Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Creativity 101

Having a baby opens a whole new world to "Do it yourself" projects.  Most of the time I just amuse myself with the thought of being inspired as it is nearly impossible to complete a project in the midst of diapers and feedings.  Projects that I can start up and then leave for another time are typically more of my speed, but that just guarantees that my "unfinished" area in my studio is going to explode.  SO, quick and easy is my motto these days.  Lately I have been eyeing some barettes in some of the DIY blogs. There is something so sweet about little felt barrettes in a baby's fine hair.  I found this easy fabric tutorial the other day and I have been on a mission to make one for every little girl that I know.  Yes, they are that easy! 
Click here for the Prudent Baby link
 And here is my finished product.  It probably takes about 20 minutes from start to finish - about the time that Julia can bounce in her jumper before she's had enough or the time of a quick "Julia style" nap. 

I just made some easy modifications.  I didn't cover the hair clip in the back.  There is really no need to do this.  And I love buttons, so I opted not to cover the buttons, I think it adds so much more to the finished piece.  The possibilities are endless with different fabric combinations. 

And now we wait for Julia's hair to grow...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


On New Years Day I committed to cooking one new recipe each week.  This in and of itself is a major accomplishment considering my mindset only a few months prior to this...Rewind to mid-June when I first brought Julia home - I vowed that it would be nothing short of a miracle if I ever stepped foot in the kitchen again.  What has changed?  Well, I didn't spend much time in the kitchen at all this summer, but something does shift and I have realized that cooking dinner helps Charles and I spend some intentional time together at the end of our long days.  I will also mention that it has been helpful to know that it's okay to leave my child in her "playstation" while I cook.  We listen to good music, Julia plays, we take some dancing breaks in between, and everyone is happy!  
Since this resoultion I have learned several things:
1) Risotto requires arborio rice, not just any rice in the pantry.  BUT, if you must make do, you can.
2) No matter how many times you make homemade bread, it always seems to turn out differently.
3) Charles doesn't like beans - who knew?  I thought he liked everything.  2 1/2 years of marriage later, I am finding this out.
4) The greatest success is finding a really good meal that tastes like you've prepared all day, but takes less than an hour.  The only time in life that I can justify spending the whole day in the kitchen is if I have a day with my grandmother and great-grandmother learning to make homemade pasta or something good and Polish.
5) Cooking for Julia has opened a whole new exciting world of creativity with food...
I know I've mentioned the Beaba before, but I have to talk about it again, I am in love with this food processor! I can't say that I crave pureed food, but I have been pretty darn excited about the things we have come up with in this simple contraption. All that is required is some simple chopping - I throw my fruits or vegetables in a basket, press steam and after 10 minutes I empty the basket and blend the foods. The other day I used some extra rice to make a rice/pear/banana combo - all of Julia's favorites. I add a little cinnamon because I adopt the philosophy that cinnamon makes all sweet things better and yes, it feels gourmet.
Here is my simple creation:

For about 30 cents each serving, I have a dish for Julia that I trust.  Savings aside, it is so satisfying to know exactly what Julia is eating. (and I don't mind stealing a few bites in between) :)

And in Julia world:
 Somehow she passed the eight month mark just a few days ago.  She is so busy right now that it is difficult to soak it in and savor the moments like I did when she was a newborn.  I would definately classify this time as "something-new-every-day".  About a week or 2 ago she started waving hello and good-bye to us.  It is the sweetest thing to walk in the door from work to her excited wave.  She's attempting to drink on her own, though she needs a great deal of help.  If it were up to her, she would choose a can or cup, but we'd like to have her master the sippy cup at this point.  When she sees us drink, she wants what we have and she doesn't seem to mind that most of it trickles down the front of her.  Julia is ALMOST on the move and we very quickly need to invest in some gates.  She's not to keen on crawling, but attempts to pull herself up with a little help.  She has always had such strong legs, so once she masters the art of getting up it won't be long until she is mobile.  Our days are filled with da-da-da-da-da's, some clapping, quite a bit of screaming (mad, sad and glad), and some good wholesome belly laughs. 
The simple things of life with a growing baby that make it so good!

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's a GIRL!

Not to dissapoint all 8 of my blog followers, but NO, we are not pregnant :)...not anytime soon.
One year ago we found out we were having a girl. 
Up to that point we just called her the "baby bug", but all of the sudden we had an identity for our child.  I felt very strongly that I did not want to find out the sex of the baby, but obviously I'm easily persuaded (and I married a lawyer).  It was such a thrilling time for us as Charles and I started to visualize our lives with a little girl.  (Little did Charles know, I was convinced that we were having a girl and I had already bought 3 dresses.)
Since that time I have realized that the whole realm of "GIRLness" is a little scary.  Immediately people would tell me "oh, she will be your little princess" or "watch out when she's a teenager".  While I am a sponge for input on how to raise a child, this didn't sound like settling advice.  Before she had even entered the world people wanted to tell her who she was.  Because of my work as a social worker, interest in child development, love for adolescents, and my own life experience, I am hypervigalent about making sure that she is her own person.   What a precious and daunting task - the gift of raising a girl today.  Maybe in the future I will enter the world of worries that come with parenting a boy, but for now, I have my work cut out for me!  The past 8 months have fostered some confidence that she's going to turn out okay.  Isn't that Parenting 101?  You do everything you can and in the end they will choose.  Honestly, I think it's a bit of that and much more of the fact that she is in the palm of God's hands.  She is His.  He has numbered the hairs on her head and has ordained each moment of her life.  I know there are days when the vigilence will need  to surface, but I think God gave us a feisty one here!
I can't deny that I'm secretly praying for her hair to grow just a bit longer so she can wear the felt barretts that I'm making her, but on most days she's wearing just as much blue as she does pink.  When she's sleeping I put my hands over her and just pray that the boldness in her will shine through as she grows to be a strong young woman. 
She can be a princess or a jet pilot, but for the time being it looks like she will be a cowgirl.  Her new boots from Mimi and Poppa say it all...
And in the world of creating, I have officially pulled together my first project (besides some random small things).  I have a minor obsession with burp cloths which probably stems from our first few months where we couldn't survive without one of these within a 12-inch radius.  This also ties in my love for personalized things.  I don't think there will be many projects that don't include some sort of letters or initials.  Oh how I love letters! 
I know, I'm such a dork. 
So very ironic, but in the midst of typing this blog I just found out that one of my best friends just had a baby GIRL -we were convinced it was a boy!
Yeah for baby Neufeld and congratulations for another beautiful and strong girl entering the world today!  Julia has a partner in crime!
(as of right now she doesn't have a name yet)...