28 April 2014

Chopping the Mop

My hair is now shorter than it has been since I was a toddler.

It was time for my annual haircut. (Yeah, you read that adjective right.) I was pretty sure I had enough to donate, this time to Children With Hair Loss. We measured--I barely had the required 8", but I had it as long as I was willing to part with it.

And so I did! B's aunt has a mobile hair business, where she comes to your house and does your hair. It's kinda cool, but I was skeptical. We did most of it during Cora's nap, and then B came home from work and dealt with her.

Will I ever get my hair cut in my house again? Not sure. I wasn't over the moon about it, even though it seems like a good idea. Maybe it was the lack of looking at myself in the mirror for the whole time? Possibly. (Don't judge.) Was it because Cora came in the kitchen barefoot and started tracking little hairs all over the place? Perhaps. If I only get one haircut a year, maybe I WANT to be away from my house for that hour? Yeah, that's probably it.

Okay, enough yammering already. Time for pics. Because who reads a blog post about hair-chopping and really cares about the preface text?

Close-up from the selfie I took Friday.

The ponytails:
Hint: Always braid. And have rubber bands on hand if someone is making a house call. :-/
And after:

[Also, I have come to the conclusion that my left eye just doesn't open as much as my right one for pictures. Or ever? Vanity, oh vanity.]

After all was said and done yesterday, I decided to reflect back on all the other times I have donated my hair. I realized that I started doing it a DECADE ago. Right around this time of year, too. Four donations, 38" x at least 2 ponytails each time. That is over 6 feet of hair, my friends.

Unfortunately, I don't have an accessible picture from my first donation back in 2004, but the rest were on Facebook (and I even blogged about the previous one). I also realized I have donated hair in every state I have lived in (but not every city).

Here's a short recap!

Jacksonville, FL: 2006 before
2006 after
2010 before. This picture just makes me feel hot and itchy.
2010 after
I think the 2010 hair was my favorite. But I'll be rockin' my short lil' bob for a few months now (until it grows out and I don't get it taken care of when I should).

25 April 2014

7QT: In Which I Mostly Talk About Clothing

Let's start with Easter, my favorite holiday ever. If you're a Christian, it should probably be your favorite, too, since our religion wouldn't exist without it.

It was a beautiful day here, and we went over to B's grandmother's house and had a great time.

Aren't we adorbs?

I made my momma's strawberry cake, per tradition. This was actually my first Midwestern Easter (I went back to GA last year), and I'm not sure they quite understand this up here.

If this was in Georgia, I would have NEVER been sent home with this much cake left.

(Easter is NOT a time for moderation, people!)

While I didn't quite find an Easter dress for Cora, I love the cute little outfit I got her. I also got myself a new dress, and I'm in love with it.

Dress is from NY&Co. Cora's outfit is from Babies R Us
Speaking of clothing, in a mom's online group I'm in, there was much discussion over this article on Babble.

It basically goes through 5 mom no-no's and some alternatives. (Go read it, it's mostly pictures.) Some people said it was judgmental and condescending; others said it wasn't practical. And some were put off by the referral links to things out their own price range.

But I mostly agree with the article. In a way none of the other moms did. I'm not one for crop pants much, but I liked all the other styles. (And yes, mamas, there are nursing-friendly dresses out there. I have 2 in my closet.)

The biggie-offenders in that list, though, are the sneakers and the schlubby sweats look. I really like Carolynne's minimalist series over at FLAP, especially in which she makes the point that if you don't own it, you can't wear it. Therefore, you will always look good! I don't own any yoga pants, so I seriously cannot make the 'tired mom' excuses and sell myself short and wear them out of the house.

Really, my gym clothes are reserved for the gym. Always. I used to wear sneakers out, but I always hated how they looked (they were generally my former running shoes), so I found a nicer alternative in ballet flats, alpargatas, and boots when it's cold and/or snowy.

In related news, this is what I wore when I took my 2-year-old to the library this morning. It was 45° and raining, and sitting on the floor was involved. I was comfortable, I think I look good, and I felt confident in myself.

Sweater: NY&Co. clearance rack
Pants: Aeropostale
Belt: Old Navy
Shoes: Bongo from Sears
If it tells you anything, I'm still wearing the entire ensemble, minus the shoes, just lounging around the house.

I also learned that the camera on my phone has a self-timer. Who knew.

Can I just rave about those pants a minute? Yes, they are from the store's "uniform collection," but I seriously don't care. They were $15, and they are the most comfortable pants ever. Soft cotton twill, a good amount of stretch, and still a nice skinny cut in short length for my little stubs. I had been looking for a pair of khakis for a while after taking a cue from my husband. He wears khakis all the time, and he always looks put-together.

Aaaand, after praising the hubs on that, I just noticed he's wearing jeans in that Easter picture above. But hey, collared shirt!

A picture of Cora eating cake? Don't mind if I do.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

17 April 2014

Conjunctivitis and Holy Week

I guess it wouldn't be a proper Holy Week without a nice dose of suffering.

Somehow I ended up with conjunctivitis in not one, but both eyes. Ugh. I have a hard time with eye stuff. I don't wear contacts and the mere thought of eye drops makes me squirm. Luckily, I was offered the option of an ointment, but it still freaks me out. It turned out it wasn't just my eyes. Stuffy nose and ears too, which has also been causing me some lightheaded-ness and not-so-good feelings.
Check out the swell on the one on the right.
p.s. I will never apologize for my eyebrows. That's some half-Lebanese goodness right there.

We also woke up to snow two days ago, which was, well, it was fine. Sure, I complained a bit, but at least we didn't have to shovel it!

My husband has been absolutely awesome dealing with poor ol' me. It just so turns out that his 2 days off this week were Tuesday and Wednesday, the two days I felt the most absolutely miserable. He lived out his fantasy of being a SAHD while I woke up with my eyes sealed shut and then stayed quarantined in our room. Because the last thing we want is for anyone else to catch this crap.
My lovely cave. Blurry pic because, well, because I can't freakin' see.
I think if this had to happen, I'm kinda happy it's now. I can focus more clearly on how Jesus suffered so much more than I ever will--and all I can think of is that scene in The Passion of the Christ where a crow starts pecking out his eye after he dies on the cross. (Yuck.) So thank you, Jesus, for your suffering. And thank you, crows, for not pecking out my eyes. (I haven't seen that movie in 10 years, so I hope I didn't make that thing up about the crow. I don't remember mention of it in the Bible.)

I have so many reasons to look forward to Easter, the least of which is my optical issue.

11 April 2014

7 Quick Takes: Books, Brackets, Bunnies

I finished another book for the year, my third . . . and my 3rd conversion memoir. Those things suck me in! Girl At The End of the World just blew my mind. Elizabeth Esther (the author) blogs over yonder. I luckily never knew such abuse as a child. And some of the theology that she was brought up with--yeesh. (There was one thing about a woman's soul being subject to a man's soul that had me hollering, "Are you kidding me?!" over and over and over.)

I'm joining a Catholic women's book club soon, and I might be suggesting this one. There were even discussion questions in the back, so I guess that makes it book club material??

Also, it's kinda cool knowing you're the first person to read a library book! It was on order when I put it on hold.

I realized the reason I hardly finished any books last year.

It was because my 'fun reading' looks like this:

Yes, that's 5 books all at once. I did sorta make it through the potty-training one, and it was not for me. According to that book, my kid is already potty-trained. The author also made it sound like no one in their right mind would use cloth diapers, so that's just a no. I returned it to the library a few days ago. I think I'm going to focus on the Jesuit Guide and let the others just collect dust/overdue fines for a bit.

So how did everyone do with their March Madness brackets??

Here are ours:

Cora's brackets were done mostly with a very scientific coin-toss method. Needless, to say, she came in 3rd for both men's and women's. I won the women's bracket with a very nice score of 135. I really feel that if we had no ties to Notre Dame at all, I could have done even better. But we both picked ND to win over UConn because that's what we wanted. One year I did a 'fantasy bracket' where I had my team (Georgia) win the whole thing (it's never actually happened), and then did a more realistic bracket instead. Maybe that's what I need to do again.

I only caught parts of the men's final match (in all honestly, I never cared much for men's basketball), but I did watch almost all of the women's final game online. Since we don't have cable, the only way to [legally] view it was on ESPN's website. However, it was the 'multi-cam' view. It turns out that meant there were no announcers. It was just the sound of the game being played. It was sort of interesting, mostly in that I could hear a little bit of what the players were yelling to each other. And I didn't have to listen to the same things being said over and over again by the commentators.

Our Y had the Easter Bunny come last week, and Cora called him "Peter Rabbit" (we read that one a lot). But she wasn't too keen on getting a pic with him.

Why are the Easter Bunnies so odd-looking? I've never seen one I like.

Tonight (Friday), we had B's aunt, uncle, and grandma over for dinner. I'm trying to host dinner for someone at least once a month because it forces me to keep a clean house. It's also rather fun. I made macaroni and cheese using half gouda/half cheddar, and it was delicious. I also made my own fresh breadcrumbs for the first time ever. (Um, that was easy. Never buying those again.)

We finished off dinner with another first for me, monkey bread:

I made this completely from scratch, using the recipe from America's Test Kitchen. (Which, by the way, is a book I still do not own--I just keep checking it back out of the library.) There's another method out there that uses refrigerated biscuit dough, and honestly, I think I'll be using that from now on. Sure, this one was great, but it was a lengthy process that involved letting the dough rise 2 different times. If I had done the biscuit method, we might have actually gone outside and done something this morning.

I'm so glad it's finally warm and beautiful here. We even took our dinner guests on a walk around our street after filling our bellies. But flower names. Freakin' flower names, man. Every time I'm with older women, they look over yonder and ask me, "Oh, are those crocuses?" (Please tell me this happens to other females.) I recognize pansies and daffodils, but only after they've already bloomed, and that's all you'll get from me. I'm sure I learned other ones at some point, but it's been a long winter.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

09 April 2014

Meatless Meal: Spinach with Couscous and Pears

With one 'normal' meatless Friday left this Lent, I present to you a meatless recipe! Hey, some people do meatless Fridays throughout the year, so I guess this would be relevant any time. We've eaten this other times of year, too! We love it, and it's surprisingly filling.

Spinach With Couscous and Pears

Yield: about 6 servings

2 cups whole-wheat couscous
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups water*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups baby spinach
2 pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

*If you want to make this non-veg, sub 2 of the cups of water with chicken broth and omit salt in step 2. I guess you could use vegetable broth, but I haven't tried it and can't vouch for it.

1. Toast couscous in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 2. Pour the 3 cups of water and some salt to the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in the toasted couscous, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 12 minutes.
3. Transfer couscous to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Stir in oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt. 4. Toss with spinach and pears, top with goat cheese and serve. You can leave it out to serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate.

I prefer this salad with warm couscous, so I only mix the amounts I need at the time and keep the couscous in its own container in the fridge so I can heat it up for leftovers.

Adapted from All You, November 2013