Monday, November 30, 2009

Decorating for Advent

Since yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, I have been changing the decorations in the house. We bought a wreath for the dining room table and put together the Advent wreath. I love walking through the dining room smelling fresh cut evergreens; I'm looking forward to Christmas so we can put up the tree and get even more piney goodness in the house.
Since I only decorate for Advent during the majority of December the mantle is a little sparse with just the Nativity and some pinecones. Because the wallpaper is red and the woodwork is dark, I have been feeling like the pinecones were getting a little lost and needed a little extra something. I had been contemplating glittering them, but I kinda hate glitter. The few things I have been given with it seem to spread to all the far corners of the house. I asked for some advice and suggestions on thenest yesterday and one woman admitted that glitter is "the herpes of the arts and crafts"! I thought was very well put. Some suggestions were spray paint, a clear coat after the glittering, or spray glitter. So today I set out for the hardware store. I feel like a bad Oregonian though. I drove all the way from Sunnyside to Woodstock to go to the Ace hardware store there. I also needed to pick up a few more picture rail hooks for Mr. W's birthday/Christmas present and Woodstock is where I found them before. Unfortunately they didn't have the right finish in the picture hooks or spray glitter. I decided to buy some gold spray paint and do that as a first coat on the pinecones and if I decide that isn't enough I can always add some glitter as a second coat. I stopped at two other stores on the way home, Powell Paint and the hardware store on Division, neither had spray glitter. That must be more of a craft item. I just desperately want to avoid the Depot. I can't think of any locally owned craft stores either.
So the pinecones have received their first coat of gold paint and are lining the porch railings. I'll post pics once they are dry enough to bring indoors and set on the mantle.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. What is better than a day dedicated to eating food? And to me nothing is better than pumpkin pie. It is my absolute favorite, I feel like I wait all year to get some pumpkin pie. I don't know if I ever ate pecan pie before I met Mr. W but it is his favorite for the holiday. So for the last few years I have been making one of each for us for the holiday.
After Mr. W and I started living in sin we took over hosting Thanksgiving for my grandma; she was ready to retire from big family dinners. Since Mr. W loves to cook fancy it works out really well for us because we can happily split up the work. The first couple years he was very ambitious and made turducken. In recent years he has become a devotee of the brine then barbeque method. That is what he did this year. The bird ends up looking really dark, but she's totally moist inside.
I can do pies and soups ahead of time to leave him mostly to himself the day of Thanksgiving so that I can set the table. I have always loved doing this; I'd set the table for my mom when I was growing up. I have been known to buy books about napkin folding, much to the enjoyment of my friends. What is better mocking material than nerdy napkin books?
Because we host around 15 people we have to set up an auxilary table in the entry because we don't have the space for everyone in our bungalow dining room.
I've been trying to perfect the layout over the last few years. Two tables is great because I can use two sets of my china.
We had two little ones this year so my cousin and I had a lot for which to be thankful. Next year the boys will have even more fun with each other. Since there are too many of us to easily fit around the table for cards, we are a big card playing family, we have played Pit the last two years after dinner to burn off turkey before we go back for pie. Pit is a lot of fun , if only our living room was a little bit bigger we'd have more room to elbow around for our stock trading!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Potty!

Before I was even pregnant I learned about Elimination Communication (EC) which is similar to the Diaper Free movement. The idea is that you learn from your child's non-verbal communication when he has to make an elimination and have them begin using a potty in infancy. One of the principles that I liked best is that it doesn't make sense to teach your child to eliminate when covered up with a diaper because then they are confused when you teach them 2-3 years later to eliminate when they are uncovered. It made sense and since I was going to be a homemaker and have "a lot of free time on my hands" I wanted to try it. I planned to supplement with cloth diapers. My friend cloth diapered her son and she laundered them herself even though she worked full time. I was much less ambitious and we used a diaper service (and still do.)
The EC worked well for a long time, I didn't catch everything, but I caught lots of pees and poops in the little potty. This worked up until the time our son was 9 months old. He really began to show his willfulness. He quit nursing, learned to pull himself up, and started fighting the diaper changes. He didn't want to be on his back anymore. He also didn't want me putting him on the potty anymore. So I backed off a lot and just struggled through diaper changes.
He still fights them. A lot. So about 2 months ago when he celebrated his 2nd birthday, I went out and bought toilet seats that have a lid, a potty seat, and a standard adult seat all in one. Mr. W installed one on each toilet and we put foot stools in each bathroom so he'd have leverage. I also started buying used Thomas the Tank Engine freight cars on ebay to bribe him. Mr. W calls this the Cars for Dumpers program. So far we haven't caught anything on the potty, so no rebates have been cashed in yet.
Maybe it is working though. The last two days he has asked to sit on the potty while I read him Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. Over and over again. He doesn't want to wear a diaper, he wants to wear his Big Boy pants, but he doesn't want to sit on the toilet to go potty, "No want to!" But now that he knows there are special seats built in for him, he thinks it is HIS potty and gets upset when we sit on the toilet to use it. "No Mommy! My potty!" and he tries to push me off the toilet.
It is an adventure. I wonder what is more difficult, potty training or the teenage years?

Friday, November 20, 2009


A big, fat negative. That is what the pregnancy test showed. It is depressing. We now move on to cycle #14. 14! FFS! I am not surprised since it took 18 cycles to conceive the littlest W, which included 3 rounds of clomid, a hysterosalpingogram, a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. So although we ideally wanted 3 years spacing for our children, we started earlier than a "normal" fertile woman would need to. And good thing since I am still not pregnant.
The polyps and endometriosis have not come back so who the eff knows what is prefenting me from getting pregnant this time. It is certainly not from lack of trying. I have done 4 rounds of clomid this time and all were unsuccessful. That is a s far as we will go. There is an open enrollment at the end of January at the adoption agency that we looked into when we were trying the first time. If we are not successful by then I think we are going to start that process. I always wanted to adopt in addition to delivering children. Anyway. I was really hoping I'd have something very good to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Hope is a real pain in the butt.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wall of curtains

Our bungalow bedroom doesn't have much wall space to accommodate a queen size bed so we were left with having to place it in front of the windows. This isn't really my first choice, but it is the only space where we could fit two nights stands and allow both of us to get in from our own side. I'm too old to have to crawl over him to get to my side of the bed! So in front of the windows it will be.
The windows take up most of the dormer wall but with the headboard blocking the windows I thought extending the curtains all the way to the corners and having a "wall of fabric" was the best solution. I didn't want to have separate curtains for each window because I thought it would look too busy. We have an open wrought iron headboard so we already have a lot of lines happening. I decided to treat the two windows as one window and have two curtain panels total.
I bought a plum colored raw silk at Daisy Kingdom before they closed and had been sitting on it for years before I finally undertook sewing my own curtains. Actually I started this project right away, but My seam between the silk and the lining wasn't straight and I had to rip it out which made me discouraged and I put it away for awhile. Fast forward 5 years...
The first thing I needed to do was get a curtain rod long enough to fit end to end. Since my lamps are brushed nickel I decided to go with Rejuvenation brushed nickel window hardware with mushroom finials. They provide nice detail without taking up too much space. The other big reason to choose Rejuvenation was because you can order the rods in custom lengths so there is no overlap and the curtains won't get caught up on the transition between the two sized rods. That drives me batty! I 'm so short and I hate having to fight with curtains. Since the bed would be in the way too I felt it was well worth the extra money.
Due to the length of the wall I would need 3 brackets to mount the curtain rod. However the top casing goes right up to the low dormer ceiling so I didn't have the option to mount it above. I could have mounted the brackets on the top casing but didn't want the center bracket to be off center. To remedy this we cut 1x8 flat stock to fill in the whole wall like one continuous top casing. Here is the after we installed the curtain rods. (I still need to caulk it so you can't see the seams.)Sewing the curtains was much easier than I thought it would be! I don't know why I waited so long!! All I had to sew was straight lines so it was a real confidence booster. I read about a designer lining her curtains with flannel because it helps them drape nicely as well as provides some insulating factor. Considering we have single pane windows and one sash is cracked I felt this would be a good idea. When I bought the fabric five years ago I also bought a cute ribbon trim which I planned to use on the center edge of each panel. Each panel is double wide to provide a luxurious wall of fabric when closed and the stack back is nice and full too.I wanted to do pinch pleats and my mom had recommended I by this self pleating tape. In theory it works great, but I made the mistake of scrunching it up before I hung them which I think was the wrong idea. Some of the strings stuck a bit, but if nothing else it creates a nice gathered effect at the top which works well enough for our bedroom.
Here they are hung in the room.And here they are open, we still get all the light from the windows because the stack back is completely to the side of the window. Only having two panels makes it look simple and not too fussy.

Friday, November 13, 2009


When I was living in NY I bought Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Mrs. Sharp's Traditions. This started my formulation of neat traditions I could do with my future children. It was in this book that I learned of Martinmas and lantern walks. Somehow though I have never gotten it together on November 11th; I am lucky if we remember to get the flag flying before mid-day. But not this year! No, this year I was determined to celebrate Martinmas. Since it fell on a Wednesday this year Mr. W didn't want to do a traditional roast duck. From various sources I have learned that while duck or goose was popular on the continent, pork or sausage was common in Ireland and England. So in Slow Food terms, the animals like pigs that wouldn't pull their weight through the winter and were difficult to preserve by salting were consumed first. Yum!
A few years ago I discovered persimmons which are in season in November. I found a great recipe for a persimmon, filbert and goat cheese salad in Bon Appetit magazine. So we started our Martinmas celebration with that.

Then our main course was a bountiful platter of sausages and mashed sweet potatoes with pecans and ye olde traditional marshmellows. I figured I ought to experiment now for Thanksgiving. In some countries, like Slovenia, wine is a big part of the Martinmas feast because this is when the new wine would be ready to drink. Mr. W found a nice Reisling to compliment our meal. We were pretty full afterward and there was a break in the Portland rain so we were able to go for a lantern walk. We used modern "lanterns" and had Daddy, Momma, and baby sized flashlights. We decided to go calling on our friends who live nearby. But both these couples are child free and wouldn't you know, people without kids can be out past 8 pm on a Wednesday night! So although we didn't get to drop in on anyone we had a nice evening walk to round out our first Martinmas.

Friday, November 6, 2009

All Souls Day

First, I wasn't able to fit in enough photos in my last post to show off the enchiladas and empanadas I made for Dia de los Muertos. We'd never bought cojita cheese before. It was good!
I was a few days late, but I did make it to two out of the four cemeteries to visit relatives. This is the cemetery where I have reserved a plot for myself and Mr. W. Now that my wedding is over and I only have a son all I can look forward to planning is a rehearsal dinner and my funeral. Knowing how hard it is to throw together a funeral in less than a week, I figure it is a good and kind idea for me to plan mine out in advance to spare my family.
Great grandpa, I was pretty young when he died so I remember very little of him.
Great Grandma. She was great for playing cards & dominos and telling stories. She also always had a cookie jar well stocked with chocolate covered graham crackers.
Aunt Naomi & her son Micky.
Grandma and her husband. I take after her not only in looks, but also in personality. She is the one who started me tea. she took hers neat too. I miss her alot.

Yesterday I got a wild hair up my butt to convert the crib into a toddler bed. It wasn't hard to do. As a result of this, there was no napping yesterday (and none today from what I can gather from the sound of the popper wheeling around the room while I type.) But bedtime was a piece of cake. He stayed in bed all night until he woke up in the morning. I have the crib rail handy so if this experiment fails we can switch back. But he sleeps on a mattress on the floor at his grammy's house so I figured he might stay in bed at home. Also since the terrible twos are rearing their bossy, willful head right now this will give him some aspect of his life over which he has control. And maybe having some control will allow him to lighten up in other areas. Like getting dressed without running around the upstairs like a crazy person.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Saints Day

In the spirit of reviving obscure Catholic feast days I have been visiting relatives at cemeteries for the last few years. This is my first attempt at creating a home display or altar. I didn't really do all the ofrendas like food, water, and treats which is traditional. (Sorry to my grandmas that I didn't offer packs of cigarettes.) I also couldn't find marigolds at Freddy's so I made due with orange chrysanthemums and some spent mums from our garden. After I put out some family photos I decided to include the saint statues that my grandma S gave me as gifts when I received sacraments. So here is La Madonna
This calaveras sculpture Mr. W and I bought on a trip to Nogales shortly after our wedding. This is my childhood best friend's dad
A photo I took of my dad the day of his mother's funeral
St. Therese, my great grandma Thelma and St. Joseph
The whole mantle display. A nice first attempt at a tribute, right? I also planned out a big feast. I made shredded chicken enchiladas with a verde sauce and cuban ground beef empanadas. Mr. W loves to cook so he made the ground beef filling while I made the dough & rolled out the empanadas. It is nice to be married and part of a team! Everything turned out yummy and even the littlest W enjoyed the meal.
Today I had planned to go out to some of the cemeteries to deliver flowers. It was a beautiful day to so it would have been perfect. But the littlest W took a very long nap and by the time he woke up it was too dark. Thanks a lot time change! Here is hoping that tomorrow won't be pouring down rain

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Decorations

Mr. W went out golfing and came home with his friend. I set the table for an impromptu fall dinner of chili
We are cleaning up outside since the weather is getting cooler. I brought the lanterns indoors and decided to use them for autumn decorations.
Our new entry table from The Joinery. This was our 5th wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. Happy Wood anniversary sweetie!