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.

Before:

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:

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:

After:

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
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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!

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!

And it’s been awhile since I last saw you…

wowza!  i haven’t posted anything since march 5th!  what up wit dat??  well there’s been A LOT going on.  well really there’s been ONE major thing going on but that one major thing has had a ginormous impact on my life.

I’M PREGNANT!  yes, this zombiewife is going to be a zombiemommy!  i suspected in march but found out for certain on april 13th.  at that point i was 8 weeks 5 days!  hearing the heartbeat was the most beautiful sound i’d ever heard in my life.  however, i had a few pregnancy symptoms in, what i felt, was extreme abundance.  primarily exhaustion and sickness.  oh man i was tired ALL THE TIME the first couple of months, and even now i have a hard time staying up past 9:30pm regardless of how late Big Kitty lets me sleep before waking me up for 3rd or 4th morning feeding (my kitties in their mature ages are providing me with lots of late-night-wake-up-for-feeding practice).  i haven’t yet thrown up but that’s been more of a matter of will power than sensation.  i HATE HATE HATE vomiting.  and so even though i’ve had a lot of nausea, and felt like i could throw up many times, i haven’t done it.  that means a lot of laying on the couch or in bed moaning and groaning.  but, nearing the end of the first trimester, its subsiding a bit.  so combine the constant nausea with the debilitating exhaustion, and you have one zombie who hasn’t wanted to make the effort to post a thing!

add to that the fact that i’ve had no motivation TO DO anything.  i’ve hardly cooked in the last three months.  mostly, if we’ve eaten at home at all, its been boxed mac ‘n’ cheese or frozen food from trader joe’s, which, btw, they make some awesome polenta dishes!  and the gorgonzola gnocci… YUM!! so sad that i’m not allowed soft cheeses LIKE gorgonzola anymore 😦

remember the Vegetable Wellington i made in february to practice as a possible Easter dinner?  well i bought all of the ingredients again, and on Easter… i was too sick and tired to make it!  double 😦  we ended up having mac ‘n’ cheese i believe.  i later found out i’m not supposed to have goat cheese so it was a good thing i skipped.  okay let me just say, i know its UNpasturized cheeses i’m not supposed to have.  and as long as the goat cheese is pasteurized i can have it.  but this is my first… goat cheese isn’t worth the risk.  no matter how herby and creamilishious it may be… mmmm!

however, i did make Mexican Wedding Cookies for a Cinco de Mayo pot luck we attended the other day.  now let me just start by saying i am not a baker.  so this was definitely a learning experience, but it turned out to be a rewarding one.  if you aren’t familiar with these cookies, they are dry but kind of melt in your mouth, filled with chopped pecans, and covered in powdered sugar.  i found a recipe on kraftrecipes.com that looked fairly easy with few ingredients and steps.  i wanted to make the cookies vegan because i knew most of the attendees would be vegetarian, and one would be vegan.  as i’ve said before, i hate being the only vegetarian in a group of meat-eaters and feeling left out.  so, since she is the only vegan in the group, i didn’t want her to feel left out when it came to desserts.  so i discovered Earth Balance which makes a couple of butters and margarines without any animal products (fish oil, whey, etc).  however, Albertson’s didn’t carry Earth Balance but i did find Smart Balance Light which had no fish oil and no whey… yey!  i bought my ingredients and got to work.

first of all, if you decide to use margarine, don’t use tub margarine!  i didn’t know this and found out the hard way (though it still turned out okay).  i followed the recipe pretty much (except i forgot to divide the powdered sugar and i didn’t coat the cookies in powdered sugar).  when i had all of the ingredients mixed, my batter seemed too runny to “form into 1″ balls” so i added about 3/4 cup of flour and a splash of vanilla.  that did the trick!  so i formed my balls, stuck them in the oven, and pulled them out at 15 minutes.  still looked raw inside and not yet browning.  hmmmm… another 5 minutes?  10?  a total of 35 MINUTES cooking and they finally seemed done through.  the uncooked dough in the bowl had also developed droplets of oil like a cheese pizza.  i frantically texted my sister who bakes all the time and provides the desserts for all of our family gatherings.  per her suggestion, i popped the dough in the fridge and resolved to never use tub margarine in place of butter for baking again!  too much oil!!  after that the balls still took 25+ minutes to cook but what other choice did i have??

on the way to the potluck, we stopped at Food City to pick up some “authentic” mexican baked goods just in case my cookies didn’t go over.  well guess what??  our friends LOVED my cookies and didn’t even touch the store bought stuff!  i was so flattered and surprised!  now imagine how good they would’ve been if they’d been done right!!  sorry i don’t have any pictures of the finished product… i ate them all! 😛