Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Baaaaack!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Ok, I know it's been WAY too long since I posted and, as a result, probably most of the people who used to read my blog have stopped checking it. I'm so sorry, please come back, I'm so needy!

So, a big reason for my extended absence has been the fact that my friend, Heather, and I have been starting a little side business making cakes. We aren't like a real business or anything yet, no business license or anything, but we're hoping to get there some day. For now, we're just getting clients by word of mouth and working out of my kitchen. It's been keeping us pretty busy so far. We've done about 5 cakes so far and we have another 4 booked for the next couple weeks, plus our first wedding cake that we'll be doing in August! Here are a few pics of some of the cakes we've done so far:

Superhero cake for a four-year-old's birthday


Snoopy's dog house, plus a Woodstock "smash cake" for a one-year-old's birthday


Graduation cake- this also included a "diploma" made from a pizzelle, which was added last minute to keep it fresh.

Another thing that has been keeping me busy- we've been working on potty training with Juliana! She's kind of resistant- you can tell she'd much rather be playing than training (who wouldn't?) but she's also done pretty well. We spent one weekend really focusing on it and the second day she had six successes and only one small accident. The problem has been keeping it up, especially since we all got sick a couple weeks ago. Plus the antibiotics she's taking for a sinus infection combined with getting her last two baby molars in kind of reeks havoc with her....system, shall we say? So we're holding off on doing another big training session until she's all better. I'm sure that she'll catch on soon, though, she's a very smart girl!


So, I resolve to start posting more! Along with our upcoming cakes, new projects include sewing underwear- yes, you heard me right- thank you, Sarah, and possibly some more painting. So stay tuned for that...please....I did mention how fabulous you look today, right??

Friday, August 7, 2009

Crafts Part 2: Sewing

Friday, August 7, 2009
First off, sorry about the huge time gap between these posts. My first project from my sewing kick was a baby sling. We have a lot of friends having babies this year, so I was looking for something to make for friends having boys, friends having girls, and friends who didn't know what they were having. My mom and I made a baby sling for me when I was pregnant and Juliana loved it. It was pretty easy to make, plus buying a baby sling in the store can be pretty pricey, so I thought it would be a good idea. The pattern I used can be found at mykarmababy.com. I also used the scrap fabric to decorate some burp cloths and a bib.

I didn't think to take any pictures of the stuff I recently made for people before I sent them off, so here's a pic of the sling I made with my mom for Juliana.

This project got me into a sewing kick, so I looked online for some easy sewing projects. I found a pattern for a tote bag on sewmamasew.com. I wanted a diaper bag that looked less like a diaper bag and more like a purse and this one fit the bill. Plus it has a roomy pocket on the front for Jelly's sippy cups. So I made a couple for myself, so I could switch them out when one needed washing. I liked making them so much that I decided to start a shop on etsy.com so that I could sell them. I've only posted two bags so far (neither have sold yet) but I'm sewing more now, following a brief hiatus due to my mom breaking her ankle, and hope to be posting more within the next week or so.

Here are some pictures of my first two bags to be posted for sale on Etsy:
I like this picture because it shows how much the bags can hold.

So if you're in the market for some shopping bags (especially if they pass that dumb "charging for plastic grocery bags" law) or just a tote/beach bag, check out my Etsy shop, Bethany's Bags.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My latest craft projects- Part I: Paintings

Thursday, June 11, 2009
I tend to go through phases when it comes to crafts. One month I'll be into scrapbooking, the next month all I'll want to do is knit scarves. I've had to scale back on my crafting time considerably since Juliana was born, but recently, what with my dad and my mother-in -law retiring, I've had a lot more time to dedicate to making things. Earlier this year, I found a blank artist's canvas in a box of my old crafting supplies. I had just seen an episode of Martha Stewart, where she decorated a plain canvas tote bag by painting leaves and pressing them to the canvas (tutorial here). I thought it sounded like a great idea for my old blank canvas, so I gave it a try with some paints that coordinated well with our linens in our bedroom- green for the background, with gold and chocolate brown pressed leaves.


I thought it turned out pretty good, but the canvas looked too small to hang anywhere in our room by itself, so I bought two more in the same size and painted them both in the same color scheme, but opposite- chocolate brown background, with gold and green leaves this time- and hung them over the bed in a row.

When I had gone to JoAnn's to buy the canvases, I found that they had a really big selection of canvases for pretty reasonable prices, so I thought I'd be brave and buy a 16"x24" canvas- the biggest I'd ever gotten. I had colors in mind, but that was about it. So I searched Google Images for bamboo, cherry blossoms, trees- anything that was drawn as a silhouette, because I'm not the best painter =) I found a great drawing of a kind of African-looking tree, so I enlarged it, cut it out, traced it onto the canvas and painted it. Cam had the idea for making the sun rays fade out and Tawnya had the idea to off center the tree. So it was a bit of a collaboration, idea-wise. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.


Since I thought that painting was kind of Asian-looking, plus we have a lot of other Asian art in our room, I decided to paint something representative of my background: Swedish. So I thought I'd paint a phrase or saying or something simple in Swedish, along with the famous Dala horse, and some other folksy-looking decoration around the border. I started googling Swedish prayers and found a wikipedia page with the Lord's prayer translated into many different languages, including Swedish. This prayer was something waaaaay longer than I intended to do for this painting, but once the idea was there, I really wanted to do it. I remembered seeing a long, narrow canvas at JoAnn's that would be perfect for this. The problem was that I have terrible handwriting, so how would I make this look nice? I finally came up with the idea of buying a large pack of alphabet letters intended for scrapbooking, sectioning off the canvas where I wanted the lines to be, and spelling the prayer out in the letters. I then painted over the stickers in the barn red color I'd picked out. Once it was all dry, I peeled off the stickers, did some touch-ups with white paint, and voila! Perfect lettering! I used the same method to paint the Dala horse as I did with the tree in my last painting, added some fair isle stars and I was done.


I made a smaller painting for my Grandma Gerhardt after this one- just a short, Swedish table prayer with a border of small Dala horses and Swedish hearts, but I didn't take any pictures before I gave it to her.

And thus ended my painting phase (for now). Next time......Sewing!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Winetasting in Yakima

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
My parents, Tawnya, Nick and Beth had been planning a wine-tasting trip to the Yakima Valley for a while, but I didn't think I could go, so I just jealously listened to their plans. Then I remembered that my mother-in-law just retired and would relish the opportunity to have Juliana for an entire day, so I decided to join them last Friday. Of course, since it was a Jelly-less trip, I didn't think to bring my camera, so, sorry, no pictures- at least, not my own pictures.

I went over with Tawnya, Mom, and Dad in Tawn's car. We got there about a half hour before Nick and Beth, so we went ahead to our favorite Yakima restaurant, Miner's for lunch. If you are ever in Yakima, I strongly recommend stopping by for one of their huge Miner's burgers or delicious shakes. I had a cheeseburger and shared some curly fries and a Snickers shake with my sister. It was insanely delicious. Not only do they put chunks of Snickers in there, but extra peanuts, peanut butter, and chocolate sauce. I think it's also so good because they start with chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla with chocolate sauce added. I don't even want to think about the calories in that shake.


After Nick and Beth finished their lunch, we headed first to a winery called Piety Flats. It is operated inside an old-fashioned mercantile. They have lots of fun wine related products, like cute wine glass coasters, wine glass charms, bottle holders, things of that sort. We tried several wines there including a Black Muscat, which I purchased on our last wine tasting trip a few years ago- very good, but I think I'm starting to like drier wines now, this was a bit too sweet for me. Hey, maybe my tastes are maturing! My mom and dad bought a bottle of the Black Muscat there.


Next we went to Silver Lake- a favorite of my mom's. I went to this winery on our last trip a few years ago, before reading the Twilight series, so for some reason when I read New Moon, I pictured the vampire city of Volterra to look something like this winery. There's something kind of Italian looking about the vineyards, plus it's up on a hill, and the first time I went it was hot and very windy, so this probably contributed to my mental picture of Volterra. Maybe I'm just silly. My parents bought a bottle of Roza Rose there, it was a couple dollars more than it might be in the store (which seems screwy to me, since purchasing straight from the winery cuts out the middle man) but they got it anyway because they haven't seen it in any store for a long time. I think Beth got something there too, but I'm not sure what.


We called a couple vineyards next before we went anywhere because my mom was looking for a wine barrel to make into a table and we didn't want to have to drive to all these wineries if they didn't have any. We didn't have any luck, so we drove to one of Beth's favorite wineries next, Eaton Hill Winery. We spent the most time there, tasting about 12 different red and white wines. We also purchased the most there, too. I bought a bottle of their silver and bronze medal winning 2004 Reisling. Mom and Dad got two bottles of the same, along with a bottle of their Sun Glow. Tawnya got a couple bottles, I'm not sure what of, as did Nick and Beth. Since we were getting so much, Tawnya decided to get a passport, which would give her a 10% discount on bottles and a 15% discount on cases on wines at any of the participating Rattlesnake Hills wineries. All of our purchases together were a case, so we got a 15% discount. Pretty sweet. The passport was only $10, so it paid for itself right there. It doesn't expire either, so we can use it again next time.


Since we had gotten kind of a late start on our wine tasting and most of the wineries close at 5:00, we decided to drive out to Prosser to Chukar Cherries before heading home. I'm not a big fan of cherries, so I just bought some chocolate covered ones for my mother-in-law as a thank you for watching Juliana. Then we headed back to Yakima to go to one of my favortie fast food restaurants, Sonic! It was just as wonderful as I remembered it. I had a junior breakfast burrito, a small chili cheese tots, and a small cherry slush. Heaven. After dinner, Nick and Beth headed for home in their car, while Mom, Dad, Tawnya, and I went to Tahoma Cemetary to pay our respects to our various grandparents and great -grandparents there. We placed flowers on my Grandpa and Grandma Barrett's, Great-Grandma and Grandpa Mears', and Grandpa Nordberg's graves. We decided to skip going to another Yakima cemetary where my Grandpa Gerhardt is buried because it was getting late.

Then we drove home to good old Western Washington. I missed my Jellybean so much! It was weird, I'd been away from her for longer periods than that, but it was something about knowing that distance-wise I was farther away, that was just way harder. Not planning on traveling that far away from my baby again any time soon, it's just too hard! So all in all, we had a pretty fun day of wine-tasting, fast-food eating, and general family fun. Yakima wineries have tastings all year round, so I would absolutely suggest heading over there sometime. If you're not someone who likes the intense heat, though, I would suggest waiting until the fall sometime =) It was pretty sweltering.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Back from Hawaii

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I know it has taken and inordinant amount of time to get this blog done and now that Cam's has been done for a while now it may seem redundant. But for anyone who hasn't read Cam's, would like a shorter version, or just a different perspective, please read on.

Well, the family is all back in the great state of Washington again after a fun and relaxing vacation in Hawaii. Cam, Juliana and I stayed with our old neighbors, Christy and Nelson at their house on Hickam AFB while my mom, dad, and sister Tawnya stayed at the Hale Koa, a military hotel on Waikiki.

Nelson picked us up from the airport on Thursday afternoon. After getting lunch at the Naval Exchange's food court, he took us back to the house where we got a chance to drop off our stuff and change out of our much too warm Seattle clothes. We then met up with my family at the Hale Koa and spent the rest of the day at the beach, where Juliana had her first experience with sand.

You probably can't tell from this picture, but she was not a fan of Waikiki's rough, course sand at first. And, just a note- there is a black speck on the lens of our camera, that shows up in most of these pictures- sorry!

On Friday, Cam, JJ and I set out to pick up Mom, Dad, and Tawn from the hotel (Christy and Nelson had generously lent us their minivan for the week). From there we drove to Leonard's Bakery to have a taste of the eighth wonder of the world- the malasada. Malasadas are a like a Portuguese version of a donut, but much, much better. My sister later saw someone at the Hale Koa with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and thought, "You are so stupid. You're in Hawaii and you're having DONUTS???" They are that good. Molly, I know you feel me on this one! Then we decided to try the hike to Manoa Falls. My sister had read that it was an easy, .8 mile, family friendly hike to the falls. So we went, wearing our flip flops and I in my white capri pants, oblivious. Needless to say, it was neither easy, nor family friendly. It was rocky, steep, muddy, slippery, and- while I have no proof- had to be longer than eight tenths of a mile long. I'm proud to say we all made it to the top and the falls were amazing. The trip down was treacherous since, as I mentioned, it was very slippery, steep, we were wearing inappropriate shoes, and to top it all off, Julie had falled asleep at the top of the falls. By the grace of God, we all made it down in one piece.

Mom, Juliana and Tawnya at the trailhead.

Everyone, sweaty and tired, at the falls.

On our way back down from the falls, my mom took a bit of a spill and hurt her hands and knees pretty bad, so we just went back to the hotel so she could rest. She stayed up there while we played on the beach.

Saturday, we got to spend the day with Christy and Nelson. First they took us to this breakfast place called Boot's and Kimo's in Kailua. They are famous for their banana macadamia nut sauce pancakes. Yeah, at first that didn't sound too appetizing to me, so I ordered some safe french toast. But then I tried a bite of Cam's pancakes- wow. Amazing. And I don't even like macadamia nuts and I'm so-so on bananas. The sauce on top is like melted ice cream or something. I don't even want to know how many calories it was. Afterwards, we went to a nearby store called Don Quiyotes where Christy insisted on buying JJ her first Aloha dress. A trip to the beach on Hickam and a wonderful dinner of Korean shortribs, courtesy of Nelson, capped off our wonderful Saturday.

Nelson, Chrisy, JJ and I waiting in front of Boot's and Kimo's.

The most amazing pancakes ever made, ever.

Juliana at the beach at Hickam- not too sure about the water still.

Sunday, we took the van to the hotel to pick up Mom, Dad, and Tawnya and met Christy and Nelson at a Chinese restaurant they'd suggested called Chun Wah Kam's. Now, I've had udon noodles before and was just kinda so-so on them, so when they told me the noodles there were great, I wasn't expecting much. Oh, my goodness. Sooooo goooood. The other stuff was good too, but the noodles were the best. They gave you gigantic portions for a pretty reasonable price, but I could have eaten a whole box of just the noodles. Next, we went to the Pearlridge Center Shopping Mall and did a bit of shopping. Afterwards, Nelson and Christy took us to Waikele Center to a small shave ice stand called Aunt Jenny's that they claimed was the best they'd ever had. At this point, we pretty much trusted their taste in food, and they did not dissapoint. It was soft and light with the best syrup ever. After a quick visit to the BX and Commissary, we went to the kiddie pool at the Hale Koa to try out the baby floatie Tawnya had gotten for Julie. She LOVED swimming in the pool. The kiddie pool is only 1 1/2 feet deep so she could stand on her own, but she still liked using the floatie. We ended our day with a walk along the beach where I climbed a tree for no reason at all.

Awesome noodles.

Awesome shave ice.

Awesome 'lil swimmer.

Not an awesome tree-climber. Just ok.

Monday, we decided to drive up to the North Shore for the day. Nelson suggested we go to this Mexican restaurant he'd heard some guys at work talk about in Haleiwa called Cholo's. It turns out Rachel Ray went there for a show she did on Oahu. The food was really good, but the margaritas were just so-so. After lunch, we checked out the Aloha General Store where my sister got some really good smelling lotion that has vanilla ice cream and passionfruit in it. Unfortunately she forgot to put it in her checked bag at the airport and it got confiscated at securtiy. Bummer. Next we went to Waimea Valley to see the falls. Waimea Falls have been seen at least three times on Lost, thus our desire to see them in person ; ) It is the waterfall where Kate and Sawyer find the Halliburton case, where Nikki and Paulo look for their diamonds, and where Jack jumps in to save Hurley after the Oceanic Six return to the island. It was very cool to see where one of our favorite shows has been filmed. But Waimea Valley had a lot more than just the falls. It is a sort of nature park where you can take nature walks, learn how to pronounce Hawaiian words, and weave fishies out of palm fronds all while enjoying some of Hawaii's most beautiful trees, flowers, and plantlife. After Waimea Valley, we crossed the street to visit the beach at Waimea Bay. Mom, Dad, Jelly and I walked along the beach collecting shells while Cam and Tawnya braved the wild waves and consequentially got sand in every imaginable orifice. Next, we decided to grab a shave ice at the famous Matsumoto's. Even though our friends told us it was overrated, we thought we should get some just to say we did. Turns out they were right- Matsumoto's was nothing to write home about. Maybe at one time it was the best, but now it's actually the worst shave ice I had the entire trip!

No, not really the best.

Meh margarita, but great food!

Me and Mom soaking our feet in the legendary healing waters of Waimea Falls.

The fam in front of the Falls.

Mom, Dad, and Tawnya at the Falls.

Cam had the idea for this cool picture under a pretty Hawaiian tree.

Tuesday, we decided to take Mom, Dad, and Tawnya to Boot's and Kimo's. They, of course, loved the banana mac nut pancakes just as much as we did. They also liked Don Quixote's; Mom ended up getting a lot of stuff there. The weather was starting to get crappy, but we drove to Kailua Beach all the same. Jelly fell asleep on the way, the parking lot was pretty full, and it was starting to rain, so we called it quits on that beach after Cam went to take some pictures, and went on to find Lanikai Beach. Tawnya had read in her Hawaii tourist book that Lanikai is the best beach on the island, so she wanted to see it, even if we didn't spend much time there. Mom and I decided to stay in the car with JJ since she was still sleeping, so Dad, Cam, and Tawnya checked out the beach. They said it was really nice, very soft sand, but the rain was picking up, so we headed back to Waikiki, where the weather was nicer and hung out at the hotel's kiddy pool. Julie loved swimming with her baby pool toy, but the pool was so shallow that she did some walking around on her own, too. She developed a routine where she would walk up the stairs out of the pool, run up to my mom to say hi, (then later as the routine progressed, she would give a hug to me, Dad, Mom and Tawnya in turn) and then jump back into the pool into Cam's arms, and start all over again. Very cute and funny. Here's a video of the cuteness along with Tuesday pictures:


video
Jelly's pool cuteness

Cam and Tawnya at Lanikai.

Kailua Beach.

The street sign for where we finally found the entrance to Lanikai.

Wednesday we went to Hanauma Bay for some snorkeling and sunbathing. We spotted a Costco on the way and stopped to have a cheap lunch. After slathering on what I thought was a good amount of sunscreen and sitting through the required video about protecting the coral reef, we headed down the hill to the bay. Now, I had been snorkeling three times before this without any problems, but for some reason, this time I just freaked. I couldn't put my head under the water without gasping for air and having to resurface after just a few short seconds. I let my sister have a turn and later tried again with marginally better results. I was able to stay down for much longer and I got to see a lot of really pretty fish, some really close and very big. Then I got irratated with Cam for shouting at me about accidentally stepping on the reef (it's really hard not to!) and gave Tawnya another turn. When Cam and Tawn went out again, they actually got to see and swim with a sea turtle! They swam really close to it for about ten minutes before it swam off. Very cool experience for the both of them. Meanwhile, I stayed on the beach with my parents and Jelly. Jelly fell asleep while eating her lunch (really cute!) and I went off to collect some really colorful bits of shells. I think they were shells. At first I thought they were beach glass, but they weren't see-through enough. I think they might have been bits of coral because they were so brightly colored and there was so much of it on the beach. After Jelly woke up she decided to play in the sand with her sand bucket with a very serious expression on her face- sometimes I just really wonder what she's thinking when she makes some of these faces. So cute. We then took out sunburnt selves back to Costco to do some shopping and then went back to Waikiki for the evening.

My coral bits.

My parents being all cute and cuddly.

Playin' in da sand is serious business.

All of us looking out at the bay.

The family.

Our last full day in Hawaii ended up being a bit uneventful. The weather was getting pretty rainy, so we ruled out doing much outdoors. We went back to Chun Wa Kam's for lunch, then to Waikele Premium Outlets for some shopping, and back to the hotel to take some pictures in our Aloha wear. For dinner, we met Christy and Nelson at Dave and Buster's for some food and games.

Jelly loves noodles!

Riding in the Flinstone's car at Waikele Outlets.

All of us in Aloha wear in the Hale Koa lobby.

Just us again.

Tawnya and I had some of Dave and Buster's famous Over Under shots. You must try them if you ever go to a Dave and Buster's.

JJ in front of one of Dave and Buster's many arcade games.

So, all in all, we had a great trip. I thought it lasted just long enough- I was sad to be leaving, but glad to get home. Julie was pretty good on the flight back and before we knew it, we were back in WA again. Home sweet home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Review

Monday, May 11, 2009
Alright, so I got a bit of positive feedback on my first movie review, reviewing a movie I kinda liked and thought, "I wonder if I'd do as well reviewing a movie I don't like? I guess I'll just have to wait until I see a really crappy movie to find out." Enter Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.


Matthew McConaughey plays the part of Conner Mead, a rich, famous, playboy photographer (that's a playboy who is a photographer, not a photographer for Playboy), cynical when it comes to love and content with his life of sleeping with a different girl every night. Conner is forced to reevaluate his life, however, when he is visited by the ghost of his party animal uncle and mentor, played by Michael Douglas, at his little brother's wedding. He is then visited by the standard Dickensesque three ghosts: Past, Present, and Future. As anyone who has ever heard of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol would guess, the Past Ghost guides Conner through all his past relationships, Present shows him what people are saying about him now and, you guessed it, Future shows him what he's in store for if he continues on the way he has been living.


First off, Charles Dickens must be rolling in his grave right now. Yes, I know, it isn't the first great literary work to be turned into a piece of crap, but it's still shocking to someone who has read and loved the original. I know that it is only loosely based on A Christmas Story, but still- big slap in the face of Dickens, in my opinion. The acting is bad, the dialogue is bad, the characters (both McConaughey and Garner's) are completely unlikable, just about everything is bad. Secondly, why do people continue to think that Matthew McConaughey is 1) Good-looking and 2) A good actor? I think the following video from Family Guy accurately describes my feelings about his acting abilities:



I also just can't fathom why this passes as a "Chick Flick". The female characters in GoGP range from slutty, to bridezilla, to naive, to stupid, to uberslutty. Is it now considered okay to totally degrade women in a chick flick as long as the one who is objectifying them is a supposedly hot guy, preferably as naked as possible? Congratulations to every woman who loved this movie, you have set Women's Rights back about 50 years.


In conclusion, if you're a big fan of Matthew McConaughey, movies with sexual innuendo dripping from every line, and the idea that women are stupid and are only good for...well....you know, you'll love Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. If the above doesn't apply to you, I'd save my ten dollars and just bash myself over the head with a blunt object for a couple hours- should have about the same effect.
 
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