Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Mantel


I love my Christmas mantel!
Target had ornament sets on sale Buy2Get1Free
so I got three different sizes of the same ornament,
shoved them onto the hot pink tinsel (?) garland
that used to be on my Valentine's mantel, and viola!
Super cute mantel!

ps. One asked me, "Don't you think it's unfair that Three doesn't have a decorated stocking?" Yup, I do. But I have some time before he'll actually notice...he should have it next Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Teacher Christmas Gifts

So this post might be a little late to help with teacher gifts.
Mostly because I was late getting to it myself.
Like, the last day before break is tomorrow?

Oh well.

Teacher's don't get much.
They don't get paid much.
They don't always get much respect.

When I taught,
the most precious gift I ever got
was a letter.

I was teaching fourth grade in Seattle
and there was a big earthquake.
We're talking damage to the building,
the kids couldn't even enter the building afterwards.
But the next day a mother wrote me a letter
thanking me for looking after and caring for her daughter
on such a traumatic day.
It was so special to me and I still have it.

And you know what?
It was free!

Never under-estimate the power
of a heartfelt card.

So I made this for Two's teacher and asked Two to decorate it:



Then she cut off the corner of an envelope with fancy scissors
to make a corner bookmark:
(You could decorate yours with scrapbook paper
or a photo of your child...
These bookmarks are great for family too!)



See how it works?

One made one for his teacher too but of course I forgot to take a picture of it before putting it in the envelope.

Remember, special gifts don't
have to be expensive!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Pin

When you're running late for church
and you still need to get yourself
and a child dressed,
what should you do?
Make a last minute accessory, of course!
This rosette is so easy to make. Plumtickled has a great tutorial here, if you want to see how to make it. This one is made with some leftover fabric from the Christmas Quilt and an old dress of Two's.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not Me Monday



I would never use my vehicle as a babysitter. Nope! I would never send my kids to go get their seat belts on (we park in the garage) even though it's not quite time to go! I mean, having them secure in one place while I run around getting all the last minute items together? No way! This does not sometimes go awry. For example, it never takes longer than I think it will. And they never get snarky at each other while couped up in the van unsupervised! I've never made them all get back out of the van to get spankings, only to send them right back into the van. Nope! Not my perfectly behaved children. :o)

On Saturday, DaddyMan did not offer to let me have some time to myself. I did not jump on the idea and then plan on leaving as soon as I got dinner started in the crockpot. Upon deciding this was a ridiculous idea, I did not proceed to introduce DaddyMan to my beloved crockpot. When I left, the microwave was not beeping, One was not talking back, Two was not whining, and Three was definitely not mere nano-seconds away from eating some dog food! I did not proceed to leave without even a second thought! Nope! And I certainly did not get a little tickle of -dare I say it?- joy from leaving DaddyMan with this crazy scene! I mean, I do it everyday. I know how crazy it can get. I would never choose for DaddyMan to have to deal with such craziness. Especially not with the thought in my mind that he might be more compassionate if he really got the worst of it.... No way! Not me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday

The evolution of the Christmas card photo....
First shot. Not bad, but blurry.


Nope. Two's got goofy eyes:


Let's try one standing. Well, Three's finally looking! The older two look bored to tears:


My absolute favorite. In all of it's imperfectness, this one was almost the Christmas card winner. One holding the jingly ornament in an attempt to keep Three in the picture, Two having fun and holding up her four fingers to show that she's four, and Three booking it over to me, trying to escape every picture, oblivious of the need to have ALL children of the family in the Christmas card picture! These are my real children. I seriously love it:


The actual winner. They're all looking, they're all smiling.
They're all in the picture!
Merry Christmas 2009!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fifteen

Three is fifteen months today!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Me Monday


I would never let my children cook all by themselves. Teach them independence? Not me!

And I am certainly not so controlling over certain things that I would need to remove myself from the kitchen, just so my children could actually practice new, messy skills without me taking over. Nope!

So when One was not making cinnamon rolls (from a can), I certainly did NOT hear a big thump, nor did I see One picking up a big wad of cinnamon roll dough off the floor when I peeked in. I certainly refrained from fulling entering the kitchen to investigate, which means I never actually removed one of Two's beautiful hairs that was dangling off the cinnamon roll that had not just been on the floor!

Oh my!

The independent cooking did not continue independently. My only job did not solely consist of putting the rolls into the oven and taking them out. One did not go on to ice the cinnamon rolls himself and they were certainly not super delicious!

I was not a super proud mama at that point! Independence rocks! And when he makes his wife breakfast in bed, she better not send me flowers for raising such a fabulous son! :o)

(okay, I cheated. This is a pic from when we made cookies. )

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Give Water



Will it be yours?
No.
But kids die every day
because they do not have access
to clean water.

Did you know that $10 can buy
clean, fresh water for someone
for 10 years?

Ten years!

Did you see that Oprah show
where students went to go build a school
in Africa? I wish I could find the episode but...

The students walked with these children as they went to get water.
They filled their containers in the same lakes
(large rain puddles?) where they bathed.
The same lakes that they drove their cattle through.
The same lakes the cows pooped in.
The water was the color of mud.
The students were saying,
"Don't you know you could get sick?"
"Don't swim in the water, you could die!"
The children already knew this.
But what could they do? It was all they had.

The students were in tears because they had
fresh, clean water provided to them everyday.
They ended up giving their water
to the children they were building the school for.
Then they came home and worked together
to raise enough money
to get a well for that town.

These were young teenagers that did this.
Oh how I wish I could find that episode!
It was incredibly moving.

$10, 10 years.

To find out more, go here.
To see what it might be like if we ran out of clean water, go here.
Or check out Julie's fund-raising raffle, here.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Activities

With the apparent flop of the advent calendar
I ended up making some advent activity sticks!
These will be perfect for sticking in the pockets of the advent calendar
...you know, when it's done. :o)
We came up with a list of fun activities
and will do one each day.
Did I mention that sticking one stick in a pocket
will be so much easier than four pieces of candy?
Memories are made through activity!

Supplies:
Jumbo Craft Sticks
Sharpie Marker

I wrote out each idea on a stick...

(click on the picture to enlarge and see my list)

...and then put them in an appropriate order.
Like, putting up Christmas lights shouldn't wait until Dec 24th !
Some activities, like Two's preschool program
need to fall on a certain date, but everything else
was pretty willy nilly.

I also made sure to put in a few acts-of-service activities too.
My favorite?
Driving around to different Salvation Army Red Buckets
with the bell ringers and putting money in!
This was always a special thing for me as a kid.
My mom always told me about how the Salvation Army
were the only people that went to the front lines
in WWII to reach my grandad and the others to help them
and give them supplies and encouragement.
So the Salvation Army definitely means something special to me.


For other advent activity ideas, try here, here, or here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technical Difficulties & a Christmas Flop

Due to some technical difficulties
(like my computer filing Sunday's picture in October...
what's up with that?)
and some crafty difficulties
I just posted for the last three days!

Christmas Flop #1
(yes, it needs to be numbered, it's not alone!)
The Advent Calendar:

How many times have I said I hated it?
Here and here, to name a few.

Well, guess what?
I still hate it
and I'm stuck on the particularly involved Dec 10th.

Embroider this 1/2cm section.
Change thread.
Add these three sequins.
Cut out the piece.
Change thread.
Attach to the base square.
Find the next felt color and coordinating piece.
Repeat.

AWFUL!

It makes it soooo involved,
literally HOURS for each square,
and I'm just really not enjoying it.
You know what that means?
It's time to stop!
I'm not quitting, just changing my strategy.

Oh yeah, and deciding I don't care if it doesn't get done this year.

The new strategy is to prepare every single piece individually
ahead of time so that when it's done,
making the squares is really just a matter of assembly.

Make sense?
Here's where I got stuck on Dec 10th:

(See why the love/hate? They're still so cute!)


And here's the blue felt that I have now completely prepared:


It doesn't look like much, but every
piece has its embroidery and it's sequins
just waiting to go and already
I'm feeling so much more energized about it!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's craft
which makes it completely acceptable
that this one is currently unfinished!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

The kids are really into building their own dinners lately.
I like it because it fills in the muffin tins quickly!
Clockwise from top left:
spaghetti noodles, peas, peaches
olives, meatballs (from Costco), and spaghetti sauce

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday

Showing a little college love:


True fans are fans win-or-lose!
Which is a good thing because in our state rivalry yesterday....
we lost 30-0!!!!

Yes, to ZERO!
Oh well. It certainly wasn't a surprise!

All I can say is

GO COUGS!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Quilt Along: The Back!

I found the fabric for the back of the Christmas quilt!
Look at this gorgeous, burgandy nativity toile:


I love it!
(And it was 50% off!)


Because I don't want to pay extra for custom quilting,
I'll be quilting this one myself.

I met with my quilter today to discuss
the previous quilt's issues with her.
I'm glad to say all is well!

The relationship with your quilter
is much like the one with your hairdresser.
(Or so I've heard, since I actually go to GreatClips! :o))
She's learning what I like as far as quilting goes
and so am I.

Without going into details, it has all worked out!
She DID quilt the design I picked
but there are some options that could be changed
to give it more the look I prefer.
Apparently I'm different and don't like the default settings!

I did leave my next quilt with her.
For some reason I didn't take a "before" picture
so I will have to show you the "after" next week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Baby Mucho #4




WAHOO!!!!!!
I couldn't be more thrilled!
Two will have a sister!
Which means she'll get a bunk bed,
her whole reason for even wanting a sister!
The division of rooms will be evenly split as opposed to
what would have been three teenage boys in one room!!!
It's a girl!

WAHOO!!!!!!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

One recently told his teacher that he "earned" a baby sister!

When she asked how he did it,
he scrunched up his nose and nodded his head
and very seriously said,

"I did a lot of chores."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Little Bit Funky Quilt Along

I love walking into the family room
in the mornings and seeing this:

My kiddos snuggled up under my quilt!

I love the quilt, I don't love the way it's quilted.
I'm debating approaching the quilter....
I'm pretty convinced she didn't quilt
the pattern I picked, a wonky stipple,
and it has these perfectly round meandering loops.

We'll see. I actually have another quilt ready to quilt
and she's so dang convenient, I'll probably end up
approaching her about it and seeing what she says.

But in the meantime, my babies love snuggling up under it in the mornings. They couldn't care less how it's quilted and that makes me so happy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No pigs allowed!

We got our swine flu vaccinations!
Hurray!

We got to the clinic held by the health department
THREE HOURS EARLY
(I even pulled One out of school early)
and we still weren't first in line!

We were, however, prepared to wait a looooong time!
Games, food, chalk, toys....
the mom next to us even brought a table!




Look how official this looks! It was so surreal! I mean, when does the doctor not have enough vaccinations?!? Here come the health officials:



Three was the only one of us who already had his shot so he was completely relaxed with the whole situation:



How we felt about getting sick:



After three hours of waiting outside in the cold and rain, they led us into the elementary school cafeteria to fill out some paperwork and then into the gym for our shots. This line went to the end of that hallway back there, around a corner, out the building, out to the sidewalk, down to the street corner, around that corner, and halfway down the block!


Did I mention that the line was that long and the clinic wasn't even due to start for another 30 minutes? Yeah, talk about people being desperate to get the vaccine!

But wahoo!!!!! We got 5 of those precious 1000 doses! And good thing too! After that clinic, the county canceled all future clinics due to lack of vaccine! Whew! You don't even know how relieved I feel!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Quilt-Along: A completed quilt top!

I love my quilt top!

(click on picture to enlarge)

Let me tell you about the importance
of copying in crafting!
If I hadn't copied the fabric from the pattern
to the best of what Joann's had to offer...
who knows how this would have turned out!
But I LOVE it!

I love it, I love it, I love!
I can't believe I made that!!!

How does yours look?
If you followed along,
leave a link in the comments!

The last step is quilting and binding.
Wahoo!!!!


ps. Sorry for the blogging break! Apparently I needed it!
And Stellan is doing FABULOUS! The surgery went better than they had ever hoped and my understanding is that he is now completely and forever free of his heart condition!

Monday, November 9, 2009

From One Mom to Another: Stellan

That "Praying for Stellan" button over there ------>

It's there for a reason.
I've followed the MckMama blog for awhile
She's the one that does Not Me Mondays.

Her baby is so super sick.
The tests that MY baby has gone through
are like nothing her baby has gone through.

Is going through.

Her baby flat-lined today.
Right in front of her face.

They got his heart going again
but the surgery they've been planning for,
the one he's not quite old enough for,
the one he's not actually stable enough for,

is happening right now.

Please pray!

Click on the Stellan button for the whole story and updates.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let it SNOW!

I really need to get going on
my advent calendar.
I've been meaning to
but lately I'm just so tired.

Growing a person is hard work!

No more excuses!
Even if I do one square a day,
it still won't be finished
until Nov 25!

And we all know
I will not be completing
one square a day.

So to get the ball rolling again,
Let it SNOW!



This little bonus square
fills in the top quite nicely, don't you think?


This is going to be so cute!
I can't wait for it to be complete!

48 days until Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

Look who got to enjoy Muffin Tin Monday
in all its glory for the first time?!?


He didn't dump his tin,
just rearranged the food a bit....


But, oh, was it yummy!


Some of his favorites (broccoli, ravioli, oranges)
in a muffin tin????


What more could you ask for?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Christmas Quilt Along: Week 5

How do your big trees look?
A little gigantic, don't they?!?


This week's assignment is
tree trunks and tree block assembly...
step 4 &5 of the pattern (here).



Happy Quilting!
There's only one more step after this!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday


From Halloween, of course.
Kids ate free if they wore their costumes.
It was a no-brainer!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homemade PB Cups

Once a month
my 10th/11th grade girls' small group
does a craft.

This month we made PB Cups!

They were so yummy!
I even learned a few tricks!

The fabulous recipe:
(makes 16-20)

12 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup crushed honey graham crackers

I lined mini-cupcake pan with paper liners. This is a good idea but paper was not a good choice. I'm thinking maybe the foil liners might be better? Okay, so my big new trick.....rather than melting my chocolate in a double boiler....I just put a few chocolate chips in the bottom of each cup and baked them at 200 degrees for about 5 minutes!!!! They melted perfectly, I just swirled through them with a table knife to smooth it out.

Worked like a charm!

Mix the rest of the ingredients together. I formed them into balls ahead of time to make sure I had enough and that they were all about even and then smooshed them a bit into disks. Put one disk in each mini-cupcake, top w/ more chocolate chips, put back in the oven for 5 more minutes to melt the top chocolate...remove from oven, swirl through top chocolate to smooth, and let cool!

Delicious!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Party

Cute kids, fun games:


Make for a fun party!


Btw, One's friends favorite part?
When we went outside to ride scooters....

Hmmm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas Quilt Along: Week 4

Last week's assignment was
16 small trees!

I don't know about you, but I butchered my first tree pretty good. Those directions were more than a little confusing and didn't create the tree at all like one would think you would create a tree! Thank goodness for forgiving fabric! If you look closely at the pic above, you can see the two diagonal lines where I pieced my fabric back together after completely slashing it the first time.

I've decided I'm going to start showing you the pieces I've messed up on. Crafting perfection is no fun. Stressing over perfection.... Who would ever craft?!? So my hacked up and pieced back together pieces are what make my quilt MINE. Not store bought. Made with love. I cut one of my courthouse square strips too short and had to piece it back together too to make it work. Oh well!

So don't stress about this quilt or whatever else you happen to be working on. If you're a little behind, if you made a mistake...just enjoy what you're doing. We're not working towards perfection.

This week's assignment is
step 3 of the pattern (here).

8 large trees!
You can do it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Counting

One

Two

Three

FOUR!

Coming in April!