Monday, August 25, 2014

sofa ta-da! (reupholstery project)

Remember this old sofa I bought a few months ago? Well, the week before I had Louisa, my reupholster delivered it and I LOVE it! It's every thing I wanted. When I first saw this super 60's Lee sofa on Craigslist with its scratchy seafoam green fabric, I thought, "The shape is great and classic. All it needs is some TLC". It was only $100 so I went down and sat on it and decided to buy it! I knew Lee is a good quality company and because this was made in the USA a few decades ago, it was made with hardwood and the previous owner seems to have hardly used it at all (we think it had plastic on it). The cushions are in great shape, I loved the length, the shape was perfect (though I still want an English roll arm sofa someday) and I like the three cushions - nobody has to sit in the crack! I was scared because I knew that I would have it reupholstered and the cost isn't cheap, but the finished product is so worth it!
As I mentioned in my last post, I learned from experience (sad face) that white sofas just don't work for me (if you're able to make them work in your house with kids and/or pets, I salute you!). When we bought our last sofa from Ballard Designs, it was a white slipcover and I convinced myself that it was reasonable because I could just clean or bleach it! While that is true, I didn't take into account that I would have to wash it at least once a week to keep it looking nice (no thanks) and those slipcovers are a BEAST to get back on! It was also really uncomfortable and David and I both hated it so we decided to sell it on Craigslist before our move to Arizona. A week before we moved, William took a black Sharpie to one of the cushions and it was nearly impossible to get out! Someone recommended Lift Off 3, and it really did work great! I was able to get most of it out and sell it. Whew! Anyway, lesson learned. 

I have sworn up and down for years that I would NEVER buy a microfiber sofa. My experiences with it were in college apartments and overstuffed cheap quality. I knew it was easy to clean and very durable but I resisted. When I went on my search for fabric, I went down to Mesa Sales and spent a couple of hours looking through almost every kind of fabric there was. After talking to their special orders department about my options for fabric for someone with small kids (and adults who like to eat ice cream while watching a movie), they kept referring back to microfiber. I was so annoyed! Didn't they know it is soooo tacky?! Then, she said the words, "microvelvet" and I remembered one of my favorite rooms designed by Caitlin Creer with that awesome microvelvet sofa. When she showed me the dove gray swatch, I was sold. It is SO soft and looks like velvet. Yes, it still does that annoying mark that microfiber does, but I find that it doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I love the color. I love that it has already proven to be super easy to clean and I love how soft and comfortable this sofa is for 80% less than it would have been had I bought it new from Lee Industries. Definitely a big "ta-da"!

Friday, August 22, 2014

oatmeal buttermilk muffins (with endless mix-ins options)

These muffins are good stuff. They're a simple recipe and you can put just about anything in them. I love to put blueberries in mine but there are endless combinations. Dried apricots, walnuts, diced bananas, cinnamon and apples, dried cranberries - I did a few blueberry and a few dried cranberry with walnuts, but they're also delicious plain! They are great for a quick breakfast (just pop them in the refrigerator and then nuke them for about 10 seconds) or Sunday morning breakfast treat. I'm sure some of you will adapt it to use less oil and/or without the brown sugar, and if you do, let me know how they turn out!
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 2 Tbsp. white vinegar)
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour (or regular AP flour, if you wish)
1/2 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oil (I use sunflower or melted coconut oil)

Soak the oatmeal in the buttermilk in a large bowl for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12 muffin pan. Add the egg and sugar to the bowl and whisk until combined. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder and gently mix. Stir in oil until well combined (being careful not to overmix). Gently mix in fresh blueberries (about 1 cup) or other desired ingredients*. Bake for 15 minutes. Makes about 9 regular sized muffins.

* I also sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and raw sugar on top to give a bit of crunchy sweetness.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

life lately: according to my iPhone

I haven't been great at blogging lately. Must be something to do with having a newborn and running on zero sleep... Even though I've been printing my Instagram pictures off into Chatbooks (love those!), some of the pictures on my iPhone don't make it into Instagram and some are just too cute not to show again. They're not the best pictures cause my iPhone is old and has been dropped one too many times but whatever.
We went on a family date to Joe's Farm Grill a couple of weeks ago and I actually remembered to get a picture of me and the boys. That almost never happens - and we are all smiling! Success! I might have to grow a longer arm though so I can include the other two most important humans in my life to our family selfie...
Then there's this one of cutie, Louisa, and her Blabla doll that's almost as big as her. Ha!
I took the boys to the i.d.e.a. museum again in downtown Mesa. It's pretty fun and it's something for us to do that's in the air conditioning. They usually just play in the "little kid" area that has blocks and toys (and an arts and craft area that William always begs to go in and then instructs me how to make his craft for him) but this time we spent most of it in the "big kid" area. We found a black light camping room that no one was in and the boys loved being able to go into a dark room where their clothes lit up and they got to pretend to fish, light a fire, go into a tent and use their imagination. I got to sit on a bench and nurse a very hungry Louisa in peace so it was a win-win.
We've actually had some pretty epic monsoons (bless those!) and Fritz loves to go outside and run around in the rain. It's like watching my childhood happen to my kids! Now, where's my ice cream sandwich?
I have been trying to take pictures of my kids on Sunday mornings but have fallen off the wagon lately. So, here's this last week's and I'm dying at William's face in this one. Then, he requested that I take another picture in front of the "purple flowers cause they're so pretty"!
Only a few more months of summer and then we'll get into the nice season in Arizona - I can't wait!

Friday, August 15, 2014

love to learn: pre-k

William started Pre-K this morning and he is so excited! When we had Meet the Teacher yesterday, I was looking around at all the other little kids in his class and they look a full year younger - partly because, well, they are almost a full year younger and partly because he's super tall. School started at 8:30 but he wore his backpack with his lunchbox in it for 30 minutes while waiting to leave because he was so excited. Fritz cried all morning about not getting to go and kept pointing to himself and saying, "Me, go? Please Mom!" It kind of broke my heart to see him so sad but I love having him home as my little buddy for a few hours.
Fritzy really wanted to be in this picture and was so happy to be standing next to his best friend, even if he did tearfully ask, "Where Will go?" every 20 minutes for the next hour after dropping his big bro off. Will loves his Herschel camo backpack and said, "Mom, take a picture of my cool packpack!" I did, Will, and you are so cool!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

the last of pinetop

I finally sifted through the 500 pictures I took in Pinetop last week. Digital cameras, man. They're great but boy is it hard not to take hundreds of pictures!

David left to go back to the valley on Sunday night with his sister, Beth, as they both had to get back to work on Monday. We were planning on driving home on Sunday afternoon as well, but the weather was so beautiful and the boys were so happy, that we decided to stay another couple of days. The boys were in heaven. Grandma Cindy pulled out the watercolor paints and let them paint on the table on the patio. She also gave them paint brushes with a little can of water and let them paint any and everything within sight. William had a great time painting a cinder block with acrylic paint and shoveling gravel into the little red wagon and gathering sticks. There were walks to "Bull Frog Pond" along the golf course, feeding nuts to the blue jays and squirrels on the back deck, another trip to the creek for rock throwing and wooden boat floating and every night Gramma told great stories to the boys before bed. I got to read my book and snuggle Louisa and enjoy the thunderstorms while breathing in that glorious rainy air. Pinetop is so dreamy.
snuggling with Gramma while watching the rain on the front porch.
Louisa relaxing in the morning light.
Dad and Lou snuggle early one morning.
"trip trapping" over the bridge.
the boys found some cattails at the pond.
walking back to the cabin along the golf course.
Anyway, here are the last of the random pictures from my phone and off my camera that I want to have for my blog book. I'm finally getting around to printing those suckers out - they take forever to edit!