Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sleeping Beauty


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My IKEA Hack

I'm really proud of myself...I hacked the Kura bed from IKEA. Of course, I use the word "hack" loosely...I didn't do any reconstruction - all I really did was cover the horrible blue panels with fabric. The results of that one little change turned this:

Into this:
I glued the fabric to the blue side of the panels before we put the bed together. My heart belongs to Fabri-tac. Best. glue. ever. If you are going to cover the panels on this bed, you have to trim *right next* to the edge because if not, you'll be able to see the frayed edges on the inside (white side) of the panels. Guess who learned this the hard way?

Of course the little curtain opens up to a secret "princess fort" for Sadie:
(notice it's not a fort, or a's a "princess fort," and the bed has now been christened her "castle")

The curtains are made out of this shower curtain from Target (incidentally, this is the same curtain she has in her bathroom...where we actually use it as *ahem* a shower curtain.):
I have a ton of leftover fabric from the bottom half of this little sewing project...any suggestions for its use?

Can I admit that I'm a more than a little sad to say goodbye to Sadie's crib/toddler bed? {sniff, sniff} Alas, it's time...she's getting big, and we needed the extra floorspace. Hopefully we'll need the crib/toddler bed again one day!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011


30 Before 30 - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

15 down, 15 to go! I'm officially at the 1/2 way mark! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! As a quick recap, here are the books I've read up until now in chronological order:

Wuthering Heights
The Count of Monte Cristo
Catcher in the Rye
Crime and Punishment
Where the Sidewalk Ends
To Kill a Mocking Bird
The Great Gatsby
Little Women
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Bible
A Clockwork Orange
Memoirs of a Geisha
Gone With the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I had to ditch the little step stool that has graced every photo since the first book...the books started falling over - that's a good sign, right? I'm 8 months in, and I have 15 months left, so I am WAY ahead of the curve. Looks like I might end up having to read War and Peace after all...I was really counting on running out of time at book #29.

Ok - onto the important stuff...let's talk about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. For those of you who have read it, I want you to know that I didn't plan to read it during Easter, but clearly God planned it that way.

If you don't know anything about the book, it closely lines up with the death and resurrection of Jesus except that it's a fantasy world and the Messianic figure is a lion named Aslan. In short, it is a fairy tale about sacrifice, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. It is really touching, which is especially amazing considering that it is written for children. I can't wait for Sadie to read it when she gets older!

Thank goodness I finally got to read a book where the protagonist was about stinking time.

Next Book: Jane Eyre

A very Happy Easter to you and yours!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Eggs!

It wouldn't be Easter without hard boiled eggs in unnatural colors! Oh wait...yes it would. Despite that, though, we LOVE dyeing Easter eggs!

Here are our cups - Sadie put the color tablets in so that each cup matched it's tablet...makes it easier that way.

1/2 cup of boiling water (per cup) + 1 teaspoon of vinegar (per cup) = one happy egg dyeing girl:

Her eggs turned out beautifully!

One day she'll thank me for stuff like this:

And of course, what good is an Easter egg if it doesn't contribute to commercialism in some way?

Beautiful :)

Happy Easter!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Got My Canvas(es)!

Do you remember when I got that super awesome Groupon deal from Canvas On Demand? Well...turns out my photo was too pixelated to come out well on the canvas, so they let me do two 8x10's instead of one 16x20. As it happens, I am just as content with two smaller canvases as I was with one big one!

I chose two of the new photos (instead of using the jumping on the bed one). The first one I put on the chest of drawers in our bedroom:

The second one I put on our writing desk in the kitchen:

Cute, right?! Canvas On Demand did such a great job with the photos, and they called and emailed me with questions and suggestions. Pretty awesome company - I will absolutely be ordering from them again.

Also, I think you should know that Apartment Therapy says that Christmas lights in the bedroom are becoming a big deal. Who's a trend setter? Who??


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

30 Before 30 - 1984

14 Down, 16 to go! I finished Nineteen Eighty-Four on the train this morning, and immediately started my next book so that I could shake the nausea away from the horrific way this one ended.

This book was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO depressing. And you know I don't use a dozen extra letters in a word unless I really mean it.

Last night, when I was reading before bed, I actually asked Eric to let me talk to him about the book. I needed to flesh out my ideas about it, and I desperately needed another human being around so that I could touch reality for a moment before diving back into the book.

Why is this book culturally significant? Well, for starters, it gave us these lovely notions (among others):

Thought Police
Thought Crime
Big Brother

1984 is George Orwell's version of what socialism would look like if socialism could be fully realized. Well, friends, imagine North Korea, but even more heinously awful for the humans that it claims to protect. No one is allowed to think for himself because he'll be caught by the "thought police," anyone who is caught thinking of anything forbidden (like *gasp* the government is corrupt) is sent to prison, to a forced labor camp, to a re-education facility, or just plain sentenced to death.

I'm not an advocate of suicide in real life, but in this hopeless, depressing, endless mind trap of a book, by the end of it I just wanted the poor protagonist (Winston) to kill himself and be done with a life that was absolutely not worth living for ANYONE, much less anyone who knew the truth about the "Party" and "Big Brother." There was nothing to hope for. Seriously, nothing. And no joy in life whatsoever.

But, alas, unfortunately for him, he didn't die. He was "re-educated" by indescribable torture, and the last four words of the book turned my stomach over in such a fashion that I can't decide whether I should whole-heartedly recommend that you read this book or whole-heartedly recommend that you never touch it.

Here's what I have to say about it: It is probably worth reading. It makes you think about things -- especially political and ethical things -- you had never considered before, and it makes you extremely aware. There is a reason why people reference the concepts in it so often. Bottom line: If you can stomach it, you should read it.

Next Book: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (you know...a book where I know the protagonist is going to win for a change)


Monday, April 18, 2011

30 Before 30 - Gone With the Wind

13 down, 17 to go!! How is it possible that I've read all of Gone With the Wind in two and a half weeks? It's the train, I tell ya. It's the darn train! Thirty minutes of reading into the city, and thirty minutes reading back out to the 'burbs...apparently it makes even Gone With the Wind a quick read.

Someone else is excited about my growing stack of books, too...

She put her arm across the books while I was trying to snap my usual photo, and I couldn't resist. I know it ruins the little book progression I had going, but I don't really care, because this is now officially my very favorite "30 Before 30" photo.

Is it weird that I get a little twinge of pride when I think about the fact that I've turned every single page in that stack? Yes? Ok...nevermind then.

Alright, here's where I give you a synopsis. I just can't, though. I'm don't have the energy to recap it all. Since you insist, however, here's a little info to make you feel like I'm not cheating you out of your usual spoiler:

Margaret Mitchell, the author, said that at the book's heart, it's really about survival. While I can't disagree with her (mostly because she wrote the book and if she said that it was about circus performers and time travel, who am I to dispute that?), in my opinion, the book spoke of a lot more than survival.

The moral of the story (to my mind) was this:

If you pine away your entire life hoping for what you deserve, you may very well get what you deserve. Trust me (and Scarlett), the one thing in the world that you absolutely don't want is what you "deserve."

The book was really amazing. Despite the fact that the protagonist doesn't "win" in the end, it was easy to see why this is a classic novel. I couldn't decide whether the narration of the book was overtly racist or overtly not-racist (is there a word for that?), but I loved the depiction of the Civil War, and I loved how much I could love Scarlett O'Hara while simultaneously thinking she was a wretched, self-centered little beast. I've never found history so interesting, embarrassingly.

Here's my gripe: Why in the WORLD does the protagonist always LOSE!? Just once, I want to see an optimistic end to a classic novel. I am so hesitant every time I pick up a book now because I know that if it's a classic, it probably doesn't end well. And by "well" I mean sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. Sometimes, I don't want to think about the philosophically right ending, I want to think about the happy ending. Like a Disney movie.

Clearly, that means that I don't have the intellectual wherewithal to appreciate good works of fiction, but in the sage words of Rhett Butler, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Next Book: 1984 by George Orwell


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mary Poppins!

Because of the extra hours and lack of family time over the last several weeks at work, my company graciously offered me a choice of things that my family and I could do together as a "thank you." I chose the Mary Poppins Broadway musical, because I figured when else would we get to do something like that??

We decided to take the train to the city even though it was a rainy day...what good is an adventure without a train ride?

Here's Sadie waiting on our train:

And the two of us waiting on the bench:

We walked to the Academy of Music downtown for the show. First of all, I've never seen Philadelphia so look so beautiful...even on a dreary, rainy, windy Saturday, the area surrounding the Academy of Music was breathtaking city scenery. And you know I'm no city girl.

The inside of the Academy of Music is absolutely stunning (and ostentatious in the style of the easy money-grows-on-trees era). We had been unable to find our seats on the Academy of Music seating plan online, so we figured we'd find them once we got there.

Where in the world was row DDD? Well, I'll tell you where in the world row DDD was...

This is Sadie staring into the orchestra pit which was RIGHT IN FRONT OF US:

Here's the orchestra:

Yes, friends, our seats were on the very first row of the Academy of Music, right in front of the stage (well, right in front of the orchestra pit which was right in front of the stage)...and guess who was in the very center seat? Sadie had, quite literally, the *BEST* seat in the house. I swear, she has no idea how fortunate she day maybe.

Here's the house:

And check out the chandelier:

And these gorgeous boxes:

We weren't allowed to take any photos during the show...if I could have, I'd have snapped a million. It was AMAZING!! Sadie is now in love with Mary Poppins (who wouldn't be? She's perfect and she sings while she does everything...oh...and she flies). She flew over our heads at the end of the show, and Eric could have reached up and pulled off her perfect little 19th century-style boot if he had the inclination.

Sadie (and Eric and I) clapped enthusiastically at the end of every scene...I'm convinced that the front row is the way to go. Maybe we could possibly afford it if we just do it once a year? Maybe? When you go, go all out...right?

Between Acts, we got a couple of pics:

Sadie was disappointed when we told her she needed to get up and stretch her legs...she wanted to know when the "movie" was starting again. Bless.

After the show, we walked to Max Brenner which will henceforth be known in my home as, "that mecca on 15th Street that appeals to the basest of human needs: chocolate" We are a chocolate-lovin' family, and this place is our earthly version of paradise.

If you've never heard of Max Brenner...educate yourself. We skipped dinner and all three of us got desserts instead:

It was worth every last calorie...

It was an incredible Saturday - I love my family!

...and when you come to Philly to visit me, we're going to Max Brenner.


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