Sunday, June 27, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

I mentioned it a bit in my post about my glucose testing, but I've been a little down lately. Many things just are difficult right now including work, pregnancy issues, etc. Here are some of the things that have kept me distracted and content when I'm at home and feeling decently.

Years ago, I bought a china cabinet from Ikea that I never really liked and Bill just despises. I found this at a garage sale just doors down from my friend, Jessica. It was just $35.00! We changed out the knobs ($12), Bill added a piece of beadboard ($20) and painted it green (free) with paint we had leftover from the nursery. We LOVE it!

It looked funny in the corner without anything on the back - the beadboard really makes it!

We ordered an upholstered rocker and ottoman for the family room to rock little Baby D. I found this great fabric and made a pillow for it as well as some matching ones for the couch and chaise.

I've mentioned previously about our cheap-o garage sale dresser. Thanks to, I took their idea and lined the drawers in super cute gift wrap (there's a how-to in the link if you want to "try this at home"). A little matte Modge Podge and they look great.

I've seen a lot of nurseries with mirrors above the crib - just makes me nervous. I compromised and Bill sturdily hung one above the dresser/changing table. I found lots of mirrors I liked, but at crazy prices. I really should have taken a "before" pic of this one. It was $60 originally and marked down several times due to its beat-up condition, down to $14.00. Score! Bill sprayed it white and it looks much better. Shelving from Target to hold baby's toiletries for changing.

I just loved this decal from Etsy.

I read that a fan in baby's room can help circulate the air and be a preventative measure against SIDS. Baby D will be safe AND cute - check out this fan!

I had shown this lamp already (Target), but it came with a black lampshade I was going to cover in fabric. I had begun to have some technical difficulties. Fortunately, Marcie called today and found this at Marshalls - perfect!!

And outside of the nursery...

I'm making more burp cloths. I still need to make some for my own baby. In the meantime, here are some I have pinned and ready to sew for my cousin, RaeAnna. She is so cute, she is due a month before me. She kept saying the other night at a birthday dinner, "I am so over it." We'll see if I'm saying that in another month.

I love the chenille fabric for this baby stuff, but boy does it fluff everywhere!

Marcie and I went to Bark and Garden and got some flowers to fill pots on the back patio. These really make me happy!

Ahhhhh, flowers.

Excuse me for all the flower posts.

Last, but not least... Here's Wilson mewing away because I'm outside and he's not.

What cheers you up and takes you away from stress?

Northwest-Style, Pioneer Sour Cream Pancakes

I've been meaning to post this for about a month now, but keep getting sidetracked. I tried out Pioneer Woman (PW)'s Sour Cream Pancakes a while ago and I must say - they are definitely  my favorite pancakes I've ever had. I've made them three or four times now. They've even converted my usual pancake-disliking husband. We've had them with fresh blueberries one Sunday and blackberries another and find that they are extra good with these mix-ins. I've also found my substitutions to make them healthier to be no problem at all! I know the cowboys at PW's ranch would cringe, but hey - we don't work cattle all day to work it off!

Sour Cream Pancakes
adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

7 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar (I've used agave nectar or Splenda)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (I use fat-free)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Favorite fruit mix-in (blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
Butter (I use Smart Balance)
Maple syrup (I use maple agave nectar or pure maple syrup)

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot.

Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl. Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it’s okay to leave the texture a bit uneven. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix - yellow and white is OK! If adding fruit, rinse, dry and add now (if using blackberries, make sure you slice them in half because they are so large).

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time (they really expand and puff up so less is more!) Cook for about two minutes on the first side - you can lift them slightly and peek and see if they are turning brown. Flip them carefully and cooking about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve in a stack, topped with a pat of butter and a cascade of pure maple syrup or maple-flavored agave nectar.

Mom's Recipe Lives On

Message from my friend "OJ":

It was soooo cute. All of my neighbor girls ended up in my cabin on a cloudy day. I pulled up your mom's peanut butter cookie recipe and the girls made the cookies all by themselves. They had sooo much fun and also added their own little flair by decorating the tops with chocolate chips. I think this would have made your mom smile. :) I hope you are having a great week and I am continuing to pray for you and Baby D! :)

Love you!!


Thank you, OJ. It's funny because I made them too last weekend for our little GASP get-together. I used Splenda, oat flour and chunky PB instead (if you try that at home, you'll need to add extra flour). I'm sure Mom wasn't impressed with that version (the violation of her original ingredients), but yours I know she is smiling down on!! I think adding chocolate chips on top is a great addition!

Thank you so much for sharing!!   - C

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

View From Mister D

This is just a fun post - nothing serious here. Bill doesn't normally pick up the camera, but it is always fun when when he does. I like seeing what he sees. .

Me doing a blog entry in my PJs.

Interrupting Wilson's snooze.

Hanging fuchsia #1 on our front porch.

Hanging fuchsia #2.

His truck.

The new trees he just planted on the side of the house.

Flowers from Rebecca in the dining room.

The Libster.

The end.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby: Week 28

Week 28: Baby is the size of a chinese cabbage.

By this week, Baby D weighs two and a quarter pounds and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can blink her eyes, which now sport lashes. With her eyesight developing, she may be able to see the light that filters in through my womb. She's also developing billions of neurons in her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

I had my three-hour glucose test on Friday -  I DID NOT LIKE IT. Here's my story...
You have to fast twelve hours prior to the test (for me, I couldn't eat past 9 p.m.) My lab only does one three-hour test per day. I started at 9 a.m. (when they opened) and they tested my blood to get my fasting blood sugar. Bill came with me because they warned I might get sick. They came out to the waiting room with the nasty orange drink (pictured above) and explained that this drink is twice and sweet (and syrupy) as the one I drank for the one-hour. They said I had six minutes to drink it and to drink it very slowly - small sips so as not to shock my system. They were very kind and repeatedly said it was a "tough test" and that they'd be there for me if I needed anything at all. They said they would get me a room if I was feeling really poorly. I'd have to come back to the lab every hour over the next three hours so they could test my blood to see how it reacts to the sugar. I had a 10:10 a.m. regular doctor's appointment and they suggested seeing if I could get in early so I could get in for my first hourly blood draw. After downing the drink in the allotted time period, Bill and I went to camp out in the waiting room.
I was feeling pretty confident at first, pulled out my book and started reading. Soon, the nausea kicked in. I put the book down and just sat there, trying to contain myself. I checked in and was able to see the doctor a bit early. This was no typical appointment for me. I was not myself and hardly had any questions. Dr. B was really nice and said, "I just don't think you have gestational diabetes." Bill asked, "Why?" and he responded, "Just a feeling." Boy, wish I could have gone home then after his "feeling!"
Back to the waiting room and it was soon time for my second blood draw. I went to the lab to check in and there were a bunch of people in the waiting room. I know this isn't nice, but someone needed a shower and with my nausea and sensitive nose, I just couldn't handle it. I stood in the hallway, then kneeled and eventually just sat down leaning against the wall. Denise, a nurse I've seen for years, saw me and said, "Courtney! You don't look well. You need to have them get you a room!" After the blood draw, the phlebotomist reserved an exam room for Bill and me. They encouraged me to try to sleep as that often helps and they'd come get me when it was time (in another hour) to test my blood again. I was so sick, I even started crying, but Bill said I did fall asleep for a short bit. I did everything I could to not throw up. Vomiting meant I'd have to come back and do this all over again - and I wasn't having that! They got me in for blood draw #3 and then returned me to the room. By the time for blood draw #4, I was feeling a "bit" more myself. I sent Bill out to the car and I headed to the lab.
After the fourth and final blood draw, they told me I'd get a call on Monday only if I "failed" the test. Bill took me to Dairy Queen (the closest place for food) and I had a hamburger and we went straight home and I laid down. I can honestly say I have not felt myself since this test. I have had morning sickness similar to my first trimester - it has been awful.
Today, I found out that I passed three of the four tests:
Test One: (goal is 65-94) - 84
Test Two: (goal is under 180) - 162
Test Three: (goal is under 155) - 169
Test Four: (goal is under 140) -123
I first was told I wouldn't have to do anything because I only failed one of the four tests, but later a nurse called me and said I'd need to follow a gestational diabetes diet for two weeks and then go back for a one-hour glucose test. UGH - no! At least it is the one-hour. Thank goodness they aren't requiring another three-hour.
I told them I'd been sick since the test and they said it is very possible my morning sickness has returned in the third trimester. NO!! They said this often happens since there is less room in my stomach for digestion. I knew I jinxed myself - I just gave away my "preggie pops" - I thought the worst of it was behind me. But, who knows maybe it will go away (please, please, please).
Basically, this isn't the worst news ever, but I'm not exactly jumping for joy. And although I don't get to have my mother-in-law's Peach Fuzzy drink on the Fourth of July, I don't even get to have a non-alcoholic version. Boo hoo. OK, my pity party is about done.
Here's a belly update.

Belly at 28 weeks.

And in case you forgot what I looked like before...

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For my mother-in-law - 

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A gal in my office whom some have deemed "Mother Earth" is a true crafter and maker of all things. She "wow"ed us all when she made her own laundry detergent last year. But, she did intrigue me with the "penny a load" concept! When she brought in a jar for me to try, Bill and I were both impressed. Yeah, she pretty much had us at cheap!

Here is Jonnita's recipe (and yes, it safe for front loaders):

6 c hot water
1/3 bar Fels Naphtha soap (shredded) (I have read you CAN use other bar soaps)
1/2 c Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer makes one as pictured above)
1/2 C Borax
2 gallon bucket
1 qt hot water

Mix Fels Naphtha soap in a saucepan with 6 c of hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in washing soda and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water and mix well again. Set aside for 24 hours until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 c per load.

  • If you use a mildly scented soap, you can add an essential oil for your own specialty fragrance.
  • I found this video helpful if you like tutorials.
  • For local friends, Jonnita shared you can find all of these ingredients at Fred Meyer.

PS: I find it very funny that I am sharing this recipe, I have watched the video, I have purchased all the ingredients and I have YET to do this myself. I'm gonna do it, I promise! 

Pregnancy Pact?


I've written before about the high school GASP friends here and here. As a reminder, GASP stands for "Guys are Stupid Parties." Funny thing is, none of us were man-haters. We just liked to be dramatic and pretend.

We do our best, about every six months, to try to get together. The whole group can never make it, for one reason or another, but no matter the combination it is always a great time. One of the gals is in town visiting from Italy. Bill and I actually had her and her adorable son, Kai, over for dinner Monday night.

Her little guy is so dang cute - I cannot even stand his cheeks. They are so squishy, I cannot even take it. He was such a trooper about all the "green" stuff in his dinner. We made it up to him with pretzel M&Ms for dessert.

What is super fun about Rebecca and me is that we are both pregnant. And not just pregnant - another person due at the same exact time in September! How fun is it too that at our GASP reunion this weekend, Renee came and she is due just three months after us!

(PS: ONE of these days I really need to get my behind into a class to learn how to use my camera on manual mode!!)

Check out Sara and Christina - they'd come straight from a wedding (Dang, no pictures of Jenn - our amazing hostess!!)

Old friends are the best. It doesn't matter how much time passes, we always pick up RIGHT where we left off. 

Love you girls!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mom's Famous Peanut Butter Cookies

Kathy's Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's the secret truth behind this recipe. They hold many memories for me, but I've never really liked peanut butter cookies. However, most people do and everyone LOVED my Mom's. They were always being requested at work potlucks and family get-togethers. I can still picture her using her brown speckled bowl with blue flowers and stirring the batter with a wooden spoon (she never liked using a mixer for these cookies).

Her long-time friend, Linda, even contacted me after Mom passed away saying it would mean a lot to her if I could share her recipe. It made me happy to be able to share something of Mom's with her good friend. Our Aunt Margie actually made these cookies with Mom years ago and taught her the little fork criss-cross method and sprinkling of sugar on top. Mom would tell me about that over and over - more good memories.

The recipe is circa the Better Homes and Gardens - Homemade Cookies cookbook from 1975, but tailored along the way. I love looking at the pages of the cookbook - the stains and crumbs show how many times she had these pages open making these cookies so many loved. Do you like peanut butter cookies? Then, try this recipe!

1 cup shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter (Mom always used JIF)
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 - 1/4 cups flour
2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
Sugar (for top)

Cream first four ingredients, then beat in egg and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt - adding to creamed mixture. Mix well. Form into one-inch balls. Place onto ungreased cookie sheet and roll into balls and then flatten slightly with fingers. Take a fork dipped in flour and press into dough (as in pattern in picture). Bake at 350 degrees for approximately ten minutes. Watch them and make sure you don't bake them too long. You want soft and chewy cookies, so best to take them out when they're just darkening around the edges. They'll continue to bake on the cookie sheet once you remove them from the oven. When cookies are still warm, sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Makes approximately five dozen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Peeks into the Nursery

Baby D's room is my happy place - literally. I can have the most rough day and step into the makings of her room and I am instantly at peace. It isn't even done yet, but it is already so sweet. Bill feels it too. We are really enjoying it.

Here are some more peeks. Again, when it is all done I'll do a full "reveal", but until then you can see some of the recent progress.

This is a really simple picture I actually got at Target, but it captures the colors of the room perfectly.

Marcie and I had originally talked about finding an orange rug, but ran into some troubles. And then we saw this... Yep, it was pretty much meant for Baby D's room.

I've seen these in the past in baby's rooms on blogs, but these were a great deal at B, B & B!

This bookcase was a steal and with some coats of paint it is perfect for the room. I snagged the two frames (in the perfect colors) at a garage sale for a buck for both!

Do you know how hard it is to find an orange changing pad cover? This one was perfect though and the photo doesn't come close to capturing the cushiness.

This little guy. He was just too cute. I still need to make a fabric cover for the shade. Evelyn - help!

OK, so maybe I sorta kinda saw this idea on a popular handmade items website that potentially rhymes with "betsy", but it was almost $100! Nothing that an afternoon of drawing patterns, cutting fabric and felt and sticky fingers couldn't resolve. I came up with this little owl family - in the patterns of the room! Bill was so impressed with me that I made it (have to admit, I was too!).

As sad as I was that my painted white drawer handle idea didn't work out, once I let it go I'm pleased with the outcome of the dresser. This dresser was a $25 steal. I'm still so pleased with it!

That's it for now - more to come for sure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seabeck Gals Getaway

Girls weekend hit the spot! This year it was Anna, Sue, Lisa, OJ and me. The four of us stopped at the cemetery on our way out, shed a few tears and then headed up to OJ's family's home on Hood Canal in Seabeck, WA. We had a GREAT time. The cabin is located right on the water.

RIGHT on the water.

OJ prepared a yummy dinner.

Pasta with freshly caught shrimp, caesar salad and marinated asparagus. YUM!

After dinner, she sang with the next door neighbor's dog - Juneau.

Then we took out the kayak.

She gets to do this everyday - so awesome!

OK, before you judge. YES, I should have worn a lifejacket. BUT, I will tell you, the water was super calm, I can swim and I didn't go far at all. Plus, I had four super cautious friends waiting to jump in if need be. I just wanted to say it was Baby D's first time on a kayak.

So fun. I want to do this again!

Nothing like it!

Sue was very excited about this!

She had a ball.

It was such a beautiful evening.

We LOVED the next door neighbor's dog, Bonnie. Sue and I both wanted to bring her home and we don't even want any other dogs!

What is a weekend getaway without a little late morning nap?

We went to Port Townsend on Saturday. We had a little stop on the Hood Canal Bridge as a boat was passing through so the bridge was up.

I still just love my camera.

Everyone just gets out of their cars to check things out waiting for the bridge to come down.

We didn't mind the wait.

We had snacks.

SUCH a beautiful day!

OJ's lovin' her new sweatshirt.

We had a great lunch once we got to town at a restaurant called El Sarape, of all things.

I liked this store. Not sure why. (smile)

Thanks everybody for such a great time. It was the PERFECT getaway and really helped me take my mind off things.

For all of the pictures from our weekend, here is our on-line photo album.

I can't believe I'm doing this, but if you want to peruse what made me laugh so hard I was crying and the girls were worried I might put myself in to labor, look here. Oh my gosh, this is the "photo booth" option on the Mac. It provided me hours of entertainment. I cannot remember the last time I've laughed that hard.


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