Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Finds and Projects

Here's a cute little Halloween pumpkin candy / neat-thing holder I found at a thrift store.  Half price, so it cost $3.

I have more projects, like a jewelry box I'm refinishing, and a wooden cable spoon that I'm going to attempt to turn into an outdoor table for my patio.  But I'd rather wait until they're done so I can do before and after shots. 

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Finally, Fall

Kept waiting for that cold front to come through yesterday, but it apparently stalled around Dallas.  Last night at 7:30 pm it was 82 and felt like 92.  On October 29!!  We had the air conditioner on.  Bleah.  At least it was nice and windy yesterday.  It rained a little bit off and on, but none of the huge downpour we were supposed to have.  At least we could go for a walk in the evening, since the wind kept the mosquitoes away.

When the front finally got here around 10, the temperature dropped from 80 to 60 in about 10 minutes.  Oof.

I finally tried to go get my flu shot yesterday, since they finally said at work they weren't going to do anymore.  So off I go to the local pharmacy, and nope, they don't have any more.  Ask around and no one has any more flu shots.  Well, bugger.  First time I haven't gotten one on years, and it's the year I really need one.  Guess I can call the doctor's office, but I really hate to go in there.  There's sick people in there.

Got to work outside the office yesterday, and it was so nice.  For some reason, I've had a terrible time concentrating at work.  But when I got away from my office yesterday, I was able to finish a whole bunch of documents I'd been working on for a week.  Plus it was nice just to be somewhere quiet for a while. 

I also attended a webinar on eliminating bottled water from campus.  I had been thinking about trying to eliminate plastic bottles from our campus, but figured I'd be facing an uphill battle there.  However, if I just tackle bottled water, I might have a better shot at getting it to happen.  After all, water is free from the tap and the fountains here, and it's more regulated than the bottle water industry.

And for my craft for the evening, I made a felt carrot for little D to play with.  Well, that's the project that I finished.  I also did some painting and distressing on a jewelry box I'm playing with, and I started sanding a cable coil I picked up from the trash to try and turn into a patio table.  It's an experiment, so we'll see.

Sheesh, even my writing is all over the place lately.  No flow, and jumping from one topic to the next like a grasshopper.  What was the saying my mom had...?

"I don't have ADD, I'm just - hey , look a chicken!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Scarily Productive Sunday

I think the fall cleaning bug bit me yesterday.  The weather was gorgeous, and I'd had several craft projecst I really wanted to work on, but the house was in too much of a mess to do much.  I'm not sure where I started, but somewhere along the way, it turned into a full-blown cleaning day.  Let's see if I can remember everything I did...

  • Vacuumed the windowsills then washed them clean. They were filthy.  I think I could have grown plants in there, with all that dirt
  • Swept and mopped the kitchen and living room floor
  • Cleaned the inside windshield of the car and truck
  • Did 2 loads of dishes
  • Did 2 loads of laundry
  • Completed, then put away a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Cleaned the gutters all around the house
  • Washed the outside of the kitchen trashcan
  • Washed out the microwave
  • Cleaned the smooth surface stove top with Cerama Bryte
  • Recycled 2 old and broken TVs at Best Buy, something that had been on my list for months
  • Swept cobwebs off the ceiling
  • Used my knowledge of chemistry to clean an annoying spot on my cabinet floor
  • Went to Sam's Club for Halloween candy and chicken and cheese
  • Shredded the big block of cheese from Sam's Club and froze the extra for later
  • Installed 2 new door stops
  • Installed a cord wrap for the blinds on one window
  • Learned how to drill out a stripped screw
  • Fed the baby 4 times
  • Went to the Dollar Store and Home Depot with Declan to pick up Halloween and home repair supplies
  • Played with the baby for 2 long sessions
  • Played a video game
  • Spent some quality time with Daniel
Whew! I haven't been that busy in a long, long time.

NASA's Ballunar Festival and Open House

I volunteered to help out at our booth at NASA's open house on Saturday.  I don't know how much help I was, because I had to take Declan with me.  But there were a lot of volunteers there, so no one had to do very much.  And everyone loved holding and watching over Declan so I could do a few things now and then.  I think my biggest accomplishments were getting lunch, recycling the cardboard boxes and giving a personalized "tour" to a group of friends from Illinois.

Tom and Jan Jones, the parenst of my best friend from high school, were visiting Galveston for a week doing some missionary work and rebuilding a church destroyed by Hurricane Ike last year.  They came along with several of their friends.  It was just an accident really, that they learned about the festival.  I was visiting Illinois last July and mentioned the Ballunar Festival to Jan.  She said she would be in Galveston, and it so happened they were both on the same weekend.  They were all excited to come and see what happens at JSC.  Don't know if they saw any balloons or not, though.

I was disappointed that the balloons didn't fly in on Friday morning like they normally do.  Someone told me it was because the weather was too cold, but I don't know.  Didn't see them on Saturday morning either.

But Declan and I had fun.  I got a personalized postcard of Declan in an astronaut suit next to the space shuttle going up. And I got a picture of him with an astronaut while wearing his new astronaut t-shirt.

It was a long day, but it was a lot of fun.  And Declan was such a peach while we were out.  He didn't fuss or cry at all.  He skipped his morning nap because there was too much fun stuff going on, but he finally conked out in his stroller around 4:00 pm. I think we all had a good day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Veggies

Time for baby to expand his taste universe.  Lately I've been stepping up the variety he eats.  I think Daniel only feeds him cereal in the morning, maybe with a bit of fruit, and just one thing at lunch.  But when I get him at dinner, I always feed him at least 2 different solids, and I try to make one of them a green veggie.  But it seems the last few days, everything I've given him has been orange:  carrots, squash, pumpkin, banana (technically not orange, but not green either). 

So last night, I got him baby food green beans, and he did pretty well with them.  Since they were new, I gave him bananas as a follow up, since they are one of his favorite things.  He at 2 tablespoons of bananas last night, and 1 of green beans.  I also picked up a jar of turkey, since he can start eating meat in another week or two.  He still isn't a big fan of texture in his food.  If it's too chunky, he cries and won't eat it.  But if it's smooth enough, he'll eat just about anything.

My committment to better eating is to no longer drink sodas in front of Declan.  I don't want him to grow up thinking it's okay to drink sodas all the time, so it's now water, tea or coffee.  I drink my soda after he goes to bed or at lunch when he's sleeping or playing.  It also makes me cut way back on soda, to 1 a day or less.  And I'm eating my veggies too.  I try to eat something green at every dinner.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pictures From Our Trip to Illinois (Finally)

My reasoning (excuse?) is that I work all day, take care of the baby as soon as I get home until he goes to bed, then I have about 2-3 hours to do what I want to do, and a lot of times, that's watch a tv show or play video games or read a book.  I've spent so little time on my computer in the last couple weeks.  Honestly, it's nice.  For a while, I was just wasting time doing stupid Facebook games.

So here are some of our pictures from my and Declan's trip to Illinois.

Declan's first plane flight.

Here's Declan hanging out with Poppy, aka Uncle David.

Here's Declan and Granddad.  Doesn't Declan look happy?

I love this one of Declan and Devon.  It looks like they're having a great conversation.  When we picked out Declan's name, we didn't think about how similar it was to his cousin, Devon.  And I have to apologize to Devon.  I can never remember if his name is spelled with an o or an i.

While home, Mom and I went to the Covered Bridge Festival.  The festival is huge and held at several different small towns around the area.  We only went to Bridgeton, and here's the bridge in this town.

You had to drive for 30-40 minutes down winding country roads to get to it.  Loved this barn in the middle of a field.

It's pumpkin time.  Here's the baby in his pumpkin face shirt.

We went to Pumpkin Works with my high school friend, Tricia, and her group of kids.  They all loved Declan and passed him around, loving all over him.  Maybe that's why he didn't have a lot of love left over for the pumpkins.  At least in this one, he's not crying.

His cousin Garrett had a wonderful time making Declan laugh.  I love how babies can make fools out of everyone around them.

Here we are in the Indianapolis airport, getting lunch before getting on the plane to come back to Houston.  I don't know why, but I think it's hilarious to put things on my baby's head.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Decorating Style

Michelle, you are a Global Casual

Your home is warm and inviting, and expresses your curiosity and zest for life. You have wide-ranging interests, and an appreciation for many different cultures and ways of life. You bring a sense of the far-flung world into your home through its d├ęcor through unique or artisan-made treasures. Objects in your home tend to reflect your personality, your passions, your values, and your eclectic interests. This gives your home a sense of intrigue and comfort.

You value creativity. You are stylish and fun loving, and can be an inspiration to others. You have a natural sense of drama, and you know you have to be willing to take risks—whether with colors, finishes, furniture choices, or ideas—for your home to stand out. Your home can be happy and lively and the place all of your friends want to be.
Putting Your Style to Work!
With your style and needs in mind, here are a few tips that will help you make your home a little happier.

1. Your Design Challenge: UNIFY The good news is, you probably have many things you love and have collected, and no one would ever say your home is boring! You've done the hard part; now you just need to pull it all together. If your furniture seems like a mish-mash, unify it through similar upholsters or slipcovers. When grouping objects, try to find something they have in common. If they share a shape, color or material, they will look like a collection. A tray is every decorator's secret weapon for making groups of small objects look purposeful and sculptural. If your accessories are all over the map, try subduing the upholstery or wall color, so your small items are the stars.

2. Your Happy Place Think of your outdoor space, no matter how small, as rooms, and create distinct areas. A pair of chaises flanking a little side table makes a living room. A lantern hanging from a tree or pergola over a table and chairs makes a dining room. A cluster of potted plants on a patio can create a cozy nook, and a single urn or bench placed at the far end can draw your eye, making a space seem longer. Big lanterns with candles sitting on the ground create a sense of space and give beautiful light. Try out new ideas before you start shopping by taking a photo of your area and laying some tracing paper over the print to draw whatever you're planning first.

3. Be Party-Ready All the Time! Scent: The first thing you notice about a home is how it smells. Use naturally fragrant cleaning products. If you find a scented candle or fresh potpourri you love, stock up on it. Any scent you like, whether perfume or linen spray, can be used on upholstery, bedding or just spritzed into the air.

Mood: Nice, flattering light makes us feel good. So nix the harsh, direct light from overhead fixtures in favor of the softer glow from floor and table lamps. Also, stock up on some votive candles and a couple of hurricane lanterns for setting around the room.

Food: Devote space in your pantry or on a shelf for go-to party essentials: crackers, dip, chips, nuts—whatever you like to serve. Keep on hand a collection of attractive bowls and cocktail napkins, and you'll be able to set a spread—instantly!

Drink: The simplest and chicest thing is to have a drinks tray or table always set up. Include a mix of pretty glasses, an ice bucket, a lovely pitcher, and bottles of soda and water. When the bell rings, just add ice and limes.

Your Happy Home Colors


Putting Color to Use!
You are probably not one to go in for crazy color, and you may want to keep things fairly neutral and sophisticated overall. But try selecting a duo or trio of colors that work well together, and introduce one or more of them into your curtains, wall color or rugs. This will tie the overall palette together in a coherent way. You could even incorporate your color palette in smaller doses, like in your tablecloths, cushions, throws, or bedspreads, for example.

Quiz from Home Goods

Never thought yellow would be my color, though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roll out of Ares I-X at Kennedy Space Center

Friend of mine sent me this picture today. It's the newest NASA rocket, the Ares I-X, which will be used to launch crew into orbit. It's rolling to the pad today. Guess it's getting ready for a test launch.

Linky to the news release.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brownies on Friday

I splurged on a new cookie cookbook while I was in Illinois. I've been feeling like baking. Yes, I know I need to lose weight. But I also need to bake.

So Friday I make peanut butter brownies. They had a graham cracker crust, a chocolate brownie middle with partially melted peanut butter chips, and a peanut butter frosting. They were okay, but the graham cracker crust was very crumbly, and resulted in ants on my coffee table and floor from the crumbs. The frosting was a little too thick. In all, I think the best thing was the brownie middle, which was quite good.

I'm testing out recipes to use for Christmas presents, since I don't want to buy a bunch of junk to give out.

Finally Back From Vacation

Had to take a little vacation after my vacation, too!

Declan and I went to Illinois last week to visit my parents. I went for a whole week and it was glorious. The grandparents got to see the little guy; so did his aunt, uncle and cousins. I had more people to take care of him, and a mother to ask for advice. The weather was beyond fantastic, even if it rained for a few days. And Daniel got a week at home to play video games and sleep in to his heart's content. We all won. :)

First, the weather. When I left, it was 94 degrees and muggy in Houston. I got off the plane and it was in the upper 50s. So wonderful! I don't think Declan has ever been in weather that chilly. We dressed him in some long sleeves and pants, and he spent a long time pulling at the sleeves, like what are these things? The trees were just starting to change, so there was a lot of green with vibrant pops of yellow, orange and red. I went out with my camera one day to take pictures, but I don't think I got any real amazing shots, unfortunately.

Declan learned to army crawl while at my parents'. He also learned to roll over from side to side on command, instead of by accident like before. The week before, he could sort of crawl, but he only ended up spinning in a circle on his tummy. He also learned to eat better, and he's pretty much sitting up on his own. You still have to be there in case he makes a sudden lunge, and he can't get to a sitting position on his own, but sit him up and put toys around him, and he can amuse himself for a long time.

Declan didn't sleep too well while we were there. He didn't have his swing that he naps in at home, and he HATES going to sleep. He's definitely my child. There's always too much to do to go to sleep. He would cry and scream and flail around when he was tired and we were trying to convince him to nap. Finally, by the end of the week, I gave up and was just letting him sit up when he was tired. He did that in my dad's lap on Wednesday, and it was hilarious. His eyes would droop, then he'd snap them open. Then they'd droop again and he's sway forward, only to wake himself up. Then he finally just closed his eyes and slumped backward, completely asleep.

I feel like I got plenty of time to just relax and be a mommy. I feel like I got to know Declan a lot better by spending so much time with him, and not having to go out and do other stuff because I was at home. It was very nice, and inspired me to buy a couple of lottery tickets.

Then when we got home, I've been busy trying to get unpacked and get things put away, organize for the upcoming week, make brownies, and play Brutal Legend, a new video game. Oh, plus take care of the baby and the husband with the injured back. I'm slowly going through my pictures of the trip, and I'll post the better ones soon. I promise!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Rain, Rain, It Rained So Much

It rained all day Sunday, and it was nice. Been a long time since we've had a soaking rain that lasted all day. It's been drought for most of the summer, interspersed with a few heavy, short downpours. Our pond out back is overflowing, and all my plants are happy and watered. I need to get some planting soil to put my tomatoes outside tonight or tomorrow night.

Rusty came over on Saturday and helped me plan out what to do with my back yard that I'm trying to turn into a garden. He has some great ideas. Now all I need is the help to implement them. Foolish man, he agreed to come back some weekend to help me build some beds. :)


The verdict Saturday was peas - no; bananas - yes! He ate half a jar of bananas last night, and only 3 oz of formula. And he was perfectly content. Then Sunday, it was peas - no; squash - yes. I'm thinking he's not liking the peas too much anymore. And this morning, Daniel called asking how I got Declan to eat his oatmeal yesterday. I told him "runny". Apparently, oatmeal is not good eats this morning.

On the plus side, he slept great last night, after an absolutely horrible night on Saturday. Saturday, we went to Walmart for a few things from 6-7. He was falling asleep in the store, so when we got home, I put him right to bed, skipping his bedtime bath. After about an hour, he was awake again. Tried soothing, but it didn't work. We were watching the last episode of season 2 of Dexter and I really wanted to see what happened. So I finally got him out of his crib, wrapped him in a blanket, turned off all the lights except the tv, and held him while I finished watching the show. He still didn't want to go to sleep. Declan didn't actually settle to sleep until 11 pm, and even then, he kept waking up, until I finally put him in bed with me. Then he was up at 4:30 am. ugh. The only good thing about that was that I fed him, then put him down and he was asleep as soon as his head touched the mattress. Poor Daniel got kicked out of his own bed. Again.