I know I dropped off the face of the Internet. Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and only the occasional Instagram.
I know! I feel bad, I promise, especially since I've completely lost touch with a few friendships that had been kept up through Twitter, blogging meetups, etc, and I really do miss you ladies!
If you look at my house, it doesn't look like I've been busy. A couple weeks ago Jeff finally got fed up with the Valentine's wreath in the front room, and took it down. My Spring wreaths are still up in the kitchen. The 4th of July wreath is on the front door. My spray-painted-but-not-assembled summer wreath project needs to be packed away to do next year. I've got some cute glittery and washi-ed pumpkins on my kitchen windowsill, but they're just piled there because I haven't arranged them yet.
But I've been busy.
Keepin' it real with no makeup and a self-portrait phone picture!
I can't believe it… I'm 24 weeks, 2 days pregnant! (For those too mommy-brained to do the math, I'm due January 20th!) (Also: This may not be as much of a surprise to anyone who saw me at the Daybreak Blogger House thing [I had been wearing maternity jeans for 3 weeks at that point], or who have been seeing what I pin on Pinterest…) I've got an adorable baby bump, which I love, but this kid is kicking my butt (among other things). This has been a rough pregnancy for me so far—not nearly as rough as it could be, and for that I'm very grateful, but my joints really don't appreciate being pregnant. I've had back and hip pain that occasionally makes me want to scream (or cry). I've been carrying around this thing for the last couple weeks…
…because I have some days when I can barely walk to the bathroom WITH the cane.
But I'm so grateful to be pregnant, and to be past one of the big viability hurdles! I'm so grateful that Jeff has been so patient with my mood swings (which haven't been as bad this time around) and with my physical incompetence. I'm grateful that Nathan is so excited to be a big brother—and I hope that excitement sticks around when he's no longer an only child!
I honestly have no idea if I will be able to keep up with doing actual projects. I do almost all of my crafting after Nathan goes to bed, and usually by then my hips are DONE, and all I can manage is vegeing out to Netflix. I have so many partial things going on that I started after the nausea left (at around 13 weeks) and before the back/hip pain kicked in (at around 15 weeks) or that I started on my good days. I think I've got enough energy to get back into meal planning, finish my fall decorating, and finish the strip quilt I started for the baby… Just not at the pace of 2-4 posts a week! But, I do miss blogging, and now that I can allow myself to let the cat out of the bag, I hope I can ease my way back into this space. Hey, maybe I'll repost some things from my personal blog I kept with my first pregnancy…
P.S. This is how we announced the gender, at a family reunion in August. I love how the shirt turned out! I'll try to post details another time.
Let me tell you a story. When I was a kid (and still now) I loved to read, and would read any chance I got. I had a few different tactics for doing so after bedtime—in one house, I would go sit in the closet and turn the light on in there to read, so I had to perfect the switch-off-light-and-dive-into-bed move if I heard one of my parents coming. Do any of you remember doing that? I'm guessing yes!
But what does this have to do with now?
Well, Jeff and I have tools that our parents didn't… Namely, a video monitor! So, when we put Nathan to bed at 8:15 and didn't hear anything from down in his room, the verdict would usually be "asleep", until I checked the monitor at around 9.
Ah-ha! That was Duplo noises we thought we heard! I just shook my head and went downstairs to turn off the light and tuck Nathan in again, but by the time I got to his door, the light was off. I opened it, peeked in, and Nathan was lying in bed under his covers! I laughed inside, and then asked Nathan if he needed me to sing to him, because he was supposed to be asleep. (He never turns down a song!)
When I got back upstairs, I told Jeff what had happened, and he just said "Oh no, it's begun…" He thinks that Nathan knew exactly what he was doing, and jumped into bed as soon as he heard me coming, but I think it was a just a coincidence… I mean, he's not even three! What do you think?
OK, I know this kind of thing has been around for ages and ages, but I finally got mine all figured out, and thought I'd share! My inspiration came from Sugar Baby Boutique's version, though I made mine bigger, and so switched it around a bit.
Perfect for the hole in the back of my craft desk!
Ok, the hardest part (and by hardest I mean it took me several weeks of research/looking around) was finding the metal! I considered cookie sheets (too small or too expensive) and HVAC ducting (don't have the proper equipment to cut it down), among other things… I kept trying to find the smaller pre-cut metal that Camille was talking about, and I finally found it! Just not in the HVAC section… It was with the threaded rods! I took a picture, so you can find it easily at your Home Depot.
See? Hidden there next to the rods.
Anywho, on to the actual assembly. I collected a stack of paint stirrers from Home Depot.
And then I cut off the curved bits at the end with a saw and miter box.
Apparently I didn't take pictures of painting the sticks, but I sanded the sawed edges and then spray painted the non-printed sides with a matte black.
I discovered that the widths were slightly different at the two ends, and so I alternated as shown below.
I decided to brace the back instead of gluing the boards to each other, or just gluing it to the metal. As you can see, one stick wasn't quite long enough, so I used two full-sized sticks and two of the curvy bits—alternated for better structural integrity. I used regular wood glue for this part, and weighed it down with stacks of textbooks.
Next, I decided to cover the metal with some of the pink/white damask fabric I've been using to spruce up the inside (have I shown you that yet? I need to…) I cut the fabric about two inches bigger than the metal, and placed the metal in the middle.
(Do you see what I did wrong? I glued the fabric on backwards… Whoops! Good thing hot glue can be peeled off.)
I cut out the corner of the fabric, so it would lay more flat when I glued it down, and then folded the fabric over the edge, hot gluing about 6 inches at a time (any less, and the glue would dry before I got to it with the fabric!)
I tried using hot glue to attach the metal to the wood, but it dried WAY too fast, and I ended up having to peel off all the cooled glue! (I blame my hot glue fixation on Kimbo. I've been reading through her archives lately.) That was a pain. So, then I used E6000 and weighed it down with the stacks of textbooks again.
And now I've got a magnet board to store my to-do lists and cute things on! Here's a lovely "pseudo-styled" version of the board in use!
And here's a picture I took on Instagram that proves I can't keep anything tidy…
Alright, people, you know how my last Menu Plan Monday post was in August? (You probably don't, because I didn't know many of you back then!) Well, it was, and since then dinners have been really all over the place. Sandwiches or pasta every night for a week, or eating out a lot (especially when Jeff was in India in March, and several weeks after), we just need to get this under control.
Enter Liz, The Food Nanny! I met her at Breathing Space (told you I'd tell you more about her!) and she was so inspiring! She talked about how meal plans help your family eat healthier and more cheaply (particularly when cooking almost everything from scratch) and how she regularly cuts families' grocery budgets in half! That sounded fantastic, so I was definitely all ears.
She has recently started a blog in association with her site and her TV show, and I told her I would be happy to work with her to spread the news about her blog and the two week plans she's started releasing! (How great is that—she does the hard part for you!) She sent me her meal planning and recipe book, and though it's mid/endweek and we're all sick here at Chez Eclectic, I figured now is as good a time as any to get going! I'm going to go grocery shopping when I have a spare hour and energy at the same time—but hey, tonight is pizza!
We are going to do our best to follow Liz's plan fairly closely, but we're going to going to switch Grill Night to Sunday, and then make Saturday Asian Night—this will encompass our love for Chinese, Thai, Indian, and sushi! Monday night will be Comfort/Tradition food, where I'll choose one of the meals she lists between the two. I'm posting my own version of the plan because of the small changes I've made, and because I love prettying things up in my own style! (It's almost a sickness/obsession…)
So there it is! My slightly altered version of Liz's plan, color-coordinated to my kitchen! I will also be inputting her recipes into Food Planner on my phone (can be synched to multiple phones, so we can always have a current list!) and using that for pantry inventory/grocery list.
So, are you a meal planner, or a whatever's-in-the-fridge-er? If you're the latter, do you want to learn how to be the former with me? Follow me along, follow The Food Nanny on Facebook and her brand new blog, and lets jump into this adventure together!
Disclosure: Liz sent me her book so I could try out her plan and her recipes. She makes her base plans available for free on her blog and Facebook, and all opinions are my own.