Friday, December 10, 2010

Overprotective or Overly Nice?

Today is a rainy day. Like rainy umbrella weather. It was time for school to let out so I got in my car and went and picked up Bugs.

However.

I know a lot of moms of chillins that go to Bugs's school. And I didn't see a single mom that I know there picking up their child from school. In fact, all those kids were walking home, hoods up (or not), like there was no rain at all - completely oblivious to the arbitrary weather.

When Bugs got into the car (I was a minute or two late), she said, "I was about to go to the office and call you!" said very indignantly as if I had done something wrong - not done something extremely kind by bothering to pick her up so she didn't have to walk home in the rain (we live 2 blocks from school).

I learned a good lesson today. Children do not melt. Children that walk home in the rain might be more appreciative when you do something nice for them. I am not a bad parent if I don't pick up my child when it's raining out.

I'm grateful for friends who teach me lessons even when they're not even around.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My New Favorite Thing

I know my posts are few and far between but I just wanted to share with you the best thing in the world.

I'm sort of a late night Home Shopping Network junkie. It's a bad habit that usually produces amazing finds. Like this.

I have no idea what possessed me to buy this. Probably the "heat of the moment" auction-type pressure one feels when watching these types of shows. That "never gonna get this sort of deal again" type angst. It's dangerous and they know it.

But I caved and then waited patiently for it to come in the mail. Haha, and when it came, it sat in the box for about 2 weeks before I decided I'd try it. How's that for edge-of-the-seat anticipation? It's why I shouldn't watch HSN.

Anyway, I put it to use today on a bunch of dresses of the girls'. I didn't put too much hope into it working as well as it did on the show. Well, on the show it literally disintegrated wrinkles but I didn't really know the fabric or how hard-pressed the wrinkles were.

Well all I can say is WOW! I am sold...hook, line & sinker. In fact, this little amazing device has earned a coveted spot in my very tiny bathroom where there is room for...nothing. I can easily see myself using this on every single piece of clothing I put on as well as everything I put on my girls. The wrinkles absolutely do disappear completely as if you ironed it and it takes like 1/100th of the time! I very rarely gush...I'm gushing now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Have You Ever Googled Your Own Name?

Yikes. I did the other day and let's just say, if anyone was ever trying to find me, it wouldn't be difficult at all. Because of this blog, I'm literally an open book and because my blog has been around for quite a while, it's got references all over the web.

I had no idea that I was so "available". I feel sort of frivolous and idk, eeezy.

I really don't know why all of the sudden I"m feeling so exposed! Having a blog puts you out there for sure. I guess because I have shared lots of things over the years - feelings, my pudgy prego feet, problems, kid pics. Sort of makes me realize why The Marshmallow resists me talking about him so much... It also makes me want to go back and delete my post about well, you know! If you read this blog much...you do know which one I'm talking about :)

I'm deleting it right now just because then I won't feel so icky.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I know, I know

I've been gone FOREVER! But if you could only have half an idea of what's been going on in my life, you'd understand why I've taken such a sabbatical from my blog.

Remember that little "small business" I was dabbling in several months ago? Ya, not so much dabbling anymore. More like getting sucked up by the vacuum cleaner and flying around the vacuum bag at top speed. I have no reprieve. I'm not complaining - it's good. Very good. But I'm busy.

Disneyland was awesome. And it was not awesome. It's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My Christmas shopping is fanito - complete!

I have re-created my girl-cave. I'm in heaven. I'm a hermit from 9pm until 2am. Every night.

I'm growing my hair out. I don't know why. I hate it. I keep thinking I have to be skinny to have long hair. We'll see.

There's lots more but that's the big catch up.

Sorry it's been so long. I know you all check your feeds daily for my update because I lead a fascinating life. That's you - ya - you, my single reader- which is probably closer to the truth than I know. Most of my peeps probably gave up on me a month ago. Now I'm left with the stalker weirdos that I didn't even know read my blog - like the weird ex-boyfriend from junior high. Just kidding. I've no idea if that weirdo reads. Just kidding again. There was no weirdo junior high boyfriend. Just kidding again again! There was.

Ciao.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Disneyland - The First Time

I think I mentioned a few months back about our upcoming trip to Disneyland. It's coming up pretty soon and the sooner the date looms, the more absolutely, utterly excited I am. I'm dying to go - I can't sit still when I think about it.

I got on a few websites tonight trying to plan out what we really want to do and where we want to go for sure and just looking at the pictures of the different lands makes butterflies flutter in my tummy.

Did you know I practically grew up at Disneyland? I recall going there several times a year as a kid - probably not but it's what I remember. I knew Disneyland much in the way kids in Utah "know" Lagoon. And it wasn't nearly what it is now. The last time I was there I was 15 and it was just days before we were moving away from California forever. I remember walking around looking at everything knowing it would be my last time in who knows how long. If I only knew it would be over 20 years before I'd be back, I probably would have cried.

But now I shall return! Kids in tow - reliving my childhood and hoping they will form as wonderful memories of that magical place as I did.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Scary

I am officially a small business owner. Frightening, I know. I am such an airhead at times, I have no concept how this is going to work. But it will work if it's the last thing I do. It's got to.

I'm talking about my new small business with my occupational therapy. For several years now, I've operated independently in home health carrying a small caseload of patients....until I realized that I can be even more profitable by hiring a few certified occupational therapy assistants to see the patients while I go do initial evaluations, marketing and other things to expand my small "adventure".

I put an ad in KSL and hooray - got some responses and hired two ladies who are going to make my life so much easier. I really think I'll be able to work less away from home and yet make a lot more. The hardest part is that now I have 2 whole families (not including my own) relying on me for their livelihood. It's a little scary and a huge responsibility but I take it seriously and am dedicated to making it a success for us all.

However, the learning curve has been one big suck fest. I am absolutely ignorant of anything business related - like taxes, insurance, worker's comp, payroll, blah blah. Not to mention it bores me to tears. But it's so near done now. By tomorrow I'll be past the madness and moving on with my life.

So, three cheers for occupational therapy and our assistants - and everyone who has helped me make this possible. I can now move on and be my children's mom!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grrrrr

What did I tell you about Maytag? That washing machine is FOUR years old people. FOUR! It was over a thousand dollars! And it's scrap metal. It's going to cost over $400 to repair it and even then, we will still have a heap of crap. I'm SO irritated about it. We're not fixing it. We're going to buy a new machine and although that pleases me to no end to have a new machine, it makes me very distrustful of expensive appliances. These older model Whirlpools that I see here and there (like at my little Sis), are way old but EXCELLENT machines. I'm sure they weren't that expensive to buy brand new but they work great!

Word to the Wise: DON'T BUY MAYTAG IF YOU WANT QUALITY

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Easy Way Out

This afternoon I completed a most gratifying task. And it was rather painless and it was all due to the poop out of my Maytag Neptune, the biggest pile of crap a human has ever invented. It's the truth.

With more than 6 large loads of clothes ahead of me this weekend (ya right, like I was really going to get them all done), I had a formidable task ahead of me. I promptly decided we should just all go shopping at Gateway instead. But before we went, I attempted to get a load started and that's when the Neptune decided to assert its cantankerous personality...yet again.

So I gave up and went shopping instead. But coming home to that laundry room piled high with dirty clothes, I sort of panicked and decided something must be done. So I did the only thing I could think of and threw it all into my Jeep and drove to the laundromat, spent 2 hours and $20 and came home to an absolutely empty laundry room, entirely full drawers and a clean docket for the rest of the week (where laundry's concerned). Why have I never thought of this solution before? It was WONDERFUL! Plus, I didn't have to take Tink which actually made for a peaceful 2 hours of what else...reading.

I'm not saying I'd do this every week but I can absolutely see the advantages of an occasional trip to the laundromat and freeing myself of that daily stress for a week or so!

I'm not sure if I'm fixing the Neptune, that pile-o-crap. I'm so sick of all of my Maytag appliances (which only excludes my fridge). Thousands (!!) of wasted dollars people. An utter waste. Bosch, here I come.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Month of Great Books

This has been the best month ever for books. I recall mentioning just a couple weeks ago that it's rare I find a book that keeps enthralled to the point where I can't put it down. And then I found Hunger Games and its sequels (of which I am eagerly awaiting the third book to arrive from Amazon right now). The first two books of Hunger Games occupied me for a couple of days because I literally devoured them. So good!

And then I was at the library last week on Friday and picked up A Great And Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. It's a thick book, just my type. It's also a trilogy. All three books are very thick, allowing a reader to thoroughly immerse oneself long-term in the story. You might remember I used to judge a book solely based on how thick it was - the true definition of a book junkie.

I read A Great And Terrible Beauty in 1 day. I got to the library Saturday just in time to pick up the other two books in the trilogy before it closed for the weekend. I read the 2nd book before I went to bed Sunday night. But since the workweek requires me to do more than sit on my butt reading a book, I allowed myself to read for about an hour in the morning, and then a couple hours at night during the week. I finished The Sweet Far Thing, Book III today...and I very nearly cried because I really detest getting to the end of a trilogy. Something akin to my life being over. I allow myself to lose myself in books and I guess part of my personality is yanked away when a book is done.

Anyway, I loved these books....a lot. Loved. They had just enough of all things I like about books, mystery, fantasy, just a smidgen of romance, suspense, and the Victorian era. So if you're looking for somewhere to let your imagination run wild, look no further.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Children and Priorities

I feel lately like my head has been spinning off my neck and upon writing that phrase, realize it's something I've written before. It must be a common occurrence whether I like the feeling or not.
...
So this summer, with some help of Sandra, my phenomenal sitter, I finally addressed my priorities - #1, my family. I have cut down my work days by 2 hours a piece. Even better, I will be starting my work day later so that there's no way I can extend my day longer even if I wanted to. I used to say I'd be home by 3 but inevitably my days got longer and longer until the norm was 5pm.

I started this schedule this week when school started and so far I'm loving it! I never realized what difference 2 hours could make. And so far, I haven't been able to entirely devote those 2 extra hours to Tinkerpot, that's the goal. With so much stress in my life going on right now, those 2 extra hours a day have made the biggest difference to my peace of mind. Lol, that...and Crossfit.
Anyway, Bugs started first grade this week. I stood behind her as she sat at the little round table in her new first grade classroom and she pretended like I wasn't there. She even said something to me to the affect of, "Are you going to leave now?" and I felt a little foolish for clutching onto her apron strings. I got choked up not surprisingly. I felt like I needed to collect her and her backpack and lunchbox full of pb&j, juicebox and pretzels and run from the school screaming that this child can't possibly be ready for such BIGNESS. I'm not ready for such bigness.

Her teacher never formally asked us to leave, just let us parents skulk around until we felt awkward enough to try to inch invisibly toward the door, and then exit feeling you were one too many in a group of friends. I nuzzled Tinkerpot as we walked down the empty hallroom and made her promise me she'd never go to school. She said, "drink" as if that were supposed to appease me.

After the first pangs of separation were over, I have thus far rather enjoyed my freedom - if having a tortured 18 month old in tow is considered freedom, I'm making the most of it! So much more is accomplished when I don't have a chatterbox at my elbow, constantly interrupting me with requests for chicken nuggets, to play games and to help her find lost unicorns and other random problems. I always love her presence but am welcoming the time I have to get re-acquainted with my organizing side. Yay!

I could bore you further with the tedious details of my forays into small business ownership which has been a complete nightmare and a painful, frustrating experience but I'll spare you...today. It has absorbed my mind day and night for several weeks now but I am very nearly past this madness and am feeling liberated and strangely at peace. You've no idea what I'm talking about but know this...I am an awesome therapist...I am not an awesome small business owner. I know this. I own this. I love myself anyway.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Girl Stuff

This morning was my last morning of leisure for what feels like the rest of my life. No, not really but at least until next Saturday rolls around.

Gone are the days of sleeping in until 9AM for the sheer pleasure of it. I do that every single day I don't have to work or work out. Ok, that's not really that many days but when those days come, it's like Christmas...only better. Can ya give me an amen?

We've begun rolling back the bedtime starting last night so that Bugs can get ready for the early trumpet horns. I make her get up at about 6am on school days so she has plenty of time to slave for me before she's off to school. And I can't really expect a first grader to get up on her own and get her routine going without her mommy, now can I? When can I, I'd like to know? When will she be old enough that I can go back to being lazy in the morning?

Well, anyway Bugs starts first grade this year. We went through her clothes today and made piles of things I no longer want her to wear due to them being too high either on the ankles or the belly. Lots of shoes put away too. I have a list of stuff that I need to buy - a list that should have been made about a month ago. I need:

  • brown boots
  • church shoes
  • loafers, probably brown
  • 2 pairs of pants, not pink or jeans
  • 4 long sleeved shirts
  • 2 sweaters or cardigans
The list isn't overwhelming. I'm sure I can find those things pretty quick. Bugs and I are headed out first thing in the morning. We'll make a day of it - find all of these clothing and shoe items and then off to lunch. I read on my friend Katie's blog that her daughter's favorite restaurant is the Myan and I realized I've never taken Bugs there before. And it's the exact sort of place that she would find mesmerizing. Their food sort of makes me want to gag but I'll sacrifice for the greater good. Mother/Daughter time...this is what it's all about!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Continuing the Remodel With Wall Art!

Now that the painting is done, it's time for decorating! Here is the vinyl wall art I just purchased from NouArt on Etsy. Isn't it so cute? It was pricey but look how wonderful it is! I'm so excited to get it!

Moment In A Bottle

Shortly after my fantasy last night, Bugs finally finished brushing her teeth and came to snuggle with me. My reverie over, I read a chapter out of "Henry Huggins", particularly enjoying the way these youngish/oldish books have reappeared in my life for the 2nd time. The first time as a girl Ramona Quimby's age, and now as Ramona Quimby's mother. Quite enlightening.

But that's all not the point.

The POINT is something that I just don't want to forget about that leggy little 6 year old who somehow has already completely outgrown the shoes I bought her at the beginning of the summer for the beginning of school. She hasn't even worn them yet. Needless to say, summer has brought big changes in that little girl. I guess I've mentioned it before but this is tangible proof.

So the book was done and I always lay with her and talk for a few minutes and tickle her - capturing my 1:1 moments, time I value as priceless. She burrowed into me with her thumb poised to be sucked on and she said in her squeaky little voice, "Mommy? Will you be my pillow tonight?" It was payback for at least a month's of up-all-night's.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

She Has No Idea

Tonight as I waited for Bugs to finish brushing her teeth and join me on her bed for reading time, I snuggled down into her bed and lay there staring at her ceiling. The soft pale yellow walls were soothing and I admired her cute little pink fan, her white four poster bed and the closet of neatly lined up dresses and sweaters.

I let myself retreat into a little fantasy that I was the 6 year old and was laying in my own bed waiting for my mom to come in and read me books then tuck me into bed. That the myriad of responsibilities waiting for me the very next day would be someone else's and not my concern. All that worried me was the list of easy chores on the wall, and would my friend be able to play tomorrow.

I did a snow angel in her cotton sheets and blankets and wondered why I never realized how good I had it when I was 6. I marveled that to my daughter, these bedroom accouterments have just miraculously appeared for her pleasure, and is not aware that they're actually the product of a certain number of hours of labor. Oh, the bliss of ignorance.

No, I guess I don't wish I was 6 - just wish for one day I could live in that complete freedom of myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finally DONE

What has felt like an eternity has ended. My painting job. What a horrendous effort that turned out to be! I have no memory of any painting job ever being that big of a suck fest. It didn't help that the walls were brown and blue - two colors impossible to cover with lighter colors.

So I mentioned that The Marshmallow took pity on me and sprayed the primer. He did that last week on Wednesday or Thursday and it's a good thing he did or else I'd still be rolling it. The problem is he got so completely high that he nearly threw up. He was stoned for like 4 hours and swore he'd never do that again. He didn't spray the closet so I had to go and do that part and it took me the better part of Sunday to finish it.

But I finally finished it today. I thought I picked a white-ish cream but it turned out to be a pale yellow cream but I love it anyway. It's amazing how it brightened that room up. I'm sort of excited to get the other rooms a lighter shade to see how it affects this whole house. But that's for another century.

Tomorrow I'll clean up my mess, move furniture around and decorate a bit. Now is the fun part. Maybe we'll even order the wall vinyl tomorrow.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lop Off My Head At The Neck Please

Today is The Marshmallow's family reunion. Coincidentally I woke up with such bad neck pain I can't turn my head to the right more than about 20 degrees. Are they related? I guess I don't think so but it's worth a giggle or two. Am I excited about going...hardly.

So we leave in 3 hours and I will spend the next 2 sitting here on the couch with a heating pad on my neck. Why does this happen to me? Like once every months I get such a crick in my neck it takes a month to work it out! Too bad I can't order a complete re-install of all my neck muscles. How about an upgrade to neck muscles 2.0? There must be some improvements on the technology!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You know, it's sad but thank goodness for Red Bull.

Crossfit

So I started this morning. It was just the first session, sort of helping me figure out where things are, how things go etc. It wasn't bad...yet. I did get a little workout but nothing compared to what I will be getting.

I heard about Crossfit from a girlfriend of mine who started it about 3 years ago. It took her about 6 months before we started noticing how amazing she was looking. She'd always had a nice shape but now it was lean and defined and so tone!

I've been planning to s tart for about 2 years now but the baby interrupted my plans and then I was too heavy for a while to consider it. Now that things are different, I want to maintain my weight and shape it into more lean muscle mass. I figured the time was right and amazingly they have opened a Crossfit right here just about 2 miles from my house! Even better!

So what's Crossfit? It's like 1/2 hour of intense boot camp. Well I'm sure you've seen those Boot Camp gyms around...it's not Boot Camp but the workouts are totally intense boot camp type routines that integrate running/sprinting, pull-ups, push-ups, weight training etc. It's all over the top hard and intense for a short period of time. You're in and out in a short period of time.

My first impressions are these: Instructor dude wears too much Abercrombie cologne. I'm not sure why he's wearing cologne at all at 5:30 in the morning but I guess he feels like he needs it. Thursday is sort of a rest day so there weren't many people there. The two other people that were there besides me were a guy who shaves his legs (WTH), and a girl who obviously got up at 4AM to shower, do her hair, put on her make-up and coordinate her work-out clothes. I'm not sure I get that either. Besides that, it's exactly what I thought it would be like. Sparse sort of industrial-type building full of weights. Perfect.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chewed Up & Spit Out ...and then some other stuff

That's how I feel today. I'm betting that you can guess why based on my last post. I found time yesterday to go pick up Catching Fire at the library and you know I was dying to read it. I put the kids down at 9 and even though I was soooo tired already, like DOG tired, I opened up that book. Told myself it would only be a few minutes but it ended up 2:30 in the morning when I finally finished it and put it down. It's pretty rare I find a book that I can't put down and now there's been 2 in 2 weeks! I love these books!

But a person's day doesn't just get put on hold because a good book kept them up all night. I did sleep in until 8:30, as far as I could push the kids, and after I got them breakfasted, dressed and gave myself a power breakfast of cereal marshmallows, was off and running to my first set of swim lessons for the day. Swim lessons are a necessary EVIL. The are so important I believe, but their repetitive nature drives me insane. I don't do ANYTHING for 2 weeks straight at the very same time, so this begins to wear on me. I'm just a little too spontaneous for this obnoxious routine. That's just me though.

On a completely different subject, I stopped at Ye Olde Fruit Stand this morning to buy a watermelon. Here it is.
The little sales dude was really enthusiastic about getting me the best melon ever. And he tells me that these little black spots on this one are bee stings. He says, "you always know you're getting a great watermelon when you see these black spots because they're actual bee stings. Bees love watermelons because they're so sweet. That black is the sap running out."

I have a number of thoughts about this. The main one is this. Don't bees die after they sting? Doesn't this seem like a galacticly wasteful use of one's life? I mean, I've heard of someone "dying for this or that" but this is ridiculous!

So, either this guy doesn't know what he's talking about, or he's thinking I don't know the most common thing about bees, or he's being truthful. Who's to know.

Either way, the watermelon is great. And next time you see these little black spots on a watermelon, it's up to you to decide if 3 separate bees gave their life for just a taste of this perfect specimen or if back in July 2010, the 16 year old Fruit Stand Boy was taking Amy for a ride.

About painting. The Marshmallow is having mercy on me and has decided to spray Bugs' room. Why he didn't offer this last week is beyond me. But because of Catching Fire, I got nothing achieved last night whatsoever. So he's coming home early and going to get the job done much faster. *sigh*

Last thing...tomorrow morning at 5:30, I start Crossfit! I'm so excited I'm going to pee my pants right now! But I'm also absolutely petrified. I've heard it's awesome but a huge suck-fest. Check back - I'll be reporting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Night: Not A Great Day To Start a Remodel

But don't say I said it. Those were The Marshmallow's words to me tonight as we put Bugs in our bed for the 2nd night in what is looking like to be a long string of nights. This paint job is likely going to take me all week!

It's not like I have oodles of time to be painting though, with an 18 month old running around. And it's not like I can just let her into the room I'm painting in! So I have a 2 1/2 hour window each day (on days I don't work) to get stuff done, and then a couple of hours each night. It's just not cutting it. I'm on evening 3 and all I've gotten done is to prime the corners and edges where a roller won't go - indeed that is a big part of the job. Yes, I've masked the whole room, and prepped it all and we know that takes the most amount of time but still I just feel so far behind in the whole thing (why do I have an english accent when I read this back to myself? - too many audiobooks!)

What else did I get done today, asks The Marshmallow, when he gets home to find very little more completed on the room than was done when he left this morning? Well, not much. Two swim lessons at two vastly different times (that meant 2 separate trips to the rec center), the car detailed, 3 healthy meals prepared, 3 hours worth of paperwork submitted for a scheduled paycheck later this week, endless room tidying, 2 loads of laundry, 2 loads of dishwasher dishes, 2 beds made, 3 showers, weeds pulled, tomatoes picked, books read......blah blah blah. You get the idea. Lots of things happen. Just because you can't SEE what's been done doesn't mean nothing got done. men. Don't you hate that insinuation? I'm home...therefore I do nothing.

On another note, Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, is on hold at the city library for me to pick up tomorrow. I only put it on hold last week; I can't believe it's already my turn! I'm so excited - I literally was up until 3am the night I read The Hunger Games cover to cover in one evening. Where am I going to find another evening I can totally devote to Book 2?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Homemade Chore Chart

(click on pic for a close-up)

Well, I think most chore charts are homemade, and made out of desperation so that you don't have to keep repeating their chores every single morning. I suppose that's why I made this one.

I've been working on this board in my head for about 3 months now and there's so many components that I just couldn't get it all together. So thanks to my little sis, Ellen, who helped me synthesize my thoughts and get them out into real life.

I'm totally ecstatic with how this turned out! Not only does this thing track chores on a weekly basis, but it runs a tally of allowance and extra money that can be earned for doing crappy chores that I hate to earn money (aren't I smart?), and also good/bad behaviors and rewards/consequences for each. You can probably see why it took me so long to figure out how it would look.

The beauty of this board is that everything is removable and can be moved around. I changed my mind about vinyl and went with magnetized laminated words because realistically, I doubt this board will be in affect for more than a couple of years and maybe I can reinvent the board for Tink when she comes of age - the age when she can slave for me (yay!) As chores are completed, Bugs will just take a magnet and put it on the square for that day. I had to make all of those magnets! That was one of the most time consuming parts.

About the Naughty/Nice section, depending on the behavior, Bugs can take a Naughty/Nice dude out of the "or" box and place it in its appropriate box. When either box is full she will get either a reward or the consequence (there's only one: no TV = UTTER DEVASTATION). Do you like the Naughty/Nice dudes? Google eyes and green pom pon noses. So cute.

But here's the most awesome part of this board! I traded a friend of mine for a Cricut a few months ago and have used it a couple of times but always feel frustrated and limited by the expensive cartridges. So Ellen (yay Ellen) told me about "Sure Cuts a Lot" the software that lets you use whatever fonts you want to cut on your Cricut. So I hacked came across the software last night and spent the better part of several hours getting it loaded and figuring out how to use it. This software is amazing! And thanks also to Amanda at Fonts For Peas, I was able to use some extremely cute fonts for FREE. You need to check out her site. Tons of totally cute fonts that you can download for no cost (ok, thanks again to Ellen for telling me about it - I'm starting to wonder who I'd be without her!)

In actuality, this project ended up taking me most of the weekend so if I'm going to paint, it will be this evening, and I just might do it.

If you're interested in this project, I recommend you make a sketch of how you want it to look like. It helped it all come together. Oh - there's a dry erase marker with velcro wrapped around it that goes stuck to that little white patch on the bottom of the chart. Where did the pen go?

Happy Crafting!

p.s. If you like this board and would like the directions & supply information, please just post a comment with your email address and I'll gladly send them to you. The only caviat is that I have been inundated with requests so now I will charge for the directions. Please send $7 for the directions, supply list and word file with the templates for word strips and fonts I used although Sure Cuts A Lot is no longer available for use with the Cricut, to my utter devastation. You may Paypal to the_nielsens2000@earthlink.net. Thanks!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

No Picture Unfortunately But I'll Take One

of my sweet little Bugs.

This summer has brought such unexpected changes in her. She's six now. And when I think that her next birthday brings 7, my heart literally breaks.

I look into her face now and over the past few weeks, I've noticed that it has less baby fat on it, her features are more defined, bigger...idk, older I think. She just looks older!

Sitting on the couch with The Marshmallow tonight, her long legs hung over the edge and she just seemed all limbs and grown-upness. Where did it come from all of the sudden, when I wasn't paying attention?

I just watched her because I could and it didn't embarrass her because she was watching TV and didn't know it. She gets so embarrassed easily anymore and she doesn't like me to look into her eyes. She gets all bashful.

I held onto her tonight after we read books and she got ready to snuggle down for sleep. And while her back was turned to snuggle into me, I started to cry. I wouldn't let her see me because she's so tender, she'd start to cry too and be confused because she wouldn't understand why she was, let alone why I was. But I'm sad because well, any of you moms know why. I don't need to explain.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I Have Planned for My Weekend

Sitting here contemplating my post, I happened to notice my wonderfully inspired header that talks about how blogging is the act of de-cluttering my mind. I should take advantage of that more often because honestly right now, my brain is so full it's turned to mush.

I just got home from work and I literally have turned work OFF. They are still texting and emailing me but it's like I have dissaperated from the earth...do you like how I am now using Harry Potter terms that didn't exist until those books were created but I'm sure will now be listed in the newest dictionary.

But while my work brain is temporarily out-of-order, my creative juices have begun to flow again and it's like chi the way it flows through me and brings me out of my work funk. Here's what I have planned for the next four days.

I'm redecorating Bug's room. She's out grown the cute Raggedy Ann room I did when she was 3. It seems just yesterday I combed the wallpaper stores in search of a Raggedy Ann border, painted the walls, applied appliques, painted shelves and sewed her Raggedy Ann rag quilt. We pulled it all down the other night, cleaned out all the toys for a blank slate. It now sits awaiting primer. So I'll be painting this weekend. We're doing pinks, purples, whites, flowers, unicorns, butterflies, princesses. You get the idea. The essence of six year old girldome. I'm having a feeling it will be my happy place too but then I'm 6 at heart.

I'm also finally going to put together a chore chart I've been contemplating for a few months. I've got a huge magnet board, magnet boxes and tins, heart stones to make into magnets and loads of vinyl letters that need attached to indicate what chores, allowance, and behaviors are being tracked. I'm dying to see how this is going to turn out.

I bought a couple yards of some really cute knit material the other day and am planning on turning them into some babydoll nightgowns and shirts for my girls. They'll have peasant necklines and sleeves but fall in more of a babydoll shape. I have no pattern - just going to figure it out as I go and hopefully they turn out. I haven't sewn anything well since...yesterday...but before that not since I utterly destroyed the little romper I was so excited to make for Bugs. It deflated me a little when she turned out looking like a clown.

Hmm. Seems like there was one more thing I was looking forward to starting this weekend but it escapes me - perhaps that particular creative juice leaked out my ear.

On an entirely different note, if stopping at a lemonade stand isn't on your bucket list, you need to reconsider your priorities. That dollar is the best one ever spent.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jumbled Thoughts

Today was a virtual whirlwind. I'm not sure I love days like that but it seems like more and more that's how my days "off" go. And to even have to say I have days "off" irks me because I wish all days were "off".

My friend Mandy had her second baby yesterday and I promised her I'd make her a carrier cover but her delivery day snuck up on me and before I knew it, the baby was here and I hadn't even picked out fabric yet! Off to the fabric store last night. I barely finished it in time today to take it to her this evening but at least I was able to deliver it to her before she checked out of the hospital to go home. What a sweet baby - so precious!

Somehow I also managed to get most of my laundry done, a healthy meal cooked for dinner, children cleaned, fed and amused all day and of course loads of work-related items finished. Blech.

And as I sat there with that sweet baby in my arms tonight I thought how 17 months ago I sat there with my brand new baby, and life was so much simpler then. At the time I hadn't any intention of returning to work and didn't mind that we were broke. All that was good was in my arms, or sitting beside me. I remembered that tonight. I wonder if I had the opportunity to completely stay home 100% of the time, would I succumb to The Marshmallow's pesterings and have yet one more child. I wonder.

To consider having another child means to put much of our financial planning on the back burner. It's difficult for me to let that get too far away from me - it's taken such a long time for me to gain control over our financial chaos. Not to say that a child wouldn't be worth it but for the first time in such a long time, I'm feeling peace about most aspects in my life and another child would surely upend everything.

I'm not ready to think about this. The end.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Papers Organized

If you're anything like me, you are surrounded by a ton of papers. Anything from receipts, to kids' school papers, to letters, pictures and old magazine clippings. They cause me a lot of angst because you get one stack organized and within a week, there's another whole pile to go through again. It's maddening!

I've been looking at personal scanners for a few months though because I am thinking this may be a good system for me. But it has to be fast...and easy because with all of the papers that need organized, I don't want it to take longer to scan them all than it would be to file them all. So the software has to be pretty user friendly and basic. I also want it to be small and one that doesn't need to be opened and closed each paper - it needs to feed.

Well I think I finally found a good one and even better, they have a 30 day trial on this one called NeatReceipts. I'm so excited to get it. Maybe I'll finally get my arms around my biggest organizing dilemma. I'll let you know how I like it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yard Sales Are Good Things,

I've decided. What's not to love?

I cleaned out many rooms including the dreaded storage room and made an incredibly huge pile of stuff that was out the door. After the yard sale, the pile was greatly reduced. I loaded the rest of what I could part with into the truck and we dropped it at the thrift store. The few things that I couldn't see donating were brought back in and they totaled about 10 items. I probably could have held on to all of that stuff that didn't sell but I couldn't wrap my head around hauling it all back in and putting it back into the cleaned out areas.

I paid Bugs $2/hr to hang out and help me with the yard sale so I wouldn't have to sit out there in the hot sun...bored...all by myself. We played Candyland and talked and had a pretty good time. With the few things that The Marshmallow donated to her cause, I believe she actually made more money than I did. But considering the fact that the Saturday morning otherwise would have been spent in an some other useless occupation, I was glad to spend it de-cluttering my house and making a few bucks while I was at it.

I think I put about 6 hours total into preparation and 5 hours during the sale. By the hour, I got screwed but it overall, it was a win/win. I will definitely do it again.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Before I Forget

You know how people always tell you how children from the same parents can be so totally different? I never put much thought into this until I had two. My word!

Bugs took this pic of Tink and me this morning as we were lounging around after getting up late (had to explain the "death warmed over" look) It personifies all that is different between these two girls. Bugs would have, even at Tink's age, posed with a big cheesy grin on her face while she cuddled up to me and immersed herself in the pleasure of being squeezed. Tink can only behave as if the world is crashing down around her.

But then, I sit here as the day winds down and the only one around me is Tink. She goes about her busy business and I want to drink in her essence. Again, it's totally different from Bugs and perhaps that's why I'm so totally enamored of it - it's all new.

She's all soft, pudgy lines...squishy with pink heels from running. She has tree monkey feet that are always a little sticky and can help pull her onto virtually any surface. She's fuzzy, this new hair coming in and her mouth and hands are always a little wet from drool so kisses, though extremely rare, are slobbery and always a little breathy. She's furtive in her movements as she tries to maintain her balance in a dead run. She's soft on every part of her body and her squinty little eyes make her look like she just woke up no matter what time it is. She is much like holding a big water balloon that can't be contained in one armful, always spilling over the sides but the soft, squishy gives with a little pressure wherever you hold it. She's loud and often grouchy and has perfected the fake distress signs. I say, "Who's a pretty little girl?" and she says "Cole".

I wish there was an eu 'd cole just like I wished there was a eu 'd alalie.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nice Fat Weight Off My Shoulders

Ahhhhh. I suppose I could feel lighter, like if I quit ALL of my jobs, but tonight I could have wings. I quit my job at the hospital and I feel wonderful. Not that I didn't love the job, because I do but it was just one more thing on top of a million other things that I needed to do. My performance there wasn't what I wanted it to be anymore and it was just more time away from my family.

So I sent in my resignation this evening and I'm a little sad because I've worked there for 4 years, but it feels good too - like now my weekends will be totally mine again and no more wondering if I"m going to be called in or do I need to work tonight or not... freedom. Ahhh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Day At A Time

It's been about six months since I enlisted the big overhaul to the way I manage my money. There have been some things I've been especially good at, and others I still need work on.

The good things include the fact that I have managed to pay off about 5 different consumer debt accounts. I've also fostering a good savings account finally which I'm not dipping into. And, my IRA is growing which puts me at peace. Plus, we've purchased a few big ticket items in the past few months and not a thing has been put on credit - this is something I'm especially proud of because in the past, cash just wasn't a word we knew!

On the other hand, I haven't necessarily learned any deep and meaningful lessons about responsible managing of the "extra". It's like my brain says "you've put some in savings - go ahead and blow everything else." And so, I'm definitely overspending my allocated "allowance. It helps that this summer's circumstances have brought in a bit more income than expected, but if I was as responsible as I would like to be, any extra would go into savings instead of burned into thin air.

Well I guess nobody can be absoluterly perfect and with all the good, there will some good with the bad. If another 6 months can have the affect that the first 6 months did, then I'll be on the right road.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dum dums were invented by a genius with a one year old!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

? right? Hmmm the logic escapes me.

? There is no bathroom at Artic Circle - how weird is that? But they did offer me a courtesy cone while I waited for my order so hey...they made up for it

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I might as well work full time. This is just ridiculous.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A high end consignment shop just opened down the street....there goes all my money.

I'm going to learn how to text without looking. So I don't crash. It's like learning to type all over again. I typed all of this without looking!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Summer Salad

The Marshmallow and I like to cook together in the kitchen - him on the barby and me making salads and whatever else we're craving. Tonight I was on salad patrol. So the other night I happened upon a mushroom salad at the grocery store deli that we thought was ok that I wondered if I could improve upon and so I did. It turned out fantastic so I wanted to share!

Artichoke Mushroom and Romano Salad

2 cups dried Costco Mushroom mix (you buy this in a tall container in their produce section)
1 cup artichokes in oil, cut into chunks
1 cup small black olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in 1/2
1/2 cup canned baby corns cut in 1/2
2 tbsp diced sundried tomatoes in oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp butter
1/4 Romano cheese
1 tsp kosher salt

Melt the butter and add the diced garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes. Reconstitute the mushrooms according to directions (takes about 10 minutes) and add them to the butter mixture and cook on medium for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the olives, tomatoes, baby corns, sundried tomatoes, and artichokes together. Add the mushroom mixture to it and toss. Add the Romano cheese and salt and mix until combined.

Serve room temperature.

We served this with very flavorful steaks which almost overpowered the strong flavors of the salad so I would recommend something lighter like fish or chicken as a main dish for this.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Karma: definition up to interpretation

I've mentioned before how when I'm out running I often pick up nails and screws in the road and dispose of them before someone drives on them and gets a flat tire. This week alone, I have probably picked up 6-8 of them, saving 6-8 people the dreaded fate of a flat tire away from home. It's no big deal - every runner/walker probably does that.

I always figured I was helping myself along with others and perhaps I was but I was obviously driving on roads yesterday that I don't run on because I ended up with a nail in my tire and a flat tire this morning. At least I was home.

Unfortunately I discovered it only moments before I needed to leave to go pick up Bugs from her 4 day visit to her Grandma. We were meeting 1/2 way between her house and mine, a good 45 minute drive from both our houses and she'd already left. Well, like I said earlier...nothing clears a schedule like a flat tire.

My good friend Rachel also dropped everything to come watch my kids later in the afternoon so I could take the Jeep down and get the tire properly repaired. It was such a nice gesture especially considering all going on in her own life.

Not that the day was all bad - it was actually a really good day. Just nothing what I expected it to be, that's all. I suppose it was good that I didn't have to work today and that crap falls on days that I have the time to deal with it.

On a much brighter note, I discovered that an abandoned lot here in town by the old Ace Hardware will now be turning into a Kneaders restaurant cafe. That's the best news all day. I could easily become addicted to their panini. YUM!

Oh no wait. That is NOT the best news all day. The best news all day has to be the fact that we are no longer a 1-car family. The Marshmallow finally sold his work truck to his boss, which he never wanted to take the girls anywhere in, and bought a nice king cab that will hold us all and I no longer feel like I'm leaving them all high and dry on a Saturday when I go to work. I will never ever again take for granted having my own car. I feel 16 again - it's all mine...finally.

Nothing clears one's schedule like a flat tire!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hello...

you single and solitary reader of my blog.

My day was good today. I was up before dawn which in and of itself makes for a good day. My house was cleaned up, relatively, by 7 and I was able to sit for a moment and enjoy the peace and quiet.

I never did get a shower though unfortunately. My day sped away as usual and left me behind. No problem. I did get some visiting with several friends today and it felt good. Feels like 100 years ago that this morning I was commenting that I feel like I don't have any left. I'm such a nerd.

Don't ask me why but I signed up for a bike race today. The Tour de St. George. Why did I do this, I ask? I'm not necessarily a biker. I OWN a bike and have been in bike races (haha, A bike race - and that was a mini triathlon) before but don't consider myself a biker...at all. It's 60 miles - that's a lot. I might hate myself later but we discussed my jumping into the water thing. It's an Amy-ism.

Bugs is spending a few days with her Grandma this week which means it's just me and Tinkerpot. Quite a different dynamic having only one child - something I'd completely forgotten. Sort of nice but not nice in another way. I miss her beautiful little face prattling nonstop at me. I can tell Tink misses her too by the way she stands at my feet and whines incessantly...like she's bored. I'm not bored however. I get a lot of stuff done when I'm down to 1 kid.

Oh, if you've read this far then you can read a few lines further. I am having a little party next Friday night. You are invited solitary reader. It's the 9th at 7pm at my house. I invited a lady I met to spread out some really cute jeans on my lawn and we get to gawk at them while we visit and eat some yummy food that hopefully I can either buy or talk someone else into making for me. Just kidding - I CAN cook when I feel like it. We might play some fun games and hang out for a while. Just bring yourself and your cute hiney that you want to fit into some cute jeans - no pressure to buy please. She's coming but I'm just looking for an excuse to get my friends together in one place so I can remember what they look like. :)

See you there!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ow.

For some reason unknown to the conscious me, I have decided to run the 24th of July 10k downtown. It's been a few years since I've done it and the race's suck factor has been forgotten and so I guess I'm up to doing it again.

Considering the fact I haven't run more than 2 miles in the past year, it's going to be a crazy month as I train to up myself to 6.5 miles. I can do it, it just won't be the awesomeness I've gotten used to.

So I got myself out this morning to run 4 miles which for the first 3 seemed like no big deal. I was doing fine, it was cool and my legs were feeling strong. And then my knees kicked in because I headed downhill. For the last mile and something, it was agony. I jacked them good. 5 hours later I seriously can't even walk. I've taken motrin, iced for hours and I still look like a gimp on both legs. It'll be a few days before I can attempt that feat again. It's what I get for pushing myself twice what I've been used to on my treadmill with no uphill or downhill. Owell, I always was a jump in and get yourself all wet at once, kind of girl.

Then...Bugs and I went yardsaling - something we've both been looking forward to all week. We hit about 7 or 8 yard sales in 2 hours and bought a whole bunch of useless crap. I found a little table, an old fashioned tin bathtub, books, toys, and lots of other fun things. I never spend a lot but it's fun to be out rummaging through other people's cast-offs. I hope to create good childhood memories of rummaging with my kids. Good times.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'll Post The Good Stuff

because I could post about the entire day I wasted sewing what was supposed to be the cutest romper EVER but ended up looking like the cutest clown costume ever. Whatever. I'm annoyed and frustrated but am willing to try again because the end result...the one that Lesley got, is worth working for.

So I'll post about my roses because at least they look beautiful. Remember how I pruned my roses this Spring? I sort of got worried about how much I hacked them. But I diligently watered them like a river and I am happy to report that they are doing well. Especially the ones by my front door which are absolutely stunning right now. And the smell...wow!

So here it is after I pruned this particular bush...And the resulting awesomeness (my new fav word)
The lighting was the worst for this picture so it doesn't do this bush justice at all but you get the idea. It's fantastic. Can you believe how much a couple of months can do?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Should Be On The GeekSquad

I really should because I'm a genius and I even got The Marshmallow to admit it.

I bought a new laptop yensterday because I'm pretty sure the harddrive on my other computer is quitting. No biggie. I said I was going to buy one before the end of the year anyway and now is just as good as later, probably better because it's nowhere near to Christmas.

Anyway recently I've been having a bugger of a time getting my laser printer installed. And this is important since it's WAY cheaper to run a laser printer than an inkjet. But it wouldn't install. On my old laptop it took me several weeks before I was able to get it done but I did and I knew what was up and what was going wrong. But I was surpised with a new computer to be having the same problems.

So I called the GeekSquad this afternoon and paid them $50 to just do it for me - you know, save me weeks of labor. After 2 hours, my money was reimbursed and they gave up. 4 hours after THAT, I got it installed myself people...all by myself! And I am officially giving myself a pat on the back. I'm actually so happy I could cry because now I get to keep my printer instead of junking it and buying a new one that will install.

Ahhhhh. I am feeling soooooooooooo good tonight. It's awesome living in my awesomeness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Remembering

I was cleaning up a spare bedroom today when I came across my wedding dress. I've been meaning to put it on lately as I do every few years to judge how much has changed, drooped, chunked or otherwise since September 30, 2000.

I love the heavy tulle-y feeling of the gown as I pull it from its bag. It's heavy and full and absolutely the most beautiful gown I have ever seen. I'm lucky that it's mine. I hope that I get to wear it again someday to renew vows.

I put it on and this time didn't have anyone to zip it up in bag so I nearly pulled a muscle trying to do it myself. I also didn't have all the corset and slips keeping all my *ahem* parts in place. But everything fit. I'm a little less fleshy now so it fits me better than it did even back then. I wore a corset on my wedding that nearly cinched in me in half and if I wasn't drunk from all the champagne (which I was) then I was high on lack of oxygen.

I put the gown back in its bag and hung it in the back of the closet...to be tried on in another few years. It's sad that wedding dresses only get such a short viewing. Maybe I should re-invent it into some shorts or halter dress to wear over jeans. Just kidding.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fabric Flowers Tutorial

Fabric flowers are all the rage right now and I've been experimenting with them because I've been wanting to put them on a number of my projects. There have been lots of failures and some good successes. I have a few favorites. I perfected one particular flower today and thought you might like to see...and even try one for yourself! It's so easy a caveman could do it.


I made this flower to put on the tabs of a carseat carrier I made for my sister. It turned out really cute and I especially liked how the flower added to it. Forgive my dreadful pictures. Not only did I not install Photoshop yet on my laptop from the big "virus thingamajig", I did not think through my wardrobe prior to taking these pics - and it's not easy to take pics of yourself while you're sewing.
So first things. For a flower this size, which is approximately 4", you'll want some fabric about 4" wide and about 40" long.Press. Press. Press. I've found in my years of sewing (jk, I mean days) that ironing is critical.

Now, fold under the edges on the 4" side and press, then fold it in half the long way and press. This pic is what it looks like afterward. You're really just folding it in half the long way but I like the ends to be finished so I fold them in first.Now sew the whole thing closed including those short ends.So now you have a long piece of fabric about 2" wide and about 40" long. One side is folded and the other end is raw but sewn shut. Now, set your machine on it's longest stitch length and adjust your tension all the way up. After many, many ruffles, I've learned that this is the only way to do it.
Now without locking in your first stitch (like, don't reverse your stitch) - make a basting stitch down that long edge. Without the sewing lingo, just start sewing down over top your last stitch but don't finish or start it by doing a reverse stitch. We want the string to be able to be pulled out so the ruffle can be adjusted. Within about 3" you should start seeing it bunch up under your needle. This is a good thing.Now...before you continue...right now...readjust your tension back to normal, as well as your stitch length. Or if you wanna be like me in every way, leave it and screw all of your sewing up for the next 10 minutes until you figure out what the heck you've done wrong.

So you have a beautiful ruffled thing-a-ma-jig now. Take a nice big needle and thread it using double thread (like make both ends of the thread even and tie a knot in them at the bottom so your thread is double)

BTW, forgive my "For Dummies" directions
I'm stupid enough to need these type of directions when I'm
following a tute but hopefully you're brighter than me.

k - continuing. Start rolling the ruffle. Each time around I found it helpful to sew it together or else you end up trying to sew it at the end and it all falls apart and you have to do it again. The next several pictures are just of the rolling and sewing process as the flower gets bigger. I just keeping sewing wherever I want to keep it tacked. You can alter how the flower gets rolled to make it wider, fluffier, or whatever. Along those lines, you can even shorten your length of fabric at the beginning to make a smaller flower. It's pretty flexible.


This is the back of my flower after I've finished it.

How I hold it as I'm rolling it and sewing.

So after you're done rolling and sewing, you're finished! Just fluff it up a bit and you'll have to hand sew it to whatever you're putting it onto. When you do that, you might want to spread the base out a bit onto what you're sewing it to and then be liberal with the thread and sew in lots of different places to make sure it's tacked down well.

That's it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eye Candy

I have memories of honeysuckle that go waaaaaay back. The smell especially but I doubt I'm alone here. So a couple of years ago when I found a proper place in my garden to plant some, I was very excited. I choose pink instead of the more fragrant yellow simply because it was prettier. And today, after two years of training it up my trellis, it is eye candy just for me here sitting at my computer...like I planned it that way. How smart am I?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Spider In A Most Unwelcome Place

which was on my pillow at 2AM the other night. He was looking at me when I woke up to change positions. I guess The Marshmallow was awakened by my frantic flailings to get the spider off of my bed because he teased me really badly about it the next day. That was sort of embarrassing because I thought I was, in the essence of the word....alone...in my angst.

The Marshmallow's been after me for months to call in the pest control guys to spray but it's $80 - come on we can deal with a few spiders can't we? And I could...until that last straw. Needless to say I was on the phone before 10am the next day to schedule them.

And they came today thank goodness. I know that spider I pushed off my bed the other night didn't die and the thought of him lurking somewhere under my bed has really been giving me the willies. What if he climbs onto my pillow again - or worse, onto my face while I'm sleeping? I know this type of thing happens - that I wake up with spider bites is the sheer proof, but I never actually know that there is a spider in my room until later. That he's there before I go to bed really makes for restless nights - maybe that's what my dreams were made of. Though there were no spiders in them so who knows.

Anyway, so in prep for the spraying, I had to literally pull everything in my home (within reason) away from the walls. This is no easy feat under any circumstances. It took several hours to clear away the clutter to be able to do it. And I remembered why I don't do it very much - I mean, clean behind things. It's a pain! But I realized that I actually should have the house sprayed more often because it's a very good opportunity to vacuum behind all of this stuff! And it really needed it! I'm not a lousy housekeeper but when it comes to behind, well just never come to my house and check out behind my couch. So I took the opportunity to vacuum behind the big stuff today - vacuuming up LOTS of dead spiders (eww), and plenty of other random items. WHEN are they going to come out with self-cleaning houses? I mean really. Does the world really need Blackberries and all this other new-fangled electronics? Somebody needs to get to work on self-cleaning houses. That's a company worth investing in.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dreaming of Kids

My most potent dreams are usually in the early morning hours after I have already been awakened by the alarm clock and now I'm just dozing.


This morning, during those hours, I dreamt individually of each of my kids and the dreams were awful. Scary. And so real that when I woke from each one I just breathed in relief that they were truly just dreams. That's what I hate about dreams - that sometimes while in them, they feel like true reality.


First I dreamed that I was working full time and that instead of bringing Tink in to the company-owned daycare each morning, I would leave her in the car belted up for a few hours. My rationale in my dream seemed logical...in my dream and we know how that goes. Once when I went out to my car to get something, she had pulled her carseat out of its clips and she was in the process of worming her way out of the seatbelt. She was red in the face and it was quite warm in the car. In my dream...I did this daily. What on earth?


Then in my next dream, Bugs and I were cruising on the freeway when I got into a big crash and we both went flying out the windows. I landed on the side of the road but she landed, amazingly, on both feet in the middle of traffic whizzing by her. The traffic kept failing to hit her miraculously until something that looked like a speeding woman, hit her in her leg and broke it. She was wonderously brave as the police came and took her to a hospital that interestingly, had no hospital beds but rather real beds. They took her up into an attic-like room that was outfitted sort of like a bedroom where she had to share a big comfy-looking bed with an old lady who looked like the wolf in granny's clothing in an odd sort of way. During all of this, the doctors were making Bugs walk up and down stairs in order to prove that her leg was broken.

I should have gotten up when my alarm rang.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pretty Painless

I guess practice makes perfect because I'm back online already and most of my programs are re-installed. Best of all, my laser printer is WORKING and that is good news indeed. I'm as pleased as punch that the worst is over.

*sigh*

I'm going to bed.

I Have a Virus

or rather my laptop does. It appeared the other day when I was watching a movie. Evidently, it is affected when Windows Media starts and then it crashes the whole computer. I've done everything I can think of to fix it but nothing is working. I'm going to have to do another complete re-install. I'm so frustrated I could scream!

On the other hand, perhaps this time maybe I can actually get my laser printer working. I never could get it re-installed and it has been the world's biggest PIA.

Just another day in the neighborhood.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Downeast Ruffle Shirt a Bust

Oh my! That seems to be a little play with words. But never mind that.....the Downeast ruffle shirt didn't work out at all. It took forever and I did everything right but it was atrocious and I'll never wear the thing. O-well. Can't all be perfect. On to something else! I'm thinking that Downeast skirt might be next on my agenda. I just need to find a good pattern or tutorial.
I saw this on Controlling My Chaos the other day and had been trying to think of something cute to do for Bug's kindergarten teacher for the end of the year. I thought it was adorable and so we made it the other night and filled it up with her teacher's favorite candies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sewing Machines for Dummies

If this book exists, I should buy it and memorize it. It's that simple.

But a big shout-out to The Sewing Machine Doctor...a little, I guess company now that makes house calls! I've had The Sewing Machine Doctor (SMD, for short) to my house before and at the time, this little ancient man shows up and shows me the finer points of the old green machine. He told me it was a good machine, fixed the tension, gave me a few tutorials, sold me some needles, put a sticker on my machine and left. I wondered if when I ever called the number again would I be informed that he had passed on to greener pastures and that they were no longer doing business. But, it had only been two years so I gave it another try.

Now...his step-son showed up, a much younger SMD, just as nice and quite likely to carry the business into many future years. That's why I called it a company now instead of just a single man. So, I was actually relieved! I hate the idea of carrying my sewing machine to a store and leaving it for a week. This home service is a nice touch and not at all expensive!

So anyway, the nice SMD took one look at my machine, informed me that yes I was an idiot (because I used those words first) and showed me plainly what I had done wrong. My machine was not in fact broken. He even said he wasn't even going to charge me. Then, he showed me a few more things about my machine that I didn't know like another way to make ruffles (yay!), how to do a blind stitch using only the straight stitch, then put another sticker on my new machine and said good-bye.

I really heart the SMD.

I doubt I have any readers but you, single reader out there, but if I do, the SMD states he will go all over the place from Ogden to Provo. He is worth it too! Just give him a call.

The Sewing Machine Doctor
801-295-6863 Bountiful
801-399-9990 Ogden
801-599-4442 Salt Lake
801-373-3188 Provo

So, when you need the info, just return here and get his number and give him a call.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I've Discovered Nirvana...

in a cookie. I realize that everyone's tastes are different but let it be said that I whipped these up for a bbq we went to tonight and the kids never even got a taste. The adults engulfed the whole container of them and the kids got Creamies.

I found this recipe in a magazine a few months ago and cut it out waiting for the perfect time to try them. It was tonight.

Heaven.

"Cowboy Cookies" otherwise known to me as
"Delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies"


Ingredients
2 cups oats
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 Eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder,
baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

2. In a separate bowl, blend the butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs
and continue to beat until fluffy (about 1 1/2 minutes). Blend in the
vanilla extract.

3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture one
half at a time. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Refrigerate the
dough for 1 to 2 hours.

4. Heat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet then grease with foil.

5. Shape the dough into balls (1/4" works well for these cookies) and place
them on the sheet about 2" apart.

6. Use your fingertip to slightly flatten each ball to 1/3" thick. Bake the
cookies in the center oven rack for 13-14 minutes, turning the sheet about
half way through. When they're done, the cookies should be very lightly
brown and still look moist. Don't over bake them.

7. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a
wire rack.

**here's where the nutrition info is supposed to go but trust me, you don't want to see it**

Cooking Tip: Variations can be: 1 cup coconut, 2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup
chopped walnuts OR

1 cup each of white chocolate chips and dried, sweet
cranberries, OR

2 cups of peanut butter chips, or 1 cup each of peanut
butter chips and chocolate chips


You won't regret it. That's a promise.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What's Up Sunday

My house was trashed from the bbq last night and I felt bad going to church this morning and leaving the whole mess for The Marshmallow to clean up. He would have done it and not complained but why take advantage of that Goodness? I can use it a better way later, hehe.

So I stayed home. Which really wasn't that hard considering it was beautiful outside today and I had hostas that needed planted. Speaking of which, can I tell you the coolest thing ever? I ordered a combination of 25 hostas from Gilbert H. Wild and Son, a company in Missouri for about $50 (a really amazing price!). They came the other day and I was so excited to plant them in a very shady place in my side yard. I really love hostas. They just make me want to take a nap - don't ask me why. They invoke coolness on a hot day - I guess they remind me of big green fans. So I got them all planted today plus a few annuals that I've been wanting to get in the ground and the dirt under my fingernails and ground into the knees of my pants made me feel earthy.

I love annuals - the bright colors, their ability to grow so quickly in such a short amount of time only to give up the ghost a few short months later. They give it their all with nothing to lose and there must be a life lesson there. But perennials are where my heart is. I plant a few new ones every year, selected carefully. That way each year brings something new to my gardens. I love the way perennials appear to die at the end of the summer but earlier than usually expected each Spring, you can dig under the dead leaves and cast off rubble from the winter and lo, there are tiny sprouts coming through the earth. It is literal hope springing from the earth. A little green promise of coming beauty just when we need it most. My gardens are slowly turning over to perennial beds and it makes me happy to see what's coming and going next.

Later as I lay in the shady grass and stared up into the canopy of trees over me I realized why Native Americans and Aborigines believe that the earth has a Spirit. I felt it - like the earth breathing, all the life under and around me as I lay there. It was like church, only I didn't wear a dress.

On a sadder note, Betty Lou, the new sewing machine is not doing well. Please don't tell me she's a lemon because I would be extremely sad. There's a little mechanical lever that raises and lowers the feed dogs and for some reason, it isn't working. No feed dogs, no movey fabric through the presser foot, no sewey. I had sent out a message to the universe that my old green machine was Freecyclable and I got a few hits but none felt perfect to me so I still have it. And now it's out and I'm using it again. It's not as bad as I remember but it's not Betty Lou.

Regardless of which sewing machine I use, my next project is this..It's a sort of re-made DownEast Outfitters basic tee. Well actually it's two of them, one of which is cut up to make the ruffles for the other one. Mine will have a base of cream with pink ruffles or maybe I should do a pink shirt with cream ruffles. I'll decide later. This project is the one I'm going to do tonight. You know, now that I'm thinking of it, I do have two of those cream shirts and I think one color would be better than two. Hmmm. A cream ruffle shirt sounds cute. Isn't this shirt wonderful? I made a necklace last night that will be perfect with my cream shirt once it's done. I love this stuff!

6 - What Am I To Expect From You

From the age I mean. Bugs is now six. She woke up six and while I don't lament the passage of five, I have trepidation about what to expect from six. I do hope that it is less arguing and more maturity but we rarely get what we hope for, rather the wonderful changes are in new and unexpected ways that please nonetheless.We surprised Bugs this morning by taking her to the Discovery Museum at Gateway which she loves. This was Tinker's first time as well and it was good times all around. The phrase "divide and conquer" became our creed as The Marshmallow and I managed the chaos. I failed and misplaced Tinker once. The child is fast. I lost my Mommy badge and was permanently grounded from taking both children there again by myself. Not that I would anyway.We had a small family bbq in which my mom, grandma, sister and her kids came and had hamburgers and a menagerie of other fun things. I created an ice cream cake roll for dessert that is sort of a family tradition on my side and taking a bite of it tonight took me back about 20 years in time. Evidently I made the cake correctly because no one complained, especially Tinker who took matters into her own hands when my sister failed to feed her fast enough.I remembered another family tradition that we do. Bugs loves treasure hunts so I create an extensive one that places presents at various clues. She loves it and it draws out the fun of opening presents. I've decided also to take it a step further and do it with Christmas as well which will also build up the anticipation a bit. I'm looking forward to that.

Bugs was the star of the show today and I have hardly seen a more tired girl by the end of the day. She was absolutely exhausted. The day was hers from beginning to end. I just don't know how I got such a fantastic little girl to be my very own. I told her the story of her birth last night and I rehearsed it as if it happened yesterday, everything so vivid in my mind. To me, it was yesterday. And now here she is...a little friend just for me.On another note, I vow right here and now to never wear a white shirt again. As much as I love white shirts, they don't love me. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stand Up Cake Dragon Part 2

Meet Lucy, named after her friend

Wow. Definitely not an easy cake but actually not as difficult as anticipated. The "Wow" relates to the extensive amount of time I had to dedicate to this project. Well worth it in the end, and especially worth Bugs' wide eyes of pleasure as she inspected the final result.

My first project of the day was to melt some candies and form them into the scales shape. I've never even remotely worked with meltable candy so this was an experience but not bad, all in all.
frozen dragon with ears cut off and emerging tail

Then I had about 4 tons of icing to color - that was a project. My hands are stained a nice shade of pink with black tips. Goth. All I need are some black lace gloves and dreds. O, I forgot the cape.

The tail was the hardest part. I used cupcakes and large marshmallows to get the shape but had to fill in a lot with icing to make it a smoothish shape. Somebody that asks for a piece of the tail is going to be very surprised by the combination of flavors. Barf.

Some icing completed, the tail in its final state before icing

It took me about 3 hours to complete the decorating. Tink was up again...again, up to no good. Gotta love her.
Like mother, like daughter (where'd she get that?)

Bugs and her friend Lucy were in and out of the kitchen periodically checking on our progress. It was magical.What was not magical was the state of my kitchen at the end. I wished for a magic wand - and got two...my arms. Beggers can't be choosers.Oh, and thinking back about my post from the other day about birthday traditions, I guess this is ours. I do cakes. I love doing them. I love letting my kids pick out whatever they want (Tink has yet to do this of course.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stand Up Cake Dragon Part 1

Today was allocated to getting the cake baked. A formidable task if you ask me since the cake is thick especially around the belly and according to the directions, you need a ton of batter.

The directions start off by stating you'd be better off to use a pound cake batter and then combine it with a cake mix batter. So you need to make two mixes - one from scratch. No biggie except that I used every last egg in my house, all my flour (how did that happen?) and I had batter coming out of my ears! Not to mention all of this was going on with Tinkerpot awake and enjoying every bit of the distraction I was throwing at her. Is that batter up her nose? Ew!The cake tin was a double tin (front & back) which you grease and flour heavily, clip together and pour the batter into his nether regions. I think I filled it a little too much but it was still okay. Bake for about an hour and at this point, there's really no way to check if it's done - you can't stick a toothpick in that far and besides, the directions were specific about not overcooking.And now it's done. It's cooling on the counter and I can breathe a sign of relief because the front and the back came off without sticking and now it can just cool down and freeze to await the frosting on Wednesday. Phew! I'm glad I didn't have to do it over for some reason.