Category: Christmas Whoring

The Making of a Bitchin’ Kitchen

Monday, December 30th, 2013

I started planning this grand kitchen project months ago.

I scoured Pinterest and online design sites for inspiration and cost-saving DIY tips.  I combed through catalogs and made multiple IKEA trips.   I measured and remeasured every wall.  I mapped out all the must-haves.  But two things became apparent almost immediately:

  1. I wasn’t going to get the kitchen of my dreams
  2. This wasn’t going to be a simple one-stop-shop purchase with a straight-outta-the box installation.

And wouldn’t know that the design that moved me most was most expensive of all. (Story of my life!)

It was so very perfect, matching our home’s aesthetic so well.  I tried to ignore its existence, searching unsuccessfully for equally awesome less expensive routes.  I was ready to commit to a prefab option that had all the key components but would require lots of cabinet sanding and resurfacing.  That’s when Dan surprised me by saying we should go with the vintage-inspired design I’d wanted all along.  He says it’s because he was willing to pay more for quality construction.  But I think the desire to have me shut my yap about all the kitchen details was a big factor. 😉

The perfect design was not without flaw.  Some architectural limitations meant forgoing one component: a refrigerator.   Eh, no biggie.   I’d just make my own.  What? Never made your own refrigerator!?!  Yeah, I hadn’t either.  So I scrapped the fridge and opted for a pantry.  It took two nights for Dan and me to assemble everything.  We awoke pre-dawn on Christmas morning, crossing our fingers that everything would work out well.

We’re pretty sure its resident chef is happy with the outcome.


Christmas 2012

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

This was probably the least stressful Christmas I’ve had in years.

Before Em was born, I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas running around like crazy trying to find “the” perfect gift for over two dozen friends and family members. Last year, I just wasn’t in the fa la la spirit.   I went through the motions of wrapping presents and putting up the tree, but my sleep-deprived, new mom self just wanted the holiday to come and go.

This year was totally different.  I got my Christmas chutzpah back.  I decorated the tree, made Em’s felt tree, slapped together a Christmas centerpiece and even decked our outdoor halls with poinsettias, wreaths, velvet bows and lights galore.

I committed to buying all presents online with the exception of some kiddo presents for Emme’s cousins I amassed while Targeting Saturday morning and a super-duper stud finder for Dan’s dad I serendipitously scored on a trip to Lowe’s.  I had intentions of baking, but after my first batch of botched Mexican Wedding Cookies, I axed those plans.

Em really doesn’t “get” Christmas just yet.  She’s still too young.  I put out Christmas toys and books and taught her Christmas words.  She knows how to order ask that the “twee” be turned “on.”  She knows that if she brings me her Rudolph figurine, I’ll sing the song.  She also knows to bring me “Ho Ho” (Santa figurine) when I get to the “then one foggy Christmas Eve” part.

Santa brought her a blue Rockabye elephant that’s been stored in an upstairs closet since November 2011.  She wasn’t impressed.

I’m calling in her best 2 year old buddy so he can show her how much fun it can be.

Christmas Day was touch and go at first.  Em awoke at 5:30am and went down for her one and only nap by 8:30am.  Grrr.  When she awoke, we took her to Dan’s parents, where she wowed us by climbing the stairs and coming back down (Dan in tow) without assistance.  She’s always been an “I’ll do it myself” kind of girl!  After Grandpa and Annie’s, we headed directly to my family’s lunch.

We assumed she’d be a tired hot mess by 2:00pm, but she was great!  She sang, talked and danced on Dan’s lap as we ate at the dining room table.  She walked around the house having a great time.   By the time we got home, she was pooped..and so were we.   She crashed at 6:30pm and slept until 7:00am.  MERRY CHRISTMAS, PARENTS!!!  We won’t mention that she went all 12/26 without napping.

I’m really looking forward to Christmas 2013 and beyond.  I even bought us a mom and daughter Santa apron set in anticipation of some holiday baking bonding time.

Crap, that only gives me 12 months to learn how to bake…

And so it begins!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

No, not F.T.S. II. That can wait until after the holidays. 😉

Today marked both a sad and festive occasion: the first day of Dan’s last vacation days in 2012.  Since November 1, he’s taken off every Friday.  I’ve grown way too accustomed to having him home.  Even when I stayed home and didn’t run any errands, it was just nice having him here.  Em and I are always in much better spirits when he’s home.  It’s nice to have adult conversation for me, and I don’t have to say “Daddy’s at work,”  “Daddy loves you,” or “Dada will be home soon” 500 times.  When she looks at me and asks “Dada?” as she did today, I merely had to point 3 feet away and say “There he is!”

The good news is that we have him until January 2nd.  Wahoo!  In that time, we’ll Christmas it up and tackle some Manor tasks like sourcing light fixtures and storing Em’s baby clothes and toys.

Because Dan had today off, I was able to attend my office’s Christmas lunch/white elephant gift exchange.  I brought the most swapped gift (a Totes mini candy dispenser from Target), so I scored a Charlie Brown clock that plays Christmas carols every hour. The kiddo will love that one day.  🙂

Totes® Elements® Men's  Electronic Candy Dispenser

I came home to a happy kiddo and our friends, Grandpa Jason and Aunt Brie, picking up our beloved Delaney couch.   It was the first piece of furniture Dan and I bought together when we started shacking.   Our new Abbyson Living London 3-piece leather sofa set from arrived Wednesday, so it was time to part ways with the old Delaney.  The kiddo seems to dig the new set even though the seats, unlike the old sectional, are too high for her to hop on unassisted.

The best part of the sofa, loveseat and chair?  It’s turned our kiddo playland with a sectional into a living room with concealed play areas.  Mama and daddy likey!

Aunt Carole (my BFF) came over after work to deliver Christmas goodies, which included a slew of awesome books for Emme.  We had to start a 3rd book bin for Em’s personal library collection, and she’s a very happy camper about that.  Em was shy at first but quickly warmed up, playing peek-a-boo using the owl-themed gift bag Aunt Carole brought her.  I encouraged Em to get friendly with Aunt Carole as this is the person she will call when she wants to run away at 16.

We ended the night by getting takeout from a newly opened Mexican restaurant down the street.  I grew up going to the original location, so it was a nice walk down memory lane.

I just Amazon’d two last minute gifts for family members, scheduled to arrive Monday.  I’d intended on baking this year, but eh – maybe next year.

I have a feeling this will result in a Saturday night trip to Target to buy a few more goodies…

Damn.  I just hate going to T♥rget.  😉


Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Upon request from the grandparents, I updated Em’s Amazon Wish List for Christmas.

After researching toys for 18 months and up (she’ll be 18 months in February), I compiled her list.  When I reviewed it, I realized a trend.  Of the 20 items listed, 14 were board books.  Then, I had an ah-ha moment.

Before mommyhood, I would look at kiddo wish lists sent from friends and relatives and roll my eyes when I saw more books than toys.  I sought out an überkinderwunderbar knock-their-socks-off toy loaded that oozed awesomeness. Books did not fall under that category.  I considered books to be wish list filler. Books screamed “snooze” not “BEST. TOY. EVER.”

And then we had Emme.  Forget rattles and rings.  Compliments of Ashlea, the first thing that captivated her two week old self…

Instead of only bringing us books or barking “read!”, she’s started using words and sounds to let us know which books she wants us to read.  “Sssss” is for Baby Einstein Baby’s First Words that contains a photographed snake, and “hep-po” means Sandra Boynton’s Hippos Go Beserk or But Not the Hippopotamus. She spends more time reading or being read to in her Anywhere Chair than she does playing with toys.

So when it came time to compile her Christmas list, I kept selecting books.  I had to force myself to find actual toys to add (a grandparent request), but I did.  Em’s one lucky little girl in the generous and fabulous grandparent department.  I looked the other day and both Dan’s parents and my mom had purchased all the toys. But that’s pretty cool, because that means I can order the books and tell her they’re from Santa.

Only, she doesn’t know much about Santa…

I bet there’s a book for that.

Felt Up

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I am officially one of THOSE moms, the ones who do crafty things.

My first foray into mommy crafts came before the kiddo was born, when I tjuzed a Target storage bin to match the nursery’s owl theme.   Being a total Christmas freak, I knew I had to make Emme a felt tree when I saw this on Pinterest:

It looked easy enough, and I loved the idea of Em having a special tree to (crossing fingers) distract her from attacking the real tree.

I already had fabric scissors and felt glue leftover from the owl bin project, so the kiddo and I made quick felt-buying trip to Hobby Lobby.  I bought 2 yards of dark green cut felt,12 pre-cut felt squares in various colors and one package of green and red wavy felt trim, spending a whopping $15 on the project.

I took advantage of my husband’s day off to make the tree a couple weeks ago.  It took all of two hours.  I would’ve taken a lot less time had I copied the ornaments in the Pinspiration photo, but I wanted to customize them with a few of Em’s favorite things.

The ornaments didn’t stick to the felt tree very well, so I adhered a tiny piece of rough Velcro to the back.  I then attached the tree to the wall using Command poster strips.

Here’s the finished project:

I had so much felt left over that I made a tree for my favorite two year old.  He was born into a bi-festive family, so I had fun making a Christmas Tree/Hanukkah Bush. Only, I had a hell of a time making dreidels with the glitter fabric paint I bought, so I ended up making two glitter versions, one in marker and a blank one.  I kinda love that all four ended up on the tree per his instruction.

So if you’re motivated to make your own, here are a few tips:

  1. When using the felt glue, follow the directions.  “Drrhrr” you say, but your instinct will be to put on a blob of glue and firmly press your felt down so the two pieces stick together.  Don’t.  If you do, the pieces will come apart.  Plop on your glob, gently place one piece atop another and wait for the adhesive to do its magic, forming a strong seal.
  2. Felt is a PITA to cut straight.  Make sure you have super sharp fabric scissors.  I use Scotch Precision Scissors.
  3. Measure your kiddo’s height and account for future growth.  My kiddo is 30″ tall, so I made her a 34″ tree, taking into account the floor board above which it’s mounted.

It was a merry little project for a dork like me.  So much so that I’ve already got next year’s felt-o-fun planned:  a Mr. Potato Head-like snowman with interchangeable accessories.

I can wait to meet you, Felty the Snowman!