Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Trick AND A Treat

The Trick-I woke up early this morning with a scratchy throat that was literally on fire on one side. Well, maybe not literally. But it might as well have been, cos that's how it felt. A side of feverishly hot wiggle worm eating through my ear drum pain, came along with. Oh and it is raining frogs and dogs out.

Between the Kid and I both being all sick and out of sorts this week, I've spent most of it looking like this-

The Treat-I totally didn't feel up to making breakfast, so The Husband paid our local bakery a visit and brought me these-

We are completely and totally immature.

So of course we enjoyed our "boob cakes" with a few giggles and snorts. Admit it, you know they look like boobs...

And now I'm sitting here on the couch, all cool like, with a huge heating pad to my ear, biding my time until tonight, when I will sit in my house with all the lights turned off, hiding from trick 'o' treaters.

Hey, I had planned on handing out the goods, kids, but if you come by tonight, you'll probably only get a nice handful of germs. Or a shot of snot from the Kid. Which will only lead to you being sick and probably missing school.

Hey, maybe we should hand out candy after all...

Happy Halloween!


This was taken last Saturday. When she had a temp of 103.3. Aren't kids amazing?!

A Halloween Drawing

Micron and Copic pens on white paper.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Calorie Free Valentine Treat

Yep. You read that right.

A Valentine treat in October.

I had been wanting a piece of resin sprinkle jewelry for quite sometime, but there is so darn much of it on etsy that I could never narrow my options down to just one that I favored more than all the others. Until a few weeks ago when I found this from stoopidgerl-

There are two "him"s that I love, and every time I wear this big ole sweet bubble of a ring I think of them both!

Plus, I love the combination of glitter, candy heart and sprinkles in the Valentine color scheme. It's just too cute.

If you like candy, rainbows, carnivals, cupcakes and cuteness...


You won't be disappointed.

And while you're there, feel free to pick up a little somethin' somethin' for meeeee...

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Snapshots-Pumpkins In The Fireplace

We went to the local pumpkin patch recently to pick a few little odds and ends to go with the amazing, weird pumpkin my parents gave me for my birthday.

 I had never seen a pumpkin quite like this before. It is a pretty pinkish color with this crazy, textured growth all over the top. I love it! And I will be so sad when it eventually decays.

Also, I love when people give me unexpected gifts like found rocks, home grown fruits, locally procured gourds, hand made things and home made food. Simple, natural things that remind me that life is a marvel and I am loved. I just love it!

Since I am not big on holiday decorating, the pumpkin and the items we picked up at the pumpkin patch are just the right seasonal touch for my home when parked in the fireplace that is sealed off. Just enough to make me warm and sentimental, but not enough that I have to dread taking it all down and putting it away.

The little ghosty looking one(my favorite from the patch) is "upside down" in the first pic. I've been displaing it with the stem side down. But that's the most fun thing about my little fall still life display-it is totally kid friendly. The Kid and Babycakes both have enjoyed exploring the fruits with their hands and eyes. And so my "still life" really is never all that still.

And personally, that's exactly how I feel it should be.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Ugliest Birthday Cake In The History Of The World

despite your best intentions,
a planned project goes anything but as planned.

So it happened this past week that The Husband's birthday cake, which I had intended to be a cute, fall themed cake, turned into the "ugliest birthday cake that took all day to make" in the history of the world. Ever. I'm posting lots of photos so y'all can bask in the full glory of the crap stupid thing.

To begin with, Life totally got in the way of my original plan to make the cake ON his birthday, and I made it the next day instead. Which really wasn't a big deal, until The Cupcake Kid became ill the night of his birthday. She had The Husband up every hour for half the night, poor thing. Baby Cakes decided to keep me up every hour as well. Thus cake making day dawned with cranky/sick kids and a dog tired, zombie mommy.

It was all down hill from there. Between naps, a whining baby and a kid who alternated between feverishly weepy and euphorically hyper, I worked on this cake. I was feeling pukey myself and with all that was going on, I had zero ability to concentrate. I used my silicone giant cupcake molds and the base cake burned on the bottom, so I had to cut that part off. The top cake baked with a weird mound in the middle that I had to saw off so it would sit evenly on the base. Only it didn't sit evenly at all. My peanut butter butter cream came out too soft and my coffee butter cream too stiff. I put a tad too much pumpkin pie spice in the chocolate cake batter. I DID NOTHING RIGHT.

By the time I was ready to decorate, I sat down at the table with bags of candy and sprinkles surrounding me and stared at the lopsided cake with a blank expression. I don't even really remember decorating it. I just remember getting to the end, staring at the stupid thing for a moment, then bursting into tears as the baby fussed and whined in his play crib.

"I decorated a giant turd!" I cried to myself.

Have I mentioned that I haven't been getting much sleep lately?! And I swear, breastfeeding makes me just as hormonal as pregnancy. It's awful.

As I sat at the table, disappointed and frustrated and embarrassed by my disappointment and frustration over something so silly, The Kid came breezing into the dining room.

She stared at the cake, then me and exclaimed, "Oh Mommy! Did you do this cake for Daddy?"

"Yes, babe, I did." I admitted flatly.

A pause then, "It's INCREDIBLE!!!"

I cocked my head to the side, stared at my child for a moment with a delightfully puzzled expression on my face, then scooped her into a big hug. The world can be such a magical place when you see it through the eyes of a little one.

Perspective. It's a game changer people.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Yesterday's sketch. Because I am perpetually a day late and a dollar short.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancake Peanut Butter Sandwiches

It feels like all I do is post food on this blog lately.

In my defence, food really does comprise the majority of my creative body of work since the baby was born. I do have a couple of new illustrations to show you, and a few newer Etsy purchases too, but I need a few sunny and not crazy busy days to get some photographing done.

The Kid announced that she wanted wanted pancake sandwiches for lunch, a few days ago, and though my first reaction was, "Yo. Kid. YOU DO NOT BOSS ME AROUND!", it was quite speedily followed up with, "Darn it, that actually sounds really good..." So I agreed to make them and decided to one-up her with pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin CHOCOLATE CHIP pancakes.

I used this recipe, and modified it just a little bit. I omitted most of the spices and used cinnamon since I did not have pumpkin pie spice at the time(I have since rectified THAT situation!), used a little more pumpkin, and swapped out dairy ingredients for non dairy. I also had to add in a little more flour to get a little thicker batter so I could have small, thick pancakes as opposed to thin and fluffy. You just add a few tablespoons at a time until you get a nice thick batter.

So I ended up with the following-

1 1/4 cup + more to proper consistency whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1/2 can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons melted soy free Earth Balance spread
handful(or two) of chocolate chips. Use Enjoy Life brand if you are avoiding dairy/soy
Peanut butter
Mix and cook in medium heat skillet that's been greased. You can use cooking spray. I used coconut oil. Spread peanut butter on a pancake and top with another, then sprinkle with demerara sugar. I made our pancakes about three or four inches in diameter, so The Kid could hold the sandwiches in her little hands.

They were a hit! And we'll probably make these again.  They are super easy to customize. I'm thinking blueberry pancakes with sliced bananas and pumpkin butter next time. And I can see her father cooking up an egg to stick in the middle of one of these. *Shudder*
Pancakes are such a fun alternative to regular bread every once in a while, and they are a lot faster and easier to make!

Obviously you wouldn't want to serve these to your kids everyday, but I am of the opinion that life is too short to spend it avoiding pancakes like they're the plague.
But that's just me.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Few Thrifty Finds

A few days ago I visited our local Salvation Army and came home with a slew of long cotton sweaters. It is so darn hard to find affordable all cotton(NOT cotton/poly/acrylic mix) sweaters anymore, especially if you are looking for hip concealers, like I always am. I was so excited by my finds that I couldn't wait to show The Husband. He rooted through the bags for a few minutes before stating-

"It looks like you robbed an old lady's closet."

Ahhhhhh...can you feel the love?

Anyway, here's a few of my other recent finds.

Three lovely t.v. trays for a dollar a piece

I posted a photo of these previously, but this one really shows the pretty coppery shades.

I am not a big wine drinker, but I do like whiskey every now and then, although I don't drink while breastfeeding so it'll be quite sometime before I imbibe again. These pretty glasses will be waiting for me when I do.

I don't know why, but I have always wanted some of these. They will be so much fun to serve burgers and fries in on my new(old) diner style table. They were only a few dollars for the whole stack.

Isn't he cute? He was marked five but when I brought him to the counter, he was half off. He'll make a wonderful little place to stash candy or keys. Or cash. If I had some. Ha.

Buttons are not cheap, and if you've been reading this blog for any period of time, you know that I LOVE buttons. I usually buy small glass jars(olive, pickles and such) of buttons, that have been cut from unusable clothing donations(which require a lot of picking and cleaning) at a local Salvation Army, for five bucks a piece. I found these jars, which are the ginormous sized peanut butter jars, full of perfectly clean and ready to use buttons, for SIX BUCKS a piece at an antique store. That's a true steal. The Matchbox Jeep we dug up in our yard!

We were on the road to somewhere I don't remember when we spotted this two dollar vintage wicker hamper in a yard sale. It's a little beastly towards the bottom, but I love mint green vintage stuff and even in it's beastly state, it's been useful for storing plastic bags/shopping bags in. Hey, much as I try not to, I still end up at the grocery store without my reusable bags. We still haven't decided if we want to repaint it or leave it as is.

While trying to photograph the hamper, the cat photobombed it several times. She has also designated it her personal scratching post. Thankfully she has no front claws. Silly cat.


Now that I think about it, The Husband may have a point.

Still, who needs to rob an old lady's closet when you pretty much are a 90 year old woman in the body of an almost 30 year old girl, amirite?!?!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Trixy Tricks For Picky Eaters

I don't remember when or how The Cupcake Kid became such a picky eater(she didn't get it from me, that's for sure) but the last couple of years have been quite the struggle to get that child to eat anything other than crackers, noodles, chicken nuggets and cheese. I wasn't too worried about it until she ended up in the pediatrician's office with digestive problems. I knew then that I had to figure something out, because eating nothing but carbs and processed chicken protein was doing a number on her little intestines and such.

I wandered around the grocery store one day, searching for ideas as to how to sneak the good stuff into her diet since she refuses to eat most plant products in their natural forms, and had the good fortune to stumble across those fruit and veggie puree pouches. They are basically just baby food in a pouch that kid's can squeeze straight into their mouths. They work like a charm. My kid won't eat a carrot to save her life, but when pureed and put into a "cool" pouch, she'll eat it three times a day. And they do have neat reuseable pouches now so that you can make your own and save some money. I have a set, but haven't tried them out yet as I'm still a little terrified of the food processor(It is LOUD! And has sharps!). Ha. I'll be sure to let you know how they work out when I do use them. It'll be my luck that she'll know that I made them and they'll be a no go.

Along the same line of thinking-smoothies. You can cover a multitude of picky eater sins(aka plant type foods) with a little bit of ice, almond milk and honey, let me tell you.

My favorite trick, as of late, has been muffins. Fall is here, the days and nights are cooler and we crave something a little bit more comforting than cereal in the mornings. A warm muffin with a little bit of Earth Balance spread on top is a welcome respite from cold, lightweight cereals. And the kid absolutely loves them. I think she thinks of them as dessert for breakfast, due to their resemblance to cupcakes.

This past week we've made banana cranberry flax seed muffins and my new favorite, banana blueberry chocolate chip muffins with crunchy toasted pecans and sugar on top. Yes, there is some sugar and naughty stuff in there, but there is also fruit, flax and nuts in there, things that my child won't typically eat unless they are disguised by something a little naughty.

I have a basic muffins recipe, which I may have shared before, but I will go ahead and share again, just in case anybody is interested in trying these. Soooo simple and can be altered in a million in one ways!

Basic fruit muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour or gluten free flour mix
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sugar or honey or maple syrup
1 egg
3/4 -1 cup or so of milk(depends on the brand of flour I use, some soak up more milk than others)
1/4 cup oil or applesauce
around a cup or so of berries or chopped fruit or smashed banana(you can do more if you wish)
dash or two of salt

Mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes back out clean.

For the blueberry crunch muffins, I did a cup of blueberries, one smashed banana, a couple dashes of cinnamon and a quarter cup of chocolate chips.

For the topping, I simply sprinkle some turbinado sugar, plus a finer grain raw sugar and some pecans on the top before baking.
You end up with these!

They don't last very long around here, which makes me happy because I know both The Husband and Kid are getting fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that they wouldn't get if I weren't here to make this kind of stuff for them.

 I swear, I think they'd exist on frozen pizza and gas station doughnuts if I let them.

Ok, not gonna lie, somedays I do let them.

BUT, not nearly so often as they would like. I mean, I am the mom after all. Somebody has got to lay down some rules around here...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Snapshots-Popcorn Monster Edition

My daughter came running from the kitchen yelling, "MOMMM! My popcorn is staring at me! It has eyes an a nose an a face!!!" She handed me this...

Sunday, October 6, 2013


My daughter and her cat, as drawn by my daughter herself.

Doesn't the cat look so happy?

My daughter has a good imagination. Heh.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yard Sale Goldmine, Er, Coppermine

Yesterday, The Husband called me on his way to work. I about had a heart attack, immediately thinking the worst, as he NEVER calls once he leaves the house.

"HUN. You've got to get down here. There's a million coppers."

"Huh what?"

"On blah and blah(I don't even remember) street. Put the kids in the car and get down here now! They have so many we don't have and they're selling fast and I have no cash and have to get to work!"

I wasn't going to go. It was early, the baby needed to eat, the child was running around in Batman jammies and I had no bra on. To get up and go would require more work that what I deemed the coppers worthy of. But, I did want my fireplace finished. So I sat for a few minutes and weighed my options.

My curiosity got the best of me.

I put a bra on and put the kids in the car and set off to find the sale.

They had at least three times as many molds as I bought.

Here's what I bought.

One buck a piece, save the round rooster. These will go a long way towards completeing our copper mold fireplace art installation. Also, ROOSTERS! DUCK! SQUIRREL!

And just for good measure, I also picked up this lovely piece.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Meatless Friday-Honey Butter Carrot And Bean Pasta Toss

If you made it through my last post, you know that Mr. Cupcakes has a new job. Well, it isn't really new anymore, but it might be new news to you!

Anyway, he works lots of weird shifts and hours, so I often find myself cooking him suppers at odd times, sometimes to eat right away and sometimes to take to work later. Such was the case this morning. Eight in the morning and I had pasta going.

I really love to cook with fresh ingredients, but sometimes I just simply don't have time, as was also the case this morning, so I turn to canned ingredients. This mornings lunch(and probably supper too) is easy and inexpensive to make, but filling and tasty as well. If you like slightly sweet dishes, that is.

Honey Butter Carrot And Bean Pasta Toss

1 box penne pasta
1 can Glory Foods honey carrots
1 can butter beans
1 can kidney beans
dried basil

So. You need a pot big enough to boil your noodles in. Follow the instructions on the package.

As for your other ingredients, all you do is combine the cans(drain your beans but NOT the carrots. You need that sauce) in a pot, sauce pan, cast iron skillet or whatevs you have, then add salt, pepper and basil to taste. The honey carrots are delish, but they're really sweet, so you just want enough of the extra seasoning to cut that sweetness a bit. I cook over medium heat until it bubbles then reduce to low and let it simmer while waiting for the water for my pasta to boil.

When your noodles are ready, drain them. Leave them in the pot(or put them back in after you rinse them off in a strainer) and add your bean and carrot mix. Toss. Eat and enjoy!

You can also make this using your own homemade honey carrots too. This would be a great way to use leftover honey glazed carrots from a previous supper.

Now I'm off to catch a shower before The Husband leaves and my short window of opportunity closes!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Still Alive

Wowsers. Has it really been seven months since I last posted? Good Lord, I thought that I had written a post promising to write more posts sometime after the baby was born, but I guess not. So at least I don't have to feel guilty anymore about that.

Where to begin? So much has happened that I'm not even sure that I remember it all, but I'll try to condense that past half year into one neat and tidy, though definitely not short, post.

I cannot remember if I wrote much about my pregnancy in previous posts, and I'm too lazy to look, so I'll just say that I spent several months puking(ALL the time. Enough that I lost weight the first half of my pregnancy), and then spent the rest of the pregnancy dealing with and suffering from everything from ringworm(DON'T SCRATCH YOUR THIGHS, SWEATY PREGNANT PEOPLE) to sciatica to MAJOR cankles and horrible, horrible pelvic pains(a nine and a half pound baby will do that to you).

RIDICULOUS. I could hardly walk towards the end, I was retaining so much fluid in my feet, as you can see. EEK.

While all of that was going on, The Husband accepted another job in another town and we bought another house. A bigger house. Like twice the size of our old house bigger(Two stair cases, two fire places and two basements, as the house used to be a duplex). And older. Like, thirty years older. So, almost 140 years old. And needing a lot more work. Like, two months of painting(still more left to do), floor replacement(upstairs and down), and lead paint encapsulation on the upstairs window and door trim before we could even move in. The Husband was going straight from work to the house and then spending the nights at his parents' house, so I spent much of the last couple months of pregnancy alone with The Cupcake Kid.

After our last ultrasound. Heh heh.

We cut it super close on the time frame, too. I mean, we moved the basics into the new house and a few days later(maybe a week), the baby was here. We were lucky that he came a couple of days late. At one of my last OB appointments, my doc had a student with her. He asked when I would like the baby to come, ideally.

"About a week late", I replied.

His eyes about popped out of his head. "Well that is definitely the first time I've heard a woman say that! Most women want them to come early."

"Well, most women probably aren't taking bets as to which will be completed first-their baby or their house, " I joked. But I was dead serious. Thankfully, Baby Cakes waited. It was a super stressful time, to say the least.

And then he was born! My doctor and the nurses were all a little shocked when they pulled the baby out. I had been measuring a couple weeks smaller, so when they pulled him out after a slightly difficult and extremely tiring labor(he was also posterior, hurray! Not. Ha.) and exclaimed, "Oh! He's a big boy!" and "Yeah, he's the biggest baby we've had in a while," I was a bit shocked.

My mother was not. She had been telling me that she thought he would be big. I kept telling her that he would be smaller than his sister(she was almost nine pounds), because I hadn't gained that much weight and I was measuring smaller. Mom knows best.

We made it through the newborn phase, and now we're in a seemingly never ending three and four month growth spurt phase. There has not been much sleep going on for me these past few weeks, despite the fact that I spend almost twelve hours each day in bed because the little man won't sleep without me. I've read that once the growth spurt is over, they go back to sleeping in their own beds again like magic, so I'm hoping we'll be back to our old routine soon(him sleeping in his bed next to ours between feeds), because this mama is tired.

Does this exhaustion make me look fat?

Baby cakes has some trouble with bad spit up and gas when I eat dairy or soy(we're breastfeeding), so I've had to totally change my diet, which is reallllly hard when you are a stress eater like I am, and you're so busy with a clingy, cranky, fussy baby that you don't have a lot of time to cook. You don't know how hard it is to buy prepackaged food like bread and cereal at the grocery store when you are avoiding dairy AND soy until you actually have to do it. Thankfully our local Hy-Vee has a really nice health food section which has made it easier for me as I try to wait out the little bugger's super fussy phase. There are some really great products out there for those avoiding soy and dairy, but when you live in BFE Iowa, they can be difficult to locate. I'll be doing posts of products and recipes in the future, so as to help anybody else who may be making this leap.

Sanity saver.

Dairy, soy and egg free chocolate fig cake. DIVINE!!!

I have to say, since dropping soy and dairy, and adding a vitamin D3 supplement, I do feel better. I have more energy and clarity despite lack of sleep, most days.

In addition to the baby, the past few months have been consumed by trying to help the Kid adjust to the baby and continuing work on the house.

For the first two months of Baby Cakes' life, The Kid pretty much hated him. And me. There were many manic tantrums and cries of, "You hate me! You don't love me anymore!" I was surprised by how badly my four year old could hurt my feelings. It was a difficult transition to say the least. Lots of outings with Daddy and some good old fashioned spoiling have helped a lot and she quite likes baby today.

Her first trip to the comic book store and she made out like a darned bandit!
A matter of days(four I believe) after our baby was born, we had our first bat in the house. The husband, baby and I were asleep in our bedroom when I awoke suddenly to something swooping above. I instantly knew what it was, as we had a couple of encounters with bats at our old house. I frantically awoke the husband then covered the baby and I in a blanket as he set about trying to kill or capture the thing. As it happens, we captured it, but were then told to kill it.

This is how all bats now look to me-blood thirsty with huge fangs.

You see, if you awake to find a bat in your room, or you find a bat in the room of an unattended child, the proper protocol is to capture the bat and have it taken to the nearest lab to be tested for rabies, because bat bites are so tiny that many times people who have been bitten don't even know that they've been bitten. And the bat has to be dead to be tested because they test the little critters brain. This happened early morning Saturday morning, so we had to call an emergency number which put us in touch with a state trooper who then put us in touch with the on call person at the state hygienic lab. The hygienic lab is an hour and a half away, and wasn't open until eight, when The Husband would be at work, so I roped my poor dad into taking me, the four day old baby and the bat up to the lab in Coralville so we could get it tested right away.

You have to keep the bat cool, but not frozen, so the brain matter stays in tact, so four day old baby, way stressed/strung out/emotional mommy who had no sleep, Grandpa who I had probably woke up on a Saturday, and a bat wrapped in one of those plastic zip covers that come on sheets, pillow cases and the like(we had contained the bat then rolled out the air so the poor thing suffocated) and placed in a bucket of ice, made the trip to the lab and then began the wait for the results.

Rabies is a serious thing you don't wanna mess around with. By the time you realize you have it, you are basically given a death sentence. It is almost always fatal in humans if not treated right away. So if you find a bat and your house, and you aren't one hundred percent certain that it could not have or did not bite you, then you really should have it tested. Call animal control and have them catch it and take it for testing if you do not want to do it yourself. If you find the bat and it somehow gets away, call your doc right away because they may want you to go ahead and start the shots.

If you are totally awake and a bat swoops in, then you can usually open a window and the bat will fly right out. They are sensitive to/attracted to air currents and will typically be immediately drawn to the window.

We lucked out and the bat tested negative. What a relief! The Husband had noticed that he had left the attic entrance slightly ajar, so we figured the bat must have been in the attic and come down at night, looking for a way out to feed. Knew we wouldn't make that mistake again!

And then the HVAC guys finally came to install our new central air and replace our old furnace. It took a week and a half because there was no ductwork at all on the second floor. And they actually aren't really done yet, three months later, as the air upstairs isn't pushing strong enough, so they still need to come back and take care of that. At any rate, there were new holes for vents and duct work all over the house. I was a bit panicked. Sure enough, almost exactly two months to the day later, we ended up with ANOTHER FRACKING BAT! This time, I saw the cat playing with something around the living room fireplace and thought we had a mouse. Only, it sounded too loud to be a mouse. It was midnight, The Husband was working third shift, and I watched the shadowy thing hop as the cat tracked it and batted at it. I finally stood as my eyes were adjusted to the dark, and I noticed it swoop up into the air from straight off the ground. Lights went on all over the downstairs(baby and I were down there as it was HOT upstairs. Kid was upstairs because she wanted to sleep in her bed and didn't care that it was sweaty and uncomfortable up there).

I walked the house, hunting for the bat, but couldn't find it. So I woke The Kid up and made her go downstairs, and she, the baby and I slept on the couch(well, I didn't sleep), until the husband came home from work. He was understandably frustrated and angry and set off to search the house. Luckily, our formerly worthless fur ball saved him a lot of time and pointed him directly towards the bat. She sat in the doorway of our daughter's room and meowed at him, then looked to the wall where the bat was camped out. I heard a loud ruckus, thumping and some swearing, then a few minutes later The Husband appeared with one dead bat wrapped in an old Army hat. Into a plastic zipper bag, then a plastic shoebox it went. The shoebox then went into the refrigerator until a few hours later when we all piled into the car and headed back up to the state hygienic lab with another bat on ice.

NOT our cat. But might as well have been.

Lucky for us, this one came back negative for rabies as well. By this time, I was beside myself. I was not able to sleep upstairs and panicking over the kids every night. I was envisioning rabid, foaming mouthed bats attacking me, every time I closed my eyes! I blamed the holes for the bat, but I wondered why it had been on the floor in the first place, since I knew bats can have a hard time taking off from the ground. As luck had it , The Husband works with a guy who used to rent our house. His family too had had a bat(and possibly ghosts, but that's a whole nother story). He believed that it gained entrance through the fireplace, because when he poked his head up into it, he could see day light, straight up and out.

Now, since we have two fireplaces, you might think those would have been obvious first places for us to check, but we didn't because our home inspector had told us that they were well sealed off. Well let me tell you, he was WRONG buddy. They were not sealed off well. They weren't entirely open, but not closed off completely. Bats can fit through a hole the size of your thumb, so if you want to keep them out, you have to really and truly seal all crack, nooks, crannies and crevasses.

One of our fireplaces has an open hearth at the bottom, but since it is sealed off and painted, it's just decorative at this point. The other has a screen with glass doors attached to it, and you can tell when you peer in, that it had actually been used not too terribly long ago, because the hearth is dirty and sooty and scorched. I had not worried about that fireplace because it has the screen on it. Less than a week after the bat incident, I was sitting in the living room late at night when I heard scuffling in the dining room and the cat making a weird, low meowing noise.  I crept over to that side of the house and could tell something was in the fireplace. It was too darn loud to be a mouse. I turned on the light and all the noise and movement stopped. Pretty sure it was a damned bat.

And I had been so excited to have fireplaces!

"How romantic!" I had told myself.

We've also had a lot of basement trouble. When we first bought the house, there were some torrential rains going on, and the Northern basement of the house(remember, our house used to be a duplex, so there are two separate basements) flooded several times(A window in the kitchen also leaked and needed some emergency caulking). We soon came to realize that part of the problem was the flower bed along that side of the house. There was no down sloping away from the house, and in fact, the flowers actually made a sort of ditch next to the house which did nothing but draw water on down into the basement. Moisture in a basement is always bad, but when you're basement is partially soil, it makes for some serious musty basement stank. The ultimate goal is to pour concrete down there, over the soil patches, but that's gonna have to wait until next year, as we've blown our budget this year on the central air/furnace, new laminate and vinyl( I wasn't about to waste money on nice hardwood yet when The Sharpie Kid writes on anything and everything but paper) floors through most of the house, several hundreds of dollars on lead paint encapsulant for the upstairs and no VOC paint for the whole house, eight new wood core doors to replace all the truly unsalvageable lead paint covered doors upstairs, stain for the back deck, millions of curtain rods and curtains, roof coating for the porch roof, furniture(all used/vintage except for our mattresses), plus a plumber for the basement drain and a new windshield for the Jeep(got a crack somehow). We are tapped out at the moment, so despite still having a hundred projects that need completing, we're going to focus on some small things for now. Like cutting down dead trees in the yard and painting walls with paint we already have.

We did buy some 800 pounds of dirt to fill the "ditch" there on the side of the house. It hasn't really rained yet though, so we haven't been able to assess how much that one act has helped the flood prevention in the basement. We did, however, unearth this pretty little plate in the soil under the flowers!

Before we bought this house, we had planned on waiting a few years and buying a house out in the country so we could grow our own food and have plenty of space to grow our family/business. When we found out that we were expecting another kid, we knew we were going to need a bigger house a bit sooner than we planned. We never really thought we would be able to find one so quickly that would suit our needs, though. We had to make some compromises(we live in town so cannot have chickens and such), but just considered ourselves lucky to get what we could. Imagine our surprise when we discovered this summer, that we had a blackberry bush, a mulberry tree, and a peach, a plum and a cherry tree right on our little piece of property in town!

We didn't get a very big crop of blackberries, because I had no idea that's what they were and therefore didn't trim the bush the way you are supposed to, nor did I water it when I should have, and the birds ate most of our cherries and mulberries, because once again, we didn't know that's what they were, but we did get a freezer full of peaches and plums.

We also had a crop of oriental fruit moths, so the fruit crop wasn't as big as it could have been, but I was excited to get what we did. I have a whole new appreciation for pioneer women, and even women like my grandma, who still picks and cans during summer and fall, because let me tell you, growing your own food and then tending to it is hard work. I can't tell you how many times I got stabbed by the throns of the danged blackberry bush, and the picking/cleaning/cutting up takes forever. BUT, the rewards are worth it. Fresh peach and peach/plum crisp has been a staple at our house this year. Crisps are super easy to convert for dairy free diets. Just replace the butter with Earth Balance spread or coconut oil.

I haven't had a lot of time to sew or embroider, though I did make curtains for the kitchen out of this material.

Embroidering isn't particularly safe to do when you are nursing a squirmy, chunky baby, but I have indulged in a little bit of illustrating at times.

And there has been a little bit of time for thrifting as well.

Five bucks! Now holds throw blankets beside a fireplace.

Five and a half bucks! You may have noticed that I have an obsession...
I have wanted one of these since I was a teen! Now I have one!
So, I think that about sums it up. I'm probably forgetting something. Or forty somethings. That's the parent life for you, eh?
As I type this, The Cupcake Kid is sitting beside me, excitedly shrieking over every photo, "Hey! We have that! We have that!" as if we are looking at catalog pictures instead of pictures of our own stuff.
I just shake my head and laugh in my brain.
If you're still reading this, you deserve a reward. I'm about to go make some gluten free, dairy free banana bread(real bananas!). Want some?
Or, I have some of these left over from a Clever Container party I hosted night before last.

Chocolate dipped pretzels and animal crackers. I host decidedly grown up parties.
And now the baby is mad because he's rolled himself to his belly but cannot roll back to back, so I guess I'd better go help. 
See y'all 'round!
Hopefully before another seven months goes by...