Friday, May 7, 2010

Domestic Science

I already love the blog Remodelista - but I just found another reason to love them even more. They have an index page called domestic science for all of those very cool, but hard to find household items that make the work of keeping the home up a little easier and more pleasant (and it doesn't hurt that they are really nice to look at, too). Check it out.

However, my all time favorite source for simple, inexpensive and useful tools for around the house is Lehman's. I bought my very first iron skillet from them, and now I am eyeing their clothesline supplies.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I haven't done a very good job of documenting this pregnancy - for example, I have two ultrasound images, one at 6 weeks and the other at 17 weeks, that I should have already scanned and posted. I'll get there - but for now, here's a belly shot - 27 weeks.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cleaning Green

I've been trying to eliminate the number, type, and toxicity of chemicals that we use for cleaning at home. The toxicity of conventional cleaners and the cost ($$$) of pre-made natural cleaners has led me on a search for inexpensive and non-toxic basic ingredients. Doing tons of diaper laundry actually started me on this kick. Figuring out what I can and can't use to wash the diapers has shown me how many additives and unecessary chemicals we use in our homes.

This is a list of non-toxic cleaners that I have found  that can pretty much do every job in the house:
  • Country Save laundry detergent (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff - cheap and effective)
  • Borax (disinfecting the laundry, cleaning the toilet etc..)
  • Baking soda (for scrubbing, a great laundry additive) 
  • Vinegar (also a great disinfectant, this stuff does almost everything - see here
  • Dr. Bronners soap
The three conventional cleaners that we still use are Clorox bleach every now and then (trying to find a good oxygen cleaner that doesn't have detergent in it like Oxyclean, though the Borax might do the trick), Comet cleaner (I have a hard time giving this one up, even though the powder cloud it creates is awful), and disinfecting wipes (here, I'm just finishing up the last of the container).

I'd like to eventually work some essential oils into the spray bottles of cleaner that I mix up. I saw a great tip the other day on how to use fresh basil, but my little basil plant out in the front hasn't grown enough for me to start using its leaves. So far, our new system has worked out well.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Two things that I like - a lot.


from here and here. (Note: The price of the shoes is actually lower in USD, yay!)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Teepee and Other Misc. Projects

Making one of these is on my list of sewing projects for the boys. Doesn't that look like a fun place to play?

It looks simple enough, I just need to figure out the most cost effective fabric to use - painter's drop cloths, burlap yardage, thrift store sheets? Where to get the bamboo poles?

Lately, I've been thinking about lots of projects that I'd like to get started- however, plans for them invade my mind right when I'm getting ready for bed and then into the middle of the night. Having crafty ideas is really fun, I just wish the inspiration wouldn't strike when I should be sleeping.

Some other projects keeping me up at night include: contouring a bunch of prefolds for the new baby, putting together a night diaper stash for Oliver (the BG 3.0s are leaking on us), replacing all the velcro tabs on our stash of BG's (Cotton Babies sent me 24 kits for free!), making a compost bin, spreading grass seed in the back yard, building some small beds in the front yard and transplanting a few plants, finishing up the hook rack in the laundry room, cleaning out the area under the stairs and making a play area out of it for the kids, installing safety latches on all the cabinets, and culling through and simplifying all of the household chemicals. Whew!

After going to bed last night at 10:00, I think I finally fell asleep around midnight. Perhaps this is why I'm blogging about my list of projects - if I get it all written down, hopefully I won't have to go through it in my head every evening. We'll see....

photo from here.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Oliver is really into riding his stick horse. The only thing missing is his hat. He loves hats too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Oliver's Maiden Wagon Voyage

He LOVES the wagon, passed down from his big sister Quinn. Looking forward to many, many trips through the neighborhood in it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bunk Beds

Even though it will be a few years before we will need these, this is what I have in mind for the boys' room. Bunk beds that we can separate early on and then stack later as they get older. Great price, which will leave some for the bedspreads that I have in mind from Utility Canvas. Beds from here.

Kill Your TV

Of course I have a running list of things for the house come payday. This is now at the top. Things I aspire to -

from here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Take-Out Lids

Package design is pretty interesting - especially drink lids. I've always wondered who designs those things. I think it comes from wanting to push in all the little bubbles on my soda lid as a kid - you know the ones that indicate diet, root beer or other, etc...

from here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ikea Rugs and Nesting

I've been thinking about rugs lately - our living room really needs something other than that sad little brown rug. I have that nesting thing going on where I spend way too much energy making plans for the house in my head. I'm convinced that nesting is a mechanism to remove annoyances since I'm kinda touchy lately. For example, I have been compulsively straightening the house, being a maniac about the laundry, wiping down baseboards (????) and making sure the paper towel roll is always on the holder which is actually a big pain. Normally, I would let all of these things go (and more). I feel driven to do it, because if I didn't it would drive me nuts and it's all because I'm pregnant. That's my theory anyway...

So, back to the rugs - that first one would go by the couch. The second in the front music room and the last I'd put in the boys' (plural!)  room. Love those stripes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Au-Jardin Poster

Someone should snap up this cute poster for their kitchen - here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Oliver is getting big enough to play on the playground with the older kids. It brought me so much joy to watch him run around and laugh with excitement at everything the playground had to offer. We all had a blast.

Oliver in the kitchen

He loves to dump his sippy cup out when he can sneak in the chance. I decided this time to just go with the flow and let him play with the mess as long as it would keep his attention.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Reality

I took the day off early last Friday to pick up Oliver and head to the store for pot roast fixins. Jay was bringing Quinn home from school and this is her favorite dish of mine. I wanted to have something special for her on the first night she had with us that week. So as I was driving home down 6th street and Lamar I passed lots of old haunts and longingly watched the patrons enjoying their beers outside in the sunshine. I miss those old days of spending Friday afternoons at a long happy hour enjoying many (too many) pints. But then I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Oliver's pudgy little face smile back at me, so I got over it.

We made it in and out of Newflower with no problems. I scored lots of fruits and veggies on sale so I was super proud of myself for stretching our grocery budget a little bit more. But then, on a whim, I stopped by at Tuesday Morning to look for a bigger dutch oven. The one we have was a wedding gift - a smallish lime green Le Creuset that I love. It's just the smallish part that's the issue. We really need a bigger one. I was hoping to find a cheap Lodge cast iron dutch oven or something similar. Instead, they had the perfect grey 5.5 qt. Le Creuset marked down from $250 to $99. NINETY-NINE DOLLARS!!!! Oh man, in my pre-new house, new baby days I would have snapped that up. But with another one on the way and SO many other things taking priority, spending that $99 absolutely could not be justified. I think I shed a little tear - and of course instead of smiling, Oliver was tossing all of the nearby shelf items on the floor as fast as he could get his pudgy little hands on them.

I drove home feeling sad, but determined to make what we have work for our growing family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green Gate Farms

Taking day trips with the kids is one of my goals this spring. I am inspired by the blog posts of other families like this one who have taken their kids out to dairies, farms and orchards to gather their own food. I want my children to have those experiences too - but really never took the time to search out local farms. Well, I just discovered Green Gate Farms yesterday online. They are out east of Austin by Decker Lake. Their farmstand opens this month - that sounds like a great first trip out to see the farm animals and get some fresh veggies.

Other places I would like to go include some urban farms in Austin like Boggy Creek Farm, the lavender fields near my parent's house in Dripping Springs and out to pick some peaches and blackberries near Fredericksburg. This guide lists some possibilities.

Know of any other great places to take kids to explore where their food comes from?

Update: Jay just told me about a place out near his parents' house in Bastrop where you can pick strawberries!

Love, love love love love

There are a lot of regular clothes out there that would pass for maternity wear right now - that is until I am around 7 or 8 months along. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I really want to be wearing easy dresses/tunics and sandals. These two from here and here would be my first picks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Spring gives me bag fever and this duffle is awesome (from here).

It is so beautiful today. It feels like ages since I have felt the sun on my skin and can breathe deeply and relax while outside. This winter has had me cooped up, wrapped up, shivering and tense.

I am so grateful for the cycling of the seasons.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I finally get a chance to decorate a nursery for Oliver and the new baby. I love this one from Remodelista. It pretty much has all of the elements of the one I've had in my head and is within our limited budget. I really like the simplicity of it, though I would probably paint the crib with grey milk paint and leave the changing table a natural wood color. I also love all of the storage baskets. The shelves and mobile are on my list.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is Lovely

"What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time."

V. Woolf

read here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stroller Shopping

We have yet to buy a stroller. Oliver is getting big enough and I am getting pregnant enough where I can't carry him everywhere, even in the Ergo. So, I've been shopping around online for something that we can use this summer with Oliver and later with the new baby when he/she is also too big to wear. So far, the Baby Jogger City Mini is my favorite option - it is reasonably priced (<$250), got great reviews and has lots of available accessories, including a glider board for Oliver to ride on. This solves the need for a true double stroller - I was dreading one of those, so that makes me very happy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Remodelista: Utility Sinks

I love Remodelista and this recent post about utility sinks as bathrooom sinks. I actually think the look is more institutional. Perhaps that's why it appeals to me so much - they remind me of all those years spent in school.

Post here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

We plan to spend the day with the kids on Sunday and then go to an early movie and dinner on Monday afternoon. So, for Sunday I plan to do some baking and whatever else Quinn has in mind for the day (sushi?, Benihana?). We decided that spending time together was more important than gifts, but I just can't help loving all of the red hearts and frilly packaging for simple little things this time of year. I am especially a sucker for soaps in pretty paper, like these -

from herehere, and here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So late, but still worth it.


Oliver got his first haircut! He was a pro sitting quietly in the stylist's chair while she clipped away. There was a little bit of fussing when she sprayed water on his hair, but that's all. He was almost too serious - but look  how good it turned out! I was very hesitant to cut his locks, hoping they would turn into cute thick curls, but  instead he always had this frizzy bed-head look crusted over with whatever he ate for lunch. For now, I like seeing all of that sweet little face.



Now we're heading out to lunch with Grandma and Grandpa!

Friday, January 15, 2010

14 Months

Oliver has made so many new accomplishments in the last month. He is now WALKING! It is just so cute to see him amble over to one of us for a hug or to go get a toy from the other side of the room. He especially likes to walk by himself from his classroom to the lobby of the daycare. Once there he seats himself at the table in one of the little blue chairs and plays with the trucks ('brrrm brrrm') until I say it's time to go home.

Other accomplishments include saying papa (meaning food), dada, mama, bye bye, night night (a sweet little high pitched 'nigh nigh', then blows kisses), bear (beh), ball (ba), and sister (si-tah). He is also particular about where things go. Like his water bottle -things aren't right until it is in the holder thingy that keeps it off the floor. I can see how he enjoys structure and repetition. Bedtime has started to become the exact same routine every night, mostly led by Oliver.

Oh, I can't wait to see what he does next. His personality is really starting to shine through and I love it - getting to know this little guy better everyday.


On New Years day, we braved the Houston Zoo. It was a free day, so the place was packed! My favorite part of the day was riding the carousel. Oliver didn't agree. See this skeptical face? Well, it turned to tears as soon as the ride started. Poor kiddo - I know he won't be afraid of riding a bobbing zebra forever.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

11 weeks

[Insert 6 week ultrasound photo here]

Well, that little bean post was about the status of Oliver and Quinn's youngest sibling. I'm pregnant again and am due in early August (I'm embarrassed to say that I can't quite remember whether the expected due date is the 6th or the 8th, but we all know that's just an estimate, right?).

I am excited and apprehensive about doing this a second time around. So far, I've been really queasy and exhausted. I am just starting to get some energy back and have had an urge to have everything around me organized. I'm really looking forward to nesting this time. We lived in a loft the first time and were planning to move a couple of weeks before Oliver was born, so I didn't get a chance to do any of that.

I just told a few coworkers today. It was nice to share  - walking around feeling like a zombie with nobody the wiser isn't much fun. I am waiting until after my second OB appointment on Thursday to make an official announcement at work. I just want to hear the hearbeat one more time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mary Janes

These shoes just came in the mail yesterday and they are now my all time favorite wear-with-everything shoes. I bought them a little big because I know my feet plan to swell to twice their size in the coming months ( I know, gross) - and I've sworn off heels for work. I've been wearing them with thick wool socks. I love looking down to see a stripey or argyle pattern peeking through. The best part - they were on super super sale. Yay!

Christmas 2009

It's been a while since I've posted. I usually like to start with an image, especially since that's Quinn's only reason for reading this blog, but I didn't take many photos over the Christmas break and have yet to badger family members for theirs.

We went to Bastrop the day before Christmas Eve to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy. We spent most of Christmas Eve in the dark during a power outage caused by a fallen tree. Kindal gathered all of Judy's candles and put together an amazing collection of votive holders and hurricane lamps. The result was just beautiful. We spent that evening listening to Jay's guitar then ate dinner by candlelight. Quinn was very dissappointed at the turn of events, but her spirits brightened when the lights went back on halfway through dinner. We decided to open gifts that night and save the stockings and Santa gifts for morning time. My favorite memory of that night is of Oliver falling asleep holding his new little green tractor that Jay picked out for him.

Christmas Day we heading back home to swap gifts with Amy and say goodbye to Quinn, then went to my sister's house for Christmas dinner and more gifts. Audrey and Jaleck made a fabulous Middle Eastern meal of Maftoul (chicken with couscous) and Makhlubbi (upside down beef pie) with hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, and dolmas.  I hope that will become a tradition - it was a nice break from the traditional holiday fare. However, we did bring along the Christmas sugar cookies decorated by Jay and Quinn. Those were tasty too.

We are now digging out from under the piles of boxes and bags of gifts that we brought home and have yet to assemble Oliver's train table or put up the Christmas tree - but I'm kind of enjoying the mess. It reminds me of what a good time we had this year.