Friday, November 30, 2007

Some of my ornaments have to go out tomorrow, so even though I still have a few more to do, I went ahead and photographed the ones I have finished. They are definitely not as fancy as some of the ones I've seen online, but I think they are cute enough. I hope the people who receive them think so too.
Last week, after a particularly frustrating day with the kids, I asked a friend if she would be interested in trading baby-sitting every week. She was, and we agreed that she would watch my kids every Thursday from 10:00-12:00 and I would watch hers for two hours every Friday. Today was the first day of the arrangement, and since I have not had two hours to myself in, oh, years, it was hard to figure out what to do. Sew, clean, take a bubble bath, get a new book and go read it in a coffee shop while sipping something delicious, there were so many possibilities. In the end I just went to the grocery store, then came home and cleaned. Not too exciting, but still wonderful. It's amazing how much one can accomplish in two hours with no children around! I was a little worried about how Noah would handle it, but he did great, and Emma, of course, loves playing with her friends so she is happy with the plan as well. What's not to love about a win-win-win situation?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We're back! As always, we had a great time at my mom's house. We did some of our regular holiday traditions like baking cookiesand making gingerbread houses.
And of course, there was plenty of time for Scrabble and even a little holiday knitting.
Emma is anxious to put up our own holiday decorations, but I have lots of laundry and cleaning to do before we drag out all that stuff. In other words, I should not be sitting here at this computer!

Have a good day!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today the kids and I are heading down to the lake to spend some time with my family, and then on to my mom's house for a few days. I managed to finish the fifteen pizzas for the playfood swap and will be dropping them off at the post office on our way out of town. Boy, am I glad to have those done! Now I can sit back and look forward to receiving fifteen other wonderful handmade playfood items in the mail!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A few things of note:

~ Ever since our Scrabble squabble back in August, Steve has refused to play Scrabble with me. I love Scrabble so I was pretty sad about it and I couldn't believe it was taking him so long to get over it. Luckily, that time has finally come because yesterday he asked me if I wanted to play Scrabble! We have played three games in the last two days (Sarah-2, Steve-1) and I am so happy to have my Scrabble partner back again.

~Since we got my van back in March, I've been driving around illegally with the plates that used to be on my old car. In September I got twice as illegal because those plates expired. Yesterday I finally got the new plates, so yay!, I'm legal again. I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a single time in my life that I've gotten my new tags on time. The last time it took me a year, so this is actually pretty good for me. (Although I guess not if you figure that I was really supposed to do it in March.) Steve's tags expired in August, and he probably should have done his at the same time but he didn't, even though he got a ticket for it last week.

~I've had the same glasses for about seven years, and I only wear them for about one minute every night after I take my contacts out before bed, and for about one minute in the morning before I put my contacts in. A couple weeks ago they got knocked off the nightstand while someone was groping around for something during the night, and the dog turned them into a little snack for himself. Last week I went to the eye doctor and decided it might be nice to have glasses that I could actually wear in public, and that didn't have teeth marks all over the lenses. My new glasses came in yesterday and I've been wearing them all day. I still don't like wearing glasses much, but maybe if I wear them a bit more they'll grow on me.Today Emma and I made gingersnaps. I wanted to roll them in Thanksgiving-y sugar, but I only had red, pink, and green colored sugar sprinkles, so I decided to try dyeing regular sugar orange and yellow. It worked great, but the colors didn't really show up on the cookies very well. Still, the cookies were delicious. I think gingersnaps might be my new favorite cookie.And look - snow!Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The weather was amazing today so we spent a lot of time at the park. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's again so I imagine we'll be outside making the most of it, because the next day it's supposed to be in the 30's and snowy!

Right now it's late and everyone is asleep and I am tired, but I have to go downstairs and sew fifteen rice-filled pizza crusts. Blah. This swap is supposed to go out Wednesday and so I really have to finish it tonight. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Remember when I was debating whether or not to join those Christmas ornament swaps? Well, I joined one ornament swap, and then another after that, both in addition to one in which I was already participating. One of the swaps had over 600 people join so consequently there was a lot of confusion when the organizers sent out the swap groups. They accidentally included me in two of the groups. I was about to email them to tell them their mistake, but then I thought about the ten additional packages I would receive, as well as ten more handmade ornaments to hang on the tree. Well, a girl can only resist so much, so I ended up keeping quiet about the error and now I am faced with the rather large task of making 31 ornaments to give away. At least I have a willing little pair of hands to "help" me.Emma's room is always a complete disaster. She never puts anything away (argh!) and it's such a nuisance to go in and clean it all up, especially when I know it will be wrecked again in a day or two. There is talk of Steve possibly finishing the office this week, and once it is the kids' room and no longer the office, I would really, really like it to be more organized than Emma's room currently is. I have come up with a solution that hopefully will somewhat solve the problem. Most of Emma's things fall into one of four categories: dress-up, play food and dishes for her kitchen, craft stuff, and books. For the purpose of simplicity, I am going to pack away (at least for a trial period) or give away everything that does not fall into one of those categories. The new room will have four baskets - one for dress-up clothes, one for kitchen stuff, one for craft stuff, and one for baby toys. That way at the end of the day I can just go in there and toss everything in the correct basket and voila, a clean room. Let's hope so, anyway.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Today we made Martha's Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. I realized too late that I didn't have any cardamom, so the soup seemed to be lacking a little something. It might have just been my imagination, but I'm going to try it again soon with all the right seasonings. I decided that it's going to be all soup, all the time around here for awhile. Soup is so comforting, and it's a great way to load up on the veggies. I'm also going to start baking more bread to go with all these fabulous soups I'm planning to make. The bread in the picture, a delicious Spinach Feta Foccacia, was not made by me, but by the talented folks at the Target bakery.Today we visited our favorite thrift store, which is not very convenient, but always worth the trip. Today was no different. I got a bunch of super cheap fabric, and Emma found two dresses that are just her style. And by that I mean that no one else would ever want to wear them. Both had been marked down multiple times - one to 79 cents and the other one to 29 cents! It makes me happy that those dresses that were passed over by everyone else have someone to love them now. And love them, she does. I think she's changed about twenty times since we've been home - just from one dress to the other and back again. When Steve got home he said, "Hey, where did you get that dress? From the 1600's?" So Steve got home from Chicago tonight, and I am so happy. He has to work tomorrow, but then he has nine days off. It's going to be a good week.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Although I should be spending any and all crafting time on Christmas presents, I told myself that a camera bag was a necessity, and quickly threw this together.It's not perfect, but it is the right size, which is more than I can say for my last attempt at a camera bag. It's made from a thrifted pillowcase, so if nothing else, at least this bag was cheap.

I'm struggling a little bit this week, and am very much looking forward to Steve's return. During the day, and even most of the evening, is fine. At some point, however, I start feeling a little smothered and wishing that the kids would go to sleep. Then, when Noah wakes up every fifteen minutes and needs to be nursed back to sleep, and Emma (who absolutely could not be quiet if her life depended on it) comes barging in, talking loudly and banging around, in the end no one - ever- goes to sleep. Last night when they were both finally asleep at around midnight, I really wanted to sit down and relax with a glass of wine. Sadly, we had no wine so I had to make do with tea. In anticipation of more stressful nights while Steve is out of town, I picked up some wine today while we were out. Tonight I am much more prepared for these few precious minutes that I get all to myself. Ahhhhhh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

For the past few days, all the windows on the east side of our house have been, for some reason, attracting ladybugs. At any given moment there are at least ten of them crawling around each window - on the glass, inside the screen, and down in the windowsill. We have been enjoying watching them and speculating about why they are congregating here. I requested some ladybug books from the library so we can learn more about them.We are hanging in there with Steve being gone every week, but are looking forward to next week when he will be off the whole week. Yay!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The weather was lovely today and since our warm days are numbered at this point, I made an effort to get outside for awhile. I told Emma she could walk instead of ride in the stroller, I loaded Noah into the Mei Tai, and we set out for a long, leisurely stroll. Long being somewhat of an understatement. We traveled a .8 mile loop, and it took us just under three hours. Yes, three hours. Now I remember why I'm usually so adamant about Emma riding in the stroller.She wanted to bring along her little shovel, and immediately decided it was her duty to clear all the leaves off the edge of the road. No small task at this time of year, of course.While we were walking I had a lot of time to think about 30 Days of Nothing. I saw this yesterday, emailed it to my mom (who is the queen of simple living), and promptly forgot about it. When I spoke to her on the phone this morning, she brought it up again, and now the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like to do it. At first I thought there was no way I could do it because I like to buy things way too much. Really though, that is a big part of why I should do it. January sounds like a good month for nothing, but I'll still have to think on it a little more. Anyone interested in doing this together so we can discuss it?
Back to the walk...Emma kept busy for awhile finding little treasures and ceremoniously presenting them to me. No problem there. And then this:About halfway through, she decided she was done. This is why we will never again go on a walk without a stroller.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I am addicted to swaps. Getting stuff in the mail is so much fun. However, I have so many things to get done before Christmas that I talked myself out of joining this month's craft swap on MDC. I still have other swaps to complete, I've promised several people I'd sew things for them, and of course I still have to make a bunch of Christmas gifts. Thinking about it sort of makes my head spin. Because of all this, I told myself no more swaps until after Christmas. Trouble is, last night I discovered the Holiday Traditions Exchange and the Holiday Ornament Swap. I haven't signed up for either (yet), but I've been mulling it over all day. I'm already participating in an ornament swap for which I will have to make ten ornaments, and when you're already making ten, what's ten more? Right?

Remember, back at the beginning of summer, when I was trying to start running? Well, that fizzled out pretty much back at the beginning of summer. To motivate myself to start up again, I signed up for a 5K on December 9th. My cousin agreed to run it with me, which means I actually have to do it instead of wimping out and just staying in bed that morning. While at my mom's last week, I ran every morning while she watched the kids. It was wonderful! Having time to myself was motivating enough, but I also discovered how much an iPod improves the whole running experience. I could lose myself in the music instead of those "OMG-I'm-dying-I-can't-take-another-step" thoughts that usually plague me while I'm running. Since we've been home, however, I haven't been so motivated. Getting out the door by myself and bundling up the kids, trying to convince Emma to ride in the stroller, and listening to her complain the entire time are two different things entirely. "Cuteness" may be high on the list of my childrens' good qualities, but "convenient" certainly is not.

Monday, November 05, 2007

We returned home last night after a fun week, including a really great time at the LLL conference. The speakers were very interesting and inspiring, and it was nice to sort of reaffirm things about which I feel so strongly - breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and gentle birth. And of course, there was also the part about being surrounded by so many other nursing, babywearing mamas all weekend. Yay!

But first things first. I know everyone is over Halloween by now, so I'll try to make this short and sweet. Steve was in Chicago all week but he flew into St. Louis late Tuesday night and flew back to Chicago early Thursday morning so he could spend Halloween with us. Noah was an adorable little pirate, and Emma was a 50's-type girl with a poodle skirt. When she picked out her costume (for the spinney skirt, of course) we told her what the skirt was called, which led to some confusion about what her costume actually was. It was amusing to see people's perplexed faced when they asked what she was and she proudly exclaimed, "I'm a Proodle!" I put our mail on hold while we were gone last week, and our trip to the post office this morning was like an early Christmas! (By the way, our town already has their Christmas decorations up on the light posts! Rushing things a bit, perhaps?) Check out all this loot!

The first package contained a couple Japanese fabrics that I've been drooling over for a long time. I finally just went for it and ordered them. Now that I can actually look at them (over and over) and feel them (over and over) in person, I'm so glad I did!A dress for Emma, who is no longer willing to pose for photos. It's nothing special, just from eBay, but now she has another dress she is willing to wear that will at least keep her arms warm, if not her legs.Also, FOUR swap packages - fifteen handmade cards, a tie-dyed outfit for Noah, wool felt cookies with a bakery bag, and wool felt donuts! Sweet! The outfit, cookies, and donuts are already hidden away for Christmas.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Our Halloween was great, but I'll have to talk about that some other time because I can't post pictures right now and what good is a Halloween post without pictures?A few weeks ago I wrote about giving Paco to my brother, and Monday was the big day. On the way to my mom's we dropped him off at my brother's house to begin his new life there. Even though I have been saying I want to get rid of the dogs for months, it was still really hard to leave him there. I was worried that he and Jose would be miserable without each other, and although I knew my brother and SIL would be good to him, I felt sorry for him having to adjust to a new family. Then, right after we got in the car to leave, the next song that came on was Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were. (Feel free to laugh at me for having that song in my playlist.) As I listened to the song, I fondly thought about when we first brought teeny tiny Pax home as a puppy over five years ago and all the time he was part of our family. I am still feeling sad about it, but I guess what's done is done. My brother says Pax is doing well there, and although Jose seemed to be in a bit of a funk earlier this week, he is more cheerful today.

This weekend the kids and I and my mom are attending a La Leche League convention. We're leaving tomorrow, so I probably won't post again until Monday. Have a good weekend!