Monday, March 28, 2011

A much deserved photo update...

It's been awhile since I've posted photos of the kid, so here is a reminder of what she looks like! ;)




Sunday, March 27, 2011

Basement: Undone.

Our guest "bed"room, minus the bed, but no worries, we're still taking visitors, you just have to...

...sleep on the bed in the middle of the living room floor...

...and crawl around all the rest of this junk to get to the bathroom. Thankfully, there is still beer stocked in the mini fridge and a large screen TV to keep you company!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Busy.

Is it spring yet? Evidently not, considering we got another few inches of snow this week and haven't made it into the 40s for days. Bleh. I've been swamped in the lab as I am trying to get some useful results to include in my poster that I will be presenting at the SNIP (Society of NeuroImmunoPharmacology, you're jealous, I know) conference in a couple of weeks - at least it's in Clearwater Beach, FL, thank god. And as is typical for research, any time you really really need some new data, everything quits working. This is the life.

Meanwhile, we had a long weekend last weekend and we planned to travel back home to visit both of our families. Unfortunately, I came home Thursday afternoon to our basement flooded from all of the spring thaw (in the 50 degree spring weather we had briefly last week). We spent the night cleaning up water, pulling up carpet, and running fans to try to dry out the carpet pad in our basement guest bedroom. The next morning, after assessing the situation, we decided to go home anyways. There wasn't much more we could do except watch the carpet pad dry out. We had a brief, but enjoyable, trip back home, and thankfully came home to a dry carpet pad on Sunday. Then it rained on Tuesday and we started the process all over again. The basement flooded - through the egress window, which is what we thought had happened originally. This time instead of thawing snow, we had rain piling up in the driveway that seeped into the egress and then down into the bedroom. David came home to wait for the Maytag repair man (oh yeah, during all of this our dishwasher was also broken), so he started cleaning up water in the afternoon, and I was able to come home early to help. My parents graciously offered to come up and help us figure out what was going on - which led to David and my dad sandbagging and caulking around the egress window as the rain switched to ice cold sleet, in the dark. We ended up having to rip out the carpet pad in the bedroom and we had enough water under the pad to have to suck it up with the wet vac. Since then it's been too cold to have any more raining or thawing, so we'll just have to wait and see if the caulking will solve the problem. So, our basement, which we recently FINISHED, is a disaster. It lasted a month. I'll post pictures this weekend, if I remember. The mattress from the guest bedroom is on the floor in the living room, and the bed frame, dresser, night stand and any other junk that we had to move away from the water is piled on and around one of our couches. Last night, David and I went down there to watch a show on our DVR and could sit on the loveseat, but had to put our feet up on the bed, since we didn't have room to recline our seats. Oh, and the mini refrigerator door seems to be breaking on top of everything else! Bah! Ridiculous.

Amelia is walking. All of the time now. A couple of weeks ago we noticed that she was walking more, and all of a sudden this week she is almost entirely walking. It's wild to see her saunter across the room. She's getting quicker every day! She likes to sing and dance and bounce on our knees. She still loves the pets, Syd has been letting her harass him more and more (I think he likes the attention). She's blowing kisses and saying "HI" all of the time (evidently she's decided that is her new favorite word - it's nice to have a break from hearing "doggy" all of the time, though!).

That's about all I have time for. I need to get to get back to work!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wine Cork Art


I finally managed to start AND FINISH a craft project, probably my first one since Amelia was born. The hubby and I drink a lot of wine. A lot. And we keep all of the corks. And since we've been drinking so much wine for years now, and saving all of the corks, we had quite the collection going. It was time to do something about it. I had (and still have) a plan to fill in a tray with wine corks as a fun table centerpiece, but couldn't quite envision how it was going to work (and meanwhile, the tray I had purchased for the project found a home elsewhere). However, my brother-in-law and his wife recently made a fabulous corkboard out of their old wine corks and I loved how it turned out! So, I stole their idea and made one of my own. We aren't however, using it as a corkboard at the moment - for now it's just a great piece of wall art for our dining room. For those of you interested in making your own, here are a few tips I learned along the way.
1) Cutting the wine corks in half requires less corks, plus allows you to see most of the cork, which is cool since most corks have designs that go all around the cork.
2) Cutting the corks, although it may sound relatively simple in theory, was actually quite difficult. I found that a sharp serrated knife was good to make a long cut lengthwise down the cork, and then a sharp X-acto knife worked to cut the remainder of the way through the cork. I would also suggest wearing gloves, if you have them. I did not, so my hands ended up with a few cuts and one bad stabbing in the middle of my palm (it bled, badly, for awhile, and then made it difficult to maneuver tubes open single-handedly in the lab the following week - what a travesty!).
3) The corks don't have to be cut perfectly - as long as they're cut relatively evenly down the middle.
4) If you situate the corks by alternating one cork horizontally and the next one vertically, it allows for a bit more wiggle-room, which works well if you're simply filling in a frame that you found.
5) Hot glue was perfect to glue them all down - quick and easy, and relatively mess-free. I glued the corks directly onto the back board of the picture frame, saving the glass for another project.
6) Although this looks like it took a lot of corks, it did not make a dent (not even a small one!) in our collection. Up next? I think I may try to make a smaller corkboard out of the synthetic corks that we've saved - they're supposed to hold pushpins even better than the real corks. (Although I suspect this will also mean that they'll be harder to cut!) Another cute idea I saw was to make a pin holder out of corks standing vertically - perfect for my sewing table! And then, maybe I'll get around to actually making that tray. I also have an idea that I'm toying with for some of our champagne corks...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mia loves the doggy and kitty!

Amelia has started antagonizing our cat, Syd, on a regular basis. Evidently it doesn't bother him too much, because most days he just lays there and lets her pat him (or in some cases, attempt to crawl on top of him!). Other days, he decides that it's time to fight back and starts swatting at her. Lucky for us, we had his front claws removed a long time ago, so he can safely play with her. It's pretty entertaining.


Meanwhile, one of her new favorite things to do is to give our dog, Jonas, a treat! This has worked out well for him, because every time our pantry door is open she decides that it's time to give him another treat. I'm amazed that our big, rambunctious dog can actually gently take the treat from her hand without biting it off!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Big Eater

Our little girl is a good eater. She LOVES pasta, sandwiches, and any kind of fruit. She also managed to get into a bag of butterscotch chips and a bag of marshmallows and she likes both of those quite a bit, too (and now tries to help herself to some whenever she likes!). We've been trying to encourage her to start using utensils to feed herself, and it's been pretty interesting (and messy!). She's starting to get the hang of using a spoon, but still prefers using her hands.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Inspired

It's March, which should mean spring is on its way here in Minnesota, but unfortunately it was only 17 degrees yesterday! We're on our way to 30 today, woo-hoo! I need spring.

So, what's keeping me going through this long winter - besides being too busy with work and family to really have much else to think about? One, I've been cooking more and more with my fabulous Le Crueset French oven that my hubby surprised me with for Christmas. So far I've made a handful of items in it, and everything has turned out wonderfully - I don't know if it's possible to make bad food in such a pretty pot! This weekend, I made something as simple as this spicy tomato soup in it, and it was perfection! Especially when we added sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches to the menu. (Note: since we didn't have basil around, I used a handful of fresh rosemary - a good alternative, but rosemary is pretty intense so use LESS!)

Two, I've been plotting out projects for the summer. We're thinking about replacing our kitchen cupboards, countertop, and sink, which would be a big undertaking and requires a lot of measuring that we can't seem to remember to do, so that planning process is on hold for the time being. This morning, however, my cousin Missy shared this DIY project from Funky Junk Interiors - wooden crate-inspired steps! Since I already decorate and organize with various wooden crates in my kitchen, I loved it! It doesn't, however, go with our living room - which is where our main staircase is. (We are actually planning on ripping the carpet off of those steps and staining the wood underneath, but we can discuss that another time!) Then it dawned on me - the hubby and I were just talking about doing something about the stairs that lead down to our basement. This would be be PERFECT for that space! Looks like I have another project for this summer!

Now if spring would just get here...