Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crafty Compadres

My cousin's wife called me Suzy Homemaker the other day, which I took as a huge compliment. I love perfecting my June Cleaverness. And my Martha-ness.  And I love when my friends join me. Couple months ago, my friend Katie and I were driving back to my house and saw a pair of aluminum(?) chairs sitting out next to a trash can. They immediately called to us.  Both of us. I think we both pictured them on our front porch. But who would take them? We returned to my house without them, probably due to an emergency leaky boob situation. Mine, not hers.  But before she left, she asked if I minded if she went back for them. Uhhh sure, I said, giving up on them. I had quickly deduced that I didn't have the time or energy to clean these babies up. So off she went. The next day she emailed me, making sure I was cool with her getting them.  And I realized I was. I mean, I love trash-pickin' as much as the next girl but did I really want my neighbor's trash on my front porch? Not really. But mannn, that trash is looking good these days. Check out the quickie clean-up and makeover...




So yeah, they're adorable.  And I might be having a little trash picker's remorse these days. Next time? Throw em in the trunk and decide later. Take no prisoners. It's on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rolly Polly!

While the rest of us were packing on the pounds this past weekend, Gabe was working them off...by rolling over! I plopped him on his seizure-inducing activity mat while I vacuumed around him when I noticed him playing with his feet, then losing his balance and starting to roll to his side.  I immediately dropped the vacuum and grabbed the camera, which was miraculously only 5 feet away. He not only rolled to his side but continued onto his belly! He struggled a bit getting his arms straightened but quickly got it together and was up on his hands in no time.  Cue me dropping to my knees and clapping in his face. Because that's what you're supposed to do right?
And he didn't stop there folks.  He spent the whole weekend rolling over whenever we put him down on his back.  And a couple times, he even rolled back over the other way.  This is all very exciting mind you.  My wee babe is growing up! Make it stop!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookie Monster

Hey guys! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I can't imagine anyone's still hungry so this post is nothing but pure gluttony. You see, it's Week 3 of Kim's Dare to DIY and this week the dare is to Eat Cookies. Yeah twist my arm. I love cookies all year long so this isn't a Christmas cookie per se, but it's so big and sugary, it's not an everyday sort of cookie either. It's a celebratory cookie. Like, hey I did the laundry this week, I deserve a cookie! Or even, I didn't throw a stapler at my co-worker's head today, so it's cookie time! Any celebration will do. Just make them.

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies
adapted from Martha's version






Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars and butter; beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

2.In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

3.Using a 1/2-ounce ice-cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Transfer to oven, and bake until browned and crisped, rotating pan halfway through baking to ensure even color, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat baking process with remaining dough. Once cooled completely, use an offset spatula to spread about 2 teaspoons of cream-cheese filling onto a cookie. Sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Oh heyyyy gorgeous

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GRRRRRRrateful!

I love a good pie chart

I think it's pretty clear what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving: my healthy happy baby, my handsome helpful husband and lowercase h's in general. For serious though, even though he's pretty tiny and doesn't know what a holiday is, this Thanksgiving is already better just because Gabe's here. I think we were just going through the motions for holidays in the past few years because, really? I can't get excited over turkey and stuffing. Add in having to get dressed and drive around to see both families, and maybe some family drama, all when we'd rather be in sweats on the couch and you've got yourself a pair of Thanksgving grinches. But not this year. Gabe has made clear every little thing we have that we are grateful for. So little buddy, when you read this in 15 years, thanks. And wipe that pie off your face.

I'm also thankful for you guys. And I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. See you next week.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Heard the Military Look is "In"

Lil buddy hit the big 3 months last week! That means we've kept him alive for over 2100 hours. Woot! We're gettin the hang of this shizz! So anyway, here we are, it's November. Lil buddy decided to honor his grandpop and late great grandpop and the rest of the armed forces with a salute to Veterans Day. Since my dad and grandpop were both sailors, it would only suffice that Gabe be one too. We present...

Admiral Adorable!


I know, I can't take this cuteness either.


Ha! That face!
We grab things now!  Little navy ships! Who knew finding them at the dollar store would be so easy?

He loves his mama :) And babies love tattoos.

So Gabe, as you turn a quarter of a year old, let's recap your teeny adorable life.  This past month...

- You moved into your crib and have even started sleeping through the night a few times. Thanks buddy.
- You have started drooling and there's no turning back. We've finally broken out the bibs and you're soaking through them left and right.
- You've discovered toys. And you will now hold onto them and chew on them and wave them around and throw them on the floor. Then look down at them pitifully until we go and pick it up for you.
- You might be starting to teeth. You've got your hands in your mouth constantly, pressing on your gums. If you could stop shoving your hand so far in there that you gag and spit up, that's be greeeeat.
- You have lost most of your interest in the pacifier, which we're just fine with. It'd be nice to have a baby-shutter-upper to use but we figure it's one less thing we need to wean you from.
- You still love bathtime and love when we scrub your little feets. You don't even mind when Mom accidentally gets water in your eyes. Or completely forgets the words to This Little Piggy. Seriously, I need a refresher course on nursery rhymes and songs and whatnot.
- You hate being strapped down, whether it's your car seat or swing. I'm talkin screaming bloody murder kind of hate.  This makes for some difficult car rides so we're hoping you get over that real soon. Please? I'll drink more milkshakes if that'll keep you happy.
- You keep babbling and love to lay around talking to yourself. Come to think of it, so does your dad.
- You've started paying attention to books...somewhat. If running your slobber-covered hand all over the pages is interest then we've got a bookworm on our hands!
- You took your first trip to New Jersey and also to a liquor store. You survived both unscathed.
- You are ridiculously cute, animated and cuddley and we love the crap out of you.

Happy 3 months bouncing baby buddy boy!

Disclaimers: I used an alcohol wipe to remove that tattoo right quick after being convinced that they started making permanent children's tattoos. Sigh of relief...they don't. Oh and in case you are super-military wife and realize that those patches up there in the picture are actually army patches, good for you! I figured they looked official enough to pass for my lil sailor.

Aye Aye



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comfy & Cozy Din Din

It's week two of Kim's Dare to DIY blog party. Did you dare? You should. Join at any time! This week's project was Dare to Entertain...so basically show off your holiday table. Last year I set up a buffet for an imaginary army of people coming to my house. Good thing they were pretend because the only food I had waiting for them was make-believe. But this year? I've got real, live, breathing guests! We're having my mom, brother and his kiddos over for a low-key, casual pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Since we hit up both sides of the fam's T-day dinners every year, we don't get to spend a lot of time together on that day. Thus, a new tradition is born.

I started with my everday plates and pumpkin & pinecone decorations. That idea fell flat with boredom so I added some red chargers and berries to my new pitcher/vase that my mom bought me at Terrain.

Then I threw in some little red candles...and realized it was looking more Christmas than Thanksgiving. Hmmm, do I leave the pumpkins?
Why not?
I totally stole the burlap placecard idea from Kim herself.  Last year she made tree ornaments the same way and since I had all the materials on-hand, placecards it is! Plus they're re-usable...the letter stickers pop right off.

Then I found this awesome online mag, Sweet Paul.  Go read it, you'll love.  Anyway, they did a spread on de-constructing a winter sweater to use on your tabletop. Adorbs. So I found *the* perfect tan and white cable knit sweater at Goodwill and got to work cutting it up. I used their idea to make litte candle cozies and then realized I could make sweater flatware pockets!  I just cut out a piece, glued the pocket shut on 3 sides and glued a couple buttons to each.  Kinda in love with them. Plus, they were chilly. The utensils were. And no one likes chilly forks.




I started putting out fancy water and wine glasses then realized we wouldn't even be drinking any! It'll most likely be iced tea for the adults and chocolate milk for the wee ones. So I added the stemless wine glasses because we use those everday and threw in straws because we're keeping it casgh (that's my phonetic spelling of the first part of the word casual). No wait, I thought they looked cute. That's the only reason. And come to think of it, that's my reason for a lot of things...because it looked cute. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I captured comfy and cozy family dinner. Whacha think?

Oh and go check out the rest of the tablescapes...I'm sure there will be tons of amazing ideas for us to steal!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Do you guys remember that commercial from the 80's? I think it was for the trash mag The National Enquirer? I guess the catch phrase resonated so well with America that they never had to do another commercial again. Seriously? A commercial for a magazine of ridiculous stories? Insane. 

Anyway, I've gotten a few random questions recently so I thought I'd give you all the scoop in case you were too shy to raise your hand and ask. I may have paraphrased these questions.

What's that big black thing you shove in your baby's face every day?
 It's my camera and it's a Nikon D5000. I only shoot auto and I think it does a pretty awesome job so it doesn't really motivate me to learn how to use it manually. Maybe someday. I also edit my pics in Picasa if you were wondering. But I'm sure you weren't.

What would have been your girl's name if Gabe was a lady?
The A stands for Avery. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started waivering on this name, which I had chosen years and years ago. But it was too late, I had already done too good a job convincing John, so he was 100% on board with Avery. So if it had been a girl, we would have went with Avery.  So who knows, if I do have a girl someday I may waiver again...or not.

Will the pumpkin stems last over the years or will they rot and decompose and stank up your house?
Dudes. I have no idea. This is the first year I made them. However, I got the idea from a store selling versions with real stems. I can't imagine they would sell things that would attract squirrels to your attic but who knows, maybe the manufacturer uses a special de-squirrelifying spray on them. No idea. If you make them and you get attacked by a flying squirrel next year when you go to take out your holiday decor, consider this my disclaimer.

That dress looks like a muppet on your chest, but in a good way.  Where did you get it? 
Ohhh you must be referring to this dress...that I wore for John's surprise 40th birthday and again for Gabe's Baptism. It's from...Target! Shocker.  But it's from last winter so um, you're shit out of luck. Sorry buddy. But I'm sure PBS or Nickelodeon is selling another muppet-type ensemble. You just have to look.

Anything else you're dying to know about us? Just ask. I like to talk about myself.

He Picked a Winner!

Lil Buddy used random.org to pick a winner for the $45 CSN Stores Gift Card and it chose #1 which was Bethany from Rinse Repeat. Congrats! Keep an eye out for an email from me. Thanks for entering guys!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

See Who's Looking at Your Profile

Back when Gabriel was known as Blinky, I made him a nursery. On the wall, I hung a stand-in silhouette of a baby head. I planned to make a real one before his noggin got too big. And you know what? I actually did it. Oh, the "A" has come down too. We'll have to do an updated nursery pic I suppose. If you're confused, I was so sure I was having a girl that I hung the A, which would have been our girl's initial. Anyway, I made a silhouette of Baby Gaby's head and I'm here to teach you how to do the same!

1. Take a pic of your adorable boy from the side and capture his profile. Squeal over his perfect lips. Print it out.
2. Cut out the head...carefully!
3. Put some tape on his face. Don't worry, he can't feel it.


4. Attach the head, face down, on black paper.
5. Cut it out again, hold it up and marvel at your cutting skillz.
6. Attach the black paper head to white paper and pop in your frame. Done! Woot!


Now usually, once I master something as simple as this, I want to do it over and over again. But I'm thinking lifesize silhouettes of John and I in our dining room might be a bit much. So I'll probably just stick with this one.

Oh and the Giveaway ends tonight!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EMPANADAS!

Do you guys like the comedian Jim Gaffigan? He's one of our faves. His whole schtick is being a pale, white-bread guy from Indiana. Only he makes it hilarious. Anyway, he used to do this bit about working at a Mexican restaurant and people would always ask things like "What is nacho? Tortilla with cheese, meat, or vegetables. Then what is a burrito? Tortilla with cheese, meat, or vegetables. Then what is a tostata? Tortilla with cheese, meat, or vegetables. Then what is.. It's all the same! Why don't you say a Spanish word and I'll bring ya something!"

Hilarious. If you don't know who he is, look him up, your day will get better. Anyway, moving on. I made Green Chile Beef Empanadas! They were pretty darn delicious. I know, put anything in a tortilla/pie crust and we're buds.

 


Ingredients
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts

2 cups cooked shredded beef -- I cooked up a 1 inch thick london broil then cut it into tiny pieces

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chile
I added some onion too
 
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Unroll pie crusts onto a flat surface. Top each quadrant of crust with 1/2 cup of beef, 1/4 cup of cheese and about a tablespoon of chiles, making even layers and spreading ingredients to within 1/2-inch of the edges. Top with second pie crust. Using a pastry cutter or sharp knife, make an X across the circle, making 4 equal sections. Pinch around the edges with a fork to seal. I didn't cut it into 4 quadrants. I just made two jumbo empanadas.

Transfer empanadas to a baking sheet and make small slits in the top of each one to allow steam to escape during cooking. I recommend brushing an egg wash over the dough before you bake. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until crust is golden brown. 

estupendo!

Did you enter my giveaway???

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crushed Velvet Pumpkin Tutorial

Dare to DIY


Welcome to Week 1 of my pal Kim's Dare to DIY Blog Party.  Each week she hosts a different DIY holiday challenge.  This week is Dare to...be thankful, and create something crafty for Thanksgiving.  Here's what I did last year.

So this year, you've met my new obsession, Terrain. It's the concept store birthed by Anthropologie that I want to move into. I went there a few weeks ago to see Eddie Ross and finally got back there this past week with my mom. I had spotted these gorgeous little velvet pumpkins but at 24 bucks a pop, there's no chance in h-e-double-hockey-stick that I would buy them. But I sure as heck could make em. On the cheap.

There are a lot of fabric pumpkin "tutorials" on the web but I didn't find any of them to be that great (unlike this one obviously ;) plus I don't have a sewing machine which seemed to be the main ingredient in all of them. So this here tutorial only involves a little bit of easy peasy hand-sewing.

I subbed crushed velvet for the real velvet because 1) Jo-Ann only had 4 ugly colors in velvet 2) regular velvet was a cringe-inducing $12.99 a yard. I scored the crushed velvet at 40% off plus I used an extra 20% coupon. I ended up buying 1/4 yard each of 3 colors for $5 total. Schweet.

So here's what you need:

Plus a few different size plates and or chargers for variety in your pumpkin girth. Oh and while we're forgetting to photograph things, grab your hot glue gun. You'll need it.


Use fishing line for it's strength, because later you're gonna be pulling on it pretty tight and thread may snap.
*Hanging my head in shame after seeing my terrible bitten nails on the big screen. Uggghh.*








And I'd get quite the whippin' if I didn't give all kinds of photog credit to my husband for those extreme close-ups. Thanks pup. Oh and in case you're wondering, these are super fast to make. I did them all early mornin' during baby cat naps. And I'm talking about the actual baby. Not a baby cat.

Oh and hey, don't forget about my CSN Stores Giveaway!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holy Crap You Guys

As of today, I've reached

Round of Applause

Sure they make have gotten fewer and further between but I sure do love this little blog of mine. And I love you too.  Without you I'd think I was talking to myself and the blog would probably go dark...like the great rolling blog blackout of December 2008. So sad. So thank you for yappin back at me. And since it's a special occasion, let's give something away, why don't we?

Since I'm kind of a big deal, the freakishly generous folks at CSN Stores have bestowed upon moi the honor of being a CSN Stores Preferred Blogger. Woot! This means I get to do giveaways and reviews on the regular. Pretty schweet, eh?


So let's start the madness off with a $45 gift card to any of CSN's 200+ stores where, as you know, you can get anything from a rug to a barstool to a baby stroller. That's a pretty big range of stuff guys. Wanna win? Do the following:

1} Be a follower of Shannanigans
2} Leave a comment telling me something fun you're doing this weekend
Bonus Entry: Blog about this giveaway on your blog and let me know!

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

This giveaway will end on Wednesday November 17, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Open to US & Canadian readers only. Good luck!

Oh! Go do this! I did it last year and loved it. Plus Kim is the shit.

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