Saturday, November 13, 2010

And...It's November!

Bad blogger. I am a bad blogger.

Oh well. Mother Theresa said God doesn't call us to be successful, just faithful, right? So plow on I will.

OK so what have we missed? Well, basically all of October! I can't even remember what happened in October. I'm sure it was awesome. Right now there is an epic battle going on between Ironman and his nemesis in my living room, which is perhaps distracting me from being as eloquent as I normally am.

There was Halloween! That was definitely in October. Greg was (shock surprise) Ironman. Elise was SuperElise, superhero of the tropics.














Greg trick or treated for a surprisingly long time, and there was a whole bag of Reese's left over, so everyone was pretty happy.


Oh! I just remembered what took up most of October! Our basement is FINISHED! Omygoodness it's awesome. All the toys have been banished to the basement, and our living room looks fairly grown up again. Matt did such a phenomenal job. I should take some pictures of down there and post them. It's so nice to have the added space.

November is starting out well.  Matt and I helped lead our parish's Pre-Cana weekend, and we really enjoyed it. It's nice to get a chance to volunteer in the parish again. We've missed doing stuff like that together since we've had to stop helping out at youth group. The nice thing about Pre-Cana is that it is only twice a year, which is about all the commitment we can handle right now.

I've also officially launched Lizziebits Quilt Shop. WooHoo! The perfectionist in me kept finding things that needed to be fixed/added/changed before I could go "live" but I finally just did it. My brother, who is awesome, was my first sale. My house has been a bit messier since I've launched, but I'm enjoying it very much.

OK I must post again at least once more in November!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's September!

Hence, my new festive fall theme. I love fall -- apple picking, leaves turning, cooler weather. It's bliss. Not to mention preschool! Oh how we love preschool. Only three more days!

Of course, we had to send summer off, so on Labor Day we went to parent's house for a picnic. My sister Katie used her mad photography skillz to get some great pictures.

My sweet girl.


Greg hiding out in the quilt I made my sister.
So the other day I was talking to Kara, my super cool sister (in law) about kid stuff. She was mentioning how her son had all of the sudden developed new skills. Kids are just fascinating like that. It's kind of subtle, but all of the sudden you're saying: "Wait, you never did that before!" Elise has been doing that of late as well. She no longer just sort of sits staring out at the world. She is now interested in everything. Example: I was attempting put all the DVDs and CDs back into the TV stand after Greg had deconstructed it. I sorted the movies into kid and grown up piles and the kids pile of movies was right next to Elise in her Bumbo. A few weeks ago she might not have even noticed. Today she was all about knocking that pile over. Which is awesome, except I'm pretty sure Greg has the "Captain Destruco" position in the house firmly covered.

In Greg news, you can see him becoming such a kid, not my little baby or even toddler anymore. He comes out with the funniest things. Yesterday on the way to my parents he informed me the gathering would only count as a picnic if we were eating outside. On the grass. With a blanket.  The other day I was lamenting a small stain on my shirt. Here is the dialogue that ensued:

Me: I hope it will come out.
Greg: It will, but not until you wash it. Mommy! You should use that stain remover.
Me: What stain remover?
Greg: You put it on your clothes and the stain comes off!!!
Me: Oh, where did you learn about this?
Greg: I saw it on TV! You should get it mommy next time we are at the store.

His newest phrase is "That's fantastic!" He learned it from playing a game on PBS kids with the Cat in the Hat.

Poor Matt. I never blog about him. I shall now. He's back to school and super duper busy. Also, he's almost finished finishing the basement. Woohoo!  So....I guess that's all I've got. I suppose if he wants more coverage than that he can start his own blog.

I finally finished Katie's quilt, and am thrilled with how it turned out. I decided, what the heck, I guess maybe I could offer these for sale. So, I'm gearing up to start selling some of my quilting online. I figure, it can't hurt, and maybe I'll actually sell something.  The link to my quilt shop is, well, the only link on my blog.


So that's all for now! Enjoy the cooler weather :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to My Regularly Scheduled Programming

So how about a real blog post for ya there?

We're having a slow lazy day over here. Greg is sick with a cough and Elise is finally actually sleeping today (maybe making up for her non-napping day yesterday) and so I'm just here snuggling with Greg will he alternates between coughing and roaring in my face. So that's fun.

Matt started back to school, which is a bummer for me. It's so nice to have him home all summer. We're settling into a bit of a routine and trying to get in lots of outside time. Greg starts preschool in 10 days. Not that anyone's counting. He is very very excited to get back. Yesterday all the neighborhood kids started school and he was dying to get on the bus with them. While we waited for them to get off the bus, I asked him if he thought they had fun at their first day of school. He said: "Well, if it was a playing classroom, they had fun. If it was a learning classroom, it was boring." Uh-oh! I better enjoy his love of school now.

Greg's newest expression is "I was thinking about." It usually is his way of suggesting an activity we could do. Here's an example of how the conversation might go.

Me: OK bud! Time to lay down for your rest.
Him: Well, Mommy, I was actually thinking about going out to play with my friends.

The kid never ceases to make me laugh.

Over the last few weeks Elise has been in a "wonder week." It's apparently this developmental thing that causes babies not to sleep and mothers to go insane. She's doing better now, but it was rough going for a week or so. She's definitely done something developmental, though. Her faces are so full of expression now. At one point during the haze of her waking up a zillion times, I was trying to put her back to sleep by having her lie on my chest and suck on her pacifier. She was dozing off, but then looked up at me like "hmm...well, mom, as long as you're here, I guess a snack wouldn't hurt." And then last night as I was nursing her to sleep and I had to cough. After doing so, her eyes flew open and she gave me this look like "look, lady, there are people trying to sleep here."

In quilting news, I'm almost done Katie's quilt. I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out.  For your veiwing pleasure:


And because I can't write a post with out including a picture of my babies:

Go Phillies!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Entry for Serger Giveway by Sew, Mama, Sew

I wrote this for a chance to win a gorgeous brand new Husqvarna serger from Sew, Mama, Sew (a fabulous blog for those who love to sew). See! Who ever said an English degree was useless?

Oh The Things I Could Sew
(inspired by Oh The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss)

To Win a Husqvarna!
It would be my day.
I'd be off to Great Projects
I could sew sew away!

With the brains in my head
And the thread in my spool
I could mend or create,
I could sew like a fool.

I'll look round my house,
Look it over with care,
And find all the clothes my husband likes to wear.
With the brains in my head and the machine with it's feet
The seams of his pants' seats could once again meet.

My husband's britches often need stiches.

And not in the way that I've patched them before
With old scrappy scraps of bamboo velour.
But properly this time with my serger, for sure.

I know I know...does it help that it's organic bamboo velour?

When I've done all the mending
I could possibly do
In that case, of course,
I'll learn something brand new.

From a tutorial here
or a tutorial there
out there in the open wide
wide open blogosphere.

That's where things can happen
and frequently do
to people with a Husqvarna or two.

Sometimes it weeps remembering it's friends from the Husqvarna sewing gallery.

When these things start to happen
I won't worry or stew
I'll go right along
I'll start happening too.

Oh! The Things I Could Sew!

I'll begin with my son,
a boy all the way through,
He'll be a superhero in an
Ironman costume brand new.

He won't lag behind, because he'll have the speed
He'll pass all those bad guys and soon take the lead.
Where ever he flies he'll be the best of the best
With his super serged seams he will top all the rest.

Batman was so 2009. Ironman is where it's at, dude.


When I'm all done with that

and he's happily playing
I'll buy some bright fabric
and start girl clothing making.

With patterns galore
once more I will find
all the things that I need to
to make dresses one of a kind.

Wouldn't I look cute in a dress my mommy made me?
Oh! The Things I Will Sew! No more seams frayed for me.
Cloth napkins, cloth diapers -- I can't wait to see.
That magical serger and I'd have a ball.
It would make me the sewing-est sewer of all.

These diapers get a little jealous when they see diapers with serged soakers.
I'll get mixed up of course
as I already know
I'll get mixed up
with many wrong stitches I'll sew.
A seam ripper will aid where I've lacked
and I'll just remember sewing is a
Great Balancing Act
I'll never forget to be dexterous and strong.
And I'll never mix up my fabric's right side from it's wrong.

And will I succeed?
Yes! I will, indeed!
(98 and ¼ percent guaranteed).

Me? I'll sew mountains!

I'll be off to great places!
Today is my day!
I've got thread, fabric and pins.
All that's left now
is a serger to win!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vacation, Round Two

I'm typing this from the sunny shores of the Outer Banks. We are currently enjoying a lovely vacation with Matt's family.  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and we have been taking advantage of some wonderful beach days. Even Elise is getting in on the action. I put her in the waterproof sling, and she drifts off to sleep to the sound of the ocean. It's very sweet. I thought it might be fun to do a compare and contrast of this vacation and our previous vacation. Let's see...

Things That Are Different
the house
the location
the people

Things That Are the Same
Greg's ability to find a third floor balcony to pee off of

What can I say? Our dear son is a huge fan of eliminating outdoors. 

Thankfully he is also very concerned with being safe in the water. I really, really appreciate this, because while I tend to be really cautious around him and water, it still gives me a little peace of mind to know he is very unlikely to jump into an open pool if he should ever happen upon one.  I did have to laugh, though, when he told the group of adults standing around him "someone make sure I'm safe in the water!" and then proceeded to move his boogy board 10 inches further from me at to the very edge of the surf. (Also, while he's on his surfboard he sings The Backyardigans Ho Daddy Ho. He is about the cutest thing ever, I think.)


Elise is also being an absolute joy. Tonight while I was putting her to sleep, I just had one of those moments where I fell more in love with her. She is very into babbling these days. If you start talking to her, she'll give you the biggest smile and just start babbling away. If there is no one there to engage is conversation with, she moves her attention to her toes and begins a dialogue with them during which she sounds very concerned about something. Something very important, I am sure.

video

We take turns here making dinner, which is a lot of work one night (cooking for 9 adults and 2 kids), but it's nice because then you only have to cook dinner once. Tonight was my night, and I made something which I thought was quite delicious. The main part of the meal was broiled shrimp and flounder, with three different sauces: lemon butter, lime butter, and mango salsa.  I added in roasted potatoes, a big green salad and garlic bread. The recipes:

Broiled Shrimp & Flounder: buy super fresh shrimp and flounder, put them in a broiler pan with some salt, pepper, and butter. Cook them on "broil" until the shrimp turns pink all the way through and the flounder is flaky. (Do this in two different pans as they probably won't be done at the same time)

Lemon Butter Sauce (from Bonefish Grill)
  • 1 tbs. Fresh, Chopped Garlic
  • 1 tbs. Fresh, Chopped Shallots
  • 2 tbs. White Wine (preferably Chablis)
  • 3 tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ lb. Cold Unsalted Butter
  • 1 pinch Salt
1.) Put all ingredients except butter in saucepan on low. Reduce to half.
2.) Slowly add butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Whisk while adding to sauce, and serve immediately. 

Mango Salsa (from Epicurious)
  • 1 firm-ripe mango, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped (I substituted cilantro for the mint)
In a bowl stir together salsa ingredients with salt to taste and let stand, covered, at room temperature. Salsa may be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, covered.

Lime Butter (also Epicurious)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.
Roasted Potatoes
  • red potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • italian seasoning
  • garlic
Dice potatoes. Coat with olive oil, add generous amount of spices. Stir to coat all the potatoes. Cook in at oven at 425 until crispy (about 35 minutes.)


Grandmom's Salad Dressing
  • 1 part olive oil
  • 2 parts rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients, pour over salad.

Yum. It was very very good. 

OK it took me forever to actually upload the pictures to publish this post, but I finally did it. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

So So Fast

I was snuggling with Greg last night as he was going to bed and I couldn't help but think how quickly time goes. He asked me to stay with him until he fell asleep. I said I would. As I snuggled with him (after a particularly rough time of putting Elise down for the night) I thought about how fast he has grown up. He's past the halfway point of 3 -- where did it go?

The good news is, the perspective helps me to enjoy the time I have with both of them. Yes, I might want to pull my hair out rocking Elise to sleep for 2 hours, but someday soon she will be too big to rock. And while I have lots of things I might look forward to doing after Greg falls asleep, I can probably measure in hours the time left where he'll want me there as he dozes off.

So clearly I'm all sentimental tonight. Let's move on to something more practical!

My next quilting project will be one for my sister. In my last post I mentioned not finding a good quilting tutorial. Well now I have! I think this would have been great even before I knew all the fancy pants quilting terms. Wonderful pictures and great instructions.

So, Katie's quilt. I'm going to build it around this fabric:


She wants it to look "Indie", whatever that means (for the record, Katie is way cooler than I will ever be.) I wanted to play around with free motion quilting with this one, but I don't think I can afford the new foot right now. I'll have to do something else fun with it. It's so nice to have all this free time to do all this sewing -- tonight I finished a new beach bag for our vacation next week. It's awesomeness in a bag, with pockets for cell phone, camera, ipod, sunglasses, books, sunscreen, water bottles, and cash. I made it in a charming floral print that I know Matt will enjoy carrying.

We're heading to the beach again next week, I'm not sure I'll have a chance to post again before we get back. I'm very excited for more pictures of my cuties on the beach!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Quilting for a Dummy

When I was designing Greg's new big boy room, I got the brilliant idea to make him patchwork curtains. I'd never quilted before, but had some sewing experience and an awesome machine (my workhorse Viking Husqvarna Emerald 116, how I love it sew [haha get it?]), and so I decided I could handle this no problem. So I went on my merry way, and spent the better part of 2 weeks (every naptime, bedtime, and otherwise free moment of time) sewing the equivalent of two twin size quilts.  I'm not into starting small. The curtains did turn out nicely, and I'm sure they will look very nice in his college dorm room. And his house when he gets married. I hope his future wife likes transportation motifs.

I did decide to downsize a little bit, and my next quilting project was a baby quilt for Elise. I finally finished it a few days ago, and I am thrilled with how it turned out. This one, though much smaller, took me about a month to complete because I now have an infant who can't be persuaded to let mommy sew with cookies and Caillou.  What do you think?


And of course, my babies on the quilt:


Whenever someone asks me where I learned to quilt, I say "the internet". Because it's true. The internet has taught basically everything useful that I know. I do have a little bone to pick with internet; however, regarding learning how to quilt. I googled every search term I could think of "quilts for dummies" and "sewing your first quilt" and "quilting for beginners" and it provided me with only bits and pieces of the knowledge I needed. I never did find a really great quilting tutorial that didn't assume you already knew all the quilting buzzwords.  So I am considering, when I sew my next quilt, doing a step by step instruction guide on sewing a quilt for anyone else whom the internet has failed.

In non-quilt related news, we had a graduation party for my youngest sister yesterday. I think an excellent time was had by all. Greg helped me make the cookies for the party. He is a wonderful assistant baker. He measure ingredients, cracks the eggs, and turns on the mixer for me. He also tastes the dough at every step to ensure a delicious product. He once told Matt he knew more about making cookies then Matt did. He was not wrong on that count.  Since I like you, dear reader, I will share my top secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You will note it looks very much like the Toll House recipe with the exception of the amount of flour. And that, my friend, makes all the difference.

World's Most Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie
2.5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
chocolate chips to taste

Preheat oven to 375. If you're feeling ambitious, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Otherwise just mix them together. Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake 12-14 minutes until cookies are just set for delicious chewy cookies. Unless you are cooking them for my father. In that case, omit the chocolate chips and burn them ever so slightly and wonder why anyone in the world would like burnt cookies.