Holiday Hosting – Thanksgiving

We hosted our second thanksgiving (first was last year). On top of hosting dinner we also hosted Cody’s parents, sister, bother-in-law and darling niece for three nights. I must say it went off without a major hitch. We took an all hands on deck approach. Everyone brought a dish, my sister-in-law made beautiful center pieces and everyone brought a pie. Dinner was delish. Cody grilled two turkeys brining and glazing galore. Well worth the man hours if you haven’t yet brined and grilled a turkey i highly recommend.

Kameron was my right hand in the kitchen. Thankfully because it takes two to pull off the warming, mashing, heating, re-heating, baking that this dinner takes. The turkeys got done early (EARLY) but we stayed on top of it. We played a “thankful” game at dinner filled with notes about thankfulness for health, spouses, children, U of A beating Duke, new houses, graditude for work, laughter, love, delish food and drink. We reminisced and talked of those we missed and wished were with us.

Something that was on topic the entire holiday with myself, Cody, my brother Joe, his wife Lindsay, Cody’s sister Kam and her husband adam was that suddenly we were the parents, the aunts and the uncles. Our parents were letting the holiday reigns over to us (with a watchful eye) and we were the adults. The kids running around laughing and babies coohing all belonged to us. We were no longer the kids.

It is funny how fast it happens. As I try and embrace my new(er) titles of Mom, aunt and sister-in-law I try and keep in mind that my family, my nieces and nephews and my own kiddos will remember the laughter in our home, the welcome voices and holiday music they hear. They will remember playing with their grandparents and chasing their cousins. It isn’t about a perfect day it is about love, laughter and togetherness.

Approaching the holidays I want to keep our door open. Host gatherings, laugh, tell stories cook yummy food and remember it is a season to be thankful. I’m thankful for those who are gathering with me this holiday season and those I miss. Technology keeps us closer together than in past years but I strive to not focus on my next social media post but rather the people who are in front of me.

So I saw roast that turkey, try a new recipe, buy that good bottle of wine and break out the holly and Christmas tunes of Dean Martin & Bing Cosby (or Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers if you are like me). It won’t be a perfect season but we can have some laughs, make some good eats and drinks and tell a few stories.

Cheers to the best season of all!

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Halloween -Becoming Toodee

Opps – Never hit publish on this one. Here you go!

Gwen asked me where Halloween went. It was funny and then it dawned on me. We started talking about Halloween in August. Asking her what she wanted to be. Telling her about the tradition of trick-or-treating. They talked about it at school, at her grandparents, at our house….her aunt Lindsay and Uncle Joe threw a Halloween party. She walked in TWO kiddo parades the day of Halloween then BOOM. Halloween was over. This year she was dedicated to dressing up like Toodee from Yo Gabba Gabba for Halloween. If you don’t have kids Yo Gabba Gabba is an interesting fantasy show about some large puppet characters that live in Gabba land. They have great music on the show apparently Toodee even went to Coachella back in 2010 (video)….and it actually is WAY better than lots of other shows for kids like F’ing Cailou, Dora or even Mickey Mouse Club (which in my opinion is crazy annoying). Did I mention I hate Cailou (the show on PBS – the cartoon kid is annoyingly lame, whinny and mean to his little sister, luckily that phase is OVER). Okay, back to Toodee for Halloween. For some reason they don’t make and sell a Toodee costume anywhere. I mean no where. So I decided to make one. Well I modified one. This is what I did to make Toodee. If your toddler wants to be Toodee too I highly recommend. I would say I am moderately good at sewing, I have been sewing on-and-off with my Mom since I was a kid but really just jumped back in having kids on my own. Here is what I did to make Toodee.

  • Purchased a Blues Clues Halloween costume. It is the perfect blue for a Toodee costume and I could easily add too and reconstruct the puppy into the Toodee costume.
  • Purchased light blue, white and black felt at the local fabric store, along with pipe cleaners and stuffing for the tail.
  • Fist things first I gut the feet out, all the reviews said the feet fell apart fast so I cut those out at the seam
  • Working on the “head” I cut the puppy mouth off at the seam and pinned the ears to look more like cat ears that Toodee has. To make them more pliable I added pipe cleaner in the ears to move them a little. I created side scales that go along Toodee’s face, just make little zig-zag pattern stuff it and sew it on. Easier to do. The scales with your machine over hand sewing.
  • The Blues Clues eyes were all wrong, so using felt I covered up the eyes and hand sewed on new eyeballs to match Toodee’s.
  • The body of the costume needed the most work, I covered up the blues clues pattern belly with white felt and added a mouth and teeth for Toodee.
  • The most challenging part was the scales and tail.
  • Using felt I cut out a zig zag pattern for the scales and tail. The tail you want to keep pretty short so it doesn’t fall on the ground. I used a stuffed Toodee doll to reference in size along with the size of the costume. The tail was about 16 inches long. Sew everything with the machine to ensure the stuffing will stay tight. I sewed it all keeping the right side together then flipped it right side and stuffed it before sewing it onto the costume.
  • Gwen hatted the “clip” part of the head so I took that off and sewed some soft ribbon under the chin so she would be more comfy.
  • To finish her look she wore her Yo Gabba Gabba shoes.

It was a hit and she wears it around the house often. When she enters the room she goes “Toodee is here and ready for the Halloween party!” It melts my heart and makes the costume reconstruction very much worth while.

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Life Lessons | The Zoo With Two

I am a planner. I like organization. I am a self conscious mom in public. I want to be in control. There I had my therapy for the day.

Today I embarked on my first zoo trip with two kiddos in tow. My sister-in-law and her little 4-month old joined us as well as my Momma. I didn’t do my research and felt very unprepared for the day. My diaper bag was on point for the two kiddos. But my plan of attack at the zoo wasn’t.

Becoming a Mom has made me very aware of a few things. I need to do pre-planning, prep and re-con before outings. I didn’t do my planning for this outing and because of it I was feeling nervous all day. But we did have a good time. A few life lessons learned:

  1. Who knew you could take your own food into the zoo!! I mean really. That would have been nice to know to save $$ and calories. But the cheese pizza was delish and Gwen ate almost all of her lunch.
  2. When in public I feel super judged by other mom’s as my kid throws a half hissy fit for a popsicle. Why do I care? I don’t know…I gave her the popsicle she ate two bites and wanted her lunch. Again, why do I care?
  3. You can’t feed the giraffes until 10:30AM….Opps we were too early for that…I should have figured that out and went there first to keep munchin #1 from having melt-down of “I don’t understand why I can’t go pet the giraffes”…Check mark….Lesson learned.
  4. Gwen is much more adventurous than I thought. She wanted to ride the camel. It kinda freaked me out but we went for it. It was fun. And fun fact….Camels can carry about 3x their weight. Crazy!
  5. My nephew Henry loves being outside. It is adorable and I think he will be a wilderness man one day.
  6. Our little dude Van went in a carrier and he will slept through anything. Essentially the entire zoo trip!
  7. My Mom is a super-star Yaya. Her grandkids choo, smile and Gwen thinks she is the best playmate ever. It is a joy to see. I couldn’t get by without her for sure!
  8. Gwen has great balance…she took a little tumble and I freaked out but she has recovered and didn’t whine at all.
  9. The giraffes, camel (his name was Isaac), lions, tigers, bears, flamingos, monkeys and rhino are all rad…the birds and turtles are too. The elephant however looks sad.

So, I’ll do re-con next time. I’m sure everyone else will have the same amount of fun. But I will be more at ease with my inner Jenna monolog and chill out. I’m such an ESTJ….Welp…Both kids are passed out. Gwen is holding her new monkey toy very tight. I cleaned the entire house in a furry to control something and now I want to know when can I have that glass of wine I promised myself this morning??

Gwen & Momma @ the Zoo

Cheers!

Painting Cabinets….

Pinterest is my friend and foe with this house remodel. Post-Pregnancy brain probably isn’t helping, either. We are looking for a paint color (this is ongoing since ever inch of our current beige, peach, tan, yellow colored house needs to be painted).

We love the idea of white upper cabinets with cool knobs. Done. Easy.

The bottom cabinets are causing lots of Home Depot and paint sample runs. So far we have sampled 6 colors.

Our goal is a contemporary kitchen. Not southwestern. We wanted blue, but that felt it was looking too Santa Fe…so I think we have settled on more of a gray…we will see…

Cabinet color ideas…

Kitchen Cabinet Color

We have the knobs purchased (on sale from Anthro):

Anthro Door Knobs

 

Progress post to come soon…painting cabinets is no joke!

Making Mercer Home

We bought our second home this past summer. It feels like a huge deal. We moved to a completely new part of town and have more square footage. The house is current beige. Very very very beige. We aren’t really beige kind of people. So needless to say the entire home has to be covered in paint. Inside and out. The tasks at hand are exciting and daunting. This entire house is BEIGE. I. Hate. Beige.

Why is picking out paint colors so hard? We have a pretty good idea of our vision. We like whites, grays and blues for home paint colors. Our old house was mostly whites, grays and greens aside from my mustard yellow (AKA amazing) bathroom. So you can see we are really breaking the boundaries moving from green to blue.

Here is a current gallery of what we are working with….Just for benchmarking purpose. Please note ALL furniture found in these images belongs to old ass people who owned the house prior to us. We don’t like them. There is legit reasons for us not liking them I will share another day….

Get ready for some transformation. We love it!!!

Backyard 2 Backyard 3 Backyard 4 Backyard Bedroom One Bedroom Two Dining Room Drining Room Fireplace Foyer Front Porch_2 Front Porch Front_2 Front Kitchen & Side Room Kitchen 2 Kitchen 3 Kitchen Eating Area Kitchen Living Room 2 Living Room 3 Living Room 4 Living Room Master 2 Master 3 Master Bath Master Office_Loft_2 Office_Loft Room off Kitchen

Happy 2013 – Music Review 2012

Opps! This post was meant for I Dream In Jenna!! Check out my personal blog there at idreaminjenna.com…More Rutschman and Gwen news to come later.

 

Happy 2013, everyone. Here is the annual music run down! I enjoyed an amazing year of new-artist, old classics and some amazing shows. Cheers!

Jenna’s Music 2012 Run Down 

Top 10 Songs (in no order)

  • The House That Heaven Built – Japandroids
  • Lord Knows – Dum Dum Girls
  • No Tell by Smoke & Jackal
  • Its Time by Imagine Dragons
  • The Only Place by Best coast (off The Only Place album)
  • “45” by The Gaslight Anthem (catchy as all hell & the lead singer sounds hot)
  • Ho Hey The Lumineers
  • Comeback Kid by Sleigh Bells
  • All Your Gold by Bat For Lashes from The Haunted Man
  • Forest Whitaker by Bad Books
  • Take A Walk by Passion Pit

Top 5 Albums (in no order)

  • Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze
  • Japandroids – Celebration Rock
  • No Doubt – Push and Shove
  • Tennis- Young & Old
  • The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

Top Concerts

  • No Doubt (Gibson Amphitheater, Los Angeles)
  • Sleigh Bells (Rialto Theater, Tucson) 
  • Willie Nelson and Family (Celebrity Theater, Phoenix)
  • Japandroids, (The Sail Inn, Tempe, AZ)

All Concerts (no order)

  • No Doubt and Fitz & The Tantrums
  • Bob Log III
  • Martina McBride and George Straight
  • Young the Giant
  • Japandroids
  • The Kills
  • Foster the People (Kimbra and Mayer Hawthorn opened)
  • Cults
  • Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
  • We Were Promised Jetpacks
  • Willie Nelson

Top 4 Songs- Love but overplayed:

  • Simple Song – The Shins
  • We are Young- Fun
  • Anything by Foster the People

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

Cody and Ihosted my family for Thanksgiving this year. Last year we did a big Christmas Eve dinner but this year the pressure was on for the Thanksgiving feast. We had a total of 7 plus miss Gwen. My Mom and Sister were a huge help the day of the big turkey entertaining Gwen while at my house with coloring books and Yo Gabba Gabba stuffed animals and helping to cook parts of the meal. I made two pumpkin pies (homemade pie crust) and a pecan pie. My sister-in-law Lindsay was kind enough to make a killer Apple pie so the pies were complete.

Cody manned the grill and grilled a 16 pound Turkey that took about 18 hours of prep with a brine and butter rub and let me tell you…it was perfect.

The dinner table was my masterpiece. Mixing Tulips and cranberries for center pieces and mixing my McKensie Child checked dishes with my grandmothers Pamonia dishes and amazing chargers  (Thanks, Merren) and silver (Thanks, Mimi & Terri) that we received as a wedding gifts along with a simple table cloth borrowed from my Mom the table setting was a hit.

We enjoyed great Italian wine, anti-pasta platter, amazing AZ weather, a perfect Thanksgiving meal ful of emotional Thankful messages amoungst my family and a fantastic after dinner fire in our backyard.

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Gwen N’ Momma

Cody took a long weekend away with his buddies this weekend. Celebrating a pending wedding for our friend Dylan he and the boys hit the town in Austin, TX. Gwen and I spent the weekend at home, at the park, with my parents and friend Mary Beth who was also solo with her munchi’s.

Spending time alone with Gwen is so fun, funny and busy! She is growing so fast. She loves talk talk talking. She insisted on wearing her blue tutu today and she surprises me daily with her smarts, wit and dazzling personality. Gwen is just shy of 19 months old and I can’t believe it.

She is teething and picky with food. Very observant of her surroundings and loves her “bike” her dad bought her. She is busy but loves to sit quietly and look through her books, one by one.

Enjoy her latest picks. We can’t get enough of her.