Wildlife, Part One

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last weekend, Durel and Jack and I went to the San Antonio Zoo.  To be honest, Durel and I have mixed emotions about zoos.  It makes us sad to see all of those gorgeous wild animals locked up in captivity.  In fact, we've visited a few zoos that we will not go back to because the habitats provided to the animals are just unacceptable to us.  (Not pointing any fingers, but I'm looking at you, CityofHouston.) 

No, we're not all Jack Hanna up in here, we just love AND RESPECT animals, and want Jack to do the same.  So, a zoo has to be good.  Guess what?  The San Antonio Zoo is good.

[Stepping off soapbox]

Oh, what did we see, you ask?  We saw a crazy cool grizzly bear with claws like WOAH.


We saw a Komodo dragon and then had a photo opp on a bronze one.  Look at my handsome guys!


We saw, as Jack says, ELLIES!  

Uh, can I stop posing now and look at the ELLIES?
For what it's worth, I was reminded during this trip that I am actually quite fond of ellies, too.  So, I played with the camera a bit.


You guys, it was so much fun.  FUN, I tell you.  More pictures to come because, you know why?  The SA Zoo has a petting zoo section. 

Hold onto your hats.  Or goats, as it were.

Heather

Jack Versus the Cheerios

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An epic battle is waged nearly every morning in our home.  It is a battle of wills.  It is a battle of whole grains and whole milk.

Jack Versus the Cheerios









Our hero prevails again.  Toddler hunger over, well, whole grain just daring him to eat them.

Glad that our hero had a good breakfast.

Hope you did, too.

Heather

Make Way for Baby C!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Earlier this month, I flew to DC to throw a super kicking (no pun intended) baby shower for one of my dearest besties, Kristina.

From the moment I landed, we were busy hamming it up.


The shower was at the home of another dear law school friend, Gina.  She's a ham, too.  (We hams stick together.)


As the sex of Baby C was unknown to the eager parents, the shower theme was sort of polka dotty and book-y.  Because who doesn't love polka dots and books?  Gina gets full credit for this amazeballs cupcake thing that she did.  She's not even on Pinterest, people.  She is just this awesome.


Kristina's wonderful, fantastic, brilliant and sassy sister, Anna, also ditched her college studies at Michigan to attend the party.  So irresponsible, Anna!  (I kid.)


Friends came.  They brought presents.


Which ranged from useful  and portable collegiate propaganda:


To useful and slightly cumbersome jumping paraphernalia:


The shower was not without its antics:


Or its share of sentiment:


Or its bump competition:


Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.  Including me.  But, you know what?  After living in Texas for years, it's DAMN COLD in DC in the winter.  

But, I digress.  Kristina and Jamie, we love you!



The Almost Two What's Up-Date

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The past few weeks have been CRAZYTOWN in these parts.  I've been working my face off, as well as jetting off to our nation's capitol to fete one of my law school besties for the impending arrival of her little bundle of joy. I'm still wading through the pictures and memories of that trip to winnow them down for sharing.

In the meantime, I came home to a Full Grown Boy.  Uh, where did my baby go?  Perhaps the parade of onesies at the baby shower skewed (or focused) my perspective, but regardless, Jack's no baby.  Full stop.

Which means that it's time for an update.  Or, a what's up-date, from the Little Dude.

1.  Hugs.  Jack loves giving hugs.  Especially to Lucy, who is officially the Most Patient Dog in the Universe.  As he hugged her the other day, I noticed that he was gripping her in a way that two of his fingers were actually in one of her eyes.  But, because she was receiving love, she was cool with it.  

2.  Breakfast.  Jack eats three breakfasts a day.  One at 6:30, which we call First Breakfast.  (We're creative in the morning.)  One in the car, at about 7:30.  And then the actual breakfast he's served at school, at about 8:30.  I keep thinking that one morning when I go to get him, he will be six feet tall.  Stay tuned on that.

3.  Fun.  Jack's new favorite things to do are to jump and to spin in circles until he falls down.  Good times.

4.  Style.  Jack officially brings it in the style department.  Thanks, Christine, for this cool shirt to assist with the dapperness.


Hope you're rocking a cool shirt today,
Heather

Top Tens

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm off to DC for the long weekend to help one of my dearest friends in the universe celebrate the impending arrival of her first baby.  I am co-hostess, and you know I brought the Pinterest to this party.  I'll be back with stories and pictures.

For now, seeing my friend on the verge of this massive life change makes me want to make lists.  (Don't judge.  You already knew I was Type A.)


Top 10 things you don't get to do once you have a baby

1.  Sleep in.



2.  Run out of milk.
3.  Run "quick errands."
4.  Curse.
5.  Turn your cellphone off.
6.  Stroll stylishly.




7.  Put off doing the laundry.
8.  Have disposable income.
9.  Drink to excess.
10. Deal with only the poop that you yourself generate.

Top 10 things you do instead, because you have a baby

1.  Get over being squeamish.
2.  Get over sleep.
3.  Learn to love coffee, if you didn't already.



4.  Learn to depend on coffee, if you didn't already.
5.  Say, "Yay!" and clap your hands a lot.
6.  Start buying absolutely everything you need for life at Target.
7.  Feel a new kind of love that you never realized was possible.
8.  Feel a new kind of fear that you never realized was possible.
9.  Stare at someone while they're sleeping.  (Ideally, your baby.)
10. Become utterly devoted to the safety and happiness of another human being.


It's going to be awesome, K and J.  Really and truly.

And I meant it about the coffee.

Heather

Sconey McSconerson

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jack says:

My favorite part of the day is when mom drives through Starbucks and gets herself coffee (yuck, but she loves it) and me a SCONE!


Make somebody buy you a scone today.

Heather (and Jack)

Crafty Crafterson, Part Two

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Durel and I both come from families of serious dog-loving people.  Our canine buddies are indispensable parts of our families.  Love them and their furry little selves to bits.

This means that it made perfect sense for me to undertake a homemade doggie gift for Christmas this year.  As I contemplated the gift boxes that I would be sending to my siblings and the presents I would be giving in person, I thought it would be *so cool* to also have a present for the dogs!  Pinterest was more than happy to oblige this thought, as Pinterest is so helpful that way.  I decided to make adorable little jars of dog biscuits.  And I was off.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

The recipe I chose was simple.  I had perused some that had longer lists of ingredients, but ultimately just went with what sounded good and delish.

1 cup oats
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 cup hot water



Mix.  Knead into dough.  Roll out.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.  Let cool.  (If you want to get fancy, brush the tops with an egg wash before baking.)



I tinkered with the ratios a bit.  I found that I needed more hot water to get the dough to a good consistency, and then I floured the hell out of my rolling surface as I rolled out the dough.  That's just what worked for me.  The recipe I found said to bake these for 45 minutes, which would have been far too long for me.  Perhaps I rolled my dough thinner than they did - who knows?  Long story short, these are easy.  When the dough is doughy, you're good.  When they look done, they are.  

Here is the problem that I encountered with this situation.  If you plan to make jars of homemade dog biscuits for a lot of people, that is a lot of biscuits.  If you need to make a lot of biscuits, that takes a lot of time.  If you are me, you do not realize this until you are way too far in to stop.

The dogs that benefit from my diligence are, in no particular order:  Zooey and Oscar (Delaware); Schatzi (Albuquerque); Louie and Charlie (Austin); Honey (Austin); Britney (Austin), and Pablo and Lucy (my house).  Pablo and Lucy weren't even supposed to receive these, per se, but they got the slightly burnt or misshapen ones, which they think taste just fine.



Zooey and Oscar are big dogs, so they got big bones.  My dogs are big, and they are eating the detritus.  The rest of these dogs, all five of them, are small.  That means I made small biscuits.  That means I cut more shapes, moved more dough, spatula-ed more little bones to the cooling rack.  Can you tell this was time-consuming?

End rant.

To finish the project:
-- Buy cute jars.
-- Buy cute ribbon.
-- Assemble.
-- Make your doggie friends very happy.


Wag wag to all the good things,
Heather

Date night

Monday, January 9, 2012

You know what happens when two people who *never* get a babysitter actually get a babysitter and go to a party?

They have fun.


Thanks, M & P.  You rock.

Heather

2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I've been trying to write this post for a week.  

I'm just going to keep it simple.

Here's my plan for 2012. 

Love.  

I am tired of being "too busy" to spend meaningful time with the people that I love.  I've scaled back on my volunteer commitments -- I will return to an active community engagement later.  For now, I have Jack and Durel and my parents and my dear friends to love.  Doing that makes my heart full.

Read.  

I like reading books.  I am going to read more of them.  I like reading blogs.  I am not going to read more of them, per se, but I am going to focus on following my favorites, leaving good comments, and being a good participant in the bloggy world that I have come to love so much.  (Thanks, Twitter.)

Write.  

I love my blogs.  I am going to keep doing them.  Also, I'm probably going to change them.  As I grow as a writer and blogger, the blogs grow, too.  Stay tuned.  I am so happy that I write on a daily basis.  Because that's all I've ever wanted to do since I was a child.  Truth.

Run.  

The 3M half marathon is on January 29th.  I won't be there.  I'm not ready.  Honestly, I have been too over-committed to train properly.  But, I am delighted to say that I will be at the Zooma half marathon on March 31st.  With two of my dear friends, I might add.  I am making time to train, and so are they, and it's awesome.  (Refer to #1.  This is quality time with friends.  Rock on.)

Be.  

I'm cooking healthy food.  I am getting more sleep.  I am drinking more water.  I am being more present in each moment.  I am "being" well.  And, hard as it can be, I am being honest.  With my time, my commitments, and myself.  

2012, I like you.

Hope you like it, too.
Heather



Crafty Crafterson, Part One

Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm not exactly sure how I decided to make all of our Christmas presents this year.  I think I would describe it as the perfect storm of revived frugality, a raging Pinterest addiction, and sheer, Type A determination.  Because, you know, it's not like I have a lot of free time, or ever have the luxury of getting too much sleep or feeling "bored."  No, it's not that I needed to fill my idle time with crafts.  I just ... well, I just decided it was a good idea.

Durel, of course, was on board.  He is infinitely supportive of my ideas, which range from ambitious to impossible to wacky.  He is supportive of them, I believe, because it's important to be supportive of your spouse; because he is frequently impressed with what I manage to do/create/pull off; and because he was excited that my toil over our Christmas gifts was, to say the least, financially sound.  He is a good partner.  

That said, here's part one of me getting all Crafty Crafterson.

1.  Homemade vanilla extract.

This was fun and super easy.  I had in mind a specific way that I wanted the end product to look, so I found this amazing website to order bottles from.  I bought cute, preppyish, holiday ribbon from Michaels.  I bought vanilla beans en masse from a spice dealer in New York (thank you, Amazon).  I used...wait for it...vodka.  And some brandy.  Because what isn't better with brandy?

The "recipe" goes like this:
-- Open jar.
-- Slice vanilla bean open, lengthwise.
-- Put vanilla bean in jar.
-- Pour vodka in jar.
-- Add splash of brandy.
-- Put lid on jar.


-- Let sit in dark place for about a month.
-- Decorate.


-- Give.


The up side to this gift is that it's yummy and everyone uses it.  And it's cute and easy to give.  And relatively gender neutral.  (The few dudes that I gave it to were appropriately psyched.)  The other up side to this gift is that it is handmade, which is cool, and totally affordable.  I am not sure I'm going to repeat it anytime soon, though, because I have to be realistic about how quickly people use vanilla.  I don't know.  If people start telling me that they've run out and how great it is, I'll definitely do it again.

2.  Wine Cork Monograms

This was super fun and pretty easy.  (Nothing is quite as easy as pouring vodka into a jar.)  Durel and I have been saving our wine corks for a looooooooong time (before you ask any questions).  We intended to take them to a local store for recycling, but as my Pinterest addiction gathered steam, I realized that I could, like, *do stuff* with them.

I decided to make wine cork monograms for a few friends and family members.  You can use them as a trivet, hang them on the wall, hang them on the wall and use them as a noteboard, whatever you want.

This project was noteworthy for me because it required me to buy a hot glue gun.  In all my life, I've never owned a hot glue gun.  As such, I thought they were much fancier and more expensive than they actually are.  Anyway, here the supplies:

-- hot glue gun
-- wooden letter thing (lots of variety at Hobby Lobby, FYI)
-- lots of wine corks
-- hanging thing to stick on the back so it can be hung on the wall (also from Hobby Lobby)

And here's how it went down:

1.  Lay corks out on letter.  Save the "good corks" for the outside edges.  It's also a good idea to alternate the red end and the not red end for the overall look of the thing.


2.  Open glue gun.  Realize how easy it is to use.  Realize how many corks this project will require.  Open bottle of wine.  Start drinking.


3.  Start gluing.  It's a good idea to put a strip of glue lengthwise down the side of each (or every other) cork, as well as putting glue on the bottom.  This will ensure the corks stick to the letter, but also to one another, which makes the entire thing sturdier.

4.  Let cool and dry.
5.  Give.

I, um, forgot to take a picture of the finished products before I sent them off.  But, they looked like this, I promise.



Or, actually, more like this because I did the trick of flipping the occasional red wine cork for styling purposes.



I've got to say, these were a huge hit.  But because of the unprecedented number of corks required, I only made two -- which were given to two of my brothers-in-law.  In fact, I have another wooden letter waiting in the wings for someone's birthday or something, or when I have amassed enough corks to start gluing again.  This is a craft I will definitely repeat!

Okay, so that's part one.  Thoughts?  Feelings?  Gift requests for Christmas 2012?

Ho ho ho,
Crafty Crafterson

Christmas Toddler Frenzy

Thursday, January 5, 2012

It is high time for a Christmas update from Jack land.  Why? Because it's now 2012 and I have *new* things to say.  About me, about my new year's resolutions, about everything.  Stay tuned; those things are coming.  Right now, it's all about Christmas 2011.

So, Jack LURVED Christmas.  And we loved Jack loving Christmas.  And Grammy, Pop, Nonna, and PapaDu, and Geri and Uncle (Dustin) loved Jack loving Christmas.  It was a veritable toddler frenzy of awesomeness.

That awesomeness led to these pics.  And I'm not going to lie, taking pictures was so not my priority.  Enjoying the moment was my priority!  So, this is what I got when, in the throes of enjoying the moment, I also snapped a picture:


Unwrapping frenzy.



Car toy frenzy.


Tricycle frenzy.  (And for Pablo, a tail wagging frenzy.)


T-Rex/New Pajama frenzy.


Whoville Impersonation.

(Because, the red eyes make him look even more like Cindy Lou Who, right?)


Even though Jack doesn't grasp the concept of Christmas yet, or the concept of Santa Claus  yet, he knows that it's fun to have his family together.  He knows that it's fun to open presents.  He knows that everyone was happy and the spirit was festive.  He knows that he got some cool-ass (sorry, some seriously biscuit) toys to play with.  And that he'd like to do it again, say, next year around this time?

I'm in.  Until next year, Christmas.  It's been fun.

Heather

Dapper

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We started off the holiday festivities this year with a Christmas Eve Eve dinner graciously hosted by my parents.  Let's just say that it involved wine and pie and it was lovely.  And that we dressed up for it.  All of us.


You can't see Dee Dah's bow tie, but trust me, it was there.  (Not really, but in Jack's mind it was.)

Hope you dazzled someone with your holiday duds, too,
Heather

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wildlife, Part One

Last weekend, Durel and Jack and I went to the San Antonio Zoo.  To be honest, Durel and I have mixed emotions about zoos.  It makes us sad to see all of those gorgeous wild animals locked up in captivity.  In fact, we've visited a few zoos that we will not go back to because the habitats provided to the animals are just unacceptable to us.  (Not pointing any fingers, but I'm looking at you, CityofHouston.) 

No, we're not all Jack Hanna up in here, we just love AND RESPECT animals, and want Jack to do the same.  So, a zoo has to be good.  Guess what?  The San Antonio Zoo is good.

[Stepping off soapbox]

Oh, what did we see, you ask?  We saw a crazy cool grizzly bear with claws like WOAH.


We saw a Komodo dragon and then had a photo opp on a bronze one.  Look at my handsome guys!


We saw, as Jack says, ELLIES!  

Uh, can I stop posing now and look at the ELLIES?
For what it's worth, I was reminded during this trip that I am actually quite fond of ellies, too.  So, I played with the camera a bit.


You guys, it was so much fun.  FUN, I tell you.  More pictures to come because, you know why?  The SA Zoo has a petting zoo section. 

Hold onto your hats.  Or goats, as it were.

Heather

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jack Versus the Cheerios

An epic battle is waged nearly every morning in our home.  It is a battle of wills.  It is a battle of whole grains and whole milk.

Jack Versus the Cheerios









Our hero prevails again.  Toddler hunger over, well, whole grain just daring him to eat them.

Glad that our hero had a good breakfast.

Hope you did, too.

Heather

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Way for Baby C!

Earlier this month, I flew to DC to throw a super kicking (no pun intended) baby shower for one of my dearest besties, Kristina.

From the moment I landed, we were busy hamming it up.


The shower was at the home of another dear law school friend, Gina.  She's a ham, too.  (We hams stick together.)


As the sex of Baby C was unknown to the eager parents, the shower theme was sort of polka dotty and book-y.  Because who doesn't love polka dots and books?  Gina gets full credit for this amazeballs cupcake thing that she did.  She's not even on Pinterest, people.  She is just this awesome.


Kristina's wonderful, fantastic, brilliant and sassy sister, Anna, also ditched her college studies at Michigan to attend the party.  So irresponsible, Anna!  (I kid.)


Friends came.  They brought presents.


Which ranged from useful  and portable collegiate propaganda:


To useful and slightly cumbersome jumping paraphernalia:


The shower was not without its antics:


Or its share of sentiment:


Or its bump competition:


Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.  Including me.  But, you know what?  After living in Texas for years, it's DAMN COLD in DC in the winter.  

But, I digress.  Kristina and Jamie, we love you!



Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Almost Two What's Up-Date

The past few weeks have been CRAZYTOWN in these parts.  I've been working my face off, as well as jetting off to our nation's capitol to fete one of my law school besties for the impending arrival of her little bundle of joy. I'm still wading through the pictures and memories of that trip to winnow them down for sharing.

In the meantime, I came home to a Full Grown Boy.  Uh, where did my baby go?  Perhaps the parade of onesies at the baby shower skewed (or focused) my perspective, but regardless, Jack's no baby.  Full stop.

Which means that it's time for an update.  Or, a what's up-date, from the Little Dude.

1.  Hugs.  Jack loves giving hugs.  Especially to Lucy, who is officially the Most Patient Dog in the Universe.  As he hugged her the other day, I noticed that he was gripping her in a way that two of his fingers were actually in one of her eyes.  But, because she was receiving love, she was cool with it.  

2.  Breakfast.  Jack eats three breakfasts a day.  One at 6:30, which we call First Breakfast.  (We're creative in the morning.)  One in the car, at about 7:30.  And then the actual breakfast he's served at school, at about 8:30.  I keep thinking that one morning when I go to get him, he will be six feet tall.  Stay tuned on that.

3.  Fun.  Jack's new favorite things to do are to jump and to spin in circles until he falls down.  Good times.

4.  Style.  Jack officially brings it in the style department.  Thanks, Christine, for this cool shirt to assist with the dapperness.


Hope you're rocking a cool shirt today,
Heather

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top Tens

I'm off to DC for the long weekend to help one of my dearest friends in the universe celebrate the impending arrival of her first baby.  I am co-hostess, and you know I brought the Pinterest to this party.  I'll be back with stories and pictures.

For now, seeing my friend on the verge of this massive life change makes me want to make lists.  (Don't judge.  You already knew I was Type A.)


Top 10 things you don't get to do once you have a baby

1.  Sleep in.



2.  Run out of milk.
3.  Run "quick errands."
4.  Curse.
5.  Turn your cellphone off.
6.  Stroll stylishly.




7.  Put off doing the laundry.
8.  Have disposable income.
9.  Drink to excess.
10. Deal with only the poop that you yourself generate.

Top 10 things you do instead, because you have a baby

1.  Get over being squeamish.
2.  Get over sleep.
3.  Learn to love coffee, if you didn't already.



4.  Learn to depend on coffee, if you didn't already.
5.  Say, "Yay!" and clap your hands a lot.
6.  Start buying absolutely everything you need for life at Target.
7.  Feel a new kind of love that you never realized was possible.
8.  Feel a new kind of fear that you never realized was possible.
9.  Stare at someone while they're sleeping.  (Ideally, your baby.)
10. Become utterly devoted to the safety and happiness of another human being.


It's going to be awesome, K and J.  Really and truly.

And I meant it about the coffee.

Heather

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sconey McSconerson

Jack says:

My favorite part of the day is when mom drives through Starbucks and gets herself coffee (yuck, but she loves it) and me a SCONE!


Make somebody buy you a scone today.

Heather (and Jack)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crafty Crafterson, Part Two

Durel and I both come from families of serious dog-loving people.  Our canine buddies are indispensable parts of our families.  Love them and their furry little selves to bits.

This means that it made perfect sense for me to undertake a homemade doggie gift for Christmas this year.  As I contemplated the gift boxes that I would be sending to my siblings and the presents I would be giving in person, I thought it would be *so cool* to also have a present for the dogs!  Pinterest was more than happy to oblige this thought, as Pinterest is so helpful that way.  I decided to make adorable little jars of dog biscuits.  And I was off.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

The recipe I chose was simple.  I had perused some that had longer lists of ingredients, but ultimately just went with what sounded good and delish.

1 cup oats
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 cup hot water



Mix.  Knead into dough.  Roll out.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.  Let cool.  (If you want to get fancy, brush the tops with an egg wash before baking.)



I tinkered with the ratios a bit.  I found that I needed more hot water to get the dough to a good consistency, and then I floured the hell out of my rolling surface as I rolled out the dough.  That's just what worked for me.  The recipe I found said to bake these for 45 minutes, which would have been far too long for me.  Perhaps I rolled my dough thinner than they did - who knows?  Long story short, these are easy.  When the dough is doughy, you're good.  When they look done, they are.  

Here is the problem that I encountered with this situation.  If you plan to make jars of homemade dog biscuits for a lot of people, that is a lot of biscuits.  If you need to make a lot of biscuits, that takes a lot of time.  If you are me, you do not realize this until you are way too far in to stop.

The dogs that benefit from my diligence are, in no particular order:  Zooey and Oscar (Delaware); Schatzi (Albuquerque); Louie and Charlie (Austin); Honey (Austin); Britney (Austin), and Pablo and Lucy (my house).  Pablo and Lucy weren't even supposed to receive these, per se, but they got the slightly burnt or misshapen ones, which they think taste just fine.



Zooey and Oscar are big dogs, so they got big bones.  My dogs are big, and they are eating the detritus.  The rest of these dogs, all five of them, are small.  That means I made small biscuits.  That means I cut more shapes, moved more dough, spatula-ed more little bones to the cooling rack.  Can you tell this was time-consuming?

End rant.

To finish the project:
-- Buy cute jars.
-- Buy cute ribbon.
-- Assemble.
-- Make your doggie friends very happy.


Wag wag to all the good things,
Heather

Monday, January 9, 2012

Date night

You know what happens when two people who *never* get a babysitter actually get a babysitter and go to a party?

They have fun.


Thanks, M & P.  You rock.

Heather

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012

I've been trying to write this post for a week.  

I'm just going to keep it simple.

Here's my plan for 2012. 

Love.  

I am tired of being "too busy" to spend meaningful time with the people that I love.  I've scaled back on my volunteer commitments -- I will return to an active community engagement later.  For now, I have Jack and Durel and my parents and my dear friends to love.  Doing that makes my heart full.

Read.  

I like reading books.  I am going to read more of them.  I like reading blogs.  I am not going to read more of them, per se, but I am going to focus on following my favorites, leaving good comments, and being a good participant in the bloggy world that I have come to love so much.  (Thanks, Twitter.)

Write.  

I love my blogs.  I am going to keep doing them.  Also, I'm probably going to change them.  As I grow as a writer and blogger, the blogs grow, too.  Stay tuned.  I am so happy that I write on a daily basis.  Because that's all I've ever wanted to do since I was a child.  Truth.

Run.  

The 3M half marathon is on January 29th.  I won't be there.  I'm not ready.  Honestly, I have been too over-committed to train properly.  But, I am delighted to say that I will be at the Zooma half marathon on March 31st.  With two of my dear friends, I might add.  I am making time to train, and so are they, and it's awesome.  (Refer to #1.  This is quality time with friends.  Rock on.)

Be.  

I'm cooking healthy food.  I am getting more sleep.  I am drinking more water.  I am being more present in each moment.  I am "being" well.  And, hard as it can be, I am being honest.  With my time, my commitments, and myself.  

2012, I like you.

Hope you like it, too.
Heather



Friday, January 6, 2012

Crafty Crafterson, Part One

I'm not exactly sure how I decided to make all of our Christmas presents this year.  I think I would describe it as the perfect storm of revived frugality, a raging Pinterest addiction, and sheer, Type A determination.  Because, you know, it's not like I have a lot of free time, or ever have the luxury of getting too much sleep or feeling "bored."  No, it's not that I needed to fill my idle time with crafts.  I just ... well, I just decided it was a good idea.

Durel, of course, was on board.  He is infinitely supportive of my ideas, which range from ambitious to impossible to wacky.  He is supportive of them, I believe, because it's important to be supportive of your spouse; because he is frequently impressed with what I manage to do/create/pull off; and because he was excited that my toil over our Christmas gifts was, to say the least, financially sound.  He is a good partner.  

That said, here's part one of me getting all Crafty Crafterson.

1.  Homemade vanilla extract.

This was fun and super easy.  I had in mind a specific way that I wanted the end product to look, so I found this amazing website to order bottles from.  I bought cute, preppyish, holiday ribbon from Michaels.  I bought vanilla beans en masse from a spice dealer in New York (thank you, Amazon).  I used...wait for it...vodka.  And some brandy.  Because what isn't better with brandy?

The "recipe" goes like this:
-- Open jar.
-- Slice vanilla bean open, lengthwise.
-- Put vanilla bean in jar.
-- Pour vodka in jar.
-- Add splash of brandy.
-- Put lid on jar.


-- Let sit in dark place for about a month.
-- Decorate.


-- Give.


The up side to this gift is that it's yummy and everyone uses it.  And it's cute and easy to give.  And relatively gender neutral.  (The few dudes that I gave it to were appropriately psyched.)  The other up side to this gift is that it is handmade, which is cool, and totally affordable.  I am not sure I'm going to repeat it anytime soon, though, because I have to be realistic about how quickly people use vanilla.  I don't know.  If people start telling me that they've run out and how great it is, I'll definitely do it again.

2.  Wine Cork Monograms

This was super fun and pretty easy.  (Nothing is quite as easy as pouring vodka into a jar.)  Durel and I have been saving our wine corks for a looooooooong time (before you ask any questions).  We intended to take them to a local store for recycling, but as my Pinterest addiction gathered steam, I realized that I could, like, *do stuff* with them.

I decided to make wine cork monograms for a few friends and family members.  You can use them as a trivet, hang them on the wall, hang them on the wall and use them as a noteboard, whatever you want.

This project was noteworthy for me because it required me to buy a hot glue gun.  In all my life, I've never owned a hot glue gun.  As such, I thought they were much fancier and more expensive than they actually are.  Anyway, here the supplies:

-- hot glue gun
-- wooden letter thing (lots of variety at Hobby Lobby, FYI)
-- lots of wine corks
-- hanging thing to stick on the back so it can be hung on the wall (also from Hobby Lobby)

And here's how it went down:

1.  Lay corks out on letter.  Save the "good corks" for the outside edges.  It's also a good idea to alternate the red end and the not red end for the overall look of the thing.


2.  Open glue gun.  Realize how easy it is to use.  Realize how many corks this project will require.  Open bottle of wine.  Start drinking.


3.  Start gluing.  It's a good idea to put a strip of glue lengthwise down the side of each (or every other) cork, as well as putting glue on the bottom.  This will ensure the corks stick to the letter, but also to one another, which makes the entire thing sturdier.

4.  Let cool and dry.
5.  Give.

I, um, forgot to take a picture of the finished products before I sent them off.  But, they looked like this, I promise.



Or, actually, more like this because I did the trick of flipping the occasional red wine cork for styling purposes.



I've got to say, these were a huge hit.  But because of the unprecedented number of corks required, I only made two -- which were given to two of my brothers-in-law.  In fact, I have another wooden letter waiting in the wings for someone's birthday or something, or when I have amassed enough corks to start gluing again.  This is a craft I will definitely repeat!

Okay, so that's part one.  Thoughts?  Feelings?  Gift requests for Christmas 2012?

Ho ho ho,
Crafty Crafterson

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Toddler Frenzy

It is high time for a Christmas update from Jack land.  Why? Because it's now 2012 and I have *new* things to say.  About me, about my new year's resolutions, about everything.  Stay tuned; those things are coming.  Right now, it's all about Christmas 2011.

So, Jack LURVED Christmas.  And we loved Jack loving Christmas.  And Grammy, Pop, Nonna, and PapaDu, and Geri and Uncle (Dustin) loved Jack loving Christmas.  It was a veritable toddler frenzy of awesomeness.

That awesomeness led to these pics.  And I'm not going to lie, taking pictures was so not my priority.  Enjoying the moment was my priority!  So, this is what I got when, in the throes of enjoying the moment, I also snapped a picture:


Unwrapping frenzy.



Car toy frenzy.


Tricycle frenzy.  (And for Pablo, a tail wagging frenzy.)


T-Rex/New Pajama frenzy.


Whoville Impersonation.

(Because, the red eyes make him look even more like Cindy Lou Who, right?)


Even though Jack doesn't grasp the concept of Christmas yet, or the concept of Santa Claus  yet, he knows that it's fun to have his family together.  He knows that it's fun to open presents.  He knows that everyone was happy and the spirit was festive.  He knows that he got some cool-ass (sorry, some seriously biscuit) toys to play with.  And that he'd like to do it again, say, next year around this time?

I'm in.  Until next year, Christmas.  It's been fun.

Heather

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dapper

We started off the holiday festivities this year with a Christmas Eve Eve dinner graciously hosted by my parents.  Let's just say that it involved wine and pie and it was lovely.  And that we dressed up for it.  All of us.


You can't see Dee Dah's bow tie, but trust me, it was there.  (Not really, but in Jack's mind it was.)

Hope you dazzled someone with your holiday duds, too,
Heather
 
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