Sunday, August 9, 2009

All Settled

So, we've been all moved in our new home now for almost a month! There are still a few things that need to be organized (namely, the basement and my linen closet), but most everything is unpacked and put away where it belongs. I've settled into a great groove of cooking, cleaning, laundering, crafting, and entertaining the doodlebug since we moved (which is strange because my much smaller 2 bedroom apartment always looked like a tornado had hit it and I could never seem to keep up with all that needed to be done). Part of this, I will blame on inadequate appliances. I cannot express how much I LOVE my new washer and dryer - they are super quiet, super efficient, and can hold several loads compared to my old 70's stackable washer/dryer that would take ALL day to complete about three small loads from start to finish.

I also now live near several of those Fresh Produce Stores (there are three within a two block radius), an Aldi's, and a Jewel Osco (before my only real close option for groceries was Dominicks' - which we all know is expensive) - so I'm really enjoying being able to stay on a grocery budget, buy tons of fresh/cheap produce, and come up with new creative food to make for dinner.

My sewing has taken a hiatus this past week or so as I've been busy with my daughter (on days that we have plans to go out somewhere, she never seems to nap, and on the days that we're stuck at home, it's generally because I'm working and therefore can't stop to sew when she falls asleep). But I'm happy to say that I shipped all of my burp cloths/bibs out to Catalina Island and have sold most of them at my sister's friend's store Golden State...they are waiting for me to send more, but I haven't gotten around to actually finishing anything lately. I am going to visit my sister over Labor Day weekend so I'm hoping to have a stockpile of burp cloths, baby sundresses and possibly some tote bags/purses made up to bring with. I'm super excited to be going on our first family vacation - I've missed the Island so much!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Painting

Pics of the Master Bedroom Before and After:











We were able to finish painting last weekend, thanks largely due to my family helping out (my dad and both of my brothers were able to help two days and my mom helped out by whisking the baby off to have fun) - it was a lot of hard work and I have to admit that after the first day, it was no longer fun and we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.


But now that it's finished I think it looks so nice and it's made the home more "Ours". We've been making trips over to the house every night with some boxes and spending what seems like countless hours at Home Depot every other day.
Tomorrow we're having the upstairs carpeting cleaned, and hopefully it will get rid of the animal smell (having new carpet installed was too great an expense at this point). My new washer/dryer and living room set are also being delivered tomorrow. I can't wait to see them!

This Saturday is our official move-in date and we'll be up early picking up our truck to move all of our furniture and larger items. I can't wait to have my dining room table back (it's been sitting in my mother-in-law's basement for the past year as we had no room for it in this apartment) - it will be so nice to be able to sit down and eat as a family in one spot. And I just can't wait to be living in our new home.

Elliott's friend who is a carpenter is going to come out on Sunday to look at the backyard and give us an estimate on the deck, so I'm hoping our tax credit arrives soon so we can actually afford to put the deck on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The House

We close tomorrow on our new house! I'm so excited, I'm sure it will be hard to sleep tonight. We did our final walk-through last night and were a little disappointed in the shape of things - honestly when a house is full of furniture, it covers a lot of "blemishes"...so we have a lot of work to do! We're very fortunate that we have almost three weeks before we have to be out of our apartment so we can allow time to work on the house before we move everything over.

We're painting the master bedroom and the kitchen/dining room/family room on Friday (with the help of a couple of friends) and picked out the paint tonight (which was only about a 1 1/2 hour trip to Home Depot with our very impatient and curious toddler - fun!). We also bought a washer and dryer (as the previous owners took theirs with) - we picked out something large (so to be able to wash king size bedding and such) yet affordable. I can't wait to finally have a washing machine that can hold more than four towels at a time and a dryer that doesn't need two cycles to get the job done.

We have Empire and Luna both coming out to the house tomorrow for in-home estimates; unfortunately even though the previous owner's cat is now gone, the smell is not! Since only the upstairs is carpeted, we figure it won't be too big an expense, and we didn't want to shell out an arm-and-a-leg to have the carpets cleaned when there is no guarantee that it would help the smell.

I bought some fun polka-dot wall decals for Addie (I also have her wooden block letters that I never hung at the apartment) so I hope those arrive sometime this weekend so we can decorate her room. It will be so wonderful for her to have her own room...and I can't wait to get her sleeping in her crib again.

So, I'll try and post pics of this weekends efforts later, as I'm sure there will be some huliarity involved (seeing as me nor Elliott have ever really decorated a house before).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Check Out My Etsy Store

Well, I did it. Last night, I posted six sets of items to my Etsy store (exactly one week after I made a goal of posting items before the end of July). I have more stuff currently in the works and will hopefully be adding more items in the next week or so (unfortunately, we are moving, so packing will take up a good deal of my time I'm sure).

I got my new business cards yesterday from Vista Print and they are too too cute! I think I'm going to make some homemade "happy new baby" cards that I can also sell in my Etsy store (for an additional couple bucks) when people buy a burp cloth or burp cloth & bib set. I'm really excited to get this venture going and am hoping that it does well!

www.whitneyellen77.etsy.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

Burp Cloths Galore


So, I started cutting fabric and sewing today while my darling daughter was taking her nap and am working again now that she's asleep for the night. After much trial and error, I'm finally creating a good enough product to sell, in my opinion, and I'm very excited! I promised myself that I would have at least five separate items for sale in my Etsy store by the end of July, and I think I will be able to have this goal accomplished by the end of June.


I have finished three of the best burp cloths I have ever sewn today and can't wait to post them in my Etsy store - but I am going to wait until I have more of them done so I can have more than one listing in my store. I am also working on smaller baby bibs (than the ones I had originally sewn and posted pics of) in the matching fabrics - I want to create little gift sets (2 burp cloths, 1 burp cloth & matching bib, 2 bibs, etc, etc, etc) that will be perfect for baby shower gifts or just new moms in general in fabrics that aren't typically "baby" fabrics.

So, tomorrow during my "Alone" time, I plan on returning to the fabric store to get a Snaps Plier, as I'm really tired of sewing on snaps to the bibs and want to just be able to pop them on with this handy gadget. I also am running to Old Navy to get some $2 ribbed tank tops (seriously, one of my favorite products that they carry)!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 Goals

So back in January I believe, I posted a list of goals that I want to achieve in 2009...here's the list:

Keep up my daily blog
Devote some time each week (or possibly day) to my crafts
Start up my own business so that I can make money doing something I love!!!
Buy our first home
Spend more alone time with my husband
Get pregnant (this can only happen once the above two goals have been accomplished)!!
Take a cake decorating class
Go back to school for a medical billing or coding certificate
Get more organized
Exercise more, make healthier meals
Be the best person (mom, wife, friend, fellow human being) I can possibly be in all arenas of my life!!!

Looking over this list, I haven't really accomplished much YET! I've highlighted in yellow the things that I have completed. I have definitely kept up with sewing/crafting, and generally work on it at least one day a week, if not more.

I am a lot more organized than I was at the beginning of the year, I was actually able to get Addie on a normal routine everyday and have pretty much kept up with it! Yay me!

And we are in the process of buying our first home - we close July 2nd and man, is it coming up soon! I can't wait! I already find myself making a large laundry list of all the things I'll want to buy for said new home.

So, here's an updated goals list:

  • Write in my blog at least twice a week (I'm finding that trying to write daily is just not happening)
  • Not to run my family into debt buying new home purchases (this will take tremendous willpower on both mine and my husbands part)!!
  • Read more (I'd like to make a goal of reading at least one book a week)
  • Get more time alone (my husband and I are currently taking turns every Saturday for a few hours with the baby, to ensure that each of us is getting time alone to do the things we want to)
  • Open up my Etsy store with at least 5 items for sale by the end of July (I just bought a handful of fabrics in which to start up an inventory, now I just need to sit down and sew!!!)
  • Start a Garden
  • Take a cake decorating class
  • Exercise more, eat healthier (this still stands and is even more important now that I'm not breastfeeding as much and thus burning less calories every day).
  • Get pregnant (probably sometime after the new year, as I feel that I've finally adjusted to being a stay-at-home mom and I want a little more time to just enjoy being Addie's mom)
  • Get a puppy (after we're settled, maybe around Christmastime)
  • Go on a family vacation to California

I think that about sums it up right now, I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1001 Books to Read

So my friend Robyn over at Craftivist posted a list of 1001 books to read. I'm not sure from where the list originated, but it has definitely inspired me to want to get back to reading. As I looked over the list, I only found about 50 titles that I had previously read (some for pure pleasure and others for school assignments - for those that don't know me, I majored in English in college). Shocking!


Reading has dropped off the radar for me since I've had my baby (except of course, for parenting articles) and looking over this list reminded me just how much I love reading and that I do miss it. So, my goal is to start reading the books on this list and see many I can actually get through. As long as my daughter is sleeping, I know I will have the privacy (and quiet), and I know that I spend several hours every night watching tv, so I must have the time!


I do find that for me watching tv is usually a backdrop to doing something else, and being a busy mom, I feel the need to always be multi-tasking. Now that it's summer and most of the tv shows are reruns or just stupid, I think it's a great time to do some relaxing with a book in hand. I'll keep you posted on how well it goes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Road-Tripping with the Heeters


We got back from our whirlwind of a roadtrip Friday evening and I'm still trying to recover I think. Here's the recap: My sister and her hubby and my nephew Tug (who is 3 months older than Addie) flew in Tuesday night from Cali, so we all met at my parent's house for dinner and of course, drinks. Wednesday morning, The Heeters, along with my hungover younger brother Jon (who for all intensive purposes was tricked into going to visit his Grandma while under the influence), came and picked up me and Addie and off we went. Our first stop, Robbinsdale, a suburb of Minneapolis, only a little over 400 miles away where my Grandma and Aunt (and most of my dad's relations) live.

Thankfully, they had rented a Kia Sorrento that was large enough to not only accommodate four adults, and two carseats, but also all of the luggage, toys, snacks, and accessories that travelling with toddlers entails. The first day went well, due largely in part to the portable DVD player and Muppet Show DVD's that put the kids in a hypnotic state for much of the ride. We got to Grandma's around 7:15 pm, had a late dinner, and then stayed up playing 5 card draw and shit on your neighbor with nickles after the kids fell asleep.

We left Minneapolis the following morning around 11:00 am and headed down south to Davenport, Iowa (again, over 400 miles away) to visit Tony's Grandma and Uncle. We made good time though (or maybe stopped less) and were there before dinnertime. We got a suite (so my poor brother didn't have to share a bed again with me & Addie), went swimming, and ordered a feast of pizza/pasta/salad/chicken and of course beers and just chilled in the hotel room. Liquor is key to keeping your sanity when travelling with two tired displaced toddlers!

The following morning we went to the Niabi zoo in Rock Island, IL, which was a really great small zoo and the kids had a blast! After the zoo, we went to a beautiful park in Davenport, that reminded me of a mini-Central Park - unfortunately, the kids didn't understand that they couldn't just run into the pond and go for a swim...Addie finally crapped out in my lap and got in a nice little thirty minute nap before we headed off to Famous Dave's with all of Tony's family for a delicious dinner!!! Afterwards, it was time to drive back to Chi-town, and honestly, I thought the shortest drive (probably like 2 and a half hours tops) would have been the easiest...but after no long naps that day and probably being tired of sitting the car, the kids were cracking (Addie in particular). About 40 minutes from home, she started to carry on and worked herself up so much that her face was puffy from all the crying and she was choking on all of her saliva - we had to pull over and try and calm her down. She was fine sitting with me but she wanted absolutely nothing more to do with her car seat...we ended up moving Tug's car seat up a row, and I sat in the way back with Addie to attempt to make her more comfortable, but she didn't stop crying or fall asleep until about fifteen minutes from my parent's house.

It was a great time though overall, it was nice for my Grandma and Aunt to finally meet both of the babies, and I loved spending all of the extra time with my sister and her family. I've always loved roadtrips! It was nice to be off of work for three days too! hehe
Yesterday, after visiting one last time with my sister and her family, Elliott & I had an open house to attend. My friend's from college just bought their first home, so we spent a couple hours there last night eating, drinking, and chasing after Addie (to make sure she wasn't breaking any of their valuables)!!! Needless to say, I was extremely tired today and not really motivated to do much - I watched a Marathon of Crap Reality TV on MTV all afternoon and finally mustered up some energy to sew a new outfit for Addie when she & Elliott took a nap!

Here are some pics from our roadtrip!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Forever and a Day

So, it's been awhile since I've checked in...I keep making myself promises that blogging is something I need to make a committment to (at least twice a week) and then I keep breaking said promises. Things have been super busy lately, so that is my excuse (albeit a lame one)!
We will close on our duplex on July 2nd and I'm so excited! I cannot wait to have all the space and am just hoping that I will be able to keep up with all the extra cleaning having a bigger living space will entail (I must confess that cleaning is NOT one of my strong points, which my husband will attest to). But I think there comes a certain pride in owning something and wanting to keep it nice, so hopefully I will be more invested in my home than I have been in my apartments!

I've been busy sewing a sundress with matching bloomers and a hat for Addie - my mom spent two days with me giving me "lessons" and helping me piece together this outfit. I seem to have a natural talent for sewing, but am not so great at deciphering sewing lingo or following patterns. Pics below on the finished product (it seems a little long on her, so it might actually fit for two summers instead of one)...I also have more fabric to make another one, so will get started on that this week too. The more sewing skills I acquire, the more I become motivated to make it a career. And I'll have a spare room at the new house to use as a sewing/craft room, so I'm getting closer to being able to actually make that happen!






My sister & her family are coming into town on Tuesday, and me & Addie are going to join them on a mini-roadtrip up to Minnesota to visit my Grandma and Aunt (whom have never met either of our babies) and then on to Iowa to visit Tony's Grandma and Uncle, and I'm very excited to be able to spend more time with her while they're here. There are always so many people for them to see when they come in, that I feel like we never have enough time together, so this will be nice!








Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweet & Sassy Pork Tenderloin


Here is a recipe I tried out last week with the help of my grill master hubby!

We had never grilled pork tenderloin before and it took us a few minutes to decide how we would cut up the tenderloin (as when we opened the package, it was in two long "logs", and it had deceptively looked like one "log" in the plastic)...I simply cut the tenderloin "logs" in half and then cut them again lengthwise so that we had eight "filets" for Elliott to grill.

I brushed some olive oil on to the filets and seasoned with pepper, and Elliott grilled them!
I put together the sauce (minus the horseradish, which I didn't have on hand) and when he was done we simply poured it on top of each filet. It was delicious! Perfect combination of spicy and sweet! And the tenderloin was so juicy! This was such a great recipe, I wanted to share it, along with a pic, I served it with Herb & Butter Rice (am a huge fan of Knorr side dishes, as they're super easy to prepare) and sweet peas!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Can you find the hidden eggs?

Addie found her first egg!

Yum, Cheerios!!

Here's another one!



Daddy, can you hold these please?



A Whole Basket!!!

Mommy and me



Here are some pics from this morning...we hid a few eggs (in plain sight) and her basket and helped Addie to find them. I can't wait until Addie is a little older so that we can actually hide the eggs. Growing up, my parents always did some elaborate egg hunt, with puzzles and clues to help us find more eggs and in the end, our baskets. It was always fun, and slightly educational too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Looking for a house

So, we finally talked to the mortgage broker yesterday and got prequalified for a home loan! We're so excited! We were worried we weren't going to be offered as much as we wanted/needed because we only have my husband's income (and the raise that he was promised in March hasn't come through yet!), but we were! So, the next step will be to hook up with the realtor and start looking at houses. I've been looking at houses online now for the past year, so to actually be able to go and see them in person is going to be so much fun. We have three months to find the house of our dreams (before our lease is up), so hopefully, we'll be able to do it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Off to Winona!!

So, tomorrow morning we leave for Winona, Minnesota - it's our first road trip with Addie!! I'm excited and scared at the same time, she does like to sleep in the car sometimes, but other times is just miserable, so hopefully it will go well. The trip is only about four and a half hours, we plan to stop for lunch, and will allow enough time to stop here and there to let her out to run around if need be (and weather permitting). The good news is here in Chicago we are supposed to have a windy, rainy, snowy weekend, so we'll be missing that, and the snow is not intended to hit Winona until Monday, so hopefully we'll miss out on these crazy spring storms alltogether.

I'll write more later, the doodle has just awoken and I must go comfort her!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elephant Flannel & Terry Cloth Bib




Here's the newest bib I've finished. I'm giving it to an old girlfriend for her newest son's baptism this weekend. I'm planning on making her two burp cloths too (but probably out of a different material/fabric). I know it's not a religious gift, but I'm sure she'll be getting plenty of those from the other attendees, so I wanted to give her something that was functional and cute!


The elephant fabric is flannel, and I've backed it with a brown/greenish colored terry cloth (perfect for wiping up extra mess afterwards), and I just binded it with white binding...Not sure if I'll do another bib in this fashion, just depends on whether or not I can get better at sewing the binding on.










Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Won!!!

Whoo-hoo, I just won a Sprout Shell from Jamie's Precious Peas blog and I'm so excited! It's a really great product that covers your infant car seat and shields your baby from the elements and I would've loved to have had one with Adeline. I picked a gender neutral fabric, in case our second baby isn't another girl. But I just had to share because I love to win things (who doesn't?). Thanks so much to Jamie & Sprout Shell for the opportunity to win this awesome product!!



This is the third blog giveaway I've won since February (although one of the items I "forfeited" cuz I didn't get back to the blog owner in the specified timeframe), and I'm totally addicted to entering bloggy giveaways now. There are so many great products out there for children & babies that I would never had heard of had it not been for starting my blog and seeking out other blogs by moms...and to be able to win some of these products is just awesome!!! It takes about a half hour every day to go through all of the bloggy giveaways (that I frequent) and enter the giveaways I'm interested in, and I think it's well worth the time spent! So, I highly recommend checking it out, because you CAN actually win stuff!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baby Bib & Burp Cloth Set



























Ok, so I finished the burp cloth to go with the baby bib I made the other day to send to my friend who recently had a baby girl. There was definitely some trial and error, as in my tired state last night, I sewed the burp cloth pieces together backwards and had to completely unstitch it and start over...and there were a couple other minor boo-boos as well, but overall I think they're cute!! Not sure why a couple of the pics are not posting landscape...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pics of the Baby Bib

Ok, here are the pics of the baby bib I made yesterday. So, I need a little practice with my top-stitching, but other than that, I think it turned out really nice. The neck hole might need to be made a little smaller (as it looks huge on Addie) for any future bibs as well, but I love the soft flannel material, and the bib is reversible and can be worn on either side (the pics of the finished product on Addie are the proper color, it's a cream fabric which is hard to see in the first few pics I took). I can't wait to work up a couple of matching burp cloths, which I will post pics of as well. I plan on working on those today (since I'm not working, yah!!).
Before Top Stitching

The Reverse Side

After Top Stitching



Handsewn Snaps
The Finished Bib on My Baby Model Adeline (Whom I couldn't get to sit/stand still)



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Baby Bib

So, I went to JoAnn's the other day and picked up some really cute flannel prints to start working on some baby bibs and burp cloths and am really excited!!! I have started my first bib, made the template myself (using my daughter as a guide), just need to top stitch it and add the snaps and it's completed! It actually turned out really well for my first time, I think. I'll post the pictures of the finished project when I'm done.

I'm getting so inspired by all of you other crafty blogs out there, and everyday am finding other fun sewing projects I'd like to try! I really do enjoy sewing, and it's super easy once you get the hang of it. I would definitely like to sell these bibs and burp cloths once I figure out how to do them. I'm lucky because I've had a lot of friends give birth recently, so I have presents to make, which will give me some practice before I try to sell them. I'll post more later when I'm finished.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Natural Mommie Spring Giveaway Event!!

Natural Mommie is having a eco-chic & eco-friendly "Naturally Step Into Spring" event that begins March 21st! She's going to be holding a month's worth of eco-friendly daily giveaways.

I've become obsessed (for lack of a better word) with entering bloggy giveaways lately, and it's always a bonus when the giveaways are for green products or from companies that are environmentally conscious!

Visit her blog at http://naturalmommie.blogspot.com/ today for a chance at winning a $25 Starbucks card and continue to visit through April for other fabulous giveaways, can't wait to see what else she has to give away!!!

I absolutely love Starbucks, but since becoming a stay-at-home mom I've had to give up my expensive daily grande peppermint mocha habit, so winning a gift card to Starbucks would really be awesome.

Anyways, be sure to check out her blog at http://naturalmommie.blogspot.com/ and join in on the fun!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Neglected

Ok, so it's been awhile since I've last written. I decided that attempting to write every day was just too great a challenge for me, so I'm going to keep up with it when I can.

Just a few updates:

  • My baby girl Adeline is now one year old. I can't believe how quickly time has flown! She is the most amazing baby and is constantly changing and growing, it's so much fun to watch! She has learned to say "hi" and "bye bye" within the past month, and I'm waiting to hear what other fun words will be coming soon. She can identify "ears" on a person's face, and sometimes their nose or eyes. She's also recently started to shake her head "no" when we use the word, which just makes me laugh. Here are a few pics from her First Birthday Party, which was a blast!!

  • I just finished posting my first ever etsy handmade items to my etsy account, I'm selling two baby girl tag blankies. I had made a bunch of them (some boy and uni-sex too) but have recently had a few friends give birth so wanted to send them the blankies instead of selling them. I'm really excited, so I'll see how it all goes! I plan on working on more blankies soon and am hoping to branch out into other baby items like burp cloths, bibs, and possibly even diaper bags, changing pads, etc. to sell. My etsy store is whitneyellen77 - it's a work in progress, so it's a very basic looking site with no logo/etc yet...if the selling goes well, I'll look into revamping it.
  • My husband and I just recently paid off six credit card/medical/other bills and I'm looking forward to being debt free in the near future (we still have 3 more credit card bills to go, and am hoping to have those paid off within the next year). But right now, our current goal is to buy our first home this summer, and I'm getting so excited at the prospect of having much more space than our current two bedroom apartment (and being able to store all of our holiday, baby, etc. items properly) and be able to consider expanding our family! We've been working hard on fixing our credit and getting rid of old debt, so it's nice to see our hard work finally paying off (especially since we're living off of my husband's salary alone, with just a little supplemental income from me).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Addie's First Valentine's Day!!







 
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