Friday, June 27, 2008

From Bruises to Berries

Last weekend Cal's chin made a nice connection with Tate's head leaving this lovely bruise and quite the goose-egg.  

The very same hard little noggin that, at 18 months, barreled into my eye giving me a gorgeous shiner.  Bruiser managed both times to not have a mark on him.

We really had a fun week and a busy one.  Visits from aunts, uncles and cousins and a day with friends in the park for a picnic and a hike.  All in all, great fun, but we've been bushed at the end of the days and I found myself last night questioning my plans to meet Amy for picking strawberries this morning with all the kiddos.  After all, they were headed to Nana Sue and Papa Paul's this afternoon; maybe I was trying to squeeze in too much?  But Calvin asked me first thing with such excitement, "When are we leaving to go pick straaawwwberries?" and that cinched it.  How could I say no?

Happy weekend!

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been tagged by Joanie at Nini Makes for "6 nonessential things about me."  I hardly know where to begin as there are so many random and insignificant little tidbits I could throw out there:  I started to go gray at 26, my right ear is bigger than my left, I hate to have my picture taken, I have a terrible memory.  This is really making me do some serious self examination! ;-)  Well, here goes....

1.  I have the legs of a 5 year old.  Sadly, I do not mean that they are lean and straight and smooth. Nope.  They constantly look as if I have been climbing trees and falling off my bike, covered in scrapes and bruises and scars.  Even more sadly, they do not end up this way because I have been doing anything fun like climbing trees or riding a bike.

2.  I hate almost all condiments.  Butter or cheese are the only "always" acceptable toppings and it wasn't until college that I even was willing to try salad dressing or dips of any kind.  

3.  I am TERRIBLE at multitasking.  There is almost nothing in the world that causes me more stress than juggling several things at once.  I much prefer to focus on one thing at a time, finish it and move on.  This is sort of a problem with being a stay-at-home mommy of three babes 5 and under.  

4.  I love to read, but have barely read anything (for myself) in the last 5 years.  When I get lost in a book (or series of books), I am almost literally depressed when it ends and often miss the characters.  This happened with Anne Shirley as a child and with Bridget Jones as an adult.  

5.  My mother's ancestry has been traced to a town in Sweden and my father's to a town in Norway that are only about 60 miles apart.

6.  I have always (from a very young age) secretly wished I were British.  Often my favorite books were set in England (think PL Travers, CS Lewis, AA Milne) and as I got older I learned to adore the accent and terminology.  How much more fun to push a pram or run to the loo or hang your knickers on the line!  It is still the place that I want to visit most in the world.  Joanie, do you take in boarders? ;-)

Hmmm.. now I suppose I am supposed to tag others.  I don't think I have enough readers to do least not commenting readers!  Think I'll just leave this for now.....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Hours

This is part of the culprit, folks.  It would be tedious and boring to explain to you all the ridiculous steps I have to take to bill this stack, but it's a big one and has to be done by the end of the month.

I can see I am going to be on "summer hours" for awhile anyway.  Between stacks of work, a baby that wants to be outside and all the regular junk, seems I won't be getting to the computer as much as I might like to be posting.  So, it is likely there will be lots of posts like this one and the last couple, summing up the past week or several days.  I might just post pics occasionally too when I don't have time to type.  Here goes with a couple recent things:

Michael's Father's Day gift from the kids.  Just a $2.50 shirt off the clearance rack at Target (hence the almost neon green) and some fabric paint.  There are prints across the front as well, but I am guessing Mike would not appreciate his pic on here as he likes to be photographed about as much as I do!  Ellerie was a little tricky, but they all had fun with the feeling of the paint on their hands and, as simple as it was, loved being able to give something to their daddy that they had a hand in ;-)  hahahaa!

This is the patternless clothespin apron that went out to darling Meg.  She's is a lucky dog to get that fabulous fabric, but being my closest friend comes at a price:  she always gets the prototype. Thankfully she's tiny, because I did not completely think out the length of the ties, trying to use up scraps that I had.  And there are some funny hemmed edges at the top, because I turned the pocket instead of binding it.  

So, here lies the improved version, going out to a blog acquaintance as a thank you.  I think I am safe from her reading this before she gets it (or possibly at all!), so I have decided to just post it anyway.  This time I bound the edges with bias tape and added a separate waistband and a little decoration. Boy am I sick of looking at pictures of things on my table.  

This weekend will be work at the other house for Mike, paperwork and cleaning for me (and, with any luck, sewing up a couple of cut out bibs for a friend at church) and a visit (I think) from Nana Sue and Papa Paul for the kids.  Busy, busy, but with good things to come from all of it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Early Summer Flowers

Last week was largely filled with another visit to Mom and Dad's.  They still live in the only home I knew until I left for college.  It has lovely acreage, a creek, woods, a barn and lots and lots of flowers, both wild and tended.  Had a lot of fun photographing them and thought i'd post a few of my favorites, although now I am wondering if I should have used my filter in the bright sunlight...   hmmmmm......

Monday, June 9, 2008

Happy Kids, Happy Mama

We had a lovely weekend around here.  Way too hot.  Way too messy.  Way too much laundry.  But it was too hot for Daddy to do much at the other house, so we actually had him around!  Woohoo!  And the kids spent a lot of time splashing in the little patio pool and sprinkler.  Friday, when we moved the pool to fill it, the kids found this little guy staying cool underneath.

SO much joy from one little old toad!  Wish I could post all of the pics of them hopping (literally) after him and Ellerie chasing him down like he was one of the cats.  I did let Ellie touch him, but not hold him as I was afraid for the toad, to be honest.  The boys each had their turns with him though and by the time they were done the poor toad's heart was beating like he had hopped a marathon!  

Now, on to what made MY heart flutter this weekend.  Yard sales and the like have been tough for me to hit these days, with Mike being gone a lot and me disliking the prospect of dragging around three whiney children only to be begged for every battery operated vehicle and plastic action figure ever made.  But this weekend, he wasn't gone AND he reminded me of the church rummage sale up the street!  What a good ya Hon!  I was lucky enough to go at the end of the day, when everything you could stuff in a paper sack was 2 bucks and everything else was 1/2 off or make an offer.  For less than twenty bucks, I found a lot of treasures.  But the highlight of my day was the vintage stuff I came across.  Two sets of embroidered pillowcases and not 1, not 2, but THREE vintage handmade aprons!

I think the one with the polka-dots and the ruffle is my favorite (although that could change at any second) and check out the sweet pocket on this pink one.  I am such a sucker for ric-rac.  

And, possibly the biggest prize of the day, a vintage Kitchen Aid mixer!  It is missing all the attachments, save the mixing part, but it does work.   I KNOW this is hysterical for someone who professes not to like cooking and baking.  But I am almost positive that wearing one of these aprons and mixing up something in that old appliance is going to inspire least once. ;-)   Just goes to show the power of something old over me.  Not only am I going to give new life to these discarded things, but they are going to breathe life into me!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Comings and Goings

Woohoo!  My package from Stefani arrived this week!  As you can see, it was a fun little mix of Texas and Japan!  I haven't had a chance to try the edible items yet, although the boys gobbled up the candies almost quicker than I could get to one.  The bluebonnet soap is my favorite.  I can't stop smelling it, but it has a reserved spot at the new house kitchen sink, so I have refrained from using it yet.  Thanks Stefani, I just loved getting a package and love that this one can be enjoyed bit by bit.

On my end, this little package is going out to darling Megan.  Poor Meg always gets my experiments.  If you're reading this Babe, just a little thank you for being such a fabulous and inspirational friend. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sewing (if you can call it that)

So, I have been squeezing in a bit of creativity here and there.  This bag was a freebie from one of Mike's work trips.  I have been carrying it non-stop since he brought it back, as it is the perfect size for being out and about with the kids and the top has a zipper (and I am terrified of trying to sew a bag with a'll see why in a minute).  The only major issue I had with it was purely aesthetic, an obnoxious printed logo for some techie-type company on the front pocket. Last week, I received a fabulous PDF from Joanie at Nini Makes for entering her blog birthday contest.  Imagine my excitement over the timing!  I cheated on the applique and just cut it out of pre-made and packaged iron on patches.  I have already received numerous complements on it and only had to use skills that I perfected in grade school:  cutting and tracing!

Now on to some skills that I have NOT even remotely perfected:  sewing.  I have a few problems with sewing, namely that I tend to believe that I have more skills and knowledge than I ACTUALLY have and I am impatient and do not like to pay attention to details.  My husband is the tree man, I'm more about the forrest!  The following pics are my patternless attempt at fudging an apron skirt.  I know there are a ton of great tutorials out there for similar skirts, but one day, as I was drooling over these skirts from Olive Juice (along with just about everything else there- thanks meg!), I became obsessed with the idea that I could make Ellie something like that out of scraps I have around ALL   BY   MYSELF.  That should have been my first clue that reality was not going to match my vision.

Here is the result from the front... rather cute, although I should not have shortened what I originally decided for the length of the main piece to accommodate the scrap I wanted to use.  I prefer the look of gathering over the pleating that I ended up with.  It is also WAY too big for Ellerie; I think Tate could wear it comfortably and the waist band is too thick for such a little person.  And that's only the beginning of the horror.

Here is where it gets ugly.  Check out that back seam!  YIKES!!  I think I would possibly do side seams next time, although a lighter fabric and more gathers might have hidden such an atrocity. Or perhaps some more careful measuring, as I have a tendency to eyeball everything.

And here is some more evidence of my "I am getting frustrated and just want to finish this now" sewing.  Crooked, bunchy, sloppy.  This is why I always say "don't look close!"

Finally, this is some FABULOUS thrifted fabric that I have used some for another unpatterned, and probably equally as butchered,  project.  That one is going to be a gift though (one of my regular readers should be very afraid), so I can't show it yet.  It's probably a good thing.  I think I've revealed enough of my lack of talent for the day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard

Last night, our still-covered pool got it's third visit from Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.  They must be getting comfortable, as we were actually able to go up to the pool tonight.  My boys are convinced they are looking for a place to build their nest, just like in Make Way For Ducklings.  

So Tate in pajammies and all, I decided to let them try to feed the ducks some bread.  What the heck, we're selling this house.  I guess it will be the next family's problem if the ducks come back squawking for food while their kids are learning to do the doggie paddle!  Usually, I am not this thoughtless, but I suppose I am a little sad about having to leave the pool that my boys love so much.  

Anyway, I guess these ducks aren't used to being fed, as I think they took our zealous bread chucking as a bad thing, began some nervous quacking and, after a few minutes, took off. 

In their honor, we read Robert McCloskey's classic, then it was off to bed.  They were back when I came back downstairs though.....  Must be some good grub on that pool liner.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Catching Up

Well, yesterday I caught up on my stuff for work for the first time in MONTHS.  Just in time for them to send home a big ol' pile of it for me tomorrow! Today is beautiful and I have spent most of it, so far, trying to catch up on laundry.... at least enough to get Mike clean clothes for work and Ellerie some clean diapers!  So now I am taking a break from cleaning while the kitchen floor dries and am going to try to catch up here so that I can get back in the swing of all things bloggish.

Calvin's preschool graduation went very nicely.  Cal got the honor of holding the flag and I only got a little teary.  Really.  Just a few sniffles.  We were very proud of him.  Still are, in fact.  And, even though I have enjoyed not having to run back and forth to preschool three days a week, I am not ready to send him on the bus in the fall.  So many firsts for both of us.

Ellerie has been making friends with Trailer lately.  She cornered Roxie in the closet last week, got nipped and still hasn't figured out to leave her alone.  But Trailer has been surprisingly tolerant of her tail holding and attempts to love him, which often look as though she is trying to lay or sit on him.  I think he must be just DYING for attention these days.  He never let the boys come near him, still doesn't really.  But I think he may have just found a little buddy.

We have also started a small container garden, currently on the pool deck to keep Ellie out of the plants.  My mother-in-law got me some herbs for mother's day and some tomato plants for the boys.  Preschool and Sunday School bestowed us with peas and peppers, respectively.  So we are looking forward to what we will be able to use from our little pots.  

I have grand plans of glorious and well-tended flower and veggie gardening on the new house, but as that is not going to be an option this year (or ever, with my track record of dream big, do small) I am happy to wait to see the lavender blossom right here.

Otherwise, we have mostly been just soaking up the sun when it is here and trying to find what will be our "summer groove."  I don't think our groove will ever be smooth and dreamy like I sometimes imagine (picture a Country Time Lemonade commercial), but I look forward to figuring out what it will sound like this season.