Monday, May 31, 2010

Martha Monday--Memories

Are you a crafter? Do you know someone who crafts? I like to think of myself as a crafter--after all, I have an entire room filled with stamps, glue guns, glitter, fancy paper and more--but very little is actually crafted.  I have enough material to make 100 greeting cards, and yet the last one I sent to someone was store bought. 

The Martha in my head is shaking her head at me.  I feel shame.

Anyways, ever since the Little Guy was born, I've had plans...BIG document his childhood in scrapbooks.  I have three scrapbooks ready to go...

...some even have pictures in them...

...and I have embellishments and keepsakes (note the wrist bands from the hospital)...

...and I even have a copy of the time the Little Guy and I appeared in the local paper!

Never mind that it's over a year old.

Fortunately, even though I'm 2.5 years behind schedule, pictures and scrapbook materials don't expire.  And now, with BabyGirl here, I can start collecting girl-themed scrapbook materials. How exciting! 

The Wilton Tent Sale is right around the corner.  Last year, I noticed that they had a TON of Martha Stewart craft supplies.  My plan this year is to lighten up on the baking supply purchases, and hit the craft section really hard.  That way, when I do get around to scrapbooking, I'll have everything I need. 

And then I'll need to actually make those scrapbooks.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just a note

Hi, everyone!

Just a quick note to say I'm taking the week off due to the TMI Household being in transition.  In just a few days, my maternity leave ends and I head back to work, and the kids head off to daycare.

Insert sorrowful wailing and gnashing of teeth here.  I am not happy about this situation, and I really wish I had more time at home with the the Little Guy and Baby Girl.

However, that is the way it must be for now, so I'll spend the next day or so getting ready for this big change.  I hope to be back next week with another "Martha Monday."  In the meantime, enjoy some recent pictures of my little cherubs:

Have a great week!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Meatloaf perfection?

I'm always on the lookout for the perfect meatloaf recipe.  There are some great ones, and many terrible ones, out there on the interwebs.  Finally, after a lot of experimentation and more than my fair share of flops, I think I've come up with a great meatloaf recipe all on my own.  Here it is:

2 lbs. 85% lean ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
3 eggs

Mix together until well blended.  Divide and place into two loaf pans (or keep it all together in a larger dish).  Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes (longer if it's all together in the same dish).  For the last 10 minutes of baking, cover the surface with a nice layer of ketchup.  Enjoy!  And please report your results--I'm anxious to know if I have indeed created the perfect meatloaf recipe.

Note: please use ketchup, not catsup...this is an important distinction.  Using 'catsup' will tear a whole in the fabric of the universe and interrupt the entire space-time continuum, which leads to really, really bad meatloaf.  Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bread crumbs

Did you know that instead of buying bread crumbs from the store, you can make them yourself?!

Oh, you did know that?


Well, until a year or so ago, it hadn't occurred to me that I could (and should) be doing this myself.  Now, it's a regular practice whenever I have old bread languishing in my pantry.  For those who haven't made your own bread crumbs before, it's super easy.

Step One:  let old bread sit out for a day or two on a cooling rack.

Step Two: pulverize the bread in your food processor.

Step Three: store in an airtight container until you need the breadcrumbs.

Step Four: use the bread crumbs to top your homemade macaroni and cheese.  Yum!

Now, if there were only some way to make my own croutons instead of buying them at the store...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Martha Monday--spring cleaning

Oh, spring.  That magical time of year when the birds are singing, the weather warms, flowers begin to bloom, and I am overcome with a serious compulsion to clean my house from top to bottom.

I desperately want to remove every possession from my house, scrub every surface from top to bottom, and systematically clean each piece of furniture/decoration/whatever before it is brought back in.  Fortunately for my family and neighbors, I don't have the energy or time necessary for what I call a "whole house cleanse."  For the time being, my home will be considered "normal" on the cleanliness scale, rather than "sparkly showroom clean."


While revamping the kids' bathroom, I did get to indulge in some small-scale spring cleaning.  After the paint was dry but before things were moved back in, I took the time to clean the window, wooden blinds, lightbulbs and medicine cabinet.  My big Martha cleaned the doors and the Big Guy steam cleaned the floor. 

Good times, though I'm not sure my helpers enjoyed the process as much as I did. 

To get started on your spring cleaning in a rational way, check out Martha's spring cleaning tips.  If you'd like to get a little crazy, try the TMI Whole House Cleanse.  And let me know how that goes!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The new and improved kids' bathroom!

During the redo of the kids' bathroom, it stayed like this for several days:

Laura had gone home and I was having problems finding free time to get it finished.  After a few days, though, I pulled it together, shoved a paint brush in the Big Guy's hand and we got some color on the walls.

It took two days to get the color on the walls, and then a day after that to get all the hardware (towel racks, shower curtain rod, etc.) back up.  I think it came together nicely.

The shower curtain is really fun. I got it, and the crab toothbrush holder, at Kohl's.

Finally, the kids' bathroom is done.  They can have fun in a bathroom designed for them, and I think guests will enjoy it as well.  Now, on to the next room...

Laura, paging Dr. Laura.  You're needed in the TMI household. Stat!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bathroom redo

I've wanted to redo the hall bathroom for quite some time.  Ever since we moved in, actually.  And, because I fail to realistically judge the amount of time and effort it takes to do a house project, I had hoped to do this during my maternity leave.

Because taking care of a newborn and a two-year-old leaves plenty of time for home improvement.

Obviously, nothing happened for six weeks.  But then BFF Laura came for a weekend, and declared one morning over breakfast that we were going to paint the bathroom. 

Things happen when Laura is around. I just love that about her!

So the Little Guy and I zoomed to the store for paint, Laura got busy gathering supplies and taping off the bathroom, and BabyGirl slept.  She was cooperative that way.

The paint is called Sea Tickle.  Based on that happy crab, we were going for a fun and kid-friendly ocean themed bathroom. 

Laura and I spent an entire day priming the walls and ceiling.  It took two coats of primer to cover up that gross brown-green color.  Just having the walls and ceiling white made the room look so much bigger and better.

And then, Laura left.  And this is how the bathroom stayed for several days...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Barfy bathroom

The hall bath is icky.  Not because of bad fixtures or poor layout or anything of that nature, but because of the color. The walls and ceiling are painted a color of brown-green that turns my stomach (sadly, it's used all over the house, a problem we're dealing with a bit at a time).  It's a color so wretched that no amount of decor can take away from its hideousness.  Take a look: 

The hall bath is used by the kids and guests, so this eyesore really effects everyone who sleeps here. However, hope has entered this bathroom in the form of a very cheerful crab:

And this crab is screaming for a bathroom makeover.  Can you blame him?

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Martha Monday--A trip down memory lane

Last year on May Day, I met Martha. As in, face-to-face.  It was awesome.  Relive it with me, my dears.


Happy May Day to all! It certainly was a wonderful May Day for me...I met Martha Stewart at her book signing at State Street Macy's.

I headed over to Macy's at 10:18am. For those of you not in the Chicago area, yes, they still have the Marshall Field's sign on the sides of the building.

They had displays of housewares from the Martha Stewart collection everywhere, along with copies of the two books she would sign, Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts and Martha Stewart's Cooking School.

I headed up to the 6th floor for the three hour wait. Really, it went by quickly for a few reasons:

1. I got to sit on a bed made up with Martha Stewart linens. (this is the bed across the walkway)

2. Macy's staff passed out bottled water and cookies. The sugar cookies and chocolate/molasses cookies were Martha's recipes, of course.

3. I tweeted every 30 minutes or so. See the rundown here.

4. I waited with some very cool Martha fans: Kim, Sarah and Ryan. Shout out! (And to Kim: thanks for taking all the pictures of me with Martha.)

Just before 1pm, Martha arrived and the book signing began right on time. Because I was in 25th place or so in the line, it went very quickly. Here's Martha as I'm waiting for my turn with her.

Finally, I had arrived! Martha was very sweet and signed both of my books. I chatted with her about the International Antiques Fair (I didn't mention the flubbed up ChiTrib contest)...

...told her that I was a HUGE fan, and then....

...I gave her the business card for my blog. Actually, I had put it in one of the books so she'd see it when she was signing it. I told her that TMI is all about what happens when a regular woman is inspired to become a domestic diva.

Sometimes, I told Martha, the crafts and cooking and everything all work out nicely.

Other times, I explained, it doesn't work out so well, but those mishaps are comedic gold in my house. That got a laugh.

So, to my dear loyal readers, I finally did it. I met Martha face-to-face, and I managed not to make a fool of myself or scare her into calling security. For my new readers, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading about my wacky attempts to become more "Martha" and less "sleep-deprived, over-worked, trying-to-hold-it-all-together, somewhat-perfectionist suburban Mom."

And Martha, if you are was super awesome to meet you, and I hope you stick around. The Martha Initiative is just getting started!