Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who Stole the... wait, he doesn't even know there's cookies!

NavyGuy is brilliant... BUT, not the most observant man on the planet.

Exhibit A: The new cookie jar...

The story begins with our realtor, who gave us a Pier One gift card when we closed on our house. Which I took to Pier One on Sunday. Where I picked out this white cookie jar...


... which I showed NavyGuy when I got home. Which he then watched me set on the kitchen counter, in PLAIN VIEW of all household occupants.

Apparently, the best place to hide a bag of Oreos in our house is IN the cookie jar. Cuz, they've sat there, untouched, since Sunday. When NavyGuy saw me buy a cookie jar.

My next project is going to be to store $20 bills in a piggy bank... he'll never suspect.


Puppies at 3 Weeks

UPDATED: My IT guy fixed the picture problem

Lord have mercy, I almost cannot STAND the cuteness!!!
I love how they're all falling over one another, and the little yellow guy in the front is looking up at the camera all, "please take me away from the madness... these siblings of mine exhaust me, don't you see?"I know - the cuteness literally takes your breath away.

How about a caption contest? Leave your best caption (or puppy thought bubble) for this second photo in the comments...

Oh... did I mention we're getting a puppy?


World Card Making Day

I'm Batty for You

I'm still playing around with the best place to take card photos in the new house, so please excuse the odd angle of this card. The stamp is from Stampin' Up's set Batty for You... which is the sentiment on this cute stamp!

I opted for very simple - the colored paper on the bottom half are simply strips of striped patterned paper cut into strips, and spaced out so that the purple peeks through.

Using this card as an example, here's the tip for the day: simple doesn't mean boring! Sometimes crafters get too caught up in having many layers and embellishments and do-dads on their cards... all of those decorative details can be great on cards, but feeling like you have to use ribbon and brads and seventeen different layers of paper can ruin your crafting mojo. This is especially overwhelming for beginning card-makers, and can often paralyze a person. So, when it doubt, go simple.

Clean and Simple is a fabulous blog with tons of inspiration for this simple style. Take a few minutes to browse their "Fall-to-Layouts" if you've never visited the site; you'll be amazed at the gorgeous cards that can be made with just one layer of paper and a single stamp.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheers and Jeers - Starbucks Edition

Quite the day at Starbucks...

Cheers... to learning how to clean the coffee grinder. Why cheers? Because it's part of my "advanced store training," which will probably bring me only more responsibilities and headaches (as opposed to more money), but will certainly make my time as a barista more rewarding.

Jeers... to getting coffee grounds all over my pants.

Cheers... to getting to make my first promotional sign! You know - those chalkboard signs above the registers and stuff? Well, yeah, I totally got to make one. It was for Signature Hot Chocolate. I even got to draw a cup and whipped cream. And everyone said my letters were super straight. All those years of writing on classroom whiteboards...

Jeers... to the customer who sat in the cafe lobby area for twenty minutes having an OCD meltdown and refolding thirty odd napkins.

Jeers... to the seventy three year old man, wearing a helmet and carrying a skateboard, who was first cranky to myself and the other barista, and then attempted to give us a tip (one quarter) through a slight of hand magic trick... which we're not allowed to accept anyway, so his Houdini-esque performance was for naught.

Cheers... to Starbucks new VIA Ready Brew instant coffee! Trust me - this is not your grandmother's instant coffee. Stop in any Starbucks in the next couple of days and get your free sample packet (it's like those little Crystal Light lemonade drink packs that you can add to a water bottle so you can drink it at your convenience). The brew is available in Columbia (medium) roast, or Italian Roast, which is bolder. All you do is add either 8 oz of hot or cold water, and voila! A great Starbucks quality cup o' joe. Alright fine, infomercial over.


World Card Making Day

You bet there's a day for us! World Card Making Day is October 3rd this year. Technically, it's not quite a federal holiday... or even a Hallmark holiday; rather, it was created three years ago by a paper craft magazine to encourage sales celebrate card-making and bring card-makers together. But every holiday has to start somewhere, so we're going to celebrate World Card Making Day all week long, with card-making tips, my favorite products, resources for more inspiration, and of course, cards! I'm determined to spread the paper craft love :)

White congratulations

Basic white never looked so good :) The large white swirly panel is an embossed piece of paper; I used a Cuttlebug and an embossing folder. A Cuttlebug is a die-cut machine that can also be used to create these "dry embossed" patterns on paper. The piece of paper is placed between plastic with a molded pattern, and run through the die cut machine. The machine squeezes the paper and folder together uniformly, so you end up with raised patterns on your paper. Here's what a dry embossing folder looks like:

The only other pieces to this card were two small flowers, and a stamped sentiment on a small piece of white paper. The all-white concept is great for weddings, babies, engagements, or when you can't decide what colors to use together! And that's my tip for today... if you find yourself in a color rut, go back to basics - pick one color and go crazy with it.

Want more tips on color? Check out these:

Six Basic Color Guidelines
Stampin' Up Color Combo Interactive Matrix


Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm Back Baby!

Wow! When I ask for your help, you all turn out in full force! I did not expect the vehement responses. Between the great feedback from the survey, an emergency phone call from Mom to make sure I wasn't standing on a bridge, and the general encouragement from so many sources, I'm back on track. I did want to take one post to thank everyone and reflect a little more on this collection of musings known as MarryingtheNavy, but then I promise I'll be back to my usual sarcastic, critical, crafty, witty, ridiculous self...

But if you haven't taken the survey, I'd still love to hear what you have to say!
Click Here to take survey

1. Blogs take work. Much of my crisis of confidence came from the fact that I started wondering if putting in anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours to create posts was really the best use of my time. When I started this blog last summer, I was unemployed and had nothing but time on my hands; now with a job, new house projects, an impending family addition (PUPPY, mother, not a grandbaby), etc. etc., writing posts at night became more of a chore than a pleasure. Maybe I should be using that time to actually live life instead of writing about it? Then I realized - I like doing this. Yeah, some days it's harder than others, but not usually. I like writing. I like sharing my stories with friends and family who I tend to do a poor job staying in contact with. I like having a little project to come home to.

2. Blogging is not my job. I have no delusions that one day I'll have thousands of followers and work from home in my pajamas, or see my writings become a book or feature length film. My goal is not to make money. I went back and reread my first post; according to me circa 2008, I had three goals: a) keep my brain from turning to mush, b) keep loved ones updated on our crazy life as Navy folk, and c) impact someone else in the world each day. Not to toot my own horn, but I'd say I'm accomplishing each of those goals. Which is something to be proud of! So it's time to remember that, stop comparing myself to other bloggers who are focusing on completely different goals, and keep my goals in sight...

3. Blog for yourself. While I loved all of your feedback (and seriously, some of you should consider careers as motivational speakers based on your supportive and thoughtful comments on the survey!), your feedback is not going to drive this entire blog. Luckily, the post topics you enjoy most are the ones I like writing about most (hmm... funny how that happens). So, I'll continue to write about NavyGuy and myself (seriously, guys, we're not that interesting), things and people that trip my sarcasm radar, craft projects, house projects, work debacles, and cooking adventures. But if a new topic strikes my fancy, I'm not going to let potential reader disinterest dissuade me from talking about it. I adore that others enjoy my writing, but I have to write for myself first.

4. This blog has brought amazing unforeseen results. Maybe first and foremost - I've met people IN THE REAL WORLD because they've read my blog. Who'd have thunk it was possible? I was worried that spending time blogging would insulate me from the real three dimensional people, but instead it's opened up whole new doors. That's amazing. Secondly, blogging about the important (and even not-so-important) events in my life has improved my scrapbooks! Say whaaaa!?! Well, I discovered this as I was working on a page about my sister's wedding. I had organized several great photos, and was to the part that most scrapbookers dread - journaling. What do you possibly say about an event that likely took place months (or even years) before you finally get around to putting the pictures on the page? Lo and behold - I reread one of the blog recaps I had written, cut and pasted a few lines, and boom! Awesome personal journaling to include in the scrapbook; there were stories and details I included in the blog recaps that I would never have had remembered over a year later.

Bottom line, I have to agree with most of you - I like my blog. Unnecessary freak-out notwithstanding, I'm quite happy with what I've done, so no more over-reaction-self-absorbed-question-my-purpose posts. I've stuck with this blog for over a year, and I've got lots more to say. And based on your feedback, that's what 100% of you want... more posts, more often! (With photos!) Stay tuned!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Don't Ask You Guys for Much...

So, I haven't posted in a few days. The short story is that I was busy. The long story interests no one, but if you want to know, I had a crisis. A blog crisis*. See, I started reading Young House Love, a fantabulous blog, written by a husband and wife who renovated their entire house, and have since grown their blog to be a home decor internet sensation. They're funny, insightful, incredibly helpful, and focused.

Of course this is not the first good blog that I've read since starting mine, but after reading theirs non-stop for two days, I hated mine. With a passion. The passion of a thousand burning STDs. Mine seemed trivial and random and hopped from topic to topic, and generally looked amateurish. And I couldn't refurnish a coffee table like they could. How depressing.

So, for five days my blog sat empty while I pondered. And the pondering is continuing. But now I'm including you guys.

Please take three minutes and take the little survey that I created. Ideally, your input is going to help me get back on track with the blog (or realize this little experiment was cute for a year, but it's time to get back into the real world). Thanks in advance, and please be honest - the survey is anonymous... so Mom, I won't know if you admit you hate the posts with rants.

Click Here to take survey

*As always, I'm using the word crisis loosely. AIDS is a crisis. Nuclear proliferation in Iran is a crisis. This is not really a crisis, but I like the word, so I'm using it. Deal.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Fall Decor

If Sandra Lee can do "tablescapes," then I can rock a "bookcase-scape."

Fall bookcase scape

Not gonna lie - I'm pretty impressed with myself! I used a couple books from around the house to give it some height (which all my decorating books say is crucial), and took the dust jackets off to make the colors fit in with the other items. The black candle holder on the left is from PartyLite, the fall pumpkin candles were a Target sale item that I picked up this week, and the orange vase is from IKEA, with a Michaels 30 cent scarecrow stuck in instead of flowers.

How did you celebrate yesterday's first day of fall?


Monday, September 21, 2009

We're Getting a Puppy!!!

Yeah, I didn't even try for a covert title on this one. We're totally becoming puppy parents!!!!! NavyGuy and I both love dogs - our families had them growing up and we miss having a little face running around the house, barking, drooling, stealing socks, and generally making our lives wonderful :)

So, we're getting a labrador retriever. Specifically, a cutie pie female black lab. NavyGuy researched breeders all summer, and this past weekend we visited the mom and puppies at the breeder's home in rural Washington. The puppies were born at the beginning of September, so we couldn't touch them yet (a stranger's smell on a young puppy will upset the mumma), but we got to play with the mom and see the little ones...

Norah and newborn pups

Here's Norah and her newborn pups! They're only hours old in this pic - don't you love the proud look on the mumma's face? She is the calmest, friendliest dog; NavyGuy and I expected her to be a little wary of strangers in the same room as her pups, but she came right out of her kennel and loved all over us.

We really liked the breeder and she clearly "got" us within thirty minutes; her email with these photos attached arrived minutes after we got home with a note saying how she was sure we'd want these for our puppy scrapbook. (Seriously, I did not bribe this woman or tell her anything... do I have a big blinking sign on my forehead that says "Crazy Paper Crafter!" or something?)

Norah and 2 week old pups

The pups at 2 weeks! There are two black females in the litter, so we'll go back in about a month to choose between the two. Our little pup can come home with us at 7 weeks; NavyGuy's crazy work schedule may push it to week 8, but we'll see what happens. After we visited on Saturday we immediately drove to Barnes and Noble to stock up on dog books!

The name game is in full swing; there's about six solid options on the "short list," but we'll probably wait until we actually bring her home and see what fits best. I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't WAIT!

The two week old pups

Here's the latest photo our breeder sent (2 1/2 weeks old)
1) I love that they're starting to open their eyes and look like real puppies.
2) Apparently they're beginning to play with each other and romp and test out their voices.
3) Check out the yellow lab on the far left side, wedged in under the box ledge - love it!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weirdness Afoot

Today was just one of those days where, you think you're done with the weirdness, but no - there's more out there and it's coming to a theater near you. Or the Food Avenue at Target.

It started out fairly innocuously - a woman wearing one purple Croc, one yellow Croc. Sure, somedays you just feel like a yellow shoe and a purple shoe.

Then, the skater boy, and his girlfriend with several small piercings across her collarbone, ordered four soft pretzels and six tubs of nacho cheese... for themselves... which they preceded to consume in roughly 83 seconds. Um, they may be just trying to curb the munchies, but I just don't think that kind of dough and cheese binge is going to end well...

Then a girl (probably my age?) showed up with a chin beard. An entire triangle of long hair growing out from underneath her chin. Not a few stray hairs, a full patch. And she had unusually broad shoulders.

By this point, I was ready to call it a day. But no - we still had to deal with a salad debacle, wherein, somehow all of our pre-made salads had to be pulled from the display case because the labels (on the outside packaging) were making people sick. The LABELS. THE LABELS!!!!!!

Are people eating the packaging?

Are people peeling the labels off the plastic and adding it to the salad as some sort of add-in?

How did the Target corporation determine that it was in fact, the labels, that are making people sick and not one of the other variables (like say the shoddy ingredients or questionable production standards or 17 year old minimum wage worker who's texting while cutting the lettuce)?

Are the labels burrowing through the plastic and infecting the lettuce with some sort of ink poisoning?

Seriously, this was my day. Weirdness everywhere. LABELS!

Tasty food, yes... but beware the label!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tasty Treat

Pink baking goodness.

Making muffins

One pink bowl, two pink bowls, three pink bowls! (And a pink spatula for good measure.)

This bread mix was a wedding shower gift; I opted to make muffins as an attempt at better portion control.

Raspberry Almond Crisp Muffins



Muffins, good. Pink muffins, goooooood.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Navy Briefing of the Week: Carrier Catapult Shot

When NavyGuy was doing his boat detachment off the coast of Virginia on the U.S.S. Truman, he was able to get some videos! First up is a catapult shot, in which the airplane is literally catapulted off of the deck. I'm going to let NavyGuy explain... (I'd recommend watching the video first, then reading, then watching again to make sense of it all :)

You'll see our airplane taxiing up to the "shuttle" which is the portion of the catapult that protrudes above the deck, and is what attaches to the jet's nose gear to launch us. The person standing in front of us is called a "Yellow Shirt" or "Taxi Director" and he or she is one of the people in charge of directing all the airplanes around the deck of the carrier. Believe it or not, even though the deck is over 1000 feet long and several hundred across, it gets really cramped when there are dozens of high powered jet aircraft moving around. At this point, he's trying to get us all set up and aligned so we're pointing straight down the catapult when we get launched.

The white smoke rising from the deck all around him is actually steam from the last catapult shot. We use steam because the nuclear reactor produces lots of it in the normal generation of power for the ship. Once we're all set up and aligned, you'll see the Jet Blast Deflector or "JBD" come up out of the deck to keep the hot exhaust from blowing anyone overboard. At this point, we're doing our final checks in the cockpit and the pilot is verifying the weight the catapult crew has for our jet. The weight of the aircraft is very important because the cat shot has to be powerful enough to accelerate the jet to it's minimum speed, but not so powerful that it damages the aircraft's nose gear in the launch.

Soon after the JBD comes up out of the deck, you'll hear our engines go to full power. This means that we're "In Tension" which means the the catapult is armed and ready to launch us off the deck. At this point, the only thing that prevents the aircraft from moving down the deck is a small bar called a "Hold Back" which is connected to the nose gear by a small piece of metal which is engineered to break at a certain tension setting, unique to each model of aircraft. When the catapult fires, this piece of metal, which looks a lot like a bar bell in a free weight set at a gym, breaks and releases the aircraft to be launched. Once we're "In Tension" the pilot keeps the throttles at full power no matter what happens, unless a deck crew member walks out in front of the jet and gives us the signal that the catapult has been safed so it can't fire.

Even on the top of the tower, you can feel the hot jet exhaust, which is why the camera starts to bounce a little more at this point. The ground crew checks to make sure that there is no one in the way of the jet, and the pilot checks all this controls. At that point, he salutes the "Shooter" who is the person responsible for firing the catapult, and he "shoots" the aircraft off the carrier deck. We accelerate from 0 to about 170 mph in about 1-2 seconds and we're flying. We climb up to 600 ft and turn left 180 degrees to come back in and land.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Boy we have a pickle on our hands friends! A real head-scratcher. I got three books at the library this morning (when I went in intending to walk out with ONE), and now I can't make the difficult decision of which to start first. You know how it is - you bring home this enticing pile of library books, with their shiny book jackets, and they all look so good, it's impossible to decide which one to delve into first.

These are my options:

A) The Little Giant of Aberdeen County - exuberantly recommended by HistoryGirlie (I believe the conversation went something like, ooooo, oooooh, read it, READ IT!).

B) One Nation Under Dog - a memoir/humorous look at our country's newest obsession with our dogs. Facials, Prozac for puppies, etc. I snabbed it off of the new book shelf and it looks like it could be devoured in one night.

C) The Woman in White - the book club selection for a group I might be joining. The first meeting is at the start of October, so I should begin this one... however, it's a detective story from 1860, and it's pretty thick, so I'm wary.

I'm leaning in one direction, but I'll give you all a chance to vote. Leave your pick (and well-reasoned arguments ;) in the comments by noon Thursday!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: The Condition

The Condition
by Jennifer Haigh

The Least You Need to Know... family drama; daughter is diagnosed with Turner Syndrome; narration rotates between different family members.

Reminds Me of... My Sister's Keeper, for the family drama circling around a disease; Best Friends, because of the beach setting.

Pros... plot quickly draws you in (I could have read it in one sitting had I not needed to go to work); great characters that you can disagree with one minute, but completely understand after they get a chance to explain themselves; mostly believable plot twists; stories about families always make me think of mine and ones I know... and it's nice to read how messed up other peoples' families are :)

Cons... it ends. No, seriously, the characters are really compelling and I was irritated on the last page because there were unanswered questions. I wanted to know "what happened next" for each of the characters. A few of the story lines are wrapped up too neatly and easily.

Quotable... "The ailment at the center of this remarkable novel is the human condition itself." (From a review by Tom Perrotta). Spot on - the book could have gotten bogged down in the daughter's medical condition; instead, each family member's "condition" is given suitable attention and weight.

Bottom Line... a great novel. I haven't read Haigh's other books, but I will after reading this. I knew nothing about Turner's before, and the book did a nice job of including details a reader would want to know, while not overwhelming a non med student. If your book club needs a selection for an upcoming month, or you just want something that you'll actually finish reading before it's due back at the library - this is for you.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Baptism Dress Card

My MOH's daughter was baptized this past Sunday. I'm sort of super jazzed about the card that I made for the occasion...

Baptism dress card

It's a baptism dress!!!! Do you get it!?!?!??! Um, yeah, there was squealing when I saw my inspiration here. For my version, I used lace ribbon for the trim, and a small dotted piece of vellum as an overlay for the entire front of the card. Had I had more time, and better religious themed supplies, I would have added a small beaded cross or something to the waist lace, but I think it turned out okay, if a wee bit simple.

Baptism dress card
(You can see the vellum a little better in this photo, but mostly you'll have to take my word that it looks cool in real life - the light just was not cooperating for me when I was trying to take photos!)

The original inspiration for this type of "baby onesee" card can be found here, along with instructions on how to make your own. I hope my little "niece" and her mommy like it... (or at least eventually get it, knowing the post office's track record with delivering things on time!).


Message for NatalieW

Please don't think I've lost my mind, but all of you who aren't NatalieW are going to have absolutely no clue what this post is about. It's really just for NatalieW, someone who apparently reads this blog, lives in the area, and who NavyGuy thinks he met at a party in Anacortes once, but isn't sure... So anyway, I would simply send this message to NatalieW privately, but unfortunately, our only contact is through this blog! I have no email address for her, so this is the only surefire way I can think of to get a message to her.

So, from here on, it's probably not going to be interesting to anyone who isn't NatalieW - don't say I didn't warn you. To make up for this fake post, I'll write something else later tonight.

Okay, so... Dear NatalieW,

Hi! Thanks so much for the book club info! I checked out the website, and I'd definitely like to make the next meeting, but I'm a little confused. The website says you guys are reading The Woman in White... but also that you already discussed the book at the Sept. 1 meeting? Do you talk about the same book for several months? Or was that the book you picked to read for next month? When is the next meeting, by the way? Are they always at the Starbucks by the Thrive fitness in Oak Harbor? Lord knows I love me a good book (and a good Starbucks), so I'd love to try and make the next meeting.

Thanks so much - feel free to email or just leave a comment with any more oscwi book club info you've got!




Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend Update

With both weekend days free from work, it was inevitable that I would start to get a sore throat Thursday night, and have a raging case of swine flu cold by Saturday morning, thereby ruining my grand plans of mega productivity this weekend. Boo hiss. Instead of tackling many a household project, I did a good deal of lounging, reading, tv-ing, and drinking fluids. (Which, if I didn't feel so crusty, would have been a superb weekend.)

Alas, NavyGuy and I did get a few things done around the house. We're up to four pictures hung on the walls in the house, and some laundry was done. We also got free tickets to the Skagit area home tour, where local builders showcase fabulous homes they've built. We toured a beautiful two story home in Anacortes, a home originally built in 1896 that was being remodeled, and a beach house on the southern end of Whidbey Island. The remodel was interesting to see how they restored features in the home while combining modern conveniences; the beach house was cool because it was a 4500 square foot house built on a lot that was only 50 feet wide! The house was super long and narrow (see floor plans here), but the windows made the place feel really spacious (and living smack dab on the water, with sand twelve feet from your back door is sort of worth an unusual home layout). I was afraid that touring other homes would feel like cheating on our new house, or worse, that we'd suffer from buyer's remorse. But luckily, we simply picked up a few decorating ideas - no house envy here.

Back to the grind tomorrow - the literal coffee grind - with a full day of work. But I'm looking forward to Stamp Club starting up again this week, and I'm reading a really good book that will probably keep me up all night... :)

P.S. Anyone know a way to make their husband stop yelling at the football game on TV?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Lights, Camera, Action!

We left our design story here; I hinted that the white balls hiding in the schnazzy bookshelf were more than they appeared...

bookshelf lamps

I KNOW! So FLIPPIN' awesome. Mom and I found them while we were wandering IKEA and checking out the showrooms for inspiration. The FADO table lamp was probably originally designed to be a general table lamp, or bedside light. A popular design blog, Apartment Therapy, featured it earlier this year, but they didn't have the cube bookshelf to really showcase it.

Cute, but I prefer our version. When NavyGuy and I watched a movie this past weekend, we turned off all of the other family room lights and just left the ball lights on - it worked great! Best of all, they were super cheap at $15 a piece! Which means when I eventually get sick of them, no guilt!

So, here's where the family room is at for now:

family room design

A work in progress, but very liveable for the time being.


TV makes me smarter

Getting tres excited about the return of fall tv - summer reruns just aren't cutting it anymore. Found this great list on of when all the shows return. Only have to wait until next week for new Office and Bones! (Seeley Booth, will you marry me?)

What returners are you most anxious for? Any new shows that you're looking forward to checking out?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

* My sister-in-law has had two Paul Rudd sightings in the past few days. He's filming a movie with Jack Nicholson (who she's also spotted) in Philadelphia, literally right outside her apartment. My jealously knows no bounds.

* Season Six of So You Think You Can Dance starts tomorrow night!!! Of course, I have to work. (Remind me what we did before DVRs?)

* I'm in a book lull. I've started three different ones in the past few weeks and nothing is doing it for me. Suggestions?

* As I currently know many babies, I'm intrigued by the cover of this weeks Newsweek: "Is Your Baby Racist?". HistoryGirlie? TWP? MOH? Any mom opinions on this? Have you heard your little angels spouting racial slurs in between Wonder Pet songs and cow sounds? Are FlowerGirl and Kitty hiding xenophobic tendencies behind those adorable smiles? Like parents didn't have enough to worry about...

* While I've been typing this, NavyGuy has been huffing and puffing and pouting that somehow an important voicemail from our bank got deleted from the home phone. After wasting a good twenty minutes growling and muttering under his breath about this travesty, he found the missing voicemail - on his cell phone. Sigh. Head shake. One more sigh for good measure.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Pretty Storage

Mom and I made our biggest find at IKEA within twelve seconds of entering the building:Mom and I basically lost our shiznit when we saw it. I know - you're thinking, huh, yeah, so it's a cube thing. What's the big deal? The big deal, is that when you lay it on its long side and dress it up a bit, it's freakin' awesome. Just trust me people, would I ever lead you astray? No.

So, it's the Expedit Bookcase (otherwise known as, my current favorite item in the house). The one catch was that I didn't want to store tons of stuff on the shelves out in the open, because it would inevitably look messy.

There are baskets that you can purchase separately, but they were about $15 each! Oh no no no. I think not... there must be an alternative solution... hmmm...
Old Box

Brilliance! What else could we do with the 40 or so odd bankers boxes we had used for moving that were still camping out in every room of the house!?!?!? Oh blessed boxes, would you fit in the cubes? NavyGuy doubted me, but he was foolish and has since learned never to question my design ideas... the boxes fit perfectly.

We dressed the plain boxes up with contact paper (sticky paper) from Wal-Mart. They have tons of neutral patterns and you can find the contact paper in the kitchen storage / housewares type section. We covered a bunch of boxes, some for the bookcase that would go in the family room (and some for the other bookcase that I'll show off when I take pictures of the craft zone!).

contact paper
Mom was in charge of this project. Essentially, she cut a piece of contact paper, with at least a 1 inch border, for each side of the box (excluding the bottom).

Contact Paper DIY

The contact paper peels off revealing the sticky side, which you simply stick to the box. Lay it on carefully, using your hand to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles in the paper. Eventually it will stick firmly, but you can reposition it as you're working with it.
The process
Then you're going to cut the contact paper at the corners, so you can fold it over the sides of the box and create clean edges.
Lining up the stripes
If you pick a pattern with stripes (and you're ANAL with capital letters), carefully match up those stripes! We chose this pattern for the mix of basic colors, including a blue that matches the new family room curtains.
I'm in love.
I die.
No, wait. Now, I'm in love.

No, we did not measure the inset space between the fireplace and the wall; we are just that lucky good, and the shelf totally fit there. Several more covered boxes, a few open shelves with pretty books and knickknacks, and what? What's that? What is that round white ball in one of the cubes, you ask? Well friends, you're going to have to wait and see...

Are you in love yet?


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Good grief.

FYI - when you spill an entire pitcher of caramel Frappuccino on your pants... it will cling to your pants and start to resemble vomit.

How was your day?


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recipe: Penne al Fresco

We received a cool Pampered Chef dish as a wedding present, and I tested it out tonight with a recipe that came along with the dish.

I'm fairly certain you could use any microwave safe cook dish to make this recipe.

Penne al Fresco

- 4 cloves of peeled chopped garlic
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup dry white wine (I used a $4 bottle of chardonnay)
- 1 1/4 cups lightly packed chopped basil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Spray whatever cooking dish you're using with non-stick cooking spray. Microwave the garlic and tomatoes on high (covered) for 2 minutes, then stir. Cook for another 3 minutes until the tomatoes have "popped."

2. Crush the tomatoes and add pasta, broth, wine, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high for 16-18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

3. Add the basil and cheese, saving a little of each for garnish if you're fancy like that.

Voila! Fancy pasta, and some leftover wine to pair with it ;) The original recipe says you can include grilled chicken, which I'm sure would also be tasty. I think I should have added more pasta to ours because there was a good amount of liquid still in the dish after cooking, but I just served it using a slotted spoon and no one was the wiser!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Book Nook

And here's what happens when two book nerds get married...

Book Nook

Embarrassingly, we both have books still at our parents' houses, I have several boxes of books from my classroom being stored in the garage, and there's an empty bookcase (not seen in the photo) just waiting to be filled.

Truth be told, we're thrilled about our little library; I'm not giving up hope that we can install a sliding ladder just like Belle had in Beauty and the Beast. It's a great use of the extra space off of our family room downstairs. The majority of the bookcases are from IKEA.

Like most of our house, this is a work in progress. What would you ideally add to the book nook? (Personally, I'd be jazzed if we could rig a secret hidden room that reveals itself when you pull a certain book of a shelf ;)


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Adventures in Home Ownership

We're having a bit of a garbage issue. The first week we lived here, neither garbage nor recycling were picked up. Last week, the garbage was picked up, but not the recycling; this week, the opposite.

NavyGuy tasked me with calling the city this morning and sorting out this refuse ridiculousness... (my un-voiced thoughts are italicized)

1st Phone Call
NavyWife: Hi, can I speak to someone about trash pickup?
Operator: Sure, I'll transfer you to Mark our sanitation supervisor.
(Ouch, someone with a worse title than my current one.)
Mark the Sanitation Supervisor: Hello?
NavyWife: Good morning, I'm calling because our garbage was not picked up yesterday.
Mark: I have NO idea.
(Is this supposed to be a general statement about your life, or are you referring to my problem? Cuz clearly I'm calling you because I as well, have no idea.)
NavyWife: Yes, well, I was told to speak to you about the problem. You see, we just moved into this house a few weeks ago and have been told different things about where to put the trash cans so I'm guessing that's part of the problem.
Mark: Who's telling you things?!
(Russian KGB operatives. Who do you think has been telling us?!?!?)
NavyWife: Well, the lady who gave my husband the new trash can sticker told him one thing, then the garbage man told us another thing, and the recycling guy told us a third thing.
Mark: Oh. Well, so what's your address?

This went on for a bit until Mark finally believed I had a legitimate city concern and was not just calling to punk him on a Thursday morning. Eventually, he told me to put the garbage can back out on the street, that someone would come pick it up yet today, and that the route supervisor would call me in a bit to confirm the street the cans should be on.

2nd Phone Call
NavyWife: Hello?
Unnamed Route Supervisor: Hello Ma'am, I'm calling about your trash.
NavyWife: Yes, I wanted to confirm which street our trash and recycling cans should go on for pickup.
Route Supervisor: Okay, give me your address... yup, you should put them on X street. Did you need either picked up today?
NavyWife: Yes, the trash please.
Route Supervisor: Alright ma'am, we'll take care of it.
(Score one for the little guy! Or gal. A municipal agency that actually deals with citizen concerns!)

8:30pm Tonight
Guess what was still sitting at the bottom of the driveway (unemptied!) when I arrived home from work...



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scrapbook Cover Page

Aside from touring Anacortes, another major purpose for TWP's visit to Washington (which, side note, I'm sure she's going to finish writing about any day now... ;)* was to start a travel scrapbook for Miss FlowerGirl herself. Girl is not even two years old and already she's been on more vacations and trips than some people take in a lifetime. FG has visited both coasts and been on three airplane flights! So, TWP had been collecting travel themed goodies and wanted my help getting the first two trips commemorated.

One of my favorite pages was the cover page TWP brainstormed. The majority of the supplies you see on the page were hers, but we fiddled with some different layouts and put the Cricut to good use cutting out the "ransom note" letters.

Cover Page

[Clearly I just discovered the text options in my photo editing software and had a field day adding descriptions.]

I love the color combinations - they're fun and whimsical, but not too little-kid-ish, because the point of the book is really so that FG can look back years from now and see all that she did before she could even walk! I never think to make a cover page for my scrapbooks; I tend to simply write the year in the front cover somewhere, but I think it makes a lot of sense to have a introduction page when you're making a thematic book.

*Note to TWP - Gotta throw the guilt trip out there just in case your mother hasn't called in the last 48 hours. I know you're swamped with internship stuff and oh, a toddler. Don't have a nervous breakdown - let's chat soon.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers... to these:

Washer and Dryer

Cheers... to NavyGuy for using them tonight to save us from some unfortunate ensembles tomorrow. Our new washer/dryer combo rock, NavyGuy rocks, clean clothing rocks.

Jeers... to Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They debuted today and I'm not gonna lie - they aren't my favorite. Of course you should try them for yourself ;), but I just can't get on board.

Cheers... to getting my craft zone useable! The organizational system still needs to be perfected, but I can at least sit down and get my craft on. Pics of the new space to come.

Jeers... to going back to work after four days off.

Jeers... to having to go back to a minimum wage retail job when everyone else I know went back to school today. I know they'll all kill me for saying this, but I'm jealous.

Cheers... to NavyGuy having his first front seat flight tomorrow! (This means he'll be the flight officer who gets to sit in the front of the plane and actually do useful things). He's quite excited/nervous, so wish him good luck!

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