Friday, February 25, 2011

The Organized Kitchen, Part 3 - The Utensil Drawer

We all have that drawer in our kitchens, probably next to the stove, that is full of all the random utensils we acquire over time to help us cook. Every house I know has one - my mom, my cousin, both grandmas - and none of them are organized. All are just one pile of metal and plastic that you have to dig through to find the can opener.

So in keeping with tradition this is what my utensil drawer looked like before

and here is what is looks like after a trip to BB&B

I bought three bamboo boxes in different sizes. On the left are spatulas and tongs, in the lower right is my wine opener, flat spatula, thermometer, small strainer and large biscuit cutter. In the upper right is my meat tenderizer along with two other biscuit cutters.

I saved the space in the back for larger, less used items, like my grater, pastry cutter, steamer basket and manual can opener.

I am sad my rolling pin won't fit in there any more but maybe one day I will have a baking drawer so it can fit in there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fat Camp-Day 30 something: I'm still fat

Although I have lost 11 pounds so far even with a week with a 2 pound gain.

So it's something. I also learned about two weeks ago that I am once again diabetic only without the joy of being pregnant. It is both hard and easy compared to before. I still have to wrap mt head around it and meet with the doctor.

But I am one month into fat camp and have two more to go. I hope for another 11 pounds lost next month.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I totally suck as a wife. You're shocked, right?

So, I'm cruising through my google reader and up pops this lovely little chart from Thought Catalog. I thought, "Sweet! Let's see how much I would have sucked as a wife in the 30s." Not surprisingly, I suck. Hard.

No I mean I really suck. Add up my score.

I'll wait.

That's right. I scored 1.


I lost major points for being an atheist. We don't make good wives, I guess. And really I should get a half point off b/c I hate other people's children. So really, I'm more of a .5. FAIL

Although I should get extra points for being so damn jolly and gay.

So I thought The Good Husband must score off the charts. He must be perfect.

No, he totally fucking sucks too. But he scores 15 points.

But I don't think snoring should count since you can't really help that.

So both of us losers deserve each other.

How do you rate?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Breakfast

Like I said in my other post, this year was the first year that The Good Daughter gave a crap about Valentine's Day. I think it might have been something to do with the fact her Grammy gave her chocolate for the first time the day before and told her she would get more the next day.

So on Valentine's Day, she woke up to this:

I got her a little Bug 'Em from the Hallmark store and stuffed it with heart shaped sunglasses and barrets. I also made her a card, which Bug 'Em is holding, and a treat box with chocolate candies. (I didn't put a ribbon on this treat box and as a result, it keept opening up and spilling the candy.) She likes bugs for now and can say "bug" and I thought it was a cute little thing.

I also made heart cut outs of watermelon and cantaloupe. Then I made Xs and Os toast and a little double heart toast. TGD only wanted the candy, though. Go figure.

Bug is watching you

Homemade Valentines

Last year The Good Daughter was only 7 1/2 months old on Valentine's Day. I bought a small box of cartoon cards and gave them to her daycare friends, congratulating myself for remembering to buy some. Then I picked her up from daycare and found 5 handmade and very cute valentines for her. I felt so inadequate.

So this year there was a tiny voice in the back of my head at the end of January saying I should find something cute to make for V-Day. Then I saw this idea in Parenting magazine and it was cute and easy and I already had all the materials to make them.

The idea is to take a wooden block with raised letters, put a piece of paper over it and color the image. The problem I found was the entire block was too big for the front of the card, so I just colored the letter and not the surrounding border.

For the boys, I used green card stock and bold colors. For the girls I used either purple or pink card stock and pastel colors. As you can see, I didn't line up the letters perfectly. Just pretend I did that on purpose to give it a more hand-made look.

To make these:
You'll Need: card stock, alphabet blocks with carved letters, craft glue stick and colored pencils
~Arrange alphabet blocks letter side up to spell out desired word or phrase. Fold card stock in half lengthwise and then half again, this time widthwise, to create a card. Open the card and position its lower right flap on the block arrangement. Rub a colored pencil over the blocks until the impression appears. Or, you can color each letter singularly like I did, to achieve my uneven look. Turn the card over and cover the entire surface in craft glue. Fold the card in half, smooth out any lumps and allow to dry. This just holds the paper together. I could have just cut one piece of card stock in two and not messed with the glue but I'm not smart enough to figure that out until I was through.
My next project was creating this treat box from Martha Stewart. I will let her explain how you do that.
It was an easy project and it only took me about 15 minutes to make this at the most. You can see I didn't put quiet enough tape on the right corner, but it still looked good. I also used two pieces of card stock and it was a little thick, so when I folded the paper, some of it sort of cracked. Also the ribbon I used was too thick and I really had to pull it through the hole. These are all rookie crafting mistakes I am sure.

I can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

I have finally joined the 21st century and bought a smart phone. After taking two weeks to defeat Angry Birds, I turned to cooking apps and fell in love with Epicurious' app. This chicken taquitos recipe is a healthier version of the one found here. While my stomach would love a fried taquito, my ass would not appreciate it.

Even though they weren't fried, they were still pretty tasty and the Epicourious app is now 1-0. Download this thing if you have a smart phone. You will love it too.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
8 oz light sour cream
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles
2 cups frozen organic corn, thawed
1 small red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced I used a combo of red and green
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
24 whole wheat, low carb tortillas

~Grill the chicken until done, allow to cool and shred with a fork.

~Combine the remaining ingredients, expect for the tortillas and mix thoroughly until well blended. Place a rounded tablespoon of the mixture onto each tortilla and roll tightly. Seal the edge with egg white and place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

~Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes until the edges turn brown.

Makes 6 servings

recipe by: The Good Wife

Friday, February 4, 2011

Update on my lack of interior design skills

Remember when I didn't know what the hell to do with our fireplace?

This is what I looks like currently, although The Good Daughter's first birthday photos are now replaced by Christmas ones. However, it is still basically the same stuffed mantel and boring white walls.


Since I have no creative bone in my body, I have been searching and searching for ways to make my mantel pop. Then last week I was over at The Good Aunt's and she suggested whatever we do, make it an odd number so it would be more interesting. I dismissed that right away since I am way too anal to have anything but even numbers.

I thought I would find four photos, maybe of mountains or a field and group them into one large rectangle. Then I couldn't find any prints I wanted and a poster of an Ansel Adams photo just seemed too tacky.

Then a combination of things fell into place to inspire me into the perfect grouping. Check out this idea:

please imagine this completely centered and everything even

The Good Husband and I were watching The Last Picture Show on TMC the other night and I just happened to catch this as the layout over the couch in the living room as Ellen Burstyn was talking on the phone. It had everything. An odd number to keep your eye interested, but matching end features to appease my anal ass. I even made TGH pause the show on the DVR, so I could sketch the design. We also learned a cousin in the family is taking photography lessons and we saw some of his work and loved it.

The plan now is to commission three black and white photos to be the same size as the actual fireplace (black part only, not the title or trim) with one large photo and two smaller ones. They will most likely be farm fields, so we will have to wait until summer to get a beautiful shot of corn swaying in the breeze. I want to find to small silver oval mirrors for either side of the smaller photos and I already have some sconces for either side of the larger photo. Then I can clear the mantel off and move the photos to another wall, as yet determined.

We are also going to paint the wall with the fireplace red and the rest of the house tan. I will update as soon as our lazy asses paint since we are both too scared to do it and then hate it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Go Green - Baby

I started my Go Green series while I was still pregnant so there were things I didn't think of until after The Good Daughter was here to be more green.

I will say, right off the bat, that the hardest thing for me and everyone in my family, is to resist the urge to buy everything and anything for the new baby and only buy new stuff every time.

~Don't buy everything Babies R Us says you have to have
What I did need:

Infant Car Seat OR Convertible car seat

Booster car seat

Travel System OR Full-size stroller OR Lightweight stroller


Burping cloths

Breast pads, shields & cream

Breast milk storage


Bottle brush

Training cups

High chair

Gentle shampoo & body wash & baby lotion

Stand alone potty seat

Nail Clippers

Grooming kit


Brushes & comb

First aid kit

Digital thermometer


Pain relief products

Ear thermometer

Gas relief drops


Diaper pail

Diaper ointment

Baby wipes

Cradle, bassinet, portable crib OR crib

Cradle, bassinet, portable crib OR crib sheets


Crib mattress pads

Crib bedding


Clothing hangers


Outlet covers

Safety gates

Smoke & carbon monoxide alarm

What I did NOT need:

The other 80% of BRU registry checklist. Seriously. I didn't buy a changing table so I didn't need a changing pad or covers. I didn't buy a monitor since TGD slept in our room and still sleeps with us. I didn't buy any carseat toys or highchair toys or a gym or bouncer or walker. While I did have a swing, TGD was never in it. She also only used her pack and play once. She got far more clothes than she needed and since she was a summer baby, spent most of her days in just a diaper anyway. I didn't get a bottle or wipe warmer. So just rethink the impulse to buy buy buy.

~Shop consignment and yard sales
I love going to the store and buying new clothes for her but I have to remember that it shouldn't be my first option. I told you here, I was able to get a ton of clothes for cheap for TGD by shopping yard sales. But I have also had some success with places like GoodWill and consignment stores. Luckily there are two great consignment stores for children in my area so, I will check those places out first when TGD needs new clothes, which is still about every 3 months.

~Buy wooden and earth friendly toys
Another major snag is finding toys that are not plastic. I had requested no presents for TGD's birthday but she still got toys from everyone. I plan on donating the ones that require batteries once she (and the next babies) outgrow them so they won't end up in a landfill but eventually they will and that does make me upset. I love Plan Toys. TGD has the activity blocks, the shape and sort it out, the xylophone, the stacking ring  and animal memory. There is not a day when she doesn't play with one of them.

We also have some stacking cups from Green Sprouts, which also offers clothes and feeding products for your baby but we haven't tried any of those. We also bought 100% organic plush fruit and veggies (grapes, green bean - TGD's fav-, banana, strawberry) from Under the Nile. We also bought two rattles - happy caterpillar, cherry tree rattle - from Sassy Earth Brights. And finally we bought two teething toys from Vulli, makers of the famous Sophie the Giraffe. We bought the Chan Pie Gnon Soft Chew Toy, which was nicknamed Obi Won and a teething ring that has been since discontinued. To complete our hippy list of toys, TGD also got vintage letter blocks, which I totally saw on Mad Men this season (baby Gene was playing with them).

~Cloth diaper
 I talked about that here, here and here.

~Use chemical free body product

sI love the California Baby line of products. Their diaper rash cream is cloth diaper friendly and I have used about everything in their baby line and love them. I can find them at my local Target and Babies R Us.

~Use an organic mattress pad, sleep contour and/or sheets
We have this organic mattress from Serta along with this mattress cover and sheets. It was important for us the place TGD spent most of her time in the beginning was free of chemicals and pesticides. Even though we have a full crib for her, she slept in an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper until 7 months (I found some organic sheets and a mattress at my local Target). After that, we put her to bed and naps in her crib and bring her to bed with us when we go to bed. Yes, she sleeps in the bed with us now. I told you we are crazy hippies, who also sleep on an organic mattress and sheets.

~Use organic swaddling blanks and regular blankets

We swaddled TGB for almost 7 months as well, since she loved it. We also swaddled her all day for about 3 months. Again, I picked up some organic cotton swaddling blankets from Target. There are also sleep sacks that are organic but we never used those.

~Buy books from a used book store or library

Twice a year our library has a used book sale and I have gotten a ton of books there. No they are not in mint condition, but they were only 50 cents each and TGD doesn't care about a bent page.

~Use gender neutral clothes, accessories and bedding

This harder for clothes since once everyone knew we were having a girl we were flooded with pink shit. Now if the next babies are boys, we will have to buy mostly new clothes. We did go gender neutral for the nursery and the car seat, high chair and travel system so they can easily be used again.

~Feed your baby organic food

I talked about making homemade food here. If you don't or can't make your baby food at home Earth's Best, Ella's Kitchen, Plum Organics, Happy Baby and Yo Baby are all great products. I used the Earth's Best glass jar baby food for meals containing meat. TGD also loved all the puffs and yogurt bites. I also love the pouches of organic food since they are super easy to take with us when we are out and since TGD can squeeze them herself, she can feed herself mess free. She still loves them now at 19 months and it is a good way to get her to eat a wide range of foods. With the exception of the Yo Baby, I found all the organic food at my local Babies R Us.

~Use wooden or BPA free feeding tools

We use the Tommy Tippie line of products and like them.

~Use glass bottles

We used Born Free glass bottles for 15 months and only broke 3. The only down side is they are heavy.


Since this is the most controversial one, I saved it for last. You might not want to breastfeed or find that you can't and I sympathize. The first night in the hospital when I sent TGD to the nursery so I could sleep, only to be woken up every 3 hours to nurse her, I thought then it would be so much easier to formula feed her. But I stuck with it, even with latch issues and breastfed exclusively for four months. Then I switched to pumping and feeding her expressed breastmilk until she was 11 months old. I pumped every two hours for 8 months to maintain my supply until it crashed at 11 months out. So I understand how much of a pain it can be. However, it was cheap. I got a free used pump from my cousin (I know you aren't supposed to do it, but there is no way I got the milk into the pump, which is the main concern of sharing, so I didn't think she did either. I did buy new tubing, bottles and shields). Other than buying fenugreek to keep my supply up, a nursing bra and milk storage bags were the only other investment I made.

~Use reusable nursing pads

What are your favorite green baby items or tips?
Please note that no company I linked above paid me for this post. It would have been sweet if they did, but I bought all this stuff on my own.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fat Camp - Day 14: Results

It has officially been two full weeks into fat camp and I have lost 6 pounds which is a miracle considering there were two days in there when said, "fuck it" and ate everything in sight including friend chicken strips and chili cheese fritos with ranch dressing.

But I am being "good" this week so far and eating all my fruits and veggies and taking my vitamin, so here's hoping to continued weight loss.