Friday, October 30, 2009

Syd says Happy Halloween!

Wow. Forcing the cat into ridiculous costumes really doesn't get old.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bookshelf for the Nursery

This past weekend I was able to paint a bookshelf we received from my parents for the nursery. They were no longer using it and suggested that we may want to use it for books, toys, etc. Armed with a quart of the same purple paint we put on the walls, it only took me 3+ coats to get the thing covered (for some reason those saturated colors we chose for wall stripes go on very translucently!). I was happy to discover that the lime green fabric bins I grabbed at Target fit perfectly onto all of the shelves - they'll work well for holding miscellaneous toys and other goodies. So far our book collection consists of a few old ones that David and I had, plus a handful that I purchased at rummage sales this summer. Since I'm big into children's picture books, I sure it will quickly expand!

Here's the before shot:

And here's the after:

Notice the lime green chenille loop rugs I found at Target. Love them! The nursery is really starting to fill in, but I'm anxious to get some prints on the walls and the rocker in place to really finish things up!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

30 weeks, 3 days

Okay, after a long birthing class I managed to remember to have David take our 30 week photos. Here it is!

Here's a photo from 2 weeks ago (roughly 28 weeks):

And from 4 weeks ago (roughly 26 weeks):

Monday, October 26, 2009

Whew! 30 weeks!

I hit 30 weeks on Friday, and meant to blog about it, but was swept up in new lab stuff - a teaching seminar, dealing with the cells for an experiment I hope to do this week, and various other little things that led to my distraction. I procrastinated about taking a picture yesterday - mostly because after I showered for the day, I didn't want to blow dry my hair or put on makeup, and frankly, we don't need photographic evidence of that. So, I'm due for a photo soon.

Tonight we start our 5 week course of birthing classes at the hospital where we will be delivering. We're not really sure what to expect, and as of this morning we still couldn't find out where the class is being held, so it should be interesting. I'll be sure to post any good stories.

We're just a few short days away from Nov 1st, which means I'll be two months away from my due date! The nursery is coming along - we're just waiting for our rocking recliner to get in and then for our baby shower to really get everything stocked. We're slowly crossing off our pre-baby 'to-do' list and trying to enjoy the final 2 months of life without a kid. We did manage to get to a concert last week, and we just bought tickets to see the Moscow Ballet's rendition of the Nutcracker for the second weekend in December (here's hoping she doesn't come too early!). We have 3 more Gopher home football games, at least 1 baby shower, and a big Thanksgiving holiday to look forward to in the next 5 weeks, so we'll be plenty busy!

I'm still feeling pretty good - but still having a hard time sleeping (can't get comfy), thus getting more tired during the day. I continue to get larger daily, and Baby Uno's movements are more and more pronounced. Now, instead of just feeling a kick out at my belly, I feel movements throughout my uterus. And, she's hiccuping a lot, which feels like a weird pulsing in my belly, but I checked with the NP last week and it's definitely hiccups! This whole process is so strange, it's hard to really describe.

I'll be sure to post more later this week - including pics of the bookshelf I painted for the nursery, and one of my ever-expanding belly!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oktoberfest Beer and Diapers Party

This past weekend the hubby and I hosted our final pre-baby party - it was an Oktoberfest-themed party in which we had our guests bring one 6-pack of an Oktoberfest or fall-season beer to share and a pack of diapers for us! We provided lots of yummy food, including chili, broccoli cheese soup, ginger and pumpkin cookies, and munchies, plus a bonfire (which didn't go so well because the wood was fairly cold and wet - even after we moved it into the garage to prevent it from getting rained on the week before!) and plenty of board games for those unwilling to venture outside. All in all, it was a fun night, there was a lot of yummy (looking) beer to try out and we ended up with a small cache of diapers and wipes (and one bib!) to get ready for the baby!

Syd really enjoyed the large stack of packages, until he managed to knock them over.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

Oh my god - I must have these costumes...if you have a blog and want to add a link to enter, do it - and then give them to me! ;) Amazing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

Just made these for our Oktoberfest party tomorrow night. Super yummy, although they can be frosted with a butter/powdered sugar frosting if you're into that kind of thing.

1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. canned pumpkin (1 15 oz can)
2 3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger (just realized I forgot this - damn!)
1 c. raisins (I substituted in chocolate chips!)
1 c. pecans (I toasted mine for extra flavor)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar, shortening, eggs, and pumpkin thoroughly. Blend dry ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture, stirring until well blended. Add raisins (or choc. chips) and pecans. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

The best part of these cookies is that they aren't too sickly sweet or soft - they have a nice consistency and good flavor. I'll definitely be making them again!

I also made chex mix and a double batch of broccoli cheese soup today - plus cleaned and worked on moving as much stuff out of my kitchen and dining room as possible in order to set up for the party. Tomorrow it's time to make 2 batches of chili and 4 loaves of beer bread before the guests arrive - and to watch the Gophers take on Penn State, of course!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Stumbled across A Soft Place to Land last week and discovered the DIY (do it yourself) day on Tuesdays - where everyone can link to a DIY post on their blog and then be entered to win a prize. Now I'm half-addicted to reading through the DIY projects lists - and even took time to try one out this weekend! I made these pumpkin jars - I think they turned out pretty cute, plus it was a fun little craft project for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last Hiding Place

Just took the opportunity to hide Caribbean picture for my boss - we've been hiding it back and forth for the past year (at least), but haven't hid it for awhile. I found it in his office today, so I figured I'd better find one last hiding place for it. So where did it end up? In the drug safe in the surgery suite.

And I can't remember if I posted these before or not, but one of the best hiding places that my boss hid it was in a book that he casually left among the rest of my textbooks on my desk. Can't imagine how long it took to hollow out the pages so that it fit perfectly!

It's pretty hard to believe that I'll be leaving this place that's basically been my home for the past 5 years!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Kingdom for Danimal

Daniel did not end up winning the crown for U of MN Homecoming king, however we did have a lot of fun with the festivities. Friday night our family, plus a few others, met up for a quick supper at Sally's, then watched the parade, then hung out in the new stadium for the pep fest.

Coronation was held at the pep fest, and the candidates each had to open up a box to see if they had the single yellow rose that would indicate they had won. All in all, it was a good time. Plus, we got lots of pictures of Danimal all dressed up and wearing his royalty sash!

The next morning, we woke up to snow on the ground and freezing (literally) cold temps - but we bundled up and hit the tailgating lots at 8am, enjoyed some hot egg bakes, hot apple cider, and coffee cake, the guys played some cornhole, and we headed off to the game. We were very thankful for the MULTIPLE layers of clothing, as well as our hand warmers we received for Christmas last year!

We made it through the game, the Gophers won, and David and I spent the rest of the evening napping and huddled under blankets to take full advantage of the warm house! Three more home games to go - and I can only imagine that they'll be even colder!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

6 Products I Could Not Live Without

I've been thinking about this post for awhile, but haven't gotten around to writing it up. Due to some recent developments (almost losing our dog in southern MN) and the changing weather, I've come to realize how much I rely on certain products, so I'd like to share them with all of you! But more importantly, what are some of YOUR favorite products?

1) Boomerang ID pet tags
I randomly came across these pet tags online when we first got our dog, Jonas. Since he's a large outdoor dog, I wanted to find something that was more likely to stay on his collar then the dangling ones that are common. So what's great about these tags? For one, the first tag I purchased works only on adjustable collars, which is what we predominantly use for Jonas. Instead of sliding onto the collar, it fits around the doubled-up part of the collar, and it STAYS!

Additionally, if it happens to fall off and get lost, they will replace your ID tag free of charge (this did happen once - who knows what Jonas was doing to get it to fall off, but I was able to get a replacement very quickly and they even had his particular tag in their database so I didn't have to refill out all of his info). After almost losing Jonas in the cornfields of southern MN, we decided to get a new blaze orange reflective collar (since we are entering deer hunting season, and he looks like a small deer!), but we needed a separate tag for this collar because it wasn't an adjustable one like our others. So I recently purchased one of their slide-on collar tags and am feeling better about his identification if he wanders off again.

2) Salsa Chopper

My mom and I purchased cheap, infomercial-like salsa makers at the MN state fair a few years ago and I was surprised by how much I use it! You literally just dump in your fresh ingredients, chop them up, and viola! You have fresh salsa. Plus, I almost never chop anything by hand anymore, I just toss it into the salsa chopper quick. Yes, I do have a food processor, and I also have a smaller Pampered Chef hand chopper, but I still use my salsa chopper more than either of the others.

3) Aerosole Mules

You may think it's weird that I have a shoe on my list, however I have worn this particular shoe for at least 3 years and it has faithfully stood by me through many falls and winters. They are the perfect size heel - just enough to make the legs and long jeans I prefer to wear look good, but low enough that my calves and shins aren't dying by the end of the day. I've purchased too many to count - I wear them out to the point of the heel almost breaking off and have to replace them as necessary (which is not to say that they're unsturdy, but that I wreak havoc on my heels). Last winter I went a little crazy and picked up a bunch on clearance - including some pseudo-sherpa lined ones that will keep my toes extra warm in the cold MN weather. I think I currently own 5 pairs (2 leather - 1 black and 1 brown, 1 black suede microjersey type, which is unfortunately a little chilly in the winter since the pores let all the cold air through!, and 2 pseudo-sherpa ones in brown and camel). They are the perfect shoe.

4) Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion

I recently discovered this little jewel made by Urban Decay after having it recommended to me by my hairstylist (she was waxing my eyebrows and noticed that my eye shadow was pooling in the crease of my eye, to which I replied that I did in fact use an eye shadow primer, but was obviously not using the RIGHT one). You can find it at Sephora - it's $17 for a little tube, but you don't need much and it seriously makes your eye shadow stay put all day long! Plus, because it makes such a brilliant base, you can really pile on the color for a more dramatic effect.

5) Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

If you haven't tried these out, you should. They were recommended to me by a friend a few years back, and I can't live without them. By just adding water, you can clean the inside of your toilet bowl, the soap scum out of your shower or bathtub, and all of the grease off of your stove top (maybe not all with the same one...). They are amazing.

6) 3M Ocelo Scrub Sponges

Yes, I have two cleaning products on this list, but I'm a clean freak and really enjoy products that make that task any bit easier. That being said, I could go on about my new Shark steam mop, or the bliss of Clorox disinfecting wipes, but I'll just stick with these two. I happened across these scrubbers when I was looking for something that would work on a daily basis without being too harsh on my dishes. I really hate washclothes - they act as a harbor for germs and get smelly and slimy if you leave them in your sink for too long. So, I discovered the perfect solution in the Ocelo Scrubbers - one side is a soft microfiber, while the other side is a harder scrubbing side. Considering how often I use them I still haven't noticed any weird smells emitting from them, which makes me wonder if they're not actually coated with an antimicrobial substance. That would not surprise me, since they're made by 3M, however I think if they were actually coated they would state that. Either way, they stay clean (and relatively germ free, I believe), dry out easily (which helps with the clean aspect), and work well for cleaning my dishes. Plus, they come in fun colors and patterns!

So those are my fave products - do you have a fave product or two? If so, please share in the comments section!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I just got tagged for an Honest Scrap Award by fellow friend and blogger at Fixing It Fancy. Here's the scoop:

*This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.

*When accepting this award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the person who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

*Choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven. Show the blog names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with the Honest Scrap award.

*List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So here goes!
1) As you can probably tell, I love Alice in Wonderland. I've loved the story since I was a little girl and I played the part of Alice in a local children's theater production. I've collected numerous copies of the book and all sorts of other memorabilia (including snow globes, a cookie jar, Christmas decorations, etc.). It was one of my very first collections that I started.

2) I grew up going to antique shops, flea markets, and rummage sales with my parents, so I have an avid interest in collecting things (and finding really great vintage bargains!). My favorite (right now) is glassware. I don't collect any group in particular, but like to pick up odd pieces that catch my eye. I'm debating whether I want to take this up a notch and start collecting expensive pieces - such as this amazing Fenton glassware.

I think the main reason I'm drawn to this glassware may be because it seems to be very Alice-esque!

3) My husband and I bought our first house over four years ago, and since then we've managed to paint (or wallpaper) each room in the house. The house had been decorated in the 1980s-1990s country-style, with lots of plaid wallpaper and plain white walls, and there were forest green accents throughout! Even the outside trim of the house and garage is all done in forest green (and therefore very hard to get rid of...). Since then, we've eliminated almost all the forest green from the inside of the house (minus some forest green carpet in the hallway and office, which is in too good of shape to replace at this point), and we've added cranberry storm and entry doors to act as accents to the forest green trim and shutters. Since I love color, most of the rooms in the house are painted in very saturated colors - an almost minty green for the living room, yellows and reds for our bedroom, yellow with bright vertical stripes for the nursery, and large, horizontal stripes of teal, aquamarine, and green for the basement living area.

4) I love decorating for the holidays - I've already pulled out various pumpkins, ghosts, and orange lights for Halloween, but I'm really looking forward to pulling out the Christmas decorations. I think I'm even more excited for Christmas decorating this year because we may actually have company that gets to see it over the holiday season - since our baby is due January 1st, we won't be able to travel back to southern MN to spend the holidays with our families. So if they want to see us - they'll have to come up to the cities!

5) I'm a baker. I enjoy cooking, but I LOVE baking. I tend to bake more when stressed (which worked out well for my college roomies during finals weeks!). I sometimes enjoy doing a fussier recipe, but for the most part I like recipes that are fairly straight-forward and simple, but still have an amazing taste impact. Unfortunately, since I am a baker, if I'm craving sweets, they almost always have to be made fresh, from scratch - so with the exception of a few pre-made cookies (Halloween Oreos) and some quick brownie mixes, I mostly make a batch of cookies or bars every time I'm in the mood for sugar!

6) I'm semi-obsessed with Barbra Streisand. (Her new CD, Love is the Answer, is out by the way - and amazing!) My hubby surprised me with tickets to see her in concert a few years ago, and even though we were only a couple of rows from the very TOP of the Xcel Center, it was worth every penny.

7) My husband and I met in elementary school. We almost had a wedding on the playground, but it was stopped due to the fact that my mom caught me printing off 40 invites on our computer the night before. 15 years later, we're happily married and expecting our first baby.

8) If this whole microbiology teaching and research thing doesn't work out...I want to A) own a gift, book, and antique shop, B) move to Sonoma and run a vineyard with my hubby, or C) become a professional photographer. I just like having options.

9) I have two pets that drive me absolutely crazy. A 3.5 year old chocolate lab named Jonas (boy) and a 5 year old long haired gray cat named Sydney (boy, also). I'm slightly terrified to see how they handle being second (and third) fiddle to the new baby, but I can't imagine our lives without either one of them.

10) I owe my overly-large jacket and coat collection to my grandma, who has probably as many as I do and used to buy me new coats for Christmas. Thanks to her, I can't pass by a coat rack without at least checking it out (if not finding one to take home with me!).

So that's me. Here are the blogs I'd like to tag for the Honest Scrap Award:

1) Doctor Pistachio
2) Prairie Dog Companion
3) The Caswell Family
4) Farmer Julie
5) Hope Studios
6) Electric Boogaloo
7) Uncle KT

Monday, October 05, 2009

Photobooth Fun for Homecoming

RIP Joey

Jonas's doggy mama, Joey, was put down last weekend. No one really knows what happened to her - she wasn't acting normally, so they took her into the vet and he diagnosed her with a herniated disc in her neck. Two days later they had to put her down due to probable swelling in the brain. It's possible that she was hit by a vehicle, but since she grew up on a farm, she was very cautious around all sorts of motorized vehicles. Jonas's dad, MidKnight, is still kicking (even though he's probably about 14 years old and arthritic!), but he doesn't exactly enjoy playing with Jonas nearly as much as Joey did. It'll be sad the next time we take Jonas down to the farm since he won't understand why Joey isn't around anymore.

Danimal for Homecoming King!

My baby brother is a candidate for homecoming here at the University of Minnesota! Should be an interesting week - he has events to attend every day, plus we get to see him wear his official royalty sash! The voting occurs throughout this week, then they crown the winners on Friday night at a pep fest in the new stadium. You can read more about it here.