Half-Assing a Nursery and Why I’m So Proud

the funnest part of being pregnant was “nesting.”  i had a blast planning what the babycave (a.k.a. nursery) would look like, what would go in it, and researching all of the thousands of craft possibilities out there.  i found a thousand crafts i was determined to do.  handmade bibs, paci-holders, vinyl decals for the walls, decorative switch and outlet plates, changing pads with organizational pockets, headbands, and so much more!  oh the purples and laces and tulle and sugarskulls and cherries and… and… and… yeah.  in the end i worked on two crafts and really only finished one.  the first was closet dividers.  like these:

i’m not an organized person.  at all.  in any manner of the word.  i’m one of those people who lives in clutter and chaos as any organized person would see it.  but to me everything is in it’s place, even if that happens to be “let it lay where it falls.”  98% of the time i know where to find what i’m looking for even if it’s in a pile of disarrayed brik-a-brak that would make my mother tsk til her tongue swelled out of her mouth.  but i wanted the babycave to have some semblance of order.  i want my daughter to, possibly, take better care of her space than i have because it’s just a good habit to be in.  of course, this won’t happen, but i can make a vain attempt and feel like a good mother that tried.  and… it was an excuse to play with glue!

my dividers were to be constructed from construction paper, labeled with sizes, and decorated with rolled paper roses and leaves.  simple supplies sounds simple enough right?  no.  i had the damnedest time trying to figure out what size the hangers should be; they turned out too small.  cutting out numbers was far too tedious and i’m far too lazy so i bought some precut number and letter stickers at target.  but they were too big for my too small hangers.  i used some of them anyway, i thought they could hang off the sides decoratively.  it worked for the lower numbers and turned out quite cute.  the rolled paper roses turned out to be more of a challenge to make than i expected.  just holding on to the little budders was a thorn in my side (har! get it!  rose jokes… shut up.  i’m funny.)  however, i did learn that an empty toilet paper roll made the best tracer for the hanger-rod hole.  as i was pregnant and peeing like my bladder was afraid it would never get the chance again if it didn’t expel once (or twice) every 13 minutes – yes i timed it – i had plenty of empty rolls laying around for the choosing.  i made 4 whole dividers before i hung up my scissors (ha!  see what i did there?).  sizes nb (newborn), 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 but i lost the nb divider.  it probably ran away and burned itself in shame.

now the second project completed. oh how i fell in love with this project.  when i saw this tutorial during a search for halloween décor, i feel head over skulls for it.  i knew i had to do it and i had to do it for my daughter’s room.  prepare yourselves, this may be too cool and too pretty for living eyes.

this banner has everything! contrasting colors, victorian inspiration, delicate tulle, lace doilies, and letters!  sure this particular one was created for halloween but using any colors or words would make it perfect for any sassy celebration.  i took this idea and ran with it and i don’t mind bragging that i am REALLY PROUD of the final product and found materials used.

now let me tell the story of how i choose my background color, the purple circles.  the tutorial called for felt but i had other ideas.  i have a wonderful family, both my own and my in-laws.  my mother and sister threw a surprise baby shower for me in california in conjunction with the yearly family bbq that doubles as combined birthday party for my sisters, brother, and i (all born july – you would think our parents would like october more…). it was a zomBEE theme – a sort of compromise between my mother and sister.  my sister wanted to do a zombie theme knowing how into the undead i am.  my mother was a touch less than thrilled with that idea and found a cute bee theme instead.  so they combined the two.  see the plush fat bumble bee in the picture?  decoration from the shower that now doubles as toy for little abby.

as awesome as my zombee baby shower was, it was in california and i, along with my in-laws, live in arizona.  and so in september my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law hosted a baby shower for me in arizona.  we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory, ate pasta, opened presents, and downed cake served on purple paper plates.  the moment i saw those plates i thought of the banner.  they looked like the perfect size and perfect color!  i brought the extras home and, like a good upcycler that i wish i were, i set them aside for the banner.

don’t forget to gather supplies: background, doilies, glue, paint, sponge brush, letters, work surface, cat.

when i began i wasn’t sure the paper doilies from joann would fit… but they did! they did!  sweet!  off to a good start!

you know you want that skull glass. don’t hate a playa!

from there i whipped up some chipboard letters with plain black and glitter black paint (2 coats each), glued some tulle around the edges, strung it all together with pearl string, and tied big black wire ribbons to the ends to cover the command hooks on the wall.  viola!  gorgeous and girlie without being pink!  i worked slowly, and it took me weeks to complete for that reason, but when it was done i felt like i had finally FINALLY created something as beautiful as i had envisioned it to begin with.  i know!  i can’t believe it either!

don’t forget to pet the kitty when you’re done. it’s an imperative step.

click here for the original [tutorial].

and just for s’n’gs here are some before, during, and after pictures of the nursery because i am so proud and amazed at the amount of work that my husband (mostly) and i put into the conversion.


note the “green screen” green wall and vibrant omgiloveblue blue.  and those classy blinds melted with love by the rays of at least 10 years of arizona sun.  please to be considering too that in the 9 years my husband has lived in this house, that room has NEV-ER been cleaned… not dusted, not vacuumed, not organized, not once!


during: the walls are not only all one color, but that color doesn’t make your eyes want to melt out of the sockets!  nice, soft, purple.  feminine and royal.  and the trim… pretty snazzy huh?  okay nobody cares about the trim but dammit that was the hardest part!  we spent a couple of hours over the course of several days taping and crawling around on our hands and knees painting.  TELL ME IT LOOKS NICE!

BAM! Crib Construction:


don’t ask about the two swings.  long story i am just NOT caring to go into.  remember that lazy thing?  the dresser is cute right??  yeah that was mine growing up and my sister’s before me.  now it’s my daughters and maybe one day it will belong to her kids.  sure it’s not the typical family heirloom but it has character, history, and meaning.  and i’m sorry when did i ever claim to be traditional??

i hope you enjoyed this romp through my daughter’s nursery.  let me know what projects you’ve taken on that you’ve finished and been most proud of.


I joined the link par-tay! at:

I Heart Nap Time

Playing Catch Up

so over the course of the next couple of days (or weeks… months… i’m lazy) i’ll be posting about some things i’ve been storing up. last november i gave birth to my beautiful daughter, abigail. my world revolves around her now and i’m perfectly happy that way. so the last few months i have slept when she has slept, or i’ve vegged, showered, scarfed down poptarts, and that has not given me a lot of time for writing as most of the time she would only nap for 20-30 minutes. now that she is starting to sleep a little more predictably and sometimes for longer periods, i am going to try to catch up on all the things that have been on my mind. so for now, here is another darling picture to tie you over. try not to weep over her beauty 🙂

i think we know who’s been stealing the socks!

Tricks and Treats! Mostly Treats!

Happy Halloween!!!  as you can imagine, this is my favorite time of year!  i had planned to go big or go home this year… so i pretty much went home.  i knew october was upon me but all i’ve been able to think about is november and getting the nursery done (which it still is not).  so while i skimped on the decorations, totally neglected to make the hanging muslin ghost lights for the tree outside, and am still debating if i’m going to make the “future zombie killer” maternity shirt (since i waited too long to order the prosthetic to make the Alien chestburster shirt)- i refused to forgo the treats for trick-or-treaters!  this holiday is fun for all ages but it’s really all about the kids in my opinion.

every year i try to do something special.  one year my roommate used construction paper to make sturdy gift bags with jack-o-lantern faces cut into the front and lined with more paper.  several of the bags were constructed to have moving parts like tongues flicking out and arms moving.  they were really adorable!  we filled them with several novelty candies, stickers, and toy whistles.  i was so giddy when half an hour after the bags started going out, we started hearing whistles sounding all over the neighborhood!  oh bet parents and teachers were loving us that week!

living with my parents for three years, i didn’t get to celebrate the candy part of Halloween.  their home is in an older established neighborhood where there aren’t a lot of kids.  i think in those three years, we had a total of 6 trick-or-treaters.  also, the town’s central shopping center hands out candy at all of the stores early in the evening before the sun has even disappeared.

my love of traditional trick-or-treating is so great that i have already informed my husband that our daughter WILL go door-to-door in our neighborhood asking for candy.  he got excited too and insisted that she have a pillowcase for her collections!  fine by me!  OR she can carry a plastic pumpkin like i did OR i can even make a really cute trick-or-treat bag for her and I’LL carry the pillowcase that she can dump her treasures into every couple of houses or so.  for both of us, the memories we have of trick-or-treating are some of the funnest most exciting ones we have, we want that for our daughter, and i want to help create those memories for other kids every year.  WE’RE BRINGING TRICK-OR-TREATING BACK!

so this year i wanted to do a full size candy bar and a Halloween whistle for every ghoulish visitor.  i was really looking forward to hearing those whistles start going off around the neighborhood.  however, budgets being what they are and a baby on the brain, i had to modify my plan.  with some small delicious changes, this year’s treat bags were created.  and i’m quite proud of them!

Here’s the break down:

1. 25 pack of Halloween jack-o-lantern treat bags from The Dollar Tree (complete with 20 twist ties… yes… just 20.  that’s like 8 hot dogs and 6 buns!  why???)

2. a variety of candy.  we bought 2 variety bags of 95 peices each for $8.88 at walmart.  we have lots of extra candy left over for any ghosts, pirates, princesses, or zombies that show up after the first 25.  each treat bag comes with 4 pieces of candy: reeses’ peanut butter cup, crunch bar, whoppers, 3 musketeers, hershey’s chocolate, butterfinger, or kitkat.  every bag has a whoppers in it because there were so many!

3. a fiendish halloween pencil.  the one pictured has skulls running down it.  purchased at the 99 Cent Superstore in packs of 10.  since i need more twist ties for the final five bags, i’m going to pick up some accordion straws with skulls for those bags as they come in packs of 5.

4.  the final product.  tip: put the pencil or straw in the center of the bag so the twist tie can be wrapped around it for extra support!  well… at least I think i’m clever!

5. have to brag… freshly painted purple wall in nursery 🙂

6. adorable doorhanger skeleton bride and groom i bought last year before the wedding.  intended to use them to hang on our chairs but didn’t end up doing it.  so now they are my models.  don’t they look like they belong on ANTM!?  they haven’t eaten in years either and look at those figures!

Monsoon Showers Bring Fall Flowers??

when i first started wedding planning, i decided i wanted my wedding colors to be purple and silver.  i loved the red and white color combo i’d seen at another wedding several years ago, but i also realized, in my research, that that color scheme was very popular and had become somewhat common.  well the hell if i’m not going to be different!  as i said in my last post, i wanted to DIY craft everything!  the first project i thought to take on was fabric pomanders.  all of the tutorials looked easy enough, so i thought i might even switch it up a little and attach my fabric circles to star shaped foam, since the other component of my wedding theme was “fantasy under the stars” (my husband is a big science and astronomy nerd so i had to get stars in there without being too high-school-prom about it!)  i started out by hand tracing and cutting small circles out of some purple fabrics i’d collected.  when i finished one fabric pattern, i cut up another swatch, intending to do this with another 2 patterns for texture and variety.   i spent weeks cutting circles, and to be honest, i was regretting taking on the project!  the only reason i didn’t scrap it sooner was that i’d already spent so much money on it, i felt i had to follow through.  but then came the dress.  ohhhhh that dress!  i stepped into that Alfred Angelo number in red and white with long red and silver embroidered train and that was it!  i could have gotten it in a shade of purple, but i didn’t like any of the shades offered.  and i didn’t like the red either.  I LOVED IT!!  and so, in the dress shop, in the trial dress, with my parents and grandmother as witness, i switched the wedding colors to red, black, white, and silver.  and i scrapped the pomander project.  no way was i going to start over with red fabric!

so what to do with all of that left over fabric?  and those circles i had cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut out?  i know… FLOWERS!  flowers for hair!  flowers for clothes!  flowers for wreaths!  FLOWERS FOR ME!

while these pretty purple pansies (i needed something with a p!) are my most recent creations, and what you’ll find on my in-progress Etsy shop, Just the Ends, they were not my first or only endeavors this year.

i began by using some leftover red tulle to create this little pretty.  super simple to make, it’s just different size tulle circles, melted around the edges with a candle, and layered on top of each other over a felt circle.  i sewed them all together with a little pearlesque button i had laying around.  this picture doesn’t do it nearly enough justice, but i did get a lot of compliments on it when i wore it out.  my ego blushed and i decided to give some more flowers a try.

st. patty’s day was coming up and i thought, “hey, i can make something festive!”  what i actually ended up doing was designing a flower in my head, buying the materials, then letting them all sit in my craft box until about a week ago!  and even then my only motivation was so that i could use the left over fabric in a future project with the purple fabric.  hah!  i’m very proud of how this one turned out though it was not how i had originally intended, and it gave me a little practice with bunching tulle, which i’ve decided is a bit of a pain in the a$$ to work with (but then again, so am i)!

from these simple little projects, i’m learning some crafting basics.  hotglueing, placement, hand stitching, how to work with tulle at all, and design.  my next project is a tulle tutu skirt for a little girl.  again with the tulle!  but i have a whole bolt of black tulle left over from the wedding that we never used (thank you Joann coupons!)  viola!  material for halloween tutus!

Come Along with Me on a Craftastic Voyage

when i first started wedding planning, i had grand ideas of doing everything DIY crafty style.  well that didn’t work out.  turns out a lot of the “easy” looking things i wanted to do took a lot of practice to make look easy!  materials were expensive, crafts took a lot of time, and there were just so many great ideas out there!  but that research turned me on to the world of crafting in general.  i discovered websites and blogs dedicated to the creative, which i have never really been.  suddenly i was filled with inspiration and would spend weeks at a time drooling over sites like CraftgossipHow About Orange, and Attack of the Craft.  sometimes i would (and still do) spend days at a time browsing the awesome creativity and artistic crafts available on Etsy.  before i knew what was happening, i was collecting Michael’s and Joann’s coupons and eagerly waiting for the weekly ads and flyers.  at the same time, my best friend was getting into costuming and fabrics.  she introduced me to the wonder of fabrics – patterns vs. solids, textures, uses – patterns, and sewing.   i was inspired to give in to my creative-wannabe side and try my hand at some small simple crafts.

while my DIY wedding plans did not pay off, i did manage to put together a couple of items in time.  first, there were the YAY! OOT! OMG! flags that i wanted used in place of rice or seeds.  much less mess and with the little bells, who can resist a jingle!  i pilfered chopsticks from the cafeteria at work that summer until i had enough to make a flag for every guest invited, regardless of how many showed.  even my students were snagging extra chopstick packs and sneaking them into my purse just to help out with the wedding.  those rare moments when you can love the hearts of teenagers.  i still have a few dozen chopsticks left!  using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator (putting lessons learned in my master’s program to work for me!) i created the castle and text flags which i printed onto white and red construction paper from the dollar store.  i hot glued the paper to the sticks, tied and curled ribbon to the top, and attached a bell or two depending on the size i had available.  even though no body ended up using them, i was still really proud of how they turned out!  and let me tell you, they look simple, but they were kind of a pain in the ass!  thank you to my photographer, Josh Rodriguez, for taking this picture and making them look so much more amazing than they did sitting on my bookshelf in a cleaned out spinach dip container!  my inspiration for this craft came from this post on Offbeat Bride.

another bit of craftiness that panned out much to my great joy were the guestbook cards.  i decided i didn’t want a typical guest book.  so my mom gave me a red velvety photo album she’d been holding onto for years but had never gotten around to using.  i used shiny glittery cardstock i bought at a craft store (with coupon of course) for the guest card inserts.  the best part was i didn’t realize they were glittery until AFTER i had printed and cut them!  bonus!!  again i used either or both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, along with some free internet clip art, to create the monogram in the bottom corner along with our wedding date, and the lined border.  though not seen in the picture, there were red, white, and off-white cards.  we had a whole container of gel pens lying around the house so we set those out as well.  unfortunately, i forget to have the venue put out the instruction for the cards (fill out, stick in photo pocket… should seem easy right?) so i only ended up with about 12-18 cards because a lot of the guests were very “old school” and were confused as to what the cards were for.

a very simple idea i had, that unfortunately i did not get a picture of before the ceremony, was the flower girl basket.  i used a sturdy, retangle wicker basket of my mom’s to wrap a red satin ribbon around – glued down in a couple of spots for stability – then clipped a black rose hair flower that i had in a drawer in my room.  it looked adorable, especially with all of the red roses laying in it for our expert flower girl to pass out.  unfortunately the flower fell off, the ribbon didn’t stay glued up all the way around, and the venue ended up not returning the flower to us at all!  but our flower girl looked adorable carrying the rustic basket anyway!  she rocked it!

in the last minute, i decided to make reserved table signs for the family tables and place cards for those two tables as well.  i didn’t want to deal with the hassle of seating arrangements so i wasn’t going to do any at all!  but my dad is one of those big softies that wants to please everyone and not let anyone feel left out or slighted.  he kept trying to seat everyone at their table to honor them or prevent them from possibly sitting with people they didn’t really know.  well the tables weren’t THAT big and you really can’t please everyone!  so i came up with a solution: there would be two head tables (aside from the bridal party table) which would be reserved for immediate family only.  parents and siblings (along with their spouses and children) only.  to me that made the most sense.  dad was okay with this compromise because it meant that no one friend was being told that they were less valued than another.  and who couldn’t understand family being placed in spots of honor above all others??  even our friends had to fend for themselves!  using 5×7 photo paper and, of course, Adobe PS and ILL, i created and printed these reservation signs.  also using blank business cards (which i had left over from the invitation inserts telling out of town guests where they could reserve a room and find transportation for the weekend), and my old standby image editing programs, i created and printed the name place cards which were based off of the reservation sign design.  however, i embellished them by punching two holes in the top and threading thin red ribbon through which i tied in a bow and glued down for stability.  they were adorable… trust me!  i’m not prejudice or anything!

lastly, though actually made first, and not actually used in the wedding itself, was my RSVP box.  i wanted a place where i could keep all of my RSVPs in one safe place.  but i wanted this container to really stand out as being related to the wedding.  i didn’t want to buy a box, after all, i was being crafty!  so i decided i could use some items around the house and a trip to the dollar store to make something special just for myself.  i found a large shoe box and covered it in a wedding-style wrapping paper i found at the dollar store.  i pretty much wrapped it like a gift box without a lid, then wrapped the lid separately.  i then glued a red satin ribbon, that i had already discovered matched the red in my dress, around the lid.  next i made a flower out of some tulle and a button that i had in my scraps and glued that to the ribbon.  using a blank business card, i printed the label (again designed using Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator) and glued it on (wish i hadn’t permanently attached it now!)  viola!  RSVP storage box!  i still have the box and now am using it to temporarily house all of the wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful cards we received until i can find another way to store and display them.

i chose to end this post with what, in reality, was my first wedding craft project for a specific reason.  SEGWAY!  that little tulle flower has led to the start of something beautiful.  i discovered so many tutorials for so many different kinds of fabric flowers that now i find myself becoming somewhat of a monster!  i LOVE making flowers for brooches, hair pins, hair bands, and other embellishments.  so my next post will be all about those i have made since becoming a lawfully wedded zombie 🙂  hopefully they will lead to my very own Etsy shop… the next step in my crafting evolution!

No Guilt for Starting to Get Healthy

i try to be healthy, i really do!  but most of the time it just doesn’t really work out.  i’m a pretty sedentary person who enjoys unhealthy food.  i also enjoy the way i feel when i exercise and eat well and understand why i should do both more often.  but i have weak will power and a lifetime of bad habits to combat.  i used to feel guilty about all of this.  not so much anymore.  it’s who i am, what i am and i will just always be one of those people who struggles with this.  i’m not ashamed and nor should i be.

but knowing this about myself, i also know that i need to work in healthy choices in to my lifestyle.  being pregnant has really given me motivation to do that, especially now in the second trimester.  i eat a lot more fruit now, which i’ve always enjoyed doing but just didn’t do!  part of that is because of all of the conflicting things i’ve heard about fruit.  south beach says not to eat too much because of the sugars, other sources i’ve heard that it’s best to avoid high sugar fruits such as bananas.  and then, like every other food the health experts talk about, i’ve heard information that conflicts with this; i’ve heard that any and all fruit you eat is good for you for various reasons.  the vitamins, the minerals, the antioxidants, the good sugars, the good fats, and the full calories as opposed to empty ones.  weight watchers now allows any and all fruits for 0 points and encourages at least 5 servings a day.  that right there is the philosophy i’ve tried to go with on my fruit consumption: whatever i want, as much as i want, just make sure i get a healthy variety to maximize the potential health benefits.  i even accept fruit juice into my diet now for the vitamins and minerals, and i try to get the “no sugar added” varieties when i can afford them.  unfortunately i’m still not getting as much as i should be but i’m getting a hell of a lot more than i was 6 months ago.  it’s a start, and i can’t feel guilty for starting.  oh and did i mention, fruit can be damn expensive!  a bag of grapes for $5 that i’ll eat in a day and a half?  are you kidding me??

favorite breakfast: sandwich bread toasted, layer of peanut butter, layer of cottage cheese, and banana slices. finish the banana and add a glass of orange juice. i use whole grain toast then i get protein and calcium from the cottage cheese, more protein from the peanut butter, and lots of goody vitamins from the banana and oj.

i am in the same boat with vegetables.  i take em where i can get em!  whatever i want, whenever i want.  unfortunately i want them a lot less than i want fruit!  such a sweet tooth!  but i am finding my ways.  for instance, the sandwich i’m going to share (which is my current favorite meal) has tomatoes and spinach.  i also do not shy away from products like pastas that claim a serving or two of vegetables.  if that’s what it takes.  you may recall i posted about Kraft Veggie Mac ‘n Cheese.  as i said, i have no shame for making good attempts.  could i be doing better?  yes, and i know that.  but i am already doing better and this is just a beginning.

any bread toasted (this is ciabatta but i’ve also used bagels and sandwich bread; they’re all good with these toppings), mayo, mustard, 2 slices cheddar cheese, 2 tomato slices, baby spinach (about 10 leaves pictured), and phony baloney (fake meat). when i use the toaster oven, i will throw the cheese on one half of the bread and toss it back into the oven to melt, mmmmmm! eat with fruit! i love spinach! it’s a total super food! and if you reduce the cheese, you also reduce the fat and calories but it’s cheese and i’m only human!  also, you could lose the mayo entirely, use light or fat free, or butter instead.  i use mayo just because it’s been a craving lately.  better than braaaaaaaains!

my other downfall is exercise.  i don’t do nearly enough of it.  i didn’t when i wasn’t pregnant, and i don’t now.  actually if anything i’d say i do less now.  when i got married, my husband and i bought bikes and were building our stamina.  i think we had biked as much as 8 miles in one trip (to, around inside, and back home from the zoo).  we biked to the farmer’s market on saturday mornings, to the library for books, to the post office, to restaurants, and down around “the green belt” (a section of connecting parks and golf courses that runs through scottsdale).  and we didn’t necessarily stop when we found out i was pregnant.  oh no!  my intention was to continue and build more stamina.  we wanted to work up to eliminating the need to drive to any place within 3 miles of our home (first goal).  but then my ob told me to take a break from the biking for a couple of weeks.  i’ll have to ask my husband if he remembers exactly why.  i remember i had a cyst on my ovaries (that has since gone away; perfectly normal) and due to a LEEP procedure in october 2011 they have been very watchful of my cervix.  but i don’t feel like either of those were the reason.  oh now i remember!  the placenta had not yet attached itself to the uterine wall and they didn’t want me doing anything strenuous.  by the time it had attached and i was good to go, i wasn’t so good to go anymore!  the extreme fatigue of first trimester had set in.  one day we went for a ride and i actually cried because i was so frustrated and knew i was frustrating my husband.  i just didn’t have the energy in my legs to peddle, we weren’t very far from home at all, and my husband was VERY keen on going like we had done previously.  i just couldn’t do it.  by second trimester i had lost all get up and go.  it didn’t help that i’d been told that i shouldn’t start any new exercise routines; anything i hadn’t already been doing, except walking a few times a week.  that was my excuse!

well today i said no more!  NO MAS!!!  after about an hour of fiddling with different devices capable of playing DVD, i settled on my laptop.  i popped in a DVD i had purchased in the first trimester, “Denise Austin’s Fit & Firm Pregnancy.”  i only did 20 minutes which is the length of the entire “second trimester” workout routine but it felt lovely!  it was a slow speed so i could keep up, the stretches were comfortable but felt deep, and denise gave tips for how to do the exercises at varying levels of intensity depending on comfort level and ability.  the DVD also includes a cardio routine that looks doable and gives tips for workout during all 3 trimesters.  in addition to this, last week my husband and i started walking around the mall 3 days a week in the mornings when he gets home from work.  this is arizona… it’s hot… so yes i do the mall walk like a senior citizen and those grannies and grampies can out walk me i tell ya! so i decided to create for myself an exercise plan; goals.  i may only have 16 weeks to go, but it is never too late to start being healthy.  from what i understand, it is safe to exercise right up until the 40th week but  i’ve marked that week off as a week of rest; we’ll see how i feel then.  again, if i’m too tired in parts of the third, i won’t feel guilty for backing off from my plan.  some is better than none and doing what my body says is best for my baby is always going to be my best bet!

the plan:

after week 28 it all looks the same.  walking 3 times a week, 3 days of strength routine, and 3 days of cardio and not all in the same day but spread out over the week so that almost every day i can be sure to be doing something active.  each time i complete a planned activity, i will clear the cell of color so i know it’s done.

so this was a very long post, and if you stuck with me through it, thank you!!  what little things do you do in your life to bring in a little bit of the healthy?  any food suggestions or exercising suggestions?  especially once the baby is here, i’ll need quick and dirty (fast and healthy hehe), suggestions??  please comment below!

Getting a Little Political

okay you know i don’t usually post anything “political” here but i felt that this piece was really well written, important, and relevant to the future my yet-to-be-born daughter has to look forward to.


After all, 85% of recent college graduates are returning to live with their parents anyway. Their parents can subsidize the cost of my free employees, with room and board, transportation, and health insurance (up to age 26 under the new health care law).

Super Easy Cute Coaster Craft

i started this project months and months and months ago.  i actually made a few of these coasters, and even started the one for this tutorial, before i even knew i was pregnant actually!  according to google+ i began this tutorial on march 6th lol oh well with procrastination i can always say “better late than never!”  what took me so long was needing my husband to be around to take a picture with my cell phone while i used the hot glue gun.  but i kept forgetting to ask him, and when i would think about it, i’d be too lazy to set everything up again.  add to that being so exhausted and unmotivated the first trimester that all i wanted to do was sleep.

so here we are sitting around the house doing jack and i got bored.  so i decided it was time to get crafty again… but in baby steps.  hey i know a project i started months ago, that’s super easy, that i never finished!  cd drink coasters!  hazzah!

so i set everything up, made my husband stand up and take a couple of pictures, and got to work in photoshop.  hey you should see the originals… everything is always yellow or orange no matter how much natural light i use!

super easy cute cd coaster craft


  • cd you don’t plan on listening to again (i have tons of scratched ones i’ve salvaged from my car that won’t even play)
  • contact paper or self-adhesive shelf liner (mine has cherries – bought at the 99cent store)
  • non-slip shelf liner (the foamy spongy stuff, any color but i used white/creme – also bought this at the 99cent store but you can get it just about where housewares are sold including amazon.com)
  • pencil
  • marker
  • scissors
  • glue gun (and of course, glue)
  • *optional: paper towel/rag & surface cleaner

what to do with all that stuff:

  1. optional: use the paper towel and cleaner to clean the front and back of your cd.  this may help your liners to stick to it better, especially the self-adhesive contact paper.
  2. lay your cd on your non-slip shelf liner and trace with your marker.  you can try the pencil but i found that the material was a little too squishy for the line to really show up easily.  then cut out your circle(s).  i suggest doing more than one at a time.
  3. lay your cd on the “wrong side” of your contact paper or self-adhesive shelf liner.  the “wrong side” just means the back, the part that won’t be seen.  trace with pencil, and cut.  i don’t suggest tracing with the marker here because it may bleed through to the right side.
  4. next glue the non-slip liner to the back of the cd.  you can do this anyway that works for you but i suggest laying the liner on the cd first then apply glue in sections around the edge.  press flat but be ginger as the glue may still be hot in places and come through the holes in the liner.
  5. peel the backing off of your contact paper and carefully apply to the front of the cd.  smooth out and adjust as needed to remove bubbles.
  6. place a big sweaty glass of tea on your coaster, and enjoy!  no more wet rings and you’ve given new purpose to some old cds.

what i love about these is that they work great: they don’t slide around easily and they are very easy to clean since that’s the whole idea behind shelf-lining contact paper.  there are so many different varieties of contact paper out there that you can really customize your coasters to go with any occasion or décor.  just a warning on cd choice.  if you use a cd that has any writing or graphics on the front, it may show through your contact paper.  you can avoid this by either using the “top” of the cd to adhere the non-slip liner or apply a layer of solid color contact paper to the top before applying your patterned or final choice contact paper.  personally, i like the writing and graphics showing through!  this way i can always remember those cds lost to scratches, abuse, and time and they can make an interesting conversation piece.

RIP Brave Saint Saturn… you will be missed!

BONUS: some cool contact paper on amazon.com (links active as of 7/23/2012)

Garlic Avocado Bread to Knock Your Brains Out!

i’ve noticed that i post a lot about food, almost exclusively!  i guess we can all tell what i’m passionate about.  hey its either food or my cats (and soon my daughter!), take your pick!  cooking is what i missed most during the first trimester.  my older sister loves to cook and is much more dedicated and better at it than i am.  she finds gourmet recipes, buys the ingredients even the exotic ones, and puts together fantastic dishes.  in my family she’s known best for her baking – cupcakes, my favorite rum cake, cookies, bars – Christmas dinner isn’t finished until we bring out her deserts.  but she cooks a lot of savory recipes as well and i’m so excited when she shares them with me!

she’s always been attentive to what i eat.  i find it amusing now but that wasn’t always so.  i mentioned the rum cake she makes, its my favorite and has been since i was a little girl.  she often makes it for Christmas and the first year or two that she brought it over (rum balls one year too!) i would always have a slice (or two and some extra glaze scooped up on my finger!).  then one year, i think i was about 12 years old, she brought over the rum cake and i spent the entire day walking by it with a line of drool hanging off of my chin.  i couldn’t wait to get dinner over with and dig into a slice of that cake!  i was more excited about the cake than i was presents!  dinner ended and, after an agonizing half hour of coffee and chit chat, dessert was brought out.  the rum cake sat on the table, glistening with yummy goodness.  the glaze ran down the creases of the bundt cake, the cake itself moist with the flavoring it had soaked up, and the glaze covered the glass plate in a pool of sugary white love.  my mom and sister began passing out the desserts and when my sister asked me what i wanted i immediately asked for a slice of rum cake.  then my heart broke.  she looked at me and said, “oh honey, that has alcohol in it and i’d really be more comfortable if you had something else.”

um… WHAT???  this was never an issue before!  our parents didn’t care!  quite often on holidays they would even allow me a quarter or half glass of Beringers White Zinfandel with dinner, which more often than not, i would end up giving to someone else after a couple of sips.  hey once wine got room temperature, i wasn’t interested.  anyway, i was so angry!  my parents hate confrontation so they told me to just roll with it and pick something else.  i did, and pouted.  when she and her husband went home that night, she left the rest of the cake behind for my parents.  as soon as the door closed, i looked at my mom and said, “please?”  she said of course and i got my delicious slice.  i’ve never been denied that cake since.

as a kid, i thought this was incredibly unfair and i didn’t understand where she got off!  as an adult, i still think it was overkill but i realize now that my sister was trying to look out for me.  yes the alcohol cooks out, but she had used a lot of rum that year and wasn’t sure it had all cooked out.  she was near her 40’s at the time and going through a period she later described as trying to be more like a mother than a sister to me.  something she later said she regretted.  but with that age difference, its actually endearing that she would be so concerned even if it wasn’t necessary.  it was love.

now she seems very intrigued with my being a vegetarian.  i don’t think she fully understands that it isn’t eating meat that i’m against.  it’s the practices within the mass meat industry.  i’ve recently discovered kosher meats and CSA (consumer sustained agriculture) farming and may eat meat again myself.  i’ve even decided that i won’t necessarily raise my children vegetarian so that they aren’t limited when they stay with family.  i’ll raise them to respect life and when they’re older, they can make their own decision.  i’ve never thought that meat didn’t taste good (except corned beef one year… never again!).  sometimes i even crave it and i was so excited when Jack-in-the-Box released a bacon flavored milkshake!  no actual bacon in the shake or the syrup but it had the taste and it was bacon-rific!  but that’s another tangent!

anyway, the perk of her interest is that she often comes across vegetarian and vegan recipes, even if they aren’t labeled as such, and passes them on to me.  and never has she suggested anything that didn’t sound amazing!  and that held true this week on Facebook when she sent me this message:

OMG, you have to try this recipe: 4 slices of rustic bread (we use pugliese from Safeway/Raley’s), lightly grilled or toasted. Rub the hot bread with a clove of garlic. Scoop out the insides of a very ripe avocado onto the bread. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Drizzle lightly with good EVOO. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, to taste. It is to die for! You can’t eat it just once. We made it last night and Uncle Stan [what i call my brother-in-law] just came and asked me if we had any more avodaco, and we did!, so we are having it now.
I used a really good EVOO from Italy that Fr. Jeff gave me for Christmas; I sort of hoard it for the special things.

i ran to the grocery stores and immediately sought out bread (small french bread loaf from Trader Joes), an avocado, sea salt, and garlic cloves.  the rest i had, who doesn’t have EVOO and chili pepper flakes!  granted my EVOO isn’t of the quality she used, but it does well.  this afternoon, i threw the bread in the oven at 400 (left it in for either a bit too long, or it was too hot but it dried out a touch on me) then covered it in the rest of the ingredients.  i used the entire avocado cuz that’s how i roll (get it… roll? bread roll?  *rimshot*)

it looked so pretty, that i had to take pictures and get it up here to share!  and it tasted great!  i’m eating the whole loaf to myself since my husband doesn’t like avocado.  what’s nice too is that i don’t have to feel guilty about eating this.  everything on it is healthy for me and the baby.  sure there’s a lot of fat, but it’s the healthy fat which is so much better than the Cheez-its fat i’ve been eating lately!

this bread makes a great lunch or appetizer for company.  i’d like to try it with spinach, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and/or tomatoes.  i bet it makes a great sandwich and if you eat meat, it probably would go great with a little sliced turkey and swiss!

UPDATE 8/6/12: elsewhere in the wordpress.com blogosphere, a more detailed recipe for this deliciousness has been provided by salt and serenity.  read it here!  detailed pictures and steps provided 🙂