In My Spare Time

Thanks again to Ginger for the push to actually sit down and blog.

For years, I’ve been sewing little gifts for people, especially when they have babies.  I’ve experimented with making baby clothes, decorating bibs, creating burp cloths, and sewing hooded towels.  And, to be a little honest, I’ve become pretty good at it.  Last summer, while looking for a hobby while staying at home with Lila, I decided to invest in an embroidery machine.  This basically took my cute creations and made them fantastic.   There’s something so wonderful about personalized gifts, especially for children.

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This was a bag I made for one of my CDP’s and I absolutely love the detailing that shows up.

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Our stockings I made in a complete rush in order to have them ready before we left town for Christmas.

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 The hooded towel I designed for Lila.  I’ve used this so much with her that I’m thinking of making a whole cabinet of them so we won’t wear this one out.

IMG_3090[1]Look at this adorable gift set for a baby boy!

So if you are needing or wanting anything personalized, let me know!  I do custom creations but I can also monogram existing items for a flat rate.  I have a two week turn around from when I receive payment and when it will be shipped.  I am so excited to start this new adventure!  Follow my shop on Instagram at SeeFernSew for more ideas and creations.

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows

Thanks to Ginger for making me get back to blogging. I really do like it, but I’m so busy…blah blah blah just like every one else.  When I do have free nap time, I’m watching TV because I just need my brain to stop.  One of my best friends told me the other day that Joel and I were some of the smartest people she knew who watched the DUMBEST shows.  So – since I’m all about TV – I’m going to publicly list my favorite TV shows.

  1. Friends – I could watch this show over and over and over.  Between my college roommates we had the entire series on DVD.
  2. Felicity – Noel or Ben??  Noel all the way.  I love Keri Russell SO MUCH.
  3. Grey’s Anatomy – I don’t care how crazy the story line may get or how unbelievable these situations are because I absolutely love the characters on this show.  I remember seeing Sara Ramirez in Spamalot on Broadway (when she won the Tony!) and reading an interview with her about how Grey’s was her favorite show.  ABC basically told her to pick a show and they would write her on and she picked Grey’s.  She is SO talented and I love her.
  4. The Office – Steve Carrell Forever.
  5. Parenthood – because it is so like real life sometimes.   Plus, I adore Monica Potter ever since she was in Kiss the Girls.
  6. Game of Thrones – epic.  The story, sets, characters, everything is epic about this show.
  7. Homeland – Every episode is fast moving and I love the pacing of this show.  I thought Claire Danes would be annoying but she’s great!
  8. The Newsroom – This show explains why I hate watching the news.  HATE.  I wish there was actually a news program like this.
  9. Project Runway- There will never be enough seasons of this show.  I also love that my best friend and I try to watch the episodes at the same time so we can live text with each other.   Considering she got me into this show in the first place, it’s really the least she can do.
  10. The Real Housewives of Orange County/Beverly Hills – I love the California shows.  Just love them.  These women are crazy and while some of the screeching gets old, I can’t stop watching.

Honorable Mention –

  1. The Soup – for every bit of trash tv out there that I’m not watching, Joel McHale is.  Plus he reminds me of my Joel (who I think is so funny) AND we both like to watch this.  Win.
  2. Kathie Lee and Hoda – This comes on during the 4th hour of the Today show and I’ll be damned if they aren’t just drinking the entire time.  This show timed perfectly when I had to nurse Lila so for months, if I was at home, I would just settle in and start watching.  Their commentary is hilarious.
  3. Downton Abbey – I like this show so much now that I’m into it (and it took some work getting into it at first because it’s not one of those shows you can just listen to in the background; you actually have to LISTEN and watch it to figure out what’s going on).  BUT, I may have to abandon ship because they need to stop killing off their characters.  Are you a happy character on this show?  Then let’s just kill you off!
  4. Arrested Development – so great
  5. Sex and the City – never gets old

Stuff I’ve Cooked Recently

I keep seeing posts on Facebook and Twitter where people are begging for dinner ideas.  I usually end up stalking these posts and find a couple of things I can add to my list.  This summer I’ve been trying to make at least one new dish a week with the goal being I can find at least a few dishes to add into our regular rotation.  I’ve even made a Pinterest board where I’m giving feedback on dishes/crafts I’ve tried that I’ve found from the site.  So here’s a list of some of the new dishes that have made their way into our rotation:

Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs

from hollywoodifshecould.net

photo from hollywoodifshecould.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ALWAYS have chicken thighs in our house.  I’ve learned over the years to prefer them to chicken breasts because they are a lot more forgiving when you are experimenting.  They don’t dry out like chicken breasts and they have more flavor even with just a simple marinade.  I picked this recipe because it’s all stuff I have in my cabinet – which is very important when I’m struggling to figure out what I’m going to cook.  These thighs were great!  Joel and Josh both ate them up and asked to have them in a regular rotation.  My only edit I would make is to use a little less honey than the recipe calls for.  I thought that the honey was SO liquidly (nope, that’s not a word and I don’t care) that with a little less, it would hopefully not be a mess all over my pan.  I had just picked up the honey that weekend from the farmer’s market so it was REALLY fresh.  I don’t know if that matters.

Couscous Salad with Black Beans, Mushrooms, and Corn

photo from marthastewart.com

photo from marthastewart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When corn is fresh and in season, I do whatever I can to find great recipes with corn.  This came recommended from a friend on one of those Facebook posts.  One of the reasons I decided to make this particular dish is because I was running into Big Lots to grab some 4th of July decor and I noticed they have a grocery section!  They had some fancy brand of couscous (Red Mill, I believe) for a couple of dollars and I decided to go ahead and get it.  This was a quick and easy dinner that uses all fresh ingredients.  I didn’t add the jalapeno in the dish but I did cut some up and put it in a bowl for Joel and Josh.  Lila didn’t really care for the couscous but I think that’s a texture thing for her.  The avocado was the perfect touch!  My only complaint is that I felt like I had to eat a TON to feel full.  Joel and Josh both agreed that this would be better if it was a side to some actual meat.  So I’m going to try it again as a side dish to some grilled chicken (thighs!).

Rice, Beans, and Okra

photo from foodnetwork.com This isn't actually a picture of what I cook but it was the only thing that looked closest

photo from foodnetwork.com
This isn’t actually a picture of what I cook but it was the only picture that looked closest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I don’t know the exact name of this recipe.  It all started from something my MIL made when she came to stay at our house when I was in the last few weeks (after my due date) of my pregnancy.  This was kinda just a throw in of anything she could find.  My MIL is really creative when it comes to stuff like this and now after tweaking this a bit, it’s become one of our favorite recipes.  It’s also a vegetarian dish but it needs nothing else to accompany it.  Find a large bowl and start layering:

  • White rice (we use a rice cooker because it turns out that it makes rice one billion times better than I can on the stove. Considering how much we eat rice, we get our money’s worth.  We just bought this one because our cheap one from Walgreens finally died after 5 years.)
  • Black beans – I add some (about half ) diced onion to a pot with some canola oil.  As they cook down, I add in cumin and curry spices and then I dump the entire can of black beans (with the juices) in the pot and let it simmer.
  • Slimey Okra – I know this sounds gross, but it is my absolute favorite.  It’s more like a healthier version of bhindi (which is basically the Indian non-breaded version of fried okra).  I slice onion (usually a whole one and then I slice up the other half from the beans) and start sauteing it in a pan with a lid with some canola oil.  The goal of this dish is to steam the veggies.  The trick to getting your okra nice and slimy is to cut it and let it dry for a few hours before you start cooking.  I usually slice it up during nap time and then just let it dry out on a cookie sheet with some paper towels underneath it.  Once you get the onions going, add the okra and put the top on.  You want to cook this on a low simmer because you don’t want to actually fry the okra.  As it cooks down, you’ll start to see the okra stick together and then you know it’s getting perfect.  Add salt at the end to taste.
  • Shredded SHARP cheddar cheese – I find some sharp white cheddar in the deli area (although we’ve used the regular yellow sharp cheese in the dairy aisle and it works fine).  When my MIL first made this dish for us, I happened to have some fancy white sharp cheddar cheese from Earth Fare and it was the star of the dish.  So I try adding new fancy cheeses (as long as they are on sale and I remember to buy some).
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Cilantro

Pile all of this on top of each other and you have a delicious dinner.  This is SO filling for not only me but for Joel’s siblings.  They eat like horses and this fills everyone up and gives us leftovers for lunch the next day.

 

I know that I love reading about what you are cooking/eating – because honestly, cooking has become kinda fun for me so I’m always attempting to try new recipes (at least one a week) so I’m not just cooking the same 5 things over and over again.  So, now that I’m going to try posting our dinners, you should too!

 

Summer is

Summer is not knowing what day it is (And even though I haven’t experience that wonderful relaxed feeling too many times this summer, it will always remain my favorite summer feeling).

Summer is grilling out, eating fresh vegetables, and loads of fresh fruit preferably from the Farmer’s Market

Summer is coming in from the heat and drinking fruity drinks.

Summer is staying up late and hanging out with friends.

Summer is enjoying the screened in porch.

Summer is bare feet and painted nails.

Summer is playing with sidewalk chalk (they make GLITTER chalk! Which..um..isn’t toxic, right? Because my kid wants to eat it, which is such a buzz kill.).

This summer we bought a house and moved. We have Joel’s brother living with us and though I don’t always get to experience that “What day is it? What time is it?” feeling, I get to experience it vicariously through him. One of the nice things about summer is that the sun doesn’t go down until about 9:45 (benefit of living on the time zone line) – which is nice ( like when your husband and his brother walk to the neighborhood restaurant, drink beers, and then walk the mile back home. They have plenty of time!) even when you are convincing your toddler that they need to go to sleep when the sun is BRIGHTLY shinning. At least the sun comes up before 7 – which is a luxury I didn’t get in the winter.

Summer is the season that I never want to end.

(Prompt from Bring Back the Words Week 2)

Update 2 months later…

This has been a crazy two months, which will help explain my hiatus from blogging.  So how about the ever-common bulleted list to catch you up?

  • Lila turned one. I don’t really understand how this baby (look at all those rolls!)

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  • turned into this kid (look at all those teeth!)
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  • She’s gone from above the 90th percentiles of height and weight to 10th percentiles.  She is a complete monkey baby – always toddling around (she just learned to walk about a month ago) and opening cabinets.  But she sure does aim to please.  She likes having tasks to do and really just wants to make you happy.  I’m living in this naive world where I believe this baby will always be like this but the next one will probably be the death of me.
  • We had both of our families come into town to visit for her birthday party.  We had a really great time with her cow themed party.  There’s a field of cows behind our house and for awhile they were Lila’s favorite animals.  She would “mooo” all the time.  Then everyone came into town and she refused to make a sound.
  • Joel and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in Chicago a few weeks ago.  We had a wonderful time at one of the coolest restaurants and then we laughed ourselves into tears watching “The Book of Mormon.”
  • Our house in Huntsville still hasn’t sold.  (Want to buy it?!  http://www.valleymls.com/(S(3qflgbsggeumk4gxpegn2msq))/default.aspx)
  • So we went ahead and bought a house in Indiana. The silver lining is that our landlord is letting us out of our lease early so that she can put her house back on the market.  Thankfully this means we won’t have to pay 2 mortgages and rent and we only have to pay 2 mortgages.  Yay (?).  We bought a gorgeous new construction in a really desirable area, which will be great for resale.  We close in two weeks so that means I’m back to packing and organizing all our stuff in order to move SOON.  I will be thankful when we can rid of all of these boxes and actually unpack everything.  I am still missing all of my tupperware (which is why I had to go buy a new set) so I’m curious to go through and find that and who knows what else.
  • Joel’s brother has moved in with us for the summer and I am SO thankful for the live-in help.  A sibling of his has lived with him since before we were even engaged and I’m so used to it that I kinda want this every summer.  It’s really awesome because his brother does the dishes every night.  This is one of the most wonderful gifts someone can give me.  Plus, it’s great being like “Hey I’m running to the store, here’s the monitor, she’s asleep!”  I can go run errands so quickly when I’m not worried about buckling a baby in and out of the car seat.
  • I got a free lance gig doing some copy-editing work for the Educational Specialists at NASA.  It sounds oh so very important, and I’m a little proud of this.  It also makes me sound smarter than I really am.
  • And VERY importantly, I’ve made friends here!  I’m involved in two different play groups (involving mostly the same people each day) and I’m starting to have a group of girls I can contact and hang out with.  I’m realizing (ok, not realizing but at least admitting) that I am a social person who NEEDS other people around.  I thrive on it while it wears Joel out (hello typical extrovert and introvert).

Rage against the Mother Club

So I took the advice of friends and family seriously when it came to meeting others and trying to fit a group of friends here in our new town.  Most people told me to join a “mommy” group.  I was a little hesitant because in Huntsville, my friends were my friends because of our similarities.  Some had kids – some didn’t.  It didn’t matter either way though.  BUT- I’m up for joining groups if it helps me to meet people quicker.  For a few weeks, I was really put off that none of the groups would email me back.  Being a little prideful, I didn’t want to contact the same group twice – because come on – I don’t want to be begging for friends or anything.  The group that ended up contacting me back is called M@CC (I’m going to try and “code” the name because I don’t want someone looking for this group and landing in my blog) – Mothering as a C@reer Club.  A CAREER.  I….I just have so  many issues with this title.  First off – motherhood is not a career nor is it a hobby.  It’s not anything I was educated on, trained for, or am being paid at.  Therefore – NOT a career.  I think it’s more of a lifestyle choice if it deems such a title.  Joel didn’t really see why I was all up in arms about the  name of this group until our realtor asked if I found any groups to hang out with yet.  I said that I went to a playdate with the M@CC group.  She looked a little confused and I confessed that it was the “Mothering as a…*mumbled something incoherently*” She jumped in with “as a CAREER club – YES. Well.  I didn’t join that because I always had a career.”  And even though she did NOT mean this to  be mean or condescending, Joel immediately saw that why this title was so offensive to me.

I say all this to say that I have joined this group – except I haven’t done it officially because I haven’t paid my dues yet ($20/year) but I intend on joining.  They always send out an active monthly calendar that has multiple events every week so it offers a lot of freedom as to what events match up with Lila’s schedule.

I’m also saying all of this because last night I was pissed at this group.

There was a Mom’s Night Out scheduled for last night.  Even though I am an extrovert, I still am a little nervous about just showing up some place and being like HEY! Let’s hang out!  You know, because that’s weird. We finished dinner last night, I got all cute with HEELS and MAKEUP and HAIR.  I drove over to the restaurant where we were supposed to be having karaoke night (which I would not be participating in because I only karaoke once I REALLY know you.  That’s not first date material.) and hopefully having a few drinks.  I pull in the parking lot and was a little surprised by how empty the parking lot was.  Actually, it wasn’t empty but it was lacking a good number of SUVs and minivans.  So I walk in about 15 minutes late because I can’t be the new girl AND one of the first ones there but I don’t see any tables of women hanging out.  Except one.  It’s a booth with 4 women sitting at it.  I frantically called Joel and was like “Um, what do I do?!?” So I hung up and went over there and asked the first lady who  made eye contact with me if they were from the M@CC group.  She responded no and I frantically apologized and jetted back to the safety of my car.  I checked my email again for the 15th time that night but there was no response to my RSVP or any notice they had cancelled.

I called Joel and told him that I was on my way home but I was going to be stopping to get a milkshake and some onion rings first.

Emotions varied from annoyance to anger to sadness to bitter.  An actual thought I had – “Screw you b*#$^%@! I’ve got a milkshake and an episode of Dateline murder mysteries on my DVR – I DON’T NEED YOU.”  What is so frustrating is that because I haven’t paid my dues BECAUSE THEY KEEP CANCELLING THE EVENTS I GO TO (this is the second event cancelled that I was not notified about but thankfully didn’t go to the other one since it was a 45 min drive from my house) I don’t have any way of contacting anyone except for an email address to one girl who I like a lot but this is NOT OK.

She wrote me an email at about 1am that stated the event was cancelled (what?! no way!) and that she hoped I stayed home (nope!) since she didn’t email me back.  I’m just frustrated.  Frustrated with the lack of everything with this group.  This cannot be normal for mom groups, right??