Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keeping your car organized

 Yes, I am indeed still crafting.  Things have just been hectic lately with all the storms. 

Those of you with children know how hard it can be to keep your car looking clean.  We've got blankets, toys, an extra cup and even emergency diapers.  I needed a better way to keep them organized so when JoAnn's had a pattern sale (at this point I only buy patterns when they are on sale for 99 ¢) and got a pattern for a car organizer.
McCall's pattern M4403
I'm so glad I found this pattern.  I wasn't originally looking for it but came across is during a pattern sale and thought it would be useful in the car.  The pleating was a bit intimidating and I wish the instructions were better but I don't think I did too bad of a job. I still count myself as a beginner. Now his toys don't end up all over the floor and we can easily swap them out or get to his things.  As he grows we can put other things in it for him to play with in the car.
Full of stuff already
I used my teflon foot and it made sewing with the layers of stabilizer much easier.  I opted not to do multiple sections in the top pocket. I also decided not to do the top stiching all the way around because we just wanted to get the car cleaned up.

Even if you don't have children this is a great storage idea for your vehicle.  It makes everything easy to find and nothing gets lost under the seats.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Free or Cheap Fridays: The Sale Rack

Yes, we know, we've heard it before.  Shop sales.  But I'm not talking about the once or twice a year holiday sales that stores have (and I hate those because there is nothing worse then a hugely crowded store while trying to find what you are looking for).   I'm talking about the sale rack. 
I always make a beeline for the sale rack anywhere I go.  The items there are marked down sometimes as much as 60-70%.  But check those signs because items on the sale rack are usually marked down even more.  

I've gotten a $50 Ann Taylor top for $10 on the sale rack.  Or a pair of $35 jeans for $8 at Old Navy.  Even my mother likes to tell the story of the $2 top I found.

Then there was my recent purchase at BabyGap.  For $30 I got 3 pairs of pants and 2 tops.  The shirts are for him to wear now and the pants are 18-24 months and 2T. I'm also lucky enough to have a small child and I can gauge what he'll be fitting into.  I buy in advance.  The "winter" stuff is going on sale.  Who says jeans are just for the winter?  Snatch those styles up.

I don't mind wearing a style from last year because I tend to stick with more simple and classic looks.  I rarely ever pay full price for my clothing.  Even TJ Maxx and Marshall's have sale rack.  Can you argue with a $150 Michael Kors top for $10?
You just have to have a little patience to look through the racks but it pays off in the end.  Since I buy off season my son has things that most other children don't have because it isn't out now.   And that $30 of stuff we bought at BabyGap...would have been about $180 if we bought it all full price.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dinner can be crafty too

In an effort to eat better and save money Ben decided to make his own pizza dough.  We froze half of it and used the other half to make a delicious olive and pepperoni pizza.
Now we thawed the other half and Ben wanted to make pizza again but I'm more in the mood for calzones.  I love calzones but for some reason here in Boston they don't make them with Ricotta cheese.  Ben isn't into calzones so he'll be using his portion of the dough to make a personal sized pizza.
It doesn't look so tasty in the bag

I found a calzone recipe to help guide me.  I'll keep it simple and make a Ricotta and Spinach calzone.  We both love making our meals and being creative with it and hope that Garrett will enjoy helping us cook as he gets older.  We know he loves to eat what we make.
Ready to go into the oven

It was fun to try something new and in the future we can add different things and try new flavors.  It's a great meal option because everyone can make exactly what they want without having to make different meals for everyone.
All cooked and ready to eat

Pre and Post parenting differences

I'm never going to let my child eat anything processed.  I'm never going to let them have plastic toys.

I'm never going to be able to stick to these rules.

We say all these things before we have children.  We swear that we'll do certain things (or not do certain things) in the name of being the best parent in the world.   I did my best to make sure I said "I don't want him to have that many plastic toys"  I tried to keep an open mind.  It didn't always work and I know there were things that Ben and I said we'd never do.  But we kept that between us, we discussed that as parents to be and didn't think the rest of the world needed to know our plan for raising our child.

While I was out with some friends they started talking about how they were going to raise their children.  I didn't think it was a big deal because everyone talks about things like that.  She then started in on how her child would never have a cell phone before they were 16 (she's not even pregnant yet) and that any parent who did so was a shitty parent.
That got me.  Again it's the habit we seem to have of cutting down other parents.  I said that she might change her mind when she has a child and to keep in mind that she doesn't know what the deal with cell phones will be in 16 years.  
It almost felt like a person attack.  I had a friend who had just gotten her 13 year old a cell phone because it made it easier for them to reach her.   I did a ton of extracurricular activities in school and a cell phone would have really helped my parents know that I was ok and if I'd be late.

But truthfully it was her attitude that got me.  The "I'm going to be a better parent then all of these schmucks".   We all think that when we start, but she was saying it to me in a way that directly criticized my parenting.   When I reminded her to keep and open mind she got angry at me and said she knew what she wanted.

I think when she finally does have children she's going to be in for a hell of a shock.  Things aren't going to be so simple and her rigid thoughts on parenting won't work.  She'll learn the hard way that you have to be a lot more flexible with your parenting to fit the needs to everyone involved. 

Having an idea of how you want to parent is great.  Keeping an open mind is going to be a huge help.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

They keep giving me blog awards

I'm going to get a big head.  It's ok, it makes my day to see someone finds me a worthy recipient.

As always awards come with instructions:

1. First, thank and link back to the person that gave the award.
2. Answer the 10 survey questions
3. Pass the award along to other bloggers whom you think are fantastic.

Many thanks to Barbara over at Notes from the Second Half for this award.  If you don't read her blog you probably should.  She writes from the heart about so much.  And now I want cake :)

1.If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this?  If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?

I've always been a person who stands by what I say.  

2.Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.
I asked Ben to help me with this one and he said "just one?"

3.      What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

4.What is your favorite summer cold drink?
Cherry Slurpee

5.When you take time for yourself, what do you do?
Tweeze my eyebrows, craft...depends on how I'm feeling.

6.Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life?
I'd love to get a book published

7.When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person or always ditching?
Overachieving class clown.

8.If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?
I was with my father when he died.  I think that's the root of a lot of my insomnia at this point.

9.Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people and events?
I'm sort of a raw and honest person in general so I always speak my mind.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
Depends on the book, who I wanted to talk to and how I was feeling.

When passing on this award there is really only one person who comes up to me when I think "utterly fantastic"  and that is my friend Samantha over at She's not broken, she's just a baby.  I've known Sam for almost 2 years and she's been an amazing and wonderful friend.  I'm so proud of her for publicly chronicling her struggle with PPD.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Free or Cheap Fridays : Coke Points

I've decided to start a new series on this blog.  I've been told I'm very good and finding ways to get things for free so I thought I'd share some money saving tricks to get freebies.
I already posted about Swag Bucks and how I get lots of free things just for searching on their site.
Another way I like to acquire free things is through Coke Rewards.

We don't drink soda often, but Ben does like the occasional bottle of Coke.  Sometimes even work provides soda and he brings home the caps.  Each cap is worth 3 points.  There are even cokes on cases of Coke and while it may not seem like much it adds up.  I've gotten free magazine subscriptions and items on SnapFish.
Plus when you're done you can use the bottle caps to make mini pincushions.

Besides, if you're going to drink soda why not get some free stuff out of it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Am I getting penalized for NOT being a single mom?

Before I get started let's make one thing clear:  I have a lot of respect for single mothers.  It's hard enough being a parent but I couldn't imagine raising Garrett by myself.

Lately I seem to have found that being married has become a sort of obstacle when it comes to my son.  We're looking into Early Intervention and I was on the phone with them.  They asked my marital status and if I was married to Garrett's father, if we lived together.  I responded yes and got this disappointed "oh".  It sounded as if we would suddenly be less qualified for EI because we are a 2 parent home.
I had something similar happen at a play group.  While chatting with the woman I said something about my husband and she seemed disappointed that I wasn't a single mom.  I do understand that you want people who will understand what you are dealing with but I don't understand the reaction from most people.  Does my being married mean I can't have friends who aren't married?

I have single friends, married friends, divorced friends, child free friends, single mom friends.  Never at any point when I was meeting them did it ever even occur to base my friendship on their marital status (or what choice they wanted to make long term).

In a society that swears it prides itself on diversity there seem to be a lot of people who only want to surround themselves with people just like them. 
Even Ben gets the short stick in this.  So few men's restrooms have changing tables, and he often gets looks from people who ask him why his wife doesn't change the diapers.  And really why does it matter if there even is a wife or not, we share the work.   He's wondered if I'd make more friends if I went to some play groups on my own.  Probably not because I'm not going to pretend to be a single mother and I don't think having or lacking a spouse should really change anything when it comes to making friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet me on Monday- Blog Hop

I decided I wanted to participate in the Blog Hop started over at Never Growing Old.

It starts with 5 questions so you can get to know me better.

1.  Do you like your ice cream in a dish, waffle cone, pretzel cone, sugar cone or cake cone?

Waffle cone...and now I want ice cream.

2.  Do you read the newspaper daily?
Not really but I do have an app for that and check it when I have time.

3.  Marinara or meat sauce?
I prefer my own homemade sauce in general.

4.  Last time you cried?
This morning after having a nightmare

5.  What word/phrase do you find really annoying?
I find it annoying when people can't be bothered to type words out.  

I'm hoping to find some great new blogs to read as well as gain some new followers.

I took the plunge

I went blonde.  It may not seem like a big deal for some but blonde is the one color I never thought I'd dye my hair.  It's been so many colors, black, red, several shades of brown, purple, pink and even blue and gold when I was pledging Alpha Phi Omega.  

I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter and can get really depressed.  I just needed a big change and this seemed to be the way to do it.  Ben had given me his rebate gift card from Verizon and that more then covered.

I went in with Garrett and pointed to his hair and said "make it that color".  He's got this great Strawberry Blonde shade. 
I'm in shock a little but I'm really loving it.  Garrett gave me a big smile when he saw me and even Ben got this mischievous little smirk on his face.  For the next week I'm going to stop and look in every mirror in disbelief.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The problem with the internet

As a parent I have the ability to help shape a little life.  There are many ways I could have gone about it but I decided that I wanted Garrett to learn from my example.  I never felt that the "do as I say not as I do" method was very effective for anyone.
That attitude is so prevalent on line.  I'm not sure if it's because it's easier to be angry on line or if they can pretend the person on the other side really isn't a person or if cutting someone down makes them feel better about themselves.  What is it with SchaedenFruede lately?  Why are people so amused when bad things happen to others?     I was told by one person that she was so unhappy with her life that when bad things happened to other people she felt better about herself.   (Needlesss to say when my life got better then hers she decided she didn't want to be my friend because I didn't make her feel good about herself)

No wonder bullying has taken on a new face, children see their parents bullying and insulting other people on the internet.  I've had other parents come up to me and tell me (both online and in real life) how I'm "doing it wrong" because I wasn't do it their way.  People get insulted for a difference of opinion.  If they aren't like you they must be stupid and bad parents.  Plus they're fat and ugly as well as stupid.

I don't want to be that person.  I don't want my son to be that person.  It's been hard but I've taken a step back from certain groups and certain people.  When I see the above attitudes displayed I nod and smile.  If hating someone makes you feel better then I don't think you felt very good in the first place.  I want to teach my son that helping people makes everyone feel better.  That loving and caring about people is important.  You can have a difference of opinion, you can even have a civilized argument but not everyone is going to agree with you.  That doesn't make them a bad person/parent.    He isn't going to learn this just by me telling him.  He has to see me doing it and in trying to raise a good person I find I'm making myself a better person as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I'm always really honored when I get a blogger award, even stunned. 
Barbara over at Notes From the Second Half  decided I was worthy of the Stylish Blogger Award. 

I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself.  This is always the hardest part because I never think I have anything that interesting to say.

1: I'm a direct descendant of Judah Loew the Maharal of Prague.   Y'know, the guy who created the Golem of Prague.

2: I'm exactly 5 feet tall.  After I turned 17 I just stopped growing taller.  I wish my boobs would stop growing.

3: I used to do a lot of stage shows.  Acting, singing and all that jazz.  I miss it.  I miss singing and love when I can sing to Garrett.

4: I have Insulin Resistance.  I eat a very balanced diet and I'm on medication for it but losing weight is always a challenge because of the IR.  I get lots of exercise too.  Losing weight just doesn't happen and is often why I get so frustrated with myself.

5: I wish I had more time for knitting.  I need to keep my knitting close so when Garrett falls asleep on my lap I can knit while he naps.

6: I don't have a best friend and I am jealous of people who do.

7:  I'm not sure why but I'm bothered by the change in my zodiac sign.  I was never big on my zodiac sign but being a Gemini was always part of who I was.  However in Garrett's case I swore he was a Leo and now he is.  Ben is also and Aries instead of a Taurus.  I'm just not sure how to take something like this.  I don't think my zodiac sign in any way defines me and I know that I have characteristics of both signs (plus Taurus is an Earth sign).

And now I need to award 15 other bloggers (do I know 15 other bloggers?):
Creative Bubbles
Fine and Fair
Miss Sews-it-all
She's not broken
Tales of an Unlikely Mother
The Craning Gap
Witkowski Family Happenings

Ok, so I don't have 15 people, but these 8 are pretty amazing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


And no, not the ice cream kind.   
For the last blizzard that hit the Boston area we were away visiting my mom in North Carolina.    This time we're here (and we needed up buying Garrett a nice little London Fog snow suit while down in NC) to "enjoy" the snow. 

Ben was smart enough to tell work that he wouldn't drive in unsafe conditions so we're all home together snuggling on the couch and getting house work done.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My first attempt at quilting

I won't lie, quilting scares me.  All those shapes and lines and trying to keep everything even and matched up.  I wanted to stay far far away from quilting...that is until I found some Thomas the Tank Engine fat quarters at WalMart.

Garrett loves Thomas.  I wanted to find a way to use the fabric.   We knew we'd be flying Christmas week (to see Bubbe, Oh the irony!) and I wanted to make him a small blanket to use on the plane.    It's just a simple quilt, 2 ft square with 16 equal squares arranged in a pattern. 

But it's my first quilt and it has Thomas and his friends.  I backed it with some fleece I had in my remnants drawer. 

It was a new challenge and I while a bit tedious I'm happy with the outcome.  It worked really well on the plane keeping the little guy snuggly while he slept.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thanking the teachers

When asked to write about what teachers have inspiried me my first thought is always my parents.  My father was a high school biology teacher and I remember at a young age looking at things through the microscope and dissecting worms.  
My mother was even more amazing. She didn't go to college until later in life and even after my father's death she stuck with school and got her Masters and became an elementary school teacher.   
I remember both my parents busting their butts and loving what they did.  Choosing my parents just seemed too easy though.

So many people fondly remember their favorite teacher, with Facebook I'm able to keep in touch with mine.   My high school AP English teacher Ms Glick.  She was a mentor, a friend and is still such an inspiration to me.  She gave me a new love for literature while nurturing my love of writing.  I'm not the only one.  Ms Glick is still in touch with so many of her students that she inspired.  I truly am lucky not only to have had such a wonderful teacher but to still have an amazing person and friend in my life.

This post was written as part of a blogshare with Teaching Ain't for Heroes

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Being sick sucks

But having a spouse who stays home to help you out is wonderful. 
As a SAHM when I get sick I usually have to deal with it, but for the past month I've had the demon cold/sinusitis.  After going to the doctor I've been put on a slew of medications.
Nothing like a diet of antibiotics, Afrin, Flonase, Sudafed and Robitussin to help you feel loopy.  Luckily I'm organized so I made a little chart to keep track of all my meds so I take them at the right time and don't overdose.
"Hugs make everything better Mommy!"

I'll be better soon enough and back to crafting and posting more.
In good medical news my cholesterol is 156!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Toddlers, Holidays and Airports

It seems that Garrett understands that this post is about him because he's currently crawling on me so he can see what I am writing.  

I don't celebrate Christmas.  My husband isn't religious so he's fine with just celebrating Chanukkah.  We usually go to his folks for Christmas but this year he had the holiday week off so we went to see my mother in North Carolina.   I saw so many of my friends talking about their children and Christmas and how absolutely overwhelmed they got.  The ton of presents under the tree, sitting down and tearing the paper off them all, I am left to wonder if the reason this seems like a strange phenomena to me is because I never experienced it. 
Maybe it's the difference of getting one small present at a time instead of all at once that keeps kids from getting overloaded?  I don't know.  Luckily my in-laws do 1 gift per person so I know Garrett won't get overwhelmed with a ton of new things.

Garrett was 4 months old the first time he flew.  He's been on about 8-10 flights (I lost count) and is wonderful on the plane.  Either he sleeps or he sits on our laps and we play with him.  He's used to flying with just me but having my husband there to help made it so much easier. 
One of us was always with the luggage while the other was chasing Garrett around.  He's friendly and walked around saying "hi" to everyone.  We were never more then a foot behind him and he got to get out all that excess energy before the flight.   I had someone tell me afterward that they'd never let their child do that.  They must not have a mobile toddler. 
The only incident we had was with one woman who Garrett walked up to and said hello. She put her foot over her bag so I grabbed him to move him away.  I was in the process of pulling him back when she picked up her foot and put it in his face and pushed him away telling me "control your damned kid"
I was in shock and shortly after we boarded our plane.  Several other people came up to me and apologized for her behavior.
Truth was Garrett was smiley and happy and didn't scream in the airport or on the flight. 

All in all we had a wonderful visit and Garrett really enjoyed himself.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Creative Button Storage

Buttons!  Any crafter can tell you that they end up with too many buttons.  A jar, a tin, a bowl, there are lots of ways to store your buttons but when you end up needing specific colors it can be time consuming to look through all of your buttons to look for a matching set of blue buttons.
My crafting space doubles as our computer room so I have limited space.  Wall mounted would be best.   I was looking at our spice rack and got an idea...What if I used a spice rack for my buttons?   I found a nice acrylic rack that could be wall mounted.  It came with bottles included which was a big bonus.

I love it.  It doesn't take up any desk space and allows me to use more of my available space for storage.  Buttons are now separated by color and look rather pretty.

Now my buttons are sorted and easy to find when I'm looking for something specific.  To make it even easier to find what I'm looking for I labeled each container.

Easy and fun button storage.  I just have to remind myself that I really don't need anymore buttons.