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henry happened: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Paper Coterie {last day to enter!}

Preschool starts next Tuesday, and I ordered the Memory Keeper Box to keep Caroline's art organized this year. It's Begin Anywhere Month at Paper Coterie, and I'm starting by getting organized. Caroline will get a kick out of putting her masterpieces in here.

Her picture is sort of goofy, but I thought it was appropriate to use a picture from our DIY Derby Hat project since she still loves that hat.

Today is the last day of $40 and free shipping Paper Coterie giveaway - 10 people will win!!

Click HERE to enter.

Any tips on organizing kids art? I admit the vast majority of it goes in the recycling bin.

DIY Fringe Purse + Shoes

You guys liked the fringed clutch in this outfit so I'm going to show you how I made it. Super duper easy. I spotted a fringe how-to by one of my favorite bloggers, I Spy DIY. Anything no sew gets a thumbs up from me.

I bought a yard of fringe trim and only needed about a foot for the purse, so I decided to dress up some shoes too.

For the purse, you'll need:
  • Clutch or purse with straps you want to remove
  • Fringe trim (mine is from JoAnn's)
  • Double sided tape
For the shoes, you'll need:
  • Shoes with ankle strap. A bit of Southwestern vibe helps.
  • Fringe trim
  • Glue

For the purse, cut off the straps (if needed) and attach a piece of double sided tape on the underside of the purse flap. Attach fringe. Voila!

For the shoes, cut two pieces of fringe. One for the heel and one for the ankle strap. Be sure not to go past where you clasp the shoe! Attach with glue and let dry. So fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Does this Blog Make My Butt Look Big?


I've noticed a rather striking coincidence. I started writing this blog in February, and 6 months later none of my pants fit. I've gained 7 pounds. On a good day.

Last fall I felt all svelte when I replaced my size 12s with size 10s. Now my jeans are still tight after a day of wearing them.

I don't mind being a size 12 - I think I've pretty much been that size since high school. It's just frustrating to have put so much energy and time into losing my 47 pounds of baby weight - and a few more in addition! - and then start feeling it creep back on.

Fortunately, I'm cheap enough that I'd rather lose a few pounds that buy all new pants. Here's my "butt in gear" plan:

1. Change the motivation.

I'm so tired of trying to get skinny. I want to be strong.

2. Get serious about planning meals - all of them.

Last week I attempted to follow a dinner meal plan from Clean Eating magazine. Great in theory but executing 5 new recipes in one week was too much. We ended up ordering pizza one night (when mommy needed a nap at 4pm) and making easy quesadillas another.

Does anyone else find lunch equally stressful? The cafeteria is what I miss most about working. (Ok, the paycheck wasn't bad either.) I usually wait until I'm ravenous and scarf down a PB&J standing at the counter. There's about 5 bad habits in that one sentence.

3. Snack happy.

My downfall comes at 3pm when my sweet tooth kicks in. Last summer, I religiously ate a snack recipe from the Flat Belly Diet: 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup strawberries. Those 400 calories made me deliriously happy every afternoon.

4. Splurge if you need to.

Mark and I are splurging on a few sessions with a trainer to learn how to do weight training at home. I bought an elastic band for $7 at Target and that's all we need to do a few simple exercises twice a week.

5. Get your dance on.

I would rather poke myself in the eye than run on a treadmill. Thank goodness for Zumba. Our trainer recommends 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise a week. That's two Zumba class and an evening walk outside. Seems doable.

6. Purify.

I'm going to try a cleanse. Not a hard core water/cayenne/molasses kind of cleanse. But a Renew Life First Cleanse while eliminating caffeine, sugar, and gluten. I may try Gwyneth's meal plan.

What are your diet/exercise tips? What works for you?

Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY $1 Polka Dot Sunglasses

What do you think of my Dollar Store sunglasses? I could not resist going at them with a Sharpie to get in on the polka dot trend!

So many fun possibilities with colored pens - I want to go buy five more pairs!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Size 12 Style | Glitter and Fringe

Can I just say how much fun it is to get dressed up? For someone who spends their days in yoga pants, this is quality entertainment.

I feel like a total fool in the pictures (hence not looking at the camera) and I'm even more embarrassed to publish (who do I think I am?). But it is so much fun!

Mark and I went out on a date night last week, and I took the opportunity to show off a couple of my latest DIYs. The glitter belt (done the same time as the glitter shoes) and my fringed clutch (coming soon).

We had a fun meal and then saw Crazy Stupid Love. Highly recommend. Julianne Moore and Emma Stone? Yes, please.

I hope everyone survived the weekend storms! The fun giveaway I had planned for today will have to wait because the shop is closed due to flooding. I'm so thankful my family in Virginia and Philadelphia are okay!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Kitchen | Mussels Italiano

I started the weekend early & unplugged on Friday. I kinda needed the break. And tomorrow Caroline comes home!! I'm totally missing her.

But I'm popping in to share one of latest favorite weekend recipes. I never, ever thought I would love mussels (I grew up not eating seafood at all) but they are now one of my favorite foods.

Plus they go great with white wine and bread - two of my other favorite foods.

After reading that mussels are low in calories and high in protein I bought 2lbs on a whim. I highly recommend cooking these up as soon after buying as possible. Keeping them a couple of days won't do your fridge any favors.

In my 4 o'clock dinner panic I did my usual online recipe searching, i.e., Googling "easy ___ recipe." The one that most closely matches the ingredients I have on hand is the winner!

Caroline wouldn't touch any of the "normal" stuff on her plate but she ate more than a dozen of these guys. She loved them!

And I have to show you the patented Gerber mussel technique. ;)

I definitely need to cook more seafood. I might try a whole fish next! Any tips??

Mussels Italiano

Recipe adapted from Food.com

What you need:
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
What to do:

Helpful Storage Tips: Immediately discard any mussels that are chipped, broken or open. If you are not cooking them right away, cover with damp paper towels in a container that can be tightly closed and store in the refrigerator.

1. Just before cooking, wash the mussels in several changes of cold water.

2. Melt butter in a medium sized pot; saute onions til clear.

3. Add garlic& stir for another minute.

4. Add tomato, oregano, salt & pepper and cook until tomato is soft.

5. Add wine & bring to a slow boil.

6. Put mussels into pot, cover & steam for 4 minutes; remove the lid & stir the mussels.

7. At this point, most of the mussels should be open; replace the lid and steam for another 2 - 4 minutes. Discard any that don't open.

8. Serve with bread to sop up the broth!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Home Depot Bracelet

I told you I've been stalking Home Depot. Last time I was there I picked up this metal thingy. I'm sure there's a technical term for it. (Just checked with my dad - it's a hose clamp!)

Its unique industrialness appealed to me. For $1.30, why not? (I also could not resist the 80 cent small version as a ring.)

The best part - it's adjustable! You just turn the little screw to make it as small as you need for your wrist.

To add a bit of color, I weaved in some 1/4 inch ribbon. But I also like it plain.

Glue the ends with E-6000 and clamp to dry.

Now if I can just figure out what to do with the paint chips I pilfered....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work the Metal / Outfit 2

Last one, whew! (Here's outfit #1 and outfit #2.)

This is a piece of orange chain about a foot long. Yes, it came in this fun color! And I used a ribbon as a closure. I'm loving it as a statement necklace!

I love dresses like this even though I always look about 4 months pregnant. It's so comfortable that maybe it's worth it. Good for my Spanx stock.

Work the Metal / Outfit 1

I got a little over excited in the chain section of Home Depot. So this is going to be a 3-part series today of my "work the metal" outfits. Yep, you will be sick of me! I have a new respect for Tyra - posing still feels weird and 3 outfit changes is hard work.

My plan was to spray paint these chains gold. But the spray paint I bought totally faked me out - instead of gold it was silver! Huh? The can top lied to me!

I'm pretty sure the folks at Home Depot think I'm a total nut wandering up and down the aisles, trying plumbing tubes on my arms and ferreting away paint chip cards. To avoid another trip I decided, as Tim Gunn would say, to Make It Work.

The chains come in so many different sizes, weight and styles. My favorite is the long one here. I love it as a necklace but it would also be a great bracelet cut down to the right length. I probably wouldn't wear the bracelet like this - it's too long, but you get the idea.

What do you think - would you wear heavy metal as jewelry?

P.S. It's not even that heavy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Peak into Missoni's Milan Home

I've been thinking about Missoni since the blogosphere is abuzz with their Target line launching soon. (And because Miss Margherita is so darn stunning.)

I dug up some photos from a 2007 issue of House & Garden featuring the stunning Milan apartment of Rosita Missoni. The house has such a fun blend of colors and patterns but it doesn't overwhelm. It feels comfortable. Confident.

Says Rosita, "You need to create a comfortable nest, but also to stir the senses and arouse curiosity with beautiful and unusual things."

I love it when people have the confidence to buy and display quirky things because they love them. That makes them work.

Photos from House & Garden via Camilla Alfthan.

18 Months + 1st Haircut

Henry is 18 months today!

He got his first hair cut this weekend, and I must say, he looks like such a little man. I love, love his curls - it will be so cute if he has curly hair. He was super sleepy during the cut which is why he looks a little zoned out!

Awhile back I posted about Henry's therapy so I thought I would give a quick update. It's crazy how much he has changed in just a couple of months.

He's now walking - and this close to running! It's the cutest thing to watch him toddle around. Though I kind of want to get him a helmet because he doesn't pay a lot of attention to things like, say, door jams.

He loves to wave to everyone we pass in the park and is the cutest at peekaboo. He signs for "more" like a champ. The speech is coming along but already there is so much less frustration.

We survived last week's teething and ear infection, and now he is soaking up the attention since Caroline is at my parents. He just lights up. My sweet boy :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Buried Under Magazines!

I admit it - I am a magazine junkie. It's like a bad episode of Hoarders here at the Gerbers. Magazine stacks are everywhere!

I kid you not that I have more than a dozen magazine subscriptions (thanks to frequent flyer miles I only pay for one - People - but shouldn't since I now have a free subscription for that one too). I am especially bad at airports. Like I need to add 3 heavy magazines to my carry on when I'm already juggling 2 kids and enough snacks to feed an army.

My favorites: People, Allure (not pictured) and RealSimple. These I actually sit down and read.

September Must-Haves: How can you resist the fall fashion issues? I got the most out of InStyle and People StyleWatch.

My ripped out pages are floating around everywhere. Does anyone have a good organization system I can borrow steal?

Anyone else a magazine junkie too? What are your favorites?

Guest Post + DIY Beauty

Before you read further, go check out my guest post on Rebecca's lovely blog, A Daily Something. I'm sharing my secret to iced coffee!

You're dying to brew up a batch of iced coffee now, right? When you do, here's an excellent treat for your skin after you've treated your tastebuds - a wet body scrub! The perfect recycling so the grounds don't go to waste.

For the at home spa treatment: Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1 cup of coffee grounds and add a couple of tablespoons of honey.
Bonus: Coffee is said to improve cellulite!

Before you start your shower, rub the mixture into your skin, starting at your feet and working your way up. You can use a gentle exfoliating cloth to rub it in or use your hands like I did. Rinse in the shower and then pat dry. Your skin should feel so soft and silky that you won't need additional moisturizer.

Now, this will make a bit of a mess in the shower so you'll probably need to give it a wipe down after to get rid of all the grounds. Mine easily went down the drain.

And I smelled like Eau de Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla all day! (Ok, not really, but I wouldn't mind if I did.)