Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Yesterday was my Mom’s Birthday. All day long I was thinking about how years ago (to be nice we won’t mention how many) my Grandma gave birth to a little red headed girl. She probably felt very similar to how I felt on the day Baby Bear was born. Overwhelming love.

Meeting Baby Bear for the first time
  I imagine she held her little girl in her arms and was overcome with the urge to nuzzle her nose with hers. At least that’s what happened to me when they placed my baby in my arms for the first time, instant Eskimo kisses.

It’s kind of crazy how giving birth completely changes how you think about Birthdays. I don’t know if I ever thought of my Mom as a newborn before I became a Mother. It’s easy to forget that she is somebody’s baby. That every little joy in a new word spoken or milestone achieved that I witness in my son; my Grandmother witnessed in her.  
Mom with some of her 9 siblings
 She grew up because of her influences, and despite her circumstances, to be a strong, caring, independent, and overwhelmingly generous woman. I could write an entire post about all the ways she has influenced the kind of Mother I hope to be. Not to mention her abilities in the kitchen. Well, let’s just say the woman could have her own Facebook Fan page based solely on her baking skills.

If only my Senior pictures were this timeless...
I don’t know if my Grandma knew, that day in the hospital in Syracuse New York, just what kind of a life was beginning and where her little girl would be today. But I know if she did, she would have been proud. So very, very proud.

Happy Birthday Mommy. I love you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini Makeover

Nope, this post isn't about the fact that I snuck off after work to finally get my eyebrows waxed. It's actually about my recent revamp of Baby Bear's $19.99 Ikea Latt table and chair set.

I had heard from other moms that the white fiberboard pieces on the table and chairs were a pain to keep clean, especially when covered in crayon and other miscellaneous substances left behind by toddlers. But I figured I would let him at it for a while and when it was starting to look a bit tired I would figure out a way to "Pimp my Table".

Functional. But a little boring, right?
However, over 4th of July weekend I ended up painting a rug for the living room (more on that later) and had almost a quart of left over navy paint. I also had a roll of contact paper with a nice neutral geometric pattern that I couldn't resist buying even though I had nowhere in mind to use it at the time. The two came together late at night while I was trying to avoid cleaning up the mess I had made in the dining room from the rug. I don't know about you, but I am pretty creative when I'm procrastinating.

Coincidentally, that's Valspar's "Star Spangled" (Color matched to Olympic's Non-VOC flat)
It took about 3 coats with a sponge brush to paint all the unfinished wood parts. I probably could have used less had I thrown on a coat of primer, but I didn't realize this until I started painting and didn't have any on hand. I took the whole thing apart to apply the contact paper, simply cuting it about 2 inches bigger all around each piece and sticking it directly to the fiberboard. Thank goodness for our stash of allen wrenches from all the Ikea furniture we own since you never know when you're gonna need to disassemble something at midnight. (Every time I type the word disassemble it makes me think of the movie Short Circuit.)

In hindsight I wish I would have dissasembled (No disassemble Johnny Five!!) the set before I painted it, or at the very least taped off the table and seat parts, since I wasn't exactly careful about getting paint on them because I knew I was going to be recovering those piece. Since the paint is so dark, it does sort of show through the contact paper in some places. But for now I like how it turned out, and I figure it is highly likely that this is only the first in a series of transformations this little table may go through in it's lifetime.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's for Dinner?

First let me start by saying they had me at "we'll take care of all the clean up".

I started going to Dream Dinners about 2 years ago at the recommendation of a friend. It really is an inspired idea and while there tonight I was reminded how much I enjoy the process, as well as having a stocked freezer full of pre-prepared food.

Let me explain...

I choose to set up my session and place my order online. So when I stroll in I am met with smiles, handed an apron, and showed to my drawer (which has my name on a cute little tag) where I can stash my belongings. Then you get your direction cards and head to one of the stations.

When placing your order you choose between 3 or 6 serving meals, and when you get to each station, all your ingredients (like fresh mushrooms, sage, and chipotle pesto) are layed out and instructions are provided for you to assemble your dinners. I am beyond picky when it comes to food, so I love that I can customize certain things (Hold the tomatoes, please.) Oh and did I mention that as you work, someone comes along and as soon as you use a dish or a spoon they wisk it away to be washed, leaving a shiny clean one in its place! (Try that one at home!)

(photo credit Tom Dodge)

Once your dinners are assembled, they go onto your shelf (again complete with cute lil' name tag) in the fridge. Then, if you're me, you grab a plate of which ever of next months dinners they happen to be sampling that night or make a cup of coffee and have a seat in one of the comfy chairs while they pack up your meals and get ready to load them into your car for you. Yep, you heard me... you don't even have to carry your bags to your car.

Just in case you were wondering, the actual "dinners" themselves are great. Sure we have our favorites, and not all are winners. But for the effort, or lack thereof, and price (most dinners are an average $4 per serving) it really does make it easier for a working family with a toddler to avoid the drive thru.

So tonights haul includes: Firecracker Beef Sliders, Lemon Chicken with Couscous, Sicilian Tortellini with Chicken, Savory Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Fries, Crispy Coconut Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce, Canadian Bacon Stuffed French Bread, Tuscan Chicken with Fettuccine, All American Beef Kabobs with Garlic Rice, and Slow Cooked BBQ Pork Loin Strips (which I fully intend to throw in the crockpot in the morning and call it a day.)

Plus the Tomato Basil Bisque with a Bread Bowl I grabbed for Poppa Bear from the Fast Lane selection and the impulse buy Chocolate Chunk Cookies that are currently calling me from the freezer.

Speaking of the freezer, they also send you home with a printout to post on the fridge/freezer that reminds you what you've got, including notes on cooking method, time to table, and serving suggestions. Now if only I had a list like that for my closet...

PS: I'm not affiliated in any way by Dream Dinners and was not compensated in any way for this post, I just happened to have a good time there tonight. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The First Post

Who would have guessed how hard it would be to write the first post of this blog.
I naturally assumed I would write some “About Me” kind of description talking about how I am this mild mannered sarcastic Administrative Professional by day and a costumer/baker/artist/dancer/renegade parent by night…
But then I remembered that at this point those most likely to be reading this would already know that (Hi Mom!) and I should just get on with it.

So, away we go!