Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Commands, Demands, Pressures...

Are you feeling it? That certain "thing" in the air that makes you feel like you can't do anything right/in a timely manner/good enough/special enough? Or the "thing" that makes you feel like suddenly your home is dirtier than usual, the dinners are blander than usual, the clothes are shabbier than usual? The carpets suddenly have more stains and the smudgy windows are more apparent in the winter sunshine?

Well, chuck it! I'm not going there this season! Not gonna do it, and I don't want you to either. If it's causing you stress, don't do it. It's not worth it, and some of it may just be in your mind. You know that no one in your family has starved. You know that your family enjoys the things you make and do for them, and it doesn't matter if it was 100% from scratch. You do the best you can do and they really do appreciate and benefit from it. This time of year is magical on it's own without you having to sprinkle sugar plum fairy dust around! So let it go!

Do your normal daily things. You do them well all the other times of the year and you still can now. Yes, there will be the additional parties, guests over, school events, church events, but take the time to breathe deeply and enjoy them for what they are. They aren't supposed to be status wars, they aren't supposed to be times to showcase the hottest new boots. They aren't supposed to see who can out-do the next person.

This is a time to hold your family and friends closer, to let them all know that you love and appreciate them. To enjoy the magic of the season, which lives in all of us, not on the store shelves.

So. Enjoy it. Sunshine or snow, sleet or slush. Twinkling lights, friends and family and a hot cup of cocoa. Or warm Vernors! Doesn't that sound good? (Don't breathe in when you tip the mug!) Cozy up, hug each other. Happy Holidays--all of them! Love, Peace and peace to you all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Haven't Forgotten

Hi! I haven't forgotten this blog is here. It's just been...well, you know. Busy. As it is for us all. I have pictures of the girlies on their first days of school, doing adorable gymnastics, making kissy faces, in Halloween costumes. I have pictures of a silly kitty being cute and naughty. However, my computer hard drive is...full. Yep. Full. I need to do a back up on an external hard drive, but I also think I want to upgrade my flickr account and upload everything there, because we've had hard drives corrupt and the data not retrievable. I'd cry if that happened with pictures. Also, my phone has pictures on it that don't want to upload because of an error. I don't know if that's on the phone or the computer. So. No pictures.

We're already being asked what the girls want for Christmas. They want lots of junk. Mommy and Daddy do not. I'm thinking family gifts of movie passes, museum passes, open gym passes. Leotards! Ha! A cleaning service. :) Oh wait, that goes on my list.

Anyway, I'm thinking about things we can do as a family. I'm thinking about kits of things - baking, scrapbooking, crafts- that we can just pull out and do AND have it be something we'll use. Like a picture frame, wire, eye-screw things and clips to make a hanging art area. Like canvasses with paints and brushes for art work we can hang in rooms.

But who knows. It's so difficult to think about what the girls want vs. need. It's such a trivial thing when we consider the good fortune we have, the needs of so many world-wide and the real purpose for the holiday season.

For now though? Lunch. I have to keep thinking of the next 10 minutes, otherwise my thoughts get rambling. Beware you few readers, of future rambling thoughts! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fairy Land Remodel

Early in the summer, the girls created fairy houses. They divided the area around the front tree into four by planting Marigolds. They made little wreaths, added "shiny things", had shells and rocks, a fairy pool. They planted little bushes (lettuce seeds). It was very cute. But as the summer wore on, the houses need sprucing up. It was decided that they'd make a whole Fairy Land this time. I added a couple touches for them. Here's a sign and an overview picture. (Pardon the Hexipuff on the sign here. I'll explain that later.) 

IMG_0359 IMG_0348

There is now a main entrance to the Fairy Land, with a gate and an arbor (and another Hexipuff!)


Following the path to the left takes you to the Fairy House, complete with a clothesline (says Goosie) and/or a Limbo line (says Peanut).

IMG_0349 IMG_0350

The side of the house is safeguarded by a friendly garden gnome, who oversees the garden area, the gazing ball and the planter-pot shelter. It's shadowed in there, but there is a fairy rug which was exciting proof the fairies had moved in earlier this summer! It was very exciting.

  IMG_0353 IMG_0351

If you continue on the path, you will come to the dining/kitchen area. The girls made a table and picked some acorns and lettuce bolts to leave for the fairies. Some of the lettuce bolts were gone the next day! The fairies had a nice snack.

  IMG_0352 IMG_0361 IMG_0362

And last, but not least, Goosie asked me to make a small ball of yarn and needles for the fairies, in case they wanted to sit and knit for a bit. 


*Sigh* I think I could move in here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A New Family Member

Last week, we went to look in the pet store, as we've done before. Oogled the fish, birds, giggled at the dogs drooling, and checked out the cats. This guy did this to us:
Oh sweet boy.

And gave us kisses. I texted this pic to Derek and said "Uh oh". His response? "I get to name him/her." Yeah right. No way are we getting another pet! We're checking out the wild critters, the one picking his lock, the ones that wouldn't come to us, the ones hanging on the cages.

But this one
Oh that face!

Just kept being sweet. Then I turn around and my Goosie looks like this:

"I just really want a pet"

!? Honey what's wrong?! "I just want a pet! I don't care if it's a dog or a kitty, I just really want a pet!" Oh man. Quick, leave the store, but send a picture of this sweet face to Derek. We leave. I hug Goosie, and Derek calls.

"I don't care" he says.
"Dude!" I say.
"I know" he says.

Sigh I hug Goosie again and explain that we've said no more pets, but this one sure is sweet isn't he? YES! (with sniffles) We all talk about pet care, and both girls volunteer what they will do to help.

We go back in to fill out the adoption paper. We give our 3 personal references. We give our pet history. Oh boy. We get to hold "Axel", who just purrs like mad as I flip him onto his back and kisses my hand more. Home we go.

I worry that I just became "that mom" who gave into her kid because she was crying, but anyone who knows me knows I'm NOT that mom. AT ALL! Even my girls know that! haha :)

Two hours later, we get a call that we can bring him home the next day. So. Here we are, with new kitty, who is officially named Reuben. Like the sandwich. He's a sweet, sweet boy, very smart, loves Derek. hahha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sing it, sister!

"I am brave. I am a warrior!"

~Peanut, age 4

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter! In Pictures

Happy Easter everyone! We've been busy preparing ourselves for Easter in all the ways, including, of course, crafting. Here's a smattering of what we've been up to:

Easter Goosie
Serious work here
Eggarland construction
Eggarland construction

Bird nest!
Flower cupcakes
Flower cupcakes
Felted buns
Basket time!
Rapunzel makeup!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh Baby!!

Hello there! It's been a while and I've been busy. Did I mention all the baby things happening around us? We know of 5 (I think) expecting friends that we know in person, one couple had their baby, one couple got their twins, and there are about 10 more friends I know online who are expecting or recently had their babies! It's babyland! So I've been creating since January. Here's a quick run down:

One hospital hat with either a bear or a flower that could be pinned on.

Hospital hat for boy

Hospital hat for girl

We didn't know if this baby was going to be a boy or a girl. Turned out it was a boy, but I don't want to post his cute mug without mom's permission :)

Four blankets-3 girls, 1 boy:

Garter and Bows

Baby blanket peach

Baby blanket blue

Baby Blanket-cotton candy pink

The blanket pattern (Ravelry link or look here) is the same for each blanket, but I used different edges for each, and different yarn. The one with the ribbon is I Love This Yarn! and the other 3 are Baby Softee. Is that Bernat? (Yes, it is. I checked.)

Now, see that cotton candy pink one? It used to look like this:

Crochet blanket, so pretty

It was so pretty! A lovely Ravelry pattern (or look here) by my friend Brenda. It was my first crochet blanket, a huge undertaking for me! It was really nerve-wracking too and took way longer than I thought it would. And I messed it up.

Crochet blanket-Ugh!

Oh no! I lost stitches on the edge, a lot. At first it was no big deal, a stitch here and there could be camouflaged with a nice border, right? Right! But not this many lost stitches. Oops. This became an "UGH!" and I frogged it and it became the knitted blanket up above. Please note! This "UGH" is by no means the pattern or pattern-maker's fault! This was purely a n00b-crocheter's problem. Make this blanket and show me how it can be made right! I actually think I'll try it again.

And we have friends expecting a girl very soon and I made this set for them for baby pictures.

Baby Cocoon and hat

Baby Cocoon and Hat photo props

It's a baby cocoon and hat set, and I made different flowers for the hat. They just button on/off. I loved making all those flowers! Can't wait to see baby in them!

hat with alt flower peach

hat with alt flower purples

There are more pictures on my flickr account.

The pattern for the hat is the Shell Stitch Beanie and found on Ravelry or here. It's crocheted, which I was very excited about after the blanket snafu. There is a link to the main flower I made from that pattern. Other flowers are knitted and crocheted, and can be found here (Rav link) or here. (Ok, I can't find the link right now and need to make dinner. I'll come back to edit this!) The rest I just sort of made up as I crocheted along. The main yarn for the cocoon, hat and main flower is Bernat Bamboo in the "linen" colorway and the flower is "wicker" colorway.

:Quick aside, when I first started knitting, I strongly disliked the word "colorway". Why not just say color? "It's so foofy", I thought. But I get it now. It's just something that does make sense once you've played around with color in yarn and fiber after a while. If it bugs you, start playing with yarn and fiber more. Then tell me what you think. :) /weirdness

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. It's been fun and motivating and I'm ready to stash dive and find more little fun projects. The girls need flowers for various things-head scarves, a patch on a hoodie, bracelets, rings, a necklace or two... I have enough to keep me busy for years. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's been a weird week and Spring break started for Peanut yesterday for 2 weeks, and Goosie on Wednesday for 1.5 weeks. We have no vacation plans.

Derek hired guys to mud and sand the drywall in the basement and they started Thursday, will be back Monday. I'm trying to figure out a color scheme and theme for down there. Crap is everywhere and I can't get into the room that has my shawl pin idea things. (I'll find a way Mandy and Alexis!)

I finished and gifted 3 baby blankets and tried really hard to get gauge for my new project and I think I've failed-have to measure my dried swatch today, and pray!

I thought I shed 2 grey hairs today, but it was just one, folded weirdly.

I keep forgetting to run the dirty dishes, and more are piling up.

Peanut is starting to sneeze, which means she's getting sick.
Goosie is cutting a molar. She gets really cranky in the afternoons. Did I tell you she got hit with a door at school and she has a black eye? It's healing well.

I'm antsy to plant a garden and it keeps being freezing here. I'm ready for the warmer weather.

I have a bazillion ideas floating in my head. I can't DO any of them! Ack!

I haven't emailed my mom once this week and I've intended to call her on 3 days, but suddenly it's been time to make dinner, bathe the kids, do the night routine. Last night I tucked them in at 7:30, fell down on our bed and slept for an hour and a half. Then I woke up, watched "A Walk in the Clouds" with Derek and went back to bed. :)

I feel like I need to be productive today and I'm not sure what to do. So. Off to plan! (Well, after some catch-up emails!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

How I love St. Patrick's Day! As per our tradition, we started preparing the other day for setting our trap. Yes, we set traps on St. Patrick's Day. We try to catch a leprechaun so that we can get his gold! So we started getting crafty.

We made a rainbow:
Prepping the rainbow

We made the clouds:
Making the clouds

I love that you can tell there were two kids who colored this rainbow!! (even if you can't see two kids...;P)

Last night we set the trap! We put out pot of gold under the rainbow to tempt the tricksy leprechauns, complete with signs warning "Keep Off!" and "Stay Out!" You know how those leprechauns like to do all the things they shouldn't.
Leprechaun trap

When we woke this morning, we checked the trap first thing! Did we get one?! The gold wasn't on the steps anymore!!
Did we catch one?

Oh man! Looks like our tricksy leprechaun just managed to escape! He spilled the gold into the trap, but was able to escape our grasp.

Or did he? Peanut was upset that she blinked and fears Goosie may have as well, so while the lucky little guy was in our grasp, we lost him. As the morning went on, Peanut made another discovery--a tricky little leprechaun used our bathroom and didn't flush!! (I know!) There was "green stuff" in the toilet and Goosie said "It's probably cleaner." They then said "Mom, you left cleaner in the toilet." I denied it and said our cleaner isn't green! Peanut gasped loudly: "*gasp!* It's leprechaun pee!!!???" The girls thought that was just too funny.

Once we settled down, we had an authentic St. Patrick's Day breakfast of Lucky Charms, and as we were eating I noticed Peanut had something on her hand. It was a green spot and Goosie shouted out: "A kiss! You got kissed by a leprechaun!" "Yes!!" Peanut cried, "and it's in a heart shape!!" Then we searched Goosie's hand and found a kiss further up near her arm! Oh it was so exciting! And all this before breakfast was finished. :) It was a great start to the day.

We were able to play outside in gorgeous weather, did some yard work, the girls rode bikes and played some baseball. Then I got the corned beef going and decided to make some rosemary clover rolls and used this recipe. I was worried when I checked the corned beef and the broth was boiling vs. simmering and the meat was done waaaay ahead of time. I thought it'd be dry and horrible, but it was fantastic! The rolls? Equally fantastic!! I was so happy :) Topped off with a Guinness and then for dessert we had a pumpkin roll. That was so good too!

I decided we should be able to have St. Patrick's Day more than once a year. I also am really bummed that tomorrow is Friday, during Lent, and I can't have left overs until Saturday. tsk!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You're a schmoopy!

Happy Anniversary to Derek and me! Yesterday was 13 years for us. Ah, wedded bliss! Really, our time together has been full of so much happiness, and we're just as schmoopy as we were in the beginning. That makes me so very happy. ~*sigh*~ stares off into the distance all glassy-eyed.

I love you honey. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

We've all got them. I'm about to share mine. Ready? Well, wait. First let me explain some. You know how I like to talk. My friend Tamara and her husband Jean have begun a wine tasting party business until they open their own wine shop. (Go see and shop or book a party here.) So a couple weekends ago, Derek and I hosted a wine tasting party. It was much fun, but of course with having people over comes the scurry and flurry of housekeeping. I do it every day, but there are always those hot spots and nooks and crannies. And flat surfaces. And the floor. And, and, and.

Things were looking good-really good if I may say so. Better than it's looked since before kids for sure. Since we moved in maybe! The clutter was gone, things looked crisp and clean. But my thoughts and critical eye brought me to the kitchen. My dreaded stove. I love how my stove, a Maytag, works, but years ago my dad was here and was saying how he liked the neat lines and colors and the like in the house, and just as those words left his mouth, he saw my stove. And he laughed. "That's hysterical!" he said. "NO IT'S NOT! Don't laugh at my gross stove!" I shrieked! Ugh, embarrassed all over the place. (Remember that dad? No? See, yet another parenting moment forever etched in my brain! ;P)

I've done everything to this stove to try to clean it. Oven cleaner, Bar Keeper's Friend, SOS pads, all sorts of grease cutters, vinegar and baking soda scrubs and soaks, butter knife scraping...all to no avail. I think my father in law even tried once when they were here watching the girls. I was pleased that he couldn't clean them either. I'd throw them in the dishwasher and try to calm my agitation, saying they were surface clean at least. But oh, those burners and trays!

We looked at buying replacement parts, but it was over $200 or something silly. That money can be spent in much better ways. :) Then one day, on my knitting website of all places, I received a tip:
Boil the burners in water with a dryer sheet.

What? That's crazy! But what was there to lose? I've done everything else but sandblast the things (which was on the list of possibilities). So, here. Here's proof of my dirty little secret (ugh, and I'm embarrassed, but this tip is too good not to share all over the place):

I know. Look at that. SO gross. So I took the burners and put them in my roaster. Covered them with water and added a dryer sheet and set it to boil. I let it go for about 20-30 minutes, then let them cool in the water until I could touch them. I took a butter knife and all the grody things came right off! I also used a scrubby (the mesh bags that lemons come in). I think the results will speak for themselves.




Look at that! It feels like a brand new stove. So much better now and I don't have to cringe when I walk in to the kitchen. Or anyone else for that matter.

Now, one word of warning. The dryer sheet boiling away isn't the most pleasant of smells. It can really irritate your throat and eyes. Wait for a nice day when windows can be open, and don't stand over it while it's boiling away. Oh, and don't burn yourself! That's two words of warning I suppose.

So that's it. My dirty little secret. This decade at least. Really, that's it. (Dude, my parents read my blog, yo. ;)