Monthly Archives: February 2011

First birthday

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The big first birthday!  And this is supposed to be the post in which I wax nostalgic and say something sweet about one year ago today, right?  I think one year ago today I was using *very bad words* in a loud manner at Baptist Hospital East.  Ha ha.

Here is a collage I made of the big boy.  I used Photoshop to create a layout similar to one we purchased from Sears when Dorothy had her first birthday.  (Before I purchased the good camera!)  I hung a sheet over the stair railing and snapped away while Dorothy and Nana repeatedly handed Worth the ball, caught it, and returned it to him, guaranteeing happy faces.

I made ball-themed gift packs for the small guests at his party.  I sewed little drawstring bags out of ball-reminiscent polka dot fabric and included ball-shaped candies, a swimming pool splash ball, and a little coloring sheet of Worth with a ball (more Photoshop).  Worth has recently become obsessed with balls and sees them everywhere, always with an accompanying chant of “baw-ul, baw-ul, baw-ul.”

Here’s the table all decked out for his party, with a ball-themed cake courtesy of Nana.  I made chili and we had a casual supper.  It was fun to entertain in the new house, even though much of it is still a work in progress.
And the birthday boy himself, enjoying his birthday cake and all the general merriment.  Sweet boy!
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Some clothes for the boy

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I picked these overalls up at a yard sale last fall.  For weeks they sat in my sewing basket, ready to be camper-ized, then then got abruptly packed away in a box, only to surface recently.  I was worried Worth would have outgrown them already but fortunately he had not.   These overalls had a baseball patch sewn on the bib, but were otherwise cute.  (No offense to baseball.)  I picked off the ball with a seam ripper and made my own camper patch out of a scrap of fabric left over from my camper sewing extravaganza.  The patch is just a wee bit big for the size of the bib, but that was the only intact camper I could find to cut out from my scraps.  Not a bad use of scraps and $.25 overalls, really.

Unbelievably, my baby will celebrate a birthday in just over a week.  Mind-blowing.  I thought Dorothy’s infancy went quickly, but at the same time I felt like she (as a little person) was half-grown at a year.  Worth, by contrast, still seems like a tiny baby to me.  I think it’s partly their personalities and partly a first-child/second-child thing.  Dorothy was always so independent and concentrated on fighting her way, tooth and nail if necessary, to her next developmental milestone.  She would see bigger kids do things and not rest until she had figured out how to do it herself. Worth is more content to by the baby.  He’s reasonably motivated and enthusiastic about the world, but he doesn’t have Dorothy’s ceaseless drive.  Dorothy was also the first grandchild in the family, whereas Worth is now the baby of four cousins.  So when you combine these factors you get a first birthday that seems like some sort of trick the calendar is playing.

I was not sure how to dress a boy child for his birthday. Boy clothes seem to be overdressy or very casual–there is no “business casual” equivalent for boys–but I came up with this.  I made a little pair of cuffed pants out of some nice, soft thrift-store sheets.  I just traced around one of his store-bought pants for a pattern.  Then I put his initial on a blank t-shirt with the same fabric.  I thought about doing the number 1 instead, but then he’d only really be able to wear it once.  It’s an outfit that I think it going to be both cute and comfy, and I feel good to have taken the time away from house stuff to make something special for the birthday boy.

Sorghum cookies

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This picture is blurry, but it’s hard to shoot a moving target.  Dorothy is displaying the apron I found at a thrift store recently.  Guess where it’s destined?  This lovely turn in the weather has inspired me to make camping reservations for us at some state parks we want to check out this spring.  I’m so looking forward to our first 2011 trip!

Today in the kitchen I experimented with a local ingredient I’m not very familiar with.  I had picked up a recipe for sorghum cookies at the state fair last summer and had yet to try it.  I altered the recipe to suit our diets and our taste, and they were really quite tasty.  As Rob said, “I still don’t really understand what sorghum is, but it makes very good cookies.”  Exactly.

Here’s the recipe in case you decide to Bake Kentucky Proud as well (or something):
1 cup plus 2 TB sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup sorghum
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 and line three cookie sheets with parchment.  Whisk together flours, soda, and salt in a bowl or large measuring cup, set aside.  Cream butter, oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg, vanilla and sorghum.  Beat well.  Add flour mixture in two parts, beating well after each addition.  Stir in oats, chips and coconut.  Drop onto prepared cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool three minutes on the sheet, then transfer to wire rack.

In which we get expensive new windows and immmediately cover them with Valentine window clings

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We’ve been busy around here.  Too busy to blog.  But I’m so eager to share my progress!  Here’s another before.

And after.  It’s not done, but we’ve come a long way.  The wallpaper has been stripped (thank you Nana!), the walls primed and painted, and a really painful amount of joint compound was applied by my bare fingers to a crack that ran all the way around the dining room between the crown molding and the ceiling.  Ouch.  But I’m loving the colors and the way things are coming together.  I need one more vintage Louisville postcard for the frame to the right of the pass-through (Churchill Downs, I think–I found one online), and I want to make a family calendar for the other side.  We ripped off the old, ugly rubber baseboard in the kitchen but have not yet purchased new, wooden baseboard.  Pictures still need to be hung in the dining room and some of the trim is not yet painted.  But wow!  I’m feeling so pleased with how “mine” the house is starting to look.  I’m also vowing to take a break from major painting for a few weeks, though.  We need a break to focus on other things and avoid total house rehab burnout.

We did squeeze in some Valentine-making time.  I let Dorothy use the hot glue gun for a while, then changed my mind after she was such a wimp about touching some glue before it set up.  Maybe it was a bad call to let her use it in the first place, but I really do think she’s a wimp.  🙂  Either way, we glued faux flower petals, scraps of lace, and hearts we punched out of pretty paper onto purchased blank cards.  Kind of like halfway homemade.  Dorothy enjoyed making them, which was good since we needed enough for her whole class.  I also had adorable coupons printed from Pear Tree Greetings and I thought they turned out very sweet (the photo is on one side, the coupon is on the other).  I think the print quality is better for the money than from some photo sharing sites I’ve tried.  I sent the coupons to our family and they’ve been well received.

We’ve also been busy getting more colds and ear infections–argh!  It seems like the kids and I have been endlessly sick this winter.  I’m blaming too much upheaval in our home and not enough downtime, but maybe it’s just that both my kids cannot keep their hands off germy objects or out of their mouths.

Winter days

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I think every year my husband starts complaining about winter at about this time, and each year I’m surprised that winter is even in full swing already (wasn’t it just Christmas?) and then all of the sudden I get impatient for spring too.  I have to say, though, that I’m not as impatient this year.  For one thing I’m not horridly pregnant like last year, and for another it is just much easier to live in the present now that this move is over.  Without having to constantly put “real life” on hold to show the house or to spend so much time prepping for change it is easier to appreciate and even linger on each day.  One of the things I’ve been really enjoying this winter (besides my fireplace, have I mentioned that lately?) is this cookbook.  I got it for Christmas and it’s the best.  I love America’s Test Kitchen (I’ve blogged about my fierce devotion to Cooks Illustrated before) and I love the unaffiliated magazine Cooking Light, and this cookbook seems to be the best of both worlds.  The recipes have the reliability of Cooks Illustrated and the health aspects of Cooking Light.  Perfect!  Of course, some of them also have the fussiness factor and four-hours-later-dinner-is-on-the-table factor of CI, but that’s part of the journey, right?  I swooned over the vegetarian chili (with tempeh), scarfed up the cornbread, served the spaghetti and meatballs for Rob’s birthday, splurged on the oven fries, slurped the lentil soup, and changed my go-to bread recipe to their basic whole-wheat loaf. And I’ve only had the book since Christmas!  The only recipe I’ve tried but didn’t love was multigrain pancakes, which were dry, but I think I may have overcooked them.  In any case the red pepper frittata we ate with them was superb!

Could anything be sweeter than this?  Both of my kids somehow made it into my bed in the wee small hours a couple nights ago and I snapped this photograph of them in the morning.  I think they should always wear coordinating clothes because I’m surely more patient with them when I’m giddy over their matchy cuteness.  Rock star pajamas!  My sleeping angels.  This picture will keep me going next time they are irritated with each other and I’m feeling likewise toward them.

The house is still coming along.  The kitchen and dining room are shaping up and gradually other things are migrating to new, permanent homes.  Sometimes stuff doesn’t want to stay where you unpack it–it has to get moved around a bit before it settles.  I organized my serger thread in a lovely old cabinet that belonged to my grandparents and I think the colors are so pretty; it’s like a functional rainbow over in that corner of my family room.  I also purchased an old wooden ironing board at an antiques store so that I can leave it out in the family room and hope it looks more like furniture than something that is on loan from the basement.  I want all my sewing supplies to be out and accessible, but I don’t want my living space to look too utilitarian.  Hopefully I’ll figure that out.