Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Thursday, and that usually means it's scrub the toilets day! Usually--meaning I just didn't get around to it today. Let's face it, one more day of dried pee accumulating behind the toilet in the kids' bathroom isn't going to kill anyone. One of these days Bobby's aim will improve. (Any wonder I only use my bathroom?) It'll get just as clean tomorrow.

Today, I baked cookies for the preschool fun fair. I made Rice Krispie-oatmeal cookies. I think I put too many rice krispies and then didn't stir it well enough because I had many many krispies left in the bowl. And the recipe only makes about 2.5 dozen and I doubled it. But the school wanted me to put 6 cookies per bag--6! There were no leftover cookies for us. I feel slightly bad because I have about ten baggies of cookies to contribute. Next year I'm making brownies.

Then, I've been sewing like mad. I'm making the Little House bonnets. It's going well. I was dreading having to make five of them, but I'm ahead of schedule. I'll post pics when they're done. Now I just need to get out the party invitations.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday was a productive day

I know I've raved about turkey feathers before, and even about her XOX Tote Tutorial, but today was the day that I actually made a tote.

Caitlin is invited to a birthday party for twin girls next weekend, and I wanted to start making birthday gifts instead of buying crap. Here are the bags:

It's funny. I didn't realize that I had left more space around the embroidery on the purple bag until I looked at this picture. Oh well. Each bag has something I like better about it...but they're both great (IMHO)--kinda like children! *wink*

I got the pattern for the embroidery from and I stitched those over the weekend. I'm going to have to buy a really bright light or glasses or both if I'm going to continue to embroider. It was tough on the eyes!

And here is the back of the bags. Turkey Feathers made her XOX bag using jelly roll strips. I just cut pieces of fabric that I already had into long strips. I figure I have to use up what I have before I start dropping $30 on moda jelly roll strips...
On Friday, we're going to go to the bookstore to buy books to put in the bags. Caitlin didn't want to wait until Friday, she wanted to go yesterday! This has been fun, and now that I have started thinking about all the girls I know with spring birthdays, I can see that I'm going to be quite busy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

There ought to be a word...

you know, for that phenomenon that occurs the day you go to get your hair cut. After looking crappy for what seems like weeks, on haircut day, your hair suddenly looks better than ever. Like it knows! Fortunately, I've been up against this phenomenon before. I knew that if I didn't cut it, those straggly split ends would be back. The strands would keep breaking off in my hairbrush. Off to the salon!

This is obviously before. With apologies for the unclean mirror and the bathrobe. And the flash. It's hard to take a self-portrait! And here comes the after--with apologies again because my arms aren't long enough. We're just a little too close to my face for comfort, but anyway:

I look slightly deranged, sure, but isn't the hair so much better?

Time to go make breakfast!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Little Pleasures

We survived the snow day. The kids watched more TV than I would have liked, and they seemed to be hungry all day long. Caroline went "sledding" with some friends later in the afternoon. I think they really went sliding down a snowy hill in a 30 degree rain. And she said she had a blast. God bless the parents who took her!

I managed to get to the fabric store late yesterday afternoon. I bought enough fabric to make five Little House bonnets, two patterns for clothing for me and fabric to make both. I'm so nervous about trying to make my own clothes--even though the patterns say "easy" on them, I'm wary. They may be easy enough to stitch together, but if the fit isn't that great, I'm not sure how to go about fixing that. Maybe I should wait until my mom comes up to visit. She has years of sewing expertise...knowing me, I'll at least try one of them before too long. I'll be sure to report the results.

I've decided to keep Caitlin's birthday party very small--five guests. And that's if all the invited guests show up! I want to do a Little House theme, that's why I'm making the bonnets. They'll be the girls' party favors. I think five guests will be perfect! We can actually do some activities and I won't be all stressed out.

The hair salon was closed yesterday, so I couldn't make an appointment. Can you imagine? The hair salon closed for a snow day! And it had stopped snowing by early afternoon. They could have opened up later in the day. Not to worry. I'm going to call in a little while to see if they can fit me in today. Or tomorrow. I feel like chopping a few inches off the bottom of my hair will somehow lift my spirits.

Happy Saturday to you all!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow day

I was signing on this morning to bitch about how it's a snow day, and how I didn't go to the grocery store yesterday (all but guaranteeing no school today), and how the kids have already gone out in the snow and come back in--all of them in tears and soaking wet. And it's just now nine o'clock.

But then, I saw that I had three comments--three of them! I've never had that many comments at one time! I'm so excited! Hello! And thank you for stopping by! I have been having such a great time lately finding new blogs. I'm just blown away by all the creative energy out there--and it's always fun to read about other moms' adventures.

I suppose a day off from school will be okay. We're all still recovering from last week's viral fun, so another day at home won't kill them. I just feel a little frustrated. After Caitlin woke me at four this morning with a nosebleed, I had trouble falling back asleep partly because I was busy contemplating a run to Joann fabrics this afternoon...I was making a list of projects and supplies. And I was getting quite excited! Then, I really should have gone to the grocery store yesterday. It's funny--I grew up in South Carolina, and there, at the slightest mention of any kind of frozen precipitation, you had to run to the store and buy all the bread and milk you could find. And I still retain that mentality. Maybe because I wasn't feeling well yesterday I just let it slide. I honestly was surprised that school was cancelled today. The plows haven't even been to our neighborhood today! Maybe the town and the school district conspired to get the day off and avoid paying overtime for early-morning plowing!

We're out of hot chocolate, which seems to be the most important part of a snow day. I think the kids will manage, though. They're playing Whack-a-mole right now. I wonder how long until they start going after each other with the little plastic mallets...

I'm going to look up the salon number and make myself an appointment for a haircut tomorrow! Then I'll go to Joann tomorrow and line up sewing projects to see me through the end of winter! I have to remind myself that I was begging for's really pretty, so I'd better go take some pictures.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So the last couple of days, I've been in a funk. On the plus side, from reading other blogs, I know I'm not alone! One of the things I dearly miss about living in the South is Spring. In March, the azaleas start blooming, the weather gets warmer, and on that first Sunday that the clocks spring forward, you can stay outside until seven o'clock. It's a little different here. It's not unheard of to celebrate Easter with snow on the ground. Azaleas just aren't done up here, and I've celebrated my first-born's birthday on JUNE FIRST in jeans and a sweater. Sigh. I need to get to the gym. I've been avoiding it since the new year--I hate having to wait to use various equipment, and I'm always pressed for time, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know I'd feel better if I just got there and broke a sweat. Maybe tomorrow.

So, in the meantime, here are some pictures. I took this one of Caitlin in her bonnet. I've been in stealth-mode with the camera lately...

Because as soon as the kids see the camera, they start hamming it up and saying "cheeeeese" and striking poses, like this:
Okay, it's kinda cute. So Monday it was mercifully warm. I opened windows throughout the house. And guess what I saw when I looked out into the pond? Two frogs sunning themselves! I know the picture isn't great. I was shooting through a window screen and the sun was shining directly into the room at the time. But the frogs were right below the window and there was no other angle to work from. And the frogs are very dark. And there's a piece of straw or grass on one of the frogs. Anyway, there it is:
Wishing you a funk-free (or less funked) day!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's Sunday night, and the kids are in bed. Everyone seems to be on the mend. Bobby still has a runny nose, and Caitlin has a cough, but appetites are returning. I'm half expecting Caroline to come down with something tomorrow night, but there's nothing I can do about that! It has been nice to sleep in and just hang around the house. I didn't want to go anywhere this weekend--the thought of picking up new germs was just more than I could bear.

With all that time at home, I got to work on the other two Easter baskets, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I also went back and re-worked Bobby's a little. I shortened up the handle and added a row of stitching around the bottom. Now all we need is the Easter bunny!

On to my next project...what will it be? I've purchased a couple of patterns for clothing for me, but I'm debating whether to start those. First, there's the fabric issue--there are so many choices! Then, there's the seasonal issue--these patterns are for summery clothes. It's February! Shouldn't I wait? Hmmm. I'm sure I'll find something else to work on in the meantime.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Crafty Madness

So I've pretty much read everything over at Turkey Feathers, and when I saw this, I was struck by the idea to make Easter baskets for the kids. I used the bottom picture from that posting as a starting point, then borrowed heavily from her "XOX Tote Tutorial" for practical sewing instructions. I traced an old Easter basket we had in the basement, and here is the final result:

This one is for Bobby. It's not perfect, but it's good enough for the love man. And the other two will be much easier to make (I hope). I'm fairly tickled. I also finished the girls' Little House bonnets today, but haven't had the opportunity to get a picture. Huge thanks to Turkey Feathers for the inspiration!

Parting shots from Valentine's Day

Some Valentine love from Caitlin.
This is how Bobby spent the day--poor thing is still not feeling well.
This turned into a delicious brownie dessert for the grown-ups.
Grandma and Granddaddy sent cards to the kids.
And some flowers for mama from her valentine!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Everything was wrapped and laid out on the table for an early morning surprise.

And it looks like Caroline was surprised!

Then it was on to Valentine's pancakes and hot chocolate.

This is how the quilts turned out. There are some mistakes, but not bad considering I really didn't know what I was doing.
And that's pretty much a wrap for Valentine fun this year. Oh, we'll probably do something special for dessert (if I can find a recipe and if I have all the ingredients in the house). But on the whole I'm pleased. Each kid had one present to open--it was something I had made with my own hands, and each kid loved it. More importantly, I wrote valentines out for each child and for Rob, telling each person what I loved about him or her, and those went over hugely (I know the grammar/syntax is off there, but you get my point). That felt great.

The reason I have to use ingredients from the house is because I woke up at 4:00 to the sounds of Bobby throwing up. Bless his heart, he got all the way to the toilet and threw up in the toilet--what a kid! Of course, I couldn't fall asleep after that, and only when I woke up again at 6 did I realize that I had indeed fallen asleep. Bobby had apparently been in the bathroom again and had left on the light. I got up, turned it off, and was awake again at 6:20 when he went in for what I'm guessing was Round 3. In the toilet again, my little man! Then, at 6:30, the dog had to pee, and by 6:40 I gave up and went to take a shower. Bobby has no fever, but he is pretty crusty. Poor thing missed out on pancakes and hot chocolate this morning, and that kid just loves his "panpakes," as he calls them.

On the plus side, Caitlin finally returned to school today. I'm thinking she'll probably exchange valentines and germs just in time for the long weekend--that's right, no school Friday or Monday. Sigh. One of these days, everyone will be healthy!

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So very painful...

My head hurts so very bad...and I'm waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in. This is not my typical migraine-y, "you haven't had your coffee yet" headache, this is a two-by-four to the back of my head headache. I can't help but think that I should have taken something as soon as I woke up instead of waiting until we got back from Caitlin's doctor's appointment.

Caitlin is home again. After being all perked up yesterday afternoon, she woke up feeling hot and coughing and not wanting to eat. Another day at home. At least her ears and throat were clear, so now it's just a waiting game.

Valentine's day is tomorrow--and I've done nothing for my husband! With a sick child at home, I haven't been able to go out. I'm almost out of half-and-half, so we'll have to run in the store this afternoon (because I must have my coffee in the mornings, and half-and-half is required!). I can pick up a card for him then. Don't you just love how things like holidays--even though you know exactly when they're coming--can sneak up on you? Funny.

Wishing everyone good health!

**update** The headache is gone for now--I managed to sneak in a nap this morning. Caitlin is still slowed down, Bobby has red lips and cheeks from all the goodies at his Valentine party, and now Caroline is asking to skip dance due to a tummyache. And I think I'm going to go for it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A busy afternoon

During the course of my online fabric browsing, I have discovered that I am a complete sucker for any vintage reproduction from the 30s and 40s. They are so cute, I can't stand it. I mean, look at this:

So this afternoon, I decided it was time to get to work on something fun for me--an apron. Now, I didn't have a pattern, but I have viewed enough online that I was able to come up with a design. I started with one of my own aprons, added in some of what I liked from my online viewing, and came up with something cute.
Here it is--most of it. I uploaded the wrong picture, but you get the idea. Now I feel like I should go bake something!

Caitlin perked right up after lunch, so the kids painted Valentine's signs for Daddy. It's always a messy affair. Our kitchen table is about twelve years old, and as long as the kids do crafts, we won't get another one...which means we'll never get a new kitchen table!

I'm hoping Caitlin is out of the woods for good and can go back to school tomorrow. It'll be nice to get out of the house.

It's spreading

The germs are on the move. Bobby had a runny nose on Saturday. By Sunday, Rob was sniffling, and last night, I had to hold a kleenex up to my nose while I slept (or tried anyway) because stuff was just running out! Time to change the sheets.

Caitlin is out again today. She wasn't coughing as much overnight, but when I went in to check on her this morning, her cheeks were flushed. The thermometer registered at 100.8, so I gave her some ibuprofen. Here's the tricky part--our pediatrician has moved. Not sure where, but they're not at the old office anymore. And I've been meaning to find a new pediatrician before Caitlin's birthday next month since she'll be due for a well check. But now she's sick and it looks like I'd better get on this quick in case we need to make a sick visit. I guess I just needed a little motivation. I do hope she's feeling better by Thursday--I'd hate for her to miss the Valentine's party. She spent lots of time decorating her valentines.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Afternoon snack

Since it was beyond cold today, the kids had hot chocolate after school.

Bobby usually spills a decent amount while he vigorously stirs.

Caitlin was sitting in just the right place to get the great light.
And I just love those little hands! Only God could create something as perfect as little fingers and hands.

One down...

Caitlin is home today. Her symptoms are not solid--a little cough (and every time she coughs, I'm expecting her to throw up), she's a bit warm (98.9 this morning), she's not hungry, and she's generally tired and mushy. So no school today. And for me, that means no gym, no library trip--in short, no errands or fun excursions will happen today. And it's just as well considering that right now it's about 15 degrees outside. Winter is back for a couple of days. I still want some snow!

I finished the first of the Little House bonnets last night, and it's so cute! I have to say, sometimes the sewing instructions are not always clear, and I often have to talk myself through it, or worse, try it one way and then take out the stitches and try again, but I got it done, and I'm super excited. I can't post a picture today--the intended recipient is on the couch right now, so I can't very well start taking pictures of it...maybe tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Some images

Getting it done...pretty much

I had some sewing success last night, but as I was taking pictures of the kids this morning, the camera battery died, so I can't post the pictures just yet. But the kids were thrilled. Bobby tied on his cape and began running around the house. The girls were just tickled with their new bonnets. I made the colonial-era bonnets last night--because it was just a circle with elastic and thus something I could complete quickly. Anyway, they also look just like the nightcaps that Laura and Mary wear on the Little House show, so they're all over that. I have to get the pictures up soon because they're just too cute. Maybe I'll do the "Little House" bonnets and present them on Valentine's day. But then I'll need something else for Bobby--boy, does this "fairness" thing get old!

I'm trying to come up with a theme for Caitlin's birthday party next month. I'd like to keep it simple (and by simple, I mean "cheap"). She has 12 girls in her class, plus three other friends from the neighborhood. So I'm up to 16 kids--and that doesn't sound "simple." It sounds like work. Last year I invited her preschool class and the neighborhood friends. I think it was about 12 kids, and that was a lot of work. Of course, half of the party was 5 year old boys, and they are exhausting. Only girls this year--and I'm wishing there were some way I could cut the numbers down, but they're kindergartners and I don't want to cause hurt feelings. Looks like it's 16 kids this year. Ugh.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sewing Madness!

I think I officially have a new obsession--sewing! Actually, I had a sewing phase almost eight years ago (after the arrival of Caroline), so maybe this is cyclical. I went to a different Joann fabric store today and had great results. This store was much bigger than the other one I've been going to. Here is a quick list of upcoming projects that I'm going to work on: Little House bonnets for the girls, a Spiderman/Cars (reversible) cape for Bobby (because I don't think he'd be cool with a bonnet), colonial-era bonnets for the girls, Easter baskets for the kids, and a cool vintage apron for me! The trick is finding the time. I actually took pictures of the fabric, but I haven't had time to upload them yet--and I think most of them are blurry. Oh well. Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What I've been up to

I've been busy the last few days! Half of my Christmas money from my grandfather is gone, but I have something to show for it--which you will see below. First, I feel like I need to report my spending after the last post. That's the problem with spilling my guts online--now I feel like I have to follow up and give an accounting.

Friday's Target outing was more expensive than I had hoped. And I know that "hoping" I spend less money isn't quite the same as "planning" to spend less money, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. The prescriptions were more than I had thought--one of them is a brand, no generic available, so it was $40, not $10. Bummer. Then the rest of my shopping pretty much stayed on list until I got to the Valentine's section. I ended up buying heart-shaped lollipops for the girls to tape to their valentines, and I bought M&Ms and Hershey Kisses to make "twisted kisses" for Bobby's class--and for us! This will be the last time I run down expenses in a post--I'm boring myself.

Saturday, I headed to Jo-ann Fabric full of ideas. I stopped at a quilting place first, but I got so overwhelmed by all the great fabrics that I had to leave. I wasn't really sure what my next project was going to be. I have several (8 or 9) ideas floating around in my head, but nothing is definite enough to start purchasing material. While I was at Joann, I got the idea to make a skirt for the girls' nightstand. It's one of those $5 tables with the screw-in legs. I couldn't find the tablecloth I had used on it previously, so it's just been in their room all naked and ugly. I'll let the pictures tell the tale.

This is what their nightstand looked like before (minus all the junk and toys around and on it).

And this is after!

Here is a close-up.

So now I'm onto another project. Don't know what that is exactly, but I'll be sure to post when I'm done.

Friday, February 1, 2008

A New Month

It's the first day of February. Today our credit card bill is due--you know, the credit card where I charged all of our Christmas purchases--all of them, even the new stove. I don't think I told Rob, but the Fraud Prevention Department called me the day after I bought the stove. It was kinda funny. Last night I paid the bill online, so I guess now we "officially" own all our Christmas stuff.

I'm amused that I chose the word "stuff"--because that's really how a lot of it felt on Christmas morning. Honestly, Rob and I returned much of what we got each other. I knew even as I bought some of his "stuff" that I'd probably be returning it, and sure enough, on December 26, I did. It was almost like we felt this expectation that there be a minimum amount of gifts for each other to open, so we bought just to meet the minimum--really, Rob bought me pajamas that were too big (and he knew this) because they were out of my size. Just so I'd have something to open. That doesn't feel like Christmas spirit. It felt ... off.

And after returning everything on December 26 at an almost empty mall (I didn't have to wait in line anywhere), I wasn't pumped about taking that money and getting some bargains. There were signs everywhere--60% off! I didn't want to buy anything. The woman in Ann Taylor was practically begging me: "really, we have some great deals...sure you don't want to look around before I do this return?" I just wanted to go home.

I don't know what was behind my not wanting to buy. Was it because I just felt like we'd bought too much? Shopping for so many family members at once adds up quick. Too much of anything can make you feel sick. Was it because the general economic news has been so dismal? Who wants to spend when all the news is telling you that bad times are ahead? Presenting family members with a gift card to their favorite store just really felt like a hollow gesture this year. And yes, I have a stack of gift cards too. They're gathering dust--even the cash from my grandfather--and cash money usually burns a hole in my pocket faster than you can say "you're on fire."

So for January, both for economic reasons and I guess I'd say "spiritual" reasons (my spirit, not any Holy ones), I've just not been shopping. My biggest single expense this month was $140 to sign Bobby up for teeball. And I didn't like paying that. No trips to Target, no stops at the teacher supply store (I have a secret addiction to teacher supplies.). I did spend $28.00 at the fabric store to make the kids' Valentine presents. No clothes, no expensive shampoos. I have been working on spending my $50 gift card to Borders. I've stopped in about every week to buy a new magazine or two. That's really been my only indulgence this month.

At times, my "not shopping" has felt like work. I'm constantly thinking about how I don't need to run to the store every couple of days. I'm constantly reminding myself that I have enough--of whatever. And in spite of the mental wear and tear, not shopping has felt pretty good. I guess the way to get to a "homemade Christmas" (which is something I'm seriously considering) is to wean us off the unnecessary accumulation of material goods. Slow down the shopping so that it becomes a habit and then a way of life.

So now that it's a new month, I'm wondering if I'll be able to maintain my newfound...I can't even come up with a word...perspective, maybe? The FlyLady says that it takes twenty-eight days to form a habit. Well, it's been thirty-one days. Am I going to run into Target today and blow $100 on crap for the house? I have to go in there today--I have some prescriptions to refill, so there's $20, and I need dog food, now we're up to about $40. I don't want to blow my financial diet here. But it also feels like it's about more than just money. I think this is also about learning to realize that we have enough, more than enough really. I hope to train myself to resist that urge to get more--to repress that need to hoard stuff. Because stuff is not what makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.

I suppose all of this could fall under the description of "New Year's resolution," and I think beginning in January is good. With the spending hangover of Christmas fresh in my mind, I can begin now to visualize the kind of Christmas I want for 2008. And I can take all year to get the rest of the family to adjust their expectations. Scaling down expectations, changing the focus of holiday celebrations to the actual holiday and not the material goods that accompany the celebration. It's going to be hard work, but I feel this is important. With the first month under my belt, I can begin to put my plan into action. After all, we have a Valentine's celebration, and then I have to start planning Caitlin's birthday party. And Rob turns forty in March...getting through March 12 is going to be big challenge, but it's a great opportunity.