Sunday, February 24, 2013

Busy board!

Sophia's busy board is finally done!!  The idea originally came from pinterest, and they did theirs in cool construction yellow and black.  But, with a yellow room, I didn't think that would "go"(okay sisters, bio and bonus, here's where you can be proud of me...I didn't think something would "go"!!), so I opted for a deep pink (I know, shocker, right?!) that matched her bedspread with some blues and greens, also from the bedspread.  And, I think it came out pretty spiffy if I do say so myself.

So, for those of you playing along at home, here's what you'll need:
-Wood (Unless you want to just put all these do-dads straight on your wall.) I used a 1x12, cut it and joined it.  I didn't like how plywood looked.
-do-dads of your choosing.  I personally recommend the boing-oing-oing style doorstop and switches.
-Flat and phillips head screwdriver (to attach the do-dads)
-saw (if you're cutting wood)
-router (if you're joining wood, or want to put an edge on it.  Not really possible with plywood)
-Paint.  The sample sizes are amazing here.  They'll be more than you'll need, and you won't have a lot of leftover paint, and save monies.  Always a good thing.
-paint applicators

Step 1:  If you're joining wood, using a rabbit bit to make it look like it does above makes for a much stronger joint.

Step 2:  Glue the pieces together.  Truck tie-downs make for very nice extended clamps (the extra wood is there to protect what's underneath) and weights make very nice, well, weights to make sure your joint is nice and pressured.

 Step 3: Paint the board.  Really, should have done some hole-making first, but hey, live and learn, right?  You can't really see it here, but before I painted I ran it through the router to put a curved edge on it.  Something about hard corners on a small child's toy just didn't set well with me....

Step 4: See, these are the holes I should have made before painting. Whoops.  Anyway, the light switches have to be sunk in the board, so cut out a hole.  You can use a plunge router, chisel, drill and jigsaw, handy woodpecker, whatever suits your fancy.  Just, don't put it over a knot in the wood.  Trust me on this one.  It will make your job 20 times harder than it needs to be.

Step 5:  I decided stripes were necessary.  I just couldn't do that much pink in one place, and besides, stripes make it look so much better.  Trust me.  So, tape off your stripes.  I went for super-skinny stripes.

Step 6:  Paint the stripes!  See, green and blue skinny stripes.  

Step 7: Remove tape, admire stripes.  Doesn't that look good?

Step 8: Install light switches.  Stuff them down in their holes and screw 'em down.  I think I only used two screws per switch, since they a) weren't real and b) would be further held in place by the switch plate.  You can screw in all the extra screws that come on these switches (I guess they're for attaching wires or some practical thing like that).

Step 9:  Put on those switch plates!  Yes, I know they're two different colors.  I got the cheapest of both versions, sue me.  'sides, it gives it more  Yeah.  Sophia won't care, and neither do I.  So, pthbbbbb.

Step 10:  lay out all your do-dads to see how they fit.  A few notes here:  the colored pieces are doors, and will get knobbed (see in step 11).  Make sure your do-dads don't interfere with each other.  I ended up moving the chain lock and hotel lock because of where the chain would have been falling.  With the hook locks, get the non-pointy versions.  And pretty much, have fun!

Step 11: Oh, yeah.  You need to cut out a bit for the door knob.  Evidently there's sticky-outy stuff on the back of a standard door knob.  Who would have known?

Step 12:  Everything's attached!!

Step 13: Since I had light switch parts sticking out the back, I had to off-set the board from the wall.  I put up 1x2 boards to give it some room.

And, finished product!!  Perfect height for playing, barely out of reach from the crib, loads and loads of busy time just waiting to be had.

Yup, just right for pulling up!

Seriously, the boing-oing-oing door stop is worth its weight in gold as an entertainment item.  Not only does it entertain babies, it also entertains husbands!

And, voila!  A busy board.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Playing outside and other activities

I would like to start out by saying I love Saturdays.  I don't have to drive on Saturdays (well, a little bit, but well under an hour!!).  I get to hang out with Sophia all morning (though I wish she'd sleep in past 6:30!), and, we get to take two, sometimes three naps together.  I bring her to our bed, line up the pillows on the other side of her, snuggle up, and we sleep.  It's pretty much the best thing ever.  This Saturday, we played, experienced some solid food, played, napped, and, since it was nice, went outside.  Sophia isn't too sure what she thinks of this outside business.
Remodeling her floor.  The W evidently does not belong there.

Snack break!  It's a banana wheel.

Hmm....W or wheel.....

Taking a break from remodeling to stand.  Yes, the wheel is still in her left hand.  She's a traveling snacker.

She still does surprisingly well with hand-held foods.  I shared a bit of my taquito with her again today, and she sucked that thing down.  Last night, she ate almost an entire yuca from A&T's (seriously you guys, best place EVER!).  I'm going to try tonight to make similar-shaped things from potatoes.  I'll fill you in later.  However, approach her with anything on a spoon, and you can almost guarantee it's a no-go.  I did have her voluntarily open her mouth once.  And then she figured out there was food on the spoon.  I have tried giving her the spoon with food on it.  But my stubborn-headed, too-intelligent, takes-after-her-mom child took the spoon and then scraped off the food before putting it in her mouth!!!!  Seriously?!  Quit being so darn smart.  I am supposed to be able to outsmart you for at least a few more months.  This is not looking good.  I have started sending some spoon-able food to daycare again, with instructions that if she doesn't want it, don't force it.  And, so far, she hasn't really wanted it.  The flavor last week (and this week, more than likely) is a carrot and pear puree.
We have happy carrots!

I was telling bonus sister the first about this, and the reason for trying spoons again: fruits and veggies are good for you, and awfully hard to make finger-foodable with out also making them choke-able.  And then she had a brilliant idea:  put the fruits and veggies into BREAD!!  So friggin' smart!  After my test from hell (I don't really want to talk about that), you best believe I'm doing some baking.  

We played outside today, too.  Or, rather, tried to.  Sophia is very unsure about this whole "outside" nonsense.  The grass is awfully poky, it's very open,'s just weird, okay?!
She would stand and hold on to my legs

Holding on VERYTIGHT!

I did manage to persuade her to sit down to play with leaves and sticks and stuff.  She complied, but kept a hand on me.  In case I, you know, was planning on running off or something.

Very interesting pine needle here.  But, leaning up against mom just to be safe.  Those daylight boogie men can be veeeeery sneaky.

She'll like it eventually (I hope!).  Until then, we will have veryclosebonding outside excursions.  Or, excursions with her being held/being pushed in her nifty new jogging stroller.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Movin' and Groovin'

These past few days have been a lot of moving and playing for Sophia and a lot of studying for me.  Yup...stupid re-do of my exams from you-know-where are coming up in T-minus 10 days (eek!).  I'm finding it quite hard to study for this stupid thing, because 50% or more of my studying has zero impact on my for-real project.  So not fair!  So, I do what any good student would do: procrastinate.  Well, not really.  Sorta.  I have read sooooome papers.  And talked to committee members.  And edited my proposal.  But, I definitely have more reading and editing and reading and reading and reading to do.  Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot:  I should also read some papers.  Bah.  But, since I have an awesome kiddo, I can do some reading while she plays.  Ooooor, I can pretend to read and actually just watch her play, and read to her.  No, not my papers.  Her books.  Sheesh.
Hey, read this instead of that boring paper

Actually, books are for noms.  You read your papers instead.  They're bad for noms.

Sophia has also learned a HILARIOUS (to me, for now) new skill: the tongue-out raspberry.  I think the best use of this noise so far has been when I asked her if she wanted to go to Jordan, and she responded (completely by coincidence) with that noise.  I nearly died.  Disclaimer:  she really does love to see her daddy; she goes right to him when we get home.  But that was just too funny.


She is also getting better at remembering where her favorite, and sometimes forbidden, things are, and will see if she can sneak over there without me noticing.  She has yet to learn that not only am I a mom, but also a teacher.  That means I have 20/10 vision in the eyes in the back of my head, as well as night vision and infrared abilities, too.  Her current love is plastic.  The plastic bag type of plastic.  It makes a fun noise.  I'm cool with it making noise, no so cool with it going in her mouth and potentially blocking her airway.  I hear airways are important.

I know my wipes are back here somewhere.

Ah-ha!  Wipes! (in the white bag) (grainyness courtesy crappy zoom on phone camera)

There's more plastic back here, I can see it!

Soooo cloooose!

I've also started on her busy board (you're just gonna have to be patient and wait on the post).  Working on that is a very productive procrastinatory effort.  Yes, I just made up a word.

Here's the painters tape, mom!  I'll eat it for you.

On Friday, we had dinner with my mom-in-law for her 26th birthday for the....I'm not at liberty to tell you how many times she's been 26.  :o)  

Sophia was pushed by her cousin on a rolly-lion thing.  

She enjoyed it, as did cousin.

I've been leaving as soon as I'm done with my worms because a) it's generally time to go and b) to theoretically get more reading done at home.

Ready to go home?  I am!

You say I can drive?  Sweeeeet.

And, seriously, is this not the cutest sleepy face, ever?  I mean, other than your kids if you have them.  Maybe.  :o)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Photo thought bubbles

Or, me paying careful attention during class.  I was able to decide on Sophia's Valentine's present, but it's not getting made until this weekend.  Yay for no time.  We were able to do arts-and-crafts with her to make Valentines for family, but seeing as I'll have to mail some of them, it may be, oh, July before people get them.  I am officially the world's worst mailer.  Just ask my big rower:  I still haven't managed to get her Christmas present in the mail.  I keep reminding myself (at 8pm) that I NEED to mail that.  And then promptly forget in the morning.  le sigh.  Please don't hate me?  Maybe I'll get it in the mail this weekend....if I post about it, that means it has to happen, right?

Investigating the bathroom drawers.  Washcloths will no longer suffice, she's going for hair products.

Hey, 'bout I use some of this anti-frizz stuff on my hair?

I was trying to sneak out of bed to find you but then I fell back asleep.

Why, yes, my eyes are green!

How nice!  You put a toy on my foot!  Let me fix that problem.

No joke: when I get Sophia in the car, she has her socks off before I have finished buckling her in.  She loves (pulling off and eating) socks.  Same with shoes.  But, my little-footed girl still can't fit her super cute 3-6 month size shoes.  Mind, she's 8.5 months old at this point.  She may be walking barefoot for a while until she can fit shoes designed for walkers.  

Funny new skills:  As mentioned, we take baths jointly.  Sophia has decided that bath time is now open bar time.  Unrelated, she can blow raspberries with her tongue out.  She and I were exchanging "Pthbbbs" while I was changing her the other day.  Quite the amusing.  :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Coming up for a quick breath of air....

....before diving back into lab.  Because I thought it would be a great idea to run three lifespans.  At once.  Each one containing 4 strains of worms on two types of bacteria.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that equals 8 stacks of 8 plates with 15 worms per plate per life span.  Or, 960 worms per lifespan.  Each of which needs to be transferred every other day.  Except my wonderful mutants...they can last a whole 3 days!  They're my new favorites!
Stacks and stacks and stacks of plates.....

Sophia and I ran errands this past weekend: evidently the cats like to eat.  And, Priss has been chewing up Sophia's rubber-esq toys (pacifier that she doesn't use but chews on, snot sucker, etc), so I decided to get her a Kong-type toy so she'd leave the baby items alone.  My shopping helper likes to hold the littler things so she feels involved, so I let her hold the Kong I found (specifically for chewing, too!).  

This is great!  Can I have it?

I figure since it's baby approved, Priss will LOVE it.  :)  We also went to Home Depot where I got materials for a busy board I want to make (another Pinterest steal, and a post for another day).  However, there was a diaper that needed to be changed (not mine this time), so that's what we did first.  And, let me tell you, never expected to find my favoritest changing table ever in the bathroom of a hardware store.  But I did.  It had diaper bag hookers ON the changing table!!!

Best. Idea. EVER!

Pretty awesome if you ask me.  I will definitely be remembering this for future diaper-changing excursions.  Sophia has also been branching out in her food tastes, and has decided that anything I am eating, she needs RIGHT NOW!  When provided with said food (if it's safe/baby friendly), it immediately goes for a taste-test.  More often then not, she's liking what she tastes.  Which is pretty cool.  I didn't expect her to like this one, though.... your piece of summer sausage....(oh, the ways that statement could be taken incorrectly....)


That's right...the child that refuses baby food likes summer sausage.  Crazy little girl.  I also have less than 24 hours to decide what to make for her first valentines day.  I have some ideas, but it's the time factor that's got me worried at this point.  We'll see when she actually gets her present... :)  

Now, back to my worms.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

More food

Even though I may bash Pinterest for giving people inferiority complexes, I do like to steal ideas.  Especially food ideas.  And, luckily, I have yet to be disappointed.  Or just have good stealing skills.  One or the other. The latest dish I made was a take on Mongolian beef in the slow cooker.

The original recipe is as follows (from

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
1 1/2 pounds beef flank steak, cut into stir-fry sized strips
1/4 cup cornstarch 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3 medium green onions, chopped

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place cornstarch in a bowl. Coat each piece of steak in cornstarch and place in crock pot. Discard any remaining cornstarch. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over beef in crock pot. Cook in crockpot on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice, topped with additional sliced green onions.

Now, I wanted to use the plethora of venison I have in my chest freezer (seriously, about 70+ lbs of it).  And, this seemed like a wonderful platform for it.  So, as follows are my edits:
1) I used 2.5 lbs "venison steak" (the "" are because that's what the nice butcher man stamped on the paper...I think it might be from the ham?  It had a cut bone in it, if that helps anyone)
2) I used fake ginger and, the powdered form.  I thought we had real garlic, and we didn't.  And, I don't use ginger ever enough to warrant getting the real stuff.  Powdered stuff tasted fine to me!  I used about 2tbsp of each.
3) Since I used more meat, I used 1c each of the liquids.
4) Didn't have green onions, but had a yellow onion!  Ergo, used the yellow onion.
5) Why do you need the cornstarch?  I sure didn't use it.
6) Served over yellow rice....yum!

I would just like to say holy yumminess flying nocturnal echo-locating mammal man! (let me know when you get it....)  It came out sooooo very tender and yummy and juicy and flavorful and...yum!  If I didn't know what the origin of the meat in there was, I would never know it was venison.  This definitely gets filed under Pinterest win as well as being incorporated into our family cookbook.

In other food news, Sophia was hanging out with me this morning, and I made cinnamon sticks (they came with a frozen pizza, and we didn't eat them....they seemed to be a good breakfast food).  I had brought them into her room so she could play in the warm, baby-safe room and I could eat my breakfast.  She bee-lined it over to me and was fussing, so I picked her up, at which point, she dive-bombed my plate.  So, I let her have a corner of my cinnamon stick (no icing, I'm not that bad thank you very much!) to see what she'd do.

Corner of bread is in her hand

I think she'd eat her hand if it would help....

I think she liked it!