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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cover the earth.

Home with addition.

There is always a lot of painting going on around here. Here's a photo of our house with the addition, which Mark painted back in December when it was much warmer.


I'm busy painting a cool desk calendar that I'm building from a kit. You can paint it or cover it with paper, but I'm making mine just like this, except it looks a whole lot messier. It took me three coats of white to cover the tiles. They probably could have used another coat, but I ran out of white paint.


Lauren paints all the time. Her favorite medium right now are watercolors. Since her works are kinda abstract, I always ask her what her paintings represent. When I asked her about this one, she replied, "It's a pickle!" which is exactly what I thought it was.

Chinese dragon

Lastly, I forgot to post this one yesterday. It was taken at our (That being me and Mel C) favorite Chinese restaurant, Sesame Inn. We didn't get to see the dragon dance though - that was scheduled for dinnertime. Mel C and I have been eating lunch together at the Sesame Inn since around 2001. We've even had the same waitress, Betty. Yes, we will find a new Chinese restaurant to lunch at, but we will never find another Betty.

Well, I guess sausage *is* usually served with cabbage and noodles.


...Last warning...

No results returned on Allrecipes when I searched for "haluski." But, oh, did they have a suggestion as to what I might be looking for...

Well, I guess sausage *is* usually served with cabbage and noodles.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Movin' on.

Steve Irwin and mine boxes as far as the eye can see.

Crickey, that's a lot of boxes (Yes, that is none other than Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, may he rest in peace.).

As of Monday, my company is moving us to new offices. I had been at the current location since 1997. 1997. That's eleven years. I practically grew up there. It is a heck of a lot of work execute such a massive relocation. Everyone really pulled together and pitched in, and as a result we were able to leave 2 hours early today confident that everything was packed and ready to go.

Me & Mel C.

Mel C is coming along too. At the new office, she'll be sitting few feet down the hall from me.

Steve and Mel C.

Sadly, we cannot say the same for the Crocodile Hunter. We tried to pack him inside a box, but he just wouldn't fit.

Me & Dave

I tried to have a photo taken of me fake weeping in front of my office, but they came out too blurry. So here is one of me and my counterpart Dave having one last meeting before we hit the road.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Scrapbooking: The Return.


January continues to be a very uneventful month. Since there's nothing new to report, I thought I'd share some scrapbook layouts that I recently made.

When I sat down to scrapbook a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I hardly made anything during 2008, beyond the mini album for Lauren and a few pages. I still love scrapbooking, but unfortunately, my workflow takes a lot more focus and time than I have available. It goes something like this:

1. Come up with a concept: This part is easy. When I think of an idea, I make sure I write it down in my notebook. Then when I have the urge to scrapbook, I have a bunch of ideas to work from.

2. Create layout design, edit and print photos: This is done at the computer. Sometimes I'll flip through a book or magazine for inspiration on photo placement, sometimes I'll come up with something on my own just playing around in Photoshop.

3. Choose cardstock, paper and embellishments: If I have a mental block, this can be very time consuming.

4. Put it all together: Now at this point, I can easily entertain Lauren while I work just by giving her some paper, stamps and stickers of her own to use.

5. Journalling: Back to the computer. I made an honest attempt at using my own handwriting, but I just can't do it. More on that later.

So my newer hobbies like embroidery didn't really replace scrapbooking, but it sure is a lot easier for me to follow Lauren around from room to room with my embroidery in hand than it is for me to have uninterrupted time at the computer. Nonetheless, I'm going to continue to try and figure out ways to make my scrapbooking more efficient, because I have a lot of good ideas that I want to bring to life!

Blondies vs Brownie.

Here is one of my first efforts in making more family oriented pages. As Lauren gets older, there will be less and less firsts to document and more of how we interact together.

The Little Red Chair.

I actually started this page sometime last year, but never finished it. It was originally to have a small photo of Lauren sitting in the chair, but I needed the space to fit in the journalling. It actually worked out better because it's more a page about the chair than about Lauren. This gave me the idea to make more pages about special objects in our home and why they are meaningful. Of the four, I like this one the best, even though the "R" looks like I bled on it and the type isn't centered.


The Scrabble tiles were left over from another half finished project of mine. The title was the only word that the remaining tiles could spell out that was relevant to the page. Stupid me didn't get a photo of Mark pushing Lauren that day. I had to screen cap the video that I took. As a result, that photo is poorer quality than the rest, but the page wouldn't be complete with out it.

Lastly, each of these pages originally had hand written journalling. At that point, I had considered them complete and had thought that I had convinced myself that my hand writing didn't look so bad after all. Then I had to go and flip through my albums and see how nice and clean the printed type looked on my pages. So I typed and printed all the journalling in Photoshop. With this kind of obsessive compulsive behavior, it's no wonder that I only made four pages last year!

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day is an A-OK day.

Making pinapple upside-down cake and rockin' the headband.

Here we are at the end of another holiday weekend, and I don't know where all the time went. We went shopping at Ikea (They were sold out of the shelves that I wanted for our bedroom, but we did get a new slip cover for our footstool and the train for Lauren) and Trader Joe's (Discovered this weekend that Lauren likes their crab cakes, so I had to get more). Yesterday, we spent the evening at Mel C's place where we ate dinner and watched the Steelers game. I baked a pineapple upside-down cake for the occasion, and then today I made lasagna.

Sprinkling the brown sugar.

Lauren helped with the pineapple upside-down cake.

Speaking of Lauren, she's now wearing headbands. I'm not convinced, however, that her bangs will ever grow out. Also, if it wasn't for today's triumph, I wouldn't be convinced that she will ever be potty trained completely. Yesterday, I meant to change her into a fresh pull-up before she went down for a nap. After her nap, I plopped her down in front of the television until she fully woke up. A few minutes later, I had heard some whimpering coming from the living room. When I went in to investigate, she mumbled something about her pants. That's when I noticed that the couch was wet. I sprang into action to clean the couch (Luckily we have slipcovers) while Mark ran upstairs to grab some dry pants for her. As I was putting the cover into the washing machine, I hear Mark exclaim, "Why isn't this kid wearing a pull-up?"


While I admit that I'm absent-minded, I can't help but mention the fact that the potty was literally inches away from her when this happened. I guess whatever show she was watching on Noggin was just too good to be interrupted.

I'm glad that tomorrow is Tuesday because, not only is it a short work week, but also because I get to watch American Idol! I'm sure y'all are just dying to know what I thought about Jason Castro's brother, Michael. While I do like Micheal's voice (and the fact that he seems like he can project better than Jason), he lacks that certain something that his brother has. Plus, I can't stand his hair (For the Castro men, it's all about the hair, so it would seem.). And wasn't it hilarious when he called Jason "girly"?! The front of his hair is dyed freakin' pink for goodness sake! Rumor has it that Michael cage fights, so I guess that does give him an edge in the masculinity department.

Other than that, I don't have a whole lot to comment about, other than I can't stand Von Smith (the guy who wailed "Over the Rainbow"), but I'm pretty confident he will be around to annoy me for a looong time. Be on the lookout for Adam Lambert - he looks like this (Rawr!) when he's not looking like this (Whoa!) He's very theatrical and can really sang. Not sure if I'm going to be rooting for him, but he has me interested.

Lastly, I want to send birthday wishes out to our cousin Noreen! Hope you had a great birthday up there in the frozen north! Sending you some virtual Vanilla Almond tea your way to keep you warm!

All aboard.

Chug-a-chuga-a choo choo!

This one goes out to loyal blog reader Felice who, when we visited the All Saints Church Train display last year, asked to see some photos. Well, when we went back this year, I didn't forget about your request, Felice!

Watching the trains go by.

All Saints Church train display.

The Lauren Express

In somewhat related news, Lauren made her first "deposit" on the potty today, and there was much rejoicing. Granted, I bribed her with this train set, so who knows if it will happen again.

Since I'm off for MLK Day, I'll try to post again later about the general state of things.

Monday, January 12, 2009

There's a sucker born every minute.

Cocktail napkins.

Why is it that I go into Target to buy plastic wrap and disinfecting wipes, only to end up 100+ dollars lighter on the way out? That must be some plastic wrap. Or maybe it had something to do with these cute cocktail napkins. Target has a whole to-die-for section of retro style kitchen linens, like tea towels, aprons, etc. in the same color scheme. I was lucky to get out of there with only the $5 cocktail napkins. I figure they will make a fun embroidery project.

Hostess cupcakes.

Right across from the evil kitchen linens were these. Much to Mark and Lauren's disappointment, I rarely keep this kind of stuff in the house. Unless I baked, all I have to offer guests are some organic granola bars (Chocolate chip organic granola bars, nonetheless!). But these cupcakes...were strawberry. And the box said something about cream cheese icing, but I was too busy dropping it in cart to read exactly what the words said. Oh, did I mention they were on sale? And that they have pretty pink cream cheese icing on top?

That is the actual size of one cupcake. Luckily, that's not a one hundred calorie cupcake. They come three in a pack. I only had one - Lauren ate the other two.

Lauren's new lunch bag.

Speaking of Lauren, I've been trying to come up with a new gimmick to bride, er, persuade, Lauren to eat a wider variety of foods. Last week, she noticed my lunch bag, so I asked her if she wanted a lunch bag too. Of course, she said, "Yeah!" because when you're three you just want stuff, even if it's something boring like a lunch bag. I told her she could have her very own lunch bag only if she ate what I put into it. She agreed (We're a whole family of suckers.). Target just happened to have the perfect lunch bag for Lauren - not only is it her favorite color (green) but it features her favorite dinosaur (A triceratops). All this for only $9.99! Too bad once she's out of the green dinosaur phase it will probably end up selling for a buck at our next yard sale.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The Strip.

View from the second floor of Jimmy and Nino Sunseri's

The tease is not clothing, but food. Sorry.

Last Saturday, we took a ride to The Strip District. As Lauren observed, "This place is dirty and kinda old." Well, heck yeah it's dirty and kinda old, but under all that grime there's good food to be had.

The Duo.

Our first stop was Jimmy and Nino Sunseri's for lunch. As always, Jimmy was behind the counter smoking a cigar. After some deliberation, Mark ordered a meatball sub while I ordered "The Duo." Eggplant parmesan and meatball. What can I say, I'm the kinda girl who wants it all.

Next, we walked up to Pennsyvania Macaroni Company (Penn Mac) to buy cookies. I bought a dozen italian love knots, but since they're not nearly as pretty as the ones I mentioned in our first blog post, I didn't take any photos. We also bought two of what was dubbed as the last four cannoli in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they weren't nearly as good as the ones served at Mama Lucia's. Lauren liked her cannoli well enough, but Mark and I assured her that we'd hook her up with better. We then purchased a loaf of Mancini's bread that would become Sunday's french toast.

You can have your Jifs, your Skippys, your Peter Pan...

Lastly, we stopped at Wholey's to pick up a couple of bottles of Red Ribbon soda. As we made our way through the crowds, I spotted something that I had been seeking out for years: natural peanut butter. You haven't lived until you've tried natural peanut butter. And I'm not talking about the over-the-counter kind that you buy in a jar with goopy oil at the top that you have to stir. This is freshly made ground peanuts in a plastic tub. My grandfater used to buy it all the time at the local health food store. If I was less civilized, I'd eat it out of the tub with a spoon.

Special Edition Mint Hershey's Minatures.

While we're on the subject of food, Hershey's released special limited edition mint flavored Minatures for holidays. The white chocolate is our favorite - they have little green and read candy sprinkles inside. Yet another reason to love Christmas!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Same auld blog.

New 'jamas.

Well, I guess it's about time for the first blog post of the year. It's also about time that I posted a photo of Lauren wearing her pajamas from Cousin Noreen. Thanks so much, Noreen - Lauren loves them! I wish they made them in adult size.

Mark and I actually stayed awake for the arrival of 2009. We were in the middle of watching the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica when he leaned over and kissed me. I hadn't noticed the clock had stuck midnight! I usually dread the coming of the new year, but this year I dread even more so. Some changes are coming up in the very near future that are going to drastically alter our routine here. Not looking forward to it at all, but I'm trying to think positively.

What I am looking forward to is a new season of American Idol! Fox Reality just started repeating Season 7. It's so fun to watch in retrospect, knowing how things ultimately turn out. Last night, we watched the Top 12 guys. I thought that Dave Cook's first performance was just dreadful, while David Archuleta's was much more enjoyable than I remembered. When Garrett Haley (one of the first eliminees) started to perform, Lauren declared "The train wreck is here!" without any prompting from me (Okay, maybe just a little prompting). Of course, Jason Castro was my favorite - again. I'm really hoping I have someone new to obsess over during Season 8.

Puka beads - made by Lauren.

Other than watching repeats, we've been up to various things. Lauren created this lovely necklace for her daddy. We call them his "puka beads," since that makes it seem much more masculine. She has a pretty good eye for design, don't you think?

2009 calendar photos.

I'm been working on my annual calendar. Here are the photos that made the cut for this year.

Our Mii's.

All three of us have been playing Wii Fit, which Mark gave to me for Christmas. Lauren especially likes the running games (All you have to do is run in place - it's actually quite fun, and that's coming from someone who hates running!). A couple of nights ago, she ran 10 miles. I'm trying to figure out how to work using the Wii Fit into my daily routine. Not only is finding the time going to be a challenge, but also getting to play without Lauren taking over.

Off to get ready to go back to work tomorrow. Woo freakin' hoo.