Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mickey Mouse Pancakes

I typically deposit Rhys into a high chair at daycare drop off time and break up a cereal bar for him to feed to himself (he also eats a homemade blueberry waffle at home in the mornings . . . first breakfast, second breakfast . . . he's a growing boy, what can I say?). However, once in a while, the daycare ladies have something special made up for the kidlets (raisin toast, muffins, etc.), and it was on one such day that I learned my child FREAKING LOVES pancakes. Like, whoa. There was clapping, squealing, gobbling . . . it was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Naturally, that very weekend, I decided we needed to have a pancake morning. And to up the mind-blowing ante, I opted to make MICKEY MOUSE pancakes.

(Side note: Once when I was 7 or 8 and were in Las Vegas visiting my grandma, I requested Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast. Internet, she made the entire mouse body. Including a tail. Using TOOTHPICKS to spread the batter. How much do we love her?)

I followed this super simple and highly rated recipe . The batter was puffy, not liquidy like I was expecting. The fluffiness worked though . . . the batter was easy to shape into Mickey Mouse forms and it cooked up light and, well, fluffy.

I used kiwi for the smile, halved blueberries for the eyes and a strawberry chunk for a nose. I'm not sure the Meyers fully appreciated my artwork, but he definitely appreciated the pancakes.




Have you ever made Mickey Mouse pancakes? Are there any other fun shapes to try?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Off and Running

So! We've basically got ourselves a true "toddler" now. Rhys took his first steps the day before Fathers' Day and in the few weeks since he's made the transition to full time walking. The other night I was running back and forth between the living room where Rhys was playing and the kitchen where I was tending to a stir fry and I looked up from my pan at one point to see Rhys just STANDING THERE in the kitchen doorway, holding a spatula in one hand and a Little People person in the other, grinning at me like a toddler QUITE pleased with himself.

Need I reiterate how much he rules?



This, obviously, opens up a whole new world of babyproofing. Any tips to help minimize the inevitable face bashing?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shower Invites

I haven't had much opportunity to indulge in papercrafting lately, so when my sister in law and I decided to throw a small shower/bachelorette party for our soon-to-be new sister in law, I jumped on the opportunity to make the invitations. I only needed to make six, so I was able to go all out! I suppose since we only invited six people and all of them are family or bridal party we didn't really NEED invitations, right? But, WHATEVER. I wanted to play with my ink and paper.

I used blank cream colored cards and created a background using Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Dusty Concord, Black Soot and Broken China a la this tutorial, with a little ink blending on the edges to soften the look a bit. I then used image stamps from the Tim Holtz collection, a bird on a branch and a little crown along with embossing ink and powders to create a "painted on", glossy effect. I finished the cards off with a black embossed "you are invited" stamp. I've found that when embossing on top of an elaborate ink background, it is best to wait a few hours, or even overnight, for the background ink to dry in order to avoid having it pick up any stray embossing powder. Conveniently so, as I usually have to stop a few times mid project to attend to the Meyers anyhow.

I printed the whats, whens and wheres on regular paper and used self adhesive photo corners (from Aaron Brothers) to attach the info to the insides of the cards.

Lastly, I used my awesome skeleton key return address stamp (in black) and my "H" seal (in gold) on the envelopes.

The invites should be arriving at their destinations today. I hope everyone likes them!



Are you a fan of handmade paper goods? What's the coolest invitation or card you've ever received?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mama Approved: Shany Cosmetics Makeup Brushes


I've been kind of obsessed with makeup lately (thanks, PINTEREST), and while I own a shit-ton (real unit of measure . . . it's metric!) of makeup, I realized that the only brushes I own are ones that came with my Bare Minerals sets. While they're nice brushes, I hardly have a comprehensive set, especially not in the eyeshadow department.

I went browsing online thinking Sephora's own line of brushes would probably be affordable, but at $18-ish a pop, they cost a little more than I was looking to spend. So, I asked myself "where do all good things come from?" and the answer, of course, was the internet.

Amazon.com carries a highly rated set of 24 makeup brushes by Shany Cosmetics for $16.95. Seventy-one cents per brush.

I'll let you process that for a second.

I ordered it up and have been happily blending eyeshadows ever since. The brushes are soft and feel (in my, admittedly inexperienced, hands) to be as nice as the Bare Minerals brushes. I spotted several Amazon reviews written by makeup artists claiming to use these brushes as often as their higher end brushes . . . so I think my perception isn't that far off the mark.

These brushes are a true bargain. Highly mama approved!


Do you have a set of makeup brushes you like? Which brand are they?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Assvice Wednesdays

AW#2:

Baby sunblock: Coppertone Stick for faces and ears (because it goes on clear and glides on without tugging, key when you're trying to get it applied to a squirmy face) and Neutrogena Spray for the body (gentle, goes on so quickly that you'll be done by the time baby protests).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Art In The Streets

On Sunday we took Rhys to his second art museum (he's already been to the Getty). Or, maybe, second and a half, as he's been to LACMA as well, he just hasn't been inside. We went to MOCA to see their current Art In The Streets exhibit. I honestly didn't expect it to be my thing much, although I knew the hubs would love it. I was happily suprised, however, to be compeltely blown away and inspired, in an "art is all around us" sort of way. The exhibit was actaully strangely baby friendly as well, since so many altered objects were on display ("car!", "dog dog!", etc.)

Not only did we have a great time, we got a few great photos as well. Having a camera that can take decent shots in low light . . . it is a dream come true:





Monday, July 25, 2011

Pinterest Rules My Life: And now my hair is fuchsia

So, can I assume we all saw Lauren Conrad's AMAZING dip dye pink and blue dye job? No? Well, go check it out then!

Of all the things I've seen on Pinterest and copied (and there are many!), this was probably the most complex. It involved a commitment (both to multi-colored hair and a time commitment). It involved money (quite a bit actually, since I had to have this done in a salon). It involved sparring with my husband over the fact that it took four hours to have done (I didn't knowwwww!!! Guys, seriously, I thought two hours tops.)

At the end of the day though? SO FREAKING GLAD I did it. I showed my stylist the picture linked above but asked for it to be done in red and black. Guys, he did a kick ass job (Adam at B2V, if you're in the LA area!). He was meticulious. Not only are the colors perfect, better than I'd imagined, he managed to blend them so well that people honestly don't even notice right away.

Let me repeat that: I have fuschia hair, and people don't notice right away.

I couldn't be happier



Have you ever had crazy hair color? Did you love it?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pleased Beyond Words . . .

. . . with my newly organized craft supplies!!!

Did everyone hear about Carmageddon? I happen to live right along the closure route, so the family and I decided to stay home ALL last weekend . . . no driving whatsoever. It was a bit of a novelty for us, but I have to say it was actually a really enjoyable weekend. We spent some time splashing in the pool, walking to local places for snacks and shopping, and a big chunk of time organizing the office.

We knew planned in advance that we'd work on the office, so we were able to strategize storage containers and furniture beforehand. We had everything ready to go and I actually started going through my things during the week leading up to carmageddon . . . about 2 hours per night on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. With 2-3 hours of work on Saturday, I was finished! And now I get to work from this gloriously organized (and LABELED!) supply hutch:



The hutch holds all of my jewelry making supplies, my Etsy wares, my stamping and paper goods supplies, felting, embroidery and supplies to make feather fascinators.

In addition, I work from this desk and chest, which hold my metalworking tools and chemicals, main sewing machine, general craft supplies and sewing necessities (notions, zippers, thread, ribbon, etc.):



I especially love the assortment of pinboards, framed photos and Rhys' artwork that I've got strewn along the walls.

My fabric is stored in a leather storage bench and my yarn is stored in my old wooden childhood toy box, both in a hallway off the office opposite our laundry room.

Boy's side doesn't look half bad either.

I'm pleased as punch and I can't even tell you how much nicer it has been to create in our newly hyper-organized space.

Have you ever posted photos of your craft workspace? I'd love to see links if you have!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rainbow Bookshelf

I can't even say for sure where I saw this idea first . . . Apartment Therapy? Oh Dee Doh? Design Sponge? In any event, some of the credit is probably due to my HUSBAND who organized the books in our living room credenza by color (black, whites and reds) several months ago. Why did I shout HUSBAND in all caps? Because he is in all other regards terrified of color. He insists on keeping the walls of our condo white (sigh!) and is the reason behind our almost all black bedroom (not because he likes black, but because he wouldn't agree on any other color). So when I suggested a "rainbow bookcase" (in those words even!), I fully expected him to balk. Internet? He did not balk. He agreed. And even helped me!

Here is the "before" (which, while admittedly not "bad" or "messy", isn't particularly eye catching either.)

And here are the glorious afters:



Isn't it gorgeous? And how many other awesome home improvement projects can you think of that are FREE and require absolutely no special supplies or materials? We did this completely on a whim . . . literally, it was either watch Inception on Netflix or do the bookcase (wild Saturday night, what can I say?) and within 2 hours of making the decision, we had a completed rainbow bookshelf (and were pretty damn pleased with ourselves, to boot).

Hooray!

(PS: We still haven't watched Inception . . . will we like it?)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Assvice Wednesdays

I'm starting a new feature around these parts . . . every Wednesday you'll get a nugget of parenting advice, which I promise to keep as un-assy as possible, along with an adorable (usually wholly unrelated) photo of my spawn. Enjoy!
______________________________________

AW#1:

Keep in your car at all times: a big pack of wipes, diapers, a towel, a change of clothes for baby, a change of clothes for you (serious), an assortment of toys and books, plastic grocery bags, baby snacks (if your baby is snack aged), a snack for you (especially if you breastfeed), bottled water, an inexpensive hand operated breastpump (or just an empty, lidded bottle if you know how to hand express), a spare baby carrier if you have one, a baby thermometer, baby Tylenol, baby sunblock, and (extra credit) baby saline and a nasal aspirator. Having a car stash will lighten your diaper bag load considerably, and I can't even tell you how many times the car stash has saved my ass.



Do you have a car stash? What are your essentials?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Double Five Strand Braided Updo

Ever since I was a teenaged figure skater, I've been big on braiding my hair. As luck would have it, french braids and accent braids are huge right now. Several months ago I realized I'd basically done all I could with basic French and Dutch braiding . . .I was on to the hard stuff: Five Strand Braids.

I watched this awesome video tutorial and, after a few practice tries, I was getting totally passable results. Once I'd mastered the skill, I tried splitting my hair down the middle and making two five strand braids, one on each side. I added a messy bun at the nape of my neck and had this:



. . . which I think is actually pretty awesome. If there's interest, I'm considering doing a step by step photo tutorial on this hairstyle. Let me know if you'd like to see one!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pinterest Rules My Life: Newspaper Nails

I can't say for certain that the first place I saw newspaper nails was on Pinterest, but I can say that seeing them pinned up to my beauty board day in and out inspired me to get off my butt and try to replicate the look. Two gold stars, Pinterest.

I chose Fash Pack by Butter London as my base coat, thinking it'd look like old paper. Something lighter might've worked better . . . perhaps a robin's egg blue even? I dipped each nail in rubbing alcohol and then pressed a tiny bit of newsprint over each still wet nail. Then I applied a (glitter) topcoat and used nail polish remover and a q-tip to clean stray newsprint smears off of my fingers. It was a super easy and fun process . . . one I intend to repeat! Only next time I think I'll use a lighter base coat and skip the glitter top (while I love glitter, it does obscure the text more than I'd like for it to).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pinterest Rules My Life: Eggroll Wrapper Mozzerella Sticks

Mozzerella sticks that you can make in the oven with only a few seconds prep time? Yes, please!



The original pin linked back to a recipe that called for deep frying (fail) . . . HOWEVER! A kind commentator (commentor?) to that recipe detailed her instructions for baking these instead. Namely, 400 degrees, spray with olive oil and 10 minutes per side. I made these successfully at 375 for about 7 minutes per side. They were a bit on the tough side, but we liked them . . . mooseburger especially who used his as a makeshift teether. We will be making these again!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lake Arrowhead

Boy, Mooseburger and I are just back from three days in Lake Arrowhead spent celebrating Boy's birthday, hiking, splashing in the pool and taking lots and lots of photos. It was divine.






Monday, July 11, 2011

The Meyers Opus

Rhys' baby book, which I spent hundreds of hours editing via Blurb.com, is finally done. And it is gorgeous.








Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pinterest Rules My Life: Curls Without Heat

My hair will not hold a curl. AT ALL. For example: my wedding day. Check out my hair, which was totally straight despite the fact that I spent HOURS hot rolling it, pinning the curls up to cool completely and dousing it with half a can of hairspray:


So when I saw this pin linking back to this video detailing a method for curling one's hair using only an elastic headband, I thought, "All fine and well for you, adorable Austrian girl, but this is SO NOT GOING TO work for me". Of course, being in possession of a simple elastic headband, I couldn't help but try.

Guys, meet my new favorite hairstyle:

Here's what I looked like with my hair all wrapped up for bed:



In the morning, after removing the headband I had this:



The most amazing part? My hair continued to be discernibly wavy late into the night. That and the fact that since I'm a mom, I have about 14 milliseconds to spend on my hair each morning. This style requires exactly 14 milliseconds to unwind and finger comb. Perfect.

It takes only a few minutes to do in the evening and is comfortable to sleep on to boot. It'd also be a great trick for vacation hair since all you'd need to pack is a simple elastic that you've probably got in your toiletry bag anyways for holding your hair back when you wash your face, amiright?

Try this. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pintrest Rules My Life: Waffle Cookies

Item number two on the "List of Pins I've Made Reality" are these super cute chocolate chip cookies, "baked" on a waffle iron. Adorbs, right?



I tried them first using my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe and they were . . . ok. It didn't help that I over cooked them. The instructions read 1 1/2 to 3 minutes and I erred on the side of 3 to avoid undercooking. Big mistake! Upon further experimentation I found that they took just ONE minute, on level 3 of my waffle iron (as opposed to level 4 1/2, which is what I usually use for waffles). The recipe in the original pin, involving melted butter and very little flour, is more batter-like than my standard cookie recipe, which worked well in this context. If you're interested in trying this, I'd suggest that you go with the recipe linked to in the original pin along with a medium temp and 1 minute cooking time.

While the cookies themselves are fairly standard taste wise, everyone who saw these got a big kick out of the waffle shape. And you know where they'd really shine? In a dorm room. Fresh baked cookies with no oven. Awesome, right?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Meyers

Dear Bub Bubs,

You are fourteen months and 5 days old today. My baby . . . almost a toddler. Where has the time gone?

There will probably always be a part of me that pines for the time when you were tiny (or, as tiny as you ever were . . . which wasn't all that tiny, my 9lb 13oz moosebaby!). I've got to say, though, that I've been loving watching you grow up, learn new things and become your own little person. When I pictured being a mom, I imagined back to school nights, reading stories, trick or treating, Disney movies, baking together . . . things we'll probably do when you're a little bit older. Watching you grow hasn't been all that bittersweet for me since I know we've got a ton of fun in store.

You've taken your first tentative steps. You're very much your daddy's son . . . so cautious and careful! I think you're probably fully capable of taking off running, you just don't realize it yet. There's nothing you love more than dragging your dad or I around by the hand, preferbly up and then down the stairs. Repeatedly.

You also love being pushed along outside in your red Radio Flyer car. You know where the car is parked, by the door and you'll crawl or cruise your way over there, climb in and point at the front door, jabbering "Door! Door!" You actually really love doors, in all contexts. Whether slamming our bedroom door, opening and closing the gate on the way out of daycare every evening or, performing your newest trick, standing up on your toes and reaching our door knobs. You opened our bedroom door by yourself for the first time last night . . . I could almost see the lightbulbs flashing above your head.

Your vocabulary continues to expand at an astonishing pace. For posterity, here are the words you can say: Mama (and mommy, which comes out "mom-meh"), dada, this (dis), I got, I dis, water (wa wa), waffle (also, wa wa, but we can usually tell which one you mean!), nose, eye and mouth (complete with pointing to the aforementioned parts), hi, bye bye, wow, uh oh, nice, ball, bubbles, door, Chewbacca (Bac!), up, down (used to great effect while going up and down the stairs), no, yes (DES!), na (nursing), ba ba (for your sippy cups at daycare), book (Bu!), Moo and Baa (which you will say when asked what cows and/or sheep say), out and dance.

You love airplanes. You can hear them long before your dad or I can and you'll stop whatever you're doing, look up and point. You have a toy airplane that you love to play with, although I'm not certain you've linked the two concepts yet. We'll be taking you on your first plane ride in November, to go to the UK, and I'm hoping it'll blow your mind.

You eat pretty much what your dad and I eat now, except with more bananas! You love bananas, other fruits aren't your cup of tea, though. Some of your favorite foods are zucchini, hummus, beans, guacamole, toast, ravioli and cereal bars. You still nurse at least 2 or 3 times each weekday, more often on the weekends. I still pump for you and send two cups of my milk to daycare along with one cup of cow's milk. I'm proud of us for making it this far! You're moving towards weaning, setting your own pace. You used to nurse in the car every morning before daycare, for example, and you gave up that nursing session about a month ago.

You love being read to. The first thing you do upon waking weekend mornings is to point to the side of the bed where you know I've got a stack of your books stashed and say "Bu!!!". We read 3-4 before even getting out of bed. Your favorites are your Star Wars ABC book (in which you can point out Chewbacca (Bac!) and everyone's noses) and a first words book illustrated with famous artworks. We also read after work and daycare, before daddy gets home each evening.

You love your daddy. When we get home from work and daycare, in the garage you ask "Dada?". During that half hour before he gets home you jump, point to the door and ask "Dada?" every time you hear a sound. The smile that lights up your face when he walks through the door is just unbelievable.

You just cut your second molar . . . you have one upper right molar and one bottom left now. They caused you some pain going in, as evidenced by a few sleepless nights. You seem pretty proud of them though . . . when I reach into your mouth to feel how far in they are you smile at me like a little goon.

You continue to be the sweetest, smartest and most beautiful child ever to live. I love you by the bucketload.

Love,

Your Mom-meh

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pintrest Rules My Life: Matte Charcoal and Glitter Nails

Are you guys on Pintrest? I started pinning on Friday and my world has been a lot cooler and better looking since. I borrowed close to half a dozen ideas from my boards over the weekend, the first of which are these:



Gorgeous, matte charcoal nails accented with glitter over the base of the nail only.

I'm pretty sure I'm in love.