Monday, December 21, 2009

Wrapping Presents

So we were wrapping presents and Bella decided she had to help. She got a DVD out of the cabinet and started wrapping. She said she wanted to give it to Mimi. That's what's so cute about Bella--she definitely thinks its the thought that counts. You could give her a box of rocks and she'd exclaim "how cute!"

What's really funny is that the box she's sitting next to really isn't that's just that Bella is that small. I love our fireplace.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Lights

What's wrong with this picture? Oh to be three... Obviously we're having a pretty warm winter.

Here's the front of our house. It was hard to take the picture since I had to use a flash (or else the lights all came out blurry).

Here's a close-up of the train. We made train tracks using the sidewalk in our front yard. It's so cute!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Its Christmas Time

We're working on decorating our house for Christmas and it's taking some time. (Eventually we'll clear off the extension cords from the mantle and hang the garland.) We quickly learned that our Christmas tree is miniscule compared to our house. Once we clear out the remaining boxes, I'll take a picture so you can see it compared to the rest of the house!

Abel loves Christmas dearly, so its taking some work to hold him back. Although I'd like to do a Santa train, waterfall and pond, deer drinking from the pond, and lamp posts which point to the North Pole, unfortunately we need things like drills and light fixtures more so we'll have to tame things down this year. Maybe just the lamp posts and icicle lights (a hand-me-down of course).

And this is our Nativity set that we bought from Costco. I fell in love with a different one last year, but we have so much stuff to buy for the house, this one will do the job just as well as any other. I'm not sure if the baby Jesus should go on the bar, but this was the only counterspace we have that can fit the set. We need to get an end table to something...

Here's our bedroom...still pending the accent wall.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laundry Day

Its refreshing to find that Noah loves doing the laundry as much as I do.

He started crying the moment I started sorting laundry and he was so traumatized by the experience that I had to feed him when we were finished in order to calm him down. I guess he won't be helping in the future. Maybe laundry, like rice cereal, is an acquired taste.

Or then again, maybe not.

Friday, November 20, 2009

One Tuckered Baby

Noah's had a tiring day of hourly bottles, rolling over, and laughing. He's trying to acquire a taste for rice cereal but it's taking some time. Maybe he'll like bananas better, but that's for another week.

Rest up, little man. It's a big world out there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Under the Weather

The roses are from our yard...and they certainly have a LOT of thorns! Also note Noah's highchair (it's hard to see in the back). We can't wait until he's able to join us at the table.

I know our kitchen is ugly, but I have to say that I've really gotten used to it. It's so much bigger than our condo so I'm certainly loving it.

Bella's room in the works. We've actually already finished scraping the ceiling.

This is the hole Abel cut in the crawlspace of the server room while we were redoing the cable.

The fireplace is two-sided. Noah is temporarily staying in the room on the other side (you can see his crib if you look closely) but that room will eventually be the library/office.

No, it's not cold outside (at least not very), but I'm feeling a little under the weather. Stuffy nose, fatigue, sore throat, cough...not good. So I started up the fireplace and reheated some of the stew I made this weekend.

The star on the fireplace mantle was huge in our condo. This fireplace dwarfs it!

Ignore the boxes. We'll finish unpacking eventually.

Sunday Ritual

Sunday afternoons as of late have been filled with baking. We have started a new cooking ritual with the kids. And yes, even Gunner joins in the fun.

Bella counts Noah's rolls.

Noah really wants a brownie.

Love to Noah


Here are our little Raggedy Ann and Andy. Bella had a great time trick-or-treating. She never quite got around to saying "trick-or-treat", she just knocked on the door and said "please".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photoshop Play

So we lounged away today (doing odds and ends like setting up trash collection services and utilities) while we wait for the keys to our house (YAY!!). Though Noah needs to help, I played around with photoshop a little--unfortunately we only have Photoshop elements, so I was somewhat limited. I wanted muted tones with just the blue of his car seat coming through. I wish the initial photo would have come out a little more clear, then it would look a little better.

I also wanted to share this picture of Isabella and Mimi. Doesn't she just love her Mimi?

While we worked on the house on Sunday, Bella played with these wooden "paper" dolls by Melissa and Doug. They were a steal at only $3 at the Family Swap Meet earlier that morning.

Here is our nice scraped ceiling in the master bedroom. No popcorn here! (Check out the view)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Little Flower Girl

I hope I'm not spoiling her debut at the wedding, but check out our cute little flower girl. We picked up her dress today at David's Bridal. Since we were the only ones in the store, they let her try on her dress on the bridal pedestals. She had a lot of fun playing Cinderella.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Early Milestones

I just received an email from the hospital with the milestones that Noah should be hitting in the next few months. Amazingly, he's already hit most of them. I attribute his early physical skills to sleeping on his stomach.

He first rolled over September 18th (at 6 weeks)--4-7 months milestone

First smile September 15th (5.5 weeks)--1-3 months milestone

He's been cooing for several weeks--1-5 months milestone

He's been grasping for his binky this past week--2-4 months milestone

He's just starting to turn to objects of interest but hasn't mastered this--3-5 months milestone

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pictures Soon...I Promise

If you haven't noticed, our camera has been in the shop since the beginning of last month. We're having it serviced (from an incident where Abel sat on it) and recalibrated. For about two weeks, we were using a point-and-shoot camera, but then Bella misplaced it. It'll turn up soon (I hope) but fortunately we were informed yesterday that our camera is in the process of being shipped back from the Olympus repair center. YAY!

Sushi and Sashimi Rice

When I was pregnant with Noah, I couldn't eat any sushi...and I have certainly missed it. I really love California Rolls and used to make them all the time with my friends in college, but we were recently given some fresh tuna, so we made some tuna sashimi.

Many people don't know the difference between sushi and sashimi. Sushi is bite-sized pieces of cooked or raw fish or vegetables with rice and is usually wrapped with seaweed. Sashimi is raw fish on a bed of rice served with soy and wasabi.

Now that you're a sushi and sashimi expert, I thought I would share with you a quick sushi and sashimi rice recipe. Typically sushi and sashimi rice is a very involved process which requires several rinses and multiple soaking and straining sessions...this is much easier.

3 cups short grain rice
3 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon salt

Soak the rice for 30 minutes in cold water. Strain then cook the rice in 3 1/3 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. At the same time, combine the remaining ingrediants and heat until combined and the mixture turns from cloudy to clear. Once the rice is finished, put into a wooden bowl (not a metal bowl) and pour the vinegar mixture over the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon. Fan the rice while you stir to facilitate cooling and drying of the vinegar to make the rice glossy. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Tip 1: Wet your hands with the rice vinegar when forming the beds of rice or rolls for your sushi and sashimi. This will prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers.

Tip 2: Sushi rice should be stored at room temperature and covered with a moist cotton cloth. Refrigerating sushi rice will cause it to become too firm.

Tip 3: If the water is milky when you are soaking it, rinse the rice and change the water. If you fail to do this, your rice won't taste fresh.

Tip 4: Don't make the rice in accordance with the directions on the bag. Sushi rice takes less water to create a firmer texture than everyday rice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Girl's Guide to Buying Tires

Although this is out-of-the-norm, I wanted to share this information because I couldn't find just one website which provided all the information I needed to help me select a new tire. Even when I asked Abel what everything meant, he admitted that he knew at one point but had forgotten. Atleast now we'll be able to access this information the next time we need to buy tires.

Tires are tricky business but the first thing to remember is that each number means something. My tires are P265/65R17. You can determine what kind of tires are on your car by looking at the tire itself or (more easily) by going to a tire distributer's webpage and entering the details of your car.

For more help, has this wonderful illustration showing where you can get all the numbers from:

The "P" means a passenger tire. These tires are usually softer for a smoother ride. A tire with "LT" is a light truck tire and somewhere on the tire it will say the load capacity. If you have a "LT" tire, you need to also take into consideration how much weight you're going to be pulling.

The "265" is the width of the tire (in millimeters) from sidewall to sidewall. The larger the number, the wider the tire.

The "65" is the tire's ratio of height to width. This number is also indicative of the tire's purpose. Numbers lower than "70" have better steering and handling because of the shorter sidewall.

The "R" means that it's a radial tire. If your tire was purchased in the last few decades, it's a radial tire.

The "17" is the rim diameter measured in inches.

Sometimes these numbers are followed by a two digit number and letter (like "89V"). This number is part of a code which tells you the load capacity. Remember the number is per tire, so if you want the maximum capacity for the car, you'll have to multiply the number by four. The letter tells you the maximum speed the tire was designed to run for extended periods of time.

For the maximum load capacity per tire, you can check a table located on any number of websites including:

Here is a list of the tire speed codes:
S 112 mph
T 118 mph
U 124 mph
H 130 mph
V 149 mph
W 168 mph
Y 186 mph

Once you know what kind of tire you have, you can compare tires by using the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) ratings. UTQGS ratings are based on three categories: treadwear, temperature, and traction.

Treadwear is rated on a scale of 20 to 620. In general, the higher the number in treadwear, the better the tread. A tread rating of 200 will last twice as long as a tread rating of 100. In my short research experience, I would consider tread ratings in the 500-600 area as good. You should be aware that tread ratings were too expensive to be done by the government, so each tire manufacturer determines their own tread ratings and then justifies its rating to the government. This means that you're not necessarily comparing apples to apples when comparing different brands, but it does help.

Temperature is graded in the form of A, B, C (with A being the highest). This represents the tire's resistence to the generation of heat.

Traction is graded in the form of AA, A, B, and C (with AA being the highest). This represents the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement. It does not take into consideration acceleration, hydroplaning, or cornering.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Tribulations of Being a Mother

I decided that the easiest costumes for me to do are Raggedy Ann and Andy given the amount of time I may or may not have in the coming weeks.

I went to Joann's yesterday to pick up some fabric so I could get started. By the time we go to the check out line, Noah was poopy and screaming. Then I turn around to find that Bella had spilled an entire 1 pound bag of M&Ms. It couldn't be the small individual-sized bags...and of course it had to be the peanut ones so that they rolled all over the place. The check out line turned into a giant Easter egg hunt. Because there's no "clean up on aisle 4" option at Joann's, both cashiers and the woman behind me in line had to come and help pick up. Bella quickly ate all the M&Ms she could find.

Before leaving, the woman behind me says "Honey, we've all been there." I can't wait to tell that to someone else.

Afterwards, we went to McDonald's so that Bella could play on the playground and I could just sit with some chicken nuggets in peace. Whoever came up with the indoor playplace deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. If only Subway were as innovative.

Both kids crashed by the time we got home and between then and bedtime, I managed to finish Bella's skirt (a trial run for a birthday gift for one of Bella's friends)--I think the skirt needs pockets--a hat for Bella's costume and a penafore (which I will hand embroider if I have time). The morning I finished her pantaloons. Proudly, all were completed without a pattern.

Bella's skirt was my wardrobe refashion project for this week--made out of a recycled shirt and pants.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Fun

We're on the hunt for a stove top, microwave, vent, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and an air compressor. Being the bargain hunter that I am (and the amount of items taht we have to buy), I decided to try a few garage sales this weekend.

Unfortunately the people at the first garage sale had some great items but needed a reality check in their pricing.

The second sale was at a beautiful multi-million dollar home. People were lined up outside the house a half hour before they started and all of the items we needed were snatched up before I could get kid #2 out of the car.

While we were inside snooping looking at housewares, I heard Bella screach "Oh my gosh!". Immediately I turned around worried she had broken something and I noticed her eyeing this dress.

The proportions are wrong (especially since it is supposedly size 6), but Bella loves it regardless. It'll made a good play dress or a nice decoration on display in her room.

I also found some linens--most will be used on her bed since they are girly flowers and mismatched (Bella said they were "so cute"). I ended up with two sets of sheets and seven pillow cases for $3.

I also purchased ten towels and two towel-like bath mats for $1.25. Although they aren't necessarily colors I would have chosen and they don't really match, we have four bathrooms to stock so these will work beautifully for now.

We'll see what next weekend brings...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nap Time

This is why I have such a hard time keeping Noah and Bella asleep...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Halloween Costumes

I'm torn about costumes for the kids this year. Here were a few ideas I was thinking:

Tinkerbell and the Alligator
Raggedy Ann and Andy
Hansel and Gretel
Princess and Dragon (or frog)
Chef and Pillsbury Doughboy
Little Bo Peep and a Sheep (Gunner would be a wolf)

I have to decide soon because I need to get started on their costumes. We're going to Bates Nut Farm on October 17th, so they have to be finished by then. Yikes!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Rare Sighting at the Parade

Bella was in the Poway Days parade with her dance class. Since the kids in the 2-3 year-old classes were too young to walk and dance in the parade, they rode in wagons pulled by the dads. It was Bella's dream--pink shirts, fluffy bows, purple ribbons, metalic pom-poms all enjoyed in the comfort of her wagon (which was made extra-comfortable with the donation of my pillow).

Noah also participated by riding in the jogging stroller (which I was pleased to learn fit the car seat nicely).

Lurking behind us was a sight rarely seen in California--a San Diegan Cowboy. Complete with hat, jean shorts, and John Deere boots. You have to love the dimple. That's one cute cowboy.

Bella enjoyed the goats and we were glad we didn't have to step over goat poop. Like every parade, the horses were in the front, so we already had our fill of land mines to leap over.

Now is that a true dad or what? Holding the sippy cup, pom-pom, and pulling a purple wagon with a pink kid. One sexy beast. :)