Cart-astic!

Even though our lives have been pretty much consumed with diapers, burp cloths, and baby talk, that doesn’t mean that we’ve given up tweaking our house.  Nope–in between feedings and nap times, I’ve managed to make a few changes.  I figure now’s my chance seeing as how I’m home all day and pretty soon I’ll have to go back to work :( So what’s been the most recent change?  In case you can’t figure it out from the post title (in which case I’m seriously concerned about your skills of deduction), it’s related to a cart.

That’s right, I finally pulled the trigger and got a microwave cart for our kitchen.  See, in our kitchen reveal post, I didn’t reveal much about this side of the kitchen because, well, it looks like this:

I still have plans to redo the pantry doors on the right, and we still plan to replace the old intercom system with a new one (that’s the super old boxy-looking thing on the right wall), but for a while now I’ve wanted to change out the microwave stand.  That dresser there is from my childhood bedroom, and while I do have a special fondness for it, I just wasn’t crazy about it being in the kitchen.  Instead, I wanted something with some color and shelves so that I could display all my cookbooks (and, quite frankly, so they would be more readily accessible than tucked away in the pantry).  So out with the old . . .

and in with the new!

What do you think?  Colorful enough for ya’?  It’s actually one of those school computer carts (I bought it here for $115), so it’s super sturdy and strong.

And it even has the old school built-in power strip.

It came in a whole range of colors, but lately I’ve been full on digging yellow, and since we already have some yellow accents on the other side of the room, I thought it would be perfect . . .

It also ties in nicely with the curtains I made for the dining room and living room . . . (I was going to write a post about these, but let’s face it–some things are just never going to happen.)

I also love that it holds all my cookbooks and fits the microwave perfectly.  I couldn’t be happier with it . . . plus, I was able to put it together and load it up all during one of Mini B’s extra long naps.  Bonus!

So there it is, one quick change in our home that makes me smile every time I walk by.

What did Mini B think of the change?  She was absolutely thrilled!  I had her take a break from her daily yoga to tell you all about it . . .

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Three’s Company

Well, it’s been a wild few days.  The result?  Mini B has TWO NEW COUSINS!  My sister and sister-in-law both had their first bambinos this past weekend, so now Mini B is feeling all growed up and protective . . .

She can’t wait to get her hands on those kiddos (and neither can a certain excited Aunt and Uncle)!  Congratulations all . . . WE LOVE YOU!

Where in the World is Mini Bunches?

That’s right–our Mini Bunches has officially become a world traveler.  Her first stop?  CANADA!

Armed with her birth certificate, our passports, and our season passes to Marineland, we crossed the border and introduced Mini B to her first taste of international travel.  And yes–she loved it.

She loved the whales . . .

And especially the Killer Whale–she even taught him how to jump over her (it’s pretty amazing how talented she is, right?  I mean, and this was all at only 9 weeks old AND with her eyes closed) . . .

Not too shabby, eh?

Well, Mr. Bunches was a little upset that she couldn’t even bother to open her eyes when it came to feeding time, but maybe that’s just as well.  Just look at those jaws!

Either way, she was a real trooper for her first-ever trip to the True North.  And she did manage to open her eyes to say hello to some of the other Marineland creatures . . .

So I’m not exactly sure what deer, elk, and buffalo have to do with Marineland, but I’m just going with it.  Seeing as how this is one of Mr. B’s favorite places ever, I’ll give them a pass . . . 

And look–Mini B wasn’t the only baby hanging around . . .

Once we’d said hello to all the animals, it was time for a treat and a visit to my favorite area of all–the black bear enclosure!  We didn’t feed them this time, but we definitely will in the future.  They are HYSTERICAL (granted, not in this picture they aren’t, but just take our word for it).

Well, after a long afternoon at the park, it was time to go home.  Just one quick pit stop at the castle (yep–just another random piece of this theme park.  I swear–I don’t really get it).  

And then we headed out, which of course meant we had to walk by the gift shop (those Marineland folks are no dummies) . . . Mini B couldn’t take her eyes off of those blow-up toys!

And she of course has Dad wrapped around her little finger, so he wanted to get her one, but I put my foot down.  I mean–c’mon!  She’s nine weeks old for crying out loud.  There will be plenty more trips to Marineland in her future and I’m sure she’ll end up with multiples of these guys . . .

But it was hard to say no . . . just look at that face!

All in all, it was a good trip.  So much better than playing in our own little marineland . . .

Oh, and ever since that trip, Mini B’s new favorite song is the Canadian anthem.  It calms her down almost immediately whenever we sing it . . . how random is that?!

Got Enough Leg Room?

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One word: YUM.  Yep, Mr. Bunches and I decided to make cookies the other night.  Why?  Well, it’s part of our no-TV week.  That’s right folks–we’ve sworn off TV this week and instead of just taking care of Mini Bunches, we decided to try doing some other stuff.  And making cookies was one such “other stuff” type thing.  Did that make sense?  Anyways, here’s the recipe.  I decided to just alter my mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe by adding peanut butter.  It was sort of an experiment, which I’ve never really done with baking, but it turned out well, so here you go:

Mrs. Bunches’ Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, but you could substitute chunky if you prefer)
  • 1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 4 1/2 cups oats (uncooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

1. Beat together butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Blend in eggs and vanilla.

3. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and wheat germ.  Add combination to wet ingredients and mix well.

4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and peanuts.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

6. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.

Makes about 7-8 dozen cookies.

I always make these in my KitchenAid mixer, and use an ice cream scoop to make even-sized cookies.

Here they are all ready to be baked.

And then after baking . . .

They don’t spread out that much, but rather maintain their shape fairly well.  I usually transfer them to a cookie rack to cool . . .

They generally don’t last that long on the cookie rack . . . I mean, just look how good that looks:

Mmmm . . .

They go perfectly with a nice glass of milk (and yes, I know that’s a stemless wine glass, but in my current state of nursing-every-two-hours, they’re milk glasses :) ).

My one last tip is this: this dough actually freezes really well.  So instead of baking 8 dozen cookies and then embarking on an all-cookie diet for the next few days (you think I’m kidding, but I’m not–I’ve done it before and yes, it’s disgusting.  And right now, with my post-baby bulges, it’s pretty much the last thing I need), you can freeze the dough and then bake only a few cookies at a time as you please.  Just scoop the dough onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and then put it in the freezer for ~1-2 hours.

You don’t need to make sure that the cookies have room to spread out in the oven since you’re not baking them at this point.  So load up the cookie sheet accordingly . . .

Once they’re frozen, just put them all in a ziploc freezer bag, write the baking instructions on it, and voila!  Homemade cookie dough ready as you need it.  You may need to add an additional minute or two to the baking time since they’re frozen, but just keep an eye on them in the oven and you should be fine.

And since some of you (ahem, Auntie E, ahem) are hooked on pictures of Mini B, here are a couple to tide you over.  Looks like someone isn’t quite on board with the no-TV week . . . 

But at least she’s getting the hang of posing for mom’s never-ending photo shoots . . . of course, I still haven’t managed to catch a smile on camera, but that’s my next challenge.

Hope this finds you all enjoying your summer, and maybe some cookies?

Reunited, And it Feels So Good

No, this post is not a song about Peaches & Herb (not for nothing, but what’s up with that as a name for a singing group?  Weird.).  It’s a post about Mr. Bunches’ family reunion!  Held each year at the beautiful Glimmerglass State Park, the family reunion is always a good time, and this year it was an especially festive occasion because it was the first time that Mini Bunches got to partake in the festivities!  Hooray!

But first, we had to get there, which meant taking our not-quite-two-month-old on her first road trip.  4+ hours in the car each way?  Yikes.  But no worries–she did great!  Here she is at her first thruway rest stop . . . 

We’re not quite sure what she thought of it.

And of course, as new parents, we had the car packed to the gills.  We didn’t end up using even half this stuff . . .

But on to the good stuff.  Mini B got all dressed up for the occasion–she was ready to par-tay!  She’s already doing the chicken dance . . .

And there were plenty of people ready to party with her.  Just check out the slew of cousin love she received . . .

And she got her fix with Auntie Kar-Kar and Jiddu Moose!  She even got to grab Jiddu Moose’s nose . . .

But besides meeting all the family, Mini B was especially excited for the spread of Lebanese food . . . look–her first grape leaf!

It was so great to see everyone, and Mini B especially loved meeting the family.

Well, she loved meeting almost everyone . . .

What that picture doesn’t show you is Mini B crying :(.  Poor baby!  But no worries–she had at least one cousin that she could snuggle right into . . .

There you have it–Mini B’s first family reunion!  Who knows what Mini B’s next adventure will be . . .

 

Mini Bunches: 2 Months

I’m only a few days late this time . . . Holla!  Sidenote: for those of you out there that watch RHONY (Real Housewives of New York), are you not incredibly annoyed at the beginning of each show when Heather says ‘Holla?’  Because oh my goodness I am.  I mean, seriously–Holla?!  Okay, but I digress.  Back to the matter at hand: Mini Bunches is 2 MONTHS OLD!

And she’s already losing her hair :(.  Oh, and since Mini B’s 1 Month birthday, I still have yet to come up with some creative way to document her growth.  So, I stuck with what I did the first time and just repeated it.  Hence, Mini B makes another appearance on one of her favorite blankies, but this time on her tummy (basically to highlight her cute bloomers) . . .

I love how she’s all snuggled up in there!  Okay, so that’s that.  I’m working on getting some more posts done about the myriad of visitors we’ve had since Mini B’s birth, and also Mini B’s first international trip . . . stay tuned!

The Next Buffalo Jill?

That’s right folks, guess what time it is?!  Football time!  The Bills preseason officially kicks off tonight, and look who’s ready . . .

Someone got her season tickets in the mail and can’t wait to go support Daddy’s favorite team.  I wonder how Mini B will do with all those crazy Bills fans?  Something tells me she’ll be able to hold her own . . . I mean, this gal’s tough.

And don’t worry–Mini B won’t have to live with disappointment by rooting only for Daddy’s team . . . Mommy’s Patriots will cheer her up when she’s down :).  Yes Idiot Nation–I went there.  Deal.

Nursery Reveal

It’s finally here.  Only ~two months after Mini Bunches arrived.  Her early arrival kind of hampered the completion of the nursery, and it’s not entirely done yet, but I’ve just got to get this post done and out of my brain . . . 

First, where we started (see all of our house before pictures here):

And where it is today:

Big difference, eh?  This was actually the first room that I started painting when we bought the home–I knew all along it would be the nursery and I had baby on the brain, so I wanted to get it done.  It was also my first ever experience painting a ceiling . . .

The color?  Benjamin Moore’s Ocean Air:

I love this color–it’s blue in some light, teal in others, and all-in-all just awesome.  Our guest room in our old Boston condo was painted this color and it was my favorite room in the house.  Of course, when it’s painted on the ceiling, it reads as much, much lighter than when it’s on the walls.  See how you can barely tell the difference between the new Ocean Air color and the old white ceiling paint?

Oh well.  I wasn’t going to paint it again.  Let’s just say painting a ceiling–not so fun.  Your arms and neck get mighty tired.  I actually did it before we ripped up the carpet (more on that here), so I didn’t need to worry about drips getting on the floor, but if you’re not getting rid of your flooring, then definitely tarps are a MUST.  Oh, and the walls and trim are Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White–ya’ know, the color that’s on basically every wall in our house except the kitchen.

What paint did we use?  Well, we used Sherwin Williams’ HGTV Home Interior Paint in a Flat finish, color-matched to BM’s Decorator’s White:

Why this paint?  Well, my sister has converted me to a SW fan, and this paint was new, No-VOC, and cheaper than SW’s other No-VOC paints.  Plus, I love HGTV and figured that it would be good quality paint.  Boy, was I WRONG.  This is the WORST PAINT EVER!!!  And trust me–I’ve done my fair share of painting.  It smelled HORRIFIC and the odor didn’t go away for months!  Good thing we (and by that I mean Mr. Bunches since I was too preggers at the time we decided to finally get on finishing the nursery) painted the room a few months before Mini B arrived.  We had the windows open in there through most of the winter and spring, and I still felt like I could smell paint sometimes when I went in there.  Plus, the coverage of this paint was AWFUL.  It was really thin and covered horribly.  The room isn’t that big, we had already done a coat of paint using some BM leftovers we had, and so we shouldn’t have had to use even half a gallon.  But nope–it took the whole gallon just to do one coat on the walls.  In sum: NEVER BUY THIS PAINT.  IT’S CRAP.

Okay, sorry for the tangent.  Back to the nursery:

Remember that dresser?  It’s the one I refinished (see all the steps here and here), and now it’s Mini B’s changing table.

It’s also her favorite spot to be in the room.  Why?  Because these guys are her new best friends . . .

Yep, those are vintage Disney wall hangings that we took from Mr. Bunches’ childhood room.  Isn’t it too cute that what hung on his nursery wall is now hanging in Mini B’s nursery?  I just love that.  And just to see what the changing table looked like before we got our snazzy rug . . .

But now the floor’s all covered up in chevron stripes that Mini B can barely take her eyes off of . . .

As for the crib?  Well, she’s not such a fan yet, but I have faith.  She has spent a couple naps/nights there, but hopefully more soon . . .

And she’s not into this bucket o’fun yet, but I’m sure she will be soon.  It’s basically where all her friends hang out . . .

And above the crib is a little concoction I put together from various paper lanterns and pom flowers . . .

I love that it’s sunny and bright–I’m hoping someday Mini B will wake up to this view and it will help her start her days off on the right foot . . .

And I’ve finally hung up some artwork in the room.  Two items from Etsy, two cards we received that I thought were just too cute and needed to be framed, and a mirror for Mini B to someday gaze into (again–that elusive day when she sleeps in the crib) . . .

The top left print is from Almost Sunday Designs, the top right from Andrea Zuill’s Badbird shop, both on Etsy.

And here are the two cards I framed.  One is from our baby shower, and the other is a congrats on getting preggers we received way back when.

All of the frames are courtesy of Ikea.  We also hung an Ikea shelf to display Mini B’s ever-growing book collection . . .

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t show you the closet (it is, after all, a little girl’s room).  I couldn’t stand the closet doors (they’re that ugly wood color that everything in our house was), so I had Mr. B take them down and we replaced them with curtains . . .

Mini B also loves looking at those . . . she and I have had many conversations about those little birdies.  The curtains are from Ikea.  And here’s a little shot of what Mini B’s got hiding in that closet of hers . . .

Not the best organization yet, but that project’s on my some-day-I’ll-have-enough-sleep-to-tackle project list.

And last, but certainly not least, this little guy stands guard at Mini B’s door (at least temporarily until we find a more suitable home for him on a shelf somewhere):

So there you have it–Mini B’s Nursery Reveal!

What do you think?  As you can tell, Mini B is dying to know . . .

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