Friday, December 30, 2011

Full Speed Ahead

I must have gotten some great sleep last night, because it has been one heck of a productive day. I started with a 6am class at Heat. Came home and started undecorating the house. I got most of the ornaments off before heading to a 75 minute yoga class. I must have really wanted to take my kids to the child care at the gym, because I am so not a fan of yoga. After today's class, though, I think I could start liking it more. And, I kind of think I need it. I may or may not have dozed off a bit during the savasana thing at the end of class. There was also some Om-ing, which made me really glad none of my friends were in class with me, or I would have laughed. I can't help it. I lack maturity.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to top off all this working out with a healthy lunch at Chickfila. Plus, we needed to go to the mall, so it just worked out. At the mall, I had to go  to Pottery Barn to exhange a rug. I tried to be frugal and get a 5x8 for my den,but it just wasn't working. So I got an 8x10 in the Franklin rug:

Franklin Persian-Style Rug

I have no strength left to haul the rug into my house, so in my car it currently sits. I may drag it in a few minutes. 

I have now finished undecorating the inside of the house, so I feel good about that. It had to be done, because at 8:30 Monday morning, the workmen are coming to demo my kitchen. Yay! But - panic! I still have a whole kitchen to pack up. I am beyond excited about the new kitchen, though. Am I nervous about the process? Oh, yes. Quite. A month without a kitchen will be a challenge for certain. I just need to make sure I keep access to the essentials:
  • Coffee Maker
  • Favorite coffee cup
  • Wine opener
  • Wine glass(es)
I suppose I should also keep out some kid-sized utencils and sippy cups. We'll be using paper plates and cups, so those can all go away.

I thought I'd share the plans for the new kitchen with you. We aren't changing a lot about the footprint - just moving the range to the other side of the room. My kitchen is from 1981, so the cabinets and drawers are totally dated, in both appearance and configuration. Here's the new look:

Left view:
Right view:
Ariel view:
The cabinets will be white, with white subway tile backsplash. Stainless appliances, obviously. And we're using Bianco Romano granite for the countertops:
I'll be sure to take some nice before pics this weekend, and keep you updated along the way. 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas, plus a gift no one wants

Well, Christmas 2011  has come and gone, and it was a really fun one around here. There's been too much eating, general spoiling of children (and mommy), and a whole lot of clutter in my house.

Let's start with Christmas Eve. Last year, we made our own rule that on Christmas Eve, and ONLY on Christmas Eve, you are allowed to touch your Elf on the Shelf. This started because last year, Ava was devastated to have to say good-bye to Simon, so I fake emailed a note from Mrs. Claus saying that we could hug our elf goodbye. So, here's Ava, saying so long 'til next year. And 'Peace Out', apparently.


Sleep came too late due to excitement, but the husband and I only had to stay up until 11:30 doing Santa. 

Santa did not disappoint: 

Davis was not all that into opening gifts, but he liked to gasp upon opening.

My little bookworm loves her dictionary. Could she be the next Great American Novelist?

This post-Christmas week has been good, up until about 2am this morning. I heard Davis calling for me and came in to find his crib filled with last night's dinner. Gross. I'll say this: I can handle just about anything except for vomit. Ava gets these crazy nosebleeds, and I don't bat an eye at the blood. Snot can pour from noses and I just wash my hands more and shower in hand sanitizer. But throw up? Oh my gosh. I just can't take it. One whiff and I want to run away screaming. I feel the need to douse the entire house in Lysol. And I just live in fear and anticipation of the next bout. Plus, I start feeling sick myself and wondering if I'm about to be down for the count.

Anyway, we had several more episodes through the night. The only silver lining is that Davis is quite the comedian, and he had Morgan and me in stitches with his running commentary about what was going on. 

So far this morning, we're all good, save for a low fever, but I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm sure Ava is next, then me. Morgan usually avoids these things. I guess that if I get it, I can maybe count on losing the weight I've gained from so much eating? 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Dessert

I got a lot checked off my to-do list last night, thanks to the husband getting home early enough for me to run some errands. It's amazing how much I can accomplish all by myself, with no kids to load in and out of the car.

Today, I want to share with you one of our newer Christmas traditions.

For the last few years, I've made Giada De Laurentiis' Pannetone Bread Pudding for our Christmas dessert.

Picture of Panettone Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Syrup Recipe

This photo does not even do it justice. It is amazing, and so easy. I'll mention to you that bread pudding doesn't really ever sound all that good to me, but I saw Giada make this on a show a few years back and was tempted to try it. It just tastes like Christmas to me. I don't think pudding is as good a word to describe it as perhaps custard. I mean, there are EIGHT eggs in it. And heavy cream.

Here's Giada's recipe. Make it. You won't regret it.

Note: you can find Panettone just about anywhere this time of year. I picked one up at Trader Joe's last week, but I think most grocery stores have them now.

(recipe from Food Network)

Panettone Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Syrup



Ingredients

Cinnamon Syrup:

Bread Pudding:

  • Butter
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

To make the syrup:

Directions

Combine 1 cup of water and brown sugar in a heavy mediumsaucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Re-warm before serving.)

To make the bread pudding:

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in prepared dish.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm Cinnamon Syrup, and serve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Red Bull is Needed

It's been a productive day, and frankly, I'm exhausted. Started the day at 5:30am with a (dreaded) 6-mile run. I took a quick shower only to put on different workout clothes so I could go to the body sculpting class I love. Well, I don't love it while I'm there, but it's one of those classes I just know is pretty effective. I know this because I can't always complete the exercises. Naturally, since I had already run,the instructor started out with about a million squats. My legs were dying. Still are, actually.

Davis and I had lunch with Ava at her school, so that was  fun. Davis was only mildly unruly, which was a big bonus. We came home and he took his sofa nap, during which time I did laundry and mopped. Yesterday I cleaned bathrooms. I figure I'm starting on Christmas cleaning early enough for it all to be in ruins again come Christmas Eve. Seriously, though, I just can't leave it all for the last day. I want to be able to enjoy Christmas Eve. Besides, we go to church at 4pm, and since the once-a-year churchgoers always show up, we have to get there early to get a seat.

My mother-in-law joins us on for that service, and then she eats dinner with us. Last year I made Ina Garten's turkey lasagna, which contains goat cheese, and it's so good. I'm not sure if I'm making that again this year or not. I'm sure I'll use some Ina recipe. I've never made anything from any of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks that I didn't like.

My parents come on Christmas Day, and I'm so excited to see them this year. My mom and I make Christmas drunch (that's dinner and lunch) together. Okay, that's not really true. I make one side and the dessert. She does the rest. There will likely be bloody marys, or wine, at the very least. And snacks. Like cheese straws.

Anyway, the rest of this week includes more laundry, ironing, wrapping almost all the presents (minus the Santa stuff), one more trip to the mall, grocery shopping, baking, and a few returns at Target and Toys R Us. I think I can get it all done. As long as I don't sleep.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The New Nap

We've reached that stage where Davis doesn't really think he needs a nap anymore. Of course without a nap, he really can't make it until bedtime without completely falling apart. Plus, if I'm driving carpool, he inevitibly falls asleep in the car if he hasn't napped. I'm trying to be flexible and avoid the naptime battle, though. So, the latest request is to watch tv either on the sofa or in my bed, whereupon he almost always falls asleep. It looks like this:


I'll admit to you that upon hearing his request, I typically say, "Yes! Of course you can watch on the sofa!  Would you like your paci and all your loveys? Okay, great. Let me just cover you up and get you nice and cozy. And here's some Benadryl ." Kidding about that last part. Clearly, I am encouraging this new habit, and that's fine. As long as there is rest, there is peace for me, and that's the real goal.

Speaking of rest, the week before Christmas is certainly not the time for that, is it? I swear, I must work best under pressure because I ALWAYS leave stuff until the last week. Today we ended up at Target for an hour, and I got all the kids' stocking stuffers, plus more ribbon, a Kidz Bop Christmas CD (clearly, I have lost my mind). I'm trying hard to get it all done and not think about the fact that two weeks from today, my kitchen will be demo'ed. Stressful and exciting, all at the same time.

Maybe I need a nap on the sofa, too.





Friday, December 16, 2011

Crunch time

Ummm....is it really December 16? That means only nine days 'til Christmas, right? Yikes. Guess it's time to wrap it all up. Literally. I have not wrapped a single gift. I started out this week feeling kind of on top of things, but my to-do list is not getting checked off nearly as quickly as it needs to be. I've still got several presents to buy, a house to clean, and some cooking to do.

In the meantime, here's what the kids are getting this year. We'll start with Ava:

1) Pink DSi
And several games. They're all girlie and/or word games. In fact, I have to go to Walmart in a few minutes to pick up the games that I had shipped there. Right now, I'm wishing I had just coughed up the cash for shipping because going into Walmart is the LAST thing I want to do. I mean, I never want to go there, and I especially don't want to go 9 days before Christmas. Eww.

2) Kanani (yes, another American Girl doll)
Actually, my sister and her husband get the credit for this one. Santa was really grateful for that little financial break. And my sister will secure her title of Best Aunt Ever. (Frankly, I can't wait to get my hands on that doll's hair. With all that length, the possibilities are endless).

Of course, I got a few things for Kanani. Like a ukulele. And a beach outfit. 

3) A karaoke machine that you plug your iPod into. I won't lie. I'm pretty psyched about this one, too. Family song night? Yes, please. We'll be like the Partridge Family for the new millennium.

iPod Dock with Karaoke Player - Black -  Singing Machine - Toys"R"Us

There are a bunch of other little things. Such as a new Barbie. And Ken. Sadly, Ken now dresses like Justin Beiber. She's also getting a talking Jessie doll, a few new movies,some books, etc. And my parents got her pink Uggs.  Lucky girl.

Okay, on to Davis. 

His big Santa gift is a tool bench:

Black & Decker Jr Kids Power Workshop Workbench + Tools, 50+ Accessories and Toolbox.Opens in a new window
And no, he will not be wearing cargo jeans or work boots a la the kid in the picture. 

He's also getting a bunch of stuff from Toy Story, some trucks.....I don't even know what all else. Some sort of Spider Man mini ball pit?  A Leapster laptop, some Little People stuff.  Good times. I thought I was all done, but I haven't gotten the only two things he  actually keeps saying he wants, which are an umbrella (wtf?) and a Slinky Dog. Alrighty then. 

It's kind of hard right now because Ava didn't ask for a lot, but what she did ask for was all pretty nice and higher dollar. Davis, on the other hand, is still at the age where toys are pretty cheap. So, he's getting quantity, but Ava is getting quality. I hope she understands that.  

I'm pretty excited for them to get all their new things. I know that's not really what Christmas is about, but I do love little kids on Christmas morning. I'm a sucker for a little Santa magic.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All I Want For Christmas....

I'm all done shopping for the kids - yay! Just have to start wrapping. I have presents hidden all over the place, and I just hope I can find them all. I'll fill you in on what the kids are getting later this week, but first, I thought I'd share my wish list. It actually isn't all that big this year, but I'm not expecting all of it. However, I do feel like I've been a really good girl this year. Really good. Ahem.

1) New Uggs. I am so on the cutting edge of trends that my Uggs are from way back in 2003. I think it's time for a new pair. I want the Bailey Button ones. In Chocolate.
Pinned Image
2) J.Crew peacoat in Maraschino Cherry:
Majesty peacoat

3) More lululemon. Lots more. In fact, a $1000 gift card would be great. Thanks. If that doesn't work, I'll just take a few things:

Cross My Heart TankStay On Course TankRun:Your Heart Out Pullover

Scuba Hoodielulu - Run: Inspire Crop

3) Some coffee table books, including these:

Mary McDonald Interiors, Modern Glamour (Kelly Wearstler), Black and White (Celerie Kimble), and Chanel: Collections and Creations
Mary McDonald: Interiors: The Allure of Style

Chanel: Collections and CreationsBlack and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections

I think that wraps it up. What's on your list this year?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Boing!

The video below pretty much sums up why Davis needs to move to a big boy bed. Be sure to watch all the way to the end. It could have ended badly, but it didn't. Thank God.

video
Frankly, I had a small heart attack when I saw him fall. That's why the movie cuts off so fast. Clearly, the crib is now a hazard to Davis' life, so I'm on the hunt  for a bed. Of course, that wasn't exactly in the budget this month. Or next. I was sort of planning to buy that around tax refund time. *sigh* Guess the new rug in my den will have to wait.

Oh, and one more thing? Please don't judge me for filming this. I had no idea he would catapult out of the bed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Nomads

Greetings from the worst blogger ever. I'm so sorry for my week long sabbatical, but it has been crazy here. I'm keeping this post short because my sweet husband is waiting on me to catch up on some TV, but I did have to give a quick update.

In the last week, my house has been turned upside down. Since last Thursday morning, I have had no furniture in my den. None. It's all piled into my dining room, which actually functions as a playroom, as well as my office. We had hardwood floors put down in our den and hallway. When you live in a ranch, the den and hallway are like, the whole house. This is what my den looked like last Friday:

Yikes. Subflooring is really ugly. And I cringe when I think about all the dirt that was living in the carpet that we ripped out.

By Friday afternoon, it looked like this:

Getting better. 

Now, it's all done, and I love it. Like, seriously love it. I'll unveil it once the furniture is back in. We did a dark walnut stain, and I'm super happy with it. Now I'm shopping for a rug. 

While the work has been doing on, we've been nomads. We spent part of the weekend with my parents, and then Monday night in a hotel. I've spent the last 3 afternoons out of the house, trying to find ways to entertain my 2 year old, who really needed to be napping. I've managed to keep my own stress under control, which is shocking. I'll just be glad when Friday comes and all of my furniture gets to move back where it belongs. Until then, the den is empty. Luckily, the floors are dry, and we can sleep here.

Oh, and the worst part? When the workmen moved our TV and disconnected the cable box, it affected all of the TVs in the house. And the internet. As in, we had no cable or internet. All of our cable boxes and modem run off a central line, and if it's unplugged, then the whole house goes dark, technologically speaking. It was like living in the freaking dark ages. I can kind of do without TV, but not internet. Thank God for my iPhone and 3G. Otherwise, I would have lost contact with all society.

Now I can start decorating for Christmas. Then, after the holidays, the real fun begins - the kitchen renovation.

You know I'll keep you posted.