Friday, April 27, 2012

Stools, Comfy Stools, part I

There finished! And they're wonderful.

Anyone want the nitty-gritty? Here goes!
In this post of yore, I talked about the fabrics. Now on to the rest.

While my parents were here, we took the first stool cushion apart. I tried various methods of getting the fabric off without having to take the staples out. Didn't work out so well. And they kinda needed to come out for function's sake. That first attempt.was.awful. Mostly, Ijust didn't have the proper equipment, and taking out 70-80 staples per stool with the claw end of a hammer or a flat-head screwdriver is NOT the way to go. It took forEVER and was super hard and tiring. So I started my online search for upholstering tools - what I needed and where to get it. Found what but came up empty-handed on where. A staple remover - like a forked flat-head.

Lowe's didn't carry them at all and I couldn't find it on Home Depot's website. Next I tried finding upholstering/furniture stores in my area that sold them. Empty-handed again. A few people I talked to said Lowe's or HD probably had them, which was becoming a little frustrating to hear. "Yeah, you'd think anywhere that sells staple guns would sell heavy-duty staple removers" (my annoyed thoughts).  One upholstery guy said he'd take out the staples for $15/stool (=$60). Uh, not if I can buy that tool for $15 and do the work myself! Long story short, Home Depot does carry them. Just not online. Can I get an exhausted "hooray"?

Here are a few pictures of what I thought would be more efficient, but turned out to be more dangerous than I had hoped it would be.
That can't be good...
Soreness. Can you see my red palm? There were several other red, sore spots, too.

I was doing so good at going around the stool and uprooting one end of each staple without incident, until I had maybe 5 staples left! That's when this happened:

Deep gashes. It got three fingers in multiple spots. They didn't show up very well in the picture, but man, did they sting. All in the name of efficiency. I think I called it a night and then used the pliers to pull the staples out the next night.


Monday, April 23, 2012

First Masterpiece, age 2

Inspecting the material...

Everything seemed to be in order.
Let the games begin!

A flash of genius - This would look great on ME!

Experimenting...

Almost done...

An itch on his face...

And inspecting the final product...

Success!
The next proposed phase of this project (done back in Feb and just now getting up on the blog) is to stick letters to it that say "Things that Matter Most" (i.e. Jason and the time we spent together making this), then paint over the whole thing with white, then peal off the lettering. That way the words will be colorful and abstract on a white background. I say it's the next proposed phase because I love how it turned out so much that I don't know if I can bring myself to cover it up!

Any thoughts? Should I paint it to say "Things that Matter Most" or leave it as is?

Update: I have listened to the voice of the people and will not be covering it or writing on it in any way. I'll just have to come up with something else that says "Things that Matter Most". Thanks for your input!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Outings

We've been doing some fun things lately!

I got a pass to the Living Aquarium (because who wants to see a dead one? Har har - that one's for you, Dad.) Jason enjoyed the commotion of the busload of elementary school kids, making it difficult to get a decent picture. But here ya go. (And I promise, in real life, he doesn't have Martha Washington style hair.)

Peering into a small aquarium nestled in the climbable "coral" rocks.

 We went with some friends, but due to Jason's flurry of activity, we didn't get any pictures with them.
 He hardly even cared about seeing sharks, a sea turtle, penguins, octopuses, squids, piranhas, or sting rays that you could touch. He only wanted to splash the water that the sting rays were in and run free among the coral. It was fun though.

A couple weeks later, my old MTC comp, Heather, offered to take us to Discovery Gateway - a kids museum at the Gateway Mall, in SLC. She has a membership and can take a few other people with it. I'd never even been to the Gateway Mall before, so I was excited to see what it was like. The verdict: Sooo cool.

Jason had THE. TIME. OF. HIS. LIFE. I don't think he's laughed so much in all his two years. We met at Heather's and then she drove us all in her new minivan. Jason was SO excited. Whenever we drive anyway, all I hear the whole time is, "BIG truck! BIG van! Construction truck! Front-end loader! Tower!" etc, etc, etc. And often he'll say repeatedly, "Jason go in big van!" So when he finally did get to go in a van, he was so happy. Which is actually how I was able to leave the Discovery without too much of a fight - he was excited to go in the van again.

Wind-tunnel tubes and balls:

He was actually afraid to stick his hand in this wind tunnel in order to push the ball through.


But Cami wasn't! (She's a little older than Jason, though.)

He LOVED the water works area:

And even touched the life-size horse in the farm area!

video

Just a little video of some of the other areas they have.

video

They even have a life-sized helicopter! (or as Jason would say "helapotter.")

The Gateway Mall is also home to the only Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream store in UT. And we were lucky enough to go on the one day a year that they give away one free scoop of ice cream per customer! We headed over about 10 min before they opened their doors at noon and were the first people in line! I think they even took a picture. And that may or may not have been Jason's first experience with ice cream. At least a whole scoop to himself. He got strawberry. He kept saying "Iz cooooold." :D We ate ice cream and lunch outside in the wind and sun. It was such a fun day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Preps & The Crazy, Insane, Terrible...

Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Two's.

But first the Preps.

Jason favors one preposition: on.

Ex: cereal on the milk (instead of cereal with milk)
'I' on Isaac (instead of 'I' for Isaac)
'J' on Jason



Jason's terrible two's have been BEYOND terrible. He's been hitting a LOT. In the face, not just my legs or something. He's destroyed a bunch of stuff:
(That's the dishwasher's bottom basket thing. Removed, pushed down the porch stairs, and dragged across the backyard. The dishwasher now has a lock on it.)

Been crazy onry. And it seems that every time I Jason-proof something, he just finds something else to destroy. Or I forget to close or lock something. The other day when I finished blow-drying my hair, it was a little too quiet. I found him sitting sort of in/on the fridge, enjoying a cup of yogurt with his fingers. That one was just amusing, and I was very glad it wasn't worse.




A week or two ago I just cried, but things are getting better now. Thank goodness.
How cute is that. :)

New Life... sort of

Last week, Jason pulled down a plant & pot from a top shelf, breaking the pot. So I got a new pot at Walmart...

And painted it white. My plant will hopefully be happy again.

And I'll keep it better cut-back so little hands can't reach trailing vines.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Heavy Weight

Jason can lift/carry my cast iron skillets and a whole gallon of milk. He can also lift a gallon of milk from the grocery cart while sitting in the front, kid spot (i.e. not using back or leg muscles). Oh, and bricks.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes

That's the simple name for these :). They're actually Lemon Almond Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and an Almond Stawberry Honey Cream Cheese Frosting.

I've been watching too much Cupcake Wars.

Cupcake base: Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes.
minus the coconut
substituting buttermilk for coconut milk (b/c I just don't like buttermilk)
substituting the vanilla for more almond extract
adding about 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice (2 1/2 lg lemons) and
adding the zest of 3 lemons (Zest is WHERE IT'S AT.)

Why her recipe as the base? Because I've tried it as a base before (w/ coconut milk and w/o coconut) and it's amazing. So many eggs, so much butter - it just doesn't get any better than that.

I had an extra lemon on hand, and have seen cupcake recipes for lemon and blackberry or lemon and blueberry. So I picked up a few more lemons at the store, but strawberries were on sale, whereas the other berries weren't.  So that's how the lemon-strawberrys idea was born. And as I looked up lemon cupcake recipes, the idea snowballed into that above super long name.

Lemon Curd Filling: Chockylit's Blackberry, Lemon, Vanilla Cupcakes.
Just used the lemon curd recipe as is. Didn't double it.
If I let it sit for just a minute, it would get white and frothy on top.

But when I stirred it, it would be bright yellow again.

Then I took out a little spot in the center of the cupcakes...

...And filled it in with super super yummy lemon curd *lip smack!*

Almond, Strawberry, Honey Cream Cheese: Lizzy Mae's Honey Almond Cream Cheese Frosting.
Added a container of strawberries, pitted and chopped
Doubled the recipe (probably shouldn't have, but it's okay b/c it's heaven on my tongue)
I obviously didn't go for the fancy look of piping the frosting. I just spooned it on. It didn't seem thick enough to pipe and I worried the bits of strawberry were too big for piping.

Put it all together - deliiiiiiiiiiiicious!!