Monday, April 30, 2012

obsessions {link up}

 There's a little blog called saige wisdom out there.  I can't recall how we found one another, but we have some striking similarities.  Like the fact that we're both gingers (well, me, at least almost) with little ginger baby Gabriels of our own.  Fun.

Anyhoo, Sara over at sw is running a little link up about current obsessions.  I thought I'd link up this week and see what others in the blogosphere are obsessed with.

For me?

~First and foremost this week, the declutter**.  I can't tell you how good it feels to  I am going to make a FORTUNE at our upcoming yard sale, because the pile of goods in the "to sell" stack is growing at an alarming rate.  So far, my room is completely gutted, and Gabe's is close.  At least in those two rooms of the house, I can breathe again.  Aahhhh....
Remember that huge pile of crap that used top reside against that wall?  Well, it is no longer spewing itself everywhere around my bedroom.  Joy.
~Sam Adams Boston Lager.  I feel like anything Sam Adams makes is like the most generic of the craft beers.  J says that Sam Adams was just the trailblazer of the craft beer movement.   Either way?  I don't care.  I just love a Boston Lager.  (Read it like BAH-stin LAH-ga in your head.  It's more fun that way.)  And after a long day of decluttering, (or who am I kidding, even after a long day of sitting on my duff watching trashy daytime TV), nothing beats a cold beer.

~Speaking of TV- I have a renewed obsession with Gilmore Girls.  The reality of the situation is that the only time the TV is turned on during the day is while I eat my lunch, just after I put the nugget down for his nap.  And these days, I have been re-watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning whilst eating my bologna sandwiches.  Oh, how I love those zany Gilmores.

And there ya have it.  My obsessions for the week, and my first ever link up.  That was fun, wasn't it?

**Disclaimer: This was actually written on Friday, but I somehow didn't get around to actually posting it until today.  Unfortunately, due to the ripping up of bonus room carpet, a few boxes have made their way back into my bedroom.  Sad face.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Movies and a Disappointment

J was out of town last weekend. and so I took the opportunity to watch some movies that I've been meaning to get to for awhile (and by awhile I mean years) that I knew J didn't necessarily care to see.

Come Academy Awards time, am I the only one that suddenly needs to see all of the critically acclaimed movies that no one has seen but yet are nominated for copious amounts of awards?

The first film I chose was Milk.  This film won two academy awards in January of 2009.  Yep, I'm a little behind here.  The film is a biographical account of the rise of politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to ever be elected to public office in the state of California.  What a wonderful character.  Sean Penn did an outstanding job playing this courageous man (and won the Best Actor trophy to prove it). It was fascinating to see his fight to be heard, and his passionate work for equality.  It is terribly sad that his fate was to be assassinated, as it is certain that Harvey Milk would have done great things.  Definitely a movie worth seeing.

The next film was an oldie that I've been meaning to watch forever, To Kill a Mockingbird.  A professor of mine once used this film as an example to counter my argument that movie versions are never as good as the book.  Since that class, six or so years ago, I have been meaning to watch this movie.  My conclusion?  That professor is a liar.  Or has questionable taste in movies.  Or both.  You see, I loved the novel.  It left me full.  Those of you that are readers of great novels will understand what I mean when I say that.  The movie did not have the same affect on me.  I will say that Gregory Peck played an incomparable Atticus Finch, but other than that, I just did not have the same passion about the film as I did about the novel.  But not a bad movie, if you like the oldies.

My third film of the weekend was Slumdog Millionaire.  In 2009, when Sean Penn won that Best Actor trophy?  Slumdog Millionaire won just about every other Oscar there is.  Eight of them, to be precise, including Best Picture.  This movie was truly wrought with emotion.  At any given moment, I may have felt happiness, sorrow, fear, or hope.  A truly intriguing story of an uneducated young man performing shockingly well on India's version of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire," the film takes us back to circumstances in the boy's life the led him to know the answers on the quiz show.  And his life has been far from easy, being orphaned at a young age and forced to survive the streets with his brother.  This was an excellent, excellent film. If you haven't already seen it, then I demand that you rent it this weekend.

And lastly, one HUGE disappointment.  After these cultured, smart films, you'd think I would have stuck with the trend, no?  Well, as I knew J would NEVER want to see it, I decided to watch "Bad Teacher."  Mostly because it stars my number one crush, Justin Timberlake.  Well, not only was this movie sheer and utter crap, I was temporarily slightly less attracted to my beloved JT after witnessing the horror that was his character.  The premise is that Cameron Diaz, the bad teacher, only wants one thing in life: to marry a rich man.  She's only teaching until she can reach that goal...that is, until she decides that bigger boobs could help her reach that goal more quickly.  So the school year turns into a way to lie, cheat, and steal money for her "new titties" jar.  I truly couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  JT plays a do-gooder substitute from an extremely wealthy family.  His extreme loserness makes me cringe just thinking about it even now, a week and a half later.  Ugh.  The only bright spot I found in this movie was that while grading reports, Cameron writes on one student's paper "Are you f**king kidding me?"  This made me giggle, as I can't tell you how often over the years that exact phrase has gone through my mind.  (And if you are a fellow teacher, don't try to tell me that you've never thought the same.)  Bottom line here?  PLEASE don't watch this movie.  You will do nothing but wish you had that hour and a half of your life back.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Track Out, Week 2

Here I am, heading into the second week of my very last track out.  After this week, I head back to school for 43 more days of teaching.  (Not that I'm counting, or anything.)

On the agenda for the week?

  • A visit from my mom.  She is very handy, and is always willing to help me with projects around the house.  This week's project is ripping up the carpet in the bonus room and prepping the sub-floor for new carpet.  We may even throw in a side of painting the nugget's new bathroom.  Fun stuff.
  • Organizing yard sale paraphernalia.  Seriously, I feel like I'm getting ready to open shop.  And yet we still have so much stuff...hmmm...  
  • Putting away some of Gabe's baby stuff, and organizing his room a little bit.  This kid is all big boy now.  I'm pretty sure the receiving blankets and burp cloths are no longer vital items to be included in his changing table baskets.  They will be replaced with books (his favorite thing- yay!), which he can have access to when he wants to sit in his new chair to read.
I have been dreaming of my boy sitting in this adorable mini-chair for months.  I'm spending next month's allowance to get it for him, because I love it so.  And he loves little chairs so.  And also books.  Can you picture the cuteness, along with the correct name embroidered on the chair back?

  • Many visits to the park.  My big boy loves it there.
Exciting stuff, huh?  Ah, the life of a stay at home mom.  A girl could get used to this.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hunger Games, Revisited

Remember back when I wrote this review about The Hunger Games trilogy?  Yes, it was shocking that I had fallen deeply in love with a science fiction series.  That pretty much goes against everything that I stand for, but it happened.  And I embrace it.

You can imagine my excitement at the recent release of the movie.  J and I don't get the opportunity to hit the theater too often, so I assumed I might just have a wait on my hands to get to see this one.  But lo and behold, while visiting J's family for Easter, they sent us on our merry way so that they could have some nugget time all to themselves.  Huzzah!

Movie versions of beloved books always make me nervous.  I get so wrapped up in stories and characters in my mind, and then I am often so terribly disappointed at their screen portrayal.  Folks, I am happy to report that this was not the case with The Hunger Games.

To the director, actors, and screenwriters, I say BRAVO.

This movie was all of the excitement, angst, terror, sadness, and joy that the book was.  Although I love going to the movies, I usually catch myself checking the time somewhere around the halfway point, to see how much longer there is to go.  During this two-and-a-half hour film, I didn't check the time once.

J said he liked the movie even better than the book.  WHOA.

There were moments where I felt even more emotion watching the story unfold on the screen than I did while reading the words on the page.  UNHEARD OF.

The best part, for me, was my renewed love affair with these characters.  After leaving the theater, I couldn't wait to go home and reread the book.  Which I did.  And finished it in a mere weekend.

Bottom line?  Read these books.  See this movie.  I promise that you won't be sorry.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Proof is in the Pudding

I've been absentee lately, due to the mess that is my house.

Once we made the decision to stay put for at least another year, I became a woman possessed.  Refinancing is in progress (thank you, Mr. President!).  We will be saving almost $300 a month on our mortgage payment.  Refinance- CHECK!

Now to declutter.  I am telling you, folks, we are bursting at the seams and spilling crap out all over the place.  The storage situation up in here is positively abysmal.

I decided that the closets were the first spot to tackle.  I mentioned earlier that when I bought this house, all of my clothing and shoes fit into the closet space just fine- as long as I used the closets in all three bedrooms.  I used the closet in my bedroom for the bulk of my clothes, I used the closet in guest bedroom #1 (now Gabe's room) for my dresses, and I used the closet in guest bedroom #2 for my shoes.  That's right, I had an entire closet just for my shoes.

Then J moved in, and I had to share my space!  That was the first closet hurdle that I managed.  I got rid of some clothing that I no longer wore, and added his (very small) collection of clothing into the closet in the master bedroom.  (After, of course, I tried talking him into taking space in one of the guest bedroom closets.  He refused.  Hmph.)

The second, and much bigger, hurdle came when I had to give up an entire closet for that son of mine.  I wasn't sure how I was going to manage this one.  I simply did not have room for all of the clothes in one closet.  SO, I moved all of my dresses into the shoe closet.  Seems simple enough, except for that in order to get to the shoes, it was now like parting the red sea.  The dresses completely cloaked the shoes, and you had to shove clothing aside this way and that to shimmy your way in between them to get to the footwear.  Ideal?  Absolutely not.  But workable?  I suppose.
The right half of the shoes were completely accessible, but the left...

There they are!

So here we are, present day.  Two very stuffed closets, one mama on a mission.  I want all of our things in our closet.  Guest bedroom closet needs to be free to store other things (for now) and then free for another baby (someday).

This also brings me to the identity crisis that I am now experiencing.

I am more than extremely grateful and excited and positively over the moon about the chance to be a stay-at-home mom.  Please do not question that.  But as I'm looking through my closets at all of my stuff, I am realizing that some big changes are happening, and the things that were once so precious to me are finding themselves in the yard sale pile.  If you know me in real life, you know that I am a bit obsessed with shoes.  I have well over one hundred pairs (probably closer to two hundred if I'm being honest and counting all of the flip flops).  So many pairs of gorgeous heels that I realize haven't been worn since I had the nugget.  And really, where would I wear them?  Maybe to work, but now even that opportunity is disappearing.  SO, since I am on a mad mission, they've gotta go.
Goodbye, old friends.

Goodbye, Michael Kors.

Goodbye, Coach.

The keepers, waiting to be re-shelved in their new closet.

On a related note, I DO NOT wear shorts.  Don't like 'em.  But I just had to break down and by some, since I will no longer be spending my days wearing summer dresses in an air conditioned building.  I will be spending my days outside at the park, chasing a toddler.  And friends, it's HOT here.  Shorts suddenly became a necessity.  WHO AM I?

Okay, identity crisis established.  Back to the mission.

Clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, all forming some giant piles in my currently trashed bedroom.  They're outta here.  My mission has been accomplished.  The only thing that still hangs in the guest closet is my wedding dress.  I think that one's okay.

No more clothes!  Only a ridiculous number of pillows, which for the life of me I have no idea why I own.

The yard sale pile, ever-growing.

My closet, before:

My closet, after:
Even the shoes fit now!
Also, organized jewelry, to take the place of the massive three-drawer plastic monstrosity that took up the floor of my closet previously.  Thanks, Pinterest, for this idea:
Seriously, my necklaces were tossed in a drawer, tangled into one gargantuan knot.  It made getting ready each morning a super fun adventure.

Closet consolidation = success.

Flooring the attic space is next on the list.  Maybe once we accomplish that, I'll be able to open Gabe's closet without its contents literally spilling out all over me.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Celebrity Ick

Celebrity Ick Number One:
Tori Spelling is pregnant again.  This will be baby number four for her and hubby Dean McDermott.  The fourth baby is not my problem here...having four kids is great, and I may just catch up to them someday.  The ick factor here comes into play with the timing.  Tori's youngest, Hattie, was only one month old when Tori found out she was expecting again!  Apparently, she didn't want to neglect her hubby, so she gave into sex before the recommended six week wait after giving birth.  My lady parts hurt just thinking about this.  Also, Tori bought into the myth that you can't get pregnant while breastfeeding.  Idiot.

Celebrity Ick Number Two:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are engaged.  WHO CARES?  They've been together for many years and have a whole gaggle of children together.  I get their commitment.  And also, I'm tired of any and all hype surrounding Brangelina.  I don't know why, but they just bug me.  Even though they are both smokin' hot.  I'm bothered.  And another thing?  I find the ring to be U.G.L.Y.  Are you all as shocked as I am about that?  The diamond is the size of my fist.

Icky.  That is all.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'll Be Back

I apologize for my absence.  I am officially tracked out for the next two weeks (YAY!), and as such, I have been either A.) playing with my boy or B.) cleaning, organizing, decluttering, refinancing, and in general, making my home more livable.  I promise to update soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pinspired: Pinned It, Did It! Vol. 2

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting (with baited breath, of course) the next installment in my Pinspired series.  I am happy to report that you may now breathe easy, because here it is.

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops.  These were okay, but I think if I made them again, they could be great.  I think I used too much oil in the pan, so they got a little soggy.  Also, I think I put them in too early, before the oil was hot enough.  Easy fixes for next time.  The sauce, however, was least it was the first time I made it.  I've made it to go with stir fry twice since the initial attempt, and it wasn't quite the same either time.  I will get it right again, I swear.  It was really SO GOOD.

Cheesy Biscuits.  J loved these.  I thought they were alright.  The flavor was good, but the texture was more muffin than biscuit.  I like my biscuits to be biscuity, ya know?  Not sure I'll make these again. 

Tip for cleaning berries. The idea is to soak berries in one part vinegar to ten parts water, followed by a rinse with fresh water. I tried this with strawberries...the claim was that they could go two weeks without getting soft and moldy, because the vinegar would kill mold spores and bacteria. FAIL. I got less than a week out of the berries. If it's possible, I think they started to go bad a little sooner than if I had just rinsed them in tap water, per my norm.

No-heat wave enhancer. I followed the advice of one of the comments, and twisted these twists up into two buns. I took it a step further and slept this way. (We have established that I am not a morning person- I shower before bed.) Success! This is my go-to hair of the moment. I can even make it last two days by combing, then spritzing hair with a water bottle to dampen, and re-bunning before bed. Day two waves are just as great. This has always been my problem with letting my natural waves go- two day hair just wasn't feasbile, and I'm a two day hair kinda girl. Love this trick. So does my hubby, who prefers my hair curly.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

James Bond, You're Dead To Me

James Bond...perhaps the coolest badass of them all.  He is suave and debonair, and yet he will punch you right in the throat if you look at him sideways.  And you won't even have seen it coming.  After all, he does have a license to kill. 

His character is one of the most iconic of all time.

What is he known for?  Well, romancing the ladies, of course.  Everybody knows that James gets all the ladies.  Catching bad guys (and their hottie assistants, whom he will surely get busy with before they are killed by said bad guys).  Solving mysteries.  All the while, wearing a stylish suit and crisp shirt.  Much more smooth businessman than secret spy.  And that 007- after he introduces himself to the hottie at the bar- "My name is Bond...James Bond"- he orders himself a martini.  Shaken, not stirred.

That is, until now.

The sellouts over in 007ville have made a deal with the devil.  Heineken being the devil in this particular case. 

According to this article, James will no longer be ordering martinis in the upcoming Bond installment "Skyfall."  Instead, he will belly up to the bar and order a Heineken.


Not only does this ruin the classic James Bond image for me, but HEINEKEN?  It's not even good!  At least they could have chosen a pricey craft beer over this mediocre import. 

For the record, the article was found and forwarded to me by J.  As a 007 fan, he may have cried a little inside upon reading this atrocious news.  And who could blame him?

For shame, James.  For shame.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

To Go or Not To Go: That is the Question

Lately, J and I have been tossing around the idea of moving.  His new job comes with a hefty commute, which doesn't seem fair given the fact that I'll have the luxury of being at home.  Plus, although my house seemed like perfection when I bought it as a single woman, it's not as perfect now that I'm sharing it with a husband and child.

The biggest problem?  We are seriously lacking storage space of any kind. We do not have a floored attic, the house is on a slab, therefore no crawl space, and the one-car garage is already full of stuff.  And don't even get me started on the closet space.  When it was just me, I comfortably fit my wardrobe into the closets of all three bedrooms.  Having to share that space is a nightmare of epic proportions.

SO, I began to dream about a bigger house.  It just seemed like it was time.

But the truth of the matter is, our current house is plenty big for the three of us, and even a fourth if that should be in the cards anytime soon. And the more real (and depressing) truth is that we would almost assuredly lose money trying to sell my five-year-old house in this current market.

So this weekend, J and I made a plan.  We are staying put for at least the next year.  There are things we can do to make this house more livable, and more appealing for awhile longer.

First, Operation Save-a-Bonus-Room is in effect.  Door in our possession and to be installed soon, new flooring to follow.  Second, we will try and find a way to floor the attic, giving us some additional storage space.  Third, I will be doing some major cleaning out of crap we don't need.  And lastly, if we know we plan to stay put for awhile, we can refinance, and save some money on that monthly mortgage payment.  (You know, so we can spend it on these home projects.) 

Although I have a little sadness at kissing my bigger house goodbye (for now), it is a nice feeling to have a plan.

And now, I start working on my new to-do list!  J will be so pleased.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Kill Alex Cross

Folks, I just don't have a lot to say about this one.  Have you read any of the Alex Cross books before?  Yes?  Then this is just what you've come to expect.  James Patterson did not throw us any curve balls here.

If you have not ever read Alex Cross before, I don't expect you to start now.  After all, this is James Patterson's 17th novel featuring the cop/profiler/psychologist/hero.

The main storyline revolves around the kidnapping of the President's children.  Enter hero Alex Cross.  I don't want to give too much away to all of you fans out there who may not have read this one yet, but again, just what you've come to expect.

The secondary storyline may hold some promise, as a terrorist cell has invaded Washington, and the book concludes with some loose ends there.  We will most certainly revisit this again in the next Alex Cross book.

Bottom line?  If you're a fan, I'm sure you'll be fine with this book.  If you've never picked up an Alex Cross book, this probably isn't the one to start with.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Nugget Update

**Note: This post has been written and meant to be posted for days.  I kept putting it off, thinking that I really needed some more pictures to include.  But, as it so often happens, my picture taking has dropped off considerably as the months have passed, and I just don't have any other gems to include.  So enjoy the update with the few photos that I've included, and I promise to photo bomb you someday soon.

Since my little man turned one, I've stopped with the monthly updates.  After all, he's a big boy now, and while the milestones are wonderful, they're not so massive and frequent as they are during the first year.  Plus, I'm out of monthly stickers, and a post without a stickered onesie just seems wrong, ya know?

BUT, for those of you nugget lovers, I thought I'd post about a few of his recent goings-on.
  • He's talking.  Not coherently, mind you, but the boy is very verbal.  Lots of mamas and dadas and nanas and badabadas and get the idea.  He has recently added both intonation and facial expression to his babbling.  He clearly has a very important story to tell, and it is delightful to listen to him tell it.
  • He's moving.  FAST.  Yesterday, I had to actually run a little bit to catch him, as he was running away from me carrying something that he shouldn't have.  I don't even remember what it was.  Which brings me to my next bullet-
  • He's into EVERYTHING.  Cabinets, drawers, baskets, bins- he wants in.  And he gets in.  And he destroys.  Things are constantly strewn about my house, because as fast as I can pick them up, he's into another cabinet pulling everything out of it.  And how is it that the kid has one million toys, and yet all he really wants to do is chew on his shoe?
Did a tornado pass through the kitchen?  No, just Gabe.

  • He's loving the outdoors.  He wants to be outside all. the. time.  Luckily, the weather has been gorgeous, so we have been playing in the yard overtime.  This really just means an extra lot of poop-scooping from me.  But hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.
At the park, trying to figure out how the big kid swing works.

  • He's understanding.  It seems like everyday, there is another new word that he clearly understands.  He knows outside (his favorite place to be), upstairs (his second favorite place to be), Yo Gabba Gabba (we usually only watch one episode a day, just before his nap, but he knows it and loves it), eat (he runs to his high chair), and milk/juice (he gets his sippy cup).  The boy is learning.  Amazing to behold.
  • And finally, he's playing games.  He L.O.V.E.S. to be chased, especially by Daddy.  He will laugh and laugh and laugh, and he never wants to stop.  He also likes to play peekaboo, and up/down.  He'll stand on one side of the table and look at me.  When I say down, he crouches down, and when I say up, he pops his head back up.  Too cute.
An "up" in the up/down game.
Couldn't you just eat him up?


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