Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A brief vacation

I signed on to let my loyal readers know (yes, all two of you) that I am in Indiana for New Years - at a place affectionately called "Band Camp."  

Seeing as I will have very limited internet access, I will update when I get back into town.

I hope you all have a great New Years.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mewwy Chrimsas!

(title: my foster brother's version of "Merry Christmas" when he was little)

And now, go here to see a clip of Peanut enjoying her first Christmas. Forget gifts...wrapping paper is the way to go.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last day

It is officially my last day at work. I've passed on my responsibilities, packed up my personal belongings, and now I'm sorting through the many file folders sitting on my desk.

And in honor of my last day (at least I like to think so), one of my coworkers brought in a small CrockPot of Lil Smokies in barbecue sauce...a very yummy departure from the usual chocolate and cookies that occupy the "food corner" (a.k.a. the counter space across from my cube). the spicy aroma of a non-sweet got to me. I've admittedly had a couple servings already.
Mmm...food...nom nom nom nom...

Where was I?

Hmm. I can't remember where this post was going. Great.

Well, when I've collected my thoughts, I'll return with a more substantial post. Let's just leave this as an 'adieu' to the company I've been with for more than three years.

I'll miss it here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The white stuff

I'm sure you were all crazy with anticipation for my post yesterday.


I was not feeling well. And before you say, "well, don't eat so much sugar and you'll be fine," I have to tell you it had nothing to do with the baking from Tuesday. I, along with our best friend/nanny, had a serious stomach flu. It was rough, but I'm recovering just fine. I'm just hoping that a) "Nanny McPhee" gets better soon (she's about 5 months pregnant) and b) Peanut doesn't get sick again. Potty training is only days away, right?

* * *
Last night, it snowed. It snowed and snowed and snowed. We have about a foot or more of new snow accumulation. Our area is almost completely shut down. So, I didn't have to go to work today and ShankRabbit is working from home (those programmer types...they can work from anywhere).

You know, back in my young'n days, I would have bundled up and taken advantage of all this snow. Snowball fight, snowman...maybe a snow angel or two.

Oh, who am I kidding - we made a snowman was last winter. ShankRabbit and I were in the process of moving and were inspired to leave our apartment complex a snowman. The two little girls in our building loved it. They even added some things to him later on.

If Peanut wasn't so little, we'd all be out there by lunchtime.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meringue. It's what's for dinner.

I have issues working with meringue. I never realized how difficult it was until I attempted to make some meringue ghosts for Halloween (recommended by Milwaukee's Foodie Mom, Dawn). They turned out more like marshmallow blobs, not the pretty ghosts I saw in the picture.

After explaining my trials with this dessert, Dawn agreed to help me with my next meringue adventure.

Today was declared a "Baking Day." After 5 hours of baking, here's what we made (clockwise, starting with the pink one):

1) Candy cane meringue cookies
2) Peanut butter burgers
3) Toffee bars (with GF flour)
4) Fudge with toffee
5) Fudge with walnuts
6) Chocolate meringue stars

#1 and #6 were from the same recipe, but we crushed a couple candy canes into the first. The fudge was from the same recipe, but we made a batch with toffee bits in place of the walnuts (and sprinkled some toffee on top).

Oh. So. Yummy.

I think it's going to take a while to come off this sugar high.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I won!

I never win contests. Really, I don't. Sometimes I get lucky at a large raffle drawing where nearly everyone gets a prize, but other than that...nada. Until today.

One of my favorite online people / blogger, C. Beth (this lady rocks...check it out), had a giveaway on her blog. Thanks to a random number generator, I won!

I just had to share my excitement. She could have been giving away a rusty spoon and a ball of lint and I'd be just as happy.

Thank you Beth!

I'm a weakling

Things to know:
1) It was unusually warm yesterday (in the low 40s)
2) Instead of the usual snowfall this time of year, we got rainfall
3) Typical to the midwest, the temperature rapidly dropped down to the teens last night and into the single digits this morning (negative degrees if you count windchill)

What does this have to do with me being a weakling? Well, let's put it this way...

Imagine you are in your house. Sipping a warm cup of coffee, staring out at your backyard admiring the bright crispness of the morning. You notice your neighbor heading out to her garage to get her car. She puts the key in the door lock and turns the knob. Nothing. She appears to check the doorknob to make sure it was actually unlocked...tries to open it again. You smirk as you think, "silly woman...doesn't she know her door is frozen shut?"
She proceeds to ram her shoulder into the door like a pee-wee football player against an NFL defensive tackle. She eventually gives up and heads back inside. About a minute later, you notice your neighbor's husband come out to assess the situation. He checks the lock, gives the door a nudge with his shoulder, pops it open, and shakes his head as he returns inside.

What a great morning.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Multiplication and me

The chocolate, nuts, and cookies from Wednesday (as mentioned in this post) multiplied. My guess is they got together on Thursday while I was gone and had food babies.

Now there are MORE cookies, MORE candies, MORE chocolate covered nuts...and the new addition: Almond Pecan Honey Corn (a really fancy name for something that resembles caramel corn).

It's a good thing I only work three days a week. With my lack of self-control, I'd be 500 pounds by Christmas.

* * *
I enjoyed my hour of "me time" last night. I took a really hot bath (something I haven't done since before I got pregnant), read a couple chapters of a David Sedaris book, and had an adult beverage.

I was determined to make this evening as indulgent as possible. Seeing as we had no chocolate products to snack on (dang it all!), I figured a drink was the next best thing. Usually I like to sip on wine, but none could be found. All I could dredge up was rum and vodka (potato vodka, for those keeping tabs on my gluten-freeness). So, I created the Isabella-version of a dirty martini:
shot of vodka
a little water
a couple lemon slices
slice of pickle
2 tablespoons of pickle juice (what can I say? I love pickles!)
serve over a few ice cubes
Needless to say, when ShankRabbit and Peanut returned home I was all sorts of relaxed.

This may become a weekly thing (I hope!)...if it does, I will need to make sure chocolate and wine are in our house. Maybe I'll even go crazy and paint my toenails. *gasp!*

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A much needed break

The last 24+ hours have been crazy in this household. Top off all the things I had to do with one clingy/ teething / possibly sick baby, and it just gets crazier.

I'm the master of one-handing tasks, though. I spent 2.5 hours in our church's office labeling offering envelopes...with one hand...while cradling a half-sleeping baby.

I rock.

So, what's wrong with Peanut, you ask? Well, I don't know.

Caution: if you're squeamish when it comes to reading about baby poo, turn away now...

She's not really sick (no fever, no cough, no sneezing...), but I can safely guess she has pooped her weight over the last 24 hours. I'm thinking it might be because she's teething...I hope. I hope this is not a precursor to some strange stomach flu. Fortunately, she didn't have any *ahem* issues while we were at church (thank goodness!).

As I wrote that last sentence, I heard a loud, ominous rumble from Peanut's diaper. I now have a few more items to throw in the washer, including a futon cover...

But she's as happy as can be...so I'm stumped.

* * *
My darling, wonderful husband just came home and said, "I'm taking Peanut with me for an hour. Go have some 'you' time."

I spent a good portion of my day elbow-deep in poopy diapers and I hear this right when he gets home from work.

I think it's time for a long, hot bath.

Have I mentioned how much I love this man?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Tis the season to be jolly...

"...and so begins the onslaught of holiday goodie baskets - displayed for all to eat."

This is what I messaged to my husband this morning.

Our office executives get wonderful food baskets during the holidays - everything from cheese and sausage to fruit and chocolate. Being the generous types, they open it up and share with the whole office. I'm not one to complain - their generosity is much appreciated (my no-breakfast tummy will confirm that). But when you have a sea of chocolate covered everythings and a tin of pistachios staring at you from a mere 5 feet away, you have to indulge. And then you hate yourself at the end of the day because your meal schedule looked like this:

7:30 am - arrive at work. caramel turtle.
8:05 am - get cup of tea from the kitcken. handfull of chocolate covered nuts.
9:00 am - groan when you discover there is a huge tin of pistachios you missed - take one handful.
10:20 am - get print job from printer. take more chocolate covered nuts and pistachios. decide that nothing else gets printed today for fear of eating more.
11:00 am - drop mail off in someone's office...notice they have a basket on display with things like brie, creme brulee cookies, and other extravagant stuff. cut visit short and leave before temptation sets in.

On a typical day, I would have had a yogurt, banana, and maybe a bowl of cereal by now. I'm not even to 12pm and I've already had enough chocolate for the rest of the week...and still, no real substance.

Here's to hoping we get a lot of fruit baskets in the weeks to come. Harry & David, anyone?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday Catch-Up

You would think I'd post more on the weekends - more free time and such...but it's just the opposite. Yes, we have more "free" time, but that's usually spent soaking up as much family time as possible.

Item 1: A breakfast I will not be eating...
ShankRabbit is flexing his piano/singing talent for the kiddies of "Breakfast with Santa" this year, so Saturday morning was very quiet without him around the house. While Peanut engrossed herself in her books (read: gnawed on), I got a chance to work on the uber-secret Christmas project.
I don't know how it happened - maybe it was the intoxicating thoughts of Christmas decorations, laughing kids, and wonderful tunes - but I will be playing an elf the next two Saturdays at this gig. I'm not making any promises, but a picture or two may be posted documenting this event.

I should have an elf name. Anyone got any ideas?

Item 2: Stay, Isabella...stay! Good girl!
As of the 23rd of December, I will officially be a "stay at home mom." I put that in quotes because I don't care for the phrase...and it's purely me being silly. I hear that term and think, "well, where else would I stay?"

I will miss this company and my coworkers immensely, but this is something ShankRabbit and I decided was the best for our whole family.

Time to dust off the Crock Pot!

Item 3: Randomness abounds!
I enjoy peppermint/mint tea. A lot. But don't put peppermint in my white chocolate mochas...I may have to hurt you.

I put Peanut to sleep in fleece pants and a fleece sweater last night because she peed on her last clean pair of fleece jammies. Not "peed in" as she usually does each night, but peed on...I hadn't quite gotten her diaper around her before she decided it was time to go.

Speaking of...

**This is a question for any mommies/babysitters/nannies/knowledgeable types. Peanut SOAKS through her diaper at least 2 times a week. It's not a fit issue...she just pees a lot! Does anyone know of how to remedy this (aside from changing her in the middle of the night...she already gets up once and I change her then, but most of the time this doesn't help)?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tag! You're it!

I've never been tagged online before. It sure beats running around and getting pushed to the ground (hey, I was a skinny klutz of a kid...someone tags me while I was running and my face frequently met the pavement).

1. Link the person who tagged you:
Dwell & Cultivate
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.
(Listed below)
4. Tag seven others and include links to their blogs.
Um, from what I recall, almost everyone on my blog roll has done this already...maybe not Nate.
5. Let each of the other people know by commenting on their blog.

Without further ado, here are 7 facts about me -

1. I have "spider toes." I can pick up objects, play various instruments, and clasp them together like hands. I'd post a picture, but they are scary. The only time this ever has any practical application is when I'm holding Peanut - she drops a lot of things.

2. I'm a food separatist. Different food items cannot touch on my plate - and if they do, the touched part of each item is not eaten. I've been known to create "food dams" so that this infiltration doesn't occur across my whole plate.

3. The story of how I learned to jump rope: I was in kindergarten and we were performing "Teddy Bear Picnic" for our school assembly. During class one day, the teacher was dividing the class in two sections - those who would just sing, and those who would sing and jump rope. Jumping rope sounded so cool, so I told her I could. It didn't occur to me until I got home from school that I would actually have to jump rope...in front of the whole school. I told all the adults at home (we lived in a three-flat...mom, dad, aunt, grandma, great grandma) that I needed to learn how to jump rope RIGHT NOW! I think I spent a good week or two practicing every night. When it came time for the performance, I was one of the best teddy bear jump ropers out there...at least I think so.

4. I have no idea what rhubarb tastes like. I've wanted to try it on many occasions, but never did.

5. I am very inconsistent with my pronunciation of the words "coupon" (koo-pahn / keew-pahn) and "envelope" (en-veh-lope / ahn-veh-lope). I have no idea why I change it up - and I'll do it during the same conversation. It drives my hubby crazy.

6. I was a member of the Chicago Children's Choir when I was in elementary school, Show Choir in high school (although I had to drop out right away due to scheduling conflicts), and Gospel Choir in college. Nowadays, you'll NEVER hear me sing in public. No sir.

7. Even though I have mild vertigo, I went up in the St. Louis arch - twice. Both times I couldn't stand when I got to the top and had to crawl my way back to the elevator. Chalk it up to jr. high peer pressure. Hey, at least I wasn't smokin' the reefer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Songs

The First Noel, O Christmas Tree, Deck the Halls, Away in a Manger, Feliz Navidad...those are just a sampling of the songs I associate with Christmas or holiday music. However, there is one they play on all the radio stations this time of year that doesn't make sense to me:

"My Favorite Things" - from The Sound of Music

What, just because they have a few lines about snow and sleigh bells, that makes it a Christmas song? According to Wikipedia:

The wintertime imagery of some of the lyrics has made "My Favorite Things" a popular song during the Christmas season, and it often appears on holiday-themed albums and compilations, although in the show and movie it is sung during a summer thunderstorm.


So, I'm curious...what do you think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Defying the Laws of Gravity and Grammar

I work on the 19th floor of a large downtown office building. Because of our close proximity to other tall buildings, sometimes I can watch it snow up. Yep, you heard that right...the swirling vortex of snow doesn't fall - it jumps. At times it even slows down so much that I can almost picture myself in a snow globe. Not that I'd want to be in one - that plastic terrain would be hell on my knees.

In other random news...

I can't decide if I want to capitalize the titles of each one of my entries or not. Mostly because:
a) I don't like how it looks to have almost all the words capitalized
b) I have issues figuring out what articles should remain lowercase
(Don't laugh. My command of the English language is gooder than you)

So, now that you are "in the know," I can continue with my blatant disregard for proper format. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More for my reference than anything...

I have a few things in the works right now:

1) A craft project. I wish I could tell you more, but we traded names among family members, so the person has no idea I have them. Even telling you the colors of the project would be a dead giveaway. So, I'll update more about this item after Christmas.

2) My in-laws requested that we make their Christmas gift this year. For those that know me, know I love this kind of thing...so I'm really excited. But we have yet to decide on what exactly we'll make. Hmm...
3) A crocheted baby blanket for our friends that are expecting a baby in May. I started this a while ago (before they got pregnant) thinking I'd have more time to work on it, but there is actually a baby on the way. I have a time limit now. Once project #1 and #2 done, I'll have to get going on this one. Unfortunately, I pick one helluva stitch that's not quick and easy, but looks so darn cool. Hopefully it turns out OK and they like it.

4) Before Peanut was born, ShankRabbit and I got the brilliant idea to make her a dollhouse. The various pieces of wood and other materials have been collecting dust in our basement since that heady trip to our favorite home supply/hardware store. Hopefully, we'll have this done before she reaches puberty.

5) After seeing Jonah Lisa's felt food collection and her flannel board (seriously, this woman has got mad skills...check out her site), I am inspired to make stuff for Peanut to play with. I never thought felt could be so useful (and that I could make my own!). But with all the stuff already on my plate, I may just have to wait until the new year.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Metaphorical much?

It took me 4 years, but I am finally done:

(Full View)

(Close-up of the stitching. I believe the main part is a half-double and the border is a double)

It was my first crochet project - pretty ambitious, I must say.

This blanket kept me company on many a bus/train ride to and from work in downtown Chicago and Milwaukee. This was my "baby"...no matter where I was or what I was doing, I could always pick this piece up and begin where I left off without a hitch. It has seen me through heartbreak, love, grief, happiness and several relocations. My therapist in yarn.

I've completed several projects since the dawn of this one, but subconciously I think I wasn't ready to let it go...so it was never officially completed. Could someone look past the odd size, dropped stitches, uneven edges, and inconsistencies and love it as much as I do? I could only think of one person. So, Sunday night I bit the bullet and put in the last few stitches.

I am happy to say my husband is now the proud owner.

Obligatory Introductory Post

Here I am. I caved and started my very own blog.

I'm not a virgin to the blogosphere by any means...I have a livejournal, a family blog, and I sometimes (ok, once so far) contribute to my husband's techie blog. Blogging is very familiar to me. However, this is the first official public blog of my very own. I am in complete control over every aspect. How cool?! Although, it has its drawbacks:

1. I have no one to blame when something goes awry
2. I have to take full responsibility for spelling errors, grammatical errors and general nonsense
3. Its my own fault if posts are few and far between

Meh...who cares. If you are looking for Pulitzer-quality writing, you've come to the wrong place. Hell, you may want to skip blog-reading altogether. But, I digress...

Here's an intro to they key players in my life:

"ShankRabbit" - my husband, best friend and all around good guy.
"Peanut" - our easy-going, smiley 7.5 month old daughter.

So, there you go. Welcome to my new endeavor. I hope you find something of worth of here...or at least something to read while you're on the crapper (that's what laptops are for, no?).