Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

 I am upholding one of my goals on the summer bucket list by making a new recipe per week. It has been a great fun, and definitely a learning experience. I am the one who loves to cook, to spend time in the kitchen, to use my hands, and to serve it to people. I enjoy seeing people enjoy what I have created for them. Well, I also really like eating part! Yum Yum.

This appetizer is really easy to make. It is a bit time consuming, and does require patience along with practice! It is worth making for in the end though! 

I wanted to make something crispy, and light to snack on over Memorial Day weekend. I thought about that time when I made egg rolls, which was taught by one of my wonderful friends, Sunny, and she had a vast knowledge of making Asian cuisine. 

 I knew that Vietnamese spring rolls was the ticket! I went out, and bought all ingredients. Let me tell you, the first attempt was a BUST. Why? Because I purchased wrong type of wrapper. 

This one is wrong. Do not buy that one. As I've learned, this one was better suited for frying, and not for spring rolls. It comes in tan color, and is already pliable. The correct one would be this:

Okay? Got it? Good! The second time I made this--it was a success! 


Rice sticks is so easy to make. Just boil the water, pour it in the microwave-safe bowl over
the hard rice sticks (noodles), and let it soak for 3 minutes or until it's soft.
Drain. Set aside. 

I mixed a bunch of carrot, bean sprout, purple cabbage, cilantro, mint , & cabbage
in a bowl. I cheated a bit by buying a colesaw salad mix because I did not want to spend
my time chopping, and wanted a fast route! It worked as good! Bean sprout, and carrot match sticks
were bought separately.

*You can toss in shrimp, fruit such as chopped mango, strawberries, or even shredded
chicken. Your choice. I went with vegetarian option omitting meat*

The spring roll wrapper will be hard, and easily breakable. So be careful
with handling it! 

Make sure the water bowl is really large enough to accomodate the wrapper.
I had to learn it in a hard way by using smaller bowl, and breaking the wrapper in the process.
Larger bowl = Better result.
The water should be warm, and let the wrapper soak 15-20 seconds.
If it seems to be taking longer than that then you probably need to
dump the water out, and refill it with warm water. 

The wrapper will turn into jellyfish-like consistency.
Okay, the picture isn't pretty here, so excuse me okay?
What I learned from making spring rolls is that it helps when you hold the tip of edge while
you are soaking the wrapper to avoid it from getting all wrinkled up when you
lay it on the cutting board or flat clean surface.
Dump the content together at the edge.
It is better go with smaller amount than large amount.
In this picture, I added a bit too much. 

Roll it half way. 

Fold the edges onto the rolled part.
Don't worry about adding anything to it.
The edges will stick by themselves.
Make sure you roll it as tight as possible, and also be careful with the
content inside--sometimes the matchstick cabbage or carrot can poke through.

Finish rolling it up, and Ta-Da! You are done.
Again, this was my first spring roll so it did not turn out pretty.

As you can see with some practice, the spring rolls turned out much better looking than my first one!
Practice makes perfect!

Then serve with yummy sauce!


2 oz dried rice sticks or rice vermicelli
6 rice paper wrapper sheets (not egg rolls wrapper)
a large bowl of water to dip rice paper sheets
6 sprigs cilantro
6 sprigs mint
6 leaves lettuce, rib/stem removed (I like boston lettuce)
Shredded cabbage (purple and green), bean sprouts peeled and cut into strips,
meat and fruit of your choice should be chopped into bite size 
1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
Soak rice sticks in boiling water for about 3 minutes or till soft. Drain well.
Dip the rice paper sheets in water, making sure all sides are wet. Shake off excess water. Place on a clean work surface. Place a sprig each of cilantro and mint in the front 1/3rds of the rice paper sheet. Then place lettuce leaf, a little rice noodles, carrot, and mango slices. Fold and roll the summer roll – see photos above for details on how to roll vietnamese summer roll.
Serve immediately with vegetarian vietnamese dipping sauce (recipe below). To store, put rolls on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel. Then cover plate completely with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.


makes little less than 1 cup
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
Red pepper flakes or chopped fresh chili to taste
Whisk everything together till the sugar dissolves.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Enjoying Our Memorial Day Weekend

Holy batman shitzman....Forrest was so crabby this morning. Everything set him off. So off to nap-land he goes while mommy blogs! 

Our Memorial Day weekend is off to really great start. I took Forrest for a hike with Stu, and Turkey (Layla, our Basset). Turkey had a blast running through the prairie, and she spent half of her time rolling around the tall grasses. We were not sure how, but she came home reeking like a skunk? Was that possible that she picked up some emitted skank remnant that a skunk left behind on the grasses? Who knows. 

I used Beco Soliel carrier for the first time with Forrest. I was not sure if I had adjusted it accordingly or well enough because my back was pretty sore by the time we got home from the hiking expenditure. The belt was really low, and practically hung at my butt instead of my waist--my waist have always been really tiny, but my hips flares out. So the belt was sinking down my waist only to be held up by my hips. So that did a number on my bum shoulder. I was a bit disappointed by the carrier because I was hoping to come from this experience pain-free. Perhaps I needed to adjust it differently or find a different position to carry Forrest? 

I'm really hoping to find a solution because it's a nice carrier that we spent quite some money on, and I want to be able to make a few more hiking trips with Forrest this summer. 

A chilly morning gave its way into a warm afternoon. Always. In. Wisconsin. That. Temperature. Goes. From. Cold. To. Hot. Don't ask. It's Wisconsin thing. I have no clue why it is that so. 

We attended Stu's co-worker and a friend's baby shower-ish? Not sure what to call it because it was not a baby shower, but a reason for friends to get together, and create adorable onesies for our friend's baby due next month! We had fun eating muchines all afternoon, chatting, playing an adult version of Apple to Apple (gotta find the formal name to it because I really want to get one for ourselves), and creating art on baby onesies. It was truly one of the most fun hang-outs I have had in a long while! 

Today, Stu promised me that we will clear out remaining boxes, and clutter to be put away in the basement, and to fix up the basement. We are already talking about cleaning up our patio to set up chairs and table for outdoor dinners. I am eyeing $5 torch sticks at Kmart, and thinking about buying them to go with our patio. The only disadvantage to our patio is that we have several huge elm trees in our backyard that just happens to litter its seeds all over the patio. I have to sweep the deck daily to let the cats lounge in the sun, and to avoid them from becoming fine soggy mess in event of rain. 

I also plan on making very delicious summer spring rolls. I'm craving for light crispy snack that I can share with Forrest, and maybe Stu. I'm kidding. Of course, he will be included. It's my first summer bucket list off to a good start (trying out a new recipe every week). Well, technically, second because I made this really delicious Southern Iced Tea...sooooooooooo good....that Stu, and I got hooked to. 

Forrest will be helping me to plant herbs this weekend. Other bucket list item to be crossed off on my list, and more yummy addition to be put in my cooking this summer! I hope that sun will stay out longer in the next few days for us to accomplish this task. 

This move to Ripon is turning out to be a really good decision for us. Stu is home later in the mornings, and earlier in the evenings despite his crazy schedule. There is so much to do in this community, and it has a really nice sense of small-town feeling yet not too small to be bored. We are already gaining a circle of friends. I am starting to set up plans from my summer bucket list (as you've already seen from me mentioning it a couples time already...excited much, eh?) , and I am quite excited about that.

I leave you with a picture of Forrest playing in a cardboard box. I am not sure what it is about boxes that is so appealing to babies, but they happen to be so! Enjoy the rest of your memorial day weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lessons That I've Learned In One Night

A life of a mommy is rarely boring. I manage to throw myself into the most catastrophic situations all of the time, and I am not sure why that happens, but it just does. I no longer dread them. Actually, I welcome the craziness into my life.

A few weeks ago, I was smacked with not one, not two, not three, but several lessons all at once. I was spending my time in the kitchen--where else, I love being in kitchen, and I washed a bunch of sweet potatoes. I had recently discovered a really yummy recipe of making sweet potato pancakes. Seriously, they were pretty delicious! So I wanted to make a batter to freeze, and prepare for future cooking. It had been years since I last had a garbage disposal in our home. 

Hence Lesson  number one:

Don't toss sweet potato peels into the garbage disposal because it will create a nasty clog. 

As it is my customary, I often have Forrest play underfoot on the kitchen floor, and he loves it. He enjoys pulling out Tupperware that I have specifically set aside for a very curious baby to play with. This keeps him out of my hair while I am cooking. It keeps him occupied, and encourages his developmental process. Bonus! However, it can backfire if you fail to baby-proof everything. That night, I forgot to baby-proof one critical thing.....

Lesson number two: 

Unsupervised baby alone with a dog water dish will guarantee a mini-lake in the kitchen hallway. 

Well, by not baby-proofing the dog area; Forrest's curiosity got the best of him, and he had to check it out. He has inherited my love for water, and was unable to resist the temptation to tip over the water dish bowl. Here I was, stuck to the spot I was standing; torn between the spewing garbage disposal, and a giggling, soaking wet baby. 

Lesson number three: 

Remain calm is the best way to go between a clogged garbage disposal, thinking OMG, my husband is going to kill me, and OMG, my baby is soaking wet. 

For a moment, I was tempted to give into my panic, and run around flailing my arms while screaming on top of my lung, but I realized that was an easy way out. I looked at my soaking wet baby, and collectively took a very deep breath. I wanted to teach my child that women are self-sufficient, independent, and capable of taking care of themselves instead of falling into society's trap of belief that women were anything but that. I wanted to teach Forrest that remaining calm, and finding a solution was better than placing that problem upon someone else to fix. Also, I just didn't want my husband to kill me. 

Lesson number four: 

Vinegar, and the baking soda, as suggested by is crap. It does not work in unclogging a heavy clog, and will just reek up the kitchen. 

By being self-reliant, I searched online as in how to fix a clogged pipe, and tried the suggestion with vinegar and baking soda. Well, mission failed. It failed miserably, I tell you. People failed all of the time, but they still made it through. Instead of giving up, I knew I had to unscrew the pipes, and manually remove the clog. I was a bit nervous because well, I was not a handyman, and had very little experience with fixing clogs. 

Lesson number five: 

Unscrewing the pipes under the sink, and removing the clog are not as hard as it looks. Putting the pipes back together is also not as hard as it looks.

I was really surprised at how easy it was to unscrew the pipes. I worried that I needed to use snake to remove the nasty mushed up potato peelings, and my worry was for nothing. I just used my fingers to dig out the nastiness out of the pipe, and clumped them into a bowl. The only struggle I had was to make sure that Layla didn't eat any of the potato peelings while I dug it out. Then I put the pipes back together. Easy Peasy. I plugged in the garbage disposal and crossed my fingers that it was still working just fine. Thanks to my lucky stars, the garbage disposal ran like a beauty instead of spewing like a demon from hell. Forrest was fascinated by the whole process. Hey, I was entertaining the baby instead of having him continue to get into trouble with dog food, and water. 

Lesson number six: 

Soggy potato peels is a great way to feed the birds in the yard while thanking baby Jesus that it is not any worse than it was, and my chances of being killed by my husband is drastically dropped to a zero. 

I hauled the nasty smelly potato peels along with dirty water, and dumped it all over the yard. Good riddance, and good bye to the nastiness. I slumped against the wall, and expelled a heavy sigh. Thank god, I muttered to myself, then entered my home. I picked up my baby, and kissed him on top of his matted head then changed him into dry clothes. Once he was dried, and warm; I mopped up the lake in our kitchen hallway, and refilled the water bowl for Layla. It was when my final lesson hit me.

Lesson number seven:

It is easier to laugh at this crazy chaos that just had occurred, and let this woman roar! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

9 Months Old

Dear Forrest,

You are nine months old. Time is going too quickly for Mama's liking. At this time last year, Mama was approaching the end of the second trimester with you growing inside her belly, and dealing with one of the hottest summers that Wisconsin has ever seen. Your first birthday is only a few months away, and Mama is having a mixed feeling about it. A part of her is so blessed that you are thriving, doing so well, and growing into a toddler, and other part of her is sad that your babyhood is nearly over.

You adjusted to the move pretty well! Memaw watched you for most part, and helped Mama cleaning and packing up the old place. It helped so much that you were easy-going, and laid-back. Mama had a lot done thanks to you being a great little bud! You were wide-awake the whole day on Friday of the move day, and did not want to nap despite having a little cot set up for you. Mama supposed there was too much commotion going on, and you had to check them out.  Finally, you conked out, and got much-needed nap.Daddy and Mama was busy over the weekend trying to get everything settled down, and old place cleared out before the deadline. You were entertained by Memaw, and your great-aunts. You had fun playing in a baby pool at the hotel. However, you did not like sprinkles in the baby pool.

Meal schedule: Breakfast (oatmeal with fruit, scrambled eggs), Lunch (bits of apple, huumus, bread pieces, pasta), Dinner (whatever your parents are having).

Your first meat was Salmon. To Mama's great surprise, you loved it, and could not have enough of it. When you are old enough, perhaps you will come to like crab legs, Calamari, and seafood just like your parents? You were not a fan of tinned Tuna even though Mama encouraged you to eat them for a few days. She did not blame you though. It certainly does smell like a cat food. At least you tried! Perhaps you would have a better reaction to fresh tuna fillet? You liked chicken, and turkey deli meats. Daddy made you pancakes, and scrambled eggs for breakfast, and dubbed it Pancake Saturdays. You loved them especially the scrambled eggs! 

Mama is looking forward to giving you vegetables from Gramps Dave's garden, and farmer's market this summer. She has a lot of vegetable ideas lined up on the menu for you! Grilled Zuchhini is among of those few ideas, which happens to be one of Mama's favorite way of cooking up vegetables. On top of sampling variety of yummy food, you are still on the primary source of food which is boob milk.

You are able to pull yourself up on things with an ease. Sometimes you like to give yourself push-ups while hanging on the table; bending your legs, then straightening them, and bending them. It is funny to watch. Mama calls that your Rocky work-out mode! What comes your attempts of cruising with is a lot of falling down which strikes fear into Mama's heart sometimes especially when you bang your head so hard that you wail on top of your lungs. You cry for only a minute then go back at it again! People are really right when they claim that boys are rough! You are starting to crawl on your knees and hands even though you still prefer to army-crawl. 

You have yet to sleep through the night. Your sleeping schedule varies from night to night based on your last nursing session. If you nurse at 10 pm then you get up at 4 am. If you nurse at 7:30 pm then you get up at 3 am. Then you'll go back to sleep until 6 or 6:30 am. You are an early riser! You love to sleep on your stomach with your butt up in the air! Mama isn't sure how you find that so comfortable, but it is for you.

Your first spoken word is mama! Matter of fact, you are among the 1% of babies that spoke mama first. When Mama leaves your sight, you call out mama mama mama mama until she returns. Mama is trying to teach you to connect your speaking mama to signing mama. It is a work in the progress. You have not quite figured out that Mama is Deaf. In time, you will, and may try to out-smart Mama! 

You have not learned any new signs yet, even though you are diligently watching Mama and Daddy talking with their hands. You have not signed Milk in a long time. Stubborn little grasshopper that you are! Mama is teaching you sleep time, milk, eat, all done, more, and bath. Mama doesn't expect you to understand, and respond anytime soon. Most of signing start to emerge between 9 to 12+ months. She is patiently awaiting for you to sign more! 

You felt grasses for the first time in your little precious life. Daddy took you outside to the backyard, and put you on the grass. You were fascinated by the texture, and tried to eat the grass! Silly boy, you.

You were left with Uncle Spencer, and his girlfriend, Wally while Daddy took Mama to Prom. Daddy had to supervise Prom for work, and thought it was a lovely idea to take Mama with him. Mama did worry a bit about you because this was the longest she was away from you! She knew you were in a great hands, and sure enough, you were! You did give Uncle Spencer run for his money around bedtime, and stubbornly tried to stay up late. Uncle Spencer had several tricks up his sleeves so you were out and stayed asleep until Mama came home. You certainly did love being around Uncle Spencer, and Wally.

You have your FIRST TOOTH! You had a particularly rough night, and your parents were not sure what was bothering you. They tried everything for you, and you were quite upset. Finally, they gave you a liquid Tylenol, and Mama's friend held you in the rocker until 1 am when you finally fell asleep. After that, you acted like your normal self, and Mama dismissed that experience as a potential bad reaction to food you ate. How wrong Mama was. You continued to have a rough few nights, but none as bad as that first night. Before Mama's and Daddy's eyes; your little tooth emerged out of your pink drooly bottom gum, and you had your first front tooth! For the most part, you were a great teether thus far. It was possible that you even had a second tooth coming in, but your parents were not too sure about that just yet.

You attended your first wedding; it was for your second cousin, and you did amazing! You were Mr. Handsome, and everybody absolutely adored you! Of course, that was not a big surprise because you were (and are) a wonderful baby.

Daddy, and I are so blessed to have you in our lives. We love you.

Mama & Daddy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First World Problems

Mother's Day was lovely for us. I will let my husband's status speak for itself! 

Stuart Russ
Sunday via mobile
Well, Ash got sleep in, I did the dishes, gave her a nice card, grilled out for dinner, and hooked up the diaper sprayer.... All in all, I would say that I did a pretty good job letting a great mom know how special she is!

He definitely did a great job in making my day wonderful. My favorite moment of that day was getting a card from two wonderful men in my lives, Forrest, and Stu. The card made me all sappy and emotional. It had something to do with the fact that it was my first Mother's Day with my little boy here in the world, and face it, I was just a sappy person to start with!

It is finally warming up outside...again. May is such an unpredictable month in the Midwest. It can go easily from being in high 80s to freezing low 50s then back into 80s. It's crazy. I remember being so nervous during the months of May and June leading up to my wedding because I worried it was going to be very cold, and dready for our outdoor wedding! Fortunately, we ended up having a gorgeous 70 degree with sun that day! Anyway, it is warming up once again, and I am hoping it will stay fairly consistent from now on. 

Forrest, and I are visiting our family for the week. Forrest will be my date to a wedding this Saturday. I am excited to be taking Forrest dancing, and show him off to rest of our family. At the same time, I am kind of nervous that he will be crabby, and restless during the wedding ceremony. If that does happen, then it is okay because I will just take him somewhere quiet, and let him cool off. Stu can't make it because he has graduate school classes, which I understand. I can't wait for him to graduate by next year so he has more free time to join us to visit family, and friends. 

My dilemma right now is not even really about Forrest becoming cranky at the wedding. It is to decide between two outfits for him! Oh, the first world problems I have. 

*Sadly, I have faced this issue in the past. Says a lot about our luxuries compared to third world countries, eh* 

The best part of this week is? Seeing my sister!!! She will be visiting from Texas, and I absolutely CAN NOT wait to see her!!! 

While we are in the town, I'm hoping to make a quick trip to Wholes Food Market with Dad, and Jess to pick up Tahiniti. I have been searching for this particular ingredient everywhere with little avail. You see, Forrest has taken a liking to eating hummus! But then again, I am not very surprised, because we are big on hummus. I include it in several recipes, or eat it plain with pita chips! It is not until recent that I have been having an itch to make our own home-made hummus since it is probably a lot cheaper to make your own, and I can experiment with flavors or ingredients that goes into the hummus. 

I really miss Wholes Food Market, Trader's Joe, and that type of store. I used to hit them up a lot when I lived in Twin Cities, and DC. I could drive down to Milwaukee since I only live an hour (or about there) away, but why not grab the chance of going with my family, and have Forrest hang out with his grandpa, and Jess. That way, I can decide if it is worthy of me driving that distance in once great while from where I live. Or even better, visit Milwaukee when I am in the town since it is half hour away. 

I'm starting to kind of ramble. I will let you guys go. After all, I better get my little guy up so we can go shopping with Memaw! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers, mothers-to-be, sisters, nieces, cousins, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, and friends. 

It's my first Mother's Day as a mother with Forrest finally here in the world. I have always believed that Mother's Day is a beautiful way of honoring women in our lives; let it be our mothers, step-mothers, sisters whether spiritual or biological, girlfriends, wives, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts, and women all around us. There are women who have shaped my life, and I am very blessed to have them in my life. 

I consider Aunt Ro to be my second mom. She helped my mom to raise my brother, and I along her own kids...who I happen to consider my own siblings as well! 

My mom and I have had our ups, and downs. Our relationship may not be perfect, and it's imperfectly perfect. 
I love Aunt Mimi (Marlene), and she has always been one of my favorite aunts growing up. I feel that we have very similar personalities of being free-spirited, crafty, empathetic, and steadfast.

Lauren is my sister by blood, and spirit. She may be biologically my cousin, but she will always be my sister. 

My best childhood friend, Katie. We have had a lot of GREAT memories. Now we both are mothers, and we are continuing to create memories together in motherhood. 

She was my interpreter during my college years. I considered her to be my mom away from home, and still do!
I absolutely love this lady! Here is Jess, Dad's fiancee, and she is such fun person. I can't imagine not ever knowing her. She's loud, unique, fun, sassy, and sweet all rolled up in one. 

Those women have made a HUGE difference in my life, and I am indebted to them forever.

She is the only living grandma I have. She's technically Stu's grandma, and I suspect she's more than happy to be my grandma as well. I love that spunky woman! 

I grew up with Teri, and Sharon. They may be only good friends, but they are my sisters in spirit. 

This is Stu's Mom, Bobbie, and I am so, so lucky to have a wonderful mother in law. I'm always thankful to her (and Mike, of course) for raising the man of my dreams.
My sister-in-law, Jenni, is an amazing mother of three. My nephews, and niece are wonderful, imaginative, fun, and face it, awesome! They're so good to Forrest, and I can see them becoming friends.

Of course, there are so many more women in my life that are so important to me that aren't pictured up above. They are in my heart, and always will be especially Sweet Mama, and Grandma Gwen. 

My most important role as late.....I'm a mommy to a wonderful boy, Forrest!!!

Blessings to all of you women out there. Do have a blessed Mother's Day. For those who are struggling this weekend; we remember, walk with you, and acknowledge your struggles.

I leave you with a thoughtful prose by Amy Young that I feel is well suited to my philosophy. 

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, birth, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
- Amy Young, An Open Letter to Pastors 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Summer Bucket List

I am doing a link-up with The Duggans Family. Do check out Ali's blog. She's a fantastic blogger with a lot of great things to share! 
Chasing Moonlight & Roses

Because of her zest for doing something fun this summer, she has created a bucket list, and it got me thinking....Well, I want to make one for myself as well!  I tried to make my bucket list as realistic as possible so I can meet those goals. Otherwise, I know I will not get them done. 

I am quite excited with the list I've made. Most of them are self-explanatory. My biggest hope is to meet all 15 goals. I want to have fun goals that I can learn more about this little town that I am living in. I did live here for 3 years during my college years, but I didn't get off the campus to explore community events. So this summer I will be doing some of that! 

Stick around this summer, and see if I can get all fifteen goals met!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Welcome to My Humble Abode

Here's a glimpse of my messy, and cluttered home.

Our bedroom closet
How do I miss thee, walk-in closet! 

Our brand-new bed & bedroom
Please excuse the clutter. I'm still decluttering.
One of my projects this summer will be painting, and fixing up my yellow dresser.
The color has to go, and I need to fix it up a bit too!

Our upstairs bathroom; call me strange, but it's one of my favorite rooms to decorate!
Then there's a little hallway, which is of course, messy with trash that needs to be tossed out.
Then it leads to the guest bedroom. I didn't want to take a picture of the whole room because
there's boxes stacked up in there to be moved to the basement!

Forrest's bedroom. It's much bigger than his old bedroom!
My plan is to declutter his closet. It's way too cluttered for my liking!
More summer projects, I tell ya!
*Can't you tell that I'm kind of obsessed with organizing?*

My whole 2nd floor; living room, computer area, downstairs bathroom, the dining room,
and kitchen. These pictures are taken a few days ago, and I'm telling you that it looks a lot
better with stuff put away, and unpacked!

The basement! There's an industrial-like space for laundry. It's not fancy  by any means, but I don't care. It's just space for laundry, storage, and cat litter. We've built shelves already! So I need to organize all my stuff that is set aside from upper levels in our house, and stuff in the basement then to be put away on the shelves. Then there's other half in the basement that I like to call "man cave". What you are seeing right now in those pictures are not the set-up for the area! It has to be cleaned, and everything put away badly!
We are going to put in a large area rug, and TV. There's a "secret room"! It's pretty neat. It's where some boxes will go as well. Then there's shelves for our library. The nice part about this is that there's a walk-out patio! Our cats LOVE it there, and enjoy walking out on the patio to lay in the sun. Our yard is big and nice. We are planning on installing an invisible fence or set up chain for Layla to hang out outside. 

Personally, I hate unpacking. It is so much work compared to packing up. With packing up, you just put your stuff in the boxes, and say ta-da, I'm done! Unpacking? You have to figure out where this or that should go, and there's a lot of cleaning along with decluttering involved. On top of this, you have to buy replacements or new things for the house to fit the needs for your stuff. Someone has once told me that I should view unpacking as Christmas morning, and opening boxes to see what you've long forgotten. It is a nice idea, and I wish I am able to view unpacking in such way! Perhaps someday? I don't know. 

Pre-baby, I am able to unpack everything pretty quickly, and be done maybe within a month at most. With a baby, I am happy to have at least one box unpacked. So it is going really slow. It doesn't help that we are having such BEAUTIFUL weather lately, and I just wanna go outside with Forrest for our walks. On the bright side, upstairs level is all done, and I just need manly arms of Stu to bring down the boxes. I could have done it myself, but hey, I did do all the hard work of unpacking, and cleaning. So he can help out a bit, right? Ha ha. The second level is getting there. It's getting better, and less cluttered. 

You can tell that I can't stand clutter. For this moment, I don't care. I am just trying to get stuff in the place where they belong. Then I can focus on organizing, and decluttering. My mom likes to remind me, Rome isn't built in one day! 

I'm really loving our new place. It's big, spacious, and nice! There are some repairs to be done, projects to be fulfilled, and things to be organized. It should keep me busy for next few months. I won't get much done this month. 'Tis the season of weddings, picnics, baby showers, and all the fun things that comes with early summer!! 

Well, the sports drink I'm sipping from is making remarkably animal-like sound squealing every time I take a drink from it....something is telling me that I need to buy myself a new one, seriously....(those stuff is sturdy, shatter-proof, and spill-resistant which is super handy especially with a curious baby going through hey, I like to throw crap on the floor especially mommy's drink and watch it spill yay phase). So I leave you with a picture of my precious boy from the other night. He's such a serious little baby!