26 February 2010

Wut? I'm just playing. Stop looking.

I know I always post preshus, smiley photos of the little darling living in our house, but I can promise you - he can be naughty, and he's already sneaky about it.

As evidenced below.

Not. Fooling. Anyone. from Emily Mueller on Vimeo.

And PS: like capturing big foot on tape, that was. He knows to play nice and be sweet for cameras. Sneaky! Seriously! Oh we'll keep him anyway, what the heck.

25 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

One week, my pretties. Then it will be all the awesome bargain goodness that a mom (or mom-to-be) could ever hope for! If there happens to ever be one of these sales in your area, I highly recommend you check it out. The one in Overland Park is fantastic, but the others I've tried out aren't too shabby, either.

Edward Piiiillow!
Oh my gosh this pillow, it slays me. I get the giggles every time I see it. I am not sure if it is the pillow itself or how seriously that woman takes her modeling. Etsy never lets me down with giving me not only with the cool, but the bizarre.

This recipe is quick (score!), easy, and it’s super-duper delicious. The salmon is a simple preparation but it pairs well with the smashed potatoes and pearl onions, which are just WOW such great flavors going on with the caramelized onions and the lemon. A good one to file away and use some random Friday when you don’t know what to make…

Oh, I have been thinking about these cinnamon rolls lately. They trump any other cinnamon roll I have ever had anywhere, ever. Even my own (and I have a pretty good recipe). They are big and puffy and soft, with thick cinnamon layers and a not-too-sweet icing. Best served warm, with a pat of butter on top. Mmmmm. And arrrrrgh, I wish we had a Braums nearby.

Sixteen and Pregnant
If you are unaware, this is an MTV-produced documentary series following the lives of teenage girls who find themselves... wait for it... pregnant. I really do love this show, it is addicting in a “you are watching a trainwreck” kind of way, the girls are usually clueless and slightly bratty and, at best - their boyfriends are scared out of their ever-living minds. Some episodes are funny and some are sad, and some are downright heartbreaking – the first season’s finale followed a very rational, smart, and sweet teenage couple who gave up their baby for adoption.

At the end, when she gave birth, the nurses tried to get them hold or look at the baby, maybe say good bye, but they just hid their faces and sobbed that couldn’t do it and oh my gosh, maybe it was because Peter was like 6 weeks old when I saw it, but I have never cried like that in regards to a television show. Ever. So anyhoo, you should try to catch it. I know it’s on MTV, but it’s worth it.

21 February 2010

Weekly Update 02.21.10

Ammmmmm. I didn't take many pictures this week. I'm not even kidding, there are a few quick pictures of Peter eating pancakes Sunday morn, and that's all I have. Here, enjoy:

So: you're getting some vintage stuff this week, namely Photos From Two Weeks Ago That I Forgot To Give To You.

You're welcome in advance.

So! What was this week like? Well, a wee bit busy - during the week we had President's Day. Always a busy one ;) In all seriousness though - there was Ash Wednesday, and I had a cooking club in KC on Thursday, and I had cupcakes to make for a coworker's birthday on Friday (yum yums! Post of recipe soon to come...).

I had a ticket to a pre-screening of Shutter Island on Tuesday night, in KC, but with everything else going on I kinda felt like a Bad Mommy, not being home to see the babe for the few hours a night I get to spend with him before he heads off to bed, so I didn't go. Doots is kinda worth it, so no biggie ;)

Scott now has Fridays off of work, I will not tell you the words I uttered when I realized that my dear husband now has permanent 3-day weekends. Brat. There, that's printable. So anyhoo, Scott spent Friday running errands and also brewing a new beer.

Friday night we were supposed to meet old friends for a drink, but they were delayed by weather so we missed them. TOTAL BUMMER. We did find other friends of ours at Quintons, though. so all wasn't lost. We had a margarita with them, then headed home to spend the evening watching the Olympics. I think that was the first real night we sat down to do so, actually.

Saturday grandma and grandpa Mueller came for a visit. Peter was teething and kinda cranky, so that was a little sad. Next time he will be in better spirits, we promise! A good time was still had by all, we caught up and had a good visit, and we all went out for some Mongolian BBQ. Peter liked these steamed buns with bean paste inside, soooo. Well, yeah. Gross. They looked pretty though, like little peaches!

Sunday we were cooped up in the house due to the weather, which wasn't such a bad thing. We got caught up on cleaning and laundry and I worked on the basement office a bit more. Some day, my pets, I will post the Before and After shots. It is getting closer every weekend...

That's about it. Another busy week ahead, should go by quickly. Everybody stay warm and think sunny thoughts :)

C is for Cookie

It snowed. Like, all weekend. Man, what a winter for northeast Kansas, we usually never get this much... weather stuff.

Anyhoo, snow always means cookies, and cookies always mean Doots is a content little guy.

Cookie Monster from Emily Mueller on Vimeo.

PS: This video editing, there is a definite learning curve (like, HOURS OF LEARNING CURVE). My apologies now for the terrible editing butcher job. Next time, I'll get the cuttings and the music to somehow sorta match up. And won't unintentionally pop in 30 seconds of footage I was going to leave out because it was Totally Not Interesting (dudes, there was this awesome little portion where the cookies whipped around his head and he screamed and got all godzilla on them but I kinda accidentally left it out). Oh well, you get the general idea.

18 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Milton's Coffee (David’s Blend)
They serve up great coffee at our favorite little breakfast spot in Lawrence. Now this should also partially be a shout-out to Milton’s, period, as their food is just amazing. And while you have to wait an hour on the weekends to get a table, it is worth every minute. You check in at the host station to get your name on the list, and then weave your way through the throngs of people to the noisy, busy coffee station. Thick white ceramic cups keeping warm on top of the grinder, pots of several different blends on the counter, coffee accompaniments to your right. You get to enjoy some stellar coffee while you stand around waiting for a table.

They buy their coffee from the Thanksgiving Coffee Company out of California, a great little free trade roastery. David’s Blend is just my absolute favoritest coffee of all time, slightly nutty with a faint, barely-there hint of something else I can’t quite pinpoint (coconut? chocolate? er, something? obviously I missed my calling as a sommelier). It’s divine with some sugar and a generous splash of cream. I enjoy about half a dozen cups of this stuff in the time it takes to get seated and polish off a plate of Milton’s famous French toast. Sooooo goooood.

The Urban Thimble Onesies
I think we all know by now how much I enjoy the shopping for the clothes of the Young One. I can be a wee bit picky, too: I like urban hipster, I like classic, and I looooove quirky. So: check out this frog onesie. It’s bright and fun and I adore appliqués. Those googly eyes! I think meh babeh needs that.

The Weary Kind
I must preface this by saying I am not a fan of country music. It is just Not My Style. I know who Carrie Underwood is and I can sing the words to Friends in Low Places, but that’s about the extent of my county-music knowledge. It’s all just a bit too… plunky? twangy? for my tastes. Anyhoo. So we saw Crazy Heart this past weekend. The song that was created for the movie is The Weary Kind and while I am not a fan of country (AGAIN NOT A FAN) I have to admit this one has been running through my head and I *may* have even listened to it online a few times since. It’s just that it’s, well, very pretty; and not at all in a “my ex stole my dog and then trashed my pickup” kind of way. More of an old-school country, maybe. Me likey, at any rate.

Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams
Yum yums in our tum tums. Lately, after a long day, Peter and I snuggle into the club chair with a box of these little bunnies. And it doesn’t take us long to polish off a box. Aside from being organic and made with lots of whole grains and blah blah blah healthypants, they are also deliciously, deeply chocolate.

Decorating Obsessed Blog
Ashley happens to be hosting our cooking club tonight, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was - at least in part - attending this one in order to see her house in person, and take in all those awesome DIY projects. Well, that and I’m excited to sample all the dips we’re feasting on this evening. And see my girls. And the wine, let’s not forget the wine…

15 February 2010

Weekend Update 02.15.10

Here you go, only one day late (as promised). The week was pretty boring, so we’ll jump right into weekend news…

Saturday we headed to KC. We stopped by to drop off our (pathetic, dying) laptop with a friend, she graciously offered to have her husband take a look at it for us. I, ah, might have slammed the screen down on it a bit hard in a moment of frustration. Not my finest moment by a long shot, and Go Figure it was just my luck that the thing wouldn’t turn on after my little fit. Way to go, self. On a positive note: I feel like we are much more productive in the evenings, now that one of us isn’t glued to the laptop all evening.

While in town we did a few other things we’ve been meaning to do while in KC. We spent some of our Christmas gift cards. Then we hit up Babies R Us before heading back to Lawrence. As proof that even the most tight-fisted person on the planet (no deviating from the list!) is powerless to the charm of his or her own child: Scott took Peter for a long cruise down the walking-toy aisle, and after much consideration they settled on this beauty. No pictures of the boy using it yet, but rest assured: he absolutely loses his mind when he plays with this thing. Look! Walking! Walking! Look at me daddy I’m walking and flashy lights and squeeeeeeeeeeealy awesome times! It’s hysterical.

Saturday evening two dear friends of mine came over to watch the Doots so we could have a nice date night out. No fancy restaurant this time, no wrestling into pantyhose and breaking out the really-nice jewelry and, while having a great time, thinking afterwards about how whoa, we could have bought a whole heck of a lot of diapers with that money.

Nope, instead we went old school date night. It was just like slipping into a comfy old pair of jeans – first beers and a long dinner at Free State, where we got so involved in talking that we lost track of time and had to hurry to catch the movie, then settled into our seats a nice dark theater with popcorn and soda in hand(s). Aaaaaah. It was so, so nice. I missed it more than I realized.

So we saw Crazy Heart? The movie was good but it was the acting that really impressed me. Jeff Bridges deserves all the accolades he is getting for this role. The romantic angle was a little contrived - like, really? This pretty, pulled-together, professional woman is going to instantly fall head over heels for an alcoholic, bloated has-been of a country singer, who has crazy old-man eyebrows and wears grey polyester pants, and looks like he probably smells bad too? Yeah those love scenes were a little awkward. Otherwise, though, great movie.

Sunday we took it easy most of the day. We did some shopping, got new pillows for our bed – this is something we should have done, well, let’s just say a looooong time ago. Um, at least a year. We are total slackers. On the way home we picked up a heart-shaped pizza and giant cookie at Papa Murphy’s, then enjoyed our heart-themed Valentines Day dinner. Peter officially loves pizza. LOVES PIZZA. He had his usual puffs and mums before dinner (think: baby appetizer), and then packed away a huuuuge piece of pizza all by himself. And then polished off a chunk of cookie for dessert. And THEN he sucked down a full bottle of milk. It was pretty impressive. Um, and he’s getting kinda chunky. Which is awesome, because babies just aren’t cute unless they have a potbelly and at least one extra chin. In my humble opinion anyway.

Time for the Baby News portion of the post: our dear, sweet son has replaced his love of all things ceiling fan with a new obsession – when I’m baking something, he likes to mosey over to the oven and then just stand there, licking the oven door. Uh. Okay. He also likes to play with a spoon in the bath, and pretend to feed you spoonfuls of bathwater. Mmmmmmmm, great idea. Clearly he has mastered the whole eating concept. Clearly. Except OBVIOUSLY NEEDS MORE WORK.

We have another new.. thing. I think perhaps this came about because we all had the cold at the same time, and all were hacking our way around the house? At any rate: he has come to the conclusion that coughing is a form of communication. This weekend he would happily mix fake-coughs into his usual baby babble, and then expected us to respond by fake-coughing as well. Which we probably should stop doing in response, but it’s so deliciously funny to see him get so excited and hop up and down, then fake-cough back again…

And finally - he is trying to figure out this whole pointing thing. All weekend I would find him deep in concentration, and not concentrating on the pile of toys surrounding him, no – instead, he was staring at his hand and flexing his index finger into a point. Over and over. And over. And over again. Someday, he will get it. Until then, whatever keeps him quiet and out of trouble, I will gladly take it.

As a final PS – after putting the babe to bed on Sunday, Scott and I stole away to the basement office (rec room-ish area) with a bottle of wine, and exchanged gifts. Guess what: Scott got me a video camera for Valentines Day. Yesssss, fist pump! Oh, but you people are in for it shortly. In. For. It.


14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I hate it when people whine and complain about Valentine's Day being a contrived, greeting-card-manufactured holiday. Listen: it's a day to celebrate and honor the ones you love. Get over it. Enjoy yourself! Breakfasts in bed and candies and flowers and gifts, hurrah!

Blog post to be up tomorrow evening, promise. For now I am spending some quality time with the husbanator, a nice bottle of red wine, and a lot (A LOT) of chocolates.

Baby Peter got into the holiday spirit by beating his homemade valentine to death with a rose. He's going to make some woman a very happy lady some day.

Peace out.

11 February 2010

Things I Love Thursday

Um, have you ever watched this show? It is fairly new and was originally hyped as this X-Files-meets-Twilight-Zone sort of thing. While it was a little slow to start, in the current (second) season it has morphed into an awesome little show. I like that it has a continuing story arc and yet each episode holds its own, so you don’t feel lost if you miss an episode here or there. The characters are well fleshed out and the plots are interesting and slightly-creepy and there is this Observer who will randomly appear for a moment in every episode so you kinda keep your eyes peeled to catch that glimpse… Um, there have also been spottings of him at real-life sporting events. Creepy. And best of all this show hasn’t gotten all gummed up with stoooopid romatical storylines (well, at least not yet). And finally, but most importantly, Peter Bishop is nice eye candy. So yeah – check it out.

Blessed Nest Pillow
My Muzzy gave me this at my baby shower, it is the best baby pillow ever created. Seriously. It makes the Boppy seem like a rigid, hard piece of cardboard.

When Peter was tiny, we could fluff it so the buckwheat propped up one end over another for easier feedings, and it would mold around your body. We could use it in tight spaces like rigid chairs as well as on the couch. And because it is basically like a crescent-shaped bean bag, it molded around the baby well and created almost a “nest” that the baby nestled into. Still, it was rigid enough that you could pick up the baby in the “nest” and then set him down to sleep on the bed, in the bassinet, in his crib... Not once did that kid ever wake up after a feeding.

Nowadays we still use it a ton, even though Peter is too big to take naps on the thing. We use it to prop him up for our weakling arms while rocking him or feeding him, or just to give him something to curl into while reading a book before bed. I absolutely love that pillow. It may not be cheap, but it is worth every penny.

Kodak Digital Video Camera
Look! A nice video camera! I’ve wanted to buy one for months now! It is a good price, and it is compact, and it has great picture quality and is easy to use and sounds hardy from the reviewer comments, and I am not sure if you are aware but our child is growing up so quickly and we have yet to get any videos of him and it’s making me chew my nails to the quick just thinking about how we’ve missed so much already so Hint, my dear husband. HINT.

Vosges Chocolates
I know that I’m supposed to love the chocolates of KC's homeboy chocolatier Christopher Elbow but in truth: I don’t really. I do however adore Vosges. Vosges got their start by offering those “exotic” chocolate flavors to the mainstream public – for example with chilies and cinnamon, or bacon and sea salt, or curry powder. Soon an array of other chocolate boutiques followed suit. Vosges chocolates are to-die-for, but sadly they are hard to find in this area. I have a few spots where I can find their treats, however, so I tend to stock up when I visit them.

Shoe App!
Bergdorfs has a shoe app. No, really. And now I really want an iPhone.

09 February 2010

Mmm, Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another Snow Day last week - I busted butt to get deadlines done early so I could take some time on Friday to clean the (never-ending messy) house, and whattayaknow -the child was sick. So we were home anyway. Turns out we got lots of pretty snow as well, so that only means one thing in these parts: cookies. They are a Snow Day Tradition. This time, we went with the New York Times Dessert Cookbook for cookie inspiration.

We settled on the chocolate chip cookies; they are a standard and I had all the ingredients on hand. Also: I had these amazing chocolate bars given by dear Anne, a Trader Joes Chocolate Palette of heaven. I sacrificed a few bars to make these treats, as the recipe recommended the chocolate be 70% or higher.

This is a Serious Cookie - thick, hefty, and rich rich rich. I love me some chocolate chip cookies, and I had to stop at one (okay, two). Make sure you have a tall cold glass of milk handy to wash them down.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from the New York Times Dessert Cookbook)

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 lb. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease several baking sheets or line with parchment paper. In bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars for 4 minutes, scraping down sides after 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla extract and beat for one minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat for another minute.

Add flour, salt and baking soda to bowl and beat until combined, about 1 minute, scraping bowl once. Add chocolate and mix until combined.

Drop scant 1/4-cup amounts of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

07 February 2010

Weekend Update 02.07.10

Baby's been sick, then I got sick, and Scott's kinda sorta sick, too. So: this week you get another picture parade of the child. It's time to do an update on him, anyway. Kids! They grow before your very eyes! Who knew!

Later gators. On with the (picture) show.

Play play play. Such is the life of a 7-month old.

Thanks for the help with the laundry, dude. Dumping it on the floor (and then sucking on the towels) is precisely what was needed.

Watching dad baby proof. The seemingly endless task.

More play time.

He loves coooooookies. So: we've had some eating problems lately? He suddenly stopped eating, like, EVERYTHING that we tried to give him. Turns out he only wants grown-up foods. He even turns his nose up at soups and creamy casseroles, because they look suspiciously like baby food. We headed to the Merc and picked him up all kinds of yummy goodies for emergencies or when he eats dinner before we do (which happens about half the time; it's hard to get everything done by his dinnertime when I've got a baby attached to a hip and a dirty house to clean). He's stocked up on fruit chunks and Pirate Booty and fancy shmancy organic frozen goodies like raviolis and pierogies and fish. So don't feel too bad for the guy.

Not even in the Terrible Twos, and we're already pushing boundaries. He knows "no", and he definitely knows that applies to digging in the plant (and shoveling fistfuls of dirt in his mouth, BUT OH CASSEROLES GROSS NO WAY MAN GET IT AWAY FROM ME). So what he does now is get as close as possible to the plant without actually touching it, then sit there. Waiting. Goading me to tell him "no". Oooh, but it is such a fun power trip for him...

Pierogi Pete is still his best friend in the whole wide world, so at least something hasn't changed.

I would imagine kiddos do this to work on their balance skills? This weekend he wasn't happy just playing while standing up, no. He had to drop a toy and then leeeeeeeean down and pick it up. Then repeat. About 50 times.

Pirate Pirate Pirate Pirate. Apparently I was obsessed with pirates as well as robots before he was born, given the sheer volume of jolly roger apparel I bought then.

I am not sure what exactly is happening with the few wisps of hair he has, but dear son: I am sorry for what is going on with the top of your head. Because that is, like, some brutal old-man head there.

Bang out a tune on the ottoman, and he'll attempt to repeat it! It's like an non-electronic, non-flashing version of Simon.

I can keep him busy while I cook if I give him a pot lid and a wooden spoon to bang on it with. For now, anyway.

Yes, you are sad that Ugly Doll's mouth is torn off. Maybe you shouldn't have done that...

To quote my husband, "leave it to Peter to find the dirtiest square foot of our house, and decide to explore it".

That's it for this week, folks. Have a good one.

06 February 2010

Nursery: Before and After

It occurred to me that I have not shown the Before and After of Peter's room before now. Yikes, I suck. Let me get right on that.


Well, it wasn't bad really. Your typical upstairs of a Cape Cod style home (my cousin Joy used to have a Cape Cod and said the upstairs of her house was, like, identical). Lots of 70-year-old wood paneling. A really bad carpet-squares job on the floor. Some 1970s hardware on the storage doors. Those really bad roll-up blinds on all the windows.

We actually didn't do a ton to this room other than get it baby-ready. Scott loved the wood paneling, didn't want to part with it. So we scrubbed it down with Murphy's Oil Soap and I must admit - it was very shiny and pretty after that, didn't bother me as much. We also left the carpeting, at least for now. It's not the best carpeting job by any stretch, but we're not sure how we want to end up in here and being a kid room, it's just going to get ruined anyway.

I felt like the wood paneling narrowed down my options for a nursery a bit. Not a problem, really, I considered it more of a fun challenge. I thought I could go a few ways here: do the Ralph Lauren lodge kind of feel, although that's a little too grown-up for a baby. Or I could go really throw-back retro, but hmmm. I can't pull that off as well as some of my decorating-savvy peers.

I ended up going with a third option - modern. Lots of white furniture, a more Scandinavian feel to go with the wood and the dormers. Since we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, I went with a neutral orange palette in the room. We nicknamed the baby "robot" (as I am sure you are already aware), but I found that hard to use to decorate on a neutral theme.

Instead, I let the modern and woodsy feel take over and went with a bird theme. I found cute prints to frame off of Etsy. We bought a cheap rug at JCPenney, in a deep brown. The bed in the room got neutral almond-colored bedding. The hardware on the doors and cabinetry was switched out with brushed chrome in a more modern style. And the gross roll-up blinds were replaced with crisp Roman shades.

The crib bedding. I sewed it all myself; one last big project before I had a kid and no longer the free time to sew for fun. I decided on fabric from Joel Dewberry's Aviary line, in a nice neutral orange and brown color scheme. I sewed a baby quilt, the bumper, and pillows for the room. Then we just bought simple white sheets and crib skirting. It all worked out quite nicely!

The mobile: I grabbed a nice-looking branch from the yard, fallen from one of our many big ole trees back there. Then I sewed birds from a pattern, a whole slew of different colors, and used embroidery floss as "feet" to sew them to the branches. Scott used fishing line and some other fishing contraption to attach it to the ceiling so it would spin.

A close-up of the baby quilt. At the time I wasn't sure how much we'd use it, since you don't really put a kid to bed with a blanket, but man: we use it a ton. A TON. I love that thing.

We bought a dresser on sale and I switched out the boring white wood knobs for a polished chrome, then added a modern polished chrome lamp and vintage mirror I found at a flea market, then I took the extra material from the bedding and made a TON of pillows for the spare bed in the room. Voila!

Our uber-awesome Mission-style Dutalier glider and ottoman. Get TONS of use out of that puppy.

Peter's toy area. Lots of books, lots of toys. We keep more toys and some accessories of his (hats, shoes) in the fabric bins. The wall decal was another Etsy purchase.

And that's about it! These pictures were taken shortly before our baby made his appearance, so everything is nice and neat and totally not lived in yet. I need to take a few more recent pictures, but you get the general idea.

It's a great little room for a kid, and I can't wait to redecorate it when he gets older and needs a toddler room. Not like you're surprised, I'm sure. Nor will you be surprised that I hope Peter is up for a robot theme...