Thursday, September 27, 2012

All things food

When we moved into our new house a few months ago, the previous owners had cleared a small plot next to the house for a garden. We have big plans for creating a much bigger garden next spring, but since we were getting such a late start this year (we moved in at the end of May), we decided to just plant a few things in the plot and see how they did.
Garden chaos

For most of the summer, it was pretty much a disappointment — mostly a lot of flowering and green growth but no fruit — until this beast appeared after a good rain a month or so ago.
Since then, we've had another guy about that size, plus the occasional jalapeno and bell pepper (though they've been pretty rare, and our eggplant still hasn't done a thing). Our biggest success, though, has turned out to be the cherry tomatoes, which have gone gangbusters the past month.
Aren't they beautiful?
And in this house, beautiful tomatoes lead to beautiful tomato tarts. So good!
Yep, we've been eating well around here lately. On Sunday, we had some friends over for dinner, and Matt decided he wanted to make carnitas (delicious!). To go with the theme, I made this Mexican chocolate cake with cinnamon mascarpone frosting from Baked Bree.
Let me tell you, it was excellent. The cake was really moist, and the cinnamon and cayenne added a lot of depth and flavor. The frosting was light and added just the right amount of sweetness. This will definitely be on my list of things to make again.
And speaking of the cake, let's end this post with a little rant. I needed heavy cream for the frosting and found this precious little bottle at Whole Foods.
Isn't it so cute? Maybe it's hard to tell in the picture, but it was itty bitty (just 8 oz.), perfect for what I needed. So one point for Whole Foods. Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping at WF? Like with a burning passion. I dread going. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what they're doing, and I'm glad I have access to the products they offer,
but shopping at almost any WF is a miserable experience. With very few exceptions, they are located in buildings that are too small, so the aisles are about a foot wide and so crammed full of products that you can barely breathe, especially when you add in the mass of humanity that of course fills that place at all times. And speaking of that mass, does anyone else find the WF clientele to generally be inconsiderate and rude? I do! It all adds up to a run in and grab what you need as fast as you can, then get back out kind of attitude toward WF for me.

Sigh. I miss Central Market. If you live in a major city in Texas, you know what I mean. Be grateful for it. Whole Foods, you are no Central Market. At least I have Trader Joe's.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday #28

Happy Wednesday! As I mentioned yesterday, I've been staying up late to fit in more sewing time lately, but despite all that, my list still seems to be growing. (Maybe that's because I keep working on projects that weren't on the list to begin with. Hmmm.) Alas, here's this week's check in. (In case you're new around here, I'm following along with Freshly Pieced's W.I.P. (Work In Progress) Wednesday series as a good way for me (and you) to keep track of what's going on around here.)

Completed this week:
Lots! First, a travel place mat and baby shakers for B
Lunch bag for Matt

Started this week:
I started on a birthday present for a friend, but I can't reveal it until I give it to her. Here's a sneak peek.
I also finally got started on my Christmas projects — the tree skirt and stockings are well underway, and I'm loving the way they're turning out. I've cut the fabric for the stockings (I'm using this tutorial again) and pieced the top of the tree skirt (from this tutorial), so hopefully I can wrap these up soon.
Sorry for the picture quality in this section. I waited until this morning to take them, and we've had storms all morning. The stocking pictures are a bit better and give you a better sense of the colors of the skirt (the fabrics are the same).

On the "to do" list:
Early Bird/Kitchen Window quilt
Birthday and Christmas presents TBD
Coasters for the living room
Wall organizer for the office
New pillows for downstairs bed
Coin purse for the car
A few items to spruce up our new stroller
A sheet for Beckett's pea pod mattress 
A new bag and mug rug for me
T-shirt quilt 
Pants and winter hat for B
Cover for our window seat bench

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. And be sure to click on the button to check out other great WIPs for more inspiration!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Catching up

It's been sewing world around here, so it seemed like I should write a little update on what I've been working on ... check off that list!

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a link via Facebook to this tutorial, saying it looked like something I'd make. And she was right.
Now that B's eating so much table food, I kept thinking it would be nice to have some sort of place mat so he's not eating straight off the table when we go out. I wanted to try to make it a bit "sticky" on the back so it would be harder for him to pull off the table, so I replaced the back fabric with a piece of shelf liner. I'm not sure how well it's going to work (we've only tried it once so far, with mixed results), but we'll see. If nothing else, it's cute and gives him something to look at.
I also subbed out an elastic band for the ties to keep it closed when it's rolled up. Gwenny Penny's tutorial is well written, and this came together in no time. Let's eat!
The other day, I was at Cotton Babies picking up some new diapers for B, and they had a box filled with goodies you could choose from if you spent over a certain amount. I picked out a set of bibs that were packaged in these cute little plastic baby food jars.
After removing the bibs, I immediately decided they'd make perfect shakers for B, after a little makeover, of course.
I sewed two little sleeves, slid them on, filled one with rice and one with black beans, glued on the lids, and voila! Baby shakers!
Lastly (for this post), I finally made Matt a new lunch bag. He'd been making do with a bag from Whole Foods, but after the second one fell apart, he'd been using a plastic bag. Not cool. Enter me and the sewing machine.
I used this tutorial from I Eat Food for the measurements. Putting it together was just a basic tote construction, so easy peasy. It came together in no time, and I really like the way it turned out. Cute and functional but still manly. :)
The fabric is actually a shower curtain from Target that I bought ages ago when I was first starting out and not always making good fabric choices for certain projects. (This fabric was originally purchased to make a pair of yoga pants ... fail.)
Inside, I stashed this awesome little kit I found at Home Goods a few days ago. It's really small but holds this cute set of silverware (spoon, fork, knife, and chopsticks, ha!) and is perfect for a lunch bag.
Matt always had some nasty looking plasticware hanging out in the bottom of his lunch bag, so hopefully this will help solve that problem.
All right, back to the sewing room!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Beckett's 10-month update

Beckett, you're 10 months old today!
(Well, yesterday, but close!)

You really had a growth spurt this month, and according to our unofficial measurements, you're about 29 inches tall and weigh 20 lb, 9 oz.
This has been a big month for you in terms of motor development. You FINALLY started crawling, and you have a very signature crawl: one leg up with your foot on the floor, the other leg dragging behind. It looks a bit funny, but you make it work.
 You're also cruising all over the place...
 And pulling up on everything in sight...
Not to mention sitting from standing really well...
And walking like a pro (as long as someone's holding on)...
And just last week, you showed us you could stand up in your crib (a feat previously hampered by your inability to sit up on your own from your stomach, which you've now conquered as well)...
Your mobility also means you're starting to get into more "trouble," like pulling things off your bookshelves and playing with the doorstops (you love the vibrating noise they make when you whack them and they bounce back). We know this is just the beginning.
You are still a super messy eater (you may have even gotten messier), especially because you've starting motorboating while you have food in your mouth, making it spray everywhere. Mommy just loves that. And you seem to be under the impression that food makes a great hair conditioner. You're now eating a lot of table food, restricted mainly by the fact that you still only have your two bottom teeth. But this week, you've been working on four teeth on the top, which should help.
You had quite a social month, starting with helping us host our annual Beers, Brats, and Bars party. You were a hit as our little host, and you loved joining everyone outside in your rocker to eat dinner.
Grandmozzie and Gramps came for a visit, too, and you had a great time showing them all your new tricks.
The weekend was topped off by your first motorcycle "ride" with Gramps.
You've also had a few play dates with friends, including Ethan (I forgot to take pictures, boo) and Ben and Ava.
You also hung out with Ben and Ava at last month's Food Truck Friday, where you impressed the crowd by eating Ben's shoes. Not a strong moment for you. :)
You still love bath time, and you've tossed aside your baby tub, preferring to sit in the big tub instead. Your favorite toy is your rubber ducky, hands down.
You love music, and your favorite toys are your two pianos and your dog that sings. You could play on those pianos all day long. "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is your favorite song at the moment (at least on the piano). Away from the piano, it's "Call Me Maybe."
Mommy also introduced you to Bunny, the huge stuffed rabbit that was her favorite childhood stuffed animal. You loved him immediately.
Your personality shines more and more every day, and it's so fun to see the person you're becoming.
You make the funniest faces sometimes, and you're always making us crack up with the things you do. Sucking your bottom lip under is a favorite.
We love you, little man! Thanks for being so awesome.
 And your birthday collage: