Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh, Cloth, How I Missed You!

Last time we went on vacation I brought along all our cloth diapers and went to the laundromat and washed them every two days. It was not worth it at all. I ended up spending over $20 washing them, but because I ran out of quarters I couldn't do an extra rinse on them and all the diapers ended up smelling super bad. Gross.

So, this time when we went to Denver I bought disposables to take along. I got a pack of Earth's Best non-chlorine diapers. Also not worth it. They're paper, they leaked, and they gave her a rash. Rashes are not good, they do not make for happy babies.

When we got home the first thing I did was change Ingrid out of her disposable and into a cloth diaper. They seemed so cozy and soft!! I can't believe I ever used disposables. But there has got to be some compromise for vacations, doesn't there??

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Off To Denver!

Bright and early tomorrow morning we are leaving for Denver, Colorado. It will be the first time Ingrid's been on a plane! How exciting, and utterly terrifying. She loves to wave at every plane that goes by in the sky (we live by an airport, so that is quite frequent.) I've been talking a lot about how we get to go on a plane and fly with the birds and go see Aunt Shell. I have toys and books and dvds and snacks. So I hope it goes well, but you just never know with Ingrid...

From the very start Brendan and I knew we'd continue to travel and do fun things, even with kids. We always hated when friends would say they couldn't go somewhere because of their baby. We were going to just have our baby live our already established lifestyle, within reason. It wasn't too hard for the most part. Ingrid came to the cottage with us at 6 days old, Brendan's college friends got together for a raucous party when she was four months, and she just slept in a pack and play throughout the whole ordeal. I took her to Holland for Tulip Time and she fell asleep in my arms while I was at a bonfire with friends. Sometimes she's really great!

Then there are the times when she's not. For example, the night we went to a friend's house to play Guitar Hero and she screamed bloody murder the entire time we were there. Or the time I was in a wedding and she screamed and cried the entire night before the wedding, until Brendan took her out to the car and slept with her on his chest. In the car, with the seat reclined. Or just a couple weeks ago when we tried to take her camping and she was up all night long. You just really never know with her!!

Even though we never know what we're going to get with her, I'm still glad we travel with her. Most of the time she's okay, and she always settles in the second day we're there, she just needs to get used to things. I want her to be okay with going places, I want her to be flexible. I just hope it gets a little easier as she gets older. So, off to Denver tomorrow, on a plane. I hope she's in a good mood and sleeps well at the hotel and we have a good time. Otherwise, I'm not sure Brendan will agree to go anywhere with her ever again...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Have You Been All My Life???

My sewing machine came from the UPS man today. For one thing, when I think of sewing machines I think of 40 lb. monstrosities, seeing as I've been using one from the 60s. So I see the UPS man holding a big box and I think, oh, no, he's gotta lug that thing all the way up the stairs! However, I grab the box from him and my first thought is "they forgot to pack the sewing machine in here!" It is SO light!

When I finally got a chance to use it, I broke the needle. I had the bobbin thread going the wrong way...BUT, once I got that right, and a new needle in, oh my god. The fabric just glided right through!!! I barely had to touch the peddle for it to go. And when I wanted to try all the different stitches, I just had to push a button. And suddenly it would go from straight line to zigzag. From zigzag to this really cool loopy stitch I don't even know the name for.

I loved my mom's machine, it has done me well and I learned a lot on it. But lugging it out of the closet every time I wanted to use it was awful. And having the pedal stick on me so it kept sewing when I wanted it to stop five stitches ago was so frustrating. I'm just so excited to make things! And I was pretty damn excited before!

I have a Brother CE4000 and I love it. I'm sorry, 1968 Riccar, it's over. I've moved onto a younger model.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sewing Machine Woes

I have my mom's old sewing machine from the 60s, which has always been great. I even spent $100 a few years ago having it fixed since the guy told me those machines are almost indestructible unlike the newer plastic ones. But now the pedal keeps sticking and the thread gets tangled and it is noisy as hell. I'm not sure I want to get it fixed again since it was $100 and only stayed fixed for a couple years. Anyone know of a good affordable machine? I've looked at Joann and Amazon and see mostly Singer or Brother. Does anyone have either brand, and do you like it? I'm looking for around $120, so none of the fancy ones, unfortunately. Not yet anyway :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Super Recipes

I love allrecipes.com. I go there when I'm bored with our current rotation of dinners. Last week I wanted to find new ways to use chicken breasts, and found these two recipes which turned out to be really tasty. Maybe not the healthiest, but they sure do taste good.

Broccoli and Chicken Casserole
-steamed broccoli
-cooked cubed chicken breasts
-1 can low fat cream of broccoli soup
-1/3 c. milk
-1 c. shredded cheddar
-1 TB melted butter mixed with 1/3 c. bread crumbs

Mix together soup and milk, add to broccoli and chicken. Top with cheese, then breadcrumb mixture. Cook at 450 for 20 minutes. YUM.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

-cubed chicken breasts
-fresh cilantro
-1 can black beans, rinsed
-1 can enchilada sauce
-corn tortillas
-1 c. fat free sour cream
-1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar

Cook chicken with cumin. Add cilantro and black beans. In casserole dish, layer 1/2 enchilada sauce, 4 corn tortillas, chicken/bean mix, 1/2 cheese, 1/2 sour cream, and layer again. Top with foil, cook at 375 for 30 minutes. Take off foil, top with a little more cheese and stick back in to melt it. Let it set for about 5 minutes after taking out of the oven. Again, YUM!

I'm always looking for good casserole recipes (I'm such an old lady!!!) I just think they are so easy to prepare and a good option for nights I don't feel like doing much for dinner. Anyone have any other good ones? Vegetarian ones?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Fever

Yesterday I went nuts cleaning and rearranging the furniture. I moved the dresser from Ingrid's room, which meant I had to put all her stuff somewhere else, I moved a couch, I organized closets. It was insane. During all this madness I came across three things that induced a severe case of baby fever.

Number one: a packet of pictures my friend had taken throughout my pregnancy. It starts at 14 weeks where I actually look better than I do now (sad but true...) and goes all the way to 38 weeks when I'm rockin' a bikini. I just love pregnant bellies! I have always had a flabby belly so being pregnant was the only time I've ever liked my shape, because I didn't have to suck it in!!

Number two: my journal from that year. It starts a few months before I got pregnant, when I was so worried I wouldn't be able to get pregnant, when I was talking about Clomid and adoption, when I was worrying over the timing with Brendan finishing school and all. Then there's the time when I was pregnant but didn't know it, to the day I simply wrote "4:30am, two blue lines. I'm pregnant. Holy s**t!!" And then throughout the pregnancy, feeling the baby move for the first time, finding out it was a girl, all the names we called her before settling on Ingrid. And finally up to the week before she was born where all I could think about was getting her the hell out of me so I could meet her already!!

Number three: teeny tiny baby clothes. I went through all her clothes to see what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to get rid of and all these memories just came flooding back from when she was that small. Oh, small babies, you are so cute! Ingrid is definitely more fun now than when she was a tiny lump of baby, but she was pretty darn cute as a four month old...

So all in all I'm having major baby fever. And yet at the same time I'm so excited for my etsy store having opened (and I got my first order!) that I can totally see just having Ingrid and starting to really focus on a business. It's a blessing and a curse that I can see the positives of most things, I swear to god.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wow, that was easier than I thought!

I opened my etsy store. Applesauce Crafts is now open for business!



Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Etsy Dream

For awhile now people have said I should start an etsy shop. I've really wanted to but just never had the motivation. I thought it would take too much time, and with me being at home with Ingrid it just wouldn't be possible. But lately I've been sewing a LOT and making dresses for people on swapmamas. I realized I've made like 10 dresses in the past week or so. And I've made at least 5 owls, a baby blanket, and a couple bibs. Hmm, either I'm getting better about working while Ingrid is napping or I'm neglecting her. Or a little of both?

I don't want to neglect Ingrid, that's my biggest fear, that I'll get so wrapped up in my sewing that I'll stick her in front of the TV or I won't take her outside as much as I should because I have three dresses needing to be hemmed, or I'm just finishing up an owl and need to get it done. Really, Ingrid is very good about being by herself in the mornings, she actually prefers it. If I try to read to her or play with her, she pushes me away or goes into another room (nice and subtle...) So most mornings I do get an hour or so to get things done while she plays in her room. And then it's nap time and I can really get crackin'.

So I made a list today of
what I want to have made for my shop.
I want 2 dresses in each size done,

five or six owls,

and five bibs.

I also would like to try to get two blankets done since I have the fabric for it, but I don't know if that will happen or not.

Plus I would like to get cards made to send along with purchases, and I'd like to get some pretty tissue paper to wrap the items in. I just love when I get something in the mail that is nicely packaged! And I'm working on a name for my store, but that's taking time. Everything sounds so stupid when I try to think of something! I really want a German word but I haven't come up with anything good. Any ideas??

It just seems so amazing that I'm finally doing this! It really feels good that A) I've had so much motivation lately, and B) I've gotten so much positive feedback from people. As soon as I've posted a dress on swapmamas I get three people asking me if I can make one for them. And same with the owls, people have really liked them. I post things to my facebook page, too, and also get people asking me if I'm going to sell my stuff. The weirdest thing is people say I have talent. I have NEVER had a talent before! Other people would act or sing or play an instrument, or they'd be really into something like art or science. I always just floated by not knowing what I wanted to do, kind of dabbling in things but never really having a talent for anything. It's like I'm finally finding out what I want to do, which is very strange. I'm a late bloomer :) At 32 years old I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. Cool.

Stay tuned, I should hopefully have a couple names you'll have to help me choose from. And then by October hopefully I will have a link to my super duper etsy store!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where Will We End Up???

Brendan and I have been talking a lot about jobs again lately. He officially has 5 months left at his fellowship and has been looking at jobs to see what's out there. And every time he finds one, my brain goes off into daydream mode and I think about where we'll live, what we'll do there, what kind of house we could find in our budget, etc.

The past couple weeks have gone from Colorado, where I would LOVE to live, to Holland, MI, where I grew up. Hmmm. Colorado is gorgeous, there's a lab in Golden so we'd live close to Denver but not in the city. One of my best friends is nearby in Arvada, the mountains are right there, we'd be able to go do real hiking whenever we wanted. Plus, Denver is close, there are direct flights to both Grand Rapids so I could see my family, and Milwaukee so we could visit Brendan's parents and our friends. Perfect!

But then Brendan said something about a professor job at Hope College, which is in my hometown of Holland. I HATED growing up there!!! I could not wait to get the hell out of there when I was 18!! It was horrible to live there. But then I thought of it from an adult perspective and I think it would be okay to live there with a family. We could live right downtown in a cool old house, walk to parks and shopping, I have a couple friends from high school with little girls the same age as Ingrid. Family is right there, which is a blessing and a curse. The beach is there, good camping is close by. We could get a babysitter without any trouble, as my sister is always willing to watch Ingrid :)

How can I possibly go from Colorado to Holland, Michigan, in a span of a couple days?? It's amazing to me that I can really find the positives in any place Brendan brings up. I think it would be harder if he said he found a job in the middle of nowhere in Texas or something, but so far I have been pretty okay with anywhere he says. He even said something about being here for an extra six months if he would get a job that started next fall and I was okay with that, too. I don't really love it here, but the other night we went out to dinner with some friends and I realized it's just where we live. Ann Arbor itself is pretty cool, if not a bit expensive. It's super cute, though, and if we were to live closer to things, I think I'd really like it. And I do love the friends I've made here, and I'm always meeting more moms and if I knew I was staying I'd put even more effort out there to be part of things.

I guess it's cool that I can see myself living anywhere, but sometimes I wish I had more of a pull to be somewhere specific. I feel kind of lost right now, like we're totally just floating here for now, and I know that my family is my home and wherever Brendan and Ingrid are is where I belong, but I want a home. I'm sick of feeling like we're only here for a few more months, then I don't know where we'll be. I don't mind renting, but it would be nice if I could feel like it's worth putting effort into making our apartment cozy. Right now I just feel like what's the point? We'll just be moving soon anyway...blah. Hopefully Brendan will start getting some interviews and we'll figure all this out. Having no control over it is tough, but since I don't really want to be the breadwinner for our family, I'll leave it all up to Brendan to get a job he likes :)