Movie Amnesia

Just a short post today while the Hadman and I enjoy some of the gorgeous weather today. *wink, wink* Anyone else doing the same?

Anyhoo, about once a week during summer vacation, I pick one of my favorite movies to watch. You know the ones: you don’t have to be in any particular mood to watch them, they always make you feel better about life, and there may or may not be a guilty pleasure factor involved. (ie why I generally watch them when I’m alone at home…er, with the non-judgmental baby; although Dave actually doesn’t really seem to dislike any of mine. That, or he’s just really wicked nice.)

It’s no secret that I’m into old-school stuff. That being said, my favorites include “Little Women” (the ’90s version with Winona Ryder; Dave always asks, “Oh, the Katharine Hepburn one??” You’d think, since I’m a huge KH fan, but this one is just a lot better done and less melodramatic), “Since You Went Away” (what was I saying about melodrama??), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Adam’s Rib” or “Desk Set” (most Kate ‘n Spence movies work for me, but these two are the tops for me; still need “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in our collection, though), “You Can’t Take it With You”, anything Shirley Temple, and even some traditionally holiday-oriented ones like “Holiday Inn” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Once in awhile a good documentary (anything presidential, thankyouverymuch) will do the trick, as well.

The weird thing about these viewing experiences is that, more often than not, given chasing around the munchkin or folding laundry or making lunch or any number of reasons, I often realize that the credits are rolling…and I’ve hardly watched a minute of the thing. I’m still experiencing it, considering that I’m listening (and oftentimes saying lines along with the actors), but I haven’t seen one beautiful scene. Dang.

So, last week, I forced myself to pay equal attention to the baby and the movie I chose — “Since You Went Away”. Of course I had to pick the longest movie in the mix (John Adams mini-series aside), but it was once the baby was down for his afternoon nap, it was nice to look more at the struggles, strength, and faith of the American homefront unfold than the laundry pile. Mind you, I still folded the laundry; I just made it a point to focus on the characters and the beauty of the scenes.

Man, was it lovely.

So, anyhoo, let me know — am I the only person who experiences this? Movie in (even if the baby’s down for the night), feet up…and 90 minutes later, you realize that movie amnesia hit and you don’t remember watching a minute of it?? *crossing my fingers that I’m not the only one*

Controlling Baby Clutter Craziness

We’re trying our darnedest not to raise a spoiled brat. I mean, c’mon, I don’t need another me running around, right? 😉 (Side note: I was a brat; not spoiled…regardless of what my siblings might say. Oh, and it has been amended. Mostly.)

That being said, we were humbled and grateful by all that we received for the Hadman’s first birthday. I let the pile of happiness sit in a corner of the living room until it drove us crazy (okay, Dave was driven crazy on day one) enough to finally dig in.

We let Hadley pick a few of the toys out to play with at first but have come to realize that he’d get overstimulated by the mass of new toys plus his accumulation of previous toys. So, I decided to go through them ALL in order to create our own little “store” to pull from and switch the loved-it-but-it’s-boring-now toys out with…only to pull them out again in 6 months.

After pulling my Beatles Rock Band equipment (yes, the drum set, guitar, bass and mic) out of our huge storage ottoman to store in the basement (I will not be getting rid of it!! It’s just not something we have the time or energy to play with now – besides, I’d feel guilty skipping chores while the baby naps to rock out to “Lady Madonna”), I was left with this…


Emptiness!!! Massive emptiness!!! And after a recent Target trip, we came home with this baby. (Not Wee Wee, though he is, by all accounts, a baby. I know he was thinking, “Oh, you’re taking a picture, huh? Don’t you need a model? Let me get in there, you need a model. Don’t look me in the eye.” That’s hysterical if you know his “voice.”)


We have one in the baby’s room that holds his rarely used toys and stuffed animals, which I also dragged downstairs to empty. After finding 95% of his toys, I dumped them all out and got a look at the situation (as did Winston and Beardslee; find them!)…gulp…


And the little monkey perused the damage, as well… Look at that smirk. We’re in trouble with this one, I tell ya.


At least he’s a willing helper…


And a surprisingly short time later, we were left with this…


And this… (We love that push toy but it doesn’t fit anywhere; once he’s walking more and not using it, into storage it goes…or back to Aunt Mary’s house, its rightful owner. ;-))


There’s the other basket upstairs, and I switched out the previous faux leather storage container to be used for his mass of board books (love them! Nearly indestructible!!) and the smaller one that had been holding those books to be used for the smaller toys in the ottoman. Confusing, but all it means is organization! Yay!!


Along with moving an extra ottoman, the living room feels so large…and makes me think I need a way bigger rug, ha! But, seriously, after all this organizing, Dave and I have realized that we need to put a limit on the toy situation for Christmas. Like, one per set of family, IF they want to get a toy. (Same can be said for outfits but those are at least more of a “need” than a “want.”) We’re even asking Santa for a certain small number of toys, like one educational, one retro, etc. Besides, our real weakness is books…which means we’ll need to find a new book storage strategy, too. I swear it’s never ending.

We’re just so damn lucky.

Mister Roboto

We recently got a so-sweet birthday card for Hadley from our kind-hearted elderly neighbor, along with a $5 bill and a shakily scrolled note that said “piggy bank.” I teared up, it was so touching!

So, since we’ve received a couple of banks which I consider to be more collectible than everyday use (maybe as he gets older, we can pull one out to use…but if he’s “all boy” as he currently is, that may be when he goes to college!), I tucked into the back of my memory that we should keep an eye out for a cheap-ish bank. We’re all about teaching about money and savings early on (even though I’ve still had a tough time, myself, getting into the budgeting habit, sigh.)

Enter Target, stage left.

About a week later, we were perusing the shelves for some small housely changes and this guy jumped out at us. (Not literally. That would’ve been creepy.)


 


So, so cute!! And so $12.99! (That was just in the store; I found it on clearance for $4.54 online. Dude.) I thought that was a tad better than an heirloom, so if (when?) it takes a spill one day, I won’t cry. Er. As much. I’ll still get upset ‘cuz, c’mon, it’s adorbs.

And, just for fun, here are a couple of other Target lovelies…

A lamp that I bought awhile back (either at TJ Maxx or Target, can’t remember which) that “lives” on Dave’s side of the bed has served its purpose well, but I changed the lampshade from a dark gray/black-ish one (a tad too much detail goin’ on) to this angled shade…


…which didn’t serve us well. Every time a cat jumped up to alert us that “BREAKFAST TIME IS IMPENDING!!! 45 MINUTES AND COUNTING!!!” it would end up cockeyed and even ended up with a slightly warped area from a too-hot bulb. So, I grabbed this one for under $20…

Even Dave says it’s much better and dulls the brightness some. Coming from the guy who doesn’t notice such things, I’d say that’s an accomplishment. Oh, and still figuring out the art and possible headboard, but at least he’s a part of the conversation (as are you!).

Oh, and I’m also considering FINALLY replacing my worn hand-me-down clawed-to-hell slipcovered arm chair with an accent chair. Here were two possible finalists (which I’m waiting to find on sale online soon):

And Dave patiently waiting while I carted the baby around the furniture aisle to see if they were keeping any other chairs from me. What a patient husband I have. Our dorky daddy.

There’s one more Target find that we grabbed to help us tidy up the toddler toys (gasp, did I just say “toddler”?? He’s technically not a toddler until he starts walking for realsies, right? Right??), but we’ll save that for next time. I’m sure you’ll be waiting with baited breath. 😉

Vegetarian Stir-Fry

After a long day of animal viewing at the Utica Zoo, I was at a loss for what to make for dinner. Luckily, we had just gone to a local market the day before, so at least we had some ingredients on hand to play with – and the dorky daddy brought up the idea of a stir-fry (which means he had been yearning for it; he’s usually very flexible with meal planning). Since our vegetarian schedule was a little off thanks to a mess of first-birthday leftovers, a nice, light vegetarian Sunday meal sounded perfect.


This is a flavor I haven’t made yet (unlike my usual stir-fry), and it was pretty darn good. As usual, you can vary the ginger (or use fresh; ours had gone bad), garlic, and veggie combo – even make it carnivorous with some chicken. (It’s be good with tofu, too. But, again, keeping it simple.)

Vegetarian Orange Ginger Stir-Fry
Brown rice for serving 
1/2-1 onion, thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small summer squash (1 yellow, 1 green)
2-3 carrots, peeled and julienned (or diced)
1+ cup frozen broccoli (cooked in pan, added later)
Sauce:
1 cup orange juice
2 tsp. soy sauce (plus some for garnish)
2-3 tsp. cornstarch
A few shakes of ginger powder
A few shakes red pepper flakes (optional)

Whisk together sauce and set aside. Over medium heat, put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan (add a little as needed); while this heats, get your rice going. Once heated, add the oil and sauté until translucent. Add carrots and squash (both kinds), sautéing until tender but still crisp (a few minutes). Add garlic and sauce, cooking until the sauce thickens. Throw in the already-heated broccoli (or any other veggies that have been cooked from frozen) and serve with rice. Put some soy sauce over the top and garnish with chopped green onion (optional).

And tonight is the perfect night for huge arse salads, another one of Dave’s favorites. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know if you make it and what veggies you use!

Overcoming Facebook Addiction 2.0

Two and a half years ago, I posted about trying to overcome my addiction to Facebook. The fact that it’s my #1 blog post makes me realize that I’d better revisit the topic. Actually, I think this calls for an update, a confession/reflection, followed by penance and some small changes that we (yes, you, too!) can make to take control of our lives back. Come along, won’t you?

Okay, first, the hard part: confession! (Recovering Catholic, can’t ya tell?) If you’re “friends” with me on Facebook, you see that I’m sporadically on there; sometimes I’ve got crickets chirping, other times I’ve got one thought-provoking (hopefully) meme after another (weird how the good ones pop up all at once – Must. Hit. Share.). 


I must be an addict. What else would explain the amnesia that strikes when I find myself staring blankly at my phone (iPhone be damned!) thinking, “Mmmkay, well how’d that app open?” Seriously, zero recollection of opening it. It’s the only app I get the amnesia over. Think it’s a coincidence? (Side note: Is there a MySpace app? Or is that site just for musicians and stuff now?)

So, there we have it. The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. And I do. 

I know Facebook isn’t a drug, and it isn’t all bad. Hell, most of my hits here (over 1,000 a month, thanks, guys!) are from FB. I don’t see myself able to ever give it up 100% because, honestly, I want this blog to spread its wings and soar with the eagles. Or at least some Canada geese. Love those birds.

But, at the same time, I’m sick of feeling owned. Like, I enjoy Pinterest and Instagram but I feel in control of the situation. A day (or a week) can go by easily without my having to check either. I also don’t allow myself to feel like crap (like so many others in articles and posts  I’ve read) by the beauteous projects and lives that people display. When and if that happens, I’ll revert to trolling home magazine sites for inspiration that I need and taking plain ol’ pictures to edit with Picassa. S’all good.

With Facebook, it’s not all good. There’s a smidgen of good surrounded by any variation of:

Drama – Personal, political (often one and the same), veiled posts trying to start something, and rude comments from people (both friend and stranger), and let’s just say I’ve fallen victim of the “public fight with a strong-willed stranger” a few times.
Fishing – I’ve got low self esteem and even I don’t do this. Soooo what does that say about you when you’re using FB to fish for compliments and validation? It’s even more interesting when no one bites… Awk-ward. Find life-fulfilling, honest ways to do this, folks.
Over-sharing – Hardly ever intriguing, usually disturbing, alarming, or obnoxiously immature.
Mean ol’ guilt-trippers – Being an animal lover, I’m connected to several animal rescue pages. Some do an awesome job of informing the public in a respectful manner, but more and more are made up of some mean muthas (and I don’t mean Mom) who use the site to badger people for not calling a government official in Maine (I live in NYS) about a horrific animal abuse case. The guilt is horrible and the tone with which they lecture followers is like a reprimanding. I wish I could save every animal from pain and suffering, but I kind of have a life…and a baby…and three cats I’m too busy spoiling (since they’ve had rough lives before finding their “forever home”, too). It’s like an online version of those ASPCA ads without the music but with insults.
Super political/self-righteousness – This can be individuals or groups. Let’s just say I’m a left leaning individual just because, well, I am. However, because of my environment and the respect that I have for those around me who may be moderates or right-leaning, I try to post the non-offensive stuff. I follow a couple of groups that post maybe 20% valuable, rational ideas while the rest are Republican bashing. I know there are groups on the other side if the aisle, as
well. Guys…guys. This is what’s wrong with America today. Instead of considering ideas, opinions, conversations, valid information, etc we go with our guts and fight simply because “He’s a liberal.” When did the U.S. become two high school football teams that people sign up for and root for ’til their dying day? I’m okay with posting political ideas, but not offensive slights. (And, yes, I post gay rights things because I feel strongly in favor and the posts are non-offensive; there is a difference between a post you disagree with and a post that personally attacks you.)

I’m sure I’m missing someone, but you catch my drift. But, on to penance. Like I said, I don’t think I’ll ever be a completely healed Facebook-holic, but I hope to lessen my dependence to, well, zero. To be able to consciously use it once in awhile to post a blog post, to avoid the volatility, to respond to a message, and to occasionally unplug without withdrawal. Is that too much to ask?

If you’re interested in getting on the wagon, here are a few methods I’m going to be testing out:

Time yourself. You know how there are those methods of quitting smoking that allow you a little bit of it in the beginning? Use that as a guide. Consider what you can realistically do – one check a day for 5-10 minutes? (And you may want to set a timer ‘cuz you know FB is a time loss vortex. Seriously, though, you don’t need to see every single post from the last day; this is when you start getting that “my brain has over eaten” feeling.) As you feel comfortable with once daily, see if you can extend it. If not, once daily is actually a huge achievement and will give you SO much of your life back.
Tally ho! Keep a pen and paper (or make a note on your smartphone…maybe. The concrete reminder may work better.) handy to jot down a tally every time you visit FB, even accidentally. Go a step further and write down the time each time, too. We’ve gotta work on breaking the habit. It’s like having a dieter write down what they eat. You may or may not be surprised by how often you’re perusing Oh Evil Mistress Facebook. 
Purge your list. This will help with the brain-bloat, too. What friends only post things you’re interested in hearing? (ie the ones who don’t suck the air out of the room with every damn post) Which friends or groups give you anxiety or a headache regularly? Lose them, or if you really can’t delete them, edit what posts you receive from them. Seriously, I’ve done this and it has not only saved me some virtual stress but has saved my “real life” relationship with a couple of folks. Not that they need to know that I don’t get their immature, politically-charges rants anymore. Shh!
Be honest with yourself. What do you use Facebook for; alternatively, what does it do for you? Do you use it to stay in touch with friends and family? Sure, right, we all do that…but it’s only 10% of the truth. Figure out your reasons, then analyze whether you need FB to accomplish these things (sometimes you do; case in point, I need to reach readers). This may help you loosen the strings a bit more realizing that FB isn’t the only way to achieve those things you want to do (or those things you realize you don’t need in your life).
Put the phone down! Guys. Since I got the iPhone, I’ve been guilty of this, but it’s part of the process. You do not need to be connected 24/7. You’re not the president, or a member of the fire department (if you are, thank you!), or anyone ultimately important. (Okay. You’re important to me, but I don’t need to hear about your insomnia when I wake up in the morning. Love ya, but no one really cares. If your dog goes missing, however, we’ve got your back. Same with any other truly life altering situation.) But at dinner, when you should be playing with the baby (oh, the guilt) or paying attention to your spouse (y’know how spouses of yore would sit and just stare in stony silence when they reached 70? Yeah. Today, we’re doing it at 30. Stop that. You married a person, not your phone.) Allocate time to check your phone, but always put people first. Please and thank you.
Use the computer. If you must check, only allow yourself to use a computer (and not your work one). The less convenient it is, the less you’ll do it.
Final step: Walden it up. Thoreau is my hero, but man did that guy get crap DONE in a day! So when you’re getting the urge to waste an hour online, distract yourself in other ways. Do some house cleaning (okay, don’t), exercise, paint or draw or make sock puppets (whatever you like to do creatively, no judgement), watch a documentary (or something with Molly Ringwald; again, no judging; I’d watch a Jimmy Stewart flick), or read a book. I highly suggest going outside (as would Thoreau), even just to water plants or walk for a few minutes. Unplugging is so good for your brain. Y’know, as if nature intended it…

So, there it is. My Facebook Addiction Post 2.0. Let me know if you’ll be taking the journey with me! And, yes, I’m going to post this on FB, but be sure you follow my blog page since I’ll be on my personal one far less. 😉

Art!

YI’ve been looking around for some ways to freshen up the ol’ walls around here. Since the bathroom is starting to look more “done” than “in the midst of chaos” I threw some paint onto a canvas (something I’d pinned from here awhile back) that coordinates with the shower curtain.



Here’s the art; kind of an ikat/modern type thing…


By the way, since our easel was in the basement (and I did this project during nap time), I used a couple of glasses to dry the piece. Use what ya got!


Now I’ve hit a wall. Namely, our bedroom wall(s). The space over our bed is sparse, and the room is small, so I don’t want a headboard. I’m scoping out some headboard alternatives…

Maybe a DIY headboard with a low profile, or just some fun mirrors?
Or some more art (perhaps three canvasses) in gray, white and navy (and maybe a touch of chartreuse). It could be similar to the ikat I’ve got going on in the bathroom (ie the above style) or something simpler and more graphic, like stripes…maybe.


                     Or perhaps some subtler, more earthy/botanical/natural art?

Opinions? You know me; I suck at making up my mind, and the hubs doesn’t seem to have much of an opinion on this stuff most of the time.

And then there’s the wall opposite out bed. I’ve had these clearance pieces from TJ Maxx (less than a buck a piece!) for a couple of years, but they’re not working for me anymore. (Dave thinks they’re fine.) The tv and honking dresser are no help, but they’re kind of unavoidable.

Still doing some searching to figure out what to do there. One huge art piece? (A huge art piece over the bed, then two smaller over here?) Or something more sculptural?

Plus, DANG do I have to start taking better pictures. Stupid iPhone.

Anyhoo, yeah. Any ideas or opinions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot, guys!!

A Day in the Life

Love, love, LOVE that Beatles song (and, coincidentally, it’s the hub’s favorite; how he can pick one Beatles song is beyond me, but it’s a good one). Anyhoo, just thought I’d follow myself around for a day and let ya know how I roll. Oh, and I thought it’d be way more interesting to do this (and easier) during the summer since work looks way different one day to the next.


This was the first week of summer vacation with the monkey at home. Thanks to an insane weather forecast, we ventured out and missed the rain before it started causing some major flooding. Strangely enough, the route we took included the hardest hit neighborhoods in our town, which I hardly ever visit. Weeeeiiird. So, here it goes.


5:30am – The baby needs to be fed. I drowsily catch up on the news of the day while he eats. He conks out and goes back to his crib.
6:30am – Dave grumbles and gets up; I start checking FB, email and blogs I missed the day before. Start writing a couple of posts (all on my handy dandy phone, whom I both love and hate).
7:20am – Holy crap, Batman! Dave’s heading downstairs and out the door already (why am I such a horrible wife that I didn’t get up to make his breakfast? Right, he told me not to. But still…) I stop beating myself up and head down to chat with him about the neighbors’ dog pooping in our yard, kiss him goodbye and hop in the shower while the baby snoozes.
8:00am – Call my mom to check in. The baby wakes up during the call so I change his dipe, wash him up, throw on his outfit and feed him (Earth’s Best Multi-Grain Cereal, applesauce and a touch of cinnamon) while discussing Paula Deen and our upcoming camping trip.



8:30am – Cut up a banana to share with the monkey while throwing a couple of waffles in the toaster for me (indulgence!). Beardslee guards diligently. Heat up tea in the microwave…again. Run downstairs to turn the unreliable dryer on for a run and rinse some dipes in the washer.
9am – Get the munchkin set up with a pillow and fluffy blankie for “Super Why” (not a fan, but he likes it- we keep his tv intake to a minimum, so he only watches a few minutes at a time), eat a puff off the floor (no shame) and settle down for some waffles. Do dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher and are pretty happy with life that way) and kitty litter…we need 7 super letters today! Gasp.
9:30am – Nurse the monkey and decide to take a walk – it might be hot but we’ve had days of on and off storms and were expecting more in the afternoon. It’s 9:50 by the time were rollin’. Literally.

10:30am – We’re nearly home and the baby’s asleep, so I roll him into the shade and start attacking (literally) some outdoor projects. Wishing I had the paint and stamina to work on the porch or garage, but they’ll have to wait. I check on the little seedlings in the garden; so cute!

Before
After (from inside); that thing was a monster, stealing all the sun!

11am rolls around and the monkey’s awake. Time to head inside to hydrate! A yogurt snack for us both. I work on a craft for Hadman’s b-day while I watch him play.
11:30am – Diaper change and more playtime. I put on Rachael Ray to re-enter the land of the grown ups; not a huge fan but it does the trick and makes me ponder dinner. Same effect from YHL…which I also read while Hadman does his head-shake dance to random commercials. Lunch for Hadley.
1:30ish – Afternoon naptime! Catch up on emails, grab a sammy, and finalize a menu for Had’s birthday.

(Pickles and cheese to go with Had’s lunch; like mama, like son)

3:40pm – I have been working on emails, a blog post or two, first birthday plans and laundry…and  laughing at Jasper for chasing his tail like a crazy fiend; better get the monkey up. He has been awake, laying there using his feet to play with the rails of the crib. Better than screaming bloody murder! Dipe and playtime. (Spot a trend?)
5:45pm – Dinner time for Hadley, and since Dave is meeting with a writing partner after work, I might as well throw something together for myself (and for Dave to eat later). I land on pasta – using some leftover linguine, precooked carrots and a bit of sauce for the baby. He’ll be a mess but he gets some solid hand-food time, at least.
6:30pm – Bath time! Earlier than usual but pasta sauce is demanding it be done.
7:30pm – Daddy gets home and gets changed and settled in for dinner while I occupy the baby.
8:15pm – We head upstairs to read a bedtime story, nurse, and cuddle before putting the baby goes down. We’re both hard at work on our respective computers (me downstairs with my laptop, him upstairs with his desktop- one reason I’ve gotta hoe out the office mess). I’m looking up and creating a game and menu for the first birthday, Dave’s working on marketing his comic book and the 1st birthday video (far harder than anything I’m doing!).
10:45pm – I head upstairs only to remember I forgot to edit and schedule the next day’s blog post, and since we’ll be out of town, I’d rather at least have it up for folks. Back to turn on the ol’ craptop.
11:21pm – Finished and got distracted by a friends FB post of a trailer for the new Streep movie (looks so good!!). Dave still working in the office. It’s time to head to bed, maybe read a magazine and get two pages in before conking out.

In some ways I think, “Wow, I got a lot done.” At the same time, not so much. And, in other ways, I’m thinking, “You have got to get your priorities straight, woman!” While this is a typical day, there are some things that change — like, I usually spend lots more time with Dave when he gets home from work (after he does have additional posting to the web for work, etc), and we chat while we eat dinner and occasionally listen to an old timey radio show (I know, we’re 80) or watch Jeopardy (still 80) or what have you. Having blog posts started in advance helps me get them ready, and I usually just have to do a few minutes’ worth of tweaking before they’re ready to be “scheduled” to go up the next day.

I also often play WITH the munchkin (just didn’t mention it here; hard to keep track when you’re dealing with a baby’s attention span), especially the “I’m gonna get you!” game where I chase him around from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room. We both laugh until we can’t breathe and I count that as my (pretty intense) workout for the day. (Gym? Ain’t nobody got time for that. At least, I don’t want to have time for it. ;-))

Does this look anything like your day? I’m wicked lucky to have time in the summer to spend with my little guy, and we only wish that the cashola could work out for me to stay home with him full-time (or to work from home, what a concept!). But, we’re happy for whatever time we all get. As it should be, nothing’s better than family!

Plain Ol’ Pizza? Think Again

Before sharing an easy little recipe, I just wanted to mention that Hadley’s birthday came off without a hitch (miraculous!! Not even a meltdown from the birthday boy!). Dave and I hope to tag team a couple of posts, so those will come a tad later. Just wanted to thank all the friends and family who helped us celebrate our special little boy. And, now, on with the show!


I’ve had some pizza dough thawing in the fridge for days, with one plan percolating in my mind: grilled pizza. It’s the closest thing to wood-fired pizza that you can make at home, smokiness and char marks included. Side note: I know there are folks who swear by a pizza stone, but with how infrequently I’d use it, it would inevitably turn into just one more clutter-causing item in our kitchen. So, just can’t take the leap, sorry!


So, when we saw plenty of blue sky and puffy white clouds last night for the first time in weeks (we’ve had puffy clouds, just not at dinner time), I declared it pizza time.

This is a wicked fast meal. Seriously, it took longer to heat the grill and make the salads. So, if you try this at home (which I advise you do!), it’s all about the prep! Get everything ready, then it’s only a matter of moments until you’re chowing down.




Grilled Pizza
Pizza dough
Olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup sauce
3/4 to 1 cup shredded cheese (we used parm and our new favorite soft cheese, havarti)
Any toppings you like (ours was plain ‘cuz we’re boring like that, but you could grill some peppers, mushrooms…heck, STEAK if you want; just grill it up first because the dough doesn’t take long and they won’t have a chance to soften on their own)

Preheat your grill. Drizzle your dough with olive oil (I put some on a plate and flipped it to coat – this is imperative!). Get all your toppings shredded and ready; bring them outside on a tray.

Set the grill to medium.

Hold up the dough and allow gravity to help stretch it out. You won’t get a round pizza; it will be rustic, but that’s okay! Set the dough down straight on the grill rack and close the top for a minute or two. It’s ready to flip when you out a spatula under and the dough separated easily; you may have to work a little if it settled into the notches, but it should be relatively easy. 

Once it’s flipped, start putting your toppings and sauce (if using) on top. Put your lid down to allow the cheese to melt. Once it’s melted (really only a minute or two) use a spatula or two (maybe tongs, too; depends on what you find easiest) to slide the pizza off the grill and onto a clean plate. And, finito!

Serve with a salad and a glass of wine (or water…still nursing), and think about how sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

Handmade Birthday Party

Hey, folks! Things are well under way for a super duper first birthday for our little monkey this Saturday. I’m still working on putting together certain finishing touches and last minute food (going for freshy fresh), but thought I’d share some of the decorations I’ve whipped up for the special day. After all, what says “We love you, buddy!” more than handmade stuff?


First of all, I’m hoping to hang several sizes of poufs around my mom’s carport ceilings, if I can get up that high. Otherwise, I’ve seen them strewn on tables, which will look cool, too. They are currently, however, sitting in plastic bags awaiting their transport to the party place. So, you’ll have to wait to see a picture of the whole set-up, in case you don’t already know what a “pouf” is. Well, there are a couple meanings, but ANYhoo…segue!

Ahem, speaking of hanging, I also cut up some triangles for a few pennant banners to reuse year after year. Eco, baby! And cute, at that! Oh, and the effort in this one might’ve been futile, but I made a felt birthday crown with my expert sewing skills. (snicker) There’s a 50/50 chance the kid’ll wear it, but I can snip the “1” off and put on other numbers or a star for next year. Try, try again! 🙂


Details, details. I’ve done up some little cards with facts about Hadley’s birthday (like what famous people share it) for fun. I also whipped up some “time capsule” forms that folks can fill in for Hadley to read on his 18th birthday. Hopefully I can find room for all this stuff!

We even have a mini “banner” for the smash cake, which I totally eyeballed and am shocked that came out so sweet. Aww. Again, hope to use it next year, and the next, and the next…. Oh, and I yarn-wrapped the “H,” which will probably find its way into Had’s room.


The last non-food homemade goodie we made for the day is THE BEST. And, of course, who made it? The dorky daddy, himself. Yup. He’s my very own personal director, cinematographer, editor, etc., so with plenty of tears, he spliced together a full year’s worth of pictures and videos, boiling it down to just over 14 minutes of bittersweet memories. So. Emotional!

Out little monkey is a big boy! He’s even taken his first few steps over the last week or so. Sigh. These first birthday celebrations are as much about the fact that the parents survived the first year as they are about the baby (not that the day is about us — it’s 100% him).

So, that being said, off to work on the food! Can’t wait to share how it all goes. (Side note: I’m a tad anxious about it as if it was a tiny wedding. Is that weird??)

Wicked Wicker

On my mission towards organization, I’ve been trying to find little, manageable projects to spruce up the joint. Here’s my latest 5-minute fix-up.



Our diaper-slash-clean-up-slash-miscellaneous station had been the same basket since Day One. It’s not really our style, but it has served a purpose…even if it has found a way to explode every other week. I’ve organized the thing a million times, but I finally had an “a-ha!!” moment. 


This wicker basket (which was wicked cheap at the Christmas Tree Shop) has been floating around Hadley’s room…and the basement laundry area…and everywhere in between. I prefer its neutral look…and it gained Winston’s approval, so there’s that.


So, the best way to do some organizing is to make a mess. Sounds weird, but it’s true! I allowed the basket to explode, picked out the stuff that was in the wrong spot (I’m talking to you, rubber ducky), then layered stuff in order of frequency of use in the basket. Voila!


And don’t worry. Winston moved on quickly after his eviction. He’s flexible…sometimes.


Wait…crap. Does that mean we can’t get rid of the basket now? Huh. Guess so.