Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Five

1.  I finally broke down and tried the Essie gel couture nail polish.  While it is not cheap, I actually think it is worth the price. I do typically love Essie polish, my most worn shades are Essie.  While it by no means lasted the 14 days it touts on the package, I got and extra 2-3 days of wear compared to normal.  I'd say during the school year I could easily apply on a Sunday and wear the polish for a whole week with no issues.  It lasted only 5 days the first time I wore it, but during the summer working on the house and pulling weeds my normal polish won't last more than 3 days.  I have the color VIP, and I'll be looking to expand my collection!  p.s please don't mind my swollen fingers. 
2.  My mom and I spent yesterday canning tomatoes.  While my tomato yield isn't as high as normal, I still have an OK amount of tomatoes coming on.  We still have some juice and stewed left from last year.  I imagine I will deplete the stock a little faster this year as I look toward super easy meals to make after the baby arrives and right now all I want is chili.  We canned 15 quarts of stewed tomatoes yesterday, so not bad.  
3.  I may have hit a new level of crazy... my friend Kelly gave me a baby wrap and so naturally I wanted to test it out.  My only good baby stand in happened to be the cat.  I plan on wearing the little man a lot, especially around the holidays since he will be just about a month old, maybe only 2 weeks for his first Christmas depending on when he is born.  But also, the cat really enjoyed it.  She purred the whole time.  
4.   My good friend from college Angie hosts a podcast called Money in the Bank, find it here!  She talks about all things financial.  When they were down for a visit last I requested an episode on how to financially prepare for this kid's future, and she came through with some great advise.  
5.   I have added some new items to my etsy shop, I'm slowing working to build up some more inventory.  
I hope you all had a fantastic week! Do share any highlights from your week!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Small Talk

This summer has gone so fast, my first day of school is on Friday.  Which means the end of lake weekends.  Last year we still went up on the weekends during the fall, but I think it wasn't as relaxing because I had so much I needed to get ready for school.  Plus this year we have loads to get done at home to ready our room, and the nursery for the baby.  I will need to get away for a bit at some point when the new carpet gets installed, I will need to crash at either my parents house or the lake on the weekend until the fumes dissipate.  The joys of being pregnant and oh so cautious of VOCs.  
 I don't love my class schedule looking at it on paper - I have 4 sections of a class I didn't enjoy teaching last year so that will be interesting...  I am blessed to have a co-teacher 4 periods of the day which is nice because I don't think my bladder would survive without her.  I'm very curious about class sizes this year, last year my largest was 37 kids with no co-teacher or aid which was a bit large.  I just feel a bit torn, I am not ready to go back, but I am ready for the next few months to fly by so we can meet our little man.  I am taking the rest of the school year off after he is born.  The logistics of pumping, and being at school just does not sound like fun.  Plus there is NO WAY I would be able to tear myself away from this little man during those first few months.  He is only going to be this little once, and I don't want regrets about missing this time with him.  Teaching is easy enough to step away from and come back to, which was part of the draw for me.

I finally contacted HR to tell them I am pregnant!  It only took me being 6 months pregnant to do so.  I am officially 25 weeks pregnant as of today, only 15 (ish) more to go!

My garden went to the crapper this year... it has just been so hot I don't want to get outside and do a darn thing.  It certainly looks like a jungle in a few areas of my yard this year.  As much as I hate doing it I will be preening the crap out of every flower bed because I don't anticipate having the time next summer with out little man being here.
The veggie garden is still producing pretty well - but the tomatoes look pathetic compared to this time last year.  I will say that this has been the best green pepper year for me, and the worst tomato year.  We had a good bit of rain this last week and tons of my Early Girl variety cracked.  Beautiful little green tomatoes with a bright red future ahead of them, ruined.
My mom and I finished the top for the baby's quilt, and I love it.  My mom cut all of pieces, while I sewed all of the hills which made it come together quite quickly.
This past week my co-workers threw a little baby celebration.  My department head is also pregnant and due the week after school begins, so they had a diaper party for both of us which was lovely.  One of our assistants is gluten intolerant so I wanted to make sure to make something she could eat, so I made gluten free monster cookies which turned out fantastic!  I'm tweaking the recipe a bit and I'll be sharing it soon.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Our Stair Transformation

Well these steps have been a long journey.  I started them,  we got overwhelmed by them.  They sat  in a state of disaster for well over a year.  We restarted them, then we started trying to get pregnant and I had to stop working on them because of how toxic the chemicals are, and Paul worked so hard to get them done.  Think, freeing cold February and we have the house open, fans on and I am sequestered in a room all day long.  I became OK with it because as our bedroom became my safe haven, and I was actually pregnant and the exhaustion hit I pretty much came home and stayed in bed.

So here is what we started with.  All Berber carpet.  It was nasty, and held onto all of the dirt, and kitty litter and was a beast to try and clean, aka they never were.  
Of course under the carpet we had original hardwoods!  That were painted...  At first I thought I would try using a chemical stripper, but the paint was so heavy I ended up with a gloppy mess.  Below I have done my best to outline what did work really well for us.  I have seen some people blog how to refinish your steps in a weekend!  Ha, I can't lie, if your stairs are coated in paint like ours were be prepared for this taking some time,  BUT this was completely worth it. 

1.  We took this as an opportunity to take off the bottom step, and first board on the landing sand them down outside, re-position and secure them.  That was when we decided that sanding was the way of the future.
2.  Moving up the steps we took a paint scraper like this one, and took off as much paint as we could.   So much of it just chipped away.  We had already tested our paint, and we knew it wasn't lead paint, so this was a job I could continue to do while pregnant. 
3.  What we could not scrape off, we came in with 60 grit sandpaper and went to town with the orbital sander.  I then went in with 120 grit, and ended with 220.  We are doing the treads and risers on the steps, but we planned on painting the risers.  At this point there were still plenty of dings in the wood that paint had settled into so we came in with a toothbrush and paint stripper and removed some of the paint.  In our final product we actually left some of the paint in places. We knew these were not going to look brand new, so we ran with the fact that these are 91 year old wood steps that have been well worn. 
4.  We did the treads of all of the steps going up, making sure to go every other as we put the poly on so we could still go up and down.  We also made sure the cat learned which to avoid.  We left our wood as is, we did not stain them but if you are staining yours same ideas applies making sure you do every other step.  We applied 3 coats of  this poly in satin.  What was nice is that the re-coat time was 6-8 hours so we could get more than one coat on in a day.  
Quick Pin to help you remember what order to do your stairs in!

5.  After all of the tops were done we taped off the treads, and primed and painted the risers.  All of the trim in our house is Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 in base 1, no tint, semi-gloss.  It is just pure white, and the finish after it cures is amazing.  
6.  We then moved onto the caulk debate.  Paul wanted to just run a bead of caulk and be good, I was insisting we needed to tape and caulk.  In the end my idea won, after he tried his was and saw the light.  Caulk is such a nice finishing touch, the edges just look so much crisper.  I think it is the step that makes your job look far more polished. 
So here is a good before and after! 
Other than doing the stairs, in between the two photos we painted the walls, painted the trim, and installed a new handrail.  We need to finish the hall upstairs leading into the baby's room and into our new room.  I now have a VOC filtering respirator which is super sexy to wear, so I can get started on finishing the work upstairs.  Once our new room upstairs is done we are going to have new carpet put in up there as well as new carpet in the living room.  Ah I will feel so much better about this little boy playing on new carpet.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nursery Mood Board

Once we found out we were having a boy, I jumped into action planning the nursery.  Part of me knew exactly what I wanted in a boy's room, so this took me no time to put together.


I was listening to Young House Love Has a Podcast, and they were telling a story were they called Wafair when they were ordering $2000 worth of items they called and asked for a discount and saved several hundred dollars.  They did this several more time and were able to save money each time.  I had put the crib, cushions for our chair, rug, and pouf in my cart and it came to $430.  Not terrible but I decided to call and see what they could do, the customer service rep was able to save me $60!  Heck yea!  Part of the savings came from the fact that she found an open box version of our crib.  It has never been assembled, and there is nothing wrong with it, just that the box was opened and we scored the crib for $130!  She saved us another $30 by cross referencing the items I had in my cart with their sister sites and getting us the lowest  price possible. 

My parents have the rattan rocker that they used when my brother and I were little, so all I had to buy were some new cushions.  I picked up a dresser off the side of the road to fix up last year, and it will be the perfect addition to the nursery, and will double as our changing table.  I already have a spare side table... from the side of the road again... to repaint for by the rocker to keep water and nursing snacks.  I feel like we already have the big stuff we need for the room, and we are clocking in at $358 so far.  I still need to get paint, knobs for the dress, a lamp, wall frames, and a few other little items.  I am hoping with what we get from our baby shower, we can complete the room for less than $600.

Monday, July 3, 2017

20 weeks // Pregnancy Diaries

We are officially halfway through this pregnancy!  Which means earlier this week has had our 20 week appointment.  Most people associate this appointment with finding out the sex, but I associated it more with making sure everything is going well with our baby.  With the practice we are going to we will only get 2 ultrasounds as long as everything is going well.  I know some people get an ultrasound at almost every appointment, but we had one confirming our pregnancy and then our 20 week one.  Everything looked great so far!
Baby:  Our little nugget is officially the size of a banana.  Baby is a little small at 9 oz, and in the 39th percentile.  But look at that little face, that nose!

Pregnancy Side Effects: Random puking still occurs, and stretch marks are rearing their ugly head.  I still have some days where I feel wiped out, but overall I am feeling good.  Oh, and heartburn.  Not all the time, but if I have a tomato I am in for it.  

Cravings:  Still in a fruit and salad phase for the most part.  Lunch has been soup almost every day.  It is easy, low in calories, easy to add beans for protein, and generally full of goodness.  I made a delicious tomato, carrot, pepper soup last week that gave me heartburn for days, and was so worth it.  

Aversions:  I am OK with eggs now, just in really small amounts.  I may have thrown up a delicious doughnut, so I am avoiding those for now.  Fresh mushrooms are still on the no go list.

Exercise:  I am still trying to get my 4 walks in every week, I have been coming up short here and there.  I don't feel terrible about it because I have been working my butt off in the yard.  Next week I need to tackle mulching... which might be the dumbest thing ever but I'll use a little shovel.

Excited about:
We are very excited we are having a boy.  I just keep thinking about how awesome it will be to see Paul with a son.  He would have been just as great with a little girl, but I think every guy was a son, and so for our first baby a boy is perfect.  Paul has been very hard at work converting our bonus room into our new bedroom so we can be on the same floor as the baby.  There are some other house projects that are major on the books right now, so I am most excited to get those done.  

Purchases:  Um, almost the whole nursery...  I knew what I wanted it to look like when we found out it was a boy and I created a mood board which I will share soon.  I kid that I bought the whole nursery... but I did buy the crib, we already have a rocker, dresser, and side table, I bought a rug, and a pouf.  we still need loads of textiles but I think we are in a good place to paint and start placing items in the room.  I have resisted buying any more clothes, I know people will buy him plenty, but I am moderately clothes picky.  

Sewn:  So far I have just sewn a few burp cloths.  I have picked out the fabric and quilts for our little dude, but I have yet to get sewing.  

Highlights: Seeing our little guy on the ultrasound.  He moves like crazy, but I can't really tell yet.  I think he is just a little to small still.  He was just flipping around constantly, and kept putting his arms up in front of his face.  Half of the images of him he has his arms up.  That is how I fall asleep, I like to tuck my arms up close to my face.  Hopefully he comes out a cuddly guy.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Old Wives Tales

We find our the sex of our little nugget on Tuesday, and I thought it would be fun to do see what the old wives tales predict our baby might be.  I've read how some people swear by a few of these (the Chinese calendar in particular), but hey they really just have a 50/50 shot of getting it right.

Boy - 5
Girl - 8
 There were plenty of wives tales I didn't include, like carrying the baby high or low, growing out like a basketball or wider.  At this point I am far to small to tell any of those, and some of the wives tales I didn't really fall on either end of the spectrum.  For instance if you are moody it is likely a girl, happy all the time a boy.  I'd say rather than moody, I get a little whiny.  Especially when I am hungry and don't know what to eat / we don't have what I want. 
Every dream I have had so far the baby has been a girl, I read somewhere that if you dream your baby is a girl it is actually a boy.  Paul finally said he thinks it might be a girl, my gut says the same but, but I also feel like we are wrong.  I can't imagine waiting to find out until the baby is born to know the gender.  

We would love to have at least one girl and one boy before we are done growing our family, so we are just excited to find out what we are having.  Girl or boy we are excited either way.  As exciting as it is, this is also the scan that they look at every organ to determine if the baby is growing OK, so I am a little nervous at the same time  We opted out of any genetic screening, so this will be our first glimpse of our baby's health.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Growing up chocolate zucchini bread was a staple around our house.  I feel like there were always loaves in the freezer, and if we are being honest I think it tastes better after it has been frozen.  The top of the bread gets seriously moist after it thaws and it is to die for.  I took it to work with me quite a few times, and I have co-workers who were literally eating the crumbs.  We call it bread, but honestly it could fall under the cake category.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coco
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sour milk **
2 cups grated zucchini (heaping packed cups are the way we do it)
1/2 cup mini choco chips
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

Make the sour milk by adding the lemon juice/vinegar to the milk and set aside.  Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.  Alternate adding dry ingredients, sour milk, and zucchini into the larger bowl with the first 6 ingredients.  Fold in choco chips.  Pour into 2 greased & floured pans.  Bake at 325 F for 45 - 60 minutes. 

We are always making a large enough batch the the Kitchen aid mixer is just too small for the job, but if you are just making 2 loaves your mixer is large enough. 

When we make the bread we usually double or triple the batch.  We wrap up the loaves in cling wrap and then put two per bag in a freezer gallon bag and they keep very nicely.  I'd always suggest writing the date on the bag because I might run into the issue this year that we make more bread, and still have some left from the previous year.  Looks like it is time to take it to work more often, pretty sure no one will mind.  

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