Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Spruce Up Con't.

A Spring Spruce Up of the Master Suite, Con't.

A few images, as I sort through "the vision"...

I am definitely wanting a wall collage.  We have three good walls on which this could happen.  These collages, even though seemingly thoughtlessly assembled, are actually very nicely themed and chosen.  Be it a theme of color, shape, pattern or space, they are nicely put together.  Here are a few wall collages I like very much.

Today I started my hunt for my wall collage treasures.  And what I found so far:  
Haha.  A long way to go :)

I am also thinking of incorporating a cross stitch into the collage, probably something like:

We have no head board.  I am considering painting a birch mural behind the bed: 

Possibly painting the wall like a head board, but with chevron stripes.. and no trim on the edge.

Or if that all fails or seems too "permanent", I have thought about using a fabric headboard(like quilting fabric swatches) framed as shown below for a "headboard" of sorts.

I also have two great windows like this (I found leaned up to someone's trash can in the fall), that are drenched in possible clever ideas.

Bedside tables are a must.  I prefer mismatched. I like these:

And that is all for now.  More to follow soon.

Sprucing Up the Master Suite

Our master bedroom is in very sad shape.  It is a catch all for clean and folded laundry, library books, magazines and catalogues, dvd's, phone chargers, scarves/hats/gloves, drying towels, loose change and dust.  And that hasn't seemed to bother us, since how we pretty much fall exhausted into bed every night, and groggily drag ourselves out in the morning - without spending much time there in between.  But I wish I did.  And I think if it didn't look so bare and uninviting, I probably would take my morning tea by my window. But alas, it is far from welcoming.

So, this Spring's project is sprucing up the Master Suite.

Things I already love in our room:
1. plain, simple and clean taupe paint
2. stark white baseboards, crown molding, doors, and windows
3. medium brown wood floors
4. a cute little white door leading to the plumbing of our tub, but it's cute, I promise.
5. white, airy curtains

This is a nice, simple base from which to begin.

Things I don't love in our room:
1.  The sad bar table that is a catch all for everyday crap.
2.  The bedside "tables" are the matching stools to the above said table.
3.  A WalMart $10 "office" lamp.

All easily discarded.

Things that are "workable" for now:
1. Current Bedding
2. Current Large Area Rug

Not really in "the vision" for the room, but I think they can work for the time being.

It is an overwhelming task to redecorate a space.  Therefore, one must have "the vision" for the end result to keep focused and moving in a proper direction.  To start the vision, I will go for the "feeling" of the room.  I want to think these thoughts in my head, when I look around the finished space:  welcoming, calming, romantic, simple and soft.  To me, this means: neutral color palette with perhaps a warm gold or ice blue, cotton fabrics, canvas, delicate floral pattern, natural light, sitting area (defined spaces) and nordic design.

Let's see how it comes together!

Pictures soon to follow :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Almond Chicken & Stuffed Bell Peppers

Two new dishes from this past week's menu.  Super tasty.  And, as I mentioned in the past, we are still eating "Paleo" style, so these recipes are Paleo friendly.

Notes: The Almond Chicken is Jarod's favorite from this week.  It is incredibly simple and fast.  The chicken I used was still partly frozen when I put it in to bake, and it came out delish.  I didn't have homemade mayo on hand, so I used organic from TJ's.  I would imagine fresh garlic and fresh cilantro would be super tasty, but I settled for the dried and it was still scrumptious.

Notes: The Stuffed Bell Peppers was my favorite this week.  It requires a fair amount of chopping, so allow about 25 min of food prep time.  The recipe made PLENTY of stuffing, so I baked the extra in a side dish, and Jarod doubled the meat for his pepper.  The cauliflower in this dish tastes incredibly cheesy and buttery.. I guess thats what happens when one no longer eats dairy...


Almond Chicken
3 large chicken breasts
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp homemade mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp cilantro leaves
2 tbsp chopped almonds;
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.
2. Mix almond butter, homemade mayo, lemon juice, garlic and cilantro in small bowl.
3. Place breasts in baking dish, season with sea salt and pepper. 
4. Spread almond mixture on top of chicken.
5. Sprinkle with almonds.
6. Cover with foil. Bake 30 min or until chicken is well cooked.

Stuffed Bell Peppers
2 lb ground pork sausage
4 large bell peppers
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
½ cauliflower head, chopped
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Wash, core and clean out seeds from bell peppers.
3. Mix pork, onion, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, tomato paste, and spices together in medium bowl.
4. Pack in pork mixture to peppers.
5. Place peppers in 8x8 dish, mine fit very snug and stayed upright.
6. Pour 1/2 cup of water in bottom of dish.
7. Cover with foil and bake 90 minutes.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Adirondack's, aka Spring Break with a 1 Year Old

Previously, we have dillied and we have dallied about road tripping with a baby... she's not a fan of the car seat or really sleeping anywhere other than her bed, she's particular about putting herself to sleep, and being alone, and on and on...  But it's Spring Break.  And Jarod and I love to go places and see new things.   Dilemma.  This wouldn't be a mandatory trip, like previous cross country excursions (i.e., moving West Coast to East Coast), this was a voluntary, possibly self-inflicted, but hopefully leisurely activity.

After being wishy washy most of the week, and contemplating and just over-thinking the entire ordeal, we remembered that WE are the parents here, and WE like to travel, and SHE is going to like it too.  So we took a deep breath, set the expectation bar super low and said, "deal with it, sista."  Not really the last part, it was more like check out a bunch of Baby Einstein DVDs and strategically plan the trip around her regular routine.

Wednesday, Jarod and I planned a smash and grab trip to the Adirondack's and Lake Placid in Eastern New York.  We booked a dog friendly room in Lake Saranac, made some Paleo-friendly trail mix and loaded up in the car at 4am the next morning.  We assumed this little package of cuteness would doze back off and snooze through most of the 6 hour drive.  False!  Good thing that expectation bar was just a few inches off the ground.
CA at 7am - sober faced and very much awake the past three hours.

We stopped at a little diner along the way for a leg stretch and breakfast.  

And surprisingly, after breakfast, around 9am, Charlie Ann napped (!) in the car seat for the next hour and a half as we finished the drive into the mountains.  

We dropped off this happy-as-a-lark guy to ice climb for the day in Keene Valley...
in these crazy conditions... bitter cold, whipping wind, snow gusts and a balmy temp of 15.  I repeat, crazy conditions.

Charlie Ann and I drove into Lake Placid and spent the next several hours doing what girls do best, shopping and eating and seeing the sights.  The conditions were about the same in the former Olympic Village, but CA seems to be rather invigorated by the cold (even though I remind her often that she is a SoCal girl) and was in peppy spirits the whole day.  
Now that she is a walker, these little outings are just great.  She can get out all of her 'I-need-to-move-energy' in a public place without say, licking the floor of the visitor center and being covered in slushy mud-snow from crawling.

In the late afternoon we returned to our drop off point to pick up the lark.
And yes, lark-dog joined him all day as well.
Here he is, post climbing!  Looking a little more frozen and a lot more like a skittle.

That evening, Charlie Ann again impressed us with a fabulous nap in the hotel room (asleep in 6 minutes flat in her pack-n-play!), a rambunctious Mexican dinner and another astounding night of sleep.    Who knew she was so capable?

Friday morning, Jarod got in another ice climbing session, and Charlie Ann and I played in the hotel pool.  

In the afternoon, we saw more sights at Lake Placid.  Including the acclaimed ice rinks that hosted the famous hockey match between the USA and the Soviet Union; and the Olympic Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton Track.
We even got to watch part of tournament.. Charlie Ann really loved the action.

Skeleton-er!  Crazy, crazy fast.  Like 84 mph fast, head first.  
And of course, Charlie Ann was ecstatic when they zoomed by.  That girl, she has her father's love of thrills and adventure.  The louder and faster, the better, for her.

Late that afternoon, we headed home.. in beautiful, but blizzard conditions.   

And once again, this little girl proved me wrong.  She took quite a long nap and was happy happy.

I am so glad that we braved it as new parents traveling with a little one.  She did super fantastic.  And we had a great time.  Jarod and I are learning that her little personality loves to be out and about.  She does great in groups and in public; the more action the better.   

And although the trip was shorter than it would have been pre-baby, we all were satisfied.  Happy Spring Break!

Monday, March 11, 2013

16 Months

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a walker!  FINALLY!!  Yes, she is clearly preferring walking to crawling, and toddles her way from room to room.  She is very careful, falls infrequently and prefers to be holding a toy while making her commute.  And it's pretty darn cute.

Other highlights this month: Charlie Ann got to face front in a new car seat.  She really likes being able to see out.  She points to everything and gabs away.  She also likes being able to see the DVD player.  And, spoken like a true new mother, I'm doing something I said I'd never do... turning on a movie in the car... and loving every second of it.  Haha.  Sometimes, it's just whatever it takes ;)
(And for anyone curious, after much contemplation, we went with the Britax Marathon 70 G3)

The other highlight this month was a fantastic visit from my parents! Charlie Ann soaked up being the center of attention, of course.  She loves, loves, loves being around people, but especially loves her Grandma and Grandpa.  In fact, she cried when I had to hold her instead of them.  Jarod and I definitely ranked third all week.

During my parents' stay, we visited Niagara Falls.  And yes, it was snowing like mad and it was beautiful!
Also, while Grandma and Grandpa were here, we took Charlie Ann went to Strong's Museum of Play, which is absolutely amazing.  We will be getting a season pass.  She loved everything from the fish tanks in the lobby, to grocery shopping, to the Berenstein Bears and everything in between.
And by the end, she just wanted her blankie and to sit in her stroller (which is VERY atypical Charlie Ann) She was wiped out!

Charlie Ann is using sign language still, although it seems she gets frustrated quickly with it, and resorts almost immediately to incessant pointing and a rather demanding noise that sounds a lot like a mix of whining and crying and yelling.   She likes to be a little copy cat and repeat what sounds and syllables and words we say, especially the "mama, dada, papa, nana, gaga, wawa" sequence.  

She is still an adventurous eater and gobbles down whatever we put in front of her.  However, all in all, it seems she is eating less this month than usual.  New this month was salmon, chicken sausages and chocolate. 

Her sleeping habits are good and I cannot complain.  Her bedtime appears to push back to 7:30pm, and she sleeps uninterrupted until waking at 7:00am.  But, her afternoon nap has increased dramatically to a solid 2-3 hours.  She still takes her morning 45min "rest" in her bed, where she jabbers and gabs and looks at books.  

Toy of the month:  Fisher Price's Tea Set! (Thanks, Gabby!) Charlie Ann pours me approximately 67 cups of tea per day.  And yes, she holds her tea cup and tea pot by the handles.  She's very proper.

And of course reading books is still at the top of the list.

And speaking of books, Charlie Ann got her library card for Monroe County!  This has opened up a whole new world or story times, sing alongs and endless entertainment.  We have a great array of libraries in the area, and it provides endless indoor winter entertainment.  This library in Greece has a great fish tank.

We are attempting to bring back the head bands... and move away from the unicorn ponytail.. but, we are still not there yet.  I just cant handle her hair in her eyes and her mouth all day.

She is a growing, growing girl.  I'd say that 18mon clothes are almost getting a bit short on her.  And she's much heavier these days.. my arms and back need a break after awhile.  Good thing she is walking!  She's in size 4 shoes and size 3 diapers

This month has had two episodes of the sickies, thankfully just a runny nose and weepy eyes.  Nothing that didn't transpire in just a few days.     
But, those of you who know CA well, know that this is a modern day miracle.  Charlie Ann has fallen asleep in her stroller only twice in her lifetime.  I know she must have been feeling pretty under the weather in this morning walk in order for that to have happened.  We parked her in the sun and let her finish out her nap undisturbed.

And, onto another month with this face! Love ya, little girl.