Friday, December 9, 2011

What We've Been Up to Lately

I've been meaning to post a new entry for days as I've had lots to write about and wanted to be better about writing more one-subject type posts, but alas, by the end of the day, it just isn't always in me.  So instead, this entry shall be a hodgepodge of topics.  (With a zillion photos.)  First up....

Holiday Decorating

Last holiday season, I was newly pregnant, stressed over a few work assignments, and had about enough energy after work to throw on sweatpants, throw myself on the couch, and throw on the TV.  Our tree did not get decorated until Christmas Eve, and we ended up sending "Happy New Year's" cards as I couldn't get my act together in time for Christmas.  This year, perhaps in an effort to make up for last year, I am on holiday overdrive.  Maybe it's having a little boy to share the season with, perhaps it's that I have more time at home, or perhaps it's just the fact that Michael Buble churned out an awesome Christmas album, for which I'll use any excuse to listen.  Regardless, in record time, our house is decorated (as much as it will be this year), lights are on the outside of our house, our Christmas cards are out, and a few presents are even wrapped.  (Alas, my shopping is not anywhere near done.  Baby steps....)

Last weekend we trekked out to a tree farm in New Hartford (home of the first tree that James and I got together) to cut down this year's tree.  We thought we found the perfect, FAT tree....

(Someone was exhausted - and drooly - after the hunt....)

... Only to get home and find that while indeed it was a nice fat tree, it was also a bit ... short.

(And yes, that is our lovely mirrored wall in the background.)  Regardless, we're pretty happy with it.  Here's a look at a couple of my favorite ornaments.  Some old, and some new.  (Apologies for the poor lighting and iPhone photos.)

Sammy's chubby little handprint

In honor of James

New, from my parents! In honor of our honeymoon.

The abominable snowman will always hold a special place in my heart.

Starbucks red cups are among my favorite things during the holiday season.

Soldier ornament my grandmother gave to me / my family when I was born.  It's still one of my favorites to hang.

Not a tree ornament per se, but rather ... ornamented feet?

(Faux) Built-In Bookshelf Makeover

In my town, it is rare to find a home that does not have fabulous built-in bookshelves.  When house hunting a few years ago, I was always immediately drawn to the built-ins in all the houses we looked at, and our house was no exception.  

Upon further inspection (though not until we actually moved in), we realized that our built-ins weren't actually "built in".  Rather, the previous owner, who claimed to be a big DIY guy, had affixed a few pieces of wood and some crappy shelves to a wall.  And then, in need of a place to store his smallish TV, he actually cut further through one side of the bookshelves, thus cutting into the pantry that backs up to these shelves, and thus leaving us with two not-so-symmetrical shelves.  

Deconstructed bookshelf.  Notice the big hole on one side?  Oh, and why is only one shelf permanently attached?  Your guess is as good as mine....  
The bookshelves have been driving me crazy for the entire two+ years that we've occupied this house.  I've had a few thoughts of having them knocked down, but as handy as James is (slowly) becoming, it's just not a project that we can tackle right now.  So instead, I decided to paint the backs in an effort to somewhat mask all the things I dislike about the shelves (e.g. that hole, the metal rungs from which the shelves are hung, etc.).  I chose to paint the back and inside side of the shelves the same color as our living room walls - Sherwin Williams' "wheat penny".

And after being unoccupied for the past year or so, our shelves finally have ... stuff ... on them again!

I still need to figure out a better way to fill up the bottom left of the hole, the doors desperately need to be redone with new fixtures, and I'd like to add a bit of lighting to the top of each shelf, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out.  Rather ... it couldn't have looked much worse.  

Sammy Starts Solids!

I mentioned earlier that Sammy had his first solid - bananas - a couple weeks ago.  We have since moved on to avocado, sweet potato and applesauce.  

Sammy was not the biggest fan of avocado.  Which, considering that I didn't eat it until only a few years ago, I suppose I can understand.

 Love these ice cube trays, based on the recommendation from Smitten Kitchen.

 We were also a little unsure of sweet potato at first....

And yesterday I made my first homemade applesauce, also based on a recommendation from Smitten Kitchen.  It was super easy and super delicious.  (Coming from someone who previously was not a huge fan of applesauce.)

All it took was peeling four pounds of apples...

... chopping them up into larger pieces, covering with about a cup of water, tossing in a cinnamon stick and three lemon peels, and boiling until the apples were soft ...
The aroma coming out of the pot at this time was absolutely delicious smelling.
 ... and then pureeing and portioning out the sauce.

I actually loved this sauce so much that I saved myself a little portion!  However, after day one of applesauce, Sammy didn't appear to love it - nor did he appear to hate it.  I'm convinced that in another day or so though, he'll love it.

Regardless, I'm not too concerned about getting enough calories in this kid.


  1. The shelves look great--what an improvement! Love those little legs!

  2. Finally catching up on your blog...LOVE what you have done with the shelves!! They look awesome painted. What a good idea! Alos, love all the pictures of Sammy :)) Cant wait to see you guys at Christmas! xxoo