Blind Ambition

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A new house comes with many challenges.  We have now been living in our house for almost 6 months now and there seems to be endless things to do.  I thought that moving to a new house and new town with a 1 month old and 3-yr old was tough!  Actually, that was really tough, never mind!  Owning a home has its own set of challenges.

Before we moved in, we had to re-paint the whole house.  It’s always nice to do this as a way of personalizing the place a little before you move in.  We hired professional painters and boy, did they do a fantastic job.  I ended up using colors from the Benjamin Moore “Color Stories” palette at the recommendation of one of my work colleagues, which is just so beautiful and rich with a lot of depth.  I went with mainly neutrals to serve as a nice palette for future endeavors and had the painter just match the Benjamin Moore colors since that line is very expensive per gallon.   It turned out great and the house was instantly transformed and personalized.  What a breath of fresh air!

When purchasing our house, it came with all light fixtures, appliances and window treatments.  While the previous owner did a lovely job of designing the space, it was not quite to our taste.  I ended up throwing away a majority of the window treatments, which were heavy and very bold in color.  I’m sure it was hearkening to classic Victorian interiors.  I ended up only keeping the roman blinds at the bedrooms as a means of privacy.  However, the one room that didn’t have these blinds was the baby room.  Instead, we had very cheap roller shades.  You know, the vinyl roller shades that are super-cheap and give off a vinyl odor when you use them.  And to top that off, they weren’t even in whole condition!  One had a hole in it!  Granted, my eldest broke the other one, but this just meant that I needed to look into providing a window treatment for this room!

I liked the look of the roman shades in the other bedrooms.  But, when I was shopping online for them, they turned out to be over $100 a pop!  What!?!?  That is way too much in my opinion!  I could make these things!  So that’s just what I did!

I ended up using this great tutorial, buying some mini-blinds and using leftover Ikea curtains that we had in our old apartment.  All in all, this cost me maybe $30 for 2 windows!  SO much better!

Before:

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After:

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Home Sweet Home

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So I did mention that we purchased a house!  This is quite exciting because up until now, I have only lived in apartments since graduating from college.  Owning a home with a yard and a garage is a new experience, for sure!  Our search for the perfect house was a year in the making.  I think we must have looked at upwards of fifty houses before we found this one!

A little about this house, which is an architect’s dream:  It’s a Victorian house built in the 1870’s.  It’s located in the historic district of the town we’re moving to.  There is a lovely porch extending the full length of the front of the house.  Inside, some of the rooms have the original wood plank floors (widths from 8″-12″, and some running up to 13′-0″ in length) and there are two fireplaces, one is the original wood-burning fireplace and the other is a newer, gas fireplace.  There is a nice-sized rear yard and the front is terraced.  It was love at first sight.

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Photo of ceiling in main living area

 

 

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Photo of original floorboards

We are slowly settling in and figuring out what we want to do with the house, but it has lovely bones and lots of possibilities!

A New Addition

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I know I have been remiss in my postings lately. There has been a lot of activity in our household lately! First of all, the new baby arrived two weeks early! That was a surprise for everyone! I hate to say it, but we were not as prepared for the birth of baby number two like we were for baby number one, but we do love her just as much and her sister is beyond excited to be a big sister! Life has been turned on its head with learning how to balance two children. I’m very fortunate to have the help of my mother, who seems to have a knack for putting babies to sleep! Life is certainly not boring right now!

The other big thing is that we bought a house! Wait, what???  More about that later…. back to the baby!

Fuzzy Fun

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My last post talked about my daughter’s joint birthday party with her two friends that she has known since she was born.  There were many aspects about this party that we tried to incorporate.

First, we had a great venue, thanks to one of our friends who lives across the street.  Living in NYC, one finds that space comes as a luxury and a premium.  We are very fortunate that one of our friends lives in a building that has a party room for its residents to use.  The party room also adjoins a play room with toys for babies and toddlers.  So, great space for a party? Check.

Second, because the girls are all 3, we figured they would need some sort of activities.  The big activity was that we hired a musician who played songs on a ukulele and brought egg shakers and a parachute for the kiddies to play with.  I think the parents had almost as much fun as the kids with this one!  Other crafts we had was a drawing station with a bunch of large sheets of paper, crayons and stickers, as well as a station where kids could make their very own party favor – a magnetic caterpillar craft!

I got the craft idea from pinterest and thought that it was simple enough for a 3-year old to execute with a little help from an adult.  Here is the shopping list of items that I used in order to make this craft:

Clothespins

Wiggle eyes

Magnets

Pom-poms

Hot glue gun

The execution is very simple.  Using the hot glue gun, stick a magnet to one side of the clothespin.  On the other side, run a long line of glue along the length of the clothespin.  Stick the pom-poms on to form a straight line.  Using the hot glue gun, glue on two wiggly eyes.  Voila!  You now have a cute little magnetic caterpillar that can also hold artwork and other things!

I decided to prepare ahead of time by gluing all the magnets onto the clothespin.  My daughter was curious, naturally and wanted to know what I was doing.  So, I explained to her that we were preparing a craft for her party and she immediately wanted to try it out herself.  So, I made the craft with her before the party to see how kid-friendly it was.  She had a lot of fun with it and wanted to make all of the caterpillars!  This turned out better than I expected and it was a big hit at the party!

3 for 3

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My daughter just turned 3 years old! I cannot believe how fast time flies. It feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time and marveling at how perfect she was in my arms and how reliant she was on me for everything! Now, I can barely hold her and she’s become so independent.  Now, I don’t know about you, but many of my daughter’s friends were born around the same time as her.

We have officially reached birthday season! It’s always a little bit of a challenge to throw a birthday party that won’t conflict with two to three of her other friends. So, the moms of the 3 musketeers decided to throw a joint 3-year old birthday party, since many of their friends overlap. We didn’t have a particular theme, although we had decided on spring colors. When asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, my daughter said she wanted “purple ballerinas”. Huh. Is that right. Okay…..

So, purple ballerinas for her cupcakes it was!  I racked my brain for how to make a purple ballerina cupcake.  I thought “well, maybe I can get a cupcake topper?”  I searched for all sorts, like little doll toppers, ballerina toppers, etc.  Most of them were in pink , but I figured I could use purple cupcake liners and then use a pink topper and it would still be okay.  I finally settled on the following liners and edible cupcake toppers.  For the cupcake recipe, I decided to be a little different and go with a strawberry cupcake instead of a traditional vanilla or yellow cupcake.  I found a great recipe on Martha Stewart here and I opted for a very simple buttercream frosting recipe.

When my daughter found out I was making birthday cupcakes, she was very excited.  She helped me to decorate the cupcakes.  I made the cupcakes the night before and the day of the party, I made the icing, iced the cupcakes, and had her press on the toppers for the party.  She was very into it and especially loved helping us pack the cupcakes away as she would get icing on her hands and get to lick it all off.  Once they were packed and we got to the party venue, she immediately wanted to have a cupcake!  Well, I’m glad she was so excited.

The party was a big success!  I will have to write another post for it as there was so much going on. I’m sad to say we didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Seeing as how we had in excess of 20 children under the age of 5, it was a little bit hectic.  Well, you only turn 3 once!

 

 

A Cry for Spring

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The weather report going this week-end was not good. There was a prediction for more snow and cold weather. Now, normally, I don’t mind snow. But pushing a stroller in snow while pregnant is not an easy task. I was both excited and apprehensive for the snow, which put me into a strange kind of nesting mood.

My kitchen on Sunday was a hub of activity. I must be getting my energy back because I ended up making a bowl of guacamole, two dinners (one for Sunday and one for Monday) with plenty to spare, and then I decided to make a breakfast bread. I haven’t been baking in quite a while, just simple things here and there. I did make a pound cake two weeks ago and it was so nice to have a staple breakfast food again that I thought I should make another today.

The mix today was a strawberry lemon poundcake Generally, I like to use lemon when I feel spring coming on. A bit of lemon zest just adds a nice, fresh zing to anything, and to me, it is so reminiscent of spring. As for the strawberries, I happened to have a handful leftover from what my daughter didn’t eat. I was a little skeptical about using strawberries because I just find that their flavor is so subtle in baking that you sometimes don’t notice it. Oh well, waste not, want not. I ended up using my staple pound cake recipe.  I made this a double recipe so that it would fill a large bundt pan.  When I got to the pouring of the batter, instead of mixing the strawberries into the batter (I was afraid the weight of the berries would cause them all to fall down to the bottom during baking) I poured in half the batter, then I sliced the berries and lay them in into the batter, nuzzling some a little deeper in, then pouring the rest of the batter on top.  It’s kind of like how you make a coffee cake with the cinnamon filling in the center.

Well, the moment this came out of the oven, my daughter wanted some.  The smell of the lemon with the strawberries was subtle yet intoxicating and when I cut it open to get a better look, I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out better than expected.  I cut a piece for my daughter, sampling a little myself and she devoured it.  My husband noted that the strawberries added just a hint of sweetness that complemented the lemon quite nicely.  I think this one’s a winner!

Baby, it’s a new year!

I can’t believe that January is almost over! I was looking through my blog and I noticed that the quantity of my posts seems to have diminished a little. I apologize for that, everyone! Thanks for your patience!

I can explain, really.  I have been a little preoccupied lately as I am pregnant with #2!  People aren’t kidding when they say that every pregnancy is different!  I don’t know if it’s getting older, or having a child already, or what, but I have been so exhausted with this pregnancy.  I literally could barely keep my eyes awake to get home from work, shovel some semblance of a meal into my mouth, and then go narcoleptic on my husband and daughter by passing out on whatever horizontal surface was closest.  That coupled with the terrible bout of morning sickness (really, I don’t know why people specify morning.  It lasts ALL DAY LONG…) made things very challenging for the past couple of months.  I’m hoping now that I’m in the middle of my second trimester that things will begin to improve!

We did find out that we’re having a girl!  My eldest daughter is very excited to be an older sister!  We’ve been trying to prepare her for the shock of no longer being an only child by talking with her frequently about “baby” and how she will be so helpful and such a great example for baby.  Of course, my daughter immediately decided that the baby is “her” baby and will never fail to give her baby a hug before she gives me a hug.  Ironic, but sweet seeing as how it could go the other way!

Needless to say, all this passing out left and right hasn’t really given me much opportunity to craft anything.  Even if I did find the energy to pick up some knitting needles or a crochet hook, I’d probably pass out on top of it and end up skewering myself involuntarily.  I think I’ll leave the major crafting to when I have a little more control of my ability to stay awake. Until then though, happy crafting!