Friday, December 31, 2010

For auld lang syne

It's late and I should be asleep. Instead, I find myself alternately browsing between websites- searching for a fabulous turtle cheesecake recipe for tomorrow night and then switching back to the the site where I've ordered about half of my cloth diapers from in the past- trying to decide how to spend my gift certificate. Yep. Yours truly actually won something for what just might be the first time ever. Not kidding (about the certificate or about never winning.) I mean- some people claim they never win anything, but for real! I never do. Until now. Last week, I won a $25 gift certificate to their store. The best part is, the babes doesn't need any diapers right now and they carry plenty of other things besides diapers. PLUS- they have free shipping on everything all the time. So I don't have to feel like I'm wasting half of it just to get it here. Which makes the decision incredibly hard. Blow it all on an adorable set of sweet little socks or be responsible and buy something like laundry detergent? Ah, it's so hard to decide. But, I'll carry on. Much of the fun lies in the browsing.

As far as the cheesecake goes- I'm dreaming of something rich and gooey and chocolaty with toasted pecans. Mmm. I think I might have found a recipe on allrecipes.com, but I may have to alter it a bit. My hubby works tomorrow evening so I assumed I'd be sitting home, but my dear sister felt pity on me and invited me over. I'm giddy with excitement. I just love when I have somewhere to go in the evenings. The afternoon shift can sometimes get long. Ah, who am I kidding? The afternoon shift always gets long. Thankful, so very, very thankful for his job... But not so crazy about the 3 to 11 shift. But we make do. We make it work the best we can. And, we were so glad to have him home for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (he actually had a four day break surrounding Christmas!) So, anyways, I'm anticipating getting out tomorrow night- even if it is just the kids and I.

My track record for blogging has been sporadic at best these past months. Four days in a row... and then nothing for four weeks straight. I've been debating about making this blog private. I get self-conscious, if you will, about what I post here, how it might be interpreted, and so on and so forth. And I think- no one wants to read this anyways! But then I waver. See, people have different opinions about the Internet. Some are paranoid about having their identities stolen, about the bad information that's out there- and with every right reason to be. It's a crazy world. One can never be too safe. But then, I look at this blog, other's blogs, and facebook as a way to connect in a way I otherwise would not be able to. I've gotten to know friends and relatives who live states away better through the Internet. It's not going anywhere- embrace it for what it is. So there I sit- back at the starting block- continue blogging for all the world to see (potentially- not literally- I'm well aware my meager audience does not encompass such massive populations) or make it private and continue this for what it was always meant to be- a record for my children. I think I've debated this before. I think with the new year now would be a time to make a decision.

Anyways. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas; we spent ours happily surrounded by family, good food, fun surprise gifts given and received in anticipation. And now, looking forward to 2011 I'm trying to wonder if I have any resolutions this year. I love to make resolutions- I love to make lists- it comes with the territory. The key is (or so I've read) is to make attainable resolutions. Hm. I think I'll need to ponder this one a bit. I will be sure to let you know, though.

And lastly, after years of listening to it played over the radio at midnight on New Years Eve, I finally looked up the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne and discovered it means literally "days long since" or days gone by... or the good old days... So with a reflective look at the days passed and a hope for those to come... Happy New Year! Ring it in with joy & laughter for a beautiful 2011!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear...
For auld lang syne!
We'll take a cup of kindness, yet
For auld lang syne!...
-Robert Burns

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

With only a few days to go before Christmas, this house has about maxed out on the excitement level. We've already gone to two of our family parties with two more we've yet to attend.

I love this time of year. I love the get togethers, the visits with family and friends we don't see sometimes for an entire year at a time. I love the Christmas cards in the mail every day, the kind hearted way a complete stranger in the store wished me a Merry Christmas after I almost ran him over with my cart while lost in shopping-list-trance.

I love the way the children count down with a paper chain until Santa arrives, the decorating cookies, the kitchen warm and our faces flushed from all day baking that produces our favorites: truffles, and ginger snaps, and iced sugar cookies. I love the excitement, the tree glowing in the corner, the way my two year old points out each and every house that has lights with such enthusiasm you would think each one she sees is the very first.

I love remembering often why we celebrate Christmas and hearing that message spoken by the little children at their Sunday School program. I love gathering close with my family on Christmas Eve- all of us crowding into my parent's house because moving that party to a larger place just wouldn't feel quite right. I love singing carols, hearing the children hum along over the parts they don't know yet, and just feeling content and blessed in my heart.

I love all the moments I've put into the little presents I'm making for my children, imagining the delight on their faces when they tear open the paper on Christmas Eve. I love the traditions we are creating and building upon in our own little family while continuing with the traditions we've been brought up on for as long as we can remember.

So, wherever you are this season and in whatever way you are carrying out your own traditions, my wish for you is a wonderfully happy Christmas and joy in great abundance.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Six years old

We had a celebration of the six year old sort this afternoon at hour house. I really can't help making birthdays kind of a big deal. Looking back at my own childhood there were two days of the year- every year- that stood out from the rest: the first was Christmas, the second was my birthday. Birthdays for children should be one of the very most exciting days of the year. It's a day of celebrating a new milestone reached- one more year older, two hands needed to hold up your age instead of just one. As she said, "Yesterday I was just five and now, today I am six!" So we had a party, and what a fun one it turned out to be.



Five of her friends came over after school for the party- an event that was looked forward to and counted down to for weeks by Lydia. I adore this kindergarten age so much! The girls are all so expressive, growing up so much, and still so sweetly little.

Yesterday, after school Lydia was the only kid home and she went out to play in the snow by herself. I was rushing around the house doing the infamous dash between the washing machine and the kitchen sink when I paused by the window at the top of the stairs to check on her. There she was- chatting away to herself, playing in the little mound of snow by the side of the drive, busy and content in a world of her own. It was one of those moments in life that sends your mind on a little slide show of days passed, while you stand frozen watching and marveling at real life.



Six. Six years ago on a Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, I was sitting in the hospital holding a sweet little baby girl. Our Thanksgiving plans were quickly changed in the best possible way. And, standing there watching her  yesterday I was brought back all those years and wondering how it could be she was already so big.

I've written her some thoughts, but I'm not sharing them here this year. Instead, they're for her alone. What I will say is, Happy Birthday, Lydia! I'm so glad you had a fun day.

Oh, and because I mentioned I was working on finishing this for her birthday, here it is: proof that it's finished. I put the final stitches on it yesterday. Whew!





This turned out to be such a fun project! I've never attempted putting together a quilt before this one, so everything was just an experiment. I never worried about the final outcome, or the little mistakes made along the way- just had fun with each step. Her doll has a matching one.

And now, I'm going to help myself to a bowl of birthday cake ice cream. Have you tried this stuff? WOW! It's like the best parts of childhood mixed into ice cream (and still so enjoyed by this, ahem, adult).

ETA: The instructions for this quilt can be found at the Old Red Barn Co. This was from a quilt-along she posted last summer. Very easy to follow and lots of great pictures to make everything visual.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the hunt begin!

I am loving the winter wonderland we woke up to this morning! The white everywhere brightens up the house and pulls me out of the gray November lulls right into Christmas-list-making, planning, dreaming. The majority of my shopping is completed thanks to the Internet, but there are a lot of projects I'm making or hoping to make and this snow... it just puts me in the Christmas project-making mode!

The kids are out in the backyard already this morning and I'm realizing how much different this winter could potentially be. Last year they wouldn't go out alone. They wanted someone to be out there with them and Hannah was too young to really play out there. And I spent the winter expecting a baby or with a very new baby so I wasn't too compliant, I'm afraid. So, they didn't get out except for when Ryan went out to clear the snow from the driveway.

This morning they were so excited to see the snow everywhere so they gobbled down their breakfasts and began pulling on their snow pants, jackets, mittens, and hats. We discovered that Jack has no boots that fit (oops) so he pulled on a pair of wool socks and his mud boots without too much conviction and they all happily shuffled out into the snow. Hannah looked sort of hesitant and unsure, but off she went. Lucky her to have to have a big sister and a brother to take her outside. And lucky mom, as well!

I heard the dear hunter in this house take off bright and early this morning as I burrowed back into the quilts. Ah, the excitement of opening day (for him).  There's a roast in the crock pot awaiting his arrival this evening. He's got several days off of work (he's pretty sure the best perk of working as a nurse in a female-dominated field is that none of them want hunting season off)!

So, I'm off to get this day going! Enjoy yours!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My fun trip to the dentist

Since when did going to the dentist become a free for all for the lady with the sharp picky thing to tear apart your gums? Seriously. I've taken ibuprofen twice since visiting the dentist earlier today because my mouth aches so horribly from the hygienist stabbing my gums/teeth mercilessly over and over and over... Now I know why people dread going to the dentist. Never used to be that great of an issue for me. I've never especially loved going to the dentist (it's true, those types of people claim to exist), but it's never really been that bad. Until now. Owww!

It started out bad and kept getting worse. First, the hygienist started out all nice- making pleasant conversation, chit-chatting about the weather, blah, blah, blah. Then she interpreted the x-rays. And proceeded to point out that it appeared as if I had "cavities". As in plural. I gulped, balked, started to fidget nervously. I haven't had a cavity since I was 12 or so and I feel like I take decent care of my teeth. Then, she started with the whole sawing away at my teeth and gums with her pick machete for nearly 45 painful minutes. And then, just when I thought I could breathe a safe sigh of relief, the dentist came in and informed me my wisdom teeth need to go. The roots are all twisty and I'll need to go to the oral surgeon to have it done. Bonus, though, I only have three. There is no fourth one. Um... Yay?

He also informed me that I indeed did have cavities. Two. Between the teeth. Pretty sure all logic was lost on me at that point and I stammered something like, But I brush! After every meal! And I floss with those little flosser things, too!, as if that might make him change his mind or something and make him say, Oh! Well, in that case- forget it! No need to fill those cavities, if you're taking such great care! And forget about pulling the wisdom teeth as well!

Pretty sure I walked out of there like a wounded dog. Funny, because I was just in the dentist with Jack last week and I think he was tougher than me. He asked me before I left who was going to "take care of you" at the dentist and I assured him I could take care of myself. An hour after sitting in the chair, I was thinking I could have used some taking-care-of right about then.

But about those wisdom teeth... I'm scared. Like, not just average scared, but really-really-feel-like-I-want-to-puke-scared. The only experience I have with people getting them pulled was with my husband-then fiance- who had them pulled. I drove him to and from his appointment two hours away and I just remember being so appalled afterwards that he was in so much pain. He barely ate for 10 days he was in such pain. Now... I know guys can be kind be... how to say this nicely?...less than the tough macho men they think they are at times, but is- that, like, gulp- a normal occurrence with wisdom tooth extraction?

At least I have till January to worry about it. I think I'm going to go into denial till then. It's easier that way. {Yeah, I'm a wimp. And worrier, too. Welcome to my world.}

Monday, November 1, 2010

And the first place finish goes to...

Hannah was the winner this year- she hit the bottom of her bucket first. The devastating (on her part) incident occurred at about six p.m.this evening when she peered into the bottom of her pumpkin and declared, "Uh-OH!" And I cheered. And then I noticed with dismay the other two buckets were approximately 50 and 95% full. Which means tomorrow (and several tomorrows to come) will be filled with a whole lot of Hannah trying to steal candy and Lydia and Jack having multiple fits over that fact.

New and original hiding spots will be sought out only to be discovered by Hannah's uncanny sense of discovery which we like to affectionately refer to as digging. Tears will fall, feet will stomp, tempers will flare. And then newer and more original hiding spots will be found once again. This could go on and on and on. Which is why I arrived at the perfect solution of pushing my healthy eating start date off (till an undetermined point in time) so that I can, uhhh, remedy the situation a bit.

Whoever came up with the whole trick-or-treating idea anyways? My guess is it was most definitely not a mom. I mean, can you just picture that? Hey, kids! I got a new idea, listen up! We're going to all gather together and strew wands and hats and wigs and masks all over the ENTIRE house. Then we're going to don those fireman suits and butterfly wings, smear paint all over our faces, grab a big bucket and go stand on peoples steps and yell until they give us candy! And then- just wait, here comes the good part- the next day you can consume that pail full of sugar at alarming rates until your bellies ache and your teeth feel as if they are going to fall out of your mouth. Until you are climbing on top of the piano and jumping off the back of the couch.

No. Not a mom. Now, a dad who conveniently gets called into work early on the day after Halloween and does not return until the children are tucked sweetly in bed in their sugar-induced comas? That's a much better wager.

Ah, well. It's all fun. I do enjoy Halloween. Watching the kids get excited, knowing how unbelievably awesome it feels to lug around a pail of candy, sorting out the candy bars, the licorice, the dum-dums... smelling that sweet mixture of chocolate and Skittles and Starburst whenever you look inside to decide if you're going to have some Whoppers or some M&Ms next... What could be better?

But, when the candy buzz finally does settle down a bit, let me say, I am exicted it's November! Excited to work on some Christmas projects, settle into the cold weather by keeping cozy inside, and reconnect with the forgotten art of reading. Quiet, dark evenings just seem made for reading. And knitting. And quilting. And cuddling up with the kids, listening to them tell stories. For whatever reason, November just seems like the start to all of that and I am so ready.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's a two (or three) chocolate cupcake kind of day

Approximately every twenty to thirty minutes since putting the baby to bed at seven o'clock this evening, she has woken from her extremely restless sleep wailing inconsolably. After four hours of this I think I've safely made a diagnosis of either one of two things. A) She's got a cold, or B) she's teething. Whew. That was a toughie. Either way it's been a real joy to feel completely helpless as to what she needs/wants. Brings me back to when she was only a few months old and made it her quest to confuse me with her crying jags each and every evening. I'm gearing up for a long night and tempted to just make a pot of coffee right now. Might be easier for everyone involved, I figure.

She started to get real pleasant right around the time I began throwing together one of my suppers of the stand-by, old-faithful sort (translation: has been made so many times since Ryan started the afternoon shift, I should have bought stock in the staples). The house was sailing (and I don't say this lightly, trust me), and she was wailing (I can't help it. Sorry. It's late and I'm simply amused.) Anyways at some point between charcoling the grilled cheese sandwiches and boiling the tomato soup over all over the top of the stove (oh, yes, I did!), I realized this unbelievably crazy day was nowhere near close to over: it was just beginning .

I looked around the kitchen in it's upturned state feeling completely overwhelmed. Tiny pieces of paper littered the floor where the kids had been chopping "mail" to deliver to every single imaginable spot in the house that might possibly resemble some minute characteristic of a "mailbox". It appeared as if the cupboards had thrown up all over the counters, for they resembled the aftermath of a multi-course meal preparation, not a three-ingredient-slap-together-insta-supper. The dishes had piled impossibly high after running the dishwasher just prior to lunch. And in my mind all I could do was continue repeating they're healthy, they're happy, they're healthy, they're happy.

So, my plans of a quiet, project-loaded evening dissipated quickly, just moments after I got the three older kids to bed and heard Adalie's first wails. And you know what? Big deal. The wind is howling, the baby is (let me type this quietly) finally sleeping again snuggled up next to me on the couch, and what in this crazy world could possibly matter more than to be right here in this moment instead of worrying about the things I didn't get accomplished today?

I cannot think of a single thing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, the secrets I keep...

As Jack & I were sitting at the table doodling on a write-on/wipe-off board I began writing the first and middle names of everyone in our family. When I got to mine and Ryan's names, Jack looked confused.

"Whose are those names?" he asked
"Oh, that's Sarah and Ryan," I said.
"Oh. I guess I write it wrong," he replied tracing MOM and DAD through the air.
"No, that's right!" I assured him, "Ryan and Sarah are our real names. But you call us Mom and Dad."
"Oh," he answered seeming to understand, "Then what's my real name?"
It didn't help when I told him Jack was his real name. I'm pretty sure he still believes I'm hiding something.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scawy Little Gohsts

It all went something like this:
During super tonight, I let the kids know that Grandma was coming over later which prompted someone's bright idea of trying to scare her when she arrived. So they gobbled down their meals and raced off to their bedroom to hide out. And I decided not to tell them she wouldn't be here for another two hours.

So, a while later I was sitting in the living room when two odd shaped characters came "OooOoOoo"-ing down the stairs. Clad in white blankets, they proceeded to march around the room giggling and snickering between their OooOos.

"Scawy!" Exclaimed the two year old clamoring for a safe place next to me for a moment before deciding to join in the parade herself.

But, white blankets we were out of and so a blue blanket was used instead.

The two white ghosts peeked out from under their drapes and skeptically eyed the new blue ghost.

"Um," said one carefully, "Did you ever hear of a blue ghost?"
"No," said the other, "How about she's just a fake ghost."

And so the three paraded around a bit more before the tallest of them pointed out that her blanket did not reach the floor like the other two.

"Oh no!" She exclaimed, "My legs are sticking out! Now Grandma is going to know I'm not a real ghost! She's going to know it's me!"

So a quick swap up of blankets was done to find a better fit. And once again my house was filled with three ghosts. Unfortunately, by the time Grandma arrived the blankets were shed on the floor and they were on to something else. I'm sure, however, she would have never known it was them!


I suppose the time has come to dig out the Halloween box and let them have a little more fun for the next few days. Where, oh where did I lose October?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You might want to sit down for this one, folks

Do you know what you learn in the first month and a half of kindergarten? Besides walking in lines and taking turns and writing your name with one capital letter at the beginning all lowercase after? You learn to count to 100. Now, okay. I know what all of you mothers with older, much more intelligent children are thinking with every due right- Sarah. Counting to 100 is really not that big of a deal. It happens, like, ALL the time. Everyday in fact. Kids even, like, add and subtract numbers to EQUAL 100. And then, they multiply and divide by 100 and find the square root of 100 and use it in complicated algorithims like it's no big deal. Well, true. But when your kid learned to walk he wasn't the first either to do that either. Heh.

So, I did not know this. But then again, I don't remember much about kindergarten except that #1) my teacher was really old (in fact, she's the same age now as she was back then- isn't that amazing?) and #2) I once proudly brought my barbie dressed in a pink sweatsuit that my mom made to school. That was fun. And... and then... wait... Nope, that's it- that's all I remember.

Anyways, last night I was reading the letter that came home in Lydia's Friday folder and as I'm reading I see something along the lines of... kids will be getting assessed on letter recognition and counting to 100... Halloween costumes should be in bag with the kids name on it for next Friday.... HOLD ON, back up while I choke on my coffee. Counting to 100? Last I checked the kid could count all the way to 11. Okay, so she wasn't real advanced for her age or lining up for a spot on the quiz bowl team just yet, but hey- 11 wasn't a bad start to her school career. But, 100? Ha. Let's not get overzealous, now okay? Her recitations went more like 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 13, 19, 23... um... 12?

100. Pshaw. Must have been a typo. Now, 10? Yeah, that she could master. Like a pro!

Then again, maybe it wasn't. Maybe I should have been more on top of this. This could prove to be a bit of a problem when "assessment" time came around. You know, next week? So... as we were eating breakfast this morning I casually brought it up. Didn't want to make her feel all inadequate and come right out and ask if she could count to that astronomically high number or anything so I just vaguely asked her to start counting.

And somewhere between 25 and 30 I asked, How high can you count anyways? To which she smugly replied, "A hundred!"

Huh. Who would've thought. So, she proceeded to rattle off the numbers- yep, all the way to 'a hundred'.

"And you know what," she continued, "That's like the highest number ever!"

Well, imagine that: my kid can count to the highest number ever. What can they possibly teach her next? (I mean. Besides counting higher than 100 or wrting actual words instead of random phrases such as "WPBTRDE!")

Amazing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My little clown

My two year old is learning the art of teasing from her older siblings (and dad) quite well. And, when it comes out of her mouth, it's even more comical than it would otherwise be.

Today, I had plans to go out with the two little girls after the kindergartner got on the bus. Ryan had already taken Jack out so it was just me and the girls. So, I'm getting ready to go and Hannah comes running to find me and says, "Mommy! Dad took yo caw!" (My car, for those of you who can't translate two-year-old-speak).

"He did?" I say with surprise moving toward a window to check. This wasn't the plan.

Just as I get to the window she yells out, "Just kiddin'!"

Oh, dear. She's been on a roll, lately: discovering how easy it is to hand the teasing/taunting right back to her older sibs. And I am amused. Truthfully, I've been waiting for this day to arrive- the older two have had it coming for awhile now.

Oh, and since I'm discussing her- might I add, here- she decided this week she's done with diapers. Just like that. Not the typical way things have happened in this house (if you all recall my struggle less than a year ago...!) Imagine that- no bribes!- I could get used to this.

J & L were a bit disappointed that the snowflakes didn't fly today as forecasted. L was certain beyond a doubt it would snow because her teacher said it might. And the boy just wants to shovel snow- he's waiting for snow to play in. I, on the other hand, cannot relate. I did clean the kitchen to Chris Groban's Christmas CD the other day, however. (But that does not mean I am ready for snow.)

I worked on Lydia's quilt some more today and as I did I marveled at the fact that I could possibly win a contest for the longest start-to-finish project ever. The fabric was picked out when pink was the highest color on her  radar. So I chose fabrics on the pink, green, and teal theme. And now? Now she wants to paint her room red becuase red is her all time, no contest favorite. That's what I get for taking years to complete this project. But I'm exicted to get it done now- even if it is all the wrong colors.

I tend to get too interupted with quicker projects like this:




I originally did this pattern for myself when Adalie was born, but the bag was a bit too large for me to comfortably carry around for too long. So, I adjusted the pattern down a bit and here's the updated model. But this one was not for me. Kind of made me want to make myself another one, though. After the quilt, of course.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Glurch!

I remember my sister K talking about some slime-stuff that occupied her kids for hours and- needing something to keep my kids kind of on the quiet side while my hubby got some sleep- I pulled up the recipe and mixed up some... GLURCH! Remember that Gak-stuff you could buy? Maybe you still can, haven't tried to purchase it since I was about 10. Anyways, it's just like that.


And, I kid you not... The stuff has been occupying H & J since big sis left for school.

It's smashable,

And slimy...

And all around good clean, cheap entertainment.

Want some at your house?

Here's the recipe:

Bowl #1:
1/2 cup Elmer's glue
1/2 cup cold water
Mix together with spoon until glue is dissolved in water.

Bowl #2:
2 tsp. Borax
3/4 cup warm water
Mix together with fingers to fully dissolve Borax. 

Pour bowl #1 into bowl #2. Reach your hands in and pull out the glurch! There will be excess water. Just knead it around to get extra water out. After the extra water is out, it should be slimy but shouldn't easily stick to your hands. If it does, I don't know what you did wrong. The second batch I made I tried to add food coloring and it didn't turn out quite as well. Or it could have been the dollar store glue. Not sure. 

This stuff can be stored in an airtight container and used again. 
Just make sure your kids don't eat it!

 Have fun!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oops

Hah! I apologize for the previous post that was full of spelling errors in the first sentence! I read over the main part before posting, but added that info in at the top afterwards and apparently I was in such a hurry to get that post up before the cut-off I didn't finish checking the spelling. Oops. I corrected the errors now, but that's a great way to enter a contest, don't you think?

Creativity in Children

The following post is an entry to a contest sponsored by cottonbabies.com in response to the question:

How do you encourage a creative, artistic spirit in your baby, toddler or young child?


Part of encouraging children to discover their own creativeness means allowing them the freedom to become who they will. With four children between the ages of eight months and five years, it’s no small statement to say they are all uniquely different in their personalities. That’s obvious, and any mom can tell you the same thing. What was surprising to me when I first became a mom, however, was to discover these personalities were visible right from birth. The baby that was so relaxed right from the start, for example, is still the one who grabs any chance she can to cuddle with her dad or I. And contrarily, the one who- as a baby- burst into tears when a stranger came in her sight is still sensitive to new situations today.

How, then, does a parent encourage such ranging personalities to grow together while becoming their own individual who realizes their own talents? In our house it’s not fancy toys or electronic gadgets that accomplish this. It’s not constant direction from me, but it’s giving them the foundation of an idea and letting them build upon it. It’s giving my son a pan full of flour and letting him figure out what to do with it. And then, it’s standing back and letting the floor become covered in a fine dusting of flour while he ploughs it into make believe snow banks with his trucks. It’s giving a child a lump of dough while you’re making bread to let her do what she will with it. And it’s not worrying that the little clumps of dough she formed are bumpy and too small. It’s letting her see the results of her work and being proud of her little accomplishments.

I have learned one of the most important things about raising kids is to not worry about the mess that results. There was a time when the mess worried me. I was convinced I wasn’t a good enough mom if the dishes weren’t done and the laundry was piling up. And I would feel guilty for not being this ideal homemaker I dreamed of being. Time and children have changed that, and while a clean house is still a dream, I’m okay with the mess. Allowing children to make a mess and get their hands dirty is one of the greatest ways to encourage creativity in them. It’s when the kitchen floor is covered in play dough or the table is a mess of brightly colored paint splashes, when their true spirits become visible.

One of the greatest rewards as a mother is watching my children discover their own strengths. Letting their imaginations make a town out of wooden blocks, a hunting camp out of blankets strung across chairs, a school bus out of pillows. These are the things that get them thinking, spark their creativity, and make them discover the things that bring them joy.

So much of what we become is the characteristics we were born with given a lifetime of opportunity to expand. Rigorous schedules and extracurricular activities at frighteningly young ages are not the things that bring about the joy of childhood in our children. But spending time with them- coloring at the kitchen table, laying on your backs under the stars, or pointing out cloud animals marching across the sky- these are things that open up children to their own happiness.

Creativity is not something that is taught to our children, but rather something that is discovered by them. Give them the opportunity to make messes and mistakes, bad decisions and wrong turns. Only through the process of trial and error can they truly discover what they are capable of doing. And how exciting it is to watch that discovery happen.




Thursday, October 7, 2010

So perhaps I have a *slight* addiction to fabric

Yesterday as I was browsing across some blogs, I came across a really neat idea that involved transferring a few lines of a written letter to a pillow by scanning in the written work, blowing it up, and printing it out on transfer paper. So cool. It would be really cool if you had, like, old love letters to work with, I think.

Well then today while wandering through a gift shop I saw these great wall signs that had many random thoughts on them- kind of like informal rules about life? So as I was busy scheming up how to make them, I thought- how cool would it be to write my kids letters but then instead of putting them on pillows paint them on something that could hang on their walls. No, they can't read yet- but by the time this plan is put into action they'll probably be going through chapter books. So if I get a start on it now there is the possibility they could receive these as gifts, like, when they graduate high school or something.

I do want to make one for my living room, though. No love letters, however. Just some random thoughts. I'm real good at random meaningless thoughts in case you were in doubt. Getting projects completed... well, not so much.

This morning my sister called (yes, the one who lured me to Mqt a few weeks ago with that great 30% off coupon) and informed me of the sale going on at the quilt house: 20% everything in the store.Well, now. Who can pass up an opportunity to seek that out? I mean, even if you don't need anything 20% off is 20% off so you have to just look, right? I'm pretty sure I would save all kinds of money if I didn't have my own personal bargain hunter informing me of all the great sales going on. Yes, you read that correctly. No, really. Everyone should have a personal bargain hunter- especially one that says "I'll be there in forty five minutes" and whisks you away from your motherly duties for a fun day out.

Anyways. I had a great time at the fabric shop. I love when I'm standing at the counter waiting for my fabric to be cut and the lady wielding the scissors across the beautiful prints says, "So what are you making?" It always results in me going blank and uttering something like, "Um... Uh, well I'm not entirely sure yet. But, I do have some ideas," followed by a few very convincing nods. Apparently some people get patterns first and then shop for the fabric second. I prefer the 'oh-this-is-soooo-cute-I-think-I'll-just-get-a-half-a-yard' method. I am pretty sure, however, the pattern first process would be much more effective. Might have to try that some time. But then, that would probably result in me leaving there with only what I need. And what fun would that be?

Oops. Just realized my hubby is probably going to read this. So in that case- forget the whole last paragraph, dear, I am always extremely conservative when it comes to fabric shopping. I only purchase what I know for sure without a doubt I might have the opportunity to possibly, someday, if the correct situation allows... find some especially great use for each carefully selected piece of fabric.

Trust me. Really.

Also on the agenda today was a stop at Goodwill. I found a bag stuffed full of iron on transfers in prints of flowers and miscellaneous designs. Again, their purpose has not exactly been determined, but I will think of something. Eventually. I might actually use some of the basic ones to put on fabric for Lydia to do stitching on. I remember doing those when I was about her age. That might be a fun thing for her to do for Christmas presents.

Speaking of kid's projects... Anyone have any projects for a four year old boy? He's so bored when big sis goes off to school in the afternoons and little sis is napping. It's only October and my ideas are running low- any suggestions?














Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Musings

This morning...
  • I made an eight-cup pot of coffee
  • And I'm the only one who drinks the stuff around here
  • My kids are puppies.
  • Their names are Patty, Craig, and Beah. (Take no offense if you have the same name- trust me, it's an honor.)
  • The washer is humming along with the hope that for a few minutes I can win the laundry war. For a few minutes. That's all.
  • My husband is gone to the grocery store. He does the majority (ok, all) of the grocery shopping around here.
  • That's usually a good thing, but sometimes I think I should take it over again...
  • We are right in the middle of Ryan's long stretch of work
  • And, oh am I looking forward to his long stretch (6 days!) off next week!
  • And I'm kind of secretly hoping he doesn't pick up too many extra shifts during that time.
  • I'm feeling optimistic that I might finish some projects today.
  • I need to find somewhere to visit tonight that has a sauna as our bathtub is having leaking issues and the kids desperately sort of need a bath before Sunday
  • I'm looking forward to hopefully visiting with my niece at some point today
  • And my coffee needs to be refilled.
Have a great Saturday and a happy fall weekend!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baby Booties {New Etsy Listing}

Remember those fun little girly things I was talking about? Here is one of the finished products. I have a few more pairs in various stages of production in different prints/styles. But here's the first real finished product:


These were so much fun to sew, I can't wait to do some more! They are available in three sizes (not suitable for a walker as the bottoms are made of the same cotton fabric as the exterior.) The other pairs I'm working on have a Velcro closure rather than the ties. I will be listing those as soon as they're finished. Thanks for looking!

See them and my other items in my etsy shop.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Projects & Plans

I can't wait to show you what I'm working on right now! They are little and girlie and so much fun... But, I will refrain and keep you in great suspense until I can show you an actual finished product. Providing it, uh, turns out that is. There is nothing like a rainy fall day to get me excited about new projects. Yes, this after I just declared in my last post that I'm basically a lost-cause on the project-front. Ahem. I change with the weather. Nah funny!! As Hannah would declare.

Speaking of little miss princess, she's still awake upstairs in her crib. I just went and chatted with her for a few minutes, rubbed her back, and highly suggested she close her eyes. She's not buying it. She just grinned at me and wrinkled her nose and proceeded to tell me there was a bug on the ceiling. That's what I get for trying to squeeze a nap out of her at 2 p.m.

And then there's the littlest princess. She's been having a rough evening over here. I'm quite certain big bad tooth #1 is about to make it's appearance and that's leaving her rather confused and sad. Ah, all the things they must go through. I also think she's really wanting to crawl. She's not pushing herself to her knees or type of advanced movement like that (remember- the last babes in this house didn't take steps untill 18 months so our expectations are low). However, she's not so content to just sit and play like she used to be. My babies always go through these little mood swings right before they learn something new. Or, then again it could be the tooth thing.

Anyways. I'm going to bed so I can wake up early tomorrow and drink my coffee before the morning mayhem occurs. Hah. It's always a nice thought anyways.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This & That

I wish I could say the spaces between my blog posts are filled with all sorts of intelligent things in which I'm just dying to fill you in on. But no real excitement here- unless you consider the simple mundane tasks of keeping a house together interesting- picking up toys, folding clothes, washing clothes, picking up toys, washing dishes, folding clothes, washing clothes, picking up toys, picking up toys, picking up toys... Why do I do that again? Jack informed me one night we didn't need to pick up because they were just going to make a mess again in the morning. I had no good response.

Last week I started a yoga class and I'm enjoying it so much. I find myself wishing it were every evening rather than the one or two a week it is. I couldn't wait to slip out the door tonight- leaving Ryan to corral the kids into their beds. Just doing something for myself feels so good after being pulled in everyone else's direction all day long. I do yoga on my own at home but it doesn't compare to actually getting out of the house- I think that's half the enjoyment right there.

On Saturday my mom, sister, neice, Adalie, and I took a day-trip in which we were able to hit a few garage sales, a few re-sale shops, an extremely juicy quilt shop that I was unaware existed (I was able to restrain myself- this time), and some other shopping as well. I had good luck at one of the garage sales- scored some things for my living room- the big item being a large black shelf with pegs on it. Oooh, I can't wait to get that up!

Oh! I do have exciting news, actually. My sister had her baby today so I've got a new little niece! So happy for them that she is here. I wish we were just a bit closer so I could run over and see her, but for now I'll have to settle for the picture that was texted to me this afternoon. She's a sweetheart!

So, what's on your agenda for this week? I'm hoping to get some sewing done. Funny as it sounds- I think when I was going to school I actually got more done around here as far as projects go. Having a schedule does that to you: makes you commit to a time frame. So, maybe it's time to start searching for a job. Or perhaps I just need to dive into a really good project to get me going!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friends Like These

Everyone needs a set of friends like mine: the ones that walk you through life changes, reminisce with you about things that happened a good twenty years ago, lift you over bumps, and bust out in a laughing fit before you even have a chance to tell the funny part of the story just because they know you that well.

You know the kind of friends I'm talking about.

These are the ones who were with you before the drama of middle school and were still there for you when it was through. Friends who were there long before boyfriends and husbands and kids- and can remind you about the girl you once were when life makes you forget. These are the ones who you know your dumbest moves, your saddest moments, your triumphs- and even if they weren't always right there to give you a hug they were cheering you on in their hearts.

These are the types of friends who can give you a look and you know what they're saying better than if they had actually spoken out loud. They share your memories, your dessert, the stories of your lives. They give you the best even if it means taking something less for themselves. They get you- sometimes better than you get yourself.

They're the ones who go out for coffee with you and no matter what it's never quite long enough. And as you drive home you think, Oh, I hope we can do that again real soon! And when, sometimes weeks or even months down the road, you do get together again- you jump right back in to the moment where you left off and start up again without missing a beat.

Thanks girls. What a fun night out that was!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is "missrouted" just a fancy word for LOST?

After two days of school Lydia has reached the conclusion that "School is soooooo much fun! Way more fun than I even thought it would be!" So I'm feeling much better than I was the other evening just knowing she's excited about going each day. Jack, on the other hand, isn't so excited to see her go.

"I don't like when Lydia goes off to school," he complained today, going on to say he didn't know what to do. I suggested he color, play with his cars, pull out his farm set. But all of that held no great appeal without his constant playmate around and the little girls napping. Luckily, I remembered I had purchased a set of Lego Duplo blocks a long time ago from a garage sale and was able to unearth them fairly quickly from a corner of my room. That was all the entertainment he needed for the afternoon. 

In other events around here- I'm starting to get a bit concerned about a package that was supposed to be delivered several days ago. I caved in and ordered a couple more diapers when cotton babies had their seconds sale going on last week. Hannah's in no real danger of potty training any time soon and I was thinking this would make it easier to get by with both little girls in diapers. So. I've been tracking the package online, the free shipping was quick, it made it to the next door state... and then it stopped. And after about a day of nothing the new status that popped up yesterday morning was "missent", with the description reading something along the lines of "Your item was misrouted. Every effort is being made to correct the mistake. Information, if available, is updated periodically throughout the day. Please check again later." And then, nothing. No further updates, no more info just, missent. Which, according to my spell check isn't even a real word and maybe, just maybe, the word they were really searching for here was "lost"?

Uh. Okay. So, I'm picturing this thing in some rural postage-stamp-sized post office on the other side of the US. Or maybe bouncing along in the back of a two-seater plane headed out to some desolate town in Alaska. Or perhaps it's in a jet- flying over the Atlantic ocean to an entirely different country. It could be weeks before this is resolved. But, not to worry. Remember- every effort is being made to correct the mistake so that makes it all better. In the meantime, I'll just keep refreshing my browser and looking at that daunting missent status while I drive myself crazy.

But I'm fine with that, really I am. Perfectly fine. Just in case you were wondering.

Anyways. Tomorrow is Thursday and Ryan is off for the next two days. And that, my friends, means projects are going to be happening around here. We're in the process of rearranging the kids bedrooms and I'm not sure anything we do is going to be ideal, but we'll go with it. We've got two kids rooms- one is extremely small and the other is moderately small. So with Adalie still occupying a pack-n-play in our bedroom at 7 months old, we're trying to figure out a good way to get her into one of the kid-rooms. The great plan involves building a loft in the extremely small room, putting new paint on the wall of both rooms, and shuffling kids around until something works.

If all else fails it should prove to be entertaining at least.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kindergarten Butterflies

The last weekend of summer was a mild one for us. We visited family, hung out at home, and had an easy few days gearing up to the start of a new schedule at this house. Big day in this house tomorrow- our little girl is starting kindergarten!

She's got her first-day-of-school-outfit laid out on at the foot of her bed, her backpack waiting innocently by the door, and despite the nerves that surfaced for a bit at bedtime last night, she is more than ready to go. And suddenly, I'm not quite so ready to see her go! How is it possible we've already come to this day?! I will hold it together, I will hold it together, I will hold it together... But I'm not making any guarantees as to what happens after that bus drives away tomorrow- just so we're completely clear on that.

While the days have dwindled down leading up to this special moment in her life, I've wanted to just slow things down a bit. I know how excited she is- and trust me I'm right there excited with her- but hello! she's growing up too fast! I do not say this because it's a cliche- but becuase I'm wondering with sincerity- where did those years go? I have the grounding realization once again how fast children grow, how quick time passes.

As she's counted down the days, I've ticked through the questions surfacing in my mind: Did I do a good enough job? Did I teach her all she needs to know up to this point? Is she going to be okay? There is no doubt in my mind- I will continue to ask these questions over and over again as the years go by. It's part of being a mom, I am sure of that. And while I keep reminding myself this is only half-day kindergarten and not college three states away- my heart doesn't know the difference.

Yesterday afternoon Lydia and I went out for a few hours to get some school things for her. Ryan suggested I take her out for lunch and so her and I did just that. Because I've never gone out to eat with just her, I found myself pleasantly surprised when she slid into the booth right up next to me rather than occupying the opposite side. There was so much to appreciate in that moment.

She's ready. She's more than ready. And I will be too, I know I will. But right now, before everything changes and life moves forward into an entirely new direction- right now while the house is silent and everyone sleeps- I'm letting my heart have the quiet (and, yes, tearful) moment it needs. And then when tomorrow comes I'll be as brave as I know she's going to be.

But for now: that polka-dot backpack parked by the door? Well, it's going to make me go through an entire box of Kleenex, I'm telling you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Seriously

I truly meant to get out to the camp today, knowing the chances are slipping away. But, it was so nice and cool in the living room with the air pumping full blast through our trusty little window unit. And Ryan was working. And the baby was a little on the fussy side with a runny nose (and maybe some teeth on the way.) And I wasn't completely feeling 100% either. So, I played my mean-mom card and informed my very disappointed children we would not be heading out to the lake as originally requested by them on the way home from church.

Right now I am in the prcoess of backing up my files on my computer. I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing, but I'm winging it. When I started it up this evening it informed me that there were errors and could not start. And I panicked a little. Okay, so little is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I'm trying to play it nonchalant here because of this teeny-tiny admission: I've never backed up my files before. Never-never. And I've had this computer for approximately 3 years. I'm not exactly a dare-devil, but this in my books kind of classifies. Gives me sweaty palms and everything. (This happens. Like when I'm real nervous and such? Like when I'm standing somewhere way up high and I look down and... Okay... nevermind.)

Anyways. Problem number 1 occurred when my computer would not recognize that I'd put a disc in the drive. Uh. No clue how to fix that problem- if anyone out there has any suggestions for me, bring 'em on. So, when I say I'm backing up my files- they are only being backed up to a D drive. Does this help me at all if my whole computer was to crash? Or fail to start? Or is it totally useless? I do plan to back these up to cds or dvds or whatever (I'm so intelligent with computer-related stuff as you can clearly see), but that has to wait until my hubby can figure out what's wrong with the dvd drive. But I'm just doing this to make myself feel better (remember? sweaty palms?) Yeaaaah.

So, I'm going to just sit here and pretend it's doing something. Makes me feel better than imagining all the pictures I've taken and not printed in the last year completely lost... Oooh. That would really not be good.

Other than that... I'm working on a balanced life. Example: I did yoga tonight. And then I ate ice cream. Honestly if I had to I'm pretty sure I could survive completely on ice cream. I usually don't have the stuff in the freezer because I struggle with trying to recall why it's bad for me to eat a whole container at once. You think I'm exaggerating, but sadly I am not. Hah. Not. At. All. Thankfully, there's only enough for one more indulgence and I promise I'll wait till tomorrow. Shhh... I won't tell you when I opened it.

Okay, that's two not-so-fantastic admissions in one night. That's enough.

How did you enjoy this hot day?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August Thoughts

After spending a much-needed weekend away with my husband and no kids I have been settled back into reality. I don't even want to count how many years it's been since  he and I got away together without a car seat or four in the back. Completely enjoyed every moment! Of course, the joy of it was punctuated by the fact that I found out I'd passed my boards the day before we left. What a relief to finally have that over and done with. And no, I do not yet have a job, a possibility, or even an application. But, just to have my boards done makes me happy. At the moment, I am content to just be where I am. Whatever will be will be.

I'm gearing up for fall over here.
  Excited to see the days cooling off and the nights carrying a chill.
    Ready, even, to find some sort of schedule.
      Hoping my baby decides that this season she will actually begin to sleep.
         Realizing this probably won't happen based on her record.
      And being okay with spending much of my days holding and playing with her.
        And, of course, readying myself for the fact that I'll be sending my oldest off on the school bus in two weeks time while remembering an August six years ago when we moved into this house awaiting her birth.

Feeling just a wee bit reflective tonight. Letting my heart travel where it will as I look back over the photographic memories of a summer we so fully enjoyed while I can't help peeking ahead at what's coming next.

How about you? Squeezing out the last drops of summer in a fun getaway, a family camping trip, or an afternoon at the beach? Feeling ready for cooler days and colored leaves, apple cider and sewing projects?

Whatever it is you are doing to enjoy summer's fading light- embrace it. Enjoy it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Iced Coffee

**UPDATE: Turns out the following recipe is actually BETTER if you omit the step of freezing it and just put it in a blender with some ice cubes. Add a little chocolate syrup and it's just like a McDonald's Frappe!***

I don't remember if I posed this recipe last summer, but even if I did I think it deserves to be posted again. Because if you happen to be a coffee-addict like myself you might find yourself struggling to get in your daily quota of caffeine on these hot August days. And that just can't be. Not with a house full of wild, wound up children and temperatures creeping higher will I surrender the one thing that keeps me sane.

So here it is (recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com)

Ingredients


3 cups hot, strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

In a freezer-safe container, stir coffee and sugar; until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Add the milk, cream and vanilla; freeze. Remove from the freezer several hours before serving. Chop mixture until slushy; serve immediately.

Sip and enjoy. Sip and enjoy.

Ahhh. That's better. Let the kids pull the filter out of the vacuum cleaner and smear chocolate frosting from one end of the kitchen to another. Watch as they pull out every piece of dress up clothing and throw them down the stairs. Sit there and slurp away as they slide down the stairs and pile into a heap amongst the pile of dress up clothes. Just chill.

And pour yourself another iced coffee.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blueberry Pickin'

I almost panicked a few days ago when I heard there would be no more picking after this past Sunday at the local blueberry hot spot. Almost thought I'd have to actually pick my blueberries by {audible gasp} by hand. I know! You see, last year I became obnoxiously spoiled when I discovered the ability to pick several (as in, oh 50 or so) pounds of blueberries in just as many minutes using a blueberry rake. Ah, the ease and instant gratification (I'm just a child, really. Never quite truly learned to looove berry picking- just the results.) I only felt a momentary twinge of guilt the first time I tried raking blueberries-- it felt a bit unnatural not to bend over in the blueberry patch for hours to fill a couple of pails. And then the guilt passed; raking them was oh, so criminally quick.

So back to the begining- when I heard the season was in and out in a week I rationalized with myself that if I wanted berries this year I'd have to do things the old way and gear myself with a few ice cream buckets and the better part of a day. Then I talked to my sister who informed me there might be (drum roll, please) one more day of picking at the blueberry farm.

And, so for my giddy conclusion: I got my 47 pounds of berries in about 47 minutes much to my heart's content. Most of them went right into the freezer, many went into three little mouths, some were left out for eating, and others went directly into a pie... which, if my husband doesn't come home from work quickly, might soon disappear.

I love having a freezer full of berries. Sadly, there are no local strawberries in there this year so I'll just have to get the preservative infested frozen ones from the super center that never quits supplying all our major necessities. We'll probably survive and I'll probably discover how easy that way is too- much to the dismay of my inner domesticated homemaker's voice that seems to get quieter with each baby.

The busier life becomes, the more I realize I can only make room for a certain amount of passions- spending insane amounts of time housecleaning and berry picking do not top off that list. Sewing, baking, writing, and spending the day with my family at the beach tend to win out. Oh, and eating- preferably ice cream. And that's what's important in life, right? Not pretending to be what you wish you could be but just going with what you are. If you hang around me long enough you'll soon discover I invent all sorts of neat little rationalizations to combat my guilt. It's a coping mechanism. Really.

And now, I'm off to (No, I'm not going finish up the pie! Shame on you!) ahem, I'm off to search for a superb blueberry muffin recipe for tomorrow's breakfast. Fresh blueberry muffins and coffee... Mmm.. I could turn into a morning person, you just watch.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Becuase in January, I'll need to remember this



Ah, I love this lake. It's impossible not to feel alive sitting on the shore. Sometimes the waves come tumbling in on top of one another, fighting for their way. Other times they seem to sneak in,  whispering secrets that silence the chatter within, begging you to listen, commanding you to stop everything else and just be still.

Beautiful colors of summer... Sweet and fresh.

Mmm... Nap, anyone? If I can burrow in quietly maaayyybe no one will know where I am.

My kids are getting older. Lydia, especially, wants to pick berries wherever we go lately. I wish we could say we've picked enough for jam or even just a single pie. And in truth, I suppose we have. But we eat them as fast as we pick them so all we have to show are red stained fingers and bellies full of berries.

 We've been doing a lot of touring around our area this summer, and even though we're seeing places we've grown up knowing as well as our own neighborhoods, I never fail to be amazed. Such beauty sits all around us. Summer moves so quickly (we even have a countdown going on courtesy of our anxious kindergartner), but we're taking the time to enjoy each moment we can.
The laundry needs folding, the floor needs scrubbing. But, the sun is shining and the lake is calling. And, everything else can wait.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Go Fish!


When we woke up to rain this morning, I kind of hoped Lydia & Jack might decide to forgo the kid's fishing derby I promised them earlier this week. When I asked what they wanted to do (you know, because of the drizzly rain and all) they looked at me like I was suggesting they just curl right up and go back to bed when I gave them the option of not going. They were most definitely still interested. Good little fishermen- not scared of a little rain like their mom.

The rain came down steadily at first, but the fish were being pulled out of the pond at great speeds. In fact, as I sat in the warmth of the vehicle with a sleeping baby and a toddler who was content- for the moment- to watch through the rain-streaked window, I assumed they would continue that rate all day. Which was why I must admit I did not hop out to capture Lydia's two 6 and 7 inchers on camera. Those were the biggest she caught- the rest were itty-bitties. I did manage to take a picture of Jack's "big one"- albeit, a blurry picture. Sigh. So wasn't in the picture taking mood today. Sometimes I really am just too content to watch life unfold rather than catching each moment. And then again, sometimes I should really make more of an effort to catch a few of those moments. Ah, well.


Anyways. Ryan and I both agreed on the way over (around 10 a.m.) the kids would be bored and ready to leave after a half hour or so. Again, we heavily underestimated their enthusiasm for fishing. At noon, they were still going strong and we had lunch there. The local sportsman's club puts on this annual fishing derby each summer and they gave out free lunch, ice cream sandwiches, freezies, and a bag of candy and a couple little prizes to each kid that shows up. Then, there's prizes for the biggest catch, littlest catch, and a large array of runner ups. They also do several random drawings in which Jack scored a fishing pole.

Overall, it was quite the fun experience for the kids. Lydia was hoping we could go back and fish some more this evening... I think their Dad's got a couple of good fishing partners coming up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's All Greek To Her! (Hah! I crack myself up)

I really have to quit using idioms around my oh-so-literal children. I don't think of myself as someone who goes around spouting out these types of comparisons on a regular basis, but a couple of times in the past few days I've been called out on phrases such as "happy as a clam" or "hungry as a horse" by my ever-questioning, can't-hardly-wait-for-school five year old.

Well, tonight I was settling the kids in bed when Jack decided (shocker!) he needed to run for one more drink of water. No fail, every night this kid has to jump back out of bed right after he's tucked in- which inevitably starts the whole process of tucking the blanket under the chin, tight bear hug, and a round of "love yous" all over.

Hurry, I told him. So he tears out f the room on a mission for that much-needed glass of water (and oh, how this kid reminds me of myself sometimes!) he runs right into the kiddy kitchen set in the hallway and crash! down come the plastic pots and colorful cups. Unfazed, he hops over them and continues the dash to the bathroom.

"He's like a bull in a china shop," I commented absently.

"Like a what?" asked Lydia curious at this verbal image I'd suddenly presented.

I set about trying to explain myself with very little success. I tried to explain what a bull was first of all- did my best impression of one stomping across her room. And then I tried to explain what a china shop might be- It's um... It's a place where fancy dishes are sold? Hello. That's what I would imagine it to be, but I guess I never really pictured one until that moment.

So there I am painting it all together for her- delicate dishes teetering on glass shelves and all- and imitating a bull crashing through that. And so that brings up the questions of why a bull would be in a china shop and what else does a china shop sell anyways? So I try to explain that statements such as this one are sometimes spoken to compare one thing to another which, uh (sorry, can't help myself) flies right over her head and out the window.

Well, by then Jack had returned, they were both tucked in, and as I was going out the door Lydia says, "Mom can we go to a china shop someday?"

Oh, sure why not.We'll have a field day. Seeing as china shops are a dime a dozen and all. Should we take Jack the Bull along? And the rest of the herd of elephants as well? Piece of cake, I'm sure.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Best Days of Summer...


I'm finally home and ooh, does it feel good!

We spent a week at my parent's camp (and practically the two weeks before that when my sisters and their families were there). So to actually be home with no real agenda for the next week or so feels really nice to this self-proclaimed homebody!

I loved our vacation week there as I always do every summer, and once again I found myself declaring last night that the week went by way too fast! Why do we always choose the quickest week of the summer for our stay there? I don't get it.

Yet, after spending the morning packing up and cleaning, and then all afternoon and evening unpacking and washing clothes, I'm beat and content to be in my own home . I wanted to get some pictures up on this post, but that's just going to have to wait for another day when I can catch my breath.

The kids fell asleep swiftly and soundly tonight tucked into their own beds and lulled to sleep, I'm sure, by the memories of a perfect week swirling through their minds: jumping off the dock, running across the beach to the lake, gooey s'mores for bedtime snacks every night, and their first successful fishing expedition. Even the baby turned in at 7 p.m.- all the fresh air caused her to bump up her bedtime by a couple of hours this week.

And by the pleasantly exhausted way I feel right now there's a really good chance I'll be turning in early as well- all those late nights around the bonfire have caught up with me. But, oh... I'm already missing the sweet lullaby of the waves against the shore!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Days... and the livin' is easy

We've been dashing off to the lakeshore every single day for the past week and a half and I've hardly had a moment to sit down and turn on the computer-- just the way summer should be! My little 7 a.m. risers are still in bed at five minutes to eleven! I think the midnight returns from the camp have finally caught up to them. Yet, we're off again today for another afternoon of visiting, sunshine-soaking, and maybe some swimming if the temps decide to go up a bit. So sad that my sister and her family must return home tomorrow! But, oh how we've enjoyed thier time here!

Hope you are enjoying summer as much as we are!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swing sets, Sandboxes, & Stripped Pajamas

Right after settling L & J into bed tonight I donned a lovely pair of ultra-baggy (hey, it was a good lunch today) stripped pajamas. I came downstairs, really, truly meant to lock the door, and instead walked right into the living room to put my feet up. A few minutes later when I heard a vehicle running right outside the house I jumped up, scrambled to the window and peaked through the blinds to see someone there checking out the swing set that we parked on the curb for free.

Instantly, I had a vague recollection- something about my husband mentioning he hadn't put the bag of bolt-thing-a-ma-jiggers out there with it and me telling him he should have because anyone that took the time to stop and look at the thing was most definitely not going to take it f there was nothing to put it together with included. I was desperate to get rid of it (and I'm pretty sure my next-door neighbors were too) so not thinking I ran out into the backyard in my stocking feet on a frantic hunt for this supposed bag. Then I reasoned with myself that had it been left outside surely the 4 year old male in the house would've located it with his built in magnet for all things boy and it's contents would be long gone. I dashed back inside right in time to hear someone knock on the door. Uggh. oooohnoo.

Frantically I looked down at my pajamas as I stood glued to the kitchen floor. Now, one thing you must realize about my house- to get upstairs you must go past the front door. From the front door you can see into the entire living room. The only place in the downstairs (okay, besides the bathroom) that you can't see from the front door is the kitchen. (Yes, I counted- that's three things you must know.) Basically, there was no way I was going to get past the front door to dash up the stairs and change without this person seeing me.

So there I stood in my pajamas having a mental war for about 30 seconds- should I pretend I wasn't home? Should I put a bathrobe on? Okay, seriously- how was that going to be any better? But if I didn't answer the door- that would mean he probably wasn't going to take the set. I peaked around the corner and saw a man standing there. Way to lock the outside porch door there, brilliant.

At last, I did the only thing I could and marched into the living room and answered the door. Poor guy. I think he probably thought he got me out of bed cause he started to stammer, "Uh. The swing set. Um, is it free?"

And, because I was standing there in my pajamas in front of complete stranger I started to babble a stream of nervous nonsense... Oh, yeah! Yep. It's all there. Or wait. Was there some bolts out there? I think my husband said he needed to put them out there. I wonder if I could find them. If they're around here somewhere. Do you want to take it? I mean... If I find the bolts? I think there's some swings there- my kids mainly used the swings. Well, and the slide. And the teeter-totter, but that's a little rickety. Besides the rust the frame is good, though. Want me to look for those bolts? Man, I was as cool as a -cucumber.

I did, at that point shut him out in the porch while I ran to change. Then, I actually was able to locate the missing bag- bonus of all bonuses. I was even able to find one of the swings that wasn't there- apparently my kids had hauled it back into the backyard.

But, it wasn't until I went to give him the swing that I saw the girl in the cab of the truck- Hey! I said as she started to get out, Did you come to my garage sale last week over at my parent's house and buy a turtle sandbox that you never picked up? Yep. She had paid for the thing and forgotten to come back and get it. Quite the coincidence. So after they loaded up the swing set I sent her across town to my parent's house to get the sandbox.

Maybe I should have offered them the basketball net that's in the backyard too.

Note to self: lock the door, perhaps?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do you want to win this?


I know I do! Head on over to Post Road Vintage for your chance at winning this. I can just picture how great this would look on a kitchen wall. While you're there, check out all of Heather's other awesome creations and visit her etsy shop too! As she suggests, I think I will have to grab myself a cup of coffee and meander through her site for a bit!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fabricated Dreams

I'm having serious fabric cravings right now. My stash is weary. I keep unfolding the same stacks of material- splaying it over the table, turning it around, trying it with this piece then that. And then folding it up again and stuffing it back into the cabinet. Those pieces may very well have much life left in them but they're begging for some bright new friends to revive them. So, I've been virtual window shopping- adding all kinds of make-me-smile prints to my shopping cart and never making the actual committal by clicking the checkout button. We're kind of limited in this area when it comes to fabric shopping so online bargain hunting it is.

But, it's not the same. I need to touch the colors imagining how they might blend, hold the heavy bolts of fabric up and dreamily stare at them for awhile while visions of what they will be float before my eyes. I like to walk down the rows of rich reds and blues and polka-dotted greens lined shoulder to shoulder and breathe them in. And oh, how shopping online does no justice where all of that is concerned. A point and a click just don't quite have the same effect. The enlarge option is great but there's no life-size option. The online design walls are intelligent for examining coordinating patterns, but they lack the thrill of stacking three bolts haphazardly across each other and seeing a bag. Or a dress. Or a baby blanket.

I just navigated away from the shopping cart page once again. I don't like when I can't see it in real living color. Still. Fabric shopping is a high. Even if it is the virtual window shopping kind.

{On another note: not sure what happened to the pictures when I changed the layout of this blog, but for now it's not letting me fix them. We'll see if I can readjust them another day. Blogger can be temperamental like that.}

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Etsy Shop

Okay, my virtual shingle is hung- my Etsy shop is officially open. It's a bit sparse there at the moment, but I'm working on it. Sloowwwly. I have lots of great ideas just not great lots of time. Hopefully after the garage sale is through this week I can work on listing some more items. Here's a peak at what I have listed so far:



Not excited with the way blogger is working for loading pictures/links this evening but okay. I'll go with it, I guess.
Anyways. These boards are either 12x12 inches or 9x9 inches. It's a fun, simple way to display pictures- and so easy to change the pictures at any time.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I never claimed to be an expert

You know the month(s) before Christmas when you toss out random little threats to your kids in hopes of getting them to behave better? Like... You better quit fighting with your brother because Santa's elves are keeping tabs on you! Or... If you don't clean up every single one of these toys I'm calling up Mr. St. Nick myself and informing him you don't need anything else!!! You also know how those little reminders only work for so long before the kids a) figure out on their own Santa's going to deliver anyways or b) the older ones inform the younger ones that Mom's been threatening that for years and they have yet to see a completely dry Christmas?

Well that's this week in a different sort of way. I'm in the overwhelming midst of getting ready to put on a garage sale this weekend. Eh. Amongst the bags of outgrown clothing and boxes of random miscellaneous stuff I've lost my steam completely. Why did I sign up for this again?

But one thing I do, uh.. did... enjoy about the whole process was the way I could use the garage sale as a motivator for my kids to do something around here. Not sure it worked that extremely well, but still. I used all sorts of great and well-thought-out lines like: whatever' is not off of this floor in three minutes is going in the garage sale! or, Since you're not going to pick up your hockey stuff, I will. AND I'll carry it right over to the door so it's ready to go out with the stuff for the garage sale. Oh, I was on a roll. Came up with new threats every morning while I drank my coffee and smugly dispensed them throughout the day.

Until this evening when my sweet little five year old said to me after one of my fly-off-the-handle-moments, "Mom, I'm gonna sell you in the garage sale so someone else can listen to you yell." Ah, yup. So we're right back at square one with Mr. Freezie bribes.

Something tells me this isn't the theme and advice of any best-selling parenting books on the market.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cloth Diapering

A few years ago I heard of someone using cloth diapers and I'll sheepishly admit my first thought was somewhere right along the lines of: I would try them probably, oh, uh, never? In fact, I wondered why anyone would even want to with the convenience of disposables on the shelves of super centers everywhere. Yet, in the next breath- it sparked an interest. Especially when I witnessed a mom actually using them on her baby. It looked simple enough. And, so what usually happens when I have even the slightest interest in something- I just need to know more.

So, I began to research them while Hannah was a baby and my slight pebble of an interest began to snowball. The options, I discovered, were nearly endless when it came to cloth diapers. After months (seriously, yes, months) of research I knew I wanted to try them out and knew exactly which ones I'd purchase, but I couldn't really justify it as Hannah was already a year old by that time. Fast forward a few months to early last summer when I discovered I was again expecting and that interest was reopened.


Knowing I'd probably have to deal with some questions, some curious looks, and interesting remarks, I made the decision to cloth diaper this baby. This was, after all, my decision and I really wanted to try it out. So, I ordered them last summer to do a 'trial run' with Hannah. I decided to go with a one size pocket diaper (the brand I use is Fuzzi Bunz). These diapers have a fleece lining, a waterproof shell made of PUL and (yep, you guessed) a pocket in which a microfiber insert is stuffed into. And, they are adjustable which means they fit her from 3 weeks old and will fit her until she's out of diapers.



Well. My first experiences were rough. I used the wrong detergent (which resulted in build-up on the diapers), I used too much detergent, I didn't use any type of softener for our extremely hard water, and basically I became quite frustrated. The diapers were losing their absorbency, they had an odd smell to them, and I was annoyed at myself for jumping in feet first without doing enough research on how to properly care for the things. I kept using them sporadically- never quite able to get into a great routine with them for Hannah- until I finally put them away for a bit and came to the conclusion that I had some more learning to do.
So, after some more research, I learned how to 'strip' the diapers (kind of a whole other story- one I'll share if you're interested) and when Adalie was three weeks old I jumped back into using cloth- this time with a lot more knowledge on proper care. In addition to the fuzzi bunz, I added a couple of "Flip" diapers to my stash as well. I've been using both ever since. And I can honestly say once I got into a routine- they are so easy. I feel good using them on her because they are so soft (and chemical free) against her skin, I'm excited about the fact that I don't have to purchase diapers for her weekly, and I must admit: they're cute. {Yes, there are chaper options for cloth diapers than the ones I chose- but in the long run we'll still save a lot money by the time this baby is out of diapers!}

So what does cloth diapering involve? Well, for us it's simple. Every other day I wash the diapers and hang them out in the sun to dry (in the winter I hang them up indoors). After they're dry I stuff the inserts in the diapers and stash them in a drawer so they're ready for immediate use. At that point it's no different than disposables: they're ready use and ready to take along anywhere. The diapers we use all have snaps so there's no diaper pins to worry about. (Like I said, there are a lot of options out there- this is just the one that works best for us.)


Anyways. After the diaper is used, I simply shake the insert out of the pocket and drop both the diaper and the inert into the lined diaper pail (I made a waterproof bag out of PUL to help contain odors). It's not even necessary to rinse the diapers before they're tossed in the pail at this point as my baby is still mainly breastfed. In a few months when she's on solid foods they will need to be rinsed. Right now- sometimes I spray them off, sometimes I don't. It doesn't really matter. On wash day, I carry the bag of diapers to the washing machine, dump the diapers in as well as the bag they've been in, and set the washer going. It's that easy. (For the flip diapers it's basically the same with a few variations- they are not a pocket diaper. I like them both for different reasons- but this is getting lengthy, so I won't go into detail unless someone wants to know more.)

Cloth diapers are not for everyone, I'm sure of that. And if that is you, thanks for reading, and I completely respect that- I'm certainly not trying to push my ideas on anyone! But, I just thought I'd shed a tiny bit of light on them for those of you who might be interested but not really sure where to start or what they involve. There are some great sites online that go into much better detail about diapers than I have here. If anyone has any questions, I'd be glad to answer if I can!

Also, for more information here are some websites I find useful:

cottonbabies.com - This website offers free shipping all the time no matter what size order you have. I have ordered from here and the shipping is fast.

babyworks.com%2Fcloth-diapers-and-the-environment&h=3633flPWQDr3Xb4x2ZjovRBmctQ - this link provides some interesing information on costs of laundering cloth diapers

fuzzibunz.com -provides info on fuzzibunz diapers and lists retailers

ETA: Recenty I purchased some bumgenius 3.0 diapers from cottonbabies.com during their "seconds" sale. Not only was the price really decent, I would have never known these were "seconds". There's no tell-tale mstakes or anything like that. After using the bumgenius 3.0s, I'm hooked. I love these diapers!