Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nursery in Progress

Finally... the promised pictures of the baby's room (in progress)

Walking through the door... we have a place to store toys and the crib.



The crib, decked out in Noah's ark bedding

The book shelf stocked with books and stuffed animals (what baby doesn't need a stuffed Yoda and Darth Vadar?)


The closet, which will be getting an overhaul this weekend:

The newly cleaned changing table


We still have to hang curtains, install blinds, hang the quilt on the wall and get a rocker/glider.

Pre baby Preperation

Since I have a nice long break, the university is closed, I am trying to do at least one thing off of my pre-baby preparation list a day. Today I will be washing the slip cover on the sofa in the living room.

I also plan to wash to furniture in the baby's room. The furniture we are using is hubby's from growing up. I wanted to wax it or refinish it, but both of those processes have too many chemicals for me to feel comfortable doing it while pregnant. So, I bought so Murphy's oil soap and will channel my inner Kim and Aggie and give the furniture a good scrub. I will post pictures once the scrubbing is finished.

Our Tree

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Carpet Shampooer


So I finally broke down and bought my very own carpet cleaner. With two big dogs, a muddy backyard, and tan carpets this purchase was inevitable. Lucky for me Target was having a sale. The Bissell Proheat 2x which is regularly $249 was on sale for $199 and you got a free $20 gift card.

Now you all know how I will be spending my Christmas vacation... steam cleaning carpets.

Do I know how to have fun or what?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Baby Updates

I had another doctor's appointment yesterday and I am pleased to report that the baby is head down. I know that there are still 6 weeks to go and that the baby could flip around a couple of times but... I had this feeling that the baby was transverse, so it was god news. Also good news was my blood pressure 110/64. I don't think it has ever been THAT low pregnant or not. :)

The baby's room is being painted as we speak so hopefully I'll have pictures to post of the completed room soon.

Thanks Lisa!


My friend Lisa awarded me the Colors of Friendship award. Although none of us are really sure what it means exactly, Lisa was, and I am, honored to receive it.

I think I am supposed to pass it on, so I will send it on to... Grace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Information you can use


I don;t know about you, put I HATE wrestling with "clamshell" packaging. You know, that packaging that is molded around the item in question and that is notoriously hard to open, cut though, melt with a blow torch. Anyway, someone came out with the Package Shark that is supposed to solve the problem of clamshell packaging once and for all. [interestingly enough the Package Shark comes in clamshell packaging which begs the question of how you are supposed to open the Package Shark if you don't already own a Package Shark, but that is a little too existential for me today].

ANyway, it seems that there is no need to purchase a Package Shark since most of us already own a gadget that will do the job... a manual can opener. Read about it here...

LOVE IT!

Cookie Exchange Menu

I am hosting my first ever cookie exchange this Sunday. Since it starts at 2:00 I don't feel the need to have a very elaborate menu but I feel the need to have something for people to nosh on over girl talk.

My plan was to make this Christmas Crescent Ring and serve it alongside a fruit salad. I was also planning on having coffee and tea and something cold to drink. The problem is I have no idea what to serve that is cold. Thoughts?

Do you think that is enough food? Do I need something savory to balance the sweet?

Any help would be appreciated!

(oh, there are only 5 people attending so please don't think I'm being stingy with the food)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I didn't want to do it...

but I had to. Today I pried both my wedding band and my engagement ring off my grossly swollen finger before someone had to cut them off.

This was no easy feat. First I googled "get ring off swollen finger" and found many strange and unusual solutions like Windex, dental floss, KY Jelly, and call 911.

I also found some suggestions that sounded probable, so I combined a couple and was able to remove my precious rings.

Step 1: Ice and elevate swollen finger. I did this for 10 minutes with my arm propped straight up in the air on the wall.

Step 2: Lube up finger. First I tried the Windex, because if you've ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding you will know that Windex can do anything. Well, anything except get a ring off. It didn't really work, so I tried grape seed oil which was the oil I could reach at the time.

Step 3: Twist and pull as hard as you can. This took about 10 minutes and hurt I have to tell you, but I was able to get them off finally. My finger is swollen and red, with a few burst blood vessels but my rings are safe from the jaws of life or whatever it is they use to cut jewelery off of chubby pregnant people.

Step 4: Be sad and cry a little. Ok, so I actually did cry a little about not having my rings on. I have gotten over it as it is only a temporary situation, but I do feel a little naked without them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Egg Nog


I don't think that I have ever actually tasted egg nog and until this very moment I don;t think I ever wanted to. This year is a different story all together and now I really want to make it and try it... like right now... while I am sitting at my desk... at work.

Ok, so I will have to wait until I get home but I am thinking about trying either the egg-less eggnog recipe that Jenn from Frugal Upstate mentioned or this one from Tammy's recipes.

Actually, now that I look at them both, they look pretty similar. Anyone try either of them? Thoughts?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baking Bug

It appears I have been bitten by the baking bug. Yesterday I spent most of the day in the kitchen and with an unusual burst of energy made:

In addition I made chicken stock out of a chicken carcass I had left over from last week's crock pot roasted chicken.

I will be making a Pumpkin Caramel Pound cake for a pot luck lunch on friday, and Ina's Jam Thumbprint cookies for the cookie exchange I am having on Sunday.

Superheros all Around?

I hate to use my lunch hour to run errands, it makes my work day seem that much longer, so I try, whenever possible, to run errands on the way to work. This morning I stopped at the post office to mail my Christmas packages (ML its in the male, Meredith sorry it will be late, and Steph I hope it gets to you before your birthday). I then decided to stop at the Wawa (like a 7-11 only WAY better) to get orange juice which is my craving of the moment. Ok, so I also stopped to get an apple fritter another craving of the moment, but that is really here nor there, I stopped at Wawa, that is the important part of the story.

I pulled in the parking lot, parked my car, turned to car off, got out, locked the car and started to walk to the entrance when I noticed that every other car in the parking lot was idling in its parking space. "Strange," I thought to myself thinking there were other people in the cars waiting for someone inside. As I got closer to the building I realized that there was no one in any of these cars, they were still running because their owners were TOO LAZY to turn the car off before getting out of it. An uncharitable thought ran through my head that it would serve them all right to have their cars stolen from the parking lot, but I then thought that I really didn't mean it, even if deep, deep down, I did just a little bit.

Are people really in that big of a hurry? How long does it take to start your car? 2-3 seconds maybe. Not to mention all of the car exhaust being spewed into the environment, all the gas being guzzled as the car sits idle. Why not turn the car off? What is the benefit of leaving it run while you go get your caffeine fix or buy today's newspaper?

I could maybe, possibly understand if this was Alaska and it was -40 degrees and we all ran the risk of having our engines freeze solid if we turned them off for just a minute. I could also understand if you needed to make a quick getaway in the event you were robbing the place, but after that I can't think of why you would need to leave your car running while you are inside the Wawa. Unless of course you are a superhero in disguise and need to get out of the parking lot fast in order to go solve a crime or save a kitten or something like that.

Maybe my Wawa has a disproportionately large population of superheros I don't know.

[Note: New Jersey must not have any superheros as it is illegal to leave your car idling outside of a convenience store].

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First Night of Puppy Hanukkah

This was Beo's second Hanukkah but it was Jax's first so the boys celebratedin style with new fire hydrant toys!

Jax and the Green Hydrant




Jax (Green) & Beo (Red)

Happy Hanukkah

Our Hanukkah set up. And yes, that is a bush. That's what you get when you leave the decorating up to a shiksa! :)

Wet Shoe Update

Ah, the saga of my wet clogs.... they dried completely and didn;t shrink at all! I wore them to work today and was very pleased. Miracles do happen people!

More Memes

I was tagged by Gina at Six in the County with the following meme, so here it goes...

1. What did you accomplish this past week? I got my holiday cards written and mailed, we moved a bed to my parent's house for storage, I gave away two book shelves, and took a load of stuff to Goodwill.

2. Did anything not go as expected? Well, I had planned to get more done around the house and wrap some presents, but that didn't happen.

3. What was the highlight of your week? Wednesday of last week was my birthday, so getting cards from friends and presents from hubby, puppies, baby-to-be and parents was definitely the highlight.

4. Did anything exciting happen that you did not expect? Hummm... not that I can think of at the moment. I am sure something didn't go as expected but since I can't remember what it was it must not have been that important.

Now I get to tag 5 people, lets see...

Lisa, from Sofia Vincenza
Grace from Rose Cottage Lane
Tiany at Less of Me More of Him

I will have to stop at three that I all I can think of at the moment. :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Fun

I got this as an email but thought it would make a fun Meme.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both or Neither it depends on the gift.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artficial :( The real are too expensive and I am allergic to them, plus I'm pretty sure the dogs would eat a real tree.
3. When do you put up the tree? Before Christmas, does that help?
4. When do you take the tree down? New Years Day
5. Do you like egg nog? I don't know that I have ever actually tasted it.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My Bryer Horses
7. Do you have a nativity scene? No
8. Hardest person to buy for? My grandparents
9. Easiest person to buy for? the dogs
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Humm... a used umbrella.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Muppets Christmas Carol
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? The Day after Christmas
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yup and I'm not afraid to admit it either.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Peanut Butter Fudge
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Green, although our tree has clear
17. Favorite Christmas song? last Christmas by Wham I listen to it on my Ipod all year long.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay Home, drive 20 minutes to my parents.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? yes.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open our presents at Hanukkah.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Too many stressed out people
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Noah's Ark.
24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Thanksgiving part II (Tureky, stuffing, cranberries, etc.)
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A healthy full term baby.

If you've read through this whole thing consider yourself tagged!

Odds & Ends

I feel like I haven;t posted in forever, so I thought I would start with wrapping up all of the odds and ends bopping around my head.

Hubby and I went to see George Carlin Saturday night and he was very funny as expected. Sunday I was supposed to go have lunch with a friend in Bethlehem, PA but because of the weather (we had sleet/snow/rain) we had to cancel and still need to reschedule. Sunday I was in a miserable mood for no good reason whatsoever. Sorry baby!

On the up side I was able to get decorated for Hanukkah (which starts tonight) and write out all of our holiday cards.

I keep feeling as if I am getting nothing at all done and letting everything pile up until it is going to drown me, but then I realized that I am growing another human being, so anything that gets done on top of that is really gravy. :) Nice to know I am even multitasking in my sleep. Which I could use a whole lot more of, but I digress.

I had three things on my to do list that I finished last night which was make bread, wrap all of hubby's Hanukkah presents, and find missing addresses and stamps for the holiday cards. I was actually able to accomplish all of those things. YEAH ME!

I had a doctors appointment yesterday. All is well with he baby and with me. My blood pressure actually keeps getting lower which is good, the baby's heartbeat was 134 bpm, and next time the doctor should be able to tell if the baby is head down or head up. Can't wait to find out.

I took pictures last night of my bread making process which I will post when I get home... I promise... oh, maybe not, hubby and I have our birth class tonight... we'll have to wait and see what happens....

Friday, November 30, 2007

December 1, 2007

World AIDS Day

For More Information: http://www.avert.org/worldaid.htm

Help stop the disease that is ravaging the world!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peppermint Bark

A few weeks ago I promised my friend Lisa that I would give her my recipe for peppermint bark. Since I was typing it out I thought I would hare it will all of you as well.

1 pound white chocolate (I buy big slabs at Trader Joes)
12 candy canes
1 tsp. peppermint oil (or 1 Tbs. Peppermint extract)

Melt white chocolate. This can be done in the microwave by cooking for 30 seconds, stirring and checking, and cooking for another30 seconds, stirring and checking, etc. until the white chocolate is melted.

Unwrap and bash up the candy canes. I do this either in a zip top bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet or in the food processor.

Mix candy cane pulp and peppermint oil into melted white chocolate.

Spread the mixture onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan and refrigerate until completely set. Break into pieces.

Store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Winter Weather


http://www.art.com
copyright
Stephen Huneck

Well I guess winter is officially here since they are forecasting a "wintery mix" for Sunday into Monday. I actually like winter I think it is beautiful in a very sublime way, but I don't like having to deal with winter weather.

Hubby and I thought ahead this year though, over the weekend when the weather was mild we went to Home Depot (or as hubby calls is the Despot) and bought 250 pounds of rock salt. We also stocked up on 4 gallons of windshield washer de-icer fluid. Hubby pulled out the snow blower and made sure it was in working order and then moved it closer to the house in case we need it. I am heading the Walmart at lunch to get some pet safe ice melter for our back porch and then I think we will be all set.

I guess I had better put together an emergency kit for my car and locate boots, hats, etc. With being almost 8 months pregnant I really don't want to take any chances.

How do you get ready for winter weather?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wet Shoes


Since it was such a nice weekend, hubby and I did a little yard work that we had been putting off... namely raking leaves and picking up dog poop. Ok, so we don't actually rake, we have a leaf blower. Anyway, hubby was blowing all the leaves around the yard and I was following behind him picking up the poop which was LONG overdue. Needless to say, between the plentiful piles and the leaves hiding a few... nuggets... I stepped in a lot of poop. I was wearing my Dansko clogs at the time, which, when I was finished (after collecting 3 grocery bags full) I left sitting on our deck box to dry out making the poop easier to remove. I kind of forgot that the shoes were out these until this morning when I went to let the dogs out and it was pouring.

My shoes, my very expensive leather shoes were filled with water and soaking wet! I brought them in the house and put them on newspaper to dry. When I get home tonight I will break out the boot dryers and see if that will help.

Do you think they are ruined? Any thoughts on getting leather shoes dry?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Best Deal I Ever Passed Up


Yesterday after my doctor's appointment I ran to the market with my mom to pick up my free turkey. I took my mom because I do not have the freezer space for said turkey but she does, so I bought it and she took it home.

Anyway, we were in the meat department looking at the turkey's and waiting for the butcher to cut my beef bones into manageable pieces (We give these to the dogs as treats, at something like $.69 a pound they make a cheap dog treat/toy) when we spied a Bell and Evans natural turkey with a marked down sticker on it. The regular price was $57.00 and the marked down price was $14.00. Mom and I both looked at each other and began to plan how it might be possible to get this turkey home with one of us. Alas, as I mentioned before I had no freezer space for a 19 pound bird so it couldn't come home with me. The last of her freezer space was taken up with the free turkey we already had in the cart, so the Bell and Evans beauty stayed in the market.

It was definitely a hard deal to pass up, but without any place to store it it would have been a complete waste of $14.

What's Cooking Good Looking?

Well, at the moment nothing because I am at work, but tomorrow my kitchen will be in full swing. I don't host Thanksgiving, we go to my mother-in-law's house, but this year I was asked to bring a vegetable. I always wonder why people ask the chubby girl to bring things like salads and veggies, but hey, I'm a team player.

This year I will be bring a creamed spinach souffle and roasted grape tomatoes.

The spinach souffle isn't a true souffle by any stretch of the imagination because it contains no eggs what-so-ever, but spinach casserole doesn't sound very appetizing:

2 (10 oz.) pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. sage
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. melted butter, divided
2 c. bread crumbs

Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain. Combine spinach, salt and pepper, cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter. Mix well. Spoon into a 2 quart casserole dish. Combine 1/4 cup butter, breadcrumbs, and sage stirring well. Spread bread crumbs over spinach mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

The roasted grape tomatoes are my version of a barefoot contessa recipe.

4 pints grape tomatoes
olive oil
Salt and pepper
Salad Herbs (I have a jar of freeze dried "salad herbs." Don't know what is actually in them)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a sheet pan. Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and salad herbs. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.

What are you cooking?



Well Worth Bookmarking

A friend of mine passed this website along and I thought I would do the same.

http://safemama.com/

Described as a site to:

"...serve mothers, fathers and all parents as a resource to find information to help them protect their kids. With the onslaught of toy problems, lead paint and other health concerns popping up in the news, I wanted to create a site where parents can go to find what they need to make educated and informed decisions.

This site isn’t to take the place of official information or the advice given by medical doctors. It should be used as a resource, and a time saver to help you as a parent make decisions that affect your kids and to find fun and healthful tips on living a healthy safe life."

It can never hurt to have more information.



The Grind Part II

So that Friday night, as promised, hubby and I tried out the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aide mixer. It was easy to attach and it seemed (hubby did the actual grinding) very easy to use. He cut the steaks into strips and dropped them into the grinder. There was a plunger type utensil included with the grinder attachment that he used to smooch the meat closer to the actual grinding apparatus. It ground up the meat beautifully! With the small exception of turning the power to 3 and blowing little meaty chunks on the cabinets (so very gross!) it performed without incident.

We took our newly ground meat and using my trusty Tupperware Hamburger Press made burgers for dinner. Hubby grilled them, and boy were they tasty.

I did not take any pics because I just wasn't thinking, sorry.

Clean up was a breeze too, and I was a little worried about getting the grinder absolutely clean. Most of the parts can go in the dishwasher which helps, and what can't was easy to clean in the sink with hot water and dish soap.

All in all a kitchen success!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Grind



Tonight hubby and I will be playing the in the kitchen with his newest kitchen toy... the meat grinder attachment for my kitchen aid mixer.

Having never ground meat before this should be a true experiment, but perhaps something that will lead to frugal and gourmet endeavours in the future. A special family sausage recipe to pass down to the kids? Who knows.

I was able to find some tips that look helpful from Hamburger-recipes.com:



"Grinding Meat

Pretty simple really, cut all the meat into small cubes not bigger than 1"(25mm) and if you are adding extra fat cut the fat into much smaller cubes, maybe 1/4 the size of the meat. This allows you to distribute the lesser volume of fat more evenly. The same principle applies if you add a second meat type, like bacon, which is less in volume than your primary meat.

Spread the meat cubes in a single layer on your work surface and then distribute the fat (or second meat type) evenly over the meat. Spice the layer of meat, turn it over (spatula/egg lifter works well) and spice the other side as well.

If you intend binding the mixture for patties with a little fresh bread crumbs soaked in some cool stock and a bit of egg now is the time to distribute this evenly over the meat.

Mix everything through lightly with your hands and put the mixture into the freezer until it is very cold (just before it starts to freeze). A very cold mixture makes grinding meat a walk in the park and delivers excellent results. Although I don't go to such extremes I know of people who also put the grinder parts into the freezer prior to grinding meat and they claim great results.

Choose the plate size according to the quality and tenderness of the meat. With tender meat a coarse cut is preferred. Tough meat would warrant a medium cut and very sinewy meat would require a fine cut.

Follow the manufactures instructions to grind the meat. The threaded retaining ring on the front of the grinder needs to be pretty tight to force the cutting plate to seat tightly up against the knife otherwise you wont have much success with grinding meat. Use a pushing stick and never your fingers to force the meat cubes into the grinder and down onto the worm.

Stoppages are usually caused by sinews getting wrapped around the knife. This is generally due to a loose retaining ring, a blunt or dull knife, or the meat not being cold enough. Always unplug an electric grinder from the wall socket before attempting to clear a stoppage.


After Grinding

If you are new to this or if you are trying out a new recipe the next step after grinding is to put the ground meat into the refrigerator.

Don't clean up quite yet.

Take a small sample of ground meat and make a miniature patty. A heaped teaspoon is enough. Fry it in a pan and taste the texture and spicing. Here's how to correct some common errors.

Too Tough - If the ground meat is a bit tough you will want to put it through the grinder a second time. If it is very tough or sinewy do this using a plate with smaller holes.

Not Enough Spice - If it is only a bit of spice that is needed spread the ground meat out in a thin layer on the work surface and sprinkle the extra spice evenly over it. Mix through gently with your hands.

Too Much Spice - If the ground meat is too spicy get some more fresh meat and grind it without adding any spice. Spread the over-spiced meat out in a thin layer and distribute the unspiced meat evenly over it. Mix through gently with your hands.

Refrigerate the ground meat until you are ready to mold the patties.


Cleaning the Grinder

No tricks here. It's just important after grinding meat to completely strip the grinder and wash it and all the parts meticulously. A bottle brush works well with small grinders. After rinsing and drying I make a habit of spraying the cutting plate and knife lightly with cooking spray to prevent them from rusting. Assemble the grinder to keep all the parts safely together and cover with a cloth to keep dust out.

Grinding meat is an extremely rewarding experience and once you start you probably will not restrict yourself to only making great tasting burgers. Ground meat dishes will also take on a whole new meaning and then of course there is that whole new world of making your own sausage that lies ahead!" (http://www.hamburger-recipes.com/grinding-meat.html)

Anyone else have any experience with meat grinding? Any tips to add?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Holiday Baking


I have been thinking about my holiday baking recently. Maybe it is because it is finally consistently cold enough to do some baking, or perhaps because I have the energy to bake or perhaps it is all a part of nesting. Who knows. Anyway, there are several confections that I make every year and have been making for a couple of years such as peanut butter fudge, white chocolate peppermint bark, ginger snaps, earl grey tea cookies, chocolate covered shortbread and a few others.

This year am thinking about scaling back and tailoring my baking to the ingredients that are already plentiful in my pantry. I will make the peanut butter fudge and the peppermint bark because I have all of the ingredients and I give most of these away as gifts.

I have a dearth of coconut, Jams of every flavor, and oatmeal, so I was thinking about making the Barefoot Contessa's Jam Thumbprints which will use the Jam and the coconut. I was also thinking about making the mock nutrigain bars the Amy (Motherload) talked about which would use still more Jam (I have A LOT of Jam) and the oatmeal. My other option is to make Nigella's cranberry, white chocolate, pecan oatmeal cookies which are wonderful!

What are you baking for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Read This Book


If you've ever wondered how it is possible that the same people the government and big business step all over vote for and support the system that keeps them down.

I first read about it here, and waited very patiently for interlibrary loan to come though. I started reading it yesterday, and although I am only 45 pages in, I am hooked. The subject matter is timely, especially with an upcoming election, and the writing if funny and engaging.

READ THIS BOOK!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Salmon Fried Rice

Saturday night I made this recipe for Salmon Fried Rice. I made a few changes to the recipe. I substituted Brown jasmine rice for the sushi rice that the recipe calls for, because I had it on hand and it adds more fiber and vitamins. I also toasted approximately 2 Tbs. of sesame seeds and added those to the rice to punch up the sesame flavor and to add another whole grain. It was SOOO good.

Here it is packaged with edamame for a work lunch. Yumm-o! (to quote Rachael Ray)

To Prove to Hubby I am NOT Crazy


I found this in the freezer this morning. I told you!!! :)


Eagles Fan in Training


This baby, boy or girl, will be an Eagles fan if hubby has anything to do with it. When I saw baby Swoop yesterday I jut couldn't resist.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, wait... it gets better...

So since the campus wide evacuation, after the credible threat of violence to the university community, all faculty and staff have been told to be on the lookout for any "suspicious people."

Of course, this sounds like good sound advice, but those of us in the library laughed and laughed when we heard that one. Suspicious? Suspicious! What kind of suspicious should I be looking out for?

What about this? Three days ago one of the library patrons told me my leopard-print sweater was talking to him. Is that suspicious enough?

Or how about this? What about the patron we lovingly call Nostradamus because he believes he is the fulfillment of all of Nostradamus's prophecies. Does that count as suspicious? [Although the Virgin Mary speaks to him on a regular basis, so maybe we could count that as a character reference]

Or what about Snowflake [Not his real name]? He is a homeless guy we caught using one of our study rooms as a hotel room. He is definitely suspicious.

Or there is the guy who thinks the government is watching him. That sounds suspicious to me.

Or there are the legions of local high school students who sneak into the library to look at porn and who refuse to make eye contact with anyone and hide their computer screens from all library staff so that they don;t get thrown out. They always look suspicious.

Perhaps suspicious looks the same on the rest of the university campus, but here is library land you are going to have to get a little more specific, cause we get A LOT of suspicious around here!

I work for an "employer of first choice"

Ever since the shooting at Virginia Tech, college campuses all over the country have looked at their security systems and how they can be improved. The university that I work for is no different.

So, shortly after this university began looking at their security systems they decided that what we really needed was a campus wide emergency notification system. So they subscribed to one, and then urged all of the faculty, students, and staff to sign up. The system works like this. When there is an emergency on campus, like a shooting or a bomb threat, everyone who signed up for the system will get a text message and/or an email with information, procedures, etc.

This past Friday, a la two days ago, we had to use the system for something other than a test... an actual emergency situation. It seems that there was a credible threat of violence aimed at the entire university community. So credible was this threat that the university actually evacuated and locked down one of its dorms, told the students to either get in their rooms and stay there or to go home, and they told all of their faculty and staff to leave campus ASAP.

This means that they actually closed the library. This never happens. The rest of the university could be closed and encased in 6 feet of ice and they library would still be open and I would be required to be at work. So, you can understand when I say that this must have been one hell of a credible threat!

So, apparently, although they haven't arrested anyone for making this treat, and since the threat never (or perhaps has yet) to come to fruition, they reopened campus.

So here I am today, at work, two days after a credible threat of violence was found and the entire campus was essentially evacuated and is there one single security guard to be found?... NO!

Wow, I feel safe... XXX University really must value their employees and their safety.

"Employer of first choice" my ass!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Weekend Plans

This has been a very busy week at work and it looks like the weekend will be bust as well.

I have to work on Sunday, which leaves Saturday for getting all my projects done. Hubby and I are hoping to get to Home Depot a some point to get paint for the nursery. I am also getting my hair cut, which is something I haven't done in about 6 months.

I need to make some more bread, and am hoping to get some additional baking/cooking done as well. I was intrigued by these Hearty Breakfast Muffins since I have some frozen veggie sausage I want to use up and with my left over salmon I will be making this Salmon Fried Rice to freeze in individual portions for lunches. Hopefully I will have the where-with-all to take pictures of these when they are completed.

Have a great weekend!

Black Friday Sales...

are just around the corner. I can't believe how quickly November is going.

Anyway, if you haven't checked out this site http://www.blackfriday.info you can get a heads up on the good black friday sales.

For me and my mom, shopping on black friday is a tradition and although my stamina is not what it used to be, we will be heading out bright and early this year too.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

We Have a Crib!

This is not the exact crib, but it is pretty darn close.


So last week my mom and I headed to my favorite baby resale shop and I found a crib that I really liked. It was in perfect condition (it doesn't even look like its been used), is styled similarly to hubby's old dresser which we will be using as a changing table, and was even the right shade of medium wood. I inquired about the price, which was reasonable and the store owner mentioned that the price included the mattress (which was in better condition than the crib).

So, my mom bought it for us as an early shower gift. My dad went today and picked it up from the resale shop and brought it to our house.

We are officially one step closer to having the nursery finished.

Is it wrong?


That this morning at 10:00 am I had a Twix for a snack?

You'd better say it isn't... ;)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Generosity

Hubby and I are very lucky to have generous friends who have recently given us even more baby gear. This is seriously better than Christmas/Chanukkah combined! We have received...

-- 1 changing pad













-- 2 sheet savers
-- 5 onsies (new in package)
-- 1 pair of little red Keds sneakers (so cute!)
-- a random assortment of clothes
-- 1 expandable baby gate















Both the changing pad and the gate were on our baby registry!

YEAH!

I got the results of my Glucola test this morning and thankfully they are NORMAL! Yeah, one less thing to worry about.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Samhain / Happy Halloween


In a few minute I will be heading home to hopefully hand out candy to lots of trick-or-treaters and I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween and/or a Happy Samhain

The Mad Scientist/Homemaker


Vs.


I have been on a kick to rid my home of most if not all toxic/noxious chemicals, especially cleaning products. I do the vast majority of my cleaning with Simple Green and Sun and Earth. I was having trouble though, coming up with a replacement for toilet bowl cleaner. This is probably the most noxious of all the chemicals I have in the house, but haven't ever seen a safer, more natural replacement. I got to thinking about what natural cleaning products might work and I started to think about white vinegar. "But will it work as well?" I asked myself.

So I set up an experiment to see if white vinegar would clean a toilet bowl as well as lysol toilet bowl cleaner. Two weeks ago I cleaned by upstairs toilet with white vinegar and the downstairs toilet with the lysol cleaner. I let them both get used as they normally would for a two week period (yes, this means I didn't clean my toilets for 2 weeks... please don't condemn me!). Last night I took at look at the staining/mold/mildew/crud buildup in each toilet to see if there was a difference. Low and behold the toilet cleaned with the Lysol had MORE staining/mold/mildew/crud than the toilet cleaned with vinegar.

That kinda settled it for me. As soon as the lysol toilet bowl cleaner is used up I will not be replacing it. Instead I will be using a safer, less noxious, less corrosive, CHEAPER cleaner... white vinegar,

Oh white vinegar... is there nothing you can't do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gluuuuuuu-Cola!

http://www.daisy-online.net/blog/archives/146
Copyright: Daisy weblog

So this morning I had my glucose challenge test which meant I had to down a bottle of super sweet gook and then have my blood draw precisely 1 hour later. I have heard HORROR stories about this test. About people chocking on the Glucola, about almost throwing up the gGucola, about getting dizzy and light headed and nauseas from the Glucola.

Needless to say I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to drink it, that it would make me sick, etc. Well now that I drank the stuff I have to say that all of those other people were WIMPS!

It was no where near as bad as they made it out to be. It wasn't really thick at all (not the consistency of cough syrup which is what I thought it would be like) and it tasted like flat orange soda. Since I have a weakness for orange soda I didn't find it objectionable at all.

Now, heres hoping that the results are good! Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Free Rice

If you're bored at work, pop over to http://www.freerice.com/ to test your vocabulary and do something good to stop world hunger.

I donated 1580 grains of rice and topped out at vocab level 40.

A Good Day

I knew that when I got pregnant I would, for the most part, be unable to wear my regular clothes and that was ok by me because it gave me the opportunity to get a few new and cute pieces. What no one told me was that I would be unable to wear my old shoes!

Over the summer this was no so much of a problem because I spend most of the summer months in Birkenstocks and they accommodate all sorts of foot swelling, stretching, etc. As it started to get colder and when I was going to work my Birks weren't really appropriate and I reached into the closet for some of my more sensible heels. Oh, I should mention that before now, I didn't own any flat shoes, it was heels or nothing for me!

So I picked out a pair of kitten heeled spectator pumps and slipped, er... um.... jammed a foot into them. Frantic flalying ensued while I tried desperately to get the thing, er... shoe off of my foot. My feel were either too wide now, or simply too swollen to wear those shoes. I then spend the next 20 minutes trying every pair of shoes on that I own and deciding that they all were too small now.

So, the next stop was to buy some shoes. I got a cute pair of black flats at target. I borrowed a cute pair of brown flats from my mom, and I bought a pair of chocolate brown Uggs from Zappos.com.

So.... this morning when I was getting dressed I decided on wearing my tan skirt with a black sweater (since it is finally sweater weather) . I would have opted for my black flats but I donlt have any tights/pantyhose that will come close to fitting, so I grabbed my black suede, knee-high boots. I hadn't bothered to try them on so I didn't know if they would actually fit or not, but, low and behold, THEY DO FIT!!!!!

These boots are my pride and joy and I talk to them in the same loving voice that I talk to my dogs in. I was ever so excited! I knew then that I was going to be a good day (oh, that and I only have to work 4 hours today, but it was mainly the boots :) )

My Boots:



Friday, October 26, 2007

Staying up-to-date on recalls

I can never remember to check the Consumer Products Safety commission's website recall.gov on a regular basis and as someone who rarely watches/listens to the news I feel like I am missing a lot of important recall information. So, today while writing the previous post about the Bumbo seat I found this page where you can sign up for email alerts about recalled products.

Ah... I love it when the news comes to me.

Bumbo Seat Recalled

Hubby found this recall notice today for the Bumbo seat.



The Bumbo seat was one of the top things on our baby registry. I guess it's coming off now!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Best Grocery Store EVER!

My mom and I recently made one of our semi-annual trips to Lancaster, PA to do a little outlet shopping. We did get some good deals at the outlets but the best deals of the day were to be found at Kaufman's Market. Kaufman's is an Amish market known for their apples and their special Bird-in-Hand blend apple cider. What they are not so well know for are their stupendous deals on bulk items like spices and grains. Neither mom nor I needed a whole lot of anything, but we were able to snag a few deals:

1. Cinnamon -- .62 pounds for ... get this... $1.90 (I thought I was going to fall over). Now I know Meredith did a comparison of cheap cinnamon v. Watkins cinnamon and found no discernible difference so I feel confident that this was a good deal. Regardless, if I found the cinnamon had less flavor I would just add more to the recipe.

2. Wheat Bran -- .50 pounds for .$39!!!! I have a recipe for whole wheat muffins that call for either wheat germ or wheat bran. I looked at this at my regular market and it was between $4 and $5 a container with less than .50 pounds on them.

Since we do not have "salvage grocers" in this area, we have to winnow out deal where ever we can. Kaufmans was well worth the trip. If you are ever in Bird-in-Hand, PA stop by and check them out!

Kid to Kid

I have been talking about the baby/child resale shop that I like to frequent thinking that it was just a local store, but low and behold it turns out that it is a chain of resale shops!

Kid to Kid is the store I love so and it turns out that there might very well be one in your own neighborhood.

http://kidtokid.com/

Reasons I LOVE kid to kid:

1. Great selection (clothes, toys, furniture, you name it)
2. Great prices (better, in some instances, than my Goodwill which has recently raised its prices)
3. Two words... maternity clothes! (cute, stylish, and cheap)
4. Frequent Shoppers Club (spend $10, ten times and they give you a $10 gift card)
5. 5% discount for paying with cash. You have to ask for it, but they will give it to you.

Layette Update

So thanks for the advice. I was able to add a few items to the layette including 4 pairs of pants, 4 long sleeve onsies (pint/color), 4 long sleeve onsies (white), two more sleep and plays, 1 short sleeve onsie, and three more pant/top or jacket outfits. I am not too worried if there are gaps as I haven't had a baby shower yet and some of the basics are on my registry.

Also I washed and prepped all the cloth diapers and out them in the dresser/changing table. It is nice to know that we are ready to go with cloth diapering when we need to be. Of course, we also have some disposables in newborn size to get us started.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Layette



Slowly but surely I have been amassing a layette in preparation for the baby's arrival in February.

Here is what we've got so far:


Size Quantity
Blanket Sleepers 0-9 3
Bassinet Sheets
3
Bibs
8
Blankets
2
Booties
3
Burp Cloths
10
Crib Sheets
6
Gowns 0-3 8
Hats
6
Hooded Towels
3
Jacket/Hoodie 6~9 1
Onsie (Color/Print) NB 1
Onsie (Color/Print) 3~6 6
Onsie (Color/Print) 6~9 3
Onsie (Long Sleeve) 6~9 2
Onsie (Long Sleeve) NB 3
Onsie (White) 3~6 5
Pants 6~9 1
Pants/Hoodie outfit NB 1
Receiving Blanket
7
Robe
1
Romper 0-3 2
Sleep & Play NB 10
Sleep & Play 3 1
Sleep & Play 3~6 1
Sleep & Play 6~9 2
Socks
10
T-Shirt 3~6 1
T-Shirt (Side Snap) 3 7
Wash cloths
2


So, my question to all of you who have babies... what am I missing? What do I need more of?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Belly Updates

(What I imagine is going on inside my uterus)

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and all is well. My blood pressure is low (for me). The baby's heartbeat is still going string at 154 bpm, and I am measuring right where I should be at 25 weeks. All is well.

Hubby was able to actually feel the baby kick last weekend which was really cool for him.

Lat night I was lying in bed watching TV while hubby was at a hockey game when I thought I saw the covers over my belly move. I wasn't sure so I kept watching and low and behold they moved again. So I moved all the covers away and was really still and watched the belly vibrate and bump and move in all direction. It was truly one of the most bizarre things I have every seen my body do.

It was very exciting.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Cloth Diaper Stash

After the baby arrives and after the newborn stage is over, I plan on using cloth diapers. I think that they are better overall. Better for the baby, for my budget, and for the environment. I like o plan ahead so I have been assembling my diaper stash slowly. Here it it:

-- 5 Kushie All in Ones (although I think I am returning these)
-- 2 Green Mountain Diapers fitted
-- 2 Under the Nile fitted
-- 2 snappies
-- 7 microfiber doublers/inserts
-- 4 Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers
-- 2 Happy Hiney pocket diapers
-- 2 Bumkins covers
-- 10 Bummis whisper wraps
-- 9 contours
-- 24 Chinese Prefolds

Here they are in pictures:

Prefolds and contours


Bumkins covers and Bummis Whisper Wraps

Fuzzi Bunz and Happy Heiny Pocket Diapers

Doublers/Inserts and Snappies

Fitted Diapers


Kushies All in Ones



Turtles, Frogs, and Noah's Ark oh my!

I had a dentist appointment today and after it was over and in celebration of the fact that I had no cavities nor did I have any evidence of "pregnancy gingivitis" I stopped at the kids resale shop across the street for a little shopping.

Noah's Ark set, new with tags and still on the original hanger. Oh, it has a fuzzy whale on the butt!


Two sleep and plays, one with turtles and one with frogs



A terry towel, robe and booty set, new with tags and still on the original hangers.

I also got a blue long sleeve T-shirt for me, but that isn't nearly as cute as the above items. 9 items total for $30.00. I didn't think that was bad at all since none of the items show any wear whatsoever and most are brand spanking new!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Baby's First Pictures

Here you can see a profile view of our little one's face with a hand/thumb in his/her mouth

Here you get a more inclusive profile with a body attached (still sucking on his/her thumb)


It looks like we have a self soother! :)