Sunday, January 31, 2010

Things We Do On Grass

I am a big fan of aesthetics. Which is why I'm always on the hunt for things that don't scream BABY LIVES HERE AND HAS TAKEN OVER THE HOUSE.  

Things in my world must be practical, but also fun and beautiful for both Mom and Baby. And I love companies that get that concept and have finally started to make things for the home that fit both needs. 

I got REALLY tired of the white, plasticy bottle drying rack that was sitting in our kitchen.  It LOOKED like a bottle drying rack and totally throws off any style I try to keep in the room. 

My favorite baby product company, Boon Inc. came out with a drying rack that fills my need to function and style. It's a grass drying rack. How cute, right? Sure, it was about $20, but it was worth the money and now I can look at my kitchen counter without cringing at the white plastic, double-decker drying rack. Come to think of it, my old drying rack was about $15, so paying $5 more to satisfy my need for some style is definitely worth it.

Quiche Off Into the Air

Normally, Kenny makes the weekend breakfasts. It's the same pretty much every Saturday and Sunday; eggs scrambled, toast and bacon. Gets a wee old after a while, so I agreed to take over breakfast duty. And I agreed to make quiche...for the first time.

I have no clue how to make a quiche- they seem like they are tough to make, especially since I usually only see them at Sunday brunches and baby showers. I figured they are best saved for Sunday brunches and baby showers. Years ago, my mom* gave me a fancy quiche pan and it's been collecting dust in the basement, so it's finally get a little attention.

I not really good at following rules, especially when it comes to cooking. I skimmed a few Quiche recipes and my eyes glazed over as soon as I saw that I had to weight my pie crust with beans first, followed by more complicated steps.

I'm not Southern, folks, I have no patience for willy-nilly cooking steps.

And I have two hours before Abby wakes from her nap.

I figure I can just do a smorgasbord of everything and as long as I'm not too far out of the ball park with measurements and ingredients, my food will keep us out of the emergency room.

I mixed up five eggs, a couple cups of half & half, some bacon and leftover prosciutto, a blend of cheeses, sauteed onions, spinach and garlic. Oh, and a pie crust I found leftover from the holidays.

In about an hour (I guess that's how long they take to cook), I'll let you know how it all plays out. Maybe I'll even put up a photo to show you too. Maybe I'll learn WHY it's important to follow a recipe for Quiche and why they are reserved for Sunday brunches and baby showers.

*My mom also bought me a Vidalia Chop Wizard a few years ago and I grinned when she gave it to me, but it's pretty awesome. No longer crying over chopping onions. That, and ever since I nearly sliced off my finger slicing limes when I was a bartender, I am a little "chop" shy.
Highly recommend if you need to do lots of chopping, but don't have time, patience or courage.

POST QUICHE WRAP UP: Quiche may sound fancy, but it's totally easy to make. It came out of the oven looking awesome and I got a four-fork approval from Kenny. So there you have it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best Songs of 2009

I'm surprised I'm even doing this. Previous years have been spent seeking out and compiling my favorite music of the year and this year, I thought FOR SURE, it wouldn't happen as I barely have time to change my clothes these days.

Before we get on with the list- know that I make very very limited copies of my Best of CD this year, but will continue to make copies on request for friends. As you can understand, I have to look over my shoulder every 10 seconds to make sure Abby isn't getting her head stuck in the kitty door-- finding time to burn a bunch of mixes ain't happening this year. Besides, most people are iPod people and could care less about a CD. If I had the skills (maybe next year), I'll post my Best of MP3s or something on an FTP site or something. Again, baby steps!

Oh, and this is just a list with maybe a few short quips- my writing skills and any musical descriptive writing got left in the delivery room back in March and I have yet to find it. Definitely a resolution for next year.

"Heartbreak Warfare"- John Mayer
Yes. I love John Mayer's music. I hate how his record label promotes him to be this frat boy/ girly firly kind of putz. He's talented and funny as hell. This song should have been the single. 

"The Great Defector"- Bell XI 
They play them on WXRT and they kind of sound like an Irish Talking Heads. The rest of the album is worth listening to as well.

"Lord Lord Help Me Just to Rock Rock On"- Mike Doughty
A song that just grooves and moves along and is mighty catchy. Beware when driving on highways if this song every comes on as it tends to give the need for speed.

"Bastards of Midnight"- The Damnwells
This is one of the best, most underrated bands on the planet as far as Kenny and I are concerned. Solid rock songs with clever favorite lyric in this song is "Trouble keeps the bar lights on...for a while". Anyway, PLEASE get and buy this record and catch up with The Damnwells if you haven't already. They thee best! You can do some good when you purchase a copy of their latest CD on their website- some of it goes to a good cause.

"Dance Anthem of the 80's"- Regina Spektor
I left Tori Amos a few years ago and picked up Regina. Figured I needed another girl on piano, but with lyrics I can actually interpret.

Seems this is a favorite for a lot of people this year- especially advertising companies. It really is a great album for sure. It's got a little 80's touch to it with the synth pop.

2009 introduced the "Traveling Wilburys" of the decade with Monsters of Folk, not to be confused with the Monsters of Cereal (Boo Berry and FrankenBerry would get upset by this). I'm trying NOT to call them a Supergroup, but that's pretty much what they are, right? The Monsters includes Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, M. Ward and Jim James of My Morning Jacket. And I'm not a huge Oberst fan, but this group kind of drowns out his shaky, nervous vocals that give me the willies.

I don't know much about Hockey, other than it appeared in our iTunes one day. Is "Rock-Disco" a genre? That's what I think when I hear this song.  

Who is Jack Penate and why is he touring with US Indie bands? While I like his dance-pop sounds, it doesn't seem this Brit belongs in an indie category. That's not a complaint, more of a fact.

Something happened to Paolo Nutini. His voice on his latest album, Sunny Side Up, sounds totally different than his 2006 release "These Streets". Both are great albums, but Sunny Side Up- he has a much folky, diverse sound. His vocals sound more like 52 than 22. I also really like the song "Candy", but "High Hopes" hit me with it's mild reaggae/sunshine influence.

I feel kind of proud to have followed Gomez's musical career since 1998. They've been consistently going strong with new albums and oddly, a jam-band following. I've never understood that. "Little Pieces" is their latest on their album, "A New Tide.

This band falls into that Rogue Wave, The Shins, Band of Horses category for me. Another great Sub-Pop band that's been around for a while, but I never bothered to listen to until now. Kicking myself for that. 

This song is actually two songs in one. Starts off kind of like a folk song and builds into another swinging song. Has that less distorted Gomez feel to it.

Beautiful sounds and harmonies...I'm not good at placing music into the proper category, but this song throws back a little to Crosby, Stills and Nash....if they were taking some stronger drugs...maybe?

Chicago's very own! File under The Shins, as usual. Just a beautiful CD, full of talent and light. Any song with whisteling and handclaps makes me happy.

I haven't been really into a Pearl Jam since, oh, say 1995? But this album, they made my list with this song. It's Eddie Vedder's version of "You're a Friend of Mine", "That's What Friends Are For"...but without Phillip Bailey or Elton John. And I may add in here, Eddie Vedder gets better and more classic with age.

"The Climb"- Miley Cyrus:
Me and my 8th grade Self just love this song. Don't really care if it sounds corny- this song has got everything- a little inspiration, ballady----I just love a good "Life Anthem". I just love it. It's greatlittle girls to listen and sing and still has a valuable message for us "grown ups" to boot.

"Sex on Fire"- Kings of Leon
For the first half of the year, I thought they were singing "Your STUFF is on Fire" and actually liked that better. This whole album is one great soundtrack to a one night stand. Not that I know what those are anymore. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best Baby Crap Worth Buying: Part I

It's been said so many times--- babies come with A LOT of gear.  And that gear has a bunch of funny names that make older sisters and grandmas scratch their heads and say "They didn't have ANY of this stuff when we had our babies..." and they follow it up in jest  "How did we ever survive?"

The last ten years, moms have been making rich coming up with really genius baby stuff that have made life a little easier for other moms and babes. I sit around all day thinking of things I could invent for baby, but it seems like they've all been taken. This is probably not true- there's still baby inventions to be made, but while I wait for that next big idea that will allow me to quit my day job, here are some of the baby inventions that make my life easier and I'm pretty sure I can't do without.

If you're a future mom and not sure what's worth registering for, here's what I've found pretty important. And for those of you having to go to Baby showers and you're not sure what to buy, this might offer some help/translation.

Boppy- I'm pretty sure this is what started the whole baby invention enterprise. Some mom was tired of propping her baby up on a soft pillow and decided to make a "U" shaped pillow that helps with nursing and keeping baby from falling over. I registered for one, ended up looking for two more after I had Abby so that I could have one in every room I fed her in. That way, I didn't have haul a boppy and a baby around from room to room. After baby is asleep, it makes a great laptop rest or headrest/pillow when TV watching. Totally worth every penny. Much jealously goes to the inventor of this one.

Bumbo- My only complaint about the Bumbo is that they don't make these for adults. I am strangely compelled to sit in it. Just looks so cushy and secure. I've heard people say this is a short lived baby item, but hey- it's outlasted our bassinet in terms of use. Abby is still too small for a high chair, so we use this for feeding. It's also been great when she wants to be upright, but I can't hold her, so she can sit in it while I get things ready. Like her breakfast.

Snugglenest- When I first saw ads about the Snugglenest, the baby bed you put IN your bed, I laughed. I thought it was going to be a little too close for comfort, but you know what? It's genius. It not only prevents you from rolling over on your newborn while you sleep, but it's a convenient bed to bring along on trips. When baby fusses, you can reach right over and put a hand on her to calm her down. No reaching down into a bassinet or a huge pack and play. Just easy, co-sleeping. It also comes with an LCD light on the top that plays a lullaby or that wooshing sound babies dig so much. I sometimes wish she still fit into it.

Travel Systems- Travel systems include an infant car seat that fits into a base in the car and also a compatible stroller. It eliminates the need to take baby out of the car seat, into a stroller. It all just snaps together for easy carrying. I'm dreading the day Abby outgrows this and I have to take her in and out of the car seat. They are expensive, but worth it. A great, appreciated gift to chip in on.

Rock a Bye Baby! Lullaby Collection- A really great gift for the music loving, expecting parents. Just when you thought Metallica was the farthest thing from helping you sleep; This company makes lullabies of songs from popular bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Beach Boys, The Pixies, Bob Marley, Nirvana and more. With the lights out, it's contagious.

Baby 411- When we first came home with Abby, I was naturally, exhausted. Wiped out and had no clue of what to expect as a new parent. I neglected to do a lot of research ahead of time and I was too tired to read up on anything. But I had Baby 411. I nicknamed this the Cliff Notes for Babies. Our friends tipped us off to this book, which has been a really quick, but super informative reference tool for anything baby in the first year. Much better, faster read than "What to Expect..." and gives you everything you need to know from the minute baby comes home to sleep, eating, health and development patterns. Even at 8 months old, I still refer to it at least once a week for info on my girl.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Seven Month Review

I know. I've been away. A terrible blogger. I'm not sure how many people even come here anymore and that's okay. I'll try to be better, with or without you. I'm considering coming out of my semi-retirement of blogging. Blogging seems so...2001, doesn't it? FaceBook seems to be the networking drug of choice.

Miss Abby is now 7 months old as of today and gets a little bigger each morning she wakes up. Speaking of, we had a rough few weeks of trying to get Abby to sleep. For an hour each night, we'd sit by her crib while she held our hand to fall asleep. Rather sweet, really. Except, when you are doing it for an hour, every other other hour, on work nights...well- it got a little tedious, so we had to call in Dr. Ferber. Felt bad giving the tough love, but I was desperate for sleep. Now she sleeps with fewer peeps and we're all happier and better rested for it.

Now, if I can just get Kenny to stop snoring and the cat to stop walking on my face at 3AM, my night life would run a lot smoother.

Oh, BTW--- I'm working on getting Betty Rocker back together in another blog. I'm not sure when it will happen, but it has an addition to it. It'll be called Betty Rocker and Baby (a title suggestion from my friend Brad). Music and Kids...since that's what I got going on, that's what it's going to be. Again, at some point- perhaps when there's more free time...IF there's more free time.

Monitor is showing red lines. The little lady is awake. Toodles.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby Babble

Taking a brief moment to let you know I'm still alive! We had Abigail Patricia (Abby Pat) on St. Patrick's Day.  The name is a coincidence. After about 12 hours of labor,  she gave us a big hello! She was born to the U2 Song "All I Want Is You", which was one of the songs on my 11 hour playlist. Fitting, given they are an Irish band. 

Not fitting, since neither Ken or I am Irish. Ken has a little Irish, but not me. Guess we're honorary Irish now, right?

While I don't like to talk about weight, she was 7lbs, 3oz and 20 inches long. I don't know why people care about that kind of thing, but they do, so I'm telling you now, in case you didn't already know. 

So much has changed. SO much. More than I thought would to be honest. Abby is a great, polite little girl. The first night, she gave us no sleep and I was freaking that this was the way it was going to be from now on- sleepless nights with a crying baby. But each night has been easier. Just trying to figure it all out and it seems to be working. 

I remember people telling me to sleep while I can and that I'd be lucky if I got a shower in that day. But I am sleeping okay (not great, but good) and I have made it a priority to shower every day. I figure if I can get a shower in, I accomplished something and it's already a good day. 

All the things I thought and said about babies has gone out the window. I know "get it". I see what people are talking about now. I was never a big fan of other people's babies, but I'm a big fan of my own. 

The biggest help of all has been my husband and my family who have been such a huge support. I am pretty sure I couldn't have survived all this without their patience, help, advice and love through all of this. I don't know how single parents do it, but I give them a lot of credit. 

I am stir crazy at home, but I'm learning to surrender to this housebound thing. It won't be long before I'm out and running around so I'm trying to enjoy this time with our new addition. 

As for the pets, they've been most respectful. Cats keep their distance and Bella keeps a watchful eye over Abby. I feel like I need to vacuum everyday to keep fur from sticking to her milky little face, but meh, gotta let things go until I'm healed. Cleaning can wait.

I'll try to keep posted as much as I can, if for anything to keep my brain afloat and active. In the meantime, I'm terribly behind in what's going on with music and other things outside my house walls, so tell me what you know and give suggestions!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part...

So, tomorrow is my "due date". Babies are rarely born on the day the doctor says they are, so I'm not counting on any event happening tomorrow. Instead, we're just kind of sitting here, waiting for something to "happen." I feel like a bit of a timebomb and I'm BORED as all bored can be sitting around waiting for us to get in the car and head to the hospital.

Part of me really wants to get this all over with. The biggest part of me, actually. But there's also a small part of me that, naturally, isn't ready to face the reality that we are gunna have a little human in our house. In our lives. Forever! 

Babies are born everyday and I know these aren't uncommon thoughts to have for sure. And sure, there's some comfort in knowing this is all very normal. Still- can't help feeling like it's a unique experience. 

We're waiting for you, Baby the lyrics of Mr. Petty..."The Waiting is the Hardest Part".