Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So much to do....

Oh so little time...

You may or may not recall, I had a four day holiday weekend at the beginning of this month. I was agitated for most of it because I didn't have many projects to work on. After a trip to Jo Ann's I was restocked with ideas and sewing supplies. Since then, however, I just haven't had the time.

I started to work on making quilted crib bumpers. They look super easy, but because I'm quilting them, they are taking forever. Coupled with the fact that I am dead tired when I get home in the evening again, I haven't felt like sewing except on the weekends--while I'm trying to catch up on the cleaning I've been neglecting because, oh that's right, I'm exhausted in the evenings.

The other problem keeping me from getting crafty projects done is my ability to keep thinking of more projects I want to do. I started a list. These are in no particular order, but my plan is to prioritize the list and knock off the things that will be most useful.

Finish crib bumpers: not the most useful, but I would rather complete it than leave the pieces scattered about the apartment.
Froggie crib quilt: So I bought this super cute froggie fabric at a local quilt shop intending to whip out a cute simple quilt I could lay on the floor. The baby already has two crib quilts I made, but neither go with the "theme." Non-essential, but if you saw the fabric, you'd want a froggie crib quilt too.
"heirloom" blanket: We have a piece of fabric from our childhood we'd love to see turned into a crib size blanket. The more detail I take with this the better it will turn out, but the more time I take, the less I have for other ideas.
Hanging Wet Bag/ travel wet bag: This is an essential for my plans to cloth diaper. Ever since I discovered that Jo Anns now carries PUL in store, I figure I could make one or two of these to keep my initial cloth diapering expenses to a minimum. Shouldn't take too much effort, just time and yes, another Jo Ann's trip.
Paci holder: definitely non essential, but it's one of those frills that parents with frills seem to have in their diaper bag repertoire. Super easy project that will probably be a good use for scraps, but when time is of the essence, this project is not.
Travel changing pad: A receiving blanket would work just fine, but as above, those with frills can't live without this. I probably have most of the supplies laying around, just lacking the energy.
More wall storage (pails/shelves/pocket hanging): Storage is definitely at a premium around our converted dining room turned nursery. I'm thinking of either adding a craft shelf with pegs or create a new wall hanging filled with plenty of storage pockets (similar to the crib caddy). I'm thinking of hanging decoupaged pails from the shelf pegs. While storage is necessary, I'm not sure I'm gaining enough space justify the effort.
Bibs: We don't have many and this will be useful... probably higher on the priority list than some other ideas.
Burp cloths: I have made some already, but not sure just how many I'll need. Not exactly the most glamorous project.
Bib strap: Essentially, two mitten clasps on opposite ends of a wide ribbon. Turn napkins, burp cloths and washcloths into instant bibs. I'm waiting for notions to go on sale for this one.
Shopping cart cover: This has been on the list for a long time because I received a pattern for one with a package of patterns I bought long before we even knew Johnny was on his way. They look cute, but I'm not sure I'm germaphobic enough to remember to haul this to the grocery store with me each time. Also, Johnny probably not going to be riding in the shopping cart for several months yet.
Car seat cover: Essentially a fitted sheet/blanket that fits over a car seat with slots for the harness straps to go through. In the event of baby projectiles and bodily fluids coming into contact with the seat, this cover could easily be changed and washed. I think the car seat cushions are technically washable, but I think this would clean and dry a lot quicker.

In short, the next 8 weeks will go very quickly and the carpal tunnel will likely get worse before it gets any better. I'll post pictures if I ever get any of this done. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Reviews: Of Local Interest

Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Green
This nonfiction takes place in McIntosh County which is located roughly an hour south of Savannah. Prior to reading this book, my knowledge of the area consisted of a mostly empty outlet mall and a couple gas station off of I-95. We've stopped there twice maybe.
The story begins in the 1970's with a rather corrupt sheriff in a county where the good ole boys system was accepted as the norm. While the opening scene of a sheriff permitting the pillaging of a truck wreck at first seems justifiable given the poor economic environment, one soon learns of far more unjustifiable practices. Thurnell Alston becomes the "hero" to stand up to Sheriff Popell and his corruption, gradually bringing the long delayed civil rights movement to a coastal Georgia community. However, even heroes sometimes fall and the last fifty pages illustrate that Alston is merely mortal. Green does brings an Agee-like quality to her writing and does an excellent job of capturing her subjects through interviews with parties on all sides.

Grade: B

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
If I were a writer, I would want to write a book like that offered by Janisse Ray. She artistically weaves her experience as a child and her insight as an environmentalist to convey a tale of the environments impact on humanity and humanity's impact on the environment. Set in Appling County, Ray creates a patchwork of local history, genealogy, and personal reminiscence tied to the driving theme of the work; the impact of capital gain on the unique ecology of the long leaf pine forests. Her story is especially moving, because she rarely openly preaches in "Save the Pine Gopher" picket sign fashion. Instead, she gently guides the reader, building a bond of trust and acceptance. She then utilizes this trust to persuade readers to see the same value she sees in an ecosystem that is quickly disappearing. Granted, I did not grow up in Georgia and could not tell the difference between long leaf or slash pine. Still, the story reminds me of the old growth "black swamp" ecosystem of home, a story that is likely familiar to others in many parts of the nation.

Grade: A

Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community by Tom Kohler and Susan Earl

One the one hand, this book is short and easily read during a lunch break. On the down side, the story lacks the detail that would flush the story, leaving the reader wishing to know more about the central character, Waddie Welcome. Waddie grew up in Savannah and had CP. Through time, family members who had cared for him died or moved on, and Waddie was placed in a nursing home away from the community. Through the efforts of many active citizen volunteers, Waddie was able to live his final years among friends and family in Savannah. By pushing for more personalized care for Waddie, he was able to change the medicare system. It's an amazing story with excellent photo images. Yet, there is so much more the reader is left wondering about Waddie. Still, in just the few short pages of this book, the reader will be in tears by the end.

Grade: C+ StumbleUpon

Friday, July 9, 2010

Entering Week 30

As of the most recent check up, all is well and going according to plan. Yay. I need to get on the ball about finding a pediatrician. I was so grateful to get the "inside scoop" from the Nurse Practitioner. She was great: "this one's crazy, never heard of this one, this one's really earthy..." We really love her, she's so down to earth.

Yesterday, I was reminded that I work with the greatest bunch of people ever. We had a shower. Technically, it was for me and the baby... but I know we all love an excuse to have a get together with great food and conversation for once in awhile. We're a small staff, but we don't often see everyone during the day. I brought my world-famous fruit pizza, which was a hit (no leftovers to take home--easy peesy recipe below).
In addition to bibs and gift cards that will be put to good use we received some of the funniest and most charming gifts. A coworker got Johnny an AASU onsie--so he can be a pirate where ever fate takes us in the coming year. Imported from Canada, we received Rich approved hockey themed pee pee teepees. Everyone commented on how we're not sure they'll do the job, but we all had a good laugh. The flaming puck print makes them exceptionally adorable. The highlight gift was a "survival kit for new parents" featuring worry beads, a bottle of wine, pain reliever, no-doze and ear plugs. Also included was an emergency stash of chocolate (a 1 lb Hershey bar) inside a red box with a clear laminated window labeled "In case of emergency, break plastic.

Easy Peesy Fruit Pizza Recipe
(also decent recipe to get kids into the kitchen)
1 batch sugar cookie dough (for the quickest method, premade tube o'cookie dough from the refrigerated section is fine--I've used homemade in the past, but premade is the easiest for those "Stink, I forgot I was going to make something for tomorrow moments"). Cookie dough must be chilled for rolling out to work without being a sticky mess--hence I usually opt for the squishing into place method--opt for a little flour on your hands to decrease some of the stickyness. For pizza look, use a pizza pan--I usually just use a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan because it travels easier. Bake at 350 till slightly golden (somewhere in the 15-20 minute range). Let cool.

Frosting: Mix 1 box cream cheese (fat free, full fat, whatever suits you), 1/3 cup sugar and a splash of vanilla. Spread over cooled cookie crust. (I think some recipes call for cool whip too, but I don't find it a necessity. If it seems to thick, a splash of milk will thin it out just fine.)

Top: (This is the fun part). Top with an assortment of clean/sliced fruit and berries... (strawberries, halved grapes, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi, Mandarin oranges,....whatever's in season/ whatever you like). You could get artsy at this point and make some sort of design, but it all tastes the same. (Some people make a simple glaze at this point to make the desert more "tart-like" but I think it's A) more work and B) more sugar than you actually need.) Refrigerate until ready to serve. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Savannah Weather Report: When it Rains it Pours

Savannah has some of the strangest weather I've ever seen. It can cloud up quickly, the sky can turn black. You'll here thunder and see lightening. Yet, miraculously you won't get a drop of rain in your part of town. However, no more than 10 minutes away, it will have poured and taken out power lines. Several times Rich or I have experience storms at our work, while the other hasn't, or it's rained at the apartment, but not at work. It makes travel planning semi-complicated.

Anyway, that's the way things had been going for us lately. We seemed to be dodging tons of bad weather. However, it finally struck all at once yesterday. The day began in the early hours of the morning, when I woke with the worst headache ever. We were out of Tylenol, so I tried to tough it out. By 8:00 am I had hardly slept and could take no more. I ran to the nearest store and on the way home, decided to have some "morning sickness" while driving. Thank goodness for the grocery bag I'd just received with purchase. The car was unscathed but I could not say the same for my clothes.

The next adventure centered on Rich and involved a trip to the urgent care and emergency room. He'll survive and will make a full recovery, but this knocked out a about five hours of our afternoon/evening. Nothing super serious, but definitely something worth looking into, especially since my mind raced with multiple worse case scenarios that could have been bad for baby.

To complete our perfectly lovely day, my car battery died while we were at the urgent care. Upon escaping the Emergency Room, we had just enough sun light for Rich to jump the battery. It got us home, but it was a scary drive. Doug did not like getting up to speed on the express way and stuttered several times--I kept praying just to make it home. This morning, despite a jump, Doug was completely non-revivable. For Rich's day off he's handling this one, as I'm too jittery and sleep deprived to be much help.

Between Rich and I, we have doctor's appointments for the next two days. Hopefully the car will be fixed soon and the sun will come back out. That's the nice thing about storms in Savannah, they never last that long.

In other weather related news, weather during the holiday weekend was really pleasant for a change. The average high temperature was well below its customary 98 degrees. There was actually a breeze, resulting in low humidity. Roz and I walked to the neighborhood park/fishing pier twice. I even turned off the AC, opened the windows and aired out the apartment. It was so nice to be able to spend time outside. StumbleUpon