Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sew, Mama, Sew! Sew-Off

Phew! Made the deadline for the Grocery Bag Sew-Off hosted by Sew, Mama, Sew!

 Boys and girls -- Don't procrastinate. It gives you wrinkles.


Here's to a Happy (green) 2010!

Splishing and Splashing

The hotel we stayed in during the U.P. leg of the trip had a pool! It was time to make the introductions:

Isabel, this is a Pool - Think of it like a giant bathtub, with volcanos and giant slides in it


Pool, this is Isabel - She may pee in you, but don't take offense. She's probably just excited to meet you.


I think they got along just fantastically


There was a big ball to eat play with


There were cousins for play mates (gosh, she loves them)

This is her youngest cousin, Ben - He's 2 + years old and he calls her "Honey"


Here's Anna, the oldest at 4 + years old, and the only other girl in the family. She's absolutely beautiful (she reminds me of Dakota Fanning) and is so well-behaved


The other little guy is her brother, Mark. You can see him in action in the first picture above. He's 3+ years -- a splitting image of his grandfather, or so I'm told. (John's dad passed away when he was a teenager. I've never met him)

And lastly, this is Joe - another 4+ year old. He's about 5 months younger than Anna - born a week or so before our wedding back in 2005. Now that I've experienced first hand how life changes immediately after being a parent, I can't believe that his parents made it a point to travel 7+ hours so that they'll be there for our wedding. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.


Daddy - her anchor


It's Going To Be A White...

New Year's! Snow is coming down in droves right now.

Good thing we don't have much of a life and will be staying home in our PJs tonight, with a bottle of champagne


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Project 2010

Also known by the more common name of "Resolutions". To take the work jargon spin to it, here's my Top 10 of '10

1. Frugality is king
With the economy still recovering and experts now saying that you need EIGHT months of savings in your name, and with a kid while living in the most expensive state in the country....trying to be smart with the $$ is just common sense. I have set financial goals to meet by the end of 2010 for not just my personal savings, but also for Isabel's. 2009's was met, but just barely. It's time to up the ante, because you just never know what might happen.

2. Organize, consolidate and minimize
2010 is going to be one big spring cleaning endeavor -- because the closets that we have in our 1950's cape are pint size (seriously, did people back then have only 3 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes???), to say that they are crammed with crap is an understatement. There's also a healthy spillage of stuff in the rooms that's honestly driving me nuts. I can't wait to reorganize all closets, and go through all our junk and get rid of stuff that we have absolutely no need for, and have no sentimental value attached. Also, before we make any purchase of items that are not perishable, the question would be - do we need it? Do we really want it? Is it going to be used often? Is it a good investment?

(Random thought --- Hugh Jackman is gorgeous)

Australia - Hugh Jackman Pictures, Images and Photos

Image by Nrosa on Photobucket

3. Going green saves green
We've been dabbling with green efforts here and there - but I really would like to make a more firm commitment to it --- there's only one planet - there's no do-over, no second chances - And often times, going green will save the other kind of green --- most grocery stores, and now, even Target, will offer cash back if you use your own non-disposable bags. Using the power of the sun to dry your clothes in the summer will not only leave your clothes smelling fresh, but will save your gas bill by not running your dryer. Being smart and buying and using up all the food purchase you make will reduce waste and prevent you from tossing hard earn cash into the garbage bin. You get the idea.

My brother-in-law gave us a copy of "The Stocked Kitchen" that uses a set number of ingredients that will allow us to make all the recipes in the book -- common, normal ingredients that shouldn't cost much, and will be utilized fully. I've attempted a couple of the dishes tonight, and hubby loved it...So hopefully it will be useful tool for the cooking aspect of this resolution

We received a "how to be green" book for christmas from my mother-in-law, and I am quite excited to see how we can incorporate more of those into our lifestyle.

4. Kitchen goddess
Now that Isabel is to get majority of her nutrition through table food, it's time I started focusing on actually cooking meals that are healthy and tasty (and since I'm a working mom -- easy). No more skipping meals, or calling a pint of ice-cream: dinner (even if it is Starbucks' Java Chip Frappuccino ice-cream).

Again, that "Stocked Kitchen" cookbook will help a lot, I think.

5. Health and fashion goes hand in hand
To be honest, I used to be obsessed with fashion. I had a whole bedroom as my closet. I used to scour daily. I buy designer handbags. I was on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. And then - I got pregnant.

For almost 2 years of not particularly paying attention to what I was wearing or how I was representing myself, I think it's time to pay some attention back to me. I'm not talking about reverting back to the way I used to shop - but just actually taking the effort to throw on something more than a pair of jeans and a shapeless sweater. Taking the time to actually slap on some face paint, and perhaps actually styling my hair rather than pull it back into a non-flattering ponytail.
And as for health --- I'm not particularly into exercise, so it'll be a bit over gung-ho to say that I'll take up a regular exercise routine -- maybe 2011. But I'll be happy if I can just incorporate healthy eating habits - again, no skipping meals, or actually eating something green once in a while (and I don't mean Andes mint chocolates)

6. Learning is a never-ending adventure
I would like to learn how to take better pictures to document our mundane lives-- and more importantly, to document Isabel's . So I'll be looking for a photography class -- and perhaps even more socialization circles -- book clubs, baking classes, dance classes....? 

7. Home is where the heart is
I'm tired of living in a place that is still sub-par to's time to fix those little details that are unfinished, put up that photo wall that's shows that there's actually people living here -- give our house an identity, so that it's truly a home, not just a roof over our heads

8. Work
Considering the fact that I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at work, it better amount to something. Else why bother?

9. Supermom
A combination of 4, 5, 6 and 7....basically, I would love to be a good role model to my daughter. And that includes showing her that she can do anything that she puts her mind to (except stick her finger into the electrical socket)

10. Errr --- since my primary (silent) readers are family members, I'm going to keep this "E" need to send my mother into a tizzy ..... =D

So I'll replace it with a psedo-10: I like being organized. I love to-do lists. I hyperventilate when I step into the Container Store. Unfortunately though, the actual following-through is a little iffy sometimes. So I'm going to try to be more Process-oriented, and try to tame down the "Results" portion of my personality (a little more work jargon)

Here's to a fabulous 2010!

(And if you're still reading this, give yourself a pat on the back and a check in the head)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Wishing all of you a joyous and happy holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cookie Countdown #2 & #3

Again, this makes it strongly apparent that I am horrible at keeping/continuing lists...

These are obviously not cookies, but work with me here....

Again, true to my procrastinatic nature, I didn't work on the daycare teachers' gifts till last night (heck, I haven't even started finished my X'mas shopping yet, and we are leaving tonight!)

Just a little something homemade to go with the more impersonal gift cards - They get a choice between Darby's Cinnamon Honey Butter (this is sweet stuff -'s probably really good on warm, fresh out of the oven rolls) and Karla's Sugared Pecans (yummy stuff - reminds me of those nut vendors on the streets of NYC)


Top it off with some delicious Amy Butler fabric and we are good to go!

(and in true scatter-brain form - I seem to have deleted the pictures of the jars when they were done...crud)
Since I've distributed them all out this morning, you'll have to make do with a picture of my beloved mixer --


A generous gift from my cousins out in CA for our wedding. Believe me, when you get married at 22, fresh out of college and still looking for a job, this is a HUGE gift - and it was something that I was frothing at the mouth to own. So thank you Audrey, Jamie, Isaac and Eddy once again! (not that they even read this blog, I don't think - but just so that this message of appreciation is out there)

A Well-Deserved Break

Is up ahead for my sewing machine when we leave for Christmas tonight -- although I have to admit, I did think about bringing it with us to Michigan. But my in-laws already think I'm crazy -- there's no point giving them more ammunition.

Due to my procrastinatic (is that a word?)nature,along with copious amounts of this,


Has enabled me to burn the midnight oil for the past week so I can finish these Christmas/travelling "essentials", among other miscellaneous crafty crap, as some people call it...

I'm terrified of how the Michigan winter will treat Isabel, so for the day when she has to be semi dolled-up, instead of making do with the "skimpy" pretty dresses that we already have ready, I felt the need to make one that's lined in fleece...


If you think this looks country bumpkin-ish, you should have seen it before I made the last-minute adjustment last night. That would have won her the Miss Country Bumpkin title. A warm country bumpkin, but still a country bumpkin nonetheless.

Another quilt with a mini-me for Isabel to cuddle under during the LONG ride there and back...


I'm still trying to get the hang of making the backing using fleece -- apparently my Craft Hope quilt was not enough of a disaster to make me learn from my choices. I'm just that kind of (not) smart

And I saw this featured on
UCreate a few days ago, and I had one of those epiphanies where I know that I just HAD to make it, else it will come back to haunt me for the rest of eternity (or at the very least, the whole drive back to hubby's hometown)


A portable DVD player tote.


I know, snazzy, huh?

(if I'm really smart, I'll try and figure out how to make a camera bag)

I used
this tutorial as a guideline, with some minor tweaks and lots of winging-it as I went along, using what supplies I had (a pitiful amount of batting, but lots of cheery fabric - gosh, I love Fabric.Com)


Note to the wise, if you feel that you need one of this in your life, I strongly encourage you to attach the flap portion BEFORE you assemble the tote together (like how the tutorial had attached the pleated pocket first. Unless, of course, you like to make things difficult. If so, then by all means, ignore me.

Hope that you won't have to travel anywhere TOO far -- if so, do consider making some of these "essentials" to make it a more comfortable one.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas List of Sorts...Day 12!!!

On the 12th and last day of Christmas, (I'd ask) my true love (to give) to me....


a 12 day vacation at the Bahamas...sipping mai tais and watching the tide come in

Image from Miami Charters


A 12 day break where I don't even have to think about work, cooking, cleaning, laundry, financials, the weather, raising a kid and other such stresses (I don't even have to be at a tropical paradise...heck, I won't even mind just staying home). AND - here's the kicker - after those 12 days are over, there's no playing catch up to all the various tasks that have been piling up in my absence. THAT's a vacation!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Christmas List of Sorts...Days 9, 10 and 11

On the 9th, 10th and 11th day of Christmas, (I'd ask) my true love (to give) to me....


11 bottles of O.P.I nail polish

10 classic cardigans

9 bright and cozy scarfs


11 antique wire baskets filled with delicious fabrics from Michael Miller, Alexander Henry and Free Spirit

10 stacks of antique books and classic titles

9 warm, soft, cheerful blankets to cozy up with afore mentioned books


Images from OPI, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Whatever -, Design Sponge & my own more day..Thank the high heavens above!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Belugas and Sea Lions and Rays Ahead!

Did you manage to guess where we went for Isabel's birthday?

Did I hear "Aquarium"? A popsicle stick for you there, with the crazy hair. ;)

Anyway, yes, we went to an aquarium here
(I have no idea why, but all the aquariums and zoos in this state are all MINISCULE! Like, you can be done in 1/2 hour. That's no fun at all! But I guess it's perfect for little kids)

It was VERY cold, so our time outside was minimal, which is a pity as the "cool" ones were outside exhibits...our fave was the belugas



Doesn't she look absolutely miserable, all bundled up like that? Poor thing...that's what you get for being born in December, kiddo!


Moving inside to pet a stingray...they were VERY friendly...probably because it was feeding time

This is probably her first encounter with any animal other than a dog

Photobucket Photobucket

The myriad of sea creatures that Isabel saw:

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

This one is just freaky! Doesn't it look like a lady's face?!


In the lobster tunnel


Look at this scary dude....

Sure wouldn't want to be stuck in a room with him running loose!

She got to touch a starfish


Overall though, if I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not sure if she wouldn't have enjoyed it even more if we just stayed home and went to the park near our house where she can run around. Ah well...she had cake. That should more than make up for it!

I, on the other hand, managed to steer us towards the J.Crew outlet where I managed to get my hands on the "7 pieces of J.Crew jewelry" and a coat to boot, for a fraction of the price in the regular stores, so I was happy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guess What?

Isabel is officially a one year old now (she was born at 9.40 PM EST)


This one year old has just one tooth (although there are two more that are working hard on breaking gum)


And what's a birthday without some cake?
(yes, we are bad's a {grocery} store-bought cake)


She wasn't so sure about the cake at first...Imagine that.


She started off with very lady-like tastings...just a tentative dab here and there


And finding out that,'s pretty good!


And then she got a little more enthusiastic about it


By taking bigger helpings...


The little lady-like dabs have now progressed to full-blown chunks


Bummed out that it's all gone!


Lets hope that I don't have an hyper 1 year old to deal with in the middle of the night!
(Gosh, it feels so weird to say that I have a 1 year old!)

Happy Birthday, baby girl!


And thanks to all who called and emailed with birthday wishes. It sure makes her feel loved!