dweller not loving this January “heat” wave.

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So happy to have this back in my fridge!

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Brothers.

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Long day.

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Homemade carnitas burrito bowl with cilantro lime rice and pomegranate guacamole.

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Seam ripping the old crib skirt so I can canibalize parts of it and make a boy one.

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She would rather sulk than clean her room.

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January Photo A Day Challenge: Something I wore

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The fact that it is necessary to drink my coffee iced on this January morning does not make me happy. Winter please show yourself!

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Nothing brings to light how truly disgusting our tap water is like cleaning out our humidifier.

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January Photo A Day Challenge: Makes you smile – Ring Around the Rosie

Check back next week for more photos. 🙂

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United Steak of America Burger

During all three of my pregnancies, there were periods that I both could not cook and became slightly obsessed with the United Steak of America sandwich from Tacone.

And I knew it was probably bad for me. I knew that the food sources were likely questionable.

I just wanted this steak sandwich anyway. And the sweet potato fries.

Well last night I decided to try and create a burger version of this sandwich so I could get my occasional fix without (as much of) the guilt.

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United Steak of America Burger

Ingredients
-1lb lean ground beef (preferably grass fed which I just discovered yesterday you can now find at Trader Joes!)
-paprika
-garlic powder
-sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
-1/4 cup bread crumbs
-1 egg (preferably pastured)
-red onion thinly sliced
-lettuce
-Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, shredded
-hot sauce (I used Chalula)
-sour dough bread
-barbecue sauce (optional)

In your stand mixer using paddle attachment combine beef, a dash of paprika, dash of garlic powder, rosemary, bread crumbs, egg, and a couple dashes of hot sauce. You can also do this by hand, but it always makes my hands get really cold.

Separate the beef into fourths and then form into patties. Grill on a preheated grill. Midway through grilling, add onions to grill and sourdough with cheese in the middle like a grilled cheese sandwich. Remove everything from grill.

Assemble burgers and dress with barbecue sauce if desired. The actual sandwich has “rosemary chipotle mayo”.

Sweet Potato Fries
-1 large sweet potato
-cinnamon
-sea salt
-high heat oil

Preheat oven to 450.

Peel and slice sweet potato into fries. Place in bowl with dash or two of cinnamon, salt to taste and drizzle with oil. Toss until evenly coated.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and roast until crispy.

Note: I prepped my fries and placed them in the oven first. Then broke up some sibling squabbles, prepped and grilled the burgers, brought them inside and assembled them, then took the fries out of the oven. They were done at this point, but I would have preferred them to be slightly more crispy.

Sparrow, on the other hand, liked them not as crispy and stole one out of my hand midway to my mouth and then more. He was going crazy for them. So I guess we’re doing solids now!

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Breakfast tortilla stack up

I make this thing for breakfast about 1-2 times a month and I have no idea what it is called or what the proper name for it should be. As far as I can tell from looking over various restaurant menus, it is sort of a cross between Huevos Rancheros, Chile Rellenos, and Chilaquiles. I am just going to embrace my white girl roots and call it “Breakfast Tortilla Stack Up” and be done with it.

There are a few variations that you can do here. You can add more veggies if that suits you or sometimes I do bacon too.

Breakfast Tortilla Stack Up

Ingredients
-1 can beans (this time around I used black because that was what I had, but pinto works too)
-1 pkg corn tortillas (mine were actually a combo of corn and wheat, but same idea)
-1 can green chilies
-5 eggs (preferably pastured!)
-butter
-cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, shredded
-milk
-Worcestershire Sauce
-hot sauce (I used Chalula)
-salt and pepper

Optional
-bacon, browned and chopped into pieces
-red bell pepper, chopped
-green onions, chopped
-corn
-spinach or chard, chopped
-tomatoes, chopped
-cilantro leaves
-guacamole
-sour cream

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350.

Use butter to grease your pie dish.

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Prepare your eggs.

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Crack them into a bowl and add a splash of milk, a few dashes of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

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Whisk together until well combined.

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Shred your cheeses and mix together.

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Then begin layering. Rip up your tortillas and cover the bottom of your baking dish.

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Use a spoon to spread beans and chilies on top of tortillas.

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At this point you can add your optional veggies and bacon (the tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream and guac are for topping).

Pour in a little of your egg mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

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Repeat, layering tortilla with eggs, cheese, beans and other ingredients like making a lasagna.

Place in oven and bake 30-60 min until the middle is no longer liquid. I know that seems really broad in range for cooking time, but I have had these finish within various points of that time frame. On hot summer days it is usually closer to 30 min and on cold mornings it is closer to an hour. It averages about 45 min. I usually set the timer for 30, check it and then if needed put it back in for 10-15 min, check again, etc.

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Cut into wedges and, if you desire,
top with guacamole, cilantro, sour cream and tomatoes.

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A couple photos from Bean’s ballet class today

Looking very much like a proper ballerina in this one:
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When the teacher turns her back, chaos ensues:
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Wordless Wednesday: Sprout, my little mischief maker

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