Monday, October 29, 2007

This is going to be a good week. Tonight after dance class (during which they have a little Halloween party) the kids and I are going to my mom's for the week. Yay!

I wanted to sew a camera bag in time for the trip, so last night I put one together, loosely based on this tutorial for a little boxy pouch. I made it bigger, added an inner lining and two layers of cotton batting, and included a strap. I used a thrifted pillowcase and a zipper that I rescued from the trash after Steve threw away some part of his computer bag. I think it turned out pretty well, except that it's too small! Rats. All those layers kept shifting around so I kept sewing farther and farther from the edge to snag them all, and it came back to bite me.I can get my camera in if I really stuff it in there and yank on the zipper, but I don't want it to be like that. I guess this week I'll just have to use our boring old black leather camcorder bag. I do plan on making another, bigger one when I get back home and using this little one as a prototype.

In other crafty news, I sewed these four grocery totes for a friendand two more knitting needle rolls for a swap. I forgot to photograph the rolls before I packaged them up, but I'm sure you've seen enough needle roll photos anyway.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

For months now, I've been wanting a digital SLR camera. Steve seemed slightly annoyed about it because (he was quick to remind me) it was only a couple years ago that he got me a camera for which I had been begging and pleading at that time. Still, I guess I wore him down because he said that I could get a new camera in November when he gets his bonus. Yay!

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, when I called at work him to complain about a certain three year old who wouldn't stop crying about every. little. thing. and was driving me slightly crazy. He just sort of laughed it off, and we hung up. Later on, I called him to see when he'd be coming home, and he said that, since I'd had a rough day, he was at Best Buy getting my camera for me! Wow! I asked him to not buy it, but come home and get us so we could all go and have the excitement of buying it together.So now I have this great new camera and you can all expect to be wowed by my amazing photography skills. Heh, not really, but hopefully my pictures will be getting slightly better at least.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The weather is getting chillier by the day, and Emma refuses to wear pants. Fine with me, but I'm getting a little tired of hearing her complain about being cold everywhere we go. She'll sometimes wear tights, sometimes not. I wonder if she's going to eventually give in to the cold of if she'll go through the entire winter with bare, freezing little legs. That girl is completely obsessed with clothes. This morning I heard her talking in her sleep, saying, "This one is more spinnier. Oh, that is the most beautiful dress I've ever seen." This afternoon she asked me when Noah's birthday is going to be. When I told her it was about five months away, she said, "Well, should we talk about what I'm going to wear on his birthday?" Easily sixty percent of her waking hours are spent either changing clothes, or talking about clothes.
Yesterday we baked monkey bread. I had never made that before, but I will definitely be making it again. I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for regular flour and it turned out great, although still not anywhere even close to being healthy.

Have I mentioned that I love Martha Stewart? I never paid any attention to her until recently when I stumbled upon her website. It is a great resource for cooking, crafts, and other useful tidbits. Last week I subscribed to both her Everyday Living and her Everyday Food magazine. I can't wait to start receiving them! (Here's a tip. If you ever want to get a new magazine, or renew one you already get, look on eBay. You can buy subscriptions to almost any magazine there for dirt cheap.)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The last bag I made worked fine for awhile, but it was a little too short and a little too flimsy. Things were always falling out of it and I really didn't have enough space for everything I need. Last week I saw this bag, and I figured something along those lines would be much more useful and very cute as well. I spent the last two nights working on it, and seriously, this bag is a disaster.
I really should give up trying to create my own patterns for things, because it never works out. I bought some really stiff interfacing, but couldn't figure out how to apply it and couldn't find directions on it anywhere. The usual ironing method didn't work, so I ended up just sewing it to the lining. That somehow made the lining fabric and the outer fabric different sizes, so the outside is all bunchy and it looks pretty terrible. Even though this bag is so horribly constructed, it does hold plenty of stuff and is not floppy. That makes it good enough for me, for now.I also sewed these little aprons for two of Emma's friends. They gave us the outfit Emma needs for her dance shows, so I made these for them as a thank you. I hope they like them!
Steve is in Chicago all week, and I am starting to feel a little starved for some time to myself. Not really sure why that is because I don't ever get time alone even when he is here, but for some reason I don't crave it as much. Tonight the kids and I took a bath and the whole time I was thinking about how wonderful it would be to take a bath all by myself, with no interruptions. Due to the odd sleep schedules of my kiddos, the only way I could ever get any peaceful alone time is if I get up at 6:00. And due to the sleep schedule of me, that is not going to happen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I have nothing against spiders, as long as they are reasonably sized and non-disgusting. Usually if I see them in the house I'll put them outside, and if I see them in the basement I'll just leave them alone. Usually. Last night in the basement, however, Emma and I saw the hugest spider I ever saw that wasn't a tarantula. I couldn't squish it because it would have been too gross and I certainly wasn't going to catch it and put it outside. We just sort of stared at him helplessly until he started scurrying along the wall and then disappeared around the little shelf behind which I have to reach to plug in my iron. As soon as he started moving, Emma let loose with the shrill, terrified screaming she usually reserves for goats. Once he was gone, I had to play the brave mommy role and tell it her was all right and he wasn't going to bother us anymore. I'm not really so sure about that, but I do know one thing for certain: I have got to find a new spot for my iron.
Last week we made some of these footprint ghosts and they are really cute . I found the directions here, but she has since taken them down. Let me know if anyone wants them. Today they were finally dry, and Emma insisted on painting them so they really aren't very ghost-y anymore.

Today I took the van to get the oil changed, and the kids and I walked across the parking lot to Linens 'N Things while we waited. As soon as we walked in, I heard lots of irate yelling coming from over by the checkout counters. Apparently two guys were being accused of stealing, and they were not handling it well. Frightened old ladies were hunched down behind the different displays, looking scared and a few were apparently calling the police on their cell phones. The two guys were really being pretty scary, screaming about racial profiling and what-not, and when one of them shoved the manager, a woman by us said, "That's it, I'm calling 911!" The two guys finally left just before the cops got there, but everyone in the store seemed pretty shaken, especially the poor manager. That was definitely our dose of excitement for the day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thanks for all your comments about the binky. I appreciate the input. I did decide to let her have her binky again, but just for sleeping. She still loves to nurse, and although I would be happy if she wanted to stop, it's important to me to let my kids nurse as long as they have the need. I guess I should stick to that policy with the binky too. She was so happy when I told her she could use it again, and that night she wet the bed for the very first time since she's been out of diapers. Normally she wakes up when she has to go during the night, but I guess her little body was sleeping so soundly with the newly reunited binky that she just couldn't wake up. I did discover one bad thing about the family bed, however. When someone wets the bed, its not just one person who has to get up and change out of wet pajamas - it's the whole family! Yuck.
Last week I discovered this handmade quilt at a thrift store - for $4.98! I was so excited to find it. When we were in line to pay, the lady behind me offered to give me $10 if I'd let her buy it instead, but I didn't give it up. I had to stitch up a few seams that were unraveling, but now it's good as new.Lots of rainy, wonderful, cozy weather today. It's the kind of day that is just begging for candles, hot tea, and baking. Ahhhh...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Emma and I are clashing as of late. She is really pushing my buttons, and my patience is struggling. Today, for the first time ever, I think I might have spanked her had she not been sitting in a shopping cart. I am so glad she was, and I didn't, because that is not the type of parent I want to be. Getting to that point, however, has made me realize that I need to sort of regroup.

The problem is that ever since we took her binky away a couple weeks ago, she can't go to sleep. Naps are nonexistent now, and it's darn near impossible to get her to sleep at night as well. Understandable, I suppose, since she has never in her life had to fall asleep without nursing or using her binky. That is, until now. I'm so tempted to let her have her binky just for sleeping again, for my own sanity if nothing else. Perhaps having a preschool age kid who still uses a binky is better than having a ridiculously overtired, unpleasant little girl.

For her sake and for mine, I need to start tomorrow with a different outlook. I am going to forget about cleaning and laundry and the computer and whatever else and just concentrate on her. Maybe if we spend some good quality time together we can start to reconnect. For good measure, I think I'll also reread Playful Parenting.

So this post isn't a total downer, and because I haven't posted a picture of Noah in awhile, here is a picture of the kiddos.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a decent shot of these two? The vast majority of them look like this, mostly because Noah can't seem to go ten seconds without pulling someone's hair.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My mom left this morning, but we had a great visit. Yesterday we did a little Halloween decorating, played some Scrabble, and went to Lawrence. How is it possible that I have been living only an hour away from Lawrence for about six years now and I only just went there? They have the best fabric store I've ever seen, then across the street is an amazing yarn store complete with looms, spinning wheels, and roving, and next door to that there is a needlework store. Oh. My. Heaven, I tell you. We ate lunch at Local Burger, did some walking around/shopping, and then had ice cream at Ben and Jerry's before we came home. All in all, a perfect day. It was made even better because I am now the happy owner of these lovelies:
I also got some fabric in the mail today that I ordered from a co-op awhile back. When it came I was sort of wondering why I had chosen a selection that was so very, um, orange, but I looked it up and it turns out my order wasn't quite right. Rats. I'm going to send the wrong piece (the middle one) back to the person who ran the co-op and she's going to switch it out with the right one.
We had to get up at 7:30 this morning to take my mom to the train, so I just got done taking a two hour nap with the kiddos. The best part is, they are both still asleep. At some point we really need to get to the store because we are in desperate need of toilet paper, but staying inside on this dreary, rainy day sounds so much more appealing. I think I'll go make some tea and call Steve to ask him to stop at the store on his way home. :)

P.S. Can anyone who might understand HTML a a little better than I please tell me why these columns are so close together and how I can change it? I can't figure out how to do it and it's making me a little crazy. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm always trying to get more quinoa in our diet, and I'm also trying to cook as much squash as can while it's in season, so when I came across this recipe I had to try it. YUM!Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash (from Martha Stewart Living)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, havled crosswise, and seeded
  • 18 fresh sage leaves, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut five 1/4-inch-thick rings of squash; cut remainder into 1/4-inch dice. Place squash on sheets. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 12 sage leaves. Bake until tender and just golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Keep oven on.
  2. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. quinoa and stock; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes.
  3. Stir together quinoa, diced squash, chopped sage, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Arrange 6 sage leaves face down in plate; top with squash rings. Press quinoa mixture on top.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve wedges warm or at room temperature.
We had a fun time at the children's farmstead yesterday, and also discovered that Emma is utterly, completely terrified of goats.Have a great day!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My mom is visiting us this week (yay!) and her train was supposed to get in at 8:50 tonight. Of course, in typical Amtrak fashion, the train is running hours behind so she's not actually going to be getting here until after midnight. Mostly not a big deal because Emma and I would be up anyway, but I'm going to have to wake Noah and bring him along. It would not be good if he woke up while I was gone, mostly because Steve would have no way to make him happy, and also because Steve has to leave at 4:00 a.m. in the morning to catch his flight to Chicago. Let's just hope he's a happy (and asleep) guy on the way to the train station.

I am really annoyed with the post office. Last week I took two flat rate envelopes in there, both stuffed with fabric. I have both mailed and received many flat rate envelopes that are completely stuffed, and the cost is always $4.60. Hence the term flat rate. Well, this time I went to a different post office, and the lady told me I was going to have to pay more since they were so thick. I said, "But those are flat rate envelopes." She said, "Yes, but these aren't flat anymore. They are packages, not envelopes." Whatever. Flat refers to the RATE, not the ENVELOPE! I should have argued more, or left and taken them to my regular post office, but I just paid the $6.50 apiece that she charged me. I'm not going back there anymore. And THEN, last Thursday I came home to one of those little slips that tells you to go into the post office because you have a package waiting there, and when I went in on Friday, they couldn't find my package! I'm sure it's some lovely handmade swap item, and I'm going to be so disappointed if it's lost for good.

Two more things: One, I sewed another Twirly Skirt for a swap,and Two, I won the contest from My Zoe Bug! I'm so excited!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I got a haircut. Finally. Yesterday I took the kids to Steve's office and he played with them at a nearby park while I went and got my hair chopped off. And, boy, am I glad I did, although Steve thinks I look like a skater wannabe.

Today we went to Johnson Farms, where Emma had lots of fun terrorizing little chicks
and smelling all the flowers.And, just because I think it's funny, here is Paco, dressed for a night on the town.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two blogs I read are having contests right now that I would love to win.

My Zoe Bug is giving away these sweet Fall-themed handmade goodies. Leave her a comment about a great birthday gift you've received for a chance to win them.And, AND, Crazy Mom Quilts is giving away TWO things - a patchwork bag,
and this amazing quilt.To have a chance for the bag, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Even if you don't need the bag, it would be swell of you to go leave a comment anyway, and mention my blog in your comment. The more people I can get to leave comments over there, the better chance I have of winning this quilt! Pretty, pretty please? It will only take you a second (that is, if you can avoid getting sucked into looking through all the amazing thing's she's made)! Thank you!
Things that made me happy today:

~ Dropping off three huge bags of stuff at Goodwill. I love the feeling of clearing out things we don't really need. Less clutter is always good.

~ Finding a cute set of old-school mushroom mugs at a garage sale.~ This little guy, found at the same garage sale as the mugs. My great aunt used to have this same snowman in her kitchen window every Christmas, and I remember him blinking cheerfully at us every time we pulled in her driveway. When she died my mom got her snowman, and now I am happy to have one of my own. Multi-colored flashing holiday decorations aren't usually my thing, but I like him because he reminds me of my Aunt Celeste.~ Today, at long last, it was finally chilly enough to wear jeans. Welcome, Fall!~ Seven Layer Bean Dip. Yum. This was so delicious, in fact, that we kept munching on it and it ended up filling us up enough that we never had the Baked Rigatoni I was planning to make for dinner. ~ I didn't have to cook dinner. (See above.)

~ Another completed tote bag and matching crayon roll for a swap.
It was a good day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tonight Steve got home from work late so I didn't get to go to the shower I was planning to attend. Even worse than that, he told me that, starting now, he has to be in Chicago three days a week until the end of the year. Not good. I'm going to look on the bright side and think about the kids and I possibly going with him one time, and also lots of time to visit my parents. And January really isn't that far away, right? Well, of course by then it's busy season and we'll never see him anyway. I guess I meant I was semi-trying to look on the bright side.

Tonight we went to Cinzetti's for dinner. That was hours ago and I am still uncomfortably full. Note to self: stop going to Cinzetti's because there is way too much good food there and I have no self-control when it comes to such things.

Last night I went to Hancocks and nabbed a bunch of patterns on sale for five for $5. One of the ones I got was Simplicity 3835, and it was easy enough for me to sew all in one night. It seems that whenever I try to sew something for myself, it doesn't fit quite right and I up not wearing it much at all, if ever. This shirt appears to be the exception because I like it a lot and I think I'll actually wear it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

For months now I have been wishing we didn't have any pets. Our dogs are sweet, but I am just tired of doing all the work for them and I wish they could go live somewhere else where someone would appreciate them more. Steve, however, thinks I'm awful for thinking that and will not agree to getting rid of both dogs. Awhile ago my brother and SIL said they were interested in taking one of our dogs, and at first I said no because I didn't want to split them up and if I'm going to be stuck with one dog anyway, I might as well have two. After thinking about it awhile, I decided that having only one would be better and I convinced Steve to let us hand Paco over to my brother. I talked to my brother about it yesterday and throughout our conversation I started feeling more and more guilty. I think my brother is willing to take him, but now I'm not sure what to do. Would I be a terrible person for splitting up two dogs who are the very best of friends?

Tomorrow I'm going to a shower, and I was excited to have to opportunity to sew a few presents. The presents didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, and now there's no time to make anything else. Hopefully the recipient won't notice the mistakes. I made these little baby shoes (from this tutorial) with embroidered giraffes, but after they were done I noticed I had made two right feet! Gah! I took one of them apart and resewed it, then realized I did the wrong one and now the giraffes are facing away from each other instead of towards each other. Darn. (In this pictures for some reason it looks like they are two different sizes, but they really are the same.)I also sewed this bib and turtle (both from Bend the Rules). The turtle's legs are horribly uneven. Darn again.Today I was sitting on the edge of the tub, washing Emma's hair. She wanted a dry washcloth to put over her eyes and as I stood up and turned around to get it, I kicked my foot behind me to shake off the water before I stepped on the floor. Somehow her head had made its way into the path of my foot and I ended up kicking the poor girl in the head. Pretty hard, too. I felt terrible. I scooped her up and when she had stopped crying, she whimpered, "Please don't ever kick me in the head again, okay?" Ouch.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Today was a big day for Noah. I was recently telling my grandma that I sort of feel like I got cheated out of having a newborn. Where did that time go? It's like I blinked and now he's an old baby, instead of a new baby. Tonight at dinner he was grunting and reaching for my food, so I decided to let him try some solid food for the first time. I cut up some squash for him, even though all the while I was mourning the loss of his little virgin gut. He seemed intrigued by it, but I don't think even a speck of it got into his mouth, so I guess his tummy will remain unscathed for at least a little longer.THEN, after dinner he was gnawing on my finger and I felt a little pointy bump digging into me. He has a tooth! At this rate, by next month he'll be driving off to college.

Tonight Emma and I had a really great night. Steve and Noah were asleep at 9:00, and ever since then she and I have been hanging out in the basement together, playing and sewing. We did take a break to make milkshakes at some point. She really is great company. I don't even mind the fact that I have to stop sewing every two minutes to turn something right side out for her because she is changing her clothes yet again. She always says, "Can you inside this out?" Yes, I can, but mostly just because I like hearing her say that.

Tomorrow Steve is taking off work again and we're going to the American Royal. It will be his third day off this week. I could get used to this!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yesterday was the very last straw in the ongoing binky battle around here. Emma was only supposed to have her binky in the car and in bed, but she was constantly sneaking around with it in at other times. Steve and I told her that yesterday was going to be her last day, so this morning when she woke up I hid both of her binkies. She handled it pretty well, I thought, and even seemed excited when we had a special treat of pudding and marshmallows to celebrate being binky-free. However, she never had a nap today and is still up despite numerous efforts on my part to get her to sleep. When she is tired, riding in the car puts her to sleep in about two seconds, but tonight we drove around for quite awhile and no dice. Still awake. I wonder how long she's going to be able to keep going before she finally crashes.

Last week I saw this tutorial for making bubble mailers. I use bubble mailers a lot so I thought I'd give them a try. They are cute, but probably more trouble than they're worth. Still, it was a fun activity to do while watching a movie last night.
We are turning our air back on tomorrow. It's supposed to up around 90 degrees again for the next few days. Come on, people! Where is the cooler weather? I want to wear a jacket!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I hate my hair. It's terrible. I want to get it all cut off, but it seems like every time I do that I regret it. But I've got to do something. I really like this haircut (I don't know that person, but just happened to run across the picture), but I'm worried if I go to get that cut I'll end up with something like this again. And nobody wants that.
Still, something has to be done, and it's probably going to be drastic. I imagine I'll be posting "new haircut pictures" here before too long.

Ever since I read this post and saw all these wonderful aprons, I've been wanting one for myself. After all this time, I finally got around to sewing one. I figured that as long as I was going to be wearing an apron, I wanted to go with the classic, June Cleaver-style apron. I got the pattern from (of course) Bend the Rules Sewing, and sewed it pretty quickly last night. I think it's cute, but it turned out to be way too long on me and it really looks pretty dumb. Maybe I'm not the apron type after all. I may not be, but at least somebody around here is.I know there was something else... Oh, yeah, some more cupcake cards I made for a swap.
Steve has stayed home from work the last two days. Yay!