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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vintage Lamp Revamp

I'm baaaaaack! Wow, it's been a long time since I last blogged and I really have no excuse. Ok, I might have a small excuse. We sold our D.C. house back in August and while we looked for a new home, moved to the Virginia countryside with my parents. You would think that being away from the madness of the city and having my mom to help with the wee babe would prompt me to really ratchet up my craftiness but it's kind of had the opposite effect. It's not that I haven't been doing any projects, it's just that I've had zero interest in documenting them. It's been a long couple months with a lot going on. My parents bought an old farmhouse that needs loads of work and Mr. B and I have been getting our fill of stacking wood, clearing brush, painting walls, sanding floors and yard sales but the house is coming along day by day. Between the fixer upper and my not so little baby girl (she's already ONE!!!) keeping me oh so busy, I've found myself not wanting to blog. I guess I've felt in limbo, waiting to know where we are going to land before "taking on" anything new to write about. It's been a sweet time spent with family and I'm thankful for it but all good things must come to an end and it has, which can only mean one thing... WE FOUND A HOUSE! YAAAAAAY! A lovely four bedroom, 3.5 bath, open kitchen with a wall of windows and a great backyard HOUSE!

Ohhhhh, I am so excited! We've already closed on the property but don't take possession for another four days. I would say these are going to be the longest four days EVER, but, then again, I've experienced watching the clock tick for 12 anxious days past my due date. Four days are nothing. 

Having a new home on the horizon has gotten me out of my little funk and I've been excitedly lining up new post ideas. One of the HUGE advantages of living in the country again has been the steals on Craigslist and in thrift stores. You can find all kinds of goodies without the jacked up city prices. 

This brings us to today's post! A few weeks back, my mom and I were checking out a picker's warehouse (oh, the joy!) and I noticed a quirky lamp tucked back in a corner. It was dirty. It was rusty. It was patina-ed. It was perfect. The base has this gorgeous chartreuse glass globe with a nightlight in it and when the warehouse owner dared the cobwebs and plugged it in, both lights worked. I took it home for $20! (insert winky-face emoji)

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Favorite Health & Beauty Products

A few of my favorite health and beauty items:

  1. Conair Infinity Pro Spin: I've sung this tool's praises before and I'll do it again. It's the fastest way to get a salon blowout look without going to the salon. 
  2. CeraVe SA Renewing Lotion: This lotion will make your skin baby soft and packs a powerful punch for an over the counter lotion. I noticed results within 48 hours.  
  3. EOS Lip Balm: The first of two lip balms that made my list. I LOVE the flavors and the shape of this chapstick. I know it sound silly, but the shape makes it super easy to find in the bottom of your purse. Any of you ladies who struggle to find things in the "abyss" will thank me!                                                               
  4. L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow: This eyeshadow Does. Not. Smudge. Put it on in the morning and it's still working hard by dinner time. I love the soft, shimmery colors and inexpensive price! 
  5. Trader Joe's Lavender Sea Salt Scrub: Summer is hard on your skin but this is the perfect exfoliant to leave it smooth and moisturized. The fragrance is divine, as well!

  6. Mega Foods Blood Builders : These pretty much saved me during pregnancy. I was very anemic and I could take SIX of them a day, even on an empty stomach, and they never made me sick. I totally give them credit for boosting my energy levels and I still take two a day!
  7. Cala Silky Glide Pro Callus Remover: My feet have never felt smoother! Bonus, and this is totally gross, it has a plastic guard underneath to catch all the dead skin it files off! Prepare to be amazed at how much skin will come off your feet... omgosh that is so nasty.
  8. Turbie Twist (yes, really): I love being able to wrap my wet hair up securely and easily in this microfiber towel while I get dressed, do my makeup, or dress the babe.  
  9. Coola Peppermint +Vanilla Lip Gloss: The second lip balm to make my list, my lips have never felt so smooth! It's 100% natural, has UV protection, is organic and smells incredible. 
  10. Trader Joe's Speculoo's Cookie Butter: This has absolutely NOTHING to do with health or beauty but I just discovered it and decided that it needed to be on a list IMMEDIATELY!!! It ranks right up there with Nutella and if you put it on your pancakes, you will never be the same.
Hope you enjoyed my little list! Let me know if you try any of these out and what you think.


Mrs. B

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thai Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Yesterday, I posted a picture of my dinner on my Instagram account (Hey! Follow ME!!! ) and one of my friends requested that I blog the recipe, so here goes!

Dinner time was fast approaching and I was at a loss for ideas. So, I started digging around in my freezer and found some Trader Joe's pizza dough, ground beef and mangos. That was enough to give me an "Ah-ha" moment and a delicious dinner was born!


For the Pizza:

- Pizza Dough (I like TJ's!)
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used cheddar)
- 1/2 Cup Cilantro
- 1/2 Cup Scallions (add these after you cook)
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
- 1 Cup Chopped Mango (if frozen, thaw in hot water for 10 mins)
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots (I didn't have any but if I had, they would have been on there!)

For the Sauce (measurements are a guess, I just tossed things in until I got the right consistency and flavor, so feel free to change the amounts to suit you):

- 3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
- 1/4 Cup Sesame Oil
- 3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 2-3 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Fig Jam (or honey, or agave)
- A Pinch of Chopped Kaffir Lime Leaves (if you don't have these, don't stress)
- Sriracha to Taste
- Salt to Taste

Follow the crust directions, mix up the sauce ingredients, cook the burger in a little sesame oil, slap it all together and then comment below to let me know how you liked it!

Mr. B wanted me to tell you all "This is the best pizza he's ever had." Now, that's saying something!


Mrs. B

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sleep Training: Update

It's been a little over a month since my last sleep training post and I thought I'd let you all know how it's been going.

When I last left you, G had been doing pretty well with the CIO method but still waking up pretty early and then going back to sleep. Well, I am HAPPY to report that within a week of my last post, she began sleeping the WHOLE night through! She now goes to sleep between 7 and 8pm and wakes up around 7am! Every. Single. Night. We even went on vacation about three weeks in and she stayed with my parents. I was worried, to say the least, that being in another environment and away from us would throw her off schedule and we would be back to square one but nope, she never skipped a beat! My parents were amazed at how easy it was to put her to sleep and the four nights they spent with her were a breeze.

It's been so great to get uninterrupted sleep, again. I'm happier and feeling much more rested and G is benefitting from the long sleep stretches too.

I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding CIO and Dr. Ferber's method but I am 100% sold! She sleeps so well now, I wish I would have thought to implement it earlier. I know that every baby (and mom) is different and it's not the right solution for everyone but if you're tired of being tired, it's definitely worth trying!


Mrs. B

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sleep Training: Night 3

Ok, so, this will be my last nightly update on the sleep training progress. I realized yesterday that I didn't have a clear idea of how long I wanted to do the breakdowns of baby girl's progress and three posts is probably more than enough. I'll circle back in a couple weeks and let you all know how things turned out.

Sleep training: Night 3

  • 7:30pm: Lil Bug racked out a little earlier than usual but it made sense because we ran around all day and she had to catch her naps in the carseat between errands. (This is the ONLY time I am thankful for DC traffic)
  • 10:15pm: She woke up and fussed around, so I set the timer (10 minutes for night 3). She was back asleep on her own by about 7 minutes. 
  • 2:30am: I woke up and looked at the monitor. She was sitting cross-legged in the crib quietly examining her pacifiers... for some reason, I find this slightly creepy. Apparently, she found the right one, laid down and was back asleep in a few minutes. ***Side Note*** She has never been able to push herself into a seated position from lying down. Who knows what else she's been doing when she thinks no one is watching!
  • 5:35am: She wakes up and is ready for breakfast. Since I hadn't nursed for close to 10 hours, I was beyond ready to accommodate her, YOWZA!!! She eats for about 20 minutes and is ready for sleep again.
  • 8:00am: Happy baby girl, ready to start the day!
I should mention a couple things that I forgot to in my previous sleep training posts. First of all, Grace has been doing a form of CIO for quite awhile now, I just didn't realize it. I've been putting her down in her crib while she's still awake for months. Apparently, that's a huge part of the process and one that causes parents mucho grief. Ferber mentions that if you are already doing that, eliminating middle of the night wake ups will be relatively simple. If I'd have known just HOW simple, I would have started it a long time ago! The other thing, is that I would normally bring her to bed with us in the early morning, i.e. 4:00am and on. He says that this is a no-no as you want your little one to associate one place with sleep. This makes me kind of sad because I love cuddling with her but if it means a solid night's sleep, we'll figure out another way to get our cuddle time in!

I'm kind of astonished at how well this process is working, so far. I expected to have at least a few nights of the up and down crying bouts. So, if you have been thinking about trying the method but were hesitant because you weren't sure if you could handle it, I would say try it! Of course, not every child is going to respond the same way but you never know, you might be three nights away from 10 uninterrupted hours of sleep!!!


Mrs. B

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sleep Training: Night 2

Sleep training with the Ferber Method started two nights ago. You can read about night one HERE.

Here's my rundown of Night 2:

  • 4:00pm: Wake up from the second two hour nap of the day. Must be nice, huh?
  • 7:30pm: Start bedtime routine, bath, story, nurse, crib.
  • 8:15pm: Baby girl enters Land of Nod.
  • 9:00pm: I crawl into bed, still feeling the effects of the previous night's cryfest. 
  • 10:00pm: I look at monitor, sure she will be awake any minute.
  • 10:15pm: I look at monitor, sure she will be awake any minute.
  • 10:30pm - 11:45pm: I look at monitor, sure she will be awake any minute. 
  • 12:00am: I finally drift off, certain I will be rudely awakened the second I am in deep sleep.
  • 4:35am: I am not-so-rudely awakened by a small "mom, can you come get me, please?" cry.
Did you read that? 4:35am!!! She slept almost SEVEN hours straight!!!
  • 5:00am: Nursed, changed and back in her crib, she's asleep before I'm back in bed.
  • 7:30am: "GOOOOOD MORNING, Mommy!"
This is either beginner's luck or I have been putting myself through MONTHS of needless wakeups!

Stay tuned...


Mrs. B

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sleep Training: Night 1

G has always been a great sleeper. She started sleeping in her nursery at three weeks old, was sleeping six to eight hour stretches by four months and went down for her naps without much of a fight. I was pretty sure my baby was perfect.

I didn't really notice that her night wakings/feedings were increasing until about two months ago but I chalked it up to a growth spurt or some other temporary thing. It wasn't until a few weeks back that realized just how out of whack things had gotten. She'd go down around 8:00pm with no problem, maybe 10-15 minutes of squawking, tops, but then she would be up again somewhere around midnight, then 2:00am, and again around 5:00am, before she was finally up for the day around 7/8:00am. It was definitely a gradual regression because had I realized I was getting up three to four times a night consistently for two months I would have done something sooner! Here's the thing, when you're tired, your mind doesn't process the same and I am definitely TIRED these days!

I started researching different methods and reading what has worked for other moms. I reread a blog from my girlfriend in PA who went through the wringer with her little guy (she's hilarious, read about her experience HERE ). I kept coming back to the Ferber Method aka Cry it Out (CIO). I have to admit, like most loving moms, I was hesitant to try a method that seemed to encourage crying but I also trust my mommy friends who have used it with much success and sing its praises. A lot of the message boards warned about trying the method without reading the book and getting all the facts, which sounds like some solid advice so I ordered the book.

It was delivered yesterday and I dove in. One thing I appreciated immediately is the chart showing an infant's sleep cycle and when in it that cycle they typically wake up. The chart also shows you what chapters relate to your specific sleep issues! GENIUS. I suppose they knew that groggy mamas and daddies don't have the mental capacity to read through the chapter index like the rest of society. Our problem is not falling asleep initially but being able to return to sleep when she wakes up after a sleep cycle and also, a dependency on the boob for late night snacks. See chapters 4-6. Perfect! Here we go.

I began reading after I put her down for her evening nap (4:30ish) and immediately came across my first mistake. No naps after 4:00pm! I got her out of the crib and brought her down for some playtime. I fed her a BIG dinner since one of my concerns is that she's waking up hungry and not just out of habit. Then we did our nighttime routine, bath, story, nurse, crib. Dr. Ferber also suggests keeping your wee babe up a little later than normal to help them sack out hard. She was out like a light in 5 minutes. So far, so good. 

11:00pm: She fussed and cried for a bit but went back to sleep without me needing to go in and comfort her. Piece of cake. I even started to think she might just sleep through the night on her own. 

12:45am: It begins. She started really crying and was fully awake, so I went in to comfort her and begin the separation intervals (3, 5, & 10 minutes). She lasted until the 10 minute interval then drifted off. She is the perfect child, this is SO easy.

1:15am: What's that I hear? She's crying harder than before... screaming, if you will. No, baby go back to sleep! You are perfect, remember??? Start the intervals over. She falls back asleep by the 10 minute one, again. 

1:40am: And we're crying again. Is this going to work? She's starving to death! I need to hold her! I am the worst mother alive!! She's going to hate me. Why am I doing this to my sweet baby?? She's asleep by the 5 minute interval this time. Progress!

I had predetermined that I was going to feed her at 2:00am, unless, of course, she had already trained herself and was sleeping soundly.

2:05am: MOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY, I NEEEEEEEEEEEED YOOOOUUUU!!!! (Loose translation). I pick her up, nurse her for a shorter period of time than usual and put her back in the crib while still awake. 

2:25am: The child slumbers.

2:30am: The mother slumbers.

8:20am: I wake up and realize it's 8:20am (cue happy dance)

8:25am: I peek in to find baby girl starting to stir. She's happy to see me and we get up to start the day feeling relatively rested and dare I say, optimistic about tonight!

I put her down at 10:20am for her morning nap, it's 11:50am as I'm writing, and she's still out. 

The goal tonight is to increase the length of the intervals for checking on her and to delay nursing half an hour. I'll be writing again tomorrow with the results! 

Please say a prayer for my sanity, if you get a chance.


Mrs. B

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Cherry Blossoms

Turns out that having a baby means there's pretty much no time (read energy) to do awesome craft projects for blogging, hence, the lack of posts this year.  So, to at least get an entry in the books this spring, here's a bunch of photos from our trip down to the Tidal Basin to see the famed cherry blossoms! It was a stunning spring day and even though the crowds were annoying, it was worth it to take lil G down for the photo ops. Enjoy!

Getting ready for the big outing!

The Jefferson Memorial

Really enjoying the sites.
My fam!

Rosslyn Skyline

Grandma and Papa!

Pretty Flowers

Mrs. B

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots" Soufflé

A couple months back (yes, that's how long it's taken me to blog this) I was at a church dinner and happened upon an inconspicuous orange pudding/custard/souffle looking dish. I added a spoonful and continued down the buffet line. What happened next changed my life. Well, not really, but that got you interested, right?  I took a bite and was met with a sweet, slightly carrot-y, melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness. It was so good, I excused myself then and there and got another helping before anyone else discovered the unassuming orange ecstasy. The next thing I did was find out who made it and got the recipe.

Shout out to Mrs. J for sharing her family favorite with me so I could share it with you. See how that works? Sharing IS caring! Mrs. J simply called the dish "carrot souffle", that's nice but it doesn't quite convey how epic it tastes. I decided to re-name it something slightly less subtle: "The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots" souffle. That should do it.

The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Carrots Souffle 

1 lb carrots
1 stick melted butter
¾ Cup sugar
3 eggs well beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour 

Cook (boil until soft), drain, and mash (I use my food processor) carrots.

Go upstairs to change the baby, get a phone call, forget that you're boiling carrots, run downstairs to discover all the water has boiled out and you were thiiiiiiis close to burning them to death!!! DO NOT FOLLOW THIS STEP

Place in blender (or food processor). 
Pour melted butter on top and blend... I didn't melt my butter. 

Add eggs (room temperature), blend. 
Let the carrots cool enough so when you add the eggs they don't cook. 
Mix dry ingredients together and then add to carrot mix. Blend well and pour into glass casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. It may seem soft but if sides are dry and pull away from the dish, go ahead and remove from oven. It will continue to set up as it cools.

Technically, this is a side dish but I would not judge you in the slightest if I saw you with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it... Or if you were having it for breakfast.


Mrs. B

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hambone Soup

The holidays are over, now we sit here and stare at winter's ugly mug, hoping we don't lose our minds, until the buds start popping up. The short days and cold temps can really be a downer after you un-deck the halls. So, when you come down from your sugar cookie high, and need the epicurean equivalent of a warm sweater, it's time to make yourself a comfy, cozy pot of hambone soup.

Spiral sliced hams are a great buy. I like to separate the meat, use some of it for sandwiches or omelettes and freeze the rest in baggies, leaving behind the good ol' hambone.

The hambone is packed with deliciousness just begging to be set free and all you have to do to help it out is throw it in some water and let it boil (low boil) away for a couple hours.

The night before I started my soup, I soaked some dried chickpeas in water. You could use canned peas but I really noticed a difference in the texture with the dried. They held up to the soup and even had a bit of firmness to them in the leftover soup.

To go with the soup, I also whipped up a batch of Kitchenaid's Basic White Bread. It's an uber easy recipe and the bread is excellent.


You SO need to make this bread!

While my bread was rising, I got together my soup ingredients. In the biz, we call these bad boys the "aromatics". And by biz, I mean the cooking shows I like to pretend I'm on. In a large Dutch oven, saute the garlic, oregano and thyme in olive oil and butter. Be careful not to burn them.

Add in the sliced/chopped carrots, onion and celery.

After you let the aromatics saute for about 10 minutes (or until the carrots start to soften), pour in the hambone stock, bone and all.

Let your soup simmer on medium low for about an hour. The ham should really be falling apart by now. Pull out the hambone pieces and pick off any meat that's still hanging on and toss it back into the soup. Add in the chickpeas and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

I let everything simmer for on low for about another hour. While you wait, you can play with your adorable sous-chef.

Your bread should be fresh out of the oven and ready to sop up all that hammy goodness.

Exact measurements aren't really needed for this soup. A few carrots, a few stalks of celery, one onion, season to taste. Don't get hung up on being exact with the ingredients and if you want to throw in different beans or maybe butternut squash, go for it!

One last note before you dig in, make sure you take the time to spoon off the excess fat/oil that will be floating on top of the soup. If you don't it will be a greasy spoon... in a bad way


Mrs. B