Monday, January 31, 2011

A face only a mother could love

Clearly that statement does not apply here.

Bottoms up

Happy Monday! :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brain Dump

Nothing new to report on the home improvement front, and not much going on with the kids, but I've been having a lot of deep thoughts lately. This post is definitely one to skip if you are because, you probably won't be able to follow my leap-frog like thought process; but, it's my blog, and I'll brain dump if I want to.

I've recently become familiar with the term Naturalism. According to wikipedia, Naturalism is a philosophy that posits a particular picture of reality, being, and existence that typically excludes the supernatural. In lay-man's terms Naturalism is the belief that being and existence do not occur outside natural law and the observable universe.

Does that mean no heaven?? How depressing.

The afterlife aside, I am confused by scientists that dismiss the supernatural so easily. Not because I believe in the loch ness moster, and not because I believe in ghosts or even creationism, but because I believe that the only consistent and unchanging thing about science is the fact that we continue to prove we do not know everything. Daily the unseen becomes seen. Daily the observable universe expands. Natural law is not a finite set of rules guys. There isn't one concrete set of rules you can reliably hang your hat on for the rest of eternity because pesky little things like space, time and gravity have been shown to be inconsistent thanks to all your hard work, no less!

It's just sad to me when people say they don't know everything, but act like they know enough to say there is no God or afterlife. What a subject to come to a conclusion on. I mean, genes, molecules, viruses...these are frontiers that no scientist in his right mind would say we've seen it all. Yet, the frontier of an afterlife or higher power is wrapped up; the book is shut.

I'll be the first to admit the supernatural, and religion are slippery slopes. There are a lot of stupid, fanatical and superstitious people out there that give spirituality a bad name. I believe whole heartedly in a God. I believe whole heartedly in an afterlife. I'm not 100% on any of the details, but it seems in the history of man, no other belief has been so universally held as one in a deity and an afterlife. It takes many shapes and forms in many different cultures, but every continent, every race, and just about every society from the smallest tribe to the largest empire believed in a higher power. That says something to me. That says that something deep down in our make-up wants to believe (maybe even senses?) there is something bigger than us out there. That this life is not the end. To take it one step further, it is a yearning that does not seem to diminish with time or scientific discovery. Religion has not died out since the discovery of the cell, the atom, evolution or even DNA. Every one of these discoveries, and countless others like it, should have profoundly negated religion, but religious beliefs have persisted in the face of every major scientific discovery. Everything that should have convinced us there is no God, hasn't. My point is, there are observable things going on here....just not under the microscope.

The trouble with God is he is judged by the most vocal of his followers, and sadly, the most vocal are often the least educated. As much as I admire the spirit of anyone speaking up for what they believe in, I wish a few more smart Christians would speak up from time to time. I don't claim to be the smartest of Christians, but I am smart enough to realize the world as we know it was not created in 7 days. The whole idea of a 'day' wasn't even created until around 3500 B.C. with the advent of obelisks that tracked the sun's movement, and the whole idea of a '24 hour' day (or even an hour for that matter) wasn't created until 1500 B.C. (or later) with the advent of sun dials. And even if God, for some reason was privy to the current form of time keeping, the sun wasn't created until the fourth 'day' of the creation story, so how then, if it were a literal story, would the first three 'days' be marked? So, no, the creation story in the bible is not a play by play on exactly what happened at the dawn of life much the same way Revelations will not be a play by of exactly what goes down if an asteroid ever hits the earth. It doesn't mean God didn't create the universe or earth or everything else, it just means the story is not a literal translation of how it happened because you have to remember, the target audience was the illiterate commoner of 1400 B.C., not the 21st century scholar. But, if you ask me, the creation story does correlate very closely to what we do know about evolution. Eerily so for a document that was written thousands of years before Mr. Darwin came along. I mean, for a writer (or writers) who knew nothing about natural selection and gene mutation, primordial soups and such, the author or authors of Genesis did a pretty good job explaining to the common folk how we could go from nothing to something.

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with all of this, I just know that everything I believe about God and Christianity has been wavering lately. I believe in God, I am just having deep issues with the whole Christ thing and I don't like such huge aspects of my belief system being up in the air, and I'm eager to reconcile these uncertainties, but not sure that I will like what I find if I go looking for answers. Other thoughts have been heavy on my mind, like what I want to be when I grow up (I'm leaning towards flight attendant), or how it is that I can be 30 years old with an amazing husband, house and kids and still find a zillion reasons to be insecure, but I think that's plenty of brain dumping for one day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The best six-bucks I ever spent

Our kitchen island is the only logical place to store pots and pans, but it's just a mess under there.  It's one big open shelf with this huge venting tube running down the middle and conduit cables running everywhere (our cook top is in the island). Anyway, it's hard enough keeping the pots and pans stacked, but throw in the lids sliding around, and it's just chaos.

I took a trip to Ikea to check out their built-in kitchen storage solutions, but I was just window shopping.  On my way out, I spied a cheap plastic drying rack and decided to give it a shot. I can't believe what a difference $6 made!

Update:  Ikea doesn't seem to sell this drying rack anymore, but they sell something similar for $8.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baby steps

We finally had some free time last weekend to jump start a few projects, and I wanted to share the finished product.

I have been toying with the idea of painting our bedroom the color in this photo:
but I was worried it would be too dark (we don't get much natural light in there), so I decided to try it first in the smallest room in the house, the powder bathroom.

The color we chose was Sherwin Williams Deep Sea Dive (the middle color).  It's a dark teal that has a little more blue to it than the teal in the inspiration picture.
We took the swatch to Lowes and had it color matched in their Olympic Premium paint with no VOC's.  It's about $5-$10 cheaper than a gallon of SW paint, and has almost no odor - very nice when working in tight spaces and around small kids.

Our powder bathroom before (sorry about the angle, it's tight in there):

And after (ignore the arm):

Here's a better shot of the color

Notice anything different other than the paint? I'll give you a rhymes like packsplash. It's hard to tell because the picture is so dark, but the backsplash is gone.  The idea came from a blog I am not-so-secretly obsessed with called young house love (thanks Lindy for getting me hooked!). I do not love our bulky built in sink/cabinet in that tiny room and have been pricing out pedestal sinks. I decided if we'd be demo-ing the whole buit-in  someday, it was worth removing the backsplash to see if it made the sink look any less built-in. Plus, it gave me a little room to hone my DIY skills (catch the pun?). I must say....we hit a few road bumps like the hole that was hiding behind one of the pieces of granite.

It took three tries, lot's of cursing and questioning if it we should just put the backsplash back on, but I finally got the hole fixed. You can check out the tutorial I wish I had watched before my first two unsuccessful attempts here.

Between the backsplash, hole repair and paint job it's shocking how many lessons were learned in updating such a tiny room and I'm glad it's over with, but I'm also glad we took a leap of faith and tried something ourselves for a change instead of paying someone to do it. And the verdict on the color?  Well, I love it, but it's way to dark for all four walls of our bedroom, so I'm thinking of trying it as an accent wall much like this photo.

Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

nO Meat Goodness

If you're anything like me, you are constantly on the hunt for filling, tasty meatless dinners.  Well, we've had some hits and misses, but we tried a winner tonight and I just wanted to share.

Lentils and Spinach over Rice
(got the original recipe here, but my version is way better if I do say so myself)
  • 2 cups brown rice (and any additional ingredients required by pkg)
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 2 med-large white onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups broth (I used low sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a 14.5oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted with garlic flavor)
  • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach (a little more than 4 cups, I think)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook brown rice according to package directions.  (Usually 1:2 ratio of rice to water...mix it together in a pot with a pat of butter (optional), bring to a boil then stir, cover and simmer on low for 35-45 minutes.)

While rice is simmering, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat in a stock pot.  Add diced onion and garlic, saute until tender and a nice golden color (about 5-7 min give or take).  Add a splash of the broth and stir, scraping the bottom to loosen any cooked-on garlic/onion goodness.  Add the rest of the broth, lentils, salt and cumin, give it a good stir, then cover and turn down heat to simmer for 35 minutes.  When there are *20 minutes remaining, add the carrots.  When there are 10 minutes remaining, add the tomatoes.  When there are 5 minutes or less remaining, wilt in the spinach.  Season to taste and serve over rice.
*15 minutes or less if you prefer your carrots al dente

I failed to take a picture of the final product because my cooking endeavors are usually not photo-worthy, but the final product looked something like this, only less soupy and with tomatoes

(p.s.  the pic is from a lentil soup recipe I found here.  Will have to try it, it looks tasty!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Christmas Card Contest!!! PLEASE VOTE!! :)

Clearly I am not above begging for votes for our family Christmas Card in order to win a free photo session (first place) or mini photo album (second place) from our amazing photographer Mackenzie Wheatley in her Christmas Card Contest! :)

PLEASE help us out - casting your vote is as easy as 1. 2. 3. 4.!

Step 1:
Become a Chubbyfoot fan on facebook by clicking HERE and then clicking "Like" at the top of the page

Step 2:
Open up the Christmas Card Contest 2011 photo album by either clicking on the link in the news feed, the Photos tab or HERE

Step 3:
From the Christmas Card Contest 2011 album select our card (8th pic in the album last I checked)

Step 4:
"Like" our Christmas Card to cast your vote!

Still confused?  Here are some visual aids to walk you through the process.  Dad, these are not actual screens, just pictures of screens, so take mental notes, then go back through the above instructions to actually cast you vote :)   

Thank you so so much for taking the time to vote!  If you feel so inclined, feel free to share these links with friends and family! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

My what bold colors you have.

Still not sold on the brown tones, but, we're getting closer!

Not pictured is this color scheme are surprise color(s) I have in store for our interior doors :)

Rome wasn't built in a weekend.

This is the what I have to keep telling myself when it comes to the ever growing list of things I want to do to the house. Here's just a slice (in no particular order)

Add crown molding in dining, powder, master bath, upstairs bed rms and baths
Add recessed lighting in master, master bath, game rm, living , kitchen and laundry
Add/move/remove light switches in living, dining, game rm, master bed and bath
Add fence extension in front
Add gutters
Replace pulls in cabinets throughout
Replace windows throughout
Paint every rm in the house
Paint and repair exterior siding
Replace upstairs carpet
Replace heating and cooling unit that are original to the house
Add insulation in attic
Add plywood surface in attic for storage
Add plywood fire block in breezeway opening
Add additional back porch light
Replace light fixtures throughout
Replace stair runner
Refinish stairs
Add pocket doors to upstairs bath
Replace or add curtain rods throughout
Remove and replace upstairs blinds
Install blinds or shades in kitchen
Install built in baby gate at top of stairs
Add a lock to Carter's door
Extend tile to the sink areas upstairs
Replace tile in master bath
Extend wood flooring into laundry and back entry areas
Replace any white quarter round with stained-to-match quarter round
Scrape ceiling texture, and paint all ceilings the same color white
Trim out windows throughout
Remove wallpaper from baths, texture and paint
Paint upstairs trim
Build desk for kitchen
Repair or replace broken cabinet hardware in kitchen and baths
Sand and touch up all downstairs trim and cabinets
Adjust trim around fireplace
Paint and reenforce mantle

The kicker is, these are all just some of the *small* projects on the list. Bigger projects include gutting the master bath and completely re-doing it as well as the kitchen.

When I look at this list I get so discouraged, especially after a weekend completely devoted to house stuff...I mean we nearly killed ourselves just to get two or three thing done before thie kids are back.

Anyway, just have to keep telling myself it will all happen, just not in one weekend.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

While kids are away, parents will play!

At the last minute, my parents volunteered to take the kiddos this weekend, which we totally jumped at because there have been a number of projects we've been dying to tackle that require a little bit of demo (not easy to do when little kids are all up in the mix).

Here's a little preview of the fun stuff happening around here:

Like that last pic??  That was dinner last night.  Yea, those are plastic ice cubes in box wine, and those are frozen red baron pizzas in the background.  We are classy like that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

West Elm has it out for my New Year's Resolutions

So nothing original happening here in the way of New Year's resolutions. Save more, spend less, exercise more, eat less.  Same ole, same ole. Well, we're not two weeks into the new year, and West Elm is just tugging at my heart strings (aka my purse strings) already.  I mean, love, love, love and LOVE:

Versatile Aluminum side tables?  Yes please, I'll take 2.  One in white (which is powder coated for outdoor use) and one in silver.

These lovely pewter dupioni silk panels were something I combed the retail world for about a year ago before settling on some beautiful hand painted linen panels, and apparently I was just ahead of my time, because a year later, viola.  Thanks West Elm (not).  
They are also having a sale on their blue sage dupioni panels -  50% off with free shipping.  Seriously!  I am trying to figure out how to work them into the budget as I type. update! Port, a beautiful deep red, is now also on sale for OVER half off with free shipping.

Here's another thing I am convinced W.E. is messing with me on.  I searched HIGH AND LOW for something just like their new white slip covered sectional (that was less than 2k) before settling on a large slip covered sofa from JCP.  Alas, West Elm, I am just ahead of your time again apparently.
P.S.  The coffee table in the pic?  Yea, want that too.

I think this chair would look amazing in our bedroom, or pretty much anywhere in our house.

My new bedding obsession are pin-tucks.  I love love love this square pin-tuck bedding because it is a lot less feminine than the diamond counterpart which I also love, but less frills means it's more likely to pass the Mr. C test since he tends to veto bedding choices he thinks are girly.
Can I also tell you how much I am in love with the cowhide on the floor??  Yes, I day dream about stepping out of bed onto a dead animal, and no I'm not joking.  I'm from south Texas, ok?  Lucky for me they sell them at Ikea.

And if a brown and white cowhide is too hee-haw for your tastes, how stunning is this white cowhide????  It's more than twice the cost of the one I'm saving up for at Ikea, but soooo elegant, and in the decorator-world pretty reasonable for a rug of its size.  

I have a serious weakness for pedestal tables and this lovely with its salt and pepper wood grain is just stunning.  And the mirrored top?  Well lets just say I'll be stalking the WE site keeping my eye on this beauty in hopes of a sale.
P.S.  I am in LOVE with the paint color in this photo.  Anyone have a clue what it is??  I am picturing it our bedroom with our new white pin-tuck bedding our espresso bedroom furniture and a beautiful brown and white dead cow on the floor.  Can you see it???

If dead animal hides aren't your cup-o-tea, there are plenty of other rugs I am loving from WE like this beautiful zig zag number:
 Which is also available in Espresso:

 And this beautiful orange number:
Also available in green:

And I can't forget this yellow beauty which is also available (though much less tempting) in brown.

So there you have it, West Elm is out to single handedly trying to undo my resolution to be thrifty. Ok not really, but it feels like it some times.  I'm just having to remind myself that as much as I love all these beautiful things, I love my children more, and would really like to send them to college someday. And until then, little things like new windows and gutters are taking precedent with any cash we can eek out for the house. Guess I'm gonna have to get creative! And maybe bust out a sewing machine.  I mean how hard could a pin-tuck be? Don't answer that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where does ______ come from?

Carter has found a new favorite passtime, asking were anything and everything comes from (thankfully he hasn't asked about babies yet).
So, here's a sample of today's contestants in the "Where does ____ come from?" game.

Time Out

I try to use these questions as teaching opportunities, but I'm usually the one getting schooled.  Take the latest conversation.

Carter:  Where does juice come from?
Me:  It depends on the type of juice.  Orange juice comes from oranges. Pear juice comes from pears.  Grape juice comes from grapes. 
Carter: Grape juice comes from grapes.  
Me: So Carter, if grape juice comes from grapes and orange juice comes from oranges, where do you think apple juice comes from?
Carter:   Apple juice comes from the kitchen!

Maybe I should just take Mr. C's approach, and just tell him that everything comes from God or HEB.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot (less) like Christmas.

Taking down Christmas stuff, but wanted to take a few pictures of the decorations in the tradition of our little Christmas house.  I didn't want to put a ton out this year because we were still in the throws of getting settled in, and Christmas Eve and morning were going to be at my parent's house.  I did splurge on some real garland, a few potted plants for the front porch and some gold ribbon I can use again (from the Container Store of course :).  All-in-all I liked how it came out...not overwhelming, but enough to feel like the holidays, and room to improve and add on next year.

I love our willow tree nativity.  It's risky to put it out with the kids, and I'll admit a lamb and a shepherd have had to be super glued back together, but I put the Fisher Price nativity under it to keep the kids from messing with it, and it works as a good distraction about 90% of the time.  I do occasionally walk by and notice things moved around, though, like a wise man in the stable with Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus would be hanging out over by the camel. :)

Still torn on the final destination for a tree in this house, but for this year, we hedged it into a corner to limit access to little exploring hands.

This is actually a garland I used to put on our dining table, but our dining room is becoming an office so I wrapped it into a wreath.  I liked it so well, I think I may keep it like this for good. 

The garland used to light up, but this year one of the strands went out  We opted to put it up anyway, and re-evaluate the outside lighting plan next year. Mr. C just LOVES outside lights (ok maybe not so much, but I love outside lights, so he humors me :)

I know it's a little cheesy to decorate the mailbox, but I loved it and hopefully the postman did too. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

One lucky little booger

We celebrated the first weekend of the new year with a trip to Austin to visit Mr. C's three living grandparents.  We decided to have dinner on Saturday evening at the Black Eyed Pea given it was New Years and black eyed peas are supposed to bring luck if eaten on New Years Day (for a really delicious way to get your yearly dose of good fortune, click here).  Plus, they were one of the few restaurants open because it was a holiday.

Well, I don't think we were the only people that had this clever idea because the place was packed and there was a 15 minute wait for a table.  Knowing it would take at least 15 minutes to load two kids back into the car and find another open restaurant, we opted to camp out and do our best to corral the kids while we waited.

They had a little display of two champagne glasses filled with uncooked black eyed peas (toasting the new year, and the prosperity back eyed peas bring and what not).  It was cute, but Carter kept playing with it.  I was so worried he was going to knock the glasses over and spill beans and broken glass everywhere, I failed to notice he had taken a few of the little peas for souvenirs when they finally called our name.

As we were walking to the table, Carter kept sticking his finger up his nose.  I kept trying to nonchalantly nudge his finger out of his nostril, but he was very insistent on keeping it lodged right were it was, and to make matters worse, the entire trek to the table, he proceeded to get more and more upset.  When we finally got situated at the table, he was in a full-on tantrum.  He kept screaming for me to wipe his nose, which I kept doing, but it didn't seem to alleviate whatever had set him off.

Carter had a runny nose for the week prior to all of this, and being prone to nose bleeds, it did not startle me too badly when all of a sudden his nose started bleeding during this chaos.  Figuring that was what had been bothering him so badly, I took him outside to try to calm him down and mop up the mess, but he just would not calm down, and I finally just decided to abort dinner and take the kids home.

Once home, the little guy had calmed down, but he was not interested in eating, so figuring he was just tired from a long day of travel and visiting, we changed him into his jammies to get him ready for bed.  As I reached for the toothbrush to brush his teeth, he flipped out again.  He kept screaming "it hurts" every time I tried to tilt his head back to brush his teeth.  All of a sudden, he let out a big sneeze, and out of my son's nose comes........yea, you guessed it.  A black eyed pea.

So, if black eyed peas are supposed to bring luck on New Yeas Day, then I think it's safe to say, Carter definitely had is one lucky little booger!!!

Happy New Year! :)