Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

My husband is not as geeky as I am.  Fortunately, he loves me enough to not only put up with my geekiness, but to also engage in it.  Last year, he watched Kaylie all weekend so I could take Wil with me to Dragon*Con, and this year, since my recently-retired parents are in town and can watch the kids, he’s actually coming with me!  Yay for having a con buddy this year! 🙂

I’ve introduced him to quite a few of my favorite shows over the years.  He liked “Firefly” (my personal favorite) enough that both our kids share names with main characters, but his favorite Whedon show is actually “Dollhouse” (which is also an awesome show!).  So after I’d mentioned to him that maybe I ought to look into getting him some geeky tees to wear to Dragon*Con, he came to me with an idea for a “Dollhouse”-inspired shirt.  Cue new craft project!

Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

Freezer paper t-shirt stenciling.

This turned out to be a surprisingly easy project.  I found this tutorial very helpful in getting started.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Plus foam brushes, which I forgot to grab for this picture....

Plus foam brushes, which I forgot to grab for this picture….

  • T-shirt, prewashed
  • Freezer paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Iron
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Fabric paint
  • Foam brushes (one for each paint color)

The first step is to sketch out your design.  My hubby’s idea was a minimalistic design with three flowers in a vase, all white but for the third flower, which would be green.  (If you’ve seen “Dollhouse”, you’ll remember the phrase “There are three flowers in a vase.  The third flower is green.”  It was one of those “HOLY CRAP DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN OH MY GOSH THIS SHOW IS AWESOME” moments.  If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you, but I will instruct you to quit web-surfing right now to go watch it, immediately.)  Anyway, I sketched out a few ideas for the shape of the vase and the type of flowers on a scrap of paper, and once Casey picked what he liked best, I sketched it out onto the non-shiny side of the freezer paper (forgot to take a picture), and then cut it out with the X-acto knife on the cutting mat.

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It’s a stencil, so the paint will go in the negative space.  Cut accordingly.

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Next, you’ll iron your stencil onto your shirt, shiny side down (against the fabric).

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I used a ruler to center my stencil.  Make sure when you iron it that all the little edges are firmly pressed down with the iron, so that the paint won’t seep under the paper.  I used my iron’s cotton setting, without steam.

Next, you’ll need a piece of cardboard bigger than your to-be-painted area.

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Insert the cardboard into the shirt, between the front and back layers of fabric, so that the paint won’t soak through.

Then you get to paint!

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Not much instruction here; just paint.

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Finish one coat of one color and move on to the next.

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I let it dry for about 45 minutes before applying a second coat of both colors.  Follow the directions on your fabric paint; mine said to apply 1-2 coats, let dry 4 hours, and then hold a hot iron on a steam setting 1/2″ above the paint to texture it, so after my second coat, I set the shirt aside for a few hours before removing the stencil.

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Once the paint is thoroughly dry, peel back the freezer paper carefully.

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I found it worked best to hold the shirt down with my fingers on the painted area right next to the edge of freezer paper I was peeling up; that way, I didn’t run the risk of the paint not separating at the edge, and pulling off with the paper.

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I was very pleased by how well the freezer paper worked–no bleeding at all!

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Final design, pre-steaming with the iron.

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And after steaming….you can see that it made the painted sections curl a bit.  Not really sure what the point of this step was, and I kind of preferred the way it looked before this step, but I was following the directions on my paint.

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I thought it turned out well!  We’ll see how it holds up to washing, but just to be safe, I won’t wash it before Dragon*Con! 😛

I made him let me take a picture.

I made him let me take a picture.

“There are three flowers in a vase.  The third flower is green.”

Counting down the days till Dragon*Con!


Fried Cheesy Bites.

One of the things I miss the most about Indiana is Culver’s.  The closest one from where I live now is a good two hours away, so I haven’t been to one in a while now.  There are two things on the menu that I miss in particular: they have best frozen custard (I like my Concrete Mixer with peppermint syrup and crushed pieces of Heath bar), and I could eat my weight in their Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

I’ve really been craving those cheese curds lately.  So the other day, I loosely followed this recipe that I’d pinned ages ago, and made my own fried cheesy bites of heaven (okay, so they’re not as good as Culver’s’, but they’re still stinkin’ good).

Easy fried cheesy bites.

Easy fried cheesy bites.

They’re super easy to make, and you only need a few ingredients.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge your cheesy bites in your pan)
  • 4-5 sticks of string cheese (any kind)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

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First, fill your pan with enough oil to submerge your coated bites in (the amount will vary by the size of the pan).  Heat the oil on medium heat while you start on your prep.

Assembly line!

Assembly line!

Put the flour in one bowl, the egg (beaten) in another, and the bread crumbs in a third.

Experimentation time.

Experimentation time.

You’ll need four to five sticks of string cheese.  I’ve made these three times this week, and I used all mozzarella the first two times, and decided to experiment with mozarella/cheddar and colby jack the third time.

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Chop ’em up!  How small you go is up to you; I like cutting mine pretty small so there’s more of them to munch on (yes, I understand that it’s still the same amount of cheese, no matter how you cut it).

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Dump them in the flour.

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Using a spoon, stir cheese pieces to coat them in flour.

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If you have a little strainer like this, use it to shake out the excess flour.  If not, just use your hands: pick up each piece and shake off the excess flour before dropping it into the beaten egg.

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(The strainer works much better than doing it by hand.)

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Dump the floured pieces into the bowl of beaten egg.

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Using a fork, stir the cheese pieces to coat them in egg.

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Next, move them a few at a time into the bread crumbs.  Shake off excess egg; I find it’s easiest to fish a few pieces out of the egg with the fork, then pick them up with my fingers to shake them off and drop them into the bread crumbs.

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Stir with the fork to coat the pieces in bread crumbs.  Make sure that none of them are stuck together; you want each piece to be coated on all sides.

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Now they’re ready for frying!  Drop a couple pieces into the oil to see how hot it is.  If they turn dark golden brown within seconds, it’s too hot–take your pan off the heat for a few minutes and turn your stove down a little when you put it back on, and then fry your bites in batches of a stick’s worth or so at a time, monitoring them so they don’t burn.  If your trial bites stay pale (the oil should still bubble around them), then your oil’s not quite hot enough yet, but you can dump all the pieces in at once and they’ll fry slowly as it continues to heat.  They turn out fine both ways (so long as you watchfully don’t let them burn).

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Take them out when they’re a nice golden brown.

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Put paper towels on your plate to absorb excess oil.  Let them cool for a few minutes–but not too long, because they’re best hot!

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness...my mouth is watering now....

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness…my mouth is watering now….

So they’re not quite Culver’s, but they’re pretty darn good, and super easy!

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For your cut-and-paste convenience:

Fried Cheesy Bites

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge bites in pan)
  • 4-5 cheese sticks (any kind)
  • ⅓-½ cup flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • ⅓-½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  1. Heat vegetable oil in pan or skillet over medium heat.
  2. Chop cheese sticks into small bite-size pieces.
  3. Coat cheese pieces in flour.
  4. Shake excess flour off of cheese pieces.
  5. Drop cheese pieces into beaten egg and stir to coat.
  6. Shake off excess egg from cheese pieces.
  7. Coat in bread crumbs, taking care to coat all sides of each piece.
  8. Drop coated cheese pieces into hot oil; fry until golden brown.
  9. Remove golden brown cheesy bites from oil and let cool slightly on paper towel.

Enjoy!

 

 


Catching up.

I’ve definitely been letting the blogging slide.  Sorry.

My goal was to have all my archived posts moved over to my new blog by the end of June.  Yeah, by the end of June, I was about halfway done…and I’m not much further halfway through July, either.  Grrrr.

But in good news, one of the reasons I’ve been slacking on the blog is that my Etsy venture is going well.  The “Doctor Who” dinosaurs and “Firefly” crew ribbon tag blankets are both sold out; I’ve ordered the fabric for more and they’re on their way!  I’m still waiting for my local Joann Fabrics store to restock their ribbon so I can start on the “Harry Potter” blankets–I’ve been three times in the past three weeks, and all they have are all the wrong combinations of satin and grosgrain in the colors and sizes I need.  Gah.  I do have a couple “Godric” Gryffindor dinos up, though!  (I hope to have more houses up soonishly, if Gryffindor sells well!)

I’ve also been catching up on season 7 of “Doctor Who”, which is finally up on Netflix!  Finished the season the other night, but I have yet to watch “The Day of the Doctor”.  Would someone like to explain to me why Netflix not only makes us wait a virtual eternity for a season, but then lets us down by not including the most important episode?  Grrrrrr!!

And now I’m off to sign up for Pottermore so I can finally read J.K. Rowling’s most recent short-story addition to the world of witchcraft and wizardry.  I’m so behind, guys! 😛


Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

By the time we moved to Atlanta, home of Dragon*Con, I’d been itching to go to a con for years.  When we were living in middle-of-cornfields-Indiana, it wasn’t really an option, considering all the travel expenses it would have entailed, so I was thrilled at the prospect of living in the home city of one of the country’s largest conventions.

Of course, by the time we moved to Atlanta, I was also pregnant with our second kid, and due two and half months before Dragon*Con.

Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

Doing Dragon*Con with a baby.

Extreme introvert + first con ever + baby = terrifying (especially since I’d be going with Wil alone–my husband would stay home with our two-year-old).  But…there was still a part of me that still really, really wanted to go (largely due to some of the posts about cons on my favorite blog).  And I was afraid that if I let something get in the way this year, I’d do the same next year, and maybe the next.

I did my research first.  I read some helpful blog posts on Dragon*Con tips (this one and this one were the ones I found most helpful), but I couldn’t find much online about handling a large con with an infant in tow.  I began wondering if people even really do that, or if I’d be breaking some unspoken rule of etiquette by dragging a baby along with me.  So I called the phone number on the Dragon*Con contact page with a list of questions, and to get a general feeling for whether or not I’d be welcome with a baby.  The guy I spoke with was super nice and very helpful, and left me feeling like this definitely could be done!  So I bought my membership and began planning.

I’m still a newbie at the whole con thing, but I thought I’d chime in with my own tips on doing Dragon*Con with a baby, since I wasn’t able to find much help online myself.  So here are a few things I’d recommend thinking about before attempting a con with a baby in tow.

1. Plan out what gear to pack in advance.

Unless you’re staying in one of the hotels where the con is being held, you’re going to need to bring a lot of gear to keep your bases covered.  Babies need a lot of crap.

Wil was two months old when we did Dragon*Con, so I was exclusively breastfeeding.  A lot of people will tell you that breastfeeding is the easiest and simplest way to feed, because you’ll already be bringing your breasts, right?  But breastfeeding was a challenge for us.  There were a couple times that I was able to breastfeed him under a cover while sitting in line for a panel, but most of the time, he preferred to be bottle-fed pumped breastmilk (which meant I also needed to pump during the day).  So I brought:

  • a nursing cover (made from this tutorial–great because it covered my back, so I could sit anywhere while I breastfed or pumped)
  • a battery-operated pump (and extra batteries)
  • two small coolers with icepacks
  • plenty of bottles and nipples (I used these bottles, which I’d gotten in a sample bag at the hospital where I delivered–they worked with my pump, and fit four nicely in each cooler)
  • a bottle brush and a travel-size bottle of dish soap (in case I needed to wash bottles, though I always ended up packing enough that I didn’t need to)
  • burp cloths

Every morning, I packed one cooler with six to eight ounces of refrigerated breastmilk to start the day with, and filled the other cooler with empty bottles to pump milk into during the day.  I also kept a couple of those pre-mixed formula samples (along with a disposable nipple) in the bottom of my diaper bag, just in case (never a bad idea to have those on hand in case of emergency!).  Even if you are breastfeeding (or planning to breastfeed), be prepared for there to be times that it won’t go smoothly, especially if your baby hasn’t experienced much chaos and commotion during feedings.  Have a contingency plan, whether that’s pumping and bottle-feeding, using formula, or going home early.

I know it’s becoming more acceptable to breastfeed in public, but I was still worried about attempting it (even by kid #2).  I used a cover every time (I’m a very private person), and no one ever gave me a hard time or even looked at me funny (or at least I never noticed).  The guy I spoke with on the phone ahead of time assured me that if anyone hassled me for it, I could go to one of the volunteer staff and they’d back me up.  Most of the time, I was able to breastfeed or pump in the hotel lobby between panels.

You’ll also need all the standard baby stuff:

  • diapers (bring extras!)
  • wipes
  • changing mat
  • change of clothes
  • blankets (one for the floor, and one to cover baby–hotels are air-conditioned!)
  • toys (quiet ones for during panels)
  • gas drops (especially if bottle-feeding)
  • …and whatever else you usually pack in your diaper bag,
  • plus, a STROLLER (bring one you like, with lots of storage space)

You’ll also need stuff for you:

  • water bottle (there are usually water stations to get a cup of water near the line for the panel, but there were quite a few times that the water jugs were empty)
  • snacks (it’s hard to fit meals in; don’t count on being able to get to the con suite–where there are supposedly free snacks–with a stroller)
  • tylenol
  • book to read (I got through quite a chunk of Wheel of Time: Memory of Light while pumping during an extra-long nap Wil took)
  • badge and lanyard for it (I used a ribbon)
  • pocket program (unless you have a smart phone and can access the app)
  • …and whatever else you think you might need

Think about what you’ll need to pack weeks before the con, in case you need to buy or make anything (like coolers or a nursing cover).  Make a detailed list, and add to it as you learn your baby’s routine in the weeks leading up to the con.

Baby Chewbacca, waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

Baby Chewbacca, waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

2. Plan your panels.

You can find panel schedules for each track on the Dragon*Con website (or linked) ahead of time.  Look through the schedules for each track you’re interested in and make a list of panels you might want to attend.  Figure out which ones conflict, and which ones you must attend.  Don’t plan for more than three panels in a day, and try to avoid back-to-back panels (especially if they’re in different hotels).

Schedules may change as the con approaches, so if you start planning a couple weeks out, don’t forget to check your schedule for changes in the days leading up to the con.

I’d also recommend planning to end your days on the early side.  One of the things the guy on the phone told me when I called ahead of time was that con-goers tend to get rowdier in the evening, as the drinking starts.  Since most of the panels I was interested in were morning and afternoon panels anyway, it worked well for me to leave sometime in the afternoon or early evening every day.  That way, I could also spend a little time with my two-year-old at home, get Wil to bed on time, and take a shower before going to bed at a decent hour, too.

Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), and James Marsters (Spike) at the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" panel.

Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), and James Marsters (Spike) at the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” panel.

3. Pick up your badge and pocket program on Thursday.

If you can pick up your badge on Thursday (Dragon*Con starts Friday), do it.  The lines were awful on Friday morning, and I talked to a number of people in line who had friends missing panels because they were still waiting to get their badges.  Also, picking it up the night before the con starts gives you the opportunity to explore the con hotels, which I highly recommend doing.  Glance through the pocket program to see which hotels will be holding your must-see panels.  Your pocket program will also have maps of each hotel; I recommend highlighting elevators, bathrooms, and bridges between hotels.

Walk through each hotel, while you’re not fighting through hordes of people with a stroller, and familiarize yourself with the places you expect to spend your time.  Find the elevators and the bathrooms, figure out which levels the bridges connect on (Hyatt to Mariott to Hilton), and look for good places to breastfeed and/or pump.  (The Mariott is crazy.  Most of my panels were in the Westin, and there were plenty of seating options in the lobby for me to find a place to breastfeed and/or pump without drawing attention to myself.)  If you’ll be attending panels in different hotels, or if you’re using MARTA, walk the outdoor routes between hotels (and MARTA)  so you won’t be digging out your map while being shoved along the crowded streets the next day.

Baby Whovian: Wil sports his "Allons-y" onesie on the day we went to the "Torchwood" panel.

Baby Whovian: Wil sports his “Allons-y” onesie on the day we went to the “Torchwood” panel.

4. Get in line for panels early.

Most of the panels I attended were the ones with stars from my favorite shows, and famous people tend to draw a crowd.  You’ll want to get in line as early as possible for two reasons: 1) you’ll want to make sure you get a good seat (on an end for a quick exit if necessary, but not so far back that you’re missing all the action–and panels do often fill up to capacity); and 2) depending on the layout of the hotel, lines often extend up or down stairs (not possible with a stroller) or outside (in extreme heat).  Panels are scheduled an hour and a half apart; lines queue for one panel as soon as the line from the previous panel as cleared.  So, try to be there to get in line a full hour and a half before your panel.

Once you’re safely in line, you can sit on the floor, spread a blanket out for baby, breastfeed, etc., and relax while you wait.  It’s not so bad spending time in line–you’re surrounded by people interested in the same thing you are, so you’re likely to make some friends to pass the time.

Baby Captain Hammer naps in my arms after a snack waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

Baby Captain Hammer naps in my arms after a snack waiting in line for a Whedonverse panel.

5. Avoid the vendor halls and all basements.

The vendor halls are ridiculously overcrowded.  Don’t expect to be able to navigate them well with a stroller.  In fact, I had to haul my stroller down a few stairs to even get to the elevators in that building (AmericasMart).  It’s just not worth it.

And basements…when you are dependent on using the elevators, it is unfortunately very easy to get stranded.  I got stuck on the bottom floor of one hotel for half an hour, as dozens of elevators came down full of people who had gotten on on floors above me intending to ride down to go up.  Eventually a hotel manager happened to walk by, and he offered to let me use an employee elevator to get back to street level.  Another time, I was stuck for a good twenty minutes or so, along with a lady in a wheelchair, as we watched elevator after full elevator go by, until we were finally able to squeeze onto a couple less-packed ones.  It’s ridiculous.  Don’t go below street level unless you’re really, really interested in what’s down there, and you have time to get stuck.

We braved the crazy Mariott for the "Torchwood" panel with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), and Burn Gorman (Owen Harper).

We braved the crazy Mariott for the “Torchwood” panel with Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), and Burn Gorman (Owen Harper).

6. If you have questions, ask.

The volunteer staff are amazing.  I cannot rave about them enough.  The guy on the phone was very nice, helpful, and welcoming.  I stopped by the help desk after registration to ask some of the same questions, just to make sure I was okay, and they were very helpful.  When I arrived to get in line for my first panel, I asked one of the volunteers about bringing a baby in with me, and if there was anywhere in particular I should sit, and he was super nice and helpful.  On the one hellish day I attended a panel in the Mariott (SO. CROWDED.), I planned ahead and arrived two and a half hours before my panel, so I could try to find a way to get in the front of the line when it began forming an hour later; apparently I wasn’t the only one with that idea, though, so in the end, it was going to be a free-for-all once they started letting the next line queue.  I’d heard the line would extend onto stairs as well as outside in the extreme Georgia summer heat, so I spoke with a couple volunteers, who hooked me up with some other volunteers, and someone found me a place to sit with Wil near the head of the line, and they even let me in early (after the disabled, but before everyone else) to find a good seat on an end near an exit.

Follow the rules, listen to instructions, and don’t make yourself a special case unless you have to.  Be respectful and polite to the staff–they work hard, and unfortunately take a lot of crap–and you’ll find that they’ll usually be more than willing to help you in any way they can.  (Point in case: Most of the panels I attended were in the Westin, in the same ballroom every time, so I’d interacted with a few of the volunteers there several times.  There was a panel on the last day that I wanted to attend that was immediately after another panel I wanted to see.  It was in the same room, but by the time the first let out, the line for the next had already extended up multiple flights of stairs.  I asked one of the staff, when they weren’t too busy, if there was somewhere on that level where I could wait to join the end of the line once it started moving.  He pointed me to an out-of-the-way spot, and I waited for half an hour for the queued people to be allowed into the room.  It was a packed panel, but in the end, when they determined it was full and the staff were turning newcomers away, one of the staff quietly told me to stick around for a few minutes.  They found an empty seat on the end of a back row, and let me in anyway.  I’m convinced it was because I’d spent all weekend following the rules, being nice to the staff, and responsibly arriving early–and also because the staff are genuinely very nice people!)

Also, most of your fellow con-goers are good people who are happy to help you out if you have a quick question about where something is or how something works.  There are going to be a few people who seem to think you brought your baby and stroller just to inconvenience them personally, but on the whole, I found the other attendees to be very nice.  (With the exception of hogging the elevators.  But then there were other times, while waiting for an elevator on a main level, that someone would see me and shout “Let the stroller on first!” so I could actually get on one before everyone else made the mad dash to load first.)

Gandalf visited us in line as we waited for the "Torchwood" panel.

Gandalf visited us in line as we waited for the “Torchwood” panel.

7. BE CONSIDERATE.

Yes, you paid to attend, and you deserve to enjoy it.  But so did/does everyone else.  Don’t let your decision to bring your baby get in the way of others enjoying their con experience.  Be prepared to leave panels early if you need to.  Get a seat on an end, know the route to the exit, and keep your stuff as packed together as possible, so if your baby freaks out and you need to get out fast, you can.  If you need to give your baby toys to keep him happy, give him quiet ones.  If you need to stand and rock him to keep him calm, make sure you’re not blocking anyone else’s view of the stage.

Wait your turn, follow the flow of traffic, and do your very best not to run over people’s toes.  Apologize when you should, and say “excuse me” a lot.  Use your manners!  Other people are going to be in your way, but you’ll be in theirs, too.  Be pleasant, and most people will be pleasant back.

Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard; he was also Karl "Helo" Agathon in BSG), and Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) at the "Dollhouse" panel.

Miracle Laurie (Mellie/November), Tahmoh Penikett (Paul Ballard; he was also Karl “Helo” Agathon in BSG), and Eliza Dushku (Echo/Caroline) at the “Dollhouse” panel.

8. Remember that your baby is more important than your con experience.

Wil was the perfect baby to take to a con.  At two months, he was still sleeping a ton, he could sleep anywhere, and he was perfectly content to just chill in the stroller or on a blanket on the floor, and be held during panels.  He was the sort of rare baby that only cried when something was wrong, too, so as long as I was keeping him fed and in a clean diaper, he almost never cried.  We managed to make it through the whole con without ever having to leave a panel early!

But…I was prepared to leave a panel if I had to.  And I would have.  And there was one day I headed home before I panel I’d hoped to see, because it had been a long day already and I felt like it would be better for him to get home early.  Listen to your baby’s cues, and cut your own fun short when that’s what’s best for him.  If you don’t, he will make you miserable for it anyway, so you might as well enjoy what he lets you and let go of what he won’t!  Be flexible (if this is your first baby, that’s a lesson you’ll have to learn eventually anyway; if it’s not your first, then you already know that).

Managing that mischief, hanging out in line in his "Harry Potter" onesie.

Managing that mischief, hanging out in line in his “Harry Potter” onesie.

If you’re thinking about trying to attend a con with a baby in tow, be assured that it can be done.  But temper your expectations: you will not have the freedom to get the full con experience.  As long as that’s okay with you, then I’d encourage you to do it!  I did see a few other parents with babies and children tagging along, so you won’t be alone.

Baby Browncoat.  This was our "extra" onesie, which I kept in the diaper bag just in case he needed a change of clothes, but we never broke it out during the con!

Baby Browncoat. This was our “extra” onesie, which I kept in the diaper bag just in case he needed a change of clothes, but we never broke it out during the con!

(By the way, I made all of Wil’s onesies for the con, since I didn’t really feel much like dressing up myself at two months post-partem.  I also made him a couple ribbon tag blankets–one “Firefly” and one Star Wars–which are similar to what I now sell in my Etsy shop.)

My little dragonslayers.

My little dragonslayers.

If you do it, I wish you the best of luck!  And if I run into you, I’ll give up my spot on the elevator and hold the door for you. 🙂


Dragon*Con onesies, part II: Embellishing.

Once I finished dyeing my onesies brown and black, I set about embellishing them.

I bought a pack of iron-on letters (I bought them in-store, but I think they were these ones) for my first two onesies.  After counting how many of each letter I had so I knew what I had to work with, I played around with various quotes/words from different fandoms and settled on “mischief managed” from Harry Potter and my favorite Doctor’s catchphrase from Doctor Who.

From the Marauder's Map, introduced in HP3.

From the Marauder’s Map, introduced in HP3.

I cut out my letters and followed the package’s directions for application.  By the way, lining the letters up in a perfectly straight, perfectly spaced line is about the hardest way to do it….hence me doing it for only one line of the two.  Plus, I felt like it made “mischief” look more mischievous this way…

My "Harry Potter" onesie.

My “Harry Potter” onesie.

Next came my tribute to my favorite Doctor:

"Allons-y!"

“Allons-y!”

My letters did not come with any punctuation, so that hyphen was actually cut out from a “Q” I wasn’t going to use.

My "Doctor Who" onesie.

My “Doctor Who” onesie.

Next came the more labor-intensive designs.  For the next two, I bought a few sheets of felt.

Felt.

Felt.

First came a Captain Hammer onesie, from Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog.  I googled a few pictures to get it right, like this one:

Original here

Original here.

Then I sketched a basic hammer design onto a piece of paper, cut it out, traced it onto the felt, and cut out my pieces.

"Stand back, everyone, nothing here to see--just imminent danger; in the middle of it, me!"

“Stand back, everyone, nothing here to see–just imminent danger; in the middle of it, me!”

I hand-sewed the hammer pieces to the yellow backing…

"Yes, Captain Hammer's here, hair blowing in the breeze--the day needs my saving expertiiiiiise!"

“Yes, Captain Hammer’s here, hair blowing in the breeze–the day needs my saving expertiiiiiise!”

…then hand-sewed the whole thing onto a black onesie.

Captain Hammer onesie.

My Captain Hammer onesie.

Next, I planned a minimalist Chewbacca design.  Here’s Chewie, in case it’s been a while:

"Aaauuurwwch!"

“Aaauuurwwch!” Original here.

Here are the felt pieces, cut out and pinned together:

Chewbacca bandolier pieces.

Chewbacca bandolier pieces.

I pinned them all together, then hand-stitched the sides of each grey piece, and all along both edges of the middle brown piece.

Chewie bandolier.

Chewie bandolier.

Then I sewed the whole bandolier across the onesie, trimming the ends at angles to fit.

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The bandolier ends at the seam.

DCO 12

I decided to stitch the top end under the shoulder flap of the onesie, so it wouldn’t interfere with the mechanics of wrestling a onesie over a wiggling baby’s head.

My "Star Wars" Chewbacca onesie.

My Chewbacca onesie.

That gave me four onesies, for all four days of Dragon*Con.  But I had extra onesies, and babies do occasionally need a change of clothes while out and about (after public spit-up fests and diaper blowouts)…so I made one more.

Using this fabric, I cut out the Firefly “Serenity” symbol, leaving a small border that I could hand-stitch under before sewing it onto the onesie.

Serenity symbol.

Serenity symbol.

It would have been nice to find a version with the English text over it the way it’s painted on the ship, to be more recognizable, but I figure any true fan would know it in a heartbeat anyway. 🙂

My "Firefly"/"Serenity" onesie.

My “Firefly”/”Serenity” onesie.

And that concludes the making of my son’s Dragon*Con onesies!

Here’s the full batch:

My son's homemade Dragon*Con onesies.

My son’s homemade Dragon*Con onesies.

And with the two ribbon tag blankets I made for him (the grey one is Star Wars, with this fabric, and the brown one is Firefly, with this fabric):

My two-month-old son's homemade Dragon*Con gear.

My two-month-old son’s homemade Dragon*Con gear.

The Firefly crew background, by the way, is the minky-backed blanket I made for him.  It came in very handy in the air-conditioned hotels during the con!

These were really fun to make, and Wil got lots of “awww”s and a few pictures taken, but I do want to note that these were not the most durable after the con.  The felt began pilling after the first washing, and a few of the letters began to peel a little at the edges, so if you’re thinking about making anything like this for regular wear, you may want to consider using a different type of fabric for the sewn on bits and maybe a fabric pen or fabric paint and stencils for lettering.  Whatever.  Since I made them specifially for a one-time event, it wasn’t a problem that they didn’t hold up as well after.  They served their purpose–letting me “dress up” for Dragon*Con even though, at two months post-partem, I didn’t want to spend much on dressing up myself (got by with a couple oversized Star Wars t-shirts).  It was worth it!


Dragon*Con onesies, part I: Dyeing.

I was just a couple months pregnant when we moved to Atlanta in late 2012.  Nevertheless, I was absolutely determined to make it to Dragon*Con the following fall.  I bought my membership early (after calling their helpline with questions about bringing a two-month-old) and eagerly anticipated attending my very first con.

Of course, I would only be two or three months post-partem by then, so that meant no costumes (1. no way to know what size I’d be then; 2. wouldn’t have time to make one after giving birth; and 3. not investing money in something that would only fit that one year).  But, I’d be bringing Wil with me, so I could dress him up…

I wanted him to be comfortable, so it was an easy choice to keep it low-key with simple embellished onesies instead of true costumes.  I brainstormed quite a few ideas across multiple fandoms.  In the end, I picked ideas from five different fandoms that could be done in just two colors, so I wouldn’t need to buy more than two dyes.

I’d never dyed anything before this project.  I pinned several tutorials (this one and this one have some helpful tips), and researched RIT versus Dylon (and settled on Dylon powder for my project).  Then I bought my materials and got started!

Materials and supplies.

Materials and supplies.

I bought two five-packs of white Gerber onesies (everything I read online about dyeing said to prepare for a few failed tries, so I overbought) and Dylon powder dye in brown and black.

Supposedly you can dye things in your washing machine or in a stainless steel sink, but I didn’t want to risk leftover dye in my washer and I didn’t want to ruin the kitchen sink in our apartment, so I used a plastic bucket that I didn’t mind getting stained (it survived with only a faintly dark line where the water line was highest).  I used a wooden spoon to stir everything and wore rubber gloves.  You’ll also need a glass measuring cup (to initially dissolve the powder dye in) and salt.

My first batch was actually the brown one.  They turned out more…tan.  I did the black ones next, and this time, I used VERY hot tap water, dyed only four of the five onesies, and rinsed them in cold water much more thoroughly, and they turned out just fine.  Redid the brown ones, using only three onesies, and they turned much better than they had the first time.

Instructions.

Instructions.

I followed the instructions on the back of the dye packet pretty closely, but used hotter water and left them in they dye a good bit longer.

Stirring onesies in the dye.

Stirring onesies in the dye.

After prewashing the onesies and leaving them damp, I followed the instructions to dissolve the dye, filled my bucket with hot water, added the salt and dye, and tossed in the onesies.  I stirred them regularly for a good two hours or so.

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The stitching stayed white, but I like the contrast, so I was fine with that.  I rinsed each onesie out in cold tap water (cold helps the dye set) and put them in a glass bowl while I dumped the dye from the bucket.

Rinsing.

Rinsing.

I put the bucket in the sink and filled it partway with cold tap water, resubmerged the onesies, and squeezed and stirred them around.  I left the tap water running, and every time the water filled the bucket about halfway, I dumped it out and refilled it, working the excess dye out of the onesies the whole time.  It took forever for the water to stay clear, but as long as I saw little clouds of bluish black puffing out under the water when I squeezed the onesies, I kept at it.

Black onesies!

Black onesies!

They faded a little after washing, but chalk that up to me being new at this and not really knowing what I’m doing! 😛  They turned out well enough for me!

Part II: Embellishing coming next!  (That’s the fun part!!)


The battle of breastfeeding.

It occurred to me last night, as I wrangled my almost-one-year-old into nursing for all of two minutes, that I think I’m done.  I think I’m ending my breastfeeding journey as of last night.  For many moms, the decision to stop nursing her last baby would probably be a fairly bittersweet moment; for me, it’s mostly just sweet.  I’m proud to say that I breastfed both my kids past eleven and a half months, but it is a relief to be over with it.  And in light of this being something of a milestone in my life as a mom, I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you.

BF Title

1. Breastfeeding is hard.  Yes, it’s “the most natural thing in the world”, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  I figure every kid is a trade-off: no one baby is perfect at everything, so if they’re good in one area, there’s bound to be another that is a constant struggle.  For both my kids, it was breastfeeding/eating.  Kaylie was a fantastic sleeper–she was sleeping in her own room by one month, and sleeping through the night as soon as I would let her (I had to wake her up to feed her from the beginning), but she hated eating.  It wasn’t just breastfeeding–we tried giving her pumped milk from a bottle, a spoon, and even a little medicine cup, and later from sippy and straw cups, and she just did not want it.  Ever.  I had to force feed her at every feeding, and by nine months, our supportive, pro-breastfeeding pediatrician strongly recommended supplementing with formula because she was on the verge of becoming a “failure to thrive” baby.  And Wil, though he started off a little better, was a very distracted, feisty, wiggly eater–but he was the happiest, most low-maintenance baby, who never cried unless something was actually wrong, the rest of the time.  Nursing Kaylie under a cover (I won’t nurse without one in public–personal preference) was difficult, but impossible with Wil, who would refuse to eat until he’d pulled it off of me.  From early on, in the evening, Wil wanted more milk than I was producing, and after a few months of pumping for half an hour every morning to make up for it (usually with a screaming baby and a whining toddler in the background), I ended up supplementing his evening breastfeeding session with a few ounces of formula so I could spend my morning with my kids.  And I decided not long after that (around eight months, I think) to replace two breastfeeding sessions a day with bottlefeeding instead, because he kept biting me (OW!) (he did quit biting me after that–I think he was just bored).  And now, we’re pretty sure he has FPIES (we’re seeing a specialist next month), because he spends the rest of the day vomiting any time he eats anything with grain (rice, oat, or otherwise), so feeding him in general is just an enormous struggle.  So, yeah, breastfeeding is hard sometimes.

Yes, breastfeeding is the most natural and best way to feed your baby, and you should absolutely try to do it.  But if it isn’t easy, you aren’t alone.  Keep trying!  And read #2 below.

2. You need support.  Parenting in general is hard.  But you know what makes it easier?  Finding people to keep in your life that you can go to with questions and for advice–and I feel like this holds doubly true for breastfeeding.  In a culture where formula-feeding is the norm, giving up on breastfeeding when it’s hard can seem like the most logical option.  Surrounding yourself with other mothers, especially mothers currently breastfeeding and likely going through many of the same struggles as you are, is reassuring and encouraging.  Adding in a lactation consultant or two sure helps, too.  The hospital where I had Kaylie had a fantastic nursing moms group that met once a week at the hospital, hosted by at least one lactation consultant every week.  We all sat and chatted and asked questions (of the consultant and of each other, about breastfeeding and everything else) and nursed our babies if they were hungry (and there was a scale to weigh our babies on, if weight gain was a concern).  Being able to sit with a lactation consultant once a week and talk about Kaylie’s issues, and hear from other moms that they were struggling, too, made a huge difference.  It gave me what I needed to keep going another week, and another, and another.  (And it also facilitated finding baby friends for playdates!)

You can ask at your local hospital about a nursing moms group, or find one through La Leche League.  If you’re breastfeeding (or planning t0), I strongly recommend that you try connecting with one of these groups!

3. It’s okay to kind of hate it.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s a hassle.  It sucks (and bites, figuratively and literally).

A lot of moms rave about how breastfeeding is this profound bonding experience for them and their babies.  I didn’t ever get that.  For me, it was always a fight with my babies, which isn’t exactly conducive to “bonding”.  I found my bonding moments elsewhere, and that’s fine.  It’s okay if breastfeeding is something less enjoyable and profound for you than it is for someone else, because every baby and every mom is different.  You aren’t a bad mom if you don’t like breastfeeding.

Also, I couldn’t lose weight past a certain point while breastfeeding.  And with Wil, I can’t eat broccoli and cauliflower (two of my favorite vegetables) or Pizza Hut pizza (my second favorite food of all time).  Well, couldn’t–I know what I’m adding to next week’s dinner menu now that I’m done!!  Bottom line, for some of us, breastfeeding entails more cons than pros, and it’s okay to recognize that and not really like it.

4. Parenting is about sacrifice.  It’s okay that it’s hard, and it’s okay to kind of hate it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try your damnedest to do it.  Parenting is about sacrificing what’s convenient and comfortable for you, in favor of what’s best for your kids.  So, no matter how many cons breastfeeding has, the one pro that matters is that breastmilk is what is healthiest for your baby.  I am proud that I can say that I successfully breastfed both of my kids past eleven and a half months (even if it did include supplemented formula).  It was hard, but I did it.

But you know what else your baby needs?  Sane parents.  So while I strongly encourage all moms to try their hardest to breastfeed, I also know that it isn’t always an option.  I have had friends whose milk never came in (despite weeks of pumping, herbs, and working with a lactation consultant), who have had severe mastitis, or whose babies would only take bottles (so they spent hours every day pumping).  Sometimes, it just doesn’t work, or making it work is just so stressful that your baby isn’t getting what else he needs from you.  Yes, try to breastfeed; but recognize that there is a point (and it’s different for everyone) at which the sacrifice that you need to make is the hope of breastfeeding.  What your baby needs most is not breastmilk; it’s you.  You need to be available to love on your baby, and you can’t do that if you are too stressed or tired or too busy pumping.  You aren’t a bad mom for giving your baby formula when you need to; if the struggle of breastfeeding is taking pieces of you away from your baby, then giving that up is the best thing you can do, and you are a fantastic mom.

5. Products I like.  I’m gonna wrap this up with a few thoughts on what you need (or don’t) to facilitate breastfeeding, because if you’re new at this (or about to start), then you probably have no idea what’s what (I sure didn’t). 🙂

Get a  pump.  Even if you don’t expect to use it.  I have the Medela Swing, and I love it.  It’s perfect for moms who expect to get moderate use from their pumps: it pumps one side at a time, and you can plug it in or run it on batteries.  If you are planning to pump regularly or even exclusively, it’s worth looking into one of the double models (like the Pump in Style, for daily use, or the Freestyle, for mobile use).  If you plan to stay at home and breastfeed exclusively, I’d still recommend getting a manual pump (like this one), because 1) you will be shocked at how huge and uncomfortable and leaky your breasts get when your milk first comes in, and you may need to pump for comfort; 2) you may one day find yourself in a situation where you have to skip a feeding (like when I was re-hospitalized a week after delivery with preeclampsia and had to spend the night away from my baby–or, you know, date nights and such), and you will need to pump for your own comfort and/or to keep your milk supply up; and 3) it never hurts to pump a little extra (especially when your milk first comes in) to freeze in case of emergency (or baby-sitter).  I used my Medela Swing only occasionally when I was nursing Kaylie, but it saw a lot more use with Wil (I used it all weekend of Dragon*Con when he tagged along with me at two months old, where he did much better drinking pumped milk from a bottle than breastfeeding under a cover, and then I used it daily for a few months when I was pumping in the morning because he was drinking more than I was producing in the evening), and it has held up quite well.  I have no complaints with it whatsoever, and would highly recommend it.

Obviously, you’ll need nursing bras.  But here’s the problem: when you’re pregnant and have time to shop, you have literally no idea what size you’re going to need.  Your boobs are going to get HUGE when your milk comes in, and that’s going to last for at least two or three days.  After that, your girls are going to be fluctuating in size every month, week, day, and, sometimes, hour.  It’s ridiculous.  So my two cents is to avoid nursing bras that go by cup sizes, and go for one like this one.  At the very least, get one without cups and that stretches for that first week (or month).  Beyond that, if you have the money to spend on multiple bras in multiple sizes, go for it, but I’m too cheap for that–I have three of the ones I linked, and that’s all I’ve used while nursing both my kids.  It’s comfortable, it’s easy to unclasp and re-clasp at feedings, and it works for me.

There are, like, a million kinds of  nursing pads.  I like these ones.  Unlike some of the flimsier options, these ones absorb a lot and I’ve never once had a problem with leakage through the pad.  Each pad also has an adhesive strip to hold it in place inside your bra, but they stay in place fairly well even without using it (I never used it, because I reuse the pads all day if I’m not leaking, and it seemed annoying to adhere it to the bra only to take it out for feedings and put it back multiple times a day).

You may need nipple cream in the beginning.  A friend recommended Lansinoh before I had Kaylie, but I hated it–it was thick and didn’t spread easily; when you’re dealing with the sore and bleeding aftermath of a bad latch (which can take weeks to recover from), the last thing you want is something that you have to really work to rub in.  I got a sample of this Motherlove stuff in the hospital, and loved it–and I had to use quite a bit in Kaylie’s early nursing days (she was not good at breastfeeding, guys).  I bought more when I had Wil, but he at least figured out his latch a little better, and I didn’t use it as often.  I also tried a Medela sample that the hospital here sent me home with after Wil, and it was almost as good as the Motherlove, but I never needed to buy more, so my experience with the Medela was very limited.

While it’s becoming more culturally acceptable to nurse in public, I was personally uncomfortable with the idea of flashing the world (especially since nursing Kaylie was such a battle–she spent more time off the breast than on at every feeding), so a nursing cover was a necessity for me.  (Some moms can get away with throwing a blanket over their shoulder, but every time I’ve tried it, that thing comes down within seconds; those moms must have babies who are better, calmer eaters than mine ever were.)  I stumbled upon a promo code for a free nursing cover from Udder Covers, and for the price of shipping ($11.95–which was less than the nursing covers I’d been looking at in stores), I got a very functional cover that I used quite often with Kaylie.  The biggest pro is that it had a wire insert along the top so that it arced away from my collarbone, which meant that I could look down at Kaylie while she nursed and it wasn’t as claustrophobic for her.  The biggest con was that it, like most nursing covers, leaves your back exposed if you hike up your shirt to nurse (yeah, I’m too cheap to buy “nursing shirts”).  As I faced the prospect of nursing/pumping at Dragon*Con last year, I wanted something that would cover my back, too, since I anticipated needing it while waiting in line for panels, so I bought a yard of brown knit fabric and used this tutorial to make my own nursing shawl.  Wil hated eating under either cover equally, but the shawl was great to pump under.  I’d recommend either option to anyone, with the word of warning that some babies just won’t nurse under a cover (like Wil).  Udder Covers regularly offers the deal I got; you can usually find the promo code in several of the baby magazines you end up getting mailed constantly after you register for baby stuff (or check online).

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you rock.  Even if it’s hard.  Especially if it’s hard.  You’re not alone, and it does end.  And when it does, you can look back at the battle you’ve fought with pride, knowing that you did the best you could for your baby.  And then you can celebrate with a drink or two, and all the foods that gave him gas. 🙂

 


Corn Flake Chicken.

This is my very favorite chicken recipe.

Corn flake chicken.

Corn flake chicken.

I’m a picky eater.  I don’t actually like meat (of any kind).  But this chicken dish is all crunch and garlic powder, which overtakes the chicken taste, and I love it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

  • 1 lb thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 stick butter

Preheat the oven to 350.

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Start by grinding up two cups of corn flakes.  My method is to dump them into a pie plate…

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…and use a bowl (like a mortar and pestle) to grind them.

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How finely you want to grind them is up to you; I try to avoid too much powder, but don’t leave any flakes whole.

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Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to taste.  I like a lot of garlic powder.  (Like, a lot.  Picture clouds of pale powder puffing up as I toss the flakes to mix it all up.  So. Good.)

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Mix the spices thoroughly into the corn flakes.

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Melt the stick of butter in a bowl or shallow dish.  (I melt it in the bowl I used as a pestle for the corn flakes; I’m all about fewer dirty dishes!)

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Next, set up your assembly line!

I intentionally use thin-sliced chicken for this recipe because I like the corn flake-to-chicken ratio to be as high as possible.  I’ve tried it with larger chicken breasts, and it just isn’t as good!  I’ve stopped buying thin-sliced for everything else, to save money, but this one is worth the higher price.

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Dip (and submerge) each piece of chicken into the butter.

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Coat it with the corn flake mixture.  (I roll it around a few times, then pile corn flakes on top of each side and press them into the chicken to get as much as possible to stick!)

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Arrange the coated chicken in the baking dish.

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Once they’re arranged, I sprinkle any remaining corn flakes over the whole dish, and pour a little bit of the leftover butter in for good measure (I love butter…).

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Pop it in the oven, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

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Done!

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Delicious golden goodness…

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Corn Flake Chicken

  • 1 lb thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 cups corn flakes, ground
  • ½ Tbsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix corn flakes, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in shallow dish.
  3. Dip chicken in butter, then coat in corn flake mixture.
  4. Arrange coated chicken in baking dish.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 


Library remodel.

Sorry for the lull in posts lately–Kaylie had VBS every day last week, which threw our usual schedule through a loop, and my brother moved in with us, so our lives got flipped upside-down a little bit.  We’re adjusting. 🙂

I think we’re long overdue for some pictures of my favorite remodeling project in our new house: my library!

I have quite a few books.  We had three cheap bookshelves–two tall, one short–back in Indiana, and my books had long ago overflowed their allotted space by the time we decided to move to Atlanta.  So after I packed up my books, I sold my itty-bitty cheap-o bookshelves at a garage sale so we’d have to buy nicer, bigger bookshelves in Atlanta.  Once we bought our house, we decided to hire someone to build us custom shelves in the basement bedroom.

So here are a couple of before pictures:

From the listing, before we bought the house.

From the listing, before we bought the house.

Before we built our shelves.

And before we built our shelves.

We hit a small snag in our plans when we had a pipe burst in our laundry room…we had water damage all the way into the bedroom closet.  We had to deal with that before we could install the shelves, but they were worth the wait!

Empty shelves.

Empty shelves.

The shelves on the wall with the window extend all the way to the corners of the room for extra space (which I’ve already begun to fill).  And we asked for lights over the bench under the window, for a reading nook!  I have yet to make a cushion for the bench, but that will happen eventually.

Sorting the first eleven boxes.

Sorting the first eleven boxes.

I had eleven boxes of books, plus about another boxful distributed randomly among other boxes as I either found books out of place or bought more after packing the ones on/near the shelves.  And then my dad passed along another three boxes of books I’d offered to take when they pared down to move into their RV (I think I have more on the way, too!).

Organized!

Organized!

We also installed new blinds, since the old ones wouldn’t close all the way and were about to fall off of the wall.  We figured my brother would appreciate working blinds in “his” room, since this is where he’ll be living while he’s with us.

Sometimes I come down here and stare at them.  So. Pretty.

Sometimes I come down here and just stare at them. So. Pretty.

I’d love to bore you with my organizational system, but I’ll spare you.  I’m quite proud of it, and very happy with my new library! 🙂


Busy.

I feel like I’ve been slacking a bit here on my blog.  Don’t worry, I have excuses! 😛

No, actually, blogging has been a good outlet for me, and I am committed to continuing.  But the rest of my life has been a bit crazier than usual, so, while I’ve managed to get a few posts up this month, I haven’t had the time to write much, and it’s looking like that trend is going to continue a bit longer….

Here’s what’s going on at the moment:

1.  My brother is moving in with us on Monday!  He just graduated from high school and is heading to college in Texas in the fall, but since my parents just moved into an RV, that means he gets live with us for summers!  We’re quite excited to have him….but it has meant that we really needed to tackle unpacking all those boxes downstairs to get his room in live-able condition.  The good news is, his room is about half an hour’s worth of work away from being as good as it’s going to get; the bad news is, we still have boxes in the main room down there that aren’t unpacked yet (we moved seven months ago…..).

2.  We’ve had stuff going on.  We’re not typically busy people.  We intentionally try to avoid getting too busy.  But, for some reason, we’ve either gone to some get-together or had people over here six out of the last ten days (plus a houseguest for a few days), and we have similar plans for at least another five days.  It’s a bizarre new trend for us, and it leaves little time in the evening to get anything else done.

3.  I finally got my Etsy shop up!  And then, while unpacking downstairs, I found some leftover “Firefly” fabric from a previous project, so I’ll be able to get a few new items up in my shop sooner than I’d anticipated!  I’ve already started working on them.

4.  I’m a full-time mom first.  And both my kids have been getting sick lately.  Kaylie had strep, so that was a solid week of her not feeling very well, and Wil still has issues eating anything with grain in it, so I spent most of Sunday covered in vomit while he slept on my lap between puking episodes (fortunately, I had just discovered that Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” is now on Netflix–and can I just take a moment to say that the “Buffy”/”Angel” fan in me was rejoicing to see Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker finally get a happy ending?), and this week, they have colds.  Sick kids need a lot of time and attention, so other stuff falls through the cracks.

5. And finally, I have begun the arduous process of moving my blog.  While I love almost everything about WordPress, I have come to the conclusion that the possibility to earn a little money, however small the amount, doing what I’m already doing, is worth the hassle of moving to Blogspot.  But since I only have a few months’ worth of posts, I’m copying every post over to my new blog before I begin posting new material there.  So I will keep posting here until I am completely caught up, at which point I will shift to posting new material there.  For my WordPress followers, I will keep this blog open so that I can alert you to new posts on Blogspot and link you to them, so you will not need to re-follow me there unless you want to.  You can check out my progress on the new blog here!

So, all that to say, you may be in for some lazy posts in the coming weeks.  I have more recipes and tutorials planned, but I just don’t have the time to put together longer posts with lots of pictures right now.  I will get back to those soon!

Our Sunday afternoon.

Our Sunday afternoon.