Monthly Archives: April 2009

Why We Haven’t Put Together The Crib Yet


What’s the last month of one’s pregnancy without a little excitement, right? Historically, we always seem to have some kind of home improvement project going on when I’m in the home stretch, so this time really shouldn’t be any different. When Jake was born, we were redoing a bathroom (in fact, if I remember correctly, about two hours after we were home from the hospital, Drew was finishing up the wainscotting!). When Noah was born, he was working on our deck. So we might as well go out with a bang for our last baby!

Last night we got the plans for the shed dormer we are putting on our house, and if all goes well construction will start late next week. (Well, at least the power washing — I figure the actual holes-in-house stuff will be the week after assuming we get our permits in a timely manner.) Currently our upstairs is two huge bedrooms — ours and one that the boys share — and a weird sitting area type space at the top of the stairs, between the two rooms. In a little over a month, we’ll have four bedrooms upstairs (three smaller ones for the kids as well as ours), and in our bedroom we’re gaining an enormous walk-in closet as well as some extra space. We’re also going to have two windowseats put in (one in our room in an area that would otherwise be dead space, and one in the dormer in the front bedroom (which Jake has claimed).

And as a bonus we’re also gaining a small linen closet in the new hallway. I’m thrilled about this because the upstairs bathroom doesn’t have a closet in it, so this will be perfect! Honestly, I am not looking forward to moving all the furniture and the inconvenient sleeping arrangements this will create in my final month of pregnancy, but we’ve certainly dealt with worse and it’s just for a couple weeks. I can do anything for a couple weeks! The project won’t be entirely finished when we come home from the hospital, but by that point it will probably be interior stuff — mouldings, painting, etc. It will all be so worth the minor frustrations we’ll likely deal with. The boys are excited about having their own rooms and I am thrilled to be able to decorate a little girl’s room! I’ve got plans… oh yes, I do. I’m thinking gray carpet, light violet walls, birds and roses, all vintagey and slightly shabby.

So that is what we’ll be up to in these final weeks. Might as well keep it interesting! 🙂

chicken fajitas

chicken fajitas

Ironically, all this talk about Mexico on the news has me craving Mexican food in a big way. So yesterday I decided to make chicken fajitas and fresh pico de gallo for dinner. Now, I know that there are plenty of fajita seasonings that you can buy at the grocery store, but let’s face it — they can be loaded with God-knows-what and it’s cheaper to make your own. Plus, I prefer to make a fajita marinade instead of just throwing the spices and some water in the frying pan with the chicken, onions, and peppers. The flavor really penetrates the chicken and the result (at least in my experience) has always been delicious. Here is the marinade I use:

Easy Fajita Marinade

1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients together and use as a marinade for chicken, beef, or vegetables. Marinade for at least 1 hour.

What I like to do is slice my onions and peppers and put them in one bowl with about one cup of the marinate, and the put my sliced chicken in another bowl with the rest of the marinade. I usually do about 3 breast halves, but I think this marinade would easily cover 4 breast halves – use your own judgement on that. I prefer to marinade my chicken for about three hours. I would not recommend using this marinade overnight because the vinegar will “cook” the chicken. Then I just dump the veggies and the chicken into a frying pan with some of the marinade, cook it down, and then pour out the marinade to brown it all up.

I usually just eyeball my pico de gallo. Last night I used one tomato, one jalepeño (with the seeds because I like it spicy), a small chunk of onion, some cilantro, salt, and the juice of half a lime. It’s so much better than the jarred stuff, and ridiculously easy!

I think today I might put together a “fajita kit” for the freezer and slice up onions, peppers, boneless chicken and put them in a bag, and then in another snack-sized bag measure out all the spices for the marinade. That will be a big time-saver once the baby is here and make for an easy dinner!

Same Old, Same Old

I feel like my blog is so boring lately. I guess I just don’t have much going on right now. We had a good weekend over here. Saturday Drew took Jake to his baseball game, meanwhile I registered Jake for a week of summer day camp in Rhinebeck. What craziness that was — good thing I went early. Then we dropped Jake off at a birthday party and we dropped off some “eco-waste” at the Green Fair at the fairgrounds. It was great — just $10 per carload! We were able to get rid of some old computers, batteries, printers, a TV, and other miscellaneous electronics and do so safely.

The weather has also been crazily warm! Though I have to say that I’m tired of hearing people complain, “Man, it’s 90 degrees in April, what’s it gonna be like this summer?” It’s not uncommon to have a heat wave at this time of year. I seriously doubt summer will be like 120 degrees here in NY. I’m also getting irritated with people being irrational over the swine flu. It’s something to be concerned about, sure, but some people are absolutely freaking out over it. No one here in the U.S. has died from it thus far. And there are only 40 confirmed cases — just 40 in the whole country. By contrast, every year about 30,000 people die from whatever “regular” flu is going around. Honestly, right now I’m more concerned about things like Lyme Disease. I wish people were more rational. Panic doesn’t help.

Anyway… I’m hot, pregnant, and cranky I guess! One more day of hot weather to deal with and then back down to more spring-like 60s, which is perfect. In the meantime I will be thankful for our ceiling fans, ice water, and cold, cold lemonade 😉

Clothespin Bags

When my dad put up my new clothesline earlier this week, I knew I had to make a cute clothespin bag to go along with it. The first one I made came out great! I was really happy with it and sent it home with Dad to give to my mom. I wanted to use a little funkier fabric for the one I’d make for myself. Unfortunately, mine did not come out perfect 🙁

clothes pin bag #2

I have been having a crappy day since the second I woke up was woken up by a small child this morning and should have held off on this project until I was in a better state of mind, but oh well. The top is obviously not cut right, the fabric is upside down where the bag folds up, and although you can’t tell, the sides of the opening hang really awful. I’ve fixed this with some safety pins, so it’s fine, but… really, I consider this project a total FAIL. I can’t justify redoing it because it does serve its intended purpose, but it’s such a disappointment. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Miscellaneous, in Bullet Form

  • Yesterday was D’s birthday! We had cupcakes and presents on Sunday night and then last night we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner (because he got a birthday coupon for a free appetizer!). We had no idea, though, that they’d drag out this saddle on a sawhorse, make him sit on it, while everyone in the restaurant yelled “Yee-haw!” at him. I would have been mortified, but he was a great sport and we all had a really good time (and a good dinner!)
  • I feel a little guilty about one of Drew’s presents, because… really, it was more for me rather than him: the Compost Crock. Last year we used a big plastic bowl (with a lid, at least) for our food scraps for the compost bin. However, the shape took up a lot of room and it got gross and smelly. This is much more attractive on the counter, will clean easier, and it has a charcoal filter! I think it’ll work much better than the old garbage bowl.
  • While Drew is in Virginia for a couple days (hopefully the last of these business trips for a few months), my dad is coming down to hang out with us. And he’s going to put up a clothesline for me! We attempted to make one last year with a kit from the hardware store, but it didn’t work very well. I’m so happy he’s doing this for me. I look forward to not having to run the dryer for every single load of wash. Growing up, my mom always hung up the laundry so to me it just makes sense. Plus, it’s one more thing I can do to be more eco-conscious.
  • I think I want to see about trying the Dove Skin Vitalizer deal that is reported at CVS. Even if I can’t get the coupon, $4 isn’t bad — and certainly much cheaper than heading to the spa for a microdermabrasion treatment. Supposedly the Dove product is quite comparable, though obviously not the same thing.
  • I still have a cold. I felt great for about a week, and then Saturday I started to feel crappy. Poor Noah woke up with a cough this morning, too. Hopefully it’ll be short-lived. The fluctuations in temperature and weather can’t be helping!
  • Otherwise, things are just moving right along. I have one more repeat on my ripple afghan and that will be finished. And I plan on sewing up a few more bibs and burp cloths this week, as well as some nursing pads. I’d rather not buy the disposable ones and I have plenty of cotton flannel, so we’ll give it a try! I’ll let you know how it goes.

Love the Spring! Hate the Bugs & Allergies

It is about time the nice weather rolled in, and it should be gorgeous out today and tomorrow. (Thank goodness for that because it’s opening day for Jake’s baseball league.) Of course, that also means that my allergies should start acting up any day now. Being pregnant there isn’t much I can do, though if I am really miserable I can take a Benedryl, though luckily so far I have not needed it. I have found that dehumidifiers can help too.

Bugs are another issue — actually a huge one for me. Along with the lovely weather comes all kinds of nasty little things… especially ticks. Our home is bordered by woods, and lots of deer live in those woods, so ticks can be a real problem. Some of you might remember that last summer I had Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness and let me tell you that it was the worst I’d ever felt in my life. The pain was even worse than labor. Luckily I had the tell-tale bulls-eye rash and caught it early. Within a few days of my prescription medication I was feeling much better, but it can be very serious if not diagnosed and treated. So just consider this my little public service announcement. When going outside, use bug spray to help ward off these pests, and please be sure to check not only your children, but also yourself and your spouse/partner for ticks at the end of the day. The buggers can be hard to find, so don’t just give a cursory glance — be thorough. It’s worth the effort.

Off the Hook

daffodilI’m not really a big phone person. When I was in high school and college I could talk on the phone for hours on end, but now? Forget it. And as I’ve mentioned before, I hate having to call to make appointments or schedule things and that’s all I’ve seemed to be doing the past couple of days. The good news is, for the most part, everything is done. I had to schedule my two newspaper interviews for the the May issue, which I did today. Miraculously, one person was there and the other called me back within 20 minutes! The past couple of months people have kept me waiting for days to get these things scheduled. So that’s done.

I also had to call the church rectory to get information about what we need to do to schedule the baby’s Baptism. Now, in the bulletin it says to call before the baby is born. So I did. I explained to the 90 year old secretary that we’re having the baby in June. “OK, so you’ll want to schedule it for June then.” Uh — no. This isn’t 1932. I’m not worried about the baby getting consumption and needing to be baptised within a week of birth! I explained again that I would be giving birth in June and probably would want the baptism in August or September. “Oh, well you’ll just need to discuss that with the priest, then.” Thank goodness she couldn’t see my eyes rolling. I can’t imagine it’s a big deal. Jake was baptised at two months and easily the youngest child there. Even Noah, at three or four months was young — most babies were around six months old. Also, she made it sound like it was such a big deal that our other two children were baptised in a different Catholic church (hello — we didn’t live here then) and we might need to have some meetings with the priest. Good grief — Jake is in the CCD program! They didn’t seem to mind taking our money for the tuition/books. Let’s just hope it’s a lot easier than she’s making it sound. At any rate, the phone call is made and the paper work is on the way.

I also made the appointment for my pre-op testing before the C-section, so that is taken care of. Thank goodness I don’t need to call around looking for the cheapest auto insurancequotes because I am really tired of the phone. The only other appointment I should make is one for a little pampering — I really would like to get a haircut and highlight within the next couple of weeks. I haven’t had my hair cut since August and if I don’t do it soon, I know I’ll just let it go. There’s a new salon in Rhinebeck, so I think I am going to give them a try. But maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow to call on that one 😉

Under the Sea Jell-O Mold

I hope you all had a lovely Easter (if you celebrate it, of course). We had a great time at Drew’s mom’s. I did make the Jell-O mold as I’d planned. According to my mom’s vintage Jell-O cookbook, it’s called “Under the Sea Jell-O Mold” though I imagine today the name would be something more like “Creamy Lime and Pear Jell-O Mold.” I used an old aluminum (I think) mold pan that belonged to my MIL’s Aunt Millicent and it came out perfect! It was enjoyed by everyone (except Jake, who doesn’t like Jell-O). I think I’m going to try the same basic recipe but using strawberry Jell-O and raspberries, or raspberry Jell-O and canned peaches. In case you want the recipe, here you go:

Under the Sea Jell-O Mold

Under the Sea Jell-O Mold

 16 oz. can pear halves in syrup, undrained
1 four-serving size package of lime Jello
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp. groud ginger (do NOT use fresh ginger)
Optional: salad greens, seedless red grapes

Drain pears, reserving 1/2 cup syrup. Dice pears; set aside. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add reserved syrup, cold water and lemon juice. Measure 1-1/4 cups gelatin into Jell-O mold. Chill until set but not firm. Place cream cheese in blender; cover. Blend at low speed until smooth and creamy. Very slowly add remaining gelatin and ginger. Blend at low speed until smooth, about 15 seconds. Chill until thickened. Fold in pears. Spoon over gleatin in pan. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours (overnight is better if you can plan ahead). Unmold. Garrnish with crisp salad greens, additional pears, and grapes if desired.

saturday knitting

Back in February when I went on my little yarn spree at Webs, I purchased four balls of Plymouth Royal Bamboo intending to make myself a light, lacy scarf for summer. I had printed out this pattern from Mind’s Eye Yarns ages ago and stuck it in my knitting binder, and when I saw this beautiful peacock-blue bamboo I knew that the time had come to knit this pattern. Yesterday afternoon I decided that I felt like starting a new project, since my ripple afghan is almost done. (I find the ripple blanket incredibly relaxing — maybe not as good as a  sleep number bed or anything, but without a doubt, a great way to wind down before zonking out for the night.)

Anyway, back to the lace scarf. I knit three repeats yesterday and I just finished one more. This pattern knits up fast and easy, even for a slow knitter like myself! I haven’t spent much time on it, but I love how much progress I’ve made. I also love the soft feel and the drape of the bamboo, but the problem is that it unplies (is that a word?) easily. There is one stitch at the bottom that is splitty and loose and making me crazy, but I think ripping the scarf back would only exacerbate the problem by causing more of the same. I’ll try to fix it later, maybe by tacking the stitch with some thread or something. I’ll figure it out. Anyway, here’s a peek:

summer scarf

Easter Bunny’s on the Way

Easter EggsWe dyed eggs the other day and they took significantly less time to do than the sewn eggs I’d been working on! We kept it simple this year. In previous years we’d gone for the swirly eggs or the glittery eggs, but this time around I bought the basic Paas kit (of course the fact that it was free after ECBs at CVS helped influence my decision). The colors came out great! After they dried the boys put some stickers on them and that was that. Today the eggs became devilled eggs and an egg salad sandwich, LOL!

As I mentioned earlier, we’ll be having Easter dinner at my mother-in-law’s. She and her sister absolutely love lamb, so I am always worried that roast lamb is what’s going to show up on the table (I don’t care for lamb unless it is in the form of a gyro), but thankfully they’re just making a ham. The great thing about Easter dinner is that usually it’s not filled with my favorite foods like at Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I don’t have to rush to the computer after waking up from my food coma and try to figure out what is the strongest diet pill. As long as I control myself around the Cadbury Eggs, I should be OK 😉

I wasn’t asked to bring anything, but I might make an Under the Sea Jell-O mold, which tastes a lot better than it sounds. It’s a delicious concoction of canned pears, cream cheese, and lime Jell-O. Trust me when I tell you how good it is! My mom has made it for years. I just need to decide whether to use my trusty trifle dish (which eliminates the stressful unmolding aspect of the recipe), or use a vintage copper mold that would look very pretty. Decisions, decisions!